Saturday, September 06, 2014

Cindy Sheehan and Michael Parenti

Cindy Sheehan hosts Cindy Sheehan's Soapbox which airs weekly.  This is from her website about Sunday's show:

Today, Cindy chats with raconteur John Barbour.
Among other things, John hosted a talk show in L.A. for years and created the hit show Real People.

He also has long been a radical political thinker and comedian who admired Jack Paar and whose mentor was Redd Fox (we're dating ourselves, but young people: please listen!).

John became interested in the Kennedy assassination after he read a book by attorney Jim Garrison and then John interviewed him for 3 1/2 hours in what came to be, The Garrison Tapes.

Please listen to this fascinating interview and go to John Barbour's website for info on how to order his film: The Last Word on the Assassination

Make a point to get the word out on that show -- it broadcasts Sunday and will also be archived.

I know the assassination of JFK is a topic we talk about in e-mails and have for a long time -- longterm readers and me -- so I know a lot of you are interested and will want to catch the show.

Make sure you give  a heads up to any friends who might be interested to.

And if you're looking for something to stream right now, click here for Michael Parenti talking about empire at Information Clearing House.

His son strikes me as a sell out but Michael Parenti's always taken the difficult stands.

So let's applaud Michael and Cindy this week and note their strength and their efforts to truth tell.

Idiot of the week?

Too many to list.

So let's just focus on two good people: Cindy and Michael.

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

Saturday, September 6, 2014.  Chaos and violence continue, no end in sight to Barack's undefined mission, John Kerry tries to sell the spin, there's talk of who might be Iraq's vice presidents, and more.

US Secretary of State John Kerry spoke in Wales Friday.  We'll note some of it:

Everybody here understands what ISIL is and the challenge that it represents. I would say to all of you, including those of you – the defense ministers who are now with us, but we had a very provocative conversation last night among the foreign ministers regarding some of the overall challenges we all face, the number of failed states and the challenges of disorder in so many countries. In many ways, I believe ISIL presents us with an opportunity. And it’s an opportunity to prove that we have the ability to come together, that our capacities for defense are not so frozen in an old model that we can’t respond to something like ISIL, that we can’t pull ourselves together and effect the coalition of clearly the willing and the capable to be able to deal with ISIL.

Contrary to what you sort of heard in the politics of our country, the President is totally committed; there is a strategy that is clear, becoming more clear by the day. And it really relies on a holistic approach to ISIL. That is to say that we need to do kinetic, we need to attack them in ways that prevent them from taking over territory, that bolster the Iraqi security forces, others in the region who are prepared to take them on, without committing troops of our own, obviously. I think that’s a redline for everybody here, no boots on the ground. Nevertheless, there are many ways in which we can train, advise, assist, and equip. There are kinetic operations we can run in direct support of Iraqi security forces.

And we’ve proven the model in the last weeks – breaking the siege on Sinjar Mountain, breaking the siege of Amirli, breaking of momentum that was moving towards Erbil, and in effect picking up enough intel to understand that the minute we hit them, these guys are not 10 feet tall. They’re not as disciplined as everybody thinks. They’re not as organized as everybody thinks. And we have the technology, we have the know-how. What we need is obviously the willpower to make certain that we are steady and stay at this.

There is no contain policy for ISIL. They’re an ambitious, avowed genocidal, territorial-grabbing, Caliphate-desiring, quasi state within a regular army. And leaving them in some capacity intact anywhere would leave a cancer in place that will ultimately come back to haunt us. So there is no issue in our minds about our determination to build this coalition, go after this. I’ll give you a quick take at what we are looking for and what we’re going to do.

When we say holistic, we mean every aspect of this group, and I think this could become conceivably a model that can help us with Boko Haram, could help us with Shabaab, with other groups if we can do this successfully. And NATO needs to think of it that way as we consider sort of our role in this new world we’re living in. We need to go after their financing mechanisms and sources, and we need to elicit broad-based support within the world of (inaudible) as well as in the world of normal banking and cover entities, businesses and so forth. Which means our law enforcement and intelligence agencies are going to need to coordinate and work together that have a clear part of an agenda within this framework.

We need a major humanitarian component that needs to be coordinated with the economic component, which will be real, to help Iraq get on its feet. We need a foreign fighter component. President Obama is going to be leading a National Security Council meeting in New York in the course of UNGA. We want – hope everybody will take part in that and help us lay down a critical agenda with respect to how we deal, all of us, with foreign fighters, which is a challenge to every country here, which is partly why we are all here.

Throughout, John's losing the audience with his efforts to footnote and show off that someone did this week's vocabulary list.  He really should stop trying to show off and keep it plain spoken.

I don't agree with much of anything he's saying but the speech starts to fall apart early on and is cratering when he tosses out Boko Haram.  It only gets worse as he tries to talk "kinetic."  (We've spared you that.)

We've used the term here and been specific in its use.  John's all over the place with it and probably confusing people.

Was John's speech supposed to be homework for Americans or was he attempting to communicate with them?

Does no one know how to communicate in the administration?

It's the show boating, the need to dandy up, that divorces them from the reality so many Americans live in.

So the take away from the above is that, no, US Senator Dianne Feinstein, bombs alone won't change a thing.

They'll change numbers -- they'll increase the numbers of the Islamic State.

John Kerry needs to define what the non-military approach will be.

The American people are left in the dark.

The reason for that is, honestly, the White House still doesn't have a plan.

It doesn't have a plan for war, it doesn't have a plan for diplomacy.

No US troops should have been sent into Iraq in June.  Barack certainly shouldn't have announced this week he was sending even more into Iraq.  As Kristina Wong (The Hill) reported Tuesday, "President Obama has ordered 405 additional U.S. troops to Iraq on Tuesday, bringing the total of U.S. forces authorized there to more than 1,000, the White House announced Tuesday."

I'm back on Gasoline Alley
Where the smoke looks like a misty valley
And the dotted hills where pills go down the wrong way
In the service of the king and his kingdom too
Oh-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh
I was the man and the woman and the who-knows-who
-- "Down The Wrong Way," written by Chrissie Hynde and Bjorn Yttling, first appears on Chrissie's new album Stockholm.

But if you make the decision to send troops in -- and Barack did make that decision -- then you have already reviewed all options and you should know what you will be doing next.

Otherwise, you're just sending troops in blindly and that's what Barack has done.

And instead of presenting a mission, he's responded to each worsening by tossing more troops onto the fire.

Shame on those -- in Congress, and across the US -- who accept this as a plan.

Kristina Wong (The Hill) reported Friday morning, "Military officials are signaling that the fight against Islamist militants in Iraq could take years, raising the possibility of a new, open-ended military commitment that lasts beyond the Obama presidency.  Tony Blinken, the White House’s deputy national security adviser, says defeating the Islamic State of Syria and Iraq (ISIS) would require a long-term commitment."

And that was before John Kerry gave the speech we noted earlier.  In it, his final statements include this, "It may take a year, it may take two years, it may take three years."

A planned mission wouldn't be open-ended. 

John Kerry grasped that in the Bully Boy Bush years when he was among those insisting there needed to be some form of benchmarks by which to measure whether Iraq was progressing or not.  He also once grasped the reality of war.  No longer.

In fact, it's sad that more concern for US troops is expressed by the President of the Kurdistan Regional Government than by the American president.  National Iraqi News Agency reports:

Head of the Kurdistan region Massoud Barzani said on Wednesday, during a meeting with US Senator for the State of Michigan Carl Levin that: "We do not want from America and the nations of the world to send their sons to Kurdistan, but we want to secure humanitarian and military aids to the people of Kurdistan and the Peshmerga, to be able to defend ourselves and the citizens and religious and national components.
A statement by the presidency of the region, today, "said that Barzani stressed to Sen. George and the delegation accompanying him that the region will not allow to terrorism to have a base in Kurdistan.

By the way, the US would send men and women -- sons and daughters.  I appreciate Barzani's sentiment.  Is he being sexist?  I don't think so.  I don't even think it's that he's of a certain age.  I think it's that he's talking about what he's seeing and what he's seeing in the KRG is American men.  If that is the case, there are implications to that which aren't even being touched on.

Maybe someone else will unpack that?  (Probably not and we'll get stuck with it next week.)

For now, let's repeat: I'm against more war on Iraq.

I'd think even the War Hawks who seem to get giddy at the thought of blood spilled on the battlefield would be rushing over to my side as Barack proves repeatedly that the role of commander-in-chief is beyond his grasp.

But these days, it's all beyond his grasp.

Who would have thought the administration of Barack Obama -- aka Mr. Pretty Words -- would have difficulty with messaging?

This inability to communicate clearly was again on display today when John Kerry spoke and it's  all the more troubling when you grasp that John thinks he was crystal in his statements as evidenced by remarks like this,  "We need a clarity to the strategy, and a clarity to what everybody is going to undertake."

Are you waiting for someone to provide that clarity to you, John? 

Because that clarity was actually needed before Barack started sending US troops into Iraq as spring was winding down and summer beginning.

If anyone's getting the spin across even semi-successfully it's the State Dept spokespersons Jen Psaki and Marie Harf.

Friday, Marie Harf handled the department's press briefing and noted, "Second item at the top – second and final item at the top. Deputy Assistant Secretary Brett McGurk arrived in Baghdad today for several days of discussions with Iraqi leaders on our mutual efforts in confronting ISIL to include the next steps in building a regional and international coalition to support those efforts. He will also support the efforts of Ambassador Beecroft in encouraging the Iraqis to complete their government formation process as soon as possible. McGurk will also travel to Erbil for discussions and then later join the Secretary during his onward travel to the region following the NATO summit as well."

We'll also note this section -- a minor one to many, a blink of the eye.

QUESTION: And finally, it looks like the U.S. is sending former U.S. Ambassador Ross Wilson to Ankara as a temporary –

MS. HARF: Yes.

QUESTION: Can you tell us a little bit on that appointment?

MS. HARF: Yep. So John Bass, who is President Obama’s nominee as ambassador to Turkey, is awaiting a confirmation vote from the Senate as are 50 other – over 50 other ambassadorial nominees awaiting a vote. So we are facing the prospect of a long-term gap in filling this crucial position of ambassador to Turkey. Obviously, we recognize the centrality of a strong U.S.-Turkey relationship, so the Secretary has asked Ross Wilson to return to Ankara – he served as ambassador there from 2005 until 2008 – to serve as the charge d’affaires until John Bass is confirmed as the ambassador. We, as we do with all of our nominees, encourage the Senate to confirm him as soon as possible.

Why are we noting that?


Not all nominees have been held up.  We know that, right?

Let's back up to our earlier quote from Marie Hart.

See if you can spot the puzzling moment.

I'll give you a hint, Marie's not making a mistake.  Don't look for that.

Second item at the top – second and final item at the top. Deputy Assistant Secretary Brett McGurk arrived in Baghdad today for several days of discussions with Iraqi leaders on our mutual efforts in confronting ISIL to include the next steps in building a regional and international coalition to support those efforts. He will also support the efforts of Ambassador Beecroft in encouraging the Iraqis to complete their government formation process as soon as possible. McGurk will also travel to Erbil for discussions and then later join the Secretary during his onward travel to the region following the NATO summit as well.

Did you catch it?

Okay, let's move in for a close up in case anyone missed it:

He will also support the efforts of Ambassador Beecroft in encouraging the Iraqis to complete their government formation process as soon as possible.

Ambassador Beecroft?

Robert Steven Beecroft is not the Ambassador of Iraq anymore.

Let's quote from the Senate Democrat's website:

The Senate confirmed the Beecroft, Dynan, Kai’aina, Logan and Handelsman nominations by voice votes.
Senators should expect 2 roll call votes at 5:30pm on Monday, July 7. Those votes would be on the following items:

What was Beecroft confirmed to be?  US Ambassador to Egypt.

As The Atlantic Council noted the next day (June 27th):

The Senate has confirmed the new US ambassador, Robert Beecroft, to Egypt after lengthy delays. The president nominated the envoy in May, but his nomination was held up in a larger Senate logjam that has affected dozens of appointees. Beecroft’s nomination was confirmed by voice vote.

So who is the US Ambassador to Iraq?

Let's again quote from the Senate Democrats' website on June 26th:

1:45PM the Senate began a 15minute roll call vote on confirmation of Calendar #897 Stuart E. Jones, of Virginia, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Iraq;

Confirmed: 93-0

Barack's first nominee for US Ambassador to Iraq was the hideous Chris Hill. He didn't make it to a second year in the post.  Then Barack nominated James Jeffrey and Jeffrey was more of an adult than Chris.  (He also didn't get fired the way Hill did.  Jeffrey chose to leave and there's a story there the press has apparently all agreed not to touch.)  Then Barack nominated Brett McGurk but that was a failed nomination.

So Barack nominated Beecroft who became the third US Ambassador to Iraq since 2009.  And now Stuart Jones is Barack's fourth US Ambassador to Iraq.

This never-ending game of musical chairs neither inspires confidence nor fosters consistency. 

Iraq needs a diplomatic solution.  Barack's rightly and repeatedly noted in the last months.

It's difficult to see how this was going to be achieved with The Obama Conga Line of Iraq Ambassadors doing can-can kicks across the Middle East.

Brett McGurk's now meeting with Beecroft in Baghdad.  Another sign that it wasn't the time to again swap out the post. 

If only Ice Cube had been around to advise McGurk, Brett might be the ambassador today.  (In 21 Jump Street, Ice Cube tells Channing Tatum, "Keep that dirty dick inside your pants.")  In fairness to Brett, whose nomination I opposed, he's pretty much done the job without the title.

Brett McGurk Tweeted:

John Kerry should be there for those talks but Marie Harf made clear in today's press briefing that, at present, there were no plans for Kerry to be in Iraq.

Time is running out.

August 11th is when the prime minister-designate was named and that's when the 30 day time limit kicked off.  Barack observed,  "Today, Iraq took a promising step forward in this critical effort.   Last month, the Iraqi people named a new President.  Today, President Masum named a new Prime Minister designate, Dr. Haider al-Abadi.  Under the Iraqi constitution, this is an important step towards forming a new government that can unite Iraq’s different communities."

Five days to form a Cabinet.  And this as NINA reports State of Law MP Ammar al-Shibli is insisting that "some political blocs to submit unacceptable names and incompetent to Prime Minister [designate] Haider Abadi to embarrass him."

Well there's at least one looney name being bandied about.  All Iraq News reports there are three names for vice president and one for Foreign Minister.   Former prime minister Ibrahim al-Jafaari is said to be the choice for Minister of Foreign Affairs.  The three names for vice president?
Iraqiya leader Ayad Allai, former Speaker of Parliament Osama al-Nujaifi and thug and . . .  'outgoing' prime minister Nouri al-Maliki.

Again, Nouri's never gone until he's in the ground.

People underestimated him as a thug and they continue to underestimate him.

Which is a real shame because Nouri remains the biggest obstacle to peace in Iraq.

Margaret Griffis ( counts 52 dead in Friday's violence with another 38 injured.

kristina wong

Friday, September 05, 2014

War Crimes?

Lame ass UK Independent blathers on about a group of British lawyers gathering evidence about 'War Crimes' in Iraq.  I say 'War Crimes' because the whole thing is a joke.

If, for example, they were bothered about the recent deaths of the two journalists, they'd be focusing on Syria.  That is where both men were kidnapped and that's probably where they were killed.

Meanwhile, in Iraq, War Crimes have taken place.

But note that fake ass attorneys didn't give a damn.  When Nouri was attacking Hawaija protesters, killing them and their children, the lawyers said nothing.  And even now, they don't care.

But watch them pretend to be big and brave.

While they ignore bringing Nouri to justice.

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

Thursday, September 4, 2014.  Chaos and violence continue, lies and spin continue, Dianne Feinstein wants war, Prince Charles expresses some concern, and much more.

Russ Wellen, liar or fool?

The Foreign Policy In Focus blogger can never seem to get the facts right.

He's not helped by the fact that he basis his bad article ("Five Ways have aided and abetted the development of the Islamir State'') on Andrew Cockburn's lousy fly-over reporting.  But he has only himself to blame for this nonsense:

The general state of chaos in which the United States left Iraq with, to this day, no strong central government. 

How stupid does he have to be to write that?  Or is he just a lousy liar?

Those of us who actually paid attention to the issue of Iraq over the last years know damn well that Nouri implemented a power grab and did so with no objection from FPIF which had no time for Iraq.  And now it wants to play catch up and, lazy student, uses Andrew Cockburn's (bad and biased) reporting to play catch up.

Is it any wonder that Wellen and Foreign Policy In Focus are fumbling in the dark?

Nouri's corruption did not begin in his second term.

Congress heard repeatedly about his corruption.

In fact, Barack heard repeatedly --

Oh, wait, he didn't.

Had he attended Committee hearings in 2007 and 2008, he would have heard about Nouri's corruption but, of course, he was too busy for hearings, rushing in only when the cameras were present.

His desire to take over the central bank and the courts were already well known.

But when he made those efforts in his second term, FPIF didn't say one damn word.  If Russ missed these events, he'll never find them in Patrick Cockburn's writings filled with lust for thug Nouri.  

Lust for war is something FPIF would rail against if it had any guts.

It has no guts and no spine.

Strolling through the western press on Iraq today is very depressing.

Iraqis still don't matter.

The Islamic State, we are told, are 'barbaric,' vile and many other things.

And the proof?

One American journalist and one American and Israeli journalist were killed.

Their deaths are unfortunate.

But this is the basis for worst terrorists ever?

In fairness to the press, the White House -- both US President Barack Obama and US Vice President Joe Biden -- repeat similar statements near constantly -- that these deaths will be avenged and blah, blah, blah.

Not only does this nonsense erase Iraqis and their suffering from the public history, it also shows an extreme ignorance of history -- from early US history all the way up to at least the Symbionese Liberation Army.

The deaths are regrettable but they're justification for massive military maneuvers?

It's like a retelling of Helen of Troy done in a house of mirrors.

Now I understand why the White House is attempting to sell war this way.

There is a lack of sympathy for (or caring of) Iraqis around the country.  I would hope it was a small segment of the country but it may be larger than I think.  In the last three weeks, we've repeatedly overheard the same conversation in every state. 

One person will argue 'those people' have never been able to get along so 'we' should just let them kill each other and be done with it.  A second person will agree and add that Barack's unable to solve the problem because Muslims don't kill other Muslims.

Barack as Muslim (a falsehood) is popping up yet again.  We'll have stopped for lunch and be eating and someone -- usually Kat or Wally (not often Ava or me) -- will waive their hands, nod their head a direction and indicate we should check out the conversation a table or two over.

Forget that Barack's not Muslim -- it was never worth refuting to begin with.  Turning the focus there and making a big denial leaves the impression that there's something wrong with being Muslim (when there's not).

Focus on the logic: (1) Muslims will kill each other and (2) Muslims don't kill other Muslims.

Over and over we hear this conversation -- over hear it -- and our first thought is always, "Wait, their points don't match up."  But they never seem to realize that, the people repeating these two points never grasp it.

So the larger point here is that many Americans don't care about the fate of the Iraqi people.  For some their short attention span has been exhausted and those MTV reality re-match ups won't watch themselves, after all.  For others, it's that their empathy has been exhausted.

Regardless, that segment (whatever its size) goes a long way towards explaining why the war can't be sold on 'We must help the Iraqis!'

There's also the issue of costs -- financial and blood.

On the financial side, Cristina Alesci (CNN -- link is text and video) declares $7.5 million is how much the Pentagon says US taxpayers are being billed daily for Barack's latest Iraq adventure.

On the blood side, friends and families daily mourn those who died fighting in the Iraq War and those who were wounded in Iraq carry that wound with them always.

Americans really aren't wanting another war on Iraq.

Americans aren't.

The Jewish people are wrongly slimed and smeared.

But it's to be expected when trash like Uri Dromi screech at the top of their lungs for war.  Why the Miami Herald feels Israeli Air Force Reserve Colonel Uri Dromi is worth featuring is a question to put to them.  But the question for precious Dromi is,  "If you want war, your country has a military and then some, try using it."

But, of course, let's be frank, Israel can't use its military.

That's the secret they always hope their Arab neighbors never catch on to.

Using the military on another country would leave Israel open to attack.

It doesn't have the military strength to attack another country and defend itself at the same time. 

So War Hawks like Dromi scream for the US to do the war that they know their own country can't carry out.

Good going, Dromi.

To Americans, you look like a candy ass to scared to  fight your own damn war while, to the Arab world, you feed into every ugly stereotype about Israel.

Also helping Israel look bad?  Anshel Pfeffer and Ha'aretz gloating, "The Islamic State is forcing the West out of its Iraq war trauma."
What, pray tell, will ever force the Israeli government out of their apartheid stance?

Probably more and more people around the world seeing it as a corrupt government illegitimately occupying land that belongs to others.

Harsh words?

I have plenty more.

In ten years online, never felt the need to say them.

If that's how I feel and respond, imagine how those who loathe the Israeli government and see it run by killers intent on genocide will interpret the braying for more war by Israeli voices?

And please remember, if something must be done by the US military to stop indiscriminate killing, first stop may be Iraq but there are a lot of people who will scream second stop should be Israel whose chief national industry appears to be genocide.

Feeding into every ugly stereotype of an ignorant Congress?

US Senator Dianne Feinstein.

Anna Duckworth (KCBS -- link is audio and text) reports on Dianne's lust for war which includes the senator insisting, "If the United States doesn't act, nobody will. I believe they will want Bagdad to be the center of this caliphate. And we have the largest embassy in the world in Bagdad."

So maybe the answer isn't bombing the hell out of Iraq, it's getting the hell out of the country?

Maybe the answer is to stop butting in?

That's why things are where they are now.

Nouri al-Maliki was installed as prime minister by the Bully Boy Bush White House.  After losing the 2010 elections, the Barack White House insisted Nouri still get a second term.

Nouri used that term to destroy the rights of women, to turn his goons loose on reporters and peaceful activists, to target and kill Iraq's LGBTQ community, to terrorize the minority religions and, always, to target, harass and kill Sunnis.

Maybe, Dianne, if the US hadn't 'acted' to keep Nouri prime minister, none of this would be taking place today.

In fairness to Dianne, she will gladly vote for war (always!).  Unlike her colleagues, she'd stay in DC week after week if it meant she could register her approval for war.

Ed O'Keefe (Washington Post) reports several members of Congress are hoping for a brief September session and that Barack doesn't raise the issue of war on Iraq or immigration.

We'll note this from today's State Dept press briefing by spokesperson Marie Harf:

QUESTION: I’m not trying to make fun of you. I just have one very extremely brief one, and that is the Iraqi Government formation --

MS. HARF: Yes.

QUESTION: -- was supposed happen this week. Is it --

MS. HARF: Nah, no, I think we were tracking towards that the 10th or 11th is – as when the deadline is.

QUESTION: All right. Okay, so --

MS. HARF: Deadline. The 30 days.

QUESTION: -- that’s your understanding --

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: -- is that it’s still on track?

MS. HARF: Yes, yes, moving forward.


MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.

It's okay if you've forgotten.  It would appear the White House has as well.

August 11th is when the prime minister-designate was named and that's when the 30 day time limit kicked off.  Barack observed,  "Today, Iraq took a promising step forward in this critical effort.   Last month, the Iraqi people named a new President.  Today, President Masum named a new Prime Minister designate, Dr. Haider al-Abadi.  Under the Iraqi constitution, this is an important step towards forming a new government that can unite Iraq’s different communities."

If Iraq's finally going to follow the Constitution -- they didn't for Nouri -- that means prime minister-designate Haider al-Abadi needs to form a Cabinet before the 30 days are up.

The clock is ticking.

How do you move from prime minister-designate to prime minister?

The Iraqi Constitution calls for you to form a Cabinet which means nominating and getting Parliament to vote for each member so you have a full Cabinet.

The point of this requirement?

To demonstrate you have the leadership skills to work with others elected to the Parliament.

If the 30 days passes without a Cabinet, per the Constitution, the President of Iraq is supposed to announce a new prime minister-designate.

The wording of the Constitution is such that you could do a weasel-word interp and say the president could re-name the same person.

But that's not the intent and everyone knows it.

Everyone doesn't know another detail because we have a whorish press corps in the west.

'Outgoing' prime minister (and tyrant) Nouri al-Maliki doesn't want to go and he's announced if the designate fails to form a Cabinet in time, he's prepared to do so and that he supposedly has the suppot and backing to stay in power.

If you think things are bad in Iraq right now, you let Nouri get a third term.

And things are bad.  Xinhua reports:

A suicide bomber drove an explosive-laden car into a police checkpoint and blew it up in kadhimiyah district, northern Baghdad, leaving at least nine people killed and 35 others injured, a police source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.
Two hours later, six civilians were killed and 17 others wounded when a car bomb exploded in Saadoun Street in central Baghdad, the source added.

BBC notes the death toll from the two bombings rose to 20.

National Iraqi News Agency reports s Kirkuk car bombing apparently targeting an alcohol store and leaving sixteen people dead.

That's just some of the violence. 

Blame is placed at the feet of the United States for the Islamic State.  The latest to make that assertion is Chaldean Patriarch Louis Sako.  Ishaan Tharoor (Washington Post) quotes the priest stating, "[The U.S.] said it would ensure democracy and the well-being of the people. But 10 years have passed, and, on the contrary, we have gone backward.  There were about 1 million Christians in Iraq and more than half of them have been displaced. Only 400,000 are left while displacement is still rising."

On the topic of Iraqi Christians, John Bingham (Telegraph of London) reports Prince Charles of England has spoken out:

The Prince of Wales has written an impassioned letter to Christians in Iraq speaking of his “heartbreak” at their suffering at the hands of Jihadists.
He condemned the atrocities by the so-called Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (Isil) as “diabolic evil” and spoke of his “fervent hope and prayer” for those suffering in the region.
His remarks came as the Archbishop of Canterbury spoke of attempts to drive Christianity out its Middle Eastern birthplace as the biggest assault on the faith in the area “since the invasion of Genghis Khan” in the 13th Century.
The Most Rev Justin Welby joined leaders of churches from the Middle East for prayers in Lambeth Palace and a vigil at Westminster Abbey.

Thursday, September 04, 2014

That lying media

Please, please make a point to check out this report at Information Clearing House:

Photos of women allegedly sold as slaves

Citing an Iraqi parliamentarian, several websites claimed that hundreds of women from the Yazidi community had been sold as slaves after the capture of Sinjar at the beginning of August. One photo showing women chained and veiled spread on social networks and was taken as proof of the claim. It turns out that this image was taken during a Shiite procession in the town of Nabatieh, in southern Lebanon, in 2013.

The fake photo of 'enslaved women' circulating on social media networks.
Already at this time, the same photo had been published online by websites claiming it showed the jihadist organisation’s treatment of women in Syria.

I almost fell for that one.

I wrote a blog -- probably five paragraphs -- about how outrageous the Islamic State was and how they were bringing back slavery and all.

I was all ready to publish.

Then I called C.I.

She said, "Mike, I've not noted that crap at The Common Ills because there's no real proof."

She said to post what I'd written if I wanted but that she'd never write about it at TCI because it was so difficult for anyone to prove it.

I wish other people -- who did write about it -- had a C.I. in their life to say, "Mike, c'mon, there's no proof here."

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

Wednesday, September 3, 2014.  Chaos and violence continue, from boastful v.p.s to minimizing Pentagon flacks, it's a wealth of embarrassment . . .

We've heard of an embarrassment of riches, right?  Today, it's just a wealth of embarrassments as far as the eye can see.

Take US Vice President Joe Biden.  I know Joe.  I like Joe -- hell, I love Joe.

But come on.

David Sharp (AP) quotes Joe declaring today that "they [the Islamic State] should know we will follow them to the gates of hell until they are brought to justice.  Because hell is where they'll reside."

Now look, if Joe wants to visit Dick and Lynne Cheney, that's his business and right, but leave out all this "we" stuff because the bulk of us have no desire to go to hell and visit the Cheneys.

On a more serious note, it has to be asked, "At the gates of hell, what will you be doing, Joe?"

Lawyering up? 

I ask because you could have served in Vietnam.  Unlike many women and men (including me), you didn't oppose the war so, being a man, you could have served in combat.

You didn't.

You weren't even a photographer like Al Gore.

So at the gates of hell, what exactly are you able to do?

For your own safety, Joe, you need to ask that question.

For others also.

Always a lot of male bragging, very little actual male bravery.

Take "Ali."  He's an Iraqi soldier -- one Human Rights Watch trusted.

I wouldn't trust him.

His unit made the mistake of trusting him, he's alive and they're dead.

Heather Saul (Belfast Telegraph) explains Ali claims he survived the executions most Iraqi soldiers he was with experienced.

He crawled away wounded?

No, he played dead.

Let's get bravery clear, a young girl, Anne Frank, living in hiding is brave.  Anne had no gun, Anne had no combat training, she was not part of a military unit.

You may call someone with a gun and training who refuses to use both to take out the enemy or attempt to save those he or she was serving with "lucky" (you might not) but most people wouldn't repeat the story.

Most people would realize they look a little weak and cowardly.

I don't believe in war and if Ali put down his gun in protest of death and destruction, I'd be the first to applaud him for that.

But that didn't happen, did it?

Ali was and remains pro-war.  He's willing for the fighting to continue.

But, as we've now learned, when push comes to shove, he'll pretend to be dead while his unit is shot and killed.  He'll save his own life by refusing to risk it to help out his comrades.

I don't know why you'd trust a word out of the mouth of Ali.

Again, give me a Kyle Snyder, a Joshua Key, someone who is opposed to the war and I'll back them and applaud them.  But give me a pro-war man or woman who, in combat, refuses to defend his or her fellow soldiers?

That's a coward.

And it's a shame his unit didn't know that going into the battle against the Islamic State.

Let's move over to gas bags.

First, Jon Lee Anderson is a liar.  We'll come back to that but we've long called the liar out.

Jon wants death and destruction.

No surprise at all.

Jon's nonsense allows Jeffrey Goldberg to play the sane person in the world and who would have thought that was possible?

Here's the exchange:

Let's get back to liar Jon. 

If you're a certain age you may not remember when a Koran supposedly started riots -- the disrespect of the Koran.  Actually, that was a smear campaign against journalism, an attempt to lie and claim this is why truth must be kept from people.  When Newsweek reported that US troops had disrespected a Koran, it led to riots and violence in Afghanistan.

It was a lie.

It was the war on the press that never ends.

Air America Radio was largely a joke.

Laura Flanders was the network's best program.

At this point, her weekend show was The Laura Flanders Show and it was three hours live radio on Saturday and three hours live radio on Sunday.  She had Jon Lee Anderson on and he babbled on about how Newsweek's report caused the violence.

She asked him for his opinion.  She gave him the opportunity to dissent from the pack.

He refused.

Here's some truth about those riots:

On May 11th, riots broke out in the city of Jalalabad, in eastern Afghanistan. The violence followed a Newsweek story -- which has since been retracted -- on new allegations that American interrogators at Guantanamo Bay had desecrated the Koran. In the next few days, the protests spread to the capital, Kabul, and throughout the country. In some provincial towns, police fired into crowds. But early on there were signs that the violence had less to do with Newsweek than with Afghanistan's President, Hamid Karzai.On the first night of rioting, copies of an anonymous letter circulated in the streets of Kabul. This Night Letter, as it was called, was a vehement exhortation to Afghans to oppose Karzai, whom it accused of being un-Islamic, an ally of the Taliban, and a "U.S.A. servant." The letter said that Karzai had put the interests of his "evil master" ahead of those of Afghans, and it called for leaders who were proven patriots, mujahideen -- a synonym, in this case, for members of the Northern Alliance, many of whom are now warlords and regional strongmen -- to defy him. The timing was opportune: Karzai was on a trip to Europe, in search of financial backing. His next destination was Washington, where he planned to discuss a pact that would guarantee the United States a long-term military presence in Afghanistan.
Karzai seemed unsure of how to respond. Even as the unrest continued, he stuck to his itenerary and, from Brussels, called the riots a "manifestation of democracy." When he finally arrived home, several days later, he held a press conference, at which he blamed unspecified "enemies of peace" for the violence. He asked, "Who are they who have such enmity with Afghnistan, a nation that is begging for money to build the country and construct buildings and during the night they come and destroy it?"

Okay, C.I., so Jon Lee Anderson was wrong and didn't know about the article you're quoting.


Possibly if he types in his sleep.

He wrote that article and was published before he went on The Laura Flanders Show.  That's why Laura repeatedly gave him a pathway to expand or deny the allegations that Newsweek was the cause.

He refused to.

June 6, 2005, he wrote "The Man In the Palace: Hamid Karzai and the dilemma of being Afghanistan's President"  (The New Yorker) which the quote is from.

Jon Lee Anderson is a joke.

You can ride high atop your pony
I know you won't fall
'cause the whole thing's phoney.
You can fly swingin' from your trapeze
Scaring all the people
But you never scare me
-- "Bella Donna," written by Stevie Nicks, first appears on her album Bella Donna.

He'll never scare me.  People who sell out their own investigative reporting to run with the pack never scare me.

They sadden me.

They sicken me.

But they never scare me.

And the Pentagon spokesperson just makes me laugh.  Rebecca Shabad (The Hill) reports he's denying mission creep is taking place:

“Mission creep means that the mission itself, the objectives change over time, they expand. It doesn't refer to intensity of operation. It doesn't refer to the number of troops,” Rear Adm. John Kirby said in an interview on CNN’s “New Day.”  
“These extra personnel are going to go in to provide additional security assistance in and around Baghdad, particularly around our embassy facilities, and that's all they are going to be doing,” Kirby explained. “It's going to be security and defensive work just to help protect our diplomats and our civilians that are working there in Baghdad.”

He's splitting hairs, actually.

There is no mission creep thus far.

There's only creep.

Because there is no mission.

US President Barack Obama tosses off a few chest thumping statements and that's about it for a 'mission.' 

Despite the tough guy statements, things continue to get worse and?

Barack tosses another couple of hundred US troops onto the fire -- or, if you prefer, into the kitty -- gambling with the lives of Americans while he tries to figure out what to do.

It's an embarrassment.  So was the State Dept's press briefing today moderated by spokesperson Jen Psaki.

QUESTION: In terms of U.S. coalition building --

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: -- is there a certain timeframe that the U.S. has in mind in which it would like to see enough partners onboard to proceed to the next step in terms of Iraq and Syria?

MS. PSAKI: Well, I wouldn’t equate it as being until we have a coalition of X number of partners there won’t be additional action. Obviously, we’ve already taken steps in Iraq and there are a range of countries that have taken steps. This is a process that will be ongoing. As the President said, this is not a challenge that can be addressed overnight, and so certainly we’ll have an ongoing discussion about the capabilities and capacities of different countries in this regard, and that’s one that we’re obviously spending a great deal of time focused on over the coming weeks. So we’ll see where we end at the end of that period of time.


MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: What about Iran’s role? Will you accept Iran to participate in the global coalition?

MS. PSAKI: They’re not a country – that’s a country that, as we’ve noted in the past, they can play a role by encouraging inclusivity and encouraging all of the different political sects to work together in Iraq, but beyond that, no, we’re not working with Iran on this regard.

QUESTION: I’m trying to drill down a little bit on this coalition thing, but I won’t take long. I promise.

MS. PSAKI: Okay.

QUESTION: Of the three most recent coalitions that the U.S. has put together – the Gulf War coalition, first one; the post-9/11 coalition, war on terrorism; and then the coalition of the willing for the second Iraq war – they were all kind of formalized. There was a list put together by people in this building and at the White House and at the Pentagon. Is this that same kind of thing, or is it more of an informal collection of countries that are not going to be identified as a coalition of the willing or a coalition of whatever it is that one decides it’s going to be called?

MS. PSAKI: Well, I think we have to see, Matt. I mean there are countries that --

QUESTION: Well, what’s the idea? What’s the President – what is it the President and the Secretary want? Do they want that kind of a coalition where you’re either signed up, on board, you’ve checked off the list? Or is it more of just a kind of a loose --

MS. PSAKI: I don’t think the requirement is that a country signs a document. I think there --

QUESTION: You know what I mean. I mean is it going to be some kind of grand, formal coalition, or is it just kind of a loose association of people of likeminded countries?

MS. PSAKI: It’s really more the latter, Matt, but obviously we’re at a stage in this where we are just beginning the discussions about --

QUESTION: All right.

MS. PSAKI: -- what roles individual countries can play.

QUESTION: All right. But you said that there’s no geographic limit to this, but you’ve ruled out two countries so far as participating I think, Syria and Iran.

MS. PSAKI: I said it’s not limited by geography. It doesn’t mean that every country in the world --

QUESTION: Unless your geography is Syria or Iran.

MS. PSAKI: Well, what I was conveying, which I think I explained in the context --


MS. PSAKI: -- was that there are countries in Asia and other parts of the world --


MS. PSAKI: -- that are not next to Syria --

QUESTION: Fair enough.

MS. PSAKI: -- that will play a role.

QUESTION: What about Russia? Are they – no, I’m serious. I mean is – are Russia – I mean the Russians have been allied with President Assad, who you say is not welcome to join. Are they worthy of admission or worthy of consideration for admission? Or should they not even bother to apply – don’t write the essay, don’t --

MS. PSAKI: That’s not how we’re looking at this, Matt. I think, obviously, if countries want to play a constructive role in the fight against ISIL that that’s a discussion we’re happy to have. But I think there are a range of countries that have been more constructive in this regard.

QUESTION: And your ultimate goal, is it the destruction of ISIL? Is that the ultimate goal? Or is it wider than that, to ensuring stability in Iraq and ensuring stability in Syria?

MS. PSAKI: Well, it’s --

QUESTION: What’s the ultimate goal of this coalition?

MS. PSAKI: It’s both. I mean, you want to end the threat that – from ISIL that the region is facing. Obviously, destroying and degrading ISIL would be – would result in that. But certainly, that’s part of an effort to strengthen countries in the region as well, and other steps that countries in the region have to take on their own even as we’re encouraging them – Iraq and others that are forming a government or taking more productive steps to be more cohesive and --

And so it goes, it's left to Jen Psaki, a State Dept spokesperson to take the questions Barack refuses to.

In a bright moment on an otherwise dull day, a bit of sense came from, of all places, Democracy Now!  Iraqi journalist Mohammed al-Dulaimy was a guest and at one point got to explain how support grew for IS in Iraq, "But I can tell you one thing that I know for sure, that the indiscriminate use of weapons against civilians by the Iraqi government is the number one. And we’ve talked to dozens of people who were so happy that the U.S. is involving, so at least a minimum casualties will happen among civilians, and especially among Sunnis. And that is what ISIS is afraid, that the people now look to the U.S. as a force that will try to bring minimal casualties to civilians."

It would be great if a real conversation followed but that was it.  And, let's note, Mohammed brought the reality in on his own.

amy goodman