Saturday, November 07, 2015

Marvel Agents of SHIELD

I didn't really care for this week's episode.

Mae should have been allowed to be majorly pissed -- her ex-husband, love of her life, just died because of Hunter.

And, for a second, it looked like she was exploding at Bobbi (Hunter's ex) but then it turned out it was just a test to see if Bobbi had recovered enough to go out on a field mission.


She catches video feed of cages intended for the enhanced people like her.

And guess who's getting a tour of them?


She has less and less reason to trust him.


I don't mind Mae going off on him (she hasn't) but I really don't need the others to do so.

He had every reason to try to kill Ward (lucky for the show, Ward lived) even if it meant putting Mae's husband at risk.

I just feel like the show was leading up to something and then the writers fell asleep and forgot everything.

It wasn't a very good episode.

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

Thursday, November 5, 2015.  Chaos and violence continue, rains stop the battle to retake Ramadi, Ahmed Chalabi continues to be remembered (and misremembered), and much more.

Starting with US President Barack Obama's Operation Inherent Failure, the US Defense Dept announced today:

Strikes in Iraq

Attack, bomber, fighter, remotely piloted aircraft and rocket artillery conducted 20 strikes in Iraq, coordinated with and in support of Iraq’s government:

-- Near Huwayjah, one strike struck an ISIL tactical unit.

-- Near Abu Hayat, one strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL vehicle bomb, an ISIL mortar position, an ISIL weapons cache, an ISIL building, and an ISIL fighting position.

-- Near Beiji, one strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL vehicle.

-- Near Fallujah, one strike struck a large ISIL tactical unit and destroyed two ISIL bunkers and an ISIL fighting position.

-- Near Mosul, two strikes struck two separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed an ISIL fighting position.

-- Near Ramadi, three strikes struck a large ISIL tactical unit, and destroyed 18 ISIL fighting positions, four ISIL heavy machine guns, an ISIL mortar position, an ISIL weapons cache, an ISIL motorcycle, two ISIL resupply warehouses, and damaged three ISIL buildings.

-- Near Sinjar, eight strikes struck four separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed three ISIL weapons caches, two ISIL assembly areas, eight ISIL fighting positions, and six ISIL staging areas.

-- Near Sultan Abdullah, three strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed two ISIL fighting positions and an ISIL heavy machine gun.

This is month 16 of Barack's 'plan' to 'liberate' Iraq from the Islamic State . . . by bombing Iraq.  It has not been a success.

It's been a failure -- an inherent failure.

Since the operation began, there have been few true successes while there have been so many notable failures -- such as the April seizure of Ramadi.

Since May, the Iraqi forces have been fighting to retake Ramadi -- a city in Anbar Province -- and they have repeatedly failed.

As Xinhua reports today, the latest failure is penned on "heavy rains."

There is no success in Barack's 'plan' but the bombs dropped from planes flying overhead are destroying Iraq and terrorizing a people.

Barack's 'plan' faces mounting criticism.

Fox News offers:

British Prime Minister David Cameron reportedly has dropped plans for a parliamentary vote on extending anti-ISIS airstrikes to Syria, in the latest blow to President Obama’s attempts to form a stronger coalition against the Islamic terror group. 
Though the U.K. has joined the U.S. in conducting airstrikes against ISIS in Iraq since 2014, multiple U.K. media outlets including The Guardian and The Times of London reported Cameron was hoping to put a vote forward in the House of Commons on joining the U.S. as the Obama administration seeks to regain its foothold amid a surging Russian presence. Those outlets report Cameron has since shelved the move. 

Throughout the illegal war, the US government has been able to count on the British government.  What a blow to Barack should that prove to be no longer true.

In addition to talk of the 'coalition' possibly shrinking, there are other reactions as well.

Corky Siemaszko (New York Daily News) reports:

  President Obama’s strategy for taking on the murderous Islamic State is not getting much traction with voters.

Six in 10 now reject Obama’s handling of the ISIS crisis, according to a new Associated Press-GfK poll.

How will Barack continue the illegal war in the face of this majority American opinion?

A better question is: With 60% of Americans seeing the 'plan' as a failure, why is it there are no marches or rallies?

Why have the so-called 'leaders' of yesteryear -- Leslie Cagan in all her hirsute glory, for example -- failed to mount opposition and lead outcries?

Because they're unethical and dishonest.

Meanwhile Barack's bombings do nothing to stop the persecution of the Sunni population in Iraq.

  • #IRAQ شمرية العراق Retweeted اعلام الربيع العراقي
    Diyala governor said Shia militias crimes killed 78000 Iraqi Sunni & kidnapped 26000 Iraqi sunni in
    #IRAQ شمرية العراق added,

  • The persecution continues.

    And they wonder why the Islamic State (a Sunni extremist group which practices terrorism) took hold in Iraq?

    Tuesday brought news that the vile Ahmed Chalabi died. Some idiots have taken to trying to redeem Chalabi by insisting he was taking on corruption.


    The man whose corruption went unrivaled was now going to 'reform' Iraq?

    More likely he was just going to use corruption charges (whether they were true or false) to yet again go after his enemies.

    His enemies?

    Leave it the Whore of Baghdad Jane Arraf to prove just how low anyone can go in a piece for POLITICO.

    Jane deliberately did not report on the crimes of Saddam Hussein while he was in power.

    She sugar coated reality as whores like her always do to curry favor with a government.

    She refused to call out Nouri al-Maliki when he was in power as well.

    She's just a whore to whomever is in power.

    And today the old whore offers that Chalabi was a "patriot" who wanted an "integrated Iraq."

    The lying never stops with Jane Arraf.

    Chalabi went after Sunnis.

    He didn't want an integrated Iraq.

    She's a damn liar.

    And with her long history of false 'reporting,' it's really past time she was either expected to get honest or to get out of the business.

     Trudy Rubin (Philadelphia Inqurier) notes the life of Chalabi including his return to Iraq in 2003:

    Once the Iraq invasion began, U.S. forces airlifted Chalabi into the southern city of Nasiriyah, expecting a crowd of thousands to welcome him. To make sure the numbers turned out, CIA operatives distributed bags of money to tribal leaders, as I was told at the time via satellite phone by sheikhs in the area who had been offered cash to show up.
    But Chalabi - who had not stepped foot in Iraq since age 13 - had no support inside his country. The welcoming masses never appeared. Dreams of an Iraqi deGaulle were nothing but a mirage.
    Nonetheless, Chalabi set up office in Baghdad's Sporting Club, a onetime retreat for the Iraqi elite; he remained on the Pentagon payroll, to the tune of $340,000 a week, until 2004. He was the driving force behind the country's de-Baathification policy, which deepened Iraq's sectarian divisions.

    The editorial board of the Guardian newspaper also notes his return to Iraq and the reaction:

    It was only the disillusionment of the Iraqis themselves, like anyone else who had ever trusted him, that put an end to his political career. Still, he died old, and rich, and out of jail, and back after exile in the country he had done so much to help ruin.
    The obvious moral is that the wicked do sometimes prosper.

    US House Rep Ileana Ros-Lehtinen Tweeted this week on Iraq:

                            Retweeted 187 times

    I condemn the deadly terror attacks against + demand 's govt provide safety 4 its residents.
    Embedded image permalink

    What is she Tweeting about?  Yet another attack on the Ashraf community, Iranian dissidents who lived at Camp Ashraf and then were moved to Camp Liberty.

    For an overview, we'll offer the remarks Senator Jack Reed made at the October 7th Senate Armed Services Committee hearing:

    Senator Jack Reed: This morning, our hearing focuses on Iranian influence in Iraq and the plight of the nearly 2,400 residents at Camp Liberty in Iraq -- members of the Iranian dissident group the Mujahadeen-e-Khalq or MEK. The Iranian dissidents at Camp Liberty are in an increasingly perilous situation having repeatedly come under attack.  And these attacks, which have killed more than 100 MEK members since 2009, clearly indicate the threat to this group from Iran and Iranian-backed militias seeking to eliminate and silence these dissidents.  The deteriorating security situation in Iraq only highlights the urgent need to find safe refuge for these individuals outside that country.  The United States have had a special relationship with the MEK dating back to the height of the Iraq War in the mid 2000s.  This stems in part from the MEK's agreement at the US military's request to disarm and move into Camp Ashraf in north eastern Iraq.  The US military extended under the Geneva Conventions to the Camp Ashraf residents.  However, as the United States drew down its forces consistent with its obligations under the 2008 security agreements signed by President Bush and Prime Minister Maliki, US forces were no longer well positioned to provide for the safety and security of the Camp Ashraf residents.  In December of 2011, the government of Iraq signed a memorandum with the United Nations in which the Iraq government committed to ensure the safety and the security of these residents as part of the process of relocating them to Camp Liberty outside Baghdad to facilitate the settlement process.  However, the United States, through the State Dept, has had to repeatedly press the government of Iraq to live up to its obligations to provide for the safety and well being of the Camp Liberty residents and Camp Liberty residents remain in fear that the government of Iraq will extradite them to Iran at Tehran's request. The State Dept now is the lead US government agency advocating on behalf of the Camp Liberty residents. And the State Dept is working the United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq and the United Nations High Commission for Refugees to find resettlement options for these residents outside of Iraq. It is my understanding that as of the beginning of this month, nearly 800 Camp Liberty residents have been processed by the UNHCR and resettled outside of Iraq.  Unfortunately, this resettlement process has dragged on for years and much more still needs to be done to find homes for the remaining Camp Liberty residents. I would urge all participants in the resettlement process to cooperate fully to advance the resettlement of these very vulnerable individuals.  One issue that I expect will arise this morning is whether the United States should accept more Camp Liberty residents for resettlement.  While the MEK was removed from the list of foreign terrorists organizations in 2012, group members continue to be barred from admission to the United States because of their Tier Three status under US anti-terrorism laws.  Nonetheless, I understand that the administration has adopted a policy that would allow Camp Liberty residents to be paroled in the United States if they renounce their affiliation with the MEK.  Under this policy, some 29 Camp Liberty residents have ultimately resettled in the United States making the United States one of the larger recipient countries for these refugees.  I hope the testimony of our witnesses this morning will help shine a light on what more can be done to accelerate the resettlement process so that the residents of Camp Liberty can be brought to safety outside of  Iraq once and for all.

    Reed is the Ranking Member of the Committee, Senator John McCain is the Chair of the Committee.  Yesterday, McCain's office issued the following:

    Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ), Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, today sent a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry expressing deep concern about the reported attack on the Iranian dissidents at Camp Liberty, Iraq on October 29th that killed more than 20 residents and injured dozens more.
    “As Iran’s malign involvement in Iraq grows, the security situation around Camp Liberty is increasingly dire. It is clear that immediate actions must be taken to ensure the safety and security of the residents of Camp Liberty,” writes Senator McCain. “Yet despite the atrocious conditions and continued danger to residents, the United States has remained ineffective, and even reluctant, in responding to our humanitarian obligations to protect the residents and facilitate their swift relocation to a secure location. Again, I urge you to continue to push for the protection of the residents of Camp Liberty and to expedite the refugee resettlement process. We made a commitment to protect these Iranian dissidents and, as we move forward, I look forward to working with you to fulfill this commitment.”
    The letter is below and here.

    November 4, 2015
    The Honorable John F. Kerry
    Secretary of State
    U.S. State Department
    2201 C Street, N.W.
    Washington, D.C. 20520

    Dear Secretary Kerry,
    I am writing you to register my deep concerns over reports of the October 29 attack on Camp Liberty that killed more than 20 residents and injured dozens more.
    The Mukhtar Army, a Shiite militia supported by Iran, has claimed responsibility for the rocket attack on Camp Liberty and threatened more strikes as long as residents remain in Iraq. These threats are especially troubling as Iranian-backed Shia paramilitary groups have grown increasingly active and influential in Iraq, and they must be taken seriously. Moreover, continued attacks on residents and other recent events call into question the Iraqi government’s commitment to uphold its agreement to ensure the safety and well-being of these residents.
    As Iran’s malign involvement in Iraq grows, the security situation around Camp Liberty is increasingly dire. It is clear that immediate actions must be taken to ensure the safety and security of the residents of Camp Liberty. With this in mind, please respond to the following questions:
    1. What information does the Administration have concerning the attack and the current security situation of Camp Liberty?
    2. Has the Administration undertaken an investigation to ascertain the full extent of this unprovoked attack and identify those responsible?
    3. Has the Administration investigated allegations that Iraqi government officials, including National Security Advisor Falah Fayyad who is responsible for oversight of Camp Liberty, were complicit in the attack?
    4. Is the Administration working with the Government of Iraq to procure protective T-walls, sandbags, bulletproof vests, and other non-lethal protective equipment to protect residents in the case of future rocket attacks?
    5. What further actions will be taken by the Administration to ensure the future safety of the residents?
    6. Given Camp Liberty’s proximity to Baghdad International Airport, has the Administration considered the requirements to bring Camp Liberty within the aerial perimeter of U.S. air protection to ensure that the firing of missiles or mortars would not be permitted on the camp?
    7. Why has the refugee resettlement process not been completed to date, and what is now being done to expedite the resettlement of the men, women, and children of Camp Liberty who continue to be under direct threat? 
    Given the deteriorating conditions in Iraq, I believe our current efforts should focus on the approximately 2,300 residents whose lives are at stake in Camp Liberty. In a recent Senate Armed Services Committee hearing, multiple witnesses testified to the fragile security conditions and vulnerability of the Camp’s residents. Their testimony made clear that these residents have repeatedly been the victims of daily harassments that have decreased quality of life, blocked access to food and critical medical care, denied of non-lethal protective equipment, and endured rocket attacks and violent raids that have resulted in the deaths of more than 100 men, women, and children. Yet despite the atrocious conditions and continued danger to residents, the United States has remained ineffective, and even reluctant, in responding to our humanitarian obligations to protect the residents and facilitate their swift relocation to a secure location.
    Again, I urge you to continue to push for the protection of the residents of Camp Liberty and to expedite the refugee resettlement process. We made a commitment to protect these Iranian dissidents and, as we move forward, I look forward to working with you to fulfill this commitment.

    John McCain

    Thursday, November 05, 2015

    The Muppets

    There's a shake up at ABC's THE MUPPETS.


    I've thought about blogging about the show but have ignored it.

    It should be so much better is the God's honest truth.

    There's far too much Fozzie Bear.

    There's far too little Janice.

    And that's just some of the problems.

    There's also the fact that Miss Piggy is not the focus.

    There will be a scene where she should be exploding, for example, but instead she will have one or two quips but the scene will belong to some other character.

    Why did I not want to say this?

    My daughter loves the show.

    And my own opinion is even a bad Muppets show is better than no Muppets at all.

    I'm glad there's a behind the scenes shake up.

    I just hope it helps the show get better.

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

    Wednesday, November 4, 2015.  Chaos and violence continue, Ahmed Chalabi has left the earth, the media keeps selling war on Iraq, and much more.

    We're going to start with US politics.  Cynthia McKinney is a former member of the US House of Representatives and was the 2008 Green Party presidential candidate.  There are many people urging her to run again for the 2016 Green Party presidential nomination.

    If you don't understand why there is a growing chorus of voices asking Cynthia to yet again step up again, note the opening of her latest column:

    The one question that has not been answered during Hillary Clinton’s grilling before a US Congress committee over the deadly 2012 attack in Benghazi, was: “What was the policy that was being carried out that led to the deaths of these four men?”
    The attack on the US consulate in Libya resulted in the deaths of four US citizens on September 11, 2012.
    The four who were found dead in the aftermath of the Benghazi chaos of that night were the US Ambassador to Libya J. Christopher Stevens; Sean Smith who, significantly, was known as “Vile Rat” in his online gaming community; and two former US Navy SEALs and Central Intelligence Agency contractors (CIA), Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods.
    These four public servants answered the call to serve the policy of the US government. Their deaths in the service of their country are truly tragic. However, the question that has not been answered in all of the hoopla over the proceedings of the Select Committee are: “What was the policy that was being carried out that led to the deaths of these four men?” It is the avoidance of even asking that question in public, let alone answering it, that is the proverbial elephant in the room.

    The top Democrat on the Select Committee is Representative Elijah Cummings from Maryland, who in a moment of selective outrage, exclaimed to rousing applause from the audience, “We’re better than that! We are so much better! We’re a better country! We’re better than using taxpayer dollars to try to destroy a campaign! That’s not what America is all about!” But, apparently, using taxpayer dollars to destroy one country and literally wipe another country off the map – that’s OK, I guess. Because, at the time of the televised hearings, U.S. Embassy in Libya personnel weren’t even in Libya! They’re operating from Malta, after President Obama’s policy to destroy Libya was so effective. How much questioning about that took place in the eleven-hour hearing?

    Contrast that straight talk, that strong voice of humanity with the gauze covered piffle Jill Stein -- who is not the 2016 Green Party presidential nominee (the nominee will be selected in August of 2016 at the national convention) -- regularly offers.

    Cynthia McKinney is a leader.

    Turning to Iraq . . . 
    The failed Operation Inherent Resolve continues with US President Barack Obama promising 'liberation' to Iraq via bombs dropped from overhead.  The Defense Dept announced today:

    Strikes in Iraq

    Attack, bomber, fighter, ground attack and remotely piloted aircraft conducted 19 strikes in Iraq, coordinated with and in support of Iraq’s government:

    -- Near Baghdadi, one strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL fighting position.

    -- Near Albu Hayat, two strikes struck two separate large ISIL tactical units and destroyed an ISIL vehicle bomb, an ISIL mortar system, an ISIL building, and four ISIL fighting positions.

    -- Near Beiji, one strike wounded an ISIL fighter.

    -- Near Mosul, one strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL fighting position.

    -- Near Ramadi, five strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed seven ISIL fighting positions, an ISIL vehicle bomb, an ISIL weapons cache, an ISIL vehicle, an ISIL building and denied ISIL access to terrain.

    -- Near Sinjar, nine strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL bomb-making facility, an ISIL staging facility, three ISIL staging areas, four ISIL weapons caches, an ISIL headquarters location, an ISIL bed-down location, 10 ISIL fighting positions, and two ISIL vehicles.
    Since August of 2014, these bombings have taken place.
    And the Islamic State is still not on the run.

    All the money wasted on these bombs and the Islamic State is still not on the run.

    All the civilians killed in these bombings and the Islamic State is still not on the run.

    All this destruction to Iraq -- yes, bombs dropped from the air landing on Iraq causes destruction -- and the Islamic State is still not on the run.

    Operation Inherent Failure is Barack's big solution.
    It it any wonder a growing chorus of voices register that they are unimpressed with Barack's plan or 'plan.'  
    For example, Nicholas Watt (Guardian) reports, "Jeremy Corbyn has suggested Britain should review its involvement in coalition airstrikes against Islamic State targets in Iraq, as the government confirmed it had no current plans to seek parliamentary approval to extend the bombing campaign to Syria."
    ITV's Chris Ship interviewed Corbyn and they note:

    "I'm not sure how successful it [military action in Iraq] has been because most of the action appears to have moved into Syria so I think we have to look again at that decision," the Labour leader told Chris Ship.
    Mr Corbyn was speaking as Downing Street denied reports that Prime Minister David Cameron has abandoned hope of winning parliamentary approval to extend RAF operations into Syria.
    The name changes of the groups fighting in Syria and Iraq should not fool anyone. In essence they are the same forces; they are “agents of chaos” being using to create insecurity against U.S. rivals and any governments or entities that are resisting U.S. edicts. With the erosion of Al-Qaeda and the fading of Osama bin Laden from the limelight, Washington created new legends or myths to replace them in the eyes of the public and the world as a means to sustain its foreign policy. Soon Jubhat Al-Nusra, ISIL/ISIS, and Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi were all conjured up and fostered as new bogeymen and monsters to sustain Washington’s “long war” and to justify the militarism of the United States. These bogymen also have been used to fan the flames of sedition, drive out Christians and other minorities, and fuel sectarianism among Muslims with the objective of dividing the region and pushing Sunni Muslims and Shiite Muslims to kill one another.

    He was a destructive force who did huge damage.

    We noted his role in fueling the Iraq War Tuesday.  We did not blame him for the Iraq War.

    Adam Johnson (FAIR) and a 'writer' at Salon are among a group of xenophobic and, yes, racist whiners.

    They're offended that some news outlets are taking so much blame to Chalabi.

    They whine that Bully Boy Bush and Dick Cheney are getting off easy.

    Bully Boy Bush is a War Criminal and Dick Cheney is so much worse that there's not even a term -- not one we can use in a work safe environment -- that can describe him.

    But let's stop being so damn xenophobic.

    America is not the great god of the world.

    Every thing that happens does not require an American lead or guide.

    For Sunnis in Iraq, Chalabi was a bigger obstacle than Bully Boy Bush.

    Bully Boy Bush (with aid from Democrats and Republicans in Congress) went to war on Iraq.

    Guess what?

    The history of Iraq is a history of western countries going to war on it.

    Bully Boy Bush is just one in a long parade of ants masking as leaders who tried to destroy Iraq.

    He inflicted harm, no question.

    But stop pretending that the story begins and ends there.

    Chalabi destroyed Iraq and did so in many ways.  Most notoriously, there was his role in de-Ba'athification.  Alissa J. Rubin (New York Times) notes:

    While the original decision to bar Baathists from senior government positions was an American one, driven by the goal of ensuring that Hussein’s political bloc never returned to power, it was Mr. Chalabi who became its champion and quickly seized the reins as the implementer of the new policy.
    “He used it as a political weapon,” said Ryan Crocker, a former United States ambassador to Iraq, who knew Mr. Chalabi from before the invasion as well as afterward.
    “I never could figure out if he had the deep anti-Baathist passion of some of the other political figures or whether this was just a tool to be used,” added Mr. Crocker, who is now the dean of the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University.

    And he used the Justice and Accountability Commission to do further damage.

    This included when the supposed-to-have-disbanded commission popped back up ahead of the 2010 parliamentary elections and Ahmed used it to go after Sunni politicians.  One politician he went after was Saleh al-Mutlaq.

    al-Mutlaq discussed this with Jassim al-Azzawi on a January broadcast of Al Jazeera's Inside Iraq:

    Jassim al-Azzawi: [Overlapping] Yes, I shall come to the scare tactics and the fear politics that you mention but before that, I guess our international audience would like to know, who stands behind this campaign to disbar more then 500 people?  Some of them such senior figures as yourself. The National Dialogue Front has about 12 members in Parliament.  You've been in politics for many, many years. I guess the logical question is: Who's behind it? It is my role as a presenter and a journalist to ask the tough questions and perhaps it's your role as a politician and even your perogative not to answer.  Let me give you a couple of options and see which one you lean on.  Is it Ahmed Chalabi, the former head of the de-Ba'athification?  Is it Prime Minister [Nouri] al-Maliki fearing that Saleh al-Mutlaq has the wind behind him and one day he might even become the president of Iraq?  Or is it another force? Who is exactly orchestrating this?

    Saleh al-Mutlaq: Well Ahmed Chalabi could not do what was done alone.  I think there's a power behind that and my belief is that Iran is behind that and Ahmed Chalabi is only a tool -- Ahmed Chalabi agenda is a tool to do this.  And Ahmed Chalabi is not alone. We discovered that Ahmed Chalabi now has an intelligence association in Iraq and he worked with so many people outside the Iraqi government. And what happened really surprised everybody.  The same day that this decision was taken, everybody was saying, "I know nothing about it." You ask al-Maliki, he says, "I know nothing about it." You ask the president [Jalal Talabani], he says he knows nothing about it.  You ask the Chairman of the Parliament, he knows nothing about it. Then who is doing that?  We discover there is a small organization which does not exist legally.  The de-Ba'athification committee has been frozen -- including Ahmed Chalabi himself -- has been frozen by the prime minister and by the president.  And another committee, which is the Accountability, came in but it was not formed because the Parliament did not vote on the names that were being proposed by the prime minister because most of them are from al Dahwa Party [Nouri's party].

    And in a Inside Iraq broadcast at the end of February 2010, Jasim faced off against a very loud Ahmed:
    Jasim al-Azawi: And now I'm delighted to welcome from Baghdad, Ahmed Chalabi, chairman of the Accountability and Justice Commission and a candidate of the Iraqi National Alliance for Parliament.  Ahmed Chalabi, welcome to Inside Iraq.  And let me start from the beginning and that is Prime Minister [Nouri] al-Malliki has decided to rescind a recent act issued by your commission.  Lately you have submitted a list of 376 members of the army, the police and the intelligence. They are supposed to be Ba'athists and you are going to remove them. al-Maliki is saying, "Stop it, Ahmed Chalabi. You have no idea the damage you are cuasing."

    Ahmed Chalabi: The prime minister has no authority on his own to exempt anyone from the decisions of the Justice and Accountability Commission. Article 12 of Law Number 10 from 2008 specifies that the Council of Ministers has the authority to request exemption for anybody who is uh subject to the Justice and Accountability law provided he gets the approval of the Parliament.

    Jasim al-Azawi: What makes you think that he cannot get the ministers to sanction his authority and more significantly --
    Ahmed Chalabi: He may get the ministers to sanction his authority but he needs to get Parliament to approve what he does.
    Jasim al-Azawi: Well since you mentioned Parliament, in that case let me turn the table on you. Parliament has never sanctioned your commission -- the Justice and Accountability -- that bill never went to Parliament and more importantly you and your executive director Mr. Ali al-Lami were never appointed by Parliament so on what authority you are expunging people and banning people?
    Ahmed Chalabi: On the authority of Law Number 10, Justice and Accountability Law of 2008. This argument has been settled by the uh Appeals Commission of the uhm uh Justice and Accountability that was appointed by Parliament a few weeks ago. In their ruling on the case of Mr. Saleh al-Mutlaq, they said that the Justice and Accountability Commission is valid and is active and is authorized by the law --
    Jasim al-Azawi: Ahmed Chalabi, you know very well, you know very well,
    Ahmed Chalabi: -- so therefore this argument does not hold water anymore because the highest court in Iraq has approved the legality of the current commission.
    Jasim al-Azawi: Ahmed Chalabi, that is -- that is absolutely not right, not true. Parliament has --
    Ahmed Chalabi: How do you know that!
    Jasim al-Azawi: Because --
    Ahmed Chalabi: I read you -- I read you the statement!
    Jasim al-Azawi: Before you read me that statement, Parliament has never voted on the Accountability and Justice Commission --
    Ahmed Chalabi: I will tell you! I will read the statement!
    Jasim al-Azawi: -- and --
    Ahmed Chalabi: I will readyyou the statement! It doesn't matter what you say.  It's just an argument to detract from the legality of the commission. It says here that the law, Law Number 10 will only specify that they rename the de-Ba'athification Comission into the Justice and Accountability Commission -- rename. Therefore, this commission is working according to the law and has the legality for the reasons specified above.'  That's the decision of the court.
    Jasim al-Azawi:  At any rate, we don't want to get into the legal aspect, we will let the viewers to judge -- We will let the viewers and the Iraqis --
    Ahmed Chalibi: It's not the viewers! It's the Iraqi court!
    [too much cross talk and too much shouting by Ahmed]
    Jasim al-Azawi: -- by Parliament, but the federal government has not given it's final verdict yet.
    [too much cross talk and too much shouting by Ahmed, we'll skip ahead]
    Jasim al-Azawi: Fine. Let us go to the second gentleman in this commission. I am talking to you but there is somebody behind you, your executive director, Mr. Ali al-Lami.  Just for the viewers to know who Mr. al-Lami is, correct me if the statement and the story I'm going to tell is wrong. This gentleman was released by US forces back in August of 2009 [Ahmed giggles -- giggles is the term, watch and see] under the charges of terrorism.  He was --
    Ahmed Chalabi: [Waving finger] No charges!
    Jasim al-Azawi:  He was -- he was released from prison --
    Ahmed Chalabi: No charges!
    Jasim al-Azawi: I will come to the story completely, but now let's just say, now he finds --
    Ahmed Chalabi: He was kidnapped!
    Jasim al-Azawi: He was captured by the Americans because they think --
    Ahmed Chalabi: He was kidnapped!
    Jasim al-Azawi: Hold on --
    Ahmed Chalabi: By contractors at the airpot.
    Jasim al-Azawi: Hold on, Mr. Chalabi. He was -- he was not charged directly --
    Ahmed Chalabi: He was not charged.
    Jasim al-Azawi: I am the first one to say that. Mr. Odierno --
    Ahmed Chalabi: He was not charged!
    Jasim al-Azawi: I said that. I said that. Let me finish the story. He was believed to be the mastermind of a terrorist act that happened in al-Sadr City where American forces and civilian administrations along with Iraqi officials, they were meeting with some council members in Sadr City  the American officials they were on the way out there was an IED and there was an explosion and many people killed. Odierno believes that Mr. al-Lami is directly responsible for that.
    Ahmed Chalabi: This is patent nonsense. There is no charge. They have no evidence. And it is based on an intelligence report of one unreliable informer for the American tactical units in the area. They -- Mr. Lami was not arrested. He was kidnapped at the airport by US contractors, taken to a US prison, put under pressure and almost tortured for 38 days and they could get nothing from him on this issue. They have no evidence. He stayed 351 days in jail. And the Iraqi government has no case, n-n-n-n-n-o authority, no legal entity and no intelligence entity of the Iraqi government, there is any charge against Mr. Ali --- Ali al-Lami.  And the US has not charged him and he was released without charges. Therefore, legally, he was kidnapped. And as for this issue of the uh-buh-uh-uh people who were killed by-by the IED, he had nothing to do with it. I am certain he had nothing to do with it. And this charge has not been proven.

    In the US press, they note that he supported Shi'ite militias and offer excuses for him.
    He didn't just support them from afar.  Ali al-Lami was a militia member.  Actually, he was a terrorist and he died a terrorist's death.

    Dina al-Shibeeb's Al Arabiya column is headlined "Iraqi warmonger Ahmad Chalabi dies."
    But with all the damage Ahmed did two Americans want to whine that their pin up Bully Boy Bush isn't getting enough attention.

    They want to insist that America must be injected into every story ever reported and that the US must always be the lead in any play or the star in any film.

    They want to whine that the US is not dominating a narrative about an Iraqi politician (a crooked one) who died in Iraq.

    They don't have the good sense to grasp that everything that happens in the world is not about them or their personal likes or dislikes.

    Pity the uninformed helpers . . . 
    Brian Bomberger (Bay Area Reporter) uses the release of Hasan Namir's novel God in Pink to flaunt his own ignorance:
    The plight of gay and lesbian Iraqis has been much in the news in the last five years, mainly because they are at great risk for being killed, having little to no family or community support and no legal rights or government protection. LGBTQ Iraqis are hated by both the Islamic State (ISIS) forces and the pro-government militias, especially the infamous Shiite Asaib Ahl al-Haq, currently engaging in a civil war. This places them in a no-win situation. Among the terrible tortures/deaths inflicted on them: gang rape, beheading (with their heads tossed onto garbage dumps), bludgeoning (i.e., beaten with concrete blocks), stoning, being thrown from the rooftop of high-rise buildings, and the most ghastly of all, having their anuses closed up with a crazy glue-type substance that can only be removed by surgery, then being forced to drink a laxative causing diarrhea resulting in a painful death. Because coming out can be fatal, gay and lesbian Iraqis are virtually publicly invisible, which is why former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad made his infamous comment years ago that "there are no gays in Iraq."
    Who will help the uniformed helpers?
    First off, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said there were no gays in Iran.  This inspired the Saturday Night Live short "Iran So Far Away" in which Andy Samberg makes a plea for love to Mahmoud.
    You're crazy for this one Mahmoud
    you can deny the holocaust all you want 
    but you can't deny that there's something between us
    I know you say there's no gays in Iran
    but you're in New York now, baby
    it's time to stop hiding
    and start living
    -- "Iran So Far Away," written by Andy Samberg, Jorma Taccone and Akiva Schaffer (The Lonely Island), first aired on Saturday Night Live's September 29, 2007 broadcast
    Iran so far away. 
    Check it out if you have to -- it was Iran, not Iraq.  
    Then there's this: LGBTQ Iraqis are hated by both the Islamic State (ISIS) forces and the pro-government militias, especially the infamous Shiite Asaib Ahl al-Haq, currently engaging in a civil war.
    Islamic State, huh?
    They've tossed suspected gay men to their deaths off tall buildings, yes.
    But this list?
    Among the terrible tortures/deaths inflicted on them: gang rape, beheading (with their heads tossed onto garbage dumps), bludgeoning (i.e., beaten with concrete blocks), stoning, being thrown from the rooftop of high-rise buildings, and the most ghastly of all, having their anuses closed up with a crazy glue-type substance that can only be removed by surgery, then being forced to drink a laxative causing diarrhea resulting in a painful death. 
    Gang rape, beheading, bludgeoning, stoning, anuses glued shut?
    This was Shi'ites.
    And it really isn't fair to say it was Shi'ite militias.
    It was the government.
    The government of Iraq.
    Specifically, it was the Minister of the Interior -- which Nouri al-Maliki was in charge of.
    As prime minister, he refused (in his second term) to nominate anyone to head it.  This allowed him to bypass Parliamentary approval and control the ministry himself.
    Which allowed him to send Interior employees -- including police -- into Iraqi schools to encourage the harm and deaths of gay people.
    Now, of course, when questions were asked, the Ministry of Interior denied these visits.
    But then Alsumaria and Al Mada got a hold of the handouts the Ministry had provided to the students.  They called for the death of gays.  They carried lies about gays and encouraged people to 'purge' them from Iraq.

    As noted this morning in "The media: Still selling war on Iraq all these years later," certain elements of the US press are suddenly interested in activities if they can express outrage over the Islamic State.  But they have little to no outrage over the crimes of the Iraqi government.

    And we'll close with this Tweet on violence . . .


    Tuesday, November 03, 2015

    The passing of a War Criminal

    So Ahmed Chalabi died?

    I thought the world felt a little lighter, a little more joyful.

    If you missed it, be sure to read C.I.'s "Ahmed Chalabi is dead, let the rejoicing begin" from this morning.

    I knew Chalabi was a coward who fled Iraq and only came back after the US forces took Baghdad in 2003; however, I did not know how long he was gone.

    He left in 1956.

    He was three years shy of 50 years when he returned.

    And he carried a grudge all those years and the shame of being a coward.

    Which is probably why he did his part to lie the world into war.

    He didn't twist the arms of Blair or Bush but he certainly did lie.

    And they knowingly used his lies.

    So Ahmed, one of the War Criminals, is dead.

    New content at Third:

    And here's who wrote it:

    The Third Estate Sunday Review's Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess and Ava,
    Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude,
    Betty of Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man,
    C.I. of The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review,
    Kat of Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills),
    Mike of Mikey Likes It!,
    Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz),
    Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix,
    Ruth of Ruth's Report,
    Wally of The Daily Jot,
    Trina of Trina's Kitchen,
    Marcia of SICKOFITRDLZ,
    Stan of Oh Boy It Never Ends,
    Isaiah of The World Today Just Nuts,
    and Ann of Ann's Mega Dub.

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

    Monday, November 3, 2015.  Chaos and violence continue, the US government continues bombing Iraq, the United Nations releases their monthly death toll for Iraq, Parliament turns on Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and much more.

    US President Barack Obama continues to bomb Iraq to 'liberate' it.  The US Defense Dept announced the following strikes today:

    Airstrikes in Iraq

    Attack, bomber, fighter, ground attack and remotely piloted aircraft conducted 17 airstrikes in Iraq, coordinated with and in support of Iraq’s government:

    -- Near Beiji, one strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL fighting position.

    -- Near Habbaniyah, one strike destroyed an ISIL fighting position and an ISIL tactical vehicle.

    -- Near Kisik, one strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL fighting position.

    -- Near Makhmur, one strike destroyed an ISIL fighting position.

    -- Near Mosul, three strikes struck two separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed two ISIL heavy machine guns, three ISIL fighting positions, and suppressed an ISIL mortar position.

    -- Near Ramadi, four strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit, and destroyed two ISIL tactical vehicles, an ISIL vehicle bomb, two ISIL command and control nodes, four ISIL buildings, two ISIL fighting positions, and denied ISIL access to terrain.

    -- Near Sinjar, five strikes struck three separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed three ISIL vehicles, an ISIL mortar system, an ISIL weapons cache, and two ISIL fighting positions.

    -- Near Tal Afar, one strike destroyed an ISIL vehicle and an ISIL fighting position.

    The Defense Dept always alleges that all bombs landed on the Islamic State.  That's only sometimes the truth.

    But read the above and grasp (a) the Iraq War is never ending and (b) a couple of hundred thousand were spent by US taxpayers for the Tal Afar strike alone and all it can really claim is that it "destroyed an ISIL vehicle."

    Saturday saw the end of October which means it's time for the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq to release their monthly totals:

    Baghdad, 1 November 2015 – According to casualty figures released today by UNAMI, a total of 714 Iraqis were killed and another 1,269 were injured in acts of terrorism, violence and armed conflict in October 2015*.

    The number of civilians killed was 559 (including 25 civilian police), and the number of civilians injured was 1,067 (including 43 civilian police).
    A further 155 members of the Iraqi Security Forces (including Peshmerga, SWAT and militias fighting alongside the Iraqi Army / Not including casualties from Anbar Operations) were killed and 202 were injured.
    “Once again, these figures illustrate the suffering of the people of Iraq from terrorism and conflict,” the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Iraq (SRSG), Mr. Ján Kubiš said. “I am hopeful that the this suffering of the Iraqi people will come to an end with the support of the international community,” he added.
    Baghdad was the worst affected Governorate with 1,150 civilian casualties (298 killed, 852 injured). Diyala suffered 92 killed and 141 injured, Ninewa 86 killed, Salahadin 28 killed and 40 injured, and Kirkuk 39 killed and 7 injured.
    *CAVEATS: In general, UNAMI has been hindered in effectively verifying casualties in conflict areas. UNAMI could not obtain the casualty figures for the month of October from the Anbar Health Directorate. In some cases, UNAMI could only partially verify certain incidents. UNAMI has also received, without being able to verify, reports of large numbers of casualties along with unknown numbers of persons who have died from secondary effects of violence after having fled their homes due to exposure to the elements, lack of water, food, medicines and health care. For these reasons, the figures reported have to be considered as the absolute minimum.

    Like the war itself, the monthly death tolls never end.

    Maybe some are confused by this?

    It can be confusing keeping track of Barack's many wars.  To avoid any confusion, we'll include Bill Press (The Hill) explaining the basics:

    Sending the first ground forces into Syria comes on top of June’s decision to dispatch an additional 450 troops to Iraq, for a total of 3,500, and last month’s announcement that American troops would remain in Afghanistan through the end of 2017. 
    That makes three wars at one time under Obama’s administration: a rekindled war in Iraq, an extended war in Afghanistan, and a new war in Syria, with no end in sight. In fact, it’s looking more and more like Syria could become Obama’s Vietnam. 

    Amy Goodman (Democracy Now!) added to the list, " In addition to the wars in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan, the U.S. continues to carry out drone strikes across the globe, from Pakistan to Yemen to Somalia."

    On Democracy Now!, Phyllis Bennis addressed the fact that the announcement of increased US troop participation (announced Friday) from the White House came not from the president but from the White House spokesperson.

    AMY GOODMAN: And then, the announcement of the U.S. putting boots on the ground in Syria, and would continue to do this in Iraq and Afghanistan, came in an almost offhand way. It wasn’t the president making a formal announcement on Friday; it was Josh Earnest, the press secretary. And before that, it was Ash Carter in a hearing in the Senate, almost a offhand comment.

    PHYLLIS BENNIS: Right. I think that what we’re seeing here is an effort—we heard it in the words of Josh Earnest, that—an effort to claim this is not an escalation. It is clearly an escalation. Now, it may well be that there have been special operations forces, CIA agents and others on the ground in Syria already. We can assume that’s the case, given that the priority of U.S. strategy has involved training and arming various militias, some of which never existed, and then they tried to create a new militia that would be pro-Western, pro-American, democratic, secular, anti-Assad, but not too much because it mainly should be anti-ISIS—very specific categories. They couldn’t really find exactly those militias, so last year they decided to create such a militia, train it, arm it, send it in to fight. And as we know, the result of that was the $500 million—half a billion dollars of our tax money—that went to arm and create a militia that was supposed to be 5,400 people, started with only 120, because that’s all they could find. They trained them, sent them in to fight. Half of them immediately defected. The other half—well, 54—who went to fight, very quickly were either captured, defected, killed, so that when the officials testified in Congress and were asked, "So, how many are left?" the general said, "Well, it’s a very tiny number." And when pushed, he admitted it was four or five—not four or five hundred, but four or five. So this is the kind of failure that we’re seeing in these efforts. I think what we saw with the language used by the White House spokesman, by the secretary of defense, was designed to say, "This is just more of the same. This isn’t different, even though we’re now acknowledging that there are boots on the ground." Maybe it’s because they wear sneakers, because they’re special forces, so it’s sneakers on the ground. But the key question here is, this is an escalation.

    Also weighing in on the announcement -- and Barack avoiding making it -- is Aaron MacLean (Washington Free Beacon):

    But as cynical as most of us have become about the national security policy of this White House, it did nevertheless seem jarring that rather than announce the deployment himself, the president left the task to the Pentagon and to the ironically named Josh Earnest. The White House spokesman certainly earned his paycheck on Friday, explaining to a skeptical press corps how Barack Obama sending American troops to Syria (!) was no big deal, and achieving Thomistic levels of nuance in his insistence that “combat” is completely different from a “combat mission.”

    Iraq's facing more than violence, of course.  There is the political instability.  Today, it's even effected US puppet Haider al-Abadi.

    Ahmed Rasheed, Michael Gregory and Mark Heinrich (Reuters) report that the Parliament has put the brakes on the Iraq prime minister's reforms or 'reforms.'

    How so?

    They've voted to prevent him from unilaterally (and unconstitutionally) implementing reforms.

    And they did so, Matt Bradley and Safa Majeed (Wall Street Journal) report, in a "unanimous vote."

    As anyone who's paid attention to Iraq in the last years should grasp, that means the end of Haider's reforms or 'reforms.'

    Parliamentary approval will be hard to come by -- as it has been since 2006.

    Back in June 2014, US President Barack Obama began pressing for Iraq to create a national guard.  And to this day, that proposal remains blocked in Parliament.

    That is but one example.

    The Iraqi Group for Stategic Studies' Wathiq al-Hashimi tells Reuters he believes the next move could be a vote of no-confidence.  State of Law MP Hussein al-Maliki tells the Wall Street Journal, "What happened today was like an alarm for withdrawing confidence from the prime minister and the cabinet.  We are all with the reforms, but these should be within the constitution and shouldn't exceed the constitution or overlap with parliamentary authority."

    Former prime minister and forever thug Nouri al-Maliki created the State of Law coalition and remains its leader.  It's become a given among his insiders that Nouri wants to return to the post of prime minister.

    AFP observes, "A dispute between parliament and Abadi could further hinder reform efforts by the premier, who has already struggled to effect signficant or lasting changes."  MWC News adds:

    Saad Jawad, a professor of political science and a senior fellow at the Middle East Centre at the London School of Economics, said Abadi had failed since August to take constructive measures to enforce the reforms in time.
    "Unfortunately, he did not take advantage the support the Iraqis gave to him. He kept on speaking without taking measures. This is his problem," said Jawad. "Gradually, his enemies started to undermine his move."
    When Haider still had power, the US government failed to press him to work on the political solution.

    That's the only thing that will defeat the Islamic State.

    But Haider can't find or broker political solutions -- can't or won't -- and he can't even protect the Iraqi people from cholera.

    James Cullum (Talk Radio News Service) explains, "The World Health Organization has mobilized over a half million doses of cholera vaccine (OCV) to counter an outbreak in war-ravaged Iraq. The inoculation effort, now in the preparation stage, will target 250,000 displaced persons to spreading over 62 refugee camps."

  • The US government might have raised some good will by focusing some aid on addressing the cholera epidemic.  Then again, after their use of immunizations as a cover in Pakistan, the US government leading on antidotes and immunizations probably would have been immediately suspect.

    Sunday, the State Dept's Brett McGurk Tweeted the following:

  • Returned to for consults in , , , as multiple offensives launch against terrorists in & .

  • It was pretty straightforward but it produced the only question about Iraq in today's State Dept press briefing moderated by spokesperson Elizabeth Trudeau.

    QUESTION: Iraq?

    MS TRUDEAU: Sure.

    QUESTION: Brett McGurk tweeted that he is now in Iraq or he would be in Iraq shortly. He mentioned three cities where he will be meeting, two of them Erbil, Sulaymaniyah, and Baghdad. So can you talk about the meeting that he would have in Sulaymaniyah and Erbil? Anything that you have to share with us?

    MS TRUDEAU: I’m not going to preview his meetings. But we’ll see if we can get you a readout, perhaps, after.

    QUESTION: Is it related to the Kurdish presidency crisis?

    MS TRUDEAU: Again, that’s a good effort. I’m not going to preview his meetings. If there’s anything to read out afterwards, we’ll get back to you on that.

    While she won't talk, the world can't stop talking about global train wreck Tony Blair.  Yes, it's another week of headlines for the walking, talking tabloid scandal Blair.

    The disgraced former prime minister of the United Kingdom remains a War Criminal at large.

    Some, however, see the knoose tightening.

    Those who feel Blair will soon be arrested will no doubt feel even more that way with the latest allegations.

    Ben Riley-Smith (Telegraph of London) reports:

    Ministers in Tony Blair’s government were told to “burn” a private document warning that the Iraq War was illegal, it has been claimed. 
    A 13-page legal note from Lord Goldsmith, then-attorney general, produced in the run-up to war suggested it could be challenged under international law.
    However senior figures were told “burn” and “destroy” the document after it was circulated, according to the Mail on Sunday.  

    BBC News notes Blair's spokesperson dismisses the reports as "nonsense."

    The latest scandal comes as the world is still rejecting Blair's non-apology last week.

    Pakistan's News International offers a typical reaction in a letter to the editor from Masood Khan:

    Millions of people dead, injured or displaced, a country devastated for ages – and you just say, ‘sorry’? What if this were the other way around – Iraqi forces invading and occupying Britain and America and later saying: sorry. But as Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has very correctly spotted, ‘Blair’s spin operation’ had swung into action as Sir John Chilcot prepares to publish the long-awaited enquiry report into the Iraq war. One thing is for sure, it is the Chilcot report that forced Tony Blair to spill a few beans of truth, otherwise till the recent past he was the only person on this globe to defend the invasion. I am sure a war crime tribunal can get far more facts from the people who planted, planned and executed the invasion in a systematic way and then forgot to put the genie of sectarianism back in the bottle.

    The faux apology didn't take.  And now he's facing even more public criticism.  He should get used to it.  This is the lot for War Criminals.

    New content went up at Third: