Friday, December 30, 2016

Barack and the press sniff each other's asses

WTF was that nonsense today?

The press fawns over Barack.

Yet again.

He tells them that it's their duty to be skeptical and then lies that they were skeptical of him and his claims.

They were all so pleased with themselves.

But they never held him accountable and they didn't in this last press conference.

Read through the transcript in search of anyone asking about Iraq -- specifically, how do you feel as you leave office having not kept your promise to end the Iraq War?

They're all so full of s**t.

All they did was lie and protect him and cover for him.

The last 8 years has been 1 long embarrassment.

Wars are going on and wasting our time, energy and lives.

The press doesn't get it.

Or care.

Nor does Barack.

US House Rep. Tulsi Gabbard gets it:

We’ve spent trillions on regime change wars while communities across our nation face a severe lack of resources and dire need.

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

Wednesday, January 18, 2017.  Chaos and violence continue, the Mosul Slog continues, the truth behind Barack Obama's decision on Chelsea Manning, and more.

Let's start with Chelsea Manning.  I added a sentence on that to yesterday's snapshot when I found out about it.

Ed Snowden is a whistle-blower.  So is Chelsea Manning.

Chelsea got her sentence commuted.  There was no word on Ed yesterday.

Will there be today?

I don't think so.

Here's what I was told.
Barack's inside circle split on Chelsea -- pardon or not.

But Barack made the pardon out of fear.

History, he argued, would have no problem with him not pardoning Ed but due to Chelsea's sexuality there could be a historical backlash because she could end up in another category besides "whistle-blower."

Barack's aware of history and how horrific treatment of African-Americans or Jews, for example (his), could have been tolerated 40 or so years ago, it's not today and some are judged for their actions in the past.  Due to the fact that Chelsea is not an exception but part of the march to the future (she is a role model -- much more so than some celebrity versions) and keeping her imprisoned might defeat -- when people look back a few decades from now -- his work on the bathrooms issue.

Ed doesn't have that.

And Ed doesn't have a chance.

Why am I writing this?

Ed's chances are fewer also because some of Barack's advisors were arguing Ed didn't show "remorse" and that Ed wasn't in prison or in the US.

I knew at least one would argue that.

Ed has more than a few supporters advising Barack.

I'm writing this to make it transparent why Chelsea got commuted and Ed got nothing yesterday in the hopes that this will re-start the conversation among Barack's circle (and because I was asked to write it by someone wanting to restart it with Barack).

Ed deserves a pardon.

He did a great service to the country and did it at great risk.

Commuting of Chelsea leaves Barack "basking," I was told.  We need feet to the fire if Ed's going to get pardoned.

And if that means revealing why Barack really decided to pardon Chelsea, then so be it.

As it is, there is nothing to praise Barack for there.

He made a calculated decision that 40 or so years from now, there will be more awareness of transgendered persons and that he would be seen as horrible person.  He has no real legacy to speak of and he's aware that reality is going to hit home strong.

Pardoning Ed would be bravery.  Anything less just goes to Barack's vanity.

ed snowden

 Ed Snowden is an American citizen and whistle-blower who had been employed by the CIA and by the NSA.  At the time he blew the whistle, he was working for Booz Allen Hamilton doing NSA work.  Glenn Greenwald (GUARDIAN) had the first scoop (and many that followed) on Snowden's revelations that the US government was spying on American citizens, keeping the data on every phone call made in the United States (and in Europe as well) while also spying on internet use via PRISM and Tempora.  US Senator Bernie Sanders decried the fact that a "secret court order" had been used to collect information on American citizens "whether they are suspected of any wrongdoing."  Sanders went on to say, "That is not what democracy is about.  That is not what freedom is about. [. . .] While we must aggressively pursue international terrorists and all of those who would do us harm, we must do it in a way that protects the Constitution and civil liberties which make us proud to be Americans."  The immediate response of the White House, as Dan Roberts and Spencer Ackerman (GUARDIAN) reported,  was to insist that there was nothing unusual and to get creaky while compromised Senator Dianne Feinstein insisted, in her best psychotic voice, "People want to keep the homeland safe."  "Der Fuhrer" was apparently implied.
The spin also included statements from Barack himself.   Anita Kumar (MCCLATCHY NEWSPAPERS) reported, "Obama described the uproar this week over the programs as 'hype' and sought to ensure Americans that Big Brother is not watching their every move."  
Josh Richman (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS) quoted Barack insisting that "we have established a process and a procedure that the American people should feel comfortable about."  Apparently not feeling the gratitude, the NEW YORK TIMES editorial board weighed in on the White House efforts at spin, noting that "the Obama administration issued the same platitude it has offered every time President Obama has been caught overreaching in the use of his powers: Terrorists are a real menace and you should just trust us to deal with them because we have internal mechanisms (that we are not going to tell you about) to make sure we do not violate your rights."  Former US President Jimmy Carter told CNN, "I think that the secrecy that has been surrounding this invasion of privacy has been excessive, so I think that the bringing of it to the public notice has probably been, in the long term, beneficial."

The more Barack attempted to defend the spying, the more ridiculous he came off.  Mike Masnick (TECH DIRT) reviewed Barack's appearance on THE CHARLIE ROSE SHOW and observed of the 'explanations' offered, "None of that actually explains why this program is necessary. If there's a phone number that the NSA or the FBI gets that is of interest, then they should be able to get a warrant or a court order and request information on that number from the telcos. None of that means they should be able to hoover up everything."  As US House Rep John Conyers noted, "But I maintain that the Fourth Amendment to be free from unreasonable search and seizure to mean that this mega data collected in such a super aggregated fashion can amount to a Fourth Amendment violation before you do anything else.  You've already violated the law, as far as I am concerned."  Barack couldn't deal with that reality but did insist, in the middle of June, that this was an opportunity for "a national conversation."  He's always calling for that because, when it doesn't happen, he can blame the nation.  It's so much easier to call for "a national conversation" than for he himself to get honest with the American people. And if Barack really believes this has kicked off "a national conversation" then demonizing Ed Snowden is a really strange way to say "thank you."
It's time to pardon Ed.  


Monday April 5, 2010, WikiLeaks released  military video of a July 12, 2007 assault in Iraq. 12 people were killed in the assault including two Reuters journalists Namie Noor-Eldeen and Saeed Chmagh. Monday June 7, 2010, the US military announced that they had arrested  Chelsea Manning (then known as Bradley Manning) and she stood accused of being the leaker of the video. Leila Fadel (WASHINGTON POST) reported in August 2010 that Manning had been charged -- "two charges under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. The first encompasses four counts of violating Army regulations by transferring classified information to his personal computer between November and May and adding unauthorized software to a classified computer system. The second comprises eight counts of violating federal laws governing the handling of classified information." In March, 2011, David S. Cloud (LOS ANGELES TIMES) reported that the military has added 22 additional counts to the charges including one that could be seen as "aiding the enemy" which could result in the death penalty if convicted. The Article 32 hearing took place in December. At the start of this year, there was an Article 32 hearing and, February 3rd, it was announced that the government would be moving forward with a court-martial. Chelsea had yet to enter a plea. The court-martial was supposed to begin before the November 2012 election but it was postponed until after the election so that Barack wouldn't have to run on a record of his actual actions.  INDEPENDENT.IE added, "A court martial is set to be held in June at Ford Meade in Maryland, with supporters treating him as a hero, but opponents describing him as a traitor."  February 28, 2013, Chelsea admitted he leaked to WikiLeaks.  And why.

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

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

 Tuesday, July 30, 2013, Chelsea was convicted of all but two counts by Colonel Denise Lind, the military judge in his court-martial.

And that's it for Barack and Iraq apparently.

While some in the US pretended to care about War Resisters while Bully Boy Bush was in the White House, they didn't give a damn after Barack was sworn in.

Laura Flanders and Amy Goodman and Norman Solomon certainly pretended to care once upon a time.

But Barack became president and they fell silent.

Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter both offered programs following the Vietnam War.

Barack offered nothing.

One day, Bully Boy Bush was in the White House and we pretended to care about Jeremy Hinzman, the next day Barack was in and it was "Jeremy who?"

We covered war resistance here.  Even while Barack has been in the White House.

We did stop focusing on certain individuals.  I understand completely that it is maddening to do the right thing and be attacked for it.  I also understand that I am not your s**t eater.  Those who made the mistake of thinking I was -- or doing the bidding of _____ -- we won't give her publicity, she rode that in the past to the closet approximation of popularity she'll ever get -- got crossed off my list.

Offline, we continued our work and I helped anyone who personally asked for help.

Asylum in Canada is still a dream for war resisters.  Or for some.  The ones we helped got it.  Because we didn't go through the war resistance channels.  You don't go through marriage either.  You go through adult adoptions.

That's how you get Canadian citizenship.

Adult adoptions, for those who don't know, were used in the US by gay partners when marriage equality was denied to them.

If you're going to move mountains, you're going to have to leave your skill set and learn to cross reference.

As the same case was tried over and over for public war resisters in Canada, I just had to shame my head.

As I noted here many times, "Is the goal to prove a political point or to get the person safety?"

A political point has still not been proven in Canadian courts (and it would be hard for that to happen without a strong prime minister willing to buck the system -- if the Queen of England's not opposed to it, how can the subjects be -- and subjects are the Canadian court).

Those of us who worked on the issue and had success didn't get it by trying to tear down the wall, we went over the wall.

Gerald Ford (a Republican) and Jimmy Carter (a Democrat) both offered programs.

Barack offered nothing to War Resisters.

Despite claiming to oppose the war and running on the (failed) promise to end the war.

Reminder that Manning's actions helped end the War in Iraq


And the lies continue.

Adam Johnson works at FAIR.  They stood for something.  Once.

Chelsea didn't end the war in Iraq -- because it did not end.

Nor did she end the presence of US forces in Iraq.

It's really time to stop lying.

Adam Johnson should be embarrassed.

And he should be ashamed.

This lie about Chelsea was created to make her super woman.

Fine, I could care less.

But I do care what the lie says about the Iraqi people: They were too stupid to know what was going on until the Great White Media of the US and Europe informed them.

They knew exactly what was going on.

Chelsea's revelations were news to some in the west but they rather tame when it comes to what was going on in Iraq and what Iraqis knew.

Adam Johnson and the other ahistorical idiots never got the SOFA because they never paid attention.

The US war was illegal.  The US occupation -- though wrong -- was not illegal.

That's because the UN provided a mandate for the occupation.

One that the (US-installed) Iraqi government signed off on.

This was a yearly mandate.

In 2006, Nouri al-Maliki was made prime minister (by the Bully Boy Bush administration).

Near the end of the year, it was time for the US and Iraq to renew the UN mandate.

They did.

Nouri did not consult the Parliament.  He did the same in 2007.

Both times there were outcry from the Parliament.

He was threatened with a vote to remove him from office if it happened again.

In 2008, there would be no UN mandate.

The UN informed all countries in Iraq that they would have to work out their own contract with Iraq.

The UK and US did.

Nouri told them he would have to go to the Parliament.

Nouri told them he could not keep doing this yearly.

So the deal was made for three years (with a kill clause that could kill the second and third year -- ideally the first year could be killed but realistically due to notification requirements, the first year really couldn't be killed).

In order for the US to get that through Parliament, they had to bribe heavily.

They bought votes.

Blackwater's actions in Iraq may seem to some in the west to be a private corporation's actions.  In Iraq, Blackwater meant the US.

Incidents like the September 16, 2007 slaughter of 17 Iraqis in Nisoor Square were well known by the Iraqi people and they didn't need some western media -- or western savior -- to know what was going on in their country.

Those who took bribes from the US to vote for the SOFA (Thanksgiving Day, 2008) were surprised by the push back from the Iraqi people.

Because the Green Zone is a bubble and many MPs never venture out.

Not only did they know they would have a problem with renewing it in 2011, so did Nouri.

The Arab Spring started in 2011.

It actually started in Iraq but no one wanted to pay attention to that -- including FAIR -- it continued in Iraq.

To stop the protests, Nouri said give him 100 days and he'd end corruption.

The protesters were urged to go home.

They did.

Nouri didn't do anything.

The protests wee restarting.

Iraqi officials were aware of that.  They knew they couldn't get away with voting for another SOFA.  So did Nouri.

Nouri asked for time.

Which is why then-Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta was saying after the drawdown took place that a deal could still be reached.

Instead, they went with the Memorandum of Understanding.

For those who tuned out in the Barack era, let's drop back to the April 30, 2013 Iraq snapshot:

December 6, 2012, the Memorandum of Understanding For Defense Cooperation Between the Ministry of Defense of the Republic of Iraq and the Department Defense of the United States of America was signed.  We covered it in the December 10th and December 11th snapshots -- lots of luck finding coverage elsewhere including in media outlets -- apparently there was some unstated agreement that everyone would look the other way.  It was similar to the silence that greeted Tim Arango's September 25th New York Times report which noted, "Iraq and the United States are negotiating an agreement that could result in the return of small units of American soldiers to Iraq on training missions.  At the request of the Iraqi government, according to [US] General [Robert L.] Caslen, a unit of Army Special Operations soldiers was recently deployed to Iraq to advise on counterterrorism and help with intelligence."

So last fall saw another Special Ops unit go into Iraq and the end of the year saw a new military agreement allowing for joint US and Iraq patrols in Iraq. From the December 11, 2012 snapshot:


In yesterday's snapshot, we covered the Memorandum of Understanding For Defense Cooperation Between the Ministry of Defense of the Republic of Iraq and the Department of Defense of the United States of America.  Angry, dysfunctional e-mails from Barack-would-never-do-that-to-me criers indicate that we need to go over the Memo a little bit more.  It was signed on Thursday and announced that day by the Pentagon.   Section two (listed in full in yesterday's snapshot) outlines that the two sides have agreed on: the US providing instructors and training personnel and Iraq providing students, Iraqi forces and American forces will work together on counterterrorism and on joint exercises.   The tasks we just listed go to the US military being in Iraq in larger numbers.  Obviously the two cannot do joint exercises or work together on counterterrorism without US military present in Iraq.
This shouldn't be surprising.  In the November 2, 2007 snapshot -- five years ago -- we covered the transcript of the interview Michael R. Gordon and Jeff Zeleny did with then-Senator Barack Obama who was running in the Democratic Party's primary for the party's presidential nomination -- the transcript, not the bad article the paper published, the actual transcript.  We used the transcript to write "NYT: 'Barack Obama Will Keep Troops In Iraq'" at Third.  Barack made it clear in the transcript that even after "troop withdrawal" he would "leave behind a residual force."  What did he say this residual force would do?  He said, "I think that we should have some strike capability.  But that is a very narrow mission, that we get in the business of counter terrorism as opposed to counter insurgency and even on the training and logistics front, what I have said is, if we have not seen progress politically, then our training approach should be greatly circumscribed or eliminated."
This is not withdrawal.  This is not what was sold to the American people.  Barack is very lucky that the media just happened to decide to take that rather explosive interview -- just by chance, certainly the New York Times wasn't attempting to shield a candidate to influence an election, right? -- could best be covered with a plate of lumpy, dull mashed potatoes passed off as a report.  In the transcript, Let-Me-Be-Clear Barack declares, "I want to be absolutely clear about this, because this has come up in a series of debates: I will remove all our combat troops, we will have troops there to protect our embassies and our civilian forces and we will engage in counter terrorism activities."

So when the memo announces counterterrorism activies, Barack got what he wanted, what he always wanted, what the media so helpfully and so frequently buried to allow War Hawk Barack to come off like a dove of peace.

It is what allows US troops in Iraq today.

The Iraqi people (and some leaders -- such as Shi'ite cleric and movement leader Moqtada al-Sadr) have long called for the US to leave.  And still make that call.

So let's stop pretending that the Iraq War is over, that US troops aren't in Iraq and that the Iraqi people were a bunch of idiots who didn't know what was happening in their country until a Big Brave White Person named Chelsea Manning came along to clue them in.

It's not only false, it's insulting to the Iraqi people.

You can praise and applaud Chelsea without insulting the Iraqi people.

Iraq military: Troops have "full control" of eastern Mosul.

The Mosul Slog continues.

93 days after the operation began, they have eastern Mosul -- they say -- and maybe just for now, who knows.

They still don't have western Mosul.

But, hey, this operation that was supposed to be a few weeks is still going (did Donald Rumsfeld plan the liberation of Mosul?).

In the US, we don't talk about Mosul.

We don't talk about the ongoing war in Iraq.

We don't talk about war resisters.

What do we talk about when we talk about Iraq?

‘You literally caused the Iraq War’: Internet rips Judith Miller for blaming war deaths on Chelsea Manning


Judith Miller.


Because you can have ignored Iraq for the last 8 years and still puff out your chest and pretend to know something by invoking her name.

So the answer is zero, which is about one million less than the number of people who died because of the Iraq WMD lies you helped spread.

Wil, you're a cutie and I love you to death, but put away the board games and pay attention to reality or stop Tweeting.

You're not helping Iraq at all.

So stop invoking it when you don't pay any attention to it.

It's White Hubris.  It's American Hubris.

And it's insulting to the people living in Iraq.

Their lives have gone on since you last tuned into AN AMERICAN CREATED TRAGEDY.

The war has continued to destroy their lives.

So you're pretending you're hip and informed is just insulting.

The following community sites -- plus Cindy Sheehan and BLACK AGENDA REPORT -- updated.


  • Time for the hacks to leave

    Loved this Tweet.

    WaPo hack lays down "rules" for anti-Trump headline-writing. Yes, they think they're "journalists."
    This Tweet is unavailable.

    That's Greg Sargent.

    Remember him?

    In 2008, he would spew and spit on Hillary.

    Eight years later, he wants to hump her leg.

    Justin Raimondo is right to call Sargent out.

    Sargent's a hack.

    And a fear monger on Russia.

    Your occasional reminder -- Alleged Russian “Hackers” Provided Vital Information To American Voters

    I don't believe the government of Russia hacked the e-mails.

    But I do agree that whomever did the hack provided a real public service.

    1. I see almost no grappling at all with the absolute fact that vital information became known to the public solely as a result of this "hack."
    2. Absent the "hacking" 1) No proof of collusion against Sanders 2) No HRC speech transcripts 3) No Clinton Foundation revelations
    3. If Putin really is responsible for "hacking" Podesta/the DNC, maybe we should thank him for the service he provided

    If reporters had done their jobs, the leaks wouldn't have been necessary.

    But they worked so hard to shield Hilllary.

    They lied repeatedly.

    Including that she was never under criminal investigation.

    I have no time for hacks, how about you?

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

    Friday, December 30, 2017.  Chaos and violence continue, the US government admits to bombing a hospital in Iraq, kidnapped journalist Afrah Shawqi remains missing, and much more.

    As 2017 winds down, and the Iraq War continues, Will Bardenwerper (WASHINGTON POST) reflects:

    Who can forget Donald Rumsfeld’s pronouncement — delivered with the unwavering confidence that characterized his leadership — that the Iraq War might last “five days or five weeks or five months, but it certainly isn’t going to last any longer than that”? As it turns out, the current struggle to liberate Mosul — for the third time, this time from a terrorist organization, the Islamic State, that didn’t even exist when Hussein was killed — is now projected to last longer than Rumsfeld assured us the entire war would. Just this week, the first of 1,700 soldiers from the Army’s 82nd Airborne Division hugged their loved ones goodbye before deploying to Iraq. The youngest were 5 years old when the United States launched the invasion to remove Saddam.

    One wonders how anyone, most notably the war’s architects, can cling to the view that delivering Hussein to the gallows was worth the trillions of dollars spent, not to mention the 4,500 service members killed, the more than 30,000 wounded, or the hundreds of thousands of violent deaths across the region since his overthrow? That doesn’t even count the millions forced to flee the violence with little more than the clothes on their backs, or the terror threats that are now a routine feature of American and European landscapes. None of the American policymakers responsible for this have been held to account as their British counterparts were in the U.K.’s damning Chilcot Report.

    It's day 74 of the Mosul "slog." 

    The Islamic State seized Mosul in June of 2014.  74 days later, the Iraqi government finally decided to do something about it.


    They're not sure what.

    Some call it "liberation" but it didn't look that way in Ramadi or Falluja.

    And the only significant development has been the creation of more refugees.

    More than 50,000 children have fled their homes in since Oct. 17th, including Sidra, Ayat and Mahmoud. 

    Jason Ditz (ANTIWAR.COM) reports the disturbingly clinical news that in the last two weeks of the operation, Iraqi troops have not been able to get an inch.  Maybe Viagra would help?

    Nothing's been done by the US to facilitate reconciliation in Iraq but the US does drop a lot of bombs.

    Civilians feared dead by US airstrikes in northern  

    Operation Inherent Resolve (also known as Operation Eternal Redundancy) issued the following statement today:

    Coalition strike results in possible civilian casualties

    By | Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve | December 30, 2016
    SOUTHWEST ASIA- During operations to liberate Mosul on Dec. 29, a Coalition air strike struck a van carrying ISIL fighters observed firing a SPG9/RPG recoilless rifle before loading the weapon in the van and driving off. The van was struck in what was later determined to be a hospital compound parking lot resulting in possible civilian casualties.

    CJTF-OIR takes all allegations of civilian casualties seriously and this incident will be fully investigated and the findings released in a timely and transparent manner.

    CJTF-OIR releases monthly reports covering our tracking and investigation of allegations of civilian casualties. Coalition forces comply with the Law of Armed Conflict, work diligently to be precise in our airstrikes, and take all feasible precautions during the planning and execution of airstrikes to reduce the risk of harm to civilians.

    This is not the first time the US-led group has bombed a hospital.  Dropping back to the December 8th snapshot:

    Though rushing to deny US involvement in the strike on the market, no such effort was made when it came to the US-led strike on a hospital.
    Spencer Ackerman (GUARDIAN) reports:

    The US military has deliberately conducted an airstrike on a hospital in the Iraqi city of Mosul, it said on Wednesday, after saying its Iraqi allies came under fire by Islamic State fighters from the hospital complex.

    Here's CENTCOM's press release on the attack:

    December 8, 2016
    Release #20161208-01

    SOUTHWEST ASIA — On Dec. 6th, Iraqi Security Forces attempted to seize the Al Salem hospital complex from ISIL fighters in the heart of East Mosul. ISIL was using the hospital as a base of operations and command and control headquarters.  After seizing the area, the ISF fought off several counterattacks and six VBIEDs the following day before retrograding a short distance, under heavy enemy fire, to strengthen their position.

    On Dec. 7th, after Iraqi forces continued to receive heavy and sustained machine gun and rocket propelled grenade fire from ISIL fighters in a building on the hospital complex, they requested immediate support from the Coalition. In support of the Iraqi Security Forces, Coalition aircraft conducted a precision strike on the location to target enemy fighters firing on Iraqi forces.

    The Coalition complies with the Law of Armed Conflict and takes all feasible precautions during the planning and execution of airstrikes to reduce the risk of harm to non-combatants. We will continue to strike ISIL military targets in support of our partners in order to defeat ISIL in Iraq.

    Ackerman adds:

    In a poll released this week, the International Committee of the Red Cross found that 82% of people surveyed in 16 countries considered it wrong to attack “hospitals, ambulances and health-care workers in order to weaken the enemy”. The proportion of people agreeing drops to 79% when only residents of the US, Russia, China, UK, France and Switzerland are questioned.

    Of course it's wrong, it's a War Crime, legally defined as such.

    The Mousl operation has been little more than a license to kill Sunni civilians.


    [T]he coalition has already admitted to killing at least 173 civilians in its strikes in Iraq and Syria since the start of its campaign against the IS group, a number independent observers believe is greatly understated.
    The London-based NGO Airwars estimates the coalition campaign has actually killed more than 2,000 civilians.

    But keep on bombing, Barack Obama, Bombing Barry, it's worked out so well, right?

    Barack's all consuming desire to bomb has obliterated any chance that the US government could offer real diplomatic assistance to Iraq on the long festering issues -- issue that remain to this day.

    Earlier this week, Omar al-Saleh (AL JAZEERA) reported:

    Representatives from the biggest Sunni bloc in Iraq's parliament, the National Forces Alliance, recently met Amar al-Hakim, who heads the ruling Iraqi National Alliance, an umbrella group of Shia parties. The meeting came after the National Forces Alliance rejected a reconciliation plan prepared by Hakim and instead proposed its own vision for governing a post-ISIL Iraq, aiming to remedy the chronic political and sectarian fighting that has plagued the country since the 2003 US-led invasion.

    Details of the competing plans were still being worked out, and have not been made public. As the battle for Mosul drags on, Sunni and Shia leaders have not ironed out a timeframe for reaching an agreement.

    According to Mohammed al-Karbouli, a member of the National Forces Alliance who has been involved in the discussions, his bloc had agreed to "write and propose a paper with a vision on how to govern the Iraqi state, especially in crucial areas such as the de-Baathification law [which bans members of Saddam Hussein's ruling party from serving in government], the amnesty law and the federal regions". Karbouli was referring to a long-standing Sunni demand for the release of Sunnis held under the country's notorious "anti-terrorism" law, which they believe targets them unfairly, and for an equitable power-sharing agreement.

    Yesterday, Karim El-Bar (MIDDLE EAST EYE) reported an update on the tentative 'agreement':

    Speaking to Arabi 21, the Sunni MP [Matshar al-Samarrai] said he asked the NIA to “launch initiatives that will build hope among political factions. These initiatives should include the return of displaced persons to their cities, restoration of land to residents once it is taken back from Islamic State forces and release of those innocently imprisoned, as everyone admits that there are innocent people being held in prison.”
    Experts were sceptical the announcement would come to much, however.
    Tallha Abdulrazaq, an Iraqi security and counterterrorism expert at the University of Exeter, said he would not be surprised if the “preliminary agreement follows the same path of 'one step forward and 10 steps back'."

    The US State Dept can't assist with that.  Or do much of anything these days.

    For example . . .

    Iraq – Freedom of the press – Kidnapping of journalist Afrah Shawqi (December 27, 2016)

    From France Diplomatie:

    France was shocked and concerned to learn of the kidnapping of the journalist Afrah Shawqi on December 27 in Baghdad.

    We assure the Iraqi authorities of our support for the investigation demanded by Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, and express our hope that Ms. Shawqi will be released in the very near future.

    France applauds the courage of Ms. Shawqi, who has notably worked to defend women’s rights and is renowned and appreciated in Iraq and beyond. She has also been active in exposing atrocities committed by armed groups.

    We reiterate our commitment to the freedom of the press and freedom of expression throughout the world. Iraqi journalists have paid a heavy toll in the defense of that freedom, as noted in the report published today by the Iraqi professional group: 455 journalists have been killed since 2003, including 20 in 2016 alone.

    The US State Dept?
    Silent on the kidnapping.
    Not that they aren't working.
    They issued a statement that amounted to no more than a war of words.  With?  Theresa May.
    But they've ignored Afrah.
    She's not being ignored elsewhere. 
    Poet Dunya Mikhail on Kidnapped Iraqi Writer Afrah Shawqi and Elusive 'Freedom of Expression' via

    Iraqi Sunnis civilians
    Protesting against the abduction  of Iraqi Sunni Journalist  Afrah Shawqi
    by Shia militias backed by Iran
    Journalist Afrah Shawqi al-Qaisi has been kidnapped from her Baghdad home. She was taken by armed men posing as security forces. Iraq
    Shia militias kidnapped the journalist Afrah Shawqi
    Iraq gunmen kidnap Afrah Shawqi al-Qaisi, journalist who condemned impunity of armed groups
    1. I wish that oil had NEVER been discovered in the Middle East. (Free Afrah Shawqi al-Qaisi)
    adalberto Gunmen have kidnapped an outspoken Iraqi journalist, Afrah Shawqi al-Qaisi, after storming her home in the Iraqi capital of Baghd…

    Afrah's life matters. 

    The failure of the Iraqi police to find her would be yet another indictment of the Iraqi government.

    Prime Minister Hayder al-Abadi should be allocating resources on this.  They have descriptions, it should not be at all hard to track the kidnappers down.

    But no such effort appears to be taking place.

    And while foreign reporters -- Jill Carroll, for example -- were released or found alive long after they were kidnapped, Iraqi reporters tend to be killed shortly after they're kidnapped. 

    This is a very time sensitive issue.

    Hayder's inability or refusal to deploy necessary resources to finding Afrah would be a strong indictment of his government.

    The following community sites -- plus Jody Watley -- updated: