Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Where are the jobs?

Great column by Margaret Kimberley at BLACK AGENDA REPORT:

But the Democratic rank and file always end up being the losers, whether their party wins or doesn’t. The banks always get a bailout and so does the military industrial complex. Even Obamacare was a Republican plan promoted by right wing thank tanks. Election outcomes never give banksters, defense contractors or Big Pharma cause for alarm.
Barack Obama is still working to promote the interests of the world’s ruling elites. Former presidents usually disappear from view and write their memoirs. But Obama is openly making election endorsements in France and Germany, and hanging out with royalty in the United Kingdom. His activities are not accidental, they are an extension of what the Democrats do at home. The ruling classes need to be mollified and that apparently is permanent job for Mr. Hope and Change.

The Democratic Party is proving itself to be treacherous yet again. There must be a movement away from them, a debate about how to achieve true political success. If not there will be more repeats of the past with a party emerging victorious while its voters remain the losers.

It's amazing.  Read the whole thing.

And the Democratic Party is not being held accountable for any of this.

I don't know what Bernie thought he was doing last week.

I didn't find it impressive.

When they've got War Hag Amy Goodman there, they aren't going to impress me with their little conference.

The transfer of wealth under Barack alone is shocking.

The poverty in the US is shocking.

And the Democrats are talking about?


What a load of nonsense.

First Congress abdicates its war waging authority, then the Prez. Just privatize it to the military contractors. USA, The Warfare State.

On that topic, I'm dropping back to C.I. from the Monday snapshot and I'm using dashes to note the start of the excerpt and the end:


In other news, Liam Quinn (DAILY MAIL) reports:

Donald Trump is yet to meet or speak with his top commanders in Iraq and Afghanistan almost nearly five months in office., a veteran membership organization, detailed Trump's lack of contact with arguably the two most important US officials in the region. 
The president does not communicate directly with the commanders - Lieutenant General Stephen Townsend in Iraq and General John W. Nicholson Jr. in Afghanistan - because they are 'three or four echelons below' him, a White House official told the website.
'The president does respect the chain of command and he gets the vast majority of his information from the top echelons of his national security teams,' the official said.


Oh, goody, a month later the press shows up.  From May 2nd's "Editorial: The conversation that didn't take place..." at THIRD:

Control will now be placed in the hands of those who are more familiar with the military since they are a part of it.

But isn't this delegation also thwarting civilian control?

Isn't that the whole point in the president of the United States being commander in chief and not some general: Civilian control.

There are pluses and minuses to the issue -- both in terms of a President Donald Trump (who seems to alarm many) and in terms of the power structure itself.

But, strangely, it was one of last week's least noted and explored issues.

On PBS' gabfest WASHINGTON WEEK, it didn't even get a mention.

Worse, CBS' FACE THE NATION had a sit down with Trump yet failed to ask about the above.

Failed to ask about Iraq at all,

(Saturday night would bring news of another US military fatality in Iraq.  In fairness, John Dickerson interviewed Trump on Saturday before that news broke.)

Setting aside that Trump has done this, if any other person in the White House had turned over this power to the military, wouldn't we see it as shirking responsibility?

Thanks for catching up (finally), DAILY MAIL, and aren't we lucky that MILITARY.COM raised the issue so DAILY MAIL could pretend this was current.

Let's steer the press to the next place it will be in a month or so.

Douglas A. Silliman:

  Douglas A. Silliman is the United States Ambassador to the Republic of Iraq. He arrived in Baghdad on September 1, 2016.
He served as Ambassador to Kuwait from 2014 until July 2016. In 2013-2014, he served as a Senior Advisor in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs in the Department of State in Washington, D.C., working on Iraq issues and the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit. He was Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq from 2012 to 2013 and Minister Counselor for Political Affairs in Baghdad from 2011 to 2012. He was the Deputy Chief of Mission in Ankara, Turkey from 2008 to 2011. He joined the Department of State in 1984 and is a career member of Senior Foreign Service.
Ambassador Silliman earlier served as Director and Deputy Director of the State Department’s Office of Southern European Affairs, as Political Counselor at the U.S. Embassy in Amman, Jordan, and as the Regional Officer for the Middle East in the Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism. Ambassador Silliman worked as political officer in Islamabad, Pakistan, in the Office of Soviet Union Affairs, as Lebanon Desk officer, and as Staff Assistant to the Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs. He began his career as a visa officer in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, and a political officer in Tunis, Tunisia.
Ambassador Silliman received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science summa cum laude from Baylor University in Waco, Texas, where he was also a member of Phi Beta Kappa. He earned a Master of Arts in International Relations from the George Washington University in Washington, DC.
He has received numerous awards from the Department of State, including the Secretary’s Award for Public Outreach in 2007 and senior performance awards. The American Foreign Service Association gave Ambassador Silliman its Sinclaire Language Award in 1993 and the W. Averill Harriman Award for outstanding junior officer in 1988. He speaks Arabic and French. 

Let's review: Chris Hill, James Jeffrey, Robert Beecroft, Stuart E. Jones and Douglas Silliman.

Those are Barack's confirmed US Ambassadors to Iraq.  Five in eight years -- part of the reason for the instability in Iraq.

Obama also nominated Brett McGurk but Brett's nomination sunk.

Trump was sworn in back in January.

It's now June.

When does he plan to name a nominee for US Ambassador to Iraq?

Or is he farming out that duty as well?



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

Wednesday, June 14, 2017.  The Mosul Slog continues, the use of White Phosphorus gets a little  attention, and much more.

Yesterday, the world learned Mosul refugees in a camp were suffering from food poisoning.  Song Lifang (XINHUA) explains:

A woman and a child died of food poisoning on Tuesday after hundreds of displaced people fell ill on Monday when they ate food during Ramadan breaking fast meal at al-Khazir-2 refugee camp near the city of Mosul, a medic and a Kurdish official said.
"Unfortunately, a woman and a female child died out of more than 800 cases of food poisoning among the displaced people after eating their Ramadan breakfast the day before," the medical source told reporters.

Emma Graham-Harrison (GUARDIAN) adds, "The food handout was funded by UK-based Help the Needy Charitable Trust, which said it raced doctors and other medical support to the camp as soon as it was told of the poisoning outbreak."

A mass food poisoning at a camp for displaced people near Mosul, Iraq, kills at least 2 and sickens hundreds

Mass Food poisoning kills two, affects hundreds at Iraq refugee camp

While little is known, accusations are being hurled.  Balint Szlanko and Sinan Salaheddin (AP) report:

Irbil Gov. Nawzad Hadi said the food was prepared in an Irbil restaurant by a local NGO, Ain el Muhtajeen, and funded by a Qatari charity known as RAF. In Saudi Arabia, which has been leading a recent campaign to isolate Qatar, state media quickly seized on the issue with coverage that implied Qatar was poisoning refugees deliberately.
On Twitter, Saudi state television accused RAF of supplying tainted meals and posted images it said showed the camp's children "poisoned by the terrorist Qatari RAF organization."
An Iraqi lawmaker who visited the camp overnight also accused the Qatari charity of providing the tainted food.

The refugees are the product of The Mosul Slog -- an operation that's supposed to liberate Mosul which was seized by the Islamic State three years ago.

But the operation was also supposed to last only a few days and it's day 238 of The Mosul Slog.

  1. Its 11 Am is Old city extremely fierce clashes on the southern front and the smoke continues to cover the sky.


From what?

Recently, it's been from White Phosphorus.

This morning, Human Rights Watch notes:

The use of artillery-delivered white phosphorus by the United States-led coalition fighting Islamic State (also known as ISIS) forces in Syria and Iraq raises serious questions about the protection of civilians, Human Rights Watch said today. This multipurpose munition should never be used as an incendiary weapon to attack personnel or materiel in populated areas, even when delivered from the ground.
“No matter how white phosphorus is used, it poses a high risk of horrific and long-lasting harm in crowded cities like Raqqa and Mosul and any other areas with concentrations of civilians,” said Steve Goose, arms director at Human Rights Watch. “US-led forces should take all feasible precautions to minimize civilian harm when using white phosphorus in Iraq and Syria.”
White phosphorus munitions can be used for several purposes on the battlefield: as an obscurant or smoke screen, for signaling and marking, and as an incendiary weapon. US forces are using white phosphorus in both Mosul, in Iraq, and in the ISIS stronghold of Raqqa, in Syria. But the rationale for its use by US-led coalition forces is unclear as the coalition does not comment on specific incidents.
Human Rights Watch was not able to independently verify whether the use of the munitions resulted in any civilian casualties. A Raqqa resident living in Beirut told the New York Times that an internet cafe in Raqqa was recently hit by white phosphorus, killing around 20 people.
[. . .]

Footage shot in Mosul, Iraq on June 3 also shows the use of ground-fired projectiles containing white phosphorous. Smoke from ground fires is also visible in the video, but it is unclear if these were ignited by white phosphorus or caused by something else. Since mid-February, Iraqi forces supported by the US-led coalition have been engaged in an offensive to retake densely populated west Mosul.
The purpose of this use of white phosphorus is unclear, but Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) stated on June 4 that it was used to create a smoke screen. According to a US-led coalition comment to media on the use that Human Rights Watch obtained: “While protecting civilians fleeing from the Jamouri Hospital the Coalition used smoke and precision munitions to suppress the enemy and provide cover for fleeing civilians. In conjunction with Iraqi Security Forces, the Coalition used appropriate munitions to suppress and obscure ISIS snipers so that the civilians could reach friendly forces.”
In both Mosul and Raqqa, the US-led forces are using US-made M825-series 155mm artillery projectiles containing 116 felt wedges impregnated with white phosphorus, which ignites and continues to burn when exposed to the air. This is the only type of 155mm white phosphorus projectile in US stocks that can be air-burst. Neither ISIS nor Syrian government forces are known to possess or have used these US-made munitions.
The US-led coalition states that as a matter of policy it cannot publicly discuss the use of specific munitions, but admits to using white phosphorus in its operation in Iraq and Syria. US Army Col. Ryan Dillon, a spokesperson for the US-led coalition in Iraq and Syria, told international media on June 9 that, “in accordance with the law of armed conflict, white phosphorus rounds are used for screening, obscuring and marking in a way that fully considers the possible incidental effects on civilians and civilian structures.”
In the Mosul incident, the projectiles burst very close to the ground in what seems to be an attempt to minimize the footprint of the effects. In Raqqa, videos appear to show the munitions bursting higher in the air, spreading the white phosphorus over a much wider area.
White phosphorus ignites when exposed to atmospheric oxygen and continues to burn until it is deprived of oxygen or exhausted. Its chemical reaction can create intense heat (about 815° C/1500° F), light, and smoke. White phosphorus can thus be used for marking, signaling, and obscuring, but it can also be used as a weapon to set fires that burn people and objects.
On contact, white phosphorus can also burn people, thermally and chemically, down to the bone as it is highly soluble in fat, and therefore in human flesh. White phosphorus fragments can exacerbate wounds even after treatment and can enter the bloodstream and cause multiple organ failure. Already dressed wounds can reignite when dressings are removed and they are re-exposed to oxygen. Even relatively minor burns are often fatal.

Attacks using air-delivered incendiary weapons in civilian areas are prohibited under Protocol III of the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW). While the protocol contains weaker restrictions for ground-launched incendiary weapons, all types of incendiary weapons produce horrific injuries. Protocol III applies only to weapons that are “primarily designed” to set fires or cause burns, and thus some countries believe it excludes certain multipurpose munitions with incendiary effects, notably those containing white phosphorus.

Jack Moore (NEWSWEEK) notes:

The U.S-led coalition, responding to Newsweek ’s request for comment, said it was “looking into” the accusations. But a general, New Zealand Brigadier Hugh McAslan acknowledged late Tuesday that the forces had used the munition in Mosul, but not to target combatants. “We have utilized white phosphorous to screen areas within west Mosul to get civilians out safely,” he told NPR.

Of that admission, Alison Meuse (NPR) notes, "Coalition spokesmen previously have confirmed the use of the incendiary substance in less-populated areas of northern Iraq in the fight against ISIS. But this is the first confirmation that white phosphorus has been used in Mosul."

In the US, media attention has gone to the efforts to round up and deport Iraqi Christians.  Nahal Toosi (POLITICO) explains:

President Donald Trump is facing anger and potential political blowback as his administration ramps up efforts to deport Iraqi Christians, a group he’d pledged to protect from what the U.S. calls a genocide in the Middle East.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents over the weekend detained dozens of Iraqi Christians and others to send back to Iraq. Many of them were picked up in Michigan, a swing state that Trump barely won in 2016 and the home of a sizable number of Christians from Muslim-majority countries who backed Trump during the presidential campaign.

We noted the Detroit round ups in yesterday's snapshot.

Round ups are taking place elsewhere as well.  Ariana Maia Sawyer (USA TODAY) reports:

Bayan Taro thought the 6 a.m. knock was a neighbor asking her or her husband to move their car.
Had she known who was actually at the door, she wouldn't have sent her husband to open it.
Sarkaut Taro, a 53-year-old Nashville filmmaker, padded out in his pajamas, his wife said in an interview on Monday. After a few moments, he called out for his wife.
When she came to the door, she said she saw her husband in handcuffs surrounded by unidentified men and unmarked vehicles.
He was arrested by Immigration and Customs Enforcement — just one of at least 12 Iraqi nationals who've been taken into custody over the past week.
[. . .]
In Nashville's Kurdish community, Drost Kokoye, of the American Muslim Advisory Council , said officers have been knocking on doors and asking questions without warrants, surrounding people with vehicles and going to their workplaces.

The following community sites -- plus Jody Watley and BLACK AGENDA REPORT -- updated:

  • 13 hours ago
  • 15 hours ago