Friday, September 01, 2017

It's time to shut down the Central so-called Intelligence Agency

The CIA is responsible for so many deaths.

There's no glory to be found there.

And Edward S. Herman (MONTHLY REVIEW) offers this:

The CIA’s brazen intervention in the electoral process in 2016 and 2017 broke new ground in the agency’s politicization. Former CIA head Michael Morell announced in an August 2016 op-ed in the Times: “I Ran the C.I.A. Now I’m Endorsing Hillary Clinton,” and former CIA boss Michael Hayden published an op-ed in the Washington Post just days before the election, entitled “Former CIA Chief: Trump is Russia’s Useful Fool.” Morell had yet another op-ed in the Times on January 6, now openly assailing the new president. These attacks were unrelievedly insulting to Trump and laudatory to Clinton, even portraying Trump as a traitor; they also made clear that Clinton’s more pugnacious stance toward Syria and Russia was preferable by far to Trump’s leanings toward negotiation and cooperation with Russia.
This was also true of the scandal surrounding former Trump Defense Intelligence nominee Michael Flynn’s telephone call with the Russian ambassador, which may have included a discussion of the incoming administration’s policy actions. The political possibilities of this interaction were quickly grasped by outgoing Obama officials, security personnel, and the mainstream media, with the FBI interrogating Flynn and with widespread expressions of horror at Flynn’s action, which could have allegedly exposed him to Russian blackmail. But such pre-inauguration meetings with Russian diplomats have been a “common practice” according to Jack Matlock, the U.S. ambassador to Russia under Reagan and Bush, and Matlock had personally arranged such a meeting for Jimmy Carter.23 Obama’s own ambassador to the country, Michael McFaul, admitted visiting Moscow for talks with officials in 2008, even before the election. Daniel Lazare has made a good case not only that the illegality and blackmail threat are implausible, but that the FBI’s interrogation of Flynn reeks of entrapment. “Yet anti-Trump liberals are trying to convince the public that it’s all ‘worse than Watergate.'”24
The political point of the DNI report thus seems to have been, at minimum, to tie the Trump administration’s hands in its dealings with Russia. Some analysts outside the mainstream have argued that we may have been witnessing an incipient spy or palace coup that fell short, but still had the desired effect of weakening the new administration.25 The Times has not offered a word of criticism of this politicization and intervention in the election process by intelligence agencies, and in fact the editors have been working with them and the Democratic Party as a loose-knit team in a distinctly un- and anti-democratic program designed to undermine or reverse the results of the 2016 election, on the pretext of alleged foreign electoral interference.
The Times and the mainstream media in general have also barely mentioned the awkward fact that the allegedly hacked disclosures of the DNC and Clinton and Podesta emails disclosed uncontested facts about real electoral manipulations on behalf of the Clinton campaign, facts that the public had a right to know and that might well have affected the election results. The focus on the evidence-free claims of a Russian hacking intrusion have helped divert attention from the real electoral abuses disclosed by the WikiLeaks material. Here again, official and mainstream media fake news helped bury real news.

The CIA is known for their dirty tricks.

But injecting themselves into an election as they did?

They need to be shut down.

And, no, I didn't vote for Donald Trump but that doesn't mean I'm not grossly offended by the CIA's behavior towards the man.

This is outrageous.

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

Friday, September 1, 2017.  Numbers don't convey people and isn't that the whole point?

Starting with Bill Van Auken's WSWS report on Syria:

The UN’s chief adviser on the prevention of genocide, Adama Dieng, issued a separate statement condemning the “horrendous situation faced by civilians caught up in the offensive to retake the city from ISIS,” while the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein charged that “civilians—who should be protected at all times—are paying an unacceptable price.”
In other words, a war crime of monstrous dimensions is unfolding in plain sight, while its perpetrator, US imperialism, enjoys complete impunity.
On its Twitter account, the local monitoring group, Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently, posts photographs daily of babies, children, men, women, the elderly and entire families perishing under the US bombs, missiles and shells, along with the utter devastation of the city’s residential neighborhoods.
The siege of Raqqa follows close on the heels of the even larger scale war crime consummated this summer in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, once the country’s second largest, where the death toll from nine months of bombing and shelling by the US and its Iraqi government allies has been estimated as high as 40,000.
All of this carnage is virtually blacked out of the US media, which only last year was engaged—in close coordination with the US government—in a full-throated campaign of feigned moral outrage over the Russian-backed offensive by the Syrian government to retake eastern Aleppo from Al Qaeda-linked and US-armed Islamist “rebels.”

The western media looks the other way repeatedly, over and over.

It allows Americans to treat people as numbers.

And numbers will never have the same standing as people.

So when someone parrots the US government line, that person gets a profile (brief) in the western media but the Iraqi who is rightly outraged at what is done to his/her land is silenced.

The United Nations mission in/on Iraq released their latest monthly undercount today:

Baghdad, 01 September 2017 – A total of 125 Iraqi civilians were killed and another 188 injured in acts of terrorism, violence and armed conflict in Iraq in August 2017*, according to casualty figures recorded by the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI).

The number of civilians killed in August (not including police) was 116, while the number of injured (not including police) was 181.
Of those figures, Baghdad was the worst affected Governorate, with 180 civilian casualties (45 killed, 135 injured). Ninewa Governorate followed with 36 killed and 18 injured, and Salahadin had 4 killed and 24 injured.
UNAMI has not been able to obtain the civilian casualty figures from the Health Directorate in Anbar.
The United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) for Iraq, Mr. Ján Kubiš, condemned the targeting of civilians by the Daesh terrorists.
“Daesh terrorists have shown absolute disregard for human life. Shamelessly, the terrorists have indiscriminately targeted civilians, most recently in Baghdad earlier this week, to avenge their losses on the battlefield as they lost control of Tal Afar. However, the patience and resilience of the Iraqi people have defeated the terrorists' aim in breaking their unity."
*CAVEATS: In general, UNAMI has been hindered in effectively verifying casualties in conflict areas; 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. Since the start of the military operations to retake Mosul and other areas in Ninewa, UNAMI has received several reports of incidents involving civilian casualties, which at times it has been unable to verify. For these reasons, the figures reported have to be considered as the absolute minimum. UNAMI has not been able to obtain the civilian casualty figures from the Anbar Health Department for this month.
For more information, please contact: Mr. Samir Ghattas, Director of Public Information/Spokesperson
United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq, Phone: +964 790 193 1281, Email:  
or the UNAMI Public Information Office:

On undercounts, the US government has updated their civilian kills in Iraq.  David Alexander and Bernadette Baum (REUTERS) report, "The U.S.-led coalition fighting Islamic State militants said on Friday it had confirmed another 61 likely civilian deaths caused by its strikes in Iraq and Syria, raising to 685 the number of civilians it has acknowledged killing since the conflict began."

So there you have the updated undercount.


It's a number.

It's not a person.

It's highly impersonal.

And the government's counting on no one thinking for themselves, imagining what the media won't tell you, these were families, these were friends.

They're gone now.

They're all dead.


Lucky them, right?

So lucky to have the US involved in killing them.

"Liberation" efforts to a lot of Sunnis in Iraq look like genocide.

But we're not supposed to talk about that either, are we?

Next stop on the so-called 'liberation' train?


Why might the Islamic State have been able to get a foothold in Hawija?

How about Nouri's slaughter.

The April 23, 2013 massacre of a sit-in in Hawija which resulted from then-prime minister (and forever thug) Nouri al-Maliki's federal forces storming in.  Alsumaria noted Kirkuk's Department of Health (Hawija is in Kirkuk)  announced 50 activists have died and 110 were injured in the assault.   AFP reported the death toll eventually (as some wounded died) rose to 53 dead.   UNICEF noted that the dead included 8 children (twelve more were injured).

Where was the outrage in the US?

Or do we only care about deaths when they look like us and talk like us and share our experiences?

8 children dead.

Where was the world's press?

Where was the world's attention?

Barack and Samantha Power were convinced Nouri was the only way to get what they wanted from client-state Iraq.

So they gave him a second term as prime minister -- after voters rejected him -- in 2010.

He used that second term to attack reporters and activists.

And no concern from the world.

As Sunnis were targeted and slaughtered, it's no surprise that the Islamic State rose up.

No surprise, and check the archives, we said it would.

We said that when the people have used the ballot box to try to achieve fairness and that's failed, when they've turned to their elected officials and that's failed (the effort to hold a no-confidence vote -- all measures were met so fat ass Jalal Talabani invented a new one at the request of Joe Biden), when you've turned to peaceful protests and that fails, the options are limited.  Violence becomes one of the options.

The Islamic State appeared when Nouri's goons were attacking peaceful protesters staging a sit-in on the highway between Baghdad and Anbar.

The refusal to grasp the rise of the Islamic State is part of the blindness imposed by the press.

Rule 1: The US can never be in the wrong.

Rule 2: If we explain that the US caused violence we'll have to also take this plan away.

Because Hayder's no better tan Nouri al-Maliki.

Hayder al-Abadi is tolerated by the US government because they hope he will meet US objectives.

He oversaw War Crimes throughout his tenure.

Not just the attacks on civilians by the military when 'liberating' various locales.

He oversaw the bombing of civilian neighborhoods in Falluja.

That's a War Crime.

KUNA reports, "Iraqi jetfighters dropped Thursday leaflets over Hawija, informing people to get ready for an imminent operation to drive" ISIS "out of the city. [. . .]  The leaflets urged residents to keep away from the IS militant assembly posts as well as the buildings and areas they control."

Who can figure out what's missing?

The leave portion.

They didn't tell the civilians in Mosul to leave either.

In what may be an improvement, the leaflets in Hawija do not appear to tell the residents to stay in the city -- that's what happened in Mosul.  They were warned not to leave.

Let's go to Congress, Adam Schiff.

I'm introducing an amendment to prohibit payment of funds to Trump businesses. should not profit off of the Presidency

Hey, Adam, you do realize that each of Hillary's big book tours is made possible because of the Secret Service?  Possibly when people are raking in millions, the US tax payer shouldn't be footing the bill?  So you need to change that proposed bill to president or former president.

As anyone with even a basic grasp of publishing knows, Hillary's tours are costly -- or would be if either she or the publisher had to arrange for security for every stop on the tour.

Since she's been paid millions for these books -- that others write and she puts her name to -- the question is why are we paying the Secret Service to protect her on these tours?

The following community sites -- plus PACIFICA RADIO -- updated:

  • We'll close with this from WSWS:

    More than 3,000 people from at least 80 different countries have signed the petition against Google censorship. Many have left a donation to help expand the campaign. If you haven't yet, please make a financial contribution today.

    As I type, our printers are running non-stop for shipments of David North's Open Letter to campuses and cities throughout the US. The response from workers and young people to our campaign against Google's censorship has been overwhelming. Just yesterday, campaigners in Chicago received nearly 50 new signatures for the petition in less than an hour. From autoworkers in Detroit, to striking telecommunication workers in New York City, to workers in Sri Lanka--there is a widespread understanding that the attack on Internet freedom is an attack on the working class.

    These and other activities require financial resources, and we need to do much more. Help us expand this work! Help us reach new layers of workers and youth around the world.

    Please make a donation today

    Joseph Kishore for the World Socialist Web Site
    Donate to fight Internet censorship!
    World Socialist Web Site |
    Articles: Copyright © 2017, All rights reserved.

    iraq iraq iraq iraq iraq iraq

    Thursday, August 31, 2017

    Good news and bad news

    Why is it always a mixed bad?

    Benazir Bhutto.

    She was prime minister.

    She was campaigning.

    And she was assassinated.

    Today, a court has declared a killer.

    No, it wasn't Hillary Clinton.

    But back in 2007, CNN did note:

    Did Hillary Clinton kill Benazir Bhutto? Not quite, though Barack Obama's right hand man thinks she may have had something to do with it.

    "She was a strong supporter of the war in Iraq," David Axelrod said, speaking of Hillary "which we would submit, is one of the reasons why we were diverted from Afghanistan, Pakistan and al-Qaeda, who may have been players in this event today. So that's a judgment she'll have to defend."

    I agree with David Axelrod.

    And she still hasn't defended it.

    But a murderer has been named.

    Sophia Saifi and Adeel Raja (CNN) report:

    A court in Pakistan on Thursday named Pervez Musharraf, the country's former President and army chief, a fugitive from justice in the assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, who was killed while campaigning in 2007.
    But the court's decision to drop charges against five members of the Pakistani Taliban linked to the killing has sparked anger from some supporters of Bhutto.
    The court ordered Musharraf's property to be seized in what his attorney, Faisal Chaudhary, described as a "disappointing and a flawed judgment." 

    I understand the outrage regarding charges dropped on five.

    That's the bad.

    That's what makes it mixed news.

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

    : PM Abadi declares victory over ISIS in

    Perhaps it would have meant more if the US spokesperson Ryan Dillon hadn't grabbed the pom-poms yesterday and rushed over to FRANCE 24 to declare victory?

    THE NEW ARAB offers this on the battle:

    It would also appear that IS fighters did not number anywhere close to the 2,000 militants claimed by Baghdad. According to after-action reports and statements issued by counter-terrorism units, the Iraqi military had slain some 225 IS militants, while the Joint Operations Command revised that figure upwards to 302. It is therefore becoming increasingly clear that IS did not fight with anywhere near the ferocity that they summoned for the Mosul battle, and had likely already conducted an operational withdrawal, ceding ground to the Iraqi military.

    This is likely due to IS having focused much of its military might in the fight for Mosul, and IS may well be conserving its manpower in order to conduct more conventional insurgent attacks – car bombs, suicide attacks etc - that are cheaper to conduct, and cost less in terms of human resources too.

    40,000 Iraqi fighters, plus foreign fighters, plus war planes dropping bombs and to defeat the 700 or so it took only eight days.




    40,000-plus to route out less than a thousand.

    I guess some -- possibly the slower-witted ones -- might see that as something to be proud of.

    And what does victory look like?

    Although the military operation in was brief, it displaced 1000s more 🇮🇶 / IOM provides health, NFI & psychosocial support.

    The Norwegian Refugee Council sketches out the sad details:

    More than 3 million people are currently displaced by conflict across Iraq – a third coming from Tal Afar or Mosul during the last nine months. While many have returned to east Mosul, many of those from the west say that they have nothing to go back to. Although the military operation in Tal Afar was brief, it displaced over 40,000 people since April.
    As the current conflict in Iraq diminishes, it is predicted that as many as 1.5 million people in Iraq will return to their homes over the next six months. However, any person’s return must be safe, voluntary and dignified. This can only happen with comprehensive plan from the government of Iraq.
    “We can’t go back unless the government allows us to - a lot of homes are booby trapped and there are IED (improvised explosive devices) and mines everywhere,” said Mehmoud Mustafa, who fled Tal Afar with four other members of his family. “One of our family members was arrested … and we have no idea where he is now, so we want to wait for the family to be together again.”
    “There are almost no services where we come from, and no food and water and things that we need to get by,” said Sami Salih, from Tal Afar. “We also need to be allowed to return to our homes by the government and military forces. So we will go back when I have enough money and something to go back to. Now we have nothing left of our properties.”
    One third of Iraq’s population, 11 million people, need humanitarian assistance. Yet, only 43 per cent of the US$ 985 million total funding target has been provided this year.

    “It will take a long time and a lot of resources to rebuild the cities, towns and villages that have been damaged and destroyed by this conflict. People cannot even begin this process unless they are safe. Once they are, people must be free to move when and where they choose so they can start the journey of rebuilding,” said Diedrich.

    This is in a country already torn apart by years of war, a country of widows and orphans.

    90% of Iraqi children have lost a relative, orphans exposed to rape & abuse – charities to RT

    There are approximately 11,000 US troops in Afghanistan Tom O'Connor (NEWSWEEK) reports noting:

    While the Pentagon did offer a troop count in Afghanistan on Wednesday, it declined to release the same figures for Iraq and Syria, where more than 7,900 U.S. troops may be battling ISIS alongside local partners, according to a report published last week by The Military Times. The Pentagon reports only 5,765.
    In Iraq, the U.S. supports the Iraqi military and Kurdish allies mostly through airstrikes but also with special operations forces. The Pentagon maintains that 5,262 U.S. soldiers are in Iraq, but defense officials have reportedly said that number is as high as 7,000. Second only to Afghanistan, the U.S.’s lengthy military presence in Iraq since 2003 has irked officials in Baghdad and served as a point of support for neighboring Iran, which funds powerful majority-Shiite Iraqi militias opposed to both ISIS and the U.S.

    Today's August 31st, the end of the month.  September is supposed to bring a referendum on independence in Iraq -- for the KRG and Kirkuk.  That referendum is scheduled to be held September 25th.

    RUDAW notes some of the opposition to it:

    Shiite and Sunni political leaders have expressed their opposition to Kirkuk Provincial Council’s decision to participate in the Kurdistan independence referendum.

    Nouri al-Maliki, Iraqi vice president and influential Shiite leader, said the inclusion of Kirkuk in the upcoming referendum will pave the way for increased crisis and perhaps fighting between various groups in the region.

    The former Iraqi PM who still wields immense power in Iraq described the decision by the Kirkuk Provincial Council to participate in the independence referendum as a means to “undermine hopes" of finding a solution to end the crisis in the region.

    The Kirkuk Provincial Council voted on Tuesday – upon a call from the Kurdish-led Brotherhood faction – to take part in the vote. 

    At POLITICO, Juleanna Glover offers her take:

    On September 25, the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in Iraq will hold a referendum to become an independent country. Iraqi Kurdistan is an island of democracy and tolerance in the Middle East. It is also a steadfast military ally of the U.S.; its Peshmerga forces have supported U.S. efforts in Iraq as far back as 1990 and have recently led the campaign against the Islamic State. (The KRG’s population has swelled by a third since 2014 as the government welcomed refugees fleeing ISIS’s brutalities.) Iraqi Kurds want their own free country, but the U.S. government is unenthusiastic about the bid for independence.

    Why? The State Department admitted in June, “We understand and appreciate the legitimate aspirations of the people of Iraqi Kurdistan.” But that affirmation of Kurdish ambitions was prefaced with a worn-out phrase: “support [for] a unified, stable, democratic, and a federal Iraq.” In other words, the Trump administration is maintaining the longtime U.S. position that the fate of the Kurds needs to be worked out with Baghdad. It’s understandable on some levels that the U.S. views Kurdish independence as an internal Iraqi matter—especially since neighboring Turkey, a U.S. ally (albeit an inconstant one), clashes with its own Kurd population and would do almost anything to prevent an independent Kurdish state from forming on its southern border. But the simple fact is that the administration’s current policy is based on fantasy: The “unified, stable, democratic, and a federal Iraq” at the core of its position towards the KRG does not exist, and will not exist in the near future. It a pipe dream lost to the reality of Iranian dominance.

    [. . .] 
    If the U.S. doesn’t change its position to support an independent sovereign KRG, the Kurds will proceed ahead no matter what, and the U.S. could lose its close working relationship with one of its best allies ever. We would appear ungrateful and disloyal. And there is no upside for the KRG to wait. The region is not likely to be suddenly becalmed and booming with economic growth. The KRG is motivated to look after itself. The Iranians are unlikely to slow their inexorable and creeping takeover of the Iraqi economy and political systems. That’s not to say it is “now or never” for KRG independence, but the threat of implicit Iraqi oversight of KRG internal and financial matters, combined with decades long aspirations and possession of one of the most seasoned and effective fighting forces in the region align in the direction of an exit.

    The Turkish government, led by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, opposes the referendum and Kurdish independence.

    Of course, Recep has many other things to worry about.  For example, Josh Delk (THE HILL) reported earlier this week:

    A grand jury has indicted 19 defendants, including 15 Turkish security officials, over charges stemming from a violent attack on protesters outside the Turkish embassy in Washington, D.C., in May.
    The indictments before the Superior Court for the District of Columbia were made public on Tuesday by the Justice Department.

    Poor Recep, if his security guards continue to attack peaceful protesters, will countries have to start blocking his visits?

    The following community sites -- plus GORILLA RADIO, PACIFICA RADIO and BLACK AGENDA REPORT -- updated:

  • 19 hours ago 
    And we'll close with this from WSWS:

    Last week, the World Socialist Web Site published an open letter from WSWS Chairperson David North to Google demanding that it stop censoring the Internet and stop blacklisting the WSWS and other left-wing sites. We hope you have had a chance to read it and have signed the petition against Internet censorship.

    Here are some additional actions you can take:
    1. The Open Letter is now available in pdf format to download and print. You can access it here (linked on the right-hand column) in booklet and four-page formats. Print it out and distribute it to your friends and co-workers and urge them to sign the petition.
    2. Contact us to sign-up with other WSWS readers and SEP supporters to distribute the letter and collect signatures at a factory, campus or neighborhood near you. Also let us know if you would like to help organize a meeting in your area.
    3. Share this letter as widely as possible on FacebookTwitter and other social media.
    4. Make a donation to the WSWS. Your financial support will go to promoting the letter and the petition on social media, printing flyers and organizing meetings.
    The World Socialist Web Site
    Donate to the WSWS
    Contact us to get involved!

    iraq iraq iraq iraq iraq Iraq