Friday, February 09, 2018

X-FILES and other things

I'm old enough to remember a memo being found that proved Hillary Clinton lied about the WH Travel Office firings. Isn't 20+ years considered a pattern? 🤔

I would say so.

Now let's talk this week's X-FILES.

A strong episode but no real connection to what's been going on -- the continuing thread of the efforts to capture Scully & Mulder's child.

This was more of a stand-alone episode.

But it was one of the better X-FILES episode if only because it got to the root of Scully, Mulder and Skinner.

It also makes clear that long before those two came along, Skinner was someone who had reason not to believe official stories.

"You two came along and taught me to hide from that but have the guts to shine a light into the darkest corners," Skinner told them.

His unit in Vietnam was exposed to a chemical that led to destruction.  It taught him not to trust the government.

And Skinner doesn't tell them but he's effected by the chemical as well (those who are lose teeth and he pulls one out near the end of the episode).

I would have liked to have seen The Smoking Gun Man or this season's guest star Barbara Hershey who is among those trying to control the world and wants Scully & Mulder's child to do it.

The only real continuity was in the last seconds of the show.

So we get a voice -- one of The Lone Gun Men -- at the end saying something like imagine a government exposing a people to a gas so they could control them.  "It's happening right now."  And we see a plane dusting crops and then chem trails.

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

Thursday, February 8, 2018.  US troops continue to bomb Iraq and continue to provide military support but let's pretend no combat is taking place, in advance of Iraq's elections we see coalitions form and coalitions splinter, and much more.

Remember all that talk of changed mission for forces remaining in Iraq?

It's not as safe as they made it sound, is it?

Iraqi forces, backed by a US-led coalition, advanced in a major operation against Islamic State group jihadists hiding out in a northeastern desert region

A USMC M1A1 Abrams Main Battle Tank, assigned to 1st Platoon, Alpha Co. 2nd Tank Battalion, provides security along the Iraqi/Syrian border south of Husaybuh, Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Again, not the way the US press has been spinning.  Imagine that.

And US war planes continue combat missions (dropping bombs) over Iraq.

: warplanes bombed a house full of civilians near the Syrian Iraqi border. Many civilians including children were killed

The Iraq War continues.  Next month is the 15th anniversary.

My son was an infant when we went to war with Afghanistan and 3 when I deployed to Iraq. More than 16 years later, veterans like myself are facing the possibility of sending our children to fight in the same wars we engaged in.

15 years and still no talk of pulling all US troops out of Iraq.

A "drawdown," yes.  That means some troops out (to go to Afghanistan) -- not all.  And the request is for those to be replaced by NATO troops.

Nothing really changes.

The fakers just keep faking.

Did someone say Pelosi?

Yes, Nancy was grandstanding yesterday yet again.  Eight hours on the floor of the House spitting out a lot of meaningless words that didn't change a damn thing because Nancy only delivers empty words.  Now, granted, this one was for 8 hours and Nancy never gave eight hours to the Iraq War.  But this will end the same way as her 'protest' against the Iraq War did.

Fakers gotta' fake.

May 12th, elections are supposed to take place in Iraq.  Hayder al-Abadi's danced for his western masters/owners quite well and hopes to be rewarded with a second term as prime minister.  Nouri al-Maliki alos has his eyes set on the post after being ejected from it in 2014.  Over the weekend, a ridiculous account posted insisting Nouri wasn't interested in the post anymore.  We've heard stories like this before.  They're never true.

In an attempt to pull support from Nouri, Hayder attempted to create an 'expansive' coalition but it didn't work out the way he hoped.  First to flee was the most criticized component, the militias.  Others soon followed.

If popular votes mattered -- 2010 made clear they don't (Nouri was voted out of office but refused to step down and then-US President Barack Obama utilized The Erbil Agreement to give Nouri a second term) -- then one to watch would be Shi'ite cleric and movement leader Moqtada al-Sadr who remains a popular figure in Iraq and whose anti-corruption calls have been embraced by many Iraqis.

Mustafa Habib (NIQASH) reports:

Last week Iraqi cleric Muqtada al-Sadr released a somewhat surprising statement, explaining why he had allied himself with the Iraqi Communist party and other secular and civil society groups, to compete in upcoming federal elections.
“If we enter into an alliance with the Shiites, people say it is a sectarian alliance. And if we enter an alliance with the Sunnis, people accuse me of Wahhabism [an extreme form of Sunni Islam], Baathism [support for Saddam Hussein’s former Sunni-majority party, now outlawed in Iraq] or loyalty to Saudi Arabia,” read a statement issued by al-Sadr last Friday. “If we enter into an alliance with the civil society stream, they say we are Communists. When we enter into an alliance with parties close to Iran, they accuse us of being Iranian loyalists and when we get closer to Arab parties, they say we are secret agents for them. I will participate in elections for the sake of Iraq, to support moderate people and to expel extremists, to achieve reform and to end corruption and nepotism,” al-Sadr declared in the rousing statement.  
To compete in the elections, slated for May, the powerful young cleric, whose opinion can sway tens of thousands of Iraqis, formed a new political party called Istiqama, or the Integrity party. Then al-Sadr joined that with a number of left wing and more liberal parties and formed a whole new alliance for the elections named Marching Toward Reform. This is the slogan that al-Sadr adopted three years ago when he and the left-wing parties first came together in anti-government and anti-corruption demonstrations in 2015.
In doing this, al-Sadr confirms his rejection of the Shiite Muslim bloc to which he was once so closely connected. And of course, he has come under fire for this.
The Marching Toward Reform alliance is composed of six parties, the most prominent of which are al-Sadr’s new Integrity party, the Iraqi Communist party and the Iraqi Republican party, an Iraqi nationalist group led by a Sunni Muslim politician, Saad Assim al-Janabi.

“The alliance’s aim is to change the balance of power and to weaken sectarian parties and corrupt people, as well as mobilize that portion of the population that is interested in changing the status quo,” Jassim al-Halfi, a senior member of the Communist party told NIQASH. These goals are what unites the alliance.  “The alliance is trying to fulfil the demands of demonstrators from three years ago and to defend the interests of the Iraqi people,” he added. “The demonstrators have not been adequately represented in government and nobody has paid them enough attention.”

How the alliance will work out is anyone's guess at this point.

And the Sunnis?  Omar Sattar (AL-MONITOR) notes:

Out of the 27 alliances registered with the Independent High Electoral Commission for the upcoming Iraqi general elections set for May, around 10 alliances represent the Sunni community. In fact, most of these alliances used to be part of the Coalition of Iraqi Sunni Forces.
The most notable coalitions are the Iraqi Decision Alliance led by Vice President Osama al-Nujaifi and Sheikh Khamis al-Khanjar; the National Coalition led by former Vice President Ayad Allawi, parliament Speaker Salim al-Jabouri and former Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlaq; and the Solidarity Coalition led by Sheikh Wadhah al-Sadid.
Although the parties organized conferences last year, namely in Ankara and Oman, with the support of some Arab countries and Turkey in the hopes of uniting the different Sunni parties and establishing a common political project, they were not able to form an inclusive political coalition. There were many reasons behind this failure, namely the “struggle for power,” as Dhafer al-Ani, a leader in the Iraqi Decision Alliance, expressed.
Ani told Al-Monitor that the “conferences held by Sunni parties over the past period aimed at a unified Sunni project, yet this project could not be completed because of the current divisions between the Sunnis in power and those of the opposition.”

Is Sattar reading the situation correctly?
Maybe not.
His terming Ayad Allawi a "former" vice president of Iraq shows either a weak knowledge base or a hostility towards Allawi.
Allawi remains one of Iraq's three vice presidents.
Hayder tried to do away with the post.  The court overruled him.
That was some time ago.  And just last month, Sattar referred to Nouri al-Maliki as Vice President.
Sattar clearly doesn't question the court's verdict.
He just doesn't want to acknowledge that Allawi is also a vice president?
Who knows but there appears to be prejudice at play which makes his 'reporting' questionable.
(Osama al-Nujafi is the third of Iraq's three vice presidents.) 

As for the Kurds?

Gorran, PUK, KDP, KIG, KIU & CDJ met, seem to have agreed to run for Iraqi elex in a joint list in disputed areas. Gorran, CDJ & KIG already had a joint list, KDP has boycotted elex in Kirkuk. Gorran, KIG & CDJ should not accept it forces who have only brought disasters for KRI.

RUDAW reports:

In another attempt to unify the Kurdish vote ahead of Iraq’s elections, political parties of the Kurdistan Region met on Tuesday to discuss coordinating in the disputed areas. The parties’ election offices will meet again to talk technical aspects of an alliance.

"The meeting looked into the way in which we can participate in the Article 140 territories and disputed territories in the upcoming Iraqi elections," Dr. Rebwar Karim, spokesperson of the newly formed Coalition for Democracy and Justice (CDJ), told Rudaw.

The Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), Gorran, Kurdistan Islamic Group (Komal), Kurdistan Islamic Union (KIU), and other parties were all in attendance.

"The Kurdish parties have shown like-mindedness, and only the technical aspect of it remains. I hope we will reach a good result," Rebaz Berkuty, a member of the PUK delegation, told journalists.

He added that the Kurdish parties need to be united and provide a collective redefinition of the situation following the events of October 16 when Iraqi forces took control of the majority of the disputed areas.

"We have to try to be united in the upcoming elections and show the enemies of the Kurds that we are united when it comes to national questions," Berkuty explained.

Let's wind down with this Tweet:

Iraqi armed forces previously arrested Obeid at his Baghdad home on October 22, 2017, a day after Obeid had published an article to his page criticizing Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, CPJ documented.

The following community sites -- plus Jody Watley, DISSIDENT VOICE, LATINO USA and PACIFICA EVENING NEWS -- updated: