Thursday, June 11, 2020

Whores or truth tellers, who do you want to listen to?

First, here's Jimmy Dore.

Second, an e-mail asks why I'm not noting RISING?  Why would I?  I note Jimmy because he's not a partisan hack.  I did watch RISING.  But I stopped.  I don't like partisan hacks. Krystal Ball seems to think I'm stupid enough to be tricked by her conversion tale and that I'll follow her over to Joe Biden.  To which I say, "F**k you, Krystal."

Elaine and I have a daughter.  If Elaine writes "Is Krystal Ball trying to Dick her Cheney? Not into sell outs." -- and she did -- you better believe we're on the same page.  We addressed Krystal's nonsense at THIRD with "Editorial: War Hawk Joe is a threat to Muslims:"

And speaking of looks, it looks like Krystal Ball's edging on over to Joe.  She's to be our come-to-Jesus moment.  As she slowly makes and details her conversion, we're supposed to go along.

Sorry, it's not happening.

Just like RISING refuses to cover the fact that Joe's support is coming from his fellow War Hawks -- Bill Kristol, Collie Powell, Condi Rice, Bully Boy Bush, etc.

I'm not interested in liars.  And I'm at the age where I really find it insulting when someone who depends on viewers for income thinks they can trick me, thinks I'm so stupid I won't realize what they're doing. 

I don't need a whore trying to lead me somewhere.  She doesn't respect me and she doesn't respect herself. 

Bye, Felicia.

If you want truth, Nigel Clarke serves up a lot of truth at DISSIDENT VOICE:

These, the derisive words of then-President Obama to an unruly crowd at a campaign stop for Hillary Clinton in 2016. They would become, in the years that followed, a calling card for Democratic operatives, printed on stickers and hats and coffee mugs, taken up as organizational slogan and event title. They are words which would become particularly relevant after the murder of George Floyd at the hands of four Minneapolis police officers and subsequent protests which erupted in the Twin Cities and across the country and world. As people poured into the streets, Democrats like 71-year-old white millionaire Senator Ron Wyden, insisted, don’t protest, vote!
Of course, when Democratic politicians like Obama and Wyden say ‘vote,’ they don’t simply mean ‘participate in the electoral process.’ They mean, vote for Democrats.
Perhaps nowhere in the country has this advice been taken to heart quite like the state of Minnesota and the city of Minneapolis. The state is led by a Democratic Governor and has had a Democratic Attorney General, that is, a Democrat as its chief legal officer, since 1971. The Mayor of Minneapolis is a Democrat, and has been since 1978, while 12 out of 13 seats on the Minneapolis city council are held by Democrats (the final seat is held by the Green Party).
Minnesota Nice’ may or may not involve booing, but it has certainly included voting for Democrats.
The results of this approach are well documented. A 2015 study revealed Minnesota to have “some of the worst racial disparities in the country,” gaps larger than most or all other states in education, employment, household income, home ownership, and poverty. African Americans in Minneapolis are nearly five times more likely than their white counterparts to live in poverty, and nearly three times more likely to be unemployed. They are nearly ten times more likely to be arrested for low level offenses and 13 times as likely as white Minnesotans to be killed by police, a disturbing fact born out in the high-profile killings of Jamar Clark in 2015, Philando Castile in 2016, and now, George Floyd.
It is telling to note that the state’s current Democratic Senator, and, perhaps until this week, the presumptive vice-presidential frontrunner to join Joe Biden atop the Democratic ticket, has been an integral part of the construction of the way Minneapolis functions today. From 1999-2007, Amy Klobuchar was the chief prosecutor for Hennepin County, encompassing the city of Minneapolis. During this period, Klobuchar declined to bring charges in over two dozen cases where people were killed by police, instead, focusing her attention on aggressively prosecuting low-level offenders, disproportionately people of color, for whom she sought longer-than-recommended sentences. Summed up by longtime Minneapolis community activist Michelle Gross, “she’s a racist who basically made our prisons the blackest place in this state.”

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

Thursday, June 11, 2020.  The US and Iraq are engaging in talks to determine the future relationship between the two countries, the State Dept has released their annual report on religious freedom around the world, JEZEBEL details the very real issues at play in the attacks on Tara Reade, and much more.

Yesterday at the US State Dept in DC, Secretary of State Michael Pompeo declared: 

On Iraq:  The Government of Iraq has agreed to the Strategic Dialogue proposed in April, beginning tomorrow.  Under Secretary Hale will lead that discussion with the representatives from Department of Defense, Treasury, Energy, and other agencies, and their Iraqi counterparts.
In keeping with previous dialogues based on our 2008 Strategic Framework Agreement, the dialogue will cover all of the areas of interest between our two countries: politics, economics, security, culture, and energy.
With new threats on the horizon, including the global coronavirus pandemic, collapsed oil prices, and a large budget deficit, it’s imperative that the United States and Iraq meet as strategic partners to plan a way forward for the mutual benefit of each of our two nations.

Yesterday a dialogue started between the governments of Iraq and the United States.  It continues today.  

On the verge of crucial strategic talks between the United States and Iraq set to take place on June 10, former Iraqi Foreign Minister Mohamed Ali Alhakim said the process is a necessary, long-planned step in ongoing bilateral ties between Baghdad and Washington.
But he took pains to call the process a dialogue involving the US government and the sovereign state of Iraq, one which will define the Pentagon’s future presence in Iraq as well as non-military aspects of the relationship including education, energy, culture, trade, and foreign investment.
“Here in the local papers, they’re calling it negotiations, but we are not negotiating anything,” Alhakim said. “It’s an agreement signed by the two sides. The only thing we need to do is figure out the bits and pieces.”
Speaking June 9 in a webinar with Abbas Kadhim, director of the Atlantic Council’s Iraq Initiative, Alhakim noted that because of COVID-19, the upcoming talks will be held virtually—a departure from the long-standing arrangement of alternating the sessions every six months between Washington and Baghdad.

AFP quotes the Middle East Institute's Robert Ford who declares, "The entire US-Iraq bilateral relationship will not be fixed in a single day. But for once, we seem to have the right people in the right place at the right time."  May 7th, Mustafa al-Kahdemi became the latest prime minister of Iraq.    Ali Mamouri (AL-MONITOR) notes that the talks were accompanied with a rocket attack on Baghdad.  

Ali Mamouri also notes that unlike Adel Abdel Mahdi, the previous prime minister, al-Kahdemi "included the strategic dialogue with the United States as part of his plan of action presented to the parliament. The plan, which was approved by the parliament, does not mention the departure of US troops from the country."  MIDDLE EAST ONLINE cites two unnamed Iraqi government officials who state "Kahdemi has been invited to the White House this year, a diplomatic olive branch his predecessor Adel Abdel Mahdi had never received."  Mahdi did call for US withdrawl but did so only after he had resigned (and over a month after Parliament accepted his resignation).  While that might explain the lack of invitation to the White House since January (when he called for withdrawal of US forces), it doesn't explain why there was no invitation since October 2018 (when he became prime minister).  Mahdi had huge support in the US from the intelligence community which had been pimping him as the answer to Iraq ('liberating' it or just controlling it) since 2006.  ALJAZEERA offers the following prediction:

The main event will be the fate of US-led troops, deployed in Iraq from 2014 to head a military coalition fighting the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or ISIS) group.
"Whatever comes out of the dialogue is going to set the future of our strategic relationship," an American official from the coalition told the AFP news agency.
 "Am I still going to fly surveillance drones or not? Do you still want our intelligence?" he added.
The coalition has already consolidated to just three bases in recent months, down from a dozen, and the talks would likely bring a further drawdown.
"There are no details yet on troop levels, but the US draft on a joint statement mentions a 'reduction of US forces'," one senior Iraqi official told AFP.
ALJAZEERA also offers this video report by Simona Foltyn.

Simona Foltyn explains in the video above, "The US and the Iraqi governments both appear to favor a partial reduction of troops but the question is whether they will agree on the terms that will govern their future presence.  Whatever the outcome, the dialogue is likely to usher in a new chapter of US - Iraqi relations."  So the withdrawal -- not drawdown -- that the world wants, that Iraq needs, is not likely to happen according to the media.

John Davison (REUTERS) accompanied the current prime minister of Iraq to Mosul yesterday.  He reports:

Three years ago, the world
rejoiced when Iraqi forces backed by the United States and Iran
liberated this ancient city from the brutal rule of Islamic
State. The people of Mosul hoped to rebuild their shattered
    Today, a different battle plays out.
    Taking place largely behind the scenes, from legislative
halls that overlook the city's bombed-out streets to hotel
meeting rooms in Baghdad, it is a power struggle among parties,
politicians and militiamen. Some are backed by Iran. Others
favour the United States.
    At stake: political control of Nineveh province, of which
Mosul is capital – a region rich in natural resources and a link
in a supply route from Tehran to the Mediterranean. The route
serves Iran-backed militias, Washington's fiercest enemy here
since the defeat of Islamic State.
    Iran's allies had been winning. They installed a governor
favoured by Tehran a year ago. But then anti-government
protests, U.S. sanctions and the assassination of Iran's
military mastermind Qassem Soleimani challenged Iranian
influence. The pro-Western camp replaced the Nineveh governor
with a longtime U.S. ally.
    The contest mirrors a wider struggle over the future of Iraq
    Speaking to Reuters over the span of a year, around 20 Iraqi
officials involved in the political tussle over Nineveh
described how Iran and its allies developed the networks to
influence local government, how pro-Western officials tried to
hit back, and how this tug of war has crippled Mosul's recovery.
If any side prevails, many of these insiders believe, it will
ultimately be the side aligned with Iran. Iran helps its allies
with money, political backing and sticks with them, explained
Nineveh councilor Ali Khdeir. The United States, in contrast,
"has left no real mark on Iraq."

Dropping back to the May 28th Iraq snapshot:

MIDDLE EAST MONITOR ONLINE reports that Iraqi Brigadier General Yahya Rasoul is insisting that ISIS "has already been vanquished, no longer poses a threat to Iraq."  Unfortunately, reality slaps Rasoul in the face.  ISIS has never been vanquished.

Monday, ALMASDAR NEWS reported, "The Iraqi security forces announced on Monday that an Iraqi military plane was hit by terrorist forces in the Al-Rutbah Desert during an operation to destroy Islamic State"  Iraqi security forces said a member of ISIS had "14.5 mm mono weapon and fired at one of the planes, lightly wounding the plane."  Doesn't sound like it's been vanquished or that it no longer poses as a threat.  Monday night, David Rose (THE AUSTRALIAN) reported:

Islamic State has waged its deadliest terrorism campaign in Iraq for nearly two years, raising fears jihadists are staging a resurgence.
In the past month, since the start of Ramadan, Islamic State (also known as ISIS) has claimed responsibility for more than 260 attacks across Iraq, allegedly killing or wounding 426 people.
The attacks form part of the group’s self-proclaimed “battle of attrition” campaign, which also has inspired violence by Islamic State branches in Syria, Egypt, Nigeria, Niger, Congo and Mozambique in recent weeks.

 The assailants came at dusk, creeping on foot through the dusty palm groves near the Tigris River, armed only with a rocket-propelled grenade, a light machine gun and Kalashnikovs. They had laid roadside bombs to kill anyone who rushed to help the unsuspecting local guards, who were in their sights.
When the attack on the village last month was over, nine members of a Sunni tribe that had opposed the Islamic State were dead and four were wounded, one of them nearly burned to death.
This is the Islamic State in Iraq in 2020: low-tech, low-cost, rural, but still lethal. And while it has not carried out attacks on the scale that it did a few years ago, the number of attacks has begun to grow again.
As American and Iraqi negotiators begin a new round of strategic talks on Thursday, the question of how to respond to the Islamic State’s quiet resurgence — and how much American help is required to do so — will be at the center of the discussion.

We called out the lie on May 28th because it was a lie.  It's a shame the military spokesperson felt he could lie, it's a bigger shame that no one in the press called him out in real time.  

Calling out?  Some have called Tara Reade out.  She's the woman with the credible allegation that Joe Biden assaulted her in 1993 when she was working in his office.  Rubbish like Michael Tracey have tried to attack her because they can't attack her charges.  They pretend that talking about her unpaid bills somehow tells you whether or not she was raped -- in their biased minds, only women of wealth can be raped.  

A narrative has emerged from this reporting that ties questions of Reade’s trustworthiness to her financial background. Economic class is brought in as character evidence.  At JEZEBEL, Tracy Clark-Flory observes:
In May, the New York Times published a lengthy report that forwards this framing. It spins Reade’s economic background, financial struggles, and history of intimate partner violence into a tale of a “messy life,” a “tumultuous journey,” a “shambolic life.” As the article puts it, “If the national stage is new for Ms. Reade, the sturm and drang is anything but.” Much of that “sturm and drang” relates to abuse and poverty, yet the piece includes no discussion of how these two things are cyclical and interconnected. Instead, in the Times piece and others like it, a case is made for the way that trouble has followed Reade around—the implication being that she creates it.
Reade’s class permeates the Times’ discussion of Reade’s time working in Biden’s office in the 1990s. “The Biden Senate world was populated by striving Type A’s, and had a small-c conservative culture in which Ms. Reade didn’t quite fit,” the piece reads. “Former aides remember her as prone to storytelling and oversharing personal information.” It continues to note that she “rarely socialized with colleagues after work” and chafed “at the Ivy League tilt of the staff” while :arguing for more interns from state schools.” These facts set the stage for interpreting Reade through the lens of an outsider, that she didn’t gel with the staff is seen as a telling detail of her character.
Additionally, the Times reports that Biden’s office manager “admonished [Reade] to dress more modestly,” which not only has potential class insinuations but also recalls the long history of sexual assault victims being assessed by their clothing. This is not the first time reporters have clung to the subject of Reade’s attire in Biden’s office. Previously, in late May, Buzzfeed interviewed former Biden staffers and “two people brought up the clothes [Reade] wore to work—specifically recalling that she wore capes and dressed in a ‘hippie’ style.” Cara Ameer, then a legislative correspondent, said, “You were in a professional environment, so you wanted to be professional in every way—to look and act that way.” Ameer added, “She definitely seemed to me to march to her own drum. Maybe she didn’t like us. Maybe she thought we were a bunch of preppy Capitol Hill staffer types. If there was a mold of a Capitol Hill staffer, I would kinda say we probably fit it. We were well dressed.”
The assessment of her dress is not merely aesthetic but rather mired in class-based assumptions. This evaluation recalls Paula Jones, who in 1994 alleged that Bill Clinton exposed himself to her. (Note that Jones’ allegation came a year after Reade alleges that she was assaulted by Biden. ) In return, she was relentlessly mocked as low class: James Carville famously responded to her allegation by saying, “If you drag a $100 bill through a trailer park, you never know what you’ll find.” A journalist from Newsweek referenced her reputation as “just some sleazy woman with big hair coming out of the trailer parks.” Four years later, Jones got a makeover and the Washington Post’s Robin Givhan wrote: “Her braces are gone. She has smoothed the frizzy mane of curls that once reached to such dazzling heights. Her makeup is now subtle and based on natural, not neon, hues. Her clothing is inspired by the boardroom instead of the secretarial pool.” By modeling herself on the aesthetics of DC’s professional set, Givhan wrote that Jones had “embraced the markers of dignity, refinement and power.” Most relevantly: the markers of class. “She is not white trash. She is not a big-haired floozy,” her spokesperson said of the image overhaul.
The Times continues its focus on Reade as an outsider in discussing a later job as an aide for State Senator Jack O’Connell, reporting that “two people familiar with her tenure said she regularly failed to appear at constituent meetings.” Then, “as the complaints about her work continued, Ms. Reade confessed that she was having a hard time at home, these people recalled.” Those hard times are unspecified, but the Times notes that Reade had feared for her safety after her then-husband, Ted Dronen, responded to news of her pregnancy by “slamming things around the house.” The Times continues, “She was given a lighter schedule, but when the behavior repeated itself, she and the office agreed to part ways.” The “behavior repeated itself” is an awfully blameful way to refer to a woman who is, it is implied, struggling at work alongside fear of her own husband. The Times fails to note research showing, as a Purdue University report puts it, that the impacts of domestic violence can “lead to tardiness, absenteeism and lack of productivity.”

Tara Reade's allegation was credible and remains credible.  Assaults and smears on her do not change her allegation.  Assaults and smears do not erase the corroborating witnesses she has.  The attacks and smears on her have taken place with far too many feminists either staying silent or joining in (Joan Walsh, Katha Pollitt and others have joined in).  How this is supposed to help survivors is beyond me and a lot of people should be ashamed.  Nick Givas (FOX NEWS) notes, "Former Colorado governor and current Senate candidate John Hickenlooper said Wednesday that he believes allegations made by Tara Reade against 2020 presidential candidate Joe Biden are true but will still be voting for him anyway."

A lot of people are covering for 'innocent' Joe Biden.  They appear unaware of what he's done to the world and unaware that politicians serve us, not the other way around.  

We'll note that video again tomorrow.

We started with Mike Pompeo, we'll close with him.  His remarks about Iraq (quoted at the start) were made at the press briefing he gave for the release of the 2019 International Religious Freedom Report.

SECRETARY POMPEO:  Good morning, everyone.  It’s great to be with you all today.  I’m here one more time, proudly, to talk about freedom and free societies.  And while America is not a perfect nation by any means, we always strive towards that more perfect union, trying to improve.  We remain the greatest nation in the history of civilization.
One of the good things that we do in this administration is our dedication to the protection of religious freedom all around the world.  Last week, President Trump signed the first ever executive order that instructs the entire U.S. Government to prioritize religious freedom.
Here at the State Department, I’ve hosted the Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom now twice.  We’ve launched the International Religious Freedom Alliance.  We’ve trained our Foreign Service officers to understand religious freedom issues much more deeply.
And today, I’m proud to release the 2019 International Religious Freedom Report.  There is no other nation that cares so deeply about religious freedom, that we gather accounts from all across the world – it’s an enormous, it’s a comprehensive accounting of this fundamental human right.
Let me highlight a few positive developments we’ve observed in this past year:
The Gambia, an International Freedom Alliance member, has courageously brought a case before the International Court of Justice regarding crimes against the Rohingya.
The United Arab Emirates, long an ally for religious freedom in the Middle East, has become the first country in the Middle East to permit the construction of a temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
In Uzbekistan, steps have been taken to improve its record on religious freedom, and those steps continue.  I had a great chat with religious leaders where I was there earlier this year.
We documented no police raids of unregistered religious group meetings during 2019, compared with 114 such raids in 2018, and 240 – 240 the year before that.  These are great strides, real progress, the efforts of our State Department team showing or bearing fruit.
But there’s also a great darkness over parts of the world where people of faith are persecuted or denied the right to worship:
The Nicaraguan Government harasses and intimidates religious leaders and worshipers and desecrates religious spaces, often using proxies.
In Nigeria, ISIS and Boko Haram continue to attack Muslims and Christians alike.  ISIS beheaded 10 Christians in that country just this past December.
And in China, state-sponsored repression against all religions continues to intensify.  The Chinese Communist Party is now ordering religious organizations to obey CCP leadership and infuse communist dogma into their teachings and practice of their faith.  The mass detentions of Uighurs in Xinjiang continues.  So does the repression of Tibetans and Buddhists and Falun Gong and Christians.
I commend the report released today to everyone.  Its very existence is evidence of our strong resolve to defend human dignity.

The following sites updated:


NBC scored big with their live production of THE SOUND OF MUSIC and THE WIZ, FOX with GREASE. Other notables? THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW, RENT, JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR, THE LITTLE MERMAID LIVE!, A CHRISTMAS STORY and the hideous PETER PAN LIVE! Most of the efforts were based on stage productions (THE ROCKY HORROR SHOW started as a film, the GREASE production owed more to the film than the original Broadway production).

HAIR and BYE-BYE BIRDIE were planned but then cancelled.

In this group post, we are all picking a play or movie that we think would make a good live TV production.


I love the movie and think it would be a great live musical on TV. 

I grew up loving that movie.  I'm not a Julie Andrews fan.  I don't dislike her but she's just not someone that I say, "I've got to see ____ because she's in it."

I grew up on MARY POPPINS, but the soundtrack, not the movie.  The movie bored me.  The soundtrack moved much quicker.  And my brothers also wanted the TV so they'd talk up the CD and tell me to go listen to that.  I never saw THE SOUND OF MUSIC or 10 or most of her films.

But I saw THOROUGHLY MODERN MILLIE over and over growing up. 

Miss Dorothy?  Mary Tyler Moore played her.  I think that was my first crush when I was a kid.  :D  Don't laugh too hard, my older brother had a crush on Vanna White and told everyone, when he was five, that he was going to marry Vanna someday.  (I have three older brothers.  I'll be nice and not say which one.)

This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" for Wednesday:

Wednesday, June 10, 2020.  More on the US plane that crashed in Iraq, Moqtada al-Sadr returns to an old cry, the US and Iraqi representatives begin meetings today to outline future steps, and much more.

THE WYOMING TRIBUNE EAGLE notes, "A Wyoming Air National Guard member and three others were injured after a cargo plane crashed in Iraq."  Yesterday's snapshot noted the US cargo plane crash in Iraq that left at least four on board injured:

A US military transport plan has crashed in Baghdad leaving at least four service members injured.  The US military says the plane "overshot the runway" while the Iraqi Revolutionary Group states it shot the plane down.

Of the four injured, Stephen Losey (AIR FORCE TIMES) notes, "The service members’ injuries were not life-threatening, and they are being treated at the base’s medical facility, according to a release by Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve."  THE DRIVE adds, "The C-130H, which is assigned to the 386th Air Expeditionary Wing at Ali Al Salem Air Base in Kuwait, crashed at Taji, which is situated approximately 17 miles north of the Iraqi capital Baghdad, at around 10:10 PM local time."

Of the wounded from Wyoming, AP notes:
 The Wyoming Guard member’s condition wasn’t available but wasn’t life-threatening, Wyoming Military Department spokesman Rusty Ridley said Tuesday.
Three of the four hurt were released after treatment, Ridley added.
Though crewed by the Wyoming Air National Guard, the plane wasn’t among the Guard’s C-130s. U.S. military officials said they didn’t suspect hostile activity but were investigating. 

Spanish troops are planning to withdraw from a strategic Iraqi military base in southeast of Baghdad at the end of this summer, according to the US-led coalition against the Islamic State (ISIS) group.

In an official statement sent to Rudaw on early Wednesday, the US-led coalition announced the withdrawal of Spanish troops from Besmaya Range Complex, a military base in southeastern Baghdad province that is under the control of the US-led coalition.

“In the late summer, Spanish troops will be withdrawn from the Besmaya Range Complex, Iraq. The base is one of the Building Partner Capacity centers run by the US-led international anti-ISIS Coalition,” the statement reads.

Iraqis have called for the US to leave their country.  One who has long made that call is Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr.  THE NEW ARAB notes he has renewed his call:

Prominent Iraqi cleric Muqtada al-Sadr called on the US to remove its "occupying forces" from the country, just hours after four American soldiers were injured in an attack on a military base in Baghdad.
The Shia Muslim cleric demanded Washington "withdraw its occupying forces from all countries, especially Iraq, in a manner the preserves peoples’ prestige and dignity".
"I think it's necessary for America to change its hostile and arrogant approach with its people first and the people of the world, second," Sadr said in a statement, addressing recent anti-racism protests in the US.

Jason Ditz (ANTIWAR.COM) insists, "But more importantly, Sadr is a major political player in Iraq, and the Iraqi parliament wants the US out of the country. Pushing this position is an obvious position to take, and one that makes clear that a violent US reaction would be unwelcome."


Moqtada is not "a major political player."  He was.  In 2012, he was rebuilding his brand.  By 2016, he was a very important player.  But he lost that power by a series of idiotic and stupid moves.  Originally, he supported the protests in the fall of 2019.  Then he withdrew his support in January, then he returned it maybe, then he withdrew it again, then he insisted that men and women should not protest together and then . . .

Iraq has a young population.  They are laughing at him.  They mocked him in the protests after his call for men and women to protest separately.  He has not been able to come back from that moment so far.  He might at some point, but right now he remains a joke.  He had supporters, now he has a small cult.

No one listened to him before on his call for the US to withdraw.  I doubt he expects the US to listen now.  But he does see it as a cry that got him attention and support so that might be why he's making it now.

Yesterday's snapshot included this:

Mustafa Habib notes another political twist:

Wild move, Iraqi PM Al-Kadhimi appoints judge Raed Jouhi as the director of the his office, Jouhi became known as he issued judicial warrant to arrest Muqtada Sadr in 2003 for the murder of Majid al-Khoei, & he the first judge who investigate with Saddam Hussein after his arrest

Moqtada has regularly and repeatedly fled to Iran since the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq.  During the years Bully Boy Bush occupied the White House, the fleeing was so he could avoid arrest.  Now the person responsible for issuing that arrest warrant is part of the prime minister's office?  That's got to worry Moqtada.

And the terrorism of gay men and men suspected of being gay is something he got away with in Nouri al-Maliki's second term but it's not something the young people of Iraq are embracing.  Human Rights Watch's Belkis Willie notes:

An important report from
documenting the most recent wave of attacks against LGBT people in #Iraq, particularly by Moqtada al-Sadr, that according to the org has led to the killings of six young LGBT+ members since May 17

In Baghdad, there has been a non-stop barrage of criticism of the US-Iraqi talks beginning today.
The criticism and smear tactics have gone on despite the fact that the government of Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi went out on a limb to clarify matters for the political parties and the public in general.
According to unofficial information, the US-Iraq Strategic Dialogue starts Wednesday and will continue Thursday.
The final phases of the preparations for the dialogue were completed with US Ambassador Matthew Toler paying a visit to the new Iraqi Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein on Monday, according to informed sources.
Iran’s allies in Iraq are trying to hammer home the idea that the Baghdad-Washington talks are focusing on the status of American forces in the country, while Kadhimi’s team has suggested that economic development will be the top priority.
FOREIGN BRIEF offers, "A major component of the talks today will consider US efforts aimed at diminishing Iran’s influence in Iraq as part of Washington’s “maximum pressure” campaign. For Iraqi policymakers, the focus is expected to be the question of whether to request the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq or to seek to keep those troops in country until the Islamic State has been completely defeated and ousted from the country; Iraqis are sharply divided on the issue."

May 7th, Mustafa Al-Kadhimi became the latest prime minister of Iraq.  His is supposed to be a brief term, his main goal being to set up elections.  REUTERS' John Davison Tweets:

Iraq’s newish PM Mustafa Kadhimi is taking press on his first tour since he formed his full govt - to Mosul and its surroundings. Mins of reconstruction, culture and others are also here. #iraq 1/

It’s a whistle-stop tour. Been to Q West air base (recently exited by US troops), Nineveh ops command, Nuri mosque (where ISIS leader Baghdadi declared a caliphate), multi-ethnic and religious Bartella, and shortly an IDP camp and a church 2/

The new PM’s message so far: Mosul and Nineveh like the rest of Iraq need to be restored; Iraq’s strength will be its plurality; Iraq is in this state because of both Saddam and the leadership and governing post-2003. ‘Mismanagement’ is a word he keeps repeating 3/

There’s a lot of hope being placed on Kadhimi’s government by senior officials and Western capitals. He’s being projected by his own office as a strong, non-sectarian leader who can row back foreign influence including Iran and its miltias, especially with US help 4/

But Kadhimi was brought in by the same parties which many Iraqis allege have ruined the country and which have clung onto real power despite mas protests. He does not have his own party. Some see him as just as hamstrung as his predecessor Abdul Mahdi. 5/

So no matter how strong Kadhimi is, it will require a heck of a lot more to change Iraq’s current course. Corruption is so entrenched, and foreign powers continue to compete over influence here. And the parties and militias are still here fighting over reducing resources. 6/

A visit to Mosul is a strong statement 6 years after ISIS took it. But his meetings with sheikhs and leaders and officials reveal a litany of complaints and demands that any government would find it hard to address. 7/

Reuters will soon be publishing a report about why it’s so difficult to get a city like Mosul off the ground, how we got here, and what that means for Iraq. Stay tuned. END

Mustafa Al-Kadhimi has promised change.  He's made a lot of statements about the protesters right to protest, about releasing them from prisons, about investigating the assaults carried out against them . . . Lots of pretty words.  But what's changed?

What's changed now that Mustafa is prime minister?  Apparently, not one damn thing.

ALJAZEERA reports on how corruption is effecting farming in Iraq.

The following sites updated:

  • Tuesday, June 09, 2020

    Jimmy Dore, Patrick Martin

    First, here's Jimmy Dore.

    Other news?

    An editor got fired by THE NEW YORK TIMES. Not fretting too much, everybody at that paper should be fired. Patrick Martin (WSWS) notes the firing was over the column by Senator Tom Cotton:

    The column provoked a rebellion among the newspaper’s staff, with more than 800 signing a letter of opposition. Bennet and publisher A. G. Sulzberger initially defended the decision on the grounds that, as Sulzberger put it, “I believe in the principle of openness to a range of opinions, even those we may disagree with, and this piece was published in that spirit.” Within hours, however, the ground had shifted, Sulzberger and Bennet declared that the op-ed column did not meet the standards set by the Times. Two days more, and Bennet was gone.
    After 15 years as a Times correspondent, including roles as White House correspondent and Jerusalem bureau chief, Bennet became editor-in-chief at The Atlantic, before returning to the Times in May 2016 as editorial page editor. The Bennet family is fully “plugged-in” to the national security establishment. Bennet’s father Douglas was a top State Department official, head of the Agency for International Development—a notorious front for the CIA—and later head of National Public Radio. His brother Michael is a US senator from Colorado, serving on the Finance Committee and the Select Committee on Intelligence.
    From the beginning, Bennet’s role at the Times was to push those causes that were of greatest concern to the military-intelligence apparatus. The Times editorial page was the first to raise the charge that then Republican nominee Donald Trump was a Russian agent, in the op-ed column by Paul Krugman given the headline, “The Siberian candidate.” This set the tone for the role of the Times as the spearhead of the bogus anti-Russia campaign.

    The column? It's nothing I agreed with. I wouldn't have fired anyone for running it. That said, the paper lied. Turns out the senator didn't submit it to them. They sought him out. That wouldn't matter so much to me if they had been upfront about that. But they lied. "We lie." That should be the slogan for THE NEW YORK TIMES.

    Patrick also notes this previous reporting by WSWS:

    The New York Times, the state and the making of an amalgam: Who is James Bennet?On July 26, 2016, the WSWS first took note of the role of the new editorial page editor in promoting the anti-Russia campaign.
    The New York Times indicts Trump for questioning the CIA’s moral superiorityOn February 9, 2017, we replied to an editorial in which Bennet & Co. defended the moral principles of the CIA, a byword for conspiracy, assassination and torture.
    Why did the New York Times hire neoconservative columnist Bret Stephens?On May 31, 2017, we discussed the hiring of Bret Stephens, deputy editor of the ultra-right Wall Street Journal, as an op-ed columnist. Stephens had been editor of the right-wing Jerusalem Post from 2002 to 2004, overlapping with Bennet’s tenure as Times bureau chief in the Israeli capital.
    The New York Times and the strange case of Quinn NortonOn February 22, 2018, we analyzed the hiring and near-instantaneous firing of blogger Quinn Norton as the editorial page’s “lead opinion writer on the power, culture and consequences of technology.” Twitter users quickly circulated blog posts in which Norton described a neo-Nazi contributor to the fascist Daily Stormer as a personal friend, as well as messages containing homophobic slurs.
    Why did New York Times publisher A.G. Sulzberger meet with Trump?On August 6, 2018, we took note of a tweet in which Trump revealed a meeting with Sulzberger and Bennet at the White House, which all had agreed was to be off the record. Embarrassed by the disclosure, Sulzberger claimed he attended the meeting to “raise concerns about the president’s deeply troubling anti-press rhetoric,” but he gave no explanation of why his visit to the White House had to be carried out in secret.
    New York Times op-ed by anonymous Trump official gives implicit support to palace coupOn September 6, 2018, we commented on the decision of the Times editorial page to publish an anonymous opinion piece by a supposed “senior official” in the Trump administration, claiming to be part of the anti-Trump resistance. This was a further effort to foster a palace coup in which Trump would be removed, or his administration’s policies shifted towards a more direct intervention against Syria and Russia.
    New York Times laments stalled Venezuelan coupOn April 5, 2019, we commented on the Times’ editorial bemoaning the evident failure of the Venezuelan military to overthrow the elected president, Nicolas Maduro, and install in his place
    Juan Guaidó, a US-selected puppet largely unknown to the Venezuelan population, but immediately recognized by Washington as the “legitimate” head of government. The editorial board, headed by Bennet, “offered a lament over the failure of the CIA and its Venezuelan assets to swiftly topple the Venezuelan government,” we wrote.

    New York Times publishes anti-Semitic caricature of Harvey WeinsteinNo sketch of Bennet’s four years at the helm would be complete without reference to the publication of an editorial cartoon, which, as we wrote on February 26, 2020, was “a caricature of Harvey Weinstein, the film producer convicted Monday of felony sex crimes, with overtly antisemitic overtones. Weinstein is Jewish.” The use of an image clearly modeled on those of the Third Reich was all the more despicable given that Bennet’s mother is a Holocaust survivor.

    I enjoyed the links and think you will too.

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

    Tuesday, June 9, 2020.  A US military plane crashes in Iraq, a Moqtada al-Sadr foe gets a prominent position in the new Iraqi government, and much more.

    A US military transport plan has crashed in Baghdad leaving at least four service members injured.  The US military says the plane "overshot the runway" while the Iraqi Revolutionary Group states it shot the plane down.

    Of the four injured, Stephen Losey (AIR FORCE TIMES) notes, "The service members’ injuries were not life-threatening, and they are being treated at the base’s medical facility, according to a release by Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve."  THE DRIVE adds, "The C-130H, which is assigned to the 386th Air Expeditionary Wing at Ali Al Salem Air Base in Kuwait, crashed at Taji, which is situated approximately 17 miles north of the Iraqi capital Baghdad, at around 10:10 PM local time. "

    Holly Johnston (RUDAW) explains, "Taji military base,  located north of Baghdad, hosts US military personnel in the country to advise and train troops in the fight against the Islamic State (ISIS)."

    Over the weekend, journalist Mustafa Habib offered his thoughts on a US withdrawal from Iraq:

    The US will likely have one main goal, curtail Iran influence. To achieve this, the US should support Iraqi govt with medical & economic crises. The success of govt which is generally not close to Iran influencers, would be one way to enhance Iraqi sovereignty & independence...

    The US shouldn’t withdraw all of its soldiers from Iraq, only the combat units that so anger Iran. It should leave advisers & trainers together w members of global coalition, to provide air cover & intelligence that can aid Iraqi anti-terrorism troops in fight against extremists

    Should the US troops be forced to withdraw will make a lack of international partners could see the Shiite forces loyal to Iran getting stronger, even in Sunni cities, and it would also jeopardise the new Iraqi govt’s ability to run the country & to hold elections.

    The Iraqi people have long favored all US troops leave Iraq.  Some in the Iraqi government agree with that, some do not.  Those who do not tend to realize that the US military presence props up the government in Iraq.  It has not represented the people -- hence the protests -- it has not made life better for the Iraqi people.  It maintains power only because of the US forces on the ground.

    When ISIS seized control of Mosul, for example, then-US President Barack Obama didn't really give a damn.  When it was thought that ISIS was about to seize Baghdad, Barack began ordering more US troops into Iraq.

    US officials gave lip service to 'democracy' and 'self-rule' but they never meant it.  Nouri al-Maliki was put in place by Bully Boy Bush because his CIA profile noted how paranoid Nouri was and how that could be used to control him.  With no experience at all, Nouri was made prime minister.  He was a disaster.  

    In 2010, the Iraqi people went to the polls and voted him out.  But not only would Nouri refuse to step down, the US government also backed the thug up.  Joe Biden went to Iraq to sell a contract (The Erbil Agreement) that overturned the votes and gave Nouri a second term.

    This was never about democracy.

    Joe's actions would result in Nouri feeling more emboldened and he would become even more of a thug.  ISIS would rise in Iraq as a result.  Joe Biden is the mid-wife to ISIS.  

    At some point, the US press might get around to addressing that.  And since Joe is now seeking votes, maybe ask him how he'd feel if he won in November and Iraq's government stepped in and overturned the results?

    As for Mustafa Habib, I don't doubt that his intentions are sincere.  But the reality is that the training wheels have to come off at some point.  The alternative is that Iraq is occupied by US forces forever.  Had the governments of Iraq not been so corrupt, they could have taken even small steps that would develop some form of a relationship with the Iraqi people.  They chose not to dot hat.  They have no real roots and they will be knocked over when the Iraqi people are in charge.

    US forces should not be used to keep in place a do-nothing government that exploits and attacks its own people.

    Karwan Faidhi Dri (RUDAW) reports, "A rocket landed late Monday near Baghdad International Airport, according to the Iraqi Security Media Cell. "  AFP notes:

    A rocket landed inside Baghdad airport near to where US forces are based in the latest attack on American forces in the country, the Iraqi military said on Monday night.
    While a wave of similar attacks that began in October has since slowed, the latest strike came three days ahead of US-Iraqi talks as part of a "strategic dialogue" including on future military co-operation.
    A security official told AFP that the attack caused "no casualties or damage".
    Baghdad International Airport is closed under coronavirus lockdown measures in Iraq, which has reported some 13,000 cases including 400 deaths from the disease.
    Monday's rocket fire was the 29th such attack against American troops or diplomats since October.

    Meanwhile, protests continue in Iraq.

    That's video from Sunday in Najaf.  MIDDLE EAST MONITOR ONLINE notes

    Violent clashes between protestors and police in Iraq erupted in front of local government headquarters in the country’s Najaf governorate yesterday, with demands including government reforms and the identification of those who previously killed demonstrators.
    According to Iraqi media, the confrontations reached all the way to the home of Najaf’s Governor Luay Al-Yasiri, which was set on fire while several members of the security forces were injured by the protestors.
    Among the protestors’ demands was for Al-Yasiri, his deputies, and the directors of the governorate’s districts to be dismissed by the Iraqi government. Witnesses reported that police and security forces fired live bullets and tear gas at the protestors to disperse them, while the governorate’s police department called on the protestors to exercise restraint and to prevent their ranks from being exploited by “infiltrators”.

    On Twitter, Sally notes:
    serious injuries now could lead to amputation among the demonstrators as a result of violent repression by the repressive forces. And cases of suffocation in the ranks of the demonstrators

    Heshmat Alavi explains that "tear gas and live bullets" were used on the protesters.

    Angry protesters took to the streets of southern Iraq on Monday to vent their frustration with a lack of public services and employment opportunities, calling for the dismissal of local officials.
    Hundreds of demonstrators from the southern cities of Najaf, Muthanna, Diwaniyah and Nasiriyah clashed with Iraqi security forces amid a revival of the anti-government protests that erupted last October.
    “The movement, which is now synchronised between the southern governorates, is now demanding the resignation of officials, especially the dismissal of Najaf Governor Louay Al Yasiri,” an Iraqi official told The National.
    Riot police gathered in front of government buildings in Najaf late on Sunday to block protesters from entering the building, leading to violent clashes between the two.
    The mostly young protesters accuse the political establishment of rampant corruption and are demanding an end to a political system that is divided along sectarian and ethnic lines. 

    The mostly young protesters accuse the political establishment of rampant corruption and are demanding an end to a political system that is divided along sectarian and ethnic lines.
    The Iraqi Human Rights Commission called on the government to refrain from using violence against protesters.
    “This is a constitutional right [for people to protest] and we urge the government to respond to the economic and social rights that protesters are demanding,” Ali Al Bayati, a member of the commission told The National.
    “These claims have been made before but have not been implemented although we lost many lives due to months of instability so it’s very important for the new government to provide a main source of livelihood for the public,” Mr Al Bayati said.
    We'll note Parliament later in the week but we have to note this from Zhelwan Z. Wali (RUDAW):

    The Iraqi Parliament has approved the resignation of prominent Shiite leader and head of the Fatah Alliance Hadi al-Amiri, rumoured to be eyeing the presidency of the Iran-backed Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF).
    Amiri sent his letter of resignation to Speaker Mohammed al-Halbousi on June 1, and was officially replaced on Saturday by his assistant Abdulkarim Younis Elan - who is yet to be sworn in.
    Though it remains unclear as to what prompted Amiri to resign from the parliament, it is rumored that he is vying for the post of head of the PMF, known as Hashd al-Shaabi in Arabic. 
    Hadi al-Amiri is a thug.  If you've never seen photos of him, he's also very ugly.  Very.  Ugly.  And we're noting the above because I can't stop laughing as I survey Arab social media and keep seeing jokes about how he's really resigned from Parliament because he plans to run for Miss Iraq.  

    Mustafa Habib notes another political twist:

    Wild move, Iraqi PM Al-Kadhimi appoints judge Raed Jouhi as the director of the his office, Jouhi became known as he issued judicial warrant to arrest Muqtada Sadr in 2003 for the murder of Majid al-Khoei, & he the first judge who investigate with Saddam Hussein after his arrest

    What message do you suppose that's intended to send to Moqtada al-Sadr?

    With a great deal of rhetoric accompanied by a political stunt, the Democratic congressional leadership on Monday released its “Justice in Policing 2020” bill.
    Prior to the press conference to present the measure, more than 20 Democratic lawmakers, all wearing African kente cloths, knelt in the Capitol’s Emancipation Hall for eight minutes and 46 seconds, the amount of time fired Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin kept his knee on the neck of George Floyd, killing the 46-year-old African American worker.
    The group of Democrats included House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, Black Congressional Caucus Chairwoman Karen Bass and senators Corey Booker and Kamala Harris.
    At the press conference, Bass, Pelosi, Schumer and other sponsors of the bill repeatedly cited the nationwide mass demonstrations against the murder of Floyd and touted their bill as a “transformational” and “bold” attack on police violence and systemic racism. But their statements and the token character of the reforms included in the bill make clear that the measure is nothing of the kind.
    Rather, it is a political maneuver designed to provide cover for Democratic governors and mayors who have overseen brutal police attacks on protesters, not to mention the pro-police record of the Obama administration. It is also aimed at containing and dissipating social protests by workers and youth against not only racism and the fascistic Trump administration, but also the social inequality, repression and poverty that are embedded in the capitalist system and magnified by the coronavirus pandemic.

    New content at THIRD:

    The following sites updated: