Friday, July 10, 2020

The wealthy tax cheats, plus Charlie Puth and George Harrison

I hope you read my mom's "We were never all in this together" -- she's so right.  You can pair that with this from David Sirota (JACOBIN) that C.I. slid over to me:

The next time you hear conservative politicians insist they want “law and order,” hate “looting,” and believe America can’t afford new government programs, show them two landmark reports that emerged in the last twenty-four hours. The data in those analyses tell the story of conservative politicians letting billionaires and corporations brazenly evade laws and effectively loot hundreds of billions of dollars from the public treasury — all while those same politicians plead poverty to justify cutting the social safety net during a lethal pandemic.
The first report came from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO), which found that between 2011 and 2013, $381 billion in taxes went unpaid every single year. Couple that data with recent Harvard University research showing that the top 1 percent of income earners are responsible for 70 percent of the tax gap, and you see the full picture: The wealthiest sliver of the population is depriving the American public of about $266 billion of owed tax revenue every year.
That tax gap didn’t just magically happen — it is the result of conservatives’ huge cuts to the Internal Revenue Service’s enforcement budget, which resulted in a particularly precipitous decline in audit rates for the superrich. In fact, the $266 billion figure could be an understatement, because the congressional budget analysts were estimating the tax gap that existed before those IRS budget cuts.
“With the money that these tax cheats owe, this year alone, we could fund tuition-free college for all, eliminate child hunger, ensure clean drinking water for every American household, build half a million affordable housing units, provide masks to all, produce the protective gear and medical supplies our health workers need to combat this pandemic, and fully fund the U.S. Postal Service,” said Senator Bernie Sanders, who requested the CBO study. “That is an absolute outrage, and this report should make us take a long, hard look at what our national priorities are all about.”

Those tax cheats should be in prison.

They have more money than anyone can need and they still work overtime to steal.  It's theft.  It's a crime.

But when you've got crooked politicians in your pocket, you can do whatever you want.

Here's some music from Charlie Puth at ROLLING STONE:

And if you need some music talk about music a little older, here's George Harrison (yes, of the Beatles) on THE DICK CAVETT SHOW.

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

Thursday, July 9, 2020.  Assassination, drawdown, terror, Iraq.

Starting with this ALJAZEERA report.

From Tuesday's snapshot:
In other news, AL-MONITOR notes:

Notable Iraqi security analyst Hisham al-Hashimi was assassinated in Baghdad today, according to multiple reports.
On Monday, Agence France Presse reported that Hashimi was walking out of his Baghdad home when three gunmen on two motorcycles shot and killed him at close range.
Hashimi was a known and respected commentator on Iraqi affairs who was particularly knowledgable on the Islamic State. Just about an hour before his death, he tweeted that division in Iraq was the result of the ethnic and religious quota system put in place following the 2003 US invasion. The tweet, which some shared after his death, has now been liked more than 11,500 times.

Horrifying video of the assassination today of #Iraq security expert Hisham al-Hashimi. Washington Post reports about threats al-Hashimi had received from #Iran-backed militia groups recently. 1/2

Oraid al-Rantawi (MEMO) explains, "Days before he was killed, Al-Hashimi announced the birth of a parliamentary bloc, which may be a base for Al-Kadhimi and his project, as he is a man without a bloc behind him. The bloc was duly formed with more than thirty members." Arwa Ibrahim (ALJAZEERA) notes, "Last month, al-Hashemi provided updates and insights to tens of thousands of his social media followers after Iraq's Counter Terrorism Service raided a Baghdad base of Kataib Hezbollah (KH), one of the groups under the umbrella of the PMF, over allegations it was behind rocket attacks on US and other diplomatic interests in Iraq."   AFP observes, "The killing of jihadism expert Husham al-Hashimi has stirred fears Iraq is entering a dark and violent phase, as boiling tensions between pro-Iran factions and the government reach new heights." Hammam Latif (ARAB WEEKLY) offers, "Observers say that with Hashemi’s assassination, the Iran-backed militias have killed more than one bird with the same stone. They got rid of a constant thorn in their side and a highly influential voice in directing public opinion against them, while also sending a warning to anyone who dares to criticise them."  Isabel Coles (WALL STREET JOURNAL) reports, "Secretary of State Mike Pompeo urged Iraq to hold to account those responsible for the assassination of a prominent Iraqi security analyst who had been threatened by Iran-backed militias, raising pressure on the new government to rein in the powerful paramilitary groups."  Pompeo was speaking at a press briefing.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo:  On Monday, Iraq tragically lost a patriot, prominent scholar, and journalist when Hisham al-Hashimi was brutally assassinated in front of his home in Baghdad.
Dr. Hashimi had devoted his life to a free and sovereign Iraq, and gave voice to the aspirations of the Iraqi people.  In the days leading up to his death, he was repeatedly threatened by Iran-backed armed groups.
And the United States joins partner nations in strongly condemning his assassination, and call for the Government of Iraq to bring to justice the perpetrators of this terrible crime and bring them swiftly to justice.

A peaceful protest was held on Tuesday evening in Baghdad's Tahrir Square to honour Al Hashimi as Iraqis and international colleagues mourned his loss.
Protesters held signs which read: "They assassinated the voice of truth with a fake bullet", and on social media videos circulated of TukTuk drivers sounding their horns outside his home in a show of solidarity and support.
The killing triggered fears that Iraq could enter a violent phase, as tensions between pro-Iranian factions and the government of Prime Minister Mustafa Al Kadhimi increase.
Mustafa spoke with al-Hashimi's family. Khaled Yacoub Oweis and Mina Aldroubi (THE NATIONAL) report:

"Do not cry. Your father was a hero, you'll grow up and become really proud of him," Mr Al Kadhimi told Al Hashmi's four children as he visited their home to pay his condolences.
"The world is proud of him, everyone, whether they are in Iraq or out, they are proud of him because he used to challenge terrorism in order to build a better future for you."
He told the boys that he would be responsible for them, ensuring they got a good education and were supported. "I will be your father and brother," he said.

The assassination of al-Hashmi, as we noted at THIRD, is one of those rare Iraqi deaths that actually get attention from the world media.  AFP reminds, "Already, there has been no accountability for more than 550 people killed in protest-related violence since October, when mass rallies slammed Iraq’s government as corrupt, inept and beholden to neighboring Iran. Among them are around two dozen activists who were shot dead, often by masked assailants on motorcycles."  In a separate report, AFP notes:

Hashemi’s killing appears to be a new challenge, said Iraqi politician Raed Fahmi.
“This is a political assassination that represents both the silencing of freedom of speech and a challenge to the government, its prime minister and any reform plan,” he said.
Other Iraqi activists said they had long feared being targeted for speaking out against Iran-backed groups.
“This could have been any one of us. Our friends have already been notified to leave immediately,” said Omar Mohammad, a historian who documented atrocities in Mosul under ISIS.
“If (Kadhimi) will not take a strong step, civil life in Iraq will vanish. But I’m afraid he won’t do it. It’s a suicidal mission,” he told AFP.

In other news, there was talk of a US withdrawal from Iraq.  We guessed it would actually be a drawdown.  The Pentagon made the distinction in 2011 when all US troops did not leave Iraq.  Much of the media ran with the lie that they were all removed.  Ted Koppel, on a short lived NBC news magazine and on NPR's now cancelled TALK OF THE TOWN, was one of the few to accurate report what was taking place.  Again, both programs he reported reality on are no more.  When talk started this year about a withdrawal, there were the usual idiots on the faux left telling us withdrawal was coming.  Turns out, being skeptical was a good position to take.  Ellen Mitchell (THE HILL) reports:

The top U.S. general in the Middle East predicts that a small amount of U.S. troops will remain in Iraq for the foreseeable future.
“I believe that going forward, they’re going to want us to be with them,” U.S. Central Command head Marine Gen. Kenneth McKenzie told reporters Tuesday after he met with Iraq’s new prime minister, Mustafa al-Kadhimi, according to The Associated Press.
“I don’t sense there’s a mood right now for us to depart precipitously. And I’m pretty confident of that.”

McKenzie is just the latest to predict that everyone would want US troops to remain at the end of the day, and he too cited the battle with ISIS, which Iraq’s government has presented as over for months. The US structured the talks on presence to tie it to diplomatic and economic ties, allowing the US to threaten isolation for expelling the unwelcome troops.

Since the parliament’s call for the US ouster, Iraq has gone through multiple PMs, and the post is now held by a pro-US official, which may add to the US sense that they can continue to push allies to keep troops there.

First paragraph?  Who the hell cares what the Iraqi government says about ISIS being vanquished when the reality is that it's not?  ISIS remains active in Iraq.  We've noted that reality has been ongoing.  I don't argue that the US military needs to stay in Iraq for ISIS -- that's Iraq's battle to fight.  But I also don't lie about ISIS and that's what Jason's doing when he cites a claim by the Iraqi government that is false and known to be false.  He cites their claim and presents it as fact when it's not.  I try to be nice but I'm so sick of liars.  I want the Iraq War over (I want this website over) but I'm not going lie.  

Second paragraph, that's not a valid vote in the Parliament.  Sunnis and Kurds boycotted and they didn't have a quorum.  

Now if you read 'reporting' on it -- I'm sure Jason did -- you might have gotten that impression because a bunch of US idiots not capable of writing headlines farmed out on the topic.

I get so damn tired of doing the work required while the Jason Ditzy are able to just write whatever lie they want.  Here's another lie he serves up in the article, " Iraq’s parliament had unanimously voted to call on the US to leave, though the US has not recognized that vote, and has ruled out leaving repeatedly."  Even the people leaving comments at ANTIWAR.COM call Ditzy out for that lie.

This is how ANTIWAR.COM's ''news editor'' 'reports'?  

No wonder the Iraq War never ends.

It's cute, like the way they pretend they're fair and they all have their agendas.  I don't know what the Kurds ever did to so many US outlets but it's apparently so awful that they don't ever have to report accurately on the Kurds.  They can -- and, after all, did -- attack the Kurds for holding a non-binding referendum.

And they can -- and do -- ignore Turkey's continued assault on Iraq.

Iraqi President Barham Salih reiterated Wednesday that  neighboring Turkey must suspend its recent offensive against alleged Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) positions in the Kurdistan Region and disputed territories of Iraq, describing the ongoing operations as a “military violation” on Iraqi soil.

Receiving a number of Arab countries’ ambassadors to Iraq, Salih stressed that Iraq maintains its sovereignty and “reiterated that Turkey has to suspend its military violations on the Iraqi soil,” according to a statement from his office. 

Click here for garbage and trash.  We may take that apart next time.  We may not -- life is too short.  Not that the writer of the piece would note -- notice how the deaths of Iraqis are ignored except for a sweeping statement but the claims of the Turkish government are presented as fact.  Garbage. Trash.

Turkey is not trying to end terrorism, the government is actively terrorizing Kurds -- in Iraq and in Turkey.  Pinar Tremblay (AL-MONITOR) explains:

Picture this: A woman is home alone in Diyarbakir province in Turkey's Kurdish-majority southeast. At 5 a.m., 100 policemen from counterterrorism and special forces units storm the apartment, instructing the neighbors to stay inside and not communicate with anyone. Then they sledgehammer the door and unleash two police dogs to attack Sevil Rojbin Cetin. But that is only the beginning. 
Cetin is an activist in women’s movements and a former Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) mayor, elected in 2014 and replaced by a government appointee in 2016.
Cetin was interrogated for 3½ hours in her apartment while her legs were bleeding from multiple dog bites. The apartment was turned upside down, while she was blindfolded and beaten.
She was stripped half naked with her hands tied, while photos were taken of her. The physical and sexual torture was coupled with verbal abuses; a gun was held to her head. “At one point she was taken to the balcony and the officer told her, ‘If your apartment was on the 5th floor, you would have jumped by now and we would not have to deal with you,” said Meral Danis Bestas, a pro-Kurdish HDP lawmaker.
Cetin’s Attorney Gulistan Ates, who took photos of her injuries after the ordeal and shared them with the press, was called to the police station and an investigation has been launched against him. 

We'll wind down with this webinar. 

The following sites updated:

Thursday, July 09, 2020

Two idiots: Thomas Klikauer – Norman Simms

The two idiots have a piece at COUNTERPUNCH about, boo hoo, the death of the local newspaper.

They need to shove every one of their so-called thoughts up their asses.

I'm so sick of liars.

Don't we know that it was a local paper that uncovered Nestle misusing water and --

Shut the f**k up.

That's all you can point to.  One damn story.

The bulk of newspapers is nothing but garbage. 

They whine that FACEBOOK did this or that. 

Too damn bad.  TV replaced radio.  People need to adapt or die.

These loons believe the nutty conspiracy that Russia determined the 2016 election.

Instead of looking down on rural White male voters, they should realize that their dumb asses who've been spoonfed garabage.

That's all the press has offered.

They sold the Iraq War and they will never recover from that.

Strange how the authors refuse to acknowledge that reality -- their selling of the Iraq War.

Tommy and Normy or just two whores who show up to lie and whore. 

If the press actually did it's job, I'd be the first to celebrate it.  But's it doesn't do its job.  It plays favorites, it acts as an echo chamber and it constantly lies.

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

Wednesday, July 8, 2020.  Assault in the US military is a common thing, it's a known thing, it's something that the Congress enables and encourages by looking the other way.

I'm not real fond of regular occurences being reported as isolated events.  Or in hosts who'd rather give shout outs to their personal favorite members of Congress than actually explore an ongoing issue.

"AOC also Tweeted about it . . ." "Tulis Gabbard led on it . . ."

Oh, just the shut the f**k up.

I am so tired of so-called public affairs programs that don't know a damn thing.

Where's Claire McCaskill's name?

If you can't call out Claire, sit your tired and stupid ass down.

Claire is the one who blocked this issue,  Senator Kirsten Gillibrand knows that very well.  Claire was supposed to be a supporter but when Kistern was working -- with veterans groups -- to get this matter moved to real courts -- not 'military justice' -- Claire's the one who blocked that.

There's that.

There's Suzanne Swift.

America didn't want to address that, did they?

Bully Boy Bush was in the White House when Suzanne self-checked out of the military.  Why?  Command rape.  And she reported it.  And nothing was done.  

There is no 'military justice.'  There are 'good old boys' who cover for one another and even getting convicted in a military court of rape just means it can't be wiped away by a high serving military official -- can be and has.  Let's get back to Suzanne.  Here she is speaking with Courage to Resist:

Courage to Resist: So -- so then you got to Iraq.  Now tell me, when did the difficulties start? 
Suzanne Swift: Almost immediately.  We weren't even too Iraq yet.  We were still staging in Kuwait and I had a platoon sergeant proposition me basically for sex and I was just completely in shock because, you know, these people are supposed to be like your parents -- especially when you're brand new, or like a brand new, young soldier.  It's really appalling that someone would do that.
Courage to Resist: And how did you respond?
Suzanne Swift: Oh I told him no and then I told a couple of other people what had happened and kind of just like put it out there to see if he'd get any advice back.  And I ended up talking to the Equal Opportunity Representative about it and he said that he would -- he would talk to the commander and that he would figure out what to do about it and then nothing ever came of that.  Ever.
Courage to Resist: Nothing ever came of it? And did the propositions continue?
Suzanne Swift: Not from that particular person but from another person -- yeah, it sure did. 
Courage to Resist: So you went from Kuwait to Iraq and where were you stationed in Iraq? 
Suzanne Swift: Karbala, Iraq.
Courage to Resist: And that's where your more serious troubles began, is that right?
Suzanne Swift: Yeah.
Courage to Resist: Do you want to talk about some of that?
Suzanne Swift: Um.  I -- it's kind of hard to talk about.  I guess I've done it before though.  I was basically coerced into a -- into a sexual relationship with -- with my superior.  And when I tried to end it -- it went on for a few months -- when I tried to end it, he used every -- every resource he had available to make my life miserable -- to punish me for it.
Courage to Resist: And tell me the ways that he punished you.
Suzanne Swift: He would just -- he would tell me the wrong times to be at somewhere and then punish me for being late or not being at the right place and just do little things that would make me look bad.  And he'd like spread rumors about -- about me and then like, I don't know.  He just made me look bad in every possible way.  And then would punish me for making me look bad.
Courage to Resist: Now what was his position in your unit?
Suzanne Swift: Uh, he was a squad leader.  He was in a staff sergeant position but he was as a sergeant as an E-5.
Courage to Resist: So he was your squad leader and as your superior he did everything he could to make your life miserable when you refused to continue the relationship he had coerced you into?
Suzanne Swift: Right.
Courage to Resist: And what did you do about that?
Suzanne Swift: Nothing, honestly, you know, I just kept my head down and tried to stay out of trouble.
Courage to Resist: Did he continue his sexual pursuit of you? 
Suzanne Swift: Not once the punishment started, no.
Courage to Resist: Did you ever try to report this?
Suzanne Swift: I told a bunch of people.  Look, everybody knew what was going on.  Just nobody wanted to fix it and plus what was the point?  That was my frame of mind then.  And he had -- he had also made it like -- with the way he was treating me -- he made it look like I was just a bad soldier.  So even if I had reported it, he could have just told them like, "Oh, she's just not -- because I punish her, she's making it all up." 
Courage to Resist: So he really had you in a bind.
Suzanne Swift: Yeah.  I mean, I could have reported it but it probably wouldn't have come of anything even if it did, I also would have got in trouble, so what was the point?
Courage to Resist: And this continued all the time you were there? 
Suzanne Swift: Mmm-hmm.  It stopped right before we were heading back to the States and then he just pretended I wasn't there.
Courage to Resist: Were there any other incidents with your other superiors or was that it?

Suzanne Swift: Yeah, once we got back to the States I moved to a new unit that was standing up and I had a squad leader who -- he didn't proposition me for sex, he would just say little nasty things to me
Courage to Resist: Did you have the sense that he knew about the other situation?
Suzanne Swift: No, I never really thought about it.
Courage to Resist: And the things he said to you, were they sexual innuendos?
Suzanne Swift: Right, he would -- yeah.  He was my team leader and he would -- he would just say, he'd call me at night and be like, "What are you wearing?" And like he'd call me for work-related stuff and be like, "Oh, what color of panties do you have on?" Like, "What are you doing right now?  Oh, you just got out of the shower?  So you're naked right now?"
Courage to Resist: Oh my goodness.
Suzanne Swift: Yeah, he was just a pervy, little guy.
Courage to Resist: Did you report this guy?
Suzanne Swift: I absolutely did.  I was in the States and I had been -- I had just been through enough that I was like, "You know what? This guy is not getting away with it."
Courage to Resist: And who'd you report him to?
Suzanne Swift: I reported it to the Equal Opportunity Representative and he did his job for once and took it up higher to the commander.
Courage to Resist: What did the commander do?
Suzanne Swift: They did an investigation during which they accused me of sleeping with him and gave me a class from my commander on how to prevent sexual harassment from happening to me.
Courage to Resist: And they did nothing to the guy that was harassing you?

Suzanne Swift: He got -- he got a very harshly worded letter of reprimand.  But that was it.
Courage to Resist: That was it and you were seen as colluding in his sexual aggression.  You were treated the way many women are when the victim of sexual aggression is blamed.
Suzanne Swift: Yeah.  'Okay, let me figure out really quick how to prevent sexual harassment -- cause it's my fault when it happens, right?'

I remember Suzanne Swift's mother wondering publicly where were the feminist leaders?

None came forward to defend Suzanne Swift.

The way the military treated Suzanne Swift is appalling and inexcusable; however, it needs to be noted that this is typical and for those who doubt it, zoom in on a class to 'teach' women how not to be sexually harassed which goes to the problems with the military.  The person who needs instruction is not the victim.  By pushing the burden off on the victim, the military is stating that harassment has two willing parties -- the harasser and the harasseree.  As long as they're allowed to push that lie, don't ever expect the culture to improve. 

Do we want to talk about how the US military created a program that Congress went along with?  A program that gave rapists a pass?  We were at those hearings and we remain the only one to ever call the woman over the program out.  

The program would 'allow' (encourage) a woman to report an assault anonymously.  This would keep it out of the official record.  It would also prevent prosecution of the rapist.  Now prosecution needs to be moved to the civil courts -- the military has made clear that they can not handle assault.

Grasp that five men gang raped Abeer.  Oh, that's right, it's time to spoonfeed again since so many outlets ignored the gang rape and the military hearings that took place in Iraq and the US hearings.  

May 7, 2009 Steven D. Green was convicted for his crimes in the  March 12, 2006 gang-rape and murder of Abeer Qassim Hamza al-Janabi, the murder of her parents and the murder of her five-year-old sister while Green was serving in Iraq. Green was found to have killed all four, to have participated in the gang-rape of Abeer and to have been the ringleader of the conspiracy to commit the crimes and the conspiracy to cover them up. May 21, 2009, the federal jury deadlocked on the death penalty.

Alsumaria explained, "An ex-US soldier was found guilty for raping an Iraqi girl and killing her family in 2006 while he might face death sentence.  . . . Eye witnesses have reported that Green shot dead the girl’s family in a bedroom while two other soldiers were raping her. Then, Green raped her in his turn and put a pillow on her face before shooting her. The soldiers set the body afire to cover their crime traces."

Evan Bright reported on the verdict:

As the jury entered the court room, Green(red sweater vest) let out a large sigh, not of relief, but seemingly of anxiety, knowing the weight of the words to come. As Judge Thomas Russell stated "The court will now publish the verdict," Green interlaced his fingers and clasped them over his chin. Russell read the verdict flatly and absolutely. Green went from looking down at each "guilty" to eyeing the jury. His shoulders dropped as he was convicted of count #11, aggravated sexual abuse, realizing what this means. A paralegal at the defense table consoled Green by patting him on his back, even herself breaking down crying at the end of the verdicts.
After Russell finished reading the verdicts, he begged questions of the respective attorneys. Wendelsdorf, intending to ensure the absolution of the verdict, requested the jury be polled. Honorable Judge Russell asked each juror if they agreed with these verdicts, receiving a simple-but-sufficient yes from all jurors. Green watched the jury flatly.

From the September 4th, 2009 snapshot:

Turning to the United States and what may be the only accountability for the crimes in Iraq.  May 7th Steven D. Green (pictured above) was convicted for his crimes in March 12, 2006 gang-rape and murder of Abeer Qassim Hamza al-Janabi, the murder of her parents and the murder of her five-year-old sister while Green was serving in Iraq. Green was found to have killed all four, to have participated in the gang-rape of Abeer and to have been the ringleader of the conspiracy to commit the crimes and the conspiracy to cover them up. May 21st, the federal jury deadlocked on the death penalty and instead kicking in sentence to life in prison. Today, Green stood before US District Judge Thomas B. Russell for sentencing. Kim Landers (Australia's ABC) quotes Judge Russell telling Green his actions were "horrifying and inexcusable."  Not noted in any of the links in this snapshot (it comes from a friend present in the court), Steven Dale Green has dropped his efforts to appear waif-ish in a coltish Julia Roberts circa the 1990s manner.  Green showed up a good twenty pounds heavier than he appeared when on trial, back when the defense emphasized his 'lanky' image by dressing him in oversized clothes.  Having been found guilty last spring, there was apparently no concern that he appear frail anymore. 
Italy's AGI reports, "Green was recognised as the leader of a group of five soldiers who committed the massacre on September 12 2006 at the Mahmudiyah check point in the south of Baghdad. The story inspired the 2007 masterpiece by Brian De Palma 'Redacted'."  BBC adds, "Judge Thomas Russell confirmed Green would serve five consecutive life sentences with no chance of parole."  Deborah Yetter (Courier-Journal) explains, "Friday's federal court hearing was devoted mostly to discussion of technical issues related to Green's sentencing report, although it did not change Green's sentence. He was convicted in May of raping and murdering Abeer al-Janabi, 14, and murdering her parents, Kassem and Fakhriya, and her sister, Hadeel, 6, at their home outside Baghdad."
Green was tried in civilian court because he had already been discharged before the War Crimes were discovered.  Following the gang-rape and murders, US soldiers attempted to set fire to Abeer's body to destroy the evidence and attempted to blame the crimes on "insurgents."  In real time, when the bodies were discovered, the New York Times was among the outlets that ran with "insurgents."  Green didn't decide he wanted to be in the military on his own.  It was only after his most recent arrest -- after a long string of juvenile arrests -- while sitting in jail and fearing what sentence he would face, that Green decided the US Army was just the place he wanted to be.  Had he been imprisoned instead or had the US military followed rules and guidelines, Green wouldn't have gotten in on a waiver.  Somehow his history was supposed to translate into "He's the victim!!!!"  As if he (and the others) didn't know rape was a crime, as if he (and the others) didn't know that murder was considered wrong.  Green attempted to climb up on the cross again today.  AP's Brett Barrouguere quotes the 'victim' Green insisting at today's hearing, "You can act like I'm a sociopath.  You can act like I'm a sex offender or whatever.  If I had not joined the Army, if I had not gone to Iraq, I would not have got caught up in anything."  Climb down the cross, drama queen.  Your entire life was about leading up to a moment like that.  You are a sociopath.  You stalked a 14-year-old Iraqi girl while you were stationed at a checkpoint in her neighborhood.  You made her uncomfortable and nervous, you stroked her face.  She ran to her parents who made arrangements for her to go live with others just to get her away from you, the man the army put there to protect her and the rest of the neighborhood.  You are one sick f**k and you deserve what you got.  Green play drama queen and insist "you can act like I'm a sex offender" -- he took part in and organized a gang-rape of a 14-year-old girl.  That's a sex offender.  In fact, "sex offender" is a mild term for what Green is.
Steven D. Green made the decision to sign up for the US military.  He was facing criminal punishment for his latest crimes, but he made the decision.  Once in the military, despite his long history of arrests, he didn't see it as a chance to get a fresh start.  He saw it as a passport for even more crimes.  What he did was disgusting and vile and it is War Crimes and by doing that he disgraced himself and the US military.  His refusal to take accountability today just demonstrates the realities all along which was Green did what he wanted and Green has no remorse.  He sullied the name of the US military, he sullied the name of the US.  As a member of the army, it was his job to follow the rules and the laws and he didn't do so.  And, as a result, a retaliation kidnapping of US soldiers took place in the spring of 2006 and those soldiers were strung up and gutted.  That should weigh heavily on Steven D. Green but there's no appearance that he's ever thought of anyone but himself.  He wants to act as if the problem was the US military which requires that you then argue that anyone serving in Iraq could have and would have done what he did.  That is not reality.  He does not represent the average soldier and he needs to step down from the cross already.
 AFP notes, "During closing arguments at his sentencing, Green was described alternately as 'criminal and perverse' and deserving of the death penalty, and as a 'broken warrior" whose life should be spared'."  Brett Barrouquere (AP) has been covering the story for years now.  He notes that Patrick Bouldin (defense) attempted to paint Green as the victim as well by annoucing that Green wanted to take responsibility "twice" before but that Assistant US Attorney Marisa Ford explained that was right before jury selection began and in the midst of jury selection.  In other words, when confronted with the reality that he would be going to trial, Steven D. Green had a panic moment and attempted to make a deal with the prosecution.  (The offer was twice rejected because the 'life in prison' offer included the defense wanting Green to have possible parole.)  Steve Robrahn, Andrew Stern and Paul Simao (Reuters) quote US Brig Gen Rodney Johnson ("Commanding General of the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command") stating, "We sincerely hope that today's sentencing helps to bring the loved ones of this Iraqi family some semblance of closure and comfort after this horrific and senseless act."

Green went into the military to avoid criminal charges on another issue.  He was one of many that the military lowered the standards for.

May 28, 2009, the family of Abeer gave their statements to the court before leaving to return to Iraq. WHAS11 (text and video) reported on the court proceedings:

Gary Roedemeier: Crimes were horrific. A band of soldiers convicted of planning an attack against an Iraqi girl and her family.

Melissa Swan: The only soldier tried in civilian court is Steven Green. The Fort Campbell soldier was in federal court in Louisville this morning, facing the victims' family and WHAS's Renee Murphy was in that courtroom this morning. She joins us live with the information and also more on that heart wrenching scene of when these family members faced the man who killed their family.

Renee Murphy: I mean, they came face to face with the killer. Once again, the only thing different about this time was that they were able to speak with him and they had an exchange of dialogue and the family is here from Iraq and they got to ask Steven Green all the questions they wanted answered. They looked each other in the eye. Green appeared calm and casual in court. The victims' family, though, outraged, emotional and distraught. Now cameras were not allowed in the courtroom so we can't show video of today's hearing but here's an account of what happened. (Video begins] This is a cousin of a 14-year-old Iraqi girl raped and killed by Steven Green. He and other family members in this SUV were able to confront Green in federal court this morning. Their words were stinging and came from sheer grief. Former Fort Campbell soldier Steven Green was convicted of killing an Iraqi mother, father and their young daughter. He then raped their 14-year-old daughter, shot her in the head and set her body on fire. Today the victim's family was able to give an impact statement at the federal court house the young sons of the victims asked Green why he killed their father. an aunt told the court that "wounds are still eating at our heart" and probably the most compelling statements were from the girls' grandmother who sobbed from the stand and demanded an explanation from Green. Green apologized to the family saying that he did evil things but he is not an evil person. He says that he was drunk the night of the crimes in 2006 and he was following the orders of his commanding officers. In his statement, Green said if it would bring these people back to life I would do everything I could to make them execute me. His statement goes on to say, "Before I went to Iraq, I never thought I would intentionally kill a civilian. When I was in Iraq, something happened to me that I can only explain by saying I lost my mind. I stopped seeing Iraqis as good and bad, as men, women and children. I started seeing them all as one, and evil, and less than human." Green didn't act alone. His codefendants were court-martialed and received lesser sentences. Green will be formally sentenced to life in prison in September. [End of videotape.] The answers that Green gave were not good enough for some of the family members. at one point today, the grandmother of the young girls who were killed left the podium and started walking towards Green as he sat at the defendant's table shouting "Why!" She was forcibly then escorted to the back of the court room by US Marshalls. She then fell to the ground and buried her face in her hands and began to cry again. The family pleaded with the court for the death sentence for Green. but you can see Green's entire statement to the court on our website and coming up tonight at six o'clock, we're going to hear from Green's attorneys.

Steven D. Green was convicted of War Crimes.  February 18, 2014, Green killed himself in prison.  Don't feel safe.  Four others were involved and they now roam the US freely.  Maybe you see them at the grocery store?  Paul Cortez, Jesse Spielman, Bryan Howard and James P. Barker faced 'military justice.'  Which is why they walk free -- Howard was 'just' the lookout.  For the planned gang-rape, for the planned murders.  Cortez, Barker and Spielman were participants in the gang-rape.  

All four get to walk freely in the US today.  

Abeer doesn't.  She was gang raped and murdered.  Her parents and her younger sister were killed -- in the next room, so that Abeer would hear it -- while Abeer was being gang raped.

The four and Green and Howard plotted this action ahead of time.  They watched.  They figured out the family schedule and when would be the best time to strike.  Then they went off base and did so.

They are pedophiles, they are rapists, they are murderers.

And America's 'safer' with them on the street?

The only one who faced real justice was Green.


Because he was tried in a civilian court.  He had already discharged when the crimes emerged so he faced a real court.  The other four got 'military justice' which apparently says you can rape a young girl, you can kill her, you can kill her family, you can plot this whole thing ahead of time and you can go on with your lives. 

War Hawk Joe Biden Tweeted something stupid that I thought would be the focus of this snapshot.  He Tweeted that the greatest duty the government has to those who serve is to keep them safe.

Well, Joe, you were in the Senate for how many decades?  And you did nothing to help women in the military.  You were in the Senate when the gang rape and murder of Abeer surfaced and you did nothing -- chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, you should have done something.

Dropping back to the July 1st snapshot:

In other news,  Vanessa Guillen is dead.  Her body has been found.  She went missing in April.  She had told her family she was a victim of assault.  Christine Carrega (ABC NEWS) reports:

The remains, which will undergo an identification process, were found near where a previous search was conducted on June 22, officials with the Army Criminal Investigation Division said.
"After receiving additional information, agents have discovered what has been described as partial human remains after analysis from a forensic anthropologist," said CID Chief of Public Affairs Chris Grey.
"Due to the ongoing criminal investigation, no further information will be released at this time," Grey said.
The discovery came on the same day that Guillen's family announced they were seeking a congressional investigation into the 20-year-old's disappearance.
Guillen was last seen in the parking lot of her Regimental Engineer Squadron headquarters at the Fort Hood military base on April 22, and has not been heard from since.

Before Guillen went missing, she had told her family that she was being sexually harassed by one of her sergeants at Fort Hood, according to the website her family set up to promote the search. She did not identify the sergeant.
Guillen, a private first class, was last seen wearing a black T-shirt and purple fitness-type pants, according to the Army CID. Her car keys, room key, identification card and wallet were later found in the armory room where she was working earlier that day.
Guillen is described as 5 feet 2 inches, 126 pounds with black hair and brown eyes, according to the Army CID statement.

FOX West Texas Tweets:

That day I was reminded of another woman and I'm sure community members were as well.  Dropping back to January 10, 2008:

Maria Lauterbach is missing.  AP reports she is eight-months pregnant and a Lance Corporal marine whose mother filed a missing person report on her December 19th.  CNN reports that she "was assaulted by a superior officer" and, according to Sherrif Ed Brown, that she was due to give testimony about the assault.  WARL reports, "Lauterbach's debit card was used on Christmas Eve to withdraw money from an automated teller machine, according to an affidavit attached to a search warrant in the case.  The white man who used the card tried to cover the ATM camera with a rag, the affidavit said."  Margo Rutledge Kissell (Dayton Daily News) reports, "Onslow County Sherriff Ed Brown said in a news conference Thursday that the Marine sergeant who had been deployed to California is being brought back to North Carolina 'so we can look him in the eyes and ask him some questions.'  Brown said the decision to return him came after authorities met Wednesday with the commander at Camp Lejeune, where Lauterback is stationed."  Rutledge Kissel also notes that Lauterbach's baby "is due Tuesday".  

Marine Corporal Cesar Laurean was the man who murdered her.  He was the father of the child she was expecting.  He murdered her and buried her in a pit in his backyard.

This is not an isolated event and, were the more time, we could easily note 20 other women who were assaulted in the last 15 years while the US military looked the other way.

 Isaiah's THE WORLD TODAY JUST NUTS "Lady Liberty" went up last night.  New content at THIRD:

The following sites updated: