First up, Jimmy Dore.
Jimmy is an important voice. So is Tom Feeley. He runs INFORMATION CLEARING HOUSE. It's been slow in updating and I assumed it was just COVID-19 recovery on Tom's part -- and didn't blame him for that. I just hoped he was well and taking care of himself. I just read his note, he has leukemia. My prayers are with him. I hope he pulls through and is safe.
I'm going to take a few moments to talk about INFORMATION CLEARING HOUSE. It's a website, obviously. Back in 2004, I was a young adult and I was depressed because the Iraq War was taking place and Bully Boy Bush had not been kicked out in the 2004 election. There wasn't a lot that fall to be happy about.
But online, it appeared there was. I found sites like BUZZFLASH, THE COMMON ILLS, INFORMATION CLEARING HOUSE, THE NATION, DEMOCRACY NOW, etc.
By 2008, it was obvious that so many were fakes and that was disappointing. But THE COMMON ILLS and INFORMATION CLEARING HOUSE were the real deal.
They believe in what they said they did -- right now, they believe in what they said they did. They didn't start ignoring X because suddenly the Democratic Party supported X so it was time to pretend that X wasn't a crime.
They had ethics and they told the truth.
Tom has highlighted many great voices I've loved over the years, loved and learned from.
His site is very, very important to me.
I pray he recovers but I hope he knows that his site made a difference in my life. I'm sure that's true of a lot of people but it made a real difference in my life. His work matters to me and I will always be grateful to him for INFORMATION CLEARING HOUSE. I owe him a lot and he helped shape the internet for a lot of us.
Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"
Wednesday, October 20, 2021. This just in, Colin The Blot Powell remains dead.
In breaking news, War Criminal Colin Powell is still dead.
Despite the corporate press and other idiots presenting him as their own personal Jesus Christ, Colin has not risen. It's day three and he has not risen.
Repeating, War Criminal Colin Powell remains dead.
He has not risen. Apparently saddened by that development, 'leading' periodicals on the 'left' remain silent: THE PROGRESSIVE and THE NATION. And Katrina, get better journalists for your entertainment coverage. Click-biat garbage about shows that undermine values? There are many reasons Donald Trump became president. People voted for him, to be sure, and Hillary Clinton refused to take her ass where it needed to go (if campaigning tires you, don't run for office), etc. The long list also includes what was endorsed as 'entertainment' and what the glorified. Stop worrying about what video games kids are playing and start contemplating the real damage grown adults do when they promote certain TV shows as admirable.
It would be impossible to overstate the import of Powell’s February 2003 speech, in which he claimed that the United States had amassed a stockpile of evidence that proved that Iraq had retained chemical and biological weapons of mass destruction in violation of its commitments under the 1991 Gulf War ceasefire. Iraq’s government, Powell argued forcefully, presented such a clear and present danger to its neighbors that the international community—led by the U.S.—had a right, even a duty, to remove it with an invasion. President George W. Bush and his co-conspirators had spent the better part of the previous year working to convince Americans to support a second war against Iraq over WMDs. Polls showed that voters remained unconvinced.
Possibly in preparation for a 2004 White House run—hard to imagine in these polarized times, but the ex-general had long been considered a top presidential prospect by both major political parties—the even-tempered Powell had previously distanced himself from his fellow cabinet members, dominated as they were by neoconservative hotheads, throughout the first two years of his term. Powell’s credibility towered over everyone else in American politics to an extent rarely seen before and certainly never since.
When you join a gang, you’re required to prove your loyalty. “You’ve got high poll ratings,” Vice President Dick Cheney told Powell as he ordered him to support the push for war. “You can afford to lose a few points.”
Which is why Bush and Cheney sent him to the U.N. They knew that Powell alone could close the deal with a public made recalcitrant by historical precedent: the U.S. had never before launched a full-out war without a pretext that made some sort of sense. And Where the president had failed the prestigious Powell succeeded brilliantly, with the American public as well as with key allies like Great Britain and Australia. Seconds after he stopped talking, TV talking heads told us what we already knew: the fate of a million Iraqis was sealed. We were going to war.
The Secretary of State also ran with the al-Qaida-Iraqi connection, another spurious link manufactured in the aftermath of 9/11 linking the terrorist attacks to Baghdad. “Iraqi officials deny accusations of ties with al-Qaida. These denials are simply not credible.” His UN speech makes special reference to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, suggesting that al-Qaida “affiliates based in Baghdad now coordinate the movement of people, money and supplies throughout Iraq for his network”.
Powell spent subsequent years calling his presentation “painful”, a “blot” that would “always be part of my record.” But ever mindful of public relations, he could find other more worthy alibis for his conduct. Blame could be saddled and pinned down elsewhere – for instance, upon the more nefarious Donald Rumsfeld. Or the devious Vice President Dick Cheney, whose office authored the speech.
For those keen to confine the scope of Powell’s errors and assessments, it is also worth remembering that the taste for regime change did not stop with the placing of boots in Mesopotamia. As chair for the Bush’s Commission for Assistance to a Free Cuba, Powell oversaw the production of a 2004 report advocating various ways the Cuban government might be overthrown. These were familiar: insinuating market capitalism into the state; introducing multi-party elections; giving Cuban Americans living in the US restitution for losses suffered under the Castro regime. Accordingly, Washington should “support the Cuban people as they … work to transform themselves” and enable them “to develop a democratic and civic culture … and the values and habits essential to both.” Such mindful benevolence.
With the imperium in respectful lockstep and sighing deferentially to a departed soldier, Powell’s blemishes can be overlooked by glowing reference to his “service” and patriotism. But in performing that service, Powell’s legacy will be associated with the murderous, not infrequently incompetent adventurism of US foreign policy and its messianic bent.
Colin is responsible for the deaths of over one million Iraqis. He is responsible for encouraging hate against the LGBTQ community and for harming LGBTQ members of the US military. He plotted to overthrow Cuba. He lied and covered up a massacre in Vietnam. Those are just the big marks, the well knowns. Yet THE INTERDCEPT wants to tell you he was a "nice man." And THE NATION and THE PROGRESSIVE don't wnat to comment and would rather spend their time 'covering' NETFLIX.
You're not just seeing the collapse of corporate media, you're also seeing the reality of beggar media -- you know, the ones who call themselves 'independents' because they're always begging you for money to pay their bills. And what are you paying for? So they can cover NETFLIX?
Certainly not so that they'll cover the Iraq War because they don't even know that it continues. Qassim Abdul-Zahra and Zeina Karam (AP) report:
Word of his death Monday at age 84 dredged up feelings of anger in Iraq toward the former general and diplomat, one of several Bush administration officials whom they hold responsible for a disastrous U.S.-led invasion that led to decades of death, chaos and violence in Iraq.
His U.N. testimony was a key part of events that they say had a heavy cost for Iraqis and others in the Middle East.
“He lied, lied and lied,” said Maryam, a 51-year-old Iraqi writer and mother of two in northern Iraq who spoke on condition her last name not be used because one of her children is studying in the United States.
“He lied, and we are the ones who got stuck with never-ending wars,” she added.
Please, Coiln worshippers in the US, don't let the realities that Iraqis have suffered from make you enjoy your continuous moments of worship any less. It is, after all, all about the joy you feel in the safety of the distant land and not about the people whose lives were actually destroyed by Colin Powell, right? (That was sarcasm.)
New York Governor Kathy Hochul has declared that Colin died due to someone who did not receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Glenn Greenwald notes:
It's somehow fitting, isn't it, that when a government official comments on Colin's death, they make claims that they can't back up? As he was in life, so he is in death.
We'll continue to follow this story for any developments; however, as of today, Collie The Blot Powell, despite the constant press liturgy, has not risen and remains dead.
Turning to the land Colin helped destroy, Iraq. Two Sundays ago, elections were held. In useless filing after useless filing, so-called journalists yammered away about this or that but refused to note the problem Human Rights Watch had called attention to ahead of the election. Today, Human Rights Watch's Belkis Wille writes:
But on election day, videos circulated suggested IHEC’s promises to make polling places accessible, with ballot boxes on the ground floor, went unfulfilled. A week later, we spoke to Haidar Jassim, 40, who has a physical disability. Here is what he said:
I was so optimistic when I heard IHEC would make polling places accessible to people with disabilities.
At 11:30 a.m. on election day, I went to the polling place in my Baghdad neighborhood, in my wheelchair, full of hope that I would be able to vote. I showed my voter ID to two IHEC staff. One looked at me and said, you have to make it to the second floor. I asked if I could vote without going to the second floor. The head of the polling place said they could not move the ballot boxes downstairs, but that I could come back later in the day and he would try to think of a solution. I told them about the IHEC announcement. He said he had no information about it.
Another staff person said, “Let me give you some advice, just go back home. Your vote won’t make a difference anyway.” I was shocked. I explained that I want to exercise and enjoy my rights like anyone else. I can only conclude that he and his colleagues do not consider us to be human beings with the same rights. He then told an older man in a wheelchair to also go home without voting, and left.
I went home and changed my electric wheelchair to a lighter, manual one, and went back to the polling place with my cousin. With help from another IHEC employee, they carried me to the second floor, and I was finally able to vote.
Sadly, I know many people with disabilities who couldn’t vote in Baghdad because the polling places were not accessible.
The IHEC should explain to Haidar, and everyone it let down on election day, why did it not implement its limited promises around accessibility, and what it is planning to do before the next elections to make sure this doesn’t happen again.
Meanwhile ALJAZEERA reports:
Hundreds of supporters of Iraq’s powerful Hashd al-Shaabi – a pro-Iranian former paramilitary force – protested on Tuesday against “fraud” at recent parliamentary elections in which their movement performed poorly.
The Conquest (Fatah) Alliance, the political arm of the multiparty Hashd, won about 15 seats in the October 10 vote, according to preliminary results.
In the last parliament, it held 48 seats, making it the second-largest bloc.
Several hundred Hashd al-Shaabi supporters gathered on a Baghdad street leading to the entrance of the high-security Green Zone, home to the US embassy, other diplomatic missions, and government offices.
Don't be surprised if protests continue over the count. Don't be surprised that the electoral commission has further undermined the trust of the Iraqi people. Over the weekend, Dilan Sirwan (RUDAW) reported, "The Iraqi electoral commission announced the official preliminary results of the Iraqi parliamentary elections late Saturday night, following the manual recount of votes from thousands of polling stations."
So that's what they announced, now let's deal with reality. The same commission announced ahead of the elections (last Sunday), that they would announce the results the following day. That would have been Monday. There was no reason to have made such an announcement or such an absurd claim. But they made it. And they didn't keep it.
The Commission shouldn't have made the promise to begin with but they did. They told the Iraqi people it would be done on Monday and it wasn't. They did this in an environment of distrust. Going into the election, in the months leading up, it was known that a growing distrust of the government was going to lead to a depressed turnout. It was known. The last thing needed was for any other government body to make a promise that they couldn't keep. In this environment, the commission made a promise that it should have known (and probably did know) it couldn't keep.
That was dangerous, that was stupid and it was uncalled for.
Outside of Iraq, if most people even know the above, that's all they likely know. But if you live in Iraq, you know a lot more. More than we could ever, ever list. But we'll note one more thing. Three years ago, there was parliamentary election in Iraq. The results were hotly contested. The commission promised a manual recount. Any of this sounding familiar because, for some reason, western outlets have amnesia and are stupidly unaware of it. So there was going to be a manual recount. How did that turn out?
The commission halted it. Half the ballots were in a Baghdad warehouse that just happened to catch fire meaning no complete manual recount could be done.
In this environment, you do not make a promise you can't keep.
But there's no accountability in Iraq -- and the celebration and worship of War Criminal Colin Powell makes clear that there's little accountability anywhere.
The following sites updated: