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Nov 5, 2010
He's oxygen deprived

He's oxygen deprived

BULLY BOY PRESS & CEDRIC'S BIG MIX -- THE KOOL-AID TABLE

CELEBRITY IN CHIEF BARRY O HAS FOUND A NEW OUT IN HIS NEVER ENDING BLAME GAME.

THE AMERICAN PEOPLE TURNING ON HIM?

NOT HIS FAULT. HE'S BEEN IN A BUBBLE. CLEARLY HE WAS DEPRIVED OF OXYGEN.

IN THE MEANTIME, HE'S STILL DELUSIONAL.


FROM THE TCI WIRE:

Friday October 22nd, WikiLeaks released 391,832 US military documents on the Iraq War. The documents -- US military field reports -- reveal torture and abuse and the ignoring of both. They reveal ongoing policies passed from the Bush administration onto the Obama one. They reveal that both administrations ignored and ignore international laws and conventions on torture. They reveal a much higher civilian death toll than was ever admitted to. Laura Oliver (Journalism.co.UK) reports on Global Investigative Journalism Network's petition in support of WikiLeaks and quotes from the petition:
We, journalists and journalist organisations from many countries, express our support for Mr Assange and Wikileaks. We believe that Mr Assange has made an outstanding contribution to transparency and accountability on the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, subjects where transparency and accountability has been severely restricted by government secrecy and accountability has been severely restricted by government secrecy and media control. He is being attacked for releasing information that should never have been withheld from the public.
We believe Wikileaks had the right to post confidential military documents because it was in the interest of the public to know what was happening. The documents show evidence that the US Government has misled the public about activities in Iraq and Afghanistan and that war crimes may have been committed.
Today in Geneva, Julian Assange spoke to the press. CBS and AP report that he's calling for an investigation into the incidents documented in all the papers WikiLeaks has released on Iraq and Afghanistan. Stephanie Nebehay (Reuters) quotes him stating, "It is time the United States opened up instead of covering up." Assange was in Geneva as the US prepares to face a UN Human Rights Council review tomorrow in Geneva. AFP notes that "human rights campaigners" are making public their disappointment with the White House and the ACLU's Jamal Dakwar is quoted stating of Barack, "We all thought that was a terrific beginning. However, we are now seeing that this administration is becoming an obstacle to achieving accountability in human rights."
The Rutgers School of Law-Newark Constitutional Litigation Clinci today filed a Petition for a Writ of Certiorari in the United States Supreme Court in a case challenging the invasion of Iraq by President Bush in the absence of a Declaration of War by Congress.
The Plaintiffs in the case are New Jersey Peace Action, a 50-year-old anti-war organization; William Joseph Wheeler, an Iraq war veteran; and two morthers whose sons had been deployed in Iraq -- Anna Berlinrut of Nutley, New Jersey and Paula Rogovin of Teaneck, New Jersey.
The case was dismissed by both the Federal District Court in Newark and the U.S. Court of Appeals in Philadelphia on procedural grounds, without reaching the merits of the constitutional claim.
The plaintiffs are represented by Rutgers Professor Frank Askin, Directof or the Constitutional Litigation Clinic, and Newark attorney Bennet Zuofsky, and students in the Rutgers Law School clinic, who have worked on the case for the past three years.
Plaintiffs' case is based on the original intent of the Framers of the Constitution to take the power of peace and war out of the hands of a single executive and place it in the hands of Congress. Plaintiffs' arguments rely heavily on the records of the Constitutional Convention on June 1, 1787, and the rulings of the Supreme Court in the first half of the 19th century.
The petition notes that since the end of World War II, U.S. presidents have regularly ignored the intent of the Framers and instituted foreign hostilities without obtaining a Declaration of War from Congress. However, the petition also says that in none of the prior wars did the President take the initiative to invade a sovereign nation without provocation. According to the petition, in the first half of the 19th century, the Supreme Court emphasized that the plain language of the Constitution meant that the President could not launch an all-out war in the absence of a Congressional Declaration.
The petition also notes that no federal court has ever examined the debates at the Constitutional Convention on June 1, 1787, when the decision as to the constitutional allocation of the war powers was decided, and asks the Supreme Court to at last take up the issue. Since World War II, the lower federal courts have dismissed suits challening the President's authority to wage war on technical procedural grounds.
The case raises fundamental issues concerning the intent of the Framers of the Constitution and the role of the Supreme Court as the ultimate interpreter of our national charter. The petition reminds the Court of the famous words of Thomas Jefferson that in Article I Section 8 of the Constitution the Framers had provided "an effectual check to the Dog of War by transferring the power of letting it loose from Executive to Legislative body, from those are to spend to those who are to pay."
Media Contact: Professor Frank Askin
973-353-3239
Contact: Janet Donohue
973-353-5553
Noah Cohen (Teaneck Patch) adds, "Teaneck-resident Paula Rogovin and Anna Berlinrut, of Nutley, both with sons who were deployed in Iraq, are part of the group filing suit. Rogovin has organized weekly vigils protesting the war outside the Teaneck Armory."
Sunday an attack on a church in Baghdad left at least 58 dead. Tuesday Al Jazeera's Inside Story addressed the assault.

Dareen Aboughaida: An al Qaeda-linked group called the Islamic State of Iraq claims responsibility for attacking the Catholic Church in Baghdad on Sunday. Situated close to the Green Zone, the gunmen held more than a hundred people hostage for hours before security forces stormed the church. The kidnappers were demanding the release of al Qaeda prisoners from Iraqi and Egyptian jails. They also threatened the Coptic Church of Egypt for allegedly detaining female Muslims against their will. The attack is being described as the bloodiest against Iraq's dwindling Christian community since the 2003 US-led invasion. Joining us to discuss this, our guests: In Erbil, Aziz Emmanuel Zedari -- he's a member of the Chaldean Syriac Assyrian Council -- that's an NGO seeking to enhance the rights of Christians in Iraq; in London, we have Iraq Affairs Analyst Abdulmunaem Almula; and in Washington DC, Daveed Gartenstein-Ross, he's the director for the Center of Terrorist Radicalization at the Foundation For Defence of Democracies. Gentlemen, welcome all to the program, thank you very much for your time on Inside Story. Abdulmunaem Almula, let me begin with you and discuss the actual mechanics of the attacks. Now the assailants first battled security at the stock exchange building then it's reported the men fled to the nearby church where they took those people hostage. So what do you make of this? Was the target the stock exchange or was it the Church to avenge for those al Qaeda members held in prisons in Iraq that we were talking about in the introduction?

Abdulmunaem Almula: Well to be honest with you, if anything this operation will demonstrate -- it will demonstrate the lack of professionalism and the training of the Iraqi security forces. Also it will further demonstrate that the-the-the lack of ability of this Iraqi government to handle such a situation. For me, I can look at the attack as it came from a common -- common murderers, common criminals that were trying to-to attack the-the Iraqi Exchange Centre or one of the Iraqi business centers next to the Salvation Church and then they scaled on the wall of the-the Church and they start to-to shoot the civilians there. For me, I think it is -- whoever the group behind this attack -- either al Qaeda or any other terrorists groups -- it is a terrorist act and the only destination that we can blame is the -- is the Iraqi government and the Iraqi security forces.

Dareen Aboughaida: Aziz Emmanuel Zedari --

Abdulmunaem Almula: So many

Dareen Aboughaida: Aziz Emmanuel Zedari, let me bring you in right now. How should we read this attack in your opinion? What significance is it that a Church was attacked?

Aziz Emmanuel Zedari: First of all, I would like to express my condolences for the victims of the largest terrorist attack on the Christian community on the Church in Baghdad. Well the reason the attack is the last in a series of regular and well organized attacks on the Christian community in Iraq with an aim to drive the Christian community from Iraq.

Dareen Aboughaida: Daveed Gartenstein-Ross in Washington, al Qaeda is claiming responsibility for this attack so does the operation carry the hallmarks of al Qaeda in your opinion?

Daveed Gartenstein-Ross: It's difficult to say in this case. There's certain al Qaeda hallmarks that you can attach to well coordinated terrorist attacks. For example, bombings that are near simultaneous in multiple parts of the city. That has the hallmark of al Qaeda. In this case, storming a church? Tactically, strategically, it's something that al Qaeda certainly has done, it's something that they're capable of but one can't tell just by the signature of this attack -- at least not without getting much deeper into tactics, techniques and procedures than has been reported publicly.

We started with the above for a reason. If you believe al Qaeda in Mesopotamia is responsible for the attacks -- I'm not saying you should believe that or shouldn't, make up your own mind -- than you take the statement they issued. You don't get to go 'buffet style' and claim that al Qaeda is responsible but they did it for reasons other than what they listed in their note. A reporter reported on one of the dead priests. We ignored the story. I'm not blasting the reporter for what he filed and am all for reporters filing often and filing completely. But I didn't find it of value and knew how it would be used. Unless you're giving the priest the gift of prophecy -- in which case, start the canonization -- you're giving too much weight to his 'vision' (fear). And a number of articles are being filed claiming that the priest's fear is what happened. Again, if you accept al Qaeda in Iraq as the culprit, they have posted a statement online. They stated their reasons in that posting. If it's not in their posting, there's a reason it's not.

Jim Kouri (NWV) is not being referred to with the above, however, his piece has a headline that the "Christian bloodbath [is] ignored by Obama White House." I'm aware of the NSC making a statement. I'm not aware of the White House -- or Barack himself -- making a statement. And I'm including Kouri's story because this is why there is a perception about Barack. A slaughter took place. Has he commented? If not, then he doesn't need to be surprised when American Christians, so used to him weighing in on Muslim issues, have questions about his devotion or identification to his proclaimed faith.
Barack has no made no comment. November 1st, White House spokesperson Robert Gibbs issued the following:
The United States strongly condemns this senseless act of hostage taking and violence by terrorists linked to al Qaeda in Iraq that occurred Sunday in Baghdad killing so many innocent Iraqis. Our hearts go out to the people of Iraq who have suffered so much from these attacks. We offer sincerest condolences to the families of the victims and to all the people of Iraq who are targeted by these cowardly acts of terrorism. We know the overwhelming majority of Iraqis from all its communities reject violence and we stand with them as we work together to combat terrorism and protect the people of our two nations.
The United States strongly condemns the vicious violence witnessed today, November 2, as a result of multiple terrorist attacks in Baghdad that killed scores of innocent Iraqis and wounded hundreds more. We extend our deepest sympathies to the victims' families and to all Iraqis who suffer from terrorism. We have confidence that the people of Iraq will remain steadfast in their rejection of efforts by extremists to spark sectarian tension. These attacks will not stop Iraq's progress. The United States stands with the people of Iraq and remains committeed to our strong and long-term partnership.
And that's it. And notice, I keep saying to pay attention to this, NSC -- you need to pay attention to the national security council types. That's who's controlling Iraq for the US. It's not out of the State Dept -- despite the lies -- it's the NSC and it's been Samantha Power's baby for some time. AFP reports that the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, "criticised the Iraqi government on Thursday for failing to protect religious communities" and they quote her stating, "I believe much more could have been done to protect groups which are clearly targets and who are particularly vulnerable. It is imperative that the Iraqi government intervenes decisively and impartially at the first sign of incitement to hostility and violence against any religious groups or minorities. The authorities should ensure that religious sites and other likely targets are adequately protected, and reach out and demonstrate to different communities that their safety is of paramount concern to the government." And yet Barack remains silent. That's fine if that's what he wants to do but he can then turn around and whine that no one believes him about his religion and expect any sympathy beyond the Cult of St. Barack.
Today Reuters notes that there is a movement in Iraq to take newly elected MPs to court in order "to recover salaries and benefits of almost $250,000 paid to politicians who have barely worked since an inconclusive March election that has yet to produce a new government." Inconclusive?
March 7th, Iraq concluded Parliamentary elections. The Guardian's editorial board noted in August, "These elections were hailed prematurely by Mr Obama as a success, but everything that has happened since has surely doused that optimism in a cold shower of reality." 163 seats are needed to form the executive government (prime minister and council of ministers). When no single slate wins 163 seats (or possibly higher -- 163 is the number today but the Parliament added seats this election and, in four more years, they may add more which could increase the number of seats needed to form the executive government), power-sharing coalitions must be formed with other slates, parties and/or individual candidates. (Eight Parliament seats were awarded, for example, to minority candidates who represent various religious minorities in Iraq.) Ayad Allawi is the head of Iraqiya which won 91 seats in the Parliament making it the biggest seat holder. Second place went to State Of Law which Nouri al-Maliki, the current prime minister, heads. They won 89 seats. Nouri made a big show of lodging complaints and issuing allegations to distract and delay the certification of the initial results while he formed a power-sharing coalition with third place winner Iraqi National Alliance -- this coalition still does not give them 163 seats. They are claiming they have the right to form the government. In 2005, Iraq took four months and seven days to pick a prime minister. It's seven months and twenty-eight days and still counting.
Kelly McEvers (NPR's All Things Considered) reports some believe the violence may force the parties to sit down and form a government and quotes an Iraqi wondering pointing out that Nouri might remain prime minister and yet he can't even secure Iraq currently. And Nouri's not the only one claiming he won't leave. Rudaw is reporting Jalal Talabani, president of Iraq, is stating that he will remain president and not surrender his post to a non-Kurd. This statement would appear to squelch US government hopes that they could slide Allawi into that position -- beefed up or not -- as a consolation prize for Allawi getting more votes but the US government determined to have Nouri remain prime minister. Ned Parker (Los Angeles Times) interviews Allawi today who tells him Tehran officials/leaders will not allow him to be the leader and who is quoted stating, "It's very sad. I always maintained that the security improvement was only fragile. . . . Unless the political landscape is changed, then all the surges and awakenings are not going to bring sustainable results. That's why we have been witnessing an escalation of violence. . . . What we have seen and what we know is only the tip of the iceberg. We haven't yet seen the whole iceberg. Assassinations are now a flourishing business throughout the country. There are explosions and violence. But now I think it will continue to take a sharper bend toward the worst."


RECOMMENDED: "Iraq snapshot"
"The assault on Iraqi Christians"
"David Jones, deployments, DADT"
Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "The Aftermath"
"Melissa Harris-Lacewell hides her White Mommy"
"Gross gross"
"Not crying"
"oh, peter daou"
"Does Julie Rovner have a hearing problem or do I?"
"Stupidist election comment"
"White girl Melissa Harris-Perry still not raising her kid"
"White Like Melissa Harris-Lacewell-Perry"
"Not fond of certain metaphors"
"Preview"
"THIS JUST IN! HE SAYS IT'S AN OUCHIE!"
"Big, whiny baby"

Posted at 03:00 pm by cedricsbigmix
Comments (26)  

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills)

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills)

Thursday November 4, 2010.  Chaos and violence continue, the stalemate continues, Allawi states Iranian officials do not want him to be prime minister (of Iraq), Barack mouths on about Don't Ask, Don't Tell but can't speak of Iraqi Christians (and it's been noticed), Julian Assange holds a press conference calling for an investigation into the incidents recorded in the documents WikiLeaks, the body of a fallen US soldier makes it home, a case is filed questioning the legality of the Iraq War, and more.
 
 
Friday October 22nd, WikiLeaks released 391,832 US military documents on the Iraq War. The documents -- US military field reports -- reveal torture and abuse and the ignoring of both. They reveal ongoing policies passed from the Bush administration onto the Obama one. They reveal that both administrations ignored and ignore international laws and conventions on torture. They reveal a much higher civilian death toll than was ever admitted to.  Laura Oliver (Journalism.co.UK) reports on Global Investigative Journalism Network's petition in support of WikiLeaks and quotes from the petition:
 
We, journalists and journalist organisations from many countries, express our support for Mr Assange and Wikileaks.  We believe that Mr Assange has made an outstanding contribution to transparency and accountability on the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, subjects where transparency and accountability has been severely restricted by government secrecy and accountability has been severely restricted by government secrecy and media control. He is being attacked for releasing information that should never have been withheld from the public.
We believe Wikileaks had the right to post confidential military documents because it was in the interest of the public to know what was happening. The documents show evidence that the US Government has misled the public about activities in Iraq and Afghanistan and that war crimes may have been committed.
 
Today in Geneva, Julian Assange spoke to the press.  CBS and AP report that he's calling for an investigation into the incidents documented in all the papers WikiLeaks has released on Iraq and Afghanistan. Stephanie Nebehay (Reuters) quotes him stating, "It is time the United States opened up instead of covering up." Assange was in Geneva as the US prepares to face a UN Human Rights Council review tomorrow in Geneva.  AFP notes that "human rights campaigners" are making public their disappointment with the White House and the ACLU's Jamal Dakwar is quoted stating of Barack, "We all thought that was a terrific beginning. However, we are now seeing that this administration is becoming an obstacle to achieving accountability in human rights."  
 
 
The Rutgers School of Law-Newark Constitutional Litigation Clinci today filed a Petition for a Writ of Certiorari in the United States Supreme Court in a case challenging the invasion of Iraq by President Bush in the absence of a Declaration of War by Congress. 
The Plaintiffs in the case are New Jersey Peace Action, a 50-year-old anti-war organization; William Joseph Wheeler, an Iraq war veteran; and two morthers whose sons had been deployed in Iraq -- Anna Berlinrut of Nutley, New Jersey and Paula Rogovin of Teaneck, New Jersey. 
The case was dismissed by both the Federal District Court in Newark and the U.S. Court of Appeals in Philadelphia on procedural grounds, without reaching the merits of the constitutional claim.
The plaintiffs are represented by Rutgers Professor Frank Askin, Directof or the Constitutional Litigation Clinic, and Newark attorney Bennet Zuofsky, and students in the Rutgers Law School clinic, who have worked on the case for the past three years.
Plaintiffs' case is based on the original intent of the Framers of the Constitution to take the power of peace and war out of the hands of a single executive and place it in the hands of Congress. Plaintiffs' arguments rely heavily on the records of the Constitutional Convention on June 1, 1787, and the rulings of the Supreme Court in the first half of the 19th century.
The petition notes that since the end of World War II, U.S. presidents have regularly ignored the intent of the Framers and instituted foreign hostilities without obtaining a Declaration of War from Congress.  However, the petition also says that in none of the prior wars did the President take the initiative to invade a sovereign nation without provocation.  According to the petition, in the first half of the 19th century, the Supreme Court emphasized that the plain language of the Constitution meant that the President could not launch an all-out war in the absence of a Congressional Declaration.
The petition also notes that no federal court has ever examined the debates at the Constitutional Convention on June 1, 1787, when the decision as to the constitutional allocation of the war powers was decided, and asks the Supreme Court to at last take up the issue.  Since World War II, the lower federal courts have dismissed suits challening the President's authority to wage war on technical procedural grounds.
The case raises fundamental issues concerning the intent of the Framers of the Constitution and the role of the Supreme Court as the ultimate interpreter of our national charter. The petition reminds the Court of the famous words of Thomas Jefferson that in Article I Section 8 of the Constitution the Framers had provided "an effectual check to the Dog of War by transferring the power of letting it loose from Executive to Legislative body, from those are to spend to those who are to pay."
Media Contact: Professor Frank Askin
973-353-3239
Contact: Janet Donohue
973-353-5553
 
Noah Cohen (Teaneck Patch) adds, "Teaneck-resident Paula Rogovin and Anna Berlinrut, of Nutley, both with sons who were deployed in Iraq, are part of the group filing suit. Rogovin has organized weekly vigils protesting the war outside the Teaneck Armory."
 
Sunday an attack on a church in Baghdad left at least 58 dead. Tuesday Al Jazeera's Inside Story addressed the assault.

Dareen Aboughaida: An al Qaeda-linked group called the Islamic State of Iraq claims responsibility for attacking the Catholic Church in Baghdad on Sunday. Situated close to the Green Zone, the gunmen held more than a hundred people hostage for hours before security forces stormed the church. The kidnappers were demanding the release of al Qaeda prisoners from Iraqi and Egyptian jails. They also threatened the Coptic Church of Egypt for allegedly detaining female Muslims against their will. The attack is being described as the bloodiest against Iraq's dwindling Christian community since the 2003 US-led invasion. Joining us to discuss this, our guests: In Erbil, Aziz Emmanuel Zedari -- he's a member of the Chaldean Syriac Assyrian Council -- that's an NGO seeking to enhance the rights of Christians in Iraq; in London, we have Iraq Affairs Analyst Abdulmunaem Almula; and in Washington DC, Daveed Gartenstein-Ross, he's the director for the Center of Terrorist Radicalization at the Foundation For Defence of Democracies. Gentlemen, welcome all to the program, thank you very much for your time on Inside Story. Abdulmunaem Almula, let me begin with you and discuss the actual mechanics of the attacks. Now the assailants first battled security at the stock exchange building then it's reported the men fled to the nearby church where they took those people hostage. So what do you make of this? Was the target the stock exchange or was it the Church to avenge for those al Qaeda members held in prisons in Iraq that we were talking about in the introduction?

Abdulmunaem Almula: Well to be honest with you, if anything this operation will demonstrate -- it will demonstrate the lack of professionalism and the training of the Iraqi security forces. Also it will further demonstrate that the-the-the lack of ability of this Iraqi government to handle such a situation. For me, I can look at the attack as it came from a common -- common murderers, common criminals that were trying to-to attack the-the Iraqi Exchange Centre or one of the Iraqi business centers next to the Salvation Church and then they scaled on the wall of the-the Church and they start to-to shoot the civilians there. For me, I think it is -- whoever the group behind this attack -- either al Qaeda or any other terrorists groups -- it is a terrorist act and the only destination that we can blame is the -- is the Iraqi government and the Iraqi security forces.

Dareen Aboughaida: Aziz Emmanuel Zedari --

Abdulmunaem Almula: So many

Dareen Aboughaida: Aziz Emmanuel Zedari, let me bring you in right now. How should we read this attack in your opinion? What significance is it that a Church was attacked?

Aziz Emmanuel Zedari: First of all, I would like to express my condolences for the victims of the largest terrorist attack on the Christian community on the Church in Baghdad. Well the reason the attack is the last in a series of regular and well organized attacks on the Christian community in Iraq with an aim to drive the Christian community from Iraq.

Dareen Aboughaida: Daveed Gartenstein-Ross in Washington, al Qaeda is claiming responsibility for this attack so does the operation carry the hallmarks of al Qaeda in your opinion?

Daveed Gartenstein-Ross: It's difficult to say in this case. There's certain al Qaeda hallmarks that you can attach to well coordinated terrorist attacks. For example, bombings that are near simultaneous in multiple parts of the city. That has the hallmark of al Qaeda. In this case, storming a church? Tactically, strategically, it's something that al Qaeda certainly has done, it's something that they're capable of but one can't tell just by the signature of this attack -- at least not without getting much deeper into tactics, techniques and procedures than has been reported publicly.

We started with the above for a reason. If you believe al Qaeda in Mesopotamia is responsible for the attacks -- I'm not saying you should believe that or shouldn't, make up your own mind -- than you take the statement they issued. You don't get to go 'buffet style' and claim that al Qaeda is responsible but they did it for reasons other than what they listed in their note. A reporter reported on one of the dead priests. We ignored the story. I'm not blasting the reporter for what he filed and am all for reporters filing often and filing completely. But I didn't find it of value and knew how it would be used. Unless you're giving the priest the gift of prophecy -- in which case, start the canonization -- you're giving too much weight to his 'vision' (fear). And a number of articles are being filed claiming that the priest's fear is what happened. Again, if you accept al Qaeda in Iraq as the culprit, they have posted a statement online. They stated their reasons in that posting. If it's not in their posting, there's a reason it's not.

Jim Kouri (NWV) is not being referred to with the above, however, his piece has a headline that the "Christian bloodbath [is] ignored by Obama White House." I'm aware of the NSC making a statement. I'm not aware of the White House -- or Barack himself -- making a statement. And I'm including Kouri's story because this is why there is a perception about Barack. A slaughter took place. Has he commented? If not, then he doesn't need to be surprised when American Christians, so used to him weighing in on Muslim issues, have questions about his devotion or identification to his proclaimed faith.
Barack has no made no comment.  November 1st, White House spokesperson Robert Gibbs issued the following:
 
The United States strongly condemns this senseless act of hostage taking and violence by terrorists linked to al Qaeda in Iraq that occurred Sunday in Baghdad killing so many innocent Iraqis. Our hearts go out to the people of Iraq who have suffered so much from these attacks. We offer sincerest condolences to the families of the victims and to all the people of Iraq who are targeted by these cowardly acts of terrorism. We know the overwhelming majority of Iraqis from all its communities reject violence and we stand with them as we work together to combat terrorism and protect the people of our two nations.
 
 
The United States strongly condemns the vicious violence witnessed today, November 2, as a result of multiple terrorist attacks in Baghdad that killed scores of innocent Iraqis and wounded hundreds more. We extend our deepest sympathies to the victims' families and to all Iraqis who suffer from terrorism. We have confidence that the people of Iraq will remain steadfast in their rejection of efforts by extremists to spark sectarian tension. These attacks will not stop Iraq's progress. The United States stands with the people of Iraq and remains committeed to our strong and long-term partnership.
 
And that's it.  And notice, I keep saying to pay attention to this, NSC -- you need to pay attention to the national security council types.  That's who's controlling Iraq for the US. It's not out of the State Dept -- despite the lies -- it's the NSC and it's been Samantha Power's baby for some time.   AFP reports that the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, "criticised the Iraqi government on Thursday for failing to protect religious communities" and they quote her stating, "I believe much more could have been done to protect groups which are clearly targets and who are particularly vulnerable.  It is imperative that the Iraqi government intervenes decisively and impartially at the first sign of incitement to hostility and violence against any religious groups or minorities. The authorities should ensure that religious sites and other likely targets are adequately protected, and reach out and demonstrate to different communities that their safety is of paramount concern to the government." And yet Barack remains silent.  That's fine if that's what he wants to do but he can then turn around and whine that no one believes him about his religion and expect any sympathy beyond the Cult of St. Barack.
 
Today Reuters notes that there is a movement in Iraq to take newly elected MPs to court in order "to recover salaries and benefits of almost $250,000 paid to politicians who have barely worked since an inconclusive March election that has yet to produce a new government."  Inconclusive?
 
March 7th, Iraq concluded Parliamentary elections. The Guardian's editorial board noted in August, "These elections were hailed prematurely by Mr Obama as a success, but everything that has happened since has surely doused that optimism in a cold shower of reality." 163 seats are needed to form the executive government (prime minister and council of ministers). When no single slate wins 163 seats (or possibly higher -- 163 is the number today but the Parliament added seats this election and, in four more years, they may add more which could increase the number of seats needed to form the executive government), power-sharing coalitions must be formed with other slates, parties and/or individual candidates. (Eight Parliament seats were awarded, for example, to minority candidates who represent various religious minorities in Iraq.) Ayad Allawi is the head of Iraqiya which won 91 seats in the Parliament making it the biggest seat holder. Second place went to State Of Law which Nouri al-Maliki, the current prime minister, heads. They won 89 seats. Nouri made a big show of lodging complaints and issuing allegations to distract and delay the certification of the initial results while he formed a power-sharing coalition with third place winner Iraqi National Alliance -- this coalition still does not give them 163 seats. They are claiming they have the right to form the government. In 2005, Iraq took four months and seven days to pick a prime minister. It's seven months and twenty-eight days and still counting.
Kelly McEvers (NPR's All Things Considered) reports some believe the violence may force the parties to sit down and form a government and quotes an Iraqi wondering pointing out that Nouri might remain prime minister and yet he can't even secure Iraq currently. And Nouri's not the only one claiming he won't leave. Rudaw is reporting Jalal Talabani, president of Iraq, is stating that he will remain president and not surrender his post to a non-Kurd.  This statement would appear to squelch US government hopes that they could slide Allawi into that position -- beefed up or not -- as a consolation prize for Allawi getting more votes but the US government determined to have Nouri remain prime minister.  Ned Parker (Los Angeles Times) interviews Allawi today who tells him Tehran officials/leaders will not allow him to be the leader and who is quoted stating, "It's very sad. I always maintained that the security improvement was only fragile. . . . Unless the political landscape is changed, then all the surges and awakenings are not going to bring sustainable results. That's why we have been witnessing an escalation of violence. . . . What we have seen and what we know is only the tip of the iceberg. We haven't yet seen the whole iceberg. Assassinations are now a flourishing business throughout the country. There are explosions and violence. But now I think it will continue to take a sharper bend toward the worst."
 
Turning to today's violence . . .

Bombings?
 
Reuters notes 3 Hit roadside bombings which left six people (four Iraqi soldiers, two police officers) injured, a Mosul bombing which wounded three children, a Shirqtat bombing claimed the lives of 3 police officers with six more injured, 2 Hit roadside bombings claimed the lives of the May of Kubaisa, Ziyad Rzayij, and his driver and a Baghdad sticky bombing left two employees of the Ministry of the Interiror injured as well as three bystanders.
 
Shootings?
 
Reuters notes an attack on a Falluja police checkpoint which left three police officers wounded and, due to a bombing that went off when the Iraqi military attempted to provide backup, three soldiers were also injured.
 
Corpses?
 
Reuters notes 1 corpse was discovered in Mosul.
 
Jomana Karadsheh (CNN) surveys the recent violence and makes some observations including that "more than 150 Iraqis have been killed since Friday".
 
Moving to the United States.  Yesterday, Barack held forth at the White House.  This is part of his exchange with CNN's Ed Henry.
 
Ed Henry: And just on the policy front, Don't Ask, Don't Tell is something that you promised to end.  And when you had 60 votes and 59 votes in the Senate -- it's a tough issue -- you haven't been able to do it. Do you now have to tell your liberal base that with maybe 52 or 53 votes in the Senate, you're just not going to be able to get it done in the next two years?
 
Barack Obama: Well let me take the second issue first. I've been a strong believer in the notion that if somebody is willing to serve in our military, in uniform, putting their lives on the line for our security, that they should not be prevented from doing so because of their sexual orientation. And since there's been a lot of discussion about polls over the last 48 hours, I think it's worth noting that the overwhelming majority of Americans feel the same way. It's the right thing to do. Now, as commander in chief, I've said that making this change needs to be done in an orderly fashion. I've worked with the Pentagon, worked with Secretary [of Defense Robert] gates, worked with Adm [Mike] Mullen [Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff]  to make sure that we are looking at this in a systematic way that maintains good order and discipline but that we need to change this policy.  There's going to be a review that comes out at the beginning of the month [of December] that will have surveyed attitudes and opinions within the armed forces. I will expect that Secretary of Defense Gates and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm Mullen will have something to say about that review. I will look at it very carefully. But that will give us time to act in -- potentially during the lame duck session to change this policy.  Keep in mind we've got a bunch of court cases that are out as well.  And something that would be very disruptive to good order and discipline and unit cohesion is if we've got this issue bouncing around in teh courts, as it already has over the last several weeks, where the Pentagon and the chain of command doesn't know at any given what rules they're working under.
 
That's a damn lie.  The Pentagon, as a result of Judge Virginia Phillips, stopped discharges under Don't Ask, Don't Tell and had to go through the recruitment proces of those who stated they were gay.  There was no confusion, the sun didn't crash into the earth and the whole world didn't turn upside down.  The change came from Barack -- oh look it, he actually delivered a change! -- when he made the decision that the administration would fight -- not just appeal, but fight -- Judge Phillip's decision. That's when confusion set in. Didn't he want gays to have the ability to serve openly? 

No, not really.  He wanted to get Don't Ask, Don't Tell off the law books (hold on) and then leave it up to the military.  That's not what he promised.  And because he wanted that, what the House passed was basically what had been drafted three previous times but had always included that it was discrimination.  Not now.  And that was the real problem the White House had with Judge Phillip's decision.  It didn't just end Don't Ask, Don't Tell, it ruled it was unconstitutional as well.  Again, the plan is just to get Don't Ask, Don't Tell off the Congressional side and then allow the military to decide what to do.  And by ignoring the discrimination issue, by refusing to address that, it is just a policy and a policy can be changed. So nothing's addressed or dealt with. 
 
Nancy A. Youssef and David Lightman (McClatchy Newspapers) report someone's notion -- unidentified -- that any repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell is now dead in Congress. I'm not disputing that possibility -- we noted that was likely to happen after the midterms back in April of 2009 because we didn't snort or inject the Hopium and believe the whole world had changed (or even the tenor of the White House) following the 2008 elections. I am disputing what appears to be Youssef and Lightman's reasoning:


Among the losers in the House of Representatives were at least 10 Democrats on the Armed Services Committee, including Chairman Ike Skelton of Missouri. Two-term Rep. Patrick Murphy, D-Pa., an Iraq war veteran who added an amendment to the defense appropriations bill that would have repealed "don't ask, don't tell," also lost. 
Rep. Howard "Buck" McKeon, R-Calif., 72, a nine-term veteran, is expected to replace Skelton as committee chairman. Wednesday, McKeon called for leaving military spending largely intact. Previously, he said he favored leaving "don't ask, don't tell" on the books.        


What's the point? Ike was against repeal, Patrick was for it. I don't see that in the above. Nor do I see any understanding that a lame duck Congress will sit between now and January. I don't doubt the possibility that it's dead -- that's why we were repeatedly warning against all the crap that all the Cult of St. Barack groupies were promoting. That's why we wrote the piece we did at Third on Sunday noting that Barack was not planning on ending "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." He was going to have Congress overturn it but what to do was going to be left to the military. If anything was done, it would be the military and not the Congress (or the courts) and refusal to address this in terms of legalities is how Don't Ask, Don't Tell popped up to begin with and that's why those of us who had some legal knowledge of the history of this issue never fell for Barack's song and dance. I like Patrick Murphy (I consider Ike Skelton's defeat a huge loss for the Congress) but all the obits on him are floating off the earth and not bound by gravity or reality. In part that's due to the fact that a lot of idiots covered DADT. Patrick did not do a great job. He built on the hard work of Ellen Tauscher and gym bunnies wanting to be part of the movement were thrilled because they found Patrick cute and they loathed Ellen. (Apparently just because she was a woman.) Patrick was really good at repeating White House talking points, he just didn't grasp he was being played for a fool. The whole -- quickly dropped when a large number of us began objecting -- "Let's tour the US for months and we'll built support for the repeal!" was nothing but a distraction, a delaying tactic and he realized that far too late. Just like he was out of the loop when he was being told that Ted Kennedy would lead in the Senate (we called that out in real time and noted the reality that no one wanted to speak at that moment, Ted was terminal and was showing up for hearings or doing any Congressional business). I can give 20 times off the top of my head where Patrick Murphy repeated publicly what the White House told him -- repeated it as fact -- when it was an outright lie. He had energy and he had dedication but he lacked perspective and he lacked knowledge.For more on the smoke and mirror games the White House has played on DADT see Third's "Barack, Pelosi and the other damn, dirty liars."

 
21-year-old Pfc David R. Jones died on October 24th while serving in Iraq. How? As we've noted before: No one in the government knows or is willing to tell. Tuesday the Utica Observer-Dispatch editorial board weighed in:


The Bennetts initially were told the death was a suicide, but a family member told the Albany Times Union last week that Theresa Bennett received a copy of a text message from a soldier who worked with Jones in Iraq stating that her nephew was one of five people killed or wounded in a shooting "rampage" on a U.S. military base in Baghdad.
[. . .]
A full accounting of Jones' death must be provided. The death of a soldier in the service of his country is a tragedy under any circumstance, and it must not be made worse by shrouding it in mystery. The family and the larger community who knew and loved David Jones deserve answers.

Albany's CBS 6 (link has text and video) reported
the soldier's body is expected to arrive today at Griffiss International Airport and that "police and Patriot Guard riders will escort Jones back to Johnsville." And WNYT reports that the airport arrival and escort back to Johnsville has taken place. Dennis Yusko (Albany Times Union) adds, "Several hundred people from the area braved falling rain and cold temperatures for more than an hour to line the main street in the village to glimpse the white hearse that brought Jones home for the last time. Schools closed and workers and families came from all over to witness the procession." Subrina Dhammi (WNYT) sketches out the details, "The weather Thursday fit the mood of the small, close-knit village of St. Johnsville. Residents braved the cold and steady rain to line the street waiting to welcome home a fallen soldier. School children proudly displayed signs saying 'we will never forget you'." There will be a viewing held tomorrow at St. John's Reformed Church (one to three p.m. and five to seven p.m.) with funeral services to be held Saturday (also at St. John's Reformed Church, starting at 11:00 a.m.). From the young man's obituary:

David enjoyed many activities and sports including soccer, running, and making music with his friends. David loved hanging out with family and friends and watching sports with his loved ones. He was very proud of being in the military and to have the opportunity to serve and honor his country. He will be missed by his family members and many friends. David was extremely close with all of the members of his St. Johnsville High School graduating class of 2008. Family came first in David's life and he leaves his loved ones and friends with countless memories. He was a fun-loving individual and was kind, caring and energetic.
Survivors include his beloved family; his mother: Theresa Ann Bennett of St. Johnsville; his father, George Arthur Bennett, Jr., of St. Johnsville ; his fiance: Britany Winton of Gloversville; his biological father, David Richard Jones; brothers: Timothy Bennett, Nick Bennett, Georgie Bennett III, Chris Bennett, Bernie Bennett and Alexander Jones; his grandmother: Alice Jones, and many aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins and friends. He was predeceased by his paternal grandfather, George Bennett; maternal grandfather: Henry Jones; paternal grandmother: Arthella Bennett and by his uncles: Garry and Arthur Bennett and Timothy Jones.

It's amazing Barack Obama's had time to fly all over the country campaigning but not to demand that the military under him provide the family of David Jones with an answer.
 
Closing with community sites:

 
 
 


Posted at 11:58 am by cedricsbigmix
Comments (2)  

Nov 4, 2010
Big, whiny baby

Big, whiny baby

BULLY BOY PRESS & CEDRIC'S BIG MIX -- THE KOOL-AID TABLE


SOBBING AND WHINING LIKE A LITTLE BOY WHO'S DAD CAN'T WAIT TO YELL AS SOON AS HE GETS HIM IN PRIVATE, CELEBRITY IN CHIEF BARRY O INSISTS "IT FEELS BAD" AS HE SPOKE OF THE HUGE LOSS OF DEMOCRATS LAST NIGHT AS THE REPUBLICANS TOOK THE HOUSE AND ADDED SEATS IN THE SENATE.

ASKED TO EXPAND ON THAT, OUR GREATEST SPEECH MAKER EVER INSISTED, "IT'S LIKE A OUCHIE. LIKE PULLING OFF A BAND-AID."

HE THEN SOBBED SOME MORE AND SUCKED HIS THUMB.

FROM THE TCI WIRE:

The National notes the cry for Iraq to defend their Christian community in 2008:
The question now is: what were the government's measures since 2008 to preserve one of Iraq's components from opression and violence?
Unfortunately, nothing has been done. It is easy to accuse al Qa'eda of brutal massacres, but the country's Christians are publicly targeted and are beseeching the government to provide their security, but what did Nouri al Maliki's government offer them?
The targeting of minorities could lead to the fragmentation of Iraq and the disruption of its cultural and political fabric. No one can guarantee that the Lebanese Christians won't be targeted in the future.
This comes as Martin Chulov (Guardian) reports that al Qaeda in Mesopotamia has postead a statement online that it will launch more attacks on Iraqi Christians, referring to Pope Benedict XVI as "the hallucinating tyrant of the Vatican" and declaring Iraqi Christians will be "extirpated and dispersed." They state: "All Christin centres, organisations and institutions, leaders and followers, are legitimate targets for the muhadjideen wherever they can reach them. We will open upon them the doors of destruction and rivers of blood." Richard Spencer (Telegraph of London) observes, "While Iraqi Christians have been under siege since the fall of Saddam Hussein, the sudden public threats mark a new development." AFP reports al Qaeda in Mesopotamia is insisting that Camilia Shehata and Wafa Constantine -- married to two priests in Egypt -- are being imprisoned in Egypt because they "willingly converted to Islam." Really? Now they're concerned about forced conversions?
Angus Crawford (BBC News) reported on the forcible conversions of the pacifistic Mandaens in Iraq by Islamic militants including tennage Luay who was kidnapped, forcibly circumcised ("a practice not allowed in the Mandaean religion") or Mandaen Enhar who they 'punished' for reufsing to wear a veil by gang-raping her. Do we want to talk about the Yazidis or any of the other religious minorities in Iraq? The persecution has taken place with Nouri refusing to do a damn thing. That point's made today by The National, it was made when over 200 Yazidis were killed in August of 2007 and the KRG's Khaled Salih stated "because of the inaction of the government in Baghdad and their inability to protect the population they are suffering the way they are now." Sabean-Mandaen Layla told her story to Jennifer Utz (Huffington Post -- link has text and video) -- about fleeing "in 2005 after a militia group wearing Iraqi police uniforms kidnapped her husband, and following his refusal to convert to Islam, tortured and killed him in front of their 13 year-old son." You can find more of Jennifer Utz' work at Iraqi Refugee Stories. While we're noting the religious minorities, Yezidi Human Rights Organization-International continues to attempt to correct some misconceptions about their religion -- we noted the reality a few years ago when a major US daily newspaper wrongly called them devil worshipers and we'll note their statement now:
In the past 20 years to present, especially since the internet has become the easiest way to find information regarding whatever a person wish to search for. We have seen that more than 99% of the writers accusing the innocent Yezidi as devil worshipers, this is absolutely pure fiction. During the Saddam's era the Yezidis were misclassified as Arab in ethnicity by force. Although Saddam has gone, but the Kurds have come to power in Northern Iraq since 1991, and they are forcing the innocent Yezidis to be misclassified as Kurdish, again this time under KRG's brutal and dictatorial system. All these are misleading, untruth, and pure fiction about the innocent Yezidis (Ezdae). Because of all these misunderstanding the truth about the Yezidis, we have been attacked hundreds of times in the past 1000 years to present, therefore we (Ezdae) have lost millions of innocent Yezidis in brutal and inhumane attacks against this most indigenous and peaceful nation in the world today.
We have and will continue to note Yezidis as Krudish if they self-identify as Kurdish to the press (some do). We've also noted -- especially in the 2008 wave of attacks -- when Yezidis did not identify as Kurdish. (Some who did not identify as such voiced their opinion that the KRG was behind the attacks on them in an effort to force them to accept 'protection.') There are many religious minorities in Iraq. The Baha'i Faith still has an estimated 2,000 members in Iraq and that may not be a choice. Under Saddam Hussein, they were not allowed passports or various other papers and documents which meant they couldn't leave Iraq. Nouri's government made a big-to-do about how they were going to be issuing identity and residency papers to them finally (back in May 2007) but that hasn't come to pass in reality. Mideast Youth notes that since the announcement "only about six or seven Baha'i identity papers" have been issued. As with all the problems facing Iraq's religious minorities, Nouri's done nothing. He's sometimes made a show of pretending to do something, but he's not done a damn thing.
Related: Iraq's been using 'wands' purchased from England to 'find' bombs -- they require you 'start' them by basically high stepping in place for a half-minute or more. They are a joke and ineffective and that's been known for some time (the UK has banned their sale) but only now can the 'government' in Iraq catch on. Ernesto Londono (Washington Post) reports today that this 'new' finding by Iraq's Minister of the Interior "was unsurprising. But in today's Iraq, it had the potential to be politically explosive. What the ministry did in response to the inspector general's conclusion speaks volumes about how the Iraqi government works these days - and why so often it doesn't." Dropping back to the January 22nd snapshot:
Caroline Hawley (BBC Newsnight -- link has text and video) reports that England has placed an export ban on the ADE-651 'bomb detector' -- a device that's cleaned Iraq's coffers of $85 million so far. Steven Morris (Guardian) follows up noting that, "The managing director [Jim McCormick] of a British company that has been selling bomb-detecting equipment to security forces in Iraq was arrested on suspicion of fraud today."
And before that, November 3, 2009, Rod Nordland (New York Times) would report that retired Lt Col Hal Bidlack was explaining these 'magic wands' operate "on the same principle as a Ouija board" meaning "the power of suggestion" and that Nouri's government or 'government' was wasting between $16,500 to $60,000 a piece on these wands (of which they "purchased more than 1,500"). Bidlack's best discussion of the wands may have been to Richard Roth (CBS Evening News with Katie Couric -- link has text and video) where he explained, "They're fine for fooling a 4-year-old at a birthday party, but they're immoral if they're trying to save lives at a checkpoint." All this time and only now is Iraq admitting the wands don't work. Accountability and transparency don't exist in Nouri's Iraq. But he thinks he should continue as prime minister?
March 7th, Iraq concluded Parliamentary elections. The Guardian's editorial board noted in August, "These elections were hailed prematurely by Mr Obama as a success, but everything that has happened since has surely doused that optimism in a cold shower of reality." 163 seats are needed to form the executive government (prime minister and council of ministers). When no single slate wins 163 seats (or possibly higher -- 163 is the number today but the Parliament added seats this election and, in four more years, they may add more which could increase the number of seats needed to form the executive government), power-sharing coalitions must be formed with other slates, parties and/or individual candidates. (Eight Parliament seats were awarded, for example, to minority candidates who represent various religious minorities in Iraq.) Ayad Allawi is the head of Iraqiya which won 91 seats in the Parliament making it the biggest seat holder. Second place went to State Of Law which Nouri al-Maliki, the current prime minister, heads. They won 89 seats. Nouri made a big show of lodging complaints and issuing allegations to distract and delay the certification of the initial results while he formed a power-sharing coalition with third place winner Iraqi National Alliance -- this coalition still does not give them 163 seats. They are claiming they have the right to form the government. In 2005, Iraq took four months and seven days to pick a prime minister. It's seven months and twenty-seven days and still counting.
Suadad al-Salhy (Reuters) notes that Iraq's Parliament is currently set to meet on Monday -- that may or may not take place (court order not withstanding) -- and that it's possilbe a motion could be put forward favoring Nouri. Should that be attempted, it's equally possible that enough members could storm out of the session leaving the Parliament without a quorum. BBC News quotes acting speaker Fouad Masum stating that Monday will see the election of "the president of the parliament and his two associates" -- which would not refer to the presidency (currently Jalal Talabani) and the vice presidencies (currently Shi'ite Adil Abdul-Mahdi and Sunni Tariq al-Hashimi) but would refer to the post of Speaker and two associates -- and BBC correspondent Jim Muir expresses his belief that the signs lean towards Nouri remaining prime minister -- but, to be clear, the Speaker said nothing about taking up that matter on Monday. Equally true, if Nouri was named prime minister every time the press declared he was about to be named prime minister, March 8th would have seen him crowned (Quil Lawrence was pimping Nouri the day after the elections). Jomana Karadsheh and Arwa Damon (CNN -- link has text and video) report on the statements and announcements and they make no claims that the prime minister will be chosen Monday: "While the speaker election may be a step toward getting the political process back in motion, there is little if any indication that talks to form an inclusive government have made any progress." On CNN, Errol Barnett spoke with the International Institute For Stragic Studies' Mamoun Fandy about yesterday's attack and wondered whether it might either result in further delays for the political process or whether it might in fact speed things up?
Mamoun Fandy: Well there are two things here. First of all, as Arwa [Damon] pointed out, we have a process that's deadlocked for the last eight months and there's an insistence on the part of Prime Minister Maliki and his group on forming a sectarian government and there's a general perception in Iraq -- as well as outside of Iraq -- that this government has been sectarian and that violence is a response to the dominance of extreme Shia trends within the government that's marginalizing the Sunnis, the Kurds and the Christians and everybody else. Now this violence could very much focus the attention of the politicians that the price is really high and it is urgent for them to heed the call of [KRG President] Masoud Barzani and his group in Kurdistan to form a government or to heed the call of King Abdullah [II] of Saudi Arabia who invited all the Iraqis to come to Riyadh -- and have a discussion of how to form a government -- in two weeks after the Hajj [pilgrimage].


RECOMMENDED: "Iraq snapshot"
"Stalemate and WikiLeaks"
"Continued violence and deportations"
"Elections"
"'A big blow for the White House'"
"I ain't your buddy, Biden"
"don't blame the voters"
"Zero"
"Halloween and candy"
"If I could be any politician running for election today"
"The results?"
"A faux lefty"
"Election night!"
"THIS JUST IN! THE BLOOD BATH!"
"Not all that popular after all"

Posted at 04:18 pm by cedricsbigmix
Comments (11)  

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills)

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010.  Chaos and violence, a threat is issued against Iraqi Christians, Nouri's lack of protection for them is noted, the stalemate continues and -- guess what -- some are saying Nouri's about to be prime minister (we've been there before, yes), WikiLeaks gets further attention (and student press tends to do better than Big or Little Media in the US), and more.
 
The National notes the cry for Iraq to defend their Christian community in 2008:
 
The question now is: what were the government's measures since 2008 to preserve one of Iraq's components from opression and violence?
Unfortunately, nothing has been done. It is easy to accuse al Qa'eda of brutal massacres, but the country's Christians are publicly targeted and are beseeching the government to provide their security, but what did Nouri al Maliki's government offer them?
The targeting of minorities could lead to the fragmentation of Iraq and the disruption of its cultural and political fabric. No one can guarantee that the Lebanese Christians won't be targeted in the future.
 
This comes as Martin Chulov (Guardian) reports that al Qaeda in Mesopotamia has postead a statement online that it will launch more attacks on Iraqi Christians, referring to Pope Benedict XVI as "the hallucinating tyrant of the Vatican" and declaring Iraqi Christians will be "extirpated and dispersed."  They state: "All Christin centres, organisations and institutions, leaders and followers, are legitimate targets for the muhadjideen wherever they can reach them. We will open upon them the doors of destruction and rivers of blood." Richard Spencer (Telegraph of London) observes, "While Iraqi Christians have been under siege since the fall of Saddam Hussein, the sudden public threats mark a new development." AFP reports al Qaeda in Mesopotamia is insisting that Camilia Shehata and Wafa Constantine -- married to two priests in Egypt -- are being imprisoned in Egypt because they "willingly converted to Islam."  Really?  Now they're concerned about forced conversions?
 
Angus Crawford (BBC News) reported on the forcible conversions of the pacifistic Mandaens in Iraq by Islamic militants including tennage Luay who was kidnapped, forcibly circumcised ("a practice not allowed in the Mandaean religion") or Mandaen Enhar who they 'punished' for reufsing to wear a veil by gang-raping her.  Do we want to talk about the Yazidis or any of the other religious minorities in Iraq?  The persecution has taken place with Nouri refusing to do a damn thing.  That point's made today by The National, it was made when over 200 Yazidis were killed in August of 2007 and the KRG's Khaled Salih stated "because of the inaction of the government in Baghdad and their inability to protect the population they are suffering the way they are now."  Sabean-Mandaen Layla told her story to Jennifer Utz (Huffington Post -- link has text and video) -- about fleeing "in 2005 after a militia group wearing Iraqi police uniforms kidnapped her husband, and following his refusal to convert to Islam, tortured and killed him in front of their 13 year-old son." You can find more of Jennifer Utz' work at Iraqi Refugee Stories.  While we're noting the religious minorities, Yezidi Human Rights Organization-International continues to attempt to correct some misconceptions about their religion -- we noted the reality a few years ago when a major US daily newspaper wrongly called them devil worshipers and we'll note their statement now:
 
In the past 20 years to present, especially since the internet has become the easiest way to find information regarding whatever a person wish to search for.  We have seen that more than 99% of the writers accusing the innocent Yezidi as devil worshipers, this is absolutely pure fiction.  During the Saddam's era the Yezidis were misclassified as Arab in ethnicity by force.  Although Saddam has gone, but the Kurds have come to power in Northern Iraq since 1991, and they are forcing the innocent Yezidis to be misclassified as Kurdish, again this time under KRG's brutal and dictatorial system. All these are misleading, untruth, and pure fiction about the innocent Yezidis (Ezdae).  Because of all these misunderstanding the truth about the Yezidis, we have been attacked hundreds of times in the past 1000 years to present, therefore we (Ezdae) have lost millions of innocent Yezidis in brutal and inhumane attacks against this most indigenous and peaceful nation in the world today.
 
We have and will continue to note Yezidis as Krudish if they self-identify as Kurdish to the press (some do).  We've also noted -- especially in the 2008 wave of attacks -- when Yezidis did not identify as Kurdish.  (Some who did not identify as such voiced their opinion that the KRG was behind the attacks on them in an effort to force them to accept 'protection.') There are many religious minorities in Iraq.  The Baha'i Faith still has an estimated 2,000 members in Iraq and that may not be a choice.  Under Saddam Hussein, they were not allowed passports or various other papers and documents which meant they couldn't leave Iraq.  Nouri's government made a big-to-do about how they were going to be issuing identity and residency papers to them finally (back in May 2007) but that hasn't come to pass in reality.  Mideast Youth notes that since the announcement "only about six or seven Baha'i identity papers" have been issued. As with all the problems facing Iraq's religious minorities, Nouri's done nothing.  He's sometimes made a show of pretending to do something, but he's not done a damn thing.
 
Related: Iraq's been using 'wands' purchased from England to 'find' bombs -- they require you 'start' them by basically high stepping in place for a half-minute or more. They are a joke and ineffective and that's been known for some time (the UK has banned their sale) but only now can the 'government' in Iraq catch on. Ernesto Londono (Washington Post) reports today that this 'new' finding by Iraq's Minister of the Interior "was unsurprising. But in today's Iraq, it had the potential to be politically explosive. What the ministry did in response to the inspector general's conclusion speaks volumes about how the Iraqi government works these days - and why so often it doesn't."  Dropping back to the January 22nd snapshot:
 
Caroline Hawley (BBC Newsnight -- link has text and video) reports that England has placed an export ban on the ADE-651 'bomb detector' -- a device that's cleaned Iraq's coffers of $85 million so far. Steven Morris (Guardian) follows up noting that, "The managing director [Jim McCormick] of a British company that has been selling bomb-detecting equipment to security forces in Iraq was arrested on suspicion of fraud today."
 
And before that, November 3, 2009, Rod Nordland (New York Times) would report that retired Lt Col Hal Bidlack was explaining these 'magic wands' operate "on the same principle as a Ouija board" meaning "the power of suggestion" and that Nouri's government or 'government' was wasting between $16,500 to $60,000 a piece on these wands (of which they "purchased more than 1,500"). Bidlack's best discussion of the wands may have been to Richard Roth (CBS Evening News with Katie Couric -- link has text and video) where he explained, "They're fine for fooling a 4-year-old at a birthday party, but they're immoral if they're trying to save lives at a checkpoint."  All this time and only now is Iraq admitting the wands don't work. Accountability and transparency don't exist in Nouri's Iraq. But he thinks he should continue as prime minister?
 
March 7th, Iraq concluded Parliamentary elections. The Guardian's editorial board noted in August, "These elections were hailed prematurely by Mr Obama as a success, but everything that has happened since has surely doused that optimism in a cold shower of reality." 163 seats are needed to form the executive government (prime minister and council of ministers). When no single slate wins 163 seats (or possibly higher -- 163 is the number today but the Parliament added seats this election and, in four more years, they may add more which could increase the number of seats needed to form the executive government), power-sharing coalitions must be formed with other slates, parties and/or individual candidates. (Eight Parliament seats were awarded, for example, to minority candidates who represent various religious minorities in Iraq.) Ayad Allawi is the head of Iraqiya which won 91 seats in the Parliament making it the biggest seat holder. Second place went to State Of Law which Nouri al-Maliki, the current prime minister, heads. They won 89 seats. Nouri made a big show of lodging complaints and issuing allegations to distract and delay the certification of the initial results while he formed a power-sharing coalition with third place winner Iraqi National Alliance -- this coalition still does not give them 163 seats. They are claiming they have the right to form the government. In 2005, Iraq took four months and seven days to pick a prime minister. It's seven months and twenty-seven days and still counting.
 
 
Suadad al-Salhy (Reuters) notes that Iraq's Parliament is currently set to meet on Monday -- that may or may not take place (court order not withstanding) -- and that it's possilbe a motion could be put forward favoring Nouri. Should that be attempted, it's equally possible that enough members could storm out of the session leaving the Parliament without a quorum. BBC News quotes acting speaker Fouad Masum stating that Monday will see the election of "the president of the parliament and his two associates" -- which would not refer to the presidency (currently Jalal Talabani) and the vice presidencies (currently Shi'ite Adil Abdul-Mahdi and Sunni Tariq al-Hashimi) but would refer to the post of Speaker and two associates --  and BBC correspondent Jim Muir expresses his belief that the signs lean towards Nouri remaining prime minister -- but, to be clear, the Speaker said nothing about taking up that matter on Monday. Equally true, if Nouri was named prime minister every time the press declared he was about to be named prime minister, March 8th would have seen him crowned (Quil Lawrence was pimping Nouri the day after the elections). Jomana Karadsheh and Arwa Damon (CNN -- link has text and video) report on the statements and announcements and they make no claims that the prime minister will be chosen Monday: "While the speaker election may be a step toward getting the political process back in motion, there is little if any indication that talks to form an inclusive government have made any progress."  On CNN, Errol Barnett spoke with the International Institute For Stragic Studies' Mamoun Fandy about yesterday's attack and wondered whether it might either result in further delays for the political process or whether it might in fact speed things up?
 
Mamoun Fandy: Well there are two things here.  First of all, as Arwa [Damon] pointed out, we have a process that's deadlocked for the last eight months and there's an insistence on the part of Prime Minister Maliki and his group on forming a sectarian government and there's a general perception in Iraq -- as well as outside of Iraq -- that this government has been sectarian and that violence is a response to the dominance of extreme Shia trends within the government that's marginalizing the Sunnis, the Kurds and the Christians and everybody else.  Now this violence could very much focus the attention of the politicians that the price is really high and it is urgent for them to heed the call of [KRG President] Masoud Barzani and his group in Kurdistan to form a government or to heed the call of King Abdullah [II] of Saudi Arabia who invited all the Iraqis to come to Riyadh -- and have a discussion of how to form a government -- in two weeks after the Hajj [pilgrimage].
 
 
AFP reports that the country's Foriegn Minister, Hoshyar Zebari, declared today that he was receptive to talks in Saui Arabia and quoted him saying, "It is a good initiative and we welcome it because it comes to serve the people." Robert Dreyfuss (The Nation) offers this take on the reactions (prior to Zebari) to the Saudi offer:
 
 
That's not to say that all parties will welcome Saudi Arabia's involvement. Most of all, Saudi Arabia favors the Sunnis, who've rallied behind former Prime Minister Iyad Allawi's Iraqiya bloc, and they don't like Prime Minister Maliki one bit. The State of Law party, the hilariously misnamed party set up by Maliki, has already delivered its to-be-expected rejection of King Abdullah's initiative, and Kurds don't like it either, apparently. But Abdullah is not easily deterred. "Everyone believes that you are at a crossroads that requires the utmost to unite, get over traumas, and get rid of sectarianism," said the Saudi king. By "sectarianism," of course, Abdullah means Shiite triumphalism. But the Saudi king is smart enough to know that if Iraq is going to have a stable government, it's going to mean that Maliki, Allawi, and other factions—notably the boisterous Kurds—are going to have to divide power three ways.
That, the Saudi monarch undoubtedly knows, means that Saudi Arabia and Iran (along with Turkey as a minority shareholder) will have to strike a deal of their own to support a broad-based, compromise government. The idea that Saudi Arabia and Iran can make that kind of deal isn't unprecedented. Over the past several years, they've done precisely that in Lebanon, where Saudi Arabia and its Sunni partners, along with the Christian allies, stuck a deal with Iran and its Shiite partners, including Hezbollah and its own Christian allies, and so far it's worked. That deal didn't make the United States happy, but it's stabilized Lebanon, as much as that sect-ridden nation can be called stable.
 
 
Tanya Nolan (Australia's ABC) explores the waves of violence in Iraq and the stalemate's perceived role in them:
 
A former senior analyst with the CIA and now senior fellow at the National Defence University in Washington DC, Doctor Judith Yaphe, says the political instability is a perfect storm for militants wanting to wreak havoc.
Dr Yaphe says militants may be trying to encourage a civil war while incumbent prime minister Nouri al-Maliki leads a weak government.
"One thing they're probably testing is to see how strong are the security forces. Will they stand behind Maliki?" she said.
Dr Yaphe says she believes Iraq will not be able to form a government before the end of the year.
The latest reports in the Guardian newspaper quote Mr Allawi as threatening to pull out of a US-backed power sharing deal with Mr Maliki and the Kurdish bloc.
 

"I have come to accept that opposition is a real option for us," Allawi said in an interview with the Guardian. "We are in the final days of making a final decision on this issue."
Until recently, Allawi had been clinging to hopes that a compromise would be reached between his bloc, known as Iraqiya, and the coalition of the prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, whom Allawi's bloc narrowly edged by 91 seats to 89 in the 7 March election.
However, interminable rounds of shuttle diplomacy, mostly conducted in neighbouring capitals, appear to have convinced him that a US-backed power-sharing government is not viable.
"We are not ready to be a false witness to history by signing up to something that we don't believe can work," Allawi said, in reference to a mooted plan to create for him an office with executive powers equal to those of the prime minister.

Friday October 22nd, WikiLeaks released 391,832 US military documents on the Iraq War. The documents -- US military field reports -- reveal torture and abuse and the ignoring of both. They reveal ongoing policies passed from the Bush administration onto the Obama one. They reveal that both administrations ignored and ignore international laws and conventions on torture. They reveal a much higher civilian death toll than was ever admitted to. Ali Bharib (Columbia Journalism Review) provides an overview of the release with regards to Iran and what the documents do and do not indicate. Travis Gumphrey (Daily Cougar) emphasizes one of the most importants points from the release:
 
 
The primary force in the latest leaks is that of detainee abuse and torture. Shortly after taking office, President Barack Obama promised to return America to a "moral high ground" by vowing to ensure that terror suspects weren't tortured or abused and ensuring American personnel comply with the Geneva Convention.
Additionally, the implication was that US forces would make sure that the authorities to whom the detainees were handed over to for detention or interrogation were not torturing or abusing them.
One document filed on April 2, 2009, details the claims of a prisoner who says he was hog tied and beaten with a shovel as a part of a day-long torture ordeal. The report makes note of "minor injuries" including rope burns and a busted ear drum.
While there is no proof in any of the files of direct detainee mistreatment at the hands of US forces, there are allegations of abuse even after President Obama signed the order to put an end to torture.
 
He's done what the bulk of the US media hasn't: mentioned turning over detainees to known torturers and under who's watch.  Barry Grey (WSWS) critiques Arthur S. Brisbane (New York Times) and the paper itself and notes, "Unlike the non-US media, which emphasized the killings of civilians, torture and other war crimes and the systematic government lying exposed by the documents, the Times downplayed these facts, declaring that the war logs added nothing new to what was already known about the war and occupation. It buried, for example, the news that the United Nations chief investigator for torture had publicly called on President Obama to launch an investigation into evidence that the American military handed over prisoners to Iraqi jailers for torture and execution. Indeed, the Times assiduously avoided using the word "torture" in its coverage of the documents."  At Huffington Post, Human Rights First's international legal director Gabor Rona writes:
 
 

The trove of Iraq war documents recently made public by Wikileaks underscores several important truths.

One, the American people have a right to know when Americans or their allies commit violations of the laws of war. Two, the American government has been woefully nontransparent. Transparency is key to accountability, to minimizing violations and to preventing the civilian population from turning against US forces. This, in turn, protects, rather than endangers, US troops.

 
Yesterday Baghdad was slammed with bombings. Ned Parker and Jaber Zeki (Los Angeles Times) report:

Militants unleashed a wave of deadly attacks in Baghdad on Tuesday, killing at least 113 people in Shiite neighborhoods in an apparent bid to provoke a new sectarian war in the country.
Seventeen car bombs and other blasts shook the city at sunset in one of the bloodiest days this year. The coordinated attacks, which bore the earmark of the Sunni Arab militant group Al Qaeda in Iraq, came just 48 hours after 58 people were killed after armed men seized a Baghdad church.
 
Of yesterday's events, Jane Arraf (Christian Science Monitor) adds, "In Fallujah, west of Baghdad, mosque loudspeakers announced a lock-down, with no vehicle traffic allowed. The Anbar provincial council said it was prepared to send police to Baghdad, and appealed to citizens to donate blood to the wounded." Alsumaria TV adds, "In the wake of Baghdad bombings on Tuesday, Anbar Police Chief Brigadier Bahaa Al Karkhi told Alsumaria News that a comprehensive curfew was imposed in the province until further to avert possible attacks. In Waset, intensified security measures were taken in the province to avoid possible attacks as well, Police Chief Brigadier Khalaf Shafi Jaber told Alsumaria News."  Arraf quotes Baghdad council member Mohamed al-Rubeiy stating, "For the last four months we have seen attacks around Baghdad but now they are inside (the city). Karrada is the center of Baghdad and Baghdad is the center of the government. That means the terrorists are sending a message to the world: 'We are back and we are here'."
Reuters notes that today's violence includes a 17-year-old male shot dead in front of his Mosul home, a Ramadi motorcycle bombing which injured two people, a Ramadi roadside bombing which injured two people, a Hammam al-Alil car bombing which injured three Iraqi soldiers and a Mosul grenade attack which injured one woman.

Now in spite of the continued violence and the last days spectacular violence, Thaindian News reports, "The Dutch government on Tuesday said that the situation in Iraq is not so unsafe that failed asylum seekers cannot be deported back to Iraq. Dutch Minister for Immigration and Asylum Affairs Gerd Leers announced his stance on Tuesday after a call for action from Amnesty International. Leers argued that this year alone, more than 400 Iraqi asylum seeks have already voluntarily returned to their country." Radio Netherlands Worldwide reports that Gerd Leers, the country's Minister of Immigration and Asylum, swore to Parliament "that the situation in the country is not so unsafe that people cannot return" but he has apparently backed down (at least temporarily) as a result "of a letter from the European Court of Human Rights banning the deporation". Dutch News also notes the letter as the reason Leers wasn't able to force through the deportations thus far.
Changing topics . . .
 
Azzam Alwash: My memory of those boat trips is that we're passing through these passage ways that are surrounded with reeds that -- to my mind's eye -- extended to the sky, these were towering reeds.  I remember leaning over the outside of the boat and looking into this clear water and seeing fish and I remember heat.  And every now and then, we'd go out of these meandering rivers to these wide lakes and suddenly there's this breeze that comes into you that cools you down. What I remember is a sense of serentiy, a sense of warmth, a sense of love, a sense of being with my father enjoying a uniqure place.
 
Azzam Alwash is an engineer, like his father.  His family left Iraq long ago but he returned after the US invasion and was saddened to see the state of the marshes.  The story is told on PBS' Nature in the "Braving Iraq" episode. Last week Jane Arraf (Christian Science Monitor) reported on Moutn Permagrone in the Kurdistan Regional Government.  The mountain "is home to one-sixth of the roughly 3,300 plant varieties intended to be collected and preserved in a new national herbarium -- a catalog of the country's plant specimens that was looted and destroyed in Baghdad after Saddam Hussein was toppled in 2003."  In the article, Azzam Alwash stressed, "Those who want the marshes restored understand that there is an intrinsic connection between the mountains of Kurdistan and the marshes of Iraq. If I want the marshes restored and managed properly, I have to not only protect the marshes but protect the integrity of the environment in Kurdistan because it's all one habitat."
 
And we'll drop back to the US for this from DiversityBusiness:
 
Call for Nominations: 2011 "Champions of Diversity"
southport, CT., June 16, 2010 / -- DiversityBusiness.com announced its call for 2011 nominations for "Champions of Diversity" award. This distinguished group of individuals is recognized for their outstanding achievements in various diversity initiatives.

"The List represent individuals who have demonstrated a commitment to solutions in diversity issues on a global and "national scale. The honorees have made a significant impact on diversity issues in education, procurement, housing and employment. These unsung champions have not waved a diversity flag but rather have quietly made a difference in the lives of people by positively impacting their lives, and improving the economic conditions for their families and communities.

"I was extremely excited about the 2010 honoree list" said Kenton Clarke, CEO of DiversityBusiness. "This recognition brings attention to comprehensible results provided by many different people representing all sectors of diversity, who can quantify success made by their efforts".

The 2011 nomination application can be found online at:
www.diversitybusiness.com/NominationFormChampions.doc

Nominations are due: November 30, 2010

Winners will be honored at our Awards Ceremony:  "11th Annual National Multicultural Business Conference" on April 20 – 22, 2011 at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in Washington, D.C. 
 About DiversityBusiness.com
Launched in 1999, DiversityBusiness, with over 50,000 members, is the largest organization of diversity owned businesses throughout the United States that provide goods and services to Fortune 1000 companies, government agencies, and colleges and universities. DiversityBusiness provides research and data collection services for diversity including the "Top 50 Organizations for Multicultural Business Opportunities", "Top 500 Diversity Owned Companies in America", and others. Its research has been recognized and published by Forbes Magazine, Business Week and thousands of other print and internet publications. The site has gained national recognition and has won numerous awards for its content and design. DiversityBusiness reaches more diverse suppliers and communicates more information to them on a more frequent basis then all other organizations combined. We also communicate with mainstream businesses, government agencies and educational institutions with information related to diversity. Our magazine reaches over 300,000 readers, a monthly e-newsletter that reaches 2.4 million, and website visitors of 1.2 million a month. It is a leading provider of Supplier Diversity management tools and has the most widely distributed Diversity magazine in the United States. DiversityBusiness.com is produced by Computer Consulting Associates International Inc. (
CCAii.com) of Southport, CT. Founded in 1980.
 
 
the nation
robert dreyfuss


Posted at 11:45 am by cedricsbigmix
Comments (8)  

Nov 3, 2010
Not all that popular

Not all that popular after all

BULLY BOY PRESS & CEDRIC'S BIG MIX -- THE KOOL-AID TABLE

WHITE HOUSE SPOKESPERSON, PLUS-SIZE MODEL AND NIGHTLY EMISSIONS CHECKER BOBBY GIBBS CALLED THESE REPORTERS EARLY THIS MORNING TO STATE, "IT'S BAD, IT'S REALLY BAD. MUCH WORSE THAN WE THOUGHT."

THROUGHOUT THE NIGHT, GIBBS INFORMED, CELEBRITY IN CHIEF BARRY O WOKE UP REPEATEDLY "ALL HOT AND STICKY -- AND NOT IN THE GOOD WAY! HE WAS PLAUGED BY, YES, DREAMS OF HIS FATHER. SENIOR WAS TELLING HIM, 'SEE, YOU ARE A DISASTER! SEE, NO 1 LOVES YOU! SEE, THAT'S WHY I LEFT YOU AND EVERYONE ELSE WOULD AS WELL. AND, SON, IF YOU'RE GAY, BE GAY. BUT DON'T MARRY A WOMAN WHO LOOKS LIKE A MAN. YOU'RE REALLY NOT FOOLING ANYONE."

"WHEN HE TOLD ME THAT LAST ONE," GIBSS ADDED, "SHE-HULK REACHED OVER AND SLUGGED HIM."



FROM THE TCI WIRE:

Sammy Ketz (AFP) reports, "Fear could not stop hundreds of grieving Christians from packing a Baghdad church on Tuesday to mourn two priests [23-year-old Wassim Sabih and 32-year-old Saadallah Boutros] and dozens of others killed during a hostage drama by Al-Qaeda gunmen that ended in a bloodbath." Alsumaria TV reports today that the Iraq's Minister of Human Rights, Wijdan Mikhael, fears Sunday's assault on Baghdad's Our Lady of Salvation Catholic Church will result in even more Christians leaving the country. The concern is expressed as CNN reports the death toll has now risen to 58. Jane Arraf and Sahar Issa (Christian Science Monitor and McClatchy Newspapers) note the the total number of wounded stands at seventy-five and that "Church leaders blamed inadequate security by the Iraqi government for the deadliest attack in Baghdad since before March elections. [. . .] The Iraqi federal police and Army have been deployed outside churches during Sunday mass since a series of coordinated attacks on churches more than two years ago. On Sunday though, witnesses said there was no military or police vehicles deployed outside the church during the service." Ernesto Londono (Washington Post) speaks to survivors and reports survivor Bassam Sami says the assailants entered the church and began killing people: "They were well trained. They didn't say anything. It was like someone had cut out their tongues." Martin Chulov (Guardian) quotes another survivor, Ghassan Salah, declaring the assailants stated, "All of youare infidels. We are here to avenge the burning of the Qur'ans and the jailing of Muslim women in Egypt." Reality website summarizes a BBC News report: "Throughout Monday, mourners carried coffins from the church, loading them onto vehicles bound for the morgue ahead of funerals on Tuesday. Raed Hadi, who tied the coffin of his cousin to the roof of a car, said the raid had resulted in a 'massacre'. "We Christians don't have enough protection,' he said. 'What shall I do now? Leave and ask for asylum?'" Anthony Shadid (New York Times) notes, "Iraq was once a remarkable melange of beliefs, customs and traditions; the killings on Sunday drew another border in a nation defined more by war, occupation and deprivation. Identities have hardened; diversity has faded. Nearly all of Iraq's Jews left long ago, many harassed by a xenophobic government. Iraq's Christians have dwindled; once numbering anywhere between 800,000 and 1.4 million at least half are thought to have emigrtaed since 2003, their leaders say." Possibly due to the large number of reported dead and wounded, the US military is maintaining they had a tiny role in the whole thing. Sunday Mohammed Tawfeeq (CNN) quoted a US military spokesperson insisting, "The U.S. only provided UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) support with video imagery. As always we have advisers with the ISF (Iraqi security forces) command teams." However, Kelly McEvers (NPR's Morning Edition -- link has text and audio) reported Monday, "Witnesses said they saw American troops taking part in the raid. American officials would only confrim to us that they provided aerial surveillance. Under a security agreement between Iraq and the U.S., Americans can only provide such support if they're asked to do so by Iraqi commanders. But, that said, American Special Forces, who number about 5,000 here in Iraq, have more flexible rules of engagement."
BBC offers survivor Dr. Thanaa Nassir's account which includes:

The terrorists came into the church, closed the door and took us hostage. I was terrified. There were five or six of them - I do not know exactly because we were all on the floor and could not lift up our heads. They brought in a bomb.
I was lying on the floor and every now and then there would be an explosion or gunshots over our heads, over the lights, over the fixtures, over the Crucifix, over the Madonna, everywhere. After that, they started to say "Allahu akbar" [Arabic for God is great], and they blew themselves up.
And those living near the church shares stories with BBC including Julie who offers:

I heard shots and then explosions. I hurried back home as soon as possible.
One of my daughters has a Christian friend whom she feared would be at the church. She rang her mobile and the friend answered in hysterics - she was actually being held hostage at the time.
My daughter went to pieces at this point. There was not much we could do. We knew the army would be on the way after the explosions.
We got in touch with the young lady's family to let them know.
By midnight we heard that she had survived, but was in hospital with shrapnel injury. Her mother had also been held hostage and was also safe.
But another of my daughters has just now returned home from a funeral. Her friend's father was not so lucky - he died in the attack.
As a Muslim I am totally devastated and disgusted about what has happened. This is not what Islam is about.
The church is one of the biggest in Baghdad. Christians come from all over the city to worship there. It must be devastating for the community.
The defense minister has called the operation to end the church hostage crisis in Baghdad "quick and successful." "Successful" evidently has a different meaning for him than it does for rest of humanity.
It may be that this was a botched operation. Or it may be that there was never going to be any other outcome to the siege other than extreme bloodshed. The militants who took over the church were clearly in a murderous state of mind from the start. All the indications are that they started killing before the police attacked. Had the latter not moved in when they did, the militants might have slaughtered all the hostages. The statement from Al-Qaeda in Iraq claiming responsibility for the attack and threatening to exterminate all Iraqi Christians suggests that the church was the principal target, not the stock exchange, the first building they attacked.
In normally accepted parlance, 52 deaths -- 46 of them hostages, the rest police -- is anything but successful. It is a disaster. For the minister to use such language says he is living in a fantasy world.
As Baghdad was burying the dead, a new wave of bombings slammed the capital. BBC News notes, "The BBC's Jim Muir in Baghdad said the funerals for the victims of Sunday's attack had only just been carried out as the explosions went off." Jane Arraf (Christian Science Monitor) quotes an unnamed official with the Ministry of the Interior stating, "We don't know what's happening right now. There are so many explosions and so many reports we're overwhelmed." Ali Almashakheel (ABC News) reports that "10 blasts ripped through several Baghdad neighborhoods, killing at least 62 and injuring more than 180 people." Kate Sullivan (Sky News Online) also counts at least 62 dead but notes a police source is stating the death toll "could pass 100" and that over 300 were injured in the bombings. Richard Spencer (Telegraph of London) reports the death toll has climberd to 76. Rebecca Santana (AP) quotes 26-year-old Hussein al-Saiedi, "They murdered us today and on Sunday, they killed our brother, the Christians." Mohammed Tawfeeq (CNN) counts "14 explosions. Ten were car bombs, three were roadside bombs, and another was what's called a sticky bomb: a device that's placed on an object, many times a vehicle." Martin Chulov (Guardian) adds, "Tonight's bombs all detonated within 90 minutes of each other. Hospitals were appealing for blood donors, and the city's main A&E centres were reporting large numbers of casualties amid chaotic scenes." Jack Healy (New York Times) quotes eyewitness Mustafa Mohammed Saleh stating, "I tried to escape, but there was chaos. You see what happens: The most secure part of Baghdad, they hit. Tension is in the air." Maher Abbas tells Xinhua, "I was walking in Baghdad's western Sunni neighborhood of Ghazaliyah when four mortar rounds landed on a market, killing and wounding many people. I heard the security forces forced the shops to close for safety, as more attacks may take place."
Andrew England (Financial Times of London) observes, "The attacks will exacerbate fears that extremists are seeking to stir up sectarian tensions and exploit a political deadlock that has gripped the nation for nearly eight months." Ned Parker and Jaber Zeki (Los Angeles Times) report, "One Sadrist lawmaker faulted the political blocs for Tuesday's carnage. Political leaders 'are occupied with who gets what positions and are busy with quarrels amongst each other. It feels so irresponsible,' said Hakim Zamili, a parliament member, beloved in Sadr City for fighting Al Qaeda in Iraq and reviled by Sunnis as a symbol of the Mahdi Army. 'I don't think people will resort to revenge. They just want peace and quiet and to live an honest life'." The International Crisis Group issued an executive summary of their new [PFD format] report released last week "Loose Ends: Iraq's Security Forces Between U.S. Drawdown and Withdrawal."
Much is at stake in the never-ending negotiations to form Iraq's government, but perhaps nothing more important than the future of its security forces. In the seven years since the U.S.-led invasion, these have become more effective and professional and appear capable of taming what remains of the insurgency. But what they seem to possess in capacity they lack in cohesion. A symptom of Iraq's fractured polity and deep ethno-sectarian divides, the army and police remain overly fragmented, their loyalties uncertain, their capacity to withstand a prolonged and more intensive power struggle at the top unclear. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has taken worrying steps to assert authority over the security apparatus, notably by creating new bodies accountable to none but himself. A vital task confronting the nation's political leaders is to reach agreement on an accountable, non-political security apparatus subject to effective oversight. A priority for the new cabinet and parliament will be to implement the decision. And a core responsibility facing the international community is to use all its tools to encourage this to happen.
Iraq's security forces are the outcome of a seven-year, U.S.-led effort, which began after it comprehensively uprooted and dismantled remnants of the previous regime. This start-from-scratch approach entailed heavy costs. It left a dangerous security vacuum, produced a large constituency of demoralised, unemployed former soldiers, and fuelled the insurgency. The corollary -- a hurried attempt to rebuild forces through rapid recruitment, often without sufficient regard to background or qualifications -- brought its own share of problems. Iraq's increasingly fractured, ethno-sectarian post-2003 politics likewise coloured recruitment and promotions. Facing a spiralling insurgency, the U.S. felt it had no choice but to emphasise speed above much else; today, some one in seven Iraqi adult males is under arms. And so, even as they have gained strength in numbers and materiel, the army, police and other security agencies remain burdened by this legacy of expediency.
There is no legitimate government in Iraq, not even a puppet government with the appearance of legitimacy. The US government endusred that would be the case when they rejected calls for a caretaker government to be put in place while the election results were sorted out. Instead, they insisted that keeping Nouri al-Maliki on as prime minister -- while he launched attacks on opponents using his post as prime minister -- was 'fair' and 'reasonable.' Ernesto Londono and Aziz Alwan (Washington Post) quote Iraqi Hamid Ahmed al-Azawi stating, "There is no government. If the Americans leave tomorrow, we will assemble a team of 500 armed men to topple the Green Zone. How much longer are the Americans going to protect them?"

March 7th, Iraq concluded Parliamentary elections. The Guardian's editorial board noted in August, "These elections were hailed prematurely by Mr Obama as a success, but everything that has happened since has surely doused that optimism in a cold shower of reality." 163 seats are needed to form the executive government (prime minister and council of ministers). When no single slate wins 163 seats (or possibly higher -- 163 is the number today but the Parliament added seats this election and, in four more years, they may add more which could increase the number of seats needed to form the executive government), power-sharing coalitions must be formed with other slates, parties and/or individual candidates. (Eight Parliament seats were awarded, for example, to minority candidates who represent various religious minorities in Iraq.) Ayad Allawi is the head of Iraqiya which won 91 seats in the Parliament making it the biggest seat holder. Second place went to State Of Law which Nouri al-Maliki, the current prime minister, heads. They won 89 seats. Nouri made a big show of lodging complaints and issuing allegations to distract and delay the certification of the initial results while he formed a power-sharing coalition with third place winner Iraqi National Alliance -- this coalition still does not give them 163 seats. They are claiming they have the right to form the government. In 2005, Iraq took four months and seven days to pick a prime minister. It's seven months and twenty-six days and still counting.

John Drake (A Take On Iraq) notes it is now 34 weeks since elections were held. Hoshyar Zebari is the country's Foreign Minister and Rudaw interviews him. Excerpt:

RUDAW:The Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) seems to prefer Maliki's State of Law and the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) is trying to make sure that Iraqiya is included in the new government. Can you tell us where does the Kurdish position exactly stand now?

Zebari‪:‬ There are now two ways to form a government‪.‬ The Parliament way ‪,‬ after the ‪[‬Iraqi‪]‬ Federal Court issued a verdict for the parliament to convene in two weeks time. This way is going towards imposing a solution based on a majority voting. Even a government is not created; the speaker of parliament can at least be elected. The president can also be elected to appoint a candidate to form a government. The other way is an initiative made by His Excellency President of the Kurdistan Region [Massoud Barzani] calling on all wining lists and coalitions to meet altogether. Obviously, they have not met thus far and the meetings have all been bilateral 8 months after the elections. A possible government has to be nationally inclusive. Everybody should be part of the government. The initiative has two phases. The first phase is about allowing wise leaders of each coalition to meet with others to find common grounds. Clearly, each party or coalition has its own demands. They should be matched in order to come up with a common thing. Whatever is subject to disputes shall be put aside. The issue of posts and this sort of things will be left for the next phase. There should be a leading meeting where all the leaders sit together and decide about a government. Both of these ways have started and kept going along each other. If these two ways match, they would be helpful to each other. It means that they are not two different ways.

Alsumaria TV reports today that Al Fadhila Party has announced it will back Nouri. Of course, with Al Fahila Party there is generally the announcement followed by an announcement that the previous announcement should be discarded. (As was most recently demonstrated in September when they announced they had left the National Coalition only to turn around and issue a statement denying they had left the National Coalition.) Equally true is that the group holds 6 seats in Parliament -- should it stay with Nouri, it gets him closer, it does not get him to 163. The Dinar Trade reports that Nouri has declared it a foregone conclusion that he will be prime minister.



RECOMMENDED: "Iraq snapshot"
"Stalemate drags on, Nouri cracks down on press"
"More details on the deadly church siege"


Posted at 10:26 pm by cedricsbigmix
Comments (5)  

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills)

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010.  Chaos and violence continue, Iraq buries Sunday's dead today as Baghdad's slammed with multiple bombings, the political stalemate continues, Nouri al-Maliki makes like Randy Travis singing "It's Just A Matter Of Time" as he insists he will be crowned Iraq's next prime minister, Nouri cracks down on the press yet again, Congress has NO plans to outlaw Don't Ask, Don't Tell (read the actual bill the House passed) cand more.
 
Sammy Ketz (AFP) reports, "Fear could not stop hundreds of grieving Christians from packing a Baghdad church on Tuesday to mourn two priests [23-year-old Wassim Sabih and 32-year-old Saadallah Boutros] and dozens of others killed during a hostage drama by Al-Qaeda gunmen that ended in a bloodbath." Alsumaria TV reports today that the Iraq's Minister of Human Rights, Wijdan Mikhael, fears Sunday's assault on Baghdad's Our Lady of Salvation Catholic Church will result in even more Christians leaving the country. The concern is expressed as CNN reports the death toll has now risen to 58. Jane Arraf and Sahar Issa (Christian Science Monitor and McClatchy Newspapers) note the the total number of wounded stands at seventy-five and that "Church leaders blamed inadequate security by the Iraqi government for the deadliest attack in Baghdad since before March elections. [. . .] The Iraqi federal police and Army have been deployed outside churches during Sunday mass since a series of coordinated attacks on churches more than two years ago.  On Sunday though, witnesses said there was no military or police vehicles deployed outside the church during the service."  Ernesto Londono (Washington Post) speaks to survivors and reports survivor Bassam Sami says the assailants entered the church and began killing people: "They were well trained. They didn't say anything. It was like someone had cut out their tongues."  Martin Chulov (Guardian) quotes another survivor, Ghassan Salah, declaring the assailants stated, "All of youare infidels. We are here to avenge the burning of the Qur'ans and the jailing of Muslim women in Egypt."   Reality website summarizes a BBC News report: "Throughout Monday, mourners carried coffins from the church, loading them onto vehicles bound for the morgue ahead of funerals on Tuesday. Raed Hadi, who tied the coffin of his cousin to the roof of a car, said the raid had resulted in a 'massacre'. "We Christians don't have enough protection,' he said. 'What shall I do now? Leave and ask for asylum?'" Anthony Shadid (New York Times) notes, "Iraq was once a remarkable melange of beliefs, customs and traditions; the killings on Sunday drew another border in a nation defined more by war, occupation and deprivation. Identities have hardened; diversity has faded.  Nearly all of Iraq's Jews left long ago, many harassed by a xenophobic government. Iraq's Christians have dwindled; once numbering anywhere between 800,000 and 1.4 million at least half are thought to have emigrtaed since 2003, their leaders say." Possibly due to the large number of reported dead and wounded, the US military is maintaining they had a tiny role in the whole thing. Sunday Mohammed Tawfeeq (CNN) quoted a US military spokesperson insisting, "The U.S. only provided UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) support with video imagery. As always we have advisers with the ISF (Iraqi security forces) command teams."  However, Kelly McEvers (NPR's Morning Edition -- link has text and audio) reported Monday, "Witnesses said they saw American troops taking part in the raid. American officials would only confrim to us that they provided aerial surveillance. Under a security agreement between Iraq and the U.S., Americans can only provide such support if they're asked to do so by Iraqi commanders. But, that said, American Special Forces, who number about 5,000 here in Iraq, have more flexible rules of engagement."
 
BBC offers survivor Dr. Thanaa Nassir's account which includes:

The terrorists came into the church, closed the door and took us hostage. I was terrified. There were five or six of them - I do not know exactly because we were all on the floor and could not lift up our heads. They brought in a bomb.
I was lying on the floor and every now and then there would be an explosion or gunshots over our heads, over the lights, over the fixtures, over the Crucifix, over the Madonna, everywhere. After that, they started to say "Allahu akbar" [Arabic for God is great], and they blew themselves up.
 
And those living near the church shares stories with BBC including Julie who offers:

I heard shots and then explosions. I hurried back home as soon as possible.
One of my daughters has a Christian friend whom she feared would be at the church. She rang her mobile and the friend answered in hysterics - she was actually being held hostage at the time.
My daughter went to pieces at this point. There was not much we could do. We knew the army would be on the way after the explosions.
We got in touch with the young lady's family to let them know.
By midnight we heard that she had survived, but was in hospital with shrapnel injury. Her mother had also been held hostage and was also safe.
But another of my daughters has just now returned home from a funeral. Her friend's father was not so lucky - he died in the attack.
As a Muslim I am totally devastated and disgusted about what has happened. This is not what Islam is about.
The church is one of the biggest in Baghdad. Christians come from all over the city to worship there. It must be devastating for the community.
 
 
The defense minister has called the operation to end the church hostage crisis in Baghdad "quick and successful."  "Successful" evidently has a different meaning for him than it does for rest of humanity.
It may be that this was a botched operation. Or it may be that there was never going to be any other outcome to the siege other than extreme bloodshed. The militants who took over the church were clearly in a murderous state of mind from the start. All the indications are that they started killing before the police attacked. Had the latter not moved in when they did, the militants might have slaughtered all the hostages. The statement from Al-Qaeda in Iraq claiming responsibility for the attack and threatening to exterminate all Iraqi Christians suggests that the church was the principal target, not the stock exchange, the first building they attacked.
In normally accepted parlance, 52 deaths -- 46 of them hostages, the rest police -- is anything but successful. It is a disaster. For the minister to use such language says he is living in a fantasy world.
 
As Baghdad was burying the dead, a new wave of bombings slammed the capital.  BBC News notes, "The BBC's Jim Muir in Baghdad said the funerals for the victims of Sunday's attack had only just been carried out as the explosions went off."  Jane Arraf (Christian Science Monitor) quotes an unnamed official with the Ministry of the Interior stating, "We don't know what's happening right now. There are so many explosions and so many reports we're overwhelmed."  Ali Almashakheel (ABC News) reports that "10 blasts ripped through several Baghdad neighborhoods, killing at least 62 and injuring more than 180 people."  Kate Sullivan (Sky News Online) also counts at least 62 dead but notes a police source is stating the death toll "could pass 100" and that over 300 were injured in the bombings. Richard Spencer (Telegraph of London) reports the death toll has climberd to 76.  Rebecca Santana (AP) quotes 26-year-old Hussein al-Saiedi, "They murdered us today and on Sunday, they killed our brother, the Christians." Mohammed Tawfeeq (CNN) counts "14 explosions. Ten were car bombs, three were roadside bombs, and another was what's called a sticky bomb: a device that's placed on an object, many times a vehicle." Martin Chulov (Guardian) adds, "Tonight's bombs all detonated within 90 minutes of each other. Hospitals were appealing for blood donors, and the city's main A&E centres were reporting large numbers of casualties amid chaotic scenes." Jack Healy (New York Times) quotes eyewitness Mustafa Mohammed Saleh stating, "I tried to escape, but there was chaos. You see what happens: The most secure part of Baghdad, they hit.  Tension is in the air."  Maher Abbas tells Xinhua, "I was walking in Baghdad's western Sunni neighborhood of Ghazaliyah when four mortar rounds landed on a market, killing and wounding many people. I heard the security forces forced the shops to close for safety, as more attacks may take place."
 
 
 
Andrew England (Financial Times of London) observes, "The attacks will exacerbate fears that extremists are seeking to stir up sectarian tensions and exploit a political deadlock that has gripped the nation for nearly eight months." Ned Parker and Jaber Zeki (Los Angeles Times) report, "One Sadrist lawmaker faulted the political blocs for Tuesday's carnage. Political leaders 'are occupied with who gets what positions and are busy with quarrels amongst each other.  It feels so irresponsible,' said Hakim Zamili, a parliament member, beloved in Sadr City for fighting Al Qaeda in Iraq and reviled by Sunnis as a symbol of the Mahdi Army. 'I don't think people will resort to revenge. They just want peace and quiet and to live an honest life'."  The International Crisis Group issued an executive summary of their new [PFD format] report released last week "Loose Ends: Iraq's Security Forces Between U.S. Drawdown and Withdrawal."
 
Much is at stake in the never-ending negotiations to form Iraq's government, but perhaps nothing more important than the future of its security forces. In the seven years since the U.S.-led invasion, these have become more effective and professional and appear capable of taming what remains of the insurgency. But what they seem to possess in capacity they lack in cohesion. A symptom of Iraq's fractured polity and deep ethno-sectarian divides, the army and police remain overly fragmented, their loyalties uncertain, their capacity to withstand a prolonged and more intensive power struggle at the top unclear. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has taken worrying steps to assert authority over the security apparatus, notably by creating new bodies accountable to none but himself. A vital task confronting the nation's political leaders is to reach agreement on an accountable, non-political security apparatus subject to effective oversight. A priority for the new cabinet and parliament will be to implement the decision. And a core responsibility facing the international community is to use all its tools to encourage this to happen.
Iraq's security forces are the outcome of a seven-year, U.S.-led effort, which began after it comprehensively uprooted and dismantled remnants of the previous regime. This start-from-scratch approach entailed heavy costs. It left a dangerous security vacuum, produced a large constituency of demoralised, unemployed former soldiers, and fuelled the insurgency. The corollary -- a hurried attempt to rebuild forces through rapid recruitment, often without sufficient regard to background or qualifications -- brought its own share of problems. Iraq's increasingly fractured, ethno-sectarian post-2003 politics likewise coloured recruitment and promotions. Facing a spiralling insurgency, the U.S. felt it had no choice but to emphasise speed above much else; today, some one in seven Iraqi adult males is under arms. And so, even as they have gained strength in numbers and materiel, the army, police and other security agencies remain burdened by this legacy of expediency.
 
 
There is no legitimate government in Iraq, not even a puppet government with the appearance of legitimacy. The US government endusred that would be the case when they rejected calls for a caretaker government to be put in place while the election results were sorted out. Instead, they insisted that keeping Nouri al-Maliki on as prime minister -- while he launched attacks on opponents using his post as prime minister -- was 'fair' and 'reasonable.'  Ernesto Londono and Aziz Alwan (Washington Post) quote Iraqi Hamid Ahmed al-Azawi stating, "There is no government. If the Americans leave tomorrow, we will assemble a team of 500 armed men to topple the Green Zone.  How much longer are the Americans going to protect them?"

 
March 7th, Iraq concluded Parliamentary elections. The Guardian's editorial board noted in August, "These elections were hailed prematurely by Mr Obama as a success, but everything that has happened since has surely doused that optimism in a cold shower of reality." 163 seats are needed to form the executive government (prime minister and council of ministers). When no single slate wins 163 seats (or possibly higher -- 163 is the number today but the Parliament added seats this election and, in four more years, they may add more which could increase the number of seats needed to form the executive government), power-sharing coalitions must be formed with other slates, parties and/or individual candidates. (Eight Parliament seats were awarded, for example, to minority candidates who represent various religious minorities in Iraq.) Ayad Allawi is the head of Iraqiya which won 91 seats in the Parliament making it the biggest seat holder. Second place went to State Of Law which Nouri al-Maliki, the current prime minister, heads. They won 89 seats. Nouri made a big show of lodging complaints and issuing allegations to distract and delay the certification of the initial results while he formed a power-sharing coalition with third place winner Iraqi National Alliance -- this coalition still does not give them 163 seats. They are claiming they have the right to form the government. In 2005, Iraq took four months and seven days to pick a prime minister. It's seven months and twenty-six days and still counting.

 
John Drake (A Take On Iraq) notes it is now 34 weeks since elections were held. Hoshyar Zebari is the country's Foreign Minister and Rudaw interviews him. Excerpt:

RUDAW:The Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) seems to prefer Maliki's State of Law and the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) is trying to make sure that Iraqiya is included in the new government. Can you tell us where does the Kurdish position exactly stand now?

Zebari‪:‬ There are now two ways to form a government‪.‬ The Parliament way ‪,‬ after the ‪[‬Iraqi‪]‬ Federal Court issued a verdict for the parliament to convene in two weeks time. This way is going towards imposing a solution based on a majority voting. Even a government is not created; the speaker of parliament can at least be elected. The president can also be elected to appoint a candidate to form a government. The other way is an initiative made by His Excellency President of the Kurdistan Region [Massoud Barzani] calling on all wining lists and coalitions to meet altogether. Obviously, they have not met thus far and the meetings have all been bilateral 8 months after the elections. A possible government has to be nationally inclusive. Everybody should be part of the government. The initiative has two phases. The first phase is about allowing wise leaders of each coalition to meet with others to find common grounds. Clearly, each party or coalition has its own demands. They should be matched in order to come up with a common thing. Whatever is subject to disputes shall be put aside. The issue of posts and this sort of things will be left for the next phase. There should be a leading meeting where all the leaders sit together and decide about a government. Both of these ways have started and kept going along each other. If these two ways match, they would be helpful to each other. It means that they are not two different ways.

Alsumaria TV reports today that Al Fadhila Party has announced it will back Nouri. Of course, with Al Fahila Party there is generally the announcement followed by an announcement that the previous announcement should be discarded. (As was most recently demonstrated in September when they announced they had left the National Coalition only to turn around and issue a statement denying they had left the National Coalition.) Equally true is that the group holds 6 seats in Parliament -- should it stay with Nouri, it gets him closer, it does not get him to 163. The Dinar Trade reports that Nouri has declared it a foregone conclusion that he will be prime minister.
 
 
In other news, Iraq continues its crackdown on a free press. Mohammed Tawfeeq (CNN) reports:

On Monday, the Iraqi Communication and Media Commission accused al-Baghdadiya television of having a link to the church kidnappers and ordered the station to close, state television reported. Iraqi security forces surrounded the bureau of al-Baghdadiya TV in Baghdad.
Two of the station's employees were detained, according to a statement posted on the al-Baghdadiya TV website. It said the two employees had received a call from the church kidnappers demanding the release of female prisoners in Egypt in return for the hostages' freedom. The demand was later broadcast on al-Baghdadiya TV.
The station, which which is an Iraqi-owned, Egypt-based network, subsequently reported that its employees had been released.

Daily News World adds
:
 
Al-Baghdadia, the TV station in Baghdad that said it was contacted by gunmen during Sunday's church hostage drama, has been taken off air.
It stopped transmitting shortly after its building was taken over, reportedly by a large number of government troops.
The station says its director and another employee have been charged with terrorism-related offences.
[. . .]
Al-Baghdadia – an independent station based in Egypt – says its public hotline number was phoned by the gunmen who requested it broadcast the news that they wanted to negotiate.
As the station was being taken over, it broadcast pictures of security forces surrounding the building, before the screen went blank. Transmission then resumed from al-Baghdadia's Cairo studio. The station says its office in Basra has also been taken over by security forces.
It has called a sit-in at the building and appealed to local and foreign media to attend in soldidarity.


Nouri's long pattern of attacks on the press and what appears to be at best weak 'evidence' would indicate that the station's biggest 'crime' was broadcasting news of an event that was internationally embarrassing to Nouri.  Reporters Without Borders issued a statement today which includes:
 
Reporters Without Borders condemns yesterday's decision by the Iraqi authorities to close the Baghdad, Kerbala and Basra bureaux of Cairo-based satellite TV station Al-Baghdadia in connection with its coverage of the previous day's hostage-taking in a Baghdad church, which ended in a bloodbath. 
Two of the station's employees, producer Haidar Salam and video editor Mohammed Al-Johair, were arrested under article 1/2/4 of the anti-terrorism law. Al-Johair was released today, after being held overnight, but Salam is still being held in an unknown location, Reporters Without Borders has learned from Al-Baghdadia representatives in Egypt.
 
 

On Monday, security forces sealed the station's Baghdad and Basra offices. No one was allowed to enter the buildings, according to Al-Baghdadia bureau chief in Cairo, Abdelhamid al-Saih. The Communications and Media Commission (CMC), a media regulatory body, issued a statement on its website announcing the decision to shut Al-Baghdadia's offices.

 Al-Saih told CPJ that the shutdown was illegal since there was no judicial order, just an order from the CMC. He said he believed the authorities were using the broadcast as a smokescreen for the real reason why they wanted to shut down Al-Baghdadia. "We have received complaints before from the CMC regarding a TV program called 'Al-Baghdadia wa al-nas' (Al-Bagdadia and the People) in which we interview Iraqi citizens on-air and give them the opportunity to voice their criticism of the government and officials," he said. Ziad al-Ajili, director of the Journalistic Freedoms Observatory, a local press freedom organization, told CPJ that he also thought there were other reasons behind the closure, including the same critical program.

"We are concerned by the closure of Al-Baghdadia TV and demand that the CMC explain under what authority it has stormed the station's offices and censored it," said Mohamed Abdel Dayem, CPJ's Middle East and North Africa program coordinator. "We call on the authorities to allow the station to resume its operations immediately."

The CMC said in its statement that the attackers had "contacted the station and selected it to be the exclusive platform for their inhumane practices with the purpose of disrupting Iraq's national unity and to inflame religious discord." The statement said the station's broadcast of demands "amounts to incitement to violence" and that Al-Baghdadia's coverage was not objective, creating a threat to the military operation by providing attackers with information about ongoing operations to rescue the hostages.  

 In February, CPJ described the CMC's regulations as falling "well short of international standards for freedom of expression." CPJ also noted the inadequacy of the regulations' vague definition of incitement to violence, stating that such broad and unspecified standards are used by authoritarian governments to silence critical coverage.

 
 
Turning to the United States, sometimes a headline does say it all: "Obama Wins, DADT Back In Place Permanently."  Carlos Santoscoy's article (for On Top Magazine) covers the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals handing "the Obama administration on Monday . . . a permanent hold on a trial judge's order to stop enforcing 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell,' the 1993 law that bans gay and bisexual troops from serving openly" and that "Monday's order means that the law that has ended the military careers of more than 13,000 gay, lesbian or bisexual service members will remain in effect for the months -- possibly years -- it could take to decide an appeal." Bob Egelko (San Francisco Chronicle) explains, "The 2-1 ruling by the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco extends a temporary stay that the court granted Oct. 20 after a federal judge declare the law unconstitutional." BMAZ (Empty Wheel, Firedoglake) notes the recent Barack And Five Bloggers On A Match meet up and how Barack refused to refer to DADT as unconstitutional or offer anything meaningful on the topic but continued to whine that he must have 60 votes in the Senate and tells the bloggers to chat with "all those Log Cabin Republicans:"
 
Asked to describe his plan to pass critical legislation he has long promised one of his core constituencies, this is the pathetic drivel Barack Obama comes up with? The President of the United States and leader of the entire Democratic Party pleads powerlessness to accomplish the goal, but demands the Log Cabin Republicans go forth and deliver him intransigent GOP Senators on a golden platter?  Seriously, that is his plan?  Perhaps Mr. Obama has mistaken the LCRs for the NRA or something, but if there is any entity with less sway over the entrenched and gilded GOP Senate leadership than Obama, it is the Log Cabin Republicans. Absurd and lame is too kind of a description for such tripe. I honestly don't know what is worse, that this is Obama;s response or that he has the politically incompetence to state it on the record.
 
 
Barack Obama campaigned for the US presidency promising to repeal Don't Ask, Don't Tell and allow gays and lesbians to serve openly in the military. People familiar with the long struggle are often confused because when Ellen Tauscher was in Congress, she put forward a bill three times that would repeal Don't Ask, Don't Tell and would make it illegal to discriminate based on sexual orientation. Ellen Tauscher left Congress in 2009 and became the Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Affairs.

[. .  .]

Due to the fact that Tauscher worked hard on the issue, a lot of people assumed that it was still the same bill. And those who didn't? We're talking about a 1028 page bill. There ought to be a law against that. Page 184 is where Section 536 ("Department Of Defense Policy Concerning Homosexuality In The Armed Forces") begins.

If you read over it (PDF format warning,
click here), you'll learn some reality.

What the Congress put forward was not the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell and outlawing discrimination. All they'd do is overturn Don't Ask, Don't Tell.

But that's what we all want, right?

If you're historically ignorant, you probably think so. If you know the history of how Don't Ask, Don't Tell comes about, you know the courts were advancing LGBT rights -- including for service members -- when the military imposed their ban on gay service members. This was the ban that Bill Clinton wanted to overturn but, as president, he faced open rebellion (it wasn't at all hidden) from the likes of War Criminal Colin Powell and others. So Don't Ask, Don't Tell was the compromise pushed through. It was supposed to prevent the military from asking (witch hunts) and supposed to mean that if service members stayed in the closet, they could continue serving.

Judge Viriginia Phillips ruled on Don't Ask, Don't Tell and the White House has appealed her decision. She found that Don't Ask, Don't Tell was unconstitutional. She then went further and issued an injunction barring all discharges under DADT while her ruling was on appeal. The White House also appealed that and won. They can continue to discharge under DADT while they await their chance to appeal Phillips' verdict.

[. . .]

Phillips did what Barack promised on the campaign trail. But Barack and the Congress are not trying to live up to that. What Phillips did was to repeal DADT and to rule it unconstitutional. There were a number of lies about why Barack 'had to' appeal but the one the administration fell back on whispering was that if they didn't appeal, it was a verdict. From a lower court! And they needed to follow their plan to get rid of it because otherwise a future president could again impose it!

That really didn't make sense because Judge Phillips' ruling didn't prevent Congress from passing the bill currently before them.

So it never made sense and that was because it was a lie.

The White House isn't happy with Judge Phillips for doing what Barack promised because that's not what was ever going to be delivered.

Instead, DADT gets repealed and then? Discrimination can continue or not. Congress isn't weighing in on that. With Ellen's bill -- all three times it was introduced -- Congress was weighing in and declaring the discrimination illegal. Not now.

The current bill repeals DADT but allows the Pentagon to decide what should happen.

Should the bill pass in the next two years, the Pentagon may want to go along with Barack (or may not) and might institute a policy to allow gays and lesbians to serve openly.

In other words, it could happen. It's conceivable.

But by watering down Ellen's bill, by refusing to call the discrimination out, what the Congress and Barack are doing is allowing DADT to return in the future.

By not passing a law declaring the discrimination illegal, there's nothing to prevent DADT being reinstated under the next president.

At some point in the near future, Nancy Pelosi and others need to explain how declaring Don't Ask, Don't Tell to be discrimination was removed from this bill that has been introduced repeatedly.  After they explain how, they need to explain why.
 


Posted at 11:24 am by cedricsbigmix
Comments (13)  

Nov 2, 2010
He knew what he was saying

He knew what he was saying

BULLY BOY PRESS & CEDRIC'S BIG MIX -- THE KOOL-AID TABLE

CELEBRITY IN CHIEF BARRY O CONTINUES TO DEMONIZE OPPONENTS BY CALLING THEM "ENEMIES." CAUGHT, HE TRIES TO PLAY "I MISPOKE."

HOWEVER, CLICK HERE AND YOU WILL CLEARLY SEE THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY IDENTIFYING OPPONENTS AS "ENEMIES" IN THEIR OWN CAMPAIGN MATERIAL.

Barack Undocumented?

THAT'S ONE EXAMPLE. "ENEMIES." DEMONIZATION.

THESE REPORTERS ARE USED TO IT FROM REPUBLICANS. WHO WOULD HAVE THOUGHT DEMOCRATS WOULD STOOP SO LOW?

FROM THE TCI WIRE:

Today the Wheeling News-Register's editorial board notes Barack Obama declared the Iraq War "at an end on Aug. 31st" and that, "In fact, US troops continue to be wounded and killed in Iraq. As we have pointed out, Obama may say the war is over, but those being killed are still just as dead." The Iraq War continues and it may continue well beyond 2011. As noted in last Monday's "Iraq snapshot," at the US State Dept, spokesperson Philip J. Crowley declared:
"Well, we have a Status of Forces Agreement and a strategic framework. The Status of Forces Agreement expires at the end of next year, and we are working towards complete fulfillment of that Status of Forces Agreement, which would include the withdrawal of all U.S. forces from Iraq by the end of next year. The nature of our partnership beyond next year will have to be negotiated. On the civilian side, we are committed to Iraq over the long term. We will have civilians there continuing to work with the government on a range of areas – economic development, rule of law, civil society, and so forth. But to the extent that Iraq desires to have an ongoing military-to-military relationship with the United States in the future, that would have to be negotiated. And that would be something that I would expect a new government to consider. [. . .] Should Iraq wish to continue the kind of military partnership that we currently have with Iraq, we're open to have that discussion."

That should have been big news but we don't get news, we get whoring. Example,
Saturday two corporate monkies -- failed actors who, late in life, lucked into jobs they are now desperate to hold onto, held a rally in DC. As David Swanson (War Is A Crimes) observed early last month, "Stewart opposes activist messages and their messengers. The problem seems to be, not so much accuracy as inappropriateness and volume. You should not shout anything or say 'war criminal,' but you especially should not shout 'war criminal!'" When old comedians -- middle aged ones desparate to be hip -- starting trying to police taste and run the "morality" beat, they not only stop being funny, they stop having any value. They're now the tired whores who sucked up to Nixon and completely cut off from the people. At Huffington Post, Will Bunch sees the country's tipping point as when the Iraq War were sold by a media that refused to question or probe the claims (lies) put forward by the Bush administration:
That's why I thought Iraq and its central role in American insanity was in many ways that dog that did not bark in Stewart and Stephen Colbert's big rally on Saturday. Watching it play out on TV, it felt like the two comedians and the 200,000 strong who gathered in their names had drifted so far from the original roots of the "sanity movement" in American politics that the ultimate message -- that the only answers lie in toning things down a notch and in looking for a brand of moderation that finds equal fault with vaguely defined "extremism" on either side -- was a perhaps unintended 180-degree U-turn.
From the stage we saw a tacit endorsement of the dangerous notion of false equivalencies -- the very concept that in a phony quest for journalistic balance caused the news media to give equal weight or greater weight to unsupported spin, not just for the war in Iraq but its cheerleading financial coverage before the 2008 crisis that Stewart demolished on his own show. "The press is our immune system," Stewart said in his closing speech on Saturday. "If it overreacts to everything, we actually get sicker--and, perhaps, eczema." But that's only part of the puzzle -- on way too many critical issues the last 10 years, neither the press nor the public has reacted enough, particularly to ideas that are lacking in reason. It's stunning that Stewart of all people -- who became a national comedic icon in that 2003-04 era, in large part by calling attention to that "Mess O' Potania" that the mainstream media was largely content to ignore -- would forget where the road to insanity started.
The scary part is that central to Stewart's message on Saturday was what one of best media critics around -- the New York University professor Jay Rosen -- calls "the view from nowhere," the same kind of high-minded pooh-pooing of the messy fray of actual democracy, including passion and commitment that involves fighting in the muck of ideas, that the kind of people who gathered on the National Mall once detested from the likes of the punditocracy's naysayer-in-chief, David Broder.
Bunch declares that it's difficult to criticize Stewart. No, it's not at all unless you've dressed him up as a god. Stewart is a basic cable fixture. MTV made him one repeatedly and his ratings at Comedy Centeral really aren't significantly higher than when he was doing his Free Willy parodies on MTV (or, for that matter, when he failed with his late night Fox talk show). It's just Comedy Central will treat "two million viewers!" as a success when it's failure. Jon Stewart is a failed actor. Years ago, he and Parker Posey played roller bladers in Mixed Nuts. Parker's gone on to deliver many amazing performances. Stewart knows he's the closest to a success he's ever going to be and he's not going to let anything risk that. So he's corporate monkey who dances for his bosses.
And Viacom - home of suppression and fear -- attacked Tom Cruise for publicly speaking of love, fired Ed Gernon for comparing Bush to Hitler, kicked the Reagan mini-series over to cable (Showtime) because they are such cowards, If that's who signs your paycheck, if that's who holds your contract, you're not going to such much bravery but you are going to preach rigid conformity -- advocate for a return to the Eisnehower era while distracting from real issues which is what took place Saturday. It was the sort of event where Lily Tomlin's reactionary character Suzie Sorority would have felt at home.
In other news of self-debasement, Amy Goodman and pleasure slave Denis Moynihan do a column on WikiLeaks with Goody still playing Last Reporter Standing as she castigates Big Media:
Sunday's network talk shows barely raised the issue of the largest intelligence leak in U.S. history. When asked, they say the midterm elections are their main focus. Fine, but war is an election issue. It should be raised in every debate, discussed on every talk show.
I see the media as a huge kitchen table, stretching across the globe, that we all sit around, debating and discussing the most important issues of the day: war and peace, life and death. Anything less than that is a disservice to the servicemen and -women of this country. They can't have these debates on military bases. They rely on us in civilian society to have the discussions that determine whether they live or die, whether they are sent to kill or be killed. Anything less than that is a disservice to a democratic society.

Amy Goodman is a brave truth-teller . . . if you're uneducated and uninformed. As Ava and I noted of Goodman on Sunday, surveying Panhandle Media's 'coverage' of WikiLeaks:
What she offered was pure crap. With the hope that she might improve later in the week, a link was offered. But she was never excerpted in the snapshot because her hour long garbage was pure garbage, pure crap that purposely misinformed.

Nir Rosen, Pratap Chatterjee and David Leigh joined her to talk about . . . Iraq and Bush. With the exception of noting that "the Obama administration has lashed out at WikiLeaks," the program couldn't include Barack in the discussion.

It was the same cowardice that
Nicole Colson demonstrated in US Socialist Worker's sole report on WikiLeaks last week. One article on WikiLeaks. They published 23 articles last week. Only one addressed the biggest document release in history. Only one. And even it pulled the punches.


Before last week started, Angus Stickler's "
Obama administration handed over detainees despite reports of torture" (The Bureau of Investigative Journalism) was already online, though you'd never know it by the way Beggar Media ignored it:

Human rights organisations have expressed outrage at the revelations. Professor Novak, the UN Rapporteur on Torture told the Bureau: "If the United States forces handed over detainees to Iraqi jurisdiction, despite the fact that they were at
serious risk of being subjected to torture, that is a violation of Article 3C of the Convention Against Torture of which the US is a signatory."
He said there should be a full and thorough investigation to ascertain whether
any of the detainees handed over to the Iraqi authorities by the US have been abused.
"The burden of proof is on the US to prove that they can categorically state that
the detainees they are handing over are not at risk of torture.There should be an investigation to look into the fate of those individuals to see whether they have
been abused."


This was picked up by human rights groups, by politicians outside the US, the details were covered by TV and radio programs and newspapers around the world. It was just the Beggar Media that couldn't inform you of it.

If you're going to lecture other outlets, Amy Goodman, then you better have been upfront on your program, which you weren't, you intentionally and repeatedly avoided the issue of turning prisoners over to Iraqi forces known/suspected of torture (it was known) and that took place under Barack Obama -- a fact you also avoided because you refuse to call him out for his War Crimes. Human Rights Watch and Amnesty both issue statements on this aspect of the release but Amy Goodman can't find it?
Really? Well it wasn't all that long ago, now was it, when she was using the inauguration as a fundraiser selling off tickets for over $1,000 to a DC inuagural ball. Don't forget she whored and she still does. She's not a trusted source, she's unable to call out the powerful. She should be used sparingly and not as the go-to reference because her record of whoring is now well known.
Over the weekend, the New York Times' public editor Arthur Brisbane attempted to 'take on' the WikiLeaks coverage. But a public editor needs to disclose. So when Brisbane quotes Thomas E. Ricks as a voice against WikiLeaks -- just like the government! -- and identifies him, he needs to offer more than a book Ricks wrote or a magazine he blogs at. Ricks is in agreement with the government? Well he belongs to a think-tank and Brisbane 'forgot' to include that fact.
Ricks belongs to the Center for a New American Security (CNAS) -- home to the homegrown terrorists in charge of counter-insurgency. Therefore, Ricks repeating the Pentagon spin isn't at all surprising. Michele Flournoy does what in the administration? She's the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy (and being pushed as one of the leading nominees to replace Robert Gates when he leaves the post of Secretary of Defense). What did Michele start? Oh, that's right, she started CNAS. With Kurt Cambell, you know, the Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacifica Affairs. CNAS, Thomas Ricks? Those are details a public editor needs to cover.
Friday October 22nd, WikiLeaks released 391,832 US military documents on the Iraq War. The documents -- US military field reports -- reveal torture and abuse and the ignoring of both. They reveal ongoing policies passed from the Bush administration onto the Obama one. They reveal that both administrations ignored and ignore international laws and conventions on torture. They reveal a much higher civilian death toll than was ever admitted to. The Pueblo Chieftain notes, "The documents show a weak, fractured national government in Baghdad despite a dramatic reduction of violence. This points out the need to keep forces there long after the time when President Barack Obama would want all of them removed by Dec. 31, 2011."


RECOMMENDED: "Iraq snapshot"
"Death toll rises in church siege, stalemate continues"
"The fallen and WikiLeaks"
"Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "Presidential Dress Up"
"And the war drags on . . ."
"Arthur Brisband self-destructs in public, US pulls strings in Iraq"
"Rising death toll, WikiLeaks"


"THIS JUST IN! SANITY ABOUNDS IN CONNECTICUT!"
"You just have to know where to look for it"

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"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills)

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills)

Monday, November 1, 2010. Chaos and violence continue, a church in Baghdad is assaulted, the political stalemate continues, Saudi Arabia suggests a meet-up, WikiLeaks continues to be poorly covered in the US, and more.
 
Today the Wheeling News-Register's editorial board notes Barack Obama declared the Iraq War "at an end on Aug. 31st" and that, "In fact, US troops continue to be wounded and killed in Iraq. As we have pointed out, Obama may say the war is over, but those being killed are still just as dead." The Iraq War continues and it may continue well beyond 2011.  As noted in last Monday's "Iraq snapshot," at the US State Dept, spokesperson Philip J. Crowley declared: 
 
 
"Well, we have a Status of Forces Agreement and a strategic framework. The Status of Forces Agreement expires at the end of next year, and we are working towards complete fulfillment of that Status of Forces Agreement, which would include the withdrawal of all U.S. forces from Iraq by the end of next year. The nature of our partnership beyond next year will have to be negotiated. On the civilian side, we are committed to Iraq over the long term. We will have civilians there continuing to work with the government on a range of areas – economic development, rule of law, civil society, and so forth. But to the extent that Iraq desires to have an ongoing military-to-military relationship with the United States in the future, that would have to be negotiated. And that would be something that I would expect a new government to consider. [. . .] Should Iraq wish to continue the kind of military partnership that we currently have with Iraq, we're open to have that discussion."

That should have been big news but we don't get news, we get whoring.  Example,
Saturday two corporate monkies -- failed actors who, late in life, lucked into jobs they are now desperate to hold onto, held a rally in DC.  As David Swanson (War Is A Crimes) observed early last month, "Stewart opposes activist messages and their messengers.  The problem seems to be, not so much accuracy as inappropriateness and volume.  You should not shout anything or say 'war criminal,' but you especially should not shout 'war criminal!'" When old comedians -- middle aged ones desparate to be hip -- starting trying to police taste and run the "morality" beat, they not only stop being funny, they stop having any value.  They're now the tired whores who sucked up to Nixon and completely cut off from the people.  At Huffington Post, Will Bunch sees the country's tipping point as when the Iraq War were sold by a media that refused to question or probe the claims (lies) put forward by the Bush administration:
 
That's why I thought Iraq and its central role in American insanity was in many ways that dog that did not bark in Stewart and Stephen Colbert's big rally on Saturday. Watching it play out on TV, it felt like the two comedians and the 200,000 strong who gathered in their names had drifted so far from the original roots of the "sanity movement" in American politics that the ultimate message -- that the only answers lie in toning things down a notch and in looking for a brand of moderation that finds equal fault with vaguely defined "extremism" on either side -- was a perhaps unintended 180-degree U-turn.
From the stage we saw a tacit endorsement of the dangerous notion of false equivalencies -- the very concept that in a phony quest for journalistic balance caused the news media to give equal weight or greater weight to unsupported spin, not just for the war in Iraq but its cheerleading financial coverage before the 2008 crisis that Stewart demolished on his own show. "The press is our immune system," Stewart said in his closing speech on Saturday. "If it overreacts to everything, we actually get sicker--and, perhaps, eczema." But that's only part of the puzzle -- on way too many critical issues the last 10 years, neither the press nor the public has reacted enough, particularly to ideas that are lacking in reason. It's stunning that Stewart of all people -- who became a national comedic icon in that 2003-04 era, in large part by calling attention to that "Mess O' Potania" that the mainstream media was largely content to ignore -- would forget where the road to insanity started.
The scary part is that central to Stewart's message on Saturday was what one of best media critics around -- the New York University professor Jay Rosen -- calls "the view from nowhere," the same kind of high-minded pooh-pooing of the messy fray of actual democracy, including passion and commitment that involves fighting in the muck of ideas, that the kind of people who gathered on the National Mall once detested from the likes of the punditocracy's naysayer-in-chief, David Broder.
 
Bunch declares that it's difficult to criticize Stewart.  No, it's not at all unless you've dressed him up as a god. Stewart is a basic cable fixture.  MTV made him one repeatedly and his ratings at Comedy Centeral really aren't significantly higher than when he was doing his Free Willy parodies on MTV (or, for that matter, when he failed with his late night Fox talk show).  It's just Comedy Central will treat "two million viewers!" as a success when it's failure.  Jon Stewart is a failed actor.  Years ago, he and Parker Posey played roller bladers in Mixed Nuts.  Parker's gone on to deliver many amazing performances.  Stewart knows he's the closest to a success he's ever going to be and he's not going to let anything risk that.  So he's corporate monkey who dances for his bosses.
 
And Viacom - home of suppression and fear -- attacked Tom Cruise for publicly speaking of love, fired Ed Gernon for comparing Bush to Hitler, kicked the Reagan mini-series over to cable (Showtime) because they are such cowards, If that's who signs your paycheck, if that's who holds your contract, you're not going to such much bravery but you are going to preach rigid conformity -- advocate for a return to the Eisnehower era while distracting from real issues which is what took place Saturday.  It was the sort of event where Lily Tomlin's reactionary character Suzie Sorority would have felt at home.
 
In other news of self-debasement, Amy Goodman and pleasure slave Denis Moynihan do a column on WikiLeaks with Goody still playing Last Reporter Standing as she castigates Big Media:
 
Sunday's network talk shows barely raised the issue of the largest intelligence leak in U.S. history. When asked, they say the midterm elections are their main focus. Fine, but war is an election issue. It should be raised in every debate, discussed on every talk show.
I see the media as a huge kitchen table, stretching across the globe, that we all sit around, debating and discussing the most important issues of the day: war and peace, life and death. Anything less than that is a disservice to the servicemen and -women of this country. They can't have these debates on military bases. They rely on us in civilian society to have the discussions that determine whether they live or die, whether they are sent to kill or be killed. Anything less than that is a disservice to a democratic society.

Amy Goodman is a brave truth-teller . . . if you're uneducated and uninformed.  As Ava and I noted  of Goodman on Sunday, surveying Panhandle Media's 'coverage' of WikiLeaks:
 
 
What she offered was pure crap. With the hope that she might improve later in the week, a link was offered. But she was never excerpted in the snapshot because her hour long garbage was pure garbage, pure crap that purposely misinformed.

Nir Rosen, Pratap Chatterjee and David Leigh joined her to talk about . . . Iraq and Bush. With the exception of noting that "the Obama administration has lashed out at WikiLeaks," the program couldn't include Barack in the discussion.

It was the same cowardice that
Nicole Colson demonstrated in US Socialist Worker's sole report on WikiLeaks last week. One article on WikiLeaks. They published 23 articles last week. Only one addressed the biggest document release in history. Only one. And even it pulled the punches.


Before last week started, Angus Stickler's "
Obama administration handed over detainees despite reports of torture" (The Bureau of Investigative Journalism) was already online, though you'd never know it by the way Beggar Media ignored it:

Human rights organisations have expressed outrage at the revelations. Professor Novak, the UN Rapporteur on Torture told the Bureau: "If the United States forces handed over detainees to Iraqi jurisdiction, despite the fact that they were at
serious risk of being subjected to torture, that is a violation of Article 3C of the Convention Against Torture of which the US is a signatory."
He said there should be a full and thorough investigation to ascertain whether
any of the detainees handed over to the Iraqi authorities by the US have been abused.
"The burden of proof is on the US to prove that they can categorically state that
the detainees they are handing over are not at risk of torture.There should be an investigation to look into the fate of those individuals to see whether they have
been abused."


This was picked up by human rights groups, by politicians outside the US, the details were covered by TV and radio programs and newspapers around the world. It was just the Beggar Media that couldn't inform you of it.

If you're going to lecture other outlets, Amy Goodman, then you better have been upfront on your program, which you weren't, you intentionally and repeatedly avoided the issue of turning prisoners over to Iraqi forces known/suspected of torture (it was known) and that took place under Barack Obama -- a fact you also avoided because you refuse to call him out for his War Crimes.  Human Rights Watch and Amnesty both issue statements on this aspect of the release but Amy Goodman can't find it?
 
Really?  Well it wasn't all that long ago, now was it, when she was using the inauguration as a fundraiser selling off tickets for over $1,000 to a DC inuagural ball.  Don't forget she whored and she still does.  She's not a trusted source, she's unable to call out the powerful.  She should be used sparingly and not as the go-to reference because her record of whoring is now well known.
 
Over the weekend, the New York Times' public editor Arthur Brisbane attempted to 'take on' the WikiLeaks coverage.  But a public editor needs to disclose.  So when Brisbane quotes Thomas E. Ricks as a voice against WikiLeaks -- just like the government! -- and identifies him, he needs to offer more than a book Ricks wrote or a magazine he blogs at.  Ricks is in agreement with the government?  Well he belongs to a think-tank and Brisbane 'forgot' to include that fact.
 
Ricks belongs to the Center for a New American Security (CNAS) -- home to the homegrown terrorists in charge of counter-insurgency. Therefore, Ricks repeating the Pentagon spin isn't at all surprising.  Michele Flournoy does what in the administration? She's the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy (and being pushed as one of the leading nominees to replace Robert Gates when he leaves the post of Secretary of Defense). What did Michele start? Oh, that's right, she started CNAS. With Kurt Cambell, you know, the Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacifica Affairs. CNAS, Thomas Ricks? Those are details a public editor needs to cover.
 
 
Friday October 22nd, WikiLeaks released 391,832 US military documents on the Iraq War. The documents -- US military field reports -- reveal torture and abuse and the ignoring of both. They reveal ongoing policies passed from the Bush administration onto the Obama one. They reveal that both administrations ignored and ignore international laws and conventions on torture. They reveal a much higher civilian death toll than was ever admitted to. The Pueblo Chieftain notes, "The documents show a weak, fractured national government in Baghdad despite a dramatic reduction of violence. This points out the need to keep forces there long after the time when President Barack Obama would want all of them removed by Dec. 31, 2011." Fractured government?
 
March 7th, Iraq concluded Parliamentary elections. The Guardian's editorial board noted in August, "These elections were hailed prematurely by Mr Obama as a success, but everything that has happened since has surely doused that optimism in a cold shower of reality." 163 seats are needed to form the executive government (prime minister and council of ministers). When no single slate wins 163 seats (or possibly higher -- 163 is the number today but the Parliament added seats this election and, in four more years, they may add more which could increase the number of seats needed to form the executive government), power-sharing coalitions must be formed with other slates, parties and/or individual candidates. (Eight Parliament seats were awarded, for example, to minority candidates who represent various religious minorities in Iraq.) Ayad Allawi is the head of Iraqiya which won 91 seats in the Parliament making it the biggest seat holder. Second place went to State Of Law which Nouri al-Maliki, the current prime minister, heads. They won 89 seats. Nouri made a big show of lodging complaints and issuing allegations to distract and delay the certification of the initial results while he formed a power-sharing coalition with third place winner Iraqi National Alliance -- this coalition still does not give them 163 seats. They are claiming they have the right to form the government. In 2005, Iraq took four months and seven days to pick a prime minister. It's seven months and twenty-five days and still counting.

Saturday CNN reported that King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia is calling for Iraqi politicians to meet up in Saudia Arabia ("after the Hajj pilgrimage in November") to attempt to end the political stalemate. Mohammed Tawfeeq (CNN) quoted the king stating, "It is well-known to everyone that you are at a crossroads, a fact that necessitates your uniting the ranks, rising above your wounds, distancing the shadows of differences, and extinguishing the fire of abhorrent sectarianism," said the king, as reported by SPA. Our hands are outstretched to you. Let us work together for the security, integrity and stability of the land and brotherly people of Iraq."  Arab News added, "He said the talks would be held under the auspices of the Arab League in order to seek solutions for all outstanding problems that stand in the way of forming a unity government in Baghdad, adding that it would be a good opportunity for reconciliation to restore Iraq's security, peace and stability."  Today RTT News informs, "Iraq's Shiite alliance has turned down an offer extended by Saudi Arabia to host an all-party talks involving Iraqi political leaders for ending the months-long political deadlock that has prevented formation of a coalition government in that war-ravaged country after the indecisive March elections." Zee News notes a contrasting reaction, King Abdullah's offer "has been hailed across the gulf region". MD Rasooldeen (Arab News) quotes Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, Secretary-General of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, stating, "It showed the king's keenness to preserve the unity of Iraq and to support the Iraqi people to live in an atmosphere of peace and security."
 
Nawzad Mahmoud and Rawa Abdulla (Rudaw) reports, "One of the major Kurdish political parties broke away from the larger Kurdish alliance on Friday evening, ending and undermining the united political representation of Kurds whose role is decisive to shape Iraq's future government. By taking this decision, Gorran, the greatest and most influential opposition party in the northern region of Iraqi Kurdistan, deepens its political divergence with the two ruling parties over almost everything here in the most stable region of Iraq." Gorran -- "Change" -- is backed by the US and has received a huge amount of money from the US government. That detail is left out of the report but it is probably the most pertinent detail.  UPI reports that Iraqiya states they're ready for negotiation talks.
 
Since the March elections, the Parliament has met only once and for approximately 20 minutes.  The Daily Mail reports, "Politicians in Iraq have raked in more than $1,000 a minute for working just TWENTY minutes this year.  They picked up a fee of $90,000 and a monthly salary of $22,500 a month for doing next to nothing and staying free in Baghdad's finest hotel." 
Yesterday in Baghdad, Iraqi forces swarmed Our Lady of Salvation Church where people were being held hostage by assailants.  Ernesto Londono and Aziz Alwan (Washington Post) report, "The bulk of the bloodletting happened shortly after 9 p.m. when Iraqi Special Operations troops stormed Our Lady of Salvation church in the upscale Karradah neighborhood to try and free worshipers who had been taken hostage. Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy's Miami Herald) reports, "Insurgents seized control of a church in central Baghdad on Sunday, taking hostages during evening mass after attacking a checkpoint at the Baghdad Stock Exchange." Graham Fitzgerald (Sky News) observes, "Apparently no attempt was made to negotiate with them and bring the siege to a peaceful conclusion." John Leland (New York Times) quotes police officer Hussain Nahidh stating, "It's a horrible scene. More than 50 people were killed. The suicide vests were filled with ball bearings to kill as many people as possible. You can see human flesh everywhere. Flesh was stuck to the top roof of the hall. Many people went to hospitals without legs and hands."  Lara Jakes (AP) reports there were 120 hostages in the church.  Ned Parker and Jaber Zeki (Los Angeles Times via Sacremento Bee) add, "The Iraqi police immediately sealed off the surrounding area in the busy Karada commercial district. The American military was called in to help. As U.S. Army helicopters buzzed overheads, American officers accompanied Iraqi commanders and shared satellite imagery, according to Iraqi police and the U.S. military. A caller to the Baghdad satellite channel Baghdadiya, who insisted he was one of the attackers, said the group was demanding the release of al-Qaida prisoners in Egypt and threatened to execute the hostages if the authorities failed to meet their demands."
Anne Barker (Australia's ABC) reports, "The siege began when militants wearing suicide vests and armed with grenades took an entire congregation hostage. Some 120 people were held in the church for at least four hours." Today the Telegraph of London explains (link has text and video) the death toll has risen to 52. BBC News offers a photo essay of the siege.  Lewis Smith (Independent of London) quotes hostage Marzina Matti Yalda, "As we went outside the hall to see what was happening, gunmen stormed the main gates and they started to shoot at us. Many people fell down, including a priest, while some of us
ran inside and took shelter in a locked room as we waited for the security forces to arrive." The Telegraph of London quotes a young male hostage (unnamed) stating of the hostage takers, "They entered the church with their weapons, wearing military uniforms. They came into the prayer hall, and immediately killed the priest." Martin Chulov (Guardian) adds, "The priest they call Father Rafael is believed to have survived, but his colleague, Father Wissam, is believed to have been killed." Jim Muir (BBC News) offers a video
report and an Iraqi female hostage states, "Gunmen entered the church and started to beat people. Some of the people were released but others were wounded and some died and one of the priests was killed." Muir points out that churches in Iraq have been attacked before "but there's never been anything like this."
 
Jonathan Adams (Christian Science Monitor) observes, "The incident, which began Sunday afternoon, highlights the continued threat to Christians in Iraq, whose number has shrunk from 800,000 to 550,000 since 2003 as members have fled abroad or been killed. Radical groups continue to launch attacks on religious and non-religious sites as political leaders struggle to form a new government some eight months after controversial elections."   Alsumaria TV quotes France's Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner stating, "France firmly condemns this terrorist action, the latest in a deadly campaign of targeted violence which has already led to more than 40 deaths among the Christians of Iraq. France repeats its attachment to the respect of fundamental liberties such as religious freedom and supports the Iraqi authorities in their struggle against terrorism." Vatican Radio quotes Pope Benedict XVI stating, "Last night, in a very serious attack on the Syrian Catholic Cathedral in Baghdad, dozens of people were killed and wounded, including two priests and a group of faithful gathered for Sunday Mass. I pray for the victims of this senseless violence, all the more ferocious as it affected defenceless civilians." Vatican Radio also reports:

"No-where is safe anymore, not even the House of God", says auxiliary Bishop of Baghdad of the Chaldeans, Shlemon Warduni, the day after an unprecedented attack on the Christian community of the Iraqi capital. Together with Patriarch Delly he visited survivors and wounded of the Sunday massacre, in which over 50 hostages and police officers were killed when security forces raided a Baghdad church to free more than 100 Iraqi Catholics held hostage by al Qaeda-linked gunmen. Between 70 and 80 people were seriously wounded, many of them women and children.

 
Ammon News reports that Jordan's King Abdullah II cabled Jalal Talabani, president of Iraq, and "expressed his sympathy and heartfelt condolences to the Iraqi President over the victims of the attack and wished the injured a speedy recovery." The Daily Star notes, "Lebanese Muslim and Christian figures condemned Monday the killing of hostage parishoners at the Karda church in Iraq the previous day. Clerics and political parties slammed the deadly violence during a hostage rescue mission in Karada in Baghad Sundy, when at least 52 people were killed as US and Iraqi forces stormed a Catholic church to free dozens of hostages."
 
In today's reported violence, Reuters notes a Qaiyara sticky bombing claimed the lives of police Lt Col Khalid Auda and his driver and that 1 suspect was shot dead in Arbil by Kurdish forces.
 
And back to WikiLeaks, we'll close with Sian Ruddick's "Iraq war logs expose murder, abuse and torture" (Great Britain's Socialist Worker):

Thousands of leaked US military documents have revealed the grisly reality of the murder, torture and abuse of prisoners by US, British and local pro-occupation forces in Iraq.

The Wikileaks website released nearly 400,000 army field reports itemising death and abuse by US military action and the bitter sectarian division the occupation caused.

The reports run from January 2004 to January 2010. They reveal torture carried out by police officers, army personnel, prison staff and border guards.

The majority of victims are young men. But there are also occurrences of abuse towards women—including serious sexual assault—and of attacks on disabled and old people.

The reports show that much of the abuse by Iraqi forces was either witnessed by US soldiers or reported to them.

Batteries with exposed wires and hoses appear often. Prisoners are kicked, beaten, sexually abused and humiliated, burnt with flame and chemicals and put in stress positions.

Burnt

Despite the widespread evidence of torture, the US government issued order "Frago 242" in June 2004, ordering coalition troops not to investigate any breach of the laws of armed conflict unless it directly involved members of the US's coalition side.

Where the alleged abuse is committed by an Iraqi towards an Iraqi, "only an initial report will be made… No further investigation will be required unless directed by HQ".

One example from the log reports film footage showing: "Ten Iraqi army soldiers were talking to one another while two soldiers held the detainee.

"The detainee had his hands bound. The footage shows the IA soldiers moving the detainee into the street, pushing him to the ground, punching him and shooting him." The logs conclude, "No investigation is necessary."

In reality, things were no different when abuse was carried out by US or British soldiers—the history of the occupation has been one of cover-up and corruption.

The leaks contain the reports of over 100,000 civilian deaths.

But even this is a gross underestimate. Surveys by ORB and the Lancet estimate that well over a million Iraqis have been killed. The war and occupation have displaced millions more.

Some incidents are documented in forensic detail. For instance the "Crazyhorse 18" Apache helicopter gunship crew were following a truck driven by two men they suspected of carrying explosives.

The men got out of their vehicle to surrender.

The Apache crew radioed base and were told by a lawyer that it was not possible to "surrender to an aircraft".

The helicopter unleashed missiles killing both men. More civilians were injured.

Threatened

Another report states how US interrogators threatened to hand detainees over to the Wolf Brigade if they wouldn't talk.

Iraqi prisoners accused the brigade of torturing prisoners with electric drills and sometimes executing suspects.

It was set up by the US military and directed by Colonel James Steele, who had acted as a US advisor to death squads in El Salvador in the 1980s.

These reports confirm again that the invasion was never about liberating the Iraq, only asserting US power.

Stop the War Coalition conference: 30 October, 10am-5pm in Conway Hall, Red Lion Square WC1R 4RL. Speakers include Tony Benn and Joe Glenton
Troops out of Afghanistan, Time to Go demonstration 20 November Assemble 12 noon, Hyde Park

© Socialist Worker (unless otherwise stated). You may republish if you include an active link to the original.

 
Friday October 22nd, WikiLeaks released 391,832 US military documents
 
 
 
 

Posted at 01:03 pm by cedricsbigmix
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Oct 31, 2010
You just have to know where to look for it

You just have to know where to look for it

BULLY BOY PRESS & CEDRIC'S BIG MIX -- THE KOOL-AID TABLE

ALLEGED COMEDIAN JON STEWART HELD A RALLY TO "RESTORE SANITY" IN THE U.S. -- A RALLY THAT LOOKED SUSPICIOUSLY LIKE THE CORPORATE FUNDED RALLIES IN "MEET JOHN DOE."

BUT, AS DEMONSTRATED IN CONNECTICUT TODAY, THE U.S. HAS NO SANITY PROBLEM: CELEBRITY IN CHIEF BARRY O WAS YET AGAIN HECKLED!


FROM THE TCI WIRE:

Earlier this week on Antiwar Radio (Wednesday), Scott Horton interviewed journalist and historian Gareth Porter. We'll note this at the very end of the interview.
Gareth Porter: The one thing that I would underline that I was shakiest on was the belief that the SOFA, the agreement that was reached in November of 2008, was something that could be expected -- could be counted on to stick. I'm no longer confident that that's the case.
Scott Horton: Wow. Well now, talk about opening a can of worms up. What you're saying is that the war will start again because Moqtada al-Sadr isn't backing down on that? You're just saying the Pentagon is going to insist on staying?
Gareth Porter: I'm saying, I'm saying that I'm not at all confident the US troops are going to get out. That's right. I think there's a grave danger that we're going to get stuck there.
Scott Horton: Which means fighting against the government we just spent all this time installing. But you know --
Gareth Porter: Well I don't know. Maybe we're going to be fighting Kurds, maybe we're going to be fighting Turks? You know, who knows? Who knows who we'll be fighting? But I do think -- I have very good reason to believe that this is a serious danger at this point. That the Obama administration is going to try to pull another "Oh yeah, we're pulling all of our combat troops out, see? These are not combat troops. Nothing to see here move on."
Gen George Casey is Chief of Staff of the Army and he gave a speech earlier this week. What's interesting is the way the army elected to write it up. Here's the opening paragraph from the army's press release (that they would call a "news article"):

Soldiers can look forward to increased time at home station when the Army has all but completely pulled out of Iraq, leaving a larger pool of units free to do rotations in Afghanistan. But those rotations will continue for a some time, said the Army's top Soldier.


"Can look forward to" casts this sometime in the near future and, according to the army's press release, at that point the US will not be out of Iraq, it will have "all but completely pulled out of Iraq". It's an interesting word choice. Especially coming on the heels of the US State Dept's acknowledgment that the White House is "open" to extending the SOFA and keeping 50,000 US troops in Iraq beyond 2011. From Monday's snapshot:
Today Robert Dreyfuss (The Nation) reports that former US Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker spoke last week to the National Council on US - Arab Relations and " that when the dust clears in the formation of a new government in Iraq that Baghdad would come to the United States to ask for an extension of the US military presence beyond the end of 2011. By that date, according to the accord signed in 2008 by the Bush administration, all US troops are to leave Iraq. But Crocker said that it is 'quite likely that the Iraqi government is going to ask for an extension of our deployed presence'." (He also expressed that Nouri would remaing prime minister. Why? The US government backed Nouri as the 'continuing' prime minister after Nouri promised he's allow the US military to remain in Iraq past 2011.) Today at the US State Dept, spokesperson Philip J. Crowley was asked about Crocker's remarks. He responded, "Well, we have a Status of Forces Agreement and a strategic framework. The Status of Forces Agreement expires at the end of next year, and we are working towards complete fulfillment of that Status of Forces Agreement, which would include the withdrawal of all U.S. forces from Iraq by the end of next year. The nature of our partnership beyond next year will have to be negotiated. On the civilian side, we are committed to Iraq over the long term. We will have civilians there continuing to work with the government on a range of areas – economic development, rule of law, civil society, and so forth. But to the extent that Iraq desires to have an ongoing military-to-military relationship with the United States in the future, that would have to be negotiated. And that would be something that I would expect a new government to consider. [. . .] Should Iraq wish to continue the kind of military partnership that we currently have with Iraq, we're open to have that discussion."
During the Antiwar Radio interview, Gareth Porter discussed the WikiLeaks release and the "Report Shows Drones Strikes Based on Scant Evidence" (IPS via Information Clearing House) -- which is his reporting on the leaks. Last Friday, WikiLeaks released 391,832 US military documents on the Iraq War. The documents -- US military field reports -- reveal torture and abuse and the ignoring of both. They reveal ongoing policies passed from the Bush administration onto the Obama one. They reveal that both administrations ignored and ignore international laws and conventions on torture. They reveal a much higher civilian death toll than was ever admitted to.
On the topic of WikiLeaks, a correction for yesterday when I was grossly wrong. A friend was the first to reach me and say, "Was it a joke?" No, I honestly thought ZNet was published (and I thought it had its servers) in Canada. I was wrong, 100% wrong, completely wrong. (See today's snapshot.) My mistake. No one else's. I will be wrong many times again as I was in the snapshot today. I'll include this in tomorrow's snapshot to correct my error. My apologies for my error. We were noting ZNet because they stood alone among independent media in actually covering the WikiLeaks release. They are an American publication (again, I was wrong) and this is some of their WikiLeaks coverage:
There are many ways that the documents can be covered. Ian Alln (intelNews.org) covers the CIA angle and how the US documents can be used to chart the CIA's role in the ongoing war. Sitting down with McClatchy Newspaprs' Sahar Issa, The Real News Network's Paul Jay addressed the civilian death toll.
JAY: So let's talk a little bit about WikiLeaks. There are various pieces of the documents that jumped out, but the one a lot of people have been talking about is the numbers of civilian deaths, over 100,000. How have Iraqis reacted to all of this?
ISSA: Iraqis know this. Iraqis know that they have lost hundreds of thousands.


JAY: So people think the number is low.
ISSA: Iraqis know this. Iraqis know that they have lost hundreds of thousands.


JAY: So people think the number is low.
"To the disgust of many, both Iraq's new leaders and the world as a whole lent a deaf ear to such crimes, shutting their eyes to accounts of atrocities and refusing to investigate reports of intimidation, abuse and killings," Salah Hemeid (Al-Ahram Weekly) observes, noting, as Issa does, what Iraqis knew and what the media and governments didn't want discussed. "However, by giving a fuller picture of the US legacy in Iraq through its leaking of secret American military documents detailing torture, summary execution and war crimes, Wikileaks has both done truth a great service and has proved, once again, that truth is the first casualty of war." Watching America translates an editorial on the topic from Spain's El Pais:
The new leaks from WikiLeaks furnish conclusive proof concerning the cesspool of a war like Iraq, undertaken for motives increasingly seen to have been foolish in the extreme and carried out with a brutality that was in complete contradiction to the propagation of democracy invoked by Bush and his Azorean colleagues* as a justification for war. If the strongest argument against the invasion was that democracy could not be imposed on another country by force of arms, the new leaks from WikiLeaks make it necessary to add a corollary which, until now, might have seemed obvious: even less by means of torture, rape or indiscriminate slaughter of civilians. An end, such as democracy, does not justify such execrable means.
Allan Gerson (Huffington Post) probes another area of the released documents:
For example, the WikiLeaks documents released last week made clear, said the Vice President of the European Parliament, Dr. Alejo Vidal Quadras, that the Obama Administration knew that Iran was rapidly "gaining control of Iraq at many levels" even while it overruled objections not to turn over to Iraqi forces control of Camp Ashraf, an enclave 40km. north of Baghdad where approximately 3500 Iranian dissidents are quartered. Hundreds of parliamentarians in the US, Europe and the Middle East had pointed out that transfer to Iraqi control might lead to mass executions were the Camp Ashraf dissidents forcefully repatriated to Iran by Iraqi leaders anxious to placate Iran.
Nevertheless, the Obama Administration turned Camp Ashraf over to Iraqi forces without ever revealing a material fact: that the rush for "engagement" with Iran was bought at the price of psychological torture of Camp Ashraf's residents, repeated forays, and shooting sprees that killed and maimed hundreds of dissidents. Despite the outrage voiced in many quarters, the intimidation, coercion and atrocities have only been put on hold, in abeyance, ready to be resurrected in full at a more propitious moment. To rectify the situation and avert another tragedy, the US should resume protecting Ashraf or at least ensure that a UN monitoring team is stationed there.
Countless American citizens and their representatives in Congress acquiesced to "engagement" with Iran on false premises. The Obama Administration's readiness to turn a blind eye to the fate of Camp Ashraf's 3500 residents is now public information, in large measure through the release of the WikiLeaks documents. As the price of "engagement" with Iran has been revealed, it is up to the American populace and its representatives in Congress to determine if they are willing to acquiesce in the politics of appeasement -- not least, through the abandonment of Iran's most stalwart opponents.
Steve Fake (Foreign Policy In Focus) dissects the ways in which information that threatens the power-structure is attacked including:
The other tactic employed by opinion shapers, coming to the foreground in light of the extensive redactions of the Iraq documents, is to smear the messenger. The reader of the American press cannot help but be struck by one thought while reading the various reports discussing Assange's reputed authoritarianism and psychological health, the molestation charges he faces, and the factional strife at WikiLeaks: the allegations are of virtually no public policy significance. They amount to scarcely more than gossip fodder.
One attacker has been Miss Susan Hayward of 2010, John F. Burns. And we addressed him at length last night. And while it may seem hard to top a man who co-writes a 2014 word article and then requires 1287 to defend it, the New York Times found some others ready to 'play.' For the record, my kids are out of school (they're adults now) but had they come home with the 'lesson' 'plan' that Shannon Doyne and Holly Epstein Ojalova pen for the New York Times, those two 'teachers' would not be employed at the school anymore. I'd start by noting that neither appears to have majored in education (they're English majors -- English majors -- at last, a group even drama majors can laugh at). Were they emergency certified or did they have a waiver because they're training -- such as it is -- does not qualify them for the subect (the release of government documents) or for preparing a lesson plan or unit. They're not qualified. (Holly has an MA in English lit education. No, it's not the same thing but a friend at the paper insisted that be noted.)
Then there's the crap they churned out. As a parent, I was never bothered if a side of an argument is presented . . . provided more than one side was presented. There's only one side presented in Shannon and Holly's bad lesson: Government right.
These two . . . women would have been out of jobs, I'm not joking. Teachers are expected to be fair and there is nothing fair about what Shannon and Holly designed. Here's there basics:
* have kids brainstorm documents a government might keep on war
* have them focus on the Pentagon, DoD, CIA, etc.
And on it goes. As you scan through, you may wonder when they take the position of human rights attorneys, of peace activists, of a soldier struggling with the issues, etc.? The answer is never. They are asked to think about "What percentage of the documents do you think could pose a threat if they fell into an enemy's hands? What could happen if these documents were made public?" When do they get asked to think about the public's right to know? NEVER. When do they get asked to think about open government and how it is needed in a democracy? NEVER.
The exercises put the students -- intentionally -- into roles at DoD, the CIA and the Pentagon. That's intentional not accidental. I would not tolerate this S**T if my child brought it home. It would offend my politics, yes, but it would offend me most of all for being so damn one-sided and for my children being held hostage to some illegimate and unqualifed teacher's doctrine.
The exercise insists students 'learn' of Julian Assange -- late in the lesson plan -- by reading the hit-job John F. Burns co-wrote. Why? What is the purpose of that? It's not about Julian Assange.
Look at the questions the children will address:
  1. How many secret documents about the war in Iraq did WikiLeaks release? The war in Afghanistan?
  2. Why are some of Mr. Assange's comrades abandoning him?
  3. Who is Daniel Ellsberg, and why does he consider Julian Assange a "kindred spirit"?
  4. Why did Mr. Assange initially go to Sweden, and why did he flee shortly thereafter?
  5. How does Mr. Assange describe the United States in regard to democracy? Do you agree or disagree?
Look at questions two, four and five and explain to me what an American child 'learning' about Julian from the smear piece by Burnsie isn't going to be likely to side against Julian? These questions are chosen to plant the seeds of distrust in and hostility towards Julian. They are the education equivalent of push-polling. They show a motive on the part of the design and that -- along with the lack of educational training -- would ensure that the teachers would be hitting the road and looking for employment in another field (judging by the piece they wrote, they'd probably inquire as to whether there were any openings for torturers at Guantanamo).
And then the point of the lesson:
Is WikiLeaks heroic or villainous for releasing these documents? (Alternatively, you might temper such a stark question by softening the wording slightly, like so: "Is WikiLeaks a force for good or an instigator of trouble?")
Where are the questions about the government? Where are the questions about the actions in the paper themselves? They've created quite a little fact-free world where there are no values and are no ethics there is just an excercise that has them pretend (over and over) that they are the government, briefly 'informs' them of a one Whistleblower via an attack piece, pays a passing nod to Daniel Ellsberg (the lesson plan contains no real unit on Daniel) and then wants to ask for a judgment that will be cast in good or evil.
This isn't teaching, this indoctrination. Should your children's school use it, raise bloody hell. No school should use this crap. It's one-sided and the educational equivalent of smut. The New York Times should be ashamed of themselves. While they regularly pull their stunts on readers, now they want to contaminate the minds of children?



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Comments (7)  

Oct 30, 2010
"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills)

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills)

Friday, October 29, 2010.  Chaos and violence continue, Balad Ruz is slammed with a bombing, the New York Times launches a new attack on WikiLeaks and tries to pollute the minds of America's children, the political stalemate continues and more.
 
AFP reports a Balad Ruz bombing has claimed the lives of at least 25 people with seventy more listed as injured according police Chief Ahmed al-Tamimi.  Press TV notes that the bombing was in a coffee house and that "[s]ome reports suggest that the attack targeted a gathering of local residents inside the building."  BBC News notes that "area is said to be home to many Shias of Kurdish origin."  Al Jazeera adds, "Al Jazeera's Rawya Rageh, reporting from Baghad, said authorities imposed a curfew in Balad Ruz, and that five people have been arrested." Muhanad Mohammed, Wathiq Ibrahim, Waleed Ibrahim, Michael Christie and Alison Williams (Reuters) report, "The cafe, a popular venue for playing dominoes, smoking sisha pipes and drinking sweet tea, was desroyed, said Colonel Kadhim bashir Saleh, a spokesman in Baghdad of Iraq's civil defence force."  And they quote eye witness Sadeq Abbas stating, "I was near the cafe and suddenly a big explosion happened inside and there was chaos in the area.  Security forces started shooting in the air to disperse the crowd and prevent people from going near the cafe." Mazin Yahya (AP) notes that the it is said to have been a suicide bomber.
 
Earlier this week on Antiwar Radio (Wednesday), Scott Horton interviewed journalist and historian Gareth Porter.  We'll note this at the very end of the interview.
 
Gareth Porter: The one thing that I would underline that I was shakiest on was the belief that the SOFA, the agreement that was reached in November of 2008, was something that could be expected -- could be counted on to stick.  I'm no longer confident that that's the case.
 
Scott Horton: Wow.  Well now, talk about opening a can of worms up.  What you're saying is that the war will start again because Moqtada al-Sadr isn't backing down on that?  You're just saying the Pentagon is going to insist on staying?
 
Gareth Porter: I'm saying, I'm saying that I'm not at all confident the US troops are going to get out.  That's right.  I think there's a grave danger that we're going to get stuck there.
 
Scott Horton: Which means fighting against the government we just spent all this time installing.  But you know --
 
Gareth Porter: Well I don't know. Maybe we're going to be fighting Kurds, maybe we're going to be fighting Turks?  You know, who knows? Who knows who we'll be fighting? But I do think -- I have very good reason to believe that this is a serious danger at this point.  That the Obama administration is going to try to pull another "Oh yeah, we're pulling all of our combat troops out, see?  These are not combat troops.  Nothing to see here move on."
 
Gen George Casey is Chief of Staff of the Army and he gave a speech earlier this week. What's interesting is the way the army elected to write it up. Here's the opening paragraph from the army's press release (that they would call a "news article"):

Soldiers can look forward to increased time at home station when the Army has all but completely pulled out of Iraq, leaving a larger pool of units free to do rotations in Afghanistan. But those rotations will continue for a some time, said the Army's top Soldier.


"Can look forward to" casts this sometime in the near future and, according to the army's press release, at that point the US will not be out of Iraq, it will have "all but completely pulled out of Iraq". It's an interesting word choice. Especially coming on the heels of the US State Dept's acknowledgment that the White House is "open" to extending the SOFA and keeping 50,000 US troops in Iraq beyond 2011. From Monday's snapshot:
 
Today Robert Dreyfuss (The Nation) reports that former US Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker spoke last week to the National Council on US - Arab Relations and " that when the dust clears in the formation of a new government in Iraq that Baghdad would come to the United States to ask for an extension of the US military presence beyond the end of 2011. By that date, according to the accord signed in 2008 by the Bush administration, all US troops are to leave Iraq. But Crocker said that it is 'quite likely that the Iraqi government is going to ask for an extension of our deployed presence'."  (He also expressed that Nouri would remaing prime minister.  Why?  The US government backed Nouri as the 'continuing' prime minister after Nouri promised he's allow the US military to remain in Iraq past 2011.) Today at the US State Dept, spokesperson Philip J. Crowley was asked about Crocker's remarks.  He responded, "Well, we have a Status of Forces Agreement and a strategic framework. The Status of Forces Agreement expires at the end of next year, and we are working towards complete fulfillment of that Status of Forces Agreement, which would include the withdrawal of all U.S. forces from Iraq by the end of next year. The nature of our partnership beyond next year will have to be negotiated. On the civilian side, we are committed to Iraq over the long term. We will have civilians there continuing to work with the government on a range of areas – economic development, rule of law, civil society, and so forth. But to the extent that Iraq desires to have an ongoing military-to-military relationship with the United States in the future, that would have to be negotiated. And that would be something that I would expect a new government to consider. [. . .] Should Iraq wish to continue the kind of military partnership that we currently have with Iraq, we're open to have that discussion."
 
During the Antiwar Radio interview, Gareth Porter discussed the WikiLeaks release and the "Report Shows Drones Strikes Based on Scant Evidence" (IPS via Information Clearing House) -- which is his reporting on the leaks.  Last Friday, WikiLeaks released 391,832 US military documents on the Iraq War. The documents -- US military field reports -- reveal torture and abuse and the ignoring of both. They reveal ongoing policies passed from the Bush administration onto the Obama one. They reveal that both administrations ignored and ignore international laws and conventions on torture. They reveal a much higher civilian death toll than was ever admitted to.
 
On the topic of WikiLeaks, a correction for yesterday when I was grossly wrong. A friend was the first to reach me and say, "Was it a joke?" No, I honestly thought ZNet was published (and I thought it had its servers) in Canada. I was wrong, 100% wrong, completely wrong. (See today's snapshot.) My mistake. No one else's. I will be wrong many times again as I was in the snapshot today. I'll include this in tomorrow's snapshot to correct my error. My apologies for my error.  We were noting ZNet because they stood alone among independent media in actually covering the WikiLeaks release.  They are an American publication (again, I was wrong) and this is some of their WikiLeaks coverage:
 
 
There are many ways that the documents can be covered.  Ian Alln (intelNews.org) covers the CIA angle and how the US documents can be used to chart the CIA's role in the ongoing war.  Sitting down with McClatchy Newspaprs' Sahar Issa, The Real News Network's Paul Jay addressed the civilian death toll.
 
JAY: So let's talk a little bit about WikiLeaks. There are various pieces of the documents that jumped out, but the one a lot of people have been talking about is the numbers of civilian deaths, over 100,000. How have Iraqis reacted to all of this?
 
ISSA: Iraqis know this. Iraqis know that they have lost hundreds of thousands.


JAY: So people think the number is low.
 
ISSA: Iraqis know this. Iraqis know that they have lost hundreds of thousands.


JAY: So people think the number is low.
 
"To the disgust of many, both Iraq's new leaders and the world as a whole lent a deaf ear to such crimes, shutting their eyes to accounts of atrocities and refusing to investigate reports of intimidation, abuse and killings," Salah Hemeid (Al-Ahram Weekly) observes, noting, as Issa does, what Iraqis knew and what the media and governments didn't want discussed. "However, by giving a fuller picture of the US legacy in Iraq through its leaking of secret American military documents detailing torture, summary execution and war crimes, Wikileaks has both done truth a great service and has proved, once again, that truth is the first casualty of war." Watching America translates an editorial on the topic from Spain's El Pais:
 
The new leaks from WikiLeaks furnish conclusive proof concerning the cesspool of a war like Iraq, undertaken for motives increasingly seen to have been foolish in the extreme and carried out with a brutality that was in complete contradiction to the propagation of democracy invoked by Bush and his Azorean colleagues* as a justification for war. If the strongest argument against the invasion was that democracy could not be imposed on another country by force of arms, the new leaks from WikiLeaks make it necessary to add a corollary which, until now, might have seemed obvious: even less by means of torture, rape or indiscriminate slaughter of civilians. An end, such as democracy, does not justify such execrable means.
 
Allan Gerson (Huffington Post) probes another area of the released documents:
 
For example, the WikiLeaks documents released last week made clear, said the Vice President of the European Parliament, Dr. Alejo Vidal Quadras, that the Obama Administration knew that Iran was rapidly "gaining control of Iraq at many levels" even while it overruled objections not to turn over to Iraqi forces control of Camp Ashraf, an enclave 40km. north of Baghdad where approximately 3500 Iranian dissidents are quartered. Hundreds of parliamentarians in the US, Europe and the Middle East had pointed out that transfer to Iraqi control might lead to mass executions were the Camp Ashraf dissidents forcefully repatriated to Iran by Iraqi leaders anxious to placate Iran.
Nevertheless, the Obama Administration turned Camp Ashraf over to Iraqi forces without ever revealing a material fact: that the rush for "engagement" with Iran was bought at the price of psychological torture of Camp Ashraf's residents, repeated forays, and shooting sprees that killed and maimed hundreds of dissidents. Despite the outrage voiced in many quarters, the intimidation, coercion and atrocities have only been put on hold, in abeyance, ready to be resurrected in full at a more propitious moment. To rectify the situation and avert another tragedy, the US should resume protecting Ashraf or at least ensure that a UN monitoring team is stationed there.
Countless American citizens and their representatives in Congress acquiesced to "engagement" with Iran on false premises. The Obama Administration's readiness to turn a blind eye to the fate of Camp Ashraf's 3500 residents is now public information, in large measure through the release of the WikiLeaks documents. As the price of "engagement" with Iran has been revealed, it is up to the American populace and its representatives in Congress to determine if they are willing to acquiesce in the politics of appeasement -- not least, through the abandonment of Iran's most stalwart opponents.
 
 
Steve Fake (Foreign Policy In Focus) dissects the ways in which information that threatens the power-structure is attacked including:
 
The other tactic employed by opinion shapers, coming to the foreground in light of the extensive redactions of the Iraq documents, is to smear the messenger. The reader of the American press cannot help but be struck by one thought while reading the various reports discussing Assange's reputed authoritarianism and psychological health, the molestation charges he faces, and the factional strife at WikiLeaks: the allegations are of virtually no public policy significance.  They amount to scarcely more than gossip fodder. 
 
One attacker has been Miss Susan Hayward of 2010, John F. Burns.  And we addressed him at length last night. And while it may seem hard to top a man who co-writes a 2014 word article and then requires 1287 to defend it, the New York Times found some others ready to 'play.'  For the record, my kids are out of school (they're adults now) but had they come home with the 'lesson' 'plan' that Shannon Doyne and Holly Epstein Ojalova pen for the New York Times, those two 'teachers' would not be employed at the school anymore.  I'd start by noting that neither appears to have majored in education (they're English majors -- English majors -- at last, a group even drama majors can laugh at).  Were they emergency certified or did they have a waiver because they're training -- such as it is -- does not qualify them for the subect (the release of government documents) or for preparing a lesson plan or unit. They're not qualified.  (Holly has an MA in English lit education.  No, it's not the same thing but a friend at the paper insisted that be noted.)
 
Then there's the crap they churned out.  As a parent, I was never bothered if a side of an argument is presented . . . provided more than one side was presented.  There's only one side presented in Shannon and Holly's bad lesson: Government right. 
 
These two . . . women would have been out of jobs, I'm not joking. Teachers are expected to be fair and there is nothing fair about what Shannon and Holly designed.  Here's there basics:
 
* have kids brainstorm documents a government might keep on war
 
* have them focus on the Pentagon, DoD, CIA, etc.
 
And on it goes.  As you scan through, you may wonder when they take the position of human rights attorneys, of peace activists, of a soldier struggling with the issues, etc.?  The answer is never. They are asked to think about "What percentage of the documents do you think could pose a threat if they fell into an enemy's hands? What could happen if these documents were made public?" When do they get asked to think about the public's right to know?  NEVER.  When do they get asked to think about open government and how it is needed in a democracy?  NEVER.
 
The exercises put the students -- intentionally -- into roles at DoD, the CIA and the Pentagon.  That's intentional not accidental.  I would not tolerate this S**T if my child brought it home.  It would offend my politics, yes, but it would offend me most of all for being so damn one-sided and for my children being held hostage to some illegimate and unqualifed teacher's doctrine.
 
The exercise insists students 'learn' of Julian Assange -- late in the lesson plan -- by reading the hit-job John F. Burns co-wrote.  Why?  What is the purpose of that?  It's not about Julian Assange.
 
Look at the questions the children will address:
 
  1. How many secret documents about the war in Iraq did WikiLeaks release? The war in Afghanistan?
  2. Why are some of Mr. Assange's comrades abandoning him?
  3. Who is Daniel Ellsberg, and why does he consider Julian Assange a "kindred spirit"?
  4. Why did Mr. Assange initially go to Sweden, and why did he flee shortly thereafter?
  5. How does Mr. Assange describe the United States in regard to democracy? Do you agree or disagree?
 
Look at questions two, four and five and explain to me what an American child 'learning' about Julian from the smear piece by Burnsie isn't going to be likely to side against Julian?  These questions are chosen to plant the seeds of distrust in and hostility towards Julian.  They are the education equivalent of push-polling.  They show a motive on the part of the design and that -- along with the lack of educational training -- would ensure that the teachers would be hitting the road and looking for employment in another field (judging by the piece they wrote, they'd probably inquire as to whether there were any openings for torturers at Guantanamo).
 
And then the point of the lesson:
 
Is WikiLeaks heroic or villainous for releasing these documents? (Alternatively, you might temper such a stark question by softening the wording slightly, like so: "Is WikiLeaks a force for good or an instigator of trouble?")
 
Where are the questions about the government?  Where are the questions about the actions in the paper themselves?  They've created quite a little fact-free world where there are no values and are no ethics there is just an excercise that has them pretend (over and over) that they are the government, briefly 'informs' them of a one Whistleblower via an attack piece, pays a passing nod to Daniel Ellsberg (the lesson plan contains no real unit on Daniel) and then wants to ask for a judgment that will be cast in good or evil. 
 
This isn't teaching, this indoctrination.  Should your children's school use it, raise bloody hell.  No school should use this crap.  It's one-sided and the educational equivalent of smut.  The New York Times should be ashamed of themselves.  While they regularly pull their stunts on readers, now they want to contaminate the minds of children? 
 
John F. Burns is a piece of trash.  But his attack on Julian?  It was the equivalent of the town drunk hurling charges in the public square.  What the New York Times is attempting now is far more damage and the sort of thing you'd be more likely to encounter in a lesson plan catering to Hitler Youth.
 
Meanwhile Duraid Al Baik (Gulf News) reports that Iraqi "human rights activists are worried that a rising number of crimes against humanity in Iraq will not be documented unless the current government of Nouri Al Maliki steps down."
 
March 7th, Iraq concluded Parliamentary elections. The Guardian's editorial board noted in August, "These elections were hailed prematurely by Mr Obama as a success, but everything that has happened since has surely doused that optimism in a cold shower of reality." 163 seats are needed to form the executive government (prime minister and council of ministers). When no single slate wins 163 seats (or possibly higher -- 163 is the number today but the Parliament added seats this election and, in four more years, they may add more which could increase the number of seats needed to form the executive government), power-sharing coalitions must be formed with other slates, parties and/or individual candidates. (Eight Parliament seats were awarded, for example, to minority candidates who represent various religious minorities in Iraq.) Ayad Allawi is the head of Iraqiya which won 91 seats in the Parliament making it the biggest seat holder. Second place went to State Of Law which Nouri al-Maliki, the current prime minister, heads. They won 89 seats. Nouri made a big show of lodging complaints and issuing allegations to distract and delay the certification of the initial results while he formed a power-sharing coalition with third place winner Iraqi National Alliance -- this coalition still does not give them 163 seats. They are claiming they have the right to form the government. In 2005, Iraq took four months and seven days to pick a prime minister. It's seven months and twenty-two days and still counting.
 
Meanwhile Najba Mohammed (Rudaw) notes, "Although Iraq's budget for the 2011 fiscal year is estimated at nearly $86 billion, the anticipated delay in approving it by parliament is expected to negatively affect reconstruction projects across the country including the autonomous Kurdistan Region in the north. Around $10 billion of the estimated budget is expected to go to the coffers of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG)." When your newly elected Parliament's only met once -- and for less than 20 minutes at that -- it can be difficult getting a budget approved.  Commenting on the stalemate, the San Angelo Standard-Times' editorial board states, "There was some thought that the leak of nearly 400,000 classified U.S. documents bearing on Iraq might galvanize the parliament into action with its revelations of the torture and killing of civilians, especially Sunnis, by the security services and of meddling in Iraq's internal affairs by Iran, Syria and Hezbollah. Al-Maliki, who was in titular charge of the security services during the worst of the sectarian violence, said that the release was an attempt to discredit his bid for a second term. And the Sunnis renewed demands that the implicated services be disbanded. But most lawmakers, like most Iraqis, perhaps inured to violence, seemed unfazed by the revelations."
Back to the US and Gen Casey's remarks we were dealing with at the top.  In his speech, Casey waxed on about the "longterm" war "we" are in with "violent extremism." Someone needs to ask Casey, when did the American people make the decision that they wanted that? Or that they could financially afford it? Or that bombing and killing doesn't breed violent response? When did they decide to throw out every bit of political science and every study on the nature of violence and 'think' up a 'plan' of bullying and cowing the world? No one will ask that anymore than they will challenge Adm Mike Mullen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff when again refers to the Iraq War as a "success" for the US military. By what standards? By the fact that unlike England as summer faded in 2006, they didn't have to abandon a base that was stripped to the ground by Iraqis within 12 hours of the British military fleeing?  As Michael Hughes (Examiner -- link has text and video) reports today, Noam Chomsky doesn't see US having 'success' in Iraq by any means that an empire could point to and say, "See there!"  Hughes quotes Chomsky:
 
Iraq is an interesting case because it was a defeat. U.S. goals were defeated in Iraq, very important fact. At the beginning there were of course all sorts of pretexts, "they're tied with Al Qaeda", "weapons of mass destruction", when that collapsed there was a new pretext "we're bringing democracy". The U.S. in fact fought democracy every step of the way. It tried to prevent elections, and when it couldn't prevent them it tried to manipulate them.
By 2008 when it was pretty clear the U.S. was not going to achieve its goals, the Bush administration made strong significant declarations in which they discussed what the outcome must be, and what they said it must include was the U.S. right to use military bases in Iraq indefinitely as a base for combat and other operations and privileged access to Iraqi energy resources for U.S. corporations. At that point it was said pretty explicitly because they were getting pretty desperate.
Well they didn't get either of those because the United States had not been able to suppress Iraqi nationalism. The U.S. could kill any number of insurgents that wasn't a big problem but what they couldn't deal with was the mass popular non-violent resistance.  The U.S. was defeated. But it's clear what the war aims were, they were sensible aims.

 
TV notes. On PBS' Washington Week, Dan Balz (Washington Post), Jeanne Cummings (Politico), Major Garrett (National Journal) and Jeff Zeleny (New York Times) join Gwen around the table. Gwen now has a weekly column at Washington Week and the current one is "The End of Prognostication: 5 Questions for Election Night." This week, Bonnie Erbe will sit down with Avis Jones-DeWeever, Angela McGlowan, Sabrina Schaeffer and Amanda Terket to discuss the week's news on the latest broadcast of PBS' To The Contrary. And this week's To The Contrary online extra is on attempts to win over women voters. Need To Know is PBS' new program covering current events. This week's hour long broadcast airs Fridays on most PBS stations: "The security of the voting system; modern gerrymandering; California's Proposition 23, which would suspend the state's Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006. Also: Rebecca Traister and Melissa Harris-Perry discuss the number of female candidates in 2010." And for those confused, Lie Face Harris-Lacewell got married and, like a complete idiot, has again tacked on a spouse's last name to her own. (I'm long on record in believing that you NEVER change your professional name and have noted a very good friend whose marriage ended decades ago and has happily remarried but is still stuck with her ex-husband's last name due to the fact that she changed her professional name after marriage number one.) Turning to broadcast TV, Sunday CBS' 60 Minutes offers:


Newton, Iowa
Scott Pelley reports from Newton, Iowa, where the closing of an appliance factory is causing a negative effect on the community's economy.

 

Tax The Rich
David Stockman, Ronald Reagan's budget director who once preached tax cuts,

is now in favor of putting a one-time surtax on the rich. Lesley Stahl reports and finds just such a proposal on the ballot in the state of Washington. | Watch Video

 

Zenyatta
If Zenyatta wins the Breeder's Cup Classic next week to cap an undefeated

career of 20 straight victories, some say the 6-yr.-old mare might just be the greatest thoroughbred race horse in history. Bob Simon reports. | Watch Video

 

 

60 Minutes, Sunday, Oct. 31, at 7 p.m. ET/PT.

 
Earlier this week, we noted a portion of an HRW release and I promised we'd try to get it in a snapshot in full so we'll close with this release Human Rights Watch issued Sunday:
 

 
The Iraqi government should investigate credible reports that its forces engaged in torture and systematic abuse of detainees, Human Rights Watch said today. Hundreds of documents released on October 22, 2010, by Wikileaks reveal beatings, burnings, and lashings of detainees by their Iraqi captors. Iraq should prosecute those responsible for torture and other crimes, Human Rights Watch said.
The US government should also investigate whether its forces breached international law by transferring thousands of Iraqi detainees from US to Iraqi custody despite the clear risk of torture. Field reports and other documents released by Wikileaks reveal that US forces often failed to intervene to prevent torture and continued to transfer detainees to Iraqi custody despite the fact that they knew or should have known that torture was routine.
"These new disclosures show torture at the hands of Iraqi security forces is rampant and goes completely unpunished," said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. "It's clear that US authorities knew of systematic abuse by Iraqi troops, but they handed thousands of detainees over anyway."
The 391,831 documents released by Wikileaks, mostly authored by low-ranking US officers in the field between 2004 and 2009, refer to the deaths of at least six detainees in Iraqi custody. The reports also reveal many previously unreported instances in which US soldiers killed civilians, including at checkpoints on Iraq's roads and during raids on people's homes.
The documents indicate that US commanders frequently failed to follow up on credible evidence that Iraqi forces killed, tortured, and mistreated their captives. According to the documents, US authorities investigated some abuse cases, but much of the time they either ignored the abuse or asked Iraqis to investigate and closed the file. In one incident on January 2, 2007, Iraqi security forces took detainees to an abandoned house and beat them, resulting in a death. The report stated, "As Coalition Forces were not involved in the alleged abuse, no further investigation is necessary."
Even when US officials reported abuse to Iraqi authorities, the Iraqis often did not act. In one report, an Iraqi police chief told US military inspectors that his officers engaged in abuse "and supported it as a method of conducting investigations." Another report said that an Iraqi police chief refused to file charges "as long as the abuse produced no marks."
The documents reveal extensive abuse of detainees by Iraqi security forces over the six-year period.
In a November 2005 document, US military personnel described Iraqi abuse at a Baghdad facility that held 95 blindfolded detainees in a single room: "Many of them bear marks of abuse to include cigarette burns, bruising consistent with beatings and open sores... according to one of the detainees questioned on site, 12 detainees have died of disease in recent weeks."
On June 16, 2007, US soldiers reported that Iraqi forces interrogated and tortured a terrorism suspect by burning him with chemicals or acid and cutting off his fingers. According to the Wikileaks file, "Victim received extensive medical care at the Mosul General Hospital resulting in amputation of his right leg below the knee[,] several toes on his left foot, as well as amputation of several fingers on both hands. Extensive scars resulted from the chemical/acid burns, which were diagnosed as 3rd degree chemical burns along with skin decay."
In a case reported on December 14, 2009, the US military received a video showing Iraqi Army officers executing a bound detainee in the northern town of Talafar: "The footage shows [Iraqi] soldiers moving the detainee into the street, pushing him to the ground, punching him, and shooting him."
In at least two cases, postmortems revealed evidence of death by torture. On December 3, 2008, a sheikh who a police chief claimed had died from "bad kidneys" in fact was found to have "evidence of some type of unknown surgical procedure on [his] abdomen. The incision was closed by 3-4 stitches. There was also evidence of bruises on the face, chest, ankle, and back of the body."
On August 27, 2009, a US medical officer found "bruises and burns as well as visible injuries to the head, arm, torso, legs and neck" on the body of another detainee. Police claimed the detainee had committed suicide while in custody.
The disclosures by Wikileaks come almost six months after Human Rights Watch interviewed 42 detainees who had been tortured over a period of months by security forces at a secret prison in the old Muthanna airport in West Baghdad. The facility held about 430 detainees who had no access to their families or lawyers. The prisoners said their torturers kicked, whipped, and beat them, tried to suffocate them, gave them electric shocks, burned them with cigarettes, and pulled out their fingernails and teeth. They said that interrogators sodomized some detainees with sticks and pistol barrels. Some young men said they were forced to perform oral sex on interrogators and guards and that interrogators forced detainees to molest one another. Iraqi authorities have still not prosecuted any officials responsible.
Between early 2009 and July 2010, US forces transferred thousands of Iraqi detainees to Iraqi custody. International law prohibits the transfer of detained individuals to the authorities of another state where they face a serious risk of torture and ill-treatment.
"US authorities have an obligation not to transfer any of the 200 or so detainees still in their custody to Iraqi forces or to anyone else who might mistreat them," said Stork. "The US should also make sure those detainees already transferred are not in a dungeon somewhere currently facing torture."
At a Pentagon news conference on November 29, 2005, Gen. Peter Pace, chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, responded to a question about Pentagon guidance in situations where US commanders witness abuse by Iraqi forces, saying, "It is absolutely the responsibility of every US service member, if they see inhumane treatment being conducted, to intervene to stop it." Then-Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, who was also on the podium, intervened and said: "But I don't think you mean they have an obligation to physically stop it; it's to report it." Pace responded, "If they are physically present when inhumane treatment is taking place, sir, they have an obligation to try to stop it."
A reporter then asked Rumsfeld if it was his sense that alleged Iraqi abuses were not widespread. Rumsfeld responded that he did not know.
"It's obviously something that the -- General Casey and his troops are attentive to and have to be concerned about," Rumsfeld told the reporter. "It -- I'm not going to be judging it from 4,000 miles away -- how many miles away?"
 
 
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