10/29/2014

revenge - the good

'revenge' airs sundays on abc.

the latest episode?

charlotte is an idiot who's destroying her own life.

and it's a thrill to watch.

(and the actress is doing a great job with the role this season, by the way.)

so charlotte takes her father david clarke to meet jack and his 'grandson' carl.

jack is furious.

'amdanda,' his dead wife, was not really amanda clarke.

she was in juvie with the real amanda clarke and the 2 changed identities.  'amanda' is dead but the real amanda now goes by emily thorne.

and charlotte knows this.

jack called her out later in the episode for doing that, when she knows carl is not david clarke's grandson.

charlotte has become her mother's daughter.

speaking of victoria, she painted herself into a corner.

she's now in all the way with claiming emily thorne is evil and amanda clarke is dead.

and i think david knows victoria's lying.

to try to bring back the memories - he told nolan they were fading - emily arranged for david to receive the beach house (he thinks from daniel) and now that he's back there, he's remembering amanda.

when the truth does come out, so far emily hasn't been able to see him face-to-face, i think victoria's going to realize just how awful her life can be.




let's close with c.i.'s 'Iraq snapshot:'



Tuesday, October 28, 2014. Chaos and violence continue, the murder of civilians in Falluja continue, the State Dept gets asked about the empty words, Erik Prince tries to rewrite history, and much more.



Erik Prince is back in the news but all those who had "glory hole scandal" haven't won -- yet.  No, Prince has a book and is busy promoting it.  Justine Drennan (Foriegn Policy) reports:


In his book Civilian Warriors, as well as in a relatively rare interview ahead of its paperback release Tuesday, Prince vehemently rejected such claims and argued that Blackwater was scapegoated by vindictive Democrats and a State Department and Pentagon that couldn't come to terms with the government's growing dependence on private contractors. "I'm no hero. The world knows all too well about my mistakes. But I was never meant to play the villain," he wrote in his book. "Seeing the company I'd built torn down for no reason was almost too much to bear." 



Really?


Democrats kicked his Blackwater out of Iraq?


The State Dept and the Pentagon sued his mercenary company Blackwater?


He doesn't own Blackwater anymore.


He sold it to escape legal culpability.


Now he attempts to escape reality.


Ali Abbas Mahmoud can't escape the reality of what Blackwater did back in September of 2007.  Last week, Ali Abbas Mahmoud spoke about it to Jonathan S. Landay (McClatchy Newspapers) following the convictions of four men who had worked for Blackwater and took part in the attack:

One of the dead boys was Mahmoud’s 11-year-old nephew, Qasim Muhammad Abbas. Qasim’s father, Muhammad Abbas Mahmoud – Ali Abbas Mahmoud’s elder brother – also died. The boy’s mother was wounded.

The family was sitting inside a pickup when the shooting broke out. Members of Iraq’s Shiite Muslim majority, they were hauling furniture to a new home in a Shiite neighborhood after tensions with minority Sunni Muslims forced them to leave their old house.
Ali Abbas Mahmoud, a 52-year-old Ministry of Housing employee who agreed to speak by telephone but refused a face-to-face interview, said he’d never forget how his sister-in-law, frantic with grief and terror, called him as she sat bleeding inside the pickup.
“She made me hysterical when she called me and told me that my brother had just been killed,” he recounted. “She was in the vehicle. She screamed, ‘They slaughtered your brother and they slaughtered your nephew and I’m injured.’ She made me as hysterical as she was.”

Read more here: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2014/10/23/244476/in-iraq-blackwater-verdict-provides.html?sp=/99/117/416/103/#storylink=cpy




Is Ali Abbas Mahmoud a Democrat?


A Pentagon official?

A State Dept official?

No, he's an Iraqi citizen.



Erik Prince is very good about rewriting history.  Some day, the pool may pay off and he may get busted on his knees in a truck stop men's room -- at which point, he'll try to rewrite that as well.


But all the revisions don't change the fact that his company killed innocent Iraqis.


His company was out of control.


It was out of control because that's the way he wanted it.


There was no training on the need to avoid wounding or killing civilians.


Iraqis, the same people who do not matter to him today, did not matter to him when he ran Blackwater and the actions of his employees reflected that.




At the Pentagon today, spokesperson Rear Adm John Kirby declared, "While we recognize that a major Iraqi offensive against ISIL may still be a ways off, these are encouraging reports that highlight Iraq's determination to take the fight to ISIL."


They continue to spin the inability of the Iraqi military to do its job as 'good news.'


But every day that the Iraqi army fails to do its job, more US taxpayer dollars are thrown away in Iraq, "millions a day," Kirbay declared today.


And the tab for the latest wave of the never-ending Iraq War just keeps growing.



Q: On ISIS. Does the department anticipate forwarding a request for additional money to Congress for 2015 for the ISIS fight?


REAR ADM. KIRBY: I think you've heard [Defense] Secretary [Chuck] Hagel and the chairman [of the Joint Chiefs, General Martin Dempsy] talk about this. I think certainly there's going to have to be some considerations going forward, but I wouldn't get ahead of specific budget moves that haven't been made yet.

I think, you know, we've gone to the Hill, we've testified to the operations, and again, Secretary Hagel has been very clear that certainly considerations for added funding are going to have to be part of the calculus going forward. But we're just not in a position right now where we can detail what that would look like, what form it would be, how much it would be, that kind of thing.


Going to nail down the cost someday soon, huh?  Like they nailed down what was happening in Iraq?

The administration failed to heed warning, failed to listen to intelligence, failed to use common sense and was completely surprised this summer to discover the Islamic State in Iraq.


Tonight PBS' Frontline examined the Islamic State and how they came to be major players in Iraq.  Michael Iskikoff (Yahoo News) recaps:



The film, reported by correspondent Martin Smith, offers a richly detailed account of how the Iraqi government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki alienated the country’s disenfranchised Sunni population, making reckless accusations of terrorism against Sunni leaders — including the country’s Vice Prime Minister Tariq al-Hashimi. Those allegations flatly denied by al-Hashimi on camera — were based on the testimony of bodyguards who, it is strongly suggested, were tortured.

With little pressure or engagement from Washington, al-Maliki’s anti-Sunni agenda driven by his  “paranoia,” as one of Smith’s interlocutors says — paved the way for ISIS radicals to march through huge swaths of Iraqi territory this spring, seizing arsenals of U.S.-made weapons from a collapsing Iraqi army. This, of course, was the same army that the U.S. spent billions arming and training. In fact, terrorism expert Ken Katzman suggests in the film, they were a phantom led by do-nothing officers.


Nouri was only in office, in his first term as prime minister, for a few months when we noted in 2006 his paranoia which the US government thought (at that time) would make him more "manageable" (as the CIA analysis termed it).  By the time WikiLeaks was publishing the State Dept cables in 2010, the US government's knowledge of Nouri's paranoia was on full display for anyone who wanted to see.

Yet the White House, Barack's White House, continued to support Nouri.

They demanded he get a second term as prime minister even though he lost the 2010 elections.

To get around the voters and the election results, the US brokered The Erbil Agreement, a legal contract singed by the political leaders -- including Nouri al-Maliki -- which gave Nouri a second term in exchange for Nouri making promises -- legal ones -- as well.  But Nouri used the contract to get his second term and then refused to honor it.

As Rafi al-Essawi told Frontline, "All the commitments that Maliki gave to the politicians in what’s called the Erbil Agreement -- that’s the agreement that formed the government at that time -- nothing from that agreement was fulfilled or implemented."

The US government swore The Erbil Agreement was legally binding and had the full backing of the US government.  When Ayad Allawi walked out of Parliament following the signing of the agreement -- and Nouri announcing he couldn't implement it immediately -- US President Barack Obama personally spoke to Allawi on the phone to get him to drop the boycott and return to Parliament.

But when it became obvious, months and months later, that Nouri was never going to honor his part of The Erbil Agreement, the White House said nothing.

They said nothing.

And they did nothing.

And things got worse and worse.

At Frontline, Priyanka Boghani gathers various comments from four Sunni officials reflecting on how Nouri targeted the Sunni community.  We'll not the Minister of Finance Rafi al-Essawi.

RAFI AL-ESSAWI: The environment was really very, very poisoned because of the behavior of Maliki and the government. And everyone, Shiites and politicians, advised Maliki that this is not the way of dealing with Sunnis.
There was no direct relationship at all between the demonstrations and tribes from outside and Al Qaeda on the outside. People got very upset, very angry about the government’s behavior and the Iraqi army’s behavior. … The people started to look at the army as an enemy rather than as a national army.
Everyone participated in the demonstrations, every Sunni. I can say every Sunni, not as a person, but as groups, because everyone felt that they were either not represented in the new Iraq or felt that they didn’t receive a just trial.
No one thought that the Iraqi army could attack demonstrators in Hawija. They were demonstrating for months at a time, peaceful, calling for their rights.

So when they brought their tanks, heavy army vehicles, and SWAT teams, the security forces of the ministry of interior attacked. They killed the people in a very criminal model. This added to the upset of the people. This was not their government. And the people who killed them, these were not Iraqi army personnel. These were militias who were killing them.


And the White House continued to back Nouri.

For four long years, throughout his second term, they allowed him to break the legal contract they brokered and they allowed him to target the Sunni population.  They looked the other way until the spring of this year when they finally pulled support for the US-installed puppet.

Nouri was using the security forces to violently attack protesters -- wound them, kill them.  And the US government looked the other way.



RAFI AL-ESSAWI: [For Sunni people] participation in the political process ended in nothing. Demonstration ended in nothing. Asking the government constitutionally to change their province into region was not accepted. They started to be convinced that there is no benefit of constitutional solutions.
So the government pushed and squeezed people towards supporting the terrorists. And I can’t say that it is — again, it is not direct support. It is only creating an environment — and this was a very fatal mistake of the government.
When ISIS came as defenders of Sunnis, we knew that they were criminals, that they were not Sunni defenders. When they presented themselves, people said, “Well, it may be possible to save us from the government, from the army which is not a professional national army, but one that killed and arrested Sunnis.” That is why people in these provinces stayed silent. They are not supporting ISIS. They are not opposing ISIS.
No one wants to fight against ISIS now, [because they would] appear to be pro-Maliki or supporting the militia that is killing Sunnis in Baghdad. You see, when [Sunnis] fight ISIS, people would blame them for fighting Sunnis who are protecting you, while no one is fighting Shia militias that are killing our brothers, Sunnis in Diyala.
If the government came to the Sunnis now to fulfill their requirements, the rights of the Sunnis, no one would accept ISIS. By the way, even now, despite being very upset against the government, Sunnis are not accepting ISIS.

To me, at the end of the day, it is the Sunnis who will defeat ISIS, exactly like in 2007 and ’08 when the Sunnis made the decision of fighting Al Qaeda.


The administration continues to spin.

But things don't always go there way.  Even the press doesn't always cooperate.

At today's US State Dept press briefing, spokesperson Jen Psaki faced some questions from Al Quds' Said Arikat.


QUESTION: Can I ask a question on Iraq?

MS. PSAKI: Sure.

QUESTION: Before Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi was sworn in, I remember Brett McGurk, your colleague, had a hearing on the Capitol Hill.

MS. PSAKI: He’s above me in the food chain, but keep going. (Laughter.)

QUESTION: Okay. Yeah, he told senators that, quote/unquote, “it was unacceptable” for Baghdad to stop sending the revenue share of the Kurdistan region. He said it was unacceptable. But months have passed since he made that statement, and the Kurds don’t receive their budget yet from Baghdad. I mean, one could wonder whether the United States has done anything concrete to make sure that that decision by Baghdad would be reversed, or you just made that promise in order to make sure that you had a government in place to fight ISIS?

MS. PSAKI: Well, I would completely disagree with the premise of your question, which I’m sure you’re not surprised by. This is an issue we have raised many times publicly. It comes up in meetings that we have on the ground. And our position hasn’t changed on this; we’re continuing to press on that. But obviously, it’s up to the officials on the ground to make progress.

QUESTION: But why hasn’t Baghdad done anything? Is Baghdad not willing to listen to what you are telling them?

MS. PSAKI: I think, obviously, there are a range of steps that the central government is working to implement. I’d point you to them for more answers on that question.

QUESTION: Considering that this is 17 percent of the budget, why, in your opinion, is the Baghdad government withholding all that for so many months?


MS. PSAKI: Said, you’re familiar with the history here. I would point you to the government there. I don’t have any more analysis for you.




As noted in yesterday's snapshot:


Barack spent the summer insisting that Iraq required a political solution.  His point then was that the second term of Nouri had left the Sunnis 'estranged' from their own government and that a new government needed to demonstrate it was inclusive.  Iraq has a new prime minister today, Haider al-Abadi, but where is the progress on the political?
Nouri should have put through a 2014 budget no later than September 30, 2013.  That's because the 2014 Fiscal Year kicked off October 1, 2013.
Fiscal Year 2015 kicked off at the start of this month.
Guess what?
Iraq still has no 2014 budget.
Yes, al-Abadi's only been prime minister for a short time but he's been prime minister long enough to push through a budget.  Certainly he could have done that if the US government had made helping him on that a focus.  But they didn't.



There's been no real work on any political solution for Iraq, not by the US government.

They've instead poured all their time and energy to get other countries to agree to bomb Iraq.

That's the military procedure Barack once declared wasn't a solution.


Let's go back to what Said said today at the State Dept:

Okay. Yeah, he told senators that, quote/unquote, “it was unacceptable” for Baghdad to stop sending the revenue share of the Kurdistan region. He said it was unacceptable. But months have passed since he made that statement, and the Kurds don’t receive their budget yet from Baghdad. I mean, one could wonder whether the United States has done anything concrete to make sure that that decision by Baghdad would be reversed, or you just made that promise in order to make sure that you had a government in place to fight ISIS?



Yeah, it does appear that the White House "just made that promise in order to make sure that you had a government in place to fight ISIS."



They do nothing to help the Iraqi people

September 13th, Haider al-Abadi declared an end to the ongoing War Crimes of bombing civilians in Falluja as payback, Collective Punishment, for what the Islamic State has done.  NINA notes Falluja General Hospital today recieved the corpses of 7 civilians and treated 14 people injured from these ongoing bombings -- these bombings that the new prime minister declared an end to but yet they continue.

Because the forces aren't listening to the new prime minister.

And the White House doesn't give a damn.

The same White House that did nothing while Nouri targeted Sunnis from 2010 to this year wants to pretend they're 'helping' but they're not, they refuse to.  They do nothing but add to the violence.


So it's no surprise that Middle East Monitor reports:


A prominent member of Al-Ahrar (Freedom) parliamentary bloc of Al-Sadr movement, led by Shia cleric Muqtada Al-Sadr, said today that his bloc is determined to end the presence of American advisors in more than one Iraqi province. He pointed out that his bloc would take all necessary measures to end what he called "the new American occupation".
In a statement to a reporter from Anadolu Agency, Mithaq Al-Mozani said: "No legal cover justifies the presence of US advisors in Iraq and their presence is part of a plan for occupation different to the 2003 occupation."

And that was before news broke about US efforts to establish a new base in Iraq.  National Iraqi News Agency reports:

On the news of the establishment of a US military base along the lines of the Turkish Incirlik base, in the Kurdistan region, the spokesman for the provincial government, said that "in this regard the talks are continuing," but he also said, "they did not take a final decision in this regard yet.
It was a high-ranking source in the government of the Kurdistan Region, recently revealed talks by the regional government on using the al-Harir / silk / airport located within Erbil province near Iraq's eastern and northern borders as a military base for US forces in the framework of the international coalition operations to fight the IS in Iraq.



Asked about the base at today's Pentagon press briefing, John Kirby played dumb.


Q: Some reports from the Iraqi Kurdish region of -- particularly Iraq Kurdistan region, say that the U.S. is going to establish a military base in Irbil. Can you confirm this, Admiral?


REAR ADM. KIRBY: I don't have anything for you on that today? Sorry.



 We continue to see that these combined targeting efforts are disrupting ISIL and forcing them to consider changes -- more changes in their tactics to try to avoid being targeted.












  
mcclatchy newspapers 




pbs
frontline

10/28/2014

revenge - the bad






from sunday, that's Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "Barack Prepares" and sunday also saw
Kat's "Kat's Korner: Stevie Nicks' 24 Karat Classic" and "Kat's Korner: Aretha Knew You Were Waiting For This" go up.

so be sure to check them out.



daniel.

he's boring.

on the latest episode of 'revenge' (abc, sundays), margaux (frenchie) tricked daniel (and emily tricked frenchie) while his new client is tricking him all over.

so why not make it interesting.

tie him to the bed already and let his new client (the crazy eyed woman who met victoria in the nut house) force him to be her love slave.

that would make sense.

daniel's so easily pushed around.

let's stop doing metaphors for sex and start doing sex already.

daniel's a bad character with a gifted actor.  give him something to do and stop repeating the same storyline over and over with him.

crazy eyes already gave him something (a tiny swimsuit?).

let's see her push daniel to his limits.

she's his own client, the only thing keeping him out of the poor house.  he can't afford to lose her (as he told margaux) so let's see how far he'll go to keep her.

daniel was the weakest part of the episode.  i'll cover the good next time.


let's close with c.i.'s 'Iraq snapshot:'


Monday, October 27, 2014.  Chaos and violence continue, Iraq still has no budget, but the cost of US President Barack Obama's 'plan' continues to increase, we note Sean P. Neal and Jordan L. Spears who died in Barack's operation this month, we note the sexism -- the ingrained sexism -- of The Intercept, and much more.


Let's start with inflation.  Sky News notes that the US Defense Dept stated previously that the Iraq and Syria air strikes were costing "more than $7 million" per day but now the cost has risen to $8.3 million per day.  US President Barack Obama still has no actual plan -- supposedly, it will be proposed after the US-midterm elections -- but he's spending US tax dollars freely in his non-stop bombings.

Non-stop bombings that aren't accomplishing anything, non-stop bombings that even the Pentagon notes has led the Islamic State to both adapt and anticipate.   The 'plan' is a failure.  Ali Mamouri (Al-Monitor) notes:

Since Oct. 13, IS has moved on Baghdad from the northern and western sides. At the same time, it relies on the southern and sympathizing areas where large Sunni segments reside. The group has recently dominated most parts of Anbar province, and still retains many areas in the provinces of Diyala and Salahuddin, north and east of Baghdad. It killed Anbar police chief Maj. Gen. Ahmed Saddak al-Dulaimi on Oct.12, upon whom the government relied to control the province, given his tribal affiliation with the area and his long military experience and harsh manner in dealing with terrorists.

August 8th.

That's when Barack's 'plan' was implemented.  In 12 days, Barack's 'plan' will have been carried out for three months and there's so little to show for it.

Earlier this month on Meet The Press, administration liar Susan Rice declared that rescuing the Yazidis on Mount Sinjar had been a success.

But (a) the rescued were rescued by the Kurdish Peshmerga and (b) as the world learned last week, the 'rescue' did not rescue all the Yazidis.  At least 700 families are said to remain trapped on Mount Sinjar.


Where are the successes in Barack's 'plan'?

The White House struggles to find them, the State Dept as well.

Yet Barack continues his (failed) open-ended war, wasting millions of US tax payer dollars despite the fact that he, as a US Senator, attacked Bully Boy Bush for his failure to clearly present an economic price tag on the Iraq War.  Now that he occupies the White House, he's fine with using the US Treasury as his personal ATM to fund the illegal war.

Where are the questions, where are the demands on Barack?

Maybe more will be made after tomorrow night's broadcast of Frontline?  The PBS program examines the rise of the Islamic State in the episode most PBS stations will be broadcasting Tuesday night.

It'll be a surprise to so many -- and a number of whores will pretend to find it surprising -- but the reality is that what took place was not a surprise.  The broadcast makes that clear but so do our archives here.

While whores like Jane Arraf (remember, she whored for Saddam Hussein when he was in power too) treated chief thug and Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki as, at worst, a scamp, we were pointing out he was breeding terrorism with his attacks on the Sunni population.  We were pointing out that they'd tried the ballot box (Nouri lost the 2010 elections but the White House demanded he get a second term as prime minister), that they tried peaceful protest and at what point do you lose faith in the process?  That's the time when you turn a blind eye to the Islamic State or maybe you help them or maybe you even enlist.

The Islamic State did not appear in the blink of an eye.

Years and years -- you could say Nouri's entire second term -- brought Iraq to where it is now.

It's an interesting hour of TV.

More interesting, of course, will be failed journalist Robert Parry.  Frontline is his only connection to respectability at this late date.  Will he yet again lie and whore to protect Barack?  Doing so would require him to attack Frontline.

Again, it's his only link to respectability.

And if he loses it, he loses everything most likely.

So what will Robert Parry do?

Such a sad sack.  Such a tiny, shriveled sad sack.  Remember, Cedric and Wally are sending the tired whore up in their series of joint-posts where Parry proclaims he's pregnant and carrying Barack's baby.  Thus far, that ongoing novelization includes:

 "THIS JUST IN! OCTOBER SURPRISE!," "The shocking news," 
"THIS JUST IN! THE OCTOBER SURPRISE ARRIVES!," "Parry talks of naming the expected First Child," 
"THIS JUST IN! PARRY TALKS BIRTH NAMES!," "It's about the babies!," 
"THIS JUST IN! HE WANTS TO BE WELCOME AT THE WHITE HOUSE!," "Child birth fears
and "THIS JUST IN! FRIGHTENED MOMMY-TO-BE ROBERT PARRY"


Parry has no questions for Barack -- other than what night he gets to be concubine -- but some questions are starting to emerge.

Elizabeth Norling writes the editorial board of the Los Angeles Times wanting to know, "What is the perspective of the Yazidi or Christian woman who has seen her husband murdered, her daughters taken captive, her sons decapitated, and who has been sold into sexual slavery?"


The Yazidis are only one religious minority under fire in Iraq currently.    Cathy Otten (Religion News Service via Huffington Post) reports on the Iraqi city of Alqoosh:

The Assyrian Christian town of around 6,000 people sits on a hill below the seventh-century Rabban Hormizd Monastery, temporarily closed because of the security situation. Residents of Alqosh fled this summer ahead of Islamic State militants. Around 70 percent of the town’s residents have since returned. Still, a sense of unease hangs in the air.
Below the monastery in the boarded up bazaar a lone shopkeeper waits for customers. At the edge of town local Christian fighters staff lookout posts, checking for danger. With Islamic State fighters just 10 miles away, these men and most residents of the town are scared that they may have to flee again.
In August, the Christian town of Qaraqosh, 18 miles east of Mosul, was overrun, along with neighboring villages, home to Iraqi Christian communities for centuries. Islamic State forces came close but never entered Alqosh.

The targeting of Iraqi Christians has been non-stop since the US-invasion of 2003.  Currently, there are efforts to aid the Christian community in Iraq and displaced from Iraq.  Syndicated right-wing columnist Cal Thomas notes:


Reality television producer Mark Burnett and his actress wife, Roma Downey, are trying to raise awareness and money to help displaced and threatened Iraqi Christians who survived the genocidal attacks against them.
Burnett and Downey, who produced the highly rated “The Bible” for The History Channel and are working on another biblical epic, “A.D.”, which NBC will broadcast next Easter season, have announced a campaign to raise $25 million to aid homeless Christians in the region with housing, food and clothing. They say they are donating the first $1 million and have set up a website called “The Cradle of Christianity Fund” through which people can give. They promise the money will go directly to the churches for distribution to those in need.


Last week, Catholic News Agency noted another effort to aid Iraqi Christians:



Crowdfunding campaign aims to raise $1 million for Iraqi Christians



The crowdfunding campaign will run from Oct. 14-Nov. 24, and can be found on Indiegogo, which is one of the largest crowdfunding platforms in the world. Almost $5,000 of the $1 million goal has been raised so far.

“We invite all of our brothers and sisters in Christ to join us and contribute, from as little as $10, to the crowdfunding campaign that we have initiated,” stated Eduardo Paz, co-founder of La Filotea Productions.



There are so many tragedies in Iraq.


And Barack should be asked about them.  Why is there no televised prime time press conference focusing on Iraq?

Oh, that's right.

Because the US press can't focus on Iraq.


If Helen Thomas were still around, you can be sure she'd be asking about one topic  everyone should be asking about?





That's Lance Cpl. Sean P. Neal (photo from Facebook).   We noted his death in Saturday's snapshot.

Missy Ryan (Washington Post) notes, "The Pentagon said Neal’s death was the first U.S. casualty in Iraq since the Obama administration began its 'Inherent Resolve' mission, which now includes airstrikes against the extremist group in Iraq and Syria and a growing number of U.S. military personnel on the ground in Iraq in August."

Murtaza Hussain (Intercept) offers:

Cpl. Neal was only 19 years old. He would have only been eight at the outset of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, and merely six on 9/11 – a child at the time of both these events.  The fact that he ended up losing his life in Iraq is on one hand tragic, and on the other completely absurd.
The tragedy here is that a young man with a long future ahead of him ended up dying in a distant country before even reaching the age of twenty. The absurdity is that men such as him are still losing their lives as a result of still-inexplicable decisions made over a decade ago. The Iraq War never ended, but now it’s being fought by men who were just children when it started. Walter Lippman once said, “I don’t think old men ought to promote wars for young men to fight.” In our time, old men have been promoting wars that kids would ultimately end up fighting.

You know what?

Those statements are offensive.

And it's why the Intercept is such a lame venture.

It's a bunch of   sexist jerks like Murtaza Hussain, Glenn Greenwald (if his sexism is news to you, where have you been the last decade), Jeremy Scahill and so many others.

And when you hire sexists, you get garbage like what Hussain's offering, garbage that renders the US female service members who've fought in the ongoing Iraq War -- and who've died in it -- invisible.

It is a complete, 100% tragedy that Sean Neal is dead.  It is a huge loss.  But Hussain makes an ass out of himself by reducing it to "men."

If the Intercept wants to have any future at all -- most likely it doesn't, Libertarians online have long been sexist -- it's going to have to accept the fact that half the world is female.

Shame on all the useless jerks (Dan Froomkin, that means you) who have treated Hussain's sexist rambles as manna from heaven.  Shame on you.

Last May, The Daily Beast offered Kate Hoit's "The Names You Don't Hear: Nearly 200 Women Have Died in Iraq and Afghanistan."  Froomkin, who has made time to attack female artists, didn't really have time to give props to Hoit for that piece.

Too bad.  The sexism needs to end and it needs to end now.

It is insulting to the women who have served -- and to the memory of the women who died -- to write such sexist nonsense as Hussain did.  Hussain, The Intercept and every man who Tweeted that article without pointing its fatal and sexist flaw should issue an apology -- but they won't.  The day will come when sexists are shunned in the same way that racists are.  That day is in the future.  When it does come, history will not be kind to the many men -- including those at Intercept -- who regularly engaged in sexism -- history will not be kind, nor should it be.


Spencer Ackerman (Guardian)  points out, "Technically, Neal may not have been the first US fatality of the Iraq-Syria war against the Islamic State. Naval forces assigned to US Central Command, which has operational control of the war, acknowledged on October 3 that a Marine, Corporal Jordan L. Spears, went missing at sea in the North Arabian Gulf after bailing out of his MV-22 Osprey. Spears took off from the amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island, which carried Marines of the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit, assigned to support the war in Iraq and Syria."  UPI notes Spears was (or is) 21-years-old.  RT notes that the commander of Spears unit wrote online, "Cpl. Spears was a cherished member of our MEU family, and he fulfilled a key role in our aviation combat element."  Stars and Stripes notes:



Cpl. Jordan L. Spears, 21, of Memphis, Ind., was one of two aircrew members who went into the water when the Osprey’s pilot lost control of the aircraft, which the Navy said was participating in flight operations in support of the missions over Iraq and Syria. The pilot regained control of the Osprey, and the other aircrew member was recovered.


I have no idea about Sean Neal's unit, but the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit, Jordan Spears' unit, there are women in that unit -- I know that would shock Murtaza Hussain -- there are several women who are part of the current deployment of that unit.

Turning to violence . . .

Michael Georgy, Dasha Afanasieva,  Isabel Coles and Angus MacSwan (Reuters) report that a Jurf al-Sakhar suicide bomber took his own life and the lives of "at least 27 Shi'ite militamen" today.  BBC News notes it was a car bombing and a Humvee was used, one "likely to have been captured from government forces, reports say."



Al Jazeera notes it was a suicide car bomber and the reason Jurf al-Sakhar is so important at this moment:


Jurf al-Sakhar is part of a predominantly Sunni strip of territory that runs just south of Baghdad and lies on a road usually taken by Shia pilgrims, when they head in large numbers to the holy Shia city of Karbala further to the south.
Pilgrims will be taking the route again next week in order to commemorate the death of the Prophet Mohammed's grandson, Imam Hussein --  one of the most revered Shia martyrs.


In addition, Iraqi Spring MC reports a central Baghdad car bombing left 9 dead and twenty-seven injuredBBC News notes the death toll rose to 10.  In other violence, National Iraqi News Agency reports  1 person was shot dead in Baghdad while World Bulletin News notes "a bomb-laden motorcycle killed two and injured 20 in Tuzhurmatu district of Salah ad Din Province."  Margaret Griffis (Antiwar.com) notes, "At least 317 people were killed, mostly militants. Another 145 were wounded, about half of them security members."


Barack spent the summer insisting that Iraq required a political solution.  His point then was that the second term of Nouri had left the Sunnis 'estranged' from their own government and that a new government needed to demonstrate it was inclusive.  Iraq has a new prime minister today, Haider al-Abadi, but where is the progress on the political?

Nouri should have put through a 2014 budget no later than September 30, 2013.  That's because the 2014 Fiscal Year kicked off October 1, 2013.

Fiscal Year 2015 kicked off at the start of this month.

Guess what?

Iraq still has no 2014 budget.

Yes, al-Abadi's only been prime minister for a short time but he's been prime minister long enough to push through a budget.  Certainly he could have done that if the US government had made helping him on that a focus.  But they didn't.

National Iraqi News Agency reports:

MP for the Kurdistan, Abdul Bari Zebari held the federal government responsibility for the delay in the adoption of the current year's budget. 
He told the National Iraqi News Agency / NINA / that "the Parliament has long been calling for the federal government to quickly accomplish what is required from its side in the budget, including the employees' salaries in Kurdistan after the Parliament put its remarks upon in order to bring it back and start reading and approve it as soon as possible."


All Iraq News notes that MP Wafaa Kadhim states the Council of Ministers is supposed to send the 2014 budget bill to the Parliament on Tuesday.  Whether it's sent or not, it won't be discussed tomorrow.  All Iraq News points out the budget didn't make the topics on the agenda.



Here's the State Dept's Brett McGurk getting giddy on the fumes of a nasty jock worn by a member of the US military:




Yeah, Brett, you should be working on diplomacy.

There's something very sad about a grown man, a middle aged man, who's obsessed (sexually obsessed?) with the military that he never elected to serve in.

I have a relative who's even more gung ho that Brett about the military but the difference?  My relative enlisted.

Brett's just an old man trying to look manly by standing close to the US military.  Someone needs to ask him to step out of the picture, explain that it's only for those who served in the military.













iraq





missy ryan






10/25/2014

the awareness increases, the plight continues

rob urie offers a basic truth at counterpunch:

The charges of racism that meet criticism of President Barack Obama and his administration find close analog in the charge of anti-Semitism used by Israel for six decades to silence critics of Israeli state policy. From fealty to Wall Street and an international corporate elite to claiming the right to kill without evidence or due process to endless wars for multi-national oil companies and munitions manufacturers to perpetuation of the neo-liberal coup through support for ‘trade’ agreements, the actual policy differences between Mr. Obama and George W. Bush are the decoration of Party politics, not the substance.


doesn't that about say it all.

bi-racial barack has not meant an iota of compassion for the palestinian people.

they're lost has gotten worse, as has basically happened with every u.s. president since jimmy carter.

he was the last real chance of an honest broker.

those who have followed have sworn fidelity to the government of israel.

and the palstinian people remain victims of an illegal occupation and apartheid system.

i've seen the awareness of their plight increase in my lifetime but, sadly, that increased awareness has still not resulted in increased support from governments.

and certainly, the united states government does less for the people of palestine than for any other people in the world.


let's close with c.i.'s 'Iraq snapshot:'



Saturday, October 25, 2014.  Chaos and violence continue, a US Marine is killed in Baghdad, thug Nouri tries to push through legislation destroying the right to protest, judgments on new prime minister Haider al-Haidi are forming, were chemical weapons used in Iraq recently, and much more.



The numbers on Barack Obama's kill list just keep growing.  Add another American to the list.

Yesterday, the Defense Dept released the following:


IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release No: NR-539-14
October 24, 2014

DoD Identifies Marine Casualty


  The Department of Defense announced today the death of a Marine who was supporting Operation Inherent Resolve.

Lance Cpl. Sean P. Neal, 19, of Riverside, California, died Oct. 23, in Baghdad, Iraq, from a non-combat related incident. The incident is under investigation.

He was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force - Crisis Response - Central Command, whose headquarters element deploys from Camp Pendleton, California.
For more information, media may contact the I Marine Expeditionary Force Public Affairs Office at (760) 763-7039 or after hours at (760) 207-5865.



Well, of course, he didn't die in combat.  Hasn't US President Obama insisted US troops would not see combat in Iraq?  And hasn't the press gone along with that lie?


However he died in Baghdad, Lance Cpl Sean P. Neal died in Baghdad.

And Barack's the one who sent him there.

Hey, hey, BHO, how many people did you bury below?

Barack sent Neal and many others into Iraq.

Any deaths are on Barack's hands.

Hey, hey, BHO, how many people did you bury below?

And the deaths of Iraqis are on his hands as well.

Especially the ones killed by Iraqi forces.

Barack hopped in bed with previous prime minister Nouri al-Maliki and is in bed with current prime minister Haider al-Hadi.  Under both, civilians have been terrorized by Iraqi forces throughout Iraq.

This includes, but is not limited to, the ongoing bombing of Falluja's residential neighborhoods -- a legally defined War Crime.  One that has been taking place since January of this year.

Hey, hey, BHO, how many people did you bury below?


Will this awaken the so-called peace 'leaders' in the United States?

Or will they continue to direct their outrage at Bully Boy Bush -- a man who left the White House in January 2009?

Maybe they'll continue to obsess over Hillary Clinton?

Anything to avoid growing the hell up and calling out the person running the wars today.


Lance Cpl Sean P. Neal's death is on Barack's hands but never forget CodePink, Win Without War and so many other fake ass organizations are culpable in Neal's death and the deaths of so many Iraqis.


Hey, hey, BHO, how many people did you bury below?


Reason notes US Secretary of State John Kerry has declared he's looking into "extremely serious" charges "that IS [Islamic State] attacked Iraqi police officers with chlorine gas last month."  Mohammed Shafiq (Alsumaria) adds that Kerry stressed the allegations had not been confirmed.

The issue was also raised in Friday's US State Dept press briefing moderated by spokesperson Jen Psaki.




QUESTION: I know that the --

MS. PSAKI: Go ahead, Roz.

QUESTION: -- Secretary was asked about the reported chlorine attack against Iraqi forces in the past month. Is there any thinking in this building or in consultation with the Pentagon about how this affects the way that the coalition tries to deal with ISIL fighters? Does this change the strategy? Does this change the training of Iraqi forces to deal with any sort of NBC attack – nuclear, biological, chemical?

MS. PSAKI: That’s a good question, Roz. I think the most appropriate place to pose it is probably to the Pentagon. Not that I have been briefed on. As you – the Secretary noted this morning, we’re certainly aware of the alleged attacks. We take them very seriously, as we do any allegations. We can’t confirm the details. We’re seeking additional information. Obviously, the use of chlorine as a chemical weapon is an abhorrent act. In terms of what it would in term – of training, I would point you to my colleagues at the Pentagon.



Qassim Abdul-zahra (AP) writes, "The use of chlorine gas as a weapon adds a new concern to the turmoil in the country."

For reals?


The US government is responsible for birth defects in Iraq resulting from the illegal use of White Phosphorus, depleted uranium and other substances.  At Global Research this month, Dahr Jamail noted:

Contamination from depleted uranium (DU) munitions is causing sharp rises in congenital birth defects, cancer cases and other illnesses throughout much of Iraq, according to numerous Iraqi doctors.
Iraqi doctors and prominent scientists believe that DU contamination is also connected to the emergence of diseases that were not previously seen in Iraq, such as new illnesses in the kidney, lungs and liver, as well as total immune system collapse. DU contamination may also be connected to the steep rise in leukaemia, renal and anaemia cases, especially among children, being reported throughout many Iraqi governorates.
There has also been a dramatic jump in miscarriages and premature births among Iraqi women, particularly in areas where heavy US military operations occurred, such as Fallujah during 2004, and Basra during the 1991 US war on Iraq.

It is estimated that the United States used 350 tons of DU munitions in Iraq during the 1991 war, and 1,200 tons during its 2003 invasion and subsequent occupation.



Earlier this month, Amabedl Karoub (Michigan Daily) reported on a public presentation on this issue:


Muhsin Al-Sabbak, a physician at Iraq’s Basra Maternity Hospital, and Mozhgan Savabieasfahani, an environmental toxicologist who resides in Ann Arbor, presented a one-hour lecture centered on their research, which links the increase in congenital birth defects in Iraq over the last two decades to the use of U.S. and coalitions force weapons there.
Al-Sabbak referenced his study that found a 17-fold increase in children with birth defects between the years 1995 and 2003, a jump from 1.37 birth defects per 1,000 children to 23 per 1,000. By 2008, the number had increased to 48 per 1000, and in 2014 it was 37 per 1000.

Savabieasfahani attributed the spike to an increase in pollutants caused by U.S. weapons and the presence of military bases.


Thomas Gaist (WSWS) spoke with Muhsin al-Sabbak:


“Birth anomaly rates will likely continue to rise,” Al Sabbak told the WSWS.
“Another assault is coming to Iraq, by both ISIS and those who created ISIS. More fighting will increase toxicity levels in the population,” he added. The well-documented support of the US and its allies for armed Islamist militias like the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria in the war for regime change in Syria has been followed by the use of ISIS’s spread across Iraq as the justification for another imperialist war in the region.
“I am not even political,” Al Sabbak added. “I just want to reverse the spread of this catastrophe. I am tired of hearing mothers ask whether they should even try to have another child, and not knowing the answer myself.”

Dr. Al Sabbak is visiting the US as part of an effort to bring to the attention of both the US scientific community as well as the broader public the horrific impact of decades of US war in terms of the surge of genetic anomalies and disease in Basra. He cited data showing that the Iraqi city experienced a 17-fold increase in child birth defects between 1995 and 2003.


Though the US government yet again mounts the high horse, there's no higher ground for them to scramble to.  If the Islamic State used chemical weapons -- if -- they've yet to use them on the scale that the US government has.

But the Iraqi government, the new Iraqi government, surely they have some ethical ground to stand on.



: احد الجرحى الذين اصيبوا جراء القصف العشوائي المتعمد من قبل الجيش الحكومي على منازل المدنيين في الفلوجة. 







Is the new government's ethical ground embedded in the wounds of that child?


It was Iraqi forces that left that child wounded this week.

The child's crime?

Living in Falluja.

The Iraqi forces began bombing residential neighborhoods in January of this year.  This is "collective punishment" and it's a legally defined War Crime, recognized as such by the international community and, yes, by the United States government.


When Nouri al-Maliki began it, the US turned a blind eye and unofficially took the position of being-a-bystander-means-we-can-stay-silent.  They weren't a bystander, the US government was supplying Nouri with weapons -- weapons he used on the Iraqi people.

But now Haider al-Abadi is prime minister and now the US government has sent the US military into Iraq to aid and assist the Iraqi military.  That makes the White House complicit in War Crimes.

And the continuation of Iraqi forces targeting -- killing and wounding -- Iraqi civilians for the 'crime' of living in Falluja gives the Iraqi government little higher ground to take to and finger point from.

September 13th, Haider declared these attacks were over.

They didn't stop.

Nouri al-Maliki brought in Shi'ite militias and these militias, still loyal to Nouri, refuse to follow Haider's orders.


That's a reality the western press has attempted to ignore.

On the new prime minister, Gulf News argues:

Haider Al Abadi has not started well in his tenure as the new Prime Minister of Iraq. It has been just over six weeks since he was appointed and his cabinet is an unfortunate gathering of the same old faces. There is no sense of any new inclusive spirit, which was hoped would replace Nouri Al Malilki’s legacy of a country torn apart by sectarian violence with Sunnis facing discrimination, arbitrary arrests and violent crackdowns by government forces supported by Shiite militias.

US President Barack Obama was grasping at straws when he gave Iraq’s new leader a ringing endorsement after they first met in September and he described Al Abadi as “the right person” to lead Iraq as it was under attack by the militants of Daesh (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant). Obama was speaking of his hopes and not the reality when he went so far as to say that Al Abadi had “reached out systematically to all the people of Iraq”. 


The time was always limited, the brief chance for Haider al-Abadi to demonstrate that he was different from Nouri al-Maliki.  Instead of expending efforts to help him do that, Barack has focused all efforts on attacks that do nothing to stem the reasons for the popularity (or at least acceptability) of the Islamic State.  The only thing that stops the Islamic State, is pulling the reasons for their existence.  They represent one of the few responses to the targeting of Sunnis in Iraq (as well as Syria but our focus is Iraq).

For four long years, Nouri was allowed to target the Sunnis.  He was allowed to kill Sunni politicians and get away with it, he was allowed to attack their homes, to have their homes surrounded by tanks.  And this was what he did to the elected Sunni leaders.  What he did to the average Sunni was far worse.

And this is what created an environment in which the Islamic State could publicly walk into knowing that many Iraqis would either welcome them or stay silent because there was no other defense for the Sunnis in Iraq.

Nouri's forces illegally arrested them.  That's illegal due to a lack of arrest warrant but it also goes to if Nouri wanted Sunni X arrested and his forces showed up at Sunni X's home and Sunni X was not present, Nouri's thugs grabbed the wife, or mother, or father, or child, or grandparent, or sibling.

And these grabbed persons were then tossed in jails and prisons.

Despite no arrest warrant and despite being charged with nothing, they rotted in jails and prisons.

This is what Nouri got away with.  This is what whores like Jane Arraf stayed silent about.  This is what the White House was willing to go along with.

For four years.

The Islamic State did not spring up overnight.

And Barack can bomb forever and a day and that will not change a damn thing in Iraq, not for the better.

You want to end the Islamic State?  Pull the reasons which support their very existence.

There was a chance to do that with a new prime minister, if the prime minister acted quickly and made a few grand gestures.

Instead, Haider's done damn little.

Again, the most important thing he could do write now is publicly appeal the (illegal) conviction of former Iraq Vice President (from 2006 to this year) Tareq al-Hashemi.  He could note that no trial should have taken place because, as a member of Parliament, al-Hashemi had immunity.  (To be tried, the Iraqi Constitution requires Parliament strip him of his immunity first.)  He could note that before the trial started, the Baghdad judges held a press conference announcing Tareq's guilt.  He could point out that one of Tareq's bodyguards was tortured to death by Nouri's forces (and, up to his death, refused to lie and claim Tareq was guilty).  He has a whole host of reasons to call for the conviction to be overturned or ignored, he can also issue a pardon to put the matter rest.

That would be a grand gesture.

And grand gestures were needed over a month ago.

Now, with Haider seen as so ineffectual, grand gestures are required for the Sunni population to believe there's a chance that their new prime minister really does believe in an inclusive government.


The alternative to a political solution?

More of the same nonsense Barack tries to pass off as a plan.

Arab News notes:


US and allied aircraft have flown nearly 6,600 sorties in the air war against the IS group and dropped more than 1,700 bombs, the American military said Thursday.
The flights for “Operation Inherent Resolve” include thousands of mid-air fueling runs, surveillance sorties and 632 air strikes in Iraq and Syria, according to US Central Command.



And it's done nothing, if people are honest.  The bombing has accomplished nothing.  The Journal of Turkish Weekly quotes US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel declaring Thursday, "We believe that our strategy is working. There will be mixed and various outcomes daily. But this is not a daily measurement; this is an overall, strategic, longer term measurement of how well they’re doing."

While Hagel may be confident, others pointedly are not.  Iraq Times notes that the US forces have been carrying out air strikes for over two months now and that doubts are growing about both how effective these efforts and how serious they are as well.  The paper notes this week's drop of weapons to security forces with one of those drops landing in the hands of the Islamic State and the US government's efforts to spin and lie about it.  The paper also notes the lack of end date on the part of the US government and statements that it could last years or decades which do not inspire confidence and suggest a kind of meandering, try-anything approach to the 'effort.'


Why are people joining up or supporting the Islamic State?  Kjell Anderson (Arab News) explores the possibilities while reminding, "It is satisfying, but ultimately misleading, to believe that perpetrators possess certain inborn pathological traits. Rather, their motivations are not so different from our own: The desire for community, respect, and security, and the fear of standing apart from the crowd."  A basic reality on the topic is noted in Alice Fordham's report for Morning Edition (NPR, link is text and audio) from Abu Ghraib:


The Islamic State may be unpopular among many local residents, but so too is the Iraqi Army. The Iraqi military is being supported by the United States, but it's not winning over all the local people.
"They put military garrisons among us, they stormed our house in the night. Who gave them permission?" says a furious Khadouja Sihel, a local resident.
Her daughter is with her, plump and pretty in pink lipstick, carrying a tray of eggs.

Ignoring the soldiers standing a few feet away, Sihel says, "I've got seven daughters, and they harass them in a filthy way. Why are they doing this? Aren't we Iraqis like them?"


Abu Ghraib is not just an area outside of Baghdad, it is also home to an infamous torture prison -- run first by former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and then later by the US government.  It's the second manager that's in the news.  Danny Biederman and Noel Brinkerhoff (AllGov.com) report:


  A federal judge has given the Obama administration less than two months to explain in detail why 2,100 photographs depicting torture by U.S. agents and others should be kept hidden from public view.

A deadline of December 12 was set by Judge Alvin Hellerstein in the aftermath of his ruling (pdf), in August, denying the government’s claim that it is legally allowed to bar release of the photos. Those images are reportedly of detainees tortured at the infamous Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq and at other U.S. detention centers during the George W. Bush administration.



In other news, rabid dog Nouri al-Maliki may be out of the prime minister post but he remains in the presidential palace refusing to leave and he continues his efforts to strip Iraqi citizens of their rights.  A rabid dog, if not put down, at least needs to be caged behind bars (for life) or run out of the country.  Sadly, Nouri's been made one of Iraq's three vice presidents instead.  In that post and as a member of Parliament, Thug Nouri is attempting to continue his attacks on protesters.  Al Mada notes he's reintroduced his October 2012 bill insisting that protests in Iraq should be of limited duration.  Such a move would impact continuous protests -- like those against Nouri which kicked off in December 2012 and ran through January 2014.  The bill specifically targets civil disobedience such as sit-ins and hunger strikes.  Al Mada explains that people are also concerned about the wording in the bill such as demonstrations must meet "public morals" and how these loose words go undefined as does the issue of who would determine this and how.

It's interesting that this bill is even being discussed.  It was introduced in October 2012.  It died in the previous Parliament.  Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has not sent the bill to the Parliament.

Yet when thug Nouri was prime minister, he repeatedly stated -- and a whorish western press backed him up -- that only his Cabinet had the authority to write and introduce bills.

He lied, and the whorish press backed him up, that Parliament couldn't write or introduce bills, they could only vote on bills that were introduced to them by the Prime Minister and Cabinet.

It was a lie.

I'm not a liar.

I won't now say, "Nouri can't do this!"

Of course he can.

Any member of Parliament can introduce a bill.

But, unlike Thug Nouri and the whorish western press, I said that when Nouri was prime minister.

Nouri's a thug and a liar and belongs behind bars.  I'm sure the rumors of his sexually transmitted disease are just rumors but they are also understandable on Arabic social media because he is a vile and disgusting man who has harmed and killed thousands, so it's only natural people would wish he would be plagued with a disease.




Meanwhile, when not playing Inspector Clouseau as Chemical Inspector, John Kerry likes to do meet-ups.  Friday, he and US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel met with the Republic of Korea's Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se and Minister of National Defense Han Min-koo in DC and, following the meeting, issued a statement which included:

Acknowledging the grave humanitarian situation in Iraq, the Ministers reaffirmed their commitment to assisting the people of Iraq against the threat of ISIL and Foreign Terrorist Fighters. The United States thanked the ROK for its recent commitment of an additional $4 million in humanitarian assistance to Iraq. Both countries condemned the brutality of ISIL, underscoring that their actions violate the basic norms of humanity and civilization, and expressed their support for the international community fighting against the threat of ISIL. 




Lastly, David Bacon's latest book is The Right to Stay Home: How US Policy Drives Mexican Migration. We'll close with this from Bacon's "CENTRAL AMERICAN CHILDREN WILL CHANGE US - Part 1" (Social Policy):



"When I heard Father Romero was killed I began to weep," Bishop Bobadilla told me.  "I saw that the forces of evil had won. He wanted change, but not through violence.  The bitter truth today, though, is that in Guatemala we are still living the legacy of that violence."

Rodolfo Bobadilla was the bishop in Huehuetenango when I last saw him.  During the civil war he'd been a hero to poor Guatemalans in the indigenous Qanjobal and Mam towns where the worst massacres took place.  He was a friend of Archbishop Oscar Arnulfo Romero in San Salvador, when Romero headed the church at the beginning of El Salvador's civil war.  When Romero denounced the death squads and called on soldiers not to obey orders to violate human rights, members of the U.S.-trained Atlacatl Battalion charged into a hospital chapel where he was celebrating mass, and gunned him down.  
























  • 10/24/2014

    scandal finds its way back

    tonight's episode of 'scandal' (abc) was a huge, huge improvement.

    jake is being questioned for killing the president's son - roland really killed him.

    and jake's in the basement of the pentagon.

    but olivia just knows he's missing.

    and seeks counsel from her father .... roland.

    jake just knows when fitz sees him, he'll be able to explain how he's being wrongly framed.

    but when fitz comes, fitz doesn't believe him and jake gets that it's because fitz is pissed that jake's been sleeping with olivia.

    mellie is furious because fitz is gone.

    when he returns she confronts him for sleeping with his mistress olivia!

    as she yells at him, he has enough and explains that they have their son's killer in custody.

    mellie is thrilled to learn jerry was killed by a terrorist.

    she says he's like a soldier who died for the country, died for them, it gives his death purpose, it wasn't a random accident.

    so she finally showers and, who knows, might even go back to plucking those brows.

    david can't stop coming on to abby - drunk or sober.

    sober he tells her he used the files jake had to win a case and the judge he blackmailed killed himself.

    huck tries to see his son but his wife refuses to allow it.

    oliva finds out from huck that jake was last known to have been at the white house.

    olivia calls fitz thinking there's a logical explanation but as he refuses to answer her she realizes he's done something to jake.

    he hangs up on her.

    she calls cyrus who refuses to take her call.

    later cyrus drops by and tells her that there is proof that jake killed harrison (olivia's former employee) and the president's son jerry.

    olivia refuses to believe it and when she finds out her father is involved she can't believe that cyrus is taking roland's word.

    later, abby bangs on olivia's door and tells her off, tells her she has destroyed david and ...

    stops when she realizes something's wrong.

    olivia tells her what cyrus said about jake and breaks down while abby hugs her.

    then we had fitz punching a handcuffed jake repeatedly demanding that he admit to killing jerry.

    it was a strong episode - loved it when quinn, on a stake out, pointed out to olivia that they hadn't seen her doing any of the grunt work in awhile.

    i'm not really sure fitz plays well.

    maybe he does.

    but i think most people watching are thinking his anger's to the extreme.  he may also have crossed a line he can't come back from.



    let's close with c.i.'s 'Iraq snapshot:'




    Thursday, October 23, 2014.  Chaos and violence continue, the US government and the Turkish government clash, Mount Sinjar is not a White House success, and much more.






    Recep Tayyip Erdogan is the President of Turkey and he's in the news cycle.  Hugh Naylor and Brian Murphy (Washington Post) report, "Turkey’s president sharpened criticism of U.S. airdrops to aid Syrian Kurdish fighters battling the Islamic State, but promised on Thursday that Kurdish reinforcements would soon arrive in the embattled border town of Kobane. [. . .] Erdogan also amplified his criticism of U.S. airdrops to help the Syrian Kurdish fighters, claiming it was blatant interference in Turkish affairs."

    In what may have been a retaliation for criticizing the White House publicly,  David Cohen went on the attack against Turkey today.  James Reinl (Rudaw) reports Treasury Undersecretary Cohen declared today that US sanctions will be slapped on Turkey and any "Kudrish middlemen" caught trafficking in 'terrorist' oil.  Cohen stated, "Last month, ISIL was selling oil at substantially discounted prices to a variety of middlemen, including some from Turkey.  It also appears that some of the oil emanating from territory where ISIL operates has been sold to Kurds in Iraq, and then resold into Turkey."

    Cohen made his remarks/allegations/threats while speaking at the Carnegie Endowment For International Peace.  In his remarks, he also outlined how the US government believes the Islamic State makes money:


    Before turning to the specific steps we are taking, let me take a moment to detail these sources of revenue.
     
    First, ISIL has raised a significant amount of its money – many millions of dollars – from selling oil it extracts from fields in Syria and Iraq. 
     
    Our best understanding is that ISIL has tapped into a long-standing and deeply rooted black market connecting traders in and around the area. After extracting the oil, ISIL sells it to smugglers who, in turn, transport the oil outside of ISIL’s strongholds.  These smugglers move oil in a variety of ways, from relatively sizeable tankers to smaller containers.
     
    We also understand that ISIL controls oil refineries of various sizes and output capacities, and earns some revenue from the sale of refined petroleum products. 
     
    So who, ultimately, is buying this oil?  According to our information, as of last month, ISIL was selling oil at substantially discounted prices to a variety of middlemen, including some from Turkey, who then transported the oil to be resold.  It also appears that some of the oil emanating from territory where ISIL operates has been sold to Kurds in Iraq, and then resold into Turkey.  And in a further indication of the Asad regime’s depravity, it seems the Syrian government has made an arrangement to purchase oil from ISIL. 
     
    It is difficult to get precise revenue estimates on the value to ISIL of these transactions in light of the murky nature of the market, but we estimate that beginning in mid-June, ISIL has earned approximately $1 million a day from oil sales. 
     
    There are good indications, however, that recent coalition military efforts have begun to impair ISIL’s ability to generate revenue from oil smuggling.  Airstrikes on ISIL oil refineries are threatening ISIL’s supply networks and depriving it of fuel to sell or use itself.  Moreover, our partners in the region, including Turkey and the Kurdistan Regional Government, are committed to preventing ISIL-derived oil from crossing their borders. Last week, the International Energy Agency reported that ISIL’s ability to produce, refine and smuggle oil had been significantly hampered.
     
    Second, ISIL also kidnaps innocent civilians to profit from ransoms paid to obtain their release.
     
    ISIL did not pioneer kidnapping for ransom – it has been around for thousands of years.  And other terrorist organizations, including al Qa’ida’s affiliates in Yemen and north Africa, also rely on ransom payments as a key revenue source.  As I have said before, kidnapping for ransom is one of the most significant terrorist financing threats today.  For ISIL, these ransom payments are irregular, but each one can be a significant boon.  This spring, ISIL released captured journalists and other hostages from several European countries.  In return, according to press reports, ISIL received several multi-million dollar payments.  All in all, ISIL has taken at least $20 million in ransoms this year. 
     
    Third, like its predecessor, al Qa’ida in Iraq (AQI), ISIL raises money – up to several million dollars per month – through a sophisticated extortion racket.  In Iraq and Syria, ISIL extracts payments from those who pass through, conduct business in, or simply seek to live in the territory where it operates. 
     
    In the Iraqi city of Mosul, for instance, accounts have surfaced of ISIL terrorists going home-to-home, business-to-business, demanding cash at gunpoint.  A grocery store owner who refused to pay was warned with a bomb outside his shop.  Others who have not paid have seen their relatives kidnapped.  Religious minorities have been forced to pay special tributes.  We’ve also seen reports that when customers make cash withdrawals from local banks where ISIL operates, ISIL has demanded as much as ten percent of the value. 
     
    Make no mistake: This is not taxation in return for services or even for real protection.  It is theft, pure and simple.  The money ISIL pilfers is being exchanged not for a guarantee of safety but for the temporary absence of harm.
     
    Fourth, ISIL also profits from a range of other criminal activities.  They rob banks.  They lay waste to thousands of years of civilization in Iraq and Syria by looting and selling antiquities.  They steal livestock and crops from farmers.  And despicably, they sell abducted girls and women as sex slaves. 
     

    Finally, as I mentioned earlier, ISIL derives some funding from wealthy donors.  Even though ISIL currently does not rely heavily on external donor networks, it maintains important links to financiers in the Gulf, as a spate of Treasury designations last month made clear. 


    Cohen's accusations against Turkey don't detract from what Erdogan stated today.  On that, Anatoul Agency adds:

    Turkey criticized the U.S. for its military aid to the outlawed Kurdish Democratic Union Party on Monday, saying that would mean arming "terrorists," Erdogan recalled at the press conference.
    "Why is Kobani so important? Where were the rest of the world while Daraa, Idlib, Hama or Homs was burning?" Erdogan asked.
    "There are no civilians left in Kobani, only about 2,000 PYD fighters," he added, using an abbreviation for the Kurdish party. 
    The Kurdish Democratic Union Party is affiliated with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, which has waged a decades-long separatist fight with the Turkish army. The PKK is considered a terrorist group by Turkey, the U.S. and the European Union.


    For Turkey, the Kurdish question has long been an issue.

    Internally, Turkey has a long history of suppressing Kurds and while Erdogen has made overtures in recent years, the oppression continues.

    Along with overtures to Kurds in Turkey -- many of whom want their own country, Erdogen has also, with Kurdistan Regional President Massoud Barzani, formed a working partnership with the KRG.

    The KRG is the closest thing Kurds around the world have to their own country.  The KRG is a group of provinces in northern Iraq which border Turkey.  Many Kurds in Iraq would prefer that the semi-autonomous KRG become fully autonomous.

    For years, this has been a fear -- a big one -- for the Turkish government which has worried that should the KRG become fully autonomous it would lead the Kurds in Turkey to strengthen their demands for autonomy.

    On the Turkish government, Con Coughlin (Telegraph of London) explains:


    The Turks’ reluctance to get behind the military effort against IS is based on two concerns, both of which put Ankara fundamentally at odds with the objectives of its Nato partners. The first is Turkey’s aim in Syria’s brutal civil war to see Assad overthrown and replaced by an Islamic government with a similar outlook to that of its own President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
    Until last year this was not a problem, as Britain and America and Ankara shared a common goal regarding Assad. But the West’s priorities have changed dramatically since the heady days of late August 2013 when President Obama and David Cameron made their ill-fated attempt to garner support for air strikes against Damascus.
    These days, the West’s priority is to defeat the Islamist militants who oppose the Assad regime. Claims that the Turks are actively supporting IS fighters with arms and training indicates that there now exists a sharp divergence between Turkey’s priorities in the conflict and those of the western powers.
    The plight of the Kurds is the other bone of contention between Turkey and Nato. Denying Kurdish aspirations for full independence is hard-wired into the DNA of Ankara’s political establishment, to the extent that the Turks, as shown in Kobane, would prefer to see a town overrun by IS rather than have the Kurds prevail.

    While obstacles remain there, the US Defense Dept wants everyone to know they are shoulder-to-shoulder with Iraq.  Via spokesperson Rear Adm John Kirby, the Pentagon released the following today:

    Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel spoke via telephone with the Iraqi Minister of Defense Khaled al Obeidi today. Secretary Hagel congratulated the newly-appointed Defense Minister and underscored his support for the Minister's counterterrorism pursuits.
    Secretary Hagel emphasized the importance of rebuilding the Iraqi Security Forces in a way that engenders trust and confidence among the armed forces personnel and the Iraqi people.
    The two talked about ways to train, equip and prepare the Iraqi Security forces for upcoming offensives against ISIL and Minister Obeidi expressed his appreciation for U.S. advisors and airstrikes. Both Secretary Hagel and Minister Obeidi promised to continue to work closely together to pursue mutual security objectives.




    As Barack Obama's nonplan continues in Iraq, there are whispers of another plan (a post-mid-term election one).   Karen DeYoung (Washington Post) reported yesterday that the White House thinks it has another 'plan' for addressing the Islamic State in Iraq.  This one would be termed a "battle plan" and a sure sign of its weakness can be found in the belief that it will take place "gradually."  DeYoung explains:


    The plan, described as methodical and time-consuming, will not begin in earnest for several months and is designed to ensure that Iraqi forces­ do not overextend themselves before they are capable of taking and holding territory controlled by the militants.

    It may also include U.S. advisers in the field with the Iraqis, should that be recommended by American military commanders, said the official, who updated reporters on administration strategy on the condition of anonymity under rules imposed by the White House. The advisers, the official said, would not participate in combat. President Obama has said repeatedly that no U.S. ground forces would be deployed to Iraq.

    You can be sure that the "may"s will disappear after the start of the next month when Barack will no longer have to worry about the immediate voter fallout.
    Bill Van Auken (WSWS) offers:

    And, as for Obama’s promise about no “ground forces,” this term is used in a manner that does not apply to special operations troops, advisers and other smaller units, but rather to the deployment of full combat brigades.
    The announcement that the topic was discussed by US and Iraqi officials almost certainly indicates that preparations are being made to substantially increase the number of US military personnel deployed in Iraq, which, according to official figures, now stands at over 1,400.



    Leaving what's around the corner to take a look at what's on the road now, Lolita C. Baldor (AP) notes, "The Pentagon says Iraq's new defense minister says his troops will go on the offensive against Islamic State militants who have taken over large sections of the country."

    They'll go on the offensive, will they?


    Anytime soon?

    Sunday, World Bulletin noted the Iraqi military's efforts to retake Baiji ended when a bomb blew up "an armored vehicle" killing 4 Iraqi soldiers and leaving seven more injured.  The military insists the vehicle blown up was driven by a member of the Islamic State and that the military mistook it for one of their own vehicles and, most importantly, they'll try again to retake Baiji.  Real soon.  But still not yet, not as of today.

    And today Saif Sameer and Ned Parker (Reuters) report that the Islamic State seized Zauiyat albu Nimr Village in Anbar Province and that, during the battle, the Iraqi military began escaping via a helicopter.

    They're going on the offensive when?

    Do they understand what "offensive" means?


    They just might be as confused as Valerie Jarrett who, two Sundays ago on NBC's Meet The Press, declared Mount Sinjar to be an important "success." Today,  Saif Sameer and Ned Parker (Reuters) also report, "U.S. President Barack Obama authorized air strikes on IS in Iraq in August, citing the duty to prevent an impending genocide of minority Yazidis at the hands of the jihadist insurgents who attacked them around Sinjar Mountain."


    Air strikes on Mount Sinjar.  Just like the latest wave started August 8th.

    What's really changed since then?

    Nothing.

    And I keep waiting for US Senator John McCain to haul out his whack-a-mole talk from the previous administration and point out that any minor victory in X leads to a loss in Y.


    Mount Sinjar came up in today's US State Dept press briefing moderated by Jen Psaki:



    QUESTION: Can you confirm reports or do you have any comment on the fact that Yezidis are once again trapped on Mount Sinjar and requesting help, expecting an assault again by ISIS fighters?

    MS. PSAKI: Well, obviously, as you know, we had taken recent action, relatively recently I should say, over the course of the summer. I don’t have anything new to predict for you. We remain committed to addressing humanitarian crises as we see them and to continuing to assist those who are impacted by the threat of ISIL. But operationally, I would point you to DOD to see if there’s anything they would want to preview about anything they’re planning.

    QUESTION: Just to follow up on that, the Administration has said repeatedly that, for example, Kobani in a city of itself doesn’t have a lot of strategic import in the overall fight. I’m wondering if you have any idea what ISIS’s – what their aim is in trying to get Sinjar. Why? Do you have any idea why Sinjar is such a prize? They keep going back to it, so --

    MS. PSAKI: Well, I don’t think – I know this is not what you asked, but even on Kobani I can’t tell you why – we can’t tell you why, aside from their desire to have a propaganda victory, that they are focusing there either. The reason --

    QUESTION: Well, the border. They could control the border there.

    MS. PSAKI: But in terms of their focus on Sinjar, I don’t know that I have analysis on why strategically ISIL is going after it more.

    QUESTION: But the reason that you undertook the action in the first place is because you thought that ISIS was trying to launch a genocide against the Yezidis.

    MS. PSAKI: Right. That’s right.

    QUESTION: So aren’t you still concerned about that?


    MS. PSAKI: Well, we certainly remain concerned about any group that’s threatened by ISIL, and we’ve taken action in the past. I have nothing to preview for you in terms of future operations, as would be typically the case.





    Saif Sameer and Ned Parker (Reuters) report, "U.S. President Barack Obama authorized air strikes on IS in Iraq in August, citing the duty to prevent an impending genocide of minority Yazidis at the hands of the jihadist insurgents who attacked them around Sinjar Mountain."  But AFP reports, "Islamic State group jihadists besieging Mount Sinjar in northern Iraq have killed a commander of forces from the Yazidi religious minority defending the area, a fighter said yesterday. The commander, Al Sheikh Khayri, had returned from Germany, which has large Yazidi community, to fight, and was killed on Wednesday night, Khalaf Mamu said by telephone."


    And the Yazidis are only one group targeted.  Human Rights Watch's Kenneth Roth Tweets:



  • Lastly, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America issued the following yesterday:


    CONTACT: Gretchen Andersen (212) 982-9699 or press@iava.org

    New York, NY (October 22, 2014) – Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), the nation’s largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization representing post-9/11 veterans and their families, today announced director, producer, actor and writer Peter Berg – who recently wrote and directed the Oscar-nominated, blockbuster hit, “Lone Survivor” – will join the organizations’ Board of Directors this fall. 
    Director Pete BergBerg, a loyal veteran advocate and son of a Marine, received IAVA’s 2014 Leadership in Entertainment Award this past May at the Heroes Celebration in Los Angeles, CA. 
    “IAVA is honored to have Pete Berg join our board and lead the effort to support and empower the New Greatest Generation of veterans,” said IAVA Founder and CEO Paul Rieckhoff. “In 2014 and beyond, we look forward to working with Pete in fighting for critical veterans issues. “Lone Survivor’s” success elevated a national conversation on the sacrifices of our veterans and servicemembers over the past 13 years.  As the son of a Marine, Pete is a staunch supporter of post-9/11 veterans and the military community. In the past few months he has met with IAVA members and veterans in both New York and Los Angeles. We are excited to bring him on board as we begin to celebrate our 10th anniversary and prep for Veterans Day 2014.”
    In addition to “Lone Survivor,” Berg is also known for his fierce portrait of high school football in the 2004 film adaptation of Buzz Bissinger’s bestseller, “Friday Night Lights.” The film's success, both in theaters and on DVD, spawned the acclaimed TV series of the same name, which aired for five seasons and garnered multiple Emmy nominations and wins. In addition to serving as the series' executive producer, Berg also directed several episodes of the show, including the 2006 pilot, for which he earned an Emmy nomination as Best Director. As one of the series' writers, he also shared a Writers Guild nomination for Best New Series.
    As an actor, Berg's recent film work includes roles in “Lions for Lambs,” “Smokin' Aces,” and "Collateral.”
    In addition to directing the 2012 film "Battleship," the New York native (and son of a Naval historian) also develops projects under his Film 44 banner. Berg has also directed “Hancock” and “The Kingdom,” among other feature films. Most recently, Berg was an executive producer and directed several episodes of the HBO series "The Leftovers," starring Justin Theroux and Liv Tyler.
    Note to media: Email press@iava.org or call 212-982-9699 to speak with IAVA CEO and Founder Paul Rieckhoff or IAVA leadership. 
    Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (www.IAVA.org) is the nation's first and largest nonpartisan, nonprofit organization representing veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan and has nearly 300,000 Member Veterans and civilian supporters nationwide. Celebrating its 10th year anniversary, IAVA recently received the highest rating - four-stars - from Charity Navigator, America's largest charity evaluator.