poor michelle obama

i'm so sorry for michelle obama.  'people' has an excerpt of her new book which opens:

People often reach out to me seeking relationship advice. They remark on photographs they've seen of me and Barack together—laughing, or sharing a look, appearing content to be side by side. They ask how we have managed to stay both married and unmiserable for 30 years now. I want to say, Yes, truly, it's a surprise to us, too, sometimes! And really, I'm not joking. We have our issues, of course, but I love the man, and he loves me, now, still, and seemingly forever.

Our love is not perfect, but it's real and we're committed to it. This particular certainty sits parked like a grand piano in the middle of every room we enter. We are, in many ways, very different people. He's a night owl who enjoys solitary pursuits. I'm an early bird who loves a crowded room. In my opinion, he spends too much time golfing. In his opinion, I watch too much lowbrow TV. But between us, there's a loving assuredness that's as simple as knowing the other person is there to stay, no matter what. This is what I think people pick up on in those photos: that tiny triumph we feel, knowing that neither one of us has walked away. We remain.

so it's already time for the divorce, eh?  that is what generally follows a celebrity making dumb remarks like that.

well.  not always.  i remember elizabeth edwards making these sort of dumb remarks.  she ended up dead but, before she died, she had to watch as her husband's mistress gave birth to his child.

it's not really smart to make these kind of stories.  no 1 is asking, 'what's the story of your marriage, mitchie?'

you really have to have a huge ego to think that people are waiting for this nonsense.  and no 1's seeking you out for advice.  maybe to get a selfie with you, but not on advice.  you weren't even smart enough to remove bacy wanda sykes' mustache and you sent the older child out in public repeatedly without a bra.  including white when you were so stupid you didn't grasp that the nips would 'bleed' through the white blouse.

no 1 wants your advice, michelle, no one.

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

Thursday, November 10, 2022.  Joe Biden can't stop confusing Iraq and Ukraine, Robert Pether remains imprisoned, Noam Chomsky notes Turkey's aggression on the Kurdistan, and much more.

Tuesday, WSWS started their live coverage of the mid-term elections here -- and they have continued to update it as more votes are counted.  We'll note this update on abortion:

In Michigan, voters overwhelmingly cast a ballot in favor of Proposal 3, which would incorporate into the state constitution provisions guaranteeing abortion rights and safeguarding freedom of choice “about all matters relating to pregnancy,” including the use of contraceptives.

Support for the constitutional amendment exceeded the vote for the incumbent and reelected Democratic governor, Gretchen Whitmer, with 2,240,961 Michiganders voting in favor of Proposal 3 compared to 2,221,539 who voted for Whitmer.

Michiganders also voted in favor of proposals to expand early voting and increase financial disclosures by candidates running for office.

Amendments enshrining the right to an abortion also passed by large majorities in Vermont and California.

In Kentucky, where Republicans appear to have expanded their majority in the state’s General Assembly, voters rejected an amendment to the Kentucky constitution stating that “nothing in this constitution shall be construed to secure or protect a right to abortion or require the funding of abortion.” As of this writing, the measure has failed by a margin of nearly 60,000 votes.

After the US Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade earlier this year, a previously enacted “trigger law” banning abortion, which had been passed by the Republican-dominated Kentucky legislature, went into effect. The law prohibits abortions under virtually all circumstances and is currently being challenged in court, with the Kentucky State Supreme Court set to begin hearing the case on November 15.

Nationwide polling conducted by the Associated Press indicates that roughly two-thirds of the population agrees that “abortion should be legal in most or all cases,” while only one in 10 supports a complete ban on the medical procedure.

Exit polling showed (a) hostility towards Joe Biden's administration and (b) voters don't want Joe to run for re-election.  Wednesday afternoon, the White House shot him up with pep and sent it for what was supposed to be a press conference -- but as Mike noted, who he would call on was predetermined -- and even Joe said he'd be calling on the ten he was told to, senile as he is, he only called on nine.  Those shots aren't working the way they used to.  But when they started being used in the Democratic debates, remember, they were warned how ineffective they would become as Joe built up tolerance.  If he does run for re-election and has no pandemic to hide behind (stashed in his basement), it's going to be brutal.  The White House can barely keep him together for 45 minutes, imagine two days of campaigning in a row.  

He said that he would “continue to work across the aisle” and boasted that he had signed more than 200 bipartisan laws since he became president. “Regardless of the final tally,” he said, “I’m prepared to work with my Republican colleagues. The American people have made clear that they expect Republicans to work with me.”

In other words, Biden has turned from warning that “the Republican Party today is dominated, driven, and intimidated by Donald Trump and the MAGA Republicans, and that is a threat to this country,” as he said in a speech in September, to declaring that the highest objective of his administration is to collaborate with this same Republican Party.

A bipartisan agreement with the Republicans will be based on a common foreign policy of confrontation directed against both Russia and China, Biden indicated. He said that he was leaving on a trip to the Middle East and Asia, which would include a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the G-20 summit in Singapore. On his return, he said, he would invite both Republican and Democratic congressional leaders to the White House for a briefing.

Biden dismissed a question from one reporter about McCarthy’s remark that there would be “no blank check” for Ukraine going forward, in the war with Russia. There would be bipartisan support for Ukraine, he said. There was no blank check for the Ukraine war under his administration, he said, citing the US refusal to send US warplanes to impose a no-fly zone over Ukraine, in order to avoid “World War III,” despite pleas from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

In addition to the ongoing US-NATO war against Russia in Ukraine, both parties support the escalation of aggression directed at China, which is seen by US military strategists as the principal threat to US global economic domination.

Whatever the exact trajectory of American foreign policy, any bipartisan agreement with the Republicans would be based on a common determination to make the American working class pay the massive costs of imperialist militarism and war. While Biden made a show of rejecting the proposals by several Republican senators to cut spending on Medicare and Social Security, there is no question that the Democrats and Republicans will be united on the basis of cutting social spending and cracking down on struggles of the working class. 

The immediate battleground is the impending eruption of a nationwide rail workers strike, as more than 100,000 workers are voting on a sellout deal accepted by the unions after it was imposed by a Presidential Emergency Board appointed by Biden. Workers in several unions have already voted down the deal, while the two largest groups of rail workers, engineers and conductors, are expected to follow suit this month.

Biden telegraphed his hostility to the working class in response to a reporter who pointed out that 75 percent of voters, interviewed in exit polls, think the country is going in the wrong direction. “What are you going to change?” he asked. Biden responded, “Nothing.” Later, in response to a similar question about what impact popular hostility would have on a decision to run for reelection in 2024, Biden responded again, “Nothing.”

This arrogant response gives voice to the class hostility of the millionaires and billionaires for whom the Democrats and Republicans speak. They hate the working class and fear any intervention from below into the political crisis in the United States.

Over the past year, the real wage of a typical worker fell by three percent, as the prices of food and fuel surged by more than 10 percent. In the past 12 months, 100,000 Americans lost their lives to the COVID-19 pandemic. Meanwhile corporate profitability soared to the highest level on record.

By declaring that “nothing” will change, Biden is making clear that his administration’s policies of war, austerity and mass infection will continue. 

Others noted just how difficult it is for Joe to speak coherently.

And FORBES notes how Winky mixes up Falluja and Ukraine -- look him close his eyes and try desperately to remember what the question was that he was just asked.

Well if Winky Biden couldn't confuse Iraq with Urkaine, then he'd never mention Iraq at all -- except when lying that his son died there.

HARPER'S "Weekly Review" notes, "In a speech, President Joe Biden mislabeled the war in Ukraine as the war in Iraq and incorrectly stated that his son had died in the Middle Eastern nation.16"  Sadly, that was published on Tuesday -- there referring to his speech last week in Florida.  THE DAILY MAIL reminds:

Last week, Biden delivered a speech in Florida: mixing up representative and senator, claiming the United States has among the lowest inflation in the world and saying his son Beau died in Iraq.

The president was campaigning in three different locations across the state and intended to trumpet his triumphs.

Instead, he baffled listeners with a bizarre series of claims.

Speaking alongside Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who is hoping to get re-elected in Florida's 23rd district, in greater Miami, Biden mistakenly referred to her as a senator.

'I don't have a greater friend in the United States Senate,' he said.

'And I didn't have a greater friend as vice president, nor as president. 

'So Debbie, thank you, kiddo.'

In Hallandale Beach, a Miami suburb 20 miles north of downtown, he claimed that the United States has low inflation - and managed to say once again that his son Beau died in Iraq.

Beau Biden, who served as Delaware's attorney general and in the Delaware Army National Guard in the Iraq War, died at age 46 in 2015 from brain cancer. 

He passed away at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. 

These moments come more and more.  He's not fit to be president right now.  He certainly shouldn't be running for re-election. 

Moving over to Iraq, Robert Pether remains imprisoned.  Anton Nillson (CRIKEY) reports:

An Australian engineer jailed in Baghdad has been issued with legal papers in his cell claiming he owes the Iraqi government US$50 million, the man’s wife says. 

Robert Pether has been detained in Iraq since April last year and his mental and physical health are deteriorating fast behind bars, according to his wife, Desree Pether.

She told Crikey she spoke to her husband twice in the past three days and was told he may be in for another legal battle in an Iraqi court. 

According to Desree, whose claims are yet to be verified by the Iraqi embassy or DFAT, her husband was served with papers written in Arabic this week, which he was asked to sign and mark with his thumbprint. 

Though Pether doesn’t understand Arabic well enough to read the documents himself, he was told by a cellmate the papers made a claim he owed US$50 million.

The cellmate, Pether’s colleague Khalid Radwan, an Egyptian national, was asked to sign the papers as well. 

“They were given it for like two minutes and told ‘sign here’, that’s it,” Desree said. 

“They weren’t allowed to keep a copy of it or anything like that.”

Australian Robert Pether, jailed in Baghdad last year over a business dispute, has penned an emotional letter warning his prognosis is “bleak”, his human rights are being violated, and he is facing a potential “death sentence”.

In the letter to his family, released to Guardian Australia, Pether also reveals his daily torment about how he should break it to his children that he might not be coming home.

“How do you tell a little girl who loves unicorns and cats that her daddy will not be coming home? How do you tell your children that you are proud of them, but will not be sharing the accolades (and pitfalls) of their lives with them?,” Pether wrote.

“And toughest of all, how do you tell your wife, who is very much the other half of you, that you will not be keeping the promise you made to grow old together?

“These are the questions that I am currently grappling with every day – from the moment I wake up and the sit on the cell floor for the first head count of the day, until the last thing at night, when I look at the photos of my family on the wall next to my bed.”

Pether was arbitrarily detained in Iraq in April last year over a business dispute between his architecture firm and the Iraqi government. Pether was working on a new headquarters for Iraq’s central bank, and had returned to Iraq to resolve a contract dispute at the request of the Iraqi government.

 The 47-year-old previously survived skin cancer in 2005, and before his arrest had attended regular screenings to monitor his health status.

But Pether warned in the letter that prison authorities, including a dermatologist brought in for consultations, have ignored the growth of a new lesion on his ear — the same location of a previous melanoma.

In June, he started to notice rapid changes in the lesion and alerted prison officials. But a dermatologist only prescribed Pether topical cream, which failed to arrive.

Free Robert Pether Tweets:

In other news, the Turkish government bombs northern Iraq, drones it, sends troops on the ground into it and has set up military bases.  All are acts of war.  Yet, the bulk of the world shields its eyes and pretends nothing is going on.  Stockholm Freedom Center notes:

Professor Noam Chomsky, a well-known American linguist, philosopher and political activist, said in an interview with the Medya Haber news website that an independent organization should conduct a serious investigation into the alleged use of chemical weapons by Turkish forces in northern Iraq.

In October the pro-Kurdish Fırat News Agency (ANF) published a video showing two members of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which is classified as a terrorist organization by Turkey and much of the international community, apparently under the influence of a chemical agent.

“The Turkish government has committed many atrocities. … Every imaginable form of torture was used during the 1990s against Kurds in Turkey,” Chomsky said. “Therefore, although there is no direct evidence of chemical weapons use by the Turkish government, the allegations provide a legitimate basis for a serious investigation by an independent team in northern Iraq.”

Chomsky also pointed out that the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW) could be a highly reliable institution to undertake the investigation as a continuation of a probe they conducted in September with support from the United Nations or one of its member states.

Let's close with BROS.

The following sites updated:


awful joe

i watched some of cnn's election coverage last night.  thought jake tapper did a good job.  he was the anchor.  of those brought on to offer opinion and analysis?  felt bakari sellers was on the money.  he said that the party was living in an ivory tower and wasn't able to 'meet the voters where they are.'  i think he's right.  democrats wanted to wish-away inflation and act like it wasn't happening.  that was insane.  they need to face facts. 

those facts include that joe biden is a loser and they need to dump him.  would have been great if some 1 on cnn had made that point while i was watching.

joe's a loser who is dragging the whole party down.  he's a loser who is about to turn 80 and needs to announce that he will not be seeking a second term.

he has accomplished nothing and he's a crook - he knew what hunter was doing and hunter did what he did for the biden family - as he said in that angry text to his daughter.  joe's guilty as sin and he needs to announce he's not to run and he's not going to drag the party down any further.

if you haven't read ava and c.i.'s 'TV: A romanceless romance -- who's policeman is it anyway?,' go read it.  i was waiting for 'my policeman' and hoping it would be worth watching.  well ... sexy.  i was hoping it would be sexy.  but i would've been okay with it if it was just worth watching.  but it's not and it wasn't.  it was awful.
harry styles should not try to act again.  that tends to degrade your brand when you keep flopping at acting.  

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

Wednesday, November 9, 2022.   Did you live through all the alarmist nonsense?

Are you okay?  Where's Joe?  Where is Joe!!!  Oh, he's safe.  Thank goodness.  Can someone now check on Marianne Williamson?  Please tell me she didn't choke on her own ego.

Katie Halper did a solid live broadcast last night.

That said, I took a lengthy break when Marianne and unhinged crazy came on.

She's become demented.  Truly.

I wish Beto had won and was governor of Texas.  He didn't, Marianne, and it was his own fault.

I offered advice during that campaign but ended up washing my hands because no one -- well one person -- was smart enough to listen.  Once they had their campaign bus out on the road, no one wanted to turn, no one wanted to self-correct.  

By October, it was obvious they needed to rethink the campaign ads and to respond to what Gregg Abbott's campaign was airing -- obvious to anyone with a brain.  Instead of being dismayed by the ads, they thought the ads were funny.

I guess they were.

If you wanted Beto to be the butt of the joke.

At the start of the month, I wrote about it in the gina & krista roundrobin and said ignore the chatter, the race is over and Gregg Abbott will win. Kat wrote about, at her site, what I'd said here.

They made fun of him in these ads.  Sometimes they used his own words to turn him into a joke.  Sometimes, they just made sure to show him frozen, arm extended out, pit stain on full display.  Sometimes they called him "beet-O" and sometimes they called him "Bet-O" and sometimes I couldn't tell what they were calling him -- but the point being that they were saying his name was nonsense and made up -- they especially got that across when they used Latinas to speak on camera.  

They hit hard on crime and broadcast him making apparent anti-police remarks -- and this was in a climate where the whole state was seeing ads about crime over and over.  Like the widow of the border patrol agent who spoke of a female Democrats who had disparaged border patrol agents and the widow defended her late husband on camera.  Or the crying African-American mother who spoke of how the man who killed her son should never have been released.  

Beto's campaign didn't know what the hell they were doing.  Those remarks about the police that Beto made -- they played them word for word in the anti-Beto commercials -- were being heard in an environment that had heard from families and survivors in one commercial after another.

I like Beto.  I know him from his time in Congress.  But is he honestly that vain?

Where is his family?

I was asking that in August.  Where was his family in the commercials?

They never showed up.  

And the Abbott campaign finally noted this and started, in the last two weeks of October, putting Gregg's family front and center.  "They've just released a commercial with a niece, I think she's Hispanic!"  That's how one phone call of panic from someone with the campaign began.  

Yeah, because he's not an idiot.  

Did they think Gregg Abbott got to be governor by luck?  He knows politics.  And Beto should have known that about his opponent.

Beto looked like a sweaty fraud with a funny name that everyone mocked him for who was deeply out of touch with Texas -- they played a lot of soundbites.  And deeply out of touch with the world.

That's why you put the family in the ads.  You want the viewers to see that the candidate has connections to the world we live in.

This is the conclusion of what Kat wrote:

Beto needs to be talking about crime in some form, C.I. pointed out, and he needs to bring his family into the ads and talk about the future of Texas and what that means to him as the father of three children.  And she offered concrete examples including footage of the ice storm that hit Texas awhile back and how close they came to losing power across the state.  "We deserve better."  

Maybe Beto doesn't want to really be governor?

By the time October rolled around, I was done with a campaign that didn't listen and was constantly saying, "Hey, remember what you said last week, maybe you were right?"  Maybe?  I was right but even then the campaign didn't self-correct.  

It was a lousy campaign that wasted a lot of money.  There were other races that could have used that money, races where people wanted to fight for the office.  

Marianne's nonsense is exactly why Beto lost.  And she is the problem.  And how dare she whine about being in Texas and trying to turn out the vote for him and being appalled because someone dared to ask her why they should vote for Beto instead of Abbott.

Idiot, that's why you were there.  And every chance you got was not something to whine about, it was an opportunity to communicate.  Marianne's an idiot.

There are a lot of idiots out there.  They think what works national will work in a state and that's really not true.  That especially don't know Texas.  When Ann Richards was governor, a friend of Ann's put us together because Ann had just been elected and was riding a high wave.  I was asked to talk to her about pitfalls.  Specifically, if she ran for re-election down the line, who would be up against her, blah blah blah.   It sounded like a fun game.  So I went to Texas (I'd been there before) and spent a few weeks and came up with George W. Bush.

I didn't know it was Bully Boy Bush.  I just identified several scenarios and the one that she lost to was Bush.  It was a man who had been in the military, he had a connection to a popular Texas sports team, he was married to teacher or a librarian (I did have the wife, in the illustrations I drew, as blond, so I was wrong on that), he would have daughters so they wouldn't worry he would be like Ann's previous opponent (who made an infamous rape remark).  I also identified some of the issues that could be a problem for Ann in an effort to be re-elected.

I was right there too.  

The advice wasn't heeded -- my presentation actually got a laugh from Ann -- not a kind one -- when I was sketching in the man who could beat her.  There's no one like that, I was told.  And that's fine and dandy but I wasn't casting, I was saying this is the opponent who would destroy her.  He might not have been around that year, and he might never come around.  But who would destroy her chances?  A person fitting that description.  Too bad for Ann, Bully Boy Bush did emerge.  (Too bad for the world, he emerged.) 

She could have beaten him but when it was time for her re-election, she was a national figure and national people came around who just knew best.  They knew nothing.  And Ann on a Harley was just flat out ridiculous.  They knew nothing and they steered her campaign into the ditch.
If I'm asked advice about a campaign, I don't have a cookie-cutter response because each campaign is different.  There are some universal trueisms, yes, but it is a mistake to think that something that worked in Iowa can be transplanted to Florida.  At best, adjustments will have to be made, at worst, the whole thing will need to be scrapped.

I have no idea what state Beto pictured himself campaigning in but it wasn't the Texas of 2020.

As for Marianne's nonsense, it's the day after, most of us are still alive.  Calm the f**k down.

As of late Tuesday evening Eastern Time, the Republican Party appeared to be within reach of winning the House of Representatives in the first nationwide election held since it supported Trump’s January 6, 2021 coup attempt.

The results in many House races remain very close, however, and control over the Senate will likely not be known for days. The narrowness of the margins and the length of time required to count all votes set the stage for a protracted period of crisis, with a potential for violence. Trump is falsely claiming that the Democratic Party is engaged in fraud in states like Arizona, where a technical glitch caused a delay in vote tabulation.

Though Republicans will win seats from the Democrats, results do not indicate a substantial increase in support for the Republicans, whose hopes for a 30+ seat shift in the House do not seem to be materializing.

On the contrary, the national picture that emerges from the results so far is one of popular disinterest in what both parties have to offer. Republicans are performing well in Ohio and Florida but poorly in the Northeast, where they had expected to make gains.

Beyond Ohio and Florida, Democrats are also underperforming in Wisconsin and have been unable to deliver clear victories in Georgia and Pennsylvania, though the Senate races there remain undecided. Democratic Campaign Committee Chair Sean Maloney is presently losing his election for Congress in New York’s 17th District in what would be a substantial defeat for a Democratic leader.

The election also shows that Trump is not having success at expanding his base of support beyond a relatively narrow core. Many of the candidates most closely associated with Trump appear headed for defeat, including in gubernatorial races in Arizona, Michigan and Pennsylvania, three battleground states, though these results could still change as more votes are counted.

The results of a number of state ballot referendums also make clear the election does not reflect a shift to the right in popular consciousness. In Vermont, Kentucky and Michigan voters appear likely to enshrine the right to abortion in the state constitution, and a similar measure will be voted on in California. Referendums in favor of legalizing marijuana are also passing in Maryland and Missouri, and voters in heavily Republican South Dakota are voting by a substantial margin to expand Medicaid for the state’s impoverished residents.

A U.S. citizen who worked at a local English-language institute was shot dead in Baghdad, the U.S. Embassy there announced Tuesday, in a rare attack on a foreign visitor to the country.

Stephen Troell lived and worked in Baghdad at the Global English Institute together with his wife and four children, all of whom were involved in the running of the facility.

[. . .]

Iraqi officials said Troell’s vehicle was attacked by “unknown” gunmen as he drove through central Baghdad on Monday. The weapon that killed him was fitted with a suppressor, they said, but they provided no further information. They spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the sensitive case.

In "Stephen Troell was murdered in Baghdad," Trina pointed out that we named Stephen in yesterday's snapshot and that US press outlets weren't doing that.  I have no idea why they didn't.  RUDAW had already named Stephen and multiple Twitter accounts in Iraq had named him and published his photo.  I have no idea why the US press didn't name him when it was not something hidden.  Maybe it was sloppy reporting on their part?  I have no idea.  Maybe they didn't know his name was already out there and had been for a few hours.  

Meanwhile, failed and disgraced cult leader Moqtada al-Sadr has struggled in recent months for relevancy.  He wasn't able to put together a government despite repeated attempts.  He's not a kingmaker.  He's not much of anything.  But he's finally found an issue he can dedicate himself to.  THE ARAB WEEKLY reports:

The leader of the Sadrist movement, Moqtada al-Sadr, has recently kept a low profile, demonstrating that he has accepted the new political realties in Iraq, foremost of which is the control by his rivals in  the Coordination Framework of both the government and parliament.

But the Sadrist leader has reemerged to express fears that Iraqi youth could borrow a page from Iran's anti-clerical protests.

What concerns Sadr in particular is the practice by young Iranian teenagers of knocking off turbans of mullahs in the streets in defiance of the ruling theocracy.

The new "street game" comes as part of ongoing popular protests over the death of 22-year old Mahsa Amini in the hands of the morality policy for not being "properly veiled".

Sadr did not hide his anguish over the possible spread of the symbolic movement to Iraq where clerics, blamed for many of Iraq's ills since 2003, could be the target of street's anger.

I guess the plight of tipping cows was already taken.  But Moqtada has found his issue, has found his cause.

Let's close with BROS.

Forgot to note THIRD yesterday:

The following sites updated:


the cleaning lady - another killing

how much does nadia hate arman?  she's just telling all his business to kamdar.  i think it's supposed to make us root for arman to leave her for thony.  he needs to leave her for some 1.  even garrett.

so kamdar doesn't buy that the f.b.i. just happened to show up on the last episode and shot up the place.  

arman gets thony to admit that the woman who helped them in the house was garrett's informant.  arman uses that when garrett refuses to hand over the drugs from last week.  they need those drugs to sell.

kamdar finds the woman who helped them - and she's in the f.b.i.'s protective custody!

he brings arman and thony to her.  he knows the woman can't be trusted.  if they're not in it with her, they'll kill her.  arman finally does that to save thony.

meanwhile thony ends up telling garrett that she killed her husband.  she swears it was an accident.  he believes her.  of course, we know her nephew marco killed him.

a lot took place and i may need to watch the episode again.  i'd planned to blog early last night so i could watch the show without interruptions.  but my oldest sister called and i took it near the end of the show.

apparently, i got very talkative after the show went off.  my sister said, 'oh, now you sound like you woke up.'  i told her nope, my show just went off. 

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

Tuesday, November 8, 2022.  Today we note the murder of Stephen Troell in Baghdad, the death of Canadian military member Eric Cheung and the conviction of a United Nations worker who drugged and raped women.

Violence never ends in Iraq.  Most of the time, however, the US media ignores it.  Today, they're interested because one of the dead is an American citizen, Stephen Troell.  Morgan Winsor (ABC NEWS) reports:

An American aid worker was gunned down in Baghdad on Monday, officials said.

Millennium Relief and Development Services, a Texas-based international aid group, confirmed in a statement that one of its workers was "shot and killed by armed attackers as he returned to this home on Monday evening." His name has not yet been released.

"We are greatly saddened by the tragedy that took the life of our colleague, near his home in Baghdad, Iraq," Millennium said. "An investigation is ongoing and details on the assailants and the motivation for the attack are not known at this time."

ALJAZEERA notes, "Police sources also said that the man’s wife and child were in the car with him but were not hurt.  The attack occurred after the man was cut off while driving in the streets by one car, while assailants in another car shot him dead."  

Along with the Tweets above, RUDAW also identifies the man murdered as Stephen Troell.  I have no idea why the American press continues to go with "unidentified."

The murder came up in yesterday afternoon's press briefing at the US State Dept:

[Spokesperson Ned] PRICE: Happy Monday.

QUESTION: Before I get to a question on Russia, I just want to ask real quick – because I don’t think you’ll have a lot on this, but I just want to make sure – and that is the murder of a USAID worker in Baghdad. Have you –

MR PRICE: You’re right. We don’t have much to offer on this publicly just yet. We’re of course aware of these reports. We’re looking into these reports. There is a process that we would need to undertake, if and when we are in a position to confirm that an American has been killed. We would of course first notify the next of kin before making any public comment. So, we’re still looking into these reports to determine what we can regarding these allegations.

QUESTION: Okay. Well, does that mean that you’re – that you don’t even know if someone has been – has been killed in the circumstances that were described?

MR PRICE: There is no reason to doubt that someone has been killed, as the reports indicate. But we want to be thorough in determining that the victim in this case was in fact a U.S. citizen, and of course then undertaking any necessary efforts to notify next of kin.

As that took place, White House spokesperson Karine Jean-Pierre held a 58 minute press briefing and the murder never came up.  "Now, let that sink in for a second.  Let that sink in for just a second." 58 minutes and she never raised the issue nor did the press.  An aid worker had been murdered, an American citizen and she wanted to play cutesy about MEET THE PRESS and other garbage.  Does she understand her job?  She offered nothing but garbage and she violated The Hatch Act repeatedly while repeatedly shouting out "Hatch Act" -- like it was "Tag, your it!" -- but she couldn't be bothered with the murder of an American citizen in Iraq.

It's that kind of garbage that's resulted in the very bad image this administration has -- a bad image that crosses party lines.

When Joe Biden is talking about his son -- who died in Maryland, not Iraq -- he tears up and cries and we're all supposed to be so touched.  But this administration can't even make a moment's time in White House press briefing to note an American aid worker who actually did get killed in Iraq?  

An Iraqi police major (unnamed) tells REUTERS,   "Our initial investigation and eyewitnesses showed that armed men were trying to kidnap the American citizen."  THE INDEPENDENT adds, "Iraq’s prime minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani said that a committee will be formed to 'investigate the circumstances of the killing of an American citizen in the capital'."  And AP notes, "The streets of the middle class, mixed Christian and Muslim neighborhood where the victim reportedly lived were empty of residents but heavily patrolled by police Monday night. Such attacks against individuals in the Iraqi capital have been rare since the defeat of the Islamic State group in the country in 2017 but rockets are sometimes fired toward the U.S. Embassy."

In a separate report, AP also notes:

A little known group calling itself the Ahl al-Kahf Brigades issued a claim of responsibility on Tuesday for the murder of the American man, according to Iraqi media reports. The group was said to have claimed the attack as retaliation for the killing of senior Iranian military commander General Qassem Soleimani and Iraqi paramilitary commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, who was the deputy head of a pro-Iran group, who were both killed in the same U.S. airstrike at the beginning of 2020.

The American is not the only foreign national killed in Iraq in the last days.  THE CANADIAN PRESS reports, "Capt. Eric Cheung, 38, died Saturday under what the military is calling 'non-operational related circumstances,' though the exact details are now under investigation."

Cheung had been a member of the Canadian Armed Forces since 2009, most recently as an operations officer with 38 Canadian Brigade Group headquarters, based in Winnipeg.

He was in Baghdad as part of the U.S.-led coalition against ISIS, a militant group fighting to establish an Islamist state, when he died.

Canada has had troops in Iraq since 2014, when ISIS first captured a large swath of territory and declared an Islamic caliphate.

Let's drop back a week for Karim Elkorany because at least one of his rape victims was an Iraqi woman.  AP reported last week:

The sentencing of a former United Nations communications specialist to 15 years in prison Thursday was punctuated by the tears and eloquence of some of his 13 sexual assault victims who said being drugged and raped by a man who first befriended them left them shattered and hopeful that justice might help them heal.

When they were finished speaking, U.S. District Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald told Karim Elkorany that it was particularly heinous that he engaged in the “raping of women who believed he was their friend” as she sentenced him to the maximum he could face after he pleaded guilty to three charges in May.

The UN opened an investigation into Elkorany after a victim reported being sexually assaulted in 2016 in Iraq, according to the SDNY statement.

Nearly a year later, special agents with the New York FBI field office interviewed Elkorany in November of 2017 outside his New Jersey residence where he denied the allegations, according to the statement.   

       Prosecutors say investigators found that Elkorany “engaged in a pattern of similar conduct involving many other women,” including sexually assaulting a UN contractor in the United States and Iraq, among other locations, on multiple occasions.

From around 2009 to around 2016, Elkorany sexually assaulted or attempted to sexually assault at least five victims after the women were rendered unconscious from consuming alcoholic drinks he had prepared for them, according to the statement.    

The US Justice Dept issued the following statement:

Thursday, October 27, 2022

Former United Nations Employee Sentenced To 15 Years In Prison For Drugging And Sexually Assaulting Victims

Throughout Nearly Two Decades, Karim Elkorany Drugged 20 Victims and Sexually Assaulted at Least 13 of Those Victims

Damian Williams, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced today that KARIM ELKORANY, a former communications specialist with the United Nations (“UN”) in Iraq, was sentenced today in Manhattan federal court by United States District Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald to 15 years in prison for drugging and/or sexually assaulting 20 victims.  ELKORANY previously pled guilty on May 24, 2022, to sexually assaulting an internationally protected person and making false statements to cover up another sexual assault.  In connection with the plea, ELKORANY also admitted that he drugged and/or sexually assaulted 17 additional victims. 

U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said: “Karim Elkorany perpetrated monstrous acts against multiple women over nearly two decades.  At today’s proceeding, Elkorany was held accountable by the Court and also by his victims, a number of whom confronted him with powerful statements about the grievous harm he caused through his horrific conduct.  We express deep gratitude to all of the victims for their bravery in coming forward and remain committed to doing all we can to bring perpetrators like Elkorany to justice.”

According to the Superseding Indictment, public court filings, and statements during court proceedings:

Since at least in or about 2005 up to at least in or about April 2018, ELKORANY worked in international aid, development, and/or foreign relations.  From in or about October 2013 up to in or about April 2016, ELKORANY worked for the UN Children’s Fund (commonly known as UNICEF) in Iraq.  From in or about July 2016 up to in or about April 2018, ELKORANY worked as a Communications Specialist for the UN in Iraq. 

In or about November 2016, ELKORANY drugged and sexually assaulted a woman (“Victim-1”) in Iraq, where he was stationed while working for the UN.  ELKORANY drugged Victim-1 and brought Victim-1 to his apartment.  While at ELKORANY’s apartment, ELKORANY sexually assaulted Victim-1 while she was unconscious.  In or around December 2016, Victim-1 reported the sexual assault to the UN.  The UN initiated an investigation, through which ELKORANY was notified of the substance of Victim-1’s allegations against him.

On or about November 3, 2017, special agents with the New York Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”) conducted a voluntary interview of ELKORANY outside of his residence in New Jersey.  During that interview, ELKORANY expressed familiarity with the nature and substance of the allegations made by Victim-1 to the UN but falsely stated that the drugging and sexual assault by ELKORANY that Victim-1 had reported to the UN did not occur. 

ELKORANY also engaged in a pattern of similar conduct involving many other women.  Between in or around 2014 and in or around 2019, ELKORANY drugged and sexually assaulted a woman (“Victim-2”), who was a contractor for a UN organization at relevant times, in the United States and Iraq, among other locations, on multiple occasions. 

In addition to Victim-1 and Victim‑2, ELKORANY drugged and/or sexually assaulted 18 additional victims between in or around 2002 and in or around 2016. 

*                *                *

In addition to the prison sentence, ELKORANY, 39, of West Orange, New Jersey, was sentenced to three years of supervised release and ordered to pay restitution in amounts to be determined. 

Mr. Williams praised the outstanding work of the FBI.

The case is being prosecuted by the Office’s Public Corruption Unit.  Assistant U.S. Attorneys Lara Pomerantz, Amanda L. Houle, Daniel C. Richenthal, and Robert B. Sobelman are in charge of the prosecution.

Violent Crime
Nicholas Biase (212) 637-2600
Press Release Number: 
Updated October 27, 2022

From all the bad news above, let's move over to the comedy classic of 2022, BROS.

The following sites updated: