Saturday, February 13, 2010

The worst of all the beggars

"Iraq, Forgive Us." That's the name of Amy Goodman's latest column where she rushes to confess to her sins of omission on the subject of Iraq and admits that she should have seriously covered the November through February public hearings the Iraq Inquiry staged.

Oh. Wait. It's "Haiti, Forgive Us."

More attempts by Amy and her disgusting ilk that they give a damn about others. It's just Aimee's version of Water Cooler Talk. What's 'hot' and what will get her 'attention'?

She is the most useless and she consumes so much of the Pacifica Radio funds. If they'd stop funding her or even just paying her what other programmers are paid -- and keeping ownership of the program -- Pacifica would have a lot more money and not be in the extreme crisis that they were.

Amy's not a historian because that requires actual facts. Which is why she writes:

While France, as part of the deal, recognized Haiti’s sovereignty, slave-owning politicians in the United States, like Thomas Jefferson, refused to recognize the black republic, afraid it would inspire a slave revolt here. The U.S. withheld formal recognition until 1862.

Haiti's independence wasn't recognized by anyone (other than Haiti) until 1825. A year later Jefferson was dead and Jefferson wasn't president at that time.

Jefferson's issues were complex and somehow in the simple mind of Amy Goodman, that's all lost. What in 1804, Goody? The massacre? Oh, yeah, you leave that out. She leaves out the French-American ties that go back to the Revolutionary War. (France occupied Haiti for years.) She leaves out so much.

Was Haiti an aggrieved area? Absolutely. But Amy always has to simplify everything because it all has to be black and white for her (or Black and White). She is the worst of all the beggars in Panhandle Media.

She lies repeatedly. Especially when doing pledge drives. She was laying just this week about Wal-Mart and a policy it has and how unfair and Michael Moore documents it in his movie and . . . I've seen that bad movie. In that movie, if you watch closely, Moore explains Wal-Mart did away with the policy in 2000. So why's Amy Goodman lying about Wal-Mart to raise money?

I'm sick of it and I'm sick of her. I'm sick of people lying to try get support.

If you can't get support with the truth, maybe your ideas just aren't that good?

I'm so shocked to see so much lying from my side. I've never seen anything like it before. Not during the Carter administration, not during the Clinton administration. I have never seen this corps of liars. There were always a few whores and apologists. But these days you have a marching corps of liars and it is really frightening because the one thing we're supposed to have on our side is the truth and when we toss that away we can't recover the high ground. It's gone for good.

I'm also, honestly, really tired of Marxists offering Marxists critiques but not having the guts to own up that that's what they're doing.

I'm really tired of that.

I have no problem with Communists or Socialists -- and have certainly slept with many in my life -- but I do have a problem with people who hide in closets. I have a problem with those who pretend to be 'independents' or 'Democrats' and offer their Marxist critiques.

I'm also really tired on their New York Cowardly Asses which prevent them from criticizing Barack. If you want to see Amy Goodman, watch Annie Hall. She's Alvy's father, yacking away on the topic of the maid stealing.

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
Friday, February 12, 2010. Chaos and violence continue, so-called 'elections' appear to be on for March 7th, the BBC trusts Ahmed Chalabi, the appalling silence of peace 'leaders' in the US, and more.
Yesterday, the US military announced a death. The fallen has been identified as 20-year-old Adriana Alvarez. KRGV reports, "CHANNEL 5 NEWS spoke to her family. They tell us they didn't want her to enlist and they're having a tough time dealing with her loss." The Brownsville Herald quotes her sister Alma Alvarez saying, "We are devasted" and noes that Adriana Alvarez' survivors include Alma, mother Alicia "and two other younger sisters."
What did she die for? What was she there for? No one can answer that question and note how they run from it. You're 'lefty' gas bags will, from time to time, point out that there was no reason for the illegal war to start but they've all moved on and never grapple with the fact that there is no reason for it to continue. The Iraq War has not ended. Why are US troops still there? What happened to the cry of "Troops Out Now!"? As Chicago Mayor Richard Daley pointed out (see yesterday's snapshot), "Where are they? They've disappeared. What happened? I thought was was evil. Where are the people who believed in their heart against George W. Bush? 'We have to organize and walk down Michigan AVenue and Clark Street.' What happened? I thought they believed in their heart. Oh! It became a political isse. 'Barack won the election, now we go home.' What happened to America?"
And what happened to the peace movement? Betrayed by it's so-called leaders -- bad writers, bad actors, closeted Communists posing as 'independents,' -- a lot of a fakes and a lot of failures but somebody went along with the notion that they were leaders and all they 'led' was the death of the peace movement. They tried to co-opt into the Kerry campaign in 2004 and that didn't work out as well but in 2008 they turned it into the Barack electoral effort and they destroyed it. Tom Hayden, Leslie Cagan, all the failures (including closeted lesbian pretending to be heartbroken over her recent 'breakup' with a man -- that's a double play, by the way, closeted politically and sexually) who got put in charge and led the movement to nowhere.
Tom Hayden, the ultimate "Nowhere Man."
He's a real nowhere man
Sitting in his nowhere land
Making all his nowhere plans for nobody
-- "Nowhere Man," written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney
In a non-think piece for Huff & Post (which only demonstrated the lack of standards at Arianna's site), Tom-Tom opened with, "Barack Obama has faced peril before, particularly during the controversy over Rev. Jeremiah Wright last year, but the crisis he faces now is more systemic." It's 2010 and Tom-Tom. What Jeremiah Wright crisis did Barack faced in 2009? Hmm?
The skin's shot to hell with bumps and lesions now sprouting over the pock marks and the nose is even more bulbous making for a frightening appearance but the truly scary part may be just how far the mind's gone. The mindless whore quickly moves to his next series of 'sentences': "The wars in Afghanistan and Pakistan cost at least 541 American lives in the past year, and the overall total will pass 1,000 this month and likely double before 2012. The unfunded taxpayer cost of Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan during Obama's first year was $119.1 billion, and Afghanistan alone will become another trillion-dollar war under his administration." I don't know many that take Scripps College all that seriously but shouldn't someone teaching there know a few basics about writing? For example, if you're going to mention the deaths in one area, you mention in the other. Tom Tom's too busy to be bothered with looking up basic facts and figures. Besides, a shout out to Iraq is more than enough, right? It's not as if he ever grandstanded on Iraq and . . . Oh, wait, he did. Remember his dopey book about the 'pillars' to ending the war in Iraq? Remember all that nonsense? Looking back it was nothing but roadblocks to keep Americans from making real demands on Democratic politicians.
Tom-Tom now wants to write bad columns where we're supposed to believe he's appealing to a politician's higher nature. This is the same Tom-Tom who, in 2006, revealed that he was a tool of the Zionist lobby -- see "I Was Israel's Dupe" at CounterPunch, July 20, 2006. I don't know how else to word that. When you claim, as he did, that you silenced yourself and did so to curry favor with the Israeli government, I'm not sure what else we're supposed to call you. (Other than "Liar!") So Tom was a state legislator -- he never made it higher despite presidential dreams he bored all of us with in the 70s and 80s -- and as a comparatively lowly state legislator, he insists he was controlled. But somehow he wants people to believe they can 'fight the power' and appeal to members of the US Congress and White House's better nature? According to Tom-Tom, as an elected Democrat, he did what he had to do for 'the lobby' and the Democratic Party. And he's still doing what he has to for the Democratic Party which, incidentally, never includes actual work that would end an ongoing war.
Maybe in 20 years he'll scribble "I Was Barack's Dupe"?
In the meantime, Iraqis continue dying, US service members continue dying and Tom continues pontificating in the mistaken belief that one day he'll find someone who mistakes him for a thinker. Tom Hayden was part of the "Out of Iraq now!" brigade . . . when a Republican occupied the Oval Office. Now he's in no rush for the Iraq War to end, it can go on and on and that's okay with him. Gone are the cries to end the war now. Gone is the insistance and the only thing that's changed is the political party of the War Hawk running the illegal war.
What he should be asking is: Why is the US still in Iraq? Barack Obama didn't keep his campaign promises, Barack Obama decided George W. Bush was the person to follow on Iraq. That's what Tom Hayden should be addressing if he had any integrity -- which of course he doesn't. He'll go to his grave providing distractions and excuses for the Democratic Party all the while insisting that he's going to change the party from within. Let's see, we've been hearing that from him since the 60s. Let's see there's been the Campaign for Economic Democracy, Campaign California and now Progressive Democrats for America -- and nothing changed. Not one of those organizations from within as he always insisted they would while hitting up people to fund his pet projects. Over 40 years of his 'changing the party from within' b.s. with nothing to show for it. Nothing.
Tom-Tom hopes everyone can tricked and fooled the way the self-admitted dupe alleges he once was. But people aren't as stupid as Tom-Tom likes to hope they are. Jonathan Katz' "Why ending the occupation of Iraq will take more than Obama's Promises" (The Mac Weekly) notes the realities Hayden hopes everyone is blinded to:

I don't believe Obama when he says we'll be done occupying Iraq and killing and being killed there by 2011 because that's not what we do. He'll withdraw some of the "combat troops" and "re-mission" the rest as "non-combat troops" (these operations include the physical protection "Americans and U.S. assets in Iraq" and "counterterrorism operations in which Iraqi forces would take the lead." That's all to say, they will still be killing and being killed.) We'll get a "lease" from the Iraqi government on some nice plots of land situated between some oil fields, kick up our feet, and have our "non-combat" frogs, our Blackwater toads, and our intelligence snakes go right on violently occupying foreign populations.
Xiong Tong (Xinhua) reports campaigning is underway in Iraq . . . for those not banned in the witch hunt, of course. Of the bannings, Jane Arraf (Christian Science Monitor) quotes Falluja college worker Saria Jassam stating, "It is all politically motivated. Why they didn't revoke their parliamentary immunity one year or two years ago? It is obvious, they know that [Saleh] Al Mutlak is a patriot." Jiang Yuxia adds, "The upcoming parliamentary election is crucial to Iraq's national reconciliation process after a peak of sectarian violence in 2006 and 2007 which left tens of thousands dead in the war-torn country." Yes and, as noted in Wednesday's snapshot, that slaughter followed the last parliamentary election in which . . . candidates campaigned via hatred -- a match lit and tossed on the oil fields. Marc Lynch (Foreign Policy) offers some insight into this week's developments:

The legitimacy of the electoral process and the independence of Iraqi institutions have been thrown into serious question among both Iraqis and the international community. Sunni-Shia resentments have been rekindled, with such polarization evidently being seen as a winning electoral strategy in certain quarters. Sunni participation may well be depressed, though a full-out boycott is unlikely. The damage is likely to me measured in increments, not in a single apocalyptic collapse.

Layla Anwar (An Arab Woman Blues) offers this view:

As expected and as mentioned in the lines below, the latest news state that Salih Al-Mutlag of the Iraqiiya Alliance has been banned from participating in the elections. I really hope he gets out of Iraq before being murdered.

He and Dhafir Al-Aini both Sunnis have been barred from the elections on charges of Baathism.

That is most strange really because Al Mutlaq left the Baath party back in the 70's. And Iyad Alllawi, a secular Shiite who served as PM during Bremer's time and who is also running on the Iraqiiya list was also a Baathist in the 70's and left the party. How come he was allowed to stay ?

Furthermore, Salih Al-Mutlag ran for the first round of elections in 2005, and ran in the provincial elections. I even remember in 2005, someone approached me and asked me to vote for his list. Of course, I refused to vote for anyone since I do not believe in the electoral process under US/Iranian occupation.

I really believe that the Arab Sunnis and secular forces of Iraq are really in a tight spot now, in particular the Sunnis. If they don't participate in the elections, the sectarian Shiite parties of Iran will have it all for themselves along with the Kurds and this is exactly what is asked for and wanted.

Some say that this may trigger another round of serious sectarian violence and I say this is exactly what is also aimed at because only then can the Americans stay on a little longer and the full partition plan of Iraq into 3 statelets can be turned into an official reality.

BBC News notes, "As posters appeared across Iraq for Friday's start, the fate of more than 170 candidates is still undecided." Will anyone vote? Mohammed Abbas and Samia Nakhoul (Reuters) report that "[. . .] Iraqis living with only a few hours of power a day amid mounds of rubbish and pools of sewage are wondering whether to bother voting in a March election." Reuters also offers a look at some of the political parties vying for votes. BBC News' Gabriel Gatehouse decides today to report on the Sunday protest in Baghdad and he still can't get it right. It was an "angry crowd," he tells us and that's supposed to inform? From Monday's snapshot:
As one of the many chicken exiles who pulled the world into a war they were too cowardly to fight on their own, Nouri knows a thing or two about perception management even if Reuters doesn't. Helen Long (Reuters) plays fool or whore -- you decide in a video 'report' on 'thousands' of Shi'ite protesters 'offended' that suspected Ba'athists were running. Helen hopes you don't get your information from anywhere else. Especially not Germany's DPA which tells you what Helen refused to: "Thousands of supporters of Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's Dawaa Party demonstrated outside the house of parliament in Baghdad on Sunday, to call for the exclusion of 'Baathist' candidates from the March polls." Who were these 'typical' protestors? The governor of Baghdad was among them. Helen whores it and prays the whole world is stupid and doesn't catch on. Steven Lee Myers (New York Times) reports, "Tensions over the dispute flared elswhere, as thousand of protesters attended anti-Baathist rallies in Baghdad and Basra organized by Mr. Maliki's political oranization, the Dawa Party. The Baghdad rally was broadcast at length on state television, showing Mr. Maliki's aides denoucning those sympathetic to the Baath Party".

You get the idea that, given the chance, Helen Long would insist to you that the April 2003 US PSY-OPS operation in Firdos Square where the US military brought down the statue of Hussein amidst a small group of exiles just brought back into the country (by the US) (as well as marines and 'reporters') was a 'legitimate' and 'real' protest by Iraqis. Helen really hopes you're as stupid as she believes you are and that you don't notice -- in the video she narrates!, for example, that these 'average Iraqi protestors' are carrying handmade flags . . . Iraqi flags? No, like any 'normal' and 'average' Iraq, they're carrying home made US flags. Yeah, that's believable. (Also note that the women are covered from head to toe but the men were track suits, dress suits, pullover shirts, etc. while few sport any kind of a bear let alone one would that would demonstrate devout religious beliefs -- translation, Nouri stands for more even more suppression of women's rights.) For those who have miss and long for the combined 'reporting' of Michael Gordon and Judith Miller, breathe easy, Helen Long is on the scene.
Nouri staged the protest and Gabriel can't tell you that but he does make time to interview Ahmed Chalabi -- as if anyone should trust that liar, as if that liar hasn't burned the press enough -- but there's Ahmed as a "trusted source." Layla Anwar (An Arab Woman Blues) calls out Gabriel:
And it seems that their Gabriel Gatehouse in the heart of Baghdad is unaware of people being gunned down in broad day light on bogus charges of Baathism nor is he aware that scores of Iraqis are already fleeing the capital and heading towards Syria and Jordan....

That shameless disgusting BBC so reminiscent of the colonial days of the British empire, still uses that same perfidious language and word twisting. BBC you hate Saddam Hussein because he would not bend over for your politicians. You only approve of those whom you can bugger. And some of us Iraqis will not be buggered.

And it seems to me despite all the information in your possession, you still hold that Ahmed Chalabi, the crook, the embezzler and the spy for Iran as a reference and a credible source of information. and that, despite the fact that your f**ked up nation is still inquiring into the " legality " of your going to "war" in Iraq.

You truly have ZERO shame and ZERO ethics.

Earlier this week, Sam Dagher (New York Times) blogged on the KRG gearing up for elections. Also zooming in on that region is "Iraq's dangerous trigger line, Too late to keep the peace?" (The Economist):

FROM the market town of Khanaqin, on the Iranian border, all the way to Sinjar, near the border with Syria, a fortified line snakes across northern Iraq. To the east and north stand Kurdish forces, known as the Peshmerga, keen to reclaim land taken from them by Saddam Hussein more than two decades ago. On the other side of the line, to the west and south, are Iraqi regular-army troops sent by the central government in Baghdad to stop ancient cities along the Tigris river falling into what it fears may become a purely Kurdish sphere.
The two forces have come close to flat-out fighting several times, usually outside the cities where commanders act off their own bat. Last year an Iraqi army unit drove into the disputed, though mainly Kurdish, town of Altun Kupri and took up sniper positions on rooftops. When residents, supported by armed Peshmerga, started demonstrating against their presence, the Arab soldiers were told to shoot to kill. Bloodshed was avoided at the last minute by American troops stationed nearby.
Turning to some of today's reported violence . . .
Aref Mohammed and Jack Kimball (Retuers) report that a village near Iraq's border with Iran was stormed by US and Iraqi forces with Maysan Province council member Maitham Laftah stating 10 people are dead and five injured while another count offers 8 dead and three injured: "A Reuters photographer who arrived after the firefight saw bloodstains on the ground and bullet holes in the walls."
Press TV reports Kufa roadside bombings resulted in the deaths of 6 people with thirty-five more injured. Reuters notes a Buhriz car bombing which claimed 2 lives (a father and son).

Meanwhile Jane Arraf (Christian Science Monitor) reports on the US military beliefs concerning the kidnapping of American citizen Issa T. Salomi by the League of Righteous:

But a senior US military leader, speaking on condition of anonymity, says the kidnapping appears to be a one-off incident possibly sparked by the Iraqi government's recent arrest of two mid-level members of the AAH, which US officials say is backed by Iran.
He said the group, which broke away from the movement of militant Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr after Sadr agreed to a ceasefire in 2008, appears to have further splintered after its leader Sheikh Qais al-Khazali renounced attacks on Iraqi forces and was released from US and Iraqi custody. The release was an apparent exchange for a British hostage and the bodies of three of his bodyguards and seen as key to reconciliation between the Iraqi government and Shiite militant groups.
"What I think has happened…is that there are elements within AAH that are not following any orders from Qais…. We believe it is that element out of that group that is pursuing their kidnapping campaign," says the senior U.S. official.

It's always interesting to watch the US military and US officials -- named and unnamed -- offer takes on what this or that group is in doing in Iraq -- you know, as opposed to what Iraqis think the groups doing in Iraq. For example, many don't buy the idea of a 'splinter group' -- or that al-Sadr 'ridded' his organization of the militias.

To stick with the US position presented in the article, so the League of Righteous allegedly felt shut out of the 'political process' and, in their anger/depression/rage, decided that they could best have a 'voice' and get their way via violence? Well wherever could they have learned that? From a US administration that ordered the US military to release the ringleaders of the organization despite the League's claims of responsibility (bragging, actually) for the death of 5 US service members in a raid on a base?

3 dead British citizens and 1 alive also proved to be very beneficial for the League.

Maybe that's why you have to be very careful about entering into negotiations with those who resort to violence? Concerned because of the message you send and the message the current US administration sent by releasing the ringleaders and others starting in June of last year was: Violence means you get your way.

In England, the Iraq Inquiry is in recess but Simon Vezey (Epoch Times) notes John Chilcot, Chair of the Committee, and others' statements to offer:

One exchange hinted that the panel had access to secret documents revealing that George Bush planned to attack Iraq even if Iraq complied with inspectors and was in compliance with the crucial UN resolution 1441.
Sir Lawrence Freedman had asked Mr Straw: "Was there any point where Powell said to you that, even if Iraq complied, President Bush had already made a decision that he intended to go to war?"
When Mr Straw said this was not the case, "to the best of my recollection", and talked more broadly around the question, Sir Lawrence pressed him a few times on the issue.
Sir Lawrence Freedman said: "I was going to suggest you might want to look through your conversations and check."
"I will go through the records, because I think you are trying to tell me something," said Mr Straw.
TV notes. NOW on PBS begins airing Friday on most PBS stations (check local listings):
Even with the recent outpouring of support for earthquake victims in
Haiti, Americans' attention span for global crises is usually very
short. But is there a way to keep American audiences from tuning out
important global issues of violence, poverty, and catastrophe far beyond
their backyards? On Friday, February 12 at 8:30 pm (check local
listings), NOW talks with filmmaker Eric Metzgar about "Reporter," his
documentary about the international reporting trips of New York Times
columnist Nicholas Kristof. In the film, Metzgar provides fascinating
insight into how Kristof breaks through and gets us to think deeply
about people and issues half a world away.

Staying with TV notes, Washington Week begins airing on many PBS stations tonight (and throughout the weekend, check local listings) and joining Gwen are Dan Balz (Washington Post), Naftali Bendavid (Wall St. Journal), Janet Hook (Los Angeles Times) and David Sanger (New York Times). Meanwhile Bonnie Erbe will sit down with Melinda Henneberger, Eleanor Holmes Norton and Genevieve Wood to discuss the week's events on PBS' To The Contrary. Check local listings, on many stations, it begins airing tonight. And turning to broadcast TV, Sunday CBS' 60 Minutes:

Nowhere in the world can such a concentration of power be found than at the World Economic Forum's meeting in Davos, Switzerland, where the world's most powerful and influential people gather yearly to try to solve the world's most pressing problems. Scott Pelley reports.

Made In The USA
Could crucial parts of the equipment Iran is using in its uranium enrichment facility have come from the U.S.? American law enforcement authorities say sensitive devices and electronics that could be used in weapons of mass destruction are being smuggled into Iran. Lesley Stahl reports. | Watch Video

Pigeon Fever
It's been just over a year since Bernard Madoff's multi-billion dollar Ponzi scheme fell apart. But, as Morley Safer reports, despite all the news about the Madoff scandal, similar Ponzi scams are still thriving. | Watch Video

60 Minutes, Sunday, Feb. 14, at 7 p.m. ET/PT.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Corporatist War Hawk suprises willfully blind

"Activists angry over President Obama bonus talk" (Victoria McGrane, Politico):
It's what he always does. It's why he gave no specifics as a candidate on almost every issue. He had to be the blank slate so many could project their hopes on. His lack of any record or real accomplishments were actually a plus.

Here's the thing about that, for future reference, when someone runs as a blank slate? Don't vote for them. Experience does matter. If they won't get specific about plans, they probably are either hiding what they're planning to do or they are incapable of figuring out what to do. In the future, let's try to remember, no track record = no vote. I think the country will be a lot better off as a result.

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
Wednesday, February 10, 2010. Chaos and violence continue, a pipeline is targeted, a reporter is finally released from US military custody, Little Nouri Stirs Up Big Trouble sening his military into a province, Blackwater out of Iraq (kind of, sort of) and more.
Starting with oil, AFP reports that a pipeline which routed crude oil to a Baghdad refinery had just returned to providing oil when it was attacked in Rashidiya last night according to the Minister of Oil Hussein al-Shahristani. Reuters notes that no estimate was given on when the pipeline might be fixed and that the Minister of Oil claimed it transfers 50,000 barrels of oil per day. Kadhim Ajrash (Bloomberg News) reports an estimate has since been given for the repairs and the pipeline to be back up and running, sometime in "the next few days". Meanwhile Alsumaria TV reports, "Iraq Minister of Oil Hussain Shahristani said that Iraq is about to establish a new fourth Public Oil Company in order to supervise developing oil fields and that after the Ministry finished from signing 10 contracts with foreign companies. The Ministry hopes that this way it would be able to raise the production rate to 12 million barrels per day."
Reid Smith (The Daily Caller) sees the oil and the elections scheduled currently for March 7th as intertwined noting, "Legal opinion in Iraq regarding the legality of these contracts is essentially split between allies and opponents of al-Maliki. The prime minister's State of Law coalition which surged in last January's provincial elections and remains a parincipal contender in the March ballot, will ensure the auctioned parcels if it maintains control of parliament. However, hydrocarbon laws governing Iraq's oil wealth, the third largets in the world behind Saudi Arabia and Iran, have not been passed yet, and an influx of blacklisted candidates might have soured the existing deals." NPR's Lourdes Garcia-Navarro (Morning Edition -- link has audio and text) reports on the response to the illegal war in Anbar Province: Saddam Hussein is missed:

The reason, residents say, is disillusionment with the current Shiite-led government and the local Sunni provincial council. Anbar suffered years of brutal war that pitted U.S. forces against al-Qaida and other insurgents. Now, it's less violent. But people like Zaid say life is still hard, with few services and no jobs.
"It is only now that we have discovered how valuable Saddam was to us," Zaid says. "People have compared the situation before to the situation now. And then was better."

This is not a surprising response for Anbar or any other region in Iraq. Saddam Hussein could be 100% evil and the US forces could be 100% angels. It wouldn't matter. Hussein is the past and just being the past, and now a closed chapter, gives it an ending point. There is no ending point for the daily struggle of life in Iraq today. And not only are the people suffering but they're suffering under exiles put into place by the US. They're not represented by Iraqis, they're represented by malcontents, little cowards who fled Iraq and returned only after the US forces invaded. They've never given a thing for Iraq and the people of Iraq are well aware of it.

You can't install leadership.

That's true anywhere. That's true in a work environment. If you have people already there and you repeatedly promote from outside, bring in from outside, you're asking for trouble.

The Saddam posters are not signs of a return of the Ba'ath Party -- or even the Ba'ath Party as it was. Little Nouri is correct to see it as a rejection of him but it's not an embrace of any form of Ba'athism. However, refusing to allow the banned candidates to run in the elections will help start an underground Ba'ath Party. That's not a 'prediction,' that's a basic reality and there's not anyone that's familiar with politics and revolution and rebellion that wouldn't see that as well. If Little Nouri wants to bring back the Ba'ath Party, he just needs to ensure that Iraqis see him refusing to allow candidates to run. By tarring the rejected/banned candidates with the Ba'ath label, he provides all the building blocks for resistance. As the Los Angeles Times' Liz Sly noted last month (January 27th) on KRCW's To The Point, "And the Ba'athist is the big bogey man in Iraq, if you like, right now. You've got this political campaign that's been going on, as you referred to earlier, to exclude Sunni can -- well, they're not just Sunni, but they're secular candidates and a lot of them are Sunni who they have accused of having links to the Ba'athists and there's this political effort to exclude them from the elections. At the same time, you're seeing the government blame Ba'athists for explosions and the effect that that is having is it is -- it is really opening up the sectarian divide again because Shia associate the Ba'athist with the Sunni and people think this is going to make them more likely to vote with the Sh'ite colation like they did before in the last election." Layla Anwar (An Arab Woman Blues) explains, "OK first and foremost, most important piece of news, confirmed news, which you will obviously not be reading about in your media. -- for the month of January 2010 ALONE, there have been over 1625 sectarian arrests." She goes on to note some additional figures:
- 6'500 candidates for
- 350 parliamentary seats
- 50'000 voting locals inside of Iraq
- 320'000 "observers".
- Iraqi army and police which make up 1 million individuals will be voting in separate ballots. - important to remember this point, bearing in mind that army and police are most, if not all, affiliated to the Shiite parties,
- and now for the last point and a very important one too : again as per official government figures
only 18 million Iraqis are eligible to vote BUT 26 million voting cards have been issued so far. Observers ask why this is so -- hope you do too.
Little Nouri seems determined to be seen as "the new Saddam." Steven Lee Myers and Anthony Shadid (New York Times) report that he sent the Iraqi military into Tikrit last night and that they remain in Tikrit. An uprising? A rebellion? More smoke and mirros about madcap former Ba'athists? No, he sent in the troops "-- for the second time -- to exert his influence in choosing a new governor" for the province. What's the result? You have US forces attempting to help and calm members of the province's council, telling them (rightly) that they have the law on their side. US forces need to leave Iraq. If that's not clear to you, you're not paying attention. Little Nouri's now going after the people -- as members of the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee suspected he would in 2008 -- Russ Feingold, Joe Biden, basically everyone warned against this happening -- Democrat or Republican, they all warned about this happening. Where was the press? These were open hearings. Where was the US press? Norm Coleman (no longer a member of the Senate -- Al Franken won the seat when he ran against him) voiced it. This cut across party lines and the press didn't feel like the American people needed to know?
The events reported by Steven Lee Myers and Anthony Shadid are very disturbing because this is the first steps outlined by Democratic and Republican senators serving on the Senate's Foreign Affairs Committee repeatedly in 2008. It was covered in the snapshots if we were at the hearings. Example, April 10, 2008 snapshot:
Biden noted that those appearing before Congress keep stating that the agreements "aren't binding to us but, in Iraq, they think we mean it . . . because otherwise we wouldn't be having this kind of discussion." Biden noted the "internal threat" aspect being proposed and how these requires the US "to support the Iraqi government in its battle with all 'outlaw groups' -- that's a pretty expansive commitment." He noted that it requires the US "to take sides in Iraq's civil war" and that "there is no Iraqi government that we know of that will be in place a year from now -- half the government has walked out."
"Just understand my frustration," Biden explained. "We want to normalize a government that really doesn't exist." Senator Russ Feingold wanted to know if there were "any conditions that the Iraq government must meet?" No, that thought never occurred to the White House. "Given the fact that the Maliki government doesn't represent a true colation," Feingold asked, "won't this agreement [make it appear] we are taking sides in the civil war especially when most Iraqi Parliamentarians have called for the withdrawal of troops?" The two witnesses didn't appear to have heard that fact before.
At this point the US military is now having to protect the citizens and the rule of law from . . . Iraq's prime minister. And how long do you think that's going to last?
Little Nouri is out of control. Steven Lee Myers and Anthony Shadid report, "In just the last week, Mr. Maliki's government has acted with, at best, disputed legal authority. In Diyala, a leading candidate from one of the main blocs challenging Mr. Maliki's party, known as State of Law, was arrested on Sunday night by special forces sent from Baghdad only days after participating in a recorded debate in which he criticized the security forces. Warrants are said to have been issued for five other members of that province's legislature on charges that remain unclear." Qassim Abdul-Zahra (AP) reports contractors "linked to Blackwater Worldwide" have been ordered out. This grand standing might have mattered in September 2007. All the order does now is underscore how inept Nouri is. Who are these Blackwater employees? Uh, it's not Blackwater. See banning the ones involved in the shooting? That would have made since. Banning Blackwater (now Xe) would have made sense. That's not what's happened. Approximately 250 contrators who, in September 2007, worked for Blackwater are being kicked out. They don't work for Blackwater today. But they did. There's no proof of any wrong doing on their part. But they did work for Blackwater.
At some point, someone needs to ask Nouri, "Is it just all 'b' words?" He lives in constant fear of the Ba'athists, he's targeting former employees of Blackwater . . . Is Xe out? No, of course not. This is a grandstanding measure that, again, only underscores how weak Little Nouri is. This move should have taken place in September of 2007. Jomana Karadsheh and Suzanne Simons (CNN) report that the contractors have been told they have seven days to leave (three of those seven have expired). Jane Arraf (Christian Science Monitor) says the approximately 200 includes "current and former employees" and she reports, "US embassy spokesmen could not immediately be reached for comment on how the move would affect its operations here. US officials had previously said that movements of diplomats, already severely restricted due to security fears, would be even more curtailed if former Blackwater guards were removed from duty." Is any thing really accomplished? It seems unlikely since Little Nouri's grandstanded before (yes, the Interior Ministry is speaking to the press but you're clue as to who's behind it is the fact that Nouri's spokesperson pops up in most articles as well and, no, he's not the Ministry of the Interior's spokesperson) and Xe's remained. Equally true, it can be hard to root out Xe. As Matthew Cole (ABC News) reported at the first of the month, "After Blackwater contractors were accused of shooting 17 civilians in Iraq, the State Department announced it would stop doing business with the company, but ABC News has found that several other agencies, including the CIA and the Pentagon, continue to employ the controversial company, under a myriad of names, often via secret, classified contracts. "
Returning to Liz Sly on KRCW's To The Point, "Well certainly speaking to the removal of the candidates who had supporters, as you say, I think that's going to have a very serious effect on the turnout amongst Sunnis and amongst your very middle of the road secular Iraqis who kind of feel that this process isn't for them, that people who they would have voted for have been excluded but it wasn't done in a fair way. That this was vengenace or vengefulness, if you like, on the part of this quite narrowly based commission that ordered these bannings. I think they're going to feel that this means that this isn't an inclusive Iraq It's not an Iraq that wants to include everybody in the political process. And that the system is weighed against them, it's not fair, it's not transparent they might fixed the vote, they banned these candidates we don't really know on what basis, we don't really know who they are so if they can do that why should it be a fair election I think it will supress turnout amongst those people."
Anyone remember when sectarian tensions were last sewn in a similar manner? The last national elections. And remember what happened afterwards? How likely is it that Nouri's actions will result in Sunni on Shia and Shia on Sunni violence as it did before? A climate's being created in a country that's already on the edge.
Turning to some of today's reported violence . . .
Reuters reports a Baghdad car bombing which left five wounded, a Baghdad roadside bombing which claimed the lives of 2 police officers (four more wounded), a Mosul grenade attack on a security checkpoint which injured one police officer and four bystanders, a Mosul sticky bombing which claimed the life of 1Iraqi soldier, a Mosul roadside bombing which left three people injured and, dropping back to yesterday, a Mosul roadside bombing which claimed 1 life and left six other people injured.
In other news out of Iraq, Ibrahim Jassam Mohammed is a Reuters journalist that the US military since September 1, 2008. He has finally been released. Reuters notes that, even now, the US military will not say why they held him and Ibrahim is quoted stating, "How can I describe my feelings? This is like being born again." While the US military held a journalist all this time, it should be noted they were ordered to release the ringleader of the group which claimed credit for the assault on a US base in Iraq which resulted in the deaths of 5 American service members. A journalist they hold, an apparent multiple felon they're ordered to release. But Little Nouri isn't friends with journalists and he is tight with the League of Righteous. While he's on his tear against alleged Ba'athists, it should not be forgotten that he's met with the League of Righteous and dispatched his spokesperson to meet with them, insisting that this organization responsible for the deaths of 5 Americans and for the deaths of 3 British citizens (possibly 4, one's status remains unknown) as well as the kidnapping of British citizen Peter Moore. These people must be brought in, Nouri insists.

December 1, 2008, he should have been free. There was no excuse to hold him because the Central Criminal Court of Iraq had found no evidence against him and had ruled that he be released. The US military ignored the ruling. No, Little Nouri didn't grandstand and scream. He didn't decry US interference. But Little Nouri's no friend of journalists, he's just a friend to criminals. Chris Tryhorn (Guardian) notes, "A month before his arrest, US forces detained Reuters cameraman Ali Mashhadani for the third time, holding him for three weeks without charge." David Walker (Photo District News) adds, "Over the course of the Iraq War, the military has detained a number of photojournalists as "security threats." Most, if not all, were eventually released without charges. They included AP photographer Bilal Hussein, who was released in April 2008 after more than two years of detention." The Committee to Protect Journalists has defended Ibrahim and other journalists imprisoned (around the world, not just in Iraq). Today they issued a statement which includes the following:
The Committee to Protect Journalists is relieved that the U.S military has released Iraqi photographer and cameraman Ibrahim Jassam today after holding him without charge for 17 months in Iraq , but calls on the U.S. government to ensure that this release marks the end of its policy of open-ended detentions of journalists.

Jassam, left, a freelancer who worked for Reuters, was arrested on September 2, 2008, by U.S and Iraqi forces during a raid on his home in Mahmoodiya, south of Baghdad . Jassam was never charged with a crime, and no evidence against him was ever disclosed; U.S. forces made only vague assertions that he was a "threat."

"We welcome the release of Ibrahim Jassam but we remain deeply concerned by the lack of due process exercised in this and similar, previous cases," said Mohamed Abdel Dayem , CPJ's Middle East and North Africa program coordinator. "The U.S. military must commit to making this the last time they hold a journalist without charge in an open-ended detention."

Reporters Without Borders also has spoken out in defense of Ibrahim and other journalists imprisoned. Today they released a statement which includes:

Reporters Without Borders welcomed the release today of Iraqi photographer, Ibrahim Jassam, of Reuters, who had been held by the US military since his arrest on 1st September 2008.

"This release is excellent news", the worldwide press freedom organisation said. "However it comes after long months in custody during which the US army never deigned to give any reason for the photographer's arrest and this despite the fact that an Iraqi court had ordered his release".

"I am happy to be reunited with all my family and to finally be free", an emotional Ibrahim Jassam told Reporters Without Borders.

"We welcome the decision to release Jassam," said IPI Director David Dadge. "However, we remain concerned by the fact that the US military felt it acceptable to hold him for 17 months in the absence of any charges against him. Furthermore, this case reveals the disturbing vacuum that exists between US military law and sovereign Iraqi law and it makes a mockery of the principle of habeas corpus."

The Iraqi photojournalist, who worked for Reuters and other news agencies as a freelancer, was seized from his home in Mahmudiya in September 2008.

In November 2008, the Iraqi Central Criminal Court ruled that there was no case against Jassam, but the US military continued to hold him, asserting that he was a "security threat" because of his alleged "activities with insurgents."

Jassam is one of a number of Iraqi journalists detained without charge, for varying lengths of time, by U.S. forces since the start of the Iraq war in 2003. On the anniversary of Jassam's arrest last year, IPI noted that the military's treatment of journalists was "a slap in the face to the US government's stated belief in press freedom, as well as its long-cherished belief in due process."

The freeing of Jassam comes a day before IPI releases its World Press Freedom Review 2009 -- Focus on the Middle East. The report welcomes the fact that fewer journalists were killed in Iraq in 2009 than in previous years, but expressed concern at continuing threats to media freedom.
Bonnie Bricker and Adil E. Shamoo (Foreign Policy in Focus) examine the current status of the war and offer conclusions including:
As our policies towards governance in Iraq evolve, American policymakers must continue to heed the current status of post-war Iraq. The numbers tell a devastating story. Several hundred thousand Iraqis died as a result of the war; an estimated one half-million were wounded. Tens of thousands of Iraqis are disabled, physically or mentally. There are over two million refugees outside Iraq and more displaced refugees inside Iraq. Twelve thousand physicians and thousands of intellectuals and engineers -- a large percentage of the professionals in Iraq -- left the country, and many will never return. Fifty percent of Iraqis are unemployed.
In order to break with the failed Iraq policy of the past, Washington must acknowledge the misery the invasion of Iraq inflicted on the Iraqi people. While welcoming any progress Iraqis have made post-invasion, we must not conflate the rebuilding of Iraq as a success of the neoconservatives. Rebuilding Iraq has occurred in spite of the neoconservatives' policies, not because of them. The neoconservatives' enthusiasm for Obama's policies in Iraq and Afghanistan provide fair warning that without a clear break from the past, Iraq's future is in doubt.
The current administration continues to support a sectarian constitution, as well as sectarian military and police forces. These imposed sectarian divisions further divide Iraqis instead of uniting them. The Lebanese example demonstrates that an Arab government based on sectarian divisions instead of non-sectarianism has little chance of success. Further, corporate U.S. interests are evident everywhere, especially in Iraq's oil fields. Hundreds of laws written by the United States and imposed on Iraq during the initial invasion remain in effect.
Iraq related. The Hurt Locker is Kathryn Bigelow's Iraq film and she and others nominated for Best Director (feature film) by the Academy Awards -- James Cameron, Jason Reitman, Lee Daniels and Quentin Tarantino -- speak with John Horn (Los Angeles Times) about their films. And Kathryn and Quentin note the Iraq War in their remarks. (Disclosure, I know Kathryn and am championing her with other Academy Award voters. She directed an amazing film. She's only the fourth women nominated for Best Director of a feature film and no woman has won thus far. Hopefully, she will make history in a few weeks.)
At the Washington Post, Dana Priest broke the story about the US government 'deciding' it can kill American citizens they suspect -- SUSPECT -- just because they want to. Usually, to sentence someone to an execution, you have to hold a trial. Francis A. Boyle is an international law expert and a noted professor. He weighs in at Information Clearing House:

This extrajudicial execution of human beings constitutes a grave
violation of international human rights law and, under certain
circumstances, can also constitute a war crime under the Four Geneva
Conventions of 1949. In addition, the extrajudicial execution of U.S.
citizens by the United States government also violates the Fifth
Amendment to the United States Constitution mandating that no person "be
deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law."
The U.S. Government has now established a "death list" for U.S. citizens
abroad akin to those established by Latin American dictatorships
during their so-called "dirty wars." The Bush Administration reduced the
United States of America to a Banana Republic waging a "dirty war"
around the world in gross violation of international law, human rights
law, and the laws of war. It is only a matter of time before the United
States government will establish a similar "death list" targeting U.S.
citizens living here at home. As someone who used to teach
Constitutional Law, President Obama knows better.
TV notes. NOW on PBS begins airing Friday on most PBS stations (check local listings):
Even with the recent outpouring of support for earthquake victims in
Haiti, Americans' attention span for global crises is usually very
short. But is there a way to keep American audiences from tuning out
important global issues of violence, poverty, and catastrophe far beyond
their backyards? On Friday, February 12 at 8:30 pm (check local
listings), NOW talks with filmmaker Eric Metzgar about "Reporter," his
documentary about the international reporting trips of New York Times
columnist Nicholas Kristof. In the film, Metzgar provides fascinating
insight into how Kristof breaks through and gets us to think deeply
about people and issues half a world away.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Pressure from where

"David Paterson tries to turn rumors to his favor" (Ben Smith, Politico):
A bizarre mix of speculation and innuendo involving sex and drugs has had a surprising effect on New York Gov. David Paterson’s reputation: It has made him a sympathetic figure for perhaps the first time in his troubled 22 months in office.
For more than a week, Paterson has been under intense pressure to respond to rumors about him that have played out not in the gossip of political insiders but on the front pages of the New York tabloids. The rumors concern what’s in a supposedly forthcoming story in
The New York Times that has taken on almost mythic dimensions before it has even run.
Tuesday afternoon, Paterson sought to seize control of a story that hasn’t run, and allegations that no one except the Times knows is in it, reporting on his interview with a Times reporter before the Times could.

First, that has an audio option. Second, I agree with Betty last night ("No reason to make it complex"). Keep it simple. Barack has a pattern of using dirty moves to get people out of races before, he doesn't want David Paterson to run and the best possible explanation is that he and his cronies are pulling the levers in an attempt to force Paterson out. Paterson wants to run. Who is anyone to tell him no?

That's true of anyone who wants to challenge him.

But Barack's never favored letting the people decide. He's always been about forcing people out and abusing rules and regulations.

He's a con artist.

Paterson isn't hugely popular. Few sitting governors are in this economy. Could he win? I would assume we'd have to see what happens when he was in campaign mode. But he's got every reason to make his case and the only people who can tell him no should be the people of New York state. Not anyone in DC.

Connect the Dots with Lila Garrett?

Did it air?

I listened to the archive during lunch yesterday. It was that annoying Brit (the man who mocked Cindy McKinney after she had ended the call in to what she thought was a nice interview). I figured they'd have it fixed today.

Either they don't or Lila wasn't on Monday.

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
Tuesday, February 9, 2010. Chaos and violence continue, Dan Choi gets some welcome news while service member Marc Hall could use some, Americans and Brits do not believe the illegal war ends in 2011, the banning of candidates continues in Iraq (and appears final) and more.

Starting in the US where
Michelle Garcia (The Advocate) reports Lt Dan Choi has "rejoined his unit in Pennsylvania" having "been called back into drill duty". Choi faced a disciplinary board in June for refusing to hide in a closet and they recommended that, under the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy, Choi be discharged. He tells The Advocate, "It felt good to just put away a lot of the past year. Obviously there were soldiers following everything I was doing, or there were others who didn't have a clue." Lez Get Real offers, "This is an unusual event given that Lt. Choi is openly gay, and it has been recommended that he be discharged from the military for being so. Unlike Colonel Victor Fehrenbach, Choi's homosexuality was personally disclosed instead of him being outed by a third party. [. . .] Lt. Choi is an Arabic translator. His skills in the current conflicts are vital to mission success, especially given the startling fact that so many of the military's Arabic languages linguists are gay or lesbian and that many have been discharged under DADT. Lt. Choi has the full support of his commanding officer who did not push for him to be discharged from the military. Instead, the Army National Guard ultimately had to go around his commanding officer to serve Choi with his discharge notification." February 2nd the US Senate Armed Services Committee took testimony from US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and the Chair of the Joint-Chiefs Adm Mike Mullen. Trina covered Mullen that day and we'll note this from his opening statement:

Mr. Chairman, speaking for myself only, it is my personal belief that allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly is the right thing to do. No matter how I look at this issue, I cannot escape being troubled by the fact that we have in place a policy that forces young men and women to lie about who they are in order to defend their fellow citizens. For me, personally, it comes down to integrity -- their's as individuals and our's as an institution. I also believe that the great young men and women of our military can and would accommodate such a change.

Staying with service members, Iraq War veteran Marc Hall is facing charges over a rap song.
Free Speech Radio News filed the following story yesterday (and I've added more of the lyrics to the song than are played in the report):

Dorian Merina: Supporters of a 34-year-old Iraq war veteran say the US military will be extraditing him to Iraq to face a military trial for a song he wrote called "Stop Loss." Marc Hall spent 14 months in Iraq and was due to end his military contract at the end of this month, February. Instead, like thousands of other soldiers, he received a stop-loss order that would continue his active duty and send him back to Iraq. So Hall recorded and released
this song as a form of protest, he says, and mailed it to the Pentagon.

Now this is real days
When s**t hit the airwaves
Somebody gotta say
F**k you colonels, captains, E7s and above
Think you're so much bigger than I am
I've been too good of an American
Stop movement
Got me chasing
If I do drugs
I'll get kicked out
But if my time is out
I can't get out
So the good die young
I heard it out your mouth
So f**k the Army
And everything you're all about

Like Obama says,
'Somebody be held responsible'
But some of y'all gonna be held in the hospitals whenever possible
To pursue my own journeys in life,
Through my own obstacles
Since I can't pinpoint the culpable
They want me cause misery loves company
I'm gonna round them all up
Eventually, easily,
Walk right up peacefully
And surprise them all
Yes, yes, ya'll
Up against the wall
Turn around
I gott a mother f**king magazine
With thirty rounds
On a three round burst
Ready to fire down
Still against the wall
I grab my M-4
Spray and watch
All the bodies hit the floor
I bet you never stop loss nobody no more
In your next lifetime
Of course
No remorse
You don't stop till the army is the only military branch
That still got the stop loss in effect
So the only thing I gotta' say
Is prepare for the consequences
When people want to get out
Let them get out.

Dorian Merina: That song has now landed him in jail where he faces charges in violations of the Uniform Code of Military Conduct. Hall could be extradited, according to his supporters, as soon as this week. To discuss this case we're joined by attorney David Gespass, president of the National Lawyers Guild and founding member of the
Military Law Task Force. Welcome to Free Speech Radio News.
David Gespass: Thank you for having me.

Dorian Merina: First, just to be clear, you have had contact with Marc Hall but you do not represent him in any official way at this point.

David Gespass: That's correct.

Dorian Merina: So what exactly are the charges that are being brought against Marc Hall by the military?

David Gespass: They are -- one charge, one additional charge is a violation of Article 134 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice -- that was also the original charges -- And they are an umber of specifications all of which have to do with communicating threats. And apparently to various and asundry people. I've seen the charge sheet but they redact the names who were allegedly threatened but the charges all have to do with communicating threats to other members of the army.

Dorian Merina: And what is the reason for moving him overseas I mean why can't he be tried in Georgia or the US, I mean, what's the reason for him being moved?

David Gespass: Well I suspect the army would make different claims about the reasons. My guess is they would say that's where all their witnesses are. From my perspective and talking with Marc briefly and talking with his military lawyer briefly, the real reasons are that it makes it more difficult for him to get witnesses because who is going to want to go to a war zone to testify? And it also separates him from his supporters. I think in essence they are taking away his right to a public trial because even though a trial over there would be public in the sense that anyone who happened to be in the neighborhood could walk in none of his supporters would be able to attend and that to me, really, seems to be the essence of why they're doing it.

Dorian Merina: Now this case also brings up the policy of stop-loss President Obama has said that stop loss should-should not be used. Secretary of Defense Gates, now didn't he say in 2009 that the policy was ending or being phased out?

David Gespass: I believe he did.

Dorian Merina: So why are we seeing this now? Is this kind of the ending of that policy or?

David Gespass: My-my feeling about it is that it's very very difficult for them to prosecute two wars without keeping people in. We've had a discussions over the years in the Military Law Task force if a draft is likely to be re-instated and my feeling has always been that it's not likely to be because the modern military requires a lot of training because there's so much technology involved in war fighting in ways that avoid actual combat, face to face, where you look your enemy in the eye. And I think that a lot of it has to do with the fact that they don't have sufficiently trained people without - without getting people who've been in for awhile. And again we're fighting two wars now.

Dorian Merina: And this policy, we're not talking about just a few people. According to
Iraq Veterans Against the War the stop-loss orders have stopped about 185,000 soldiers from leaving the military since 2001. Very briefly what's the next step in the case of Marc Hall?

David Gespass: Next step would be assuming he's send over there, there will motions filed to get him back to the United States for a trial, there will be motions concerning I think the right to a public trial and then at some point the military judge is going to set a trial date Trying to get witnesses over there on his behalf if the trial is over there and trying to defend him without witnesses if they can't.

Retired US Air Force Major Robert L. Hanafin is encouraging people to use this Veterans for Peace link to "fill out the form letter to Army Public Affairs, expressing how outraged you are as an American citizen that any of our troops is being treated this way regardless what they've done." For more on Marc Hall, you can click here for IVAW providing the basics and actions to take. As for Robert Gates, he stated March 18, 2009 that stop-loss was being phased out. He stated phased out by the start of 2011. Meanwhile Tom Coghlan reports, "Budget cuts and relentless fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan have left more than half of the ships, aircraft and ground units of the Armed Forces with 'serious or critical weaknesses', MPs say today." And though many in the US may nod, Coglhlan is reporting on the British military for the Times of London.

Staying with the two countries, yesterday,
Angus Reid Global Monitor released their latest poll which finds significant doubts as to any withdrawal. Barack Obama's pretty words aren't satisfying the masses. This is the uncertainty (for good reason) that Ava and I were writing of on Sunday:The anger in America is very real. It's base is the continuing wars -- the wars the gas bag left wants to forget because Barack's the one running them now. The Iraq War was always going to have multiple effects. The most immediate one was going to be illustrating what an occupation was and driving up support for Palestinians. That's here at home. For the first time in many Americans lives, they had to confront what an occupation was. But that wasn't the only impact.Whether the left gas bags care or not, millions of ten and twelve-year-olds saw mass protests against the Iraq War. They're now young adults. They saw those protests. They grew up knowing the Iraq War was wrong and needed to end. And though some adults can fool themselves, the youth is not fooled and will not self-deceive. On campuses across this country, their critique of Barack Obama always includes the Iraq War. The ongoing Iraq War that the gas bag left -- including Michael Moore -- have forgotten.Whores like Amy Goodman couldn't tell you about that nor will they tell you about the new poll. Whores like Amy Goodman dance the dance their told to by their masters. They dance for those who paid them. So they waste your time with a bunch of garbage and pretend they informed you of a damned thing.Repeatedly, those of against the Iraq War -- against the ongoing, illegal war -- have spoken out and repeatedly the whores who profit from lying -- Amy Goodman's a millionaire, she wasn't one before 2000, how do you think it happened -- have stayed silent and distracted you with a bunch of lies and a bunch of garbage. Or maybe you think a "war and peace report" spends weeks at a film festival interviewing celebrities and that somehow informs you of the world around you. Goody dances for the foundations that now put money in her pocket. It's how the woman who decried the Aspen Institute ends up promoting it on her program. Kat sounded the alarm, Ava and I echoed her. It's past time people stop pretending that Democracy Now! exists for any reason other than to turn a few bucks for a tired whore. There's a reason Amy Goodman will not reveal Democracy Now!'s foundation funding. And just the fact that she who rides the high horse on disclosures when it comes to others refuses to disclose about her own program was your first clue. Your second was her refusal to cover the Iraq Inquiry -- Clare Short was once welcomed on Goody's program. But Short gave strong testimony -- the only testimony to receive applause -- at the Inquiry last week and Short's not avoiding Amy Goodman, Short hasn't been invited on by Amy Goodman.You're being manipulated and you're being lied to by the people like Amy Goodman who don't give a damn about the Iraq War. Amy's done what on Iraq this year? We heard from her about the genetic disorders as a result of the US weapons? No, she's not covered that. Free Speech Radio News has, KPFA's The Morning Show has but Amy Goodman doesn't have time because 'left' think tanks are really Democratic Party organs and they don't want her talking about the Iraq War so she doesn't.While Goody and so many more are working for the clampdown, are attempting to Manufature Consent, yes, the American people are not stupid. The poll today only demonstrates what we see as we go around the country speaking. Here are the results on a US withdrawal from Iraq at the end of 2011.
Very confident
Moderately confident
Not too confident
Not confident at all
Not sure
71% of British citizens and 59% of Americans do not believe it's going to happen. [Margin of error is 2.2. percent for the British sample; 3.1 percent for the US sample.] Where in your
Panhandle Media do you see that reflected or acknowledged? You don't. There's a Democrat in the White House and our alleged 'left' won't push back against a continued illegal war.You cannot visit a college campus in this country and not encounter widespread disbelief in how Barack's gotten away with continuing the illegal war but try to find that reality and sentiment reflected in Panhandle Media. The Iraq War has not ended. Everyone works very, very hard to tell the people it has. For a war that's "over," a lot of people keep getting deployed to Iraq. For example, Amanda Heard (Bay City Tribune) reports on an effort in Bay City, Texas to raise money for a Texas Army National Guard unit that will be deploying to Iraq -- a unit which includes the Herman Middle School in Van Vleck's nurse Shelly Park. Chie Saito (News 8 Austin) reports, "The Austin Police Department will be working with the First Squadron of the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment to prepare for an upcoming deployment to Iraq." The Daily Herald notes, "More than 3,000 soldiers in the National Guard's 278th Armored Cavalry Regiment will be dispatched overseas, affecting 45 cities from east to west Tennessee." WDAM reports there was a send-off ceremony at Camp Shelby on Friday and that the 278 lost 14 members on their earlier Iraq deployment. The war has not ended. Scott Barnett died serving in Iraq. KTVU reports (link has text and video) on yesterday's service at Concord's Saint Bonaventure Church for Barnett and quotes his friend Chris Jaurigue saying, "Scott was honestly one of the greatest men I have ever known in my life." John Simerman (Contra Costa Times) adds that Natalie Tollefson sood outside the church waiting because, "I remember feeling like I couldn't relate to anybody, so I want to be there for Nikki [Barnett, Scott's wife]." Benjamin Tollefson was Natali Tollefson's husband and he died serving in Iraq Dec. 31, 2008. Maybe it will just be one more wife or husband, maybe defying all odds, only one more US child will lose a parent in the Iraq War. Not very likely but stop lying that the Iraq War is over. It's not over for the Iraqi people. It's not over for those deploying and their families. Again,
Linda Greene (Bloominton Alternative) explains there is an upcoming action:

On Feb. 1 President Barack Obama asked Congress to approve a record $708 billion in defense spending for fiscal 2011. The budget calls for a 3.4 percent increase in the Pentagon's base budget to $549 billion, plus $159 billion to fund the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. But citizens aren't sitting by while the Pentagon's budget balloons. On March 20, just after the seventh anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, protestors will march on Washington, D.C., Los Angeles and San Francisco. On Friday evening, March 19, at least 55 Hoosiers and Kentucky residents will board a bus bound for Washington, D.C., for the second peace march since President Obama was elected. Participants will demand the immediate and unconditional withdrawal of all U.S. and NATO forces from Afghanistan and Iraq.Sponsored by the
Act Now to Stop War and End Racism (A.N.S.W.E.R.) coalition and more than 1,000 other organizations and individuals, the march has as its rallying cries, "No Colonial-type Wars and Occupations in Afghanistan, Iraq, Palestine, Haiti," "No War or Sanctions Against Iran" and "No War for Empire Anywhere." Instead of war, the protestors will demand funding for jobs, free and universal health care, decent schools and affordable housing.

Hans Blix headed the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission from March 200 through June 2003. As such, when the UN Security Council voted to send inspectors into Iraq (Resolution 1441), he was in charge of the search.
He speaks with BBC News' Jonathan Charles on HARDtalk regarding Iraq and various claims floating around (link has video):Jonathan Charles: So who's right on all of this? Jack Straw says you're applying gloss to your testimony. Tony Blair told the Inquiry his recollection of conversations with you is different from what you're now saying. You've just told us one thing. You can't both be right. Both sides can't be right here.Hanx Blix: Well that's for history to decide. It's not for me. I'm fond of citing someone who said that 'I respect those who search for the truth and I'm a little worried about those that have the truth.' Tony Blair 'had the truth' already in August of 2002. We said there were unresolved issues. We didn't have the truth in 2003, that's true, but we were looking for it.Jonathan Charles: But is Tony Blair -- and indeed Jack Straw, are they telling the truth then to the Inquiry when they recollect what happened?Hans Blix: I'm puzzled about some of the things Jack Straw said -- said. Certainly about the cluster document. He also said in that [. . .] meeting of March 2002, he did not focus at all on what I had said about the increased Iraqi cooperation. He focused on that 'The Iraqis are not allowing you to interview people and they are stopping you from getting into sites.' That was not true. Jonathan Charles: So Jack Straw was wrong.Hans Blix: On this things they were wrong. He is wrong. Yes.Jonathan Charles: He's not being direct with the Inquiry?Hans Blix: I don't think that's correct what he said.Jonathan Charles: And it's not just a mistake in recollection of events?Hans Blix: Well that I don't know. I'm not accusing anyone of bad faith. Either him or Tony Blair.The program is HARDtalk. Blix must mean March 2003 -- not 2002 -- because he wasn't doing Iraq inspections in March 2002. Yesterday the the Iraq Inquiry continued public hearings in London and Jack Straw appeared before the committee for the second time. Andrew Gimson (Telegraph of London) sums up Straw's entire testimony in one sentence: "In Mr Staw's evidence on Monday to the Iraq inquiry, words meant whatever he chose them to mean, or often considerably less." Bronwen Maddox (Times of London) participated in a live chat today on the subject of whether or not the Iraq War was illegal. Meanwhile the next big witness is current Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Philippe Naughton (Times of London) reports the Inquiry is raffling those tickets off -- as they did with Tony Blair. Yesterday Jack Straw was telling the Inquiry how 'grateful' and 'happy' the Iraqis were and more b.s. as he tried to justify War Crimes.

Turning to some of the reported violence today . . .


Reuters notes a Mosul roadside bombing left two people wounded, a second Mosul roadside bombing injured woman


Reuters notes a man was injured in a Mosul shooting, 1 civil servant was shot dead in Baghdad and his wife was injured, and, dropping back to yesterday, 1 engineer was injured in a Baghdad shooting.

Iraq is supposed to hold elections March 7th. A banning of over 500 candidates has taken place.
Gabriel Gatehouse (BBC News) states, "The dispute reflects both the sectarian fault-lines within Iraq and geopolitical tensions between Washington and Tehran. [. . .] Iraq has become a key battleground for geopolitical power between the United States and Iran." The US Government's Carnegie Endowment For International Peace (those of that organization don't e-mail me disputing that credit, you're little more than state propaganda) maintains, "The saga of the banning and unbanning of alleged Baathists has cast a pall on the elections even before the campaign starts in earnest. The final ruling of the review committee will probably not put the issue to rest completely. It is bound to be highly controversial, no matter what it decides, particularly in the case of high profile candidates. Above all, a decision to maintain the ban on Saleh al-Mutlaq risks reviving threats of an election boycott by his allies in the Iraqi National Movement and by some Sunni parties. The decision to let him run would enrage Shia parties and possibly put Maliki at a disadvantage vis-a-vis his adversaries in the Iraqi National Alliance." Last week an appeals body ruled the 500 plus banned candidates could run and that the charges against them would be examined after the election. Little Nouri threw a fit. The same body rejected their own decision yesterday. Kholoud Ramzi (niqash) observes:

The Iraqi list, which suffered most from exclusions said that the outcome of the high-level meeting was a dreadful case of back-tracking. Haydar al-Mullah, the Iraqi List's spokesperson said, "What is an attempt to assassinate Iraqi democracy and the separation of powers between the different authorities. Political pressure was exerted on the Appeal Commission to issue decisions that are in harmony with the expectations of some ruling parties." Condemning the decision, he continued: "How could the court be forced to change its decision to postpone the verdict until the end of elections?" Meanwhile, the main Shiite coalitions welcomed the result of the meeting. They had described the Appeal Commission's previous actions as "a clear violation of the constitution which should be rectified." They do not accept the commission's right to postpone a decision on excluded candidates, arguing that its role is limited to examining the appeals submitted before election day. Observers fear the crisis could escalate in coming days, especially after the head of the parliament's legal committee, Baha' al-Araji, from the National Coalition, demanded the exclusion of Tareq al-Hashimi, the Vice President.

Suadad al-Salhy, Mohammed Abbas and Jon Boyle (Reuters) report, "Almost all the candidates who contested their ban from Iraq's upcoming parliamentary election did not submit their cases properly and lost the chance to appeal, an Iraqi legal body said on Tuesday." Meanwhile Huda al-Jasim (Asharq Alawsat Newspaper) reports:

Iraqi Vice-President Tariq al-Hashimi confirmed that political parties are manufacturing "an enemy" in order to frighten the public and win votes at the forthcoming Iraqi elections. Al-Hashimi said that this was in order to push the Iraqi electorate to vote along factional or sectarian lines, which is in the electoral interests of some candidates and parties. Al-Hashimi also accused some candidates of not adhering to the principles of fair competition by employing unethical methods to win votes.
In a statement to Asharq Al-Awsat, al-Hashimi ridiculed those who accuse him of promoting Baathist party ideology, saying "the danger to Iraq today lies in the mentality (of manufacturing an enemy) that has been adopted by some individuals and political parties in an attempt to fixate people on this enemy. They use this to frighten the public and force them once again into sectarian and factional trenches, and this of course enables these parties to achieve electoral superiority."

We'll note this from Robert L. Hanafin's "
VA Underestimating Iraq and Afghanistan Casualties" (Veterans Today):Although the somewhat finished product looks nothing like the Mandatory Funding of the VA that most Veterans Service Organizations (VSOs) flaunted as a few got too distracted from the VA with the Flag Amendment, guess what we've settled for, advanced funding, is almost there and better than nothing considering the bulk of American tax payers refuse to serve their nation or become Veterans, including members of Congress who call the shots. That said, how come we still hear and read about a never ending chorus that the VA is not doing enough with the increase in budget VSOs fought for? More to the point, how come it is non-traditional, non-mainstream Veterans organizations like Veterans for Common Sense (VCS) that are singing in the Choir when the VA regardless which political party is running it, does not deliver or worse yet proves to continue being incompetent. Shredder-gate comes to mind. When you think about it, the fiasco at Walter Reed Army Hospital, and shredding of VA claims have come to light due to the energetic and passionate investigation and advocacy of non-traditional Veterans groups.

TV notes.
NOW on PBS begins airing Friday on most PBS stations (check local listings):

Even with the recent outpouring of support for earthquake victims inHaiti, Americans' attention span for global crises is usually veryshort. But is there a way to keep American audiences from tuning outimportant global issues of violence, poverty, and catastrophe far beyondtheir backyards? On Friday, February 12 at 8:30 pm (check locallistings), NOW talks with filmmaker Eric Metzgar about "Reporter," hisdocumentary about the international reporting trips of New York Timescolumnist Nicholas Kristof. In the film, Metzgar provides fascinatinginsight into how Kristof breaks through and gets us to think deeplyabout people and issues half a world away.

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