Saturday, November 17, 2012


"Organization stands on the 2012 election results" (David Walsh, WSWS): has written very little on the 2012 election results, in part because it doesn’t have much to add to the contention of the Nation and the liberal media that a progressive surge of women, gays and blacks blocked the reactionary designs of “white men.”
In reality, millions of white workers voted for Obama in 2008 in the naïve belief that a black president would be more sympathetic to their interests. The last four years has disabused many of them. The final results are not yet in, but it appears that between 5 and 8 million less votes were cast in 2012, and most of the voters who stayed at home were white.
Of course, the “party of the nonvoting” dwarfed the winning candidate’s total too, as 90 to 95 million eligible voters abstained, including, it should be pointed out, some 8.5 million African Americans (more than a third of the eligible black voting population).
On the eve of the election, leading ISO member Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor posted a foul commentary (“Why they don’t challenge racism,” November 5, 2012), which treated as good coin an Associated Press report that “explicit racist attitudes toward African Americans have increased” in the past four years. Taylor took the opportunity to contend that this shabby and unsubstantiated piece of evidence demonstrated “the centrality of racism in American politics.” What Taylor means, in reality, is that the white population is imbued with racism, for which claim she provides, and can provide, absolutely no proof.
The piece is replete with references to “Black life,” “Black communities” and the need for a “Black agenda” and a “Black movement.” Essentially, Taylor complains that Obama did not pay sufficient attention during his first term to petty bourgeois African Americans like herself “whose vote was critical to the candidate becoming president in the first place” and who thus expected “that their particular issues” would receive some attention. The article reeks of selfishness and the striving for privileges.
The racialist orientation of the middle class ex-left is reprehensible and sick, and sinister in its implications. Such outfits and individuals will more and more openly lend their support to “democratic” imperialism as it encounters the opposition of vast numbers of people to austerity, repression and war.

History will not look kindly at those of us on the left.

Far too few of us have spoken up and spoken out against the imperialism of War Hawk Barack or his attacks on the Constitution.

Too few of us have had anything to say about the treasures he's handed over to corporations.

Too few of us have decried his plan to gut the safety net.

So when history looks back and notes just what a servant to Big Business and corporations he was and how much the people suffered, it will not be kind.

It shouldn't be kind.

How a thinking person can provide cover for Barack is beyond me.

Barack is just disgusting.

There is nothing he's done that I feel proud of.

Yesterday, C.I. had two amazing pieces "The unqualified Susan Rice" and "Iraq snapshot."  In the latter, noting how controversial nominating Susan Rice for Secretary of State would be, C.I. says Barack needs to stop it and that Rice does as well.  She says Barack and Rice need to learn the phrase "for the good of the country . . ."

I agree 100%.

Susan Rice is unqualified.  Anyone on the left supporting this War Hawk, let alone lying to defend her trashy ass, isn't left.  They're just another tool of the War Machine that controls and chokes this country.

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
Friday, November 16, 2012.  Chaos and violence continue, someone the US labeled a terrorist was released from Iraqi custody, the Operation Command Tigris clashes with Kurdish forces resulting in injuries and death, a hearing on Benghazi wastes a lot of time that apparently Democrats on the Committee had to waste, Thomas Friedman 'cares' about Iraq again, the Pentagon releases October Army suicide data, and more.
If you believe in prayer, pray for Iraqis.  They now really need all the prayers they can get.  Why?  This is the week that New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman decided he was interested in Iraq again.  Friedman's 'interest' in the Middle East is a bit like Nicholas Kristof's concern in so-called "developing countries" like Cambodia -- you know there's going to be a lot of bloviatin, women are sure to suffer and the New York Times columnists will make it all about themselves.  Here's War Hawk Friedman chewing the fat on the back of his ass:
For better and for worse, the United States in Iraq performed the geopolitical equivalent of falling on a grenade -- that we triggered ourselves. That is, we pulled the pin; we pulled out Saddam, and we set off a huge explosion in the form of a Shiite-Sunni contest for power.
Thousands of Iraqis were killed along with more than 4,700 American troops, but the presence of those U.S. troops in and along Iraq's borders prevented the violence from spreading.
The lunatic really believes what he writes.  After all the harm he's caused Iraq, grasp that the gas bag won't take the blame for what he did.  So he wants to rewrite it.  'Yeah, things are rough but thank goodness the US landed on that grenade.'
Except, of course, that didn't happen.  The US military is largely (though not completely) out of Iraq and the war continues.  The killing continues, the dying continues.  That's not a single explosion or "a grenade," idiot.  No, that's a US-created mine field.  Which the US military was largely pulled off of but ut of but which Iraqis have to try to live in.  Tip-toeing across a mine field daily.   John Catalinotto (Workers World) notes, "Cholera, a gastrointestinal disease, and typhoid, which had been virtually eradicated in Iraq by 1989, made a comeback under Western imperalist occupation.  Today, the electricity and water supply systems in Baghdad are in even worse conditions than in 2008."  Maybe what landed on a grenade was Thomas Friedman's brain?
If Thomas Friedman had any ethics, he'd be on his knees in public begging forgiveness from the entire world and especially from the Iraqi people for his role in beating the War Drums and cheerleading it and lying and being completely wrong over and over.
Yes, we are all wrong some of the time.  And I may be wrong more often than anyone.  However, it's a different level of wrong when your mistakes impact whether someone lives or dies. 
For Thomas Friedman, it's all a glib view from overhead with a few tired, worn out phrases casually tossed over the shoulder in passing.  It's not life and death.  Clearly, from his writing, it's not life and death.  But thing is, the Iraqi people don't have the luxury of turning everything into a glib World-Is-Flat cocktail chatter moment the way Thomas Friedman does.  Let us all learn to fear a New York Times columnist with an unshakable belief in himself and a desire to "help" as he understands the word.  There may truly be nothing more life endangering that such a columnist, than such a beast.  ("Himself," "he" and "beast" are intentional word choices on my part.)
Today, an Iraqi official made clear that Iraq had less than sunny thoughts about the United States.  Expressing displeasure over the intensified conflict in Gaza (Palestinians and Israelies), the official explained that oil could be used as coercion.  Reuters reported this morning, "Iraq's representative to the Arab League [Qais al-Azzawy] said on Friday that Arab states should use oil as a weapon to put pressure on the United States and Israel over the attacks on Gaza."  AFP notes that al-Azzawy likened it to a move during the October Yom Kippur war, "What happened in 1973, when the Arabs stopped oil exports to Western states, is proof that this weapon can succeed in the battle between the Arabs and Israel."   Later in the morning, Shaimaa Fayed (Reuters) reported that al-Azzawy "later appeared to withdraw the remark, saying Baghdad would make no particular proposal to a League meeting."  Devon Shire (Seeking Alpha) explores the International Energy Agency's recent report offering projections on oil prices and Shire is less alarmed by the price ($215 per barrell) IEA is predicting but how they get to such a low number:
The IEA in assuming that oil prices are $215 per barrel in 2035 is assuming that oil production in Iraq will double by 2020 and then increase another 2 million barrels per day by 2035.
Did I miss a memo? Is Iraq fixed?
Call me a pessimist, but I think there might be a real chance that Iraq can't deliver this kind of production growth.
Exxon Mobil (XOM) is currently in the process of pulling out of Iraq if it can get a decent price for its interest in the West Quarna project, which is a pretty telling commentary on the difficulty of doing business in Iraq. Exxon is not a company to run away from a challenge.
If Iraq is the central source of future production growth needed to meet future demand, then I think I'm still firmly in the bullish camp when it comes to the price of oil.
Iraq may very well double output by 2020.  BUt that's 8 years away and, currently, there's no reason to make such a prediction.  Maybe there's hope that a new prime minister (in 2014?) will be able to get things going?  Nouri al-Maliki is in his sixth year as prime minister and still can't pass the 2007 White House benchmarks. 
The big violence in Iraq today?   Alsumaria reports violence resulting from Nouri's Operation Command Tigris.  Alsumaria reports a clash between the Tigris forces and members of a Kurdish official's protection detail left many injured (over ten and possibly one dead).  All Iraq News reports 1 person is dead -- a civilian and the outlet says all the injured were Tigris forces. Mohammed Tawfeeq (CNN) reports that 1 Iraqi soldier also died and states that clash took place in Khurmato "when Iraqi soldiers attempted to search a house belonging to Goran Najam, a member of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, officials said.  Iraqi President Jalal Talabani is the current leader of the PUK."  Sinan Salaheddin (AP) offers, "The clash occurred as police commandos were attempting to arrest a Kurdish smuggler in the city of Tuz Khormato, said Lt. Gen. Abdul-Amir al-Zaidi, of the newly formed Dijla Joint Military Command. When the smuggler took shelter in the offices of a Kurdish political party, police tried to break into the building, but gunmen guarding the office opened fire, he added."  Peshmerga spokesperson Jabbar Yawar tells Alsumaria that this was a personal problem between the two and is now contained. 
Differeing details depending on the outlet, obviously.  But what's going on?  What's at stake?  Kirkuk is disputed territory.  It's also oil-rich.  Iraq's Constitution, passed in 2005, explains how to resolve the issue, Article 140 calls for a census and referendum.  By the end of 2007.  Nouri continues to refuse to implement Article 140.   In October of   2008, Corey Flintoff (NPR's All Things Considered -- link is text and audio) explained,  "The potential wealth has made Kirkuk a tormented city ever since oil was discovered in 1927.  Today the city's three main ethnic groups, Kurds, Arabs and Turkmens, are vying for demographic and political control."

While refusing to implement Article 140, Nouri's Operation Command Tigris is seen as a way for Baghdad to take control of Kirkuk.  Jasim Alsabawi (Rudaw) observes, "The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) considers that formation of the DOC as a provocative move aimed at undermining the sovereignty of the Kurdistan Region, and reactions have heightened the tensions between Erbil and Baghdad."  Alsabawi reports:
[. . .] Imran Samad, a resident of Kirkuk, believes political goals, not terrorist threats, are behind the formation of the DOC. "We strongly condemn the formation of DOC," he says.
Samad adds that the government not only refuses to implement Article 140, but is violating the constitution and imposing its will with force.
"We fought against former dictatorships and gave the finest sons of the Kurdish people in order to gain freedom and independence, and the Shia were supporters of the Kurdish people through previous periods. But now that they have power, they have forgotten all that and want to govern Iraq as Saddam did," said Samad.
 Al Mada noted earlier this week that Kurdistan Regional President Massoud Barzani has been attempting to work out a unified opposition position with Jalal on this issue.  Barzani issued a statement declaring that public opinion is against it and that they have waited for Talabani to solve the issue but no solution has come forward and what is taking place is unconstitutional.  The statement is posted on the Kurdistan Regional Government's website.  In the statement, Barzani notes that there were concerns and fears about the formation of the so-called Operation Command Tigris and it does nothing to help with the application of Article 140.  Instead, Operation Command Tigris was formed with intentions and goals that go against the hopes of the Kurds, against the democratic process and does nothing to help the Baghdad-government and KRG get along.  Barzani notes that he waited so that Talabani would have an opportunity to put into play promises he had made about stopping the situation; however, that has not come to be.  All Iraq News pointed out that State of Law MP Jawad Albzona immediately declared Barzani's statement to be wrong and inaccurate. Not in the statement but also pertinent, Nouri's refused to fund the peshmerga in the latest federal budget which has caused additional problems. 

Today's clash, "personal problem" or not,  follows Kurdistan Alliance MP Khalid Shwani stating yesterday that the Tigris forces were going to provoke an uprising among the people of Kirkuk.  He stated they were not popular or liked and that they were seen as a provocation in Kirkuk.   In addition, Al Mada reports that KRG Prime Minster Nechirvan Barzani declared yesterday that the Trigris forces were a violation of the Constitution (he doesn't go into it but most likely he's referring to Article 140 and  may also be noting the powers the Constitution gives provinces over security forces).   He notes that Iraqi President Jalal Talabani went to Baghdad and spoke with Nouri al-Maliki.  He says Nouri made promises and has not kept them.

Meanwhile Alsumaria notes that the Peshmerga are said to have a plan to address the Tigris forces if it comes to that.  Dar Addustour reported earlier this week claims that a State of Law Mp was arrested in Erbil (Kurdistan Regional Government).  In news that will most likely only further create tensions, All Iraq News reports State of Law MP Abdul Salam al-Maliki is calling for Nouri to send Iraqi forces into Erbil.  He's calling for them to protect Erbil from Turkish forces.  Yes, the KRG has its own forces.  No, most people will not believe that's the reason he's calling for Nouri to send forces into Erbil.

In other violence, Alsumaria notes a machine gun attack on a Sahwa leader injured him and two of his bodyguards (in an update, they note the Sahwa leader died while receiving medical treatment on his wounds)  and they note a grenade attack in Nineveh that left one police officer injured while a Kirkuk roadside bombing left two police officers injured.
From violence to prisoners, Ernesto Londono (Washington Post) reports that the rumors Ali Musa Daqduq had been released from Iraqi custody are true (see Wednesday's snapshot).  It's a huge embarrassment for the White House.  Victoria Nuland, State Dept spokesperson, was asked about it in today's press briefing.
QUESTION: On Iraq, is it correct that Iraq has released – I believe his last name is Daqduq? He's a --
QUESTION: (Inaudible.)
QUESTION: Uh-huh, Daqduq, a top Hezbollah operative. Senator McCain is saying it's an outrage; he apparently was responsible for the deaths of five Americans.
MS. NULAND: Well, I'm going to refer you to the Iraqis for the precise status, but as you know, we continue to believe that Daqduq should be held accountable for his crimes. We've made this point very clearly to the Government of Iraq. We – while we strongly object to his release, we've been informed by the Iraqis that they determined that they were no longer able to hold him under Iraqi law.
QUESTION: So I'm sorry, does that mean that --
MS. NULAND: So I guess – yeah, he's – they have said that he's been released, yeah. Never mind.
QUESTION: Well, I mean, so basically, you're saying he shouldn't be? I mean, is there (inaudible)?
MS. NULAND: Yeah. We were – we didn't want it to happen and we were concerned about it. We said that to the Iraqis. They have said back to us that they didn't have a legal basis to continue to hold him. Let me add to that that as with other terrorists who we believe have committed crimes against Americans, we are going to continue to pursue all legal means to see that Daqduq sees justice for the crimes of which he is accused.
QUESTION: How would you do that? What can you do?
MS. NULAND: Well, again, it all depends on the circumstances, but we're going to continue to do what we can in this circumstance.
QUESTION: Can you take any retaliatory action against Iraq?
MS. NULAND: I'm not going to get into hypothetical issues here beyond saying that we've expressed our deep dissatisfaction with this action with the Government of Iraq. We do have to respect the role of the Iraqi judiciary.
QUESTION: So does that – when you say you're going to pursue all legal means, does that mean that this Mr. Daqduq might be driving in a car someday and get blown out of the air or blown --
MS. NULAND: I'm obviously --
QUESTION: -- or blown off the road? Would --
MS. NULAND: I think I said all legal means and I'm not going to --
MS. NULAND: -- get into hypotheticals.
QUESTION: Well, the drone – the Administration says that drone strikes are legal, so all legal means could include that; correct?
MS. NULAND: I am not going to get into anything along those lines.
QUESTION: All right. Then the other thing about Daqduq is, is it all upsetting to you that after spending billions and billions of dollars to oust Saddam Hussein and create a democracy in Iraq, one the previous Administration was very, very high on, is it at all upsetting to you that you seem zero influence with this government now?
MS. NULAND: First of all, I'm going to reject the premise of that. There are many, many things that we work together with the Iraqis on, both in terms of the internal situation in Iraq as well as our regional work together, not least of being Syria and our efforts to ensure that Iraqi air and land space is not abused to arm the Syrians. There are many things that we work together on. But as I said, we objected very strongly to this particular decision, and we've made that clear to the Iraqis.
The shortest version on Daqduq?  He's said to be responsible for many deaths.  Including five Americans.  From the May 18th snapshot:
Dropping back to earlier violence,  Christine Show (Daily Mail) reports, "The wife of a U.S. Army captain who was killed while deployed in Iraq is stunned that the person named responsible for his death will be freed.  Charlotte Freeman of Temecula, California expressed her dismay when she learned on Wednesday night that Ali Mussa Daqduq was cleared of all charges in the 2007 attack that killed Brian Freeman, 31, and four other U.S. soldiers."
What happened?  Barack Obama made a deal with a terrorist group in Iraq.  Daqduq and others behind the killing of the five Americans were in US custody in Iraq, in US prisons in Iraq.  Barack began letting them go.  Dropping back to the June 9, 2009 snapshot:

This morning the New York Times' Alissa J. Rubin and Michael Gordon offered "U.S. Frees Suspect in Killing of 5 G.I.'s." Martin Chulov (Guardian) covered the same story, Kim Gamel (AP) reported on it, BBC offered "Kidnap hope after Shia's handover" and Deborah Haynes contributed "Hope for British hostages in Iraq after release of Shia militant" (Times of London). The basics of the story are this. 5 British citizens have been hostages since May 29, 2007. The US military had in their custody Laith al-Khazali. He is a member of Asa'ib al-Haq. He is also accused of murdering five US troops. The US military released him and allegedly did so because his organization was not going to release any of the five British hostages until he was released. This is a big story and the US military is attempting to state this is just diplomacy, has nothing to do with the British hostages and, besides, they just released him to Iraq. Sami al-askari told the New York Times, "This is a very sensitive topic because you know the position that the Iraqi government, the U.S. and British governments, and all the governments do not accept the idea of exchanging hostages for prisoners. So we put it in another format, and we told them that if they want to participate in the political process they cannot do so while they are holding hostages. And we mentioned to the American side that they cannot join the political process and release their hostages while their leaders are behind bars or imprisoned." In other words, a prisoner was traded for hostages and they attempted to not only make the trade but to lie to people about it. At the US State Dept, the tired and bored reporters were unable to even broach the subject. Poor declawed tabbies. Pentagon reporters did press the issue and got the standard line from the department's spokesperson, Bryan Whitman, that the US handed the prisoner to Iraq, the US didn't hand him over to any organization -- terrorist or otherwise. What Iraq did, Whitman wanted the press to know, was what Iraq did. A complete lie that really insults the intelligence of the American people. CNN reminds the five US soldiers killed "were: Capt. Brian S. Freeman, 31, of Temecula, California; 1st Lt. Jacob N. Fritz, 25, of Verdon, Nebraska; Spc. Johnathan B. Chism, 22, of Gonzales, Louisiana; Pfc. Shawn P. Falter, 25, of Cortland, New York; and Pfc. Johnathon M. Millican, 20, of Trafford, Alabama." Those are the five from January 2007 that al-Khazali and his brother Qais al-Khazali are supposed to be responsible for the deaths of. Qassim Abdul-Zahra and Robert H. Reid (AP) states that Jonathan B. Chism's father Danny Chism is outraged over the release and has declared, "They freed them? The American military did? Somebody needs to answer for it."
The League of Righteous would publicly rebuke Barack later noting that they did not feel he'd lived up to the deal they'd made.  They'd refuse to release the corpse of a British citizen as a result.  Then, months and months later, they would.  By that point, the terrorist group was very clear in public remarks that they'd made a deal with the White House.  Daqduq was not part of the deal.  He was an outsider.  As the US military began drawing down and getting rid of prisoners, it could have brought Daqduq to the US to try him.  Several senators suggested just that.  They were ignored.  And no one was to worry, the White House insisted, because they had assurances from Nouri's government.
When has Nouri's word ever been reliable?  After it was announced Iraq would be releasing him, that he'd been tried and found innocent, the White House began fuming.
But they still did nothing.
I believe Daqduq is guilty.  I also believe that sometimes the guilty walk.  In the best cases, we have a human justice system, not a perfect justice system.  In the best cases.  Iraq is not the best case.  And I've called out the 'justice' system there many times.  But if someone is found innocent, then that's the verdict.  And the White House was wrong to pressure Iraq to hold someone who had been found innocent.  Nouri was wrong to agree to do so for several months.  He was found innocent.  I think he's guilty.  Sometimes the guilty walk.  It's not fair but neither is life.
While I'm not going to rage at the Iraqi justice system over this, I will point out that the White House screwed this up from day one.  They never should have been releasing any of the killers.  It was not in the interest of the American people or the US military to let the killers of 5 US soldiers walk.  It certainly wasn't in the interest of the American people or the US military to let the killers walk to score brownie points with the government of England.  That was Barack's first mistake.  Everything that followed was one long mistake including but not limited to trusting Nouri. 
Barack needs to answer for his actions but, sadly, the White House press corps makes clear that they don't care about this story -- repeatedly makes clear.  By contrast, veterans, service members and military families make clear, when we speak to them, that this matters.
Yesterday, the Defense Dept released the US Army's suicide numbers for last month: "20 potential suicides: five have been confirmed as suicides, and 15 remain under investigation" which is an increase of five from September's numbers.   DoD notes that 2011 resulted in 165 deaths confirmed as suicides and that 2012 has seen 105 confirmed and 61 which are still being investigated.  So if all under investigation currently were to be ruled suicide, October will be the month that 2012 surpassed 2011 for number of army members taking their own lives (166 is the number of suicides if the 61 under investigation end up determined to be suicides).  With two months of data remaining for the calendar year, it is likely 2012 will see an increase in the number of suicides.  Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America's Tom Tarantino offers at Huffington Post:
The battle against IEDs required a $45 billion investment in armored vehicles, which have been credited with saving thousands of troops' lives. Protective undergarments to shield service members from blasts have also been fielded. In April, the Army issued a request for proposal for more gear. The fight to protect service members and prevent military suicide will necessitate a different but equally forceful response. We need a unified effort from Congress, the Administration, the Department of Defense, as well as public and private groups at the local, state, and national level.
Leadership is a must in this endeavor. As Congress heads back to Washington, they have the opportunity to seize the initiative and fight for veterans. Votes have been cast and elections have been won or lost, but before the new Congress takes over--which by the way will have 16 veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan--the 112th can leave their mark. With only about 15 working days, they'll need to avoid sequestration and prevent the nation from falling off the fiscal cliff, pass a defense authorization bill, and tie up loose ends in a veterans omnibus bill that hopefully will protect student vets, improve women's health care at the Veterans Administration, and help prevent suicide. This short session will be jam-packed, with much to accomplish in a short period of time, but now is not the time for rest. The 2.5 million veterans who served our nation in Iraq and Afghanistan have done their part, and now it's time for elected officials to do theirs. There is simply too much at stake for more jockeying that favors politics over solutions. It's time for the 112th to step up to the plate, lead, and show veterans that they've got their backs.
Critical mental health legislation is sitting on members of Congress' desks and needs to be acted upon. Senator Patty Murray's Mental Health Access Act of 2012 would improve access to support services and care for service members, veterans, and their families. The legislation will require DoD to create standardized a suicide prevention program and require the department to oversee mental health care to ensure that best practices are implemented. Understanding the toll that prolonged wars take on families, the legislation would expand eligibility for VA mental health services to family members, helping them to get the care and support needed. Lastly, the act would require VA to establish reliable measures for mental health and adopt an effective staffing plan in order to best serve veterans. Congress needs to act, or veterans will be left behind.
"And also, before beginning," declared US House Rep Illeana Ros-Lehtinen yesterday morning, "I want to assue the families and friends of four brave Americans killed in the attack on the Consulate in Benghazi and our diplomatic personnel serving in high risk posts worldwide, that we are committed to identifying what went wrong and what needs to be done to prevent any further American lives from being lost in such attacks.  Our thoughts and our prayers are also with those wounded during the attack as they face a long and difficult recovery." 
Ros-Lehtinen is the Committee Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.  Yesterday they held a hearing into the September 11, 2012 attack on the US Consulate in Benghazi that killed Sean Smith, Glen Doherty, Tyrone Woods and Chris Stevens.  Democrats at the hearing did themselves no favor by not knowing four names.  I'm being really kind due to space limitations and we will let those Democrats remain as nameless as they let Glen Doherty, Sean Smith and Tyrone Woods be yesterday.  They should be ashamed of themselves for repeatedly saying "Chris Stevens and three other Americans."  But we'll be kind and not humiliate them by naming them -- well not all of them.
If US House Rep Frederica Wilson truly believes the four killed are "heroes," she damn well needs to be able to name all four and not just Chris Stevens.  US House Rep Jean Schmidt (a Republican) was able to name each of the four and why they were present in Libya.  It's four names.  You don't look like you respect the four or consider the four people -- let alone heroes -- when you can't even remember or mention their names.  It's embarrassing and it's shameful and, as a Democrat, it's sad to sit through this crap over and over, this empty rhetoric from Democrats who can't even get their staff to write down the other three names for them before the hearing started.  US House Rep Eni F.H. Faleomavaega used the term "heroes" and he was the only Democrat who was able, during the hearing, to name all four.  Anything he said in that hearing carried weight because he came in knowing there were four and, in the hearing, he noted all four by name.  It's not that difficult, as he proved, but it does go to whether you look believable (as he did) or you just look like you're grandstanding as Frederica Wilson and so many others on the Democratic side did.
US House Rep Dan Rorabcher noted that at last month's House Oversight Commitee he specifically asked the State Dept's Charlene Lamb (who "was specifically responsible for what level of spending they would have for security at the Benghazi Consulate")  if "budget concerns were actually part of her decision not to increase the level of security, she stated emphatically, no, that was not part of it.  Democrats who spoke before Burton looked foolish to those of us at that October hearing. 
They looked even worse when, after Burton spoke, they tried to state that the attack was Republicans fault.  Well, the White House blamed a YouTube video, I guess their lackeys in Congress would be quick to blame Republicans.  There are a great many strong Democrats in Congress on this issue.  I'm not tarring and feathering all Democrats in Congress as "lackeys" but if you sat through yesterday's hearing you would realize that a number acted like lackeys. For an example of a non-lackey, you can see US House Rep Karen Bass.  She focused on the issues.  I didn't always agree with her conclusions but she was there for the issues the attack raised and made that clear in her words and the way she conducted herself.  Another one worthy of praise would be US House Rep Albio Sires.  He also made the focus the violence and the dead and wounded.  He wasn't in campaign mode or of the mistaken belief that the White House hired him as defense counsel.  By contrast, a little weasel named Eliot Engel wasted his time and mine.  Now his life is clearly unimportant as evidenced by "we will never forget them" to refer to four Americans he can't name (he can only name Chris Stevens) but my time is valuable and I'm not sitting through a hearing on Bengahzi to listen to an idiot yokel with an ugly mustache insist that determining blame is "political."  Not since Engel rubbed shoulders with raving lunatic who sees Hitler as a "good" has he come off so deranged.
This is about 4 people who are dead and it is important to understand how they died because things will happen, even tragic things, but mistakes can be corrected and fixed so that they do not duplicate.  There are people serving all over the world -- including in places where the "United States" is not said, it is spat.  These people are doing a job the government has tasked them with and they have a right to expect a level of safety.  They also need to know that if they are attacked and wounded or killed, the government body that provides oversight of the executive branch, the Congress, will stop at nothing to get the best and most full answer as to what led to their deaths. 
Chair Illeana Ros-Lehtinen:  The coordinate, pre-planned and brazen attacks against the US Consulate in Benghazi on September 11th was an outrage.  Also disgraceful is the sad parade of conflicting accounts of the attack that we have received from administration officials in the weeks and months since.  Successive revelations and public reports indicate that the administration failed to adequately protect the American Consulate and denied Consulate requests for additional security.  It has come to light that the administration was warned of the deteriorating security system in Benghazi one month before the attack on September 11th with the personnel stationed at the post asserting  that they could not withstand a coordinated assault.  We also know that our consulates sustained two previous attacks this year and that they were approximately ten Islamic militia and extremist training camps nearby yet the administration denied repeated requests for additional security measures.  We have also learned that the Consulate alerted both Libyan authorities and the administration about members of the Libyan security forces possibly compromised with ties to extremists --  as they were caught photographing the Consulate prior to the attack and still the Consulates requests for additional security for additional security were ignored.   The Consulate even warned that the situation was trending negatively and that the daily pattern of violence was the new normal given the minimal capabilities of the Libyan security forces. These revelations make clear that the security situation was deteriorating and that the administration was aware that the security was grossly inadequate.  Undersecretary [Patrick] Kennedy publicly testified that the assault on September 11th was an unprecedented terrorism attack by dozens of heavily armed men.  This explanation is unsatisfactory.  
Appearing before the Committee were the Government Accountability Office's Michael Courts, RAND Corporation's William Young, Heritage Foundation James Jay Carafano and the American Acdemy of Diplomacy's Ronald E. Neumann.   The hearing was over half-way over before the first of the four witnesses even read from their prepared remarks. 
This came about because nearly every member of the entire House Committee on Foreign Affairs had an opening statement to make.  Some were worthwhile.   US House Rep Dan Burton, for example, used his opening remarks to provide background on the previous public House hearing on this issue.  In doing so, he reminded about witness testimony -- witness testimony that didn't get reported but was offered to the House Oversight Committee.
US House Rep Dan Burton: Let me just start off by saying that we had a hearing on this issue on the Government Reform and Oversight Committee [for coverage of that hearing, refer to "Iraq snapshot," "Iraq snapshot,"  "Iraq snapshot," "2 disgrace in the Committee hearing," "The White House's Jimmy Carter moment" and "What we learned at today's hearing"] shortly after this tragedy occurred and that a lot of the information that we received from government officials -- publicly and privately -- does not comport with the testimony of the people who were at that hearing.  The people who were at that hearing consisted of Eric Nordstrom who was the Regional Security Officer for the US Mission in Libya, Lt Col Andrew Wood who was in charge of the military escort team there, special operations command support team.  It was also Charlene Lamb who was in charge of all of the embassies and consulates around the world as far as the security was concerned who incidentally said when the attack took place she was following it in real time immediately because she was in Washington in her office at the time.  Then we also had Patrick Kennedy who's testified numerous times about this issue.  And the thing that bothers me the most is that Lt Col Wood, in charge of the security forces -- the SST -- and Eric Nordstrom, the Regional Security Officer, said time and time again they needed more security -- particularly at Benghazi and they were denied.  In fact, even though Nordstrom tried to get more security at Benghazi, he was told, "You're asking for the moon and the stars."  Now they were supposed to have five people there but there was an unwritten law, I guess, that you could only have three there.  And yet when Mr. Nordstrom and Lt Col Wood went down and checked the area out, there were three.  There's supposed to be five.  The unwritten rule: there's supposed to be three.  But there was only one there. Only one.  The security was lax.  There were 230 different kinds of incidents -- some pretty strong attacks, some not so strong.  But nevertheless, the security officer in charge and the Lt Col in charge of the security people there contacted Washington time and time again and said, 'We need more security.  There'a s threat of an attack.'  There had been one attack in Benghazi where they blew a hole in the compound wall and yet time and again Ms. Lamb and Mr. Kennedy continually said, 'No, we don't need those.'  No, we don't need those. And they tried to cover their fannies a number of times in their testimony here in this body -- or in this house and it does not comport, it is not consistent with what Mr. Nordstrom who is in charge of that region and Lt Col Woods said.  This is not only a tragedy, it's a perfect example of malfeasance at the State Dept.
When questions did come, you wondered why they even bothered?  US House Rep Brad Sherman came with talking points prepared.  But why he thought the GAO would have information that's not part of what they are tasked with raises more questions about Brad Sherman than it does about the GAO.  That's a shame because Sherman did have something worth saying.  It wasn't a question for the witnesses but it was something people need to think about: What is the value of having a State Dept presence on the ground in ___?  This is worth exploring. 
US House Rep Gary Ackerman thought his time for questioning was a time to emote heavily -- that gawdy yellow flower on his lapel wasn't attracting enough attention?  He also thought it was time to define "malfeasance -- which is the malicious and knowing evil doing."  No, that's not what it means.  Instead of suggesting people grab a mirror, Ackerman should pick up a dictionary.  Websters says malfeasance is "wrongdoing or misconduct."   And if you're going to talk stench, or "ask not who the guilty party is," don't show up looking like you're attending a social in Mayberry with a flower pinned flat to your jacket -- with stem and with stem exposed.  For those feeling my critique offers no substance, I believe I was matching the same level of substance Gary Ackerman offered.  In fact, I easily surpassed him. 
US House Rep Dana Rohrabacher:  Let's start by going on the record again so that all may hear this, my last colleague's statement notwithstanding, the lady who made the -- the official, I should say, happens to be a lady, who made the decision at the State Dept what level of spending would be spent for security for the Benghazi Consulate testified under oath that there was no budget consideration whatsoever in her decision.  Under oath.  Anyone suggesting otherwise should not be pointing fingers at hypocrisy at this side of the aisle.  This is not "just a cover up of a third rate burglary."  We have four of our diplomatic personnel dead and it is not a McCarthy era tactic to demand accountability and to demand that the American people are not misinformed about it to the point that they don't know what the threat is.
And that's a real shame and why the hearing so frustrating.  At the end of last year, I sat through a hearing where Rohrabacher went out of his way to praise Ackerman, to say Ackerman was right and he (Rohrabacher) was wrong.  To praise his colleague across the aisle (the topic was Iraq, Rohrabacher admitted -- in a public hearing -- that Ackerman was correct about Iraq and that he should have listened to him).  And yet now it's descended into a stream of insults launched by Gary Ackerman who is more intent on play White House Consel than he is on serving in Congress and finding out why four Americans died.  Barack promised unity.  No surprise that the House Foreign Affairs Committee is as split as the country.  Rohrabacher launched no personal attack on Ackerman.  Ackerman was not defending himself. If he were, I wouldn't be objecting.  But as with so many other Democrats on that hearing, we couldn't get to reality because they wanted to talk (imply) McCarthyism and other crap that had nothing to do with the hearing.  They wanted to scream and holler -- and Ackerman screamed -- and it was so unprofessional, it was so immature that I'd hoped waiting a day would let me find something of great value in this hearing that I made time to attend.  There was nothing.  Well maybe there was one thing.
US House Rep Dana Rohrabacher: Alright, now in terms of money for diplomatic security, let's note that this year the State Dept has requested $1.4 billion for worldwide security for its facilities and its personnel and in addition, they have requested $215 million for the Bureau of Diplomatic Security.  That comes to $1.6 billion.  At the same time, this administration wants to give Iraq $850 million to train a police force and $900 million for military financing which comes to $1.7 billion.  How can the Obama administration and members of this Committee justify giving more money to Iraq for its security than we are giving to the protection of our diplomats?  I don't expect you [Michael Courts] to answer that.
And Courts couldn't.  But maybe someone can.  It's a question worth asking.
On Benghazi, Ruth noted last night in "A layer of the lie peels back" that the White House appears to have been playing lawyerly offering technically true statements about the attack if you split it -- as they appear to have done -- into two attacks and not one.  They call the first attack the one on the Consulate and the second attack the one on the safe house.  Congress needs to explore the White House statements with that in mind.  If that is what they are doing, it does not mean they have been truthful.  In fact, it argues they have been deliberately misleading.  Lastly, John Glaser ( reports, the former CIA Director (as of last Friday) David Petraeus testified to Congress today in a closed-door hearing and "Petraeus maintained that he consistently referred to the Consulate attack as the work of terrorists when talking to Congressional intelligence committees and other government agencies of the Executive Branch."  Glaser goes on to offer the uninformed opinion that Republicans have used the issue as "a political football."  He can make that claim because he hasn't sat through any of the public hearings on this matter.  I have.  And, as a Democrat, I would love it if Gary Ackerman and company weren't disgracing themselves, but they are.  And when John Glaser can explain what charges of McCarthyism and other crap served up by Democrats during these hearings has to do with four dead Americans, I might take his opinion seriously.  Until then, he's just doing rip and write and doesn't know what he's talking about.  He's made this mistake before with regard to Congressional hearings.  Maybe it would be smarter for him to stop offering his opinion on hearings he has not attended? 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Barack picks a fight

There's an important topic that C.I. covers at the end of the snapshot today.  It's about how Barack better realize Susan Rice will not be an easy nominee for Secretary of State. 

Can he push it through?

First, I'm copying and pasting this from Google:


Obama, GOP clash on Benghazi, Rice

Washington Times - ‎49 minutes ago‎
An angry President Obama on Wednesday demanded his congressional critics “go after me” rather than snipe at his top aides, after two top Republican senators said U.N.
Obama defends Susan Rice against GOP attacks
Jake Tapper on Susan Rice following Benghazi: "She was a good soldier ... she ...
Rice would be risky pick

Susan Rice lied.  I know Bob Somerby would argue otherwise.  I also know Bob Somerby still drools over Al Gore.  Am I the only one who feels like you're in a nursing home visiting a friend and Bob's the elderly man who shares the room and rants for no reason?  Constantly?  About things from 20 years ago?

Susan Rice lied.  Transcripts establish this.  I covered this back in October.  I offered Susan Rice's statements from the morning shows (Sunday chat and chews).

She lied. 

I don't care why she lied, she lied.  That's not a trusted public servant.  Congress can try to figure out why she lied but she lied to the American people.

But Barack wants her for Secretary of State (and doesn't want John Kerry -- that's why C.I.'s been promoting John for months at TCI, by the way, she knew this was coming and she also knew Kerry was qualified for this job -- while Rice clearly isn't).

So much for we're going to work together, right?

He is choosing a controversial nominee and picking a fight with Congress and he hasn't even been sworn into his second term.

So much for bipartisanship, right?

I'm sure the usual stooges will come out in support of Rice.  Rachel Maddow's already working on rewriting her own comments so she can.  But Susan Rice is a War Hawk and no one on the left should support her for that reason alone. 

Add that to opposition from some Republican senators and C.I. is correct that Barack will be blowing any goodwill the election might have brought him.

This is how he wants to spend political capital?

Well that explains why he's been such a huge failure as a president.

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):

Wednesday, November 14, 2012.  Chaos and violence continue,  a rape takes place and a father is ordered to execute the person found to be the rapist, terrorist Daqduq killed 5 Americans but Barack's big concern was that Iraq not release him from prison until after the election, Daqduq has been released, 5 dead Americans don't matter to the White House press corps which refuses to ask Barack about the release at today's press conference, Barack stands by Susan The War Hawk Rice (for now), and more.
Today Iraq was yet again slammed with bombings.  In a month of violence that had already seen 80 die so far through yesterday (Iraq Body Count's count), bombs left many dead and injured.  It didn't look like it was going to be that kind of day to the security forces and Nouri's government.  Early this morning in Baghdad, Alsumaria was trumpeting the fact that 3 members of al Qaeda in Iraq had surrendered outside of Ramadi.   How quickly it all changed.
Wang Yuanyuan (Xinhua) offers, "The deadliest attack occurred in the oil-rich province of Kirkuk in northern Iraq, when four car bombs killed a total of nine people and wounded some 32 others, a provincial police source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity." Al Rafidayn also calls that the deadliest attack of the day.  When the press is ranking the day's attacks, you know it's a day of deadly violence and Deutsche Welle adds, "The violence comes a day before Muharram, the Islamic new year."

Jane Arraf (Al Jazeera) reports, "In Kirkuk, a city disputed between Arabs, Kurds and Turkmen, there were at least three car bombs: one against the offices of a major Kurdish party, one targeted a Turkmen party office, and another that hit a major road.  That was in addition to car bombs in the city of Hilla, a Shia town.  And one here in Baghdad that targted an army general [General Qassim Nouri -- Prensa Latina reports that the general's bodyguard was killed in the bombing].  All in all, these seem to be the major targets that have been frequent targets of violence: security forces, Shia and, increasingly, political parties in Kirkuk."  All Iraq News says 9 people were killed and thirty-eight were injured.  Shukriyah Rauf tells AFP, "My child was killed! His friends were killed! There is no security hear, our homes were destroyed!"
Alsumaria notes that an assassination attempt took place in Kirkuk with a bombing targeting the Governor of Diyala Omar Humairi as he was entering Kirkuk Province from the south.  He was not harmed and security forces swarmed the area.  On the Baghdad bombing, Alsumaria reports it was outside the Ishtar Sheraton Hotel in Firdos Square and, in addition to claiming 1 life, and left four other people injured (Mohammed Twafeeq reports on the hotel bombing for CNN),  a bombing in Wasit Province, just north of Kut, near a restaurant claimed 3 lives and left fifteen injured. while a mortar attack near a Falluja gravel plant left three workers injured.  BBC News offers a photo essay of the Kirkuk and Baghdad bombings hereAFP has a photo essay hereYasir Ghazi and Christine Hauser (New York Times) have a good article on the day's violence.

On the Hilla bombing, Reuters quotes city official Hamza Kadhim stating, "A car bomb exploded near a secondary school for girls and a crowded poultry market, leaving four dead, including innocent students.  It's a real vicious terrorist act."  Press TV adds eleven female students were left injured in the attack.  All Iraq News reports the bombing left over 12 dead and over sixty injured.

The US press largely ignored Mosul.   All Iraq News, citing a security source, reports a Mosul bombing injured a military officer and this took place at the University of Mosul where, here's the disturbing part, security forces closed all doors to bar students and faculty from leaving a campus they thought under attack.  All Iraq News updates the story to note the officer held the rank of Captain and was evacuated to the hospital before the security forces began closing the doors (and trapping students and faculty on a campus with bombs).   In addition, two other bombs were found inside the university (they were disarmed), one at the entrance to the Faculty of Science officeAll Iraq News notes that another Mosul bomb - a roadside one this time -- targeted a military patrol and left seven people (five were soldiers) injured -- this one the US press did cover.
And then they lost interest.  Even though the violence continued.  Alsumaria notes a Nineveh Province barber shop was attacked leaving 3 police officers dead and two civilians injured, an armed clash at a Nineveh Province checkpoint that left 1 police officer dead, and 1 person died and twelve were left injured via stoning at a residential project to the north of Najaf.
So much of the violence is not reported. For example, today Lauren Williams (Daily Star) reports a rape that took place last month which led to a father killing his 14-year-old son -- neither the rape nor the murder ("execution") of the 14-year-old garnered attention from the press in October:
When a young boy was raped by a member of rival tribe last month in the city of Ramadi, in Iraq's vast Sunni heartland of Anbar province, tribal authorities were called on to settle the situation.
Fourteen regional tribal sheikhs convened an emergency judicial session and delivered a swift, unanimous verdict.
The perpetrator was sentenced to immediate execution at the hands of his father, to avert any further retributive violence.

Amnesty International has condemned a wave of bomb attacks across Iraq that has reportedly killed at least 14 people on the eve of the Islamic New Year.
The deadliest attack took place in the northern city of Kirkuk, where, according to media reports, four bombs planted in parked cars went off simultaneously, killing at least nine people and wounding scores more.
Meanwhile in the mainly Shi'a southern city of Hilla, a car bomb reportedly exploded near a school and a crowded market, leaving at least four people dead, among them schoolchildren.
Explosions were also reported in the capital, Baghdad, and in the town of Balad Ruz, in the province of Diyala. The attacks appear to have targeted both Iraqi civilians and members of the security forces.
Amnesty International Middle East and North Africa Director Philip Luther said:
"Deliberate attacks on civilians can never be justified.
Such attacks show utter contempt for humanity and must be roundly condemned.
"We urge the Iraqi authorities to conduct a prompt, thorough and impartial investigation.
"Those suspected of being behind the attacks must be brought to justice in proceedings that meet international standards of fairness, and without the imposition of the death penalty."
Sunday, Michael R. Gordon reported on Ali Musa Daqduq who is said to be responsible for the death of 5 Americans and how he might be set free by Iraq.   Today Dar Addustour reports Ali Musa Daqduq has already been released and left for Iran.  A release that will obviously bother at least one US widow.  How do we know that?  From the May 18th snapshot:
Dropping back to earlier violence,  Christine Show (Daily Mail) reports, "The wife of a U.S. Army captain who was killed while deployed in Iraq is stunned that the person named responsible for his death will be freed.  Charlotte Freeman of Temecula, California expressed her dismay when she learned on Wednesday night that Ali Mussa Daqduq was cleared of all charges in the 2007 attack that killed Brian Freeman, 31, and four other U.S. soldiers."
On May 7th, Suadad-al Salhy, Patrick Markey and Andrew Heavens (Reuters) reported that Iraq's 'justice' system has cleared Ali Mussa Daqdug of all charges related to the "2007 kidnapping attack that killed five U.S. troops."  This was actually the second time that those said to be responsible for the five deaths.  Ali Mussa Daqduq is alleged to have been working with the League of Righteous (once known as "the Special Groups network") and the US had the leader and high ranking members in a US prison in Iraq.  Had.  Though right now there are many complaints regarding the decision to set Ali Mussa Daqdug free (he remains behind bars currently while the decision is appealed), the White House ordered the release of the leader of the League of Righteous, his brother and other high ranking LoR members.  That's in the summer of 2009.  Barack Obama is president.

Why did they do it?  The White House set them free in order to help England with their outstanding issues.  The White House made the call that 5 British citizens were more important than 5 US ones and they entered into negotiations with the League of Righteous.  All but one of the five Brits were already dead.   One of the dead wouldn't be released until a few months ago.  The League of Righteous would announce Barack went back on his promises to them so they weren't releasing all five.  After the bulk of US troops left Iraq in December 2011, the League of Righteous finally released the fifth corpse.
Those late to the story, refer to the June 9, 2009 snapshot:

This morning the New York Times' Alissa J. Rubin and Michael Gordon offered "U.S. Frees Suspect in Killing of 5 G.I.'s." Martin Chulov (Guardian) covered the same story, Kim Gamel (AP) reported on it, BBC offered "Kidnap hope after Shia's handover" and Deborah Haynes contributed "Hope for British hostages in Iraq after release of Shia militant" (Times of London). The basics of the story are this. 5 British citizens have been hostages since May 29, 2007. The US military had in their custody Laith al-Khazali. He is a member of Asa'ib al-Haq. He is also accused of murdering five US troops. The US military released him and allegedly did so because his organization was not going to release any of the five British hostages until he was released. This is a big story and the US military is attempting to state this is just diplomacy, has nothing to do with the British hostages and, besides, they just released him to Iraq. Sami al-askari told the New York Times, "This is a very sensitive topic because you know the position that the Iraqi government, the U.S. and British governments, and all the governments do not accept the idea of exchanging hostages for prisoners. So we put it in another format, and we told them that if they want to participate in the political process they cannot do so while they are holding hostages. And we mentioned to the American side that they cannot join the political process and release their hostages while their leaders are behind bars or imprisoned." In other words, a prisoner was traded for hostages and they attempted to not only make the trade but to lie to people about it. At the US State Dept, the tired and bored reporters were unable to even broach the subject. Poor declawed tabbies. Pentagon reporters did press the issue and got the standard line from the department's spokesperson, Bryan Whitman, that the US handed the prisoner to Iraq, the US didn't hand him over to any organization -- terrorist or otherwise. What Iraq did, Whitman wanted the press to know, was what Iraq did. A complete lie that really insults the intelligence of the American people. CNN reminds the five US soldiers killed "were: Capt. Brian S. Freeman, 31, of Temecula, California; 1st Lt. Jacob N. Fritz, 25, of Verdon, Nebraska; Spc. Johnathan B. Chism, 22, of Gonzales, Louisiana; Pfc. Shawn P. Falter, 25, of Cortland, New York; and Pfc. Johnathon M. Millican, 20, of Trafford, Alabama." Those are the five from January 2007 that al-Khazali and his brother Qais al-Khazali are supposed to be responsible for the deaths of. Qassim Abdul-Zahra and Robert H. Reid (AP) states that Jonathan B. Chism's father Danny Chism is outraged over the release and has declared, "They freed them? The American military did? Somebody needs to answer for it."

Having made the decision to release those five in 2009, the Obama administration had no qualms about handing Ali Musa Daqduq over to the Iraqi legal system despite the fact that it was considered a good guess that he'd walk. December 16, 2011, Liz Sly and Peter Finn (Washington Post) reported on the US handing Ali Musa Daqduq over to the Iraqis:

He was transferred to Iraqi custody after the Obama administration "sought and received assurances that he will be tried for his crimes," according to Tommy Vietor, spokesman for the National Security Council in Washington.

Kitabat reported  in May that Nouri caved to pressure from Tehran and that's why he was released.   It was also noted that a number of US Senators were asking the White House not to turn Daqduq over to Iraq but to move him to Guantanamo or another facility. 
May 18th,  Mike Jaccarino (Fox News -- link is text and video) quotes Charlotte Freeman stating, "It was like a pit (opening) inside of me. I briefly read it and couldn't read on.  I couldn't go there.  It wasn't like he was dying again.  It was more shock that these people get away with what they do.  There's no justice. It's amazing and shocking to me that someone who did what he did could go free."
Sunday, Gordon reported that the White House were informed Iraq was not going to continue to hold him and that US Ambassador to Iraq Robert S. Beecroft had been told to meet with Nouri about keeping Ali Musa Daqduq in prison.  Gordon observed:
The case is politically delicate for the White House not just because of the allegations against Mr. Daqduq but also because of the timing.  Some Iraqi officials have previously suggested that they would seek to mollify the Obama administration by putting off releasing Mr. Daqduq until the presidential campaign was over, but American officials repeatedly insisted that they did not want him released at all.
We've noted before, when he was first cleared, that asking Iraq to hold someone who had been cleared of charges was ridiculous.  What message does that send?  "Justice matters except when the US government doesn't like the decision."?  If the Iraqi courts are going to be told that their decisions are subject to the approval of another government, then they're never going to progress.   As noted in the July 12th snapshot:
I am very sorry that the families did not see justice.  I'm very sorry that Barack Obama traded others involved in the killings (he let go the head of the League of Righteous and others who were involved in this attack -- let them go in the summer of 2009 from US prisons and did so -- as they would reveal themselves -- because he wanted the 5 kidnapped British citizens released by the League).  I'm sorry that American lives mattered so little to Barack Obama.  I'm sorry that he wants to grandstand on the backs of US service members after releasing the ringleaders involved in killing 5 Americans.
But at this point, it's too late.  The legal system is followed or it isn't.  The US is interfering with Iraqi law and the legal system.  Not to try to save someone from being executed but to try to prevent someone from being released.  If Barack didn't want him released, he should have kept in US custody.  Barack chose not to and the man was turned over to Iraq.  He's now stood in trial twice.  He was found not guilty.  By the rule of the law, he's free.  I don't like it, I don't think it's fair, but it's the law.
There are many things the US could have done including bringing Daqduq to the US for a trial instead of handing him over.   That was also when Antony Blinken (National Security Adviser to US Vice President Joe Biden) stated that they were asking Iraq to extradite Daqduq to the US.  There was a real request?  And Iraq turned it down?  We're supposed to believe that?
And Barack?  First, he traded custody of killers -- plural -- of 5 Americans in order to help the British.  Then he failed to take the necessary steps to punish the alleged ring leader.  After, when it was getting press attention, he had Blinken lie.  And, on top of that, grasp what Michael Gordon was reporting.  There was a deal in place with Nouri that said Daqduq would not be released until after the US presidential election.
Do you grasp that?  Do you grasp how many lies the American people have been told and how much has been hidden?   Douglas Murray (UK's Spectator) observes:
What a lot of things President Obama seems to have been holding back until after his re-election. Each day brings something new.
There has been the news of an attack by Iran on a US drone in the Persian Gulf. Then there is the Petraeus affair – known about for months, but only leading to the CIA chief's resignation immediately after Obama's re-election. The Benghazi hearings are yet to come.
And now another surprise. It transpires that the Iraqi government, a body which is only in power because of the sacrifice of thousands of American, British and other allied troops, is releasing from custody a senior Hezbollah terrorist who was in detention for killing American troops.
Alsumaria reports that US President Barack Obama has confirmed his support for Iraq via a phone call between Nouri and US Vice President Joe Biden who stayed he will visit soon and that a defense delegation will also be visiting Iraq.   However, Neil Munro (Daily Caller) reports that Nouri spoke with Biden when Nouri called because Barack "spurned a congratulatory phone call" from Nouri.  The White House issued the following on the phone call yesterday:
For Immediate Release
November 13, 2012
Readout of Vice President Biden's Call with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki
Vice President Biden today spoke by phone with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki. Prime Minister Maliki congratulated the Vice President and President Obama on their re-election. The two leaders agreed that the coming years presented an opportunity for both nations to enhance our strategic partnership across a range of issues of mutual concern and pledged to continue the close consultations conducted in recent months by a series of senior U.S. visitors to Baghdad.  Both leaders also reiterated the importance of implementing the U.S.-Iraq Strategic Framework Agreement, in all its dimensions, and noted that upcoming meetings would be dedicated to that objective.
Today Barack held one of those rare press conferences.  No one asked him about the release of Daqduq.  Apparently 5 dead Americans don't mean one damn thing to the White House press corps.  Excerpts of  topics we have been following:
Q    Thank you, Mr. President.  Can you assure the American people that there have been no breaches of national security or classified information in the scandal involving Generals Petraeus and Allen?  And do you think that you as Commander-in-Chief and the American people should have been told that the CIA chief was under investigation before the election?
THE PRESIDENT:  Well, I have no evidence at this point from what I've seen that classified information was disclosed that in any way would have had a negative impact on our national security. 
Obviously there's an ongoing investigation.  I don't want to comment on the specifics of the investigation.  The FBI has its own protocols in terms of how they proceed, and I'm going to let Director Mueller and others examine those protocols and make some statements to the public generally.
I do want to emphasize what I've said before:  General Petraeus had an extraordinary career.  He served this country with great distinction in Iraq, in Afghanistan, and as head of the CIA.  By his own assessment, he did not meet the standards that he felt were necessary as the Director of CIA with respect to this personal matter that he is now dealing with, with his family and with his wife.  And it's on that basis that he tendered his resignation, and it's on that basis that I accepted it.
But I want to emphasize that from my perspective at least, he has provided this country an extraordinary service.  We are safer because of the work that Dave Petraeus has done.  And my main hope right now is, is that he and his family are able to move on and that this ends up being a single side note on what has otherwise been an extraordinary career.
Q    What about voters?  Did they deserve to know?
THE PRESIDENT:  Again, I think you're going to have to talk to the FBI in terms of what their general protocols are when it comes to what started off as a potential criminal investigation. One of the challenges here is, is that we're not supposed to meddle in criminal investigations, and that's been our practice. And I think that there are certain procedures that both the FBI follow, or DOJ follow, when they're involved in these investigations.  That's traditionally been how we view things, in part because people are innocent until proven guilty, and we want to make sure that we don't pre-judge these kinds of situations.  And so my expectation is, is that they followed protocols that they already established.
[. . .]
Q    Thank you, Mr. President.  Senator John McCain and Senator Lindsey Graham both said today that they want to have Watergate-style hearings on the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, and said that if you nominate Susan Rice to be Secretary of State, they will do everything in their power to block her nomination.  As Senator Graham said, he simply doesn't trust Ambassador Rice after what she said about Benghazi.  I'd like your reaction to that.  And would those threats deter you from making a nomination like that?
THE PRESIDENT:  Well, first of all, I'm not going to comment at this point on various nominations that I'll put forward to fill out my Cabinet for the second term.  Those are things that are still being discussed.
But let me say specifically about Susan Rice, she has done exemplary work.  She has represented the United States and our interests in the United Nations with skill and professionalism and toughness and grace. 
As I've said before, she made an appearance at the request of the White House in which she gave her best understanding of the intelligence that had been provided to her.  If Senator McCain and Senator Graham and others want to go after somebody, they should go after me.  And I'm happy to have that discussion with them.  But for them to go after the U.N. Ambassador, who had nothing to do with Benghazi, and was simply making a presentation based on intelligence that she had received, and to besmirch her reputation is outrageous. 
And we're after an election now.  I think it is important for us to find out exactly what happened in Benghazi, and I'm happy to cooperate in any ways that Congress wants.  We have provided every bit of information that we have, and we will continue to provide information.  And we've got a full-blown investigation, and all that information will be disgorged to Congress. 
And I don't think there's any debate in this country that when you have four Americans killed, that's a problem.  And we've got to get to the bottom of it, and there needs to be accountability.  We've got to bring those who carried it out to justice.  They won't get any debate from me on that.
But when they go after the U.N. Ambassador, apparently because they think she's an easy target, then they've got a problem with me.  And should I choose, if I think that she would be the best person to serve America in the capacity of the State Department, then I will nominate her.  That's not a determination that I've made yet.
Ed Henry.
Q    I want to take Chuck's lead and just ask a very small follow-up, which is whether you feel you have a mandate not just on taxes but on a range of issues because of your decisive victory? 
But I want to stay on Benghazi, based on what Jon asked because you said, if they want to come after me, come after me.  I wanted to ask about the families of these four Americans who were killed.  Sean Smith's father, Ray, said he believes his son basically called 911 for help and they didn't get it.  And I know you've said you grieve for these four Americans, that it's being investigated, but the families have been waiting for more than two months.  So I would like to -- for you to address the families, if you can.  On 9/11, as Commander-in-Chief, did you issue any orders to try to protect their lives?
THE PRESIDENT:  Ed, I'll address the families not through the press.  I'll address the families directly, as I already have.  And we will provide all the information that is available about what happened on that day.  That's what the investigation is for. 
But as I've said repeatedly, if people don't think that we did everything we can to make sure that we saved the lives of folks who I sent there and who were carrying out missions on behalf of the United States, then you don't know how our Defense Department thinks or our State Department thinks or our CIA thinks.  Their number-one priority is obviously to protect American lives.  That's what our job is.  Now --
Q    (Inaudible.)
THE PRESIDENT:  Ed, I will put forward every bit of information that we have.  I can tell you that immediately upon finding out that our folks were in danger, that my orders to my national security team were do whatever we need to do to make sure they're safe.  And that's the same order that I would give any time that I see Americans are in danger, whether they're civilian or military, because that's our number-one priority.
First off, Sean Smith's mother, Pat Smith, has been very clear on CNN speaking with Anderson Cooper that the White House has ignored her after one brief meeting.  Tyrone Woods' father, Charles Woods, feels lied to.  There were four Americans that died.  The media ran with the parents of Chris Smith because (a) they're elitists (he was the Ambassador) and (b) that's who the White House tried to make the spokespeople because they'd sing the tune the White House wanted.  But Glen Doherty, Tyrone Woods and Sean Smith also died in that attack.  It was very telling that for all the talk of 'service' the press likes to pretend they give a damn about, they were happy to ignore Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty who are both veterans of the military.  Very telling.
Second, Susan Rice was selected to lie and that is what she did.   She is now a liar.  Here's the liar from September 16th,  Susan Rice on CBS Face The Nation:
BOB SCHIEFFER: And joining us now, Susan Rice, the U.N. ambassador, our U.N. ambassador. Madam Ambassador, he says this is something that has been in the planning stages for months. I understand you have been saying that you think it was spontaneous? Are we not on the same page here?
SUSAN RICE (Ambassador to the United Nations): Bob, let me tell you what we understand to be the assessment at present. First of all, very importantly, as you discussed with the President, there is an investigation that the United States government will launch led by the FBI, that has begun and--
BOB SCHIEFFER (overlapping): But they are not there.
SUSAN RICE: They are not on the ground yet, but they have already begun looking at all sorts of evidence of-- of various sorts already available to them and to us. And they will get on the ground and continue the investigation. So we'll want to see the results of that investigation to draw any definitive conclusions. But based on the best information we have to date, what our assessment is as of the present is in fact what began spontaneously in Benghazi as a reaction to what had transpired some hours earlier in Cairo where, of course, as you know, there was a violent protest outside of our embassy--
SUSAN RICE: --sparked by this hateful video. But soon after that spontaneous protest began outside of our consulate in Benghazi, we believe that it looks like extremist elements, individuals, joined in that-- in that effort with heavy weapons of the sort that are, unfortunately, readily now available in Libya post-revolution. And that it spun from there into something much, much more violent.
BOB SCHIEFFER: But you do not agree with him that this was something that had been plotted out several months ago?
SUSAN RICE: We do not-- we do not have information at present that leads us to conclude that this was premeditated or preplanned.
Beside the lies she was spreading, grasp that five days after the attack, she's telling America -- with no apology or remorse -- that the FBI and US government have no one on the ground in Libya for the investigation.  Five days after.  That's outrageous.  And "telling"?  Only after Bob Schieffer pressed her.   Let's also remember what she said on NBC's Meet The Press six days after the attack, "This is a response to a hateful and offensive video that was widely disseminated throughout the Arab and Muslim world  Obviously, our view is that there is absolutely no excuse for violence and that -- what has happened is condemnable, but this is a -- spontenaeous reaction to a video, and it's not dissimilar but, perhaps, on a slightly larger scale than what we have seen in the past with The Satanic Verses with the cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad.  Now, the United States has made very clear and the president has been very plain that our top priority is the protection of American personnel in our facilities and bringing to justice those who attacked our facilitiy in Benghazi."
But it had nothing to do with the video.  Susan Rice is a liar.  And you damn well better believe there will be pushback if she's nominated. I have a home in the DC area but I'm not part of the DC bubble and, outside of the bubble, if you speak to veterans, students and others groups -- as we do week -- you'll find out real quick that Susan Rice is a lightening rod. 
Senator John McCain's office issued this statement from McCain today in response to the press conference:
I have always said that the buck stops with the President of the United States, particularly for his contradictory statements in the Rose Garden, on '60 Minutes' and in later venues alleging that the obvious terrorist attack in Benghazi was triggered by a spontaneous demonstration and a hateful video, or that we didn't know the cause. Those statements clearly did not comport with the facts on the ground. We owe the American people and the families of the murdered Americans a full and complete explanation, which for two months the President has failed to deliver. Given all these facts, a Select Committee must be appointed in order to obtain a full and complete accounting which would be credible with the American people.
McCain and others (including Senator Susan Collins -- who is described as a moderate Republican) are featured in Kelly O'Donnell's report for NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams.  Already the Boston Herald's editorial board has come out against her:
And speaking of Benghazi, it's our view that U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice either intentionally misled Americans when she went on five national talk shows five days after the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. consulate there -- or she was simply parroting the empty talking points that the White House had stuffed into her hands prior to her appearances.
We're not sure which is worse, but we're quite sure that stain on Rice's otherwise impressive resume disqualifies her from serving as this nation's top diplomat.
I've never bought they myth that Barack's a genius.  But is he that stupid?  They've run off anyone who could help the White House -- Valerie Jarrett's run off everyone -- but no one can explain to the apethetic Barack that any goodwill he thinks the election brought him will vanish if he pursues the Susan Rice nomination? 
We included Barack's remarks about Petraeus.  Then-General David Petraeus became a high profile figure when he was the top US commander in Iraq from February 2007 to September 2008.  More recently, he's known for other things.  The scandal has forced him to resign as CIA Director.  It also means that an honor he was to receive has been put on hold.  The Royal United Services Institute in London explains:
General Petraeus was due to visit London this month to receive the Chesney Gold Medal award from the Royal United Services Institute for his role in devising and implementing the US counter-insurgency doctrine that was used to turn around the war in Iraq and reshape the campaign in Afghanistan. In light of recent developments, the presentation on 26 November of the RUSI Chesney Gold Medal for General Petraeus' distinguished lifetime service and contribution to international defence and security will now be postponed.
The presentation of the award to General Petraeus will take place on a date to be determined, in early 2013, at the Tower of London.
For further information on the rescheduled dinner please look for updates on
For more on the Chesney Gold Medal please visit
As Ephraim Hardcastle (Daily Mail) notes, Petraeus has become a joke internationally. Jill Kelley's the whatever who ran to the FBI (instead of the police) and brought Petraeus down by sicking the FBI on Petraeus' mistress.  As Elaine noted last night, Kelley's not a socialite.  She's considered many things (none of them kind) but she's not a socialite.   On Benghazi, Ruth pointed out last night,  "One question that should be answered is if the Pentagon knew about the attack within 50 minutes of it starting, why did the White House and President Barack Obama lie for weeks that it was a protest caused by a YouTube video?"