Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Change?

"The Menace of the Military Mind" (Chris Hedges, IHC):
February 03, 2014 "Information Clearing House - "Truthdig" - I had my first experience with the U.S. military when I was a young reporter covering the civil war in El Salvador. We journalists were briefed at the American Embassy each week by a U.S. Army colonel who at the time headed the military group of U.S. advisers to the Salvadoran army. The reality of the war, which lasted from 1979 to 1992, bore little resemblance to the description regurgitated each week for consumption by the press. But what was most evident was not the blatant misinformation—this particular colonel had apparently learned to dissemble to the public during his multiple tours in Vietnam—but the hatred of the press by this man and most other senior officers in the U.S. military. When first told that he would have to meet the press once a week, the colonel reportedly protested against having to waste his time with those “limp-dicked communists.”
For the next 20 years I would go on from war zone to war zone as a foreign correspondent immersed in military culture. Repetitive rote learning and an insistence on blind obedience—similar to the approach used to train a dog—work on the battlefield. The military exerts nearly total control over the lives of its members. Its long-established hierarchy ensures that those who embrace the approved modes of behavior rise and those who do not are belittled, insulted and hazed. Many of the marks of civilian life are stripped away. Personal modes of dress, hairstyle, speech and behavior are heavily regulated. Individuality is physically and then psychologically crushed. Aggressiveness is rewarded. Compassion is demeaned. Violence is the favorite form of communication. These qualities are an asset in war; they are a disaster in civil society.
Homer in “The Iliad” showed his understanding of war. His heroes are not pleasant men. They are vain, imperial, filled with rage and violent. And Homer’s central character in “The Odyssey,” Odysseus, in his journey home from war must learn to shed his “hero’s heart,” to strip from himself the military attributes that served him in war but threaten to doom him off the battlefield. The qualities that serve us in war defeat us in peace.

I happen to agree with him but didn't really believe him.  I'm referring to the writing.  Sometimes a writer starts out slowly and the passion builds.

But I never felt the passion.  It was as though he'd given up.  Which is why I'm commenting.  Changing the world will not happen in my lifetime.  I've seen changes, some remarkable ones, but where we are now as opposed to where I wish we were?

Miles and miles.

I mention that because of burn out.

There are people who burn like a bright fuse and then are gone.  Adults doing that are adults who've made their own choices and if that's what it is, that's what it is.

But a lot of people would not chose to make that choice.

There are many models for sloth and apathy in our culture.  For doing work like Chris Hedges does, there aren't many role models.

So what can you do?

C.I. is a workhorse.  I've marveled over her for years and years.  Not just her ability to accomplish so much but her ability to keep going.  20 hour days never stopped her or slowed her down.

These days?  She woke up Friday morning after 3 hours of sleep and didn't make it to sleep until Sunday.

I couldn't do that.  I doubt many of us could.

But what we can do is learn from her.

C.I. is political and always has been.

But she's never been just political.

That's made some people miffed or even angry over the years including a man or two she's been involved with.

But she's able to give so much precisely because she has a life outside of the political things.

She can get charged on music.  Either playing in the room or what she's hearing in her head.  (Last weekend, she wrote an incredible song.  It's rare that she brings that up now but she said, "Hey, I've got something.  The melody's strong, the verses flow but the chorus is forced on and I'd change it in an instant."  Then she sings this thing that's just a beautiful song.  I didn't understand her problem with the chorus but she explained that she couldn't come up with one so she pulled the chorus from another song she'd been hearing -- in her head -- for a few months.)

She can stop everything to enjoy that or something similar.

If you're going to try for change -- a goal I strongly encourage -- remember to develop outside interests so that you have other resources.  When C.I.'s drained, she can grab the guitar or play the piano and draw from that.

I'm not implying Hedges has nothing else to draw from.  I'm saying the writing was rather thin and he comes off exhausted.  Then I'm using that to offer suggestions on how you can prepare for when those moments come to you.

"TV: Who gets the green light, who gets the work?" (Ava and C.I., The Third Estate Sunday Review):
Last fall, for example, two women of color starred in hour long TV shows (Kerry Washington in Scandal and Maggie Q in Nikita) and a third co-starred (Lucy Liu in Elementary).  While we applaud the work of Washington, Q and Liu and especially the work of writer, producer, show runner Shonda Rhimes (Grey's Anatomy and Scandal), we realize how sad and appalling those figures are.
And we realize how awful its been for all women and how recent the change has been.



Those two promotional photos above ran in the October, 1974 issue of Ms. magazine. Sue Cameron's "Police Drama:  Women Are On The Case" opened with, "Not since Barbara Stanwyck starred in The Big Valley has a woman had the lead in a weekly dramatic series. This year Angie Dickinson and Teresa Graves have hit prime time as the leads of two police stories, Police Woman (NBC) and Get Christie Love (ABC)."  The last new episode of The Big Valley aired in May of 1969.  From then until September 11, 1974, when Get Christy Love debuted, there had been no female star of a TV drama.  (Police Woman debuted September 13th.)
39 years later, NBC thought it was acceptable to unveil a fall season without one show -- sitcom or drama, 30 minutes or hour long -- that starred a woman?
Yeah, it matters.
Ty tells us three people e-mailed objecting to this section of our "TV: Feminism is telling painful truths:"

We don't question  Julia Louis-Dreyfuss' personal feminism.  But, even while we allow that she's amazingly talented, we are bothered by her back sliding professionally.
On her previous show, Kari Lizer was the show runner.  The cast was a balanced cast in terms of gender. Women could also write for the show.  And did.
The New Adventures of Old Christine was easily the finest sitcom CBS has had in the last 20 years.  The Water Cooler Set ignored it.
They love Veep.
Is it just a coincidence that in two seasons not one episode has been written or co-written by a woman?
We love Julia.  But we'd be hard pressed to promote her as an artistic feminist since she could use her star role (and the power that comes with it) to demand that women be allowed to write episodes.
See, feminism isn't 'you-ism.'
It's not good enough for you to 'succeed'  while others' lives remain unchanged.
You need to be bringing others along with you.
Again, we love Julia -- as an actress and as a person.
And we know what we typed will hurt her.
But it's not 'youism.'
It's feminism.
It's a movement, not an individual.
And we need to stop looking at what one woman has done for herself and focusing more on what women are doing for women. 



One wanted us to know that Veep is a new show so we shouldn't judge it the way we would other shows.
First off, two seasons have aired (season three starts in April).  Second, even if this was their first season, what's being suggested here?  That the people in charge have to be given time to get accustomed to women? Our apologies.  We thought show runner Armando Iannucci was from Scotland.  We didn't realize he'd just arrived on earth from a planet that had no female inhabitants.
One wanted to argue that Julia had "paid off her debt with The New Adventures of Old Christine."  Using female writers is a debt?  It's something you can pay off?  Was it like charity work or, more to the point, court-ordered community service?
The third insisted, "HBO is and always has been a network programmed for male viewers.  Of course, they're not going to use female writers.  Entourage is the gold standard for HBO, it's why people watch."
Goodness do we feel stupid and are faces are red.  HBO isn't trying to get female viewers.
We did not know that.  And neither did HBO.
Sex in the City remains HBO's biggest half-hour hit.  In its final season, it average 7.9 million viewers an episode with the series finale being watched by 10.6 million. (Of all of HBO's original programming, only The Sopranos posted more viewers for their series finale: 11.9.)
And Entourage?  It's not in production anymore and its final season saw an average of two million people watching each episode.  It was a much written about TV show by the media, it just wasn't as popular as either The Sopranos or Sex In The City.
Another popular HBO show was The Larry Sanders Show.
Do you know who Rosie Shuster is?
If not, you don't know much about comedy writing.
But in terms of Sanders' show, she, Garry Shandling, Paul Simms and Peter Roaln co-wrote the third episode ("The Spiders Episode"). That was the first of 21 episodes of The Larry Sanders Show to be written or co-written by a woman (the number's higher if we also include those who came up with the story idea).  21 isn't great, especially when you consider the show aired 89 episodes.  But 21 is a hell of a lot better than zero.  15 of True Blood's episodes have been written or co-written by women.  8 of Boardwalk Empire's 48 episodes were written or co-written by women.  4 of Game of Thrones 32  episodes have been written or co-written by women.
This doesn't suggest a men-only policy.  It does suggest that HBO grossly undervalues women.  And no where is that more obvious than with the awful series Girls.  Of the first 28 episodes, men wrote or co-wrote 11.  And  men, just FYI, have directed 11 of the first 28 episodes of this alleged feminist show.
Does it matter who writes?
Yes, it does.
Because real writers bring their own life experiences to a script.  (Pretend writers just re-write movies they've seen.)  We do not believe that men can't write convincing female characters.  But we also don't believe women can't write convincing male characters.  We think both have something worth saying and that when both are utilized, there's a greater chance of saying something worth saying, of having meaning, of having a better laugh or a better cry.
And we think that women have been shut out of the conversation, shut out of the debate, for too long in television.
So, yeah, it does matter.
It matters to viewers who complain of a sameness on television -- gee, how do you get sameness?  By resorting to the same stories told the same way.
Diversity's only an enemy to boredom.  Everyone else should gladly welcome it.




I know that's a long excerpt, I do enjoy it.  I also think "diversity's only an enemy to boredom" should be on a bumper sticker.


"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
Monday, February 3, 2014.  Chaos and violence continue, the assault on Anbar continues, Nouri files lawsuits against a judge and a reporter, KRG President Massoud Barazni gives DC the cold shoulder, and much more.



Saturday, UNAMI issued the following:

Baghdad, 1 February 2014 – According to casualty figures released today by UNAMI, a total of 733 Iraqis were killed and another 1,229 were wounded in acts of terrorism and violence in January*.

The number of civilians killed was 618 (including 178 civilian police), while the number of civilians injured was 1,052 (including 237 civilian police). A further 115 members of the Iraqi Security Forces were killed and 177 were injured not including casualties from Anbar operations.
“Iraq continues to face substantial security challenges by armed groups who promote violence and seek to divide people. Political, religious and civil leaders urgently need to show national unity in dealing with violence and in promoting social peace. Security operations need to go hand-in-hand with inclusive policies, based on the respect for human rights, the rule of law, social development”, the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General (SRSG), Mr. Mladenov said. “As fighting continues to affect the people of Anbar, I am deeply alarmed by the humanitarian situation of thousands of displaced families and particularly of those stranded in Fallujah. They lack water, fuel, food, medicine and other basic commodities”, the UN Envoy added.  “It is vital that everything possible is done to ensure that urgent humanitarian aid reaches those affected people”, he said. 
*Casualty figures for January do NOT include casualties resulting from the ongoing fighting in Anbar, owing to problems in verification and in ascertaining the status of those killed and injured
Anbar excluded, Baghdad was the worst affected Governorate with 882 civilian casualties (297 killed 585 injured), followed by Salahuddine (105 killed 169 injured), Diyala (89 killed 90 injured), Ninewa (81 killed 82 injured), and Kirkuk (21 Killed, 101 injured).
According to information obtained by UNAMI from the Health Directorate in Anbar, the total of civilian casualties in Anbar up to 27 January was 138 killed and 598 injured, with 79 killed and 287 injured in Ramadi and 59 killed and 311 injured in Fallujah. Media sources as of 31 January quoted health officials from the Anbar health department stating that civilian casualties in Anbar in January 2014 have been 140 killed and 660 injured.

Saturday, Iraq Body Count also released their total for violent deaths in the month of January: 1076.  The Iraqi ministries offered their count Friday and Press TV covered it, "According to the figures, compiled by the ministries of health, interior and defense and released on Friday, 1,013 people were killed in January, including 795 civilians, 122 soldiers and 96 policemen." Historically, the ministries -- two of which remain headless and controlled by Nouri (Ministry of Defnese and Ministry of Interior) -- have provided an undercount. Friday, Jason Ditz noted Antiwar.com's count is 1,840.  Ditz also notes that Iraq's toll is 1,202.



Friday's snapshot included this from Felicity Aruthnot's  Pravada column on Nouri al-Maliki's assualt on Abnar:.


However, the US and UK are seemingly remarkably selective when it comes to tyrants who "kill their own people", and not only have failed to censure their tyrannical Iraqi puppet, Nuri al-Maliki, but are arming him to the teeth with the same weapons which are linked to the horrific birth defects, and cancers throughout Iraq, which he is now using on "his own people." Moreover, if allegations from very well informed sources that he holds an Iranian passport are correct, to say that US-UK's despot of choice appears in a whole new political light would be to massively understate.To facilitate Al-Maliki's assault on Iraq's citizens, the US "rushed" seventy five Hellfire missiles to Baghdad in mid-December. On 23rd January Iraq requested a further five hundred Hellfires, costing $82 million - small change compared to the $14 Billion in weapons provided by America since 2005.The AGM-114R Hellfire II, nauseatingly named "Romeo", clocked in at: $94,000 each - in 2012. Such spending on weaponry in a country where electricity, clean water, education and health services have all but collapsed since the fall of Saddam Hussein.
Last week an "American cargo jet loaded with weapons" including 2,400 rockets to arm Iraqi attack helicopters also arrived in Baghdad.(iii)
This week a contract was agreed to sell a further twenty four AH-64E attack helicopters to Iraq "along with spare parts and maintenance, in a massive $6.2 Billion deal." With them comes the reinvasion of Iraq, with: "hundreds of Americans" to be shipped out "to oversee the training and fielding of equipment", some are "US government employees", read military, plus a plethora of "contractors", read mercenaries. (iv)
According to Jane's Defence Weekly, on November 15th 2013 Iraq also took delivery of: " its first shipment of highly advanced Mi-35 attack helicopters as part of a $4.3 Billion arms purchase from Russia", of an order of: "about 40 Mi-35 and 40 Mi-28 Havoc attack helicopters." 

The all to "attack his own people" in the guise of defeating "Al Qaida" in Anbar province and elsewhere where the people have been peacefully protesting a near one man regime of torture, sectarianism, kangaroo courts which sentence victims who have also had confessions extracted under torture.

My apologies to Felicity Aruthnot because I wrongly credited this to Ramsey Clark and did not realize my error until I read her same column at Dissident Voice Saturday morning  Again, my apologies for my error.


Iraq's prime minister and chief thug Nouri al-Maliki continues his assault on Anbar Province.  Ramzy Baroud (Arab News) comments:


As US Secretary of State John Kerry hurried to his helicopter ready to take off at the end of a visit to Iraq last year, it was becoming clearer that the Americans have lost control of a country they wished to mold to their liking. His departure on March 24, 2013 was the conclusion of a “surprise” visit meant to mark the 10th anniversary of the US invasion of Iraq. Ten years prior, the US had stormed Baghdad, unleashing one of the 20th century’s most brutal and longest conflicts. Since then, Iraq has not ceased to bleed.
Kerry offered nothing of value on that visit, save the same predictable clich├ęs of Iraq’s supposedly successful democracy, as a testament to some imagined triumph of American values. But it was telling that a decade of war was not even enough to assure an ordinary trip for the American diplomat. It was a “surprise” because no amount of coordination between the US Embassy, then consisting of 16,000 staff, and the Iraqi government, could guarantee Kerry’s safety.
Yet something sinister was brewing in Iraq. Mostly Muslim Sunni tribesmen were fed up with the political paradigm imposed by the Americans almost immediately upon their arrival, which divided the country on sectarian lines. The Sunni areas, in the center and west of the country, paid a terrible price for the US invasion that empowered political elites purported to speak on behalf of the Shiites. The latter, who were mostly predisposed by Iranian interests, began to slowly diversify their allegiance. Initially, they played the game per US rules and served as an iron fist against those who dared resist the occupation. But as years passed, the likes of current Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki, found in Iran a more stable ally: Where sect, politics and economic interests seamlessly align. Thus, Iraq was ruled over by a strange, albeit undeclared troika in which the US and Iran had great political leverage where the Shiite-dominated government cleverly attempted to find balance and survive.
Of course, a country with the size and history of Iraq doesn’t easily descend into sectarian madness on its own. But Shiite and Sunni politicians and intellectuals who refused to adhere to the prevailing intolerant political archetype were long sidelined — killed, imprisoned, deported and simply had no space in today’s Iraq — as national identity was banished by sect, tribe, religion and race.


Also offering a take on the current events is Saadula Aqrawi (Kurdish Globe):



Nothing seems to have changed in the new federal democracy of Iraq: the government is ruled by the same ideology, the same minds, the same policies. Personally, I don't think the democratic system is to blame, it's more about the cultures of the Middle East.

Nothing seems to have changed in the new federal democracy of Iraq: the government is ruled by the same ideology, the same minds, the same policies.
Personally, I don?t think the democratic system is to blame, it's more about the cultures of the Middle East.
The Kurds have taken the Iraqi government to task over the political cost of excluding Sunnis, Kurds and other ethnic minorities.
The Iraqi government's mismanagement of Iraqi politics has contributing to the recent surge in violence.
The insurgents believe the Iraqi government is too dominated by Iran, and Baghdad's mistreatment of the Sunnis and the Kurds is pushing the former towards extremism.
The unwise policies currently being pursued by the Iraqi Government are the same that drove Iraq to civil war over the last decade, and there is every reason to fear the same fate may befall Iraq once more. 




Iraqi novelist and activist Haifa Zangana delivered a presentation before the European Parliament last Thursday.  BRussells Tribunal carries the presentation in full and we'll note the opening here:

National Iraqi News Agency reported on Fri 24th January that the Iraqi military's mortar shelling the night before left 4 people dead and 32 more injured "including women and children" and Saturday’s military shelling of Falluja left 5 people dead and 14 more injured -- "most of them women and children." Falluja General Hospital was shelled as well.
Iraqi’s government assault on Anbar continues.  Maliki’s Collective punishment is called “Revenge for the martyr Mohamed” which was preceded by a campaign with the title: “Revenge for martyrs”.
And the attacks have been indiscriminate leading many civilians to flee.  – The UN refugee agency on Friday reported[1] that more than 65,000 people had over the past week fled the conflict in the cities of Fallujah and Ramadi in central Iraq's Anbar province. Since fighting broke out at the end of last year, more than 140,000 people have been made homeless by fighting according to Iraq's Ministry of Displacement and Migration.
This number comes on top of the 1.13 million people already internally displaced in Iraq and who are mostly residing in Baghdad, Diyala and Ninewa provinces.
"Many of the displaced, nonetheless, are still in desperate need of food, medical care, and other aid. As the insecurity has spread, many families who fled several weeks ago have been displaced again," according to UN.
The UN in Iraq has asked the government to facilitate the opening of a humanitarian corridor to reach displaced and stranded families in Anbar province. Currently, it is impossible to reach the area from Baghdad and relief agencies are using roads coming from northern Iraq.
Why am I talking about this and not about workshops for women’s empowerment and gender equality and political participation?  Because In order to fully address women’s issues and come with helpful policy suggestions we need to address women not as separate from the rest of society, but as a part of it  together with men.
.. and allow me to read the rest of the report :
“Other areas of Iraq including Baghdad, Erbil, Kerbala, Salah-al-Din and Ninewa have witnessed the arrival of thousands of displaced people. People are reportedly without money for food and lack suitable clothing for the rainy conditions. Children are not in school and sanitary conditions, particularly for women, are inadequate.”
The suffering of the displaced is far beyond the sheer loss of a house, it is the loss of neighborhood, community; schools and health service, the feeling of safety associated with familiarities and on the long run the submission to the newly manufactured identity   . The lack of one of these or the combination of all leads to extreme levels of trauma, fear, depression, anxiety and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder[2].
The regression in women’s situation is so devastating that she has reached the bottom of human needs. Just to survive.
I will focus on violence in the public sphere and how it became so prominent that women have been forced to give up hard earned rights, such as employment, freedom of movement, abolition of polygamy, and the right for education and health service, seeking instead, protection for themselves and their families.


All Iraq News repors a security source has told them "that the security forces are preparing to storm in Fallujah city."  Ammar Karim and, Salam Faraj (AFP)  add, "A security official told AFP that an assault on the city was imminent, but a journalist in Fallujah said it was largely calm on Monday."

In reaction to the announcement of an impending all-out assault on Falluja, Wael Grace (Al Mada) reports Anbar government officials are calling such an attack "madness" and stating it will only increase the national crisis.  MP Hamid al-Mutlaq denounces the plan as "insane" and declares that it can only lead to more blood spilled and more cracks and fissures in the national unity.  He states you cannot call for peace while screaming war.

Khaled Qaraghouli (Kitabat) notes the military assault on the cities of Anbar has resulted in indiscriminate bombing and shelling which have in turn led many to flee their homes -- fleeing from the military, which is supposed to provide safety -- and becoming displaced while the public infrastructure in Anbar is being destroyed by the bombings and shellings.

Friday, a horrific video came out of Anbar and made it to YouTube.  From that day's snapshot:

On YouTube video has surfaced of Nouri's forces today . . . next to a man being burned alive.  Did they set the Sunni male on fire?  It appears they're not concerned with putting out the fire so it's fair to conclude they started it.   It's the sort of government cruelty that's led Iraqis to protest in the first place.


That video is impossible to forget.

Mahdi Jassim (Kitabat) notes the video  today in a column that opens noting how Iraq (which created the zero) is seen as the owners of the written word, that a Moroccan friend points this out to Mahdi Jassim.  And how Jassim wonders what the impact of that video will be on the way people see Iraq, watching soldiers dancing next to corpses being burned?  Mahdi Jassim asks where is God's humanity and how can that soldier be dancing while the corpse is burning?   Jassim writes of wanting to believe it was a lie, wanting to believe it was being seen wrong somehow  Jassim writes that it appears the government is now beyond all laws -- international and humanitarian -- and that shameful crimes, barbaric crimes are being carried out.   Jassim says that as the government continues to fail to rebuke the actions captured on video, it sends a message that these actions are not the plans of a few soldiers but the direction that the government itself has trained the soldiers to carry out.

It's a very strong column.

Nothing like it has appeared in the US press but the US press hasn't even noted the video which surfaced Friday -- still hasn't noted the video.

Let's note some of the day's violence thus far. National Iraqi News Agency reports 2 Abu Deshir car bombings left 1 person dead and sixteen more injured, Joint Operations Command announced they killed 3 suspects in Mosul and burned their car as well, 1 civilian was shot dead in Baquba, a Taj al-Din car bombing left three people injured, an eastern Baghdad sticky bombing (Palestine Street) left 1 police member killed and another injured, a Sadr City car bombing left five people injured, attacks in Abu Garma and al-Mukhisa villages left 2 Iraqi soldiers dead and two more and one Sahwa injured,  the Ministry of Defense announced their forces had killed 57 people in Anbar Province today, this apparently does not include the 57 that the MoD announced they had killed last night and today in Ramadi alone, an attack on a checkpoint "northeast of Baquba" left three Iraqi soldiers injured, 4 corpses were discovered dumped in Baghdad (all were shot dead), 2 Baghdad shootings left 1 person dead and another injured, Tigris Operations Command announced they had killed "the Emir of the ISIS and four of his aids" in Diyala Province, security forces announced that northeast of Baquba they killed "a close relative" of a man they suspect of being a terrorist, and Dr. Essam Hassan (the "Acting Iraqiya Rector" -- Iraqiya University) survived an assassination attempt (by grenade) in Baghdad todayAll Iraq News adds a Mahmoudiya suicide car bomber took his own life and that of four other people while leaving fifteen more injured.


That's 138 reported dead and forty-seven reported injured.  And you can drop it by 57 and insist that the two government press releases are covering the same 57 dead.  So that would make 81 dead.

How do you misreport that?

Never underestimate the desire of western outlets to whore.

Sinan Salaheddin and the Associated Press do it with an article headlined "Iraqi officials say car bombings in and around Baghdad kill at least 23 people" which opens, "A new series of car bombings in and around Baghdad on Monday killed at least 23 people, officials said, as Iraq's Shiite-led government grapples with a stubborn Sunni extremist-led insurgency in the western Anbar province." So they just ignore the Iraqi government's announcement?  They wait until paragraph eleven to include, "Also on Monday, a Defense Ministry statement said military operations overnight in Ramadi killed 57 militants."  They don't ignore it, they bury it.  Ignoring it?  That's what Ammar Karim and Salem Faraj (AFP) do here.


Nouri's never content with just one crisis, he always needs to create more.  Today, AFP reports he's filed lawsuits against a judge and a report:

Warrants were issued last month for Munir Haddad and Sarmad al-Taie, apparently for criticising Nuri al-Maliki, under an article of the criminal code that prohibits defaming or insulting government employees.
A local press watchdog said the warrant for Taie, who writes a regular column for the Al-Mada newspaper and is a frequent guest on television current affairs programmes, was the first against a journalist since the US-led invasion in 2003.


Friday's snapshot noted US Vice President Joe Biden's phone call to KRG President Massoud Barzani, carried the White House statement and I pointed out, "It's a shame that they [the White House] have more concern over pleasing Nouri than they do over the safety of the Iraqi citizens."  Today Rudaw reports:


Kurdistan Region President Massoud Barzani has postponed a planned visit to Washington this week because of other commitments, said his chief of staff, Fuad Hussein.
“President Barzani told Joe Biden (the US vice president) that because of some other commitments he couldn’t visit Washington at this time,” Hussein told Rudaw. “That is why the visit was postponed.”


That's only surprising if you weren't paying attention.  In 2012, Barazni made clear his opposition to the US giving Nouri F-16s.  And today?  Not only are those going to be handed over, helicopters and Hellfire missiles are being provided to Nouri.  And on top of all of that, Joe Biden wants to hold Nouri's hand and reassure him while telling Barzani that concessions (to Nouri) need to be made.

President Massoud Barzani is a much admired figure in the KRG and he's a leader on the world stage but Biden wants to treat like an errand boy and hand him a grocery list?

Of course, Barazni's insulted.  And that's before you get to the White House's historic betrayal of Baraniz on the 2010 US-brokered Erbil Agreement that they used Barazni's name and reputation to sell and then refused, after everyone signed the contract, to stand by it.  Yeah, it's about time Barzani put some distance between himself and the US government.

Maybe even a brief spell will force the White House to take Barzani a little more seriously?


Moving on to a new topic,  Iran's FARS News Agency reports:


"The MKO is like a cancer that Iraq has been afflicted with, but uprooting it is nearly complete and it has reached its final days,” former Iraqi National Security Advisor Mowaffak al-Rubaie told FNA on Sunday.
He pointed to meddling in Iraq’s internal affairs as one of MKO’s goals, and said, “This grouplet should have been driven out from Iraq and its members should have been handed over to the Iranian government many years ago.”
Al-Rubaie reiterated that there is no other option left for Iraq, but to expel the MKO members.
In January, Iraqi Prime Minsiter Nuri al-Maliki underlined his government’s resolve to speed up efforts to expel the MKO members from Iraq.

Speaking in a joint press conference with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in Baghdad, Maliki blamed the UN for prolonging the presence of the MKO members in Iraq.

We need background.  Let's star with Mowaddak al-Rubaie.  He's a Shi'ite who was a member of Nouri al-Maliki's Dawa Party until 1991 when he wanted the party -- still operating in Iraq at the time -- to publicly declare their goal was to kill then-Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.  They refused and he left the party.  Making that declaration would have been a suicide mission for the party members in Iraq.  It wouldn't have had an effect on al-Rubaie -- he wasn't in Iraq.

From 1979 until after the US-led invasion of Iraq (March 2003), al-Rubaie lived in London.

Despite being out of the country for 24 years, the US immediately appoints him to the Iraqi governing council and, the following year, he's given the post of National Security Advisor.  Based on what?

National Security?  He studied medicine in London, he'd fled the country for 24 years.  But he was one of the useless, chicken s**t Iraqis who wouldn't fight Saddam but would lee the country and spend 24 years advocating the US government to topple Saddam Hussein.  What a loser, what a chicken.  Until April of 2009, he held the post of Natioanl Security Advisor.   At which point, he left the post and was named a member of Parliament and held that post until the March 2010 parliamentary elections.

Are you confused?

Don't think it's you.  There was no 2009 parliamentary elections.  Rules are broken for trash like al-Rubaie.  No elections doesn't mean he can be (illegally) named to be a Member of Parliament.  But then came the elections and al-Rubaie had to leave.  He wasn't re-elected, no political slate wanted to appoint him to any open seat.

We've noted the coward weakling here many, many times.  Such as May 9, 2007:

Mowaffak al-Rubaie goes to DC and Gordo tries to keep it in his pants but has a difficult time doing so. The article's entitled "Official Takes Case to U.S., but Skeptics Don’t Budge" (New York Times) but it might as well be called, "Gordo gets The Bedroom Tapes and Performs 'I Forget'." Check my math, but I count twelve. Twelve paragraphs before Gordo tells readers that we're dealing with yet another Iraqi who left the country and didn't come back until after the start of the illegal war. Gordo can't bring himself to tell readers when. It was near the start of the 80s. He was gone for roughly 20 years.
It's not minor. At one point, near the end, al-Rubaie is trying to sell Congress on the idea that Iraq will be a 'generational' thing and Carl Levin states that's too long. The paternalistic attitude doesn't just come from the US administration, it comes from their proxies: a whole host of exiles who saw an illegal war as just the thing to put themselves into power.
He returns in 2003 and the US government appoints him to the Iraqi Governing Council, then in 2004 he's appointed to the Coalition Provisional Authority and then, in 2006, puppet Nouri al-Maliki appoints him the country's national security adviser.
Now does anyone, for even one damn second, believe that someone gone for two decades has the popular support among Iraqis to lead? No, of course not.
In June 2006, he penned an op-ed for the Washington Post:


The eventual removal of coalition troops from Iraqi streets will help the Iraqis, who now see foreign troops as occupiers rather than the liberators they were meant to be. It will remove psychological barriers and the reason that many Iraqis joined the so-called resistance in the first place. The removal of troops will also allow the Iraqi government to engage with some of our neighbors that have to date been at the very least sympathetic to the resistance because of what they call the "coalition occupation." If the sectarian issue continues to cause conflict with Iraq's neighbors, this matter needs to be addressed urgently and openly -- not in the guise of aversion to the presence of foreign troops.
Moreover, the removal of foreign troops will legitimize Iraq's government in the eyes of its people. It has taken what some feel is an eternity to form a government of national unity. This has not been an easy or enviable task, but it represents a significant achievement, considering that many new ministers are working in partisan situations, often with people with whom they share a history of enmity and distrust. By its nature, the government of national unity, because it is working through consensus, could be perceived to be weak. But, again, the drawdown of foreign troops will strengthen our fledgling government to last the full four years it is supposed to.


The exile nature of the puppet government goes a long way towards explaining what someone who's had a seat in all the post-invasion Iraq governments would have tow rite about 'legitimizing' the puppet governments. The government is not made up of Iraqis and never has been. The ones in charge are repeatedly exiles. They are handpicked by the United States.
They have no legitimacy. When it happens once, an Iraqi might think, "Well, good he came back." (It's always a "he.") When it happens over and over?
al-Rubaie came to DC to do a song and dance: Keep sending money, keep letting your service members die to prop a government by those of us who spent decades in exile.
They aren't Iraqis. They were born there, they chose to leave. After US troops are on the ground, they choose to return, after having made their homes elsewhere for decades (al-Rubaie set up shop -- like many -- in England). They have no legitimacy and they have no right to rule. When they speak of the 'time under Saddam,' it's greeted with derision because while many Iraqis lived through that time, the exiles were off in other countries.
All they've brought back is a patronizing attitude that they are so much better than the people of Iraq. That's been one of the many repeated reasons that, government after government, the puppets have no legitmacy in the eyes of the Iraqi people.
There is no 'generational' thing to overcome, just excuses offered by the US government and exiles for why Iraqi people are not allowed self-rule. As hollow as the excuses seem from the outside, they seem even worse on the ground in Iraq.



So that's the Chatty Cathy, now for the group he was speaking of.  When he says "MEK in Iraq" he means the Ashraf community.   As of September, Camp Ashraf in Iraq is empty.  All remaining members of the community have been moved to Camp Hurriya (also known as Camp Liberty).  Camp Ashraf housed a group of Iranian dissidents who were  welcomed to Iraq by Saddam Hussein in 1986 and he gave them Camp Ashraf and six other parcels that they could utilize. In 2003, the US invaded Iraq.The US government had the US military lead negotiations with the residents of Camp Ashraf. The US government wanted the residents to disarm and the US promised protections to the point that US actions turned the residents of Camp Ashraf into protected person under the Geneva Conventions. This is key and demands the US defend the Ashraf community in Iraq from attacks.  The Bully Boy Bush administration grasped that -- they were ignorant of every other law on the books but they grasped that one.  As 2008 drew to a close, the Bush administration was given assurances from the Iraqi government that they would protect the residents. Yet Nouri al-Maliki ordered the camp repeatedly attacked after Barack Obama was sworn in as US President. July 28, 2009 Nouri launched an attack (while then-US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates was on the ground in Iraq). In a report released this summer entitled "Iraqi government must respect and protect rights of Camp Ashraf residents," Amnesty International described this assault, "Barely a month later, on 28-29 July 2009, Iraqi security forces stormed into the camp; at least nine residents were killed and many more were injured. Thirty-six residents who were detained were allegedly tortured and beaten. They were eventually released on 7 October 2009; by then they were in poor health after going on hunger strike." April 8, 2011, Nouri again ordered an assault on Camp Ashraf (then-US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates was again on the ground in Iraq when the assault took place). Amnesty International described the assault this way, "Earlier this year, on 8 April, Iraqi troops took up positions within the camp using excessive, including lethal, force against residents who tried to resist them. Troops used live ammunition and by the end of the operation some 36 residents, including eight women, were dead and more than 300 others had been wounded. Following international and other protests, the Iraqi government announced that it had appointed a committee to investigate the attack and the killings; however, as on other occasions when the government has announced investigations into allegations of serious human rights violations by its forces, the authorities have yet to disclose the outcome, prompting questions whether any investigation was, in fact, carried out."  Those weren't the last attacks.  They were the last attacks while the residents were labeled as terrorists by the US State Dept.  (September 28, 2012, the designation was changed.)   In spite of this labeling, Mohammed Tawfeeq (CNN) observed that "since 2004, the United States has considered the residents of Camp Ashraf 'noncombatants' and 'protected persons' under the Geneva Conventions."  So the US has an obligation to protect the residents.  3,300 are no longer at Camp Ashraf.  They have moved to Camp Hurriyah for the most part.  A tiny number has received asylum in other countries. Approximately 100 were still at Camp Ashraf when it was attacked Sunday.   That was the second attack this year alone.   February 9th of this year, the Ashraf residents were again attacked, this time the ones who had been relocated to Camp Hurriyah.  Trend News Agency counted 10 dead and over one hundred injured.  Prensa Latina reported, " A rain of self-propelled Katyusha missiles hit a provisional camp of Iraqi opposition Mujahedin-e Khalk, an organization Tehran calls terrorists, causing seven fatalities plus 50 wounded, according to an Iraqi official release."  They were attacked again September 1st.   Adam Schreck (AP) reported that the United Nations was able to confirm the deaths of 52 Ashraf residents.  In addition, 7 Ashraf residents were taken in the assault.  Last November, in response to questions from US House Rep Sheila Jackson Lee, the  State Dept's Deputy Assistant Secretary for Iraq and Iran Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, Brett McGurk, stated, "The seven are not in Iraq."  McGurk's sworn testimony wasn't taken seriously.

The National Council of Resistance of Iran issued a press release today which includes:

The United States must keep its promise to protect the residents of Camp Liberty before they can be transferred to safe havens outside Iraq, former Governor Howard Dean has told a meeting at the US Senate.
Mr Dean also condemned Iran's terrorist meddling in the Middle East and accused the US of sacrificing Liberty residents to keep Iran at the nuclear arms negotiating table.
He said: "These 3,000 people in Camp Liberty were disarmed by American troops in 2004 voluntarily in exchange for a piece of paper... that said these are protected people under the Geneva Convention and the Americans will take responsibility for protecting them.
"Now there is loose talk in the state department that our obligation ran out in 2009 when we turned everything over to Iraq. That is the kind of talk that we cannot have. That is the path to cynicism.

"You do not sell out 3,000 unarmed people because they become inconvenient, because you hope to pacify a group of people that do not have a history of keeping their word and who are as we sit at the table, killing Americans by supplying IED’s to Afghan Taliban."