Tuesday, July 22, 2014


ABC's Revenge is a continuing serial about a daughter's effort to get vengeance on the people who harmed her father, set him up for prison time.

The daughter is Amanda Clarke.

When she's ready to return (as an adult), to seek vengeance, she first trades places with a girl she was in juvie with.

So Amanda Clarke becomes Emily Clarke and Emily Clarke becomes Amanda -- or 'faux manda') as many of us think of her.

Faux manda will last through season 1 and most of season 2.

She was a bit on the edge and, if pushed, she was more likely to kill than just push back.  (Something Frank learned too late -- she killed him when he discovered she was really Emily Thorne.)

 Faux manda also served to demonstrate what faux Emily could have turned out like.

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
Monday, July 21, 2014.  Chaos and violence continue, Christians were targeted last week, suddenly this week the United Nations and the US State Dept and Nouri al-Maliki notice, Nouri continues killing civilians, and much more.

Yesterday at the Vatican, Pope Francis weighed in on the issue of the ongoing persecution of Iraqi Christians.  Linda Bordoni (Vatican Radio -- link is text and radio) reports the Pope's remarks included, "Today our brothers are persecuted, they are banished from their homes and forced to flee without even being able to take their belongings!"  The Pope declared that violence is not the way to end violence, that only peace could overcome and triumph over violence.

What's going on?

Catholic World News notes, "Following an ultimatum from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) to leave Mosul, convert to Islam, or be killed, the city’s remaining Christians left for other parts of Iraq."  Dropping back to Friday's snapshot:

Iraqi thug and prime minister Nouri al-Maliki repeatedly refused to provide Iraqi Christians in Baghdad with the security needed.  This was most obvious in the October 31, 2010 attack on Our Lady of Salvation Church in Baghdad.  Many Iraqi Christians fled the country.  Many of those who stayed moved to northern Iraq which was considered to be more tolerant of and welcoming to Christians.
BBC News reports Christians are now fleeing the northern city of Mosul because the Islamic State has declared that Christians have one of two choices -- "convert to Islam or pa[y] a 'protection tax'."  There is the third choice: Do neither and be slaughtered.  They have until Saturday afternoon to leave, convert or face "the sword."

Christians are said to have now fled the city or to be in hiding in it.  AFP reported over the weekend on Fadi who had decided to remain in Mosul with his wife and their son because they lacked the money to relocate elsewhere.  As the bulk of Christians fled, landmarks were seized.  Mohammad Jamal (Al-Monitor) reports, "Crosses were replaced with IS banners, and all churches were either closed or burned down."  AFP adds, "ISIS militants have taken over a monastery in northern Iraq, one of the country’s best-known Christian landmarks, and expelled its resident monks, a cleric and residents said Monday. The fighters stormed Mar Behnam, a fourth-century monastery run by the Syriac Catholic Church near the predominantly Christian town of Qaraqosh, Sunday, the sources said."

Rudaw adds, "According to information obtained from sources by Rudaw, only 200 of Mosul’s 5,000 Christians still remain in the city." And those who did leave?  Hamdi Alkhshali and Joshua Berlinger (CNN) explain, "Some of the families headed for Irbil -- which is currently controlled by Kurdish forces -- and others toward the Dohuk province. The majority went to Dohuk, which is 140 kilometers (87 miles) north of Mosul."

Nabih Bulos (Los Angeles Times) reports:

"For the first time in Mosul's history, there are no services being held and the church bells are silent on Sunday," lamented William Wardeh, spokesman for the Hammurabi Human Rights Organization, a watchdog group. "This is a crime in and of itself."
In recent decades, clerics say, conflict, sectarian strife and other factors have more than halved an Iraqi Christian population that once exceeded 1 million, including various Eastern Rite sects, both Catholic and Orthodox. Many worshipers have immigrated to Europe, North America and Australia.

AP reports thug Nouri issued a statement on Sunday which decried the targeting of Christians and "agression against the churches and houses of worship."  Someone's supposed to take Nouri seriously?  The man who did nothing to provide security for the Christians in Baghdad -- let alone in the rest of Iraq?

Historically, Iraq has long been home to members of the Christian faith.  In fact, prior to the start of the Iraq War (March 2003), it was estimated that Christians accounted for at least two million Iraqis in the country.  Now the number tossed around is approximately 400,000.  Al Arabiya News notes specific figures with regards to Mosul, "Until their forced exodus over the weekend, Christians had been continuously present in Mosul for about 16 centuries."

Open Doors USA issued the following statement today:

SANTA ANA, Calif. (July 21, 2014) – Dr. David Curry, President/CEO of Open Doors USA, has condemned the latest action of Islamic State militants who ordered all Christians in the Iraqi city of Mosul to leave the city over the weekend or face execution.
"The persecution and treatment of Christians in Mosul is unprecedented in modern times,” he says. “This latest forced exodus of Christians further shows why Western governments and the people in the West need to cry out in support for religious freedom in the Middle East and elsewhere. If this does not move us concerning the near extinction of Christianity in the Middle East, it’s likely nothing else can."
Rabbi Yitzchok Adlerstein, Director of Interfaith Affairs at the Simon Wiesenthal Center, adds: “Too many of us thought that forced conversions and expulsions of entire religious communities were part of a distant, medieval past. There was little that we could do to stop this horrible episode.
“It is not too late to realize that many others –  Christians today, but certainly Jews, Baha'i, Hindus, Muslims and others – are mortally endangered by a potent religious fanaticism that threatens tens of millions, and which still can be resisted.”
According to Open Doors, the Islamic State gave Christians an ultimatum over the weekend – 1) stay and convert to Islam 2) pay Islamic tax (which is too much for most families to pay) 3) leave Mosul taking nothing but their clothes. Christians who stayed would be executed.
Most Christians have left Mosul now. At the checkpoints of ISIS, Christians had to leave everything behind (cars, gold, money, mobile phones). The only possessions they could keep were their clothes. They had to walk to safer places, mostly in northern Iraq, while traveling in blistering heat.
A World Watch Monitor source in Erbil, the capital of the Kurdistan region, said a Christian family in Mosul reported by phone that explosions were heard during the night last Thursday in Mosul. On Friday, as the family attempted to pass through a Mosul checkpoint, ISIS agents forced them out of their car and confiscated their belongings and put them in a separate vehicle. Then the militants drove them several minutes down the road, and ultimately forced them out to continue their journey on foot, according to the source.
Open Doors reports that some churches, many in partnership with Open Doors, have been helping the Mosul refugees. An Open Doors field worker said: “The exodus has stopped. There are no more Christians in Mosul. We now need to pray that they might return one day.”
Earlier last week, the Islamic State marked houses belonging to members of minority communities, including Christians, with the phrase "property of the Islamic State," including inhabited houses.
Iraq is ranked No. 4 on the Open Doors 2014 World Watch List of the worst persecutors of Christians. For more information on the list, go to www.WorldWatchList.us.
For almost 60 years Open Doors has worked in the world's most oppressive and restrictive countries, strengthening Christians to stand strong in the face of persecution and equipping them to shine Christ's light in these places. Open Doors empowers persecuted Christians in the areas of Bible and gospel development, women and children’s advancement and Christian community restoration. Christians are the most persecuted religious group in the world and are oppressed in at least 60 countries. To partner with Open Doors USA, call toll free at 888-5-BIBLE-5 (888-524-2535) or go to www.OpenDoorsUSA.org.
(To set up an interview or for more information, contact Jerry Dykstra at 616-915-4117 or email jerryd@odusa.org.)

The first wave of ethnic cleansing took place in 2006 and 2007, as Nouri was beginning his first term as prime minister (spring 2006).  So the idea that Nouri's words were sincere?

AP also notes, "The comments from Nouri al-Maliki come a day after the expiration of a deadline imposed by the Islamic State group calling on Christians in the militant-held city of Mosul to convert to Islam, pay a tax or face death."

An Iraqi leader speaking sincerely would be one who called out the threats before the deadline for Christians to exit Mosul expired.  A real leader would have stood with the threatened on Friday or Saturday.  Nouri waited to speak until after the bulk of Mosul's Christians had left the city.

Also weighing in on the threats, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon:

20 July 2014 – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today condemned in the strongest terms the systematic persecution of minorities in Mosul and other parts of northern Iraq as a reported deadline passed for individuals to convert to Islam, pay a tax, flee or face possible execution.
In a statement from his spokesperson, Mr. Ban, who is currently in the Middle East, strongly denounced the actions of the group known as the Islamic State (IS) and its allies.
“Equally repugnant are reports that Turkoman, Yazidis and Shabaks are facing abductions, killings or the destruction of their property,” Mr. Ban continued, “and that the homes of Christian, Shia and Shabak residents in Mosul have been marked.”
He stressed that any systematic attack on the civilian population due to their ethnic background, religious beliefs or faith may constitute a crime against humanity, “All armed groups, including IS and associated formations, must abide by international humanitarian law and protect civilians living in areas they control.”
Mr. Ban noted that recently “minority communities that have lived together for thousands of years” in Ninewa province, whose main city is Mosul, have come under direct attack and persecution by IS and associated armed groups.
In the past few weeks, tens of thousands of members of ethnic and religious minority groups have been displaced or forced to flee and seek refuge, while many others have been executed and kidnapped.
The UN High Commissioner for Refugees, António Guterres, who visited Iraq last week to see the conditions facing some of the displaced families, warned that Iraq risks “full-fledged sectarian war and complete fragmentation” as Iraqis continue to flee their homes and minority groups are targeted.
The UN will continue to intensify its efforts, in cooperation with the Government of Iraq and the Kurdistan Regional Government, to address the urgent humanitarian needs, Mr. Ban said, including the minority groups displaced by terrorist threat.

Al-Shorfa quotes the Baghdad scholars and preachers council spokesperson Sheikh Shaker al-Adhami stating, "ISIL is proving day after day that is has nothing to do with Islam, and that its terrorist leaders who are dreaming about power and are afflicted with the desire to spill blood and enjoy the killing of innocent people have exploited [Islam] in the most heinous way."

A lot of people show up to make statements . . . days after the threat was made public.  After the Saturday deadline.

And no one puffs their chests out more and struts around more than the US government.  Hence spokesperson Marie Harf's statements in today's State Dept press briefing:

QUESTION: Iraq. Do you have anything to say about the ISIS campaign to take over churches and expel --

MS. HARF: I do.

QUESTION: -- monks and the priests from near Mosul and that region?

MS. HARF: Yes. Let me see what I have on this. I think I have something. Let me just check. Yes. And I believe that Jen – we put out a statement on this late on Friday. But we condemn in the strongest terms the systematic persecution of ethnic and religious minorities by ISIL. We are particularly outraged by ISIL’s recent announcement that Christians in Mosul must either convert, pay a tax, leave, or face execution in the coming days. These are abominable acts. We are very clear that they only further demonstrate ISIL’s mission to divide and destroy Iraq, and they have absolutely no place in the future of Iraq. We could not be more clear.

QUESTION: Just because that is the statement that was released on Friday --

MS. HARF: Yeah.

QUESTION: -- that you just read, there is no change to it since then?


QUESTION: The Kurdistan --

MS. HARF: All about consistency here.

QUESTION: The Kurdistan government is complaining that they can’t afford any more to host the displaced people. Is there any – anything the U.S. --

MS. HARF: I can check on that. I hadn’t seen that. Let me check for you, Samir.

QUESTION: Is the U.S. able to do anything to limit this ISIS campaign?

MS. HARF: The persecution of Christians?

QUESTION: Yeah, I mean, to take over the churches and the --

MS. HARF: Well, in general, we’ve been very clear that we will help the Iraqi Government in its fight against ISIL writ large. This is one part of that fight, certainly. We are working with them now, but I don’t have anything specific on that for you.

QUESTION: But you have --

MS. HARF: We’ve also worked very closely with international organizations to address the humanitarian crisis in Iraq.

QUESTION: But currently you’re not doing anything?

MS. HARF: I can check and see specifically. I just don’t know.

QUESTION: Just a follow-up.

MS. HARF: Yeah.

QUESTION: Yesterday, Michael O’Hanlon of Brookings said that it’d be impossible to combat ISIS without a few more folks on the ground. Do you have a reaction to that?

MS. HARF: Well, the United – you mean United States folks?


MS. HARF: United States military assessment teams have provided a draft report. I know my colleagues at the Defense Department are looking at it to determine the best way to assist the Iraqi Government. We’re very committed to that. I would leave it to my colleagues there to talk in further detail about that.

QUESTION: And can I ask a question on an unrelated topic?

MS. HARF: Uh-huh.

In  violence other than the targeting of Christians in Mosul?

Let's start with the civilians Nouri killed and wounded today.

National Iraqi News Agency reports Nouri's bombing of Falluja's residential neighborhoods left 3 people dead and thirteen more injured, his bombing of a home in Rawa left 2 women dead and thirteen more people (women and children) injured, and his aerial bombing of Hawija left 2 children and 5 women dead with ten more civilians left injured.  These are War Crimes.  Notice how little that appears to matter to the West. Staying with violence, All Iraq News notes that there have been approximately 125 violent deaths every day this month.  National Iraqi News Agency reports that military officials say they killed 38 suspects in Baaj in an aerial bombing of 18 vehicles, security sources state they killed 100 suspects in Hadeed al-Nasser, security officials issued a statement announcing they killed 6 suspects in Jurf al-Sakhar, Baghdad Operations Command announced they killed 30 suspects, military officials say they killed 50 suspects east of Falluja, a Jurf al-Sakhar battles left three federal police members injured, a battle north of Mosul left four Peshmerga injured, a Sabein car bombing left  1 person dead and five more injured, and 1 corpse ("handcuffed and bearing signs of torture and gunshots") was discovered in east Baghdad and another was found dumped in southern Baghdad.

 Senator Patty Murray is the Chair of the Senate Budget Committee and serves on the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee.  Her office issued the following today:

FOR PLANNING PURPOSES                                             CONTACT: Murray Press Office
Monday, July 21, 2014                                                                               (202) 224-2834
TOMORROW: Murray to Hear from VA Secretary Nominee Robert McDonald

Washington, D.C. – Tomorrow, Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), a senior member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee will attend a committee hearing on the nomination of Robert A. McDonald to be Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs. At the hearing, Murray will deliver remarks and question McDonald on how he would improve trust and transparency at the VA, and how he would provide oversight of VA facilities in Washington state.

WHO:             Senator Patty Murray (D-WA)

WHAT:          Remarks at Veterans’ Affairs Committee Hearing on VA nominee Robert A. McDonald

WHEN:         TOMORROW, Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014,
                       3:00 PM ET/ 12:00 PM PST

WHERE:       SD-G50

Meghan Roh
Press Secretary | New Media Director
Office of U.S. Senator Patty Murray
Mobile: (202) 365-1235
Office: (202) 224-2834

RSS Feed for Senator Murray's office

Lastly, new content at Third went up late, late Sunday:


al arabiya news