Saturday, April 19, 2014

Music (Carly Simon)

Let's start with CounterPunch's "What We’re Listening to This Week"

John Coltrane, My Favorite Things (Atlantic Records, 1961)
The Who, Quadrophenia (Track Records, 1973)
Laura Mvula, Sing to the Moon (RCA Victor Records, 2013)
Kevin Gray’s latest book, Killing Trayvons, (co-edited with JoAnn Wypijewski and Jeffrey St. Clair) will be published by CounterPunch this spring.

I went with Kevin Alexander Gray because those are my favorite Coltrane and Who albums.  I don't know Laura Mvula.  I'll have to look her up.

Now let me note Third's "This edition's playlist."


1)  Afghan Whigs's Do The Beast.

2) Carly Simon's The Bedroom Tapes.

3) Angie Stone's Stone Love.

4) Joni Mitchell's For The Roses.

5) Ludo's Prepare The Preparations.

6) Soundgarden's Superunknown.

7) Tori Amos' American Doll Posse.

8) James Blake's James Blake.

9) Brenda Russell's Get Here.

10)  The Mamas & the Papas' Deliver.

I loved all ten of the albums.

I am a huge fan of Carly Simon.  I think she is one of the best American songwriters.

So I was really thrilled to read Kat's "The Carly Simon Dream Album" and think you'll love it too.

I think I understand what Kat (and company) are getting at.

They're wanting an album with a sound similar to Into White.

I love that album.

I thought I liked it when it came out but it has just grown and grown on me.

(Kat reviewed it here.)

It's one that has a magical sound and brightness that really makes it stand out on repeat listenings.

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
Friday, April 18, 2014.  Chaos and violence continue, Nouri's War Crimes continue (and are called out by a Sheikh), Tehran officials are told a third term for Nouri is unacceptable, Robert Beecroft is also informed of that, election campaigning heats up, KRB gets some bad news, Nouri's baby thug gets some media attention, and much more.

We're not campaign central.  We will look at Hillary Clinton's run in terms of Iraq.  The former Secretary of State, Senator and First Lady is a press favorite for a 2016 presidential run.  She herself hasn't made up her mind yet and protests and thrown shoes may be indicating a level of hostility to her again running for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination.  I've already stated I have no intention of voting for her, I'm not campaigning for her. But let's look at her record.  Ann McFeatters (Gulf Today) explores it and offers:

Hillary says she still has to figure out why she’d run. She has said nothing yet about what a Hillary Clinton presidency would mean for the country. Being first woman president would be cool but probably isn’t reason enough to elect her.
She ran in 2008 defending the war in Iraq, a war that just about everyone except Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney agrees was a bad mistake. There’s a general consensus that capturing Saddam Hussein was not worth thousands of lives and hundreds of billions of dollars. 

That's the real surprise that no one wants to talk about.  She ran in 2008, she failed to stake out ground on Iraq that would carry her to the nomination.  Even if you believe the nomination was stolen from her (I do believe that, that's part of the reason Nancy Pelosi stopped the floor vote -- it would have revealed how close Hillary and Barack were in delegates).  But she was part of a divisive primary season.

How does that go away now?  Or are people at various left websites now confessing that their endless smears of Hillary as racist or wanting Barack Obama dead were lies -- lies they knew they were telling in real time?

The reality is, it was a bitter primary.  How do you, eight years later, pretend that didn't happen?

I have no idea but I have no idea why Hillary couldn't get over her pride and admit her Iraq War vote was wrong.  It was a 2008 mistake and it's six years after that run and she's still associated with the Iraq War. The only thing to her credit as a senator was opposing the surge but, as we now know from former US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and his Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War, Hillary only opposed it for political reasons/posturing.  (The same is true of Barack, read Gates' book, but we're not talking about Barack running in 2016.)  (The 'surge' was when Bully Boy Bush sent more US troops into Iraq in 2007 to secure the country -- primarily Baghdad -- to allow Nouri to work on the White House benchmarks that he promised to implement but never, ever did.  Excuses were made in 2007 and outlets rushed to give him partial grades and pretend that in 2008 he'd achieve -- he didn't 2008, he didn't since.  It was more broken promises from Nouri.)

While Hillary attempts to figure out whether or not to run and what her big achievement as Secretary of State was, Roger Aranoff (Western Journalism) notes Hillary travels with a bit more than carry-on luggage:

But the legacy of Hillary Clinton is turning out to be one of incompetence, bungled efforts, chicanery, and outright scandal. Her most famous words have become, “What difference at this point does it make?” referring to how the four brave Americans died in Benghazi in September of 2012. And a number of other scandals have followed her, both from before and during her tenure as Secretary of State. The latest is about $6 billion in contract dollars that the State Department lost track of over the last six years.
According to the Inspector General report:
  •   There was a lack of paperwork: of 115 contracts sampled from the U.S. Mission in Iraq, 33 could not be produced.
  •   There was missing documentation: the Bureau of African Affairs couldn’t provide complete files for any of the eight contracts requested.
  •   There were conflicts of interest: a $52 million contract was awarded to a “company owned by the spouse of a contractor employee performing as a Contract Specialist for the contract.”
  •   Payments were sent when they weren’t supposed to be: $792,782 was sent to a contractor, “even though the contract file did not contain documents to support the payment.”
  •   Contracts were even hidden: “The related contract file was not properly maintained and for a period of time was hidden…This contract was valued at $100 million.”
All in all, this creates “conditions conducive to fraud, as corrupt individuals may attempt to conceal evidence of illicit behavior by omitting key documents from the contract file,” according to the IG report.

In 12 days, parliamentary elections are supposed to take place in Iraq.

Where's the State Dept?

They would say they are working (feedback they're receiving from the public says otherwise).  Whatever they're doing, they're not communicating with their ultimate boss: the US public.

Iraq last held parliamentary elections in 2010, when Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State. February 17, 2010, then-US Ambassador to Iraq Chris Hill delivered "Briefing On Upcoming Iraqi Elections and U.S.-Iraqi Relations" -- a bad briefing, Hill's an idiot, but it was a briefing.  It took place in DC.  It took place 18 days before the elections.  This go round, nothing from the State Dept and yet the elections are only 12 days away.

Maybe if John Kerry stopped bullying other countries, the State Dept would have addressed the elections by now?

And the day of the election and after the elections, Hillary issued multiple statements so someone better inform John Kerry that he needs to up his game because with regards to keeping Americans informed on key points with regards to the State Dept's mission in Iraq, Hillary did a better job than Kerry's doing.

On the elections, Fareed Zakaria (Global Public Square, CNN) offers a list of readings, including Ned Parker's latest:

“On the surface, the speed with which Iraq’s new political order has fallen apart is a puzzle. Although bombings never stopped, there had been relative stability since the spring of 2008, when Maliki, emboldened by the successful U.S.-backed Sunni revolt against al Qaeda, known as the Awakening, set out to disband the Shiite militias endangering law and order in Basra and Baghdad,” argues Ned Parker in the New York Review of Books.
“The campaign, supported by the Americans, produced a surge of patriotism among both Shiites and Sunnis. By 2010, when the country was preparing to stage its second national elections for a four-year government, Iraq seemed poised to cast off its divisions. Maliki, running for reelection, had learned to present himself as both staunchly Shiite and a leader for all Iraqis. Resisting pressure from other Shiite religious parties and Iran, he ran his own list of candidates, including Sunni tribesmen and secular politicians…Yet Maliki and his Shiite Islamist supporters were unable to shed their deep mistrust of those they believed had fought them in the past. Rather than being integrated into the political system, several dozen leaders of the Awakening ended up dead or in jail, or forced into exile.”

Alice Fordham has a report for NPR's Morning Edition (link is text and audio) that wants to insist Nouri's trying to bring the Sahwa into the military -- while ignoring what Ned Parker's outlined above and what's taken place for the entire second term of Nouri al-Maliki until right before these elections.

She's providing a wrong impression to listeners.

She's also wrong in the following, "But fighting still rages and it's been announced that national elections planned to the end of the month will not happen in Anbar. Alice Fordham, NPR News."  She got her name right.  You can dispute the "NPR News" label -- NPR doesn't really do much news anymore, it's all feature stories. But she's wrong about an announcement regarding Anbar.

How did that make it on air?

Well, like I said, NPR really doesn't do news anymore so there's no one to fact check.

April 8th, the IHEC declared not all areas of Anbar would have polling stations.  Today Tasnim News Agency reports:

“In Anbar Province, all necessary arrangements have been made to ensure the security of the election, which is to be held on April 30,” Faleh Al-Eisawi, the head of the council of the province said in an interview with the Tasnim News Agency.
[. . .]
He also emphasized that the police forces in cooperation with Anbar Operations Command are to implement an extensive security plan to provide the security of the elections.

Again, Alice Fordham's claim (""But fighting still rages and it's been announced that national elections planned to the end of the month will not happen in Anbar.") does not hold up.

Iraq last held parliamentary elections in March of 2010.  In those elections, Nouri al-Maliki's State of Law lost to Ayad Allawi's Iraqiya.  Though Allawi should have been named prime minister-designate, loser Nouri threw an eight month long tantrum and the White House indulged him.  They did more than that, they also worked to find a way to let the loser have a second term as prime minister.  Since he lost the vote, they went to the leaders of the political blocs and pointed out Nouri could hold out for 8 more months (Parliament wasn't able to meet during Nouri's tantrum, he brought government to a standstill) and got them to sign a contract (The Erbil Agreement) which Nouri used to grab a second term.

As Anthony H. Cordesman and Sam Khazai pointed out earlier this year in [PDF format warning] "Iraq in Crisis:"

US officials applauded the 2010 Erbil agreement, and said they were hopeful that such cooperative arrangement would provide a political breakthrough among Iraq’s leadership, and allow them to address the country’s problems. They pointed to the influence the US had in pushing for the outcome, including the adoption of an American suggestion that Allawi head a new, “National Council for Security Policy”.

And let's note  Karen DeYoung (Washington Post) reported in real time:

Vice President Biden made numerous calls to senior Iraqi leaders over the past several months and U.S. officials directly participated in top-level negotiating sessions that lasted until just moments before the Iraqi parliament finally convened to approve a new power-sharing government Thursday, a senior Obama administration official said Friday. 

The contract didn't just have the leaders say, "Second term for Nouri!"  In exchange for that second term, the contract outlined actions Nouri would have to take.  But then he refused to honor his promises.  It's among the reasons he's so loathed today.

We've note many press whores over the years.  When there's a member of the press that tells the truth, we also try to note that.  On The Erbil Agreement, we're going to drop back to November 13, 2010 when one reporter had the guts to tell the truth.  Michael Jansen (Gulf Today) stated the obvious, "The deal making that produced last Thursday’s session of parliament is nothing to boast about." She then continued:

It is not clear why Iraqiya thought Maliki -- a sectarian Shiite whose Dawa party was a bitter enemy of the Baath -- would implement this pledge. Maliki has also failed to carry out solemn promises to recruit into the security forces or find civil service jobs for fighters of the Sunni Awakening Councils -- or Sons of Iraq movement -- who helped US and government forces curb Al Qaeda in 2007-08. Maliki has shown himself to have absolutely no intention of sharing power with Sunnis and certainly not with secular politicians like Allawi who represents the "old Iraq" where politics was non-sectarian.
In spite of Obama's declaration that an "inclusive" government formula had been found after months of wrangling, Maliki is not interested in including Sunnis, secularists, former Baathists and others who do not subscribe to the ethno-sectarian system imposed on Iraq by the previous Bush administration.

She said that days after The Erbil Agreement was signed.  She had been proven correct by the events that followed.  Credit to Michael Jansen for offering reality and perspective when few others were able or willing to.   Salah Nasrawi (Al-Ahram Weekly) reports:

With the vote only days away, Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki’s prospects for re-election look dim, and the country’s Shia parties, which together are poised to win the most seats in parliament, have started looking for a challenger to the incumbent leader.
Al-Maliki, who is seeking a third term in office, is in trouble as Iraq is teeming with problems. Many blame him for the country’s sectarian violence, political turmoil and economic deadlock and are eager to see a new prime minister in place.
For the time being, there is no frontrunner in Iraq’s elections, scheduled for 30 April, as several Shia politicians have been vying for the powerful position which also includes the key post of commander-in-chief of the armed forces.

Iraq Times reports the Independent High Electoral Commission announced Thursday that they have fined 61 political bodies and candidates so far for campaign violations.  The IHEC is a ruling body but the Iraqi people are the ultimate ruling body (unless the White House steps in as it did in 2006 when it installed Nouri al-Maliki as prime minister and as it did in 2010 when it demanded he be given a second term).  And the people are defining their own issues right now.  For example, Rekar Aziz and Alexander Whitcomb (Rudaw) report that, in the Kurdistan Region, where campaign posters, leaflets and other printed materials are made is becoming an issue with voters and local businesses since much of the campaign material is coming "from Turkey, Lebanon and as far away as China" harming the KRG's local economy.

Let's stay with the Kurds for a moment, Ilnur Cevik (Daily Sabah) reports:

Iraqi Kurdish leaders feel that if the current impasse in relations with the Iraqi central government continues after the April 30 elections they will have no other option but to gradually weaken their ties with Baghdad and eventually declare a separate state. Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani was in Ankara to meet with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan Wednesday night to feel the pulse of Ankara if the Kurds eventually move away from Baghdad. A source close to Barzani told Daily Sabah on Thursday that Barzani returned home late Wednesday night "satisfied."
The central government of Iraq led by Nouri el-Maliki has been at odds with the Kurds over an array of issues stemming from an oil and gas dispute. Baghdad has thus been slow in sending the KRG's share of Iraqi oil revenues and therefore pushed the Kurds into a financial bottleneck with serious delays in even the payment of civil servant salaries in the KRG.

And Nouri continues to alienate the Kurds. Adnan Jassem (Anadolu Agency) notes, "Iraq's main Shiite bloc led by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki will endorse a 'moderate Sunni Arab' candidate to succeed incumbent President Jalal Talabani, who is Kurdish, a leading bloc member has said."

On the election, All Iraq News reports:

Ahrar bloc of Sadr Trend described granting a 3rd term for the Premier, Nouri al-Maliki, as "Dreams."
MP, Hussien al-Shireifi, of Ahrar bloc stated to AIN "The majority of the political blocs object renewing a 3rd term for Maliki due to his policies that caused crises and problems for the country."

In addition, Iraq Times quotes another Sadr bloc MP, Bahaa al-Araji stating that Nouri will not receive a third term as prime minister.  In another report, the outlet quotes al-Araji stating Nouri has no achievements to speak of, not when security has deteriorated and the economy is not improved and . . .  Dar Addustour reports that both cleric and movement leader Moqtada al-Sadr and Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq's Ammar al-Hakim went to Tehran to make clear that a third term for Nouri is unacceptable and that this follows KRG President Massoud Barzani told officials in Tehran that a third term for Nouri would cause the Kurds to secede.  As Ann noted last night, Ayad Allawi declared this week that Nouri shouldn't have a third term as prime minister.  Iraq Times reports the State Dept's Brett McGurk is advocating for a third term for Nouri and that Ahmed Chalabi is speaking with the White House about why this is not a good idea and spoke to US Ambassador to Iraq Robert Beecroft about this on Monday.

Not all Iraqis who vote will be voting in Iraq.  There are many Iraqis who have had to flee the country due to violence.  NINA reports, "A leading member of Rafidain parliamentary bloc MP, Imad Youkhana called on Iraqi communities abroad to broad participation in the upcoming parliamentary elections."  All Iraq News reports:

The member of the Parliamentary Foreign Relations Committee, Imad Yokhana, called the Iraqis abroad for wide participation in the upcoming parliamentary elections.
He stated to AIN "The Iraqis abroad can determine the future of Iraq for the next 4 years via their participation in the elections."

Two days before the election, Iraq's security forces will take part in early voting.  Mustafa Habib (Niqash) explores the military vote and we'll note this section:

It is also possible that the situation they are facing in Anbar may be turning the Iraqi military against al-Maliki. When problems first started in Anbar, al-Maliki seemed to be very popular with the military, observers say. However over recent months this has changed.

“Al-Maliki’s popularity is decreasing,” says one senior member of the military in Basra province, who did not want to be named for fear of repercussions. “Because the army is having huge difficulties in Anbar.”

According to this soldier, the Iraqi government has allegedly played down the number of military casualties it’s had in the fight against insurgents in Anbar. Videos being posted on YouTube and other social media indicate many more are being captured and killed.

“Previously regiments in the south of the country were fairly safe on their bases,” the military source says. “Then al-Maliki decided to bring them to Anbar and it’s led to many deaths. This has increased ill will towards the government.”

“The government has forced the Iraqi military into a battle it cannot win,” says Yassin al-Rubaie, a former member of the Iraqi army’s Seventh Division, which is currently deployed in Anbar. “We don’t have any experience fighting a guerrilla war on the streets and we don’t know the area at all. The militias fighting us know the area very well, they’re better coordinated than the army and they have had this kind of combat experience before,” he says.

Nouri al-Maliki continues killing civilians in Anbar.  Alsumaria reports a military shelling of a residential neighborhood in Ramadi left 3 people dead "including a child."  Iraqi Spring MC notes Nouri's three murders here. Iraqi Spring MC also notes people demonstrated in Ramadi calling on Nouri to pulls his forces out of the city and the military 'responded' by firing randomly.  Meanwhile Nouri's forces continued their bombing of Falluja's residential neighborhoods.  Alsumaria reports 1 civilian was killed and ten more were injured in the latest assault from Nouri's military.  Suleiman al-Qubeisi (Anadolu Agency) also reports on the Falluja assault.   NINA quotes Sheikh Mohammed Fayyad stating, "Friday sermons in Fallujah focused on demands to stop the indiscriminate shelling of the city if the government rely want to develop a solution to the crisis , the abolition of the provincial government and members of the board because of their frustrated stands as they escaped to the northern provinces or out of Iraq and stealing by some of them aid, food and funds allocated by many local and international agencies for the displaced people of Anbar moreover of exploited the stolen funds and material to serve them in the propaganda of electoral campaign."  Kitabat notes the Sheikh called out the "genocide" taking place as Nouri attacks the civilians of Falluja and Ramadi.

In other violence, National Iraqi News Agency reports security sources state they killed 3 suspects to the northeast of Baquba  an attack on a Ramadi checkpoint left 3 Sahwa dead and four more inured, 2 Tuz Khurmatu bombings left eight people injured, and a corpse was discovered in South al-Hay (the man had been "kidnapped a few days ago").  Alsumaria reports 1 person was shot dead in Kirkuk, west of Mosul a former Iraqi soldier was shot dead, and a southern Baghdad bombing left a police member and 2 of his kids deadMahmoud al-Jabouri (Anadolu Agency) reports, "Twelve people were killed on Friday in clashes between Sunni villagers and suspected Shiite militants in Iraq's northern Diyala province, a military official said."  Press TV notes, "A bomb explosion has ripped through a crowded shopping street in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, leaving three people dead and five others wounded."

For the last few weeks, Nouri's been moving prisoners out of Abu Ghraib prison.  Iraq Times noted Tuesday that Baghdad Operations Command has repeatedly denied this was happening although the Ministry of Justice confirmed it on Tuesday when the prison was shut down.  From Tuesday's snapshot:

World Bulletin notes that "the prison was also used as a torture facility by Saddam Hussein's Baathist regime."  AFP adds, "In 2004, then under control by U.S. troops, Abu Ghraib was at the center of a scandal over detainee abuse."   AP also offers a brief sentence about the Abu Ghraib War Crimes, "Under U.S. troops, Abu Ghraib was at the center of a 2004 scandal over detainee abuse."   The Saudi Gazette elaborates:
From late 2003 to early 2004, during the Iraq War, military police personnel of the United States Army and the Central Intelligence Agency committed human rights violations against prisoners held in the Abu Ghraib prison. They physically and sexually abused, tortured, raped, sodomized, and killed prisoners. It came to public attention in early 2004, beginning with United States Department of Defense announcements.  As revealed in the Taguba Report (2004), an initial criminal investigation by the United States Army Criminal Investigation Command had already been underway, in which soldiers of the 320th Military Police Battalion had been charged under the Uniform Code of Military Justice with prisoner abuse.
In April 2004, articles describing the abuse, including pictures showing military personnel appearing to abuse prisoners, came to wide public attention when a 60 Minutes II news report (April 28) and an article by Seymour M. Hersh in The New Yorker magazine (posted online on April 30 and published days later in the May 10 issue) reported the story.  The United States Department of Defense removed seventeen soldiers and officers from duty, and eleven soldiers were charged with dereliction of duty, maltreatment, aggravated assault and battery.

This morning, only France24 could note, "Fresh abuse claims surfaced in 2013 after the facility became known as Baghdad Central Prison."  Ed Adamczyk (UPI) later noted the continuous history of abuse, "The prison has a long history of abuse, under Saddam Hussein, during the occupation of Iraq by U.S. troops, and, human rights advocates say, under the present leadership. Critics accuse Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki with filling prisons, including Abu Ghraib, with young Sunni men -- many, advocates claim, are innocent of insurgency."

Today, on Morning Edition (NPR -- link is text and audio), Kelly McEvers discussed the closure with Reuter's Baghdad bureau chief Ned Parker.  Excerpt.

MCEVERS: First, we know what American jailers did to Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib. But give us an update - what kind of place was Abu Ghraib after American troops withdrew from Iraq in 2011?

PARKER: For Sunni Iraqis, Abu Ghraib prison was a symbol of the Shiite-led government's discriminatory policies. They believed many of their relatives were being held unjustly inside Abu Ghraib Prison after being held and sometimes tried - other times not - on terrorism charges in cases where they felt abuses were committed by the security forces.

So under the Americans Abu Ghraib was nefarious. Before that under Saddam it was nefarious and after the Americans it also remained sinister.

Some day, Nouri's son may be sitting in an Iraqi prison, behind bars. Dropping back to November 1, 2013:

Live Leak posted that video of the new Little Uday Hussein, Nouri's son Ahmed, zipping around London and the Ferrari.  They note:

In this short video, Ahmed, the gangster son of one of the world's most corrupt leaders Nuri Al-Maliki, drives his Ferrari around central London, while he was on a �200 million property spending spree with Iraq's money.
Ahmed was of course cleared of all charges in a huge corruption case involving Iraqi Government procurement of Russian arms in 2012. 
Nuri Al-Maliki is known to own numerous several properties and a hotel in the UK, and has long been rumoured to be planning to live here when his time as the chief bribe taker in Iraq is over.
He also owns the Seyedeh Zainab Ambassador hotel in Damascus.
London is the natural home of blood soaked African warlords, Russian gangsters/Oligarchs, and of corrupt Middle Eastern despots, and their offspring.
Iraqi puppet leader Nuri Al-Maliki's gangster son Ahmed is spending the Iraqi people's money very wisely
Iraqi puppet leader Nuri Al-Maliki's gangster son Ahmed is spending the Iraqi people's money very wisely
Iraqi puppet leader Nuri Al-Maliki's gangster son Ahmed is spending the Iraqi people's money very wisely
Iraq,Corruption,Bribery,,London,London,C­ity of,United Kingdom (UK/GB)

[. . .]

Here's a picture of mini-tyrant Ahmed al-Maliki.

Posted Image

As you can see, he gets his ugly from his father.  Here he is trying to look cleaned up.

    Here's CNN  on Ahmed last year:

    Iraq’s Kurdistan Democratic Party’s official newspaper, Khebat, revealed that Nouri Maliki’s son has expensed over $150 million of the Iraqi people’s assets purchasing castles and hotels in foreign countries. The newspaper wrote quoting a source: After his father became Chairman of the Dawa Party, Ahmed Nouri al-Maliki purchased the Marry Anderson Castle in London for a price of £40 million. In addition, he purchased the Seyedeh Zainab Ambassador Hotel in Damascus at a price of $35 million, and is now purchasing the Ajmon Ambassador Hotel at a price of $75 million.
    The source added that Ahmed Nouri al-Maliki has purchased an 85 thousand square meter land in front of the Zainab Hotel for $52 million.
    Iraq’s Kurdistan Democratic Party’s official newspaper, Khebat, added: Iraqis who live with power outages and no public services, and while a day doesn’t go by that a number of people don’t lose their lives as a result of explosions, ask the Maliki government: Where does Maliki’s son bring all this money from?

    Today, in "Is Maliki's son the new Uday?," Paul Crompton and Hind Mustafa explore Ahmed al-Maliki:

    Ahmed’s role as security chief enables him to control exactly who goes in and out of the Green Zone, by controlling the issuing of security badges needed to access the area.
    However, his activities in the Green Zone are a sideshow compared to Ahmed’s wider business interests in the county, said a former high-level official, who knew Ahmed personally and had worked with Nouri Al-Maliki for eight years.
    “Two years ahead, he will lead the corruption not only in the [prime minister’s office],” but in the military, the security, construction and investment, as well as the investment commission.”
    “Hamoudi” is also involved in military activities, including heading up a new force operating directly under the premier’s orders — separate from the command of the army or defense minister, the source said.

    Moving over to the US, Fatima Hansia (CorpWatch Blog) notes, "KBR and Halliburton – two major U.S. military contractors – can be sued for the health impacts of trash incineration on U.S. soldiers who served in the war in Iraq, according to a new court decision that allows a series of 57 lawsuits against the companies to go forward."

    In the April 10th snapshot, I stated the following:

    This is it at its most basic.  Everyone who can speak on a campus should.  Campuses should be a forum for free expression.  Because I speak on a campus doesn't mean everyone's required to attend.  If they oppose me, they're more than welcome to protest.  One of the scariest protests would be my arriving to find no one (or just a tiny handful) of people in the room waiting to hear me.
    To put this in terms of Condi Rice.  She has every right to speak on any campus.  And people have every right to attend or not to attend.  They have every right to protest.  They even have the right to heckle.  That's free speech.

    The University of Minnesota is an institution that values and utilizes free speech.  They proved it by allowing Condi Rice to speak.  They proved it by allowing those who take offense at the War Hawk to protest.  And students made their case and made it strongly.  Chris Getowicz (Fight Back News) reports:

    Hundreds of students and community members gathered outside of Northrop Auditorium at the University of Minnesota (U of M), on the evening of April 17, to protest an appearance by Bush White House National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice. Rice was speaking as an invited guest of the University’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs.
    The crowd of over 250 protesters, led by Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), heard speakers including professors David Pellow and August Nimtz, AFSCME 3800 President Cherenne Horazuk, Welfare Rights Committee member Deb Howze, Anti-War Committee member Sabri Wazwaz and representatives from other student groups such as Whose Diversity and Students for Justice in Palestine.
    Speakers condemned Rice as a war criminal whose misconduct during the Bush administration included direct responsibility for the use of ‘enhanced interrogation techniques.’ This torture was systematically implemented by the CIA and used at Black Sites around the world as well as prisons like Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib.


    Thursday, April 17, 2014

    USAID and Nouri's killings

    "Congress Investigates 'Slush Fund' At USAID Used To Get Lawmakers To Pass Reforms" (Jonathan Turley, ICH):
    Our government has long seemed to be descending into a type of Orwellian universe of double speak. The Libyan War was not a war but a “time-limited, scope-limited military action” under Obama. Torture of detainees was not torture but “enhanced interrogation” under Bush. Now it appears open bribery of foreign officials is not bribery but “incentives” to implement policies favorable to their own people. Congressional members are moving to address what is being called a “slush fund” with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) where millions are paid to political figures in foreign countries. We have previously discussed such payments by the CIA to the openly corrupt Afghanistan government, including suitcases of cash to President Helmit Karzai. What is most interesting is that an act that is a federal crime for citizens doing business abroad can be not only legal but an official program by government officials. It appears that in the handshake shown on the USAID seal, there is often a sawbuck or two in the palm.
    The USAID routinely makes “incentive” payments to lawmakers to pass legislation or enact policies throughout the world. Even policies that benefit their own people, like granting rights to women or protecting the democratic process, are secured by greasing the palms of corrupt officials. In doing so, the United States perpetuates the rampant corruption in these countries and enriches officials who will only act if it benefits them personally.
    Consider the $15 million forked over to Afghan lawmakers in 2013 to get them to pass a law prohibiting violence against women. Remember these payments were made at the very time that the CIA was being hammered for publicly assuring Karzai that his regular delivery of suitcases of cash would continue despite an outcry from critics. USAID defended buying lawmakers by telling Congress that the lawmakers would not have protected women if they were not paid off. Such a law would be have deemed “unpalatable” without the effective bribes. 

    USAID is destructive around the world.  We really don't have a State Dept., we have two wings of the Pentagon -- one is DoD and the other is the State Dept.

    Now in today's snapshot (below), C.I. makes clear how Nouri's killing of civilians continues and continues and continues and no one wants to say one damn word.

    This really says a lot about human nature in the US.

    People would rather be silent than risk upsetting their teeny bopper crush.

    They can't demand that Barack stop supplying Nouri with weapons because they can't admit that it's happening, that Blessed Barack would back a War Hawk.

    "Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
    Wednesday, April 16, 2014.  Chaos and violence continue, Nouri's assault on Anbar continues and we take a look at these War Crimes which have taken place since the start of the year, Iraq comes in at the top of a list (for getting away with murder), and much more.

    In Iraq today, Nouri continued his streak of War Crimes as he continued his targeting civilians with collective punishment.  NINA notes the shelling of residential neighborhoods in Falluja left 16 civilians dead and nineteen injure. From Ned Parker offers "Iraq: The Road to Chaos" (The New York Review of Books):

    In interviews, US officials portrayed the fight in Anbar as a battle between Baghdad and al-Qaeda, and sent hellfire missiles for Maliki to use, regardless of the consequences and of the lack of a clearly defined objective. As my Reuters colleagues and I have documented, in recent weeks Iraqi Special Forces soldiers have bragged of executing suspected militants in Anbar. They describe it as revenge for what ISIS did to them. On Facebook community pages, Iraqi soldiers post pictures of ISIS fighters they have killed, depicting the executions as part of a regional war against Sunni extremists that spans from Iraq to Syria to Lebanon. Despite such boasts, control of the province’s main cities, Fallujah and Ramadi, is now divided among the Iraqi security forces, tribal leaders, ISIS, and other Sunni insurgents. ISIS has even seized a dam near Fallujah and flooded land to prevent the military from approaching its strongholds.

    That's important and thank goodness there's a reporter like Ned Parker. But let's go back to the civilian issue.

    When is the world going to object?  When are people going to express their outrage?  The US has weaponized Nouri, giving him what he needs to kill civilians.  And he's killing them.

    Will anyone speak out?

    BRussells Tribunal carried "Iraq - Genocide in Fallujah" by the European Parliament's Struan Stevenson:

    The unfolding tragedy in the Iraqi city of Fallujah seems to have slipped off the international radar screen, as the focus of the global community drifts from Syria to Kiev and back again. The humanitarian situation in Fallujah is dire. The sectarian prime minister of Iraq, Nouri al-Maliki has surrounded the city with thousands of troops, effectively sealing it off. The Iraqi air force has mounted daily bomb attacks, cutting off electricity and water supplies and destroying several bridges in an effort to prevent food and water from reaching the besieged inhabitants. Last week, they bombed Fallujah General Hospital, killing nearly all of the doctors and nurses and many of the patients and forcing its closure. More than 300,000 people have been made homeless.
    Ban Ki Moon and the United Nations Assistance Mission to Iraq (UNAMI) continue to plead with Maliki to provide humanitarian aid to the city and to enter into negotiations that can bring an end to violence in the predominantly Sunni, Al Anbar Province. The sharp response from the aggressively pro-Shia prime minister was there would be "no negotiation with terrorists." In a single sentence he has labeled all of the residents of Iraq's largest province as "terrorists" in order to justify his genocidal campaign.

    And, as BRussells Tribunal points out, the European Parliament as a body has called out these attacks on civilians and did so in the European Parliament resolution 27 February 2013 on the situation in Iraq:

    Is deeply concerned about the continuing acts of violence perpetrated against the civilian population, vulnerable groups and religious communities; calls on the Iraqi Government and on all political leaders to take the necessary measures to provide security and protection for all people in Iraq, in particular members of vulnerable groups such as women, journalists, young people, fundamental rights activists, trade unionists and religious communities, including Christians; calls on the Iraqi Government to ensure that the security forces comply with the rule of law and international standards;

    In January,  Human Rights Watch issued "Iraq: Protect Anbar Residents From Abuses." And that's it for the world's attention.  It's a shame other bodies and government officials can't call out these War Crimes.  The White House not only can't call Nouri out, they can't stop arming him, it's like an addiction with them.

    And yet there's no outcry in the US.  Everyone looks the other way and rushes to find some problem -- real or faux -- to pretend they care about.

    How many civilians have to die before Nouri's assault is called out?

    Maybe people think, "Oh, it's just a few."  It's a number nearly every day.

    We're going to through past snapshot's to illustrate.  Please note, there's more than we've covered.  And there's more than the below and our missed coverage.  This is one of the most under-reported series of killings by the press.

    From the January 10th snapshot:

    And fearful, scared Nouri resorted to collective punishment again today.   Iraqi Spring MC reports Nouri al-Maliki's air force bombed residential areas in Ramadi today, denied humanitarian aid to Falluja, killed a child named Taha Ayoub Aelchortani and left two more injured with his bombings, bombed homes in Falluja, Ramadi's hospital has received 200 dead or wounded from Nouri's bombings and Falluja has received 150 dead or wounded.  Omar al-Jaffal (Al-Monitor) reports:

    Meanwhile, the head of the tribal council in Anbar, Abdul Rahman al-Zobaie from Ramadi, told Al-Monitor, “The army ought to stop the indiscriminate shelling of civilian houses.” He noted, “This has killed and injured hundreds of civilians and destroyed a large number of houses. The government of Anbar ought to expedite measures to meet the needs of the affected families.” 
    Zobaie said, “Local police forces are deployed at the entrance of the city, and checkpoints have been established in all areas in Fallujah, [and are] working on protecting the governmental institutions with the support of the tribes. There are no members affiliated with the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham [ISIS] as propagated by some politicians and the government of Anbar.” 
    He added, “The government of Fallujah, with all its tribal sheikhs and dignitaries, are demanding that the central government and the armed forces stop the indiscriminate shelling of residential areas and withdraw the armed forces, as the [local] police are the only party responsible for managing the crisis.”

    Now for, January 18th:

     Cheng Yang (Xinhua) adds of Falluja, "The city has no electricity for several days as large parts of the electric power grid were destroyed by the bombings, the source added." 

    January 19th:

    Nouri's military has resumed bombing in Falluja and Nouri's military helicopters resumed bombing of Falluja and Ramadi as Nouri's assault on Anbar continues.   NINA reports, "The city of Fallujah has seen this morning major displacement, not seen since the start of military operations since more than two weeks because of the intensification of indiscriminate shelling by the army forces stationed on the highway outside the city."

    January 21st:

    The assault on Anbar continues.  Kareem Fahim and Yasir Ghazi (New York Times) report, "Thousands of residents have fled Falluja in recent days, fearing worsening violence after the failure of negotiations between local leaders and jihadist militants to end a standoff that has lasted weeks, leaders from the city said Monday." AFP reports 22,000 families have been forced to flee their homes due to the Anbar operations and they note, "The UN said the actual figure was likely to be higher, as not all those who fled had registered. It said of those who had left, most had found refuge elsewhere in Anbar, but some had gone as far afield as the northern Kurdish region."   UPI adds, "Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is having a tough time trying to dislodge al-Qaida forces who hold much of the western cities of Fallujah and Ramadi because his army doesn't seem to be up to the task, despite emergency shipments of U.S. arms."

    NINA reports today:

    Security source announced on Tuesday the continuation of the displacement of hundreds of families in several neighborhoods of Fallujah as a result of the shelling of the city by the army.
    A security source in Anbar, told / NINA / that hundreds of families fled the city of Fallujah, because of the artillery intense shelling that led to the killing and wounding of many civilians.

    And they note that among the Falluja shelling targets today was a school.  Steve Inskeep (NPR's Morning Edition -- link is audio and text) spoke with AFP's Prashant Rao this morning about the violence.

    RAO: In terms of how the government is responding though, it varies depending on the area. In Baghdad, they have locked out a lot of areas. They've sort of increased checkpoints and they've sort of tighten those checkpoints. But in Anbar, the response have been a combination of the deploying of U.S.- supplied Hellfire missiles and also clashes in some towns in between Ramadi and Fallujah, where the Iraqi army and Iraqi police, allied tribal fighters are all looking to take back territory that the government lost about three weeks ago.

    From January 23rd:

    the Iraqi military's shelling of Falluja left 2 civilians dead and ten more injured ("including women and children")

    From Janaury 24th:

    National Iraqi News Agency reports that the Iraqi military's mortar shelling last night left 4 people dead and 32 more injured "including women and children" and today's military shelling of Falluja left 5 people dead and 14 more injured -- "most of them women and children."   Collective punishment is what Nouri's pursuing.  If you doubt that:  Iraqi Spring MC notes that Nouri's army shelled Falluja General Hospital.

    From January 25th:

     Alsumaria quotes medical sources who explain that the residential neighborhoods in Falluja are being targeted and that many citizens are being killed and injured.  It's so bad that even Abu Risha called today for the bombing of Falluja to stop. NINA reports that the military's shelling left three people injured in Ramadi in one incident, another incident of the Iraqi military shelling Ramadi with mortars left 3 civilians dead and five more injured,  the military's shelling on Falluja left 3 civilians dead and eleven more injured and a second military shelling on Fallua left 3 civilians dead and six more injured.

    From January 27th:

    NINA notes that "hundreds" continue to flee Falluja as military helicopters continue to bomb Falluja and Ramadi which today left 8 civilians dead and thirty-nine more injured.  Dar Addustour reports that multiple cities in Anbar have been placed under curfew.

    From January 28th:

    Mohammad Sabah (Al Mada) reports that the MPs stressed today in the Iraqi Parliament that there is no "military solution" to Anbar, there is only a "political solution."  They noted that the use of the military had only increased tensions and inflamed the crisis   NINA reports security sources tell them seven civilians were wounded in the military bombing of Falluja today.

    From January 30th:

    احد الجرحى الذين اصيبوا اليوم بسبب القصف المتعمد من قبل مليشيات المالكي التي تستهدف الاحياء السكنية في ،

    That's one of Nouri's victims today --  injured by his forces shelling Falluja.  NINA reports that hospitals have received 141 civilians have been killed in Ramadi and Falluja alone this month with another 509 injured and:  "He added that this can not be considered as final number because there are dead and wounded in areas which could not be moved to the hospital."  Through yesterday, Iraq Body Count counts 1037 violent deaths in Iraq so far this month.  It's doubtful many counts will include the 141 civilians killed by the bombings and shellings from Nouri's forces.  NINA also notes military shelling left 3 civilians dead in Ramadi with eight more injured

    From February 7th:

    National Iraqi News Agency reports Falluja General Hospital received 5 dead and twenty-injured people as a result of Nouri's shelling of the city (the dead and wounded included children and women),  

    From February 10th:

    Falluja General Hospital was again shelled (by Iraqi military) and 1 person was killed with fourteen more left injured ("including a doctor and three nurses"),

    From February 11th:

    shellings left 5 people dead and thirty-one injured in Falluja, a mortar attack on Falluja Educational Hospital left one doctor injured,

    From February 12th:

    NINA notes Iraqiya MP Leaq Wardi stated, "The continuation of indiscriminate shelling and concentrated, the past few days, on the health institutions, especially the Falluja General Hospital, confirms the existence of a deliberate intention not to resolve the crisis, despite the announcement of continuous initiatives to solve the crisis." [. . .]   military shelling in Falluja left 3 civilians dead and seven more injured,

    And let's really emphasize this:

    A security source told the reporter of the National Iraqi News Agency / NINA / that"a number of artillery shells of army forces stationed outside the city fell on the building of Fallujah hospital, wounding / 9 / workers, including / 3 / Indian doctors and two nurses from Bangladesh as well as four Iraqi employees. "

    These are War Crimes.  You are not allowed to target hospitals.

    Alsumaria notes a family of 6 in Falluja are dead from a shelling.

    NINA explains:

    5 civilians have been killed and ten others injured on Sunday 23, Feb as a result of the bombing of military forces to Fallujah despite the decision to suspend military operations for three days .
    A security source told the reporter of the National Iraqi News Agency / NINA / "The army forces stationed outside the city of Fallujah pounded, with heavy artillery and tanks, Fallujah despite the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces' decision yesterday to stop military operations in Fallujah for / 3 / days ."
    He added, "The bombing killed five civilians and wounded / 10 / others , including 3 children ."

    Military bombing in Falluja today left three civilians injured.  

    From February 25th:

    NINA reports 5 civilians were left injured by the military's bombing of Falljua's residential neighborhoods of Jubail Nazal and al-Sinaei while the military's bombing of western Falluja left 1 woman dead and three members of her family injured in Albu Alwan Village.

    From February 26th:

    Nouri's military shelling of Falluja left five family members ("including two children") injured,

    From February 28th:

    NINA notes Nouri's forces have walled off Falluja with dirt and one of their mortar attacks today -- during the supposed 'truce' and 'cease-fire' -- left two children and two adults injured when the mortars hit their home.

    From March 1st:

    If the military's shelling of western Falluja (Nassaf Village) today left three civilians injured, there is no cease-fire.
    If another Falluja shelling leaves 1 child dead and nine people injured, there's no cease-fire.

    From March 2nd:

    NINA notes Nouri's military shelled Falluja Sunday evening leaving eight civilians injured,

    From March 3rd:

    Today, Anadolu Agency reports:

    Four Iraqis have been killed in an airstrike that targeted a passenger vehicle in the western city of Fallujah, a tribal source said Monday.
    "The aircraft shelled a vehicle carrying ten people in the city," the source told Anadolu Agency."

    And in another incident today, NINA notes Nouri's shelling of residential areas in Falluja left ten people injured -- including three children.

    From March 5th:

    NINA reports the military's bombing of Falluja left 4 civilians ("including a child") dead and seven more injured.  And the military's airstrike in Ramadi left a man and a woman dead and three more in their "civilian car" injured.

    From March 6th:

    Under the guise of fighting 'terrorism,' Nouri continues to kill Iraqis.  National Iraqi News Agency reports Nouri's military shelled  al-Jughaifi, al-Shuhada and al-Asakari neighborhoods in Falluja leaving 4 civilians dead and twelve more injured (three of the injured were children).  Another round of shelling left 1 civilian dead and twelve more injured.

    From March 8th:

    That wasn't the only way Nouri celebrated International Women's Day in Iraq.  No, he had his military again shell residential areas in Falluja leading to the death of 1 woman and 1 child with six more people ("including two young girls") being left injured.

    From March 9th:

    Collective punishment is defined as a War Crime and Nouri excels at War Crimes.  So today, his indiscriminate shelling of Falluja residential neighborhoods left 6 people dead and seventeen injured.

    From March 12th:

    As his assault on Anbar Province continues, so do Nouri al-Maliki's War Crimes.  The thug and prime minister of Iraq continues to resort to the crime of collective punishment.  Today that means his military shelling of Falluja residential neighborhoods today left 1 child dead, two children injured, one woman injured and one man injured.

    From March 14th:

      National Iraqi News Agency notes that the military shelled a residential neighborhood in Rawa killing 1 person and injuring three members "from the same family."  Nouri also ordered bombings in Falluja's residential neighborhoods and 1 adult and 1 child were killed while another child, a woman and five males were left injured.  Civilians are targeted, hunted and killed in Nouri's Iraq.

    From March 15th:

      Alsumaria reports the latest numbers from Falluja General Hosipital are that Nouri's shelling of the city has left at least 131 people dead and 752 more injured and that the victims have mainly been children, women and the elderly.  Mu Xuequan (Xinhua) reports 1 "civilian killed and seven others injured" in Falluja as a result of the military bombing residential neighborhoods.

    From March 17th:

    Moving to violent deaths, Nouri's bombing of Falluja's residential neighborhood today have killed 1 child and 1 woman while leaving five more family members injured and a military bombing in Anbar last night left four civilians injured.

    From March 18th:

    In addition, Nouri's bombing of Falluja's residential neighborhoods left 1 civilian dead, two adults injured and two children injured.

    From March 20th:

     NINA reports the military shelling of residential neighborhoods in Falluja left ten civilians ("including three children") injured. 

    Also on March 20th, Betty noted a second shelling:  "15 civilians died and forty more were injured on Thursday in Falluja due to Nouri's mortar attacks and bombings of residential neighborhoods."

    From March 21st:

    NINA reports that Nouri's bombing of residential neighborhoods in Falluja today left 3 civilians dead and eleven more injured.

    From March 22nd:

    Nouri continues committing the War Crime of collective punishment and his shelling of residential neighborhoods in Falluja left five civilians injured today.

    From March 24th:

    Nouri's continued assault on Anbar, specifically his bombing of residential neighborhoods, left 2 women dead and two children injured

    From March 25th:

    In addition, Nouri's continued assault on Anbar continues.  His shelling of residential neighborhoods in Fallujah today has left 6 civilians dead and ten injured (the injured include two children).

    From March 26th:

    NINA reports the military's shelling targeting Falluja not only left five people injured but also set afire a power plant -- burning over 50% of the plant.
    From March 28th:

    Doubt the victims of Nouri's shelling of Falluja residential neighborhoods with have a "Happy Friday!" either.  NINA notes 2 civilians are dead and thirty-nine injured from today's shelling.

    From April 1st:

    Nouri continues attacking civilians in Falluja. Anadolu Agency reports, "At least eight civilians were killed and 16 others injured in Iraqi army shelling of Fallujah in the western Anbar province, a medical official said."

    From April 4th:

    NINA notes the military's continued shelling of residential neighborhoods in Falluja -- this happens every day, this bombing -- has left 6 civilians dead and nine more injured.

    From April 5th:

    Nouri's assault on the civilians of Anbar continues.  NINA noted early Saturday that the military's bombing of Falluja neighborhoods had left 1 civilian dead and nine more injured and then, later in the day, 2 more civilians were killed and six more were injured.

    From April 6th:

     NINA reports that a hospital in Falluja has been shelled by the military. The hospital isn't identified.  In the past. Falluja General Hospital and Falluja Teaching Hospital have both been shelled.  Nouri also continued the shelling of Falluja's residential neighborhoods and five civilians were injured.

    From April 7th:

    Yang Lina (Xinhua) reports the latest outcome of the Iraqi military shelling residential neighborhoods in Anbar:

    Separately, artillery and mortar shelling on several neighborhoods in the besieged city of Fallujah left a civilian killed and nine others wounded, a medical source from the city hospital said.
    Meanwhile, several mortar rounds landed on the town of Garma near Fallujah, damaging several houses and wounding four civilians, including a child, a local police source said.

    From April 8th:

    After all, today NINA reports, "23 civilians killed and wounded due to the resumption of indiscriminate shelling by army forces of the residential neighborhoods of Fallujah city today."  Five dead -- including one child -- and eighteen injured.  And when does the world call out Nouri's assault on the civilians of Anbar?  Every day brings news of more people in Falluja killed and wounded by Nouri's bombing of residential neighborhoods.  This is a War Crime.  Sometimes, as over the weekend, it also includes bombing of hospitals in Falluja.  War Crimes as well.  But the same White House that wants to convince you that Putin is 'evil' but they really, really care about human rights?  That same White House is arming Nouri al-Maliki and looking the other way as he terrorizes the people.   Anadolu Agency quotes Falluja General Hospital spokesperson calling today's shelling "the most violent."  Iraqi Spring MC reports that the military is also shelling residential areas in Abu Ghraib's Khudayr Zawbaa Village.

    From April 9th:

     NINA reports his bombing of residential neighborhoods in Falluja today killed 7 civilians and left twenty injured.  In an update, Alsumaria notes the tolls increased:  9 dead and twenty-three injured. War Crimes. 

    From April 10th:

    National Iraqi News Agency reports 5 civilians ("including a child") died from the bombings with fourteen more injured.  Meanwhile, Nouri's ordered the same bombings in Ramadi and NINA reports people are fleeing their homes, being rendered refugees, as a result.

    From April 11th:

     Alsumaria reports three children were wounded in the bombing of the residential areas of Falluja and 3 more children were killed.

    From April 12th:

     NINA reports 3 civilians were killed and nine ("including two women and a child") were left injured.

    From April 13th:

    NINA reports Nouri's continued shelling of the residential neighborhoods in Falluja left 5 people dead (including one child) and eighteen people injured.  NINA reports that.

    From April 14th:

     In his latest bombing of Falluja residential neighborhoods,  NINA reports, 2 women have been killed and two children badly wounded. These are War Crimes and not only has the US government provided the weapons for Nouri to kill civilians, they're also training and advising on how.  World Tribune reports, "Officials said U.S. advisers were training and mentoring Iraqi SOF units in the war in Anbar. The officials said the advisers were training the Iraqis in urban warfare, counter-insurgency techniques, bomb detection and coordinated helicopter assaults."

    From April 15th:

    National Iraqi News Agency reports his shelling of Falluja's residential neighborhood have left 7 civilians dead today and seventeen injured.

    Does is start to overwhelm?

    Do you see how long this has been going on?  These are War Crimes and the White House pretends to give a damn about the Ukraine in yet another pissing match while they're the ones arming Nouri.

    I don't want to hear any more crap about Bully Boy Bush from Americans who can't call out the above murders.  The US has had months to get it together enough to respond.  No one in Congress has called it out.  No leading figure of the left has called it out.

    In the US, there's not even serious coverage of this issue.

    There's been plenty of time.

    It's April, it's been going on since January.

    Where's the concern?  Where's the dismay?

    In the months that these War Crimes have taken place, US talking heads and gas bags have found time to pontificate about Bully Boy Bush this and Dick Cheney that but they haven't had the spine, courage or guts to call out what's going on right now.

    I don't give a damn about their electoral choices or  other partisan crap.

    And clearly they don't give a damn about humanity or what happens in Iraq.

    Iraq matters to them then and now only as a political football.

    Today the BRussells Tribunal kicked off their two-day Towards Accountability and Justice for Iraq Commission  Among the notable participants are Dirk Adriaensens, Michael Chossudovsky,  Dahr Jamail, Mike Powers, Haifa Zangana, Sabah Al Mukhtar,  Ross Caputi, Eman Khamas, Lindsey German and Niloufer Bhagwat.   The commission continues its work tomorrow.  Also tomorrow, the Dubai International Peace Convention takes place.

    Dubai Internation Peace Convention
17-18-19 April 2014
    Speakers at the Conference
    Sheikh Mishary Al Afasy -
Dr Zakir naik - Yusuf Estes - Mufti Ismail Menk - Nouman Ali Khan -Tawfique
Chowdhury - Muhammad Salah

    In other violence, National Iraqi News Agency reports Baghdad Operations Command announced they killed 4 suspects, a battle in Shura left 2 rebels dead, five homes being built in Khanaqin left two people injured, 1 person was shot dead in Sha'ab, a bombing in Hammam al-Alil left 1 military captain and 1 soldier dead with two more injured, a Sab'a Bour roadside bombing left 2 people dead and nine others injured, a battle at a Ramadi police station left 12 rebels dead, 3 suspects were shot dead by security forces in Tahrir, an attack on a Haouz checkpoint left 4 Sahwa and police dead and six more injured, security forces killed 8 suspects in Babil Province, and an attack on Colonel Salman Mohammed Sheet's car in Mosul left him and his son injured. All Iraq News notes 1 traffic police member was shot dead "north of Mosul city," 2 Ramadi "suicide bombers detonated their car bombs near Ahmed Abu Risha's house," 1 butcher and 1 shop owner were shot dead in Basra, and 2 corpses were discovered dumped "to the north of Salah-il-Din province."  Alsumaria notes that 2 suicide bombers attacked Anbar Operations Command leaving 2 soldiers dead and two more injured as well as three members of the police injured.  Xinhua updates that toll, "The blasts killed five soldiers and three policemen, and wounded seven others, the source said."

    Still on violence,  Qassim Abdul-Zahra (AP) writes, "An Iraqi Justice Ministry official said Wednesday that this week's closure of the infamous Abu Ghraib prison west of Baghdad is temporary and that it will be reopened once the security situation in the surrounding area is stable."

    So which is it?  It's temporary or it's until the security is stable -- because those are two different things.

    lastly, it's award season all over again.  Monday, the Pulitzers were announced and Jane Arraf won The Quil Lawrence Award.  Iraq has come in first in a poll.  It would be a proud moment for Nouri if the poll were a good thing.

    The Committee to Protect Journalist has released its "Impunity Index" and Iraq tops the list:

    With 100 journalists murdered in the last decade and 100 percent impunity, Iraq is the worst offender on the Impunity Index, a spot it has held since 2008, when CPJ first compiled the index. Nine new murders in late 2013 amid a resurgence of militant groups broke a two-year quiescence in fatal anti-press violence. Three of the victims, plus two media workers, were killed in a single attack when armed militants bombed and stormed Salaheddin TV station in Tikrit on December 23. Al-Qaeda affiliate Islamic State of Iraq and Sham (ISIS) claimed responsibility for the attack, according to news reports accusing it of warring against the Sunni people.
    Impunity Index Rating: 3.067 unsolved journalist murders per million inhabitants
    Last year: Ranked 1st with a rating of 2.818

    For the second year in a row, Nouri's Iraq has come in number one when it comes to getting away with murdering a journalist.