Tuesday, March 28, 2017

The menace

David Walsh (WSWS) takes on the embarrassing Michael Moore:

The outcome of the vote revealed the miserable failure and bankruptcy of the Democratic Party, which was unwilling and unable—in the form of the Clinton campaign—to present a program that could attract any significant popular support. Since November, Moore has striven above all to conceal the central responsibility of the Obama administration and its right-wing policies and operations—an administration he supported—for Trump’s victory.
Virtually from the moment the Republican president took the oath of office, Moore has vehemently denounced him as a Russian puppet and lobbied for his removal.
At the time of the February 13 resignation of Trump’s national security advisor, Michael T. Flynn, because of Flynn’s earlier communications with the Russian ambassador to the US, Moore flew into near hysterics. He demanded Trump “vacate” the White House immediately, calling the president a “Russian traitor.”

On February 14, Moore tweeted Trump, “It’s now noontime in DC & it appears you are still squatting in our Oval Office. I gave u til this morning to leave.” He added later, “What part of ‘vacate you Russian traitor’ don’t you understand? We can do this the easy way (you resign), or the hard way (impeachment).” He followed up the same day, “Traitor! Resign by morning!”

Michael Moore is a lousy filmmaker.

Yeah, I said it.

If we like his subject, we tend to give him a pass.

Look where that got us -- he's a reactionary who is calling for war on Russia.

He's an embarrassment, yes, but he's also a menace.

He was always a sexist putz but now he's something far more dangerous.

Worse, every time he speaks, some mistakenly believe he speaks for those of us on the left.

He doesn't speak for me.



"Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):
Tuesday, March 28, 2017.  Chaos and violence continue, some liars rush forward to rewrite history, the Iraqi Parliament meets to discuss the deaths in Mosul from last week's US bombing, and much more.



In United States, there's a day known as Groundhog Day, February 2nd, where allegedly (this is myth) a groundhog emerges from his hole and, if the animal sees its own shadow, it retreats back into its hole and we end up with six more weeks of winter.  If it doesn't see its shadow, spring begins.  Again, this is myth.  There's a comedy classic film GROUNDHOG DAY starring Bill Murray and Andie MacDowell.

Less well known is Democratic Leader Spine Day.

It takes place every four years, a month or two after a presidential inauguration.

Following the inauguration, a Democratic Leader emerges from their hole.  He or she has come to the surface to search for his/her spine.  If, upon surfacing, the Democratic Leader learns that a Democrat is in the Oval Office, he/she scurries back down the hole to hibernate for another four years.  However, if s/he learns that a Republican is in the Oval Office, the Democratic Leader searches madly for their spine and, finding it or some approximate, begins publicly denouncing things they were previously silent on.

If you didn't know a Republican was in the White House (President Donald Trump), you should now.

Yesterday, KPFA's Mitch Jeserich rediscovered the Iraq War after eight long years of silence on the dreadful (and money wasting) LETTERS AND POLITICS (the show began in 2009 to celebrate the accomplishments of Barack Obama -- but it soon became focused on The Tea Party because, let's face it, Barack had few accomplishments).


70-year-old has been Reese Erlich blustered about current events in Iraq under Donald, "There's no UN resolution, there's no NATO call, there's no US Congressional vote -- nothing!  They're just waging a new war because they can get away with it."

Reese discovered his voice on Democratic Leader Spine Day -- thereby explaining why he was silent for years as Barack Obama did the same thing.  Someone might want to remind Erlich that Barack's actions also took place without a UN resolution, without a NATO call and without a US Congressional vote.

Last week, a US airstrike in Mosul led to the deaths of civilians.

That's not all that new.

And we were objecting to the laid back attitude to these deaths for some time, for example September 4, 2014:


The western press this morning on Iraq is at its typical uselessness.
It's all the spin garbage of 2003, presented in a fresh package.
X numbers of militants/[ISIS]/et al killed.
Sometimes with a "____ says."
Because none of it is verified, just repeated.
Civilian deaths can be documented but, of course, the western press ignores those deaths. Always.
Instead they serve one wave of lies after another.
And, like the first three years of this illegal war, they promise that this or that high ranking leader has been killed.
It's all garbage.




Another thing we've repeatedly noted: Mosul citizens were ordered -- by the Baghdad-based government -- to stay in Mosul.

Yesterday, we pointed out that neither NPR's Rachel Martin nor Tom Bowman could register that fact.  This morning, THE GUARDIAN offers "Mosul residents were told not to flee before airstrikes that killed civilians:"


Donatella Rovera, senior crisis response adviser at Amnesty International, said: “The fact that Iraqi authorities repeatedly advised civilians to remain at home, instead of fleeing the area, indicates that coalition forces should have known that these strikes were likely to result in a significant numbers of civilian casualties.
“Disproportionate attacks and indiscriminate attacks violate international humanitarian law and can constitute war crimes.”



Iraq: Civilians killed by airstrikes in their homes after they were told not to flee Mosul












In a report based on eyewitness accounts, Amnesty says hundreds of civilians have been killed by coalition-led air strikes in Mosul, Iraq.
Amnesty report: Coalition air strikes killing civilians
Amnesty says there's been a shocking spike in civilian casualties from air strikes & street fighting between the Iraqi military & Daesh, raising questions about the lawfulness of the attacks.






This is from Amnesty International's "Iraq: Civilians killed by airstrikes in their homes after they were told not to flee Mosul" (which was released earlier today):


Hundreds of civilians have been killed by airstrikes inside their homes or in places where they sought refuge after following Iraqi government advice not to leave during the offensive to recapture the city of Mosul from the armed group calling itself Islamic State (IS), said Amnesty International. Survivors and eyewitnesses in East Mosul said they did not try to flee as the battle got underway because they received repeated instructions from the Iraqi authorities to remain in their homes.
The shocking spike in civilian casualties from both US-led coalition airstrikes and ground fighting between the Iraqi military and IS fighters in recent months has also raised serious questions about the lawfulness of these attacks. In one of the deadliest strikes in years just days ago on 17 March 2017, up to 150 people were reported killed in a coalition airstrike in the Jadida neighbourhood of West Mosul, eventually leading the coalition to announce that it is investigating the incident.
“Evidence gathered on the ground in East Mosul points to an alarming pattern of US-led coalition airstrikes which have destroyed whole houses with entire families inside. The high civilian toll suggests that coalition forces leading the offensive in Mosul have failed to take adequate precautions to prevent civilian deaths, in flagrant violation of international humanitarian law,” said Donatella Rovera, Senior Crisis Response Adviser at Amnesty International, who carried out field investigations in Mosul.

“The fact that Iraqi authorities repeatedly advised civilians to remain at home instead of fleeing the area, indicates that coalition forces should have known that these strikes were likely to result in a significant numbers of civilian casualties. Disproportionate attacks and indiscriminate attacks violate international humanitarian law and can constitute war crimes.
“The Iraqi government and the US-led coalition, must immediately launch an independent and impartial investigation into the appalling civilian death toll resulting from the Mosul operation.”
Fleeing the city ahead of the fighting was also extremely difficult for residents of Mosul, as IS militants routinely punished and at times killed those caught trying to leave. Wa’ad Ahmad al-Tai, a resident of the al-Zahra neighbourhood of East Mosul, was among many civilians who followed Iraqi government advice to stay put.
“We followed the instructions of the government who told us ‘stay in our homes and avoid displacement’.  According to the instructions, residents who had nothing to do with . . . [IS, in Arabic] should stay in their homes... We heard these instructions on the radio… Also leaflets were dropped by planes. This is why we stayed in our homes,” he said.
As the fighting intensified Wa’ad Ahmad al-Tai, his brother Mahmoud and their families sought shelter at their other brother’s two-storey home hoping it would offer them more protection.
“We were all huddled in one room at the back of the house, 18 of us, three families. But when the house next door was bombed, it collapsed on us, precisely over the room we were sheltering in. My son Yusef, nine, and my daughter Shahad, three, were killed, together with my brother Mahmoud, his wife Manaya and their nine-year-old son Aws, and my niece Hanan. She was cradling her five-month-old daughter, who survived, thank God,” he said.
Hind Amir Ahmad, a 23-year-old woman who lost 11 relatives, including her parents, grand-parents and four young siblings, in a coalition airstrike in East Mosul, described the fatal attack on 13 December 2016 to Amnesty International:

“We were sleeping when the house literally collapsed on us. It was a miracle none of us was killed. We ran to my uncle’s house nearby. At about 2pm that house too was bombed and collapsed on us… almost everyone in the house was killed – 11 people. My cousin, two aunts and I were the only ones who survived. Everyone else died. It took us six days to find only pieces of their bodies, which we buried in a mass grave in a field nearby... I don’t know why we were bombed. All I know is that I have lost everyone who was dearest to me.”
In another air strike, 16 people were killed in three adjacent houses in the Hay al-Mazaraa district of East Mosul on 6 January 2017.  Survivors and neighbours told Amnesty International that in so far as they knew, no IS fighters had been present in or around the house. Among the victims were the three children and the mother of Shaima’ Qadhem, who had been arrested and killed by IS the previous year. Ahmad, a relative of the victims, told Amnesty International:
“This family was targeted by all sides. Last year [the Islamic State] arrested and executed the children’s mother and now the children themselves were killed by a coalition bombing. Civilians got trapped in this war and no one helped them. When I tried to leave Mosul with my family, we were caught by [the Islamic State]. They were going to pour petrol over us and burn us. In the end we managed to escape death by paying a heavy fine.  Others were not so lucky and were executed... Did the government, the coalition think how to protect the civilians in this war?  It doesn’t seem so.”

International humanitarian law (also called the laws of war) demands that all feasible precautions must be taken by warring parties to a conflict to minimize harm to civilians, and that attacks must not cause disproportionate harm to civilians – that is, damage which would be excessive in relation to the concrete and direct military advantage anticipated.



And here's a brief video report.


America bombed Iraq last week, 200 civilians killed ­čśá ➡️


US bombing to 'liberate' it from group (IS) who wldnt exist without the previous US 'liberation' of Iraq in 2003. Neocons=Endless War






Yesterday on the always pathetic DEMOCRACY NOW!, Amy Goodman grew bored with a guest when he failed to agree with her that Donald Trump was the instigating bad guy here.

Poor whorish Amy.

It had been gearing up under Barack, a fact she didn't want to hear -- and hadn't for some time.

It's August of 2014 when Barack begins the daily bombing of Iraq.

Bombing doesn't liberate anyone.

Daily bombings.

In a country filled with people.

And so many in American pretended the deaths weren't happening.

Looked the other way.

Fell silent.

Refused to speak out.

Now Donald's in The White House and all the spineless attempt to scramble to an upright position.

162.

Amy GoodWhore should be asked what that number is.

The Mosul Slog.

It's day 162 of The Mosul Slog.

This was the operation begun in October.

The plan, as revealed by POLITICO, was for a quick wrap of Mosul (liberating the city seized by the Islamic State in June of 2014) in time for the November election to give Hillary Clinton a boost.

Didn't work out that way, did it?

Few weeks?

It's not 162 days.

And as the days mounted, Barack increased bombings and also embedded US forces with Iraqi units.

Day after day, to rescue the faltering Iraqi military, US presence -- troops on the ground and bombs from the air -- increased.

This is a continuation of that policy.

The is sending reinforcements to
 
 
  1.   Retweeted



  Retweeted
BREAKING: The US is sending reinforcements to Mosul, officials in Baghdad tell me. Unspecified # from
 
 







Amy Goodywhore wants to broadcast that Donald Trump is a bad guy.

But she doesn't want to challenge the policy.

And she's far from alone.


You challenge the policy.

And if you're calling out the bad guys, you grasp that Barack's on that list as well and so are many others.

In fact, let's drop back to June 4, 2015 to note a very shameful moment:


Changing topics, this morning we were noting the sad and disgusting position of Foreign Policy in Focus which now apparently supports the bombing of civilians:

And it serves no one.
Nor does Russ Wellen's latest insta-expertise where he knows everything thanks to a Mitchell Prothero article.
Wellen repeats this:


“Requests for air support,” Prothero continues, “which already go through an overly cumbersome process before the U.S.-led coalition will act—went unnoticed or ignored, and most of the units in Ramadi were unable to coordinate with one another because of deep-seated distrust among units composed of soldiers from different sects.”


And you know he [Wellen] thinks it's awful because he adds "Even worse" immediately after.
Did you ever think you'd see the day where Foreign Policy in Focus would publish an article whining that bombs were not being dropped fast enough on a country?
First off, Iraq is not an empty field.
It's an occupied country.
The process should be "cumbersome."
These air strikes have killed civilians.
They could kill many more if they were less "cumbersome."
Second, they have to be "cumbersome" because otherwise -- as Congress and the administration have both noted -- the US bombings could be used by various Iraqis to take out their political rivals.
It really is appalling that Foreign Policy in Focus has published an article bemoaning a process for bombing that they find too rigorous.
But I guess when a Democrat's in the White House a number of supposed activists let their inner whores work the street corner.


Shameful and when whores do what Wellen did, events always slap them in their ugly faces.  See previous efforts at Operation Happy Talk and this is how it always ends, Iraq and karma get the last word.

Hours after Wellen's embarrassing war propaganda went up, AFP was reporting, "An airstrike by a U.S.-led coalition flattened an entire neighborhood of a northern Iraqi town controlled by ISIS, killing dozens of people including civilians, witnesses and security sources said."  An estimated 70 civilians were killed in the bombing of Hawija. AFP quotes Hassam Mahmoud al-Jubbouri stating, "I ran with my sons and wife and took cover under the staircase. Three to four powerful explosions followed the first blast and I felt the roof of my house was about to collapse over our heads."

But Russ Wellen wants more US air strikes on Iraq.  He wants more and he wants them to be "less cumbersome."

Again, this is a very sad day in the history of Foreign Policy in Focus.

You can't walk it back when you've come out as a War Hawk.  When you've come out in favor of bombings and of relaxing even the most tiny efforts of constraint on those bombings, you really have nothing to left to say, not on the left.



You can't walk that back.

Russ Wellen can't.

FOREIGN POLICY IN FOCUS can't.

They argued for more strikes.

They lamented -- with the 'great' MCCLATCHY NEWSPAPERS -- the "cumbersome" rules on strikes.

So don't forget to add them to the list of bad guys.

They certainly earned this place on that list.

I believe it was Sara Flounders, earlier this month on BLACK AGENDA RADIO, who pointed out that Democratic-Socialists object to war under Republicans but under Democrats they are on board.  She is exactly right and look no further than FOREIGN POLICY IN FOCUS hailing air strikes just two years ago.


Saturday, Speaker of Parliament Salim al-Jubroui announced that there would be a session of Parliament on Tuesday to address the strike.  ALSUMARIA notes the session took place today with al-Jubouri and 170 MPs present. ALL IRAQ NEWS adds that al-Jubouri declared the dead to be victims and martyrs and calling for benefits to go to their families.  ALSUMARIA elaborates that he also declared that there should be no immunity for the deliberately causing the loss of life.

Today's Parliament session is only the beginning and already there are calls for another emergency session on the bombing next Tuesday.

The following community sites -- plus BLACK AGENDA REPORT and Jody Watley -- updated:



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