Friday, December 05, 2008

It's not that easy, Alex

"Honeymoans From the Left" (Alexander Cockburn, CounterPunch):
One striking feature of these complaints is that if thethe many of complainers had their suspicions about Obama during the campaign, they kept their mouths firmly shut. Across eight presidential campaigns, since Jimmy Carter’s successful run in 1976, I’ve never seen such collective determination by the liberal left to think only positive thoughts about a Democratic candidate. Indeed, some of the present fury may stem from a certain embarrassment at their own political naivety. In fairness to Obama, beyond the vaguely radical afflatus of his campaign rhetoric about “change”, Obama never concealed his true political stance, which is of the center-right. In every sense of the phrase, he can say to his left critics, “I told you so.” And indeed he did.

No, Alex, you're not going to play that game and not get called out on it. Reality, you drank the Kool-Aid. Reality, you're hatred for Hillary Clinton was so immense that you didn't feel bound by facts or reality and pushed Barack so hard. You didn't do that just as co-editor of CounterPunch (where you printed all the lunatics suffering from Hillary Hatred), you also did it in your own words and it was at that point that you got delinked from my site.

It was pathetic to see you, of all people, start blathering on about the Miracle-Cure of the Corporatist War Hawk. So do not think for one damn minute that you can show up now and act too-cool-for-school, so seriously jaded that you never got caught up in the Cult-Craze. You were up to the neck, up Barack's ass to the neck. It is not forgotten. It will not be forgotten.

It was embarrassing to see you play the fool. It is embarrassing to watch you now try to act as if it never happened.

You had no guts, you had no courage.

C.I. did. She damn well did. She got attacked for telling the truth when it mattered. She had the piece of the trash from out of the country team up with titty-baby "ABC is in cahoots with the Penatgon to lie about me! And I love Barack! And he's going to end the war!" to attack C.I. C.I. knows exactly what went down and why. That wasn't the only online attack but it is infamous in the community and, last week, the community was afraid C.I. was going to 'high road it' and start covering those losers again. Not happening. Not ever happening. Those little punks and bitches did a very ugly thing that upset C.I.'s children. She does not forget that, she does not forgive that.

When socially stunted and ignorant (culturally, academically, go down the list) fools attack, C.I. doesn't turn around and say, "Gee, how can I help them out?"

C.I. had guts (always does) but little Alex wanted to go along and be liked. What if the other kids don't like him? What if he's the chubby boy this school year again?

Alexander Cockburn is too damn old to have made the fool of himself he did. He is mistaken if he thinks it can be swept under the rug and ignored.

Make a point to check out Marcia's "Stupid Dissident Voice and Jenny Matsui." That's it for me tonight. Repeating, C.I. had guts. Which is why this piece by C.I. went up at The Common Ills Thursday morning as opposed to the rip-off version by Jeremy Scahill that went up Friday at CounterPunch.

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
Friday, December 5, 2008. Chaos and violence continue, Iraq holds an Energy Expo . . . as the price of oil drops further, the 'coalition' continues to shrink, a military trial ends in tears and shouts at the verdict, and more.

Today the Iraq Energy Expo took place at Baghdad International Airport and the sponsor was the mercenaries for hire corporation Triple Canopy Inc.
Sourcewatch notes that the company, started in September 2003, was awarded over $90 million in US government contracts before the end of 2005. The Iraqi-American Chamber of Commerce and Industry organized the event. Gina Chon (Wall St. Journal's Baghdad Life) observes that "Iraqi oil officials made sure they put their best faces on today" for the "large crowd" turning out for the expo (due to complete on Sunday) and that the bulk of the crrowd will be staying at the new hotel just opened at Baghdad International Airport. The expo was originally supposed to take place from October 17th through the 19th but it was cancelled due to the fact that the convention center wasn't fully constructed at that point. UPI's Ben Lando noted the announced ates back in September were December 3rd to 5th. AFP reports that "many major global oil companies" -- such as Exxon, Total and BP -- skipped the expo and quotes an unnamed US oil company exec complaining, "Since we have been here, we haven't made money. We sent some expert teams, then we took them back (as) we had no results. There are two many problems." Of the 'guests'/ 'visitors,' Chon notes, "Because they were limited to either the conference hall or their hotel rooms, the one amenity they did appreciate was a bar in the hotel, one of the few in Baghdad. The bar opens at noon and last call is at 11:30 p.m., but it closes after midnight. 'I'm not allowed to go anywhere except the hotel and the oil conference, so at least there is the bar go to,' one international company representative said. 'There is nothing else to do at night. That will be one drawback if we set up here." Quick, get that on the travel brochure! Ben Landon (UPI) reports that Hussain al-Shahristani, Iraq's Oil Minister, gave the keynote speech and insisted during it that the oil reserves in his country were "understated" and he also declared, "The oil sector represents an important part of Iraq's recent history and also its future." That as Mark Shenk (Bloomberg News) explains, "Crude oil fell for a sixth day, capping the biggest weekly drop since the Persian Gulf War in 1991, on concern demand will decline after a resport showed U.S. employers cut jobs in November at the fastest pace since 1974. Oil is down 25 percent since Nov. 28 as the recession deepened in the U.S., Europe and Japan."

The energy expo took place while many issues were still up in the air.
Gina Chon (Wall St. Journal) reports that Hussein al-Shahrastani was sending "mixed signals" today "about a possible detente over oil contracts between the central government and the semi-autonomous Kurdish region." Anna Fifield, Javier Blas and Delphine Strauss (Iraq Updates) note, "Iraq's central government and regional authorities in Kurdistan are moving closer to signing a long-awaited oil deal that could pave the way for exports from the northern region's oil fields early next year." But Ben Lando (UPI) explains, "Eleven days after the Iraqi oil minister traveled to the KRG capital, Erbil, for meetings with the region's prime minister and oil minister, both sides have continued firing warning shots in the debate that has continued for more than a year on Kurdish oil contracts with the international oil companies."

While foreigners visit for the expo, foreign troops beat a hasty retreat out of the country.
This week South Korea was among those ending their missions in Iraq. The
KRG notes Nechirvan Barzani, KRG Prime Minister, declared to Kim Joong-ryun (Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff Vice Chair), "We are pleased with this relationship and proud of this friendship with the people of Korea. The motto that you brought to the Kurdistan Region was 'We are friends'. I can say with full sincerity, and from the bottom of my heart, that we in the Kurdistan Region are your true friends, too." Mike noted Tony Perry's "IRAQ: Back to Azerbaijan, 'land of valiant sons'" (Los Angeles Times' Babylon & Beyond) last night on Azerbaijan's departure and , Tina Susman (Los Angeles Times) reported yesterday on a ceremony held in Iraq for Tonga who "became the latest member of the 'coalition of the willing' to end its mission in Iraq." (Tonga had 55 service members stationed in Iraq.) Gina Chon (Wall St. Journal's Baghdad Life) reports the Czech Republic had their departure ceremony yesterday . Any nations who decide to continue stationing troops in Iraq will need to reach some agreement one-on-one with the puppet government. Adam Ashton (McClatchy Newspapers) notes that next month only six countries are expected to have troops in Iraq: Australia, El Salvador, Estonia, Romania, the UK and the US. Troops aren't the only ones leaving. After the US, the next largest number of troops comes from the UK. Alissa J. Rubin (International Herald Tribune) states they have 4,100 soldiers stationed in Iraq and notes of the treaty the UK is attempting to work out with the puppet government, "A diplomat at the British Embassy in Baghdad who spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to speak to the media said that the negotiations were continuing but that the mission of British forces here would be dramatically reduced by early next year. After that, British forces will be almost exclusively involved in training Iraqi troops, according to Iraqi officials." Corinne Reilly (McClatchy Newspapers) reflects on her seven weeks reporting from Iraq: "I saw a lot of people cry while I was in Iraq, but I think of the hugging soldiers and the rocking civilian most often. Maybe it was the strangeness of seeing uniformed soldiers in tears. Maybe it's the way they made me feel: guilty, because I got to leave. Whatever the reasons, I'm glad that I think about them, glad that their grief is my last remembrance of Iraq. Because for all the stories of reduced violence and political and social successes there, Iraq remains, for the most part, a devastated country."

On the treaty the White House is pushing through with their puppet government in Iraq,
Campbell Robertson (New York Times) observes, "If the pact were to fail in the referendum, which is scheduled to be held in July, Iraq would pull out of the agreement. But that process, under the agreement's terms, would require giving the Americans a year's notice." Ramzy Baroud (Information Clearing House) notes the nonsense of the press in reporting the treaty: "Thousands of headlines exuded from media outlets, largely giving the false impression that the Iraqi government and parliament have a real say over the future of US troops in their country, once again playing into the ruse fashioned by Washington that Iraq is a democratic country, operating independently from the dictates of US Ambassador to Baghdad Ryan Crocker and the top commander of US toops in Iraq, General Ray Odierno." Noting the stenography of the press, Baroud makes a point to cite the Guardian's Jonathan Steel and Al Jazeera's English website for the poor job they did in covering the treaty. From his column:

What is particularly interesting about the Iraq case is that news reports and media analysts scampered to dissect the 18- page agreement as if a piece of paper with fancy wording would in any way prove binding upon the US administration which, in the last eight years, has made a mockery of international law and treaties that have been otherwise used as a global frame of reference. Why would the US government, which largely acted alone in Iraq, violated the Geneva Conventions, international law and even its own war and combat regulations, respect an agreement signed with an occupied, hapless power constituted mostly of men and women handpicked by the US itself to serve the role of "sovereign"?

It's also bewildering how some important details are so conveniently overlooked; for example, the fact that the Iraqi government can sign a separate agreement with the US to extend the deadline for withdrawal should the security situation deem such an agreement necessary. Instead, the focus was made on "concessions" obtained by the Iraqis regarding Iraq's jurisdiction over US citizens and soldiers who commit heinous crimes while "off duty" and outside their military bases. This precisely means that the gruesome crimes committed in prisons such as Abu Ghraib and the wilful shooting last year of 17 Iraqi civilians by Blackwater mercenaries in Nisour Square in Central Baghdad is of no concern for Iraqis. And even when crimes that fall under Iraqi jurisdiction are reported, such matters are to be referred to a joint US-Iraqi committee. One can only assume that those with the bigger guns will always prevail in their interpretation of the agreement.

From those duped by the treaty to the duped workers now trapped/imprisoned in Iraq,
Michael Ware (CNN) reports they have reported physical battering as well, stating that "Iraqi police handcuffed and beat them" and while "the men spoke to CNN on camera, an official in charge of them threatened to lock them out of the compound unless they returned inside within two minutes." Deborah Haynes (Times of London's Inside Iraq) quoted one of the men, Ganesh Kumar Bhagat, stating, "We have no money, no food, no toilet, no water, no job. The first time I arrived here I was happy, I had a good feeling. But we have not been lucky. Nobody should come to Iraq."

Certainly note with all the ongoing violence or the fact that it is an illegal war. On the violence,
Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad roadside bombing that claimed 2 lives and left two people injured and an Iranian "bombardment" in Sulaimaniyah that injured a shepherd. It's a Friday, not a lot of violence gets reported.

Tina Susman (Los Angeles Times) filed a piece expressing the belief that Moqtada al-Sadr was losing influence in Iraq and that Parliament's vote in favor of the treaty was among the signs "of how Sadr's clout has diminished since 2005". I disagree. And prior to the flare up in Basra, I had bought the idea that he had lost influence. The rumors then were he was a hotel clerk in Najaf (alternatating with Iran) and studying. He had been gone from Sadr City (if not Iraq) for some time and the residents were living in a violent hell with no one to speak up for them, let alone to protect them. I have no problem stating I was wrong in thinking he'd lost his influence. When Basra flared up (al-Maliki launched his attack on the city -- jumping the announced date and doing so without the US military's express consent or lengthy consultation according to what Gen David Petraeus told Congress in April), al-Sadr stood alone as the person standing up. He called out the attack. His stock rose. Despite the fact that there was no 'win' for al-Sadr in either the assault on Basra or on Sadr City (started shortly after), his stock rose. He became seen -- rightly or wrongly -- as someone who spoke the truth and that image went far beyond just his usual supporters or even just Shi'ites. Susman's take may be correct but it may not. I don't believe (my opinion) he's losing influence. Sudarsan Raghavan (Washington Post) has a report that could be picked for support that al-Sadr's losing influence or that he's holding steady (or gaining). The thrust of the report is that his supporters are going to have to find other ways to build the movement. No doubt they will. However, problems his supporters have are their own. Moqtada enjoys a special status because of his father and because of his actions since the start of the illegal war. To point to some follower in some city of Iraq and say this can prove al-Sadr's grasp is slipping is a reach. If the US is smart, they won't antagonize him. (No more taunting speeches to al-Sadr from Secretary of State Condi Rice, for example.) That might allow him to fade -- maybe -- provided things actually improved in Iraq ("improved," not lessened -- "violence lessened, misfortune lessened, the refugee crisis lessened," etc.). But his power is a personal nature and has to do with what bloodlines have vested in him and what his own actions since the start of the illegal war have been. At any point, even should his image be at an all time low (short of any scandal -- real or imagined -- or planned like the Abu Ghraib photos were planned to embarrass prisoners after they were released if the prisoners 'made trouble'), all he has to do is return to Iraq and walk through the streets of any neighborhood. There will be an automatic excitement and rush.

Turning to the US where a trial was ongoing into military deaths in Iraq, Alberto B. Martinez was on trial for the murders of Philip Esposito and Louis Allen. A decision was reached yesterday leading Louis Allen's widow Barbara to shout, "
He slaughtered our husbands, and that's it?" and at Martinez, "You murdered my husband." Jim Kambrich (WNYT -- link has text and video) reports on the verdict in the case of the double murders June 7, 2005 and highlights Philip Esposito's widow Siobhan stating in October, "We would rather be back with our children than be here in the court room but we're here seeking justice for our husbands." Hema Easley (Lower Hudson Journal News) explains the jury had fourteen members and they found Martinez not guilty of fragging the two men ("military slang for the intentional killing of an officer, especially by hand grenade"). Robert Gavin (Albany Times Union) notes, "Staff Sgt. Amy Harland of Ohio, who also worked in supplies at the base, testified she provided Martinez with the mines in May, unaware of what would transpire. The jury Thursday asked to listen to her testimony, in which she said the soldier's ire toward Esposito was increasing." Paul Woolverton and Corey G. Johnson (Fayetteville Observer) report that when the verdict was read, someone shouted (in disbelief), "This is the United States of America!" John Sullivan (Times Herald Record) adds that another person (unidentified) yelled at Martinez "murdering son of a bitch" as the judge, Col Stephen Henley, cleared the courtroom. Hema Easley also reports that a plea agreement was floated to the widows and quotes Barbara Allen stating: "We got a call from Iraq to gauge our feelings about a guilty plea, and we said no, we needed the truth. At that point we had faith in the judicial system." Siobhan Esposito adds, "We said absolutely not." The US Army's statement on the case can be found here. The US State Dept has repeatedly underestimated him (though that's not the case currently) and thought many times that he was 'out.' Each of those times added to the image he already had as "the son of" and helped carve out an individual image for himself. Moqtada al-Sadr is -- rightly or wrongly -- the person who calls out the abuses in Iraq brought on by the US invasion and US control of the puppet government. There is no fade for that image. He is Iraq's Che, James Dean and assorted other mythic figure. As long as there is chaos and violence in Iraq, al-Sadr has power because his role is the critic. Every day that peace does not come to Iraq backs up his role and his statements. al-Maliki is attempting to further consolidate his power (a power grab) and currently in conflict with the Kurdish officials. Possibly Susman's grading al-Sadr's 'loss' on some daily measurement? It's not a daily ebb and flow. He has a power base and that is now a personal one that he inhabits. It's no longer coming from his father or who his father was, or who does or does not declare their support for him publicly. He's become a mythic figure and -- short of a scandal that goes to character or Iraq having a prolonged outbreak of peace -- only he can destroy his power at this point.

Public broadcasting notes. PBS programs begin airing tonight in some markets, check local listings for time and date.
NOW on PBS offers:How should President-elect Barack Obama handle our tricky relations with Pakistan? This week, David Brancaccio sits down with author and journalist Tariq Ali, who grew up in Pakistan, to discuss what he thinks team Obama should do to improve its standing in Pakistan in particular and the region as a whole."I think it should back off militarily. That's the key," Ali tells NOW. Ali says the U.S.'s roughly 20 reported attacks against Al Qaeda inside Pakistan's borders since late August are doing more harm than good because they "mainly have hit civilian targets."The question of how to handle nuclear-armed Pakistan has become especially difficult amidst Indian claims of Pakistani links to the recent terrorist attacks in Mumbai, which left at least 170 people dead.What's the best strategy for the U.S. in Pakistan and how will it impact the war in Afghanistan, where Obama has said he plans to send more troops? Watch for an insider's view of how the president-elect should proceed.and:Tehran-born author Hooman Majd talks to NOW's David Brancaccio about America's thorny relationship with Iran and how he thinks Obama should handle the problematic issue of Iran's nuclear program."I think the main issue for Americans, and certainly for the [Obama Administration,] is how do we persuade Iran to not take that step? We can't take the knowledge away from them anymore," says Majd, who grew up in American and Britain, but often returns to Iran.Iran has produced enough nuclear material to produce a nuclear bomb, according to a report released last month from the International Atomic Energy Agency.Although Iran denies that its nuclear program has military aspirations, it has called for wiping out the state of Israel. What's the best way forward with this unpredictable country in Middle East?On Washington Week's latest installment, Gwen sits around the table with Karen Tumulty (Time magazine), Peter Baker (New York Times) and David Wessel (Wall St. Journal). Public radio? WBAI on Sunday:Sunday, December 7, 11am-noonTHE NEXT HOURDocumentary filmmaker/psychologist Murray Nossel and psychiatrist PaulBrowde, co-stars of the off-Broadway hit, "Two Men Talking,"demonstrate their storytelling techniques with members of theirNarativ Workshop. With storytellers Benaifer Bhadha, Marion Stein,Archimedes Bibiano and Jerome Deroy. Hosted by Janet ColemanBroadcasting at WBAI/NY 99.5 FMStreaming live at WBAIArchived at Cat Radio CafeNOTE: CAT RADIO CAFE is pre-empted on December 8 for WBAI fundraising.Regular programming resumes on December 22. Information on CAT RADIOCAFE and THE NEXT HOUR fundraising specials to be announced.
And on broadcast TV Sunday, CBS offers CBS
60 Minutes:The Oil KingdomDespite the pledge of President-elect Barack Obama and others to lessen America's use of foreign oil, Saudi Arabia – the world's largest oil supplier - isn't worried. That's what Saudi officials told Lesley Stahl when she visited the oil kingdom and toured its vast petroleum facilities, which are gearing up to produce even more. (This is a double length segment.) Watch Video
SchnabelHis painting took the art world by storm in the 1980s and then Julian Schnabel reinvented himself as a film director to more kudos. Morley Safer profiles this titan of art and film. Watch Video

ben lando
gina chonthe wall street journal
the los angeles timestina susman
ramzy baroud
deborah haynes
michael wareadam ashton
corinne reilly
mcclatchy newspapers
sahar issatony perry
mikey likes it
the fayetteville observerjim kambrichhema easleyjohn sullivanrobert gavinpaul woolvertoncorey g. johnson
the washington postsudarsan raghavanwbaicat radio cafejanet colemandavid dozer60 minutescbs newskaren tumultywashington weeknow on pbspbs

Wednesday, December 03, 2008


"Core Values?" (Cindy Sheehan, World Can't Wait):
After President-Elect, Barack Obama, officially appointed Hillary Clinton as his Secretary of State, he had this to say: "Senator Clinton shares my core values." Really? I thought that the two dueling Senators had diametrically opposing "Core values." Isn't that why most of the US anti-war movement supported Obama over Clinton? Wasn't Obama the so-called "Anti-War Candidate?" I am amazed that there is no outcry from the "US anti-war movement" over Obama's foreign policy team that includes Robert Gates who will remain as Obama's Secretary of Defense. I don't care how any Democratic shill wants to spin this one; it's not spinnable if one really cares about peace and security.
Hillary Clinton is an unrepentant supporter of the Iraq War. She was, in fact, one of the major cheerleaders for that war and Bush's policy of preventive strikes and occupation. Obama theoretically opposed the invasion until he became a Senator and then voted for every funding bill. I am sure that Clinton and Gates will be fully on board with the President Elect's plan of sending more troops to Afghanistan to increase the D-RWoT (the Democrat's Real War on Terror) and will continue the illegal raids into Pakistan without so much as a blink of their eyes.After the official appointments were confirmed, I told two of my closest friends that Obama has killed the US anti-war movement that has been on life support while it worked feverishly to elect him. But, in reality, Obama didn't kill the movement, the movement committed suicide in (again) supporting a non-anti-war candidate solely because he is not George Bush and he knows how to say the words "hope and change" with a straight face and no hint of irony in his voice. Besides it doesn't hurt that he tacks on a (D) after his name.

Cindy Sheehan will go on to speak of how there's no need to hate. First off, she hates Hillary. Second, I don't care what fuels a person, that's their business.

Most importantly though, she can't lie.

Cindy cannot lie about Hillary and expect to be believed.

Where is the proof that Hillary was one of the major cheerleaders? There is no such proof. While Cindy was still torn about the Iraq War, I was protesting it. I know which senators acted as cheerleaders. I know which ones should have shown some backbone (and I include Hillary on that list as I do Edwards, Kerry and a whole host of others).

Cindy's created a monster in her head and grafted it onto Hillary.

Cindy had a meeting with Hillary, face-time, which didn't go the way Cindy liked. Tough s**t.

She's not your senator. She's New York's senator. She agreed to meet with Cindy of California. She didn't say in the meeting or after what Cindy wanted. Well that means the two of you disagree. While Cindy can hate Hillary for disagreeing with her, she can't lie. That's not allowed.

I'm sorry Casey died but I'm sorry a lot of people are going to die in Afghanistan.

I'm appalled that Cindy Sheehan helped elect Barack Obama.

That's a fact that she doesn't want to own up to. But she haunted Common Dreams leaving mean, nasty comments about Hillary and never calling out Barack. She led people to believe she was supporting Barack (even though she'd already endorsed Cynthia McKinney).

So Cindy needs to take accountability for the fact that she REFUSED to call out Barack.

Now it wasn't hard to call out War Hawk Barack. I did it every day I blogged. It wasn't hard to vote for a non-War Hawk candidate. In the Democratic Party primary, I voted for Mike Gravel. In the general election, I voted for Ralph Nader.

Cindy's lying when she says Hillary's unrepentant.

Hillary refused to don the sack cloth. She said her vote was a mistake (2002 vote) and, if she had it to do over again, she would vote differently.

That's not enough for the Losers. I don't put Cindy in the category. I do put LIARS like Amy Goodman in that category. They wanted to make a big deal out of, "Hillary won't apologize for her vote!" Who the hell cares if she apologizes or not? Does "I'm sorry" bring one dead person back? Hell no.

Grow up. She said she'd vote differently.

Now what Liar Amy Goodman seemed to want was for Hillary to pull a John Edwards and publicly disown her vote. We're supposed to believe that?

I seem to recall Edwards finally get caught on his mistress. Do you remember what happened then?

He booked himself on ABC for an interview where he 'apologized' for it. Then he went into hiding and today no one in the press is allowed to ask him about it.

My point?

John Edwards is a cheap attorney who knows how to offer a little acting bit to trick people. He did it with his 'I'm sorry for my vote,' he did it with his, 'I'm sorry for my affair.' He still won't get honest about fathering that child and everyone in Democratic Party leadership believes it is Edwards' child.

Edwards thought he said he was sorry and it was over (his Iraq War vote and his lying to the public while running for president).

I'm not interested in the people who climb onto the cross to score points.

Cindy can do whatever she wants. If loathing Hillary for the rest of her life gets her up every morning, more power to her. However, every time she lies about Hillary, she makes it that much harder for those who have listened to her before to listen now.

I'm not talking about the people who dumped her that May when she left the Democratic Party. I'm talking about the people who really like her.

I won't highlight anything else by her that is as lunatic as the current column. She has a great column but mars it by going into her attack Hillary mode. When she does that, she has to raise the stake every time and she creates this larger than Hillary image for Hillary.

If Cindy's so damn displeased Barack chose Hillary, start DAMN WELL writing about that Cindy. All you've done is spew Hillary Hatred one more time and it's getting damn old. That's why you have to lie and inflate your claims.

Barack is the president. A daily hissy fit at Hillary in private may or may not do you any good.

However, you are the woman who made herself useless by REFUSING to call out Barack. You're aren't fixing that by continuing to rip apart Hillary. Barack will be president, when might we expect you to GROW THE HELL UP ENOUGH to take him on?

He's the liar and until you can reject the lies of Amy Goodman and all the other beggar whores of 'independent' media about how dreamy Barack is, you're no use to the peace movement. You are, in fact, one more person hurting the movement.

Your hatred of Hillary? She now works for Barack. Maybe you can chuckle over that and enjoy that she didn't achieve what she wanted?

All I know is every day you refuse to confront the man who will be running the empire, you are completely useless.

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
Wednesday, December 3, 2008. Chaos and violence continue, press freedom becomes a bigger joke in Iraq, as does the judicial system when a judge is caught bragging about just how biased he is, KBR imprisons workers, and more.

Picking up from
yesterday's snapshot, the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq released their thirteenth "Human Rights Report" with this one covering January 1, 2008 through June 30, 2008 [PDF format warning, click here]. One of their recommendations for the Iraqi government was: "Issue on a regular basis mortality data compiled by the Ministry of Health, based on informaction received from all governorates and statistics kept at the Medico-Legal Institute in Baghdad, together with details of the methodology used to calculate the figures." Tina Susman (Los Angeles Times) notes, "Until April 2007, the reports also included mortality rates based on number provided by government ministries, hospitals and medical officials. But after the January 2007 U.N. report came out and estimated that 34,452 Iraqis had been killed in war-related violence in 2006, the Iraqi government refused to give out the numbers anymore. It had put the 2006 death toll at 12,357. As The Times wrote at the time, the official and unofficial reasons given by the government for withholding numbers varied. Publicly, Iraq's government said it did not have the organizational capabilities to ensure accurate counting of war victims. But privately, U.N. officials at the time said the Iraqis were worried that the large numbers would tarnish the country's image, so they decided to withhold information." China's Xinhau zooms in on this quote from the report: "The targeted killings of journalists, educators, medical doctors, judges and lawyers has continued, as did criminal abductions for ransom." The Press Trust of India quotes this statement from the report, "Grave human rights violations that are less widely reported [than general security], and the elimination of which requires long-term political commitment, remain unaddressed." UPI explains, "In addition to recommendations for the Iraqi government, the report recommended the multinational security forces investigate promptly and impartially credible allegations of unlawful killings by military personnel, and take appropriate action against those found to have exercised indiscriminate or excessive force. It also called on the international forces to consider implementing basic due process guarantees to improve prisoners' access to counsel and grant human rights monitors access to detention facilities."
Picking up with the remainder of the thirty page report (we noted the first sixteen pages yesterday), the report notes that there are more than 2.8 million internally displaced people in the country and that approximately an eighth of them "were living in public buildings and under the threat of eviction." But the number of the internally displaced may be decreasing and, if so, one reason may be that it is "increasingly difficult to move within Iraq as well as to neighbouring countries given the more retrictive entry policies". It notes that the People's Mojahedin Organization of Iraq remain under US military protection in Camp ashraf (Diyala Province) and that the camp has been attacked plus "the Government of Iraq issued a statement declaring the PMOI a terrorist organization calling for their expulsion" (June 17, 2008) despite the United Nations position that the PMOI should be "protected from focible deporation, expulsion or repatriation".

The report notes the total number of prisoners in Iraq is 50,595 ("detainees, security internees and sentenced prisoners"), that February's General Amnesty Law has still not gone into effect, that the number detained by Iraq's central government (exclude Kuridsh section of Iraq) was higher than it was in the last six months of 2007 and that reports of prisoner abuse continue to come in. The report then moves to prisoners held by the US military and notes that the US insists due process does not apply and that the United Nations believes Geneva provides for all prisoners to have the right to know why they were arrested, "to be brough promptly before a judge if held on a criminal charge, and to challenge the lawfulness of their detention." [As noted elsewhere in the report -- and in yesterday's snapshot -- the UN is also still attempting to get monitors into US prisons in Iraq.] With regards to the Kudistan region, the KRG continues to hold a number of people on "vague accusations" for great lengths of time, those suspected of "terror-related incidents" are tortured ("violent treatment amounting to torture during investigations"). Four people were sentenced to death from the start of the year through March in the Kurdistan region and 34 people "are on deathrow in Erbil Central Prison as of June 2008" and the UN is calling for a stay of executions due to "the impossibly of avoiding execution of the innocent and absence of proof of deterrence effect of the penalty". The report ends listing various ways in which UNAMI provides support in Iraq.

We skipped pages 17 through 19 at the top to deal with them here. That section beings by noting religious and ethnic minorities in Iraq as well as others in vulenerable groups. In the first six months of the year, there have been "17 reports of attacks and kidnappings against Chaldo-Assyrians (Christians) throughout Iraq" with the bulk in Mosul. Shabaks had nine reported attacks and the bulk of them were also in Mosul. Five Yezidis were killed in the first six months of this year. Over 80% of the Mandean community have fled the country (10,000 to Syria, 3,000 to Jordan and the rest to Yemen and Egypt). [5,000 have moved into the Kurdistan region for shelter.]

Now we're emphasizing the sections on journalists and freedom of expression. UNAMI's report notes: "Journalists and media workers remain one of the most vulnerable professional groups throughout Iraq being subjected to threats, targeted violence, kidnappings and assassination." The report then moves to the Kurdistan region:

UNAMI continued to receive reports of intimidation and/or arrests of media professionals in the Kurdistan region, in particular those who had reported on issues of public interest. Officials have also filed several criminal defamation complaints against journalists. During the same period of time, KRG human rights authorities have declared to work at imprvoing the situation of journalists.
A few journalists UNAMI was in contact with alleged tha ton 31 January and 1 February 2008, they were arrested, harassed and ill-treated by KRG police. They also reported that their photographs and notes were confiscated whilst attempting to cover the impact of Turkey's military operations on civilians and civilian properties along the border. Photographs provided to UNAMI showed a journalist being surrounded and dragged by security forces. Local journalist associations have condemned the conduct of the KRG authorities while other journalists were also prevented from covering the military operations.
On 4 February, the Editor-in-chief of an independent newspaper, was summoned to court in Sulaimaniya to respond to a complaint filed against him by President Jalal Talabani for publishing an article on the President's personal assets. He was released on bail and his case postponed indefinitely. On 10 February, Umar Ahmed Mahmood, journalist from Hawlati newspaper, was summoned to Kalar Court, Sulaimaniya, where the Head of the KDP Office in Kalar district filed a complaint based on an article Mahmood had written about conflicting loyalties of KDP politicians. The journalist was subsequently detained for three days and released on bail. On 16 February, a journalist and blogger was arrested by Kurdish Peshmargas in Talkif District, Nineveh, and was interrogated for four days at an Asayish facility in Dohuk. He was forced to sign a ltter whereby he agreed not to "defame" KRG leaders and Christian clergymen before being released. On 16 March, a Dohuk court issued an arrest warrant against Muhamad Salih Haji, Editor-in-chief of Rasan Newspaper (licensed to the Kurdistna Islamic Union (KIU) and another KIU member, for publishing an article charging the court's decision to arrest a number of KIU members for alleged involvement in terror activities last year as politically motivated. Both were subsequently released on bail.
On 9 February, staff members of Kurdistan TV received death threats and had their equipment damaged when they tried to film an attack on a traffic policeman by a group of armed men in Erbil. The Kurdistan Journalists' Syndicate has condemned the attack and requested the Minister of Interior to investigate. On 2 March, Nabaz Goran, a journalist received a death threat in a letter sent by Halo Ibrahim Ahmad, a relative of a high-ranking Iraqi official. It was reported that although Halo Ibrahim had apologized, he subsequently reiterated his threat on Kurdistan post web-site. On 17 March, UNAMI wrote to KRG authorities requesting justifications for the arrests and complaints filed against these journnalists and urged the KRG to investigate the death threat against Nabaz Goran. Srood Mukarram Fatih, a journalist arrested a year ago by the Asayish in Erbil has yet to be charged noting that he was accused of being involved in terror activities.

The lengthy excerpt is included because the close of last month saw another journalist targeted in the Kurdistan region. Adel Hussein is the journalist and he's been convicted to six months of prison for the 'crime' of "writing an article about homosexuality".
Reporters Without Border notes: "Sexual practices are part of the individual freedoms that a democratic states is supposed to promote and protect. Furthermore, Hussein did not defend homosexuality. He limited himself to describing a form of behavior from a scientific viewpoint. . . . We are astonished to learn that a press case has been tried under the criminal code. What was the point of adoptiong -- and then liberalising -- a press code in Kurdistan region if people who contribute to the news media are still be tried under more repressive laws?" The Committee to Protect Journalists is calling for the immediate release of Adel -- "a doctor and a freelance journalist with the independent weekly Hawlati". CPJ's Robert Mahoney (Dept Director) states, "A judge of all people should know that ignorance of the law is no excuse. This is the second time in a month that a court in Iraqi Kurdistan has sent a journalist to prison in violation of the new press law. We call on the authorities to ensure that the new legislation is widely promulgated and enforced, and we urge the appeal court to overturn this conviction and free Adel Hussein immediately." The other reporter referred to was Shwan Dawdi whose conviction was overturned by the court of appeal. Yahya Barzanji (AP) quotes the Kurdistan Journalist Union's Zirak Kamal stating, "We will appeal this unjust verdict and we hope that Kurdistan officials intervene and solve the problem." BBC explains the Kurdish government is attempting to say that Adel "violated a public decenty law" by reporting.

While this affront to journalism and free speech is taking place, the Kurdistan Regional Government wants the international community to be outraged by actions Nouri al-Maliki is taking. Yesterday the
KRG released a lengthy litany of Nouri al-Maliki's actions which they felt violated the Iraqi Constitution. AP's Hamza Hendawi reports today that Jalal Talabani (Iraq's president and a Kurd) has decided to ask the federal court to step in and prevent "al-Maliki from establishing tribal councils" in the KRG region and quotes Talabani declaring, "Nouri al-Maliki is my friend and enjoys the confidence of parliament. He is not budging and remains adamant that creating these councils is legal. We will go to the federal court to see whether this is indeed the case." The KRG fears that thugs will be brought in (as happened with the "Awakening" Councils) while the puppet government in Baghdad feels the Kurdish government has gotten highly expansionist. The attacks on Christians in Mosul and surrounding areas beginning in July also forced al-Maliki to do something to ensure safety of minority populations.Now it's a little hard for Talabani and others to play this as they are standing up for the rule of law when they continue to target journalists and show no respect for a free press. The KRG might want to check the Iraqi Constitution they're so fond of citing these days -- it includes provisions for a free press.

The judicial system throughout Iraq is wanting and
Alissa J. Rubin and Katherine Zoepf (New York Times) provide a peak at alleged impartial and unbiased judges today:

Judge Khalifa said Mr. Majid was guilty of crimes against humanity. Mr. Majid remained calm, but Mr. Ani shouted: "I welcome death if it is for Iraq, for pan-Arabism and for the Baath. Down with the American and Persian occupation!"The judge responded, "Shut up."In later remarks to fellow judges, Judge Khalifa was overheard saying: "All the Baathists are this way. Baathists live as Baathists and die as Baathists."

Adam Ashton (McClatchy Newspapers) reports, "About 1,000 Asian men who were hired by a Kuwaiti subcontractor to the U.S. military have been confined for as long as three months in windowless warehouses near the Baghdad airport without money or a place to work." The contractor is KBR and Noah Shachtman (Wired) reminds that workers from India lodged a complaint against KBR in 2004 stating they had been deceived by them while 2007 found a KBR subcontractor explaining to the US Congress how Filipinos were "kidnapped to work on the U.S. embassy in Baghdad." And today the imprisoned made their displeasure known. Deborah Haynes (Times of London) reports, "Iraqi guards opened fire above the heads of 1,000 migrant workers who staged a mini-riot today in protest at their poor treatment in Baghdad and the prospect of being sent home without pay. The men, from Bangladesh, Nepal, India and Sri Lanka, will be flown to Dubai after the Kuwaiti company that hired them failed to secure enough contract work at dining facilities inside a number of US military bases across Iraq. Their passports have also been taken." Haynes goes on to reveal that the workers have been held since arriving -- this after paying $3,000 (US equivalent) for jobs that did not exist. Haynes also visited the compound and filed a report on it:

He had dreams of coming to Iraq, making his fortune and migrating to Australia. Instead Manoj Kodithuwakku, 28, a Sri Lankan, is stranded in an overcrowded hangar near a US military base with no money, no job and no way out.
Poorly dressed and desperate, he and hundreds of other men from developing countries who came looking for work are living in pitiful conditions. Yesterday The Times entered one of three pale blue hangars that house foreign workers near Baghdad airport. They are full of men who paid a small fortune to come here and have ended up forgotten and trapped.

While workers are trapped, countries continue leaving the so-called 'coalition' of the willing. Today Azerbaijani follows South Koera in ending their mission and
Michael Christie (Reuters) notes, "Barely a day goes by without an end-of-mission ceremony in a dusty military camp somewhere in Iraq, with U.S., allied and Iraqi officials delivering grateful speeches to departing troops, and pinning medals on chests as military bands play." Joe Sterling (CNN) adds, "So far this year, Poland, Armenia, Mongolia, Georgia, Latvia, Macedonia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kazakhstan and South Korea have departed or begun departing Iraq. Over the next couple of weeks, Azerbaijan, Tonga, the Czech Republic, Japan, Ukraine, Bulgaria, Lithuania, Denmark, Moldova and Albania will be leaving, a total of more than 600 troops."

In some of today's reported violence . . .


Mohammed Al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad roadside bombing claimed 1 life and left five more people wounded and a Baghdad mortar attack left five people wounded.


Mohammed Al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 1 tribal leader was shot dead in Diyala Province today.


Mohammed Al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 1 corpse discovered in Baghdad.

Andrew Cockburn (CounterPunch) speaks with Winslow Wheeler (who was editor of America's Defense Meltdown: Pentagon Reform for President Obama and the New Congress) regarding president-elect Barack Obama and Wheeler explains:

He campaigned on "Change We Can Believe in" and his transition almost immediately switched to "Continuity We Can Believe In." The people so far selected, especially Robert Gates, have a track record, and that track record is basically to keep things the way they are. Gates will do what he's told on issues like Iraq and Afghanistan. He's already made it clear that as far as managing the Pentagon is concerned he thinks he's been doing a competent job. But during his tenure things have only gotten worse. The budget's going up faster than ever before in recent history; the size of our forces is going south; the equipment continues to get older. We have a new report from the Congressional Budget Office that tracks the size of our weapons inventory and its age. This study shows that if everything goes perfectly according to Gates' plans as revealed in his Pentagon budget, our forces will continue to shrink and the equipment will continue to get older.
The one exception is Obama's plan to expand the number of combat units in the army and marine corps. That is turning out to be a question of much larger cost than people suspected. It's going to cost us somewhere in excess of a hundred billion dollars. It's very unclear therefore if that expansion is actually going to occur and the historic trend suggests that even if it does occur it will reverse itself in a few years and the additional units will be phased out. Also, if you look at previous wars such as Korea and the Indochina wars, the expansions that
occurred during those conflict were gigantic compared to the puny little 60,000
man increase that Robert Gates and Barack Obama say they want to endorse.

In other news, Music pioneer
Odetta died yesterday. Her influence was wide reaching and among the many who cited her as an influence over the years were Carly Simon (Odetta's voice was the one that allowed Carly to hear herself as a singer), Bob Dylan, Harry Belafonte, Carolyn Hester, Janis Ian, Phoebe Snow, Holly Near, Janis Joplin and Judy Collins. The Washington Post headlines their obituary "Odetta, 77; Sang the Soundtrack for the Civil Rights Movement" (Martin Weil and Adam Bernstein, wrote the obit).

MediaChannel has opened MEDIA STORE for the holidays: "The Economy may be crashing, but we as a culture still believe in a season of giving. That's why MediaChannel and GlobalVision are opening an online store, as others close theirs, to share books and films we believe offer food for the mind and make for valuable gifts. Buying through us helps support MediaChannel. Your support in this season means alot to us. Our last fundraising drive has helped keep us alive! Your continuing help will keep us online and on the issues we all care about."

iraqadel husseinreporters without bordersthe committee to protect journalistsyahya barzanji
the los angeles timestina susman
the new york timesalissa j. rubinkatherine zoepf
deborah haynes
adam ashton
mcclatchy newspapers
andrew cockburn
the washington post

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Hillary Sec of State


"Hillary is Nominated to be Secretary of State"(Hillary Clinton,
Mr. President-Elect, thank you for this honor. If confirmed, I will give this assignment, your administration and our country my all.
I also want to thank my fellow New Yorkers, who have for eight years given me the joy of a job I love, with the opportunity to work on issues I care about deeply, in a state that I cherish. And you've also helped prepare me well for this new role. After all, New Yorkers aren't afraid to speak their minds, and do so in every language.
Leaving the Senate is very difficult for me, but during the last few weeks, I thought often of our troops, serving bravely under difficult circumstances in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere. I thought of those other Americans in our Foreign and Civil Services, working hard to promote and protect our interests around the world. And I thought of the daunting tasks ahead for our country: an economy that is reeling, a climate that is warming, and, as we saw with the horrible events in Mumbai, threats that are relentless.
The fate of our nation and the future of our children will be forged in the crucible of these global challenges. America cannot solve these crises without the world, and the world cannot solve them without America. By electing Barack Obama our next president, the American people have demanded not just a new direction at home but a new effort to renew America's standing in the world as a force for positive change.
We know our security, our values, and our interests cannot be protected and advanced by force alone, nor, indeed, by Americans alone. We must pursue vigorous diplomacy using all the tools we can muster to build a future with more partners and fewer adversaries, more opportunities and fewer dangers, for all who seek freedom, peace and prosperity.
America is a place founded on the idea that everyone should have the right to live up to his or her God-given potential, and it is that same ideal that must guide America's purpose in the world today. And while we are determined to defend our freedoms and liberties at all costs, we also reach out to the world again, seeking common cause and higher ground.
And so I believe the best way to continue serving my country is to join President-elect Obama, Vice President-elect Biden, the leaders here and the dedicated public servants of the State Department on behalf of our nation at this defining moment.
President Kennedy once said that engaging the world to meet the threats we face was the greatest adventure of our century.
Well, Mr. President-elect, I am proud to join you on what will be a difficult and exciting adventure in this new century. And may God bless you and all who serve with you and our great country.

Were it me, I'd be finding something else to do. Anything. But it's not my life to live. I hope Hillary's happy in the post (she's a Senator, she will be confirmed by the Senate). It's not the obvious thing to do which may be what attracted her to it. If so, she's already lived a very non-obvious life so this is perfectly in keeping with her. (I do not mean that as an insult. I mean she has broken ground so frequently in her life that doing so is the norm for her.)

I hope she finds happiness and peace with her decision (and she works for peace in the world). However, I honestly feel that since Henry Kissinger was Secrtary of State, they're either malicious and dangerous (like Kissinger) or just biding their time while doing very little.

I do not agree with Condi Rice on anything. However, she really would like to leave office with the 'Road Map.' That will not happen for a variety of reasons. But she's the perfect example. Probably the smartest member of Bully Boy's cabinet. She knows what history is and she knew how she wanted to present herself historically. That did not come to be because Bully Boy called the shots, not Condi Rice.

If it works for Hillary, great.


Great for her, great for Sarah Palin, great for Cynthia McKinney.


All three women were attacked and discredited but they stayed in their races and they fought. We saw three strong women, three women who were fighters and doers. Even with all the disgraceful behavior from 'feminists' who used trashing (feminist sense of the term) to try to destroy one or more of the three women, Hillary, Cynthia and Sarah showed that women were strong, tough and ready to lead. I salute all three.

I congratulate them for their work and I take pride in the fact that they are three completely different women. All three are feminists and what a great statement they made in 2008 about how diverse feminism is.

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
Tuesday, November 2, 2008. Chaos and violence continue, KRG objects to al-Maliki, the United Nations issues a report on Iraq, and more.

Today the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq released their thirteenth "Human Rights Report" with this one covering January 1, 2008 through June 30, 2008.
In their press release, they note:

The report highlights the situation of detainees across the country that remains of severious concern, including in the Iraqi Kurdistan Region. Many detainees have been deprived of their liberty for month or even years, often under harsh physical conditions, without access to defense counsel, or without being formally charged with a crime or produced before a judge. Continuing allegations of widespread torture and ill-treatment of inmates are of particular concern. Slow bureaucratic procedures, insufficient resource, degraded infrastructure and lack of effective accountability measures result in inordinate delays in processing detainees' cases.
The plight of women across Iraq still requires urgent measures to combat gender-based violence, including so-called honor crimes.

The report is entitled "Human Rights Report" [PDF format warning,
click here] and is thirty pages and divided into five sections. The first section is the Executive Summary, the second is the Recommendations, third is Protection of Human Rights, fourth is Rule of Law and finally Promotion activities of UNAMI. The summary is ten points that notes the violence in generalities, notes that the March and May attacks on Basra and the Sadr City section of Baghdad resulted in claims that civilians were wrongly targeted (and that UNAMI is investigating those claims), the targets of certain professional classes, the issue of prisoners, etc. The Recommendations are broken up into three sections. First up is those give for the Iraqi government and topping that list is: "Issue on a regular basis mortality data compiled by the Ministry of Health, based on informaction received from all governorates and statistics kept at the Medico-Legal Institute in Baghdad, together with details of the methodology used to calculate the figures." In addition, they called for measures to protect at risk populations (religous and ethnic minorities, women) and to ensure prisoners are provided with counsel (and access to relatives), prompt judiciary processes, investigations of reports of abuse, better trained employees, etc. In this section the confusion over which prisoners belong to the US (M-NF) and to the KRG (Kurdistan Regional Government) is broached and that leads us to the recommendations for the Kurdish region which (yet again) notes that policies regarding journalists and media professional need to be reviewed, that the vulnerable communities need to be better protected (not that different from their recommendations for the Iraqi government) the policies with regards to prisoners need to be reviewed and careful consideration should be given to "a moratorium on the death penalty pending a thorough review of legal proceedings followed at both pre-trials and trial stages." Next come the recommendations for M-NF which include the need for continued investiagtions ("throughly, promptly and impartially") of all alleged "unlawful killings," a weak request that the US follow internationa human rights law, determine custody of prisoners captured jointly by the US and Kurdish forces, a weak request to allow international human montiors access to US prison facilities, etc.

The next section, "Protection of Human Rights; Extrajudicial executions, targeted and indiscriminate killings" notes at the start reports that civilians were targets following "car and suicide bombings" and that "Armed groups continue to ignore the distinction between civilian and combatants." The same grouping (armed groups) has acted with impunity in attacking "government officials, religious figures, state employees, law enofrmacement personnel and a number of professional groups including academics, journalists, lawyers and judges." The section then goes on to provide a breakdown of the violence for the time period. The next section focuses on the targeting of certain groups. We'll note two specific groups from that section.

Religious figures and activists have been the victims of targeted violence throughout Iraq during the reporting period. These attacks included the killing of Sheikh Essam Fleih Hassani, Imam of Al-Mukhtar mosque in Samarra, a member of the Sunni "Association of Muslim Scholars" and a well-known figure opposed to Al-Qaeda and other militia groups. On 8 February, four Christian activists who were on a missionary work with the Norwegian Churches Organization were kidnapped by gunmen from Al Sakhra Church in Barsa. On 29 February, Paulos Faraj Rahho, Chaldean Bishop of Mosul, was kidnapped and killed. On 5 April, gunmen shot dead Adel Yousif, a priest in Hay al Karrada in Baghdad. On 11 April, Riyad al Nouri, director of Al Sadr Office was shot dead by gunmen in Najaf. On 15 April, Ali al Fadhli, a representative of Grand Ayatollah Ali Al-Sistani was shot in downtown Basra city. On 16 April, gunmen attacked and injured Sheikh Habib Al-Khateeb.

[. . .]

Medical workers and doctors continued being targeted. These attacks included the killings of surgeon Jinan Al Sabbagh in Basra on 12 Janury, Munther Mehrej Radi, Dean of the Faculty of Denstiry in Baghdad University, on 23 January, Khalid Nasir Al Meyeahee, Director of Basra Hospital on 9 March. Dr. Amer Lazem in Baghdad on 17 April, Dr. Barakat Kathem in Balad Rux on 16 June and the kidnappings of surgeon Mohammad Abid Ali Al Ta'ei in Hilla on 10 April, Dr. Sabbar Mahrooz Abdullah, and his assistant, Dr. Ahmad Salah, in Tikrit on 15 May.

The report notes that Diyala Province had "the highest number of kidnapping incidents" and that it, Nineveh, Anbar and Diwaniyah joined Baghdad in having large number of corpses discovered. Now a few who can go into the way-back machine will remember when the New York Times (and which reporter) were pimping the 'less corpses discovered in Baghdad per week!' lie to sell the idea that things were looking up, thing were looking up. So note this: "During the reporting period, between 3 and 5 unidifentifed bodies were found almost on daily baiss in different areas of Baghdad, including Karrada, Mansour, Sadr City, Dora, Tobchi, Shaab, Fedhyah and Hurriyah." Three to five would be more than when the New York Times was insisting -- case closed!

There is no news in the section on contractors. The next section explores civilian deaths at the hands of Iraqi forces and US forces (but not really much data on the latter). We'll note this:Civilian deaths reportedly caused by Iraqi Security Forces (as well as by US-supported armed groups such as Awakening Councils and the Sons of Iraq) including the following: a lawyer shot by Iraqi police curing an exchange of fire with gunmen in Kut, on 8 January; 15 civilians killed in a fight between Awakening Council members and suspected insurgents in three villages around Mosul on 10 February; nine civilians killed in clashes between Iraqi Security Forces and the Mahdi Army in Kut on 11 March; 9 civilians were killed amid clashes between armed groups and Iraqi security personnel in Hay al Mithaq in Mosul on 11 March; one woman was killed by police in car that failed to stop at a checkpoint in Samarra on 14 March; in Mosul four civilian were killed on 9 April, and two others amid clashes between gunmen attacking a security checkpoint and the armed people defending the checkpoint and the armed people defending the checkpoint (south east of Mosul) on 27 April.

The next two pages involve the "Situation of women" and starts off noting complaints to UNAMI:

. . . from women regarding restrictions on their freedoms by conservative elements operating in neighbourhoods, governmental institutions and educational establishments in certain parts of Iraq. Wome reported receiving verbal comments on their mode of dress, particularly in cases where they were not wearing headscarves. UNAMI also received reports of instances where women faced harassments or threats at checkpoints for similar reasons. Female students at universities reported increasing pressure on them by their families to conform to a more conservative style of dress and behavior. Where female students failed to comply, retaliatory measures outside the university grounds were reported against them. Certain areas formely controlled by radical elements have witnessed a lessining of such pressures on women and girls since it came under the control of Iraqi Security Forces or the Awakening Councils. This includes the ability to move more freely, report to work or attend educational activities.

The report also notes violence throughout Iraq, and the incidents of 'honor' killings and domestic violence in the Kurdish region. That's the first half of the report.
Mary Beth Sheridan (Washington Post) reports a move towards improvement on the part of some women in Baghdad and uses college student Hadeel Ahmed as one exmaple. Ahmed is learning to drive and has given up "her head scarf and long skirts". That is not: All things are great for women in Iraq! Or even just in Baghdad. It is one small group of women in Baghdad who are making an effort to reclaim rights they had prior to the start of the illegal war. Electronic Iraq posts an IRIN report entitled "Violence against Iraqi women continues unabeted" and quotes the UN's Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women Yakin Ertuek explaining that "violence against Iraqi women is committed by numerous actors, such as militia groups, insurgents, Islamic extremists, law enforcement personnel, members of the family as well as the community." And Sunday Afif Sarhan (Observer) reported that 'honor' killings in Basra had increased with 81 women murdered in 2008 to date including Rand Abdel-Qader:

Rand Abdel-Qader was killed after her family discovered that she had formed a friendship with a 22-year-old infantryman whom she knew as Paul. She was suffocated by her father then hacked at with a knife. Abdel-Qader Ali was subsequently arrested and released without charge.
Rand's mother, Leila Hussein, who divorced her husband after the killing, went into hiding but was tracked down weeks later and assassinated by an unknown gunman. Her husband had told The Observer that police had congratulated him for killing his daughter.

Reuters notes Turkey sent planes to bomb northern Iraq again yesterday. Hurriyet notes that the Turkish military has confirmed the attacks: "Turkish warplanes on Monday bombed terror organization PKK targets in northern Iraq, the general staff said in a statement, confirming an earlier statement by Iraq's border guards." AP reports Iraqi refugees in Syria are not pleased by the treaty and that approximately 3,000 of them protested against it yesterday: The protesters carried banners including one that read: 'The pact aims to put Iraq under US tutelage.' They also chanted anti-US slogans and called on Iraqi leaders to revoke the pact." Meanwhile South Korea says bye-bye. Hwang Hae-rym and Teri Weaver (Stars and Stripes) note South Korea has now left Iraq and is no longer part of the so-called 'coalition' of the willing.


Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Mosul car bombing that claimed 5 lives and left thirty people wounded and a Mosul cart explosion that claimed 6 lives and left fifteen people wounded. Reuters notes a Hilla roadside bombing that claimed the lives of 5 Iraqi soldiers.


Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reports two police officers wounded in a Mosul shooting.

AP reports that the "U.S. military is urging Iraq's Shiite-led government to boost the number of Sunni volunteers into its security forces" -- meaning the "Awakening" Council members. The "Awakening" Council figures into a lengthy statement the Kurdish Regional Government issued. They noted they had held off commenting specifically about Nouri al-Maliki's November 20th speech because they didn't want to harm the vote in Parliament on the treaty. Their concerns include the use of groups similar to the "Awakening" Council which they feel not only rewards thugs who have caused harm in the past but undermines their ability to police their own area. (al-Maliki and Baghdad's take is that the tribal councils are necessary to provide protection and that the KRG has 'expansionist desires'). The KRG is also worried that al-Maliki is circumventing the Constitution and they note the following:
1. The Prime Minister aims to suspend the Constitution. Despite his talk about the need to make amendments to the Constitution, what he really wants is to suspend the Constitution; a constitution which he participated in drafting and for which he has expressed admiration. The idea of suspending the constitution is a very dangerous action indeed. Amendments can be made to the Constitution and there is a mechanism set out in the Constitution for this purpose. Suspension of the Constitution is unacceptable to all parties, even those who opposed the constitution.2. Imposing decisions of one party at the exclusion of participation in the decision-making process by other parties who are part of a coalition government. The Prime Minister applies the decisions taken by the Islamic Dawa Party (the Prime Minister's faction) to the government. This is in violation of the Constitution and in violation of all the agreements we have. Most importantly, it is a violation of the program of the coalition government of federal Iraq.3. Militarization of society by using the Iraqi Army for political purposes and establishing political groups armed and funded by the government. The Federal Prime Minister attempts to militarize the society and create Support Councils. In fact, these are all linked to and belong to his party. Of course, his party has the right to establish such organizations in accordance with regulations set out in the law. But they cannot be established in the name of the government and be funded and armed by the government.4. The federal government does not rely on a law to govern the work of the Council of Ministers. The Council of Ministers doesn't even have an agreed upon charter, so proposals and decisions are all drafted in the Office of the Prime Minister (by leaders of the Islamic Dawa Party) first and then presented to the Council of Ministers.5. The Federal Prime Minister keeps maintaining that he is the only one in charge of the executive branch. But this is not the case when we look at Article-66 of the Constitution which says, "The federal executive power shall consist of the President of the Republic and the Council of Ministers and shall exercise its powers in accordance with the Constitution and the law."The Constitution has entrusted executive powers to the Council of Ministers. Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki is the head of the Council of Ministers. Important decisions must be made by the Council of Ministers headed by him. They cannot be taken by himself on behalf of the Council of Ministers. In the new Iraq, decisionmaking is not to be monopolized.

Turning to the War Hawk Corpratist who is now president-elect, Barack Obama gets easy publicity today for comments about he'd 'like' a 16-month withdrawal . . . of combat troops. The same old song-and-dance.
Chris Hedges (Truthdig via Information Clearing House) reminds:

Barack Obama's decision to increase troop levels in Afghanistan and leave behind tens of thousands of soldiers and Marines in Iraq -- he promises only to withdraw combat brigades -- is a failure to rescue us from the status of a rogue nation. It codifies Bush's "war on terror." And the continuation of these wars will corrupt and degrade our nation just as the long and brutal occupation of Gaza and the West Bank has corrupted and degraded Israel. George W. Bush has handed Barack Obama a poisoned apple. Obama has bitten it.The invasions and occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq were our response to feelings of vulnerability and collective humiliation after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. They were a way to exorcise through reciprocal violence what had been done to us.Collective humiliation is also the driving force behind al-Qaida and most terrorist groups. Osama bin Laden cites the Sykes-Picot Agreement, which led to the carving up of the Ottoman Empire, as the beginning of Arab humiliation. He attacks the agreement for dividing the Muslim world into "fragments." He rails against the presence of American troops on the soil of his native Saudi Arabia. The dark motivations of Islamic extremists mirror our own.

Jeremy Scahill (CounterPunch) examines whom the War Hawk is staffing with, "Barack Obama has assembled a team of rivals to implement his foreign policy. But while pundits and journalists speculate endlessly on the potential for drama with Hillary Clinton at the state department and Bill Clinton's network of shady funders, the real rivaly that will play out goes virutally unmentioned." Almost worth applauding, Scahill. But you don't know a thing about Bill's funders and your association with crap-ass Pacifica programming, specifically the one where John Nichols FLAT OUT LIED that he was getting proof in Canada that it was Hillary and not Barack talking to the Canadian government about NAFTA means you should learn to stick to what is known. After Scahill defeats the point of his own opening, he gets around to semi-exploring Susan Rice -- a Supreme War Hawk (as noted here for months and months and months) and that is work worth applauding.

Thursday's snapshot noted: "Meanwhile in Germany a US soldier is seeking aslyum. Andreas Buerger (Reuters) reports 31-year-old Iraq War veteran Andre Shepherd self-checked out of the military in 2007 and is now seeking sancturay in Germany where he held a press conference today and declared: 'When I read and heard about people being ripped to shreds from machine guns or being blown to bits by the Hellfire missiles I began to feel ashamed about what I was doing. I could not in good conscience continue to serve. . . . Here in Germany it was established that everyone, even a soldier, must take responsibility for his or her actions, no matter how many superiors are giving orders'." Today James Ewinger (Plain Dealer) reports for Andre's hometown (Cleveland) that the 31-year-old war resister calls the Iraq War "illegal" and he notes:

Shepherd said he grew up on East 94th Street in Cleveland, attended Lakewood High School and studied computer science at Kent State University until he ran out of money.
He enlisted in 2004 with the hope of flying the Apaches, but was urged to become a mechanic first.
Scharf said he doubts that Shepherd's expected order to return to Iraq would, by itself, constitute an unlawful order.
"His best argument would be that Apaches are used to kill civilians," Scharf said, but he still viewed it as a weak case.

iraqthe washington postmary beth sheridanhwang hae-rymteri weaverthe los angeles timestina susmanchris hedges
jeremy scahill

Monday, December 01, 2008

The lies of war from the liar

First, music lovers be sure to check out Kat's "Kat's Korner: Labelle's neither 'back' nor 'now'" and "Kat's Korner: Break Up The Ass Kiss." You will enjoy her reviews.

"President Bush 'unprepared for war' and regrets false Iraq intelligence" (Tom Baldwin, Times of London):
With less than two months left in office Mr Bush is spending much of his time contemplating his place in history, declaring that his “biggest regret” were the mistaken claims in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq about Saddam Hussein possessing weapons of mass destruction.
“I wish the intelligence had been different,” he said, before pointing out that he had not been alone in making allegations that turned out to be false. “A lot of people put their reputations on the line and said the weapons of mass destruction is a reason to remove Saddam Hussein.

Considering that we know they lied about the intel and we know they knew they were lying, he needs to apologizing for using false intel. Ambassador Joe Wilson exposed Bully Boy's yellow-cake lies. Are we supposed to forget that? Are we supposed to pretend that the war built on lies was built without Bully Boy's knowledge? He is a War Criminal and this is like Tricky Dick's exit only our spineless Congress didn't have the guts to force Bully Boy out of the White House.

As a result, he will now re-write history and the press will waive him through. You can thank Nancy Pelosi and big chicken Harry Reid for that. You can thank Ultimate Coward Barack Obama who didn't just refuse to support impeachment, he actively shot it down.

Bully Boy should have been impeached. It will be a stain on our nation forevermore that he was not and we will have revisionary history that we will have to combat. The US Congress will not -- will NOT -- pursue the matter. You will see that all of John Conyers b.s. about "we can prosecute him when he leaves office" will be exposed as b.s.

The same Conyers who said he would impeach if the Dems got control, the same Conyers who became the chair of the committee to impeach and did nothing, will continue to do nothing because that's just the way it goes down.

Kate Phillips has a transcript of bits of the interview at the New York Times' political blog.

"TV: Rosie and Other Bombs" (Ava and C.I., The Third Estate Sunday Review):
While Rosie was was laying her nuclear egg, Brendan Blethyn and Jane Curtain stopped over at CBS for The New Adventures of Old Christine and Gary Unmarried. Blethyn, in this year's best episode, played Old Christine and Matthew's mother in an episode that was an instant classic and should be repeated each Thanksgiving while the show airs. The New Adventures of Old Christine has been on a winning streak for some time now and this episode took it even further.
Gary Unmarried was less successful and it may have been suffering from Rosie-itis -- attempting to pack too many guest stars into one broadcast. We're waiting to review Gary Unmarried but do recommend it. We do not, however, recommend Martin Mull coming back on the show ever.
One of the shows we always planned to review (but always had Jim asking us to grab something else) was Still Standing. Still Standing was actually a funny show and it got better each season. Early on, the biggest problem was Judy's parents which were nothing but the dorks from Yes Dear!'s parents with different names and faces. Oh, your stinky feet! Oh, your griping! It wasn't funny when Tim Conway and Vicki Lawrence were doing it and it wasn't funny when it migrated over to Still Standing. It was tired, it was boring. Still Standing wisely ditched the characters, Judy's father just vanished and her mother was now played by Swoosie Kurtz and written as something other than a 60s sitcom staple.
Jane Curtain was her usual amazing self Wednesday night on Gary Unmarried. Her lines were sub-standard fare but she made them seem so much more than they were, she zoomed in on co-stars, immediately establishing relationships not in the script. She's one of TV's best and most underrated actresses. Martin Mull is the parody actor who never has a character but always manages to be corny. As sad as it was to see the two of them paired, it was worse to grasp that we were back to Helen and Gene on Still Standing or Yes, Dear's Tom and Natalie with all the tired carping of don't eat/drink that and your feet don't go there and blah, blah, blah. That's not sparkling, that's not new, and it's not funny.
It's the kind of cheap guffaws UPN was built on and we all know the pot of non-gold at the end of that rainbow. Gary Unmaried is having a real problem with casting. Two weeks ago it also brought on a nemesis for Allison, someone allegedly pretty, exciting and a real threat. The character was played by Jean Louisa Kelly -- forever the piss-pantied fish-wife Kim from Yes, Dear. She was no threat from the beginning and it was the worst casting of fall 2008 until Martin Mull showed up Wednesday. If it's not clear to CBS, they need another Yes, Dear about as much as NBC needs another Rosie Live. Translation, the turkey belongs on the table, not on the TV screen.

That's the conclusion of Ava and C.I.'s TV commentary this week and I just loved it. I know they were exhausted. They'd been on the road through Wednesday evening, flew back home, immediately had to deal with Thanksgiving (which, for C.I. meant cooking the bulk of the feast) and they never really got a silent moment. But they worked like crazy and really turned in a fine article.

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
Monday, December 1, 2008. Chaos and violence continue, Miss Bully Boy's Regrets, a Reuters photographer is ordered released but still not released, liars continue to pimp the treaty and more.

"Even though the security in Baghdad has improved so much in this past year people there still live in constant fear of bombings and assassinations,"
Renee Montagne declared showing just what a loon inhabits NPR's Morning Edition. No things have not "improved." "Improved" is an insulting term to use for a war-torn country and an ignorant one. Renee would have sounded like an idiot on any day but especially on a day when bombings claimed over 30 lives. She was introducing Ivan Watson's report and, possibly, had NPR itself not been targeted in Baghdad, Renee and Morning Edition wouldn't have even bothered today with the Iraq War. Watson, Ali Hamdani, Mohanad Adhab Mahdi and Dawood Slman went to Rabiye Street in Baghdad to check what, before the start of the illegal war, was a commercial district and had become "the height of the fighting in 2005, 2006 and 2007". What did they find?

Ivan Watson: We paid a short visit to Rabiye Street yesterday to see if, after several months of relative calm, life was getting back to normal? Instead we found this shopkeeper who asked not to be named standing in his empty pastry shop.

Ivan Watson (to shopkeeper): Have you had any customers today?

Shopkeeper (translated): Just one.

Ivan Watson (to shopkeeper): What happened?

Ivan Watson: The shopkeeper laughed at the question saying everybody knows what happened in Baghdad. This place was horrible, he added, there were massacres here and dead bodies in the street. One of the only restaurants open on Rabiye Street is the Mosul kebab shop located next to an Iraqi army checkpoint. The owner, Athir Abdul El Mawjood, had to close his restaurant for eight months during the worst of the fighting.

Athir Abdul El Mawjood (translated): RPGs were everywhere in this city, gunmen were everywhere, clashes regularly.

Ivan Watson: Mawjood invited us in for lunch. NPR's four man reporting team included Iraqi translator Ali Hamdani and Iraqi drivers Mohanad Adhab Madhi and Dawood Salman. Our two cars were both parked in front of the restaurant. We were walking back to the vehicles after lunch agitated Iraqi soldiers suddenly ran up screaming "Abwa!" -- which means "bomb" in Iraqi Arabic. Iraqi army Lt. Mohamed Jabbour was pushing our drivers Mohanad and Dawood away from the cars. Seconds later this happened.

[Shouting. Cars honking. The sound of an explosion.]

Ivan Watson: That's the sound of our armored BMW exploding in a flash of fire about 15 feet from where we were standing. It took several shell shocked seconds for reality to sink in.

Watson goes on to explain it was a sticky bomb placed under the driver's side of the car. That was reported today on Morning Edition. Yesterday, when the bombing took place,
Watson discussed the bombing with Andrea Seabrook on All Things Considered.

Ivan Watson: And the force of the blast blew up the armored plates in the car, completely vaporized the steering wheel. I couldn't find the steering wheel and, uh, I'm pretty sure anybody who would have been a passenger inside would have been killed or severely injured by the force of that explosion. None of us were injured, thank God, none of the Iraqis who were standing on the sidewalk with us were injured. No windows were broken next to us and in fact there was a street vendor who had a table of crates of eggs about six feet away from the parked BMW that blew up and not a single one of those eggs was damaged.

Andrea Seabrook: Ivan, this has never happened to NPR personnel before. What are the authorities saying?

Ivan Watson: The Iraqi troops at the scene and one of the reasons we felt comfortable -- more comfortable -- conducting interviews in this kebab shop was because there was an Iraqi army post about twenty, thirty feet away from where we parked the car. They saved our lives because they say they got a call from an informant about three minutes before the bomb went off and they ran forward first and actually pulled back one of our drivers who was trying to get into the car. They said that this was a -- one of the lethal bombs that have been used lately over the course of the last year in Iraq. "Sticky bombs" which magnetically adhere to the bottom of vehicles and have been killing Iraqi officials and police and recently a bus that was carrying at least a dozen women working for the Trade Ministry with a high death toll.

Andrea Seabrook: We here in the States have been hearing for months that security in Baghdad has been improving greatly but obviously there is still a significant risk to covering the war

Ivan Watson: Compared to a couple of years ago, it does feel safer and there are neighorhoods where people are out in the streets, where there is now night life, shops are open and it's been a real treat as a reporter to go and explore these areas tentatively -- perhaps to step out and not feel like you're a target. I think in the wake of this incident, foreign news operations in Iraq are going to have to rethink their approach to working in this city the speed with which the people placed this bomb under the vehicle, it's really terrifying to think about how close we came to not being here with you tonight.

Meanwhile, mark the calendars,
Jodie Evans and I-Need-Attention Benjamin may not be the biggest idiots of the week. Red Diaper Baby Amy Goodman, so busy pleasuring herself over Barack Obama's win she helped so much with, demonstrated just what a loon, idiot and non-journalist she's always been -- independent or otherwise -- today on the trashy, daily hour of propaganda Pacifica Radio broadcasts where she declared of the treaty voted on by Iraq's Parliament Thursday that it was "landmark" and it "paves the way for U.S. forces to withdraw by the end of 2011." Blah, blah, blah. The most useless tool of US imperialism is what Liar Goody's become (which does explain her week at the Aspen Institute last summer and her need to parade their speakers on her program without informing her listeners of that fact) decided the way to 'round out' her propaganda was to quote the puppet of the occupation Nouri al-Maliki -- surely a trusted voice! Democracy Sometimes! cries Goody, just never, ever today. So nice of the non-reporter and non-journalist to toss out about 30 bad seconds to the Iraq War -- remember, the war she tried to ride to fame, the one she got her tired, droopy ass booked on the cable shows via, "Only I, Amy Goodman, tell the truth about the Iraq War, only I, Amy Goodman, cover the Iraq War, only I, Amy Goodman . . . " Today, not only can she not get the facts right, she expects her increasingly dwindling audience to be grateful she managed to toss out a 'shout-out' to an ongoing, illegal war that will hit the six-year mark this March.

In the real world, the treaty passed the Parliament on Thursday. It was covered in the
Thursday and Friday snapshots last week. Amy Goodman called it a "landmark" -- Xenophobic Whore says what? While The Liar Goody chants "USA! USA!", the reality is that the treaty went before the 275 member Parliament and was voted with 149 members voting for it. No, that's not a landmark, nor is it the two-thirds required by Iraqi's own Constitution. As for "landmark," AFP explained Friday who was calling it that, the United States government. If we can get past Liar Goody's "USA! USA!" chants, lets remember what Iran's Press TV reported:

"Washington echelons repeatedly threatened to overthrow the Iraqi government if they continued their opposition to the security deal," said Tehran's interim Friday prayers leader Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati. Iraq's al-Morsad reported on Oct. 10 that US Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte had warned that Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki would be 'ousted' unless he signed the US-proposed security pact. Iraqi Vice President Tariq al-Hashimi has also claimed that the Bush administration had threatened to cut off vital services to Baghdad if it further delayed the accord, saying the threats were akin to 'political blackmail'. "It was really shocking for us…Many people are looking to this attitude as a matter of blackmailing," al-Hashimi said on Oct. 26.

As we noted during the holiday,
The Scotsman explains the treaty better than any domestic outlet: "On Thursday, Iraqi lawmakers approved a pact allowing US forces to stay in Iraq for three more years." It does not guarantee the US leaves at the end of 2011. It takes a real liar, a real whore to repeat that lie (hello, Amy Goodman, tired and old but someone's tossing dimes on her night stand). For those who missed reality, we'll drop back to Thursday's snapshot.

Yeah, it's a one-year agreement. Only 2009 cannot be changed or cancelled. Everything else that the White House says is set-in-stone is actually a conditional option that can be wiped away by either side. Today the White House finally released the agreement in English. We'll jump in at Article 30 The Period for which the Agreement is Effective:

1) This Agreement shall be effective for a period of three years, unless terminated sooner by either Party pursuant to paragraph 3 of this Article.

Get it? Paragraph three: "This Agreement shall terminate one year after a Party provides written notification to the other Party to that effect." Meaning only 2009 is set in stone. It is too late for either party (US or Iraq) to give one year's notice and cancel it in 2009. They can give notice to cancel in 2010 or 2011. The second clause is also worth noting because it weakens the strength of any agreement as well: "This Agreement shall be amended only with the official agrement of the Parties in writing and in accordance with the constitutional proceudures in effect in both countries." That's the aspect that allows for a change and all the 'flowery' respect for Constitutional procedures is hog wash. The Iraqi Parliament needed to have two-thirds of all members (not just members present) to pass the treaty today. They did not have that. According to their Constitution and their laws, that's what was needed. In the US, Congressional approval is needed over all treaties and we know that has not take place. We further know that Barack Obama -- alleged Constitutional scholar -- doesn't give a damn about the Constitution. He show boated and did his little pretty words number while campaigning but despite all his insisting that the treaty would have to come before the Congress -- including becoming one of thirteen co-sponsors on Hillary Clinton's Senate bill insisting upon that -- he shut his corporate mouth and put his tiny tail between his legs to slink off like the disgusting, cowering trash he is. He's not going to stand up for the Constitution 'later.' He couldn't stand up for it right now.

An agreement built upon a systematic disrespect for the rule of law does not suddenly develop one. An agreement built upon lies does not suddenly embrace honesty. The treaty is built on lies and they include the lies to the American people. Why is the US pursuing this treaty? The White House keeps talking about these 'recent' gains in Iraq. Today is November 27th of 2008. Recent would, for most of us, go back no further than the end of spring. But Article 25 explains Nouri al-Maliki and Condi Rice notified the United Nations that the Security Council's mandate would be cancelled at the end of this year . . . last year. al-Maliki's letter was dated December 7th, Rice's December 10th. 'Recent' events?

The agreement the White House has released may not be the official agreement or the final one. It is the one that US Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker and Iraq's Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari signed November 17, 2008. The note above their signatures states: "Signed in duplicate in Baghdad on this 17th day of November, 2008, in the English and Arabic languages, each text being equally authentic."

That version is published online by the White House in PDF format (
click here). The Bully Boy of the United States released the following statement today: "Earlier today, in another sign of progress, Iraq's Council of Representatives approved two agreements with the United States, a Strategic Framework Agreement and a Security Agreement, often called a Status of Forces Agreement or SOFA. The Strategic Framework Agreement sets the foundation for a long-term bilateral relationship between our two countries, and the Security Agreement addresses our presence, activities, and withdrawal from Iraq. Today's vote affirms the growth of Iraq's democracy and increasing ability to secure itself. We look forward to a swift approval by Iraq's Presidency Council. Two years ago, this day seemed unlikely -- but the success of the surge and the courage of the Iraqi people set the conditions for these two agreements to be negotiated and approved by the Iraqi parliament. The improved conditions on the ground and the parliamentary approval of these two agreements serve as a testament to the Iraqi, Coalition, and American men and women, both military and civilian, who paved the way for this day."

That was all in Thursday's snapshot. No reason for the alleged 'independent' media today to still not know what the hell they are talking about. But have they ever needed a reason to demonstrate why they couldn't get real jobs in the real media? No. On Friday, we addressed how little bits of reality surfaced in the reporting from the MSM, buried deep, but they surfaced. The
Washington Post managed to include the following on the treaty:
". . . the pact also allows the Iraqi government to negotiate with the United States to extend the presence of U.S. troops if conditions on the ground are not stable. The
Los Angeles Times manages to note: "The pact allows for amendments if both sides agree to them. U.S. officials have indicated that they interpret that as permitting an extension, if security conditions in Iraq are deemed too shaky to leave Iraqi forces in charge. 'There is a provision for extension, by agreement of both sides,' one U.S. official said."

2009 is the only thing binding by the treaty. It is not difficult to grasp at this late date. The only reason not to grasp it is because you don't want to. Liars, fools and whores need to be held accountable. Which is a good time to bring in the Bully Boy of the United States who thinks he can rewrite reality as well.
Lauren Sher (ABC News) reports he will appear on ABC's World News Tonight this evening to declare, "I think I was unprepared for war." Which one? Vietnam or Iraq? He continues, "In other words, I didn't campaign and say, 'Please vote for me, I'll be able to handle an attack'." Iraq didn't attack the United States and if Gibson doesn't correct Bully Boy on that the whole world will grasp why he spent the bulk of his TV time on a morning entertainment show (Good Morning America) and not in the news department. Repeating, Iraq did not attack the United States. Bully Boy thinks he can lie and get away with it and -- watch and see -- many people will allow him to get away with it. Gibson is a tool, a fool and a tired, tired whore. (He and Goody should go on vacation together.) Gibson asks him what if he'd known there were no WMDs? What if he'd known that? The public record indicates the White House always knew that. The public record demonstrates that. Apparently we're all supposed to forget Paul Wolfowitz' May 2003 statements and everything else reported including Colin Powell's original snarl that he wasn't going to say "this s--t" to the United Nations (he, of course, did). All forgotten because Bully Boy wants to allow that maybe he made a few mistakes. I guess it's easier to confess to mistakes than to war crimes. He truly is the spawn of Tricky Dick. And if you doubt that, UPI reports that while pretending to have some sort of sorrow, he also wanted to insist that Iraq was "his greatest accomplishment" and quotes him stating, "I keep recognizing we're in a war against ideological thugs and keeping America safe." Iraq DID NOT attack the United States.

But Iraq is always under attack and today primarily in Baghdad and Mosul.
Jomana Karadsheh (CNN) reports a double bombing at a Baghdad police academy which claimed at least 16 lives with forty-six people injured. Sudarsan Raghavan and Zaid Sabah (Washington Post) quote Lt. Ahmad Kadhim explaining that the police academy students "had left their posts to receive their salaries" which makes Kahdim believe, "The bomber seized this opportunity, so it seems the suicide attack was organized. The bomber received information from inside the academy telling him that the SWAT team is not available." Katherine Zoepf (New York Times) reports,"About an hour after the attack, dense pools of blood lay coagulating on the pavement among scattered sandals and combat boots, one of which clearly still contained a blood-stained black sock enveloping a piece of foot. The display light from the top of a taxi lay on the ground, next to a hubcap, a few burned strips of clothing and some torn Iraqi dinar notes in small denominations. As police officers prepared to tow away the damaged cars, a young man with a blue and white plastic sack walked around gathering up scraps of human remains with his gloved hands." Tina Susman (Los Angeles Times) quotes police recruit Muhannad Mohammed stating, "We were entering in groups, and my shift was made up of 60 men. As I was going inside, I heard a loud explosing. We all rushed toward the scene. It was a car bomb. I was looking to see if any of my friends were hurt as they were many dead and wounded bodies on the ground. Soon, another bigger explosion took place."

The other big attack of the day was in Mosul.
Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) states the attack was a man who "detonated a suicide vest near a convoy of coalition vehicles . . . killing up to 16." Katherine Zoepf notes the bombing "killed at least 17 people" while the US military claimed only nine and that "differing casualty figures in the immediate wake of a violent attack are not uncommon."

That was not the only violence in Iraq today.

Laith Hammoudi reports a Baghdad bombing "near the house of General Mudhir al Mawla, an adviser to Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki" which claimed 3 lives and left ten injured, a Baghdad bombing that left four people wounded,


Laith Hammoudi reports 2 women shot dead in Mosul and two school teachers shot dead in Mosul


Laith Hammoudi reports a doctor was kidnapped in Mosul.


Laith Hammoudi reports 12 corpses discovered in Kirkuk.

In other news, Reuters photographer Ibrahim Jassam has been a prisoner in Iraq since Sept. 1, 2008 when US and Iraqi military forces drug him from his Mahmudiyah home. He has been held a prsioner since then at Camp Cropper.
Reporters Without Borders and Journalistic Freedom Observatory have been calling for his release. Reuters reported yesterday that Iraq's Central Criminal Court has ordered that Ibrahim be released because "there was no evidence against" him; however, "There was no immediate response from the U.S. military to the ruling." Daryl Lang (Photo District News) adds, "Jassam's case resembles those of several other Iraqi photographers and cameramen working for Western news organizations, all of whom were eventually freed. And the decision comes as the U.S. is releasing thousands of security detainees and preparing to turn its much-maligned detainee system over to the Iraqi government."

nprivan watson
all things considered
jomana karadshehcnn
mcclatchy newspapers
laith hammoudithe washington post
sudarsan raghavanthe los angeles timestina susmanthe new york timeskatherine zoepf