Saturday, October 13, 2012


Like Trina, I'm getting damn tired of WSWS.

I'm getting tired of it because I'm tired of people who don't do the damn work.  I'm tired of reactionary as well.

So I'm not even linking to the damn article.
C.I. was so kind tonight.  She, Ava, Kat and Wally were at the Wednesday hearing so after we'd all discussed Iraq (Trina's Iraq Study Group), she offered to talk about the hearing when two men started asking her about that.  She asked for people to just toss stuff out because "I'm tired and I haven't thought about how to organize anything on that topic."

So I tossed out a few including, having read Van Auken's piece, about the Republicans forcing the cuts in spending.

C.I. was so kind.  She said, "Can I ask the source?"  I told her.  "Okay, Elaine's had a lot of good points here.  ________, however, is putting out spin there, not fact."

She then went over the entire budget for the last years and was very thorough.  I am so tired of these people who do not do the work (the way the WSWS writer did not). 

I am also pretty tired of the presumption that we may not ask questions of the Beloved Barack.

If you have forgotten, the minute the administration was questioned, the response from the media was to attack Mitt Romney.

Nothing has changed.  The media continues to work overtime to protect Barack Obama.

I am so damn sick of it and so damn sick of the nonsense.   It is beyond comprehension and I lived through a media that worked overtime to protect Ronald Reagan.  I really thought that was the height of the press protecting someone.

Until the public turned on the Iraq War and Hurricane Katrina, the press enabled George W. Bush.  But they did not protect him like they did Ronald Reagan.

At one point, it was noted that Reagan dyed his hair.  Reagan responded he didn't and the press was taking his side.  A man over 65 -- I think over 70 at the time -- who obviously dyed his hair and the press attacked those who said Reagan did what he so obviously did.

That is just one example.  There are many, many more.

But if Reagan got a free pass from the press, Barack gets even more.  They not only give Barack a free pass, they also lay their coats down over puddles to allow Barack to walk over the puddle.  Hell, they lay themselves over the puddles to let Barack walk over them.

It is appalling to hear.  It is appalling to read.

Does the press never do a self-check?

I cannot believe the nonsense.

I cannot believe that we have spent four years with the press coddling Barack and that even now they will attack others, they will question the motives and intents of those who question Barack, but they will never, ever question Barack's intent.

I am so sick of it, I'm tempted to vote for Mitt Romney. 

I have never voted Republican in a presidential election.  (I don't think I have in any election but I'd have to sit down and review.)  But if it would end the press orgy, I would be willing to do it.

I cannot believe that for four years, the press (with only a few exceptions) has been AWOL and refused to hold Barack accountable.  He can lie, he can break promises, he can fail to focus on the economy and it all gets justified and it all gets excused and if anyone questions it, it's time to attack the person who questions.

That is among the reasons to love Isaiah.  Did you see yesterday when Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "Smack Talking Wuss" went up?

smack talking wuss

Isaiah is holding Barack to the same standard he held Bush too.  He is not making excuses for Barack. He is not covering for him.  It's a damn shame that a political cartoonist like Isaiah has more courage and integrity than paid journalists.  But that is the reality, isn't it?

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
Friday, October 12, 2012. Chaos and violence continue, Iraq makes the debate between Joe Biden and Paul Ryan (but not because it was a topic asked about it), Nouri's weapons deal with the Czech Republic is estimated to be worth 1 billion dollars, a mother shares how the administration misinformed her about how her son (Sean Smith) died in Libya, a tape -- over fifty minutes -- exists of the September 11, 2012 Benghazi attack and a government body is keeping it from Congress, and more.
Last night in Danville, Kentucky, the media went through the pretense that a vice presidential debate was taking place. If it were a vice presidential debate, where was Cheri Honkala (Green Party v.p. candidate), Luis J. Rodriguez (Justice Party v.p. candidate), Jim Gray (Libertarian Party v.p. candidate), Phyllis Scherrer (Socialist Equality Party v.p. candidate) and Jim Clymer (Constitutional Party v.p. running mate) among others? If this were the vice presidential debate, those people would have been on stage. Instead, Martha Raddatz of ABC moderated a Democratic candidate debating a Republican candidate. (Ava and I shared our thoughts on that this morning.) Martha Raddatz was less than honest when she declared that the event was "sponsored by the Commission on Presidential Debates." It was sponsored by corporations -- large amounts of corporate money. This is not 'secret' information, it's at the commisson's own website:
2012 National Sponsors
Anheuser-Busch Companies
The Howard G. Buffett Foundation
Sheldon S. Cohen, Esq.
Crowell & Moring LLP
International Bottled Water Association (IBWA)
The Kovler Fund
Southwest Airlines
In addition, it is not put on by "the Commission on Presidential Debates" which makes it sound as though everyone has a say. Also lying is the Commission itself which insists that they are "a nonprofit, nonpartisan" corporation. They are bi-partisan, the officials would not be either Democrats or Republicans now would candidates from those two parties be the only ones invited to these debates. They are bi-partisan.
Iraq came up briefly in the debate. Lu Hui (Xinhua) notes, "The two clashed over how the country has been winding down the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and tried to sharpen contrast on national security and defense budget cutting." Click here for a full transcript at CNN. This is both candidates Iraq remarks and I've pulled out the non-Iraq stuff.
Vice President Joe Biden: On Iraq, the president said he would end the war. Governor Romney said that was a tragic mistake, we should have left 30,000 - he ended it. Governor Romney said that was a tragic mistake, we should have left 30,000 troops there.
US House Rep Paul Ryan: With respect to Iraq, we had the same position before the withdrawal, which was we agreed with the Obama administration. Let's have a status of forces agreement to make sure that we secure our gains. The vice president was put in charge of those negotiations by President Obama and they failed to get the agreement. We don't have a status of forces agreement because they failed to get one. That's what we are talking about.
Some may argue we should include the question. Okay. Martha Raddatz stated, "I would like to begin with Libya. On a rather somber note, one month ago tonight, on the anniversary of 9-11, Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other brave Americans were killed in a terrorist attack in Benghazi. The State Department has now made clear, there were no protesters there. It was a pre-planned assault by heavily armed men. Wasn't this a massive intelligence failure, Vice President Joe Biden?"
No, Martha didn't ask about Iraq. But Joe was attempting to skirt the issue asked about and emphasize instead what he wanted to talk about. (Michael Finnegan and Alana Semuels of the Los Angeles Times refer to Joe's actions as a pivot. This is a 'new' observation by political hacks. There's nothing new about it. Jackie Susann was the master of talking about what she wanted to with the media -- usually her own books -- watch any interview and she brings the topic back to her latest book over and over. It's called self-promotion but those in need of pretending they've just discovered something and bad reporters like Alix Spiegel who would rather yack about nonsense than actual issues are now terming this a "pivot.")
Vice President Joe Biden: On Iraq, the president said he would end the war. Governor Romney said that was a tragic mistake, we should have left 30,000 - he ended it. Governor Romney said that was a tragic mistake, we should have left 30,000 troops there.
As we were noting on Tuesday, that is incorrect. At the New York Times blog The Caucus today, Richard A. Oppel declared, "Little noticed in last night's debate: Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. seemed to go out of his way to alter what has been a high profile -- and unfair -- criticism by President Obama of the Romney campaign's statements about Iraq." He goes on to declare Biden's assertion to be "a little closer to being accurate" than Barack's. But a little closer to accurate isn't accurate and it remains, as he noted, "unfair" and untrue. This is from September 7, 2012:
Making the case that Romney lacks foreign policy chops, Obama twisted Romney's words, claiming, "My opponent said it was 'tragic' to end the war in Iraq."
But that's not quite what Romney said. He was speaking of the speed with which Obama was withdrawing troops, not to ending the war in general.
During a veterans roundtable in South Carolina on Nov. 11, 2011, Romney criticized Obama's plan to remove troops from Iraq by the end of that year. Here's the fuller context of his comments, as reported by the New York Times:
Romney, Nov. 11, 2011: It is my view that the withdrawal of all of our troops from Iraq by the end of this year is an enormous mistake, and failing by the Obama administration. The precipitous withdrawal is unfortunate — it's more than unfortunate, I think it's tragic. It puts at risk many of the victories that were hard won by the men and women who served there.
A month earlier, when Obama formally announced the withdrawal of tens of thousands of troops from Iraq by year's end, Romney released a similar statement:
Romney, Oct. 21, 2011: President Obama's astonishing failure to secure an orderly transition in Iraq has unnecessarily put at risk the victories that were won through the blood and sacrifice of thousands of American men and women. The unavoidable question is whether this decision is the result of a naked political calculation or simply sheer ineptitude in negotiations with the Iraqi government. The American people deserve to hear the recommendations that were made by our military commanders in Iraq.
In December, Romney argued that Obama "has pulled our troops out in a precipitous way" and that he ought to have left a residual force of "10-, 20-, 30-thousand personnel there to help transition to the Iraqi's own military capabilities."
Criticizing the "precipitous" pace of withdrawal and the president's failure to leave a residual force in Iraq is a far cry from calling the end of the war in Iraq "tragic."
"Obama twisted Romney's words" -- yes and now Joe has as well. Now let's go to the idiots -- Oppel is not an idiot. This is a fact check so bad it took five people to do it and they still couldn't get it right. The USA Today no-stars Tim Mullaney, Susan Davis, Jackie Kucinich, Paul Davidson and Aamer Madhani offer these 'facts' on Iraq:
Claim: Biden said that Mitt Romney wanted to leave 30,000 servicemembers in Iraq beyond the end of the U.S-Iraq status of forces agreement that expired at the end of 2011.
The facts: Obama administration officials and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's government negotiated for months on a deal that would have allowed a small residual force to remain in Iraq beyond 2011 under a new status of forces agreement. The negotiations, however, fell apart because Maliki believed he would be unable to nudge the Iraqi parliament to agree to immunity for American troops operating in Iraq.
After Obama announced his plan to withdraw the last remaining troops from Iraq in October 2011, Romney said on Fox News in December: "If I were president, I would have carried out the status of forces agreement that was long anticipated that actually (Defense Secretary Leon) Panetta ... indicated he wanted to have as well, which would have allowed to us have somewhere between 10 and 30,000 troops in Iraq."
The only thing more laughable than the above is them on Libya. USA Today cannot tell the truth on Libya, but we'll address that on Sunday. Regarding the above, it gives the impression that Barack removed "the last remaining troops from Iraq." He did no such thing and USA Today should stop lying, they really are embarrassing themselves -- and this is the paper who demanded -- in an editoriall -- that Bill Clinton step down as President for fooling around with Monica Lewinsky, That is what they concerned themselves with, the 'high crimes' of a blow job. And one might think that would be their all time low point but the no-stars are damned determined to aim even lower.
Biden was aiming high himself, "On Iraq, Biden lies," offers Michael Youhana (PolicyMic). Agreed. Let's explore the ways.
Sebastian Meyer (CNN) reports today that Iraqis really don't care about the elections in the US. And why would they? They saw a Democrat replace a Republican in the White House and the war didn't end. Meyer points out, "The Iraq Body Count database estimates that seven people have been killed every single day by suicide and car bomb attacks this year." In addition, US forces remain in Iraq. Micah Zenko (Council on Foreign Relations) observes today, "The United States currently has 225 troops, 530 security assistance team members, and over 4,000 contractors to equip and train Iraqi security forces via the Office of Security Cooperation Iraq."
Or, as Kevin Kervick points out in a letter to the editors of the Seacoast Online, "President Obama did accomplish a rhetorical end to the Iraq war, a development that many of us celebrated during an End of War Parade right here in Portsmouth. However, there are still thousands of military trainers, mercenaries and contractors there who have no plans on leaving. The violence continues to rage in Iraq." [Kevin J. Kervick is running for state representative in New Hampshire's District 30.] As last year wound down, Ted Koppel was reporting that Special Ops would be among those troops remaining in Iraq. Not only did they remain there, more were sent in. Tim Arango (New York Times) reported September 26th, "Iraq and the United States are negotiating an agreement that could result in the return of small units of American soldiers to Iraq on training missions. At the request of the Iraqi government, according to General Caslen, a unit of Army Special Operations soldiers was recently deployed to Iraq to advise on counterterrorism and help with intelligence."
In last night's debate, Joe was a hypocrite when he ridiculed Mitt Romney as someone who wanted US troops to remain longer because (a) Barack was in negotiations for that and (b) the White House continues to negotiate for that. I like Joe, I know Joe. He's a wonderful person. But he was dishonest on Iraq last night. Very dishonest. Joe also declared of the Iraq War and the Afghanistan War, "I voted against them. I said, 'No, we can't afford that'." I believe he mispoke on that -- my belief -- because he does know his own voting record. His statements were inaccurate and you can say he was lying (I won't say lie on this one because I believe he mispoke) because he voted for both wars. I've tried to figure out how he could claim otherwise? Am I missing some appropriations vote -- after the wars started -- that he voted "no" on? I don't believe I am. But if there were one, with regards to Afghanistan, he declared, "Whatever it takes, we should do it." With regards to Iraq, he may be arguing about his 2002 amendment -- he wanted a second resolution. He voted on the Iraq War in favor but had proposed an amendment which failed. Had it passed, it would have required authorization from the United Nations. Possibly, that's what Joe was interpreting as being against it -- his proposing that amendment makes clear he was against going to war without a second UN resolution, therefore, he can assert that he was against the war that took place since Bush did not get a second resolution. If others want to characterize the voting against them statement as a lie, I'm not going to argue the point. But I know Joe and it's not like him to distort his own voting record. My opinion, he mispoke there or he's interpreting his voting record -- not just the initial votes -- in a way that others -- including myself -- do not.
Again, with regards to the current negotiations with Iraq, on that Joe misled, he flat-out lied. I wish he hadn't, but he did. And I have no problem saying that.
On the topic of Iraq, Michael Gordon and Bernard Trainor have an important new book entitled The Endgame. Gary Anderson (Washington Times) reviews the volume today and concludes, "To sum up the book for the reader: A Republican administration blundered into the Iraq War, and a Democratic administration stumbled out of it. Through it all, rank-and-file soldiers and civilian professionals saved our bacon by making chicken salad out of chicken droppings. The devil of the story is in the details, and the authors do a superb job of providing them."
This is me, not the book. Before 2010 rolled around, it was already clear that Nouri al-Maliki was not going to be a fair leader. Since 2007, State Dept cables regularly noted Nouri was paranoid In addition, he was prone to seeing conspiracies everywhere. The book notes Nouri's fetish for conspiracies and his paranoia. It notes that the top US commander in Iraq, General Ray Odierno, felt there needed to be contingency plans before the 2010 elections. Specifically, Odierno thought Nouri might not respect or honor the results. (Odierno looks like a prophet today. He was 100% right.) While Odierno had clear concerns, Chris Hill -- then the Ambassador to Iraq -- was dismissive of the concerns, dismissive of Odierno and saw Nouri in a way no one else did. (Through the eyes of love?) From the book:
At Maliki's ornate palace in the Green Zone, a picture was beginning to emerge from the election returns and it was not one that the prime minister liked. Maliki had believed he was all but assured of victory. He had seen the nation through the surge and led the charge to Basra, formed "support councils" to reach out to tribal leaders throughout the south, and rebranded his political coalition as a nationalist organization committed to restoring and preserving the peace: State of Law. In fact, Maliki was so confident that his populartiy and the dramatically improved security situation would seal his reelection that he had split away from his rivals in the other major Shiite bloc, the Iraqi National Accord, after they announced they would not support Maliki for another term as prime minister. Malliki's aides had assure him that State of Law would win as many as 120 seats and would be able to easily form a government without the INA and Iraqiya. That Allawi and his largely Sunni coalition could dislodge the incumbent prime minister seemed unthinkable to Maliki.
But the contest between Iraqiya and State of Law was astonishingly close and as the results trickled in to Iraq's Independent High Election Commission it appeared that Allawi's bloc might win more parliamentary seats, which could give it the right to make the first attempt to assemble a governing coalition under the Iraqi constitution. On March 17, Iraqiya held a slim nine-thousand-vote lead over Maliki's State of Law with more than 95 percent of the votes counted. The party had even done well in areas of the Shiite south, where they tallied more than 200,000 votes and elected more than ten Shiite members of the parliament. The trend held up when the final results were announced nine days later. Allawi's Iraqiya had secured ninety-one seats over Maliki's State of Law, which had been awarded eighty-nine seats. The INA, the competing Shiite alliance, won seventy seats and the Kurdistan Alliance fifty-seven seats. To govern Iraq, a bloc needed to line up enough allies to control 163 seats in the 325-seat parliament.
As the book make clear, prior to this, Gen Ray Odierno had forseen a power grab by Nouri. He'd been dismissed by Chris Hill. In fact, Chris Hill loathed Odierno and threw a hissy fit to get Odierno shut out of the media. This is in the book.
Not in the book, Chris Hill did not like Sunnis. Iraqis who worked with the US Embassy felt that was very clear and several found Hill's remarks to be disturbing enough that they shared their take of him with embassy staff. This was relayed back to the White House who didn't seem at all concerned. (And, to be clear, the Iraqis complaining to embassy staff were Shi'ites.) Chris Hill gave a very ugly face to America and his 'jokes' were not seen as 'funny' (by Iraqis or by most staff). Chris' hatred of Sunnis is why he worked against Shi'ite Ayad Allawi who was heading the Iraqiya political slate which was a mix of Sunnis and Shi'ites though Hill saw it as Allawi fronting Sunnis. Hill also did not and does not care for Saudi Arabia. This will explain page 620's statement, "There was no Sunni party that was not bought and paid for by Saudis, he said, but he shared some of Odierno's concerns." He was not concerned with a Sunni buy-in of the government, the book explains.
In the book, one of Chris' many tantrums gets noted. He's screaming private, US government conversations in front of non-Americans. Chris Hill was an awful face for the US to Iraq.
Odierno, as noted in the book, had forseen a power grab on Nouri's part and had wanted a detailed plan for various moves Nouri might pull. This was brushed aside. To reach the deadline of the SOFA for all US troops out of Iraq by the end of 2011, Under Secretary of Defense Michele Flourney, Barack and others were eager to support Nouri. Odierno and Hill met March 25th, 17 days after the election, when there were clear problems. While Odierno had concerns and wanted to send a message that the US supported democracy, Hill's feelings were expressed as, "What a stinking country this is."
"What a stinking country this is."
Chris Hill was the worst face for the US in Iraq. And he did a lousy job in Iraq.
Nouri used the Bagdad Iraqi court to 'revise' the Constitution allowing him first crack at forming a coaltion. He did not have that right, the Parliament does not give him a right. Odierno was repeatedly pushed aside. But the votes, the will of the people and the Constitution did not matter to Barack. The book notes, "At the White House, Obama administration officials were not perturbed. They argued that Allawi's Iraqiya would have been unlikely to attract enough allies to form a new government and that it was a political fact of life that the prime minister of Iraq would come from the ranks of the Shiite political parties. But Sunnis saw it as a violation of the very spirit of the vote."
Shortly around this time, Chris Hill's ignorance would be brought to the attention of then-Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. Not in the book, at which point the complaints to the State Dept finally registered as (in the book) Gates takes Odierno to meet with Hillary Clinton and others. Hill should have been immediately replaced. Instead, Barack kept him in place. Even though he was inept. In his more minor role, he continued to insist that Iraqiya didn't need to be brought into the process and repeatedly attempted to undermine Odierno's efforts to bring Iraqiya into the process.
Do you see where that led to? Chris Hill is an idiot. Chris Hill destroyed all the diplomatic work the State Dept had done, all the leadership work Odierno did (Odierno met with Iraqi leaders regularly and spoke of what most would consider universal values such as free and fair elections). Chris Hill -- as we noted repeatedly in real time -- was disrespectful to Odierno, jealous of him and worked repeatedly to undercut him. While Odierno has been polite enough not to air his complaints, someone serving under Odierno is considering a book deal. Chris Hill better be worried. When someone from that side of the equation tells the story, it will be even more clear how Hill didn't understand the first thing about Iraq and screwed up everything. As was described to me by someone in the State Dept, Chris went to Iraq thinking 'success' was forming a friendship with Nouri and backing Nouri in everything. Chris Hill is an idiot who was more concerned with kissing Nouri's ass, undermining Odierno and attacking the US press.
Why the White House backed Hill isn't anything Gordon and Trainor can suss out. No one can. Retired US Gen Anthony Zinni was supposed to be the US Ambassador to Iraq, Barack was supposed to nominate him. Zinni discussed that on the August 6, 2009 broadcast of NPR's The Diane Rehm Show.
Diane Rehm: General Zinni, you almost went to work for the Obama administration. I'd like to hear from you --
Anthony Zinni: Right.
Diane Rehm: -- what happened.
Anthony Zinni: Well, uh, I was called right before the inauguration and asked if I would be willing to serve as, uh, to serve in the administration in a couple of possibilities. And then --
Diane Rehm: By whom?
Anthony Zinni: By General [James L.] Jones, the National Security Advisor. And I said I would given the-the positions he mentioned,. And right after the inauguration, he called and asked if I would serve as the ambassador to, uh, Iraq. And I said I would. And, uh, received a call from the vice president thanking me that I would take that on --
Diane Rehm: Vice President [Joe] Biden.
Anthony Zinni: Vice President Biden. And, uh, I met with Secretary of State [Hillary] Clinton and, uh, deputy -- two deputies. Spent a long time with her in the office. She was asking me what I understood about Iraq, my assessment. I had just gotten back not long before that doing an assessment out there. And then I left that meeting, you know, understanding fully, you know, I was going to be the nominee. I mean I was told to prepare for it, we would move the process forward very quickly because of the outgoing Ambassador Ryan Crocker was coming out very quickly.
Diane Rehm: You shook hands on it?
Anthony Zinni: Yes, we did. I mean, there was no way I left and didn't think this was going to happen. And actually thought I had a very short period of time to get my affairs in order. I mean, obviously, there are a number of things you have to do in your own financial family and all that sort of thing. And for -- a week went by and I was told to stay in touch, be prepared, quote: "Move the paperwork forward." That we were going to move up the confirmation hearings. And nothing was happening. And I tried to contact people and I couldn't get any answers. And finally late -- about a week later -- I finally got a hold of General Jones and he informed me I was not the choice and I was kind of shocked and surprised by it. And then the next morning in the Washington Post, I read that it's Chris Hill and I thought: "Had I not gotten ahold of General Jones, that's how I would found out." To be honest with you, I-I don't, I can understand people changing their minds and I don't object to that. You know that's a fact of life. I-I was just put back by not being called or told by anyone and, to this day, I haven't had anybody explain to me what happened so. But I moved on. Clearly, you know, you have to understand Washington and the way things work and I've moved on from there.
Diane Rehm: What's your best guess as to why you were not chosen?
Anthony Zinni: Honestly, Diane, I don't know. Uh, one of the reasons -- I-I started getting calls that very day from the media, from the press and, uh, people saying, "These are the rumors we're hearing." And they were attributed to senior government officials so that was disturbing. And many of the-the reasons given, I clearly knew were not right because --
Diane Rehm: Such as?
Anthony Zinni: Such as, "Well the Pentagon didn't want you." Or, "A certain general didn't want you." All-all of whom I knew personally and it's just the opposite and matter of fact were calling me upset that-that it hadn't gone through. So I began to be bothered by some of the rumors that obviously were coming out of the -- supposedly attributed by the media to senior government officials.
Diane Rehm: What kinds of rumors?
Anthony Zinni: Well, it was this particular lobby that worked against you, it was this particular individual that-that stopped it or this person. And-and to me that -- you know, to me, many of them I knew weren't true, many of them I thought were only based on rumor and so I thought it important since they were asking me what happened I tried to not engage them but then I finally said, "Well look, let me just tell you the course of events that went by. So there's no misunderstanding that I didn't know or understand that I was be the nominee. And what happened." And-and to this day, nobody's told me what happened. Not that I'm interested anymore. But [laughing] I haven't been told.
Diane Rehm: So even speaking with General Jones, he did not give you a reason?
Anthony Zinni: He did not. Our last conversation, right after that was "Well I'll get back to you as I find out." And, you know, that was in January and then I have not heard anything about it. Not that I'm, again, I'm not interested anymore in what happened.
Diane Rehm: Of course you're not interested anymore since it's over and done with. On the other hand, as a human being, if I had been in your position, I would have felt really stung.
Anthony Zinni: Yeah -- well, yes. I guess the best way to describe my feelings, was I was disappointed because there were many friends and people I respected tremendously in this process and, uh, so that-that created a disappointment and confusion on my part as to what exactly happened.
If it's any consulation to Zinni, anyone paying attention can see that Chris Hill and his 'expertise' did much harm to Iraq.
Al Mada reports that another brigade of of US soldiers have arrived in Iraq to help the others US soldiers who began inspecting Iranian planes crossing over Iraq to Syria (the others began last week). Look for the US press to ignore this news that's been reported for a week now in Iraq. To continue to ignore. Saturday, Al Mada reported that the US military has entered Baghdad International Airport and taken over the inspection of all Iranian planes en route to Syria. In addition, the US is monitoring the Iraqi Centeral Bank (allegedly out of concern that funds are being diverted to Syria). Monday Kitabat reported that on Sunday the US took the lead in the inspections. This may account for the Iranian government's sudden desire to comment on the search policy. Two weeks ago, when Iraqis inspected the first Iranian plane bound for Syria, there was no real comment from the Iranian regime. Suddenly, it's an issue, a very big issue. Hard to believe the reports of the US now handling the inspections isn't responsible for some of the warning statements from the Iranian government. Those who don't read Arabic can refer to this Aswat al-Iraq article which covers the Al Mada's report from last Saturday, "Iraqi al-Mada daily quoted an official that a US force entered Baghdad International Airport and became responsible of searching Iranian planes heading for Syria through Iraqi airspace."
Ali Abdelamir (Al-Monitor) reports that "senior Iranian security leaders" are visiting Iraq including the Minister of Defense Ahmad Wahidi:
According to the spokesman for the Iraqiya List, Haydar al-Mulla, the meetings between the Iranian Defense Minister and Iraqi officials in Samara constituted a violation of national sovereignty. He stressed that "the danger of the Iranian defense minister's visit to Samara lies in his meetings with Iraqi security leaders, which constituted a violation to the most basic concepts of national sovereignty."
Mulla criticized the amicable position of some Iraqi forces toward Tehran, paving the way for Iranian influence and control.
"Iran is addressing Iraq as if it were its own subsidiary, with the blessing of some political parties," he said. "One of the major problems today in Iraq, after 2003, is the double standards and selective application of the constitution and laws. We, as the Iraqiya List, are keen to adopt the best relations for Iraq with neighboring countries, whether Arab or not," he added.


Meanwhile the September 27 attack on the prison in Tikrit is back in the news.  Kitabat reports that the attack that resulted in at least 16  deaths and injuries as well as over 100 escapees is being claimed by the Islamic State of Iraq.  They claimed credit for the attack, boasted that they had infiltrated the prison and smuggled guns and bombs inside.  Alsumaria adds that today's announcement also stated that five members of the Islamic State of Iraq had been killed in the operation.  AFP states 102 inmates "escaped during the assault, including 47 members of the ISI" and that four were said to have been killed and 23 recaptured which would mean 77 remain at large weeks later.  July 22nd, the Islamic State of Iraq released an audio recording announcing a new campaign of violence entitled Breaking The Walls which would include prison breaks and killing "judges and investigators and their guards." Since they made their July announcement there have been minor and major attacks throughout Iraq.

Part of the reason for the Islamic State of Iraq's successes of late is that they have a cause that is sympathetic when they focus on prisoners due to the fact that the Iraqi prison system has become a labyrinth that few ever escape from.   The disappeared are often impossible for the families to track and often wait years and years for a court appearance that may or may not come.  When Nouri was interested in looking like a leader to the American people -- a portion of 2007 and 2008 -- he spoke about the need to pass an amnesty law.  Nothing was ever passed.  His State of Law remains the biggest obstacle to an amnesty law.  All Iraq News notes that the Kurdistan Alliance is calling for the amnesty bill to contain more guidelines and that Speaker of Parliament Osama al-Nujaifi has postponed the latest scheduled vote to Saturday.  Al-Shorfa maintains, "The presidency of the Iraqi Parliament on Friday (October 12th) said it will excluse those who committed terrorist crimes from a draft law that could give all Iraqi prisoners amnesty." The Saudi Gazette reports 3 Saudis in a Baghdad prison are on a hunger strike and have been for 20 days.  The three are death row prisoners.  At least 119 people have been executed in Iraq so far this year.
On Parliament, Alsumaria notes the infrastructure bill is also supposed to be voted on Saturday.  The legislative body recently scheduled a month long vacation to begin in November.  Al Mada reports that Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlaq is calling on the members of Parliament to postpone the vacation until an amnesty law is passed. 

All Iraq News reports that human rights activist Haitham Mohamed Ibrahim has been arrested in Mosul after Governor Ethel al-Nujaifi swore out a complaint against him.  For what isn't stated.  al-Nujaifi is not just the governor of Nineveh Province, he is also the brother of Speaker of Parliament Osama al-Nujaifi.   In other surprising news, Alsumaria reports that they have official documents revealing vast wasted public funds on a parcel of land that a hosptial was supposed to be built upon in Karbala.  But the big government news for Iraqi outlets continues to be Nouri's weapons shopping spree this week, $4.2 billion to Russia for weapons and an undisclosed sum to the Czech Republic for more.

Alsumaria notes yestereday's press conference in Prague where Nouri announced the agreement with the Czech Republic but was coy on details such as the value of the weapons contract.  Suadad al-Salhy and Jason Hovet (Reuters) estimate the deal is worth "about $1 billion." So the Czech Republic deal and the Russian deal are worth over $5 billion dollars.  Haifa Zaiter (Al-Monitor) offers some interpretations of the deals including: 
Ihsan al-Shammari, a professor of political science at Baghdad University, explains this idea to As-Safir. According to the professor, the Kurds feel the most threatened by this visit. They believe that arms in the hands of Maliki would pose a major threat to their historic dream of secession, which was further promoted when the Syrian crisis erupted.
Moreover, the divide within the Iraqi domestic arena has surfaced again, between those who support an alliance between Baghdad and Tehran, on the one hand, and between Baghdad and Washington on the other. There is another emerging camp, which believes that US influence will not be harmed as a result of this visit, especially given that Maliki is not able to escape from under the US umbrella.
This point of view is supported by Abdel Halilm al-Rahimi, an Iraqi writer and politician, who told As-Safir that Iraq has a "strategic alliance" with the US, and it would not be in Iraq's interest to harm it.


Through yesterday, Iraq Body Count counts 65 people killed in Iraq from violence this month so far.  Alsumaria reports 1 Iraqi soldier was shot dead in Saydiya.   Alsumaria also reports 1 women's corpse was discovered in Nineveh (shot dead) and  1 man's corpse found in Nineveh Province (he had been kidnapped three days before). 
In related news, Al Mada notes State of Law is insisting that the continued absenses of heads of the security ministries is not Nouri's fault.  They insist that he can only take names and nominate them apparently trying to insist that its the responsibility of someone else to come up with names for nominations.  Maybe that's written into the Erbil Agreement?  If not and if we're going by Iraq's Constitution, it's Nouri's job to come up with nominees.  All Iraq News reports that Iraqiya MP Khalid al-Alouni has declared that Nouri only wants nominees from his own State of Law political slate.
Wednesday the US House Oversight Committee held a hearing in the September 11, 2012 attack on the US Consulate in Benghazi, Libya.  We covered this in the Thursday's "Iraq snapshot" and Wednesday's "Iraq snapshot."  Ava covered it with "2 disgrace in the Committee hearing,Kat covered it in "What we learned at today's hearing"  and  Wally  covered it in "The White House's Jimmy Carter moment."  If we had more room, we'd note variations on the following.
Committee Chair Darrell Issa: More importantly, they held a broad news conference over the phone in which they made it very clear that it had never been the State Department's position -- I repeat, never been the State Department's position -- that in fact this assault was part of a reaction to a video or the like.  This is corroborated by numerous witnesses and whistle blowers.  Contrary to early assertions by the administration, let's understand, there was no protest.  And cameras reveal that.  And the State Department, the FBI and others have that video.
Over and over, we heard about this.  Over and over, in the hearing, the State Dept talked about this.
The press isn't doing their damn job.  If you doubt me on that, please note that not only has the video been widely dispersed within the administration, it is a little over fifty minutes long and Issa, in questioning the State Dept's Patrick Kennedy in open session on Wednesday, established that a government body is keeping the tape from the American people and from the Congress.  That government is not the FBI nor is it any division of "law enforcement."  This was also established in open session.  The press should have run with that, headlines should have asked who has this tape, why is it being kept from the American people and from the Congress? 
The White House repeatedly lied about the attacks.  Claimed it was due to a video.  Claimed it was protesters.  Lie, lie, lie.  A government body now has the tape.  The FBI states they are done with the tape, they have no objection to Congress having the tape.  What body is keeping the tape from Congress?  That's what the press should be asking.  They should also be asking why the tape is being kept from Congress?
Four Americans were killed in the attacks: Glen Doherty, Sean Smith, Ambassador Chris Stevens and Tyrone Woods.  Wednesday night, Sean Smith's mother Pat Smith spoke with Anderson Cooper for CNN's Anderson Cooper 360Here and here for video, here for transcript.  Here's an excerpt of Pat Smith speaking about her son:
COOPER: Pat, I appreciate you being with us. And I'm just so sorry for your loss. What do you want people to know about your son, about Sean?

PAT SMITH, SON KILLED IN BENGHAZI ATTACK: Well, god. He was my only child. And he was good, he was good at what he did, he'd loved it.

COOPER: He loved working with computers?

SMITH: Computers, radios. He was good at what he did.

COOPER: Was that something he had done as a kid? I mean how did -- did he always -- was he always good with computer?

SMITH: Well, when he was a kid, computers weren't out yet. And --


And then they were out and he -- I got a computer and he started playing with them and he started showing me how you could build a flame thrower and -- by just watching a computer and then told you how to do it. So that's how it started.
We'll note another excerpt later in the interview.  The administration promised Pat Smith she would be given answers about how her son died.  She has not been given information.
COOPER: Who told you that they would give you information?

SMITH: You'll love this. Obama told me. Hillary promised me. Joe Biden -- Joe Biden is a pleasure. He was a real sweetheart. But he also told -- they all told me that -- they promised me. And I told them please, tell me what happened. Just tell me what happened.

COOPER: So you're still waiting to hear from somebody about what happened to your son? About what they know? Or even what they don't know.

SMITH: Right. Right. Officially yes. I told them, please don't give me any baloney that comes through with this political stuff. I don't want political stuff. You can keep your political, just tell me the truth. What happened. And I still don't know. In fact, today I just heard something more that he died of smoke inhalation.

COOPER: So you don't even know the cause of death?

SMITH: I don't even know if that's true or not. No, I don't. I don't know where. I look at TV and I see bloody hand prints on walls, thinking, my god, is that my son's? I don't know if he was shot. I don't know -- I don't know. They haven't told me anything. They are still studying it. And the things that they are telling me are just outright lies.

That Susan Rice, what -- she talked to me personally and she said, she said, this is the way it was. It was -- it was because of this film that came out.

COOPER: So she told you personally that she thought it was a result of that video of the protest?

SMITH: Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. In fact all of them did. All of them did. Leon Panetta actually took my face in his hands like this and he said, trust me. I will tell you what happened. And so far, he's told me nothing. Nothing at all. And I want to know.

COOPER: It's important for you to know all the details no matter how horrible.

As she knows, she was lied to.  And the White House has made no effort to correct those lies to her.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

The White House is that dumb?

Christi Parsons and Kathleen Hennessey  (Los Angeles Times) report:

President Obama on Wednesday acknowledged that his administration passed faulty information to the public about last month’s deadly attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, but suggested those reports came in the interest of keeping the public abreast of what they knew at the time.
In an interview with ABC’s Diane Sawyer that aired Wednesday night, Obama said that “as information came in, information was put out,” and that those reports “may not have always been right the first time.”

What a damn liar.

As C.I. points out in the snapshot today, as late as September 18th, Jay Carney was insisting the September 11th attack in Libya was over a YouTube video and a protest gone wrong.  Seven days after the attack, the White House was still lying.

By contrast, note:

CBS News, as early as Sept. 12, reported that U.S. officials suspected the attackers were either associated with or sympathized with al Qaeda and took advantage of the so-called protest to stage a coordinated attack.

So you're telling me that CBS News is that much smarter than the White House that it can figure out that it was a terrorist attack over a week before the White House can?

Get real.  The White House lied and did so to try to protect Barack from his Carter moment.  I believe I was the first to compare him to Jimmy Carter and, as C.I. told me over the weekend, "You were right.  He is Jimmy Carter."  But worse than Carter because I don't see Carter lying to the American people about something this serious.

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):

Wednesday, October 10, 2012.  Chaos and violence continue, Nouri spends crazy in Russia, while Iraq claims they can't pay Kuwait what they owe, the $4 billion plus contract not going to the US is noted by international observers but the US State Dept plays dumb, the administration's lies about the attack on the US Consulate in Libya get some exposure, and more.
US House Rep Mike Kelly: And I'm kind of surprised.  You know, I come from western Pennsylvania and people look at things in maybe a little different fashion.  When I'm not down here in Washington DC amid all these brains and all the intelligence and you get back home and you talk to people, if I were to say to you, Lt Col Wood, "What does 9-11 mean to you?"
Lt Col Andrew Wood:  This last 9-11?
US House Rep Mike Kelly:  No, just 9-11.  Like I would say "December 7th, what does December 7th --," 9-11?
Lt Col Andrew Wood:  It's an attack on the United States of America.
US House Rep Mike Kelly:  Mr. Nordstrom?
Eric Nordstrom:  The same.
US House Rep Mike Kelly:  Ms. Lamb? 
Charlene R. Lamb:  The same.
US House Rep Mike Kelly:  Ambassador?
Patrick Kennedy:  Absolutely, sir.
US House Rep Mike Kelly:  Okay, so if you can all connect the dots right here, why in the heck did it take so long for all these highly briefed and intelligent  people to figure out that it actually wasn't a 15-minute YouTube video?  And that it actually was a 9-11 event?  A terrorist attack?  I don't know that this stuff about what's classified and not classified is getting confusing for me because I sat in a members only briefing and I -- Mr. Chairman, I ask you -- and this is on September the 20th with Secretary [Hillary] Clinton and some other personnel -- is this something we're allowed to talk about or not allowed to talk about?
Chair Darrell Issa: Uh, if it was in a classified setting, the only thing that I would think that would be appropriate is any inconsistencies you've seen in testimonies today you could relate.  Otherwise, the specifics, I couldn't judge it --
US House Rep Mike Kelly: Okay.  Well it comes down to this: What caused this?  And Ms. Lamb, I read through your testimony and it would be horrible to sit there and watch it, in real time, what was going on.    And I read another account -- this is kind of strange -- that same night -- this is about the Ambassador.  At 8:30 pm, the Ambassador said goodnight to a visiting Turkish diplomat.  Outside the compound.  And the streets are empty.  But at 9:45 pm, noises, gunfire and an explosion were heard by the agents located in the TOC building and -- TOC in building B.  It is absolutely preposterous to me that we would watch Ambassador Rice go out and say what happened five days later, that I would sit in a briefing and was [told], 'No, you have it all wrong.  This is not a terrorist attack.  This is a result of a 15-minute YouTube.'  Now we are either in denial or, unfortunately, and I know some of the members are concerned because I got to tell you, it's very unfortunate that terrorists don't recognize that this is an election year.  And they tend to just do what they want anytime they want to us.  And when we have a weakened position around the world, and when we leave our embassies and our consulates as unprotected as we do and then we say, "You know what?  This is terrible because this is 27 days before an election, why are we bringing it up now?"  And I ask the same question, where the heck were we before 9-11, this 9-11?   Why weren't we questioning it then?  My goodness, 230 security incidents in Libya between June of 2011 and July of 2012.  Of those attacks, 48 took place in Benghazi.  2 of which at the US diplomatic compound and the scene of the September 11, 2012 attacks and we are still saying, 'I think it's the result of the video that was on YouTube'?  And this is based on intelligence?  Now, listen, I gotta' ask you Ambassador Kinney because you say you couldn't possibly have had a different idea about it than Secretary Rice did when she went before the nation on September 16th.  I'm going to tell you, this thing smells.  From every single angle.  If it waddles like a duck and quacks like a duck, it's a duck.  And for you to come in here and say, "Well, it was based on some of the things I knew but I can't tell you all that I knew"?  We've got four Americans dead.   And I'm gonna' tell you.  It's very upsetting for me to go back home and look at those people in the eye.  People who don't do what we do hear with all the intelligence and all the briefings, just guys that go out and work every day and women that go out and work every day and they can come home and they can figure it out?  But we're still trying to figure it out?  And you watch it in real time?  And the account wasn't there that night of the ambassador saying goodbye to a Turkish friend outside the gates and everything was quiet?  But, my goodness, those terrorists or those Islamic extremists got a hold of that video and between 8:30 and 9:40 they decided to just go crazy?  And Africa's on fire?  And, Mr. Nordstrom, thank you for pointing out, as Mr. [Mitt] Romney did, that hope is not a strategy.  And I feel sorry for you and Lt Col Wood to have to come here because it is you who are on the ground.  You're not watching in some far away room in real time, you're people are there in real time.  We've watched our colleagues be killed.  And the question doesn't become "What is it that we didn't know?"  It is because we have become lax.  We have dumbed down. We have turned down the dial.
 That was from this morning's House Oversight Committee hearing in the September 11, 2012 terrorist attack on the US Consulate in Libya in which Glen Doherty, Ambassador Chris Stevens, Sean Smith and Tyrone Woods were killed.  Darrell Issa is the Committee Chair.  Appearing before them were the State Dept's Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Programs Charlene R. Lamb, the State Dept's always less than truthful Patrick Kennedy (Under Secretary for Management), Regional Security Officer Eric Nordstrom, and the US military's Lt Col Andrew Wood. 
For days after the attack on the consulate,  the White House spun that it was due to a 'movie' that turned out to be a YouTube clip -- not before the compliant press was offering up least one individual who was yammering away that he'd seen the entire movie.  Susan Rice went on the Sunday public affairs shows five days after the atack to continue to insist that the YouTube video caused a protest in Libya, the protesters got out of hand and that was what happened to the US Consulate in Libya and why four Americans were killed.
During that period, we got speeches about tolerance and bad YouTube and the White House tried to bully YouTube into taking the clip down.  The lies never stopped.  Nor did US President Barack Obama's campaigning -- which incorporated the lies.  Immediatly after the attacks -- which are seen as an attack by al Qaeda -- Barack jetted off to Las Vegas for fundraisers and campaign rallies.  It was in Las Vegas that he boasted,  "A day after 9/11, we are reminded that a new tower rises above the New York skyline, but al Qaeda is on the path to defeat and bin Laden is dead." 
Guess when you're claiming to have finished off al Qaeda, the truth that it was a terrorist attack on the Libyan consulate doesn't fit with your spin or your campaign rhetoric.  And that's how a lie takes hold.  Barack would then rush off to a campaign event in Colorado where he would repeat the same boast, "And while a new tower rises above the New York skyline, al Qaeda is on the path to defeat, and Osama bin Laden is dead."
Four days later in his weekly address (September 15th), he would note the attack, refer to the "angry mob" and declare:
This tragic attack takes place at a time of turmoil and protest in many different countries. I have made it clear that the United States has a profound respect for people of all faiths. We stand for religious freedom. And we reject the denigration of any religion – including Islam.
Yet there is never any justification for violence. There is no religion that condones the targeting of innocent men and women. There is no excuse for attacks on our Embassies and Consulates. And so long as I am Commander-in-Chief, the United States will never tolerate efforts to harm our fellow Americans.
But it wasn't an "angry mob" and it wasn't a reaction of offense to a YouTube video that led to the attack.  Barack was wording carefully the way Bush did.  Because Barack knew he was selling a lie.  So he uses inference to indicate that the attack was a mob of protesters, angered that a video had insulted their religion.   The next day, September 16th, Susan Rice would appear on CBS Face The Nation:
BOB SCHIEFFER: And joining us now, Susan Rice, the U.N. ambassador, our U.N. ambassador. Madam Ambassador, he says this is something that has been in the planning stages for months. I understand you have been saying that you think it was spontaneous? Are we not on the same page here?
SUSAN RICE (Ambassador to the United Nations): Bob, let me tell you what we understand to be the assessment at present. First of all, very importantly, as you discussed with the President, there is an investigation that the United States government will launch led by the FBI, that has begun and--
BOB SCHIEFFER (overlapping): But they are not there.
SUSAN RICE: They are not on the ground yet, but they have already begun looking at all sorts of evidence of-- of various sorts already available to them and to us. And they will get on the ground and continue the investigation. So we'll want to see the results of that investigation to draw any definitive conclusions. But based on the best information we have to date, what our assessment is as of the present is in fact what began spontaneously in Benghazi as a reaction to what had transpired some hours earlier in Cairo where, of course, as you know, there was a violent protest outside of our embassy--
SUSAN RICE: --sparked by this hateful video. But soon after that spontaneous protest began outside of our consulate in Benghazi, we believe that it looks like extremist elements, individuals, joined in that-- in that effort with heavy weapons of the sort that are, unfortunately, readily now available in Libya post-revolution. And that it spun from there into something much, much more violent.
BOB SCHIEFFER: But you do not agree with him that this was something that had been plotted out several months ago?
SUSAN RICE: We do not-- we do not have information at present that leads us to conclude that this was premeditated or preplanned.
She'd go NBC's Meet The Press the same day and declare, "This is a response to a hateful and offensive video that was widely disseminated throughout the Arab and Muslim world  Obviously, our view is that there is absolutely no excuse for violence and that -- what has happened is condemnable, but this is a -- spontenaeous reaction to a video, and it's not dissimilar but, perhaps, on a slightly larger scale than what we have seen in the past with The Satanic Verses with the cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad.  Now, the United States has made very clear and the president has been very plain that our top priority is the protection of American personnel in our facilities and bringing to justice those who attacked our facilitiy in Benghazi."
Pressed by host David Gregory, Susan Rice stuck to the lie and insisted "our current assessment is that what happened in Benghazi was in fact initially a spontaneous reaction to what had just transpired hours before in Cairo, almost a copycat of -- of the demonstrations against our facility in Cairo, which were prompted, of course by the video."  She'd go on other shows that day and stick to the cover story, the lie, that a YouTube video caused an angry group of protesters to attack the US Consulate in Libya, resulting in the deaths of four Americans.  Pointing the finger at a man who was seen as a hate merchant (the one responsible for the video -- I say "seen as a hate merchant" because I haven't viewed the video and have no intention of every watching it) gave the White House a scapegoat.  And they really needed one because security precautions were not taken.
So Jay Carney picked up the lie ("It is in response to a video, a film that we have judged to be reprehensible and disgusting," September 14th press briefing).  But it's Carney's spinning on September 18th that really took it to another level:
Q    Jay, I want to go back to Libya.  On September 10th, you put out a press release saying that the President had a meeting with senior officials to figure out the security posture around the 9/11 anniversary.  And in that press release you said that "steps were taken to protect U.S. persons and facilities abroad.  The President reiterated that departments and agencies must do everything possible to protect the American people both at home and abroad."  So in retrospect, given the tragedy, did the administration drop the ball on what you promised on September 10th that you had improved security at these installations?
MR. CARNEY:  They were numerous steps taken, as there have been every year on the anniversary of 9/11, and as there have been at different times on the calendar when it is judged by the experts that taking additional steps, security steps, is the right thing to do.  As for specific measures taken at specific facilities, diplomatic facilities, I would refer you to the State Department.
Q    Separate from the FBI investigation you mentioned to Mary a few moments ago, is there any sort of inquiry going on here at the White House among the President's national security team to get to the bottom of -- you told the American people on September 10th, "We've taken steps to protect Americans here at home and abroad."  Obviously, with four Americans tragically being killed, the steps were not good enough.  So is there an inquiry going on here to figure out what went wrong?
MR. CARNEY:  Well, I think that you're conveniently conflating two things, which is the anniversary of 9/11 and the incidents that took place, which are under investigation in terms of what --
Q    Which happened on the anniversary.
MR. CARNEY:  -- which are under investigation, and the cause and motivation behind them will be decided by that investigation.
It is certainly -- I would point you to what Ambassador Rice said and others have said about what we know thus far about the video and its influence on the protests that occurred in Cairo, in Benghazi and elsewhere.  And all I can tell you is that steps are taken, both seen and unseen, in advance of and in preparation for times like the anniversary of 9/11 when it is judged that there might be greater threats.  And those steps are based on the threat assessments that we have at the time.  But I would refer you in terms of specific security for specific facilities to the State Department.
September 18th, two days later, and Carney was pointing to Susan Rice's b.s. to provide cover for an administration -- one in which the president was already accused of not receiving the daily intelligence briefing because he allegedly wanted to do other things.  Susan Rice put  out the story the White House wanted.  Once the story was out there, the White House would repeatedly reference Rice.
Reporting on today's hearing, Jake Tapper and Mary Bruce (ABC News) note: Lt Col Wood testified he was removed from Libya in August "against his wishes and, he says, the wishes of the late Ambassador Chris Stevens."  They note:
Wood said that when he heard of the attack on the Benghazi post on September 11, it was "instantly recognizable" that it had been a terrorist attack.
"Mainly because of my prior knowledge there," Wood said. "I almost expected the attack to come. We were the last flag flying. It was a matter of time."
In a dramatic moment at the hearing, Issa released unclassified cables from March and July that the State Department had refused to release, detailing those requests.
One cable, written by then Amb. Gene Cretz, noted that three Mobile Security Detachments [MSD], consisting of 18 personnel, and the Site Security Team [SST], consisting of 16 personnel, were about to leave their temporary assignments. He said that the Libya mission needed both an extension of those forces and an increase in the number of permanent security officials in Libya.
We're going to note another exchange in today's hearing:
US House Rep Dennis Ross:  Mr. Nordstrum, earlier in your testimony  you were discussing your recollection of the conversation that you had had with two agents in the room regarding the denial of the extension of the SST.  Now it was your understanding that you were not to request an extension at that point, is that correct? 
Eric Nordstrom:   That's correct.
US House Rep Dennis Ross:  And who was on the other end of the line that told you that?
Eric Nordstrom: I was on the telephone call with DS Lamb [DSLAM?].
US House Rep Dennis Ross:  Was Ms. Lamb on the phone call with you?
Eric Nordstrom:  That is DS Lamb.
US House Rep Dennis Ross:  Okay, sorry.  So she did tell you that?
Eric Nordstrom:  That's correct.
US House Rep Dennis Ross:  Okay.  Now she, just the other day in an interview with the Committee, indicated that on your July 9th cable to Washington requesting security personnel, you didn't formally request an SST extension, in fact, you just made a recommendation.  Can you explain that there's a difference between recommendation and request?
Eric Nordstrom:  In Post felt that that was a pretty clear request for resources.
US House Rep Dennis Ross:   Had you done it before with the idea that it was a request?
Eric Nordstrom:   I believe it was also titled "Request For Continued TDY Staffing."
US House Rep Dennis Ross:  And it was a denial of that extension?
Eric Nordstrom:  Well actually, we never actually received a response.
US House Rep Dennis Ross:  Other than -- other than that phone conference that you were on?
Eric Nordstrom:  Correct. We never received a response to that cable.
US House Rep Dennis Ross:  And as a result of that phone conference where you were denied, did you seek any further effort to follow up or make a re-request?
Eric Nordstrom:  I believe actually, to clarify, the telephone call was prior to sending in the cable. What we decided since we continued to get resistance, instead of specifically asking for SST or MSD or whatever, we just said, 'You know what, give us the thirteen bodies, where ever they come from.'  And that's the way in which we crafted the cable.
US House Rep Dennis Ross:  Now Ms. Lamb, you testified in an interview with this Committee that you trusted your RSOs in the field such as Mr. Nordstrom.  Now how do you square that statement with you telling Mr. Nordstrom that you would not support an extension of the SST?
Charlene Lamb:  The cable that he sent in indicated that any of the categories --
US House Rep Dennis Ross:  But before the cable was the phone conversation.
Charlene Lamb:  That's -- that's correct.
US House Rep Dennis Ross:  And you wouldn't support his request or recommendation at that time.
Charlene Lamb:  Because we had Department of State diplomatic security assets that could do the same functions of the remaining --
US House Rep Dennis Ross:  And that was explained to him as well?
Charlene Lamb:  Yes, sir.
US House Rep Dennis Ross:  Now, Lt Col Wood, I understand that you were the senior officer of the SST team.  Is that correct?
Lt Col Andrew Wood: That's correct, sir.
US House Rep Dennis Ross:  And do you have any reason to believe that if you had to go up your chain of command at AFRICOM for a request from the State Dept that they extend the tour of duty of an SST, that your chain of command would not grant that?
Lt Col Andrew Wood: Absolutely Gen [Carter F.] Ham was fully supportive of extending the SST as long as they felt they needed them.
US House Rep Dennis Ross:  So the resources were available for the SST?
Lt Col Andrew Wood:  Absolutely.
US House Rep Dennis Ross:  And had they been there, they would have made a difference, would they not?
Lt Col Andrew Wood: They made a difference every day they were there, when I was there, sir.  They were a deterrent effect.
Turning to Iraq where Alsumaria reports violence today included a Baghdad roadside bombing which injured a police officer, a Baghdad armed clash at a checkpoint which left 1 soldier dead, and there were 12 mass arrests. 
Iraq has had a wave of executions, at least 23 since Thursday with more death row prisoners just moved from Tikrit to Baghdad.  Today Human Rights Watch issued a call for a moratorium on the death penalty in Iraq:
Serious questions about whether Iraq's justice system meets international fair trial standards highlight the urgent need for a moratorium on capital punishment.
The Iraqi authorities executed six prisoners with no prior notice on October 4, 2012, eleven prisoners on October 7, and another six prisoners on October 8. According to a statement released by Justice Ministry officials on October 8, Iraq has executed 23 people convicted of "criminal and terrorist offenses" since October 4, bringing the total as of Monday's executions to 119 in 2012 and making the country a leading user of the death penalty in the region.
"The Iraqi authorities' insistence on carrying out this outrageous string of executions, while unwilling to reveal all but the barest of information, underlines the opaque and troubling nature of Iraq's justice system," said Joe Stork, deputy director of the Middle East and North Africa division at Human Rights Watch. "Rather than executing people, Iraq should focus on reforming its security and judicial systems to protect its citizens from increasing human rights violations."
Iraqi officials contend, when challenged about the death penalty, that it is rooted in cultural tradition. But the prevalence of unfair trials and torture in detention, particularly in national security and terrorism-related cases, raises serious concerns and makes the lack of transparency in Iraq's imposition of the death penalty particularly egregious, Human Rights Watch said.
The Justice Ministry provided few details about the people it executed in the first week of October. A statement released that day named only one, Abd al-Rahman Yassin Turky, saying he had been convicted for detonating a car bomb close to the Foreign Ministry in 2009. The ministry's statement said that another of those executed was one of the prisoners who escaped from Tikrit prison at the end of September, who had been "recently re-apprehended by security forces." The statement provided no further details on the identities of those executed, saying only that all had been convicted of offenses punishable under the counterterrorism law. The Ministry provided no details about the people executed on October 7, stating only that they had been convicted of terrorism after "carrying out killings and explosions against the Iraqi people." In a statement released on October 8, the ministry provided the initials of two of those executed, claiming they had been convicted of kidnapping and murder. The other four persons were convicted of terrorism charges, according to the statement, which otherwise gave no identifying information about the people executed on Monday.
"The government should disclose the identities, locations, and status of all prisoners on death row, the crimes for which they have been convicted, the evidence supporting their conviction, and details of any impending executions," Stork said.
They also need to put a moratorium in place on false boasting.  AFP reports, "Iraq insisted on Wednesday its oil output could reach up to 10 million barrels per day by 2020, far highter than a prediction from the International Energy Agency which outlined several risks."  Whether this is possible or not, it is a comedown from the previous promise by Nouri al-Maliki's Cabinet that they'd be at 17 million barrels per day in four years.  And of the IEA report, Kirsten Korosec (Smart Planet) observes:
The outlook provided by the IEA isn't all sunshine and rainbows. How this plays out will be highly dependent on the speed at which impediments to investment are removed, market conditions and Iraq's ability to maintain political stability and develop its workforce, the IEA said. It also will require substantial investment in oil infrastructure, roads and the country's decrepit electricity grid.
Iraq's electricity grid is especially problematic. Prolonged power outages occur daily in many parts of the country. The IEA estimates Iraq needs 70 percent more net power generation capacity to meet demand. The country will have to install 70 gigawatts of generation capacity and move away from a predominantly oil-fired power mix to efficient gas-fired generation, the IEA said.
This means, Iraq will have to invest a lot into the energy sector — an average of $25 billion per year through 2020 — if it hopes to meet its potential.
All that oil, all that income, and the Iraqi government wants to whine it can't pay its bills?  A. Saleh (Kuwait Times) reports that, pleading that rebuilding Iraq's infrastructure will be costly, Iraq is moving to reduce the compensation payments they owe to Kuwait. 
They just don't have the money, you understand, to pay compensation for their war on Kuwait, even though the United Nations has ordered compensation be paid.  They just don't have the money.  But Prensa Latina observes, "Russia will deliver gun-missile Pantsir-S and combat helicopters Mi-28NE air-defense systems to Iraq in arms deals worth $4.2 billion signed earlier this year, said the government today."  Defense World adds, "The contracts, among the biggest ever signed between Iraq and Russia, were signed in April, July and August by Iraq's acting defense minister, according to documents released on Tuesday during al-Maliki's visit." Ilya Arkhipov (Bloomberg News) explains, "The deals are the biggest military contacts since the 2003 U.S.-led overthrow of Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein."   M.K. Bahdrakumar (Asia Times) shared this opinion:
The stunning news will send US politicians into a tizzy. Reports say the phone kept ringing in Maliki's office in Baghdad as soon as it transpired that he was to travel to Moscow and something big could be in the works. Queries were coming in from the US State Department and the National Security Council as to what warranted such a trip at this point in time.
The point is, Maliki still remains an enigma for Washington. He is no doubt a friend of the US, but he is also possibly more than a friend of Iran. Now, it seems, he is also fond of Russia - as Saddam Hussein used to be.
At the State Dept yesterday, spokesperson Victoria Nuland appeared eager to prove she could lie about things other than Libya:

QUESTION: Yes. I wonder if you could comment on the military sale deal with – between Iraq and Russia. Because last week I asked about the – what kind of sales are in the pipeline and why they are taking so long. I'm talking about the FMF – the military sales to Iraq program, the American military sale. But it seems that they are taking a step ahead and concluding a deal with Russia.

MS. NULAND: Well, first of all, with regard to U.S.-Iraqi military support, Iraq overall has initiated some 467 foreign military sales cases with the United States. If all of these go forward, it will be worth over $12.3 billion, so obviously our own military support relationship with Iraq is very broad and very deep.
We've seen the press reporting that one of the subjects on Prime Minister Maliki's agenda for his Moscow trip is military sales, but I'll have to send you to the Russians for what it is in particular they're talking about.

QUESTION: But aren't you at least annoyed that Iraq, after so much U.S. investment in blood and treasure, is actually going to conduct a deal or sign a deal with Russia on – over military sales going back – a throwback to the Cold War era?

MS. NULAND: Again, Said, we're doing some $12.3 billion worth of military business with Iraq, so I don't think one needs to be concerned about that relationship being anything but the strongest. With regard to what they may be seeking from the Russians, I would send you to the Russians and to the Iraqis.
Keep spinning, Nuland, keep spinning.  A four billion dollar deal?  Do you know how many jobs that would mean in the US?  Do you realize how many trillions the US government has poured into Iraq (most for war, yes, but it was the illegal war that allowed them to put the chicken s**t exile Nouri al-Maliki into place as a leader)?  Do you realize how many billions the State Dept continues to spend in Iraq?  And Russia got the four billion contract?  Good for Russian workers and their economy but don't pretend that a four billion dollar contract wouldn't have resulted in a ton of jobs in the United States.  Dmitry Babich (Voice of Russia) offers, "Interestingly, Iraq's unexpectedly independent stance sheds a new light on the American occupation of Iraq and its consequences. Obviously, instead of a strong ally, free of Iranian influence and completely drawn into the orbit of American influence, Washington has got in Baghdad the exact opposite of its desires." The White House that overturned the 2010 Iraq election results to keep Nouri prime minister can't even get a moderate return on their investment. 
That includes their desire for war on Syria.  Vladimir Radyuhin (The Hindu) reports:
Amid a visit to Russia, Mr. Maliki has warned Turkey not to blow-up its differences with Syria and drag NATO into the conflict.
The veiled support for the Syrian government came soon after Baghdad revived its military ties with Moscow. Mr. Maliki, a close ally of Iran, asserted that Syria was not threatening Turkey, which should not seek NATO's intervention.
One of Iraq's leading newspapers is Al Mada.  They have retooled their online look so click here to check out the redesign.   In the US, a presidential election approaches.  Jill Stein is the Green Party presidential candidate.  Today her campaign offers an open letter from running mate Cheri Honkala:
This Thursday's vice presidential debate in Kentucky reads like bad joke: The Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) has pledged to "provide the best possible information to viewers and listeners," but continues to refuse an open and fair debate with all candidates on enough ballots to win -- guaranteeing we will not see any women, poor, or working people behind the podium.
We must change that. Until the debates are open and fair, we won't see a sincere discussion of fighting to end poverty in America. Or an honest debate of reproductive rights or equal pay for equal work (in fact, gender issues weren't mentioned even once in last week's debate).
It's no laughing matter. Contribute today to take back the debate and fight for the real issues facing our nation --
~ We need comprehensive Medicare for all. With the Green New Deal, we can replace profiteering by private health insurance companies with a just and humane health care system.

~ We can end grinding poverty with a Full Employment Program. Over 48 million people live in poverty today, but with the Green New Deal, we can create good jobs building green infrastructure, clean manufacturing, and public works programs.

~ Selling out our teachers and public workers to "balance the budget" is no solution to our money problems. With the Green New Deal, we can break up the banks "too big to fail" and end bailouts for the financial elite.
Can you pitch in $5, $25, or $50?

Our momentum continues to build and we're taking huge strides -- check out our newest effort based on what we'll win by earning 1, 3, or 5% of the vote. None of this could be possible without you.

Thank you.

 ~ Cheri Honkala