Saturday, March 22, 2014


From CounterPunch's "What We’re Listening to This Week," I'm going to again note Kevin Alexander Gray's choices:

Ann Peebles, “St. Louis Woman: Memphis Soul.” (1996, Hi Records.)
The Velvet Underground, “The Velvet Underground.” (1969, MGM Records.)
The Allman Brothers Band, “Eat a Peach.” (1972, Capricorn Records.)
Kevin Gray’s latest book, Killing Trayvon, (co-edited with JoAnn Wypijewski and Jeffrey St. Clair) will be published by CounterPunch this spring.

At Third on Sunday, we offered "This edition's playlist:"

Joss Stone LP1

1) Joss Stone's LP1.

2) Burial's Rival Dealer.

3) James Blake's Enough Thunder.

4) Kelela's Cut 4 Me.

5) Sandie Shaw's  The Sandie Shaw Supplement.

6) Elbow's The Take Off And Landing Of Everything.

7) Rosie Lowe's Right Thing.

8) Lorde's Pure Heroine.

9) Patti LaBelle's Be Yourself.

10) Robbie Williams' Swings Both Ways.

We were in a British mood (there are only two non-Brits on the list).

Joss Stone.

I like Joss.  She's got a great voice.

But I'd rather her do her own music, as she does on LP1.

I thought LP1 was a huge step forward.

Then she went and did another album of covers.

Of course, the covers sold.  LP1 really didn't.

I understand she needs a career.

But I really think she needs to start focusing on interpreting her own songs or at least give soulful takes of non-soul songs.

She doesn't always stack up when she does a cover.  For example, she can add tremendous drama to a song Diana Ross recorded -- much more so than Diana.

However, Diana's simplicity and directness comes off better when you compare the two versions.  (Diana also not really soul so I have no idea why she's covering her.)

By the way, if you haven't already, please read "Whose hands are clean in The War On Women (Ava and C.I.)."

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
Friday, March 21, 2014.  Chaos and violence continue, the assault on Anbar continues, the much maligned RT covered the anniversary of the Iraq War this week who else can make that claim?, burn pits are not being dealt with by the VA, and much more.

This week was the anniversary of the start of the illegal war.  But, in the United States, there was very little notice of that.  Why?  Thursday night, Kat posted, "The US media forgets Iraq to sell war on Ukraine and Syria."

While the American media was silent, US Labor Against the War was not:

  With heavy heart and renewed determination, the officers, staff, and affiliates of U.S. Labor Against the War mark the eleventh anniversary of the outbreak of the illegal U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq. For many Americans, the withdrawal of U.S. combat forces from Iraq at the end of 2011 marked the end of U.S. involvement with, and responsibility towards, the Iraqi people.  We disagree.
Even though our combat forces are out, the war continues to have catastrophic effects in Iraq, and for the families of tens of thousands of U.S. veterans. Millions of Iraqis grieve the loss of loved ones killed by the U.S. military, while Americans mourn the deaths of thousands of our soldiers. 
The sectarian violence wracking Iraq has its immediate origins in the ignorant and hubristic policies imposed by U.S. occupation forces. The sectarian factionalism encouraged by the U.S. occupation has paralyzed the Iraqi political process, presided over by a dysfunctional government. Depleted uranium from U.S. munitions is a continuing, widespread, and profound threat to the Iraqi environment and people, and to returning U.S. troops. Iraqi workers, 80% of whom work in the public sector – the oil industry, transportation, heavy manufacturing, hospitals, schools, ports, social services - are forbidden from organizing unions and engaging in collective bargaining because the U.S. kept in force the 1987 Saddam Hussein decree that prohibits public sector workers from organizing unions. All this and more is the legacy of a war that has not ended for Iraqis, for which the American people and our government must take responsibility.
The war, now officially over for more than two years, continues to have catastrophic effects in the U.S. as well. Our Iraq war veterans suffer loss of limbs and eyes, long-term traumatic brain injury, and post-traumatic stress disorder. They suffer from homelessness, unemployment, and suicide disproportionate to their numbers in society. The economic wellbeing of the country is threatened by the overhang of debt created by the reckless funding of the war and the distorted federal budget priorities that fund U.S. militarized foreign policy, instead of devoting those resources to urgent domestic human needs.
As we reflect on the terrible continuing effects of the Iraq war, we in U.S. Labor Against the War commit ourselves to continuing and deepening our partnerships within the labor movement and with peace, veterans, and community organizations. We will continue to work with our partners in the Iraqi labor movement and Iraqi civil society. We will not turn away from our longstanding commitments to peace and justice in Iraq, and for our veterans and the American people. We are determined to end our country’s militarized foreign policy, no matter where our government seeks to apply it, and to promote true security for our people through universal education, health care, and modern infrastructure.
These are our commitments as we mark the eleventh anniversary of the U.S. war in Iraq.

Another who wasn't silent?  Abby Martin.  She did cover the illegal war's anniversary.  She spoke with Iraq War veteran Ryan Endicott about the war on her show Breaking The Set (RT -- here for the episode at Hulu).  Excerpt.

Abby Martin:  In a speech you gave in 2009 called "Just Another Tuesday," you recount your experience as an infantryman in Iraq and that you were once punished for arresting a man instead of killing him.  Can you expand on this?

Ryan Endicott:  Well, you know, I was on post when this Iraqi came through my door in the post, I was at the Government Center in Ramadi which is the capital of the Anbar Province where Falluja is.  And when this man came into my post, at that point, I had been standing my post and somehow he had gotten through all the other security measures and gotten to my post. And so, you know, when I arrested him and put him -- detained him, my command told me at that point that it was my fault that I should have killed him.  He was in an area that is completely restricted for civilians.  No questions asked, it doesn't matter if he had a gun, that's out the door, the fact is, I should have killed him.  And you know, for me during that time period, that was really tough for me to deal with it.  I had to go through all the repercussions and treated as though what I did was wrong and, you know, how I was called a "girl" and all sorts of pejorative terms around this situation.  And so after that situation, what I think is really important is that this is just one instance of that.  And like how many soldiers across this country are coming down with orders from command telling them to commit these crimes, telling them to kill people -- who don't have weapons -- specifically because of where they are specifically because of how they've impacted this sort of post.  And so what is shows is there's a whole policy around the idea that-that soldiers can kill or can murder someone that doesn't have a weapon and that's totally explainable by the command. 

One could argue Nouri al-Maliki learned to attack the Iraqi people by watching the US actions in Iraq.  That would explain his ongoing attack on Anbar Province and his lack of remorse over the deaths of so many innocent civilians.  As Betty noted, 15 civilians died and forty more were injured on Thursday in Falluja due to Nouri's mortar attacks and bombings of residential neighborhoods.  NINA reports that Nouri's bombing of residential neighborhoods in Falluja today left 3 civilians dead and eleven more injured.

Earlier this month in Genevea, a number of people and organizations addressed the issue of Iraq before the United Nations Human Rights Council.  BRussells Tribunal has a page with the remarks on Iraq in text as well as videos of the remarks being delivered.  We'll note this statement which the Geneva International Centre for Justice offered:

Thank you Mr. President.
We thank the Special Adviser for his ongoing efforts in raising awareness on genocide and in preventing this crime. It has been said that significant progress has been made in the prevention and punishment of genocide - but recent events have shown that we still have a long road ahead of us. The current situation in Iraq is a clear example. It was described as rapidly plummeting towards genocide.
Since the US-invasion of Iraq in 2003 and the De-Ba’athification process, attacks based on discrimination and sectarianism have become major elements in the country’s politics. This tensed situation escalated at the turn of the year 2013/2014 with a military operation undertaken by the Iraqi government in the province of Al-Anbar, under the pretext of combating terrorists.
Mr. Special Adviser, an important element of the prevention of genocide is the identification of the early warning signs of this crime.
Signs have shown for long enough now that the Iraqi forces are targeting a certain religious group. The authority promotes domination over the government by those affiliated to its own religious beliefs, while treating the opposition with utmost hostility and brutality. It has become obvious that the onslaught against supposed terrorists is a cover for the annihilation of the group opposed to the increasingly discriminating policies of the current authorities in Iraq.
The acts of the government find their roots in official speeches which are filled with sectarian rhetoric. Such rhetoric clearly shows the intent to eradicate a certain group.
This raises serious concerns as the situation clearly fulfils the elements of the crime of genocide.

We would like you, Mr. Special Advisor, to consider this alarming issue in your work.
We also wonder why, inspite of these distressing events, the UN has not yet taken firm action to relieve the plight of the victims of the Iraqi government’s attacks. The UN must not wait the occurrence of a situation similar to what happened in Rwanda.
We therefore plead that the situation in Iraq be addressed immediately by the Council. In particular, we call on the Special Adviser to urgently take all adequate measures.
I thank you for your attention.

The issue does need to be addressed immediately, the people of Anbar are being terrorized.  This was supposed to be a 'brief' campaign but it started December 30th and still isn't over -- despite the fact that national elections are supposed to take place next month.

These are War Crimes that Nouri's committing but noted anti-Sunni Patrick Cockburn can't call him out on that.  He can smear Sunnis as killed -- he can does in his most recent article -- but the most he can offer to criticize his would-be lover Nouri al-Maliki is that "the government" (not Nouri, some other head of the Iraqi government that the world missed) released a fake video showing they were in control of Falluja when the footage was actually of Afghanistan.

Patrick Cockburn's desire to have his ass joined to Nouri's cock is mind blowing.  But he needs to stop pretending he's reporting.  He slams the protest movement as a front for terrorists forgetting to note that his love master Nouri killed children last April.

That would be the April 23rd massacre of a sit-in in Hawija which resulted from  Nouri's federal forces storming in.  Alsumaria noted Kirkuk's Department of Health (Hawija is in Kirkuk)  announced 50 activists have died and 110 were injured in the assault.   AFP reported the death toll eventually (as some wounded died) rose to 53 dead.   UNICEF noted that the dead included 8 children (twelve more were injured).

Even when his biased mouth managed to leave Nouri's crotch long enough to report on Hawija (long after the massacre), Lie Face Cock Burn couldn't tell his readers that the dead included 8 children.

Apparently, when you're Paddy Cock Burn, you know better than UNICEF.

Or else you just don't care when children are killed.

Paddy Cock Burn has been allowed by the British newspaper the Independent (ha!) to conduct a war against the Sunnis in print.  He's gone after them repeatedly and lied repeatedly.  When he hasn't lied, he's left out major points that would demonstrate Nouri was a criminal thug.

Here's an amazing though for the US government.

Instead of supplying the dictator Nouri with weapons, why didn't you demand that he nominate people to head the security ministries?

Security doesn't fall apart over night.

In March 2010, Nouri and his State of Law lost the parliamentary elections to Ayad Allwi and Iraqiya.  But Nouri refused to step down.

Worthless US Ambassador to Iraq Chris Hill was caught by surprise (while dreaming of being taken by surprise by Nouri) but US General Ray Odierno had been asking repeatedly that the US government figure out how they would respond if this happened?

No one but Odierno thought it was possible.

Contrasted with everyone else in the administration in 2010, Odierno looks like a genius.

Nouri refused to step down and brought the government to an eight-month stand-still (this is the political stalemate).  The US government backed Nouri up on this (so did the Iranian government) and Barack ordered US officials in Iraq to broker a contract (The Erbil Agreement) to go around the votes of the Iraqi people and the Iraqi Constitution in order that loser Nouri could get a second term.

Had the Constitution been followed, he wouldn't be prime minister right now.  But since the Constitution wasn't followed, since he got his second term via The Erbil Agreement, he didn't have to abide the Constitution which dictates someone is named prime minister-designate and then has 30 days to form a Cabinet -- not a partial one, a full Cabinet.

Nouri didn't do that.

He refused to nominate people to head the security ministries.

If he had and Parliament had confirmed someone as, for example, Minister of Defense, then only Parliament could remove them and this person would run the Ministry as he or she saw fit.

By refusing to nominate anyone to Parliament, Nouri violated the Constitution and it was a power-grab -- as Ayad Allawi noted in real time while the dumb ass Western press instead wrote that Nouri would nominate people for those positions in a few weeks.

A few weeks?

Back in July, 2012 Mohammed Tawfeeq (CNN) observed, "Shiite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has struggled to forge a lasting power-sharing agreement and has yet to fill key Cabinet positions, including the ministers of defense, interior and national security, while his backers have also shown signs of wobbling support." 

That didn't change.  He still hasn't nominated any people to head the security ministries.

As 2010 drew to an end, he was supposed to fill those posts.  He didn't.

And then we had 2011 when the violence should have been alarming but no one wanted to see the signs.  Then came 2012 and we were still Paul Revere here on the violence but no one wanted to see it.  

In 2013, the violence reached 2008 levels.  Suddenly, the press was interested.

The increase did not happen overnight.

It did happen slowly and it did happen as Nouri failed to fill those security posts.

So instead of promising him (in the November 1st White House visit) that he would get various weapons, the White House should have been insisting he fill those positions.  

Iraqi Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi wrote this week:

The decline in the security situation in Iraq has occurred as part of the general decline in different aspects of life. If a government official is to be held accountable, then it should be Al-Maliki due to his wide constitutional power. The first step towards genuine change has to be the departure of Al-Maliki to allow someone more qualified to tackle the security issue head-on. That person needs to believe in peace and be willing to make tough decisions affecting every aspect of life, including the political, economic ,social, cultural and legal.

Staying with security, let's look at today's violence.


National Iraqi News Agency reports  a Missan bombing left 1child dead and another injured,  2 Nimra Thmanya car bombings left 1 person dead and eleven more injured, an Alasewid Village roadside bombing left 2 police members dead, a car bombing targeting the "bridge connecting Jalawla and Kalar districts" left two people injured, 2 Dibbs car bombings left 2 people dead and twenty-six injured, a Ramadi suicide bomber targeted a funeral and took his own life and the lives of 7 mourners with twenty-three more people injured (the funeral was for a Sahwa killed yesterday), 2 Tuz Khurmatu bombings left sixteen people injured,  and 1 suicide tanker bomber took his own life "at the top of Hamrin Mountains" and also killed Brigadier General Raghib al-Tamimi and his assistant.  Sameer N. Yacoub and Murtada Faraj (AP) add that the death toll increased by 2 in the attack on the Ramadi funeral and that the funeral was for Nasir al-Alawani.  On the mountaintop attack that killed Ragheb al-Omari and one of his assistants,

National Iraqi News Agency also reports  1 suicide tanker bomber took his own life "at the top of Hamrin Mountains" and also killed Brigadier General Raghib al-Tamimi and his assistant,   On the mountain top attack, Sameer N. Yacoub and Murtada Faraj (AP) add that the death toll increased by 7 for a total of nine.  (AFP goes with "killing 12 people and wounding five, including the head of the federal police, Brigadier General Raghib al-Umairi, and his assistant.")  Duraid Adnan (New York Times) describes it this way, "At dawn, a suicide bomber drove a truck filled with explosives into a police station in northeastern Diyala Province, followed by gunmen who sprayed bullets from speeding S.U.V.s. Eleven police officers were killed, including the commander of the unit, officials said."  Mohammed Tawfeeq (CNN) reports the attack this way, "The deadliest attack occurred about 105 miles (170 kilometers) north of Baghdad in Anjana, where a suicide bomber drove a truck loaded with explosives into federal police headquarters, police officials in Tikrit and Baquba said. Officers were among the 14 people who were killed and 18 others wounded, the officials said."  Only Iraq Times notes this was the headquarters of the Tigris Operations Command -- they're the force that Nouri illegally formed (he needed Parliament's consent and didn't seek it out).


National Iraqi News Agency reports Diyala Province security announced they killed 12 militants,  the army states they killed 10 suspects "south of Falluja,"


National Iraqi News Agency reports the corpse of 1 Sahwa was discovered in "the orchards along Diyala River north of Muqdadiyah."  All Iraq News adds that 13 corpses were discovered in Mujamaat ("shot in the head"),

The US government had no interest in building democracy in Iraq.  That's Barack Obama as surely as it is Bully Boy Bush.  Barack spat on democracy when he refused to honor the results of the 2010 parliamentary elections.

They did and do, however, care about Iraq's oil.  Yesterday, Mike noted Kevin Gosztola's article about Brookings' Kenneth Pollack (read at either "Information Clearing House or "Firedoglake").  Kevin quotes Pollack telling Congress:

Since 2003, the United States has invested an enormous amount in Iraq, and the future of Iraq remains of great importance to the interests of the United States and our allies. Iraq has replaced Iran as the second leading oil exporter in OPEC, and projections of future low oil prices are highly contingent upon the continued growth of Iraqi oil exports. Remembering that virtually every postwar American recession was preceded by an increase in oil prices, Iraq and its oil production remain critical to the prosperity of the United States.

Kevin states of Pollack, "This was his first expressed concern: the future of oil production. He then proceeded to address the resurgence of al Qaeda and other issues in Iraq."

What to do?

We tell truth here.

Kevin's wrong.  Those weren't Pollack's first remarks.  In fairness to Kevin, that's probably what the Congressional Record reflects and that's problem that needs to be addressed.  Once upon a time, the record served a purpose.  Today, it needs to be accurate.

If Kevin consulted, the record, that's why he's wrong.  If, however, he just went to Brookings to grab Kenneth Pollack's prepared remarks (written remarks 'submitted for the record'), then I'm less likely to cut him slack.

I was at that hearing.  It was December 12th.  Pollack actually said a lot of smart things and we quoted some of it in the December 16th snapshot.  I honestly would have let him slide on the oil remarks (had he made them) because he was focusing on more important things.

But he didn't make the oil remarks.  They're in the written remarks submitted.  But he didn't read his written statement but instead spoke of al Qaeda in Iraq in his opening remarks.

He never said, in the entire hearing, what Kevin quotes him saying.

He had intended to, judging by his written remarks, but more pressing issues forced him to speak of the political issues and much more.

A long with the fact that we have to be truthful, we also have to be fair.  I've knocked Pollack and others at Brookings many times and I'm sure I will again but I was at that hearing, I know what happened, I can pull out my notes and I know Kenneth Pollack did not open with oil.  It would be unfair to him for me to pretend otherwise.

If Kevin got it from the Congressional Record, he (and everyone else) has every right to assume that is an accurate record.  However, it's not. He did not make those opening remarks, a correct record would note those remarks were submitted for the record but also note what he stated.

Also covering oil last night was Ann who noted this from Project Censored:

JUDICIAL WATCH, July 17,2003
Title: Cheney Energy Task Force Documents Feature Map of Iraqi Oilfields
Author: Judicial Watch staff

Title: “Bush-Cheney Energy Strategy:Procuring the Rest of the World’s Oil”
Author: Michael Klare

Faculty Evaluators: James Carr, Ph.D., Alexandra Von Meier, Ph.D.
Student Researcher: Cassie Cypher, Shannon Arthur

Documents turned over in the summer of 2003 by the Commerce Department as a result of the Sierra Club’s and Judicial Watch’s Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, concerning the activities of the Cheney Energy Task Force, contain a map of Iraqi oilfields, pipelines, refineries and terminals, as well as two charts detailing Iraqi oil and gas projects, and “Foreign Suitors for Iraqi Oilfield Contracts.” The documents, dated March 2001, also feature maps of Saudi Arabian and United Arab Emirates oilfields, pipelines, refineries and tanker terminals. There are supporting charts with details of the major oil and gas development projects in each country that provide information on the project’s costs, capacity, oil company and status or completion date.
Documented plans of occupation and exploitation predating September 11 confirm heightened suspicion that U.S. policy is driven by the dictates of the energy industry. According to Judicial Watch President, Tom Fitton, “These documents show the importance of the Energy Task Force and why its operations should be open to the public.”

Isobel Coles (Reuters) reports, "Kurdistan will export 100,000 barrels of oil per day through the Iraqi pipeline network from April 1 as a 'gesture of goodwill' while negotiations with Baghdad continue, a statement from the region's prime minister said on Thursday."  I have so much to say on that issue including US Vice President Joe Biden's broken promise to Iraq's President Jalal Talabani.  We don't have the time or space to unpack it now.  Maybe next week.  And maybe we can note MP Susan Saad then as well.  Ruth covered the Jewish Archives at her site Thursday night.  I hope we can cover that next week.

Today, John Glaser ( observes, "The U.S.-backed dictator Nouri al-Maliki is ruling the country with an iron fist, putting his political opponents in jail, torturing prisoners, crushing free speech, and so on. The advocates of “democracy promotion” in Iraq, somehow, don’t have to answer for the fact that the Iraqi parliament is now considering imposing new laws that would allow girls to be forced into arranged marriages from the age of nine."

And with that as a backdrop, Iraq plans to hold parliamentary elections April 30th.  Supposedly, elections will take place in all 19 provinces (the KRG increased by 1 province last week).  But Iraqi elections, to be legitimate, must include the displaced.  And they have in the past.  In fact, Nouri's attempt to short change refugees out of the country in 2009 pushed the parliamentary elections back to 2010 (Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi used his veto power to sink the bill).  Now it's been announced that Iraqi refugees in Syria will not be allowed to vote.  It is stated that Syria is just too dangerous for a polling station.  Syria, Jordan and Lebanon remain the three countries with the highest number of Iraqi refugees as a result of their sharing borders with Iraq (and as a result of governments like the US leaving them stranded -- both in terms of ridiculous regulations and, in Syria, by closing down the means the refugees had to apply for admission to the US).

The editorial board of Arab News argues voting should be postponed and they recap some of the events since the 2010 parliamentary elections including this from December 2011:

[. . ] Al-Maliki began the effective demolition of the National Unity government he headed by having an arrest warrant issued for Vice-President Tareq Al-Hashimi, a Sunni. Hashimi was accused of involvement in death squads. Helped by Kurds, he fled the country, only to be tried in his absence and found guilty.
Al-Maliki pretended at the time that the prosecution was important because no one should be able to escape punishment for past crimes. But this argument was fatally weakened by the presence in his government of Shiite politicians who were equally suspected of involvement in the inter-communal violence that had threatened to tear the country apart. Besides, however terrible the crimes committed by all parties in Iraq, the country’s future could only be ensured by reconciliation. Iraq desperately needed to put its dark past behind and look to a brighter and more prosperous future.
Unfortunately Al-Maliki hardly tried to convince skeptical Sunni politicians and voters that the prosecution of Hashimi was not motivated by the fact that the vice-president was a Sunni. That this was indeed the reality has since become even more apparent as Shia legislators have moved to exclude former and serving Sunni politicians, including former Finance Minister Rafie Al-Issawi from standing in next month’s elections. Former interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi, a Shiite, and leader of the National Iraqi Alliance, has himself warned that in the light of these moves against Sunni politicians, as well as the deteriorating security situation in the country, the vote cannot go ahead.

How did Rafea al-Isawi and others get banned?  Niqash attempts to explain it:

The Independent High Electoral Commission, or IHEC, the authority that is supposed to prepare Iraq for elections and run electoral procedures, such as voter registration and the actual voting, recently decided to ban a number of politicians from competing in the elections. These were independent Shiite Muslim MP, Sabah al-Saedi, Shiite Muslim MP, Jawad al-Shuhaili, who is aligned with the Sadrist bloc, MP Haider al-Mulla from the mostly-Sunni Muslim Iraqiya bloc, MP Rafea al-Isawi, also a Sunni Muslim from the Iraqiya bloc and one of the country’s most senior Sunni Muslim politicians as well as a former MP, Mithal al-Alousi, who made headlines in 2004 as one of the first Iraqi politicians to visit Israel and who previously headed the de-Baathification commission.

IHEC says the reason for the ban on these politicians is because they have violated the rule about good conduct. However there are clearly some problems with this clause – many local legal and constitutional experts have already said that it is too general and that it could be used in myriad ways by the unscrupulous.

Iraqi lawyer Munir Haddad, who is perhaps best known outside the country for his time as a judge, presiding over the trial of former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, told NIQASH: “Iraqi MPs should have been more careful when they voted on this article. It’s not clearly formulated enough.”

“This paragraph is very general and it can be interpreted any way a person wants,” adds judge Abdul-Raheem al- Ukaili, who formerly worked with Iraq’s Commission on Integrity. “Unfortunately IHEC has interpreted this paragraph in an arbitrary way and it has been used against politicians who are well known for opposing the government.”

Indeed it seemed to many that the “bad behaviour” these MPs had undertaken simply involved publicly criticizing Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki or his allies.

“Politicians who speak about corruption in the government are now people with bad reputations,” one of the banned MPs, al-Alousi, complained to NIQASH. “There is a deliberate plan to silence al-Maliki’s opponents and to ruin democracy in Iraq. We are going to file a lawsuit at the Supreme Federal Court to defend our rights and we hope this court won’t bow to political pressure,” he argued.

"Niqash attempts to explain it"?  There's no byline.  An Iraqi offering the above has cause to worry.

One aspect not dealt with is the so-called Independent High Electoral Commission.  No one wanted to pay attention -- even though Nouri had previously attempted to take it over -- when certain people were nixed from serving.  No one wanted to pay attention as Nouri stacked the commission.

Despite his threats and his bullying, despite the fact that it was clear his attempts to take over the independent banks had already succeeded, no one wanted to pay attention.

Hamza Mustafa (Asharq Al-Awsat) reports:

In his second media appearance since he announced his intention to quit politics, Iraqi Shi’ite leader Moqtada Al-Sadr called on the people of Iraq to participate in the forthcoming parliamentary elections to prevent “thieves” and “beneficiaries” from gaining power.
Sadr has been an increasingly fierce critic of embattled Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki, denouncing him earlier this month as a “dictator and a tyrant.” He has called for a series of anti-government protests each Monday, saying the Iraqi electorate should ignore “the negligence and disregard of some politicians” and participate in the forthcoming legislative elections, scheduled for April 30.
“If elections are held without the participation of patriotic and loyal voters, the unfit will inevitably make it to power,” Sadr said.

Moqtada al-Sadr remains Nouri's most formidable rival at present.  Kitabat notes that Moqtada delivered a sermon today decrying the elimination and exclusion of candidates and calling for the people to vote and make their voices heard.

Turning to the issue of Iraq's girls and women:

  • "Passage of Jaafari law would be disastrous & discriminatory step backward for Iraq's women& girls"

  • Last night, Trina noted Martin Chulov (Guardian) had reported on the issue  and Trina observed:

    In the article, Nouri's spokesperson insists Nouri hasn't taken a position on it.
    Yes, he has.
    By letting it come to a vote, he took a position.
    By forwarding it to Parliament, he took a position.
    It's also said that he voted for when he brought it up for a vote in the Cabinet.  And, as Middle East Confidential notes, "It was proposed by Iraq’s justice minister, Head of the Fadila bloc, which has seven seats in the parliament and is a strong ally of the prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki."
    So let's cut the nonsense.

    Ghassan Tawfiq al-Husseini (Kitabat) writes about how this proposed law is harmful for Iraq (and also states Nouri voted for it in the Cabinet vote) and would divide the country and set it back.

    It's a strong column.  There was a column I wanted to highlight.  I read it this morning on the plane.  I've got 300 Iraqi newspaper pages in my browser and can't find it and don't have time to go through everyone of them.

    It was most likely Kitabat or Iraq Times.  The writer favors the law.  The writer feels Iraq is being shamed.  I appreciate the writer's feelings, but Iraq should be shamed on this.  The writer argued that if the age of nine (or eight) for marriage was too low, it could be changed to the onset of puberty.

    Most countries and most people around the world would tell you that is still too young.

    But let's set that aside real quick to note two other things in the law.  First, stripping mothers of their rights, custodial rights.  How is that good?  How is that helpful?

    And I'm not understanding how forced sex or rape is beneficial to a husband.  It's surely not beneficial to a wife.

    Putting that into law will make Iraq a laughingstock.

    The writer was concerned about how Iraq was being seen.  The writer should be concerned.  Legalizing rape is nothing any country is moving towards today except Iraq.  Passing the bill will mean the only thing Iraq will be noted for that's not shameful will be their new Guinness World Record of least wide ally in the world (it's in Baghdad).

    In other news, the National Lawyers Guild Tweeted:

  • Victory in SF! The City of Oakland will pay $4.5M to Iraq veteran and activist Scott Olsen, who was nearly killed...

  • WeCopWatch (Indybay Media -- link is text and video) adds:

    The City of Oakland has agreed to pay Scott Olsen $4.5 million to compensate him for devastating brain injuries he suffered when an Oakland Police officer shot him in the head with a “less lethal” munition on October 25, 2011, during a demonstration in support of Occupy Oakland. The lead filled “bean bag” round, fired from a 12 gauge shotgun, shattered Mr. Olsen’s skull and permanently destroyed part of his brain. The settlement in Olsen v. City of Oakland, 3:12-cv-06333, is pending final approval by the Oakland City Council. Mr. Olsen was represented by attorneys Jim Chanin, Rachel Lederman, and Julie Houk. (Ten-minute Olsen case video below.)

    As we rush to wrap up, Patrick Murphy's MSNBC talk show (Taking The Hill) will address a number of issues this Sunday:

  • Tune in! On Sunday, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard joins 's to discuss Iraq lessons & the need for vets in Congress. 7a HST/1p EST

  • And we'll close with  this from Senator Tom Udall's office:

    WASHINGTON - In a letter to U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary Eric K. Shinseki today, U.S. Sens. Tom Udall (D-N.M.), a member of the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations subcommittee, and Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, pressed the VA for answers regarding its failure to diligently and expeditiously implement the Open Air Burn Pit Registry as mandated under Section 201 of PL 112-260, which Udall and Corker coauthored and introduced in 2011.
    "As you know from previous correspondence on this matter, the Open Air Burn Pit Registry was designed to identify and monitor veterans who had served in Iraq and Afghanistan and who were exposed to toxic pollutants released by open air burn pits," Udall and Corker wrote. "This delay is deeply concerning, particularly when similar registries exist within the United States government. The lack of urgency and communication from the VA is even more troubling. Our veterans, Congress, and the public deserve to know why the Open Air Burn Pit Registry has been delayed and when it will be completed."

    "In an effort to address this failure, we ask that you provide Congress with information on the current status of the Open Air Burn Pit Registry, an accounting of problems that have arisen during the development of the registry, detailed information on remaining benchmarks to be completed before the Open Air Burn Pit Registry will become fully operational, and any information on how Congress can help to expedite the implementation of this critical program."

    On January 10, 2013, President Barack Obama signed PL 112-260 into law. The law provided the VA one year to develop, implement, and maintain an open burn pit registry of service members and veterans who may have been exposed to toxic chemicals and fumes from open air burn pits in Iraq and Afghanistan. The registry has not yet been established.

    Full text of the letter is included below and HERE.

    Dear Secretary Shinseki,

    We write to you today regarding the failure of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to diligently and expeditiously implement the Open Air Burn Pit Registry as mandated under Section 201 of Public Law 112-260.

    As you know from previous correspondence on this matter, the Open Air Burn Pit Registry was designed to identify and monitor veterans who had served in Iraq and Afghanistan and who were exposed to toxic pollutants released by open air burn pits. When President Obama signed PL 112-260 into law on January 10, 2013, it provided the VA one year to develop, implement, and maintain this registry. While the necessity for some delay is understandable, the VA has failed to adequately explain why the delay has occurred, which steps remain to be completed before the registry is available for the use of our veterans, and provide specific information on when the registry is expected to be completed.

    This delay is deeply concerning, particularly when similar registries exist within the United States government. The lack of urgency and communication from the VA is even more troubling. Our veterans, Congress, and the public deserve to know why the Open Air Burn Pit Registry has been delayed and when it will be completed. Furthermore, the VA has failed to develop the Open Air Burn Pit Registry after multiple congressional inquiries and letters calling for its timely creation and has not provided detailed information regarding the nature of the delay to Congressional offices who have requested such information.

    In an effort to address this failure, we ask that you provide Congress with information on the current status of the Open Air Burn Pit Registry, an accounting of problems that have arisen during the development of the registry, detailed information on remaining benchmarks to be completed before the Open Air Burn Pit Registry will become fully operational, and any information on how Congress can help to expedite the implementation of this critical program. We remain concerned about VA's implementation of this program and we urge you to diligently complete the Open Air Burn Pit Registry.

    Thank you for your timely response to this matter and your continued service to our nation.


    Bob Corker
    Tom Udall

     the new york times


    Thursday, March 20, 2014

    Yusuf Islam and Hal Ashby

    Yusuf Islam.  I think I called him Cat Stevens in a recent post on male singer-songwriters I liked.

    Cat changed his name to Yusuf.  We have the album cover of Tea for Tilleman up in the bedroom, on the wall.  Because it's one of my all time favorite albums.  (I knew him in the 70s, by the way. I'm sure Rebecca's noted that somewhere on her blog and I don't want someone e-mailing, "How come you acted like you didn't know him!"  I knew him.  C.I. did and I know she still has contact with him.)

    He was Cat then and when I say or type Cat Stevens, it's out of habit and not meant as a comment on anything else.

    He changed his name to Yusuf Islam, as he had every right to do and I have no problem with that other than my memory (sometimes forgetting).  Also, Cat Stevens was his stage name.

    So anyway.

    In the snapshot, C.I. notes Yusuf (I typed "Cat" and had to go back and change it) today, specifically his song "If You Want To Sing Out, Sing Out" -- a song we both love.

    That's the version most people know.  C.I. linked to a demo version in the snapshot.

    Yusuf has a voice that's both delicate and strong -- not a different points but in the same phrasing.

    It's almost as though two people are singing at once, striking a harmony.

    Harold and Maude is the film the song's from.

    It's one of the great Hal Asbhy films. His other great films include "Second-Hand Hearts," "Being There," "Coming Home," "The Last Detail," "The Landlord" and, of course, "Shampoo."

    That Yusuf could have produced the body of music he did or Asbhy the films he did seems impossible when you look at music and film today.

    Both Yusuf and Ashby actually had something to say and share.  When's the last time new music or a new film made you feel that way?

    "Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
    Wednesday, March 19, 2014.  Chaos and violence continue, the assault on Anbar continues, the media's actions get some attention, Ed Snowden speaks at a conference, a writer feels Chelsea Manning has been abandoned, and more.

    Hugh Gusterson (Truthout) has an important piece on the lack of Iraq coverage in the US news media and how it gets covered when it does get covered it's very hollow coverage that is phoned in and always grasps at "al Qaeda" as the possible culprit and that passes for an 'explanation.'  Gusterson observes:

    In other words, this article normalizes the violence in Iraq. By disconnecting the violence from the Iraqi political process, it renders it politically unintelligible and somehow intrinsic to Iraqi society. Like hot summers, it just is. It is as if a journalist reported IRA bombing attacks without mentioning that Irish Republicans felt they were oppressed and disenfranchised by the British government and Anglo-Irish protestants. Once you take away the political logic of violence - which US journalists never did to US military forces in Iraq - then you are left with the illusion that violence is being carried out for violence's sake.

    It's a good analysis, very good, make a point to read it in full.

    News isn't wall paper.

    That's a point a friend at The Nation doesn't seem to grasp.

    I called out Greg Mitchell in yesterday's snapshot and a friend with the magazine called to gripe that Mitchell is raising attention on Iraq with his bad reposts of information from 2002.

    No, he's not.

    And you're an idiot if you think he is.

    Greg's garbage is so bad that The Nation won't print it.  They just toss it online.

    Well, here's the thing.

    There's a ton of stuff online already if anyone's looking for past history on the Iraq War -- that includes Greg's 'new' articles.

    People clicking on Greg's tired retread due to interest in Iraq?

    A small segment will feel their blood pump with lust and hatred and read through Greg's ancient history and relive their Bully Boy Bush hatred.

    A larger group will just move on.

    And not only will they move on -- because they already know this old story -- but they will also move on assuming that there's nothing new in Iraq because, surely, if there was anything that happened in Iraq in the last few years, The Nation wouldn't be boring us with tales of 2002 in 2014.

    Greg's nonsense is harmful.  It leave the false impression that there is no story in Iraq today -- that the country matters solely because of events leading up to the Iraq War.

    Considering the absence of coverage in the US on Iraq, there is no excuse for The Nation magazine to print Greg's garbage.  If he can't write about events of today or connect to the past to what's going on right now (Fatimah can and does at Carbonated TV), he doesn't need to be writing 'about' Iraq because all he does is create the false impression that time stopped in 2002.

    The violence and suffering has not stopped for the Iraqi people.  Through Tuesday, Iraq Body Count counts 585 violent deaths for the month so far.

    Violence continues today.


    Press TV notes, "In the town of Ishaqi, in the north of the capital Baghdad, four policemen were killed and four others were wounded as they were checking on a parked car that had a booby-trapped corpse inside. The body exploded after the officers opened the car door."   National Iraqi News Agency reports  3 Samarra houses were bombed today leaving 2 children dead and seven adults ("including two policemen, police officer"] injured, a Laitfiya sticky bombing left 1 person dead, an Alshura roadside bombing left 1 Iraqi soldier dead and two more injured, an Alfarisiys roadside bombing claimed 1 life and left four more people injured, an Albahbhan roadside bombing left 3 "army personnel" dead and four more injured, Baghdad Operations Command announced they killed 8 suspects, a Samarra bombing left 1 person dead and four more injured, and 2 western Baghdad bombings (Alnasr Wassalam area) left 1 person dead and five more injured,  Alsumaria notes the Wassalam (western Baghdad) bombing death toll increased by 1 to two people dead, and a Mosul grenade attack left two police members injured. In addition, All Iraq News reports:

    Security source reported to AIN ''Nine mortar shells hit the houses of the civilians in several areas of Salah-il-Din province that resulted in killing five children, two women and four men.'
    '''Seven IEDs were detonated targeting the houses of the police elements in Samarra city that resulted in killing (11) persons, among them four children and seven women,'' the source added.


    National Iraqi News Agency reports an attack on a Tarqiah Village checkpoint left 3 Sahwa dead and two civilians injured, a Muqdadiyah attack left 1 police officer and 2 of his bodyguards injured, 2 people were shot dead in Taji,  a battle in Jurf al-Sakar left 2 rebels dead, the Ministry of the Interior states that they killed 5 suspects in Jurf al-Sakhar1 Shabak was shot dead in Mosul, Baghdad Operations Command announced they killed 8 suspects,   federal police colonel Abboud dawood was shot dead leaving a Mosque in Jood Village at dawn, and, late last night, the "Imam of Sheikh Abdullah mosque [was shot dead], in front of his home south of Mosul."  Alsumaria notes  2 separate shootings east of Mosul 2 bodyguards for a judge were shot dead.

    Burned alive?

    National Iraqi News Agency reports an Joint Operations Command boasts they they burned alive 10 suspects who were in cars they set ablaze.

    Grasp that for a moment.  Wrap your mind around it.

    Pretend for a second that you're seven-years-old and one of the suspects killed -- burned alive -- was your father.

    This is the how  and the why of the creation of terrorism.

    Your father was burned alive.

    You grow up knowing that, living with that.

    You didn't just lose your father because of a drunk driver, an illness or some horrible accident, the government killed him -- and they killed him by burning him alive.

    And they announced it with gusto.

    He wasn't even provided with one of the mock trials the current government's become so famous for.

    You grow up with that and you grow up with desire for vengeance, a need to even the score.

    And because of where you stand, in relation to the US-approved Iraqi government, you are judged to be a terrorist and your actions are judged to be terrorism.

    Nouri al-Maliki's entire operation is breeding resistance and fighting.  And since it hasn't worked throughout his first term as prime minister or the bulk of his second term, he's decided to double down and thinks he can kill off resistance faster than it can grow up.

    That's not going to happen.

    AFP notes, "In Wednesday's deadliest incidents, shelling by government forces in Fallujah and clashes in and around the city killed 15 people and wounded 40, according to Ahmed Shami, the chief medic at the city's main hospital."  How many innocent people will die in Nouri's assault on Anbar before the US government slaps its forehead and exclaims, "Oh, yeah! Collective punishment, that's a defined War Crime -- by laws, including our own -- also by treaties -- ones that we've signed off on!"?

    Because the US government is now a collaborator in War Crimes.  The White House has ensured that by supplying Nouri with weapons to use against the people of Anbar.  And to dress up an old saying, amnesia of the law is no excuse.

    Since December 30, Nouri has been assaulting Anbar.  Violence hasn't gone down.  It's increased throughout Iraq.  And yet the assault continues.  Today is March 19th.  Iraq is supposed to hold parliamentary elections April 30th.  How's that going to happen with the ongoing assault on Anbar?

    January 20th, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon declared, "I have just returned from the region, including my fifth visit to Iraq. The country is again facing serious threats to its stability. I discussed my concerns with many Iraqi leaders and urged all sides to remain committed to political dialogue and uphold respect for the rule of law and human rights. I was reassured by their pledge to hold parliamentary elections as scheduled on 30 April."  But they're not.

    Already they're not.

    I don't know if it's that people don't get it or if it's that they don't care.  The illegal war in Iraq created the largest refugee crisis the region had seen in over sixty years.  Many fled to neighboring countries.  That's why, in 2010, polling stations for the elections were all over the world.  Syria has a large number -- even now -- of Iraqi refugees.  It has been decided that refugees in Syria will not be allowed to vote (see the March 3rd snapshot).  That's received very little coverage.

    Then again, it really just effects the Sunnis so maybe that's why it didn't receive any coverage?

    Will elections take place elsewhere?  It's been a question for some time.  Last fall,  Adnan Hussein (Al-Monitor) reported:

    As soon as the results of the Iraqi provincial council elections in April 2013 were announced, some within political circles and the media speculated that Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki may seek to postpone parliamentary elections scheduled for next spring to an unspecified date.
    The speculations were triggered by a significant decline in Maliki’s popularity, as seen in the provincial elections. This decline, of course, is due to the failure of Maliki's government to achieve its promises, particularly in the area of ​​security and public services.
    Initially, there were speculations that Maliki may resort to postponement to buy some time and regain his lost popularity. But later, a rumor arose of the possibility that Maliki and his coalition may conduct a coup against the democratic path of the political process.
    This possibility was raised by a Sadrist MP, thus making the coup scenario more credible. The Sadrists are the allies of the State of Law coalition within the National Iraqi Alliance, the largest partner in the current government. They know what is happening on the inside.
    In a press statement, Iraqi MP Amir al-Kanani said he feared that there will be no peaceful transfer of power if “the results of the upcoming elections turn out different than what Maliki is aiming for.” 

    Ayad Allawi's Iraqiya won the 2010 parliamentary elections but Barack Obama went around the will of the people to give Nouri al-Maliki a second term the voters didn't want him to have.  Allawi spoke about the elections yesterday.   National Iraqi News Agency reported:

    Allawi said in a speech during a meeting with youth organizations of the coalition, that there are indications that the parliamentary elections will not be held in Iraq under the current conditions in Iraq.
    He added that one of these indicators is the announcement of the Electoral Commission for elections for the presence of the sale and falsification of voter electronic cards.
    He said Allawi that the another indicator is the processes of exclusion of candidates from political activists forcibly, and expressed his confidence that Iraqi judiciary keep on the legal situation in Iraq and the government institutions needed to apply the law.

    On disqualifying candidates, Mushreq Abbas (Al Monitor) reports:

    This time the controversy was accompanied by a debate on the loose mechanisms preventing those covered by the de-Baathification measures from running in the elections, after the judicial committee, which is associated with the Independent High Electoral Commission, issued a resolute and unappealable decision against a group of current members of parliament and ministers. This group includes Rafi al-Issawi from the Mutahidoun bloc, Abdul Dhiab al-Ojailim member of the Iraqiya List, Jawad al-Shahyla and Sabah al-Saadi from the al-Ahrar movement and Mithal al-Alusi of the Civil Movement.
    The legal framework for this disqualification comes under Article 8 of the Iraqi Electoral Law, which sets forth conditions that electoral candidates must meet. This includes the condition that candidates "shall be of good conduct and shall not be convicted for a dishonorable crime." Meanwhile, the lawsuits that have been filed against the disqualified MPs have mostly been related to statements they made, or corruption charges that have not been ruled on given the legislative immunity granted to MPs.
    In form, the disqualification goes in line with the text of the aforementioned article and ensures that defendants are brought to court once immunity is removed, and that their victory in the elections will prevent them from facing the charges brought against them for four more years.
    As a matter of content, the immunity prevents MPs from being legally considered as "defendants," and therefore are innocent until proven guilty. The guilt shall only be proven in a resolute and applicable court ruling, which was stated in the same article, provided that a ruling is issued against the disqualified candidate.

    Moving to a different topic . . .

    Well if you want to sing out, sing out
    And if you want to be free, be free
    Cause there's a million things to be
    You know that there are
    -- "If You Want To Sing Out, Sing Out,"  written by Yusuf Islam, first appeared in the film Harold and Maude and most recently appeared on The Very Best of Cat Stevens.

    Turning to the topic of whistle-blowers, the US has produced many but the two most notable of recent times have been Ed Snowden and Chelsea Manning.

    Let's start with Ed because he did a brave thing and didn't play coy or be a little tease about it.

    What did he do?   Ed Snowden is an American citizen and whistle-blower who had been employed by the CIA and by the NSA before leaving government employment for the more lucrative world of contracting.  At the time he blew the whistle, he was working for Booz Allen Hamilton doing NSA work.  Glenn Greenwald (Guardian) had the first scoop (and many that followed) on Snowden's revelations that the US government was spying on American citizens, keeping the data on every phone call made in the United States (and in Europe as well) while also spying on internet use via PRISM and Tempora.  US Senator Bernie Sanders decried the fact that a "secret court order" had been used to collect information on American citizens "whether they are suspected of any wrongdoing."  Sanders went on to say, "That is not what democracy is about.  That is not what freedom is about. [. . .] While we must aggressively pursue international terrorists and all of those who would do us harm, we must do it in a way that protects the Constitution and civil liberties which make us proud to be Americans."  The immediate response of the White House, as Dan Roberts and Spencer Ackerman (Guardian) reported,  was to insist that there was nothing unusual and to get creaky and compromised Senator Dianne Feinstein to insist, in her best Third Reich voice, "People want to keep the homeland safe."  The spin included statements from Barack himself.   Anita Kumar (McClatchy Newspapers) reported, "Obama described the uproar this week over the programs as 'hype' and sought to ensure Americans that Big Brother is not watching their every move."  Josh Richman (San Jose Mercury News) quoted Barack insisting that "we have established a process and a procedure that the American people should feel comfortable about."  Apparently not feeling the gratitude, the New York Times editorial board weighed in on the White House efforts at spin, noting that "the Obama administration issued the same platitude it has offered every time President Obama has been caught overreaching in the use of his powers: Terrorists are a real menace and you should just trust us to deal with them because we have internal mechanisms (that we are not going to tell you about) to make sure we do not violate your rights."  Former US President Jimmy Carter told CNN, "I think that the secrecy that has been surrounding this invasion of privacy has been excessive, so I think that the bringing of it to the public notice has probably been, in the long term, beneficial."  Since August, he has temporary asylum status in Russia.

    Today,  Iain Thomson (UK's Register) reports Ed "appeared on stage at a TED conference in Canada via a remote-controlled robotic screen -- and was hailed as a hero by the Web's founding father Sir Tim Berners-Lee."  Ed spoke to conference about the need for "a Magna Carta for the internet" and stated there were more explosive articles to come on the US government's illegal spying.

    Turning to Chelsea Manning who was Bradley Manning until recently.  Monday April 5, 2010, WikiLeaks released  military video of a July 12, 2007 assault in Iraq. 12 people were killed in the assault including two Reuters journalists Namie Noor-Eldeen and Saeed Chmagh. Monday June 7, 2010, the US military announced that they had arrested Bradley Manning and he stood accused of being the leaker of the video. Leila Fadel (Washington Post) reported in August 2010 that Manning had been charged -- "two charges under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. The first encompasses four counts of violating Army regulations by transferring classified information to his personal computer between November and May and adding unauthorized software to a classified computer system. The second comprises eight counts of violating federal laws governing the handling of classified information." In March, 2011, David S. Cloud (Los Angeles Times) reported that the military has added 22 additional counts to the charges including one that could be seen as "aiding the enemy" which could result in the death penalty if convicted. The Article 32 hearing took place in December. At the start of this year, there was an Article 32 hearing and, February 3rd, it was announced that the government would be moving forward with a court-martial. Bradley has yet to enter a plea. The court-martial was supposed to begin before the November 2012 election but it was postponed until after the election so that Barack wouldn't have to run on a record of his actual actions. adds, "A court martial is set to be held in June at Ford Meade in Maryland, with supporters treating him as a hero, but opponents describing him as a traitor."  February 28, 2013, Bradley admitted he leaked to WikiLeaks.  And why.

    Bradley Manning:   In attempting to conduct counter-terrorism or CT and counter-insurgency COIN operations we became obsessed with capturing and killing human targets on lists and not being suspicious of and avoiding cooperation with our Host Nation partners, and ignoring the second and third order effects of accomplishing short-term goals and missions. I believe that if the general public, especially the American public, had access to the information contained within the CIDNE-I and CIDNE-A tables this could spark a domestic debate on the role of the military and our foreign policy in general as [missed word] as it related to Iraq and Afghanistan.
    I also believed the detailed analysis of the data over a long period of time by different sectors of society might cause society to reevaluate the need or even the desire to even to engage in counterterrorism and counterinsurgency operations that ignore the complex dynamics of the people living in the effected environment everyday.

    Tuesday, July 30th, Bradley was convicted of all but two counts by Colonel Denise Lind, the military judge in his court-martial.  August 21st, Bradley was given a lengthy prison sentence. Following the verdict, Manning issued a press release which included, "I am Chelsea Manning.  I am a female."

    Today, Katey Pants (PQ Monthly) argues that Chelsea has been abandoned:

    During her service, her arrest, detainment, and trial, she was talked about as Bradley Manning. Those who cared about her and those who reviled her, however, knew she was not just a gay man serving in the military—but a trans woman. This was a queer person. Simultaneously happening was the debate around and ultimately the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (DADT). Now, if you have really been living under a rock, DADT was the homophobic policy of how LGBT folks could approach disclosing their sexuality—i.e. don’t ask people about their sexuality and don’t tell people about yours.
    It was interesting, telling, and saddening to watch these two debates about the future of Chelsea and the future of queer people in the military be so compartmentalized. I remember plenty of times trying to bring it up—one conversation after another with those who don’t share my worldview—and I was told, “These are separate,” “This is different,” “This has nothing to do with Chelsea Manning, this is about our rights.”

    I have been confused about the lack of dialogue or really any sort of action from the greater LGBT community—especially groups whose voice can often be heard. The coverage of her gender identity, the clinical uses of gender identity disorder, and how her actions in relation to her being trans—all these gave the world the impression that this was not a critical person with impeccable ethics but instead an insane trans woman. Not a word came from the gays with power when highly-pixelated, dehumanizing photos of her in a wig were paraded around the internet so people could gawk at this woman who would now be portrayed a national traitor.

    Unless you're new to this site, you know I have a very low tolerance for crap.

    This claim is an outright falsehood, "Those who cared about her and those who reviled her, however, knew she was not just a gay man serving in the military -- but a trans woman."

    They knew no such thing.  Chelsea didn't even know at that point in 2010.  If she had, she would have announced it immeidately to avoid being known as Bradley Manning.  Justin Raimondo ( wrote of feeling that they were attempting to portray her sexuality -- the US media and the government (or have they melded enough that we can refer to them as US mediament?) -- in a way to make her seem strange and weird.  Chelsea didn't speak to the public, didn't issue any statements to the public.

    So stop lying.  You cheapen your entire argument with that lie.

    After the verdict last year, Chelsea immediately issued a statement briefly (very briefly) acknowlding the support she had received and then announncing that she was now a woman and would be called Chelsea Manning.

    The only time she bothered to issue a staement -- and this long way towards explaining one reason she has so little support today -- slamming Ann Wright because Ann called her a peace activist and Chelsea wants the world to know she's just not that in fact, she coyly offered, maybe she's even pro-war.

    At this late date, she can't say whether she supported the illegal war or not?

    Maybe that's why people aren't rushing to 'support' her.

    More to the point, she was sentenced (and renounced her own actions -- the actions  so many of us applauded).  She's not been abandoned.  Robin Long and Ivan Brobeck, to name but two, can argue they were abandoned.  They spoke out and told the truth about Iraq, they refused to serve in the illegal war.  Long was forced out of Canada in what can only be called extraordinary rendition and was then pretty much forgotten by the media (by pretty much everyone except for Courage To Resist).


    Poor Ivan.  We coined the term "The Full Brobeck" for the way the media disappeared war resisters and no one was disappeared more than Ivan who returned to the US and turned himself in on the day of the 2006 US mid-term elections and who even released a public letter to Bully Boy Bush:

    I left for Iraq in March of 2004. It wasn't until I got there that I found out what was really happening. I didn't need the news or to hear speeches to tell me that what was happening there was wrong. It was all as clear as day. The city I went to was called Mahmudiyah, and had around 200,000 people. There was just a constant disrespect for the people, like pointing guns at the people just to get them to stop. There was also harsh treatment of detainees.
    I remember one night I had come back to base after a nighttime raid, and was clearing my rifle in a clearing barrel. I turned around, and out of the corner of my eye I saw something get thrown out of the back of a truck called a 7 ton (the bed of the truck is about 6 to 7ft high). It looked like a person, but I thought I was mistaken, that since it was dark outside my eyes were probably playing tricks on me.
    When a lot of Marines started gathering around and quietly talking I went to see what they were looking at. It was an Iraqi detainee with his hands behind his back and a sandbag over is head. The detainee's body was convulsing and his breathing sounded like he was snoring. When the sand bag was taken off his head and a light was shined in his face I could see that his eyes were swollen shut and his nose was clogged with blood.

    Despite that, he was ignored by the press.  And they were disappeared, Robin and Ivan, the minute they were put behind bars.  So was Kim Rivera.  And she gave birth behind bars. This month, Bob Meola and Michael McKee (Courage to Resist) reported on Kim who is finally free:

    After returning to the United States after five years in Canadian exile with her family (husband Mario and four children), Kimberly, then pregnant with their fifth, was arrested and sentenced to 10 months in brig. Despite public pressure for leniency and Amnesty International recognizing her as a prisoner of conscience, Kimberly was denied even a meager 45-day early release to give birth and bond with her new son outside of prison.
    Forced to give birth in military custody under a chain of command seemingly unable or unwilling to coordinate procedures, Kimberly and her family were subjected to various indignities, ranging from subtle frustrations and discomfort to poor treatment putting both mother and child at risk. As a final insult, Mario was prevented from witnessing his son’s actual birth, while Kimberly was separated from her newborn shortly after giving birth.

    “I could have been in worse prison facilities, but they didn’t follow their own rules at the Miramar brig,” says Kimberly. “There was no way I could follow everyone’s different and conflicting rules. There was always drama in that regard.”

    You should use the link.  It's an important story.


    Just not very important anymore.

    She's been sentenced.  After being found guilty, she renounced her actions.  If you want mercy from a military court you seek it minutes before they impose a sentence (but, hey, she had an idiot for an attorney).

    I'm unclear on what we're supposed to be doing for Chelsea now.  If she admits that she was wrong to do what she did, I've got others to focus on.  So do most people.

    Ann Wright tried to keep Chelsea in the news and her thank you for that -- the entire 'thank you' to the peace movement -- was a bitchy little letter from Chelsea insisting she did not want to be called anti-war and she just might be pro-war.

    Look, I can understand her difficulty in admitting she was a woman trapped in a man's body.

    But being anti-war doesn't carry a lot of social stigmas.  Even the Pope (every one of them) tries to cultivate the image of being a person of peace.

    So Chelsea's 'struggle' with where she stands on war, I don't have the damn time and I'm not in the mood for her drama.  Go live your soap opera in something other than press releases.

    Now if there's news around Chelsea, we'll note it.  But in terms of people walking away from her?  I believe her rudeness and her lack of gratitude to people who spent years defending her goes a long, long way towards explaining why Ms. Chelsea Manning lacks the support which Private Bradley Manning had.

    I don't even understand how we now advoate on Chelsea behalf?  Does a letter to Barack go something like this now:

    Dear President Barack Obama,

    Chelsea Manning was a person who served in Iraq and leaked cables to WikiLeaks.  Last year, she was convicted.  Right before being sentenced, she told the court she was wrong to have released the documents to WikiLeaks.

    So, Mr. President, since she's admitted she was wrong -- since she's agreeing she should have been convicted -- isn't that enough?  Can't you pardon since she admits she's guilty.  I think she even said she was sorry, Mr. President, so isn't that enough?

    Best to Michelle and hope she has a blast in China.

    Your number one fan, 

    Chelsea's a damn idiot who disrespected the people who defended her.  Having declared her own actions to be wrong, Manning isn't someone most of us have time to waste on.

    As one point Katey Pants insists:

    Most importantly, Chelsea Manning is ignored because she is a trans woman and in the framework of good gays versus bad queers, trans women are often cast as the undesirable, the embarrassing, and the unwanted. And by ignoring her, mainstream LGBT groups have created an effective political strategy that is inseparable from nationalism and hetero-normativity.

    There's an argument that Pants' remarks are only with regards to the LGBTQ community (she's publishing it in a magazine for the gay community).  If so, her argument's also very, very tired and one most people were making (and we made it here) when Chelsea was stripped of  a title for a San Francisco pride parade.  That was June.  Let it go.  There are greater injustices in the world.

    Yes, we protested it in real time (and I gave money to a group of people attempting to combat the decision).  And if it happens next week to someone else, we'll object again.  But in the scheme of things for Chelsea Manning, who is behind bars for 35 years (8 if she gets parole), not having the parade title (she was never going to represent in person, it was just a token honor) is really the least of her problems today.

    She has an idiot attorney and she's a public relations disaster.  She's done more harm to herself than anyone and that started with her refusal, for nearly three years, to issue statements.  She couldn't even say she did it while she and her attorney expected the public to defend her.  Then, after three years of defending her, she thanks to the public by renouncing her actions?  Then she gets pissy in a press release over the fact that Ann Wright called her a peace activist?  And she states she may be pro-war?

    I really don't know who is supposed to be her supporters at this point?

    Transgendered War Hawks serving time in prison on felony convictions?

    She's not abandoned, she pushed people away.  That's on her.  Tom Selleck had a thriving career and talent and then he seemed distance himself from a certain segment of his fans(gay ones) and he found out how quickly the public could turn.  He had to start over, he had to make it very publicly clear that he didn't consider being gay something hideous.  He was able to rebuild and has a successful TV show today. By contrast, a TV 'teen' actor didn't like being known for playing a gay character.  And his promising career slipped away.  He was able to get some right-wing work (NCIS being one of the most right-wing shows -- in front and behind the camera), guest work, but his career's over.  Myself, were a man with so-so looks and receding hairline trying to continue work beyond playing 'teens'?  I would have been grateful for every fan in the world and not making it known how distasteful I found it that some people thought I was gay (or hoped it) because of the character I played.

    Whenever anyone approaches me for an autograph or a photo, I sign or pose and do so gladly.  I have never taken an attitude or been insulted because I wouldn't have had a career if people didn't like my work. You can't reject people and then wonder why they don't support you.  And in terms of the gay community, I can't speak on behalf of them but I can offer based on what I just wrote, that it was a little insulting that Bradley couldn't say he was gay or that he was trans.  Why are they supposed to rush to defend him?  For all they knew, he was straight.  And then, only after he's convicted, does he acknowledge his sexual identity? As a general rule of thumb, GLAAD and other organizations don't make a point to rush to defend those public personalities who are in the closet.  If Bradley didn't get support from LGBTQ organizations it might be because, while he was Bradley Manning, she remained closeted.