Thursday, January 15, 2015

Don't ever take advice from Edwin Lyngar

What will we do with the fanatics?

Edwin Lyngar has a piece of filth up at Salon where he argues that the left needs to lie and pull dirty tricks.

That's exactly what's destroyed the left.

Big surprise, Lyngar is recent left.

He's another one of those fixated conservatives -- like David Brock -- who claim to have seen the light but if they really had they wouldn't be preaching that the left needs to do dirty tricks.

These people are welcome to come over to the left but we should never put them in charge of anything or take advice from them.

They failed on the right for a reason.

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
Wednesday, January 14, 2015.  Chaos and violence continue, support for the US bombings of Iraq begin to fade within the Iraqi government, both the Iraqi government and the US government attempt to harvest the corpses of children for their own propaganda purposes, and much more.

Monday in Berkeley, there was a protest which included a chant, "Yemini lives matter, Afghan lives matter, Iraqi lives matter, Pakistan lives matter!"

We're noting the protest mainly because Tuesday's Flashpoints (KPFA) featured a report on the protest that Dennis Bernstein and others with Flashpoint did.  The protest was at UC Berkeley School of Law.

Stephanie Tang: The Bush regime opened this torture chamber at Guantanamo not just to imprison captives after 9/11 as it expanded it's military adventures into the Middle East.  The Bush regime opened Guantanamo  to send a message to the world that the US could operate with impunity, outside the norms of international law.  Obama made his first promise upon taking office that he would close this immoral hellhole of a prison. He's had 6 years to close it.  He has had 6 years to punish those who ordered the torture and forever repudiate indefinite detention and secret renditions as American policy.  But Obama has done none of this.  We are here from the World Cant Wait, the National Lawyers Guild, CodePink and other people who care about justice, who stand up for justice and we demand the closure of Guantanamo immediately We demand the accountability that can only mean prosecuting the war criminals from George Bush and Dick Cheney on down.  This is the only way that torture will not become a permanent part of the arsenal of the US power spreading around the world.  Torture is a war crime it is never acceptable or legal under any circumstances. This is clear in international law and US law.  The third reason we're here today is particular to the University of California and it's law school  at Boalt Hall.  There is a War Criminal on the faculty here. John Yoo is a tenured professor. He wrote the memos that enabled the Bush-Cheney regime to establish their formal official torture program. John Yoo continues to publicly promote that program, defined it and, therefore, he is still doing harm.

The report also featured an alumni informing the dean's office, "I came here in 1959 because there was a wonderful man on the faculty named Frank Newman, a great supporter of human rights became dean and became a justice and he would never permit someone like John Yoo to speak in front of his class -- let alone become a professor.  And I think that it's important  to understand that the reputation of this law school is based on people like Frank Newman and that the reputation, if it's going to be based on people like John Yoo people aren't going to come here."

Moving to Iraq,  Ben Ariel (Israel National News) reports that Iraq has donated $28 million to the Arab League for the Palestinians.  In response, the following Tweet was posted:

  • And this Tweet as well:

  • What are they Tweeting about?

    16 children have died in Iraq from exposure to the cold.  Al-Shorfa reports that they died in central and northern Iraq according to Iraq's human rights commission member Masroor Aswad who couldn't wait to harness a tragedy by claiming all the dead children were homeless as a result of the Islamic State.  A claim, of course, that he can't back up nor can the press truly investigate.

    Of course, that reality didn't stop the US State Dept from presenting a claim as fact and spreading it.

    Meanwhile, USAID wants to trumpet, "USG agencies have supported the Iraq humanitarian response with nearly $218.4 million in FY 2014 and FY 2015 funding. This includes nearly $10.2 million in FY 2015 assistance from USAID/OFDA for programs providing life-saving assistance to vulnerable Iraqis."

    16 children are dead and for the governments of Iraq and the United States, this is 'wonderful' because they can use it to attack the Islamic State.

    So eager are they to use these deaths, they fail to factor in how it looks to the rest of the world.

    As the Tweets note, Iraq's got plenty of millions to give . . . to those outside of Iraq.  While Iraqi children freeze to death, Haider al-Abadi cuts a charity check for $28 million.

    And the US?

    $218.4 million in humanitarian aid . . . spread out over the last fiscal year and the current one.  So that's roughly $109 million a year.

    But Pierre Bienaime (Business Insider) notes, "According to Defense News, the US donated $300 million in military equipment to Iraq in 2014, and will deliver 6 M1 Abrams tanks and 50 humvees to the Baghdad government at no cost."  And that's just one aspect of the millions and millions of military aid the US government provided Iraq with.  But only $109 million to help the refugees.
    The US government funds violence full out but when it comes to humanitarian causes they play cheap and the world sees it.

    Despite this, they have the gall to attempt to use the deaths of 16 children -- deaths that could have been prevented had the US government or the Iraqi government not been so cheap and shown so little value?

    They don't only fail to win the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people, they spark a global outrage as they make clear how little value they place on human lives.

    Meanwhile, the two greedy factions turn on each other as the 'plan' of US President Barack Obama -- bomb from the air and bomb some more -- produces little-to-no results.

    Ahmed Rasheed and Ned Parker (Reuters) report that Barack's envoy John Allen, retired US general, heard complaints yesterday and today from figures including Iraq's Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and Speaker of Parliament Salim al-Jubouri.   The latter is a Sunni and his comments that the US government is not doing enough militarily can be seen as going to the refusal to arm Sunni tribes in the fight against the Islamic State.

    Alsumaria reports that US Gen John Allen declared today that the US government would not be arming Sunni tribe leaders.  It is up to the Ministry of Defense, Allen insisted, to arm the Sunnis.

    Again, this is not a minor issue for al-Jabouri.  He raised it last month with US Senator John McCain.  From the December 27th snapshot:

    As we noted Friday morning, US Senator John McCain was in Iraq and scheduled to meet with Speaker of Parliament Salim al-Jubouri.  Anadolu Agency reports they did meet and that Jubouri asked for the US to arm :100,000 Sunni tribesmen living in four regions that are controlled by the ISIL."

    From McCain's Twitter feed:

    Again, though the request the Speaker made to McCain is not being factored into the coverage today of the criticism, the reality is this request is the spine of the criticism being made by al-Jabouri.

    As for Iraq's Prime Minister?

    He's been making complaints publicly prior to meeting with Allen on Tuesday.  As AFP reported at the start of the week, the Prime Minister slammed the coalition the US government has put together declaring it was taking too long to provide "military support" to the Iraq military.

    Rasheed and Parker note today, "A statement from Abadi's office after the talks said US-led alliance should 'increase the tempo of the effective air strikes on Islamic State positions', and also called for the training program for Iraqi security forces to be expanded."

    After the meeting, Haider tried to put a smiley face on it with the following Tweet:

    Productive meeting w/ Gen Allen and . Agreed to expand Coalition airstrikes and training & arming of ISF 

    Adding to these problems, the White House has lost a powerful ally in Iraq.  Press TV reports:

    The head of the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq has dismissed the US-led coalition’s sincerity in its fight against the ISIL terrorists, saying Iraqis can defend their country on their own.
    “People of Iraq have the ability to liberate their homeland from the terrorists of ISIL and there is no need of foreign interference and international or American forces,” said Ammar al-Hakim.

    Ammar al-Hakim is someone factions in the US government have long supported to be Prime Minister.  He has charmed many US officials visiting Iraq as well as many foreign correspondents. He's managed, within the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq, to fill the shoes of his late father.  He's emerged as a very powerful Shi'ite leader. And now he's saying the US military is no use to Iraq.

    This rejection comes on the heels of Moqtada al-Sadr making similar remarks.  While movement leader and cleric Moqtada was never an ally of the White House, Haider al-Abadi is or was.  And Moqtada has called for the US military to butt out of Iraq.
    So one faction of Shi'ites, represented by Haider, complain that the US government isn't doing enough, another faction, represented by Ammar, claim that the US military is not needed and still another faction, represented by Moqtada, call for the US military to get out of Iraq.
    Meanwhile a Sunni segment, represented by Salim, complain about the US government's failure to arm Sunni tribal leaders.  
    And the Kurds?  
    Always taken for granted by the US government which has spent decades manipulating them.  Now the Kurds, tired of waiting for White House support, looks to Germany for arms (the way Sunnis are looking to Jordan).  
    It would appear all the time Barack has wasted 'building' a 'coalition' to drop bombs on Iraq should have been spent on diplomacy because the support he thought he had within the Iraqi government?  The support he needs to continue bombing Iraq?  It appears to be fading.

    And, again, Alsumaria reports that US Gen John Allen declared today that the US government would not be arming Sunni tribe leaders.  It is up to the Ministry of Defense, Allen insisted, to arm the Sunnis.

    That decision not to arm is a decision to choose sides in a battle while supposedly insisting that Iraq's government focus on being inclusive.

    The White House continues to choose sides -- as it did throughout Nouri's second term.

    The decisions they made then allowed Nouri to brutalize the Iraqi people and created the current problem.
    Saudi Prince Turki al-Faisal (Asharq Al-Awsat) reminds everyone of the roots of the Islamic State in Iraq:

     The group started recruiting disgruntled former soldiers from Saddam Hussein’s disbanded army and played on the grievances of the Iraqi Sunni population, which was angered by Maliki’s sectarian policies and his giving free rein to armed Shi’ite militias to persecute Sunnis. This eventually led to popular uprisings in some of the country’s Sunni-dominated areas, where the people called for Maliki’s resignation and their full civil rights as Iraqi citizens. Maliki duly responded by violently quashing the uprisings, which led to thousands of Iraqis from Sunni tribes either being killed or driven from their homes, especially in the western Anbar province, which forms the main entry point into Syria. And here comes the next twist in the story: due to the lack of any international pressure on Maliki, this new group, now calling itself the Islamic State of Iraq, gained a safe haven in Anbar province, whose residents had fought its precursor, Al-Qaeda in Iraq, so fiercely. The organization then began to form sleeper cells in Sunni-dominated areas, especially in Mosul, and to recruit former members of Saddam Hussein’s army and fighters from the Naqshbandi Army, whose senior members include former Saddam aide Izzat Al-Douri. 

    There was no international pressure on Nouri -- certainly not from the White House.

    And today the White House pursues the same strategy of blindly backing Haider despite the fact that Shi'ite militias, under Haider, target, hunt and kill Sunnis.  No pressure from the White House over that, no concerns.  Nothing.

    It's hard to see how doing the exact same thing -- but with a new puppet named Haider al-Abadi -- will help Iraq or stop the violence.

    Yesterday, Hamza Mustafa (Asharq Al-Awsat) reported:

    Iraqi President Fuad Masoum and Parliament Speaker Salim Al-Jabouri met on Tuesday in Baghdad to discuss a comprehensive national unity and reconciliation plan to bring together Iraq’s disparate ethnic and confessional communities.
    Presidential spokesman Khaled Shuwani told Asharq Al-Awsat both men had agreed during their meeting that “it was time to transform the issue of national unity from being one of slogans to a full-fledged national project taking into account social, political, economic, and security factors, in order to promote peaceful coexistence between Iraq’s various factions.” 

    Mustafa noted that Iraqi Vice President Ayad Allawi was also working on a unity plan.  Masoum is a Kurd, Salim, we've already noted is Sunni.  Allawi is a Shi'ite but he represented a hope for an inclusive Iraq as head of the non-sectarian political slate Iraqiya.

    But Allawi appears to be the only Shi'ite working on this.  And the conspicuous absence of Haider al-Abadi in this conversation is rather telling.

    Margaret Griffis ( notes 129 deaths from violence across Iraq today.

    Wednesday, January 14, 2015

    Which deaths matter?

    Chris Floyd notes that some dead are more valuable to the press than others:

    In other words, the unilateral, illegal bombing campaign of the Peace Prize Laureate killed dozens of victims of Islamic extremism. But unlike the Charlie Hebdo case, there is no worldwide mourning for these nobodies, these brown nobodies from the back of beyond. Islamic State denied their "free speech" by imprisoning them; then Barack Obama ended it entirely, by killing them. An excellent example of bipartisanship in action, where both sides find common ground and work together! Then again, we see a lot of that in the Terror War.

    It's amazing how, even now, so many refuse to call Barack out.

    "Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
    Tuesday, January 13, 2015.  Chaos and violence continue, fear motivates many, Sunnis continue to be targeted, an Iraqi priest bucks the Pope, and much more.

    Today, Chris Hayes (MSNBC's All In with Chris Hayes) noted, "France's lower house of Parliament voted 488 to one to extend French airstrikes against ISIS in Iraq.  488 to one.  I recognize those kinds of margins -- the sort of margin the PATRIOT Act passed by and the authorization for the use of military force to invade Afghanistan."

    Chris Hayes was grouping fear based decisions (and argued in the program that the answer needed now is not more violence but more thought and examination).  Of the fear, Al Jazeera America notes:

    The vote came one week after the most deadly attacks on civilians in France in decades. On Jan. 8, Ahmed Coulibaly, a man claiming allegiance to ISIL, killed a policewoman and then took several hostages at a kosher grocery store near Paris. Coulibaly and four hostages were killed during a raid by police. That attack was linked to one conducted on Jan. 7 by Said and Cherif Kouachi, two brothers whom Coulibaly had known for years, who killed 12 people at a newspaper office and claimed that they were affiliated with Al-Qaeda's affiliate in Yemen.

    Chris Hayes is far from the only one calling out blind fear.  At Brookings, Daniel L. Byman and Jeremy Shapiro also try to slow the race to fear:

    Despite these fears and the real danger that motivates them, the Syrian and Iraqi foreign fighter threat can easily be exaggerated. Previous cases and information emerging from Syria suggest several mitigating effects that may reduce—but hardly eliminate—the potential terrorist threat from foreign fighters who have gone to Syria. Those mitigating factors include:
    • Many die, blowing themselves up in suicide attacks or perishing quickly in firefights with opposing forces.
    • Many never return home, but continue fighting in the conflict zone or at the next battle for jihad.
    • Many of the foreign fighters quickly become disillusioned, and a number even return to their home country without engaging in further violence.
    • Others are arrested or disrupted by intelligence services. Indeed, becoming a foreign fighter—particularly with today’s heavy use of social media—makes a terrorist far more likely to come to the attention of security services.

    The danger posed by returning foreign fighters is real, but American and European security services have tools that they can successfully deploy to mitigate the threat. These tools will have to be adapted to the new context in Syria and Iraq, but they will remain useful and effective.

    If people were a little more level headed, maybe they'd question US President Barack Obama's so-called 'plan' for Iraq?

    Al Arabiya News notes US Senator John McCain told CNN that the US needed to provide Iraq with "more boots on the ground" and "I mean intelligence. I mean forward air controllers. I mean trainers. I mean more air assets. I mean across the board an increase."

    Well that's a thought.  There should be others.

    Like, before any other moves are made, how about looking at what's happening?

    Barack said back in June that the crises in Iraq required a political solution.

    But the White House has done damn little to encourage any political solutions.

    They have allowed Iraq to grow ever closer to Iran.  What does that mean?

    Scott Peterson (Christian Science Monitor) explains one meaning:

    The Iranian strategy has resurrected Iraq's Shiite militias and deployed them effectively against IS on some front lines, those same militia contributed to tens of thousands of deaths at the peak of Iraq’s sectarian battles from 2006-2008.
    Officials of Iraq’s Sunni minority say human rights abuses by the Shiite militias are as rampant now as they were 5 years ago. And they grate at the number of banners strung up with Iranian revolutionary slogans – against Israel, for example, or to support religious pilgrims – along with images of Iran’s previous and current supreme leaders, Ayatollahs Ruhollah Khomeini and Ali Khamenei.

    This picks up on the report Amnesty International issued in November:

    Shi’a militias, supported and armed by the government of Iraq, have abducted and killed scores of Sunni civilians in recent months and enjoy total impunity for these war crimes, said Amnesty International in a new briefing published today.
    Absolute Impunity: Militia Rule in Iraq provides harrowing details of sectarian attacks carried out by increasingly powerful Shi’a militias in Baghdad, Samarra and Kirkuk, apparently in revenge for attacks by the armed group that calls itself the Islamic State (IS). Scores of unidentified bodies have been discovered across the country handcuffed and with gunshot wounds to the head, indicating a pattern of deliberate execution-style killings.
    “By granting its blessing to militias who routinely commit such abhorrent abuses, the Iraqi government is sanctioning war crimes and fuelling a dangerous cycle of sectarian violence that is tearing the country apart. Iraqi government support for militia rule must end now,” said Donatella Rovera, Amnesty International’s Senior Crisis Response Adviser.
    The fate of many of those abducted by Shi'a militias weeks and months ago remains unknown. Some captives were killed even after their families had paid ransoms of $80,000 and more to secure their release. 

    That same month, Human Rights Watch's Tirana Hassan reported on the Shi'ite militias for Foreign Policy:

    The Khorasani Brigade is a relatively recent addition to the network of Shiite militias in Iraq -- and despite a similar sounding name, has no connection to the Khorasan Group, the alleged al Qaeda-affiliated organization that was the target of U.S. airstrikes in Syria in September. The Khorasani Brigade is just one of dozens of similar militias that are essentially running their own show in parts of the country. These Shiite militias are supplied with weapons and equipment from the central government in Baghdad, which is now being assisted by a U.S.-led military alliance in its fight against the Islamic State.
    These militias' actions will only exacerbate Iraq's existing sectarian tensions. The country is no stranger to sectarian violence: Its Shiite population suffered for decades under the oppressive rule of Saddam Hussein, and after the U.S.-led invasion in 2003 the country spiraled into a cycle of revenge violence, culminating in a bloody civil war in 2006 and 2007. Many accused the largely autocratic rule of former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki of fueling sectarian flames.
    While the Iraqi central government has virtually no formal authority over the militias, who act as a law unto themselves, some key politicians in Baghdad have strong alliances to individual militias. In October, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi appointed Mohammed Salem al-Ghabban -- a prominent member of the Badr Organization, a Shiite political group that controls one of the largest and most infamous militias -- as interior minister. 

    Despite being almost completely unaccountable to any official ministry, the Shiite militias have been tasked by the government with a key role in the war against the Islamic State. Yet what we saw in Yengija laid bare the costs of relying on these groups. Beyond the main road, an entire neighborhood of two-story homes was razed and flattened, with concrete slab roofs heaped atop piles of rubble. Personal belongings, children's toys, and furniture peeked out from under the debris, a poignant reminder of the Sunni Arab families who, until recently, had lived there. All these families had fled in August when the militia started battling the Islamic State fighters in the surrounding area.

    So Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the Christian Science Monitor know the current government run by new prime minister Haider al-Abadi is allowing Shi'ites to target and kill Sunnis but the White House doesn't?

    The White House is just completely unaware of what's going on?

    There are people being injured and being killed, targeted, and the White House just keeps backing Haider al-Abadi and looking the other way.

    Seems to me Barack did that before, didn't he?

    Oh, yeah, with Nouri al-Maliki.

    He looked the other way repeatedly.

    How'd that work out again?

    It took Iraq to the precipice.

    Where's the political solution?

    It won't be found among the Sunni politicians being targeted by the 'new' government of Iraq.

    BRussells Tribunal notes the following:

    Mr Al-Zaidi was arrested by Iraqi security forces at 18.00 hrs., on Friday January 9th in Al-Shatrah city in southern Iraq. Uday Al-Zaidi is internationally renowned for his courageous and outspoken advocacy against the sectarian cleansing in Iraq which began with the onset of the “divide and rule” policy of the US-UK invasion, continued under the occupation, their Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki and now under his replacement of August 2014, Haider Al-Abadi.
    The urgency and gravity of the situation cannot be over-stressed, especially as it has been learned that the Iraqi authorities refuse to disclose Mr Al-Zaidi’s whereabouts thus, in contravention of all international legal norms, he is denied access to legal representation.
    In an interview with Al Jazeera (15th December 2014) he described graphically, at length, the reality of the humanitarian catastrophe resulting from the government’s brutal systematic sectarian edicts.
    Afterwards he said that he was “expecting” anything as a result. Warned to take extreme care in his movements, he determined to attend the funeral of a friend and was arrested.
    His witness to Iraq’s ongoing tragedy has been tireless and international. On 19 March 2013 he received the BRussells Resistance Award.
    In May 2011, invited by the Madrid-based Spanish Campaign Against the Occupation and for the Sovereignty of Iraq, talking at venues in a number of cities he showed visuals, the reality of:  “…  killing of children, raping of women and men, secret prisons, daily humiliations”, of families assassinated by U.S bombs over eight grinding years. “An image is worth a thousand words. These images show what the occupation has done for us”, he said.
    “Since 2003, there have been a million deaths and four million orphans …  Iraq is a wealthy country. But its people, us, have to dig in the garbage to try and survive.”
    He also called for an end to the corruption under Prime Minister al-Maliki – and returned to Iraq.

    In January that year in Iraq he addressed the dishonour of the Iraqi people manifested by a government: “ … representing their groups, militias and parties, and their masters abroad.” He talked of the “defilements” of Iraq in ever deepening crisis” and “tyranny.”
    Nouri Al-Maliki is now Vice President of Iraq.
     Sabah Al-Mukhtar, President of the Arab Lawyers Association and Vice President of the Geneva International Centre for Justice states starkly of Mr Al-Zaidi’s detention:
    “This is a very serious matter. They will slaughter him.”
    Representation to the Iraqi government at the highest level is incumbent on all those to whom humanity and human rights is utmost priority. No time can be wasted. Rivers of blood have bled, literally, from Iraqi feet and bodies, from Abu Ghraib to the innumerable secret prisons. Delay will near certainly be death.

    It is also incumbent upon the UN and all other relevant international organizations that pressure be brought on the Iraqi Authorities for Mr Al-Zaidi’s immediate release. Prime Minister Al-Abadi’s personal responsibility for Mr Al-Zaidi’s safety is paramount. His release could be a turning point for Iraq.  Any other outcome a further slide into the abyss, with human rights and international law counting for even less than their woeful international post-invasion standing.


    Dirk Adriaensens
    Member BRussells Tribunal Executive Committee

    No one asks the White House about these types of issue.

    It's just not done.

    And it wasn't done in Nouri's second term.

    Which goes a long way towards explaining why Barack thought he could get away with backing Nouri for so long.

    There's no effort to build a political solution in Iraq.

    Did Barack get distracted?

    Or did he never really give a damn about Iraq becoming a cohesive and unified country?

    Today, the outgoing US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel spoke to troops at Whiteman Air Force Base:

    Q: Good morning, sir. My name's Sergeant Hooper. I'm with the 495th Fighter Group.

    SEC. HAGEL: Where are you from?

    Q: I'm originally from Pleasant Hill, Missouri.
    My question today has to do with the campaign, the continued fight against ISIL. Do you foresee the campaign going from an air campaign to possibly putting more boots on the ground?

    SEC. HAGEL: Thank you. It's a good question.
    I start in answering your question this way. What's going on in Iraq, in Syria, but if you take the larger sweep of the Middle East and North Africa, it's complicated for many reasons.

      The people in those areas, let's take Iraq, because that is a functioning government. They are going to have to sort this out. We can help them. We are helping them. We will help them. We've got a coalition of over sixty countries that are fighting ISIL and helping those governments and those countries and those people fight ISIL. Our physical presence in Iraq, as you all know, is very limited: to training, to equipping, to assisting.

    No, I'm sorry, it's not limited "to training, to equipping, to assisting."

    Among other things, the presence also backs and provides cover for another prime minister who is overseeing the slaughter Sunnis.

    Meanwhile, Margaret Griffis ( reports 105 dead across Iraq from violence and 61 more injured.

    Turning to the topic of Christian refugees (a number of whom are also Sunnis), a benefit concert will take place at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Paris in Tempe, Arizona:

    "I Am Here" mass and concert

    Sunday, January 25 at 4:30pm

    Music Director Kim Scoggin and the OLMC Music Ministry presents the "I Am Here" mass and concert, Sunday, January 25th. Mass at 4:30pm, concert immediately following. Guests include Tom Booth, Ike Ndolo, Joyce Coronel, Fr. Felix Shabi, and special guest Suzy Vulcana (from American Idol). A free will offering will be taken. Proceeds from the concert to benefit the persecuted Chaldean Christians in Iraq.
    Fr. Felix Shabi, a native of Iraq and corbishop of the Chaldean Catholic Church in Arizona, will celebrate 4:30pm mass on Sunday, January 25. The OLMC CD release concert will follow the mass. The plight of the persecuted Chaldean Catholics by ISIS will be explained by Joyce Coronel.
    Proceeds from the concert will go directly to Iraq to help the persecuted Catholic faithful. This will be an evening full of praise, worship and gratitude for our rich Catholic faith!
    The OLMC CD "I Am" will be on sale for $15.00. Cash, Check, Debit and Credit Cards accepted.

    The Catholic Sun reports on how the planned concert came about:

    Kim Scoggin, music director at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish, decided to do something about it. She’s planned a Jan. 25 concert at the parish featuring well-known Catholic musicians Tom Booth, Ike Ndolo and the OLMC choir. Proceeds from the concert will go toward assisting the Chaldean Catholics who remain in Irbil.
    Scoggin said she was listening to Immaculate Heart Radio when she heard Patrick Madrid interview Bishop Sarhad Y. Jammo about the situation. Bishop Jammo leads the St. Peter Chaldean Catholic Diocese headquartered in El Cajon, Calif. Scoggin had already decided she wanted to take action to help the displaced Christians, but the bishop’s words galvanized her.

    The Iraqi Christian Relief Council notes "approximately one million Assyrian Christians have been forced to become refugees inside and outside of Iraq" since the start of the illegal war.  Christian Caryl (Foreign Policy) offers one million Iraqis "lived in Iraq at the start of the war, [but] only about 250,000 remain in the country today."

    This has gone out throughout the never ending Iraq War.  For those who wrongly think it's a recent development, journalist and former Human Rights Watch researcher Daniel Williams offered a history lesson at the Washington Post last September:

    No, it is because, for Christians in Iraq, the past three months have been the climax of 11 years of hell. We Americans have short memories (that goes for you, too, in the “Bush Was Right” crowd), but it’s worth noting that Christians began having serious problems within a year after the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003. Sometimes it was the work of al-Qaeda, sometimes Sunni insurgents pining for the return of Sunni control of Iraq. Sometimes it was Shiite militias fighting the Sunnis but finding time to persecute Christians.

    First came assaults on stores that sold alcohol. Then, in August 2004, bombs were placed outside five churches in Baghdad and Mosul. Eleven people died. Two more churches were bombed in November, and Christians began to flee to Kurdistan, Jordan and Syria. Since then, at least 60 churches in the country have been bombed. The latest was in Baghdad on Christmas Day last year.

    The Christian refugees include people like Father Noel Gorgis who is now with St. Peters Chaldean Church in El Cajon, California.  Iraq's Patriarch Louis Raphael I Sako has insisted that Father Noel -- and other Iraqi priests who have left Iraq -- must return to Iraq.   KUSI explains, "Last week, Pope Francis agreed with Father Noel and said he and other priests do not need to comply with Sako's order."

    The structure of the Catholic Church means that Pope Francis' decree should have settled the matter and ended the dispute; however, Tony Perry (Los Angeles Times) reports that Sako is not respecting either the decree or the authority of the Pope and has declared, "We have been there for 2,000 years.  We have a mission and a role, and if a future exists for the Chaldean Church, it is not in the diaspora but in Iraq.  If all the families leave, and even the priests, the entire history and Chaldean Christian patrimony will vanish."  Perry notes that there are 14 Chaldean priests currently seeking refuge in the US.

    the los angeles times

    Tuesday, January 13, 2015

    Will the Iraq Inquiry report be released soon?

    BBC News reports:

    A cross-party group of MPs is calling for a Commons debate so they can push for publication of the long-awaited inquiry into the Iraq war.
    The MPs, including former Attorney General Dominic Grieve, said they were concerned the report would not be published before May's election.
    They will ask the Backbench Business Committee to schedule a debate.
    The inquiry, chaired by Sir John Chilcot, was set up under the last government in 2009.


    That report has been buried.  It should have been released years ago.

    It should be embarrassing to the British government that it hasn't been released.

    "TV: Jane The Iron Maiden" (Ava and C.I., The Common Ills):

    And let's be clear that The CW can't stop trying to recreate Arrow but they have no plans for Jake The Virgin.

    Of course, they don't.

    Even the pig headed of The CW would get how ridiculous a show about an adult lead holding onto their virginity and living with Mommy was if it revolved around a male lead.

    On top everything else, there's the fact that the show revolves around a forced pregnancy and that Jane's thrilled to death with it.

    What sort of message does that send to young teens?

    And what sort of message does The CW send when Hart of Dixie pulls in more viewers than Jane The Virgin but it's not announced as renewed over the weekend.

    No, it has to prove itself.

    See, a show starring a woman who's got an education, who charts her own way in life and who -- gasp! -- has sex is just a little too unnerving for The CW.

    And that's another reason women should be outraged.

    That show needs to be called out -- as do the people pimping it.

    "Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
    Monday, January 12, 2015.  Chaos and violence continue, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi criticizes the US government's support, several US senators offer criticism of him as well, Jake Tapper offers an opinion offensive to The Cult of St. Barack so they feel they can lie about him, and more.

    Don't you hate lying pieces of trash?

    Maybe they're not liars in all cases.  I seriously question the sanity of The Obama Diary.

    They're apparently too busy drooling over the cock of US President Barack Obama to form actual thoughts beyond "Must wrap lips around."

    At Third, we called the idiots out for their inability to get that Bully Boy Bush going to his ranch-ette in Crawford, Texas wasn't the problem, going to war on Iraq was.

    Today The Obama Diary is yet again lost.

  • The link?

    It doesn't say that.

    The Obama Diary apparently hopes you're so stupid -- the way they are -- that you'll just take their word for it.

    The Obama Diary is the worst of our side (the left).  A cheap whorish thug that thinks it can lie and get away with it.

    They're attacking Jake Tapper today for a reason we'll get to in just a second.

    But let's deal with their charge first.

    Media Matters in 2007 and 2008 whined about a lot of reporters.  Jake Tapper was one.

    The link goes to a whine about Jake saying Barack was still smoking despite Barack saying he had quit.

    As most now know, once in the White House, Barack was still smoking.

    Jake was actually correct.

    And Media Matters wrote a lengthy post suggesting he was wrong and a lengthy post to tell you how trivial the topic -- that, again, they wrote a lengthy post on -- was.

    The Obama Diary thinks this establishes something.

    All it establishes is just how stupid and whorish The Obama Diary is.  A certain 'sports' commentator in Chicago is equally stupid.  He slams Jake today by slamming CNN's Iraq coverage in 2002 and 2003 -- Jake Tapper didn't work for them then.

    Where did Jake Tapper work in 2002 and 2003?


    Salon didn't do investigative journalism.  It wasn't the sewer it is today where Joan Walsh regularly slimes people and calls them "un-American" because she doesn't like them.  But it didn't do investigative journalism. Didn't have the budget for it.  It was columns and opinion pieces and interviews.

    This is Jake Tapper's reporting for Salon on Iraq:

    And world leaders were standing together amidst a procession that included Francois Hollande of France, Angela Merkel of Germany, David Cameron of Great Britain, Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority and Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, along with the leaders of Mali, Jordan and Turkey.
    It is no small thing for the king of Jordan, a direct descendent of the Prophet Mohammed, to march in a rally prompted by the murders of people who mocked Islam as well as of innocent Jews -- all of whom were killed by Islamic extremists.
    The United States, which considers itself to be the most important nation in the world, was not represented in this march -- arguably one of the most important public demonstrations in Europe in the last generation -- except by U.S. Ambassador Jane Hartley, who may have been a few rows back. I didn't see her. Even Russia sent Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.
      I say this as an American -- not as a journalist, not as a representative of CNN -- but as an American: I was ashamed.
      I certainly understand the security concerns when it comes to sending President Barack Obama, though I can't imagine they're necessarily any greater than sending the lineup of other world leaders, especially in aggregate.
      Today, All Iraq News notes Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi had some criticism for the US government as he declared, "The US-led Coalition to the IA [Iraq Army] is too slow, but it was improved in the last two weeks."

      Don't dish it out if you can't take it.  Today saw US senators call out al-Abadi on his inability to provide humanitarian assistance for those in need in northern Iraq.  Senator Barbara Boxer's office issued the following:

      Monday, January 12th 2015

      Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Ron Johnson (R-WI) – joined by Senators Richard Durbin (D-IL), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Ed Markey (D-MA), Christopher Coons (D-DE), and Tim Kaine (D-VA) – sent a letter to Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi regarding humanitarian aid for the nearly two million Iraqis displaced by the violent campaign of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
      The letter follows a Foreign Relations subcommittee hearing chaired by Senator Boxer last month on ISIL’s brutal tactics and the growing regional humanitarian crisis.  (Full video of that hearing is available here. Senator Boxer’s statement from the hearing is available here. Senator Johnson’s statement from the hearing is available here.)
      “We have heard firsthand about the suffering and harsh conditions facing these men, women, and children—many of whom have taken refuge in Iraq’s Kurdistan region,” wrote the Senators. “These civilians are in dire need of basic necessities—food, clean water, and shelter. In particular, we are concerned about the welfare of women and children—who make up a majority of the displaced population.”
      In their letter, the Senators ask for Iraqi Prime Minister Al-Abadi’s leadership in ensuring that critical humanitarian assistance reaches vulnerable communities most in need—including Iraqi civilians who have taken refuge in Iraq’s Kurdistan region.
      “As such, we respectfully ask that you take every action to ensure there are no gaps or delays in aid distribution, and that available assistance is dispersed without any discrimination based on sect, ethnicity, or religion. We also ask that you coordinate closely with KRG officials, local authorities, and key international actors to provide them with the resources they need to protect and care for displaced civilians and to continue the fight against ISIL,” the Senators wrote.

      The full text of today’s letter is below.

      January 12, 2015
      His Excellency Dr. Haider Al-Abadi
      Prime Minister, Republic of Iraq

      Dear Prime Minister Al-Abadi:

      We write to commend and show appreciation for your efforts as Prime Minister in beginning to heal the sectarian rifts within Iraqi society and to build a stable, secure and more prosperous country for all Iraqis.
      As you know well, one of the greatest threats facing our two nations is the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). Over the past year, ISIL has taken control of vast swaths of territory across Iraq and Syria with the goal of establishing radical Islamic rule. In its wake, ISIL has left a trail of brutal violence and abuse—targeting other Muslims, ethnic and religious minorities, and women and girls. As a result, nearly two million Iraqis have been displaced.
      We have heard firsthand about the suffering and harsh conditions facing these men, women, and children—many of whom have taken refuge in Iraq’s Kurdistan region. These civilians are in dire need of basic necessities—food, clean water, and shelter. In particular, we are concerned about the welfare of women and children—who make up a majority of the displaced population. 
      The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has stepped forward to provide sanctuary to many of these desperate individuals. However, the sheer volume of the displaced has put a tremendous burden on the KRG. According to the KRG Education Ministry, over 600 schools have been converted into shelters to help deal with the estimated 520,000 displaced people now living in the Dohuk region. Even outside the Kurdish Region of Iraq, hundreds of thousands of Iraqi citizens also need urgent assistance – whether clean water and food or shelter for winter.
      Despite pledges by your government and the international community to address this humanitarian crisis, we are deeply concerned that these critical resources are not reaching those who need them most. With winter now settling in, it is imperative that these vulnerable civilians receive immediate and sustained assistance.
      As such, we respectfully ask that you take every action to ensure there are no gaps or delays in aid distribution, and that available assistance is dispersed without any discrimination based on sect, ethnicity, or religion. We also ask that you coordinate closely with KRG officials, local authorities, and key international actors to provide them with the resources they need to protect and care for displaced civilians and to continue the fight against ISIL. We are hopeful that under your leadership all Iraqis will one day have an equal opportunity to live in peace and security.
      We stand ready to work with you on this and other issues of mutual interest.
      Barbara Boxer
      United States Senator

      Ron Johnson
      United States Senator

      Richard Durbin
      United States Senator

      Marco Rubio
      United States Senator

      Jeanne Shaheen
      United States Senator

      Ed Markey
      United States Senator

      Christopher Coons
      United States Senator

      Tim Kaine
      United States Senator


      Kristina Wong (The Hill) points out:

      While their letter focused on humanitarian aid, lawmakers have also been concerned that the Iraqi government, dominated by Shia, has been withholding U.S. military assistance from Kurdish fighters known as peshmerga.  
      "I am concerned by the varying reports I have received from the Obama administration about the equipment and support that has been provided to the Kurds to date," said Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) on Friday.

      Haider is either unwilling or unable to provide the Kurds with military aid -- despite depending on them as the sole functioning military in Iraq.

      He also can't get a budget passed.  Still.

      All Iraq News notes that Parliament did   a second reading of the 2015 budget today.  Remember all those promises -- five so far from the Speaker of Parliament -- about how a vote was only days away -- all those remarks so many weeks and months ago?

      Margaret Griffis ( counts 206 dead in acts of violence throughout Iraq today with another sixty-five injured.

      kristina wong