Thursday, June 09, 2016

How antiwar is

Margaret Griffis is someone we used to note at this site because she covered Iraq.

Then it turned out she was calling events of the day events of the day -- violence -- even if they were two or three days old. There was also her blind acceptance of US government claims that only terrorists were killed in air strikes.

Her last two posts at have been even more problematic as they have failed to note the statement from the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights about the Shi'ite militias (now part of the Iraqi military thanks to Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi) targeting the Sunni civilians.

There's always a little twist with where politics and favoritism seem to influence the coverage.

For example, they loath the Camp Ashraf community and refuse to cover it.

They also covered for Nouri al-Maliki and even invented things to make him come off better.

They long ago chose to oppose the Sunnis and that's why I have to wonder exactly how antiwar actually is?

If you missed the news -- maybe you depend on Margaret Griffith? -- this is from Tuesday's snapshot that C.I. did (and I'll note the start of the excerpt with "--------" and also note the end of it with "--------".)


Meanwhile the Shi'ite militias -- now part of the armed forces thanks to Haider -- continue to persecute Sunni civilians.

ALSUMARIA offers a video report of dead civilians -- civilians who fled threats of the Islamic State in Falluja only to be shot by the militias after fleeing Falluja.  Today the United Nations Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner issued the following statement:

GENEVA (7 June 2016) – UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein on Tuesday urged the Iraqi Government to take immediate measures to ensure that all people fleeing the ISIL-occupied city of Fallujah are treated in strict accordance with international human rights and international humanitarian laws.

“There are extremely distressing, credible reports that some people who survive the terrifying experience of escaping from ISIL, then face severe physical abuse once they reach the other side,” the High Commissioner said. “Eyewitnesses have described how armed groups operating in support of the Iraqi security forces are intercepting people fleeing the conflict, separating the men and teenage boys from the women and children, and detaining the males for ‘security screening’, which in some cases degenerates into physical violations and other forms of abuse, apparently in order to elicit forced confessions. There are even allegations that some individuals have been summarily executed by these armed groups.”

“While the Iraqi security forces have a legitimate interest in vetting individuals fleeing ISIL-controlled areas to ensure they do not pose a risk to security or to identify individuals who may have committed crimes, such vetting must only be carried out by entities authorised to do so by Iraqi law. Where individuals are being held by other armed groups not legally authorised to detain individuals, the Government must ensure they are either handed over or released safely,” Zeid stressed. “It is paramount that all individuals fleeing the violence around Fallujah must be assumed to be civilians without links to armed groups, unless there is clear and cogent evidence to the contrary.”

The High Commissioner added that the security vetting must be carried out in a transparent manner, in full compliance with international law. If there is substantive information that a particular individual may have committed crimes or may constitute a security risk, the person can be detained in compliance with the law, and the detention must be subject to appropriate judicial review.

“The Prime Minister, and other political, community and religious leaders have made very welcome statements, calling on all those involved in the military operations to do their utmost to protect civilians in all circumstances and to ensure accountability for any individuals perpetrating violations. I urge the Government to take immediate, concrete steps to ensure that these calls are translated into action,” Zeid said.

“The Government must show its commitment to protecting civilians by fully investigating reports that people who have suffered two and a half years of living hell under ISIL, and have faced enormous difficulties and dangers getting out of Fallujah alive, are now facing double jeopardy in the form of serious human rights violations after they have escaped. Those allegedly responsible for these violations must be brought to justice.”

Since January 2014, when Fallujah was captured by ISIL, at least 22,169 civilians have been killed and 43,435 wounded in Iraq. These casualty figures are considered an absolute minimum as they do not include Anbar Province, where Fallujah is located, and also do not include people who died from secondary effects of violence, such as lack of water, food, medicines or health care.


For more information and media requests,please contact Rupert Colville (+41 22 917 97 67 / or Ravina Shamdasani (+41 22 917 9169 / or Cécile Pouilly (+41 22 917 9310 / )

ALSUMARIA reports that Speaker of Parliament Salim al-Jubouri has called for an end to these abuses in the name of 'liberation.'

When the issue was raised at today's US State Dept press briefing, spokesperson Mark C. Toner attempted to dance around the issue.

QUESTION: Going to Iraq --

MR TONER: Yeah, sure.

QUESTION: -- since we’re still talking about trying to fight ISIL, among other things: Last week you talked about Fallujah. There are more reports about Shia militiamen detaining Sunni men who are trying to flee Fallujah, and there are more allegations that they’re being abused, that they’re being tortured. Dozens is one rough estimate. Even the UN high commissioner for refugees is saying – for human rights, excuse me – is expressing concern about the situation, and he is also expressing concern that the Abadi government isn’t doing enough to restrain the Shia militia from carrying out sectarian attacks. One, what is the U.S. assessment of the situation right now? What is the U.S. Government saying to Prime Minister Abadi? What is the U.S. prepared to do in order to basically keep the Shia militia away from Fallujah so that people who are trying to escape the fighting can do so safely?

MR TONER: Sure. Lots of very good questions, and obviously, it’s a very difficult situation in and around Fallujah. The reports – and we’ve seen these reports as well – are obviously concerning. We do believe, though, that Prime Minister Abadi has made an effort to investigate abuses of Iraqi civilians at the hands of Iraqi Security Forces. I think he’s even pledged to form a committee or has created a human rights committee to look at some of these abuses. We believe the Government of Iraq has made an effort to avoid civilian casualties and to hold accountable those in isolated cases of misconduct.
Now, there have been – and we talked – I talked about this last Friday – there have been efforts to screen citizens as they flee Fallujah.


MR TONER: And I think – I’m looking at my thing – I think some 15,000 civilians have already fled the fighting in and around Fallujah and have arrived and are safely being held at camps, and there have been screening measures put in place, and we have talked about that.


MR TONER: And partly that’s common sense that [. . .] ISIL isn’t using – trying to exfiltrate or get out of Fallujah, use it as an escape route. So – but let’s be very clear that any kind of screening, while justified, needs to be done in a manner that is respectful of human rights and common dignity, and also done in a transparent manner.

QUESTION: There’s already been a lot of talk, though --

MR TONER: Please.

QUESTION: -- about the fact that in the effort to liberate these communities from ISIL, that the U.S. would not want to see Shia militia going in because of the very fundamental symbolism that represents. Is it appropriate for the Iraqi Government to rely on these militia, the PMF, to do the screening? Should the Iraqi military be using some of its own forces to do this screening? And should the Shia militia even be allowed anywhere near Fallujah? Why can’t they be held to barracks, to use an expression?

MR TONER: Well, I would refer you to the Iraqi Government to talk about the composition of forces in and around Fallujah and how they’re being utilized. I think that given the scale and scope of this operation, that they, frankly, need all the capable fighters that they have. But of course we’re concerned about the sectarian tensions inherent to the dynamic that you just raised. And again, we have raised our concerns with the Iraqi Government, and they have also expressed a clear understanding of that dynamic as well and an effort to avoid it. The need – so if Shia militia are there, they are under the command and control of the Iraqi military. And they --

QUESTION: But then we hear about people being dragged away, bodies being turned up, some people so badly injured that they’re now in hospital trying to get medical treatment that may not be easily attainable given that these are conditions of war. Here’s an alternative suggestion: Perhaps the U.S. doesn’t want to have its own people screening people leaving Fallujah, but there are other members of the coalition. Is it possible to ask the Arab countries that are part of the coalition to do the screening of people as they’re trying to leave Fallujah?

MR TONER: Well, again, those are all good points and good questions better directed to the Iraqi Government. I would say that thus far in Fallujah, fully recognizing that we have seen reports and we’ve raised those reports on our concerns about them with the Iraqi Government, but we have seen thus far an effort by Prime Minister Abadi and his leadership to manage the offensive carefully, deliberately, with respect to ordering safe passageways – and I talked about the 17,000 Fallujah residents who have gotten safe passage out of the city – and made an effort to respect both property and the well-being of the civilians.
But again, as there are cases or allegations of these abuses – and you cited some of them – the Iraqi Government has pledged to create a committee to look at these allegations in cases, or rather incidents, and follow up on them. And I think that that is absolutely commendable and necessary.

QUESTION: Do you have confidence in this committee that they’re standing up?

MR TONER: I think, again, we’ll wait and see. But they have pledged to do so. Thus far, what we’ve seen largely from the Iraqi Government has given us confidence that they are aware of these tensions on the battlefield and are taking steps to mitigate them.

QUESTION: Did you confirm the reports by the UN human rights commissioner today that he said he have credible reports about these violations? Are you confirming his position?

MR TONER: I have not seen those. I do note that we’ve seen reports of violations and are concerned about them. I’m not speaking to his – I have no idea what he said. I’m sorry, I don’t – I haven’t seen his comments.

QUESTION: He said they have – he have credible reports about very sad violations against civilians fleeing from Fallujah.

MR TONER: I mean, again, we’re aware of some of these reports and we’re concerned about them as well.

Toner hadn't seen the UN statement so he probably also missed photographs.  Like these.

  • Iraqi Sunni civilians Tortured ,Burned & killed by Shia militias oh my God

  • Shia Militias crimes الحشد الشيعي الارهابي يحرق العوائل السنيه العراقية بالشوارع وياخذ معهم قهر

  • Shia Militias crimes الحشد الشيعي الارهابي يعذب ويقتل شاب سني عراقي لان اسمه عمر وياخذ للتفاخر بجريمته

  • Iraqi Sunni civilian tortured & killed by Shia militias

  • Shia Militias crimes الحشد الشيعي الارهابي يعذب شيخ سني عراقي لانه يصلي بالمسجد وياخذ للتفاخر افضحوهم

  • Iraqi Sunni civilian tortured by Shia militias

  • Shia Militias crimes فديو مسرب يظهر الحشد الشيعي الارهابي يعذب بحقد ووحشيه نازح سني عراقي هلكوست سنه العراق

  • Iraqi Sunni civilian displaced from Fallujah tortured by Shia militias

    ALSUMARIA reports KRG President Massoud Barzani has declared that a post-Islamic State plan for Mosul is needed as is guaranteeing the rights of those civilians in Mosul before any operation to liberate Mosul takes place.


    The ongoing targeting of the Sunnis is one of the most important stories.

    To ignore it is to completely miss what's going on in Iraq tonight.

    "Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):
    Wednesday, June 8, 2016.  Chaos and violence continue,

    Today, the US Defense Dept announced:

    Strikes in Iraq
    Fighter and remotely piloted aircraft and rocket artillery conducted 15 strikes in Iraq, coordinated with and in support of the Iraqi government:

    -- Near Fallujah, three strikes struck two separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed an ISIL fighting position, an ISIL vehicle, an ISIL front-end loader, an ISIL weapons cache and an ISIL heavy machine gun and denied ISIL access to terrain. 
    -- Near Habbaniyah, two strikes destroyed two ISIL fighting positions and an ISIL staging area and denied ISIL access to terrain.
    -- Near Haditha, two strikes destroyed an ISIL vehicle, an ISIL staging area and an ISIL artillery piece.
    -- Near Mosul, two strikes struck two separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed an ISIL fighting position, an ISIL vehicle and an ISIL command-and-control node.
    -- Near Qayyarah, two strikes struck an ISIL staging area and an ISIL headquarters.
    -- Near Ramadi, a strike damaged an ISIL tactical vehicle.
    -- Near Rawah, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL vehicle.
    -- Near Tal Afar, two strikes struck an ISIL modular oil refinery and destroyed an ISIL supply cache.

    Task force officials define a strike as one or more kinetic events that occur in roughly the same geographic location to produce a single, sometimes cumulative, effect. Therefore, officials explained, a single aircraft delivering a single weapon against a lone ISIL vehicle is one strike, but so is multiple aircraft delivering dozens of weapons against buildings, vehicles and weapon systems in a compound, for example, having the cumulative effect of making those targets harder or impossible for ISIL to use. Accordingly, officials said, they do not report the number or type of aircraft employed in a strike, the number of munitions dropped in each strike, or the number of individual munition impact points against a target. Ground-based artillery fired in counterfire or in fire support to maneuver roles is not classified as a strike.

    The big story remains the abuses.  Abdulla Hawez (DAILY BEAST) reports:

    The stalled battle to retake the Iraqi city of Fallujah from ISIS has given way to another grim development: accusations of human rights abuses against fleeing refugees by pro-Iraqi government forces.
    The largely Shia militia group officially known as Hashd al-Shaabi or Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), headed by Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, a U.S.-designated terrorist has, according to the United Nations, committed atrocities against Sunnis in two newly liberated areas of Saqlawiyah and Al-Karmah, are just kilometers from Fallujah city.
    Two sources in Saqlawiyah, who asked to remain anonymous due to fear of their lives, have told The Daily Beast that hundreds of civilian residents of Saqlawiyah and Karma have been heavily tortured by the PMF. Five dead bodies have been uncovered, but there are an additional 200 to 300 civilians that have been taken by the PMF; their fates are unknown.

    Abdulla Hawez has written a strong article (even gets the events of 2013 and 2014 correct).  However, most continue to ignore this issue even after the UN statement (see yesterday's snapshot).


    Maybe they fear having to report the law.

    Because the law is quite clear about what should be happening now, US law is quite clear.

    The US government should be ceasing all operations in Iraq and stopping all aid.

    The Iraqi government made the militias part of the Iraqi forces (Haider al-Abadi did that).

    Therefore, these abuses are being carried out by the Iraqi government.

    1. Shia Militias crimes فديو مسرب الحشد الشيعي الارهابي يقتل عشرات المدنيين العراقيين السنه ويضحك فوق جثثهم

  • Iraqi Sunni civilians displaced from Fallujah tortured & killed by Shia militias

  • Shia Militias crimes عاجل افضحوهم صور مسربه للمفقودين السنه النازحين الذين خطفهم الحشد الشيعي ولايعرف مصيرهم

  • Iraqi Sunnis civilians arrested & tortured by Shia militias without guilt or charge in

  • Iraqi Sunnis civilians arrested & tortured by Shia militias without guilt or charge in

  • Shia militias crimes عاجل افضحوهم فديو مسرب خطير المفقودين السنه العراقيين مخطوفين بيد الحشد الشيعي بالمئات

    The Leahy Amendment, among other laws, requires the backing the Iraqi government be ceased immediately.

    When Senator Bob Menendez was reluctant to approve US arms to Iraq, this was exactly what he was concerned about.

    If the law were to be followed, Barack Obama would have to cease all financial and military support of the (US-installed) Iraqi government.

    This is not minor.

    It's the law.

    While the western press largely rushes to distract from what's taking place in Iraq, War Hawk Hillary Clinton has her stupid idiots and whores who support her.

    Take 'gamer' Brianna Wu.

    Yeah, you've fought an important battle in the world of #WHITEGIRLPROBLEMS -- making the  sofa world 'safe' for gamers.

    See, the issue isn't poverty, childhood malnutrition, education or even just basic survival, no, no, the issue is will Brianna Wu rule the world of gaming?

    Self-interest passed off as feminism is really all Hillary Clinton has to offer so it's no surprise Brianna Wu would identify with her.

    "If feminism only concerns itself with the women at the very top of our society...It’s just elitism"

    Brianna  huffed on Twitter today:

    1/ It is intellectually dishonest to blame Hillary for Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya. It's not accurate, and it's a sexist double standard.

  • 2/ If you want to say she has a penchant for aggressive military action - I'm with you. People are Tweeting me like she ordered the Iraq war

    3/ I'll tell you something. I've HAD IT with holier-than-thou Puritans lecturing me on militarism. I protested Iraq war EVERY WEEK for years

    No, you deeply, deeply, stupid idiot, it is not sexism to blame Hillary for Libya -- which she advocated for the destruction of -- or for Iraq which she's lied about repeatedly.

    It's stupidity for a dumb idiot like Brianna Wu to try to weigh in on matters she's far too stupid to know about.

    Hillary refused to read the intelligence assessment prior to vote (ask Senator Bob Graham if that's news to you).  She wanted the war.  She applauded the war for years and only backed away after over 51% of the public (and over 70% of Democratic voters) had turned against it.  She would tell former Secretary of Defense Bob Gates (after Barack was elected) that she only opposed the 'surge' because she thought it was the politically popular position to take (see Gates' book if that's news to you -- or if you're just stupid like Brianna Wu).  As Secretary of State, she refused to stand up to Nouri al-Maliki (whom she publicly called a "thug" in April of 2008) -- this as he put forward a Cabinet at the end of 2010 with no women in it, when even the Minister of Women was . . . a man.  When Nouri al-Maliki used the Minister of the Interior to target gay men (and those suspected of being gay) in Iraq, she managed a single public sentence on the matter (which, granted, was one more sentence than Barack ever managed, but with gay men targeted for violent death, that's really not cutting it).

    As Secretary of State, she presided over the US department in charge of Iraq as the US military conducted their drawdown.  In this capacity, she refused to present Congress with any plan including a plan of how the billions she was requesting would be spent.

    Now if you've been busy stuffing your gamer console up your orifices, like Brianna Wu, you immediately scream, "Republicans!"

    No, you stupid idiot.  While you were zoning out with one game after another, I was at those Congressional hearings and reporting on them here.  And Gary Ackerman was a Democrat from New York and one of the most vocal -- see for example his exchange with the State Dept's Brooke Darby --  about how the Clinton State Dept was not providing basic answers to Congress.

    As Secretary of State, she wasted billions on training for Iraqi security forces when, before the training could get off the ground (it never did), Nouri's flunky at the Ministery of Interior had publicly stated that they did not want US training.

    [Flunky?  The man was called the Minister of the Interior by the press.  He was never confirmed by Parliament.  He never actually held the office.]

    And if that's too much for deeply stupid Brianna Wu, she can refer to the reports, statements and testimony of Stuart Bowen who was the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction.

    I'm sorry that while Brianna Wu was re-fighting The Great Scrabble War of 1932 and attempting to make the world better for Hasbro and Milton Bradley, that she missed all these events and so many more.

    I'm sorry that she's confused her hobby with a cause of great political import.

    And I'm sorry that one so deeply stupid would choose to flaunt her ignorance so publicly.

    Most of all, I'm sorry that she'd dare to apply the term "feminist" to herself and Hillary to defend supporting a woman who has done everything to make life worse for Iraqi women.  And we've covered that before in great depth but I honestly don't have time to spoon feed the socially irresponsible and pathetic.

    As for Brianna Wu's claim that she protested the Iraq War every week for years?

    The Iraq War never stopped.

    Apparently, your short attention span grew weary, Brianna, and it distracted from your hobbies so, to feed your never ending lust for self-entertainment, you walked away.  That's nothing to brag about but, then again, neither is your life.

    On breaking the glass ceiling Will she be the first woman president to bomb Syria? The first to deport children? to embrace fracking?

    Idiots like Brianna can begin to raise their level of awareness by reading and they can start with the book Liza's editor of:

    False Choices: The Faux Feminism of Hillary Rodham Clinton

    Hillary Rodham Clinton is one of the most powerful women in world politics, and the irrational right-wing hatred of Clinton has fed her progressive appeal, helping turn her into a feminist icon. To get a woman in the White House, it’s thought, would be an achievement for all women everywhere, a kind of trickle-down feminism.

    In the run-up to the 2016 presidential election, the mantle of feminist elect has descended on Hillary Clinton, as a thousand viral memes applaud her, and most mainstream feminist leaders, thinkers, and organizations endorse her. In this atmosphere, dissent seems tantamount to political betrayal.

    In False Choices, an all-star lineup of feminists contests this simplistic reading of the candidate. A detailed look at Hillary Clinton’s track record on welfare, Wall Street, criminal justice, education, and war reveals that she has advanced laws and policies that have done real harm to the lives of women and children across the country and the globe. This well-researched collection of essays restores to feminism its revolutionary meaning, and outlines how it could transform the United States and its relation to the world. 

    Includes essays from prominent feminist writers Liza Featherstone, Laura Flanders, Moe Tkacik, Medea Benjamin, Frances Fox Piven and Fred Block, Donna Murch, Kathleen Geier, Yasmin Nair, Megan Erickson, Tressie McMillan Cottom, Catherine Liu, Amber A’Lee Frost, Margaret Corvid, Belén Fernández, Zillah Eisenstein, and others.

    FALSE CHOICES can be purchased from Amazon in soft cover or in Kindle format for less than $10.00.

    As for Hillary's supposed lock on the nomination, it's not over.

  • Bernie vows to fight on to the convention in Philadelphia! RT if you are still in!

    Away from the couch potato set, reality intrudes on Twitter.

  • reality is those who suffered as a result of Clinton's "hawkishness" dont matter to them. They dont vote, they dont tweet. They're invisible

  • The destruction leveled against Iraq, Libya, Honduras just doesnt register. Theyre just "mistakes" & those who think otherwise are "purists"

  • Never ceases to amaze me how many think those who oppose Clinton due to her rightwing foreign policy do so b/c of some personality quirk