Friday, December 25, 2020

Favorite Christmas song of all time

There are many great Christmas songs including "Silent Night."  However, for me, the one that always grabs me is "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas."

It is a great song whomever sings it but Judy Garland did the definitive version of the song years ago in the film MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS.

The only version that ever came close, for me anyway, was the Pretenders' cover in the 80s.

"Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):

Thursday, December 24, 2020.  Donald Trump considers response to an attack in Iraq on Sunday (that he blames on Iran -- who may or may not be responsible), his pardons get coverage, and more.

That video features Mark Kimmitt as the expert.  Who?

Mark Kimmitt was the Assistant Secretary of State for Political Affairs for the final five months of Bully Boy Bush's occupation of the White House.  He was also a Brigadier General in the US military and he was the subject of an internal DoD investigation in 2008 at the behest of then-US Senator Joe Biden.  It involved his manner of leadership and included a focus on his time in Baghdad in 2004.  The charges included that he was deficient in leadership and that he referred to women with profanity.  There is a rumored charge that is much more serious but was found lacking so we aren't going to mention it.


He is also known for lying to the public about a US attack on a wedding in Syria.  From the PRESS ASSOCIATION, May 24, 2004:

A home video taken in Iraq supports victims' claims that US forces bombed a wedding celebration and killed up to 45 people in the attack.

The dead included the cameraman, Yasser Shawkat Abdullah, hired to record the festivities, which ended on Tuesday night before the planes struck. The video was obtained yesterday by Associated Press Television News (APTN)..

The US military says it is investigating the attack, which took place in the village of Mogr el-Deeb about five miles from the Syrian border, but that all evidence so far indicates the target was a safe house for foreign fighters.

"There was no evidence of a wedding: no decorations, no musical instruments found, no large quantities of food or leftover servings one would expect from a wedding celebration," Brig Gen Mark Kimmitt, the chief US military spokesman in Iraq , said on Saturday.

"There may have been some kind of celebration. Bad people have celebrations too."

But video that APTN shot a day after the attack shows fragments of musical instruments, pots and pans, and brightly coloured beddings used for celebrations, scattered around the bombed-out tent.

In the video above, Kimmitt is discussing what might happen should elements of or loyal to the Iranian government attack US troops or US facilities and workers in Iraq.  The issue is raised by Sunday's attack.  Dropping back to earlier this week:

The big news in Iraq today?  A missile attack.  Aqeel Najim, Hamdi Alkhshali and Nicky Robertson (CNN) report:

A rocket attack on Baghdad's diplomatic Green Zone Sunday night was "a terrorist act" that undermines Iraq's international reputation, the country's president says.

Eight rockets were fired at the heavily fortified area, with at least one Iraqi soldier injured when a rocket landed near an Iraqi security checkpoint, according to a statement from the Iraqi military.
The military said most of the rockets hit the Qadisiya residential neighborhood near the US Embassy, damaging several buildings and cars.

The US Embassy in Baghdad Tweeted the following:

The U.S. Embassy confirms rockets targeting the International Zone resulted in the engagement of Embassy defensive systems. There was some minor damage on the Embassy compound but no injuries or casualties. 1/

We have received reports of damage to residential areas near the U.S. Embassy and possibly some injuries to innocent Iraqi civilians. As we have said many times... 2/

... these sorts of attacks on diplomatic facilities are a violation of international law and are a direct assault on the sovereignty of the Iraqi government. 3/

We call on all Iraqi political and governmental leaders to take steps to prevent such attacks and hold accountable those responsible. 4/4

Hadi al-Amari heads the Badr militia (which the US government defines as a terrorist organization).  ALSUMARIA reports that al-Amari has condemned the rocket attack.  ALSUMARIA also has a photo essay about a nearby apartment that was hit by a photo essay.

The attack was Sunday.  Yesterday, US CENTCOM issued the following statement:

The Dec. 20, 2020 rocket attack on the green zone in Iraq was almost certainly conducted by an Iranian-backed Rogue Militia Group. While this 21 rocket attack caused no U.S. injuries or casualties, the attack did damage buildings in the U.S. Embassy compound, and was clearly NOT intended to avoid casualties. 

These groups are Iranian-backed because Iran provides both material support and direction. They are rogue because they are actually acting on behalf of Iranian interests  and direction in a direct betrayal of Iraqi sovereignty. It is important for the people of Iraq to understand that past attacks by the Iranian-backed Rogue Militia Groups have killed more Iraqi civilians and members of the Iraqi Security Forces than they have killed Americans. The United States will hold Iran accountable for the deaths of any Americans that result from the work of these Iranian-backed Rogue Militia Groups.

Captain Bill Urban, USN, U.S. Central Command Spokesman

Steve Holland (REUTERS) notes, "Top U.S. national security officials agreed on Wednesday on a proposed range of options to present to President Donald Trump aimed at deterring any attack on U.S. military or diplomatic personnel in Iraq, a senior administration official told Reuters."

In other news, AP reports on President Donald Trump's latest pardons including of four Blackwater mercenaries:

In the group announced Tuesday night were four former government contractors convicted in a 2007 massacre in Baghdad that left more a dozen Iraqi civilians dead and caused an international uproar over the use of private security guards in a war zone.

Supporters of Nicholas Slatten, Paul Slough, Evan Liberty and Dustin Heard, the former contractors at Blackwater Worldwide, had lobbied for pardons, arguing that the men had been excessively punished in an investigation and prosecution they said was tainted by problems and withheld exculpatory evidence. All four were serving lengthy prison sentences.

The pardons reflected Trump’s apparent willingness to give the benefit of doubt to American servicemembers and contractors when it comes to acts of violence in warzones against civilians. Last November, for instance, he pardoned a former U.S. Army commando who was set to stand trial next year in the killing of a suspected Afghan bomb-maker and a former Army lieutenant convicted of murder for ordering his men to fire upon three Afghans.

“Paul Slough and his colleagues didn’t deserve to spend one minute in prison,” said Brian Heberlig, a lawyer for one of the four pardoned Blackwater defendants. “I am overwhelmed with emotion at this fantastic news.”

In Iraq?  Aqeel Najim, Kareem Khadder and Kara Fox (CNN) report:

"My message to US President Trump is to not pardon or release the perpetrators, they are terrorists," Jasim Mohammed Al-Nasrawi, a police officer who was injured in the attack, told CNN over the phone from Baghdad on Wednesday.
"I am still not a hundred percent recovered from my head wound, which [was] sustained in the gunfire by Blackwater guards in 2007, and have not been completely compensated for the attack. I will not waive my right to this case, I am not giving up," he added.
Al-Nasrawi, who attended the trial in the US as a witness, said he had received some compensation following the ruling, but believes he is owed more.

Any anger over the pardons is understandable and we have covered the slaughter in depth.  Martin Chulov and Michael Safi (GUARDIAN) do a service by noting the following:

The 14 victims killed by the Blackwater guards were Ahmad Haitham Ahmad al-Rubaie, Mahassin Mohssen Kadhum Al-Khazali, Osama Fadhil Abbas, Ali Mohammed Hafedh Abdul Razzaq, Mohamed Abbas Mahmoud, Qasim Mohamed Abbas Mahmoud, Sa’adi Ali Abbas Alkarkh, Mushtaq Karim Abd Al-Razzaq, Ghaniyah Hassan Ali, Ibrahim Abid Ayash, Hamoud Sa’eed Abttan, Uday Ismail Ibrahiem, Mahdi Sahib Nasir and Ali Khalil Abdul Hussein.

They undercut their solid work with nonsense like this:

As the incoming president, Biden is certain to be lobbied heavily by Iraqi officials to reverse the decision. “It will be the first thing we discuss with him,” said an aide to Mustafa al-Kadhimi, the Iraqi prime minister.

If you're so stupid that you write something like that, maybe you shouldn't write.

I have not slammed this pardon.  My stance is the same and has been throughout the life of this site -- 16 years now -- and throughout my own life.  I don't slam pardons.  Doesn't mean I agree with them.  I don't police the pardon power.  I believe that, among others, Leonard Peltier should be pardoned.  

The pardon is a right granted the US president by the Constitution.  I think more pardons should be granted.  For some on the right, Peltier is off limits and deserve to rot in prison.  I don't agree with that.  I see him as a political prisoner.  I don't go reactionary on their choices because I do not like it when they go reactionary on leftists in needs of pardon.

But the stupidity here is that Joe Biden, when he becomes president, or anyone who is president, can overturn another president's pardons.  That would destroy the whole power the Constitution grants.  It would lead to back and forths to the end of time -- back and forths that would do on well past the death of the person pardoned.  

For the power to exist, it has to exist: Meaning a president has the right to pardon.  When you take back or overturn that power, don't pretend it exists.

There is no legal precedent for overturning a presidential pardon.  For THE GUARDIAN to fail to note that is fake news of the worst sort.  

And do not e-mail me with garbage about Andrew Johnson's pardons and what President Ulysses S. Grant did.  That's not the same thing.  Johnson pardoned two people but the pardons weren't issued.  They were delivered but basically intentionally not opened and recognized.  As a result, new President Grant pulled them back.  Had they been opened and the two men set free, Grant couldn't have done what he did.  We do not live in the days of the Pony Express.  Trumps pardons have been issued and are recognized.  This is in no way a similar situation.  

The nonsense from THE GUARDIAN will be read and give people false hope of something that will not happen -- that might include people in Iraq.  Shame on them.  Again, that is the epitome of fake news.

Win Without War issued a statement that includes, "With today’s pardon, Trump once again sent a signal to the world that while the United States government supposedly champions human rights, when it comes to taking responsibility for its own actions, it will happily excuse even the most heinous crimes."

Actually, the stronger message sent is that Win Without War is a piece of crap, do-nothing group.  They have no message on Iraq nor do they recognize the ongoing war.  They are a partisan organization which only exists to tar and feather Republicans.  Would that tar and feathering Republicans end the never-ending war, I'd gladly join in.  But the reality is that Democrats have also allowed the war to continue -- not to mention allowed it to start.

For opposition to the pardon that is actually ethically grounded, see Patrick Martin's response at WSWS

We'll wind down with this from Andrew Bacevich's latest column at COMMON DREAMS:

Surely, though, war has contributed in no small way to “the bloated mass of rank unwieldy woe” besetting our nation today. And were Merle Haggard to update “Are the Good Times Really Over?” he would doubtless include the 2003 invasion and occupation of Iraq alongside Vietnam as prominent among the factors that have sent this country caroming downward.

In the evening of my life, as I reflect on the events of our time that ended up mattering most, the wars in Vietnam and Iraq top my list. Together, they define the poles around which much of my professional life has revolved, whether as a soldier, teacher, or writer. It would be fair to say that I'm haunted by those two conflicts.

I could write pages and pages on how Vietnam and Iraq differ from each other, beginning with the fact that they are separated in time by nearly a half-century. Locale, the contours of the battlefields, the character of combat, the casualties inflicted and sustained, the sheer quantity of ordnance expended -- when it comes to such measures and others, Vietnam and Iraq differ greatly. Yet while those differences are worth noting, it’s the unappreciated similarities between them that are truly instructive.

Seven such similarities stand out:

First, Vietnam and Iraq were both avoidable: For the United States, they were wars of choice. No one pushed us. We dove in headfirst.

Second, both turned out to be superfluous, undertaken in response to threats -- monolithic Communism and Iraqi weapons of mass destruction -- that were figments of fevered imaginations. In both cases, cynicism and moral cowardice played a role in paving the way toward war. Dissenting voices were ignored.

Third, both conflicts proved to be costly distractions. Each devoured on a prodigious scale resources that might have been used so much more productively elsewhere. Each diverted attention from matters of far more immediate importance to Americans. Each, in other words, triggered a massive hemorrhage of bloodtreasure, and influence to no purpose whatsoever.

Fourth, in each instance, political leaders in Washington and senior commanders in the field collaborated in committing grievous blunders. War is complicated. All wars see their share of mistakes and misjudgments. But those two featured a level of incompetence unmatched since Custer’s Last Stand.

Fifth, thanks to that incompetence, both devolved into self-inflicted quagmires. In Washington, in Saigon, and in Baghdad’s “Green Zone,” baffled authorities watched as the control of events slipped from their grasp. Meanwhile, in the field, U.S. troops flailed about for years in futile pursuit of a satisfactory outcome.

Sixth, on the home front, both conflicts left behind a poisonous legacy of unrest, rancor, and bitterness. Members of the Baby Boom generation (to which I belong) have chosen to enshrine Vietnam-era protest as high-minded and admirable. Many Americans then held and still hold a different opinion. As for the Iraq War, it contributed mightily to yawning political cleavages that appear unlikely to heal anytime soon.

And finally, with both political and military elites alike preferring simply to move on, neither war has received a proper accounting. Their place in the larger narrative of American history is still unsettled. This may be the most important similarity of all. Both Vietnam and Iraq remain bizarrely undigested, their true meaning yet to be discerned and acknowledged. Too recent to forget, too confounding to ignore, they remain anomalous.

The American wars in Vietnam and Iraq are contradictions that await resolution.

And we'll note this tweet from Middle East Research and Information Project:

1. January will see the start of the Biden Administration, and with the transfer of power, MERIP believes U.S. #ForeignPolicy in the #MiddleEast could use an overhaul. Read our policy manifesto from the spring issue, Exit Empire:

The following sites updated:


Thursday, December 24, 2020

One main thought

A lot of e-mails came in today after the snapshot went up at THE COMMON ILLS.

I don't know what to say.  I'd like to be forgiving but I just don't feel it.

Now a number of you who e-mailed to condem me last month are saying, "Oh, I just got it."

Did you?

How good for you.  That wipes away all the awful things you said about me in e-mails to me, right?

If you're late to the party. right before Thanksgiving, we flew into San Francisco to be with C.I.  We did so a private plane.  We did so with the plan to stay as long as necessary (we are still there).  We did so without asking you for a penny.

But somehow this became your event to comment on.  This became your means to attack and shame me.

How dare I, during the pandemic, travel. How dare I risk the lives of others.

Never got whose life I was risking on a chartered plane or in a friend's home, but I never got why it was your right to condemn me to begin with.

Now that you put two-and-two together -- C.I. had surgery today -- you're realizing that C.I. has been sick, that she's written of that for several months and you're finally putting two and two together and realizing that this (a) could have been our last Thanksgiving together (we've celeberated the holiday together since freshman year of college) and (b) that I was also hear for the surgery.

Now you're sorry that you said so many mean things in e-mails.

Again, I'd love to tell you I forgive you.  I don't think I can though.   

I'm sure some people didn't think what I was doing was smart but they didn't feel the need to condemn me for it.  I'm sure some didn't care one way or another.  But those of you who needed to use me to make yourselves feel better?  I don't know that I forgive.

"Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):

Wednesday, December 23, 2020.  This is going to be a brief snapshot.  And I warned yesterday that it would be late.  I just got out of surgery and I'm still woozy so this isn't going to be very long.

Rakmini Callimachi has been exposed as a fabricator and a racist.  THE NEW YORK TIMES 'reporter' is in free fall.  Brian Cathcart (BYLINE TIMES) notes, "After a lengthy internal investigation, the New York Times (NYT) has issued a series of corrections and apologies relating to work by one of its star reporters, terrorism specialist Rukmini Callimachi, winner of both a Pulitzer Prize and an Emmy. Callimachi, who has admitted only limited errors, has been moved to other duties."  Sana Saeed (AJPLUS -- scroll down) points out:

Caliphate, like most journalism around "terrorism" and "Muslim violence" or "radicalization," relied on unconfirmed sources, displayed disregard for usual ethical and factual considerations in reporting, and uncritically accepted the Global “War On Terror” (GWOT) narrative. The latter, in particular, introduced us to a lexicon of terms and ideas that reinforce the concept of a looming, amorphous threat of brown and Black bogeymen from the lands of sand and oil.

As an example, take the term “radicalization” – there’s no agreed upon criteria for how to define this term for any group. State bodies like the FBI have long exploited that ambiguity, and the media has followed suit. Think back to that moment when a horde of reporters in 2015 went into the San Bernardino shooters’ home and examined innocuous Muslim ritual beads and books as proof of brewing “radicalization.”

The Caliphate project and Callimachi's work were simply well-produced exercises in fearmongering rooted in racist tropes of Muslim/Muslim-adjacent subjects – even if you take out the fraudulent story of Shehroze Chaudhry, aka “Abu Huzayfah.”

Very rarely, if ever, does this strain of journalism focus on anything other than so-called “radical Islamist violence.” Other forms of nonstate political violence such as white nationalist or militias will be categorized under other beats. In doing so, nonstate violence by groups and individuals identified as Muslim or using language derived from Islam to package their political goals (whether or not it’s “actually Islam” becomes irrelevant) is pathologized; it becomes something unique, cosmic and disconnected from the historical circumstances and material conditions.

And in this process, there is a mass dehumanization of Muslims.

Irena Akbar points out:

Rukmini Callimachi’s post-2014 reporting in NYT stands officially discredited today but it has done the damage of creating the most evil, bizarre, barbaric stereotype of Muslims which has been used by Islamophobic governments around the world in their anti-Muslim propagandas.

In the US, we pretend to be offended by anti-Muslim hate and racism against Arabs.  We pretend.  A blowhard like Donald Trump makes an idiotic statement and we all pretend to be outraged.  Pretend.  That's become so obvious.

Bill Maher continues to host a program on HBO despite his non-stop attacks on Arabs and Muslims.  And Rukmini's actions are ignored.

Ignored?  Why this or that reported on them!!!!

FAIR.  Where's FAIR?  FAIR calls out THE NEW YORK TIMES for everything.  Except racism against Arabs.  They've published posts at FAIR as late as yesterday but not one word on Rukmini.  What about the other media watchdog?  What about POYNTER?  Nothing.  This is the biggest media story of the week and not one word at the media watchdog POYNTER.

Again, in the US we pretend to be bothered by racism . . . except when the racism is used to justify war.  Then all our 'brave' watchdogs look the other way.  Racism that demonizes humans as 'the other' doesn't get called out.  They're all Bill Maher in the media apparently -- which means they are all disgusting.

BBC NEWS reports:

US President Donald Trump has pardoned four former Blackwater security guards convicted over their involvement in the killing of 14 Iraqi civilians in 2007.

Nicholas Slatten, Paul Slough, Evan Liberty and Dustin Heard opened fire in Baghdad's Nisoor Square while escorting an American diplomatic convoy.

The White House said the pardons were supported by the public and lawmakers.

But the father of a boy who died called them "indescribable" and a rights group said Mr Trump had hit a "new low".

Yes, that is disgusting.  But as the western media is making clear, the lives of people in the Middle East do not matter.  They won't waste time defending them.  There will be a little outcry regarding the Blackwater issue because it can be used to attack Donald Trump.  But it's all pretense and that's obvious by their refusal to call out Rukmini.

Again, in the US, it's Christmas time and that's supposed to be about humanity and peace and love and compassion and being grateful.  You'd never know as the intrinsic racist nature of the corporate media --and much of the 'alternative' media -- is on full display yet again.

Malaysia's HERALD notes:

Christmas is a propitious time "for reconciliation and to achieve peace," writes the Chaldean patriarch Card Louis Raphael Sako in his Christmas letter to the faithful, recalling the apostolic letter "Fratelli tutti" in which Pope Francis invites us to "be brothers, rather than fight each other".

He continues "Christians and Muslims should leave their differences aside, love and serve each other as family members. Let us join hands as one team to change our situation and overcome these crises and give the priority to our homeland, by mutual respect that consolidate values of coexistence."

For Iraqi Christians the Christmas holidays represent a double celebration: because, for the first time, it will be a celebration of the whole nation, without making distinctions between Christians and Muslims. A joy and satisfaction that are the prelude to the visit by Pope Francis, who in early March will make an apostolic journey - the first abroad since the beginning of the new coronavirus pandemic - to the Arab nation, touching symbolic places: from Baghdad to Mosul, passing through Ur dei Caldei and the plain of Nineveh, the cradle of the Christian presence in the country.

The Patriarch writes: "For the past two decades, we have celebrated Christmas in an insecure condition that continue to worsen significantly in 2020 due to Corona pandemic in an unprecedented way. Moreover, we were obliged to suspend prayers and pastoral activities in our Churches since March 2020 for the safety of our people.".

We live in a disappointing time in a disappoint nation with really no one to look up to.

AOC is a non-stop embarrassment,  Jimmy Dore has noted this repeatedly.  But did no one catch this Tweet from AOC?



you stood by in total silence when your GOP colleague called a Congresswoman a “f— b—“ on the Capitol steps in front of press. You weren’t big enough to speak then, & you don’t get to sob now. BTW that is the right word for those who fleece & scam working families.

Marco Rubio didn't rush to defend AOC.  And so she thinks its payback that's she not defending him or anyone else as Joe Biden's staffer offers curse words about Republicans?

Payback, is that what you're offering, AOC?  Then you are useless and I'm sorry I defended you when you were called a bitch.  If you were offended when your were name called, you should be willing to step and defend others.  You're not doing that, you're being a hypocrite.  You have nothing to offer except to reveal what a tremendous fake you truly are.

Nancy Pelosi is awful, no question, but AOC is kidding herself if she thinks she herself has the maturity to replace Nancy.

New content at THIRD:

The following sites updated:

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

NYT needs to fire Rukmini Callimachi

Rukmini Callimachi is the new Judith Miller.  She 'reported' things that were not true.  She was a joke.  Many people praised over the last years.  Not C.I., C.I. was on to her as far back as 2014.  Last week, Rukmini lost two awards she'd won for her 'reporting' -- they were taken away from her.  Because she's a liar.  

People like Glenn Greenwald were praising her.  Again, as far back as March of 2014, C.I. was calling her the new Judith Miller.  C.I. was right.  Glenn and the others?  Wrong.

They praised a serial liar who served up racist tropes.

Rukmini is a disgrace today.  As far as I'm concerned, equally disgraced are the people like Glenn Greenwald who praised her in real time.  There's no excuse for it.  Yes, C.I.'s smart but she saw all of this back in 2014 -- others should have too.

Another should?  THE NEW YORK TIMES should fire Rukmini.  She has no credibility left.  Reassigning her, as they have announced they will do, is not enough.

"Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):

 Monday, December 21, 2020.  THE NEW YORK TIMES has another 'star' 'reporter' imploding.

Rukmini Maria Callimachi -- THE NEW YORK TIMES made her a star 'journalist.'  Not because of serious reporting but because of attention getting stunts.  Long before she broke every ethical rule in the book by smuggling evidence and records of terrorism out of Iraq, her journalism was already problematic.  The Sunnis were the first to complain on social media about her coverage which was reductive and racist.  Then we learned that she was lunching with the militants (militia members) she was covering and this after two journalists contacted us to state that she was not reporting the abuses the militia was carrying out -- even when she witnessed them.

Her fellow reporters at THE TIMES also had problems with the 'star.'  Eric Wemple (WASHINGTON POST) reports:


Several Times journalists who had long ago alerted their superiors to problems with Callimachi’s reporting felt that the Times’s mea culpa contained a gap: Where was the pointed acknowledgment that “Caliphate” was a wreck several years in the making? Sure, the editor’s note cited editorial breakdowns in the vetting of the podcast series. But why not admit that editors shunted aside complaints about Callimachi long before assistant managing editor Sam Dolnick approached Callimachi about making a podcast on the Islamic State?

Those journalists had reason to believe such an admission was afoot. On Thursday, top editors at the Times presided over a meeting with staffers who had worked with Callimachi over the years. Multiple sources who attended the meeting described it as a painful affair in which masthead officials acknowledged lapses in management and their subordinates blasted them for not acting on their flares.

Particularly outspoken was C.J. Chivers, a former foreign correspondent and now a staff writer for the New York Times Magazine. Chivers was among the first Times reporters to channel his worries to editors at the paper. For his presentation at the Thursday meeting, Chivers spoke from prepared remarks. He said: “Warnings were not just dead letters. They became a basis to impugn people personally and professionally.”

 [. . .]

Staffers had a great deal to say. One objected that Callimachi’s work had embraced stereotypes of Muslims and that if the newspaper had treated African Americans in the same way, the Times would have much bigger problems. A staffer from the Washington bureau noted that a masthead official had warned journalists in the capital to independently verify Callimachi’s contributions to collaborative stories. Another gripe: Washington reporters were commonly hauled in at the 11th hour to buttress reporting in Callimachi’s stories. Such a scenario occurred in Chapter 6 of “Caliphate,” when three D.C. reporters were drafted to press U.S. officials on the alleged activities of Abu Huzayfah.

THE POST's Liz Sly summarizes Erik Wemple's article in the Tweet below:

New York Times staffers raised red flags about


's reporting for years before the Caliphate fiasco & were accused of "professional jealousy." Now they are furious those flags aren't being acknowledged by the


non-apology. By


Hashoomi Tweets:

The fact that can still label herself a journalist at the is a stain on organisation’s reputation and credibility. Ignoring native voices and false construction of narratives should not be encouraged in creative media, and film, let alone journalism

At MONDOWEISS, James North explains:

Genuine experts on the Mideast, West Africa and Jihadism have been raising doubts about Rukimini Callimachi’s reporting for years. One of the best critiques, by the journalist and author Laila Al-Arian, starts by providing simple information that the Times’s half-hearted apology left out. Callimachi’s podcast says she found Chaudhry, the ISIS fraud, “though a researcher named Anat Agron.” She didn’t add that Agron works for MEMRI (the Middle East Media Research Institute), the pro-Israel organization notorious for “mistranslating items and cherry-picking incendiary sources” that are aimed at portraying the Arab and Muslim world negatively, as Al-Arian says. She also notes that Callimachi speaks little or no Arabic, which would seem to be a drawback for a jihadism expert.

Al-Arian eloquently summarizes what’s been fundamentally wrong all along with Callimachi’s work:

I believe Callimachi’s reporting on ISIS over-emphasizes religious ideology while stripping the group’s emergence and growth from its geopolitical context, specifically Iraq, a country that was destroyed by the 2003 U.S. invasion and occupation, which also led to the destabilization of the region as a whole. A leitmotif of her work is that ISIS and other jihadi groups are a legitimate and perhaps revealing manifestation of Islam.

Another genuine expert who the Times did not seek out is Alex Thurston, a professor at the University of Cincinnati who has just published a remarkable book called Jihadists of North Africa and the Sahel. Thurston warns that Callimachi is an example of what he calls “terrorology” — by which he means “deliberately alarmist and reductive analysis of jihadist movements and ‘terrorist groups.’” He notes that Callimachi “has a pattern of outsourcing much of her analysis to terrorologists such as those at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies (FDD) and its spinoffs.” (The FDD, of course, is the pro-Israel think tank in Washington, D.C. that spends much of its energy trying to instigate the U.S. into attacking Iran.)

Let's drop back to the Jun 9, 2017 snapshot:

Let's check in on our decade's new Judith Miller: Rukmini Callimachi (yes, that does sound like a figure from the Brothers Grimm):

Replying to 
7. Analysts have long that the ppl running Amaq can't be just in Iraq/Syria bc of how quickly they claim attacks & bc they upload videos:



Rukmini fancies herself a terrorist expert.

Isn't that cute.

Judith Miller, of course, started with THE PROGRESSIVE.

You may remember that when the magazine was celebrating its anniversary (they said the 100th, but no, it wasn't), they failed to note Judith once in their look back on the past.

Judith Miller ended up a terrorism 'expert' herself.

Remember, that's how Oprah Winfrey presented Judith on her talk show when she brought Judith on to promote the upcoming Iraq War and then Oprah attacked the audience member who dared to point out that Judith was presenting non-facts as facts.

Glenn Greenwald loved him some Judith Miller back then -- part of the reason he supported the Iraq War.


He loves him some Rukmini.

Rukmini's been hired by THE NEW YORK TIMES mainly to prove that they learned nothing from the Judith Miller fiasco.

Which is how Rukmini was in Mosul (as an embed -- as they say, "embed roughly means 'legs spread'").

And we called out her nonsense.

But there was Glenn Glenn, in love again, reTweeting her because critical abilities are in short supply apparently.

While Rukmini filed her propaganda and Tweeted her nonsense about how wonderful things were, a real reporter did real journalism.

Ali Arkady did not file fluff.

His documentation of what is taking place in Mosul has been covered by RT and ABC NEWS.

"Negative coverage will get you kicked out of Mosul."

They had nothing to worry about with regards to Rukmini, did they?

From Brian Ross' ABC NEWS report:

Officers of an elite Iraqi special forces unit, praised by U.S. military commanders earlier this year for its role in fighting ISIS, directed the torture and execution of civilians in Mosul in at least six distinct incidents caught on tape.

“That's a murder,” retired Green Beret Lt. Col. Scott Mann told ABC News after reviewing the graphic footage. “There should be punishment for anyone doing it. It's reprehensible and it shouldn't be allowed on any modern battlefield."

The alarming footage was smuggled out of Iraq by a prize-winning Iraqi photojournalist, Ali Arkady, who spent months embedded in combat with the elite Iraqi troops leading the fight against ISIS late last year. Since turning over his cache of photos and videos to ABC News, he says he has received death threats from the soldiers he once considered friends and has now fled Iraq to seek asylum in Europe.

"This is happening all the time," Arkady said of the war crimes he documented, which he recounted in an exclusive interview with ABC News’ Brian Ross broadcast Thursday on ABC's World News Tonight with David Muir and Nightline.

Am I wrong that Glenn hasn't been eager to promote this story?

I know he's got a lot of problems right now because THE INTERCEPT burned a source -- intentionally or not, it doesn't matter, they burned her.

Nothing is going to change that.

There should be an apology (not a blood letting) and they should announce how they will do their best not to burn another source in the future.

So, yes, he has problems, but so does Iraq and he needs to be Tweeting about that if he can't write about it.

He has found time to reTweet Rukmini.

It's a shame he can't use his Twitter feed to amplify real reporting on Iraq.

But that's a shame many share and part of the reason the Iraq War is on year 14 and counting (more if we backdate to the sanctions, et al).

You can call Rukmini many things -- the new Judith Miller, the Hobby Lobby of Journalists, a disgrace -- you just can't seriously call her a reporter -- not a good one.  People need to grasp how serious this is -- that she saw the unit she was embedded with execute civilians and she didn't report it (we first noted that allegation March 3, 2017).  Not only that, when others did report it, she insisted she never saw any abuse on the part of Iraqi forces (militia).  

The paper learned nothing from the Judith Miller scandal.  

Rukmini's racism fed a narrative that is part of the paper's continued war on Muslims.  They ramped up that war after 9-11 and it's allowed them to run with any claim and present it as fact -- as verified fact.  Laila al-Alarian Tweets:

Since there seems to be no retribution for a monumental failure like Caliphate, which was downloaded by millions, helped shape narratives and policies, proves my original point that there's a double standard when it comes to media coverage of the Middle East and lack of scrutiny.

Rabab Abdulhadi Tweets:

: a slap on the wrist "reassignment" is not a sufficient response to #Islamophobia & #racism. Firing
& taking down #caliphate #podcast series is the only option to remedy "institutional failure." Will
end #misrepresentations & #distortions?

We need to all grasp that it's not just that Rukmini filed garbage, it's that the paper let her do so.  They do very little coverage of Iraq to begin with.  And they let her nonsense flood the paper, they created a podcast series for her and they called this Middle East reporting.  They pimped that garbage as evidence that they were covering the region.  Real stories and real issues were ignored so that Rukmini's garbage could 'flood the zone.'  The damage done is not just the lies that she wrote and the paper printed, it's that her garbage prevented other coverage from breaking through.

And when does NYT's Assistant Managing Editor Sam Dolnick get called to the carpet?  As I remember it, when they won a Peabody for the podcast (and were praised by Ronan Farrow), the first person named when Rukmini's partner Andy Mills accepted the award.  Am I remembering that wrong?  (No, I'm not.  I also remember Andy crying in his speech as he spoke of the importance of good journalism.  I thought his cry baby nonsense was comical in real time and it's only funnier now.)  

On that Peabody, THE TIMES has returned that award.  In addition, Australia's ABC notes, "The Overseas Press Club of America also said it was rescinding its honour for the series."