Saturday, March 20, 2021

F**k you, Katrina vanden Heuvel

Katrina vanden Heuvel runs or ruins -- your choice -- THE NATION.  18 years ago, the Iraq War started.  Katrina and THE NATION used the war to profit from, they posed as big antiwar talkers and their profiles grew.  But they didn't really care because the Iraq War goes on and you'd never know it to read THE NATION.  Visit the website today, as C.I. did, and find nothing on the Iraq War -- on the 18th anniversary, nothing.  

I'm reposting the piece C.I. just wrote for THE COMMON ILLS.


Late, last night, the Iraq War hit the 18 year mark.  Did any US outlet really register that fact?

Visit THE PROGRESSIVE this morning and find nothing about Iraq.  THE NATION?  Their big story is Dave Zirin's latest bad column on the NFL.  Along with that (the main story on the main page of the alleged political weekly), there are 37 other stories.  Guess what?  Not one of those stories is about the Iraq War.   20 stories on the main page of IN THESE TIMES' website.  How many are about Iraq?  Zero.

DEMOCRACY NOW! hailed itself from the start as "the war and peace report."  If you missed it, Goody Whore now calls itself "the quarantine report."   Good because, despite having a full hour on Friday, they didn't bother to cover Iraq.

MINT NEWS PRESS can't seem to find the Iraq War.  

COUNTERPUNCH and CONSORTIUM NEWS do the best -- COUNTERPUNCH offers Vincent Emanuele's "The Iraq War: 18 Years Later" while CONSORTIUM serves up Ann Wright's "18 Years Ago Today the US War on Iraq Began."

COMMON DREAMS does have two pieces, yes.  Only one is worth reading.  They offer Jared Keyel's "After 30 Years of War Against Iraq, Americans Must Make Reparations" and the idiotic "On 18th Anniversary of Iraq Invasion, Activists Renew Calls for US Reparations."


No, you f**king dabblers, Iraq does not need reparations.  Not until they have a functioning government.  The officials now fleece the government, austerity measures are being imposed upon the people.  You do not give a corrupt government money for the people.  It will never get to the people.  All handing over money will do is buy off your own guilt, it's not helping the people of Iraq.  Stop being such idiots and start calling for real and meaningful measures for Iraq -- like US troops out.  And if that means the US-imposed puppet government collapses, so be it.  

Worst of all is ANTIWAR.COM.

Not only is their no essay or blog entry on the Iraq War, there's not even a section for Iraq today.


Margaret Griffith's daily roundup of violence in Iraq?  It appears under "Middle East."  On the 18th anniversary of the ongoing Iraq War, Iraq doesn't even rate its own section.  

Why does ANTIWAR.COM even exist now?  It might as well have died with Justin Raimondo if this is the level of 'coverage' we can expect from it now.  That's hideous.

It is awful that THE NATION serves up click bait instead of addressing real news like the Iraq War.  But it hypocritical for a site calling itself ANTIWAR.COM to fail to seriously note the 18th anniversary of an ongoing war.

This illegal war continues and it does so because a lot of lazy asses are in charge of media outlets in the US.

Not one word from THE NATION.  Not. One. Word.  I do agree that it's revolting that ANTIWAR.COM didn't do a piece on the anniversary.  Repulsive.  

The Iraqi people continue to suffer.  US troops remain on the ground in Iraq.  I'm so sorry that click bait is more important to our outlets than actually doing the job required.

"Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):

 Friday, March 19, 2021.  We're hours away from the 18th anniversary of the start of the Iraq War.

PRESS TV reports, "Four roadside bombs have separately gone off near convoys of trucks carrying equipment belonging to US-led coalition forces in Iraq’s southern provinces of al-Qadisiyah and al-Muthanna as well as the western province of Anbar."  We're almost to the anniversary of the start of the Iraq War and what's really changed?

AP's "Today In History" notes: "George W. Bush ordered the start of war against Iraq. (Because of the time difference, it was early March 20 in Iraq.)"  18 years and so many dead and wounded and for what?  The Iraqi people continue to suffer.


 Unidentified gunmen today opened fire on the headquarters of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) in Iraq's Kurdish region, a police officer said.

"Unidentified gunmen in a car and motorbike fired with machine guns at the headquarters of the Democratic Party in Halabja, Sulaymaniyah province, at dawn today," a police officer told Anadolu Agency on condition of anonymity due to restrictions on speaking to the media.

"The guards at the headquarters responded to the assailants by firing back at them, which prompted them to flee," the source said, adding no casualties were reported.

The Kurdistan Democratic Party is headed by Massoud Barzani, the former president of the Kurdistan Region.  It was formed in 1946 by Massoud's father Mustafa Barzani.  Massoud's son Nechirvan Barzani is the current president of the Kurdistan Region and Massoud's son Masrour Barzani is the prime minister of the Kurdistan Region -- both sons are also members of the KDP.  

BAS NEWS adds:

KDP faction at the Kurdistan Region Parliament condemned the attack and urged security forces to find the perpetrators and face them with justice.

It also blamed the local authorities in Halabja, where the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) is dominant, for failing to protect political offices as such attacks on the KDP are fairly frequent in Sulaymaniyah and Halabja.

The PUK is a rival political party.  In 1975, members of the KDP split off and formed the PUK which is dominated by the Talabani family.  The late Jalal Talabani held the title of president of Iraq from 2006 to 2014.

In other news,  ASHAR AL-AWSAT reports:

Iraqi President Barham Salih revealed on Wednesday new legal measures to recover the looted funds from Iraq.

Since 2003, a year after the ouster of Saddam Hussein, almost $250 billion of Iraqi public funds has vanished.

In a televised interview on Wednesday, Salih said that the presidency intends to introduce a code of conduct to put in place mechanisms to recover the stolen money, which may have gone abroad.

"Corruption is dangerous and needs serious mechanisms to tackle it," he added, noting that despite major challenges, a number of rulings took place regarding corruption cases before.

Salih stressed that striking financial corruption was essential to establishing security.

Will the punished include Nouri al-Maliki?  The former prime minister and forever thug lives a luxury as does his son Ahmed.  This despite Nouri fleeing Iraq in 1979.

That is the common trait of the prime ministers that the US and Iran have imposed upon Iraq -- they are not Iraqis who were living in Iraq their whole lives.  They all spent many years in exile and only returned after the 2003 US-led invasion.

 Here is a list of all the prime ministers since the start of the US-led war in 2003:


2004 prime minister Ayad Allawi fled in 1971.

2005 prime minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari fled to  Iran in 1980/

2006-2014 prime minister Nouri al-Maliki fled in 1979.

2015-2018 prime minister Hayder al-Abadi fled in 1983.

2018 prime minister Adil Abdul al-Mahdi fled in 1969.

2020 prime minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi fled in 1985.

Six prime ministers from 2004 to the present and every single one had fled Iraq.  

Would you want to be ruled by a coward?  Someone who fled your country and only came back after US troops had landed in your country?

Forget that the prime minister never serve the people, they're also not of the people.  Makes it very difficult to establish a legitimate government.  And Iraq doesn't have a legitimate government.

That's one of the reasons Iraqis have been protesting since fall 2019.  And the response of the Iraqi government?  To attack the protesters.


Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi renewed Wednesday the government’s stance on steering clear from the use of live ammunition against demonstrators. 

During a meeting for the Iraqi National Security Council (INSC), the PM rejected attempted attacks on private and public properties and the use of live ammunition to disperse protesters. But he called for providing security forces with the proper equipment to fulfill their duties.  

Maybe they keep shooting live ammo because all Mustafa every does is jaw bone about not doing it.  No one gets punished for doing it.  No one will be punished for doing it earlier this week.  It's become obvious that Mustafa is all talk.  

MEMO notes:

Protesters in Iraq shut down four government buildings in Dhi Qar Governorate on Thursday to highlight rising unemployment in the region.

The buildings were connected to the directorates of education, electricity, the municipality and the Nassiriya Oil Refinery. Angry protesters also closed the governorate administration and the refinery buildings earlier in the week.

Adam Sullivan (THE GAZETTE) notes:

If the Iraq War were a person, it would have to register for the draft by now but still wouldn’t be old enough to buy beer or marijuana. This week marks 18 years since the United States started dropping bombs near Baghdad.

On this date in 2003, George W. Bush went on television and promised to “disarm Iraq, to free its people and to defend the world from grave danger.” It turns out our government was the grave danger.

It would become a historic foreign policy failure, claiming the lives of well over 100,000 Iraqis in addition to some 4,400 U.S. service personnel, including dozens of Iowans. Nearly two decades in, the war is officially over but America still can’t seem to leave.

In Iowa, with our first-in-the-nation presidential nominating contests and our previous status as a swing state, we’ve had outsized influence on presidential politics over the past couple decades. Twice in my voting life, Iowans have helped nominate and elect presidents who promised but ultimately failed to end the Iraq War. I was in junior high when the war started, but I was old enough to vote in those elections.

Barack Obama used his opposition to military interventionism, flimsy in hindsight, as a key point of difference in his 2008 primary against Hillary Clinton, who supported the 2003 invasion as a senator. Iowans rewarded him with an upset caucus victory that helped propel him to the nomination.

“I’ll be a president who ends this war in Iraq and finally brings our troops home,” Obama told a Des Moines crowd in his victory speech on caucus.

After winning the general election with Iowa’s support, Obama failed to deliver on his 18-month promise for withdrawal. His administration eventually did draw down troop presence by the end of 2011, only to re-engage in 2014 against the Islamic State. 

In a letter to the editors of THE GAZETTE, Ed Flaherty writes:

We have spent trillions in the last 18 years on our war in Iraq. Over 4,000 U.S. military members have died, and hundreds of thousands more suffer from PTSD and TBI. We have killed several hundred thousand Iraqis and decimated Iraqi infrastructure. It is time to end our military presence in Iraq. It seems our only purpose there is to have U.S. personnel there as sitting ducks, so when they get attacked, we can escalate our pressure on Iran.

Our invasion of Iraq in 2003 was based on lies. Our continued military presence there serves no useful purpose for Iraq or the United States. This is not a partisan issue, just an issue of common sense and humanity. Support the troops, bring them home.

Dr. Neta C. Crawford and Dr. Catherine Lutz (MILITARY TIMES) observe:

 The war has had various inspiring names: Operation Iraqi Freedom from 2003 to 2010, Operation New Dawn from 2010 to 2011, and Operation Inherent Resolve from August 2014 to the present. At the outset, the Bush administration promised the war would eliminate Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction. That sanctions could never work. That fighting would be quick, cheap at $50 billion to 60 billion, controllable, remake Iraq into a democracy, and be won with few civilian, allied or U.S. military casualties.

If this sounds too good to be true, it’s because it is. The Iraq War at 18 offers lessons for understanding the costs of war. Whatever promises and hopes, war is rarely quick, cheap, effective, or controllable.

The Iraq War continues.  US troops remain in Iraq.  There has never been an exit strategy.  Since the goal appears to try to exhaust the Iraqi people's resistance to a government imposed on them, there probably never will be an exist strategy.

As Iraqis suffer, the US prepares to tell generation after generation, "Sorry, we hocked your future for the Iraq War."

So many lives have been lost, so much money has been squandered.  

The Iraqi people have not seen their lives improve.  They do not have a government that represents them.  They have been told throughout 2020 to prepare for cuts in 2021.  This despite the fact that they live in an oil-rich country.  This despite the fact that Iraq brings in millions and millions daily.  They have been betrayed by the people put in charge.  

US troops have been betrayed by a government that lied to start a war, that fails -- to this day -- to honor their healthcare promises to veterans, that lies to continue the war.  Specifically, they have a president who supported this war and has never done anything to end it and a Congress who acts as though the war long ago ended.  I know Nancy Pelosi's old and addled but I don't think anyone's accused her of Alzheimer's yet.  

The Iraq War goes on and on with no end in sight.  And 'leaders' of the peace movement are as appalling as so-called leaders in Congress.  They got bored and moved on to other topics, ones that might get them publicity.  When there's no follow through from the opposition to war, why should the government listen?

The US government doesn't listen.  

18 years of war on Iraq in this wave of war.  And you'd think the left would be up in arms.  But Iraq rarely pops up at the left websites anymore.  It may in a few hours when Medea Benjamin remembers the anniversary and finds some man to co-write a column with her?

Maybe they'll pretend they care and we'll all pretend like CODESTINK hasn't spent years ignoring Iraq.  And we can pretend that in the summer of 2006, when they staged a big action, they didn't put it on hold to focus on another topic?  We can pretend like Leslie Cagen and UFPJ didn't fold tent the day after Barack Obama was first elected president in 2008?

We'd have to do a lot of pretending to believe that THE PROGRESSIVE, THE NATION, IN THESE TIMES, et al give a damn about the ongoing Iraq War.  Their output makes clear that they don't.

We'll note this video as we wind down.

The following sites updated:

Friday, March 19, 2021

Where is Swalwell's 'I have sinned!' moment?

Jonthan Turley:

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy filed a resolution aimed to remove Democratic Rep. Eric Swalwell from the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. The privileged resolution will force a vote (if only to table to resolution) and members will have to go on record on the scandal. Swalwell reportedly had an intimate relationship with a Chinese spy who raised money for him and helped place individuals in his office. However, he has insisted that he did not reveal classified information and that the FBI found no wrongdoing. Two striking narratives will emerge in the vote.  McCarthy insists that the sealed file shows disqualifying conduct while Democrats have portrayed Swalwell in more heroic terms, including one leading Democrat actually saying that Swalwell deserves to receive the Congressional Medal of Honor for the affair.  Putting aside the manifest ineligibility of Swalwell on both a technical and credible basis, the immediate question is why the file remains sealed in its entirely since the Chinese and its spy already know what happened.  So does Swalwell. The only people in the dark are most voting members and, of course, the voters themselves.  The closed file raises a difficult question balancing the need for an informed vote for members against the need for privacy for an accused member.

The two-page resolution states that Swalwell “has not denied public reporting that a suspected Chinese intelligence operative helped raise money for Representative Swalwell’s political campaigns” and “other troublesome elements of public reporting.” In response, Swalwell denounced the resolution as pure “McCarthyism” for not mentioning that the FBI found “no wrongdoing.”

Eric Swalwell is one of the biggest idiots in Congress (Tulsi Gabbard had to school him on 9/11 in a Democratic Party presidential debate in 2019).  He is an embarrassment and he honestly reminds of Jimmy Swaggart.  (Swaggert?  I don't care enough to look the spelling up.)  

This whole time, we've been hearing about his affair witht he Chinese spy.  It made me wonder, so I looked it up. He is married.  He's a politician who is married and who has just been exposed in the last months as cheating on his wife.  There has been no effort on the part of other politicians to distance themselves from him -- Nancy Pelosi's had him clutched tightly to her bosom.  He also hasn't had to do the political equivalent of a perp walk and show up all over the media with teary eyes confessing that he's 'sinned.'

He's gotten a complete pass.  Can someone explain to me why that is?  Who are his friends in the press that are protecting him so?


"Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):

 Thursday, March 18, 2021.  The 18th anniversary of the start of the Iraq War looms.

The 18th anniversary of the start of the on-going Iraq War approaches.  THE WINNIPEG FREE PRESS notes:

On March 18, 2003: The Winnipeg Free Press reported that U.S. president George W. Bush declared Iraqi president Saddam Hussein had 48 hours to leave the country in exile or the U.S. and its allies would invade. Canadian prime minister Jean Chrétien said Canada would not join the looming war in Iraq because the offensive did not have UN approval; his declaration in the House of Commons was met with a standing ovation.

Reverend Bill Armstrong (LARGS AND MILLPORT WEEKLY NEWS) reflects on that time period:


Have you ever joined a protest march, or written a tetchy letter to a newspaper, or even surprised your friends by standing out from the crowd, taking a stance which may seem to be out of character?

Many years ago, and for the first time in my life, I did such a thing when I joined the march in Glasgow against the impending war in Iraq; I was joined by one of my elders who was similarly concerned. The memory was stirred by the Pope’s recent visit to Iraq. 

The route was from George Square in the city, ending in a rally outside the SECC. No doubt the march had been arranged for that day and place when the then leader of the Labour Party, Tony Blair, was due to address the Labour Party Conference. The chant rose that he should come out and meet the protesters, but he escaped by another way; and the rest is history. 

In a few days, March 21st, someone born after the Iraq War began will be old enough to servce in the US miliary in Iraq.  The war is still going.  Bully Boy Bush and Congress started it, Barack Obama and Donald Trump and Congress continued it and today Joe Biden and the Congress keep it going still. 

At MILITARY.COM,  Retired Army Lt. Col. Daniel L. Davis offers:                                

The U.S. military rushed thousands of combat troops to the Middle East in 1990 to prevent Saddam Hussein from capturing Saudi oil fields and disrupting global oil supplies. More than 30 years and two major land wars later, we're still there -- and still with no plan or strategy to leave.

[. . .]

In a February interview, Lt. Gen. Paul Calvert, commander of American Forces in Iraq and Syria, said that, based on conversations with Iraqi leaders and government officials, "There's a significant amount of concern in terms of the possibilities of an internal Shia civil war between those that are aligned to Iran [and] those that are Shia nationalist."

In fact, added British Army Maj. Gen. Kevin Copsey, unless the Iraqi government "comes up with a proper strategy to deal with them, in five years' time, it could end up tearing the country apart."

I fear that the default answer out of Washington -- whether senior uniformed leaders or elected officials -- will be that U.S. troops "have" to stay in Iraq to stabilize the situation.

As was patently obvious during my 2016 visit -- and as these two generals confirm is still the case -- the political and military fundamentals in Iraq remain hopelessly arrayed against a peaceful end to the fighting. It didn't matter that U.S. troops kept fighting alongside Iraq for the past five years, and it won't matter if they stay the next five years. The result will be the same: continued instability. The good news for Americans, however, is that we don't need to "solve" Iraq's problems to guarantee our security.

There is still no exit strategy just continued war and occupation all these years later.  

There is also still no functional government in Iraq.  MEME reports:

Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi said on Tuesday that the country needs an open, transparent and responsible dialogue to stop the cycle of harsh days.

A government statement noted that Al-Kadhimi had received representatives from Halabja on the 33rd anniversary of the chemical weapons attack carried out on the city by Saddam Hussein's regime.

"Our people have shared harsh and sad days, not only during the dictatorial regime, but also in subsequent periods" said Al-Kadhimi. "The pain must stop. The future of our people must be better than their past, and the responsibility for this transformation lies on our shoulders."

The Iraqi premier explained that the proposed national dialogue initiative is the essence of this hope. He called last week for a national dialogue that includes political and youth forces as well as those representing protesters.

Meet Iraq's AOC, Mustafa al-Kadhimi.  He thinks a dialogue needs to be started.  Isn't that his job?  And the ongoing protests, which started in the fall of 2019, the protesters have been attempting that dialogue.  Their thanks for that?  Being beaten, being kidnapped and being killed.  By Iraqi security forces.  And with each public death, Mustafa offers a public tut-tut but never actually does anything and the violence against the protesters continue.  So his call for a dialogue is as laubhable as everything else he's done (said, actually, he doesn't do much of anything).

A long with the ongoing protests, new ones spring up.  Dilan Sirwan (RUDAW) reports:

Security forces in Sulaimani fired live ammunition to disperse school students protesting in front of the education directorate’s headquarters on Thursday morning, witnesses have told Rudaw.  

Grade 12 students gathered in front of the directorate’s building for the fourth day in a row, a protesting student told Rudaw’s Horvan Rafaat. Protesters are calling for various reforms, including their pre-exam study period to be reverted to 40 days, after it was reduced to 28. 

“What we want is that the 40 days that was reduced to 28 be changed back to 40, and the amount of subject included in exams to be reduced,” Dabin Ibrahim, a protesting student told Rafaat on Wednesday.

Security forces fired into the sky as students attempted to break into the building, several students reported.

A land of orphans and widows, that's what the war left Iraq.

Baghdad, 18 March 2021 - Under the auspices of the Secretary General of the General Secretariat of the Council of Ministers in Baghdad, a conference was held under the title “Displaced Women in Liberated Areas (Challenges and Solutions)”. In the presence of the Minister of Migrations and Displacement (MoMD) and with the participation of a number of international organizations, UN Agencies, Funds and Programmes and various ministries' representatives attendees discussed ways of support to displaced women to return to their areas of origin by setting up their own programs in line with MoMD’s plan. Here is the video message by the Deputy Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Iraq/Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator, Ms. Irena Vojáčková-Sollorano, to the participants of the conference.

The oil rich country continues to see money pour in but it gets lost before it can get to the people (corruption).  ALJAZEERA reports on the Parliament's budget process.

In other news, Sandy Rashty (THE JC) reports:

One of the last Jews living in Iraq has died aged 61.

Dhafar Fouad Eliyahu, a leading orthopaedic doctor at the al-Wasiti hospital in Baghdad, died in the capital on Sunday. There are now believed to be only three Iraqi Jews still in Baghdad.

Iraqis paid tribute to the doctor, a former student at Baghdad’s Jewish school, Frank Iny, who used to provide free medical care to people who could not afford to pay.

According to former classmates now living in London, Dr Eliyahu was highly-academic and could recite textbooks “word by word”.


Edwin Shuker, a Jew born in Baghdad now living in London, wrote about Eliyahou on Facebook:

“Thafer was an orthopedic surgeon, who served Iraq with skills and loyalty to the very last day of his life,” Shuker wrote. “Thafer worked under the most challenging of conditions, especially during the long years of war and sanctions. He continued to treat patients in the state hospitals knowing that many of them were not able to pay towards the treatment but always received each and everyone, with a broad smile and a warm welcome. His modesty was legendary and he will be sorely missed.”

Let's note this  from Restore The Fourth:

The PATRIOT Act's most invasive provisions expired on March 15th, 2020, but some lawmakers and bureaucrats want to bring back this invasive surveillance law so the government can spy on our phone calls, text messages, emails, and Internet history … without a warrant. We can’t let that happen.

Click here to tell your members of Congress to protect everyone in America from invasive government surveillance like the PATRIOT Act.

For years, the US government used the PATRIOT Act to spy on hundreds of millions of Americans, including journalists,1 whistleblowers,2 and protesters.3 They told us this massive surveillance program was necessary to keep us safe from terrorism, but internal review boards found that the government’s spying failed to identify or prevent a single terrorist attack.4 And yet lawmakers continued to renew the PATRIOT Act over and over again.

Thankfully, Congress finally let the most invasive provisions of the PATRIOT Act expire last year, and we’re all safer because of it. But some politicians and government officials have begun openly attacking our privacy rights once again. They’re likely to try to reauthorize the PATRIOT Act, or create a new law to allow them to spy on us. We have to stop them.

Click here to urge your members of Congress to protect our privacy and reject any attempt to reauthorize the PATRIOT Act!

Thanks for all you do,

Alex Marthews, Restore The Fourth

[1] The Intercept

[2] CNN

[3] Brennan Center

[4] Vox

We'll wind down with this from Glenn Greenwald (SUBSTACK):

Journalists with the largest and most influential media outlets disseminated an outright and quite significant lie on Tuesday to hundreds of thousands of people, if not millions, on Twitter. While some of them were shamed into acknowledging the falsity of their claim, many refused to, causing it to continue to spread up until this very moment. It is well worth examining how they function because this is how they deceive the public again and again, and it is why public trust in their pronouncements has justifiably plummeted.

The lie they told involved claims of Russian involvement in the procurement of Hunter Biden’s laptop. In the weeks leading up to the 2020 election, The New York Post obtained that laptop and published a series of articles about the Biden family’s business dealings in Ukraine, China and elsewhere. In response, Twitter banned the posting of any links to that reporting and locked The Post out of its Twitter account for close to two weeks, while Facebook, through a long-time Democratic operative, announced that it would algorithmically suppress the reporting.

The excuse used by those social media companies for censoring this reporting was the same invoked by media outlets to justify their refusal to report the contents of these documents: namely, that the materials were “Russian disinformation.” That claim of “Russian disinformation” was concocted by a group of several dozen former CIA officials and other operatives of the intelligence community devoted to defeating Trump. Immediately after The Post published its first story about Hunter Biden’s business dealings in Ukraine that traded on his influence with his father, these career spies and propagandists, led by Obama CIA Director and serial liar John Brennan, published a letter asserting that the appearance of these Biden documents “has all the classic earmarks of a Russian information operation.”

News outlets uncritically hyped this claim as fact even though these security state operatives themselves admitted: “We want to emphasize that we do not know if the emails…are genuine or not and that we do not have evidence of Russian involvement -- just that our experience makes us deeply suspicious that the Russian government played a significant role in this case.” Even though this claim came from trained liars who, with uncharacteristic candor, acknowledged that they did not “have evidence” for their claim, media outlets uncritically ratified this assertion.

This was a topic I discussed extensively in October when I announced my resignation from The Intercept after senior editors — for the first time in seven years — violated the contractual prohibition on editorial interference in my journalism by demanding I significantly alter my reporting about these documents by removing the sections that reflected negatively on Biden. What I found particularly galling about their pretense that they have such high-level and rigorous editorial standards — standards they claimed, for the first time ever, that my article failed to meet — was that a mere week prior to their censorship of my article, they published an article by a different journalist which, at a media outlet we created with the explicit purpose of treating government claims with skepticism, instead treated the CIA’s claims of “Russian disinformation” as fact. Even worse, when they quoted the CIA’s letter, they omitted the part where even those intelligence agents acknowledged that they had no evidence for their assertion. From The Intercept on October 21:

Their latest falsehood once again involves Biden, Ukraine, and a laptop mysteriously discovered in a computer repair shop and passed to the New York Post, thanks to Trump crony Rudy Giuliani….. The U.S. intelligence community had previously warned the White House that Giuliani has been the target of a Russian intelligence operation to disseminate disinformation about Biden, and the FBI has been investigating whether the strange story about the Biden laptop is part of a Russian disinformation campaign. This week, a group of former intelligence officials issued a letter saying that the Giuliani laptop story has the classic trademarks of Russian disinformation.

Oh my, marvel at those extremely rigorous editorial standards: regurgitating serious accusations from ex-CIA operatives without bothering to note that they were unaccompanied by evidence and that even those agents admitted they had none. But, as they usually do these days, The Intercept had plenty of company in the corporate media. 

ADDED: I meant for the video below to be included today.  We'll also include it tomorrow but, if it's not included today, I'll forget it.

The following sites updated:

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Truth arrives late if at all

Jonathan Turley notes that THE WASHINGTON POST provides a correction to a story . . . three months later:

The Post now admits that it’s bombshell report from early January was wrong and that Trump never told Watson to “find the fraud” and that she would be “a national hero.” Rather, Trump stated that if the officials did a neutral investigation “you’re going to find things” including “dishonesty” – a position consistent with his electoral challenge. I still view Trump’s statements to be irresponsible and unwise. He should not have been on these calls in the first place and many of us criticized his rhetoric leading up the January 6th riot.

CNN has also been criticized for claiming that it confirmed the statements independently.  Other  media outlets confirmed the account as true and neither Watson nor any other official familiar with the calls corrected the false account for months. The story notably ran just before the Georgia elections and was used extensively in the coverage and the campaign.

I previously wrote about these exchanges in challenging arguments by figures like NYU law professor (and former Mueller deputy) Andrew Weissmann that Trump’s remarks clearly established the basis for a criminal charge. As a longtime criminal defense attorney, I believe these statements fall short of the type of clear criminal intent asserted by Weissmann.

Yet, other legal experts rushed to join the declarations of presumptive guilt.  Worse still, the House eagerly latched on to the story to support Trump’s second impeachment. Rep. Madeleine Dean, D-Pa., repeated the false quote and insisted that “Trump urged him [sic], ‘Find the fraud,’ and claimed the official would be a national hero if he [sic] did. Let’s call this what it is. He was asking the official to say there was evidence of fraud when there wasn’t any.”

After the lie has served all the purpose it could, months after, THE WASHINGTON POST finally does a correction.

"TV: Representation, inclusion and the message sent" (Ava and C.I., THE THIRD ESTATE SUNDAY REVIEW):


Last week, one of us noted that Glenn Greenwald was a sexist and that was apparently big news to many judging by e-mails. Yes, sexism still exists, Virginia.

And how do we judge it? By actions. Not just by words, but also by actions. Check out, for example, Glenn's Twitter feed. Notice how many men he reTweets and how few women. Check out what he did at THE INTERCEPT. He was part of creating a new news outlet and, as we noted throughout in the early years, it was male, male, male. In fact, you could argue more men with bylines have quit the outlet than women with bylines have been hired to this day. THE INTERCEPT was created in 2014, not 1914. There's no reason it couldn't have parity. But it was -- and still remains -- pretty much a Boys Only Clubhouse. Don't bring up Betsy Reed, not to us. She's a useless person who is known as a woman hater. Sell the pro-Betsy garbage to two people who didn't compile the stats for THE NATION in 2006 when Bisty Ditsy Betsy was an editor over there. Yes, girls and boys, women can be sexist as well. Gloria Steinem long ago defined the type of woman Betsy Reed is as a "queen bee." As Gloria explains in REVOLUTION FROM WITHIN, some women want to be the token in the room -- which would explain how THE NATION published 491 male bylines in 2006 and only 149 female bylines.

It would also explain why Betsy recruited Naomi for THE INTERCEPT. We find it hilarious that Naomi got the Gloria Steinem Chair at Harvard. First, Naomi's not a feminist and has been vocal in the past about that. Second, she's a citizen of Canada where she grew up. She grew up there because her father self-checked out of the military during Vietnam and went to Canada. Despite how this benefited her, she refused to use her writing -- even once -- to champion the war resisters of today's war. In fact, before we began calling her out for her silence, most in the US and in Canada had no idea that Naomi was the child of a war resister. The closest she ever came to vocalizing that reality was on Al Franken's AIR AMERICA RADIO SHOW where she indicated she was frightened that Bully Boy Bush might put a stop to her ability to enter the US. She then clammed up and refused to elaborate. Naomi's always been in it for herself. Another reason we find it hilarious -- and telling -- would be that Harvard is the home of war and more war -- especially the Carr Center but not only the Carr Center. We'd argue Naomi is exactly where she belongs and that a chair in the name of former CIA employee Gloria Steinem is perfectly in keeping with Naomi's image.

To drop back to Glenn, we don't think he's the most sexist man or woman in media or on the face of the planet. We'd place his sexism at a two on a scale with ten being the worst.

Most sexist? That's an interesting call and we say that because a number of writers online have decided that "Wives & Lovers" is the most sexist song.


The song appears over the opening titles of the 90s hit FIRST WIVES CLUB and is sung by Dionne Warwick. The song was also recorded by Jack Jones back in the sixties and he won a Grammy for his vocal. Recorded by both a man and a woman. Does that make a difference? "Under My Thumb" by the Rolling Stones is often seen as a sexist song. We know it better via Tina Turner's version. Was it sexist when she recorded it?

Hal Davis and Burt Bacharach wrote the song back in 1963. Does that change the way we view it?

We're asking. We think a lot of people should be asking. We need a dialogue and we need many opinions.

There's a lot I could have pull quoted but I'm going with that part.

"Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):

 Tuesday, March 16, 2021.  More attacks on US interests in Iraq (another reason to withdraw all US troops), more spin and lies from Joe Biden, and much more.

Attacks continue in Iraq and attacks on US interests in Iraq continue just as the start of the US led war is about to hit the 18th year mark.  THE DAILY SABAGH reports:

Seven rockets targeted an Iraqi air base housing U.S. troops north of Baghdad on Monday, a security source said, the latest in a string of attacks Washington routinely blames on Iran-linked factions.

Previously, an American sub-contractor was killed in a similar attack against another air base, Ain Al-Assad, in Iraq's western desert.

AFP notes, "The attacks had come to a near-complete halt in October following a truce with the hardliners, but have since resumed."  Yesterday, the Iranian government denied the previous attacks.  At RUDAW, Majeed Guy, reporting from the United Nations, stated there were few who didn't believe Iran was behind the attacks in Iraq.  Whether they were behind it or not, and with proof or not, US President Joe Biden ended the month of February by ordering retaliation by bombing . . . Syria.  Geography may not be the new president's strong suit -- but then what is?

Tensions escalate and the notion of proof or evidence or even straight forward statements fall by the wayside, lost in the smog -- not fog -- of war.  Apparently, the peacemakers may be blessed but they aren't on the US payroll.  Last week, Pope Francis completed a mission of peace to Iraq  -- the first trip to Iraq ever by a pope.  As we noted throughout the visit and ahead of the visit, the US press went out of their way to belittle the visit and try to create alarm.  Apparently, others noted some of this as well.   The editorial board of the PITTSURG POST-GAZETTE (vis SHELBYVILLE NEWS) offers:

It sometimes seems that we live in a time without leaders.

[. . .]

But there is one great exception to our leaderless age – Pope Francis.

Eight years into his papacy, and now at the age of 84, he keeps on, through his own highs and lows, and not only with doggedness but that necessary prophetic sense and courage.

The pope’s March 5-8 trip to Iraq is a prime example. It was a risk on many levels. And it will not be understood as the profound act it was by many.

Most of the media’s reaction has been: That was nice.

But this pope does not go for nice and is not himself particularly “nice.”

This pope is a bulldozer of a man, who believes in the radical change made possible by the mercy of Jesus of Nazareth.

Massimiliano Menichetti (VATICAN NEWS) reports:

"For us it was like waking up from a nightmare, we could not believe our eyes, the country really can get back on its feet." These simple words summarize the hope of an entire people, the Iraqi people, who embraced the Pope from March 5 to 8. The image of this trip is captured in a snapshot in Mosul, the former capital of the so-called Islamic State, where the rubble is riddled with thousands of bullet holes; where seeing churches, houses, mosques destroyed and disfigured, one touches the violence of the fighting and the fury of man who destroys, tramples and annihilates his brother.

In that context, where horror seemed to prevail, the Pope was greeted by the singing of children waving olive branches. Others, not far from that encounter, were playing on a dirt road; asphalt remained only in the central streets. A little girl of four or five, dressed in a pink floral onesie and a pair of slippers, broke away from her group of companions and walked backwards. Unconsciously she stopped at the feet of a soldier. She looks at him, running her eyes over his entire figure, from his head to his feet.

The soldier - with the explosives on his waist, the helmet, the glasses to protect himself from the sun - bends his neck and meets the gaze of the little girl, her face dirty with earth like the rest of her body. Behind them, only the rubble of what used to be houses. Their eyes met despite those dark lenses, the man stroked the little girl on the head and lifted her up. She bursts into a smile, which he instantly reciprocates. In that image we can see the whole present and future of Iraq.

It was a memorable trip for Pope Francis, the first Pope to set foot in the land of Abraham. He encouraged and confirmed in the faith the Christian community, which together with Muslims and minorities such as the Yazidis, had experienced unspeakable suffering. It was a historic journey, bridging the gap with the Shiites after the efforts made with regard to the Sunnis in Abu Dhabi. It was historic on account of the welcome he received. But above all, it was a historic journey on account of the light of goodness and redemption he brought to a place devastated by war, violence and persecution perpetrated by ISIS, and now experiencing the scourges of poverty and the covid-19 pandemic.

Gordon Campbell (SCOOP) weighs in on the Pope's visit:

As an exercise in global symbolic politics, it would be hard to top last week’s meeting in Iraq between Pope Francis and the most respected cleric in Shia Islam, the Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani. Both men have strong liberal credentials. Francis has led a welcome break from his policies of his two arch-conservative predecessors. In fact, you would have to go all the way back to the early 1960s, to the widely loved liberal reformer Papa Roncalli (aka John XXIII) to find a Pope who seems more in tune with socially progressive forces.

The 94 year old al-Sistani is a more complex figure. His credentials as the most learned religious authority in Shia Islam are undisputed. From his humble home in Najaf, Iraq, al-Sistani condemned the disastrous US invasion of 2003 at the time. In 2014, he famously issued a fatwa that called on all able bodied Shi’ite volunteers to join the militias fighting against Islamic State. In the process, he urged tolerance towards all religious minorities, including the Christian and Yazidi populations that Islamic State and other Sunni fundamentalists had been targeting. He also supported the 2009 Green Revolution in Iran that eventually failed to expand the role of secular democracy in that country. Consistently, al-Sistani has opposed the involvement in politics by the mullahs in Iran. Correctly, he pointed out that the blurring of the lines between religious authority and political power would eventually end up discrediting religion in the eyes of the public.

Like Pope Francis though, al-Sistani is not a figure without controversy. Last year, the popular Iranian dissident and blogger Ruhollah Zam was lured out of his refuge in France on the (bogus) promise of a meeting with al-Sistani. Once in Iraq, Zam was seized by Iranian security forces, taken back to Iran and executed. While al-Sistani was not an accomplice in the trap, he has been criticised for not appealing (even only symbolically) to his fellow Shi’a ayatollahs in Teheran to spare Zam’s life. Many Iranians believe that the office of al-Sistani’s son-in-law Javad Shahrestanii (who is al-Sistani’s representative in Iran) was involved in the Zam plot

AFP speaks with some Christians in Iraq:

As for Nouri, her youngest child is nearing university age.

She will be sent to study in the United States, because in Iraq, "there are no opportunities... only a few make it" in a system known for its clientelism, she said.

Sara, another Christian among a handful who turned up for mass, has seen almost all her family and friends go into exile.

"They don't even consider coming back," said Sara, who works in the civil service.

And in a country where the constitution states "Islam is the state religion and the source of legislation", the pope's calls for "freedom of religion and conscience" are likely to go unheeded, warned William Warda of the Hammourabi minority rights watchdog.

Saadallah Mikhail, a 61-year-old Christian, has still not been able to rebuild his house in Mosul that he fled in 2014 when the Islamic State (IS) group burst into the northern city.

He was among the first to return once the jihadists had been expelled after fierce fighting three years later.

But he has had to rent because his home in the Old City is nothing more than a pile of rubble.

"The homes of my relatives and 3,000 Christians are still in ruins and I don't think they will be rebuilt anytime soon."

So far in Mosul, of 50,000 cases of compensation for destroyed homes, only a few thousand families have received funds from Baghdad, which is mired in the worst economic crisis in its history.

That's why many of the Christians who flocked to see Pope Francis while he was in northern Iraq had travelled down from Iraqi Kurdistan further north where they have been living.

It was a historic visit, even if readers in the US were largely unaware of that fact -- unless they read international outlets or domestic Catholic outlets.  The same media that spent four years each day wasting hours and hours on Donald Trump's Tweets couldn't find the time to seriously cover the Pope's historic visit..  No ombudsperson or public editor has yet to weigh in on their outlets shameful performance when covering the Pope's visit -- maybe they're just too ashamed?

But it was very sad and the reasons of why that is need to be explored.  At a time when there is so little trust in the US media, their disgraceful 'coverage' of the Pope's visit isn't going to help them build confidence among news consumers.  

Protest took place throughout Iraq yesterday.

Protest in Karrada neighborhood of Baghdad this morning.

And Joel Wing notes:

Protests today in Dhi Qar Najaf and Babil where people want governors to be dismissed Also in Basra Wasit Maysan demanding jobs and better services

That's the Iraq created by the ongoing, US-led war.  It did not bring peace to Iraq, it did not even improve the lives of the Iraqi people.  It threw the country into disarray which seems intentional on the part of the US government.  It created a land of orphans and widows.  And no one in the US government seems to want to take responsibility.  

In related news,   some members of the US Congress want to repeal the authorizations that led to the attack on Iraq.  Rachel OswaldCQ-Roll Call  reports:

Leading House Democrats are making plans to begin repealing and replacing the anti-terrorism authorizations to use military force that have been on the books for nearly two decades.

Democrats told reporters on Friday that they were seizing on recent statements from the Biden White House that it wants Congress to replace the open-ended authorizations for use of military force with a legal framework that is “more narrow and specific.” The 2001 and 2002 war resolutions permit attacks against al-Qaida and Saddam Hussein’s regime in Iraq, respectively.

House Foreign Affairs Chairman Gregory W. Meeks said during a video press conference that in the coming weeks he would hold a markup to advance legislation from Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif., to repeal the 2002 war authorization that led to Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003. The repeal measure has 90 cosponsors, including seven Republicans.

Supposedly, there is a rush to repeal this.  I don't know how we use the term "rush" accurately 18 years after these resolutions were used to start the war on Iraq.  

In other attempts at shaping opnion, Joe Biden is taking to the raod to sell his latest corporate give away as something being done for the people, something that will benefit the people.  Patrick Martin (WSWS) reports:

At a brief White House ceremony Monday afternoon, President Joe Biden kicked off two weeks of campaign-style rallies at which Democratic Party leaders will seek to promote the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill he signed into law last Thursday.

[. . .]

It was in Georgia that the Democrats captured two Senate seats in a special election in January, after Biden promised immediate $2,000 checks if the Democrats won and gave his party control of the Senate. After the victory, Biden revised his promise, claiming that he was proposing to add $1,400 to the $600 already provided under the economic stimulus package passed in December and signed into law by then-President Trump.

The passage and signing of the American Recovery Act have been accompanied by an onslaught of populist demagogy of staggering proportions. Democratic Party spokesmen have proclaimed it the second coming of the New Deal, and vied with each other for superlatives. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki won that contest at a press briefing last week, when she called the new law “the most progressive bill in American history.”

So much for the Social Security Act, the Voting Rights Act or the establishment of Medicare and Medicaid, to say nothing of constitutional amendments that abolished slavery and gave women the right to vote.

The rhetorical overkill is only an indication of the scale of the political fraud that is being unleashed on the American people. What the Democratic Party characterizes as a history-making achievement is actually a one-time expenditure that, while providing a welcome cash infusion to the budgets of working class families, will be quickly absorbed in the payment of urgent bills, to be followed up by … nothing.

The new law does not establish a single lasting social reform or program. Every addition to workers’ incomes, from the $1,400 checks to the child tax credit to the federal supplemental unemployment benefits, will expire before the end of 2021.

The following sites updated: