Thursday, April 22, 2021

Turley's got the humor

Jonathan Turley:

Rep. Waters ignited a firestorm of controversy by flying to Minnesota to tell protesters to remain in the streets and fight for “justice,” to be “more confrontational,” despite days of rioting, looting and other violence. She said no verdict in the Chauvin trial would be accepted except a conviction for first-degree murder — a demand that might be a tad difficult to satisfy since Chauvin is not charged with first-degree murder.

I loved the "a demand that might be a tad difficult" remark.

"Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):

Wednesday, April 21, 2021.  Pro-war SLATE pretends to be interested in how the Iraq War started, Amnesty International issues a report on executions throughout the world while Reporters Without Borders looks at the global threats to journalists, and much more


On SLATE's SLOW BURN podcast today, the question is why did "Americans" believe noted liar and exile Ahmed Chalabi?

What a load of crap.  And it just gets worse from the very beginning as you're lied to that Bully Boy Bush didn't want it but "was influenced by people in his administration."

No one's responsible, right?  That's the argument the pro-war SLATE made.  Makes?  Made?  I mean, I remember the garbage they offered in real time.  I remember the crap they forced down the throats of the American people.  So for them to show up all these years later and offer this garbage is not just disgusting, it's unethical.

They don't want answers, they're not pursuing answers.

They are part of the p.r. effort to removes the crimes of War Criminal Bully Boy Bush.  It's an ongoing process to try to clean the blood from his hands.  

BUSINESS INSIDER, for example, Tweeted:

George W. Bush said he's troubled by 'the capacity of people to spread all kind of untruth'

You can't have a serious discussion about 'fake news' include Bully Boy Bush as someone with an 'educated' opinion worth sharing.  As Sarah Abdallah noted, "Iraq’s nonexistent weapons of mass destruction have just entered the chat."  Glenn Greenwald Tweets:

George WMD Bush has about as much credibility to denounce the spread of disinformation as CNN's media reporters, NBC's disinformation unit, and NYT's tech team do. It's like the Sackler family lamenting the rise of addiction.

If SLATE really wanted to know how "Americans" came to depend upon on Ahmed Chalabi, they'd have to first get honest that "Americans" didn't.  The average American, to this day, will stare at you blankly f you your bring up Dexy.

Government officials and representatives knew who he was, cavorted with him, had the press amplify him.  The press.

If we want to get honest, that's where you start.

Oh, look, it's Ahmed Chalabi being pleasured by Dexter Filkins who worked for THE NEW YORK TIMES in 2006 -- illustration we did at THIRD for "Go down, Dexy."

You want to know why Ahmed Chalabi was trusted?  Because the US government pimped him and the US press promoted him.

That reality is absent from SLATE's alleged 'inquiry.'  

Big surprise.

They'd rather attack "Americans" for what the press and the government did.  They just lie and lie again and never take responsibility or accountability.  

And don't blame just corporate media or just the right-wing.  MOTHER JONES elected to hire a writer to bring attention to their website.  There were a ton of bloggers who were against the war.  So what did the faux left MOTHER JONES do?  They hired pro-Iraq War blogger Kevin Drum.

SLATE continues the lack of accountability with their nonsense podcast that clears anyone of responsibility.

The CIA?

They gave Chalabi $4 million.  That was the American people's money.  They gave it to Chalabi.

B-b-b-but don't blame the CIA, SLATE wants you to know, because the CIA "didn't think they were financing a revolution, they mostly wanted him to produce anti Saddam propaganda to build opposition to the regime."  That sounds like they were deliberately sewing conflict -- which was what they were doing.  And, no, their hands aren't clean.  

At one point, the closest they come to accountability, SLATE offers a lengthy sentence about two US senators: John McCain and Joe Lieberman.

McCain is dead.  Lieberman's been out of the Senate since January 0f 2013.

This site didn't have positive things to say about either of the two.  But we also didn't mistake two sitting senators as the secret power behind the US press and the White House.

Talk about looney conspiracy theories.

No one gets blamed.  Instead of trophies, SLATE gives everyone a participation card -- get out of jail free card.

The Iraq War hit the 18 year mark last month.  All this time later, liars still can't get honest and would rather blame "Americans" for the ongoing and illegal war than those who had actual power and an institution that had an epic failure.  

On the failures of the press -- the ongoing failures -- let's note two reports.  First, Ryan Girdusky (MEDIAITE):

The now-discredited report that Russia offered bounties to Afghan militants to kill American soldiers was an October surprise — released in June. The story, originated in The New York Times and leaked by the intelligence community, was more proof in the eyes of an eager media that Trump failed to safeguard Americans from Putin. After spending four years portraying Trump at best as a useful stooge and at worst a willing accomplice of the Kremlin, The Times article was fodder for Democrats and used against the 45th president ad nauseam throughout the election cycle.

From the rearview window, this looks to many people as another example of the media using anonymous sources to peddle fake news to attack Trump. While that could be considered valid, it’s more important to realize that this is another example of sources within the intelligence community using the media to promote war.

The story broke just as the Trump administration finalized plans to cut the number of troops in Afghanistan by nearly 50 percent, the lowest level since the beginning of that conflict in 2001. Trump’s plan to dial back America’s military footprint around the world was nearly universally opposed by the intelligence community, the military-industrial complex, but most importantly, the media.

While the American public, especially Republicans, view the media as left-wing, they’re more of an institution that supports consensus, including being pro-war.

Read the article in full and grasp that it's information and approach is what SLATE wants to pretend it was doing with that awful podcast.

And let's pair Ryan's piece with Glenn Greenwald (SUBSTACK):

It was crucial for liberal sectors of the media to invent and disseminate a harrowing lie about how Officer Brian Sicknick died. That is because he is the only one they could claim was killed by pro-Trump protesters at the January 6 riot at the Capitol.

So The New York Times on January 8 published an emotionally gut-wrenching but complete fiction that never had any evidence — that Officer Sicknick's skull was savagely bashed in with a fire extinguisher by a pro-Trump mob until he died — and, just like the now-discredited Russian bounty story also unveiled by that same paper, cable outlets and other media platforms repeated this lie over and over in the most emotionally manipulative way possible. Just watch a part of what they did and how:

As I detailed over and over when examining this story, there were so many reasons to doubt this storyline from the start. Nobody on the record claimed it happened. The autopsy found no blunt trauma to the head. Sicknick's own family kept urging the press to stop spreading this story because he called them the night of January 6 and told them he was fine — obviously inconsistent with the media's claim that he died by having his skull bashed in — and his own mother kept saying that she believed he died of a stroke.

But the gruesome story of Sicknick's “murder” was too valuable to allow any questioning. It was weaponized over and over to depict the pro-Trump mob not as just violent but barbaric and murderous, because if Sicknick weren't murdered by them, then nobody was (without Sicknick, the only ones killed were four pro-Trump supporters: two who died of a heart attack, one from an amphetamine overdose, and the other, Ashli Babbitt, who was shot point blank in the neck by Capitol Police despite being unarmed). So crucial was this fairy tale about Sicknick that it made its way into the official record of President Trump's impeachment trial in the Senate, and they had Joe Biden himself recite from the script, even as clear facts mounted proving it was untrue.

By the way, one person was killed in the DC riot -- Ashli Babbitt.  She was unarmed.  The police officer who shot her wasn't.  If THIRD ever posts this week (I'm too sick -- cold -- to worry about it all that much), Ava and I addressed that reality in "types."  Ashli was shot dead.  The press didn't glom on that death -- until they wanted to paint her as sleaze because, after all, justice doesn't apply to sleaze, right?  We all know that 27th Amendment to the Constitution, right?  "Should you hold opinions that are different than the majority of people, we reserve the right to nullify you and to strip you of any expectations of fairness or justice."  We are so damn barbaric as a society.  That's the reality.  And we're encouraged to be by the press which is doing nothing -- day in and day out -- but getting people to root in the Colosseum for the death and destruction of others.  It's really sick and goes to just how little civilization has actually progressed.

Let's stay with reality and quote Sam Stanton (SACREMENTO BEE):

In a major blow to federal prosecutors, a federal judge in Sacramento ruled Wednesday that Omar Ameen may not be extradited back to Iraq to face trial in the 2014 murder of an Iraqi police officer.

The decision came in a 30-page order by U.S. Magistrate Judge Edmund F. Brennan, who labeled parts of the government’s arguments “dubious” and said they call for “some degree of skepticism.”

Ameen’s federal defenders had waged a two-year battle to stop their client from being extradited, arguing that he was in Turkey with his family when the officer, Ihsan Abdulhafiz Jasim, was killed in Iraq.

Read more here:

Judge Brennan has declined to certify Omar Ameen's extradition, and ordered his release! Here's my story on how the U.S. gov falsely maligned him as an ISIS member and sought to extradite him to Iraq for a murder that he couldn't possibly have committed.

We note the above for numerous reasons.  One is that we were talking last week about the Afghanistan War and how the government of Afghanistan was asked by the US government to hand over Osama bin Laden in the fall of 2001 and the Afghanistan government asked for solid reasons and proof and were rebuffed.  In fact, then-Secretary of State Colin Powell told them that the way it would work was, they would hand over bin Laden and then the US government would provide supporting evidence.

No, that's not how it works on the international stage.  The Iraqi government wants Omar Ameen deported.  They make the request, they supply what they argue is solid evidence and then the US government looks at the request.  Justice Edmund F. Brennan found the evidence supplied lacking and shot the request down.

Were Bully Boy Bush in charge of Iraq right now, the Iraqi government might 'respond' by bombing this country and continue to destroy it for the next 20 or so years.

We have a legal system in place.  Instead of utilizing that system, time and again the post-9/11 way has been to refuse to take accountability for mistakes and errors and to instead slam and shame the legal groundwork that exists in this country and insist instead upon new and draconian laws that undermine the very roots of democracy.

It's not a minor point.

Nor is the fact that attacking peaceful protesters is wrong but the Iraqi government continues to do so and there's little effort at this point to call the government out.  Every now and then, we'll hear that no one has been brought to justice for the injuring and murdering of protesters but that's about it.  Otherwise, it's treated as normal.  How not normal is it?

Iraq's going to be sending wounded protesters elsewhere for medical treatment.  Sura Ali (RUDAW) reports:

Dhi Qar Governor Ahmed al-Khafaji has said the Ministry of Oil has allocated money to send protesters wounded in clashes in the city of Nasiriyah for treatment overseas, state media reported on Wednesday.

A statement from Khafaji's media office said that the governor discussed the subject with Iraq’s Minister of Oil Ihsan Abdul-Jabbar, along with other issues such as creating job opportunities for graduates holding sit-ins in front of oil companies in the Dhi Qar provincial capital.

"It was approved to allocate a sum of money to send people injured in the protests for treatment outside Iraq," the statement said.

Amnesty International, meanwhile, has issued a new report that are some are spinning as 'progress' for Iraq.  Per the report, there were 483 executions carried out by governments in 2020 -- China is left out of the count with Amnesty noting that "the death penalty" there "is a state secret."  The Middle East and North Africa were reponsible for 437 of the 483 executions.

The report notes:

The rate of executions is even more disturbing given that the death penalty in MENA is regularly applied after trials that do not meet international fair trial standards. People in MENA continued to be executed or sentenced to death in 2020 for acts that should not be criminalized and other offences that do not meet the threshold of most serious crimes, meaning intentional killings, as required by international law.

At least 23 of the 107 people executed in Egypt were sentenced to death in cases relating to political violence, after grossly unfair trials marred by forced “confessions” and other serious human rights violations, including torture and enforced disappearances. Executions in Egypt shot up drastically following a security incident involving death row prisoners in the notorious al-Aqrab prison in September.

Amnesty notes that Iraq had 27 more people sentenced to execution in 2020 with executions carried out on 45 people.  They also note that "Iran, Egypt, Iraq and Saudi Arabi accounted for 88% of known global executions in 2020."

Amnesty's report is only one global report issued this week.  Khazan Jangiz (RUDAW) notes:

Iraq ranks 18 from the bottom of a list of countries classified by their freedom of the press, with dangers having reportedly “grown” for journalists since the October 2019 anti-government protests.

Lives of journalists in Iraq and the Kurdistan Region are at “risk” in protest coverage and corruption investigations, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said in its annual World Press Freedom report, published on Tuesday.

Journalists are at the risk of being “harassed, abducted, physically attacked or even killed by unidentified militias” in Iraq and “the state’s powerlessness increases the dangers and makes it impossible to determine whether what the many militias are doing suits the government, whether the government has given them the go-ahead, or whether it has no control over the situation,” RSF said. 

RSF has previously reported that four journalists were killed in Iraq while covering protests in 2020. Three were killed with gunshots to their heads and one trying to flee from clashes between security forces and protesters.  RSF in the new report said murdering journalists goes “unpunished” due to lack of, or futile investigations.

The report evaluates press freedom in 180 countries, in which Iraq ranks 163 on the index, with the Middle East generally accused of undermining “the already beleaguered media freedom” which might “leave lasting scars on the media landscape,” says RSF, pointing to an “increased authoritarianism” in response to the situation of public health, economy and politics. 

This is the Iraq section of the Reporters Without Borders report:

IRAQ (down six at 162nd)

After the protests, authorities are now focusing on coronavirus coverage

The worsening conditions for journalists in Iraq since protests erupted in 2019 has put the country among those coloured black in the Index’s world map, which signifies “very serious”.

Five journalists have been killed in just four months. The various militias at large in the country constantly threaten the lives of journalists in an effort to prevent them covering the protests, repeating the allegations and also demonstrating the same ferocity as the police, who use live ammunition.        

The Iraqi government itself plays a full part in obstructing journalists. At least 10 news organizations have been suspended for covering the demonstrations in a manner deemed unfavourable by the authorities. Since the start of the health crisis, the authorities have been focusing on reports about the Covid-19 pandemic. The Communications and Media Commission (CMC) decided to suspend the news agency Reuters for publishing a story that quoted three unidentified doctors as saying they had been ordered not to talk to the media about the crisis. The autonomous region of Kurdistan is also in the firing line. The health ministry ordered the closure of the television channel NRT after it broadcast a report that the authorities had deliberately overestimated the number of people infected in order to discourage people from demonstrating. 


The following sites updated:

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Glenn Greenwald, Jonathan Turley

Isaiah's latest THE WORLD TODAY JUST NUTS "The Glenn Greenwald Reaction


The Donnas will be the death of us all.  They have no standards.  They will turn on you in a moment if you do your job as the Original Donna did on Glenn Greenwald when he 'dared' to hold Democrats to the same standars as he held Republicans.  

The Original Donna was a friend of C.I.'s -- was because C.I. cut her off for good after she turned on Glenn when Glenn wrote the Hunter Biden piece.  As C.I. explained in real time, "Oh, hell no.  I"m not putting up with this crazy again."  She'd had to endure Original Donna for how many years believing the Russia-gate nonsense and trying to lecture others on it?  Now OD was on board with attacking her own hero Glenn Greenwald?

People like that are whores and liars.  

I guess that means the Donnas should be in the media?  Glenn Greenwald Tweets:

The CNN/NBC/NYT axis has trained its liberal audience to not care if they lie: - They lied that Hunter docs were "Russian disinfo" (dude Hunter? lol) - They lied about Russian bounties (so Putin is good?) - They lied about how Sicknick died (it was still a fascist riot)!, etc.

Now for Jonathan Turley:

The fallout over the comments of Rep. Maxine Waters (D., Cal.)  continued as Democrats were asked to condemn her call for protesters to stay in the streets and get more confrontational. I recently wrote a column on how Waters had become the best possible witness for Donald Trump in her own lawsuit against him. Waters was denounced by Judge Peter Cahill for undermining not just any conviction in the trial of Derek Chauvin but the court itself in seeking to carry out its constitutional function. It would seem a simple matter for responsible people to condemn Waters’ inflammatory remarks but Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Cal.) defended her and refused to criticize the comments.  Earlier this year, Pelosi condemned Trump for criminal incitement and pushed through his impeachment for using similar words on Jan. 6th.  Waters was also defended on CNN where media figures supported her call for protesters to stay in the streets and get “more confrontational.”

Waters told protesters to stay and “fight” for justice and told protesters they “gotta stay on the street” and “get more confrontational.”  She also said that they should not accept anything other than a conviction.

In both the impeachment and in her lawsuit, Waters insisted that Trump telling his supporters to go to the Capitol to make their voice heard and “fight” for their votes was actual criminal incitement. Conversely, Waters was speaking after multiple nights of rioting and looting and telling protesters to stay on the streets and get even more confrontational. There was violence after the remarks, including a shooting incident where two National Guard members were injured. Waters has now guaranteed that she will be cited by Trump in his own defense against her own lawsuit.

Maxine's 82.  It's time for her to leave Congress and she should take Nancy Pelosi with her. If you're lucky enough to be functioning in your 80s, you should be doing something of value - say teaching for free at a university.  If you're not lucky enough, you sure as hell don't belong in Congress.  

"Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):

Tuesday, April 20, 2021.  A Joe Biden devotee/accolyte tries to rescue Joe from reality, Paul Wood tells a little truth about Brett McGurk (just a little -- as usual we are stuck doing the heavy lifting), Iraqis remember those killed for the 'crime' of protesting, and much more.

Never forget that is' always about oil or whatever else Iraq can be robbed of.  This morning, REUTERS reports:

China's Sinopec has won a deal to develop Iraq's Mansuriya gas field near the Iranian border, the oil ministry said on Tuesday.

Last year Iraq cancelled a contract signed with a group led by Turkish Petroleum Corp (TPAO) to develop the field and invited international energy companies to compete to develop it.

Sinopec won the contract in a bidding round held at the oil ministry headquarters in Baghdad on Tuesday, the oil ministry said in a statement

At THE ATLANTIC, Jonah Blank writes:

The original sin of the war in Iraq was going to war in Iraq. And the original sin of the war in Afghanistan was going to war in Iraq.

In September 2001, when Joe Biden was the chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, I was the policy adviser for the stretch of Asia that included Afghanistan. By 9 a.m. on 9/11, I felt certain that al-Qaeda (which was based in Afghanistan) was behind the attacks—but that we’d end up invading Iraq anyway.was a year and a half off. And that interim period was the only time the mission in Afghanistan ever stood a real chance. This week, President Biden announced that all United States forces will be withdrawn from Afghanistan by the 20th anniversary of 9/11. To understand his decision to get out, one has to understand the decision to get in—and how that choice was quickly undermined by the invasion of another country.

In 2001, even the most ardent war hawks didn’t want to invade Afghanistan: They wanted to invade Iraq. Neoconservatives, such as the Pentagon officials Paul Wolfowitz and Doug Feith, had a grand vision of remaking the country in America’s image. Paleoconservatives, such as Vice President Dick Cheney and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, wanted to oust Saddam Hussein, install a pliable puppet, and thereby deter any other would-be adversaries. Both camps saw Afghanistan as an unwelcome distraction from the main event, but they applied the same rationales there.

Jonah offers a very kind assessment of Joe Biden.  Not very real, but kind.  What he has Joe avoiding -- nation building, for example -- and wants you to know isn't in Joe's character?  It's exactly what Joe advocated in Iraq.  On Iraq, for example, Michael R. Gordon (NEW YORK TIMES) observed in August of 2008:

During the early part of the American occupation, Mr. Biden initially argued that more troops were needed. As the conflict dragged on, and the notion of sending additional troops became more unpopular with the voters, he began to advocate a new plan, one that sought to apply his Balkan experience to Iraq and appeared to open the door to troop withdrawals.

In a 2006 Op-Ed article in The New York Times that he wrote with Leslie H. Gelb, the president emeritus of the Council on Foreign Relations, Mr. Biden recalled how Bosnia had been divided into Muslim, Croat and Serbian federations. He advocated the creation of three largely autonomous Sunni, Shiite and Kurdish regions, while preserving a limited central government.

Critics complained that the sectarian groups in Iraq were too intermingled to be so easily disentangled. And in its original formulation, the plan had another liability: it was more popular in Washington than in Baghdad, where Iraqi leaders viewed it suspiciously as an effort to partition their country. When the Senate passed a resolution in September that endorsed Mr. Biden’s plan for a loose Iraqi federation, the Iraqi prime minister, Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, and other Iraqi leaders initially objected.

Mr. Biden has sought to refine the original concept by emphasizing that his major point is the need for a decentralized federal system in Iraq. But the plan has faded from the public debate as violence has declined and the Maliki government has begun to assert its sovereignty.

Dismantling one system to impose another -- especially when the people in said country are not asking to be put into three semi-autonomous regions -- upon them?  That is nation building.

Maybe Jonah's confused about Joe because when Joe talks about things like Iraq, for example, Joe tends to praise neoconservatives -- they're bright, they're this, they're that -- while trashing the American people as uninformed?  Check out this speech he gave to the Brookings Institution in 2003.

In other news, Martiza Abdel Tweets:

Hundreds of protesters in southern #Iraq closed three bridges in the city of #Nasiriyah, the capital of Dhi Qar Governorate, and the Maysan Oil Company building demanding #jobs for local residents

The attacks on peaceful protesters happened during the month of Ramadan.  Ramadan is a month of worship and fasting.  This year, it started April 12th and ends May 12th.  And at the holy time of Ramadan, many Iraqis are reflecting on the Iraqi protesters.  For example, Mohamed Ali Tweets:

in the peaceful protests where they were killed after their return from the protests Here's the link to watch the criminals of adel abdul Mahdi when he was When he was prime minister and at the helm of power :
مأساة اكتوبر
No entry sign
من قمع المظاهرات وقتل وخطف أيام لا ينساها

Shahrazad Tweets:

Stop sign

Those responsible for the brutalities against the peaceful protesters in IRAQ must be hold accountable . Under one thousand got murdered, and many thousands disabled or disfigured, it was utterly ruthless.

Down pointing backhand index

Dhari al-Iraqi Tweets:

 Replying to

This is An Example What The government was Doing Against The People In Iraq.. 2019
0:06 / 0:32

Rafael Rita Tweets:

As we begin the month of Ramadhan, may we never forget the many protestors throughout #Iraq who were killed in cold blood by state and non-state forces. Let's include their families in our prayers and let's support their cause.

Ruba Ali al-Hassani Tweets:

As we begin the month of #Ramadhan
, may we never forget the many protestors throughout #Iraq who were killed in cold blood by state and non-state forces. Let's include their families in our prayers and let's support their cause. الرحمة لشهداء #ثورة_تشرين #نريد_وطن

In other news, Amnesty's Donatella Rivera Tweets:

"Like many Americans in #Iraq, McGurk was deaf to what was happening around him. His rise mirrored that of an Iraqi politician named Nouri al-Maliki, one careerist helping the other. That is McGurk’s tragedy - and Iraq’s." #USA - Brilliant, by Paul Wood


She's referring to Paul Wood's article for NEW LINES about US failure Brett McGurk:

In 2006, al-Maliki -- Abu Isra to those who knew him -- was an obscure member of the Iraqi Parliament begging for Green Zone passes from American officials. He was not obviously corrupt and was ready to put in 16-hour days, and so the U.S. backed him to become prime minister. But al-Maliki turned out to be a hard-faced Shiite nationalist: “sectarian, intolerant, ideologically Islamist and a paranoid politician,” in the words of one Western official who dealt with him. “If you’re working 16 hours a day, that’s not a virtue in the Middle East. It means you’re working to conspire against everybody else 16 hours a day.”

Abu Isra set about excluding Sunni opponents from power and turning the security forces into his own praetorian guard. Iraq became, once again, a place of secret prisons and torture. McGurk’s critics say his lack of Arabic meant he missed the vicious, sectarian undertones of what al-Maliki was saying in meetings right from the start. Translators censored or failed to keep up. Like many Americans in Iraq, McGurk was deaf to what was happening around him.

Al-Maliki was the consequence of two mistakes by the U.S. How much McGurk had to do with them remains in dispute. The first mistake was the “80 Percent Solution” for ruling Iraq. The Sunni Arabs were mounting a bloody insurgency, but they were just 20% of the population. The theory was that you could run Iraq with the Kurds and the Shiites. The second error was to identify the Shiites with hardline, religious parties backed by Iran. Al-Maliki, a member of the religious Da’wa Party, was the beneficiary of this.

The U.S. diplomat who was in Baghdad with McGurk remembers him asking a junior member of staff to type out a cable to Washington. “He decides to write the strategy for Iraq moving forward. This is after he talks to like three people in the government who speak English. And it’s completely off base, it’s hogwash: Make al-Maliki a dictator and, you know, Iraq in the rearview mirror.”

McGurk was “the Maliki whisperer,” as newspaper profiles put it — but as events turned out, it wasn’t clear who was “whispering” to whom. The former senior Western diplomat in Baghdad said there was ample evidence that al-Maliki was “poison,” but the U.S. believed that a “Shia tough guy” was needed to run Iraq. “He may be a son of a bitch, but he’s our son of a bitch. This narrative pervaded the Washington debate, and McGurk was at the heart of it. … McGurk convinced everybody. You will find huge numbers of Iraqis who had anything to do with Americans hate McGurk.”

But al-Maliki was not America’s son of a bitch. Two sources told me his aides dismissed McGurk as a “useful idiot.” They joked that he was not America’s man in Baghdad but Da’wa’s in Washington. These same aides later allegedly called the U.S. military commander, Lloyd Austin, now Biden’s defense secretary, a “coward” for his (supposedly) obsequious attitude toward Abu Isra. Such extraordinary insults stemmed from the confidence al-Maliki had in the unwavering support of the White House. Crocker, the former U.S. envoy to Iraq, told me that in 2008, he and McGurk tried to get President George W. Bush to drop al-Maliki but were told in no uncertain terms to think again. Under President Barack Obama, too, the policy was the same: “There is no alternative to Maliki.”

The U.S. even came together with Iran to save Abu Isra when he lost the 2010 election to a secular Shiite, Ayad Allawi. Allawi should have had the first chance to form a coalition but — after the votes had been counted — al-Maliki got the Iraqi supreme court to change the rules and horse trading began. Essentially, al-Maliki was being allowed to steal the election. Years later, McGurk told The Atlantic that he and other American officials had worked to find alternatives to al-Maliki but that “Maliki worked his ass off from day one and just collected seat after seat.”

Once again, there was “no alternative” to al-Maliki. One former senior U.S. official who worked with McGurk said: “Like every American operates overseas, you form relationships, and you get captured by those relationships. Al-Maliki was his guy. So he stayed with al-Maliki even when it was clear that al-Maliki was a serious human rights abuser who was ruthless and dangerous to the further development of his own country. Everybody in foreign policy makes these mistakes. Everybody. You wind up picking the people you’ve met, getting comfortable with them and then being stuck with whatever they’re doing on their own. You don’t know until it’s too late, and then you have to figure out how to manage it.”

Another former senior official who knows McGurk was less forgiving. He thought his influence over the Obama administration’s Iraq policy had helped to give al-Maliki another four years in power. “Those years were disastrous” — Iraq started to return to civil war; al Qaeda in Iraq reemerged and began to evolve into the Islamic State group, also known as ISIS.

At several moments in al-Maliki’s premiership, Iraq’s government would probably have collapsed — the country itself might have ceased to exist — without the U.S. presence in Iraq. The U.S. had all the power, but somehow they were the supplicants at Abu Isra’s court. In 2011, the issue was once again whether U.S. troops would stay. And once again, the U.S. was begging the Iraqis to grant permission for something that was supposedly happening at their request.

A participant in the talks told me: “McGurk had persuaded himself that he and Maliki had a unique relationship and that they could work something out. This was complete and utter … folly.”

Al-Maliki did do a deal — with Iran. He would get the U.S. out, and Iran would support him as the leader of Iraq’s Shiites. Al-Maliki’s government duly told U.S. forces to leave. Obama declared that he had fulfilled a campaign promise (already a foregone conclusion by the time he came into office) to bring the troops home, their job done. “We’re leaving behind a sovereign, stable and self-reliant Iraq.” In truth, it was a defeat for the U.S.


And we'll stop there because (a) it's a long enough excerpt and (b) Paul doesn't know what the hell he's writing about in the paragraph after our excerpt.  I say the second part as the first person to ever write about the scandal Paul notes -- and gets wrong -- Brett's extra-marital affair with Gina Chon.  Two days before THE ATLANTIC article -- bad article -- that Paul links to, one day before the DC paper.  We covered it and we covered it best.  All this time later, Paul can't grasp the issues.  Late to the dinner party and he didn't even bring a hostess gift, such poor manners.

Gina Chon was a reporter for THE WALL STREET JOURNAL.  Apparently, we have to go over all of this and we have to because other people won't do their damn jobs -- the jobs they're paid to do.  Me?  I have had a nasty cold since Friday.  Because my doctor insisted, I just got back from taking a COVID test.  I'm sure it will come back negative but that was my morning.  And all I want to do is go to sleep.  But because Paul can't do the job he's paid to do, I have to do it.

Brett McGurk was an employee of the US government.  He was married.  Gina Chon was an employee of THE WALL STREET JOURNAL.  She was married.  She gave him "blue balls" as he told her in that 'sweet' and 'romantic' e-mail.  Gina apparently had little experience with men and found that e-mail 'hot' and she began an affair with him.

If that's all that happened, that would have been bad enough.

A US employee was in Iraq and despite the cultural difference he began an affair with a woman -- a woman of color -- important when the country isn't, for example, the UK.  He instantly becomes "American infidel" in Iraq on social media when the affair is finally discovered.  He is the married, White American who came to Iraq and violated social customs.

It does matter when the US has put religious fanatics in charge of Iraq.

And let's also not forget that 'honor' killings are not uncommon in Iraq.  

That's what killed the nomination for Brett and I documented it here in real time.  The only thing I left out -- and I noted this in real time -- was the Democratic Party member who was then a US senator and went to Barack Obama to tell him that Brett would never get Senate approval to be US Ambassador to Iraq because that would put a target on the backs of any Iraqi women who worked at the embassy or needed to visit the embassy.

They would, as the senator explained to Barack, be seen by religious zealots in Iraq as ''consorting' with the infidel who had a reputation for seducing non-White women in Iraq.

I reported that as it happened and the only thing I omitted was the senator's name.  I would happily -- to this day -- give the senator credit.  I had spent many years calling this senator out.  (After many years praising.)  When the senator, who I have known for years, decided not to run for re-election, I asked, one more time, "Do you want me to credit you?"  No. 

So I have left the senator unnamed and unless they pass away before this site ends, I never will credit them.  

But that is what happened.  And Brett could never be ambassador for that reason.

Now Paul is a journalist so there's another part he needs to cover.

If Brett's scandal had happened under Bully Boy Bush -- Wait.  It did happen under him.  It didn't get exposed though until Barack was president and was nominating Brett for US Ambassador to Iraq.  If Barack had not bneen involved, the cowards and hypocrites at FAIR would have led on this issue.  They would have told you that it was unethical for Gina Chon, a reporter in Baghdad, to have an affair with a US government employee.  That alone was unethical.

What made it worse is Gina let him vet her copy.  Before she submitted it to THE WALL STREET JOURNAL, she let him vet it and she changed it as he instructed.

Gina did not 'leave' THE WALL STREET JOURNAL.  The paper fired her.  I noted that in real time too.  I was told it was going to happen hours before hand and, as I covered here, I was given an audio recording of the meeting in which she was fired.  She raged, she screamed.  Didn't matter, she had broken journalistic ethics and she got her ass fired.  

Paul doesn't cover that and in terms of the ambassadorship that was never to be, he doesn't get it.  He's rather piggish (thinking that Brett -- any man -- can do whatever they want with no consequences) or just rather xenophobic (not caring that threat of the lives of Iraqi women that would be in place if Brett had become ambassador).

It's not a minor issue.  We are yet again having to cover it because those who should do the job refuse to do so.

Let me wind this down by noting that CJR refused to cover it -- the supposed watchdog of journalism.  They ignored it over and over.  Then they wanted to go to town with some reporter who slept with a fire fighter (I believe that's what it was) when she was on the city beat and how could she!!!! When they posted that ridiculous item, our own Martha (who, with Shirley, does our book review at the end of each year) left a blistering comment at CJR calling them out for their rank hypocrisy and for that reaosn -- and only that reason -- they finally wrote a sentence or two about Gina and Brett and the lapse of journalistic ethics.  

After this posts, I'm going to bed.  Whenever I wake up -- this afternoon, tonight, early in the morning -- I will post some of the stuff sent to the public account.  

The following sites updated: