Monday, March 07, 2022

Amy Klobuchar's trying to destroy the internet

Jonathan Turley:

Beware of politicians bearing reforms. Since the Trojans first wheeled a wooden horse into their fortified city, many are leery about “gifts” that may be heavily laden with dangers. That is true with the Trojan horse legislation just offered by Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.). In the name of “reforming” the internet and bringing tech monopolies to heel, Klobuchar has penned a “Nudge Act” that would expand corporate censorship and speech controls.

Even the name is designed to be non-threatening. After all, who could oppose an act titled “Nudging Users to Drive Good Experiences on Social Media”? It is enough to garner the support of Sen. Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.). The act, however, is less of a nudge and more of a shove toward approved content and choices.

For years, President Joe Biden and Democratic members of Congress have pushed for greater and greater censorship on the internet and on social media. Liberals have found a winning strategy in using corporate censorship to circumvent constitutional limits on governmental speech controls. Senators like Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) warned social media companies that they would not tolerate any “backsliding or retrenching” by “failing to take action against dangerous disinformation,” and demanded “robust content modification” to block disfavored views on subjects ranging from climate control to elections to the pandemic.

The Nudge Act is arguably the most insidious of these efforts. Under the Act, Congress would enlist the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine (NAS) to recommend sweeping design changes to Big Tech platforms like Facebook, Instagram and YouTube to “reduce the harms of algorithmic amplification and social media addiction.”

The Act is a masterpiece of doublespeak. It refers to developing “content-agnostic interventions” that could ultimately be enforced by a commission and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). That sounds great; after all, many of us have called for years for a return to content neutrality on social media where sites function more as communication platforms, similar to telephone companies. However, that is clearly not the intent of the bill’s sponsors, who see it as a weapon against “misinformation.” That was made clear by Klobuchar herself: “For too long, tech companies have said ‘Trust us, we’ve got this.’ But we know that social media platforms have repeatedly put profits over people, with algorithms pushing dangerous content that hooks users and spreads misinformation.”

She was a joke running for the Democratic Party's presidential nomiantion.  She's a menace in the Senate.  Who will save us from Amy Klobuchar's efforts to destroy the internet.

The answer is we're going to have to save ourselves.  We're going to have to raise our voices and get this bill killed. 

"TV: A streaming pile of garbage" (Ava and C.I., THE THIRD ESTATE SUNDAY REVIEW):

HBO MAX also has the other strong offering: KIMI.  Yes, another movie about AI or voice controlled personal assistant, as some prefer to call them.  But this isn't 2020's SUPERINTELLIGENCE (which we loved) or 2019's JEXI (which was funny in spots).  It most obviously differs from those two in that it's not a comedy.  It's a thriller which finds director Steven Soderbergh tapping into the Alan J. Pakula vein.   Ever wonder what happens when you tell Siri or Alexa or whomever that the result wasn't helpful or when you stump them? Zoe Kravitz plays a woman whose job it is to resolve errors and she listens to what people asked or requested.  In doing so, she believes she hears a woman who is in danger.  This leads her down a very dark (and exciting) road.

Watching it, we were reminded that US President Joe Biden is using Ukraine to try to wipe away his impotency with regards to COVID-19 and that a lot of people, who should be smarter, are going along with it because they're tired of realizing how truly helpless they are.  How helpless they are and how -- as long as they count on crooked and corrupt politicians to rescue them -- helpless they will remain.  Computer science coined the phrase "garbage in, garbage out" -- who knew it would also be an apt description of our political system in the US?

Like I said, we have to save ourselves.

"Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):

 Monday, March 7, 2022    Black Alliance for Peace issues a statement regarding Russia and Ukraine while Hillary Clinton spews hate at Russia, another woman is murdered in Iraq, the political stalemat continues, and much more.

In 2020, Joe Biden was a candidate for the Democrats Party primary.  Then, still 2020, he became the nominee.  In both cases, he was full of how he was going to take on COVID 19 and how Donald Trump was doing it wrong and how blah blah blah.

He did nothing to address the issues.  In fact, he did far less.  At least people got a tiny bit of money when Donald Trump was president.  (The checks Joe signed upon being sworn in as president were supposed to have gone out weeks prior but Nancy Pelosi stalled them so Donald wouldn't get credit -- that's "We fee them!" Nancy)

A complete and utter failure, Joe Biden is now using war on Russia to distract from his failure to provide leadership on COVID.  All he did was what Donald had done and as proof of the carry over, he kept the idiot and liar Anthony Fauci on in the same position.

Add to that the inflation that so many outside the bubble are dealing with and Joe needs a villain, something to push the hatred off on and distract from his impotecny.  

What better way than to attack the Russian people and whip up hatred towards them.  Enter Hillary Clinton.  What did Dana Milbank calle her in 2008?  Mad dog bitch?  Something like that.  

Well she's living up to that these days.  She can't stop frothing at the mouth about how the Russian people need to suffer as she tries to inflate hatred and stir things up.  She really needs to be retired from public life.  A known liar who used Russia as an excuse for her own failures to campaing properly in 2016, she's never been about women except for those named Hillary Clinton.  In the 90s, she attacked the women who came forward -- just as she had attacked a rape victim on the stand prior to that.  She attacked the women and showing that she didn't know what she was talking about -- a common occurence for Hillary -- she said if she could get those women on the stand, she would rip them apart because their stories had changed.  As we all know -- all of us except Hillary-- victims stories can change.  

She looks like the man she always wanted to be these days.  Ugly, angry, spewing hate.

She's a failure as a politician and she's a fialure as a woman.  Remember the late Eliabeth Edwards had words about that.  (Before they bit Elizabeth in her ass.)

Where she or Chelsea get off making public statements is amazing.  The only thing we need to hear from either is how do you embrace Bill Clinton when you know he raped Juanita Broaddrick?

Corporate media is to blame as well.  They know she has no humanity, they know she has no decency, yet they put her on the air.  Present her as an expert.  On how to lose an election?  On how to destroy Iraq?  On how to pretend like everyone's not laughing at you over the fact that your husband repeatedly cheats on you -- to this day, cheast on you?

Exactly what is her accomplishment?  Office holder?  SHe certainly never accomplished anything to brag of in any office.

Fat, short and ugly to this day, I guess I can give her credit for taming those awful eye brows after she became First Lady.

Don't see how that makes her an expert on the world, but okay?

She wants people close to Vladimir Putin to step in?  I'm sure that Putin, like Hillary herself, has no friends.

She has lackeys.  She lost a number of them with the 2008 campaing.  First by blaming some women while she was campaigning for the nomination and then by blaming them even more after she lost the nomination.  

Hillary is neither attractive nor smart.  It takes a real idiot to think you can whisper insults to the press and it won't get back to the women that the omments came from Hillary.  Especially when some of the women are married to members of the press.

Her 2016 campaign -- dull and insispid with Hillary trying to out-Barack Barack himself -- was all about the men.  It was doomed before it started.

Now this failure, whose most important 'accomplishement' was taking part in the war on Iraq that destroyed Iraq wants to share what she thinks is insight?

Black Alliance for Peace notes:

Within large sectors of the U.S. left, including many elements of the Black left, there is widespread confusion related to the Ukraine “crisis.” Years of anti-Russia propaganda from the U.S. and its NATO allies, and the tendency to abstract the current Ukrainian situation from its historical and geo-strategic context, have created a climate of confusion. This climate has played into the hands of state propagandists and Democratic Party activists eager to use the Ukraine situation to deflect attention from Biden’s disastrous domestic agenda. 

The situation with Ukraine did not just fall out of the sky in 2021. It has a long history.

Here are some points to frame how we should engage this issue:

  1. Ukraine is a manufactured crisis. That is, the stand-off between the U.S./ NATO forces and the Russian Federation with the Ukrainians, including the Ukrainians in the Eastern portion of Ukraine (that the media refers to as “pro-Russia separatists”), did not evolve organically but was the result of conscious decisions on the part of the Biden Administration. Less than two months after taking office there were indications that the Biden Administration was signaling to the Ukrainian government that it would support efforts to reincorporate the eastern region (Donbas) by force. This is why we reject any obscurantist references to the “both sides are to blame” position that we see in various statements from peace and anti-war groups. To be clear: this is not a “pro-Russia” position, but an objective assessment of the dynamics of the situation. 

  2. The U.S./EU/NATO Axis of Domination. We see NATO as a criminal military structure whose only purpose is providing the military/material basis for the maintenance and extension of the U.S./EU/NATO Axis of Domination (white power). As a structure of white colonial power, NATO was essential in supporting colonial powers in Africa, including the Portuguese in their military struggles to maintain their colonial holdings in Africa during the initial wave of anti-colonial struggles on the continent. The Obama/Biden administration also used NATO for their attack on Libya in 2011, resulting in the destruction of the most prosperous and revolutionary state on the continent. All peace loving people should call for the dismantling of NATO. 

  3. Ukraine and U.S. Doctrine of “Full Spectrum Dominance.” While the focus on Ukraine is of utmost importance, we must also recognize the bipartisan commitment to the U.S. national security strategy of “Full Spectrum Dominance” and its utilization of a “military-first” strategy to achieve continued U.S. global dominance. For example, troops trained by the U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) have been involved in nine coups d’etat in the thirteen years that AFRICOM has operated on the continent. Therefore, unlike a number of peace and anti-war groups that abstract Ukraine from that context, we argue that the coup in Ukraine and the attempt to create the conditions for the expansion of NATO into Ukraine must be seen as just one aspect of U.S. imperialist strategy. It is the concrete, material interests of imperialism that drives U.S. policies and is, therefore,  why it must be defined as such and vigorously opposed by all anti-imperialists. 

For African peoples, the U.S./EU/NATO Axis of Domination represents the greatest threat to peace, human rights, and social justice on the planet today. It is absurd for any African to embrace the agenda of empire by giving credence or legitimacy to the crude mobilization of public opinion for conflict on behalf of NATO and the white supremacist, colonial/capitalist project. 

  1. Ukraine reflects the continuous right-wing nature of European and European American politics. In a 2018 article in The Nation, Stephen Cohen detailed the social and political impacts of the 2014 right-wing coup in Ukraine: 

…storm troop-like assaults on gays, Jews, elderly ethnic Russians, and other “impure” citizens are widespread throughout Kiev-ruled Ukraine, along with torchlight marches reminiscent of those that eventually inflamed Germany in the late 1920s and 1930s. And that the police and official legal authorities do virtually nothing to prevent these neofascist acts or to prosecute them. On the contrary, Kiev has officially encouraged them by systematically rehabilitating and even memorializing Ukrainian collaborators with Nazi German extermination pogroms and their leaders during World War II, renaming streets in their honor, building monuments to them, rewriting history to glorify them, and more. 

This is the nature of the government in Ukraine that the Biden Administration along with the corporate press, deranged Black people, and a confused left are supporting.  

Below is an alternative set of facts and analyses related to the Ukraine crisis, a “crisis” deliberately generated to divert attention away from the Biden’s administration inability to provide capitalist stability. 

The unfolding of events in Ukraine that are relevant for Africans

  1. The full responsibility for the dangerous crisis unfolding in Ukraine has its genesis in the illegal policies of the U.S./EU/NATO “Axis of Domination” beginning in 2014. As the Black Alliance for Peace reported, it was clear even from statements attributed to Obama officials that, “During the latter part of 2013 until February 2014, the Obama/Biden administration gave material support and encouragement to anti-democratic right-wing elements in Ukraine to execute ‘regime change.’” Therefore, the U.S. was deeply implicated in the coup of February 2014 that overthrew the democratically elected president of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych. 

  2. The coup government was infected with Ukrainian ultra-nationalists and with political ties to literal fascists such as the “Right Sector” and the Azov battalions. The coup plunged Ukraine into crisis because substantial sectors of Ukrainian society did not support it, especially sections of predominantly Russian speaking Ukrainian citizens in the Eastern portions of the nation. Those Ukrainian citizens rejected the legitimacy of the coup government and began to voice support for independence from the neo-Nazi government that took power.  The response from the illegal coup regime was to label its own citizens “terrorists” and attack the Eastern portions of the country militarily. In other words, they attacked their own citizens – a crime that the Obama administration pretended was the excuse for U.S. subversion in Syria. 

  3. The Azov Battalion played a major combat role in the attacks by the coup government against Ukrainian citizens who opposed the coup. The Azov Battalion is avowedly “partially” pro-Nazi, as evidenced by its regalia, slogans, and programmatic statements, and as well-documented as such by several international monitoring organizations. The Azov Battalion was incorporated into the National Guards of Ukraine, the armed forces of the Ukrainian state, and today is reported to be being trained by U.S. Special Forces.

  4. After suffering military defeats at the hands of the peoples in Eastern Ukraine that had subsequently declared themselves independent of the coup government, an agreement between Donbas and the coup government was arrived at that became known as the Minsk II agreement. Terms of the agreement included a commitment to a ceasefire along with relative autonomy for Donbas (Eastern Ukraine). The agreement avoided all-out war and provided a degree of “stability” until the Biden administration came back to power. 

Back in power, Biden and the Democrats who have now reclaimed the mantle of the party of war, began to encourage Ukraine authorities to ignore the Minsk II agreement and to forcefully retake control of Donbas. Even more dangerously, the U.S. and some European powers began to indicate that Ukraine might be invited to become a member of NATO. If Ukraine becomes a member of NATO, this could allow a nuclear armed NATO to be positioned right on the borders of Russia. Russia is rightly concerned about this security risk at its border. 

The Black Radical Position on the Situation in Ukraine 

NATO is an illegitimate aggressive structure in the service of Western imperialism and does not deserve any support from African/Black and colonized people. Moreover, all social forces committed to peace should demand that NATO be dismantled. The Ukrainian crisis is yet another example of the delusional policies being pursued by U.S. rulers unable to accept the changed circumstances in the world today that limit their ability to impose their interests on peoples and nations without consequences. 

As an African people involved in an existential battle in the U.S. against rightist forces, from the Trump/Republican supporters to the warmongering neoliberal Democrats, with both committed to global “Full Spectrum Dominance” (white power), it would be an affront to our history and people to enter this struggle on the side of empire and NATO.  


BAP Demands:

1. All parties to the conflict adhere to the provisions reflected in the Minsk agreement

2. Instead of the arbitrary and illegal activities of the United States and NATO, the Ukrainian situation should be moved to the United Nations Security Council, the only body by international law tasked with the responsibility to address international threats to peace.

3. That NATO, a structure for advancing the interests of white supremacy and the U.S. empire be dismantled.

4. The U.S. government renounce its commitment to the doctrine of global “Full Spectrum Dominance.”

Select Resources from BAP and BAP members:

BAP Press Release: Black Alliance For Peace took a strong stance on the escalating situation in Ukraine. “Black Alliance for Peace Condemns the Policies of the U.S./EU/NATO Axis of Domination in Ukraine”

Ajamu Baraka, Ukraine: What Does it Have to Do with Black Folks?

BAP Press Release: Ukraine: Biden Administration’s “Wag the Dog” Diversionary War?:

Interview Ajamu Baraka on Ukraine: Unmasking Imperialism Hosted by Ramiro Sebastián Fúnez. 

Margaret Kimberley: Ukraine and War Propaganda

Ajamu Baraka, National Organizer of the Black Alliance for Peace joined “By Any Means Necessary” to discuss the ongoing issues in Ukraine and its meaning for Black people in the US.

Salifu Mack, Erica Caines, Biden-Harris and the Never-Ending Commitment to War and Terror:

Charisse Burden-Stelly, “Against the Triple Evils: The Biden’s Administrations Affront to Dr. King’s Legacy



Margaret Kimberley: Russia Wins 

Glen Ford: Hillary and Other Assorted Barbarians at Russia’s Gate

Ajamu Baraka: The Story of Charlottesville Was Written in Blood in The Ukraine

Interview: Ajamu and Phil Wilatyo - A Voice From The Margins - US Foreign Policy in Ukraine and Eastern Europe

Additional Information:  

Estonia and Latvia are NATO member states; they are both on Russia’s border. Estonia would be the closest to Saint Petersburg. See the map here and look at number 24, that is Estonia and the little inlet just north > that is where Saint Petersburg is.

US propaganda is inflating the supposed 100,000 troops that Russia has on Ukraine’s border but doesn’t talk about the 3.5 million personnel that NATO has in Europe

NATO and Africa: 

In his 1966 book Challenge of the Congo, Kwame Nkrumah writes: Foreign powers already have military bases in various, strategically important parts of our continent. There are in Africa at present, seventeen air bases owned and operated by individual members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). There are nine naval bases encircling the continent from the north coast of Africa right round the south coast to the east. There are foreign military missions, for example in Kenya, Morocco, Liberia, Libya, South Africa, Senegal and Ivory Coast. Furthermore, they possess three rocket sites, and an atomic testing range in North Africa. There are mines being exploited for the production of raw materials for the manufacture of nuclear weapons. Some of these mines are situated in the Congo, Angola, South Africa, Mozambique and Rhodesia. In the context of of the imperialist plan to prevent Africa from achieving complete political and economic independence and an All-African Union Government, these foreign military bases present a serious threat to the African revolutionary struggle.” (p. xi)

Walter Rodney was even more explicit on how NATO moved into Africa as part of the efforts to shift colonial power from the traditional European powers to the new colonial hegemon - the United States of America. 

Rodney accurately describes the early foundation of colonial Africa’s relationship with NATO which continues today when he said in How Europe Underdeveloped Africa: “Adding to the regular bases in long established colonies, the imperialist powers were able to set up military installations in African territories which fell into their hands during the war. In this context, the USA was particularly important, because it was already the principal buttress of the capitalist defense system in the form of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Thus, after helping to recapture North Africa from the fascist, the United States was able to build major air-force bases in Morocco, and Libya. In Italian Eritrea, the Americans stepped in with modern radar stations; and Ethiopia conceded military bases.” (p. 198)


AFRICOM is actually a direct product of NATO via EUCOM (US European command) because EUCOM is a component part of NATO and EUCOM originally included responsibility for 42 African states. In 2003 NATO started expanding; four years later the EUCOM commander proposed the creation of AFRICOM in 2007. James L. Jones Jr. explains how he came to make the proposal for AFRICOM from his position as commander of EUCOM as well as commander of operational forces of NATO here.

As previously mentioned regarding NATO’s relationship with OAU states, the policy of NATO “partnering” with African states to achieve its goals has continued with the establishment of the AU. The AU has partnered with NATO/AFRICOM missions regarding “anti-piracy,” military training, operational support, etc. in Somalia, and spearheaded missions in Sudan & Gulf of Guinea.

The US/NATO role in the destruction of Libya in 2011 is important to highlight because it offers some important lessons. First, US imperialism and its western lackies do not accept any country that decides to be an independent force outside of its sphere of influence. Secondly, it also demonstrates how NATO can work hand in hand with other US/western dominated world structures like the UN. In 2011 the UN (resolution 1973) gave political authorization for a “no Fly zone” and blockade of Libya to reportedly “protect” the citizens which ultimately resulted the destruction of the country. It shows that although US-led NATO often uses the UN for political cover, it has no problem illegally overstepping its UN mandate to commit its crimes against humanity and achieve its regime change goals. Even a few countries that abstained from the UN vote like China said they did so not to offend the reactionary Arab league AND the African Union which approved of the resolution. This shows cooperation between NATO, UN the AU, and the Arab League.

The book The Illegal War on Libya edited by Cynthia McKinney, includes the chapter titled “NATO’s Libya War, A Nuremberg Level Crime” in which Stephen Ledman writes: “The US-led NATO war on Libya will be remembered as one of history’s greatest crimes, violating the letter and spirit of international law and America’s Constitution. The Nuremberg Tribunal’s Chief Justice Robert Jackson (a supreme court justice) called Nazi war crimes ‘the supreme international crime against peace.’ Here are his November 21, 1945 opening remarks:

The wrongs which we seek to condemn and punish have been so calculated, so malignant, and so devastating, that civilization cannot tolerate their being ignored, because it cannot survive their being repeated.”  Jackson called aggressive war “the greatest menace of our times.” International law defines crimes against peace as “planning, preparation, initiation, or waging of wars of aggression, or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements or assurances, or participation in a common plan or conspiracy for the accomplishment of any of the foregoing.

All US post-WWII wars fall under this definition. Since then, America has waged direct and proxy premeditated, aggressive wars worldwide. It has killed millions in East and Central Asia, North and other parts of Africa, the Middle East, and Europe, as well as in Central and South America.” (p. 79)

Some quotations from Horace Campbell’s book Global NATO and the Catastrophic Failure in Libya: Lessons for Africa in the Forging of African Unity are instructive for understanding the expansion of NATO, its aggression toward Russia, and its role in Africa generally, and Libya particularly:

“The NATO operation [in Libya] exposed the reality that in the current depression there will be massive use of force by Western corporations to remain competitive. These corporate entities have decided to go beyond structural adjustment ‘reforms’ and have taken a military stand in Africa. There were also commentators who perceived the Libyan intervention as a proxy war with China. War and revolution in North Africa have opened a new period in the history of Africa.” (p. 30)

“Russia opposed the expansion of NATO, claiming that this was a military alliance to encircle Russia by extending its membership to include former members of the Warsaw Pact… NATO expanded under President Clinton to protect ‘globalized’ capital, and it was in this period of expansion that NATO jumped from twelve members to sixteen, then to nineteen, then to twenty-six by 2004 and to twenty-eight members by 2009. Despite vocal opposition from Russia, the discussion of expanding NATO now proceeded to the idea of Global NATO…” (p. 40)

“Africa remained outside the orbit of this globalized NATO because memories of the anti-apartheid struggles were too fresh in Africa, especially southern Africa. Soon after the end of apartheid, the government of the United States proposed an African Crisis Response initiative. Nelson Mandela was among the first to vigorously oppose this planned military force in Africa. For the next eight years, U.S. diplomatic efforts were geared toward ensnaring individual states into a military network dominated by the United States. Hiding behind the guise of humanitarian relief, in 2004 the United States announced the formation of the African Contingency Operations Training and Assistance program. The ostensive purpose of ACOTA was to train military trainers and equip African national militaries to conduct peace support operations. Less than four years later, the United States launched a new initiative, the U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM). This new military force for Africa was rejected by even the most servile allies of the United States. There was only one country that, in public, promised basing privileges for AFRICOM. This was Liberia.” (pp. 40-41)

“Africans could see through the duplicity of the humanitarian imperialism of NATO in the genocide in Rwanda and the NATO operations in the Balkans. In 1994, the United States took the lead in opposing the United Nations intervention to stop the genocide in Rwanda. In 1999, NATO bombed Kosovo for over seventy-nine days as it gave itself a new mission to expand U.S. military power right up to Moscow’s doorstep.” (p. 43)

NATO continues its training of African forces

The July 2018 NATO Summit has solidified the geopolitical climate for a NATO-led training mission to the DRC, aimed at the ‘protection of civilians’ through the development of the DRC security forces. See article “Crisis In The Congo: A New Role For NATO’s Southern Hub 

This is related to the current role of AFRICOM in the DRC today. See article, ”Backed by AFRICOM, corporations plunder DR Congo for “climate-friendly” materials and blame China”

Further reading:

As Secretary of State, Hillary refused to highlight the obstacles for women in Iraq.  She even refused -- begged by friends -- to include them in a major speech she gave on women -- a speech that noted pretty much every country.  Maybe that's why the western press loves her so much?  They enjoy ignoring Iraqi women as well.  The attacks and assaults on women have been increasing and the western media can't find the story as usual.  Layal Shakir (RUDAW) reports:

Another woman was found dead in the Kurdish capital late Sunday night, less than two days before International Women’s Day.

Amid a spike of women killings in the Kurdistan Region, Eman Sami Maghdid, 20, was murdered by unknown assailants on Erbil’s 100 meters street, Erbil’s police department said early Monday.

The police did not disclose any details regarding the perpetrator or perpetrators, or how she was killed.

Known as Mari, Sami was a well-known TikToker with a platform of over 47,000 followers, many of whom have expressed outrage at the news of her death. 

Coming from a conservative society, Mari’s social media photos and videos rebelled against the community’s narratives. She published photos with cigarettes in her hands, videos where she expressed herself out loud, and images wearing crop tops - actions seen as lethal and looked down upon by the majority of the Kurdish community.

Twenty-year-old Eman Sami Maghdid was found dead in Erbil on Sunday, less than two days before International Women’s Day. According to statistics by the Directorate of Combatting Violence against Women, 24 women were killed in the Region in the past year.

In other news, ALJAZEERA notes the ongoing corruption in the Iraqi government.


Bribing public officials, paying kick-backs to fixers, and financing slush funds. What reads like an indictment of some prolific crime syndicate is in reality a summary of the recent allegations of misconduct levelled at telecom giant Ericsson and its actions in Iraq.

For the last few weeks, Ericsson has been hard at work to stem the reputational bleeding. In a recent interview given to the financial publication Dagens Industry, CEO Börje Ekholm appeared to come clean by admitting that payments intended to secure access to transport routes may have gone to “terrorist organisations, including ISIS”.

However, more revelations from an investigation conducted by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) – the ‘Ericsson List’ – have ensured that the spotlight remains firmly on the Swedish telecom firm. Having analysed leaked internal company documents, the ICIJ established that the payments referenced by Mr. Ekholm, amounting to around $171,000, were in reality bribes paid to ISIS militants.

In response to these most recent revelations, the US Department of Justice (DoJ) notified Ericsson on Wednesday that they breached the terms of their Deferred Prosecution Agreement for a second time. News of the DoJ’s move further fanned the flames of the crisis engulfing the company, whose stock value plummeted by around 13% in a single day.

In the corrupt state, the political stalemate continues.  RUDAW reports:

Iraqi parliament voted on Saturday to reopen registration for presidential candidates days after the country’s federal court called off a similar decision by the legislature. 

Iraq held parliamentary elections on October 10 but the political parties failed to elect a president for the country on time due to strong rivalry between Kurdistan Region’s ruling parties over the position. After the Federal Supreme Court removed the Kurdistan Democratic Party’s (KDP) candidate Hoshyar Zebari last month over corruption allegations, the parliament presidency reopened doors for candidates. This time, the KDP fielded the Region’s interior minister Reber Ahmed but the same court ruled on Tuesday the reopening of registration “unconstitutional” on the grounds that the decision was not made by majority of MPs but by the parliamentary speaker.  

The parliament convened on Saturday. The session was attended by 265 MPs, according to a statement by the legislature which added that 203 MPs voted in favour of the reopening of registration for presidential candidates. 

The registration begins on Sunday, lasting for three day, the parliament said later. 

The following sites updated: