Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Poor Lauren Boebert, the reviews are in

  Isaiah's THE WORLD TODAY JUST NUTS "Bad News: He's A Floater" and "Bo Ho?"


Poor, trashy Lauren Boebert.  She will never live her attendance at a BEETLEJUICE performance down:

Their months-long romance exploded into the news in the most embarrassing fashion after the couple was thrown out of a Denver theater Sunday September 16, for putting on a raunchy show of their own in the orchestra seats.

Security camera footage showed Gallagher fondling his date's breasts while she rubbed his crotch. Patrons who were attending a performance of Beetlejuice also complained that the congresswoman was vaping, taking pictures on her cell phone and singing along.

Shamefaced Lauren admitted on Fox News, Friday, that she had 'messed up,' with her behavior that night and said that while she hoped to remain friends with Gallagher, whom she described as a 'very nice man,' there would be no more dates. was first to reveal the identity of Lauren's 'mystery man' naming him as co-owner of Hooch Craft Cocktail Bar in Aspen, Colorado, and a divorced father of a 16-year-old son.

Regulars at the establishment which Gallagher owns and runs with Pat Flannigan told that the Rifle, Colorado, local was a 'very cool guy' but as someone who hosted drag nights at his bar, seemed a surprising match for Republican firebrand Lauren.

Lauren is on record for tweeting how drag shows offend her Christian beliefs urging parents, 'Take your children to CHURCH, not drag bars.'

THE DENVER POST calls her behavior "outrageous.Mary C. Curtis (ROLL CALL) offers:

I’m not sure why the story of Rep. Lauren Boebert, the Republican from Colorado, getting escorted out of a Denver stage performance of “Beetlejuice” bothers me, and a lot of other people, so much. It’s just a play, right? Musical entertainment. What’s a little raucous behavior when one is having fun?

After all, what did she really do — besides vape in front of a pregnant woman, sing along with the cast, take flash pictures, indulge in a little slap-and-tickle with her date, give the usher the finger and pull the “do you know who I am” card. Plus, followed it up with a chaser of a canned apology.

Well, maybe it was a bit over the top.

There was the hypocrisy.

The professed pro-life politician ignored the complaint of a pregnant woman who thought a theater was one place she could enjoy a quiet, smoke-free evening. And, when called out, said congresswoman blamed it on a “fog machine” until a video caught her in the act. Boebert claimed amnesia, swearing she did not “recall” the incident.

At THE DAILY ASPEN NEWS, Steve Skinner notes:

Let's start with U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Silt, who thought that showing off her new protuberances, perturbances and perversions on infrared tape in front of a live and worldwide audience was a good idea.

Even though she despises Aspen, Democrats and the LGBTQ community, she dropped her inhibitions and dove into the deep end with Quinn Gallagher, a registered Democrat whose Aspen establishment Hooch Craft Cocktail Bar has hosted drag shows.

I'm not here to judge or engage in barren sensationalism, and I don't need to say it because Australia's Daily Mail said it best in an article titled, “Lauren Boebert reveals she has 'peacefully parted ways' with frisky Beetlejuice theater guy Quinn Gallagher after groping scandal, denies having too much to drink on date and admits she 'messed up.'” The article noted that “Toe-curling footage showed Quinn Gallagher groping Boebert's breasts as she in turn rubbed his crotch.”

Yikes, guess she fell off her horse. Maybe got too high and top heavy.

Bouncy Boebert said that it was a first and last date and that she learned her lesson about dating Democrats.

Not so fast. Newsweek reports that Drag Queen Kendra Matic, who has performed at Hooch Craft Cocktail Bar, said that Gallagher is a real nice guy and that Boebert is not quite authentic.

"First date and someone is touching your boobies like that?" Matic said while shaking her finger when the interview said there was speculation that the event was a first date. "I know that they were dating for a while. For months."

Her theater performance has not gone over well.

"Thoughts on Woke (Ava and C.I.)" (Ava and C.I., THE THIRD ESTATE SUNDAY REVIEW):

A book about two penguins in love?  It's not sexualizing children.  A teacher with a photo on his/her desk of a same-sex or non-binary partner?  It's not sexualizing children.  Acknowledging the world's truth -- that LGBTQ+ people exist and have existed throughout history and exist all over the world?  It's not sexualizing children.  

The way some hate merchants have grabbed for the vapors at the inclusion of a gay or trans character is something to see.  The term for this extreme reaction?  It used to be "homosexual panic."  And we still think these people are projecting.  Bitter maybe because they pushed down their true selves to fit in and now unwilling to let anyone else have a chance at happiness or truth. 

They're hateful and small minded people.  Confronted, they will most likely move on.  Why?  They hate the entire world and they have so many grudges to f**k.  For example, homophobe, transphobe, racist and sexist Charlie Kirk has so much hate already on his plate, he can always be seen chasing -- like a dog -- the latest ambulance.  Today?  It's accused rapist Russell Brand.  Little Charlie -- deep in his closet, we're sure -- feels so attached to Russell Brand that he's calling for a boycott of Burger King because, in light of the accusations, BK stopped by advertising time on Brand on RUMBLE.  Charlie wants you to know it's wrong, so wrong, so wrong.  He gets down on his knees, that's how it begins.  Isn't that a song (yes, it is).  Reality: An advertiser can -- and should -- drop support for anyone accused of a violent crime.  Stuff like that, in fact, is generally written into personal contracts.  It doesn't matter -- though Charlie thinks it does -- whether Brand is guilty or not.  Right now, he's accused and Burger King didn't sign up to support rape.  

We're amazed this is complicated to Charlie.  Even as stupid as he is, he should be able to grasp that Burger King can take their advertising money where ever they want.  Prior to the allegations, they were happy to sponsor Brand's show. Now?  Things have changed. 
And things need to change in this country.  When women are being targeted, we need to stand up.  When people are being targeted for their race, we need to stand up.  When people are being targeted for who they are and for who they love, we need to stand up.
The hate merchants worked their test case last fall by picking on a movie and seeing if the left would push back against them.  There was very little pushback.  As a result, the hate merchants think they can crawl out from under their rocks and be seen as part of polite society, as part of civilization.  They're trash.  And they're cowards.  Confronted, they will back down.
History demonstrates that over and over.  It's why progress is referred to as a "struggle."  You have to be prepared to fight for freedom and rights.  And you have to be woke to overcome a nightmare.

I loved the essay that they did this week.

"Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):

Tuesday, September 26, 2023.  Donald Trump appears to have lost his mind, Joe Biden gets caught in another tall tale, Human Rights Watch notes the US government never took accountability for Abu Ghraib and never made amends, and much more.

Starting with former US President Donald Trump. As noted in THIRD's  "The Trump Crazies," "Adam Kinzinger thinks Donald Trump is going insane,  we think Trump's flock is."  And further proof that Donald is going insane?  William Vaillancourt (THE DAILY BEAST) notes:

While recalling his 2016 campaign for president during a speech Monday in South Carolina, Donald Trump mixed up his Bushes, referring to Jeb Bush as the one who “got us into the Middle East,” despite the fact that it was former President George W. Bush who ordered the invasions of Afghanistan in 2001 and Iraq two years later. According to Trump, “everyone thought Bush was going to win” the South Carolina primary in 2016. “They thought Bush because Bush supposedly was a military person. Great,” he said. “He got us into the Middle East. How did that work out, right? But they all thought that Bush might win—Jeb. Remember Jeb?” Bush, the former governor of Florida, ended up receiving just under eight percent of the vote in South Carolina, while Trump won the primary against five other major candidates with a plurality of about 32 percent. In his speech, Trump also knocked Bush’s campaign logo—“Jeb!”—for omitting his last name.

For the record, Jeb Bush never served in the military.  He didn't enlist and then go AWOL like Bully Boy Bush, he just didn't serve.  Why would Donald make those statements?  Again, it's very strange.  Far less strange, a report from Tori Otten (THE NEW REPUBLIC):

Former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko on Monday completely—and hilariously—destroyed one of Republicans’ main arguments to prove that Joe Biden is corrupt.

Republicans launched an impeachment inquiry into Biden, after months of insisting that the president is guilty of criminal wrongdoing. The GOP has yet to produce any actual evidence of their claims. But one of their main talking points is that Poroshenko fired former Ukrainian prosecutor general Viktor Shokin after Biden pressured him to do so.

Fox News host Brian Kilmeade played Poroshenko a clip of Shokin saying Biden wanted him fired because he had been investigating the oil company Burisma Holdings while Hunter Biden served on the board.

“First of all, this is [a] completely crazy person,” Poroshenko replied without hesitation, referring to Shokin. “This is something wrong with him. Second, there is not one single word of truth.”

Where did the GOP get this talking point?  Tori Otten seems unaware.  From Joe Biden's own mouth.

If Poroshenko is telling the truth -- I have no idea -- it actually makes even more sense.

If Poroshenko is telling the truth, Joe made another baseless brag which is totally in keeping with so many of his other statements.

Biden later publicly disclosed that on another trip to Kyiv he told Ukraine’s new leadership that Shokin needed to be removed, warning that the U.S. would withhold $1 billion in loan guarantees until Shokin was replaced. (Biden did not say when he made the threat, but he addressed the Ukrainian Parliament in Kyiv on Dec. 9, 2015, and dangled the prospect of future U.S. aid if the country rid itself of the “cancer of corruption.”)

“I looked at them and said: I’m leaving in six hours. If the prosecutor is not fired, you’re not getting the money,” Biden recalled in remarks at an event hosted in January 2018 by the Council on Foreign Relations. “Well, son of a bitch. He got fired.”

So another tall tale from Joe?

  • The US government has apparently failed to provide compensation or other redress to Iraqis who suffered torture and other abuse by US forces at Abu Ghraib and other US-run prisons in Iraq two decades ago.
  • Iraqis tortured by US personnel still have no clear path for receiving redress or recognition from the US government though the effects of torture are a daily reality for many Iraqi survivors and their families.
  • In August 2022, the Pentagon released an action plan to reduce harm to civilians in US military operations, but it doesn’t include any way to receive compensation for past instances of civilian harm.

(Baghdad) – The United States government has apparently failed to provide compensation or other redress to Iraqis who suffered torture and other abuse two decades after evidence emerged of US forces mistreating detainees at Abu Ghraib and other US-run prisons in Iraq, Human Rights Watch said today.

After the US invasion of Iraq in 2003, the US and its coalition allies held about 100,000 Iraqis between 2003 and 2009. Human Rights Watch and others have documented torture and other ill-treatment by US forces in Iraq. Survivors of abuse have come forward for years to give their accounts of their treatment, but received little recognition from the US government and no redress. Prohibitions against torture under US domestic law, the Geneva Conventions of 1949, and the United Nations Convention Against Torture, as well as customary international law, are absolute.

“Twenty years on, Iraqis who were tortured by US personnel still have no clear path for filing a claim or receiving any kind of redress or recognition from the US government,” said Sarah Yager, Washington director at Human Rights Watch. “US officials have indicated that they prefer to leave torture in the past, but the long-term effects of torture are still a daily reality for many Iraqis and their families.”

Between April and July 2023, Human Rights Watch interviewed Taleb al-Majli, a former detainee at Abu Ghraib prison, in addition to three people with knowledge of his detention and his condition after his release who wished to remain anonymous. Human Rights Watch also interviewed a former US judge advocate who served in Baghdad in 2003, a former member of Iraq’s High Commission for Human Rights, and representatives of three nongovernmental organizations working on torture. Human Rights Watch also reviewed media and nongovernmental reports, as well as US government documents including US Department of Defense investigations into alleged detainee abuse.

In May, Al-Majli told Human Rights Watch that US forces subjected him to torture and other ill-treatment, including physical, psychological, and sexual humiliation while detaining him at Abu Ghraib prison between November 2003 and March 2005.

He said he was one of the men in a widely circulated photo at Abu Ghraib that shows a group of naked, hooded prisoners on top of one another in a human pyramid, while two US soldiers smile behind them. “Two American soldiers, one male and one female, ordered us to strip naked,” al-Majli said. “They piled us prisoners on top of each other. I was one of them.”

Al-Majli said that US forces detained him while he was visiting relatives in Anbar province in 2003.

“On the morning of October 31 [2003], US forces surrounded the village my uncle lived in,” al-Majli said. “They took boys and old men from the village. I told them I’m a guest from Baghdad, I live in Baghdad and just came to visit my uncle. They put a cover on my head and tied my wrists with plastic zip ties, then loaded me into a Humvee.”

After a few days at Habbaniya military base and at an unknown location in Iraq, US forces moved al-Majli to Abu Ghraib prison. “It was then the torture started,” he said. “They took away our clothes. They mocked us constantly while we were blindfolded with hoods over our heads. We were completely powerless,” he said. “I was tortured by police dogs, sound bombs, live fire, and water hoses.”

While Human Rights Watch is unable to conclusively verify al-Majli’s account, including whether he was one of the men in the “human pyramid” photo, his story of detention at Abu Ghraib is credible. Al Majli presented corroborating evidence, including a prisoner identity card with his full name, inmate number, and cell block, which he said US forces issued him at Abu Ghraib after taking his photo, iris scan, and fingerprints. Al-Majli also showed Human Rights Watch a letter he obtained in 2013 from the Iraqi High Commission for Human Rights, a governmental body with the mandate to protect and promote human rights in Iraq, confirming his detention at Abu Ghraib prison, including his date of arrest (October 31, 2003), and listing the same inmate number as his prisoner identity card.

He said he has kept them all this time as proof of what he endured.

During the US occupation of Iraq from 2003 to 2011, authorities held thousands of men, women, and children at Abu Ghraib prison. A February 2004 report to the US-led military coalition by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), said that military intelligence officers told the ICRC that an estimated 70 to 90 percent of people in coalition custody in Iraq in 2003 had been arrested by mistake.

Al-Majli said that after 16 months at Abu Ghraib, he was released without charge. Though he gained his freedom, he said he found himself physically ailing, penniless, and traumatized. While he was detained, he said, he began biting his hands and wrists to cope with the trauma he was experiencing, and has continued ever since. Raised, purple welts were clearly visible across his hands and wrists.

“It became a mental health condition,” he said. “I did it in jail, and after I left jail, and I keep doing it today. I try to avoid it, but I can’t. Until today, I can’t wear short sleeves. When people see this, I tell them it’s burns. I avoid questions.”

More than the pain he suffered himself, al-Majli laments the negative effect it has had on his children: “This one year and four months changed my entire being for the worse. It destroyed me and destroyed my family. It’s the reason for my son’s health problems and the reasons my daughters dropped out of school. They stole our future from us.”

For two decades, al-Majli has sought redress, including compensation and an apology, for the abuse he suffered. Unable to afford a lawyer or access the US embassy in Baghdad, al-Majli sought help from the Iraqi Bar Association, which turned him away, telling him it did not handle cases like his. Al-Majli then went to the Iraqi High Commission for Human Rights, but all it could do was issue him a letter confirming he is in their records as a former detainee at Abu Ghraib. He said he did not know how to contact the US military and raise a claim.

Human Rights Watch wrote to the US Department of Defense on June 6, 2023, outlining al-Majli’s case, providing the research findings, and requesting information on compensation for survivors of torture in Iraq. Despite repeated follow-up requests, Human Rights Watch has not received a response.

“I didn’t know what else I could do or where else to go,” al-Majli said. Human Rights Watch was not able to find any legal pathway for al-Majli to file a claim seeking recompense.

“The US secretary of defense and attorney general should investigate allegations of torture and other abuse of people detained by the US abroad during counterinsurgency operations linked to its ‘Global War on Terrorism’,” Yager said. “US authorities should initiate appropriate prosecutions against anyone implicated, whatever their rank or position. The US should provide compensation, recognition, and official apologies to survivors of abuse and their families.”

20 Years of US Silence

In 2004, then-US President George W. Bush apologized for the “humiliation suffered by the Iraqi prisoners” at Abu Ghraib. Soon after, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld told Congress that he had found a legal way to compensate Iraqi detainees who suffered “grievous and brutal abuse and cruelty at the hands of a few members of the United States armed forces. It’s the right thing to do, and it is my intention to see that we do.”

Human Rights Watch has found no evidence that the US government has paid any compensation or other redress to victims of detainee abuse in Iraq, nor has the United States issued any individual apologies or other amends.

Some victims have attempted to apply for compensation using the US Foreign Claims Act (FCA). The law allows foreign nationals to obtain compensation for death, injury, and damage to property from “noncombat activity or a negligent or wrongful act or omission” caused by US service members. However, it includes a so-called combat exclusion: claims are not payable if the harm results from “action by enemy or U.S. forces engaged in armed conflict or in immediate preparation for impending armed conflict.” Furthermore, for al-Majli and other survivors of detainee abuse during the invasion and occupation, filing a claim under the Foreign Claims Act is not an option because claims must be filed within two years from the date of the alleged harm.

Human Rights Watch was unable to find public evidence that payments have been made under this law as compensation for detainee abuse, including torture. In 2007, the American Civil Liberties Union obtained documents detailing 506 claims made under the Foreign Claims Act: 488 in Iraq and 18 in Afghanistan. The majority of claims relate to harm or deaths caused by shootings, convoys, and vehicle accidents.

The only case of a Foreign Claims Act payment relating to detention in those documents was for a claimant who was paid US$1,000 for being unlawfully detained in Iraq, with no mention of other abuse. Five other claims were for abuse in detention, but they are among eleven claims that do not contain the outcome, including whether payment was made.

The US Defense Department did not respond to repeated requests for information as to whether the US government made Foreign Claims Act or other compensation payments to survivors or families of those who died of detainee abuse in Iraq.

Jonathan Tracy, a former judge advocate who handled claims of harm in Baghdad in 2003, told Human Rights Watch he did not know of any Foreign Claims Act payments to torture survivors by the Army. “If any of the survivors received a payment, I would doubt the Army would have wanted to use Foreign Claims Act money because it could be interpreted as an admission on the government's part,” he said.

A US submission to the UN Committee Against Torture from May 2006 reported that 33 detainees had by that date filed claims for compensation to the US Army, 28 of which were from Iraq.

The submission stated that “no compensation has been provided to date, however, compensation has been offered in two cases.” Subsequent submissions to the Committee Against Torture do not contain updates to these figures, nor specify whether those payments were made. Notably, according to the document, neither of the two recommended payments was listed as compensation for torture or other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment.

Other Iraqis have attempted to find justice in US courts. But the US Justice Department has repeatedly dismissed such cases using a 1946 law that preserves US forces’ immunity for “any claim arising out of the combatant activities of the military or naval forces, or the Coast Guard, during time of war.”

So far, the only lawsuits able to advance have targeted military contractors. Those cases, too, face considerable obstacles. One such case, Al Shimari et al. v. CACI, has been slowly making its way through courts since June 2008. The lawsuit was brought by the Center for Constitutional Rights, a US-based nongovernmental organization, on behalf of four Iraqi torture victims against CACI International Inc. and CACI Premier Technology, Inc. The lawsuit asserts that CACI, which the US government hired to interrogate prisoners in Iraq, directed and participated in torture and other abuse at Abu Ghraib.

CACI has attempted to have the case dismissed 18 times since it was first filed. On July 31, 2023, a federal judge refused CACI’s most recent motion to dismiss the case, which finally appears to be heading to trial.

Criminal Investigations into Detainee Abuse in Iraq

The US Army Criminal Investigation Division (CID) opened at least 506 investigations into alleged abuses of people in the hands of US and other coalition forces in Iraq between 2003 and 2005, according to a US Department of Defense document reviewed by Human Rights Watch. The document details investigations into 376 cases of assault, 90 cases of deaths, 34 cases of theft, and 6 cases of sexual assault allegedly committed by US and coalition forces.

These US Army criminal investigations paint a stark picture of the scale and range of abuse that was alleged inside US-controlled prisons in Iraq. The most high-profile cases – like the killing of Manadel al-Jamadi – and hundreds more cases of abuse that never made headlines are outlined with clinical descriptions of violence.

The investigations concerned 225 allegations of assault and sexual assault in US-controlled detention facilities, involving at least 318 potential victims and 426 alleged abusers.

38 of those investigations upheld the allegations or found the accused guilty.

In 57 cases, investigators were unable to find sufficient evidence to prove or disprove the allegation or were unable to identify the suspect. In 79 cases, investigators declared the allegations unfounded. However, cases reviewed by CID highlighted several shortcomings in investigative processes, including a failure to identify and follow leads, failure to locate and interview witnesses, over-reliance on medical records without corroborating evidence, and failure to photograph or examine crime scenes. For example:   

In cases in which Army officials interviewed the victims and knew their identities, it appears that no attempt was made to couple punishments of abusers with compensation or other forms of redress.

Nineteen allegations of abuse were written off as standard operating procedure, leading the CID to conclude that the “offenses were unfounded” or “did not occur as alleged”:

Figure 2: Case summary written by the Criminal Investigation Division of the US Army published on 13 January 2006
Figure 2: Case summary written by the Criminal Investigation Division of the US Army published on 13 January 2006.
Figure 3: Case summary written by the Criminal Investigation Division of the US Army published on 13 January 2006
Figure 3: Case summary written by the Criminal Investigation Division of the US Army published on 13 January 2006.

Finally, 16 cases involved allegations of abuse committed by forces other than the US Army. Such cases were referred to investigators of the alleged abuser’s branch of the military, such as the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS), for further investigation. For example:

Figure 4: Case summary written by the Criminal Investigation Division of the US Army published on 13 January 2006
Figure 4: Case summary written by the Criminal Investigation Division of the US Army published on 13 January 2006.

A Climate Enabling Torture

When the photos of detainee abuse in Abu Ghraib went public, then-President Bush sought to minimize the systemic nature of the problem by calling it “disgraceful conduct by a few American troops who dishonored our country and disregarded our values.” But investigations including by Human Rights Watch have found that decisions taken at the highest levels of government enabled, sanctioned, and justified these acts. Abu Ghraib was but one of several US military detention centers and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) “black sites” worldwide where US forces, intelligence agents, and contractors carried out torture and other ill-treatment, or so-called enhanced interrogation techniques.

When the first detainees arrived at the US Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, from Afghanistan in January 2002, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld labeled them “unlawful combatants,” seeking to deny them protections under the Geneva Conventions. The same month, the Bush administration intensified its efforts to circumvent domestic and international prohibitions on torture, with the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel issuing memos that sought to legally justify torture and protect those engaging in it.

Denying detainees these protections enabled Rumsfeld to expand the list of interrogation techniques for use against prisoners at Guantanamo between December 2002 and April 2003.

Subsequent US government investigations, including the 2004 Final Report of the Independent Panel to Review Department of Defense Detention Operations (also known as the Schlesinger report), found that “the augmented techniques [approved by Rumsfeld] for Guantanamo migrated to Afghanistan and Iraq where they were neither limited nor safeguarded.”

The use of these techniques violated the prohibition on torture and other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment of prisoners under the laws of armed conflict and international criminal law.

The Bush administration limited the scope of these policies and practices in subsequent years, including by reducing the list of “enhanced interrogation techniques,” but stopped short of banning torture. In January 2009, then-President Barack Obama rescinded all Bush-era memos allowing torture. However, he stated that his administration would prosecute neither the authors of the memos nor those who carried out the acts described in them in the belief that they were legal.

The Legacy of Abu Ghraib

Ninety-seven US soldiers implicated in 38 cases of abuse that the US Army Criminal Investigation Division investigated in Iraqi detention centers between 2003 and 2005 received punishments.

Just 11 of these soldiers were referred to a court martial to face criminal charges, where they were found guilty of crimes including dereliction of duty, maltreatment, aggravated assault, and battery. 9 of the 11 served prison sentences. Fourteen others received nonjudicial punishments (e.g., a fine, reduction in rank, letter of reprimand, or discharge from the service). Reports of disciplinary action were pending for 72 individuals as of the document’s publication date, January 13, 2006.

There is no public evidence that any US military officer has been held accountable for criminal acts committed by subordinates under the doctrine of command responsibility.

Human Rights Watch reports in 2005 and 2011 presented evidence warranting substantial criminal investigations into high-level government officials for the roles they played in setting interrogation and detention policies following the September 11, 2001 attacks, including former President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld (now deceased), and CIA Director George Tenet. Additional Human Rights Watch research outlined the systematic nature of torture in Iraq, and the high level of command at which it was condoned.

Every US administration from George W. Bush to Joe Biden has rebuffed efforts for meaningful accountability for torture.

Some steps have been taken to change policies and introduce stricter controls on the treatment of people in US custody abroad. Congress passed new laws, including the Detainee Treatment Act of 2005, which prohibits subjecting anyone in US custody or control, “regardless of nationality or physical location,” to “cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment,” as defined by the Senate reservation to Article 16 of the Convention Against Torture. The Defense Department also established various offices and positions related to “Detainee Affairs,” and initiated a department-wide review of detainee-related policy directives.

In August 2022, the Pentagon released a 36-page action plan aimed at reducing risks to civilians in US military operations. The plan directs the Defense Department to incorporate civilian harm issues into its strategy, planning, training, and doctrine; improve and standardize investigations of civilian harm; and to review and update guidance on responding to civilian harm. However, the plan fails to include a mechanism for reviewing past instances of civilian harm that have gone unaddressed, uninvestigated, and unacknowledged for 20 years.

See, that's the thing about attention seekers like Sy Hersh.  They follow someone else's work on the issue (in the case of Abu Ghraib, Charles J. Hanley of the ASSOCIATED PRESS) and refuse to credit them.  Make it all about themselves.  Take up all the oxygen in the room.  Then moving on to stealing credit for the work of someone else instead of ever taking the time to write an update on the story they (falsely) claim to have owned.  But if Sy had done a follow up, he never would have had time to barnstorm the country with that pedophile at his side.  

On NPR's MORNING EDITION today, Ruth Sherlock reports on the US government's refusal to keep its word to the survivors of Abu Ghraib.  

As long as we're noting some of the damage done by the US government to Iraq, let's note this from an article ASHARQ AL-AWSAT published an hour or so ago:

Iyad Allawi was not pro-American. He did not recognize their right to tailor the new Iraqi political scene as they wanted. Moreover, his meetings with a number of US officials were not fruitful. In parallel, no language of understanding was found with Tehran. He did not accept its terms, while the Iranian capital failed to tolerate his approach.

On March 7, 2010, general elections were held in Iraq. The “Iraqiya” list, led by Allawi, won 91 seats, while the State of Law coalition, led by Nouri al-Maliki, obtained 89 seats.

According to the applicable interpretation of the constitution, Allawi was supposed to be entrusted with the task of forming the new government. Al-Maliki was able to get from the Federal Supreme Court another interpretation of the article that talks about the largest bloc. A severe political crisis erupted that lasted about nine months, and ended in Al-Maliki’s favor.

I asked Allawi about the parties that prevented him from forming the government, he replied: “We achieved victory in the elections despite everything we were exposed to. Five hundred people were subjected to procedures under the pretext of “de-Baathification.” Among them were a number of our candidates. They assassinated nine persons. They closed entire regions to prevent our supporters from voting, and yet we were ahead of them by three seats. In fact, I was surprised by what happened. I did not expect the American and Iranian stances to reach this point. America and Iran prevented me from forming a government. They worked together.”

Allawi continued: “During that period, then-US Vice President Joe Biden visited Baghdad about three times a month. His concern was that I would give up in favor of Al-Maliki. He asked me to assume the presidency of the republic, and I told him that the people elected us to form the government, so how could I become president of the republic without a job or work (the nature of the position is quasi-protocol)... Biden repeated his demand, and I replied: “By God, if you do not allow me to become prime minister, terrorism will grow stronger... as will hatred for the regime...”

“During that period, US-Iranian negotiations were taking place in Muscat. The American delegation was headed by Ben Rhodes, Deputy National Security Advisor under then-President Barack Obama. The Iranian side conveyed to the Americans a threat, stating that Iran will stop negotiations and cause problems in Iraq if Iyad Allawi becomes prime minister.”

“The truth is that I met Biden about 20 times. I’ve known him since he was in charge of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. His personality is shaky, and he is a liar and a hypocrite,” Allawi stated.

I asked the former premier whether the US destroyed Iraq, he replied: “Yes, America ruined Iraq.”

The multiple visits by Joe to Iraq during this time ended up producing The Erbil Agreement which overturned the March 2010 election results and gifted Nouri al-Maliki a second term as prime minister.  To get the various political leaders to agree to that, The Erbil Agreement also contained promises from Nouri such as he would implement Article 140 of the Constitution (which would determine whether Kirkuk was part of the KRG or part of the Baghdad-based government).  Nouri used the legal contract to get a second term as prime minister and then, two months later, had his spokesperson state publicly that the contract was illegal and he was not bound to it.

Back in 2010, parts of the following paragraph used to appear regularly in the snapshots and we'd add to it as needed:

March 7th, Iraq concluded Parliamentary elections. The Guardian's editorial board noted in August, "These elections were hailed prematurely by Mr Obama as a success, but everything that has happened since has surely doused that optimism in a cold shower of reality." 163 seats are needed to form the executive government (prime minister and council of ministers). When no single slate wins 163 seats (or possibly higher -- 163 is the number today but the Parliament added seats this election and, in four more years, they may add more which could increase the number of seats needed to form the executive government), power-sharing coalitions must be formed with other slates, parties and/or individual candidates. (Eight Parliament seats were awarded, for example, to minority candidates who represent various religious minorities in Iraq.) Ayad Allawi is the head of Iraqiya which won 91 seats in the Parliament making it the biggest seat holder. Second place went to State Of Law which Nouri al-Maliki, the current prime minister, heads. They won 89 seats. Nouri made a big show of lodging complaints and issuing allegations to distract and delay the certification of the initial results while he formed a power-sharing coalition with third place winner Iraqi National Alliance -- this coalition still does not give them 163 seats. November 10th a power sharing deal resulted in the Parliament meeting for the second time and voting in a Speaker. And then Iraqiya felt double crossed on the deal and the bulk of their members stormed out of the Parliament. David Ignatius (Washington Post) explains, "The fragility of the coalition was dramatically obvious Thursday as members of the Iraqiya party, which represents Sunnis, walked out of Parliament, claiming that they were already being double-crossed by Maliki. Iraqi politics is always an exercise in brinkmanship, and the compromises unfortunately remain of the save-your-neck variety, rather than reflecting a deeper accord. " After that, Jalal Talabani was voted President of Iraq. Talabani then named Nouri as the prime minister-delegate. If Nouri can meet the conditions outlined in Article 76 of the Constitution (basically nominate ministers for each council and have Parliament vote to approve each one with a minimum of 163 votes each time and to vote for his council program) within thirty days, he becomes the prime minister. If not, Talabani must name another prime minister-delegate. . In 2005, Iraq took four months and seven days to pick a prime minister-delegate. It took eight months and two days to name Nouri as prime minister-delegate. His first go-round, on April 22, 2006, his thirty day limit kicked in. May 20, 2006, he announced his cabinet -- sort of. Sort of because he didn't nominate a Minister of Defense, a Minister of Interior and a Minister of a Natioanl Security. This was accomplished, John F. Burns wrote in "For Some, a Last, Best Hope for U.S. Efforts in Iraq" (New York Times), only with "muscular" assistance from the Bush White House. Nouri declared he would be the Interior Ministry temporarily. Temporarily lasted until June 8, 2006. This was when the US was able to strong-arm, when they'd knocked out the other choice for prime minister (Ibrahim al-Jaafari) to install puppet Nouri and when they had over 100,000 troops on the ground in Iraq. Nouri had no competition. That's very different from today. The Constitution is very clear and it is doubtful his opponents -- including within his own alliance -- will look the other way if he can't fill all the posts in 30 days. As Leila Fadel (Washington Post) observes, "With the three top slots resolved, Maliki will now begin to distribute ministries and other top jobs, a process that has the potential to be as divisive as the initial phase of government formation." Jane Arraf (Christian Science Monitor) points out, "Maliki now has 30 days to decide on cabinet posts - some of which will likely go to Iraqiya - and put together a full government. His governing coalition owes part of its existence to followers of hard-line cleric Muqtada al Sadr, leading Sunnis and others to believe that his government will be indebted to Iran." The stalemate ends when the country has a prime minister. It is now eight months, twenty days and counting. Thursday November 25th, Nouri was finally 'officially' named prime minister-designate. Leila Fadel (Washington Post) explained, "In 30 days, he is to present his cabinet to parliament or lose the nomination." Steven Lee Myers (New York Times) added, "Even if Mr. Maliki meets the 30-day deadline in late December -- which is not a certainty, given the chronic disregard for legal deadlines in Iraqi politics -- the country will have spent more than nine months under a caretaker government without a functioning legislature. Many of Iraq's most critical needs -- from basic services to investment -- have remained unaddressed throughout the impasse." Jane Arraf (Al Jazeera) offered, "He has an extremely difficult task ahed of him, these next 30 days are going to be a very tough sell for all of these parties that all want something very important in this government. It took a record eight months to actually come up with this coalition, but now what al-Maliki has to do is put all those people in the competing positins that backed him into slots in the government and he has a month to day that from today."

The November 10th power sharing agreement is The Erbil Agreement.   Dropping back to the November 25, 2010 snapshot:

Thug Nouri brokered a deal with -- among others -- Moqtada al-Sadr to remain as dictator of Iraq.  Ned Parker (Los Angeles Times) reports, "The Mahdi Army has also in effect seized control of cellblocks at one of Iraq's largest detention facilities, Taji prison.  Within months of the U.S. hand-over of the prison in March, Mahdi Army detainees were giving orders to guards who were either loyal to or intimidated by them, Iraqi and U.S. officials say  [. . .] Senior Sadr supporters are being brought into the Interior Ministry at high-level positions, according to Mahdi Army members and Iraqi officers. One Sadr commander who is being given the rank of brigadier general said he knew of 50 others who were being recruited for officers' positions."  And if there's anything more frightening than the current Iraq prison system it's grasping that the Mahdi Army is more or less in charge of some of them. Paul Walsh (Minneapolis Star Tribune) reports that the Minnesota National Guard is sending 80 members to Iraq and the question should be why?

The government in Iraq is nothing but exiles installed by the US. It's not a real government, it's not of the people -- easily demonstrated when the people's voice was rejected this month. So why is the US military being used to prop up this corrupt regime? And when does it end?

The 'government' lacks the consent of the governed. So to keep these exiles in place, the US military will have to stay on the ground in Iraq for years to come?

That's not democracy, that's thwarting the will of the people.

And it did real damage.  Iraqiya was not the party that was supposed to get the most votes.  It was brand new.  It wasn't built around one sect.  It had a woman as its primary spokesperson.  It had Shias, Sunnis, Christians, Muslims, it was about unity and pulling together.  And the voters responded to that.  Iraq would be on a different trajectory today if the US had honored the votes of the Iraqi people. 

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