Friday, August 18, 2017

Iraq snapshot

Friday, August 18, 2017.


KURDISTAN24 reports:

The Iraqi Prime Minister’s office on Thursday admitted a faction of the security forces committed “abuses” against civilians during the battle to defeat the Islamic State (IS) in Mosul.
Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s office said they began an investigation into the matter in May after a report by German news magazine Der Spiegel included images of torture by Iraqi forces.


The report for DER SPIEGEL was done by Ali Arkady and if you're wondering why he isn't a household name in the west, you're really naive.

THE NEW YORK TIMES can't applaud him because that would be indicting themselves.

Rukmini Callimachi is their 'star' reporter -- a self-promoter with zero modesty who is prone to I-I-I-I-I-I statements.  As we noted several times in February, Rukmini had crossed a line.  She was identify with the Iraqi troops she was embedded with.  She was also insisting that there was no abuse.

But War Crimes were being carried out.

Applauding Ali is admitting Rukmini was worthless.

And she was.

Rukmini is only the most prominent -- because she made herself that way -- of the misreporters.

Applauding Ali means admitting how much money was wasted by various outlets.

And, let's face it, the rule of modern 'journalism' remains: Rather than rock the boat, let's all be wrong together.

So they all ignored what was happening -- all but Ali.




- SPIEGEL photographer Ali Arkady documents Iraqi security forces abducting, torturing, raping, & killing Sunnis around .



Jason Ditz (ANTIWAR.COM) notes:

Faced with mounting evidence of war crimes committed by Iraqi troops in the course of the Mosul invasion, as well as against “suspects” after victory was declared, Iraqi Prime Minister Hayder Abadi today admitted that there were “abuses” committed by security forces in the city.


And, to be clear, all Hayder is admitting to is what DER SPIEGEL has already documented with photographic evidence.


AP explains regarding spokesperson Saad al-Hadith, "Al-Hadithi was referring to allegations reported by an Iraqi photographer for Germany's Der Spiegel magazine in May. The report alleged Iraq's Emergency Response Division -- an elite force linked to the Interior Ministry -- tortured and killed civilians in and around Mosul."


That was not the end of the abuse.

July 19th, Human Rights Watch issued a press release which opened:


International observers have discovered an execution site in west Mosul, Human Rights Watch said today. That report, combined with new statements about executions in and around Mosul’s Old City and persistent documentation about Iraqi forces extrajudicially killing men fleeing Mosul in the final phase of the battle against the Islamic State (also known as ISIS), are an urgent call to action by the Iraqi government.
Despite repeated promises to investigate wrongdoing by security forces, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has yet to demonstrate that Iraqi authorities have held a single soldier accountable for murdering, torturing, and abusing Iraqis in this conflict.
“As Prime Minister Abadi enjoys victory in Mosul, he is ignoring the flood of evidence of his soldiers committing vicious war crimes in the very city he’s promised to liberate,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “Abadi’s victory will collapse unless he takes concrete steps to end the grotesque abuses by his own security forces.”
International observers, whose evidence has proven reliable in the past, told Human Rights Watch that on July 17, 2017, at about 3:30 p.m., a shopkeeper in a neighborhood directly west of the Old City that was retaken in April from ISIS took them into an empty building and showed them a row of 17 male corpses, barefoot but in civilian dress, surrounded by pools of blood. They said many appeared to have been blindfolded and with their hands tied behind their back.
They said the shopkeeper told them that he had seen the Iraqi Security Forces’ 16th Division, identifiable by their badges and vehicles, in the neighborhood four nights earlier, and that night had heard multiple gunshots coming from the area of the empty building. The next morning, when armed forces had left the area, he told them, he went into the building and saw the bodies lying in positions that suggested they were shot there and had not been moved. He said he did not recognize any of those killed.
The international observers also saw soldiers from the elite Counter Terrorism Service (CTS) in the area. They contacted Human Rights Watch by phone from the site and later shared five photos they took of the bodies.
On July 17, another international observer told Human Rights Watch they spoke to a senior government official in Mosul who told them he was comfortable with the execution of suspected ISIS-affiliates “as long as there was no torture.” The observer said a commander showed their group a video taken a few days earlier of a group of CTS soldiers holding two detainees in the Old City. They said the commander told them that the forces had executed the men right after the video was taken.
Salah al-Imara, an Iraqi citizen who regularly publishes information regarding security and military activities in and around Mosul, published four videos allegedly filmed in west Mosul on Facebook on July 11 and 12. One video, posted on July 11, appears to show Iraqi soldiers beating a detainee, then throwing him off a cliff and shooting at him and at the body of another man already lying at the bottom of the cliff. Human Rights Watch had verified the location of the first video based on satellite imagery. Other videos showed Iraqi soldiers kicking and beating a bleeding man, federal police forces beating at least three men, and Iraqi soldiers kicking a man on the ground in their custody.
A third international observer told Human Rights Watch on July 18 that they witnessed CTS soldiers bring an ISIS suspect to their base in a neighborhood southwest of the Old City on July 11. The observer did not see what happened to the suspect next, but said that a soldier later showed them a video of himself and a group of other soldiers brutally beating the man, and a second video of the man dead, with a bullet to his head.

“Some Iraqi soldiers seem to have so little fear that they will face any consequence for murdering and torturing suspects in Mosul that they are freely sharing evidence of what look like very cruel exploits in videos and photographs,” Whitson said. “Excusing such celebratory revenge killings will haunt Iraq for generations to come.”



Let's again emphasize one paragraph from above:


Despite repeated promises to investigate wrongdoing by security forces, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has yet to demonstrate that Iraqi authorities have held a single soldier accountable for murdering, torturing, and abusing Iraqis in this conflict.


RUDAW noted at the end of July:


Because of alleged killings committed by the 16th division of the Iraqi army in Mosul, the United States should stop assisting Baghdad militarily, argues a human rights monitor.

“The US government should make sure it is no longer providing assistance to the Iraqi unit responsible for this spate of executions but also suspend any plans for future assistance until these atrocities have been properly investigated,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch (HRW).

The group released a report on Thursday claiming two international observers witnessed “the summary killings of four people by the Iraqi army’s 16th Division in mid-July 2017.”




Despite this, Nancy A. Youssef and Mike Giglio (BUZZFEED) reported in July:

In the two weeks since Iraqi forces declared victory over ISIS in Mosul, local and international media have told a grim counterstory to the scenes of celebration — a rash of extrajudicial killings of suspected ISIS members at the hands of Iraqi security forces.
The killings are no secret. Videos of Iraqi soldiers executing ISIS suspects have been posted to social media. Human Rights Watch and other watchdogs have issued reports. Iraqi military officers have openly discussed their participation in torture and revenge killings with reporters.



The Iraq War continues and does so with less and less public transparency.


Monday, Mattis said DOD contractor might no longer be public. Yesterday, Col. Dilon said US troop for Iraq/Syria won't be updated.



Where's the objection?

And the bombs continue to fall from US warplanes -- DoD noted yesterday:


In Iraq, coalition military forces conducted six strikes consisting of 15 engagements against ISIS targets:
-- Near Kisik, two strikes engaged an ISIS tactical unit and destroyed six ISIS-held buildings, three mortar systems and a staging area.
-- Near Rawah, two strikes engaged an ISIS tactical unit and destroyed a vehicle and a staging area.
-- Near Tal Afar, a strike destroyed two ISIS headquarters and damaged a bridge.
-- Near Tuz, a strike engaged an ISIS tactical unit.


Let's note this upcoming Michigan event (August 26th):

South Central Michigan Greens 
============================= 
Calhoun, Hillsdale, and Jackson Counties Local 
https://www.facebook.com/SCMiGreens/ 
People and planet over profit. 
 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 15, 2017 
 For more information: 
-------------------- 
Monika Schwab, Local Contact/SCMiGreens Moni.schwab@icloud.com 

 South Central Michigan Greens to Discuss Activities 3-5pm Saturday, August 26 at Jackson Coffee Company 
=================================================== 
 The South Central Michigan Greens local will discuss recent and upcoming activities in the three-county area at the group's next monthly meeting 3-5pm on Saturday, August 26 at the downtown Jackson Coffee Company (201 South Mechanic Street). Local co-founder Monika Schwab of Jackson will report on the March for the Great Lakes at Calder Plaza in Grand Rapids on August 16. The goal of the march is to promote the closing of Enbridge's aging and controversial Line 5 pipeline through the Straits of Mackinac. And John Anthony La Pietra of Marshall, last year's Green nominee for 63rd District State House, will invite the public and his fellow Greens to a "Make the Connection" Labor Day weekend History Walk. The walk will start at 11am on Saturday, September 2 across East Michigan Avenue from Marshall's VFW Hall, linking two labor landmarks in Marshall -- both related to the founding of a railroad engineers' union in 1863. Also on the agenda is discussion of how, when, and where to canvass to find supporters of Green values in the three-county area. The South Central Michigan Greens local was formed earlier this year to bring together Green Party members and supporters in Calhoun, Hillsdale, and Jackson Counties. 

 For more details and news about the local -- including a description of the "Make the Connection" event and a link to a map of the route -- please visit the local's Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/SCMiGreens/ 
 # # # The Four Pillars of GPMI: Grassroots Democracy Social Justice Ecological Wisdom Non-Violence For our Ten Key Values, add: Community-Based Economics Decentralization Feminism Future Focus/Sustainability Personal and Global Responsibility Respect for Diversity



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Thursday, August 17, 2017

Narcissus Donald (Alanis Morissette)




Gina asked why people were using "You're So Vain" when Alanis' "Narcissus" describes Donald Trump so much more?  Gina's going to talk about that in the roundtable tonight so you'll see it Friday morning in the gina & krista round-robin.  In the meantime, she also says I should have noted the studio version in the snapshot instead of the live version.



Iraq snapshot

Thursday, August 7, 2017.

Words are easy.

You'd think most Americans would have grasped that by now.

The Iraq War, for example, continues.

This despite Barack Obama promising, as he ran for president in 2008, to end the Iraq War.

Many are aghast at what US President Donald Trump did or didn't say (the media has also done a lousy job on this -- but they're not doing their job and clearly don't intend to).

I really don't care what Donald Trump said.  (I do not like Donald Trump.  I have not liked him for years and that's based on my own encounters with him.  Based on those encounters, he's a loud mouth and he's brash, he is not a racist.)

I do care what he can do.

Words are easy.

I don't need him to say this or that.  I need him to do things.

If we could get over being manipulated -- and we are being manipulated -- maybe we could make demands?

I do favor reparations.

Some don't.

That's fine.

But there are many things that could be demanded right now.

I don't need Donald's words, I need some action.



Words are easy.



You once said that starving 500,000+ Iraqi kids to death was "worth it". You don't have the moral high ground--on racism or anything else.





  1. The men who annihilated Iraq, killed and displaced millions of human beings, are now paragons of "anti-hatred"? Unbelievable.

  2. George W Bush, who hates "hate" killed ONE MILLION people in Iraq. Just think about that for a moment...




Mad Maddie killed Iraqi children.

But, hey, let's give her a hug because she said some pretty words.


Bully Boy Bush and his daddy hate hate.

They both occupied the Oval Office.

What did they do?

The Iraq War and Willie Horton ads?

I'm confused as to when either of these men offering pretty words today did a damn thing regarding racism when they had the power to make changes?

Because they didn't do a thing.

Not a thing to help.

But now they offer pretty words.

Words are easy.

They're often useless.

On Donald, since I'm weighing in, his lashing out (what I'm calling it) is understandable.  He's got a bunker mentality.  He's always had his ass kissed.



Dear momma's boy I know you've had your butt licked by your mother
I know you've enjoyed all that attention from her
And every woman graced with your presence after
Dear narcissus boy I know you've never really apologized for anything
I know you've never really taken responsibility
I know you've never really listened to a woman
Dear me-show boy I know you're not really into conflict resolution
Or seeing both sides of every equation
Or having an uninterrupted conversation
And any talk of healthiness
And any talk of connectedness
And any talk of resolving this
Leaves you running for the door 
-- "Narcissus," written by Alanis Morissette, first appears on UNDER RUG SWEPT.


Bob Somerby keeps writing about how Donald is "deranged."

He's not.

If he were, Bob's not trained to make such a diagnosis.

Bob slams Maureen Dowd for this or that but Maureen can actually write.

What is Bob doing but quack work when he starts putting Trump on the couch?

Donald has lived his life surrounding himself with people who agree with him.

He's been protected in ways most never are.

The notion that you can disagree with someone and still get along with them is foreign to Donald.


The press has been at war against Donald since before he was sworn in.

He's not 'good enough' for them.  This is about aesthetics, not policy.  (Bill Clinton also was deemed not "good enough" by many in the DC press when he was president.)

This war is not helpful.

Donald's reactions reflect a bunker mentality.

That's not good for democracy.

At this point, the only hope is that he will learn from this and somehow adapt.

Is that likely to happen?

I doubt it but I always prepare for the worst.

In the meantime, instead of applauding the butchers like Mad Maddie and Bully Boy, let's grasp that words are real easy.  If all you want is Donald Trump to look in the camera and says "sorry," I really don't think you understand institutional (and ingrained) racism at all.

If you've ever been an employer or in management, you know how easy words are.  There are management programs that stress compliments -- why?  Because they're cheaper than raises.

Again words are easy.


In Iraq, AFP reports, "Islamic State (IS) group’s suicide bombers killed seven members of Iraq’s security forces in an attack on an Iraqi police and Army base on Wednesday in Baiji, north of Baghdad, the Interior Ministry and a local official said."

Yes, the war drags on.

Meanwhile, UNAMI feels the need to issue a statement regarding the referendum to be held next month in the KRG:

Baghdad, Iraq, 17 August 2017 - In reference to a misrepresentation by IRNA of the responses of Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General (SRSG) for Iraq, Mr. Jan Kubiš, as regards the referendum declared by the authorities of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq that was reproduced by a number of Iraqi media, UNAMI hereby provides almost verbatim the responses of the SRSG as recorded by UNAMI to the questions of a representative of IRNA during a brief interview on 16 August 2017.
SRSG Kubiš:
“First of all, the message from the Security Council and the leadership of the Secretariat is to both Baghdad central government and the government of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq to talk, to negotiate, and to find a solution or solutions that would address all the issues that they have of the agenda through negotiations, including how to deal with the issue of the referendum”. “We always say, because that is the way how we operate on any questions, that the point of departure must be to respect fully the Constitution of the country and the laws of country”.

For more information, please contact: Mr. Samir Ghattas, Director of Public Information/Spokesperson
United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq, Phone: +964 790 193 1281, Email: ghattass@un.org
or the UNAMI Public Information Office: unami-information@un.org





And US Special Envoy Brett McGurk announces a new development:

Visited Iraq-Saudi border at Ar'Ar today. Closed since '90. ISIS attacked in '15. Today: secure, re-open, bustling w/1200 pilgrims per day.

 
Visited Iraq-Saudi border at Ar'Ar today. Closed since '90. ISIS attacked in '15. Today: secure, re-open, bustling w/1200 pilgrims per day.

 




ALJAZEERA explains:


Visited Iraq-Saudi border at Ar'Ar today. Closed since '90. ISIS attacked in '15. Today: secure, re-open, bustling w/1200 pilgrims per day.




ALJAZEERA notes:

The border was closed after Baghdad and Riyadh cut ties following former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait.
The announcement follows a decision by the Saudi cabinet on Monday to establish a joint trade commission with Iraq.
Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are both currently wooing their northern neighbour in an effort to halt the growing regional influence of archrival Iran.
The Sunni-led Arab Gulf countries have hosted influential Iraqi Shia leader Muqtada al-Sadr for talks with their crown princes in recent weeks, rare visits after years of troubled relations.

They also note:

The motivation for Muqtada al-Sadr, an Iraqi Shia Muslim cleric, to meet the Saudi crown prince last month was an attempt to roll back Iranian influence in Iraq, seek a leadership role and tone down sectarianism between the two countries, analysts say.
Sadr, who is openly hostile to the US, was hosted on July 30 by Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
The reason behind the gathering in Jeddah centred on a shared interest in countering Iranian influence in Iraq, Baghdad-based analyst Ahmed Younis said.
"Sadr's visit to Saudi Arabia is a bold shift of his policy to deliver a message to regional, influential Sunni states that not all Shia groups carry the label 'Made in Iran'."




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