Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Iraq inquiry demands increase, Barack stages press conference

Right now in England, the House of Commons is debating many topics including the Iraq inquiry. BBC News is live blogging it here. As this goes on Anne McElvoy ponders "Why Gordon Brown is all at sea in the Iraq inquiry" (This is London):

Clare Short recalls a long conversation with the then Chancellor in which she laid out her deepening doubts over the intended conflict.
Mr Brown nodded and pursed his lips -- but in the end gave no indication of his view and, she recalls, never voiced a view in ­Cabinet.
I can bear this out from one conversation, in the awkward interregnum, when it was clear to everyone that there would be no retreat from military option for the UK.
I asked Mr Brown then about where he stood on the prospect of war. “Who says there has to be a war?” he replied.
"Everyone knows there is going to be a war," I said. "I don't know about that," replied the second most powerful man in ­government.
The PM has havered and obscured his own position on Iraq because he did not want to pick a fight with Mr Blair at the time or, more cynically, concluded as the UN resolution unravelled, that the fallout was more likely to precipitate his predecessor's time in office than extend it and so kept shtoom.
It is, when you consider the breadth of Mr Brown's other international interests and emphasis on the "big picture", an odd thing not to have a position on -- even now.
What do you remember the Prime Minister saying at all about Iraq since the war? Nope, me neither.
As he fought for his job with his backbenchers after the 4 June election results, the Labour leader served up an inquiry to appease his anti-war ranks.
At the same time, he promised a more open and transparent style of government.
What he forgot to do was connect the two objectives. So that when the essentially secretive nature of the planned inquiry was revealed, the very people whose good opinion he has sought to attract, were most disgusted.

While McElvoy provides the timeline, Michael White does what the Guardian does best: Shut down debate, slam down the ruler. No link to his hideous trash. That New Labour Party organ should be embarrassed. Due to the huge nature of this story, the Guardian had to finally stop jamming its tongue down Gordon's throat long enough to provide oversight. But as other parties push back against Gordo, the Guardian proves it's not journalism, it's just an in-house bulletin for a political party. Michael White should be laughed out of the field of journalism. ePolitix offers these statements from the Conservative Party's William Hague:

"We have not heard that from the government on whether it means Tony Blair and others will give evidence in public, nor have they widened the membership of the inquiry," the shadow foreign secretary said.
"They should include military and government experts which we have been calling for.
"It is nine days ago since the prime minister made a complete mess of these proposals, saying it was going to be heard in private and he was making no concessions at all, then in dribs and drabs the government have been going about a U-turn on this.
"We want it properly executed on the floor of the House of Commons so it is there, on public record and the inquiry can be clear about how it will proceed."

While Gordon Brown and Tony Blair determine what they want, the truth gets buried. The Liberal Democrats issued the following Friday:

Reacting to the allegations that Tony Blair knew about secret interrogation guidance for British intelligence officers who became aware of the torture of suspects, Edward Davey said; "Surely Tony Blair cannot hold the position of Middle East Envoy when he stands accused of breaking the UN Convention against torture".
Liberal Democrat Shadow Foreign Secretary said; "He needs to either make clear what he knew about the torture policy or stand down as envoy. He cannot have it both ways."
"There are also serious questions to answer for both Jack Straw and David Blunkett. They had oversight of MI6 and MI5 at the time, and should have known about any guidance their agents had been given."
Edward Davey called for a debate over the guidance regarding the abuse of suspects under interrogation provided to the security services at Business Questions in Parliament today.
Ed concluded that "Parliament must be allowed a debate on the issue of oversight of guidance on interrogation and the current Justice Secretary, given his long-term involvement in this issue, should respond for the Government."

Gareth e-mails to highlight this from Stop the War Coalition:

Nothing less than a full public inquiry into Iraq war

Protest: Parliament debates the Iraq inquiry on Wednesday 24 June. Stop the War has called a protest outside parliament from 2pm to insist that the inquiry be held in public.

Contact your MP: We need a full public inquiry. Write, phone, fax your MP. Download letter...

Tony Blair and Gordon BrownThe revelation that Tony Blair - who led Britain into the illegal war in Iraq - is behind Gordon Brown's decision to hold an inquiry in secret won't surprise the anti-war movement and will further fuel the anger of MPs, peers, military leaders, former civil servants and bereaved families appalled by the plan to hear evidence in private. Read more... No surprise either that a leaked memo proves that Tony Blair met with George Bush in January 2003 to hatch a plot to go to war, whatever the United Nations decided. Read more... A full public inquiry would reveal the secrets and lies in Blair's rush to war. What chance of that with Brown's inquiry panel of four knights and a baroness, some of whom were pro war?

Gareth adds, "Amy Goodman's a fraud and while she's provided fuel for a war with Iran, she has consistently and repeatedly ignored the story of the inquiry. Americans should be asking 'Why?'"

Yeah, they should. Everyone at Pacifica has been fanning the flames of empire, in laying the ground work for a war. They haven't stuck to reality, they haven't been bound by the facts and they've been a propaganda organ for the rollout of the next war. (One example, the smirking, smug comments about "over 100% of the members of a district voted!" Stupid idiots, in Iran you register to vote and you can vote anywhere in Iran. You don't have to vote in your home neighborhood.)

Elusive dreams and vague desires
Fanned to fiery needs by deadly deeds
In falling empires

-- "Fiction," words and music by Joni Mitchell and Larry Klein, appears first on Joni's Dog Eat Dog.

The administration's plan was that by now there would be such outrage in the US that Americans would be demanding war on Iran and Barack could give them that. To just delcare war would make it obvious that he was the third term of Bully Boy Bush. So Bully Boy Barack needed the appearance of 'grassroots pressure' 'forcing' him to act. And idiots and fools were more than willing to unknowingly (knowingly in some cases) assist the administration.

Listening to his nonsense yesterday (as his 'press' conference), you had to wonder what world do we live in that whether or not one country (the US) likes the results of another's elections means ___? As Jefferson Airplane once sang, "Doesn't mean s**t to a tree" ("Eskimo Blue Day").

If you missed yesterday's nonsense, Helene Cooper and Sheryl Gay Stolberg (New York Times) live blogged it. On Iran, we'll note this:

A Brief Wrap | 1:33 p.m. | Helene Cooper: Well, Sheryl, he really ramped it up on Iran. We heard the president use the word “condemn” for the first time since the Iranian elections to describe the government’s actions. It will be interesting to see what comes next from Tehran in response.

Sheryl Stolberg: Yes, I was struck especially by his last answer to Suzanne Malveaux about the "heartbreaking" video. He showed more passion than earlier in the press conference. And speaking of passion, I was also struck by the way Mr. Obama seemed irritated with reporters at various times during this news conference. The cigarette question seemed to really get under his skin. He rarely loses his cool, but there were more flashes of anger here than in the past.

While Barry O had time to market the next war, he had no time for Iraq:

It's Over | 1:31 p.m. | Sheryl Stolberg: Mr. Obama leaves the room. "No questions about Iraq or Afghanistan?" a reporter cries out. The question hangs in the air. It does seem amazing, not a single question for the American president about the nation's two wars.

He didn't have time for Iraq. But he had time for a planted question as Dana Milbank (Washington Post) explains. Aging Socialite's Cat Litter Box (Huff & Puff) was contacted by the White House. They invited Nico Pitney to the show:

They told him the president was likely to call on him, with the understanding that he would ask a question about Iran that had been submitted online by an Iranian. "I know that there may actually be questions from people in Iran who are communicating through the Internet," Obama went on. "Do you have a question?"
Pitney recognized his prompt. "That's right," he said, standing in the aisle and wearing a temporary White House press pass. "I wanted to use this opportunity to ask you a question directly from an Iranian."
Pitney asked his arranged question. Reporters looked at one another in amazement at the stagecraft they were witnessing. White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel grinned at the surprised TV correspondents in the first row.
The use of planted questioners is a no-no at presidential news conferences, because it sends a message to the world -- Iran included -- that the American press isn't as free as advertised. But yesterday wasn't so much a news conference as it was a taping of a new daytime drama, "The Obama Show." Missed yesterday's show? Don't worry: On Wednesday, ABC News will be broadcasting "Good Morning America" from the South Lawn (guest stars: the president and first lady), "World News Tonight" from the Blue Room, and a prime-time feature with Obama from the East Room.

Barry O wants to decry Iran . . . from his staged press conference?

A sign of how pathetic Panhandle Media is, you won't find that as the lead item on any Pacifica programming, you won't find it decried at The Nation, et al this morning. Bill Clinton, whom Panhandle Media chose to demonize, got a similar approach during the 90s. He could have handled a push back and probably would have had stronger terms in office if there had been one. Instead it was kid's gloves. So realize, kiddies, this story you're being read aloud? It has the same ending. Eight years from now the same people who've been silent will be screaming their heads off about how Barack did this or did that but, in real time, when it mattered, they didn't say or do a damn thing. Excuse me. That's not true. They begged for money. Endlessly, they begged for money. Always they begged for you to send money. Anything to stop from having to work a real job.

The following community sites updated last night (theme was comics):

Ann's filling in for Ruth and she did write a post on Monday, "Out FM." It went up last night. She had a problem that we've all had at one point, hitting save instead of publish by mistake and not noticing it.

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oh boy it never ends