Sunday, December 05, 2010

And the war drags on . . .

While former US Ambassdor to Iraq Ryan Crocker tries to make like the bloated Axel Rose singing "Patience," Iraq's rap group Smashing Hits cites Tupac and Eminem as their role models.

Every day in Baghdad
Our tears fall
The mother suffering
Cause she lost her son
Who was playing outside
And killed by a gun.

Sorry, Crocker, don't think they have the 'strategic patience' that you do. And why should they after seven years and counting of illegal war? Arwa Damon (CNN -- link has text and video) reports on Smashing Hits, why they rap, why they rap in English and what they've experienced during the war. Related in terms of expressing pain, Jeffrey Fleishman (Los Angeles Times) has a must read reflection on the Iraq War that revolves around the Iraqi stringers violence reports. There's no way to excerpt from the piece and do it justice -- it'd be like pulling at the yarn of a sweater, you'd destroy it in the process. Sort of like what's happened to Iraq.

They're just there to try and make the people free,
But the way that they're doing it, it don't seem like that to me.
Just more blood-letting and misery and tears
That this poor country's known for the last twenty years,
And the war drags on.
-- words and lyrics by Mick Softly (available on Donovan's Fairytale)

Last Sunday, the number of US military people killed in the Iraq War since the start of the illegal war was 4432 (but listed as 4430 by the Defense Dept which hadn't updated at the time). Tonight? PDF format warning, DoD lists the the number of Americans killed serving in Iraq at 4432.

Today's violence? CNN reports "an elderly Christian couple" was shot dead in the Baghdad home tonight. Vatican Radio reports there were four assailants and that they used guns with silencers. That's from a radio report and it's not up yet at Vatican Radio. If they post it, it will most likely be in this listing. There's an attempt by some outlets -- including CNN -- to tie this to rumors of "Arabs" coming into Iraq (rumors put out by the government). Let's put our thinking caps on. If this is 'outside agitators,' explain how they knew which home to target? Think about that for a little bit before buying Nouri's latest attempts at spin. Reuters adds 1 person was shot dead on the streets of Baghdad and an attack on a Mosul security checkpoint resulted in the deaths of 2 police officers.

Friday Sam Dagher (Wall St. Journal) reported, "Iraqi Interior Minister Jawad al-Bolani paraded in front of reporters on Thursday 39 suspected members of the Islamic State of Iraq, an al Qaeda-linked terror group responsible for some of the bloodiest attacks in the country." Jane Arraf (Christian Science Monitor) reports the US military is concerned by the arrests and quotes military spokesperosn Jeffrey Buchanan stating that, noting that the US was not involved in the arrests and that no US intel was used. He states, "I think you've got to be very, very cautious [about] leaping too far ahead for conclusions that if you arrested a bunch of guys, even if you got exactly allt he right people, that this means the end of Al Qaeda or this means the end of ISI or the end of terrorism [as] we know it in whatever part of Baghdad."

Meanwhile Leila Fadel (Washington Post) reports on the ongoing stalemate. But instead, we need to make an announcement/warning.

Fadel's returned to predicting. She's been inching her way over there. She has no idea what the hell will happen in 2011. Nor do I. But I don't keep offering predictions as fact. It is exactly this bulls**t that she pulled at McClatchy that led to our calling her out here. I'm aware how unhappy she is about that. I went easy on her last week when she started her slide back to predicting. I've already extended this site through July. I'm changing that. We're extended through January 1st of next year. Why?

Because Leila better start praying that her predictions come true. That won't make her right because she was hired to report, not read palms. But if she's wrong, I will rip her apart in entry after entry because she refuses to do her damn job. Leila's 'reports' from November 2008 on for McClatchy were embarrassments. I don't think I've ever seen a reporter grovel so in print. Now we've long played cat-and-mouse with Leila. For example, when she was interviewing for new jobs and hadn't told McClatchy that she was even looking, we noted the real story here. (She shouldn't have shot her mouth off in DC when she was briefly there. Everyone was talking about it and she was spotted on one interview.)

Leila more than anyone WHORED and continued the Iraq War. Forget Judith Miller -- Leila especially hates the piece I did calling her McClatchy's Judith Miller but that is what she became -- Leila's the one. By repeatedly refusing to report and instead lying and predicting in article after article, she helped lull the US citizenry into a false, cozy sleep regarding the Iraq War. Now if she hadn't been at McClatchy (former Knight Ridder), she wouldn't have gotten away with it. But because of their past reputation -- which needs to be in the past -- she was able to look trusted and all knowing.

She's not. And she's not doing her job and I will rip her ass apart in entry after entry if her little predictions that she passes off as facts don't come true. A reporter reports what happened. A reporter can tell you what happened yesterday, last month, or even today thus far. They cannot tell you what will happen in hour, in two hours, in two days, in two months, etc. That's not reporting.

I said McClatchy's image -- which is actually Knight Ridder's reputation -- needs to be accepted as a thing of the past. People refuse to grasp that. Corrente, for example, praises McClatchy like it's done a damn thing. Here's what's actually happened, they got co-opted. Which is why Jonathan S. Landy goes on Diane Rehm, for example, and makes war noises towards Iran. He didn't do that with Iraq but the difference was -- THE ONLY DIFFERENCE -- he wasn't invited to the big boys and girls playground back then.

Nancy A. Youssef did another awful article on Friday where she declared Bradley Manning was the person who leaked to WikiLeaks. I'm sorry, did I miss Nancy's ascension to the Supreme Court? Unless I missed it, Nancy's not a judge and the US justice system still operates under the belief innocent until proven guilty. So someone needs to check Nancy.

McClatchy's nothing to praise. It hasn't been for some time. Nancy was overly close to David Petraeus (prompting all sorts of nasty little rumors that I held my tongue on for how many years now, but if she's going to continue to trash Bradley Manning, I'm not in the mood, Nancy -- and consider yourself lucky that I'm not writing about the current rumors swirling around you) while reporting from Iraq. That is reality. That's why when the slaughter was taking place on, for example, Hadifah Street in Baghdad, McClatchy's reporting was so compromised.

I'm sorry no one could buy a f**king clue among the so-called 'watchers' and 'watchdogs.' But McClatchy was compromised as 'last news source standing' when its correspondents started getting invited on NPR shows, and Washington Week and other PBS shows. When you're off in isolation, it's easy to tell the truth. But when you're actively courted, you want to stay wanted. For the bulk of McClatchy, they suddenly became Drew Barrymore in Never Been Kissed. And so they played the game. Which is how Jonathan S. Landy embarrasses himself, Nancy trashes her own name, etc. But Leila was the first. (Though not the only so-called reporter at McClatchy who crossed a line in the 2008 election. Nancy's notorious for allowing her own political preferences to shape her journalism.)

Someone's going to e-mail and whine, "How do I know that's true?" Do your own damn research, that's how. I'm not here to spoon feed visitors. (Community members aren't shocked by any of this because we've discussed it -- with a McClatchy reporter -- in the gina & krista round-robin.) Again, we told you Leila was going to the Washington Post when McClatchy didn't even know she was interviewing. When someone's jumping ship, I generally know where they're going to land and know so before anyone they work with has even spotted them at the rail. (There's a man -- and his wife -- who flipped papers and they actually knew not to shoot their mouths off. It was a surprise. Otherwise, it's generally known and part of the deep-DC gossip circuit long before it reaches the news outlets.)

Leila feels unfairly attacked. I'm open to considering any such charge and, in fact, I backed off from Leila due to her hurt feelings. But what she doesn't grasp, even now, is that I never said a word about her -- how tight she was with Sahwa, anything -- until she started pimping the lie that the Iraq War ends on December 31, 2011. It may end, it may not end. Saying that it ends then is not reporting. It's predicting. She felt unfairly attacked?

I feel Iraqis have unfairly died for two years while the peace movement has done nothing and they've done nothing because journalists like Leila couldn't stick to reporting and instead had to offer predictions. I'll try to go easy on her most days in the coming months but when 2011 rolls around, she better be praying that her predictions come true. That won't excuse what's she's done and passed off (falsely) as reporting, but it will save her the sort of daily humiliation she's been bothered by.

New content at Third:

Isaiah's latest goes up after this. Pru notes this from Great Britain's Socialist Worker:

Wikileaks reveals brutal US diplomacy

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by Simon Basketter

The release of some 250,000 US diplomatic emails stirred the world’s ruling elites into a bit of a froth.

Politicians globally professed gradations of outrage at the publication of the material. Some in the US called for the website Wikileaks—which released the documents—to be treated as a terrorist organisation.

The details of the leaked messages are often banal.

It is no real surprise that US secretary of state Hillary Clinton told her diplomats to spy on world leaders and diplomats at the United Nations. In reality, it is what diplomats are for.

It’s also no shock that Prince Andrew, PR man for Britain’s arms industry, criticised a variety of governments as corrupt, stupid and backward in a conversation with a US diplomat.

He was outraged anyone had investigated the BAE arms dealers for corruption. Quite what he was doing in Kyrgyzstan where he said all this was not revealed in the memo.

This is a world of gossip, slander and prejudice—the basis of all secret intelligence.

Libya’s Colonel Gaddafi was believed to be very close to a “voluptuous” Ukrainian nurse. Argentinian president Cristina Kirchner is considered mentally unstable and so on.

But beneath the sludge there are hints of important things. First, the “intelligence” gathered by diplomats starts wars. It decides whose jobs are sacrificed for free trade. That it is treated in such a shallow way is an indictment of our rulers.


So far there is one important symbolic communiqué in the myriad of messages.

This is a 2007 cable from the US embassy in Berlin.

It describes a meeting during which the then-deputy chief of the US mission to Germany, John M Koenig, urged German deputy national security adviser Rolf Nikel to “weigh carefully at every step of the way the implications for relations with the US” of issuing arrest warrants against CIA agents in the case of Khaled el-Masri:

“He reminded Nikel of the repercussions to US-Italian bilateral relations in the wake of a similar move by Italian authorities last year.”

Nikel, “Undertook to do so, but reiterated that he could not, at this point ‘promise that everything will turn out well’.”

The leaked document does not say what happened to Masri.

The German car salesman was apparently mistaken for an Al Qaida suspect with a similar name on New Year’s Eve in 2003.

He was arrested at the border while crossing from Serbia into Macedonia by bus. Macedonian authorities turned him over to a CIA rendition team.


Masked figures stripped him naked, shackled him and led him onto a Boeing 737 jet.

From Skopje, Macedonia, the 737 flew to Baghdad, Iraq, where it had military clearance to land.

It then moved on to the notorious Salt Pit prison outside the Afghan capital, Kabul. Masri was repeatedly interrogated by a US agent called Sam.

He was chained to the floor of the jet and injected with sedatives.

After landing, he was put in the boot of a car and driven to a building where he was placed in a dank cell.

He spent the next four months there under interrogation, torture and sexual abuse.

Nearly five months after his kidnapping, Masri’s captors returned him to Macedonia. They released him on a dark and deserted road near the Albanian border in May 2004.

The US flight crew fared better than their passenger.

Documents show that after the 737 delivered Masri to the Afghan prison it flew to the resort island of Majorca, where crew members stayed at a luxury hotel for two nights.

In response to the US request from Koenig to Nikel revealed in the leaks, the CIA agents who kidnapped and tortured Masri were not prosecuted.

Behind the banality of diplomacy there lies a chilling brutality.

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