Tuesday, June 7, 2011. Chaos and violence continue, the Commission on Wartime Contracting is surprised by the State Dept's decision to use contractors who already have problems with record keeping, the 100 Days end, and more.
Nathan Hodge (Wall St. Journal) reports, "The State Department is preparing to spend close to $3 billion to hire a security force to protect diplomats in Iraq after the U.S. pulls its last troops out of the country by year's end." Hodge is referring to what it emerged in the Commission for Wartime Contracting hearing yesterday. The hearing was entitled "State Department contracting, response to CWC recommendations, and transition effort in Iraq and Afghanistan." If video of the hearing goes up, it will be there. (Currently there's no video and the page merely has a link to prepared remarks.) The Commission is comprised of co-chairs Christopher Shays and Michael Thibault and Commissioners Clark Kent Ervin, Grant Green, Robert Henke, Katherine Schinasi, Charles Tiefer and Dov S. Zakheim. The Commission heard from one witnesse, the State Dept's Under Secretary for Management Patrick F. Kennedy. From Kennedy's opening remarks:
All US personnel and contractors in Iraq will be under Chief of Mission authority and secruity arrangements have been worked out between State and DoD. [In written statement but not read outloud: "However, security will be a shared responsibility, with the State Department's Bureau of Diplomatic Security (DS) responsible for all State Department sites and DoD responsible for the Office of Security Cooperation-Iraq (OSC-I) personnel. As such, DoD will be staffing and funding its security operations. At those locations where OSC-I is collocated with State, DS and DoD security will closely coordinate movement security, but DS will have sole responsibility for facilities security."] On September 29, 2010, State announced the award of a base contract for Worldwide Protective Services to eight companies. Task order are being competed among base contract awardees and awarded on a best value basis thanks to the assistance of this Commission. Awarding to multiple companies allows for increased competition for each task order, thereby controlling costs and providing for increased capacity to perform crucial security services in contingency environments. It also gives the US Government timely options in the event of a company failing to perform.
Kennedy went on to note that DoD would be "loaning" Biometirc Input Equipment (BATS) to State by DoD and this would be used to "vet prospective employees." And to verify current ones but is this all that it will be used for? The US Army's Program Executive Office Enterprise Information Systems has a page on DoD's Biometrics which does note: "Biometric Identification System for Access (BISA) is a Force Protection initiative that collects multi-modal (fingerprint, facial and iris) biometric and biographical information to produce a smartcard or PIN badge to control local and third-country nationals, coalition forces, and a limited number of US Persons accessing US controlled facilities in Iraq." And, in his written statement (not out loud), he noted they would use the BISA database. But he said BATS and BATS is in the written testimony. This is what the US Army's PEOE notes of BATS:
BAT:Biometrics Automated Toolset (BAT) is a tactical, multi-modal biometric system that collects and fuses biometric (fingerprints, iris images, and facial photographs) and biographical information on persons of DOD interest.
BAT is used globally to support a wide range of tactical, operational, and strategic military operations, such as interrogations, combatant/detainee enrollment and management, local hire screening, population management, checkpoint maintenance, and base access control. This capability provides U.S. forces with an unprecedented capability to positively identify, track, and further exploit terrorists, recidivist combatants, detainees, criminals, locally employed persons, and other persons of interest.
If there is no extension of the SOFA or a new SOFA-type agreement, the White House's plan is to shift the US military under the State Dept umbrella (and having it legally allowed, therefore, under the terms of the Strategic Framework Agreement). The US military that remains will be doing the same tasks they are doing currently. And if BATS is being used, it needs to be noted that the US military has compiled a ton of biometric data on Iraqis. All Iraqis who have been imprisoned by the US military and all the residents of Falluja, for example, have biometrics that the US military has kept on file. Will the State Dept be using or accessing that already compiled information and, if so, for what purpose?
That question wasn't answered and Kennedy was a hostile witness who probably wouldn't have answered it straight forward if he'd been asked. How hostile? "Can I finish my answer to your question, sir," he snapped at Commissioner Charles Tiefer as he (Kennedy) droned on about Indonesia (even though Tiefer hadn't asked about it and pointed out, "I didn't ask about Indonesia"). Kennedy repeatedly attempted to eat up time and play beat the clock with the commissioners in their eight-minute rounds. Co-Chair Thibault had to repeatedly stop him in the first series of questioning alone and even had to declare, "You're chewing up my time.") During Co-Chair Shays second line of questioning, Kennedy let out a loud, exasperated sigh while Shays was speaking (and disagreeing with Kennedy).
Nathan Hodge has a strong report so I'm really not going to focus on what he's covered, read it for what he's covering. But what stood out to me at the hearing yesterday isn't in his report. It may be due to the fact that he's familiar with LOGCAP, for example. In 2006, when we started attending and reporting on these hearings, I had to learn what all those acronyms were and what they actually did. LOGCAP is the Logistics Civil Augmentation Program. And it popped up in many hearings. Usually, as with Rick Lamberth's November 6, 2009 testimony before the Democratic Policy Committee, it wasn't good. Lamberth was a LOGCAP Operations Manager and he noted, "When I tried to report violations, I was told by the head of KBR's Health Safety and Environment division to shut up and keep it to myself. At one point, KBR management threatened to sue me for slander if I spoke out about these violations." March 29, 2010, the Commission on Wartime Contracting held a hearing and the Commissioners were noting, especially Henke and Schinasi, that $193 million was wasted because of a LOGCAP program manager failing to follow up on auditing suggestions and what was the company? KBR. Schinasi was very clear that all the government had done was to write KBR, they didn't penalize KBR, they didn't enforce the contract or anything. As she noted, "You're not being pro-active enough, you're not taking the initiative" and that they weren't being penalized. In fact, let's note that aspect of the exchange from a year ago.
Commissioner Robert Henke: I-I-I appreciate that entirely but you're telling me that AMC has a comprehensive plan to drawdown contracts and contractos and the single biggest contractor in theater is KBR with 15,000 direct hires and 30,000 other peopl. I would think if an auditor would tell you, "There's a chance to save $193 million" that someone in the system would feel compelled to respond. I'm disappointed that the Army has not. We had the LOGCAP program manager up here before the Commission in December, asked him his response -- the report was just out -- so this is not new material. In fact, the point of the audit is that the savings are going, going gone. If the army had acted the savings could have been achieved but since the Army or the DoD hasn't responded, the savings are effectively gone. So my question to you, sir, is who is responsible for cost efficiency, for cost awarenss of expensive contracts in theater.
Lt Gen James Pillsbury: The Army Material Command leadership is as you well know. The contract oversight, we depend on our partners at DCMA and DCAA.
[. . . . ]
Commissioner Katherine Schinasi: And have you withheld award fee for that purpose? Because they have not done that?
James Loehr: Uhm. Yes. I think if you go back and look at the award fee evaluation, you'll find that K -- KBR, I don't think, has ever -- very rarely -- gets 100% in that category.
Commissioner Katherine Schinasi: Close to 100%?
James Loehr: Uhm. I think -- I'd have to get back to you for that specifically but they are generally in that-that high-very good, though, excellent range that category.
There are many, many other examples we could provide. But, as a result, when today, someone in the State Dept is praising LOGCAP and KBR, it sticks out for me. Now let's note this exchange from today's hearing.
Co-Chair Michael Thibault: My point that I'm trying to make here is-is, are you aware that DCAA, the last year -- You know, all of the costs that are going to flow through you now and do flow through you are audited by DCAA and it's critical on two things. Do they get an adequate submission and do they do the audits timely? And are you aware that in the case of DynCorp -- and I picked three because . . . I picked three, the last year that DCAA completed in an audit was 2004. Are you aware that at KBR, LOGCAP, the last year that they completed an audit was 2003? Are you aware that Triple Canopy, that they have yet -- to use their words -- complete a year of incurred costs? Now, yes or no?
Under Secretary for Management Patrick Kennedy: We -- I am certainly aware that DCAA has-has not uh executed --
Co-Chair Michael Thibault: Okay, okay.
Under Secretary for Management Patrick Kennedy: -- every request on a timely basis.
Co-Chair Michael Thibault: Okay. I know you're working with them, you said that. But then I would say, are you aware that picking those same three contractors, I picked DynCorps first, that DynCorps has submitted -- so they've done their part according to DCAA -- adequate submissions that have been accepted by DCAA for those years that are open? You know we're talking '05, '06, '07, '08' '09, 10. A lot of open years with billions and billions of dollars that historically there have been audit results. But I would say then, are you aware that KBR recently -- They had their certifcations on hand, and they were on paper or on DCAA's view, adequate submissions but they've withdrawn 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 because in their words they want to relook at billed expenses and cost accounting practices. But in their quote, the company's quote to DCAA, they need to amend previous expense, allowability and allocability assumptions. Now those are a lot of words but to an auditor they mean that they have unallocable and unallowable within their claims, they've pulled them back because the certification is by a senior executive in the company and they don't want to be responsible for it. Now we can explore that some more, but my concern is that -- and in the case with Triple Canopy, a similar case exists where they didn't submit adequate submissions and they're feverishly working on it. The entire point on that is that it's of the highest risk possible and in my second round I'll be exploring some more of that.
At a time when the White House continually lectures about the need to cut money here and there and accountability, why in the world would companies who are known to have problems filing basic documents related to monies be used again? And are these cost-plus contracts? (I'm sure they are but I didn't hear that mentioned.) After the DPC established all the problems that the US government had with KBR's cost-plus contracts, it's appalling that it's still being used. And maybe Congress needs to hold a hearing on this and, if so, call former US Senator Byron Dorgan to offer testimony because he was Chair of the DPC and is very familiar with these issues.
Commissioner Schinasi questioned the model the State Dept was using -- noting there was nothing like Iraq in terms of the State Dept's current consulates. She noted that the State Dept was saying they would need $3 billion for diplomatic and consular programs in Iraq next year, that there would be 4,500 to 5,000 security contractors added and that the State Dept's Iraq mission is "going from 8 to 17,000 civilians in a couple of years." The estimates of how much the State Dept needs is not clear under the best of circumstances but the reality is they are guess-timating with very little basis in reality and, honestly, the plan is to ask for X, hopefully get X and when the costs go over X, come back to Congress and whine about unforseeables with the realization (or guess, if you prefer) that Congress won't pull the plug and will instead toss out more money. This is insanity at the best of financial times. In the current economy, the United States cannot afford it. Whether or not Congress will stand up to them, I have no idea.
Henke noted that Kennedy had approximately 250 supervisory positions but that Kennedy only had two of those postions in acquisitions. The idea that oversight is in place or exists within the State Dept on this issue is laughable. This was probably the most important hearing of the Commission on Wartime Contracting because they Commission wasn't coming in after X took place to explore how it happened. Instead, they were looking at prospective issues before anything started. The questions raised by the Commission need to be paid attention to.
Hodge reports Co-Chair Chris Shays questioned assertions, by Kennedy on behalf of the State Dept, that a State Dept employee in Iraq being injured and under fire needing to be given medical treatment and taken to the embassy, that these tasks would not be "an inherently governmental function"? And Kennedy insisted that it wasn't and that "we rely on contingency contracting, but we believe we have instituted a sound foundation to carry us forward." Again, Hodge's report stands on its own but a question needs to be asked in terms of contracting. Maybe Congress will ask it. Are contractors being used to meet quotas -- meaning is the State Dept limited to X number of US service members and, as a result of that limitation, are they taking on contractors for that reason and not because it's cost-effective as Kennedy and others have repeatedly insisted? If that's the reason for the contracting, my guess is that Senator Lindsey Graham's objections to the State Dept taking over the Iraqi mission are going to get a whole lot louder. (Especially since, as Shays pointed out, it would be breaking the law -- "not a criminal law".)
Moving over to Congress, tomorrow a US senator will receive an award:
(Washington, D.C.) -- Tomorrow, Wednesday, June 8th, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) will receive the 2011 "Outstanding Legislator Award" from the Association of the United States Army (AUSA). The AUSA is honoring Senator Murray with this award for her work on veterans' employment issues and her continuing support for service members and their families.
WHO:U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA)
WHAT: Association of the United States Army Outstanding Legislator Award reception
WHEN:Tomorrow -- Wednesday, June 8, 2011
Presentation at 12:00 PM ET
WHERE:Dirksen Senate Office Building, Room G11
Specialty Media Director
U.S. Senator Patty Murray
The award ceremony will be part of a busy day for Senator Patt Murray. In addition, there's a Veterans Affairs Committee hearing:
(Washington, D.C.) -- Tomorrow, Wednesday, June 8th, U.S. Senator Patty Murray, Chairman of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee, will hold a hearing on pending legislation. During the hearing, Chairman Murray will discuss the next steps for her Hiring Heroes Act, and will hear from the Administration and veterans service organizations regarding their views on this critical veterans employment legislation.
WHO: U.S. Senator Patty Murray, Chairman Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee
Michael Cardarelli, Principal Deputy Under Secretary for Benefits, Veterans Benefits Administration, Department of Veterans Affairs
Robert L. Jesse, MD, PhD, Principal Deputy Under Secretary for Health, Veterans Health Administration, Department of Veterans Affairs
Jeff Steele, Assistant Legislative Director, The American Legion
Joseph A. Violante, National Legislative Director, Disabled American Veterans
Raymond Kelley, Director, National Legislative Service, Veterans of Foreign Wars
Jerry Ensminger, MSgt USMC (Ret.)
J. David Cox, RN, National Secretary-Treasurer, American Federation of Government Employees
WHAT: Steps forward for the Hiring Heroes Act and other pending legislation.
WHEN: TOMORROW - Wednesday, June 8th, 2011
9:30 AM ET
WHERE: Russell Senate Office Building Room 418
Specialty Media Director
U.S. Senator Patty Murray
Let's move to the White House. In yesterday's snapshot, I quoted Press Secretary Jay Carney. We were (Kat and I -- she shared her impressions of the press briefing here) at the White House and we briefly poked our heads into the press conference. I didn't take notes. We were there to visit a friend. This morning one of my first calls was a complaint from a friend at the White House (not the one we'd gone to visit though we did also say "hi" to him yesterday) that I'd distorted Jay Carney's "nervousness" (his word, not mine) and doubled the amount of "uh"s Carney uttered. I said I would check into that. I have. The White House doesn't post the video. Click here for CSpan page with yesterday's press conference.
Did I double it? No. I've taken out two "uh"s and added one to it. So I had one extra "uh" overall. In what follows "# and uh#" is one addition, "[$2 uhs removes$]" notes two "uh"s were removed. In addition, "*uh*" indicates that I have moved the "*uh" one word over. In other words "to their uh families" was actually "to their families uh". (There are two of those where I've moved an "uh" one word over after streaming the video today.) That happens twice. The quote did not double the amount of "uh"s Jay Carney uttered. We had one extra "uh." Here's what he said.
Jay Carney: I have nothing new for you on that. First of all, I would like to say that we are obviously aware of the fact that we lost US servicemen today and uh and uh #and uh# and we express condolences to their families *uh* once notifications have been made and-and [$2 uhs removed$] it's a stark reminder that those who serve in *uh* Iraq do so uh-uh in a way that continues to place them at risk despite the enormous progress that has been made there uh and uh [then] on your question, I have nothing new to announce. The process, as you know, is simply that #uh# we are abiding by the Status Of Forces Agreement that will have us withdrawing the remainder of our troops by the end of this year. I and others have said that we'll entertain requests by the Iraqi government if uh [we will] entertain in terms of discuss possible requests for uh-uh some sort of new Status Of Forces Agreement that would be obviously uh-uh quite different from the one we have now. But as of now we fully intend to fulfill our obligation under that SOFA and withdraw all our remaining forces.
I will not be checking "uh"s again. Again, I wasn't writing down the statement while it was being said and waited until we were in an office to make notes. I could have very well have made a mistake -- wouldn't be the first time -- but I did not double the "uh"s and the quote's actually fine. And stands.
"I think if there is going to be a deal, it's going to be a very last-minute thing," he said.
The U.S. needs about two months to complete a total withdrawal of bases and equipment, Mansoor estimated. By the end of October, if no request has come, he said, "then I think we're into the final stages of the termination of the mission."
Convincing Iraqis to let Americans stay, he said, may require the U.S. to complete the pullout, then wait for Iraqis to realize they need additional security assistance, before asking Americans to return in limited roles.
Michael S. Schmidt (New York Times) reports a return of the fork-over-your-lunch-money-to-the-bully-in-the-playground that Gen David Petraeus and then-US Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker endorsed and praised repeatedly to Congress in April 2008:
So commaners have fashioned an exit strategy which borrows a key element from the Awakening Movement, a successful tactical program carried out in 2006, just as the violence was peaking. The American exit strategy calls for the military to give cash payments of $10,000 a month to 10 tribal leaders.
Officially, the money is paid to have Iraqis clean the crucial roadway of debris, an apparent pretense because an Iraqi-American agreement bars outright payments for security. The sheiks keep some of the cash and use the rest to hire 35 workers each who clear the road of trash. The work does make it harder for militants to hide bombs.
5 US troops were killed in Baghdad yesterday. As noted in "The Garbage, The Stink, The Network News" this morning, the coverage of it yesterday evening was pretty sad. ABC World News managed to do many things but failed to inform viewers about the 5 deaths. They made time for a lot of nonsense. But 5 US soldiers dying in the Iraq War they just couldn't squeeze in there. Just as awful was The NewsHour (PBS) three brief sentences in their headlines -- and not even the lead headline (the lead was on Syria). As Stan pointed out last night, "PBS is becoming a cesspool." That's because they had time for a 'sex' scandal. A whole segment on that. But 5 US soldiers die in a war? Headline for PBS (for their HOUR long news show) and not even mentioned on World News Tonight. NBC Nightly News did address the issue and did so seriously. Six minutes in, Brian Williams declared, "We turn to overseas in Iraq today. We haven't had news like this for awhile, 5 Americans were killed in a rocket attack in Baghdad. It's the deadliest day for the US there since '09 and today, of course, 5 American families got the worst possible news." And then he discussed it (and Afghanistan) with NBC correspondent Richard Engel.
Brian Williams: Of course this news from Iraq today, as I said, the kind of news we're not used to hearing and so many Americans in so many positions of potential harm.
Richard Engel: Well there's till 100,000 troops in Afghanistan and about 50,000 -- just under 50,000 -- in Iraq and those troops are effectively waiting to go home and it's a terrible situation, they were on their basis in Eastern Baghdad today, rocket attacks came in and, according to the US military, these 5 American troops were killed and it's Shi'ite militias that are in Iraq that want to give the impression that they are winning this war. They want the last American soldier to leave Iraq to be a dead soldier so that they can say that they drove American forces out. And it's going to be -- there's going to be a power vacuum as American troops leave these Shi'ite militias that are asserting themselves once again, trying to show that they're strong, are going to probably continue to try and demonstrate their power.
They did a strong job as did the CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley.The deaths were noted in the teaser over the theme music and Pelley opened with, "Good evening. We start tonight with the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. This has been a day of US casualties in Iraq and it is also a day [. . .]" Like Williams and Engel, CBS mixed discussions of the two wars together. There were reports from Afghanistan and Lara Logan providing an analysis of Afghanistan.
Scott Pelley: In the war in Iraq, this was the worst day for US troops in two years. 5 American soldiers were killed when their base in Baghdad was hit by rocket fire. This year, 29 Americans have been killed in Iraq. In Afghanistan, at least 159 US service members have been killed. What's next for both countries? Now to David Martin at the Pentagon, David, the five US soldiers that were killed in Iraq today, what happened there.
David Martin: Scott, this was a rocket attack on a compound in Baghdad where US forces were training Iraqi police. The insurgents got lucky and scored a direct hit on the area where the Americans lived but this is part of a trend of increasing attacks against US forces which Pentagon officials believe is the work of Shi'ite militias who want to see all US troops out of Iraq by the end of this year.
Scott Pelley: Remind us how many US forces remain in Iraq and what's the plan for them?
David Martin: Well there are currently 48,000 US troops in Iraq. Under an agreement signed at the end of the Bush administration, they all have to be out by December 31st unless the Iraqi government asks them to stay. Defense Secretary Gates have offered to keep some troops there to help with things lik intelligence and logistics but so far the Iraqi government has not accepted the offer and time is running out because the drawdown will begin in earnest at the end of July.
On MSNBC yesterday afternoon, Andrea Mitchell addressed the news with Stephen Hadley on Andrea Mitchell Reports (1:00 pm to 2:00 pm EST).
Andrea Mitchell: We begin today with the wars overseas, the president and his national security team now meeting to discuss the way out of Afghanistan while the US suffers its deadliest day in Iraq in two years. Stephen Hadley served as President Bush's National Security Advisor and is now a senior advisor with the US Institute of Peace. Thank you so much. First to Iraq, just more tragedy there. This -- While there is a behind the scenes conversation with the US and Iraq about whether we should stay longer as military trainers and advisors, this does make the point that perhaps Iraq is not ready to defend itself.
Stephen Hadley: Well that is, uh -- Some people are concerned that that is actually the motivations behind these attacks: To show that the Iraqi security forces can't do it. Our military is quite pleased with what the Iraqi security forces have been -- have accomplished, but this kind of thing, this kind of indirect fire attack, which it appears to be, does continue to go on. And the Iraqi authorities are going to have to decide whether they are willing -- really ready to have all US forces go at the end of this year or whether they want some kind of small five to ten thousand man train and equip mission to stay to help the Iraqi security forces really get to the point where they can handle what is still a dramatically reduced al Qaeda presence and insurgency.
Andrea Mitchell: But it does create a real political problem for the Maliki government to be in the position of asking. And they have to ask the US to stay beyond December. They've said repeatedly that they want all the troops out but, as you point out, there's a Sunni concern that they are not really strong enough to defend themselves.
Stephen Hadley: It's a problem for Maliki. The Sadrists, which are part of the government, clearly want the troops to go by the end of the year. That's been a hard element of their position. And overwhelmingly, I think, Iraqi opinion does as well. So it's a difficult issue for Maliki. The problem is for them to stay past December 31, there needs to be additional protections -- legal protections -- for our troops. That requires some approval from the Parliament. And that's the-the difficult challenge for Maliki. Could he get Parliament to, uh, approve something that would allow a train-and-equip mission to stay past December.
Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 1 person wants US troops out right now: Ahmed Chalabi. Chalabi who helped start the Iraq War wants the US out. Chalabi who wouldn't go into Iraq until the US forces were present wants the US out. Hammoudi reminds, "To date, only the followers of Shiite Muslim cleric Muqtada al Sadr had come out publicly opposed to extending the American stay, with most Iraqi politicians remaining mum on the topic. Whether Chalibi's formal opposition will matter is unclear. Although he's a member of Iraq's parliament from the largest political bloc, he doesn't lead that bloc."
The 100 Days is over. Al Rafidayn reports Nouri's press conference yesterday in Baghdad found Nouri expressing his hope that "the citizens will treat us kindly in the measuring our accomplishments and that they will be objective." He announced that meetings would take place today on evaluations. New Sabah quotes State Of Law's Khaled al-Asadi stating that Nouri will make assessments through tonight and that the 100 Days was in order to evaluate the performances and that "no sane person would assume a government only four years old could accomplish improvement in one hundred days." Oh,how they try to lower the expectations now. The 100 Days? Al Jazeera gets it right, "Maliki gave his cabinet a 100-day deadline to improve basic services after a string of anti-government protests across Iraq in February. He promised to assess their progress at the end of that period, and warned that 'changes will be made' at failing ministries. That deadline expired on Tuesday -- and Maliki largely retreated from his threat, instead asking for patience and more time to solve problems." Fakhri Karim (Al Mada) observes that the 100 Days has done little to instill strength in the belief that Nouri has the "ability to manage the Cabinet" and the duties of the office of prime minister. Karim notes that Nouri's inability to govern, his failure at it, led to the protests and that they were for the basic services which are "the most basic necessities" of our time. Alsumaria TV notes, "Starting today, meetings will be held in front of the people. Discussions will cover all fields one by one. We will go over three headlines or three ministers. We must realize the framework upon which we will carry on with the second 100 day deadline, Maliki said." Ali Issa (Indypendent) explains:
June 7 has been called 'The Day of Retribution' by Iraqi grassroots organizers. Nation-wide protests and sit-ins are planed against the US occupation as well as Nouri al-Maliki's regime, coinciding with the Prime Minister's own deadline, set exactly 100 days ago, to address Iraq's protest movement's demands. "Changes will be made in light of the evaluation results," Maliki said in a statement in late February, referring to his cabinet members and their performance.
In response, a recently released call to action by the grassroots organization 'Popular Movement to Save Iraq' expresses a broadly held sentiment among Iraqis: the government's promises are not to be trusted. "We admit that we weren't really waiting, and didn't hold out during this time. We were organizing actions with other organizations before and during the countdown to June 7th." Seeing the date as a marker to draw more dissatisfied Iraqis into the protest movement, the statement continues: "But the end of the 100 day period, [with the government] having achieved nothing whatsoever, was the fuse we were waiting for, for those that were giving al-Maliki a chance, and were waiting for reforms from him, his government and corrupt parliament, to come out and demonstrate with us."
Reuters notes a Baghdad sticky bombing which injured three people, a Baghdad home invasion which left the Ministry of the Interior's Col Mussab Kamil and his wife injured and claimed the life of their son, a Ramadi sticky bombing claimed the life of 1 police officer, 2 police officers were shot dead in Baghdad, 1 corpse was discovered in Hilla and a Mosul roadside bombing claimed 3 lives.
Saturday, Adam Kokesh's Thomas Jefferson Memorial Dance Party was held. People came to DC from various states -- including California and South Carolina -- to dance for liberty and there were no arrests or incidents of police violence. The Dance Party was in response to what took place Memorial Day weekend when five people were arrested -- including Adam who was lifted into the air and then hurled onto the marble floor by a police officer with the officer than placing Adam in a choke hold -- for the 'crime' of dancing.
Adam Kokesh: This past weekend, I returned to the Jefferson Memorial to stare down the police state once again. The police apparently accepted my challenge to a dance off and were out in force. But, thanks to you, all of you who made phone calls to the Park Police to get me released last week, and all of you who reminded the men in blue costumes with guns to keep things nonviolent, and to all of our wonderful backup dancers, we were victorious. Whether this means or not that you effectively have control of your own body on government property is yet to be seen but -- Wait. What am I talking about? The government still thinks it owns you. It also still thinks it can crap on the Jefferson Memorial. Literally. Check this out.
Adam, outside the Memorial, on Saturday: I want to point out the police officers showed up. We had the Four Horseman of the Apocalypse, two here, two over there [gestures to police on horseback]. And one of the excuses given for body slamming and choking and kneeing me in the ribs last week was that the Park Police really need to maintain a calm and tranquil, respectful environment at the Jefferson Memorial. As you can see behind me, there is a giant pile of horse crap. So the government who wants to body slam and arrest people for dancing as a disturbance at the Jefferson Memorial feel that it is okay to crap on the Memorial. But you can't dance on it.
Adam Kokesh: Yeah, there you have it. And yet I continue to be astounded by the amount of credibility the American people give our government -- full of hacks and liars -- every day. Anyway, last week, we did a segment on all the Dance Parties around the nation and the world in support of our civil disobedience here. But our list was grossly incomplete. Now we didn't miss too many of the American Dance Parties as you can see here [map with people standing on various states] but our international list was very incomplete. And while we threw down hard at TJ's place here in DC -- no body slamming puns intended -- and around the country, the appeal of liberty remains global and dance parties were also reported in Australia, Brazil, Chile, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Israel, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Kyrgyzstan, Lithuania, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Scotland, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, the UK, Vietnam and there were over a dozen reported to have taken place in America's favorite hat, Canada. So if any of you rebels out there have footage of your own dance parties from last weekend post them to our Facebook page or e-mail them to me firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll make sure the revolution will be televised, perhaps even that television will be revolutionized. To the US Park Police and, more importantly, to Judge Bates, I'd like to remind you of Thomas Jefferson's thoughts that might be relevant the next time you have the urge to surpress someone's First Amendment rights for the sake of convenience, "The will of the people is the only legitimate foundation of any government, and to protect its free expression should be our first object." But the police on Saturday were still up to their regular anti-freedom shenanigans, closing the memorial just before we got started, keeping hundreds of would-be dancers from joining us. Their excuse? A suspicious package. I hope they weren't referring to . . . [Adam looks down at his crotch.] Anyway. There was a drug sniffing dog sent out just for the occasion and lots of motorcyle cops and horse crap. They were even actively curtailing the freedom of the press, kicking out journalists and citizen journalists alike as the dance wound down. So we still have a lot of work to do. And I hope you are inspired to engage in your own acts of resistance in peaceful civil disobedience. However.
Adam Kokesh on Saturday, outside the Memorial with a bullhorn: And as for this whole life thing? Well if you're not having fun, you're not doing it right. [Cheers and applause.] So let's dance!