Saturday, September 03, 2011

The Turkish government, not the PKK, is losing

Mumtazer Turkone must be auditioning to be the new Thomas Friedman, nothing else could explain the stupidity. Today he pens "The PKK has lost the war" (Today's Zaman). The 'win,' he idiotically insists, is due to the fact that Iran, Turkey and the KRG are against the PKK.

There are so many of levels of stupidity to his column that it's difficult to know where to start. Since August 17th, Turkey's been bombing northern Iraq in the latest wave of bombings that have been going on for years (with the US assisting by providing 'intel' since at least 2007). The backlash to the warplanes terrorizing innocent civilians and, yes, killing innocent civilians including children has led to more boasts from a bunch of stupid, stupid idiots.

Before we get into anything complex, let's just note two things. First, Iran's not bombing the PKK. How stupid is that man? How insane is he? Will people in Turkey reading his crap think he's telling the truth? Iran's targeting a different part of northern Iraq. And they are shelling the PJAK. Though both are Kurdish groups, PJAK is not PKK. What a stupid moron and how the hell did Today's Zaman allow that error into print?

The world has few saints but it abounds in dumb asses. And you have to be a real dumb ass to think that the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) will be able to publicly support Turkey over the PKK if "support" means anything other than a bunch of words. The KRG is majority Kurdish. It's made up of Kurds who know how the Kurds have been treated historically. They may or may not approve of violence (their feelings on it are probably as complicated as any other group of people) but they know that the PKK is fighting for an ultimate goal that they themselves agree with.

It takes a real idiot willing to be blind to assert, as Turkone does, that the KRG is against the PKK. And it's that blindness, that inability to see reality, that has pulled to Turkey to the point that it is now.

No "war" is being won today or tomorrow. A "battle" may or may not be won in the immediate future.

The Turkish better start facing some realities and stop listening to ass kissers like Mumtazer Turkone. He's an idiot who does know the first thing he's writing about.

Tomorrow, the Turkish military could kill every Kurd in Turkey, every Kurd in Iraq, every Kurd in Iran, every Kurd in the world. They could include those who were half or quarter Kurds and those who married Kurds. They could wipe out every connection to a Kurd and they still wouldn't win.

That's the lesson of history. And you can be a dumb ass or you can grasp reality.

If every Kurd was killed, there would still be people (non-Kurds) who remembered what went down (prior to the mass killings) and they'd take up the cause.

The Turkish government created the PKK by demonizing Kurds in Turkey. They refused to treat them in an equal manner. A few years back the government was supposed to be making a big shift. That ended up being token measures and even they weren't followed.

Until the Turkish government can realize that the PKK is a response to the treatment, they're never going to 'win.'

They could win a battle if the PKK over-reached or were implicated in an over-reach (such as civilians killed in either Turkey or Iraq and it blamed on the PKK). Even that would be a short term win.

Peace will not come and Turkey will not be safe as a country until it can reconcile itself with what it nees to do which is to provide full equality to all of its citizens. It's not a controversial concept and if the European Union (which Turkey wants to join) was smart, it would demand that the Turkish government show major steps towards that before letting it into the EU.

The PKK is not going away.

Brutal and repressive tacts in Turkey created the PKK. The only thing that ends the PKK is full rights for the Kurds in Turkey. Want to ease the tensions immediately? Announce some measures -- some meaningful ones -- to improve the lives of Kurds in Turkey. You will not "win" any other way.

And what's written about Turkey is true of Israel as well. And many other places around the world. Demography means you will address discrimination or you will be the discriminated against at some point as those you oppress move from a minority population to a majority one.

Even more importantly, the world's weary. Governments may (and many do -- including the US) support countries oppressing their own people but the world population doesn't. And there may come a time in the future (I'm sure I'd be dead by then) when governments oppressing a population are taken before a world court and punished. Again, the world is weary. We're sick of the bickering and the refusal of those in power -- who by the very nature of being in power have the ability to change things -- resorting to violence (which only inspires more violence) instead of utilizing democratic tools.

We close with this from Robert Kennedy's "Is the US Government Spying on Americans?" (Information Clearing House):

The rise of government surveillance is a troublesome legacy of the September 11 attacks. Today, video cameras are visible everywhere in public places, recording people’s every move. But what about spying that can’t be spotted?
Ten years after 9/11, new questions are being raised about what the US government is secretly doing on the internet and through satellites, using the Patriot Act and other national security law as justification.
Two American senators with access to top-secret intelligence raised the alarm in May, suggesting that the invasion of law-abiding Americans’ privacy was being carried out clandestinely - and that people would be shocked if they knew the extent.
“I want to deliver a warning this afternoon,” Senator Ron Wyden said on May 26 during a Senate debate. “When the American people find out how their government has secretly interpreted the Patriot Act, they will be stunned and they will be angry.”
Exactly what activities US agencies are carrying out remains unclear. Senator Wyden and Senator Mark Udall - also on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence - have been unable to elaborate on their accusations because of official secrecy law.
However, observers surmise that ordinary people may be caught up in an electronic dragnet searching for terrorists. Civil liberties advocates suggest that intelligence and law-enforcement agencies may be reading and cataloguing people’s e-mails in databases, as well as tracking their mobile phone locations.

The e-mail address for this site is

Nouri's upset -- at least publicly

Al Rafidayn reports Ali al-Moussawi declared Saturday that the Iraqi government is launching an investigation into the 2006 slaughter in Is (a family of ten were killed by US forces, the ten included young children, all were handcuffed, with their hands behind their backs, and then shot in the head). Al Rafidayn notes that it was a family of nine and one adult woman (also killed) was visiting them when US forces attacked the home. Al Mada notes that the March 15, 2006 slaughter culminated with the US forces on the ground calling in air strike which demolished the home in what is seen as an attempt to cover their tracks. In both US and Iraqi accounts, there is "handcuffed" and "tied" used. Most likely, they were handcuffed with the plastic restraints and not metal handcuffs. (That question popped up in an e-mail.) Al Mada points out that while Nouri al-Maliki is now insisting that Iraq will not rest on this issue, it is unclear how Nouri intends to follow up? The incident is over five years old. It's doubtful any of the forces involved remain in Iraq. Past agreements -- it would the UN mandate in this case -- guaranteed US troops immunity from prosecution. What Nouri intends to do other than rage publicly and make it appear that he gives a damn is unclear?

If Nouri gave a damn, he would have done something about it years ago. He comes to power just after the incident takes place. As he comes to power the American government is insisting a review is being conducted. He is prime minister and in charge of the country when, June 2006, the US report is issued clearing US forces of any accusations. Nouri did nothing then. He did nothing for the last five years.

He makes a lot of noise right now but is careful to make sure none of it is by him. He doesn't want to be on video making these statements so he sends out his spokespeople. Video of him promising justice could be used against him if/when he fails to do anything.

Dropping back to Thursday's snapshot:

In Iraq, there's been another prison break, this time in Mosul. Bushra Jhui (AP) reports that 35 people ar said to have "tunneled their way out" with 21 being caught and 14 remaining at large. AFP provides this recent context, "Officials said on August 6 that four prisoners and a guard were killed in clashes at a prison in the central Iraqi city of Hilla, during which eight inmates escaped. Six Iraqi police and 11 inmates were killed in a Baghdad jail mutiny in May, while 12 suspected Al-Qaeda members escaped from prison in the southern city of Basra in mid-January. At least two of the Basra escapees have been recaptured." Alsumaria TV adds, "A similar incident occurred in Nineveh on April 3 as 23 prisoners escaped from Al Ghazalni prison in southern Mosul. On April 9 as well, 5 prisoners escaped a prison in Al Shifaa' region, eastern Mosul." Reuters notes it was "a temporary jail" and that the prisoners are said to have made their way out via "a sewage pipe." Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports, "A senior officer in the Mosul police department said the inmates had used metal plates and iron bars to dig nearly 150 feet out of the jail. He asked not to be identified because he wasn't authorized to discuss the escape." Aswat al-Iraq cites Abdul-Rahim al-Shimmary as stating the escapees "were charged according to the Iraqi Criminal Law's Article-4 - Terrorism."

14 remained at large. Yesterday Reuters noted that 13 were at large because one more had been captured. Al Rafidayn reports that Mohammad Mahmoud al-Sharabi was the one arrested and he was seen crossing a traffic intersection on foot in Mosul when police moved in to arrest him. Aswat al-Iraq reports that 12 remain at large because the corpse of one, Miqdad Bashir Hanash, was discovered "on one of the bank of Tigris River, with traces of bullet shots in his head and chest". CNN advises that the search for the 12 remaining at large continues and "A curfew had been imposed in Mosul as security forces searched for the prisoners."

Reuters notes today's violence includes 1 Kurdish shepherd killed by Iranian soldiers in Iraq'sHaj Umran, 1 Iraqi soldier shot dead in Baghdad and the assassination of Nasir Saad in Baghdad -- Saad belonged to Nouri's Dawa political party (not to be confused with Nouri's political slate of State Of Law).

Tim Arangon and Yasir Ghazi (New York Times) publish the strongest article in today's news cycle filed from Iraq:

It is hard to say which is a worse indignity to the thousands of Iraqi soldiers and police officers who have suffered crippling injuries fighting alongside the Americans in a war that continues today: receiving subpar medical care from the government they fought to preserve, or a new law that could slash their already paltry benefits.
"We are defending the Iraqi people," said Ali Mohammad Heaal, who was a police trainee when he lost his left arm in a car bomb attack in 2005 and now works at a nongovernmental organization that advocates on behalf of wounded members of Iraq's security forces. "Right now, we feel humiliated."

Meanwhile those predictions that the political blocs are all chummy and ready to move forward? Not so. Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani was correct in his assessment. Dar Addustour reports that the back and forth attacks between the blocs continue but that the attacks now thrive and flourish on Facebook.

9-11's approaching. With regards to the 9-11 Truth movement, our position has been and remains that we do not attack them, we do not mock them. They're citizen-scholars engaged in the pursuit of truth and they've dedicated themselves to something larger than tracking a celebrity's 'belly bump' or reality TV. So good for them.

Just as the JFK assassination researchers unearthed important findings, so will these citizen-scholars.

In the public account, ____ shows up wanting his piece on 9-11 noted. I'm not interested and ___ can go f___ himself. First off, the piece wants to express disbelief in the official 9-11 story. That's fine. But it then wants to attack the 9-11 Truth movement. So basically, it's saying, "I'm respectable, they aren't." I'm not interested in that garbage. Second, this stupid man who supposedly is so smart was among the loudest members of the Cult of St. Barack. He apparently thinks laying low for a bit meant the world would forget. I haven't and I won't. Until he renounces all those fantastical claims he made of witnessed miracles performed by St. Barack and future miracles to come from St. Barack, I'm not interested.

If a community member sees something they want highlighted on or from the Truth movement between now and 9-11, e-mail it and it will be. If a visitor wants to do the same, you'll need to e-mail the public account (address at the end of the entry) and it may or may not be noted. That will depend mainly on time (my time and I'm always rushing in the mornings). While I'm not noting what was sent in today to the public account, friends who support or are part of 9-11 Truth speak highly of Dr. David Ray Griffin and Kevin Barrett. I see nothing at Griffin's website (I hope I went to the right one) that's new but Kevin Barrett's website features an open letter to journalists that he posted September 1st:

Dear (name of journalist),

One of the approximately 50% of 9/11 family members who rejects the official story of 9/11 informs me that you are a journalist who is covering the 10th anniversary of 9/11.

You and other journalists preparing stories on the 10th anniversary of 9/11 will be guilty of crimes against humanity, specifically the crime of incitement to genocide, if you do not, in your stories, prominently mention two very important facts:

(1) The vast majority of scholarly literature devoted to critically examining the question of what actually happened on 9/11 has concluded, or tentatively concluded, that the official story that al-Qaeda and 19 hijackers did it is a lie; therefore the event was probably a false-flag attack designed and executed by the enemies of Muslims, for the purpose of launching an anti-Muslim genocide (and consolidating power for the perpetrators). If you contact me, I will be happy to provide you with a bibliography of the scholarship on this question, proving that in fact there is a scholarly consensus that 9/11 was almost certainly a false-flag attack.

(2) More than three-quarters of the world's Muslims, and around two-thirds of American Muslims, agree that the official story is a lie, and that the event was probably a false-flag attack designed and executed by the enemies of Muslims, for the purpose of launching an anti-Muslim genocide or "war on Islam." In Pakistan - the nation best-informed about "al-Qaeda" - only 3% of the population believes al-Qaeda did 9/11. Poll data: .

Only about 10% of Germans believe the official story of 9/11:

36% of all Americans - over 100 million people - think 9/11 a likely inside job designed to launch wars of aggression.

Given the poll data, it is clear that a majority of the world's population rejects the official story of 9/11.

Please take this opportunity to educate yourself about this issue, and to avoid complicity in one of the worst crimes against humanity in history.

I am at your disposal in this matter; please feel free to call me at (phone number) between the hours of 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. US Central Time.

Also, please consider interviewing 9/11's biggest first-responder hero, William Rodriguez, a Muslim convert who is fluent in Spanish, who works incessantly with family members, and who is an eyewitness to the controlled demolition of the North Tower. William may be reached at (phone number deleted) .


Dr. Kevin Barrett

Some friends of mine are ticked at an NPR show this week that practiced everything but fairness. Their complaints had me thinking of the 'celebration of mourning' (my term) that the media is preparing to wallow in next week. I can think of nothing more pathetic or useless. We were just going to ignore it here (hopefully, we'll work on a piece at Third tonight) but if the media wants to preach wallow and lies ("unity" is not a good thing in and of itself), then we'll counter it here with people who refuse to wallow or take easy answers. If that's not clear, the media's going to make us all feel sad and special. Rob us of our strength -- tomorrow morning that will be especially when a new host takes over a radio program. I'm not a big fan of passivity or encouraging victimazation or mistaking it for 'strength.' So we won't take part in that pity party. Instead, what better way to celebrate America than to note those who go against convention, who show strength to survive and endure countless attacks as they attempt to pursue the truth. Good for them, good for the 9-11 Truth movement. The e-mail address for this site is

Troy Yocum wraps up journey

Joseph Lord (Courier-Journal) reports, "The booms of the bass drum could be heard blocks away on Main Street, heralding a troop who'd marched a long way home. A camouflage backpack was still strapped to the National Guard veteran who’d served in Iraq, accompanied by a sweaty brow he’d acquired on an uncharacteristically hot September afternoon."


(Troy Yocum photo taken by John Crosby)

Hike for our Heroes is a non-profit started by Iraq War veteran Troy Yocum who hiked across the country to raise awareness and money for veterans issues. He began his hike in April 2010 and he concluded it where it began, in Louisville, today. Lori Lyle (WAVE 3) reports:

An Iraq war veteran returned home today from a personal mission to raise money for military families in need. Troy Yocum spent the last 16 months hiking across the United States. He took off on foot from the Louisville Slugger Museum in April, 2010. Today he finished his last mile back at the museum with a crowd of people supporting him.
"What a journey!" Yocum said, "I've had a lot of time to think about what I was going to say today."

The 100th Army Band joined the hike for the last mile. And "hundreds" greeted him at the Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory including Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer (who "proclaimed Saturday as Troy Yocum Day") and US House Rep John Yarmuth. Troy's Tweets today include:

WalkAcrossUSA Wow the donations are still coming in because of all of your efforts! We need you help to reach the goal! We are...

What did he miss the most in the year and six months of hiking across America? He tells Joseph Lord it was home and watching basketball games on TV. Devin Katayama (WFPL -- link is text, photos and and a video essay) quotes Troy stating, "There was definitely times when I wanted to quit but I kept thinking about this day right here." Katayam notes, "Yocum raised just over $500,000 dollars by Thursday and around 34 sponsors will donate an undisclosed amount on Sept. 14 in New York City, he said. He'll continue working with Wish Upon a Hero, helping veterans in need. But first, he wants to take a month off before he prepares for his next trip, he said."

Along with Betty's "Somerby and other things," the following community sites updated last night and today:

We'll close with this from Sherwood Ross' "SALVADORANS STRUGGLE AGAINST MINING FIRM" (Veterans Today):

Farmers along the banks of El Salvador’s Lempa River believe tomatoes gleam brighter than gold. They would rather put the river to work for farming, fishing, and drinking than to allow the multinational Vancouver-based Pacific Rim Mining Co. of Canada use the river water to extract the rich veins of gold buried nearby---a process that involves applying toxic cyanide-laced water to separate gold from the surrounding rock.
Area farmers discovered that “only a tiny share of Pacific Rim’s profits would stay in the country, and that the El Dorado mine was projected to have an operational life of only about six years, with many of the promised jobs requiring skills that few local people had,” write Robin Broad and John Cavanagh in the August 18th issue of The Nation magazine. Broad is a professor at American University’s School of International Service and Cavanagh is director of the Institute for Policy Studies, of Washington, D.C.
The Lempa is the water source for more than half of El Salvador’s 6-million people and wends through Honduras and Guatemala as well. In Santa Marta, El Salvador, Broad and Cavanagh write, “citizen groups are building sustainable farming as an alternative economic base to mining. Their goal: a ‘solidarity economy’” centered on the life-giving river to feed and clothe them.
Vidalina Morales, an organizer for the Social and Economic Development Assn.(ADES), told the reporters, “initially, we thought mining was good and it was going to help us out of poverty...through jobs and development.” (The price of an ounce of gold has skyrocketed from $300 a decade ago to more than $1,500 today.)
The Salvadorans changed their views, however. As a study from the International Union for the Conservation of Nature found, area residents “living near mining exploration activities began to notice environmental impacts from the mining exploration---reduced access to water, polluted waters, impacts to agriculture, and health issues.”

The e-mail address for this site is

thomas friedman is a great man

oh boy it never ends

Friday, September 02, 2011

Iraq snapshot

Friday, September 2, 2011.  Chaos and violence continue, Troy Yocum completes his Hike for our Heroes tomorrow in Louisville, Human Rights Watch calls out the bombing of northern Iraq, additional info about the 2006 massacre of an Iraqi family by US forces, and more.
Starting in the US, Hike for our Heroes is a non-profit started by Iraq War veteran Troy Yocum who is hiking across the country to raise awareness and money for veterans issues. He began the walk last April. From the Facebook page:

Iraq War Veteran Troy Yocum, his wife Mareike and Emmie the super dog are hiking 7,000 miles across America to help military families in need. They took their first steps of the 16-month cross-country quest on April 17, 2010. Backed by corporate sponsors, many volunteers and support members, Team Hike for our Heroes/Drum Hike are taking on the challenge of raising needed funds by hiking 7000 miles across America. The journey will take 16 months passing through 31 states and 38 large cities. The team will have to average over 20 miles a day while enduring each season. Funds donated go through The Wish Upon A Hero Foundation is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt non-profit organization that seeks to supports the community of individuals working online who grant the needs and wants of others making a wish. We believe that no wish is too large, no hero is too small and that everyone can become a hero. The idea for the hike has been evolving since Troy joined the Army in 2001 but it is now when our economy is struggling and military families are in most need that he and his family will put one foot in front of another to connect and help struggling families. Help our mission by making a donation today!

The hike that began in Louisville, Kentucky over a year and a half ago is scheduled to conclude there this Saturday at approximately 1:30 p.m. Ken Neuhauser (Louisville Courier-Journal) notes, "Coincidentally, Louisville native and Iraq war veteran Troy Yocum will complete his 'Hike for Our Heroes' campaign at 1:30 p.m. Saturday across the street at the Louisville Slugger Museum, where he began his 7,000-mile cross-country trek in April 2010. His accomplishment will be recognized as part of the Founder's Day celebration." Devin Katayama (WFPL) reports:

Now he is getting close and he said when he arrives at the finish line at the Louisville Slugger Museum this weekend, he expects a few thousand people to greet him.
"I thought I could finish all 7,880 miles in 15 months and instead we're coming into Louisville around a month and a half late. And that's not a failure in my book. I take from this that perseverance is key to accomplishing any goal and I've been working extra hard this year to make it all the way to the finish line. It's almost surreal to be this close to home. I just passed a sign that said 33 miles and that feels really good," said Yocum.

Late last night, Troy Tweeted, "Feels good to be closing on what has been an incredible journey!" That's tomorrow at approximately 1:30 in the afternoon.  His Tweets today include:
Troy Yocum
WalkAcrossUSA The cart is back for the last miles to the finish line! We hope to live stream tomorrow!!!
Troy Yocum
WalkAcrossUSA Urgent: If you are coming to walk 9 miles, come prepared with its of water. It will be really hot tomorrow!
Troy Yocum
WalkAcrossUSA This is it my friends, I want to thank you all for the support to get here. To each and every last one of my...
Turning to Iraq, Margaret Griffis ( notes, "A source in Babel province warned that 45 taxi drivers have gone missing in recent months." And Reuters notes 1 corpse was discovered in Kirkuk (stabbed to death) and that 13 of the 35 who broke out of a Mosul prison (see yesterday's snapshot) are still at large while 22 have been captured.
Wednesday's snapshot noted the ridiculous Michael S. Schmidt article entitled "Iraq War Marks First  Month With No U.S. Military Deaths" (New York Times) but something was missed (by me) that community member Terrance caught: most months NYT ignores all but combat fatalities when doing their reports.  In addition, we'll note this from John Glaser's refutation ( of the 'milestone' coverage:
Hailed as a victorious milestone, the achievement merely reveals the failure and disgrace of the Iraq War. [. . .]  Milestones apparently don't have to consider civilian deaths, which reached 155 in August.
This supposed "milestone" provides comfort the families of service members?  On today's Takeaway (PRI), Celeste Headlee addressed the issue with Jack Jacobs and Rossan aCambron. Excerpt:
Celeste Headlee: Also with us is Rossana Cambron whose son Arturo Cambron is serving his third term in Iraq so that's the opinion of a retired army col Rossana, what's your opinion as a mom?  Does it make you feel the situation in Iraq is getting safer?
Rossana Cambron:  It's a difficult question to answer because if I say "yes" people get the illusion that they can kind of rest, they apply it to their current situation. But as a mother who has a son in the war it only brings it down just a short notch to the concern I feel and the worry I feel.  It doesn't really make a significant difference in how much I worry about my son and his safety --
Celeste Headlee: Well --
Rossana Cambron:  -- in the overall scheme.
Celeste Headlee: -- have you noticed any change in the past few months in his messages to you when he talks to you? Does he seem to feel like things have gotten improved or safer there?
Rossana Cambron:  Well if we compare it to his first deployment which was late '06, definitely there's less combat, there's less mission where he goes out and he doesn't come back and mention maybe a snippet of what he may have experienced.  But, again, I don't want to leave the illusion that it's a great relief, that I've stopped worrying or that I can stop not looking out of my window for somebody that's waiting to give me the bad news or walking up my door -- or things like that. It's not like that. It's just a -- shave off a thin layer of the worry that I have every day, the concern I have every day.
Still on violence, Dan Murphy (Christian Science Monitor) reports on a new Lancet study, "The report documented 1,003 suicide attacks in Iraq between 2003-10, which killed 12,284 civilians and injured a further 30,644. The Lancet authors found 108,624 civilian deaths from violence of all kinds in the period. To put that in perspective by adjusting for population, that would be equivalent to 1 million Americans killed in a seven-year period. And the violence has continued. Earlier this week, 28 worshipers were murdered by a suicide bomber at Baghdad's Umm al-Qura mosque."
Reviewing the month's violence and starting with what was reported by the media (and noted in the snapshots).  August 1st, 2 dead and four injured; August 2nd, 6 dead and thirty-three injured; August 3rd, 18 dead and eleven wounded; August 4th, 3 dead and fourteen injured; August 5th, 1 dead and fifteen injured; August 6th, 1 dead and three wounded; August 7th, 6 dead and eight injured; August 8th, 8 dead and twenty-four wounded; August 9th, five wounded; August 10th, 1 dead and seventeen injured; August 11th, 5 dead and seventy-one injured; August 12th, five injured;  August 13th,  3 dead and thirteen wounded; August 14th,  6 dead and eight injured; August 15th, 75 dead and two-hundred-and-fifty injured; August 16th, 8 dead and thirteen injured; August 17th, 8 dead and twenty-two wounded; August 18th, 10 dead and twenty-one injured; August 19th, 3 dead and six injured; August 20th, four were reported injured; August 21st, 8 dead and twelve injured; August 22nd, 6 dead and eight injured; August 23rd, no reports (the next day will find Reuters dropping back to cover the 23rd) ; August 24th, 8 dead and twenty-four wounded; August 25th, 23 dead and seventy-one injured; August 26th, 3 dead and nine injured; August 27th, 14 dead and twenty-six injured; August 28th,  35 dead and fifty-four injured; August 29th, 6 dead and thirty-eight injured; August 30th, 2 dead and eleven injured; August 31st, 4 dead and thirty-five wounded.
That's 262 dead and 855 injured. Iraqi Body Count counted 395 civilians killed (our 262 count is all killed, not just civilians -- the 262 leaves out Turkish and PKK claims on how many PKK fighters were killed due to the fact that the two sets of number conflict).
AFP notes that the Iraqi Ministry of Health, Ministry of Interior and Ministry of Defense released their figures for the month and are insisting only 239 Iraqis died in August ("155 civilians, 45 people and 39 soldiers"). But they've been undercounting forever. And with the exception of a pushback (from AFP) earlier this summer, the press just spits out the 'official' count -- from two ministries that don't even have Ministers. (Nouri cannot appoint a minister.  He can nominate one.  Parliament then decides on the nominee.  If Parliament doesn't decide, there's no minister for that department.)
I'm not a fan of Alyona Minkovski or The Alyona Show (if needed, Ava and I can go into that at Third) but there's limited coverage of the WikiLeak released State Dept cable about the 2006 slaughter of an Iraqi family.  Of the three choices I'm aware of that are radio or TV, her show was the strongest.  She spoke with blogger Kevin Gosztola and we'll skip the whole Christopher Columbus claim of discovery of something already in the public sphere. We'll also skip the b.s. that doesn't address the cable.  (But we will note when you yack and yack about others defocusing, why don't you yourself focus.)  Excerpt:
Alyona Minkovski: Yeah can you give us a few more of the details that have been released in this cable about this raid?
Kevin Gosztola:  Right, in this cable it's a communications log to the Mission in Geneva and he basically placed an inquiry, asking a number of questions about information he had received about multinational forces raid going into a home and, as you said in the set-up of your segment, five children were killed and four women were killed. And they were taken outside of the home and they were lined up and they were handcuffed -- they were in handcuffs -- and they were executed. And the autopsies show from the morgue they were able to see that they were shot in the head and that they were handcuffed.  And then afterwards, a[n] airstrike came along and demolished the home so there wasn't any evidence left for any investigators to go [. . .]
And that's about all that was wroth it.  Of course there was evidence even with the house demolished.  That was the best of the three and, yes, that is very sad.  John Glazer ( wrote about the cable earlier this week noting the dead killed in the 2006 raid:
Mr. Faiz Hratt Khalaf, (aged 28), his wife Sumay'ya Abdul Razzaq Khuther (aged 24), their three children Hawra'a (aged 5) Aisha ( aged 3) and Husam (5 months old), Faiz's mother Ms. Turkiya Majeed Ali (aged 74), Faiz's sister (name unknown), Faiz's nieces Asma'a Yousif Ma'arouf (aged 5 years old), and Usama Yousif Ma'arouf (aged 3 years), and a visiting relative Ms. Iqtisad Hameed Mehdi (aged 23) were killed during the raid.
And this is news and should be treated as such but I want to get back to the Christopher Columbus issue.  John Glaser has written on the raid this week and done it very well.  If he wanted to claim credit, I wouldn't bat an eye, though I doubt Glaser would take credit for doing more than he did.  But to hear the blogger quoted above and the infotainment presenter go on and on about his big discovery and how now we know about a raid --now?  Click here for Matthew Schofield's March 19, 2006 report for Knight Ridder Newspapers and this is Schofield's opening:

Iraqi police have accused American troops of executing 11 people, including a 75-year-old woman and a 6-month-old infant, in the aftermath of a raid last Wednesday on a house about 60 miles north of Baghdad.

The villagers were killed after American troops herded them into a single room of the house, according to a police document obtained by Knight Ridder Newspapers. The soldiers also burned three vehicles, killed the villagers' animals and blew up the house, the document said.

A U.S. military spokesman, Major Tim Keefe, said that the U.S. military has no information to support the allegations and that he had not heard of them before a reporter brought them to his attention Sunday.

And we'll drop back to the June 2, 2006 snapshot to note it was covered by the press:
Next, there is Ishaqi which took place in March 15th of this year. For background refer to Democracy Now!'s March report as well as the BBC's report on a tape that has turned up which appears to refute the US military claims. In that incident, the official version is that "four people died during a military operation" when a building that was on fire collapsed on them while the version put foward by Iraqi police is that "US troops had deliberately shot the 11 people."  March 23, 2006, Democracy Now! (link is transcript, audio and video) spoke with Matthew Schofield about the story:
AMY GOODMAN: Can you explain exactly what you know at this point?
MATTHEW SCHOFIELD: Well, the story, as you and Juan just outlined it, pretty much goes through the basics of the story. We've talked quite a bit further in the last couple days with people surrounding the story. But what we have is a divergence on the story between the two -- there are two accounts. There's a U.S. military account, and then there's an Iraqi police account of what happened. As you know, the U.S. military account is that after showing up and getting into a shootout to get into this house, the house collapsed during the shootout. People were killed either in the shootout or by the collapsing house. They left. They found four bodies and left. They found this suspect. They arrested him. And that's pretty much that story.  The other story is that the house was standing when the U.S. troops went in. They were herded into one room -- eleven people herded into one room, executed. U.S. troops then blew up the house and left. We were talking with the police officer who was first on the scene earlier today. He explained the scene of arriving. He said they waited until U.S. troops had left the area and it was safe to go in. When they arrived at the house, it was in rubble. I don't know if you've seen the photos of the remains of the house, but there was very little standing. He said they expected to find bodies under the rubble. Instead, what they found was in one room of the house, in one corner of one room, there was a single man who had been shot in the head. Directly across the room from him against the other wall were ten people, ranging from his 75-year-old mother-in-law to a six-month-old child, also several three-year-olds -- a couple three-year-olds, a couple five-year-olds, and four other -- three other women.
Lined up, they were covered, and they had all been shot. According to the doctor we talked to today, they had all been shot in the head, in the chest. A number of -- you know, generally, some of them were shot several times. The doctor said it's very difficult to determine exactly what kind of caliber gun they were shot with. He said the entry wounds were generally small and round, the exit wounds were generally very large. But they were lined up along one wall. There was a blanket over the top of them, and they were under the rubble, so when the police arrived, and residents came to help them start digging in, they came across the blankets. They came across the blankets. They picked the blankets up. They say, at that point, that the hands were handcuffed in front of the Iraqis. They had been handcuffed and shot. And the Iraqi assumption is that they were shot in front of the man across the room. They came to be facing each other. There is nothing to corroborate that. The U.S. is now investigating this matter, along with the Haditha matter. That's kind of where we stand right now.

And here's how Democracy Now! covered it in their headlines on March 16, 2006:
US Strikes Blamed for Death of Iraqi Family Members
Meanwhile, a US military attack in the Iraqi town of Balad is being blamed for the deaths of at least a dozen members of the same family. The dead include five children and six women. The Associated Press is reporting the family's house was flattened by an airstrike from a US helicopter. The victims were wrapped in blankets and driven to the Tikrit General Hospital. Ahmed Khalaf, the brother of one of the victims, said: "The dead family was not part of the resistance, they were women and children. The Americans have promised us a better life, but we get only death."
What is new is a development emerging today.  Lara Jakes and Qassim Abdul-Zahra (AP) lead with, "Negotiations to keep U.S. troops in Iraq came under new strain Friday in the wake of WikiLeaks' release of a U.N. letter alleging that an Iraqi family was handcuffed and shot in the head in a 2006 raid by American forces -- not accidentally killed in an airstrike." Donald Macintyre and Jerome Taylor (Independent) note, "The incident is raised in a letter from Philip Alston, the UN rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions. Mr Alston's letter to US officials, which went unanswered, challenges the American military version of events. It says that autopsies carried out in the nearby city of Tikrit showed the victims had been handcuffed and shot in the head. They included a woman in her 70s and a five-month-old. The US military had said that the troops seized an al-Qa'ida suspect from a first floor room after fierce fighting left the house in ruins. US officials originally said five people had been killed, although they later accepted a higher toll of 11."  Annie Gowen (Washington Post) adds that Nouri al-Maliki's spokesperson Ali al-Moussawi is stating that the investigation into what happened in Ishaqi will be reopened as a result of the cable. We'll ignore the rhetoric of the spokesperson and note Nouri has some sort of a viral outrage that comes and goes.  Now he's outraged.  But this slaughter happened a month before he became prime minister-designate (the first time, April 2006) and a month after he was prime minister (May 2006), the US military released their white wash report.  In fact, from the June 2nd headlines on Democracy Now!:
Iraqi PM: US Killings of Iraqis "Daily Phenomenon"
Meanwhile, Iraq's Prime Minister has lashed out at the US military over what he has called the "daily phenomenon" of US attacks on Iraqi civilians. In an interview with the New York Times, Nuri Kamal al-Maliki said many troops "do not respect the Iraqi people." Maliki went on to say: "They crush them with their vehicles and kill them just on suspicion. This is completely unacceptable."
Again, it must be a kind of viral outrage that comes and goes. Monday's snapshot noted, "Over the weekend, Al Rafidayn reported that the Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani has refused to meet with Nouri al-Maliki and other politicians. For the last 8 weeks, al-Sistani has refused them. Why? His clerics say that he feels the people's needs are not being addressed and that the government has failed to deliver basic services and to reduce corruption." Aswat al-Iraq reports today Ahmed al-Safi, the Grand Ayatollah's representative, called out today "the absence of trust among political entities" (and it's seen as if the criticism was coming from the Grand Ayatollah). Meanwhile the Great Iraqi Revolution and other youth activists are gearing up for September 9th when they resume protests in Baghdad's Tahrir Square (and elsewhere in Iraq as well). Aswat al-Iraq notes that today Baghdad saw a smaller protest -- "citizens and civil activists" -- calling for US fores to leave, for an end to corruption and for better public services.
Yesim Comert and Ivan Watson (CNN -- link has text and video) reported yesterday afternoon on Kurds protesting in Istanbul. Riot police were sent in, stones and "petrol bombs" were hurled, tear gas was utilized. The reporters note, "The protest in Istanbul Thursday began fairly peacefully. Women in traditional Kurdish costumes led a column of thousands of people, many of them waving BDP flags and carrying banners that said 'peace now immediately' and 'long live the brotherhood of people'." The protests come as these Kurds in Turkey feel the government that has long oppressed them is not following up on the promises of equality and dignity that were made in the last few years. The protests also come as Turkey is in the midst of bombing Kurds in northern Iraq.
Throughout the Iraq War, Turkey has bombed northern Iraq. Starting in 2007, they had approval from Nouri al-Maliki and the US government to conduct the bombings and they also were provided with 'intelligence' by the US military including imagery via US drones flown over the region. As the Turkish press has made clear in the last two weeks, the US continues to provide 'intelligence.' Turkey insists that they are defending themselves from the PKK -- a group of Kurdish people who advocate for and fight for a Kurdish land.

The PKK is one of many Kurdish groups which supports and fights for a Kurdish homeland. Aaron Hess (International Socialist Review) described them in 2008, "The PKK emerged in 1984 as a major force in response to Turkey's oppression of its Kurdish population. Since the late 1970s, Turkey has waged a relentless war of attrition that has killed tens of thousands of Kurds and driven millions from their homes. The Kurds are the world's largest stateless population -- whose main population concentration straddles Turkey, Iraq, Iran, and Syria -- and have been the victims of imperialist wars and manipulation since the colonial period. While Turkey has granted limited rights to the Kurds in recent years in order to accommodate the European Union, which it seeks to join, even these are now at risk." The Kurdistan Regional Government in Iraq has been a concern to Turkey because they fear that if it ever moves from semi-autonomous to fully independent -- such as if Iraq was to break up into three regions -- then that would encourage the Kurdish population in Turkey. For that reason, Turkey is overly interested in all things Iraq. So much so that they signed an agreement with the US government in 2007 to share intelligence which the Turkish military has been using when launching bomb raids. However, this has not prevented the loss of civilian life in northern Iraq. Back to Aaron Hess, he noted, "The Turkish establishment sees growing Kurdish power in Iraq as one step down the road to a mass separatist movement of Kurds within Turkey itself, fighting to unify a greater Kurdistan. In late October 2007, Turkey's daily newspaper Hurriyet accused the prime minister of the KRG, Massoud Barzani, of turning the 'Kurdish dream' into a 'Turkish nightmare'."

Nouri's been very good about keeping the press out of the PKK camps. The Times of London, which is no longer in Iraq, repeatedly went to the area to report on what was taking place there and visited the rebel camps. Many other outlets just followed Nouri's dictate. Those who did report from the camps were able to demonstrate that (a) this wasn't taking place in hiding and (b) the mountains had other inhabitants as well.

Nouri's turning those mountains in northern Iraq into a no-press zone was very effective in covering up the toil the bombings were taking on civilians in the region.

This go round, what's really different is that the press paid attention to the fact that farmers and shepherds were being displaced, turned into refugees as they were forced to flee their villages due to the bombings. What's really different is that the deaths of civilians are finally getting attention. And when Turkey issues their ridiculous 'we didn't kill those civilians, that bomb must have been dropped by someone else' claim (see "Mars Attacks Iraq"), it only ensures that the bombings receive even more attention.

As long as Turkey could assert that they were just bombing rebels and it was in response to what rebels had done (and as long as everyone agreed to play stupid and pretend that the PKK sprung from the head of Zeus yesterday and that the Turkish government's actions didn't in fact create the PKK), everyone could just focus on how many bombs dropped and the claims by the Turkish military of killed X number of rebels and the holler back from the PKK of 'no, you didn't.'

The Turkish government seems genuinely baffled that something they've been doing repeatedly for years now is all the suddent a hot issue. At the start of this week, New Sabah did an article on some of the Turkish news coverage of the bombings and noted the Turkish government's stated position that the PKK were terrorists and that Iraq must "clean your land of these terrorists or we will do it for you."

That bully talk used to go over well but now as the bombings create refugees -- forcing hundreds of families to flee -- and as the dead includes not only civilians but small children, the bully talk really isn't being applauded by those who once cheered Turkey on.

And it also doesn't help Turkey's case that northern Iraq is also being bombed by the Iranian military who are also targeting Kurdish rebels. So you've got two countries terrorizing the people of Iraq and destroying the land with these bombs -- as in turning into pockmarked fields -- and probably creating long term health issues because these bombs are probably going to effect the environment. [Today the Great Iraqi Revolution notes, "Imagine if we were not bombed with the lethal American weapons, we would not have had hundreds of thousands of malformed and disabled Iraqi children. Again the Iraqi will beat all odds, great voice and performance."]  Even without Iran, the bully position that Turkey's government has taken would probably have gotten old by now on its own and people's patience would have worn thin as well. But Turkey truly seemed to believe that they could continue bombing year after year and the international community would never object.

Those days, as the Turkish government is learning, are over. Human Rights Watch issued the following today:

(Beirut) – Iran and Turkey's cross-border attacks in Iraqi Kurdistan have killed at least 10 civilians and displaced hundreds since mid-July 2011, Human Rights Watch said today. Some of the attacks may have been carried out without sufficient attempts to ensure minimal impact on civilians, Human Rights Watch said.

Both Iran and Turkey say that their military operations, including artillery and aerial bombardments, are aimed at armed groups operating out of Iraqi Kurdistan along the northern and eastern borders. When Human Rights Watch visited those areas in August, Iraqi residents and officials said that many of the targeted areas are purely civilian and are not being used by the armed groups.
Evidence suggests that the regular Iranian bombardments may be an attempt to force Iraqi civilians out of some areas near the Iranian border.

"Year after year, civilians in northern Iraq have suffered from these cross-border attacks, but the situation right now is dire," said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. "Iran and Turkey should do all they can to protect civilians and their property from harm, no matter what the reason for their attacks in Iraqi Kurdistan."

Iran started its cross-border attacks in northern Iraq in mid-July, claiming to be targeting an armed group associated with the Iranian Kurdish Party for Free Life of Kurdistan (PJAK) operating in the mountainous border region. Beginning on August 18, Turkey carried out attacks across its border with Iraq, targeting the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), an armed group affiliated with PJAK that is fighting its own decades-long conflict with Turkey.
Shelling by Iran
Since mid-July, Iran's operations against PJAK inside or near villages close to the Iranian border have led to the displacement of hundreds of families, caused the deaths of at least three villagers, and wounded an unknown number of people, according to international humanitarian aid organizations, Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) officials, and media reports. Farmers from the border regions told Human Rights Watch in early August that the shelling had damaged their homes and that they saw Iranian soldiers cross the border into Iraq and kill farmers' livestock. The attacks on civilians and their property that they described were similar to attacks documented by Human Rights Watch in June 2010.
Human Rights Watch visited the Choman and Qalat Diza districts and Qasre, Sangasar, and Zharawa subdistricts between July 26 and August 6 and interviewed more than a dozen displaced villagers as well as others in villages still being shelled. All villagers interviewed said that Kurdish armed groups had never been in their areas and that there were no other military targets in the vicinity at any point before or during the shelling. The affected areas are in the Qandil Mountains, along the eastern borders of Erbil and Sulaimaniyaprovinces, in the region administered by the KRG.
In the crowded Gojar tent camp in Sulaimaniya province, Fatima Mahmoud, 70, told Human Rights Watch she fled there with 11 family members in late July, after two Iranian shells struck her house in the village of Sune, 30 kilometers west of Qalat Diza. She said the village mosque and school were also damaged by shelling.
"It has been more than six years that Iran has been shelling our area, but this year, it was unbelievable," she said. "I don't know why Iran is shelling our village – we have never seen any PJAK members at all. I have never seen any [PJAK] members in our village."
Attacks by Turkey
On August 18, Turkey began a bombing and artillery campaign against the PKK, which it blamed for earlier fatal attacks in Turkey. On August 21, according to Iraqi officials, Turkish warplanes bombed a vehicle carrying civilians. The attack killed seven members of the same extended family according to relatives of those killed, local officials, and media workers. Turkey denied its planes were responsible.

The family group, which included four children, was driving on a highly travelled main roadway in a white 2011 Nissan pickup truck from the village of Bole to Rania to visit relatives. Shamal Hassan told Human Rights Watch on August 29 that the attack instantly killed his wife, Rezan, and his daughters, Solin, two months old, and Sonya, 18 months old. The attack also killed his wife's parents and two other children.
An emotional Hassan told Human Rights Watch, "The attack was so destructive that we couldn't recognize their bodies. I want the international community to hold Turkey accountable. They ruined my life."

Media photos released by multiple Iraqi Kurdish news organizations of the scene corresponded with Hassan's description, and showed charred and disembodied children and adults splayed on the ground near the remnants of a destroyed vehicle. Human Rights Watch could not independently verify the authenticity of the photographs. There has been no evidence of any military target in the vicinity.
While the Turkish military said that it has killed more than 145 suspected PKK militants with artillery fire and airstrikes in northern Iraq since August 17, it has denied that its warplanes killed the family, saying only that news footage of the destroyed vehicle was not consistent with damage caused by Turkish aerial bombardment. However, Turkish officials have stated that Turkish warplanes were bombing multiple military targets, such as anti-aircraft guns and ammunitions caches, in the area at the time.
Iraqi political and military officials have repeatedly blamed Turkish warplanes for the attack. An August 28 statement from the KRG stated that "[KRG] President Barzani strongly condemned Turkish military attacks," which it said were responsible for the seven deaths.
Civilian Displacement
Abdulwahid Gwani, mayor of the Choman district, which has been particularly hard-hit by Iranian shelling, told Human Rights Watch that the attacks by Iran and Turkey had cumulatively killed 9 civilians and displaced 325 families from Choman and 500 families in the Sidakan area.
"They [Iran and Turkey] don't differentiate between civilians and armed groups, and the bombardments are more intense compared with last year," Gwani said. "We notice that the Turkish bombardments are more random this year – they used to target specific locations in previous years but now it is kind of arbitrary."
Earlier in August, Gwani and several displaced villagers told Human Rights Watch, the attacks forced hundreds of poor farmers to leave their crops unattended, destroying much of this year's harvest. A number of farmers told Human Rights Watch that because there has been shelling each year during the short planting and harvesting season, they believed it showed an intentional effort to drive civilians from the area by harming their livelihood.
As in past years, aid organizations and local municipalities have struggled to meet the displaced families' basic needs. The Kurdistan government does not keep an official registry of displaced villagers.
The representative of an international humanitarian aid organization working in the affected areas told Human Rights Watch on August 30 that the attacks have led to the displacement of 450 families, but that this number includes only families who have resettled in tent camps, and not those still moving around, staying with their families, or elsewhere. A delegation of Iraqi civil society organizations from Baghdad visited the areas on August 3 and reported the displacement of "up to 750 families from the areas of Choman, Sidi Khan and Haji Omran."
The International Organization for Migration told Human Rights Watch on August 26 that it has so far distributed aid to approximately 295 families in tent camps – 275 families in Sulaimaniya and 20 in Erbil – but that another roughly 300 families from Erbil have been displaced and may require future aid.
Government Reactions
In August, the Iraqi government summoned both Iran's and Turkey's ambassadors in Baghdad because of concern about the operations, and both the Iraqi and KRG parliaments have strongly condemned the attacks.
On July 27, an Iraqi parliamentary official who declined to be named told Human Rights Watch that, during a meeting with a high-level Iranian diplomat that day, the diplomat stressed the "importance to Iran" of creating a buffer zone along the Iranian border "with no residents." The official said that the diplomat also suggested deploying the Iraqi army to the area, instead of the Kurdistan regional forces who now patrol the border, because the Iraqis are not "as close" to the Kurdish residents.
Officials of both the KRG and the central government in Baghdad have told Human Rights Watch in recent weeks that Iran and Turkey have been defiant and dismissive in their private responses. Publicly, both countries contend that they have a right to attack the armed groups inside northern Iraq and both countries deny targeting civilians.
At an August 21 news conference in Turkey, Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdağ said that the militaryoperations "will continue without hesitation when necessary." The governor of Iran's West Azarbaijan Province, Vahid Jalalzadeh, told Iranian state television on August 6 that, "The operation against the group [PJAK] will continue until all members are killed," but called reports of Iranian soldiers crossing into Iraq "rumors."
The PKK and PJAK both openly admit to multiple guerrilla attacks against Turkish or Iranian soldiers in a self-proclaimed struggle for ethnic equality for Kurds in those countries. Both are considered terrorist organizations by the United States and European Union.
"The evidence suggests that Turkey and Iran are not doing what they need to do to make sure their attacks have a minimum impact on civilians, and in the case of Iran, it is at least quite possibly deliberately targeting civilians," Stork said. "Regardless of their reasons for carrying out attacks, they need to respect international humanitarian law."
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There are many changes that the latest wave of bombings didn't anticipate. Sazan M. Mandalawi (niqash) reports:

Just like their neighbours in other countries, young Kurdish people in Iraq are using the Internet and social media to call for political action. A recent protest in Erbil against Turkish bombing in the area saw protests swiftly organised: NIQASH was there from the beginning.
Shko Nawroly knows only too well why he is taking part in a protest against Turkish military ingressions into Iraq. "I was born in Iran because my parents were Peshmergas [Kurdish freedom fighters] and they had to run away from Saddam's bombing," explained Nawroly, referring to former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein's persecution of the Kurdish people in Iraq's north.
"So I know how it feels when you have to flee to survive bombing and air attacks. And I know how it feels when your family is massacred. And this is why I decided to take part in organizing the protests against the bombing raids carried out by the Turkish warplanes on Kurdish soil," the 23-year-old said passionately. "And as a human being it's a moral responsibility."
But unlike their parents and grandparents who fought on the mountains, today's Kurdish youth are using education, technology, the Internet and social networks as well as peaceful rallies to prevent history repeating itself.