Monday, January 30, 2012

Drones, coup and more

The New York Times misdirects on drones in Iraq this morning but are we surprised that the paper would intentionally get that wrong? Does any US paper have closer ties to the CIA? No. And the CIA and the FBI operate in Iraq. Strangely Ted Koppel can tell you that while the New York Times refuses to do so. Which is not to say the State Dept isn't operating drones in Iraq. They are. We covered that (an dobjected to it) when it was presented as wonderful to Congress. In addition, Turkey gave space on the Iraq border to the CIA for a base and they are supposed to receive drones in exchange for providing the land for the base. Iraq, which cannot patrol its own skies due to training and a lack of planes, has many drones flying over it. And that may be why Iraqis are objecting and noticing the drones especially. The State Dept indicaes to the paper that it is them but that's what the State Dept would do if it were FBI or CIA drones.

The paper states, "The program was described by the department's diplomatic security branch in a little-noticed section of its most recent annual report and outlined in broad terms in a two-page online prospectus for companies that might bid on a contract to manage the program." They would have to state that since they have no real Congressional reporters. It's really illuminating to attend Congressional hearings -- especially when 'celebrity' officials aren't testifying -- and notice how few members of the press are present. One of the best hearings in 2008 didn't have a single reporter present. It was an important hearing and the press' inability to get a story right throughout 2008 had a lot to do with their missing Senator Russ Feingold's line of questioning.

The paper brings in last week's US helicopter downing in Baghdad. But fails to note the objections from Iraqis to it (or that a second helicopter quickly landed and took all the people in the first helicopter away with it). The helicopter incident is important to Iraqis. Dar Addustour notes that Parliament's Security and Defense Committee will be addressing the issue this week and they see it as a clear violation of the Strategic Framework Agreement that the US currently operates in Iraq under.

Al Rafidayn reports Iraqiya spokesperson Maysoon al-Damluji announced Iraqiya was ending their boycott of Parliament. The paper notes deep divisions continue between the various blocs. Unlike the New York Times' sad report, Al Rafidayn does note the Erbil Agreement and the failure (by Nouri) to implement it. Aswat al Iraq adds, "The Chairman of Iraq's al-Ahrar (Liberals) Bloc, Bahaa al-Aaraji, has highly assessed the decision of al-Iraqiya Bloc, led by former Prime Minister, Iyad Allawi, to resume attending the Iraqi Parliament's sessions and its acceptance of its call, calling on the Bloc to end its boycott to attend the sessions of the Council of Ministers as well." Al Mada reports that Iraqiya made its decision following a three hour meeting of various Iraqiya members. They are seeing their return to Parliament as a gesture of goodwill and state that the political crisis ends only by returning to the Erbil Agreement and releasing the innocnets who have been arrested while resolving the issues regarding Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi and Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlaq. Nouri has issued an arrest warrant for the vice president on charges of 'terrorism.' He's also demanded that al-Mutlaq be stripped of his post. Both al-Hashemi and and al-Mutlaq are members of Iraqiya which bested Nouri's State of Law in the March 2010 elections. Alsumaria TV notes that only the boycott of Parliament has been ended and nothing has been said about the boycott of the Council of Ministers.

Whether the move will end up being good for Iraq or bad will become apparent in the coming days but already it's good for the laughs. Dar Addustour reports State of Law MP Nahida Daini is defending Nouri's failure to name a Minister of Defense by stating Nouri has left the post vacant because he is afraid of a coup. If you were afraid of a coup, you might actually fill the security ministries (Interior, Defense and National Security) but instead Nouri has left them vacant (despite the Constitutional requirement that a Cabinet be named in 30 days for someone to become prime minister). He's left them vacant for a year and a month. Soon to be a year and two months. Can you imagine the criticism a Barack or Bush would face if they went a year without naming a Secretary of Defense? Daini does admit that the Erbil Agreement has been ignored.

Dar Addustour also notes that a spokesperson for Nouri's Cabinet has announced there are approximatey 50,000 Sahwa ("Awakenings," "Sons Of Iraq") and that they are mainly in 9 provinces and that they wil move to dispense with them.

We'll try to cover the report on 'lost' and unaccounted for money that was supposed to have gone to Iraqi reconstruction in the snapshot today. Dan Morse (Washington Post) has the best report on that still.

Bonnie reminds that Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "The Arm Grab" went up last night.
On this week's Law and Disorder Radio -- a weekly hour long program that airs Monday mornings at 9:00 a.m. EST on WBAI and around the country throughout the week, hosted by attorneys Heidi Boghosian, Michael S. Smith and Michael Ratner (Center for Constitutional Rights) -- topics explored include the Armenian Genocide, the Supreme Court ruling on the GPS tracking device, and a lengthy interview with Tariq Ali covering a number of topics including OWS, the JFK assassination, Barack's claiming the right to assassinate any American citizen and more. In addition, Isaiah posted "David Fitzsimmons and David Horsey are liars" at his site explaining how he ended up drawing last night's comic. Reminder, the first ever Burn Pit Symposium takes place next month.

1st Annual Scientific Symposium on
Lung Health after Deplyoment to Iraq & Afghanistan
February 13, 2012

sponsored by
Office of Continuing Medical Education
School of Medicine
Stony Brook University

Health Sciences Center, Level 3, Lecture Hall 5
Anthony M. Szema, M.D., Program Chair
Stony Brook
Medical Center

This program is made possible by support from the
Sergeant Thomas Joseph Sullivan Center, Washington, D.C.


* Register with your credit card online at:

* Download the registration form from:
fax form to (631) 638-1211

For Information Email:

1st Annual Scientific Symposium on
Lung Health after Deployment to Iraq & Afghanistan
Monday, February 13, 2012
Health Sciences Center
Level 3, Lecture Hall 5

Program Objective: Upon completion, participants should be able to recognize new-onset of lung disease after deployment to Iraq and Afghanistan.

8:00 - 9:00 a.m. Registration & Continental Breakfast (Honored Guest, Congressman
Tim Bishop

9:00 - 9:30 Peter Sullivan, J.D., Father of Marine from The Sergeant Thomas Joseph
Sullivan Center, Washington, D.C.

9:40 - 10:10 Overview of Exposures in Iraq, Anthony Szema, M.D., (Assistant
Professor of Medicine and Surgery, Stony Brook University)

10:10 - 10:40 Constrictive Bronchiolitis among Soldiers after Deployment, Matt
King, M.D. (Assistant Professor of Medicine, Meharry Medical College,
Nashville, TN)

10:40 - 11:10 BREAK

11:10 - 11:40 Denver Working Group Recommendations and Spirometry Study in
Iraq/Afghanistan, Richard Meehan, M.D., (Chief of Rheumatology and
Professor of Medicine, National Jewish Health, Denver, CO)

11:40 a.m. - Microbiological Analyses of Dust from Iraq and Afghanistan, Captain Mark

12:10 p.m. Lyles, D.M.D., Ph. D., (Vice Admiral Joel T. Boone Endowed Chair of
Health and Security Studies, U.S. Naval War College, Newport, RI)

12:10 - 12:20 Health Care Resource Utilization among Deployed Veterans at the White
River Junction VA, James Geiling, M.D., (Professor and Chief of Medicine,
Dartmouth Medical School, VA White River Junction, VT)

Graduate students Millicent Schmidt and Andrea Harrington (Stony Brook
University) present Posters from Lung Studies Analyzed for Spatial
Resolution of Metals at Brookhaven National Laboratory's National
Synchrotron Light Source

1:20 - 1:40 Epidemiologic Survey Instrument on Exposures in Iraq and Afghanistan,
Joseph Abraham, Sc.D., Ph.D., (U.S. Army Public Health Command,
Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD)

1:40 - 2:10 Overview of the Issue Raised during Roundtable on Pulmonary Issues
and Deployment, Coleen Baird, M.D., M.P.H., (Program Manager
Environmental Medicine, U.S. Army Public Health Command)

2:10 - 2: 40 Reactive Oxygen Species from Iraqi Dust, Martin Schoonen, Ph.D.
(Director Sustainability Studies and Professor of Geochemistry, Stony
Brook University)

2:40 - 2:50 BREAK

2:50 - 3:15 Dust Wind Tunnel Studies, Terrence Sobecki, Ph.D. (Chief Environmental
Studies Branch, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Cold Regions Research
and Engineering Laboratory, Manchester, NH)

3:15 - 3:45 Toxicologically Relevant Characteristics of Desert Dust and Other
Atmospheric Particulate Matter, Geoffrey S. Plumlee, Ph.D. (Research
Geochemist, U.S. Geological Survey, Denver, CO)

3:44 - 4:15 In-situ Mineralogy of the Lung and Lymph Nodes, Gregory Meeker, M.S.
(Research Geochemist, U.S. Geological Survey, Denver, CO)

Continuing Medical Education Credits

The school of Medicine, State University of New York at Stony Brook, is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians.
The School of Medicine, State University of New York at Stony Brooke designates this live activity for a maximum of 6 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)TM. Physicians should only claim the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

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