Monday, November 18, 2013

Iraq snapshot

Monday, November 18, 2013.  Chaos and violence continue, silence continues on Barack's attempts to bury Bully Boy Bush's War Crimes, campaigning continues in Iraq, Nancy Youssef thinks she has the integrity to fact check others (yes, that is laughter you here), and much more.

Let's start off with  Tweets:

  • Is Iraq report being blocked because it proves Blair and Bush war crimes?

  • and:

  • ‘Suspicious things going on’: UK, US aiming to block Iraq war inquiry — RT Op-Edge:

  • and:

  • Noel Brinkerhoff (AllGov) reports today:

    A British inquiry into how the government of the United Kingdom decided to join the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003 is being held up by officials in the White House and the U.S. State Department, which have refused to allow the publication of secret documents revealing conversations between former President George W. Bush and former Prime Minister Tony Blair.
    A group consisting of British diplomats, politicians and academics has spent four years -- at a cost of nearly $13 million -- reviewing Britain’s choice to attack Iraq. But the inquiry’s leader, Sir John Chilcot, has been unable to publish its final report because of the British government’s refusal -- at the behest of American officials -- to disclose pre- and post-war communications between the White House and the Prime Minster’s Office.

    And we'll again note Sarah Lazare (Mint Press), "Yet, the U.S. government is forbidding the release of communications between Blair and Bush in the lead-up to the war, declaring it classified information and pressuring British Prime Minister David Cameron to wipe this information from the report."

    Meet 2013's Downing Street Memo, the Iraq Inquiry.  It's blotted out not just by the US MSM but also by FAIR and Amy Goodman and all the other beggars always hitting you up for money.

    Wow.  Once upon a time those of us on the left expected and demanded in investigation into the lies of the illegal war.  Today, we're not even bothered that Barack's working to continue the cover up.

    Let's start with a 'reporter' -- one with tons of rumors about her.   Nancy A. Youssef of McClatchy Newspapers among other things wants to critique Lara Logan.

    Joan Rivers used to do a joke about Sophia Loren and a candy bar during WWII.  That joke was applied repeatedly to Nancy by her peers during the Iraq War.  When I heard it, I would say, "Yeah, it's Joan Rivers."  (Toss a Hershey bar into her tent and she'll drop to all fours -- that's the spine of the joke.)  And they would talk about how Nancy allegedly flirted with the military -- or allegedly more than flirted -- to explain her 'scoops.'

    Which was always strange to me because Nancy had only one scoop her whole time in Iraq. (Given to her by Petraeus.)

    But now the woman whose male and female peers called her so many names (everything but "reporter")  thinks she has the clout to take on CBS News.  (An ABC-er said today, "If she'd been stationed in Iran, we could have called her The Trampoline of Tehran."  He said I should include that and should include it as anonymous -- "Though she'll know it's me" -- since Nancy's 'report' is nothing but anonymous sources.)

    Rumors of her vast sexual antics to the side, how did she do with her analysis?

    She writes:

    The report repeatedly referred to al Qaida as solely responsible for the attack on the compound and made no mention of Ansar al Shariah, the Islamic extremist group that controls and provides much of the security in restive Benghazi and that has long been suspected in the attack. While the two organizations have worked together in Libya, experts said they have different aims – al Qaida has global objectives while Ansar al Shariah is focused on turning Libya into an Islamic state.

    That does sound damning until you grasp that most of the press lumps Ansar al Shariah and al Qaeda together (because the two can be linked).  We stand alone -- Nancy's never joined us, maybe that's good since I'd hate to be mistaken for a street whore -- in pointing out that the press blaming attacks in Iraq for "al Qaeda" is a catch-all that is false and blinds people to reality.  Even confining it to al Qaeda in Mesopotamia is not good enough, nor precise enough.  But we've made that argument against all outlets -- that would include Nance's McClatchy Newspapers.

    In other words, Nancy hopped a high horse to go after an easy target -- to decry what the bulk of the press -- including her own outlet -- does.  "For shorthand" a correspondent insisted when we called it out here.

    So no points for Nance on that.

    Nancy then thinks she's found a stronger point:

    Logan claimed that “it’s now well established that the Americans were attacked by al Qaida in a well-planned assault.” But al Qaida has never claimed responsibility for the attack, and the FBI, which is leading the U.S. investigation, has never named al Qaida as the sole perpetrator. Rather, it is believed a number of groups were part of the assault, including members and supporters of al Qaida and Ansar al Shariah,

    Read more here:

    Logan said it was "well established that the Americans were attacked by al Qaida" and Nancy proves her wrong by insisting that the belief is members of Al Qaida and other groups are thought to be responsible?

    Does Nancy read what she writes?  She's actually backed Lara Logan while she thinks she's disproved her.  Logan didn't say "solely by al Qaida,' she said it was an al Qaida attack -- a point Nancy doesn't appear to grasp.  Equally true, the WikiLeaks leak of State Dept cables ties one of the three suspects in Logan's report to al Qaeda.  A point Nancy ignores.  She ignores a great deal.

    For example, Nancy  'disproves' Logan:

    The piece also named three known insurgent operators as top suspects in the attack but did not explain the source of that assertion.

    The three are long suspected of having been involved, Zelin said, but there is no evidence of their specific roles in the attack.
    Two months ago, al Qaida operative Abu Anas al-Libi was captured in Tripoli by U.S. commandoes and brought to New York to stand trial for his alleged role in the 1998 bombing of U.S. embassies in Tanzania and Kenya. The “60 Minutes” piece attempted to link al-Libi to the events in Benghazi, with Logan reporting that “Abu Anas al-Libi was captured for his role in the Africa bombings and the U.S. is still investigating what part he may have played in Benghazi.”
    But a U.S. law enforcement source involved in the Benghazi probe, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss a case that’s still under investigation, told McClatchy this week that al-Libi is not under investigation for the Benghazi attacks. Logan did not detail the source for her assertion that he was.

    Read more here:

    Wow.  That might be damning.

    CBS and Lara Logan might need to apologize . . .

    if Nancy were telling the truth but she's lying.

    We're going to go to the transcript of the report.  Ava and I covered this topic in "TV: Whose mistake?" -- for that, we worked CBS News friends for information -- some of which we've used, some of which we're saving for when someone really makes an idiot of themselves.  Neither Ava nor I know Lara Logan or her producer Max McClellan.  We do have many friends at CBS News and, to clarify, we haven't slept any of them.  We were provided with a full transcript of the segment by CBS friends.  From the transcript.

    Lara Logan:  We have learned the U.S. already knew that this man, senior al Qaeda leader Abu Anas al-Libi was in Libya, tasked by the head of al Qaeda to establish a clandestine terrorist network inside the country. Al-Libi was already wanted for his role in bombing two U.S. embassies in Africa.

    Greg Hicks: It was a frightening piece of information.

    Lara Logan: Because it meant what?

    Greg Hicks: It raised the stakes, changed the game.

    [. . .]

    Lara Logan:  Just a few weeks ago, Abu Anas al-Libi was captured for his role in the Africa bombings and the U.S. is still investigating what part he may have played in Benghazi. We've learned that this man, Sufian bin Qumu, a former Guantanamo Bay detainee and long-time al Qaeda operative, was one of the lead planners along with Faraj al-Chalabi, whose ties to Osama bin Laden go back more than 15 years. He's believed to have carried documents from the compound to the head of al Qaeda in Pakistan.

    Let's deal with what Nancy wrote about the government first.  An unnamed government source who is not supposed to discuss the matter told her last week, two weeks after the segment aired, that Abu Anas al-Libi wasn't a suspect.

    To which the obvious question is: Since when?

    The second obvious question is: Where's the investigation?

    By the government of Nancy's phone records.

    Oh, that's right there is none.

    Because authorized leaks -- often lies the government wants to spread -- don't outrage the White House.

    For example, Savannah Luschei (Information Clearing House) reports on reporter James Risen's response to the targeting of him by the government:

    James Risen, the New York Times reporter facing imprisonment for refusing to disclose his sources, denounced the federal government’s infringement on the press in a rare public appearance Thursday, saying it is time for journalists to “surrender or fight.”
    Risen spoke to a crowd of about 300 lawyers, journalists and others at Berdahl Auditorium in Stanley Hall on Thursday evening in a talk hosted by the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism titled “Prosecuting the Press.” He spoke alongside Lowell Bergman, director of the graduate school’s Investigative Reporting Program.
    The lack of protection for national security reporters, he said, has allowed the federal government to demand that journalists like him reveal their sources, which threatens the integrity of the press.

    But don't fret for Nancy.  Those who repeat authorized administration leaks are never targeted.

    So Nancy disproves Lara Logan and CBS by offering up an unnamed source who is legally compelled not to talk about the case (an ongoing investigation) but who breaks that legal obligation?  That's a trust worthy source there, Nancy?

    Doesn't sound like it to me but maybe Nancy can furnish further info on her source -- possibly his penis size? -- to explain why we should trust him as deeply as Nancy does?

    Nancy 'disproves' suspect two by running to an 'expert' at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP).  I am happy to quote and critique them here.  I've noted they're to the right of me.  And that's really all I've noted because we don't exactly embrace them -- or present them as genuine experts.  Since Nancy does, let's go to Wikiepedia for some of the criticism of Nancy's source:

    In a December 2003 interview on Al Jazeera, Rashid Khalidi, a Palestinian-American professor and director of Columbia University's Middle East Institute, sharply criticized WINEP, stating that it is "the fiercest of the enemies of the Arabs and the Muslims," and describing it as the "most important Zionist propaganda tool in the United States."[15] In response, Martin Kramer, editor of the Middle East Quarterly and visiting fellow at WINEP, defended the group, saying that it is "run by Americans, and accepts funds only from American sources," and that it was "outrageous" for Khalidi to denounce Arabs that visited WINEP as "blundering dupes."[16]
    John Mearsheimer, a University of Chicago political science professor, and Stephen Walt, academic dean at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government, describe it as "part of the core" of the Israel lobby in the United States.[17] Discussing the group in their book, The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy, Mearsheimer and Walt write: "Although WINEP plays down its links to Israel and claims that it provides a 'balanced and realistic' perspective on Middle East issues, this is not the case. In fact, WINEP is funded and run by individuals who are deeply committed to advancing Israel’s agenda … Many of its personnel are genuine scholars or experienced former officials, but they are hardly neutral observers on most Middle East issues and there is little diversity of views within WINEP’s ranks."[17]

    So a group not exactly trusted in the Arab world?  That's Nancy's source for disproving suspect two?  (Suspect two is the one WikiLeaks' release exposed as connected to al Qaeada according to the US State Dept.)   To disprove suspect three . . . well even Nance finally admits she can't.

    A Take down?  She hasn't even raised valid questions?

    Well, maybe one:  Why is this woman employed?

    For those who don't know, Nancy is the mouth piece for the US government -- and she has the metaphorical pubes stuck to her lips to prove it.

    Which is why, for example, before Barack Obama declared Chelsea Manning guilty of crimes, Nancy had already done so -- repeatedly on The Diane Rehm Show.  Nancy became McClatchy's Defense Correspondent because of her closeness -- however you want to define that -- to the military.  When Petreaus was out of government, Nancy again became a foreign correspondent.

    Nancy's entire output is worthless except for the last report she filed for Knight Ridder.  In all the years since, she's had nothing to offer.

    When the ethnic cleansing was taking place in Iraq, Nancy repeatedly was wrong or lied about what was taking place on Haditha Street in Baghdad.  We called that out in real time.  We call it out more loudly now because we've seen photos of what happened.

    We've largely ignored the rumors about Nancy using sex to get stories.  We danced closer to those rumors when we made it clear that she needed to stop declaring Chelsea Manning guilty since she was supposedly a reporter and no trial had been held.  Nancy was, yet again, doing it for the military brass.

    As she's repeatedly demonstrated, no one in the know would ever describe her as a reporter.

    This is demonstrated in this passage by Youssef:

    The piece closed with a picture of a document outlining Stevens’ schedule for Sept. 12, “a day (Stevens) did not live to see.” According to the piece, “When a member of our team went to the U.S. compound earlier this month, he found remnants of the Americans’ final frantic moments still scattered on the ground.”
    But the compound owner, Jamal el Bishari, told McClatchy on Wednesday that he began clearing debris in April from the compound’s four buildings and is still renovating the site. McClatchy visited the site in June and saw a pile of debris sitting outside the compound walls, but no documents were discernible among the broken concrete, clothing, furniture and soot.
    Bishari said it is unlikely such a document could have been discovered recently.
    “It is impossible to find a document now,” he told McClatchy.

    Read more here:

    While it may or may not be possible to find a document on November 13th (when Nancy filed her 'report'), whether it was on October 5th or 6th is another matter.

    As for McClatchy visiting the site in June, clearly the 'visitor' didn't go through what was available -- 'discernible' wouldn't be required if he or she had.  But a larger point, Nancy doesn't trust or value the person enough to name them.  It's not a reporter.  It's a local.  Knight-Ridder had a history of using locals for stories and paying them well.  McClatchy, by contrast, is known for having lied to locals, misrepresented employment to locals and left them feeling alone and abandoned.  You could ask some of the Iraqi workers, for example.

    Nancy wants you to believe this is an issue she cares about.  So she writes over 2,100 words yet never mentions the names: Glen Doherty, Sean Smith or Tyrone Woods.

    Over 2,1000 words and she can't mention those three men.

    That about says it all.

    Maybe next time we'll talk about how someone imporperly influenced their outlet's coverage of the 'Arab Spring.'

    Simon Jenkins (Guardian) writes today:

    Forty-three people died on Friday in clashes between militias in Libya, as did 22 on Sunday from bombs in Iraq. In Helmand, a return of the Taliban to power is now confidently expected. Why should we care? Why should it feature on our news?
    The answer is that we helped to bring it about. Britain's three foreign wars in the past decade were uninvited military interventions to topple installed governments. All have ended in disaster.

    Where's that same honesty in the US press?

    Did Nancy lose her honesty following Petraeus out of Iraq and then into Afghanistan and then onto DC?  Who knows but she covered all three wars (yes, even Libya, remember the nonsense like "Qaddaif Loyalists Launch Attack On Oil Center in Libya's East" among others).  I guess when she became David Petraeus' personal camp follower, she had to pack rather lightly.  And did.

    Even back when McClatchy pretended to care about Iraq, they were never bothered by executions.  Which may be part of the reason, Iraq is now in the top three in the world when it comes to most people executed each year.  Ammar Karim (AFP) reports that Nouri's government boasted today that they had executed 12 more 'terrorists' today.  By October 10, the number executed was at least 132 so that brings the total to 144.  In their yearly high, Iraq executed at least 130 people in 2012.  2013 will continue their yearly increase.  Kitabat reports that the official making the announcement today refused to provide his name.  Kitabat's count is 144 for the year as well.   Here are the figures for the previous three years, as offered by Kitabat:

    2010 18 executions
    2011 67 executions
    2012 123 executions

    Other violence took place over the weekend.  Iraq Body Count notes that, through Sunday, 401 violent deaths so far for the month of November.   Violence continued in Iraq today.  National Iraqi News Agency reports that 1 police officer and 1 Shabak were shot dead in Iraq.  But though Shabak's are a threatened and targeted religious minority in Iraq, don't fear that the US State Dept is without a plan.  As  Brett McGurk, the State Dept's Deputy Assistant Secretary for Iraq and Iran Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, explained last Wednesday to the  US House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa (see last week's "Iraq snapshot," "Iraq snapshot" and "Iraq snapshot"), he has a plan.  To address the concerns of religious minorities in Iraq, he meets with leaders who reside in Baghdad -- Catholic leaders.  The Shaback's have no leader residing in Baghdad, nor are they Catholic.  Which leaves them ignored by the US State Dept -- as is the case for many religious minorities in Iraq.

    NINA also reports a Mosul roadside bombing claimed the life of 1 police officer and left three more injured, four bombs ("back to back") left twelve security forces injured, a Tikrit roadside bombing left one municipal court head injured, the Ministry of the Interior announced that 7 suspects were shot dead in Qaim, an attack on Sahwa commander Sheikh Khalid Al-Rashed's Adheim home left him and his son dead, a Falluja armed attack left a military captain injured, a Bahgdad bombing claimed the life of 1 Iraqi soldier and left five other people injured (including two soldiers), a Baghdad sticky bombing claimed the life of 1 Ministry of Agriculture employee,  and Ismail al-Tai ("head of the Lawyers Association in Muqdadiyah") was assassinated "on the main road between Muqdadiyah and Baqbua."

    Turning to the topic of protests, Mayada Al Askari (Gulf News) reports:

    As a draft law to regulate demonstrations is currently under discussion in parliament, Iraq’s Minister of Human Rights assured Gulf News that the government is keen on ensuring citizens their constitutional rights.
    Mohammad Shia Al Sudani has denied an outright ban on demonstrations and but insisted some regulations be implemented.
    Currently, all demonstration requests have been rejected by the government and security forces have been cracking down on any rallies that do take place. Iraq accuses some neighbouring countries of backing terrorist groups in the country and encouraging anti-government demonstrations.

    Gulf News has also published excerpts of the interview.

    Mayada Al Askari: On numerous occasions we saw real aggression against unarmed peaceful demonstrators in Baghdad and other places. Perhaps the most recent example was what happened in Dhi Qar. How do you deal with such situations? What is your role in such events?

    Muhammad Shia Al Sudani:  Yes, the ministry noted abuses carried out by security forces in Dhi Qar and Baghdad, and we asked for investigations to punish the offenders. The ministry’s offices and departments completely reject these abuses. The security services should secure any peaceful demonstration in coordination with the organisers and should provide an appropriate atmosphere for citizens to enjoy this constitutional right. We call upon all citizens to raise their demands peacefully and without violence and to coordinate with the concerned authorities.

    It's in that exchange that Al Sudani reveals what a liar he is.  For those who've forgotten what took place in Dhi Qar on August 31st, this is Aswat al-Iraq:

    A number of casualties were reported in mid of Nassiriya city following clashes between SWAT forces and hundreds of demonstrators. 
    The security forces used live bullets to disperse them, as reported to Aswat al-Iraq. 
     Civil activist Bassam al-Jabiri told Aswat al-Iraq that 10 persons were injured for "unjustified use of force by SWAT forces".

    Ten were injured.  But that's not the record.  The record is over 50 dead in one attack on protesters.  The  April 23rd massacre of a sit-in in Hawija which resulted from  Nouri's federal forces storming in.  Alsumaria noted Kirkuk's Department of Health (Hawija is in Kirkuk)  announced 50 activists have died and 110 were injured in the assault.   AFP reported the toll had risen to 53 dead.   UNICEF noted that the dead included 8 children (twelve more were injured).  No one's been punished, Nouri's had no real investigation despite claiming he would.

    53 killed, 8 of them children.  Nouri is a thug and those who cover for him are as complicit as he is.

    Campaign season continues in Iraq.  NINA reports that National Alliance head Ibrahim al-Jaafari met with Iraqi National Congress head Ahmed Chalabi to discuss 'issues.' All Iraq News adds that State of Law MP Khalid al-Asadi notes that State of Law will nominate Nouri for a third term.

    Let's move to the issue of immigration.  Jake Tapper hosts The Lead with Jake Tapper (CNN).  Tapper has Tweeted the following:

  • Lastly,  David DeGraw's calling for crowd sourcing action:

    The last time we all rallied together in a loosely knit collective fashion, the Occupy movement was born and the 99% meme brought the corruption of our political and economic system, along with the grotesque inequality of wealth, into mass consciousness in a profound and lasting way. It was the opening act, the awakening wave.
    Since the Occupy camps were crushed by brutal police state force, the movement has splintered in many different directions. This is now proving to have been a blessing in disguise. It gave us time to learn from our mistakes, figure out what worked best and forced us back into the autonomous actions that built the movement in the first place. We have now experimented with different tactics and thought through longer-term strategies.
    Meanwhile, the repressive conditions that inspired Occupy in the first place have become even more oppressive. Now more than ever, governments no longer have the consent of the governed. A critical mass has lost faith and trust in our existing institutions. The present paradigm has outlived its usefulness. It has been overrun with corruption and rendered obsolete. Our political, economic and legal systems are doing much more to limit our potential than enhance it.

    Let’s pick a three-month span, perhaps throughout this coming spring, and unite our collective actions into an unprecedented Worldwide Wave that cannot be ignored by anyone.
    Let’s crowdsource a relentless global wave of action that protests the corrupt, while also rallying around and celebrating effective alternatives and solutions to the vast problems we are confronted by. Imagine thousands of nonviolent guerrilla armies swarming corrupt targets and rallying for viable solutions for a sustained three-month cycle. If we begin preparing now, a massive spring offensive can lead to a summer of transformation.
    Staying true to the vital nature of the movement, you lead, in your own way. Pick whatever issues concern you most and run with them, knowing that likeminded people throughout the world will also be fighting in solidarity, in whatever way they can, at the same time you are.

    In an attempt to dismiss and undermine us, status quo propagandists will once again criticize us by saying that our message of systemic change is not focused enough or lacks coherent goals. This feeble attempt to keep people from joining in with us will be overcome by our widespread and consistent actions, which will lead by example and inspire the cultural shift in mass consciousness that we urgently need. Our diverse crowdsourced actions will boldly demonstrate our will to expose, fight and overcome tyrannical systems. By rallying around viable solutions and protesting what we are against, the goals and freedoms that we aspire to will organically become self-evident to all.

    I don't think it's a 'feeble attempt.'  I think you need to know what you're doing and need to have a message.  We've noted some of David DeGraw above.  What does any of it mean?

    Nothing.  It means nothing.  Get a message, get a plan.  We will not be indulgent again.  People want to know where, what and when.  At the very least you can provide those basics.



    Read more here: