Saturday, July 13, 2013

I Hate The War

The Southport Visiter reports:

The failure of military interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan have left the international community paralysed in the face of bloodshed in Syria, according to former foreign secretary David Miliband.
He said the "overall reckoning" in Iraq is "strongly negative", and admitted there would have been "no justification for war" in 2003 if the government had known there were no weapons of mass destruction.

Miliband is smart and knows that Iraq can't be airbrushed out so better to make it appear to be a lesson learned.

Is it a lesson learned? 

Maybe, maybe not.

But this is how New Labour tries to move beyond the Iraq debacle.

Ignoring it did not work. That was attempted and it all that did was allow a member of the Conservative Party to become prime minister.

As David Miliband prepares to leave politics to steer the International Rescue Committee, some may argue this is part of an attempt to sell war on Syria.  That is possible.  But, in that case, it would have been better to have made the speech earlier.

Maybe he did it because of the IRC?   An attempt to clean the slate?  If so, it's more than Blair did in any of his "Charity starts and endes with me" projects.

It's over, I'm done writing songs about love
There's a war going on
So I'm holding my gun with a strap and a glove
And I'm writing a song about war
And it goes
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Oh oh oh oh
-- "I Hate The War" (written by Greg Goldberg, on The Ballet's Mattachine!)

The number of US service members the Dept of Defense states died in the Iraq War is [PDF format warning] 4488.

The e-mail address for this site is

Friday, July 12, 2013

Iraq snapshot

Friday, July 12, 2013.  Chaos and violence continue, Ed Snowden speaks in Russia, the State Dept attacks him for speaking, Matthew Lee and Elise Labott press the State Dept,  violence slams Iraq, Victoria Nuland mislead the Senate on Benghazi, and more.

This morning, the world waited to hear from NSA whistle-blower Ed Snowden as media poured into the Moscow airport in anticipation of what the person who has influenced a global dialogue might say next.  Ahead of his appearing, BBC News notes, "The American is believed to have been stuck in transit since arriving in Moscow from Hong Kong on 23 June, even though no pictures of his stay there have emerged."

Lidia Kelly and Alessandra Prentice (Reuters) report, "Former intelligence agency contractor Edward Snowden asked to meet human rights groups at a Moscow airport on Friday to discuss what he called 'threatening behaviour' by the United States to prevent him gaining asylum."

Ed Snowden:  My name is Ed Snowden. A little over one month ago, I had family, a home in paradise, and I lived in great comfort. I also had the capability without any warrant to search for, seize, and read your communications. Anyone’s communications at any time. That is the power to change people’s fates.
It is also a serious violation of the law. The 4th and 5th Amendments to the Constitution of my country, Article 12 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and numerous statutes and treaties forbid such systems of massive, pervasive surveillance. While the US Constitution marks these programs as illegal, my government argues that secret court rulings, which the world is not permitted to see, somehow legitimize an illegal affair. These rulings simply corrupt the most basic notion of justice – that it must be seen to be done. The immoral cannot be made moral through the use of secret law.
I believe in the principle declared at Nuremberg in 1945: "Individuals have international duties which transcend the national obligations of obedience. Therefore individual citizens have the duty to violate domestic laws to prevent crimes against peace and humanity from occurring."
Accordingly, I did what I believed right and began a campaign to correct this wrongdoing. I did not seek to enrich myself. I did not seek to sell US secrets. I did not partner with any foreign government to guarantee my safety. Instead, I took what I knew to the public, so what affects all of us can be discussed by all of us in the light of day, and I asked the world for justice.
That moral decision to tell the public about spying that affects all of us has been costly, but it was the right thing to do and I have no regrets.
Since that time, the government and intelligence services of the United States of America have attempted to make an example of me, a warning to all others who might speak out as I have. I have been made stateless and hounded for my act of political expression. The United States Government has placed me on no-fly lists. It demanded Hong Kong return me outside of the framework of its laws, in direct violation of the principle of non-refoulement – the Law of Nations. It has threatened with sanctions countries who would stand up for my human rights and the UN asylum system. It has even taken the unprecedented step of ordering military allies to ground a Latin American president’s plane in search for a political refugee. These dangerous escalations represent a threat not just to the dignity of Latin America, but to the basic rights shared by every person, every nation, to live free from persecution, and to seek and enjoy asylum.
Yet even in the face of this historically disproportionate aggression, countries around the world have offered support and asylum. These nations, including Russia, Venezuela, Bolivia, Nicaragua, and Ecuador have my gratitude and respect for being the first to stand against human rights violations carried out by the powerful rather than the powerless. By refusing to compromise their principles in the face of intimidation, they have earned the respect of the world. It is my intention to travel to each of these countries to extend my personal thanks to their people and leaders.
I announce today my formal acceptance of all offers of support or asylum I have been extended and all others that may be offered in the future. With, for example, the grant of asylum provided by Venezuela’s President Maduro, my asylee status is now formal, and no state has a basis by which to limit or interfere with my right to enjoy that asylum. As we have seen, however, some governments in Western European and North American states have demonstrated a willingness to act outside the law, and this behavior persists today. This unlawful threat makes it impossible for me to travel to Latin America and enjoy the asylum granted there in accordance with our shared rights.
This willingness by powerful states to act extra-legally represents a threat to all of us, and must not be allowed to succeed. Accordingly, I ask for your assistance in requesting guarantees of safe passage from the relevant nations in securing my travel to Latin America, as well as requesting asylum in Russia until such time as these states accede to law and my legal travel is permitted. I will be submitting my request to Russia today, and hope it will be accepted favorably.

On the above, it's cute to watch the reaction of the press.  Michael Hirsh (National Journal) wrote a ridiculous article blaming Ed for the circus that surrounds him -- that would be the press circus and Hirsh needs to learn to hold his own industry accountable or stop pointing the fingers at others.  If he's not getting how useless the press is being, he can examine how they covered the above with so many focusing on Ed's name.  Telegraph of London, "Snowden, apparently wants to be called Ed, not Edward." Forbes: "[. . .] letting them know that 1) he prefers to be called Ed, and 2) he's ready to get out of there" -- and we could go on and on.

So, Michael Hirsh, who's causing the circus?  Not Ed.  And the press can't even be honest about the issue of the name.

We never called Ed Snowden anything but "Ed Snowden."  Dropping back to the June 11th snapshot:

Strange times in Portland, Maine
Lobsters dancing on the docks
Switzerland's been weird since they unplugged the clocks
Man and a woman in Brooklyn Heights
Each convinced the other's in the wrong
While last year the divorce rate tripled in Hong Kong
If through all the madness
We can stick together
We're safe and sound
The world's just inside out and upside down
-- "Safe and Sound," written by Jacob Brackman and Carly Simon, first appears on Carly's Hotcakes

The world is inside out and upside down these days.  In even the most basic ways.  Take Ed Snowden, the whistle-blower who exposed the programs Barack and Clapper are currently defending, and take Nashwan Abdulrazaq Abdulbagi.  By the 'press rule,' Ed Snowden's name is "Edward Snowden."  Stan wrote last night about how the press stripped Glen King of his name and insisted he be called Rodney King.  Ed Snowden is very clear in the Guardian video interview that his name is Ed Snowden.  That is how he identifies himself.  The New York Times identifying him as "Edward Snowden" is not surprising to me.  That people on the left go along with it surprises me. 

How much more clear is it than someone identifying themselves on video as the NSA whistle-blower and stating their name as "Ed Snowden"?  The press has refused to call him by his name.  Today, he again stated his name.  And the press wants to pretend this is something new or novel -- as opposed to the reality that they got it wrong for over a month now.

There was a great deal to address.  At the State Dept press briefing today, Associated Press' Matthew Lee  and CNN's Elise Labott attempted to address the issues.  It was not a proud moment for Jen  Psaki or for the State Dept.

Matthew Lee: Can we start in Russia –

Jen Psaki:  Mm-hmm.

Matthew Lee: -- with Mr. Snowden? I’m wondering if, since he has now asked the Russians for asylum, there has been any contact between this building and the Russians about your feelings about his status.

Jen Psaki: Well, I can tell you – I hadn’t seen – or I don’t have independent confirmation, I guess I should say, about any request he’s made. I can tell you that we have been in touch, of course, with Russian officials. Our Embassy in Moscow has been in direct contact on the ground. We are disappointed that Russian officials and agencies facilitated this meeting today by allowing these activists and representatives into the Moscow airport’s transit zone to meet with Mr. Snowden despite the government’s declarations of Russia’s neutrality with respect to Mr. Snowden.

Matthew Lee: So I’m sorry. You’re disappointed that they let someone into their own airport?

Jen Psaki: Well –

Matthew Lee: I don’t get it.

Jen Psaki:  Well, that they facilitated this event, of course.

Matthew Lee:  Well, why?

Jen Psaki:  Because this gave a forum for –

Matthew Lee:  You don’t think that he should have a forum? Has he – he’s forfeited his right to freedom of speech as well?

Jen Psaki: Well, Matt, Mr. Snowden –

Matthew Lee:  All right.

Jen Psaki:  -- as we’ve talked about – let me just state this –

Matthew Lee: Okay.

Jen Psaki:  -- because I think it’s important. He’s not a whistleblower. He’s not a human rights activist. He’s wanted in a series of serious criminal charges brought in the eastern district of Virginia and the United States.

Matthew Lee:  Okay. I’m sorry. But I didn’t realize people who were wanted on charges forfeited their right to speech – to free speech. I also didn’t realize that people who were not whistleblowers or not human rights activists, as you say he is not, that they forfeited their rights to speak, so I don’t understand why you’re disappointed with the Russians, but neither that – leave that aside for a second.  The group WikiLeaks put out a transcript, I guess, essentially, of Mr. – what Mr. Snowden said at the airport. At the top of that transcript, it contained – it said that the Human Rights Watch representative from Human Rights Watch, researcher who went to this thing, while she was on her way to the airport, got a phone call from the American Ambassador asking her to relay a message to Mr. Snowden that – basically the message that you just gave here, that, one, he is not a whistleblower, and, two, that he is wanted in the United States. Is that correct?

Jen Psaki:  It is not correct. First, Ambassador McFaul did not call any representative from Human Rights Watch. An embassy officer did call to explain our position, certainly, that I just reiterated here for all of you today, but at no point did this official or any official from the U.S. Government ask anyone to convey a message to Mr. Snowden.

Matthew Lee:  Did anyone from the Embassy call any of the other groups – representatives of groups that were going to this meeting – that you understood were going to this meeting?

Jen Psaki: As I’m sure would be no surprise, and as you know because we even had a civil society event when the Secretary was there, we are in regular touch, as we have been today. I don’t have an update on the exact list of calls, though, for you.

Matthew Lee: But you can say pretty conclusively that this one call did happen, and that it wasn’t the Ambassador. So were there others? Do you know?

Jen Psaki: We have –

Matthew Lee:  Did calls go to other groups?

Jen Psaki:  -- been in touch with –

Matthew Lee: Okay.

Jen Psaki:   -- attendees.

Matthew Lee:  Yes.

Jen Psaki:  I don’t have any specifics for you, though.

Matthew Lee:  Okay. And the – and you have made no secret of the fact that any country or government that gives Mr. Snowden asylum or allows him to transit through, that there would be some serious consequences for – grave consequences in their relationship with the United States.

Jen Psaki:  Mm-hmm.

Matthew Lee:  Have you made the same – and presumably that would apply to individuals who would help him stay – help him avoid returning here to face justice. Is that – that’s correct?

Jen Psaki:  I’m not sure what that exactly means.

Matthew Lee:  Well, I’m – what I’m getting at is these groups, the human rights groups that are respected human rights groups –

Jen Psaki: : Mm-hmm.

Matthew Lee:  -- which you yourself, as well as previous spokespeople have quoted from –

Jen Psaki:  Mm-hmm.

Matthew Lee:  -- in relation to other situations, have taken a side in support of Mr. Snowden, and I’m wondering if there are any consequences for them if you – if they aid and abet Mr. Snowden in staying away – out of the reach of U.S. authorities.

Jen Psaki:  Well, we obviously don’t think this was a proper forum or a proper elevation of him. Beyond that, the way that I think it’s been asked, but also the way we’ve thought about it, is more about governments and our relationships with them and their aid or decisions to aid Mr. Snowden.

Matthew Lee:  Right, but I guess the question is: If you think this was an inappropriate forum, did you try to dissuade these groups from going there?

Jen Psaki:  From attending?

Matthew Lee:  Yeah.

Jen Psaki:  Not that I’m aware of, Matt. Obviously –

Matthew Lee:  Okay. So the call –

Jen Psaki:  -- they were invited to attend.

Matthew Lee: So the calls were just a reminder of your position. Did you say to Human Rights Watch or Amnesty International that if you guys help Mr. Snowden, support him in some way so that – to keep him from facing justice back in the United States, that there would be consequences for them?

Jen Psaki:  I don’t have any readouts of these calls. Our focus remains on –

Matthew Lee:  Okay. Well, then can you say –

Jen Psaki:  -- conveying to the Russian Government the fact that they have the ability to help return Mr. Snowden to the United States.

Matthew Lee:  Did you tell them in the calls that you did not think that Mr. Snowden should have the opportunity to express his view?

Jen Psaki:  Matt, I don’t have any readout for these – of these calls for you. We did --

Matthew Lee: Okay. Well, forget about the calls, then.

Jen Psaki:  We did convey the broad point that I’ve made.

Matthew Lee: Okay. Well, then forget about what you said or what the Embassy people said in these specific phone calls. Do you believe that Mr. Snowden should not have had the opportunity to express his views at the airport in Moscow today?

Jen Psaki: Well, Matt, I think we broadly believe in free speech, as you know.

Matthew Lee: Except when it comes to this.

Jen Psaki: But we cannot look at this as a – I know we like to ask about sweeping scenarios in here, but --

Matthew Lee: No, this is not sweeping at all. This is very specific, related to one guy in one place in one city, one airport, one time. So I just – do you think that it was inappropriate for Mr. Snowden to speak publicly? Do you – I mean, not that – whether you’re disappointed in the Russians. Do you think that he should not have had the opportunity to speak publicly?

Jen Psaki: Our focus, Matt, is on how our concern about how Russian authorities clearly helped assist the ability of attendees to participate in this.

Matthew Lee: Mm-hmm.

Jen Psaki:  That is of concern to us. Our focus is on returning Mr. Snowden to the United States. Beyond that, I just don’t have anything more.

Matthew Lee:  Okay. I’m just – I’m trying to get – you are saying that this essentially – it wasn’t a press conference, but it might as well have been. And you don’t think the Russians should have helped to facilitate a --

Jen Psaki:  Facilitated a propaganda platform for Mr. Snowden.

Matthew Lee:  -- a propaganda platform. Okay. So this is, to your mind, something like them bringing out a defected spy from the Cold War and putting him on a platform and having him rail against the United States. Is that what the Administration believes?

Jen Psaki:  I’m not going to draw comparisons along those lines. But let me say --

Matthew Lee:  “A propaganda platform” is close enough.

Jen Psaki: -- that Mr. Snowden could – should return to the United States to face these charges that – where he will be accorded a fair trial. That’s where our focus is.

Elise Labott: Well, is this a propaganda platform or is this kind of putting in train a process for asylum? Because last week, or two weeks ago, the Russians said that they would consider his request for asylum if Mr. Snowden would stop leaking material about – or leaking information about U.S. surveillance programs. Now, he wouldn’t do that before, and he tried some other areas for asylum.
Now, in this propaganda platform, as you call it, he said that he has decided to – not to leak any more information, or he doesn’t have any more information, but he’s done. So are you concerned now that this is him accepting conditions for Russian asylum publicly as opposed to just some kind of propaganda? I mean, is that your real concern here, that these are the conditions for asylum and now he’s publicly meeting them?

Jen Psaki:  Our concern here is that he’s been provided this opportunity to speak in a propaganda platform, as I mentioned a few seconds ago, that Russia has played a role in facilitating this, that others have helped elevate it. But we still believe that Russia has the opportunity to do the right thing and facilitate his return to the United States.

Elise Labott:  Well, but --

Jen Psaki:  I don’t have any independent knowledge, as would be no surprise, of what he has officially requested, what has officially been --

Elise Labott:  Well, it’s pretty public that Russia --

Jen Psaki:  -- accepted or not.

Elise Labott:  Okay, but it’s pretty public that Russia said that they would consider his asylum petition if he said that – if he would agree publicly to stop leaking information. Now he’s done that.

Jen Psaki:  Mm-hmm.

Elise Labott:  So is that propaganda, or is that publicly agreeing to Russia’s conditions and kind of moving the asylum petition along?

Jen Psaki:  I’m just not going to make an evaluation of what Russia’s conditions are and whether he meets --

Elise Labott:  Well, you don’t have to make an evaluation. They’ve said it publicly.

Jen Psaki:  -- let me finish – whether he meets them. That’s not the point here. The point is Russia helped facilitate this. They have the ability and the opportunity to do the right thing and help return Mr. Snowden to the United States. It’s not about what the conditions are.

Elise Labott:  But you don’t – I mean, is it – I mean, your concern now is that this is – that Russia’s – by facilitating – I mean, are you really upset that this is propaganda, or are you really upset that Russia is moving closer to accepting to this guy’s asylum?

Jen Psaki:  Well, we don’t know that. This is a step that was taken today. Obviously, we continue to call for his return. They have a role they can play in that. Beyond that, I’m not going to speculate what they are or aren’t going to do.

[. . .]

Matthew Lee: Can I just --

Jen Psaki: Mm-hmm.

Matthew Lee: In the conversations that the Ambassador, or whoever it was the Embassy had – not with the Human Rights people, but with the Russian Government --

Jen Psaki:  Mm-hmm.

Matthew Lee: -- did you tell them that facilitating this appearance by Mr. Snowden was problematic, that you thought that they shouldn’t do it?

Jen Psaki:  I --

Matthew Lee:  Did you ask them not to do it?

Jen Psaki:  We made our concerns and our view on Mr. Snowden clear.

Matthew Lee:  No, but I – specifically about giving him this propaganda platform, as you called it.

Jen Psaki:  I just – I don’t have any more to read out for you from the private phone calls, Matt, just that there – we have been in touch.

Matthew Lee:  Well, I mean, did you ask the Russians, please don’t do this, we think he’s a criminal and needs to come back? Did you – did – I mean, did you ask and they rejected the request?

Jen Psaki:  Well, Matt, we’ve been clear publicly --

Matthew Lee:  Yeah.

Jen Psaki:  -- countless times what our view is --

Matthew Lee: I understand that, but --

Jen Psaki: -- and we’ve consistently made the same points privately, today and any other day.

Matthew Lee: Right. But did you say that you would look negatively on them providing him a, quote-unquote, “propaganda platform?”

Jen Psaki:  I just don’t have any more on the specifics of the calls.

Matthew Lee:  Well, is the United States Government now in the business of trying to discourage people or governments from facilitating people having – meeting with human rights activists? I don’t get it.

Jen Psaki:  Matt, this is not a universal position of the United States. This is an individual --

Matthew Lee:  So it’s just in this one case.

Jen Psaki:  -- who has been accused of three – of felony charges.

Matthew Lee: But surely – Jen --

Jen Psaki: This is not a unique --

Matthew Lee: Okay. He’s been accused. Do you remember the old line that we’re supposed to all know – he has not been convicted of anything yet.

Jen Psaki:  And he can return to the United States and face the charges.

Matthew Lee:  But he can also surely – people who are accused of crimes are allowed their right of free speech, are they not?

Jen Psaki:  Matt, I think we’ve gone the round on this.

Elise Labott: No, I mean, it’s a legitimate question. I mean, you talk about even in Russia that journalists have been persecuted and political activists have been persecuted and you call for free speech around the world. But you’re not saying that Mr. Snowden has the right of free speech?
Jen Psaki: That’s not at all what I was saying. We believe, of course, broadly in free speech. Our concern here was that this was – there was obvious facilitation by the Russians in this case. We’ve conveyed that. We’ve conveyed our concerns. I’m saying them publicly.

Elise Labott: So you’re upset – you’re not upset about the press conference; you’re upset that the Russians facilitated it.

Jen Psaki: We certainly are upset that there was a platform for an individual who’s been accused of felony crimes.

Elise Labott: But what does that matter, really? I mean, people that are in jail or are on trial in the United States, they give press conferences or they speak out all the time. I mean, it sounds to me like what you’re not really upset with the act that he spoke; you’re upset with the fact that the Russians did something on his behalf.

Jen Psaki:  I think I’ve expressed what we’re upset about.

Elise Labott: I don’t --

Jen Psaki: And you keep saying what we’re upset about. But I think I’ve made clear what we’re upset about.

Free speech and the US government attempting to strong arm Human Rights Watch are not minor details.  Another major issue is the vast damage the US government is doing to the asylum.  This is an issue the ACLU is shining a spotlight on in an article by  Jamil Dakwar, Director, ACLU Human Rights Program & Chandra Bhatnagar, Senior Staff Attorney, ACLU Human Rights Program:

While it remains unclear where Mr. Snowden will ultimately end up and how he will be able to leave Russia, U.S. actions to secure his extradition must take place within an acceptable legal framework protecting his right to seek asylum.
Article 14 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) states that "[e]veryone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution. This right may not be invoked in the case of prosecutions genuinely arising from non-political crimes or from acts contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations." The American Convention on Human Rights explicitly provides for a right of an individual "to seek and be granted asylum in a foreign territory, in accordance with the legislation of the state and international conventions, in the event he is being pursued for political offenses or related common crimes."
In the case of Mr. Snowden, the United States has interfered with his right to seek asylum in two significant ways. First, the U.S. revoked Mr. Snowden's passport. While this action does not render Mr. Snowden "stateless" (because he is still a U.S. citizen), it does make it extremely difficult for him to travel or seek asylum, especially in countries that require asylees to be present in their territory at the time of the request. Second, while the United States is within its rights to seek Mr. Snowden's extradition to face charges in the United States, diplomatic and law enforcement efforts to extradite him must be consistent with international law. It appears that U.S. efforts have prevented Mr. Snowden from receiving fair and impartial consideration of his application for asylum in many of the countries to which he reportedly applied. These efforts allegedly led to an unprecedented event last week when Bolivian President Evo Morales' plane was denied the use of airspace by several European countries and forced to land in Austria. Once on the ground, the plane was reportedly searched because American intelligence officials believed that Mr. Snowden was on board.

Human Rights Watch also notes the issue of asylum:

The US may seek Snowden’s extradition to face charges in the US. While seeking extradition is within a state's discretion, the asylum claim should be heard first, before a decision on extradition is made. Washington’s actions appear to be aimed at preventing Snowden from gaining an opportunity to claim refuge, in violation of his right to seek asylum under international law. “There's a long history of countries forcing asylum seekers to live for extended periods in embassies rather than reach a place of refuge,” said Kenneth Roth, executive director at Human Rights Watch. “The US shouldn't place itself in that category.”

Human Rights Watch met with Ed today.  Another group that met with him is Amnesty International which issued the following:

Amnesty International met with US whistleblower Edward Snowden at Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport on Friday. Sergei Nikitin, Head of Amnesty International's Moscow office, who was at the meeting said:
“Amnesty International was pleased to reiterate our support for Edward Snowden in person.  We will continue to pressure governments to ensure his rights are respected - this includes the unassailable right to claim asylum wherever he may choose.
“What he has disclosed is patently in the public interest and as a whistleblower his actions were justified. He has exposed unlawful sweeping surveillance programmes that unquestionably interfere with an individual’s right to privacy.
“States that attempt to stop a person from revealing such unlawful behaviour are flouting international law. Freedom of expression is a fundamental right.
“Instead of addressing or even owning up to these blatant breaches, the US government is more intent on persecuting him. Attempts to pressure governments to block his efforts to seek asylum are deplorable.”

Iran's Tehran Times notes the "hypocrisy" which it explains as "American secrets are sacred, but the United States has the right to know everybody else's."  The administration is a hypocrite and they embrace hypocrites which is how Nouri al-Maliki ended up prime minister of Iraq for a second term.

It's Friday, protests continue in Iraq, as they have since December 21st.  Iraqi Spring MC notes that a preacher in Falluja reminded the activists that they were one third of the country's population but Nouri refuses to listen to them.  NINA notes that, in Falluja, Nouri's forces raided the home of an Imam and arrested him.  NINA notes that thousands showed up to take part in the sit-ins in Ramadi and Falluja.    NINA covers Samarra, reporting, "Samarra preacher and the unified Fri-prayers Imam called in the sit-in yard of Samarra on the central government to release the innocent prisoners to express so the respect to the month of Ramadan."  That was Shiekh Samir Fouad  and Alsumaria reports he was calling for the release and he also pointed out that this is the absolute best time, during Ramadan, to demonstrate forgiveness.

Kirk H. Sowell (Foreign Policy) offers an analysis of Iraq which opens with the following:

 Iraq has now held provincial elections across the country, following those in the predominately Sunni provinces of Anbar and Ninawa that took place on June 20, and in 12 other Arab provinces on April 20. The government's decision to postpone elections in Anbar and Ninawa, though ostensibly for security reasons, more likely aimed to boost the performance of Sunni parties aligned with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's Shiite-led government. Elections in the 10 Shiite-majority provinces were in large part a referendum on Maliki's State of Law Coalition, and Shiite voters reduced Maliki's seat total across the board. Whereas before Maliki and his allies dominated eight of these 10 provinces, Maliki now controls less than half.
 Paul McGeough (Hepburn Advocate) offers an analysis which includes:
 Analysts warn that a seeming thaw between Maliki and Kurdish leader Massoud Barzani, when they hugged and back-slapped for the cameras in June, has left many issues that could trigger conflict unresolved.
But Maliki is making nice because national elections are scheduled next year - a hiatus in the modern Iraqi political cycle in which the Kurds get to play kingmaker.
Maliki will go to the polls needing all the help he can muster after provincial elections earlier this year in which support for his party slipped, giving control of Baghdad and Basra, the country's two biggest cities, to rival parties.
Turning to the issue of violence,  Reuters reports a bombing targing a Kirkuk tea house left 31 people dead.  RT notes, "AFP spoke to a medical official who claimed the attack was caused by a suicide bomber. However, that has not been officially confirmed and no one has claimed responsibility for the bombing."  In addition,  NINA reports a Falluja mortar attack left two people injured, and a Baquba roadside bombing left 1 person dead and another injured.   All Iraq News adds that a Tikrit sticky bombing claimed the life of 1 police officer, 2 Sahwa and 2 suspects were shot dead in Tikrit, and a Misahraty was shot dead in Baghdad ("one of the oldest most deep-rooted traditions found during Ramadna. Misaharat is the name given to the person who walks and beats a drum in residential areas to wake people up"). Alsumaria notes 1 corpse was discovered in Tikrit (dead from gunshot wounds), a police officer was still going to be a joke.   Deutsche Welle reports:

Iraqi officials have said two overnight attacks against Shiites have killed at least 20 people and wounded dozens more. A string of bombings claimed dozens more lives across Iraq on Thursday.
The toll from a wave of attacks in Iraq, mainly targeting security forces and Shiites, has risen to at least 50 killed through Friday morning, security officials and doctors said.

AP covers the overnight violence here.  Also last night, All Iraq News reports, Vice President Joe Biden called Nouri al-Maliki to discuss the various problems in Iraq today and the issue with Syria.  In addition, Alsumaria adds that Biden also called KRG President

Yesterday, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee held a hearing on the nominations of Douglas Edward Lute, Daniel Brooks Baer and Victoria Nuland.  Nuland's the controversial nominee due to her spinning on Benghazi.  September 11, 2012 an attack in Benghazi left four Americans dead: Glen Doherty, Sean Smith, Chris Stevens and Tyrone Woods.  A set of misleading talking points were created to mislead the public and Nuland took part in the creation of those talking points.

Senator Ron Johnson: The question I have is do you believe that in your role representing the United States government that the American people deserve the truth out of members of the administration?

Victoria Nuland:  Senator, the American people deserve the truth.  This body deserves the truth.  Those of us who were friends of the victims as I was deserve the truth, yes.

Senator Ron Johnson: In reviewing the change from the talking points, the original talking points and how they were sanitized -- it is pretty remarkable how they were sanitized.  I know you had some participation there and in your September 14th e-mail it states the changes made in the CIA talking points e-mail, the talking points still -- and I quote - "don't resolve  all of my issues or those of my building leadership."  Can you just tell me who that building leadership was?  Who you were referring to?

Victoria Nuland:  Senator, I very much appreciate the opportunity to talk about my role in the talking points issue.  Uh, with your forebearance, I'd like to give a little bit of background before I answer your specific question.  Uh, first, I just want to, uh, make clear that, uh, when I was reviewing these talking points  which was only on the Friday evening of September 14th, they were not for a member of the administration to use, they were talking points that the CIA was proposing to give to members of the House Intelligence Committee --

Senator Ron Johnson:  Correct.

Victoria Nuland: -- to use.  So that was the first thing.  Second, I was not in a policy role in this job, I was in a communications role so my, uh, my responsibilities were to ensure consistency of our public messaging but not to make policy.  [The entire sentence prior was read off a prepared note. In the rest of this segment of the testimony, while pretending to be open, she was visibly reading from pre-packaged notes.]  So I never edited these talking points, I never made changes.  I simply said that I thought policy  people needed to look at them. Also by way of background, by the time Friday came around, as spokesperson for the department, I had already given three uh public briefings on Benghazi.  The first was on uh Wednesday evening -- I gave a background briefing, uh, uh, in which I clearly said that this had been a complex attack, it was an attack by extremists. Then I gave two briefings at the podium.  My regular mid-dary briefing on Thursday and my mid-day briefing on Friday.  In those briefings, I was on agreed interagency tlaking points in which I noted again and again our firm commitment to investigate fully what had happened.  Uh, but I declined to give any more details, citing the need to have a full investigation and particularly the integrity of the CI -- the FBI's investigation.  So when I saw these talking points on Friday night, just a few hours after that had been my guidance, they, uh, indicated a significant evolution beyond what we had been saying at noon.  And it was on that basis that I raised, uhm, three questions in my communications role.  The first was -- and again, these were for members of the House to use, not for an administration official to use.  So my first question was with regard to consistency.  It struck me as strange that we were, uh, giving talking points to members of the House that went considerably further than what we in the administration had been saying at that point and I felt that if House members were going to say this, we government communicators too.  The second was that I had been under very tight guidance that we must do and say nothing that would prejudice the integrity of the FBI's investigation.  So I wanted to make sure that the CIA had actually checked with FBI and Justice and that they were comfortable with these talking points.  The third concern I had was with regard to the second to last paragraph of the talking points as I was looking at them which, uh, made reference to, uh, uh, past agency reporting about the situation in Begnhazi.  And frankly, Senator, I looked at them and they struck me as a partial rendering of some of the background information behind the situation and I was concerned that -- giving them them to -- to the -- out this way, would encourage members of Congress and members of the public to draw incorrect conclusions about our agency's respective role in the entirity of the Benghazi issue --

Senator Ron Johnson:  Okay --

Victoria Nuland: So I didn't change them --

Senator Ron Johnson:  I appreciate that but I think your -- your specific quote in your e-mail about that pentulmate point was that you were concerned that members of  Congress would beat the State Dept.  So you were a little more concerned about the State Dept getting beat up by members of Congress than getting the truth out to the American people.  That would be my concern in terms of intepretation of that.

Victoria Nuland:  Uh, sir, as I said, my concern was that this was not an accurate representation of the full picture.

Senator Ron Johnson:  But again, let's just get back to some facts.  Who would be the "building leadership" that weren't satisifed with the suggested changes of the talking points?  Who would those people be?

Victoria Nuland:  So after my first e-mail with the concerns, the agency came back with another draft but that draft continued to make reference to the past agency reporting that I thought was a prejudicial way of characterizing it.  So it was on that basis that I, uh, uh, raised objections again and here was --

Senator Ron Johnson:  Ambassador Nuland, I'm running out of time.  I just really wanted some facts.  Who were  the "building leadership" that you're referring to that wasn't satisfied  with the suggested changes?  Who would those individuals be?

Victoria Nuland:  Uh --

Senator Ron Johnson:  Because the next question will be who was at the deputies meeting -- who are those people?

Victoria Nuland:  With regard to "building leadership,"  I was concerned that all of my bosses at the policy level needed to look at these to see if they were --

Senator Ron Johnson:  Who are those individuals?

Victora  Nuland:  Well obviously as I  I reported to-to the full spectrum of under secretaries and deputies secretaries--

Senator Ron Johnson:  Were there -- were there particular people that were concerned about changes that weren't being made?

Victoria Nuland: The only, uh, person that I consulted with that night was my regular reporting channel with regard to issues that I was not able to solve at my level.   So my regular procedure when I, as spokesperson, can't  --

We don't have time for Nuland's lies.  She's stalling.  She's reading from prepared notes and she can't even do that right.  She's a damn liar.

You and I work at McDonalds.  You have an idea to streamline the drive through and are going to try it.  I don't want you trying it out.  We argue over it.  To make sure I win, I toss out that not only have I been arguing with you about this on this shift, I've already contacted our boss and s/he says it's not happening.

Who did she speak to?  Finally she would allow Jake Sullivan.  She's such a liar and the Republicans in the Senate are apparently clueless. Does no one actually read the e-mails before they question her?

As we noted May 21st, Victoria Nuland sent an e-mail September 14, 7:39 pm.  It's released.  It's in the batch.  But it refers to other communications which have not been released:

I just had a convo with [deleted] and now I understand that these are being prepared to give to Members of Congress to use with the media. 
On that basis, I have serious concerns about all the parts highlighted below, and arming members of Congress to start making assertions to the media that we ourselves are not mking because we don't want to prejudice the investigation.
In the same vein, why do we want Hill to be fingering Ansar al Sharia, when we aren't doing that ourselves until we have investigation results... and the penultimate point could be abused by Members to beat the State Department for not paying attention to Agency warnings so why do we want to feed that either?  Concerned.

And "deleted" is "CIA OCA."  She didn't think she was getting her way (or "the building"'s way) so without notifying the people she was dialoguing with, she did an end run around them by bringing CIA OCA.  But that's not enough for her as we noted:

If you read the e-mails, which apparently few actually did, you come across Victoria Nuland at 9:23 PM (September 14th) writing,   "These don't resolve my issues or those of us my building leadership.  They are consulting with NSS."
Where are the e-mails from State to NSS?
It's worth noting that the wording is rather chilling when you compare it to her lengthy e-mails.  In an e-mail chain with multiple agencies, Nuland wants changes and doesn't feel she's getting what she wants.  At some point she and others at the State Dept discuss this and decide to bring in NSS to override the ongoing process/exchange.  Nuland feels no need to offer, "We may involve NSS in this."  She waits until after the fact to declare that because her "issues" aren't resolved, her leadership is "consulting with NSS."

So she does an end run around the chain of communication twice.  And the NSS communication has not been released either.  That's nearly two hours after she last did an end run.  Two hours worth of communications before she felt she (and her "building") had gotten what they wanted and she could let the other group know they were being outvoted.

She's just a little liar and the Committee should have been prepared and when she tried to eat up time with her nonsense, she should have been stopped, she should have been told, "You had your opening statement to provide background or to clarify.  This is the questioning stage of the hearing, you need to answer the questions."  She knew she could eat up time and he let her get away with it. 

Ruth and I both attended yesterday's hearing and she wrote about it last night in "Victoria Nuland indirectly confirms CIA arming 'rebels' out of Benghazi."  As her title makes clear, Nuland -- stupid Victoria -- gave a response that was a yes to something she felt needed to be discussed in a closed door hearing.  I would argue that someone so stupid that they would make that clear (that it was a yes, that the CIA was arming Syrian 'rebels' out of Benghanzi) isn't qualified to be an ambassador to anything.



Protests continue

It's Friday, protests continue in Iraq.  Iraqi Spring MC notes that a preacher in Falluja reminded the activists that they were one third of the country's population but Nouri refuses to listen to them.  NINA notes that, in Falluja, Nouri's forces raided the home of an Imam and arrested him.  NINA notes that thousands showed up to take part in the sit-ins in Ramadi and Falluja.    NINA covers Samarra, reporting, "Samarra preacher and the unified Fri-prayers Imam called in the sit-in yard of Samarra on the central government to release the innocent prisoners to express so the respect to the month of Ramadan."  That was Shiekh Samir Fouad  and Alsumaria reports he was calling for the release and he also pointed out that this is the absolute best time, during Ramadan, to demonstrate forgiveness.

Turning to the issue of violence, NINA reports a Falluja mortar attack left two people injured, and a Baquba roadside bombing left 1 person dead and another injured.   All Iraq News adds that a Tikrit sticky bombing claimed the life of 1 police officer, 2 Sahwa and 2 suspects were shot dead in Tikrit, and a Misahraty was shot dead in Baghdad ("one of the oldest most deep-rooted traditions found during Ramadna. Misaharat is the name given to the person who walks and beats a drum in residential areas to wake people up"). Alsumaria notes 1 corpse was discovered in Tikrit (dead from gunshot wounds), a police officer was still going to be a joke.   Deutsche Welle reports:

Iraqi officials have said two overnight attacks against Shiites have killed at least 20 people and wounded dozens more. A string of bombings claimed dozens more lives across Iraq on Thursday.
The toll from a wave of attacks in Iraq, mainly targeting security forces and Shiites, has risen to at least 50 killed through Friday morning, security officials and doctors said.

AP covers the overnight violence here.  Also last night, All Iraq News reports, Vice President Joe Biden called Nouri al-Maliki to discuss the various problems in Iraq today and the issue with Syria.  In addition, Alsumaria adds that Biden also called KRG President

The following community sites -- plus On the Wilder Side, Jody Watley,, Dissident Voice, The Diane Rehm Show, Pacifica Evening News, and Susan's On the Edge -- updated last night and this morning:

And in Moscow, they are still waiting for Ed Snowden.

The e-mail address for this site is

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Waiting For Snowden

Lidia Kelly and Alessandra Prentice (Reuters) report, "Former intelligence agency contractor Edward Snowden asked to meet human rights groups at a Moscow airport on Friday to discuss what he called 'threatening behaviour' by the United States to prevent him gaining asylum." Threatening behavior includes, but is not limited to, forcing down the plane of Evo Morales, President of Bolivia.  That was last week and it was risky and it was a violation of international law. Writing at North American Congress on Latin America, Emily Achtenberg notes this morning:

But one thing is certain: if the US government was seeking to intimidate Morales and other Latin American leaders who might consider harboring Snowden, its strategy has completely backfired. Instead, the incident has bolstered Morales’s domestic and international standing, consolidated regional unity, and emboldened the bloc of leftist governments that seeks to counter US dominance in the region. It has also dealt a damaging, and potentially fatal, blow to the future of US –Latin American relations under the Obama administration.

Any meetings are expected to take place at the Moscow airport.  BBC notes, "The American is believed to have been stuck in transit since arriving in Moscow from Hong Kong on 23 June, even though no pictures of his stay there have emerged."

Paul Owen (Guardian)  is live blogging the meet-up.  CBS This Morning has a brief discussion of Ed Snowden hereRussia Today is carrying live coverage of the airport.

waiting for snowden

The e-mail address for this site is

iraq iraq iraq iraq iraq iraq

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Iraq snapshot

Thursday, July 11, 2013.  Chaos and violence continue, the State Dept can't be bothered with Iraq (see today's yawner of a briefing), Bradley Manning is a threat to Barack because his revelations immediately document Barack getting cozy with a War Criminal (Kissinger would have been put in prison had his own actions been exposed while he was in the government), Barack continues spying on the American people, Oliver Stone speaks out against it again, and more.

Why has the US State Dept been getting so many complaints in surveys on Iraq recently?  (They've been getting a ton of poor surveys for approximately six weeks according to a State Dept friend.)  Maybe the answer can be found in today's State Dept press briefing by Jen Psaki.  Iraq finally comes up because yesterday the United Nations' Francesco Motta told AFP, "Iraq is really at a crossroads.  I wouldn't say we're at a civil war yet, but the figures are not looking good."


MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.
QUESTION: Yesterday, a United Nations spokesman warned that Iraq is sliding fast into a civil war. Do you have any comment on that?
MS. PSAKI: Well, we’ve spoken pretty consistently about any concerns of violence that have happened in Iraq. They’ve been through a long transition, as we know. We continue to work with them and work with all parties there. We urge and consistently urge all leaders to maintain a spirit of reconciliation and unity to overcome the threats that are happening there, and we remain in close touch with all parties. I don’t have any specific update for you on it, though.
QUESTION: But you do concur that the situation in Iraq has deteriorated markedly since the beginning of June.
MS. PSAKI: Well, we’ve seen obviously incidents of violence, which we’ve raised concerns about as they’ve come up.
All right. Quiet day today. Do we have one more?

We've raised concerns.  That's the most the spokesperson can answer?  When you grasp how much money, how many billions the State Dept has been allocated for Iraq, the reluctance to speak in any concrete form on Iraq is a display of arrogance. 

But arrogance is all the administration can display -- other than guilt.  Yesterday, Bradley Manning's defense concluded their presentation.

Monday April 5, 2010, WikiLeaks released  military video of a July 12, 2007 assault in Iraq. 12 people were killed in the assault including two Reuters journalists Namie Noor-Eldeen and Saeed Chmagh. Monday June 7, 2010, the US military announced that they had arrested Bradley Manning and he stood accused of being the leaker of the video. Leila Fadel (Washington Post) reported in August 2010 that Manning had been charged -- "two charges under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. The first encompasses four counts of violating Army regulations by transferring classified information to his personal computer between November and May and adding unauthorized software to a classified computer system. The second comprises eight counts of violating federal laws governing the handling of classified information." In March, 2011, David S. Cloud (Los Angeles Times) reported that the military has added 22 additional counts to the charges including one that could be seen as "aiding the enemy" which could result in the death penalty if convicted. The Article 32 hearing took place in December. At the start of this year, there was an Article 32 hearing and, February 3rd, it was announced that the government would be moving forward with a court-martial. Bradley has yet to enter a plea. The court-martial was supposed to begin before the November 2012 election but it was postponed until after the election so that Barack wouldn't have to run on a record of his actual actions. adds, "A court martial is set to be held in June at Ford Meade in Maryland, with supporters treating him as a hero, but opponents describing him as a traitor."  February 28th, Bradley admitted he leaked to WikiLeaks.  And why.

Bradley Manning:   In attempting to conduct counter-terrorism or CT and counter-insurgency COIN operations we became obsessed with capturing and killing human targets on lists and not being suspicious of and avoiding cooperation with our Host Nation partners, and ignoring the second and third order effects of accomplishing short-term goals and missions. I believe that if the general public, especially the American public, had access to the information contained within the CIDNE-I and CIDNE-A tables this could spark a domestic debate on the role of the military and our foreign policy in general as [missed word] as it related to Iraq and Afghanistan.
I also believed the detailed analysis of the data over a long period of time by different sectors of society might cause society to reevaluate the need or even the desire to even to engage in counterterrorism and counterinsurgency operations that ignore the complex dynamics of the people living in the effected environment everyday.

2010.  Not 2008.  Not 2007.  2010.  Barack's in office, that's one of the key reasons that date is important.  There's another there.  This is Thomas Gaist (WSWS) report on Monday's proceedings:

While Manning’s defense team made arguments Monday presenting his decision to leak classified documents as motivated by concern for the well-being of the United States, its military, and the Iraqi people, Lind’s ruling prevents the defense from basing their case on the defendant’s principled opposition to US policies.
On Monday, the defense called Lauren McNamara, a woman who corresponded with Manning during the period when he made the leaks. She testified that he was “concerned with saving the lives of families in foreign countries” and that he “considered human life to be valuable above all.” McNamara quoted from her correspondence with Manning, reading his statement that was “concerned about making sure that everyone, soldiers, marines, contractors, even the local nationals, get home to their families.”
US Army sergeant David Sadtler, who oversaw Manning’s intelligence work, testified that Manning was angered by the jailing of 15 Iraqi civilians, with US approval, for distributing written material criticizing the government. “He was upset at the situation,” Sadtler said. Previously, Manning stated before the court that the Iraqis involved had no ties to the armed resistance against the US occupation, and that their materials contained a “scholarly critique” of the current regime.

2010.  The Reuters video got attention. That was really it from our 'alternative' media in the US (The Nation, Democracy Now, etc.). 

The issue wasn't the video.  The video was from Bully Boy Bush's time in the White House.

What worried and bothered the White House was what Brad did that people might notice at any point.  They didn't notice (and I only noticed it yesterday after hearing for the third time this month from a White House friend that the Reuters video didn't really matter).  There were many Iraq revelations (and others but our focus is Iraq)  from Brad's leaks.  And we covered them here.  Unlike 'live blogger' Gregg Mitchell who had no interest until Julian Assange encountered legal problems.

Ned Parker is a journalist with the Los Angeles Times.  He's done great reporting in Iraq.  And it's that reporting that has a lot to do with 2010.  We've repeatedly asked, "Why did the administration back Nouri after Parker had repeatedly exposed Nouri's use of secret prisons?"

Brad angered the White House by ripping away the final veil.

2010.  In February 2010, Brad begins leaking to WikiLeaks in part because of fear of the way the Iraqi people are being treated, especially those whose only 'crime' is speaking out against Nouri.

But if Brad knows these things, then so does our US government.  Brad didn't share his notebook spiral of poetry with WikiLeaks, he shared government documents.

He began sharing government documents on Iraq in February 2010 and was clearly done sharing by May 2010 (at the end of May is when he was arrested).  This isn't minor, this goes to why he needs to be silenced.

Nouri didn't win re-election to a second term as prime minister.  A month after Brad began leaking, March 2010, is when Iraq holds parliamentary elections.  Nouri disputes the results so the intimidated IHEC (Independent High Electoral Commission) tosses a few votes he didn't earn his way in the recounts but can't toss enough his way to allow his State of Law to come in first.

Iraqiya came in first.  What followed was Nouri stomping his feet like a spoiled child and throwing a tantrum, refusing to step down and bringing the country to a political halt -- a political stalemate that lasted over eight months.  How did he get away with it?  The White House backed him.

The White House didn't back democracy, didn't back the Iraqi people, didn't back the Iraqi Constitution, it backed Nouri.

And we've decried that here in real time and since.  We've pointed out that Ned Parker was doing exposes on secret prisons Nouri was running and the torture taking place there.

(And credit to the Guardian who, by the summer of 2010 was also noting the White House involvement.  For the longest time, we were the only ones noting it.) 

But until repeated hints from a White House friend this month, I wasn't connecting Brad to this time period.

Brad's revelations are even more important than Ned Parker's excellent reporting.  Brad's revelations go to the fact that Barack and his underlings were not learning from the press of Nouri's corruption, of Nouri's targeting people because they criticized him.  They knew it from their own US government reports.

In 2006, we began noting here that the US State Dept was noting how paranoid Nouri was.  Brad's 2010 release included State Dept cables and that included Nouri and his paranoia.  There wasn't a great deal about Iraq in the WikiLeaks publications that surprised us in terms of Iraq because we'd already noted a number of things as they happened.  And that may be why the obvious escaped me or maybe just because I can be a real idiot sometimes.

But that is why the White House was furious about the leaks in terms of Iraq.

Let's again note John Barry's "'The Engame' Is A Well Researched, Highly Critical Look at U.S. Policy in Iraq" (Daily Beast):

Washington has little political and no military influence over these developments [in Iraq]. As Michael Gordon and Bernard Trainor charge in their ambitious new history of the Iraq war, The Endgame, Obama's administration sacrificed political influence by failing in 2010 to insist that the results of Iraq’s first proper election be honored: "When the Obama administration acquiesced in the questionable judicial opinion that prevented Ayad Allawi's bloc, after it had won the most seats in 2010, from the first attempt at forming a new government, it undermined the prospects, however slim, for a compromise that might have led to a genuinely inclusive and cross-sectarian government."

The White House decision to back Nouri is why he could bring the country to a halt for over eight months after the elections and refuse to step down as prime minister.  It was Barack that ordered the US-brokered contract (The Erbil Agreement).  As the Constitution outlined things, Nouri couldn't be prime minister.  So the White House had to do something extra-Constitutional to go around it.  The Erbil Agreement is a contract among leaders of the various political blocs.  Nouri signed it as leader of State of Law and agreeing to various terms, conditions and concessions if he could have a second term.  The other leaders came up with their wish-list in exchange for giving Nouri a second term.

The US government knew the score.  That's what Brad's leaks make clear.  So they likely knew that Nouri would use The Erbil Agreement to get his second term and then trash it and refuse to honor it.  But while they likely knew that, they absolutely knew he was a tyrant.

And yet they backed him.

Let's go back to Thomas Gaist (WSWS):

While Manning’s defense team made arguments Monday presenting his decision to leak classified documents as motivated by concern for the well-being of the United States, its military, and the Iraqi people, Lind’s ruling prevents the defense from basing their case on the defendant’s principled opposition to US policies.
On Monday, the defense called Lauren McNamara, a woman who corresponded with Manning during the period when he made the leaks. She testified that he was “concerned with saving the lives of families in foreign countries” and that he “considered human life to be valuable above all.” McNamara quoted from her correspondence with Manning, reading his statement that was “concerned about making sure that everyone, soldiers, marines, contractors, even the local nationals, get home to their families.”
US Army sergeant David Sadtler, who oversaw Manning’s intelligence work, testified that Manning was angered by the jailing of 15 Iraqi civilians, with US approval, for distributing written material criticizing the government. “He was upset at the situation,” Sadtler said. Previously, Manning stated before the court that the Iraqis involved had no ties to the armed resistance against the US occupation, and that their materials contained a “scholarly critique” of the current regime.
Manning’s pre-trial statement shows that he was motivated by a growing consciousness of the criminal character of US foreign policy. In the statement, delivered to the military judge in February, the soldier asserted that his actions were intended to initiate a process of “worldwide discussion, debates, and reforms.”
Referring to politically motivated roundups carried out with full US support by the Iraqi regime, Manning said, “I knew that if I continued to assist the Baghdad Federal Police in identifying the political opponents of Prime Minister al-Maliki, those people would be arrested and in the custody of the Baghdad Federal Police and very likely tortured and not seen again for a very long time, if ever.”

 Brad knew that and so did the US government, so did the White House.  So what you have with the 2010 elections is no longer just a crime against democracy, it's a partnership in torture and abuse.  The White House was not surprised by how awful Nouri is, they knew more than anyone, more than Ned Parker, just what he was doing and that's in the documents that Brad released.

They overrode the will of the people to give a tyrant who tortures a second term and they did that not out of political naivete, they did it with their eyes wide open and fully aware of what a second term would mean for the Iraqi people.

Brad's Iraq revelations -- poorly covered in real time -- strip away the illusions and reveal a White House aware of how vindictive and cruel Nouri was, how torture was his immediate answer for everything, and despite this (or because of this) the White House backed Nouri al-Maliki for a second term when even the Iraqi people had rejected him.

This is the fraud who won the Nobel Peace Prize being exposed as a liar and Tricky Dick Nixon willing to destroy an entire people. No wonder Barack declared Brad guilty

Here's the Bradley Manning Support Network's transcript of Barack declaring Brad guilty:

Logan Price: [Shaking hand] Mr. President, why didn’t you talk about Bradley Manning?

Obama: Look, there are better ways and more appropriate ways to bring this up than interrupting and causing a scene…
LP: I understand. That’s why I am asking you now. I wasn’t singing or chanting and I want to know. I am really concerned because I think he is the most important whistle-blower of my generation. Why is he being prosecuted?
Obama: Well, what he did was irresponsible and risked the lives of service-members abroad… he did a lot of damage… [begin video] so people can have philosophical views on…
LP: But I haven’t seen any evidence of that, and how can you say that the leaks did more harm than good? What about their effect on the democratic revolutions in the Arab world? …and isn’t this going to help the war on terror?
Obama: No, no, no, but look, I can’t conduct diplomacy on an open source… That’s not how the world works. And if you’re in the military… And I have to abide by certain rules of classified information. If I were to release material I weren’t allowed to, I’d be breaking the law. We’re a nation of laws! We don’t let individuals make their own decisions about how the laws operate…No he’s being fine. He is being courteous and asking questions. [ This was because the Secret Service was tugging on my shirt sleeve by this point]
LP: But didn’t he have a responsibility to expose.. [war crimes]
Obama: He broke the law!
LP: Well, you can make the law harder to break, but what he did was tell us the truth.
Obama: What he did was he dumped…
LP: But Nixon tried to prosecute Daniel Ellsberg for the same thing and he is a … [hero]
Obama: No it isn’t the same thing…What Ellsberg released wasn’t classified in the same way.

As the transcript (or video) makes clear, Barack was becoming a little unhinged on the topic.  Why?  Because the leaks do more than anything else to reveal how little Barack cares about human rights, how little value he placed on the safety of the Iraqi people, how eager to get in bed with despots and tyrants he was.  This isn't 'change,' or a Nobel Peace Prize.  This is actually criminal behavior.  Interfering with a country's election and electoral process to ensure that the tyrant the people just deposed will not be leaving office.

October 22nd 2010, WikiLeaks published the Iraq War Logs.  They'd had them for months and it's a shame they weren't able to publish them before October 22nd.  The Erbil Agreement was already being negotiated and, November 10, 2010, would be finalized. From the November 11, 2010 snapshot:

Today the KRG website announces:

Baghdad, Iraq ( - Iraq's political leaders yesterday agreed to hold the parliamentary session as scheduled on Thursday and to name an individual for the post of Speaker of the the parliament (Council of Representatives). The Speaker post will go to the Al-Iraqiya bloc, which is headed by former prime minister Ayad Allawi.
During the meeting, which was attended by the leaders of all the winning blocs at President Masoud Barzani's Baghdad headquarters, agreement was reached on two other points: to create a council for strategic policy and to address issues regarding national reconciliation.
President Barzani, who sponsored the three days' round of meetings, stated that today's agreement was a big achievement for Iraqis. He expressed optimism that the next government will be formed soon and that it will be inclusive and representative of all of Iraq's communities.

Martin Chulov (Guardian) reports one hiccup in the process today involved Ayad Allawi who US President Barack Obama phoned asking/pleading that he accept the deal because "his rejection of post would be a vote of no confidence". Ben Lando, Sam Dagher and Margaret Coker (Wall St. Journal) confirm the phone call via two sources and state Allawi will take the post -- newly created -- of chair of the National Council On Higher Policy: "Mr. Obama, in his phone call to Mr. Allawi on Thursday, promised to throw U.S. weight behind the process and guarantee that the council would retain meaningful and legal power, according to the two officials with knowledge of the phone call." 
What Brad revealed was the Barack Obama administration got into bed with a man they knew was a tyrant.  Even though the Iraqi people wanted him out of office, the White House fought to keep him.  And since they knew exactly how vindictive, paranoid and violent he was, that makes the US government culpable in the violence that's followed in Nouri's second term.  Brad's revelations destroyed their attempt to have plausible deniability on this issue.

Violence slammed Iraq today.  Xinhua observes,  "At least 62 people were killed and 139 others wounded in a wave of violent attacks across Iraq on Thursday, police sources said."  Since the start of the Iraq War, violence (measured by death tolls) reached its lowest point in 2010.  After that it began a slow climb upward.  By the end of  June, you had more deaths in 2013 already than in all of 2010.  The last months have taken Iraq back to the levels of the violence in 2008.

Let's note some of the reported violence today.  National Iraqi News Agency reports that 2 Ramadi bombings left three police officers injured, 1 police officer was shot dead in Mosul,  a hand grenade attack on Council Member Hamam al-Alil left al-Alil injured, 2 Kirkuk car bombings left twelve people injured, 3 suicide bombers attacked a Ramadi police station leaving 2 police officers dead and four more injured, and a Tuz Khurmatu bombing UPI reports 6 dead and twenty-eight wounded. EFE reports it's 6 dead but 29 injured.

On the Tuz Khurmatu bombing, Alsumaria reports that Turkmen leader Muhammad Mahdi al-Bayati is declaring the Kurds are responsible.  All Iraq News notes he's insisting the attacks are political and a means to apply Article 140.  That's Article 140 of the Constitution.  It was supposed to have been implemented, per the Constitution, no later than the end of 2007.  Nouri has refused to implement it.  It calls for a census and referendum on Kirkuk to determine whether or not the oil-rich area becomes part of the Kurdistan Regional Government or part of the central government out of Baghdad.

Mohammed Tawfeeq (CNN) provides an update on the two Kirkuk bombings, "Also, two people were killed and 14 wounded when two car bombs exploded in the disputed city of Kirkuk, police said."  Press TV adds, "On the road between Haditha and Baiji, northwest of Baghdad, unidentified gunmen opened fire on security personnel charged with protecting the country's vital oil infrastructure, killing 11 of them and injuring several others. Three other members of the security forces were also killed in the attack.AFP reports a funeral bombing, "The car bomb exploded in a funeral tent in Muqdadiyah, northeast of Baghdad, where family members were receiving condolences, and a suicide bomber then detonated explosives after emergency personnel arrived."    Kareem Raheem, Zaid al-Sinjary, Ghazwan Hassan, Mustafa Mahmoud, Isabel Coles and Michael Roddy (Reuters) quote Kadhim Hassan (a teacher who was wounded in the Muqdadiyah bombings) stating, "I was sitting inside the tent...when I heard a huge explosion. I rushed out (and) saw a car burning. While we were busy evacuating the injured, a suicide bomber took us by surprise."

Xinhua notes, "In the afternoon, insurgents carried out another coordinated attack on a compound of a police headquarters in the city of Fallujah, some 50 km west of Baghdad, killing at least six policemen and wounding 13 others and a civilian.  Also, six mortar rounds landed on the compound, while some 40 gunmen apparently trying to take control of the police headquarters fought fierce clashes with the guarding policemen, the source said."   Al Jazeera adds, "Al Jazeera's Jane Arraf, reporting from Baghdad, said the attack took place at the main gate of the Fallujah police directorate."

In addition, Press TV reports 14 security forces were killed last night in Barwana.  AP reports on it here. BBC News notes, "Eleven of the dead were special police assigned to protect a nearby oil pipeline - they were attacked as they sat down in a trailer to break their Ramadan fast at sundown, a local official told the Associated Press." Deutsche Welle adds, "The victims had reportedly served as security guards of an oil pipeline near the town of Haditha, which lies about 220 kilometers (140 miles) outside of the capital."   All Iraq News notes a Tikrit bombing claimed the life of 1 police officer.  Through Wednesday, Iraq Body Count counts 226 violent deaths for month so far -- which averages out to 22.6 deaths a day so far this month.  Al Rafidayn has a disturbing story on Tuesday's violence in Baghdad which included attacks on a shop owner but, most disturbing, assailants killed a baby and put the corpse on the roof of a house.

You'll note the above are all Iraqi outlets or wire services.  On the coverage of the Iraq War, 
Abraham Moussako (CJR) reports on a gathering of US journalists last night at the Brooklyn Brewery -- Steve Hindy (covered Iraq for AP), Michael Kamber (NYT), Todd Heisler (NYT and Rocky Mountain News) and Carolyn Cole (Los Angeles Times) -- and Moussako offers a number of takeaways from the discussion including:

 The media, as a whole, lost interest rapidly. The kickoff of the Iraq war in 2003 was essentially a “circus,” in Kamber’s words, with over a thousand journalists there in the early months. Once the going got tough, especially in 2004 post-Fallujah, many outlets—major outlets, he stressed, simply up and left, or left only a reporter and a translator.

On PRI's The World today,  Marco Werman noted "the focus on Iraq has slipped" since 2011.  He was speaking with Reuters reporter Samia Nakhoul who was in Baghdad's Palestine Hotel April 8, 2003 when the US military attacked it:

Samia Nakhoul:  And while I was reporting, I saw an orange glow [. . .] and that was the tank shell that hit our hotel.

Marco Werman:  And what happened next?

Samia Nakhoul:  All I can remember is that I was -- my face was burning.  I couldn't see.  I was in such pain.  And our colleagues were trying to pull us inside and to rescue us and there was no electricity because they were calling and asking the hotel to put on the generator and while we were going to the hospital, there was still bombardment.  They took us to the first hospital and, you know, they couldn't help us except clean our wounds.  And I kept on telling my colleague, "I can't see -- I lost my -- maybe I became blind."  And the doctor said, "Just hold on, maybe you will be able to see, there's a lot of blood on your head, on your face."  And they took us to a second hospital.  And this is where I found out that my colleague Tares Protsyuk was killed because I heard a doctor saying he didn't make it and that was -- that was very upsetting.

Marco Werman:  It turns out that an Iraqi surgeon removed shrapnel and bone fragments from your brain.  I mean, he saved your life, right?

Samia Nakhoul:  Yes, and this was at the third hospital.  They took me to this neurological hospital where I said, "I just need to have the operation here."  

 Why did the US military attack?  Samia (who is back in Iraq for Reuters) doesn't know.  May 13, 2008, some answers were supplied by veteran Adrienne Kinne when she appeared on Democracy Now!:

Adrienne Kinne:  One of the instances was the fact that we were listening to journalists who were staying in the Palestine Hotel. And I remember that, specifically because during the buildup to Shock and Awe, which people in my unit were really disturbingly excited about, we were given a list of potential targets in Baghdad, and the Palestine Hotel was listed as a potential target. And I remember this specifically, because, putting one and one together, that there were journalists staying at the Palestine Hotel and this hotel was listed as a potential target, I went to my officer in charge, and I told him that there are journalists staying at this hotel who think they’re safe, and yet we have this hotel listed as a potential target, and somehow the dots are not being connected here, and shouldn’t we make an effort to make sure that the right people know the situation?
And unfortunately, my officer in charge, similarly to any time I raised concerns about things that we were collecting or intelligence that we were reporting, basically told me that it was not my job to analyze. It was my job to collect and pass on information and that someone somewhere higher up the chain knew what they were doing.

AMY GOODMAN: Who was the officer in charge? Who did you tell?

ADRIENNE KINNE: My officer in charge for the duration of my mobilization was Warrant Officer John Berry.

AMY GOODMAN: Now, when you saw this list that you say, a list of targets, and Hotel Palestine was on it, why would you see this? Where were you? How did you pick up this piece of paper? 

ADRIENNE KINNE: It was actually an email. And I worked in a secure building, and we were given updates about what was going on. I actually am not sure why we were emailed this list of potential targets, and I’m not even sure in what context it was mailed — emailed to us. I would assume it was just an effort to let people know what was going on in the area, considering our mission. But the only reason now that I really remember that specific email is because I knew, having listened to journalists staying at the Palestine Hotel, talking with their families and loved ones and talking about whether or not they were safe and trying to reassure their family and co-workers and loved ones that they were safe, when I saw that hotel listed, I thought there was something that was going terribly wrong.
 It's amazing how that repeatedly gets ignored when people are supposedly discussing the attack on the Palestine Hotel.

Gypsies, tramps and thieves
We'd hear it from the people of the town
They'd call us gypsies, tramps and thieves
But every night all the men would come around
And lay their money down 
-- Cher's number one hit "Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves" written by Bob Stone

Murtada Taleb (Niqash) reports on the gypsy population in Iraq:

Just as they do in other countries, Iraq’s gypsies face discrimination and harassment. And despite miserable living conditions in Basra, the gypsy community there is growing.  

About 20 kilometres west of Basra, on the outskirts of the southern Iraqi city of Basra, there is a slum where ramshackle houses are built out of wrecked, rusting cars, stones, clay and buildings destroyed in war. If the inhabitants of these homes are lucky, they might have some mattresses for furniture, a stove and on rare occasions, even a television.

Local woman Hijaz lives here with her four children; she is a Hawasem, or gypsy. Hawasem means “decisive” in Arabic and is the word that former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein used to use to describe the war he said he would fight against the US military. Now it’s used in an ironic way, to describe the gypsies, their slums and a variety of other illegal acts.

Hijaz was one of the first people to leave the province of Diwaniya after 2003 and the US-led invasion that toppled the regime of former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein. She left because religious militias began to deliberately target gypsies in this area. She and other gypsies gathered here in this haphazardly built neighbourhood, a fair distance from the centre of the comparatively prosperous city of Basra and far from the eyes of officialdom.

Turning to the US, Oliver Stone is famous for many things including directing JFK, Salvador, Platoon, Savages, U-Turn, Wall Street and more.   Last week, Robert Redford disgraced himself for something than that bad rug.  A number of friends contacted me to say just how awful they thought the piece at Third ("TV: MSNBC Exposed") was.  Why would we pick on Robert!!!! The better question to ask is, "Why the hell haven't I picked on all of you yet?"  Let's see, one example, you're closing in on eighty and you present yourself as an activist and as left and you're so damn busy avoiding what's going on in this country yet so determined to be Jenna in 30 Rock's "Black Light Attack!"  that it's so embarrassing.    Be glad we only called out Redford.  So Robert Redford disgraced himself, spat on the only movie he's got of any real social importance (All The President's Men) by ignoring the Barack's spying on the American people to praise him for cheap words on the environment that even if implemented fully will not benefit the environment in any real way.  Click here for Jill Stein calling out Barack's 'plan.'  Redford never looked more feeble and more impotent than he did last week.  By contrast, Oliver Stone wasn't afraid to speak out.  From last Friday's snapshot:

Xan Brooks (Guardian) reports that film director Oliver Stone spoke out in support of Ed Snowden "at the Karlovy Vary international film festival in the Czech Republic" stating, "It's a disgrace that Obama is more concerned with hunting down Snowden than reforming these George Bush-style eavesdropping techniques."

Now Oliver Stone's recorded a video for the ACLU.  

Oliver Stone: Let me ask you a very simple question: Does it concern you that the government is spying on you?  Thirty years ago to even ask this question would have been a scandal.  If you lived through Watergate, if you read the Church Committee reports, you know the costs of unchecked government surveillance. The government is exploiting our amnesia.  We did not pass the Fourth Amendment in order to protect those with something to hide.  We passed that amendment -- which prohibts general warrants or limitless surveillance because we know all too well the cost of an unaccountable government.  The question is not: Do you have something to hide?  The question is: Do we control government or does government control us?  Remember this struggle is part of who we are as a people.  This country was born in rebellion because the British government was exerting too much control over American lives.  We broke free and began to create a system of government meant to protect liberty.  Our national history reveals a constant struggle to stay true to this value.  We face one of those moments of struggle right now.  Recent leaks have given us a glimpse into our government's gigantic surveillance machine. It's a machine that is eating our freedom.  If this concerns you -- and it should -- you need to contact your representatives in Congress now.  Ask them to end the tracking of Americans' domestic communications.  I won't stand idly by while our freedoms are eaten by the NSA's surveillance machine.  You shouldn't either.

Noa Yachot (ACLU Communications Strategist) notes:

Now is a critical time in our nation's history for all Americans to stand up for our civil liberties, Stone says – by asking representatives in Congress to roll back the surveillance state.
Section 215 of the Patriot Act and Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act, passed in the wake of the September 11 attacks, have drastically eroded our Fourth Amendment rights. These statutes allow the government to access our most sensitive information without meaningful judicial oversight.
"I won't stand idly by while our civil liberties are eaten by the NSA surveillance machine," Stone says. "You shouldn't either." You can join Stone and the ACLU in demanding an end to the surveillance state, by signing a petition calling on Congress to repeal these problematic sections of the Patriot Act and the FAA. The time to act is now.

And you can see this morning's "Can someone drive NPR's Carrie Johnson to the free clinic?" for one of the elderly fools who made it to the FISA court and is so dumb he doesn't believe government would ever lie.  On that awful report on the judge Johnson did, a few have e-mailed, "It aired July 3rd."  Well it also aired this morning, I was listening to NPR for an hour as I was running.   And here's the complete run-down for today's Morning Edition -- you'll see the story listed there because it was broadcast today.  I have no idea if it was broadcast on July 3rd or not or if it was posted as an online piece July 3rd but it was part of today's Morning Edition.  In fact, we'll copy and paste the segments up to the one after Johnson's:

Alberto Balsalm Aphex Twin


D'evils Jay-Z


A Walk Tycho


Blues for RQ Scott Neumann Neu3 Trio


Ebb and Flow Scott Neumann Neu3 Trio



50 Years Ago, Raid Seals Mandela's Fate And His Fame


So it was fifth out of the first six reports on Morning Edition today.

sam dagher
ben lando