Fallujah is currently under siege once again. You have stated that US troops will not be sent back to Iraq to assist in the current siege, but you have agreed that the US should send weapons to the Iraqi government. I am writing to implore that you do everything within your ability to stop shipments of US weapons to Iraq, whether they are sold, gifted, or loaned. Arming an oppressive regime so that they may better crush a popular uprising is not in the best interest of Americans or Iraqis.
During that 2nd siege of Fallujah we killed thousands of civilians, displaced hundreds of thousands, destroyed nearly the entire city, and brought immeasurable loss and hardship upon those poor people. Since then I have devoted my life to raising awareness about the suffering I helped create in Fallujah, and to assisting Fallujans in their struggle with a public health disaster and ongoing repression.
I feel a moral obligation to do whatever is within my power to help these people who I once hurt. But I was not a lone actor in Iraq. I had the support of a nation behind me and I was taking orders from the world’s most powerful military. The 2nd siege of Fallujah was not exceptional; rather it was symbolic of our military’s conduct in Iraq and the way that our mission impacted the lives of Iraqis. Our war and occupation took so much from them. It resulted in hundreds of thousands of deaths, millions displaced, permanent environmental contamination, and a new repressive regime that most Iraqis regard as begin more brutal than that of Saddam Hussein. This is the legacy of America’s involvement in Iraq. The least that we can do at this point is to end our complicity in their suffering.
The current violence in Fallujah has been misrepresented in the media. The Iraqi Ministry of Interior asserted earlier in the month that al Qaeda had taken over half of Fallujah and the media parroted this assertion. However, journalists who have done serious investigations into this assertion found it to be false. The uprising in Fallujah is a popular uprising, not one lead by an international jihadist group. The Iraqi government has not been attacking al Qaeda in Fallujah. Their assault has been indiscriminate, killing dozens of civilians and wounding even more. Many of these deaths have been documented by human rights organizations within Fallujah.
John Kerry should respond.
But as many remember, then-Senator John Kerry elected to speak at the University of Florida in Gainesville and to do so on Constitution day in September of 2007 (Sept. 17, 2007). Student Andrew Meyer waited in line to ask a question, the line was shut down after he'd been in line forever, he went to another microphone and attempted to ask a question. Kerry called for Meyer to be able to ask his question. That was allowed then security began forcibly removing him while Kerry began responding. The police would taser Meyer. Kerry issued the following statement:
In 37 years of public appearances, through wars, protests and highly emotional events, I have never had a dialogue end this way. I believe I could have handled the situation without interruption, but I do not know what warnings or other exchanges transpired between the young man and the police prior to his barging to the front of the line and their intervention. I asked the police to allow me to answer the question and was in the process of responding when he was taken into custody. I was not aware that a taser was used until after I left the building. I hope that neither the student nor any of the police were injured. I regret enormously that a good healthy discussion was interrupted.
Those are some nice words.
Too bad they don't mean a damn thing and speak to weakness.
I speak all of the time on campuses, there were a few incidents during the years where sheep were devoted to Bully Boy Bush and in 2009 when sheep were devoted to Barack. I never tried to shut down one of the devoted and if they were loud and security approached them, I made clear the person was allowed to speak and that I walked from the event and the campus right then and there if the person was prevented from making their remarks. The minute I threatened to leave the event, security usually backed off immediately (one time I had to add "And I will explain to the press why I left -- repeatedly" to get them to back off.
Kerry was fine and dandy with speaking up to allow the question to be asked. And that's good. But not speaking up when the person is being escorted out as their question is being answered?
Again, I have faced angry, loud Bully Boy Bush-ites and loud proselytizers from the Cult of St. Barack and not tried to shut them down but asked that they be allowed to speak.
Kerry allowed a man to be tasered, someone who just wanted to ask a question. And on Constitution Day. I guess when you care that little, you don't even blink when Collective Punishment (a legally defined War Crime) is used on the people of Anbar.
Thursday Human Rights Watch released a new report is entitled (PDF format warning) "'NO ONE IS SAFE: Abuses of Women in Iraq's Criminal Justice System." How did the US State Dept respond? Oh, that's right. They didn't. All Iraq News reports:
MP Safiya Al Sihail described what has been reported in the Human Rights Watch over the miserable conditions of the Iraqi women prisoners and the violations at the Iraqi prisons as “regrettable and shameful.”
MP Sihail called the government represented by Ministries of (Justice, Women, Human Rights and the Interior) to “immediately investigate the report of the HRW instead of just denying them to assure that such violations are not adopted in Iraq after 2003.”
Safiya al-Sihail's call should be heeded. But a similar call should be going out to the US State Dept. As it is, reporters at Thursday's State Dept press briefing and at Friday's couldn't even find the will to ask a question about the report.
John Kerry's State Dept is floundering and he should be damn grateful that Victoria Nuland's potty mouth and other distractions allow the Department's dysfunction to go unchallenged.
On the assault, NINA reports:
The Arab Political Council in Kirkuk expressed on Saturday 8 Feb. its surprise at the unjustified silence of the parliamentary political blocks, parties and organizations towards the humanitarian tragedy in Anbar province, and especially the city of Fallujah.
Chairman of the Council , Sheikh Abdul Rahman Munshed al- Assi told the National Iraqi News Agency / NINA / : "We are very concerned for the effects and consequences of the current crisis, humanly and politically, a matter that requires everyone to stand and think to find an urgent solution to stop the bloodshed now ongoing in al-Anbar.
They're concerned but the US State Dept isn't. All the Department offers, when it can focus for a few seconds on Iraq, is a talking parrot squawking, "Terrorism! Terrorism! Terrorism!"
They're destroying their reputation in Iraq, they're destroying the entire US reputation in Iraq. Al Bawaba has an article which includes:
"Iraq and the United States are embarking on a significant new area of cooperation by having experts from the US Departments of Energy and State work with Iraq to develop approaches to protect Iraq's energy infrastructure from terrorist attack or natural disaster," a joint energy committee said after Baghdad talks.
And what is the title of this article? "The benevolent destroyer: US to advise Iraq on oil infrastructure."
Maybe the State Dept would be under actual pressure from the American citizens to do something not only if the US press actually reported what was taking place but also if Barack and others stopped lying.
I'm referring to the claims of "success" and popularity in Iraq.
The US has a lousy reputation in Iraq.
The illegal war helped create it.
Actions like the White House refusing to honor the votes of the Iraqi people in 2010 and instead go around the Iraqi Constitution to give US puppet Nouri al-Maliki a second term after al-Maliki lost the election go a long way towards explaining why the US reputation is still in tatters.
In fact, The Erbil Agreement (US-brokered contract that gave Nouri his second term) and the White House refusal to keep their word on it have destroyed the US government's relationship with the Kurds.
All Iraq News notes that Kurdish Regional Government President Massoud Barzan has returned to Iraq after finishing his trip to Europe where he met with many leaders and after cancelling his trip to the US.
The State Dept's Brett McGurk lied to Congress last week, insisting that the US was seen by all sides in Iraq as an impartial party.
The assault on Anbar is killing civilians -- predominately Sunni civilians. And the US government is waiving it along, defending it and even arming Nouri with more weapons to attack the people -- despite the fact that, for example, Barzani lodged his objections to some of these weapons in 2012, came to the US and publicly spoke out against these weapons while noting Nouri would use the weapons on the Iraqi people.
The assault on Anbar is like Barack deciding to attack Montana tomorrow. There's no excuse for it.
There's no excuse for bombing residential neighborhoods, for shelling hospitals, for bombing the electric towers, for attacking the people.
This is outrageous and illegal.
And the US government won't call it that and continues to arm War Criminal Nouri al-Maliki.
(While press hags like Hannah Allem finger themselves to climax as Iraqis die.)
NINA reports that Sheikh Ali Hatem al-Suleiman -- a Sahwa leader -- state today that "the solution of the crisis in Anbar lies in a neutral third party and implementing the legitimate demands of the protesters." and that "the government should prove its good faith by stopping the shelling of cities and sending food and medical supplies as well as oil , in addition to the full response to the legitimate demands of the protesters." Motahedoon coalition MP Salman al-Jumaili stated today that solutions were being ignored as the government continued to attempt a "military solution" and that "any initiative to resolve the crisis in Anbar cannot succeed if it does not include stop shelling and air strikes on Fallujah and other neighborhoods first, and the return of displaced people , as well as keeping the army out of the areas of contact with citizens and then re local authorities to enforce security." NINA also reports on Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlaq:
Al-Mutlaq said in a meeting with ambassadors of EU countries in the Greek Embassy in Baghdad on the occasion of handing over Greece EU presidency , that the military operations in Anbar province, left behind thousands of displaced families facing harsh conditions due to the extreme cold and lack of food and medical supplies , not to mention the other families still besieged and exposed to bombardment , threats and very difficult humanitarian situations.
Al-Mutlaq discussed , according to a statement by his press office , with a number of ambassadors from the European Union, visions to resolve the crisis of Anbar and restore security and stability to its cities, and be quick in taking positions that would lead to compensate the displaced families and ease their coming back and repair the physical damage to their properties.
Maybe the State Dept's Victoria Nuland's hatred of the European Union stems from the fact that many around the world see it as more honest and more concerned than the US government? Or maybe Victoria Nuland's bitterness stems from her own reflection?
At any rate, the US is not considered a trusted broker in Iraq and things like aiding and arming Nouri in attacking the Iraqi people will not change anyone's mind.
Violence continued on Sunday. National Iraqi News Agency reports 1 civilian was shot dead in Baghdad, a south Baghdad checkpoint (Mad'ain) was attacked leaving one Iraqi soldier injured, an armed attack on a Salam Village checkpoint left 6 police members dead, 3 suspects were shot dead in Jurf al-Sakhar by security forces, 1 civilian was shot dead in Mosul, an attack on a checkpoint west of Mosul left 2 police members dead, 1 soldier was shot dead in Kirkuk and two more were left injured, 6 police members were shot dead in Tuz Khurmato, an armed fight in Albu-Bali left 3 militants and 1 Iraqi soldiers dead (four more soldiers were injured), an attack on PUK headquarters in Saadiya left 1 security guard injured, a Baquba attack left two people injured, 1 corpse was discovered dumped in al-Shareef and 3 corpses found in Mishahda (north of Baghdad). Mu Xuequan (Xinhua) reports a Sadr City bombing left 2 people dead and seven injured and, "late on Saturday night," the corpse of 1 Sahwa leader, "his two sons and a nephew" were discovered "near Tikrit." All Iraq News adds 1 police officer was shot dead in Ramadi.
I'm traveling in some vehicle
I'm sitting in some cafe
A defector from the petty wars
That shell shock love away
-- "Hejira," written by Joni Mitchell, first appears on her album of the same name
The number of US service members the Dept of Defense states died in the Iraq War is [PDF format warning] 4489.
On this week's Law and Disorder Radio, an hour long program that airs Monday mornings at 9:00 a.m. EST on WBAI and around the country throughout the week, hosted by attorneys Heidi Boghosian, Michael S. Smith and Michael Ratner (Center for Constitutional Rights) topics addressed include terrorism laws and then they speak with Max Blumenthal who's not very well informed. He's got a history of bad reporting. But what I'm actually referring to is his appearing on a radio program to brag about Alice Walker. Ms. did that last week as well.
Do you have to live in the Bay Area to know what's going on with Alice? She's in the process of ensuring that The Color Purple is excluded from academia. Now maybe aliens do control the earth and maybe these aliens are lizards. I don't believe that myself but Alice can believe whatever she wants.
I used to like Alice. I used to know her. She became a Cult of St. Baracker and I had no use for her. She sat through four years of death and destruction refusing to use her voice. I called her out many times here. A mutual friend asked why I never gave her credit for a 2013 interview (with the BBC) where she called out the administration? To be fair, that same day I was asked, I included a transcript of that interview and gave her credit for that.
I was very kind, I felt, for leaving it at that and not linking to Bay Area coverage of Alice -- such as this July 2013 Berkeley Daily Planet article -- which is very negative and only becoming more so due to Alice's new beliefs.
Read the article and grasp that Alice will now be excluded more and more in the years to come. (Anytime she wants to speak out for peace or against war, we'll continue to note her here.) She'll find her writing mocked, The Color Purple will vanish from academic reading lists and the critics will rank her somewhere below Fannie Hurst. It won't be because of any novel she wrote but it will be due to her holding opinions that are considered out of the norm and controversial.
(Read the article, and it's only one of many.)
Here, our only concern with Alice is if she speaks of peace or against war. We don't have to entertain what she believes in now nor do I have to denounce it. That's because 2008 through 2013, she's been called out here by me. It is established that I no longer consider her a friend and that I have no problem critiquing her.
Max Blumenthal and Ms. can't say the same. So their public embrace will eventually be greeted with demands for qualifying statements on where they stand. Anyone not willing to criticize her probably shouldn't be using her name -- as Blumenthal does -- to shore up their own threadbare credentials unless they're willing to address the new beliefs Alice is popularizing.
Isaiah's latest The World Today Just Nuts "The Joker" went up Sunday morning and he has another comic that goes up after this.
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