Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Be concerned when the US government 'cares'

Nouri's continued assault on Anbar continues.  His shelling of residential neighborhoods in Fallujah today has left 6 civilians dead and ten injured (the injured include two children).

Throughout the assault, which began December 30th, Nouri's shelling of Falluja has killed and wounded many.

But not one word from the US State Dept despite the fact that these are War Crimes.

You're not allowed to use collective punishment, not by law, not by treaty.

If you suspect a terrorist or terrorist cell is in Los Angeles, a populated city, it is illegal for you to bomb residential areas, it is illegal for you to attack the residents of Los Angeles because somewhere in the city you think there are guilty or criminal people.  That's collective punishment, it's a War Crime, it is legally defined as a War Crime, the US government has officially recognized it as a War Crime.

But not one word.

Yesterday's US State Dept press briefing.opened with spokesperson Marie Harf fretting over an employee of a US propaganda outlet being shot when he trespassed across the presidential compound of Jalal Talabani's in Bghadad.  He shouldn't have been there.  I'm not saying he deserved to be shot dead or even shot.  I am saying that when you're where you shouldn't be, it's not usually considered murder.  No events are know.  Was he asked to halt before he was shot?  Nobody knows.

But what we do know is that for once the US government gave a damn about a killing in Iraq:

Marie Harf:  Hello. Happy Monday, everyone. Sorry for the delay. I have a few things at the top, including a travel update, and then I am happy to open it up for your questions. So, first item is on Iraq.
The United States condemns the murder of Radio Free Iraq’s Baghdad bureau chief, Mohammed – excuse me, let me start over here. I haven’t briefed in a while.
The United States condemns the murder of Radio Free Iraq’s Baghdad Bureau Chief Mohammed Bdaiwi al-Shammari, which occurred following a confrontation at a checkpoint in Baghdad on Sunday. We are deeply concerned about the circumstances surrounding his death and we call on the Government of Iraq to conduct a full investigation into the incident and to hold the perpetrator of this criminal act to account. The killing of any innocent is to be deplored.

Maybe we should say for once this administration gave a damn?

When you negotiate with terrorists and release the killers of US service members, you clearly don't care about the deaths of US service members.

From the June 9, 2009 snapshot:

This morning the New York Times' Alissa J. Rubin and Michael Gordon offered "U.S. Frees Suspect in Killing of 5 G.I.'s." Martin Chulov (Guardian) covered the same story, Kim Gamel (AP) reported on it, BBC offered "Kidnap hope after Shia's handover" and Deborah Haynes contributed "Hope for British hostages in Iraq after release of Shia militant" (Times of London). The basics of the story are this. 5 British citizens have been hostages since May 29, 2007. The US military had in their custody Laith al-Khazali. He is a member of Asa'ib al-Haq. He is also accused of murdering five US troops. The US military released him and allegedly did so because his organization was not going to release any of the five British hostages until he was released. This is a big story and the US military is attempting to state this is just diplomacy, has nothing to do with the British hostages and, besides, they just released him to Iraq. Sami al-askari told the New York Times, "This is a very sensitive topic because you know the position that the Iraqi government, the U.S. and British governments, and all the governments do not accept the idea of exchanging hostages for prisoners. So we put it in another format, and we told them that if they want to participate in the political process they cannot do so while they are holding hostages. And we mentioned to the American side that they cannot join the political process and release their hostages while their leaders are behind bars or imprisoned." In other words, a prisoner was traded for hostages and they attempted to not only make the trade but to lie to people about it. At the US State Dept, the tired and bored reporters were unable to even broach the subject. Poor declawed tabbies. Pentagon reporters did press the issue and got the standard line from the department's spokesperson, Bryan Whitman, that the US handed the prisoner to Iraq, the US didn't hand him over to any organization -- terrorist or otherwise. What Iraq did, Whitman wanted the press to know, was what Iraq did. A complete lie that really insults the intelligence of the American people. CNN reminds the five US soldiers killed "were: Capt. Brian S. Freeman, 31, of Temecula, California; 1st Lt. Jacob N. Fritz, 25, of Verdon, Nebraska; Spc. Johnathan B. Chism, 22, of Gonzales, Louisiana; Pfc. Shawn P. Falter, 25, of Cortland, New York; and Pfc. Johnathon M. Millican, 20, of Trafford, Alabama." Those are the five from January 2007 that al-Khazali and his brother Qais al-Khazali are supposed to be responsible for the deaths of. Qassim Abdul-Zahra and Robert H. Reid (AP) states that Jonathan B. Chism's father Danny Chism is outraged over the release and has declared, "They freed them? The American military did? Somebody needs to answer for it."

The father of US service member Jonathan B. Chism is correct, someone does need to answer for it.

No one ever has.

And it's surprising that even the right wing hasn't made a big to do out of it.  (Speak to veterans groups, this incident is not forgotten.)

Yesterday, Marie Harf pretended the dead man was a journalist.  He worked for a propaganda outlet.

She declared his death mattered.

"The killing of an innocent is to be deplored."

She stated that but she never stated for the civilians killed by Nouri in Falluja in the last months.  She never said one word about that.

She never offered a word of regret about the peaceful protesters Nouri's thugs killed in 2013.

 January 7th, Nouri's forces assaulted four protesters in Mosul,  January 24th,  Nouri's forces sent two protesters (and one reporter) to the hospital,  and March 8th, Nouri's force fired on protesters in Mosul killing three.

Not one word from Marie or Jen Psaki about those deaths, those civilian deaths.

Then there was the April 23rd massacre of a peaceful sit-in in Hawija which resulted from  Nouri's federal forces storming in.  Alsumaria noted Kirkuk's Department of Health (Hawija is in Kirkuk)  announced 50 activists have died and 110 were injured in the assault.   AFP reported the death toll rose to 53 dead.  UNICEF noted that the dead included 8 children (twelve more were injured).

8 children dead, surely Jen and Marie had something to say, right?


Not one word.

Not one single word.

Yesterday, the State Dept wanted to insist, "The killing of an innocent is to be deplored."

But what they really meant was, when an Iraqi works for the US government and is killed, that's huge, that's so much more important than the death of any other Iraqi.

They're using this and so is Nouri.  One way Nouri's using it is trying to whip up resentment against the Kurdish Peshmerga and force them out of the country.

It should be remembered, Nouri didn't rush to kick out Blackwater after that infamous drive -- where they were carrying Brett McGurk (according to friends in Iraq at the time, friends who are journalists) and Blackwater attacked Iraqis whose 'crime' was being on the same street.

Nope.  Nouri kept his mouth shut forever and a day.

But he's 'outraged' today because it lets him attack the Kurds.

And imagine how his spies can do a better job (of spying) if they're in charge of the presidential compound in Baghdad and not the Peshmerga.

Violence continues across Iraq.  National Iraqi News Agency reports the Ministry of the Interior announced they killed 2 suspects in Baiji, 1 police officer was shot dead in Tikrit, Ghaidaa Hussein Khader was shot dead in Mosul (she belonged to the Alfadheelah Party), Joint Special Operations Command announced they killed suspect Abdul-Jabbar Majid in Samarra, an attack "on a civilian car on the road to the Hanarh resort in Arbil" left 2 women dead and three people injured, 1 corpse was discovered northwest Baghdad ("handcuffed with gunshot wounds in his head"), 1 federal police member was shot dead and one soldier left injured at "the entrance to the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Mosul," an an Ein al-Ijel Village attack left 5 Iraqi soldiers, an al-Muthanna Bridge truck bombing left ten people injured, and last night a Sensal Village battle left 1 rebel dead.

The following community sites -- plus Black Agenda Report, Pacifica Evening News, Dissident Voice, Ms. magazine's blog and Jake Tapper -- updated:

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