Why can't, in the US, grown ups have a conversation without a bunch of partisan b.s.?
Maybe because the media refuses to inform.
Alice Fordham's joined NPR (a free lancer who worked previously for The Times of London, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times and Christian Science Monitor among other outlets during the Iraq War). Between her nonsense and David Green's idiotic introduction on Morning Edition (NPR) to Fordham's bad report, it's hard to know which is worse.
Both operate under the premise that the assault on Anbar Province is appropriate.
International law and treaties beg to differ.
But not only does NPR ignore the law -- including the long established Geneva Conventions -- they also refuse to talk about how things got so bad in Anbar.
If you're a community member or regular or even semi-reader of the Iraq snapshots, you do know what's going on. But if you read through the comments -- the ones they allowed -- to Fordham's bad 'report,' you know a lot of people have no idea what's going on but they are so quick to offer 'insight' -- and it's all connected to Bully Boy Bush.
If you depend on NPR's 'reporting' on Iraq, you're dazed and confused. In fact, we'll be honoring one of NPR's biggest moment of lying about Iraq in the next few weeks. We called them out real time. No one else bothered. They aired a report that undermined democracy and violated every ethical journalistic principle. It also didn't get the facts accurate.
Here's the closest they got to honest on Morning Edition today:
FORDHAM: Zaid Al-Ali, who recently published a book, "The Struggle for Iraq's Future," says that the problems are broader than that. In Sunni-dominated places like Anbar, they won't be solved by security measures alone. He thinks that chronic unemployment also needs to be addressed and, more importantly, entrenched sectarian practices by the security forces. Detention without charge and torture are far more common in places like Anbar, he says, which feeds hatred of the government.
ZAID AL-ALI: It's been a major issue because there is a lot of abuse of detainees in Iraq. And there are a lot of cases - everyone knows about this, this is not a secret - there are a lot of cases of people being detained for no reason and for very long periods of time, without access to attorneys, without access to judges, without access to any type of recourse. And that really needs to change extremely urgently.
That's enough to make people take to the streets and protest.
Oh, wait, it did.
Since December 21, 2012, protests have been ongoing in Iraq.
Why are they protesting?
Still not getting why Alice Fordham, if she's going to report on Anbar, needs to mention the protests?
Let's go to Human Rights Watch, "Government security forces had withdrawn from Anbar province after provoking a tribal uprising when they raided a Sunni protest camp in Ramadi on December 30, killing 17 people." This is how the assault on Anbar begins.
If Alice Fordham and NPR want to report on the assault, they're required to note how it started.
Are their terrorists in Anbar?
I'm sure there are just as many terrorists in Anbar as there is anywhere -- including in the NPR newsroom.
But what made people wearing masks (or at least scarves covering the lower half of their faces) go out into the streets of Anbar?
Nouri's assault on the protesters.
That was only one assault, there have been so many more.
Let's again note Sunil Patel's strong piece at Fair Observer which includes:
As violence in Fallujah escalates to near-unprecedented levels, the entire narrative of the fighting seems to evade a number of key points. Namely, this fighting was not precipitated by the capture of Sunni strongholds by al-Qaeda or the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS).
The precursor to the fighting between Iraqi government forces and Sunni tribesmen of Anbar was a result of a ruthless policy of repression, aimed at nationwide protest camps opposing government measures on public services, counterterrorism, illegal house raids and a perpetuation of sectarian violence, as well as a number of other policies that continue to marginalize Sunni communities.
The Ramadi protest camps in al-Anbar have been at the center of demonstrations for the past year. It was on December 30 — a week after Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki had threatened to "burn down" the camps — that special forces (SWAT) and the army descended upon the Ezz and Karama Square to crush protests, which had gained momentum after the arrest of Sunni MP Ahmed al-Alwani and the murder of his brother and five of his security guards.
Two witnesses reported to Human Rights Watch that SWAT and the army had arrived in a procession of military Humvees, pick-up trucks, and armored vehicles to clear the squares. All this just seven hours after Defense Minister Saadoun al-Dulaimi had negotiated the release of Alwani on the condition that the camps were to be cleared within 48 hours.
This is not the first attempt by government forces to clear protest camps. In April 2013, SWAT and the army opened fire on more than a thousand protestors in Hawija, south of Kirkut, killing 50 people and leaving 110 injured. The event passed without as much as a whimper in the press, let alone widespread condemnation.
An e-mail noted that the link on "protestors in Hawija" is "worthless and goes to a 2005 report."
Take it up with Fair Observer, I don't edit people's links for them.
But we have covered it in real time so I'll provide those links. 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.
All of that and more appeared to be a trial run for what was coming, 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).
In February 2013, Nouri put on a show about 'listening' to the protesters.
He never did.
The ridiculous press trumped his statements as facts.
How stupid is the press today?
Even 30 years ago, his remarks would have been treated as words and the press would have taken a wait-and-see posture. Instead, they hollered "End of story!" When it wasn't.
Nouri's refusal to meet the demands of the protesters, his desire to attack them physically and with words (he's called them "terrorists" since 2011).
Now his failed promises are just stripped of the story by the likes of Alice Fordham.
This isn't reporting.
This isn't even bad reporting.
Drama Queen Ta-Nehsi Coates at the war mongering Atlantic magazine offers "As Though Iraq Never Happened." Yeah, for those us paying attention, which does not include Coates, is does seem like it never happened. But what may be more insulting is that Coates thought he had the information to write an article. He uses "Iraq" hoping for clicks as he attacks Condoleezza Rice.
To put it mildly, we're not fans here of No-One-Could-Have-Guessed Condi Rice.
But we're also not stupid. We've repeatedly called her out on Iraq by noting she held no expertise on the topic, we suggested she stick to topics that she knows something about.
Ta-Nehsi Coates calls her out for weighing in on Ukraine. Guess what?
Russia is Condi's area of expertise.
Doesn't mean she's right in her opinions, but it is the area she was trained in.
If you've got an issue with her interpretation or take, by all means call her out on it and use any tone you wish.
But you look pretty stupid slamming her for weighing in on the topic without even grasping that this actually is a topic she studied. At great length.
Iraq is on fire and has been since it became clear Nouri wasn't going to honor the White House brokered Erbil Agreement of 2010. If you're going to mention Iraq today, how about making it about something current?
How about you find something more productive than Bush hatred and Bush bashing? And how about you stop pretending you care about Iraq when you've said nothing about the attacks on the protesters or anything else that's happened in the last 12 months?
You're ignorant of Iraq and your ignorance fuels the public's ignorance. So stop pretending you're writing about Iraq when you're not.
I also find the high horse Coates is on to be ridiculous. Condi Rice sold the Iraq War. I don't dispute it. But if she's unqualified to speak on topics because of that, I guess that means The Atlantic will be shutting down since it also sold the illegal war?
When people could lie and whore freely, outlets like The Atlantic 'covered' the Iraq War.
Now they have no interest except to mislead -- in other words, they've circled back to 2002.
It's really sad that the best The Atlantic can offer on Iraq is Coates' nonsense. Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "Nouri The Child Molester" went up earlier today. He's a cartoonist but he can take on Nouri pushing a bill that would drop the age of marriage for girls to nine-years-old.
Isaiah can do that. Why can't The Atlantic?
Why can't Ms. magazine?
Why can't Women's Media Center?
The leader of a country is putting his weigh behind a bill that (a) lowers the age for girls to marry to nine-years-old and (b) that strips mothers of their custodial rights and hands all custodial rights over to the father.
This isn't some stray bill in the US Congress from some member you've never heard of. This is a bill that passed Nouri's Cabinet of Members and that Nouri has now forwarded to the Parliament.
This is not unimportant.
Alice Fordman and NPR can continue to ignore it, that won't make it unimportant.
Brett McGurk can refuse to call it out.
It doesn't change that this is a dangerous bill and, by not publicly calling it out, the world is not tolerating it, it's encouraging it.
I don't get these little War Whore Drama Queens forever advocating war here, there and everywhere. They can scream for bombs and killing. But the same gasbags in the press can't say a word -- we're just asking for words here -- to condemn a move to lower the age of marriage for Iraqi girls to nine-years-old.
You're a worthless outlet, a worthless gas bag, a worthless journalist, a worthless government if you're unable to condemn Nouri's bill.
Who has any guts? Turns out Human Rights Watch does:
(Baghdad) – Iraq’s Council of Ministers should withdraw a new draft Personal Status Law and ensure that Iraq’s legal framework protects women and girls in line with its international obligations. The pending legislation would restrict women’s rights in matters of inheritance and parental and other rights after divorce, make it easier for men to take multiple wives, and allow girls to be married from age nine.
The draft law, called the Jaafari Personal Status Law, is based on the principles of the Jaafari school of Shia religious jurisprudence, founded by Imam Jaafar al-Sadiq, the sixth Shia imam. Approved by the Council of Ministers on February 25, 2014, it must now be approved by the parliament to become law.
“Passage of the Jaafari law would be a disastrous and discriminatory step backward for Iraq’s women and girls,” said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “This personal status law would only entrench Iraq’s divisions while the government claims to support equal rights for all.”
It would be a disaster. Today and yesterday, I was pressing State Dept friends on this and they are of the opinion that, "It'll never pass Parliament, nothing does!" So it's okay to ignore it.
This only passed the Dabinet because of Nouri. Do we grasp that?
Less than 30 voted on this.
How is that possible?
The Kurds and Iraqiya walked for good reasons. They walked long ago.
This is on Nouri and his supporters. It passed with his a-okay and he then forwarded it to the Parliament.
Whether it dies or not, it needs to be condemned. To ignore it is to embrace it.
Back to Human Rights Watch:
The draft law would cover Iraq’s Shia citizens and residents, a majority of the population of 36 million. It includes provisions that prohibit Muslim men from marrying non-Muslims, legalizes marital rape by stating that a husband is entitled to have sex with his wife regardless of her consent, and prevents women from leaving the house without permission from their husbands. The law would automatically grant custody over any child age two or older to the father in divorce cases, lower the marriage age to nine for girls and fifteen for boys, and even allow girls younger than nine to be married with a parent’s approval.
Justice Minister Hassan al-Shimmari introduced the draft law to the Council of Ministers on October 27, 2013. In December, the council said it would postpone considering the draft until after legislative elections scheduled for April 30, 2014, and after the supreme Shia religious authority (marji’iya) approved the draft, which it has not yet done. But the council went ahead and approved it on February 25 despite strong opposition from rights advocates and some religious leaders.
Saturday, Iraqi women protested in Baghdad. They had to do that in 2005 as the Constitution was written because the US government was happy to sell Iraqi women down the river. Apparently, that's still the case today. Iraqi women have shown far more courage and strengthen then US government officials could ever dream of.
Back to Human Rights Watch:
Iraq’s current Personal Status Law (Law 188 of 1959), which applies to all Iraqis regardless of sect, sets the legal age for marriage at 18, but allows for a judge to permit girls as young as 15 to be married in “urgent” cases. In December 2012, the Lebanese news outlet Al-Safir reported that rates of early marriage of girls had risen drastically in Iraq in the previous decade. In 2013, the Population Reference Bureau, an international organization, reported that “the decline in early marriage has stopped in … Iraq,” citing its own statistics that 25 percent of girls marry before age 18 and 6 percent before age 15. The draft law’s provisions would legalize, rather than try to reverse, Iraq’s growing child marriage problem, Human Rights Watch said.
The draft law violates the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), which Iraq ratified in 1986, by giving fewer rights to women and girls on the basis of their gender. It also violates the Convention on Rights of the Child, which Iraq ratified in 1994, by legalizing child marriage, putting girls at risk of forced and early marriage and susceptible to sexual abuse, and not requiring decisions about children in divorce cases to be made in the best interests of the child.
The draft law ignores article 2 of the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women by legalizing marital rape, Human Rights Watch said. The CEDAW committee, the body of international experts who review state compliance with the convention, in its February 28, 2014 review of Iraq’s reports, urged the government to “immediately withdraw the draft Jaafari personal status law.” The law also appears to violate the International Covenants on Civil and Political Rights and on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights by granting fewer rights to certain individuals on the basis of their religion.
The draft law also starkly contrasts article 14 of Iraq’s constitution, which prohibits “discrimination and distinction between Iraqis” and guarantees the equality of all Iraqis “without distinction to religion, faith, nationality, sex, opinion, economic or social status.” Article 13 of Iraq’s constitution stipulates that it is the “supreme law” in Iraq and that “no law that contradicts this Constitution shall be enacted.”
Hey, get that, Nouri's bill violates the law repeatedly but it also violates the Iraqi Constitution.
Nouri who fancies himself a Constitutional expert. Just Saturday, France24 was broadcasting their interview with Nouri. Excerpt.
Nouri al-Maliki: What Sadr says doesn't deserve to be commented [on]. Let's talk about something else. It's an individual who is a newcomer to politics. He doesn't know the basic rules of politics. The Constitution doesn't mean a thing for a Sadr. He doesn't know what it means: 'Constitution.' Abide by the Constitution for a Sadr? And those around him? Seems awkward.
Who's the newcomer? What experience in politics did Nouri have before the US invaded Iraq? None.
By the way, cleric and movment leader Moqtada al-Sadr's followers? All Iraq News notes they continued their protest today -- protests over Nouri's insults of Moqtada.
We'll note this from Human Rights Watch's alert:
A broad spectrum of Iraqi rights activists, Sunni and Shia religious leaders, and judges have criticized the draft law as discriminatory, violating religious texts, and, because the law would single out one sect, entrenching sectarian divisions in law. The Iraqi Women’s Network, an association of women’s rights groups, held protests on March 8, International Women’s Day, calling it a day of mourning in Iraq.
“Iraq is in conflict and undergoing a breakdown of the rule of law,” Basma al-Khateeb, a women’s rights activist, told Human Rights Watch. “The passage of the Jaafari law sets the ground for legalized inequality.”
I'm wondering why the Iraqi women are yet again let down by America? Why news outlets still won't cover them or their issues? Why a protest took place in Baghdad on Saturday, Iraqi feminists protested, and American feminists and feminist groups and feminist outlets can't say one damn word to help the Iraqi women?
Good for Human Rights Watch and we've said that a lot in the last few years.
They've stepped up to the plate on so many Iraqi issues.
Nouri insulted them in the interview, just FYI., "Well, unluckily, the international organization for the human rights are never talking about what you said at the beginning. They never say a word about the thousands of monthly casualties to the streets of Iraq. We never hear that organization criticize the terrorist organizations and name them as terrorists."
If you were a cheap thug like Nouri, you'd insult anyone who exposed the truth about you as well. If you were human garbage like Nouri al-Maliki, you'd also lie.
And he is lying. We don't have the space or the time to repeatedly demonstrate how much he lied about Human Rights Watch so we'll just address his little claim that violence is never called out (unless it's Nouri's violence). Just last month, HRW issued a statement on the killing of Nouri's SWAT forces:
Feb 5, 2014
Use the link to read it in full. HRW notes the victims in report after report, they also do issue statements on the continued killings.
For all that Nouri ignores, you can visit HRW's Iraq page.
Also on human rights, All Iraq News notes, "The International Human Rights Committee announced the nomination of the former Iraqi Premier, Ayad Allawi, as the Co-President for its Intergovernmental Relations Council. " Allawi is the Iraqi Al Gore. He won the 2010 election but Nouri, Barack Obama and the government of Iran refused to let Allawi become the prime minister.
And if you're not getting how useless the US news media is, let's revisit 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."
Barry wrote about it. Few others did. Not only didn't it get print or text coverage online, the famous author Michael R. Gordon (who's far from perfect and we've called him out many times) suddenly vanished from the TV dial. He'd been on Charlie Rose so often, for example, he was practically a set fixture. But this book? No. Charlie Rose wasn't interested. After the book was published (and sold pretty well), Ava and I noted the strange disappearing of Michael R. Gordon from the public affairs programs:
Equally curious is who you don't see. Gwen Ifill doesn't know a damn thing about foreign policy so asking her to moderate the segment was laughable. Equally laughable was not going with a NewsHour foreign policy guest for the segment.
In fact, we're thinking of one in particular: Michael R. Gordon of The New York Times.
Gordon's appeared multiple times on The NewsHour. Strangely, he wasn't booked for the segment on foreign policy last week.
Why would that be?
If you're wondering, he's not suddenly press shy. To the contrary, he has a new book to sell, one he co-wrote with Bernard E. Trainor, The Endgame: The Inside Story of the Struggle for Iraq, from George W. Bush to Barack Obama. The book came out Tuesday.
Generally, that means you can expect to see and hear Gordon all over PBS and NPR. Strangely, that has not been the case. No NPR coverage last week of the book. No come on The NewsHour for a discussion. Frontline loved to have him on in the past but now now. Charlie Rose? He has appeared 12 times in the last ten years on Rose's PBS and Coca Cola program. But he was no where to be found last week.
Did Gordon show up at the PBS office party loaded on booze with little Gordon hanging out of his fly?
No, he did something far worse than that.
He dared to criticize Barack -- the ultimate media faux pas.
If you're still not getting how awful the US news media is, let's look at 6 Tweets. One is from an online operation run on a shoe string (I don't mean that as an insult, I mean they've got no real budget and depend on donations) and one is from a conglomerate with billions to spare. Notice who focuses on what matters and who doesn't.
I'm choked! Laws against women in Irak! Where is the equaliy of Rights? Iraq: Don’t Legalize Marriage for 9-Year-Olds http://www.hrw.org/news/2014/03/11/iraq-don-t-legalize-marriage-9-year-olds …
Jaafari Personal Status draft law in Iraq is shameful-Iraq's international 'partners' should press govt to rescind it http://www.hrw.org/news/2014/03/11/iraq-don-t-legalize-marriage-9-year-olds …
The first four deal with real issues. Antiwar.com deals with a real issue.
Then comes MSNBC's Joy Reid. She wants to talk Iraq?
No, she wants to play partisan bulls**t.
Joy's so brave, isn't she, calling out Dick Cheney in 2014. What a brave little fountain of strength she is.
This is why MSNBC is worthless.
Joy, who isn't an idiot or an MSNBC hag, is capable of so much more and she could be amplifying this threat against Iraqi girls and Iraqi mothers (again, it strips custody rights from mothers).
But instead of helping, Joy thinks she's a comedian. Well, now that is funny.
Who gives a damn about Dick Cheney?
Joy Reid, who would rather use her voice to note him than take the time to amplify the needs of Iraqi women.
Again, the American media -- whether NPR, the talk shows of MSNBC or what have you -- is failing the people. It's failing the world.
For those who insist, "We can call out Condi and Dick Cheney and have time to cover what's happening in Iraq," then why haven't you? You seem to think you're tired and useless (stolen) observations about events from a decade ago are needed or wanted. No wonder your ratings are so low.
And what do you do when your flaws are pointed out?
Refuse to allow the criticism to be seen. Around 3:00 pm EST, Ann left a comment on the hideous Morning Edition 'report' and they refused to post it.
If you ever doubted Nouri al-Maliki's ability to lead, it's on full display right now. Tomorrow is the big terrorism conference that Brett McGurk's endlessly praised Nouri for. The State Dept's Brett has praised this effort to bring the region's countries together to address the issue.
But today comes the news that two won't be participating. NINA reports Qatar and Saudi Arabia have decided not to participate. This decision comes after Saturday's broadcast of Nouri al-Maliki's interview where he slammed Qatar and Saudi Arabia repeatedly. (See Saturday's "Nouri 'celebrates' International Women's Day" and "Iraq snapshot.")
He couldn't even keep his big mouth shut until after the conference.
Violence continued today in Iraq.
National Iraqi News Agency reports 2 people were shot dead in Mosul, a Mosul roadside bombing injured five bodyguards of Hussein Juma'a ("Adviser of the head of Hajj and Umrah"), 2 suicide bombers took their own lives in Mosul and the lives of 3 police members with four more police left injured, Joint Operations Command announced they killed 4 suspects outside Falluja, an Anbar incident left Major General Ali Ghazi al-Hashemi "shot in his left foot," a battle in Mosul left 1 fighter dead, another injured and 1 federal police member dead, security forces in Ramadi say they killed 4 suspects and wounded six more, and a Sadr City roadside bombing left 2 people dead and four more injured.
michael r. gordon
the daily beast
human rights watch