Saturday, September 20, 2014

Iraq snapshot

Saturday, September 20, 2014.  Chaos and violence continue, Moqtada al-Sadr's followers protest in Baghdad, former US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta voices disagreement with some of the administration's actions, Media Matters rushes in to whore and minimize Panetta's statements, NYT finds it hilarious that some Iraqis believe the Islamic State is a CIA creation, and much more.

Calling someone a "stupid ____" really isn't why this site exists.  IAVA had an important announcement and we ran it Friday evening  and I pushed back the snapshot to let that get attention (we'll also include it at the end of the snapshot) and in the hopes that I could do something other than call someone a "stupid ____."

Too bad.  It's been nearly 24 hours and I'm still with the reaction.

Former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta has joined former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates in criticizing US President Barack Obama's actions on Iraq.

Professional whore David Brock created Media Matters insisting it would be a media watchdog.  It's a media watchdog in the same sense that David Brock was a reporter in the 90s -- when he was making crap up and hiding the truth about Clarence Thomas.  For many on the center and on the left, there's been an awakening as to what an embarrassment Media Matters is and the reality there is there will be no employment for many after money stops propping the propaganda outlet up.

But to the stupid ___, Sophia Tesfaye writes for Media Matters about Panetta's remarks and right wing coverage of it:

But Baier failed to mention that the Iraqi government refused a deal to allow U.S. military forces to stay in Iraq. As the New York Times reported in 2011, "Iraqis were unwilling to accept" the terms of a Status of Forces Agreement to leave thousands of troops as a residual force. Fox News has repeatedly failed to mention this important detail.

You stupid ___.

We don't have time for your ignorance or your whoring or whatever it is.

We don't have time.

We can't afford you.

We don't have that luxury.

You're a stupid little ____ who's never done a moment's work in your life, get your lazy ass over to the Senate Armed Services Committee website.  Go the hearings archive.  Go to the hearing for November 15, 2011.

I've never streamed it.  I've never had to.  We were there.

Doing the damn work required.

This community covered that hearing in depth -- see the November 15th "Iraq snapshot," the November 16th "Iraq snapshot" -- excerpt below from the November 16th snapshot -- and the November 17th "Iraq snapshot" and Ava's "Scott Brown questions Panetta and Dempsey (Ava)," Wally's "The costs (Wally)" and Kat's "Who wanted what?" for real time coverage.

For those late to the party, this hearing was after Nouri's "no" to US troops.

Leon Panetta was one of the witnesses.  (As disclosed before I've known Leon for many years, decades.  I like Leon and consider him a friend.)

Do the work.

From that hearing and other coverage of that time period, Nouri al-Maliki -- then US-installed prime minister in Iraq -- said "no."

(This angered and surprised the White House which had installed him to a second term the year prior.)

Was it a hard "no."


Leon states in the hearing his confidence that they will come to an agreement, possibly in the next few months (January 2012 is what Leon thought) and this is agreed to/signed off by his co-witness Gen Martin Dempsey (Chair of the Joint-Chiefs of Staff).

Why could they be so confident?

Because the problem, as Senator John McCain, Senator Joe Lieberman and Senator Lindsey Graham note in the hearing, is a numbers problem.

It's not about any troops, it's about the number of troops.

This is backed up in reports and interviews over the years since which document and detail that keeping US troops in Iraq would require Iraqi officials taking a hit with the Iraqi people so they weren't willing to do it for a few thousand.  3,000 wasn't worth it to them.  They wanted 20,000 to 25,000.

Nouri and other officials would back that.  This was told to the White House, it was told to the State Dept, it was told to visiting members of Congress.

It wasn't told to the spin whores of Media Matters or, if it was, they were too busy lying about some other event in an attempt to spin it pretty for Barack.

Media Matters is an embarrassment for those of us on the left.

It repeatedly lies and misinforms.

In the early 90s, David Brock shot to fame as the piece of filth and human trash who attacked Anita Hill in print and told one lie after another about her.  He then proceeded to do the same with 'trooper gate' and other fake Clinton scandals.

He supposedly had an 'awakening' and changed as the 90s were drawing to an end.

No, he didn't.

All that happened was his hags -- ____ hags -- on the right made clear that they didn't consider him a real person because he was gay.  They considered him a freak and a mutation and they would tolerate him because he could 'dish' but that was it.

Realizing that no matter how many takedowns he did for the right, he'd always be trotting through the servants' entrance while the GOP's media blond brigade  entered through the front door, David started looking for a way to switch to the left where being gay is not seen (by most of us) as a big deal or strange or anything to hide.  He needed a hag, this is David Brock after all, and pill popping Naomi Wolf filled that role (as she has so very often in her sad little life).  She brought him over to the left, gave him a coming out party.

 But he hadn't changed.

He didn't think what he did was wrong.

Read the crap he wrote at the time -- first for Esquire and then in dull and plodding book.

He yammers away about how nice Hillary Clinton is or this person or that person.

I'm not disputing Hillary's nice.  She can be quite charming when she wants to be.

But what David Brock pre-'conversion' did was wrong.

Not wrong because sweet little Hillary didn't deserve mean things said about her.

When he was ready to convert, he turned it into personalities.

Which is probably why so many on my side (the left) bought into it.  We're not really encouraged to think and explore on the left.  The easiest way to switch sides in a game of Red Rover is to cozy up to personalities.

He doesn't atone or apologize or acknowledge that what he did wasn't journalism.  That should be the heart of his book and his Esquire article.  (Let's be really honest about that Esquire article because there's a myth that it let that issue of Esquire sell.  No, it did not.

And it shouldn't matter whether Hillary's sweet or mean.

Lying and spinning to help the GOP was wrong not because Hillary got hurt but because it was lying and spinning.

By failing to address that reality, by failing to address the real victims (which would be journalism, democracy and the American people, not Hillary who can and has handled bad press), David Brock was able to move over to the left and do the same thing he had done before but from the left.

And it has sullied us and it has dumbed us down.

We thought it was a way to win.  It's a losing strategy like so much that the Democratic Party pursues in the name of 'realism' -- don't you love how 'realism' is so 'real' that it requires lies and spin to support it.

It never should have happened.

The left should have told David Brock what Barbra Streisand's character declares in Up The Sandbox, "No, we do not have to become more like you, sir.  We only have to become more like ourselves."

Maybe then we'd fight for things that matter?

Maybe we'd be fighting to expand Social Security and Medicare and not forever attempting to keep it off the chopping blocks, not having to waste all our time lobbying 'our' senators and House representatives not to destroy the safety net.

We can't do that.

We can't fight for We The People when we're constantly using all of energies to prop up, lie for and excuse a corporatist War Hark like Barack Obama.

But that is what Media Matters does and that is what we've done on the left for the last six years.

And I largely ignore them.

They can whore for elections and I don't give a damn, they're useless to me (and actually useless to elections but we can discuss that another time).  But now they're bring the whoring to Iraq.

They need to scurry back to the sewer they stepped out of.

Sophia Tesfaye hypocritically slams some right-winger:

But Baier failed to mention that the Iraqi government refused a deal to allow U.S. military forces to stay in Iraq. As the New York Times reported in 2011, "Iraqis were unwilling to accept" the terms of a Status of Forces Agreement to leave thousands of troops as a residual force. Fox News has repeatedly failed to mention this important detail.

I don't give a damn what the New York Times reported in October 2011.

Not when Leon Panetta, the person in question, testified to Congress, after the 'no,' on November 15th:

Senator Joe Lieberman:  Let me, Secretary Panetta, pick up from that point. I've heard from friends in Iraq -- Iraqis -- that Prime Minister Maliki said at one point that he needed to stop the negotiations -- leave aside for one moment the reasons -- but he was prepared to begin negotiations again between two sovereign nations -- the US and Iraq -- about some troops being in Iraq after January 1st.  So that's what I've heard from there. But I want to ask you from the administration point of view. I know that Prime Minister Maliki is coming here in a few weeks to Washington. Is the administration planning to pursue further discussions with the Iraqi government about deploying at least some US forces in Iraq after the end of this year?

Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta: Senator, as I pointed out in my testimony, what we seek with Iraq is a normal relationship now and that does involve continuing negotiations with them as to what their needs are.  Uh, and I believe there will be continuing negotations.  We're in negotiations now with regards to the size of the security office that will be there and so there will be -- There aren't zero troops that are going to be there. We'll have, you know, hundreds that will be present by virtue of that office assuming we can work out an agreement there.  But I think that once we've completed the implementation of the security agreement that there will begin a series of negotiations about what exactly are additional areas where we can be of assistance? What level of trainers do they need? What can we do with regards to CT [Counter-Terrorism] operations? What will we do on exercises -- joint-exercises -- that work together?

No doubt like her wardrobe and mental faculties, Sophia's sources are limited and dated.

She slams some right-winger for leaving out something from October 2011 while she leaves out Leon's own pertinent statements made to Congress in November 2011.

I attended multiple Congressional hearings this week.  We only covered one here.  I might pick up one or two next week, might not.  The plan was to cover one in what was supposed to be Friday's snapshot.  But we can't do that when Media Matters -- and all it's crap ass 'ditto heads' online -- are spreading lies and falsehoods.

Now they do that every day and we usually look the other way.  But this is about Iraq.  And on Sunday, Leon Panetta's interview with 60 Minutes' Scott Pelley airs on CBS:

ISIS seized a third of Iraq that the U.S. secured with ten years of sacrifice. In an interview for 60 Minutes, Former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta said ISIS flourished because the U.S. got involved in Syria too late and left Iraq too soon. On the 47th season premiere Sunday, "60 Minutes" will report from Iraq and Syria on ISIS -- what it is, what it wants, and how to defeat it.

Now people can disagree with Leon's take (I sometimes do, I consider him a friend, not a guru or a shaman), but they need to have the facts right going in.

Media Matters isn't about facts.  David Brock learned (on the right) that he could influence the narrative and rally the mob by lying and spinning.  That's what Brock does now -- from the left.

To evaluate whether or not you agree with Leon's take on things, you need to know the basic facts.

Panetta's remarks to CBS News' 60 Minutes follow Robert Gates' remarks to CBS This Morning earlier this week (link is text and video) where Gates noted his belief that Barack's plan would require "boots on the ground if there's to be any hope of success in the strategy."  Gates also noted :

I'm also concerned that, the goal has been stated as degrade and destroy, or degrade and defeat ISIS," he said. "We've been at war with al Qaeda for 13 years. We have dealt them some terrible blows including the killing of Osama bin Laden. But I don't think anybody would say that after 13 years we've destroyed or defeated al Qaeda.

On the issue of US forces in Iraq, Jason Ditz ( reports:

We are going to increase a little bit,” Odierno said, though he declined to offer any details on the date or size of the new deployments. The Army chief also said he wouldn’t rule out having US special forces fighters embedded in Iraqi ground forces during combat.

While US Gen Ray Odierno thinks more US troops on the ground in Iraq is an answer, others disagree.  In Iraq earlier this week, cleric and movement leader Moqtada al-Sadr decried the notion.  He then left the country, reportedly for Lebanon. But his bloc in Parliament continues to back his call.  National Iraqi News Agency reports:

MP for the Ahrar bloc, Ali al-Shuayli said that " What we see in Iraq is the result of the remnants of the former American intervention in Iraq and its negative effects on society."
He told the National Iraqi News Agency / NINA / that any defect affects the security of Iraq and its security and military system was a result of US negative intervention and if it enters again to Iraq that means return back and this cannot be accepted. "
He added that "the Sadrist movement, as a national representative of Iraqis, cannot accept the entry of any foreign troops to Iraq or depend on the occupied states in the fight against terrorism," stressing that "the army and volunteers are able to end the Islamic State organization without the use of any foreign troops."  

And it's not just the members of Parliament.  Sadr followers turned out in full force today to protest US forces.

Alsumaria reports the followers see the US using the Islamic State (actually, they go with the pejorative of Da'ash) as a pretext to put more US troops on the ground in Iraq.

(Unlike many idiots on my side in the US, Sadr's followers were never stupid enough to believe the lie that all US troops left Iraq at the end of 2011.)

David D. Kirkpatrick (New York Times) wants to use the term 'conspiracy' so he 'reports' on the protests:

“We know about who made Daesh,” said Bahaa al-Araji, a deputy prime minister, using an Arabic shorthand for the Islamic State on Saturday at a demonstration called by the Shiite cleric Moktada al-Sadr to warn against the possible deployment of American ground troops. Mr. Sadr publicly blamed the C.I.A. for creating the Islamic State in a speech last week, and interviews suggested that most of the few thousand people at the demonstration, including dozens of members of Parliament, subscribed to the same theory. (Mr. Sadr is considered close to Iran, and the theory is popular there as well.)

It's not an Arabic shorthand, it's considered a slur.

And Kirkpatrick, like so many before him at the paper, is writing to refute the notion that the CIA was involved in the creation of the disturbance -- which Gore Vidal always pointed out should be read as a confirmation of CIA involvement.

Is Kirkpatrick with the CIA?

If he's not, why is he ridiculing the notion?

Because if he's not with the CIA, he really can't confirm anything, can he?

Despite its record of subversion and destruction throughout the world, the CIA has 'earned' the benefit of doubt?

I have no idea what the CIA did or did not do in Iraq.  But I'm not stupid enough to pretend they're an innocent body.  A lot of the left is because the basic stereotype has always been, FBI rightwing, CIA socialist-leaning.  And a lot of the left -- Gloria Steinem's only one example -- have worked with and taken money from the CIA.  That's why, for example, when Jean Seberg's noted, the FBI is ripped apart by the left.  When, in fact, Jean was destroyed by the CIA.  It was the CIA working with Newsweek (as it always did) in France that lied about Jean.

But a co-opted by the CIA left in this country has repeatedly lied that Jean lost her baby (and her grip) because of a Hollywood gossip columnist.  They have repeatedly removed Newsweek from the story, repeatedly failed to point out that the smear operation took place off US soil, they've done everything they can to cover and whore for the CIA.

We've covered Jean repeatedly here because she was a victim of the US government.  We'll drop back to the August 13, 2013 snapshot:

But the reality no one wants to talk about -- the reason Joyce Haber, a gossip columnist, is trashed and falsely made into the bad guy -- is because Jean's pregnancy resulted in the full weight of the US government being brought down on her, an American citizen.
The FBI passed a tip to Haber's editor who passed it to Haber without telling her where it came from but while vouching for the source.  (The editor, Bill Thomas, may not like that reality being know but the tip is in Joyce's files and it includes his handwritten note vouching for the source.)  Haber ran a blind item.  In May of 1970.  Not a big thing, Haber ran blind items all the time.  The only one really 'harmed' by the item was possibly Jane Fonda since the item could have described her in the minds of most Americans who knew she had lived in France and married a French man.  Jean Seberg was in many big films and a celebrity but her personal life was not as widely known (and followed) to the degree that Jane's was.  Even now, the events of Jane's day to day life are more widely known than that of most other actresses.  Jane's personal life has always resulted in the public's interest and the press' coverage.  Those who followed coverage of actresses in 1970 might also have concluded the item was about Barbara Hershey, Mia Farrow or some other actress identified with social causes.  But, again, for most Americans who read the blind item, the obvious choice would have been Jane Fonda because she was the biggest name and the most widely covered (and publicly active in the Native American Movement as well as in the Black Panther Movement).
Jean tries to take her life in August.  That's a result of Edward Behr and Newsweek.  Behr is the one who writes a 'report' for Newsweek in August that states Jean Seberg is pregnant by a Black Panther.  It's not a blind item: "She and French author Romain Gary, 56, are reportedly about to remarry even though the baby Jean expects in October is by another man -- a black activist she met in California."
And unlike Joyce Haber's blind item, Newsweek is all over the country and in public and school libraries including Jean's home state of Iowa where her parents live and where she's now branded an "adulteress."  And the Des Moines Register reports on the Newsweek item (they didn't on the Haber item).   Jean was not embarrassed that the world would think she was having a child by an African-American male -- a point that is often missed.  (And the man was actually Latino -- and not a Black Panther or an American -- or in America.)  She was not even thinking, "This will destroy my career!"  She was appalled that her personal life was being exposed to the world and specifically to members of her hometown and to her parents.  Adulteress.  I've been called far worse but I don't give a s**t and never have.  Jean didn't splash her personal life in the papers.  And being called (the judgmental) term of "adulteress" in 1970 could bring shame to someone's family.
There was no reason for Edward Behr to print that.  First off, it wasn't true.  (The father was an activist in Mexico.) Second, true or not, Romain was publicly the child's father and Newsweek and Behr had no business stepping into that issue -- there is such a thing as right to privacy and there was no 'right to know' or 'need to know' with regards to who the father of her baby was.
And Romain Gary sued Newsweek and wrote "The Big Knife" for France-Soir blaming Newsweek for the death of the child.
How does this get missed?
Because Jean wasn't just targeted by the FBI.  That's the little secret that leads to the lies of "It's Joyce Harber!"  Behr and Newsweek were doing the bidding of the CIA.  Newsweek frequently did the bidding of the CIA -- a reason so many of us don't give a damn if that piece of trash publication goes down the toilet.  Behr was in France.  The CIA ran the smear operation against Jean overseas, not the FBI.

I'm not going to whore like the rest of the US left or pretend today that the CIA was 'working for the same side' (as I believe Gloria Steinem once idiotically stated to justify her early employment with the CIA).

The CIA has a long history of backing 'rebels' and they did back, train and supply the 'rebels' in Syria that the Islamic State hails from.

Sadrist -- and others -- have every reason to wonder if the CIA is involved in the creation of the Islamic State based on the CIA's own history which is instigating trouble in one region after another -- by intent, not by accident.

National Iraqi News Agency reports "thousands" turned out to demonstrate in Baghdad's Tahrir Square and that "demonstrators raised slogans demanding the US and foreign States not to intervene in the country under the pretext of fighting the terrorists of the Islamic State organization, and do not return American troops to the country, and reject all forms of foreign interference."

Kirkpatrick, for all his problems, at least notes the demonstration.  So much US press doesn't.

What we get is violence.

We'll note Margaret Griffis ( counts 71 dead and eighty-six injured in violence on Friday.

Margaret's made the violence her beat for some time and I'm not insulting her for that.

I am, however, insulting the press which can only stop reporting violence briefly to note, as Faith Karimi and Talia Kayali (CNN) do, that approximately 49 Turkish hostages were released by the Islamic State.  The Saturday edition of NBC's Today broke from incestuous self-coverage (covering the illness of your own family members really is an abuse of a news outlet) to note the release.

But was it Barack who said that the solution would be political and not military?

I believe it was.

I believe we even agreed with him here on that and applauded him for it.

I believe he's gone on to repeat that.  I believe Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel quoted Barack to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on just that statement -- just this week.

So why doesn't the press make the political issues in Iraq the focus of coverage?

If it matters that much -- and I happen to agree that it does -- why doesn't the press cover it like it matters?

The Parliament met again today.

They still didn't vote in a Minister of Defense or Minister of Interior.

For David Kirkpatrick, that's a detail to bury in paragraph six of his report or 'report;'

The Parliament has not yet confirmed nominees for the crucial posts of interior or defense minister, in part because of discord between Sunni and Shiite factions, and the Iraqi news media has reported that it may be more than a month before the posts are filled.

This is bull____.  Whether you support increased war on Iraq (I don't) or not, the bulk of Americans (and people in other countries sending forces, weapons or taking part in bombings) should be able to agree that a Parliament that cannot vote in people to head the security ministries is not demonstrating they deserve assistance.

This nominee has b.o. or this one has buck teeth or whatever.

It doesn't really matter.  You need to fill those posts.

You should have filled them before declaring someone prime minister.

That's what the Iraqi Constitution says.

So once again the Parliament is ignoring the Constitution.

When they did in 2010, Nouri nominated people to fill the security posts when?


He never did.

He went his whole term with those posts empty.

He should have been impeached for that.

At least the new prime minister, Haider al-Abadi, has nominated two people for the posts.  The Parliament just refuses to confirm them.

This is a story, this is a major news story by the definitions for success that Barack Obama has provided.  So why won't the American press treat it as a serious news topic and not an aside?

I've slammed Jamie Taraby many times here.  Applause and praise to her for treating this and political issues in Iraq as real news topics in her report at Al Jazeera America.  Credit to her for taking the issue seriously -- especially when she's pretty much the only one doing so.

Today, Susan notes "Obituary: Polly Bergen" (On the Edge).  Thursday, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America issued the following:

IAVA Responds to VA Whistleblower’s Testimony
Posted by Kaitlin Ramlogan on September 18

IAVA Responds to VA Whistleblower’s Testimony 

New York, NY (September 18, 2014) – Yesterday, whistleblower Dr. Sam Foote blasted the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Office of Inspector General (OIG) Aug. 26 report on scheduling manipulation and patient deaths at the Phoenix VA during a hearing before the House Veterans Affairs Committee (HVAC). VA Secretary Robert McDonald and Acting Inspector General Richard J. Griffin also testified before the committee.

The hearing was held one day after the House of Representatives unanimously passed several key pieces of legislation to improve the lives of veterans and their families. The bills passed Tuesday included reforms to VA construction projects, the extension of numerous critical veterans programs, and a cost-of-living adjustment for disabled veterans and their dependents.

Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) CEO and Founder Paul Rieckhoff, in San Francisco meeting with post-9/11 veterans, released the following statement:

“We thank Chairman Miller and HVAC for scrutinizing the latest OIG report on the Phoenix VA’s wait times and scheduling practices. Yesterday's hearing yet again shows how little we know about the scope of corruption and wrongdoing within the VA nationwide. Our community continues to be extremely discouraged with the report’s findings. There must be real accountability established and enforced within the VA, starting with those guilty of misconduct being identified and promptly removed from VA service.

Additionally, practical policy guidelines need to be established, disseminated and enforced, and 21st century technological updates need to be implemented. Secretary McDonald is in a position to change the course of veteran health care, we are looking to him to continue the strong leadership he has already established during his short time in office and lead this needed reform effort.”

Note to media: To schedule an interview with IAVA CEO and Founder Paul Rieckhoff email or call 212-982-9699.

Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America ( is the nation's first and largest nonpartisan, nonprofit organization representing veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan and has nearly 300,000 Member Veterans and civilian supporters nationwide. Celebrating its 10th year anniversary, IAVA recently received the highest rating - four-stars - from Charity Navigator, America's largest charity evaluator.