Saturday, October 25, 2014

Iraq snapshot

Saturday, October 25, 2014.  Chaos and violence continue, a US Marine is killed in Baghdad, thug Nouri tries to push through legislation destroying the right to protest, judgments on new prime minister Haider al-Haidi are forming, were chemical weapons used in Iraq recently, and much more.

The numbers on Barack Obama's kill list just keep growing.  Add another American to the list.

Yesterday, the Defense Dept released the following:


Release No: NR-539-14
October 24, 2014

DoD Identifies Marine Casualty

  The Department of Defense announced today the death of a Marine who was supporting Operation Inherent Resolve.

Lance Cpl. Sean P. Neal, 19, of Riverside, California, died Oct. 23, in Baghdad, Iraq, from a non-combat related incident. The incident is under investigation.

He was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force - Crisis Response - Central Command, whose headquarters element deploys from Camp Pendleton, California.
For more information, media may contact the I Marine Expeditionary Force Public Affairs Office at (760) 763-7039 or after hours at (760) 207-5865.

Well, of course, he didn't die in combat.  Hasn't US President Obama insisted US troops would not see combat in Iraq?  And hasn't the press gone along with that lie?

However he died in Baghdad, Lance Cpl Sean P. Neal died in Baghdad.

And Barack's the one who sent him there.

Hey, hey, BHO, how many people did you bury below?

Barack sent Neal and many others into Iraq.

Any deaths are on Barack's hands.

Hey, hey, BHO, how many people did you bury below?

And the deaths of Iraqis are on his hands as well.

Especially the ones killed by Iraqi forces.

Barack hopped in bed with previous prime minister Nouri al-Maliki and is in bed with current prime minister Haider al-Hadi.  Under both, civilians have been terrorized by Iraqi forces throughout Iraq.

This includes, but is not limited to, the ongoing bombing of Falluja's residential neighborhoods -- a legally defined War Crime.  One that has been taking place since January of this year.

Hey, hey, BHO, how many people did you bury below?

Will this awaken the so-called peace 'leaders' in the United States?

Or will they continue to direct their outrage at Bully Boy Bush -- a man who left the White House in January 2009?

Maybe they'll continue to obsess over Hillary Clinton?

Anything to avoid growing the hell up and calling out the person running the wars today.

Lance Cpl Sean P. Neal's death is on Barack's hands but never forget CodePink, Win Without War and so many other fake ass organizations are culpable in Neal's death and the deaths of so many Iraqis.

Hey, hey, BHO, how many people did you bury below?

Reason notes US Secretary of State John Kerry has declared he's looking into "extremely serious" charges "that IS [Islamic State] attacked Iraqi police officers with chlorine gas last month."  Mohammed Shafiq (Alsumaria) adds that Kerry stressed the allegations had not been confirmed.

The issue was also raised in Friday's US State Dept press briefing moderated by spokesperson Jen Psaki.

QUESTION: I know that the --

MS. PSAKI: Go ahead, Roz.

QUESTION: -- Secretary was asked about the reported chlorine attack against Iraqi forces in the past month. Is there any thinking in this building or in consultation with the Pentagon about how this affects the way that the coalition tries to deal with ISIL fighters? Does this change the strategy? Does this change the training of Iraqi forces to deal with any sort of NBC attack – nuclear, biological, chemical?

MS. PSAKI: That’s a good question, Roz. I think the most appropriate place to pose it is probably to the Pentagon. Not that I have been briefed on. As you – the Secretary noted this morning, we’re certainly aware of the alleged attacks. We take them very seriously, as we do any allegations. We can’t confirm the details. We’re seeking additional information. Obviously, the use of chlorine as a chemical weapon is an abhorrent act. In terms of what it would in term – of training, I would point you to my colleagues at the Pentagon.

Qassim Abdul-zahra (AP) writes, "The use of chlorine gas as a weapon adds a new concern to the turmoil in the country."

For reals?

The US government is responsible for birth defects in Iraq resulting from the illegal use of White Phosphorus, depleted uranium and other substances.  At Global Research this month, Dahr Jamail noted:

Contamination from depleted uranium (DU) munitions is causing sharp rises in congenital birth defects, cancer cases and other illnesses throughout much of Iraq, according to numerous Iraqi doctors.
Iraqi doctors and prominent scientists believe that DU contamination is also connected to the emergence of diseases that were not previously seen in Iraq, such as new illnesses in the kidney, lungs and liver, as well as total immune system collapse. DU contamination may also be connected to the steep rise in leukaemia, renal and anaemia cases, especially among children, being reported throughout many Iraqi governorates.
There has also been a dramatic jump in miscarriages and premature births among Iraqi women, particularly in areas where heavy US military operations occurred, such as Fallujah during 2004, and Basra during the 1991 US war on Iraq.

It is estimated that the United States used 350 tons of DU munitions in Iraq during the 1991 war, and 1,200 tons during its 2003 invasion and subsequent occupation.

Earlier this month, Amabedl Karoub (Michigan Daily) reported on a public presentation on this issue:

Muhsin Al-Sabbak, a physician at Iraq’s Basra Maternity Hospital, and Mozhgan Savabieasfahani, an environmental toxicologist who resides in Ann Arbor, presented a one-hour lecture centered on their research, which links the increase in congenital birth defects in Iraq over the last two decades to the use of U.S. and coalitions force weapons there.
Al-Sabbak referenced his study that found a 17-fold increase in children with birth defects between the years 1995 and 2003, a jump from 1.37 birth defects per 1,000 children to 23 per 1,000. By 2008, the number had increased to 48 per 1000, and in 2014 it was 37 per 1000.

Savabieasfahani attributed the spike to an increase in pollutants caused by U.S. weapons and the presence of military bases.

Thomas Gaist (WSWS) spoke with Muhsin al-Sabbak:

“Birth anomaly rates will likely continue to rise,” Al Sabbak told the WSWS.
“Another assault is coming to Iraq, by both ISIS and those who created ISIS. More fighting will increase toxicity levels in the population,” he added. The well-documented support of the US and its allies for armed Islamist militias like the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria in the war for regime change in Syria has been followed by the use of ISIS’s spread across Iraq as the justification for another imperialist war in the region.
“I am not even political,” Al Sabbak added. “I just want to reverse the spread of this catastrophe. I am tired of hearing mothers ask whether they should even try to have another child, and not knowing the answer myself.”

Dr. Al Sabbak is visiting the US as part of an effort to bring to the attention of both the US scientific community as well as the broader public the horrific impact of decades of US war in terms of the surge of genetic anomalies and disease in Basra. He cited data showing that the Iraqi city experienced a 17-fold increase in child birth defects between 1995 and 2003.

Though the US government yet again mounts the high horse, there's no higher ground for them to scramble to.  If the Islamic State used chemical weapons -- if -- they've yet to use them on the scale that the US government has.

But the Iraqi government, the new Iraqi government, surely they have some ethical ground to stand on.

: احد الجرحى الذين اصيبوا جراء القصف العشوائي المتعمد من قبل الجيش الحكومي على منازل المدنيين في الفلوجة. 

Is the new government's ethical ground embedded in the wounds of that child?

It was Iraqi forces that left that child wounded this week.

The child's crime?

Living in Falluja.

The Iraqi forces began bombing residential neighborhoods in January of this year.  This is "collective punishment" and it's a legally defined War Crime, recognized as such by the international community and, yes, by the United States government.

When Nouri al-Maliki began it, the US turned a blind eye and unofficially took the position of being-a-bystander-means-we-can-stay-silent.  They weren't a bystander, the US government was supplying Nouri with weapons -- weapons he used on the Iraqi people.

But now Haider al-Abadi is prime minister and now the US government has sent the US military into Iraq to aid and assist the Iraqi military.  That makes the White House complicit in War Crimes.

And the continuation of Iraqi forces targeting -- killing and wounding -- Iraqi civilians for the 'crime' of living in Falluja gives the Iraqi government little higher ground to take to and finger point from.

September 13th, Haider declared these attacks were over.

They didn't stop.

Nouri al-Maliki brought in Shi'ite militias and these militias, still loyal to Nouri, refuse to follow Haider's orders.

That's a reality the western press has attempted to ignore.

On the new prime minister, Gulf News argues:

Haider Al Abadi has not started well in his tenure as the new Prime Minister of Iraq. It has been just over six weeks since he was appointed and his cabinet is an unfortunate gathering of the same old faces. There is no sense of any new inclusive spirit, which was hoped would replace Nouri Al Malilki’s legacy of a country torn apart by sectarian violence with Sunnis facing discrimination, arbitrary arrests and violent crackdowns by government forces supported by Shiite militias.

US President Barack Obama was grasping at straws when he gave Iraq’s new leader a ringing endorsement after they first met in September and he described Al Abadi as “the right person” to lead Iraq as it was under attack by the militants of Daesh (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant). Obama was speaking of his hopes and not the reality when he went so far as to say that Al Abadi had “reached out systematically to all the people of Iraq”. 

The time was always limited, the brief chance for Haider al-Abadi to demonstrate that he was different from Nouri al-Maliki.  Instead of expending efforts to help him do that, Barack has focused all efforts on attacks that do nothing to stem the reasons for the popularity (or at least acceptability) of the Islamic State.  The only thing that stops the Islamic State, is pulling the reasons for their existence.  They represent one of the few responses to the targeting of Sunnis in Iraq (as well as Syria but our focus is Iraq).

For four long years, Nouri was allowed to target the Sunnis.  He was allowed to kill Sunni politicians and get away with it, he was allowed to attack their homes, to have their homes surrounded by tanks.  And this was what he did to the elected Sunni leaders.  What he did to the average Sunni was far worse.

And this is what created an environment in which the Islamic State could publicly walk into knowing that many Iraqis would either welcome them or stay silent because there was no other defense for the Sunnis in Iraq.

Nouri's forces illegally arrested them.  That's illegal due to a lack of arrest warrant but it also goes to if Nouri wanted Sunni X arrested and his forces showed up at Sunni X's home and Sunni X was not present, Nouri's thugs grabbed the wife, or mother, or father, or child, or grandparent, or sibling.

And these grabbed persons were then tossed in jails and prisons.

Despite no arrest warrant and despite being charged with nothing, they rotted in jails and prisons.

This is what Nouri got away with.  This is what whores like Jane Arraf stayed silent about.  This is what the White House was willing to go along with.

For four years.

The Islamic State did not spring up overnight.

And Barack can bomb forever and a day and that will not change a damn thing in Iraq, not for the better.

You want to end the Islamic State?  Pull the reasons which support their very existence.

There was a chance to do that with a new prime minister, if the prime minister acted quickly and made a few grand gestures.

Instead, Haider's done damn little.

Again, the most important thing he could do write now is publicly appeal the (illegal) conviction of former Iraq Vice President (from 2006 to this year) Tareq al-Hashemi.  He could note that no trial should have taken place because, as a member of Parliament, al-Hashemi had immunity.  (To be tried, the Iraqi Constitution requires Parliament strip him of his immunity first.)  He could note that before the trial started, the Baghdad judges held a press conference announcing Tareq's guilt.  He could point out that one of Tareq's bodyguards was tortured to death by Nouri's forces (and, up to his death, refused to lie and claim Tareq was guilty).  He has a whole host of reasons to call for the conviction to be overturned or ignored, he can also issue a pardon to put the matter rest.

That would be a grand gesture.

And grand gestures were needed over a month ago.

Now, with Haider seen as so ineffectual, grand gestures are required for the Sunni population to believe there's a chance that their new prime minister really does believe in an inclusive government.

The alternative to a political solution?

More of the same nonsense Barack tries to pass off as a plan.

Arab News notes:

US and allied aircraft have flown nearly 6,600 sorties in the air war against the IS group and dropped more than 1,700 bombs, the American military said Thursday.
The flights for “Operation Inherent Resolve” include thousands of mid-air fueling runs, surveillance sorties and 632 air strikes in Iraq and Syria, according to US Central Command.

And it's done nothing, if people are honest.  The bombing has accomplished nothing.  The Journal of Turkish Weekly quotes US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel declaring Thursday, "We believe that our strategy is working. There will be mixed and various outcomes daily. But this is not a daily measurement; this is an overall, strategic, longer term measurement of how well they’re doing."

While Hagel may be confident, others pointedly are not.  Iraq Times notes that the US forces have been carrying out air strikes for over two months now and that doubts are growing about both how effective these efforts and how serious they are as well.  The paper notes this week's drop of weapons to security forces with one of those drops landing in the hands of the Islamic State and the US government's efforts to spin and lie about it.  The paper also notes the lack of end date on the part of the US government and statements that it could last years or decades which do not inspire confidence and suggest a kind of meandering, try-anything approach to the 'effort.'

Why are people joining up or supporting the Islamic State?  Kjell Anderson (Arab News) explores the possibilities while reminding, "It is satisfying, but ultimately misleading, to believe that perpetrators possess certain inborn pathological traits. Rather, their motivations are not so different from our own: The desire for community, respect, and security, and the fear of standing apart from the crowd."  A basic reality on the topic is noted in Alice Fordham's report for Morning Edition (NPR, link is text and audio) from Abu Ghraib:

The Islamic State may be unpopular among many local residents, but so too is the Iraqi Army. The Iraqi military is being supported by the United States, but it's not winning over all the local people.
"They put military garrisons among us, they stormed our house in the night. Who gave them permission?" says a furious Khadouja Sihel, a local resident.
Her daughter is with her, plump and pretty in pink lipstick, carrying a tray of eggs.

Ignoring the soldiers standing a few feet away, Sihel says, "I've got seven daughters, and they harass them in a filthy way. Why are they doing this? Aren't we Iraqis like them?"

Abu Ghraib is not just an area outside of Baghdad, it is also home to an infamous torture prison -- run first by former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and then later by the US government.  It's the second manager that's in the news.  Danny Biederman and Noel Brinkerhoff ( report:

  A federal judge has given the Obama administration less than two months to explain in detail why 2,100 photographs depicting torture by U.S. agents and others should be kept hidden from public view.

A deadline of December 12 was set by Judge Alvin Hellerstein in the aftermath of his ruling (pdf), in August, denying the government’s claim that it is legally allowed to bar release of the photos. Those images are reportedly of detainees tortured at the infamous Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq and at other U.S. detention centers during the George W. Bush administration.

In other news, rabid dog Nouri al-Maliki may be out of the prime minister post but he remains in the presidential palace refusing to leave and he continues his efforts to strip Iraqi citizens of their rights.  A rabid dog, if not put down, at least needs to be caged behind bars (for life) or run out of the country.  Sadly, Nouri's been made one of Iraq's three vice presidents instead.  In that post and as a member of Parliament, Thug Nouri is attempting to continue his attacks on protesters.  Al Mada notes he's reintroduced his October 2012 bill insisting that protests in Iraq should be of limited duration.  Such a move would impact continuous protests -- like those against Nouri which kicked off in December 2012 and ran through January 2014.  The bill specifically targets civil disobedience such as sit-ins and hunger strikes.  Al Mada explains that people are also concerned about the wording in the bill such as demonstrations must meet "public morals" and how these loose words go undefined as does the issue of who would determine this and how.

It's interesting that this bill is even being discussed.  It was introduced in October 2012.  It died in the previous Parliament.  Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has not sent the bill to the Parliament.

Yet when thug Nouri was prime minister, he repeatedly stated -- and a whorish western press backed him up -- that only his Cabinet had the authority to write and introduce bills.

He lied, and the whorish press backed him up, that Parliament couldn't write or introduce bills, they could only vote on bills that were introduced to them by the Prime Minister and Cabinet.

It was a lie.

I'm not a liar.

I won't now say, "Nouri can't do this!"

Of course he can.

Any member of Parliament can introduce a bill.

But, unlike Thug Nouri and the whorish western press, I said that when Nouri was prime minister.

Nouri's a thug and a liar and belongs behind bars.  I'm sure the rumors of his sexually transmitted disease are just rumors but they are also understandable on Arabic social media because he is a vile and disgusting man who has harmed and killed thousands, so it's only natural people would wish he would be plagued with a disease.

Meanwhile, when not playing Inspector Clouseau as Chemical Inspector, John Kerry likes to do meet-ups.  Friday, he and US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel met with the Republic of Korea's Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se and Minister of National Defense Han Min-koo in DC and, following the meeting, issued a statement which included:

Acknowledging the grave humanitarian situation in Iraq, the Ministers reaffirmed their commitment to assisting the people of Iraq against the threat of ISIL and Foreign Terrorist Fighters. The United States thanked the ROK for its recent commitment of an additional $4 million in humanitarian assistance to Iraq. Both countries condemned the brutality of ISIL, underscoring that their actions violate the basic norms of humanity and civilization, and expressed their support for the international community fighting against the threat of ISIL. 

Lastly, David Bacon's latest book is The Right to Stay Home: How US Policy Drives Mexican Migration. We'll close with this from Bacon's "CENTRAL AMERICAN CHILDREN WILL CHANGE US - Part 1" (Social Policy):

"When I heard Father Romero was killed I began to weep," Bishop Bobadilla told me.  "I saw that the forces of evil had won. He wanted change, but not through violence.  The bitter truth today, though, is that in Guatemala we are still living the legacy of that violence."
Rodolfo Bobadilla was the bishop in Huehuetenango when I last saw him.  During the civil war he'd been a hero to poor Guatemalans in the indigenous Qanjobal and Mam towns where the worst massacres took place.  He was a friend of Archbishop Oscar Arnulfo Romero in San Salvador, when Romero headed the church at the beginning of El Salvador's civil war.  When Romero denounced the death squads and called on soldiers not to obey orders to violate human rights, members of the U.S.-trained Atlacatl Battalion charged into a hospital chapel where he was celebrating mass, and gunned him down.   

  • [Today's date corrected on snapshot.]