Saturday, January 11, 2014

Flurry of talks as Anbar assault continues

Clashes continued today in Falluja.  Nouri's air bombings killed 3 people in Ramadi with seven more injured. Anbar's Dept of Health announces that 60 people have been killed and 297 injured since the campaign against Anbar started. Iraq Times reports Anbar's Human Rights counts  73 people dead in the 10 days of the assault (21 were children, 13 were women) and 297 injured (155 were women and children).

And if you aren't getting how out of control Nouri is, Kitabat reports there are 40 MPs Nouri wants the judiciary to charge and right now the judiciary is considering imposing a travel band on these 40 MPs to ensure they are unable to leave Iraq.

Nouri's madness is leading to a flurry of meetings.

Ayad Allawi posted the photo above of his meeting with Stephanie Duhaime today in Baghdad.  She's Canada's Charge D'Affaires in Iraq, top diplomat.  All Iraq News notes the two discussed "the political and security situations in Iraq."   NINA adds that Allawi also met "with religious authority, Seid Hussein Ismail al-Sadr" today.

Other meet-ups today?  NINA reports Speaker of Parliament Osama al-Nujaifi met with Chaldean Patriarch Louis Sako and the two agreed on the need for dialogue to resolve the conflicts.  Mohammad Sabah (Al Mada) reports US Vice President Joe Biden has personally asked al-Nujaifi to enter into a series of dialogues to resolve the issues.  Sabah also notes the US State Dept's Brett McGurk is meeting with various officials.

NINA reports McGurk went to the KRG today and met with KRG President Massoud Barzani.  McGurk met with the head of the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq Ammar al-Hakim.  All Iraq News reports Barzani endorsed Hakim's plan for Anbar.  Al Mada notes that is is hoped that the Kurds, who are not involved in the current conflict, will be able to act as mediators.  NINA reports:

Kurdistan leader Massoud Barzani expressed concern over the political and security situation in Iraq, especially what is happening in Anbar province.
He stressed that "the current situation is the result of the previous accumulation and it was better for the government to deal with these problems in a more rational manner.
A statement by the presidency of the Kurdistan Region, said that Barzani met at the resort of Salahuddin the consuls and representatives of foreign diplomatic corps in the Kurdistan region.
Barzani outlined that there is a dangerous situation in Anbar province, and is likely to move to other Iraqi provinces, and dealing with the situation by force could exacerbate the problems, it has been on the federal government have to respond to the demands of the people and respect them and blocks the road to the risk of turning the war on terror into a sectarian war between Sunnis and Shiites
On the relations between Erbil and Baghdad , Barzani declared that the Kurdistan Region welcomes a solution to the problem of oil and gas, and Article 140 of the Peshmerga and all other problems and that visits and delegations of both parties would continue."

The Iraq Times reports Nouri is using his US-face time to press for a third term and to get the US government to back him on it while Alsumaria notes that there is a growing cry that Nouri is the brains behind al Qaeda in Iraq.

The following community sites -- plus Tavis Smiley, Jody Watley, Jake Tapper,, PBS' The NewsHour and the Pacifica Evening News  -- updated last night and today:

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  • The e-mail address for this site is


    iraq iraq iraq iraq iraq iraq

    I Hate The War

    Earlier today we reposted two items on Iraq:

  • Iraq War encouraged growth of al Qaeda (Simon Assa...
  • International meeting to seek justice for Iraq (Jo...

  • A few wonder about Simon Assaf's analysis.  You don't have to agree with it.  It's certainly in conflict with some of what I've offered here all week.  It's an analysis from the left.

    Deborah Amos joined Scott Simon (Weekend Edition, NPR -- link is audio and text) to offer analysis from the mushy center.  You can refer to that which I agree with even less.  Tomorrow on Fareed Zakaria GPS (CNN), Fareed will host a roundtable:

    On GPS this Sunday: Amid an intensification of violence in Iraq, Fareed looks at what went wrong. Is it mostly Washington's fault, or does it have more to do with the region's history? A panel including Council on Foreign Relations President Richard Haass, Columbia University Prof. Rashid Khalidi, former Deputy National Security Adviser for Iraq and Afghanistan Meghan O'Sullivan and CNN security analyst Peter Bergen discuss what could have been done differently.

    Someone that I rarely agree with is Stephen Zunes who has a column for the Santa Cruz Sentinel:

    The tragic upsurge of violence in Iraq in recent months, including the takeover of sections of two major Iraqi cities by al-Qaida affiliates, is a direct consequence of the repression of peaceful dissent by the U.S.-backed government in Baghdad and, ultimately, of the 2003 U.S. invasion and occupation.
    At the end of December, Iraqi forces violently attacked a protest camp on the outskirts of Ramadi, killing 17 people. Human Rights Watch noted how the government's raid "seemed intended more to provoke violence than prevent it." Indeed, al-Qaida, despite lack of popular support even within the Sunni heartland, was able to take advantage of public anger at the crackdown to launch their unprecedented assaults on major urban centers in the Anbar province. The Obama administration has responded by expediting additional military aid to the repressive Baghdad regime.

    This was the fifth major incident during 2013 in which security forces fired upon and killed peaceful protesters. A recent Amnesty International report noted how, during the past year, thousands of Iraqis were detained without credible charges, hundreds were sentenced to death or long prison terms after unfair trials, and "torture and other ill-treatment of detainees remained rife and were committed with impunity." Even parliamentarians are not immune from imprisonment on dubious charges and extrajudicial killings have made Iraq the second most deadly country in the world for journalists.

    On the lead up to the current tragedy, Zunes got it right.  One of the few to do so.

    I call out propagandists (Dan Murphy) but if people disagree and can back up their points factually, it doesn't really bother me.

    And you can learn a lot about where you stand on an issue by bouncing your views of someone else, someone with a different opinion.

    It's over, I'm done writing songs about love
    There's a war going on
    So I'm holding my gun with a strap and a glove
    And I'm writing a song about war
    And it goes
    Na na na na na na na
    I hate the war
    Na na na na na na na
    I hate the war
    Na na na na na na na
    I hate the war
    Oh oh oh oh
    -- "I Hate The War" (written by Greg Goldberg, on The Ballet's Mattachine!)

    The number of US service members the Dept of Defense states died in the Iraq War is [PDF format warning] 4489.

    The e-mail address for this site is


    iraq iraq iraq iraq iraq iraq

    Some of the ongoing violence

    National Iraqi News Agency reports 1 man was shot dead in Nasiriyah, police "Maj. Yassin Taha" was shot dead in Aneh, a Mousl roadside bombing killed 2 Iraqi soldiers, a Kirkuk mortar attack left five Iraqi soldiers wounded, 1 police officer was shot dead in Mosul and another was left injured, a Kan'an home invasion left one person injured, and a Kut bombing claimed the life of 1 police member and left three other people injured.  All Iraq News adds a police member and his wife were shot dead in Shurqat, and they quote Secretary General Abdulla Ajel al-Yawer explaining a Mosul home invasion, ''The armed groups were disguising in police uniforms raided the house of the woman and handcuffed her brother preparing to kill him, when the woman discovered that the armed groups are not within police or army forces started shooting at them by a weapon which was in her house. The woman, who belongs to Shammar tribe, killed one of the gunmen and wounded another.  'The armed clashes continued till the woman was killed."

    Through yesterday, Iraq Body Count counts 348 violent deaths in Iraq so far this month.

    That's in eleven days. 348 deaths.  And it's an undercount because most of the deaths reported leave out the attacks on Anbar by Nouri's forces.

    If you look at today's violence, you may notice that none of te above is Ramadi or Falluja.  We said, before this assault started, that it would only add to the violence because the violence throughout Iraq would continue and it has.

    The e-mail address for this site is

    iraq iraq iraq iraq iraq iraq

    Iraq War encouraged growth of al Qaeda (Simon Assaf)

    Repost from Great Britain's Socialist Worker:

    US intervention in Iraq encouraged growth of Al Qaida

    by Simon Assaf

    The US is sending advanced weapons to the Iraqi government to help crush a growing rebellion in Anbar province in the west of the country. Anbar was a centre of the resistance against the 2003-2011 US occupation.

    The rebellion began when the Iraqi state used violence to break up peaceful protest camps in Fallujah and Ramadi—originally inspired by the Arab Spring. Protesters were demanding the end of marginalisation and discrimination of Sunni Muslims by the Shia dominated sectarian government of Nouri al-Maliki.

    Maliki is also a key supporter of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad. The attack on the camps triggered armed confrontations with locals and the tribes, many of whom are connected to the Awakening movement. 

    The Awakening movement was originally part of the resistance to the US. But it switched sides during the occupation to drive out Islamist fighters loyal to Al Qaida.


    Following last week’s armed confrontations between the army and the tribes, a resurgent Al Qaida marched into the Anbar cities. This triggered a three-way battle with the state and the Awakening movement.
    The Al Qaida group is known both as Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

    The battle has spilled over into Syria, with confrontations between the Al Qaida dominated groups and the mainstream Islamist and revolutionary forces. Over the past year fighters linked to ISIS have tried to hijack the Syrian revolution. 

    They have abolished the popular councils that grew out of the uprising, launched sectarian attacks against minorities, and murdered secular opposition leaders.

    The retreat of the revolutionary wave underpins the growing complexity and fracturing of the rebellion in Iraq and the uprising in Syria. It now pits competing regional interests and powers against each other, against the regime and against surviving revolutionary forces.

    International meeting to seek justice for Iraq (John Catalinotto)

    Repost from Workers World:

    International meeting to seek justice for Iraq

    By on January 10, 2014

    An increase in deaths in Iraq from internal fighting and bombing doubled in 2013 from a year earlier, reaching levels unseen since 2008. In early January, the Nouri al-Maliki regime launched an attack on demonstrators in Falluja and Ramadi, using the alleged presence of al-Qaida as a pretext and asking for U.S. military aid.

    It is more than appropriate now for those who opposed the 2003 invasion to fight for reparation payments from the war criminals who invaded and occupied Iraq. The following notice from the Bertrand Russell Tribunal explains what is being done to accomplish this. In the U.S., the International Action Center is supporting this effort, as are others.

    “The International Association of Democratic Lawyers, a nongovernmental organization having consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council, will hold its 18th Congress in Brussels, Belgium, April 15-19, 2014. This Congress will be the number one meeting, networking and exchange opportunity for hundreds of legal activists throughout the world.

    “Two days of this Congress will be dedicated to several commissions on topics and themes in which legal activists worldwide are involved. In partnership with IADL the BRussells Tribunal will organize a commission on April 16-17 about ‘Accountability and Justice for Iraq.’

    “The aggression against Iraq, launched by the ‘Coalition of the Willing,’ under the command of the U.S. and Britain, was not just immoral, it was properly illegal and fits the Nuremberg definition of a Crime against Peace. Such a war should have its legal consequences for the aggressors and rights for the victims under international law.

    “To date, no official has been brought to justice for war crimes, crimes against humanity and for waging a war of aggression, the supreme international crime. We have to change that equation. All those who are responsible for the invasion of Iraq should be held accountable for the destruction of the country’s infrastructure, its economic and social structures, its historical past and its health and education.

    “Reasonable legal experts should work towards the goal of making reparations to the Iraqi people, who have been so deeply affected by this war and its aftermath and they should bring the perpetrators to justice.”

    Developing a ‘roadmap’ for justice

    “The BRussells Tribunal intends to bring together international legal experts and activists who will explore the possibilities for legal actions against those responsible for the war of aggression against Iraq. Participants will also share their experiences about past and present legal procedures and will discuss the different forms of legal action.

    “In participation with the International Anti-Occupation Network (IAON), the Kuala Lumpur Foundation to Criminalize War, the Geneva International Center for Justice and other humanitarian organizations, we will try to develop a legal roadmap that can be used by law professionals and activists worldwide.

    “The Coalition’s military operations, including massive attacks on cities like Falluja, and the counter-insurgency policy, led to substantially increased mortality and massive displacement, affecting millions of people. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis have been killed or maimed, families have been destroyed, displaced, and forced into refugee status all over the world. Iraq’s education system has been destroyed and its society deconstructed.

    “The sectarian political process, organized by the occupying powers, has created a failed state characterized by the complete collapse of all public services, and systematic violations of all aspects of human rights, including the right to life. The U.S. deliberately provoked various factions in Iraqi society in order to divide and rule the country. An ancient, deeply rooted culture has been destroyed, brutalized, thrown into chaos.

    “People’s tribunals, citizens’ arrests and other forms of activism may represent the conscience of the world community and should be deemed necessary in the absence of implementation of international law, but that’s not enough.

    “Legal action is essential and can take many forms: universal jurisdiction, defending Iraqi victims in court, seeking arrest warrants when former U.S. politicians want to travel outside the U.S., etc.

    “We cordially invite you to join us in Brussels in April. If we want to restore the respect for international law; if we want international law to be enforceable; if we want to ensure the legal rights of the victims of illegal aggressions, Iraq should be high on the agenda of lawyers and human rights organizations.”

    Contact: Follow this event on facebook:

    Articles copyright 1995-2014 Workers World. Verbatim copying and distribution is permitted in any medium without royalty provided this notice is preserved.

    Feds try to strip Vet of 2nd Amendment Rights (Tim King and Jerry Freeman)

    This is a re-post from,:

    Feds Tell Veteran He Will Lose 2nd Amendment Rights Because of PTSD

    Tim King and Jerry Freeman
    When did serving your country become a crime?
    Pat Kirby during the Vietnam War, and today.
    Pat Kirby during the Vietnam War, and today.
    (MYRTLE CREEK, OR) - If Pat Kirby has his guns taken away by the federal government, then everyone else is probably going to eventually face the same thing. The clock is ticking. Pat Kirby is a decorated Oregon Vietnam Veteran with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). He never imagined he would receive a letter telling him he will have to turn over his guns, or face imprisonment.

    Sue Kirby takes care
    the family finances.
    He is the ultimate expression of a law abiding American citizen. He served his country, worked hard to raise a family, and created a nice life in spite of his PTSD. But his comfort zone was jerked away when he was told he had to give up one of his most basic rights for the most unbelievable reasons.

    His crime?

    There was no no crime. The Veterans Administration has deemed Mr. Kirby "incompetent" because his wife takes care of their finances. He has a good credit rating, he pays his taxes, he has never been arrested in his life, yet the federal government says will have to surrender his firearms and give up his Second Amendment right due to the VA's designation of "incompetent". His alleged incompetence is based on his own admission that he does not take care of his own finances.

    He and Sue live in a wooded, rural area near Myrtle Creek, Oregon, where wild animals often threaten their property, but now this honorable Vet may be left defenseless.

    The word "frustrating" may not be sufficient to describe this family's feelings about the letter they recently received from the Portland, Oregon VA.

    Pat Kirby served multiple tours in Vietnam in the U.S. Army, earning numerous decorations and medals for his service. Among these are several Purple Hearts. He was a sergeant in the Vietnam War who put all of his effort into saving the lives of his fellow soldiers, and on many occasions that is exactly what he did.
    Meeting Pat, you get the sense you are meeting a hero; a man whose personal history is central to the very meaning of this country. Another Veteran who was heavily decorated from his service in the Vietnam War is Stuart Steinberg, a Bend, Oregon lawyer who was one of the first members of Vietnam Veterans of America He served with various explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) teams during his two tours in Vietnam.

    There is no question that Pat's life has been heavily affected by his military service. He has medical issues like so many other Vietnam Veterans, but nothing has had the measurable impact that this ruling does. According to the documents, the demand that Veterans in Pat Kirby's shoes give up their firearms is based on the Brady Bill. I spoke to Mr. Steinberg about Pat Kirby's case, which he has been familiar with for several years.

    Stuart Steinberg
    "The Brady Act does not, in fact, allow a person like Pat to be denied gun ownership rights. The VA, and, apparently, the Federal government, are using the section about being 'adjudicated a mental defective' to illegally deny men like Pat Kirby the rights he fought for during his 37 months in Vietnam. The key word, there, is 'adjudicated.' A finding by the VA that someone is incompetent to handle his money is not an adjudication. To adjudicate something is to hear and settle a case by judicial procedure. This is not a judicial procedure--it is a finding by bureaucrat who is not a mental health professional. This is something that needs to be resolved by litigation because what the VA is doing is illegal and unconstitutional."

    A personal friend of men like Sec. of Defense John Kerry, and U.S. Congressman Ron Wyden, Stuart Steinberg is a former Georgetown University Law Professor. From 1982 to 2003, he worked as a public defender and as a criminal defense investigator, specializing in capital murder cases. Suffice to say, Mr. Steinberg's opinion regarding this bizarre and unprecedented action of the VA to seize the guns of decorated Combat Veterans who have never so much as been arrested, has measurable significance.
    PTSD is a killer, but experts like Dr. Phil Leveque in Oregon, who has battled PTSD personally since fighting in the Second World War, then went on to treat thousands of PTSD Vets as a physician, says that when managed, PTSD Veterans tend to live extremely successful lives. That is Pat Kirby's story.
    Dr. Phil Leveque on right, after interview
    with PBS Producer Ken Burns

    Stuart Steinberg said, "The VA contends that because someone might have problems handling their money, somehow, this makes them unable to own guns. What's next? Are they going to take guns from combat veterans with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, or a Traumatic Brain Injury, even if they have never committed a crime, never committed a violent act?"

    It seems fair to assume that if the federal government takes Pat Kirby's guns away, they are sending a message to all Veterans - if they admit they have PTSD from wartime service, they can't talk about it or reveal it at all. They can't seek treatment, they can't tell their VA doctor, because if they do, they will likely receive the same letter Mr. Kirby received. In in this scenario, their wounds will fester and terrible things will happen as a result. That is not alarmist, it is a simple fact based on the history of many cases.

    It is important that Pat Kirby says he could take care of his family's finances. He leaves that up to his wife, Sue, and has legal documents with a game plan for Pat's finances in case something happened to his wife. In that event his daughter would take care of his financial matters, and his son-in-law would be next in line. It seems more than adequate and risk free. Sue Kirby stresses that her husband has a very good credit rating, all of this from the VA really took the family by surprise.

    The Veterans Administration and U.S. Congressman Ron Wyden are holding a meeting in Roseburg, Oregon at the time of this writing. Sue Kirby read a letter to the assembly of Veterans advocates telling Pat's story, and asking for intervention.

    I have a copy of a letter that threatens to take away my husbands gun rights because he has PTSD.
    My name is Sue Kirby and I have lived in the Roseburg area for 11 years. My husband is a patient of the Roseburg VAMC.
    He is 100% service connected total and permanently disabled. He earned 3 Purple Hearts in his 37 months of service in Vietnam. He has a distinctive service record. He suffers many of the same illness's as other Vietnam Veterans. He has Avascular Necrosis of one hip. He has degeneration disc disease, two knees that will eventually need to be replaced along with his other hip. He has had a benign tumor removed from his mouth, Ulnar, Radial and Carpal Tunnel nerve surgeries, two knee surgeries, 2 back surgeries,hernia repair and a right hip replacement since leaving the Army in 1974. He also suffers from COPD,Sleep Apnea, PTSD and a TBI.
    In 2012, his hip was replaced in March after being fee based out to a local surgeon. He waited a year and a half for it. He recuperated from his hip surgery and had about four good months before he woke up on September 15, 2012 with excruciating pain in his neck. Within a week the pain had traveled down both shoulders to his arms and hands, down his back and the back of his legs.
    He is a rural veteran in the care of the Roseburg VA. His medical team at the VAMC are kind,caring and compassionate people. They have done everything in their power to try to help him. In a November 2012 MRI he was diagnosed with Cervical Spondylitis. He has bone spurs growing on the vertebrae in his neck causing impingement to his nerves. He has received two Cortisone shots that gave him little relief. He didn't like how the stronger pain pills made him feel. He had adverse reactions to several other pills by breaking out in hives. He was sent to physical therapy which failed.
    He was then sent to the N.W. Pain Clinic at the Portland VA last June. They said he was a good candidate for surgery to remove the bone spurs, they also talked of another surgery to kill the nerves. They sent their findings to his primary care physician at the Roseburg VA. She requested a visit to the Neurology Spine Clinic at the Portland VA. She got him an appointment for Nov. 29th. 2012, 13 months after the initial pain set in.
    Two weeks before his much anticipated visit to the Portland VA, they cancelled his appointment and set it forward to May 2014. When asked why they had cancelled, I was told they had shortage of Orthopedists and Neurologists. When his primary care physician found out his appointment had been cancelled she quickly applied for Fee basing out his surgery to a local surgeon. Her request was turned down twice so she sent her third request to the Chief of Staff at the Roseburg VA.
    When asked why he was turned down, we were told it was a lack of funds. After the third request was turned down we resorted to plan B. My husband switched his Medicare to an Advantage Plan during open the enrollment in October, we plan to pay for it with our own money. These are the words of a trusted friend and service officer from Vietnam Veterans of America. I quote " Because of lack of funding for diagnostics and treatment,veterans are dying because they are not diagnosed in time or treated in time, when suffering from potentially fatal conditions. One of the biggest problems is the lack of funding for the Fee Base program."
    He filed an application in Feb. 2013 for Aid and Attendance special monthly compensation. We went to two Comp. and Pen. exams in Oct. at the Roseburg VA. In the exam done by a psychologist my husband told the examiner that due to his constant pain combined with his PTSD that I take care of paying the bills, setting the budget and taking care of any disputes that sometimes arise with billing problems. I have been doing this since we 1972 when we first married. I now do online banking which he couldn't do because he knows nothing of computers. We received a determination which I want to read a few parts from. "The VA examiner found you are not capable of administering your funds. We propose to rate you incompetent for VA purposes. If the VA decides that you are incompetent to handle your benefit payments, VA may appoint a fiduciary to manage your payments. A determination of incompetency will prohibit you from purchasing, possessing, receiving,or transporting a firearm or ammunition. If you knowingly violate any of these prohibitions, you may be fined, imprisoned, or both pursuant to the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act".
    My husband is not the only veteran who has received this letter. I know a lady who has been doing their finances for 49 years who's husband got the same letter after he had a massive stroke.
    We owe our veterans the best possible care we can give them, no matter what the cost is. They have already paid for it with the sacrifices they have made for our country. We owe them the respect and dignity they deserve. We don't need to threaten their 2nd,5th and 14th amendment right that they themselves fought to preserve. My husband is not the only veteran with PTSD, should they all lose their rights? Should they be afraid to ask for help because of fear of something like this happening? Should they have to wait years for ratings, diagnostics and treatment while in both physical and mental pain?

    Tim King: Editor and Writer
    You can write to Tim at this address:

    With almost 25 years of experience on the west coast and worldwide as a television news producer, photojournalist, reporter and assignment editor, Tim King is's Executive News Editor. His background includes covering the war in Afghanistan in 2006 and 2007, and reporting from the Iraq war in 2008. Tim is a former U.S. Marine who follows stories of Marines and Marine Veterans; he's covered British Royal Marines and in Iraq, Tim embedded with the same unit he served with in the 1980's.

    Tim holds awards for reporting, photography, writing and editing from traditional mainstream news agencies like The Associated Press and Electronic Media Association; he also holds awards from the National Coalition of Motorcyclists, the Oregon Confederation of Motorcycle Clubs; and was presented with a 'Good Neighbor Award' for his reporting, by the The Red Cross.

    Tim King reporting from the war in Iraq
    Tim's years as a Human Rights reporter have taken on many dimensions; he has rallied for a long list of cultures and populations and continues to every day, with a strong and direct concentration on the 2009 Genocide of Tamil Hindus and Christians in Sri Lanka. As a result of his long list of reports exposing war crimes against Tamil people, Tim was invited to be the keynote speaker at the FeTNA (Federation of Tamil Sangams of North America) Conference in Baltimore, in July 2012. This is the largest annual gathering of North American Tamils; Tim addressed more than 3000 people and was presented with a traditional Sri Lanka ‘blessed garland’ and a shawl as per the tradition and custom of Tamil Nadu

    In a personal capacity, Tim has written 2,026 articles as of March 2012 for since the new format designed by Matt Lintz was launched in December, 2005. Serving readers with news from all over the globe, Tim's life is literally encircled by the endless news flow published by, where more than 100 writers contribute stories from 23+ countries and regions.

    Tim specializes in writing about political and military developments worldwide; and maintains that the label 'terrorist' is ill placed in many cases; specifically with the LTTE Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka, where it was used as an excuse to slaughter people by the tens of thousands; and in Gaza, where a trapped population lives at the mercy of Israel's destructive military war crime grinder. At the center of all of this, Tim pays extremely close attention to the safety and welfare of journalists worldwide.
    Jerry Freeman is part of a new generation of dedicated news photographers who entered the Internet news industry as a second career. He shares in common with many people who fulfilled their life dream of becoming a visual journalist. Joining the Navy at an early age, and the Oregon Army Guard a few years later, Jerry has a wide range of life experiences. He describes himself as “a truck driver with a new found passion to bear witness to the world’s events.”

    Teaming up with he embarked on a new career as a video news photographer and reporter. Jerry's quick exhibition of natural talent and ability to shoot breaking news led to his becoming a published member of the team.

    Tim King 
    News editor,
    Online Global News Service Online since 2004
    Linkedin profile:
    Contributor for Press TV:
    Contributor for Veterans today:

    Streaming Francis Boyle

    Francis A. Boyle is an attorney and a professor of international law.  He's also the author of many books including, most recently, United Ireland, Human Rights and International Law.

    You can stream here to hear:

    Prof. Boyle compares Obama unfavorably with his predecessors, cites killing of Americans, strengthening of Nat. Def. Auth. Act., destruction of Libya, destabilization of Syria, escalation of confrontation with China, risking WW3; backing of Japan’s military resurgence; suggests efforts to resolve Syrian and Iran situations reflect pivot to Asia; speaks of efforts to impeach Bush Sr. and Obama; of cowardice and complicity of Congress, both parties, in Iraq war; says FISA court judges should be impeached; hails Snowden as hero and blasts Israel Lobby.


    Friday, January 10, 2014

    Iraq snapshot

    Friday, January 10, 2014.  Chaos and violence continue, Nouri's assault on Anbar continues, rumors of a secret deal surface, Nouri gets more rewards from the White House, Dan Murphy embarrasses himself (again), and more.

    One of the points of Nouri's assault on Anbar was to end the ongoing protests in Iraq -- protests against his government -- protests which have lasted over a year.

    How'd that work out for al-Maliki?

    الجمعة الموحدة في مدينة سامراء: .

    That's Samarra.

    You may remember Samarra especially due to AP falsely reporting December 30th that the protests had withered away in Samara.  False then, false today.

    Brave Iraqis also turned out in Ramadi and Jalawla.

    And fearful, scared Nouri resorted to collective punishment again today.   Iraqi Spring MC reports Nouri al-Maliki's air force bombed residential areas in Ramadi today, denied humanitarian aid to Falluja, killed a child named Taha Ayoub Aelchortani and left two more injured with his bombings, bombed homes in Falluja, Ramadi's hospital has received 200 dead or wounded from Nouri's bombings and Falluja has received 150 dead or wounded.  Omar al-Jaffal (Al-Monitor) reports:

    Meanwhile, the head of the tribal council in Anbar, Abdul Rahman al-Zobaie from Ramadi, told Al-Monitor, “The army ought to stop the indiscriminate shelling of civilian houses.” He noted, “This has killed and injured hundreds of civilians and destroyed a large number of houses. The government of Anbar ought to expedite measures to meet the needs of the affected families.” 
    Zobaie said, “Local police forces are deployed at the entrance of the city, and checkpoints have been established in all areas in Fallujah, [and are] working on protecting the governmental institutions with the support of the tribes. There are no members affiliated with the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham [ISIS] as propagated by some politicians and the government of Anbar.” 
    He added, “The government of Fallujah, with all its tribal sheikhs and dignitaries, are demanding that the central government and the armed forces stop the indiscriminate shelling of residential areas and withdraw the armed forces, as the [local] police are the only party responsible for managing the crisis.”

    AFP notes, "The United Nations and NGOs have said that civilians lack access to essential supplies such as food and fuel as a result of a government blockade, while Human Rights Watch has condemned rights abuses by all sides during the crisis." And there's still little clarity for the western press regarding who's in Falluja with guns.   Isabel Coles (Reuters) reports, "Iraqis fleeing from Falluja question whether the masked gunmen who overran their city 10 days ago are really al Qaeda-linked militants as the government says, but fear their presence will draw a ferocious response from the army regardless."  Mushreq Abbas (Al-Monitor) explains:

    Neutral sources in the city confirmed to Al-Monitor that four armed groups are deployed inside the city and on its outskirts:
    • Tribal gunmen: This group of fighters is led by former army officers belonging to the main Dulaim tribes — among them the al-Bou Nimr, al-Farraj, al-Bou Issa and al-Fallaha — besides gunmen from the al-Jamilat, al-Jabour and al-Janabat clans. They have been organizing under the banner of the Tribal Revolutionaries. It is believed that Sheikh Ali al-Hatem al-Salman is personally leading them. Their political and religious reference is the Tribal Revolutionaries’ Council, which is likely led by the Salafist cleric Abu Abdullah al-Janabi.
    • Assorted armed groups: These had fought against US forces and later either disbanded, reduced their activity or joined the Sahwa or Iraqi security forces. They include Hamas-Iraq, Kataeb al-Thawrat al-Ishrin, Jamaat al-Naqshbandi, Jaish al-Mujahidin and Baathist outfits. These groups have Brotherhood and Salafist leaders inside and outside Iraq and coordinate with the Anbar Revolutionaries’ Council.
    • Salafi jihadist organizations: These groups follow al-Qaeda but are not part of ISIS, having split from it after its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, rebelled against the global al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri. The most prominent of these groups is Jaish Ansar al-Sunna.
    • ISIS: Part of the ISIS contingent came to Fallujah from Ramadi, as noted above, after battles there against Sahwa forces. From there, they journeyed to Fallujah and were joined by local ISIS members as well as fighters from Abu Ghraib and other Baghdad environs.
    The picture on the ground is made complex by overlapping forces. No one can say for sure whether there is coordination among these various groups. The most credible information indicates that the Tribal Revolutionaries is the largest, with thousands of fighters affiliated with tribal leaders and clerics, and is native to Fallujah. Meanwhile, outside Fallujah, besides Iraqi Army forces stationed east and north of the city, government Swat police forces have been deployed south and west of it connected to Ramadi. Tribal Sahwa forces are present in the areas of the Swat and army contingents, but are less influential in Fallujah compared to in other cities in Anbar.

    Mustafa Habib (Niqash) reports rumors of secret developments:

    A secret deal was done between the tribes of Anbar and Sunni Muslim extremists this week – the result has seen extremists withdraw from Fallujah. But questions remain: Will PM Nouri al-Maliki still react with military force? How did Al Qaeda manage to take over a city like Fallujah in just two days? And why did they react so diplomatically when asked to leave?

    Sources from within the tribes in the city of Fallujah in Anbar province say that on Tuesday evening, a secret deal was done by the tribes of Anbar and members of the extremist group, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. Sources told NIQASH that the extremist group, also known as ISIS or Daash, said they would withdraw from the city so that the Iraqi army did not invade.  

    For several days now Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has been threatening to send his troops into Fallujah to re-take the city; as Iraqi army troops massed on the outskirts of the city he even put out a call to locals to expel the extremist elements themselves - or face an attack by the Iraqi military.
    The deal, done in the central city, was reached in order to prevent any further damage to the city. The city is mostly home to members of Sunni Muslim tribes who tend to be conservative when it comes to religion and to tribal customs. And despite their antipathy toward al-Maliki’s government –a Shiite Muslim-led coalition that Sunni Muslims say has alternately sidelined and targeted them – locals apparently do not want to see a repeat of 2004, when the US army stormed the city after the gruesome deaths of four contractors there. 

    Although it is unusual for ISIS to react in what may best be described as a diplomatic way, they apparently ad good reason.
    “Only several dozen Daash fighters actually entered the city in the first place,” says Ahmad al-Jumaili, one of the tribal leaders in Anbar. “They were only carrying light and medium sized weapons with them. And there is no way they could control a city like Fallujah where all the people of the city have at least one weapon in their homes.”

    AFP's Prashant Rao Tweeted the following today:

  • Deadly standoff over major Iraq cities enters second week - :

  • At the Guardian and at BRussells Tribunal, Ross Caputi explains:

    This week, the Iraqi Ministry of Interior's assertion that al-Qaida's affiliate, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, has taken over half of Falluja is being parroted in headlines by almost every major media network. But again, it appears that the role of al-Qaida in Falluja is being exaggerated and used as a justification for a military assault on the city.
    The violence began just over a week ago, when Iraqi security forces disbursed a protest camp in Falluja and arrested a politician who had been friendly to the protestors' goals. This camp was part of a non-violent protest movement – which took place mostly in Sunni cities, but was also receiving some support from the Shia community – that began a year ago. Iraqi security forces have attacked protestors in Falluja and other Sunni cities on several occasions, the most egregious example taking place in Hawija, when over 50 protestors were killed

    While some deal with reality, some struggle with themselves.

    In the church they light the candles
    And the wax rolls down like tears
    There's the hope and the hopelessness
    I've witnessed thirty years
    -- "Hejira," written by Joni Mitchell, first appears on her album Hejira

    Case in point, Dan Murphy.  Light those candles, Danny, cause the tears they are a coming.

    Today, the Christian Science Monitor reporter Tweeted.

  • I took on a little of the partisan finger pointing in Iraq and the myth of how great things were post surge.

  • Well that's good, Dan, it's good to know you were objective or tried to be and --  Oh, he wasn't done Tweeting.

  • I wrote today if you're listening to people saying Obama "lost" Iraq well, you're listening to the wrong people.

  • Both Tweets take you to the same article by Dan, "The myth of Iraq's squandered stability."  I'm sorry is this a defense of Obama -- something Dan's already written many times over -- or a look at partisan finger pointing?

    Well it is a defense of Barack written by a devote schoolboy -- it's a bunch of crap.

    He should be ashamed of himself, he's immature brat. He's such a little brat and he can't even get his figures right.  He builds his article around 2008 and Petraeus.  That's when, according to Dan, everything went wrong.  Apparently, Iraq's been on a very slow simmer, with a tilted lid, for the last years and it only now boiled over.

    Dan took one for Barack today.  He's really hoping this did the trick and Barack will ask him to senior prom because Dan's got his eye on a purple formal.

    Like I always say, if you're going to be a bitch, don't be a dumb one.  Poor dumb bitch Dan also Tweets:

  • could have somehow seen to it that Allawi was PM after the election. Nonsense. We had no leverage beyond reoccupying.

    That's beyond ignorant.  And 2010 is the starting date -- it's what his article ignores but what a Tweet tosses onto his face.  There were many things that have been done when Nouri's State of Law lost to Ayad Allawi's Iraqiya in the March 2010 elections.  The White House could have pulled their support of Nouri at any point during the eight months when he refused to step down as prime minister.  They could have allowed the France sponsored position of a UN-caretaker government replacing Nouri, they could have done so much.

    Dan can't grasp that because all he ever grasps is his penis which he identifies with a gun and that with the military which is why he wrote his repulsive and ignorant piece today.  Next time, Dan, just excuse yourself, go off in the men's room, beat off, then come back.  Don't type while all your bloods flowing below your navel.

  • He's such a stupid idiot and fate has a way of ensuring the stupid look really stupid.

    If Dan's weighing in on Iraq today, who would be the counterweight?  That's right Ned Parker, an actual journalist.

    At the Los Angeles Times, Ned repeatedly broke stories of Nouri's human rights abuses and secret prisons.  The Christian Science Monitor still can't write about that, not even in retrospect.

    "Who Lost Iraq?" is the title of Ned Parker's Politico essay.  Remember Dan Murphy's first Tweet?  Pretending he was going to step out of partisanship?  Ned Parker actually does that and refuses to play cheerleader for either the Democrats or the Republicans.

    Here's three early paragraph of the articles, Dan Murphy can study and hopefully learn from them:

    It was the April 2010 national election and its tortured aftermath that sewed the seeds of today’s crisis in Iraq. Beforehand, U.S. state and military officials had prepared for any scenario, including the possibility that Maliki might refuse to leave office for another Shiite Islamist candidate. No one imagined that the secular Iraqiya list, backed by Sunni Arabs, would win the largest number of seats in parliament. Suddenly the Sunnis’ candidate, secular Shiite Ayad Allawi, was poised to be prime minister. But Maliki refused and dug in.
    And it is here where America found its standing wounded. Anxious about midterm elections in November and worried about the status of U.S. forces slated to be drawn down to 50,000 by August, the White House decided to pick winners. According to multiple officials in Baghdad at time, Vice President Joseph Biden and then-Ambassador Chris Hill decided in July 2010 to support Maliki for prime minister, but Maliki had to bring the Sunnis and Allawi onboard. Hill and his staff then made America’s support for Maliki clear in meetings with Iraqi political figures.
    The stalemate would drag on for months, and in the end both the United States and its arch-foe Iran proved would take credit for forming the government. But Washington would be damaged in the process. It would be forever linked with endorsing Maliki. One U.S. Embassy official I spoke with just months before the government was formed privately expressed regret at how the Americans had played kingmaker.

    With the exception of naming Joe, you can find that over and over here in the last years.

    We've covered it, we've covered The Erbil Agreement.  Dan Murphy can't find either with his one free hand.

    He also can't find the failure that is Chris Hill.  Chris Hill was not qualified to be the US Ambassador to Iraq and he did more to screw than anyone.  Thing is though?  That was obvious at his confirmation hearing and we noted it then.  He had no understanding of Iraq.  He was a joke.  And he only got worse once he was confirmed.  He was so bad he barely lasted a year and, for the record, when a president nominates someone to be an ambassador, they're not assuming they're going to have to keep coming back -- over and over -- in the same term to nominate others for the same position.

    Hill was a failure.

    You can be an idiot like Dan Murphy or you can start looking at what took place.

    The US government installed Nouri as prime minister under Bully Boy Bush (2006) and they demanded under Barack (2010) that the despot get a second term.

    That's too complicated for Dan Murphy so he goes to 2008 -- the last year Bully Boy Bush occupied the White House, pretend not to notice -- and tries to pretend like that's what led up to everything.

    No, this is about democracy, this is about elections, this is about circumventing a Constitution.

    In fact, this is about Dan Damn Murphy.

    I have no problem calling out Bully Boy Bush and the archives make quite clear that, when he occupied the White House, I called him out over and over and over.  Barack Obama has been President of the United States since January 2009.  I don't have a problem calling him out.

    Dan Murphy does which is why he goes to 2008 to explain today's failures (when Bully Boy Bush occupied the White House) and acts as though the last five years don't make a difference.

    And it's that same blindness over the last five years that allowed Nouri to grab more power and to destroy more lives.

    Dan Murphy's supposed to be a reporter.  Looking at Nouri's assault on Anbar today, he's unable to make one pertinent observation in a piece he Tweeted about twice.

    He also insists, in Tweets, that the US has or had no leverage.

    Excuse me, what's Nouri's stomping his feet for right now?

    That's right F-16s.  That's leverage the US has.  They have a lot of other leverage as well.  But for simple minds like Dan Murphy the only way to have leverage is to have 'boots on the ground.'  His limited vision goes to why his 'reporting' so often sucks.  He injects his opinions into the reporting and he's not a very thoughtful or analytical person.

    Now if you're not getting how insane Nouri is, please note that in the midst of all this week's events, he wasn't content to leave other things alone.  AFP reports, "Baghdad: Iraq’s oil ministry sharply criticised the autonomous Kurdish region on Friday for its move to sell oil independently, saying it was a violation of the constitution and amounts to smuggling."  It's one fight after another, Nouri's always picking fights.

    And the US government always caters to him.  Even if Dan Murphy won't face that fact.  Barbara Starr (CNN) reports, "The Pentagon is considering a proposal to train Iraqi forces in counterterrorism operations, a senior U.S. defense official tells CNN. It would be the U.S. military's most significant involvement with Iraq since U.S. troops withdrew from that country two years ago."  Julian E. Barnes (Wall St. Journal) adds, "The commando training likely would take place in Jordan and wouldn't require American troops to enter Iraq, a move opposed by the Obama administration and its toughest critics in Congress."

    Tuesday's snapshot noted this from Human Rights First:

    Washington, D.C. – Human Rights First today praised the Obama Administration for supporting the repeal of the Iraq Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) that led to the war in Iraq after 9/11. The support for the repeal came in an announcement made by National Security spokesperson Caitlin Hayden.
    “While the move is mostly symbolic because the United States is not in an armed conflict in Iraq, it signals the reluctance of the administration to leave endless war authority on the books,” said Human Rights First’s Michael Quigley.
    The administration’s call for repeal of the Iraq AUMF comes amid an uptick in violence in Iraq, and serves as a reminder that the most effective responses to extremist violence will rarely require the status of war, and counterterrorism efforts may even be hindered by a war footing. The administration’s statement also precedes a likely in debate in Congress on the status of the Afghanistan AUMF as the Obama Administration ends combat operations in the country later this year.  At the National Defense University last May, President Obama said he would work with Congress to revise or repeal the Afghanistan AUMF.
    Most Americans are reluctant with good reason to extend the war to dozens of countries simply on the grounds of an al Qaeda-affiliated presence,” Quigley said.  “The debate this year should focus on strategic counterterrorism measures that assure U.S. security with resort to war only as a last step.”

    For more information or to speak with Quigley, contact Corinne Duffy at or 202-370-3319.

    Today Senator Kirsten Gillibrand Tweeted:

  • Co-sponsoring 's bill to , to end authority for war and prevent more troops being sent there.