Saturday, January 25, 2014

Will Nouri call off elections in provinces he's unpopular in?

Nouri's assault on Anbar Province continues with Nouri's forces boasting that they and Sahwa control parts of eastern Falluja.  Duraid Salman and Ammar al-Ani (Alsumaria) report the area 'purged' is the Garma.   All Iraq News quotes Head Sahwa Ahmed Abo Risha stating, "The armed men of tribes in cooperation with Anbar police command developed a comprehensive plan to storm in Fallujah city and expel all the terrorists of the city."

At BRussells Tribunal, the Central Media Committee for Support of Iraq offers:

The peaceful nature of Iraqi protests that have been going on for one year has been shattered by Maliki's violence, It started with the Hweyjah massacre that killed 60 and wounded 300 protesters. Now, Maliki, backed by Iran and the US, escalated the violence against Iraqis by shelling cities, all over Iraq, with tanks, artillery, and aircraft. This vicious attack has prompted the valiant Arab tribes to step in, in order to protect the Iraqi people. It is the members of the Iraqi tribes, and ex-officers of the old patriotic army of Iraq who are defending the Iraqi people, not what Maliki pretends to be "terrorist groups like Qaeda and ISIS". When members of Maliki militias were captured by the resistance forces they were not harmed. Instead the Arab tribes gave them safe haven, food, and returned them to their homes and families. This is because this revolt is for the Iraqis themselves , it is against Iran and its puppet ruler in Iraq, Maliki.
Hence, it should be clear to see that this revolt represents all Iraqis. It is a patriotic revolt, not as the enemies of the Arab nation, such as the US, Britain, and Russia tried to portray it to be run by Islamic terrorists.
The terrorism that exists in Iraq today is made possible and orchestrated by the US and Iran. Sure proof to this has been the backing of Maliki at the US controlled UN and the Arab league that both miss-portray what is taking place in Iraq as Maliki fighting terrorism!
This revolt is not only that of the Anbar Arab tribes. It involves all Iraqi Arab tribes from the North to the South. It is a patriotic revolt to rid Iraq of the Iranian occupation to restore it to its people with security and justice for all.

Nouri's assaulting Anbar.  And the US government is arming him to do so.  Alsumaria quotes medical sources who explain that the residential neighborhoods in Falluja are being targeted and that many citizens are being killed and injured.  It's so bad that even Abu Risha called today for the bombing of Falluja to stop. NINA reports that the military's shelling left three people injured in Ramadi in one incident, another incident of the Iraqi military shelling Ramadi with mortars left 3 civilians dead and five more injured,  the military's shelling on Falluja left 3 civilians dead and eleven more injured and a second military shelling on Fallua left 3 civilians dead and six more injured.

 Al Mada reports  the Washington Institute for Near East Policy's Michael Knights says you can play out all the scenarios on Falluja but it won't matter because they're all bad.  They're translating this USA Today column Knights wrote.  Al Mada notes Speaker of Parliament Osama al-Nujaifi says the Sunnis of Anbar are trapped between the exchange of gun powder between the government forces and al Qaeda in Iraq.

That pretty much sums it up.

Ibrahim Ebeid offers this take at BRussells Tribunal:

Most of the American people are in the dark, there is no doubt that, beside the media, the US political parties, Republicans and Democrats, failed to tell the American people that the war and the invasion of Iraq were not a mistake or Democracy: they were planned for from the time of President Reagan and Margaret Thatcher, the Prime Minster of the United Kingdom, under false pretence.
Both parties ignore the fact that about one-and-a-half million Iraqis died since the invasion and they are still dying, more than half a million children, under the age of 5 were perished in the first six months of the deadly blockade unjustly imposed upon Iraq in 1991, Secretary of State, Madeline Albright, said the price is worth it. Iraqi children are worthless according to her and the United States officials. The American politicians  only recognize their own financial losses and the American soldiers killed in action, and they ignore the Iraqis killed and the complete destruction of Iraq and its institutions.
Since the occupation in 2003, the Iraqis are fighting to liberate Iraq, and  the US Media never tell us anything about the Baath and the National Resistance, they only tell us distorted facts and lies. The media are deceiving the majority of the American people  and keeping them blindfolded, in the dark, and ignorant.

Are the Media controlled by certain power of interest, such as the Zionist Lobby  and cannot have a mind of their own? Being a US citizen, from Palestinian background,  who is well aware of what is going on in the "Middle East" I say yes , they are liars and controlled by the Zionist Lobby, by AIPAC that "empowers pro-Israel activities across all ages, religions and races to be politically engaged and build relationships with members of Congress from both sides of the aisle to promote the U.S.-Israel relationship"  controls America by controlling the controlling the Congress.

The roots of the conflict?  Stephen Zunes (National Catholic Reporter) explores that and notes:

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 its unprecedented assaults on major urban centers in the Anbar province. The Obama administration responded by expediting additional military aid to the 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.

The U.S.-backed Iraqi regime is dominated by sectarian Shia Muslim parties which have discriminated against the Sunni Muslim minority. The combination of government repression and armed insurgency resulted in the deaths of nearly 8,000 civilians last year alone.

If you include the dead from the shelling above and the Saturday death's we're about to go into, you get sixty deaths.  And I'm sure I'm missing some.  But you get 60 deaths and you get that on the day AP reports "at least 12" people killed in violence.

60?  12?  Kind of a huge difference.  Did someone want to knock early or did they just not want report the truth?

National Iraqi News Agency reports a Baghdad sticky bombing (Zayouna district) killed 1 person, a Balad roadside bombing claimed the lives of 2 police members and left three more injured, an al-Baath roadside bombing left 1 police officer and 1 police member killed and another police member injured, 1 suspect was shot dead by Salahuddin police, a bridge bombing near Tuz Khurmato left 2 people dead and five more injured, a Baghdad bombing (Alamiaah district) left four Iraqi soldiers injured, an attack on a Mosul military checkpoint left 2 Iraqi soldiers dead, 3 corpses were found in Hawi (young people who had been tortured to death), Anbar Operations Command noted they killed 20 fighters, a Baghdad (Saidiya area) left nine people injured, a Baghdad car bombing (Amiriya area) left 1 person dead and ten more injured, 2 Tuz Khurmato car bombings left 7 people dead and nineteen more injured, a family of 6 were killed in a Gizana Mulla Jawad Village attack, and Nouri's forces killed 2 suspects in Nineveh Province.  All Iraq News adds an armed clash in Shurqat left 1 fighter dead and two police officers injured, 2 Balad bombing left 4 police members dead and two more injured,  Alsumaria notes a Sharqat bombing targeting oil tankers left four people injured.  Through Friday, Iraq Body Count adds up 865 violent deaths for the month thus far.

Again, how does AP get 12 out of 60?

JP Sottile (BRussells Tribunal) offers:

Back in the U.S., a reliably myopic and co-dependent media encourages denial among Americans. Since CNN “quietly” shuttered its Baghdad bureau last year, news from the steadily decaying country has been hard to come by, even as Iraq suffered a daily onslaught of bombings and attacks that made 2013 its deadliest year since 2007. Perhaps to its credit, CNN was the last TV news operation standing, but its departure completed a full retreat by the American news media that began, perhaps coincidentally, shortly after Obama won the White House.
After taking office, Obama dismissed the idea of accountability for the second Bush Administration or, by extension, for those within his own party who—like pre-emptive 2016 front-runner Hillary Clinton—aided and abetted its grand schemes in Congress. To wit, he quickly declared that he wanted his administration to “look forward, as opposed to looking backwards.”
“Don’t look back” is big hit with incoming administrations. It’s the careful karaoke and sanguine sidestep we get instead of truth and consequences. Bill Clinton sang the song as he entered the White House. His administration let a long-forgotten scandal called “Iraq-gate” just fade away and operatives in the first Bush Administration skated by without so much as a slapped wrist for the illegal arming of … wait for it … Saddam Hussein.

The song Sottile's referencing?  The line is "don't you look back" and it's sung during the fade.  It's Fleetwood Mac, who performed at the inauguration -- and that was one of the best performances in January 1993 -- another friend did not do well and that was partly because the sound crew sabotaged her because she was being a bitch to them in rehearsal (I'm sure everyone knows who I mean -- she didn't seem to grasp this would be a loud and boisterous crowd and some of the 'finer touches' she was fussing over would be lost in the festivities).  The Fleetwood Mac song was "Don't Stop" ("thinking about tomorrow, Don't stop, it'll soon be here") and it's written by Christine McVie who, as Kat has noted, is rejoining the Mac (Mick Fleetwood, Stevie Nicks, John McVie and Lindsey Buckingham).

Yesterday's snapshot noted:

And on the topic of mosques,  Kitabat reports that 'acting defense minister'  Saadoun al-Dulaimi (he's not the Minister of Defense -- only Parliament can make someone that -- so he's something else, maybe Nouri's little sex toy?) declared that they (the Iraqi government) will bomb and target any home or mosque they think might contain a terrorist.  Any home or mosque.

Dar Addustour reports on sex toy al-Dulaimi's threats against the mosques and the houses but offers that al-Dulaimi's attitude is: So what?  He says if someone loses a home in a bombing -- the Iraqi military is bombing Falluja and Ramadi from overhead (usually in helicopters) -- it's not a big deal because the government will provide them a new one.

That's great, that makes up for the terror of having your home bombed, right?  And memories are replaceable so who cares that the place you called home was destroyed by the government that's support you, right?

Nouri's pledging homes for all, FYI, throughout Iraq.  It's not going to happen.  This is the typical ahead of the election campaign promise from Nouri.

But on the topic of elections, Speaker of Parliament Osama al-Nujaifi was in DC this week meeting with various officials, doing interviews and speaking.  Thursday's snapshot contained his speech at the Brookings Institution and he noted elections in his speech including in this section:

So the political components in Iraq were not able to build the Iraqi political system or to implement the Constitution and to reach a genuine partnership and a genuine reconciliation.  They were not able to implement the laws as it should be and get rid of corruption and abuses and they did not respect all the Iraqi components as to represent them  in a fair manner in the armed forces.  According to the Constitution, they did not provide the provinces with enough funds. Also we did not adopt the law on hydrocarbons oil and gas which is very important to set a balanced relation between the provinces and the center for the production and exportation of oil.  
So some parties are implementing the Constitution based on their own perspective and this is hindering the building of the state, the national cohesion and is leading to more division.  And more and more people are being disappointed and do not trust the political process at this point as we have seen by the very low turnout in the last general elections [2013 provincial elections] and the ones before [2010 parliamentary elections]. We believe that Iraq is, at this point, at a crossroad.  The key to situation is clear and we can find a solution.  What we need though is a strong determination and the political will for everyone to agree on the Constitution and to forget the past, to move beyond the fears and to stop punishing the Iraqi people and move to reconciliation and prevent Iraq from sliding into even greater troubles.  

Friday, Missy Ryan (Reuters) reported:

Usama al-Nujaifi, a Sunni, said in an interview during a visit to Washington that he feared attempts to discourage voting or "provoke the situation" in Sunni areas, or to sideline certain would-be candidates, were designed "to weaken Sunni representation in parliament."
He also warned that poor security could pose problems for the parliamentary polls, scheduled for April 30.
"If the security conditions worsen, the elections could be postponed (or) if they are held, they will take place under inappropriate conditions," he said.

There have been charges that Nouri launched the attack on Anbar in order to improve his low polling.  There have been charges that he launched the attack to stop the parliamentary elections planned for April 30th.

Duriad Salman and Ammar al-Ani (Alsumaria) report al-Nujaifi gave two interviews today, the first to Sky News and the second to Alsumaria.  Osama al-Nujaifi noted Nouri cannot continue to act unilaterally, that there are checks and balances in the system and he was concerned that Nouri thinks he's "singular" when it comes to decision making and that this could lead Nouri to attempt to postpone the upcoming election citing "poor security."  Nouri did just that last year.  And he wasn't supposed to.  He ruled that Anbar and Nineveh could not vote.  Under pressure from the US, specifically Secretary of State John Kerry, Nouri relented and, months later, allowed the two provinces to vote.

He never should have been allowed to postpone them.  He doesn't have that power.  The Independent High Electoral Commission is the only one that does and, as their name notes, they are supposed to be "independent."

If Nouri tries to keep provinces from voting, it will be worse than last time and it will be worse then cancelling the election all out.  It will be corrupt.

He penalized the two provinces he was most disliked in last year.  Those were provincial elections, citizens were voting on who to represent them in their provincial governments (think state governments if you're in the US and confused).  These parliamentary elections are like federal elections.  And if Utah wasn't allowed to vote to send people to the House and Senate, it wouldn't be a real election in the US.

In a later report, Duriad Salman and Ammar al-Ani report that the 'independent' commission is now saying that one or more provinces could be prevented from voting in the parliamentary elections.


If that happens, they will not be real elections.  Based on which slate gets the most votes, that slate is supposed to have someone in it named prime minister-designate.  This is per the Iraqi Constitution.  After being named prime minister-designate, the person then has 30 days to put together a Cabinet.

Not a partial Cabinet.

A full one.

This is in the Constitution and if you don't need a complete Cabinet, why the 30 day rule?

It's a complete Cabinet.

In 2010, the White House refused to honor the Iraqi voters or democracy or the Iraqi Constitution.  Nouri's State of Law lost to Ayad Allawi's Iraqiya.  But, like Al Gore in 2000, the true leader wasn't allowed to assume the post.  The White House brokered a legal contract (The Erbil Agreement) to go around the voters.  That contract caused all the problems, all the crises in Iraq today.

And now you're saying that some provinces might not be allowed to vote?

Like the ones Nouri can't carry?

This is a way to manipulate the vote and it should not be allowed to happen.

During the US Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln didn't stop the federal elections.  People voted across the country.  That was during the deadly Civil War, 1864.  He was the sitting president (having been election in the 1860 elections).  The country was ripped in two and violently fighting.  Lincoln didn't say, "Stop! We must stop these elections!"

And a cheap thug like Nouri shouldn't be allowed to stop any area from voting either.

The following community sites -- plus Jody Watley, Cindy Sheehan, the Pacifica Evening News, Dissident Voice,, C-SPAN, Jake Tapper and Tavis Smiley -- updated today and yesterday:

  • Plus Kat's "Sing Me the Songs That Say I Love You: A Concert for Kate McGarrigle" which isn't showing up on the link list.

    We noted a video in the last entry and Susan e-mailed asking if there was anything newer?

    I happen to love this.

    That's Yuna.  I love Nocturnal -- the album it appears on. I prefer the live version above though.  (I preferred Amy Winehouse's AOL live sessions to Back To Black performances -- and I'm surprised they haven't tried to package those sessions.)  I love that song, Yuna's "Falling."  But I love "falling" songs period as friends will tell you.  I think one of the best songs of the '00s was Alicia Keys' "Fallin'."  It's deceptively simple in so many ways but the chords have complexity and the melody haunts -- most of all, it has multiple levels.  Alicia has never gone static or fixed with the song.  She can do it as regret, as passion, as a whispered plea, you name it.  She's forever exploring that song and it's built sturdy enough to allow for those explorations.  That was -- and remains -- the perfect marriage of her songwriting and singing talents.  I've seen Alicia perform that song live five or six times and every time has been a revelation.

    The e-mail address for this site is




    I Hate The War

    War Criminal Tony Blair has a column at the Guardian newspaper entitled "Religious difference, not ideology, will fuel this century's epic battles."  Sorry to be the one to break it to whomever wrote the headline but religious differences?  That would be ideology.

    What do you think it is? Religious food allergies?

    No one expects sanity from Tony Blair at this late date -- and not after smearing papayas all over himself and then on his wife as the prelude to their religious sex -- that's what they called it -- in a cave.

    Freaks, truly.

    And I don't judge people on their religion.

    I do judge them on their sanity and you smear fruit juices all over your body and then roll around on the dirt in Mexico or the US (less true of Canada based on the season), you're going to have ants crawling all over you.  And if you're lucky, ants will be the only insects or others crawling on you because they smell the fruit.  And it was hot, the weather, so you've got that sticky fruit smeared on your body and you're rolling around on the dirt, picking that up on your body, sticking to where you've put the fruit -- and they rubbed everywhere -- they rubbed it everywhere.  You wouldn't want ants on you anywhere but especially not on or in your genitalia.

    But that didn't bother them because it was: Religious sex.

    I'm going to repeat it: Freaks.

    Nothing to do with mocking their belief in God, everything to do with asking what crazy person, on a hot day, smears fruit juice all over their body and their spouse's and then rolls around in the dirt?

    Only freaks.  And that's not even "sex freak" (or "Freeek"), that's just weirdos.

    The former UK prime minister and forever War Criminal writes:

    The fact is that, though of course there are individual grievances or reasons for the violence in each country, there is one thing self-evidently in common: the acts of terrorism are perpetrated by people motivated by an abuse of religion. It is a perversion of faith. But there is no doubt that those who commit the violence often do so by reference to their faith and the sectarian nature of the conflict is a sectarianism based on religion. There is no doubt either that this phenomenon is growing, not abating.

    I'm sorry, I was under the impression that Blair had some level of education.  And, looking at his teeth, I knew it wasn't dental school.

    A "perversion" of a religious faith -- be it Baptist, Catholic, Hindu, Muslim, whatever -- is an ideology.  In fact, it's actually a "branch" if it has enough supporters.  

    When Tony Blair -- who is responsible for the murder of so many Muslims -- wants to bring religion into it, rightly or wrongly, I read it as Tony talking about himself.  (And if Tony wants to read "sex on the brain" into this piece, he'd be right.  And know how I spent several hours tonight.)  That's what we do, as humans.  When we bring topics out of the blue with no apparent prompting, we're doing it because it's weighing on us.  

    Tony should feel guilty.

    And he should stop trying to hide behind a god to cover his War Crimes.

    "Freeek" is a George Michael song.  I love George, I consider him a dear friend.  So let me plug Symphonica which comes out March 17th (his latest album) and was produced by the late Phil Ramone.  But  I wanted to note the video below in an entry this weekend.

     And it actually fits in this one.  It's one of my favorite songs George has written -- one of my favorite he's recorded, "Outside."

    I love the song, I love the "takemetotheplaces that I love best" part -- just this rhythm and the way he phrases it.  

    But I also love it for the context. 

    George could have hidden his head.

    He could have put out a song -- after the arrest in the men's room -- that ignored it.

    Everyone knew about it -- it was bigger news when it happened that Justin Beiber's arrest this week.

    And George is smart.  

    He knew he had to comment on it and he does in the video.

    We can all relax, there's no elephant in the room anymore. 

    Tony Blair can't relax.  Because he still can't get honest.

    The world knows he's a War Criminal and he thinks he possesses some spiritual high ground from which to speak from?  


    He's as big a joke as George would have been if his first single after the arrest hadn't acknowledged it.  Everyone would have been uncomfortable -- and a lot of people would have been embarrassed for him.  But George is an upfront person.  He put it out there, everyone relaxed, it was no longer a big deal.

    Tony Blair's not an upfront person.  Which is why the world's embarrassed for him as he thinks we see him as devout and spiritual or that he can trick us into seeing him that way.  The blood drips from him, he is a War Criminal responsible for the deaths of millions.

    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

    What does it mean to be a journalist in Iraq?

    What does it mean to be a journalist in Iraq?

    It means to be targeted in many ways.  For example, from Dirk Adriaensens' "2013: Another year of slaughter in Iraq claims the lives of at least 21 media professionals" (BRussells Tribunal):

    In Iraq, at least 404 media professionals have been killed since the US invasion in 2003, among them 374 Iraqis, according to The BRussells Tribunal statistics. The impunity in Iraq is far worse than anywhere else in the world. None of the journalist murders recorded in Iraq in the past decade has been solved. Not a single case of journalists' killings has been investigated to identify and punish the killers.
    Hassan Shaaban, head of the Center for the Legal Protection of Journalists, told Human Rights Watch (HRW) that, "Terrorists are systematically targeting journalists," but that "the government is not protecting people."

    And the Iraqi Civil Society Solidarity Initiative noted this month, "The Press Freedom Advocacy Association released its annual report for 2013, highlighting the serious deterioration in the working conditions and the safety of journalists in Iraq over the last year. The Association cited 286 cases of violent acts against journalists, including kidnappings and abductions, threats, bullying, beatings, and obstruction of their coverage of events. Twenty-one reporters and journalists were killed; most of these martyrs were specifically targeted because of their work. According to the Association, this is the most serious decline in the situation of journalists since 2007 when widespread civil conflict claimed the lives of thousands of citizens, including journalists."

    This week, UNAMI issued their [PDF format warning] latest human rights report on Iraq.  On the media, it explained:

    During the reporting period, journalists and other media professionals continued to suffer from acts of violence and intimidation. On 6 May, a hand grenade thrown into a mosque in Baghdad killed Muwaffak 
    al-Ani, one of the most prominent radio journalists in Iraq, who had been working for more than 50 years. Five other civilians were killed and 13 injured. On 3 March , in Karbala, an unidentified insurgent group kidnapped a reporter of the Sunni-owned Al-Anbar TV. He was released the following day after having been repeatedly beaten. On 1 April, approximately 50 gunmen in military uniforms burst into the offices of four independent newspapers in Baghdad, Al-Dustoor, Al-Barlaman, Al-Mustaqbal, and Al-Naas, with batons and knives and sma shed computers and furniture. Four journalists of Al-Dustoor were injured as a result of the attack. Although there was no claim of responsibility, it is alleged that a Shi'a militia led the attack. On 20 April, a media reporter of Kirkuk Now news website was arrested by the Iraqi Army after allegedly receiving threats regarding his reporting on the incident in Hawija. The reporter was released six days later without being formally charged. 
    On 28 April, the Iraqi Communications and Media Commission (ICMC) announced the withdrawal of the licenses of ten media outlets, including Al-Jazeera, for incitement to sectarian violence. 21  
    The ICMC reportedly based its decision on the provisions of the Law on Communications and Media Commission..22    The ICMC Manager of Visual and Audio Regulation Directorate claimed that the suspension was the last resort in order to stop what he claimed were extremist views and speech fostering sectarian divisions, after unsuccessfully attempting to implement a number of alternative measures, including formal correspondence, joint meetings and conferences. 23 However, the ICMC did not produce any evidence supporting the allegations of misconduct by the broadcasters and did not clarify exactly what alternative measures it had taken to address its concerns .

    And being a journalist in Iraq means all the above and much more.

    Being a journalist in Iraq means this.

    That's currently the front page of Al Rafidayn.  The message referred to?

    We Don't Hack To Have Fun Sometimes We Need . . 
    To Hack To Send A Message To The Gov And . . . .
    Especially To The Lammez And To Say To Him We Are Mauritania Hackerz and F**k 
    The Lamerz of Iraq That Is Just A Warning Why Hack Our Website
    And You Call Your Sefl Muslims
    And This Is F**king Real You Just Get F**ked Up
    We Hack  ,  Just for Giving a WARNING . . . . . 
    Hacking Is Not A Crime  ,   Hacking Is Art
    Freedom For Palastin and ALL MUSLIMS

    We're a work safe site so I've changed the f-word to "F**k," et al.  In the actual text, the f-word is presented in full.  At the end of the message, they refer you to a website

    The e-mail address for this site is

    Friday, January 24, 2014

    Iraq snapshot

    Friday, January 24, 2014.  Chaos and violence continue, Nouri continues to terrorize Anbar, Iraqis continue to protest Nouri, Iraq's Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi has no "Red Notice" with INTERPOL (though the press 'forgot' to tell us that), and much more.

    This month, Larry Everest (Revolution Newspaper) asked, "How is the U.S. imperialist media dealing with the ongoing carnage in Iraq?"

    And he answered, "One example was the January 10 New York Times front-page story titled, “Fallujah’s Fall Stuns Marines Who Fought There.” This article is an exposure of the bankruptcy and illegitimacy of the U.S. imperialist media. People need to reject this drumbeat to think like Americans, and see the world through the lens of the American empire, and start thinking about humanity!"

    And that is one answer.  But the reality is that you can count on a handful the number of outlets outside of Iraq treating Nouri's assault on Anbar Province with any reality.  Most either ignore what's taking place or else they carry the party line of 'bad terrorists are here and must be killed!'  Say the word "terrorist" and everyone loses their voice apparently.

    That's why it's been so effective in killing liberties in the US, this so-called War on 'Terror.'  It's a mental stop sign in the same way "Communist" was for so many in the US at the middle of the 20th century. For some, the term terrifies them.  For others, they're just terrified someone will call them "terrorist."  But not many want to say,"Hold on a second, let's get serious."  So if you holler "terrorism!" or "terrorist!," you can usually dominate the conversation and the narrative.  No one asks you for proof, no one questions.

    And that's how Nouri al-Maliki, Iraq's chief thug and prime minister, has gotten away with a series of War Crimes over the last weeks.   The Geneva International Centre for Justice notes the continued assault on Anbar Province:

    In the wake of the 1st of January 2014, the 600.000 residents of Fallujah, one of the main cities in al-Anbar, found themselves encircled by the government forces. The residential areas were under the military attack. This time it was claimed that al-Qaeda and ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) had taken over the city. Indeed some fighters wearing such signs were seen to have set police stations and government buildings on fire; however these people encountered strong resistance from the local residents.
    Furthermore, the witnesses mentioned that these acclaimed terrorist fighters appeared as soon as the government’s army arrived and took positions in the surroundings of the city. Many of the contacts of GICJ in Fallujah and Baghdad therefore believe that disguised militia groups affiliated with the al-Maliki’s party were channelled into the city in order to provide the necessary pretext for an attack and gain the military support from the Western countries.
    As of January 6, the main eastern, northern and southern checkpoints were closed and the army refuses to allow people, medicine or food items to enter or leave the city.  Even the Iraqi Red Crescent could not enter anymore. Families who wanted to flee could only leave under extreme difficulties. These sanctions were imposed even though the residents of Fallujah publicly affirmed numerous times that the city had not been taken over by any terrorist.
    Al Maliki’s official portrayal of terrorists brought him the immediate support from the USA as well as from Iran. Also, Russia announced its support. Other voices however, such as the senior EU lawmaker Struan Stevenson, a member of the European parliament, warned in an open letter published on 7 January 2014 that “Iraq is plummeting rapidly towards civil war and genocide”. In a second letter published on 20 Januaray 2014 Stevenson’s further warned that claims by al-Maliki were “utter nonsense”. Still, he had “convinced his American allies that he is fighting a war on terror and they are pouring in rockets, drones and other military hardware which Maliki is using to bomb and kill civilian targets”.
    Al-Maliki insists once again to demolish all demonstrations and to use force against all the cities that witness resistance against his policies. The continuing use of the army against densely populated cities can only lead to another huge humanitarian disaster. Many residents are fleeing, not in fear of terrorists but in fear of the government forces and over hundred people have already lost their lives during the attacks by tanks and by air that mainly targeted the residential areas in the outskirts of the city.

    National Iraqi News Agency reports that the Iraqi military's mortar shelling last night left 4 people dead and 32 more injured "including women and children" and today's military shelling of Falluja left 5 people dead and 14 more injured -- "most of them women and children."   Collective punishment is what Nouri's pursuing.  If you doubt that:  Iraqi Spring MC notes that Nouri's army shelled Falluja General Hospital.

    Attacking hospitals is an international no-no.  Nouri al-Maliki is a War Criminal and collective punishment is a War Crime.  Daoud Kuttab (Crimes Of War) explains:

    Under the 1949 Geneva Conventions, collective punishments are a war crime. Article 33 of the Fourth Convention states: “No protected person may be punished for an offense he or she has not personally committed,” and “collective penalties and likewise all measures of intimidation or of terrorism are prohibited.” Israel, however, does not accept that the Fourth Geneva Convention or the Additional Protocols apply to the West Bank de jure, but says it abides by the humanitarian provisions without specifying what the humanitarian provisions are.
    By collective punishment, the drafters of the Geneva Conventions had in mind the reprisal killings of World Wars I and II. In the First World War, Germans executed Belgian villagers in mass retribution for resistance activity. In World War II, Nazis carried out a form of collective punishment to suppress resistance. Entire villages or towns or districts were held responsible for any resistance activity that took place there. The conventions, to counter this, reiterated the principle of individual responsibility. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) Commentary to the conventions states that parties to a conflict often would resxort to “intimidatory measures to terrorize the population” in hopes of preventing hostile acts, but such practices “strike at guilty and innocent alike. They are opposed to all principles based on humanity and justice.”
    The law of armed conflict applies similar protections to an internal conflict. Common Article 3 of the four Geneva Conventions of 1949 requires fair trials for all individuals before punishments; and Additional Protocol II of 1977 explicitly forbids collective punishment.

    This week UNAMI issued their [PDF format warning] latest human rights report on Iraq which included, "The deliberate or indiscriminate targeting of civilians constitutes a gross violation of international humanitarian and human rights law and of Iraqi law."

    So why is the assault on Anbar allowed to take place -- let alone continue -- without a huge outcry from all over?

    It's accomplished nothing.

    All Iraq News reports 2 Tikrit bombings left 1 Iraqi soldier dead and four more injured, an armed clash in Ramadi left 13 fighters dead and that a home invasion late last night in Basra left 2 women dead (mother and daughter).  NINA also notes a Hamrin home bombing which left two police injured, Joint Special Operations Command declared they killed 2 suspects in Mosul, 1 Sahwa was shot dead outside of Kirkuk, and an armed clash in Falluja left 2 Iraqi soldiers dead and four more injured.  Through Thursday, Iraq Body Count counts 839 violent deaths this month.

     Wael Grace (Al Mada) reports it is thought 75% of the residents of Falluja have fled.  The United Nations Refugee Agency issued the following today:

    GENEVA, January 24 (UNHCR) The UN refugee agency on Friday reported that more than 65,000 people had over the past week fled the conflict in the cities of Fallujah and Ramadi in central Iraq's Anbar province. Since fighting broke out at the end of last year, more than 140,000 people have been made homeless by fighting according to Iraq's Ministry of Displacement and Migration.
    This is the largest displacement Iraq has witnessed since the sectarian violence of 2006-2008. This number comes on top of the 1.13 million people already internally displaced in Iraq and who are mostly residing in Baghdad, Diyala and Ninewa provinces.
    UNHCR spokesman Adrian Edwards told journalists in Geneva that people in Anbar, including UNHCR staff, had reported that many civilians were unable to leave conflict-affected areas where food and fuel were now in short supply.
    "Most of the recently displaced remain outside Fallujah city, accommodated by relatives or staying in schools, mosques and hospitals where resources are running low. Host families are having difficulties sustaining the burden of caring for the displaced," he said.
    The spokesman added that UNHCR and its humanitarian aid partners had managed to distribute tarpaulins, blankets, sleeping mats, food, and hygiene supplies. On Thursday, UNHCR delivered 2,400 core relief kits. The Ministry of Displacement and Migration and the Iraqi parliament have also sent aid.
    "Many of the displaced, nonetheless, are still in desperate need of food, medical care, and other aid. As the insecurity has spread, many families who fled several weeks ago have been displaced again," Edwards said.
    The UN in Iraq has asked the government to facilitate the opening of a humanitarian corridor to reach displaced and stranded families in Anbar province. In recent weeks, several bridges leading into the conflict area and communities hosting displaced people have been destroyed, making access difficult. Currently, it is impossible to reach the area from Baghdad and relief agencies are using roads coming from northern Iraq.
    Meanwhile, other areas of Iraq including Baghdad, Erbil, Kerbala, Salah-al-Din and Ninewa have witnessed the arrival of thousands of displaced people. People are reportedly without money for food and lack suitable clothing for the rainy conditions. Children are not in school and sanitary conditions, particularly for women, are inadequate.
    "Establishing camps for the newly displaced is not our preferred option and may prolong displacement. But, if the government of Iraq opts to establish sites, UNHCR is ready to provide tents and core relief items as well as provide support to camp management," Edwards said in Geneva,
    In northern Iraq, at the request of the Erbil government, UNHCR has refurbished the Baharka temporary site to host people arriving from Anbar. Tents, electricity and sanitation facilities have been installed and the facility is ready to accommodate up to 300 families should the government decide to open the site. In Suleymaniya, some sections of Arbat camp, originally built for Syrian refugees, have been made available to accommodate internally displaced Iraqis. There are some 300 displaced families in Suleymaniya.
    Planning is under way to field additional mobile teams to strengthen capacity in Anbar and teams could also be dispatched to other provinces hosting the displaced.

    F. Brinley Bruton (NBC News) quotes Peter Kessler, UNHCR spokesperson, stating, "“People are still fighting and mortars are still landing. People don’t have access to food."  Yang Yi (Xinhua) quotes UNHCR spokesperson Adrian Edwards stating, "Most of the recently displaced remain outside Fallujah city, accommodated by relatives or staying in schools, mosques and hospitals where resources are running low. Host families are having difficulties sustaining the burden of caring for the displaced."  And on the topic of mosques,  Kitabat reports that 'acting defense minister'  Saadoun al-Dulaimi (he's not the Minister of Defense -- only Parliament can make someone that -- so he's something else, maybe Nouri's little sex toy?) declared that they (the Iraqi government) will bomb and target any home or mosque they think might contain a terrorist.  Any home or mosque.

    Are we really so sick, twisted and fearful as a people that we're going to allow ourselves to be scared into silence by the calculated use of the term "terrorist"?

    To me this looks a lot like genuine terrorism.

    قوات المالكي تقوم باعدام مواطن في بعقوبة وتمثل بجثته. .

     Via Iraqi Spring MC, some of the dead in Baquba that Nouri's forces murdered.  Notice the Iraqi soldiers in the background.  No effort is made to remove the three dead people.  Or to cover them.  they're displayed.  Why?

    Because they're "kills" and the Iraqi military is displaying their "kills" in order to frighten the nearby residents.

    The attack isn't just the bullets, the mortars and the bombs.  Nouri's attack on Anbar is also psychological.  

    Again from UNAMI  [PDF format warning] latest human rights report on Iraq:

    The impact of violence on ordinary Iraqi women, men, boy and girls cannot be underestimated. Apart from the increasing risk of becoming a direct victim of violence, the fear of violence severely limits their ability to enjoy fundamental human rights and freedoms, including freedom of movement, as many people start to confie their activities outside their homes to essential tasks, which in turn impacts on their ability to access basic services, such as education and health care. Furthermore, there are an increasing number of civilians who are the secondary victims of violence -- particularly those whose family members have been killed or wounded . Besides the psychological and emotional suffering, the death or injury of family members sometimes deprives households of breadwinners or those who are contributing financially to their households. Families of injured and disabled people have to bear significant costs (both financial and physical ) involved in ensuring adequate medical care and support.

    The attacks from Nouri's forces are acts of terrorism.

    But if anyone confronted him, Nouri would probably blow them off.

    Earlier this month, Felicity Arbuthnot (Morning Star) pointed out, "Fallujah, Ramadi and much of western Iraq has been demonstrating for a year against the vicious, sectarian, US-imposed puppet government of Nouri al-Maliki."  Since December 21, 2012, protests have been ongoing throughout Iraq over Nouri's corruption and criminality.  These protests continue.  Iraqi Spring MC notes protests continued in Anbar, Samarra, Rawa, Jalawla and Tikrit (pictured below) and also protests continued in Falluja, Baiji, and Baquba.

    1. الجمعة الموحدة في قضاء عنه بمحافظة الانبار: .
    2. الجمعة الموحدة في مدينة سامراء بمحافظة صلاح الدين: .
    3. الجمعة الموحدة في مدينة تكريت بمحافظة صلاح الدين: .

    Nouri has repeatedly attempted to end the protests.  He's threatened them, he's labeled them terrorists, his forces have attacked them, have followed them from the protests to their homes, his forces have killed them, and so much more.  But of a year and a month, they've protested non-stop.  

    Last week, Abdullah Salem (Niqash) reported:

    All eyes have been on Anbar. But a series of assassinations of Sunni Muslim tribal heads and clerics who have been leading demonstrations in Ninawa leads to worrying conclusions. Extremists from both Shiite and Sunni Muslim groups have the common goal of getting rid of this society’s leaders and causing havoc here too.

    Earlier this week, assailants broke into the home of the Sunni Muslim cleric Radwan al-Hadidi. Al-Hadidi was one of the leaders of the Sunni Muslim anti-government protests in the area and several days earlier he had made a speech criticising extremist Sunni elements. He told media that it was easier to talk with a wall than it was to talk to Al Qaeda. Yet at the same time al-Hadidi was also firmly opposed to the policies of the Shiite Muslim-led government in Baghdad and had demanded that it be dissolved and that the Iraqi Constitution be re-written.

    The men who broke into al-Hadidi’s house murdered him.

    This was not an isolated case. Several of the leaders of the demonstrations in this area have been assassinated over the past year. The murders started after demonstrators started to carry guns - and they started to carry guns after the Iraqi army broke up a demonstration in Hawija, near the city of Kirkuk, in late April. In doing so, they killed around 40 demonstrators and injured hundreds of others.
    “Rumours started circulating that there were now Shiite Muslim militias killing the protest leaders,” says Abdul-Salam Raouf, a local journalist. “Allegedly they were supported by Iran and they included the likes of the League of Righteous led by Qais Khazali and Hezbollah in Iraq led by Wathiq al-Battat.”

    One of the first protest leaders to be murdered was Haitham al-Abadi who was attacked on August 19, 2013. The attack on al-Abad also saw another tribal leader, Ahmad al-Ramawi injured.

    Later that month gunmen targeted Barzan al-Badrani, a prominent tribal leader who took part in the protests. He was murdered using a pistol with a silencer in central Mosul.

    Another protest leader, Tharwi al-Kourz al-Shammari, was also killed in Mosul, next to his house by unidentified gunmen. Yet another protest leader Thaer Hazem Abed was killed by gunmen in September. 
    Then on October 11, cleric Ali al-Shamma was murdered after he finished his Friday sermon in Mosul.

    Tuesday, Nouri's government announced the executions of 26 people.  Thursday, the announcement was 11 more people were hanged.  Tuesday, Human Rights Watch issued World Report 2014 which noted 2012 saw Nouri's government execute at least 129 people while 2013 saw the number increase to 151.  Today another human rights organization attempts raises the issue.  Amnesty International notes:

    Saudi Arabian national Abdullah Al Qahtani is at imminent risk of execution in Iraq. He is one of six men who were reportedly tortured into “confessing” to being members of terrorist organization al-Qaeda.
    Four of Abdullah's six co-defendants were already executed. Abdullah is next.
    Thanks in part to the calls of Amnesty supporters, Abdullah’s execution had been temporarily delayed. However, Abdullah's time is once again running out.

    Please help stop the imminent execution of Abdullah al-Qahtani.

    If you use the link, they have a contact form you can use. Meanwhile Iraqi Spring MC reports Nouri's forces carried out a campaign of arrests in Adhamiya (Baghdad neighborhood that has been protesting Nouri for over a year) focusing on the youth -- the protesters have been predominately young adults.  NINA reports:

    Army troops closed on Friday evening al- Adhamiya district and the roads leading to it and prevented citizens from entering or leaving it after the arrest of Sheikh Mahmoud Abdel-Aziz al-Ani, head of the Council of Scholars of Iraq , and Abdul Sattar Abdul-Jabbar Imam and preacher of al-Imam al-Aadham Mosque .Eyewitnesses in al- Adhamiya district said in a telephone contact with / NINA / that the security forces deployed their military vehicles in different districts in al-Adhamiya especially near its entrances and main streets as a proactive step on the invitations to hold a sit-in in front of Abu Hanifa mosque in protest at the arrest of the two sheikhs .
    The eyewitnesses confirmed that the security forces have forced the owners of the shops and restaurants to close their shops for fear of the evolution of the situation.

    Kitabat notes the rising calls for the two to be released.  Iraq's Sunni Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi remains in Turkey.  May 8, 2012, INTERPOL stupidly issued a "Red Notice" for Tareq.


    We noted then that they were breaking their own rules.  The lazy, western media loved it and repeated it -- not reported because they don't know enough to know the basic facts to report.

    Guess who no longer has a "Red Notice"?  Did you guess Tareq?  If so, you're correct.

    There are 41 people still wanted by Iraq with INTERPOL "Red Notices."  Tareq is no longer one of them.

    The press that made such a big deal of it last year is no where to be found.  The idiots can always be counted on to scream, "FIRE!" They just can't be counted to ever actually report.

    The Red Notice was cancelled last week.

    Where has the press been?

    Again, they couldn't shut up about the "Red Notice" -- in terms of being a parrot and repeating what they were told.  They couldn't offer any real facts and certainly no analysis.  As the saying goes, there's no app for critical thinking.

    NINA notes that Iraq's Speaker of Parliament Osama al-Nujaifi met today with US General Ray Odierno and KRG President Massoud Barzani spoke with US Senator John McCain about the Iraq crisis while both were in Davos Switzerland today.  Yesterday's snapshot noted the speech Osama al-Nujaifi gave at the Brookings Institution in DC.  Today Brookings' Fred Dews blogs about the event and ends with  "Get the full event audio."  Martin Chulov (Guardian) reports, "Nujaifi, the most senior Sunni Arab in the Iraqi government, said Barack Obama and vice-president Joe Biden had agreed to send direct support to the Sunni tribes, whose leaders had led the Awakening movement that stabilised the province throughout 2007."

    At today's US State Dept press briefing moderated by spokesperson Marie Harf:

    QUESTION: Iraq?

    MS. HARF: Yeah.

    QUESTION: Yeah. Yesterday --

    MS. HARF: And then I think I’m a little tight on time, so we’ll do a few more and then – yeah.

    QUESTION: Okay. Very quickly. Yesterday, the speaker of the house – the speaker of the Iraqi parliament Usama al-Nujayfi gave a speech at Brookings. He gave a very bleak picture of what’s going on in Iraq, and he said that we are at a turning point, at the fork of the road, so to speak, alluding to the next elections, suggesting that Maliki should not run for a third term. Would you advise the current prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, that if he runs for a third term, that would be more decisive to the country?

    MS. HARF: Again, Said, this is – got to your question on General al-Sisi – we don’t take a – well, don’t be frustrated. It’s our position. (Laughter.)

    QUESTION: Okay, I’m – okay, that is your position that --

    MS. HARF: We don’t take a position on who should lead countries.

    QUESTION: Right.

    MS. HARF: I don’t have more details about our discussions with the prime minister about the upcoming elections. We’ve said that the upcoming elections are an important step in Iraq’s future – that we will work with whoever the leader is of Iraq.

    QUESTION: But also, the U.S. was really instrumental and sort of crafting the constitution. And he specifically addressed Article 142, which remains to be a very decisive article among all Iraqis. Would the U.S. also provide technical and legal advice on how to amend that article?

    MS. HARF: I don’t think we need to tell the Iraqis what to do with their own constitution. Obviously, we provide a range of diplomatic and political, military advice to the Iraqis, but I just don’t have anything more on that.

    al-Nujaifi also touched on elections today.  Missy Ryan (Reuters) reports:

    Usama al-Nujaifi, a Sunni, said in an interview during a visit to Washington that he feared attempts to discourage voting or "provoke the situation" in Sunni areas, or to sideline certain would-be candidates, were designed "to weaken Sunni representation in parliament."
    He also warned that poor security could pose problems for the parliamentary polls, scheduled for April 30.
    "If the security conditions worsen, the elections could be postponed (or) if they are held, they will take place under inappropriate conditions," he said.