Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Iraq snapshot

Wednesday, January 7, 2015.  Chaos and violence continue, Haider al-Abadi continues to back Nouri al-Maliki's crimes, 32% of Democrats in the US and 51% of Republicans wrongly believe WMDs were discovered in Iraq, the press -- which popularized the belief and continues to so by whom they invite to discuss situations -- feigns shock over the results, and much more.

Starting with a new survey that has a number of outlets in a tizzy.  Of Fairleigh Dickinson University's Public Mind Poll's Iraq section, the university notes

Overall, 42 percent of Americans believe that U.S. forces found active weapons of mass destruction program in Iraq. Republicans are more likely to hold this belief than Democrats: fifty-one percent of Republicans think it’s “probably” or “definitely” true that an active program was found after the 2003 invasion, with 14 percent saying that it was definitely true. Still, large portions of other groups think that the WMD program, a major part of the justification for the invasion, was actually found, including 32 percent of Democrats. 

The findings appear to trouble and confuse RT, The Week, The Hill and more.

I have questions regarding the sample as well as their margin of error (which honestly looks rounded and not really accurate) but assuming the results are correct, why is it a surprise?

February 5, 2003, Colin Powell didn't just go before the United Nations and insist that Saddam Hussein had Weapons of Mass Destruction, he lied.  He knowingly lied.  He presented evidence he knew was false.

So since that time, Collie The Blot Powell has been ridiculed by the media and treated with the disdain that a known liar whose lies resulted in the deaths of millions will be treated, right?


Colin Powell is still considered, by the media, to be a respected and trusted person.

He's far from alone.  As Peter Hart (FAIR -- link is video) noted in June, "It's 2003 all over again, as Iraq 'experts' who promoted the 2003 invasion are back on TV screens offering expert analysis about what to do next."

Justin Raaimondo ( addressed the issue in March of 2013 noting:

Ten years after the invasion of Iraq, the war criminals are still at large. Saddam Hussein is dead and buried, but the cabal that lied us into war is still around – and not only that, they are mocking us from their podiums in the media, justifying and obscuring their crimes. Here is former Bush speechwriter David Frum declaring he was right all along – if only:
"If we’d found the WMD, it would have been different. If we’d kept better order in Iraq after the overthrow of Saddam, it would have been different. If more Iraqis had welcomed the invasion as we expected, it would have been different. If the case for the war had been argued in a less contrived and predetermined way, it would have been different."
Ah, "but it wasn’t different," continues Frum: "Those of us who were involved – in whatever way – bear the responsibility." So what have been the consequences suffered by Frum – as opposed to the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis who were killed and maimed, their lives and country destroyed? What price has Mr. "Axis of Evil" paid that is in any way comparable to that exacted from the 5,000 Americans killed and tens of thousands horribly wounded? Why none, of course. There he is, on CNN, in the Daily Beast, pontificating in his new role as a "moderate" Republican.

There is a difference between being wrong and lying.

Anyone who takes a position has a chance of being wrong.  

Liars should be banned by the media.  Colin Powell lied.  That's documented and don't believe his little fluffer Lawrence Wilkerson.  Powell was presented with false charges to make to the UN and he pushed back on some but agreed to go with others.  This has been documented repeatedly, you can refer to FAIR or to the Los Angeles Times, for the Times start with Greg Miller's July 15, 2004 report entitled "Flaws Cited in Powell's U.N. Speech on Iraq."

He lied.

The mainstream media should have rebuked him long ago instead of courting him and presenting him as an expert.

As for those wrong?

No one should be banned from the public discourse for being wrong.  Hopefully, they will at least admit they were wrong but even if they don't we'll all be wrong at some point in our lives -- multiple times (especially me).  

But those wrong on big issues?  They should be brought on far less by Sunday chat shows and balanced out with voices who were right.

That's for the mainstream media -- the broadcast networks, CNN, most newspapers, etc.

For what's supposed to be the left media?

The periodicals like The Progressive, The Nation, In These Times, Mother Jones, various Pacifica Radio programs, etc?

They might, in the interest of a wide ranging debate, allow those who were wrong to participate but as guests.  You do not hire these people,  you do not give them a regular platform.

Mother Jones presents itself as left -- in its latest incarnation, it has become nothing but a partisan organ for the Democratic Party -- and as a voice of truth.

But when Mother Jones was looking for someone to hire to write bits and pieces for the mag's online site, it didn't go with Cindy Sheehan.  Cindy was a national name and someone who stood for peace and stood against the Iraq War.  Mother Jones didn't pursue her.

Or take Ann Wright.  The former army colonel was serving in the State Dept when Powell was lying.  And her response?  She resigned from the diplomatic corps.  Her resignation letter ended up all over the internet.

Mother Jones didn't pursue her to write for them.

No, when they had a slot open, they went with Kevin Drum who supported and cheerleaded the illegal war.

When the media -- mainstream or in the case of Mother Jones alleged left wing media -- refuses to hold liars and war mongers accountable, they send the impression that this filth was correct, that those of us who said no to war were wrong.

The filth should have been ostracized, publicly humiliated.

Instead, their opinions continue to be treated as important and worthwhile.

Over a million Iraqis are dead because of these liars and their opinions.

But there are no consequences.

And when even Mother Jones is too damn trashy to draw a line, what is America to believe?

Mother Jones, The Nation, et al refuse to call out War Hawk Barack.  They refuse to call out the continued bombing of Iraq.  They refuse to acknowledge the reality about these bombings -- that they kill and wound civilians.

Not everyone is so cowardly or craven.

  • Obama's only stop your aircraft for the killing of children, Syria and Iraq, but you know that God sees you ??

  • On today's violence, Margaret Griffis ( reports, "At least 577 were killed or found dead. Another 29 were wounded in recent attacks."

    Earlier today, Iraqi Spring MC Tweeted the following:

    : صور بتاريخ اليوم يظهر فيها النائب المعتقل لدى القوات الحكومية،أحمد العلواني، ويظهر فيها نحيل الجسم جراء الحبس.
    17 retweets6 favorites

    In the orange?

    That's one of Nouri al-Maliki's many victims, Ahmed al-Alwani.

    And the world should be shocked.

    First of all, he's clearly lost around 100 pounds during his 12 months and eleven or so days in Iraqi's prison system.  That's appalling.  His health, his appearance rebuke the notion that there's any 'justice' in Iraq's legal system or that it even functions.

    For those who don't know who Ahmed al-Alwani is or how he ended up in prison, we'll drop back to December 28, 2013, this is from "Rabid dog Nouri terrorizes a community :"

    National Iraqi News Agency quotes Iraqiya MP Hamid al-Mutlaq declaring:

    Prime Minister again resorted to use the brutal force and bypass the law and the Constitution in dealing with problems and crises that he himself and his government provoked them. al-Mutlaq, as member of the security and defense parliamentary. The violation of the law and the killing of demonstrators in Fallujah, Hawija and the displacement of the people in Diyala, Baghdad , and Dhi- Qar provinces ,personify a fanatic sectarian rends and irresponsible behavior which peaked today by the arrest of al-Alwani, killing his brother, and the violation of the sanctity of his home. 

     At dawn today, on Nouri al-Maliki's orders, an MP's home was raided with the intent of arresting him.  Nouri is the chief thug and prime minister of Iraq.  Possibly, the real intent was to kill the MP -- that would explain a dawn raid on someone's home.

    That's Ahmed al-Alwani, via All Iraq News, being arrested.

    Alsumaria reports that his home was stormed by Nouri's SWAT forces at dawn and that 5 people (bodyguards and family) were killed (this included his brother) while ten family members (including children) were left injured.

    al-Alwani's a Member of Parliament and he's a Sunni.  Nouri is a Shi'ite.

    More importantly, al-Alwani is a member of Iraqiya -- the political slate that defeated Nouri's State of Law in the March 2010 parliamentary elections.  (The people of Iraq did not vote for Nouri. He has a second term as prime minister only because his buddy Barack demanded The Erbil Agreement be drafted -- going around the Iraqi Constitution, every principle of democracy and the will of the Iraqi people.)

    Nouri's long targeted Iraqiya.

    In December of 2011, he went after Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlaq -- Sunni and (then) a member of Iraqiya -- and Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi -- Sunni and a member of Iraqiya.

    Saleh played footsie with Nouri and, in May of 2012, Nouri ended his war on Saleh and his failed attempt to have Saleh stripped of immunity by the Parliament.   Nouri had wanted Saleh sued for calling Nouri the new Saddam (and doing so to CNN).  The government is made up of members of Parliament.  Even Nouri is one.  And as a member of Parliament you have certain rights.

    For example, Tareq remains Vice President.  If parliamentary elections are held April 30th and new vice presidents (at least two -- although in 2010, they expanded it to three) are named, Tareq's term will have expired.  But Nouri can't strip anyone of their rights or office.  Parliament can.

    Parliment refused to strip Saleh al-Mutlaq of his office and they've refused all this time to strip Tareq al-Hashemi of his post.

    All Iraq News reports that MP Karim Elewi (Iraqi National Alliance) insists that al-Alwani's immunity doesn't need to be lifted to prosecute him because he's an "assassin" and a "criminal."

    I'm sorry Baby Cum Pants, did you not understand how the law works?  You took an oath to uphold the Iraqi Constitution, Baby Cum Pants, so you might try grasping that it enshrines the principle of innocent until proven guilty.  Not "innocent until arrested."

    All Iraq News also quotes Tariq Harb who says immunity doesn't need to be lifted by Parliament.  He's identified as a "legal expert."

    If I want to know what Nouri's small cock tastes like, I'll go Tariq Harb.

    Anything else?


    He's repeatedly lied for Nouri.

    He's not a legal expert and he's not objective.  We've seen that since 2010.

    Excuse me, those of us who paid attention -- a very small number -- have seen that since 2010.  Tariq Harb, you may remember, agreed, in the midst of Nouri's 8-month political stalemate (when loser Nouri refused to step down from his job) that Nouri was correct and the president (Jalal Talabani) and the vice presidents (Tareq al-Hashemi and Adil Abdul-Mahdi) were no longer in office.

    That would have just left Nouri in office.  And Nouri lost the March 2010 election.

    I was wrong, hold on.

    If I want to know what Nouri's asshole tastes like?

    That's another thing Tariq Harb could probably explain.  So I was wrong to imply that he could only tell us one thing with accuracy.

    We've documented his bias for years now.  He's not unobjective.

    He's also not familiar with the law.  Vengeance is not the law.

    He's such an idiot.  This is what he tells All Iraq News: "Any Parliamentary Member who commits a crime that can be proved can be arrested without need to lift immunity from him according to Article 63 of the Iraqi Constitution which gave the MPs immunity on unproved crimes only."

    [. . .]
    Let's go to the Iraqi Constitution.

    Article 63: 

    First: A law shall regulate the rights and privileges of the speaker of the Council of Representatives, his two deputies, and the members of the Council of Representatives. 


     A. A member of the Council of Representatives shall enjoy immunity for statements made while the Council is in session, and the member may not be prosecuted before the courts for such. 

     B. A Council of Representatives member may not be placed under arrest during the legislative term of the Council of Representatives, unless the member is accused of a felony and the Council of Representatives members consent by an absolute majority to lift his immunity or if he is caught in flagrante delicto in the commission of a felony. 

     C. A Council of Representatives member may not be arrested after the legislative term of the Council of Representatives, unless the member is accused of a felony and with the consent of the speaker of the Council of Representatives to lift his immunity or if he is caught in flagrante delicto in the commission of a felony. 

    (C) does not apply because al-Alwani is a Member of Parliament.  His term has not expired.

    That leaves (A) and (B).  (A) applies to statements so that has nothing to do with al-Alwani.

    That leaves (B).  By the first section Harb is right.

    But learn to read, you stupid idiot, because there are two parts to (B) and they must both be met.

    B. A Council of Representatives member may not be placed under arrest during the legislative term of the Council of Representatives, unless the member is accused of a felony and the Council of Representatives members consent by an absolute majority to lift his immunity or if he is caught in flagrante delicto in the commission of a felony. 

    See that "and" in there.  While al-Alwani is accused of a felony crime (killing), that's not all of (B).  He can only be arrested if the Parliament consents "by an absolute majority."

    Know the damn law.
    [. . .]

    National Iraqi News Agency reports MP Saleem al-Jubori (Mottahidoon Lilslah Coalition) denounced the arrest and the klling of al-Alwani's brother in the raid.  Iraqiya MP and Speaker of Parliament Osama al-Nujaifi went to Ramadi in an attempt to sort out what happened and to calm heightened tensions.  NINA also reports:

    Chairman of Anbar Provincial Council, Sabah Karhout, described the arrest of lawmaker Ahmed al-Alwani as a grave mistake.
    In a statement on Saturday, Dec. 28, to NINA Karhout said that the Anbar Provincial Council, condemns the arrest of lawmaker from Anbar province, Ahmed al-Alwani, and killing his brother, as well as a number of his guardsmen and family members, after clashes between the military and Alwani’s guards at dawn Saturday, as a grave mistake because of the way Alwani was arrested.
    Karhout added that Anbar Council held an emergency meeting, and came out with important decisions, including demanding the Prime Minister to immediately release Alwani and make the military force that arrested him accountable for the way it carried out the arrest.

    Those deaths are on Nouri's hands.  There's no excuse for the deaths, there's no excuse for wounding children.  Thug Nouri unleashed his thugs and murder happened.  Safaa Abdel-Hamid and Mohammed Shafiq (Alsumaria) report that Osama al-Nujaifi is calling for an investigation into the arrest itself.

    And this was Falluja's response to the arrest.

    This was huge but many Americans don't even know about it because the media largely ignored it (as they did all of Nouri's crimes) and the White House refused to call it out.

    Ahmed al-Alwani remains in prison.  Illegally arrested but he remains in prison.

    And thug Nouri?  Instead of rotting in a prison, he now preens as one of Iraq's three vice presidents.

    And Haider al-Abadi is such a little bitch that he doesn't even reside in the prime minister's home.  Despite being named prime minister in August, Haider's still not in the home.

    Who occupies the home?  Thug Nouri who refuses to leave.

    New prime minister Haider is suck a weakling, is so ineffective, he can't even get Nouri to move out of the prime minister's residence.

    How pathetic.

    And he can't -- or won't -- fix the problems Nouri created.

    Iraqi former mp sentenced to death
    A former member of Iraq’s Council of Representatives (Parliament) has been sentenced to death after a trial marred with irregularities. He has a month to appeal.
    Ahmed al-‘Alwani, a prominent member of the secular political party al-Iraqiya bloc, was sentenced to death on 23 November by the Central Criminal Court of Iraq (CCCI) in Baghdad for the killing of two soldiers. He had been charged with “assaulting military assets and killing and injuring security forces for terrorist ends”, under Article 4 of the 2005 Anti-Terrorism Law.
    Since his arrest on 28 December 2013 Ahmed al-‘Alwani has been denied access to his lawyer and family. In court, his former lawyer was not allowed to cross-examine the prosecution witnesses or ask questions as they were deemed “not productive” by the court. The court refused to record his questions in the minutes of the hearing. His former lawyer was intimidated on several occasions until he withdrew from the case. The lawyer was arrested in March before a planned meeting with officials of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI). He was blindfolded for 12 hours and questioned about his motives for defending Ahmed al-‘Alwani. Amnesty International urged the government in May to stop intimidating him, but he said that the court’s presiding judge later threatened him with arrest if he did not withdraw from the case. Another lawyer then was appointed to represent Ahmed al-‘Alwani.
    Ahmed al-‘Alwani has a month to appeal against the death sentence. Iraq is one of the world’s leading executioners. Since 2005 the vast majority of those executed have been sentenced to death for terrorism-related offences, in most cases after grossly unfair trials.
    Please write immediately in English or Arabic:
    Urging the authorities to commute the death sentence imposed on Ahmed al-‘Alwani;
    Expressing concern that Ahmed al-‘Alwani was sentenced to death after proceedings that fell short of international standards for fair trial;
    Urging the authorities to declare an official moratorium on executions with a view to abolishing the death penalty, and commute without delay all outstanding death sentences.
    (Send appeals to the representative of Iraq in your country, addressed to the president)
    Fuad M’asum
    Convention Centre (Qasr al-Ma’aridh)
    Salutation: Dear Mr President
    Minister of Human Rights
    Mohamed Mahdi Al-Bayati
    Convention Centre (Qasr al-Ma’aridh)
    Salutation: Dear Minister
    And copies to:
    Minster of Justice
    Dr Haidar al-Zamli
    Convention Centre (Qasr al-Ma’aridh)
    Also send copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country. Please insert local diplomatic addresses below:
    Name Address 1 Address 2 Address 3 Fax Fax number Email Email address Salutation Salutation
    Please check with your section office if sending appeals after the above date.

    Iraqi former mp sentenced to death

    ADditional Information

    Ahmed al-‘Alwani was arrested on 28 December 2013 when the security forces exchanged gunfire with his private security guards when they came to arrest his brother, Ali al-‘Alwani.
    Ahmed al-‘Alwani has been a leading public supporter of a protest camp set up in Ramadi by Sunnis protesting in 2013 against what they saw as marginalization by the Shi’a majority government and the targeting of their community. The protest was violently dispersed by the Iraqi security forces shortly after Ahmed al-‘Alwani’s arrest, on the grounds that it had become a nest of al-Qa’ida militants.
    The exchange of gunfire with the security forces, which took place in front of Ahmed al-‘Alwani’s house, in the centre of the city of Ramadi, led to the death of ‘Ali al-‘Alwani and woulnded Ahmed al-‘Alwani’s guards. One security officer was killed and at least four were injured. The dismantling of the camp sparked fights that extended to the city of Falluja early in 2014. The group calling itself Islamic State (IS) took control of Falluja early in January and has since then controlled most of Anbar province.
    The death sentence handed down to Ahmed al-‘Alwani has angered many people, including Sunni leaders of the Albu Alwan tribe, to which the MP belongs, and which is now fighting the IS alongside government forces in Ramadi.  

    But Haider's not going to address that or anything else.

    He's going to make empty statements, video of him and Nouri laughing at the Iraqi people will continue to show up on social media, and Iraqis already realize that there is no change in Iraq despite Nouri finally being forced out.

    In June of last year, US President Barack Obama declared the only solution to the ongoing violence in Iraq was a political solution.  

    In the months since, the White House has repeatedly promised this weapon or that to Haider's government while securing nothing in exchange.

    Maybe if Secretary of State John Kerry didn't mistake himself for the Secretary of Defense Kerry could lead a diplomatic effort to aid in a political solution?

    Instead, Kerry froths at the mouth, excited by the number of bombs US warplanes keep dropping on Iraq. 

    The US State Dept should also be leading on assisting Iraqi refugees.  Instead, they fail there as well.  Not every country fails though.   Steven Chase (Globe and Mail) reports, "Canada will accept another 10,000 Syrian refugees over the next three years and another 3,000 Iraqis in 2015 as Ottawa opens its doors wider for people displaced by a civil war and the Islamic State’s reign of terror in the region."

    In the United States where there was a deadly shooting at the El Paso VA Health Care clinic on Tuesday.  Elahe Izadi, Dan Lamonthe and Eimly Wax-Thibodeaux (Washington Post) report that Dr. Timothy Fjordbak had filed a complaint against Jerry Serrato in 2013 following a grocery store exchange which Fjordbak found threatening.  Serrato, an Iraq War veteran, worked at the VA -- CBS and AP describe him as a former employee.  He is the suspect in the shooting.  After the shooting death of Fjordbak, Serrato took his own life.  A former VA employee (unnamed) tells the Post that Serrato self-reported he suffered from Post-Traumatic Syndrome but the VA denied his claim.  Daniel Borunda (El Paso Times) notes:
    The El Paso Veterans Health Care System had been under scrutiny for long wait times.
    Last month, an inspector general review of the El Paso-Las Cruces health care system verified complaints about long wait times.
    The review found that El Paso's wait times were the sixth-worse in the nation, ranking 123rd among 128 VA health care systems. VA officials had said they have hired more staff and were working to improve service.

    Army records state that Serrato served with the Ohio Army National Guard from 1985 to 1989.
    After a break in service, he enlisted in the U.S. Army in July 2006 with his hometown listed as Corpus Christi. He was infantry with a rank of specialist.
    Records show he was assigned to the 89th Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division in Fort Polk, La. He was deployed to Iraq from March to July 2007.
    Starting in October 2007, he was assigned to the Warrior Transition Unit at Fort Polk until he was medically discharged from the Army in February 2009, records show. He had an honorable discharge.

    Timothy Fjordbak, 63, left a successful private psychology practice after the terrorist attacks in New York City, Washington, D.C., and Pennsylvania on Sept. 11, 2001, to focus on helping returning soldiers, said FBI Special Agent in Charge Douglas Lindquist.
    Fjordbak was a mental and behavioral health psychologist at the VA clinic. He had 33 years experience as a psychologist and was licensed to practice in Florida, Georgia and New Mexico, according to medical records.

    Regina Dennis (Waco Tribune) spoke with spokesperson Deborah Meyer about the Waco Veteran Affairs Medical Center, "Meyer said the hospitals hope to begin having active shooter safety drills, something that was in the works before the El Paso incident but had not yet been approved by VA leaders in the Washington, D.C., central office."