Saturday, February 07, 2015

Iraq snapshot

Saturday, February 7, 2015.  Chaos and violence continue, the White House hides everything from the American people, the State Dept flashesback to 2003 for some of the worst spinning in years, another whore comes along to tell the American people how to sit back and do nothing, and much, much more.

Thursday in a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on Guantanamo, as Senator Lindsey Graham was speaking, a man yelled, "Let's restore the rule of law! You have betrayed the American people! What's wrong with you, America! What's wrong with you!"

He was quickly escorted out.

What led to that?

Had it been the collective nonsense building up?

Because there was a more outrageous part that Graham's recounting of his efforts with US President Barack Obama to fine tune laws to keep people imprisoned forever even if they were released from the US gulag that is the prison on Guantanamo Bay.

Guantanamo has been a gulag since 2002.  A costly one in terms of image, in terms of the law, in terms of dollars.  In the hearing, Senator Martin Heinrich noted that approximately $5 billion had been spent on the facility since 2002.  "And in 2014, the American taxpayer spent more than 3 million per Guantanamo detainee -- and compare that with about $78,000 it costs to house a prisoner at Colorado Super Max Prison."

The Center for Constitutional Rights explains Guantanamo this way, "The story of Guantánamo remains that of nearly 800 men and boys thrown into an island prison designed to exist beyond the rule of law. Most were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time, refugees fleeing the chaos of war in Afghanistan. The U.S. military captured only one in twenty; many were sold for significant sums of money to the U.S. by local authorities in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Of the 149 men who remain at Guantánamo as of January 2014, approximately half were cleared for release years ago."

Thursday's hearing found the Committee hearing testimony from DoD's Deputy Under Secretary of Defense For Policy Brian P. McKeon, Nicholas J. Rasmussen with the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and Rear Admiral Ross Myers.

Senator Dan Sullivan: So from a broad perspective, of the remaining Gitmo detainees, how many are assessed to be high or medium risk?

Under Secretary Brian McKeon: Senator, I don't have those numbers at my finger tips and if you're referring to the assessments that were done by JTS GITMO back in the last decade, uh, my impression is knowing the population of that which we've already transferred using those categories, I think we have transferred most of those who were low risk.  But I don't know the precise data.  We'll have to -- We'll have to get that to you, sir.

Senator Dan Sullivan:  But I mean of the current remaining detainees, we don't have a handle on who's high or medium risk right now?

Under Secretary Brian McKeon:  I don't have that at my finger tips as we both -- I and Rasmussen -- explained, sir, when we bring forward a case for possible transfer, we look at the totality of the evidence, what the detainee had done on the battlefield, how they behaved at Guantanamo, what their current -- what our assessment is of their current intentions?  So it's not just to look at the assessments 

Chair John McCain: Mr. Secretary, you're not answering the question.  If you don't have the information, then submit it.  It's important for this Committee to know who's low risk, medium risk and high risk.  I would have expected you to come to this hearing with that information.

Under Secretary Brian McKeon:  Yes, Mr. Chairman.  I should add that these risk levels -- in terms of who's in what category -- is-is classified.  So we'd be happy to have that conversation with you in a classified session as well.  I just don't have those numbers at my finger tips. I think it's safe to say many of them are in the medium or high risk category. 

Senator Dan Sullivan: It would be very important for us to know that --

Under Secretary Brian McKeon:  Yes, sir.

The American people are too stupid to handle knowing X% is high-risk and Y% is low-risk?

If you're not getting how ridiculous the government's behaviors are, let's go further into this exchange.

Senator Dan Sullivan:  And one more thing, I understand there was an MOU regarding the Taliban Five -- that they have a, my understanding was a one year restriction with regard to their activity and movements.  Uhm, after a year are they free to go and do whatever they want?  Return back to Afghanistan?  I think again that's a concern not only for this Committee but, uh, for the American people.

Under Secretary Brian McKeon:  You're correct about the one year matter, Senator.  We -- The agreement between our two governments is classified and we've briefed to your staff and, I think, some of the members in closed session.  And I'd want to get into that in a closed session -- about what happens after one year.

Senator Dan Sullivan:  Okay.  Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Okay?  Thank you?

Deals are made with conditions.

That's not surprising.  We'd call it parole in the criminal justice system.

But no one treats the conditions of parole as a national security secret.

Nor should the Memorandums of Understandings between the US and other governments on this issue be kept secret.

I believe in closing down Guantanamo and releasing anyone you can't convict.  Others feel differently.  That includes some who feel that the release of any prisoner at Guantanamo is dangerous and could lead to terrorists acts against the United States.

Wherever you fall on the spectrum, how dare the US government, how dare the White House, think they can make deals without informing the American people.

The terms of 'parole' should not be a state secret.

This is one more example of how Barack Obama heads not only the most deceptive administration but the most secretive.

Strange times in Portland, Maine
Lobsters dancing on the docks
Switzerland's been weird since they unplugged the clocks
Man and a woman in Brooklyn Heights
Each convinced the other's in the wrong
While last year the divorce rate tripled in Hong Kong

If through all the madness
We can stick together
We're safe and sound
The world's just inside out and upside down

-- "Safe and Sound," written by Carly Simon and Jacob Brackman, first appears on Carly's Hotcakes.

Yes, the world remains inside out and upside down.

But we need to be careful who we "stick together" with.

I'd been avoiding an article because it's by a whore and I do get so tired of having to call them out.

They're a pissy little bunch on the left.

If you call out a right-wing whore -- or they think you do (hello, Robert Kagan) -- they write you an e-mail and that's about it.

By contrast, take I-Need-Attention Medea Benjamin and how my words have apparently left more psychological scars for Medea than did her 'tragic' pie-ing.

(In June 2007, at the US Social Forum, Bakers Without Borders and Co-optation Watch pied Medea noting that they were demanding "accountability from a self-appointed 'spokesperson' whose actions further the commodification of resistance and sabotage our movement's sustainability and credibility."  To this day, Medea is said to tremble and go into shock while wheeling her cart down the frozen foods section of a grocery store if she encounters pies, pie shells or even just a container of Cool Whip.)

The article's the usual cut-and-paste with a huge layer of stupidity smeared on top so I thought I could ignore it.

Then an Iraqi community member e-mailed and wanted to who Sarah Lazare was thinking she could speak for Iraq "and speak so poorly at that"?


Who is Sarah?  She's a whore.

She's not a Democratic Party whore, she's a Socialist whore -- of the US Socialist Worker type.  (The WSWS doesn't whore.  The US Socialist Worker can't stop-won't stop whoring.)

And so she writes about Iraq in that idiotic manner she's so famous for.

Like her infamous piece that should have been called "Iraq War Veteran Cock Has Made Me An Expert On The War."  In that piece, an apparent bareback affair allowed Sarah to learn more than anyone about suffering in Iraq.  Semen may have given her something, but it wasn't wisdom as that overly long article on 'suffering' neglected to acknowledge the suffering of the Iraqis.

Presumably and her Iraq Veterans Against the War lover have parted or maybe his sperm has just lost its magical powers because she doesn't mention "S" once in her latest long-form bamboozlement.

This one's entitled "Where's the Anti-War Movement When You Really Need It?" and don't let the title fool you, she's not providing answers and, hell, she's really not even asking questions.  (There are many places you can read the crap -- and I'm told the FDA is in the process of certifying it as a legal sleeping aid -- but we'll give a link to CounterPunch.)

Where's the peace movement?

It was dismantled by the so-called leaders.

United for Peace and Justice immediately closed shop less than a week after the November 2008 US presidential elections.  CodeStink set up shop in DC with the intent of 'getting' Barack's back and taking on Republicans.  Leslie Cagan disappeared took a self-imposed sabbatical to contemplate the role of Communism in the 21st century and whether or not facial electrolysis could provide her with new vistas?  Tom Hayden went on a drunken bender that's lasted nearly six years although he does come up for air from time to time to pen laugh getting, Onion worthy pieces -- like December 2011's  "In Iraq, peace at last."

The leaders put the Christ Child Barack Obama above the movement, above the truth and above the people of Iraq.  The Cult of St. Barack did real harm and before Sister Sarah tries to minister to the flock, maybe she should step into the confessional and atone for her own sins?

She could start with an article about Iraq that is faux historical and never notes Nouri al-Maliki or Barack Obama.

She could start by admitting Socialists like her stick together which is why she's citing Patrick Cockburn over and over.

The Arab world slams Cockburn repeatedly and rightly and has done so to such a degree that he's had to adjust his writing and suddenly recognize the Sunnis.

That's why Sarah can't get her facts right.

And, let's be really clear, if at this late date, you're writing about the April 23rd massacre of a sit-in in Hawija  and you can't note it resulted from  Nouri's federal forces storming in or that the over 50 dead included children --  UNICEF noted that the dead included 8 children (twelve more were injured) -- who the hell do you think you're helping?

You're certainly not helping the truth.

In her article, Sarah's suddenly interested in the "2013" protests -- not interested enough, of course, to know that they kicked off in December of 2012 or that they continued through January of 2014.

But she cares . . . about pretending to care.

The Iraqi people had a chance at freedom in 2010.  Against all odds, they voted -- and they were prevented from voting in so many ways -- and they didn't choose Nouri and State of Law.  Nouri stomped his feet and got the United Nations to whittle away some votes but he was still the loser.

The people had gone for Iraqiya which was a non-sectarian party led by Shi'ite Ayad Allawi.

And Allawi had a future for Iraq that looked promising.

Iraqiya included all variations of Iraqis -- there was a place for everyone.  That's why the new political slate proved so popular.

But instead of seizing this effort on the part of Iraqis to build a cohesive country, US President Barack Obama backed Nouri al-Maliki who pouted like a spoiled brat for eight months, refusing to step down as prime minister and creating a political stalemate.

Barack had US officials in Iraq negotiate The Erbil Agreement to give Nouri a second term.  The White House got that legal contract signed via bribes, bullying and lying.  And after Nouri used it to get his second term, he shredded it and Barack played dumb and pretended he hadn't lied to every political group in Iraq when he said the contract was legally binding and had his full support and backing.

These are among the truths that Sarah Lazare will never tell.

And when you can't tell the truth there's no reason for a peace movement.

Sarah can call out . . . Bully Boy Bush for the Iraq War.

And, we all know, he left the White House in January 2009.

If he's the fault for everything today then there's nothing to protest because he's out of office and has been for seven years.

That Hawija massacre that she claims to give a damn about? She never names or even quotes one of the survivors or one of the dead.  But Thamer Hussein Mousa refused to be silent.  He was there when Nouri's forces attacked.  His son was killed by those forces.  The BRussells Tribunal carried his eye witness account which ended with:

I hold Obama responsible for this act because he is the one who gave them these weapons. The weapons and aircrafts they used and fired upon us were American weapons. I also hold the United States of America responsible for this criminal act, above all, Obama.

Don't look for that kind of honesty in Sarah Lazare's nonsense.

And since she can't hold the person in charge responsible, don't be surprised that her grand plan for saving Iraq from further destruction is . . . donate to a charity.

Is Sarah with the peace movement or some 'ladies auxiliary unit' of the Chamber of Commerce.

The dishonesty never ends.

Which brings us to the US State Dept and their Friday press briefing.  In the exchange below, spokesperson Marie Harf  refuses to answer questions from Al Quds' Said Arikat.

QUESTION: Yesterday it was reported that the United States has intensified its search-and-rescue operation. But until recently, they were located in Kuwait, which is quite a ways back, now moving it to – maybe to the north of Iraq maybe.

MS. HARF: Well, I think that the Pentagon can probably speak more specifically. They have immense search-and-rescue capabilities, which we’ve discussed with our partners, including some of our partners that are flying alongside of us here. But I don’t have any more specifics for you than that.

QUESTION: And finally, would you say that the international coalition today is basically a duet; it is Jordan and the United States of America and nobody else is --

MS. HARF: Not at all. It’s over 60 countries, Said. I think the other countries would probably not like you discounting their contributions.

QUESTION: Can you name some of the countries that are actually participating in the air raids?

MS. HARF: Said, we’ve been over this many, many times. I mean, let’s start with the Iraqi Security Forces. Let’s start there ---

QUESTION: Right. No, I’m talking about --

MS. HARF: -- which is where --

QUESTION: -- I’m talking about the aerial bombardment that’s ongoing --

MS. HARF: Well --

QUESTION: -- of the ISIS locations.

MS. HARF: There’s – you know the countries that have flown missions alongside of us. You know that. You also know that there are five lines of effort here, only one of which is military, and only part of the military effort is flying bombing runs. So we have over 60 countries, many countries standing up and helping us train, helping us provide weapons, helping us provide assistance. So this is a very broad coalition, Said.

QUESTION: I’m fully aware of the participation of the coalition.

MS. HARF: Well, your question didn’t make that clear.

And the strangeness never ends.

At, Margret Griffis writes:

At least 276 people, mostly militants, were killed and 25 others were wounded.

While Griffis has the capability to count, she's not examining the bodies and it would be wonderful if she would stop acting as an unquestioning megaphone for the masters of empire.

See, that's another reason there's no peace movement -- even the so-called can't stop repeating -- as fact -- the claims of governments.