Jacob Siegel (Daily Beast) reports Iraq is still using those worthless sticks designed to find golf balls -- they couldn't even do that -- but sold to Iraq as bomb dectectors. You hold it and jog in place and that job turns the stick into a magical diving rod that can sense bombs.
May 20, 2013, we noted:
Violence slams Iraq today. Brisband Times notes (in a video report), "Washing the blood off the streets, the clear up begins after another deadly day of violence in Iraq." Fiji Broadcasting Corporation observes, "Baghdad was the worst hit." This morning, Al Jazeera noted, "Eight car bombs in mainly Shia districts of the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, killed 20 people on Monday." By the end of the day, AP reported the bombing toll was up to 10 and the death toll to 48 (with over 150 injured). On this AP video report, a Baghdad man states, "We have become accustom to such explosions. We have seen blasts every day. These attacks will never frighten us, God willing." As Baghdad is slammed with bombings, it's worth dropping back to the May 10th snapshot:
Alsumaria reports that cleric and movement leader Moqtada al-Sadr declared his sympathy for the Iraqis who've lost family members as a result of the purchase and use by Nouri's government of 'magic' wands -- which have been known not to work since 2009. Moqtada urged the families who lost loved ones and those who were injured as a result to sue the person who purchased the items. (That would be Nouri.) April 23rd (see the April 24, 2013 snapshot), James McCormick, the man who made and sold the wands, who was on trial for those wands, was pronounced guilty on three counts of fraud. And still Nouri has allowed -- no, insisted that the wands be used. May 2nd, McCormick was sentenced to a maxium of 10 years. Jake Ryan (Sun) quoted Judge Richard Hone stating, "The device was useless, the profit outrageous and your culpability as a fraudster has to be placed in the highest category. Your profits were obscene. You have neither insight, shame or any sense of remorse." And yet last Friday, Ammar Karim (AFP) reported that the 'magic' wands to 'detect' bombs (and drugs and, no doubt, spirits from the other world) are still being used in Iraq. He spoke with a police officer in Baghdad who admits that everyone knows that they don't work but that the police are under orders to use the wands.
Last Saturday, NINA reported, "Leader of the Sadrist Trend, Muqtada al-Sadr, demanded Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki to apologize and stand before Parliament to answer about the deal of the explosives detection instruments." Moqtada suspects some Iraqis were bribed in this deal and wants names he also demands that the 'magic' wands stop being used immediately stating that they are "an insult to the Iraqis' intelligence." Moqtada and Iraqiya have called for Nouri to appear before Parliament and explain why the wands were purchased, who profited from them and the various details of the deal that was made for them.
Al Mada reports that the Ministry of the Interior claimed today that they would recover all the money spent on the magic wands. Ministry of the Interior Inspector General Aqeel Turaihi states that they have known and acknowledged since October 2010 that the magic wands do not work.
Regardless of whether money is recovered for the purchase, as Moqtada al-Sadr points out, lives have been lost and people have been injured.
So in 2010, it was known that the magic wands were not working? No. It was known before that. May 11th, Alsumaria reported that new documents from the Ministry of Interior (reproduced with the article) demonstrate that a Ministry committee said the wands were not working and, in 2009, recommended that they not be purchased anymore. There were calls for Nouri to appear before Parliament to answer questions. He needs to. But he has refused all calls so far -- despite the Constitution on this issue. He continues to violate and ignore the Constitution. Kitabat also coverd the revelations about the 2009 recommendation at length here. May 12th, Alsumaria reported Parliament's Integrity Committee held a hearing to determine the details surrounding the purchase of these wands and Committee Chair Bahaa al-Araji states that the Integrity Commission appeared before the Committee and offered names of "top officials" involved. Mohammad Sabah (Al Mada) reported that even after Nouri was personally warned by a British commander "Colonel Powell" that the devices did not work, an order was still place and Al Mada reproduced that order -- it came from Nouri's office. Last Thursday, National Iraqi News Agency reports that Iraqiya MP Nada al-Jubouri is calling for an emergency session of Parliament to address yesterday's bombings, "These repeated security breaches came as a result of the lack of a way to detect car bombs, which claim the lives of people, in addition to the weakness of the intelligence information." May 3rd, Ammar Karim (AFP) reported that despite the wands being found not to work, despite the conviction and sentencing of their seller and maker in a British court, the wands were still being used in Baghdad. May 2nd, the seller and maker was sentenced:
The Belfast Telegraph notes that [James] McCormick "showed no reaction as he was told his 'callous confidence trick' was the worst fraud imaginable." Jake Ryan (Sun) quotes Judge Richard Hone stating, "The device was useless, the profit outrageous and your culpability as a fraudster has to be placed in the highest category. Your profits were obscene. You have neither insight, shame or any sense of remorse."
The use of these 'magic' wands in Iraq still is criminal.
It was criminal.
That they're still being used is even more so.
Today, Sigel reports:
The wands provide a visible symbol of Iraq’s rampant corruption. They were bought despite warnings that they didn’t work and kept in service after it was proved they didn’t work. A 2010 investigation into their purchase ended before it started, without any officials held accountable, after Iraq’s interior minister used an article in the country’s criminal code that gives senior officials control over whether their subordinates are prosecuted for corruption.
“The government in Maliki’s era was corrupt and strong; now it is corrupt and weak,” said Dr. Abbas Kadhim, a senior foreign policy fellow at Johns Hopkins University, in a recent interview about the legacy of former Iraqi leader Nouri al-Maliki and current Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi.
As it's established that they're still be used, will Moqtada again decry their use? If he does, will any other leaders join him.
Iraq is the most corrupt regime there is.
Every Iraqi citizen could be a billionaire based on a year's oil revenues. They bring in more billions than they have citizens.
And yet the bulk of the country lives in poverty.
Because corrupt politicians steal the money, put it in their pockets and then cover for one another.
The Iraqi politicians play the citizens for suckers.
It's not all that different in the United States.
US President Barack Obama insisted last June that the only answer for Iraq was a "political solution" but he and those working in the administration have focused on everything but.
That includes focusing on bombings.
Paul McLeary and Ariel Robinson (Foreign Policy) note this morning:
First things. In Iraq, which the White House says is its first priority, the Islamic State still holds the cities of Mosul and Fallujah, and appears poised to take control of the Baiji oil refinery. The refinery and the city of Ramadi remain “highly contested” Defense Department spokesman Col. Steve Warren said Monday, and the fight could go either way.
Video of U.S. planes in action over Iraq. Those bombs just don’t appear out of nowhere. They’re dropped by American pilots flying aircraft in at times close proximity to Islamic State fighters, who are very happy to fire back. The group recently released a video of fighting in and around the Baiji refinery that showed U.S. attack aircraft taking sustained ground fire. (Start at the 3:35 mark.) In response to an email query about the ground fire, U.S. Air Force Capt. Andrew Caulk replied that “we don’t have a releasable number for surface-to-air fire (SAFIRE) events. While the ground fire in the video may seem severe, the picture looks very different from the air. Our pilots occasionally report ineffective small arms or anti-aircraft artillery fire.”
Barack pretended -- and much of the press and the public went along with the artifice -- that these war planes piloted by US service members were not in combat -- despite the fact that what they are doing is a combat mission.
Americans, he insisted, would not return to Iraq to fight.
As they're now being fired upon, any chance Barack wants to get honest?
There's a suckers in England, of course. Like Stuart Thomson.
War Criminal Tony Blair has now led Labour to lose their second parliamentary election.
But Thomson insists the answer is to embrace Blair.
The only time Labour's popularity surged in recent years is when Ed and other key figures began publicly distancing themselves from Blair. This was popular with the public. Then the Chicago idiots came in insisting they could run the election and that the answer was to embrace Blair -- exactly what Thomson is proposing now.
If you missed last week's election results, it was a blood bath for Labour.
They cannot embrace Tony Blair again.
And he has no real programs to be proud of.
He's New Labour which, long before the war, was seen as centrist (at best) and too tied to corporations.
There are no accomplishments for Blair.
He oversaw gutting of the social safety net.
And his critics, before the Iraq War, were already vocal.
They have now joined with Iraq War critics and his reputation cannot be recovered.
But Thomoson insists Labour must tie itself to that anchor.
Only if they want to sink further.
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