Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Iraq snapshot

Wednesday, July 29, 2015.  Chaos and violence continue, the US government continues to be silent over Iraq's objections to Turkey bombing northern Iraq, The Ant Colony of Hillary works over time to protect their Queen, and much more.

Starting with Hillary Clinton.  As Wally's "THIS JUST IN! HILLARY'S FAN CLUB GETS UGLY!" and Cedric's "Hillary lovers attack the press" note, 'journalist' Eric Boehlert.

A little nothing who moved from outlet to outlet never making a name for himself, Boehlert ended up at David Brock's bordello Media Matters.  Brock, of course, is the man who lied about Anita Hill and smeared her with 'cute' phrases like 'a little nutty and a little slutty.'

Anita Hill is a woman so to the faux left she doesn't matter.

It's more important for them to get behind the liar David Brock.

And the fact that he has a continued problem with African-American women is not ever supposed to be commented on.

But it was David Brock who went around whispering that Michelle Obama had been caught on tape trashing "Whitey."

And you have to wonder about the ethics -- or lack of them -- of anyone like Boehlert who chooses to work in the Brock Bordello.

Boehlert's having a hissy fit about a story the New York Times did on Hillary Clinton.

For those late to the party, Michael Apuzzo and Michael S. Schmidt wrote a story last Thursday.

As the paper's editorial note explained Monday:

The Times reported online Thursday night (and in some print editions Friday) that the inspectors general for the State Department and the intelligence agencies had sent a referral to the Justice Department requesting a “criminal investigation” into whether Mrs. Clinton “mishandled sensitive government information” on the email account. That article was based on multiple high-level government sources.

On Friday, another question arose — whether the investigation being sought was a “criminal” inquiry. As other news organizations followed up on The Times’s report, the Justice Department confirmed to them that a “criminal” investigation had been requested. Officials also gave that description again to Times reporters who were rechecking their initial story. But later in the day, the Justice Department and the inspectors general said that the request was not a “criminal referral” but rather a “security referral,” meant to alert the F.B.I. about a potential mishandling of classified information. It was not clear how the discrepancy arose.

Eric B has his panties in a twist over "criminal" investigation.

I'm sorry Eric is such a damn fool, I'm sure he was a great disappointment to his parents.

But when you refer anything to the Justice Dept, that's a criminal referral.

Now for the area in question, they term it a "security referral."

That is the proper term for it.

But you can call it whatever term you want, the reality is that a referral to the Justice Dept -- because of the very nature of the Justice Dept -- is a criminal referral.

If this is confusing to you, the Justice Dept explains: "To enforce the law and defend the interests of the United States according to the law; to ensure public safety against threats foreign and domestic; to provide federal leadership in preventing and controlling crime; to seek just punishment for those guilty of unlawful behavior; and to ensure fair and impartial administration of justice for all Americans."

Idiots like Eric embrace a really poor column by Margaret Sullivan (easily the worst public editor of the New York Times).  She has no grasp on anything as evidenced by:

Much later, The Times backed off the startling characterization of a “criminal inquiry,” instead calling it something far tamer sounding: it was a “security” referral.

It is called a "security referral" because that is the term the intelligence community uses.

The reason Justice Dept sources did not use that term when speaking to the Times and later outlets is because a referral to Justice is a criminal referral (to Justice) but, yes, the proper term is "security referral" for the intelligence community.

This is not complicated -- it is semantics.

And that Sullivan didn't grasp that goes a long way towards explaining her failure to address the real issues until paragraph 29.

It's also why she quotes from an organized e-mail campaign in defense of Hillary while ignoring the complaints (which outweighed the e-mail campaign by over 2 to 1) from readers who felt that the paper was being too sensitive to the concerns of the Clinton campaign.

And by including the charges from the organized e-mail campaign in defense of Hillary but never directly disputing them, Sullivan also endorses them -- intentionally or not.

She's a lousy public editor.

And unlike Eric, we have a long history of taking on public editors and ombudspersons -- for real reasons, not partisan crap.  (And, for the record, Daniel Okrent was much kinder to me and this site in his book than I ever was to him.)

Along with Sullivan's bad column, Eric and the other idiots also point to a column written by a biased former New York Times employee who, as noted in "You've got some really strange and creepy heroes," lied to the paper about money he used to buy a story and then tried to whine that he had memory loss due to his illness (epilepsy). He's lucky the Justice Dept didn't come after him for those funds which, yes, were used to pay for kiddie porn.

Around those two bad columns, Eric and others try to build an argument.

Eric goes further, he outright lies by selectively quoting one paragraph from this July 24, 2015 statement of the Inspectors General of Intelligence and State.  Read it in full, Intel is acting with and on behalf of State.

Jennifer Werner is then quoted and no one needs to scrape that low.  She's a professional liar in her position as spokesperson for Democrats on the Benghazi Committee.

Unlike Eric, I've been at the Benghazi hearings where I've heard one Democrat after another embarrass themselves and usually make a claim that if X happened they'd be the first . . . and then X is revealed and they play dumb about their previous comments and continue to insist Benghazi doesn't matter.

Benghazi doesn't matter is also Eric' position who can't stop writing his nothing-to-see-here pieces which read a lot like the denials of Watergate many partisans offered prior to Woodward and Bernstein's expose.

In terms of Hillary's latest scandal, the basics are: the IGs for State and Intel have referred the matter to the Justice Dept, the matter itself is over classified intel being sent over a non-secure server.

She is running to become US President but she can't even be trusted handling classified information.

She's irresponsible at best -- even if her actions do not rise to illegal (the Justice Dept will determine that), they were irresponsible.

She who taunted Barack in 2008 about not being ready for the 3 AM phone call is actually not ready to handle classified information at any time of day.

We could have ignored this topic.

There are other things to focus on.

But Eric is a real whore.

He accuses the Times of overplaying their hand.

But he's the one comparing this report from last week to Judith Miller's New York Times coverage on Iraq.

They are not the same thing in any way, shape or form.

The Times was forced into issuing a statement on Miller's coverage in 2005 as a result of Daniel Okrent's weighing in on the issue and Okrent was forced to weigh in for reasons and issues we noted in real time -- reasons and issues no one else caught because Eric and company are idiots whose frame of reference is, no doubt, as tiny as their penises.

(For those late to the party, Okrent's position was he wouldn't weigh in on the Iraq coverage because it happened before he became public editor.  He was forced to address it because he covered the Tonys -- a fact Eric and company ignored because of their selective interest and their inability to pay attention.  He didn't just cover the Tonys, before the nominations were announced, he wrote a lengthy grip about how the paper covered it . . . in the past.  When that column was published, he was bombarded by e-mails noting he no longer had an excuse to avoid Iraq.)

With regard to the Hillary story, it went up Thursday night.  The Clinton campaign complained on Friday and the story was altered on Friday.  Alterations continued as the story developed and an editorial note was issued on Monday.

That is not the same thing as Miller's Iraq War coverage.

Eric's an idiot.  (See "Rudith Miller" -- our 2005 parody piece -- for Miller's approach in her Iraq reporting.  And, yes, we outed Scooter Libby as her source.)

Sullivan says the paper should have taken a slower approach.

No, they shouldn't have.

Government officials within Justice and at the White House told the reporters X was happening.

They reported what they confirmed through multiple sources.

That is reporting.

And reporting can be wrong.

Or partially wrong.

The paper added to the story as details emerged.

That is reporting.

This did not take place with Iraq.

With Iraq, lies continued forever and a day.

They continued after the paper's 'mea culpa.'

 And I honestly, in 2015, don't take any alleged 'critic' seriously when they offer Judith Miller.  She's disgraced.  It takes no courage to call her out.

It takes cowardice to refuse to call out Chris Hedges who co-authored the New York Time's first front page story (falsely) linking 9/11 to Iraq.

When you can't call that out, you're not really concerned about the paper's Iraq coverage.

Eric's never cared about Iraq but will trot it out when it suits him.

The point in his attack on the paper is not better journalism or anything like that.

He works for David Brock.

'Work the refs.'

They scream and yell in order to intimidate the press.

Their whole point is to constrain coverage, to prevent their tiny gods from being covered fairly.

Hillary Clinton's refusal to use a secure server put her in the position she is in now.

Hillary's lies at the UN earlier this year about her e-mails (including that she only used one device) set the stage for her current problems.

As with Benghazi, Eric's entire point here is to intimidate the press, to bully them, so that they'll walk away from the story.

I have no problem calling out the Times.  We used to do that every day here.

But we did that and we moved on because I'm not doing greatest hits.

The sameness of it bores the hell out of me.

Media Matters is nothing but a nostalgia act performing tired old songs to smaller and smaller audiences.

But when we slammed the Times daily, or when we do so occasionally today, we did it because the coverage was too narrow.

We never, for example, slammed the Iraq coverage to get the paper to stop covering Iraq.

But that is the point of Eric and Media Matters.

They should be ashamed of themselves.

Jim Michaels (USA Today) reports, "In a sign of its resilience, the Islamic State appears to have recruited new fighters to offset 15,000 militants killed in a U.S.-led airstrike campaign approaching its first anniversary, U.S. military and intelligence estimates show."


They may be somewhat higher or somewhat smaller in actuality.

But the trend itself is what matters.

And the reality is that the greatest recruiter for the Islamic State was and remains discrimination against Sunnis.

In terms of Iraq, this trend speaks to Iraq's Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi's continued inability to broker any kind of a political solution in Iraq or to create an inclusive government.

Meanwhile file it under on-the-fifth-day-of-Christmas-my-true-love-gave-to-me: Jason Ditz and discover (finally) objection to the Turkish war planes bombing Iraq.

While it's taken some time for to cover the objections, they're still ahead of Iraq 'expert' Joel Wing whose 'musings on Iraq' continue to fail to include the Turkish bombings of Iraq or their objections from within Iraq and within Turkey.

Yes, the bombings of northern Iraq have outraged many.

Press TV notes:

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has slammed Turkey for launching air raids on the Iraqi soil, saying the assaults violate the Arab country’s sovereignty.
Abadi said late Tuesday that his council of ministers views Turkish airstrikes on his country as “a dangerous escalation and a violation of Iraq’s sovereignty.”

AFP reports:

Massud Barzani, the president of northern Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region, has expressed disquiet to Ankara over the air raids.
Turkey’s foreign ministry undersecretary, Feridun Sinirlioglu, was in the Iraqi Kurdish city of Erbil on Wednesday for meetings with Iraqi Kurdish leaders, in a clear bid to calm tensions.
The pro-Kurdish opposition in Turkey has furiously accused [p]resident Recep Tayyip Erdogan of ordering the air strikes as revenge for its strong performance in June 7 general elections which cost the ruling party its overall majority and failed to produce a conclusive result.

 Today's Zaman notes, "In a three-part message posted on his official Twitter account Tuesday, al-Abadi said that the council is committed 'not to allow any attack on Turkey from Iraqi territory and called on Turkey to respect good relations'."

In the wake of Haider's statement, the State Dept has now refused to hold a press briefing for two days in a row and Brett McGurk goes silent on Twitter.  This after the official position had been that they stood with Turkey and that Turkey had the right to carry out these bombings on Iraq.

Iraq's Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari is not silent.  Alsumaria reports al-Jaafari has stated any bombings must be approved and coordinated with the Baghdad-based government of Iraq.  All Iraq News adds that he expressed this to Farouq Qaimagja, Turkey's ambassador to Iraq.

Alsumaria reports the most recent bombings largely did little more than set forests and farming areas on fire and cause panic to those living in nearby villages.

They also note that, as Turkey bombs the Kurdistan region, Iran's Deputy National Security Secretary Mohamed Amiri visited Erbil to stress that the government of Iran supports the KRG and will do their part to ensure the stability and security of the Kurdistan region.

The US government's decision to give the go ahead to these bombings more and more appears to prove  Patrick Cockburn's prediction Monday (Independent):

The result is that the US may find it has helped to destabilise Turkey by involving it in the war in both Iraq and Syria, yet without coming much closer to defeating Isis in either country. If so, America will have committed its biggest mistake in the Middle East since it invaded Iraq in 2003, believing it could overthrow Saddam Hussein and replace him with a pro-American government. 

Mike Whitney (CounterPunch) offers his take which includes:

The Kurdish militias (YPG, PKK) have been Washington’s most effective weapon in the fight against ISIS in Iraq and Syria. But the Obama administration has sold out the Kurds in order to strengthen ties with Turkey and gain access to Turkey’s Incirlik Air Base. The agreement to switch sides was made in phone call between President Obama and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan less than 48 hours after a terrorist incident in the Turkish town of Suruc killed 32 people and wounded more than 100 others.
The bombing provided Obama with the cover he needed to throw the Kurds under the bus, cave in to Turkey’s demands, and look the other way while Turkish bombers and tanks pounded Kurdish positions in Syria and Iraq. The media has characterized this shocking reversal of US policy as a “game-changer” that will improve US prospects for victory over ISIS. But what the about-face really shows is Washington’s inability to conduct a principled foreign policy as well as Obama’s eagerness to betray a trusted friend and ally if he sees some advantage in doing so.

Turkish President Erdogan has launched a war against the Kurds; that is what’s really happening in Syria at present. The media’s view of events–that Turkey has joined the fight against ISIS–is mostly spin and propaganda. The fact that the Kurds had been gaining ground against ISIS in areas along the Turkish border, worried political leaders in Ankara that an independent Kurdish state could be emerging. Determined to stop that possibility,  they decided to use the bombing in Suruc as an excuse to round up more than 1,000 of Erdogans political enemies (only a small percentage of who are connected to ISIS) while bombing the holy hell out of Kurdish positions in Syria and Iraq. All the while, the media has been portraying this ruthless assault on a de facto US ally, as a war on ISIS. It is not a war on ISIS. It is the manipulation of a terrorist attack to advance the belligerent geopolitical agenda of Turkish and US elites.