Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Iraq snapshot

Wednesday, May 18, 2016.  Chaos and violence continue, White House denies any knowledge of War Crimes, Hillary Clinton's in another mess of her own making and much more.

Staring with the NSA.  Their actions against democracy are in the news  as their efforts to sell the Iraq War become public.  RUSSIA TODAY reports:

NSA intelligence played a key role in preparing the UN for the US invasion of Iraq and aiding the subsequent occupation, while senior agency officials even met with interrogators at the notorious Abu Ghraib prison, internal documents show.
The agency’s activities in Iraq were chronicled in the Signals Intelligence Directorate (SID) newsletter, SIDtoday. Issues of the newsletter dating from March 2003 to 2012 were contained in the trove of information collected by former NSA contractor-turned-whistleblower Edward Snowden. The first batch of 166 documents was published by The Intercept on Monday.
“SIGINT support to the US Mission to the United Nations has enabled and continues to enable the diplomatic campaign against Iraq,” Chris Inglis, deputy director for analysis & production, wrote in SIDtoday. “Your efforts have been essential to the plans of the US Permanent Representative to the UN, Ambassador John D. Negroponte, as well as to the United Kingdom's Permanent Representative, HMA Sir Jeremy Greenstock.”
Greenstock thanked the NSA for offering “insights into the nuances of internal divisions” among the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, calling it “highly useful,” Inglis noted. (Support to UN Diplomatic Efforts on Iraq, April 7, 2003)
“Timely SIGINT played a critical role” in the unanimous adoption of two UN Security Council Resolutions, another article said. Resolution 1441, adopted in November 2002, said Iraq was in breach of the 1991 ceasefire, demanding the return of weapons inspectors expelled after the 1998 US bombing. Resolution 1472, adopted in March 2003, re-started the oil-for-food program under UN management that had been suspended on the eve of the invasion.

THE INTERCEPT has released the latest documents from whistle blower Ed Snowden.  Glenn Greenwald explains:

From the time we began reporting on the archive provided to us in Hong Kong by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, we sought to fulfill his two principal requests for how the materials should be handled: that they be released in conjunction with careful reporting that puts the documents in context and makes them digestible to the public, and that the welfare and reputations of innocent people be safeguarded. As time has gone on, The Intercept has sought out new ways to get documents from the archive into the hands of the public, consistent with the public interest as originally conceived.
Today, The Intercept is announcing two innovations in how we report on and publish these materials. Both measures are designed to ensure that reporting on the archive continues in as expeditious and informative a manner as possible, in accordance with the agreements we entered into with our source about how these materials would be disclosed, a framework that he, and we, have publicly described on numerous occasions.
The first measure involves the publication of large batches of documents. We are, beginning today, publishing in installments the NSA’s internal SIDtoday newsletters, which span more than a decade beginning after 9/11. We are starting with the oldest SIDtoday articles, from 2003, and working our way through the most recent in our archive, from 2012. Our first release today contains 166 documents, all from 2003, and we will periodically release batches until we have made public the entire set. The documents are available on a special section of The Intercept.
The SIDtoday documents run a wide gamut: from serious, detailed reports on top secret NSA surveillance programs to breezy, trivial meanderings of analysts’ trips and vacations, with much in between. Many are self-serving and boastful, designed to justify budgets or impress supervisors. Others contain obvious errors or mindless parroting of public source material. But some SIDtoday articles have been the basis of significant revelations from the archive.

Accompanying the release of these documents are summaries of the content of each, along with a story about NSA’s role in Guantánamo interrogations, a lengthy roundup of other intriguing information gleaned from these files, and a profile of SIDtoday. We encourage other journalists, researchers, and interested parties to comb through these documents, along with future published batches, to find additional material of interest. Others may well find stories, or clues that lead to stories, that we did not. (To contact us about such finds, see the instructions here.) A primary objective of these batch releases is to make that kind of exploration possible.

Ed Snowden has exposed not just a secretive government but a corrupt one.  It's worth noting that the only person attempting to become president in the US in 2016 that has hailed Ed as the hero he is would be Jill Stein.  Jill is seeking the Green Party's presidential nomination.

On the subject of the US presidential race, the only candidate who voted for the Iraq War and lied about it year after year forever would be Hillary Clinton.

The War Hawk was dealt yet another defeat yesterday.

Link to headline article

If she's the shoe-in, why does she keep losing Democratic Party primaries to Senator Bernie Sanders?

Bernie's not even a Democrat.

You may remember that I lodged an objection to that.

I don't feel non-Democrats should run in Democratic Party primaries.

And I lodged that objection here and with friends on Hillary's campaign.

I am overdue for a $5,000 bet (donated to the charity of my choice -- St. Jude's) from one of Team Hillary because they knew -- they includes Hillary herself -- that she'd "march right over Sanders."

Uh, no, she didn't.

Possibly, she can still goose step over him?

But yesterday, _______ on her campaign called to ask why I'm not objecting to Bernie still trying for the nomination?

Because the race isn't over.

Because a contested nomination at the convention makes for actual news.

Because everybody loves a fighter.

Okay, then, will I at least repeat my objection that he shouldn't be in the primary because he's not a Democrat?


I made that objection.  Ed Rendell was the only one who agreed with me at that time.

I could list all the people who disagreed.

But Hillary approved it.

She thought it would give her a minor opponent.

She thought she'd vanquish him quickly and be on her way.

She's the one who okayed it.

She's the one who could have stopped it.

Now it's too late.

He's been running.

Of all her advisors and handlers, only Ed had the wisdom to realize that Bernie would be a formidable foe.

War Hawk down, Hillary's still spiraling.

And Bernie was let int he race by Hillary so it's on her.

As for his dropping out, Shaun King (NEW YORK DAILY NEWS) points out:

Either the Democratic Party has a terrible case of selective amnesia or they are just really gifted at revisionist history. For the life of me, I can't figure out which of those two best describes what I'm seeing right now.
As more and more calls come for Bernie Sanders to drop out of the race against Hillary Clinton, he keeps on winning state after state and poll after poll. In fact, Bernie, as of this writing, has won primaries and caucuses in 19 different states and appears to be very competitive in both Kentucky and Oregon, which have their say Tuesday.
Hillary Clinton did not drop out against Barack Obama until every single state voted. In fact, the final two states voted on June 3, 2008. She won South Dakota and Obama won Montana. She dropped out later that day, right?

Nah. The next day? Nope. She waited several days until June 7 to finally announce that she was suspending her campaign. Every vote had been counted, but she held on until a mix of public pressure and inevitability forced her hand.

Yet again, Hillary's current mess is one that she created herself.

Iraq is in the news  and not just for the past but the present.

How bad was Baghdad slammed with violence yesterday?

So bad that the State Dept spokesperson had to start today's press conference on Iraq.

Spokesperson John Kirby: "First, on the attacks in Baghdad, I think it can go without saying that the United States strongly condemns the barbaric terrorist attacks in Iraq today that deliberately and specifically targeted civilians. Initial estimates right now project something over 70 people have been killed, many more injured, in what we now know are three separate attacks. Of course, we extend our deepest condolences, our thoughts, and sympathies to all those affected by this terrible violence."

NBC NEWS noted, "A car bomb targeting an outdoor market in a Shiite-dominated neighborhood of Baghdad killed at least 28 people on Tuesday."  The car bombing was one attack, a female suicide bomber was another and then the Sadr City section of Baghdad was also targeted with a car bombing.  Of the first two bombings, XINHUA observed, "The attackers apparently followed the old tactic of first creating an initial explosion to attract security forces and people, and then setting off another blast to inflict heavier casualties."  Lizzie Dearden (INDEPENDENT) updated with 58 dead and at least 91 injured.

In the last seven days, over 200 people have died from bombings in Iraq.

Sunday, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS filed "White House says ISIS 'shrinking' as group launches new attacks in Iraq."  This followed many boasts from the White House about the Islamic State being on the run, blah, blah, blah.

Clearly, they are not.

And John Kirby was asked about this.

QUESTION: In the wake of another bloody day of carnage in Baghdad, is the attack by ISIS a sign that the terror group is not as close to being wiped out, despite claims by members of the Administration saying that ISIS is shrinking?

MR KIRBY: I think it’s – I’m not sure what you mean by shrinking, but – so let me just --

QUESTION: Or making --

MR KIRBY: Let me try to dissect this because it’s a great question. There’s no question, no doubt at all, by almost any measure, that this group is under increasing pressure and has been forced increasingly on the defensive. They haven’t – they haven’t grabbed any new ground or acquired new territory of any significance since May, since almost a – well, yeah, a year ago, May of last year. They are having trouble recruiting. They’re having trouble retaining. And we’re learning more and more from defectors about their dissatisfaction in the ranks. And it’s becoming – they are resulting to more extortion, for instance, in order not just to try to make up the revenues they’re losing, but to exert the influence over local populations that they are now starting to lose. They have definitely lost, by some accounts, a third, if not more, of their revenues from – simply from things like oil. So this is a group that’s very much under pressure. And we are – as we look at them, we’re not – you’re not seeing them operate, communicate, resource themselves at all like they were even six, eight months ago. So there’s no question that this group is under more pressure.
One thing we have seen – and again, this isn’t about – this isn’t a subject of analysis; it’s true – one thing we’ve seen, as they have continued to come under more and more pressure, they continue to resort to tactics like we’re seeing in Baghdad and elsewhere, even in places in Europe – more targeted, more individualistic terrorist violence, whether it’s vehicle-borne explosive devices or suicide bombings. And so we are seeing them resort more and more on those kinds of tactics where they can, in their view, achieve some matter of success and particularly get attention for their efforts through these very dramatic, very violent acts.
That said – and I really want to underscore this, because I said this at the outset – they still remain a dangerous group. Nobody’s turning a blind eye to their capabilities. Nobody’s walking away from the fact that the pressure has to continue to be applied. There has been success by the coalition, but that is not – it’s not to be taken lightly and it’s certainly not to be considered foregone if we don’t keep it up. We have now 66 nations in the coalition, now that Afghanistan has joined, and the work against this group exists on many lines of effort, not just military. And I can assure you that, for our part, the United States is going to continue to keep the pressure up on them, because they have proven resilience in the past.

So we are seeing them weaker. We are seeing them use more traditional terror tactics to strike out, in part because they’re weaker. They can’t operate the same way. They don’t have the same quasi-military capabilities that they once had. But it doesn’t mean that they aren’t still dangerous.

He can spin.  He can lie.

He can put on more mascara.

He can do whatever he wants.

But the one thing that is clear is that he does not want to tell the truth -- it's not in his job description.

Doubt it?

Let's note this section.

QUESTION: John, I just wonder if you could --

MR KIRBY: I’m going to a former Pentagon colleague.

QUESTION: -- put your answer about Iraq in the context of the Abadi government and talk for a minute about the – your current assessment of the government and how – if these sustained casualties the ISF are taking undermine its popular support and undermine its ability to kind of manage this – what seems like maybe a new phase by ISIS in Iraq.

MR KIRBY: I don’t think we’ve seen any indication thus far that casualties incurred by Iraqi Security Forces are undermining popular support for the effort against [the Islamic State]. This is a very real, substantial threat to the Iraqi people that the Abadi government is taking seriously, and frankly, the Iraqi people are taking seriously. And that’s why our advise and assist mission is so important there. So I’ve seen no indications that there is an erosion necessarily of public support for the mission in light of the casualties taken by Iraqi Security Forces. I think the Iraqis know all too well and too sadly that the fight against [ is a dangerous, lethal fight, and that their forces are going to come under fire and face – and be put in harm’s way.
I would tell you that we continue to see Iraqi Security Forces fight bravely. We are going to continue to stay committed to making sure that they have the competence and the capabilities they need to continue to do so. They have had recent successes – you’ve covered this well yourself – recent successes, particularly out in Anbar. And it’s our expectations that those successes will continue – with coalition support, no question about it.

But the last thing I’ll say is that we continue to support Prime Minister Abadi in his reform efforts, in his efforts to form a unity government to move the country forward, and to continue – and he has stayed committed to this – to continue to properly resource, to properly lead, and to properly man and staff Iraqi Security Forces that can remain competent and capable to the threat.

The Shi'ite militias are now part of the Iraqi Security Forces -- Haider al-Abadi did that.

His predecessor, thug Nouri al-Maliki, was a thug and a crook but didn't bring the militias into the national security forces.

And John Kirby has never, ever heard a word about Shi'ite War Crimes in Iraq.



  1. DTN Iraq: Iraq militia attacks may constitute war crimes: HRW: Baghdad (AFP) Jan 31, 2016 - Iraqi Shiite mi...
  2. Iraqi Shiite militiamen abducted and killed civilians following bombings earlier this month, actions that may constitute war crimes, Human
  3. HRW: Shiite militias committed ‘possible war crimes’ against Ira via
  4. Human Rights Watch reports Shiite militias committed possible war crimes against Iraqis.
  5. Iraqi Shiite militiamen abducted and killed civilians following bombings earlier this month, actions that may constitute war crimes, Human
  6. : Possible War Crimes by Shiite Militias.
  7. : Possible War Crimes by backed Shiite Militias
  8. Shiite militias supported by the Iraqi government have committed "possible war crimes" in Diyala province
  9. : Possible War Crimes by Shiite Militias.

John Kirby is paid to lie.

Icon & star of western media sectarian |i Shiite criminal Abu Azrael is now on a war crimes mission in

Let's close with this announcement from the US Defense Dept yesterday:

Strikes in Iraq
Attack, fighter ground attack and remotely piloted aircraft conducted 10 strikes in Iraq, coordinated with and in support of Iraq’s government:

-- Near Baghdadi, two strikes destroyed an ISIL bunker and two ISIL rocket rails.

-- Near Albu Hayat, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit.

-- Near Rutbah, a strike destroyed two ISIL fighting positions, an ISIL fuel tanker, an ISIL vehicle bomb and an ISIL front-end loader.

-- Near Kisik, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL fighting position and two ISIL heavy machine guns.

-- Near Qayyarah, five strikes struck three separate ISIL headquarters; destroyed an ISIL vehicle, an ISIL assembly area and two ISIL rocket rails; and suppressed two ISIL mortar positions.

Task force officials define a strike as one or more kinetic events that occur in roughly the same geographic location to produce a single, sometimes cumulative, effect. Therefore, officials explained, a single aircraft delivering a single weapon against a lone ISIL vehicle is one strike, but so is multiple aircraft delivering dozens of weapons against buildings, vehicles and weapon systems in a compound, for example, having the cumulative effect of making those targets harder or impossible for ISIL to use. Accordingly, officials said, they do not report the number or type of aircraft employed in a strike, the number of munitions dropped in each strike, or the number of individual munition impact points against a target. Ground-based artillery fired in counterfire or in fire support to maneuver roles is not classified as a strike.