Wednesday, June 01, 2016

Iraq snapshot

Wednesday, June 1, 2016.  Chaos and violence continue, Glen Ford offers a look at who's backed the Islamic State, the battle for Falluja is allegedly put on hold, UNICEF expresses alarm over the 20,000 children trapped in Falluja, and much more.

Who should we trust on Iraq?

Liars and whores?

There are so many liars and so many whores that it can be difficult to know who is who.

We'll name a name in a minute but let's show how common sense can tip you off that you're dealing with a liar or a whore.

THE GUARDIAN published this laughable passage:

Falluja is the birthplace of Isis. Unknown to many, Falluja fell under jihadi control in January 2014 after months of violent protests and conflict, long before Isis (a rebranded version of al-Qaida in Iraq) became as known to the world as it is today. Retaking Falluja will deliver a psychological blow to Isis, given the city’s symbolic importance. It will also generate great momentum for the broader military campaign and effort to liberate Mosul, Isis’s principal stronghold in Iraq, where it declared the establishment of its “caliphate” in June 2014. But it remains unclear how much Isis and its fighters, who are heavily assimilated into the local population and have significant local support, will invest in any counter-offensive in Falluja.

Did you catch the lie?

If you missed it, the lie is "after months of violent protests."

They were not violent protests -- unless you're speaking of Nouri al-Maliki's assault on protesters.

Here's another reality, there's no link.

The claim is put forward without a link.

Now there can't be a link because they weren't violent protests.

But that's how you know you're dealing with a liar and/or whore.

They start tossing out links to this or that assertion but on the really big one, they don't provide a damn link and hope to hell you don't notice.

In this case, our liar is Ranj Alaadin (or whore) and, here's another tip for you, anyone who really cares about Iraq today?  They're not working with the Tony Blair 'Faith' Foundation.

The Islamic State did not sneak into Falluja.

And long before the article Ranj links to about the Islamic State taking control of Falluja, you had them physically announcing their presence.


Residents were blocking the main road between Baghdad and Falluja in their protests, trying to make Nouri al-Maliki respond to the peaceful protests.

And Nouri began threatening the protesters even more than before at which point the Islamic State went public and stated they would protect the protesters.

You have them showing up, all in black, surveying the protest on that main road.

This is in the archives because unlike THE GUARDIAN, we covered the year long protests every damn Friday when the people turned out.

We usually had to depend on Arabic media to cover those protests because the western media was not interested in them at all.

So the world really doesn't need a flunkie of War Criminal Tony Blair emerging to lie about Iraq.

Yes, in December of 2012, a Sunni politician (Saleh al-Mutlaq) got things hurled at him in Ramadi (not Falluja) by the Sunni protesters.  That's because al-Mutlaq was an appeaser to Nouri al-Maliki who was persecuting the Sunnis.  (An appeaser?  While Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi became a heroic figure to many Sunnis because of Nouri's persecution of him, Saleh early on made a deal with Nouri to stop the same persecution.)  That's also not violence, I'm so sorry.

Nouri having reporters kidnapped from their lunch because they covered the protests, having them beaten while they were in his forces custody, that's violence.

The Hawija massacre?

That's violence.

And if you're too lazy/busy to go through the archives for a year of snapshots, you can just refer to Renad Mansour's AL JAZEERA report from today:

It was the first major city to be taken by ISIL, in other words, its residents were the first to allow for this alternative to the central government. This sense of disenfranchisement among Fallujah's residents grew rapidly during former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's second term, 2010-2014, when overcentralisation policies marginalised the local population.
In spirit with the so-called Arab Spring, local residents took to the streets to voice their grievances and protest against Maliki's policies, including his targeting of their leadership. In response, the former premier opened fire. Fallujah was the first city to see Iraqi forces killing protesters. As repression grew, so did resistance. This eventually paved the way for the re-emergence of ISIL, only a few years after al-Qaeda was kicked out of the city.

That's the reality that a Tony Blair flunkie won't ever tell you.

Nor, apparently, will the western press.

The western press spent the bulk of 2010 through 2014 -- thug Nouri's second term as prime minister of Iraq -- covering for Nouri by refusing to report what was really going on.

The same way, today, THE WASHINGTON POST was all in a tizzy that the Islamic State, a terrorist organization, had banned TV in Mosul.  In fact, let's quote from that embarrassing article penned by Hugh Naylor and Mustafa Salim:

First they imposed tough restrictions on Internet usage and cellphone networks in Iraq's second-largest city. Now Islamic State militants appear to be targeting another staple for residents there: television.

What makes that an embarrassing article?

Let's start with the internet.

Current prime minister Haider al-Abadi's been pulling the plug on the net for some time now.

Last week, he stopped many Iraqis from posting civilian realities in Falluja.  He also prevented Shi'ite followers of Moqtada al-Sadr from posting plans for a protest last Friday.

Those are just two recent examples.

And then to TV?

He's shut down two satellite channels in the last few months.

I'm not remembering THE POST rushing its herd of reporters to cover those actions.

It's not truth.

It's lies.

That's why the nonsense of tired [use slur of your choice] like Robin Morgan with her ranting and raving over the Islamic State in Iraq came off as such nonsense.

To hear her rant, it was the Islamic State causing all the problems for Iraqi women when they were just taking the crimes against women and girls -- already carried out by the Iraqi government -- and upping them further.

A few days ago, Organization of Women's Freedom's Yanar Mohammed spoke with the Global Fund for Women:

Yanar, you’ve been an activist and a defender of women’s rights in Iraq for over 13 years. What do you think are the main challenges women in Iraq are facing right now?

We focused in the last year on working against trafficking in women and girls and expanding a new network, the Network of Anti-Trafficking of Women in Iraq. We started the network in 2013, barely nine months before ISIS began gaining ground in Iraq. As ISIS grew, they started their attacks against women in the north of Iraq, including against the women of Yazidi faith. They trafficked them in broad daylight.
Trafficking in women and girls is now a tactic used by opposing groups in instances of sectarian violence in Iraq. Women and girls are looked upon as the representatives of a community’s honor, and so the sexual exploitation of women and girls belonging to a certain community is seen as the most effective way to humiliate and break it. Unfortunately, it is therefore not a surprise that the so-called Islamic State, ISIS, as a Sunni group, has targeted non-Sunni Muslim women and girls such as Shi’a Muslims, Christians, and Yazidis. Retaliations ensue and wars are led on women’s bodies.
When ISIS began to enslave women, we found that this was the time when we should rise to the occasion and highlight the issue of trafficking in society and the government. This is an issue that needs to be addressed by laws, practices, programs, and by some understanding from the society as to what it means that a woman gets compromised, gets exploited, and gets enslaved. So we set up this network, which is now about 40 NGOs working together on the issue. We began to talk about trafficking in women and girls, especially sexual exploitation, and address it as something that’s not only happening under ISIS but also happening in Iraq more broadly, without anybody daring to give it any importance.

Beyond ISIS, orphans and widows of war in Iraq who are extremely impoverished have fallen prey to sexual exploitation. They are being used and exploited and violated daily in Iraq, without anybody thinking of it as a human rights issue. So this is our focus; we have decided we will work on this until we get the government to pass laws that make the suffering of these women less, and also that open the way for us to protect the women from this kind of violence.

[. . .]

Can you tell me about the shelters that your group runs?

Our shelters are currently keeping safe women who survive trafficking. They are also getting educated; our shelters are not only a place for women to rest and be safe, they are also schools for social transformation for women to turn from victims into defenders of women. We only had one shelter until 2008; since then we have expanded to have six shelters all over the country. We also have a pipeline from the southern city of Busra, to direct violated women to our shelters in Baghdad. And we have many supporters in the network of the 40-plus NGOs, who are our eyes and ears in more than nine cities in Iraq and are guiding women who are in need of shelter to us. I like to put it in a very short story: our organization was able to spread its wings over most of the Iraqi cities in the last few years.
However, the Iraqi government is not facilitating our undertaking of women into our shelters. And it boils down to one point—we need a piece of legislation from the Iraqi government to provide legal status to shelters that are run by NGOs or other private sector groups. Although the government does not have a law that says that our shelters are illegal, they do have a law that allows the ministry of social affairs to determine if they should stay open. So some of the tribal and misogynist officials did tell us in the past that we are doing an illegal thing, but they did not shut us down.

So, although we are protecting women from trafficking and domestic violence and all that—although we are doing the duty of the government, the duty the government is not taking seriously and do not want to move on, and although they should be supporting us and applauding us for doing their job, in reality they confront us, telling us that our sheltering of women is promoting promiscuity, that it is encouraging women to go against their families and have full sexual freedoms and come stay in our shelters. So some governmental officials have intimidated us in the past, telling us we are doing something illegal, when we are protecting women.

It's a reality idiots like Robin Morgan never grasp.

It's as though she's never learned from enlisting in Bully Boy Bush's war on Afghanistan that would supposedly 'liberate' the women and girls there.

Find Robin a war you can sell on lies about women and she's foaming at the mouth and crotch in her desire to enlist and fuel the propaganda.

Which probably explains why Robin is supporting War Hawk Hillary Clinton in the battle for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination and not Democratic Socialist Bernie Sanders despite the fact that Robin herself has been a Democratic Socialist for something like four decades now.

Who should we trust on Iraq?

Robin Morgan and WOMEN'S MEDIA CENTER that failed to cover Abeer in any significant manner.  Apparently, the gang-rape and murder of an Iraqi girl by US troops who were supposed to be protecting her neighborhood wasn't worthy of serious coverage.

May 7, 2009, former US soldier Steven D. Green was found guilty on all counts for his role in the Iraq War Crimes from March 12, 2006, when Abeer Qassim Hamza al-Janabi was gang-raped and murdered, her five-year-old sister was murdered and both of her parents were murdered. May 21, 2009, the federal jury deadlocked on the death penalty and instead  sentenced him to life in prison.  May 28, 2009, Green appeared in court as the family of Abeer gave their statements before leaving to return to Iraq. WHAS11  reported on those court proceedings in real time:

Gary Roedemeier: Crimes were horrific. A band of soldiers convicted of planning an attack against an Iraqi girl and her family.

Melissa Swan: The only soldier tried in civilian court is Steven Green. The Fort Campbell soldier was in federal court in Loussivell this morning, facing the victims' family and WHAS's Renee Murphy was in that courtroom this morning. She joins us live with the information and also more on that heart wrenching scene of when these family members faced the man who killed their family.

Renee Murphy: I mean, they came face to face with the killer. Once again, the only thing different about this time was that they were able to speak with him and they had an exchange of dialogue and the family is here from Iraq and they got to ask Steven Green all the questions they wanted answered. They looked each other in the eye. Green appeared calm and casual in court. The victims' family, though, outraged, emotional and distraught. Now cameras were not allowed in the courtroom so we can't show video of today's hearing but here's an account of what happened. (Video begins] This is a cousin of a 14-year-old Iraqi girl raped and killed by Steven Green. He and other family members in this SUV were able to confront Green in federal court this morning. Their words were stinging and came from sheer grief. Former Fort Campbell soldier Steven Green was convicted of killing an Iraqi mother, father and their young daughter. He then raped their 14-year-old daughter, shot her in the head and set her body on fire. Today the victim's family was able to give an impact statement at the federal court house the young sons of the victims asked Green why he killed their father. an aunt told the court that "wounds are still eating at our heart" and probably the most compelling statements were from the girls' grandmother who sobbed from the stand and demanded an explanation from Green. Green apologized to the family saying that he did evil things but he is not an evil person. He says that he was drunk the night of the crimes in 2006 and he was following the orders of his commanding officers. In his statement, Green said if it would bring these people back to life I would do everything I could to make them execute me. His statement goes on to say, "Before I went to Iraq, I never thought I would intentionally kill a civilian. When I was in Iraq, something happened to me that I can only explain by saying I lost my mind. I stopped seeing Iraqis as good and bad, as men, women and children. I started seeing them all as one, and evil, and less than human." Green didn't act alone. His codefendants were court-martialed and received lesser sentences. Green will be formally sentenced to life in prison in September. [End of videotape.] The answers that Green gave were not good enough for some of the family members. at one point today, the grandmother of the young girls who were killed left the podium and started walking towards Green as he sat at the defendant's table shouting "Why!" She was forcibly then escorted to the back of the court room by US Marshalls. She then fell to the ground and buried her face in her hands and began to cry again. The family pleaded with the court for the death sentence for Green. but you can see Green's entire statement to the court on our website and coming up tonight at six o'clock, we're going to hear from Green's attorneys.

It's real easy to pretend to care about Iraq.

You toss out Abeer's name, for example, in a sentence.  Maybe you do it in 2007 while you're pitching WOMEN'S MEDIA CENTER and the need for independent media (yes, I'm thinking of one woman but being kind and not naming her) but then you and WOMEN'S MEDIA CENTER never bother to explore the topic.  You use her name to raise money.

We apparently need a new independent media to liberate independent media.

And, Jane, Gloria, Robin and all the other useless gals?

Stop pointing fingers at South African politicians who've allegedly abused women if you can't say the words Juanita Broaddrick.

At THIRD two weeks ago, we offered "Is he a rapist?"

Is Bill Clinton a rapist?

I would hope not.

But a woman stepped forward in 1999 and stated he had raped her -- and made her accusation while he was president.

She has stood by her story all these years.

This is a serious charge.

Bill Clinton has never spoken to these allegations.

He shouldn't be out on a campaign trail right now unless he can speak to it.

I hope he didn't rape her.

But that charge is out there and has been for over 15 years.

He should have addressed it long ago.

He should be asked about it every day until he addresses it.

Don't pretend to care about assault if you're not going to publicly agree that if a woman makes an accusation against a powerful man --and stands by it that accusation for years -- that the man doesn't need to be asked to respond publicly.

Rape is not a 'silly' issue.  And if someone's accused of it, you'd think they'd want to go on record denying it.

From the cowardly to the brave, let's turn to Glen Ford (BLACK AGENDA REPORT) who has an important piece on the Islamic State:

The U.S. claim that it is waging a global “war on terror” is the biggest lie of the 21st century, a mega-fiction on the same historical scale of evil as Hitler’s claim that he was defending Germany from an assault by world Jewry, or that the trans-Atlantic slave trade was a Christianizing mission. In reality, the U.S. is the birth mother and chief nurturer of the global jihadist network – a truth recognized by most of the world’s people, including the 82 percent of Syrians that believe “the U.S. created the Islamic State.” (Even 62 percent of Syrians in Islamic State-controlled regions believe this to be true.)
Only “exceptionalism”-addled Americans and colonial-minded Europeans give Washington’s insane cover story the slightest credibility. However, it is dangerous in the extreme for any country to state the fact clearly: that it is the United States that has inflicted Islamic jihadist terror on the world. Once the charade has been abandoned; once there is no longer the international pretense that Washington is not the Mother Of All Terror, what kind of dialogue is possible with the crazed and desperate perpetrator? What do you do with a superpower criminal, once you have accused him of such unspeakable evil?
President Vladimir Putin came closest last November, after Russia unleashed a devastating bombing and missile campaign against the Islamic State’s industrial scale infrastructure in Syria – facilities and transportation systems that the U.S. had left virtually untouched since Obama’s phony declaration of war against ISIS in September of 2014. The Islamic State had operated a gigantic oil sales and delivery enterprise with impunity, right under the eyes of American bombers. “I’ve shown our colleagues photos taken from space and from aircraft which clearly demonstrate the scale of the illegal trade in oil and petroleum products,” said Putin. “The motorcade of refueling vehicles stretched for dozens of kilometers, so that from a height of 4,000 to 5,000 meters they stretch beyond the horizon.” Russian bombers destroyed hundreds of the oil tankers within a week, and cruise missiles launched from Russian ships on the Caspian Sea knocked out vital ISIS command-and-control sites.
Putin’s derision of U.S. military actions against ISIS shamed and embarrassed Barack Obama before the world – an affront that only a fellow nuclear superpower would dare. Yet, even the Russian president chose his words carefully, understanding that deployment of jihadists has become central to U.S. imperial policy, and cannot be directly confronted without risks that could be fatal to the planet. Simply put, Washington has no substitute for the jihadists, who have been a tool of U.S. policy since the last days of President Jimmy Carter’s administration.

Today, UNICEF sounded alarms over the 20,000 children trapped in Falluja.

At least 20k children trapped in Fallujah, - food & medicine running out & clean water in short supply

Haider al-Abadi is saying civilians at risk is why he's halting the battle of Falluja (temporarily).  Maher Nazeh (REUTERS) reports, "Iraq has delayed its assault on the city of Falluja because of fears for the safety of civilians, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said on Wednesday, as his forces halted at the city's edge in the face of ferocious resistance from Islamic State fighters."

Kind of feels like it's more due to "the face of ferocious resistance" that it's being halted.  In the next snapshot, we'll note how UNICEF's not usually so important.  (I'm not insulting UNICEF, I'm referring to their inability to have an impact regarding Iraqi coverage, let alone stop a battle.)

The US didn't stop bombing Falluja today -- no concern for 20,000 children, apparently.  The US Defense Dept announced today:

Strikes in Iraq
Attack, bomber, fighter, ground attack and remotely piloted aircraft conducted 13 strikes in Iraq, coordinated with and in support of Iraq’s government:

-- Near Fallujah, four strikes struck three separate ISIL tactical units; destroyed seven ISIL fighting positions, three ISIL vehicles, five ISIL heavy machine guns, two ISIL bunkers, three ISIL weapons caches and an ISIL improvised explosive device; suppressed an ISIL tactical unit; and denied ISIL access to terrain.

-- Near Hit, two strikes struck a large ISIL tactical unit and destroyed three ISIL fighting positions, an ISIL vehicle, an ISIL recoilless rifle and two ISIL boats.

-- Near Mosul, four strikes struck four separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed two ISIL fighting positions, 14 ISIL assembly areas, five ISIL vehicles, an ISIL command-and-control node, an ISIL vehicle bomb facility, an ISIL vehicle bomb, four ISIL weapons caches, four ISIL rocket rails and an ISIL mortar system and suppressed a separate ISIL mortar position.

-- Near Rawah, a strike struck an ISIL vehicle bomb factory.

-- Near Sinjar, a strike destroyed an ISIL fighting position and suppressed an ISIL mortar position.

-- Near Sultan Abdallah, a strike struck an ISIL refueling station.

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.