Monday, June 04, 2018

Iraq snapshot

Monday, June 4, 2018.

Starting with the Hobby Lobby of journalists Rukmini Callimachi who stole thousands of documents from Iraq.

1. Many of you have written to ask me what will happen to the ISIS Files we recovered in Iraq? Ever since we found the first set of records, my editor & I recognized their historic value. We have some exciting news we can finally share:

Is that exciting?  It's not news.  It's propaganda.  The real news, noted in Friday's snapshot, was much more exciting.  The Iraqi government has ordered Rukmini and THE NEW YORK TIMES to return the documents immediately and to apologize for the theft.

Despite the order being posted online, Rukmini has yet to be honest about what has taken place.

A thief without honor, who would have thought such a thing could exist!!!!

Not only has she not been upfront, she's flat out lied.

Next level BS from and

What a liar.  What a thief. 

Not everyone's impressed with the colonial thief.

Replying to 
Spoiler alert: She stole them.

She did.

But the thief does have her defenders:

    1. End of conversation
    1. New conversation
    2. End of conversation
    1. New conversation
    2. New conversation

She was not given these papers.  She can lie all she wants.

Nor did the military of Iraq tell her she could take them -- a claim she and her defenders make.  She was imbedded with the militia.  Read her articles from the time period.  She was not dealing with the head of the military.  She had no permission at all.  She did not consult the Iraqi government when she left with the documents -- which is more than mere theft, it's known as smuggling. 

The 'digitizing' b.s. only comes up after she's been called out for being yet another example of empire, where a nation and its inhabitants just take what they want with no regard for the law.

She stole.  And she smuggled.

And she lied when leaving the country of Iraq and when entering the country of the US.  She is guilty of smuggling and should be behind bars.

Replying to   and 
Give back what you stole and stop arguing. You are a thief and you know it. Would you do the same at home ? No. The "third world" is not your playground.

It is theft and how sad that it's another stain on THE NEW YORK TIMES.  They can't spin their way out of this fast enough.  They're trying.  But they can't.

Coker responding by refusing to answer the question is the actual answer.

And as someone who saw through Rukmini's b.s. over two years ago, let me explain what's going on in that head of hers right now.  She thinks this will blow over.  She thinks she has beaten back the scandal -- after asking friends to Tweet her praises over the last few days -- confirmed by a friend at NYT and two who refused to Tweet in support of her now that they knew she'd stolen the papers from Iraq. 

She thinks it's all over and that, in a month, no one will remember.


Countries will remember and any time she attempts to leave one, she will find that customs will be doing extra searches on her bags and her persons.

More to the point, this never goes away.  It is her reputation now and it will define her more and more as each year passes.  Her smugness, her sense of entitlement will be the prism through which her work is now viewed.  She is the Ugly American.

She is a thief. 

She lied to get through customs in both Iraq and the US. 

Enjoy the name you've made for yourself, Rukmini.  As I warned everyone in early 2016, you're even worse than Judith Miller.

Her disrespect for the rights of others and the law is hardly unique in the US.  In fact, it's the position of the US government itself. Josh Gerstein (POLITICO) reported Friday night:

The Defense Department recorded at least 18 phone calls intended to allow confidential communication between an American citizen being held prisoner by U.S. forces in Iraq and the prisoner’s attorneys at the American Civil Liberties Union, according to a court filing late Friday.
In at least two instances, a civilian Defense Department employee listened to the attorney-client calls, government lawyers disclosed.

On the topic of Iraq, Friday the ACLU issued the following:

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration today submitted to Congress a report revealing how many civilian casualties it believes resulted from U.S. military operations in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Somalia, Libya and Yemen. The administration provided a classified version of the report to Congress and made public an unclassified version.
The Department of Defense’s report estimates that military operations in the first year of the Trump administration have killed approximately 499 civilians and injured approximately 169 civilians. It says it is still assessing more than 450 reports of casualties in Iraq and Syria from 2017.
Hina Shamsi, director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s National Security Project, issued the following statement in response:
“Importantly, the Trump administration has recognized it needs to report publicly on the number of civilians it has killed overseas, but this death count is simply not credible. Even as the Trump administration confirms that the number of lethal strikes dramatically increased in 2017, it provides only a total number of unidentified people killed in all those countries, without any additional detail.
“The administration’s low death claims cannot be meaningfully tested and therefore cannot be trusted. Independent media and watchdog assessments make clear that the number of civilians killed overseas is many times higher than what the Trump administration acknowledges. The administration’s explanation of discrepancies shows that it applies too high a standard for assessing whether reports of civilians deaths are ‘credible,’ and in far too many instances, the investigations it conducts are insufficient. Secrecy about the costs and consequences of Trump’s killing policies prevents meaningful public oversight and accountability for wrongful deaths. The victims of our government’s lethal actions deserve better, as does the American public in whose name the Trump administration is ordering people killed.”
The public version of the Department of Defense’s report on civilian casualties can be found here:

Iraq is a victim of its neighbors -- specifically Iran and Turkey who are denying it access to water.  RUDAW reported yesterday:

The water crisis has spread in southern and central provinces of Iraq and the Kurdistan Region as dams built by Turkey and Iran, irrespective of international laws, slow the flow of rivers into Iraq to a trickle.

There are growing fears up to seven million people will be displaced due to the dramatic fall in water resources.

“Nine months ago, the Iraqi water resources ministry warned of water shortage during this summer. It called for necessary measures to be taken to tackle the issue,” Iraq’s Water Resources Minister Hassan al-Janabi told reporters on Saturday.

“The government responded to us, forming a high level committee  comprising of many parties from agriculture, interior, defense, industry, electricity, housing and reconstruction and municipalities as well as the Iraqi Media Network in order to tackle the matter in question on a national level in case of water decrease,” he added

Richard Spencer (TIMES OF LONDON) notes that the Iraqi Parliament held an emergency session on this issue over the weekend.  On the topic of Turkey, AHVAL adds:

Turkey is intensifying its military presence in northern Iraq in the run up to elections, scheduled for 24th June, wrote journalist Menekse Tokyay in an article for the The Arab Weekly on Sunday.
Turkish commandos have recently moved about 20km into Iraq’s Duhok and Erbil provinces, controlled by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), according to local media reports quoted by Tokyay.
The moves aim to counter the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has been fighting for self-rule in Turkey’s mainly Kurdish south-east since 1984 and which has a strong presence in the region.

Meanwhile, facts deeply trouble AFP:

Iraqi judicial authorities have issued an arrest warrant for a Kurdish politician at the centre of last year's failed independence bid, a source from within the provincial administration said on Sunday.
Rebwar Talabani, head of the Kirkuk Provincial Council, was one of the architects of the September referendum in which an overwhelming majority backed independence for Iraqi Kurdistan.

Failed independence bid?  It was a non-binding resolution.  It's only intent was to measure the public's response.  How is that a failure?  The only failure is the AFP's -- specifically, their inability to report honestly.

I am by no means hoping for Rebwar Talabani's arrest and I hope the government is smart enough to drop the charges.  That said, there's more than a bit of karma involved here.  Jalal Talabani's son returned to Iraq from his US home in an attempt to disrupt the vote and he also ordered Kurdish security to stand down and allow Kirkuk to be taken.  So there is karma here in that a Talabani is now the one targeted with arrest.  Rebwar is currently in Erbil.  He'll probably choose to stay there for awhile.  Baghdad has no power over Erbil (demonstrated by Moussad Barzani when he gave asylum to Tariq al-Hashemi during the reign of thug Nouri al-Maliki).

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