Friday, September 07, 2012

Iraq snapshot

Friday, September 7, 2012.  Chaos and violence continue,  Tom Hayden crawls out of his rock to spin (and spin badly), people take to the streets to show their support for Bradley Manning, Jill Stein appears on Bill Moyers' new program, and more.
Old Whore Tom Hayden resurfaced to distort, lie and smear.   Tom Hayden is a joke.  He is so much of a joke that Barack Obama publicly and repeatedly derided what he termed "Tom Hayden Democrats" in 2007 and 2008.  Possibly demonstrating that men who abuse women are nothing but big cowards, Tom Hayden's never called out Barack but instead worked overtime to talk up the man who has repeatedly and publicly mocked him. 
Hijacking the E-Train to Crazy Town and packing plenty of stupid, Tom rabidly barks at everyone including Paul Krugman -- anyone who might question the politics of  Barack Obama -- in total or partial as he tries to whip people in line for his abuser Barack Obama.
Dirty whores don't speak for the campaign.  Which is why Tom Hayden goes on at length about ObamaCare and how it was up to politicians and the people are just too stupid to grasp this but last night in Charlotte, North Carolina, Barack was stating it's not "what can be done for us, it's about what can be done by us."
There are many decisions Barack's made and actions Barack's taken that I will hold against him.  The lunatic ravings of Tom Hayden, however, are not on that list. Here Tom  is molesting the topic of Iraq:
Many in the peace movement did not believe it then and dismiss it now. To the extent this is a rational objection - and not blindness - it rests on two arguments. First, some claim that Obama was only following the withdrawal plan already agreed to by George Bush. It is an interesting question for future historians to uncover what shadow entity orchestrated the Iraq-US pact between the end of Bush and the coming of Obama.
Oh, history will be the judge?  Seriously?  I seem to recall most of us on the left ridiculing Bully Boy Bush when he responded to questions about the Iraq War with statements like that.
That aside, it is logical to conclude that the immanence of Obama's victory pushed the Bush administration to wrap up the best withdrawal agreement possible before the unpredictable newcomer took office.
It isn't logical to conclude any such thing.  If the opinion of the people of the world didn't matter to Bully Boy Bush before starting the illegal war, if the opinions of world leaders didn't matter to him, why in the world would the election of Barack matter?
People like Tom Hayden live in their own fact free world.  Never having spoken to even one person who worked on the SOFA, Hayden 'just knows' exactly how it happened.  The SOFA replaces the UN mandate for the occupation.  The UN mandate was yearly -- each year it had to be renewed.  Nouri renewed it on his end twice.  Outraging the Iraqi politicians both times.  The first time (the end of 2006), he insisted he wouldn't do that solo again, that he'd get approval from Parliament.  But then he turned around and did the exact same thing at the end of 2007.
The Bush White House realized early on (late 2007), that an agreement that replaced the UN mandate would need to run longer than one year because there was too much anger over these yearly renewals.  For that reason, it was a contract that ran three years.   Even something that basic is beyond the Tom Haydens.  They bought into the lie -- and how popular it was -- that Nouri was sticking it to the White House and dictating the terms.  Other than the amount of 'rewards,' Nouri didn't dictate a thing.  And the SOFA was written prior to the November 2008 election.  (Is Tom even aware of that?)  November was about fine tuning it and about surveying Parliament and greasing palms (the Parliament was adament that they would be voting on this contract). 
In addition, Obama increased his previous withdrawal commitment in February 2009 to include virtually all American forces instead of leaving behind a "residual" force of 20-30,000.
Tom's spinning so hard that even he has to admit the reality in the next sentence:
It is true that as the endgame neared, Obama left open the possibility of a residual force after American ground troops departed, saying he would be responsive to the request of the Baghdad regime.
Yes, Barack gave an interview to the New York Times as candidate about residual troops.  I remember that very well.  And you know what I remember most about that?
On the subject of Iran, Barack Obama appears on the front page of this morning's New York Times. War pornographer Michael Gordon and Jeff Zeleny who lied in print (click here, here and here -- the paper finally retracted Zeleny's falsehood that should have never appeared) present a view of Barack Obama that's hardly pleasing. Among the many problems with the article is Obama as portrayed in the article -- and his campaign has issued no statement clarifying. The Times has the transcript online and from it, Barack Obama does mildly push the unproven claim that the Iranian government is supporting resistance in Iraq. Gordo's pushed that unproven claim repeatedly for over a year now. But Obama's remarks appear more of a reply and partial points in lengthy sentences -- not the sort of thing a functioning hard news reporter would lead with in an opening paragraph, touch on again in the third paragraph, in the fourth paragraph, in . . . But though this isn't the main emphasis of Obama's statements (at any time -- to be clear, when it pops up, it is a fleeting statement in an overly long, multi-sentenced paragraphs), it does go to the fact that Obama is once again reinforcing unproven claims of the right wing. In the transcript, he comes off as obsessed with Hillary Clinton. After her, he attempts to get a few jabs in at John Edwards and one in at Bill Richardson. Here is what real reporters should have made the lede of the front page: "Presidential candidate and US Senator Barack Obama who is perceived as an 'anti-war' candidate by some announced that he would not commit to a withdrawal, declared that he was comfortable sending US troops back into Iraq after a withdrawal started and lacked clarity on exactly what a withdrawal under a President Obama would mean." That is what the transcript reveals. Gordo really needs to let go of his blood lust for war with Iran.
And then over at Third that Sunday (November 4, 2007), we offered "NYT: 'Barack Obama Will Keep Troops In Iraq" which was taking the transcript and writing the report as the Times should have covered it.  Tuesday November 6, 2007 (see that day's snapshot), Tom Hayden finally discovers and writes about the article with rah-rah for Barack because he didn't read the transcript (and he actually misread the printed article) resulting in this garbage.  After we called him out, he would write another article suddenly 'discovering' the transcript and find that things were not as sunny as he'd made out to be.
Point being, he's no one to trust for facts.
Tom-Tom's thrilled Barack doesn't have 'residual troops' in Iraq but for Barack to have residual troops, the SOFA would need to be extended or replaced.  With nothing to extend it or replace it,  it had to be followed.  That's how a contract works.
Here, some on the left seized on these remarks to later claim that Obama had to be forced by the Iraqis to finally leave. There is no evidence for this claim, however. It is equally possible - and I believe more credible - that Obama was simply being Obama, knowing that the Iraqis could not possibly request the Americans to stay.
Dissecting diplomacy, like legislation, is like making sausage, in the old saying. Obama certainly knew that he would gain political cover if he could say with credibility that he was only following Bush's withdrawal plan and Iraq's request.
There is evidence for that claim.  I know Tom doesn't care for Arabs.  Remember it was only during his Iraq War makeover that he finally 'apologized' for being a tool of the right-wing Israeli government while he was a small-fry state legislature who stupidly thought he would end up president done day.  There was Tom, cheering on the murder of Palestinians.  He really hasn't changed his anti-Arab views.  Try to remember that when everyone was telling Jane Fonda that Rollover was an iffy project, Tom was telling her it was political, prescient and important (in the film, the world's financial downfall is caused largely by greedy, you know this is coming, Arabs).  If Tom weren't so 'allergic' to Arabs, maybe he'd read the Arab press.  You can find many articles that argue Iraqis forced Barack to back down.  Those articles generally note that Iraq refused to grant immunity to US service members and that the White House had already made that a deal breaker.
 Having ignored the mountain of articles on that point, Tom wants to then argue:
A more bizarre left criticism of Obama on Iraq is that the war itself never ended but instead morphed into a secret war with tens of thousands of Americans fighting as Special Ops or private contractors.
Is he drunk again?  Is that it?  I have no idea.  But last week,  Sean Rayment (Telegraph of London) reported:
More than 3,500 insurgents have been "taken off the streets of Baghdad" by the elite British force in a series of audacious "Black Ops" over the past two years.
It is understood that while the majority of the terrorists were captured, several hundred, who were mainly members of the organisation known as "al-Qa'eda in Iraq" have been killed by the SAS.
The SAS is part of a highly secretive unit called "Task Force Black" which also includes Delta Force, the US equivalent of the SAS.
 3,500 killed over the last two years.  Seriously, Tom-Tom, you're going to ignore that?  You who tries to reference the Honduran death squads in how many articles on Iraq?  You're going to ignore that 3,500 Iraqs have been 'taken off the street' as a result of being captured by US and British forces?  And that "several hundred" have been killed during this time?
The wars on Latin America in the 70s and 80s targeted which groups?  The citizens the oppressive regimes wanted to shut up.  And we're not bothered by the news from the Telegraph?
And this isn't 'conspiracy' talk.  This is what's been reported by the few reporters who've bothered to report.  In December of last year, while everyone was filing 'withdrawal, Ted Koppel filed an important report on Rock Center with Brian Williams (NBC).

MR. KOPPEL: I realize you can't go into it in any detail, but I would assume that there is a healthy CIA mission here. I would assume that JSOC may still be active in this country, the joint special operations. You've got FBI here. You've got DEA here. Can, can you give me sort of a, a menu of, of who all falls under your control?

AMB. JAMES JEFFREY: You're actually doing pretty well, were I authorized to talk about half of this stuff.
Back during Vietnam when he had a little bit of guts, Tom Hayden wouldn't have accepted this as 'withdrawal' but today he's just an old whore.  In fact, didn't Tom-Tom just affect outrage over 600 US troops in Honduras?  (He did, click here.) As Barbra Streisand tells Robert Redford in The Way We Were, "Hubbell, people are their principles."  How sad for Tom Hayden that he no longer has any principles.
You know who does appear to have principles?  Bradley Manning.

Monday April 5, 2010, WikiLeaks released US military video of a July 12, 2007 assault in Iraq. 12 people were killed in the assault including two Reuters journalists Namie Noor-Eldeen and Saeed Chmagh. Monday June 7, 2010, the US military announced that they had arrested Bradley Manning and he stood accused of being the leaker of the video. Leila Fadel (Washington Post) reported in August 2010 that Manning had been charged -- "two charges under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. The first encompasses four counts of violating Army regulations by transferring classified information to his personal computer between November and May and adding unauthorized software to a classified computer system. The second comprises eight counts of violating federal laws governing the handling of classified information." In March, 2011, David S. Cloud (Los Angeles Times) reported that the military has added 22 additional counts to the charges including one that could be seen as "aiding the enemy" which could result in the death penalty if convicted. The Article 32 hearing took place in December.  At the start of this year, there was an Article 32 hearing and, February 3rd, it was announced that the government would be moving forward with a court-martial.  Bradley has yet to enter a plea and has neither affirmed that he is the leaker nor denied it.  The court-martial was supposed to begin this month has been postponed until after the election . 
Yesterday, protests took place across America as people showed their support for Bradley.  Yael Chanoff (San Francisco Bay Guardian) reports on the action in San Francisco where participants included Iraq Veterans Against the War's Joshua Shepherd:

"It's a process to turn around once you've joined the military and committed so much of yourself to this institution," Shepherd told protesters today.
Shepherd was one of six veterans arrested at Obama campaign headquarters in Oakland Aug. 16. 
After the rally, protesters marched and protested a group watching Obama's DNC speech.
"I find it hypocritical that Obama promised to protect whistle blowers four years ago," said David Zebker, a San Francisco CPA who attended march.
A group of about 20 local DC area people, who are affiliated with the Bradley Manning Support Network,arrived at the DNC headquarters to meet with a representative of the Obama 2012 campaign to deliver our letter with our concerns for Bradley Manning (see below).
We were met at the main entrance of the DNC by security who refused entrance to about 4 people from the group who wanted to go inside and deliver our letter and to request that it be faxed to President Obama. The security guards told us to get off the front steps as were on private property. We explained that we were there on business. They refused us entry. We said we would not leave. Police were called. US Capitol Police showed up in four police cars and one police wagon. We talked with the police and explained were there with important business we needed to engage the campaign with and President Obama. After a while the US Capitol Police all left presumably because they didn't want to get involved, probably telling the security guards that it wasn't their jurisdiction and that we hadn't broken any laws.
The report also includes photos by Ted MadjoszMax Obuszewski (Baltimore Non-Violence Center) adds of the DC protest, "When we arrived we were chanting "President Obama Free Bradley Manning." Kevin Zeese an attorney who is a member of the steering committee of the Bradley Manning Support Network explained why the charges against Manning should be dismissed and why we were focused on President Obama. He noted that the decision to hold Manning in solitary confinement was made by a three-star general at the Pentagon and it would be surprising if he acted without the approval of the president, Joint Chiefs of Staff or Secretary of Defense, in other words the decision to illegally torture a U.S. soldier being held in pre-trial detention was made at the highest levels of government."  The Bradley Manning Support Network notes that protests took place "in 34 cities across the United States [and] targeted local Obama campaign headquarters to demand the President free accused WikiLeaks whistleblower and Nobel Peace Prize nominee PFC Bradley Manning.  International supporters, in Australia and the U.K. also protested at U.S. embassies."
The San Jose Mercury News has a photo essay (by Kristina Sangsahachart) of the San Jose protestWorld Can't Wait's San Francisco chapter notes:

In San Francisco Thursday night, about 80 people met up tonight in the Mission District at a BART (subway) plaza, lofting colorful banners and signs.  We came from different movements – antiwar, Occupy, veterans – and people were feeling fierce.  A short rally brought up speakers from the Bradley Manning Support Network, Courage to Resist, Code Pink, World Can't Wait, and Veterans for Peace.

Nancy Siesel (Demotix) notes the NYC protest with a photo essay.  In the comments of a post at Naked Capitalism, Jill shares her experience protesting:
I want to relay my experience protesting the torture and illegal imprisonment of Bradley Manning.
As two people tried to enter the office to deliever a letter to Obama on Manning's behalf, the staffers locked the door and closed the curtains. That says a lot. But here's what I thought was most interesting.
They weren't prepared for protest. I am convinced peaceful protest is a good avenue to pursue. They think they've locked everything down, that people are too afraid, too tired, too progagandized to take them on. They need to know that isn't true.
And here's one more thing. They wouldn't let anyone in while we were picketing. If there was a large enough group to form 24 hour picket lines around the Obama and Romney campaign HQ's, it might be worth trying. It would be necessary to offer voter registration while picketing because this is offered at the HQ and this should not ever be stopped. But if their response to protest is to shut down their office, well, it's something to think about!
Protests against war took place yesterday as well.  CODEPINK notes:


Charlotte, NC—At 4:15pm today, Thursday, September 6, hours before President Obama's acceptance speech at the Democratic Convention, five CODEPINK activists dropped a 40 foot giant pink slip banner that read "YES WE CAN END WAR" off of a parking garage at S. College and 3rd Street near the Democratic Convention.  CODEPINK national organizer Alli McCracken, 23, from Washington, DC, was arrested and charged with a misdemeanor for "attaching a banner to private property without permission." 

"When the war in Afghanistan started I was only 12 years old, and for my entire adult life the US has continued to squander precious tax dollars on war, while young people like me can hardly afford college or healthcare, and many can't find jobs," said McCracken.  "Both the Republicans and Democrats continue to pour money into the bloated Pentagon budget instead of addressing people's real needs.  I'm sick and tired of the huge amount of corporate and super-PAC money going into elections that keeps our politicians funding war, killer drone strikes, and weapons to Israel.  Let's put people before profits!"

There were 34 police officers involved in arresting this one peace activist, clearly a huge waste of taxpayer money," said Medea Benjamin, cofounder of CODEPINK.  "At a convention that is supposed to be the most open convention in history, it's tragic that a young activist would be arrested for peacefully expressing her desire to end war, a position that the overwhelming majority of Democratic delegates support."

CODEPINK has demonstrated at both the RNC and DNC, including speaking out every night at the RNC and Wednesday night, September 5, when CODEPINK co-director Rae Abileah
unfurled a pink banner inside the convention that read "Bring Our War $$ Home" during Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer's speech. 

In the wake of the Citizens United case, with corporate and super PAC money in politics polluting democracy and drowning out the will of voters, CODEPINK will also be calling for money out of politics. "We want people-powered elections that prioritize human needs over war and greed," said CODEPINK co-director Jodie Evans.  "And we'd like the police to go after the real war criminals instead of nonviolent protesters."
CODEPINK, founded in 2002, is a women-initiated grassroots peace and social justice movement working to end the war in Iraq, stop new wars, and redirect our resources into health care, education and other life-affirming activities.

Wow.  The war's 'over' but Iraqis are being killed by Brits an
Violence continues in Iraq. The month's not even a week old and already Iraq Body Count can count 29 violent deaths in the country -- and that's just through Wednesday.

Think about that.  The month started on Saturday and already 29 reported deaths.   Just through Wednesday.  Think about that and ask yourself where the US reporting on that has been.  Seems Iraq was 'in the news' with US outlets this week -- in terms of what was said at the DNC.  But no one has talked about 29 dead in 5 days.   And already today Alsumaria reports an attack today on a military checkpoint outside Baghdad killing 2 Iraqi soldiers and a Shi'ite shrine in Kirkuk was attacked leaving 3 people dead and eleven more injuredKitabat adds the death toll has risen to 8 and that the number injured now stands at thirty-three.   In addition, All Iraq News notes Turkish war planes shelled northern Iraq last night and that there was an attempt on Sheikh Ali Shuwaili (cleric for Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani) in Sadr City yesterday with unknown assailants using guns with silencers shooting at himSam Dagher (Wall St. Journal) counts 8 dead today and 88 injured.  Margaret Griffis ( counts 12 dead.
In the US, the Green Party has made Dr. Jill Stein their presidential nominee and Jill's campaign notes:
This week on Moyers & Company, Bill talks with Green Party presidential and vice presidential candidates Jill Stein and Cheri Honkala about their campaign platform and what they've learned about American politics. 
The episode, appropriately entitled "Challenging Power, Changing Politics,"  delves into the history of the candidates' civic engagement and their vision for a just, sustainable future. Don't miss it!
"Moyers & Company airs weekly on public television – Check your local listings  and learn more at