Friday, March 1, 2013. Chaos and violence continue, protests take place throughout Iraq, the Finance Minister resigns, Bradley Manning gets some attention, and more.
We're starting with Iraq War veteran Bradley Manning who confessed yesterday that he passed on documents to WikiLeaks. Alexa O'Briean has transcribed his statement in full
. We're going to note a section at the top:
The CIDNE system contains a database that is used by thousands of
Department of Defense--DoD personel including soldiers, civilians, and
contractors support. It was the United States Central Command or
CENTCOM reporting tool for operational reporting in Iraq and
Afghanistan. Two separate but similar databases were maintained for
each theater-- CIDNE-I for Iraq and CIDNE-A for Afghanistan. Each
database encompasses over a hundred types of reports and other
historical information for access. They contain millions of vetted and
finalized directories including operational intelligence reporting.
CIDNE was created to collect and analyze battle-space data to provide
daily operational and Intelligence Community (IC) reporting relevant to a
commander's daily decision making process. The CIDNE-I and CIDNE-A
databases contain reporting and analysis fields for multiple disciplines
including Human Intelligence or HUMINT reports, Psychological
Operations or PSYOP reports, Engagement reports, Counter Improvised
Explosive Device or CIED reports, SigAct reports, Targeting reports,
Social and Cultural reports, Civil Affairs reports, and Human Terrain
[. . .]
I felt that we were risking so much for people that seemed unwilling to
cooperate with us, leading to frustration and anger on both sides. I
began to become depressed with the situation that we found ourselves
increasingly mired in year after year. The SigActs documented this in
great detail and provide a context of what we were seeing on the ground.
In attempting to conduct counter-terrorism or CT and
counter-insurgency COIN operations we became obsessed with capturing and
killing human targets on lists and not being suspicious of and avoiding
cooperation with our Host Nation partners, and ignoring the second and
third order effects of accomplishing short-term goals and missions. I
believe that if the general public, especially the American public, had
access to the information contained within the CIDNE-I and CIDNE-A
tables this could spark a domestic debate on the role of the military
and our foreign policy in general as [missed word] as it related to Iraq
I also believed the detailed analysis of the data over a long period of
time by different sectors of society might cause society to reevaluate
the need or even the desire to even to engage in counterterrorism and
counterinsurgency operations that ignore the complex dynamics of the
people living in the effected environment everyday.
I don't get -- or I didn't -- why people still
aren't covering counter-insurgency. Bradley Manning's been behind bars
for over 1000 days because he hoped to spark a national dialogue. 24
hours after he states that, there's still nothing in the media.
For those late to the party, Monday April 5,
, WikiLeaks released US
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,
, 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. The court-martial was supposed to begin before the November 2012 election but it was
postponed until after the election so that Barack wouldn't have to run on a
record of his actual actions. Independent.ie adds
, "A court martial is set to be held in June at Ford Meade in Maryland,
with supporters treating him as a hero, but opponents describing him as a
At Rolling Stone
, Janet Reitman asks, "Did the Mainstream Media Fail Bradley Manning?
And suddenly it falls together. Not because of what Reitman finds --
she finds nothing. Not because of Kevin Gosztola's hypothesis that the Washington Post
and the New York Times
might have been too scared to publish it.
the archives, but we covered the WikiLeaks releases in real time.
Today, a lot of people like to pretend they did but they didn't. In
Little Media, they wrote for magazine websites and for magazines and
they had their own programs but they never used them to explore what was
released. They didn't have time for it. They didn't give a damn until
they got their postage of Julian Assange.
They still don't give a damn about Bradley. But Julian they could get behind.
Janet Reitman wants to know if the press failed Bradley? It wasn't about Bradley. It was about Iraq.
And, yes, the US press failed Iraq. Failed before the start of the war, failed it after.
you pay attention to the recap earlier. People pretend like there was
great interest in the WikiLeaks 2007 video. No, there wasn't. There
should have been but there wasn't. And there was even less interest
when they began publishing various documents.
The question to ask
is "Did the press fail Iraq?" Yes, it did. By the time WikiLeaks
released the Iraq information, there had been a withdrawal from Iraq -- a
press withdrawal. ABC closed down their operation and lied that they'd
grab BBC if there were any developments. (Use the BBC for their
evening news.) They didn't really. NBC was out. The networks pulled
out. McClatchy Newspapers was pulling out. No one gave a damn in the
US press about Iraq.
And if you complained -- and I did to many
producers and editors -- you were told that the viewers were tired of
Iraq. I didn't then and don't now see how that's possible.
Among the trash that passes for 'independent' media in the US, Demcoracy Now! couldn't be bothered with the topic, nor could The Nation
magazine, nor could The Progressive
In the spring of 2009, Steven D. Green went on trial. We covered it every day here. May 7th
Steven D. Green was convicted for his crimes in March 12, 2006 gang-rape and murder of Abeer Qassim Hamza al-Janabi
the murder of her parents and the murder of her five-year-old sister
while Green was serving in Iraq. Green was found to have killed all
four, to have participated in the gang-rape of Abeer and to have been
the ringleader of the conspiracy to commit the crimes and the conspiracy
to cover them up. May 21st
, the federal jury deadlocked on the death penalty and instead he was sentenced to life in prison.
was a War Crime. It should have been covered widely. Instead it was
Kentucky media. It was the Associated Press' Brett Barrouquere and Time
magazine's Jim Frederick. That was it for the national mainstream
press. Arianna Huffington deserves credit for sending a reporter down
there (Gail Mellor) and even more for realizing the best reporting was
coming from high schooler Evan Bright
and carrying his coverage at The Huffington Post. We interviewed Evan for a May 3, 2009 piece at Third
. Evan was covering every day of the trial. Evan wasn't shy. Why wasn't he on Democracy Now!
during the trial? Why did Pacifica Radio waste all that money on the
garbage that was Mitch Jeserich's Letters from Washington but fail to
send even one reporter to Kentucky for a War Crimes trial? Why wasn't
Matthew Rothschild or Katrina vanden Heuvel at all concerned with the
gang-rape and murder of a 14-year-old Iraqi girl by US soldiers?
in that climate that Bradley Manning tries to interest the media in
what he has. It wasn't about Brad, it was about the complete lack of
interest on the part of the press with anything to do with Iraq by
2010. If you need a 'reputable source' making that observation, here's PEW on Iraq War coverage in 2010
The ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were on the periphery of both
the American public’s and news media’s radar in 2010. Just 1% of the
total news coverage last year was devoted to events related to and
policy debates about the Iraq war. In no single week did Iraq consume
more than 10% of the newshole. With the exception of a week in
September, during a large troop withdrawal, most of the public reported
they were not following events in Iraq very closely when surveyed
throughout the year.
Get it? The media didn't fail Bradley. Long before Bradley tries to interest the media, it had already failed Iraq.
the Amy Goodmans and Greg Mitchells can pretend they did something but
they didn't. They didn't treat the WikiLeaks releases seriously in real
time. After Julian Assange became a folk hero to some, once they had
their poster on the wall, the Goodys and Mitchells suddenly could give a
damn . . . about Julian Assange. Not about Iraq, not about Iraqis,
never about Iraq, never about Iraqis.
And what we're seeing yet
again, right now, is an attempt to posterize. We're not talking about
the War Crimes, we're not writing about the War Crimes, we're rehashing
this and that and blah blah blah. I'm not going into counter-insurgency
today. Unlike Amy Goodman, we've covered it here (and called it out)
regularly. I don't have the time or space for/in this snapshot today
to go over counter-insurgency again.
But we've covered it (including yesterday -- and we first covered it in 2006 when the ridiculous Montgomery McFate got her first press via The New Yorker
These are the issues of substance. A whole rag-tag assembly wants to
pretend that they support Bradley. Yet they still won't take the time
to write and talk about counter-insurgency. Even now, 24 hours after
Bradley outlined his hope/intent to spark a debate on the policy.
can't argue whether Bradley was in the right or in the wrong to release
the documents if you can't address the importance of the documents.
Support him? Then kick-start the national dialogue on
counter-insurgency. Yeah, it might take a little work and, goodness
knows, a little work's too much for our Panhandle Media
But if we want the mainstream to cover it and if we want people to know
the importance of Bradley's actions, then we're going to need to do a
Let's stay in the US and turn to a loser named James Fallows sets the low mark -- the all time low mark -- for 10th anniversary of the invasion of Iraq rambles
. The cowardly scribbler for The Atlantic
as only the spineless truly can. The invasion, Fallows whimpers "was
the biggest strategic error by the United States since at least the end
of World War II and perhaps a much longer period."
nonsense. It's not an "error," it's a crime. And if you can't say that,
why the hell are you scribbling today to begin with?
you maybe learn to write Jimmy Fallows? Stop resting on work you did
before many readers were born and learn to write today? "The biggest
strategic error by the United States since at least the end of World War
II and perhaps a much longer period" -- what is that? Cover your ass
in case senility's set in and you're not remembering some major event?
And what is that wording? Are you aware you're suggesting -- via your
construction -- that the worst strategic errors were invading Iraq and
ending World War II? Do you need someone to remind you to take your
If my claim to fame was being a speechwriter for
then-President Jimmy Carter -- one of the most bland and boring speakers
of all time, I think I'd be trying real hard for another credit to put
by name. And in Fishbowl Idiot, Fallows may have finally found another
This is just completely a puzzle to Fallows, this Iraq
War. "Vietnam," he writes, "was costlier and more damaging, but also
more understandable. As many people have chronicled, the decision to
fight in Vietnam, was a years-long accretion of step-by-step choices,
each of which could be rationalized at the time." Anything can be
rationalized at any time. Second, Vietnam, for the US government, was
not just criminal, it was more stupid than Iraq because the US followed
France's failure in Vietnam but kidded itself that it was so much better
at War Crimes that it would be victorious over the Vietnamese. The US
government was wrong.
By contrast, the Iraq War is completely
understandable. September 11, 2001 was an attack on the United States.
We could have dealt with it as we had other attacks. We could have
followed the law. We could have been grown ups and had honest
discussions. We didn't follow the law and we demonized those who wanted
to speak honestly (such as Susan Sontag). By refusing to address what
happened, the events that follow are completely understandable.
put aside thinking, logic, processing and everything else and were left
with nothing but injury and hurt and we looked for someone in a weaker
position to lash out at to feel better. Strip the tired colloquialisms
from Thomas Friedman's bad writing and TV appearances and what your left
with is a tiny, impotent and angry man raging with violence.
Where in the world did you think that rage would go? Because it had to go somewhere.
Boy Bush stoked the rage, encouraged the rage and he and his
administration attacked anyone and everyone who questioned in any way or
tried to use actual thought. The rage had to go somewhere. And they
knew what they were doing having decided early on to use 9-11 to push
for war with Iraq. (September 11, 2001 -- though repeatedly linked to
Iraq by Bully Boy and his administration -- had nothing to do with
Iraq. While Saddam Hussein was President of Iraq, al Qaeda didn't even
have a base in Iraq because secular Hussein and fundamentalist al Qaeda
were at complete odds with one another.)
Bully Boy Bush
repeatedly picked away at 9-11 because it had to be an unhealed wound,
it had to be gaping, for him to misuse the horror of it to push for the
I'm sorry that James Fallow is confused. I truly am
sorry that he's such an imbecile because, after 10 years, if we still
can't recognize and name what happened and how, there's not much hope
for any of us. All these years later and we still can't be honest? The
refusal to honestly address what happened allowed emotions to be
manipulated and played to. If we can't be honest about that, we're
never going to learn from it so forget about any talk of preventing it
from happening again.
Let's go to someone far wiser than James Fallows: Joan Didion
. In 2003, The New York Review of Books
published her Fixed Ideas: America Since 9.11
. From that slender book overflowing with wisdom. Excerpt.
yet, all through the summer of 2002, the inevitability of going to war
with Iraq was accepted as if predestined. The "when" had already been
settled. "Time is getting short," The New York Times had warned
us in July, "for decisions that have to be made if the goal is to take
action early next year, before the presidential election cycle
intrudes." That last cause bore study.
"Before the presidential election cycle intrudes." In case the priorities were still unclear.
"why" had also been settled. The President had identified Saddam
Hussein as one of the evildoers. Yes, there were questions about
whether the evildoer in question had the weapons we feared he had, and
yes, there were questions about whether he would use them if he did have
them, and yes, there were questions about whether attacking Iraq might
not in fact ensure that he would use them. But to ask those questions
was sissy, not muscular, because the President had said we were going to
do it and the President, if he were to back down, risked losing the
points he got on the muscular "moral clarity" front.
"I made up my
mind," he had said in April, "that Saddam needs to go." This was one of
many curious almost petulant statements offered in lieu of actually
presenting a case. I've made up my mind, I've said in speech after
speech, I've made myself clear. The repeated statements became their
own reason: "Given all we have said as a leading world power about the
necessity for regime change in Iraq, "James R. Schlesinger, who is now a
member of Richard Pearl's Defense Policy Board, told The Washington Post in July, "our credibility would be badly damaged if that regime change did not take place."
can we not be honest? What purpose does James Fallows' nonsense
serve? He wants to brag about his 2002 nonsense. It won a National
Magazine Award. 2002 and 2003 are the worst years for American
journalism. So you can imagine the kind of nonsense he wrote
to win. Of that garbage, he says today, "I feel I was right in arguing, six months before the war in 'The Fifty-First State
that invading Iraq would bring on a slew of complications and
ramifications that would take at least a decade to unwind." Oh, the
bravery. (That was sarcasm.) He wrote an article in October 2002
proclaiming points of interest if the Iraq War happened. You know Jim
Hoagland was doing the same thing in a Washington Post
June of 2002? In fact, the topic was all over the place long before
Fallows used it to offer his centrist tour of potential things to look
for after the war starts. A real journalists should have been working
on questioning the claims. But James Fallows isn't a real journalist.
There was no money to be made off telling the truth. During Vietnam, he
couldn't be counted on to do anything either, except lie to avoid
serving there. Couldn't rally, couldn't organize the war but didn't
want to go there. How sad that as the days wind down, Fallows is as
timid and ineffectual as he was in his college years.
The kind of
garbage he provides, we don't need. If you're writing about Iraq on
the 10th anniversary of the start of the illegal war, you should be
doing to explain how things are today or to explain how the illegal war
How things are today?
Protests across Iraq. The Iraqi Spring Media Center
Here the People of Iraq Revolt against Tyranny and Oppression
It is not important which sect you belong to or race
What is important is that you seek to regain your Iraqi Identity
What is important is you regain your Honour, and live in your
country with dignity!!!
Of all the protests across Iraq, Ramadi received the most attention due to a high profile speaker. Alsumaria notes
Minister of Finance Rafie al-Issawi attended and, in his speech, resigned his office. Hamdi Alkhshali (CNN) adds
, "The finance minister resigned because the government has not met the
demands of the demonstrators to end the marginalization, spokesman Aysar
Ali told CNN."
Zaid Sabah (Bloomberg News) quotes
al-Issawi telling the protesters, "I am with you, I am your son. I will not return to this government." Qassim Abdul-Zahra and Sameer N. Yacoub (AP) quote
al-Issawi telling the crowd, "I am presenting my resignation in front
of you. I do not care about a
government that does not respect the Iraqi blood and its people." Sabah
notes the protesters chanted back, "We are with you! We are with you!"
al-Issawi tells Reuters
"More than 70 days of demonstrations and this government hasn't
fulfilled our people's demands. It doesn't honor me to be part of a
sectarian government. I decided to stay with my people." Alsumaria notes
that Nouri al-Maliki has declared he will not accept the resignation until a legal and financial investigation is completed. Ayad Tamimi (Al Mada) reports
that Iraqiya leader Ayad Allawi states that there are secret arrest
warrants Nouri is holding on Iraqiya politicians. Allawi states the
members are innocent and this is part of an effort to silence Nouri's
political rivals. Iraqiya came in first in the 2010 provincial
elections, besting Nouri's State of Law in the process.
In Mosul, Nouri's forces refused to allow journalists access to the protest
. Nouri's forces also raided a mosque in Mosul to prevent morning prayers
. Journalists trying to report on the morning prayers in Baghdad's Adhamiya section were arrested by Nouri's forces
. Nouri's State of Law sees other reasons for the protests. MP Abdul al-Abbas, for example, insists to All Iraq News
that the protests are a plot to run the economy of Iraq. Iraqi Sping MC notes that protests took place today in Baquba
, in Jalawla
, in Samarra
and in Duluiya
. Al Mada reports
that participation in the protests increased today in Falluja and
Ramadi and that Samarra protesters are calling for a general strike in
the cities throughout the province.
The Washington Post
's Liz Sly Tweets:
Muhammad Yassine (translated by Nicolas Dagher for World Meets US) offers
a look at Iraq's crises:
Prime Minister Maliki, commander-in-chief of the armed
forces and primarily responsible for the security situation in the country, refuses
to descend from the fragile throne he ascended to years ago through an open
agreement between America and Iran. Nouri al-Maliki was
put there as a cover for their mistakes. Citing the Constitution, which he says
gives him all rights and authority, Maliki has refused to give up even a small measure
of influence or administrative authority to his political partners. With his poor
judgment, he has lost many of his partners and allies, particularly among the
Maliki's gambit to remain in power
by relying on the Americans and Iranians was misplaced. When he ignored the demands
of anti-government demonstrators on February 25th, 2011, he laid the
groundwork for a worsening of the crisis between the corrupt political class
and the disenfranchised public. No one can deny the success Maliki has had
cutting down to size his political partners, who obeyed his deranged demands to
resign in return for personal favors and privileges. With privileges granted by
marginalizing and excluding huge segments of the Iraqi people, these partners
conspired against the voters and their constituents, hiding under the cloak of Maliki's dictatorial powers.
The violence never ends in Iraq. Probably because Nouri al-Maliki has
been as much a failure at Iraqi security as he has been at Iraqi unity.
Today Alsumaria speaks
with Diwaniya Poice Chief Brigadier Abdul Jalil al-Asadi who explains 2
car bombs went off in a livestock market (cattle and sheep) resulting
in 5 deaths and forty people being left injured. Imad al-Khuzaie, Suadad al-Salhy, Isabel Coles and Patrick Graham (Reuters) quote
butcher Jassim Khalid stating, "I came to buy some calves and was
checking them when the explosion happened, I threw myself on the ground,
then the second explosion happened." AFP reminds
"The blasts came a day after at least 26 people were killed and more
than 60 wounded in a series of bomb attacks in the Baghdad area and
shootings in northern Iraq." Alsumaria notes
a home invasion just to the south of Baquba (8 kilometers to the south)
in which Ghalib Abdul Ali was shot dead by machine guns and his son was
left wounded and a Mosul sticky bombing claimed the lives of 2 Iraqi soldiers
. All Iraq News adds
that Kaen Saleem, Commander of Salah-il-Din Emergency Regiment, was
targeted with three Dijail bombings leaving him and one civilian injured
and a Babel car bombing targeted a kindergarten (but there are no reported injuries)
AFP's WG Dunlop Tweets on violence:
Finally, David Bacon's latest book is Illegal People -- How Globalization Creates Migration and Criminalizes Immigrants (Beacon Press) which won the CLR James Award.
We'll close with this from Bacon's "MERCADO WORKERS PROTEST SEXUAL HARASSMENT AND FIRINGS
Valentine's Day sometimes brings chocolates and sometimes flowers. But
Valentine's Day in Oakland, California, brought angry women out to the Mi Pueblo
supermarket in the heart of the barrio. There they tried to speak to the
chain's owner, Juvenal Chavez, not about love, but about the sexual harassment
of women who work there.
gathered next to the parking lot holding pink placards, Latino families in
pickup trucks and beat up cars honked and waved. Laura Robledo then stepped up
to an impromptu podium and told her story. As she spoke, her teenage daughter
held her protectively around the waist, and stared angrily at the doorway where
managers stood waiting for trouble.
Robledo used to work at the Mi Pueblo
market in San Jose. She lost her job when she complained to the company that
she'd been sexually harassed by a coworker. "I had two witnesses who heard
everything he said," she recalled angrily. "The words were so low and degrading
it was horrible just to hear them. He even tried by force to kiss and embrace
So she complained to the company. That was unusual, because workers
at the markets complain about intimidation by managers, and that those who
complain lose their jobs.
Fear at Mi Pueblo has been high since last
August, when the company announced it was using the E-Verify database to check
employees' immigration status. Then in October company lawyer Julie Pace said
the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency was auditing Mi Pueblo's
personnel records. Almost all the chain's workers are immigrants.
each store employees were herded into meetings, where they were shown a video in
which Juvenal Chavez told them that if their immigration status was questioned
they would be fired. "The possibility of losing one of our employees will hurt
my heart," he assured them. "And it will feel like losing a family
When Robledo went to the company to report the harassment, however,
she says it didn't feel at all like a family. "They said they'd investigate
it," she recounted. "But they did nothing. After two weeks they gave me a
letter saying they'd finished their investigation and that nothing had happened
and that workers were always treated with respect. For me this was terrible. I
felt very humiliated because I could see they didn't respect my rights as a
Robledo was a new employee, having only started working at the
store that October. The harassment began almost immediately, she says. Despite
getting the letter claiming she had no basis for her charges, she continued
working. Robledo is a single mother of three children, and couldn't afford to
The company then made that decision for her.
"I worked a couple of weeks after getting the letter," she recalls. "Then they
accused me of getting into an argument with another worker, which wasn't true.
It was just a pretext. They fired me because I kept complaining about sexual
harassment. They knew that because I know my rights and I'm willing to defend
myself that eventually I'd expose the truth."
national iraqi news agency
all iraq news
world meets us
the associated press
sameer n. yacoub