Saturday, March 30, 2013

6 dead, 15 injured -- and Iraq breaks apart?

Violence continues in Iraq.  National Iraqi News Agency reports a Shirqat playground bombing left 1 athlete dead and six more injured,  there was two assassination attempts near Tirkit (Governor Ahmed Abdullah of Salahaddin Province -- who apparently survived -- and Police Director Shakir Aanqood -- who apparently survived) and late last night 1 Sahwa was killed in a Tikrit attackAlsumaria notes that the Associate Director of the Kirkuk Anti-Crime Unit in the police force was targeted but survived; however, three of his family members were left injured. Alsumaria also reports a Mosul armed clash left two bystanders injured1 civilian was shot dead in Kirkuk, a Haj Ali home bombing (targeting the home of Capt Ihsan Jassim Abdullah, intelligence officer with the police) left two people injuredtwo of Nouri's Tigris Operation Command were injured in a Kirkuk shooting, and Ayad Allawi's Iraqiya  is denouncing an attack last night in Wasit Province which killed 3 of its membersAll Iraq News quotes from the Iraqiya statement:

Three of the supporters of the Iraqiya Alliance were assassinated on last Friday in Wasit province by weapons with silencers.
As usual, the security forces attributed the assassination to an unknown side which raises the question of whether the government is able to protect the citizens or not.
While condemning this assassination, the IA calls on the security forces to conduct an immediate investigation to reveal the culprits instead of joining the government in silence.

Alsumaria notes that the National Alliance leader Ibrahim al-Jaafari made nice with the reviled Saleh al-Mutlaq today.  al-Mutlaq is a Deputy Prime Minister, supposedly a Ba'athist (unreformed) according to Nouri's Justice and Accountability Commission, and a member of Iraqiya.  He stabbed Iraqiya in the back by refusing to honor the Cabinet boycott.  He made things worse by pretending to speak for the protesters.  The protesters responded yesterday in over six provinces by carrying signs and banners denouncing him and stating al-Mutlaq does not speak for them.   Here's one sign they carried in Kirkuk.

From Karkuk من كركوك

The Iraqi Spring MC photo shows a red X across his face.  In the Arabic writing on the photo, he's being called a traitor to the Iraqi people.

All Iraq News notes that Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi has said al-Mutlaq's actions are outrageous and he declares to al-Mutlaq, "Your attitude is unacceptable and does not serve your interests whatsoever; therefore, I call on you to reconsider your decision as we are tired of our experiences with Nouri al-Maliki since 2006.  Maliki is not trustworthy to start with him on new negotiations, so we advise you to cut your relations with him."  Tareq al-Hashemi is currently in Turkey because he didn't rub his crotch against Nouri's ankles the way al-Mutlaq did while whimpering like the dog al-Mutlaq is.

In December 2011, Nouri went after both Tareq and al-Mutlaq.  Tareq refused to beg and cower so he was run out of the country and resides in Turkey.  All al-Mutlaq has ever known is how to wet himself and beg.   It's really not a smart move for Ibrahim al-Jaafari to cozy up to al-Mutlaq.  No one likes a traitor and it's election time. 

Al Mada notes that Iraqiya leader Ayad Allawi has called for intensive measures to ensure a fair election.  Adding to the need for such measures, Alsumaria reports that Governor Atheel Nujaifi was sidelined in Nineveh Province ysterday as the Electoral Commission met with Nouri's security leaders about the elections in Nineveh Province and avoided including Nujaifi.  Nujaifi is a member of Iraqiya (the political slate that bested Nouri's State of Law in the 2010 parliamentary elecitons). 

Alsumaria reports that the Legal Committee of the Iraqi Parliament declared today that they support the establishment of three federations within Iraq -- that would be the KRG in the north along with a Shi'ite section and a Sunni section.  They state that this is a plan similar to what US Vice President Joe Biden proposed.  It's not clear whether they mean he proposed it as vice president.

Joe Biden, as US Senator, supported a federation and felt this would be the easiest way for peace to come about.  In his campaign for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination, he made a promise that this idea would be dead if it wasn't supported.   Did he go back on that promise as Vice President and propose it again?

Or are they referring to the plan he supported as Senator?

Apparently this has been discussed in Iraq recently with the US Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs and it was also discussed in DC after the 2008 elections and after Biden became Vice President -- with Biden and the State Dept and this is the plan he was pushing as a US Senator.

 In other news, Al Mada notes that Iraqi President Jalal Talabani's medical team in Germany has declared that he continues to improve, that he is reading and speaking as well as doing his rehab exercises.

 He's been in Germany since December following a stroke (which took place immediately after he was visited by Nouri al-Maliki).

The following community sites -- plus Jane Fonda,, Jody Watley, Susan's On the Edge, IVAW,  NPR music, On the Wilder Side, Adam Kokesh and Chocolate City -- updated yesterday and today.

 The e-mail address for this site is

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I Hate The War

Felicity Arbuthnot (Pravda) notes the massacres of Falluja:

There were numerous reports during the 2004 April and November-December US assaults on Fallujah of, in addition to DU - three times unanimously designated a weapon of mass destruction by UN Sub-Committees - illegal, experimental chemical weapons and napalm being used in the decimation of this city of about three hundred thousand people.

After the second assault, Dr. Saleh Hussein Iswawi of the Fallujah General Hospital told the BBC, "About sixty to seventy percent of the homes and buildings are completely crushed and damaged, and not ready to inhabit ... Of the thirty percent still left standing, I don't think there is a single one that has not been exposed to some damage."

Charred bodies and those half eaten by stray dogs littered the streets. One resident, Yasser Sattar said, "This is the crime of the century. Is this freedom and democracy that they brought to Fallujah?"

What happened in Fallujah was a pogrom.It was by no means the only one.

People leapt into the Euphrates River to put out their burning flesh - it continued to burn in the water. Dead were described as "caramelized." Other bodies were described as melting, disintegrating, but their clothing staying intact, by doctors who have seen much in Iraq in 1991 and since, but never this.

"All forms of nature were wiped out," stated the (pro-American) Iraqi Health Minister, Dr. ash-Shaykhli.


She cites the work of Dahr Jamail so let's note his site.  Does it matter what happened in Falluja?

If it does, the left's going to need to reject  Dexter Filkins.  Dexy's been embraced by all the usual crowd of losers like Glenn Greenwald.

They're unintelligent and they're uninformed.  So they spread for Dexy and let him infect them the same way he's infected.

Dexter is a liar.  Not just to his ex-wife.  He went to Iraq and supposedly slept with many Iraqi women.  How was that done, Dexy?  No one ever talks about that.

We're all supposed to pretend that there were no bordellos in or near Baghdad.  Off Our Backs blew the lid of that lie but others gladly went along with it, creating a new kind of pristine war zone that the world's never seen before where women are not sold into sexual slavery.

Dexy's a pig -- a highly creative pig.  He created a scene in Zero Dark Thirty that doesn't exist.  That scene led to the attacks on the film.  Again, no such scene existed.  He's the one who led to the film being attacked and not the CIA.  Cute the way that worked.  He lied.  Usually when he lies he gets paid for it so you do the math on that: CIA benefits from a lie Dexy makes up.  Who paid him for that? Who does Dexy work for?

He is trash.

And because he's US government trash, he won a little award for his creative writing about what happened in Falluja during the second battle (November 2004).  He was there as an embed and he couldn't get his copy to the paper for eight days because he had to allow the military to vet his copy, he went along with censorship.

And he won an award for it.  He got a George Polk award for his lies.

Once upon a time,  William L. Laurence received an award too.  He lied for the US government when he worked for the New York Times as well and he got a Pulitzer Prize for his lying.  He lied about Hiroshima.  He lied and denied the reality of what happened.  And his lies were accepted as truth.  The same way Dexy Filkins rah-rah, feel-good coverage of the massacre of Falluja was.

If the attacks matter, then you damn well better start calling out the people who were there and lied about it.

William Laurence was well paid for his lies.  Not just in prizes but liars like Dexy and Laurence usually gets prizes.   Laurence was well paid because he double-dipped.  He was paid, while working for the New York Times, by the paper and by  the US government.  Usually, the ones who lie about massacres are double-dipping. 

It's over, I'm done writing songs about love
There's a war going on
So I'm holding my gun with a strap and a glove
And I'm writing a song about war
And it goes
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Oh oh oh oh
-- "I Hate The War" (written by Greg Goldberg, on The Ballet's Mattachine!)

The number of US service members the Dept of Defense states died in the Iraq War is [PDF format warning] 4488.

The e-mail address for this site is

Friday, March 29, 2013

Iraq snapshot

Friday, March 29, 2013.  Chaos and violence continue, protests continue in Iraq, Salah al-Mutlaq learns what it is to be hated, we examine another area where the Iraq War had influence, and more.

Kitabat notes that protests took place in six provinces today -- with Saleh al-Mutlaq being called out throughout which well get to.  Kitabat notes that Falluja protesters say they are in it for the long haul, until the suffering Iraqi people ends.  National Iraqi News Agency reports:

The protester's spokesman in Anbar, Sheikh Saeed Allafi highly praised the stand taken by Cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, leader of the Sadrists movement towards demonstrators and protesters in a number of governorates of Iraq, denouncing in the same time what he called the opportunistic pragmatic attitudes by deputy PM, Saleh al-Mutlaq.
Lafi added in a statement to NINA: "Muqtada al-Sadr, chose to stand with the masses when he deduced that the government arbitrary robs the rights of the masses.
He said: "The protesters of Anbar condemn the shameful attitude of Mutlaq, who stripped from the Iraqiya Slate and went to support Maliki government at the expense of the oppressed people.

Al-Shorfa notes:

Protesters in Baghdad, Diyala, Salaheddine, Anbar, Kirkuk and Ninawa asked the Iraqi government to meet 13 demands they said were legitimate and constitutional.
"We hope this Friday will be the start of the end for the peaceful popular movement, by way of the government's response to our demands," said Sheikh Qusay Eddine al-Zein, spokesman for Anbar demonstrators.
"The demonstrators will not leave until the last demand has been met," he told Al-Shorfa. "Not as a favour from the government but as an enshrined right that must be restored to us under the new democratic system in Iraq."
"The government began discussing the demands and announced it would meet four of them," said Sheikh Abdullah al-Samarrae, Friday preacher in Samarra, Salaheddine province. "That is a good sign, but all demands must be met."

Al Jazeera and the Christian Science Monitor's Jane Arraf Tweets:

  1. 's beautiful, brief protest art. 'I can see you' young artist tells politicians. His mural taken down tonight

Iraqi Spring MC has video of the Baghdad protests and other cities for protests include Samarra, Baiji, Kirkuk, Falluja, Muqdadiyah, and Tamiyah.  The last one is where Nouri sent his forces in to do searches and arrests.  In addition, Nouri's forces instituted a crackdown preventing anyone from entering or leaving TamiyahRaids also took place in Baiji. At Baghdad's Abu Hanifa, Nouri's forces surrounded the mosque and prevented worshipers from entering and at least one person was beat up by Nouri's forcesDar Addustour reports on the Ramadi and Falluja protests noting that the protesters feel betrayed by certain politicians such as Saleh al-Mutlaq and that they have declared that only protesters from a province can speak for the protesters of that province.  In Falluja, Sheikh Hussein Obeid said that the government's refusal to meet the protesters demands are provoking a crisis.

One topic of the protests was Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlaq.  Also getting attention was Mohammed Tamimi (Minster of Education) and Ahmed Karbouli (Minister of Industry) who joined al-Mutlaq at the Wednesday Cabinet meeting presuming to speak for the protesters -- they don't speak for the protesters and the protesters don't approve of what was said.  Iraqi Spring MC shows a huge poster carried with Saleh al-Mutlaq's face on it, a big red X across his face and the proclamation that he is a traitor to the Iraqi people.  Alsumaria has a photo of his face being carried on posters.    He was denounced in Babylonian for his "false assertions."  He was denounced at the Baiji protest as someone looking to increase their own stature by pretending to speak for the protesters.

NINA notes that Iraiqya is blaming the al-Mutlaq split on Hayder al-Mulla.  In Samarra, Iraqi Spring MC documents, a banner was raised at the sit-in noting the cry of "No on federalism, no on sectarianism, no on divisions. Yes to the glory and dignity of Iraq."

All Iraq News notes a Kirkuk car bombing today has "resulted in killing and injuring a number of citizens,"And at first, it appeared that was it.  Then it all started pouring in.  All Iraq News reports 5 Baghdad bombings which have claimed 14 lives and left twenty-five injured.  Alsumaria notes a Muqdadiya bombing has left 9 dead and ten injured and, on that Kirkuk bombing, they count 2 dead and thirty-five injured.  In addition, police shot dead 1 suspect in Mosul, and a Baquba bombing left three police members injured.  AFP's Prashant Rao Tweets:

Car bombs kill 18 at Shiite mosques in Iraq, 3 others dead in separate shootings - 's wrap:

And AFP notes that the Kirkuk bombing death toll grew to 4 with seventy-two injured while 2 teachers were shot dead in Kut and the press received the usual treatment: "Security forces elsewhere in the capital threatened to detain AFP journalists for attempting to film and take photographs of the aftermath of the bombings."   On the topic of violence, Jane Arraf Tweets:

Sistani rep Muhsin al-Battat seriously wounded in car bombing of Shia mosque after delivering Friday sermon.

Very bad development - Sistani rep, voice of moderation in , critically wounded by car bomb after giving Friday sermon in .

Remember this:

With very few exceptions, an important event in Iraq went unnoticed in the U.S. media this month. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki sent a force that included helicopters to western Iraq to arrest Rafi al-Issawi, the former finance minister and a leading Sunni Arab opposition member. Al-Issawi, who was protected by armed members of the Abu Risha clan, one of post-2003 Iraq’s most powerful Sunni tribes, escaped capture.

This action came on the heels of al-Maliki’s telephone conversation with Secretary of State John Kerry and took Washington by surprise. Had a confrontation ensued, the results would have been calamitous. It could even have provided the spark for the beginning of a civil war. Still, al-Maliki’s actions represent another nail in the coffin for a unified Iraq. Al-Maliki, a Shiite Muslim, had previously accused Vice President Tariq al-Hashimi, a leading Sunni political figure, of terrorism, forcing him to flee Iraq in 2011. Al-Hashimi was subsequently tried in absentia and sentenced to death.

Al-Maliki’s policies have significantly raised tensions in the Sunni regions of Iraq. There are demonstrations in many of the Sunni provinces that seek to emulate those of the Arab Spring. They are one reason al-Maliki has targeted al-Issawi. He wants to contain the dissent before it spreads.

It's from Professor Henri J. Barkey's "Iraq's great divider: Prime Minister Maliki's actions may lead to the country's breakup, as the U.S. stands idly by" (Los Angeles Times).  We noted it this week when the Los Angeles Times published it, we noted it became huge on Arabic social media (also it was reported on by the Iraqi Times) and now Stars and Stripes is carrying the column.  It's an important column.  I wonder if Barkey had any idea of the reach it would have when he wrote it?

The costs of the illegal war have been many.  Reason  notes the 4 to 6 trillion dollar tab."  Yesterday we noted, Ernesto Londono (Washington Post) report,  "The U.S. wars in Afghanistan and Iraq will cost taxpayers between $4 trillion to $6 trillion, taking into account the medical care of wounded veterans and expensive repairs to a force depleted by more than a decade fighting, according to a new study by a Harvard researcher [Linda J. Bilmes]."  That's where that cost was coming from.  Those costs did not all take place in 2003 -- the veterans who were wounded were wounded throughout the Iraq War and the Afghanistan War.  So it's kind of strange that some want to look at other costs but only look at 2003.  It's also kind of strange the terms they use.   Chris Hedges (TruthDig) had a great column this week with a factual error and Tom Cleveland (All Voices) may have realized it and tried to pad it out by taking "TV news" and adding "broadcast journalism" to it.  But while the reality is that Phil Donahue shouldn't have been pulled from MSNBC -- his was the highest rated program, a fact that no one seems to note, he was beating Chris Matthews in the ratings when he was pulled -- the reality is also that he wasn't doing TV news -- nor is Matthews or any of the talk show hosts on MSNBC or any other channel.  Talk shows are not news.  They can sometimes qualify as public affairs programming but they are not news.

I can remember watching Today on NBC, for example, Monday, January 12, 2004.  It's an entertainment show that features news.  And a breathless reporter did a live report that Matt Lauer swallowed because he is so disgusting and such a piece of s**t and that's why so many of us are so thrilled to see his downfall take place in public (hey, Matt, at least you got in some good golfing with George H.W. Bush, right?). So there was Matty Lauer open mouthed in shock at the 'news' being reported.  Ron Suskind's book (which the reporter was waiving on air) The Price of Loyalty would be released the next day and it was all these fantastic charges by former Secretary of the Treasury Paul O'Neill and it included documents that the White House said O'Neill was in trouble for taking and they were talking criminal charges and . . . .

And I was dialing on my cell phone to friends at Today asking WTF was going on.  How the hell did that piece of crap presented as reporting make the air?  I too had an advanced copy and, unlike the NBC 'reporter,' I had actually read the book.  But you didn't need to read the whole book, I pointed out on the phone repeatedly, to know that O'Neill asked permission to take the files when he left the White House -- that's in Ron Suskind's opening introduction.

The next day, January 13, 2004, Katie Couric did a mop up segment where they addressed the fact that, yes, O'Neill did have permission to take those files.  There would be no prosecution and he had broken no laws.  She did it with another reporter. No one mentioned the previous report.  Katie is gone from Today by her own choice, the reporter who did the mop up is at another network because NBC didn't give a damn about facts repeatedly.  Matt Lauer's only being brought down today because he's no longer pretty to look at and the reporter who did the false report, the bag boy for the White House who waived a book on air that he didn't read the first pages of (the introduction)?

That was David Gregory.  And for being a whore and not a journalist, he was eventually promoted to host of Meet The Press -- where he scares away viewers with that creepy forehead that screams for either botox or bangs.

So spare me your Chevy to levy drive about the day TV news supposedly died.  Worth noting, on the topic of Ron Suskind, that the well researched, by the facts journalist published another look at another administration, this one was Confidence Men: Wall Street, Washington, and the Education of a President.  It was a different administration but the tactics that White House used to discredit Suskind's books were incredibly similar and it's very sad that the American tax dollar is repeatedly misused by administrations to brainstorm how to attack US citizens who say things the White House disagrees with.

That 2011 treatment?  Much more important to a story about the death of journalism than Phil Donahue's firing.  Donahue's firing was well noted in real time and it continues to be.  It's not hidden history.  What was done to Ron Suskind -- by Republican and by Democratic administrations?  Much less well known and representative of the problem in journalism.  We were going to be the media.

That was the promise in 2003.  I didn't understand it.  I was speaking all over the country, starting in February 2003, against the Iraq War.  As I traveled city to city, campus to campus, young America was outraged by the Iraq War but adamant that something good would come from this crime: The creation of a new media.  Blogs and websites and serv-lists and micro-radio and web radio and all these other terms I had no idea about.   (This site started in November 2004 and I didn't know what I was doing then anymore than I do today.)

And for a brief moment, that did look possible.  But there was no real desire to build a media and you can see that looking back today.  I think the people I met were sincere, I just think they were lied to, tricked and duped by so many.  Take Air America.  That was the biggest con job in the world, in all of its incarnations which began in 2004.  In terms of being opposed to the Iraq War, the hosts Laura Flanders, Janeane Garofalo, Sam Seder, Mike Malloy, Lizz Winstead (only if Chuck D were on Unfiltered that day; with  just Lizz and War Hawk Rachel Maddow who repeatedly stated on air that the US couldn't leave Iraq, Lizz was silent), Marc Maron and Randi Rhodes were.  That may seem like a lot but there were a lot of hours to fill.  And, again, if Chuck D wasn't around, Rachel was pimping her learn-to-love the war b.s.  She repeatedly cited Colin Powell's 'Pottery Barn rule' (if you break it, you buy it -- Pottery Barn has no such rule) and insisted that the US remain in Iraq.  She refused to allow anti-war veterans to come on her show.  (By contrast, Janeane and Sam were happy to interview those currently serving, who'd been deployed to Iraq and were saying that the US needed to withdraw.)

Air America Radio talked about the need to build a new media.  It was just talk to cover the fact that they only existed to get Democrats elected (I'm referring now to the money backing the effort and not the on airs).  So the ratings challenged, money destroying 'network' finally went under as soon as a Democrat was elected to the White House.

But it never needed to be that way.  The so-called history of Air America Radio is largely a lie.  By the summer of 2004, Air America Radio had enough listeners to be a hit, enough to make a healthy profit.  It had listeners all over the country and was breaking records. 

If you're skeptical of this, that's because you've been lied to and misled.  The focus was on land-locked radio stations, physical ones.  That's not where their audience was.  Their audience was in streaming.  Real Player*, for example, had never had any demand like it before.  They had to change their streaming procedures and rules for Air America.  This could have been built on, this was the model.  But they weren't interested in a new media.  Again, Real Player had never seen anything like it before.  Streaming in the millions and not for a minute or two but for hours -- it was averaging that over 50% of Air America Radio listeners were listening for six continuous hours.

[ADDED MARCH 30, 2013 -- A friend at the investment meeting called me Saturday to state that though the presentation stretched Real Player numbers, it was also true that Windows Media Player numbers were mentioned in one hand-out.  He is correct.  The streaming via Windows Media Player was also off the charts but second to Real Player numbers.]

Air American Radio was a flop and that's because they wanted to be old media.  That's because they whored as well and not just in terms of the Democratic Party.  I can tell all the tales because I know the bulk of the players.  Sam Seder, for example?  Cowed easily.  The first time?  On air, he was repeatedly attacking Adam Nagourney's bad journalism.  A New York Times reader once wished that Nagourney was dead and Drama Queen Nagrouney tried to inflate it into a death threat -- destroying the poor man's life in the process.  So Seder couldn't have picked a worse target.  Nags whined like the little priss he is and got the New York Times advertising department to call Air America Radio and threaten to pull the New York Times ads (which were then running once an hour) if Seder didn't shut up.  Seder not only shut up, he immediately deleted his comedy blog Ad Nags.

The one truly independent program Air America had was The Laura Flanders Show.  In part because Laura had decades of experience and was a popular on air in the Bay Area and in part because she broadcast (live) Saturday and Sunday evenings (three hours each night), she was left alone and built up a huge following.  She could and did bring on war resisters.  She could and did loudly decry the illegal war.  Only Janeane matched Laura for eloquence when it came to speaking out against the Iraq War and for devotion to covering that topic.  And that meant that Janeane and Laura called out Democrats as a result.  On Janeane's show, there was Sam Seder to act as rescuer and point out some good quality to the elected officials who was a War Hawk.  There was no such person on Laura's show. 

So how could they curb her?  They needed to partner her, you understand, it will be good for all involved. So began Radio Nation with Laura Flanders.  It started off okay.  But Laura was fighting for every one of those programs.  I'm not fond of Laura Flanders anymore because she's been a stooge for Barack so don't think this is me doing a favor for someone I like. This is about reality and recognition to those who tried.  Laura fought like crazy to make shows that mattered.  Not only was she fighting Air America, she was also fighting The Nation magazine.  And as her show was stripped of hours, The Nation began insisting more and more that since they were 'sponsoring' the show, the guests should include Nation journalists.  Soon that's all it included. Each week was about the pseudo-issues being churned out by that week's bad print edition. Laura created Grit TV for a reason.  I wish it were worth watching, I wish she had the guts and courage she once did to decry what is going on today.  Maybe she can't because of all she went through at Air America?  Maybe the scars are too deep?  But while she was on Air America Radio, she fought to get coverage that mattered, she fought to keep the Iraq War a topic of discussion even though Air America was issuing statements (once Lionel and others were added, orders were no longer needed, the hosts were determined to comply with mere suggestions) that Iraq not be covered (because the Democratic Party had walked away from it).  To her last show on Air America Radio, Laura fought like crazy to make it matter.

And Air America Radio could have mattered.  I was at the meeting in August 2004 where the suits discussed whether to go forward with trying to buy radio stations and syndicate or rather they build on the unheard of web presence.  I was being asked to invest.  I didn't.  If they had built around the web, I would have because that seemed new whereas the plans presented about purchasing radio stations and syndication reminded me of the problems a friend had with her workout studios.  I stated at that meeting that I would invest if it pursued the online model only.  I pointed out the problems that they already had with stations -- including knocking out a Black radio station which the local community greatly (and rightly) resented.  Across the nation, they were going to grab stations (low-rated, yes, but they did have listeners) and try to penetrate new markets as a new entity while pissing off segments of the audience by taking over these existing stations?  I didn't see it as a win and I didn't see that the network could carry off purchasing those stations, let alone running them.

'So that's what happens when a corporation tries to be of the people,' you say.  'It's bound to end in disaster.' 

Maybe, but what didn't end in disaster?  The Iraq War made Pacifica Radio a national presence.  It was something to see.  And on air, they covered Iraq.  They didn't do an Iraq show, that was too much work.  But if it was in the news that day, they did mention it.  Brian Edwards-Tiekert, to his credit, did try to build enthusiasm for an Iraq War program.  When that failed, he tried to talk stations into carrying War News Radio -- which some saw as an effort to kill local voices but was actually an effort to get Pacifica to focus on the wars -- which is why Pacifica is supposed to be around.  But the Iraq War was a cash cow to Pacifica.

They didn't get Air America Radio numbers -- no one had ever gotten those numbers before and probably won't again - but they did see huge increases in streaming.  KPFA being the most news based of the Pacifica stations benefited the most.  WBAI, not able to grasp what a schedule is or that dead men should maybe go off the air after they died and not still be hosting a weekly series, saw starts and spurts.  In terms of streaming, their hits were Law and Disorder Radio, Taking Aim with Ralph Schoenman and Mya Shone, Wake Up Call with Deepa Fernandes and Behind The News With Doug Henwood.  Of those four programs, only Law and Disorder remains (and has greatly increased its syndication around the country).  Wake Up Call remains with a new host who seems to think a party atmosphere is needed.  Deepa now works for KPCC.  Doug Henwood's WBAI show was dumped by WBAI but KPFA saw the value in it (they were repeating it already) and it was such a hit on Saturdays that it's now got prime afternoon time during the week (Thursdays at noon).  Mya and Ralph are no longer on WBAI.  I like Ralph and Mya but they're off because they were greedy.  They were being offered another slot and it wasn't good enough for them.  Since the bulk of their listeners came from archives and not from live radio, the time slot shouldn't have mattered, they would have still had the show and its internet presence would have remained but a pride factor entered in and that's their own damn fault.  All of Pacifica, but especially WBAI hosts, should be made very aware that they do not own any of the airwaves or any segment on the schedule.  The failure to do that has been the biggest downfall for Pacifica and it's why so few of the shows matter today.  In addition, they waste a fortune on Mitch Jeserich's bad program when that money could be spent on programming that matters and not yet another public affairs program.  That features the same guests you hear on all the other Pacifica stations.

But while Iraq was covered, they made money.  KPFA had pledges from all over.  Not token ones, either.  They had people from other states pledging and doing so with the monthly pledge on the credit card.  They were rolling in dough and that was because of the Iraq War.  Yet they refused to create a program for it and when the Democratic Party officials lost interest in the war, so did KPFA and others.  And they lost listeners and they lost donations and it still hasn't hit them.  They still get on air and mention Iraq in pitches for money.  They have to do their beg-a-thons even more frequently these days.  It's because they failed the listener.  The Iraq War gave them a chance to prove they were something different from the mainstream.  Forget that they all whored for Barack in 2008 -- and I mean during the primaries, not just in the general election. They ran off listeners by ignoring Iraq.  Even to this day, when KPFA broadcasts rare Iraq coverage -- take the great radio documentary that Nora Barrows-Friedman just did and  Flashpoints broadcast entitled Iraqi Frequencies: 10 Years of Occupation and Resistance.  If you missed it, you can currently click here and stream. It is also posted at Project Censored for streaming but that's a KPFA stream as well.  Nora made the documentary with Shakomako and they've posted it at their website. But even to this day, when they do rare Iraq coverage, it helps the station.  Nora's documentary helped the station so much that they damn well should be re-establishing her as full time employee -- full time paid employee.  I don't know if she's aware of the huge positive response KPFA has received over that documentary. 

And if they'd continued to cover Iraq, things could have mattered.  Working from a Justice Department press release, Sandra Lupien broke the news of War Crimes that the US was willing to prosecute.  We're talking about Steven D. Green who was convicted  May 7, 2009 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 21, 2009, the federal jury deadlocked on the death penalty and instead he was sentenced to life in prison.   From the July 3, 2006 snapshot:

Sandra Lupien noted on today on KPFA's The Morning Show, the military had put the age of the female at 20 years-old when they announced their investigation last week (Friday). Reuters reports that the mayor of Mahmudiya declared today that the woman "was no more than 16 years old when she was killed along with her parents and young sister". Lupien also noted the arrest of Steven D. Green. Green, is 21 and was with the 101st Airborne Division of the US Army. Friday, in Asheville, North Carolina, he was arrested and charged with both the four deaths as well as the rape. According to the US government press release, if convicted on the charge of murder, "the maximum statutory penalty . . . is death" while, if convicted on the charge of rape, "the maximum statutory penalty for the rape is life in prison."

Sandra Lupien always found things that others missed and when no one -- not even the major dailies -- were aware of the arrest, KPFA listeners knew about it.  That's why they donated. That's why people out of state streamed and donated.  KPFA had a national presence and listeners from around the country who were willing to donate for that kind of coverage.  And they threw it away.  Did so knowingly.  There was a slaughter in Iraq one day which was only noted on the newsbreak and Aimee Allison groaned that she was "so sick of hearing about Iraq." It was a mini-rant which was partly recorded in the studio (she wasn't on air during her rant) and part of the reason why, when she was fired, no one gave a damn.  (It hadn't helped that she'd taken to the airwaves to call for book burning -- specifically she wanted copies of The New Yorker burned because they ran an image ridiculing The Prophet Barack.  That kind of nonsense will never build good will in the Bay Area where we don't take to supporting book burning for any reason -- certainly not to whore for a politician.)  

So corporate new media failed, public media failed.  But what of this new media? 

As great magazines like Clamor closed shop, the left model wasn't apparently going to be print.  But there was Independent Media Center.  Remember that?  It had seed money and it would depend upon contributions from locals.  It was all over the world.  In the US, it was hundreds of sites with most states having multiple Indy Media Center sites. 


The circus is falling down on its knees
The big top is crumbling down
It's raining in Baltimore fifty miles east
Where you should be, no one's around
I need a phone call
I need a raincoat
I need a big love
I need a phone call

-- "Raining in Baltimore," written by Adam Duritz, first appears on Counting Crows' August and Everything

It's raining in Baltimore, Baltimore Indymedia announced it was shutting down February 25, 2012.  Binghamton IMC was one that regularly updated.  Visit today and find "The Binghamton IMC site is gone, RIP."  San Franciso Indymedia is no more (its rival Indybay remains active).  Arizona IMC, Kansas City IMC Madison Indymedia, . . . so many gone.  Indymedia US pretends it's still around but would the top story on your page be from September 26, 2012 if you were really still around?  Seattle Indymedia was the first (1999) and it's no longer around.  Not everyone ceased publication.  California is represented by, among others, Santa Cruz Indymedia, Los Angeles Indymedia, In addition, Atlanta Indymedia, Chicago Indymedia, Boston Indymedia and Colorado Indymedia are still around.

That should have been huge, IMC.  It had the least overhead.  It did face attacks from the Justice Dept, true.  But most destructive, if you talk to Indymedia vets, was the Cult of St. Barack.  I disagree.  The most destructive aspect was catering to the Cult of St. Barack.  No one forced you to cater.  But once you did, your readers -- or drive-bys -- knew you could be bullied into submission so they then controlled what you covered and what you didn't.  You traded influence for likability failing to grasp that influence is the only thing that matters.  Or, for that matter, that the people who say they'll love you when you write just what they tell you forget to inform you that when you do that they won't respect you and they won't read you.  You sealed your own fates.  In the process, you ran off your real audience -- a group of independent thinkers from across the political spectrum who didn't see anything 'independent' about an outlet becoming suck-up to teacher each day.  The brown nosing is what killed IMC.  The sites that survived tended to be willing to fight for what they believed in.  San Francisco offers the best example. San Francisco Indymedia was an embarrassment.  It was nothing but a megaphone for the Democratic Party.  Indybay was independent.  The two fought like crazy and there was bad blood.  Both claimed to represent the Bay Area.  In the end, San Francisco Indymedia was the one to go under.  Colorado IMC was incredibly independent and that's why it thrives today.  But so many of the outlets became nothing but cheerleaders.  They'd cheerlead politicians and they cheerlead TV personalities.  They offered no critique that was worth reading.  They were rehashing talking points about 2003 and 2004 and the GOP is evil and blah blah blah.  It didn't reflect the changed landscape.  It was artificial and fake.

And so it died.  Indymedia can't applaud, for example, the Libyan War and expect to have an audience.  It goes against everything IMC was created for. 

IMC had a huge audience when it was able to provide Iraq commentary and some coverage.  Those outlets that continued to be about justice flourished.  The bulk went under as they twisted themselves into pretzels to justify one sell-out after another by the now-in-charge Democrats.  There are answers here for future generations and for media activists.  But notice how this topic has been ignored.  Notice how the deaths of IMCs all over the country have taken place with no comment from the same outlets that used to promote them.

The Iraq War is illegal.  It has also been a non-stop teachable moment demonstrating what we refuse to look at as a people, what we refuse to examine, what we will put up with and what we will gladly ignore.  All the people wasting time trying to pinpoint the so-called death of TV news or news or whatever miss the reality that a vibrant healthy media has been one of the biggest casualties of the Iraq War -- and that took place after 2003.

[This entry has been corrected for typos -- at least some -- and three words added to one sentence.  For the original version, refer to the entry posted at the backup sites -- here for Blogdrive, here for Word Press.]

al-Mutlaq denounced, at least 26 dead and 73 injured

Why do Iraqis protest?  Many reasons.  All Iraq News quotes MP Kadhim al-Shimmery noting today, "About four million persons are living below poverty line and the income average for these people did not improve."

It's Friday.  Protesters turned out across the country including in Baghdad.


Baghdad protesters above are from this Iraqi Spring MC video.  Protesters also turned out in SamarraBaiji, Kirkuk, Falluja, Muqdadiyah, and Tamiyah.

Let's stay with Tamiyah a moment, Nouri sent his forces in to do searches and arrests.  In addition, Nouri's forces instituted a crackdown preventing anyone from entering or leaving TamiyahRaids also took place in Baiji. At Baghdad's Abu Hanifa, Nouri's forces surrounded the mosque and prevented worshipers from entering and at least one person was beat up by Nouri's forces.

For months now, we've been explaining the way Saleh al-Mutlaq is actually seen in Iraq as opposed to the spin the western media's put out.  Put out repeatedly.

When he tried to take over a Ramadi protest in December and found himself getting the heave-ho from protesters, the western media was shocked.  There was no idea, even after that event, that al-Mutlaq was seen as sell out and a betrayer.  But that image had taken hold by February 2012.  And we noted it here.  What doe these western journalists in and around Iraq do?  Do they speak to anyone other than their cab drivers and bodyguards?

I have no idea.  But when Tareq al-Hashemi was forced to leave the country and Saleh al-Mutlaq was suddenly bosom buddies with Nouri al-Maliki, common sense would have told you trouble was coming for al-Mutlaq on the perception front.  Apparenly, western reporters forgot to pack common sense when heading to the Middle East.  Yesterday afternoon and evening poeple finally began to notice that Saleh al-Mutlaq might have a people problem.

You think?

Again, we've been covering it forever.  I've gotten nasty e-mails about how if it were true Musing from Iraq and other sites would be covering it.  I think those sites specialize in telling you what happened three or six months ago.  I don't think they really follow Iraq.  They don't seem to read Arabic.  They always seem to be surprised by very natural human nature responses in Iraq.

Saleh al-Mutlaq is in serious trouble now.  But it started a long time ago and maybe people should focus more on covering what's happening?  But events on the ground really don't seem to matter to these types who, as I recall, were over two months late in decrying the targeting of Iraq's Emo and LGBT youth.  As I recall it, we'd spent two months here on that topic before our assorted 'experts' could stumble upon it.  But by all means, see these people as experts because two months after a slaughter, they'll assemble quotes from two different NGO reports and tell you that's what happened.

Heaven forbid we take the time to listen to Iraqis -- I believe that was and remains the western motto when it comes to Iraq coverage.  Not listening to Iraqis allowed various idiots to fool themselves into thinking that Iraq was just longing to be occupied by a foreign power.  So if you really think not listening to the Iraqi people is a winning strategy, all these years later and you still haven't learned, I guess be happy in your ignorance.

Saleh al-Mutlaq's presence was felt in Ramadi today at the protest.  His photo was prominently displayed.  Click here and you can see a photo at Alsumaria.  Note the giant red X across his face.  Who are the other two? 

Mohammed Tamimi (Minster of Education) and Ahmed Karbouli (Minister of Industry) who joined al-Mutlaq at the Wednesday Cabinet meeting presuming to speak for the protesters -- they don't speak for the protesters and the protesters don't approve of what was said.  And it's not just Ramadi.  He was denounced in Babylonian for his "false assertions."  He was denounced at the Baiji protest as someone looking to increase their own stature by pretending to speak for the protesters.

Oh, look, here's Saleh al-Mutlaq in Kirkuk!

From Karkuk من كركوك

The Iraqi Spring MC photo shows a red X across his face.  In the Arabic writing on the photo, he's being called a traitor to the Iraqi people. 

Let's turn to violence because there's a great deal this morning. 

All Iraq News notes a Kirkuk car bombing today has "resulted in killing and injuring a number of citizens,"And at first, it appeared that was it.  Then it all started pouring in.  All Iraq News reports 5 Baghdad bombings which have claimed 14 lives and left twenty-five injured.  Alsumaria notes a Muqdadiya bombing has left 9 dead and ten injured and, on that Kirkuk bombing, they count 2 dead and thirty-five injured.  In addition, police shot dead 1 suspect in Mosul, and a Baquba bombing left three police members injured.

I hope you check out Iraqi Spring MC's Flickr page regularly.  I do.  They are doing such a great job Tweeting the protests, posting photos, posting videos.  They are getting the word out and they're doing so at a time when 'covering the protests' means reporters include a paragraph about what happened all these weeks since December 21st. It doesn't mean that they actually cover the protests.  that's apparently too hard for them.  Or something they're not interested in.  (Yes, Nouri is using his forces to block the press from attending the protests; however, he's been doing that for months now and smart reporters would anticipate that and get to the various towns on Thursday before the crackdown kicked in and get to the protest sites before the protests started so they could cover it.)

I want to note three of Iraqi Spring MC's photos as we wind down this morning.

Look at the crowd in Falluja.

From Fallujah من الفلوجة

Look at the huge turnout in Baquba.

From Baquba   من بعقوبة

And here's a protester in Baghdad.

From Adamiyah من الاعظمية

A community member in Ramadi has told me in e-mails that one thing I have repeatedly missed about the protests is that the wide spectrum has included the challenged/disabled.  He's got a piece for Sunday's El Spirito so look for that.  As the Baghdad photo demonstrates, the protests are about, for and by all Iraqis.

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