Friday, June7, 2013. Chaos and violence continue, protests continue in Iraq, a sheikh reminds Nouri al-Maliki that Allah is watching, we look at confusing commentary about Iraq in the US, the spying on Americans by the federal government continues to lead to outrage, US Secretary of State John Kerry speaks about "equality and dignity," and more.
Let's start with those offering confusing commentary about Iraq. Crazy Reider Vissar's buddy Joel Wing feels the need to post a video today
. It's entitled "A Decade in Iraq: Lessons and the Landscapes Ahead." It's a bit of propaganda, to be sure. I have no idea why you'd post an April event -- a bad April event -- in June? But I have no idea why you'd pimp the War Hawk Mentality of Harvard and the John F. Kennedy School of Government to begin with?
If there was any value to including it, it would be to comment on how awful it is. Or how ashamed Harvard should be for letting some of the criminals responsible for the destruction of Iraq -- Stephen J. Hadley (National Security Advisor from 2004 to 2008) and Meghan O'Sullivan -- pontificate on stage.
Meghan O'Sullivan has, from time to time, grasped one of the large themes in Iraq. She's never been able to do specifics. Which is how she comes to rave about Abdul Latif al-Rashid, in this event from last April, being the assistant to Iraqi President Jalal Talabani.
There are some who will shrug at that. But there are some who follow Iraq that will grasp the problem immediately. Last December, Iraqi
Talabani suffered a stroke. The incident took place late on December
17th (see the December 18th snapshot
) and resulted in Jalal being admitted to Baghdad's Medical Center Hospital. Thursday, December 20th
he was moved to Germany. He remains in Germany currently.
There are rumors that he's unable to move, there are rumors that he's near death, there are rumors that he'll be back in Iraq this month and is fine, but there aren't a lot of rumors -- in fact, there aren't any -- that he's meeting with his assistants.
Meghan O'Sullivan has often seemed to miss the finer details.
We could go through and explain bit by bit how wrong the American speakers are and how awful it is that those who pushed the illegal war -- those psychopaths -- are being given a stage to pontificate from. But I didn't post the video. I wouldn't. If you do, I think it's incumbent upon you to provide some sort of a commentary -- if only a brief paragraph noting how far from facts the presentation is.
"The police always come late, if they come at all," as Tracy Chapman so aptly noted in "Behind The Wall" (first appears on her self-titled debut album). True of the police, true of the media 'watchdog' FAIR. Rebecca Hellmich has discovered "a new poll
" about public perception in England on how many Iraqis have died in the Iraq War. Rebecca seems unaware that the Iraq War continues but we'll set that to the side.
Last Friday's snapshot
noted Alex Thomson (Channel 4) summarizing
a new poll on the British asking them about deaths in Iraq:
Perhaps that last figure is the most startling – a majority of women
and more than a third of men polled say fewer than 5,000 deaths have
- Two-thirds (66 per cent) of the public estimate that 20,000 or fewer
civilians and combatants have died as a consequence of the war in Iraq
- One in 10 (10 per cent) think that between 100,000 and 500,000 have
died and one in 20 (6 per cent) think that more than 500,000 have died.
- According to public estimates, the mean number of deaths in Iraq since the invasion is 189,530.
- Women in Britain are more likely to underestimate the number of
deaths in Iraq since the invasion than men. Half (53 per cent) of women
think 5,000 or fewer deaths have occurred since the invasion compared to
one-third (35 per cent) of men.
Guess what? That's the same poll Rebecca and FAIR have discovered today. AFP's Prashant Rao discovered it on Saturday, you may remember. And, pay attention Rebecca and FAIR, we made that the topic of Third's "Editorial: Piss Ant Rao's Propaganda
" last Sunday. Former Bully Boy Bush official Fran Townsend was noting The Lancet study on the number of Iraqis killed in the war. And 'independent' and 'objective' journalist Prashant showed up on Twitter to insist that The Lancet was bogus. Right there, FAIR, that's where you show up as a media watchdog. But of course, FAIR always forgets to bark. Here's France's little War Monger Prashant bickering with a Bush official who trusts The Lancet study:
Prashant doesn't let it go. He'll come back shortly with 'proof' that The Lancet study was wrong. What's his proof? Links to two pieces by, yes, nutty Joel Wing dismissing The Lancet Study. See, it's a Circle Jerk of Death for these freaks.
We're not done yet. Ground Report maintains today
, "Even though the American involvement in the war is over, news on Iraq
continues to engage American audiences and the recent Memorial Day
holiday prompted many Americans to reflect on the impact of recent
American involvement in the war is over? Yesterday, Mark Thompson (Time magazine) reported
today on the $2 billion contract that the State Dept has with PAE
Government Services, Inc., "That’s a million dollars a day over a
five-year period, if the contract hits its ceiling. The down payment is
$347,883,498 (don’t you just love such precision? It’s almost a prime number, for Pete’s sak
." A million dollars doesn't sound 'over' to me. There's also the Congressional Research Service's report issued June 3rd [PDF format warning] "Iraq: Politics, Governance, and Human Rights
Heightened AQ-I and other insurgent activity has shaken the Iraqi
leadership’s confidence in the ISF somewhat and apparently prompted the
Iraqi government to reemphasize security cooperation with the United
States. On August 19, 2012, en route to a visit to Iraq, Chairman of
the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey said that “I think
[Iraqi leaders] recognize their capabilities may require yet more
additional development and I think they’re reaching out to us to see if
we can help them with that.”39 Iraq reportedly has expressed interest
in expanded U.S.
training of the ISF, joint exercises, and accelerated delivery of U.S.
arms to be sold, including radar, air defense systems, and border
security equipment.40 Some refurbished air defense guns are being
provided gratis as excess defense articles (EDA), but Iraq was said to
lament that the
guns would not arrive until June 2013. Iraq reportedly argued that the
equipment was needed to help it enforce insistence that Iranian
overflights to Syria land in Iraq for inspection.
After the Dempsey visit, reflecting the Iraqi decision to reengage
intensively with the United States on security, it was reported that, at
the request of Iraq, a unit of Army Special Operations forces had
deployed to Iraq to advise on counterterrorism and help with
against AQ-I.41 (These forces presumably are operating under a limited
SOFA or related understanding crafted for this purpose.) Other reports
suggest that Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) paramilitary forces have,
as of late 2012, largely taken over some of the DOD mission of helping
Iraqi counter-terrorism forces (Counter-Terrorism Service, CTS) against
AQ-I in western Iraq.42 Part of the reported CIA mission is to also
work against the AQ-I affiliate in Syria, the Al Nusrah Front, discussed
Reflecting an acceleration of the Iraqi move to reengage militarily with the United States, during
December 5-6, 2012, Under Secretary of Defense for Policy James Miller and acting Under
Secretary of State for International Security Rose Gottemoeller visited Iraq and a Memorandum
of Understanding (MOU) was signed with acting Defense Minister Sadoun Dulaymi. The five
year MOU provides for:
• high level U.S.-Iraq military exchanges
• professional military education cooperation
• counter-terrorism cooperation
• the development of defense intelligence capabilities
• joint exercises
The MOU appears to address many of the issues that have hampered OSC-I from performing the
its mission to its full potential. The MOU also reflects some of the more recent ideas put forward,
such as joint exercises.
American involvement in the war is over? Have you read the MoU?
December 6, 2012
, the Memorandum
of Understanding For Defense Cooperation Between the Ministry of
Defense of the Republic of Iraq and the Department Defense of the United
States of America
was signed. We covered it in the December 10th
and December 11th
snapshots -- lots of luck finding coverage elsewhere including in media
outlets -- apparently there was some unstated agreement that everyone
would look the other way. It was similar to the silence that greeted Tim Arango's September 25th New York Times report which noted
"Iraq and the United States are negotiating an agreement that could
result in the return of small units of American soldiers to Iraq on
training missions. At the request of the Iraqi government, according to
[US] General [Robert L.] Caslen, a unit of Army Special Operations
soldiers was recently deployed to Iraq to advise on counterterrorism and
help with intelligence."
Read the MoU and then try to insist, with a straight face, that "American involvement in the war is over."
Friday in Iraq and the protests continue as they have since December 21st. Iraqi Spring MC shares a photo of the Falluja protest today
. NINA reports
"Thousands of people flocked since the early hours of the day to the
sit-ins yards in Fallujah, Ramadi especially from the outskirts and
areas near to the two cities to participate in Friday unified prayers."
They turned out in Tikrit
, in Baghdad
and in Baiji
. Al Mada notes
that Sheikh Mishan al-Issawi declared today that the protesters are stating their goals and they must be listened to. However, even when the government fails to respond, it is an accomplishment that the protesters made their voices heard and told the wrongdoer that he is unjust while the whole world saw the protesters demanding that the humiliation stops and that the government stop the rape of women in Iraqi prisons and that they stop abusing the male prisoners. The Sheikh declared this is Allah's issue and the protests took place before the eyes of Allah.
that protesters in Nasiriyah demanded better public services including
electricity. 70-year-old Shiekh Abdul-Zahra Vest explains that Dhi Qar
has been suffering from a lack of dependable public services since
2003. He called on all citizens to participate in the protest and
demand their rights, to wear the shroud during the protests so that the
message is visible to the government. He also spoke of the need for the
government to provide adequate rations in the ration card system and to
provide jobs for the unemployed and housing for the poor. This was the
sixth day of a sit-in on this issue. In another report, Kitabat notes
the cleric and movement leader Moqtada al-Sadr has expressed his
support for the protesters and has called for Prime Minister Nouri
al-Maliki to reconcile the political blocs before it's too late.
Wednesday was the UN's World Food Day. The UN prepared this [PDF format warning] online booklet
for the occasion. The Iraq Times notes
the UN has found that 6 million Iraqis are exposed to food insecurity
and vulnerability. That's a large number and no one should suffer from
that in a world where there is so much food grown. However, it's
especially appalling in Iraq.
It's appalling because Iraq's population is estimated by the CIA to be
around 30 million. Which would mean 1/5 of Iraqis are now living with
food insecurity and vulnerability.
It's even more so when you grasp Iraq's budget. As Seerwan Jafar (Niqash) reported
last December, Iraq's 2013 budget is $118 billion. People struggle to figure out what is going on and what it means. Kanan Makiya (World Peace Foundation) has written a two-part essay on Iraq -- first part here
, second part here
. From the second part:
Now you may have noticed I have not once used the word sectarianism
or sectarian politics. This is the new bogeyman, so often introduced to
explain the new forms of violence and abuse that have afflicted Iraqi
politics since 2003. In actual fact, the term is rarely if ever an
explanation; more often than not it is a word touted by politicians,
lazy journalists, and some academics, that gives the false impression of
an explanation for what is in fact a hard and very difficult thing to
come to terms with. Use of the term is convenient for many because it
evades the question of responsibility. I mean if these Sunnis and these
Shiite Iraqis have been doing terrible things to one another since time
immemorial, why hold me or anyone else responsible? In effect, this is
what Iraq’s rulers and the Bush and Obama administrations say to their
respective publics. And is it not my first duty to protect my own, say
the Shiite leaders of the state as they send their soldiers to butcher
around 100 innocent Sunni Iraqis in Hawija only a few short weeks ago.
Perhaps there were Bathi remnants, and al-Qaeda terrorists, among them.
Frankly, even I would be surprised if there weren’t.
The story of abuse in Iraq is about an extremely weak state with an
even more bloated repressive apparatus than Saddam boasted at the height
of the Iraq- Iran war; it is about settling of accounts; it is about
treating the state that has so abused them as nothing more than a ghanima, a place to steal from as fast as one can because who knows what tomorrow may bring.
Tom Rogan (The Atlantic) offered his take
In the 2010 parliamentary elections, (the Sunni
National Movement of Iyad Allawi won
of seats. But Iraq's current Prime Minister, Nouri al-Maliki, didn't
accept the outcome. Following in a troubling tradition of
authoritarianism, he was
unwilling to give up power. Instead, Maliki promised to form a unity
government with Allawi. The idea was that this co-operation would cool
build trust. It hasn't happened. In fact, the opposite has
occurred; we've seen renewed arguments over oil sharing, serious
disagreements over regional sovereignty, and allegations of high level political harassment. For Maliki it seems, after years of
oppression under Saddam Hussein, the incentive for reconciliation isn't an abiding concern.
Then, in April, the crisis literally exploded. First, the Iraqi Government launched a bloody attack against a Sunni protest camp. Next, in a move that reeked of
sectarian persecution, Maliki suspended the licenses of a number of
media outlets, including Al Jazeera. On May 17, more than 75 Sunnis were killed
in various terrorist massacres. Collectively, these
actions have fed into a growing groundswell of sectarian anger.
Trust is perishing and in the fear, extremists have found new roots of
unrelenting ISI attacks, growing government crackdowns and resurgent
Shia hardliners, the storm clouds of civil war are
We noted Rogan in Wednesday's snapshot
. We're noting Rogan again today because Al Mada's picked up his report
In violence, Press TV reports
a Baquba bombing has killed 16 pilgrims and left forty-five more injured. AP notes
the death toll has risen to 19. Spain's EFE explains
, "The blast occurred as the bus, which was part of a convoy, sat at a
police checkpoint in Al Maqdadiya, 45 kilometers (28 miles) northeast of
Baquba, the provincial capital." National Iraqi News Agency
notes Rasheed Mayor Issa Kareem was assassinated today (car bombing)
, a Mosul bombing claimed 1 life and left two injured
, a Shirqat roadside bombing claimed the life of 1 Iraqi soldier and left another injured
, a Khanaqin sticky bombing injured the Director of Saadiya and his son
, and 2 suicide car bombers launched an attack on the International Highway (northeast of Ramadi on it) leaving 4 police officers and 4 civilians dead and injuring nine more people (six were police officers)
. All Iraq News reports
1 taxi driver was kidnapped in Tikrit. Through yesterday, Iraq Body Count
counts 64 violent deaths so far this month.
World Tribune notes
that western oil companies are bypassing the bulk of Iraq to head for the northern, semi-autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government's provinces. On Iraqi oil, Zachary Keck (The Diplomat) attempts
to straighten out the issue of China:
But this misconstrues how global energy markets actually operate.
Although China itself does actually seek to own some of partner nations’
oil resources, these deviations are not enough to change the fact that
global oil markets operate according to the free-market principles of
supply and demand. Therefore, a net increase in the global supplies of
oil, no matter where it is exported, will result in a lower price of oil
everywhere (all things being equal).
In Tuesday's snapshot, we addressed
the xenophobia in the New York Times' "China Is Reaping Biggest Benefits of Iraq Oil Boom
" and the xenophobia among those screeching about the story. Wednesday Ivan Eland (Antiwar.com) took on the nonsense
any event, such Chinese commercial penetration is little threat to the
United States and may actually be of some help. Because a
worldwide oil market exists and any new petroleum being produced
anywhere lowers the price for everyone, Chinese state-owned companies
may be indirectly subsidizing U.S. oil consumers by bringing to market
oil deposits that would be uneconomical for private firms to find and
course, implicitly, a worldwide oil market would also obviate the need
for the military forces of the United States, China, or any other nation
to “secure” oil. In my award-winning book No War for Oil: U.S. Dependency and the Middle East,
I explain why it is cheaper to just pay higher prices caused by any
disruption of Middle Eastern oil than to pay for forward-deployed
military forces to attempt to prevent this rare
conclusion, the Chinese “threat” is being dragged out and hyped to
attempt to forestall cuts in U.S. security budgets, not because it
severely undermines American security.
Turning to the United States where new revelations keep coming on the government's spying on American citizens, the topic was addressed on the first hour of The Diane Rehm Show (NPR) this morning by Diane and her guests Susan Page (USA Today), Major Garrett (CBS News) and Karen Tumulty (Washington Post)
Diane Rehm: Good to see you all. Karen Tumulty, we've had 24 hours of dramatic disclosures starting with The Guardian and then The Washington Post picked it up.
Karen Tumulty: Yeah. This is the story, the extent of surveillance, that is, it's a real paradox because in some ways, it's shocking and some ways, it's totally unsurprising. You know, we have known that in the post-9/11 world that the government had been given a lot more authority to go after what is private information about people. We saw a couple of controversies in 2006, first over domestic warrantless eavesdropping, and then secondly, over the same thing which is getting phone -- people's phone records.
But a couple of -- first of all, what is surprising about this story is the extent to which the Obama administration is doing this, and I do think that with -- particularly with the Internet, with the, you know, Google, Facebook, Apple being part of this, we now see the government is also looking not just at patterns of contacts, which is what they say they were doing with the phone records, but they are actually searching through the actual material. They are looking at emails. They are looking at, you know, Skype chats. They are looking at actual content.
And, Major, what are they looking for?
Major Garrett: They're looking for what counterterrorism experts describe as data that bumps into each other and suggest patterns that might be reflective of an emerging or an ongoing terrorist plot. The expert I spent time talking to the last two days about this say much of this data that is analytically sifted falls out, doesn't raise flags, doesn't go anywhere. To be clear, in the case of the phone tracking, it is not the listening-into-phone conversations that is going on.
The names attached to the numbers are not recorded, the numbers are. The location of the calls and the duration of the calls are collected. In the case of Internet traffic, its blogs, videos, chats, emails, all these sorts of things, much that data falls away. But the data that is flagged is then put through algorithms to see if it does bump ever closer to known, let us say, URLs, known email addresses, drop boxes that have been previously flagged as related to or held by terrorist suspects. [Deleting Garrett's claim that has been made by the government but not backed up, we're not trafficking in lies here] all done through the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, authorities created in the Patriot Act after 9/11, reauthorized in 2006 with different and more precise civil liberties, protections and guidelines which the Obama administration, which would have preferred all this to remain secret, says are being followed.
Well, we should make it clear that there are two separate programs here. There's the PRISM program that involves email, Skype, those -- that's a program that targets foreigners. Now, it does, they say inadvertently or incidentally, pick up information about Americans, but that's really targeting foreign interest. The one that I think is more controversial, was gonna raise more eyebrows among Americans is this telephone surveillance.
This massive database of what sounds like almost every phone call you make in the United States is -- becomes part of a big government database that can be searched after the fact. If there's -- if you have a Boston bombing and you identify a suspect and he's got a phone, it enables them to go back and look at who he called, who called him, one step back from that, who called or was called by people with contact with him, second degree of separation. And that is, I think, a level of surveillance of Americans who have done nothing wrong, who are suspected of no wrongdoing that raises concerns, both among civil libertarians, kind of traditional liberals and also among conservative -- libertarians conservatives.
Monday, The Diane Rehm Show
will devote an hour to this topic. And regarding my editing of Major Garrett, the government got caught and they made an assertion, a claim, to justify their actions. They haven't backed up that claim. Had Garrett presented it as a claim, his comments would have stayed in. Instead, he took a government claim and presented it as fact. That's not journalism. Stephen Braun (AP) points out
, "Top officials of the Bush and Obama administrations have repeatedly
denied in recent years that the National Security Agency collected
massive caches of phone and Internet data taken from millions of
Americans." And then the American people repeatedly found out otherwise. Which is why you can note a government claim -- but you note it's a claim. You don't present it as fact if you can't verify it. If that's still confusing to Major Garrett, he can refer to the New York Times' editorial board in today's paper
Within hours of the disclosure that federal authorities routinely
collect data on phone calls Americans make, regardless of whether they
have any bearing on a counterterrorism investigation, the Obama
administration issued the same platitude it has offered every time
President Obama has been caught overreaching in the use of his powers:
Terrorists are a real menace and you should just trust us to deal with
them because we have internal mechanisms (that we are not going to tell
you about) to make sure we do not violate your rights.
Those reassurances have never been persuasive -- whether on secret
warrants to scoop up a news agency’s phone records or secret orders to
kill an American suspected of terrorism -- especially coming from a
president who once promised transparency and accountability.
The administration has now lost all credibility on this issue. Mr. Obama
is proving the truism that the executive branch will use any power it
is given and very likely abuse it.
Josh Richman (San Jose Mercury News) reports
that Barack was pressed in San Jose today about the spying and he replied, "When I came into this office, I made two commitments that are more important than any commitment I make: number one to keep the American people safe, and number two to uphold the Constitution." I'm sorry, there was no 'commitment.' An oath was taken to uphold the Constitution. A commitment is not the same as an oath. You swear or affirm an oath when testifying in court. You don't offer a commitment to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Barack understands the difference between a "commitment" and an "oath" and his effort to downgrade his oath to uphold the Constitution is worrisome. To become President of the United States, you have to take the oath. When JFK was assassinated, before LBJ could be President, LBJ had to take the oath. Here's the oath required by the Constitution (Article II, Section 1):
I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute
the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best
of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of
the United States.
This isn't a personal promise or a goal, it is an oath. The lies are becoming so thick, the administration is choking on them. Anita Kumar (McClatchy Newspapers) reports
, "Obama described the uproar this week over the programs as “hype” and
sought to ensure Americans that Big Brother is not watching their every
move." When you have to deny that you are Big Brother, you've got a huge image problem even if it turns out you're not an Orwellian Big Brother. Lauren Fox (US News and World Reports) notes
reactions to the news of the spying:
After the U.K.-based Guardian newspaper revealed that the National
Security Agency had been gobbling up millions of Verizon customers'
phone records, the left-leaning Huffington Post, linked to a punchy
splash page featuring "George W. Obama," – a composite photo
of President Barack Obama and George W. Bush – invoking a time when
many on the left were critical of the Bush Administration's national
Hours later, when news broke that Obama had signed off on a program
that allowed the FBI and NSA to review emails, videos and social
networks of foreign users, the conservative Drudge Report posted a link
to the story under the headline "The Internet From Hell."
While conservatives have been quick to criticize their political
opposition, the recent scandal puts liberals on Capitol Hill, some in
the media, and even liberal advocates in an conflicted position.
During the Bush administration, many key Democrats were critical of
the NSA's warrantless wiretapping program, but are now having a hard
time criticizing a president in their own party who's seemingly doing
the same thing.
BBC News notes
that he said "no one is listening to your calls." They fail to point out this is a lie. Millions of calls are being listened to right now as part of investigations. When Barack combines lies with other claims, it doesn't cheapen all of his pretty words, it makes them all appear to be lies. Jason Ditz (Antiwar.com) reports
The most telling statements came from James Clapper, however, the
Director of National Intelligence (DNI). Clapper confirmed the
presentation’s authenticity, condemning the leak as “reprehensible,” and then insisting the program was important to “protect our nation.”
Clapper followed up a de facto admission of the authenticity of the
Powerpoint document with lies of his own that totally contradict the
presentation itself, insisting that the PRISM scheme is “subject to
oversight by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court,” when the NSA
file made it clear the whole point of PRISM was to allow broad
surveillance of everybody without FISA getting in the way.
Philip Rucker and Juliet Eilperin (Washington Post) note
Laura Murphy, who directs the American Civil Liberties Union’s
Washington legislative office, recalled meeting with Obama in 2005,
shortly after he became a senator. She said Obama invited her and
representatives from a half-dozen other civil liberties organizations to
discuss how to scale back the USA Patriot Act, a sweeping security law
passed in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks. “He thought it went too
far,” Murphy said.
Obama ended up co-sponsoring legislation that
would have constrained the ability of intelligence officials to get a
court order to obtain records from U.S. companies in terrorism
investigations. The bill failed.
Then in 2006, as he began
weighing a run for the White House, Obama backed reauthorizing the
Patriot Act with minor modifications. By 2009, occupying the Oval
Office, Obama asked Congress for a clean reauthorization of the law.
president’s a political animal first and foremost,” Murphy said. “He
has principles, but he doesn’t always stick with them.”
Glenn Greenwald broke the spying story. Nancy Cordes (CBS News -- link is video and text) has an interview with him on the topic
. Monday, we'll include The Drone War, there's not room for it today. Yesterday's snapshot
noted some of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on the Justice Dept hearing (which I wrongly called a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing, my mistake, my apologies for the error). In addition, last night Kat
covered the hearing with "Richard Shelby loves Caprice
with "50 million reasons to reduce the federal prison population
with "Known terrorists can fly on US commercial planes
" and I filled in for Ann
and noted it with "Yet another reason to set Lynne Stewart free
." I wasn't sure what everyone was grabbing other than Wally (before they started writing). One thing that didn't get noted was the Ranking Member Richard Shelby asked Attorney General Eric Holder about investigating himself. He wanted to know what sort of wrong doing he would have to find to cause him to step down as AG. Holder gave a lengthy speech about how he is proud of his work and blah, blah, blah. He avoided the question completely and then switched to the topic of "fatigue." He noted that fatigue might make him step down as AG.
Added ten minutes after this went up
. A State Dept friend just called and asked why I didn't note Secretary of State John Kerry's comments on Pride Month? Because that phone call was the first I'd heard of them. I said send them and give me a link and I'll add them. Here's the link
-- use it to stream the remarks below. It is important that these remarks are reported -- it's especially important in countries like Iraq where LGBT communities are regularly targeted.
Secretary of State
June 7, 2013
Hello! I wanted to take a moment to join people around the world in
celebrating Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride month.
This month is about the assertion of equality and dignity. It is
about the affirmation of fundamental freedoms and human rights. It is
about people taking pride in who they are, no matter their sexual
orientation or gender identity. Protecting universal human rights is at
the very heart of our diplomacy, and we remain committed to advancing
human rights for all, including LGBT individuals. We are committed to
advancing these rights not just in the month of June, but year-round.
As Secretary, I join with my colleagues at our embassies, consulates,
and USAID missions around the world in saying, no matter where you are,
and no matter who you love, we stand with you.
Across the globe – in Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Americas – our
diplomats are assisting local LGBT organizations and supporting local
human rights advocates working to promote equality, create dialogue, and
ensure protections for LGBT individuals.
Through the Global Equality Fund, the State Department has already
provided critical emergency and long-term assistance to promote and
protect the human rights of LGBT persons in over twenty-five countries.
And our support will continue to grow, in cooperation with other
equality-minded governments, foundations and corporations.
Forty-four years after Stonewall, we see incredible progress in the
fight to advance the human rights and fundamental freedoms of LGBT
people, both here in the United States and globally. Unfortunately, our
work is not done. Recent events underscore that despite progress, we
still have a long way to go. There are LGBT people of all ages, all
races, and all faiths – citizens of every country on Earth. And in too
many places, LGBT people and their supporters are being attacked and
harassed for simply being who they are and for standing up for their
The United States condemns all such violence, harassment, and
discrimination. As President Obama said, “the struggle to end
discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender persons
is a global challenge, and one that is central to the United States’
commitment to promoting human rights.” LGBT persons must be free to
exercise their human rights – including freedom of expression, freedom
of religion, and freedom of assembly and association – without fear of
It is my honor to reaffirm the State Department’s commitment to
promoting the human rights of LGBT persons, and indeed all human beings,
To those celebrating Pride in the United States and around the world, I wish you all a Happy Pride month.
iraqi spring mc
national iraqi news agency
the iraq times
the diane rehm show
the new york times
all iraq news
national iraqi news agency
the new york times