Saturday, December 28, 2013

Rabid dog Nouri terrorizes a community

National Iraqi News Agency quotes Iraqiya MP Hamid al-Mutlaq declaring:

Prime Minister again resorted to use the brutal force and bypass the law and the Constitution in dealing with problems and crises that he himself and his government provoked them. al-Mutlaq, as member of the security and defense parliamentary. The violation of the law and the killing of demonstrators in Fallujah, Hawija and the displacement of the people in Diyala, Baghdad , and Dhi- Qar provinces ,personify a fanatic sectarian rends and irresponsible behavior which peaked today by the arrest of al-Alwani, killing his brother, and the violation of the sanctity of his home. 

 At dawn today, on Nouri al-Maliki's orders, an MP's home was raided with the intent of arresting him.  Nouri is the chief thug and prime minister of Iraq.  Possibly, the real intent was to kill the MP -- that would explain a dawn raid on someone's home.

That's Ahmed al-Alwani, via All Iraq News, being arrested.

Alsumaria reports that his home was stormed by Nouri's SWAT forces at dawn and that 5 people (bodyguards and family) were killed (this included his brother) while ten family members (including children) were left injured.

al-Alwani's a Member of Parliament and he's a Sunni.  Nouri is a Shi'ite.

More importantly, al-Alwani is a member of Iraqiya -- the political slate that defeated Nouri's State of Law in the March 2010 parliamentary elections.  (The people of Iraq did not vote for Nouri. He has a second term as prime minister only because his buddy Barack demanded The Erbil Agreement be drafted -- going around the Iraqi Constitution, every principle of democracy and the will of the Iraqi people.)

Nouri's long targeted Iraqiya.

In December of 2011, he went after Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlaq -- Sunni and (then) a member of Iraqiya -- and Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi -- Sunni and a member of Iraqiya.

Saleh played footsie with Nouri and, in May of 2012, Nouri ended his war on Saleh and his failed attempt to have Saleh stripped of immunity by the Parliament.   Nouri had wanted Saleh sued for calling Nouri the new Saddam (and doing so to CNN).  The government is made up of members of Parliament.  Even Nouri is one.  And as a member of Parliament you have certain rights.

For example, Tareq remains Vice President.  If parliamentary elections are held April 30th and new vice presidents (at least two -- although in 2010, they expanded it to three) are named, Tareq's term will have expired.  But Nouri can't strip anyone of their rights or office.  Parliament can.

Parliment refused to strip Saleh al-Mutlaq of his office and they've refused all this time to strip Tareq al-Hashemi of his post.

All Iraq News reports that MP Karim Elewi (Iraqi National Alliance) insists that al-Alwani's immunity doesn't need to be lifted to prosecute him because he's an "assassin" and a "criminal."

I'm sorry Baby Cum Pants, did you not understand how the law works?  You took an oath to uphold the Iraqi Constitution, Baby Cum Pants, so you might try grasping that it enshrines the principle of innocent until proven guilty.  Not "innocent until arrested."

All Iraq News also quotes Tariq Harb who says immunity doesn't need to be lifted by Parliament.  He's identified as a "legal expert."

If I want to know what Nouri's small cock tastes like, I'll go Tariq Harb.

Anything else?


He's repeatedly lied for Nouri.

He's not a legal expert and he's not objective.  We've seen that since 2010.

Excuse me, those of us who paid attention -- a very small number -- have seen that since 2010.  Tariq Harb, you may remember, agreed, in the midst of Nouri's 8-month political stalemate (when loser Nouri refused to step down from his job) that Nouri was correct and the president (Jalal Talabani) and the vice presidents (Tareq al-Hashemi and Adil Abdul-Mahdi) were no longer in office.

That would have just left Nouri in office.  And Nouri lost the March 2010 election.

I was wrong, hold on.

If I want to know what Nouri's asshole tastes like?

That's another thing Tariq Harb could probably explain.  So I was wrong to imply that he could only tell us one thing with accuracy.

We've documented his bias for years now.  He's not objective.

He's also not familiar with the law.  Vengeance is not the law.

He's such an idiot.  This is what he tells All Iraq News: "Any Parliamentary Member who commits a crime that can be proved can be arrested without need to lift immunity from him according to Article 63 of the Iraqi Constitution which gave the MPs immunity on unproved crimes only."

He's such a dumb ass.

I'm going to pull this, after this entry goes up, and put it also as its own entry.  I don't suffer legal idiots lightly.  The law is the law.

That is not what Article 63 says and we'll get to that in just one minute.

First though, his statement is also illogical.  He is arguing an MP "can be arrested" if they are "proved" to have committed a "crime."

The stupidity just wafts off Tariq Harb.

A crime can only be proven in a court of law.  Since no trial has taken place, no MP can be arrested.

Nothing has been proven, assertions have been made, presumably charges have been filed.  None of that is "proved."  The only "proved" recognized in the Iraqi Constitution is a verdict by a court.

Let's go to the Iraqi Constitution.

Article 63: 

First: A law shall regulate the rights and privileges of the speaker of the Council of Representatives, his two deputies, and the members of the Council of Representatives. 


 A. A member of the Council of Representatives shall enjoy immunity for statements made while the Council is in session, and the member may not be prosecuted before the courts for such. 

 B. A Council of Representatives member may not be placed under arrest during the legislative term of the Council of Representatives, unless the member is accused of a felony and the Council of Representatives members consent by an absolute majority to lift his immunity or if he is caught in flagrante delicto in the commission of a felony. 

 C. A Council of Representatives member may not be arrested after the legislative term of the Council of Representatives, unless the member is accused of a felony and with the consent of the speaker of the Council of Representatives to lift his immunity or if he is caught in flagrante delicto in the commission of a felony. 

(C) does not apply because al-Alwani is a Member of Parliament.  His term has not expired.

That leaves (A) and (B).  (A) applies to statements so that has nothing to do with al-Alwani.

That leaves (B).  By the first section Harb is right.

But learn to read, you stupid idiot, because there are two parts to (B) and they must both be met.

B. A Council of Representatives member may not be placed under arrest during the legislative term of the Council of Representatives, unless the member is accused of a felony and the Council of Representatives members consent by an absolute majority to lift his immunity or if he is caught in flagrante delicto in the commission of a felony. 

See that "and" in there.  While al-Alwani is accused of a felony crime (killing), that's not all of (B).  He can only be arrested if the Parliament consents "by an absolute majority."

Know the damn law.

We went over this with Tareq al-Hashemi and how the court verdicts didn't matter because they were unconstitutional.  Even if Tareq al-Hashemi had shot someone dead on live television, he couldn't have been arrested without Parliament voting to lift his immunity.

That vote never happened.

[ADDED: 10 minutes after this went up a friend -- National Lawyers Guild member -- phoned to say I was wrong about Tareq shooting someone on live TV and then still needing immunity removed to be arrested.  No, I wasn't.  And I clarified it on the phone -- I've obviously worded it badly above.  If Tareq shoots someone on live TV and walks away, he's not "caught in the act" of committing the crime and he can argue it wasn't him, it was someone who looked similar etc.  Tareq al-Hashemi could shoot someone on live TV and walk away and not get arrested after the fact due to the immunity.  If he shot someone on live TV and was immediately rushed by the police -- while he was committing the act -- then he could, per the Constitution, be arrested.  I apologize for my poor wording and thank my friend for calling.  But the point of the clause is not that 'Eye witnesses can get you arrested.'  It's that the security officials catch you in the act.  That is what "he is caught in flagrante delicto in the commission of a felony" means and flagrante delicto means caught red handed.  It does not mean you rob a bank and witnesses identify you and 30 minutes or an hour later cops show up at your home and arrest you.  It means you are caught in the midst of robbing the bank, caught by police and arrested on the spot.  And added 30 minutes after this went up, NINA reports Parliament's Rapporteur Muhammad al-Khalidistates the arrest was illegal since there was no vote to strip al-Alwani of his immunity.]

The next time Tariq Harb tries to show off his expertise, he should be arrested for prostitution and contributing to the delinquency of a country.

The arrest shouldn't have even taken place.

From the April 6, 2012 snapshot:

Iraqi Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi is currently on a diplomatic tour of the surrounding region having already visited Qatar and currently Saudia Arabia.  Raman Brosk (AKnews) reports that State of Law is arguing that al-Hashemi should not be allowed to re-enter Iraq and Iraqiya's spokesperson Maisoun al-Damlouji is responding, "This is not acceptable at all.  Hashemi is the vice president of the Republic and he will return to the region." In December, after most US troops left, Nouri al-Maliki upped the political crisis by insisting that Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlaq be stripped of his post and that Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi be arrested on charges of 'terrorism.'  Both al-Mutlaq and al-Hashemi are members of Iraqiya (both are also Sunni) which is the political slate that won the most votes in the March 7, 2010 elections.  Nouri's State of Law slate came in second to Iraqiya.  The two slates are political rivals.  As an Iraqi correspondent for McClatchy Newspapers observed at Inside Iraq this week:

In a press conference Maliki said that he had a criminal file on Hashimi that he had been sitting on for three years, and was now ready to prosecute him.  For the objective observer, the timing of this announcement was telling. [. . .] Confessions of Hashimi's security personnel were aired on state television and an arrest warrent for Hashim himself was issued and also made public on state TV -- All this publicity on Maliki's side in order to burn the bridges and make any political deal impossible in this country where government is glued together with political deals.

He sat on a file for three years?

Yes, Nouri has files on all of his political rivals and he orders their arrest when they're a political threat to him.

State of Law's popularity has dropped repeatedly each year.  I'm not sure whether it's their violence, their stupidity or the fact that so many of them are butt ugly.  Like this one who looks like his head was attacked with forceps during the delivery and who tells Alsumaria that al-Alwani was "caught red handed" in the arrest.  Again, they're ugly and they're stupid.  Being arrested does not mean "caught red handed."  By the way, in that attack?  The forceps clearly won.

National Iraqi News Agency reports MP Saleem al-Jubori (Mottahidoon Lilslah Coalition) denounced the arrest and the klling of al-Alwani's brother in the raid.  Iraqiya MP and Speaker of Parliament Osama al-Nujaifi went to Ramadi in an attempt to sort out what happened and to calm heightened tensions.  NINA also reports:

Chairman of Anbar Provincial Council, Sabah Karhout, described the arrest of lawmaker Ahmed al-Alwani as a grave mistake.
In a statement on Saturday, Dec. 28, to NINA Karhout said that the Anbar Provincial Council, condemns the arrest of lawmaker from Anbar province, Ahmed al-Alwani, and killing his brother, as well as a number of his guardsmen and family members, after clashes between the military and Alwani’s guards at dawn Saturday, as a grave mistake because of the way Alwani was arrested.
Karhout added that Anbar Council held an emergency meeting, and came out with important decisions, including demanding the Prime Minister to immediately release Alwani and make the military force that arrested him accountable for the way it carried out the arrest.

Those deaths are on Nouri's hands.  There's no excuse for the deaths, there's no excuse for wounding children.  Thug Nouri unleashed his thugs and murder happened.  Safaa Abdel-Hamid and Mohammed Shafiq (Alsumaria) report that Osama al-Nujaifi is calling for an investigation into the arrest itself.

And this was Falluja's response to the arrest.

A massive protest.

I sat through the only Congressional hearing on Iraq in November and the only one in December.

Democrat or Republican, every member was clear that Nouri needed to stop going after his political rivals.  Every member was clear that violence would not be reduced until Nouri stopped misusing his office.

The White House has nothing to say today.  (Though Barack's could Tweet and beg people for five bucks.  Don't say, 'It didn't have his signature!' It's his organization and his photo on the feed. He's a cheap little hustler working at a clip joint.)   The State Dept is still trying to figure out how to respond.

And Nouri is terrorizing Iraq.  Friday, he said that was the last day of protests against him and that he would set the tents in the public squares on fire.

Nouri's a murderous thug who is out of control.  He's a rabid dog terrorizing a community.

There might be another entry, there might not be.  I have to get off the computer and off the phone and go work out or I'm going to scream and never stop screaming.  Today, was completely predictable and the US government is as much responsible as their puppet Nouri al-Maliki.

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Press scoop: Sun made oxygen!!

I'm hoping we all grasp photosynthesis.

Without this process, there would be no life on the planet.

Photosynthesis is how plants produce oxygen.  Here's how the Ohio Governor's Residence and Heritage Garden webpage explains it:

Photosynthesis is the process where plants make their own food from sunlight. Most plants are able to make food directly from light energy, for example the Sun, instead of eating other organisms or relying on nutrients. Photosynthesis can happen in plants because they have chlorophyll. Chlorophyll is the pigment that makes plants green. Chlorophyll captures the Sun’s energy and uses it to make sugars out of carbon dioxide from the air and water. The sugars fuel a plant's roots, stems, and leaves so the plant can grow. After plants use the Sun's light to make their food, plants release oxygen into the air. This oxygen is very helpful because humans and animals need it to breathe. Make sure you thank plants for the oxygen you use everyday!

But if the press were reporting it today for the first time, they'd insist: Sun made oxygen!!!

Even when they have the space and time, they do love to take short cuts.

Today, they're breathless with wonder at BBC, at RTT, at Reuters, at AP,  Mohammed Tawfeeq and Chelsea J. Carter at CNN, at Al Jazeera, Chris Stevenon at the Independent, at AFP, at UPI . . .

Nouri had a Sunni politician arrested and people died.

AP can at least note that the 'arrest' took place at dawn.

Ahmed al-Awlani is a Member of Parliament and a member of Iraqiya.

It was an attack, it was an assault.  Stop covering for the tyrant.

So breathless is their 'reporting,'  it's as though Nouri created the world today, that he declared: "Let there be light," and there was.

I don't live in that world.  Outside of press lackeys, I don't think very many people live in that world.

The world I live in had a yesterday.  It was Friday.

From that day's snapshot:

Wael Grace (Al Mada) reports Nouri al-Maliki again threatened the protesters today.  He declared this will be their last Friday protest and that he will burn the tents in the protest squares down.  He declared that the protesters were guilty of sedition.  Sedition?  Nouri as William Bligh?  I can see it.  Kitabat notes that he made these remarks in a televised interview.  Kitabat also notes Nouri's been insisting 30 terrorist leaders are hiding in protest tents.  

Where is that threat in your reports?

It's a very important detail and it's not distant history, it's just yesterday.

But, of course, not one of the damn outlets we noted above bothered to report on the threats yesterday.

And they can't report it today.

It goes to Nouri's violence.  It was a threat made publicly.

You need to ask yourself why supposed journalism outlets are covering for Nouri?

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How long will the press lie for Nouri?

Seriously, when will they tell the truth?

Obviously not any time soon.

Some can't tell the truth because of their own biases.

Their own hatreds.

For example, I've long pointed out that 'celebrated' journalist Patrick Cockburn -- of that ridiculous family of liars -- is not trusted in the Arab world.

Dropping back to the May 13th snapshot for only one example:

Who massacred in Hawija?  Nouri's forces.  But you won't find that in Patrick Cockburn's 'reporting.'  To read his reporting, apparently the activists died because they killed themselves or maybe a spaceship came down from the skies and took 'em out?
Over and over, his copy minimizes Nouri's actions.  It's why Sunni Arabs see him as so biased.  It has been going on for years and years now.  That is the perception and that's why the perception exists.
People like Patrick Cockburn who repeatedly minimize Nouri's actions and absolve of responsibility are responsible for the massacre and for any more that follow. 

And now, in Sunday's Independent, Paddy Cock Burn publishes "Sunni monarchs back YouTube hate preachers: Anti-Shia propaganda threatens a sectarian civil war which will engulf the entrie Muslim world." That's not going to help him seem any less biased against Sunnis.

Did he do an investigation?

Does that crappy family ever do any work?


But he does insist, "Anti-Shia hate propaganda spread by Sunni religious figures sponsored by, or based in, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf monarchies, is creating the ingredients for a sectarian civil war engulfing the entire Muslim world."


Cock Burn family war!

Laura Flanders, Paddy's niece (and only she and sister Stephanie qualify as sane in that family), insists that  "the ingredients for a sectarian civil war engulfing the entire Muslim world" were created by the US government's illegal Iraq War.

Patrick's outright bias goes a long, long way towards explaining not only his own coverage but that of the Independent.  What's the excuse for others?

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Barack's boy toy Nouri al-Maliki

US President Barack Obama can't stop giving to that boy he loves, that madcap scamp Nouri al-Maliki.  He'd give the world Nouri . . . and pretty much has.

In 2010, Iraqiya beat Nouri's State of Law in the parliamentary elections which meant that Ayad Allawi should have been named prime minister.  But Nouri put upon his prettiest and pinkest panties and stomped his feet for 8 months while Barack ordered US officials in Iraq to broker a contract (The Erbil Agreement) which went around the Iraqi voters, democracy and the Constitution to give Nouri a second term as prime minister.

Apparently when he visited Barack November 1st, he stripped down to a g-string and did a lap dance.

Because despite the fact that Nouri's a tyrant running secret prisons, the world learned this week that Barack's providing him with Hellfire Missiles and drones.

And Nouri spent this week threating peaceful protesters.

He must rubbed his ass up against Barack's crotch pretty damn good to get away with what he gets away with.

Like today.

Today Nouri's done what he does so well, target political rivals, issue warrants for their arrest and kill, kill, kill.  When Nouri targets a political rival what does that mean?

It means the rival is Sunni and a member of Iraqiya.

BBC News reports:

Iraqi forces have arrested an MP, killing his brother and five of his guards during a raid on his home in the western city of Ramadi.

Ahmed al-Awlani, a member of the Sunni community, had backed protests against the mainly Shia government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and was reportedly wanted on terrorism charges.

At least 18 people were injured.  One woman was also killed which BBC misses but the BBC is far better than most English language outlets.

But even they can't tell the truth.  I'm going to do a series of short entries on this.  The reason being I keep getting calls from friends with the State Dept and when that's not interrupting this entry I've now been working on for two hours, I'm usually pacing in anger. There will be at least three more entries on Nouri's actions.

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Friday, December 27, 2013

Iraq snapshot

Friday, December 27, 2013.  Chaos and violence continue, the protests continue, Nouri threatens this was the last Friday of protests, 9300 Iraqis have died in violent deaths so far this year, we look at the press mythology around Barack, and more.

So before the year ends is anyone going to call the press on their b.s.?

Poor Rupert Cornwell.  All that time in his talented half-brother's large shadow left Cornwell with a soggy brain incapable of analytical thought, incapable of anything but parrot-like repetition. British Cornwell wants to turn US President Barack Obama into a visionary and he's not about to let something like facts get in the way.  The elderly fop chatters, "The last US troops left Iraq in 2011, and only a handful are likely to remain in Afghanistan after December 2014."  Poor little piss ant -- so many years of writing and he has not one damn thing to show for it.  Don't wake him from his early senility but all US forces never left Iraq and, in fact, another special-ops unit was sent in back in fall 2012.  Tim Arango (New York Times) reported at the end of September 2012, "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 General Caslen, a unit of Army Special Operations soldiers was recently deployed to Iraq to advise on counterterrorism and help with intelligence."

Let's emphasize one more time for the very slow and very stupid:

At the request of the Iraqi government, according to General Caslen, a unit of Army Special Operations soldiers was recently deployed to Iraq to advise on counterterrorism and help with intelligence.        

So Rupert apparently thinks he's prefect again in the midst of his first boy-on-boy crush.  And he can't stop salivating over Barack's alleged miracle powers of leadership.

But wait . . .

There's the other narrative.  The one where al Qaeda in Iraq is running all over Iraq and all over Syria.  Sarah Birke published a post on that today at The New York Review of Books.  Excerpt:

Talk to any Syrian you meet on the Syrian-Turkish border these days, and in less than five minutes the conversation is likely to turn to Da’ash—the Arabic acronym for the rebel organization known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria, or ISIS. Linked to al-Qaeda, the fearsome group has swept across northern Syria, imposing sharia law, detaining and even beheading Syrians who don’t conform to its purist vision of Islam, and waging war on rival militias. In early December, the group killed a foreign journalist, Iraqi cameraman Yasser Faisal al-Joumali, who was reporting in northern Syria. Even using the word Da’ash—seen as derogatory by the group’s members—is punishable by eighty lashes, a twenty-three-year-old wounded fighter from a rival Islamist group told me from his bed in a Syrian-run makeshift clinic in Turkey.  
[. . .]
ISIS originated as an Iraq-based al-Qaeda affiliate, al-Qaeda in Iraq. The organization is led by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, an ambitious Iraqi extremist who has overseen relentless attacks in Iraq, causing civilian casualties, and who was designated a Global Terrorist by the US State Department in October 2011, with a $10 million bounty on his head. As the war in Syria progressed, al-Baghdadi saw an opportunity for al-Qaeda, and in January 2012, sent some footmen to found Jabhat al-Nusra with the aim of creating a new transnational state ruled by sharia law and a belief in using violence to get there. 

Now I don't personally believe the Sky Is Falling narrative that so many preach on 'al Qaeda in Iraq.'  I think it's an imprecise term that is misapplied to breed fear and to justify violence and excuse it.  As long as, for example, Nouri can scream "al Qaeda! al Qaeda!" he's under no obligation to own up to what he's done.

So not taking the press narrative seriously means I've yet to write a piece about, "Barack Obama blew Iraq!  He should have . . ."

But what's the press' excuse?

They keep pimping this great threat from al Qaeda in Iraq.

I don't believe it.  But they pimp it so they must believe it.

Mustafa Habib (Niqash) has a report today which opens:

The Sunni Muslim extremist group, Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, has made it clear that it wants to annex Sunni Muslim areas of Iraq. One of the biggest Iraqi military operations in recent history has now been launched against them. But it doesn’t seem to having any impact on the group.  
The last few weeks in Iraq have been good to the extremist organisation, the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant. The Al-Qaeda affiliated group managed to attack and assassinate a number of high ranking Iraqi army officers and policemen in a number of provinces, including Ninawa, Diyala, Baghdad and Anbar. All of these are known as places where the organisation, also called ISIS or Daash, keeps bases. They are also areas where a large proportion of the population is Sunni Muslim. Al Qaeda is a Sunni Muslim extremist organisation and it often targets Shiite Muslims – although recently it has also attacked Sunni Muslims it considers to be cooperating with the Iraqi government.

A few weeks previously, at the beginning of December, ISIS clearly stated that its ambition was to annex the Anbar province, which shares a border with Syria. The extremist group already has control over various areas in Syria and it seems it wants to add this part of Iraq too. 

Habib's not the first to write about that claim.  We've ignored it before.  I don't take it seriously.

What I see -- and I could be wrong -- are a variety of groups making attacks but they are at cross purposes with one another and should they try to build within Iraq they would have huge squabbles, huge fights.  They are not a group -- they are groups that are linked loosely.  Syria provides them another mutual target.   Even so, if you've paid attention, you've noticed that they can't even really get along as they conduct attacks in Syria.

But that's where I stand.

Where the press stands is that al Qaeda in Iraq is a nightmare group which has increased its power in Iraq and gone on to Syria (and Libya -- for the few who bother to note the horror that is Libya today).

Guess what boys and girls, if you want to run with that allegation, then you have to blame Barack.

You can't have it both ways.  If al Qaeda is on the rise in Iraq after the (bulk) of US troops withdrew, then this is, in fact, on Barack.

He clearly made a huge error.

I'm not saying he did.  But I don't buy into the mythical al Qaeda in Iraq.

He can't have been brilliant on the Middle East if al Qaeda in Iraq is truly on the rise.

You're going to have to reconcile your two assertions are in conflict, they're at cross purposes.

If al Qaeda in Iraq is on the rise, Barack's to blame for that.

And he's to blame for arming Nouri.  From yesterday's snapshot:

Fortunately, not all outlets have correspondents from the kiddie table.  Elise Labott and Tom Cohen (CNN) get it right regarding who is providing arms, "Two years after bringing home U.S. troops from Iraq, the Obama administration is sending Hellfire rockets and ScanEagle surveillance drones to help government forces fight al Qaeda affiliates growing in influence, a State Department official confirmed to CNN on Thursday."  Paul Richter (Los Angeles Times) also gets it right, "The Obama administration has begun sending Hellfire missiles and surveillance drone aircraft to Iraq to help the government battle an expanding threat from local Al Qaeda-affiliated militants, U.S. officials said, the first such assistance since the American withdrawal from Iraq in 2011."

Congress wasn't notified of these arms.  The Arms Export Control Act's Section 36(b) requires that the President of the United States informs Congress in writing of all defense articles sold to foreign governments before the sale goes through.  That's the law.
So was these sold or was this another 'gift' that the US taxpayer is paying for?
[. . .]
UPI notes the 75 Hellfire Missiles arrived in Iraq last week and that "more are expected." Rethink Afghanistan puts the cost of a single Hellfire Missile at $58,000.  75 of them?  Check my math, but that comes to $3,750,000.  A nearly four million dollar 'gift' has been purchased with the American taxpayer dollars.  And that's not counting the drones.  There aren't specific numbers being reported regarding the drones, so we'll just note the US Air Force put the price of one system (4 drones and the reporting device) at $3.2 million in 2006.  We're now at the price tag of $7 million dollars.

Noel Brinkerhoof ( explains today:

The Iraqi military will receive 75 Hellfire missiles from Washington. Costing nearly $70,000 a piece, the delivery represents an early Christmas gift for arms maker Lockheed Martin. The company also made out with the order to manufacture Aerostat surveillance balloons, three of which were provided to the Iraqi government by the Obama administration.
Other U.S. arms merchants stand to benefit as well from President Barack Obama’s efforts to support al-Maliki.
The administration intends to ship 10 ScanEagle reconnaissance drones in March to Iraq. This shipment will mean more revenue for Boeing.

Nicole Fray (GovConWire) adds, "William Hartung, director of research organization Center for International Policy, said in the report that the U.S. has provided Iraq with about $35 billion worth of weapons and services since 2005."

Gordon Lubold was an idiot writing for the Christian Science Monitor and he's an idiot writing today for Foreign Policy about the missiles and drones.  He's standing on quicksand -- pimping al Qaeda in Iraq as a huge threat but trying to also pretend no mistakes were made by Barack.  It doesn't work that way.  In his article, James Jeffrey strokes his like War Hawk.  The only one who makes even a moment's sense is neocon Kimberly Kagan:

Other analysts were not that impressed by the arms sale to remedy Iraq's worsening security situation. . Kim Kagan, president of the Institute for the Study of War, a longtime advocate of an aggressive security policy in Iraq, said she thinks the administration is continuing to confuse materiel assistance for bona fide military cooperation.  "The U.S. does not seem to be imposing pressure on Prime Minister Maliki to refrain from using his security forces for political ends, such as suppressing the Sunni protest movements, the camps of which the [Iraq Security Forces] have surrounded over the past several days," she told Foreign Policy via e-mail.

Also sharing today?  Patrick Cockburn (CounterPunch) offers this take on Iraq:

In March 2003 the majority of Iraqis from all sects and ethnic groups wanted to see the end of Saddam’s disastrous rule even if they didn’t necessarily support the US invasion. But the government now in power in Baghdad is as sectarian, corrupt and dysfunctional as Saddam’s ever was. There may be less state violence, but only because the state is weaker. Its methods are equally brutal: Iraqi prisons are full of people who have made false confessions under torture or the threat of it. An Iraqi intellectual who had planned to open a museum in Abu Ghraib prison so that Iraqis would never forget the barbarities of Saddam’s regime found that there was no space available because the cells were full of new inmates. Iraq is still an extraordinarily dangerous place. ‘I never imagined that ten years after the fall of Saddam you would still be able to get a man killed in Baghdad by paying $100,’ an Iraqi who’d been involved in the abortive museum project told me.

It's a shame that appears buried inside a Patrick Cockburn report as opposed to opening a report or even being the sole focus of a report.

It's Friday in Iraq.  Last week, the ongoing protests hit the one year mark.  They've been ongoing since December 12, 2012.

Nouri responded by (again) declaring them terrorists and announcing his planned assault on Ramadi's sit-in. Sunday,  W.G. Dunlop (AFP) reported Nouri has declared the sit-in in Ramadi is a 'terrorist' cell:

The protest site is located in the Anbar city of Ramadi, but is nowhere near where the clashes took place.
"I say clearly and honestly that the sit-in site in Anbar has turned into a headquarters for the leadership of Al-Qaeda," Maliki, a Shiite, said in remarks broadcast Sunday on Iraqiya state TV.

Tuesday, December 24th, Nouri had his forces cut off roads leading out of Ramadi and to surround the protest yard.  All Iraq News reports that Nouri's forces withdrew from the protest yard but  Iraq Times noted that this was followed by an air drop of leaflets and that Nouri's forces were receiving support from the US military.  Leaflet droppings advising to protesters to leave are a lot like the 2003 pre-invasion leafleting the US government did over Iraq.

 Did that send the protesters into hiding?


That's Samarra today.

-بهاء احمد16عاما في الثالث متوسط-الذي -ضمن حملتها الجديدة-داخل محل يعمل فيه في .

And that's 16-year-old  Ahmed Bahaa killed in Anbar today by Nouri's forces.

That's what Barack's backing.  That's what the White House is giving arms for.

The murder of Iraqis whose only crime is exercising their legal rights.

Here's Ramadi's sit-in today.

الموحدة في مدينة .

Iraqi Spring MC reports helicopters were flying over the Ramadi square.

Al Mada reports that Maliki was denounced at Anbar protests for his threats (we'll get to today's threats in a moment) and that he was denounced for his militias which are not held accountable for their terrorism.  In Samarra, Nouri was denounced for arming and paying Shi'ite militias to terrorize and kill Sunnis while at the same time Nouri insists that he's fighting terrorism.

Only one English-language outlet reports on today's protests.  Omar al-Jaffal (Al-Monitor) files a major report which includes:

Mohammed al-Bajari, the official spokesman for the sit-in in Fallujah, said, "The sit-ins will continue." He added, "The protesters will not leave the sit-in squares until their legitimate demands are met, oppression ends and the innocent people are released from prison."
Bajari clarified that the protesters "will not comply with the orders of political parties or failed politicians, [nor will they respond to] threats by militias." He alluded to preparations for "civil disobedience and internationalizing the issue via international courts."
Bajari noted, "Those present in the squares have tribal connections, which would exacerbate the crisis in the event that the protests were subjected to any attack." He stressed, "[The right to] peaceful sit-ins are guaranteed by the constitution. Citizens have the right to protest as long as the constitution guarantees this right." He also pointed out, "Any [measures that are] non-peaceful will lead to bloodshed."
Bajari explained, "The Glory and Dignity Army was only formed in the city of Ramadi. It does not direct weapons at the army or the police, but rather at militias — which I won't name — that are trying to eliminate the sit-ins."

Wael Grace (Al Mada) reports Nouri al-Maliki again threatened the protesters today.  He declared this will be their last Friday protest and that he will burn the tents in the protest squares down.  He declared that the protesters were guilty of sedition.  Sedition?  Nouri as William Bligh?  I can see it.  Kitabat notes that he made these remarks in a televised interview.  Kitabat also notes Nouri's been insisting 30 terrorist leaders are hiding in protest tents.  

A number of Iraqi politicians, however, are rejecting Nouri's declarations of violence.

National Iraqi News Agency reports that Anbar Province Governor Ahmed Khalaf al-Dulaimi declared today, "The sit-ins squares do not represent threat to the country’s security, the big danger comes from desert areas in Anbar where armed groups are concentrated and from their; they launch their terrorist attacks against innocent civilians."  Ahmed al-Alwani is an Iraqiya MP who chairs Parliament's Economic Commission. Kitabat notes that al-Alwani dismissed Nouri's charges as beig without merit or value.  He declared that peaceful protests were guaranteed in Iraq's Constitution.  Al Mada adds that Kurdistan Alliance MP Hamid Buffy said there was no legal justification for breaking up the Anbar Province protests and compared using military force to break up the protests to the slaughter in Hawija.

That April 23rd massacre of a peaceful sit-in in Hawija  resulted from  Nouri's federal forces storming in.  Alsumaria noted Kirkuk's Department of Health (Hawija is in Kirkuk)  announced 50 activists have died and 110 were injured in the assault.   AFP reported the death toll rose to 53 dead.  UNICEF noted that the dead included 8 children (twelve more were injured).

Nouri's a thug and he's a killer. And this is who Barack's in bed with.

Iraq Body Count notes that, through yesterday, there have been 869 violent deaths this month so far with 9300 violent deaths for the year so far.  Earlier this week, RT interviewed Iraq Body Count's Lily Hamourtziadou.  Excerpt.

RT: You've been researching the victims of terrorism in Iraq for a long time. Where do you get the information and how credible is it?

Lily Hamourtziadou: Our research is daily and what we do is we check many media sources, any media source that is available to us in English or in Arabic. We collect any information we have on civilian casualties on a particular day. We have a very large database that contains names, ages, places where attacks have taken place, as well as who the perpetrators were if they are identified. And that enables us to monitor the violence, to provide some statistics and to see whether it is increasing or decreasing, who is doing the killing, who the targets are.

RT: Is there something the media and the general public don't know about the situation in Iraq?

LH: What most people don’t understand is that the violence in Iraq is daily. Normally we turn on TV and if there happens to be a major attack, it is reported and we hear about it. But the daily violence we don’t hear about. At the best of times in Iraq, 300-400 civilians lost their lives in a month that was at its quietest. That is completely unacceptable. We won’t accept it in the UK, in the USA or anywhere else in the world and now we have come to disregard it or not be interested in it, but through my work I have come to know.

Iraq Body Count notes that, through yesterday, there have been 869 violent deaths this month so far with 9300 violent deaths for the year so far.

This week also saw AFP's WG Dunlop do media rounds.  Sometimes billed as "William," sometimes as "Will."  It was "Will" who went on NPR's Morning Edition this week.  Has anyone ever been duller or less informed?  He only came to life when talking about the lack of electricity.  But he was on to talk about violence.  He didn't mention the slaughter in Hawija.  He didn't mention the slaughter of journalists.  He didn't do much of anything but promote AFP's 'count.'

For years, we noted the Iraqi government's count was an undercount.  As I would point out, UN friends would pass that along.  Finally, in 2012, Prashant Rao began a count at AFP.

The good from that was it demonstrated the Iraqi government was lying about the deaths.  And, to his credit, Prashant worked that into a report.

But the bad is that not everyone fills out the count each day.  And the other bad is, they only report deaths that the police tip them off to.

Iraq Body Count should be considered the standard because they have been doing their job since the start of the illegal war and they continue to.  They base their count on media reports.

I'll trust the media over Iraq's police force.

If Dunlap's going to be a guest discussing violence, he needs to note the shortcomings of the AFP count. To Prashant's credit, he publicly allowed that they did not get all the deaths due to their method for recording deaths.

elise labott
the los angeles times