Friday, March 21, 2014. Chaos and violence continue, the assault on Anbar continues, the much maligned RT covered the anniversary of the Iraq War this week who else can make that claim?, burn pits are not being dealt with by the VA, and much more.
This week was the anniversary of the start of the illegal war. But, in the United States, there was very little notice of that. Why? Thursday night, Kat
posted, "The US media forgets Iraq to sell war on Ukraine and Syria
While the American media was silent, US Labor Against the War was not
With heavy heart and renewed determination, the officers, staff, and
affiliates of U.S. Labor Against the War mark the eleventh anniversary
of the outbreak of the illegal U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq. For
many Americans, the withdrawal of U.S. combat forces from Iraq at the
end of 2011 marked the end of U.S. involvement with, and responsibility
towards, the Iraqi people. We disagree.
Even though our combat forces are out, the war continues to have
catastrophic effects in Iraq, and for the families of tens of thousands
of U.S. veterans. Millions of Iraqis grieve the loss of loved ones
killed by the U.S. military, while Americans mourn the deaths of
thousands of our soldiers.
The sectarian violence wracking Iraq has its immediate origins in the
ignorant and hubristic policies imposed by U.S. occupation forces. The
sectarian factionalism encouraged by the U.S. occupation has paralyzed
the Iraqi political process, presided over by a dysfunctional
government. Depleted uranium from U.S. munitions is a continuing,
widespread, and profound threat to the Iraqi environment and people, and
to returning U.S. troops. Iraqi workers, 80% of whom work in the public
sector – the oil industry, transportation, heavy manufacturing,
hospitals, schools, ports, social services - are forbidden from
organizing unions and engaging in collective bargaining because the U.S.
kept in force the 1987 Saddam Hussein decree that prohibits public
sector workers from organizing unions. All this and more is the legacy
of a war that has not ended for Iraqis, for which the American people
and our government must take responsibility.
The war, now officially over for more than two years, continues to have
catastrophic effects in the U.S. as well. Our Iraq war veterans suffer
loss of limbs and eyes, long-term traumatic brain injury, and
post-traumatic stress disorder. They suffer from homelessness,
unemployment, and suicide disproportionate to their numbers in society.
The economic wellbeing of the country is threatened by the overhang of
debt created by the reckless funding of the war and the distorted
federal budget priorities that fund U.S. militarized foreign policy,
instead of devoting those resources to urgent domestic human needs.
As we reflect on the terrible continuing effects of the Iraq war, we in
U.S. Labor Against the War commit ourselves to continuing and deepening
our partnerships within the labor movement and with peace, veterans,
and community organizations. We will continue to work with our partners
in the Iraqi labor movement and Iraqi civil society. We will not turn
away from our longstanding commitments to peace and justice in Iraq, and
for our veterans and the American people. We are determined to end our
country’s militarized foreign policy, no matter where our government
seeks to apply it, and to promote true security for our people through
universal education, health care, and modern infrastructure.
These are our commitments as we mark the eleventh anniversary of the U.S. war in Iraq.
Another who wasn't silent? Abby Martin. She did cover the illegal war's anniversary. She spoke with Iraq War veteran Ryan Endicott
about the war on her show Breaking The Set (RT
-- here for the episode at Hulu
Abby Martin: In a speech you gave in 2009 called "Just Another Tuesday," you recount your experience as an infantryman in Iraq and that you were once punished for arresting a man instead of killing him. Can you expand on this?
Ryan Endicott: Well, you know, I was on post when this Iraqi came through my door in the post, I was at the Government Center in Ramadi which is the capital of the Anbar Province where Falluja is. And when this man came into my post, at that point, I had been standing my post and somehow he had gotten through all the other security measures and gotten to my post. And so, you know, when I arrested him and put him -- detained him, my command told me at that point that it was my fault that I should have killed him. He was in an area that is completely restricted for civilians. No questions asked, it doesn't matter if he had a gun, that's out the door, the fact is, I should have killed him. And you know, for me during that time period, that was really tough for me to deal with it. I had to go through all the repercussions and treated as though what I did was wrong and, you know, how I was called a "girl" and all sorts of pejorative terms around this situation. And so after that situation, what I think is really important is that this is just one instance of that. And like how many soldiers across this country are coming down with orders from command telling them to commit these crimes, telling them to kill people -- who don't have weapons -- specifically because of where they are specifically because of how they've impacted this sort of post. And so what is shows is there's a whole policy around the idea that-that soldiers can kill or can murder someone that doesn't have a weapon and that's totally explainable by the command.
One could argue Nouri al-Maliki learned to attack the Iraqi people by watching the US actions in Iraq. That would explain his ongoing attack on Anbar Province and his lack of remorse over the deaths of so many innocent civilians. As Betty noted
, 15 civilians died and forty more were injured on Thursday in Falluja due to Nouri's mortar attacks and bombings of residential neighborhoods
. NINA reports
that Nouri's bombing of residential neighborhoods in Falluja today left 3 civilians dead and eleven more injured.
Earlier this month in Genevea, a number of people and organizations addressed the issue of Iraq before the United Nations Human Rights Council. BRussells Tribunal has a page with the remarks on Iraq in text as well as videos of the remarks being delivered
. We'll note this statement which the Geneva International Centre for Justice offered:
Thank you Mr. President.
We thank the Special Adviser for his ongoing efforts in raising
awareness on genocide and in preventing this crime. It has been said
that significant progress has been made in the prevention and punishment
of genocide - but recent events have shown that we still have a long
road ahead of us. The current situation in Iraq is a clear example. It
was described as rapidly plummeting towards genocide.
Since the US-invasion of Iraq in 2003 and the De-Ba’athification
process, attacks based on discrimination and sectarianism have become
major elements in the country’s politics. This tensed situation
escalated at the turn of the year 2013/2014 with a military operation
undertaken by the Iraqi government in the province of Al-Anbar, under
the pretext of combating terrorists.
Mr. Special Adviser, an important element of the prevention of genocide
is the identification of the early warning signs of this crime.
Signs have shown for long enough now that the Iraqi forces are
targeting a certain religious group. The authority promotes domination
over the government by those affiliated to its own religious beliefs,
while treating the opposition with utmost hostility and brutality. It
has become obvious that the onslaught against supposed terrorists is a
cover for the annihilation of the group opposed to the increasingly
discriminating policies of the current authorities in Iraq.
The acts of the government find their roots in official speeches which
are filled with sectarian rhetoric. Such rhetoric clearly shows the
intent to eradicate a certain group.
This raises serious concerns as the situation clearly fulfils the elements of the crime of genocide.
We would like you, Mr. Special Advisor, to consider this alarming issue in your work.
We also wonder why, inspite of these distressing events, the UN has not
yet taken firm action to relieve the plight of the victims of the Iraqi
government’s attacks. The UN must not wait the occurrence of a
situation similar to what happened in Rwanda.
We therefore plead that the situation in Iraq be addressed immediately
by the Council. In particular, we call on the Special Adviser to
urgently take all adequate measures.
I thank you for your attention.
The issue does need to be addressed immediately, the people of Anbar are being terrorized. This was supposed to be a 'brief' campaign but it started December 30th and still isn't over -- despite the fact that national elections are supposed to take place next month.
These are War Crimes that Nouri's committing but noted anti-Sunni Patrick Cockburn can't call him out on that. He can smear Sunnis as killed -- he can does in his most recent article
-- but the most he can offer to criticize his would-be lover Nouri al-Maliki is that "the government" (not Nouri, some other head of the Iraqi government that the world missed) released a fake video showing they were in control of Falluja when the footage was actually of Afghanistan.
Patrick Cockburn's desire to have his ass joined to Nouri's cock is mind blowing. But he needs to stop pretending he's reporting. He slams the protest movement as a front for terrorists forgetting to note that his love master Nouri killed children last April.
That would be the April 23rd
massacre of a sit-in in Hawija which 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 eventually (as some wounded died) rose to
53 dead. UNICEF noted that the dead included 8 children (twelve more were injured)
Even when his biased mouth managed to leave Nouri's crotch long enough to report on Hawija (long after the massacre), Lie Face Cock Burn couldn't tell his readers that the dead included 8 children.
Apparently, when you're Paddy Cock Burn, you know better than UNICEF.
Or else you just don't care when children are killed.
Paddy Cock Burn has been allowed by the British newspaper the Independent (ha!) to conduct a war against the Sunnis in print. He's gone after them repeatedly and lied repeatedly. When he hasn't lied, he's left out major points that would demonstrate Nouri was a criminal thug.
Here's an amazing though for the US government.
Instead of supplying the dictator Nouri with weapons, why didn't you demand that he nominate people to head the security ministries?
Security doesn't fall apart over night.
In March 2010, Nouri and his State of Law lost the parliamentary elections to Ayad Allwi and Iraqiya. But Nouri refused to step down.
Worthless US Ambassador to Iraq Chris Hill was caught by surprise (while dreaming of being taken by surprise by Nouri) but US General Ray Odierno had been asking repeatedly that the US government figure out how they would respond if this happened?
No one but Odierno thought it was possible.
Contrasted with everyone else in the administration in 2010, Odierno looks like a genius.
Nouri refused to step down and brought the government to an eight-month stand-still (this is the political stalemate). The US government backed Nouri up on this (so did the Iranian government) and Barack ordered US officials in Iraq to broker a contract (The Erbil Agreement) to go around the votes of the Iraqi people and the Iraqi Constitution in order that loser Nouri could get a second term.
Had the Constitution been followed, he wouldn't be prime minister right now. But since the Constitution wasn't followed, since he got his second term via The Erbil Agreement, he didn't have to abide the Constitution which dictates someone is named prime minister-designate and then has 30 days to form a Cabinet -- not a partial one, a full Cabinet.
Nouri didn't do that.
He refused to nominate people to head the security ministries.
If he had and Parliament had confirmed someone as, for example, Minister of Defense, then only Parliament could remove them and this person would run the Ministry as he or she saw fit.
By refusing to nominate anyone to Parliament, Nouri violated the Constitution and it was a power-grab -- as Ayad Allawi noted in real time while the dumb ass Western press instead wrote that Nouri would nominate people for those positions in a few weeks.
A few weeks?
Back in July, 2012 Mohammed Tawfeeq (CNN) observed,
"Shiite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has struggled to forge a lasting
power-sharing agreement and has yet to fill key Cabinet positions,
including the ministers of defense, interior and national security,
while his backers have also shown signs of wobbling support."
That didn't change. He still hasn't nominated any people to head the security ministries.
As 2010 drew to an end, he was supposed to fill those posts. He didn't.
And then we had 2011 when the violence should have been alarming but no one wanted to see the signs. Then came 2012 and we were still Paul Revere here on the violence but no one wanted to see it.
In 2013, the violence reached 2008 levels. Suddenly, the press was interested.
The increase did not happen overnight.
It did happen slowly and it did happen as Nouri failed to fill those security posts.
So instead of promising him (in the November 1st White House visit) that he would get various weapons, the White House should have been insisting he fill those positions.
Iraqi Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi wrote this week:
The decline in the security situation in Iraq has occurred as part of
the general decline in different aspects of life. If a government
official is to be held accountable, then it should be Al-Maliki due to
his wide constitutional power. The first step towards genuine change has
to be the departure of Al-Maliki to allow someone more qualified to
tackle the security issue head-on. That person needs to believe in peace
and be willing to make tough decisions affecting every aspect of life,
including the political, economic ,social, cultural and legal.
Staying with security, let's look at today's violence.
National Iraqi News Agency
reports a Missan bombing left 1child dead and another injured
, 2 Nimra Thmanya car bombings left 1 person dead and eleven more injured
, an Alasewid Village roadside bombing left 2 police members dead
, a car bombing targeting the "bridge connecting Jalawla and Kalar districts" left two people injured
, 2 Dibbs car bombings left 2 people dead and twenty-six injured
, a Ramadi
suicide bomber targeted a funeral and took his own life and the lives
of 7 mourners with twenty-three more people injured (the funeral was for
a Sahwa killed yesterday)
, 2 Tuz Khurmatu bombings left sixteen people injured
, and 1
suicide tanker bomber took his own life "at the top of Hamrin
Mountains" and also killed Brigadier General Raghib al-Tamimi and his
. Sameer N. Yacoub and Murtada Faraj (AP) add
the death toll increased by 2 in the attack on the Ramadi funeral and
that the funeral was for Nasir al-Alawani. On the mountaintop attack
that killed Ragheb al-Omari and one of his assistants,
National Iraqi News Agency
also reports 1
suicide tanker bomber took his own life "at the top of Hamrin
Mountains" and also killed Brigadier General Raghib al-Tamimi and his
, On the mountain top attack, Sameer N. Yacoub and Murtada Faraj (AP) add
the death toll increased by 7 for a total of nine. (AFP
goes with "killing 12 people and wounding five, including the head of
the federal police, Brigadier General Raghib al-Umairi, and his
") Duraid Adnan (New York Times) describes
it this way, "At dawn, a suicide bomber drove a truck filled with explosives into a
police station in northeastern Diyala Province, followed by gunmen who
sprayed bullets from speeding S.U.V.s. Eleven police officers were
killed, including the commander of the unit, officials said." Mohammed Tawfeeq (CNN) reports
the attack this way, "The deadliest attack occurred about 105 miles (170 kilometers) north of
Baghdad in Anjana, where a suicide bomber drove a truck loaded with
explosives into federal police headquarters, police officials in Tikrit
and Baquba said. Officers were among the 14 people who were killed and
18 others wounded, the officials said." Only Iraq Times notes
this was the headquarters of the Tigris Operations Command -- they're the force that Nouri illegally formed (he needed Parliament's consent and didn't seek it out).
National Iraqi News Agency
reports Diyala Province security announced they killed 12 militants
, the army states they killed 10 suspects "south of Falluja
National Iraqi News Agency
reports the corpse of 1 Sahwa was discovered in "the orchards along Diyala River north of Muqdadiyah
." All Iraq News
adds that 13 corpses were discovered in Mujamaat ("shot in the head"
The US government had no interest in building democracy in Iraq. That's Barack Obama as surely as it is Bully Boy Bush. Barack spat on democracy when he refused to honor the results of the 2010 parliamentary elections.
They did and do, however, care about Iraq's oil. Yesterday, Mike noted
Kevin Gosztola's article about Brookings' Kenneth Pollack (read at either "Information
Clearing House or "Firedoglake"). Kevin quotes Pollack telling Congress:
2003, the United States has invested an enormous
amount in Iraq, and the future of Iraq remains of
great importance to the interests of the United
States and our allies. Iraq has replaced Iran as the
second leading oil exporter in OPEC, and projections
of future low oil prices are highly contingent upon
the continued growth of Iraqi oil exports.
Remembering that virtually every postwar American
recession was preceded by an increase in oil prices,
Iraq and its oil production remain critical to the
prosperity of the United States.
Kevin states of Pollack, "This was
his first expressed concern: the future of oil
production. He then proceeded to address the
resurgence of al Qaeda and other issues in Iraq."
What to do?
We tell truth here.
Kevin's wrong. Those weren't Pollack's first remarks. In fairness to Kevin, that's probably what the Congressional Record reflects and that's problem that needs to be addressed. Once upon a time, the record served a purpose. Today, it needs to be accurate.
If Kevin consulted, the record, that's why he's wrong. If, however, he just went to Brookings to grab Kenneth Pollack's prepared remarks (written remarks 'submitted for the record'), then I'm less likely to cut him slack.
I was at that hearing. It was December 12th. Pollack actually said a lot of smart things and we quoted some of it in the December 16th snapshot
. I honestly would have let him slide on the oil remarks (had he made them) because he was focusing on more important things.
But he didn't make the oil remarks. They're in the written remarks submitted. But he didn't read his written statement but instead spoke of al Qaeda in Iraq in his opening remarks.
He never said, in the entire hearing, what Kevin quotes him saying.
He had intended to, judging by his written remarks, but more pressing issues forced him to speak of the political issues and much more.
A long with the fact that we have to be truthful, we also have to be fair. I've knocked Pollack and others at Brookings many times and I'm sure I will again but I was at that hearing, I know what happened, I can pull out my notes and I know Kenneth Pollack did not open with oil. It would be unfair to him for me to pretend otherwise.
If Kevin got it from the Congressional Record, he (and everyone else) has every right to assume that is an accurate record. However, it's not. He did not make those opening remarks, a correct record would note those remarks were submitted for the record but also note what he stated.
Also covering oil last night was Ann who noted
this from Project Censored
JUDICIAL WATCH, July 17,2003
Isobel Coles (Reuters) reports
Title: Cheney Energy Task Force Documents Feature Map of Iraqi Oilfields
Author: Judicial Watch staff
FOREIGN POLICY IN FOCUS, January 2004
Title: “Bush-Cheney Energy Strategy:Procuring the Rest of the World’s Oil”
Author: Michael Klare
Faculty Evaluators: James Carr, Ph.D., Alexandra Von Meier, Ph.D.
Student Researcher: Cassie Cypher, Shannon Arthur
Documents turned over in the summer of 2003 by the Commerce
Department as a result of the Sierra Club’s and Judicial Watch’s Freedom
of Information Act lawsuit, concerning the activities of the Cheney
Energy Task Force, contain a map of Iraqi oilfields, pipelines,
refineries and terminals, as well as two charts detailing Iraqi oil and
gas projects, and “Foreign Suitors for Iraqi Oilfield Contracts.” The
documents, dated March 2001, also feature maps of Saudi Arabian and
United Arab Emirates oilfields, pipelines, refineries and tanker
terminals. There are supporting charts with details of the major oil and
gas development projects in each country that provide information on
the project’s costs, capacity, oil company and status or completion
Documented plans of occupation and exploitation predating September
11 confirm heightened suspicion that U.S. policy is driven by the
dictates of the energy industry. According to Judicial Watch President,
Tom Fitton, “These documents show the importance of the Energy Task
Force and why its operations should be open to the public.”
, "Kurdistan will export
100,000 barrels of oil per day through the Iraqi pipeline
network from April 1 as a 'gesture of goodwill' while
negotiations with Baghdad continue, a statement from the
region's prime minister said on Thursday." I have so much to say on that issue including US Vice President Joe Biden's broken promise to Iraq's President Jalal Talabani. We don't have the time or space to unpack it now. Maybe next week. And maybe we can note MP Susan Saad
then as well. Ruth covered
the Jewish Archives at her site Thursday night. I hope we can cover that next week.
Today, John Glaser (Antiwar.com) observes
, "The U.S.-backed dictator Nouri al-Maliki is ruling the country with an
iron fist, putting his political opponents in jail, torturing prisoners,
crushing free speech, and so on. The advocates of “democracy promotion”
in Iraq, somehow, don’t have to answer for the fact that the Iraqi
parliament is now considering imposing new laws that would allow girls
to be forced into arranged marriages from the age of nine."
And with that as a backdrop, Iraq plans to hold parliamentary elections
April 30th. Supposedly, elections will take place in all 19 provinces
(the KRG increased by 1 province last week). But Iraqi elections, to be
legitimate, must include the displaced. And they have in the past. In
fact, Nouri's attempt to short change refugees out of the country in
2009 pushed the parliamentary elections back to 2010 (Vice President
Tareq al-Hashemi used his veto power to sink the bill). Now it's been
announced that Iraqi refugees in Syria will not be allowed to vote. It
is stated that Syria is just too dangerous for a polling station.
Syria, Jordan and Lebanon remain the three countries with the highest
number of Iraqi refugees as a result of their sharing borders with Iraq
(and as a result of governments like the US leaving them stranded --
both in terms of ridiculous regulations and, in Syria, by closing down
the means the refugees had to apply for admission to the US).
The editorial board of Arab News argues
voting should be postponed and they recap some of the events since the
2010 parliamentary elections including this from December 2011:
[. . ] Al-Maliki began the effective demolition of the National Unity
government he headed by having an arrest warrant issued for
Vice-President Tareq Al-Hashimi, a Sunni. Hashimi was accused of
involvement in death squads. Helped by Kurds, he fled the country, only
to be tried in his absence and found guilty.
Al-Maliki pretended at
the time that the prosecution was important because no one should be
able to escape punishment for past crimes. But this argument was fatally
weakened by the presence in his government of Shiite politicians who
were equally suspected of involvement in the inter-communal violence
that had threatened to tear the country apart. Besides, however terrible
the crimes committed by all parties in Iraq, the country’s future could
only be ensured by reconciliation. Iraq desperately needed to put its
dark past behind and look to a brighter and more prosperous future.
Al-Maliki hardly tried to convince skeptical Sunni politicians and
voters that the prosecution of Hashimi was not motivated by the fact
that the vice-president was a Sunni. That this was indeed the reality
has since become even more apparent as Shia legislators have moved to
exclude former and serving Sunni politicians, including former Finance
Minister Rafie Al-Issawi from standing in next month’s elections. Former
interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi, a Shiite, and leader of the
National Iraqi Alliance, has himself warned that in the light of these
moves against Sunni politicians, as well as the deteriorating security
situation in the country, the vote cannot go ahead.
How did Rafea al-Isawi and others get banned? Niqash attempts to explain it
The Independent High Electoral Commission,
or IHEC, the authority that is supposed to prepare Iraq for elections
and run electoral procedures, such as voter registration and the actual
voting, recently decided to ban a number of politicians from competing
in the elections. These were independent Shiite Muslim MP, Sabah
al-Saedi, Shiite Muslim MP, Jawad al-Shuhaili, who is aligned with the
Sadrist bloc, MP Haider al-Mulla from the mostly-Sunni Muslim Iraqiya
bloc, MP Rafea al-Isawi, also a Sunni Muslim from the Iraqiya bloc and
one of the country’s most senior Sunni Muslim politicians as well as a
former MP, Mithal al-Alousi, who made headlines in 2004 as one of the
first Iraqi politicians to visit Israel and who previously headed the
IHEC says the reason for the ban on these politicians is
because they have violated the rule about good conduct. However there
are clearly some problems with this clause – many local legal and
constitutional experts have already said that it is too general and that
it could be used in myriad ways by the unscrupulous.
Iraqi lawyer Munir Haddad, who is perhaps best known
outside the country for his time as a judge, presiding over the trial of
former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, told NIQASH: “Iraqi MPs should have
been more careful when they voted on this article. It’s not clearly formulated enough.”
“This paragraph is very general and it can be interpreted
any way a person wants,” adds judge Abdul-Raheem al- Ukaili, who
formerly worked with Iraq’s Commission on Integrity.
“Unfortunately IHEC has interpreted this paragraph in an arbitrary way
and it has been used against politicians who are well known for opposing
Indeed it seemed to many that the “bad behaviour” these
MPs had undertaken simply involved publicly criticizing Iraqi Prime
Minister Nouri al-Maliki or his allies.
“Politicians who speak about corruption in the government
are now people with bad reputations,” one of the banned MPs, al-Alousi,
complained to NIQASH. “There is a deliberate plan to silence al-Maliki’s
opponents and to ruin democracy in Iraq. We are going to file a lawsuit
at the Supreme Federal Court to defend our rights and we hope this
court won’t bow to political pressure,” he argued.
attempts to explain it"? There's no byline. An Iraqi offering the above has cause to worry.
One aspect not dealt with is the so-called Independent High Electoral
Commission. No one wanted to pay attention -- even though Nouri had
previously attempted to take it over -- when certain people were nixed
from serving. No one wanted to pay attention as Nouri stacked the
Despite his threats and his bullying, despite the fact that it was clear
his attempts to take over the independent banks had already succeeded,
no one wanted to pay attention.
Hamza Mustafa (Asharq Al-Awsat) report
In his second media appearance since he announced his intention to
quit politics, Iraqi Shi’ite leader Moqtada Al-Sadr called on the people
of Iraq to participate in the forthcoming parliamentary elections to
prevent “thieves” and “beneficiaries” from gaining power.
Sadr has been an increasingly fierce critic of embattled Iraqi Prime
Minister Nuri Al-Maliki, denouncing him earlier this month as a
“dictator and a tyrant.” He has called for a series of anti-government
protests each Monday, saying the Iraqi electorate should ignore “the
negligence and disregard of some politicians” and participate in the
forthcoming legislative elections, scheduled for April 30.
“If elections are held without the participation of patriotic and
loyal voters, the unfit will inevitably make it to power,” Sadr said.
Moqtada al-Sadr remains Nouri's most formidable rival at present. Kitabat notes
that Moqtada delivered a sermon today decrying the elimination and exclusion of candidates and calling for the people to vote and make their voices heard.
Turning to the issue of Iraq's girls and women:
Last night, Trina noted Martin Chulov (Guardian) had reported on the issue
and Trina observed:
In the article, Nouri's spokesperson insists Nouri hasn't taken a position on it.
Yes, he has.
By letting it come to a vote, he took a position.
By forwarding it to Parliament, he took a position.
It's also said that he voted for when he brought it up for a vote in the Cabinet. And, as Middle East Confidential notes, "It was proposed by Iraq’s justice minister, Head of the Fadila bloc,
which has seven seats in the parliament and is a strong ally of the
prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki."
So let's cut the nonsense.
Ghassan Tawfiq al-Husseini (Kitabat) writes
about how this proposed law is harmful for Iraq (and also states Nouri voted for it in the Cabinet vote) and would divide the country and set it back.
It's a strong column. There was a column I wanted to highlight. I read it this morning on the plane. I've got 300 Iraqi newspaper pages in my browser and can't find it and don't have time to go through everyone of them.
It was most likely Kitabat or Iraq Times. The writer favors the law. The writer feels Iraq is being shamed. I appreciate the writer's feelings, but Iraq should be shamed on this. The writer argued that if the age of nine (or eight) for marriage was too low, it could be changed to the onset of puberty.
Most countries and most people around the world would tell you that is still too young.
But let's set that aside real quick to note two other things in the law. First, stripping mothers of their rights, custodial rights. How is that good? How is that helpful?
And I'm not understanding how forced sex or rape is beneficial to a husband. It's surely not beneficial to a wife.
Putting that into law will make Iraq a laughingstock.
The writer was concerned about how Iraq was being seen. The writer should be concerned. Legalizing rape is nothing any country is moving towards today except Iraq. Passing the bill will mean the only thing Iraq will be noted for that's not shameful will be their new Guinness World Record of least wide ally in the world (it's in Baghdad
In other news, the National Lawyers Guild Tweeted:
WeCopWatch (Indybay Media -- link is text and video) adds
The City of Oakland has agreed to pay Scott Olsen $4.5 million to
compensate him for devastating brain injuries he suffered when an
Oakland Police officer shot him in the head with a “less lethal”
munition on October 25, 2011, during a demonstration in support of
Occupy Oakland. The lead filled “bean bag” round, fired from a 12 gauge
shotgun, shattered Mr. Olsen’s skull and permanently destroyed part of
his brain. The settlement in Olsen v. City of Oakland, 3:12-cv-06333, is
pending final approval by the Oakland City Council. Mr. Olsen was
represented by attorneys Jim Chanin, Rachel Lederman, and Julie Houk.
(Ten-minute Olsen case video below.)
As we rush to wrap up, Patrick Murphy's MSNBC talk show (Taking The Hill) will address a number of issues this Sunday:
And we'll close with this from Senator Tom Udall's office:
WASHINGTON - In a letter to U.S. Department of
Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary Eric K. Shinseki today, U.S. Sens. Tom
Udall (D-N.M.), a member of the Military Construction and Veterans
Affairs Appropriations subcommittee, and Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), ranking
member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, pressed the VA for
answers regarding its failure to diligently and expeditiously implement
the Open Air Burn Pit Registry as mandated under Section 201 of PL
112-260, which Udall and Corker coauthored and introduced in 2011.
"As you know from previous correspondence on this matter, the Open
Air Burn Pit Registry was designed to identify and monitor veterans who
had served in Iraq and Afghanistan and who were exposed to toxic
pollutants released by open air burn pits," Udall and Corker wrote.
"This delay is deeply concerning, particularly when similar registries
exist within the United States government. The lack of urgency and
communication from the VA is even more troubling. Our veterans,
Congress, and the public deserve to know why the Open Air Burn Pit
Registry has been delayed and when it will be completed."
effort to address this failure, we ask that you provide Congress with
information on the current status of the Open Air Burn Pit Registry, an
accounting of problems that have arisen during the development of the
registry, detailed information on remaining benchmarks to be completed
before the Open Air Burn Pit Registry will become fully operational, and
any information on how Congress can help to expedite the implementation
of this critical program."
On January 10, 2013, President
Barack Obama signed PL 112-260 into law. The law provided the VA one
year to develop, implement, and maintain an open burn pit registry of
service members and veterans who may have been exposed to toxic
chemicals and fumes from open air burn pits in Iraq and Afghanistan. The
registry has not yet been established.
Full text of the letter is included below and HERE.
Dear Secretary Shinseki,
breaking the set
the new york times
national iraq news agency
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the associated press
sameer n. yacoub
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We write to you today regarding
the failure of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to diligently and
expeditiously implement the Open Air Burn Pit Registry as mandated
under Section 201 of Public Law 112-260.
As you know from
previous correspondence on this matter, the Open Air Burn Pit Registry
was designed to identify and monitor veterans who had served in Iraq and
Afghanistan and who were exposed to toxic pollutants released by open
air burn pits. When President Obama signed PL 112-260 into law on
January 10, 2013, it provided the VA one year to develop, implement, and
maintain this registry. While the necessity for some delay is
understandable, the VA has failed to adequately explain why the delay
has occurred, which steps remain to be completed before the registry is
available for the use of our veterans, and provide specific information
on when the registry is expected to be completed.
This delay is
deeply concerning, particularly when similar registries exist within the
United States government. The lack of urgency and communication from
the VA is even more troubling. Our veterans, Congress, and the public
deserve to know why the Open Air Burn Pit Registry has been delayed and
when it will be completed. Furthermore, the VA has failed to develop the
Open Air Burn Pit Registry after multiple congressional inquiries and
letters calling for its timely creation and has not provided detailed
information regarding the nature of the delay to Congressional offices
who have requested such information.
In an effort to address
this failure, we ask that you provide Congress with information on the
current status of the Open Air Burn Pit Registry, an accounting of
problems that have arisen during the development of the registry,
detailed information on remaining benchmarks to be completed before the
Open Air Burn Pit Registry will become fully operational, and any
information on how Congress can help to expedite the implementation of
this critical program. We remain concerned about VA's implementation of
this program and we urge you to diligently complete the Open Air Burn
Thank you for your timely response to this matter and your continued service to our nation.