Sunday, April 12, 2015


Ned Parker.

With the Los Angeles Times, he wrote important reports.  With Reuters more recently, he's done the same.

We've noted Ned hear repeatedly.  Saturday's snapshot included a long section that got pulled  -- that section noted Ned and Tim Arango.  It noted Ned was the most important journalist covering Iraq since 2009.  (It noted Tim was highly important and -- if he had support from the paper -- Jill didn't want Iraq news -- he could have had one scoop after another.)

At Third, Ned's gotten more "truest statement of the week"s than any other journalist.

He's a solid reporter who digs for the story and doesn't give up.

And now he's not in Iraq.

Reuters explains:

The Baghdad bureau chief for Reuters has left Iraq after he was threatened on Facebook and denounced by a Shi'ite paramilitary group's satellite news channel in reaction to a Reuters report last week that detailed lynching and looting in the city of Tikrit.
The threats against journalist Ned Parker began on an Iraqi Facebook page run by a group that calls itself "the Hammer" and is believed by an Iraqi security source to be linked to armed Shi'ite groups. The April 5 post and subsequent comments demanded he be expelled from Iraq. One commenter said that killing Parker was "the best way to silence him, not kick him out."
Three days later, a news show on Al-Ahd, a television station owned by Iranian-backed armed group Asaib Ahl al-Haq, broadcast a segment on Parker that included a photo of him. The segment accused the reporter and Reuters of denigrating Iraq and its government-backed forces, and called on viewers to demand Parker be expelled.
The pressure followed an April 3 report by Parker and two colleagues detailing human rights abuses in Tikrit after government forces and Iranian-backed militias liberated the city from the Islamic State extremist group. Two Reuters journalists in the city witnessed the lynching of an Islamic State fighter by Iraqi federal police. The report also described widespread incidents of looting and arson in the city, which local politicians blamed on Iranian-backed militias.

I'm not Reuters, I don't have to be nice or fair or diplomatic.

The threats against Ned Parker are condoned by the actions of Iraq's prime minister Haider al-Abadi.

I am so not in the damn mood to be writing.

Third may go up tomorrow, I don't know.

I didn't hear about Ned Parker having to leave Iraq until today.  Ava and I wrote our media piece and Third can post that if they want.  But I'm really not in the mood now to write anything else.  Including anything here.

But Ned Parker has made a difference with his reporting so I'll try to pull something together here.

Mainly, what I'm thinking is, "Why the f**k doesn't anyone listen?"

We've got a track record here.

We were the ones who wrote about Brett McGurk first, we're the ones who told you Scooter Libby was Judith Miller's source when either no one knew or no wanted to talk, we're the ones who daily charted Nouri al-Maliki's descent into increased thuggery during his second term as prime minister.

So at some point, if we're noting something, it would be so nice if it could be at least considered as possible.

Last Sunday's "Hejira" noted the problems the Iraqi press was facing:

I've heard about from Iraqis reporting for various outlets and kept waiting to see a major report on it from the west.  Instead, they don't even note it.

Dar Addustour has been covering in reporting and, last week, columnist As Sheikh also weighed in.  Noting the problems facing the Iraqi press, he called for a fund to be set up to support the press and the freedom it is supposed to have.

It is amazing that the press which managed to push back against thug Nouri al-Maliki is now a victim of Haider al-Abadi.

In fairness to Haider, some -- like Al Mada -- are silencing themselves.  They think it's for 'the good' of the country (two different reporters for the paper have e-mailed about that -- they do not agree with the paper's policy).

Thursday's snapshot noted Haider al-Abadi's attack on the press -- in a speech the press covered, one he gave in Falluja, but somehow all the outlets covering the speech failed to cover Haider's attack on the press.

His office published the attack April 8th -- in Arabic.  It never made it up to the English side of the site.  It's still not up there now.

Realizing thugs lie, we've posted the press release here.

Review the Reuters' chronology.

By the 8th, when Ned Parker's picture was being broadcast on TV with a call to kill him, Haider was in Falluja declaring that there were elements of the media working against the struggle.

Haider did everything but call Ned Parker a member of the Islamic State.

This is why people need to pay attention.

They don't.

They're off in their pathetic world calling a pizza joint's refusal to deliver pizzas to a wedding "catering" when it's not but delivery.  They're off whoring for Barack in some revisionary manner that pretends nothing ever happened in Iraq after Bully Boy Bush left the White House.

Or they're doing something else that doesn't matter.

Iraq matters.

So we've covered it here.

We've paid attention.

When no one offered daily coverage of Iraq, we did.

So excuse me for being pissed that, yet again, we're telling the world something's going wrong and no one wants to pay attention.

Haider's attack endorsed the threats against Ned Parker, let's be really clear on that.

Haider's becoming the new Nouri al-Maliki.

The US government either demands these behaviors stop now or they an explain in a few years how 'their man' turned out to be yet another thug.

I'm tired of it.

I'm tired of an American online world that ignores Iraq unless they feel the need to blame Iraq's current problems on Bully Boy Bush so that St. Barack does not have to take responsibility for his own actions.

I'm sick of the fact that Ned Parker's been threatened.

He's everything we supposedly want in a journalist.

He's determined, he's fair, he's covering issues that actually matter.

The threat against Ned is part of a threat against journalism that's being fostered and encouraged by Haider al-Abadi.

The White House needs to demand that Haider make a commitment to fostering a free press.

And Haider can ensure that his remarks are seen as more than words by launching a full investigation into the assassination of journalist Hadhi al-Mahdi -- who was kidnapped and tortured by Nouri's security forces early in 2011 and was assassinated in his apartment later that same year.

And Iraqi journalists?

Their editors need to stop censoring them.

I'm more than happy to list the outlets that are doing that -- either under pressure from Haider or to curry favor with Haider -- and maybe I soon will.

But the only thing that saved Iraq in Nouri's second term was a brave and independent Iraqi press.

They need that press now more than ever.

And I am a huge supporter of Ned Parker, yes.

But what's being done to him is being done to journalism in Iraq.

We need to recognize that and we need to call it out.

I'm traveling in some vehicle
I'm sitting in some cafe
A defector from the petty wars
That shell shock love away
-- "Hejira," written by Joni Mitchell, first appears on her album of the same name

 The number of US service members the Dept of Defense states died in the Iraq War is [PDF format warning] 4494.

That's all I can manage now.  I told Jim I was taking a nap and I might wake up ready to work on Third but otherwise, he can publish whatever without me (or Ava -- when one of us walks, we both walk).  I'm just really not in the mood.

I don't want to be the Cassandra.

Yes, it means you were right.

But it also means that no one listened until it was too late.

The e-mail address for this site is