Saturday, October 31, 2015

Iraq snapshot

Saturday, October 31, 2015.  Chaos and violence continue, the Cult of St. Barack plays cat-got-their-tongue while Obama ramps up more war, Amnesty International calls out the attack on the Ashraf community at Camp Liberty, and much more.

The silence is deafening.

More war is declared and the so-called leaders of what was once a peace movement are playing duck-and-cover to avoid standing up.

The New York Daily News declares, "Mark another awkward milestone in President Obama’s foreign policy: The United States of America has kind of, sort of backed into combat operations in Syria and Iraq."  Trevor Timm (Guardian) goes further:

In 2012, Obama unequivocally said he would end the war in Afghanistan, and chided Mitt Romney the Republican nominee for not promising that. In 2013, Obama said: “I will not put American boots on the ground in Syria.” In 2014, Obama said: “We will not be sending US troops back into combat in Iraq”. At this point, all of those promises have been completely broken.
Worse, the Obama administration has effectively removed the democratic process (and Congress) from any decision making on whether to go to war. We now have ground troops inside Syria without any sort of legal authorization from Congress. Obama explicitly campaigned in 2012 on ending the Afghanistan war, which he has now extended beyond his term. The Obama administration also went into Libya and removed Muammar Gaddafi, despite the House voting against it beforehand. 

The war against the Islamic State is morphing yet again despite Operation Inherent Failure's lack of measurable success.  Bill van Auken (WSWS) reminds:

When ISIS headed eastward from Syria and overran roughly a third of Iraq, including its third-largest city, Mosul, the Obama administration launched its direct intervention in both countries, conducting air strikes and redeploying some 3,500 US troops to Iraq. Now the intervention has morphed into a war against ISIS dubbed “Operation Inherent Resolve.”
More than a year after that “war” was launched, the grip of ISIS over large swathes of both Iraq and Syria remains virtually unchanged. The desultory character of the US campaign is explicable only from the standpoint that Washington has no desire to destroy the Islamist militia, which it still counts as one of the main fighting forces in the war for regime change, which remains the principal US objective.

The White House announced troops would be sent into Syria.

Repeating, the White House announced troops would be sent into Syria.

Barack declared,  "I will not put American boots on the ground in Syria."

But, too bad, that was September 10, 2013.

So many broken promises.

And all those promises
that you made me from the start
were filled with emptiness
from the desert of your heart
Every sweet caress
was just your second best
Broken promises

Baby, I'm amazed
at how long I still believed
How many lies it takes
before someone like me sees
All the tears you cried
They never could deny
that you made love a lie
All those tears you cried
They never could deny
that you made love a lie

-- "All Those Promises," written by Janis Ian, first appears on her album Folk Is The New Black

It's as though Janis composed the theme song for the deprogrammed members of The Cult of St. Barack.

Dan Roberts (Guardian) explains the pretzel 'logic' liars now find themselves in:

Administration officials were left squirming on Friday to explain how sending special forces to work alongside Syrian rebels fighting the Islamic State was compatible with Obama’s earlier promises not to “put boots on the ground” in Syria or “engage in combat operations” against Isis.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest claimed there was still a difference of “night and day” compared with the Bush administration’s invasions, but in the space of a few short weeks a central promise of Obama’s presidential campaign has been undermined: first by conceding that he will not meet his pledge of removing troops from Afghanistan before he leaves office and now by acknowledging a long-term ground presence is necessary not just in Iraq, but Syria too.
Earnest would not say whether the deployments were permanent or would be bolstered, insisting: “I don’t want to try to predict the future here.”

Yet arguably that was exactly what Obama claimed he could do when he ran for office promising to bring US troops home from Iraq and Afghanistan.

In light of all this, all the broken promises, all the wars, Tom Hayden Tweeted:

  • Hillary will gain presidential stature

  • Oh, that wasn't in response to that.

    The old drunk couldn't Tweet in response to the White House plans because he's never had the spine to stand up to anyone.  He's just an ugly gigolo who took his second wife for all the millions he could -- despite his non-stop cheating -- and now bills himself as the "leader of sixties peace, justice and environmental movement."

    That's hilarious.

    His colleague Katrina vanden Heuvel also couldn't call out Barack.

    What of 'brave' Ruth Conniff, the editor of The Progressive?

    The woman, the trash, that once bragged on KPFA's The Morning Show that no one she knew had been touched by the Iraq War managed to Tweet or re-Tweet 37 times during the CNBC GOP presidential aspirants debate but on Iraq and Syria on Friday or even today . . .

    That's right, boys and girls, zero.



    Remember: No one she knows was touched by the Iraq War.

    Jill Stein's a liar.  She's a lot of things but mainly she's a liar.   October saw Amy Goodman again announce Jill's appearance in the NYC studio of Democracy Now -- with Goodman hailing her as the Green Party's 2016 nominee.

    For Jill's failure to correct that -- repeatedly, she's failed with every media outlet -- the Green Party should select someone else . . . when they pick a presidential candidate in August 2016.

    Jill Stein is a liar.

    She's not the Green Party's presidential candidate.

    Goody Whore and her ilk get so upset when the press does something like this -- the real press, not the beggar media crying "send money!" -- but they have no ethics themselves.

    Nor does Jill.

    When she started campaigning for the nomination (2016 nomination) we noted her silence on Iraq here and that prompted her to pretend she cared.

    But we were right: She doesn't.

    And if you doubt it grasp that she's been Tweeting but has nothing to say about Iraq or Syria.

    This is an alternative to Democratic Party candidates?

    The person who should be the nominee noted:

  • Frustrated with the treatment of events in Syria? Listen to CPR News that really needs your support!

  • Cynthia may run for the Green Party's 2016 presidential nomination.

    Until then, Senator Bernie Sanders is the only candidate running for a political party's presidential nomination who is issuing any sort of statement on the White House's plans:

    DERRY, N.H. – U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders on Friday expressed concern about President Barack Obama’s decision to dispatch U.S. special operations forces to Syria to help battle the Islamic State, a spokesman said.
    “Sen. Sanders expressed concern about the United States being drawn into the quagmire of the Syrian civil war which could lead to perpetual warfare in that region,” spokesman Michael Briggs said. “The senator believes that the crisis in Syria will be solved diplomatically, not militarily.”

    Sanders also expressed strong support for the effort by Secretary of State John Kerry to bring Iran, Saudi Arabia, Russia and other nations into discussions on how to end the bloody civil war, his spokesman added.

    For those wondering, I checked Senator Rand Paul's campaign site as well as his Twitter feed -- nothing.

    And I checked Jim Webb's Twitter and site.  He can hint that he's considering a third party run (after failing to take off among Democratic Party voters), he just can't weigh in on Iraq and/or Syria.

    To be clear, Donald Trump (running for the GOP's presidential nomination) had something to say on the matter -- but like CNN, I can't make sense of it.

    Though they have nothing to say about Iraq, CodePink, to their credit, did rebuke the Syrian part of the plan:

    CODEPINK condemns the decision by the Obama Administration to send US special forces into Syria.
    By CODEPINK Staff
    CODEPINK condemns the decision by the Obama Administration on Friday, October 30, to send special forces into Kurdish-held areas of Syria.
    This decision by the administration moves the United States away from pursuing a political solution and instead follows a failed pattern of using short-term military tactics to address conflicts in the Middle East. We know that "special forces" means putting boots on the ground, something Obama promised in 2013 he wouldn't do in Syria, and puts more American lives at risk. 
    Alternatives exist to increasing United States' military involvement in the region, which, for over a decade, has delivered death, destruction, and increased extremism including the rise of ISIL . Instead, the U.S. government CAN:
    Diplomacy works. Military “solutions” create more problems and tragedies.

    And US House Rep Adam Schiff had something to say:

      1. My statement on Obama Administration's decision to send U.S. special operations forces into Syria to fight .
        Embedded image permalink

    CNN notes that Barack is getting criticism from both Democrats and Republicans over his latest move:

    And both parties called for the administration to sketch out a more detailed strategy for taking on ISIS, also called ISIL.
    "This commitment of U.S. forces must come with a coherent strategy to defeat ISIL. Otherwise, we are likely to see the same results in the region," newly elected House Speaker Paul Ryan, a Wisconsin Republican, said in a statement Friday. "I look forward to reviewing the details of this announcement."
    Sen. Tim Kaine, a Virginia Democrat and once Obama's handpicked chairman of the Democratic National Committee, urged the administration "to detail to the America people a comprehensive strategy to bring both the conflicts in Iraq and Syria, which are metastasizing around the globe, to a peaceful end."

    Though he couldn't respond to calls for clarification, Barack did make a call to Haider al-Abadi on Friday.  The White House announced:

    President Obama today spoke by phone with Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi to discuss the political and security situation in Iraq and underscore the United States' enduring support for Iraq in its fight against ISIL.  The President commended the recent progress that Iraqi forces have made against ISIL in Bayji and welcomed the ongoing campaign to isolate ISIL in Ramadi, noting that the United States in partnership with the Iraqi Government will intensify support for the Iraqi Security Forces in these efforts.  The President also voiced support for Prime Minister al-Abadi's leadership in his efforts to combat corruption and implement governance reforms critical to promoting Iraq's political stability and economic prosperity.  The two leaders noted their full support for the U.S.-led Global Coalition to Counter ISIL, emphasizing that both the United States and Iraq are fully committed to partnering with the international community to degrade and ultimately destroy ISIL.  They also reaffirmed their commitment to the strategic partnership between the United States and Iraq.

    If you missed it, with former prime minister and forever thug Nouri attempting to use the Iraqi Parliament to unseat Haider, al-Abadi's openly fleeing Russia for the warm hug from Barack that might, if he's lucky, quell the rebellion he's facing from a growing number of Shi'ite law makers.

    Lastly, Amnesty International issued a statement on this week's attack on Camp Liberty:

    A rocket attack on a camp of Iranian exiles in Iraq is a despicable and callous crime, Amnesty International said as it called for an immediate investigation, urgent protection and assistance for the camp’s residents.
    Camp Liberty, in north-east Baghdad, was struck by a barrage of rockets last night, which killed at least 23 people, including one woman, and injured dozens. An Iraqi Shi’a militia, the al-Mukhtar Army, claimed responsibility for the attack and warned that the attack may be repeated.
    The camp is home to around 2,250 unarmed Iranian exiles, mostly members and supporters of the Iranian opposition group, the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI). 
    “This was a horrific act of violence against the residents of Camp Liberty, which cannot simply be ignored by the Iraqi authorities. They must ensure a prompt, independent and effective investigation into this attack and ensure that those responsible are brought to justice,” said Said Boumedouha, Deputy Director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Programme. 
    “Their utter failure to investigate previous deadly attacks against the camp sends the message that its residents can be murdered with impunity.”
    Eyewitnesses told Amnesty International that the attack started around 7.40pm local time as camp residents were gathering for dinner. Twenty people were killed instantly while another three later died from injuries in a Baghdad hospital.
    Residents said around 80 rockets hit the camp, which they identified as Iranian built Falaq Katyusha rockets, though Iraqi media reported that between 12 and 38 rockets were fired.
    The attack caused widespread destruction as it hit the camp’s electricity generators while hundreds of residents have been left homeless after at least 200 trailers were destroyed. The Iraqi government has yet to make a statement on the events, but other governments as well as the UN Refugee Agency – which considers Camp Liberty residents “people of concern” – have condemned the attack.
    “The Iraqi authorities’ silence about the killing of 23 people is inexcusable. They are manifestly failing in their duty under international law to protect everyone in the camp, many of whom are asylum-seekers. On top of the loss of life, the destruction caused by the attack has left many residents facing desperate conditions,” said Said Boumedouha.
    “The government must urgently ensure that electricity and water are restored, and that those whose homes have been destroyed are provided with adequate temporary shelter without delay.”
    All the exiles living in Camp Liberty had lived in Camp Ashraf since the mid-1980s. After the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq the camp and its residents were placed under US protection but this ended in mid-2009 following an agreement between the US authorities and the Iraqi government.
    Barely a month later, on 28-29 July 2009, Iraqi security forces stormed into the camp; at least nine residents were killed and many more were injured. Thirty-six residents who were detained were allegedly tortured and beaten.
    In 2011 the Iraqi government announced the closure of Camp Ashraf after relocating its residents to Camp Liberty in the north-east of Baghdad.
    According to a December 2011 memorandum of understanding between the UN and the government of Iraq, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) may process requests for international protection from residents of the camps. Those residents who apply for international protection are asylum-seekers under international law.
    The government failed to investigate previous attacks on Camp Ashraf and Camp Liberty, and no one has ever been brought to account. In fact, senior Iraqi government officials have in the past made it clear that the camp residents were not welcomed in Iraq. 

    bill van auken

    Friday, October 30, 2015

    Blix slams Blair


    [Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "Exit the Poodle" depicting Tony Blair.]

    This week found CNN providing War Criminal Tony Blair with a platform for lying yet again about the Iraq War.  He blamed the intelligence -- spy work, not his own stupidity -- on the war and offered his version of a non-apology which was no apology at all.

    The non-apology was rightly slammed throughout the world.

    "He's not really sorry at all," declared former British MP and former Blair confidant Clare Short.

    Blair's lies were called out as well.

    And, today, the charge of liar continues.  Press TV reports Hans Blix has weighed in:

    Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair misrepresented military intelligence to secure approval to invade Iraq in 2003, said the former Head of the UN inspection team, Hans Blix.
     Blix noted that the intelligence gathered was not accurately represented by Blair adding Blair’s claims about WMD were “not supported by evidence.”
    “Blair asserts that there were weapons, well that’s an assertion and it was not supported by evidence…They misrepresented what we did and they did so in order to get the authorization [for war] that they shouldn’t have had,” he said.

    Blair has many problems in England where people attempt to make citizens arrests and his public appearances are jeered.

    Which is why he'd come on American TV to make his non-apology and spread his lies -- BBC interviewing Blair would have pushed back on his lies.

    And when you think about that, his cowardice, it's even more appalling.

    He was the leader of the United Kingdom and yet when he's trying to pretend to apologize he refuses to face the media in his own country and instead high tails it to the US for a soft interview with one of his friends.

    As noted earlier, the Ashraf community at Camp Liberty has yet again been attacked.  We;l note this Tweet which puts faces on the dead.

  • The following community sites -- plus Cindy Sheehan and Jody Watley -- updated:


  • The e-mail address for this site is


  • Iraq snapshot

    Friday, October 30, 2015.  Chaos and violence continue, Canada's war planes have apparently bombed Iraqi civilians again, the Ashraf community is again attacked, the heavy rains have returned, and much more.

    In Iraq, there's been another attack on Iranian dissidents.

    UNHCR issued the following statement:

    UNHCR statement on today's attack on vicinity of Baghdad International Airport, including Camp Liberty, in Iraq

    News Stories, 29 October 2015
    UNHCR strongly condemns today's rocket attacks in the vicinity of Baghdad International Airport, which have also hit adjacent Camp Hurriyet (Camp Liberty), reportedly causing injuries to dozens of people of concern and some 20 deaths.
    Camp Liberty is home to around 2,200 people of concern to the Office. The authorities have evacuated the injured to Baghdad hospitals. The full extent of the casualties and damage to the camp is still being ascertained.
    "This is a most deplorable act, and I am greatly concerned at the harm that has been inflicted on those living at Camp Liberty," said High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres. "Every effort must continue to be made for the injured and to identify and bring to account those responsible."
    The residents of Camp Liberty previously lived at Camp Ashraf.
      For more information on this topic, please contact:
    • Adrian Edward in Geneva, on mobile +41 79 557 9120
    • Ariane Rummery in Geneva, on mobile +41 79 200 7617

    This attack was on the Ashraf community.   Background:  As of September 2013, Camp Ashraf in Iraq is empty.  All remaining members of the community have been moved to Camp Hurriya (also known as Camp Liberty).  Camp Ashraf housed a group of Iranian dissidents who were  welcomed to Iraq by Saddam Hussein in 1986 and he gave them Camp Ashraf and six other parcels that they could utilize. In 2003, the US invaded Iraq.The US government had the US military lead negotiations with the residents of Camp Ashraf. The US government wanted the residents to disarm and the US promised protections to the point that US actions turned the residents of Camp Ashraf into protected person under the Geneva Conventions. This is key and demands the US defend the Ashraf community in Iraq from attacks.  The Bully Boy Bush administration grasped that -- they were ignorant of every other law on the books but they grasped that one.  As 2008 drew to a close, the Bush administration was given assurances from the Iraqi government that they would protect the residents. Yet Nouri al-Maliki ordered the camp repeatedly attacked after Barack Obama was sworn in as US President. July 28, 2009 Nouri launched an attack (while then-US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates was on the ground in Iraq). In a report released this summer entitled "Iraqi government must respect and protect rights of Camp Ashraf residents," Amnesty International described this assault, "Barely a month later, on 28-29 July 2009, Iraqi security forces stormed into the camp; at least nine residents were killed and many more were injured. Thirty-six residents who were detained were allegedly tortured and beaten. They were eventually released on 7 October 2009; by then they were in poor health after going on hunger strike." April 8, 2011, Nouri again ordered an assault on Camp Ashraf (then-US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates was again on the ground in Iraq when the assault took place). Amnesty International described the assault this way, "Earlier this year, on 8 April, Iraqi troops took up positions within the camp using excessive, including lethal, force against residents who tried to resist them. Troops used live ammunition and by the end of the operation some 36 residents, including eight women, were dead and more than 300 others had been wounded. Following international and other protests, the Iraqi government announced that it had appointed a committee to investigate the attack and the killings; however, as on other occasions when the government has announced investigations into allegations of serious human rights violations by its forces, the authorities have yet to disclose the outcome, prompting questions whether any investigation was, in fact, carried out."  Those weren't the last attacks.  They were the last attacks while the residents were labeled as terrorists by the US State Dept.  (September 28, 2012, the designation was changed.)   In spite of this labeling, Mohammed Tawfeeq (CNN) observed that "since 2004, the United States has considered the residents of Camp Ashraf 'noncombatants' and 'protected persons' under the Geneva Conventions."  So the US has an obligation to protect the residents.  3,300 are no longer at Camp Ashraf.  They have moved to Camp Hurriyah for the most part.  A tiny number has received asylum in other countries. Approximately 100 were still at Camp Ashraf when it was attacked.   That was the second attack of 2013.   February 9th of 2013, the Ashraf residents were again attacked, this time the ones who had been relocated to Camp Hurriyah.  Trend News Agency counted 10 dead and over one hundred injured.  Prensa Latina reported, " A rain of self-propelled Katyusha missiles hit a provisional camp of Iraqi opposition Mujahedin-e Khalk, an organization Tehran calls terrorists, causing seven fatalities plus 50 wounded, according to an Iraqi official release."  They were attacked again September 1, 2013 -- two years ago.   Adam Schreck (AP) reported back then that the United Nations was able to confirm the deaths of 52 Ashraf residents.

    This is a travesty, the latest attack.

    The State Dept did respond with something more than their usual 'we call on both sides' b.s.  They issued the following:

    Press Statement
    John Kerry
    Washington, DC
    October 29, 2015
    The United States strongly condemns today’s brutal, senseless terrorist attack on Camp Hurriya that killed and injured camp residents. Our condolences go out to the families of the victims, and we hope for the swift recovery of those injured.
    We have been in touch with senior Iraqi officials to ensure that the Government of Iraq renders all possible medical and emergency assistance to the victims. We also urge the Government of Iraq to provide additional security for the camp’s residents and to find the perpetrators and hold them accountable for the attack, consistent with its obligations under the December 25, 2011 agreement with the United Nations.
    We are consulting with the Government of Iraq to ascertain the full extent of this unprovoked attack.
    No matter the circumstances, on this point we remain absolute: the United States remains committed to assisting the UN High Commissioner for Refugees in the relocation of all Camp Hurriya residents to a permanent and safe location outside of Iraq. We call on more countries to assist in responding to this urgent humanitarian situation by welcoming camp residents for relocation and by contributing to the fund established by the United Nations to support their resettlement. The Department, through its Senior Advisor for MEK Resettlement, will remain actively engaged in the international effort to relocate the residents of Camp Hurriya to safe, permanent locations as soon as possible.

    The US government needed to make that statement and they need to do a great deal more.  This was addressed in the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing of October 7th (covered in the October 10th snapshot).  We'll note this exchange:

    Senator Angus King: Several times you gentlemen used the term "the US made assurances," the term "solemn promise,""guarantee," and Col Martin, you mentioned a card.  What did that card say?  I'd like to know specifically: what assurances were delivered, by whom and when?

    Colonel Wesley Martin [Retired]: Yes, sir.  This was the protected persons status under the Geneva Convention.  And I have a copy of it.  If you give me a second, I can find it real quick.

    Senator Angus King: Well I'd like to know what is says.

    Colonel Wesley Martin:  Okay. 

    Senator Angus King: What I'm searching for here is what are the assurances specifically and who delivered them and when.  I think that's a fair question given that seems to be the premise of this discussion.

    Colonel Wesley Martin: "This card holder is protected person under the agreement of the Fourth Geneva Convention.  Should the assigned person" uh, it's a little blurry "should an incident occur, we request that the person contact the [US] military police brigade."  And then it goes on the agreement that they made: "You are being offered your release from control and protection in exchange for your promise to comply with certain regulations."  And it clearly states they are protected, they will not be -- they will not be arrested, they will not be harmed.

    Senator Angus King: What did they have to do?

    Colonel Wesley Martin: And what they had to do, sir, is go ahead and sign an agreement --

    Senator Angus King: That's when they were moved from Ashraf to Liberty?

    Colonel Wesley Martin: No, sir. That was a whole set of different promises.  If I may, sir, Senator McCain, [holding clipped stack of papers], if I could, I'd like to make this submitted for the record.

    Senator Angus King: Well you can make it for the record but I want to know who made assurances -- 

    Colonel Wesley Martin:  Yes, sir.

    Senator Angus King (Con't): -- and what those assurances were.  And saying they were protected person under the Geneva Convention isn't a promise that the US will take you in.  I just want to understand what the promise is that we're being urged to honor.

    Colonel Wesley Martin:  Yes, sir.  I understand.  The first one is they would be protected and they would remain at Camp Ashraf.  That was 2004. That was with the US State Dept in agreement with the United States Dept of Defense and [then-Secretary of Defense Donald] Rumsfeld was the person that finally approved it -- but working with the State Dept.  The person that issued those cards, working with the Embassy, was US Brigadier General David Phillips [. . .]

    The US government made a promise and it has refused to honor it.

    The Ashraf community could be resettled from Camp Liberty to outside Iraq in the blink of an eye.

    At one point, John Kerry had tasked his friend with this assignment.

    Despite holding the post for over a year, his friend didn't do anything but sit on his ass and collect a check.

    Resettling less than 4,000 people does not require a year or even six months.

    If the White House had the will, the desire, to resettle the Ashraf community, they would have been re-settled some time ago.

    We'll note two Tweets on the topic:

  • US must airlift ALL the Camp Liberty refugees out of Iraq tonight. No more ifs and buts!

  • Struan Stevenson was a Member of the European Parliament from 1999 to 2014 and is an advocate for the Ashraf community.  Judy Chu is a member of the US House of Representatives and has repeatedly spoken out on behalf of the Ashraf community.

    If more would join their voices, the Iraqi government might keep their word to protect the Ashraf community until they can be resettled outside of Iraq.

    Staying with violence, Wednesday, the US Defense Dept announced the latest bombings in Operation Inherent Failure:

    Airstrikes in Iraq

    Attack, bomber and fighter aircraft conducted 13 airstrikes in Iraq, coordinated with and in support of the Iraqi government:

    -- Near Huwayjah, two strikes struck two separate ISIL weapons and staging areas.

    -- Near Mosul, one strike destroyed an ISIL artillery piece.

    -- Near Ramadi, two strikes struck a large ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL recoilless rifle, two ISIL rocket rails, eight ISIL boats, two ISIL fighting positions and an ISIL heavy machine gun, suppressed an ISIL heavy machine gun, and denied ISIL access to terrain.

    -- Near Sinjar, three strikes destroyed 33 ISIL fighting positions.

    -- Near Sultan Abdallah, two strikes destroyed an ISIL fighting position and suppressed an ISIL mortar position.

    -- Near Tal Afar, three strikes suppressed two ISIL mortar positions and an ISIL heavy machine gun position.

    On the topic of these 'precision' strikes, CBC reports:

    Canadian fighter planes have now been connected to a second airstrike in Iraq that has been reviewed by the Pentagon for possible civilian casualties, CBC's the fifth estate has learned.

    [. . .]

    The Pentagon review, conducted in December, looked at a joint Canadian-Australian bombing raid on a "suspected weapons factory" in Fallujah, Iraq, on Dec. 21 in which a woman and a child were seen on video emerging from the site after the airstrike.

    The child was picked up by someone on a motorcycle and transported to hospital. The woman lay down on the side of the road, according to an internal Pentagon report obtained by the fifth estate.

    This is the second case of alleged civilian casualties linked to Canadian bombers. The first, on Jan. 21 in Kisik in Northern Iraq, was dismissed by the Canadian military as non-credible.

    Bombs dropped on Iraq are not falling on empty acres.  And these bombs also are not 'smart' and able to distinguish civilians from the Islamic State.

    The bombs are killing people and, yes, people include civilians.

    The suffering never stops for the Iraqi people.

    Today, heavy flooding met with a lack of public services in Iraq to creating flood waters.

    AFP grasps the distinction between a misfortune due to an act of nature and the injustice when people are harmed as a result of a government doing nothing:

    Torrential rain caused chaos across several parts of Iraq on Thursday, with the water causing thigh-high flooding on some Baghdad streets and damaging camps for the displaced.
    The storm that hit Baghdad on Wednesday evening was unusually violent and the first after a long, dry summer.
    The poor condition of infrastructure in Baghdad, the second largest city in the region with an estimated population of more than eight million, resulted in spectacular flooding.

    Knee high flood waters in parts of Baghdad are not a result of nature, not a misfortune.
    They are an injustice.
    Even more so for the displaced living in tent cities.

  • Iraqi Spring MC Tweets these photos from an Anbar refugee camp:

    : صور متداولة لمعاناة نازحي محافظة الأنبار التي تزداد مع اقتراب فصل الشتاء.
    Embedded image permalink
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    AFP reports, "A three-year-old girl died when she was swept away by the water at a camp for displaced people near Tuz Khurmatu, about 220 km north of Baghdad, officials said."

    Iraq's leaders have had years to address the crumbling infrastructure.  (Crumbling from age, yes, but also from targeted bombings by the west.)

    Ahmed Omar, a refugee at the al Amal camp, told the BBC, "This is not fair.  Parliament, officials, government, we are your people. We are your people, You sold us out."

    Some outlets are saying this is rare -- this flooding -- and something of a surprise.

    Have they ever paid attention?

    We could go over the rainy season and what happens every year if I felt like spoon feeding lazy 'reporters' who can't -- or won't -- do the job they're paid to do.

    But we'll provide one example.  This is from November 19, 2013's "Nouri's Iraq: Flooding and killing:"

    A child died today as a result of them -- a four-year-old boy in Hilla.

    Top photo on this Al Mada page of photos is of the flooding in Baghdad.

    al mada

    Wael Grace (Al Mada) reports there is a current rush to restore the damns in southern Iraq to prevent a repeat of last year's massive flooding.  If Iraq had a real leader -- and not Nouri al-Maliki -- these dams would have been restored in the dry season and there'd be no mad dash, a year later, to fix what should have already been addressed.

    Again, this is not rare, this is the rainy season.  

    This week's reports have forever thug and former prime minister (2006 to 2014) Nouri al-Maliki walking off with $500 billion in stolen funds -- including $250 billion that was aid from foreign countries and intended to be spent on, for example, reconstruction.
    For eight years, Nouri had the chance to improve Iraq's public infrastructure by providing adequate sanitation and sewage.  
    Instead, his son has high priced digs in London and a fleet of sports cars.  
    This despite the fact that the only job the son's held has been the government job Nouri gave him.
    But the al-Malikis live large as a result of all the funds stolen from the Iraqi people.
    Heavy rains are a misfortune.
    The standing water, the tent cities?  
    They're an injustice.
    And the latest cholera epidemic?
    Tie it into Nouri's refusal to do public works projects and deliver potable water to the people.
    Again, an injustice.

    The longer Haider al-Abadi is prime minister (he took the post in the fall of 2014), the more Nouri's failures become his own.

    The Economist offers a look at Haider's 'accomplishments' and it's not pretty.

    We'll note one section:

    He took to Facebook to announce the opening to traffic of the Green Zone, the chunk of central Baghdad the Americans turned into a government enclave in 2003 and which has bunged up the capital ever since. But he only opened a single one-way road, disrupted by so many checkpoints that the old routes are still faster.

    And, check the archives, we called that out -- and the press pretending something important was happening -- in real time.

    The supposed-to-be skeptical western press has instead turned out to be the most gullible of all.

    Click here to watch talk show host Rachel Maddow make an ass out of herself by completely misunderstanding what was actually happening and grasp that she's just one of many.