Thursday, August 25, 2016

Iraq snapshot

Thursday, August 25, 2016.  Chaos and violence continue, press covering State Dept ignore REUTERS report about the persecution of the Sunnis, IAVA co-hosts a debate, and much more.

Starting with US politicsn . . .

  1. How many lives did Hillary Clinton cut down by voting for the Iraq war?

Justin Raimondo is with ANTIWAR.COM and this is from the column he published yesterday:

As one of my Twitter followers put it so succinctly: “Globalization: Where leaders from any country get to pick US Presidents.” As the Clinton campaign’s Robby Mook tears a page out of Joe McCarthy’s book and smears Donald Trump as being “Putin’s puppet,” the irony is that this election has seen foreign interference in American politics to an unprecedented degree – on Hillary’s behalf.
In the past, foreign actors tried to hide such activities, rightly thinking that they might encounter resentment – or even legal consequences – for trying to meddle in affairs that are none of their damned business. Not anymore. Now that we’re a global empire, with our leaders proclaiming the supreme importance of exercising “US leadership” and sticking our noses in every petty squabble on earth, our client states are openly interfering in our internal affairs. After all, if we can engage in “regime change” campaigns, and dictate the terms and results of Lower Slobbovia’s elections, why can’t they interfere in ours? To this end they employ legions of publicists, lobbyists, and tame congressmen to pursue their national interests, mostly at our expense: the billions in “foreign aid” we ship overseas come back to our shores in the form of exorbitant fees paid to PR firms – a rare trade deal where American firms actually come out ahead!
Most of this is relatively subtle, and covert – or, at least, it has been up to now. However, the Trump phenomenon has changed the rules of the game, and foreign actors are now openly coming out of the closet – so to speak – and brazenly attacking the GOP candidate. I can’t recall a presidential contest where a foreign ambassador has written an op-ed piece attacking one of the candidates, but this election season has Ukraine’s ambassador to the US, Valeriy Chaly, publishing a piece in the Ukrainian Weekly echoing the Mookarthyite charge that Trump is the Manchurian candidate. Trump’s comments on the Ukraine issue “have raised serious concerns,” we are told, as Chaly goes on to write that:
“Since the Russian aggression, there has been bipartisan support for U.S. sanctions against Russia, and for such sanctions to remain in place until the territorial integrity of Ukraine is restored. Efforts to enhance Ukraine’s defense capacity are supported across the aisle, as well, to ensure that Ukraine becomes strong enough to deter Russia’s aggression.
“Even if Mr. Trump’s comments are only speculative, and do not really reflect a future foreign policy, they call for appeasement of an aggressor and support the violation of a sovereign country’s territorial integrity and another’s breach of international law.”
Chaly doesn’t get it, but that’s not surprising – he’s a foreigner, after all. Trump doesn’t care about the “bipartisan” consensus that has ruled Washington and mandated US intervention in every two-bit border dispute. The whole point of the Trump campaign, and the reason for his overwhelming victory in the primaries, is that the bipartisan internationalism of the past is over, finished, kaput. Trump isn’t buying into the new cold war hysteria being drummed up by the political class: he has said he wants to get along with the Russians, and for that the Mookarthyites in the Democratic party and their journalistic camarilla are up in arms. Well, let them rant and rave all they want: the American people couldn’t give a sh*t about Ukraine – a ramshackle “nation” of corrupt oligarchs, neo-Nazi skinheads, and a national “cuisine” consisting of greasy dumplings and sour cabbage – and if that be “isolationism,” let Hillary Clinton and her neocon allies make the most of it.
The rest of the Ambassador’s tiresome screed excuses the Kiev regime’s vicious war on its own people – they’ve killed thousands of their own countrymen – on grounds similar to the Clinton campaign’s conspiracy theory: it’s all a Putinist plot. This ignores the indisputable fact that what’s happening in Ukraine is a civil war, pitting Ukrainian against Ukrainian, and has little to do with Russia. The fact of the matter is that the people of the Donbas region don’t want to be ruled by Kiev, perhaps because “President” Petro Poroshenko – who came to power by violently overthrowing the elected President – says things like this about them:
“We will have our jobs – they will not. We will have our pensions – they will not. We will have care for children, for people and retirees – they will not. Our children will go to schools and kindergartens… theirs will hole up in the basements. Because they are not able to do a thing. This is exactly how we will win this war!”
That the Obama administration and the Clinton campaign are embracing a thug like Poroshenko comes as no surprise: these are the same people who are in the pocket of the Saudis as they bomb helpless Yemenis in one of the worst atrocities in modern times.

Hillary is qualified . . . to be something.

Hillary is a total warhawk: -Iraq war -Afghanistan war -Qadaffi -Coup in Ukraine -Armed Syrian rebels -Gulf state pay-for-play weapons deals

War Monger.

That's what she's qualified for.

Still on US politics, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America announced the following:

Joint Candidate Event to Highlight National Security, Military and Veterans Issues, Live in Primetime on NBC and MSNBC on Wednesday, September 7, 2016

AUGUST 18, 2016 – Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) will host both major party presidential nominees, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, for a live televised primetime forum to focus exclusively on issues the next president will have to confront as Commander-in-Chief.
The event will take place in New York City and will be simulcast on NBC and MSNBC in primetime on the evening of September 7, 2016.

The candidates will appear back to back during the one-hour event. They will take questions on national security, military affairs and veterans issues from NBC News and an audience comprised mainly of military veterans and active service members.

“IAVA is proud to lead this historic event for our veterans community and all Americans,” said Paul Rieckhoff, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of IAVA. “On the cusp of the 15th Anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, New York is a fitting stage to give voice to American veterans and service members that are all too often shut out of our political debate. IAVA members world-wide, 93% of whom say they’ll be voting in November, and many deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan right now, are ready to hear from the candidates and hold them accountable. IAVA is honored to join with NBC on this significant event that will ensure that America’s next Commander-in-Chief, at least for one night, addresses our nation’s moral obligation to support and empower its 22 million veterans, our servicemembers and our military families.”

More information will be made available in the coming weeks about format, moderators, location and press credentialing.


Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America ( is the leading Post-9/11 veteran empowerment organization (VEO) with the most diverse and rapidly growing membership in America. As a non-partisan, non-profit founded in 2004, IAVA’s mission is to connect, unite and empower Post-9/11 veterans. Celebrating its 12th year, IAVA has connected more than 1.2 million veterans with resources and community, and provided more than 5,000 veterans with personalized support from IAVA’s Master’s-level social workers.


More Americans watch NBC News and MSNBC than any news organization in the world. NBC News is a global leader in news across all broadcast and digital platforms.  Its leading and award-winning television news broadcasts include NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt, TODAY, Meet the Press, and Dateline, as well as primetime specials and breaking news reports.  MSNBC is the premier cable destination for breaking and live news coverage, in-depth analysis, and influential voices – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The rapidly-growing NBC News Digital Group, along with the SiriusXM TODAY Show and MSNBC radio channels and NBC News Radio on the iHeartMedia 24/7 News Network, provide continuous content to consumers wherever they are, whenever they want it.

Note to media: Email or call 212-982-9699 to speak with IAVA CEO and Founder Paul Rieckhoff or IAVA leadership.

Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America ( is the leading post-9/11 veteran empowerment organization (VEO) with the most diverse and rapidly growing membership in America. As a non-profit founded in 2004, IAVA’s mission is to connect, unite and empower post-9/11 veterans. Celebrating its 12th year anniversary, IAVA has connected more than 1.2 million veterans with resources and community, and provided more than 5,800 veterans with personalized support from IAVA’s Master’s level social workers.

Frequently, of veterans, it's said that they fought for 'our' freedom.

I'm failing to see what freedom is embraced in a debate that does include all the candidates -- Gary Johnson (Libertarian Party) and Jill Stein (Green Party) are only two of the most obvious candidates left out of the 'debate.'

Thank you, sirs
For the right to vote
Bet you didn't know
I had a voice in my throat
Now let's see
Should I vote for A or B
A talks a lot
But not to me
And B wants war
Kill or flunk?
Forget the vote
I'll just go out and get drunk

-- "The Right To Vote," written by Laura Nyro, first appears on her album MOTHER'S SPIRITUAL

Seems to me the tarnished NBC/MSNBC news/talk outlet is attempting to use IAVA to bolster their own faded image.

Any chance the 'debate' will feature Iraq War veteran Mike Prysner's question?

"Hillary, how do you sleep at night after supporting illegal war in Iraq that led to 1 million deaths?"

In matters what you ask.

It matters what you emphasize.

Oh let your little light shine
Let your little light shine
Shine on Wall Street and Vegas
Place your bets
Shine on the fishermen
With nothing in their nets
Shine on rising oceans and evaporating seas
Shine on our Frankenstein technologies
Shine on science
With its tunnel vision
Shine on fertile farmland
Buried under subdivisions

[. . .]
Let your little light shine
Let your little light shine
Shine on good humor
Shine on good will
Shine on lousy leadership
Licensed to kill
Shine on dying soldiers
In patriotic pain
Shine on mass destruction
In some God's name!
Shine on the pioneers
Those seekers of mental health
Craving simplicity
They traveled inward
Past themselves...
May all their little lights shine 

-- "Shine," written by Joni Mitchell, first appears on her album SHINE

In Iraq today . . .

: At least 18 policemen killed in twin suicide bombing attacks in -- report

The violence -- like the war itself -- never ends.

Yesterday, the US Defense Dept announced:

Strikes in Iraq
Fighter aircraft, remotely piloted aircraft and rocket artillery conducted four strikes in Iraq, coordinated with and in support of Iraq’s government:
-- Near Hit, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit, destroyed a fighting position and damaged another fighting position.
-- Near Ramadi, two strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit, and destroyed a fighting position and a mortar system.
-- Near Sinjar, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit.

Task force officials define a strike as one or more kinetic events that occur in roughly the same geographic location to produce a single, sometimes cumulative, effect. Therefore, officials explained, a single aircraft delivering a single weapon against a lone ISIL vehicle is one strike, but so is multiple aircraft delivering dozens of weapons against buildings, vehicles and weapon systems in a compound, for example, having the cumulative effect of making those targets harder or impossible for ISIL to use. Accordingly, officials said, they do not report the number or type of aircraft employed in a strike, the number of munitions dropped in each strike, or the number of individual munition impact points against a target. Ground-based artillery fired in counterfire or in fire support to maneuver roles is not classified as a strike.

This week, Iraq did come up in the US State Dept's daily press briefing:

QUESTION: Over the weekend, two major figures complained publicly that political preparation for the liberation of Mosul is badly lacking. They include the Kurdish President Masoud Barzani as well as Iyad Allawi, former Iraqi prime minister, very pro-American. I understand that Baghdad is in charge of this, but Allawi said, quote, “We do not see any serious steps by the Iraqi Government to coordinate and prepare the environment during the Mosul liberation and post-liberation.” Is this something – this question of Mosul – that you are discussing with Baghdad? Are you assisting them in formulating a post-ISIS plan for Mosul?

MR [Spokesperson Mark C.] TONER: Yes. And I think I spoke a little bit about this last week, and our Special Envoy Brett McGurk was just in the region and, in fact, held meetings with both sides or with Kurdistan officials as well as with – or Kurdish officials, rather, as well as Iraqi government officials on this very issue: looking forward towards what needs to be done next in terms of going after ISIL in Iraq and keeping the pressure on them.
We’re regularly engaged with both the central government, as I said, and the regional government in Erbil about the necessary political and military steps that need to be taken to make sure that we’re successful in liberating Mosul. And I can say yesterday that our ambassador there, Stuart Jones, held a press conference, where he also reaffirmed the United States commitment to provide assistance to the Iraqi campaign to defeat ISIL on the battlefield, but also – and we’ve talked about this a great deal – how to make sure that humanitarian assistance quickly follows and stabilizes these liberated areas.

So bottom line is we’re aware of the tensions and the questions and the issues here. We’re working closely with all the parties to try to remain – or try to, rather, maintain a consistent front that keeps the pressure on destroying and degrading ISIL in Iraq.

That's your bottom line, Toner?

As Chaka Khan once sang, "What I need is a link to the inner mind, if you want to know my bottom line" ("Soul Talkin'").

Thanks for sharing.

But we'll leave Toner alone for a bit.

He was speaking Tuesday.

What about Wednesday?

What did the State Dept say Wednesday afternoon?

They had to have said something, right?

From yesterday morning's snapshot:

Human Rights Watch Ken Roth Tweets:

Sectarian abuse by Iraq Shia militia was even worse than believed (meaning downright awful).

Human Rights Watch has long noted the ongoing persecution of the Sunnis in Iraq.

Roth's referring to a new blockbuster report from Ned Parker of REUTERS news agency.

This time, Ned's teamed with Jonathan S. Landay for a report which opens:

Shi’ite militias in Iraq detained, tortured and abused far more Sunni civilians during the American-backed capture of the town of Falluja in June than U.S. officials have publicly acknowledged, Reuters has found.More than 700 Sunni men and boys are still missing more than two months after the Islamic State stronghold fell. The abuses occurred despite U.S. efforts to restrict the militias' role in the operation, including threatening to withdraw American air support, according to U.S. and Iraqi officials.
The U.S. efforts had little effect. Shi’ite militias did not pull back from Falluja, participated in looting there and now vow to defy any American effort to limit their role in coming operations against Islamic State.
All told, militia fighters killed at least 66 Sunni males and abused at least 1,500 others fleeing the Falluja area, according to interviews with more than 20 survivors, tribal leaders, Iraqi politicians and Western diplomats.
They said men were shot, beaten with rubber hoses and in several cases beheaded. Their accounts were supported by a Reuters review of an investigation by local Iraqi authorities and video testimony and photographs of survivors taken immediately after their release. 
Prior to the start of the war, Jonathan S. Landay filed strong reports for KNIGHT RIDDER.  Ned first shined on the Iraq War with powerful pieces for THE LOS ANGELES TIMES including ones exposing secret prisons.  At REUTERS, he's continued for file reporting that matters. 

In fact, he's filed reporting that matters so much, he had to leave Iraq after being threatened on state television for his reporting.

Not one 'brave' reporter raised this issue at yesterday's State Dept press briefing.

What a bunch of cowardly and cowed excuses for journalists.

Wally's "THIS JUST IN! CLINTON LETS LOOSE!" went up earlier as did the following community sites -- plus Jody Watley: