Saturday, February 10, 2018

Nothing's ever legal when it comes to Iraq

  1. Yesterday we told a federal court that the Trump administration has no legal authority to detain an American who's been held in Iraq for nearly five months without charge.

So will the person be released as the courts state should happen?

When does legal ever apply to Iraq?

Anthony H. Cordesman, at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, observed in July of last year:

Unless Iraq's leaders can come together and govern more effectively, defeating ISIS may well be a prelude to continuing ethnic and sectarian crisis or civil war. While the war against ISIS has created some degree of cooperation, it is important to note that the ISIS invasion was enabled by massive misgovernment under former Prime Minister Nouri Maliki, and a steady rise in ethnic and sectarian violence—that had risen back to the 2008 levels of civil conflict by the time ISIS invaded Fallujah in January 2014. Significant tensions and risks of violence exist within the Kurdish, Sunni Arab, and Shi'ite factions. Iraq also is not able to choose its neighbors or its “friends.” Russia, Iran, Turkey, other Arab states, and the United States and its allies all have conflicting interests and compete for influence.

That was over a half year ago and there's still no movement towards cohesion in Iraq.

The US government is pinning hopes on Hayder al-Abadi.

Others aren't quite as sure.

Surveying the landscape ahead of the planned elections, Tallha Abdulrazaq (ARAB WEEKLY) offers:

Since announcing in January that local and national elections would both be on May 12, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has faced a series of political disasters, leading many to doubt whether he is charismatic and strong enough to hold his newly created list together before the candidates are tested in the polls.
Abadi harmed his credibility as a unifier after forging a political alliance with the sectarian Shia-dominated Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMF) and spending much of the battle for Mosul assuring Iraqis that no militants would field candidates in elections without first disarming. Abadi named his new electoral list the "Victory Alliance," seeking to capitalise on the perception that he was instrumental in the defeat of the Islamic State (ISIS).
However, less than 48 hours after the announcement, the pro-Iran PMF announced it would be splitting from the Victory Alliance and contesting elections separately under its own "Conquest List" against the prime minister. Essentially, by allying with the PMF, Abadi ensured that the group would have grounds to proceed with fielding its own candidates but failed to calculate it would abandon him once it got what it wanted.
A little more than a fortnight later, the incumbent suffered another blow to his prestige when senior Shia cleric Ammar al-Hakim announced he would also be parting ways with Abadi. Hakim, scion of an influential Shia clerical family, declared he would set up his own "Wisdom Alliance" to contest elections against the prime minister, declaring he would try to work with Abadi "for the shared benefit of the country."
Despite the positive-sounding rhetoric, reports suggest that Hakim threatened to walk out on Abadi soon after the departure of the PMF's Conquest bloc. As Abadi was unwilling to guarantee better political positions should the Victory Alliance claim victory in May, Hakim decided to weaken Abadi by leaving the list and creating his own.

Violence continues in Iraq.  See if you can spot the most disturbing detail in this report from XINHUA:

A total of seven people were killed on Saturday and six others injured in two violent incidents in Iraq's central province of Salahudin, provincial police sources said. 
In one incident, a police patrol found five bodies of shepherds who were kidnapped earlier by unidentified gunmen in the south of the ethnically-mixed city of Tuz-Khurmato, some 90 km east of Salahudin's capital Tikrit, said Col. Mohammed Khalaf from the media office of the provincial police. The bodies of the victims showed bullet holes in their heads and chests, Khalaf added.

Coprses dumped in the streets.  They don't get dumped because someone's in a hurry.  They're dumped to send a message.  When that starts happening, Iraq's usually experiencing another surge in violence.

The following community sites -- plus Jody Watley, NPR Music and the ACLU -- updated:

  • Cheaper Than Free (Stevie Nicks with Dave Stewart)

    Stevie Nicks' "Cheaper Than Free" featuring Dave Stewart (first appears on her album IN YOUR DREAMS).

    For What It's Worth (Stevie Nicks)

    Stevie Nicks' "For What It's Worth" (first appears on her album IN YOUR DREAMS).

    Stand Back (Stevie Nicks)

    Stevie Nicks' "Stand Back" (first appears on THE WILD HEART).

    Baby Can I Hold You (Tracy Chapman)

    Tracy Chapman performing "Baby Can I Hold You" (first appears on her self-titled debut album).

    Black History Month – Stories of Courage: Karla Clay

    From Paralyzed Veterans of America:

    Karla Clay, Paralyzed Veterans of America member and National Veterans Wheelchair Games athlete.
    Karla Clay, Paralyzed Veterans of America member and National Veterans Wheelchair Games athlete.
    February is Black History Month, an annual celebration of achievements by African Americans and a time for recognizing the central role of blacks in U.S. history. Paralyzed Veterans will be recognizing Black History month with a series of weekly stories. These stories will highlight the struggles, successes and achievements of our black members and their involvement in the organization’s history.
    Today, we are recognizing Paralyzed Veterans member, Karla Clay, an Air Force veteran and third year National Veterans Wheelchair Games athlete.
    Growing up, Karla Cole Clay was more involved in music and performing arts than sports. Valedictorian of her high school class of 1978, Karla attended Christian Brothers College (now University) in her hometown of Memphis, Tennessee, on an Air Force ROTC scholarship.
    “I thought, I’ll give them a commitment of four years and they’ll pay for college. That sounds like a good deal. October 26, 1982 was my first day of active duty. On October 25, 1986 I resigned my commission. I was promoted to Captain a few months earlier—I had actually made Captain early—so people were stunned when I got out, but I fulfilled my commitment like I said I would and then I walked away.
    Karla served as commissary officer at McChord Air Force Base in Tacoma, Washington and, later, at Malmstrom Air Force Base in Great Falls, Montana. While at Malmstrom, she assisted the Commander of Air Force Commissary Service on inspections at other commissaries, and was eventually sent on temporary duty to the commissary at Bergstrom Air Force Base in Austin, Texas. Her husband was returning from duty in Korea to begin law school in Austin, which made it the perfect time for temporary duty to be changed into a permanent assignment. Based on improvements she and her team made to the commissary, Karla was selected as Air Force Commissary Service Junior Officer of the Year and promoted to Captain. After leaving the Air Force in 1986, she pursued her marketing career, working in sales management for a number of consumer product companies.
    After experiencing periodic symptoms—tingling in her feet, vertigo—for more than a decade, an MRI in 2001 diagnosed Karla with MS. She continued to work another ten years, but stayed “in the closet” about her diagnosis, only telling family and close friends because she was unsure how it would impact her career. As symptoms mounted, she ultimately had to face reality and stop working. Upon learning that she was eligible for care at the VA, she enrolled and was using a wheelchair from the VA when a physical therapist suggested she look into getting a custom wheelchair.
    “They even had my favorite color. They give you a brochure and you pick it out like you pick out a car. I just got new wheels with blue spokes, so now I’m really looking sharp.”
    A self-proclaimed “wheelchair potato,” Karla was shocked when people suggested she participate in the National Veterans Wheelchair Games in Dallas. Hesitant at first, she eventually signed up for racing, javelin and bowling, and became hooked on adaptive sports, particularly strength training.
    “I began strength training with the VA kinesiology therapist and quickly realized that I like to challenge myself and lift more or do more sets and improve each time I go. I’ve lost weight and toned up. Two years ago, at the age of 55, my transformation from non-athlete to NVWG medalist began several months before the Games in Dallas. Each week I did two hours of strength training with a VA kinesiology therapist and two hours of track and field practice with two VA recreation therapists. I was stunned when I noticed muscles two months later—biceps and triceps I hadn’t seen before. I keep teasing friends that I’m going to walk around in sleeveless shirts even in the winter because I really do like the way my arms look now!”
    She gives a lot of the credit for her success to the team at the Dallas VA SCI (Spinal Cord Injury) clinic.
    “I couldn’t have competed without the coordinated efforts of the outstanding Dallas VA SCI clinic team. The physiatrist who did my first NVWG physical sent me to a kinesiology therapist for strength training, and two recreation therapists taught me how to play boccia and throw the discus and javelin. Also, a physical therapist and an occupational therapist worked together to equip my chair with additional support devices for racing.”
    Getting involved in the Games got Karla more involved in Paralyzed Veterans of America (Paralyzed Veterans, PVA). She now volunteers at the SCI Internet Cafe at the Dallas VA, volunteering as a host and helping guests use the computers. She was able to try out adaptive rowing through a partnership between Paralyzed Veterans and Dallas United Crew and participated in Walk MS with the Dallas VA MS support group’s Veteran Strong team that was sponsored by the Lone Star PVA. Up next, she’s looking forward to tackling adaptive rock climbing at the NVWG Expo.
    “If you’d told me I’d be doing all these things 10 years ago, I would’ve thought you were crazy. I’d never heard of boccia nor seen a javelin or discus in person. Getting involved with adaptive sports and Paralyzed Veterans changed my life. I’ve come out of my shell and met many great people, reaped the rewards of volunteering, gotten in shape, learned so much—especially about myself—and even have three gold medals, a silver medal and a bronze medal, thanks to the NVWG. The flame was lit in me back in 2015 and I’m going strong!”

    2018 American Legion events to be streamed live

    The American Legion will stream several major events in 2018 live, free of charge, through and All events are listed under Eastern time, and are tentative and/or subject to change. After the live stream, the events will be available for playback at
    The following events are on the schedule:
    Feb. 27, 8 a.m.: Washington Conference - Commander's Call
    April 15, 10 a.m.: National Oratorical Contest Finals
    Aug. 24, 5 pm.: National Convention - Color Guard Contest
    Aug. 25, 1 p.m.: National Convention - Band Contest
    Aug. 26, 11 a.m.: National Convention - Patriotic Memorial Service
    Aug. 28, 8 a.m.: National Convention - General Sessions, Day One
    Aug. 29, 8 a.m.: National Convention - General Sessions, Day Two
    Aug. 30, 8:30 a.m.: National Convention - General Sessions, Day Three
    The majority of this year's live-streamed events will take place in Minneapolis during the 100th National Convention. This is the perfect opportunity for Legion Family members who cannot be there in person to take part vicariously in the historic kickoff to the Centennial Celebration.

    Facebook steps up campaign of censorship and monitoring

    Social media giant Facebook has moved rapidly to implement greater censorship protocols this past month. 

    On January 31, CEO Mark Zuckerberg posted a notice outlining extraordinary plans to monitor all the postings and messages of its users, censor independent journalism, and use artificial intelligence (AI) to report users to the police and intelligence agencies.

    On January 12, Facebook said it would deprioritize news and political content—that is, display them less often—in favor of “personal moments.” One week later, Zuckerberg announced that of the news articles that are shown to users, the News Feed will prioritize those published by what it called “trustworthy” sources, meaning pro-establishment outlets such as the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. Then, on January 29, the company reported that it will prioritize news from “local sources.”

    See: The avalanche of new measures for mass political censorship and surveillance, now being released on a weekly and even daily basis, testifies to the correctness and urgency of the World Socialist Web Site's open letter to socialist, left-wing and anti-war organizations, individuals and web sites, “For an International Coalition against Internet Censorship.” We urge our readers to read and widely share the letter and to take up this fight.

    Help us fight Internet censorship. Make a donation today!
    World Socialist Web Site |
    Articles: Copyright © 2017, All rights reserved.

    Some Tweets from Margaret Kimberley

    Some Tweets from journalist Margaret Kimberley:

  •  Pinned Tweet
    I’m paraphrasing but this is what Obama said to . “I’m sorry for your loss but f**ck you.” In 8 years Obama DOJ only prosecuted 2 cops. The one who killed was not one of them. He is still on the force and got overtime pay for appearing in court.
  • Trump wants a parade??? He is about to start WWIII in Syria but whatever.
  •   Retweeted
    Having carried out over 100 attacks on Syria since 2011, Israel takes its control over its neighbors' airspace for granted. That ended today with the downing of one of its F-16s by Syrian air defenses.

    1. From last year but still works. Actually even better now.
    2.   Retweeted
      1. I’m 27 2. Please look up the word universal. 3. We haven’t been bankrupt for years and are actually the 2nd fiscally healthy city in the state. 4. It’s philanthropically funded 5. The majority of people are struggling in this economy. We have to deal with that
    3. Jeff Bezos is the richest and by definition the worst oligarch on earth. He got rich by stealing public money.
    4. The Black Agenda Report team is on board with . Amazon brings low wages and theft of public land and resources.
    5. BTW, non-citizens were declared deportable by Bill Clinton who was in cahoots with Newt Gingrich. It didn't start with Trump.
    6.   Retweeted
      "No, we don’t want Amazon here. In fact, we don’t want Amazon anywhere. We believe that Atlantans and all people of good conscience across the country should oppose the HQ2 proposal before the decision is made."
    7.   Retweeted
      Replying to 
      Yep. This hashtag is kind of dangerous. Everyone was *sure* he was going to lose last time.
    8. Dear everyone, Please stop quoting .
    9. Exactly. Dems say nothing about vote theft.
    10.   Retweeted
      Replying to 
      So you're saying war mongering and refusing to openly support and refusing to support legalizing while giving more power is NOT the way to win?

    1.   Retweeted
      Replying to 
      Yes. Unless something changes in a very substantial & as yet unforeseen way, I think it is almost certain that he will win again. There may well be shifts & changes coming that aren't apparent now - I hope so - but the present course will very likely lead to another Trump win.
    2. No one will beat Trump in 2020 if the democrats keep standing for the same rancid, war mongering, neo liberal BS. Of course Trump can win again.
    3.   Retweeted
      “Let me be clear, by invading Syrian airspace, Israel is the criminal and Syria is the victim. I salute the Syrian people; they have withstood a huge barrage; the world should salute them.” I spoke candidly about ’s aggression against :
    4.   Retweeted
      This is funny: Syria and Russian jets are shot down but Israeli jet "crashes" after being fired on. And we are told these people provide "real news."
    5.   Retweeted
      Your dad is multimillionaire who just stole from the poor in the dark of night, he is scum till the day he dies. My apologies.
    6.   Retweeted
      The largest voting bloc in the 2016 election was eligible voters who chose not to vote. In contrast to the received wisdom in political consultant circles, choosing not to vote is a political act.