Saturday, March 05, 2022

One year after Pope Francis' visit to Iraq

 A year ago.  It was a historic visit.  It's a shame, if we're honest, how awful the coverage was.  It wasn't noting the historic moment or what it emant for the people.  Yes, you had VACTICAN NEWS and some Catholic outlets who di cover the purpose of the visit and the response to the visit Pope Francis made to Iraq.  But you also had a western corporate media, especially within the US, that couldn't cover reality because they were too busy moralizing.

What do they teach at journalism school?  Or are the students just all that stupid?

Iraq's most recent president Barham Salih Tweets:

Today marks the anniversary of His Holiness ’s visit to Iraq. His Holiness presence in Baghdad, Najaf, Ur, Erbil & Nineveh was cause of hope, pride for all Iraqis, represented a profound message of solidarity with their struggle to protect diversity, peaceful coexistence

Mina Aldroubi (THE NATIONAL) observes:

Pope Francis has changed the Iraqi public’s perception of Christians, the head of Iraq’s Catholic Church said, a year after the pontiff made a historic trip to the country.

Cardinal Louis Raphael Sako, Patriarch of Babylon of the Chaldeans and head of the Chaldean Catholic Church, told The National the level of respect towards Christians has increased immensely since the Pope’s visit.

“The visit was a blessing for Iraq and a point of change, as Iraq finally opened up to the world,” Cardinal Sako said.

“I have to be honest with you, it has changed the way ordinary people think and their perceptions about coexistence among different religions in Iraq has shifted for the better.”

More Iraqis have started to accept the concept of diversity, he said.

“We barely hear that someone saying, 'this person is a Christian or a Muslim,'” Cardinal Sako said in a phone call from Baghdad.

The visit by Pope Francis sent a message of encouragement to not only his 1.3 billion followers but to those Iraqis attempting to recover from the extremist rule of ISIS and those growing disillusioned with their government.

Right now, there's a push to censor this and that.  RT is only one example.  We don't need censorship.  If Americans had to depend solely on the US meida, we'd be the most pathetic and uninformed people in the world.  

You will not catch any of the US outlets -- which seemed hellbent on derailing the Pope's visit last year -- publishing an anrticle like THE NATIONAL did today.  

They also aren't interested in the ongoing corruption in Iraq -- corruption due to the government and the system the US government installed.  EUROPEAN VIEWS notes:

Bribing public officials, paying kick-backs to fixers, and financing slush funds. What reads like an indictment of some prolific crime syndicate is in reality a summary of the recent allegations of misconduct levelled at telecom giant Ericsson and its actions in Iraq.

For the last few weeks, Ericsson has been hard at work to stem the reputational bleeding. In a recent interview given to the financial publication Dagens Industry, CEO Börje Ekholm appeared to come clean by admitting that payments intended to secure access to transport routes may have gone to “terrorist organisations, including ISIS”.

However, more revelations from an investigation conducted by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) – the ‘Ericsson List’ – have ensured that the spotlight remains firmly on the Swedish telecom firm. Having analysed leaked internal company documents, the ICIJ established that the payments referenced by Mr. Ekholm, amounting to around $171,000, were in reality bribes paid to ISIS militants.

In response to these most recent revelations, the US Department of Justice (DoJ) notified Ericsson on Wednesday that they breached the terms of their Deferred Prosecution Agreement for a second time. News of the DoJ’s move further fanned the flames of the crisis engulfing the company, whose stock value plummeted by around 13% in a single day.

In the corrupt state, the political stalemate continues.  RUDAW reports:

Iraqi parliament voted on Saturday to reopen registration for presidential candidates days after the country’s federal court called off a similar decision by the legislature. 

Iraq held parliamentary elections on October 10 but the political parties failed to elect a president for the country on time due to strong rivalry between Kurdistan Region’s ruling parties over the position. After the Federal Supreme Court removed the Kurdistan Democratic Party’s (KDP) candidate Hoshyar Zebari last month over corruption allegations, the parliament presidency reopened doors for candidates. This time, the KDP fielded the Region’s interior minister Reber Ahmed but the same court ruled on Tuesday the reopening of registration “unconstitutional” on the grounds that the decision was not made by majority of MPs but by the parliamentary speaker.  

The parliament convened on Saturday. The session was attended by 265 MPs, according to a statement by the legislature which added that 203 MPs voted in favour of the reopening of registration for presidential candidates. 

The registration begins on Sunday, lasting for three day, the parliament said later. 

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Iraq snapshot

 Friday, March 4, 2022.  War propaganda gets exposed as do the hsulters who promote it, Iraq remains in a political stalemate, and much more.

"The fog," Robert Frost wrote, "comes on little cat feet."  What does the truth come in on?  A very limited number of feet.  Here's Jimmy Dore and THE CONVO COUCH providing some truth regarding Rujssia and Ukraine.

Lorraine Ali (LOS ANGELES TIMES) takes on the racism in the coverage:

The scenes are gravely familiar to anyone familiar with the 21st century news cycle: families fleeing on foot, swarming border crossings and searching through rubble for loved ones. Journalists reporting on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine could not help but compare the military strikes and resulting humanitarian crisis to recent conflicts in the Middle East and Afghanistan.

But a painful double standard quickly emerged inside of those comparisons.

“This isn’t a place, with all due respect, like Iraq or Afghanistan, that has seen conflict raging for decades,” said CBS News correspondent Charlie D’Agata on Sunday. “This is a relatively civilized, relatively European — I have to choose those words carefully too — city, one where you wouldn’t expect that or hope that it’s going to happen.”

D’Agata’s troubling language, in which he seemed to catch himself midsegment, pinpointed much of the emerging bias. In the heat of war, as the international press corps scrambled in real time to wrap their arms around a fast-moving military campaign, a number of correspondents, consciously or not, framed suffering and displacement as acceptable for Arabs, Afghans and others over there — but not here, in Europe, where the people “have blue eyes and blond hair” and where they “look like us.” (And yes, those are actual quotations from news clips.)

The sentiment has been laid bare again and again in numerous American and European press outlets since the beginning of the invasion last week. “We’re not talking here about Syrians fleeing the bombing of the Syrian regime backed by Putin; we’re talking about Europeans leaving in cars that look like ours to save their lives,” Philippe Corbé of the France-based 24-hour news channel BFM TV said. Tellingly, Europe’s own history of brutal warfare, from one end of the 20th century (World War I) to the other (the 1990s Balkan wars), tended to receive far less attention. 

The propaganda has been outrageous but so has the racism.  SNL has done nothing for the Arab world but when they feel the people 'are like us' and 'look like us' they do a cold open that's a tribute.  Soldiarity. . . with the other White people?  It's a small-minded world, that should be the Disney ride, after all.

Adam Lucente (AL-MONITOR) reports:

An American news outlet has been hacked by Iraqi hackers in response to a journalist comparing Iraq unfavorably to Ukraine. 

Last week, CBS featured a reporter in the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, who spoke about the Russian invasion of the country. He said that Ukraine has been relatively peaceful throughout history, unlike Iraq. 

“This isn’t a place, with all due respect, like Iraq or Afghanistan that has seen conflict raging for decades. This is a relatively civilized … city,” said the reporter

On March 2, hackers temporarily assumed control of CBS’ website and posted messages praising Iraqi civilization. One image read “Iraq came, then history came,” the Iraqi News Agency reported. The image also circulated on Iraqi social media

The reporter apologized for his remarks. In response, CBS was hacked again today by a hacker who demanded an apology from the network as a whole. He also posted a picture of the Iraqi flag on the website, Al-Monitor contributor Saman Dawod reported

The ordeal created a stir on Iraqi social media. The Erbil-based radio station Babylon FM posted one of the hackers’ images on Facebook today. The picture showed a Mesopotamian structure with the caption “uncivilized.”

Iraq is often dubbed the “cradle of civilization” and is one of the oldest inhabited places on Earth. The use of currency traces back to ancient Mesopotamia, for example.  


Sorry, but that's the least -- the very least -- that should happen.

CBS NEWS has not taken responsibility.  The reporter has not been punished in any way.  CBS itseflf has not issued an apology on behalf of the network.  The remarks were grossly offensive and truly revealing.  And CBS NEWS, as it scrambles to conceal another sexual harassment scandal, refuses to disown the remarks, let alone condemn them.

Roseann, a coemdian, lost a show for a bad joke on Twitter.  Charlie flaunted racism on a news report and he goes unpunished.  

Which means CBS NEWS agrees with Charlie and that his remarks reflect their opinion.

They were hacked!!!! Oh, horror!

Their racism has inflicted harm on the Iraqi people for years now.  They've treated them as 'the other' and gotten away with it and now they're bragging about it on air.  They got hacked?

That's the least that they deserve, the very least.

This should be a much bigger story, how they revealed their true nature and how their true nature impacted coverage.  

Some people are very mad at SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE for that cold open last week.  Good.  SNL deserves it.  But remember too that the cast of SNL is not a smart cast.  Its drop outs and drama majors.  Back when THE MAJORITY REPORT started, host Janeane Garafalo was shcoked when she had two cast members on as guests and they knew nothing about politics -- one was Amy Poehler, if you've forgotten or missed it back in the day.  

Between taking drugs and pulling pranks, they try to  pull together 45 minutes of humor each week and rarely succeed so are we really susprised that they don't know anything about the world?  They're the worst group ever. Too woke to joke, as I noted Sunday.  

It's been how long since there's been a breakout character?  

The show's a study of failure put on by a group of failures.  

Maybe this week's cold open will te them performing a HOGAN'S HERO spoof?

Aishwarya Varma (THE QUINT) reports:

A video of three army personnel behind a tank in a conflict area, where one of them rushes past the tank to rescue a child before returning, is being shared linking the video to the ongoing war in Ukraine, with users commending the bravery of the soldiers, calling them “real heroes.”

However, we found that the video is neither recent nor from Ukraine.

The video was shot in 2017 in Mosul, Iraq and shows David Eubank, a former United States Special Forces soldier turned aid worker, who ran to rescue a six-year-old girl amid Islamic State of Iraq and Syria’s (ISIS) sniper fire as two soldiers covered him.

Lies, lies, lies.  And desperate whores -- SNL, Marianne Williamson, etc -- serving themselves up to sell the lies.

Marianne, you should be ashamed of yourself.  You have o platform anymore.  Some people found your 'aspirational sermons' to be freakish and offensive during the AIDS crisis.  I cut you slack because I thought you were sincere.  But someone who wants to see the good does not turn around and reduce everything to cartoon villanry so that she can take sides and preach war.  That's all Marianne's doing right now.  Someone needs to shove her COURSE OF MIRACLES right up her ass.

WSWS' editorial board has issued a statement:

The deep-rooted and essential causes of a war are revealed not in how a war begins but in how it develops and to what it leads. The American Civil War was not caused by the firing on Fort Sumter. The assassination of the Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand did not cause World War I.

That the Civil War was ultimately about the destruction of slavery (and the resulting unfettered growth of modern capitalism in the United States) would become clear in historical retrospect. That the assassination of Ferdinand in Sarajevo was little more than a trigger event for the eruption of long simmering interimperialist conflicts was apparent in 1914 only to the most farsighted Marxists, especially Lenin, Trotsky and Luxemburg.

It is now evident that the invasion of Ukraine has developed into a conflict between the US-NATO and Russia. However, in the mass of hysterical commentary on the Ukraine-Russian War, it is all but impossible to find—outside of the World Socialist Web Site—any attempt to place the outbreak of the conflict in a broader geopolitical and historical context.

In reporting on the conflict, the distinction between journalism and propaganda has been obliterated. Everything is presented in black and white, and the media gives no space for the brain to work. According to the universal narrative, Russia invaded Ukraine because there is a monster called Putin, just as there were monsters named Saddam Hussein, Osama Bin Laden and Slobodan Milosevic.

Learned academics—even those who have grappled for decades with the complex problem of historical causation—are in a state of intellectual collapse and are content to let CNN, MSNBC and, of course, the New York Times, think for them. No serious questions are posed, let alone answered.

Here are just a few questions that are not but should be asked:

1) What is the relation between the domestic crisis in every country (including Russia), exacerbated by the pandemic, and the eruption of war?

The media presents the war drive as if it had no connection to the dominant event of the past two years: the COVID-19 pandemic. According to an estimate by the Economist, the pandemic has killed 20 million people around the world. It has deeply destabilized political life in every country, nowhere more so than in the United States, leading to a desperate effort on the part of the ruling class to deflect internal tensions outward.

2) What is the relation between the wars that have been waged without stop by the United States over the last 30 years, often with NATO collaboration, and the rapidly escalating confrontation with Russia?

In 1992, the United States adopted a strategy document declaring its intention to block “the emergence of any potential future global competitor.” The Persian Gulf war of 1990-91 was followed by the war against Serbia in 1999, the invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, the second war against Iraq in 2003, the war against Libya in 2011 and the CIA-backed civil war in Syria.

Nowhere in the media can one find any mention of the fact, spelled out in strategic documents, that the US has been planning for years for a direct confrontation with Russia and China. Beginning in 2016, the US initiated a massive, multitrillion-dollar expansion of its nuclear arsenal, involving the creation of more usable, smaller-yield battlefield nuclear weapons. In 2018, the US left the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty and began to develop and test missiles capable of hitting major Russian cities from countries in Eastern Europe.

3) Having vastly expanded NATO and moved its forces hundreds of miles eastward, does the United States view the war as an opportunity to inflict a massive defeat on Russia, leading to its eventual break-up? What is the relation of this confrontation to conflict with China?

Who would know, watching news broadcasts and reading the major newspapers, that American strategists have long dreamed of the breakup of Russia to allow direct access to the country’s natural resources? For years, major US think tanks have advocated “destabilizing the Russian regime,” and ultimately implementing a policy of regime change. Were these efforts to succeed, Russia could be transformed into a staging ground and resource hub for a world war targeting what the American ruling class considers to be its central strategic competitor: China.

4) Is Germany’s decision to triple its military budget and effectively do away with all post-World War II restraints on its armed forces nothing more than a spontaneous response to the Ukraine war? Or has the war provided Germany with a pretext for long-planned rearmament?

In a historic shift, Germany this week violated its policy of not sending weapons into conflict zones by dispatching offensive weapons to Ukraine, alongside a massive expansion of Germany’s military spending. This was the consummation of a policy initiated in 2014, when President Frank-Walter Steinmeier announced at the Munich Security Conference that Germany was “too big to only comment on world politics from the sidelines.” Since then, there has been a systematic effort to remilitarize Germany, involving the campaign to trivialize Nazi war crimes.

Germany is not alone. In a break with Japan’s entire post-World War II history, former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe proposed that the country station US nuclear weapons on its territory. Last week, Switzerland broke hundreds of years of neutrality and initiated sanctions against Russia, a move without precedent in half a millennium.

Can one believe that these massive changes in geopolitical relations, long in the planning, are simply a response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine?

5) What are the global corporate and financial interests that benefit from war and would profit from the breakup of Russia and unfettered access to its immense resources on the Eurasian landmass?

While denouncing the Russian oligarchs, the media does not speak of the interests that American oligarchs have in the breakup of Russia and direct access to the strategic corridor between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea. Russia is the world’s largest supplier of natural gas, the second-largest exporter of oil, the largest exporter of wheat, the third-largest exporter of coal, and a major provider of iron, gold, platinum, aluminum, copper and diamonds, all of which are essential in all types of modern production, including critical war production.

6) How does the eruption of a conflict between Russia and NATO square with the claims that were made about the “end of history” and the triumph of peace and democracy after the dissolution of the USSR?

The eruption of this conflict has shattered the false claims that the dissolution of the USSR and the capitalist development of China would lead to a new era of peace and global prosperity. Rather, the last three decades have been dominated by war and global conflict, in a prelude to what threatens to be a nuclear third world war.

7) But the most important question that is not being asked is: What will be the consequences if this confrontation escalates into a nuclear war? What will be left of the planet?

Amidst all the breathless coverage of the war in Ukraine, no one in the media cares to ask where this all leads. Do workers in the United States and Europe want to risk nuclear war and the destruction of humanity to defend the “sacred principle” that Ukraine should be allowed to join the NATO military alliance against Russia? Amidst all the social problems confronting the working class, is this where the line must be drawn?

None of these questions can be asked or answered because they point to the fact that the war arises out of an insoluble crisis of the world capitalist system. The Russian invasion of Ukraine, based on the reactionary nationalism of the Russian oligarchy, must be opposed by socialists and class-conscious workers. However, any analysis of the present crisis that does not place it in its broader historical and political context only serves to cover up its deeper roots.

The World Socialist Web Site calls on workers in Ukraine, Russia, the United States, Europe and all over the world to draw the lessons of the disaster unfolding before their eyes, and to join the struggle for the socialist transformation of society and the end of the capitalist nation-state system that is the fundamental cause of war.

Corporate media whores -- that does include the sad clowns of SNL -- have worked to whip up a frenzy and you see people pouring vodka down the drain and you see ROKU and others rushing to pull RT fromt he arirwaves.  A lot of impotanet people are being whipped into a frenzy to do things that are undemocratic and appalling.  David Walsh (WSWS) notes:

What exactly are those who express unwavering support for Ukraine, its government and its imperialist backers signing up for?

Major entertainment conglomerates, which generally operate in lockstep with the US government and the Pentagon, have announced plans to cut Russia out of their operations. The Hollywood Reporter noted March 1 that the global film and television industry had taken a “series of swift actions … in solidarity with Ukraine, with many companies beginning to sanction Russia in the wake of the invasion. Disney, Sony, Warner Bros. and Paramount have pulled or paused planned theatrical releases in the country.”

Meanwhile, “International television market MIPTV has also condemned the Russian invasion, saying that it would follow French sanctions, a move likely to mean there will be little to no Russian presence at the [annual] Cannes TV market.”

HOw very small minded, how very fearful, how very pathetic.

Caitlin Johnstone notes:

Kremlin-backed media outlets have been banned throughout the European Union, both on television and on apps and online platforms. RT has lost its Sky TV slot in the UK, where the outlet is also blocked on YouTube. Australian TV providers SBS and Foxtel have dropped RT, and the federal government is putting pressure on social media platforms to block Russian media in Australia.

In the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Latvia, speaking in support of the Russian invasion of Ukraine will get you years in prison.

Twitter, historically the last of the major online platforms to jump on any new internet censorship escalation, is now actively minimizing the number of people who see Russian media content, saying that it is “reducing the content’s visibility” and “taking steps to significantly reduce the circulation of this content on Twitter”. This censorship-by-algorithm tactic is exactly what I speculated might emerge after former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey resigned back in November, due to previous comments supportive of that practice by his successor Parag Agrawal.

Twitter is also placing warnings labels on all Russia-backed media and delivering a pop-up message informing you that you are committing wrongthink if you try to share or even ‘like’ a post linking to such outlets on the platform. It has also placed the label “Russia state-affiliated media” on every tweet made by the personal accounts of employees of those platforms, baselessly giving the impression that the dissident opinions tweeted by those accounts are paid Kremlin content and not simply their own legitimate perspectives. Some are complaining that this new label has led to online harassment amid the post-9/11-like anti-Russia hysteria that’s currently turning western brains into clam chowder.

It takes a lot of liars to actively promote hate the way so many are doing.  Speaking of liars, Joe Biden.  Samantha Putterman and POLITIFACT.take on one of his most recent lies.  "Many of you have been there. I’ve been in and out of Iraq and Afghanistan over 40 times.," declared US President joe Biden in his overdue Stte of the Union speech on Tuesday.  

It's a lie.  

It was a lie when  he made a simlar remark in 2019.  

Biden said he has visited Iraq and Afghanistan "over 40 times."

This isn’t accurate. There is no evidence that Biden has been to either country since being president. The last time he was in Iraq appears to be in 2016. For Afghanistan, it was in 2011. 

The latest estimate of his travels to the two countries come from his presidential campaign, which said in 2019 that he had visited both a combined 21 times. 

Biden’s statement is off by about half. We rate it False. 

You can be sure SNL won't poke fun at Joe.  That would require humor and they have none.  The funniest thing all week took place yesterday before the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee.  I streamed it online, I did not attend.  Though not worthy of a trip, it was wrothy of a chuckle to watch Joe Biden's nominee for Ambassador of Iraq, Alina Romanowski, insist that, if confirmed, she would work with Iraq's elected officials to - - well, you know, create a government . . . or something.

October 10th is when elections were held in Iraq.  It's now March.  Still no prime minister, still no president.  One week away from five months after the election.

Five months?  In 2010, it too over eight months.  And that was with Joe Biden leading the US approach.  He oversaw The Erbil Agreement that ended the political stalemate by giving the loser of the election, Nouri al-Maliki, a second term despite it being already known that he was using torture chambers and secret jails.  Now its another stalemate and Joe is again in charge.  It's going to be something, I'm sure, to remember, the way he deals with it this time.

(I did not say something "good."  I said memorable.)

The United Nationas noted last week:

Special Representative Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert reported that four months after parliamentary elections, politicians still struggle to form a government.  

This prolonged phase could be forgiven “if we were witnessing vibrant exchanges on policy orientations, on development pathways and economic reform plans,” she said. 

“However, so far, we are observing quite the opposite: hampering the change and reforms the country so desperately needs.” 

Ms. Hennis-Plasschaert added that as the “political impasse” continues, “precious time” is passing by. 

“Behind the headline debate of a majority vs. consensus government, many Iraqis increasingly wonder whether the national interest is actually ‘front and centre’ in the ongoing negotiations - rather than access to resources and power, or how the pie of political appointments and ministries will be carved this time around.” 

Ms. Hennis-Plasschaert, who also heads the UN mission in the country, UNAMI, updated  ambassadors on recent developments since the October 2021 vote to decide the Council of Representatives, Iraq’s 329-seat parliament, which in turn elects the President and confirms the Prime Minister. 

Members met for the first time last month and elected a Speaker and two deputies.  However, they failed to reach a quorum for the 7 February session to elect a President.   

While the nomination period was re-opened for another three days, the Federal Supreme Court ruled in the interim that one candidate, former Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari, is ineligible. 

Ms. Hennis-Plasschaert explained that once elected, the President will have 15 days to charge the Prime Minister-designate, the nominee of the largest parliamentary bloc, to form a Council of Ministers. 

“Well clearly, the current situation suggests that we’re not there yet,” she remarked.  

With the election long over, the UN envoy stressed that tackling the “long list of outstanding domestic business” must be prioritized. 

Since then, the federal court has ruled that the newly submitted names for presidential candidates are invalid and that the previous list -- minus Hoshyar -- should stand.  Adnan Abu Zeed (AL-MONITOR) offers an illuminating look at the federal court:

Iraq's federal court ruled March 2 that the formation of the Anti-Corruption Committee formed by the Iraqi prime minister in mid-2020 is unconstitutional, and therefore it should be dissolved.  

The committee that was headed by Lt. Gen. Ahmed Abu Ragheef focused on high corruption and terrorism cases. It had arrested 36 suspects, of whom 16 received legal sentences by the relevant courts.

Among the suspects was the killer of Hisham al-Hashemi, a prominent anti-terrorism researcher, who was shot dead on July, 6, 2020, by Ahmed Hamdawi Owaiedan, an affiliated member of Kataib Hezbollah. He was supposed to hear his sentence last week, but the court postponed the decision. Meanwhile, his father had filed a complaint to the federal court against the committee, claiming its formation and rulings are not legal. The court ruled in favor of Hamdawi Owaiedan's father.

This is not first time that the judiciary interfered in political cases. 

Last year, a court in Baghdad ordered to release prominent militia commander Qasem Muslih, who was arrested by the Abu Ragheef Committee and accused of killing an activist in Karbala. The release took place after militias entered the Green Zone in order to put pressure on the government to release Muslih.

In another incident last week, a judge at al-Karkh court in Baghdad had ordered to move a suspect of using illegal drones to another security institution in order to facilitate his release, similar to what happened with Muslih. However, special forces from the counterterrorism unit surrounded the court and moved the suspect to the Anti-Corruption Committee.  

On Feb. 24, Iraq's Supreme Judicial Council called on Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi, who is also the chief commander of the armed forces, to investigate the case where a military force besieged the Court of Appeal in al-Karkh.

A security source told Al-Monitor, “Influential parties tried to smuggle one of the defendants out of the Court of Appeal in al-Karkh. This person is accused of having targeted the prime minister’s home Nov. 7. That prompted the prime minister to dispatch a security force to protect the court.”

Amid sharp political differences between the conflicting Iraqi forces, the federal court plays a prominent role in resolving legal disputes over elections and other matters among political forces, figures or parliamentarians.

On Dec. 28, the federal court rejected the appeal to annul the elections results, which Fatah Alliance leader Hadi al-Amiri submitted.

On Jan. 25, member of parliament Bassem Khashan submitted the appeal to the federal court, challenging the constitutionality of the first parliamentary session.

Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) leader Massoud Barzani said Feb. 15 that the federal court’s ruling in the oil and gas case is politicized.

On Feb. 18, leading KDP figure Hoshyar Zebari said that the federal court’s ruling invalidating his candidacy to the post of president was “unjust and politicized.”

Speaking to Al-Monitor, Ali al-Tamimi, former judge and legal expert, said, “It has become commonplace now that whoever loses a lawsuit in the federal court accuses the court of being biased.” 

He noted, “The federal court bases its verdicts on evidence. There is a plaintiff and a defendant, and there are nine judges who have spent their lives serving, which bolsters their independence in issuing decisions in accordance with the constitutional provisions.”


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Iraq snapshot

 Thursday, March 3, 2022.  If a woman says she doesn't want to speak about harassment or an assult, why is a man taking it as his job to speak for her?  And why are we acting like that's okay?

Last Thursday, the snapshot included, "And one of Joni's best known songs has had 24,000.  Pink's "Try" will hit the 500,000,000 mark by the end of March."  Pink didn't need until the end of the month.  Yesterday, she reached 500,000,000 stream mark with the "Try" video posted to her official YOUTUBE channel.


You've gotta get up and try, try, try
Gotta get up and try, try, try
You've gotta get up and try, try, try
Gotta get up and try, try, try
Gotta get up and try, try, try
You've gotta get up and try, try, try
Gotta get up and try, try, try
You've gotta get up and try, try, try
Gotta get up and try, try, try

That's what you've got to do.  That's what we've all got to do. 

Yesterday, REVOLUTIONARY BLACKOUT posted this video.

I don't need to see something like that again and Ive lost a great deal of respect for Tony Zenkus as a result of the video.

At this point, I just don't care what happened because i don't give a damn about Madam X.

Stop playing, stop fronting, stop the bulls**t.

If she was harassed or raped or whatever she's telling people at this moment of the hour today, I don't care.  And no one should.  

She has refused to make her comments publicly.  She hasn't made them in a criminal complaint.  She's had every opportunity to tell her side of the story and she's refused.  Sabby Sabs noted, when she interviewed Nick Brana last week, that she had reached out to the woman -- who no one wants to identify despite the fact that Nick's been identified as a creep, a rapist and everything else -- and the woman didn't want to appear.

You're not doing journalism with the video above.  

Tara Reade came forward and I believed her and I still believe her.  That's not because I believe all women because I truly do not.  Not do I believe all who claim they have been harmed.  People lie.  Men lie, women lie, non-binary people lie.  

If you're not coming forward, there's a reason that you're not coming forward.  

Not coming forward doesn't make you a liar.  There's a man who attacked me, tried to force himself on me and we note him from time to time.  Why?  He lives in fear that I'm going to out him and he reads this site.  When he went on my local radio PACIFICA radio station, he trashed me and thought I would respond here.  I waited several years (this year) until I did.  (Elaine ripped him apart in real time.)  I toy with it here.  What he did was awful and vicious -- the attempted assault, not his bitchy remarks on KPFA,  Knowing that he's upset and worried that his name might be blighted in his final years?  I like to toy with that fear and let him feel nervous and fearful of what happens next, the way he did to me when he tried to rape me.

But, honestly, unless I get really mad -- and he's not a part of my life -- I probably won't because I don't want my name connected to his for all eternity.  

But who knows, when he dies and people start lying about how wonderful he supposedly was, what I'll feel then.  So ____, I may out you uet.  And we both know it's only going to take one of us -- one woman -- to come forward and all the others will as well.  For all your applause on the left and all your accolades, you're nothing but a rapist.  

If I wanted to take him to court, I would.  Back then, I did not.  I was shocked, honestly.  He had such a good reputation and he loves that wife, that mother of his children that's been with forever.  And, of course, I was wodnering did I send the wrong signals -- although what signals say when a woman's screaming "no!" and pushing you off them, she's really saying, yes?

That was a few decades back and things have changed.  

Everyone wants to act like the failed MeToo Movement was something new and novel and it wasn't.  There was already an online list of men who were predators.  And before the internet there were other actions.

There was an MSNBC commentator at the turn of the century, for example, who beat and raped a woman.  And thought he could get away with it.  He was confronted by a friend of mine and laughed that no one would believe the surivovr.  (My friend I'm referring to was the survivor's aunt.)  Maybe that was true.  Maybe it was false.  But what was real was he lost his TV appearances.  He lost his upward trajectory.  In the end, he lost everything.  And we didn't need the courts for that nor did we need the internet.  There are various ways to ensure that attackers pay.

Now in the case of the woman raped and beaten by MSNBC analyst, she didn't come forward because he was so sure that he was powerful enough (in the Clinton circle) that he couldn't be touched and that she wouldn't be believed.

That's one reason not to come forward.  There are many reasons not to come forward.  Long before the truth was told in print about Harvey Weinstein -- while various left groups were taking his money and doing his bidding -- we were calling him out because I knew what he had done to so many.  And I knew that so many were not able to come forward for various reasons.  

There will always be reasons to come forward.  And we will always be protetive of our friends and our family.  

So I can undertand's Tony' s impulse in the above video and I can even say he has good intentions.

But it needs to stop.

If you're not going to come forward, your case does not deserve a video.  There are certainly more important things to focus on.  But equally true, I'm not believing you.

I have no reason to.  I haven't heard you and I cannot determine whether you are telling the truth.  

At the end of the day, that's what we base things on.  Is the person convincing?  

That doesn't mean: Was she a nun?  That means when I see her (or him) speak, do I buy it?

Tony was not there, Sabby was not there. 

Whatever took place in private is now being spoken of in the public square -- and not as gossip or as an aside but as a topic to debate.  Tony wants to.

I don't.

I'm not staking my reputation on someone who won't come forward. 

Jamie Leigh Jones.  I believed her.  When she lost her case in court, I didn't stop believing her.  I still believe her.  Telling the truth doesn't mean you get to win and justice is awarded.  

It does mean you get to share publicly and people can decide on their own.  With Jamie, I found her truthful.  She came forward and she told her story and I believe she told the truth.  I know the trash whores of MOTHER JONES don't and didn't it take two fat and ugly non-feminist women to go after Jamie?  

Never forget that the two bitches running and ruining MOTHER JONES decided to do a hit piece on the woman standing up to the KBR corporation.  That's how they defined their role.

I have no regrets about standing with Jamie.  I still believe her.  I think she told the truth and at a later date -- maybe after we're all dead and gone -- it will be known.  She did a brave thing.  I supported her and I support her to this day.

As Pink sings, "You've got to try."

Madam X is not trying.  She's hiding and that alone makes me doubt her.  Nick is not all powerful.  He's not really connected to a power structure.  I have never met him personally.   I am not a champion of his movement.

He wants to create a new party.  I'd have to go back in my ind to remember all this but we noted some of their stuff ahead of their convention but not all of it and I remember at one point telling Martha and Shirley not to even bother opening the stuff being sent about it.  It had reached the point of, "They just don't get what they're trying to do."

Didn't mean I hated them or disliked them, but did mean that they didn't understand the task they were trying to accomplish.  That doesn't mean, "It's futile o they shouldn't try!"  No one knows the outcome  of anything.  We're all just guessing.  But there are certain mistakes you make that doom you and they were already doing that.  Yesterday's snapshot noted how idiotic the Green Party was for doing a 'response' to Joe Biden's State of the Union Address on Tuesday night -- a live response -- and it was stupid because Wednesday morning, when the speech was at its high water mark in terms of interest, the Green Party hadn't posted the video (or even a written statement in response) online.  You're just jerking off and wasting everyone's time.  And when you're wating my time, you're pissing me off.

I'm not a Green.  I note Green things here when I can because we should be noting everyone in a democracy, all parties.  But when I'm making the effort to help your party and you're not even making the effort to help your party, then I'm pissed because that's time I've wasted that I am not getting back.

Jamie Leigh Jones?  The time I spent in snapshots here covering what was done to her and what she survived was not wasted time.  She came forward, she did everything she could.  I applaud her.

Madam X wants to make claims about Nick but doesn't want to make them herself so she sends Tony out to do it for her or Tony takes it upon himself to do it for her (he recently came into contact with her he insists in the video).

Hey, Tony, what's Nick's cock like?  Is it big?  Is it thick?  I picture it really skinny but long.  The base, where it meets the nuts, I picture that it's highly populated with wispy, long black hairs.  Is that what it's like, Tony?

What's that?  You don't know?

That's because you don't know s**t.  

You need to stay the f**k out of it.

If Madam  wants to go public, we can evaluate her story.  I'm not trusting you.

F**k you.  I hope that's clear: F**k you.

If she wants to make a case, she needs to make it herself.

When the lunatic claims against Bob Dylan were made by that psycho woman, I didn't just note that they were impossible chronologically.  I also pointed out that she's claiming to be a teen in the 60s who was assaulted then and it's decades later.  If you're going to amke the charges, you should come forward but she wants to pretend like she's eight years old and hide behind an attorney.

No.  I don't believe her.  She comes off like a greedy,d eceptive hustler who wants to extort money.  

Could she be a victim?  She could be.  If she is, she's victimizing herself.

Same with Madam X.  She needs to tell her story or we need to move on.

I have no idea what happened.  

If you'd asked me about Nick a month or two back, I would've told you I had no idea, I didn't know him and that he struck me as a gay bottom -- and not a power bottom at that.  I was honsetly surprised when we watched Sabby (Ava and I covered it here) to learn he wasn't gay.  I don't mean that in a mean way as anyone who knows me would know.  I thought he was a cute guy and I thought he was gay.  I thought the coolest thing about him was that he was gay.  The only cool thing. So the interview stripped that away. 

I believed Anita Hill when she came forward.    A lot of time has passed sinc ethen so some may not know or may have forgotten but Anita was not as widely believed back then.  But she came forward and she told her story and her truth grew as a result.  It made a difference in real time but it made an even bigger difference as the years passed.

Tony playing telephone isn't helping anyone.  BAck when Larry King had his CNN show and someone would go on and speak for someone else, it was obvious they were liars.  That's why they couldn't speak for themselves.  Bill clinton raped Juanita Broaddrick and that's why he has hid behind his attorneys and never spoken of the issue on his own.  

I don't want to hear Madam X's story from Tony.  I want to hear it from her.  I want to judge her credibility myself and determine whether or not I believe her.  I'll need to watch how she speaks as well as what she says.  Tony can't give me that.  And sicne Tony wasn't there and Madam X refuses to speak publicly, Tony needs to shut up.

With Sabby, I saw Nick nearly lose it repeatedly.  He didn't alsh out, he didn't get mad, the typical behaviors of men who assault.  And, yes, criers can rape.  

But one person told their story publicly.  Nick told it to Sabby.  He also spoke to Jimmy Dore (whic I only saw days after I'd seen the Sabby interview).  I saw a scared man who was trying to answer questions -- and do a victory lap on Jimmy Dore's show.  

That's not meant as an insult.  He has every right to want to do a victory lap.  Someone tried to destroy him and a body did not agree that her claims had merit.  It had to be a relief to him.

Sabby didn't pull punches and she didn't give him an easy interview.  (Should the woman go on air with Sabby, I'd expet her to be as tough with that woman as she was with Nick.)

I don't believe all victims because people lie.

I saw Nick was deeply hurt by the whole matter.  I know that he came fowrad and spoke to the issue.  Madam  X hasn't and I don't really give a damn what she and Tony whisper about and I'm surprised that he thinks he can get away with going around and doing itnerviews like that.  It cheapens him and it harms his reputation.  

If she doesn't want to talk, MAN Tony, don't talk for 'the little lady.'  She's a grown up and she can speak for herself.  I don't need you MANsplaining what happened when you weren't even there.

You're a good person, Tony, but sometimes your gender entitlement is just too much and leads you to take steps you shouldn't be taking.

Which is the other thing about that interview.  Two men, discussing a woman's supposed assault.  Two men.  

Men can be assaulted, yes.

Were either of the two men assaulted in the past.  Is there a reason that time and again we don't get women even in segments that demand their presence?

"So, Tony, what was it like when Nick grabbed your hand and stuck it down the front of his pants?"

"Well, Compton Jay, it was scary.  I didn't know what was going on.  I thought, at first, maybe Nick had a hernia and he needed a second opinion.  But then my hand grazed something hard, I later realized it was the tip of his penis, and it was leaking something, I thought it was blood at the time and my eyes were darting around for a first aid kit . . ."

"Did you -- did you think maybe he just had a blackhead on his glans?"

"Yeah, Compton, I honestly did.  Back in college, that happened to me once and it too me about 15 minutes before I squeed it the right way to get the blackhead to pop so --"

It's nonsense (and the above parody has more value than anything offered in that long bideo).  

Madam X does not want to speak on camera.  Fine.  Let's all move on.  It's not fair or right for Tony to be presented as Madam X.  He's not Madam X.  He wasn't there.  He doesn't know anything other than what she told him and he's only recently encountered her and only over the phone.  

He doesn't even make a good character witness at this point.  

And he betrays his training and his reputation by personalizing this case.  He really needs to take a look at his actions.  He's not helping actual victims by going out on this limb for a woman who won't go out on it herself.

More to the point, Madam X is saying case closed by refusing to speak publicly.  The last thing women need is another man taking it upon himself to speak for us.  Fiand another way to get on camera, Tony.

Iraq.  A number of e-mails to the public account about two 'big' stories.  Covered a lot does not make them big.  The oil issue?  We're not interested.  That the Baghdad-based court would rule in favor of the Baghdad-based government against the Kurdistan is not surprising.  It's a historical pattern.  Where have you been?  Second, it's not surprising that Kurdistan is rejecting the verdict.  It's not suprsiging because it's happened over and over and is one of the flashpoints that Brookings long ago identfied as an issue that had to be resolved or conflict would continue.  And Brookings made that identification when?  Back when Bully Boy Bush occupied the White House.  That long ago.

A company may have helped ISIS! Or been in business!  Or something!  We covered that.  We didn't obsess over it and because there's nothing new to it we haven't covered it since the snapshot we made it the main thrust of.  When details, not opinions, emerge, new details, we'll probably revisit the topic.  

We've repeatedly noted (since Saturday) western media remarks about how Urkanians are 'our kind of people' -- unlike those  in Iraq and Afghanistan who just aren't this or that.

We've noted it because it's racism that needs to be called out.

We've noted it because it's racism that impacted the coverage.  The march to war/?  Absolutely.  But even more so, the coverage that happened after the war started, the coverage that rendered Iraqis invisible and refused to tell their stories.  

The racims involved resulted in selling the war and it resulted in continuing the war.  That CBS NEWS has not announced they have broken off with an employee goes to how they tolerate racism in the news department.  It was rank and it was offensive.  And, no, a Tweet of 'woopise' does not make everything all right.

It's a serious issue and we will continue to note it.  Here's Richard Medhurst addressing it.

For those who don't know, CBS NEWS is currently attempting to contain yet another sexual abuse scandal of their own.  Now is really not the time for their failure to address their correspondent's on-air remarks.  At the very least, Charlie should be having some sort of remedial training and be assigned a what-I've-learned essay to write and post to CBS' website.  

On videos, an e-mail to the public account feels we should have noted this video.

We have noted that video.  We haven't noted it in a snapshot but we have noted it.   It's important so we will note it again.

And here's Sabby's interview with Nick Brana from last week.

The following sites updated: