Saturday, March 26, 2022

The political stalemate continues in Iraq

Iraq's divided Parliament failed on Saturday to elect the country’s next president, extending a six-month political deadlock after national elections in October.

Based on the Federal Supreme Court ruling, a quorum of two-thirds of members of Parliament is needed to hold the vote, but only 202 of the required 220 MPs attended the session.

Shortly after starting the session, Speaker Mohammed Al Halbousi announced that Parliament would reconvene on Wednesday to elect the president.

Sinan Mahmoud (THE NATIONAL) reports the above.  I thought the vote was supposed to be held Friday, by the way.  I am not surprised that -- whether Friday or Saturday -- no vote took place.  That was rather obvious as the PUK sent a delegation to Baghdad late Thursday with the intent of lobbying other MPs to hold out their votes.  The vote in February didn't take place because less than two-thirds of the members of Parliament were present.  Guess what?  Same thing on this vote.  (The Parliament has 329 members and only 202 showed.)  MIDDLE EAST EYE notes, "The boycott by the Coordination Framework, which includes the pro-Iran Fatah Alliance - the political arm of the former paramilitary group Hashed al-Shaabi - appears to have again sunk hopes of a quick resolution."  The PUK wants the presidency.  They currently hold it despite the fact that the PUK has been sinking steadily in the Kurdistan Region since 2012.  By custom, the office of president has gone to the Kurds.  The PUK was once a dominant party in the region and competed with the KDP.  It has fallen into disrepute over the last ten or so years for a number of reasons.

For years, Jalal Talabani led the PUK.  The Talabani family still leads it which is probably why it's in such shabby state.  The current president (hopefully outgoing) is Barham Saleh and he is a member of the PUK (and he and the PUK want him to have another term as president).  The Talabnais broke off with the KDP in 1975 and founded the PUK.  At one point, it might have seemed Jalal and his family knew what they were doing; however, they were repeatedly tricked by the US government -- to the point that they appeared to be working with the US government to deny Kurds a Kurdish homeland.  By the time the Iraq War started, many were fed up with Talabani and the PUK and he continued to anger.

Dropping back to March 16, 2009:

The president of Iraq is Jalal Talabani who announced over the weekend (Friday to Iran's Press TV, actually) that he would not be seeking another term (his term expires in December of this year -- provided elections are held). Talabani has serious heart problems (compounded by the fact that he refuses to listen to doctor's orders -- leading to the infamous collapse at a US bookstore hours after being released from doctor's care). Alsumaria reports Talabani is in Turkey today for a conference on water and has already "met with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the presence of South Korean Prime Minister." AFP notes the conference is held every three years and is more 'timely' this year following the United Nation's report (published last week) declaring a "global water crisis". AFP states approximately "20,000 people are expecte for the Fifth World Water Forum" while is a week-long conference. DPA adds, "
In addition to discussions on how to stop Kurdish Workers' Party (PKK) militants from using their bases in mountainous northern Iraq from where they launch attacks on Turkey proper, Talabani and Erdogan also discussed bilateral economic issues and the Middle East peace process."

Meanwhile Hurriyet reports:

Talabani told a Turkish newspaper in an interview published on Monday that it would not be realistic to believe that an independent Kurdish state could survive as it is likely that neighboring countries Turkey, Iran and Syria would close their borders.

"I tell my Turkish brothers not to fear that Kurds will declare independence. It is an advantage for Kurds to stay within the borders of Iraq in terms of their economic, cultural, social and political interests," he told in the interview.

Sabah got the interview and they quote Talabani stating, "Iraq will not be separated and the civil war is over" and "The ideal of a united Kurdistan is just a dream written in poetry. I do not deny that there are poems devoted to the notion of a united Kurdistan. But we can not continue to dream." If accurate, Talabani's remarks will spark anger among some Kurds. And it may be a great deal of anger and it may be among many Iraqi Kurds.

Fat Ass Jalal was nothing but a liar.  In 2009, he said he wouldn't seek another term.  But he did.  Of course, we also have that crap about "just a dream written in poetry."

Fat Ass got rich off betraying the Kurdish people.  He used his power for profit and enriched himself (and his family) while allowing the Kurdish dream of independence to wither.  The Kurds remain the largest ethnic group in the world without a homeland.  Jalal did his part to ensure that reality.

The Talabani's next big betrayal?  In 2012, Iraqi politicians came together.  Religion was not an issue, sect was not an issue, politic were not an issue, various people came together and did so to hold a no-confidence vote on then-prime minister Nouri al-Maliki for not implementing The Erbil Agreement (the contract that the US brokered with Iraqi political powers to give Nouri a second term after Iraqis went to the voting booths in 2010 to say no).  Ayad Allawi, Moqtada al-Sadr, Mustafa Barzani, Ammar al-Hakim . . .  All came together to move for a no-confidence vote and they followed the Iraqi Constitution and gathered the needed signatures.  As president, Jalal's ceremonial role was to read the resolution into the record.  That's all.  Under pressure from his friend Vice President Joe Biden, Jalal created powers.  Jalal insisted he had to verify every signature.


But that alone wouldn't overturn the petition.  So he also created the power for himself to ask each signer whether they would still sign the petition if it was put to them today?  Not did you sign, but would you sign again?  


There's no such option in politics when it comes to a petition.  You sign for a local stop sign, the local government doesn't come to you and ask you, "Would you still sign that today?"


Jalal announced that there were not enough signatures.


Really?  Because they got more than the needed signatures.  So who was saying they wouldn't sign?  Oh, that was private information, information that Fat Ass Jalal had to keep private.


Most called him a liar on that.  Sensing the rising anger, Jalal fled the country claiming he had to have emergency surgery.




He had elective knee surgery in Germany.


Liars get what they have coming.  In the spring of 2012, he lied that he had to flee to Germany for emergency surgery.  In the winter of 2012, he did go to Germany for a medical emergency: He had a stroke.


Here's where the Talabani family really failed the KRG and Iraq.  Jalal couldn't speak, he couldn't move.  He was no longer fit to be president and should have been removed from office.  But the title was too important to Hero and their kids, more important than the rights of the people.  So they defrauded the country.  They stages photos with Jalal where he was drinking tea (he wasn't), where he was speaking to people (he wasn't).  For 18 months, Iraq had no real president.  Jalal was returned in time for the latest elections in the provinces.  This was supposed to be a big benefit for his party in the 2014 elections.  There was no benefit.  The press seemed less eager to hype lies about Jalal now that he was back in Iraq.  And the Kurds realized just how much they'd been lied to for months.  The PUK took a drubbing.  


In September of 2017, the Talabanis tried to flex their political muscle again.  Jalal was on the ropes (he'd die the next month) but Hero got her son Bafel to fly in from his American home and pretend that he was a Kurd living in Kurdistan and part of the Kurdish battle for independence.   He used his false soapbox to hector Kurds and tell them not to vote for the non-binding resolution that took place September 25, 2017.  From the next day's snapshot:


Tuesday, September 26, 2017.  The day after the historic vote in northern Iraq.


Yesterday, a historic referendum was held in northern Iraq.   

  Results above from RUDAW, the official results will be released later-- some day two to three days but Susannah George (AP) reports the results are expected this evening.  .

RUDAW explained the referendum as follows:

More than five million people are eligible to vote when the people of Kurdistan head to the polls on Monday, September 25, to decide whether they want to leave or stay with Iraq.

With an estimated global population of between 30 and 40 million, the Kurds are one of the largest ethnic groups without a state. Under the post-WWI Sykes-Picot agreement of 1916, Kurdish lands were divided between Turkey, Iran, Iraq, and Syria.

Kurds in all four parts of what is known as Greater Kurdistan have faced persecution, discrimination, and genocide, and have fought at times for greater rights, autonomy, and independence.

In Iraq, Kurds make up 17 to 20 percent of the total population. In the Kurdistan Region of northern Iraq, Kurds have had a semi-autonomous government since a no-fly zone was established over their lands in 1991 after the first Gulf War.

The new Iraqi constitution that came into effect in 2005, after the US-led invasion of 2003, recognized the Kurdistan Region as a federal region with its own legislature and armed forces, the Peshmerga. Both Erbil and Baghdad have accused the other of violating the constitution.

The September 25 referendum will take place in Kurdistan of Iraq only, not neighbouring countries.

It's worth noting that this vote was put together in about three months.  It's also worth noting that provincial elections were supposed to have taken place throughout Iraq earlier this year, then pushed back to September, then pushed back to next year.


Over 72% of registered voters in the KRG turned out and over 92% of them voted for the referendum.  It was so successful, in fact, that US Senator Chuck Schumer, then-Minority Leader of the Senate, issued the following statement:

 For Immediate Release
Date: September 27, 2017

CONTACT: Matt House, (202) 224-2939

Schumer Calls on Administration to Back An Independent Kurdish State

Washington, D.C. -- U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer today released the following statement in support of an independent Kurdistan State after an overwhelming 93% of Kurds voted Monday in favor of independence from Iraq:

"Monday's historic vote in Iraqi Kurdistan should be recognized and respected by the world, and the Kurdish people of northern Iraq have utmost support.  I believe the Kurds should have an independent state as soon as possible and that the position of the United States government should be to support a political process that addresses the aspirations of the Kurds for an independent state.

"Over the last two decades, the Kurds have been one of our strongest and most supportive partners on the ground in the fight against terrorism, and we have relied on the Peshmerga time and again.  They have also stood up for the rights of minorities in a region where the oppression of minorities is too often the rule and conflict is often the result.  And furthermore, the United States should stand for self-determination for our strongest partners.  The Kurds are one of the largest ethnic groups in the Middle East without a homeland and they have fought long and hard for one.  Despite this, the Kurds continue to get a raw deal and are told to wait for tomorrow, which is why it's past due that the world, let by the United States, immediately back a political process to address the aspirations of the Kurds. 

"In the months ahead, I hope all Iraqis will engage in a dialogue and peacefully determine the best way to accommodate the well-deserved and legitimate aspirations of the Iraqi Kurds.  Continued security cooperation between the Kurdish and Iraqi security forces -- particularly on terrorism -- are essential to any transition.  Iraq's neighboring countries, however, led by despots who all oppose a Kurdish State because it threatens the status quo and their self-interests, need to respect the need for the Kurds -- and the Iraqis -- to determine their own future.


 Help me out, who was against this hugely popular measure that had the overwhelming support of Kurds?  Oh, that's right, American posing as Kurdish dweller Bafel Talabani.

Fake assery didn't work for his daddy and Hero needs to grasp that it won't work for Bafel either.

Time and again, the PUK has spent the last ten years out of step with the rest of the Kurds.  And that's why the party struggles so badly today.  And why it does not deserve the post of president.

ANADOLU AGENCY notes that the Baghdad government had gone to the trouble of closing down the Green Zone ahead of the vote -- they anticipated demonstrations or disappointment that never came.  Laure Al Khoury  (AL-MONITOR) adds, "The postponement exacerbates Iraq's political problems because it is the task of the president to formally name a prime minister, who must be backed by an absolute majority in parliament."


 Are we still pretending Moqtada al-Sadr is a political genius and a 'kingmaker'?  

First up?  Wednesday's attempt at a presidential vote in Parliament.  Next?  Moqtada attempts to sell his untested cousin Jaafar Sadr.  

Elections were held October 10th in Iraq.  All these months later, the political stalemate continues.

The following sites updated:


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New Episode of Indigeneity Conversations: California Genocide and Resilience with Corrina Gould

California Genocide and Resilience with Corrina Gould

Photography by Cara Romero and collage artwork by Mer Young.

California Indians have survived some of the most extreme acts of genocide committed against Native Americans. Prior to the ongoing genocide under Spanish and American colonizations, California Indians were the most linguistically diverse and population dense First Peoples in the United States.  We discuss this brutal history and survivance with Corrina Gould, Co-Founder and Co-Director of the Sogorea Te’ Land Trust. She is from the Lisjan/Ohlone tribe of Northern California. We talk about the importance of addressing that historical trauma, which caused deep wounds that still affect Indigenous Peoples today. 

Content warning: Some of the material in this podcast may be triggering, especially for those that have experienced trauma and/or intergenerational trauma due to colonialism.

Corrina Gould (Lisjan/Ohlone) is the chair and spokesperson for the Confederated Villages of Lisjan, as well as the Co-Director for The Sogorea Te’ Land Trust, a women-led organization within the urban setting of her ancestral territory of the Bay Area that works to return Indigenous land to Indigenous people. Born and raised in her ancestral homeland, the territory of Huchiun, she is the mother of three and grandmother of four. Corrina has worked on preserving and protecting the sacred burial sites of her ancestors throughout the Bay Area for decades.


Indigeneity Conversations is a podcast series that features deep and engaging conversations with Native culture bearers, scholars, movement leaders, and non-Native allies on the most important issues and solutions in Indian Country. The series also features excerpts from our Indigenous Forum, a sovereign space and touchstone for Native leaders and non-Native allies to come together at our annual Bioneers Conference, and to create and grow strategic alliances.

Indigeneity Conversations explores compelling issues such as Indigenous Land Return, Cultural Appropriation, Rights of Nature and other essential conversations that exemplify the essential leadership role that Indigenous cultures are playing in the effort to reshape and transform society’s relationship with the natural world while highlighting the contemporary lives, work and experiences of Native Americans. 

The series is hosted by Bioneers Indigeneity Program Directors Cara Romero (Chemehuevi) and Alexis Bunten (Unangan/Yup’ik), professionally recorded via home studio set-ups, and produced by Bioneers’ award-winning media team. 

We invite you to join the conversation where we’re encouraging everyone to decolonize and re-indigenize their hearts, minds and actions.

Indigeneity is a Native-led Program within Bioneers that promotes Indigenous approaches to solve the earth’s most pressing environmental and social issues. We produce the Indigenous Forum, original media, educational curricula and catalytic initiatives to support the leadership and rights of First Peoples, while weaving networks, partnerships and alliances among Native and non-Native allies.

These episodes are distributed through the Bioneers Radio/Podcast series. Subscribe on your favorite platform — Apple PodcastsSpotifySoundcloudGoogle Podcasts, or Stitcher. You can also tell Siri "Play Bioneers!"
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In Solidarity with Haitian Workers and Migrants: Statement of the Black Alliance for Peace Haiti/Americas Committee

 From The Black Alliance for Peace:

For Immediate Release

Media Contact

202 643 1136

MARCH 15, 2022—The Black Alliance for Peace (BAP) declares its support for garment workers in Haiti and stands with the Haitian people who, migrating from the country for economic or political reasons, have faced racism, hostility, and terror abroad. We also condemn the neo-colonial political economic policies of the U.S. government, its international allies, and the multinational corporations who have created Haiti’s imperial crisis by continuing to undermine the sovereignty and independence of the Haitian people.

Early in the year, garment workers launched protests at the Caracol Industrial Park in Haiti’s northeast region. These protests have since spread to Port-au-Prince. The workers—mostly women—have demanded wage increases and decried the dehumanizing and demeaning sweatshops in which they are employed. Their demands have been blocked by the U.S. government and by those foreign corporations, including Hanes, New Balance, Champion, Gilden Activewear, Gap, and Walmart, which have profited from a decades-long history of Haitian labor exploitation and wage suppression. With wages at a criminally-low figure of under $5 per day, the workers are demanding an increase to $15 per day.

At the same time, thousands of Haitian people continue to abandon their homes and flee their country for economic and political reasons. Their journeys abroad are uncertain and perilous and their encounters with foreign governments have been punitive and hostile. Only last week, a boat carrying more than 300 Haitians capsized off the coast of Florida. In Mexico, Haitian migrants confront daily the racism of immigration agents and the National Guard and thousands of Haitians have been illegally incarcerated in Tapachula in what some have described as concentration camps. The Dominican Republic, with help from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, is militarizing its border with Haiti, beginning construction on a planned 164-kilometer long wall with 70 watchtowers and 41 access points. Dominican President Luis Abinader has called it an “intelligent fence”: It will use radars, drones, movement sensors,  cameras and, of course, well-armed border patrol agents to prevent Haitian migration. 

Meanwhile, the Biden administration deports Haitian asylum seekers at a record pace. Biden has continued the use of Trump-era policies including “Remain in Mexico” and “Title 42” to deny asylum seekers the right to due process and safety. More than 20,000 Haitians have been deported within Biden’s first year in office, a number greater than the record of the previous three presidents combined. 

It goes without saying that the treatment of Haitian people provides a stark, racial contrast with that of Ukrainian refugees. While Biden has told Haitians, “Don't come over,” he has welcomed Ukrainians “with open arms.”

For the Black Alliance for Peace, imperialism is the root cause of both the protests of Haiti’s garment workers and the experiences of Haitian migrants. While multinational corporations have undermined Haiti’s workers, the U.S. government, alongside U.S.-led bodies like the Organization of American States (OAS) and the CORE Group, have decapitated the Haitian state. As Haitain wages have been suppressed, Haitian democracy has been throttled. And as Haitian immigrants are abused in and deported from foreign countries, it is foreign meddling that has created the conditions forcing Haitians to migrate. 

Thus, as Jemima Pierre, BAP’s Haiti/Americas Committee Coordinator, reminds us, “Haiti’s domestic crises are crises of imperialism, generated by the policies of the United States and its allies.”

The Black Alliance for Peace reaffirms its solidarity with the Haitian people in their unremitting struggles for peace, independence, and self-determination against U.S./UN imperialism. We salute our sisters and brothers fighting for higher wages and better working conditions at home, and in their quest for a better life abroad. 

  • The Black Alliance for Peace (BAP) calls on all organized labor to organize boycotts of Hanes, Levis, Fruit of the Loom and H&M in solidarity with Haitian workers.

  • BAP demands that the Biden regime stop its racist hypocrisy and end  deportations of Haitian asylum seekers.

  • BAP demands that Haitian refugees and asylum seekers in the United States, the Dominican Republic, Mexico and elsewhere be treated with dignity and be afforded their legal rights under international law.

  • BAP calls on all organizations in the Caribbean and Latin America to issue denunciations of the OAS and United States and organize regular pickets outside of their headquarters and embassies.

  • BAP calls on all human rights organizations and members of the Black liberation movements to organize long term strategic solidarity campaigns to support self-determination for the Haitian people.

No Compromise, No Retreat!


Banner photo: Haitian garment workers protesting in Port-au-Prince (Reuters)

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Bioneers 2022 VIRTUAL Registration Is Open!



Hi Bioneer,

The past couple of years has launched a great shift to online gatherings. We’ve been beyond grateful to be able to connect for two fantastic virtual Bioneers Conferences. Those experiences, during truly dark times in many of our lives, felt like the exact salve we needed.

As we begin to see glimmers of light at the end of this multi-year tunnel, the opportunity to gather in person is within reach. Leaving behind a virtual event that allowed so many of us to connect — from countries worldwide — felt like saying goodbye to something special.

This year, for the first time, Bioneers 2022 will be a hybrid event. We’ll welcome attendees to join us in person in San Francisco and virtually from any corner of the globe. See the full conference schedule here.

Today marks the launch of registration for the virtual Bioneers 2022! Take advantage of the lowest price that will be available when you register now. When you join us online, you’ll be able to watch live keynote addresses and panels featuring our incredible, growing program of speakers. Bioneers Virtual will feature live HD multi-camera production featuring all the action on the main stage of the Palace of the Fine Arts along with interactive Community Conversations and a full on-demand film festival. You’ll get access to on-demand recordings of each talk or conversation shortly after the live session wraps up, and you’ll have exclusive access to those recordings for three weeks.

We’re thrilled to be able to make Bioneers 2022 a far-reaching, international, inclusive event. We hope you’ll join us.



Our keynote speaker lineup for 2022 is an impressive mix of leaders and visionaries on the frontlines of today's most pressing challenges, from environmental justice and Indigenous rights to green building and economic progress.

Our list of amazing speakers is still growing, so stay tuned for updates!

Enric Sala

Enric Sala is a former university professor who saw himself writing the obituary of ocean life, and quit academia to become a full-time conservationist as a National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence.

Kate Aronoff

Kate Aronoff, a Brooklyn, NY-based staff writer at The New Republic, and a former Fellow at the Type Media Center whose work has appeared in The Intercept, The New York Times, The Nation, Dissent, Rolling Stone, and The Guardian, among other outlets, is the co-editor of We Own the Future: Democratic Socialism, American Style and the author of Overheated: How Capitalism Broke the Planet–And How We Fight Back.

Angela Glover Blackwell

Angela Glover Blackwell is the Founder in Residence at PolicyLink, the organization she started in 1999 to advance racial and economic equity for all.

Zainab Salbi

Zainab Salbi is a humanitarian, media host, author, and founder and former CEO of Washington-based Women for Women International.

Clayton Thomas-Muller

Clayton Thomas-Muller is the ‘Stop It At The Source’ Campaigner with, founder and organizer with Defenders of the Land and Bioneers board member.

Jason McLennan

Jason McLennan, one of the world’s most influential visionaries in contemporary architecture and green building, is a highly sought-out designer, consultant and thought leader. A winner of Engineering News Record’s National Award of Excellence and of the prestigious Buckminster Fuller Prize, Jason has been showered with such accolades as “the ‘Wayne Gretzky’ of the green building industry and a “World Changer."

Karen Washington

Karen Washington, co-owner/farmer at Rise & Root Farm in Chester New York, is a renowned activist and food advocate, who, among her many achievements, in 2010 co- founded Black Urban Growers (BUGS) an organization supporting growers in both urban and rural settings. In 2012, Ebony magazine voted her one of their 100 most influential African Americans in the country, and in 2014 she was the recipient of the James Beard Leadership Award. Karen also serves on the boards of the New York Botanical Gardens, the Mary Mitchell Center, SoulFire Farm and the Black Farmer Fund.

Ohki Forest

Ohki Forest is a Mohawk spiritual teacher dedicated to the healing of the “First Wound of the Americas” and Indigenous restitution through her non-profit, Red Wind Councils, in Chiapas, Mexico. The author of Dreaming the Council Ways, True Native Teachings from the Red Lodge, Ohki received the Eagle Feather Award from the Society for Shamanic Practice for her lifelong dedication to the renewal of Indigenous spirituality.

Frans B. M. de Waal

Frans B. M. de Waal, Ph.D., is a Dutch/American biologist and primatologist widely renowned for his work on the behavior and social intelligence of primates. C. H. Candler Professor Emeritus at Emory University, de Waal has been elected to the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and was declared one of The Worlds’ 100 Most Influential People Today by Time magazine in 2007.

Cindy Montañez

Cindy Montañez is the CEO of TreePeople, which organizes thousands of people to plant and care for trees in their neighborhoods, schools, parks, and local mountains and forests.

Samuel Myers

Samuel Myers, MD, MPH, studies the human health impacts of accelerating disruptions to Earth’s natural systems, a field recently dubbed “Planetary Health.” A Principal Research Scientist at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, he is the founding Director of the Planetary Health Alliance, the author of roughly 100 peer-reviewed research articles, and the lead editor of Planetary Health: Protecting Nature to Protect Ourselves.

Kongjian Yu

Kongjian Yu, a world-renowned, award-winning leader in ecological urbanism and landscape architecture, is the founder of the planning and design firm, Turenscape, in Beijing. Yu, who received a doctorate at The Harvard School of Design, founded the Graduate School of Landscape Architecture and the College of Architecture and Landscape Architecture at Peking University.

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