Saturday, December 15, 2018

Who is the answer?

20 years ago left was confronting oligarchy in the US: , , World Bank shutdown in DC, antiwar rallies etc. Then & the & coopted it for the Dems. No here!



George Soros is not a good guy.  He is someone who is all about destroying the actual left.  He is one of many.



As John Stauber explained in 2013:


Democracy is an ideology with tenets and principles.  Concentrated wealth and power destroys democracy, and thus it must be leveled as necessary.  That’s the sort of continuing revolution that some of the Founders foresaw because they knew there would also be tendencies toward society becoming controlled by the more and more powerful, who have the resources and the propaganda to eventually dominate.
Your question reminds me of Eddie Bernays, one of the most influential political intellectuals of the last century, and the Father of Public Relations who I wrote about in my first book Toxic Sludge Is Good for You.  Bernays was a nephew of Freud and a liberal who believed that people were too dumb, banal, easily cowed, and self-interested to be trusted with self-government.  Therefore a hidden profession of persuaders, PR experts, media pundits and spindoctors, were necessary to guide the public in the right direction, to get the public to follow the national leaders, so that the status quo prevailed.  Bernays helped to build the sort of phony, managed democracy we now endure and people should look at his work to understand our current realities.
In a democratic society, institutions and leaders are transparent and accountable to the public.  Elected leaders are nothing more than public servants, regular people chosen to serve in office to represent the public interest, not corporate power.  In a democracy, when forms of government — and I would include the giant business corporations and banks as forms of government — no longer are servants of the public interest guaranteeing and protecting our sacred rights and liberties, we have an inherent right and duty to overthrow them and institute new institutions based on democratic principles.  That’s what the Declaration of Independence states.
This new non-violent 21st century revolution I’m describing may never happen. Generations alive today have been mentally enslaved by the sophisticated, hidden propaganda system Eddie Bernays helped pioneer.  Most of us alive in the US today were raised on corporate television from birth and starved of reality and truth.  The grip of the elite through the media, via the corporations and the corporate-owned political parties is deep and unyielding.
But often when times are darkest, this is when a new paradigm born out of courage and necessity and rediscovery of democratic rights arises.  As Noam Chomsky points out, here in the United States the brutal and violent oppression that exists in other countries hasn’t generally arrived yet, outside of the most oppressed communities.  Americans who see the crisis of democracy have no excuse not to begin the process of coming together at the community level to organize and build the infrastructure and vehicles we need.
In fact, this has always been true.  For guidance we should not look to politicians.  We should look to the powerful grassroots movements of the past, the anti-slavery movement, the peace and labor movements, and the civil rights movement.


We are the answer.  We have always been the answer.  If we would just reject junk columnists like John Nichols who lie and lie, if we'd focus on our needs, we'd be so much better off.


Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"
 
Friday, December 14, 2018.  The puppet government in Iraq remains a shambles, Turkey continues to bomb northern Iraq and much more.


Starting with extreme stupidity,  GirlBye (DINAR DAILY) types this nonsense:

The country finally has – after elections that were held way back in May – a new parliament, president and prime minister. The full Monty. One might have thought that now might be the time to let government get to work for the people.


But no, Basra residents want their many problems solved immediately. While no one can underestimate the urgency of their demands, they also cannot but notice Basra residents’ troubled understanding of government, of democracy and of their role as citizens. Indeed, the problems in Basra is a microcosm of the tenuous state of democracy and good governance in Iraq and in the region.


It is understandable that when people are distressed by difficult conditions, they take to the streets. This is especially true in countries where the political system is not responsive to democratic signals. But in nations that hold free and fair elections, the system should be attuned to voter desires; unhappy citizens can effect change with their votes.



Remarkably – and who would have thought this in 2003 – Iraq has become one of those countries where elections are more or less free and their results refreshingly unpredictable.



Of all the crack pot insanity.   That has to qualify as stupidity of the month if not year.  It is stupid in so many ways.

First off, GirlBye does get that, per health officials, over 100,000 people have been in the emergency room since July for drinking the Basra water, right?  She does grasp that potable water is one of the that they are protesting for?  Safe drinking water?

Protests began in July.  It is December, closer to January.  All these months later, the people are just supposed to wait for the government to get around to addressing the water issue?

I don't have a lot of patience for people like her.  People like that ensure that a caste system and a class system exist to begin with.  Their stupidity (and lies) ensure the inequality takes root.

Iraq does not have free and fair elections.  That was demonstrated in 2010 for the whole world to see when Barack Obama ensured that the loser (Nouri al-Maliki) get a second term after the voters rejected him.

There is no functioning government in the puppet class of Iraq.  October 24th, the latest prime minister, Adil Abdel al-Mahdi, became prime minister.  He did so illegally -- the Iraqi Constitution requires that the prime minister-designate assemble a Cabinet in 30 days to move from designate to actual prime minister.   Even reducing the Cabinet down to 22 members, Adil was still not able to staff a full Cabinet.  October 24th, the Cabinet had 14 members. Two months later, it's still missing eight members.

Every week, the world has been told, it will just be next week and then a full Cabinet will be in place, just next week.  Next week becomes this week and nothing happens yet again.


Mustafa Habib (NIQASH) explains:

The new Iraqi government, headed by Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi, was formed relatively hastily and it has quickly lapsed into quarrelling as major blocs in parliament began negotiating who would head the last eight ministries out of 22, including the powerful ministries of defence and the interior.
An uneasy alliance between the two largest blocs, one loyal to the cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, and the other loyal to a senior figure in the Shiite Muslim militias, Hadi al-Ameri, is foundering on this issue.
At the same time, the two groups have differing foreign allegiances. The latter is close to Iran while the former demands Iraqi independence. And their political breakup comes at the same time as the Iraqi government is supposed to be distancing itself from Iran, a major trading partner, with strong political and security ties to Iraq, not to mention geographical proximity.
Trade volumes between Iran and Iraq sit at around US$12 billion per annum.
The main issue is electricity in Iraq. The Iraqi ministry of electricity estimates that around a third of power production in Iraq depends on Iranian gas imports. The US is pressuring Iraq to find alternatives and US company, General Electric, is offering to put in place several projects (for a price) to achieve better energy independence.
But it really isn’t that easy. Iraq can produce about 16,000 megawatts of electricity per day by itself, even though authorities readily admit that between a third and even up to half is often lost due to grid problems. The country realistically needs around 26,000 megawatts (for comparison’s sake, one megawatt is around enough to supply 2,000 average British homes for an hour).

“Around 30 percent of the electricity produced in Iraq comes from Iranian gas,” a senior government official, who wished to remain anonymous because they were not authorised t talk to the press, told NIQASH. “The US wants us to abandon Iranian gas without realizing the size of the crisis we would have if we did so,” the official complained.


AP covers US Secretary of Energy Rick Perry's trip to Iraq hereSalih Nasrawi (ABRAM ONLINE) offers this on the government:


  Post-Saddam Iraq has felled four prime ministers: Ayad Allawi and Ibrahim Al-Jaafari were installed as temporary premiers by the US Occupying Authority, but they could not secure enough votes to stay in the post after elections; Nouri Al-Maliki and Haider Al-Abadi also failed to secure a third and a second term in office, respectively.
It could also soon bring down Adel Abdul-Mahdi's short career as Iraq’s prime minister, since he is being challenged by the post-Saddam political environment and acrimonious political rivalries. Fewer than two months into his premiership, speculation is already high that Abdul-Mahdi may not be able to continue.
Iraq’s hung parliament endorsed Shia politician Abdul-Mahdi on 2 October as the country’s next prime minister, authorising him to form a new government six months after the May elections that were marred by claims of irregularity and sharp divisions.
Three weeks later, Abdul-Mahdi was sworn in with only a partial cabinet after lawmakers failed to reach a consensus on key portfolios including the interior and defence.
Rivalry between the two main Shia blocs in the Iraqi parliament that have been jostling over ministerial positions was seen as the main obstacle to the formation of the cabinet.
Even though power struggles between Iraq’s ruling Shia groups could be blamed for the standoff, many Iraqis still believe that the problem lies with Abdul-Mahdi himself who was chosen as an independent prime minister after the parties failed to agree on a candidate of their own.
The choice of Abdul-Mahdi was met with scepticism because it came amid an intense power struggle among Iraqi factions that have been wrestling with a lingering political crisis.

His nomination also came amid ongoing US-Iranian interference in Iraq’s affairs, with both Tehran and Washington robustly pushing their own candidates for the post.



Back to Basra.

The Basra protesters have a pretty strong grasp on politics and governance, it's ByeGirl who needs some education on the topics.

Phoebe Sleet (FUTURE DIRECTIONS) offers the sort of analytical overview that ByeGirl could never grasp, let alone type:

Fuelling the protests is the feeling that Basra has been ignored by Baghdad. The Basra region, in particular, has sought Kurdistan-style autonomy from the capital for a number of years. The democratic model the US-led coalition attempted to install after the Baathist regime was toppled, included provisions allowing regional autonomy in a federalised system. Under Article 119 of the Iraqi constitution, new federal regions may be formed after a referendum in the intended region.
Despite these legal mechanisms allowing for devolution, Basra’s requests have been denied by authorities in Baghdad on a number of occasions. Basra has consistently lobbiedfor federal autonomy and has routinely been ignored, stoking frustrations with the government. Nouri al-Maliki, who was Prime Minister from 2006-2014, refused to allow any form of decentralisation. Then, Haider al-Abadi seemed to promote decentralisation, but such promises never materialised. Feelings of marginalisation have continued since Adel Abdul Mahdi, Iraq’s new Prime Minister, failed to appoint any parliamentarians from Basra to the new government.
Basra’s calls for decentralisation have been largely peaceful and have taken place within existing legal frameworks. While this is a rare positive indicator for Iraqi politics, the proliferation of militias (especially the Shia militias, known as the Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMFs)) in the region may pose a future security risk. Due to the weakness of the Iraqi Government, the popularity of the PMFs among Shia communities and the endorsement (and therefore legitimacy) of the PMFs given by popular religious figures, such as Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, have made it difficult for the Iraqi Government to control these groups. The threat from IS in the north of the country, triggered a large number of youths from southern Iraq to join the PMFs to fight IS. As the group now poses less of a threat (it still controls a few rural areas) to the Iraqi state, many PMF fighters are returning to Basra and other parts of the south. This leaves the problem of what will happen to the significant number of well-trained, armed and battle-hardened fighters who have returned to poverty and a government unresponsive to their needs.
The PMFs are not a monolithic entity and several groups maintain links to figures such as al-Sistani, or the populist politician Muqtada al-Sadr. The most powerful of the PMFs, however, are those with strong links to Tehran. These pro-Khamenei groups receive funding and arms in return for pledging allegiance to Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei. In practice, these factions are in place to promote Iranian interests in Iraq, Syria and in Iranian border areas. Similarly, the Dawa Party, which was in power until after the recent elections, has strong ties with Iran. Iran’s influence in Iraq is inescapable, dominating its trade ties and maintaining a strong influence over Iraqi political processes. This Iranian influence in Iraq has been a particular source of ire for Basra’s protesters. In some cases, demonstrators have chanted anti-Iran slogans and on one occasion, set fire to the Iranian consulate.



While Basra has led on the protests in Iraq, they have not been the only site for demonstrations.  Protests have taken place in Baghdad, among other cities.

After a “yellow vest” protest in Basra against contaminated water and poor city services under the NATO-backed neo-colonial regime, protesters in Baghdad also wore yellow vests to marches on December 7 to show their solidarity with the Basra protests.'
 
 


Protests are expected in Baghdad today.


Sadrist Movement in Iraq: today’s gathering in Baghdad’s Tahiir Square is not a protest; it is a celebration.
 
 


In Iraq, security forces in Baghdad close roads leading to Tahriir Square in expectation of protests.
 
 




In other news, HURRIYET DAILY NEWS reports:

The Turkish Armed Forces on Dec. 13 conducted airstrikes in northern Iraq’s Sinjar and Mount Karacak regions, a statement said.
According to the statement by the Turkish Defense Ministry, the air operation was conducted to “neutralize PKK/KCK/PYD/YPG and other terrorist elements."

Ankara considers the YPG as the Syrian branch of the PKK, which is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the EU and the U.S.

Context, Aaron Hess (INTERNATIONAL SOCIALIST REVIEW) described the PKK in 2008, "The PKK emerged in 1984 as a major force in response to Turkey's oppression of its Kurdish population. Since the late 1970s, Turkey has waged a relentless war of attrition that has killed tens of thousands of Kurds and driven millions from their homes. The Kurds are the world's largest stateless population -- whose main population concentration straddles Turkey, Iraq, Iran, and Syria -- and have been the victims of imperialist wars and manipulation since the colonial period. While Turkey has granted limited rights to the Kurds in recent years in order to accommodate the European Union, which it seeks to join, even these are now at risk."


Are the people being killed in the Turkish bombings PKK?

Maybe.

They are Kurds, maybe they're also PKK, maybe they're not.

As the Turkish government demonstrates repeatedly, it attacks Kurds within Turkey -- the citizens of Turkey who are Kurds.  How lucky for them that they're able to attack Kurds in other countries with little to no objection from the world.

These bombings have killed innocent civilians -- that is known -- destroyed homes, killed animals and they continue.  From time to time, the Iraqi government makes noise about wanting the bombings to stop but they never stand up for their own national integrity -- in part because they are a puppet government and not a real one.  AA reports:

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday said his country’s anti-terror operations in northern Iraq will continue.
Turkey wasted enough time to intervene with the terror swamp the east of the Euphrates River, Erdogan said at the Organization of Islamic Cooperation's (OIC) member/observer states judicial conference in Istanbul. 
“We will no longer tolerate a single day of delay,” Erdogan added. “We are determined to bring peace and security to the areas east of the Euphrates.”



So Erdogan gets his way again.  For now.



The following community sites -- plus DISSIDENT VOICE, PACIFICA EVENING NEWS  and NPR music -- updated:



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  • Thursday, December 13, 2018

    More women The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame needs to induct

    Good for Stevie Nicks and Janet Jackson -- both will be inducted into The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in the new year.

    But let's take a moment to remember how sexist the Hall still is.

    Building on Kat's "Janet and Stevie: ," the following women should be in the Hall.

    Tracy Chapman.

    Tina Turner (solo).

    Diana Ross (solo).

    Dionne Warwick.

    Pat Benetar.

    Cher.

    Carly Simon.

    The Motels (fronted by Martha Davis).

    The Pretenders (fronted by Chrissie Hynde).

    Chaka Khan.

    The Pointer Sisters.

    Heart.

    Tori Amos.

    Hole.

    The Bangles.

    The Go-Gos.

    Jody Watley.

    En Vogue.

    Sade.

    Vanessa Williams.

    Aimee Mann.

    Natalie Merchant.

    Rickie Lee Jones.

    Salt-N-Pepper.

    Kate Bush.

    Veruca Salt.

    Liz Phair.

    PJ Harvey.


    There are many more women, those are just the ones who come to mind for me.


    Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

     
    Thursday, December 13, 2018.  Julian Assange remains persecuted and the Iraqi government learns it wasn't such a great thing to sit on their asses for years while ISIS occupied cities and towns.

    As noted yesterday, the one person the US government wants to punish for the Iraq War is WIKILEAKS publisher Julian Assange.  Julian's 'crime' was revaling the realities of Iraq -- Chelsea Manning was a whistle-blower who leaked the information to Julian.  WIKILEAKS then published the Iraq War Logs.  And many outlets used the publication to publish reports of their own.  For example, THE GUARDIAN published many articles based on The Iraq War Logs.  Jonathan Steele, David Leigh and Nick Davies offered, on October 22, 2012:


    A grim picture of the US and Britain's legacy in Iraq has been revealed in a massive leak of American military documents that detail torture, summary executions and war crimes.
    Almost 400,000 secret US army field reports have been passed to the Guardian and a number of other international media organisations via the whistleblowing website WikiLeaks.

    The electronic archive is believed to emanate from the same dissident US army intelligence analyst who earlier this year is alleged to have leaked a smaller tranche of 90,000 logs chronicling bloody encounters and civilian killings in the Afghan war.
    The new logs detail how:
    US authorities failed to investigate hundreds of reports of abuse, torture, rape and even murder by Iraqi police and soldiers whose conduct appears to be systematic and normally unpunished.

    A US helicopter gunship involved in a notorious Baghdad incident had previously killed Iraqi insurgents after they tried to surrender.
    More than 15,000 civilians died in previously unknown incidents. US and UK officials have insisted that no official record of civilian casualties exists but the logs record 66,081 non-combatant deaths out of a total of 109,000 fatalities.
    The numerous reports of detainee abuse, often supported by medical evidence, describe prisoners shackled, blindfolded and hung by wrists or ankles, and subjected to whipping, punching, kicking or electric shocks. Six reports end with a detainee's apparent death.


    How telling of the pathetic and degraded society we currently live in that the only person whom the US government wants to punish for the Iraq War is the one who told the truth.

    Many lied.  Bully Boy Bush, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama*, so many liars.  And yet the US government protects them.  The publisher is whom they go after.

    *Barack Obama.  "We want to end the war and we want to end it now!" he thundered in front of his throng of sex addicts.  They lapped it up.  And it was used for commercials in battle ground states during the 2008 Democratic battle for the presidential nomination.

    He lied -- Samantha Power revealed to the BBC that Barck was lying -- when he promised US troops out of Iraq in ten months if he were elected president.  That's why she left the campaign.  We covered it here.  With the exception of THE WASHINGTON POST, everyone else ignored it.

    But then a press who would gush and giggle when Barack emerged in a pair of blue jeans (Mom jeans, by the way) was never a press that was going to hold Saint Barack accountable -- not as a candidate -- not as a president.

    Laura Flanders, I'm getting really ticked at you by the way.  You promised to hold his feet to the fire and you never did.  You're useless and you are pathetic.

    And you are the reason that in 2018, I'm having to explain yet again that Barack lied to the American people.  You whored.  And you've done nothing since that argued you learned a damn thing.  Now you could offer conspiracy talk about how bombs were used to destroy New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina, you could promote neoliberal candidates until your own audience called you out, so I don't kow why we ever listened to you to begin with.




    I wasn't scared, I fought this on my own
    You pulled me down and I let you go
    I told you I would prove you wrong
    And now I'm here and I'm standing strong
    I know (I know, I know)
    I know (I, I know, I know)
    I know (I know, I know)
    That I ain't got far to go, go, go
    'Cause I spent forever waiting
    And it's no longer a dream
    And now I've landed on my feet
    And I ain't got far to go
    H-h-h-hold tight, rollercoaster, here we go
    Florida, Orlando, I ain't playing with you
    Day one, I said I'd go for me
    One box ticked, got a lot to beat
    -- "Ain't Got Far To Go," written by Jess Glynne, Janee Jin Jin Bennett, Knox Brown and Finlay Starsmith Dow-Smith, first appears on Jess' I CRY WHEN I LAUGH.

    Barack lied about pulling US troops out ten months after being sworn in.  Once sworn in, he finally (end of 2011) did a drawdown, not a withdrawal.  A drawdown is a reduction in the number of forces, it is not a complete removal.  He lied to the American people when he overturned the 2010 election results with a contract (The Erbil Agreement) -- a move that set the stage for ISIS to take root in Iraq -- that's on Barack.  Whether or not the US funded ISIS or created it or any of the beliefs popular in the Middle East, that's open to debate and should be studied.  But  when it comes to his actions in giving thug Nouri al-Maliki a second term as prime minister after the Iraqi people said no?  That's what allowed ISIS to take root as we documented in real time during Nouri's second term in office.

    That's before the move to secretly send more US troops back into Iraq, exposed by Tim Arangon (NEW YORK TIMES) at the end of September 2012.  Right before three presidential debates but no one mentioned it, not only that, they allowed Barack to pretend he pulled all troops out of Iraq.

    Laura Flanders, that's on you and I'm not seeing anything that you've done to make up for it.  Now we both know, you and I, that you will go to any lengths to self-promote and to ensure your control over certain situations.  I've been very kind to you (certainly kinder than I've been to your niece).  But those days are over.  Danny Schechter and Tom Hayden whores too.  I called them out repeatedly.  They're both dead so it's time to move down the list of members in The Church of St. Barack and it appears your number is up.  It's a damn shame you didn't try to make up for your whoring in the years since.

    People like Laura are why we have the Iraq War still all these years later.  People like Laura are the reason Julian Assange is in jeopardy.

    2011, Laura was interested then.  But, like her interest in the Iraq War, her interest in Julian Assange quickly faded.  Seven years ago, from the woman who still offers (badly written) columns and, of course, her GRIT TV -- what is that, her vagina under remodel?  Open concept this time, Laura, putting in a new backsplash?

    Ann Garrison (BLACK AGENDA REPORT) does the heavy lifting that Laura abhors:


    Wikileaks founder Julian Assange appears to be one step closer to forcible removal from Ecuador's London Embassy, most likely to be extradited to the US to face charges in the Eastern District Court of Virginia, which is commonly known as “the espionage court.” If UK police have to go in and remove him by force that will of course demonstrate the brutality of the state in the Gandhian tradition.
    The US and UK governments may nevertheless be in a hurry to get hold of him however they can, with Theresa May's Tory government so close to collapse and Jeremy Corbyn's Labor Party so close to power. Given all that Corbyn has said about protecting journalists who take risks to reveal the truth about power, it's hard to imagine him extraditing Assange in response to US demands, even though refusal would no doubt damage the longstanding Anglo-American alliance.



    WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange appears via video at a Quito court hearing as he appeals against new protocols – Ecuador will no longer pay for his food and medical care, etc. - governing his stay at the Embassy in London
     
     



    Supporting those that have MADE IT TO LONDON in personal defence of Julian (founder of ) is a way to GET & KEEP feet there! If you wish you could, then please help those that ARE! Thank you Angel & all donors.
     
     
    This Machine Kills Secrets: Julian Assange, the Cypherpunks, and Their Fight to Empower Whistleblowers -
     
     
    Message from Heike , Sevim Dagdelen, Sahra , December 10th, 2018: Protection for Julian  — Allow departure to a safe country
     
     


    The wonderful 1st Amendment-support Julian Assange bumper sticker we were discussing this week in is from . GO TO: Click on resources link: The .pdf: Screenshot:
     
     



    Prosecution of , America’s Betrayal of Its Own Ideals by via
     
     




    In other news, Amnesty International released the following:

    As part of its brutal campaign against northern Iraq’s Yezidi minority, the armed group calling itself Islamic State (IS) committed war crimes and crimes against humanity when it sabotaged irrigation wells and destroyed other farming infrastructure, Amnesty International said in a new report today.

    A year after Iraq’s government declared military victory over IS, Dead Land: Islamic State’s Deliberate Destruction of Iraq’s Farmland details how the armed group also burnt orchards, looted livestock and machinery and laid landmines in farming areas.

    “The damage to Iraq’s countryside is as far-reaching as the urban destruction, but the consequences of the conflict on Iraq’s rural residents are being largely forgotten,” said Richard Pearshouse, Senior Crisis Adviser at Amnesty International. 


    “Our investigation reveals how IS carried out deliberate, wanton destruction of Iraq’s rural environment around Sinjar Mountain, wreaking havoc on the long-term livelihoods of Yezidis and other agrarian communities. Today, hundreds of thousands of displaced farmers and their families can’t return home because IS went out of its way to render farming impossible.”

    Amnesty International visited rural areas in northern Iraq, including Sinjar district where much of the Yezidi community lived before 2014 and the scene of some of the most extensive rural damage. The organization interviewed 69 people for this report, including 44 current or former farmers from rural areas.

    Destruction of vital water sources in a harsh, dry land


    In addition to its campaign of war crimes and crimes against humanity, including murder, persecution, rape and enslavement, IS sabotaged the irrigation wells of many subsistence and smallholder farmers.

    IS fighters often tossed rubble, oil, or other foreign objects into the wells and stole or destroyed pumps, cables, generators and transformers. The armed group also burnt or chopped down orchards and pulled down and stole vital electricity lines.

    Hadi, a former farmer in his mid-40s from a small village south of Sinjar Mountain, told Amnesty International what he saw when he returned to his farm after fleeing IS in 2014:

    “[It was] pure destruction. I had a well – 220 metres deep – as well as a generator and an irrigation pipe system. [IS] threw rubble in my well and filled it to the top. My trees were chopped down – I could see the [chainsaw] marks. The irrigation system – from the pump to the pipes – was stolen. They did this to send a message: that you have nothing to return to, so if you survive, don’t even think of coming back.”

    Majdal, a farmer in his mid-50s from another village south of Sinjar Mountain, said:

    “There is nothing left. Now the house is destroyed, and all the trees burnt down. We had 100 olive trees, but when I went I didn’t see a single tree in any direction. They were chopped down and burnt… They wanted us to lose everything. They didn’t want us to be able to come back to our land.”


    Amnesty International visited an abandoned farm in a small village near Sinune town, north of Sinjar Mountain. IS fighters had poured oil down one irrigation well and dumped debris in another. A large water tank was empty and plastic irrigation pipes lay broken and scattered nearby.  Adjacent fields lay barren.

    Water engineers told Amnesty International they had no doubt the destruction was deliberate. This happened on a broad scale – no comprehensive assessment has been undertaken, but local officials estimate that in the area near Sinune alone, IS put 400 out of 450 irrigation wells out of use.

    Wider agricultural destruction


    The conflict against IS eviscerated Iraq’s agricultural production, now an estimated 40% lower than 2014 levels. Before IS, around two-thirds of Iraq’s farmers had access to irrigation – only three years later, this had fallen to 20%. Around 75% of livestock was lost, spiking to 95% in some areas.

    Only about half the people displaced after IS took control of the Sinjar area in 2014 have returned. Numerous IDPs from the area told Amnesty International they felt they now had nothing to go home to, with their farms and livelihoods decimated. This pattern appears to be reflected in rural areas elsewhere in Iraq.


    “Unless there is urgent government assistance, the long-term damage inflicted on Iraq’s rural environment will reverberate for years to come. When IS tore through Iraq in 2014, it thrived off rural poverty and resentments, so Iraq’s government should be concerned that something similar could happen again,” said Richard Pearshouse.

    Urgent need to prioritize rural reconstruction

    Iraq adopted an official reconstruction plan in 2018. It assesses the damage to the agricultural sector and outlines the costs of recovery over the next five years.

    “The Iraqi government urgently needs to fund and implement its reconstruction plan. Repairing critical irrigation and other rural infrastructure is vital to allow displaced people to be able to return to their homes and farms,” said Richard Pearshouse.

    “Those displaced by IS war crimes have a right to full reparation and to justice. The government must ensure that survivors receive restitution or, if this is not possible, compensation.”

    Amnesty International is also calling for the UN-mandated team established in September 2017 to include IS crimes related to the environment within the scope of its investigation. 

    Background


    From August 2014 onwards, Yezidis and their overwhelmingly agrarian communities bore the brunt of the IS crimes in northern Iraq.

    First, IS fighters rounded up and killed any men and boys who hadn’t been able to seek sanctuary on the defensible heights of Sinjar Mountain. Soon after, they abducted and sold an estimated 6,000 young women and children into slavery elsewhere in Iraq and in Syria. Yezidis sought refuge in Europe and other parts of the Middle East.

    By the time the north side of Sinjar Mountain was retaken from IS in December 2014, and the south side in November 2015, thousands of years of Yezidi life had been all but obliterated. The Kurdistan Regional Government took control of the area before handing it over to Iraqi central government control in October 2017.


    And that's why you don't sit on your ass for years while ISIS occupies towns and cities.  It's why you don't hide and cower as Nouri al-Maliki and Hayder al-Abadi did.  They were as bad as all the fleeing Iraqi soldiers.  Three years they allowed Mosul to be occupied, to cite only one city.  They were too cowardly to do their job: Defend Iraq.  But puppets always are cowardly.

    Turning to happier news, congratulations to Janet Jackson and Stevie Nicks!


    : Radiohead, Janet Jackson, Stevie Nicks, Def Leppard, the Cure, Roxy Music and the Zombies to be inducted
     
     



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

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