The US is less safe against a ubiquitous threat from global terrorism today than it was even one or two years ago, according to those who chair Congress’s intelligence committees.
Diane Feinstein, a California Democrat who heads the Senate panel, and Mike Rogers, a Michigan Republican who chairs the committee in the House, strongly concurred on this question during a television interview on CNN’s “State of the Union” program last Sunday.
CNN’s Candy Crowley asked Feinstein, “Are we safer now than we were a year ago, two years ago?”
Feinstein responded: “I don’t think so. I think terror is up worldwide, the statistics indicate that, the fatalities are way up.” She added that there were “more groups than ever and there’s huge malevolence out there.”
Rogers enthusiastically concurred: “Oh, I absolutely agree that we’re not safer today for the same reasons.”
With the US now spending twice as much on its intelligence apparatus as it did in 2001—we now know, thanks to the revelations of former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, that the “black budget” for these agencies topped $56 billion for 2013—such an assessment raises obvious questions.
Are the two intelligence chairmen lying? Are these vast sums being spent for purposes other than safeguarding the American people against terrorism? The answer to both questions is yes.
The claims about the number of terror attacks and fatalities being “up worldwide” constitute a deliberate and cynical distortion.
Remember when this was a democracy?
Or we were stupid enough to think it was?
The United States government is becoming the biggest disappointment in the world.
This is on him.
He's carrying on The Drone War, he's kept Guantanamo open, he's got a war going on the press and then there's the illegal spying.
I don't think he's even read the Constitution.
He's a huge disappointment.
Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"
What the western media refused to cover today?
Iraqi Spring MC continues to do their job. Western outlets can't say the same.
Today's protests are part of a series of continuous protests which have been ongoing since December 21st. They are soon to hit the one year mark. National Iraqi News Agency quotes Sheikh Mohammed Fayyad stating, "The citizens participated in the prayers that held in the courtyard northern Ramadi and eastern Fallujah cities , stressing that the goal of this trickle is to send one again a message to the governing in Baghdad that our demonstrations are peaceful and backed by citizens deep conviction."
Instead of coverage from western outlets and 'reporters,' we get crap like this:
Thanks, Kirk, for the ignorance.
Sowell's never grasped the protests, misrepresented them to the clueless Joel Wing (who didn't correct him because he's so stupid himself -- and Joel, don't e-mail me, I don't want to hear from you or your foul mouth, go back your insane friend again -- the one who claimed the whole world was after him, back that lunatic some more). Sowell can't note the rape and torture of women in detention centers and prisons.
But, check the archives, when those reports first emerged and before the protest broke out on December 21st, we noted they would lead to protests, that it is the sort of thing that provides urgency and meaning to opposition. It was, it did. And it was completely non-surprising -- except to the press.
Maybe it's past time that courses on revolution, resistance and rebellion weren't elective poli sci classes at US colleges (as they were when I took them) but required ones and that they were downgraded from graduate course work to undergraduate?
NINA notes an Anah sticky bombing left police Colonel Faris Karbouli injured, and a Dor suicide bomber took his own life and that of 5 police officers with eleven more people injured. All Iraq News adds that Mohammed Jasim, employee with the Ministry of Industry, was shot dead in Baghdad, 2 Baghdad bombings left 1 person dead and fifteen injured, a Salman Bek bombing left two members of an Iraqi soldier's family injured, and a Tikrit bombing claimed the life of 1 Sahwa and left three more injured.
If you're not getting how little Iraq is covered by western media, try to find those incidents of violence reported -- especially in western, English language media. Did AP or Reuters even file from Iraq today?
AFP reports Kawa Ahmed Germyani is the latest journalist to be killed in Iraq. Last night, the editor or Rayal magazine and a reporter with Awene newspaper was shot dead "in front of his mother at his home in the town of Kalar." Reporters Without Borders issued a statement which includes:
“We are appalled by Germyani’s murder and offer our heartfelt condolences to his family and colleagues,” Reporters Without Borders said.
“A professional journalist who covered corruption and nepotism in Iraqi Kurdistan, Germyani knew he was in danger and had told the region’s authorities about the threats he had received. His murder could have been avoided if they had taken the necessary measures to protect him.
“We are worried about the very dangerous climate for journalists both in Iraqi Kurdistan and the rest of Iraq, and about the impunity enjoyed by their attackers and killers. We urge the regional and national authorities to take the appropriate measures so that journalists can work without fearing for their safety or their lives.”
Reporters Without Borders added: “Both the authorities in Iraqi Kurdistan and the central government in Baghdad should be conducting thorough investigations into the murders of journalists and the groups that target them.”
According to the information obtained by Reporters Without Borders, Germyani had been threatened for years in connection with his revelations about corruption within Kurdish institutions and had initiated several judicial proceedings against those responsible these threats.
Coincidentally, many Kurdish journalists and civil society representatives had gathered in Sulaymaniyah two days before his murder to press the regional and national authorities to adopt laws guaranteeing media freedom, as well as effective measures to protect journalists and combat impunity for those responsible for violence against them.
Kurdish MP Mahmoud Othman Tweeted the following:
On Tweets, we'll note this one but we've got a lot more to fit in.
Let's turn to politics.
As part of an invitation to all Iraqi citizens to update their data in the voter registration centers (VRCs) and the great attention given by the religious leaders and the Iraqi leadership, his eminence Mr. Muqtada al Sader had visited on 12 November the VRC no. 1643 in Najaf province to make sure of the accuracy of his data in the voter lists.
Mr. al Sader praised role of the IHEC in establishing rules of the democratic system in Iraq.
In his turn, the Director General of Najaf electoral Office, Mr. Saad al Abdali called on all citizens to review the VRCs to update their data to ensure to cast their ballots in the upcoming Iraqi parliamentary elections scheduled on 30 April 2014.
Moqtada al-Sadr is a cleric and movement leader. The Independent High Electoral Commission issued the above on December 3rd. Voter updating/registration was supposed to end December 5th. The IHEC has extended it to December 10th and states there will not be another extension. Parliamentary elections are supposed to take place April 30th. Rudaw reports:
In what appears to be an attempt to win allies in next year’s parliamentary elections, Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has helped Fayli Kurds in Baghdad set up a new political group.
According to Ali Fayli, a community leader in Baghdad, the new group -- called the Peace Organization for Fayli Kurds -- is expected to run in next April’s legislative elections. Fayli told Rudaw that Haydar Isa Ali, a Fayli political figure, is to head the new organization, which has already registered with the Election Commission.
The Iraqi capital is home to nearly a million Fayli Kurds, who are Kurdish by ethnicity but Shiites by faith. Most Kurds are Sunnis.
Maliki, who is also Shiite, has often attended Fayli cultural and religious events. Meanwhile, the Kurdish parties in the north, who have offices in Baghdad, have also tried to win favor with the Faylis.
All Iraq News reports on the statements by Kurdistani Alliance MP Hameed Bafi:
In a press statement received by AIN, he said "Personally, I think that the government failed in providing the services and sustaining security in Iraq and there is no chance to Maliki to get a third term as the Prime Minister of Iraq."
"Despite the sympathy of the Iraqi people towards Iran during the current time and due to the sanctions that it faces from the international community, the Iraqis want the decision to be theirs and not made by foreign sides," he added, noting that "Maliki headed to Iran to get its support for the nomination for a third term as the PM after his failure in convincing the USA to get its support for the same issue."
As so much silence surrounds what takes place in Iraq -- so much western media silence -- let's move to the topic of reporting. Saturday, Aswat al-Iraq reported:
Press Freedoms Observatory reported that the Iraqi police are "pressing" journalists to "sign written pledges not to practice their field work", as well as detaining them for hours in Najaf and Missan cities.
Baghdadiya correspondent in Najaf Rasha al-Abidi said to the Observatory that she "suffered reactions by the people when covering the latest floods in the city".
She added that one of police officers demanded her to sign a written pledge not to work in journalism "for good" in order to release her, but she refused till some personalities interfered for her release, while her camera was kept with the security force.
These are Nouri's forces and this is what they're doing to journalists -- on Nouri's orders.
Nouri doesn't want reality conveyed. He wants to shut down the press -- especially now as he's seeking a third term.
And instead of joining the Iraqi press in a fight for truth, the world press leaves them alone, leaves them stranded.
And at a time like this, you'll see people reveal their true natures -- not meaning to, but they just can't help themselves -- Freud noted the criminal's compulsion to confess and it must be something similar for 'journalists' who don't report. US 'journalist' in Iraq Jane Arraf re-Tweets the following from her former boss (at CNN) Eason Jordan.
Oh, you big brave men -- I mean Eason and Jane. Eason and Iraq? I believe he's best known for what CNN didn't broadcast. If you're new to that topic, check out his self-justifying and minimizing column for the New York Times "The News We Kept To Ourselves." It was published April 11, 2003 -- after the start of the Iraq War and revealed that for "the last dozen years," CNN hadn't really 'reported' from Iraq. Out of fear, you understand. And if they learned Saddam Hussein or his sons planned to assassinate someone -- they kept it to themselves. Except to warn the monarchy in Jordan.
For that, they broke their stay silent rule for. Of course, the monarchy has its own security and its own intelligence agency so they greeted CNN's 'tip' as what it really was -- an attempt by a press outlet to suck up.
Eason was over Jane's 'reporting' -- isn't it time she got honest herself?
When Eason's column was published, Margaret Wente (Canada's Globe and Mail) offered a response which included:
Last week, I learned there was a children's prison in Baghdad where they locked up the kids of parents deemed disloyal to the regime.
I guess I shouldn't have been surprised. As more and more information emerges about Saddam Hussein's Iraq, we're learning how awful it really was. Still, I was stunned. What kind of regime locks up and tortures children?
[. . .]
Some of the major media knew, too. In a stunning piece called The News We Kept to Ourselves, published last Friday in The New York Times, CNN news chief Eason Jordan reveals that the network never did come clean on everything it knew about Iraq. It never told its viewers that local CNN employees were abducted and tortured. It never passed along what Mr. Jordan learned on some of the 13 trips he made to Baghdad to schmooze with the regime in exchange for reporters' visas. On one trip, Saddam's son Uday told him he planned to kill his two brothers-in-law (he did). On other trips, Iraqi officials told Mr. Jordan Saddam was a maniac who had to be removed.
"I felt awful having these stories bottled up inside me," he confessed. But he says CNN had to keep quiet in order to protect its employees.
The way others see it, CNN had to keep quiet in order to protect its access. In their view, CNN soft-pedalled the horrors of the regime so it could keep broadcasting from Iraq. In this, it was not alone. That's the usual quid pro quo for reporting on dictators, and Iraq was unusually vigilant in the way it kept tabs on the media. Every foreign journalist was tended by an official minder; if the regime didn't like their stories, they were kicked out.
Jane Arraf certainly internalized that policy (she was CNN's Baghdad bureau chief under Eason Jordan) -- which explains why she writes nothing critical of Nouri today and why she ignores the violence in Iraq, and the journalists who are killed in Iraq. She's the happy musings 'journalist' based in Iraq. Former CNN journalist Peter Collins responded to Eason Jordan's 2003 column with one of his own entitled "Corruption at CNN" (Washington Times) and here he talks about CNN's efforts to 'get' a sit-down interview with Saddam Hussein:
I took part in meetings between the CNN executives and various officials purported to be close to Saddam. We met with his personal translator; with a foreign affairs adviser; with Information Minister Latif Jassim; and with Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz.
In each of these meetings, Mr. Johnson and Mr. Jordan made their pitch: Saddam Hussein would have an hour's time on CNN's worldwide network; there would be no interruptions, no commercials. I was astonished. From both the tone and the content of these conversations, it seemed to me that CNN was virtually groveling for the interview.
The day after one such meeting, I was on the roof of the Ministry of Information, preparing for my first "live shot" on CNN. A producer came up and handed me a sheet of paper with handwritten notes. "Tom Johnson wants you to read this on camera," he said. I glanced at the paper. It was an item-by-item summary of points made by Information Minister Latif Jassim in an interview that morning with Mr. Johnson and Mr. Jordan.
The list was so long that there was no time during the live shot to provide context. I read the information minister's points verbatim. Moments later, I was downstairs in the newsroom on the first floor of the Information Ministry. Mr. Johnson approached, having seen my performance on a TV monitor. "You were a bit flat there, Peter," he said. Again, I was astonished. The president of CNN was telling me I seemed less-than-enthusiastic reading Saddam Hussein's propaganda.
As Jane stays silent on one thing after another in her 'reports' for Al Jazeera and the Christian Science Monitor, grasp that the above passed for 'ethics' when she was at CNN.
Iraq Times notes the passing of Nelson Mandela, how 1961 saw Nelson Mandela organize the armed revolution against apartheid and how he was arrested in 1963 and, while in prison for the next 27 years, managed to lead the revolution. Released from prison in 1990 (due to international outcry and support), Nelson Mandela would win the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993 and be elected President of South Africa in 1995. Singer, songwriter, dancer, fashion icon Jody Watley notes Mandela here. Kim Petersen (Dissident Voice) remembers Mandela here and offers praise for Mandela for standing up for the Palestinian people and criticism for him embracing the Canadian government which practices -- to this day -- its own form of apartheid with tegards to Turtle Island's Indigenous people. Palestine pops up in many left pieces. We'll note Ireland in a bit because Mandela felt a natural affinity with the people and the country due to its own similar struggles. (South Africa and Ireland were both the victims of colonialism.) Jonathan Cook (CounterPunch) shares his disappointment of Mandela during his post-prison life. Marcia critiqued NPR's reducing Nelson Mandela to a supporting player "Maybe if NPR wasn't so White . . .," and, in "The Disneyfication of a proud Black leader," Betty took on the trend of the US media to reduce Nelson Mandela's power and strength:
I'm real sick of seeing this proud Black leader Disneyfied.
I'm sick of it and it saddens me.
Nelson Mandela was an epic, he changed the world.
They want to turn him into Jiminy Crickett.
Russia Today reminds that Mandela was an outspoken opponent of the illegal war on Iraq:
Prior to the US invasion of Iraq, Mandela slammed the actions of the US at a speech made at the International Women’s Forum in Johannesburg, declaring that former President George W. Bush’s primary motive was ‘oil’, while adding that Bush was undermining the UN.
“If there is a country that has committed unspeakable atrocities in the world, it is the United States of America. They don’t care for human beings,” Mandela said.
Mandela did not hold back from making hard-hitting statements against the US, and repeatedly spoke out against the prospect of the country invading Iraq. As the US prepared its mass-action in 2002, Mandela told Newsweek:
“If you look at those matters, you will come to the conclusion that the attitude of the United States of America is a threat to world peace.”
Independent journalist Rania Khalek Tweets:
In 2003, Jarrett Murphy (CBS News) reported:
Mandela, a Nobel Peace Prize winner and one of the world's most respected elder statesmen, let the Bush administration have it right between the eyes, reports CBS News Correspondent Tom Fenton.
"It is a tragedy, what is happening, what Bush is doing. But Bush is now undermining the United Nations," Mandela told the International Women's Forum.
Mandela said he would support action against Iraq only if it is ordered by the U.N. He urged the people of the United States to join massive protests against Mr. Bush and called on world leaders, especially those with vetoes in the U.N. Security Council, to oppose him.
"What I am condemning is that one power, with a president who has no foresight, who cannot think properly, is now wanting to plunge the world into a holocaust."
Those remarks were made in Johannesburg, South Africa at the International Women's Forum. CNN reported:
The Bush administration is threatening military action if Iraq does not account for weapons of mass destruction and fully cooperate with U.N. weapons inspectors.
Receiving applause for his comments, Mandela said Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair are "undermining" past work of the United Nations.
"They do not care. Is it because the secretary-general of the United Nations is now a black man?" said Mandela, referring to Kofi Annan, who is from Ghana.
He did not speak out only once and he did not stop speaking out once the illegal war started. Ireland's NUI Galway conferred an honorary doctorate on Mandela and, at the June 20, 2003 ceremony, he again spoke out against the Iraq War. Lorna Siggins (Irish Times) quotes Mandela concluding, "All of us must have the courage to stand up and condemn what is wrong, and I am grateful that you have allowed an old man, who is more than 100 years old, to come and address you." Louise Hogan (Irish Independent) and the Irish Mirror note Mandela's warm relationship with Ireland. The president of the National University of Ireland Galway, Dr. Jim Browne, issued a statement on Mandela's passing which includes:
Nelson Mandela was - and will remain -one of the most highly respected statesmen in history. His capacity to endure political persecution and imprisonment and, most remarkably, to move beyond personal injustice to become the embodiment of reconciliation in post-apartheid South Africa has made him a lasting and powerful global symbol of goodness and integrity.
Last night, Tavis Smiley devoted his program (The Tavis Smiley Show, PBS) to Mandela's life and meaning. speaking with singer and activist Harry Belafonte, journalist Larry King, and US House Rep Maxine Waters. Click here for the video and/or transcript. Excerpts.
Tavis: It’s one thing to work alongside Dr. King as you did so courageously, but with regard to Mandela, for 27 years, certainly, he was behind bars. What do you recall most principally about working alongside one of the stalwart leaders of this movement to end apartheid when he himself for most of that time was behind bars?
Belafonte: It was a very touching and a very exciting and rewarding experience. Often, I went to visit a man by the name of Oliver Tambo – who had been selected by the leadership of the ANC to lead the ANC during Mandela’s incarceration. So for all intents and purpose, Oliver Tambo was the head of the ANC, was the one that was given the power and the authority to give instructions to the rest of us who were in the service of that cause.
So that I often heard Mandela’s voice very clearly through the things that Oliver Tambo was doing. It became apparent that we were getting closer and closer to the time when Mandela would be, in all probability, freed.
Many of us looked on that with a great sense of hope that that would be the case. But I never thought I’d live long enough to see Mandela released from prison. When he was released, I was then instructed by the ANC and by Oliver Tambo to help them prepare for Madiba’s first visit to the United States.
In that capacity I was able to not only correspond with Winnie Mandela and with Nelson himself through mail, but to also set up the kind of environment that would be most rewarding for his visit to the United States.
He came here and I was charged with the responsibility of meeting all the demands that were made upon us for Madiba’s visit here.
Tavis: I’ve said many times the very first rally I ever went to, very first protest rally, was on Wilshire and La Cienega, at the embassy, when Maxine Waters was leading this fight to bring down apartheid in the California legislature.
Waters: That’s right.
Tavis: Remind the nation, the audience tonight, of what was happening in America then and how hard it was – we see Mandela as a hero now, but we were so on the late freight in this country on divesture.
Waters: That’s right, that’s right. We were late because don’t forget that our country and our public policy didn’t take us to the concerns of Africa, and they didn’t have a voice.
So the white South Africans were in charge (unintelligible) before De Klerk, they were the spokespersons that our country would listen to. So just as we watch our country not understand some of the indigenous leadership and the opposition leadership to dictatorships and other things over the years, this is true with South Africa.
It was only after the ANC became very bold, and as you know, they labeled them communists and terrorists and all of that. We got bold and we joined the ANC from here to say that no, this is the liberation movement. But it was hard. Racism prevailed here in the United States.
Tavis: Larry, I will never forget as long as I live the night – speaking of communism – the night that Nelson Mandela was being interviewed in the town hall by Ted Koppel, and I had never seen Koppel get the business.
I love Ted Koppel, but Mandela gave him the business that night, and told Koppel, “You do not tell me who my friends are.”
Waters: “My friends are.”
Tavis: You don’t tell us -
King: I never saw that.
Tavis: Oh, man, it was a moment.
Those are just two excerpts, there's much more including the final remarks which are Tavis' reflections on Mandela and his meaning.
Kitabat notes that the people of the world and the media have followed his illness and now his death because he was a source of pride, victory and love. The news outlet wonders where Iraq's Nelson Mandela is?
reporters without borders
iraqi spring mc
national iraqi news agency
the tavis smiley show
the irish times
the irish independent
the irish mirror