Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Passengers

I thought Passengers sucked?

I just watched it on EPIX tonight and I really enjoyed the film.

Now granted, I love sci fi.

But I really did not see why there was so much hatred for the film.

I'm not a big Jennifer Lawrence fan.

I honestly think she's overrated in most things.

But I thought this was her best work outside of The Hunger Games.

Chris Pratt was appealing.  He usually is.  He was appealing in Wanted with Angelina Jolie.  And he
was playing a guy who sleeps with his best friend's lover.

But I thought the film raised some important issues and did so in a really strong way.

I loved it.  I'm sorry I went by the reviews when it was out at the movies.




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

 
Tuesday, July 25, 2017.  The politics . . .


Starting with human blunder Kurt Eichenwald.


  Retweeted
Newsweek/MSNBC/Vanity Fair's libels me as a child rapist, STD spreader & Putin agent -- after losing libel case.








Julian Assange has not been accused of being a child rapist.  Nor has he been convicted of anything.

Kurt?

This is the man who was checking out kiddie porn on the web, please remember.

No, he wasn't on assignment from THE NEW YORK TIMES.

He was looking for underage boys who performed in porn.

Some sociological study, no doubt.

And then he began corresponding with one.

And sending the boy thousands of dollars.

And much later, he got the idea that this might be a story.

But he failed to tell the paper about what had already taken place.

And he lied about providing the boy with money (and gifts?).

I hate to argue with Kurt over the term "child rapist" because I'm sure it's a term he's very familiar with -- having stalked boys on the internet -- but in this case, even an expert like Kurt can be wrong.

And is.

Didn't NEWSWEEK just settle out of court with someone Kurt smeared with lies?

Yes, they did.

Kurt's disgraces never end.  The only question is why he's still employed.



Now let's drop back to Friday, when US Col Pat Work hosted a DoD Teleconference from Iraq and to this exchange:




CAPT. DAVIS: We'll go to Michael Gordon from the New York Times next.

Q: Colonel Work, a couple of just very quick informational questions. You mentioned that the Iraqi forces are consolidating their gains in western Mosul. What is the nature of the resistance in western Mosul at this time? How many suicide attacks or snipers or IEDs or other security incidents have there been there, over the past week? And who is going to be the hold force for that part of the city? Which Iraqi forces?

COL. WORK: Hi, Michael. There's a lot of work to be done in west Mosul, in particular. In west Mosul, right now, the Iraqi security force is all three cohorts: the federal police, the Iraqi Army and the Counter Terrorism Service. They're rooting through this extraordinarily damaged infrastructure, hunting down the remnants of ISIS, hunting down its leadership, continuing to recover and render safe its explosive caches, continue to exploit intelligence so that it can do precision work against its movement corridors. And the Islamic State -- you know, they never gave anything away. The Iraqi security forces, with our help, had to take everything from ISIS. And the leadership of ISIS fled -- they left its fighters alone, naked, on the battlefield. And so you've got these pockets of remnants that continue to evade capture. But their days are numbered. There are small engagements every single day, and the Iraqi security forces are just now dispatching the surviving ISIS small units -- and we're talking three to five fighters. Occasionally they'll be able to muster some sort of operation that looks like it's organized, but it's quickly defeated. They've had no effect. It hasn't slowed down the progress of the search. It hasn't slowed down the progress of the recovery on the areas that were liberated in May. And what's extraordinary about the west side is areas that were liberated, just as recently as May, as the fighting progressed into the first week of July -- people are going about their lives. Their roads are getting repaired. People are resettling. And I'm literally talking about two to three kilometers from where the fighting is still occurring. And so one thing about the Islamic State -- it's always been determined, and these fighters still are determined, but there's small handfuls of them and the Iraqi security forces are firmly in control. It will never be the same for ISIS in Mosul again. The caliphate is prone. It cannot recover from this catastrophic setback. And these little pockets of remnants that evade capture -- they've got no future. And occasionally, there'll be an explosion, because an Iraqi security force finds one of these fighters that's still wearing a suicide vest. But there's no threat. It doesn't tilt the calculus or the strategic picture in Mosul at all. And so there's a handful of these little incursions that happen, and that will continue for some time. As you recall, on the east side, keeping this in perspective, there was a little bit of (inaudible) -- fighting for a little while after the prime minister announced victory on the east side, as well. And, you know, ISIS is going to continue to challenge this. It meant a lot to them, but they lost, unambiguously, and the Iraqi Security Forces are firmly in control.

Q: The Iraqi Security Forces are still taking casualties, killed and wounded in Mosul -- in West Mosul as they fight with these teams of three to five ISIS fighters every day?

COL. WORK: Mosul remains dangerous, for sure. There's explosives -- and let me -- let me just unpack what Mosul really looks like on the west side. About three years and a month ago, the people of Mosul had homes. And in those homes, they raised families, and they sent their children off to schools. And, periodically, they'd go to a mosque, and they worshipped, and they had medical facilities they could go to when then needed to be treated. Over the last two to three years, this is what the so-called Islamic State did to Mosul. They took every single one of those homes and they turned it into a fighting position. And sometimes, there was three homes side by side. And those three homes that were parked side by side, ISIS knocked out every wall in between them. So, it took three individual family units and it made one massive fighting position. And in this one massive fighting position, as the Iraqi Security Forces approached over the last several weeks and months, it booby trapped those homes. And it took the children's room -- and they cached off homemade explosives and its homemade mortar rounds in the children's room. And it took the second floor, and it turned that second floor into a sniper's perch, complete with sandbags that hardened it, and camouflaged it. And as the Iraqi Security Forces advanced, on what used to be a home, and is now just a fighting position, the booby-traps increased. And these booby-traps might be found in ovens, they might be found in closets, they might be found in the baby's former room. Additionally, that same place where the children used to go to school, ISIS cracked the ground of a floor of the children's house -- or at the children's school. And in the children's school where it broke the floor, it sunk its baseplates for its mortars into the floor. And on the ceiling, that used to protect the children from the heat, ISIS punched holes in it so that that mortar could fire through the roof of that former school, knowing that the coalition always exercises constraint when it comes to schools that are made for children. And the Islamic State would drape a tarp over the top of that hole that it put in the roof, so that they could fire mortars when they felt like, and then cover it, and try and help evade detection from some of our intelligence assets. And it took that medical clinic that used to train doctors. That used to be a place for doctors to deliver babies. That used to be a place where people could go and get treatment. And it took the biggest hospital on the west side of Mosul, on the highest piece of ground, and then turned it into its international headquarters. It turned it into -- its equivalent of the Pentagon, its equivalent of a municipal building, this hospital, into a massive fighting position. And over the last several months, the Iraqi Security Forces, backed by a coalition, have progressively taken more and more of these neighborhoods, and progressively closed with and destroyed ISIS in its fighting positions. Have progressively liberated the populations that were trapped in the basements of these former homes and current fighting positions. They've liberated the populations that were shoved out in front of these fighting positions. They used to be people's houses. And its liberated these people and allowed these people a chance to escape. And so, the Iraqi Security Forces, today, remain bravely in Mosul. And they're looking for these weapons caches and they're looking for these explosives and these bombs that are in the road and these booby-traps that are in houses. And it's still extraordinarily dangerous because what ISIS has done to what used to be homes, schools, medical facilities. And the Iraqi Security Forces still incur great risk every day. And their mission, in fact, during this transmission, is to render safe all of these explosives. So, of course, it's very dangerous for them, yet they continue to do their jobs. And we continue to give them advice and assistance.



That was this past Friday (July 21st).


B-b-b-ut two weeks ago, prime minister Hayder al-Abadi declared victory!!!!

He even staged a victory parade on July 15th.


Former prime minister and forever thug Nouri al-Maliki is in Russia still.  Nouri is currently one of Iraq's three vice presidents.





Baghdad seeking substantial Russian military & political presence in Iraq – vice-president






Of the visit, RT reports:


In his talks with Russia’s Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, earlier Monday, al-Maliki stressed that a Russian presence in Iraq would bring the balance which couldn’t be “undermined in a political sense in favor of any external party.”
“Today we need Russia's greater involvement in Iraqi affairs, especially in the energy field. Now when we are done with Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL), Iraq needs investments in energy and trade,” he said.


Today, Nouri is scheduled to meet with Vladimir Putin, President of Russia.









Soon the people will know who are the bad people in Iraq and they are going to overthrow all you crooked government people








Soon because elections will be held in Iraq shortly.

Nouri wants to be prime minister again.

Others would also like to hold the post.


Ammar Alhakeem Iraqi Shia Political leader walking to meet his supporters like a Hollywood star in a scene 🎥, his PR sure wanted a statement









Actually, you've seen the above walk before with Barack Obama and, most infamously, with Bill Clinton in his first high definition broadcast.  It's not "Hollywood star" but it is a typical politicial stagecraft (see Joan Didion's POLITICAL FICTIONS and her analysis of George H.W. Bush's 1992 campaign efforts).


Ammar al-Hakim is the leader of the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq.  Ammar assumed that position in the fall of 2009, following the death of his father Abdul Aziz al-Hakim.

Back in May, Mohamed Saied (AL-MONITOR) reported:

Hakim had launched in late 2016 a political settlement designed “to address sectarian and racist policies against Iraqi Shiites, Kurds, Sunnis and other minorities.” This UN-sponsored settlement involves all political actors in Iraq, except for the Baath Party and Islamic State (IS) in “the development of a framework for the political process in the post-IS era.”
There are three challenges that Iraq needs to overcome: seizing all IS-held areas, achieving unity among Iraq’s religious components (Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds) and preventing any component from monopolizing power.
Sectarianism and rivalry between a Shiite majority and Sunni minority have been at the core of the political conflict in Iraq since the fall of Saddam Hussein’s regime following the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq. Although 60% of IS-held areas have been restored, there is a need that military operations and political reforms be concurrent, to prevent extremism from finding a favorable environment in Iraq. The Carnegie Middle East Center wrote in April 2014, “Sunnis feel increasingly marginalized and are radicalizing, providing extremist groups with an ideal environment for mobilization and action.”


Ammar is one of the leaders often spoken of as possibly being the next prime minister.  Shi'ite cleric and movement leader Moqtada al-Sadr is another name tossed around.


Abadi's ties to Iran don't seem to be flourishing. Tehran believes Abadi stands in the way of its projects and allies in the country. This is while Abadi believes his eastern neighbor is seeking full control of the country.
Alaeddin Boroujerdi, head of the Committee for National Security and Foreign Policy of Iran's Shura Council, said July 2, “Terrorists will be able to rule over Damascus and Baghdad if they are not [protected by] the Quds Force," which is the special forces unit of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.
In a June 20 meeting with Abadi, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei warned against the implementation of any measure that would weaken the PMU. As Abadi is often accused of wanting to incapacitate or dissolve the PMU, Khamenei's message wasn't just an offhand remark.
Khamenei’s and Boroujerdi’s statements mark a new chapter of Iran's policy toward Iraq. The strategy that was in place to control Shiite political parties is no longer enough. Iran wants to expand its geographic and political influence to the Sunni areas that have been retaken from IS.
Abadi backers stand in the way of former Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's supporters, who are close to Iran and enjoy political and military support as they run the so-called deep state that appears to be conducting Iraqi state affairs.
Fallah Mishaal, former editor-in-chief of al-Sabah newspaper, told Al-Monitor, “Iran perceives Iraq as a precondition for its national security. Through [Iran's] support for Shiite political parties in power, it seeks to prevent any attempt at disrupting the presence of these parties within the Iraqi state institutions.”
He continued, “In light of the Iranian strategy inside Iraq, Abadi is required to take stances not intersecting with the Iranian project, by abstaining from suspending the PMU's role in the Iraqi security and military dossier. This is given that many of its factions succumb to the instructions of Khamenei.”
Abadi and Iran disagree over a critical point about the PMU. Abadi believes the demand for some armed Shiite groups within the PMU to join the fighting in Syria to be “unconstitutional,” contrary to the Iranian stance that encourages fighters to stand alongside the regime of Bashar al-Assad.


The following community sites -- plus Tavis Smiley and PACIFICA EVENING NEWS -- updated:



  • Ewwww
    13 hours ago 








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