Friday, August 18, 2017

Disagreeing on a point

James Woods is a great actor.  I don't agree with him politically but he is a great actor.  In WHITE HOUSE DOWN, for instance, he gave the best performance.

So he Tweeted this today:

This man was a real leader of the . He was Hillary Clinton's mentor. His name is Robert Byrd.

I don't know.


Yes, he was KKK -- and he left them.  I believe he publicly rejected them.  If James disagrees, that's fine.

That's not my issue with his Tweet.


That's my issue.

How was he her mentor?

She got into the Senate in January 2001.

The next year, 2002, she was voting for the Iraq War.

Robert Byrd did not do that.

If he was her mentor, how much of a mentor was he?

For me, looking back today, he's just one more person she sucked up to and used.  But he wasn't a mentor, he didn't teach her anything and she certainly didn't follow his lead.

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

Friday, August 18, 2017.

KURDISTAN24 reports:

The Iraqi Prime Minister’s office on Thursday admitted a faction of the security forces committed “abuses” against civilians during the battle to defeat the Islamic State (IS) in Mosul.
Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s office said they began an investigation into the matter in May after a report by German news magazine Der Spiegel included images of torture by Iraqi forces.

The report for DER SPIEGEL was done by Ali Arkady and if you're wondering why he isn't a household name in the west, you're really naive.

THE NEW YORK TIMES can't applaud him because that would be indicting themselves.

Rukmini Callimachi is their 'star' reporter -- a self-promoter with zero modesty who is prone to I-I-I-I-I-I statements.  As we noted several times in February, Rukmini had crossed a line.  She was identify with the Iraqi troops she was embedded with.  She was also insisting that there was no abuse.

But War Crimes were being carried out.

Applauding Ali is admitting Rukmini was worthless.

And she was.

Rukmini is only the most prominent -- because she made herself that way -- of the misreporters.

Applauding Ali means admitting how much money was wasted by various outlets.

And, let's face it, the rule of modern 'journalism' remains: Rather than rock the boat, let's all be wrong together.

So they all ignored what was happening -- all but Ali.

- SPIEGEL photographer Ali Arkady documents Iraqi security forces abducting, torturing, raping, & killing Sunnis around .

Jason Ditz (ANTIWAR.COM) notes:

Faced with mounting evidence of war crimes committed by Iraqi troops in the course of the Mosul invasion, as well as against “suspects” after victory was declared, Iraqi Prime Minister Hayder Abadi today admitted that there were “abuses” committed by security forces in the city.

And, to be clear, all Hayder is admitting to is what DER SPIEGEL has already documented with photographic evidence.

AP explains regarding spokesperson Saad al-Hadith, "Al-Hadithi was referring to allegations reported by an Iraqi photographer for Germany's Der Spiegel magazine in May. The report alleged Iraq's Emergency Response Division -- an elite force linked to the Interior Ministry -- tortured and killed civilians in and around Mosul."

That was not the end of the abuse.

July 19th, Human Rights Watch issued a press release which opened:

International observers have discovered an execution site in west Mosul, Human Rights Watch said today. That report, combined with new statements about executions in and around Mosul’s Old City and persistent documentation about Iraqi forces extrajudicially killing men fleeing Mosul in the final phase of the battle against the Islamic State (also known as ISIS), are an urgent call to action by the Iraqi government.
Despite repeated promises to investigate wrongdoing by security forces, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has yet to demonstrate that Iraqi authorities have held a single soldier accountable for murdering, torturing, and abusing Iraqis in this conflict.
“As Prime Minister Abadi enjoys victory in Mosul, he is ignoring the flood of evidence of his soldiers committing vicious war crimes in the very city he’s promised to liberate,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “Abadi’s victory will collapse unless he takes concrete steps to end the grotesque abuses by his own security forces.”
International observers, whose evidence has proven reliable in the past, told Human Rights Watch that on July 17, 2017, at about 3:30 p.m., a shopkeeper in a neighborhood directly west of the Old City that was retaken in April from ISIS took them into an empty building and showed them a row of 17 male corpses, barefoot but in civilian dress, surrounded by pools of blood. They said many appeared to have been blindfolded and with their hands tied behind their back.
They said the shopkeeper told them that he had seen the Iraqi Security Forces’ 16th Division, identifiable by their badges and vehicles, in the neighborhood four nights earlier, and that night had heard multiple gunshots coming from the area of the empty building. The next morning, when armed forces had left the area, he told them, he went into the building and saw the bodies lying in positions that suggested they were shot there and had not been moved. He said he did not recognize any of those killed.
The international observers also saw soldiers from the elite Counter Terrorism Service (CTS) in the area. They contacted Human Rights Watch by phone from the site and later shared five photos they took of the bodies.
On July 17, another international observer told Human Rights Watch they spoke to a senior government official in Mosul who told them he was comfortable with the execution of suspected ISIS-affiliates “as long as there was no torture.” The observer said a commander showed their group a video taken a few days earlier of a group of CTS soldiers holding two detainees in the Old City. They said the commander told them that the forces had executed the men right after the video was taken.
Salah al-Imara, an Iraqi citizen who regularly publishes information regarding security and military activities in and around Mosul, published four videos allegedly filmed in west Mosul on Facebook on July 11 and 12. One video, posted on July 11, appears to show Iraqi soldiers beating a detainee, then throwing him off a cliff and shooting at him and at the body of another man already lying at the bottom of the cliff. Human Rights Watch had verified the location of the first video based on satellite imagery. Other videos showed Iraqi soldiers kicking and beating a bleeding man, federal police forces beating at least three men, and Iraqi soldiers kicking a man on the ground in their custody.
A third international observer told Human Rights Watch on July 18 that they witnessed CTS soldiers bring an ISIS suspect to their base in a neighborhood southwest of the Old City on July 11. The observer did not see what happened to the suspect next, but said that a soldier later showed them a video of himself and a group of other soldiers brutally beating the man, and a second video of the man dead, with a bullet to his head.

“Some Iraqi soldiers seem to have so little fear that they will face any consequence for murdering and torturing suspects in Mosul that they are freely sharing evidence of what look like very cruel exploits in videos and photographs,” Whitson said. “Excusing such celebratory revenge killings will haunt Iraq for generations to come.”

Let's again emphasize one paragraph from above:

Despite repeated promises to investigate wrongdoing by security forces, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has yet to demonstrate that Iraqi authorities have held a single soldier accountable for murdering, torturing, and abusing Iraqis in this conflict.

RUDAW noted at the end of July:

Because of alleged killings committed by the 16th division of the Iraqi army in Mosul, the United States should stop assisting Baghdad militarily, argues a human rights monitor.

“The US government should make sure it is no longer providing assistance to the Iraqi unit responsible for this spate of executions but also suspend any plans for future assistance until these atrocities have been properly investigated,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch (HRW).

The group released a report on Thursday claiming two international observers witnessed “the summary killings of four people by the Iraqi army’s 16th Division in mid-July 2017.”

Despite this, Nancy A. Youssef and Mike Giglio (BUZZFEED) reported in July:

In the two weeks since Iraqi forces declared victory over ISIS in Mosul, local and international media have told a grim counterstory to the scenes of celebration — a rash of extrajudicial killings of suspected ISIS members at the hands of Iraqi security forces.
The killings are no secret. Videos of Iraqi soldiers executing ISIS suspects have been posted to social media. Human Rights Watch and other watchdogs have issued reports. Iraqi military officers have openly discussed their participation in torture and revenge killings with reporters.

The Iraq War continues and does so with less and less public transparency.

Monday, Mattis said DOD contractor might no longer be public. Yesterday, Col. Dilon said US troop for Iraq/Syria won't be updated.

Where's the objection?

And the bombs continue to fall from US warplanes -- DoD noted yesterday:

In Iraq, coalition military forces conducted six strikes consisting of 15 engagements against ISIS targets:
-- Near Kisik, two strikes engaged an ISIS tactical unit and destroyed six ISIS-held buildings, three mortar systems and a staging area.
-- Near Rawah, two strikes engaged an ISIS tactical unit and destroyed a vehicle and a staging area.
-- Near Tal Afar, a strike destroyed two ISIS headquarters and damaged a bridge.
-- Near Tuz, a strike engaged an ISIS tactical unit.

Let's note this upcoming Michigan event (August 26th):

South Central Michigan Greens 
Calhoun, Hillsdale, and Jackson Counties Local 
People and planet over profit. 
 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 15, 2017 
 For more information: 
Monika Schwab, Local Contact/SCMiGreens 

 South Central Michigan Greens to Discuss Activities 3-5pm Saturday, August 26 at Jackson Coffee Company 
 The South Central Michigan Greens local will discuss recent and upcoming activities in the three-county area at the group's next monthly meeting 3-5pm on Saturday, August 26 at the downtown Jackson Coffee Company (201 South Mechanic Street). Local co-founder Monika Schwab of Jackson will report on the March for the Great Lakes at Calder Plaza in Grand Rapids on August 16. The goal of the march is to promote the closing of Enbridge's aging and controversial Line 5 pipeline through the Straits of Mackinac. And John Anthony La Pietra of Marshall, last year's Green nominee for 63rd District State House, will invite the public and his fellow Greens to a "Make the Connection" Labor Day weekend History Walk. The walk will start at 11am on Saturday, September 2 across East Michigan Avenue from Marshall's VFW Hall, linking two labor landmarks in Marshall -- both related to the founding of a railroad engineers' union in 1863. Also on the agenda is discussion of how, when, and where to canvass to find supporters of Green values in the three-county area. The South Central Michigan Greens local was formed earlier this year to bring together Green Party members and supporters in Calhoun, Hillsdale, and Jackson Counties. 

 For more details and news about the local -- including a description of the "Make the Connection" event and a link to a map of the route -- please visit the local's Facebook page: 
 # # # The Four Pillars of GPMI: Grassroots Democracy Social Justice Ecological Wisdom Non-Violence For our Ten Key Values, add: Community-Based Economics Decentralization Feminism Future Focus/Sustainability Personal and Global Responsibility Respect for Diversity

The following community sites updated:

iraq iraq iraq iraq iraq Iraq

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

That loser 'resistance'

Since the 's Ukrainian vastly outnumber 's Nazis, couldn't they get their Nazis to come kick Trump's Nazis' asses?


The resistance is a joke.

A corporate whorathon.

And it's as fake as its leader Hillary.

This is going to be one of the great embarrassments of this decade -- if 'the resistance' is remembered at all.

They never spoke of important matters like war, they embrace Nazis in other countries, they're a joke.

They're also rather dangerous.

We see an active movement to take down a sitting president.

It's David Brock in the 90s all over again.
Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Wednesday, April 16, 2017.  Chaos and violence continues and look who's concerned about Kurdish independence.


Link to headline article

REUTERS has filed what they're boasting is a "one minute read."

Me? I'm marveling over the fact that it took 3 people to produce it: Ece Toksabay, Turvan Gumrukcu and David Dolan.

The only thing the headline doesn't tell you is that the remark was made to TRT HABER.

What does he mean?

Far be it from REUTERS to offer that.

They neither quote his exact words or go beyond the headline.

A good guess -- but a guess none the less -- would be this is more nonsense from Turkey and from Mevlut Cavusoglu.

AFP quotes him stating, "In that country (Iraq), which has been through so many problems, a referendum on independence can make the situation even worse.  God forbid, it could even bring it to civil war."

Oh, he's just concerned about Iraq.

How sweet.

To provide a bit of context on Cavusoglu, in March the Netherlands announced he would not be allowed to land in their country.  In May, he called for the US government to replace Brett McGurk as special envoy (he insisted McGurk supported the PKK and YPG -- apparently he was unaware of Brett's youthful involvement with the YMCA).  And, of course, Cavusoglu made a spectacle of himself whining about the 'treatment' of Turkish bodyguards (the bodyguards were attacking peaceful protesters in DC).

So that's the 'diplomatic' Cavusoglu.

More context?

For over a decade now, Turkey has been bombing northern Iraq -- killing farmers and villagers mainly.

Turkey has long maintained that every strike killed PKK fighters and nothing but PKK fighters.  As for the PKK, 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."

Cavusoglu represents the faction that has oppressed Kurds in Turkey.  They fear that if the KRG becomes independent, Kurds in Turkey will press for their own rights.

Kurds are discriminated against in Turkey -- if they're lucky, that's all they face.  They often are also the targets of violence.

Rather than address their own problem, they now want to whine about what might happen in Iraq.

They really need to address the oppression they have imposed on their own country (I'm referring to the Kurds but you can include the more recent targeting of the press and dissidents as well).

Instead, they want to whine.

Let's drop back to the February 13, 2016 snapshot:

US House Rep Paul Cook: Picking up on that question of the Turks and the Kurds, point blank, is there any hope for a separate homeland for the Kurdistan?  I don' think geography favors it.  But we've disappointed the Kurds so many times and after all of their fighting and everything else, particularly with the pressure with the Kurds -- I just don't . . . I think we're going to betray them once again.  Can you comment on that?

Special Envoy Brett McGurk:  Well the Kurds -- and I've dealt with my friends, the Kurds, in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq for almost a decade now.  And you're right, there's a historical memory of what happened to the Kurds after WWI which is something I think we all have to recognize and be sympathetic to.  Uhm, the Kurds in northern Syria we've developed a relationship with over the last 18 months or so in the counter-ISIL campaign.  I was able to go into northern Syria last week and meet a number of them.  And they have the same -- it's a very similar historical narrative.  Uhm, however, at this moment in time, creating new, independent states is not something that I think would be particularly stabilizing.  So when it comes to northern Iraq, and the Kurds, as I mentioned, I think before something like that can be discussed in a serious manner, first you have to get ISIS off the southern border, it's all jihad-istan on the entire southern border of northern Iraq and the Kurdistan region.  Second, the economic situation has to stabilize.  And, third, the political situation has to stabilize.  So right now, I think the Kurds of northern Iraq, uh, and recognize this.  Nobody is trying to do the impossible and create a unified Iraq that is a glowing democracy.  But a federal Iraq, which is defined in their constitution, which empowers local leaders, empowers the Sunnis in the provinces, empowers the Kurds in northern Iraq, empowers the Shia in southern Iraq is something that's realistic, is something that is in Iraq's constitution and something that we support.

The US has repeatedly attempted to thwart any move towards Kurdish independence.

As we noted SaturdayALSUMARIA reported that Hoshyar al-Zebari stated today that, despite US objection, the referendum will be held on September 25th.  Monday, Mythili Sampathkumar (INDEPENDENT) reported), "Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had asked Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) President Massoud Barzani to delay the 25 September vote because America fears it would detract from "more urgent priorities" in the region, such as defeating the Isis terror group. "

Yes, it's never a good time for the KRG.

It's always been that way, from the US government's perspective.

The betrayals and lies go back decades.

You can't  discuss the US government's relationship with the Kurds seriously without referenceing the Pike Report which the US Congress produced but then quickly decided not to release.  It was leaked to the press (by CBS NEWS' Daniel Schorr after CBS NEWS questioned whether or not to report on it) and, February 16, 1976, The Village Voice published Aaron Latham's "Introduction to the Pike Papers."  Latham explained:

In 1972, Dr. Henry Kissinger met with the Shah of Iran, who asked the U.S. to aid the Kurds in their rebellion against Iraq, an enemy of the Shah.  Kissinger later presented the proposal to President Nixon who approved what would become a $16 million program.  Then John B. Connally, the former Nixon Treasury Secretary, was dispatched to Iran to inform the Shah, one oil man to another.
The committee report charges that: "The President, Dr. Kissinger and the foreign head of state [the Shah] hoped our clients would not prevail.  They preferred instead that the insurgents simply continue a level of hostilities sufficient to sap the resources of our ally's neighboring country [Iraq].  The policy was not imparted to our clients, who were encouraged to continue fighting.  Even in the context of covert action, ours was a cynical enterprise."
During the Arab-Israeli war, when the Kurds might have been able to strike at a distracted Iraqi government, Kissinger, according to the report, "personally restrained the insurgents from an all-out offensive on the one occasion when such an attack might have been successful."
Then, when Iran resolved its border dispute with Iraq, the U.S. summarily dropped the Kurds.  And Iraq, knowing aid would be cut off, launched a search-and-destroy campaign the day after the border agreement was signed.
A high U.S. official later explained to the Pike committee staff: "Covert action should not be confused with missionary work."

That is the root and start of a relationship where the US government repeatedly used and misled the Kurdish people and repeatedly lied and broke promises.

Since 2003, the broken promises have increased.

The KRG needs to do what the people of the KRG want.

A referendum is scheduled for September 25th.  The Kurds need to decide for themselves.  They do not need 'advice' from the US or Turkey.  Self-determination.

How do you leave that out?

The bombs continue to be dropped on Iraq.

IS conflict: Iraqi jets bomb Tal Afar ahead of ground assault

Balint Szlanko and Qassim Abdul-Zahra (AP) report:

Thousands of Iraqis have fled an Islamic State-held town west of Mosul as Iraqi and coalition warplanes step up strikes ahead of a ground offensive to drive out the militants.
Tal Afar and the surrounding area is one of the last pockets of IS-held territory in Iraq after victory was declared in July in Mosul, the country's second-largest city. The town, about 150 kilometers (93 miles) east of the Syrian border, sits along a major road that was once a key IS supply route.

Maher Chmaytelli (REUTERS) adds, "The town, which had about 200,000 residents before falling to Islamic State, experienced cycles of sectarian violence between Sunnis and Shi'ites after the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, and has produced some of Islamic State's most senior commanders."

In other news, WSWS is among the websites currently targeted with censorship.  They note:

Nearly 1,000 people from all over the world have signed the petition to oppose Google censorship.

Here is what some have said:

  • I'm against any kind of censorship on the Internet. It should be a free space and not controlled by corporations. -- Ricardo, Portugal
  • Information should be free and the reader should have the choice whether to believe it. -- Muhammad, Pakistan
  • Disallowing the dissemination of information critical to exposing the class nature of all political issues we face represents a leap towards authoritarianism. -- John, United States
  • Internet censorship must stop... freedom of speech and access to information on the web! -- Srilal, Sri Lanka
Read all the comments and add your name here.

The World Socialist Web Site

The following community sites updated:

iraq iraq iraq iraq iraq Iraq