Barry Grey (WSWS) sees
the horse race coverage of the election and the election itself as a distraction from a larger goal of empire: War with Iran. This is from his article:
Within American ruling circles, it is well known that plans for war
against Iran are far advanced, but there is a conspiracy of silence by
both political parties and the media to keep this reality out of the
presidential election. The intent is to drag the American people into
yet another bloody war in the Middle East on the basis of false pretexts
and lies, despite broad popular opposition to an attack on Iran.
reveals the anti-democratic and fraudulent character of the elections
more clearly than the refusal to explain to the American people the
military carnage that is being prepared in their name and allow them to
express their democratic will.
Over the past week, a number of
commentaries in the American and European press have warned of an attack
by either Israel or the US, or both, against Iran in the near future,
and a bipartisan group of former foreign policy officials, retired
generals and former legislators has issued a report outlining the
potentially catastrophic consequences of an unprovoked attack on the
Persian Gulf country.
Some of the recent articles have the
character of a pre-emptive political strike by ruling class figures wary
of a war against Iran, while others suggest that such a war is
necessary and inevitable. The confluence of such commentaries is itself
an indication that detailed planning for war is underway.
We have always assumed Barack wanted war on Iran -- those of us with sites in the TCI community. Or those of us who talk and talk -- instead of writing -- during the Third editions. We spend a lot of time talking. Let me note who participates:
The Third Estate Sunday Review
's Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess and Ava,
Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude
Betty of Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man
C.I. of The Common Ills
and The Third Estate Sunday Review
Kat of Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills)
Mike of Mikey Likes It!
Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz
Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix
Ruth of Ruth's Report
Wally of The Daily Jot
Trina of Trina's Kitchen,
Marcia of SICKOFITRDLZ
Stan of Oh Boy It Never Ends
Isaiah of The World Today Just Nuts
and Ann of Ann's Mega Dub
And we have always been of the opinion that war with Iran was coming and wanted under Barack. I'd leave out Ava and C.I. only because they write the TV commentary each week by themselves (and sometimes they do more than one article by themselves a week). When they go off to do that is usually when the bull sessions really start. (Ava will make it very clear that she's got other things to do by saying something like, "I'd love to talk about this and everyone can call me on Monday for that. But right now, I want to finish this edition, get some sleep, spend some time with my baby and not look at a computer.")
So I do agree with Barry Grey that this appears to be happening and that we seem to see a march to war with Iran taking place.
It was always desired under Bully Boy Bush. And Barack's all about delivering the kind of actions even Bush couldn't get away with.
As a Black woman, I'm frequently upset with mixed, bi-racial Barack for getting a pass for being "Black." I actually am Black and it's never provided me with a pass. How typical that Barack would use a pass he hadn't earned.
Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"
September 27, 2012. Chaos and violence continue, Barack continues to
campaign on taking 'all' troops out of Iraq, the White House continues
to negotiate with the Iraqi government to send US troops back into Iraq,
Nouri's targeting Iraqi activists, the amnesty bill didn't get passed
today despite all the promises, assailants target an Iraqi prison, and
Yesterday afternoon, Joe Hamilton explains to the Muskegon Chronicle editors
why he's supporting Barack, "But I'd maintain that if the only thing
that Barack Obama accomplished in foreign policy during his entire time
in office was the end of U.S. military involvement in Iraq, then that
alone makes his presidency significant, historic and well worth voting
for. Yesterday Jack Burgess (Ironton Tribune) explained
"He's brought the troops home from Iraq on schedule, in spite of
pressures from some in the military and Republicans such as Sen. John
McCain, his opponent in 2008, who said he didn't care if our troops
remained there for 100 years." Last week, Tonja Adams insisted to the Wisconsin State Journal
, "Thankfully, President Barack Obama brought our troops home from Iraq and will bring more home from Afghanistan in 2014."
there are approximately 15,000 U.S. forces in Kuwait, but the number is
likely to decrease to 13,500. Kuwaiti bases such as Camp Arifjan, Ali
Al Salem Air Field, and Camp Buehring offer the United States major
staging hubs, training rages, and logistical support for regional
operations. U.S. forces also operate Patriot missile batteries in
Kuwait, which are vital to theater missile defense.
In addition, last December, for NBC's Rock Center with Brian Williams
Ted Koppel addressed the US presence after what Barack called a
"withdrawal" but the Defense Dept called a "drawdown" (the terms have
MR. KOPPEL: I
realize you can't go into it in any detail, but I would assume that
there is a healthy CIA mission here. I would assume that JSOC may still
be active in this country, the joint special operations. You've got FBI
here. You've got DEA here. Can, can you give me sort of a, a menu of, of
who all falls under your control?
AMB. JAMES JEFFREY: You're actually doing pretty well, were I authorized to talk about half of this stuff.
The media just doesn't like that truth. They prefer the lie that everyone came home.
now they prefer not to talk about what's taking place between Iraq and
the United States right now: Discussions between the two governments to
get US troops back on the ground in Iraq. In exchange for allowing US
troops back into Iraq in significant numbers, Al Rafidayn reports
the Iraqi government will get many things including weapons which can
shoot down any thing entering Iraq's air space. You may remember that
Iraq has airspace issues. And even the Iraqis currently in the US
training to fly in Iraqi skies are not going to change that. 2014 was
the 'hoped for' date when bandied around by the Bush administration as
when Iraq could patrol their own skies.
For details on the negotiations, Al Rafidayn
cites an MP and the New York Times
, Tim Arango's article
which contained this: "Iraq and the United States are negotiating an
agreement that could result in the return of small units of American
soldiers to Iraq on training missions." Though Tom Hayden wrote six paragraphs for The Nation
about Arango's article he only focused on one sentence ("At the request
of the Iraqi government, according to General [Robert] Caslen, a unit
of Army Special Operations soldiers was recently deployed to Iraq to
advise on counterterrorism and help with intelligence."). He ignored
the sentence that preceded that in Arango's article: "Iraq and the
United States are negotiating an agreement that could result int he
return of small units of American soldiers to Iraq on training
When you've built your campaign
on 'ending' al Qaeda (by US forces killing Osama bin Laden) and yet al
Qaeda most likely was behind the September 11, 2012 attack on the US
Consulate in Libya, that false claim to have brought all the troops home
from Iraq and ended the US military involvement, seems like it's a
major news story, a very big story, that the US government is
negotiating with the Iraqi government to redeploy troops into Iraq.
but forgot to inform readers that Barack was in talks to send significant numbers of US troops back into Iraq.
The return of US troops, Al Rafidayn reports,
is wanted by the White House in part because Iraq has been unable to
stop Iranian flights to Syria. In addition, they want it due to fears
that, in the words of Sheikh Hamid al-Hayes, that rebel fighters are
grouping in units with al Qaeda in Mesopotamia.
that the former governor of Basra, Mohammed Misbah Waili, was
assassinated today (the firearm had a silencer). The latest day's
violence includes a prison attack BBC News reports
assailants using bombs and guns attacked a Tikrit prison. AFP quotes
a police Lieutenant Colonel stating, "A suicide bomber targeted the
gate of the prison with a car bomb and gunment then assaulted the
prison, after which they killed guards" and a police Colonel stating,
"The prisoners killed one policeman and wounded (prison director)
Brigadier General Laith al-Sagmani, the gunmen took control of the
prison, and clashes are continuing." Kitabat states
two car bombs were used to blow up the entrance to the prison and gain
access and they also state 12 guards have been killed. Reports note the
riot is continuing. Alsumaria reports
four guards have died, 1 police officer and the injured include two
soldiers and the prison director al-Sagmani. There's confusion as to
whether a number of prisoners were able to escape in the early stages
after the bombing and during gunfire. Reuters goes
with "dozens" escaping which is probably smarter than the hard number some are repeating. Mu Xuequan (Xinhua) reports
5 police officers killed and another two injured -- the numbers are
going to vary until tomorrow, this is ongoing -- and state over 200
prisoners escaped with 33 of them already having been recaptured. If
you skip the English language media, what's not confusing is why it
happened and why it was able to happen. Alsumaria reports that there
are approximately 900 inmates in the prison and that many have death
sentences. Alsumaria does even more than that. It notes the recent
prison violence throughout the country and ties it into the death
sentences. These aren't just happening at random, this is about the
many people being sentenced to death -- a fact the English language
press either doesn't know or doesn't think people need to know.
prisoners escape, as some have, without being caught, it makes a lot of
sense when you grasp that they are seen as persecuted. They're not the
deadly evil suddenly let loose and roaming through a town that's going
to cause people to pick up the phones and call the authorities. These
are people that many Iraqis feel didn't get a fair trial or received an
unduly harsh sentence. The refusal for this part of the story to be
reported goes a long way towards explaining the confusion over what's
been taking place in Iraq for months with these increased attacks on
Already the English-language press is
obsessed with the Islamic State of Iraq -- a violent group that may be
responsible. And they may be. July 22nd
the Islamic State of Iraq released an audio recording announcing a new
campaign of violence entitled Breaking The Walls which would include
prison breaks and killing "judges and investigators and their guards
(They also threatened to attack America on US soil.) They've had great
success since then in launching deadly attacks. And one of the reasons
for their success is Nouri al-Maliki. The Islamic State of Iraq is
using violence which appalls many Iraqis but for reasons that a number
of Iraqis can identify with.
Saturday, Al Mada noted
that Iraqiya is calling for Nouri to release the imprisoned who have
not been found guilty and to do so in the spirit of the holy month of
Ramadan. This follows Imam
Mahmoud al-Issawi's call during Friday prayers for the government to
release the detainees being held who have not been found guilty.
In the 2011 protests that took place throughout Iraq, this was a
repeated demand and Nouri led people to believe in February 2011 that
his 100 days (give him 100 days and he'll fix everything!) would result
in this. It never did. And he's been silent in the face of the calls
from Imam Mahmoud al-Issawi and Iraqiya. Today Alsumaria reports
that Nineveh Governor Ethel al-Nujaifi announced the release of 18
detainees. al-Nujaifi, the brother of Speaker of Parliament Osama
al-Nujaifi, may have especially enjoyed making that announcement when
Nouri has no similar announcement to make. The two are political rivals
and back before Nouri spent all his days trying to hold onto his post
of prime minister, he repeatedly attempted to force al-Nujaifi to step
down as governor.
only has Nouri resisted such calls, his political slate State of Law is
the one that's repeatedly thrown up road blocks in Parliament when it
comes to the still not passed amnesty law.
All Iraq News notes
the Parliament met today to vote on a number of bills including a bill
about credit, a bill abaout infrastructure and a proposed amnesty law.
So determined is State of Law to block the law that they're willing to
spread rumors about Nouri's new bestie Saleh al-Mutlaq. Ayad al-Tamimi (Al Mada) reports
that the morning found Deputy Prime Minister al-Mutlaq (a member of
Iraqiya -- at least in name) denying charges from State of Law that he
was making back door deals to get the amnesty bill passed. All Iraq News adds
that the vote on the amnesty bill was only scheduled for today due to demands from Moqtada al-Sadr and his bloc.
The amnesty bill did not get passed today. As noted September 25th
, "How bad are things in Iraq? They need an infrastructure law to authorize spending but . . . Ayad al-Tamimi (Al Mada) reports
that there are MPs -- including Moqtada al-Sadr's bloc -- that want
additional guidelines written in because they see it as likely that
Nouri could use the $40 billion to grab even more power and to
militarize Iraqi society. Things are so bad that members of Parliament
have to attempt to write into the infrastructure budget guidelines to
prevent Little Saddam from misusing the money in his effort to grab even
more power." Mustafa Habib (Niqash) explains
a variety of objections to the bill with two MPs going on the record
but it's this last objection, that no one wants to own up to, that's the
behind the scenes, further reasons were given for the antipathy being
directed at a legislation the country really seems to need badly: the
upcoming elections. Al-Maliki is not a popular man – a large group of
MPs have recently tried to oust him from his position. And with upcoming
elections, they're worried that his main motivation with a law like
this – which relates to many things that the Iraqi voters need and want –
is to increase his own popularity with electors, without concern for
And why should anyone trust Nouri al-Maliki?
Al Mada reports
on the concentrated efforts to arrest Facebook activists who took part
in the Friday protests that swept Iraq in 2011. A lot of people don't
know about those protests because the White House didn't want you to and
a lot of 'news' outlets worked overtime to minimize the story (take
your bow, New York Times
-- you attacked the protesters -- the
ones who were beaten and kidnapped by Nouri's forces, what a proud
moment for the paper) or just ignore it (most major dailies not named
the Washington Post, most US broadcast outlets who aren't CNN or NPR).
was the White House's . . . Well, not friend. You invite friends into
your home. And Barack wouldn't leave the campaign trail this week to
meet with Nouri in NYC which is why Nouri cancelled his trip and planned
address to the UN on Saturday. Nouri was the White House's best bet
-- according to foreign policy nitwit posing as a guru Samantha Power.
And so the White House didn't just demand a second term for Nouri
despite the poor showing for State of Law in the 2010 elections
(defeated by the brand new Iraqiya despite Nouri and his goons refusing
to allow certain Iraqiya candidates to run for election, despite the
targeting and murders of some members of Iraqiya in the weeks leading up
to the elections, despite Nouri's non-stop speeches telling Iraqis that
Iraqiya was a band of terrorists), they went so far as to negotiate a
contract, the Erbil Agreement, assuring the political blocs it was not
only legal, it was legally binding. Even more importantly, they
promised the Kurds and others that this US-brokered contract had the
backing of the US government meaning it would be followed. The White
House gave the word of the US government. And then Nouri used it to
become prime minister and tossed aside all the points in the contract he
agreed to for that second term (such as the creation of an independent
national security commission, finally implementing Article 140 of the
Constitution which was supposed to take place in 2007, etc.)/ And all
the promises the US government made? Amnesia on the part of the White
House as the political blocs have demanded that the Erbil Agreement be
So when you're Nouri, hoping to ride it out through 2014
when, right now, you plan to run for a third term, you launch one power
grab after another. In the US, for example, Barack Obama is
President. Secretary of Defense is Leon Panetta. In Iraq, Nouri is
prime minister. And Minister of the Defense. And Minister of the
Interior so he's over the police. And Minister of National Security.
He was supposed to nominate people to those positions and they were
supposed to be approved by Parliament. If he wasn't able to do that in
30 days, per the Constitution, he not only didn't advance from prime
minister-designate to prime minister, someone else was namded prime
minister-designate and given 30 days to put together a Cabinet.
White House could protect him to a degree. Not from the 2011
protests. They could only encourage the press not to cover them, not
protect Nouri from them. Iraq was only one part of the region facing
protests. And in some countries, the protests were toppeling leaders.
Nouri was scared.
He announced he would not seek a second term.
Then the promise was taken back less than 24 hours later, since then not
only has his attorney announced that he can seek a third term, it's
been announced a third term would be best for Iraq.
Press In My Pocket works when you're a US puppet. All outlets report
that you won't seek a second term. They then write editorials about how
great that is of you and how you're showing leadership and how
wonderful you are. And those editorials appear after your spokesperson
says you are not promising to seek a second term. Not only does that
not make the editorials, you don't report it. Name the foreign wire
service that reported it because it's a lot easier to name the only
English language outlet that reported that then all the US outlets which
refused to do so.
Afraid that he was going to be toppled and
knowing that the press could amplify not just the protests but how
deeply unpopular he was, Nouri didn't just put out that he wouldn't seek
a third term, he also begged the Iraqi people to leave the streets and
given him 100 days. At the end of 100 days, he would have ended
corruption, he would have addressed the lack of basic services, he would
address unemployment, he would address the many who had 'disappeared'
in the Iraqi 'justice' system.
Anyone who has watched Nouri
closely since the US first installed him as prime minister in 2006 knows
his modus operandi: Stall. Promise anything and then stall. Your
opponents will grow weary, fighting for justice can be weary, and you
just wait them out.
So Nouri did nothing to improve the lives of
the Iraqi people which means it's time to round up those who might
protest him again. Al Mada speaks with young activists in Nineveh
Province where arrrests have been non-stop and they tell the paper about
how the crack down is targeting youth activists and bloggers. In
Mosul, the people talk about how these activists are arrested with no
arrest warrants, how 'terrorist acts' are their protests actions on
Facebook. Since last Thursday, Nineveh Province Council Member Abdul
Rahim al-Shammari explains, hundreds of people have been arbritrarily
arrested who wonders where the arrest warrants are? The arrests are by
the Federal Police, not the province police. The federal police are
controlled by the Minister of the Interior. Who's that again?
Oh, yeah, Nouri. In his power grab, he seized control of the three security ministries. Just two months ago, Mohammed Tawfeeq (CNN) observed
"Shiite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has struggled to forge a lasting
power-sharing agreement and has yet to fill key Cabinet positions,
including the ministers of defense, interior and national security,
while his backers have also shown signs of wobbling support."
Ethel al-Nujaifi is the governor of the province and he tells Al Mada
the council of the province has decided -- all voting in agreement --
to launch an investigation into these arrests and the torture of the
detainees. He points out that neither the military nor the security
forces are a judicial body and they have no rgith to torture. In
Baghdad, activists speak of how the security forces spy on them. In
Babylon, youth activists are being arrested.
In 2011, the press
amplified Egypt while rendering Iraq invisible. The Iraqi people
thought it was only a matter of time before the international press paid
attention. Especially with all the attacks on journalists as well as
And the people who stood up for Iraq are
being rounded up by Nouri's forces. But don't expect the US press to do
their job. If they'd done it when it mattered, if in February 2011 or
at any point since, the New York Times had reported the truth
(I'm talking about reporters -- the editoral board has been much more
truthful than the paper's reporters), Hadi al-Mahdi might not be dead.
But the silence from the US media and the lies from the New York Times (they
chose to attack the protesters in print) contributed to Hadi's
assassination. Nouri knew the world wouldn't care if there was no
spotlight on his actions.
And now Nouri goes after more Iraqis
but, hey, it helps the White House and their negotiations to get US
troops back into Iraq so the New York Times doesn't have time or space to cover what's happening to the youth activists (or any of Nouri's victims).
what some spinner or fool will surely hail as 'progress,' Iraq's 9th
commissioner to the one-time independent Electoral Commission was named
today. Alsumaria notes
that Turkman Khan Kamal Ali was voted as the ninth member today. It's
not progress. Even if the size of the commission is not increased --
as the Iraqi court says it must be -- you've still got Christians who
feel they were betrayed and you've still got a commission that has no
women on it. Earlier this week, the United Nations Secretary-General's
Special Representative in Iraq Martin Kobler made an idiot of himself
attempting to find the positive. But it was Kobler who, months earlier,
was insisting women must be represented on the commission. (The Iraqi
court says that women must make up 1/3 of the commission.)
Shi'ite Vice President addressed the United Nations General Assembly
today. We have limited space so we'll briefly note some of his remarks.
President Khudier al-Khuzaie: Our renewed ambition in building a
modern state where the Iraqi people enjoy freedom, development and
prosperity requires us to move towards the establishment of friendly and
equal relations with all nations the world over, within a framework of a
cooperative international system governed by clear rules that prevent
problems and crises which undermine its prosperity and stability. The
new Iraq has made its choice by embarking on the path of cooperation and
collaboration with the International community on the political,
economic and development levels. This has been coupled with significant
leaps in our economic growth that will qualify Iraq to return to the
space of world economy and merge within the international economic
system based on a realistic vision that achieved a number of positive
developments over the past years. According to certain indicators, our
Gross Domestic Product doubled which in turn doubled the per capita
share of the GDP. According to projections by the International
Monetary Fund, GDP will reach about 150 billion dollars in 2014. The
Iraqi government also succeeded in implementing policies to curb
inflation and to control government spending in addition to our success
in collaborating with the International community to reduce the debt
accumulated by Iraq in the past decades.
Still in the US, Senator Patty Murray is the Chair of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee. Her office notes:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 27, 2012
Contact: Matt McAlvanah
Mystery Republican Blocks Cost Of Living Adjustment for Disabled Veterans
Secret Republican hold on bill could prevent more money in disability benefits from going to millions of veterans
D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray, Chairman of the Senate
Veteran's Affairs Committee, announced that an as yet unnamed Senate
Republican has blocked a traditionally non-controversial bill that would
provide over 3.9 million veterans and their survivors with a
Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA) for the benefits they receive. The COLA
increase, which is designed to offset inflation and other factors that
lead to the rising cost of living, was brought to the Senate floor by
Senator Murray last Thursday. The bill was cleared by all Senate
Democrats but was blocked by at least one Senate Republican that has not
come forward to claim responsibility.
"This is stunning" said Senator Murray. "Particularly
because we still don't have any indication why someone would block a
cost-of-living adjustment for veterans and their surviving spouses, many
of whom are struggling to make ends meet. This adjustment for
our disabled veterans is hard earned and well deserved. My hope is that
whichever Senator has decided to hold up this bill will at least come
forward to own up to it. That way we can move forward to overcome their
s and get our veterans the support they need."
Veterans COLA will affect several important benefits, including
veterans' disability compensation and dependency and indemnity
compensation for surviving spouses and children. The COLA rate will
match the annual increase provided to Social Security recipients and is
based on the Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Price Index.
U.S. Senator Patty Murray
202-224-2834 - press office
202--224-0228 - direct