Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Revolution keeps tanking

A lot of you are e-mailing about how much you hate Revolution in season two.

The biggest complaint is Nora's death.

I don't think anyone -- certainly not NBC -- realized what a loss they would have by killing off Nora.  And the show does suffer.

Daniella Alonso played Nora and she's already got a new show lined up so I don't think they can bring her back but I do agree with those of you insisting that's what's needed to fix the show.

It now airs Wednesday nights, for those watching or wanting to.

I think most of us are souring on this show.

The ratings are tanking.  The last three episodes have gotten the worst ratings of the entire series run.

If you ask me, it's because women are being treated like meat on the show, we get lingering close ups, for example, of Charlie swinging her ass.  Nora is dead and there's no other strong warrior woman on this show about warriors.

They've destroyed their own show.

Okay, I was also asked to "do the Google."  So here are the top Goggle responses if you search: the common ills:

About 11,000,000 results (0.19 seconds) 

Search Results

  1. The Common Ills

    2 days ago - Monday, October 21, 2013. Chaos and violence continue, Nouri gears up for a meeting with Barack Obama, Iraqi Vice President Tareq ...

    Baghdad slammed by bombings

    Baghdad slammed by bombings. BBC News reports Bahgdad ...

    December 21st

    Friday, December 21, 2012. Chaos and violence continue, ...

    The ever weaker Jalal and ...

    The ever weaker Jalal and those KRG elections. Saturday the ...

    Echoes of past outrage burp up

    Another story has captured attention in the region.

    Iraq snapshot

    Iraq snapshot. Monday, May 13, 2013. Chaos and violence ...

    Kat's Korner: Susanna Hoffs and

    Kat's Korner: Susanna Hoffs and Joss Stone, who can ... Not ...
  2. The Common Ills | Listing on BlogsByWomen Blog Directory

    Blogs By Women listing for The Common Ills | Women blogger on This is a great site, pro-choice, left. I think C.I.`s one of the best women bloggers out there..
  3. Search results for "The Common Ills" - Trove

    Add the latest news from The Common Ills to your personalized news page.
  4. The Common Ills | Diplopundit

    Jun 6, 2012 - Yesterday, The Common Ills blog has an interesting post on the US Ambassadors to Iraq – Crocker, Hill, Jeffrey, the latest nominee for that post, ...
  5. The Common Ills | NetworkedBlogs by Ninua

    Francis A. Boyle is an attorney and a professor of international law. He's also the author of many books including, most recently, United Ireland, Human Rights ...
  6. Lessons of Faith Beside the Common Faith of Love

    Samuel Nott - 1835 - ‎Faith
    ... lest those with whom you are united by the ties of your frail nature, should meet the common ills and the common lot of man — while amidst dangers and fears, ...
  7. Mikey Likes It!: Don't miss the roundtable at The Common Ills

    Aug 2, 2005 - There's a roundtable going on right now that will go up at The Common Ills tonight. How important is the roundtable? Rebecca's participating ...

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

Tuesday, October 22, 2013.  Chaos and violence continue, still no election law in Iraq, the State Dept is pressed on drones as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch issue reports, and more.

Iraq came up at today's State Dept press briefing.

QUESTION: Iraq-related, but on the drones. Why – what is the policy behind deploying drones or how do you do it? Because in Iraq, we know where the ISIS camps are, they are becoming more and more emboldened. They are wreaking havoc on the country, yet there are no – they are not subject to drone strikes. Could you explain why not?

MS. HARF: I think, broadly speaking, I would say that we look at every terrorist threat wherever it is and determine the best tools to go after it. We obviously work very closely with the Iraqi Government, Prime Minister Maliki will be here in the coming days, and we’ll continue talking to folks about it going forward.

QUESTION: Is this likely a subject that you will discuss with the Maliki Government?

MS. HARF: Counterterrorism in general? Absolutely. We discuss is all the time with the Iraqis.

QUESTION: But you do agree that the camps of the Islamic State of Iraq in Sham are going all over the place in Iraq, and they’re attacking --

MS. HARF: Well, we certainly --

QUESTION: -- more boldly, right?

MS. HARF: We’ve certainly said that the terrorist attacks in Iraq have increased significantly, that it’s of increasing concern to us – very serious concern to us. I’m sure this will be a topic of conversation when they come to Washington.

QUESTION: Okay. Wouldn’t the using drones be effective against these terrorists?

MS. HARF: Again, we make decisions on counterterrorism differently everywhere and the Iraqi Government we work very closely with to help them increase their counterterrorism capability.

First off, "We obviously work very closely with the Iraqi Government, Prime Minister Maliki will be here in the coming days, and we’ll continue talking to folks about it going forward."?  That's the first time the State Dept has acknowledged Nouri's visit.  October 9th, despite press reports and Nouri al-Maliki's office announcing the visit  days before, Marie played dumb on the visit.  (It was playing, right?)  Not only did she insist that she knew nothing of a visit, she promised that when there was something there, she'd announce it ("When we do, I’ll let you guys know.").  October 16th, the White House announced the visit. Six days later, Marie Harf finally mentions the meet-up, tries to slip it in.  "When we do, I'll let you guys know"?  Good thing she doesn't worry about being an honest broker of information.

Second, the reason for the question may not be clear to many.  The topic is drones.  And we'll come back to that at the end of the snapshot.  But on his August visit to the US, Iraq's Minister of Foreign Affairs Hoshyar Zebari made clear the government wanted drones.  Indira A.R. Lakshmanan (Bloomberg News) reported, "The top Iraqi diplomat’s comments are the first time he has publicly raised the possibility of working with the U.S. on anti-terrorist drone strikes, a clandestine program whose use against terror groups in Pakistan has fueled widespread protest and damaged the U.S. alliance there."  At the start of this month,  John Hudson (Foreign Policy) reported that Iraq will not get the US drones that the Iraqi government has been calling for:

Though neither Iraqi nor U.S. officials will say who called off the drones, it's no secret who began discussing them in the first place. In an August 17 trip to Washington, Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari told reporters that Baghdad is seeking U.S. advisers, air surveillance or drone strikes to combat al-Qaeda's grip on the country. "We cannot fight these increasing terrorist" threats alone, he said. Speaking of drone strikes specifically, he said as long as they were used to "target al-Qaeda and their bases," without "collateral damage," Iraqis would welcome them.
That same month, Iraqi ambassador to the U.S. Iraq Lukman Faily reiterated Iraq's interest in drones. "The reason we're now considering drone support is because we need to get better control of the sky so we can track and destroy al-Qaeda camps in the country," Faily told The Cable.
It's not hard to understand why they'd be interested in the unmanned aircraft. On Monday, the detonation of 15 car bombs in Baghdad left dozens dead in an event that would've shocked any other country not embroiled in a civil war. However, in Iraq, it was only the 38th such atrocity in the last 12 months. In 2013 alone, Iraq is averaging 68 car bombings a month. The United Nations reports that 5,740 civilians were killed since January, which is almost two times more deaths than recorded in all of 2010.
Despite the staggering numbers, the U.S. isn't about to open up a new drone war in Iraq. "The use of lethal drones has not been discussed nor is it even under consideration for Iraq," an administration official tells The Cable.

Nor could it be.  Such a possibility would trigger the US Congress exploring how US trainers in Iraq now (Special Ops) have trained Nouri's SWAT force and how they helped Nouri's SWAT force plan a mission in April.  In Kirkuk Province, there was something Nouri wanted to put down.  Among the problems for Nouri?  Kikruk forces would not let them enter.  This came out the month after when   Shalaw Mohammed (Niqash) interviewed Governor Najm al-Din Karim:

NIQASH: The incidents in Hawija, where protestors were killed by the Iraqi military, also seems to have seen more Iraqi army forces enter Kirkuk.

Al-Din Karim: Actually those forces did not come through Kirkuk - they entered Hawija by helicopter. They tried to come through Kirkuk but we prevented them from doing so. I know the Prime Minister disapproved of this – he told me so last time we met.

Nouri's forces were transported in -- by helicopters supplied by the US government -- and what did they do?  This is the April 23rd massacre of a peaceful sit-in in Hawija which resulted from  Nouri's federal forces storming in.  Alsumaria noted Kirkuk's Department of Health (Hawija is in Kirkuk)  announced 50 activists have died and 110 were injured in the assault.   AFP reported the death toll rose to 53 dead.  UNICEF noted that the dead included 8 children (twelve more were injured).

Those 8 dead children wouldn't make for a happy Congressional hearing.  There are also eye witnesses who can offer reports.  BRussells Tribunal offered the testimony of Thamer Hussein Mousa who was participating in the sit-in with his son Mohammed Thamer. The father's left arm and left leg were amputated but he was among the people participating and he was terrorized by Nouri's forces when they stormed in.  His son was attempting to push his father -- in a wheel chair -- to safety:

My son, who stood next to my wheelchair, refused to leave me alone. He told me that he was afraid and that we needed to get out of the area. We tried to leave. My son pushed my wheelchair and all around us, people were falling to the ground.
Shortly after that, two men dressed in military uniforms approached us. One of them spoke to us in Persian; therefore we didn’t understand what he said. His partner then translated. It was nothing but insults and curses. He then asked me “Handicapped, what do you want?” I did not reply. Finally I said to him, “Kill me, but please spare my son”. My son interrupted me and said, “No, kill me but spare my father”. Again I told him “Please, spare my son. His mother is waiting for him and I am just a tired, disabled man. Kill me, but please leave my son”. The man replied “No, I will kill your son first and then you. This will serve you as a lesson.” He then took my son and killed him right in front of my eyes. He fired bullets into his chest and then fired more rounds. I can’t recall anything after that. I lost consciousness and only woke up in the hospital, where I underwent surgery as my intestines were hanging out of my body as a result of the shot.

After all of what has happened to me and my little son – my only son, the son who I was waiting for to grow up so he could help me – after all that, I was surprised to hear Ali Ghaidan (Lieutenant General, Commander of all Iraqi Army Ground Forces) saying on television, “We killed terrorists” and displaying a list of names, among them my name: Thamer Hussein Mousa.

I ask you by the name of God, I appeal to everyone who has a shred of humanity. Is it reasonable to label me a terrorist while I am in this situation, with this arm, and with this paralyzed leg and a blind eye?

I ask you by the name of God, is it reasonable to label me a terrorist? I appeal to all civil society and human rights organizations, the League of Arab States and the Conference of Islamic States to consider my situation; all alone with my five baby daughters, with no one to support us but God. I was waiting for my son to grow up and he was killed in this horrifying way.

I hold Obama responsible for this act because he is the one who gave them these weapons. The weapons and aircrafts they used and fired upon us were American weapons. I also hold the United States of America responsible for this criminal act, above all, Obama.

That's, to say the least, embarrassing for the executive branch.  They were monitoring what was going on.  The assault took place on a Tuesday.  The protesters faced difficulties on Friday.  This appeared here on Sunday, April 21st  -- two days before the assault:

I had thought we'd go over the violence and any election commentary but we only finished at Third about 30 minutes ago and I had a friend at the State Dept who had called repeatedly, I didn't know, the cell phone was off.  He informed me that the US was "closely following" developments in Hawija and figured I was as well.  No, I'd been working on Third forever and a day.  I told him give me 15 minutes to search Arabic social media and I'd call him back with what was being said.  This will be big in Arabic social media but it's not yet.  Most are unaware of what's going on and -- as usual -- you can't count on the western press to tell you a damn thing.
Hawija is a hot spot right now.  And we're not going to distract from that with other things -- including the Falluja bombing that we can cover tomorrow.

The US government was following what was happening, they knew it was a hot spot.  And two days later, 53 people were killed -- including 8 children.  You think that's going to make for a sweet and peaceful Congressional hearing?

Maybe the State Dept could convince Congress -- remember, State is over the US mission in Iraq -- that although the situation was tense two days before the slaughter, they had no way of knowing a slaughter would take place.

But maybe a senator on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee might wonder how they thought it would end in anything other than violence since January 24th,  Nouri's forces sent two protesters (and one reporter) to the hospital,  January 7th, Nouri's forces assaulted four protesters in MosulJanuary 25th, his forces fired on Falluja protesters, killing and wounding many, and March 8th, Nouri's force fired on protesters in Mosul killing three.

So do you really think the State Dept can sell the lie that they had no idea Hawija would end in violence?

Even Marie Harf, with her ample stupidity, would probably have a hard time selling that.

Especially when the only public investigation exonerates the demonstrators.  Shafaq News reported in May:

The parliamentary investigative committee in Hawija incident revealed on Tuesday, that 90% of the dead in the army’s’ storming incident to the Sit-in Square were shot in the head , abdomen and chest areas, while made it clear that the weapons that were stolen from the army were outside the Sit-in Square.
The parliament has formed an investigative committee of the various parliamentary blocs on the back ground of Iraqi army storming the Sit –in square in Hawija in Kirkuk.
[. . .]

He [Iraqiya MP Muthehar Al-Janabi] added that “The report confirms that the Sit-in Square was free of weapons”.

Third, that incident -- among many others -- does not back up Marie Harf's claim that the State Dept discusses counterterrorism with Nouri and his government "all the time" -- unless she's disclosing that the US government is not just passively standing by as the Iraqi people are terrorized but instead actively involved in planning, with Nouri,  how to terrorize the people.

Last week, Iraq's Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi pointed out, "I should admit that the government security forces were successful in one mission: in curbing the peaceful protests which called for their rights. The well-known and latest example is in Haweeja city on April 23, 2013, killing and injuring hundreds the demonstrators."  He also declared:

I want also to ask those countries, especially the United States, which still blindly support the current Prime Minister who keeps deceiving the international community by giving false reports about the situation in the country and never fulfills his promises, I ask them to reconsider their stands and help build a real and well-established democracy in Iraq. 

US President Barack Obama is scheduled to meet with Nouri al-Maliki November 1st.  For Nouri, it's mainly to get support for his plan to run for a third term as prime minister.  He really wants the blessing of the US government.  In 2006, Bully Boy Bush made him prime minister (the Iraqi Parliament wanted to name Ibrahim al-Jaafari to a second term).  In 2010, when the Iraqi people chose to make Iraqiya, headed by Ayad Allawi, the winner, Nouri refused to accept the right of the people to choose their leaders.  Fortunately for him, Barack Obama also sneered at the Iraqi people.  And he ordered the brokering of a contract, The Erbil Agreement, to go around the will of the Iraqi people and the Iraqi Constitution and give Nouri a second term.

Nouri's been an abject failure for seven years now.  Iraqis are strong and they can endure a third term of Nouri but only with much suffering.

Nouri's never been the 'chosen one.'  He's always been imposed upon Iraqis by the US government.

Today, Nouri makes clear that he's campaigning.  All Iraq News reports he's called to increase the admission rate for Iraqi medical colleges, according to his spokesperson Ali al-Mousawi.

It's a stupid move from a stupid man.

I don't care for Nouri.  I don't like despots.

Even so, on those rare occasions when he does a good thing or has a good idea, we do note it.  Drop back to the September 26th snapshot, "In one of the few smart moves Nouri has made, Dar Addustour reports a new program which will allow military doctors who served under Saddam Hussein to return to work if they want to.  That's good news.  There is a severe shortage of doctors and nurses in Iraq."

We've long addressed the problems with the medical community in Iraq (see November 22, 2012's "Nouri's failure with regards to Iraq's medical needs," for one example).  Nouri's ignored them.

The 'brain drain' at the start of the illegal war and throughout the ongoing war, has led many professionals to leave Iraq.  That includes doctors and nurses.  In addition, doctors and nurses have been repeatedly targeted.  Between exoduses and killings, Iraq has a huge medical shortage.  For seven years, Nouri has 'addressed' it via immigration.  He's brought in guest-workers -- at a time when Iraq's unemployment has continued to soar.  The answer was always obvious: a program to increase Iraq's doctors and nurses.

Iraq brings in billions to the government each month via oil sales.  A million dollars to provide college stipends to cover living expenses would have been a tiny sliver of one month's oil profits.   Iraqis who are trained right now are leaving the country.  Provide them with living expenses while they're being medically trained and you can get a promise that they'll work for five or ten years in Iraq -- a written promise.

Doing that, you have nurses, you have doctors.  You have Iraqis with jobs.  You're not giving the limited jobs available to guest workers you repeatedly bring in to the country.

Some may see today's announcement as 'a first step.'  It's not.  It's seven years to late.  For some time now, many of us have been pointing out this fix.  And Nouri has ignored it for years.  But now he wants a third term and he's doing the bare minimum (expanding the number of people admitted) that he has to do.  This isn't what Iraq needs but it the cheap ass, fake moves Nouri al-Maliki has become famous for.  He may hold the title Prime Minister of Iraq but he's really just King of the Meaningless Gesture.

He's failed in every way -- he's reviving the civil war, violence is soaring.  John Hudson (Foreign Policy) focuses on US Gen John Allen's remarks regarding US failures in Iraq:

 "We weren't there long enough to provide the top cover for the solution of many of the political difficulties that might have resolved itself had we had been there for a longer period of time," he told attendees of the Foreign Policy Initiative forum. "So consequently, as we departed, we have seen those tectonic plates begin to grind against each other and that has created instability and the body count is going up, the bloodletting is going up."
Allen, a widely-respected general, was credited by President Obama for stemming the tide of Iraq's insurgency as a "battle-tested combat leader" in Anbar Province. He was later assigned as commander of the International Security Assistance Force, the allied coalition in Afghanistan.  Without question, sectarian violence has skyrocketed in Iraq since U.S. troops departed in late 2011. Moreover, al-Qaeda and its affiliates appear stronger than ever, executing mass-casualty attacks many times a month in an onslaught that has killed more than 6,000 Iraqis this year -- a shocking figure that recalls the darkest days of 2006-07.
But whether a lingering U.S. presence could've benefited Iraq's security situation is subject to debate.  

At this site, we supported Out of Iraq.  All troops.  Immediately.

And we can argue -- on strong ground -- that (the bulk of) US troops departing Iraq did not create this mess.

We can do that because we paid attention.

Every crises in Iraq today is the fault of Barack Obama.

That may seem sweeping to some.

But the security crisis stems from the political crisis which goes back to The Erbil Agreement the US-brokered which goes back to Barack's insistence that second place Nouri get a second term Iraqi voters didn't give him.

The Erbil Agreement?  The leaders of political blocs signed on to it.

Because they love Nouri?

Hell no.  They did it to get certain things their blocs wanted.  Iraqiya is a mixed block (as opposed to Nouri's Shi'ite State of Law) and their concerns included being targeted.  So they needed an independent position of power and protection.  That was a security agency that Allawi was to head.  The Kurds wanted Article 140 of the Constitution implemented (to resolve Kirkuk).  Everyone put their needs into writing.

Only Nouri's needs were honored.  He got his second term and refused to honor the contract.

That's on Barack Obama.  The US government failed to keep its word that the contract had its full backing.

The blocs waited and waited.  By the summer of 2011, the Kurds, Moqtada al-Sadr and Iraqiya were openly calling for Nouri to implement the rest of The Erbil Agreement.

And the US government played dumb and insisted it had nothing to do with them.

While they stayed out, the political crisis turned into a security crisis.

Supposedly, April 30th will find Iraqis voting in parliamentary elections.  Ammar al-Hakim, leader of the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq, has stated the elections cannot be postponed.  But they may be.

The religious observance of Eid al-Adha was four days last week.  Chia Hassan, spokesperson for Kirkuk's Health Department, told Kirkuk Now that 351 babies were born in Kirkuk Province during the four holy days.  The festival is over.  Where's that election law?

Didn't independent MP Mahmoud Othman declare repeatedly ahead of Eid that, as soon as the holiday wrapped up, the election law would pass the Parliament?

Yeah, he did,  "Independent" chose to appoint himself spokesperson for the KDP and PUK.  Dropping back to the October 15th snapshot:

That was sent to the public e-mail account for this site from an official with the KDP (Kurdistan Democratic Party -- one of the two dominant parties in the KRG -- the other being Gorran) with the note that "Othman does not speak for the KDP."  
"That" refers to a KDP press release which included:
The Prime Minister also spoke about the forthcoming 2014 parliamentary elections in Iraq and the election law which is currently under discussion in the Council of Representatives in Baghdad. He said it is important to ensure that the rights of all groups are recognised in the new election law. He said, ‘Commitment to the Iraqi Constitution is a key factor for good governance, the implementation of genuine federalism and partnership and in promoting and protecting the political process in Iraq.’
Did it pass today?  Nope.   All Iraq News reports the political blocs were meeting to discuss the bill.  Of course, MP Mohsin al-Sa'adoun who serves on Parliament's Legal Committee stated that this is just a discussion and no agreement will be reached today.  State of Law MP Hadi al-Yasiri declared that since "the Kurdistani Alliance is not satisfied over the amendment of the Elections law," they will --as the Speaker of Parliament Osama al-Nujaifi has previously insisted, use the old elections law.
I think we repeatedly warned that the rosy assumption that everyone would go along with that proposal seemed to exist with the idea of another country and not Iraq where every vote is a struggle. (For example, October 14th: "Currently, the Parliament can't agree on a law but somehow, magic?, they're all going to agree with Osama al-Nujaifi's announcement that a previous law can be used? That seems pretty pie in the sky for a country that is always 'turning a corner' to listen to the spinners but whose government continues the same death march it began in 2006.")  And NINA reports today that KRG President Massoud Barzani has declared the previous law was a failure and unfair and that a new law is needed.  There is a threat being floated that the KRG will boycott the elections.  For those who don't know, Massoud Barzani isn't 'independent' like Othman -- in addition to being president of the Kurdistan Regional Government, Barzani also heads the Kurdish Democratic Party -- the same politicl party with the  official who wrote the public e-mail account for this site to note Othman did not not speak for the KDP.

What does 'expert' Othman have to say today?  All Iraq News quotes him on security.  Strangely, the western media darling who's always so smart (according to western media) has nothing to say about the election law -- the one he insisted would be passed by now.

And expect more delays on that law.  Alsumaria reports cleric and movement leader Moqtada al-Sadr is calling for a variety of features including open lists.

Turning to violence, last week Moqtada granted an interview on terrorism and Iraq. From Asharq Al-Awsat:

In an exclusive interview with Asharq Al-Awsat the head of Shi’ite Sadr Movement Moqtada Al-Sadr said that Iraq is ruled by terrorism, and predicted that the situation will worsen in the near future.
“Iraq today is at the height of danger and has become a prisoner of terrorism, extremism and violence,” Sadr told Asharq Al-Awsat.
“Iraq is under the rule of terrorism, bombing cars, murder and bloodshed,” he said, adding, “This is how Iraq is and this is the situation it is in.”
The Shi’ite leader accused the country’s prime minister, Nouri Al-Maliki, of being a failure, claiming that Iraq needs a “father-like ruler,” instead of Maliki whom he expected would attempt to remain in power for a “third or perhaps fourth term… or even forever.”

His remarks are especially noteworthy today as NINA reports:

Security source in Diyala province said that 4 western Baquba neighborhoods' mayors have submitted their resignations after receiving threats from armed groups.

He told NINA on Tuesday, Oct. 22, that 4 of western Baquba neighborhoods' mayors have resigned because of having received threats of being liquidated by pro Qaeda armed groups.

National Iraqi News Agency reports 1 person was shot dead in Shiftah Village, an Aljisir Village bombing left two people injured, 1 power generator owner was shot dead in Mosul and his brother was left injured, a Mosul bombing left 2 police officers dead and a third injured, a Jorf al-Sakhar mortar attack left 1 "young girl killed" with three women injured, 1 corpse was discovered in Kifel (gun shot wounds), a Baghdad roadside bombing claimed the life of 1 Sahwa and left three more injured, a Ruthba car bombing claimed the lives of 10 police officers with four more injured as well as two bystanders left injured,  and a Mosul roadside bombing claimed the lives of 3 police officers with a fourth injured.  Alsumaria notes an attack on a Ramadi checkpoint left 4 police officers dead.  Mohammed Tawfeeq and Mohammed Adnan (CNN) report, "Also Tuesday, a car bomb exploded near a busy market in the central Iraqi town of Musayyib in Babil province, killing one person and injured 11, police in Baghdad said. Musayyib, a largely Shiite town, is about 70 kilometers (43 miles) south of Baghdad."

Barack Obama continues to run The Drone War, terrorizing millions around the world.  The Bureau of Investigative Journalism has started a project entitled Naming The Dead that seeks to put names to Barack's kills.

Equally important, the kills are being questioned legally.  Owen Bowcott (Guardian) reported Friday:

A United Nations investigation has so far identified 33 drone strikes around the world that have resulted in civilian casualties and may have violated international humanitarian law.
The report by the UN's special rapporteur on human rights and counter-terrorism, Ben Emmerson QC, calls on the US to declassify information about operations co-ordinated by the CIA and clarify its positon on the legality of unmanned aerial attacks.

Amnesty International issued the following today:

In October 2012, 8-year-old Nabeela ventured out with her 68-year-old grandmother Mamana Bibi to do daily chores in their family's large, open field. Moments later, Mamana was blasted into pieces by a US drone strike that appears to have been aimed directly at her. Amnesty International did not find any evidence she was endangering anyone, let alone posing an imminent threat to the US. Yet a year has passed and the US government has not acknowledged Mamana Bibi's death, let alone provided justice or compensation for it.

"Will I be next?," a new report from Amnesty International, finds that this killing, and several other so-called targeted killings from US drone strikes in Pakistan, may constitute extrajudicial executions or war crimes. Based on interviews with 60 survivors and eyewitnesses to these strikes, "Will I be next?" documents potentially unlawful killings and abuses, and makes recommendations to the US government for how to uphold the right to life and ensure accountability for any unlawful killings.
Read the Report ›
Take Action ›
Report Pictures/Video ›
Interactive Story Map ›
#gameofdrones Tour ›

And Human Rights Watch released the following:

The 97-page report examines six US targeted killings in Yemen, one from 2009 and the rest from 2012-2013. Two of the attacks killed civilians indiscriminately in clear violation of the laws of war; the others may have targeted people who were not legitimate military objectives or caused disproportionate civilian deaths.
Read the Report
ISBN: 978-1-62313-0701

Back to today's State Dept press briefing:

QUESTION: Boy, there’s so much to start with, I don’t know what to start with. But let’s see. I’ll start with this – the drone reports.

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: You’ve read them, I presume, or people have?

MS. HARF: We’re reviewing them. Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: Is there anything that you fundamentally disagree with that’s in these reports?

MS. HARF: Well, again, we’re reviewing them right now.

QUESTION: Right, but from what you’ve seen so far --

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: -- presuming you’ve read something like the executive summary or something like that --

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: -- is there anything that you take issue with?

MS. HARF: Well, generally speaking – and the President spoke to this really at length in his speech in May, so I’ll make a few points he made, but it speaks to some of the allegations in the reports – first, that we undertake every effort to limit civilian casualties in our counterterrorism operations. There’s a process that goes into how these operations are chosen, and as part of that process, we take every effort to limit these casualties.
Also, I would note that there’s a wide gap between U.S. assessments of such casualties and nongovernmental reports. I’d point that out as well. I think there are some other things in the reports that were raised, but if you want to jump in with any questions here, I’m happy to speak to other specific issues.

QUESTION: If you could just answer my question, is there anything in these reports that you disagree with?

MS. HARF: Well, I just spoke about the civilian casualty issue. That’s certainly one.

QUESTION: Well, I don’t think the report says that you don’t make an effort to avoid civilian casualties.

MS. HARF: I think that --

QUESTION: Does it? Maybe I misread it.

MS. HARF: Again, we’re still --

QUESTION: It just says that there are civilian casualties.

MS. HARF: Again, what I said was --

QUESTION: So is there --

MS. HARF: -- there’s a wide gap between U.S. assessments and in general nongovernmental reports about civilian casualties. We undertake every effort to limit them.


MS. HARF: We believe that we are always operating in accordance with international law. We would strongly disagree with the notion in some of these reports to the extent that they claim that we are acting contrary to international law as well.

QUESTION: So what you have a disagreement – what you don’t agree with is just the number of civilian casualties?

MS. HARF: Well, we’re still reviewing the reports.

QUESTION: Well, so far, you don’t agree with the number of civilian casualties, although you will allow that there are some unfortunate --

MS. HARF: Well, the President spoke to this --

QUESTION: -- as it may be.

MS. HARF: -- when he said that in any war any action will have civilian casualties, but by choosing this course of action, it’s the course of action least likely to result in the loss --


MS. HARF: -- of innocent civilian life, also the notion that we’re acting contrary to international law, to the extent that that’s raised. But again, we’re continuing to review these reports. There’s a couple of them, and we’ll be talking about them I’m sure in the coming days as we do.

QUESTION: Okay. So this – so if I am understanding you correctly, there are two things that you have clear --

MS. HARF: At this point, two things that I’m raising. Again, we’re still reviewing.

QUESTION: -- you don’t --

MS. HARF: This isn’t the entirety of our response.

QUESTION: Let me just make sure I understand what – I understand that, but –

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: -- you strongly disagree with the idea that you’re somehow in violation of international law?

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: And two, you disagree – you think that their numbers are not correct in terms of the civilian – or at least they don’t comport with the numbers that you have yourself?

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm. But again, that’s not the entirety of our response to them. We’re reviewing them. If we have more to share as we review it, we’re happy to do so.

QUESTION: What are you reviewing exactly?

MS. HARF: The reports – I think there’s two that just came out. Amnesty International, I believe, and Human Rights Watch are the two.

They keep their own figures but don't pull those out, they just study the reports for some way to discredit them and stop the questioning.


No comments: