Thursday, April 30, 2015


I'm sorry.  I don't always have time to check the e-mails and usually just glance at the top few when I'm busy.

But in a post this month, I hit on a topic that a lot of you agreed with.

If we're paying for a laptop we should decide about a password.

That's even if we want to have a password.

But if we decide we do, then we should be able to make it whatever we want.

This nonsense of X number of letters and must have a number and must have a special character blah blah blah.

This is our laptop.

We paid for it.

If we want a password, we'll put one on it and it will be the password we want, not what you tell us we have to do.

I stopped counting after 315 -- didn't mean to, just lost my number somewhere after that.

But 315 of you e-mailed to express your disgust with having purchased a new laptop, then ordered to create a password and then ordered how you'll come up with a password.

I'm sorry, were these laptops gifts from the companies or did we actually pay for them?

If we paid for them, we should be able to decide.

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

Wednesday, April 29, 2015.  Chaos and violence continue, the State Dept continues to insist they care about the press (only the foolish don't scoff at that assertion), spokesperson Marie Harf lies in a press briefing about US policy, Iraq's Prime Minister and chief beggar Haider al-Abadi is in a snit fit over a bill in the US House of Representatives is considering, Ivan Eland apparently now doing psychic readings for select members of Congress, Bernie Sanders thinks he can run for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination but somehow he and the press have missed some trouble brewing there, and much more.

We'll again start with the ridiculous US State Dept and their pretense that they give a damn about press freedom.  Thaer Ali, Iraqi journalist, was executed by the Islamic State in Mosul this week and the State Dept still hasn't found time to note that murder.  Or the attacks on the press from the Iraqi government.

Today, spokesperson Marie Harft, apparently finally recovered from the public spectacle she made of herself Saturday night at the White House Correspondents Dinner, handled the briefing.

MS HARF: Good afternoon, and welcome to the daily press briefing. I have a couple items at the top, so bear with me. First, in the State Department’s Free the Press campaign – and I think we have some photos, hopefully, coming up – we have two cases for today’s Free the Press campaign.
The first comes from Russian-occupied Crimea, where de facto authorities have shut down 11 of the 12 Crimean Tatar media outlets, including ATR TV – I think it’s up behind me now – the last independent television station serving the Crimean Tatar population. Occupation authorities also have banned most Ukrainian language programming, replacing content with Russian programming. These restrictions on media freedom are part of a worsening situation that demonstrates Russia’s disregard for the population of Crimea. Occupation authorities are systematically closing the space for freedom of expression and leading an intimidation campaign that targets independent journalists for detention and prosecution. All residents of Crimea should have access to a wide range of news, opinion, and information. We condemn Russia’s abuses and call for the end of its occupation of Crimea, which is part of Ukraine, as we’ve said.
I think the screens have gone on to our second case, which comes from Maldives, where an investigative journalist named Ahmed Rilwan has remained disappeared since August of last year. Mr. Rilwan, who wrote often about politics, criminal gangs, and Islamic extremism, was reportedly forced at knifepoint from his residence. We call on the Government of the Maldives to credibly investigate the disappearance of Ahmed Rilwan and to take steps necessary to create space for independent journalists to work without fear of violence or harassment.
And along the same lines here, moving on to the next item at the top, we congratulate Christiane Amanpour, CNN’s chief international correspondent, on being named the United Nations Educational – I think, yeah, let’s stay with the map – Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization, or UNESCO, goodwill ambassador for freedom of expression and journalist safety. As UNESCO’s goodwill ambassador, Amanpour will keep freedom of expression and journalist safety on the global agenda and serve as a voice to governments, reminding them of their obligation to assure that a free press flourishes and combat the culture of impunity that leads to fear and self-censorship among all media professionals. We look forward to her work.

QUESTION: She’s going to leave her position with CNN?

MS HARF: I think you’d probably ask CNN, but I doubt it.

Marie Harf's ridiculous statements come on the same day that Iraq's Minister of the Interior Mohammad Salem al-Ghaban launched his attack on the press blaming them for the Iraqi military's failures (many, many failures).  AP reports:

The comments by Mohammad Salem al-Ghaban, in charge of Iraq’s police, come after Reuters bureau chief recently left the country after threats against him by Shiite militias over a story about abuses and looting following the capture of Tikrit.
Ghaban also suggested that blame for the collapse of Iraqi forces last summer in the initial onslaught by the extremists lay at the feet of journalists.

AP's referring to Ned Parker who had to leave Iraq due to the public threats made against him.  These include the attacks on journalism that Haider al-Abadi was offering April 8th and April 9th.  Monday, we noted that Haider attacked the press twice -- once via a statement from the Cabinet of Ministers (written statement) and the second time was when he appeared before Parliament that day.

Marie Harf and others at the State Dept -- as they pretend to give a damn about press freedom -- have failed to note that.

They look so ridiculous -- but then Marie's been dubbed a "granny chaser" by a friend who attended Saturday's event -- and he has a hilarious routine he's built around that.

Let's move to more ridiculous from granny chaser Marie Harf.

QUESTION: Yes. Do you have any comment about this draft resolution at the Armed Services Committee that calls for the recognition of the Sunni fighters and the Kurdish Peshmerga forces as a country, and so they can be – directly receive aid and weapons from the U.S., not through the central government?

MS HARF: I saw that. I saw that. And to be very clear: The policy of this Administration is clear and consistent in support of a unified Iraq, and that we’ve always said a unified Iraq is stronger, and it’s important to the stability of the region as well. Our military assistance and equipment deliveries, our policy remains the same there as well, that all arms transfers must be coordinated via the sovereign central government of Iraq. We believe this policy is the most effective way to support the coalition’s efforts.
So we look forward to working with congress on language that we could support on this important issue, but the draft bill, as you noted, in the House – this is very early in the process here for the NDAA – as currently written on this issue, of course, does not reflect Administration policy.

QUESTION: Thank you.

QUESTION: Do you – broadly, do you support – do you believe it’s the Executive Branch’s prerogative to recognize countries?

MS HARF: I do.

QUESTION: Or is it the Senate Armed Services Committee?

MS HARF: This actually is the House --

QUESTION: House Armed Services Committee.

MS HARF: -- Armed Services Committee. The Executive Branch.

Oh, Marie.  Are you still hung over from Saturday?

Or are you that stupid?

Let's zoom in on this nonsense:

Our military assistance and equipment deliveries, our policy remains the same there as well, that all arms transfers must be coordinated via the sovereign central government of Iraq. We believe this policy is the most effective way to support the coalition’s efforts.
So we look forward to working with congress on language that we could support on this important issue, but the draft bill, as you noted, in the House – this is very early in the process here for the NDAA – as currently written on this issue, of course, does not reflect Administration policy.

It's always hilarious to watch Marie make an idiot of herself.

That's not US policy.

It wasn't policy under Bully Boy Bush.

It wasn't policy under Barack.

If you don't get how stupid Marie is (or what a liar she is), focus on one word: Sahwa.

Sahwa, largely Sunni fighters, were paid by who?

The United States.

Even after the press first reported Nouri had started paying the Sahwa, he hadn't.  Under Barack Obama, the US taxpayer was paying Sahwa.

Not through Baghdad, they were paying Sahwa directly -- each male fighter earned approximately $300 a month (female fighters earned less) -- and that was a little over 90,000 men -- and I use "men" intentionally.  No effort was ever made to count the number of female fighters (Daughters Of Iraq, they were called while the males were called Sons Of Iraq and both were also referred to as "Awakenings").

Not only were they paid by the US taxpayer, they were provided with arms by the US taxpayer.

And that's before we get into the CERP funds.

We can get into that too.

We can expose the lies of all Marie's ridiculous pronouncement today.

Again, maybe she was still hung over from Saturday?

Regardless, she didn't utter one true statement in what we quoted.

US policy has been to provide the Sahwa with money and arms.

That didn't go through Baghdad.

Bully Boy Bush and Barack both knew that sending it through Baghdad would mean it never would arrive because Nouri al-Maliki did not support Sahwa, he did not want them to exist, when the US finally stopped paying the bulk of Sahwa (well into 2010), Nouri refused to pay them, began having leaders and members arrested and worse (killing them is worse).

So Marie can stop lying about what was and wasn't US policy.

She looks like a ridiculous fool and there's no reason for anyone in the US or elsewhere to believe her after she lies so blatantly in a press briefing.

As we noted this morning and in yesterday's snapshot, the bill in the House of Representatives was making news in Iraq.  It has continued to do so.

Let's start with Shi'ite cleric and movement leader Moqtada al-Sadr. He is opposed to the US government directly funding and arming Sunnis and Kurds.  That's not surprising and it's completely consistent with his previous stands regarding US involvement.  It's also true that he grasps the process involved.  Alsumaria reports on his statement issued today calling the idea reckless and repeating his call for the US government to stay out of Iraqi affairs.  His objection continues to include the bombings carried out by the US war planes and others in the so-called coalition.

Again, Moqtada's stance is completely in keeping with his previous stance.  He wants no US involvement in Iraqi affairs.  And that's been his stance since the US invasion which is why he was so often labeled -- by the US press and US friendly press -- the "radical cleric" Moqtada al-Sadr.  The "radical" term was not because he was a threat to the Iraqi people -- Nouri al-Maliki was never called "the radical prime minister," for example -- it's because he called for all US forces to leave Iraq.  That's what made him "radical" in the eyes of the US government, its flunkies in the US press and its sycophants in the US friendly press.

This Alsumaria report contains more on Sadr's stance and, please note, he again understands the process by which the US Congress starts with a bill and how it eventually becomes a law (if it does).  Moqtada is better educated on that US process than are some of us living in the US.

All Iraq News headlines that Congress has approved the bill -- which would mean it then went to the President to be signed (or not -- refusal to sign would send it back to Congress).  It's a defense bill.  It has not been voted on.  The House Armed Service Committee has released the bill from Committee which means a House vote can take place.  Many bills end up buried in Committee, never seeing the light of day.  This one should now go to a vote.

While Moqtada's stance is in keeping with his previous positions, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi is just a hypocrite.

Alsumaria notes that his office issued a statement decrying the bill.

All Iraq News quotes him stating that the bill "is rejected because it leads to divisions in the region and we call for not approving it."

Here's a little help for beggar Haider, those members of the House supporting that bill on the Committee?  They've got the backing of the members of their district.  They are directly elected.  There's no "two Senators regardless of population" nonsense.  The House is the voice of the American people.

And Haider better accept that real damn quick.

Because the only thing that pisses the American people off more than the US government wasting their money -- because it is the American people's money -- is the US government wasting their money on thugs and bullies.

And they really don't take to lectures from foreigners about how their money should be spent.

If Haider really opposes it, he should probably just keep his mouth closed because all his remarks will do, if widely reported in the US, is anger the taxpayers.

And he's a beggar, remember that.

He just visited DC and left with the promise of $200 million more in the sink hole that is his corrupt government.

Haider needs to be told that's not Barack's money to give, that's the US taxpayers.

And the House is the people's voice and because of that it has the power of the purse.

This is all new to Haider who grew up under a different system and then, like the coward that he is, fled Iraq to live for decades outside the country, returning only after US boots were on the ground in Baghdad.

So, in other words, Haider owes the US taxpayer a great deal.

And if he wants to continue begging for 'reconstruction money' -- with all the money pouring into Iraq for its oil, there's no reason for the US government to be footing the bill for reconstruction, there's also no reason for so many Iraqis to be living in poverty when the annual oil income alone could made every Iraqi in Iraq a millionaire and still have billions left over -- and for US help -- which the taxpayer is covering the cost on -- he might want to learn to sit his tired ass down and stop sharing his idiotic and hypocritical opinions in public.

Two billion dollars.  $2,000,000,000.  That's how much the US taxpayer has wasted since August on the war against the Islamic State -- just since August.

If Haider wants to pay that bill, he might have some right to hector and lecture.

But in the meantime, while he's begging for money, he probably needs to just shut his mouth.

He could do like Moqtada and say that there should be no US involvement in Iraq.

But unless he's prepared to do that, he needs to sit that tired ass down.

The US Congress -- House and Senate -- has spent the time since June 2014 -- when Barack finally turned on thug Nouri al-Maliki and insisted Iraq needed to find a political solution to end the crises -- has repeatedly asked US officials who have appeared before it about Haider's refusal to supply the Kurds and the Sunnis with the needed equipment and arms to fight the Islamic State.

While Marie Harf makes an idiot of herself -- consider her The Bride of Haider -- the reality is that Democrats and Republicans in Congress -- both houses -- are deeply disappointed in Haider's inability to work towards a political solution and are aghast that he has refused to supply the Kurds and the Sunnis.

Supply?  Let's be clear here, the US is providing arms and equipment to Iraq.

This is to fight the Islamic State.

And the supply was based on the belief that the arms and equipment were needed.

But if they're not going to be distributed, there's no need for them to be supplied.

Congress is appalled that, all these months later, Anbar remains under Islamic State control.  They are more appalled that Sunnis in the province willing to fight the Islamic State but are not being given the arms and equipment necessary to do so.

The Kurdish Peshmerga has always been (since the US invasion) the most skilled fighting force in Iraq.  And Congress is appalled that despite the Kurds carving out victories against the Islamic State, they are not receiving the arms and equipment they need.

Congress had okayed these supplies with the understanding that Baghdad, upon receipt of these supplies, would be distributing them to the needed areas.

That did not happen.

That has not happened.

If Haider had done what he was supposed to,  what he agreed to in order to get Congress to approve these supplies, the bill wouldn't have been needed.

While in DC this month, Haider begged for more.

Isn't that embarrassing to Iraq?

I'd think it would be.

It's the richest country in the region with billions coming in annually and yet there's Haider rushing off to the US to beg for more like some economically struggling country.

So he got a promise of more weapons but he got it on credit meaning Iraq won't have to pay for it right away.

And now he wants to have a hissy fit?

I'm sorry if you're begging for nickles and dimes, you pretty much need to take what's offered.

Iraq has more than enough income that their leader doesn't need to go begging.

But if he is going to beg, he's going to need to learn that any aid the US gives is approved by Congress and Congress can put any strings they want on it.

Next month, Mosul will have been held for year by the Islamic State.

And with all the aid and all the weapons the US taxpayer has paid for, Haider still can't take back Mosul.  Haider and his useless military still don't have the guts to go into Mosul.

You're begging the US taxpayer to go further into debt for your sinkhole government that (a) has a military that skittish (when not thuggish) and still can't be sent into Mosul a year later and that (b) is the one dividing Iraq.

Here, we talk about the fact that Haider is bombing civilian homes in Falluja, killing and wounding Sunni civilians.  This is a War Crime.

If Haider wants to pick a fight with the US House of Representatives, lots of luck getting anymore money because legally, due to these bombings, the US government actually should not be funding or supplying Baghdad with anything.

These daily bombings are legally defined War Crimes -- per US law and per treaties signed off on by the US.

Barack Obama is supporting War Crimes and covering for them.

If Haider wants to lecture the US Congress, he might find that they can supply more than a few lectures to him.

Again, if he wants to continue begging, the smartest thing for him would be to shut his mouth.

If he wants to adopt Moqtada's position?  No problem.

Do so.

It's an ethical position.

You want the US out, get the US out.

But as long as you're begging that the US spend billions dropping bombs and spend billions propping up your government, you'll take the assistance and you'll shut your mouth.

(Whose stance do I agree with?  Moqtada's.  The US has not created 'freedom' in Iraq.  Their latest appointed thug, Haider, is an embarrassment and has been since he visited NYC and declared that he had intelligence on bombings of the subways in NYC -- remember that?  He was the laughingstock of the world for that.)'s Ivan Eland discusses the bill with Russia Today:

RT: The bill also requires these security forces to be an independent entity from Iraq, so they can receive the aid separately from Iraqi national forces. What implications could that have on the US-Iraq partnership?

IE: The Republicans are unhappy with the Iraqi government’s dependence on Iran for training its Shia militias, and the Shia militias have been accused of some atrocities against Sunnis. The US doesn’t like Iranian influence in Iraq and so this bill says it funds the Peshmerga and other militias which would be Sunnis, but it also says that the government of Iraq doesn’t associate itself with the Shia militias; they’ll give you even more funds to the Peshmerga and other Sunni militias. So it doesn’t totally go away from the Iraqi government, but it puts a lot of pressure on them to dissociate themselves from the Shia militias which the Iraqi government probably is not going to do. 

That's an interesting take -- one that avoids reality.

Again, go to any hearing since June on this issue and you will find one Representative after another, one Senator after another, Democrats and Republicans, asking about the Kurds and about the Sunnis (Kurds most often due to the Peshmerga's record of success) and decrying the fact that they aren't being armed.  You will find Secretary of Defense Ash Carter, you will find Gen Martin Dempsey (Chair of the Joint Chiefs), you will find Brett McGurk, John Kerry and others with the State Dept all repeatedly insisting (lying) that this is a thing of the past and that Baghdad is now distributing the aid and equipment.

I realize Ivan Eland is obsessed with Iran.

I realize that yet again has painted themselves into a corner by taking sides on an issue before they should have.

But that's no excuse for lying.

And Ivan's lying if he's not noting what the US Congress has objected to for the last ten-plus months.

Or the fact that they have been repeatedly lied to by one US official after another sitting before them and testifying (some under oath, the House usually doesn't play when it comes to swearing in the officials) that this is all a thing of the past and now Baghdad is supplying the US-paid for arms and equipment to the Kurds and Sunnis as they were supposed to.

And let's stress that one more time.

The US Congress never agreed to supply Shi'ites only in Iraq.

That was never what the plan was.

The person in violation today is not the US Congress.

It's Haider al-Abadi who agreed to certain terms but thought he could give his word, grab the weapons and then break his word but have the US taxpayer foot the bill from here until the end of eternity.

And what I'm saying was actually again repeated in Congress today.  Ivan wasn't at that hearing but I've never seen him at any of these hearings -- which might explain his loose grasp on the facts and his resorting to mind reading in an attempt to figure out what's what.

From the hearing, we'll note this.

Former Ambassador Robert Ford:  We should not fall into the trap, and I've seen this discussed in some policy circles here in Washington, we should not fall into the trap of thinking that working with Iran will help fix our Islamic State problem.  The Islamic State rose in part -- not entirely -- but in part from long standing grievances and fears within Sunni communities in the Levant and Iraq about growing Persian and Shia influences.  Working with Iran, even indirectly, will feed the Islamic State narrative and will immediately help its recruiting.

We'll cover the hearing in Thursday's snapshot (and I'm nominating US House Rep Brad Sherman for a "truest statement of the week" at Third on Sunday).  We need to note two other things first.

First, Iraqi activist Yanar Mohammed was (briefly) on Democracy Now! today -- the program that always treats Iraq as an afterthought -- link is video, audio and text:

YANAR MOHAMMED: When the U.S. invaded Iraq, we were under the oppression of one single dictator. And there wasn’t much discrimination between the people of Iraq. Whoever was in opposition would be discriminated against. We did have problems of how to deal with dictatorship, but nowadays we are at the necks of each other. We found out that we are Sunnis, we are Shia, and we are given so many reasons to be killing each other. We have 10 million youth who are carrying machine guns and going to the rest of the country, killing the rest of the youth in that part of the country. We are in a very big trap where killing each other doesn’t seem to be ending soon. Once you are in the trap of hatred upon ethnic and upon sectarian lines, it takes many years to wash away, to cleanse this hatred. I feel that at this point, even when we destroy—when the Iraqi government destroys ISIS, we have a very big problem on our hand. There are major massacres that have been committed both ways, and these will not end, because the relatives, the children of the people killed, will still continue these massacres.
Women have been—women’s rights have been totally lost. By laws, they have been lost. By their status in the society, they have been lost. Our voices of the women are being silenced continuously. Our radio, community radio for women, was shut down by the government on June 12. They gave us different stories, and we still don’t know what’s the final story for silencing us, but we know that this is no democracy. Women cannot breathe. Youth are killing each other based on the sectarian ID. This is something we were not expecting. This is not democracy.

Might Marie Harft note what happened to the community radio for women in Iraq during her pretense of caring about journalism?

Don't count on it.

Margaret Griffis ( reports 69 violent deaths throughout Iraq today.

Secondly, someone's supposed to formally announce that he's running for a political party's presidential nomination on Thursday.  Bernie Sanders has told the AP he intends to run for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination.

A lot of people can intend to do whatever.

And anyone can say anything.

Doesn't make it so.

If the US Senator makes an announcement that he is running, the first question from the press should be, "Have you filed your paperwork?"  The next question should be, "And does the party recognize you as a nominee?"

Because right now, it might not.

The DNC leadership is not 100% on board with a Bernie run right now.

Some of that may be due to support for Hillary Clinton who is the only announced candidate in the Democratic Party's presidential primary.

But there's a bigger issue than Hillary or any other candidate.

Would you want, for example, George P. Bush, 20 years from now, still a Republican, running for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination?

Noelle Bush could run on the GOP ticket and George P. could run on the Democratic ticket (both are children of Jeb and Columba Bush) and America could be faced with choosing the lesser  Bush.

It could happen.

If Bernie runs.

Bernie's not a Democrat.  He's a Socialist.

I have no idea why NPR feels the need to use air quotes around the term Socialist.  Maybe because they're just that immature.

There's nothing wrong with being a Socialist or a Republican or a Democrat or a Green or a Libertarian or a Communist or . . .

But  "Democratic Socialist" is not a branch of the Democratic Party, its a division of Socialism.

For those who are confused, this is from Democratic Socialists of America:

The Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) is the largest socialist organization in the United States, and the principal U.S. affiliate of the Socialist International. DSA's members are building progressive movements for social change while establishing an openly democratic socialist presence in American communities and politics.

Get it?

Because some at leadership in the party are pointing out that if non-Democrat Bernie Sanders is allowed to run in the Democrats primary, it sets a new standard and, by that new standard, no one can be stopped from running in the primary because they are a Socialist or a Republican or a Libertarian or . . .

Now anyone who meets the basic criteria can run for the office of President of the United States.

You don't have to belong to this party or that party or any party.

But that's running for president.

To run for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination, you would need to be a Democrat.

Tossing that to the side for Socialist  Bernie Sanders would create a precedent.

Bernie could silence any objections, of course, by becoming a member of the Democratic Party.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

They're always stupid at Corrente

And DC Blogger may be the stupidist of them all.

Bernie Sanders on the Republican budget

"Dems Who Don't Suck"?

Forget that that's b.s. and propaganda for a War Party.

Bernie's not a Democrat.

Bernie is a Socialist.

Now most of the MSM is uncomfortable about that so they refer to him as an "independent" but he is a Socialist.

He is not a Democrat.

DC Blogger can always be counted on to play the fool.

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

Tuesday, April 28, 2015.  Chaos and violence continue, corpses pop up in Baghdad, Anbar refugees in and around Baghdad suffer death threats, Haider al-Abadi attacks the press twice today, the US State Dept continues the pretense of caring about the press and press freedom but still won't note the execution of Iraqi journalist Thaer Ali by the Islamic State, cleric and movement leader Moqtada al-Sadr issues a statement, and much more.

At today's US State Dept press briefing, spokesperson Jeff Rathke continued the pretense that the department wants a free press:

First, I mentioned yesterday our Free the Press campaign for this week. We have two cases today. Our first comes from Ethiopia. The freelance journalist and former high school English teacher Reeyot Alemu remains in prison after being convicted under Ethiopia’s anti-terrorism proclamation on January 19th, 2012. Reeyot is among 18 other journalists detained in Ethiopia on charges related to their work, making Ethiopia the largest detainer of journalists on the continent.
Reeyot was arrested in June 2011 after writing articles that criticized government policies. She was tried, convicted, and sentenced to 14 years on terrorism-related charges. Her sentence was reduced to five years by the supreme court in August 2012, and she lost a subsequent appeal to dismiss the case altogether. We call on the government to release Reeyot, who is in prison simply for exercising her right of freedom of expression. We urge the government to refrain from using its anti-terrorism proclamation as a mechanism to curb the free exchange of ideas.

Our second case comes from Vietnam, where a blogger, Ta Phong Tan, winner of the 2013 International Women of Courage Awards, currently is imprisoned amid a 10-year sentence for writing posts critical of the government and the Communist Party. She was among the first bloggers to write and comment on political news events long considered off limits by authorities. And we call on the Government of Vietnam to release her immediately and to allow all Vietnamese to express their political views freely both online and offline.

As we noted in yesterday's snapshot, Iraqi journalist Thaer Ali was killed in Mosul, executed by the Islamic State.  Agenzia Nova notes IS grabbed him three weeks ago and charged him with the 'crime' of having a cellphone and using it to communicate with person or persons outside of Mosul.   Shafaq adds that Thaer "was the editor of al-Rae local newspaper, which had been issued in Mosul before the events of last June."

"The events of last June" refer to when the Islamic State took control of Mosul.  NRT points out, "IS militants regularly kill Mosul residents who oppose the group's rule, including political candidates, lawyers, professors and even members of its own leadership."

The State Dept can't say a word about the murder of Thaer Ali.

This while pretending they're defending freedom of the press worldwide with their silly little campaign.

When Reuters' journalist Ned Parker had to leave Iraq this month for the 'crime' of reporting, Reporters Without Borders observed:

According to the Journalistic Freedoms Observatory, a Reporters Without Borders partner organization, the authorities in the southern province of Basra are prosecuting freelance journalist Nasser Al-Hajjaj for criticizing the governor on social networks. The head of the Supreme Islamic Council has asked the governor to withdraw his complaint. Al-Hajjaj is currently in Lebanon.
Reporters Without Borders and JFO wrote a joint letter to the Supreme Council of the Judiciary, the Baghdad Court of Appeal and the Court for Press and Publication Cases in February 2014 drawing attention to the way many government officials and politicians abuse the possibility of bringing legal proceedings in order to sabotage the work of journalists.

Iraq is ranked 156th out of 180 countries in the 2015 Reporters Without Borders press freedom index.

And Iraq's prime minister continues to do his part to keep the attacks on the press alive. Alsumaria notes that today the Council of Ministers condemned the press and did so with (yet another) statement from Haider al-Abadi attacking the press.

He carried his attack to the Parliament today.  All Iraq News notes that he decried the 'defaming' of the Iraqi military.

See, if the Iraqi military attacks civilians and steals and burns down civilian homes after 'liberation,' Haider's okay with that.  He'll give them a day or two to break the law and commit crimes and then declare publicly 48 or hours later that starting now -- right now -- these crimes need to stop.

Now if the press dare report on these crimes -- as Ned Parker did -- that's bad.

April 3rd, Ned Parker and Reuters reported:

Since its recapture two days ago, the Sunni city of Tikrit has been the scene of violence and looting. In addition to the killing of the extremist combatant, Reuters correspondents also saw a convoy of Shi'ite paramilitary fighters – the government's partners in liberating the city – drag a corpse through the streets behind their car.
Local officials said the mayhem continues. Two security officers, speaking on condition of anonymity, said on Friday that dozens of homes had been torched in the city. They added that they had witnessed the looting of stores by Shi'ite militiamen.

Later Friday, Ahmed al-Kraim, head of the Salahuddin Provincial Council, told Reuters that mobs had burned down "hundreds of houses" and looted shops over the past two days. Government security forces, he said, were afraid to confront the mobs. Kraim said he left the city late Friday afternoon because the situation was spinning out of control.

Reporting those realities is a 'crime' in Haider's eyes and he not only issued a statement attacking reporters today, he also attacked them before the Parliament.

While reporting is a crime to Haider, the military's action isn't -- not in Haider's eyes, never in Haider's eyes -- but reporters who do their jobs?  That's a crime in Haider's eyes.

Appearing this month on NPR's Morning Edition (link is audio and transcript), Ned discussed the report with Steve Inskeep:

Steve Inskeep: What happened that instead began to make this a story about you?

Ned Parker: Well our team, on the day that Tikrit was liberated, they called me during the day and said, "We've witnessed an execution by federal police of a detainee in the street."  And it was a mob mentality.  And they could only stay a few moments because it was such a crazed scene I think our people feared for their own safety.  So when they came home that evening, we had a huge debate about do we report this, is this too sensationalist?  It's one incident.  But when we looked at the whole picture, we also saw a body being dragged by a group of Shi'ite paramilitaries.  We had   photos of this which we published  And there had been looting and arson of areas that surround Tikrit.  So we felt that we had to report what happened there, that if we didn't, we wouldn't be meeting our obligation to report fairly and impartially about the critical issue right now: What happens when security forces enter an area that has been under Islamic State control, that is Sunni and then has predominately Shia security paramilitary forces enter.

Steve Inskeep: This is the most basic job of a war correspondent: Go look at a war and report exactly what you see.

Ned Parker: Mm-hmm.  Right.  And this was a test case for the government.  The Iraqi government and the US government have spoken about the importance of post-conflict stabilization operations in Iraq.

Steve Inskeep: What happened after you published the story?

Ned Parker: It was picked up everywhere.  I think it was seen because of what our correspondents witnessed -- this execution which was horrific -- where they watched two federal policemen basically trying to saw off the head of a suspected Islamic State fighter to cheers from federal police, our story became really the example of what went wrong in Tikrit.  And it was published on April 3rd.  The night of April 5th on Facebook, on a site associated with Shi'ite paramilitary groups and political forces, a picture of myself went up calling for Iraqis to expell me. It quickly received over 100 shares and comments including, "Better to kill him than to expel him."

Steve Inskeep:  Did it blow over?

Ned Parker: No.  It only got worse.  I-I did go out and try to have meetings with some people, different prominent Iraqis, about it.  And then on Wednesday night [April 8th]  the channel of Asaib al-Haq -- which is a prominent Shi'ite political party and paramilitary group, my face is the backdrop as the anchor talks and he actually waives also a print out of my face and talks about how I should be expelled from the country and then proceeds to read a letter from an Iraqi living in the United States who also again calls for me to be expelled and describes Reuters as trampling on the dignity of Iraq and Shi'ite paramilitary groups and after that there's no way I could have stayed in the country -- both for myself and for my staff.  My presence was polarizing the situation.  So I left the next day.

All Iraq News notes Parliament held a session today in which they hosted Hiader.  Alsumaria reports Haider al-Abadi declared that there was no marginalization of any groups of people in Iraq and that the Cabinet votes are determined by consensus.

Well then it's time for Shi'ite militias to start killing Shi'ites because they're being 'marginalized' what with all the time these thugs are devoting to killing Sunnis.

بغداد: ميليشيات الحشد تقتل "8" من نازحي الانبار في منطقة حي الجهاد غرب بغداد.
54 retweets21 favorites

That's Iraqi Spring MC noting 8 refugees from Anbar Province who were killed by Baghdad's Shi'ite militias.

Graffiti is going up around Baghdad, threatening the displaced from Anbar, telling them to leave or be killed.  And to the south of Baghdad, in Mahmudiya, the Shi'ite militias have declared all Anbar refugees must leave within 72 hours or they will be killed.

But remember, Haider said this morning that no group is targeted in Iraq.

Of course, Rudaw reports that he also told the Parliament that if the day came when he "couldn't protect the Iraqi people, I will leave my post."

Does he think he's protecting the Anbar refugees?

Does he think he's protecting the Sunni population?

If so, he has a very minimal notion of what "protection" actually means.

All Iraq News notes an argument erupted in Parliament over Haider's continued insistence that Anbar refugees (fleeing the assault on Ramadi by the Islamic State and the Iraqi military) could be housed in Iraq's notorious prison and torture chamber Abu Ghraib.

Alsumaria notes that Kazem Sayadi with the Shi'ite National Alliance was not impressed declaring Haider's performance "disappointing" and noting he was not the choice of State of Law, that State of Law supported Nouri al-Maliki.  Sayadi also attacked (Sunni) Vice President Osama al-Nujaifi and Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlaq insisting they were responsible for sectarian tensions.

Meanwhile Shi'ite cleric and movement leader Moqtada al-Sadr issued a statement today.  Alsumaria reports he decired some elements in the militias who are operating from "greed" and not in the best interests of Iraq.  He called for these elements to be isolated.  Along with calling for some elements of the militia to be frozen out, he also called for Iraq not to take assistance from the United States in fighting the Islamic State and insisted the Parliament should fight against allowing US involvement in fighting the Islamic State.

From the Parliament to the US Congress, Julian Pecquet (Al Monitor) reports:

The House Armed Services Committee on April 27 released an annual Defense bill that authorizes $715 million in aid to Iraqi forces fighting the self-proclaimed Islamic State (IS). The bill, which is scheduled to be debated and voted on in the committee on April 29, carves out at least 25% of that aid for the peshmerga, the Sunni tribal militias and a yet-to-be-established Iraqi Sunni National Guard.
The bill “would require that the Kurdish peshmerga, the Sunni tribal security forces with a national security mission, and the Iraqi Sunni National Guard be deemed a country,” according to a bill summary. Doing so “would allow these security forces to directly receive assistance from the United States.” 
The Obama administration has expressed some degree of support for giving Iraqi minorities more autonomy, with Secretary of State John Kerry and the president himself applauding the idea of a National Guard. A senior administration official, however, told Al-Monitor that the Defense bill proposal goes too far.

Alsumaria reports MP Hanan al-Fatlawi has declared the bill (which see wrongly appears to believe is already a law) is a violation of Iraq's sovereignty and she demands the Parliament pass some action barring the bill.  al-Fatlawi is a member of Nouri al-Maliki's State Of Law political slate.

And if al-Fatlawi's angry about Baghdad being bypassed (aid and weapons currently go to Baghdad which then either distributes a tiny amount to the Kurds and the Sunnis or none at all), wait until she learns what else is in the bill.

NRT explains that the bill, if it became law, would demand that "before Baghdad receives the money, it has to ensure that it's meeting certain conditions, including giving minorities greater inclusion in the central government."

In yesterday's snapshot, I noted my take on Iraq's descent into chaos.  Dexter Filkins has a different take.  The Washington Free Beacon notes:

New Yorker staff writer Dexter Filkins, an outspoken critic of the Bush administration and the Iraq War, told radio host Hugh Hewitt on Wednesday that it was “hard to conclude otherwise” that the Obama administration’s 2011 withdrawal from Iraq was the “worst strategic decision.”

The link has an audio clip of Filkins explaining his opinion.

Turning to some of today's reported violence, Alsumaria notes 2 corpses were discovered in southwestern Baghdad, the corpses of 25 Iraqi soliders were discovered in Nazim (Anbar Province), a Baghdad roadside bombing killed 1 person and left five more injured, and a group of men wearing uniforms of the Iraqi military kidnapped an engineer to the north of Baghdad.  All Iraq News notes that 8 corpses were discovered in the al-Jihad area of Baghdad.   Margaret Griffis ( counts 48 violent deaths throughout the country today.

And he attacked the press.

And you have to attack the press if you want to strong-arm them into ignoring reality and only reporting the lies that make you look good.

As we've long noted here, I have no position on any White House treaty/agreement with the government of Iran.  I've made it clear that since there's no deal -- and there isn't one -- to review, it's pointless.  There's a 'framework' for a possible agreement.   Whatever.

I do have an opinion on how this move by Barack Obama, US President, to salvage his tattered reputation in the final days of his final term as president has put addressing the needs of Iraq and the Iraqi people on hold as he refuses to do anything that might harm his deal.

I think it's shameful and embarrassing.

I think it's destructive.

He missed the deadline and now we all wait longer for Barack to see if he can get a deal by June.

Iraq suffers.

Maybe people will start to care -- people on my side, the left -- because the continued time and energy wasted on this non-deal is now harming the Palestinians as well.

Colum Lynch (Foreign Policy) reports how real efforts at helping the Palestinians reach a two-state resolution are now being set aside to some 'later date' that might not ever come:

U.S. President Barack Obama’s administration had hinted recently that it might be willing to drop its long-standing resistance to Security Council action after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that a Palestinian state would not be established under his watch, raising questions about his commitment to a two-state solution.
“It seems pretty clear to me there is no interest in the United States in pushing this right now,” Ilan Goldenberg, a former member of the Obama administration’s Middle East team, told FP. He noted that the White House has to balance its interest in mounting a new Middle East peace push at the U.N. with locking down support for the Iran deal in Congress. “The administration is not going to do anything to jeopardize that,” he said.

The whole world has to wait to see if Barack can ever nail down a deal with Iran.  He's been trying for how many years now?  He was supposed to have wrapped it up already but missed that deadline a few weeks back.  Now he's hit the snooze button to buy more time.

And the Iraqi people suffer and the Palestinians suffer and who else as everything has to be put on hold?

Lastly, David Bacon's latest book is The Right to Stay Home: How US Policy Drives Mexican Migration.  We'll close with this from Bacon's "These Things Can Change" (Dollars and Sense):

In 2013, Rosario Ventura and her husband Isidro Silva were strikers at Sakuma Brothers Farms in Burlington, Wash. In the course of three months over 250 workers walked out of the fields several times, as their anger grew over the wages and the conditions in the labor camp where they lived.

Every year the company hires 7-800 people to pick strawberries, blueberries and blackberries.  During World War Two the Sakumas were interned because of their Japanese ancestry, and would have lost their land, as many Japanese farmers did, had it not been held in trust for them by another local rancher until the war ended.  Today the business has grown far beyond its immigrant roots, and is one of the largest berry growers in Washington, where berries are big business.  It has annual sales of $6.1 million, and big corporate customers like Haagen Dazs ice cream.  It owns a retail outlet, a freezer and processing plant, and a chain of nurseries in California that grow rootstock.

By contrast, Sakuma workers have very few resources. Some are local workers, but over half are migrants from California, like Ventura and her family.  Both the local workers and the California migrants are immigrants, coming from indigenous towns in Oaxaca and southern Mexico where people speak languages like Mixteco and Triqui.  While all farm workers in the U.S. are poorly paid, these new indigenous arrivals are at the bottom.  One recent study in California found that tens of thousands of indigenous farm workers received less than minimum wage.

In 2013 Ventura and other angry workers formed an independent union, Familias Unidas por la Justicia-Families United for Justice. In fitful negotiations with the company, they discovered that Sakuma Farms had been certified to bring in 160 H-2A guest workers.  The H2A program was established in 1986 to allow U.S. agricultural employers to hire workers in other countries, and bring them to the U.S.  In this program, the company first must certify that it has tried to hire workers locally.  If it can't find workers at the wage set by the state employment department, and the department agrees that the company has offered the jobs, the grower can then hire workers outside the country. 


Monday, April 27, 2015

What if Freya is the sick f--k and not Dahlia (The Originals)

Another great episode of The Originals on The CW.

And I'm really thinking that as awful as Dahlia is with her efforts to seize Hope (she and her sister Esther made a deal guaranteeing Dahlia the first born of every generation), Freya may be even worse.

Since Freya showed up this season, Klaus has not trusted his sister.

And she's played the victim card very well.

Insisting that she wants to help and that she suffered when Esther turned her over to Dahlia.

She's tried to get Eli and Rebekkah to turn against Klaus and side with her.

And now Eli's is seeing that Freya isn't really interested in saving her niece Hope.

Klaus journeyed with Dahlia this episode.

Eli stabbed him last episode and as long as the magical knife is in his chest he's supposed to be 'dead.'

But after Dahlia shows him the whole history -- or her version of it -- she brings him back to life in the coffin and he removes the knife himself.

Jackson told Hayley that he was staying with the pack.  Eli had shown up (to get a vial of Hope's blood to use to send Dahlia off on a wrong trail) and had said Hayley would rejoin him and his brother Klaus when this was all over.

Jackson told Hayley he couldn't live under the same roof as Klaus.

He would stay with the werewolf pack.

Hayley hesitated for a moment but then, one scene later, she told Jackson she'd stay with him.

It was a really strong episode.

Especially when Freya thought Eli was bringing her Hope but instead he injected Freya with Hope's blood so that she's now the decoy Dahlia will hunt down.

Hope calls Eli and says she and Jackson and Hope (and the pack) are leaving.  She won't have Hope raised as Klaus' daughter.

Which prompts Klaus to go running to Dahlia and partner up.  (She had earlier offered him a deal where he would kill Hope and she would allow him to be the father to Hope.  With Freya, she did not allow Freya any contact with her parents.)

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

Monday, April 27, 2015.  Chaos and violence continue, the State Dept pretends to care about the safety of journalists, another journalist is killed in Iraq, Bully Boy Bush opens his trap, rabid dogs rush to bark, and much more.

The increasingly ridiculous US State Dept issued the following today:

The U.S. Department of State launched its fourth annual “Free the Press” campaign today as part of the Department’s efforts to honor the fundamental importance of a free and independent media in the days leading up to World Press Freedom Day on May 3.
As in years past, the Department will profile on a daily basis journalists or media outlets that are censored, attacked, threatened, disappeared or otherwise oppressed because of their reporting. The purpose of the campaign is to speak out for reporters who otherwise cannot; to call on governments to protect the right to free expression; and to emphasize our own commitment to promoting free expression here in the United States and around the world.
From April 27 to May 1, the Department Spokesperson will highlight emblematic cases of journalists or press outlets under threat around the world at the Daily Press Briefing. The cases will be profiled on and they will be tweeted out using the hashtag #FreethePress.
For more information, please contact Chanan Weissman at or 202 647 4043.
For more information on the State Department’s work on democracy, human rights, and labor rights follow @State_DRL or @HumanRightsGov, or visit

Why does the State Dept even still exist?

It mistakes itself for the Defense Dept.  It doesn't do diplomacy.  It's a crooked organization that fails to even attempt its mission.

And now they want to pretend to care about the press?

In the same month when they couldn't say one damn word at even one daily press briefing about journalist Ned Parker who had to leave Iraq due to threats made on social media, Iraqi TV and verbal attacks by Iraq's Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi.

As if that wasn't bad enough, the vile Luay al-Khatteb and Abbask Hadhim then attacked  Ned.  We called that out April 18th.  John Bundock (Now Lebanon via Business Insider) takes on the vile nonsense noting:

Abusing their positions, certain sectarian 'fellows' are resorting to networks of calumny and demagogical hate speech to score points for their respective camps.
Take, for instance, Luay Al-Khatteeb, Brooking Institute's non-resident fellow.
Al-Khatteeb was a victim of Saddam Hussein's regime, having been interrogated at age 10 and spent years as an internally displaced person. It's understandable if he bears a grudge against the ex-Baathists whom ISIS appeals to for constituents.
Such feelings, however, cannot excuse ignoring the threats many of his countrymen and journalists now face from Iran-backed militias.
Writing for Huffington Post with Dr. Abbas Kadhim (a professor at John Hopkins' SAIS), Al-Khatteeb dismissed an Asaib Ahl al-Haqq affiliate channel's targeting of Ned Parker, saying Parker's departure "could be handled in a better fashion" and that "such [a] headline is God's sent gift to Bathists [sic] and pro ISIS as it put the future of free journalism in Iraq at stake," before writing a paean to Iranian-infiltrated Popular Mobilization Units.
[. . .]
As one Iraqi researcher remarked, "Ganging up on international reporters when they say something you don't like actually asserts Ned Parker's claims."

The State Dept can't even verbally defend Ned Parker but we're supposed to pretend that they're going to defend other members of the press?

Nor did they even note Iraqi journalist Thaer Ali who was executed by a firing squad in Mosul today -- an ISIS firing squad.

In other State Dept embarrassments, let's note this from today's press briefing by spokesperson Jeff Rathke:

QUESTION: Okay. So on Iraq, there are reforms in the Iraqi armed forces – it happened in the past and still happening, and also in the Peshmerga divisions. Is the United States behind these reforms or endorsing these reforms in any way? Because one of the Iraqi lawmakers accused the United States of appointing or forcing Iraqi Government to appoint one of the Sunni leaders for the Mosul operations. And that’s one.
The other one is on the U.S. veterans joined Peshmerga in Iraq. What is the status for them when they come back or when they’re injured or killed – for their family and also for themselves?

MR RATHKE: Well, the first question, I’m not aware of those reports to which you’re referring so I don’t have any comment on those specifics. Of course, we have joint operations centers in the Kurdish region as well as in Baghdad, and we work closely with our Iraqi counterparts as they – as they look at how they want to carry forward the fight against ISIL. But I don’t have any comment on those.
And certainly, decisions about how Iraq’s forces will respond, whether it’s in Mosul or anywhere else, are decisions made by Iraq’s leaders, not by the United States.

QUESTION: And there was a response by the U.S. Ambassador to Baghdad Stuart Jones about this, and I was wondering if you have any more than that that he had, that he said that the appointing commander of the Mosul operations was not U.S.-initiated.

MR RATHKE: Well, I think that’s exactly right.


MR RATHKE: And so I don’t have anything --

QUESTION: The second question?

MR RATHKE: -- to add to it. The second question?

QUESTION: Was - did the U.S. – some – voluntarily some U.S. veterans joining --

MR RATHKE: Oh, well, we have long advised American citizens against travel to Iraq. No American citizens who might possibly be there in any kind of capacity fighting or doing so with approval or any sort of support of the United States Government, so I don’t have any comment on the --

QUESTION: Will it be an issue when they come back to U.S.?

MR RATHKE: I don’t have any specific comment on that.

QUESTION: (Off-mike.)

MR RATHKE: Well, again, I don’t have any comment on that.
Yes, go ahead --

QUESTION: Wait, no, no, no, just to follow this up --

QUESTION: (Off-mike.)

MR RATHKE: Okay, sorry. Brad, go ahead.

QUESTION: I mean, he raised a good point. Is it – is this a criminable offense, fighting for the Peshmerga?

MR RATHKE: Well, that would be a Department of Justice question.

QUESTION: What are you advising American citizens about --

MR RATHKE: Well, we’re advising American citizens against travel to Iraq.


MR RATHKE: And that applies across the board. So --

QUESTION: But you’re not putting out any specific warning – this government – about taking a weapon and joining a non-state military group and fighting?

QUESTION: Or even another --

MR RATHKE: Well, again, that’s --

QUESTION: -- country’s military.

MR RATHKE: Well, that’s – I think is a separate – would be a separate question. But that would be a Department of Justice question. I’m happy to check with them and see if they have guidance that they’re able to offer.

QUESTION: Are you aware – are you aware of whether Homeland Security officials would be taking a closer look at Americans who say they’re coming back from Iraq?

MR RATHKE: I’d encourage you to ask – I’d encourage you to ask DHS colleagues about that.

First, for weeks now the press has been reporting on this US veteran or that US veteran who's gone back to Iraq to fight alongside Iraqi forces against the Islamic State.

If idiots like Rathke need a legal opinion that, they've certainly had plenty of time to get one.

The US government is backing the Iraqi government against the Islamic State.

Historically -- and legally -- there are no charges to be brought against American citizens for that.  (They can be charged with War Crimes if they participate in those.)

If Americans go to Iraq to fight on behalf of the Islamic State, it's less clear cut.  On the face of it, an American could face charges for that upon returning from Iraq.  But it's also true that a strong defense attorney might be able to successfully argue against charges based upon the fact -- pay attention here, Barack -- that Congress has not authorized the White House's current operations.

So the issue of fighting itself wouldn't be the way the government pursued charges.  Instead, they'd most likely go with "aiding terrorists" or terrorism itself with their argument grounded on the declaration of the Islamic State as a terrorist group by the United States. (The US government designated the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant a terrorist organization on December 17, 2004.)

As for urging Americans not to travel to Iraq or any other area, that's a warning for their own safety, it's not an edict, it's not a law, it has no teeth and is not enforceable.

In the real word, AFP reports that United Nations spokesperson Eliana Nabaa states that a UN worker ("a liason in Iraq's Diyala province") was kidnapped Sunday in Baquba.

Let's now journey back to the land of crazy.

  • When listening to Pres Bush on Iran sanctions, remember nothing did more to strengthen Iran's influence in region than his invasion of Iraq

  • Really?


    Not, say, in the spring and summer of 2009 releasing the leaders of the League of Righteous?  Handing them over to get the release of 5 Brits -- four of whom were already dead?


    Not overturning the 2010 election results to give Nouri al-Maliki -- Iran's choice for prime minister of Iraq -- a second term?

  • And, Ezzie, it's almost like you think the world has forgotten you supported the Iraq War.

    You'll never be able to walk that back.

    And, of course, it wouldn't be Twitter if they couldn't flaunt their stupidity.

  • In addition...They choose to forget GW's agreement to exit. Even GW has forgotten.

  • You go, Melinda, sport that ignorance for the whole damn world to see.

    From Sunday:

    I was asked if we'd note Josh Rogin's report for WND?  We'll note this section:

    Bush then went into a detailed criticism of Obama's policies in fighting the Islamic State and dealing with the chaos in Iraq. He called Obama's decision to withdraw all U.S. troops in Iraq at the end of 2011 a "strategic blunder." Bush signed an agreement with the Iraqi government to withdraw those troops, but the idea had been to negotiate a new status of forces agreement to keep U.S. forces there past 2011. The Obama administration tried and failed to negotiate such an agreement.

    I'm not interested in Bully Boy Bush's evaluations on anything -- unless he wants to explore his culpability in War Crimes.  But considering that -- check the archives -- we noted in real time, November 2008, that the Status Of Forces Agreement was a three year agreement that could be succeeded by another agreement while the press and whores (that includes, sadly) insisted it was an end to the Iraq War.
    It wasn't.
    And Barack attempted to extend it but couldn't because Nouri wanted more troops than Barack was offering.
    The whole point of the three year agreement was to help Nouri.
    The UN agreements had been one year long.  And Nouri had suffered each time with Parliament when he extended the agreements (without consulting the Parliament).  So the point was to get Nouri out of the three year agreement. It was also to extend it past the end of 2009 elections (which became March 2010 elections as a result of Tareq al-Hashemi objecting to the election law failing to include Sunni refugees).
    Barack tried to get an agreement.  He failed.
    Whether that was right or wrong, others can explore.
    If you want my opinion, we can go into it in a snapshot this week.

    Oh, Melinda Collins, what a frightful idiot you are.

    Bully Boy Bush didn't intend for America to ever leave Iraq.

    How stupid are you really?

    He invaded Iraq, he destroyed it and you think he was washing his hands of it in November 2008?

    No, you silly fool.

    When Nouri was installed as prime minister, the United Nations had authorized the occupation.

    The illegal invasion had no legal cloak.

    But the occupation of Iraq did.

    And it was a yearly mandate.

    I'm sorry if this is confusing to you.  Maybe all those hours thinking MSNBC was a news outlet, left you starving for facts?

    Joe Biden was a US Senator at this point.  We can quote him at length but I'm not in the mood to spoon feed.  Go to the archives for 2008 -- April.  You can search "Petraeus and Crocker variety show."  It was the week that David Petraeus and Ryan Crocker appeared before various Congressional committees.  Click here for that week's coverage.

    The SOFA (Status Of Forces Agreement) was a three-year deal and not a one year to give Nouri political cover.  The Parliament was outraged when he first renewed the UN mandate without their input (required by the Iraqi Constitution).  He said he'd get it next time.

    Then it was time to renew and he side-stepped them again outraging them even further.

    This is where the Bully Boy Bush White House realized that the agreement between the US government and the Iraqi government would need to be more than one year.

    The UN was not going to do any more UN mandates.  That's addressed in the April 2008 coverage we linked to earlier.  The United Kingdom, like the US, would have to enter into its own agreement with the Iraqi government for any troops to be out and about starting January 1, 2009.  (The Senate Foreign Relations Committee --  in one hearing Joe Biden chairs during that April week -- says that if no deal is reached by December 31, 2008, troops would be confined to the bases or brought home.)

    Three years became the goal.

    Had they done one year agreements -- like the UN mandate, that would have meant negotiations for another year in the fall of 2009 -- right before the 2009 parliamentary elections.

    They made it a three year agreement in order to give Nouri breathing space.

    (Do not e-mail, "Parliamentary elections were in 2010!"  Yes, I know that.  I also know they were supposed to take place in 2009.  Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi used his power -- as one of the three presidencies -- to refuse to allow a bill Parliament had passed on elections to go through.  He objected to the representation of Sunni refugees -- he felt they were not accurately accounted for -- in the election law.  His objection pushed the parliamentary elections back to 2010.  And if you don't even know that fact, maybe you shouldn't e-mail to 'correct' someone else -- though many of you have already felt the need to do so.)

    The SOFA would cover 2009, 2010 and 2011.

    There was a kill clause built in but it really only applied to 2009 and 2010.  If, in 2009, they wanted to kill the agreement (either side), it would expire at the end of 2010.  If, in 2010, they wanted to kill the agreement, it would expire at the end of 2011 -- which is when the SOFA was set to expire.

    Barack pursued another SOFA.

    If that escapes you as well, why are you even Tweeting about Iraq because you clearly don't give a damn about it.

    Oh, that's right, you give a damn about pissing and moaning about Bully Boy Bush.


    Yeah, that'll help Iraq today.

    Your obsession with 2003 through 2008 will really help Iraq today.  (That's sarcasm.)

    Even after October 2011, when the press was reporting that the SOFA negotiations had fallen apart and that they were over, then-Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and still-Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen Martin Dempsey would tell Congress that negotiations continued:

    If that's news to you maybe it's because the press clowned you, made a mockery out of you, by refusing to report that reality and instead 'reporting' on the exchange of words between Senator John McCain and Leon Panetta.  (While failing to note that the two smoothed things out in the second round.)  They wanted drama, they wanted to turn a hearing into an episode of Gossip Girl.

    They just didn't want to tell you the truth.

    For those wanting the truth on the November 15, 2011 Senate Armed Services Committee hearing, you can refer to this real time coverage:   "Iraq snapshot,"  "Iraq snapshot,"  "Iraq snapshot."  Ava reported on it with "Scott Brown questions Panetta and Dempsey (Ava), Wally reported on it with "The costs (Wally)" and Kat reported on it with "Who wanted what?").

    In fairness, CNN, for example, did note in their 'report' that the negotiations might continue (they were continuing that's what Panetta said, we covered it).

    Here's Charley Keyes 'reporting' that for CNN: "Panetta did not rule out that negotiations with Iraq about a small U.S. force could resume later."

    That's his 18th paragraph.

    He didn't rule that out?

    Uh, he actually said talks would continue.

    Senator Joe Lieberman:  Let me, Secretary Panetta, pick up from that point. I've heard from friends in Iraq -- Iraqis -- that Prime Minister Maliki said at one point that he needed to stop the negotiations -- leave aside for one moment the reasons -- but he was prepared to begin negotiations again between two sovereign nations -- the US and Iraq -- about some troops being in Iraq after January 1st.  So that's what I've heard from there. But I want to ask you from the administration point of view. I know that Prime Minister Maliki is coming here in a few weeks to Washington. Is the administration planning to pursue further discussions with the Iraqi government about deploying at least some US forces in Iraq after the end of this year?

    Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta: Senator, as I pointed out in my testimony, what we seek with Iraq is a normal relationship now and that does involve continuing negotiations with them as to what their needs are.  Uh, and I believe there will be continuing negotations.  We're in negotiations now with regards to the size of the security office that will be there and so there will be -- There aren't zero troops that are going to be there. We'll have, you know, hundreds that will be present by virtue of that office assuming we can work out an agreement there.  But I think that once we've completed the implementation of the security agreement that there will begin a series of negotiations about what exactly are additional areas where we can be of assistance? What level of trainers do they need? What can we do with regards to CT [Counter-Terrorism] operations? What will we do on exercises -- joint-exercises -- that work together?

    That's only one example from the hearing.

    We reported it here.

    You need to ask yourself why supposed news outlets treated you like fools and children and refused to tell you what actually took place in that hearing?

    I consider Bully Boy Bush a War Criminal.  I've stated that here since this site started in 2004.

    But I don't practice situational ethics.

    Meaning, I don't pretend that Barack doesn't have plenty of blame himself.

    The way Barack could have avoided blame was clear.

    And we argued it here after the election and before he was sworn in and repeatedly in Barack's first year as president.

    The American people believed Barack's lie that he'd pull all US troops out of Iraq in 16 months.

    (It was a lie -- this was established by Samantha Power in a March 2008 BBC interview and that interview is why she left Barack's campaign -- not because she called Hillary a monster.  We don't have time to spoonfeed.  If you're ignorant of the facts, look it up yourself.)

    Had Barack kept his promise, there would be no fault for him today.

    Even if Iraq was as bad as it is now or worse, it wouldn't be on Barack.


    Because he withdrew all troops in 16 months.

    As he'd stated while campaigning.

    So anything that happened?

    All Barack had to say was, "I was elected on the pledge to pull all troops out in 16 months, that's what was put before the American voters and the majority supported that position.  Once sworn in, I carried out that desire.  We made our decision collectively in the spirit of democracy."

    Iraq slides into crisis 17 months into Barack's term?

    Not his fault.

    He did what he promised and what the American voters responded to.

    Barack and Joe immediately caved on that promise (lie) after the election.

    Throughout the election, both had insisted -- going back to when Joe was running for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination -- that any agreement between the US and Iraq (the SOFA) must go through the Senate for ratification.

    It was even up at the official Barack Obama - Joe Biden campaign site.

    Or was until they won the election.

    Then they purged the site of that.

    Because now, via Bully Boy Bush, they had three years to play with Iraq.

    And the reality about the psychos who end up in the Oval Office -- and most are psychos -- is that they think they're much more brilliant than they ever are.

    Remember, Bully Boy Bush never disputed the notion that the Christian God chose him to lead.

    It was then-First Lady Laura Bush who scoffed at that silly notion -- drummed up by members of the press -- and that includes so-called 'objective' members of the mainstream press -- not just partisans on Fox News.

    They always think they know best.

    And Barack and company could have kept their promise but instead decided to f**k around with Iraq because they were so smart and they knew best.

    And that's how you get Barack overturning the Iraqi people's votes in 2010.  That's how you get him ordering a contract be negotiated (The Erbil Agreement) which went around the voters, the Iraqi Constitution and democracy to give Nouri al-Maliki a second term as prime minister.

    It's how you get the silence throughout Nouri's second term from the White House.

    Yes, Barack did privately have enough before he finally called Nouri out starting in June 2014.

    In November 2012, he was done with Nouri privately.

    (Which is why he refused to take the congratulations phone call Nouri made following the 2012 election.)

    As Iraq slid into chaos during Nouri's second term, the White House backed Nouri and repeatedly made the decision that this attack on the Iraqis or that attack didn't matter as much as keeping Nouri in office mattered to them.

    In the spring of 2012, the White House even stopped Iraqi politicians -- Shi'ite cleric and movement leader Moqtada al-Sadr, Iraqiya leader Ayad Allawi, KRG President Massoud Barzani, Ammar al-Hakim (leader of the Shi'ite Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq) and others -- from holding a no confidence vote in Parliament despite the fact that the group had followed every Constitutional guideline for seeking such a measure.

    Bully Boy Bush is a War Criminal.

    And though we can pretty much all nod in agreement on the left over that call, we get skittish when the same is said of Barack.

    But he is.

    And the reality is that Bully Boy Bush left Barack with an Iraq at its most stable that it had been since the illegal war started and Barack humored Nouri and ignored Nouri's crimes -- arresting and killing Sahwa, for example, refusing to bring them into the government as promised, etc.

    And it was this humoring of Nouri, this ignoring of Nouri's crimes that led Iraq to its current state.

    I don't believe -- now or then -- that Iraq's answer was US troops.

    But Barack didn't need US troops to take on Nouri.

    All he needed to do was, for example, pull funding -- or just threaten too -- and Nouri most likely would have fallen in line.  (Nouri is highly corrupt and he 'allegedly' stole millions while prime minister.)

    If that was too much, if standing up to Nouri was too much for Barack, he could have also just sat his tired ass down and let the no confidence vote take place in the Iraqi Parliament.

    Moving on . . .

  • Source tells me anti-gov't protests in being encouraged by Maliki's crew, capitalising on popular anger at military failures in

  • I don't doubt it.  And Nouri's feeling particularly humiliated after an event this month, a Dawa event, found him sidelined, bounced from the dais and leaving in a huff.

    If Haider al-Abadi, prime minister of Iraq, had any real power, he'd be demanding that Nouri stop meeting with the military in various provinces.

    Nouri is a highly paranoid person.

    Throughout his two terms, he 'knew' a military coup was about to be carried out because . . .

    that's how he'd handle it.

    There were no military coups or even attempted ones.

    But now that he's out of power, he's attempting to build support within the Iraqi military for a coup against Haider al-Abadi.

    Margaret Griffis ( counts 148 dead and 74 injured across Iraq in today's violence.

    Tweet of the day (non-embarrassing) is via the Washington Post's Liz Sly:

    Today, Saudi bombed Yemen, the U.S. bombed Iraq & Syria, Israel bombed Syria & Syria bombed Syria
    492 retweets 194 favorites