Saturday, August 13, 2016

James Petras explains this election

James Petras explains this election -- specifically what's going on:

Never in the history of the United States, has a President and Supreme Court Judge openly advocated the overthrow of a Presidential candidate. Never has the entire mass media engaged in a round-the-clock one-sided, propaganda war to discredit a Presidential candidate by systematically ignoring or distorting the central socio-economic issues of their opposition.
The call for the ouster of a freely elected candidate is nothing more or less than a coup d’état.
Leading television networks and columnists demand that the elections be annulled, following the lead of the President and prominent Republican and Democratic Congressional and Party leaders.
In other words, the political elite openly rejects democratic electoral processes in favor of authoritarian manipulation and deception. The authoritarian elite relies on magnifying tertiary, questionable personal judgement calls to mobilize coup backers.
They systematically avoid the core economic and political issues which candidate Trump has raised – and attracted mass support – which challenge fundamental policies backed by the two Party elites.

I watch and marvel over what's taking place, how the corporate media is not even pretending to be objective.

Hillary is the candidate of the corporations.  Her income puts her not in the 1% but in the .5%.

She is just another hustler lying to the American people.

That's not a defense of Donald.

It is a pronouncement that corporate America knows who they want in the White House.

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

Friday, August 12, 2016.  Chaos and violence continue, Democrats in Congress blame those who voted for the Iraq War (oops! Hillary), MORNING JOE's Mika has another snit fit, and much more.

Mika on MORNING JOE today looked like she'd just smelled her own stink.  It was something, to her, equally rank -- she was having to talk about Iraq.

Mika was for the Iraq War and was never against it.

Her latest obsess over Republican candidate Donald Trump was that he has said Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton created the Islamic State and the press had a field day and he had retracted the statement and then gone into an interview and said "You decide."

For Mika, this was a crime worthy of attention.  Hillary Clinton using her post as Secretary of State to sell 'donation premiums' to those who gave to The Clinton Foundation is not really a concern to Mika.

Stephen Dinan (WASHINGTON TIMES) notes Democratic reaction to Trump's charge:

Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi called Mr. Trump’s claim “verbal poo-poo” and said the real event that spawned the Islamic State, or ISIS, was the 2003 invasion of Iraq, led by then-President George W. Bush, and with Congress’s backing.
“The fact is the invasion of Iraq — the invasion in Iraq under misrepresentations to the American people — has done more to inflame the terrorists than any action you can name,” she said.
Mrs. Pelosi was one of those who voted against the Iraq invasion, saying that she and other top Democrats knew the Bush administration’s justification “not to be true at the time.”
Mrs. Clinton, though, did vote for the Iraq War as a senator and has been trying to explain that vote since. The vote severely damaged her in her 2008 presidential campaign and was still a sore point for many Democrats in this year’s primary.

Mika missed that last point, didn't she?

But, poor Mika, Donald Trump was making her acknowledge Iraq!!

The left side of her face does this peculiar movement now that she's trying to tamp down on the rage (yeah, I knew you were getting the notes, Mika, before you got them -- who did you think I was talking to on the phone about you?).

And when you see this it's just hard not to laugh.

But, if you're serious for a moment, you realize Mika has aged out of den mother.

So her minor league bit part will soon be coming to an end.

Maybe they'll do a reboot of THE BRADY BUNCH and she can play Alice the maid?

I don't really care who created the Islamic State.

In part because we'll probably never know.

Maybe it was Saudi Arabia?

Maybe it was the US government?

As Mika knows from her father's dirty hands, the US government has a long history of backing 'rebels' who are actually terrorists.

And if the CIA was involved, lots of luck finding out with today's pathetic US Congress.

Dianne, Barbara and a host of others are so in the closet with corruption scandals or sex scandals -- Babs is really going to leave office pretending she was straight -- that they're easily blackmailed and that may be why they cover for the CIA.

Long gone are the days where a Frank Church or an Otis Pike would provide real oversight to the executive branch -- and the CIA.

Many Iraqis believe that the US created the Islamic State and that they fund them and arm them.

That doesn't make it true.

It does mean we should acknowledge that view point is out there.

Let's stick to what we know.

Hillary Clinton?

In April 2008, she called Nouri al-Maliki a "thug."

She was correct, he was one.

He was then the prime minister of Iraq.

The Iraqi Parliament, at the end of 2005, wanted to make Ibrahim al-Jaafari prime minister.

The US White House said no.

The main reason for public consumption was that al-Jaafari had already been prime minister (from May of 2005 to May of 2006), was the current prime minister, and, this early in 'new' Iraq's young life, it would be wrong for anyone to hold two terms.  It would give the impression that it was a post for life -- like the toppled Saddam Hussein had done.

The other main reason (not for public consumption) was that he wasn't pliable enough.

Enter Zalmay.

In 2005 (through March 2007), Zalmay Khalizad was the US Ambassador to Iraq and went hunting for the most pliable person.

He found Nouri al-Maliki and talked Nouri up on the idea (didn't take much flattery) of being prime minister.

The CIA signed off on it because Nouri was so paranoid that the CIA assumed he would be easily to manipulate.

(Long before WikiLeaks released the State Dept cables, years before, we noted here that the CIA and State Dept had both determined Nouri was paranoid.)

So Bully Boy Bush signed off on Nouri.

He was an awful prime minister.

Even in his first term, he was awful.

And Hillary noted that and called him a thug.  It was her finest Iraq moment in 2008.  (Not that there were many to choose from.)

In 2010, Iraq finally holds national elections.  (They were supposed to take place in 2009.)

And the Iraqi people want?

Not Nouri.

He loses to Ayad Allawi, the head of Iraqiya -- an inclusive political group.  Whether it was THE GUARDIAN, Emma Sky, NPR's Deborah Amos, US Gen Ray Odierno (then the top US commander in Iraq) or, yes, this site, there were many noting what a positive move that was.

Iraqis were rejecting sectarianism and pushing for a national identity.

Nouri refused to step down.

He had US support from US Ambassador to Iraq Chris Hill, from Susan I Mispoke Rice and from The Problem From Hell Samantha Power.

Hillary stayed on the sidelines and made no preference known.

US Vice President Joe Biden believed that Ayad needed to become prime minister.  Those were the results.

But Nouri refused to step down.

This put the country into a political stalemate that lasted over eight months.

Urged by Rice and Power (Chris Hill was already on his way out, finally having been fired as US Ambassador to Iraq), Barack decided to back the loser Nouri al-Maliki.

How do you get around an election>

He had the US broker THE ERBIL AGREEMENT -- a legal contract all the political leaders signed off on.

The other leaders granted Nouri a second term and he in turn granted them what they wanted.

On paper.

But Nouri used it to get what he wanted and then trashed it.

After he was installed to a second term via Barack's contract, Nouri declared it unconstitutional and refused to honor it.

Samantha Power was not promoted to US Ambassador to the United Nations.

She was demoted out of the inner circle because of this, Libya and other questionable calls that had Valerie Jarrett (to name one) insisting she but pushed out the door.

Why does the Islamic State have a toehold in Iraq to begin with?

Because of Nouri al-Maliki.

He persecuted everyone but he really went after the Sunnis.

They were rounded up without charges and disappeared into Iraqi jails, prisons and secret prisons.  (Ned Parker's work for THE LOS ANGELES TIMES exposed Nouri's use of secret prisons and detention centers.)

Sunni women and girls were tortured and raped in Iraqi jails and prisons.

Sunni journalists were targeted by the government, pulled off the streets and tortured.

Sunni protesters were targeted.  The most mild form of targeting was having Iraqi forces publicly follow them to their homes (intimidation).  In the worst case?

The April 23, 2013 massacre of a 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 eventually (as some wounded died) rose to 53 dead.   UNICEF noted that the dead included 8 children (twelve more were injured).

Where were you, MSNBC?

Where were you, Mika?

It's not Orlando, it's not Paris, so it didn't matter?

It didn't matter to Barack.

He wouldn't immediately insist that Nouri step down.

It would be over a year later before Barack would do that.

Then there was the targeting of the Sunni politicians.

During all of this, the Sunni people were persecuted.

After the 2010 elections, we noted that they tried the ballot box to be heard.

Then political leaders in Iraq tried to solve the crises -- Ayad Allawi, Moqtada al-Sadr, Ammar al-Hakim, Massoud Barzani and others -- by telling Nouri that he had to honor The Erbil Agreement or they would vote in Parliament to remove him.

We all know what happened there, right?

Oh, we don't.

Because actual news isn't important to MSNBC.

The US government (Vice President Joe Biden led the effort) pressured then-President of Iraq Jalal Talabani to stop the vote.  So Talabani created a power that didn't exist and declared the petition for the vote invalid before rushing off to Germany less than 18 hours later and saying he had to have emergency surgery.

He had knee surgery.

He just didn't want to face the fallout.

Karma would kick Jalal in his ass when he suffered a series of major strokes (yes, it was a series) and had to be moved to Germany.  He has still not recovered and he never will which is why he is still kept out of public sight.

So the ballot box has been tossed.  The political leaders could do nothing.

The Iraqi people take to the street to protest and they get arrested and intimidated and killed.

What is left?

It's that vacuum that allows the Islamic State to get a toe hold in Iraq.

They tried everything.  Even carrying signs proclaiming"Obama, if you Cannot Hear Us Can you Not See Us?"   

From Samarra من سامراء

Iraqis in Samarra with a message for the world (photo via Iraqi Spring MC).

That's March 15, 2013.  One month later, the Hawija massacre would take place.

Barack was still pretending not to see or hear the cries of the targeted in Iraq.

The world was looking the other way.

Into this vacuum, the Islamic State could and did enter promoting themselves as a group that would defend the Sunni people.

And had they just stayed with their terrorist attacks, they'd probably be more of an influence today.

But somewhere they decided they could govern -- they couldn't.

But for many Sunnis, the Islamic State was seen as someone fighting the government and the government was seen as something hostile to the Sunni people.

So the view was let them fight it out, we don't have a stake in this.

That's what happens after the world let Nouri al-Maliki persecute the Sunnis for eight years and no one wanted to even voice a defense of the Sunnis.

So that's Barack's fault.

It's Hillary's fault too.

She can claim that as Secretary of State, she couldn't speak out.

Don't agree with that but she left that post in January 2013.

She did not go into hiding.

She went into one public event after another.

And never once called out what Nouri was doing to the Sunni people -- even though she'd publicly identified him as a thug in April 2008.

So that's on Hillary too.

We have to do these lengthy remedials because of people like Mika.

Today, she was insisting she's part of the news media (she's a talk show host, she's not news) and that "perspective" was allowed and she didn't have to be impartial.

Well she does have to be informed and, obviously, she's one of the most vapid talking heads around.

"Perspective" isn't what Mika offers.

Perspective would be the news media noting of Haider al-Abadi's claim/plan to end corruption: It's as laughable as Nouri al-Maliki's 100 day plan to end corruption.

Nonsense that tumbles out of Mika's mouth is not "perspective," it is verbal diarrhea.

This, from Louis Allday (THE 36TH CHAMBER), would qualify as perspective:

Iraq has been under virtually continuous attack by the West for a period spanning almost three decades. After the First Gulf War in 1990 – in which an estimated 100,000-200,000 Iraqis were killed[i] – until the invasion of 2003, the country was subjected to a brutal program of sanctions enforced by the UN’s Security Council. These economic and trade sanctions, imposed primarily at the instigation of the US and the UK, were so destructive that more than one of the UN officials appointed to administer them resigned in protest. In 1998, Denis Halliday, then the UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Iraq and the man responsible for overseeing the sanctions, resigned from his post in disgust stating that he could no longer be complicit in the crimes of the “sustained genocidal sanctions” that were being imposed on the “innocent of Iraq”.[ii]
In 1995, three years before Halliday’s resignation, the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization estimated that the sanctions had already caused the death of over 550,000 Iraqi children through severe malnourishment, lack of access to medication and a general decline in the country’s healthcare facilities.[iii] Subsequently, Madeline Albright, then US Ambassador to the UN, was asked the following on US television: “We have heard that half a million children have died. I mean, that’s more children than died in Hiroshima. …is the price worth it?” Albright’s response, which can be watched here, is chilling. Rather than dispute the figure or attempt to deflect the question, Albright replied bluntly “we think the price is worth it”. When he resigned, Halliday wrote that the sanctions were “destroying an entire society” and were “a deliberate policy that has effectively killed well over a million individuals”.[iv] Halliday’s replacement, Hans von Sponeck, also resigned from his post, remarking that the sanctions had created a “true human tragedy”.[v] In addition to the hundreds and thousands of deaths, Iraqi society was decimated; within two years of the sanctions being enforced, unemployment had risen to over 50 percent (Iraq previously had full employment), while inflation skyrocketed and personal income reached the lowest in the world.[vi]

According to the UN Security Council, the aim of the sanctions program was the eradication of Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction, but in reality it was used to block the importation of all manner of vital goods into Iraq, including medical supplies such as diphtheria and yellow fever vaccines for children. An Iraqi doctor commented “it is like torture. We see children die from the kind of cancers from which, given the right treatment, there is a good recovery rate”.[vii]

Yesterday, the US Defense Dept announced:

Strikes in Iraq
Fighter and remotely piloted aircraft and rocket artillery conducted nine strikes in Iraq, coordinated with and in support of Iraq’s government:

-- Near Baghdadi, two strikes destroyed five ISIL rocket rails, an ISIL rocket cache, two ISIL-used tunnels, and two ISIL fighting positions.

-- Near Hit, a strike destroyed two ISIL vehicles, an ISIL vehicle storage area, and an ISIL mortar cache and damaged an ISIL fighting position.

-- Near Mosul, two strikes struck two separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed an ISIL artillery piece, an ISIL vehicle and an ISIL fighting position.

-- Near Qayyarah, two strikes struck a large ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL tactical vehicle, five ISIL assembly areas, two ISIL-used tunnels, two ISIL vehicle bombs, 22 ISIL rocket rails and 22 ISIL rockets and denied ISIL access to terrain.

-- Near Ramadi, a strike destroyed an ISIL mortar system and damaged an ISIL fighting position.

-- Near Sultan Abdallah, a strike destroyed an ISIL weapons cache.

Task force officials define a strike as one or more kinetic events that occur in roughly the same geographic location to produce a single, sometimes cumulative, effect. Therefore, officials explained, a single aircraft delivering a single weapon against a lone ISIL vehicle is one strike, but so is multiple aircraft delivering dozens of weapons against buildings, vehicles and weapon systems in a compound, for example, having the cumulative effect of making those targets harder or impossible for ISIL to use. Accordingly, officials said, they do not report the number or type of aircraft employed in a strike, the number of munitions dropped in each strike, or the number of individual munition impact points against a target. Ground-based artillery fired in counterfire or in fire support to maneuver roles is not classified as a strike.

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