Saturday, December 30, 2017

Sue Grafton

Sue Grafton is dead.
I used to love mysteries. 
Sue was the last one I still read.
I started with Agatha Christie in 4th grade.  I read all of them.  Loved them all but my favorite was PARTNERS IN CRIME.  I hated what PBS did to it.  The book is wonderful and I love Tommy and Tuppence.
After Agatha, I tried a few other writers.  Some worked, some didn’t.
Then I saw Sue Grafton and I just loved her writing.

 Internationally acclaimed mystery author Sue Grafton has died. She was 77.
Grafton, a Louisville native, had been battling cancer and died around 11:30 p.m. Thursday in Santa Barbara, California, said her husband, Steve Humphrey.
Grafton was a contemporary American author well known for her alphabet mystery series featuring investigator Kinsey Millhone.

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

Friday, December 29, 2017.  Iraq is largely absent from the national conversation and the few times it pops into the exchange it's tightly controlled.

This is your government.

Bill Van Auken (WSWS) reports:

US special operations troops are secretly harboring and training former fighters of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) at the remote American base in Al Tanf, Syria near the strategic nexus of the country’s borders with Iraq and Jordan, according to a report issued by the Russian military command.
The charge was made Wednesday by General of the Army Valery Gerasimov, chief of the Russian military’s general staff and deputy defense minister. He said that Russian drones and satellites had detected brigades of ISIS militants in and around both Al Tanf and another US military base near the Kurdish-controlled city of Al-Shaddadi in the country’s northeast.
“They are in reality being trained there,” Gerasimov said in an interview with the Russian daily Komsomolskaya Pravda. “They are practically Islamic State,” he added. “But after they are worked with, they change their spots and take on another name. Their task is to destabilize the situation.” The Islamist fighters, he indicated, are being re-branded as the “New Syrian Army.”

He also notes Quentin Sommerville and Riam Dalati's BBC report about how the US and UK aided the Islamic State in departing Iraq:

Abu Fawzi and dozens of other drivers were promised thousands of dollars for the task but it had to remain secret.
The deal to let IS fighters escape from Raqqa – de facto capital of their self-declared caliphate – had been arranged by local officials. It came after four months of fighting that left the city obliterated and almost devoid of people. It would spare lives and bring fighting to an end. The lives of the Arab, Kurdish and other fighters opposing IS would be spared.
But it also enabled many hundreds of IS fighters to escape from the city. At the time, neither the US and British-led coalition, nor the SDF, which it backs, wanted to admit their part.
Has the pact, which stood as Raqqa’s dirty secret, unleashed a threat to the outside world - one that has enabled militants to spread far and wide across Syria and beyond? 

In the Arab world, the accusation has long been that the US government created and sponsored the Islamic State.

This was due to a number of US actions in the region and around the world including the fact that the US empowered the Taliban (don't forget to include Mika's nasty father -- and nasty is right, so many women spoke of his actions towards them -- on the blame list).

But it also included strange moments that would appear to question where the loyalties were.

It's very strange that the BBC can report on Raqqa but the US press will ignore it.

Because the BBC reports it doesn't make it true.  But when the US response is silence, it certainly makes it appear true.

When does the American media cover these topics?

If they can put it in the mouth of the 'enemy.'  So, last June, Tom O'Connor (NEWSWEEK) writes about how the Iranian government claims it has documents which demonstrate that the US government has been backing ISIS.

Now when, earlier this month, Amnesty International documented the fact that ISIS was using US-made weapons, CNN did cover it.  But there was Jim Michaels (USA TODAY) to the rescue, days later, to explain that the weapons "fell into the hands" of ISIS.  The press then dickered over whether they were stolen or sold by non-US actors (usually Syrian 'rebels' were cited).

But we're never to consider what so many in the Middle East believe: That the US government has been backing ISIS all along.

None of the above means that the US funded/created/supported/one-or-all-of-the-above the Islamic State.  The point is this topic is discussed around the world, in traditional media and on social media, but the corporate media in the US will not have the conversation, will not allow it.

That, more than anything else, lends credence to the rumors and allows them, over time, to be accepted as truth.

The question isn't do governments lie, it's do they ever tell the truth?


Congress Rajya Sabha MP Pratap Singh Bajwa on Wednesday accused External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj for blocking him on Twitter for raising the issue of 39 Indians missing in war-torn Iraq.
Bajwa tweeted, “Is this the way to run external affairs ministry? Does it behove the office of Sushma Swaraj Ji to block a Member of Parliament for asking tough questions on 39 missing Indians in Iraq?” and shared a screenshot that read “@SushmaSwaraj blocked you.”
[. . .]
The Punjab Congress president Bajwa has been accusing the Foreign Minister of misleading the House on 39 Indians missing in war-torn Iraq.

The 39 Indians have been missing since June of 2014.  In June of 2016, the editorial board of THE HINDUSTAN TIMES observed:

Perhaps it is this optimism that guides the families of 39 Indians who are missing from Mosul (Iraq) for the past two years. In June 2014, the Islamic State (IS) was capturing town after town and taking civilians (especially foreign nationals and minorities) hostage. In Mosul, 40 Indian construction workers, mainly from Punjab, were captured, and one person managed to escape. The whereabouts of the 39 is unclear. The government has maintained that it has credible intelligence that the hostages are alive, while media reports state that they have been executed.

Meanwhile, violence continues in Iraq.

A group of unknown gunmen on Thursday night launched a rocket attack on an |i military convoy, and five members of the Hashd al-Shaabi were wounded in two roadside bomb explosions in the latest string of incidents to rock .

And XINHUA reports:

Unidentified gunmen shot dead three family members inside a house early Friday morning at a village in Iraq's central province of Salahudin, a police source told Xinhua.
The attackers broke into the family house in the town of Es'haqi, some 60 km south of the provincial capital Tikrit, and opened fire on the family members, killing three men, wounding two women and two children, the source said on condition of anonymity.

Also on violence,  Chatham House's Micah Zenko makes some important points:

Pentagon never acknowledged contractors were in Syria. Dept of Labor just revealed 2 DOD contractors died there last year; 6 injured.

In total, 55 DOD contractors died in war zones (Afghan, Iraq, Chad, Syria, Somalia) in FY2017. 2017 will be 8th year in a row that more DOD contractors died in US wars, than US troops.

You will never know the names or circumstances under which they died. Or, even if they were US citizens (roughly one-third of DOD contractors are Americans).

  • Because contractors are barely acknowledged and have no identities, their expanded use under 3 presidents makes US military footprint appear artificially smaller.

  • Hope someday defense analysts and journalists recognize the essential, enabling capabilities contractors provide when writing about US wars. As is, "contractor" is a dirty word or an after thought. END

    And the big question this morning -- bigger than who will pay for the rebuilding of Iraq --  comes in a Tweet from Tim Anderson:

    How many used their voices to speak out against these wars? , , , , , . All driven by , all on false pretexts.

    The following community sites -- plus Jody Watley -- updated:

    Thursday, December 28, 2017

    Bye, Franken


    That's Isaiah's THE WORLD TODAY JUST NUTS "Christmas 2017."

    Meanwhile, the long nightmare is nearly over.

    Disgraced senator Al Franken met with supporters and fellow pervs today to say goodbye.

    Till then, he'll continue to bring shame to many.

    Humiliated over being exposed as someone who commits gender crimes (eight women stepped forward), Al will leave public office with a sad legacy and a notorious name.

    If he does leave.

    We keep waiting.

    January 2nd supposedly.

    Bye, Franken.

    His farewell tour is set to end on January 2nd.
    Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

    Thursday, December 28, 2017.   Hayder al-Abadi goes after the Palestinians while continue to work his grudge against the Kurds, the Sunnis, basically everyone.  And this is how he behaves in 'victory'?

    RUDAW reports:

    Iraq has extended the ban on international flights to and from the Kurdistan Region until February 28, 2018, a day after Iraqi Interior Minister Qasim al-Araji was quoted as saying that he would request the Iraqi prime minister end the flight ban.

    KRG’s acting Minister of Transport Mawlud Bawamurad told Rudaw that the extended flight ban affects both Erbil and Sulaimani international airports.

    “It is unfortunate that the Iraqi government issued this decision while we were expecting talks to begin to solve the problems,” Bawamurad told Rudaw.

    It was supposed to be a trail of victories.  Defeat the Islamic State (or just claim you have) and march proudly into the May elections.

    It's not really working out that way, however.

    Hayder al-Abadi, ruled by vengeance, refuses to uplift -- let alone lead.

    In so-called 'victory,' he exposes just how petty he is -- and what a danger he has become to Iraq.

    Rachel Avraham (WASHINGTON TIMES) notes:

    From the very onset, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al Abadi did not treat the Kurds as citizens of his country with equal rights. Article 131 of the Iraqi Constitution proclaimed that the Kurds were entitled to an equitable share of Iraq’s revenues and declared that the Iraqi central government had an obligation to fund Kurdish Peshmerga Forces, who are responsible for securing their areas.  
    However, the central Iraqi government not only did not send the necessary funds and weapons to the Kurdish Peshmerga so that they could fight against ISIS more efficiently.  They also refused to send Kurdish Civil Servants their monthly salaries. This forced the Kurds to rely upon oil revenues in order to cover their own expenses because the Iraqi central government was not living up to their end of the bargain according to the Iraqi Constitution.
    From the very onset, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al Abadi did not treat the Kurds as citizens of his country with equal rights. Article 131 of the Iraqi Constitution proclaimed that the Kurds were entitled to an equitable share of Iraq’s revenues and declared that the Iraqi central government had an obligation to fund Kurdish Peshmerga Forces, who are responsible for securing their areas.  
    However, the central Iraqi government not only did not send the necessary funds and weapons to the Kurdish Peshmerga so that they could fight against ISIS more efficiently.  They also refused to send Kurdish Civil Servants their monthly salaries. This forced the Kurds to rely upon oil revenues in order to cover their own expenses because the Iraqi central government was not living up to their end of the bargain according to the Iraqi Constitution.

    The tensions only grow worse between Erbil and Baghdad.

    During a weekly press conference in Erbil, challenged Iraqi PM to address the ongoing violations against the Kurdish population in .

    Karzan Sulaivany (KURDISTAN 24) reports:

    “Abadi claims that he is preoccupied with the people of the Kurdistan Region’s best interests, and I ask him, if you really are keen on that, why don’t you investigate what is happening in Tuz Khurmatu?” the KRG Prime Minister stated.
    The security situation in Tuz Khurmatu drastically deteriorated since the Iranian-backed Shia Hashd al-Shaabi militias took control of the city, which is home to a mix of Kurds, Turkmen, and Arab minorities.
    The militias have been launching mortar attacks on several Kurdish villages east and north of Khurmatu since the start of December. 

    Hayder's the one who made the militias part of the Iraqi security forces.

    Hayder was installed by the US in the second half of 2014.  He's had over three years to address the problems facing Iraq.  He's refused to do so.

    If you want to see stupidity and a crime against humanity, click here to read Scott Peterson's latest ravings.  THE CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR has become a very sad joke as a result of the Iraq War.  This is not limited to the way they disgraced themselves to take a kidnapping and portray the survivor as 'girl reporter.'  (Is it any wonder that the woman left journalism and became a fire fighter?  In real time, we were calling that novelization of her kidnapping shameful -- because it was.)  Not content to be a sexist tabloid, they went on to lie in editorial after editorial (including pulling out the false claim that, in the US, people were spitting on veterans).

    But Scott Peterson's piece today really sets a new standard for low.

    The Sunnis, Scott gleefully announces, are being forced to make nice with the Shia.  They have to, he insists, because so many Sunnis are refugees.

    Does Scott get what he's describing or is he too high on war?  He's applauding the destruction of people's homes and lives so that they are left powerless because, he hopes, in that powerless moment, they may be forced to do the bidding of those who have persecuted them.

    Whatever Scott's doing, it's not journalism.

    And you grasp that very quickly as he builds his article around an analyst who is never named.

    An analyst.

    He can't name an analyst.

    He can repeat the analyst's assertions but he can't name the analyst.

    Readers have never heard of or from the analyst before but we're supposed to take this person's word because . . . well, Scott did!

    If Scott Peterson's done anything with his long years of misreporting on Iraq, it's been to make very clear that Scott is never to be trusted.

    That's especially clear today.

    The Sunnis will not be coerced despite what Scott and his analyst (is that what he calls his cock?  maybe this was just one long wank of Scott's?) maintain.

    The Sunnis of Anbar have had little to no help (and a lot of hurt) from the Baghdad government.  They aren't on the ropes.

    That Scott needs them to be goes to his own issues.

    The Iraqi government continues to persecute the Sunnis.

    Which is why the US military remains on the ground in Iraq: To prop up the government or 'government' that the US government created.

    Without the US military, Hayder et al would crumble.

    Never forget that it was the fear that Baghdad was about to be seized that led to Barack rushing more US troops into Iraq.

    It wasn't Mosul being taken and occupied.

    What did the US government care about Mosul or the people living there.

    But from the start, the US-created government had to be protected.  Hence the Green Zone in the earliest days of the war.

    And the US repeatedly allows its installed 'prime ministers' get away with targeting one group after another.

    Sunday, we noted:

    And while Christmas takes place, Hayder al-Abadi and Baghdad work overtime to deprive others of rights.

    removes language from the Food Ration Cards. Another violation of Article 4 of the Iraqi constitution.

    'A new IRAQ law strips Palestinians of basic rights. Palestinians will no longer enjoy same rights and privileges as Iraqi citizens.'

    Is there anyone Hayder's government won't persecute?

    Apparently not and let's note this from The Palestinian Return Centre:

    The Palestinian Return Centre condemns in the strongest terms the new law recently passed by the Iraqi government which discriminates against Palestinians living in the country.
    The Palestinian Return Centre calls on the international community to condemn this new legislation and apply strong pressure on the Iraqi government to respect its international obligations towards Palestinians.
    Iraqi President Fuad Masum has repealed a law that previously granted Palestinians living in Iraq of all rights and privileges enjoyed since 1948.
    Ministerial Resolution 202-2001 provided Palestinian refugees with all the benefits to which Iraqi nationals are entitled, except for obtaining Iraqi nationality. This law permitted Palestinian refugees to benefit from citizenship rights and access to various important sectors such as health, education and the right to work.
    The repealing of this law puts Palestinians in Iraq among the category of foreign residents, denying them the previously conferred rights. The decision came into force after it was published in the Iraqi Official Gazette No. 4466.
    Palestinian refugees have been residing in Iraq since the beginning of Nakba in 1948, due to the Arab -Israeli war which caused large scale displacement in the region. In 1967 a group of Palestinian refugees fled to Iraq and the last Palestinian refugees that fled to Iraq from the Gulf countries were in 1991 due to the Gulf war. Before the American invasion in 2003, the number of Palestinian refugees in Iraq was 42,000, according to the Palestinian Refugee Affairs in Iraq. Some 4,000 are now believed to reside in the country.

    Khaled Abu Toameh (Gatestone Institute) explains:

    The conditions of the Palestinians in Iraq are about to go from bad to worse. The new law, which was ratified by Iraqi President Fuad Masum, deprives Palestinians living in Iraq of their right to free education, healthcare and to travel documents, and denies them work in state institutions. The new law, which is called No. 76 of 2017, revokes the rights and privileges granted to Palestinians under Saddam Hussein. The law went into effect recently after it was published in the Iraqi Official Gazette No. 4466.
    [. . .]
    "The Iraqi law is unacceptable and inhumane," stated Tayseer Khaled, a senior PLO official. He pointed out that the Iraqi authorities have failed to provide protection to the Palestinians living in Iraq and that is why they became easy prey for various militias that prompted many of them to flee the country during the past 15 years. Khaled noted that many Palestinian families were forced to live in makeshift temporary refugee camps along the borders of Syria and Jordan after being driven from their homes. "We call on the Iraqi authorities to treat Palestinians humanely," he said.

    And we'll note this:

    Hamas' Musa Abu Marzouk decries new Iraqi law depriving Palestinians of basic rights: "Coincides with Zionist effort to liquidate the issue of refugees."

    The attack on the Palestinians has received very little attention.  In the west, that may be due to the traditional withdrawal from news this time of year.

    But the reports are disturbing and the Iraqi government's actions are outrageous.

    Hayder al-Abadi is just as bad as Nouri al-Maliki, the thug he replaced when Barack Obama finally decided he couldn't continue to stomach Nouri's attacks on the Iraqi people.

    The hatred and vengeance never ends with the groups the US government gets into bed with.  Take those 'peaceful' Yazidis (well that's how their neoconservative p.r. firm sold them to the western press).  RUDAW notes:

    Reports of sectarian retribution and disputes are plaguing areas in Iraq more than half a year after they were declared free of ISIS.

    “As the ground fighting against ISIS winds down in Iraq, state security forces need to turn their focus to preventing retaliation and upholding the rule of law,” said Lama Fakih, deputy Middle East director at HRW in a report released Wednesday that documented an alleged act of revenge killings.

    “Past atrocities against the Yezidis don’t give its armed forces a free pass to commit abuses against other groups, whatever their past,” she stated.

    At least 52 members — mostly women and children — of the Sunni Arab Al-Jahaysh and Al-Metweti tribes were allegedly forcibly disappeared and killed south of Shingal by Yezidi Ezidikhan forces in June according to an investigation carried out by Human Rights Watch.

    Mina Aldroubi (THE NATIONAL) adds:

    Those killed reportedly came from eight families of the Sunni Al Bu Metewut tribe who were escaping clashes between ISIL and pro-government militias north of the second city Mosul, the group said.
    Yazidi fighters formed the Lalish Brigades and the Ezidkhan Brigades, units under the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMFs), also known as Hashed Al Shaaby, a force of the Iraqi prime minister Haider Al Abadi, and therefore part of the state’s armed forces.

    And ALJAZEERA notes:

    A PMF member told HRW that he investigated allegations in Sinjar province. With the help of local Yezidis, he was able to locate a cluster of four mass graves in Qabusiye.
    According to the report, he saw the bones and skulls of at least four children as well as women and children's shoes near the graves.
    Shortly after the disappearance, a legal advisor to a Yazidi brigade told HRW that Yezidi forces were involved in the capture of 52 people. According to the report, he also said that members of the tribe were "dogs who deserve to die".

    Click here for the Human Rights Watch report.

    Again, this is supposed to be Hayder's 'victory lap' but instead we witness Iraq falling apart all around him.

    Isaiah's THE WORLD TODAY JUST NUTS "Christmas 2017" went up yesterday.  The following community sites -- plus Jody Watley, the ACLU and BLACK AGENDA REPORT -- updated: