Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Take responsibility already

In a democracy, you can vote for whomever you want.

That is something that the cult of Hillary repeatedly forgets.

  1.   Retweeted
    #JillSteinIsRad Retweeted Rod Thorn
    Hillary fans believe they can dictate who runs in an election & who I can vote for. Apparently Hillary lacked agency, bore no responsibility for losing. I’m grateful I could vote for someone who represented my values. I’m playing the long game. I don’t do no-lesser-of-two-evils.
    #JillSteinIsRad added,

They really need to grasp that Hillary lost because of Hillary.

They really need to stop blaming everyone else for her lousy performance.

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

Wednesday, December 20, 2017.  Twitter censors the prime minister of the KRG, AP reveals many more civilians have been killed during the battle of Mosul than the governments have revealed, Burn Pits 360 explains how the government is still not helping veterans, and much more.

The effects from burn pits?  An issue we have covered since Bully Boy Bush occupied the White House.  And in all the time since, the US government still cannot address the issue despite a lot of pretending otherwise.  BURN PITS 360 has issued the following:
5 Reasons the VA Doctors' Guide to Burn Pits is Totally Inadequate

In March 2016 – a full seven years after burn pits were discontinued in Iraq and Afghanistan - the Department of Veterans Affairs published a guide for VA doctors meant to inform them of the potential health effects of exposure to burn pits. But the “Clinician’s Guide to Airborne Hazards” conveniently leaves the phrase “burn pits” out of the title and fails to give doctors the information that might actually help them evaluate patients with burn pit-related illnesses.

Want to see for yourself? Check out the VA’s “Clinician’s Guide to Airborne Hazards” here.  There are at least five reasons this four-page “Clinician’s Guide to Airborne Hazards” packet just doesn’t cut it when it comes to the information doctors really need to help veterans exposed to burn pits.
  1. The Clinician’s Guide does not say what a burn pit is.
That’s right. The guide to airborne hazards and open burn pits does not even describe what burn pits looked like, how large they were, or the wide variety of items burned in the pits. The VA’s only ‘explanation’ of the burn pits is as follows:

The use of burn pits was a common waste disposal practice at military sites overseas, exposing thousands of service members to potentially harmful substances, including elevated levels of particulate matter (PM). 

Without an idea of the sheer size of burn pits and the way they were tended, doctors would not be able to appreciate the extent of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans’ exposure.  Ten pounds of trash burnt in an open barrel produces as much smoke pollution as a modern incinerator burning 400,000 pounds of trash per day. So the amount of smoke produced by a football field-sized open pit burning several hundred tons of unregulated waste per day certainly warrants at least a sentence in a guide meant to help doctors evaluate the significance of potentially toxic exposure.

Additionally, the guide does not mention any of the items burned in the pits. Listing (or simply mentioning) these items – which include plastics, metals, ion batteries, human feces, and much more – would give doctors information about the types of chemicals to which veterans may have been exposed. This brings us to our next point…
  1. Besides particulate matter (PM), the Guide does not list any chemicals or toxins detected in burn pit smoke.
The Department of Defense (DoD) measured levels of particulate matter (PM) that exceeded limits set by U.S. agencies. The VA Clinician’s Guide acknowledges this and briefly notes that toxicology research has already linked high PM levels to cardiopulmonary effects.
However, the VA neglects to mention any of the hundreds of chemicals detected in burn pit smoke.  The chemicals – many of them known carcinogens – include dioxins, the same potent toxin found in Agent Orange.  These chemicals are scientifically known to be hazardous on their own, but likely have even greater, “synergistic” effects when burned together.
  1. The Guide does not include important aspects of particulate matter (PM) and its toxicity.
Even on the subject of particulate matter, the Guide provides little helpful information.  The size of the PM - which is not included - is important information for doctors because the smaller the PM, the deeper the particles are able to travel into the lungs.
Additionally, the particles act as carriers of harmful chemicals in the air, so the toxicity depends on the composition of the particulate matter itself.  Without information about the chemicals carried by the PM, doctors’ ability to gauge the severity of the exposure is diminished.
  1. The Clinician’s Guide does not provide any specific information about the rare conditions (such as constrictive bronchiolitis) that are occurring at higher rates in veterans exposed to burn pits.
Illnesses such as constrictive bronchiolitis and eosinophilic pneumonia are mentioned only as examples of the self-reported “unexpected conditions.”  Though the Guide devotes a whole page to conducting an initial evaluation and deciding if a specialty consultation is warranted, neither section mentions these conditions by name.
This is a dangerous omission given that constrictive bronchiolitis can be fatal and often goes undetected until it has progressed too far.  Constrictive bronchiolitis can only be diagnosed with a lung biopsy.  So the spirometry and bronchodilator tests, which the Guide recommends to assess pulmonary function, may not indicate a problem when there is a very serious one.
  1. Directions on how doctors can view a veteran’s Burn Pit Registry self-assessment and how to document an evaluation using the Registry are buried in an unrelated section of the Guide.
The Clinician’s Guide spends almost the entire first page talking about the purpose of the Airborne Hazards and Open Burn Pit Registry and how medical support staff will explain it to veterans.  Intuitively, it doesn’t make much sense for this information about the Registry and the role of Medical Support Assistants and Environmental Health Coordinators to take up such a large and prominent space in the packet.  Especially while the two-paragraph section about research on the health effects of burn pit exposures is the very last section and takes up about a third of the page.

But most perplexing is the fact that the Registry information actually relevant to clinicians is hidden on the last page (which otherwise does not discuss the Registry).  At the bottom of an unrelated box called “Talking to Veterans about Exposure Concerns,” there is a small note.

The note tells doctors how to access a veteran’s self-assessment from the Burn Pit Registry.  Such information can be used by doctors to get a more complete understanding of a veteran’s proximity to the burn pit, their health concerns during deployment, and other important information that might not be covered in-person.

The note also tells doctors how to document a burn pit-related medical evaluation.  This information is critical because burn pit exposure is such a new phenomenon.  If VA doctors do not track the symptoms and illnesses their patients are experiencing, there is no way to see if trends are emerging or if certain treatments are more effective than others.

The Guide instructs clinicians to “rely on their own evidence based knowledge, expertise, and skills.” But without the facts – the size and scope of burn pits, the items burned, the chemicals released, how to diagnose the related illnesses – doctors are simply unable to apply even the most basic knowledge or skills to the issues their patients are experiencing.  Given the very serious medical conditions at play and the need for more detailed information about the effects of exposure, the VA’s Clinician’s Guide to Airborne Hazards is, frankly, irresponsible.

This article was written by Chisholm Chisholm & Kilpatrick.  CCK is on the cutting edge of burn pit and other toxic chemical exposure issues that veterans face.  CCK has extensive experience helping veterans win their VA disability compensation claim appeals.  Contact CCK for help if your VA disability compensation claim has been denied.  Visit CCK onlineor by phone at 844-291-8569 for more information. 

Burn Pits 360 News

Research:  The Burn Pits 360 Registry is a research study collecting data on burn pit exposures and related illnesses.  The goal is to prove the connection between burn pit exposure and illness.  Before now, this information was only available to the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs.  So far, over 5,000 individuals have participated.  Your data will enable Burn Pits 360 to advocate and lobby on behalf of the veterans’ community for VA benefits, policy change, and specialized health care. Join the Burn Pits 360 Registry research study.  To participate, visit us on our website.

Outreach:  Burn Pits 360 team is building a new website to better serve you.  The new site will launch in 2018.  We’ve also been busy preparing for the grand opening of our Burn Pits 360 Warrior Support Center.  The grand opening will be in early 2018.  Stay tuned for more details!

Advocacy:  Burn Pits 360 recently requested a Congressional hearing on the use of burn pits in Iraq and Afghanistan.  On December 1, we received a letter denying our request.  Burn Pits 360 plans on writing an open letter to the President of the United States regarding this issue.  We will continue to fight on behalf of veterans suffering from the invisible toxic wounds of war.  Support our cause here. 
Legal Help for Veterans

Disability Benefits:  If VA has denied your disability compensation claim, assigned you the wrong impairment rating, or if you are entitled to an earlier effective date, contact Chisholm Chisholm & Kilpatrick for assistance.  CCK is also experienced at helping eligible veterans get VA benefits for special monthly compensation (SMC) or total disability rating based on individual unemployability (TDIU).  Contact CCK toll free at 844-291-8569 or visit CCK online at
Take Action to Prove the Connection Between Burn Pit Exposure and Illness by Participating in the Burn Pits 360 Registry Research Study

The Burn Pits 360 Registry is a research study, collecting data on burn pit exposures and related illnesses.  The goal is to prove the connection between burn pit exposure and illness.  Before now, this information was only available to the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs.  So far, over 5,000 individuals have participated.  Your data will enable Burn Pits 360 to advocate and lobby on behalf of the veteran community for VA benefits, policy change, and specialized health care. To participate, visit us on our website here.
Burn Pits 360 Needs You! 

The success of our mission depends on the generosity of individuals like you.  We ask you to consider a monthly donation to help us advocate for our community and its needs.
Connect with Burn Pits 360 on Facebook

Burn Pits 360 is community of veterans with burn pit-related illness, their families, and advocates with the common goal of exposing the harms of toxic burn pit exposure and obtaining benefits and policy change.  Join us onFacebook!
Meet the Burn Pits 360 Team

Founder: CPT (Ret.) Le Roy Torres
Executive Director: Rosie Torres
Secretary: Tammy McCracken
Program Manager: Will Wisner
Legislative Liaison: Cindy Aman
Director of Development:Daniella Molina

Rocio Alvarado (California)

Diane Slape (Texas)

Advisory Board
Ret. Colonel David Sutherland
Dr. Steven Coughlin
Ret. Lt. Col Gregg Deeb
Dr. Robert Miller
Ret. Lt. Col. Brian Lawler
Kerry Baker 

Copyright © 2017 Burn Pits 360 Veterans Organization, All rights reserved.
You are receiving this email because you submitted your contact information via the Burn Pits 360 website.

Our mailing address is:
Burn Pits 360 Veterans Organization
P.O Box 1475
RobstownTX 78380

Turning to Iraq . . .

A second day of anti-government protests in Iraq's semi-autonomous Kurdish region has killed at least six people and injured over 70

Security forces kill at least five demonstrators in a rally against the Kurdish Regional Government in northern Iraq


The Iraqi government could remove the Kurdistan Region leadership following violent anti-government protests over the past two days, a newspaper reported, quoting presidential sources.
Saudi newspaper Okaz, quoting “trusted sources” at the Iraqi presidency, said Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi is mulling various options to address the crisis in the autonomous, northern Iraq region, including the removal of Nechirvan Barzani’s cabinet based on the 78th article of the constitution, which empowers the prime minister to appoint and remove ministers after parliament approval.

Abadi, speaking during his weekly press conference on Tuesday, urged Kurdistan’s government to “respect the peaceful protests” as the region closed a second day of violent protests decrying delayed employee payments and poor services.

It's interesting to hear a prime minister of Iraq claim the need to "respect peaceful protests."  It was Hayder al-Abadi's predecessor Nouri al-Maliki who was responsible for the Hawija massacre.  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).

Though there have been annual demonstrations to remember those killed, Hayder al-Abadi has never commented on this massacre.  Hayder, after all, is a member of State of Law -- Nouri al-Maliki's political coalition -- and he is a member of the Dawa Party (Nouri's political party).

Suddenly, he's concerned about "peaceful protests"?

And how does what's taken place qualify as peaceful?  The offices of political parties are being set on fire.

Kurdistan Regional Government Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani Tweeted the following:

My message to the protesters These are challenging times for our region. Your frustrations are understandable, and I hear them. Peaceful expression of views is of course a legitimate and democratic right...
پەیامم بۆ خۆپیشاندەران ھەرێمەکەمان لە ئێستادا بە دۆخێکێ ھەستیاردا تێپەڕ دەبێت. من لە داواکارییەکانی ئێوە تێدەگەم و ھاوسۆزم لەگەڵتان. دەربڕینی ئاشتیانەی بیروبۆچوون مافێکی شەرعی و دیموکراسییە. بەڵام توندوتیژی ھیچ کاتێک پەسەند نییە...

Use the second link.  The first link takes you to this: – this shortlink has been disabled. It was found to be violating our Terms of Service. Click here and here for more information about our terms and policies respectively.


An official statement from an elected leader is found to be violating the Terms of Service?

That was rat f**king and that's all it was -- disabling the link.  It was targeted with complaints so that it wouldn't be accessible to those who read English only.

Here's the statement that Twitter will not currently link to:

My message to the protesters
These are challenging times for our region. Your frustrations are understandable, and I hear them. Peaceful expression of views is of course a legitimate and democratic right.
But violence is never acceptable. ​I call on all of you to conduct your protests peacefully.
We must also remember that we still live in a violent and fragile region. Just in the last day our Peshmerga have fought a skirmish with Daesh terrorists. Of even more concern is that we are tracking movements by Iraqi forces in Makhmour.
We are stronger when we are united. I appreciate your resilience and patience in this difficult period. We have got through much worse in the past, and I still believe that, together, we will build a better future.

Again, censoring a statement by an elected leader -- just on the face of it -- is wrong.

But read over the above and ask how that got censored?

The answer?

Complaints to Twitter.

About actual content?

No, just a mass of complaints made with the knowledge that it would get the link disabled (at least temporarily).

There's a great deal going on here.

And in social media, it's being noted that it's awfully lucky for some that the Kurds are facing this.  Who benefits?  The age old question is asked and the answer most often given is the US government.

In part because the US government has (again) turned its back on the KRG.  In part because the moves of the political party Goran appear to increase turmoil (and Goran was fueled by CIA seed money).

Gorran (change) movement (second largest group in parliament) and Islamic Group (fifth largest group in parliament) withdraw from the Iraqi Kurdish regional cabinet.
The change movement will also leave top regional parliament position and suspend it's 'strategic' agreement with the PUK.
Replying to 
When have they contributed for the sake of KRG? Let these traitors go to Baghdad parliament. With their violent terror protestors.

These ‘protestors’ are not hungry for bread, but for blood. These are the that sold . Now they want whole and follow their master . Hope the forces will teach and educate them, because their parents forgot to do that.

The protestors may be genuine but there are some who question that and those questioning may have reason to do so.

RebazaBarzani Retweeted Baxtiyar Goran
Hey, you know what! Let’s protest and riot against KRG and their leadership for not giving salaries. Let’s chant Abadi’s name.
RebazaBarzani added,

The weird thing is; they riot against KRG for salaries, but everyone knows Abadi has cut the money for this. Still they chant his name. Besides, ISIS, Iraqi army and PMU are attacking Kurdistan. This all happened in last 2-3 days. Betrayal of 16 october is still pending...

If this protests contain any outside elements, it's most likely as key instigators.

The salary issue is genuine.  It has been going on for some time.  Whether it is being used by certain forces to manipulate is the question.  And the answer may very well be: No.  It may be that this is Kurdish-grown and no outside influence is shaping it.  But the question is being raised repeatedly.

The Kurds have other pressing issues to deal with.

Among them?

Reports that the Islamic State continues to battle in Iraq.

Our gallant repelled an offensive in Makhmour, who left 8 bodies behind.They were morethan 30 . Although are ever prepared to defend Kurdistan, this indicates instability and insecurity in Iraq, despite Iraqi PM’s announcement of ISIS defeat

And there's also the continued threat from the Baghdad-based government of Iraq.

Region’s Security Council warns of Iraqi military buildup outside of city, and around Makhmour.
Iraqi military buildup in and around Makhmour, South West Erbil, has continued for over a week. In this position, armored vehicles and Humvees have been deployed.

As noted above, the Peshmerga is still fighting the Islamic State.  That news is troubling -- especially when you factor in Iraq's Prime Minister Hayder al-Abadi's repeated claims of victory over ISIS.

Kamal al-Ayash (NIQASH) reported on the 13th:

Last week the Iraqi government declared victory over the extremist group known as the Islamic State. But, according to locals and military personnel living in the Anbar province, that declaration was premature.
“I have seen no genuine indications that this province is rid of the Islamic State group,” says Ayad al-Nimrawi, a 43-year-old who runs a restaurant in the Kilo area, about 160 kilometres along the road between Baghdad and the Syrian-Jordanian border. “I still see commercial trucks accompanied by security details when they come along here. Even the security forces cannot travel down here alone, they require extra protection.”
“I will only feel that we have won the final victory when I see life returning to this road as it was before the Islamic State came. We used to travel here at night without any fear of armed groups but today this international road is almost completely closed. As soon as dusk falls, this road is a death trap.”  

Equally troubling is the victory dance Hayder's been doing when you consider what the so-called victory has cost.

AP reports:

An Associated Press investigation has found that between 9,000 and 11,000 civilians died in the final battle to drive Islamic State extremists out of the Iraqi city of Mosul. 

That’s a civilian casualty rate nearly 10 times higher than what has been previously reported.  The deaths are acknowledged neither by the coalition, the Iraqi government nor the Islamic State group’s self-styled caliphate. 

On civilian casualties, Belkas Wille (Human Rights Watch) writes:

In its latest civilian casualty report, the US-led coalition in Iraq said that after reviewing “available information” there was insufficient evidence to find civilians were harmed in an April 2017 airstrike it carried out on the Sakkak neighborhood in Mosul. Yet Human Rights Watch previously documented that the strike killed 13 civilians.
I wondered what the “available information” reviewed had been. I wrote on behalf of Human Rights Watch to the coalition’s media contact, asked the question, and offered to share our information – the contact for an eyewitness to the strike, a man who personally knew the victims, and the names of the 13 civilians who he told us were killed.
A spokesperson emailed back and – without taking up our offer of information – claimed they had considered “all reasonably available evidence.”

The email pointed to abuses by ISIS and “the Russian-backed regime” in Syria, noting that “unlike ISIS, the Coalition works extensively to reduce the risk to civilians on the ground.”
Yes, the coalition is clearly more transparent. But since when is ISIS the standard against which coalition countries measure their actions?

The following community sites -- plus BLACK AGENDA REPORT --  updated:

  • No comments: