Thursday, September 3, 2020

Political prisoner Julian Assange

 I'm just going to note some Julian Assange coverage.


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

 Wednesday, September 2, 2020.  No, a withdrawal of US troops is not taking place (it's a drawdown) and a few of the other lies that have been pimped about the Iraq War in the last 17 years.

Are US troops coming in or going out of Iraq?  That's the forever question no matter who's occupying the White House.  Bully Boy Bush, Barack Obama, Donald Trump -- no one has delivered a withdrawal.  Barack did a drawdown, not a withdrawal.  The Pentagon refused to call it a withdrawal because they do know the difference.  A withdrawal means all US troops leave (with the exception of Marine staff covering the Embassy).  The late Senator Kay Hagan knew what was what in said so in open hearing.  From the November 16, 2011 snapshot:

Senator Kay Hagan:  But I wanted to talk about our Special Operations Forces.  And, as you know, our Special Operations Forces have engaged with their Iraqi counter-parts in counter-terrorism and in training and advising activities.  And what will things look like in Iraq from a Special Operations Forces stand point going forward.  And what type of engagement would our Special Operation Forces have in Iraq?
General Martin Dempsy: Yes, senator the size of the Iraqi operating Special Forces is about 4,500. They're organized into a counter-terrorism section commanded by an Iraqi general by the name of Kanani.  We partnered with him at the head quarters level and will remain so. We're in discussions with Iarq about training -- trainers -- that would stay inside the wire of their places where this counter-terrorism force is located, not go with them on missions but rather train them to continue to go on missions.  And-and as I mentioned earlier, the gap is actually in their ability to kind of identify the network and target it.  We call it the find-fix-finish-asses-and-exploit cycle. They're very capable of fixing and finishing, not so capable as yet in finding, assessing and exploiting so that you continue to keep pressure on a network. But I will tell you, they are extraordinaryly competent individual soldiers. What we've got to do is keep raising the bar with them on their ability to do things at eschelons above tactics.
Senator Kay Hagan: Well with the drawdown taking place in less than two months, what is your outlook for the ability to continue this training process to enable them to continue to do this on their own?
General Martin Dempsey: Well they will be limited. They don't have the airlift to deliver them to the target that we might have been able to provide. They don't have the ISR target to keep persistant surveillance over the top of the target. So they'll be limited to ground movement and they'll be limited to human intelligence and we'll keep -- But part of the Office of Security Cooperation provides the trainers to keep the training to develop those other areas, but we're some time off in reaching that point.
Senator Kay Hagan: We'll, as we continue this drawdown of our military personnel from Iraq, I really remain concerned about their force protection -- the individuals that will be remaining in Iraq.  So what are the remaining challenges for our military personnel in Iraq in terms of managing their vulnerabilities, managing their exposures during the drawdown?
General Martin Dempsey:  Senator, are you talking about getting from 24,000, the existing force now and having it retrograde through Kuwait?
Senator Kay Hagan:  The ones that will remain over there.
General Martin Dempsey: The ones that will remain --
Senator Kay Hagan: Their protection.
General Martin Dempsey: Yes, Senator. Well, they will have -- First and foremost, we've got ten Offices of Security Cooperation in Iraq bases.  And their activities will largely be conducted on these bases because their activities are fundamentally oriented on delivering the foreign military sales.  So F-16s get delivered, there's a team there to help  new equipment training and-and helping Iraq understand how to use them to establish air sovereignty.  Or there's a 141 M1 Tanks right now, generally located at a tank gunnery range in Besmaya, east of Baghdad and the team supporting that training stays on Besmaya so this isn't about us moving around the country very much at all.  This is about our exposure being limited to 10 enduring, if you will, Offices of Security Cooperation base camps.  And doing the job of educating and training and equipping on those ten bases.  Host nation is always responsible for the outer parameter.  We'll have contracted security  on the inner parameter. And these young men and women will always have responsibility for their own self-defense.
Senator Kay Hagan: So we'll have contracted security on the inner-parameter?

General Martin Dempsey: That's right.  

No, they didn't all leave.  It wasn't a withdrawal, it was a drawdown -- this was a point that was even made directly in the hearing when Leon Panetta stated, "There aren't zero troops that are going to be there."

But, hey, we've only told the truth here all along while so many Americans have lied repeatedly.  They lied about the SOFA -- we didn't.  We posted on Thanksgiving 2008 because the White House released it that day.  They released it, I read over it and offered an analysis in 30 minutes and got it posted here.  And no one in the press or bloggers agreed with me.  But that's okay, I know contract law and I was right.  Right about the drawdown too.

Then in the fall of 2012, not even 12 months after that hearing, Barack began sending more US forces back in to join those that were already present.  Tim Arango revealed that in a NEW YORK TIMES article.  Not one about Iraq, mind you.  Jill The Whote Abramson ruled that out.  For weeks, Arango tried to get that in print.  He had a military commander on the record for the fact that Barack has sent troops back in.  Jill wouldn't allow it to go into print.

It was fall 2012 and it could 'hurt' Barack's chances of re-election.  Finally, she allowed a single paragraph of that news to appear in the middle of a long article on Syria.  

It's that sort of bulls**t that got her fired as editor of the paper.  

Some people are insisting that Donald Trump's carrying out a withdrawal.  If Donald did that, I'd be the first to praise him.  That would be an accomplishment that neither Bully Boy Bush nor Barack Obama had managed to pull off.  I'd praise him for it.

But withdrawing a few troops is not a withdrawal.

We knew it in 2011, we know it today.  We didn't whore in 2011 and we're not going to whore today.

For a withdrawal to take place, the amount of US troops in Iraq would have to be zero (again, with the exception of the Marines stationed at the Embassy -- Marines are stationed at all US embassies around the world).

 Donald's not talking zero.  And we've got other statements as well.  EDU MATRIX notes the US government's latest pronouncement/threat.

ANADOLU AGENCY covers the same story:


The US ambassador to Iraq said Monday that his embassy would push Washington to review its policies in the country due to frequent attacks on American diplomatic missions there, media reports said.

Referring to a rocket attack on Sunday near the Baghdad airport – the third attack on sites hosting US troops and personnel – Matthew Tuller said: "There are extremist voices that prompt the targeting of the US' military and diplomatic presence, and this does not represent the Iraqi people or the interest of Iraq."

"If such attacks continue then it will prompt a review of many issues, not between Iraq and America, rather, between Iraq and the international coalition in general," he added, according to UAE-based news website The National.

Should Donald surprise us all and do an actual withdrawal, I will gladly give him credit for that and I will even applaud him for that.  But it would have to be an actual withdrawal.  That's not what's taking place currently.  A reduction is not a withdrawal.

I need to correct the above.  One journalist did tell the truth in 2011.  That was Ted Koppel.  He appeared on NBC's then-new Friday news magazine ROCK CENTER WITH BRIAN WILLIAMS and on NPR's TALK OF THE NATION to discuss reality.  And?  Both shows were quickly gone.  That happens a lot, by the way.  Tell the truth and you can disappear very easily.  Telling the truth about the evil Bush family turned Houston, Texas into a one-paper town, by the way.  Telling the truth about the Iraq War in the lead up and after the start of the war ended KNIGHT RIDDER.  For years, we used to have to repeatedly point out here that despite bloggers and columnists lying and giving MCCLATCHY NEWSPAPERS credit for the Iraq coverage, MCCLATCHY didn't do s**t.  They lied like everybody else.  Their papers were around in 2002 and they lied.  MCCLATCHY purchased KNIGHT RIDDER.  That deal was announced in March of 2006.  Three years after the war started.  But for years and years, we had to put with various fools and some liars (such as a certain press 'expert' at THE NATION) giving MCCLATCHY credit for what they did not do.  MCCLATCHY sold the war and did so without questioning one official statement -- they were no better than THE WASHINGTON POST or THE NEW YORK TIMES.  They also began burying Iraq as soon as they took over.  The last real story of major significance on Iraq was published the day before the company was taken over by MCCLATCHY.  That story was written by Nancy A. Youssef and revealed that, despite claims to the contrary by the US government, a number of civilians killed in US actions in Iraq was being kept.  

It was a major story that got no amplification.  In fact, we're the ones who had to make "Iraq expert" Phyllis Bennis aware of the report when, several months later, she appeared on COUNTERSPIN insisting that the US government should be keeping a count of civilians killed in US actions.  

Since Donald's announcement, a lot of e-mails have poured into the public account insisting that we're not being fair to Donald and that I'm trying to be like every other site and just attack, attack, attack.

I don't like Donald.  That predates his presidency.  But I have not let that effect what we do here.  We didn't use dislike for Donald to spread the lie of Russia-gate.  And, again, if withdrew all US troops, I would give him credit and giving him credit would include, yes, praising him for that decision.  As for the 15 Shirley counted who insist that I haven't even noted Donald's announcement at this site, Saturday's "US forces being cut in Iraq (not a withdrawal, sadly) and the UN calls out the attacks on Iraqi civilians" must have been missed because we covered it in that.

George Szamuely, at RT, rightly notes that Donald Trump angers the foreign policy 'elite' in the US by not being as war crazed as they expect a president to be:

One reason for the extraordinary hostility of the foreign policy insiders’ brigade toward President Trump is that he has not wasted his time conjuring up new missions to justify NATO’s continued existence.

Instead, he has promised to withdraw 12,000 US troops from Germany and, to add insult to injury, he has demanded that NATO member states increase their financial contributions toward the upkeep of the military alliance ostensibly there to “protect” them. 

This is sacrilege to a foreign policy elite that have spent the last 70 years worshipping at the altar of NATO. 

“US troops aren’t stationed around the world as traffic cops or welfare caseworkers—they’re restraining the expansionary aims of the world's worst regimes, chiefly China and Russia,” Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., fumed. 

Former National Security Adviser Susan Rice expressed alarm about the “continued erosion of confidence in our leadership within NATO, and more efforts that call into question our commitment, and more signals to the authoritarians within NATO and Russia itself that this whole institution is vulnerable.” 

Trump, according to Nicholas Burns, former US ambassador to NATO and current adviser to Joe Biden, has cast America’s military allies primarily as a drain on the US Treasury, and he has aggressively criticized Washington’s true friends in Europe—democratic leaders such as France’s President Emmanuel Macron and Germany’s Chancellor, Angela Merkel—even as he treats Vladimir Putin, Xi Jinping, Kim Jong Un, and other ‘authoritarians’ around the world with unusual tact. 

Seventy former Republican national security officials recently issued a statement accusing Trump of having “disgraced America’s global reputation and undermined our nation’s moral and diplomatic influence.” And—horror of horrors!—Trump “has called NATO ‘obsolete.’ ”

[. . .]

Next came Iraq. Despite the vocal opposition of France and Germany to the 2003 invasion, NATO, in no time got involved. In 2004, it established NATO Training Mission-Iraq, the aim of which was supposedly to “assist in the development of Iraqi security forces training structures and institutions so that Iraq can build an effective and sustainable capability that addresses the needs of the nation.” One of its tasks was to train the Iraqi police. However, as WikiLeaks’ Iraq War Logs disclosure revealed, Iraq’s finely-trained police conducted horrific torture on detainees. Neither NATO’s Afghanistan nor its Iraqi mission covered itself in glory.

With the Democrats returning to power in Washington in 2009, NATO was back in the “humanitarian intervention” business. Its bombing of Libya in 2011 destroyed government, law and public order, institutions that before the intervention had ensured that the people of Libya were able to go about their daily lives free from the fear of death, not to mention the spectacle of slave markets. 

The “humanitarian intervention” in Libya having ended in debacle and war crimes (including the execution of Muammar Gaddafi) in which NATO was clearly involved, it was back to the old Cold War mission of “containment.” 

Following the February 21, 2014, coup in Kiev and the reincorporation of Crimea into Russia, NATO’s new mission was very much like its old. NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen promised that: “We will have more planes in the air, more ships on the water, and more readiness on the land. For example, air policing aircraft will fly more sorties over the Baltic region. Allied ships will deploy to the Baltic Sea, the Eastern Mediterranean and elsewhere.”

Joe Biden will give them the wars they want if we are to judge by his hideous record.  We'll come back to Joe Biden but, right now, let's note this from Joe Snell's report for AL-MONITOR:

A new investigation committee reporting directly to Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi will manage major corruption cases and “exceptional crimes,” according to Kadhimi in a speech on Sunday.

The announcement follows a string of attacks in August on anti-corruption activists in Basra, which led to the sacking of the city’s police chief and security officials.

“The fugitive weapons, criminal gangs, assassinations and kidnappings are a dagger in the heart of the homeland and in the heart of every Iraqi,” Kadhimi said.

Corruption continues in Iraq.

And I'm confused so help me out here.

Joe Biden says that, as Vice President, he did not have an official fired in Ukraine because they were investigating his son Hunter Biden and the sweet-heart deal that Hunter got despite his biggest qualifications on his resume being:

1) Will sleep with his own brother's widow
2) Can impregnate stripper and spend years denying it until DNA tests reveal Hunter to be a liar.
3) Crack addict who was kicked out of the reserves for his drug use
4) Only got in the reserves because he was Joe's son -- he didn't do basic, he got a short cut in and couldn't even last two months before he failed a drug test.

But Joe says the official that he bragged publicly about getting fired was ousted for corruption.

So Joe cares about corruption?

Here's the confusing part: Iraq.

Hillary wasn't in charge of Iraq.  She was Secretary of State.  She had a close relationship with her Iraqi counterpart Hoshyar Zebari (who was later forced out of office by the Parliament on corruption charges).  Hillary Clinton couldn't be the point-person on Iraq because, in 2008, in an open hearing, she rightly called Nouri al-Maliki a "thug."  He was a thug.  She was correct and too many others who would go into Barack's administration in 2009 -- including Joe -- were deeply stupid when it came to the nature of Nouri.  

So Barack couldn't put Hillary in charge of Iraq.  His point-person?

Joe Biden.

Joe's so concerned about corruption, supposedly, that he threatens to pull funding to Ukraine over it.

How does that make sense?

It doesn't.

Joe's aware of Iraq's corruption.  He chaired the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.  

Oh, look, here's a transcription of a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing in 2007 on . . . corruption in Iraq.


And in 2012, he was Vice President (January 2009 through January 2017).  That's when the minority members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee issued "Iraq Report: Political Fragmentation And Corruption Stymie Economic Growth And Political Progress."  As Vice President, tasked by Barack with overseeing Iraq, was Joe unaware of corruption in Iraq?  He didn't do a damn thing to prevent or limit it.  

Joe's concern for corruption doesn't ring true.  

In other news, ALJAZEERA reports

French President Emmanuel Macron has landed in Baghdad on his first official trip to Iraq, where he hopes to help the country reassert its "sovereignty" after years of conflict.

Macron is the first head of state to visit the Iraqi capital since Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi, Iraq's former intelligence chief, formed a new government in May.

The French leader is expected to meet al-Kadhimi and President Barham Salih at the presidential palace during his day-long trip on Wednesday, which comes amid a severe economic crisis and coronavirus pandemic that has put a huge strain on Iraqi economy and politics.

We'll note this Tweet:

Flag of Iraq
President Saleh and French President Macron shaking elbows in #Baghdad today #Iraq #France
7:30 AM · Sep 2, 2020

Taking a page from American rulers, Macron had to sneak into the country.  AFP notes, "The trip was not publicly announced until Tuesday evening, with officials in Paris and Baghdad keeping a tight lid on arrangements for security reasons."

The following sites updated:

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