Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Mike Ruppert

Mike Ruppert killed himself Sunday:

He published and edited the website From The Wilderness, where he claimed the CIA and U.S. government were involved in the September 11, 2001, terrorist plots.
Ruppert also covered civil liberty issues, government corruption, economics, and international politics on the site, which he discontinued in 2006.

He published the 2004 book “Crossing the Rubicon: The Decline of the American Empire at the End of the Age of Oil,” which speculated that then-Vice President Dick Cheney had conspired with other government officials and Wall Street financiers in the 9/11 attacks.

Back in 2002 and 2003, I lived on Media Whores Online, Bartcop and Mike Ruppert.

Bartcop died last year.  Media Whores Online 'died' in 2004.  Now Ruppert.

Here's his website.

This is from Wikipedia:

Michael C. Ruppert (February 3, 1951) was an American author,[1] a former Los Angeles Police Department officer,[2] and peak oil awareness advocate.[2][3][4][5][6]
Until 2006, he published and edited From The Wilderness, a newsletter and website covering a range of topics including (international) politics, the C.I.A., peak oil, civil liberties, drugs, economics, corruption and the nature of the 9/11 conspiracy.[7][page needed] He is also the author of Crossing The Rubicon: The Decline of the American Empire at the End of the Age of Oil[1] and was the subject of the 2009 documentary film Collapse.[3]

I'm sad he's passed away.  I don't know if he took his own life due to health reasons (he had a variety of ailments) or emotional reasons or both.  But I'm sad that he's gone.

Some criticized him and his entire work.

I liked his work.  At his best, he made you realize something had to change.  He will be missed.

This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Tuesday, April 15, 2014.  Chaos and violence continue, Falluja remains under attack, Jen Psaki lies badly at today's US State Dept press briefing, Abu Ghraib closes, well known James Clapper whines again but still doesn't apologize, Sarah Jessica Parker -- on the verge of 50 -- makes an idiot out of herself giggling on the radio with Falluja Filkens, and much more.

We frequently decry the lack of Iraq coverage in the US . . . and then we get bad coverage and realize we're actually better off with no coverage.  Today, we got a failed film actress acting as though she were 17 (she wishes) and giggling through war when not stumbling repeatedly for words and we'll also drop back and note a really bad (and sexist) New Yorker podcast from March 31st since both offered the same war propagandist.

First off?

Sarah Jessica Parker waited too long to have her chin wart removed, it had already killed any shot at a big screen career by the '00s.  The wart was repugnant on the big screen but she was attached to it.  Maybe it contained her brain?

What else could explain her garbage today guest hosting The Leonard Lopate Show on WNYC?   There she described the former propagandist for the New York Times, Dexter Filkins, as "one of the best war correspondents of his generation."

Dexter Filkins -- Falluja Filkins -- won an award for his awful piece of 'reporting' on the US attack on Falluja -- eye witness 'reporting' that missed the use of White Phosphorus and other weapons in a story published November 21, 2004 -- a story of events on November 15, 2004 that is published November 21, 2004.  Was Dexy using The Pony Express to get his copy to the paper?


But the US military vets copy very slowly.  And Dexy doesn't do anything the commanders didn't approve of.

After all, as Molly Bingham publicly revealed, when Dexy was bragging about an interview he'd set up with a resistance leader in Iraq, he got a unpleasant look from a US military officer and that was that.  From her "Home from Iraq" (Courier-Journal):

The intimidation to not work on this story was evident. Dexter Filkins, who writes for The New York Times, related a conversation he had in Iraq with an American military commander just before we left. Dexter and the commander had gotten quite friendly, meeting up sporadically for a beer and a chat. Towards the end of one of their conversations, Dexter declined an invitation for the next day by explaining that he'd lined up a meeting with a "resistance guy." The commander's face went stony cold and he said, "We have a position on that." For Dexter the message was clear. He cancelled the appointment. And, again, this is not meant as any criticism of the military; they have a war to win, and dominating the "message," or the news is an integral part of that war. The military has a name for it, "information operations," and the aim is to achieve information superiority in the same way they would seek to achieve air superiority. If you look closely, you will notice there is very little, maybe even no direct reporting on the resistance in Iraq. We do, however, as journalists report what the Americans say about the resistance. Is this really anything more than stenography?

Dexy was in Falluja during the assault and never reported the US military used White Phosphorous.  November 2005, Robert Burns (AP) would report, "Pentagon officials say white phosphorous was used as a weapon against insurgent strongholds during the battle of Fallujah last November, but deny an Italian television news report that it was used against civilians."  The BBC noted, "The US had earlier said the substance - which can cause burning of the flesh - had been used only for illumination.  BBC defence correspondent Paul Wood says having to retract its denial is a public relations disaster for the US."  But Sarah Jessica Parker didn't ask about that.  Mainly because she's too stupid and too busy giggling about "David" (Dexter boss) and what he told her to talk about.

Dexter's a reporter worth praising?

To Sarah Jessica Parker it is.  As she stumbled and fumbled for words on live radio today, it was obvious she should sticky to her tacky ready-to-wear line.  "To-to-to"?

She offered one air-head question after another, making it clear (a) she'd done no research and (b) that, for Sarah Jess, the latest issue of Vogue is 'heavy' reading.

Typical 'question' from Sarah Jess, "And do you think that-that this is a disposition that you sort of st-stumbled upon in some way, that this-this character that is . . . needed and-and maybe even this photographer that you met up with, is this something that's-that's-that is in some ways the criteria for-for-for a person who does your work or do you -- can you acquire -- is it like learning to like . . ."  She's nowhere near the end of that question but we'll cut her off there.

Falluja Dexy didn't just cover up for a massacre ("It's fun," he said at one point in the interview), he also lacked any professionalism or ethics as he slept with everything he could in Baghdad -- everything -- and destroyed his marriage and then tried to attack a female colleague for calling out the toxic work environment he had created.

Sarah Jess didn't ask about that.  Doesn't know about it.  But she'll be subbing tomorrow as well so heads up on that and you can turn it into a drinking game by doing a shot every time she says "Wow."  Warning, if it's anything like today, you'll need several bottles of tequila.  "Wow."

Here the Propagandist and the Hacktress 'discuss' Falluja:

Dexter Filkins:  And I can say when I was embedded with the Marines before they went into Falluja which was --  turned out to be the biggest battle of the Iraq War, uhm, yeah, I knew that was coming [going into Falluja], uh, uhm, I guess a day before hand they gave us the briefing and said, 'Here's what we're going to do, we're going in tomorrow night.'  Uh-uhm, I- you know, if we were to write that, then that was -- that would basically tip off 

Sarah Jess: Right.

Dexter Filkins: -- the-the bad guys and-and then get a lot of people killed.  And so  that's not something -- that's something that you're going to say  Okay, look, we're making a judgment here that we're not in the business of getting people killed so, uhm, we'll withhold something.  But it's rare.

For the record, the killed in Falluja?  That tended to be Iraqis and, yes, Dexter Filkins is in the business of getting people killed.

Judith Miller's bad reporting, at worst, helped get the US military into Iraq.  Dexy Filkins propaganda kept the US military there for years and years.  And he'd lie in print, then come back to the US, do a campus speaking tour and tell people about how badly things were actually going, then go back to Iraq, file some more lies, and then come back offer some more Pianissimo-voiced confessions. At least Judith Miller believed the crap she wrote.

Falluja Filthy Filkins did other audio at the end of March.  March 31st, Sasha Weiss hosted the discussion between Dexy and War Hawk George Packer about "fiction, poetry, and memoir writing about the Iraq war by the veterans of that conflict."  Somehow that translated to Packer wanting to talk "Iraqi humor" which he characterized as "a lot of them had to do with dismemberment -- the sexual dismemberment -- of hated figures in the old regime."

They do make time to enjoy Phil Klay's writing which turns war into sex -- something that says a great about Klay and about the two pigs Packer and Dexy but it's something that Weiss doesn't wish to explore or follow up on.

19 minutes into the 24 minute podcast, Sasha Weiss states, "Let's talk about women for a minute.  It hasn't really come up."

Sasha wasn't lying.  They spend about a minute on the topic. One minute and nine seconds.

The bulk of that minute is used by George Packer as he offers insulting statements about women that I'm not going to transcribe.  He was born a pig, he'll die a pig and, when that day comes, few will miss him.

He does manage to note one woman, after blathering on about women and combat, Kayla Williams [Kayla Williams has authored Love My Rifle More than You: Young and Female in the U.S. Army  and her just released Plenty of Time When We Get Home: Love and Recovery in the Aftermath of War] "but basically this is a male genre."

Sexist men to love to say that.

It's their excuse for not noting women.

Just off the top of my head, I'd note Jessica Goodell's Shade It Black: Death and After in Iraq, that women who served in Iraq and Afghanistan share their stories in Laura Browder and Sascha Pfaefing's When Janey Comes Marching Home: Portraits of Women Combat Veterans, Lisa Bowden and Shannon Cain edited Powder: Writing by Women in the Ranks, from Vietnam to Iraq, there's veteran Miyoko Hikiji's All I Could Be: The Story of a Woman Warrior in Iraq, Heidi Squier Kraft's Rule Number Two: Lessons I Learned in a Combat Hospital, Shoshna Johnson's I'm Still Standing: From Captive U.S. Soldier to Free Citizen -- My Journey Home, Jane Blair's Hesitation Kills: A Female Marine Officer's Combat Experience in Iraq, retired Colonel Kimberly Olson's Iraq and Back: Inside the War to Win the Peace, Melia Meichelbock's In the Company of Soldiers, and Janis Karpinski's One Woman's Army: The Commanding General of Abu Ghraib Tells Her Story.

Now since they made time to discuss a book that hadn't even been published by someone who wasn't in the military and that they don't believe was in Iraq during the Iraq War, it's fascinating that they only had one minute and nine seconds to discuss women veterans sharing their stories and that the entire discussion was about how Packer didn't believe women in Iraq saw combat and ended with a brief mention of Kayla Williams and the declaration that "this is a male genre."

Packer's a pig, Dexy's a pig.  Both pigs were enabled by women.  At least Sasha didn't repeat "Wow!" over and over or giggle repeatedly the way 49-year-old would-be-but-failed-sex-kitten Sarah Jess did.

Along with being pigs, Packer and Dexy are both War Hawks which is why their supposed discussion of books by veterans ignored Camilo Mejia's Road from Ar Ramadi: The Private Rebellion of Sergeant Camilo Mejia, Joshua Key's The Deserter's Tale: The Story of an Ordinary Soldier Who Walked Away from the War in Iraq, Aiden Delgado's The Sutras of Abu Ghraib: Notes from a Conscientious Objector in Iraq, and Kevin Benderman's Letters from Fort Lewis Brig: A Matter of Conscience.

The topic of Iraq fared a little better at the US State Dept press briefing by spokesperson Jen Psaki today.

QUESTION: Can I ask a couple questions about Iraq and Kurdistan?

MS. PSAKI: Sure. Do we have any more on Iran? Okay, go ahead. Iraq and Kurdistan.

QUESTION: We had Brett McGurk like a few weeks – a couple weeks ago in Iraq to help mediate peaceful efforts between Kurdistan and Baghdad.

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: But apparently, he achieved no meaningful result because we just saw yesterday President Barzani saying in the media that a Kurdish independent state is on the way. First of all, like, do you agree with me that Brett McGurk like basically failed in achieving – in bringing Baghdad and Kurdistan together?
And secondly, what’s your reaction to Barzani’s statement about a Kurdish independent state coming soon?

MS. PSAKI: Well, as you know, our position has been pretty consistent. We continue to support an Iraq that is federal, democratic, pluralistic, and unified. And we urge all parties in Iraq to continue working together toward that objective. It would be hard to find a more tireless diplomat who has worked as hard as Brett McGurk has on helping the Iraqi people, helping promote the unity of the Iraqi Government. And my suspicion is he will continue working on that. And the sign of a good diplomat is somebody who doesn’t give up when it’s hard and doesn’t throw in the towel, and so I would just caution you to call him out because he’ll keep working on it.

He'll keep working on it?  April 9th we were showing skepticism about the latest claims from Iraq's Minister of Oil that a solution to the unresolved oil issues between Baghdad and Erbil would "be reached within days."  Very unlikely based on the past history and the current events but some reporters did run with it, treating the pronouncement as fact.  (Stenographers for the US government).   It's not happening "within days."  All Iraq News reports today:

MP, Mahmoud Othman, of the Kurdistani Alliance ruled out settling the disputes between the Kurdistani Regional Government and the Central Government.
He stated to AIN "I do not expect solving the problems between Baghdad and Erbil before the elections."

Another failure for Nouri. Rudaw reports, "An Iraqi delegation that arrived in Erbil on Monday to resolve budget and energy disputes with the Kurdish government has returned to Baghdad without reaching any agreement."

Back to today's State Dept press briefing.

QUESTION: What about the independent state, Kurdistan? Are you against that?

MS. PSAKI: I think I just answered what our position is on Iraq – federal, democratic, pluralistic, and unified.

QUESTION: But that does not mean that you won’t be against a Kurdish state if it --

MS. PSAKI: That means we believe Iraq should be unified, including all portions of Iraq.


QUESTION: That means you don’t believe.

MS. PSAKI: Correct, yes. (Laughter.)

QUESTION: Jen, today the head of ISCI, Ammar Hakim, and Sadr, Muqtada al-Sadr, the head of the Jaish al-Mahdi, they formed an alliance against Maliki. Are you concerned that after the election, and if Maliki wins as he is predicted to, that the country will actually fragment?

MS. PSAKI: I’m not --

QUESTION: And descend into chaos?

MS. PSAKI: Obviously – obviously, the government of – or I should say the country of Iraq is working towards elections. We do have concerns about the nature of attacks that have happened, the recent increased levels of violence. And ultimately, the preparations for national elections at the end of – soon, in coming weeks, is a constant reminder of the formidable challenges they continue to face on the security front.
I’m not going to make any predictions. Obviously, our efforts and our work and the work of Brett McGurk and other diplomats is to support the people and the Government of Iraq, and maintain a democratic, pluralistic, and unified Iraq.

QUESTION: Are you – will you be taking, like, special security measures during the elections?

MS. PSAKI: I don’t have any details on that. We obviously have been expediting our security assistance, as you know and we’ve talked about a little bit in here, and we’re working closely with the Iraqi Government on that. But I will see if there’s more to report around the elections specifically.

QUESTION: Just one more question.

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: Barzani also said in his interview that it’s very strange that the United States and Iran disagree on most everything, but they agree on Prime Minister Nouri Maliki. What do you make of that statement?

MS. PSAKI: I don’t think I have any further comment than he’s been elected to lead Iraq. So go ahead.

But he wasn't elected, Jen Psaki.

Why are you lying?

The 2010 elections?  His State of Law lost to Ayad Allawi's Iraqiya.

He didn't even win a parliament vote.

What he 'won' was the US brokered contract, The Erbil Agreement.

That's how he got his second term.

March 7th, Iraq concluded Parliamentary elections.  The Guardian's editorial board noted in August of that year, "These elections were hailed prematurely by Mr Obama as a success, but everything that has happened since has surely doused that optimism in a cold shower of reality." 

What were they talking about?
Nouri refusing to step down after he lost.  For eight months, he refused.  And to reward their puppet, Barack had US officials in Iraq negotiate The Erbil Agreement.
This is why, November 11, 2010, Parliament finally held its first session since the election.  The Erbil Agreement.  The US sold it to the leaders of Iraq's political blocs by saying Nouri could drag things out for another eight months, so be big and, for the good of Iraq, agree to give him a second term and, so you're not out in the cold, we'll do this via a contract and since Nouri's demanding a second term, you can put your own demands into this contract and this contract is legal and binding and has the full support of the White House.
Of that process on The Erbil Agreement, Karen DeYoung (Washington Post) reported:

Vice President Biden made numerous calls to senior Iraqi leaders over the past several months and U.S. officials directly participated in top-level negotiating sessions that lasted until just moments before the Iraqi parliament finally convened to approve a new power-sharing government Thursday, a senior Obama administration official said Friday. 
Every bloc had their own issues written in.  We usually note the Kurds here.  Let's instead note Allawi.  He wanted to be over a National Council On Higher Policy -- a national security council.  That was written into the contract.  But on November 11, 2010, after President Jalal Talabani named Nouri prime minister-designate, Nouri announced it would take time to implement The Erbil Agreement.  From the November 11, 2010 snapshot:

Martin Chulov (Guardian) reports one hiccup in the process today involved Ayad Allawi who US President Barack Obama phoned asking/pleading that he accept the deal because "his rejection of post would be a vote of no confidence". Ben Lando, Sam Dagher and Margaret Coker (Wall St. Journal) confirm the phone call via two sources and state Allawi will take the post -- newly created -- of chair of the National Council On Higher Policy: "Mr. Obama, in his phone call to Mr. Allawi on Thursday, promised to throw U.S. weight behind the process and guarantee that the council would retain meaningful and legal power, according to the two officials with knowledge of the phone call."  
But Allawi never got that post because the council was never created because Nouri used the contract to get a second term as prime minister and then refused to honor the other promises in the contract.  
And the White House that had sworn to back the agreement, that Barack had told Allawi that he would "throw US weight behind the process"?
They played dumb.
And a whorish media quickly played dumb with them and pretended The Erbil Agreement never existed.
Not everyone in the media is a whore.  We'll note one who called it correctly in November 2010 later this week.  But in addition to her, there's Ned Parker.  The former Los Angeles Times correspondent now works for Reuters.  His work in Iraq has included exposing Nouri's secret prisons.  Today, he contributes an essay on Iraq to The New York Review of Books:

Meanwhile, instead of producing a decisive outcome, the 2010 election left the country deeply divided. The vote was a near draw between Maliki and Allawi’s Iraqiya bloc, and it took nine months of negotiation and heavy involvement from both the Americans and Iranians to forge a new “national unity” government. According to the compromise reached, it was to be headed by Maliki with important cabinet positions allocated to Iraqiya, including the vice presidency and the ministries of finance and defense. Allawi himself would head a new military and political council, a step the US had strongly pushed for. But as soon as the new government was seated, Maliki refused to relinquish control of the defense and interior ministries, and thwarted the establishment of Allawi’s council. He eventually chased his Sunni vice president and finance minister away with the threat of arrest warrants. As Maliki saw it, his political survival depended in part on ruthlessly limiting his opponents’ power, and he could not leave himself exposed to enemies, whether Shiite Islamist rivals or members of the Sunni opposition. 
Jen Psaki lied today.  Nouri was not elected to a second term.  He lost the parliamentary elections and the only way he got a second term was The Erbil Agreement which is not an election.
Jen Psaki really should stop lying.
Back to her briefing. 

QUESTION: Can we stay here in Iraq?

MS. PSAKI: Sure.

QUESTION: And just one more question regarding this independence question.

MS. PSAKI: Okay.

QUESTION: One of the factors of the situation is the oil transfer made by the – I mean, the KRG to Turkey. And I know that your position was against this.

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: And do you have any update? Because the oil – oil delivery is still going on and there was a dispute on the – in interests in revenue sharing on this oil trade between the two --

MS. PSAKI: Our position is exactly the same as it has been. Nothing has changed on that front.

I don't know if she realized she told the truth there.  The official position of the US government for public consumption is that oil is an issue that the Iraqis need to sort out but, as the reporter noted, the US government is against the Kurdish Regional Government doing anything that the Baghdad-based central government disapproves of.

That's why KRG President Massoud Barzani has spent 2013 and this year demonstrating more and more independence from the US.

Parliamentary elections are supposed to be held April 30th. Osama Al Sharif (Arab News) observes:

In Iraq too, Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki is trying to win a third term in spite of sectarian and ethnic divisions and wide criticisms of his authoritarian rule and intervention in the legislative and judicial branches of government. Al-Maliki has used his powers to hunt down his political opponents, while the country is being ripped apart by terrorism. The Kurds are talking about independence from Iraq while the Sunnis complain of a conspiracy to prevent them from participating in the polls and deprive them of a power sharing deal. The security situation in Anbar province is proof that Al-Maliki is seeking to exclude the Sunni tribes from the political process.

Bilgay Duman (Daily Sabah) shares, "The public has very low expectations about what politicians can do to end violence and instability. This could be seen as a factor that will motivate political parties and leaders during their campaigning. On the other hand, this could also be seen as an impediment to free and fair elections."  Mustafa Sadoun (Niqash) reports on one segment of the electorate:

Iraq’s upcoming general elections are proving a worthy platform for sectors of local society that are not often heard from. Iraqis with special needs are running for office to get more help from the government and increase their visibility. Considering there’s an estimated 3 million disabled people in Iraq, their chances are good. 

In Iraq, people with special needs or handicaps are not substantially supported by the Iraqi government or the local social welfare system. Although authorities will hold special days, or organize events, and they may even give them some extra money, any financial support is usually not even enough to buy a wheelchair. After all, Iraq has trouble looking after the average citizens’ health, let alone those with special needs. 
Currently there are no accurate statistics on how many disabled people there are in Iraq. The latest estimates from the Iraqi Ministry of Health, based on research conducted over two years ago, indicates that there are more than one million disabled Iraqis. Of this number, approximately 43,600 had been handicapped because of injuries suffered during the wars that the country has been involved in almost continuously since 1980. There are close to 100,000 amputees, over 100,000 blind people and around 205,000 are at risk of blindness or suffer visual impairment of some kind.

In other news, thug and prime minister of Iraq continues his assault on Anbar by killing civilians in Falluja.  National Iraqi News Agency reports his shelling of Falluja's residential neighborhood have left 7 civilians dead today and seventeen injured.  These are War Crimes.

In other violence, National Iraqi News Agency reports the Ministry of the Interior announced they killed 12 suspects "on the outskirts of the city of Fallujah,"  an al-Radhwaniya roadside bombing claimed 2 lives and left six more people injured, 1 person was shot dead in Alkhotway, 1 person was shot dead in Hartha,  1 person was shot dead and another left injured in an Abu Ghraib attack, an eastern Mosul battle left 2 rebels dead, a Mosul roadside bombing left 2 police members dead and a third injured,  2 Ramadi suicide bombers took their own lives and the life of 1 police member (with four more injured), 1 male corpse was found dumped on a street in Kirkuk (Alsumaria notes he was blindfolded and his hands were bound), and 3 corpses were found dumped "in an orchard are in Arab Jaour, south of Baghdad" (shot "in the head and chest").  Through yesterday, Iraq Body Count counts 435 violent deaths in Iraq so far this month.

For the last few weeks, Nouri's been moving prisoners out of Abu Ghraib prison.  World Bulletin notes that "the prison was also used as a torture facility by Saddam Hussein's Baathist regime."  AFP adds, "In 2004, then under control by U.S. troops, Abu Ghraib was at the center of a scandal over detainee abuse."   AP also offers a brief sentence about the Abu Ghraib War Crimes, "Under U.S. troops, Abu Ghraib was at the center of a 2004 scandal over detainee abuse."   The Saudi Gazette elaborates:

From late 2003 to early 2004, during the Iraq War, military police personnel of the United States Army and the Central Intelligence Agency committed human rights violations against prisoners held in the Abu Ghraib prison. They physically and sexually abused, tortured, raped, sodomized, and killed prisoners. It came to public attention in early 2004, beginning with United States Department of Defense announcements.  As revealed in the Taguba Report (2004), an initial criminal investigation by the United States Army Criminal Investigation Command had already been underway, in which soldiers of the 320th Military Police Battalion had been charged under the Uniform Code of Military Justice with prisoner abuse.
In April 2004, articles describing the abuse, including pictures showing military personnel appearing to abuse prisoners, came to wide public attention when a 60 Minutes II news report (April 28) and an article by Seymour M. Hersh in The New Yorker magazine (posted online on April 30 and published days later in the May 10 issue) reported the story.  The United States Department of Defense removed seventeen soldiers and officers from duty, and eleven soldiers were charged with dereliction of duty, maltreatment, aggravated assault and battery.

This morning, only France24 could note, "Fresh abuse claims surfaced in 2013 after the facility became known as Baghdad Central Prison."  Ed Adamczyk (UPI) later noted the continuous history of abuse, "The prison has a long history of abuse, under Saddam Hussein, during the occupation of Iraq by U.S. troops, and, human rights advocates say, under the present leadership. Critics accuse Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki with filling prisons, including Abu Ghraib, with young Sunni men -- many, advocates claim, are innocent of insurgency."

Today, Abu Ghraib prison is closed.  Fars News Agency reports:

The Iraqi justice minister announced the closure of a prison in West of the capital Baghdad, and evacuation of all inmates over security concerns.
Hassan al-Shimmari said on Tuesday that 2400 inmates have been transferred from the Baghdad Central Prison, formerly known as Abu Ghraib prison and situated 32 kilometers (20 miles) West of Baghdad, to prisons located in central and North provinces, press tv reported.

Cheng Yang (Xinhua) notes:

The ministry's move came as insurgent groups, some believed to be linked to Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL), closed the gates of a dam on Euphrates River, located some 5 km south of the militant-seized city of Fallujah, some 50 km west of Baghdad, to flood some areas between Baghdad and Fallujah, including Abu Ghraib area, to cut the supply routes of the Iraqi army and to cover the gunmen attempt to push toward Baghdad.
Among the most vital installations near the battlefields are Baghdad international airport, just southwest of Baghdad, and Abu Ghraib prison, some 25 km west of the capital, and several major military bases.

BBC states, "It was not clear whether the closure was temporary or permanent."  Nouri's shutting down the prison because he's such a failure at security, he can't even guarantee the protection of a Baghdad prison.   As Jason Ditz (Antiwar.com) observes, "Ironically, it wasn’t anything to do with the prison itself that finally forced the closure, but the city of Abu Ghraib, which fell last week to an offensive by al-Qaeda of Iraq (AQI)."

What a loser, what a failure.  And yet he thinks he deserves a third term as prime minister.

Yesterday, the Pulitizer Prize winners were announced.  Today, Howard Altman (Tampa Tribune) reports on a big cry baby:

A day after the Washington Post and The Guardian newspapers won a Pulitzer prize for stories based on leaks provided by former NSA contract worker Edward Snowden, the Director of National Intelligence blasted Snowden, saying he risked lives and cost the U.S. valuable intelligence assets.

“This is potentially the most massive and most damaging theft of intelligence information in the nation’s history,” James Clapper told several thousand gathered for the GEOINT 2013* Symposium at the Tampa Convention Center. “What Snowden has stolen and exposed has gone way way beyond his professed concern for the expression of privacy. He stole and leaked secrets about how we protect U.S. businesses from cyber threats, and how we support U.S. troops in war zones, and other leaked documents directly put Americans lives at risk and as a result we have lost critical foreign intelligence collection sources.”

You know what Ed Snowden didn't do?

Lie to Congress.  That's a crime.  A punishable crime.  It's bad for a private citizen and it's even worse when the liar is a government official.  In a functioning administration, a president would have told James Clapper that lying to Congress meant he was no longer able to serve as Director of National Intelligence.

The Pulitzer awarded to the Washington Post and the Guardian were deserved awards.  As Amy Davidson (The New Yorker) points out:

The public-service successes wrought by these stories were not inevitable. As explosive as the papers would have been on their own, with no mediation, the shape of the scandal has also been a function of careful journalism. It didn’t have to play out this way: either paper could have bungled it. They had to be judicious and brave. Each has more documents than it has published, and has been scrupulous about what it shares, making sure to give a sense of what the acronyms and connections mean. (In a way, the Pulitzer is also for what the papers have not made public.) Each has also reported out the stories, which includes going to the government for comment—listening to what it has to say, dealing with its pressure sensibly and not reflexively—and then publishing certain things that it has been told it should keep secret. The newspapers have been called criminal. As Janine Gibson, the editor-in-chief of Guardian US, said after the award announcement, “It’s been an intense, exhaustive, and sometimes chilling year working on this story.”

Ed Snowden's a hero.

Help me out here.  Did I miss the moment where Clapper apologized for lying to Congress?

I know he never got punished, but did he apologize?

And I'm not talking about his weak ass 'apology' to Congress.

Clapper serves the people of the United States.  That's who pays his salary.  They are his boss.  I've not yet heard offer any apology to the American people for his lying to Congress.

If the fat ass has time to offer media criticism, he has time to drop to his knees and beg forgiveness from the American people for lying.  Even a filthy idiot like Clapper knows it's wrong to lie.



 That's  Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "Hillary's Shoe Response" which went up Sunday along with
 Kat's "Kat's Korner: Do The Beast."

I really loved both.

You know what else I love right now?

Diet Coke on ice.  It's been a long day and I just popped open a can of Diet Coke and poured it in cup of ice.  Again, it was a long day so maybe that's why it tasted so good but, goodness, did it taste good.

And I was relaxing and reading the book Ruth and Mike reviewed:

"Robert Altman (Ruth and Mike)" and "Robert Altman (Ruth and Mike)"

It's Mitchell Zuckoff's Robert Altman: The Oral Biography.

It's a 'transcript' book.

Like a script actually.

I can see, in portions, why it would be a bit simplistic if you know a great deal about Altman.

I don't.

I know many of his movies but had no idea about his life (other than he opposed the Iraq War and spoke out against it).

So I'm enjoying it so far.

But I'm not even up to Nashville yet (considered to be one of his masterpiece films).

I'll probably blog about it again this week.

I doubt I'll be done with the book by the end of the week (unless I start reading it out loud to the baby).

The last book I read was The Three Musketeers.  Yes, the Alexandre Dumas classic.

I'd never read it.  And was looking for something to read last month and Cedric had a copy of it so I grabbed it off our bookshelves.

I had seen the movies (black and white up to the version with Chris O'Donnell) so I knew the basic plots. But, of course, a Dumas novel is so much more than just a plot.

I really got taken away by the book and wondered why I hadn't read it sooner since I enjoyed Dumas' The Corsican Brothers and loved The Count of Monte Cristo.

I would rank The Count of Monte Cristo and Jane Austen's Emma as my two favorite pieces of classical literature.

This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Monday, April 14, 2014.  Chaos and violence continue, the assault on Anbar continues, OpEd News needs writers who know history, the Pulitzer winners are announced, Jane Arraf win The Quil Lawrence Award and so much more.

Let's start with Iraq, move to awards and then come back to Iraq.

Hamma Mirwaisi and Alison Buckley flaunt their ignorance at OpEd News which really seems to be on a losing streak with regards to Iraq these days.

 Recently the President of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), Massoud Barzani informed a delegation from the US based Middle East Institute (MEI) of the reasons why he believes the Kurdish people still have not established an independent political entity. (1) The MEI is a non-profit, non-partisan think tank and cultural center in Washington, DC. Founded in 1946, it is the oldest institution in Washington dedicated exclusively to the study of the Middle East. The mission of the institute is 'to increase knowledge of the Middle East among the citizens of the United States and to promote a better understanding between the people of these two areas.'

President Barzani's claim that the US Government is responsible for the apparent failure of the Kurdish independence movement is an implausible attempt to deflect the blame for the impasse from himself and his partner, Jalal Talabani, both of whom have placed obstacles in the path of the Kurdish people's freedom.   

Barzanni may be saying what he's saying for any number of reasons but he's not lying.

Ignorant and uninformed Mirwaisi and Buckley are the liars.

The Iraqi Constitution calls on the issue of oil-rich Kirkuk to be resolved in Article 140.  This calls for a census and referendum in the province to determine whether it's part of the Kurdistan Regional Government or part of the central-government out of Baghdad. The US government installs Nouri al-Maliki as prime minister in 2006 (under Bully Boy Bush).  Article 140 is supposed to be implemented no later than the end of 2007.  It isn't.  The US continues to support Nouri.  In 2010, they want him to have a second term even though he loses the election.  So Barack orders the negotiation of a legal contract known as The Erbil Agreement.  The contract is to give Nouri a second term.  To get the leaders of the political bloc to sign it, the US has clauses put in for them.  So, for example, the Kurds sign on in exchange for it being written into The Erbil Agreement that Nouri will implement Article 140.  To pretend it's going to happen, Nouri even announces a census will start the first week of December (2010).  But Nouri gets named prime minister-designate, cancels the census and never honors the promises he made in the contract.

And the White House that swore the contract had the full backing of the US government suddenly played dumb.  That's the same government that repeatedly insists its staying out of Iraq's internal oil issues while at the same time insisting Nouri is in the right and the Kurds are in the wrong.  (There is no national oil & gas law -- Nouri swore to get it passed in 2007 but never did.)  Time and again, the Kurds have been asked to give.  They're tired of being lied by the US government.  And it's not just Bush and Barack.  The lying started under Henry Kissinger.

The US government has never cared about the Kurds and has a pattern and history of lying to the Kurds..

That is not my opinion.  That is what the US Congress found in the Pike Report.  February 16, 1976, The Village Voice published Aaron Latham's "Introduction to the Pike Papers."  Latham explained:

In 1972, Dr. Henry Kissinger met with the Shah of Iran, who asked the U.S. to aid the Kurds in their rebellion against Iraq, an enemy of the Shah.  Kissinger later presented the proposal to President Nixon who approved what would become a $16 million program.  Then John B. Connally, the former Nixon Treasury Secretary, was dispatched to Iran to inform the Shah, one oil man to another.
The committee report charges that: "The President, Dr. Kissinger and the foreign head of state [the Shah] hoped our clients would not prevail.  They preferred instead that the insurgents simply continue a level of hostilities sufficient to sap the resources of our ally's neighboring country [Iraq].  The policy was not imparted to our clients, who were encouraged to continue fighting.  Even in the context of covert action, ours was a cynical enterprise."
During the Arab-Israeli war, when the Kurds might have been able to strike at a distracted Iraqi government, Kissinger, according to the report, "personally restrained the insurgents from an all-out offensive on the one occasion when such an attack might have been successful."
Then, when Iran resolved its border dispute with Iraq, the U.S. summarily dropped the Kurds.  And Iraq, knowing aid would be cut off, launched a search-and-destroy campaign the day after the border agreement was signed.
A high U.S. official later explained to the Pike committee staff: "Covert action should not be confused with missionary work."

That is the history.  Deception on the part of the US.  Promises are made to the Kurds with no intention of them being kept.  In part, these promises are made to destabilize all of Iraq, to pit one region against the other which does ensure that while Nouri al-Maliki may get cozy and fall into bed with Iran, the two won't be hitting any wedding registries.  Maybe next time, Mirwaisi and Buckley might try doing a little research before making asses of themselves in public?

Despite OpEd News, today was a notable day for journalism as the Pulitzer Prizes were announced.  Journalism is supposed to serve the public, to inform the public.  This is required in a democracy because the people determine the government and they need to hold their officials accountable.  So the big prize is "PUBLIC SERVICE" and the award there went to the Washington Post and the Guardian US for their coverage of the illegal spying.  NSA whistle-blower Ed Snowden issued a statement via the Freedom of the Press Foundation:

I am grateful to the committee for their recognition of the efforts of those involved in the last year's reporting, and join others around the world in congratulating Glenn Greenwald, Laura Poitras, Barton Gellman, Ewen MacAskill, and all of the others at the Guardian and Washington Post on winning the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service.
Today's decision is a vindication for everyone who believes that the public has a role in government. We owe it to the efforts of the brave reporters and their colleagues who kept working in the face of extraordinary intimidation, including the forced destruction of journalistic materials, the inappropriate use of terrorism laws, and so many other means of pressure to get them to stop what the world now recognizes was work of vital public importance.
This decision reminds us that what no individual conscience can change, a free press can. My efforts would have been meaningless without the dedication, passion, and skill of these newspapers, and they have my gratitude and respect for their extraordinary service to our society. Their work has given us a better future and a more accountable democracy.

Ed Snowden is an American citizen and whistle-blower who had been employed by the CIA and by the NSA before leaving government employment for the more lucrative world of contracting.  At the time he blew the whistle, he was working for Booz Allen Hamilton doing NSA work.  As he notes in his statement, many reporters at both outlets reported on the very important story.    Glenn Greenwald (Guardian) had the first scoop on Snowden's revelations that the US government was spying on American citizens, keeping the data on every phone call made in the United States (and in Europe as well) while also spying on internet use via PRISM and Tempora.

The other winners in the field of journalism were:

INVESTIGATIVE REPORTING - Chris Hamby of The Center for Public Integrity, Washington, D.C.
EXPLANATORY REPORTING - Eli Saslow of The Washington Post
LOCAL REPORTING - Will Hobson and Michael LaForgia of the Tampa Bay Times
NATIONAL REPORTING - David Philipps of The Gazette, Colorado Springs, CO
INTERNATIONAL REPORTING - Jason Szep and Andrew R.C. Marshall of Reuters
COMMENTARY - Stephen Henderson of the Detroit Free Press
CRITICISM - Inga Saffron of The Philadelphia Inquirer
EDITORIAL WRITING - The Editorial Staff of The Oregonian, Portland
EDITORIAL CARTOONING - Kevin Siers of The Charlotte Observer
BREAKING NEWS PHOTOGRAPHY - Tyler Hicks of The New York Times
FEATURE PHOTOGRAPHY - Josh Haner of The New York Times

On the award to the Colorado Springs Gazette's David Philipps, Greg Avery (Denver Business Journal) notes:

An investigation into veterans being discharged from the military without benefits after relatively minor offenses won the Colorado Springs Gazette newspaper and reporter Dave Philipps a Pulitzer Prize for national reporting.
[. . .]

Philipps’ three-day series, called “Other Than Honorable,” looked into how soliders’ discharge status after they returned home from overseas tours of duty left them struggling. The stories were published May 19-21, 2013.

The Pulitzers also honor the world of publishing -- fiction and non-fiction -- and the arts.  The winners in the Books, Drama and Music field:

FICTION - "The Goldfinch" by Donna Tartt (Little, Brown)

DRAMA - "The Flick" by Annie Baker
HISTORY - "The Internal Enemy: Slavery and War in Virginia, 1772-1832" by Alan Taylor (W.W. Norton)
BIOGRAPHY - "Margaret Fuller: A New American Life" by Megan Marshall (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
POETRY - "3 Sections" by Vijay Seshadri (Graywolf Press)
GENERAL NONFICTION - "Toms River: A Story of Science and Salvation" by Dan Fagin (Bantam Books)
MUSIC - "Become Ocean" by John Luther Adams (Taiga Press/Theodore Front Musical Literature)

Norman Solomon used to do the P.U.-litzer awards each year with Jeff Cohen until recently.  In the Age of Barack, there's just too much whoring for two people nail down.  However, Norman does have a piece entitled "Why We Need Media Critics Who Are Fiercely Independent" (Huffington Post).

There's one more award for today.  The Quil Lawrence Award.

You can reference the following  "Iraq snapshot" from March 2010.  March 7, 2010, Iraqis voted in parliamentary elections.  The next morning, Quil was on NPR's Morning Edition where he explained to Steve Inskeep, "He seems to have done very well. I'm talking to people all over Baghdad, as well as hearing reports from friends in the south, but it's probably not possible for him to form a government without a couple of allies."

Voted hadn't even been counting but Quil was selling victory for Nouri.  It would take days to count the votes the first time (and Nouri's loss would lead to Nouri demanding a recount -- which he'd also lose).  But with no votes counted, Quil was whoring for Nouri.

The Quil Lawrence Award recognizes an individual posing as a reporter in order to whore.

The Quil Lawrence Award this years goes to Jane Arraf who has surpassed her Saddam Hussein-era whoring while she was Baghdad Bureau Chief for CNN.  April 11, 2003, the New York Times published Eason Jordan's "The News We Kept To Ourselves." Other who worked for CNN during the Hussein-era have offered their own examples. Jane never has.

But she's outdone herself.  Yesterday, the Christian Science Monitor published an 'analysis'/'report' by Jane which was pure whoring.  As we noted at Third yesterday:

She takes the sewer that is The Christian Science Monitor deeper into the filth by writing, "In Anbar Province in the west, protests by Sunnis over marginalization and mistreatment flared into violence as what started as a peaceful protest movement became radicalized."
No, they did not flare into violence.
It takes a cheap and tacky whore to turn a year's worth of peaceful protest into violence.
Human Rights Watch has noted, "Government security forces had withdrawn from Anbar province after provoking a tribal uprising when they raided a Sunni protest camp in Ramadi on December 30, killing 17 people."
Jane also overlooks the April 23rd massacre of the 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 rose to 53.  UNICEF noted that the dead included 8 children (twelve more were injured).

It's actually worse than that -- it usually is with Jane.

She's not just being stupid, she's lying.  Check her Twitter feed.  She knows better than anyone what happened in Hawija.  There was a push to portray it as though Friday April 19, 2013, poor innocent security forces were attacked by protesters.  No, they weren't.  The attack took place near empty houses, not at the protest site.  More importantly, there was a blackout on the fact that prior to that, the protesters were attacked by the security forces -- one was killed.   Jane Tweeted about it -- she never used in any reporting and she acts as though it didn't take place. But it exists:

Protestor killed in clashes with army in Huwaijah near Kirkuk. Army says it was defending position. Witnesses say soldiers opened fire

How do you Tweet it and then forget it, never write about it, never report on it?

How indeed.

Maybe it's just a coincidence that Nouri comes off better in her Christian Science Monitor article if she pins the blame for the violence on the protesters?

And it's also just a coincidence that she also offers 'analysis' that is wrong but helps Nouri:

A surprise move by influential Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr to withdraw from the political process is expected to benefit Maliki. It allows him to go after large numbers of votes from poor, dispossessed Shiites hoping for more jobs and better services.
Maliki might be aided, too, by political disarray among the Kurds. The absence of Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, who has been undergoing medical treatment, has led to a leadership struggle for his Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, one of the three main Kurdish parties. Almost six months after provincial elections, the main Kurdish parties have not been able to agree on their own regional government.

A) Moqtada.  The cleric and movement leader's followers will not be voting for Nouri.  We went into the whys of that in the February 18th snapshot.  You can refer to that.  Since then, Moqtada has twice called for Nouri not to seek a third term (the last time was last week).  In addition, Moqtada's now-ended 'retirement' never meant that candidates from the Sadr bloc weren't going to run.  When Moqtada made the announcement, the Sadr bloc immediately had to decide whether they would field candidates or not and they decided they would.

Jane's just a nasty, dirty liar.  And what's the Christian Science Monitor?  It prints that lie that Moqtada's out of politics when even Dan Murphy has reported for the Monitor that Moqtada got back in?

B) The Kurds.

Jalal Talabani is the head of the PUK.  But he's not in Iraq, is he?

He's in Germany.  He's been there since his stroke.  December 2012,  Iraqi President Jalal Talabani suffered a stroke.   The incident took place late on December 17, 2012 following Jalal's argument with Iraq's prime minister and chief thug Nouri al-Maliki (see the December 18, 2012 snapshot).  Jalal was admitted to Baghdad's Medical Center Hospital.    Thursday, December 20, 2012, he was moved to Germany.  He remains in Germany currently.

Jane may not tell you about that but the PUK can.  They can tell you about the screaming Nouri did at Jalal, about the threats he made to Jalal and about how, as soon as Nouri left Jalal's office, Jalal had his stroke.

The Iraq Times and Kitabat are both reporting that insiders are saying the collapse Monday night followed a verbal altercation with Nouri al-Maliki. According to an unnamed source or unnamed sources with Talabani's office, Nouri arrived last Monday evening at Talabani's office and as the political crisis was discussed, Jalal called for Nouri to lower the rhetoric (as he has done publicly) but he was referring to what Nouri was stating to him at that moment. This call to lower the rhetoric was met by a "violent explosion" from Nouri who called into question whether Jalal was able to be impartial or neutral. Nouri is said to have brought up the effort last spring to seek a no-confidence vote on Nouri in Parliament. Jalal is said to have remained civil, asked that Nouri consider the options for resolving the crisis, Nouri was shown out and as soon as he was out of the office, Jalal complained of ill health.

Even setting aside all that, what do Kurds want?

Autonomy to be sure.  The KRG is only semi-autonomous.

But in the immediate future, they want Kirkuk.

Kirkuk is oil-rich, it's also disputed.  The KRG claims it and so does the central government out of Baghdad.

In 2006, Nouri became prime minister.

Per the 2005 Iraqi Constitution -- which Nouri took an oath to uphold -- specifically Article 140, there was supposed to be a census and referendum to resolve the issue of who got Kirkuk.

And that was supposed to have taken place no later than the end of 2007.

But Nouri refused to implement Article 140.

His first term ended in 2010.  He lost that year's parliamentary elections.  Thank to the White House, he got a second term.  This was via a contract known as The Erbil Agreement.  In it, the head of the other political blocs gave election loser Nouri al-Maliki a second term in exchange for his contractual guarantees to them.  What did the Kurdish leaders have put in The Erbil Agreement?

That Nouri would finally implement Article 140.

Nouri signed off on that.  He used the contract to get a second term.

But once he got a second term?

He refused to honor the promises he made in that contract.

So, as happened in his first term, there's been no implementation of Article 140.

Nouri and the KRG are arguing about oil currently.  Nouri's cut off funds to the KRG -- funds they're owed -- in order to blackmail them.  This has hurt government workers in the KRG.

Does any of this say, "I'm a Kurd and so I'll vote for Shi'ite Nouri"?

What does it matter?  And why does it merit Jane Araf being handed The Quil Lawrence Award?

Parliamentary elections are supposed to take place April 30th. 
Quil spun the 2010 elections, the day after to make it appear Nouri was the winner. 
This go round, a lot of whores have used the lead up to spin Nouri as the winner.
Spin and confusion -- these exist for a reason.  
Let's look at how Jane lies about how Nouri got into power:
Over the past four years, the prime minister has presided over a fragile coalition government cobbled together with other Shiite political blocs and Kurdish parties after his party failed to win enough votes to govern alone. 
Oh, is that what happened?
Only a cheap whore would ignore The Erbil Agreement.  We've covered it until I'm sick of it.  You can check out the archives starting with November 10, 2010.  It's the legal contract that gives Nouri his second term.  Here's the Telegraph of London from November 12, 2010:

A power-sharing pact that saw Nuri al-Maliki named as prime minister-elect was looking frayed on Friday after parliament ended in disarray over claims the deal was broken just hours after being sealed.

Telling the truth about how Nouri got into power?  Jane can't do it.
It's public record but she vanishes it.
And by vanishing it, it just so happens -- another coincidence! -- that Jane's lies and distortions again benefit who?
Nouri al-Maliki.
Why do these lies matter?
Because Nouri may be about to steal another election.
The White House (Bully Boy Bush) installed him as prime minister in 2006 (when the Iraqi Parliament wanted to name Ibrahim al-Jafaari).  In 2010, the Iraqi voters made Ayad Allawi's Iraqiya the winner but the White House (Barack Obama) insisted Nouri get a second term.
Now he wants a third term.
He's never been the choice of Iraq.
He gets away with it because people don't pay attention.  And because people don't pay attention, Jane Arraf can lie.
And she all the other liars are making it real easy for Nouri to steal another election.
They're creating the perception that he is the winner before the actual election.
Now it's true this can influence voting.  But it probably won't.  In areas like Iraq -- unstable and violent -- the people who might be influenced would -- if past patterns hold -- tend to stay away from the polls.  It would more likely influence Nouri supporters and, thinking he was going to win, they'd stay home.  It would also be -- if past patterns hold -- a small sliver of voters (3 to 5 percent most likely).
So the issue is the perception.  This is why it matters.
If you're American and you're not understanding what's going on here, you need to think back to the 2000 presidential election and how Karl Rove and company rushed to make Bully Boy Bush the winner in a contest too close to call.  By building the perception that he was the winner, they could run with "Sore and Loserman" (Al Gore and Joe Lieberman) trying to 'steal' the White House from BBB.
The real snafu here was that Karl Rove knew Bully Boy Bush had to act like a president to pull this off but BBB woke up the day after the election with a huge boil on the side of his face.  Not only was it unattractive but they also had to worry that some religious voters might see it as "the mark of the beast" (the Devil) and think BBB the anti-Christ.  Early in the day, he attempted to cover it with a large band-aid and be filmed acting presidential.  But that only caused more problems as people noted a big band-aid on the side of his face.  So they stopped the media push for a moment, brought in a doctor and lanced the boil.
Al Gore had idiot advisors poorly advising him.  He should have been acting presidential for perception reasons as well and, had they done that on day one, Gore would have won the perception because of Bully Boy Bush's ugly facial boil.  
Perception matters.  It has an impact.
And what Jane Arraf especially (but others as well) are doing is presenting Nouri as the next prime minister.  If he loses in another close vote, he'll be able to steal the election again because the press has worked so hard to make Nouri the winner.
Jane Arraf's not a reporter, she's a propagandist. 
As noted, the end of the month is supposed to see parliamentary elections.   Al Mada reports that cleric and movement leader Moqtada al-Sadr met with Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani in Najaf and the two discussed current conditions in Iraq.  That was yesterday.  NINA reports Moqtada met with Speaker of Parliament Osama al-Nujaifi today -- al-Nujafi's electoral coalition is the Muttahidoon Coalition.  Meanwhile Nouri's been insisting over the weekend that he will form a political majority government.  Today, All Iraq News reports Kurdish MP Mahma Khalil has declared such talk is premature -- another rebuke to Nouri.  Yesterday, MP Sheikh Hamid Maala al-Saedi (with the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq) also called out the propaganda and noted that the first thing that has to happen is elections.  On the elections, this report re: Talabani is huge.  But no other outlet's reporting it so we'll wait to see if indeed Jalal has left the PUK to join Barazni's KDP.  
Part of Anbar won't be voting, Nouri's punishing them.  He's also attacking them. Yes, he continues to terrorize the people of Falluja.  In his latest bombing of Falluja residential neighborhoods,  NINA reports, 2 women have been killed and two children badly wounded.
These are War Crimes and not only has the US government provided the weapons for Nouri to kill civilians, they're also training and advising on how.  World Tribune reports, "Officials said U.S. advisers were training and mentoring Iraqi SOF units in the war in Anbar. The officials said the advisers were training the Iraqis in urban warfare, counter-insurgency techniques, bomb detection and coordinated helicopter assaults."

Al Mada notes Iraqiya leader Ayad Allawi says the ongoing assault on Anbar has been prolonger in order to decrease voter turnout in the province.

In other violence, National Iraqi News Agency reports Joint Operations Command announced they killed 4 suspects, a Hit roadside bombing claimed the life of 1 police member and left three more injured, a Baquba shooting left two people injured, 1 person was shot dead southeast of Baghdad, Baghdad Operations Command said they killed 10 suspects, and 1 traffic police member was shot dead in Mosul, 1 Iraqi soldier was shot dead in Mosul. Alsumaria reports 1 Sahwa was killed and three more were injured in a hand grenade attack on a Tal Barley Village checkpoint.  All Iraq News adds 1 police member was killed in Tikrit and his body set on fire.

Over in England, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has a made a few headlines.  Roweana Mason (Guardian) reports:

Nick Clegg has called for the immediate publication of the Chilcot report into the Iraq war and urged those likely to be criticised to accept the public scrutiny.
Negotiations with the Cabinet Office for the release of about 200 cabinet-level discussions, 25 notes from Tony Blair to George W Bush and more than 130 records of conversations between the US president and either Blair or the then chancellor, Gordon Brown, are thought to have reached near-deadlock.

Chris Ames (Iraq Inquiry Digest) examines the press and Clegg's statements and offers: 

Note that he has suggested twice, while claiming not to know “exactly what the hold-up now is”, that people who might be trying to avoid scrutiny are responsible for said hold-up. This could be a reference to Blair, or it could be a reference to the Cabinet Secretary, Jeremy Heywood. But, according to a further report from the Independent, Blair has gone for the former interpretation    [. . .]

BBC reminds, "The inquiry was set up in June 2009 and heard from final witnesses in February 2011.  It examined the background to the war, the conduct of military operations, post-war planning and the UK's role in post-war security and governance until British troops left in 2009."  James Lyons and Tom McTague (Daily Mirror) report:

Tony Blair hit back tonight after Nick Clegg hinted that he could be delaying the publication of a critical report on the war in Iraq.
The ex-PM is expected to bear the brunt of the criticism in Sir John Chilcot’s report after a £7.5million inquiry into the conflict.
All those censured – also expected to include Gordon Brown – have been given a chance to respond before the report is made public.
But four years, four months and 22 days after the inquiry began and two years after it was due to report, that process has still not been completed.

The ones needing the report out quickly?  The Labour Party.  Tony Blair refuses to go away.  He continues to tie Labour to the Iraq War and there's a chance the report could come out ahead of the elections.  May 7, 2015 is when the United Kingdom is expected to hold a general election.  The more time between that date and the release of the report the better for Labour.  Even if the report should magically give War Criminal Tony Blair a pass, the reaction to such a move would be to inflame the public.

Labour has tried to draw a line between Labour 'today' and War Criminal Tony but with him refusing to crawl back under his rock, there's a feeling that a very public rebuke may be needed.

Nick Clegg may care about the report being released for truth reasons or he may be using it for electoral purposes (or a combo of both).  He's a Liberal Democrat and Labour's fall has helped his party.  (He's Deputy Prime Minister due to the Liberal Democrats partnering up with the Conservative Party to form the government.)

In the UK, the equivalent of the Democratic Party was Tony's Labour (actually 'New Labour' -- they sold out to corporations in the 90s, back when Tony danced for Rupert Murdoch -- Gore Vidal wrote a telling essay on that in real time).  But they were in power in 2002 so they were the ones -- specifically Tony -- who sold the illegal war to the British people with multiple lies.  Liberal Democrats are the center party in England -- and with New Labour moving Labour to the right, Liberal Democrats are now center-right.

chris ames
dan murphy

Blog Archive