Thursday, November 7, 2013

Pascal Roberts is an idiot

Pascal Roberts (Black Agenda Report) wants to take a hammer to Kerry Washington and company:
 


Currently all the rage in the Black community, the Kerry Washington political intrigue program “SCANDAL” is about a Black Woman whose job is to help Washington DC politicos through damaging and embarrassing dilemmas. The show is an excellent example of the way Black popular culture is deployed to breed reverence for American empire and those who benefit from it. “SCANDAL” The result is a kind of female Obama Effect, shrewdly creating a sense of collective racial necessity for placing Brown faces in high imperial places. The most oppressed segment of American society is encouraged to fantasize about becoming the most effective agents of the same empire that is destroying them. Very shrewd indeed.
What’s most interesting about “SCANDAL” is that it’s based on the real life story of a Black woman who got her political start in the Reagan administration and played a key role in getting Clarence Thomas confirmed to the U.S. Supreme Court despite Anita Hill’s charges of sexual harassment. She also helped clean things up for the Republicans during the Iran Contra Scandal. As recently as May of this year, the real life character behind “SCANDAL” represented Paula Deen, the White TV Cooking Show maven who outraged Black America for allegedly admitting she fantasized about “owning slaves”. So dramatically speaking, this is the woman Black America is cheering for while watching “SCANDAL.”



First off, I've removed the link on Paula Deen "owning slaves" because it goes to Salon.

Race baiter Pascal better grasp real quick that Salon is not a news source and it's a disgusting White site that pretends to care about Black America.  F**k Salon.

I hope that's clear.  If not?  Salon can kiss my Black ass.

And I just removed the one to Huffington Post.  I don't have a problem with it but I do have a problem with the first comment which reduces an entire race of women to an ugly stereotype.  I know Pascal does stuff like that but he's a piece of human s**t and I have ethics.


As for Scandal?

The TV show is a soap opera and it's a good one.  And it's allowed, for the first time ever, for a Black woman to carry a successful one hour show.  Good for Kerry Washington.

Now Kerry's character is Olivia Pope.

Olivia's got an on-again-off-again affair with a married man (who happens to be the president of the United States), she entered into a conspiracy to steal the election (and successfully did), she has no qualms about allowing the killer of Supreme Court Justice Verna to go free . . .

I could go on and on.

Point being, Olivia's a complex character.


Joan Collins got to dominate 80s television.  There was no uproar of, "As a White woman, Joan shouldn't be playing a bitch!"

Kerry Washington is a great actress and Olivia Pope is a great role.

There are set backs to our race, but the TV show Scandal -- created and run by African-American Shonda Rhimes -- is not a set back.

It's a soap opera, a great one.




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



Thursday, November 7, 2013.  Chaos and violence continue, does the 'turned corner' myth resurface, Dar Addustour captures Nouri's visit to DC, Ayad Allawi talks to CNN, Cindy Sheehan responds to USA Today's attack on her, a State Dept employee enters a guilty plea,  and her beliefs, and more.


In 1973, Maureen McGovern made it to the top of the Top 40 with the number one hit "The Morning After" ("There's got to be a morning after . . .").  Thirty years later, the US government and its press agents posing as 'reporters' sang their own version "The Turned Corner," ("There's about to be a turned corner . . .")  For those who've forgotten or missed it in real time, as the illegal war kicked off, reality kicked back.  And the White House and press hacks like John Burns and Thomas Friedman constantly insisted a turned corner lay in the immediate future and the entire failed war was about to turn around.  However, that never happened.

Were any lessons learned from that?

Apparently not.


The Washington Post's Liz Sly noted the turned corner claim is still around.



  • Apparently this is good news about Iraq: its crisis will be over in 20 years. Then it will have a bright future.



  • The Shagaq News article is about the judgment calls of an American,  Michael Knights of the Washington Institue, and it starts:

    "Iraq's tunnel is long, but at the end there is a light, with this sentence Michael Knights, an expert at the Washington Institute for the Near East began his talk as he believes that after 20 years, Iraq will come out of this crisis, will be a leader , tolerant and open state".

    That's the article's punctuation.  They leave a quote -- without noting that they have (clearly Michael Knight did not declare "with this sentence Michael Knights, an expert at . . .") -- and put an end quote at the end of their sentence.


    The point of that is that "20 years" may or may not be Knights' remark.  He is quoted in the article speaking of "someday."

    Regardless, his hope for a turned corner seems more than a bit unrealistic based upon his own argument.

    He is quoted stating, "During our presence in Iraq , we say that the problem were not Saddam Hussein, as it was the Iraqi strong central regime. For this, we focused on decentralization , and for this we have set and develop in the Constitution. However, after we have withdrawn Maliki returned to Saddam Hussein's central strong (...) and surrounded himself with a group of angry Shiite that wasn't for revenge. These groups controlled the nominations of the armed forces, courts and the central bank. "


    So the problem is Nouri.  You can pretend and mess around all you want but the reality is the problems in Iraq are the making of Nouri al-Maliki (which means they're the making of the White House since the 2006 administration demanded that Nouri be named prime minister and the 2010 administration negotiated The Erbil Agreement to give Nouri a second term the voters and the Iraqi Constitution didn't give Nouri).

    Is Knights really so reluctant to tell the truth or is it the outlet?  I have no idea but 'someday' or '20 years' isn't good enough for the Iraqi people -- it's not good enough for any people.  They shouldn't have to suffer under Nouri's nonsense.


    Knights's 'findings' are illogical and not fact based.  This is evident by the half-quote that the article includes from him, "if not anything else, the decentralized Constitution that we have set, which I think solved Iraq's problems, as I told you "  Setting aside who 'set' the Iraqi Constitution, the Constitution is meaningless at this point.

    Nouri's refused to implement Article 140 of the Constitution.  He was required to implement it by the end of 2007.  He refused to do so.  He agreed, in The Erbil Agreement of 2010, to implement it.  He has refused to do so.

    The Constitution outlines who becomes prime minister.  The Erbil Agreement circumvented the Constitution.

    The Constitution's not being followed with regards to replacing the incapacitated president.  Last December,  Iraqi President Jalal Talabani suffered a stroke.   The incident took place late on December 17th (see the December 18th snapshot) and resulted in Jalal being admitted to Baghdad's Medical Center Hospital.    Thursday, December 20th, he was moved to Germany.  He remains in Germany currently.  Every few weeks someone comes along to announce, "He's getting better!"  It's past time that Iraqis were told when Jalal was coming back and if he's not coming back shortly, it really is time to replace him.  He's been out of the country -- and not doing his job -- for nearly a year now.  We're 11 days from a year. A constitutional government does not allow this to happen.

    There has been no president of Iraq for a year.

    That's not a sign of a functioning government.  It's not a sign of compassion.  Compassion is you give the Talabani family six weeks or so.  After that, you start calling them on the lie.  Jalal's hidden away because he can't function and he can't perform his duties.  He's been allowed to draw his salary though.

    Then there's the issue of the Cabinet.

    The President names a prime minister-designate.

    The person has 30 days to become prime minister and the only way they do that is by forming their Cabinet -- which is done by naming nominees that Parliament votes for and confirms.  They have 30 days for that.

    It's the only thing that has to be done for a prime minister-designate to become prime minister.  (This is Article 76 of the Constitution.)  Should the prime minister-designate fail to complete this task in 30 days, the president is supposed to name a new prime minister-designate.

    Jalal  betrayed the Constitution.  Firstly, he declared Nouri prime minister-designate at Parliament's November 11, 2010 session but then claimed that wasn't official -- it was -- so he could provide Nouri with a later date -- he reset the clock.  Even doing that, Nouri still didn't have a partial Cabinet until January 2011.  That's a violation of the Constitution.

    So is 'partial cabinet.'  Anyone can form a partial cabinet.  You just get one nominee to your Cabinet confirmed and you've formed a 'Cabinet' by Nouri's logic.  The Constitution calls for a Cabinet -- that means a full Cabinet.  (Four Iraqis who were part of the 2005 Constitution have made that clear.)

    Yet Nouri wasn't bound to the Constitution.  And even now, as his second term winds down, he's not got a full Cabinet.  Back in July 2012, Mohammed Tawfeeq (CNN) observed, "Shiite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has struggled to forge a lasting power-sharing agreement and has yet to fill key Cabinet positions, including the ministers of defense, interior and national security, while his backers have also shown signs of wobbling support."   Those posts have remained vacant.  Throughout his second term. No Minister of Defense?

    Is it any wonder that Iraq has seen an increase in violence?

    AFP notes today, "It is the latest in Iraq's worst violence since 2008, with more than 5,500 people dead this year despite tightened security measures and a swathe of operations against militants."  But they fail to connect the increase to the security ministries.    They also undercount.  As Christiane Amanpour noted on Amanpour (CNN) Tuesday, it's "almost 7,000" killed this year.  She was raising the statistic because she was addressing Iraq with her guest was Ayad Allawi who was prime minister of Iraq from June 2004 through May 2005 and who should, based on the 2010 election results, have been named prime minister in 2010.  Click here for video, here for transcript.  Excerpt.



    AMANPOUR: Prime Minister, sorry to interrupt you, and we'll talk about the politics, but many people believe, including former U.S. ambassadors, commanders, et cetera, that you can't really do as much as you would like on political progress without having security.

    So the question is, do you think Prime Minister Maliki had a successful visit to the U.S.? Did -- do you believe he got what he wanted from President Obama? And what does the U.S. need to do to help at least in the security area right now?

    ALLAWI: I don't think the U.S. have a larger stake to improve security overnight in Iraq. I don't know what he discussed -- and Maliki discussed in the U.S. But I definitely know that the ingredients of security are not there.

    The ingredients, the three (inaudible) security lies upon is healthy political process; institutions which are professional, that control their responsibility and the economy finding jobs for the people, in a rich country like Iraq, where a third of the nation are under poverty line.

    On top of this, we have gross interferences from our neighbor to our east, which is Iran. Iran have been trying to meddle with the Iraq efforts, especially after everything was dismantled upon occupation and Iraq -- Iran became the most important power wreaking havoc on Iraq and supporting militias and support sectarianism in Iraq.

    AMANPOUR: Prime Minister, regarding the political situation, President Obama urged Prime Minister Maliki, the current prime minister, to make sure a new election law gets passed.

    Apparently it has been passed; there will be elections according to what's been laid out in a road map.

    Do you have hope for those elections?

    And do you eventually plan to run for election again yourself?

    ALLAWI: Of course. I mean, you know, we have fought for 30 years for my country, to get rid of tyranny. We will continue to play a role in politics. And definitely I'll go into elections.

    But I don't have that much faith. Last time I won the elections, I was two seats in Parliament, and we were clearly the winners. And according to our constitution, the way I should form the government, or at least should be given the chance to form the government and the chance was according to our constitution for 45 days.

    This even challenge we were denied to have. And according to Maliki, was reinstated, what the power of Iran, with the support of Iran with the acceptance of the U.S. And we are where we are now, unfortunately.

    People have been betrayed in Iraq as far as the elections are concerned. And they felt that they went -- when they went to the ballots and they elected their -- whatever or whoever they elected, but yet the results were not to their -- to the -- to the standards of the -- of the (inaudible). But rather to Iran to decide what was doing there. And those were not doing there.

    AMANPOUR: So what is your view of where the Sunni population is going to be?

    I said that they felt frustrated and this is some fertile ground for the resurgence of Al Qaeda.

    Is the Sunni population still willing to give politics a chance?

    ALLAWI: It's getting much weaker, their resolve towards politics and towards election is getting much weaker now. Unfortunately the turnout in the last provincial elections, which was just under a year ago, was in the best 28 percent in the best areas in the -- in the -- in some of the -- like most are like Salah ad-Din (ph) and Anbar (ph).

    And you know, all these provinces now have been demonstrating for the last seven months, eight months, and there are lots of adversities being committed against them.

    So really there is a lot of faith lost in the -- in the elections and the results of the elections. And even on the democracy, there is a loss of faith. And that's why Al Qaeda is getting more powerful in the country, it's waging a clear war, sitting whenever they like at whatever -- whatever they like, without the government being able to do anything about this.

    AMANPOUR: You sort of -- I know you're not playing down the violence, but obviously you're playing up the need for a political solution; everybody would agree to that. But how do you expect to be able to again try to defeat and push back Al Qaeda? And how dangerous are they right now, especially given the fact that Al Qaeda in Iraq has linked up with Al Qaeda in Syria?

    ALLAWI: Well, Christiane, let me tell you frankly, if people are disenfranchised, if people are oppressed, if people are on the side, if people are not cared for, if they live in poverty, they will definitely go to the extreme. And this is unfortunately what's happening in almost half of the country.



    The violence is bred by Nouri and Michael Knights may be prepared to wait for 'someday' but how much longer can the Iraqi people survived Nouri al-Maliki?


    Last week, Nouri visited DC and that visit was, in part, to get a blessing for a third term.

    Many words have been written about the visit but maybe the one what best captured US President Barack Obama's feelings towards thug Nouri is the photo Dar Addustour published last night of Nouri standing next to a bored Barack?

    Al Mada notes Nouri's visit cost the Iraqi government at least $48,000 and, according to Ahmed Chalabi, may have cost as much as $100 million.  Former US Ambassador  Dan Simpson (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette) observes:



    The theory on the U.S. side was that Mr. Maliki would put together a power-sharing government, including his majority Shiites; the Sunni, who ruled the country from independence in 1932 until the U.S. invasion in 2003; and the Kurds.
    Mr. Maliki instead put together a ruling Shiite power nexus that has hogged political and commercial authority, pounded on the Sunnis, including locking up their leaders, and fallen out with the Kurds. Both groups, but especially the Sunnis, have fought back. Sectarian fighting in October alone produced 1,095 deaths.
    Mr. Maliki came to Washington asking for arms, including F16 jet aircraft at $47 million a copy and Apache attack helicopters at $20 million each, to fight his Iraqi enemies. He should get nothing — given that America was entirely correct to clear out of the useless, catastrophic Iraq War in 2011 and that Mr. Maliki has not done what was needed to put together a government that reflected the diversity of the 32 million people of Iraq.



    There are so many reasons -- legal ones -- why the US should not provide Nouri with weapons or funds.


    There's the  April 23rd 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 53 dead for several days now -- indicating that some of the wounded did not recover. UNICEF noted that the dead included 8 children (twelve more were injured)


    By that incident alone, US laws and guidelines forbid US tax payer dollars going to Iraq.

    There's also the issue of  the topic of the Ashraf community.   Camp Ashraf in Iraq is now empty.  All remaining members of the community have been moved to Camp Hurriya (also known as Camp Liberty) as of last month.  Camp Ashraf housed a group of Iranian dissidents who were  welcomed to Iraq by Saddam Hussein in 1986 and he gave them Camp Ashraf and six other parcels that they could utilize. In 2003, the US invaded Iraq.The US government had the US military lead negotiations with the residents of Camp Ashraf. The US government wanted the residents to disarm and the US promised protections to the point that US actions turned the residents of Camp Ashraf into protected person under the Geneva Conventions. This is key and demands the US defend the Ashraf community in Iraq from attacks.  The Bully Boy Bush administration grasped that -- they were ignorant of every other law on the books but they grasped that one.  As 2008 drew to a close, the Bush administration was given assurances from the Iraqi government that they would protect the residents. Yet Iraqi Prime Minister  Nouri al-Maliki ordered the camp repeatedly attacked after Barack Obama was sworn in as US President. July 28, 2009 Nouri launched an attack (while then-US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates was on the ground in Iraq). That's the attack Lara Logan reported on.  In a report released this summer entitled "Iraqi government must respect and protect rights of Camp Ashraf residents," Amnesty International described this assault, "Barely a month later, on 28-29 July 2009, Iraqi security forces stormed into the camp; at least nine residents were killed and many more were injured. Thirty-six residents who were detained were allegedly tortured and beaten. They were eventually released on 7 October 2009; by then they were in poor health after going on hunger strike." April 8, 2011, Nouri again ordered an assault on Camp Ashraf (then-US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates was again on the ground in Iraq when the assault took place). Amnesty International described the assault this way, "Earlier this year, on 8 April, Iraqi troops took up positions within the camp using excessive, including lethal, force against residents who tried to resist them. Troops used live ammunition and by the end of the operation some 36 residents, including eight women, were dead and more than 300 others had been wounded. Following international and other protests, the Iraqi government announced that it had appointed a committee to investigate the attack and the killings; however, as on other occasions when the government has announced investigations into allegations of serious human rights violations by its forces, the authorities have yet to disclose the outcome, prompting questions whether any investigation was, in fact, carried out."  Those weren't the last attacks.  They were the last attacks while the residents were labeled as terrorists by the US State Dept.  (September 28, 2012, the designation was changed.)   In spite of this labeling, Mohammed Tawfeeq (CNN) observed that "since 2004, the United States has considered the residents of Camp Ashraf 'noncombatants' and 'protected persons' under the Geneva Conventions."  So the US has an obligation to protect the residents.  3,300 are no longer at Camp Ashraf.  They have moved to Camp Hurriyah for the most part.  A tiny number has received asylum in other countries. Approximately 100 were still at Camp Ashraf when it was attacked Sunday.   That was the second attack this year alone.   February 9th of this year, the Ashraf residents were again attacked, this time the ones who had been relocated to Camp Hurriyah.  Trend News Agency counted 10 dead and over one hundred injured.  Prensa Latina reported, " A rain of self-propelled Katyusha missiles hit a provisional camp of Iraqi opposition Mujahedin-e Khalk, an organization Tehran calls terrorists, causing seven fatalities plus 50 wounded, according to an Iraqi official release."  They were attacked again September 1st.   Adam Schreck (AP) reported that the United Nations was able to confirm the deaths of 52 Ashraf residents.



    During Nouri's DC visit last week, the supporters of the Ashraf community protested him and his visit repeatedly and were most visible at the US Institute of Peace when Nouri spoke last Thursday.  At Grio, the former chair of the RNC Michael Steele writes:


    While this face-to-face meeting may have served to raise Maliki’s diplomatic profile, in the eyes of many it diminished the profile of the United States and its professed commitment to justice, human rights, and international law. The president should have refused this meeting.
    No one should doubt, least of all Prime Minister Maliki, that he owes his position to the United States, which sacrificed its blood and spent billions of its treasure to pave his way to power. But Maliki’s failure to be a true partner with the U.S. and his cozy relationship with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, as well as his recent actions, have created more problems than solutions for the United States.
    On September 1, 2103, at the apparent request of the Iranian Mullahs and on the orders of Nouri al-Maliki, Iraqi security forces attacked and killed 52 Iranian refugees (and kidnapped seven, including six women) at Camp Ashraf in eastern Iraq.
    Camp Ashraf was settled more than 25 years ago by 3,400 members and sympathizers of the principal Iranian opposition known as the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK). The U.S. military disarmed Ashraf City in 2003, and in 2009 turned over control of the camp to the Maliki government in Baghdad. At that time, the United States assured residents of Ashraf City that the Iraqi government would treat them humanely in accordance with international law. As refugees, members of the opposition and their families are protected persons according to the Fourth Geneva Convention, and should not be subject to harassment, much less kidnapping and murder by the military forces of Iraq.


    Steele is not a lone voice in the US.  Other prominent voices calling attention to the attacks on the Ashraf community include Senators Robert Menendez, Carl Levin and John McCain, former Governor Howard Dean, former US House Rep Patrick Kennedy.  Those are only some of the people who have called for the US government to honor its legal obligation, under Geneva, to protect the Ashraf community.

    Secretary of State Hillary Clinton never managed to go to Iraq while holding that position.  She held hands with Hoshyar Zebari and maybe played footsie with Nouri's boy toy but she refused to honor her obligations with regards to the Ashraf community.  She refused to comply with a court order until after she was slammed publicly for over a year.  She refused to do her job.  Forced to, by the court and by the court of public opinion, she did it begrudgingly.  While she was SoS,she refused -- and her department refuse -- to answer the Office of the Special Investigator General for Iraqi Reconstruction. Secretary of State John Kerry has shown no inclination to address Iraq either.  This despite the request that billions of tax payer dollars continue to flow to Iraq as they did, via the State Dept, during Hillary's term.  $1.8 billion is what Kerry's department is requesting for Iraq adventures for Fiscal Year 2014.





    Violence continues in Iraq.  EFE counts 37 dead today and eighty-seven injured.   The Voice of Russia reports, "Two suicide bombers blew themselves up minutes apart at an Iraqi army base late on Thursday, killing at least 16 soldiers, police and medics said."    National Iraq News Agency reports a Mosul roadside bomb claimed the lives of 4 people (3 were Iraqi soldiers) and left two injured, and a Mosul attack left 2 people dead and one woman injured, car bombing. All Iraq News adds that a Jisr Diyala roadside bombing claimed 1 life and left five injured, a Baghdad car bombing left 3 people dead and ten injured, a Baquba car bombing left 2 police dead and a civilian injured, a Tikrit home bombing left 6 people dead (all members of the same family), a Tikrit armed attack left 2 police dead and three more injured, and a Beji Refinery worker was kidnapped in Tikrit. Sameer N. Yacoub (AP) reports a bombing of pilgrims en route to Karbala which left 4 dead and six more injured.  EFE adds, "A police officer was shot to death by unknown gunmen in the southern city of Mosul." Through yesterday, Iraq Body Count notes 132 violent deaths in Iraq.

    On the killing of the religious pilgrims, BBC notes, "The latest violence as Shia Muslims prepare to commemorate Ashura, which marks the martyrdom at Karbala of Hussein, a grandson of the Prophet Muhammad."  On the attack of the Tikrit home, Mohammed Tawfeeq (CNN) notes it was the home of a Sawha commander (and has the 6 dying from bullets, not a bombing).  In addition, the self-check outs from the Iraqi military continue.  World Bulletin reports, "The Iraqi army in the city of Kirkuk has seen a mass exodus of soldiers. The 12th Division in the governorate of Ta'mim saw the defection of 20 soldiers."

    Last week, the US Embassy in Iraq issued the following:




    The U.S. Embassy Baghdad urges Iraqi citizens and residents to use caution when working with private entities to apply for visas to the United States.  Reports of fraudulent e-mails, websites, and print advertisements offering visa services are on the rise.
    The Diversity Visa program (“DV program,” also known as the “Green Card Lottery”) offers up to 55,000 visa slots annually for people who wish to immigrate to the United States.  After conducting a random drawing, the U.S. Department of State contacts applicants directly, advising them to check the status of their applications online at dvlottery.state.gov.  Applicants may only verify status online; no information on an application’s status is sent by letter or e-mail.  Unsuccessful applicants have no further recourse but to apply again next year.
    Only the U.S. Department of State is authorized to notify DV program applicants of their status.  Unfortunately, fraudsters posing as DV program officials have targeted Iraqis.  The scam e-mail instructs recipients to send money via Western Union to a fictitious person at the U.S. Embassy in London.  UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES should money be sent to any address for participation in the DV program.  Immigration information and forms are free and available to all at the Department of State (www.state.gov) and U.S. Embassy Baghdad (iraq.usembassy.gov) websites.
    The only way to register for the DV program is directly through the Department of State website during a limited-time registration period; DV-2015 applicants may register between October 1 and November 2, 2013, and will be able to check the status of their entry for free at dvlottery.state.gov starting on May 1, 2014.  DV-2014 entrants (those who entered the DV lottery between October 2 and November 3, 2012) may check their status at dvlottery.state.gov through June 30, 2014, and should keep their confirmation letter until September 30, 2014.
    To report incidents of visa fraud, please e-mail the Embassy at BaghdadIV@state.gov.  Complaints about scam e-mails may be sent to the U.S. Department of Justice (www.usdoj.gov/spam.htm).



    What was that about?

    Apparently the scandals never end at the State Dept.  John Kerry's over the Dept and he's responsible for it but today's scandal should  fall at Hillary Clinton's doorstep because it predates John Kerry becoming Secretary of State.  In fact, the criminal in question stopped working for the State Dept in September 2012 -- while Hillary was still Secretary of State.   The scandal?


    The South China Morning Post reports, "Michael Sestak, who had worked in the US Consulate in Ho Chi Minh City since 2010, was arrested in May. Sestak, 42, was responsible for issuing visas after reviewing applications and conducting interviews."  Vera Bergengruen (McClatchy Newspapers) reported yesterday that the man "admitted in U.S. District Court that while serving as the non-immigrant visa chief in Vietnam, he accepted more than $3 million in bribes to approve visas for nearly 500 foreign nationals seeking to enter the U.S., according to government prosecutors."  Domani Spero (DiploPundit) notes that the man could be sentenced to as many as 24 years behind bars and also includes links to past DiploPundit coveage:






    While this happened on Hillary's watch, it's worth noting that the State Dept refused to hold a press briefing today.  Apparently, this guilty plea was among the things the State Dept didn't want to discuss.

    On the topic of criminal exploitation, the US Justice Dept issued the following today:





    Department of Justice
    Office of Public Affairs
    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
    Thursday, November 7, 2013
    Iraqi-Based Construction Company Pays $2.7 Million to U.s. for Alleged False Claims in Bribery Scheme
    Iraqi Consultants and Construction Bureau (ICCB) has paid the U.S. $2.7 million to resolve allegations that it violated the False Claims Act by bribing a U.S. government official to obtain U.S. government contracts in Iraq, the Department of Justice announced today.  ICCB is a privately owned construction company headquartered in Baghdad, Iraq. 
     
    “Bribery will not be tolerated in government contracting,” said Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Civil Division Stuart F. Delery.  “We will ensure that government contracts are awarded based on merit and pursue allegations of fraudulently procured contracts wherever they occur.” 
     
    The government alleged that, from 2007 to 2008, ICCB paid bribes to Army Corps of Engineers procurement official John Salama Markus, 41, of Nazareth, Pa., to obtain information that gave it an advantage in bidding on several construction contracts with the Department of Defense in Iraq.  The contracts supported reconstruction efforts involving the Iraq war, including infrastructure and security projects and the building of medical facilities and schools.  ICCB then knowingly overcharged the U.S. for services provided under the contracts, according to the government’s allegation.   
     
    “It is offensive that anyone would see projects to promote stability, health and education in a rebuilding country as a way to make illegal cash on the side,” said U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey Paul J. Fishman.  “We will not abide companies paying to play in such a system.”
     
    “The Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS) is committed to protecting the integrity of the Defense acquisition process from personal and corporate avarice,” said Special Agent in Charge, DCIS Northeast Field Office Craig Rupert.  “Ensuring the proper use of U.S. taxpayers’ dollars and preventing contract fraud is in our nation’s interest and remains a priority.”
     
    The settlement is part of a larger investigation initiated by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey.  As part of that investigation, Markus pleaded guilty on Sept. 7, 2012, to wire fraud, money laundering and failure to report a foreign bank account in connection with more than $50 million in contracts awarded to foreign companies in Gulf Region North, Iraq.  Markus was sentenced to 13 years in prison on March 12, 2013, in Newark, N.J., federal court.
     
    The investigation is being handled by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey and the Civil Division’s Commercial Litigation Branch, in cooperation with the Defense Criminal Investigative Service, the Major Procurement Fraud Unit of the Army’s Criminal Investigation Command, the Criminal Investigative Division of the Internal Revenue Service and the Department of Homeland Security.  The claims resolved by the settlement are allegations only; there has been no determination of liability. 








    Monday and Tuesday, we noted USA Today's attacks on peace activist and California gubernatorial candidate Cindy Sheehan.  Today, Cindy issues a response to USA Today's attacks:



    These are some of the issues that the USA Today did not choose to tell its subscribers:

    I believe in peace: not just the absence of war, but a society organized around the principles of non-violent conflict resolution and economic and human equality.

    My heart aches at the growing income and wealth disparity in this country. I believe that it is immoral that over one million of our children don't get enough food or that millions of our fellow citizens do not have roofs over their heads each and every night. Are these humans considered disposable "fringe?" In a society where about .01% of the population own about 50% of the wealth, it makes me sick to my stomach to know that advocating for a more just distribution of wealth and resources is considered "fringe."

    The USA Today somehow left out the fact that the PFP and I are an environmentalist party. I told the "reporter" that contacted me that I rode my bike across the country this year advocating for the reduction and eventual elimination of the exploration and use of fossil fuels. Of course, mainstream politicians and rags like USA Today are in the pockets of Big Oil and the destruction of life on this planet is the "normal" position. No mention was made of my urgent advocacy for an international response to contain the multiple nuclear meltdowns at Fukushima, either. Hmmm...same explanation. Ignoring radioactive Armageddon is also mainstream. I am proudly on the "fringe" for environmental sustainability and health!

    I advocate for education from pre-K to University and health care as rights, not privileges for the wealthy. In most industrialized countries of the world, these positions are normal and not fringe. What about the fact that our government, the ones that are supposed to work for us, actually spy on all of our communications and collect them to mine data? This is not a fringe view or conspiracy theory, the government brags about it and people like Nancy Pelosi (the leftwinger--LOL) defend the policy.

    According to the puppet man on this video, the media also stopped covering me in 2012 because I ran for VP on the Peace and Freedom Party ticket with comedian Roseanne Barr. I think the media stopped covering me (unless it wanted to marginalize me) in 2006 when the establishment figured out that I figured out the game of the "elites." It's about the system, not about Bush, or Obama. That little secret cannot get out, or there might be a revolution of we the ones who have been oppressed for generations. 



    In September, Betty wrote "The Female Brando" about a book she was reading, Jon Krampner's The Female Brando, which argued Kim Stanley was the female Marlon Brando.  Betty disagreed with the book and this became a theme post last night.  Betty offered "Jane Fonda," Rebecca picked "debra winger,"  Elaine offered "Jessica Lange," Mike went with "Marilyn Monroe," for Marcia it's "Charlize Theron," Ann selected "Diane Keaton," Stan argued for "Tuesday Weld," Trina felt the obvious choice was "Faye Dunaway," for Kat it's "Cher" and Ruth went with "Shelley Winters."






    the washington post
    liz sly

    cnn

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