Saturday, October 26, 2013

ObamaCare website has already cost $349 million






That's a video report by Sharyl Attkisson for CBS Evening News.  She's reporting on ObamaCare's roll out.


The problems with the ObamaCare website will take months to fix, says the expert the White House brought in.  And yet Kathleen Sebelius swore it was volume.

What a liar.

In the video report an unnamed White House insider says they only have weeks to get this fixed, not months.

However, I tried three times to create an account today and the system, Scott, would not let me do it.

394 million dollars, Scott Pelley says, is how much the website has cost taxpayers so far.


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


Friday, October 25, 2013.  Chaos and violence continue, the protests continue, Nouri's new fondness for Turkey is questioned, Nouri wants the US to provide drones,  Ayad Allawi's healthy, Jalal's not, the State Dept doesn't understand the law or ethics regarding stolen cultural heritage, and more.




Protests took place in Iraq today -- they've been taking place non-stop since December 21st.  Yesterday, Rachel Shabi (Guardian) noted the protests:


All of this worsened in December last year, when forces arrested the bodyguards of the Sunni former finance minister, Rafi al-Issawi, under terrorism laws, prompting mass protests that were brutally dispersed. The violence included an army raid on protesters in Hawija, northern Iraq, in April, killing 50 and injuring many more.


If you'd like to read Shabi's column in Arabic, Al Mada's translated it here.  Dr. Mohammad Akef Jamal (Gulf News) noted Iraq's civil rights movement this week as well and he noted, "The people’s anger expressed through their demonstrations has to be translated into a decisive resolution in the upcoming elections for new faces that no one doubts their devotion towards Iraq and its well-being."

Iraqi Spring MC notes protests took place in Baquba, Samarra, Falluja, Mosul, Rawa, and Ramadi.  National Iraqi News Agency reports thousands turned out in Falluja and Ramadi for the Anbar sit-ins and quote Shiekh Mohammed Fayyad declaring, "The citizens participated in the prayers that held in the courtyard northern Ramadi and eastern Fallujah cities , stressing that the goal of this trickle is to send one again a message to the governing in Baghdad that our demonstrations are peaceful and backed by citizens deep conviction."  Al Mada reports organizers distributed forms in Ramadi and Falluja for families of the detained to fill out in the hopes that they can locate their loved one and determine the status.  Many are held without charges.  Many have been thrown in detention centers, jails and prisons for no reason -- they are accused of no crimes but are related to a suspect the police could not find so family members were knowing rounded up even though they were not suspects.  In Samaeea Sheikh Ziad Madhi noted that the protests are not about political parties but our about justice -- first and foremost, a call to release the innocent detainees.  In Baquba Shebab al-Badri echoed the emphasis on detainees and stated they would continue to demand the release of the detainees and continue to call for an end to the raids (mass arrests) that continue to target Sunni communities.  Kitabat reports on Sheikh Ziad Mahdi in Samarra who noted the detainees remain imprisoned and remain a priority of protesters.  The Sheikh noted the demands for the release of the innocent detainees continue because they have not been released so the sit-ins continue. He noted that Nouri al-Maliki is responsible for the continued deterioration of security in Iraq.  Iraqi Spring MC notes there were calls for the United Nations and others to witness what it really taking place in Iraq, calls for an end to Iranian interference in Iraq, Falluja speakers called for an end to injustice and the flowing of blood in the streets, and Nouri al-Maliki was denounced for using militias to stay in power.  Kitabat also reports on Sheikh Humam Kubaisi in Ramadi and how he noted ten months have passed and still the demands are not met.


The protests have been marked by violence.

Not on the part of protesters, the violent ones have been the so-called security forces.


For example,   January 7th, Nouri's forces assaulted four protesters in Mosul,  January 24th,  Nouri's forces sent two protesters (and one reporter) to the hospital,  and March 8th, Nouri's force fired on protesters in Mosul killing three.


All of that and more appeared to be a trial run for what was coming, the April 23rd massacre of a peaceful 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 dead.  UNICEF noted that the dead included 8 children (twelve more were injured).


Iraq was a brief issue in today's State Dept press briefing by spokesperson Jen Psaki:.  As usual, Al Quds' Said Arikat brought Iraq up.




QUESTION: Can we go to Iraq?


MS. PSAKI: Are we – okay. Go ahead. Iraq.


QUESTION: One of the issues eclipsed by this discussion. Anyway, could you confirm or deny that Iraq has agreed to renegotiate strategic arrangements that they had with you in view of the uptick of the violence that is taking place right now, such as perhaps supplying them with drones, or in fact the U.S. using drones to go after terrorist camps?


MS. PSAKI: Well, I’m not aware of that and I have not heard of that, to be honest.


QUESTION: Okay.


MS. PSAKI: We do have an ongoing dialogue with the Government of Iraq to help improve its capacity, and to address and degrade ISIL’s ability. That’s true. Those conversations are of course ongoing. We consider them an essential partner in the fight against al-Qaida in Iraq and that’s why we’re focused on it. But in terms of renegotiation of anything, I’m not aware of that as being planned.


QUESTION: The reason I am asking that is this is, of course – Prime Minister Maliki is coming to town next week.


MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.


QUESTION: And Iraqis are saying or claiming that you have assured them to speed up the process, delivery of F-16 fighter jets and also to – they are looking at – they are sort of – they’re looking positively at the idea of the U.S. perhaps using drones in their fight against terrorism. That’s why I’m asking.
So has there been anything in that realm, and that, in fact, Secretary of State Kerry is involved in this process?


MS. PSAKI: Again, I know we’re working with the White House and preparing for this trip, but I’m not aware of the specifics on the plans at this point along those lines. But we work with Iraq closely; this is another opportunity to do that, as they visit.




Good for Said Arikat for bringing up Iraq.  Sad that over and over, in a room full of reporters -- most of them working for US outlets -- Said Arikat is the only one able to ask about Iraq.

He brought up too major issues.  Let's start with drones.  This morning,  Peg Mackey (Reuters) reports Nouri plans to insist upon the US government supplying him with drones.

The US is going to arm Nouri with drones?  Is there a more stupid idea on running around DC right now?  As already noted, he's attacked peaceful protesters.  The fifty-plus that died in Hawija were only able to be killed because the US had supplied him with military helicopters.


Hawija is in Kirkuk Province.  Nouri wanted to attack the protester but needed to get more forces in during the five-day siege of Hawija.  The problem for him was that Kirkuk forces would not let Nouri's SWAT forces enter. Kikruk Governor Najm al-Din Karim discussed this with Shalaw Mohammed (Niqash):




NIQASH: The incidents in Hawija, where protestors were killed by the Iraqi military, also seems to have seen more Iraqi army forces enter Kirkuk.


Al-Din Karim: Actually those forces did not come through Kirkuk - they entered Hawija by helicopter. They tried to come through Kirkuk but we prevented them from doing so. I know the Prime Minister disapproved of this – he told me so last time we met.



53 dead, 8 of them children.  And this is just with helicopters.  What's he going to do the Iraqi people if he has drones?

On his August visit to the US, Iraq's Minister of Foreign Affairs Hoshyar Zebari made clear the government wanted drones.  Indira A.R. Lakshmanan (Bloomberg News) reported, "The top Iraqi diplomat’s comments are the first time he has publicly raised the possibility of working with the U.S. on anti-terrorist drone strikes, a clandestine program whose use against terror groups in Pakistan has fueled widespread protest and damaged the U.S. alliance there."  At the start of this month,  John Hudson (Foreign Policy) reported that Iraq will not get the US drones that the Iraqi government has been calling for:


In 2013 alone, Iraq is averaging 68 car bombings a month. The United Nations reports that 5,740 civilians were killed since January, which is almost two times more deaths than recorded in all of 2010.
Despite the staggering numbers, the U.S. isn't about to open up a new drone war in Iraq. "The use of lethal drones has not been discussed nor is it even under consideration for Iraq," an administration official tells The Cable.


That should still be the case.  Thamer Hussein, in his wheelchair, went to the Hawija square with his son Mohammed Thamer to participate in the sit-in.    BRussells Tribunal provided his testimony about what ended up happening as Nouri's forces desceneded:




My son, who stood next to my wheelchair, refused to leave me alone. He told me that he was afraid and that we needed to get out of the area. We tried to leave. My son pushed my wheelchair and all around us, people were falling to the ground.
Shortly after that, two men dressed in military uniforms approached us. One of them spoke to us in Persian; therefore we didn’t understand what he said. His partner then translated. It was nothing but insults and curses. He then asked me “Handicapped, what do you want?” I did not reply. Finally I said to him, “Kill me, but please spare my son”. My son interrupted me and said, “No, kill me but spare my father”. Again I told him “Please, spare my son. His mother is waiting for him and I am just a tired, disabled man. Kill me, but please leave my son”. The man replied “No, I will kill your son first and then you. This will serve you as a lesson.” He then took my son and killed him right in front of my eyes. He fired bullets into his chest and then fired more rounds. I can’t recall anything after that. I lost consciousness and only woke up in the hospital, where I underwent surgery as my intestines were hanging out of my body as a result of the shot.

After all of what has happened to me and my little son – my only son, the son who I was waiting for to grow up so he could help me – after all that, I was surprised to hear Ali Ghaidan (Lieutenant General, Commander of all Iraqi Army Ground Forces) saying on television, “We killed terrorists” and displaying a list of names, among them my name: Thamer Hussein Mousa.

I ask you by the name of God, I appeal to everyone who has a shred of humanity. Is it reasonable to label me a terrorist while I am in this situation, with this arm, and with this paralyzed leg and a blind eye?

I ask you by the name of God, is it reasonable to label me a terrorist? I appeal to all civil society and human rights organizations, the League of Arab States and the Conference of Islamic States to consider my situation; all alone with my five baby daughters, with no one to support us but God. I was waiting for my son to grow up and he was killed in this horrifying way.

I hold Obama responsible for this act because he is the one who gave them these weapons. The weapons and aircrafts they used and fired upon us were American weapons. I also hold the United States of America responsible for this criminal act, above all, Obama.




Nouri does not need drones.  More importantly, the Iraqi people do not need a Nouri armed with drones.



The second issue Said Arikat raised was the visit itself.   Hurriyet Daily News observed earlier this week,  " Al-Maliki will be visiting Washington next week to meet President Barack Obama. It could be a good starting point for the U.S. to own up its responsibility in the Iraqi saga, and persuade al-Maliki, who needs U.S. support and equipment to end the violence in Iraq, to become more conciliatory towards different groups. If he can compromise, then a stable Iraq would be a good starting point towards a peaceful Middle East. An unraveling Iraq, on the other hand, would easily ignite even more ugly manifestations of sectarian, ethnic and political conflicts in the region, which even the U.S. would not be able keep under control."


Al Raifdayn reports that Nouri declared in his Wednesday address that what was needed was an international conference in Baghdad.  Yes, provided people brought ideas, it probably would be helpful since Nouri has no ideas himself.  Nouri also declared this week that he (suddenly) wants improved relations with Turkey.  As Sheikh (Dar Addustour) wonders what's changed with Turkey and Iraq?  They're still, for example, providing asylum to Iraqi Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi -- despite Nouri's railing against that.  Sheikh wonders if this talk of improved relations is just campaign talk as Nouri seeks a third term as prime minister.  FYI, Dar Addustour has retooled their site.  I think we noted that already.  But we've long noted As Sheikh and if you'd like to put a face to his writing, click on the link to his column which prominently features a photo of the columnist.


Turning to today's violence,  National Iraqi News Agency reports 1 police officer was shot dead in Ramadi, am armed attack in Heet left two school guards wounded, a roadside bombing "south of Baquba" claimed the lives of 1 man and 1 woman, a Rutba suicide bomber took his own life and that of 1 Iraqi soldier and 1 police officer (while leaving two more police members injured), Imam Bara Juma al-Dulaimi was shot dead outside his Ramadi home, a Tikrit suicide tanker bombing claimed the life of the bomber as well as the lives of 2 police officers (four more were injured), a Baiji roadside bombing claimed the lives of 4 Iraqi soldiers, a Dijail car bombing claimed the lives of 2 civilians with a third left injured, and six Almohandiseen bombings left five people injured.  AFP notes 7 dead and eight injured in the Alohandiseen bombing.   Sameer N. Yacoub (AP) adds a Youssifiyah market bombing claimed 5 lives and left fifteen people injured.  Mu Xuequan (Xinhua) adds, "Also in the province [Anbar], one policeman was killed and another was seriously injured when unidentified gunmen attacked a police checkpoint in the central of the city of Ramadi, the capital of Anbar province, the source added" and a Ministry of Justice employee was shot dead outside his Baghdad home.  Ammar al-Ani (Alsumaria) reports a Baghdad bombing claimed the life of 1 Iraqi soldier and left three more injured, a north Baghdad bombing claimed the lives of 4 Iraqi soldiers and left five more injured, and a south Baghdad bombing claimed 2 lives and left three more injured.  Through yesterday, Iraq Body Count counts 841 violent deaths so far this month.


Yesterday's snapshot included:

Press TV adds that an "armed assailants shot dead Bashar Abdulqader Najm, a cameraman working for al-Mosuliya television station, in the northern city of Mosul, police officials reported. He is the third journalist to be killed in the city this month."


Earlier this month, Sami Waheed Karim (Niqash) reported on the targeting of journalists in Mosul:


Extremists are targeting journalists in the troubled state of Ninawa. After killing the governor’s spokesperson and two TV reporters they distributed fliers saying that any journalist who turned up for work risked death. Locals say a special team of assassins is at work and that security forces know who they are but won’t stop them.  

It seemed a simple assignment for the reporter and camera man from Iraqi satellite station, Al Sharqiya: they would go down to the crowded markets in central Mosul and film the shoppers in action before the upcoming Eid Al-Adha holiday. But while Mohammed Ghanem and Mohammed Karim were in the Sarjakhana neighbourhood, they were gunned down by a group of men armed with pistols with silencers. Their attackers appeared suddenly, let off a hail of bullets and then disappeared into the crowded streets.

A witness, a woman in her 50s, complained about how local police had reacted to the scene. She said she saw one of the victims moving his hand and saying something but police only stood and watched, she recalled, “as the young man’s blood ran out of him”.

“The state of Ninawa – with Mosul – as its centre is witnessing a collapse in security,” says a local police officer who only wanted to be known as A. Mohammed. There are an estimated 50,000 military and security staff deployed throughout the province and there are checkpoints in all Mosul’s major streets.

“But we’re not able to protect ourselves,” the officer explained. “how are we supposed to protect the public?”

About 3,500 of those security staff quit their jobs over the past few days, MP Faris al-Sanjari, a member of the Sunni Muslim-dominated Iraqiya bloc, the major opposition in Iraq’s federal parliament, told NIQASH. “They left their jobs after they received threats from militants and because they’ve seen dozes of their colleagues killed and the homes of other colleagues bombed.”

Journalists like Karim and Ghanem have also been targeted, al-Sanjari said. And not just while they’ve been working but also in their own homes: al-Sanjari was referring to the murder of a presenter for local TV station, Sama Al Mosul, who was gunned down at home in front of his wife and child.

Most recently locals say they’ve seen fliers in their neighbourhoods which threaten journalists and media workers with death if they continue their jobs. Anyone reporting to work risked death, the fliers said.





Ayad Allawi is the leader of the political slate Iraqiya (they won the 2010 elections).  He Tweeted the following yesterday.





  • اتوجه بالشكر الجزيل لكل من تفضل بسؤاله عن صحتنا بعد إتمام إجراء العملية بتمام والحمد لله.
  • Had a successful operation and would like to thank you all for your kind wishes and support.




  • We ignored the two stories in Iraqi media about his supposedly being very ill.  They didn't appear to be based on facts and seemed more rooted in his enemies desires.  We'll note the above and note that he is raising the issue of his health and doing so while another Iraqi leader hides his health.


    Yes, we're talking about Jalal Talabani.  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.

    NINA reports that Nouri met with Jalal's advisor Abfdul Lateef Jamal Rasheed today and that the man insisted to Nouri  "that President Talabani's health is improving."  Yeah, they've been saying that for months now.  It's time for Jalal to be excused from office.  He's failed the Iraqi people in many ways for many years.  But right now, he fails them by being in Germany for almost 11 months.  That's not how you operate as president of Iraq.

    Jalal can't speak and isn't cognitive or coherent.  That's what people are saying.

    So why is he still president?

    As we were saying earlier this week, 'independent' MP Mahmoud Othman does not speak for the Kurdish political blocs.  That's why we didn't take seriously his claim that, as soon as Eid al-Adha was over, the Kurds would drop their objections to the proposed elections bill which Parliament would then pass an election law.  Eid's over.  Where's the passage of the law?

    Today NINA reports that MP Aref "Tayfur said the Kurdistan Alliance believes that the new election law bring great prejudice and unfairness response for Kurds in comparison with other provinces, in terms of the number of votes and seats."  All Iraq News reports that Speaker of Parliament Osama al-Nujaifi plans to visit the KRG to meet with KRG President Massoud Barzani to discuss the proposed election law." Mustafa Habib (Niqash) offers an analysis which includes:


    Iraq’s elected representatives have been talking about the same topic for weeks now: the laws that will govern next year’s parliamentary elections. These are scheduled to be held in April 2014.

    The debate about the law regarding next year’s election is a complicated one that will decide on exactly what kind of system of representation the country uses. There are various different models used in different democracies around the world and currently Iraq is trying to decide which one it wants. This year, the results of the provincial elections were newly governed by a mathematical formula called the Sainte-Laguë formula. This system stops larger parties from gobbling up the votes smaller parties have won, if the smaller parties haven’t won enough votes to pass a certain threshold.


    Obviously it is important to decide which system is going to be used in Iraq’s 2014 elections and apparently a deadline – Oct. 30 - has been set for the debate to end and the new system to be legally adopted. Currently though, the debate continues in Baghdad and some have even suggested that if the political parties legislation isn’t renovated in time, that the current prime Minister, Nouri al-Maliki may use the delay as an excuse to postpone the elections.


    However while MPs are debating this law, several other very important laws continue to languish in a legislative no man’s land. And now, if elections do go ahead on time, they may never be voted on, debated or passed – because Parliament has only six months to finish its current business.   


    “Parliament has been busy discussing the 2014 electoral law for weeks,” says Bahaa al-Araji, a leading member of the Sadrist bloc. “And now time is running out [for these other laws]. We only have a few months before this session of parliament ends and that might not be enough to get through these laws, which have been suspended for months already.”





    Turning to the US and the issue of cultural ownership.  A trove was discovered in Iraq and imported to the US to be restored.  The US National Archives explains:


    On May 6, 2003, just days after the Coalition forces took over Baghdad, 16 American soldiers from Mobile Exploitation Team Alpha, a group assigned to search for nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons, entered Saddam Hussein’s flooded intelligence building. In the basement, under four feet of water, they found thousands of books and documents relating to the Jewish community of Iraq – materials that had belonged to synagogues and Jewish organizations in Baghdad.
    The water-logged materials quickly became moldy in Baghdad’s intense heat and humidity. Seeking guidance, the Coalition Provisional Authority placed an urgent call to the nation’s foremost conservation experts at the National Archives. Just a week later, National Archives Director of Preservation Programs Doris Hamburg and Conservation Chief Mary Lynn Ritzenthaler arrived in Baghdad via military transport to assess the damage and make recommendations for preservation of the materials. Both experts share this extraordinary story and take you “behind the scenes” in this brief video [http://tinyurl.com/IraqiJA]. This video is in the public domain and not subject to any copyright restrictions. The National Archives encourages its use and free distribution.
    Given limited treatment options in Baghdad, and with the agreement of Iraqi representatives, the materials were shipped to the United States for preservation and exhibition. Since then, these materials have been vacuum freeze-dried, preserved and photographed under the direction of the National Archives. The collection includes more than 2,700 Jewish books and tens of thousands of documents in Hebrew, Arabic, Judeo-Arabic and English, dating from 1540 to the 1970s. A special website to launch this fall will make these historic materials freely available to all online as they are digitized and catalogued. This work was made possible through the assistance of the Department of State, National Endowment for the Humanities, and Center for Jewish History.
    The Jews of Iraq have a rich past, extending back to Babylonia. These materials provide a tangible link to this community that flourished there, but in the second half of the twentieth century dispersed throughout the world. Today, fewer than five Jews remain. 

    As noted Wednesday, Senator Chuck Schumer is calling for the archives not to be shipped back to Iraq but handed over to their rightful owners, the Jewish community.  Dan Friedman (New York Daily News) reported:


      Schumer Wednesday urged the State Department “to do everything in their power to ensure that these treasured artifacts remain available and accessible to Jews worldwide.”
    In a letter Wednesday to Secretary of State John Kerry, Schumer urged the department to work with Jewish groups in the United States and abroad to find another home for the documents.
    "Since the exile of Jews from Iraq, virtually no Jewish life remains in the country,” Schumer wrote. “This treasured collection belongs to the Jewish community and should be made available to them."



    Schumer is not alone.  US House Rep Ilena Ros-Lehtinen's office issued the following statement:






    “It’s imperative that we preserve the history of the Jewish community of Iraq so that future generations will always remember their ancestors’ experiences and historical contributions”
    (WASHINGTON) – Today, Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a senior member of the Florida congressional delegation, co-authored a letter, along with U.S. Rep. Steve Israel, urging Secretary of State John Kerry to return historic communal and religious items currently on display at the National Archives to the Iraqi Jewish community and their descendants, and not the government of Iraq. These artifacts, discovered in a decrepit state by U.S. and coalition forces in Iraq in 2003, were rescued and brought to the United States for repair and preservation.  Next spring, these items are scheduled to be sent back to Iraq but Ros-Lehtinen and Israel are asking that they be returned to their rightful inheritors.
    Statement by Ros-Lehtinen: “I’m pleased to join my colleague Steve in urging Secretary Kerry and the State Department to return these ancient Jewish artifacts to their rightful owners. The Iraqi government has absolutely no right or legitimate claim to these artifacts. These communal, religious and personal items were left behind in a temple in Baghdad to be safeguarded as the vast majority of Jews were forced to flee Iraq due to rampant persecution, harassment and anti-Semitic hatred, only to see them stolen by Saddam Hussein and his thugs. Once thought to be lost and gone forever, we now have a remarkable opportunity to restore a piece of an ancient Jewish community’s collective memory. It’s imperative that we preserve the history of the Jewish community of Iraq so that future generations will always remember their ancestors’ experiences and historical contributions. It would be criminal for the U.S. government to be complicit in denying the Jewish community what is rightfully theirs.”
    Statement by Israel: “I am grateful that these artifacts, which represent the rich and vibrant Jewish community that once existed in Iraq, have been restored. However, I do not believe that we should send these treasures back to the Iraqi Government. That’s why I’m working with my colleague Rep. Ros-Lehtinen to urge the U.S. Government to facilitate a process by which we can return the artifacts to their rightful owners or their owners’ descendants.”
    #######




    JNS.org notes, "The State Department plans to return the archive to the Iraqi government, in line with a written agreement between the two parties."  A written agreement regarding the return of property is not binding when it's discovered that the property in question was stolen.  The Iraqi government had no legal rights to the property and committed fraud by signing the agreement.  Fraud can be prosecuted.  The agreement has no legal standing.  But the State Dept is insisting it will be followed.  The Jewish Week reports today:



      In response to Schumer’s letter to Secretary of State John Kerry, a State Department spokesman, Pooja Jhunjhunwala, told The Jewish Week in an e-mail that the Department would abide by its August 2003 agreement with Iraq.
    “We are committed to returning the material to Iraq following the completion of the preservation project and the exhibition of the material in the United States,” he wrote. “Much of the project has now been completed by the National Archives and Record Administration (NARA), and NARA has announced that the material is being readied for exhibition in Washington at the National Archives.”






    We'll close in the US with this from Ms.:





    WEEKLY ROUND UP | October 25, 2013Catch up on what you missed, and check in throughout the last week to get our bloggers' latest takes on news and culture.


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    The Feminist Pull of “Gravity”
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    WORK

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    Detroit: The Road to Bankruptcy Hits Women Hard
    Years of political corruption, corporate welfare, apathy, outsourcing, downsizing and relocating finally reached a boiling point, and the city filed for bankruptcy in July. Residents fed up with high taxes, lack of services and deplorable schools abandoned the city for the suburbs, leaving behind a city in ruins. It’s about to get worse...Read More

    HEALTH

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    Friday, October 25, 2013

    Antiwar.com

    Antiwar.com is a site that does some good but does some bad too.

    The bad usually comes with regards to Iraq.

    They rarely can handle more than violence.

    And the insufferable Scott Horton keeps making that point clear.

    He has worshipped the cock of Nouri al-Maliki for years.  He's treated Nouri repeatedly as a saint.  Why?  Because he's bought into Patrick Cockburn's lie that Nouri stood up to the US.  No, he didn't.  But Scott Horton needs to feel like trash, he needs to be degraded and pissed on and have some hooker walk on him in high heels.  So he gets off on this idea that Nouri gave it to the US and he talks up Nouri repeatedly.

    Nouri is a cheap thug.

    Nouri has targeted gays and lesbians, Christians, Shabacks, Jews, Sunnis and so much more.

    Nouri is a thug and 'antiwar' .com has spent way too much time applauding him and failing to call him out.

    They've also failed to note that Nouri and Barack, in the fall of 2012, agreed on bringing a US Special Ops unit in.

     This is from C.I.'s  April 30th Iraq snapshot:




    December 6, 2012, the Memorandum of Understanding For Defense Cooperation Between the Ministry of Defense of the Republic of Iraq and the Department Defense of the United States of America was signed.  We covered it in the December 10th and December 11th snapshots -- lots of luck finding coverage elsewhere including in media outlets -- apparently there was some unstated agreement that everyone would look the other way.  It was similar to the silence that greeted Tim Arango's September 25th New York Times report which noted, "Iraq and the United States are negotiating an agreement that could result in the return of small units of American soldiers to Iraq on training missions.  At the request of the Iraqi government, according to [US] General [Robert L.] Caslen, a unit of Army Special Operations soldiers was recently deployed to Iraq to advise on counterterrorism and help with intelligence."


    This is the reality that's been too much for Antiwar.com.

    Instead they offer crap pieces claiming that all US troops left Iraq.


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


    Thursday, October 24, 2013.  Chaos and violence continue, another journalist is killed in Iraq, Nouri's upcoming visit with the White House garners more press attention, we look at a hearing that the press ignored, Senator Patty Murray speaks out about discriminatory hiring practices, and more.


    It's amazing what gets coverage in the US media and what doesn't.  Iraq is the war the media withdrew from -- and to think of all the scorn they heaped on war resisters who refused to participate due to ethics.  For the media, it was money and cowardice.  Today, to flip through what passes for cable news is to realize just how much trash and nonsense is shoved off on the American people daily.  Comedy Central has proved as damaging as Jon Stewart once accused Crossfire of being.


    Yesterday, we attended a hearing.  Not on Iraq, not on veterans, not on a topic we cover here.  We're noting it (briefly) now because this hearing has been ignored.  It's been ignored as much as the "invisible" children the Chair of the Subcommittee spoke of.   "We cannot allow this to continue," insisted US House Rep Dave Richert but to who did he insist this when the press is silent on the hearing?


    Subcommittee Chair Dave Reichert:  I think most people know that before getting elected to Congress, I spent 32 years in law enforcement in King County and I became sheriff in 1997 and left in January of 2005 to come to Congress.  I saw first-hand the tragedies that children face when they're not cared for by loving parents.  It was in the sheriff's office where I first witnessed the horrors of child sex trafficking and it convinced me that we needed to do more to protect our youth at risk of abuse.  And in late summer of 1982, I began a 20-year journey that would focus my attention on this issue like nothing else ever could.  On August 12 of 1982, I was called to investigate the death of a young woman whose body was found in the Green River just south of Seattle and suburban Kent, Washington.  Of course, I didn't know then that that was the beginning of 20 years, I thought that I was investigating one murder.  Three days later, I received a call about two more bodies being found in the river.  And, as I was investigating that crime scene, I found a third body on the banks of the river.  Finding these victims began our two decade hunt for a man who became known as The Green River Killer who, once caught, confessed to killing more than 70 young women who had been involved in the sex trade.   Of the 48 known victims of The Green River Killer, at least 17 were minors, children who had been abused or neglected, who had run away from home, who had been victimized and ultimately killed.  Ridgway pled guilty to 49 murders and, like he said, probably killed 79 or 80.  The sad part of the story is the families who will never see their daughters again, lives lost, of course, people recognize that.  But the community didn't see these children.  Driving from home to work to work to home, they were invisible. This issue is not just an abstract problem from a faraway place for me, it's personal.  As Chairman, I focused on how we can improve the child welfare system and help children in foster care lead successful lives.  One of the most devastating examples of the vulnerability of children in foster care is when they become victims of sex trafficking.  In 2010, officials in Los Angeles reported that 59% of juveniles arrested for prostitution were in foster care.  Of children reported missing to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children who were also likely sex trafficking victims, 60% were in foster care or group homes when they ran away.  Research cited by the Dept of US Health and  Human Services shows the majority of sex trafficked youth experience sexual abuse growing up.  



    Subcommittee Ranking Member Lloyd Doggett observed, "While there is not one piece of legislation that will stop sex trafficking of children, we can't allow complacency to stop us from doing everything in our power to put a stop to this. Our first task in this Subcommittee, given our jurisdiction, is to ensure the child welfare system doesn't become a pipeline to prostitution."

    The Subcommittee heard from two panels.  The first was made up of members of Congress: US House Reps Erik Paulsen, Lousie Slaughter, Ted Poe and Karen Bass and, via video presentation, US Senator Orrin Hatch. The issue, Reichert noted, demonstrated "true bipartisanship so we have Democrats and Republicans testifying here today."

    The second panel was Human Rights Project for Girls' Withelma Ortiz Walker Pettigrew, National Center for Missing and Exploited Children's John Ryan, Center for Children and Youth Justice's Bobbe J. Bridge. YouthCare's Melinda Giovengo and Texans Care For Children's Ashley Harris.

    As if anticipating the media blackout that would surround the hearing, US House Rep Erik Paulsen observed, "This is an issue that people don't always like to talk about.  And while we read stories about it going on in foreign countries, the reality is that it's happening right in our backyards."  Paulsen and Slaughter are sponsoring HR 2744, the Child Sex Trafficking Data and Response Act.

    US House Rep Louise Slaughter:  [. . .] [T]he part of this bill that is of primary importance to me is that the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act will be amended to require that child victims of sex trafficking will now be considered victims of abuse and neglect, making them eligible to receive services within the child welfare system.  The idea that a young person rescued from a sex trafficking operation could be considered an offender within the juvenile justice system was shocking to me.  These are victims in the strongest sense of the world -- children who have been preyed upon by those who would take advantage of their situation, the fear and loneliness that comes from being in the foster care system, to use them to their own advantage.  They deserve help, a chance at healing and wholeness, not a criminal record.


    Senator Hatch continued that thread by noting, "I'm sure many Americans would be surprised to learn that most child welfare agencies will not serve trafficked children and youth who are not in the custody of a biological or foster family or living in a group home.  Often these children, who are not legally able to give consent for sex, are arrested for prostitution and referred to the juvenile justice system."

    US House Rep Karen Bass has introduced HR 1732, Strengthening Child Welfare Response to Trafficking Act.  GovTrack.US notes:


    Status
    This bill was assigned to a congressional committee on April 25, 2013, which will consider it before possibly sending it on to the House or Senate as a whole.
    Progress
    Introduced Apr 25, 2013
    Referred to Committee Apr 25, 2013
    Reported by Committee ...
    Passed House ...
    Passed Senate ...
    Signed by the President ...
    Prognosis
    0% chance of getting past committee.
    0% chance of being enacted.

    Only 11% of bills made it past committee and only about 3% were enacted in 2011–2013. [show factors | methodology]
    Cosponsors
    33 cosponsors (25D, 8R) (show)         




    Prognosis?  "0% chance of getting past committee.  0% chance of being enacted."  If the press was doing their job, might the prognosis be better?

    US House Rep Ted Poe:  Let me tell you the story of Anna, a survivor who was brave enough to tell her story, which I heard from Shared Hope International.  After Anna's family passed away, she was placed in the foster care system at the age of three.  She was shuffled from home to home until age 12 when she was finally adopted by a loving family.  As a typical pre-teen, she did not like her family's rules.  She hung out at the corner store where she could break the rules and eat junk food without her family knowing.  There, she made a friend whom she thought she could trust.  Little did she know that the 'friend' she met at the corner store was not actually a friend at all.  One day, when she got into a fight with her parents, as teenagers do, she called her 'friend' from the store, who promptly picked her up.  Anna didn't know that this call would change her life forever.  Her 'friend' was actually a trafficker.  He was violent.  He beat her and sold her body.  She feared running away or putting up a fight because he threatened her family's lives.  So she stayed.  And the emotional, physical and sexual abuse continued.  Ann became convinced that her family no longer wanted her.  She felt helpless and scared.  After almost four years of this unspeakable abuse, Anna eventually escaped and was reunited with her family.  [. . .] She now has a ministry for sex trafficking survivors and runs an outreach program for at risk-youth.


    Congress looks at American youth at risk and no one cares enough to report?  We have a very sick media in this country creating a trash culture that grows ever more toxic. The information we need is kept from us and, this time, it's not because it was stamped "TOP SECRET," it's because the press was too busy having fun to do anything of value.



    Since we're on the topic of Congress, let's note Senator Charles Schumer is calling for the Jewish Archives to be turned over to the Jewish community and not the Iraqi government.  The US National Archives explains:


    On May 6, 2003, just days after the Coalition forces took over Baghdad, 16 American soldiers from Mobile Exploitation Team Alpha, a group assigned to search for nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons, entered Saddam Hussein’s flooded intelligence building. In the basement, under four feet of water, they found thousands of books and documents relating to the Jewish community of Iraq – materials that had belonged to synagogues and Jewish organizations in Baghdad.
    The water-logged materials quickly became moldy in Baghdad’s intense heat and humidity. Seeking guidance, the Coalition Provisional Authority placed an urgent call to the nation’s foremost conservation experts at the National Archives. Just a week later, National Archives Director of Preservation Programs Doris Hamburg and Conservation Chief Mary Lynn Ritzenthaler arrived in Baghdad via military transport to assess the damage and make recommendations for preservation of the materials. Both experts share this extraordinary story and take you “behind the scenes” in this brief video [http://tinyurl.com/IraqiJA]. This video is in the public domain and not subject to any copyright restrictions. The National Archives encourages its use and free distribution.
    Given limited treatment options in Baghdad, and with the agreement of Iraqi representatives, the materials were shipped to the United States for preservation and exhibition. Since then, these materials have been vacuum freeze-dried, preserved and photographed under the direction of the National Archives. The collection includes more than 2,700 Jewish books and tens of thousands of documents in Hebrew, Arabic, Judeo-Arabic and English, dating from 1540 to the 1970s. A special website to launch this fall will make these historic materials freely available to all online as they are digitized and catalogued. This work was made possible through the assistance of the Department of State, National Endowment for the Humanities, and Center for Jewish History.
    The Jews of Iraq have a rich past, extending back to Babylonia. These materials provide a tangible link to this community that flourished there, but in the second half of the twentieth century dispersed throughout the world. Today, fewer than five Jews remain. 

    As noted yesterday, Senator Chuck Schumer is calling for the archives not to be shipped back to Iraq but handed over to their rightful owners, the Jewish community.  Dan Friedman (New York Daily News) reported:


      Schumer Wednesday urged the State Department “to do everything in their power to ensure that these treasured artifacts remain available and accessible to Jews worldwide.”
    In a letter Wednesday to Secretary of State John Kerry, Schumer urged the department to work with Jewish groups in the United States and abroad to find another home for the documents.
    "Since the exile of Jews from Iraq, virtually no Jewish life remains in the country,” Schumer wrote. “This treasured collection belongs to the Jewish community and should be made available to them."

    Schumer is not alone.  US House Rep Ilena Ros-Lehtinen's office issued the following statement yesterday:



    “It’s imperative that we preserve the history of the Jewish community of Iraq so that future generations will always remember their ancestors’ experiences and historical contributions”
    (WASHINGTON) – Today, Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a senior member of the Florida congressional delegation, co-authored a letter, along with U.S. Rep. Steve Israel, urging Secretary of State John Kerry to return historic communal and religious items currently on display at the National Archives to the Iraqi Jewish community and their descendants, and not the government of Iraq. These artifacts, discovered in a decrepit state by U.S. and coalition forces in Iraq in 2003, were rescued and brought to the United States for repair and preservation.  Next spring, these items are scheduled to be sent back to Iraq but Ros-Lehtinen and Israel are asking that they be returned to their rightful inheritors.
    Statement by Ros-Lehtinen: “I’m pleased to join my colleague Steve in urging Secretary Kerry and the State Department to return these ancient Jewish artifacts to their rightful owners. The Iraqi government has absolutely no right or legitimate claim to these artifacts. These communal, religious and personal items were left behind in a temple in Baghdad to be safeguarded as the vast majority of Jews were forced to flee Iraq due to rampant persecution, harassment and anti-Semitic hatred, only to see them stolen by Saddam Hussein and his thugs. Once thought to be lost and gone forever, we now have a remarkable opportunity to restore a piece of an ancient Jewish community’s collective memory. It’s imperative that we preserve the history of the Jewish community of Iraq so that future generations will always remember their ancestors’ experiences and historical contributions. It would be criminal for the U.S. government to be complicit in denying the Jewish community what is rightfully theirs.”
    Statement by Israel: “I am grateful that these artifacts, which represent the rich and vibrant Jewish community that once existed in Iraq, have been restored. However, I do not believe that we should send these treasures back to the Iraqi Government. That’s why I’m working with my colleague Rep. Ros-Lehtinen to urge the U.S. Government to facilitate a process by which we can return the artifacts to their rightful owners or their owners’ descendants.”
    #######




    JNS.org notes, "The State Department plans to return the archive to the Iraqi government, in line with a written agreement between the two parties."  A written agreement regarding the return of property is not binding when it's discovered that the property in question was stolen.  The Iraqi government had no legal rights to the property and committed fraud by signing the agreement.  Fraud can be prosecuted.  The agreement has no legal standing.


    US President Barack Obama should be able to explain that at the start of next month.  November 1st, Iraq's Prime Minister and chief thug of the ongoing occupation and war Nouri al-Maliki will stroll into the White House for a visit with Barack.  Ivan Sacha Sheehan (The Hill) offers:


    Analysts will be watching closely to see if President Obama leverages his influence over the leader that many are calling a puppet of the Iranian regime.

    Al-Maliki’s visit comes on the heels of the administration’s repeated olive branches to newly elected Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Obama’s naive attempts to re-establish relations with the authoritarian regime’s so-called “moderate” envoy.
    This concern will probably result in the only significant protest against Barack entertaining Nouri.  The Ashraf supporters are still talking about protesting.  They do turn out for every Congressional hearing on Iraq or Iran -- wearing yellow. 


    Rudaw reports of the meet-up:

    Other sources say that US Vice President Joseph Biden had in a telephone call invited Iraq's Sunni parliamentary speaker Osama Nujeifi to visit Washington in November. Also, the head of the Sunni-dominated Iraqiya bloc, Ayad Allawi, is already in the United States. 
     The sources say it is likely that the Americans want to have a hearing with Iraqi leaders, given the fact Nujeifi and Allawi are both strong critics of Maliki. 
     Unofficial Kurdish sources have also said that Kurdistan Region President Massoud Barzani has been invited to Washington.
     The Iraqi prime minister has faced serious opposition from the country's Sunni and Kurdish groups since his re-election in 2010, and the Americans have expressed reservations about his close ties with neighboring Iran and Syria. But Maliki has managed to hold on so far.



    Yesterday, the US Embassy in Baghdad issued the following:




    Two men sitting and talking (Photo Credit: State Dept.)
    Ambassador Beecroft meets with Foreign Minister Zebari
    On October 23rd, Ambassador Beecroft met with Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari to discuss U.S.-Iraqi relations, the Strategic Framework Agreement, and preparations for the upcoming visit of Prime Minister Maliki to Washington.

    Ali Mamouri (Al-Monitor) reports:

    Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki declared in a televised speech Oct. 10 both that he would head to the United States at the end of the month and that he intended to run for a third term in upcoming elections. The timing of the announcements was not a coincidence, but rather an attempt to get the foreign support Maliki needs for his candidacy. Meanwhile, objections to his methods of government are multiplying around the country.
    Maliki’s second term has seen broad political disputes take place. His actions have been seen as the result of intensive Iranian support coupled with American blessings. It seems that Maliki is counting on persisting Iranian and American support to win a third term as prime minister. However, the course that the Iraqi sociopolitical situation has been taking shows that this support is not in the interest of the United States and Iran, and that it will hurt their national interests in Iraq for the following reasons:
    Use the link to read the reasons.



    At Antiwar.com, Margaret Griffis reviews violence in Iraq over the last few days with "78 Killed, 53 Wounded in Ongoing Iraq Horror."  The horror is a country where people are targeted for death and hunted.  Rashid al-Khayoun (The Majalla) explains:



    This new sectarian Iraq is not all that far removed from a hunting ground. The government was elected because it promised to provide security, but they are not protecting us and they are perhaps even contributing to the bloodshed. High-ranking government officials have been charged with the killings of Sunnis, only to have the cases against them dropped in dubious circumstances.
    Groups of people are killed in massive bombings, seemingly at random, the last of which we saw yesterday. But what is more frightening, indeed truly terrifying, is the hunting of individuals—a crime whose victims are innumerable. There are countless incidents where civilians have been killed and the government has failed to hold anyone to account. These include the murders of high-profile figures, such as radio talk show host Hadi Al-Mehdi in 2011, and Karbala football coach Mohammad Abbas, who was killed earlier this year. All too often, the rush of bullets from a gun with a silencer is the last thing an Iraqi hears.
    Many countries have banned the hunting of wild animals, as well as woodland creatures, birds and marine wildlife. The United Kingdom banned fox hunting, an aristocratic activity that had been around for centuries, under pressure from animal rights activists and those wanting to protect the environment. In fact, if anyone tries to hurt so much as a waterbird in a public park in Europe, they have no defense.
    If a duck happens to waddle past you in the UK, you must not even scare it because it is protected by the highest authorities and a law that must not be broken. Additionally, if your neighbor complains that you are neglecting your cat or dog, the police will arrive at your house within minutes and you will suddenly find yourself a suspect in a crime.
    However, the people of Iraq do not have this level of protection. The number of people assassinated in my own family alone has reached eleven in the past eight years—although there have possibly been more, but we have never heard about it. I decided to count how many people were killed or assassinated in my family by the previous regime, and I found five, including my brother. The difference between then and now is that under Saddam we at least knew who the killers were: the state itself.


    "Hunted" is the term.  Last month, Tim Arango (New York Times) broke the news that  Nouri was funding, arming and outfitting Shi'ite militias.  Arango observed:

    In supporting Asaib al-Haq, Mr. Maliki has apparently made the risky calculation that by backing some Shiite militias, even in secret, he can maintain control over the country’s restive Shiite population and, ultimately, retain power after the next national elections, which are scheduled for next year. Militiamen and residents of Shiite areas say members of Asaib al-Haq are given government badges and weapons and allowed freedom of movement by the security forces.



    And they use that movement to kill Sunnis.  Sunnis are hunted.  They're not the only group in Iraq that its. But this report should be one of the first things Barack raises with Nouri November 1st.


    Offering reality on Iraq is Rachel Shabi (Guardian):



    The US-led coalition set up avoidable rifts by marginalising Iraqi Sunnis – hobbling Iraq by fomenting sectarianism, condemning it to instability and obliterating the chance of any functional political recovery. Corrupt, divisive and combustible policies were then pursued by the US-backed Iraqi prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, whose Shia elite-dominated government is routinely accused of authoritarianism.
    Maliki's rule has been a wrecking-ball mix of wrongheaded and incompetent. He has dismissed and disempowered Sunni politicians while simultaneously ramping up security forces and misusing terrorism laws to target Sunni areas, stirring up grievances over ethnocentric injustices. And the incompetence? Just one detail: Maliki's forces are still using the fake bomb detectors sold to Iraq by the convicted former policeman James McCormick.
    In May, Maliki was insisting that some of the detectors are fine – to the horror of the Iraqi population that has to negotiate increasingly deadly everyday public spaces. All of this worsened in December last year, when forces arrested the bodyguards of the Sunni former finance minister, Rafi al-Issawi, under terrorism laws, prompting mass protests that were brutally dispersed. The violence included an army raid on protesters in Hawija, northern Iraq, in April, killing 50 and injuring many more.


    Nouri needs to explain things like the Hawija massacre as well as his failure to provide security and how about what a disaster he's been for business in Iraq?   Nicole Gaouette and Caroline Alexander (Bloomberg News) report on how the violence is running off businesses and investments:




    “It’s striking how different the outlook for Iraq is today than what it was as late as June, when the question was who would make room for growing Iraqi production in the marketplace,” said Daniel Yergin, author of “The Quest: Energy, Security and the Remaking of the Modern World.” “Everyone is bringing down their forecast in light of what’s actually happening on the ground.”
    “It’s hard for companies to operate in Iraq,” Yergin, vice chairman of Englewood, Colorado-based research company IHS Inc. (IHS), said in a phone interview. “The cost of operating there is higher because the cost of assuring security adds significantly to the overall costs.” 


    Maybe Nouri and Barack could discuss how Nouri's now failed Iraq for seven years?  Add to the month's growing death toll that NINA notes a Albo Hayyat home bombing which claimed the life of 1 woman and left her daughter injured.  In addition, NINA reports a northeastern Baghdad bombing claimed 1 life and left four people injured, a southern Baghdad bombing claimed 2 lives and left eight people injured, and 5 suicide bombers in Mosul attacked Nineveh Operations Command and took their own lives as well as the lives of 23 soldiers and police officers.  Press TV adds that an "armed assailants shot dead Bashar Abdulqader Najm, a cameraman working for al-Mosuliya television station, in the northern city of Mosul, police officials reported. He is the third journalist to be killed in the city this month."




    We'll move over to veterans issues.  Senator Patty Murray now chairs the Senate Budget Committee, prior to that, she chaired the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee.  She continues to serve on the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee.  Her office notes:






    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                       CONTACT: Murray Press Office
    Thursday, October 24, 2013                                                              (202) 224-2834
     
    Senator Murray's Statement on Efforts to Correct Discriminatory Hiring Practices for Veterans at BPA
    (Washington D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray, a senior member of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, issued the following statement in response to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Inspector General report on unlawful hiring practices at Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) and the corrective actions being taken by the Department of Energy and BPA.
     
    “Since they were released earlier this month, I have been extremely disappointed by the findings in the Inspector General’s report on unlawful and discriminatory hiring practices impacting veterans and others at BPA.  As a longtime advocate for servicemembers and veterans, I know well the incredible value that veterans bring to the workplace, and the unacceptable practices described in this report must be fixed as soon as possible.
     
    “I am encouraged that BPA and DOE are each taking these issues seriously, and as they work together to address these problems, I will continue monitoring the situation closely while working to ensure that BPA maintains the flexibility it needs to provide reliable, low-cost power to the Pacific Northwest. I have spoken with Deputy Secretary Poneman several times since the IG report was released, and he has assured me that while hiring and personnel practices are being addressed, DOE will respect BPA’s authority to set policies that support the Pacific Northwest and its ratepayers.”
    ###
     
     
    Sean Coit
    Press Secretary
    Office of U.S. Senator Patty Murray
    202-224-2834
     




     
     
     
    RSS Feed for Senator Murray's office





    Last word goes to Debra Sweet's "The Dirtiness of US Drone War" (World Can't Wait):


    Almost 5 years after the spike in U.S. use of targeted killing of people via drone by the Obama administration (thousands have been killed), the United Nations, or rather its special rapporteur Ben Emmerson, has released a report saying these drone strikes by the United States have killed civilians by the hundreds, or more, and should be carried out in accordance with international law.
    Anyone wanting a ringing condemnation of how utterly wrong it is for the United States to use killer robots flown from 8,000 miles away, attacking people on the basis of suspected patterns of behavior (a "signature" drone strike) and on the President's order will read this and be outraged.  The personal stories of family members obliterated in seconds, with only parts to be buried, shock the conscience, as war crimes do.  But let's speak the truth and call them war crimes, not just cry for "accountability."
    Joining the United Nations in criticizing U.S. drone strikes – to a point – are Amnesty International “Will I Be Next?” and Human Rights Watch, "Between a Drone and al Qaeda"  each of whom issued their own reports this week.  These reports come out just ahead of a debate at the U.N. Friday October 25 on the use of drones, and of the visit of Pakistan's Prime Minister Sharif, who told Obama today to end the drone strikes in Pakistan, while no doubt also appealing to him for more military aid.
    Kevin Gosztola describes the Amnesty report in Drone Victims Recount Horror of Follow-Up Strikes Launched Against People Rescuing Wounded. 
























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