Friday, September 14, 2012

An article I missed this week

Have you seen Matt Vasilogambros' "Attack 'Imminent.' Report: Documents Disclose 9/11 Warnings"?  I saw it this evening and thought, "Why wasn't this big news?"  Here's the opening:

Documents show the U.S. was given more warnings about potential terrorist attacks in the weeks leading up to 9/11, writes Vanity Fair contributing editor Kurt Eichenwald in a New York Times op-ed.
The documents predate the presidential daily briefing on Aug. 6, 2001, which said, “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.”

“The administration’s reaction to what Mr. Bush was told in the weeks before that infamous briefing reflected significantly more negligence than has been disclosed,” he wrote. “In other words, the Aug. 6 document, for all of the controversy it provoked, is not nearly as shocking as the briefs that came before it.”
The direct warnings to Bush, he writes, date back to the spring of 2001. On May 1, the CIA told the White House that there was “a group presently in the United States” that was planning an attack. On June 22, a daily briefing described the attack as "imminent." Administration officials, however, dismissed the warnings, saying that Osama bin Laden was merely feigning an attack to distract the U.S. from efforts against Saddam Hussein in Iraq.
“Intelligence officials, these sources said, protested that the idea of Bin Laden, an Islamic fundamentalist, conspiring with Mr. Hussein, an Iraqi secularist, was ridiculous, but the neoconservatives’ suspicions were nevertheless carrying the day,” Eichenwald wrote. “In response, the CIA prepared an analysis that all but pleaded with the White House to accept that the danger from Bin Laden was real.”
Briefings on June 29, July 1, and July 24 carried similar warnings. On July 9, Eichenwald writes, one official suggested staff members of the CIA Counterterrorism Center “put in for a transfer so that somebody else would be responsible when the attack took place.”

Can you believe that?  We keep learning more and more.  And the reality is that so much was ignored and that, all this time later, we still don't know exactly what happened or why.

I don't feel any safer.and part of the reason for that is that I don't feel we ever had a real investigation.  I feel the Jersey Girls fought tooth and nail for fairness but they were no match for that fake commission and it's laughable report.

I have no idea if 9-11 was an inside job or just the hugest leadership failure ever.  Or both.  I don't know.  And since we didn't have a real investigation, I don't think we've gotten any safer.  Instead, we've been encouraged to just move on and shop and shop some more.

We wouldn't have even gotten the fake commission if it weren't for the Jersey Girls.  And they really tried to make a difference with the commission. They took information, they offered input and they were just dismissed.

And that's by Democrats as well.  If either party wanted the truth, they would have gotten it.  If the Dems gave a damn about 9-11, they would have said, in 2009, "Here, Jersey Girls, here's X million.  This time you do the interviews -- in public, all interviews in public -- and you get the truth."  And they would have.  Those four women would have gotten the truth and the US would be a lot safer as a result. 

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

Friday, September 14, 2012.  Chaos and violence continue, protests continue against the US in the Middle East, rumors abound about Tareq al-Hashemi, Senator Patty Murray weighs in on sequestration, and much more.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton:  We are closely watching what is happening in Yemen and elsewhere, and we certainly hope and expect that there will be steps taken to avoid violence and prevent the escalation of protests into violence.
I also want to take a moment to address the video circulating on the Internet that has led to these protests in a number of countries. Let me state very clearly -- and I hope it is obvious -- that the United States Government had absolutely nothing to do with this video. We absolutely reject its content and message. America's commitment to religious tolerance goes back to the very beginning of our nation. And as you know, we are home to people of all religions, many of whom came to this country seeking the right to exercise their own religion, including, of course, millions of Muslims. And we have the greatest respect for people of faith.
To us, to me personally, this video is disgusting and reprehensible. It appears to have a deeply cynical purpose: to denigrate a great religion and to provoke rage. But as I said yesterday, there is no justification, none at all, for responding to this video with violence. We condemn the violence that has resulted in the strongest terms, and we greatly appreciate that many Muslims in the United States and around the world have spoken out on this issue.
Violence, we believe, has no place in religion and is no way to honor religion. Islam, like other religions, respects the fundamental dignity of human beings, and it is a violation of that fundamental dignity to wage attacks on innocents. As long as there are those who are willing to shed blood and take innocent life in the name of religion, the name of God, the world will never know a true and lasting peace. It is especially wrong for violence to be directed against diplomatic missions. These are places whose very purpose is peaceful: to promote better understanding across countries and cultures. All governments have a responsibility to protect those spaces and people, because to attack an embassy is to attack the idea that we can work together to build understanding and a better future.
Now, I know it is hard for some people to understand why the United States cannot or does not just prevent these kinds of reprehensible videos from ever seeing the light of day. Now, I would note that in today's world with today's technologies, that is impossible. But even if it were possible, our country does have a long tradition of free expression which is enshrined in our Constitution and our law, and we do not stop individual citizens from expressing their views no matter how distasteful they may be.
There are, of course, different views around the world about the outer limits of free speech and free expression, but there should be no debate about the simple proposition that violence in response to speech is not acceptable. We all -- whether we are leaders in government, leaders in civil society or religious leaders -- must draw the line at violence. And any responsible leader should be standing up now and drawing that line.
Protests have taken place around the region all week including today.  Reem Abdellatif, Ned Parker, Laura King, Hashmat Baktash, Alex Rodriguez, Emily Alpert and staff in Beirut and Khartoum (Los Angeles Times) report, "Infuriated protesters in Tunisia stormed the U.S. Embassy in the capital, Tunis, and tore down the American flag, state media reported.  Security forces fired warning shots and tear gas to try to scatter the crowd, the official Tunisian News Agency reported.  Black smoke was seen rising around the embassy compound amid reports that an American school nearby had been set on fire. In Sudan, hundreds of riot police fired tear gas and rubber bullets and used batons to prevent a wall of hundreds of protesters reaching the U.S. Embassy in the capital, Khartoum, but a grop managed to break through, breach the wall of the embassy and raise a black Islamic flag."
Protests took place in Iraq today as well.  All Iraq News reports a protest was held today in Samarra following morning prayers and that protests also took place today in Wasit, Najaf, Missan and Basra.  All Iraq News notes that the Najaf protest saw the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq (Ammar al-Hakim's political group) read out a statement denouncing the video and insisting it did serious harm to Muhammed.  AFP reports:
In Karbala, Abdul Mehdi al-Karbalai, the representative in the city of top Iraqi Shiite cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, said during his Friday sermon that "these repeated abuses could threaten peaceful life, especially among (religiously) mixed peoples."
He also condemned violence in response to the film, which portrays the Prophet Mohammed and Islam in a negative light, and sparked deadly fury in Libya, where four Americans including the ambassador were killed on Tuesday in a mob attack on the US consulate in Benghazi.
In Sunni-majority Ramadi, west of Baghdad, hundreds of people demonstrated against the film.
Hamid al-Fahdawi, one of the protest organisers, told AFP that demonstrators want the Iraqi government to dismiss the US ambassador and cut economic ties with the US.
When compiling a list of demands, it's probably a good idea to leave unicorns and other myths off the list.  There is no US Ambassador to Iraq currently.  The most recent, James Jeffrey, left Iraq months ago. 
Josh Rogin (Foreign Policy) quotes Senator John Kerry, Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee speaking about the possibility that Barack's latest nominee might be placed on hold after his confirmation hearing:

Make no mistake: Our embassy in Baghdad is one of our most important and what happens there is key to our bilateral relationship and our work in the Middle East. By all accounts, Steve Beecroft is a highly capable career Foreign Service officer who has ambassadorial experience, and it is in America's best interest to get him on the ground as quickly as possible.

If the concern is over the empty post of US Ambassador to Iraq, well the administration should have done a better job vetting and never nominated Brett McGurk.  Married and sleeping with another married person in Iraq while working for the US government in Iraq?  It doesn't matter that he married Gina Chon eventually (after both their divorces -- it does matter that she allowed him to vet her copy, which is why her paper fired her), it matters that he had a reputation for disrespecting marriage in Iraq which meant that any Iraqi woman visiting the US embassy was going to be suspect which really matters in a country that practices so-called 'honor' killings.  They never should have nominated him.  His prior behavior in Iraq would have made his appointment an insult to the host country.

There should be an ambassador to Iraq.  But no one forced the White House to nominate the insulting Brett McGurk and no one forced the White House to wait so long to name a new nominee after McGurk's name was withdrawn.  I remember the Attorney General nominations of 1993.  That was rough and Republicans were determined to defeat the nominees.  Plural. Bill Clinton nominated Zoe Baird for the post.  Her nomination was derailed and she withdrew her name January 22, 1993.  Clinton goes on to announce a new nominee: Kimba Wood.  Kimba Wood withdraws her name February 5, 1993.  Clinton then nominated Janet Reno who was confirmed March 11, 1993 on a 98 to zero vote in the Senate.  January 20, 1993, Bill Clinton was sworn in as President of the United States.  March 11th, Reno -- his third nominee -- was confirmed as Attorney General. That's moving quickly.

By contrast?  June 18th McGurk's name is withdrawnLate  September 10th word leaks out that Beecroft is Barack's new nominee and it's made official with an announcement September 11th.  In less than two months, President Bill Clinton names 3 different nominees for Attorney General and gets one confirmed.  Eight days shy of three months after McGurk's name is withdrawn, President Barack Obama is finally able to find someone to nominate for the post (Beecroft, the person who's been doing the work all that time).  If Senate Dems want to whine that Paul's creating a delay on that nomination, Barack's the one who created the delay and dragged his feet.

The average time between confirmation hearings and a vote is said to be ten days.  That would be September 28th and that's awfully close to when senators facing re-election battles have tor return home.  That was also foot dragging by the administration which should have planned it much better.
You'd assume the demands would have been hammered out in advance since today wasn't the first day of protests over the video or movie.  Dropping back to  yesterday's snapshot:

Al Mada notes that a group of Iraqi scientists led by Khalid al-Mulla stated that the US needed to use all means necessary to stop the film and others like it.  The group lumps the US into abuse by "Zionists" globally -- while wanting tolerance for their own religious beliefs.  All Iraq News notes the Iraqi Parliament is calling for the US Congress to stop the film.  Freedom of speech has obviously not been explained well.   Alsumaria reports hundreds turned out in Kut today to protest the film.  All Iraq News notes Sadrists in Karbala launched a protest as well.  For the record, there were no protests reported objecting to the murders of four Americans.  For the record, the scientists and the Parliament was not reported to have made any comments condemning the four deaths.  AGI reports, " Hundreds of people took to the streets in Baghdad, in the suburb district of Sadr City, burning US flags. Protests jointly staged by Sunni and Shia Muslims were also reported in Iraq's southern city of Basra."  You can briefly see the Baghdad protest in Danielle Nottingham's CBS report (link is video).

Mohammed Tawfeeq (CNN -- link is text and video) reports on yesterday's Baghdad protest:

Angry protesters in the Sadr City district of northeast Baghdad carried banners, Iraqi flags and images of radical Shiite and anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr as they railed against what they see as an insult to their faith.
"America is the enemy of the people," the demonstrators shouted Thursday morning. They also yelled out, "Yes, yes to Islam. Yes, yes to Iraq. Yes, yes to Quran" -- the latter referring to the Muslim holy book.
Chris Stevens and Sean Smith were killed in the attack on the Benghazi Tuesday and we noted Hillary's remarks on the two in Wednesday's snapshotYesterday, she identified the other two Americans who were killed:
The attack on our diplomatic post in Benghazi, Libya on Tuesday claimed the lives of four Americans. Yesterday, I spoke about two: Ambassador Chris Stevens and Information Management Officer Sean Smith. Today, we also recognize the two security personnel who died helping protect their colleagues. Tyrone S. Woods and Glen A. Doherty were both decorated military veterans who served our country with honor and distinction. Our thoughts, prayers, and deepest gratitude are with their families and friends. Our embassies could not carry on our critical work around the world without the service and sacrifice of brave people like Tyrone and Glen.
Tyrone's friends and colleagues called him "Rone," and they relied on his courage and skill, honed over two decades as a Navy SEAL. In uniform, he served multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. Since 2010, he protected American diplomatic personnel in dangerous posts from Central America to the Middle East. He had the hands of a healer as well as the arm of a warrior, earning distinction as a registered nurse and certified paramedic. All our hearts go out to Tyrone's wife Dorothy and his three sons, Tyrone Jr., Hunter, and Kai, who was born just a few months ago.
We also grieve for Glen Doherty, called Bub, and his family: his father Bernard, his mother Barbara, his brother Gregory, and his sister Kathleen. Glen was also a former Navy SEAL and an experienced paramedic. And he put his life on the line many times, protecting Americans in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other hotspots. In the end, he died the way he lived – with selfless honor and unstinting valor.
We condemn the attack that took the lives of these heroes in the strongest terms, and we are taking additional steps to safeguard American embassies, consulates, and citizens around the world. This violence should shock the conscience of people of all faiths and traditions. We appreciate the statements of support that have poured in from across the region and beyond. People of conscience and goodwill everywhere must stand together in these difficult days against violence, hate, and division.
I am enormously proud of the men and women who risk their lives every day in the service of our country and our values. They help make the United States the greatest force for peace, progress, and human dignity that the world has ever known. We honor the memory of our fallen colleagues by continuing their work and carrying on the best traditions of a bold and generous nation.
In Iraq, as the second week of the month comes to a close, Iraq Body Count counts 175 killed in violence through yesterday.  Today, Alsumaria reports a Samarra car bombing has left fifteen people injured outside a police station, that a corpse was pulled out of the Tigris River and a Sharqat home was bombed (no one was in the house at the time, it belonged to a Sahwa member).  Mass arrests continue with 11 people arrested for 'terrorism' in Babil and the Imam of a mosque was also arrested in Babil for 'terrorism.'
In addition, Seyhmus Cakan (Retuers) reports, "Turkish armed forces have killed 75 Kurdish militants near the border with Iran and Iraq over the past week, a provincial governor said on Friday, as a major offensive involving air strikes and several thousand ground troops intensifies."  AFP adds, "The operation has been concentrated in the Semdinli district and has included nearly 5,000 ground troops backed by air power, according to the army." The Jerusalem Post notes rumors (treats it as fact) that the PKK has entered into a partnership with President Bashar al-Assad's Syrian's government and "Whatever the precise truth regarding casualty figures, the last period has been the bloodiest seen in this conflict since PKK founder and terrorist leader Abdullah Ocalan was captured in 1999.  Amidst the ongoing violence and the flurry of claims and counter claims between the Turks and the PKK, a fascinating question remains: why is the PKK choosing to escalate hostilities at the present time? For the Turkish authorities, the reason is very clear: Ankara claims that the Assad regime has in recent months re-kindled its long defunct alliance with the organization. Ankara also alleges the existence of a renewed agreement between the PKK and Iran, and claims that the Iranians are actively aiding the Kurds in the latest round of attacks."  The PKK is a Kurdish group that fights for a Kurdish homeland.   Aaron Hess (International Socialist Review) described the PKK in 2008, "The PKK emerged in 1984 as a major force in response to Turkey's oppression of its Kurdish population. Since the late 1970s, Turkey has waged a relentless war of attrition that has killed tens of thousands of Kurds and driven millions from their homes. The Kurds are the world's largest stateless population -- whose main population concentration straddles Turkey, Iraq, Iran, and Syria -- and have been the victims of imperialist wars and manipulation since the colonial period. While Turkey has granted limited rights to the Kurds in recent years in order to accommodate the European Union, which it seeks to join, even these are now at risk."
Turkey is where Iraqi Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi has sought refuge after Nouri al-Maliki ordered him arrested for 'terrorism' in what was seen as an attack on Iraqiya (the political slate that bested Nouri's State of Law in March 2010).   Sunday, Ramadan al-Fatash (DPA) explained "that a Baghdad court sentenced in absentia Iraq's vice president, Tareq al-Hashemi, to death on terrorism charges. Al-Hashemi, Iraq's most senior Sunni Muslim official, has called the charges a political ploy by the Shiite-led government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki."   Lara Jakes (AP) reported, "The Baghdad courtroom was silent Sunday as the presiding judge read out the verdict convicting al-Hashemi and his son-in-law of organizing the murders of a Shiite security official and a lawyer who had refused to help the vice president's allies in terror cases. The court sentenced both men in absentia to death by hanging. They have 30 days to appeal the verdict."   Sam Dagher and Ali A. Nabhan (Wall Street Journal) observed, "Many saw the verdict against Tariq al-Hashemi -- a prominent Sunni politician who has professed his innocence and has been sheltered by the Sunni Islamist-led government in Turkey since April -- coupled with Sunday's attacks as emboldening those among Iraq's Sunni minority who see violent confrontation rather than politics as the only way to regain powers lost to the Shiite majority after the U.S.-led ouster of Saddam Hussein's regime more than nine years ago."  Omar al-Jawoshy and Michael Schwirtz (New York Times) quoted Talabani stating on Monday, "It was regrettable to issue, at this particular time, a judicial decision against him while he still officially holds office."  Today, Speaker of Parliament Osama al-Nujaifi, Alsumaria notes, has declared that the death sentence for Tareq al-Hashemi could negatively effect any chances of resolving the political crisis.  Kholoud Ramzi (Niqash) reports a new rumor circulating regarding Iraqya:
However, pundits believe that something else every different is going on behind the scenes. They believe that the Iraqiya party has actually long since abandoned al-Hashimi. 
Because of the wide variety of backgrounds of the various constituent parties, the Iraqiya bloc has been close to fracturing during its time in opposition. And, seeing al-Hashimi as a lost cause, they have decided instead to back Saleh al-Mutlaq, currently one of two Deputy Prime Ministers of Iraq.
Rather than having two of their members lose some of the most senior political jobs in the country, they have decided to back al-Mutlaq. 
Al-Mutlaq, one of three deputy prime ministers, has been away from politics since the beginning of the year when he criticized al-Maliki, calling him a dictator. Al-Maliki sacked al-Mutlaq and he, in turn, boycotted Parliament. But he recently returned to work after what was described as a "historic meeting" between himself and al-Maliki.
 And it is for this reason, that Iraqiya is supporting al-Hashimi with words rather than deeds.
Khawaja Umer Farooq writes the Jakarta Post to share thoughts on the verdict:
According to media news, an Iraqi court has issued a death sentence to Sunni Iraqi Vice President Tariq  Hashemi and his aides. Tariq Hashemi is in Turkey these days and has said the court's decision was politically motivated.
Now, the gulf is widening between the Malaki ruling party and the Sunni national alliance, which is harming the country's interests. The recent decision by the Iraqi court will further fuel sectarian and ethnic violence in Iraq. After the departure of international forces, Iraq is facing worse sectarian and ethnic violence.
Talabani said that he continues to hold direct talks in the hope of arranging a comprehensive national meeting, which aims to resolve differences and to reach mutually acceptable solutions to various problems, including the issue of Al Hashemi.
Also, Masoud Barzani, President of the Kurdistan region, feels that Al Hashemi's sentencing to death in absentia will only exacerbate the crisis that has plagued Iraq, possibly even create a bitter sectarian conflict. He called on all parties to find a wise solution to the problem and avoid the temptation of settling scores.
Al Mada reports that Speaker of Parliament Osama al-Nujaifi declared yesterday that the court's verdict was evidence of the politicalization of the judiciary.  Meanwhile Jason Ditz ( reports, "In a move seen as relation for refusing to extradite Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi, the Iraqi Trade Ministry has halted the licenses of all Turkish companies active in Iraq, as well as refusing all new applications."  Taha Ozhan (Hurriyet Daily News) sees the conviction of al-Hashemi as politically motivated and offers:
Today we are at a point where the Baathist spirit is flowing freely. The al-Maliki government, particularly in the past year, has employed the most ordinary Baathist strategies. The proclivities of the current regime to spread the use of pressure and violence are becoming more apparent. The human rights organizations voice their dismay about the scarcity of information relating to the identities and alleged crimes of those executed by the al-Maliki government. Iraq's Ministry of Justice has announced that in the first eight months of 2012, 96 people were executed and that an additional 196 people will be executed before the year ends. Many Iraqis claim that the numbers are actually much higher than those given in the official statements.
Calling al-Maliki's totalitarian regime sectarian names would be just as wrong as al-Maliki's governing strategies. In fact, the
Sunni Arabs, the Shiites, Kurds and Turkmens are all equally voicing their discontent with the al-Maliki government. The al-Maliki forces come close to violently attacking Tariq al-Hashemi one day, and turn from the edge of a violent clash with the Sadr groups the next day. We can infer only one thing from all this: that the Baathist spirit is once again flowing freely within the al-Maliki regime.
That's not widely off the mark from the opinion the editorial board of London's Guardian, shared earlier this week in "Iraq: back to the future:"

Is Nouri al-Maliki becoming Iraq's next dictator and, if he is, does anyone in Washington care? The second half of the question is easy to answer. The Pentagon wanted to keep 8,000 troops in Iraq after withdrawal. But Maliki made it clear there would be no US troops after the agreement expired on 31 December 2011. The state department also planned for an embassy up to 16,000 strong, and a CIA station 700 strong, but the Iraqi strongman made short shrift of a sizeable US civilian presence, by insisting that his office take direct responsibility for approving every US diplomatic visa. Washington could use the soft power of military supply contracts, but is unwilling to do that. Maliki is allowing Iranian overflights to resupply Assad's embattled regime in Syria. Washington still does not want to know.
In the United States, it's a presidential election year.  Candidates include Barack Obama who is running for re-election as President of the US on the Democratic Party ticket, Mitt Romney who is running on the GOP ticket and Jill Stein who is running on the Green Party's presidential ticket.  A real election requires real debates and real debates require inclusion.  Jill Stein's campaign notes:
Spread the word far and wide! This morning, dozens of community leaders, artists, and academics -- including Tom Morello, Leah Bolger, Richard Wolff and Medea Benjamin -- and thousands more joined together to launch Occupy the CPD. Please join them at
The presidential debates are the first opportunity for millions of voters to see the presidential contenders themselves, not just their advertising campaigns. These debates are organized by the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) - a supposedly "nonpartisan" corporation which is a puppet of the national Democratic and Republican parties, and the big corporations that fund both of them. The CPD's criteria to be included in these debates are designed to exclude independent contenders who promote ideas that challenge those in power.
Click here to read and join the sign-on statement:
Barack and Mitt Romney have been traveling and very busy -- raising billions requires a lot of time.  Jill Stein's been busy too but she's been busy standing with the people.  Most recently, she was in Chicago where teachers are marching to their beliefs as they conduct the first strike in 25 years.  Jill's campaign noted yesterday:
Earlier today, Jill Stein joined the picket lines at Amundsen and Lane Tech, two Chicago high schools. On her way from Ohio, she cancelled her morning appearances in Minnesota in order to visit Chicago teachers, parents, and students who have been engaged in a citywide strike since Monday.
The battle the teachers of the Chicago Public Schools are fighting is not one of their choosing. It is one which has been foisted on them by politicians who have been bankrolled by, and who therefore represent the interests of, the 1%.
Rahm Emanuel's war against the Chicago Teachers Union is not about wages or benefits. It is about the future of quality public education in Chicago and beyond. President Obama and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, with their "Race to the Top" initiative, are seeking to destroy the influence of the teachers unions, to reroute public dollars to corporate interests, and to undermine the core fabric of public education in America.
Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein is a staunch defender of public sector workers and for quality public education from pre-school through college. "Obama and Romney have made it  clear that they think our kids don't need a quality education," says Stein. "They expect middle class people to bear the tax burden, and are not willing to make the wealthy pay a fair share, in order to fund our schools. The situation in Chicago is about whether the superrich pay their share, or whether we have underfunded schools."
Stein, a Harvard-trained physician who once ran against Mitt Romney for Governor of Massachusetts, is proposing a Green New Deal for America - a four part policy strategy for moving America quickly out of crisis into a secure, sustainable future. Inspired by the New Deal programs that helped the U.S. out of the Great Depression of the 1930s, the Green New Deal proposes to provide similar relief and create an economy that makes communities sustainable, healthy and just.
Stein grew up in the Chicago suburb of Oak Park, Illinois.
Lastly, Senator Patty Murray is the Chair of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee.  Today her office released the following on sequestration ($1.2 billion in cuts that are supposed to kick in on the budget automatically since the Congress has been unable to make the cuts thus far  -- veterans treatment and care is not supposed to be effected in the cuts per Secretary of Defense Leon Panette and Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki):
(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) released the following statement after the Office of Management and Budget released their report on the impact of sequestration across both defense as well as non-defense spending. Murray worked with Senator McCain and others to pass the legislation calling for this report.
"This report makes it even clearer that we need to replace sequestration in a balanced
way that works for middle class families and includes both responsible spending cuts and new revenue from the wealthiest Americans.
"These bipartisan automatic cuts were put in place to give both sides a strong incentive to make a deal, and they are not going to go away simply because nobody wants them to be enacted. They are going to have to be replaced, and that replacement is going to have to be balanced.
"What Republicans aren't saying when they are yelling and screaming about these cuts is that they helped pass them into law and that they can just as easily help make them go away. But thus far they have been unwilling to face up to the reality that it will take a balanced approach to make that happen.
"I am pleased to see that true to President Obama's commitment to our nation's heroes, this report exempts veterans and military personnel accounts from cuts. After all these
men and women and their families have been asked to do for our safety and security, they should be the last to be asked to make additional sacrifices.
"Democrats are willing to compromise to get a bipartisan deal to avoid these cuts, and if Republicans are serious about avoiding sequestration, then they will stop fighting to protect the rich from paying a penny more in taxes and work with us on a balanced and
fair replacement."

Matt McAlvanah
Communications Director
U.S. Senator Patty Murray
202-224-2834 - press office
202--224-0228 - direct


Thursday, September 13, 2012

Community 411

A reader e-mailed trying to figure out the community.  So let me try to explain.  Today, C.I. wrote the following:

  • Iraq snapshot

  • Was Mitt wrong? Who knows?

  • The response is largely silence

  • She grabs hard hitting issues and that's her hallmark.  During the week -- except on a holiday -- you're going to read three hard news pieces from her.  In addition to covering reporting from many different sources, she also reports herself.  She reports on Congress.  For example, yesterday's "Iraq snapshot" included a report on a House Armed Services Committee hearing.

    She reports on at least 50 Congressional hearings a year.  I think that's great for the community but as my aunt, who writes for a paper (features), likes to point out, if C.I. were a hard news reporter, it is very doubtful she would be reporting on that level.  My aunt says even if C.I. was just one of those glorified stenographers who writes up the day's press briefing, she wouldn't be writing that many 'reports.'  But C.I. actually does reporting and she's probably done more to get coverage of Congressional hearings available to the people than anything except CSPAN.

    So that's her site.

    Next up:

  • That's Cedric and Wally.  Cedric's my husband, by the way.  They do joint-posts.  They go for humor when possible and prefer hijinx but sometimes have to go for sarcasm and sometimes outrage.  They usually blog in the morning during the week.

    The rest of the individual bloggers blog at night on week days:

  • Mike.  He covers outrages like Guantanamo.  He also covers TV.  He'll be covering Nikita again this year and probably Fringe but that's not for sure.  (He's covered it every other year but got sick of the way the show and Fox dicked viewers around last year.)

  • Trina is Mike's mother.  She covers the economy.  Friday's she'll offer a recipe as well but Trina's beat is the economy.  She's probably the most focused of any of us outside of C.I.

    Ruth used to do "Ruth's Report" at The Common Ills and that was a weekly look at public radio.  She still covers radio from time to time but more often goes with politics.

  • Rebecca covers politics in her state (which does include Elizabeth Warren -- Trina also covers Warren) and she'll cover sex and basically anything.  She also follows two TV shows a season.  Last year it was Revenge (which she's also doing this year) and Community.  I don't know what her second one will be this year.  In the past she's done Brothers & Sisters, Heroes and more.

    Marcia is a Whitney blogger.  She covers the TV show Whitney.  She also covers LGBT issues and politics.

    Betty is the other Whitney blogger.  She, Marcia and I cover the TV show Whitney which we love!!!! Betty also covers presidential politics and TV.  She grabbed Desperate Housewives when Vanessa Williams joined the cast.  She's planning to cover Vanessa's new ABC show this season.  (And Whitney as well.)  Betty has three kids and will often blog about the world in terms of that.  In terms of the Mars Mission, Betty's blogged repeatedly about Curiosity (the land rover).

    Stan.  He is Marcia's cousin.  And Friday's he blogs about a movie.  He grabs two TV shows a year and is usually ticked off because his shows usually get the axe.  He's surprised that The Good Wife, which he's been blogging on since year one, is still on since everything else he covers gets cancelled.
    Like Betty, he covers presidential politics.  Ruth and Marcia usually talk on the phone before blogging and Stan and Betty do the same.

  • Kat's focus is music and outrage.  When politics outrage her or NPR's sexist in music coverage outrages her, you better grab a cup of coffee, sit down and prepare for an enjoyable journey.

  • Who did I leave out of the night time bloggers?

    I'm Ann so I'll just note that when not on break (I'm on a month long break), I spend months tracking gender imbalance in public radio (and I am a proud Whitney blogger!).  Elaine?  She, Rebecca and C.I. all went to college together and lived together in college.  She and Mike are a couple.  They have a daughter. Elaine's a psychologist.  She's often tired at blogging time but she does some great posts.  She's more often the humanity blogger or that's how I see her.  She blogs Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday night.   And she's really something. 

    Isaiah is the community cartoonist.  He has been doing editorial cartoons for The Common Ills and the community newsletters since 2005.  He generally publishes new comics on Sunday nights.  At his site, he archives older comics and blogs a little about them and what he was thinking when he drew them.  He blogs on Thursday nights.
    And lastly . . .

  • Third is Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess, Ava and C.I.   The rest of us usually help out with some features.  It's a weekly magazine that publishes on Sundays.  Ava and C.I. cover the media there and have done many amazing pieces. 

    So that's your community breakdown.

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

    Thursday, September 13, 2012.  Chaos and violence continue, Nouri cracks down on beer, Iraq's president may finally return to the country, Iraq's LGBT community remains persecuted, Elise Labott has some tough questions for the State Dept, and more.
    Al Mada reports that the Kurdistan Alliance is stating that Iraqi President Jalal Talabani will return next week and address the political problems plaguing the country while Kurdish MP Mahmoud Othman states that there is no will among the political blocs to resolve the ongoing crisis.  In March 2010, Iraq held parliamentary elections.  Nouri al-Maliki, thug and prime minister, was not pleased with the results which saw his State of Law slate come in second to the Ayad Allawi-led Iraqiya.  Furious that he was not allowed, per the Constitution, first crack at forming a government, Nouri through a public tantrum for eight months -- with the backing of the White House -- and this is known as Political Stalemate I.  It ends in November 2010 only as a result of the US-brokered Erbil Agreement. 
    This contract was an agreement between the leaders of the various political blocs and it gave Nouri a second term as prime minister in exchange for his making various concessions.  Nouri used the contract to get his second term and then trashed the contract.  By the summer of 2011, Iraqiya, Moqtada al-Sadr and the Kurds were calling for a return to the Erbil Agreement and that's when the second political stalemate begins.  In December 2011, Nouri demands that Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi be arrested for 'terrorism' and that Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlaq be stripped of his post (due to remarks al-Mutlaq made to CNN).  Both al-Hashemi and al-Mutlaq are members of Iraqiya and Sunni.  This move begins the political crisis. 
    Numerous attempts at addressing the political crisis have thus far failed.  This includes Moqtada, KRG President Massoud Barzani and Ayad Allawi attempting to launch a no-confidence vote in Parliament.  That was deralied by Jalal Talabani before Talabani fled to Germany.  It may yet happen.  It also includes Jalal and Speaker of Parliament Osama al-Nujaifi's call for a National Conference to address the political crisis.  Nouri stalled and objected and, in the end, managed to kill it the day it was scheduled to start.  Talabani has returned to his call for a National Conference.
    Nouri's being in charge hasn't brought safety to Iraq but has allowed him to demonstrate similarities to Saddam Hussein.  Like Iraq's former and now deceased leader, Nouri doesn't like freedom and doesn't really like people too much.  
    Dropping back to the September 5th snapshot for Nouri and his thugs:

    In other violence,  Alsumaria reports that armed forces in police uniforms attacked various social clubs in Baghdad yesterday, beating various people and firing guns in the air.  They swarmed clubs and refused to allow anyone to leave but did make time to beat people with the butss of their rifles and pistols, they then destroyed the clubs.  AFP adds, "Special forces units carried out near-simultaneous raids at around 8:00 pm (1700 GMT) on Tuesday 'at dozens of nightclubs in Karrada and Arasat, and beat up customers with the butts of their guns and batons,' said an interior ministry official, speaking on condition of anonymity. 'Artists who were performing at the clubs were also beaten,' the official said."  The assaults were ordered by an official who reports only to Nouri al-Maliki. In related news the Great Iraqi Revolution posted video Friday of other attacks on Iraqi civilians by security forces and noted, "Very important :: a leaked video show Iraqi commandos during a raid to Baaj village and the arrest of all the young men in the village .they threatened the ppl of the village they will make them another Fallujah and they do not mind arresting all village's men and leave only women . they kept detainees in a school, and beating them, u can see they burned a car of one of the citizens"
    September 6h, Alsumaria noted that Iraqiya, led by Ayad Allawi, has called out the assault on the social clubs and states that it is violation of the Constitution as well as basic human rights.  Iraqiya spokesperson Maysoun al-Damalouji called on the security forces to respect the rights of the citizens.  Tamim al-Jubouri (Al Mada) added that the forces working for Nouri attacked many clubs including Club Orient which was established in 1944 and that the patrons including Chrisitans who were surprised Tuesday night when Nouri's forces entered and began breaking furniture, beat patrons and employees and stole booze, cell phones and clothing.  So they're not only bullies, they're also theives.  Kitabat explained that the people were attacked with batons and gun butts including a number of musicians who were performing live in the club including singer Hussein Basri.  Alsumaria added that the Baghdad Provincial Council states that they were not informed of the assaults on social clubs.
    Unexpected raids on Baghdad's bars, as well as beaten customers, shocked locals last week. But it's not just drinkers who are upset. Activists say it's the government's latest plan to curb personal freedoms while MPs pondering re-election in the mainly-Muslim nation haven't said a word.   
    Last week, government security forces raided a number of clubs, bars and other establishments in Baghdad without warning, closing many of them by force that same night. The clubs seem to have been targeted both because they were selling alcohol and because they hosted known intellectual cliques. As a result, the attack has raised serious fears of an attack on personal freedoms and concerns that Islamic parties are trying impose their religious ideology on other Iraqis.
    Although Iraq is a mainly Muslim nation and Islam forbids the consumption of alcohol, there are also diverse minorities in Iraq and many of these allow alcohol drinks; often members of these groups will be the ones that run bars or liquor stores.  
    And on September 4, a number of clubs, bars and restaurants in the affluent Baghdad neighbourhoods of Karrada and Arasat were raided. Many of the patrons on the night – and this included members of the security forces and other officials – were injured or beaten as a result.
     One eyewitness told NIQASH that the raiders had been violent. "They were brutal," he said. "They entered and told us all to get out immediately. They then went around smashing everything up, including tables and chairs. And then those who were guarding the entrance started beating the people who were trying to leave with sticks and their rifle butts."
    Ahmed al-Utabi, a well-known poet, was at the Writer's Union Club when it was stormed by security forces. "At first, we thought there was a bomb or an explosive device inside the club and that was why the security forces asked us to leave," al-Utabi said. "Then we were really surprised to see them smashing everything up inside the club."
    In addition, Nouri has overseen the targeting of Iraq's LGBT community.  This week, BBC kicked off a look at the persecution of Iraq's gay community.  Natalia Antelava, Peter Murtaugh, Bill McKenna and Daniel Nasaw's investigative report is the cornerstone of that coverage.  Excerpt:
    Natalia Antelava: In a tiny stuffy room, Ahmed, Nancy and Allou are hiding from their families and the police.  All three have received death threats.  Ahmed has not left this room for over two months now. 
    Ahmed: I came here because I was gay and I was threatened by my family -- my immediate family -- and some unknown guys from my neighborhood.  The situation a few years ago was very bad.  But at that time, they did not pay any attention to gays.  Now they have nothing to do but look for gays -- to kill them.
    Allou: The threat is much bigger now than before.  It's not only the militias now.  It's the police, the government who are going after us.
    Natalia Antelava: I really wish we could show you their faces.  Ahmed's got big, dark, worried eyes on his thin face.  Nancy's really pretty and I would have never guessed that she was born male.  And Allou's got this very trendy haircut which would be completely normal in the West but here in Iraq, this sort of hair could get you killed.  Nancy is especially vulnerable in Iraq.  Born a transgender, she dreams of a sex change operation but it is impossible to have it done in Iraq, she says, and she has no way of leaving the country.
    Nancy: My mom tried to persuade me to act like a man because I am supposed to be a man   I couldn't.  She didn't know what was inside me.  She couldn't understand that.  I can't tell you how many times I've been raped at checkpoints -- with the police, it's countless.  The worst incident was at a checkpoint on Al Sadun street.  They asked me for my ID, then asked me to get out of the car.  It was dark.  They put me against the blast wall.  Nine of them raped me.   There was nothing I could do.  If I had resisted, they would have arrested me.
    Natalia Antelava:  If you could have anything that you wanted, what kind of life would you want to have?
    Nancy: I want to live the life I want.  I want to be a woman and to be treated like one.  I am a human being and this is my right.
    Natalia Antelava:  It's not just transgender, Allou had been raped too.   And I heard many other similar stories -- gay men, with even a slightly feminine appearance say they're often raped by police at checkpoints.
    Allou:  I am so tired, so sad.  I have no freedom.  I can't say that I am gay.  I can't live my life.  I can't go home.  I have to stay here doing nothing and just wait.
    [. . .]
    Natalia Antelava:  Radical milita groups are believed to be behind this hit list.  Although officially they've been disbanded, militias still pose the greatest threat to homosexuals. But those we spoke to say that they're just as fearful of countless police and military checkpoints that are supposed to be making Baghdad safe.  This checkpoint is manned by the Interior Ministry troops.  But in Iraq, one's uniform never tells you the full story.   In this country, you can be a police man by day, a militia man by night.  These blurred lines and mixed allegiances have made it easy for the government to blame militia groups for the killings of gays. But we've discovered evidence that directly links the police with attacks on gays in Iraq. Qais is gay and a former police man. He told me he had been ordered to go after homosexuals.  He couldn't refuse and so he quit his job.
    Qais: In 2006, 2007 and 2008, we were busy fighting terrorsm.  We didn't pay attention to gays.  On top of it, the Iraqi government had to respect the rule of law when the Americans and the British were here.  But now?  They have a lot of free time and the police are going after gays.
    Natalia Antelava:  Have you ever been called to arrest gays or kill gays or go after gays in any way?
    Qais:  Yes, twice.  We had to arrest this guy.  He was having an argument with someone.  Once they arrested him, they accused him of being gay. We were told to send him to another town where he was wanted for being gay.  We sent him to that town and he disappeared.  His family came to ask about him and we sent them to another town where they could not find him. Then they got a death certificate from the police but they never got the body.
    Natalia Antelava:  With so much secrecy, fear and loathing, it's difficult to establish the exact level of the government's involvement in the persecution. But 17 gay men interviewed for this investigation said they believed they were being singled out and hunted by the state. 
    And they are right to feel that way, the government is often behind it, Nouri is often behind it.
    For example, in March of this year, the world's attention turned to the attacks on Iraqi youth -- Emo kids and gay Iraqis -- and those suspected of being both or either.
    Who gave the orders for that targeting?
    The Ministry of Interior.  They put it on paper.
    Nouri is the head of the Ministry of the Interior.
    He refused to nominate anyone to that post or any of the security posts.  He is in charge of the Ministry of the Interior.  It was Ministry of Interior forces that did the targeting, it was those forces that went into schools to talk up the 'threat' these young people posed.  Nouri was responsible. 
    Iraqi LGBT's Ali Hilli writes about the persecution of the LGBT community in Iraq for the BBC:

    Members of our organisation and the gay men and women we interviewed have said consistently that, under arrest, they have been forced to give names and addresses of other homosexuals or suspected homosexuals.Taken together, this is why we believe the Ministry of the Interior tracks sexual minorities with the aim of eliminating them.
    Iraq LGBT is based in London, and it has become increasingly dangerous for us to operate inside Iraq. But we have been trying.
    This is Nouri's Iraq, where safety and security are elusive and Nouri is forever adding to his enemies list.  Vice President al-Hashemi got on that list and Nouri ordered him arrested and charged with terrorism.  al-Hashemi was already in the KRG by that time and KRG President Massoud Barzani offered him asylum.  al-Hashemi currently resides in Turkey.  Sunday, Ramadan al-Fatash (DPA) explained "that a Baghdad court sentenced in absentia Iraq's vice president, Tareq al-Hashemi, to death on terrorism charges. Al-Hashemi, Iraq's most senior Sunni Muslim official, has called the charges a political ploy by the Shiite-led government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki."   Lara Jakes (AP) reported, "The Baghdad courtroom was silent Sunday as the presiding judge read out the verdict convicting al-Hashemi and his son-in-law of organizing the murders of a Shiite security official and a lawyer who had refused to help the vice president's allies in terror cases. The court sentenced both men in absentia to death by hanging. They have 30 days to appeal the verdict."   Sam Dagher and Ali A. Nabhan (Wall Street Journal) observed, "Many saw the verdict against Tariq al-Hashemi -- a prominent Sunni politician who has professed his innocence and has been sheltered by the Sunni Islamist-led government in Turkey since April -- coupled with Sunday's attacks as emboldening those among Iraq's Sunni minority who see violent confrontation rather than politics as the only way to regain powers lost to the Shiite majority after the U.S.-led ouster of Saddam Hussein's regime more than nine years ago."  Omar al-Jawoshy and Michael Schwirtz (New York Times) quoted Talabani stating on Monday, "It was regrettable to issue, at this particular time, a judicial decision against him while he still officially holds office."  Today, Speaker of Parliament Osama al-Nujaifi, Alsumaria notes, has declared that the death sentence for Tareq al-Hashemi could negatively effect any chances of resolving the political crisis. 
    al-Hashemi?   Nouri's Blonde Boyfriend resurfaced today with exciting, new 'analysis.'  He's back to show either his ignorance or his ability to lie -- you decide.  He can't get the facts right because they interfere with the 'logic' of his argument.  He wants you to know that al-Hashemi's story is being misconstrued by everyone and that "It should be remembered that the initial, dramatic reaction to the prosecution of Mr Al Hashemi back in December 2011 ([. . .]) was the withdrawal from the political process of the political alliance to which he belongs, the secular Iraqiya coalition."
    What a stupid ass.  Or maybe he's just a non-stop liar?
    Iraqiya announced a week before the events in dumb ass parenthetical that they were considering withdrawaing.  They withdrew on a Friday.  The following Sunday, Tareq and Saleh al-Mutlaq attempted to fly from Baghdad to the KRG, were taken on the plane and briefly detained before being allowed to fly to the KRG and the next day, Monday, was when the arrest warrant was issued.  Dumb ass doesn't know a damn thing or just likes to lie.
    Those are the choices: Stupid or damn liar.
    Unlike the twit who Tweets, I can back up what I say.  We have archives at this site and I am known for memory.   So let's drop back to the April 30th snapshot:

    The political crisis was already well in effect when December 2011 rolled around.  The press rarely gets that fact correct.  When December 2011 rolls around you see Iraqiya announce a  boycott of the council and the Parliament, that's in the December 16th snapshot and again in a December 17th entry .  Tareq al-Hashemi is a member of Iraqiya but he's not in the news at that point.  Later, we'll learn that Nouri -- just returned from DC where he met with Barack Obama -- has ordered tanks to surround the homes of high ranking members of Iraqiya.  December 18th is when al-Hashemi and Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlaq are pulled from a Baghdad flight to the KRG but then allowed to reboard the plane. December 19th is when the arrest warrant is issued for Tareq al-Hashemi by Nouri al-Maliki who claims the vice president is a 'terrorist.' .
    Again, I can back up what I say.   And, in fact, just did.  Use the links to those entries and you'll see that the boycott was announced on a Friday (December 16th).
    It's people like Nouri's Blonde Boyfriend who repeatedly damage any grown up conversation about Iraq by 'fixing' 'facts' to suit their arguments.
    It's a fact that provincial elections are supposed to take place next year and it is hoped that they can be held in March.  For that to happen, certain details need to be finalized now. 
    All Iraq News reports that State of Law MP Khalid al-Attiyah declared today that State of Law is objecting to ratifying nine commissioners for the Independent High Electoral Commission .  Alsumaria adds State of Law is charging fraud in the vote.  They appear to be upset specifically over the proposal to increase the number of commissioners from 9 to 15.  The terms of the current commissioners long ago expired -- the Parliament has extended them by 30 days and, more recently, by 15.  But what needs to happen is a new commission.  July 19th, Martin Kobler, the UN Secretary-General's special envoy to Iraq, testified before the UN Security Council.  He had this to say regarding the Independent High Electoral Commission:
    Mr. President, there is no democracy without elections and there are no credible elections without a strong and truly independent election commission.  As we speak, my political deputy, Mr. [Gyorgy Busztin], is engaged in facilitation efforts to bring about the formation of a new, Independent High Election Commission which is representative of the main components of Iraq -- including women and children and minorities.  The urgent selection of the commissioners is essential for ensuring that the provincial council elections due to take place in March 2013 can be conducted on time. I'm concerned that the ongoing political stalemate is hindering the process however.  In recent days, I have discussed with political leaders -- including Prime Minister al-Maliki -- the need for a swfit conclusion of this political process and the need for an adequate representation of women and minorities in the commission. Today, I would like to re-iterate my appeal to all political blocs to expedite the selection of professional commissioners.  UNAMI stands here ready to actively assist. 
    Alsumaria reports KRG Deputy Speaker of Parliament Arslan Bayez declared today that disputed Kirkuk is part of Kurdistan and that Article 140 of the Constitution needs to be applied.  He also stated that the Kurds believe in the principle of coexistence and dialogue.  Oil-rich Kirkuk is a disputed region with both the KRG and the centeral-government based in Baghdad attempting to claim it.  How do you resolve the two claims?  The Iraqi Constitution explains how in Article 140: 
    The responsibility placed upon the executive branch of the Iraqi Transitional Government stipulated in Article 58 of the Transitional Administrative Law shall extend and continue to the executive authority elected in accordance with this Constitution, provided that it accomplishes completely (normalization and census and concludes with a referendum in Kirkuk and other disputed territories to determine the will of their citiznes), by a date not to exceed the 31st of December 2007. 
    Well that's pretty clear.  Good thing they've got to December 2007 to . . . . Oh, wait, that's already passed.  Yes, during Nouri al-Maliki's first term as prime minister he refused to implement Article 140 of the Constitution he took an oath to uphold.  And he's continued to refuse to implement it all these years later.   Adnan Hussein (Rudaw) reports a parliamentary committee exists that's supposed to be addressing the issues; however, "Although the province of Kirkuk is at the center of discussions about the disputed territories, the committee doesn't have any members from the area despite the province having six representatives in Iraqi Parliament." 
    In other news sure to tick off Nouri, Press TV reports, "The Kurdistan Region's Council of Ministers has approved a national genocide institute.  The institute will bring together international genocide experts alongside local parliamentarians, academics and activists.  It is hoped that the institute will make work on the genocide more systematic and organised."  The Kurds are said to be the largest ethnic minority in the world without their own homeland.   Among the groups calling for a Kurdish homeland is the PKK.   Alsumaria also reports that Turkish warplanes today continued bombing suspected PKK and, in the process, destroyed two historic churches in Dohuk Province.     Aaron Hess (International Socialist Review) described the PKK in 2008, "The PKK emerged in 1984 as a major force in response to Turkey's oppression of its Kurdish population. Since the late 1970s, Turkey has waged a relentless war of attrition that has killed tens of thousands of Kurds and driven millions from their homes. The Kurds are the world's largest stateless population -- whose main population concentration straddles Turkey, Iraq, Iran, and Syria -- and have been the victims of imperialist wars and manipulation since the colonial period. While Turkey has granted limited rights to the Kurds in recent years in order to accommodate the European Union, which it seeks to join, even these are now at risk."
    Iraqis continue to be at risk as violence grips the country.  Alsumaria reports a Falluja roadside bombing claimed the life of 1 police officer and left three more injured, a Ramadi car bombing left five people injured, a Falluja roadside bombing left three people injured, a Nineveh car bombing left six people injured, a Mosul attack claimed the life of 1 person (and the person was the cousin of an Iraqiya MP) and Salahuddin roadside bombing claimed 4 lives and left one person injured. AFP adds that a Dhuluiyah roadside bombing claimed the lives of 4 Iraqi soldiers with another left wounded.  
    Turning to diplomacy, Trend News Agency notes that William Hague, UK Minister of Foreign Affairs, arrived in Iraq yesterday.  BBC News adds, "During his stay, Mr Hague will meet senior Iraqi figures, including Prime Minister Nouri Maliki and Foreign Minister Hoshiyar Zerbari."   Still on diplomatic issues,  Kitabat notes that after the scandal that was Brett McGurk's nomination to be US Ambassador to Iraq, US President Barack Obama has now nominated Robert Stephen Beecroft to the post.  Beecroft is currently Charge d'Affaires at the US Embassy in Baghdad and the paper states he is little known in political circiels but has a personal relationship with the Shi'ite National Alliance coalition and is seen "as a proponent of Nouri al-Maliki and his policies."  The Senate Foreign Relations Committee has scheduled the confirmation hearing for Robert S. Beecroft for next Tuesday morning.
    MONTAGNE: And earlier this morning, reporter Hadeel al-Shalchi of Reuters, who's in Benghazi, described these events. Word spread of the protest in Cairo against a film that insulted Islam. Protesters headed to the consulate in Libya and the situation escalated.
    INSKEEP: A lot of guns in Benghazi, Libya, things became more and more violent. And later, she says, it began to seem like an organized attack because of mortar fire that appeared to be carefully targeted. That's the information from Benghazi, Libya.
    NPR's Dina Temple-Raston is here in the U.S. She's been talking with U.S. officials. And Dina, what is their timeline of what happened when in Benghazi?
    DINA TEMPLE-RASTON, BYLINE: Well, the U.S. consulate in Benghazi is in this temporary compound that's basically made up of a main building, a couple of auxiliary buildings and an annex. And when they provided this timeline, they said that around 10:00 p.m. Libya time, Tuesday night, the compound started taking small arms fire. And then maybe 15 minutes later there was a rocket-propelled grenade that went into the main building and then set it on fire.
    There were three people in that main building - Ambassador Stevens, a U.S. information officer named Sean Smith, and a regional security guard. And apparently these rocket-propelled grenades set the main building on fire, so they were trying to escape. And there was smoke and fire. The security guard made it out. Ambassador Stevens apparently hadn't. In the confusion they lost track of him.
    And it took about half an hour for a handful of men to get back into the main building to look for the ambassador, because they were under such heavy fire. When they finally got back into the main building, they found Sean Smith. He had died there. But they couldn't find the ambassador anywhere. And by then it was about midnight.
    MONTAGNE: And Dina, how exactly - 'cause there was a little confusion about this yesterday - how exactly did Ambassador Stevens die? And then what happened to him?
    TEMPLE-RASTON: Well, there still is a lot of confusion about exactly how he died. When they eventually got into the main building and they realized that the ambassador was no longer there, and they didn't know how - where he was or how he left the compound, they found out later that he was apparently taken to a local hospital, but it's unclear how he got there. It's unclear whether he died in the compound or died at the hospital.
    They think that local Libyans took him to the hospital, but the circumstances around that are still unclear. The next time U.S. officials saw the ambassador was when the Libyans dropped his body off at the airport.
    MONTAGNE: And let me ask you just one more thing. The other two Americans who died, they have never been named - so far. Why is that?
    TEMPLE-RASTON: They haven't been named because they are trying to contact their next of kin. We understand the other two who died are likely to be security people. But they're trying to contact their next of kin before they release those names.
    INSKEEP: So the timeline that U.S. officials give suggests an incident that escalated fairly quickly. You're saying within maybe 15 minutes there were rocket-propelled grenades being fired. It became this battle for control of a building. You said that Sean Smith, the U.S. embassy employee, was killed at that time, that the ambassador disappeared, two other Americans died along the way along with a number of Libyans.
    Elise Labott:  Can you talk a little bit more about the security that was at the Embassy? It seems that for an area such as Benghazi, where there was a lot of instability, there were very few guards there. And can you talk about whether the U.S. asked Libya, the Libyan Government, earlier in the week for extra security precaution and whether that – extra security precautions or security personnel and whether that request was fulfilled?
    Victoria Nuland: Well, let me start by reminding you that we are extremely cautious in any circumstances about talking publicly about our security arrangements. You can understand that the more you talk about these things, the more difficult it is to maintain security at your facilities. So --
    Elise Labott:  It does seem though that there were very few security personnel at this location.
    Victoria Nuland:  I'm going to reject that, Elise. Let me tell you what I can about the security at our mission in Benghazi. It did include a local Libyan guard force around the outer perimeter. This is the way we work in all of our missions all around the world, that the outer perimeter is the responsibility of the host government. There was obviously a physical perimeter barrier, a wall. And then there was a robust American security presence inside the compound. This is absolutely consistent with what we have done at a number of missions similar to Benghazi around the world.
    Elise Labott:   Could you talk about whether a request was made to the Libyan Government as early as Sunday or Monday and whether that – for additional security precautions, given the fact that there was some trouble in the area, and whether that request was fulfilled?
    Victoria Nuland:  I'm not prepared to talk about specific diplomatic engagements between us and the Libyans on security, either before or after.
    Elise Labott:   Well, I mean, I have to take issue with that, because there have been several incidents, including you from the podium, throughout the Arab Spring where you've said –
    Victoria Nuland: Right.
    Elise Labott:   -- that you've talked about discussions with the various governments –
    Victoria Nuland: Right.
    Elise Labott: -- about needing additional security precautions – the Syrians, for instance –
    Victoria Nuland: Right.
    Elise Labott:  -- which was one of the reasons that you closed your Embassy, because those precautions were not taken. So why would this be any different?
    Victoria Nuland:  Elise, I'm happy to see whether there's more that we can share on this, but I don't have it today.
    The attack was supposedly a violent response to a film/video posted online, made by an American or someone in the United States.
    Al Mada notes that a group of Iraqi scientists led by Khalid al-Mulla stated that the US needed to use all means necessary to stop the film and others like it.  The group lumps the US into abuse by "Zionists" globally -- while wanting tolerance for their own religious beliefs.  All Iraq News notes the Iraqi Parliament is calling for the US Congress to stop the film.  Freedom of speech has obviously not been explained well.   Alsumaria reports hundreds turned out in Kut today to protest the film.  All Iraq News notes Sadrists in Karbala launched a protest as well.  For the record, there were no protests reported objecting to the murders of four Americans.  For the record, the scientists and the Parliament was not reported to have made any comments condemning the four deaths.  AGI reports, " Hundreds of people took to the streets in Baghdad, in the suburb district of Sadr City, burning US flags. Protests jointly staged by Sunni and Shia Muslims were also reported in Iraq's southern city of Basra."  You can briefly see the Baghdad protest in Danielle Nottingham's CBS report (link is video).
    In addition, the Voice of Russia reports that al Qaeda in Mespotamia linked group Asaib al-Haq's has issued a message from their leader attacking a film that those who rioted and murdered used as their excuse for their actions.   The leader of Asaib al-Haq appears to threaten Americans.  Appears to?  The English language is not mastered in this statement: "The offence caused to the messenger (Prophet Mohammad) will put all American insterests in danger and we will not forgive them for that."  Forgive who?  The Americans most likely but the poorly worded statement could also be seen as saying that "them" is the film makers.  Most likely?  They are the League of Righteous.  You may remember that they killed five American soldiers.  CNN reminds the five US soldiers killed "were: Capt. Brian S. Freeman, 31, of Temecula, California; 1st Lt. Jacob N. Fritz, 25, of Verdon, Nebraska; Spc. Johnathan B. Chism, 22, of Gonzales, Louisiana; Pfc. Shawn P. Falter, 25, of Cortland, New York; and Pfc. Johnathon M. Millican, 20, of Trafford, Alabama."   You may remember that the US military had the leader, his brother and a number of other members in custody and Barack Obama made a deal with the League to release them so they would release the corpses of four dead citizens of the United Kingdom.  You may remember how the leader grumbled publicly about the deal made and refused to release the fourth body for over a year.  AP adds, "The U.S. Embassy in Baghdad remains the world's largest American diplomatic mission, with an estimated 15,000 employees."