Saturday, November 10, 2012

The general's exit?


"Unravel #1: Skyfall Petraeus' L'Affaire Ben-Gay, er, Ben-ghazi" (Hillary Is 44):
Tax cheat Tim Geithner as Secretary of the Treasury is overlord of the IRS. A tax cheat telling the IRS what to do apparently is not a problem for the corrupt Barack Obama.
Today, as the country continues the great unraveling – which began immediately after the Tuesday elections with layoffs, stock market fiscal cliff, Taxmageddon, January 1 tax hike, shakes – we are told that the Director of the CIA has resigned. It’s unravel #1 to national security with the news breaking: Petraeus submits resignation as CIA director.
And get this: we’re supposed to believe the resignation comes because David put his peter where it did not belong. Yeah, an “extramarital affair”.
Big Media is spinning the tale that because of potential blackmail threats Petraeus has to resign. But why not end the affair, confess publicly, apologize to his wife, then continue as CIA Director? It’s not as if anyone who has seen a James Bond movie believes spies are morally upright and know nothing about sex and/or kinky sex. Petraeus could have submitted his resignation and Obama turned it down. The notion that something here does not stink (are you listening Allahpundit?) and that this story passes the Obama stink test is risible.


He is such a liar.  Barack is.  We all know better.  I am wondering how much will be discussed and how much C.I. will discuss.

Remember, she had no respect for Petraeus. 

She had no problem with Ray Odierno, the general who replaced Petraeus in Iraq.  C.I. knew a great deal about Petraeus due to friendships with various people who served under him and due to one friend in the press in particular.

Isaiah did numerous comics spoofing Petraeus.  He never did one spoofing Odierno. 

If you ask him why that is, he will tell you that he knew Petraeus was a problem from the snapshots and also from C.I.'s conversations.  There is a comic that was rather telling, for example.

But Odierno?  People serving under him liked him and felt he was forthright and honest.

Without putting too big a point on it: Petraeus couldn't keep it in his pants.

So this assertion that he's left the CIA for that reason?

Spare me.

He may have been forced out.  And I wouldn't put it past Barack to tell him to leave in order to save Barack's own ass, nor would I put it past Barack to have a few files on people's personal lives to blackmail them with.


I do not know what happened but I can tell you the easy, breezy story we're getting is not reality. 

I can also tell you that Jon Wiener seems to think if he attacks White people, we'll give him an honorary Black pass.  No, Jon, ain't happening.

Barry Grey (WSWS) explains:


Jon Wiener posted a blog on the Nation site the same day with the title: “The Bad News About White People: Romney Won the White Vote Almost Everywhere.”
Wiener writes: “Liberals hoped that whites who opposed Obama in 2008 would learn toleration and acceptance of racial differences after four years with a black president in the White House. But what happened was the opposite: Romney won 4 percent more of the white vote in 2012 than John McCain won in 2008…
“What’s the matter with white people—especially old white men? They used to run everything… Could it be that they resent their loss of power in a country that is becoming more racially diverse every minute?”
Here we enter the field of social pathology. One can only imagine what the Nation was preparing to say about the white working class in the event of an Obama loss!
This type of rant, which expresses openly the conceptions that dominate much of the milieu of the middle-class pseudo-left, can be described only as politically and morally sick. There is a whiff of fascism in this descent into racial stereotypes.


I am so sick of the Jon Weiners. They really think this is the way to look cool.  But non-Whites, at least those of us who are Black, don't usually say, "Yeah, you nailed Cracker!"  No, we tend to think, "You're certainly trying hard when you know we're watching.  But what about when we're not present?"

So we don't trust the Jon Weiners.

And Barry Grey is correct that "there is a whiff of fascism" about it.
"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):

Friday, November 9, 2012.  Chaos and violence continue, Veterans Day is Sunday in the United States, the former governor of the Central Bank in Iraq sees a power grab, Saudi prisoners in Iraq prisons suffer, Nouri's attorney declares a bill Parliament is considering would not -- even if passed -- apply to Nouri, rebellion in the streets and in the mosques over Nouri's plans to kill the ration-card system, threats from Nouri's government to a Russian oil company, and more.
 
 
In the United States, Veterans Day is Sunday. In some areas it will be observed on Monday.  (And some events will take place on Saturday to observe it.)  Senator Patty Murray is the Chair of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee and she will be attending an observation in Washington state on Monday.  Her office notes:
 
FOR PLANNING PURPOSES
Friday, November 9th, 2012
Contact: Murray Press Office
(202) 224-2834
 
MONDAY: Senator Murray to Speak at Veterans Day Memorial Service in Seattle
Murray: Veterans Day is a time to reflect on the shared duty we owe to our nation's veterans
 
(Washington, D.C.) -- On Monday, November 12, 2012, Senator Patty Murray, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs, will attend Evergreen Washelli Cemetery's 63rd Annual Veterans Day Memorial Celebration with veterans and their families.  She will give remarks on the importance of honoring the shared duty owned to our nation's veterans, specifically in ensuring veterans can easily access the care and benefits they deserve.  The event is a Service of Remembrance and will take place at the Doughboy statue at the base of the Veterans Memorial Cemetery.
 
WHO:     U.S. Senator Patty Murray
              Veterans and their families
 
WHAT:    Senator Murray will give a speech at Evergreen Washelli Cemetery in 
               observance of Veterans Day
 
 
WHEN:      Monday, November 12th, 2012
                 11:00 AM PST
 
 
WHERE:    Evergreen Washelli Cemetery
                 11111 Aurora Avenue North
                  Seattle, WA 98133
                  MAP
 
###
 
Kathryn Robertson
Specialty Media Coordinator
Office of U.S. Senator Patty Murray
448 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington D.C. 20510
202-224-2834
 
 
 
 
 
US House Rep Jeff Miller is the Chair of the House Veterans Affairs Committee. And his office has released the following:
 
 
Chairman's Corner
I often wonder if we do enough to honor our veterans. These are, after all, the men and women who, at great peril to themselves, put on the uniform of our country and defend all that it stands for. They don't do it for the gratification of their fellow Americans; instead they do it for love of country and an overwhelming sense of duty. Just because their call to arms is not with the expectation of any repayment or gratitude, it does not mean we can't find ways to celebrate their service. We have an obligation to our veterans to provide for them with the care and support they need to live full lives. Veterans Day is a great opportunity for all Americans to take part in the celebration of our nation's most vital resource, our servicemembers, veterans, and their families. But to truly and fully appreciate our veterans, we need to honor them 365 days a year, and not just on
November 11.
 
Happy Birthday USMC!
The Marine Corps is celebrating its 237th birthday this weekend. Thank you to all the men and women who have served in this elite force. Please watch this birthday video, produced by the Marine Corps to commemorate the special occasion. Semper Fidelis.
 
Running for Veterans
Former Marine Corps Sgt. J. Brendan O'Toole will be running across America to raise money for veterans. You can read more here about O'Toole's service and what inspired him to put aside a year of his life to help our veterans as they return home.
 
A Great Cause
Earlier this week in anticipation of Veterans Day, Chairman Jeff Miller sat down with MSN to discuss the issues facing the veterans' community today. The interview is available on MSN's new "causes" page, aimed at raising awareness to a variety of issues facing America today.
 
Thoughts on this Veterans Day
As Chairman Miller does every month, he penned an op-ed in Wreaths Across America's newsletter. This month's article is dedicated to Veterans Day and how it remains vital that we continue to increase our support for veterans. Wreaths Across America will take place on December 15 this year. Committee Member, Dr. Phil Roe, a veteran himself, also shares his thoughts on this Veterans Day. Read more here.
 
 
We're going to include Texas Governor Rick Perry's statement in a moment but first there are two eateries observing Veterans Day.  California Pizza Kitchen nationwide on Sunday and Monday and Applebees across the country on Sunday. Veterans and active duty military -- have identification or be in uniform -- visiting California Pizza Kitchen either day will recieve a free non-alcoholic beverage and a free pizza and those visiting Applebees on Sunday will receive a free entree (choose from three-cheese chicken penne, a bacon cheddar cheeseburger, oriental chicken salad, 7 ounce sirloin, chicken tenders platter, fiesta lime chicken or double crunch shrimp). Are there more?  There probably are.  Those two e-mailed to note their observance of Veterans Day.  So if you're a veteran or active duty, you should surely stop by. 
 
And if you're not a veteran or active duty?  You can certainly keep in mind that California Pizza Kitchen and Applebees made a point to honor Veterans Day when a lot of others did not.  Stan says he loves Applebees Bourbon Black & Bleu Burger.   Ann states, "I can't tell you about calories, I've never asked and I don't want to know but their oriental chicken salad is a meal and then some."  Myself, I'm a pizza addict.  There are months I go "meat free" with the exception of anything on a pizza.  At California Pizza Kitchen, I can't pick just one.  Because of calories, I try to avoid anything other than thin crust.  But if I'm having original crust (which is thicker), it will be because I'm having the Hawaiian BBQ Chicken.  Any and all of the thin crust pizzas, I've eaten and loved.  Kat, Wally, Ava and I are on the road most weeks and there are times when we finish speaking with a group and it's too late so we'll hit a grocery store.  In the frozen foods section at many grocery stores you can find California Pizza Kitchen frozen pizzas.  If it's the four of us, we usually go with their BBQ Recipe Chicken (and get two because Wally and I can eat pizza -- wolf it down in fact).  I'm making a point here to plug two places that are making a point to observe Veterans Day. 
 
There will be observations throughout the country.  I'm noting events that were mailed to the public account and one that a friend requested we note.

Saturday in Los Angeles is "A Day For Heroes" which is free for veterans, active duty military, and family members and includes a barbeque and a concert.  In the state of Washington, parades will take place Saturday in Auburn, West Richland, Vancouver, Port Angeles and Spokane -- while there will be a Veterans Breakfast in RainerSaturday will also see the Atlanta Veterans Day Parade in Georgia. Shreveport, LA will see a Veterans Day Biker Event hosted by Veterans For Veterans -- with a motorcycle parade, a bike show, a car show and a silent auction with proceeds going to support veterans.

Nashville will hold a Veterans Day Parade on SundayColumbia, South Carolina will also hold a Veterans Day parade.  In Berkeley, you can attend a benefit performance of Soldier Stories (tickets $20.50 in advance, $22.50 at the door) with the proceeds going to help homeless veterans. In Kihei, Hawaii, there will be a Luau at the VFW Hall.  That's at 2110 Uluniu Road and it starts at 5:00 pm.  I don't have a link so I'm noting time and location.  (A friend asked me to note the event.)  Albuquerque, New Mexico will host a Veterans Day Parade on SundayDelaware will host a Veterans Day Ceremony in New CastleMiami will host a Veterans Day Parade on SundayTampa will host a Central Florida Military Resource Fair open to all veterans and active duty military which will include job info, benefits and health care opportunities, flu shots and medical screenings.


Monday, Montgomery, Alabama will host the Third Annual River Region Veterans Day Parade.  In Pueblo, Colorado, there will be a Veterans Day Commemoration at Colorado State University.
 
Rick Perry is the Governor of Texas.  His office notes:
 
Gov. Rick Perry today highlighted Texas' ongoing commitment to helping our nation's veterans and their families receive the services and support they need when they return from duty, including initiatives to help skilled veterans find jobs. The governor spoke at an annual Veterans Day ceremony honoring local veterans.
"Americans have consistently sent their best and bravest to confront the forces of darkness throughout the world, and time and again, our military members have proven up to the challenges posed by these forces," Gov. Perry said. "In Texas, we will always remember the courage and dedication of our men and women in uniform, and do everything we can to help them heal and return capably to the workforce."
The governor called for a constitutional amendment extending a full property tax exemption to spouses and children of members of the armed forces who were killed in action, building on the current $5,000 tax exemption that spouses and children currently receive. Gov. Perry signed House Bill 3613 in 2009, which granted a property tax exemption to 100 percent disabled veterans. This exemption was extended in 2011 to the surviving spouses of those veterans through Senate Bill 516.
Gov. Perry touted a new, industry-driven initiative by the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) that will help connect veterans with job opportunities, and provide veterans and employers with funds for training and occupation certifications in the energy industry. TWC is dedicating existing general revenue funds to help offset training costs for the veteran and employer. 
He also reiterated his support for TWC's Hiring Red, White & You Campaign, which connects veterans with employers and job opportunities in Texas. TWC is partnering with 28 local workforce development board areas and the Texas Veterans Commission to host veterans' job fairs across the state on November 15.
For more information about the governor's veterans' initiatives, please visit http://governor.state.tx.us/initiatives/veterans.
For more information about TWC veterans initiatives, please visit http://www.twc.state.tx.us/svcs/vetsvcs/veterans-services-program-overview.html.
 
 
(If you're wondering why his office is noted and 49 others aren't, his office sent that to the public account and I shared my thoughts earlier this morning.  We can repeat them in another entry but the focus above is on veterans.)
 
Something to remember this Veterans Day is how little coverage there is.  Aaron Schachter (PRI's The World -- link is audio and transcript) spoke with CORKSPHERE's Bill Corcoran yesterday about his decision to stop updating to his website.
 
Aaron Schacter: I wonder if it angers you at all that the military is so tight-lipped about what goes on in Afghanistan and Iraq.
 
Bill Corcoran: Yeah, I am.  I definitely am.  I feel that there should be more transparency.  I don't see any reason to keep it so quiet and hidden right now.  I think they'd just as soon see it disappear altogether and when they phase this thing out, it'll be like somebody will wake up one day and say, I haven't heard anything on that Afghanistan war for a while.  And then they'll say, oh, that's because we pulled out of there three months ago.
 
 
Yesterday, Krys Boyd (KERA's Think) spoke with Rita Nakashima Brock who co-wrote Soul Repair: Recovering from Moral Injury after War and with retired military Chaplain Col Herman Keizer Jr. who are both co-directors of the Brite Divinity School's Soul Repair Center for the hour (here for the podcast).  Excerpt.
 
Krys Boyd:  What's fascinating about this issue is that, in some ways, in order to come back in one piece you have to set aside normal human empathy to survive.  Is that right?
 
Col Herman Keizer Jr.: Yeah, and one of the problems when going to warwar is that you're trained really to kill and take life.  The military says that you're here to kill people and break thing.  Sso they have to train them.  And one of the discussions I've had a lot with the senior military is we train them to be so reflexive that that they just move and engage the enemy before they think about it.  And in some sense, that's the best reaction you could ask for on the battle field.  The last thing you want is for somebody to scratch their head and say, "Do I shoot or don't I?" And so the military, it does train them and it does train them very well so that they are now very reflexive in their responses on the battlefield but those reflexi actions are reflected on later and then the moral kind of injury begins to set in.  Several of the stories coming out of Iraq and Afghanistan are where people are in automobiles and coming towards them and they're in some kind of firefight already.  And here they see these other vehicles coming towards them and they yell at people to stop and for some communication reasons or something they don't stop.  So the suspicion is that it's the enemy and then you shoot.  And you see a baby flying out of the back of the car, you know, you know, dead in its mother's arms.  And the mother holds it up and it's says to the soldier why?  And the soldier says why?  It's just one of those fog of war kinds of things that cause real moral ambiguity.
 
Krys Boyd:  So they're left -- the people who have gone through these experiences with the question of: who am I?  Am I this person who had to shoot, who did shoot? Or am I the person who comes home and thinks, how could I have hurt a child? Or an innocent person
 
Rita Nakashima Brock:  And I think that soldiers have different responses to those situations.  Some people say, 'Well I did the right thing because it could have been an enemy.  And others will say, "How could I have killed a child?  How could I have done that?" It's not -- There's not a one size fits all response to war but it is true that there's -- especially in insurgency wars like we're fighting -- even the military moral code of not killing civilians doesn't apply.
 
 
 
Turning to an Iraq War veteran who was pulled from Iraq and thrown behind bars,  Bradley Manning.  Major news in the ongoing case against Bradley.   Monday April 5, 2010, WikiLeaks released US military video of a July 12, 2007 assault in Iraq. 12 people were killed in the assault including two Reuters journalists Namie Noor-Eldeen and Saeed Chmagh. Monday June 7, 2010, the US military announced that they had arrested Bradley Manning and he stood accused of being the leaker of the video. Leila Fadel (Washington Post) reported in August 2010 that Manning had been charged -- "two charges under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. The first encompasses four counts of violating Army regulations by transferring classified information to his personal computer between November and May and adding unauthorized software to a classified computer system. The second comprises eight counts of violating federal laws governing the handling of classified information." In March, 2011, David S. Cloud (Los Angeles Times) reported that the military has added 22 additional counts to the charges including one that could be seen as "aiding the enemy" which could result in the death penalty if convicted. The Article 32 hearing took place in December. At the start of this year, there was an Article 32 hearing and, February 3rd, it was announced that the government would be moving forward with a court-martial. Prior to today, Bradley had yet to enter a plea and has neither affirmed that he is the leaker nor denied it. The court-martial was supposed to begin before the election but it was postponed until after the election so that Barack wouldn't have to run on a record of his actual actions.
 
Arun Rath (PRI's The World) notes Bradley's civilian defense has posted a statement online.  David E. Coombs is Bradley's civilian attorney and he posted the following:
 
 
PFC Manning has offered to plead guilty to various offenses through a process known as "pleading by exceptions and substitutions."  To clarify, PFC Manning is not pleading guilty to the specifications as charged by the Government.  Rather, PFC Manning is attempting to accept responsibility for offenses that are encapsulated within, or are a subset of, the charged offenses.  The Court will consider whether this is a permissible plea.
PFC Manning is not submitting a plea as part of an agreement or deal with the Government.  Further, the Government does not need to agree to PFC Manning's plea; the Court simply has to determine that the plea is legally permissible.  If the Court allows PFC Manning to plead guilty by exceptions and substitutions, the Government may still elect to prove up the charged offenses.  Pleading by exceptions and substitutions, in other words, does not change the offenses with which PFC Manning has been charged and for which he is scheduled to stand trial.
PFC Manning has also provided notice of his forum selection.  He has elected to be tried by Military Judge alone.
 
 
 
Iraqi children,  August 18th we noted,Alsumaria notes that an 18-year-old male has been arrested in Basra. He is a suspect in the kidnapping, rape and murder of a four-year-old girl."  Now dropping back to October 13th: "Violence that is presumably unconnected to the war -- but who knows in a war zone -- includes the rape and murder of four-year-old Abeer Ali Abdul, reported by Al Mada.  She is the second girl in her area of Nasiriyah to be kidnapped and found murdered."   AP covers the story today.  They noted the two rapes and murders are not thought to be linked.  In the first case, Banan Haider is the name of the victim, an Iraqi soldier has been found guilty.  Usual caveat: Iraq does not have a functioning legal system and 'confessions' via torture are very common.  As a result, the guilty may or may not be the ones convicted.  At this site, we do not accept the lying premise that 'confessions' under torture are confessions.  We do not endorse torture and we don't even casually embrace it here.  The man may or may not be guilty.  What is known is that Banan's parents want him to be publicly executed to 'teach a lesson.'  I'm sorry, Iraq's crime rate has dropped recently?
 
 
Dropping back to the October 15th snapshot:

So far this year, Iraq is known to have executed 119 people. It has ignored calls from the United Nations, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and others to impose a moratorium on the death penalty. Despite the fact that Iraqi President Jalal Talabani insists he is against the death penalty and regularly basks in applause for that stance, he has not blocked one execution. (His 'opposition' is refusing to sign the death warrants, leaving it for a vice president to sign it. As president, he could object to any or all executions and stop them immediately. He refuses to use that power.)
These executions are beginning to cause more problems for Iraq. Kitabat reports that Alegeria has summed the Iraqi ambassador to express their alarm that an Alegerian, Abdullah Ahmad Belhadi, has been executed and Saudi Arabia is objecting to plans to execute their citizens -- though Faleh al-Fayad, Iraqi national security adviser, declares the Saudi executions will go forward.
It doesn't appear that executions are dettering crime.  But then, they never have.  Crime is a risk and a person acts on impulse (crimes of passion) or weighs the risks.  Few people, especially younger in life, ever picture themselves dying or being executed in their own near future.  Do you know who has to factor in the threat of death?  Attorneys in Iraq.  Specifically, Thamer Qamqoom (Okaz/Saudi Gazette) reports that Iraqi attorneys who have Saudi prisoners in the Iraqi prison system are receiving death threats.  Of the clients, Qamqoom reports:
 
Abdul Rahman Al-Jurais, who is defending Saudi prisoners in Iraq, said one of the Saudi prisoners, Malwah Zaid Al-Shammary, has been suffering from amnesia and is now mentally handicapped as a result of being tortured by Iraqi prison officers.
He said the prisoner's family authorized him to arrange for their son to return to Sakaka, where he was born and raised.
He entered Iraq in 2008 and was later placed in a notorious prison.
Currently, he is an inmate at Krobar Prison near Baghdad Airport.
Malwah's brother said: "My brother suffers from chronic psychological disorders. That's what I was told by some prisoners.
"I urge authorities including the International Committee of the Red Cross and the United Nations Commission to save my brother.
"He should be transferred to a mental health hospital immediately."
 
 
But Iraq can't stop issuing death penalty sentences.  Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi has been sentenced to death four times in the last weeks.  (Tareq is a political rival of Nouri al-Maliki's.  Tareq belongs to Iraqiya -- which won the most seats in the 2010 parliamentary elections -- and he is Sunni.)  AFP notes that yesterday it was announced that two bodyguards of Tareq have been given death sentences. This is in addition to the six announced earlier this week.
 
From state-sanctioned violence to other violence, Alsumaria reports 1 corpse was discovered in Baghdad (gun shot wounds), a Kirkuk roadside bombing injured two police officers, and the Associate Director of the Rafidain Bank was kidnapped near his Aden home and a nephew of a Dawa Party official was shot dead in Kut by four unidentified assailants. All Iraq News adds that 2 corpses were discovered in Sulaymaniyah.  In addition, Reuters notes, "Turkish air force jets and attack helicopters pounded Kurdish militants along the border with Iraq on Thursday, killing 13, the local governor's office and security sources said on Friday."  Press TV adds 1 Turkish soldier died in the fighting as well.    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."
 
Iraq is rich in oil -- apparently not rich enough to do away with greed, however.   MarketWatch reports, "OAO Lukoil Hodlings, Russia's second-largest oil producer, has received an offer from Exxon Mobil Corp. on the U.S. major's West Qurna-1 oil field project in Iraq, Lukoil Deputy President Andrei Kuzyayev was quoted as saying by Interfax Friday."  Most of the time when someone has "received an offer," it's because they're attempting to sell something.  In this case Lukoil is not selling, ExxonMobil is.  Vladimir Soldatkin, Ashmed Rasheed and William Hardy (Reuters) note, "ExxonMobil has informed the Iraqi government it wants to pull out of the $50 billion oil project in southern Iraq.  LUKOIL, which is already developing West Qurna-2, has previously said West Qurna-1 is 'too big for it to swallow', but on Friday said it would at least look into the proposal."  After the decision last month to buy billions of weapons from Russia, it may appear Russia and Iraq are getting very close -- and they might be.  But friendly?  Do you threaten a friend?  AFP reports, "Baghdad has told Russian energy giant Gazprom to either cancel its energy contracts in Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region or abandon its work with the central government, a spokesperson said on Friday."
 
On the topic of government greed, Sinan al-Shabibi tells Prashant Rao (AFP),  "Since 2009, they wanted to fire me, and they wanted money from the reserves.  I think the main problem . . . is basically the reserves, because they thought we have a lot of reserves, and they want to use it for financing.  The government wanted some money from the Central Bank. . . . Of course, the law does not allow that, the central bank law."  Who is Sinan al-Shabibi?  Dropping back to October 15th:

  Al Mada reports today that Parliament sources say an arrest warrant exists for Sinan al-Shabibi, the Centeral Bank president, and that the people are seeing this as another effort by Nouri to take control of the independent institution.  Alsumaria notes that al-Shabibi is currently in Tokyo at a conference and due to return to Baghdad later today.  Dar Addustour offers a run down on what happened with the warrant itself  It was issued by a judge who did not ask questions and when the news reached the Chief Justice Medhat al-Mahmoud, he ordered that the warrant be pulled.   Iraqiya's spokesperson Maysoun al-Damalouji tells the outlet that it is necessary for the central bank  to maintain its independence.
 
The next day,   All Iraq News noted that Moqtada al-Sadr's bloc was accusing Nouri of targeting the Centeral Bank due to the independence of the institution. 
 
Nouri and troubles are never far apart.  Tuesday, his spokesperson announced that the food-ration-card system (a program by which Iraqis were able to get flour, sugar, and other staples) was being stopped.  And that was supposed to be the end of that.  It hasn't been the end of anything.
 

Alsumaria reports that today, during Friday prayers, the Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani declared his objection to gutting the program.  The statement noted that the government justifications for ending the program are neither logical nor acceptable and that those of faith in Iraq must object to the push to end the program due to the fact that it will increase the burden on the poor.  Further,  al-Sistani noted that the price of food cannot be left up to the merchants because each month of Ramadan has seen prices soar with the increased demand and the government has been powerless to do anything about it.  To the insistence by Nouri supporters that the program must be gutted to fight corruption, al-Sistani responded that if the government has failed to prevent corruption, that is no reason to punish the citizens for its own failures.  The statement ended with al-Sistani noting that his words were neither a political nor economic stand but instead an expression of the beliefs and hopes of the Iraqi people.


Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani is a higher official that Nouri or most elected ones.  That's in part because of his role as a spiritual leader and in part due to his biography.  On the latter, he never fled Iraq.  Under Saddam Hussein, he was persecuted.  But he stayed in Iraq.  The people know he will stay in Iraq.  Unlike many of Nouri's now former Cabinet ministers, for example, he won't flee the country (those ministers often have accusations of theft attached to their names).  Unlike many, he doesn't hold dual citizenship.  He is an Iraqi who commands a great deal of respect in the country and that goes beyond Shi'ite and Sunni divisions.

Kitabat covers al-Sistani's statement and notes others objecting as well including Speaker of Parliament Osama al-Nujaifi.  All Iraq News reports that people flocked into the streets of Najaf following morning prayers and took part in a mass demonstration against cancelling the ration cards.  Participants included Imams.  The people are calling on their provinical government to argue against dropping the ration cards.  Sheikh Abdul Mahdi al-Karbalai declared  in Karbala during morning prayers today that the decision must be reviewed because it is unacceptable and is rejected by religious authority.     All Iraq News notes that the Kurdistan Alliance has issued a statement denouncing Nouri's decision and insisting the ration card system is needed.  Kitabat reports that Moqtada al-Sadr is no longer just objecting to the cancellation, he's now demanding that the Cabinet make public which Cabinet ministers voted to cancel the program.  Today al-Shabibi tells AP, "They want to control the central bank.  If they control the central bank, they will destroy the economy."   In the face of all of this, the smart thing politically would be to announce that the food-ration-card system would remain in place.
 
It's not as if Nouri's not hoping for a third term as prime minister.  Al Mada reports that Parliament's efforts to pass a law limiting the three presidencies (Speaker of Parliament, President of Iraq and Prime Minister) to two terms has resulted in State of Law (Nouri's political slate) insisting that, if such a law passes, they will appeal to the Federal Court.  That's the court that has repeatedly and continually deferred to Nouri's wishes over and over, year after year, regardless of what the Iraqi constitution says.  Nouri's attorney declared yesterday that, should such a law pass, it wouldn't be binding on Nouri.
 
 
 
 Also Alsumaria notes two villages in Basra are being victimized by packs of stray dogs with six children and one man bitten in the last two days alone.  The dogs have not been confirmed as having rabies at present (though that is a concern of the people in the two villages).
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Thursday, November 08, 2012

So that party won't get my vote again

Hillary Is 44's "The Voice Of Age-Old Wisdom" has some thoughts to consider.  I have no idea what we're to make of it. 

I'm numb from the results.

I'm so desperate to find something else.

I can't believe we're stuck with Barack for four more years. 

And I was reading the results today.  Do you realize Jill Stein got practically nothing? 

Ralph Nader's worst year was 2004 in terms of number of votes.  In his worst year, when everyone was blaming him (wrongly) for the 2000 results, Ralph still got more votes than Jill Stein.

Jill Stein was awful.

As pointed out in "Let the fun begin (Ava and C.I.):"



Jill Stein.

As feminists, we wondered six weeks ago, what do we do?

Roseanne had already imploded.  (Cindy Sheehan has a story to tell and then some.)  She couldn't and wouldn't campaign, she apparently wouldn't pay workers she hired for her campaign, she was an embarrassment.

And so was Jill Stein.

As feminists, do we call it as it is?

We debated that for three days.  Jill wasn't going to win the presidency.  In fact, it was obvious she was running off the limited votes she did have a shot at.

But did we tell the truth on that?  Did we call her out?

We crossed the line on gender with the decision -- a feminist one (not "the" feminist one) -- that she was running for public office and therefore had to be treated the same as anyone else would even if, in the closing weeks, we were going to tear her apart.

But . . .

Having dealt with the feminist issue, we still had the issue of third parties.

Was it really fair to beat up on a third party candidate?

Adding to the problems, one of us (Ava) is involved with a lifelong Green (Jess), has a child by him, has made a home with him.

And Jess was very clear that Jill Stein was "a f**king idiot but the Greens need to be on ballots."  And they were.  Texas, for example.  We heard from
Billie who early voted for Jill Stein.  She was so excited because Jill Stein was on the ballot.  She didn't have to write her in.  Right there on the Texas ballot was the Green Party.

What do we do?

In the end, we decided, "We don't promote her.  We don't mention her.  That's true here, that's true at Third."

So we bit our tongues.

As she ran a stupid campaign.  As she made a fool of herself and the Green Party.  (Granted, it's a party that loves to make a fool of itself.)

She -- and others -- did a debate with Larry King.  A debate that did not include all.  A new hurdle was invented.

Green Party members, you know what a hurdle is, right?  It's what keeps your candidate out of the so-called presidential debates every four years.  Why the hell would you take part in a debate that did not invite everyone who made it onto a state's ballot as a presidential candidate?

Because hypocrisy is a charge you live to embrace?

Maybe so.

Supposedly the Green Party is opposed to war.

So when Tim Arango reported the White House was negotiating with Nouri to send more troops back into Iraq, Jill Stein should have led on that.

But she's a politician which is just a whore without the desire to please a customer.

So Jill ignored it.

She ignored a lot.

Six weeks ago, in fact, after Barack cratered in the first debate, she and her campaign began going after Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan.

Huh?

You're a Green.  You're on the left.  The high profile left vote getter just imploded on national TV.  It's the perfect time for you to pick up some of his voters.

But you refuse to try.  You rush to go after Romney and Ryan instead.

Why is that?

Because you are not a real party.

Because you will forever be the little sister of the Democratic Party.

Because every four years, you start off with promise and end up revealing just how craven and disgusting you are.

If we are offering commentary four years from now, please note, being a Green will not save you.  Being third party will not save you.

We will call you out in real time.


And that really tells the story.

I was supporting Jill.  I was thrilled for her.

I could not believe what a chicken s**t she became in the last weeks.

I will never vote Green again in a presidential election.

This was yet another election -- the third in a row -- where a Green Party candidate refused to run and instead tried to use their run to help a Democratic candidate.

(I will vote for state and local Greens.)

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):

Thursday, November 8, 2012.  Chaos and violence continue, Dan Murphy hates spokespersons but loves War Starters, the World Bank sniffs around Iraq, the Ministry of Oil announces new deals, the BRussells Tribunal accuses Moqtada al-Sadr, and more.


Let's start with Dan Murphy -- and sadly I don't mean Soul Asylum.  No, we're talking about world class liar Dan Murphy.  The Christian Science Monitor needs to declare him a columnist -- not a good one either -- and he's about as honest as William Safire was.  But on the left we're supposed to cheer because he lies for 'our side.'  He writes crap that reads like, "I have the hots for Campbell Brown but Dan Senor married her so I hate his guts." 


What the election says to nit-wit Dan Murphy is that another Dan (Senor) will have "no more influence in the White House today than he did yesterday."  Dan Senor advised Mitt Romney and Dan Senor is evil, evil, evil.  Dan The Nit Wit Murphy explains, "Mr. Senor was a key political player for the Bush administration in Iraq after the 2003 invasion, advising Paul Bremer on how to run the country in 2003 and 2004."  I would ask, "How does this crap make it into print"  -- but crap like this is why the Christian Science Monitor is no longer a daily paper. 


Dan Senor may be many things.  I casually know Campbell Brown, I do not know Dan Senor.  And I remember being surprised by that pairing and being told that Dan's basically media anyway.  Meaning he's PR.  That's something I heard repeatedly over the years.  Yet Murphy's explaining that Senor was basically running the CPA.  How strange because I spent hours, during the Iraqi Inquiry, pouring over each day's testimony, on the phone with friends who were covering the Inquiry or who were attending it for other reasons, and never did I encounter Dan Senor's name.  Paul Bremer?  Over and over.  Colin Powell, Dick Cheney, Condi Rice, generals, etc and etc.  No Dan Senor.  But Dan Murphy wants us to know that "Senor was a key political player for the Bush administration in Iraq after the 2003 invasion, advising Paul Bremer on how to run the country in 2003 and 2004."


Well I can be wrong and often am.  And were Dan Murphy correct, I would be writing, "Stupid me . . ."  I have no problem owning my mistakes.  But I wasn't wrong.  September 12th, Chris Good and Shushannah Walshe (ABC News) reported:

Senor is the former spokesman for the American government in Iraq (the Coalition Provisional Authority at the beginning of the Iraq war under George W. Bush) and is a particularly close adviser to Romney on the Middle East.

Oh, he was a spokesperson.  Yeah, that jibes with what I was told years ago.  It also goes with what's been reported over and over and over.  Now unless I'm remembering wong -- and I can be wrong and often am --  Dahr Jamail's Beyond The Green Zone: Dispatches From An Unembedded Journalist In Occupied Iraq mentions Dan Senor on exactly one page.  Now I haven't picked up the book in years (not an insult, it's a great book, I recommend it highly) but I believe that's page 68, I'm seeing it in my mental picture as bottom of that page and the sentence starts "Coalition spokesman Dan Senor . . ."


Am I wrong on that?  Could be but don't think so.

So a spokesperson is what we're talking about.  And Dan Murphy's inflated him to what?  Cabinet-level planner of the Iraq War?  He's as nutty as the other partisan Democrats passing talking points off as facts and he's certainly not a journalist.


Dan Murphy refers you to a piece US House Rep Adam Smith wrote for Foreign Policy about how 24 foreign policy advisers to Romney worked in the Bully Boy Bush administration.  That's shocking?  Like it's shocking that so many of the Clinton White House people quickly drifted to Barack or Hillary in 2007 and 2008?


Dan Senor's not mentioned in Adam Smith's article. But Senor's the topic of Murphy's first four paragraphs and a photo of Senor (with Paul Ryan) is used to illustrate the article.  Dan Senor was a spokesperson.  Dan Murphy needs to dial back the crazy.


Dan Murphy's attack and distortion of Dan Senor wouldn't rate inclusion normally were it not that fact that the Christian Science Monitor wants to advise in their little intro to Kurt Shillinger's column on civility that, to bring it back to politics, "It starts with citizens." 


Really?  I kind of think it's starts with reporters or 'reporters' who think they can lie and distort.  What the hell did Dan Senor do to rate him being called out the day after the election?  And that question from someone who doesn't say "The Iraq War was wrong."  Hell no.  I say the Iraq War is a criminal war.  Not wrong, criminal. 

But even more reason for calling out Murphy's crap is Howard LaFranchi's garabage today that's Howard basically saying, 'I jizzed my shorts, I'm so happy!'  Over what?  Over Colin Powell possibly joining the administration in Barack's second term.


Oh.  Okay.  The rag calls out Dan Senor who was a spokesperson but it gets giddy over Collie The Blot Powell?  The man who lied to the United Nations, who helped sell the damn war?  There are no ethics and there are no standards, that is painfully clear.


I realize that when it comes to the press, no one gives head like Colin.  Please, I saw him stab Bush I in the back to journalists in the mid-90s.  He was entertaining three on background two tables over.  No one self-promotes better than Colin Powell.  The term "press whore" was invented to define him. 


But if you're going to call out someone for being a spokesperson for the US government in Iraq then you damn well can't applaud the person who stood before the United Nations spouting one lie after another to justify an illegal war.


And before Dan Murphy whines that he was talking about neocons and how they won't be advising Barack, grab a damn clue with both hands.  From the October 24th snapshot:


Barack's had necons throughout his administration.  We regularly call out Victoria Nuland who is better known as Mrs. Robert Kagan and who is even better known as Dick Cheney's National Security Adivsor (2003 to 2005).   In February 2011, whistle blower Sibel Edmonds (Boiling Frogs) noted some of the many neocons serving in Barack's administration: Marc Grossman, Dennis Ross and Frederick Kagan (that would be Victoria Nuland's brother-in-law).  In 2010,  Kristine Frazao (Russia Today -- link is video and text) thought Kagan's addition was so important, she did a report on just that, opening with, "They're ba-a-a-ck!  The US government may be done with Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld but another neoconservative is returning to the government payroll.  That same year, Allen McDuffee (ThinkTanked) observed, "Because we overinflated the impact of neoconservatives during the Bush administration and paid little attention to them before that, we're missing the fact that neocons are having the same influence in the Obama administration they've always had, according to a report issued by the Brookings Institution." And if we drop back another year, we can land on
This morning leading neoconservatives such as William Kristol and Robert Kagan held a meeting at the Mayflower Hotel -- in support of President Obama's Afghanistan policy. Kristol and Kagan, as Foreign Policy's Laura Rozen has reported, have formed a successor organization to the Project for the New American Century, which came into disrepute for its advocacy of the Iraq War. The new one is called the Foreign Policy Initiative. Its contention is that America remains, in the words of Madeleine Albright, the "indispensable nation"and, furthermore, that neocons can play a valuable role in coming years in ensuring that it remains one.

So Dan Murphy's thrilled that Barack's administration is pure and protected from the neocons -- the ones who've already made their way in.  But don't tell Dan Murphy.  In the meantime, you can click here for a piece by Campbell Brown at Slate from August on journalism, politics and disclosures. And Dan Murphy can click there too because it's got a great photo of Campbell and he can obsess over her one more time.


While Dan Murphy foolishly believes there will be and has been no necons fluttering around Barack, you can find more honesty at the Libertarian Reason where Ed Krayewski observes:

Is there a charitable interpretation of much of the left's silence about Barack Obama's war policies? Either they don't know about them, they don't care about them or they find building the welfare state a more urgent cause than dismantling the warfare state. Maybe they assume he wouldn't be a Nobel Peace Prize laureate if he weren't a peacemakrer? You can suggest other interpretations in the comments.
Nevertheless, while Barack Obama built a name for himself on his 2002 opposition to the Iraq War (as a state senator out of Hyde Park, Chicago, mind you, where supporting the Iraq War would have been political suicide), he made it clear on the campaign trail he wasn't a non-interventionist. He promised if there was information on Osama bin Laden's whereabouts in Pakistan and the Pakistani government didn't act on it, he would. You couldn't get through the campaign season without hearing at least one Obama booster (or even the president himself) trumpeting that kept promise. Ending the war in Iraq was another promise Obama ran on in 2008. He claims he's kept it and campaigned on ending the Iraq war. Obama, of course, actually tried to renege on the status of forces agreement negotiated under President Bush and extend the war in Iraq.


It's a good commentary but, like too many, he seems unaware of what Tim Arango (New York Times) reported September 26th:



 
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 General Caslen, a unit of Army Special Operations soldiers was recently deployed to Iraq to advise on counterterrorism and help with intelligence. 

On the elections, language warning, Susan (On the Edge) offers her observations of just re-elected US President Barack Obama hereVia Jane Fonda, you can check out Peggy Simpson's piece for Women's Media Center about how female candidates faired in Tuesday's election.  At Black Agenda Report, Glen Ford and Bruce A. Dixon weigh in on the results of the presidential election and the meaning of the results.  Ruth asked that we note Dennis Loo's World Can't Wait piece about the ongoing Drone War and the


When host Joe Scarborough raised the criticism on his show Scarborough Country on October 23, 2012 that Obama's drone attacks are killing a lot of innocents, including 4 year old children, guest Joe Klein, Time Magazine's political columnist, an ardent Obama partisan, defended the drone attacks with these words:
"the bottom line in the end is - whose 4-year-old get killed? What we're doing is limiting the possibility that 4-year-olds here will get killed by indiscriminate acts of terror."
Whose 4-year-old gets killed? This stunningly naked xenophobic and reactionary statement by Joe Klein topped an earlier comment of his in this same show in which he described the virtue of drone warfare:
KLEIN: It has been remarkably successful" --
SCARBOROUGH: "at killing people" –
KLEIN: "At decimating bad people, taking out a lot of bad people - and saving Americans lives as well, because our troops don't have to do this . . . You don't need pilots any more because you do it with a joystick in California."
This is one of the most prominent political columnists in America speaking, an ardent Democratic supporter: "You don't need pilots anymore because you do it with a joystick in California."

Iraq is slammed with violence yet again today but remember, kids, Barack 'ended' the war.  They didn't get the memo in Hilla.  Press TV says it was a car bombing and that 4 are dead and eleven injured.  Security forces tell All Iraq News that the car was parked next to a gas station (which amplified the bombing) and that 7 people were killed and fifteen injured.   AFP focuses on two bombgs in Mohoudiya -- the first, a car bombing, claimed 2 lives and left two injured while the second bombing ("seconds later") claimed 1 life and left three people injured.  All Iraq News also notes that a Shirqat sticky bombing claimed the life of 1 police officer and that an attorney was shot dead outside his Mosul homeXinhua adds that the al-Shiqat bombing also left one person injured and that "a civilian was killed and his won wounded when gunmen opened fire on them in the town of al-Hadeed."  Press TV notes 2 Iraqi soldiers were shot dead a Mosul checkpoint.


 
A couple of days ago, the Baghdad Operations Headquarter stated that they found the remains of tens of Iraqi academics that were kidnapped from the Ministry of Higher Education – Department of Missions -in 14 November 2006.They were buried in the Al-Sada Area in Sadr City. The bodies were found after one of the militia members (who is arrested by the Iraqi authorities) confessed and told about the place where the victims were buried, their number, the details of how the militias carried out the kidnapping, why they did it and who is behind all this. (2)
The Iraqi people always ask themselves when such "incidents" occur, like a kidnapping or a blast or a car bomb:"who is behind this?"
Everyone in Iraq knows that the Ministry of Higher Education kidnapping was the work of sectarian militias, more specifically the ones that are politically linked to the government.
When the Iraqi people ask about the names of these militias, and the reasons behind the secrecy of the Iraqi government, theyare surprised that no one wants to talk and no one dares to name names.The Iraqi government,the Army, the Ministry of Interior, the Parliament members,the human rights organizations, even the TV channels and media,all of them avoid to mention the names of those militias as if it was a sacred talisman or a taboo!
Do these militias consider the blood of their victims as the cheapest thing in the world, and are their crimes all sacred?
Everyone knows that the Al-Mahdi Militia, led by Muqtada Al-Sadr, is among those who committed such disgusting crimes. Some of the media dared to mention the details of this crime saying that Hakim Al-Zamili, one of the leaders of the Al-Mahdi Militia,was responsible for this crime that took the lives of more than 150 Iraqis, some of them Iraq's best academics. Al-Zamili is a prominent member of the Iraqi Parliament, representative of the Al-Sadr Party. Many Iraqis know it, but the government and parliament representatives keep silent and never mention the name of the murderers of the academics in November 2006.


The United States government caused the violence.  Car bombings did not roll Iraq prior to the US invasion.  They continued to cause it even after Bully Boy Bush left the White House.  By refusing to honor the election results, by backing Nouri al-Maliki for a second term as prime minister even though his State of Law came in second.  They didn't just back him during the eight month political stalemate when he refused to allow the winner of the election to form a government, no, the United States also negotiated a contract: The Erbil Agreement.  Weary political blocs, desperate to end the stalemate went along with contractual promises.



Nouri made various concessions in the contract and the political blocs agreed he could have a second term as prime minister.  The US brokered the contract and promised that it was legal, binding and that it would have the full support of the US government.  Nouri used it to become prime minister and then refused to honor the contract.  He took what he wanted and then broke the contract.  And the US government that had sworn they would back this contract acted like they'd never heard of the Erbil Agreement.



When votes don't matter, when the Iraqi Constitution doesn't matter, you not only destroy faith in any prospect of democracy, you also set up an illegitimate government that does not have any authority.  That breeds violence and it also ensures that the political stalemate continues.



All Iraq News notes that  the talk is President Jalal Talabani is reportedly going to try another attempt to address the political crisis.   Wael Grace (Al Mada) reports there was a push in Parliament to limit the three presidencies to two terms.  The three presidencies are the posts of President of Iraq, Prime Minister of Iraq and Speaker of Parliament.  This move is, in part, to prevent Nouri al-Maliki from having a third term.  Jalal Talabani is also serving a second term.  Grace notes that Moqtada al-Sadr's bloc favors the limitation and has spoken publicly previously about how it is needed to avoid a new dictatorship from emerging in Iraq.  As was to be expected, State of Law stamped their feet and said no such law was needed and they worry about the legality.


State of Law is 'known' for respecting the Constitution.  (That was sarcasm.)  As further proof of their lack of respect for the law, Alsumaria reports that State of Law MP Abbas al-Bayati is stating that State of Law feels the solution for disputed Kirkuk is for it to become an 'independent' province.  He's a liar. First off, the Constitution addresses this in Article 140.  Nouri has refused to implement Article 140.  Second, they're not suggesting something like the KRG that is semi-autonomous.  They're saying it's a province.  One of many provinces in Iraq.  It will not be independent, no more so than any other province that is not in the Kurdistan Regional Government.  What that means is the the issue was not resolved -- as outlined in the Constitution -- by a referendum and census but instead Kirkuk would become part of the central government out of Baghdad.  Kirkuk is oil rich.  It is disputed for that reason.  It is also disputed because of its history with various groups claiming they were displaced at various points in history.  The Constitution addressed this because it is a serious dispute.  That's why Article 140 was written.  State of Law continues to subvert and ignore the Constitution.  This is how the second place political slate that the US put into place again in 2010 rules Iraq and sews tension and distrust when not breeding violence.


Meanwhile AP reports that the Ministry of Oil has announced a deal with Bashneft.  Russian Oil Net describes Bashneft as "the unique large Russian oil company which is not incorporating oil refining factories. [. . .]  The production association 'Bashneft' has been created in 1932. In January, 1995 the production association has been renamed to open joint-stock company 'Bashneft'. As a result of privatization about 63 % of actions remained in the Republic Bashkortostan property, 28,3 % have been distributed on the closed subscription among the labor collective, 5 % have got the administration."  AFP notes the contract is with Premier Oil as well as Bashneft and "Under the contract, the two firms must invest at least $120 million to explore the 8,000-square-kilometre (3,100 square mile) block covering the provinces of Muthanna and Najaf in south Iraq."  The British company describes itself on its website, "Premier is a growing FTSE 250 oil and gas exploration and production company with current interests in eight countries around the world."  Live Trading News notes that yesterday the Ministry of oil issued an announcement, "The Iraqi Oil Ministry signed the final service contract with a consortium comprising Russia's Lukoil and Japan's Inpex to explore for oil reserves in Iraq's southern provinces of Muthanna and Dhi-Qar." 


While it can make oil deals it can't rebuild the country for the people.  AFP reports that Iraq's "investment chief" Sami al-Araji declared today that $1 trillion was needed to rebuild the country over "the next 10 years" and that oil will not be enough, "some [money] will have to come from foreign and domestic direct investment."  This as the World Bank is sure that Iraq can start providing it with money.   Dina al-Shibeeb (Al Arabiya) reports:


Deputy head of Iraq's Central Bank said last week that the World Bank asked Iraq to become a donor state by 2014.
But with the myriad challenges facing a country ravaged by years of war, Iraq is likely still far from being able to help others.
"Poverty is still rife in Iraq. Iraq continues to be a potential conflict zone. There are regular bombings in the country," Paul Sullivan, professor of economics at the National Defense University (NDU), told Al Arabiya.
Sullivan, also an adjunct professor of security studies at Georgetown University, added that while Iraq needs to rebuild its infrastructure, education, health and more, "Iraqis do have a pile of oil revenues sitting around, but poor governance, corruption, weak rule of law and more militate against the proper use of it."
He said "the World Bank is less than clueless if they think Iraq is ready to be a donor state."






Iraq has more than enough money to take care of Iraqis if it cared to do that.  But you've got a government that dreams parading across the world stage while taking a lot of the public's money and putting it into their own personal pockets.  For that reason more than anything else, the Iraqi government wants money from other countries.  If the US goverment provides it -- and it currently does -- people in government (besides just Senator John Kerry and his Senate Foreign Relations Committee) need to grasp that this is a tool of soft power.  For months, the White House whined about wanting Iranian planes searched that were enroute to Syria.  Only after Kerry and the Committee stated publicly that money could be cut did Nouri al-Maliki order the searching of the planes.  The answer that Barack (like Bush before him) repeatedly falls back on is "war."  There are many other levers of power. It's a shame even the US Ambassador to the United Nations was unaware of that but Susan Rice is a crazed War Hawk as well as public joke. 


The decision was made to not try terror suspects in federal courts. Terror suspects believed to have been involved in the 9/11 attacks and others imprisoned in Guantanamo Bay, which Obama failed to close, are now going through a military tribunal process—a second-class justice system where one is not allowed to testify in court about torture experienced at the hands of CIA interrogators because the government claims it controls the thoughts and memories of detainees.
Warrantless surveillance escalated sharply under Obama. The ACLU obtained Justice Department documents that showed federal law enforcement agencies were "increasingly monitoring Americans' electronic communications, and doing so without warrants, sufficient oversight, or meaningful accountability." Now, the Supreme Court is deciding whether to hear a challenge against the FISA Amendments Act of 2008, which allowed telecommunications companies to be granted retroactive immunity for warrantless wiretapping under Bush. The act also allowed for the expansion of dragnet surveillance. Obama Justice Department lawyers have argued it does not have to tell plaintiffs challenging the law they have been unlawfully monitored and, even if they did violate their privacy, it would not matter because the surveillance state is here to stay.
Obama refused to prosecute war criminals. Not a single person was prosecuted and convicted of torture. Even though he signed an executive order as president that prohibited "enhanced interrogation techniques" used under Bush, torture was effectively decriminalized. The "state secrets" privilege was invoked when torture victims tried to sue government for torture, effectively preventing justice. Moreover, former CIA agent John Kiriakou was prosecuted for allegedly leaking the name of a covert officer, who had been a kidnapper in the CIA's Rendition, Detention and Interrogation program. It was believed that various individuals in human rights organizations knew this officer's identity, and it was largely suspected the government was prosecuting Kiriakou because he was one of the first in government to say on television the CIA had an official policy of torture while Bush was president. The prosecution destroyed his life, took a tremendous toll on his wife and his five children so he ended up taking a plea deal.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Elections and kids


Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "The Second Term" went up this morning.



the second term

I love it.  And it's what to hold on to: The reality that Barry is so-over.  He can't run in 2016.  You know John Nichols is already gearing up to start writing about that election.  So Barack won't be the pretty girl we get shoved down our throats over and over. 

Thank goodness.  And little Princess Barack's going to find the climate has changed.  He barely scored a win.  50% of the vote, 2% for third parties and 47.7% for Romney.

Barack squeaked to a win.  He has no mandate.


"Four More Years - Of Political Warfare And Disaster" (Hillary Is 44):
After a campaign of fear and smear, an economy in shambles, a world adrift from American leadership, corruption and lies, Barack Obama has enough electoral votes to drag America further into the abyss. The near even distribution of popular votes indicates the country is as divided as ever.

Agreed.  Pray for us.

I wish I had something funny and wonderful to share.  I don't.  I'm kind of sad.  My kids are too.  I talk about the election with my boys because they're old enough.  But I tell them to go easy around their daughter.  So I was surprised that she was following it as closely.  She goes to a very left school and she knows more about the kill-list than I do.  She's like an expert on it and other things. 


So she's very sad about what happened.  And I gave her a hug and told her we survive everything and we'll survive this as well.  She said, "But, Mo-om, the people on his kill-list won't survive.  And the children his drones kill in Pakistan won't survive."

So what do you say to that?

I didn't know.

I said, "Honey, we just have to pray for their safety."  And even as I said it, I wished I could have offered more.  But what do you say? 



"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):

Wednesday, November 7, 2012. Chaos and violence continue, among those attacked today include a dean of a medical school, a plurality of Americans back torture-Guantanamo-illegal-wars-kill-lists-and-so-much-more, Julian Assange calls out the War Mongerer in Chief, Nouri tries to bully the Kurds over the Peshmerga, ExxonMobil serves Nouri notice, 20,000 Iraqis are said to be on the verge of deportation, and more.


Last night the plurality of US citizens voting on the presidential race re-elected Barack Obama president of the United States by a thin margin. As Isaiah noted this morning in his comic, the second term is where Bill Clinton, Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan found out what happens when the love's gone -- Bill almost impeached for lying about a blow job, Reagan with the ghost of impeachment hovering over Iran-Contra and Richard Nixon with Watergate which really helped to draw attention away from the slush fund and so many other crimes. Even Supreme Court selected Bully Boy Bush, when he won a term by the votes and not by the Supreme Court, struggled.



Already Barack's buddy and former OMB Director Peter The Swinger Orszag, as Alexa noted this afternoon at Corrente, has taken to Bloomberg Television to proclaim that it's time to cut Social Security. Thank yourselves, Americans, you voted for the bastard -- and, yes, that term is linguistically correct when applied to Barack. The thing with Bush's first term, he wasn't elected. His crimes were appalling, his disregard for the Constitution, his Executive Signing Statements, Guantanamo, his illegal war, all of it was disgusting and, yes, criminal. And those of us who are citizens of the United States could insist, "The Supreme Court awarded him the presidency, he didn't win it." But then came November 2004 and enough Americans went to the polls to say that they were okay with this, tha it was fine and dandy to torture and worse. At that point, when US voters embraced it, it became a lot more difficult to say, "Hey, that's him, it's not us."
The people embraced Bully Boy Bush -- a plurality -- in the 2004 election and a plurality embraced Barack Obama yesterday. Granted the American people were uninformed by a media that increasingly is exposed as not incompetent but as deliberately deceitful.



Take CBS News (where I have -- or maybe had before this went up -- friends). Monday Ruth noted Erik Wemple's Washington Post piece about CBS News hiding footage voters should have known about. September 12th, Steve Kroft interviewed Barack for 60 Minutes. He pressed Barack on the Bengahzi attack that killed Americans Glen Doherty, Tyrone Woods, Sean Smith and Chris Stevens. Barack -- who would go to the UN and talk about YouTube videos -- would have to admit to Kroft "it was an attack on Americans." As Wemple notes, CBS releasing the video after the second debate would have been good for its web 'hits' and it would have raised the issue of accountability. It would have forced the media to do their job. Instead, they sat on it and waited until the day before voting to quietly release it online.



That's not how you run a news outlet. That's not how you inform citizens. But Scott Pelley was hired to put you asleep, not to inform you. And in that monotone, as he goes on and on about nothing oh-so-gently, he ensures that Americans remain uninformed. He does his part, I should say. Despite the fact that CBS prime time brings in huge numbers and CBS daytime holds its own, CBS Evening News just can't deliver an audience. So Pelley's impact is, like the man himself, rather small.


Like Pelley, Diane Sawyer (ABC's World News), NBC's Brian Williams and CNN's multitude of hosts refused to inform their audience that, September 26th, the New York Times' Tim Arango reported:


 
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 General Caslen, a unit of Army Special Operations soldiers was recently deployed to Iraq to advise on counterterrorism and help with intelligence. 


As Ava and I noted, that report was followed by not one, but three so-called 'presidential debates' ("Days later, October 3rd, Barack 'debated' Mitt Romney. Again October 16th. Again October 22nd. Not once did the moderators ever raise the issue.") Every one of them played dumb while Barack talked about how he supposedly got the US out of Iraq. Not one of the high paid 'journalists' who moderated the debates ever raised the issue. Candy Crowley never said, "Actually, Mr. Obama, you are in negotiations with Iraq to send more US troops back into Iraq."


That would have been too much for a suck-up hilariously named "Candy."



To get that into the New York Times, Arango had to bury it in paragraph fifteen. If you're not getting what a struggle it was to get that reality into print, grasp that when the New York Times 'fact check'ed Barack in the debates on Iraq, they avoided mentioning what Arango had reported. The editorial boad disappeared what was a news outlet exclusive -- an exclusive in their own paper -- and they disowned it.





With little to no amplification, it is true that the American people had little hope of hearing of these important news items. However, they knew Bradley Manning was imprisoned. They may not have known that election day was also his 898th day being locked away -- still without a trial -- but they knew he was locked away.
Monday April 5, 2010, WikiLeaks released US military video of a July 12, 2007 assault in Iraq. 12 people were killed in the assault including two Reuters journalists Namie Noor-Eldeen and Saeed Chmagh. Monday June 7, 2010, the US military announced that they had arrested Bradley Manning and he stood accused of being the leaker of the video. Leila Fadel (Washington Post) reported in August 2010 that Manning had been charged -- "two charges under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. The first encompasses four counts of violating Army regulations by transferring classified information to his personal computer between November and May and adding unauthorized software to a classified computer system. The second comprises eight counts of violating federal laws governing the handling of classified information." In March, 2011, David S. Cloud (Los Angeles Times) reported that the military has added 22 additional counts to the charges including one that could be seen as "aiding the enemy" which could result in the death penalty if convicted. The Article 32 hearing took place in December. At the start of this year, there was an Article 32 hearing and, February 3rd, it was announced that the government would be moving forward with a court-martial. Bradley has yet to enter a plea and has neither affirmed that he is the leaker nor denied it. The court-martial was supposed to begin before the election but it was postponed until after the election so that Barack wouldn't have to run on a record of his actual actions.



At Fort Meade, Maryland, during a motion hearing in Pfc. Bradley Manning’s court martial, his defense attorney David Coombs told the court Manning had submitted a plea notice indicating he would accept general responsibility for providing all charged information to WikiLeaks. The notice was the beginning of a process that could greatly simplify the upcoming trial proceedings in February.
Manning did not plead guilty to the charged offenses in the plea notice. However, significantly, he did indicate with this notice that he is willing to admit to the fact that the act of providing information to WikiLeaks did occur or that the government has evidence that would prove he did commit the act and so he is willing to plea to it.


People who supposedly give a damn about Bradley -- about the torture he's been put through -- didn't give enough of a damn to take a stand against Barack Obama. Whores like Daniel Ellsberg even went out trolling for votes for Barack. No whore like an old whore. And it needs to be made clear to Daniel that he's no longer needed as a face for the issue. You can't urge people to vote for the man who has imprisoned Bradley, the man who has pronounced him guilty, and still be an advocate for Bradley.




In a conversation about alleged WikiLeaks leaker US President Barack Obama commented on Pfc. Bradley Manning saying, “He broke the law.”
The words from Obama’s mouth come as Manning is held in prison awaiting further charges and a military trial. Manning has entered no official plea and no court proceedings have begun. Yet, the US president dubbed him guilty of breaking the law.
Many argue no truly fair or impartial trial is even possible at this point. Some hold there would never be a fair trial since the media had already convicted manning in the court of public opinion. Now that the Military’s commander-in-chief has spoke on the matter is even more unlikely the military trial will be fair and impartial.
Military officers on a potential jury now know that their commander and chief believes Manning to be guilty. To find otherwise would amount to undermining his view.




Again, Daniel Ellsberg has whored his reputation and needs to find another hobby to occupy his final days, he has blown his credibility.




Julian Assange is the founder of WikiLeaks and currently in London at Ecuador's Embassy. Assange tells Katy Lee (AFP), "Obama seems to be a nice man, and that is precisely the problem. It's better to have a sheep in wolf's clothing than a wolf in sheep's clothing. [. . .] All of the activities against WikiLeaks by the United States have occurred under an Obama administration." Why is Assange at the Embassy? He states he fears that British officials will turn him over to the United States or that he will be sent to Sweden which will then turn him over to the US. Law and Disorder Radio host Michael Ratner (Center for Constitutional Rights) is among the attorneys representing Assange. In a piece for the Guardian in August, Michael Ratner explained:




There are several unambiguous signs that the US is on track to prosecute Assange for his work as a journalist. A grand jury in Alexandria, Virginia, empanelled to investigate violations of the Espionage Act – a statute that by its very nature targets speech – has subpoenaed Twitter feeds regarding Assange and WikiLeaks. An FBI agent, testifying at whistleblower Bradley Manning's trial, said that "founders, owners and managers" of WikiLeaks are being investigated. And then there is Assange's 42,135-page FBI file – a compilation of curious heft if the government is "not interested" in investigating its subject.
In this context, Assange's fears of extradition to and persecution in the US, and therefore his plea for asylum, are eminently reasonable.
What's more, Assange is rightly concerned about how he will be treated if he is extradited to the US. One need only consider how the US treated Bradley Manning, the army private who allegedly leaked the cables to WikiLeaks to see why. Manning spent close to a year in pre-trial solitary confinement for 23 hours a day, and then eight months under conditions designed to pressure him into providing evidence to incriminate Assange. During this time, Manning was stripped of his clothing and made to stand nude for inspection. Thousands of people, including scores of legal scholars and the United Nations special rapporteur on torture, have condemned Manning's treatment as inhumane, and state that it may constitute torture. There is no reason for Assange to expect he will be treated any better.
Most disturbingly, the US government is more concerned with investigating a journalist and publisher than the high-level government officials whose alleged war crimes and misdeeds Assange and his cohorts brought to light.




Those are fears Assange has of the government commanded and directed by Barack Obama. The media's certainly done their part to hide Bradley away but the American people should have known about him.
Even so, a plurality said "yes" last night.




And that's the problem. Today people whine about the US being a national security state. Some foolish ones cite Dwight Eisenhower warning against the "military industrial complex." Yes, he did warn against it. When? January 17, 1961. As he was leaving the White House and John F. Kennedy was coming in. In other words, he stayed silent when it would have mattered. In the last gasps of his presidency, he suddenly wants to alert the American people that there's a problem -- one he not only refused to fix but also helped create. So some foolish types today don't get that it's not getting taken down. Not now, not ever. It's been accepted. By presidents of both parties, yes, but also by the American people. It's outrageous, it shouldn't continue.



But that's what voting can do: validate government positions.



Last night, American voters said, "Yes to Guantanamo! Yes to indefinite detentions! Yes to illegal war -- Libya specifically! Yes to ignoring acts of Congress -- also known as laws -- such as the War Powers Act! Yes to having a kill list of American citizens!"



They said yes to that and so much more.




We were just noting Michael Ratner. He hosts Law and Disorder Radio -- a weekly hour long program that airs Monday mornings at 9:00 a.m. EST on WBAI and around the country throughout the week, with attorneys Heidi Boghosian, and Michael S. Smith. In February, they discussed the NDAA with guest Chris Hedges who was suing the White House. Excerpt.



Michael Smith: The National Defense Authorization Act was signed by President Obama on December 31st of last year and takes effect this coming March. The act authorizes the military to begin domestic policing. The military can detain indefinitely without trial any US citizen deemed to be a terrorist or an accessory to terrorism. Vague language in the bill such as "substantially supported" or "directly supported" or "associated forces" is used. We're joined today by returning guest Chris Hedges in his capacity as a plantiff in a lawsuit that he's just filed against President Barack Obama with respect to the National Defense Authorization Act and its language about rounding up even American citizens and salting them away forever.



Heidi Boghosian: Chris, welcome to Law and Disorder.



Chris Hedges: Thank you.




Heidi Boghosian: Can you talk about the significance of codifying the NDAA into law essentially several over-reaching practices that the executive has been implementing for awhile now?
Chris Hedges: That's correct but it's been implementing those practices through a radical interpretation of the 2001 law, The Authorization to Use Military Force Act. You remember old John Yoo was Bush's legal advisor. It was under the auspices of this act that Jose Padilla who is a US citizen was held for three and a half years in a military brig. Remember, he was supposedly one of the other hijackers that never made it to a plane. Stripped of due process. And it's under that old act that the executive branch, Barack Obama, permits himself to serve as judge, jury and executioner and order the assassination of a US citizen, the Yemeni cleric Anwar al-Awlaki.



Michael Smith: Two weeks later his 16-year-old son.




Chris Hedges: Yes, exactly. So what this does is it essentially codfies this kind of behavior into law. It overturns over 200 years of legal precedent so that the military is allowed to engage in domestic policing and there are a couple of very disturbing aspects in the creation of this legislation. One of them is that [US Senator] Dianne Feinstein had proposed that US citiens be exempt from this piece of legislation and both the Obama White House and the Democratic Party rejected that. Now Obama issued a signing statement saying that this will not be used against American citizens but the fact is legally it can be used against American citizens. There was an opportunity for them to protect American citizens and to protect due process and they chose not to do that.



Michael Smith: Well he also announced that he was going to close Guantanamo.



Chris Hedges: Right, so it's very disingenous.



Heidi Boghosian: And signing statements really carry no legal force.



Chris Hedges. Right. And if they wanted to protect basic civil liberties, they certainly had a chance to do so and it was there decision not to do that. I mean, the other thing that's disturbing is that it expands this endless war on terror. So the 2001 act is targeted towards groups that are affiliated or part of al Qaeda. Now it's groups that didn't even exist in 2001. There are all sorts of nebulous terms like "associated forces," "substantially supported." When you look at the criteria by which Americans can be investigated by our security and surveillance state, it's amorphus and frightening: People who have lost fingers on the hand, people who hoard more than seven days worth of food in their house, people who have water-proof ammunition. I mean, I always say I come from rural parts of Maine. That's probably most of my family.


[Laughter.]



Chris Hedges: It's a very short step to adding the obstructionist tactics of the Occupy movement.




Michael Smith: Well that's what we've wanted to ask you because we've thought all along with the beginning of this war on terrorism that ultimately these laws stripping us of our Constitutional rights would be used against the social protest movements at home and the latest development is absolutely chilling and we wanted to ask you about that.



Chris Hedges: We don't know what the motives are. We do know that all the intelligence agencies as well as the Pentagon opposed this legislation. Robert Muller, the head of the FBI, actually went before Congress and said that if it was passed it would make the FBI's work in terms of investigating terrorism harder because it would make it harder to get people to cooperate once you hand the military that power. So I think it's interesting, to say the very least, that the various agencies that are being pulled into domestic policing -- especially the Pentagon -- didn't push for the bill. I don't know what the motives are but I know what the consequences are and that is that it hands to the corporate state weapons, the capacity to use the armed forces internally in ways that we have not seen for over two centuries. That is the consequence of the bill. What are the motives? You know I haven't gone down and reported it in Washington.



Heidi Boghosian: Chris, you know I'm thinking of the Supreme Court Case Humanitarian Law Project and the notion "providing material support." [Center for Constitutional Rights analysis here -- text and video.] And in that case it was also very vague and things that seemed benign could be construed as providing support but it strikes me that under this piece of legislation also the notion of associating with others that the government may deem terrorists becomes possibly vague.




Chris Hedges: Well it is vague. And that's what's so frightening. And the lawsuit was proposed by Civil Rights attorneys Carl Mayer and Bruce Afran who approached me and said that I needed a credible plantiff. Now because I had been the Middle East bureau chief for the New York Times and because I was in the Middle East for seven years I spent considerable time with both individuals and organizations that are considered by the US State Dept to be either terrorists or terrorist groups. That would include Hamas, Islamic Jihad in Gaza, the Kurdistan Workers Party -- or the PKK as it's known in southeastern Turkey, northern Iraq. All of these organizations -- I mean, I used to go to Tunis and have dinner with Yasser Arafat [President of the Palestinian National Authority from 1996 until his death in 2004] and Abu Jihad [the PLO's Khalil al-Wair] when they were branded as international terrorists. And there are no exemptions in this piece of legislation for journalists. And the attorneys felt that I was a credible plantiff because of that. We have already seen under the 2001 law, a persecution of not only Muslim Americans in this country but Muslim American organizations -- in particular charity organizations and mostly charity organizations that support the Palestinians. And under this legislation, it is certainly conceivable that not only -- many of these organizations have been shut down, their bank accounts have been frozen, their organizers have been persecuted -- but under this legislation they're essentially able to be branded as terrorists, stripped of due process, thrown into a military brig and held, in the language of the legislation, until the end of hostilities -- whenever that is.


Last night was a "yes" to that. The problem with these yes votes? There is the law by word and law by custom and practice. Bully Boy Bush floated outrageous ideas that Barack Obama took further. Neither man has been prosecuted. By refusing to prosecute, these actions are now custom. Can someone object? Yes, you can object to anything. You can also file a lawsuit over anything. But in 2017 or 2018 when we suddenly decide we care once again about, for example, habeas corpus, a court's going to take into account the fact that two administrations -- two consecutive administrations have trashed it. (They'll also be taking into account that they don't wan to open the door for a lawsuit against a former president or presidents or, in Bully Boy Bush's case, occupant of the White House.) So lots of luck carrying after everything's over.


It'll be a bit like whining today about what Eisenhower oversaw the creation of in the fifties.



We can -- and should -- blame the media for a great deal. But the blame goes beyond the media.




Iraq, the war Barack claimed ended. Someone forgot to get that message to the Middle East. Iraq Body Count counts 34 dead from violence so far this month through yesterday. Al Mada reports that Rashid Flaih survived an assassination attempt outside Tikrit yesterday. He is the Operations Commander in Samarra. All Iraq News notes today 2 Mosul roadside bombings have left four police officers and two city workers injured. The mass arrests continue as well. Alsumaria also notes a Nineveh Province bombing which left 2 civil defense workers dead and three more injured and Mosul saw a bombing which left 1 person dead and injured six (including one journalist), while a Mosul car bombing claimed 1 life and left four injured, the Dean of the School of Medicine at Mosul University was injured when a sticky bomb was attached to her car, and an attack on Mosul Mayor Hussein Ali Hasani left four of his bodyguards injured. Alsumaria counts 8 'terrorism' suspects arrested in Samarra. And there's a new development in the mass arrests. 15 arrested in Kirkuk alone would be news all by itself (except to US and European 'news' outlets). But, as Alsumaria notes, the 15 are "engineers and technicians" from Turkey.




Staying with the Turks, both AP and Reuters report that Turkey's conducting a two-day ground operation -- yesterday and today -- in which Turkish forces have entered northern Iraq. AFP observes, "The rare cross-border strike hit targets some five kilometres (three miles) inside the border and came as part of an air-backed operation that has been going on for two days, according to NTV." The Turkish war planes bombing northern Iraq have been going on for years now. Xinhua notes of the latest, "Two Iraqi Kurds were killed and three wounded on Wednesday during an air strike on an Iraqi border area, as Turkish warplanes continue attacks against suspected Kurdish guerrilla targets inside Iraq, official Kurdish website reported." 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." This has been going on forever. Inclusion could have addressed that long ago, many, many deaths ago. The same is true with regards to Iraq. Nouri's actions are setting up a struggle which will last years unless he learns to practice inclusion and stop targeting rivals and Sunnis.




The violence has never ended in Iraq. Many have fled due to the violence. The Christian population, for example, has been greatly reduced. Now, despite the fact that violence is actually worse this year than in 2010, comes the news of a country that intends to force Iraqis out of their borders. Al Rafidayn states that diplomatic sources say Sweden is preparing to deport 20,000 Iraqi refugees over the next few months.




In other news, Al Rafidayn reports that ExxonMobil has notified the Baghdad-based government in writing of their intent to sell their stake in the West Qurna oil field. Their desire to sell has been public knowledge for some time. The news value is that they have now put their intent in writing. Dropping back to the October 18th snapshot:




Early this morning, Laura Rozen (The Back Channel) reported, "Oil giant Exxon Mobil is expected to soon announce that it is pulling out of non-Kurdish Iraq, an energy expert source told Al-Monitor Wednesday on condition of anonymity. The decision would not apply to Exxon's contracts in Kurdish Iraq, which has been a source of on-going tension with Baghdad authorities for the company, the source said." Ahmed Rasheed and Patricky Markey (Reuters) state the corporation didn't inform "Iraq of its interest in quitting the country's West Qurna oilfield project" according to unnamed sources. Sometimes unnamed sources lie. This may be one of those times. This is very embarrassing for Nouri and his government and feigning surprise may be their effort to play it off. 'How could we have stopped it? We didn't even know it was coming!' That would explain why the 'big surprise' that isn't is being played like it is. Derek Brower (Petroleum Economist) has been covering this story for over 48 hours (including a source that stated ExxonMobil had informed the Iraqi government) and he notes that ExxonMobil will be focusing all their "efforts on upstream projects in Kurdistan instead." In addition to the claim in Rasheed and Markey's piece about Iraq having had no meeting on this, Brower notes that a meeting took place today at the Ministry of Oil. It would appear Nouri's spinning like crazy in an effort to save his faltering image. (Nouri can certainly spend billions -- as he proved last week on his mad shopping spree for weapons, he just doesn't seem able to maintain releations with those who help Iraq generate large revenues.)
This Reuters story notes that unnamed US officials stated Iraq was informed and it adds the Iraq's Deputy Prime Minister for Energy, Hussain al-Shahristani, "told Reuters in an e-mail that Baghdad was sticking to its line that all contract signed with the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) without the approval of Baghdad were illegal." ExxonMobil has long had problems with their deal with Baghdad. In March, Emily Knapp (Wall St Cheat Sheet) explained, "Foreign oil companies involved in Iraq's oil expansion generally prefer to be compensated for capital expenditure and service fees in oil because cash payments are more complicated to arrange. Now the parties have reached an agreement in which they will be paid in crude. Exxon and Shell spent $910 million on West Qurna-1 last year, and were repaid $470 million in cash." Hassan Hafidh (Wall St. Journal) adds today, "Exxon's 2010 deal with the Iraqi central government to improve production in the West Qurna-1 field was never expected to be lucrative under the best circumstances, the person said. The government had agreed to pay Exxon Mobil and its partners $1.90 for each additional barrel of oil they pumped after refurbishing the already producing field. The fees would barely be enough to cover the companies' costs."




Today Ahmed Rasheed (Reuters) explains, "Iraq's cabinet also said on Wednesday it was expelling Turkey's state-owned TPAO from its exploration block 9 oilfield but denied that the measure was prompted by any proposed move by the Turkish company into Kurdistan. The withdrawal of Exxon from a key project in Iraq's south, and doubts about who can replace the U.S. giant also raise questions about the country's plans to increase crude production to 5-6 million barrels per day from 3.4 million bpd by 2015." Lance Murray (Dallas Business Journal) notes that the minority party (currently) in the deal ExxonMobil is walking out on is Royal Dutch Shell. Dan Ritter (Wall St. Cheat Sheet) observes, "Iraqi officials previously asked President Barack Obama to intervene, but there has been no government involvement so far. It’s unclear what the President could do, if he decided to step in. At the end of the day, Iraq may just be hurting itself by forcing oil companies to choose, and right now Kurdistan looks pretty attractive."





In news on the continued political stalemate, Al Mada reports that the head of the National Alliance Ibrahim al-Jaafari is stating that there is conflict within Nouri's Cabinet and some ministers are not attending meetings or listening to other views and he notes that he is against dissolving Parliament and holding early elections. In other Cabinet news, Dar Addustour adds that the Minister of Trade Khairallah Babiker, is stating he will withdraw from the Cabinet if the federal budget does not make good on the Peshmerga budget. The Peshmerga are Kurdish security forces. The 2013 federal budget attempts to do away with payments for them. This is similar to Nouri's attempts to do away with the Sahwa ("Sons of Iraq," "Awakenings"). He's already illegally amassed control over all security forces (military and police) outside of the KRG. Bassem Francis and Mohammad al-Tamimi (Al-Hayat via Al-Monitor) report:




A senior official at the Ministry of Peshmerga in Iraq’s Kurdistan region has called the demand of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to place the Peshmerga forces under the jurisdiction of the federal government an “illusion.” He vowed to make an official response in the next week to the accusations by Maliki.
Meanwhile, a Kurdish lawmaker accused the prime minister of obstructing the ongoing negotiations between Baghdad and Erbil.
In an interview with Al Sumaria TV on Monday evening [Nov. 5], Maliki declared his willingness to release funding for the Peshmerga forces if they place themselves under the jurisdiction of the federal authorities, since the constitution prohibits the financing of the Peshmerga, which fall under the jurisdiction of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG).



This is how Nouri tears apart the country and works to destroy any national identity. Nouri al-Maliki is the puppet Bully Boy Bush installed in 2006 when the Iraqi choice for prime minister did not meet with US approval. It's who Barack made his own puppet in 2010 when Barack decided Nouri would remain as prime minister -- in spite of the votes of the Iraqi people, in spite of the Iraqi Constitution, in spite of a concept known as "democracy." Once again, John Barry's "'The Engame' Is A Well Researched, Highly Critical Look at U.S. Policy in Iraq" (Daily Beast):




 
Washington has little political and no military influence over these developments [in Iraq]. As Michael Gordon and Bernard Trainor charge in their ambitious new history of the Iraq war, The Endgame, Obama's administration sacrificed political influence by failing in 2010 to insist that the results of Iraq’s first proper election be honored: "When the Obama administration acquiesced in the questionable judicial opinion that prevented Ayad Allawi's bloc, after it had won the most seats in 2010, from the first attempt at forming a new government, it undermined the prospects, however slim, for a compromise that might have led to a genuinely inclusive and cross-sectarian government."