Friday, September 11, 2009

David Corn, crazy ass David Corn?

"WHAT DAVID SAID! The analysts cried and gnashed their teeth when they heard what their Uncle Corn said" (The Daily Howler):
But omigod! Harsh justice awaited! David Corn was on Barnicle’s panel this night! Surely, David would tell him!
Here at THE HOWLER, the analysts love this particular pundit, whom they simply call “Uncle Corn.” They all edged forward on their chairs. Surely, their uncle would say something accurate. Like this:
UNCLE CORN/IMAGINED: I have no idea why you’re surprised by this, Mike. Dude! This sort of thing has been the norm in our politics for decades. Leaders of the “conservative” movement made up endless nonsense about President Clinton—do you remember those murder lists? All those crazy pseudo-investigations of Who Killed Vince Foster? And then, the same thing was done to Vice President Gore—remember all those phony “lies?” Until George Bush destroyed the known world, the mainstream press corps played along—even at this cable channel, if memory serves.
Yes, this school thing has been very silly—but our politics has been crazy for decades. We’ve just spent a summer in which major Republican leaders—think Sarah Palin; think Charles Grassley—told voters that they should fear “death panels!” Before that, major conservative and Republican leaders encouraged this birth certificate lunacy. But then, it was Rush Limbaugh who first drove the ugly idea that Hillary Clinton helped “off” Vince Foster. You forgot?
I have no idea why you’re puzzled by this school speech foolishness. They’ve been doing this for a very long time. And it’s brutally bad for our politics.
The analysts leaned forward in their chairs—forgetting that their uncle sat out the 1990s and the War Against Gore, as all good career liberal pundits did. They gnashed their teeth and tore their hair when their uncle actually spoke.

I've disagreed with Bob Somerby before but I have to really dig back far to think of a time when I've been more shocked.

David Corn someone to respect?

In what world?

The same David Corn who lied repeatedly in 2008 to savage Hillary?

I can think of a million examples but I'll stick with the nonsense about Bill Clinton 'pardoning' two members of the Weather Underground.

When that garbage was being spread, Ava and C.I. called it out the morning after the debate.

There was no pardon. But the lie kept being repeated. That night, C.I. returned to the topic with "Jake Tapper, Correct Your Error." And in less than four hours after that went up, Jake Tapper had done just that.

But not David Corn who felt the need to LIE three times at Mother Jones and claim Bill Clinton had pardoned two members of the Weather Underground.

If you were among those calling Mother Jones to demand Corn correct his error, you know that the receptionist was the rudest ass in the world. You knew Corn was the rudest ass in the galaxy.

When finally forced to issue a 'correction,' Corn Nuts added a statement to one of the three posts he did on the issue. In his statement, it wasn't his fault.

In his statement, it was 'basically the same thing.' No, it wasn't. And besides, he added, Bill Clinton did pardon Marc Rich.

David Corn disgraced himself in 2008. I'm not in the mood to read about Corn Nuts as a trusted voice and I have serious qualms about anyone who is a media critic and is unaware of the crap David Corn pulled.

If, like Bob Somerby, you're late to the party, you can start with the following:

Third Estate Sunday Review: Dumb Ass of the Week: David Corn
The Third Estate Sunday Review focuses on politics and culture. We're an online magazine. We don't play nice and we don't kiss butt. In the words of Cher: - Cached - Similar

Third Estate Sunday Review: TV: The Christ-child fumbles
The Third Estate Sunday Review focuses on politics and culture. ..... David Corn, who used to pride himself on the facts, had a screaming meltdown when he - Cached - Similar

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
Friday, September 11, 2009. Chaos and violence continue, a prison riot at Abu Ghraib, Iraqi soldiers are shot dead, a new appeal for Camp Ashraf, can President Obama bypass the Senate on agreements with Iraq, and more.

On the second hour of NPR's
The Diane Rehm Show today, Iraq was discussed. Steve Roberts filled in for Diane Rehm (who tripped a few Thursdays ago and expects to be back on Monday's program and will be on Saturday's Weekend Edition speaking with Scott Simon) and spoke with panelists Karen DeYoung (Washington Post), Abderrahim Foukara (Al Jazeera) and Susan Glasser (Foreign Policy).

Steve Roberts: Karen, next door [to Iran], Iraq continues, almost every week we have to talk about it. This week in Iraq, a blast in the northern provinces, 25 or so people killed. This is an area of-of a lot of ethnic strife, Kurds, Turkmens, Arabs. What do we know about the security situation in-in Iraq and the potential for widening civil strife there?

Karen DeYoung: It's interesting that as these -- as these things have happened and there have been several big explosions, certainly starting from the August 19th suicide attack against the Foreign Ministry in Baghdad, the Americans have gone out of their way in each instance to say, "Gosh this is too bad but we don't think it's a return to sectarian strife. We think things are proceeding as they should, we are leaving on schedule, if not before we are scheduled to leave." And you saw Ambassador Chris Hill, the US ambassador to Baghdad, was on Capital Hill yesterday testifying in the Senate and in the House and saying, "Look, you know" essentially saying, "this is growing pains. The Iraqis have to learn how to deal with these things themselves and they will learn by doing it."

Steve Roberts: I'm Steve Roberts and you're listening to The Diane Rehm Show. But in his (Hill's) testimony, the subtext clearly was drawing a very clear distinction between Iraq and Afghanistan. They continually say Iraq is-is not vital to national security in just -- in the way that Afghanistan remains.

Karen DeYoung: Well he was saying Look we have an ongoing interest in a partnership with Iraq. Iraq will -- You know we have this Strategic Framework Agreement that-that has levels of economic cooperation, cultural cooperation and some ongoing military cooperation, certainly in terms of training and-and other kinds of assistance. But that we are not -- we think in terms of the insurgency, that's Iraq's problem now and we're leaving it for them to deal with." Obviously, they still have problems in the north and that is the primary concern both on a military level, an economic level and a governance level The difficulties between the Kurds in the north and the -- and the Arabs and the Shi'ite-led government in Baghdad.

Let's use Karen's remarks to jump back to that hearing already covered in
yesterday's snapshot. Last night, Kat shared her thoughts on the hearing and she also noted that I didn't do transcript format to cover as much of the two hearings as possible. Today we're going to zoom in on a few specific moments from the Senate Foreign Affairs hearing. First up, a few e-mails wonder if John Kerry was clear that Hill should summarize? Kerry is the chair of the committee and he was very clear in his instructions and Hill agreed to do what was asked and then went on to ignore what was requested of him.

Chris Hill: Thank you very much, uh Chairman Kerry, I would like to uhm -- I have a statement which I would like to --

John Kerry: We'll put the full statement in the record as if read in full and if you'd summarize that would give us more time to have a good dialogue. Thanks.

Chris Hill: Very good.

Is that not clear? Does any adult have trouble following what Kerry requested? Hill responded "Very good" and nodded. So presumably he understood what he was asked to do. He was asked to summarize his statement. The next words out of his mouth were, "Chairman Kerry, Senator Lugar, Members of . . ." and you can [PDF format warning] click here for the written statement he prepared ahead of time and you will see -- surprise, surprise, as
Carol Burnett's Eunice used to say -- it starts the same way. In fact, 14 pages will be read word for word with the exception of when Hill loses his place. 14 pages. At which point, he will finally notice Kerry's displeasure and begin summarizing the last five pages. He will take approximately 11 minutes with the bulk of it (10 minutes) being spent reading word-for-word before he rushes to sum up the last five pages in one minute.

John Kerry: Mr. Ambassador, you also talked about the issue of reform in Iraq and, you know, we've been sitting on this committee listening to this talk I mean I can remember Secretary [Condi] Rice down in the lower building, lower room of the Dirksen, testifying to us in January three or four years ago saying the oil law's almost done, we're moving forward on this and that, etc, etc. We are at least three or four years later now and still those contentious issues remain contentious. Share with us, I mean, it seems those may be the explosion point also in the absence of an American presence. Would you lend your view on that and on the prospect of actually resolving these --

Chris Hill: Well first of all, I'd like to say that I think getting the economy there operating -- namely getting oil uh starting to-to-to be pumped out of the ground -- is essential to the future of that country and, frankly, we cannot be uh funding uh things that should be funded by the Iraqis and would be funded if they - if they were able to move on the oil sector. Uh with regard to the hydrocarbons law, I went out there with the expectation that we would move on that but I know -- you know -- it was held up -- it's been held up for three or four years. I have really worked that issue. We have tried to break it down, find out where the real differences are between the Kurdish government and the uh Iraqi government. It's a complex piece of legislation actually involving four separate pieces of legislation having to do with revenue sharing, having to do with institution building, uh having to do with uh how the ministry would operate and I think realistically speaking it will probably not get done before the January elections. So our concern has been we cannot have Iraq's future held up or-or simply held hostage to this one piece of legislation. Therefore we were pleased that the Iraqis did move ahead with the beginning of something they hadn't done for decades and decades and that is begin the process of-of bidding oil fields to foreign concerns. They didn't do it during Saddam, they didn't even do it pre-Saddam. So they have begun that. They began it in June. One of the --

John Kerry: That's all well and good but if all those revenues, if all those revenues are piling up in even greater amounts without some distribution mechanism --

Chris Hill: Well there is a distribution mechanism the 17% is basically -- is agreed to by all sides. So even when the -- when they -- on the Kurdish Regional Government when they were able to export some oil with an agreement with Baghdad, they did it under the provision of seven -- seventeen percent. So I think these things can-can be properly distributed. The issue is in the -- I won't say "long run" but certainly in the medium run they're going to need this law because the issues go to things like infrastructure. Iraq's oil sector is very much in trouble with very aging infrastructure. They have to have agreements no how they're going to pay for Is that the responsibility of local authorities? There are other issues having to do with the uh southern part of-of Iraq and there own regional concerns So I think they can deal with some of the key elements but it would be better if they dealt with the hydrocarbon law. I'm giving you my sense of the situation and I don't think we're going to get there before January. And therefore we really want to focus on getting them to bid out these fields because British-Petroleum in there is a good development.

John Kerry: Mr. Ambassador, Syria and Iraq had indicated a willingness to try to cooperate on the borders and deal with the foreign fighter issue which is very much in our interest and we've been pushing that on both sides. But the bombings on August 19th have now seen, you know sort of an explosion between the two countries, they've pulled their ambassadors and uh traded recriminations so where do we stand on that? What if anything can be done to end that? Will Turkish mediation make a difference? Is that the thing that we should be advocating at this point? And what do you think is the process for getting back to the place that we'd hoped to be.

Chris Hill: Well, I uh think we would like to see Iraq and uh Syria have a good relationship and it was rather ironic that on August 18th -- that is one day before the bombing -- Prime Minister [Nouri al-] Maliki was in Damascus and they signed a number of economic agreements. Uh, obviously, things are -- things are in a difficult state and things are frankly on hold right now through this uh, through this uh down turn n the relationship. The Iraqis are very concerned about the fact that some senior Ba'athist leaders went and found refuge in Syria and remain in Syria. And the Iraqis have understandably called for their return to-to Iraq. That issue needs to be, frankly, needs to be worked through.

We'll stop on that section -- and note
British Petroleum is not "in there" on its own, it formed a partnership with China National Petroleum Corporation. On the subject of Iraq and Syria, Muhanad Mohammed, Khalid al-Ansary, Tim Cocks and Elizabeth Fullerton (Reuters) report Nouri's spokesmodel Ali al-Dabbagh declared today, "It is premature to talk about the return of the ambassadors before Iraq sees seriousness from the Syrian side and the political will to implement the demands of Iraqis." Today's exchange is only the latest volley. Syria continues to demand proof before extraditing anyone.

We'll pick back up on yesterday's Senate Foreign Affairs Committee with Senator Russ Feingold.

Senator Russ Feingold: I'm extremely pleased that we finally have a time table for ending our involvement in the war in Iraq. While I'm concerned that the redeployment is not being done as promptly as it should be, this will allow us to refocus on the global threat posed by al Qaeda. I remain convinced that foreign occupations are usually not a good strategy for combatting a global terrorist network. We need to find ways to relentlessly pursue al Qaeda while simelutaneously developing longterm partnerships with legitimate local actors and doing so through civilian diplomatic and development efforts that do not involve a massive military footprint. And now as we transition out of Iraq it is extremely important that we focus on making this an orderly withdraw and doing everything we can through diplomatic means to help promote the political reconciliation needed to bring lasting peace to Iraq. As to some questions, Ambassador, how do the Iraqi people feel about the redeployment of all US troops by the end of 2011 as required by the bi-lateral agreement? Is there any danger that any indication that we're backing away from that committment strong opposition.
Chris Hill: I think the-the dates of uh December 2011, uh August 2010, these were agreed with the Iraqi government and uh at the end of 2008. Uh I think any uh any uh indication that we were not prepared to live with these dates would be very poorly received by the -- by the Iraqi people. And indeed we saw this in the uh in the movement out of the cities June 30, 2009. Rememer we tried to discuss that in terms of nuances and the uh Iraqi media, the Iraqi public got concerned that somehow we were looking for ways not to accomplish that and we did exactly what we said we would do which is we pulled our people from the cities and I think it really has established a resevoir of trust that when you uh have an agreement with the -- with the Americans, you can take it to the bank. So I think uh it's very important to-to live up to these agreements and I think the Iraqi people, even though they do have great concerns about the security, I think they-they want to be responsible for their -- see their country responsible for their own security. As I said earlier, this will be -- these will be difficult moments ahead but uh these are -- these will be nonetheless Iraqi moments to handle and I think they will -- they will deal with this. We are dealing with uh very -- some very competent people, very intelligent people and they will know what to do.

Russ Feingold: Thank you for that answer. The Iraqi government intends to hold a nation-wide referendum on the bi-lateral Status Of Forces Agreement and while there's been a lot of speculation about how this could impact a redeployment timetable, I'd like to also point out that both the Iraqi Parliament and the Iraqi people will have had a chance to vote on the agreement even though the US Senate has not. Can you assure us that any potential modifications to the Security Agreement will be submitted to the Senate for ratification?

Chris Hill: Uh, the issue of Senate ratification goes beyond my write but I will certainly take that question to the State Department and get you an official answer on that. I can give you my personal opinion on that.

Russ Feingold: Would you please?

Chris Hill: -- that you would not want to be changing this uh we would not engage in changing this security agreement without uh considerable consultation but as for the actual relationship between the Senate and the executive [branch] on this, I'd like to defer to our lawyers at the State Department.

Omar Fadhil al-Nidawi and Austin Bay (Wall St. Journal) report, "It's clear that Iraqi air defense forces will not be ready to handle the mission by 2011. Currently, the Iraqi Air Force is a creature of turbo-prop planes and helicopters. A squadron of high performance aircraft flown by Iraqi crack pilots is an expensive goal that might sortie over Baghdad by 2016 at best, though the Iraqi Ministry of Defense quietly estimates that 2018, or 2020, is more probable."

Could the White House extend the US presence beyong 2011 and would it require Senate approval to do so? "Yes" to the first and "no" to the second. Russ Feingold isn't suddenly interested in this issue. He was among those vocally decrying attempts to circumvent the Constitution by bypassing the Senate to form a treaty with Iraq. That was the Bush White House. Let's drop back to the
April 10, 2008 snapshot where another Senate Foreign Relations committee hearing was covered:

Senator Russ Feingold wanted to know if there were "any conditions that the Iraq government must meet?" No, that thought never occurred to the White House. "Given the fact that the Maliki government doesn't represent a true colation," Feingold asked, "won't this agreement [make it appear] we are taking sides in the civil war especially when most Iraqi Parliamentarians have called for the withdrawal of troops?" The two witnesses [David Satterfield (US State Department) and Mary Beth Long (US Defense Dept)] didn't appear to have heard that fact before. Feingold repeated and asked, "Are you not concerned at all that the majority of the Iraqi Parliament has called for withdrawal" Satterfield feels the US and the agreement "will enjoy broad popular support" in Iraq. Satterfield kept saying the agreement wasn't binding. And Feingold pointed out, "The agreement will not bind the Congress either, if the Congress were to" pass a law overriding it which seemed to confuse Satterfield requiring that Feingold again point that out and ask him if "Congress passed a clear law overriding the agreement, would the law override the agreement." Satterfield felt the White House "would have to look carefully at it at the time" because "it would propose difficult questions for us."

"I would suggest," Feingold responded, "your difficulties are with the nature of our Constitution. If we pass a law overiding it . . . that's the law." The treaty and the efforts to bypass the Senate's advise & consent role was something that bothered senators on both sides of the aisle.

Feingold objected as did many Dems and, in the Senate, several Republicans. Barack Obama objected as well. Until he won the election. Then objections began vanishing. Now he operates under Bush's SOFA as opposed to doing any of the things he promised on the campaign trail. Can the White House extend US involvement in Iraq?


It was one of the two signers of the document. It can put forward a new agreement or can add years to the same agreement.


Does it need Senate approval to do so?

"No" would now appear to be the answer. Precedent would most likely apply here were the matter to go before the Supreme Court. The Court will sometimes provide a check on the Executive Branch; however, it generally looks for any way out of such a ruling. (The Court has no officers that enforce decisions -- among the reasons it tends to avoid stand-offs with the Executive Branch.) Allowing George W. Bush to put forward a treaty and refusing to overturn it when Barack was sworn in as president would most likely allow a wary Court to say a limited and limiting precedent --- applying solely to this SOFA document with Iraq -- was set by Bush's objections and the continuation of them under President Barack Obama. So Barack could bypass the Senate -- as Bush did -- in creating a new agreement or extending the current one. It's an issue Feingold always takes seriously. You'll note his chief online cheerleader, The Progressive's Matthew Rothschild, 'forgets' to document Feingold's line of questioning yesterday.

Fadhel al-Badrani, Suadad al-Salhy, Missy Ryan and Philippa Fletcher (Reuters) reported this morning that a riot has broken out at Abu Ghraib prison and someone has started a fire. BBC News adds that US helicopters and Iraqi troops were sent to the prison and: "Some Iraqi media said there had been fatalities, but [US] Master Sgt [Nicholas] Conner said the Iraqi authorities reported that three guards and three inmates had been injured." AFP quotes an unnamed prison officer stating, "A fire was declared on Friday afternoon following clashes between prisoners and wardens carrying out a search for banned substances and weapons." AP reports that a group of lawmakers met with prisoners to negotiate and cite Zeinab alKinani stating the bulk of the prisoners returned to the cells after given a promise that a committee would be created to explore prisoner amnesty. RTT states, 'One prisoner was killed and many others injured". Elsewhere, Wathiq Ibrahim and Tim Cocks (Reuters) report, were attacked at a Safara military checkpoint with 5 being shot dead.

In other reported violence . . .


Reuters notes a Riyadh bombing which claimed 2 lives.


Reuters notes a Kirkuk shooting that injured one person, 1 person shot dead in Hawija and, dropping back to yesterday, six people were left wounded in a Kirkuk shooting.

The violence has immediate effects in terms of deaths and wounded. It also has impacts that often aren't noted.
Jane Arraf (Christian Science Montior) reports that Black Wednesday (the August 19th bombings targeting the Foreign Ministry and Finance Ministry primarily) also did damage to the Iraq Museum:"Showcases, windows, even the office of the director of excavations was damaged," says museum director Amira Eidan, interviewed on the sidelines of a Tourism Ministry conference on antiquities. She says it could be several years before the renowned institution can be opened to the public. "Is it the time to reopen the museum and show these treasures?" she asks. "After improving the security situation, then we can think about reopening."You may be thinking, "Reopen? I thought the museum opened in Februrary." They certainly did try to spin it that way but, check Feb. 23rd snapshot, it wasn't an opening, it was a ceremony for Nouri, dignitaries and, most of all, reporters. Back then, the Los Angeles Times' Babylon & Beyond blog was one of the few to offer reality, "As for when the rest of Iraq will be able to see the museum, that's unclear. Iraqi guards Monday afternoon told journalists it would be a couple of months." And it never opened.

Attempts are being made to close a camp in Iraq. Camp Ashraf is made up of Iranian dissidents belonging to the MEK who were given sanctuary by Saddam Hussein and have remained in Iraq for decades. Following the US invasion, the US military provided security for them and the US government labeled them "protected persons" under Geneva. Though Nouri 'promised' he wouldn't move against Camp Ashraf, but
July 28th he launched an assault. Bill Bowder (UK's Church Times) reports, "The Archbishop of Canterbury has written to the United States Ambassador in London to add his voice to protests outside the US embassy." Today Amnesty International released the following:

Amnesty International has written to the Iraqi prime minister Nuri al-Maliki expressing its deep concern about killings and other abuses committed by Iraqi security forces at Camp Ashraf this summer.
On 28-29 July a large number of Iraqi security personnel seized control of Camp Ashraf in Iraq's Diyala province, north of Baghdad, a settlement that has been home to some 3,400 Iranian exiles for over 20 years. At least nine camp residents were shot dead and others sustained serious injuries during the storming of the camp, during which vehicles were driven into crowds of protesting residents and live ammunition used, apparently without adequate justification. Since July, 36 camp residents have been held without charge or trial.
In response, fears for the thousands of Iranian nationals - many with a long history of political opposition to the government of neighbouring Iran - have been raised by numerous supporters around the world. There have been protests around the world, including a long-running vigil and hunger strike outside the US embassy in London. Protestors say the withdrawal of US forces to military bases in Iraq earlier this year has left Camp Ashraf residents newly vulnerable to Iraqi security forces, a concern shared by Amnesty.
Amnesty International UK Director Kate Allen said:
'There are numerous reports - including shocking images - of the Iraq security forces using what appears to be grossly excessive force in their seizure of Camp Ashraf and this must be properly investigated. So must reports that detainees have been abused in detention
'The fear now is that Iraq may force Camp Ashraf residents to return to Iran, where they could face imprisonment or torture. No vulnerable residents of Camp Ashraf must face this fate.'
Amnesty has made clear to both the Iraqi and US governments that it strongly opposes any forcible returns, either of those at Camp Ashraf or of other Iranian nationals who currently reside in Iraq having left Iran for political reasons or to escape persecution. In its letter to prime minister al-Maliki, Amnesty urges him to immediately establish a full and independent investigation into the methods used by Iraqi security forces during the Camp Ashraf operation, making its findings public as soon as possible. Amnesty also urged him to ensure that members of the security forces and other officials found responsible for using excessive force and of committing serious human rights violations are immediately suspended from duty and promptly brought to justice.
Meanwhile Amnesty has expressed particular concern over the fate of the 36 detained men, not least as there are allegations that they have been beaten and otherwise ill-treated. They are currently held at a police station in al-Khalis - a town some 15 miles from Camp Ashraf -- where they are reported to be in poor health and to be maintaining a hunger strike in protest at their detention and ill-treatment.
On 24 August an Iraqi investigative judge ordered the release of the 36 on the grounds that they had no charges to answer, but local police refused to release them, in breach of Iraqi law. A public prosecutor in Baquba, Diyala province, is then reported to have appealed against the investigative judge's release order, apparently as a means of justifying their continued detention, and the appeal is now awaiting determination by the Court of Cassation.
In its letter Amnesty urged the Iraq prime minister to intervene and ensure that the 36 detainees are released immediately and unconditionally unless they are to face recognisably criminal charges and brought to trial fairly and promptly. Amnesty also urged Mr al-Maliki to order an investigation into the failure by police at al-Khalis to comply with the judge's order for the release of the 36 and to ensure that any police officers responsible for unlawful detentions are held to account.

John Hughes (Deseret News) adds, "An Iraqi judge ruled that the 36 dissidents, who went on a hunger strike in captivity, should be released. But Iraqi Interior Ministry officials, using new tactics, have argued that the dissidents entered the country illegally and should be expelled -- obviously to Iran. If this tactic is successful, it could be applied to the 3,400 or so PMOI members remaining in Camp Ashraf." So the Iraqi court rules that prisoners should be released and the Iraqi government decides they don't have to listen. Maybe from the US. After all the US military grabbed Reuters reporter Ibrahim Jassim in September 2008 and refuse to release him. In November 2008, Iraqi courts decided Ibrahim should be set free but the US ignored the court order and has continued to imprison Ibrahim.

At On The Wilderside, Ian Wilder calls out United for Pathetic and Juvenile and CodeStink for "trotting out Tom Hayden as an anti-war spoeksperson. Hello? Everyone forget that Hayden told everyone to vote for the pro-war Obama. [. . .] How about Hayden sign a petition saying he will never vote for (or promote) a pro-war candidate?" It's actually worse than Ian writes. Tom-Tom didn't just tell people to vote for Barack, Tom-Tom ridiculed those who didn't. For example, Tom-Tom gave an interview to the Rocky Mountain News where he mocked and sneered at Chris Hedges because Hedges would not support Barack (Chris Hedges supported Ralph Nader). It wasn't just Tom Hayden telling people to vote for Barack, he also attacked those who voted for Ralph or Cynthia McKinney. Tom's a total tool and that's why he has the blood of Palestinians on his hands. (His one late-in-life column admitting guilt did not absolve him.) Ian Wilder's point is very clear: He's a Green and he's stating that the two organizations asking for Green support picked the wrong person to 'reach out' with due to Tom's behaivor. As always Carl Davidson shows up and Kimberly Wilder attempts to explain what Ian was doing. Kimberly's wasting her time. Carl knew what Ian was doing, Carl didn't care. It's the same crap Carl pulls with Paul Street. Carl insists that UPFJ endorses no candidates -- he apparently missed the UPFJ homepage in November. Or, more likely, it didn't register because The Old Whore Carl was a Barack supporter -- he was, in fact, sending out e-mails in 2007 stating "we" need to support Barack because of Barack's 'radical' roots. (Carl was among those whispering Barack was a Socialist or a Communist to drum up support for Barack in the very juvenile game of telephone that had the fringes rooting for Barry O early on.) [As I have stated here repeatedly beginning in 2007 when Carl and others spread those false rumors, Barack is a Corporatist War Hawk, he is not a Socialist, he is not a Communist.] We'll note Ian's response to Carl in full:

I am speaking for myself as an individual Green, and as a peace activist who was [. . .] against the Afghan War since the first day we started bombing.
I am tired of supporting organizations that don't support me. How about supposed anti-war organizations stop sending messages out from Democrats who support a pro-war President? How about they stop going underground every time a Democrat runs for President?
UPFJ and Code Pink have not been friends. They have wanted Green Party bodies and dollars, but not our voices. We will not stop these wars until the peace movement is ready to directly confront the politicians, Democrat and Republican. And that includes confronting them on the campaign trail and in the voting booth.

Caro of Make Them Accountable notes the analysis of ObamaInsuranceCompanyCare by Chris Floyd (Empire Burlesque): "But of course there will be no reform, and there was never going to be. Obama is going to 'reform' America's broken health care system the same way he has 'reformed' the War on Terror and 'reformed' Wall Street: by taking the existing policies and making them even worse."

Today is the anniversary of 9-11. We'll note it by including this from international law professor Francis A. Boyle "
O'Reilly and the Law of the Jungle" (ZNet):

On the morning of 13 September 2001, that is 48 hours after the terrible tragedies in New York and Washington , D.C. on September 11th, I received telephone call from a producer at Fox Television Network News in New York City . He asked me to go onto The O'Reilly Factor TV program live that evening in order to debate Bill O'Reilly on the question of war versus peace. O'Reilly would argue for the United States going to war in reaction to the terrorist attacks on 11 September, and I would argue for a peaceful resolution of this matter.
Up until then I had deliberately declined numerous requests for interviews about the terrible events of September 11 and what should be done about them because it was not clear to me precisely what was going on. But unfortunately The O'Reilly Factor had the Number One ranking in TV viewership for any news media talk program in America . I felt very strongly as a matter of principle that at least one person from the American Peace Movement had to go onto that program and argue the case directly to the American people that the United States of America must not go to war despite the terrible tragedy that had been inflicted upon us all.

I had debated O'Reilly before so I was fully aware of the type of abuse to expect from him. So for the next few hours I negotiated with O'Reilly through his producer as to the terms and conditions of my appearance and our debate, which they agreed to. At the time I did not realize that O'Reilly was setting me up to be fired as he would next successfully do to Professor Sami Al-Arian soon after debating me.

After our debate had concluded, I returned from the campus television studio to my office in order to shut the computer down, and then go home for what little remained of the evening. When I arrived in my office, I found that my voice mail message system had been flooded with mean, nasty, vicious complaints and threats. The same was true for my e-mail in-box. I deleted all these messages as best I could, and then finally went home to watch the rest of O'Reilly's 9/11 coverage that evening on Fox with my wife. By then he was replaying selected segments of our debate and asking for hostile commentaries from Newt Gingrich and Jeane Kirkpatrick. We turned off the TV in disgust when O'Reilly publicly accused me of being an Al Qaeda supporter. My understanding was that Fox then continued to rebroadcast a tape of this outright character assassination upon me for the rest of the night.

Click here to read the rest. Music notes, Tuesday, October 27th, Carly Simon's latest album, Never Been Gone, is released. Carly's recording two new compositions and doing new arrangements (mainly acoustic) of previous songs including her Academy Award winning, Golden Globe winning and Grammy winning "Let The River Run" -- she's made the new version available as a free download currently. TV notes. NOW on PBS begins airing on most PBS stations tonight:In rural Rwanda, the simple and time-tested idea of medical house calls is not only improving the health of the community, but stimulating its economy as well.This week, NOW travels to the village of Rwinkwavu to meet the Rwandan doctors, nurses and villagers who are teaming up with Boston-based Partners in Health and the Rwandan government to deliver medicine and medical counseling door-to-door. Would such an innovation work in America?In the capital of Kigali, NOW's David Brancaccio sits down with Rwandan President Paul Kagame to talk about international aid and Kagame's ultimate vision for a healthy, financially-independent Rwanda.Washington Week also begins airing tonight on many PBS stations and sitting around the table with Gwen tonight are Charlie Babington (AP), Peter Baker (New York Times), Joan Biskupic (USA Today) and Doyle McManus (Los Angeles Times). Remember that there is a web bonus each week that you can grab on podcast (video -- they also have audio podcast but it doesn't include the bonus) or wait for Monday morning when the bonus is available at the website. Also, a PBS friend asks that I note that they didn't just redesign their website at Washington Week, they added many new elements. One sidebar is on the right and it contains links to the latest writing by Washington Week regulars such as CBS and Slate's John Dickerson's article on health care at Slate. Meanwhile Bonnie Erbe will sit down with four women to discuss the week's events on PBS' To The Contrary. Check local listings, on many stations, it begins airing tonight. Online, they address the announcement that Diane Sawyer will begin anchoring ABC's World News Tonight next year. And turning to broadcast TV, Sunday CBS' 60 Minutes offers:
President Obama Steve Kroft interviews the president at an important time in his presidency.
Big Teddy His son, Ted Kennedy, Jr., and the editor/publisher he collaborated closely with on his memoir, Jonathan Karp, reflect on the life and legacy of the late Sen. Ted Kennedy. Lesley Stahl reports.
Guiding Light Morley Safer interviews the actors and writers behind broadcasting's longest running drama, "Guiding Light," as they celebrate the soap opera's incredible run and discuss its cancellation after 72 years.
60 Minutes Sunday, Sept. 13, at 7 p.m. ET/PT.

nprthe diane rehm showsteve robertsthe wall street journalomar fadhil al-nidawiaustin baythe christian science monitorjane arraf
amnesty international
carly simon
bbc news60 minutescbs newspbsto the contrarybonnie erbenow on pbs
kats korner

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Todd Chretien, sit your ass down

I'm sorry, something funny happened. A meteor hit the earth and all Black people were rendered silent. As a result, we had to count on White Todd Chretien to speak for us. And --

What's that?

We still have our voices?

Yes, we do so someone tell Todd Chretien to sit his White ass down.

Dumb ass Cretin is writing at the US Socialist Worker (what a rag and what a joke it's become in two years) that Van Jones leaving the administration is a sign of racism.

Shut your White ass, Todd Chretien. You don't know a damn thing.

I am so damn sick of White people playing the race card and trying to speak for me.

Shut your damn mouth, Todd Chretien.

Van Jones' departure had nothing to do with his race.

For proof of the 'racism,' White Todd finds that some posting comments at Glenn Beck's website use the term thug.

Let me rephrase and earlier statement, Todd Chretien, shut your RACIST mouth.

"Thug" existed long before the ghetto-killing us culture invaded my community. Foreign Policy in Focus recently featured an article that called Nouri al-Maliki a "thug."

Are you telling me Foreign Policy in Focus is racist, Todd?

Didn't think so, you lazy minded idiot.

People can call Barack a "thug." It has nothing to do with Barack being bi-racial.

I called George W. Bush a "thug" constantly. If I wasn't calling him that, I was calling him "Bully Boy." Didn't have a damn thing to do with his race.

Had a lot to do with his doing two illegal wars. Last time I checked, Barry O was doing the same damn thing.

If Barack's called a "thug," Idiot Todd, live with it.

Stop assuming it's racism, stop assuming every criticism of Barack is racism.

You're so stupid and you degrade the national dialogue with your idiotic commentary.

You have nothing to offer and nothing to say so you play the race card.

Why don't you sit your White ass down and shut your mouth. Okay, White boy?

I'm so sick of it. I would love to see many other of my peers rise up and say "Shut up!" to all these White people who won't stop playing the race card.

Do we play the race card? Absolutely. And sometimes we're right and sometimes we're wrong. And if I think a Black person's wrong, I'm not going to hit the ceiling (unless they're lying) because it's about our lives.

But some White person trying to act like they're Black or like they understand it or are Black by proxy?

I'm not in the damn mood. Shut your mouth and sit your White ass down.

Stop using my race as your political football.

Is that clear enough for you Toad Chretien?

Stan's tackling this as well tonight. We're both sick of it. We planned to write about other things but Van Jones left the administration for many reasons. Race wasn't one.

Stan's grabbing how Toad gloms on race while being silent about other things. Read Stan.

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
Thursday, September 10, 2009. Chaos and violence continue, US Ambassador to Iraq Chris Hill appears before Congress, election fears sprout in Iraq, Iraq's LGBT community continues to be targeted, and more.
US Ambassador Chris Hill appeared before Congress today. He last appeared before the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee on March 25th, back when Committee Chair John Kerry was explaining that, if confirmed as ambassador, he would depart for Iraq "within a day of his Senate confirmation. Tuesday April 21st, Hill was confirmed by the Senate. Three days later he showed up in Baghdad. Baby Hill's first broken promise since becoming ambassador.
This morning, Chris Hill appeared before the House Foreign Affairs Committee and there wasn't a great deal to that hearing. Hill insisted that there was joy and wonder in Iraq because Sunnis and Shia had no "risen to the bait" of sectarian warfare. He avoided the issue of mounting tensions between Kurds and Arabs -- surprising when you grasp that outside observers and the top US commander in Iraq, Gen Ray Odierno, have identified that mounting tension as among the most pressing problems facing Iraq today. In fact, "Analysts say tensions between Arabs and Kurds in northern Iraq is the major threat to the country's stability and security as the U.S. troops, which have mediated between the two sides, are prepare to withdraw from Iraq by 2012." That's Xinhua, we'll come back to that after discussing the hearing.
He acknowledged that "there is a risk of escalation in tensions between Arabs and Kurds around the disputed areas in nothern Iraq." A risk? It's taking place. Hill came off like an uninformed fool in March when attempting to speak on the issue of Kirkuk. He was no more convincing today discussing "the thorny dispute in Kirkuk." What is he doing on that issue? Apparently nothing but, he insisted, "The UN has an important role here." Then why are you appearing before Congress?
"There has been some good news," insisted Hill. "Iraq statged two rounds of successful elecitons this year -- the provincial council elections in 14 of Iraq's 18 provinces in January, and elections for the Kurdistan Regional Government in July." Yes, he is that stupid. The KRG elections allowed for 3 more provinces to vote. And? What of Kirkuk? The oil-rich Kirkuk has not had its referendum -- promised in Iraq's Constitution ratified in 2005. There has been no promised census. There is no progress.
And that needs to be stated clearly. In 2007, a series of benchmarks were created by the Bush White House to measure 'progress' in Iraq. These were not 'longterm' benchmarks. These were benchmarks Iraq was supposed to meet within a year. And never did. And even now, as 2009 winds down, the benchmarks haven't been met.
Hill should not be allowed to cite 'progress' without defining it. He found time to slam the Iraqis comfort level with a Socialist economy, to preach the marekt economy as the only way for Iraq to find stability, to prep for a coming war with Iran (including climbing the drama cross about an Iranian rocket landing "in the front yard of my house") and more. James Morrison (Washington Times) reported this morning that Hillmight face questions today regarding why he more or less ignored ("downplayed") a letter from over "500 members of the British Parliament" warning that Camp Ashraf residents were in danger (the residents were assaulted July 28th). The issue was raised by the House Committee and Hill embarrassed himself and the country of the United States. The assulat resulted in 11 dead, many injured and at least 36 kidnapped/imprisoned. (Camp Ashraf residents call the 36 hostages.) Hill declared that Nouri has assured him the 36 won't be sent to Iran. The MEK are Iranian dissidents who have been in Iraq for decades now. Saddam Hussein welcomed them into the country. Following the US invasion in 2003, the US protected the MEK. Hill stated that they won't be sent back to Iran and seemed pleased with his statement. That's an ambassador? When Joe Wilson was Ambassador to Iraq, he stood up to the ruler. Hill's couldn't have been more ineffectual if he'd added, "Nouri and I text and i.m. all the time. And Hoshie Zebari is so dreamy!" He insisted that Nouri knew the US was interested in "the preservation of their human rights" but that appears only to apply to "Don't send them back to Iran!" Imprison them? Hey, fine and dandy with Chris Hill.
Due to the differences in time limits, we'll focus on the Senate committee. Individuals members of the committee have more time to ask questions on the Senate Committee. Equally true, Hill appeared fully awake for the afternoon session. His hair was in disarray and he had a food stain on his shirt (he is the Pig-Pen Ambassador), but he was awake.
We'll note a lengthy section of John Kerry's opening statement:
If the Iraqi public rejects the agreement, then I believe we have no choice but to withdraw all of our forces as quickly as we can. This would complicate our redeployment and severely curtail our ability to assist the Iraqi security forces and government. But at this point, I'm not sure how we justify asking our soldiers to stay one day longer than necessary after being formally disinvited by the Iraqi people.
In a sense, the security agreement that the Bush Administration negotiated with Prime Minister Maliki made moot the old "should we stay or should we go" policy debate. But even so, Iraq remains a Rorschach test for pundits and policymakers:
On the one hand, a person can look at the security gains since 2006 -- when sectarian violence threatened to tear Iraqi society apart -- and conclude that Iraqis have stepped back from the brink. And it's true that, since the worst days of 2006 and 2007, violence has dropped by 85 percent, even with the recent mass-casualty attacks. American fatalities are at their lowest rate of the war. Al-Qaeda in Iraq, while still deadly, is only a shadow of its former self.
There has been political progress, as well. In the January elections, unlike in 2005, sectarian and ethnic identification is unlikely to be the sole organizing principle of Iraqi politics. The leader of the Anbar Awakening, a group that evolved out of the Sunni Arab insurgency, has been talking openly about a political alliance with the Shiite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. Such an announcement would have been unthinkable just eighteen months ago. Other Sunni factions are exploring a coalition with the Kurds. Electricity production, which had long been stalled, quietly increased by forty percent in the last year.
That is the optimistic view. But one can look at the same set of facts on the ground and come to a more pessimistic conclusion: namely, that removing an American presence that has been the lynchpin of the security improvements of the last few years would lead Iraq back into a downward spiral of communal violence.
It's too soon to know whether the rise in violence since American forces withdrew from Iraqi cities in June is an uptick or an upswing. Whether it is a blip or a trend, recent violence has been troubling. August was the deadliest month for Iraqis in more than a year. And the devastating "Black Wednesday" bombings against the Iraqi Foreign and Finance Ministries last month were a stark reminder that forces opposed to reconciliation remain capable of devastating attacks that could alter the country's direction. The attacks were also a blow to the Iraqi people's confidence in their security forces. And of course, Iraq's problems don't end there: Arab -- Kurdish tensions remain unresolved, corruption is rampant; millions of Iraqi refugees and internally displaced persons remain far from home, waiting to be resettled; and Iraq's relations with its neighbors are volatile. These are a few of the many challenges Iraq will face in the coming years.
So which is it? Is Iraq beginning to unravel again, or are these just the inevitable bumps on the road toward returning responsibility for Iraq to Iraqis? What will happen after we leave? We don't have definitive answers to these questions.
Ranking Member Richard Luger stated they didn't need Hill to use a crystal ball and tell them about what would take place in 2011, that instead they need "your best sense of how things are progressing towards that date." And then the floor went to Chris Hill.
In the midst of reading his prepared statement -- the same prepared statement Senator John Kerry asked him to summarize and not read in full so that there could be more time for questions -- Hill looked around (so many rumors of meds, so many rumors) and asked,
"Is that my phone or someone else's? Good, it's not mine." Good. And did anyone else hear the ringing? Hill returned to reading his statement. Repeating, John Kerry told him the statement would be put into the record "as if you read it in full" and instructed him to summarize it so there would be more time for a discussion. Hill just doesn't grasp events around him. Maybe all those ringing cell phones he hears distracts him? Over three minutes into his word-for-word reading of the prepared statment, Hill was greeted by a loud throat clearing on the part of Senator Kerry. No, he didn't take a hint. Four minutes in, Kerry was visibly irritated. No, Hill didn't notice but went on about "we need to work closely with Iraq" . . . Some might think Hill was so dependent upon his prepared remarks because he stammers and stumbles when speaking without prepared text. Possibly. But he manages to screw up even his word-for-word reading. And, it needs to be noted, the prepared remarks he gave in the afternoon were pretty much the same ones he gave in the morning to the House committee. Kirkuk was "the thorny dispute" in both because they were the same damn statement. Four minutes later, Senator Kerry was again loudly clearing his throat and Hill was continuing to speak about "a very important day, more important than many . . ." Over ten minutes after he was asked to summarize and not read his statement, Hill finished reading it.
Senator Kerry noted Hill "mentioned in your testimony a strengthend civilian effort. What do you mean by that? We have one of the largest embassies in the world." Hill agreed that was true and then stated that the embassy "will need to get smaller." If you're confused, the committee appeared to be so as well as Hill began speaking of having to rent apartments in Baghdad for some staff members and putting in a partition/dry wall in one when the two people were not married. "But I want to assure mr chairman I want to see that embassy smaller," he declared firmly to the puzzled stares of the committee. Is Hill planning to rent out the embassy conference room for small parties? Sign lease agreements with some of the Subway sandwich shops losing spots on bases. [Marc Santora reported on bases yesterday, it was an article of interest but there was no room for it in the snapshot. Click here to read his article.]
Senator Russ Feingold asked whether the US military should provide security for embassies in war zone considering recent contractor scandals? "Incidents do happen," stated Hill, "everywhere." Thanks for that explanation, Chris. But, "I would rather not task the military with another mission." The US marines are the ones who are supposed to be protecting US embassies staff in foreign countries. If Hill's aware of that, he gave no indication. In replying to Senator Feingold, Hill fell back repeatedly on some variation of, "Maybe I can take the question and get back to you." Even for something as basic as his own role as supervisor as US troops draw-down. It was rather sad.
And what of 'progress'? Senator Kerry observed, "We've been sitting on this committee listening to this talk -- I can remember Senator Rice [. . .] testifying to us three or four years ago, saying the oil law is almost done." And it wasn't and it isn't.
"I went out there with the expectations that we would move on it," Hill declared of the oil law while painting himself as Hill of Arabia. But now? The issue's so much more complicated than he knew. (Over his head?) The law has many parts: "revenue sharing, institution building". And no luck on it. "We have tried to break it down," Hill shrugged. " I think that getting the economy there operating [. . .] is eseentital to the future of that country and frankly we cannot be funding things that should be funded by the Iraqis and would be funded" if the oil law was in place. Senator Corker wanted to know "how long as a country that we are supporting Iraq financially?" Hill agreed, "They should be able to pay their own bills. There's no question that they should pay their own bills." But?
They need financial support, Hill said, and pinned it on pre-Saddam era, going back to the British occupation (which he named and fingered) and Iraqis 'fear' of turning over assets "to foreigners to development. So they've got to get over that." Oh do they? They have to get over that. Hill said that Iraqis have to get over that? And he's the ambassador to Iraq?
The oil draft law (aka Theft Of Iraqi Oil)? "I think realistically speaking," Hill said indicating he had offered something other than realistic speaking to the committee previously, "it will probably not get done before the January elections. So our concern is that we cannot have Iraq's future held up or held hostage by this one particular issue."
The Ambassador to Iraq made statements blaming Syria and that may have been the most interesting of all. "They have rightly called for their return" declared Hill of former Ba'athists now living in Syria. Wow. What a difference from mere days ago. September 1st he appeared on WBUR's On Point with Tom Ashbrook (see Sept. 2nd snapshot for transcript of his remarks). From that broadcast:
Jacki Lyden: We are going to take a few calls here in just a moment but Ambassador, I would like to ask you, based on your intelligence, who do you think is responsible for the August 19th bombings which was the worst in a very long time?
Chris Hill: Well I you know the investigations are very much continuing I'm not sure I want to sort of give you a running tab of an ongoing investigation but there are certain usual suspects here that we are obviously looking at very closely and one of course is this al Qaeda in Iraq -- so-called AQI. Now the government has some theories that it's more complex that you have possible ex-Ba'athist elements You know these are also Sunni who feel disenfranchised from the system but they're not sort of these extreme Wahhabists Sunnis that al Qaeda draws its ranks from. Yet there is you know talk in the analytical community whether they're Ba'athist in al Qaeda or AQI -- I want to stress this is al Qaeda in Iraq, a sort of franchised operation. And there's a lot of you know talk that perhaps they have some know -- tactical putting, you know, putting this thing together. It's really hard to say. What is clear though is that for many people in this country when those terrible bombings took place out came the fingers and pointing at each other. And to be sure there's a time for finger pointing, there's certainly a time to investigate and see what failures there were in the system. But there's also a times, as the United States, as we know very well in the wake of 9-11. There is a time to come together and one hope that that call will be better heard in Iraq. Because, uh, it's a very rough political climate here.
Again, his tune changed and he sang it repeatedly, always off-key, today. But he found it "rather ironic" that the day before the August 19th bombings, Nouri al-Maliki was in Syria and they had "signed a number of agreements". That's "ironic"? Does Chris Hill know the definition of "irony"? Hill places tremendous faith in Nouri's assessment of Syria and Syrian involvement because, Hill explained, Nouri spent "18 years of his life in Syria."
The issue of the Status Of Forces Agreement was raised -- Kerry raised it first in his opening remarks -- and what would happen if it was changed in some manner or a new agreement was done? Hill felt he wasn't qualified to answer and stated he would defer to the State Dept attorneys but he was of the non-legal opinion that "we would not engage in changing the security agreement without official consulation" with Congress.
We may return to the hearing tomorrow. If so, we'll address the nonsense Hill offered on refugees. It was as irritating as Hill's mincing efforts to be cute such as replying to John Kerry's question about a power grab on Nouri's part with a rambling answer that began "In the privacy of this hearing room".
In terms of immediate concerns, it was pointed out that the elections are scheduled for January and that Barack Obama has stated his delay (broken campaign promise) in terms of drawing down troops is to keep troops on the ground for that. Hill declared, "I worry about developing the political rules of the game and what I don't want to see is an election that resutls in six months of government formation during which there is a loss of some of the progress made." He fears that following the election it will take some time time to set up a new government. That's not the only election fear being expressed currently. Catholic News Agency reports that Father Shlemon Warduni, Auxiliary Bishop of Baghdad, is stating the 2010 elections in Iraq have Iraqi Christians fearful of even more violence and noted of Zakho and Amadhiya, "The lack of work is noticeable and is made worse by the fact that many lands have been occupied by people who have come from other areas in search of refuge. The streets are not secure and neither are they in good condition, thus making it difficult for the people who need to find work or to transport the infirm to move about."
He could have grounded that fear in facts but, being Chris Hill, knew none. In the spring of 2006, when the US nixed the Iraqi's first choice for prime minister and Nouri was proposed as the accepted candidate instead, Nouri promised to quickly assemble his cabinet. He didn't do that. He was boasting that he would do so before the official deadline and gave himself a new deadline, an earlier one. He missed both. Hill was offering some nonsense during the hearing (re: power grab) about how Nouri's cabinet is people forced on him and blah, blah, blah. Nouri assembled his cabinet. Chris Hill seems as unaware of that as he is of every other Iraq-related fact.
During the Senate hearing, there were eight Camp Ashraf supporters (wearing yellow shirts) on the row behind him -- to the left of him (his left) -- with two on the right side of him. Kat, Ava and Wally have a piece on the Camp Ashraf supporters which will run in tomorrow morning's gina & krista round-robin.
In Iraq today, a village outside of Mosul was targeted. Gina Chon (Wall St. Journal) reports the attack was a suicide truck bombing that took place "after midnight" in Wardek village. Hannah Allam (McClatchy Newspapers) adds, "The bombing Thursday flattened 15 houses and damaged 40 others, trapping families under the rubble, police said. By late afternoon, authorities said they'd rescued all those pinned down by debris." 25 dead and forty-three wounded says Marc Santora (New York Times) who explains, "Wardak is a tiny village, with only about 300 houses, made mostly of mud with wood ceilings. Three sides of the village are protected by sand berms, with a shallow river providing a fourth barrier. Nevertheless, two sucide bombers drove through the river under the cover of night, arriving shortly after midnight, local officials said." The second suicide bomber was shot dead by the Kurdish peshmerga. AFP notes, "Police Captain Mohammed Jalal said a second blast was foiled when Iraqi security forces killed a truck driver before he could detonate explosives." Omar Hayali and Ned Parker (Los Angeles Times) quote wounded Hama Kaki stating, "This is the first time this has happened in our village and we do not know why, because we are far from areas of violence but I think that the political tensions in Mosul are the reason. It is the settling of accounts among the political entities, but at our expense." BBC observes of Mosul, "The city is also characterized by communal strife between Kurds and Arabs and violence targeting religious minorities. In late 2008, the UN refugee agency reported that 13,000 Christians had been driven out of the city by violence and intimidation." Jamal Hashim (Xinhua) offers, "The bomb seems to be well-designed to foment up already existing tensions between Kurds and Arabs, who are vying for land and resources. Nineveh province remains one of Iraq's most volatile area despite the dramatic drop of violence in Iraq over the past two years. Analysts say tensions between Arabs and Kurds in northern Iraq is the major threat to the country's stability and security as the U.S. troops, which have mediated between the two sides, are prepare to withdraw from Iraq by 2012."
In other reported violence . . .
Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 2 Baghdad roadside bombings which claimed 4 lives and left twenty-nine wounded, another Baghdad roadside bombing which targeted a police patrol and left two of them injured (and also injured six civilians) and a Baghdad roadside bombing aimed at a US forces convoy (no reports of any deaths or wounded).
Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reports Wafa Natiqu was kidnapped on her Baquba college campus today and that she's the "daughter of the press liaison in the local government of Baquba".
Dropping back to yesterday, Reuters reports 2 Mosul shootings (one claimed the life of 1 civilian, the other left an Iraqi police officer injured and the police responded shooting dead two of the assailants).
Staying with violence, yesterday's snapshot included this: "Reuters notes 1 man shot dead in Mosul, the US and Iraqi military killed 2 males in a Baghdad 'pre-dawn raid' while 2 people were also killed by the US and Iraqi military in another Baghdad 'operation'." Today Ned Parker and Usama Redha (Los Angeles Times) attempt to make sense of the shooting deaths of Iraqis by US and Iraqi forces yeterday during a Baghdad raid and explain, "Relatives and neighors said troops set off explosives that knocked down the gates and doors to a home, where they detained an Iraqi military intelligence officer and killed two civilians. Their bodies were discovered with dog bites and gunshot wounds on a kitchen floor, which was streaked with blood, the witness said." Simply shooting someone dead doesn't generally result in a floor streaked with blood.
Noticeably absent from Hill's testimony today was any acknowledgement of the targeting of Iraq's LGBT community. At Foreign Policy, Human Rights Watch's Rasha Moumneh covers the issue Hill couldn't or wouldn't:
When my colleague and I sat down last April with Hamid, an Iraqi man from Baghdad, his trauma-induced stutter said as much as the words he spoke. Huddled inconspicuously in a dingy restaurant, Hamid recounted how militia members killed his partner along with three other men, two kidnapped from their Baghdad homes, two slaughtered in the streets. The next day, Hamid said, "they came for me. They came into my house and they saw my mother, and one of them said, 'Where's your fa**ot son?' My mother called me after they left, in tears. ... I can't go home."
As the world hails Iraq's supposed return to normality, the country's militias -- the same ones that spent years waging a sectarian civil war -- have found a new, less apparent target: men suspected of being gay. The systematic killings, which began earlier this year, reveal the cracks behind Iraq's fragile calm. Iraq's leaders may talk of security and democracy from behind barbed wire in the Green Zone, but the surge of murders against gay men is a stark sign of how far Iraqi society still has to go.
During a 10-day Human Rights Watch research trip to Iraq in April, we heard harrowing stories of torture, abductions, kidnappings, extortion, and murder. We listened to dozens of men who had faced violence at the hands of armed militias, attacked by youths with guns for violating the unwritten codes of Iraqi masculinity. A number of signs might implicate one as being not "manly" enough, from neighborhood gossip that a man is gay to looking somehow effeminate or foreign in the wrong people's eyes: wearing one's hair too long or one's jeans too tight, for example. There is no count available for the number of deaths since the killings began earlier this year, but one U.N. worker told us that the victims could number in the hundreds.
As noted in the hearings today, Iraq and Syria have been in conflict as Nouri al-Maliki's made one charge after another following August 19th's Baghdad bombings and demanding that Syria turn over two people to Iraq (Syria says there is no credible evidence of the two's involvement in the bombings). Yesterday at the Arab League meeting, the issue led to charges and counter-charges. But Xinhua reports:

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem said on Wednesday that he reached an agreement with his Iraqi counterpart Hoshyar Zebari to stop media campaigns between Syria and Iraq, speed up returning ambassadors and form security committees.
Al-Moallem told a joint press conference with Arab League (AL) Secretary General Amr Moussa in Arab League headquarters that he reached this agreement during a quadrilateral meeting included Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and Moussa.

The Press Trust of India adds Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa mediated the media and that he stated, "The league will maintain its good offices in coordination with all parties concerned, mainly the Turkish mediation, in order to contain this crisis." Bashar al Assa, president of Syria, will meet with Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey's prime minister, next week and the issue is expected to be addressed then. There are also rumors that Jalal Talabani, president of Iraq, will travel to Ankara for the meeting as well.
We'll close with this from the Berkeley Daily Planet, World Can't Wait's Kenneth J. Theisen calling out counter-insurgency (attacks on a native people):
One reason that Obama is likely to approve an additional troop request is that the "successful" implementation of COIN strategy requires the introduction of many more U.S. troops into Afghanistan. COIN strategy is troop intensive as is indicated by the Army's new COIN manual, written in large part by General David Petraeus. To quote the manual: "No predetermined, fixed ratio of friendly troops to enemy combatants ensures success in COIN. The conditions of the operational environment and the approaches insurgents use vary too widely. A better force requirement gauge is troop density, the ratio of security forces (including the host nation's military and police forces as well as foreign counterinsurgents) to inhabitants. Most density recommendations fall within a range of 20 to 25 counterinsurgents for every 1000 residents in an AO. Twenty counterinsurgents per 1000 residents is often considered the minimum troop density required for effective COIN operations; however as with any fixed ratio, such calculations remain very dependent upon the situation."

In 2003 the U.N estimated the Afghan population at nearly 24 million. At 20 troops per 1000 Afghan residents that would require 480,000 allied troops to meet the minimum density recommendation of the COIN manual. At 25 troops it would take 600,000 troops. Obviously to reach these numbers would require a massive troop escalation.

Just like in Vietnam the rhetoric may claim the U.S. is "winning hearts and minds, but the reality is that the U.S. war of terror is killing and terrorizing people from Iraq, to Afghanistan, to Pakistan. In Vietnam 2-3 million Vietnamese died. Already there have been a million Iraqi deaths as a result of the 2003 U.S. invasion. Thousands more have died in Afghanistan since the October 2001 invasion. When do we say enough? What will you do to stop the U.S. wars? To see what you can do, please go to

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

As usual, Michelle looked dreadful

"What To Watch For Tonight" (Hillary is 44):
So what is a sensible person supposed to watch for at tonight’s insensible publicity stunt?
One of the first things to watch for will be Michelle Obama. Will the White House wranglers be able to get her to wear a sensible dress, or costume, most Americans with common sense would wear? Will Michelle Obama again show up in a gin-soaked cocktail dress or one of her silly “I wanna-be a fashion icon” messes? Will Michelle Obama show up in a sober outfit with sleeves that have not been yanked off?
If Michelle Obama shows up in a sober outfit, sleeves still in place, it means that the White House is focusing on bamboozlement of ordinary Americans not the Hopium addled. A sober outfit will demonstrate that the White House understands the level of trouble they are in - bad enough to force Michelle to wear something sensible that will not frighten the visually unimpaired.
A crazy quilt cocktail dress without sleeves will tell us the target audience is still the Hopium addled.
A sober outfit but without sleeves will clue us in that the Obama’s are still playing both sides of the fence.
Michelle Obama’s frock will clue us in as to what audience Barack Obama has been told to target. If real Americans are the target audience, you’ll have to change the channel for a few minutes to see what the target audience is watching.

Lady nO wore a frightful outfit that appeared to have come out of Joan Collins' closet -- Joan Collins' 1986 outfit.

Michelle is not a model, she is not a fashion plate and she doesn't have the body to pretend to be. Barbara Bush. I can remember her when she was First Lady. And? I thought, "Geez, why doesn't she try to pretty herself up?" In retrospect, I have respect for Babsie Bush for accepting who she was. In the end she came up with her own style as a result. It's not one that I would copy. But it was her own.

Michelle, like Barbara Bush, can't wear clothes for s**t.

She looks like a drag queen, like Wesley Snipes in To Wong Foo, actually. She's so bulky and thick. And that's only more obvious when someone tries to dress middle-aged Michelle Obama like a teen princess.

The speech? More garbage from Chicago.

Barack Obama is the worst president ever. I had no expectations for him (I voted for Ralph) but he's even managed to disappoint me.

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
Wednesday, September 9, 2009. Chaos and violence continue, another death by shower in Iraq, Robert Gates declares 'no change,' Cindy Sheehan continues calling for an end to the wars, at the Arab League meeting in Cairo tensions continue between Iraq and Syria, did the US government sign a written agreement with residents of Camp Ashraf in 2003, and more.

In an interview with
Al Jazeera's Abderrahim Foukara (click here for DoD transcript), US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates made one of those jaw dropping statements that leaves a nation stunned . . . if they hear it. (Al Jazeera started airing the interview this week.) Speaking of what he hopes the US will accomplish in Afghanistan, Gates declared, "So in a way it's somewhat comparable to the situation in Iraq, where we have -- where our role has become less and less prominent, where the Iraqis have taken a more and more prominent role in protecting their own security. And I think that's how we will measure -- be able to measure -- one way we will be able to measure success in Afghanistan is as we see the Afghan security forces taking a more and more pominent and leading role in protecting their own security." For those who missed it, the new 'secure' Iraq was a myth and even the press had to face that fact as violence began it's slow climb back up starting in February to the point that August saw more deaths than any month in the last 13. Yesterday NPR's Peter Kenyon (Morning Edition -- link has text and audio, transcript below is from audio) examined one section of Baghdad, a region that had seen tremendous 'success' and 'progress.'

Peter Kenyon: This is Antar Square, a well-known spot in Adahmiya. During Saddam Hussein's time, Sunnis lived here and Shiites were actively discouraged from moving there. After 3002, Adhamiya was, like many Baghdad neighborhoods, wracked by sectarian violence. In 2007, miles of concrete blast walls encircled the neighborhood. Sunni "Awakening" forces, armed men recruited and paid by the U.S. military, shouldered their guns and manned checkpoints. The Iraqi army and police improved their capabilities, and slowly the situation improved. By the spring of this year, investors held their breath and plunged into the neighborhood. [, , , notes progress in shopping back in May via Sheik Abdel-Qader a-] Dulami said he was seeing close to 1,000 people a day visit the mall showing that Iraqis were starved for signs of normal life. [. . .] A scant three months later, Sheik Dulaimi's 'Flower of Baghdad' is once again the scene of deadly explosions and a terrorized population. The Iraqi army has resumed raiding house, provoking cries of abuse from families who complain of heavy-handed tactics. That in turn, prompted the army to close the neighborhood down even tighter. A return visit to the Adhamiya Mall this month found it almost completely deserted.

Robert Gates blathers, "So in a way it's somewhat comparable to the situation in Iraq, where we have -- where our role has become less and less prominent, where the Iraqis have taken a more and more prominent role in protecting their own security." And does so at a time when Iraq is rocked by violence. Robert Gates defines that as the measurement for the other illegal war (Afghanistan) and the response across the US should be stunned disbelief. But they'd have to hear about that statement to be appalled. They'd have to know about it.

If the news media ever feels like exploring it, they might also want to explain that this 'strategy' is George W. Bush's. It's the same thing he 'preached' year after year, finally turning it into a soundbye: "As they stand up, we'll stand down." Didn't the United States hold a presidential election in 2008? Don't seem to remember George W. Bush's name on the ballot. So the White House changed but the policies didn't. Hmm.

Gates on to repeat the official line (you really don't think the press comes up with them on their own, do you? No, they interview the military which is assigned the buzz words and the press thinks they discovered something) of: It's still a success because we haven't seen a return of the sectarian war. That would be the civil war and it would be a bit hard for it to 'return' when one of the results of it was futher segregation of Baghdad neighborhoods. But noting that requires critical thinking and apparently stenography saps you of that ability.

Interestingly, the top US commander in Iraq, General Ray Odierno, doesn't appear to be on the exact same page as Gates. While Gates does cart wheels over the lack of a sectarian war, Odierno told Joint Forces Quarterly (PDF format warning,
click here). , "Iraqis are still dealing with lingering ethnosectarian histories, Arab-Kurd tensions, and violent extremist groups such as al Qaeda and other external actors who seek to exploit any fissures. The Iraqis are still deterrmining the nature of their federal state and the balance of powers between the central and provincial govenrments. [. . .] I see Arab-Kurd tensions as the greatest single driver of instability in Iraq -- and it does complicate the security situation in the north to an extent. While our combined operations have degraded al Qaeda, there is still a presence in the north, and those cells work to exploit tensions between the ISF and the Kurdish peshmerga and police forces." That's not Sunni and Shia. And that's an area Robert Gates didn't cover. Back to the interview:

Abderrahim Foukara: And after you leave, my understanding is that President Obama pledged that the United States will not build any permanent military bases in Iraq. Is that pledge -- does that pledge still stand?

Robert Gates: Absolutely.

Abderrahim Foukara: Now how do you define permanent? Because bases in Germany, they've been there for about 60 years now, in Korea for a similar period of time. How do you define permanent? How do you define temporary?

Robert Gates: Temporary is based on the fact that anothe rpart of this agreement is that all US forces will be out of Iraq by the end of 2011. That is the agreement that we have with the Iraqi government. All US forces. No bases. No forces. That's the --

Abderrahim Foukara: Unless the Iraqis ask you to stay longer.

Robert Gates: Unless there is some new agreement or some new negotiation, which would clearly be on Iraqi terms. But we will not have any permanent bases in Iraq. We have no interest in permanet bases in Iraq. And we are now planning on withdrawing all American military forces by the end of 2011.

Yes, the war could be extended. It's a shame US news consumers need Al Jazeera to know that. Continue. It's not over. A few weeks ago,
Jari (The Stupidest Man on Earth) highlighted the International Committee of the Red Cross' statment:

Despite the common perception that the armed conflict in Iraq is largely over, widespread violence and a lack of respect for human life continue to affect the Iraqi people. Civilians are the primary victims.

Let's go back to Gates for a moment, At the end of last month,
August Cole (Wall St. Journal) reported on Gates doing an 'in-store' appearance at Lockheed Martin Corp's "production line in Fort Worth, Texas" where he "made an usually strong endorsement Monday for an approximately $300 billion program to buy thousands of new fighters being developed by Lockheed Martin Corp." War is Big Money. Otherwise a Secretary of Defense wouldn't tour a factory. Monday Thom Shanker (New York Times) reported that the Congressional Research Service's "Conventional Arms Transfers to Developing Nations" found the US the biggest supplier of weapons in the world and, in contrast to the domestic and global recession, the US has actually increased its selling of death toys and destruction instruments in 2008 ($37.8 billion in revenues versuse 2007's $25.4 billion). The next closet competitor is Italy which raked in approximately one-tenth of the monies the US did ($3.7 billion). It's Big Business and it's booming. War is big business. Ask KBR and Halliburton. Even deaths don't hurt their profit motive. Kimberly Hefling (AP) reports that State Dept contractor (Triple Canopy) Adam Hermanson is dead at the age of 25 from "showering in Baghdad". Janine Hermanson states her husband died September 1st and that she was told it was from electrocution. Jermey Scahill (writing at The Nation) reports:

On Tuesday morning, the military medical examiner who performed Hermanson's autopsy met with Hermanson's wife, Janine. "He said that everything was still pending and that he can't make a final [statement] because the toxicology and all that stuff has not come back yet. But he said that [the cause of death] was a low-voltage electrocution," she told The Nation. "When I got the call I was told that he was found in a shower, and now I am getting told that there was even still electrical current on the shower floor when they found him."
When Patricia got the news, she thought there must have been a mistake. "Adam didn't want me to worry and had told me he was in Kuwait. I just found out he was in Iraq the day he died. He said, 'Mom, I'm gonna go to Kuwait, it's gonna be a piece of cake--they even have a water park there.' All along he was telling me a lie because he didn't want me to worry."
Hermanson's family suspects that Adam may have died as a result of faulty electrical wiring. And they have good reason to think that--at least
sixteen US soldiers and two contractors have died from electrocution. The Pentagon's largest contractor in Iraq, KBR (a former Halliburton subsidiary), has for months been at the center of a Congressional investigation into the electrocution deaths because the company has the massive LOGCAP contract and is responsible for almost all of the electrical wiring in US-run facilities in Iraq. The eighteen soldiers and contractors died as a result of KBR's "shoddy work," according to Senator Frank Lautenberg.

On electrocution deaths,
US Senator Bob Casey Jr.'s office released the following July 26th:

After the Department of Defense Inspector General released its report on the electrocution death of Staff Sergeant Ryan Maseth and 17 other electrocution deaths in Iraq, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) released the following statement:
"I am heartened that, after an exhaustive investigation, the Department of Defense Inspector General has finally published its findings and recommendations. The responsibility for the death of Ryan Maseth can be attributed to many quarters. However, the Inspector General has concluded that the water pump which shorted and caused his electrocution was first installed by a KBR subcontractor less than two years prior to Ryan's death. That water pump, located on the roof of Ryan's building, was not grounded during installation. This deficiency was not discovered during a subsequent inspection administered by KBR.
"We cannot stop with the publication of this report alone. Those who failed to carry out their contractual obligations in a way that contributed to the death of a U.S. soldier should be held fully accountable for their negligence. I also eagerly await the findings of the Army CID report."

In a carefully worded press release at the start of last month, the
Defense Department stated that their own investigation "concluded that there is insufficient evidence to establish criminal culpability of any person or entity in the death of Staff Sgt. Maseth." Despite Halliburton pointing to this as proof of innocence, it is no such thing. Ryan Maseth did die by electrocution and KBR did do the wiring. But DoD decided there wasn't enough evidence to prove "criminal culpability." No real surprise when you consider how much business Halliburton does with the Pentagon. The outrageous thing is that the US Congress didn't launch their own investigation immediately after the DoD's press release.

Staying with deaths and injuries . . .


Mohammed al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad roadside bombing targeting a police checkpoint which wounded a police officer and two people, a second Baghdad roadside bombing which injured two people, a Baghdad sticky bombing which left two people injured, a Kirkuk suicide car bombing targeting a Sahwa leader in which 3 people died and fifteen were wounded and a Mosul sticky bombing on the car of Col Jassim Mahmoud Jassim that claimed his life and left two people injured. Reuters drops back to Tuesday to note a Baghdad car bombing which injured three people, a Mosul roadside bombing which injured three Iraqi soldiers and a Baghdad motorcycle bombing which claimed 1 life and left seven people injured. Jormana Karadsheh (CNN) reports a Kirkuk home bombing which claimed the life of a Sahwa leader ("Awakening" and "Sons Of Iraq") as well as "seven other family members, including women and children. A wounded two-year-old child was the only survivor." Press TV notes speculation -- Reuters and CNN say Sahwa, AFP states that the people in the home were making the bomb and had recently arrived from Diyala Province.


Reuters notes 1 man shot dead in Mosul, the US and Iraqi military killed 2 males in a Baghdad "pre-dawn raid" while 2 people were also killed by the US and Iraqi military in another Baghdad 'operation'.


Mohammed al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 2 corpses discovered in Baghdad.

Staying with violence, Black Wednesday, Bloody Wednesday.
August 19th. When bombings rocked Baghdad with two of the buildings being targeted being the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The latter ministry faced the most damage and suffered the largest death toll. Nouri al-Maliki had ordered the Bremer/blast walls removed and that's been a source of criticism since the bombings. (Immediately following Black Wednesday, the removal of walls was stopped. It was not immediately announced publicly, but it happened immediately. Since then, walls have been put back up.) The death toll for the day's violence in Baghdad was at least 101 with approximately 600 injured. Immediately Nouri's spokespeople ran out to say that no one should "play the blame game." A rather strange statement when you consider that Nouri and his troupe immediately began blaming Syria. In the process, Nouri has created an ugly scene, an ugly international scene. Baghdad and Damascus have each removed their ambassadors. Nouri demands that Syria turn over two Iraqis. Syria demands proof before doing any extraditions. "Syria and Iraq's diplomatic storm" (Guardian), Ranj Alaadin observes: The spat has now led to a potentially dangerous frenzy of military activity along the Syrian border, where Maliki has sent reinforcements to prevent militants from infiltrating. The speed with which an exchange of goodwill and cooperation between Syria and Iraq turned into a diplomatic storm suggests that Maliki's reaction is electoral posturing more than anything else. His political credentials have taken a battering because of the attacks, given that his main, if not only, credential is security. It had been his decision to get rid of security barriers and checkpoints that could have reduced the magnitude of the attacks, if not prevent them altogether. Right now, Maliki is left with only nationalism and the withdrawal of US troops to campaign on as he heads closer towards the national elections in January; he does not have enough time to improve things such as public services and employment. Syria was a convenient scapegoat that Maliki could use to deflect attention away from his own shortcomings. After all, there was no similar posturing during the early years of Maliki's tenure when cross-border jihadist attacks were at their height. Russia's RIA Novosti reported that the conflict would be addressed today in the Arab League meeting in Cairo. Xinhua quotes Walid al-Moallem, Syria's Foreign Minister, stating, "We are ready to solve the crisis with Iraq" which he describes as "something regrettable that does not serve the interests of both Syria and Iraq." Lebanon's Daily Star explains that Amr Moussa, the Arab League Secretary General, and Ahmet Davutoglu, Turkey's Foreign Minister, met with al-Moallem and Iraq's Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari for a discussion of the issue. Maamoun Youssef (AP) adds that the Syrian and Iraqi foreign ministers had angry words in which they exchanged accusations and that today's effort was "a failed attempt to resolve a deepening split" The allegations included that Iraq's blame Syria in order to distract from their own failures and that Syria is a supporter of terrorism in Iraq. Meanwhile Reuters reports, "An investigative council has charged 29 Iraqi security officials with negligence relating to two truck bombs outside government ministries in Baghdad last month that killed 95 people, Baghdad security spokesman Qassim al-Moussawi said." Sami Moubayed (Asia Times) observes: This week, Iraq seemed far from giving anything close to an apology. Maliki's al-Da'wa Party staged demonstrations chanting anti-Syrian slogans, raising tension to unprecedented levels between Damascus and Baghdad. The demonstrations, which took place in al-Hilla, south of Baghdad, brought 200 people to the streets, including officials in the Maliki regime. Many of the al-Da'wa members now spreading anti-Syrian rhetoric were one-time allies of Syria, who for years were protected by Syria against the dragnet of Saddam. Reportedly, more demonstrations are scheduled for September 24, ahead of a United Nations Security Council meeting at which Iraq's request for an international tribunal will be discussed. Certain Iraqi officials, however, are trying to downplay the crisis with Syria.

Nouri's other international problems would include the Iranian dissidents who have lived for years in Iraq. (In fact, they lived there while Nouri was trembling in fear and living outside the country -- that yellow streak down Nouri's back isn't a racing stripe.)
July 28th, Nouri launched an assault on Camp Ashraf, where the dissidents live. (Classified as a terrorist organization by the US, the MEK is no longer considered that by the European Union or by England. The US protected Camp Ashraf following the US invasion of Iraq. They also declared the residents protected persons under Geneva. The Status Of Forces Agreement masquerading as a treaty that Bush rammed through and Barack -- despite previous objections -- accepted turned Camp Ashraf over to Nouri following a verbal assurance/promise from him that he would not harm the residents.) Earlier this month, Italian Radio's Aldo Forbice interviewed Ahmad Foruqi who is among the residents in Camp Ashraf and Foruqi stated, "We have been surrounded by the Iraqi forces and they do not allow any reporters or human rights organizations to enter the camp."

More troubling for the US is Ahmad Forqui's assertion that Camp Ashraf residents had a written agreement with the US guaranteeing their protection -- an agreement the US State Dept has never acknowledged, nor has the White House. "Every one of us in the camp," states Ahmad Foruqi, "had signed an agreement with the American forces in 2003. According to this agreement, they were responsible for our safety and security. However, they did not do anything when we were attacked."

Mark Tran (Guardian) reports on supporters in London "consuming only water and tea for the past 44 days" and stating they will continue their hunger strike (Zohreh Moalemi: "I will carry on until the end."), "The protesters are demanding both US forces protection and UN monitoring for the camp, and the release of 36 refugees still being held by Iraqi forces. One hunger striker in London has suffered a heart attack and others are suffering from internal bleeding and loss of vision." Rebecca Lowe (Barnet Times) adds, "Nineteen-year-old Soudabeh Heidari, from Engel Park, Mill Hill, is on the verge of a coma and can no longer sit or walk. Yaqub Doughforosh Banan, 54, from Hendon, is so weak he cannot open his eyes, and Mahmoud Fassihpor, 57, from Finchley, has lost nearly 18 kilos in weight. All 12 are shwogin signs of muscle wasting and suffering severe abdominal pains. Farzaneh Dadkhah, 41, from Wales, had a heart attack last Wednesday and was admitted to hospital. After recovering, she demanded to rejoin the strikers and continue the protest." Laila Jazayeri (UK's Religious Intelligence News) reports, "The International Human Rights Committee of the Law Society of England and Wales on Wednesday accused the US of having some responsibility for the massacre of Iranian refugees in Camp Ashraf six weeks ago by Iraqi forces and it urged the Obama administration to protect people in the camp." If the statements regarding a written agreement between the US government and Camp Ashraf residents are true, expect even more of an international outcry.

Peace Mom Cindy Sheehan never stops decrying war and advocating for peace.
David R. Henderson ( reports on a speech Cindy gave in northern California:

Which brings me to my big surprise of the evening: Sheehan's wit. I've read a fair amount about Cindy Sheehan over the years, but one thing that I hadn't known until I saw her speak was what a subtle, smart sense of humor she has. I found myself breaking into loud laughs when she nailed the issues with her great one-liners. Take her discussion of how Nancy Pelosi lines up votes, telling various Democratic congressmen that they can vote against war spending because they need to shore up their antiwar support, while telling others that they need to vote for war spending. Sheehan commented, "That's when the vote is going to be close. She doesn't do that when the vote is going to be 400 to only a handful for the 'Resolution to support Israel in everything they ever want to do.'" I think that besides her courage and persistence, her wit is part of her ability to reach audiences.

Cindy's quoted by Sean Rose (Courier-Journal) stating, "If we're anti-war, if we hated those polices under the Bush administration, we have to hate those policies under the Obama adminsitration. We can't say we're going to stop being activists because we have a new administration." Today Cindy Sheehan appeared on WFPL's State of Affairs and discussed the wars and her own life including her decision to step away in 2007 as a result of Democrats -- then controlling both houses of Congress -- refusing to make good on their promise to end the Iraq War -- the promise that gave them control of both houses in the 2006 mid-term elections. Some of her activies this week include:

9/10 Thu 11:00 AM-12:00 PM Bellarmine Univ. Speaking event & book signing
12:00 - 1:00 PM Brown Bag lunch at Bellarmine by invitation only
1:00 - 2:50 PM OPEN
2:50 - 4:05 PM Speak at Sharon Wallace's Sociology class, JCC, downtown
6:30 PM Potluck Party at Ray's Monkey House, Bardstown Rd.
9/11 Fri 10:00-11:00 AM 9/11 event: Fire Fighters' Memorial, Jefferson Square Park
Interview with Jim Pence of
11:00 - 4:00 PM OPEN
4:00-9:00 PM Farewell Fund-raiser party at Harold & Carol Trainers' home
9/12 Sat - Cindy departs for Lexington day trip
9/13 Sun - Cindy departs Louisville

We'll try to note Cindy's radio interview in tomorrow's snapshot (if not, we'll note it Friday -- tomorrow's snapshot should include a Congressional hearing). We'll close with this from
Debra Sweet of World Can't Wait:

Within the next several weeks, President Obama will announce that up to 20,000 more troops will deploy to Afghanistan - in addition to replacing up to 14,000 support troops with "trigger-pullers." This will only mean increasing the death and destruction brought to the Afghan people. And U.S. involvement in Iraq is not only not over, but is becoming a permanent occupation. We are beginning to see more people openly object to the US occupation of Afghanistan. And
your help and money are needed! From October 3-17 the anti-war movement will be gathering, marching, and doing direct action against the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. World Can't Wait will be in front of the White House with the National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance on Monday, October 5 with the "Museum of Torture" displaying for the nation the details of what the torture memos directed CIA operatives to do to detainees. On Tuesday, October 6, the day George Bush began the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan, we're calling on high school students, and their supporters to protest military recruiting, inside the schools and after school. The We Are Not Your Soldiers Tour is gearing up now, as school starts, to bring Iraq & Afghanistan vets into classrooms with the truth about what joining the military means now. World Can't Wait projects War Criminals Watch and Fire John Yoo are intensifying efforts to make the demand for prosecution of war criminals heard from college students where the criminals are teaching; in front of court houses where they preside, and across society. We agree with the Center for Constitutional Rights attorneys that Eric Holder's appointment of a prosecutor to look into whether there should be any investigations of low level torturers, only, is a "sham and a diversion."

iraqnprmorning editionpeter kenyonal jazeera
the wall street journal
the new york timesthom shanker
kimberly hefling
jeremy scahill
cnnjomana karadsheh
the guardianmark tran
cindy sheehan
debra sweet