Saturday, January 23, 2016

Jonathan Demme, stop talking s**t

I read Jonathan Demme's nonsense at DEADLINE.


Look at the movies he's directed since 1984's SWING SHIFT:

Swing Shift1984Yes
Something Wild1986YesYes
Swimming to Cambodia1987Yes
Married to the Mob1988Yes
The Silence of the Lambs1991Yes
The Truth About Charlie2002YesYesYes
The Manchurian Candidate2004YesYes
Rachel Getting Married2008YesYes
A Master Builder2013Yes
Ricki and the Flash2015Yes

Do you see racial diversity?

It's not until 1993's PHILADEPHIA that he discovers a major role for a Black actor (Denzel).  In Oprah's BELOVED he has an all Black cast.  Then he has Thandie in THE TRUTH ABOUT CHARLIE.  Then Denzel in THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE.

Not a lot of roles for Black actors in his films.

Not a big push for racial diversity.

But he can write a sanctimonious column, can't he?

"Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):

Saturday, January 23, 2016.  Chaos and violence continue, Barack gives more weapons to Iraq, still no move towards national reconciliation or a national guard, persecution of the Sunnis continue, Haider's Iraq is going bankrupt (financially, this time) and much more.

Today, the US Defense Dept announced:

Strikes in Iraq
Attack, fighter, and remotely piloted aircraft conducted 20 strikes in Iraq, coordinated with and in support of the Iraqi government:
-- Near Kisik, six strikes struck two separate ISIL tactical units, destroying 11 ISIL rockets, three ISIL vehicles and five ISIL assembly areas and suppressing an ISIL mortar position.
-- Near Makhmur, one strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL heavy machine gun and an ISIL fighting position.
-- Near Mosul, one strike struck an ISIL improvised explosive device factory.
-- Near Ramadi, six strikes struck three separate ISIL tactical units, and destroying an ISIL front end loader, two ISIL vehicle-borne IEDs, an ISIL staging area, three ISIL fighting positions, three ISIL heavy machine gun positions, an ISIL building and an ISIL vehicle and denying ISIL access to terrain.
-- Near Sinjar, four strikes struck three separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed five ISIL fighting positions, an ISIL mortar tube and two ISIL light machine gun positions.
-- Near Sultan Abdallah, one strike destroyed an ISIL vehicle.
-- Near Tal Afar, one strike suppressed an ISIL light machine gun position.

Task force officials define a strike as one or more kinetic events that occur in roughly the same geographic location to produce a single, sometimes cumulative, effect. Therefore, officials explained, a single aircraft delivering a single weapon against a lone ISIL vehicle is one strike, but so is multiple aircraft delivering dozens of weapons against buildings, vehicles and weapon systems in a compound, for example, having the cumulative effect of making those targets harder or impossible for ISIL to use. Accordingly, officials said, they do not report the number or type of aircraft employed in a strike, the number of munitions dropped in each strike, or the number of individual munition impact points against a target.

News?  Mustafa Habib (NIQASH) addresses news in Iraq:

This kind of “news” is common on Iraqi social media. And it’s dangerous because for many Iraqis, social media websites, like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram to a lesser degree, have become a major source of political and security-related news. They do not trust mainstream media in Iraq, which is mostly considered to be partisan with much of it funded by political parties, religious bodies or other organizations pushing their own agenda. Many Iraqis say their most trusted source is word-of-mouth – relatives, friends, neighbours – so it makes sense that they would turn to social media, basically an expanded network of the latter, to get information they believe they can trust.

The media is highly partisan in Iraq -- and elsewhere -- but on Iraq, if this is news to you, refer to Deborah Amos' paper "Confusion, Contradiction and Irony: The Iraqi Media in 2010" which documented the way so much of the media is controlled in Iraq.

Mustafa Habib examines several stories that became popular on social media and influenced events in Iraq.

We'll note one:

Once a certain story gets picked up on Iraqi social media it is often rapidly disseminated further. The story about Sheikh Nimr’s execution was a prime example of this. It’s hard to know who posted the videos originally but it seems clear that the original user had an agenda.
Under the guidance of advisors from open source verification experts at the investigative network, Bellingcat, a team of bloggers from the Iraqi Network for Social Media who are also the founders of a Facebook page called Fake Posts, as well as journalists from NIQASH, took a closer look at some of these falsified reports on social media.
Using open source verification techniques like geolocation and reverse image search, the team quickly found that the first video, the one allegedly showing al-Nimr’s execution, had nothing to do with the Saudi cleric. The clip, watched by thousands of Iraqis, was actually the video of the execution of an Indonesian maid in Saudi Arabia and it was four years old.
The other video that supposedly showed al-Nimr’s body being thrown out of a helicopter after his execution was also something else: It was a video showing a member of Saudi police force falling out of a helicopter, most likely to his death, in 2013.

The original user had an agenda?


But let's not confine coverage to Iraq.

FOREIGN POLICY IN FOCUS and other ridiculous outlets -- front groups posing as news outlets -- certainly had an agenda as they suddenly discovered executions.

As was noted on Arabic media, FPIF was silent when the Iraqi government was killing the LGBT community members, when the Interior Ministry went into schools calling for violence against LGBTs, but suddenly it was interested in fairness.

It was noted that FPIF was silent when Sunni women and girls were wrongly imprisoned in Iraq and then beaten and/or raped in prison.

It was silent as Iraqi forces terrorized and killed Sunnis.

But FPIF and others were wetting their panties in public and beating themselves with chains over the execution of one Shi'ite cleric -- while ignoring the others executed in the same batch of executions.

Let's never pretend that some elements of the Iraqi media are the only ones with an agenda.

Tuesday, the United Nations issued a report on violence in Iraq. As we documented in that day's snapshot, many news outlets and 'news' outlets were pushing an agenda and not actually reporting.  As we pointed out:

The Islamic State is a terrorist organization.
Documenting their abuses should be easy and something anyone can do without any great ethical challenge.
The United Nations report notes consistent patterns of abuse by the Iraqi government.
That needs to be spotlighted, it needs to be front and center.
You do not excuse away a government committing crimes against its own civilians.
You do not act as though that's nothing or that it's a sidebar.
It is the prime story.
Again, the Islamic State is a terrorist organization.
As such it commits crimes against people -- that's what makes it a terrorist organization.
The Iraqi government is supposed to serve (and protect) all the Iraqi people.
When it instead targets its own people, that is news.
The failure to properly report this goes a long way towards the growing divide between Arabs and others.  Arabs watched from 2010 on forward as the Iraqi government openly targeted Sunnis.  They saw little to no objection to this persecution.
The United Nations puts out a report that documents crimes by a terrorist organization (ISIS) and crimes against Sunnis by the Iraqi government and the western media again ignores the crimes of the Iraqi government or offers a brief sotto voice aside.
This is not acceptable.
It is silencing those suffering at the hands of the Iraqi government.
It is saying that Arabs are disposable and crimes against them can be ignored.

Friday, Aisha Maniar covered the report at TRUTHOUT:

The assault on the Iraqi people comes from all sides: ISIS, the Iraqi government and its security forces and related militias, coalition airstrikes and armed gangs cashing in on the prevailing state of anarchy. The UN report concedes that "The violence suffered by civilians in Iraq remains staggering," but with more than half of the report dedicated to atrocities carried out by ISIS, the Iraqi government gets off lightly.
A number of the human rights abuses ascribed to ISIS could equally be attributed to government security forces or related militias. For example, both ISIS and the government's popular mobilization units - mainly Shiite militias drafted into the fight against ISIS - have been open about their recruitment and use of child soldiers. In the latter case, not mentioned in the report, the use of child combatants could have serious implications for the United States, as these militias fall under the umbrella of an army that is trained and supported by the US. UNICEF expressed its concerns in June 2015, and called for "urgent measures" to be taken by the Iraqi government to protect children, including criminalizing the recruitment of children, and "the association of children with the Popular Mobilization Forces."

The report states that "systematic and widespread violations and abuses of international human rights law and international humanitarian law" committed by ISIS could amount to "war crimes, crimes against humanity, and possibly genocide." Others, including Human Rights Watch, have suggested that Iraqi government-backed militias in the fight against ISIS may have also committed war crimes. Kurds too have been accused of potential war crimes. Indeed, all parties to the conflict have committed crimes against humanity against the Iraqi people, and there must be no impunity for any of them. A report focused on human rights and the protection of civilians should not be politically biased toward any party.

Good for TRUTHOUT but let's not pretend that this is the dominant view the press is taking.  Even now, the UN reports is covered as 'agenda reporting' with outlets using it for war propaganda.

Again, calling out the Islamic State requires no bravery.

Noting that the latest prime minister that the US has installed in Iraq -- Haider al-Abadi -- continues to preside over a government that persecutes its only civilians?

That's apparently too much even for the supposedly strong and brave American media.

It does help keep so many news consumers uniformed.

Dina al-Shibeeb (AL ARABIYA ENGLISH) reports:

Mohammed Karbouli, a member of the Iraqi Security and Defense parliamentary committee, dismissed a recent report saying that 40,000 Sunnis were given the green light to join PMU, describing Sunnis as feeling continuously excluded.
Instead, the lawmaker said the reality is a far cry from the reported figure, putting the current total number of Sunni volunteers at merely 16,000 whereas Shiites in the PMU account for as much as 120,000 fighters.
“What we have – those who are receiving salaries – is a number that does not exceed 16,000 for all of the Sunni provinces,” Karbouli told Al Arabiya News.
Of the 16,000 figure, the western province of Anbar takes the lion’s share of 9,000 volunteer fighters, he said.

Anbar Province field and security commander is quoted discussing the promise of adding 50,000 Sunni fighters (never added) and the promise that the Parliament would create a National Guard (never created).

National Guard?

You  may remember US President Barack Obama was insistent on that back in June of 2014 on through August of that year.

It never happened.

He never forced it to happen.

This week the US State Dept signed off on another huge weapons deal/gift to the Iraqi government.  This one is for $2 billion.  Yet in the failed administration of Barack Obama, where everyone is diplomatically challenged, no one thought to pin any conditions on the deal.

There was no, "Haider, you promised a national guard, that's why we made you prime minister.  So you've got to create the national guard now to get this $2 billion deal."

Haider never has to keep any promises or actually bring about reconciliation in Iraq.

He's a failure across the board.

  • has $2b USD left of its budget! We are in January. 2016 is a game-changer.

  • It's January and the rich country of Iraq has $2 billion left in its budget.

    Haider doesn't appear to have ended corruption in Iraq, just accelerated it.

    He's also not protected the Iraqi people.

  • That's Haider's Iraq.

    Lastly, David Bacon's latest book is The Right to Stay Home: How US Policy Drives Mexican Migration.  This is from Bacon's new photo essay "THE WORKERS OF SAN QUINTIN VALLEY ARE NO LONGER WILLING TO BE INVISIBLE" (EQUAL TIMES and David's website):

    On 29 March 2015, US photographer and labour activist David Bacon followed a group of farm workers in the San Quintín Valley in the Mexican state of Baja California as they marched to the US border.

    Thousands of workers - who pick strawberries and tomatoes for the US market - went on a two-week strike in protest over their poverty wages. These farm workers, who mainly come from the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca and make up the bulk of the agricultural workforce in Baja, are paid about US$9 a day; they were demanding wages of about 300 pesos, or US$24.

    Growers bring over whole families, particularly Mixtec and Triqui indigenous peoples, to live in labour camps and housing notorious for poor conditions. The whole operation is reminiscent of the maquiladora [export assembly plants] industry, transplanted into agriculture.

    The big companies walked out of negotiations with the workers March, and signed contracts with government-affiliated unions that were not on strike. They promised 15 per cent pay rises for the workers, which is much less than what they were asking for.

    The biggest US distributor, Driscoll's, claimed its main grower, BerryMex, pays higher rates of US$5 to US$9 per hour - a highly dubious claim, according to activists. The growers want to move towards a code of conduct that avoids any negotiation or contracts with the striking union, the Alianza. At the same time, growers brought more workers up from southern Mexico to break the strike.

    In a final negotiation session between the workers' organisation, the Alianza, and the government on 4 June 2015, authorities announced a new minimum wage in San Quintín of 150 (approximately US$8.40), 165 (US$9.20) or 180 pesos (US$10) a day, depending on the size of the employer.

    But at the top daily wage of 180 pesos, a Baja field worker has to work for almost three hours to buy a gallon of milk. Workers also say the companies are not abiding by the agreement, and have announced their support for a boycott of Driscoll's berries.

    Fidel Sanchez, leader of the strike told Bacon:  "Consumers eat the fruits and the vegetables that these workers are producing, but know next to nothing about the workers themselves. This march, and the strike itself, show that workers are no longer willing to be invisible."

    Thursday, January 21, 2016

    Food for thought

     Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts  "Accountability" went up Sunday.


    Hillary never has to face any accountability.

    She's the worst.

    But let's note this from David Walsh's WSWS piece on the call for a boycott of this year's Academy Awards presentation:

    There is every reason for protest against the current state of Hollywood filmmaking, but on quite other grounds. Where are the films, for example, denouncing 15 years of the brutal “war on terror,” with its accompanying attacks on democratic rights and its threat of police-state rule? Where are the films indicting the Bush and Obama administrations for their war crimes? Where are the writers and directors obsessed by the malignant growth of social inequality in America? There is no shortage of things to be outraged about…
    As we noted in a previous article, the American film industry’s genuine lack of diversity at present lies in its almost exclusive treatment of the not terribly intriguing opinions, feelings and foibles of the better-off, self-obsessed petty bourgeoisie. The increased presence of the working class as an independent force in American social and political affairs, of which we now see the first signs, will do more than anything else to break up the current stagnant, constricted atmosphere in art and film.

    Food for thought.

    "Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):

    Thursday, January 21, 2016.  Chaos and violence continue, US bombing of Iraq continues, Haider al-Abadi finds his voice when his beloved Iran is accused, and much more.

    Today, the US Defense Dept announced more bombings:

    Strikes in Iraq
    Attack, fighter, and remotely piloted aircraft conducted 15 strikes in Iraq, coordinated with and in support of the Iraqi government:

    -- Near Qaim, a strike produced inconclusive results.

    -- Near Fallujah, a strike destroyed an ISIL mortar system.

    -- Near Kisik, two strikes destroyed an ISIL weapons cache, two ISIL assembly areas, and an ISIL fighting position.

    -- Near Mosul, three strikes destroyed nine ISIL assembly areas, an ISIL weapons cache, two ISIL command-and-control nodes, and five ISIL fighting positions.

    -- Near Qayyarah, a strike struck an ISIL vehicle bomb factory.

    -- Near Ramadi, five strikes struck three separate ISIL tactical units, cratered an ISIL-used road, and destroyed an ISIL vehicle bomb, an ISIL home-made bomb cache, an ISIL staging area, an ISIL fighting position, an ISIL building, and an ISIL petroleum truck.

    -- Near Sinjar, two strikes destroyed 14 ISIL fighting positions.

    Task force officials define a strike as one or more kinetic events that occur in roughly the same geographic location to produce a single, sometimes cumulative, effect. Therefore, officials explained, a single aircraft delivering a single weapon against a lone ISIL vehicle is one strike, but so is multiple aircraft delivering dozens of weapons against buildings, vehicles and weapon systems in a compound, for example, having the cumulative effect of making those targets harder or impossible for ISIL to use. Accordingly, officials said, they do not report the number or type of aircraft employed in a strike, the number of munitions dropped in each strike, or the number of individual munition impact points against a target.

    More of the same from Barack Obama.  It's not solved anything.  It won't.

    But it's all he can do: Bomb and bomb some more.

    And he's been doing that since August of 2014.

    It's a failure.

    THE NATION magazine is a mindless whore for Barack but even they can see that.

    Nick Turse notes:

     In the wake of all this, Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter touted “the kind of progress that the Iraqi forces are exhibiting in Ramadi, building on that success to… continue the campaign with the important goal of retaking Mosul as soon as possible.” Even more recently, he said those forces were “proving themselves not only motivated but capable.” I encountered the same upbeat tone when I asked Colonel Steve Warren, a US military spokesman in Baghdad, about the Iraqi security forces. “The last year has been a process of constructing, rebuilding, and refitting the Iraqi army,” he explained. “While it takes time for training and equipping efforts to take effect, the increasing tactical confidence and competence of the ISF [Iraqi security forces] and their recent battlefield successes indicate that we are on track.”
    “Progress.” “Successes.” “On track.” “Increasing tactical confidence and competence.” It all sounded very familiar to me.
    By September 2012, after almost a decade at the task, the United States had allocated and spent nearly $25 billion on “training, equipping, and sustaining” the Iraqi security forces, according to a report by the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction. Along the way, a parade of generals, government officials, and Pentagon spokesmen had offered up an almost unending stream of good news about the new Iraqi Army. Near constant reports came in of “remarkable,” “big,” even “enormous” progress for a force that was said to be exuding increasing “confidence,” and whose performance was always improving. In the end, the United States claimed to have trained roughly 950,000 members of the “steady,” “solid,” Iraqi security forces.
    And yet just two and a half years after the US withdrawal from Iraq, that same force collapsed in spectacular fashion in the face of assaults by Islamic State militants who, by CIA estimates, numbered no more than 31,000 in all. In June 2014, for example, 30,000 US-trained Iraqi troops abandoned their equipment and in some cases even their uniforms, fleeing as few as 800 Islamic State fighters, allowing IS to capture Mosul, the second largest city in the country.   

    Carter and Barack are selling 'success' the same way Bully Boy Bush and Donald Rumsfeld once did.

    You have to create the myth of 'success' to sell a disaster.

    The Iraq War is ongoing and it is a disaster.

    To get support for it, even a War Hawk as beloved as Barack needs something more than a cheesy grin to sell it.

    You need the lie that 'success' has arrived -- at last.

    That the fabled turned corner has emerged.

    And this lie is supposed to trick people into believing that an obviously unwinnable war has suddenly transformed into winnable.

    There's no such thing as a recovering War Hawk.

    At least recovering alcoholics grasp that insanity is doing the same thing over and over but expecting different results.

    War Hawks repeatedly lie that you can do the same losing thing again (and again and again and . . .) but somehow get different results.

    So Barack and other War Hawks -- along with enablers and co-dependents (largely in the press and in elected office) -- act as though a near 16 month bombing campaign has accomplished amazing things when it's really accomplished nothing to brag of.

    Yes, some members of the Islamic State have been killed.

    So have a lot of civilians.

    And that and the persecution of Sunnis will continue to aid the Islamic State in recruiting new members -- and recruiting them at a faster pace than they can be killed.

    If the US government had, under Barack's orders, spent the same 16 or so months trying to facilitate reconciliation in Iraq, seriously trying, things might be better.

    As it stands now, the decisions made by the US government have only fostered the growth of the Islamic State.

    There's a new development today in the kidnapping of three Americans in Iraq. In fact, there are two new developments.  Background: Sunday, Mohammed Tawfeeq (CNN) broke the news that 3 Americans were missing in Iraq. Monday,  CBS NEWS and AP reported, "A group of Americans who went missing over the weekend in Iraq were kidnapped from their interpreter's home in Baghdad, according to an Iraqi government intelligence official."

    Today, Susannah George (AP) reports that "two powerful Shiite militias are top suspects" in the kidnapping:  Asaib Ahl al-Haq and Saraya al-Salam.

    In October of 2014, Samuel Oakford (VICE NEWS) reported on the militias:

    The group most familiar to Americans is likely the Baghdad-based Mahdi army of Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr. Officially disbanded in 2008, Sadr's forces are once again active under the name Saraya al-Salam, or the "Peace Brigade."
    Other groups, like the Badr Brigades, trace their roots to the 1980s, when they were first backed by the government of Shia-dominated Iran. The Asa'ib Ahl al-Haq (League of the Righteous), an offshoot of the Mahdi Army, is considered among the most powerful of the Shia militias, and reportedly maintains ties to members of Iran's Revolutionary Guard.
    A spokesperson for Asa'ib Ahl al-Haq told reporters in June the militia's troops "are fighting side by side with the government's forces on all fronts," and openly admitted that they wore military uniforms, calling it "logical."
    "There is a lot of close collaboration, these Shia militias are [sometimes] operating as formal Iraqi forces, wearing uniforms and driving military vehicles," Sunjeev Bery, Advocacy Director for Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International, told VICE News. "It's difficult to know how much of the Iraqi central government's limited victories against ISIS are the result of the Shia militias, but they are a core part of the central government's strategy. That's what's most disturbing."

    The issue was raised at today's State Dept press briefing moderated by spokesperson Mark Toner.

    QUESTION: Yes. Mark, I was wondering if you have any update on the three Americans missing in Baghdad.

    MR TONER: I don’t.

    QUESTION: And there are some conflicting reports that some says – like giving reference to U.S. officials, some Shia-backed militias are responsible for the kidnapping Americans.

    MR TONER: Sure. And I’ve seen that, and I spoke a little bit about this yesterday. I mean, look, there’s a lot of information circulating out there about who or – might be behind their disappearance. We don’t have – I don’t have any further information that I can provide right now.

    QUESTION: Considering Iran’s influence on the region, I was wondering if Secretary Kerry spoke to Mr. Zarif by any chance about this case.

    MR TONER: He did, and I would refer you to – I think the transcript – he mentioned that he did speak to him and he did raise his concerns about these individuals with Foreign Minister Zarif, if I’m not mistaken. I think he did a roundtable earlier today. I don't know if the transcript’s come out yet.

    QUESTION: The transcript is not out yet.

    QUESTION: Just clarification on that. Prime Minister Abadi is still saying it’s not completely clear that they were actually kidnapped. Is that the U.S. position is well?

    MR TONER: Which is what I – no, but I – look, I mean --

    QUESTION: I mean, you said “disappearance.” You didn’t say “kidnapping.”

    MR TONER: Yeah. I mean, this is an ongoing investigation, so I can’t give you a play-by-play and I’m not going to give you a play-by-play. We continue to cooperate and work with the Iraqi authorities. There are a number of possibilities as to what happened to these individuals. We’re obviously pursuing all of them diligently, but I don’t have anything and I can’t, frankly, share any information about what may have happened to them.

    QUESTION: But you can --

    QUESTION: Why did he speak – why did he speak to Foreign Minister Zarif?

    MR TONER: Well, he acknowledged one of these – that one of the possibilities is that they were kidnapped by an Iraqi – or Iranian-affiliated, and he said he had raised it with them.

    QUESTION: An Iranian-affiliated militia?

    MR TONER: A militia.

    QUESTION: And one other thing: You just used the word – he acknowledged the possibility that they were kidnapped. You’re not saying that they were kidnapped?

    MR TONER: No.

    QUESTION: Just that that is a possibility that he acknowledged.

    MR TONER: No, exactly, exactly.

    QUESTION: Can you get that transcript out as soon as --

    MR TONER: Sure thing.

    QUESTION: Mark, there’s been no demands made?

    MR TONER: Sorry, I’ll get to you --

    QUESTION: No demands were made?

    MR TONER: There’s been no --

    QUESTION: Okay.

    MR TONER: I don’t think there’s been any acknowledgement – public acknowledgement of who’s behind this.

    The second development, noted above, is Haider al-Abadi speaking on the topic.

    Iran gets accused of being behind the events and all the sudden Haider wants to speak.

    To say maybe they weren't even kidnapped.

    Since Sunday, this story has been big news around the world.

    But only after Iran is accused does Haider elect to wade into the topic.

    The ridiculous Haider al-Abadi met with the US Secretary of State today.

    He also met with US Vice President Joe Biden.

    PM Al-Abadi met with U.S. Vice President at

    Embedded image permalink

    On the second meeting, the White House issued the following statement:

    For Immediate Release

    Readout of Vice President Biden’s Meeting with Prime Minister Haidar Al-Abadi of Iraq

    The Vice President met today in Davos with Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi. The Vice President congratulated Iraqi Security Forces on their liberation of Ramadi and pledged continued U.S. support in the counter-ISIL campaign. Both leaders discussed the urgency of stabilization efforts in Ramadi and the importance of mobilizing international support for those efforts. The Vice President encouraged continued dialogue between Iraq and Turkey to resolve concerns about Turkish troop deployments in northern Iraq and reiterated U.S. respect for Iraq's sovereignty and territorial integrity. The Vice President offered continued U.S. support to help Iraq strengthen its economy as the Iraqi government implements key reforms. Both leaders pointed to ongoing successes as a sign of the close strategic partnership between Iraq and the United States.

    Wednesday, January 20, 2016

    Hillary and top secrets


     Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts  "Boy Scout" features Hillary Clinton and Martin O'Malley.

    And Hillary's in the news constantly.

    For example, Nancy Cordes and Rebecca Kaplan (CBS NEWS) report:

    Hillary Clinton's private email server contained information that was classified at a higher level than "top secret," the inspector general of the intelligence community told members of Congress in a letter obtained by CBS News.
    The server Clinton used as secretary of state contained "several dozen emails containing classified information determined by the [intelligence community] element to be at the CONFIDENTIAL, SECRET, and TOP SECRET/SAP levels," the inspector general, Charles McCullough, wrote in the letter, which was first reported by Fox News. "SAP" stands for special access programs, which carry a classification level higher than top secret.
    Former CIA Director David Petraeus was sentenced to two years' probation and fined $100,000 for sharing similarly classified information with Paula Broadwell, his biographer and mistress.

    Cranky needs to be charged and in prison.

    She can't protect secrets.

    She needs to have her security clearance revoked.

    For ever.

    "Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills): 

    Wednesday, January 20, 2016.  Chaos and violence, the US government plans more US troop deployments to Iraq, the Peshmerga are highlighted in a report by Amnesty -- about their targeting civilians, and much more.

    Barack Obama's plan for Iraq is bomb, bomb some more and send US troops in.

    That's clear by today's Defense Dept announcement:

    Strikes in Iraq
    Attack, fighter, and remotely piloted aircraft conducted 14 strikes in Iraq, coordinated with and in support of the Iraqi government:
    -- Near Habbaniyah, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL building.
    -- Near Haditha, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed two ISIL vehicles.
    -- Near Kisik, two strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed ten ISIL fighting positions.
    -- Near Mosul, three strikes destroyed nine ISIL fighting positions, an ISIL command and control node, and two ISIL assembly areas.
    -- Near Ramadi, six strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit, suppressed an ISIL mortar system, denied ISIL access to terrain, and destroyed an ISIL mortar system, three ISIL fighting positions, an ISIL rocket-propelled grenade system, two ISIL vehicle bombs, an ISIL building, two ISIL heavy machine guns, an ISIL tunnel entrance, two ISIL petroleum oil and lubricant trucks and an ISIL front end loader.
    -- Near Sinjar, a strike destroyed four ISIL command and control nodes.

    Task force officials define a strike as one or more kinetic events that occur in roughly the same geographic location to produce a single, sometimes cumulative, effect. Therefore, officials explained, a single aircraft delivering a single weapon against a lone ISIL vehicle is one strike, but so is multiple aircraft delivering dozens of weapons against buildings, vehicles and weapon systems in a compound, for example, having the cumulative effect of making those targets harder or impossible for ISIL to use. Accordingly, officials said, they do not report the number or type of aircraft employed in a strike, the number of munitions dropped in each strike, or the number of individual munition impact points against a target.

    And the lack of a real plan for anything more than more of the same is clear in the talk as well.

    In an apparent chatty mood yesterday while flying into Paris, US Secretary of Defense Ash Carter talked with reporters. Dan Lamothe (WASHINGTON POST) reveals the chatty Carter declared that more US troops will likely be headed to Iraq ("The president has indicated that wherever there is additional opportunity to make a difference according to the strategy, we'd be willing to do that") and that this is due to the 'success' in Ramadi. Andrew Tilghman (MILITARY TIMES) notes, "U.S. military officials are in high-level talks with the Iraqis about potentially sending hundreds of additional troops to Iraq for training and supporting the upcoming invasion of the Islamic State group’s stronghold in Mosul."
    It's no longer just Ash Carter going public, Kristina Wong (THE HILL) reports:
    The United States might send more trainers to Iraq to help local forces retake Mosul from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), a U.S. defense official said Wednesday. 
    "The reason we need new trainers or additional trainers is because that's really the next step in generating the amount of combat power needed to liberate Mosul," said Army Col. Steve Warren, a spokesman for the ISIS effort.
    Carter's remarks came up in today's US State Dept press briefing moderated by spokesperson Mark Toner.

    QUESTION: And in fact, today – I think it was today – Secretary Ashton said – Carter said that they are also looking for Arab countries to participate in the training and equipping and so on. But you talked about the urgency of the situation – we remember as far back as last spring when they were talking about --

    MR TONER: Right, Said, but I mean --

    QUESTION: -- liberating Mosul and so on.

    MR TONER: Right.

    QUESTION: But the longer you wait, it seems that the longer that ISIS can also establish roots in the ground.

    MR TONER: Well, I mean, I would argue the opposite. I mean, with the systematic and steady approach that the Iraqi forces – again, with our assistance and with other members of the coalition’s assistance – have been making against ISIL, they’ve been losing ground. They’ve been losing territory. And we’re going to keep applying pressure. That’s something we’ve talked about. But you can’t let – I mean, there’s just an urgency overall. Certainly, cultural preservation is part of it, the preservation of historical sites is part of it. But it’s also, as I said, the constant threat that these innocent civilians under their rule or under their brutal dictatorship are suffering that also lends urgency to our mission.

    The 'success' isn't a 'success.'

    Iraqi forces are still trying to clear the area of the Islamic State.

    Victory was declared before it was earned.

    Secondly, as photos of the area demonstrate, the real 'winning' fighter in that battle was . . . War Planes.  US war planes bombing Ramadi.

    The city is in ruins.

    It is so bad that Iraq's Shi'ite and Sunni leaders are saying no battle can result in the 'Ramadi option' again.

     But a whorish press in the US has allowed the lies of Ramadi to stand so Barack can claim that he's building on 'success.'

  • Amnesty's report was an issue raised in today's State Dept press briefing.

    QUESTION: A mirror image of that story around Mosul, overnight Amnesty International announced a report saying that the KRG Peshmerga – your allies in this fight against ISIS – have begun cleansing Sunni Arab villages that they’ve recaptured from ISIS, but now they’re driving out civilians and destroy – and there’s satellite imagery in the report showing destroyed buildings and large areas – maybe thousands of houses destroyed by your allies.

    MR TONER: Yeah, no, we’re aware of the report, David, and obviously take it very seriously. We’re looking at its allegations and contents. And I can’t comment at this point on any of the particular claims except to say that as government forces liberate territory from ISIL throughout Iraq, there must be security for all civilians to prevent the actions of those who would take advantage of the conflict to commit crimes or engage in any way in vendettas.

    QUESTION: A Pentagon spokesman said on the same incident this morning that any questions about whether this would affect the U.S.’s relationship with the government in Kurdistan, that’s a question for you guys. Could you anticipate that there will be questions – that there will be conversations with President Talabani about what KRG forces have been doing?

    MR TONER: I mean, I can anticipate that – we have a relationship with the government of Kurdistan that we can talk about these issues, and these are ongoing concerns and issues that we’ve talked about not just with respect to Kurdish forces but throughout Iraq. And frankly, the new government in Iraq has, we believe, made an effort in – as these new territories are liberated from ISIL to bring back stability, reconstruction; to rebuild hospitals, schools, et cetera so that people can return and feel safe in returning to these liberated areas. That’s absolutely a key component of our strategy.

    Of the new report, TELESUR reports:

    Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq, trained and equipped by the United States, are allegedly razing Arab towns liberated from the Islamic State group. A human rights group is accusing the armed forces of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) of carrying out a deliberate campaign to prevent the return of Arabs to towns in Iraq once occupied by the Islamic State group, a practice it says may amount to war crimes.

    War Crimes.

    And yesterday's snapshot noted the War Crimes of the Shi'ite based government out of Baghdad as it went after Sunnis.

     Iraqi civilians are under attack and the Islamic State is only one threat to them.

    Jared Malsin (TIME) reports:

    The kidnapping last week of three Americans in Baghdad underscores the central but volatile role of predominantly Shiite, pro-government militias in the ongoing crisis in Iraq.
    U.S. and Iraqi officials confirmed to Reuters on Tuesday that the three American contractors who disappeared are being held by a militia, so far unnamed. The incident is the latest illustration of how militias often allied with Iran remain an unpredictable element in Iraq’s shifting landscape of power, posing a dilemma both for the government in Baghdad and for the U.S.-led coalition battling ISIS.

    Sunday, Mohammed Tawfeeq (CNN) broke the news that 3 Americans were missing in Iraq. Monday,  CBS NEWS and AP report, "A group of Americans who went missing over the weekend in Iraq were kidnapped from their interpreter's home in Baghdad, according to an Iraqi government intelligence official."

    Senator Marco Rubio is running for the Republican Party's presidential nomination.  NBC NEWS reports that Rubio has floated that Iran was behind the kidnapping and insists that Barack's responsible for motivating "people to grab Americans because, you know, if you grab a group of Americans you can get something from Barack Obama."

    Meanwhile the Shi'ite attacks on the Sunnis continue.

    �� Graphic: terrorist Iraqi army/militiamen setting dead bodies on fire purportedly in Diyala province - .

    These are Iraqi forces.  Even the militias are Iraqi forces because Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi brought them into the fold.

    Haider's been a failure as prime minister.

    That becomes more and more evident.