Friday, January 18, 2019

Michael Tracey and C.I. on the always imploding 'impeachment!' reports

Be sure to read Elaine's "The real fake news" which is about yet another 'he's going to be impeached!' stories that imploded. 

Michael Tracey tracked it on his Twitter feed.

  • Aside from the "has receipts" formulation being so boring and cliched: there was no evidence of "receipts" provided in the initial article. There was only second-hand characterization, which warranted major skepticism even before Mueller's denial. So, multiple layers of fail here
  • Laughing about all the people who solemnly declared last night "This one feels different" -- yeah, just like the ten thousand previous ones that "felt different." It's been the same crap since June 2015 and they never, ever learn
  • There is MORE THAN ENOUGH to legitimately criticize Trump for: despicable Yemen policy, ridiculous corporate tax giveaways...the list goes on. That this nonstop, frequently-disproven Russia panic has become *the central* criticism of his presidency is both an irony and a tragedy.
  • The epic, historic media failure that defined the 2016 election continues to this day. Nothing has changed. If anything, it's only gotten worse
  • They've developed a kind of chemical dependency, similar to the sensation associated with inhaling crack, such that caution will never be exercised -- no matter how high the mountain of failures piles up
  • Within what seemed like literal seconds, the BuzzFeed story exploded on Twitter and was immediately picked up by every TV network. The reporters were then celebrated as heroes. Can you see why the Trump/Russia saga provides journalists with such misaligned, distorted incentives?
  • Weird to depict Mueller's statement as "vague" when it was a categorical rejection of the article's central claims, but I guess that's the line BuzzFeed is gonna have to go with
  • On a serious note: a vibrant, thriving journalism industry is a vital check on power in this country. That they keep discrediting themselves in such spectacular fashion is horrible for democracy. There is something seriously, catastrophically wrong with media culture right now.
  • Condolences to all the writers who just got done filing their IMPEACHMENT NOW! columns that were supposed to run on Sunday
  • 😬😬😬 
  • Geez, I just can't understand why people often distrust the news media, and some even assume it "fake." Such a mystery!!!!
  • If you don't think the brain-rot caused by 2+ years of nonstop Russia alarmism has inflicted incalculable damage on the journalism industry, and on society as a whole, I honestly don't know what else to tell you at this point
  • The great infallible Mueller descended from the heavens to rebuke a BuzzFeed story, like Moses from the mountaintop. LOL, sometimes you just have to marvel at the absurdity
  • Don't worry, in another week or two there'll be yet another BOMBSHELL BOOM story that causes the entire media to spastically freak out and declare Trump's imminent downfall, only to be sorely deflated shortly afterwards. At this point, it's as easy to predict as the sun rising
  • How many times does major "RUSSIA SCANDAL" news have to be substantially modified, corrected, retracted, or outright falsified until the media exercises even a modicum of skepticism? Instead they just scream BOOM! together like a bunch of toddlers. Incorrigible hacks
  • I told you to give it 24 hours

  • I believe C.I. said it best in "2018: The Year of Media Self-Exposure:"

    Instead of addressing those realities, 2018 played out like a never-ending season of WHAT'S MY LINE? -- only the guest being questioned was there to explain how Donald Trump was about to be impeached.

    If as many impeachments took place as they predicted, the dog catcher of Cuyahoga Falls would be in the White House currently.  For the record, no impeachments took place.  But didn't they repeatedly act as though it was about to happen -- over and over.

    No impeachment and, all this time later, no collusion with Russia.

    Imagine if, instead of all that nonsense, the media had focused on actual issues?

    Because these predictions weren't just wrong, they also weren't news -- not unless NETWORK's Sybil The Soothsayer had taken over journalism.

    News, pay attention, is what happens.

    Not what you wish would happen, not what you fantasize about while masturbating.

    News?  Actual events that take place.

    Somehow it got so confusing to allegedly trained journalists.

    Still no impeachment but the reporters keep pimping it, don't they.  And ignoring real news.  In the snapshot below, C.I. tackles real news.  She covers it.  They ignored it.  They could have read over the just released military report about Iraq -- the finally released report. 

    But they went with garbage.

    "Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):
    Friday, January 18, 2019.  A new report from the US military reveals that the US government puts puppets in charge and considers removing them as well.

    In Iraq, the same thing is done over and over and always with the idiotic hope that somehow things will turn out differently.  That's never happened.

    As 2006 drew to a close, U.S. leaders in Washington and Baghdad grappled with the reality that the transition strategy the U.S.-led coalition had been pursuing for more than 2 years had failed to stabilize Iraq. In the months since the February 2006 bombing of the Shi’a shrine in Samarra, Iraq had descended into a sectarian civil war, with violence worst in the Iraqi capital and its surrounding areas. By mid-October, three successive U.S.-Iraqi operations to tamp down the sectarian attacks in Baghdad had failed, and violence had only increased. The Multi-National Force-Iraq (MNF-I) campaign plan had envisioned a reduction of U.S. forces to about 100,000 by the end of 2006. Instead, MNF-I Commander General George W. Casey, Jr. had been forced to cancel unit redeployments, call forward in-theater reserves from Kuwait, and authorize extensions of U.S. units in response to the dire security situation in Baghdad.

    That's from "The U.S. Army in the Iraq War — Volume 2: Surge and Withdrawal, 2007-2011" -- what?  Michael R. Gordon (WALL STREET JOURNAL) broke the news last night:

    The Army on Thursday published a long-awaited study of the U.S. war in Iraq that criticizes decisions of some of the service’s most senior officers and outlines some hard-learned lessons from the eight-year-long conflict.
    The two-volume study was commissioned in 2013 by Gen. Ray Odierno, when he was serving as the Army chief of staff, and a draft was finished by June 2016.

    The Wall Street Journal reported in October that the publication of the history had been stymied, as senior officials worried about the study’s impact on the reputation of prominent officers and congressional support for the service. Some lawmakers urged the Army to make the history public as soon as possible.

    "The U.S. Army in the Iraq War – Volume 1: Invasion – Insurgency – Civil War, 2003-2006" and "The U.S. Army in the Iraq War — Volume 2: Surge and Withdrawal, 2007-2011" are the two reports.

    US forces have been in Iraq to support the puppet government the US installed.  That was always the case and that's rather clear in the report:

    When Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Peter Pace and the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Eric S. Edelman objected, questioning whether it was fair to expect Casey to be a military adviser on one hand while demanding he "push" Maliki with the other, Rumsfeld declared, "I don't know who else it would be!" Adamant to put an end to what he saw as a series of "free lunches" enjoyed by Maliki at American expense, Rumsfeld urged Casey to make the Prime Minister understand that actions taken contrary to expressed U.S. interests had consequences -- with troop levels as the most promising lever. "Maybe we should reduce the number of our forces in Baghdad? Maybe you should let him know that you intend to withdraw troops?" suggested Rumsfeld. "Maybe pull a brigade . . . send it after the Iranians and get after EFPs," he added, using the acronym for explosively formed penetrators. Frustrated with Maliki’s sluggishness in reducing sectarian violence in Baghdad, Rumsfeld’s immediate recommendation was to withdraw American troops from the capital.

    If the puppet won't do what the US government wants, pull the US troops out of Baghdad.  That was the threat and it was a real threat because Nouri al-Maliki wasn't 'of the people.'  He had fled Iraq decades prior and only returned after the 2003 US-led invasion.  The Iraqi people?  They didn't know him, he didn't know them.  He was installed by the US government based on the CIA profile which found Nouri to be highly paranoid.  This paranoia let him jump ahead of other candidates because it was thought he would be easier to manipulate.

    Nouri was nothing but a puppet.  Puppets can be replaced.  And, yes, Bully Boy Bush installed him in 2006 but Bully Boy Bush was fine with uninstalling him.  From the report:

    When it came to Maliki’s commitment to stand up to JAM and mitigate its overtly sectarian agenda, the President voiced similar doubts, finding it ironic that the Iraqi Prime Minister seemed to be the principal “roadblock” to a renewed U.S. effort to stabi- lize the country. “How do we give [Maliki] responsibility without causing a disaster?” Bush asked. When Casey mentioned that Maliki “lacked political will,” the President responded, “One option is to find someone else.” In its discussion the following day, the group revisited the possibility of replacing the Prime Minister. Abizaid observed that he had “yet to see Maliki show backbone on anything” and thus saw danger in basing the “new way forward” on the Iraqi leader’s political will. Bush reiterated his desire for something “dramatic” or “game-changing.” The “new way forward”—whatever form it took—would have to “put us in a position where we can win.” He again suggested that it might be “time to choose somebody else,” but Khalilzad and the secretary of state con- vinced him that positioning Maliki for success was the more prudent course.

    A puppet is a puppet.  So much is revealed in the report -- so much that we've said here over the years.  We've called Paddy Cockburn's idiotic b.s. and it's called out in the report as well.  He never knew a damn thing about what was going on in Iraq but was treated as some sort of seer.  He's an embarrassment and the report makes it clear to anyone who's followed Patrick's writing.

    I have no respect for trash like Patrick Cockburn.  He's anti-Arab and he's a known liar.  He's actually a known groupie of the Iranian government.  He writes love letters to them, fan-fiction about their immense power.

    As the report details -- and as we noted in real time -- the US-government backed Nouri in 2010 -- when he lost re-election.  It's July of 2010 when then-Vice President Joe Biden announces in Baghdad that Ayad Allawi will not be prime minister.  The US had then publicly turned on the winner of the election.

    Patrick kept insisting it was all Iran, just Iran.  No, it wasn't.  They were part of it -- and certainly they were the ones who silenced Moqtada al-Sadr's objections and brought him in to support Nouri.  Patrick's one-sided devotion to the government of Iran has always been puzzling.  Read the report, recall his 'reporting' and laugh -- laugh often.

    Our reporting on the November 15, 2011 hearing and the issues at stake especially are backed up by the report -- see that day's snapshot, the November 16th snapshot and:

    At Trina's site last night, Ava covered an exchange with "Scott Brown questions Panetta and Dempsey (Ava)," at Rebecca's site, Wally covered economic concers expressed over the use of contractors "The costs (Wally)" and Kat offered a look at various claims about the administration's negotiating goals and what Iraqi leaders supposedly sought with "Who wanted what?"

    It was an important hearing and we treated it as such.  The professional media?  They didn't.  They didn't tell you anything except John McCain was cross with Leon Panetta.  They avoided every actual issue -- including why McCain and Panetta had the exchange.

    The American people weren't important enough for the press to cover reality.

    I would guess the reason that the two reports were buried for so long had to do with the fact that the press had been so compliant and willing to cover for the war -- the illegal war they sold.  It would probably be very confusing for a number of Americans to read these two reports.  They would be faced with realities that no one has bothered to include them on.  Key information has been withheld -- and not just by the government, but also by the press.

    Read about Tareq al-Hashemi, for example.  We noted it here for what it was, persecution of Sunni leaders and that's how the report sees it as well.  Because that's what it was.  Imagine a media that refused repeatedly to make that connection in all their 'reporting' on Vice President Tareq?  Imagine if the reality had been actually reported -- and reported loudly and repeatedly?

    ISIS never would have come to power in Iraq.  Nouri would have been stopped.  Maybe he would have been stopped by global condemnation, maybe he would have been stopped by the US government standing down and allowing the Kurds, Moqtada, the Sunnis and others to go forward with their no-confidence vote.

    What comes through in the report is that the US government was as vested in personality as the media is.  They select a puppet and then they tie the puppet's success to their own.

    That's not a strategy.

    It is, however, why Barack Obama gave Nouri the second term as prime minister -- the term that nearly destroyed Iraq.

    With the US government tying success in Iraq to the prime minister (whomever it is), the US media follows suit -- refusing to tell the truth.  So you get Nouri, for example, going after Sunni politicians and a media playing dumb.  Or worse, actively taking part in demonizing whomever Nouri is attacking at the moment.  From the report:

    Almost exactly a year after authorizing the December 2011 ISF raid against Iraq’s most senior Sunni politician, Vice President Tariq Hashimi, Prime Minister Maliki repeated the act, this time against the most senior Sunni minister in his own cabinet, Finance Minis- ter Rafe al-Issawi. Well-regarded by the international community and fellow Iraqis as a non-sectarian, pragmatic technocrat, Issawi had been a tangential target in the Hashimi raids. Both he and Deputy Prime Minister Saleh Mutlaq had seemed to escape the purge by making peace with Maliki in early 2012 despite their vehement criticism of the Prime Minister before that. 
    By late 2012, relations between Maliki and Issawi had soured, and the Finance Minister had become Maliki’s biggest political target. On December 19 and 20, Iraqi special operations forces sur- rounded Issawi’s home and offices in the Green Zone as Iraqi Government spokesmen announced the Finance Minister was being sought on the charge of supporting terrorism through his alleged connections to the Sunni militant group Hamas al-Iraq. Issawi took refuge in the home of Parliament Speaker Osama al-Nujaifi, where he reported in a news conference that 150 of his guards, staff, and family members had been arrested.
    The accusation that Issawi was a material supporter of Hamas al-Iraq was a familiar one to U.S. officials, since Maliki had previously leveled it in 2010. At that time, then-USF-I commander Odierno had given the Prime Minister a report from USF-I analysts concluding that the charge was false, and Odierno’s opposition to the charge had helped Issawi survive a potential purge. In December 2012, however, it seemed clear that Maliki intended to use the allegation to sideline yet another senior Sunni leader. U.S. officials had regarded Issawi as a moderate Sunni with whom Maliki could cooperate in 2011, but the push for his removal from the government in 2012 indicated that deeper purges would come.

    The report details the rock hurling at Saleh al-Mutlaq, who'd become a Nouri lackey -- a point we made in real time and that Saleh had no real support among Sunnis.  Let's drop back to the December 31, 2012 snapshot:

     The statement al-Mutlaq's office issued can be seen as an attempt by the politician to cover what happened.  Why he was stupid enough to go to a protest is beyond me.  Yes, he is Sunni and, yes, he is in the Iraqiya slate.  But Saleh al-Mutlaq is not popular.  He and Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi (also Sunni and Iraqiya) were both targeted by Nouri in December of 2011.  While Tareq ended up having to leave the country and being convicted of 'terrorism,' Saleh sailed right through.  In May, Nouri dropped his efforts to strip Saleh of his office.

    By that point, there had been months of speculation in the Iraqi press that Saleh al-Mutlaq had cut a deal to save his own ass, that he was now in partnership with Nouri al-Maliki.  This seemed to be even more true when Saleh was seen as undermining efforts to get a no-confidence vote against Nouri as spring was winding down.

    Saleh al-Mutlaq is seen -- rightly or wrongly -- by Sunni Iraqis as someone who protects himself and does nothing for other Sunnis (whether they're politicians or average citizens).  His actions on Sunday did nothing to alter that opinion.  Today Dar Addustour observes that Mutlaq was seen as attempting to distract protesters from their legitimate demands for and that his words were seen as throwing shoes at the protesters.  (Remember, throwing shoes is a major insult in Iraq.)  Kitabat adds that al-Mutlaq further insulted the protesters by refusing to get on the platform to address them.

    At the most basic level, Americans are denied the realities in Iraq because telling them what's really happening could 'risk' the mission since the entire mission is propaganda -- propaganda targeting Iraqis and Americans.  The US media has repeatedly -- and gladly -- cooperated with that propaganda mission.

    Let's turn to a legal agreement.  Here, we've repeatedly discussed the importance of The Erbil Agreement (the US negotiated contract that gave Nouri al-Maliki the second term the Iraqi voters didn't).  It wasn't followed.  The US said they stood by it and Barack even got on the phone with Ayad Allawi to get him back into the Parliament building when Ayad walked out, Barack swearing the contract had the full backing of the United States.

    Of course, Barack didn't back it.  He never did a damn thing to make sure it was put into practice.  And it bit him in the ass.  Reading the report, I learned Ayad Allawi refused to give the support in the summer of 2011 that Barack wanted -- wanted and needed.  Why?  Because The Erbil Agreement still hadn't been implemented.  How karmic.  I didn't know of that, it was worth a chuckle to read that Barack needed Ayad for a new Status of Forces Agreement and couldn't get him because of the failure to implement The Erbil Agreement.

    I've read the second volume in full and skimmed the first one.  Both are worth reading.  The second volume concludes with these two sentences, "By the end of summer 2014, U.S. forces had begun to return to Iraq to stiffen the ISF and to conduct a new campaign against ISIS, but without the benefit of the military infrastructure the United States had shut down in 2011. The war that had begun in 2003 was far from over."

    And it remains far from over.

    NATIONAL IRAQI NEWS AGENCY reports 2 people have been kidnapped in Kirkuk. ALSUMARIA notes 1 person dead and another injured in Hilla from gunfire and three people were arrested in Baghdad when they were discovered hiding the body of a young girl who had been hanged.

    In 10 years, humanitarian needs have increased and we have scaled up our response...but our humanitarian principles have remained unchanged ب ١٠ سنين زادت الاحتياجات الانسانية وكبرت معها استجابتنا... ولكن اللي ما تغير هوه مبادئنا الانسانية.

    We'll note this from the United Nations:

    17 January 2019
    The United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) in Iraq issued a statement on Thursday rejecting allegations made earlier this week by a non-profit organization  there, alleging that personnel had carried out explosive hazard clearance inside two historic churches in Mosul “in a barbaric and arbitrary manner.”
    The allegations, published earlier this week on the website of the Hammurabi Human Rights Organization (HHRO), the Iraqi non-governmental organization in question, accused UNMAS of “crimes no less grievous and insolent than the crimes of [the Islamic State],” and claimed that the clearance was conducted without church authorization, “in a barbaric and arbitrary manner with utter disregard for the holy and religious sanctity” of the two churches, located in the Hosh al-Khan area of the Al Maedan district, in Mosul.
    Although UNMAS – and its partner for the clearance project, G4S – were not directly named, UNMAS Iraq said in a statement that it was taking the allegations seriously, open to further investigation of the allegations, and continuing to work closely with the Iraqi Government.
    The agency has invited HHRO and officials of the Syriac Catholic Archbishopric in the Nineveh Plains, “as well as other relevant Iraqi authorities, to meet in person to carefully consider the facts relative to their statements and hope they will offer to correct the record when known.”
    UNMAS said it was “keen on safeguarding all archeological, religious and historical sites”, from the assessment phase of de-mining and other clearance operations, working “closely with the Iraqi State and religious authorities to ensure this national treasure is secure and safe, to prevent any additional damage to that inflicted by the terrorists and the conflict”.
    To date, UNMAS Iraq and G4S teams have cleared and safely removed 53 suicide belts from the church sites, 74 munitions of various types, seven improvised bombs, and assorted ammunition and materials such as home-made explosives. According to the agency, the site and the accumulated debris remain heavily contaminated with explosives and will require further clearance.
    The UN’s demining agency further explained that, since it started operating in Mosul in November 2017, over 1,500 clearance tasks have been carried out, resulting in the removal of approximately 48,000 explosive hazards of all types, heretofore without any complaints.
    In 2014, the jihadist terrorist group ISIL, known in Arabic as [the Islamic State], occupied Iraq’s second city of Mosul, an historic centre of Christianity in the Middle East for centuries, demanding that they convert to Islam, pay tribute, or face execution. More than 100 churches and other religious sites were destroyed or demolished.
    Many other Christian enclaves across northern Iraq, and those of other religious minorities, were overrun and destroyed by [the Islamic State] fighters during more than three years of occupation. 

    Still with the United Nations, MIDDLE EAST MONITOR reports:

    The Iraqi government has not fulfilled its promises of providing aid to displaced persons returning voluntarily, compensating them and rehabilitating their homes, a spokesman for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) said yesterday. No attention has been paid to the humanitarian appeals by the displaced persons, it is alleged.
    “International and local humanitarian organisations play a significant role in encouraging the Internally Displaced People [IDPs] to stay in camps because they cut aid as soon as they go home,” said the UN statement. An official called on such organisations to continue with their humanitarian programmes for returning IDPs as they are in “dire need” and require rehabilitation to encourage voluntary return.

    In other news, THE JERUSALEM POST reports, "A source in the Iraqi government told the Arabic RT network, a Russian television network, on Thursday that US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had informed Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi that Washington would not intervene if Israel bombed bases belonging to Shi'ite militias in Iraq."  ISRAEL NATIONAL NEWS adds:

    Russia Today also reported that al-Mahdi expressed concern about such a move and warned of its grave consequences.
    In September, the Reuters news agency reported that Iran had moved missiles to Iraq.

    The report quoted three Iranian officials, two Iraqi intelligence sources, and two Western intelligence sources, all of whom confirmed the transfer of short-range missiles to Iraq over the course of several months.

    The following community sites -- plus BLACK AGENDA REPORT and Jody Watley -- updated: