Saturday, February 13, 2021

Mars and Perseverance

Science post time.  Focusing on Mars.  George Dvorsky (GIZMODO) reports

Failure could take on many forms next week when NASA’s next-gen rover, Perseverance, reaches the surface of the Red Planet. Here’s what needs to go right—and how things could quickly go sideways—when Perseverance tries to make its much-anticipated landing.

For NASA, the entry, descent, and landing (EDL) of Perseverance on Thursday, February 18 presents numerous potential points of failure. NASA has said that “hundreds of things have to go just right” for the rover to survive the seven minutes of terror. We can’t take a safe landing for granted: As NASA points out, only “about 40 percent of the missions ever sent to Mars—by any space agency—have been successful.” Which, yikes.

In a nutshell, Perseverance will have to transition from speeds reaching 12,500 miles per hour (20,000 km/hr) to a walking pace over the course of several minutes. What’s more, it’ll have to perform this autonomously, as it takes nearly 11 minutes for radio signals to reach Earth. To complicate matters, NASA is debuting two new technologies for the mission, both relating to the EDL phase and both unproven.

A lot needs to go just right.  And you can watch it as it takes place.  NASA explained how yesterday in a press release:

An illustration of NASA’s Perseverance rover landing safely on Mars.
An illustration of NASA’s Perseverance rover landing safely on Mars. Hundreds of critical events must execute perfectly and exactly on time for the rover to land safely on Feb. 18, 2021.
Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech

NASA is inviting the public to take part in virtual activities and events as the agency’s Mars 2020 Perseverance rover nears entry, descent, and landing on the Red Planet, with touchdown scheduled for approximately 3:55 p.m. EST Thursday, Feb. 18.

Live coverage and landing commentary from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California will begin at 2:15 p.m. on the NASA TV Public Channel and the agency’s website, as well as the NASA App, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitch, Daily Motion, and THETA.TV.

Among the many firsts with this mission is the agency’s first-ever Spanish-language show for a planetary landing. On Thursday, Feb. 18, at 2:30 p.m., NASA will air “Juntos perseveramos,” a show that will give viewers an overview of the mission to Mars and highlight the role Hispanic NASA professionals have had in its success.

During landing, the rover will plunge through the thin Martian atmosphere at more than 12,000 mph (about 20,000 kph). A parachute and powered descent will slow the rover down to about 2 mph (3 kph). During what is known as the sky crane maneuver, the descent stage will lower the rover on three cables to land softly on six wheels at Jezero Crater.

Perseverance also is carrying a technology experiment – the Ingenuity Mars Helicopter – that will attempt the first powered, controlled flight on another planet.

“If there’s one thing we know, it’s that landing on Mars is never easy,” said NASA Associate Administrator for Communications Marc Etkind. “But as NASA’s fifth Mars rover, Perseverance has an extraordinary engineering pedigree and mission team. We are excited to invite the entire world to share this exciting event with us!”

NASA is offering many ways for the public to participate and stay up to date on landing information, mission highlights, and interaction opportunities.

Watch and Participate Virtually

Connect with like-minded space enthusiasts, receive a NASA Social badge, ask questions, and take part in other virtual activities by signing up for the Perseverance Rover Virtual NASA Social event.

NASA also will provide a virtual guest experience for members of the public during landing, with notifications about mission updates, curated mission resources, and a virtual passport stamp available after landing.

Stay connected and let people know you're following the mission on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Join the conversation, ask questions, and get answers online by using #CountdownToMars.

Follow and tag these accounts:

Twitter: @NASA@NASAPersevere@NASAMars

Facebook: NASANASAPersevere

Instagram: NASA

At 7 p.m. EST Tuesday, Feb. 16, a NASA Social live show previewing landing day will stream live via the JPL YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter accounts.

You also can follow every step of entry, descent, and landing with this visualization, and get a preview of all the excitement with a new video.

Opportunities for Students, Teachers, Educators

Design, build, and land your own spacecraft – just like NASA scientists and engineers do. Join NASA’s Mission to Mars Student Challenge, where classrooms, informal education groups, families and individuals will be able to participate in landing week question-and-answer sessions with mission experts and submit student questions and work that could be featured during NASA broadcasts leading up to and on landing day.

A Mars 2020 STEM toolkit also is available, with stories on the students who named Perseverance and Ingenuity, opportunities to code your own Mars exploration games, and more.

Join scientists from NASA and JPL at a briefing of the National Academies Space Studies Board and Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board Wednesday, Feb. 17, at 11:30 am EST to hear more about Perseverance’s journey to Mars’ Jezero Crater, NASA’s Mars Sample Return, and the challenges the team has overcome. Participants include:

  • Thomas Zurbuchen, NASA associate administrator for science
  • Lori Glaze, director of NASA’s Planetary Science Division
  • Bobby Braun, Mars Sample Return program manager at JPL
  • Matt Wallace, deputy project manager, Mars 2020 at JPL
  • Katie Stack Morgan, Mars 2020 deputy project scientist at JPL

Interactive Experiences

You also can try out a virtual photo booth that allows you to pose next to the Perseverance rover, listen to the differences between sounds on Mars and Earth, and check out other interactive experiences on the mission’s website.

Send Your Name to Mars, Again!

Perseverance is carrying three dime-size chips with 11 million names submitted by people all over the world. Anyone who missed the chance to send their name on Perseverance can sign up to send their name on a future Mars mission at:

Lighting Towns Red Around the World

To celebrate Perseverance’s Red Planet landing, the Empire State Building in New York will light its tower red on Tuesday, Feb. 16, starting at sunset until 2 a.m. the following morning. In addition, the Los Angeles International Airport gateway pylons will glow red from sundown on Wednesday, Feb. 17, through sunrise Friday, Feb. 19. Other sites in the United States recognizing the upcoming landing include select buildings along the Chicago skyline, such as the Adler Planetarium. NASA invites cities around the country and world to participate in “lighting the town red.”

Additional Resources

Press kits for the Perseverance rover landing and the Ingenuity Mars Helicopter are available and feature deeper dives into the mission and science, as well as links to image and video resources.

A Perseverance landing toolkit provides additional details about all the activities planned for landing week, as well as additional links for learning more about the rover and helicopter.

NASA Televised Event Schedule

In addition to social media coverage, NASA TV will air a number of events leading up to, including, and following the landing.

Members of the public may ask questions on social media during the events using #CountdownToMars.

The following events currently are scheduled to air live (all times Eastern). Please check the NASA TV schedule for the latest updates:

Tuesday, Feb. 16

1 p.m. – News conference: Mission engineering and technology overview

3:30 p.m. – News conference: Mission science overview

Wednesday, Feb. 17

1 p.m. – News conference: Mission landing update

3 p.m. – News conference: Searching for Ancient Life at Mars and in Samples Returned to Earth

Thursday, Feb. 18

2:15 p.m. – Live landing Broadcast on the NASA TV Public Channel and online.

  • In addition, an uninterrupted clean feed of cameras from inside JPL Mission Control, with mission audio only, will be available starting at 2 p.m. on the NASA TV Media Channel, and at JPL’s Raw YouTube channel.

A 360-degree livestream of the Mars landing from inside mission control, including landing commentary, will be available at the JPL’s main YouTube channel.

2:30 p.m. – “Juntos perseveramos,” the Spanish-language live landing commentary show, will air on  NASA en Español’s YouTube channel.

Approximately 3:55 p.m. – Expected Perseverance touchdown on Mars

No earlier than 5:30 p.m. – Postlanding news conference

Friday, Feb. 19

1 p.m. – News conference: Mission status update

Monday, Feb. 22

2 p.m. – News conference: Mission status update

To watch news conferences and commentary online, please visit:

A complete list of ways to watch online can be found at:

So you can follow the progress online via NASA.  But remember, the US isn't the only player in space.  Samantha Jagger (BBC NEWS) reports:

Many are anticipating the touchdown of Nasa's Perseverance rover - the most sophisticated vehicle ever sent to land on a planet - on 18 February.

However, the Red Planet is already being closely observed.

Since its launch in 2016 and its subsequent orbit insertion around Mars, an instrument named the Colour and Stereo Surface Imaging System (CaSSIS) has been used to enhance scientists' knowledge of the planet's surface.

The camera is travelling with the European Space Agency's (Esa) Exomars Trace Gas Orbiter, which is studying methane and other rare gases in the Martian atmosphere.

The technical goal of CaSSIS is to look at potential landing sites for future missions - one being Esa's Exomars mission that is due to launch in 2022. 

The rover Curiosity is already up on Mars and has been making discoveries for years.  Here's a Tweet from Curiosity's account:

Like sands through the hourglass, so are the sols of our lives. Can you believe I've been here for 3,000 Martian days? Here's a recent panorama marked by curved rock terraces, or benches. These formations aren't just scenic; they tell of ancient Mars.

"Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):

 Friday, February 12, 2021.  Ay-yi-yi, so much to cover -- the press, Julian Assange, Joe Biden's imitating Donald Trump and so much more.

Starting in the US where the persecution of Julian Assange continues.

Jimmy Dore and Max Blumenthal discuss how Joe Biden continues to demand that Julian be handed over to the United States.  Jimmy notes, from REUTERS, "The US government will continue to challenge a British judge's ruling last month that Assagne should not be extradited to the United States," Jimmy notes.  Monday April 5th, WikiLeaks released US military video of an assault in Iraq. 12 people were killed in the assault including two REUTERS journalists Namie Noor-Eldeen and Saeed Chmagh. As Isaiah noted in his 2010 THE WORLD TODAY JUST NUTS' "No Lasting Consequences," a cabinet official apparently gave the Barack Obama administration's response: "Appearing on ABC's This Week today, US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates weighed in on the July 12, 2007 assault in Baghdad in which 12 Iraqis were killed by US forces, 'But by the same token, I think-think is should not have any lasting consequences'."

And it hasn't had any lasting consequences -- no punishment for the officials responsible.  In fact, no responsibility at all.  But Julian Assange reporting -- reporting -- on it demands 'accountability'?  This is about silencing the media, this is about the government covering up reality because reality does not make them look good.

Dean Yates was the head of REUTERS' Baghdad beureau when the July 12, 2007 attack took place killing REUTERS journalists Namir Noor-Eldeen and Saeed Chmagh -- the attack carried out by the US government.  Daley quotes Yates stating, "What he did was 100% an act of truth-telling, exposing to the world what the war in Iraq looks like and how the US military lied … The US knows how embarrassing Collateral Murder is, how shameful it is to the military – they know that there’s potential war crimes on that tape."  Last year,  Paul Daley (GUARDIAN) spoke with Dean Yates:

Yates, shaking his head, says: “The US assertions that Namir and Saeed were killed during a firefight was all lies. But I didn’t know that at the time, so I updated my story to take in the US military’s statement.”
[. . .]

Reuters staff had by now spoken to 14 witnesses in al-Amin. All of them said they were unaware of any firefight that might have prompted the helicopter strike.

 Yates recalls: “The words that kept forming on my lips were ‘cold-blooded murder’.”

The Iraqi staff at Reuters, meanwhile, were concerned that the bureau was too soft on the US military. “But I could only write what we could establish and the US military was insisting Saeed and Namir were killed during a clash,” Yates says.

The meeting that put him on a path of destructive, paralysing – eventually suicidal – guilt and blame “that basically f**ked me up for the next 10 years”, leaving him in a state of “moral injury”, happened at US military headquarters in the Green Zone on 25 July.

Yesterday afternoon, Amnesty International issued the following:

Ahead of tomorrow’s deadline for the US to submit their appeal against the UK decision not to extradite Julian Assange, Amnesty International USA have added their voice to a letter sent to the US Department of Justice calling on President Biden to drop charges against the Wikileaks founder. The letter states:

“We, the undersigned press freedom, civil liberties, and international human rights advocacy organizations, write today to share our profound concern about the ongoing criminal and extradition proceedings relating to Julian Assange, the founder of Wikileaks, under the Espionage Act and the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.

The indictment of Julian Assange threatens press freedom because much of the conduct described in the indictment is conduct that journalists engage in routinely
Amnesty International and others

While our organizations have different perspectives on Mr Assange and his organization, we share the view that the government’s indictment of him poses a grave threat to press freedom both in the United States and abroad. We urge you to drop the appeal of the decision by Judge Vanessa Baraitser of the Westminster Magistrates’ Court to reject the Trump administration’s extradition request.

We also urge you to dismiss the underlying indictment. The indictment of Mr Assange threatens press freedom because much of the conduct described in the indictment is conduct that journalists engage in routinely—and that they must engage in in order to do the work the public needs them to do. Journalists at major news publications regularly speak with sources, ask for clarification or more documentation, and receive and publish documents the government considers secret. In our view, such a precedent in this case could effectively criminalize these common journalistic practices. In addition, some of the charges included in the indictment turn entirely on Mr Assange’s decision to publish classified information.

News organizations frequently and necessarily publish classified information in order to inform the public of matters of profound public significance. We appreciate that the government has a legitimate interest in protecting bona fide national security interests, but the proceedings against Mr Assange jeopardize journalism that is crucial to democracy.

The Trump administration positioned itself as an antagonist to the institution of a free and unfettered press in numerous ways. Its abuse of its prosecutorial powers was among the most disturbing. We are deeply concerned about the way that a precedent created by prosecuting Assange could be leveraged—perhaps by a future administration — against publishers and journalists of all stripes.

Major news organizations share this concern, which is why the announcement of charges against Assange in May 2019 was met with vociferous and nearly universal condemnation from virtually every major American news outlet, even though many of those news outlets have criticized Mr Assange in the past.

We appreciate that the government has a legitimate interest in protecting bona fide national security interests, but the proceedings against Julian Assange jeopardize journalism that is crucial to democracy
Amnesty International and others

It is our understanding that senior officials in the Obama administration shared this concern as well. Former Department of Justice spokesperson Matthew Miller told the Washington Post in 2013, “The problem the department has always had in investigating Julian Assange is there is no way to prosecute him for publishing information without the same theory being applied to journalists.”

It was reportedly the press freedom implications of any prosecution of Mr Assange that led Attorney General Eric Holder’s Justice Department to decide against indicting him after considering doing so. It is unfortunately the case that press freedom is under threat globally. Now more than ever, it is crucial that we protect a robust and adversarial press — what Judge Murray Gurfein in the Pentagon Papers case memorably called a “cantankerous press, an obstinate press, a ubiquitous press” in the United States and abroad. With this end in mind, we respectfully urge you to forgo the appeal of Judge Baraitser’s ruling, and to dismiss the indictment of Mr Assange.


Access Now American Civil Liberties Union, Amnesty International USA, Center for Constitutional Rights Committee to Protect Journalists, Defending Rights and Dissent, Demand Progress, Electronic Frontier Foundation Fight for the Future, First Amendment Coalition, Free Press ,Freedom of the Press Foundation, Human Rights Watch, Index on Censorship, Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University, National Coalition Against Censorship, Open The Government Partnership for Civil Justice Fund, PEN, America Project on Government Oversight, Reporters Without Borders, Roots Action, The Press Freedom Defense Fund of First Look Institute, Whistleblower & Source Protection Program (WHISPeR) at ExposeFacts.

For more information or to arrange an interview contact:  +44 2030365599  

Most are reporting without offering any context.  One exception?  Kevin Reed (WSWS) notes, "It is also possible to go back further and review what Biden said about Assange more than ten years ago after WikiLeaks had published the diplomatic cables and when he was Vice President during the Obama administration. When asked about the WikiLeaks exposures on NBC’s Meet the Press on December 19, 2010, Biden called Assange a 'high-tech terrorist' and furthered the unproven claim that 'this guy has done things that have damaged and put in jeopardy the lives and occupations of people in other parts of the world'."

Joe mangles the English language repeatedly; however, I think he meant what he said when he declared that Julian "put in jeopardy the lives and occupations of people in other parts of the world."  Julian's reporting did cause a huge reaction and even US media began reporting on Iraqi anger (which existed towards the US occupation for years before the WIKILEAKS release).  The release did put in jeopardy US "occupations of people in other parts of the world."  That was Joe's concern.  The US government continues to occupy Iraq, for example.   Joe Biden is very much pro-occupation and that was evident when he spoke to Iraqi leaders in late 2010, selling The Erbil Agreement (a US brokered deal that overturned the votes of the Iraqi people) as he spoke of Ireland.  

Around the 15 minute mark in the SHADOW PROOF video below, Kevin Gosztola talks about press freedoms and, at the 30 mark, Kevin discusses Julian specifically. 

Yesterday's snapshot had an update two hours after it went up.  I thought I had wrongly attacked JACOBIN for their repost of an IN THESE TIMES article with a milder headline.  So I apologized and planned to move on.  Then at 4:00 pm Pacific Time, after much prompting from Elaine, I read the snapshot again.  The headlines for the IN THESE TIMES and JACOBIN articles had been swapped.  That is fixed.  The apology and retraction were then retracted -- as noted.  JACOBIN was wrong, as I stated and they did need to be called out.

Reality: More people read headlines than ever read an article.  That's just a given.  At IN THESE TIMES,  "Biden Says He’s Ending the Yemen War—But It's Too Soon to Celebrate" while at JACOBIN they headlined it "Antiwar Activists Have Scored an Apparent Victory on Yemen. It’s Time to Keep Pushing." "It's time to keep pushing."  

Not only do people read more headlines than read articles, a headline like that says, "You busy, don't worry, we won!!!!"  No one won -- occupation won, murder won, but no one else did.  

We're all pressed for time and a dishonest headline like JACOBIN resorted to dismisses concerns and pretends that we're on the right road.  We're nowhere near the right road.  We're miles and interstates away.  

As Shawgi Tell (DISSIDENT VOICE) points out, the press traffics in disinformation:

 A key feature of disinformation is that it robs people of an outlook, not just ideas and views, but a coherent world outlook that enables and empowers them to make sense of the world, figure out what is going, avoid illusions, and take actions that favor the public interest and restrict the unjust claims of owners of capital.

Joe Biden’s Economic Dream Team

Such disinformation is evident in a January 6, 2021, BBC News article titled: “Joe Biden: The team he hopes can fix the US economy.”

How exactly will the rich and their political representatives fix their obsolete economic system? Why wasn’t the broken economy fixed long ago? Why are inequality, poverty, unemployment, under-employment, debt, the labor force participation rate, environmental decay, and other major social problems steadily worsening regardless of which party of the rich is in power? Will there even be a useful analysis of what is actually unfolding and what is needed to serve the general interests of society?

Will Biden’s “team of Ivy League trained economists and lawyers, well-versed in the ways of Washington,” as the BBC News article describes them, bring about prosperity and security for all? Is it possible that such a “team” is exactly what is not needed?

Working people want to know why previous fiscal and monetary policies have not fixed the economy so far? Why does the economy keep lurching from crisis to crisis? Why are stability and security so elusive? Why do so many people have a nagging bad feeling in their stomach about what lies ahead? If previous economic stimulus strategies did not work and failed to avert economic collapse, why will the one currently being proposed by Biden work?

It is known that Biden’s “team of Ivy League trained economists and lawyers, well-versed in the ways of Washington” has experience bailing out large for-profit corporations and serving in one of the two parties of the rich in the past, but how does that help the average American who is confronted with growing inequality, joblessness, endless bills, inadequate healthcare, inflation, debt, anxiety, uncertainty, and insecurity?

The U.S. economy is not failing because someone never assembled a “team of Ivy League trained economists and lawyers, well-versed in the ways of Washington.” A “team of Ivy League trained economists and lawyers, well-versed in the ways of Washington” is actually part of the problem because it should be working people who decide the affairs of the economy, not someone else. Production and distribution of social wealth cannot take place without workers. Shouldn’t workers decide the aim, operation, and direction of the economy? Why are they not even in the picture? As the only source of value, why are workers dismissed so casually?

JACOBIN is offering cheery headlines that are woefully short on reality.  If their readers aren't complaining, it may be because their readers don't actually read.  Or they don't have many readers at this point.   They do have some good writers, but there's far too much whoring going on.  The 'resistance' cared so damn much in the last four years, remember?  But the same issues they 'cared' about then aren't issues that concern them at all today.

Alan MacLeod (MPN) reports:

The Biden administration is opening a new child prison along the United States-Mexico border. The center, located in Carrizo Springs, around 100 miles southwest of San Antonio, is being specifically built for unaccompanied migrant children attempting to cross the border and will hold around 700 people when finished, although plans noted it will be expanded if the government deems it necessary.

But corporate media do not see it that way. While the Trump years were filled with stories about “kids in cages” and ICE “concentration camps” along the border, they have instead almost universally referred to the new project as an “overflow facility” to help migrant children, as the following headlines demonstrate:


“Biden administration prepares to open overflow facility for migrant children,” CNN,

“Biden administration to open overflow facility for 700 migrant children,” New York Post,

“Biden administration to house migrant teens at overflow facility in Texas closed under Trump,” USA Today,

“Biden Admin. to Open Migrant Overflow Facility amid Increase in Unaccompanied Minor Apprehensions,” Yahoo! News,

“Biden administration prepares to open overflow facility for migrant children,” CBS.

“Overflow facility” is a distinctly pleasantly sounding term for such an establishment, suggesting links to positively-charged services like swimming pools or libraries. The phrase is a completely new way to refer to prisons; a news search for “overflow facility” pre-January 2021 brings up only stories about COVID overflow clinics or emergency sewage treatment works.

The phrase “concentration camp” to describe the structure was completely absent. Searching for “Biden concentration camp” into news databases is more likely to generate stories about the plight of Uyghurs in Western China rather than domestic affairs.

As Ruth rightly asked, " Where is Rachel Maddow and where are those crocodile tears?" Non-poser Caitlin Johnstone observes:

It should also come as no surprise because, all things considered, this administration has not been much different from the previous one in terms of actual policy. The policy of regime change interventionism in Venezuela is the same. The policy of hawkishness toward China is the same. The policy of starvation sanctions against Iran is effectively the same. In a recent CNN interview Secretary of State Tony Blinken could not speak highly enough of Trump’s more incendiary foreign policy decisions like moving the US embassy to Jerusalem and recognizing the illegally occupied Golan Heights as Israeli territory.

There are far, far more similarities between the Trump administration and the Biden administration than there are differences. As is consistently the case with US presidents, the narratives are different, the campaign platforms are different, the political parties are different, but the actual policies and behaviors remain more or less the same.

In the second half of the video below, Jack Hewson (FRANCE 24) reports on Iraq's Yazidi population.

Meanwhile Simona Foltyn (ALJAZEERA) reports:

Dhoha Sabah had been married for eighteen years when her husband first laid a hand on her. Crowded into a modest, single-room home in Baghdad’s Sadr City neighbourhood, the couple had always struggled to put food on the table for their four children.

But then the coronavirus pandemic struck, sending Iraq’s oil-dependent economy into a downward spiral and putting many out of work.

“We don’t have an income. The kids need to go to school, and I cannot afford it. Whenever I talk to him about this issue, he beats me and the kids,” Sabah told Al Jazeera. On at least one occasion, Sabah had to seek medical care because of her husband’s physical abuse.

Police say domestic violence has increased in Iraq by about 20 percent since the onset of the pandemic, which has pushed millions of Iraqis below the poverty line. Poor neighbourhoods like Sadr City have been most affected by mounting economic and psychological pressures.

The rise in domestic violence has highlighted the limited legal and financial support available for victims in Iraq, who often find themselves trapped in abusive households due to conservative social norms that consider it shameful for women to leave or seek justice.

On Iraq reporting, PBS aired a documentary ("Iraq Assassins") on FRONTLINE this week.  For a third time this week, we'll note it.

It was a major report.  Supposed 'journalist' Andrea Mitchell had nothing to say about this but she did have time to slam someone for getting Shakespeare wrong -- when they got it right.  Andrea was never a reporter.  She was always Alan Greenspan's wife -- since 1997, she rode that pony to town daily.  These days, she doesn't even bother to pretend.  But how could she after that embarrassing cameo on 30 ROCK that found her calling a woman a "slut."  What a proud moment for Andrea.  

And my criticism above is not that she was wrong -- I wouldn't have known the source -- not a fan of Faulkner or Shakespeare.  It's that the issue was so trivial and she's wasting time on that.  If you're going to follow the nonsense on display, follow it from a legal point of view -- as Jonathan Turley does -- not from a gossipy, E! point of view.  Andrea makes herself a joke repeatedly.

Ajamu Baraka Tweets:

The imperial arrogance continues but hey, at least for people in the U.S. Biden isn't Trump and what happens in the U.S. is all that matters - right?

Lastly, where is Joe Biden's Green New Deal?  What's his solar plan?  From the government of Iraq:

“Our goal is to support the Ministry of Electricity to produce 20 gigawatts of solar energy before 2030” says Iraq’s Minister of Oil :

The following sites updated:

Friday, February 12, 2021

Jess Glynne

 I like British singer Jess Glynne.  I thought I'd note a few of her live performances.

"Don't Be So Hard On Yourself" is the first song I ever heard her do.

"Take Me Home" is one that grew on me.  Now I find it hard to believe that I didn't love it the first time I heard it.

"My Love" is just beautiful.

And "Thursday" has become an all time favorite in the last year.

"Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):

 Thursday, February 11, 2021.  No real change from Joe Biden but, goodness, doesn't JACOBIN work hard to pretend otherwise?

The US, like the rest of the world, is in the midst of a pandemic.  Unlike many other countries, the US does not have universal healthcare.  Julia Rock, Andrew Perez and David Sirota (JACOBIN) report:

It is not a revelation that elite media outlets bake ideology into their news coverage and manufacture consent — in fact, a new poll shows Americans sense the scam and are well aware that something is deeply rotten in the news industry.

However, the press-driven discourse about promised $2,000 survival checks offers something new and rare: an unvarnished glimpse of exactly how this consent-manufacturing process works in real time. When you follow the money behind the process, you invariably find yourself where most truth seekers end up in American life — staring into the deadened eyes of billionaires who like things just the way they are.

In 2016, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) sounded an alarm about so-called cognitive capture, warning that the information ecosystem in Washington has been systemically corrupted, allowing unseen interests to use think tanks and media to manipulate the assumptions upon which policy decisions are based.

A few years later, that is exactly what is playing out. Millionaire pundits paid by billionaire media moguls are once again trying to protect millionaire politicians bankrolled by billionaire donors. Marshaling studies produced by billionaire think tanks, they have a goal: denying survival aid to middle-class thousandaires now facing an economic apocalypse.

Do most  Americans grasp that the Iraqi people have the healthcare Americans are denied?  The US invaded Iraq in 2003 and remains an occupying presence to this day.  Many things were destroyed.  But even under Bully Boy Bush, the US government knew not to destroy the healthcare coverage.  So when the US 'recreated' the Iraqi government, it made sure that a form of Medicare For All carried over.  But in the US?  That same government denies it for their own citizens.

UPDATE TO "BELOW" statement.  I am retracting the apology.  The section in question read:

the very same article, except for the headline.  At IN THESE TIMES, it's entitled "Antiwar Activists Have Scored an Apparent Victory on Yemen. It’s Time to Keep Pushing" while at JACOBIN they headline it "Biden Says He’s Ending the Yemen War—But It's Too Soon to Celebrate."

and it should have read:

the very same article, except for the headline.  At IN THESE TIMES,  "Biden Says He’s Ending the Yemen War—But It's Too Soon to Celebrate" while at JACOBIN they headlined it "Antiwar Activists Have Scored an Apparent Victory on Yemen. It’s Time to Keep Pushing."

I'm retracting the apology, their headline is misleading.  When I read it on my phone, I didn't say, "Oh, have pity on me!!" I thought that was JACOBIN's headline -- the order was wrong.  But I didn't realize that until this evening.

When I thought I had wrongly read JACOBIN's headline, I didn't whine, I didn't bitch, I didn't justify.  I just said I was wrong and it was my mistake (see "BELOW" which is still there).  Reading on my small phone, I thought JACOBIN had worded correctly and I got it wrong.

I didn't say, "Remember two Sundays ago when I noted I had a bad reaction to medicine.  Well it was a synthetic for my diabetes and it gave me seizures and although I'm now off it, my eye sight is really bad right now, really, really bad.  So I get an excuse for wrongly insulting someone!"  That, by the way, is true.  And when I called Dr. Margaret Flowers' article earlier this week, I had to read it three times to make sure I wasn't missing another mention of Iraq because my eyesight is that poor right now.  Supposedly, it will improve in a few more weeks.  Maybe, maybe not.  But I didn't whine and try to hide behind that.  

I didn't do that, I owned it and I was fine with owning it.  I can make mistakes.  I do make mistakes.  But in this snapshot, the mistake was not calling out JACOBIN for their headline.  I was right there.  Somewhere, ITT and JACOBIN's headlines got switched.  They are now fixed.  ITT has the proper headline for the article.  JACOBIN has a b.s. headline.   

 JACOB's headline is misleading.  Somehow when dictating the snapshot, the headlines got reversed -- and that might have been me, I do some links ahead of time and dictate around them.   When I thought I had wrongly attacked them, I owned and apologized and left it as was so that my mistake wasn't hidden.

The mistake was not in attacking JACOBIN.  They earned that attack and it stands.  

BELOW: I misread headline disregard commentary about JACOBIN re that article.  My apologies to them for it.  I'm not going to remove it and act like it didn't happen.  My mistake and I own it.

Joe Biden pushed?  On what?  Who's pushing him?  JACOBIN?  Am I supposed to laugh?  They've got the same article that's at IN THESE THESE TIMES -- the very same article, except for the headline.  At IN THESE TIMES,  "Biden Says He’s Ending the Yemen War—But It's Too Soon to Celebrate" while at JACOBIN they headlined it "Antiwar Activists Have Scored an Apparent Victory on Yemen. It’s Time to Keep Pushing."

The headline that JACOBIN puts to the article is false.  When does JACOBIN plan to stop whoring for the Democratic Party?  That is just ridiculous -- as is their effort to become the fan club bulletin for AOC.  But let's stay with Yemen since the liars at JACOBIN want to promote it as a 'success.'

At ANTIWAR.COM, Danny Sjursen (ANTIWAR.COM) notes:

[. . .] President Joe Biden’s announcement – during his first major foreign policy address – that he would end American support for Saudi and United Arab Emirates-led "offensive operations" in Yemen, needs more nuance. In the second month of 2021, it seems all but fated that the specter of Donald Trump – and tribal, loyalty oath-like partisan divides over his contested legacy – shall haunt and poison all discussions of each and every Biden foreign policy move for at least 47 months more. Lost in this reflexive race to familiar factional battle stations will be nearly any coherent analysis of the systemic structures designed to ensure America’s war-show must go on.

Thus, while the president’s rhetorical corrective – and vague promised policy shift – on America’s role in the Yemen catastrophe deserves a cautious (and perhaps equally vague) at-a-boy, Biden shouldn’t be the sole story here. A sober accounting of the U.S. role in this sordid affair demands systemic-, rather than personality-driven, debate and critique. Viewing multi-administration – Obama-Trump-Biden – policy analyses through electoral season lenses is precisely what keeps the war industry cash a’ flowing, and the Yemeni babes a’ dying.

The real story of America’s unforgivable fiasco is how and why such small (for us) dirty (for Yemenis) wars-by-proxy persist through supposedly transformative presidential transitions. For these post-9/11 forever wars, their formula is the disease, and must be fought according. Unfortunately, that means wading through wastelands of rhetorical distraction. Greasing the grotesque wheels of otherwise unexplainably obdurate US support for the Saudi terror war – which, according to recent UN numbers, has left 233,000 Yemenis dead and left some 80 percent of the population reliant on humanitarian aid – is a Washingtonese dialect of linguistic-gymnastics that’s long confused We The People about what’s actually done our name.

It begins with how one defines the terms – and here, let’s say Joe’s words may conceal as much as they reveal. Biden’s bunch of "bestests and brightests" are offered an obscuring assist by an acronym- and euphemism-prone Pentagon populated with countless career "company men.” Plus, lurking over the whole strategic needle-thread is the trumped-up threat of Iran. Only, outside of occasional heart-rending photos of distended young bellies, and too large to comprehend – yet likely underreported – death, disease, and displacement statistics, actual Yemenis rarely factor in Washington’s cruel calculus. That’s the trick – America’s professional policy-makers and -watchers speak in swirling intellectual circles until their complicit war crimes congeal as abstraction.

That's reality.  Reality is also that the article JACOBIN chose to run was an IN THESE TIMES article -- credited as such at the very bottom (strange, since they usually note that in the byline under the headline) and that they are changing -- watering down -- a headline from another outlet.  In a strong article, David, Julia and Andrew tell us about how the corporate press keeps us ignorant -- who's going to write that article about JACOBIN because little stunts like the one they pulled on Yemen demand such an article be written.

Maybe that same article could tackle the podcast JACOBIN did ''about" Iraq which could not be bothered with noting the Iraqi people and how they have suffered but which could find the two female hosts giggling like little girls at all the insults and inappropriate language the blustering, toxic male guest used (including insulting men as "p**sies").  Woke?  JACOBIN's always too bleary-eyed to be awake, let alone woke.

US Senator Rand Paul notes these endless wars at THE NATIONAL INTEREST:

After almost twenty years, we have lost over 7,000 killed, suffered over 50,000 wounded, and spent over $5.4 trillion, in Iraq and Afghanistan alone. And that doesn’t even account for our total human and monetary costs in the greater Middle East over the same period of time. More so, there is no way to begin to count the impact of lives shattered, relationships destroyed, and continued loss of life through suicides.

Some would say this is the cost of war. Perhaps. But in a war, loss should have an objective.

That objective must be to deliver a better state of peace. It should have a theory of victory to make that happen. We teach this to our strategists and future general officers at our war colleges. Under our Constitution, war should have the approval of Congress, and thereby consent of the people, to achieve those war aims.

But yet, after almost twenty years of war we don’t have any of this in a coherent fashion. We are still no closer to victory nor do we even really have a realistic idea of what victory looks like. We haven’t been honest on the conduct of the war. We have continuously shifted our war aims. We have paid staggering opportunity costs, immeasurable amounts of treasure, and most importantly, an unimaginable number of lives—again over 7,000 dead and over 50,000 wounded. After all of this, we owe it to those in uniform, some of who weren’t even born on 9/11, to be brave enough to ask, “When will it be enough?”

War continues because (a) people are silent and (b) there's big money to be made.  On the first, JACOBIN can't be bothered with covering the Iraq War seriously.  Much better to allow two embarrassing women to giggle over a hideous male trying to play 'naughty boy' then address the Iraq War, right?  Maybe some day, AOC will give a speech on the Iraq War and the JACOBIN journalist, after they orgasm, can write about it then?  In the meantime, ZNET reposts COVERTACTION MAGAZINE's article by Christian Sorensen

The U.S. ruling class deploys the military for three main reasons: (1) to forcibly open up countries to foreign investment, (2) to ensure the free flow of natural resources from the global south into the hands of multinational corporations, and (3) because war is profitable. The third of these reasons, the profitability of war, is often lacking detail in analyses of U.S. imperialism: The financial industry, including investment banks and private equity firms, is an insatiable force seeking profit via military activity.

The war industry is composed of corporations that sell goods and services to the U.S. government and allied capitalist regimes around the world. Investment banks and asset management firms hold most shares of every major public war corporation.

The best-known financial firms holding the stock of war corporations include: Vanguard Group, BlackRock, State Street, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, and Wellington Management.

Consider Parsons, a corporation that sells goods and services pertaining to construction, command and control, espionage, and day-to-day military operations. Parsons’ initial public offering in May 2019, valued at roughly $3 billion, earned it an industry Corporate Growth Award. The top holders of Parsons stock are investment banks and asset management firms—including the familiar Vanguard Group, BlackRock, and State Street.

Cyber Wars and Intelligence Go Mainstream as Emerging Corporate Frontiers

New business sectors of war are created and then flooded. For example, the provision of “cyber” was virtually nonexistent in U.S. military contracting until roughly four years ago. A war industry push to militarize IT infrastructure has yielded a bonanza in cyber contracts. Today, “cyber” goods and services are sold stand-alone or as additions to previous contracts.

That's reality.  JACOBIN's obsession over a 31-year-old politician whos done nothing much other than win elected office isn't reality.  It's embarrassing and disempowering.  And the immature AOC is all about the disempowering.  Not really feeling it for her on the assault that she announced.  Those of us who were assaulted and raped need to stand for others.  But AOC didn't do that, did she?  No, as Elias Cepeda points out:

Then, Ocasio-Cortez revealed that she was a survivor of sexual assault.

That revelation re-framed the issue a bit for me, though not in a way that I’ve seen many others discuss. So, I’ve decided to write a few words of reflection down, below. Ocasio-Cortez took to Instagram recently and replied to criticism of her centering her own experience during the Capitol raid as well as criticism that she flatly condemned the likes of Cruz and Sen. Josh Hawley and rejected the possibility of working with them on other issues after they personally fanned the violent flames of the attacking White supremacist mobs last month, by contextualizing her claims of trauma during the attack with the revelation of her having been sexually assaulted in the past.

[. . .]

“These folks who tell us to move on, that it’s not a big deal, that we should forget what’s happened, or even telling us to apologize, these are the same tactics of abusers. And, I’m a survivor of sexual assault, and I haven’t told many people that in my life.”

Ocasio-Cortez is right, and she’s brave for discussing all of that. And, I believe her.

I also believe Tara Reade. I also believe Lucy FloresAmy Lappos, Caitlyn Caruso, D.J. Hill, Sofie Karasek, Ally Coll, and Vail Kohnert-Yount, the women who have publicly and credibly accused U.S. President Joe Biden of sexual harassment and assault that ranges from the type of subtle but predatory behavior we’ve all seen him do in public, on camera, to both child girls and grown women, to even more physically rough assault.

We’ve all, including Ocasio-Cortez, watched Biden make many women and children visibly uncomfortable on camera with his groping, his smelling, and sexual comments. We’ve heard some speak publicly afterwards about how he made them feel unsafe and uncomfortable.

I believe them all and am sick thinking about how we just elected our second-consecutive sexual predator to the Presidency, how Democrats only speak out against powerful men committing these crimes when they’re Republicans. I wish Ocasio-Cortez believed Joe Biden’s victims and cared enough to support them in solidarity, instead of casting aspersions on other survivors like Reade and enabling her perpetrator.

I wish she fought for these girls and women. I wish she spoke out against Biden’s policies and cabinet nominations at the very least on account of that long list above of his direct sexual assault victims the way she bravely speaks out on her own behalf, now.

Is is hard for her to talk about?  Oh, boo hoo.  I'm just not feeling it.  I've written here many times about how there are days I just can't open a vein and relive it.  But that doesn't mean I can't stand up for Tara even when I don't want to recount details of what happened to me.  Some day, AOC may realize the world doesn't revolve around her.  Maybe.

Abby Martin and Lee Camp discuss the realities of Joe Biden's policies here.  If that can be embedded I'm not seeing how.  (It's ROFKIN, not YOUTUBE.)

Maybe 80 years after the Iraq War, JACOBIN can tell us about it?  Jaclynn Ashly look at the 1937 massacre of the Kurds at JACOBIN:

"It’s too painful to think about. What’s the point of talking about it anymore?” Bego says. The ninety-year-old’s voice sounds quiet and emotionless. With the help of a translator, he speaks to me in the Kurdish dialect of Zazaki, having no knowledge of Turkish. “The massacre took everything from us. Whatever we say it doesn’t matter. The government doesn’t care. No one listens to us. We are just talking to ourselves. It’s all just the past now.”

Bego was just nine years old in 1938. It’s a year that painfully gave birth to the identity of the Alevi Kurds in Dersim, descending deep below the earth where their ancestors’ bones snuggle into the contorted roots of the oak trees dotting the length of the mountains.

The historical lands of Kurdistan span throughout areas of Turkey, Iran, Iraq, and Syria. Following the defeat of the Central Powers in World War I, the 1920 Sèvres Treaty was signed between the defeated powers and the Allied Powers. In the treaty, Armenians were promised full statehood in the territories of the former Ottoman Empire, and interim autonomy with the possibility of obtaining full independence  was envisaged for the Kurdish areas of Turkey — to be determined by a referendum.

However, these promises never materialized. Instead, the Turkish nationalist movement took hold, under the leadership of Turkey’s founder Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, who led a rebellion against the foreign powers. Atatürk had stated that in areas of Turkey where Kurds constituted the majority, they would be permitted to govern themselves. Most Kurds assumed their fight would result in a multiethnic Turkish-Kurdish state.

Instead, however, Kurds in Turkey, who now make up about 20 percent of the country’s population, found themselves among the victims of a nationalist program aimed at “Turkifying” the country’s minorities by forcibly severing them from their cultures and attempting to assimilate them into a monolithic Turkish identity.

İsmet İnönü, Atatürk’s successor, expressed the country’s nationalist position in 1925, two years after the official founding of the Turkish state. “In the face of a Turkish majority other elements have no kind of influence,” he said. “We must turkify the inhabitants of our land at any price, and we will annihilate those who oppose the Turks.”

The Kurdish language, dress, folklore, and Kurdish names were all banned for decades. Even the words “Kurds,” “Kurdistan,” and “Kurdish” were banned by the government. Up until 1991, the Turkish government only referred to Kurds as “Mountain Turks,” alleging that they were actually Turks whose language had been corrupted over the years.

In 1934, the government introduced the Law of Resettlement, providing a legal avenue to deport Kurds and other non-Turks from their communities and resettle them into Turkish communities in the west.

According to Martin van Bruinessen, a Dutch anthropologist and author, the Turkish government’s aim was to completely depopulate certain Kurdish districts, while “diluting the Kurdish element” in other Kurdish areas by deporting Kurds from their communities and replacing them with Turks. 

The following year, in December 1935, the Turkish government issued a special law on Dersim, which had already gained a reputation among Turkish officials for being a particularly rebellious area in the eastern region. The law designated the district into a separate province and placed the communities under direct military control. Dersim was one of the first districts in Turkey the government applied the Law of Resettlement, and residents began being expelled from the province.

The law also officially renamed the province to “Tunceli,” which means “bronze fist” in Turkish; to this day, Tunceli is still Turkey’s official name for the Dersim province. Bruinessen noted that Dersim’s military governor was given “extraordinary powers to arrest and deport individuals and families.”

Not surprisingly, in 1937 Turkey’s military operation caused a rebellion to break out, partly led by Seyid Riza, an Alevi Kurdish chief of one of the numerous tribes that inhabited Dersim. In response, the Turkish army unleashed a campaign of unfathomable brutalities, which included aerial bombardments and alleged poison gas attacks. According to various sources, the Turkish army indiscriminately slaughtered women and children, which included burning them alive.

In September that year, Riza surrendered to the Turkish army in the Erzincan district, which borders Dersim. Two months later, he was executed by hanging, along with his son and several of his closest associates. His body was buried in an undisclosed location — still secret to this day.

Today, Turkey continues to persecute the Kurds.  They do so without any regards for humanity, the law or legal and physical boundaries.  The press assists them with this.

Here's ALJAZEERA helping out today:

At least three Turkish soldiers have been killed during a new offensive against Kurdish fighters in northern Iraq, according to the Turkish defence ministry.

Turkey on Wednesday launched an operation, dubbed “Claw-Eagle 2”, against Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) fighters in the northern Iraqi region of Dohuk.

Here's THE DAILY SABAH helping out:

Three Turkish soldiers were killed and four others wounded in clashes with PKK terrorists in northern Iraq, the Ministry of National Defense said in a statement Thursday.

The ministry highlighted the heavy blow the Turkish military has dealt to the terrorist group in northern Iraq's Gara region.

Lt. Burak Coşkun and Sgt. First Class Harun Turhan were killed by the terror group during Turkey’s cross-border Operation Claw-Eagle 2 in northern Iraq, the ministry added.

It's left to MEMO to point out:

Despite objections by the Iraqi government, Turkey has been carrying out a number of counter-terrorism military operations against the PKK in northern Iraq, including 'Operation Euphrates Shield' in 2016, 'Operation Olive Branch' in 2018, and 'Operation Peace Spring' 2019.

That's right.  The dead Turkey had sent into Iraq?  They're not supposed to be in Iraq.  The Iraqi people and politicians object to the violation of Iraq's national sovereignty.  That's a key detail when reporting on people killed. 

We'll wind down with this from Rick Sterling (ANTIWAR.COM):

Victoria Nuland exemplifies the neocons who have led US foreign policy from one disaster to another for the past 30 years while evading accountability. It is a bad sign that President Joe Biden has nominated Victoria Nuland for the third highest position at the State Department, Under Secretary for Political Affairs.

As a top-level appointee, Victoria Nuland must be confirmed by the US Senate. There is a campaign to Stop her confirmation. The following review of her work shows why Victoria Nuland is incompetent, highly dangerous and should not be confirmed.

Afghanistan and Iraq

From 2000 to 2003, Nuland was US permanent representative to NATO as the Bush administration attacked then invaded Afghanistan. The Afghan government offered to work with the US remove Al Qaeda, but this was rejected. After Al Qaeda was defeated, the US could have left Afghanistan but instead stayed, established semi-permanent bases, split the country, and is still fighting there two decades later.

From 2003 to 2005 Nuland was principal foreign policy advisor to Vice President Dick Cheney who "helped plan and manage the war that toppled Saddam Hussein, including making Bush administration’s case for preemptive military actions based on Iraq’s alleged weapons of mass destruction." The foreign policy establishment, with Nuland on the far right, believed that removing Saddam Hussein and installing a US "ally" would be simple.

The invasion and continuing occupation have resulted in over a million dead Iraqis, many thousands of dead Americans, hundreds of thousands with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder at a cost of 2 to 6 TRILLION dollars.

From 2005 to 2008 Victoria Nuland was US Ambassador to NATO where her role was to "strengthen Allied support" for the occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq.

On the 10th anniversary of the invasion, when asked about the lessons learned Nuland responded “Compared to where we were in the Saddam era, we now have a bilateral security agreement … We have deep economic interests and ties. We have a security relationship. We have a political relationship." Nuland is oblivious to the costs. Nuland’s loyalties are to the elite who have benefited from the tragedy. According to online google, "One of the top profiteers from the Iraq War was oil field services corporation, Halliburton. Halliburton gained $39.5 billion in ‘federal contracts related to the Iraq war.’ Nuland’s boss, Vice President Dick Cheney, was the former the CEO of Halliburton.


The following sites updated: