Thursday, August 05, 2021

You'd think a gas bag like Joe Biden would have a better emissions plan

So Joe Biden has a plan -- not a good one and not what is needed. Jonathan M. Gitlin (ARSTECHA) explains:

The White House's plan is less ambitious than that of the European Union, which has already said that 55 percent of vehicles must be zero-emissions in 2030, increasing to 100 percent of all new passenger vehicles by 2035. It's also less ambitious than China's plans, even though losing competitiveness to China is frequently referenced in the White House statement. It's definitely less ambitious than the UK strategy, which phases out new internal combustion engine vehicles in 2030. (As with fuel efficiency standards, California again leads the federal government in action, having declared 2035 as the year it will no longer allow sales of new gasoline or diesel cars and light trucks.)
The question of whether any of these requirements will even be implemented also remains. As already noted, four years of inaction and stalling by the previous administration—not to mention heavy lobbying against stricter efficiency standards by General Motors, Stellantis, and Toyota—have set back US decarbonization efforts heavily compared to Europe and China; there's little reason to believe a change in control of Congress or the White House would result in a different outcome in the next few years.

We need real leadership. We got Joe. Hard not to be depressed.


"Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):

 Thursday, August 5, 2021.  What's going on with the Talabanis?

Starting in the US where THE HILL reports

Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) on Wednesday said her father, former Vice President Dick Cheney (R), is “deeply troubled” about the state of the Republican Party.

“My dad is deeply troubled about where our party is, deeply troubled about where the country is,” Cheney said during an event hosted by the Aspen Institute.

She said her father, who served under former President George W. Bush, has been a “tremendous source of advice and guidance and wisdom for me.”

That's where she gets her "advice and guidance and wisdom" from?  Well that certainly explains why she's so damn stupid, doesn't it?

I thought she was just so repulsive and stupid because of karma for being a deferment baby.   That's what she was.  Her father who destroyed Iraq was a young man once.  And the US was at war with Vietnam.  And Dick Cheney didn't want to go.  So he had Liz and the others in the litter.  

As Timothy Noah (SLATE) explained in 2004:

 Cheney’s unself-consciousness about this is (or at least was) so pronounced that in 1989 he told George C. Wilson of the Washington Post, “I had other priorities in the ‘60s than military service.”

What Chatterbox never realized until recently, however, is that Cheney’s eldest daughter, Elizabeth Cheney, likely owes her very existence to her father’s avoidance of the Vietnam draft.

The Washington Post’s Phil McCombs made the intimate calculations in a profile published in April 1991, when Cheney was defense secretary. The timeline:

Aug. 29, 1964: Dick and Lynne Cheney marry.May 19, 1965: The Selective Service classifies Dick Cheney 1-A, “available immediately for military service.”July 28, 1965: President Lyndon Johnson says draft calls will be doubled.Oct. 26, 1965: The Selective Service declares that married men without children, who were previously exempted from the draft, will now be called up. Married men with children remain exempt.Jan. 19, 1966: The Selective Service reclassifies Dick Cheney 3-A, “deferred from military service because service would cause hardship upon his family,” because his wife is pregnant with their first child.July 28, 1966: Elizabeth Cheney is born.Jan. 30, 1967: Dick Cheney turns 26 and therefore becomes ineligible for the draft.

Dedicated students of obstetrics will observe that Elizabeth Cheney’s birth date falls precisely nine months and two days after the Selective Service publicly revoked its policy of not drafting childless husbands. This would seem to indicate that the Cheneys, though doubtless planning to have children sometime, were seized with an untamable passion the moment Dick Cheney became vulnerable to the Vietnam draft. And acted on it. Carpe diem!

Who says government policy can’t affect human behavior?

That's Dick Cheney.  A War Hawk unless he has to serve and then he has 'better' things to do.  And he's hailed as hero by his daughter that got him out of serving.  Liz is a War Hawk as well.  Why didn't she serve?  It's interesting how so many War Hawks are so quick to find something else to do but are more than happy to send others to fight wars.  

Iraq is an ongoing tragedy.  Maybe Liz Cheney needs to grasp that her father is a War Criminal and no one needs to hear from him or her?  Sorry that I can't join the faux resistance in rooting on a piece of trash like Liz Cheney or her father.

Sorry that I can't overlook the million-plus Iraqis who are dead or the others who have been left wounded, the ongoing suffering, to celebrate the hideous Dick Cheney and his butt ugly daughter.

Before we move outside the US, we'll note this statement from Senator Dick Durbin's office:

Durbin Statement On Senate Committee Vote On Repeal Of 2002 Iraq AUMF

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) released the following statement regarding today’s Senate Foreign Relations Committee vote on the repeal of the 2002 Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) in Iraq:

“Our Constitution is clear—only the United States Congress has the power to declare war.  For too long, Congress has abdicated this most serious of responsibilities.  I support this bipartisan effort to terminate the Authorization for the Use of Military Force against Iraq.  As one of only 23 Senators to vote against the 2002 Iraq War authorization, it is long overdue that we turn the page on this war.”

In a speech on the Senate floor today, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) reiterated his intention to bring the repeal up for a vote in the Senate later this year.

Let's move over to northern Iraq, to the semi-autonomous Kurdistan Region.  Amberin Zaman (AL-MONITOR) reports:

The power struggle for leadership of Iraqi Kurdistan’s second most powerful political party has escalated once again, as one of the contenders declared he was not pulling out of the fight, raising fears of protracted instability in what remains the most secure and Western-friendly part of Iraq.

Lahur Talabani, the ousted co-chair of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), declared Tuesday that authorities had issued a warrant for his arrest and dozens of men both armed and unarmed had gathered outside his home in Sulaimaniyah over the past two days in a bid to scare him into leaving the country.

He was shorn of all of his powers in a bloodless coup by his cousins Bafel Talabani and Qubad Talabani last month. He said he had no intention of caving and would “face this plot head-on” and “will not leave my nation until my last breath.”

The drama is unfolding against a backdrop of mounting public fury with the elites that share power in the Kurdistan Regional Government — namely, the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) led by the Barzani family, and the PUK that was founded by Bafel and Qubad’s late father, Jalal Talabani. Nechirvan Barzani is the president of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, and his cousin Masrour Barzani is the prime minister. Qubad Talabani is the deputy prime minister and, unlike Lahur Talabani who is openly hostile to the Barzanis, has excellent relations with the KDP.

The Talibanis continue to struggle.  It's hard to overcome lying to the voters.  That's what the Talabanis did to hold on to power.  They betrayed the people.  Jalal was presidnet of Iraq.  He had a stroke and they lied for over a year.  Jalal wasn't able to speak.  He wasn't aware of his surroundings for the bulk of the eighteen months he was out of Iraq -- he was in Germany.  And, no, he couldn't carry out his duties.  But the Talabani family lied over and over to the Iraqi people.  The Talabani family even posed his body for photos to try to trick people.

They are still having to address that.  It's what fueled Groan's prominence.  It was just another struggling political party with CIA-seed money until the Talabanis tripped over their own ego.  It's so very interesting how you have a huge story that has impacted the PUK, has harmed it and it's a story that the western press really never told -- not then or since.  

We'll note a Tweet from Joel Wing:

After Lahur Talabani refused to leave Iraq PUK and KDP media posted video accusing his brothers of corruption

Head of the Kurdistan Veteran Peshmerga Association Jamil Hawrami said on Wednesday (August 4) that no conclusions were reached during a meeting of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan’s (PUK) Politburo earlier in the day with regard to the power struggle between party co-presidents, Bafel Talabani and Lahur Sheikh Jangi.

The meeting was chaired by Talabani, but Sheikh Jangi was absent. The two are engaged in a battle for factional primacy within the party.

A readout of Wednesday’s conference lacked substance about what was discussed, beyond the general political situation within the party and the upcoming parliamentary election in October.

Although it had been simmering for months, Talabani and Sheikh Jangi’s rivalry exploded into public on July 8, when Talabani and his younger brother, Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Deputy Prime Minister Qubad Talabani, began a campaign to oust Sheikh Jangi’s allies from leadership positions within the party’s affiliated security forces.

During an appearance on NRT’s Tawtwe interview program, Hawrami said that the powerful PUK General Leadership Council is expected to meet soon to discuss the dispute, appearing to indicate that that body’s role could be more influential than the private meetings between the major players in the party that have taken place so far.

The family dysfunction plays out on the public stage.  Ara Tweets:

Bafel Talabani has sent forces to Lahur Sheikh Jangi his house. Bafel sent him a final letter giving Lahur the opportunity to leave Kurdistan but Lahur rejected it.

There is a whole story about the betrayals of the Talabanis.  They are out of touch and have demonstrated that repeatedly.  After deceiving the country about Jalal's health -- he should have been removed from office for being incapacitated -- what was the family's next big public move?  To do the US government's bidding.  A Talabani rushes back to Iraq, from his home in the US (his home in the US, that's where his home is) and opposed the KRG non-binding resolution asking whether Kurds would rather be part of Iraq or their own autonomous nation.

Cheered on by the US press, he was a bit of a celebrity . . . outside of Kurdistan.  That resolution passed by approximately 95%.  Do you get how out of step the Talabanis are with their fellow Kurds?  Do you get the damage the family continues to do to the PUK.

Sure, they get US tax payer money to line their own pockets but, at some point, they need to grasp that they won't get that money if they have no influence over the Kurds.  And they're approaching that point.  Soon they may not be able to afford pricey homes across the US.  Zack Kopplin (THE NEW REPUBLIC) noted last year:

Bribing one politician is bad. Bribing all the politicians is worse. The U.S. Department of Justice is investigating a group of companies in Kurdistan, Iraq’s semi-independent northern region, that appears to be doing the latter in order to secure a monopoly on Pentagon fuel contracts worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

A previous New Republic investigation outlined how Kurdish and American firms used shell companies with connections to the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, one of the region’s two major political parties, to dominate fuel sales to the U.S. military and inflate prices. But PUK-aligned groups aren’t the only ones cashing in on these American fuel purchases: A tangled network of corruption illustrates how ostensible rivals can cooperate to rip off the Defense Department.

According to Kurdish government documents provided to the Government Accountability Project, where I work, additional shell companies also connect the fuel-fleecing to the Kurdistan Democratic Party, the region’s other major political faction, led by former President Massoud Barzani and his powerful family, a clan of American-sponsored kleptocrats. The billionaire Barzanis are Kurdistan’s “unofficial monarchs,” said Kamal Chomani, a nonresident fellow at the Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy and editor in chief of the Kurdistan Times, an independent news outlet. “We always referred to them as the Mafia,” said a former U.S. government adviser in Iraq, who requested anonymity to speak candidly.

The Barzani family’s assets span the globe. “It was never practical to keep track of that stuff,” a former U.S. anti-corruption official said about the vast Barzani holdings, which were spread from Syria to Switzerland. And, in an awkward twist, some of the millions swindled from the U.S. military may have ended up as investments in California’s luxury real estate market.

While the scope of the Barzanis’ wealth is vast, its source is simple: The money comes from Kurdistan’s rich oil and gas industry and deals like the Pentagon fuel purchases. Requests for comment sent to an adviser for Kurdish Prime Minister Masrour Barzani, as well as to a public relations firm that previously worked for the Barzani family, went unanswered. 

Tracing the Kurdish fuel deals leads to a Virginia-based logistics company, DGCI. For at least half a decade, DGCI has been the Pentagon’s go-to fuel provider in Kurdistan and has been dogged by questions about its connections to Kurdish politicians.

Most recently, DGCI was contracted by the U.S. military to deliver wildly overpriced jet fuel, at rates as high as $10 a gallon, to an American base at the international airport in Erbil, Kurdistan’s capital. The Erbil airport is a key staging point for fuel deliveries into Syria, part of America’s continued involvement in that country’s civil war.

[. . .]

In Kurdistan, monopolies happen because you have power or pay off those who do. DGCI is paired with a Kurdish conglomerate called Zozik Group; together, they share ownership of a subsidiary called Triple Arrow. Zozik, which did not respond to my requests for comment, has faced long-standing allegations that it’s a channel for bribes to PUK officials, as detailed in the earlier New Republic investigation.

But PUK connections alone don’t explain DGCI’s overpriced deliveries to Erbil, which is outside the party’s primary territory. Even early in the U.S. occupation of Iraq, State Department officials conceded internally that corruption in Erbil “centers more on the Barzani clan,” according to diplomatic cables published by Wikileaks. In Erbil, “the Barzanis have to have at least half of the shares of big businesses,” said Abdulla Hawez, a Kurdish journalist and researcher. Sources said that Zozik and DGCI cooperated with companies linked to Barzani’s Kurdistan Democratic Party bloc in order to deliver fuel to the U.S. government.

The Barzanis greed is so obvious that even THE NEW YORK TIMES has covered the $47 billion Beverly Hills mansion that US taxpayers appear to be fotting the bill on.

Kanaa Ayoub Tweets:

Red circleRed circleDozens of unknown armed men flocked to Beit after the PUK leadership asked him to hand over all wanted persons and leave Kurdistan. Lahur Talabani is Iran's upper hand in Kurdistan and the architect of the 2017 delivery of Kirkuk to alhashd Alshabi and Iran

There is a huge story that's being ignored by the bulk of western media.

The following sites updated:

Wednesday, August 04, 2021

Curiosity on Mars

 Isaiah's THE WORLD TODAY JUST NUTS "The Scary and Repugnant Ana Kasparian" from earlier this week.


What's my favorite land rover on Mars been up to? Stephanie Pappas (LIVE SCIENCE) explains:

It's a lizard, it's a cat, it's a … whimsical Martian rock!
The Mars Curiosity rover recently got a glimpse of this cute little rock feature in Gale Crater, where the rover has been exploring since 2012. The tiny textured arch is only about 6.5 inches (16.5 centimeters) tall, but its idiosyncratic shape had mission scientists excited.
"I continue to be dazzled by the textures we're seeing, especially the prevalence of centimeter sized bumps and lumps poking out of the bedrock," planetary geologist Abigail Fraeman of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory wrote in a blog post about the feature.
The textured arch sits at the base of Mount Sharp, a peak that rises 3.4 miles (5.5 kilometers) out of the floor of the Gale Crater. According to Fraeman, Curiosity is exploring some interesting geology at the transition between clay-heavy layers and sulfate-laden layers within the mountain's rocks. Sulfates can be left behind by flowing water, so exploring these sulfate-bearing layers can help reveal more about Mars' wet past.

Isaac Schultz (GiZMODO) reports:

Not to be outdone by the young upstart Perseverance, NASA’s Curiosity rover has spent recent days imaging interesting rocks at the base of Mount Sharp on Mars, near which the rover landed in August 2012. One of those features is an arch, similar to some of the towering geology present on parts of Earth—but this arch is only about 6.5 inches tall.
Raw images of the arch taken late last week were recently made available on Curiosity’s image portal. The structure is located in Mars’ Gale Crater, which is a nearly 4-billion-year-old meteor impact site that likely held water at some point in its ancient history, based on the clay and sulfate mineral deposits located in it.
At the Martian mountain’s base, Curiosity came across a formation unique enough to pique the interest of NASA scientists. They had the rover inspect the rock up close using the Chemistry and Camera tool, or ChemCam, which can image rocks and unpack their chemical composition, and its Mast Camera, which takes pictures of the terrain.
The rock arch sits unassumingly on the floor of Gale Crater. It’s prominent on the otherwise flat terrain around it and is a bit offset, with one side of the arch meeting the other slightly below its acme. It would look peculiar even on Earth. Commentators on social media said the formation looks like a cat on a jet ski or a serpent’s spine. If you look in the arch’s negative space, it appears a bit like a squashed map of Great Britain.

And here's a video of the news.

"Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):

Wednesday, August 4, 2021. The AUMF is back in the news, the Senate pretends to do its job, are Iraq's militias terrorists or gangsters, and much more.

Is Congress going to actually do something and repeal the 2002 AUMF that was cited as the permission to go to war on Iraq?  Congress, do something -- sounds like  a good opening to a joke, right?  Supposedly, the Senate is on the verge of saving the day, but let's all be skeptical.

?This is not the end of our military engagement in Iraq,"  the State Dept's Wendy Sherman declared at yesterday's Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing, "as our consultations with the Iraqi government has highlighted.  The progress of our Iraqi partners in their capabilities will allow for the full transition later this year of US and coalition forces to a mission that is focused on training, enabling and advisory tasks."

So nothing's changed.  But no one wanted to go there.  Certainly not Senator Cory Booker whose question she was responding to.  It was as though the baby needed changing and everyone in the room was averting their eyes because no one wanted to do the needed but dirty task.  That's why they're elected to office, those sort of tasks.  But they don't have the backbone or the honesty to tell the truth or to demand real answers from witnesses.

Combat missions are ending!!!! Againa!!!! Mission Accomplished!!!! Again.  We are only there to train!!!! Again.  When the can stand on their own, we leave!!!! Again.

If, after 18 years of training, the Iraqi forces still can't 'stand on their own,' when do you think that they finally will?  

To be fair, there's no buy-in.  Why would you risk your life to fight for a country that doesn't represent you?  Why would anyone be surprised of this reality?  Did no one hear Mohammed Ali' speak as to why he would not serve in Vietnam?  When you don't feel your country represents you . . .

And thses days, there's also the fact that the mafia has infiltrated the security forces in Iraq.

At any rate, Lee Camp could say, last week, what the senators refused to say yesterday.

Four other times, as Lee Camp notes, we've been told the combat mission is over.  

They keep lying but they keep getting away with the ie because we're too damn stupid to call the lie out -- or too busy.  Is that it, THE PROGRESSIVE, THE NATION, IN THESE TIMES, etc?  Oh, WSWS, don't forget those lovelies.  Too damn busy doing nothing.  They can't stop doing nothing.  Plenty of nothing. 

Jamie McIntyre (WASHINGTON EXAMINER) reports this morning:

This morning, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee will consider S.J.Res.10 to repeal the 1991 and 2002 authorizations for use of military force against Iraq. The full committee markup comes one day after testimony from the Biden administration that the 2002 AUMF, which was based in part on flawed intelligence that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction, was no longer necessary.

“I want to state clearly that the Biden-Harris administration believes the 2002 authorization for use of military force against Iraq has outlived its usefulness and should be repealed,” said Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman. “And the administration has made clear that we have no ongoing military activities that rely solely on the 2002 AUMF.”

“The fact is the 2002 AUMF is no longer necessary to protect the American people from terrorism, to respond to attacks on our personnel or facilities, or to ensure the safety and security of our people,” Sherman testified. “The president has other tools available to achieve these objectives.”

Andrew Desiderio (POLITICO) offers, "In many ways, the Senate — which has routinely spurned similar AUMF repeal efforts in the past — will be catching up with public opinion, which has long turned against America's seemingly endless involvement in Middle East wars, especially as the U.S. prepares to mark the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks."

They'll repeal it or they won't.  At the end of the day, it won't make that much of a difference.  The AUMF really wasn't the fig leaf for the war they wanted that they always pretended it was.  There was no attack on the US.  The most basic principle for a just war.  They overturned norms and conventions and they lied -- yes, the Congress lied.  They were as guilty as the Bully Boy Bush White House in starting the illegal war.  And as guilty for not stopping it.

Even this week, they can't be honest about what's going on in Iraq and they lie to the American people that something is changing with the US mission in Iraq.  No, it's semantics.  That's all it is.  And we've all seen them do this before if we were paying attention.

Even Dick Cheney's former aid John Hannah can admit the truth at FOREIGN POLICY:

A big deal? Not really. The fact is that the vast majority of the 2,500 U.S. service members in Iraq have been in noncombat roles for more than a year. Consider this headline from a July 2020 U.S. military press release: “Coalition Task Force-Iraq transitions to Military Advisor Group.” Sound familiar?

Last Monday’s announcement of a so-called withdrawal was more about semantics than policy. It was an exercise in political theater aimed at helping Kadhimi appease elements in Iraq that are opposed to the U.S. presence—above all, powerful Iranian-backed Shiite militias and their supporters among Iraqis, who will be voting in national elections in October.

Yes, we also pretend that Mustafa al-Kahdimi is a great prime minister and butt into Iraq's affairs to ensure he gets a second term.  Biden's in the White House!  When he was 'just' the Vice President, he overturned the Iraqi people's vote.  That was 2010 when the US orchestrated The Erbil Agreement -- a legal contract Patrick Cockburning still has never found time to write about, all these years later.  Well if Cockburny couldn't protect US empire, do you really think there would be a place for him inthe US?  No.  He'd probably be barred from entering and sent back home.  Does he point to his brother and sister-in-law and promise that, like them, he'll do limited hangout 'reporting'?  Nothing that really ever challenges but is full of faux roar and pretense?  

That whole family has made a career out of fakery which is why it's so surprising that Olivia is such a bad actress.  (Not surprisingly, bad actress Olivia -- despite multiple chances -- was never able to nail down acting and never became the star she so wanted to be.  Oh well, maybe her legacy will be as the answer to a trivia question in an online game?)

Joe overturned the 2010 election results (giving Nouri al-Maliki a second term and leading to the rise of ISIS).  Moqtada's not really out of the elections, Moqtada al-Sadr, Shi'ite cleric and one time movement leader.  One of his tribe explained in an e-mail that no one is very excited about the elections and, in fact, they're all waiting to see what Joe Biden plans to do this go round if he doesn't like the results?  (Those under Moqtada, like the e-mailer, will be seeking office despite Moqtada's statements.)

(If you're surprised by the contact from Moqtada's campaign, don't be.  They've long e-mailed and it's a rare election cycle that they don't ask for some campaign material to be posted here.  We always do as we do for any campaign.)

Nancy Ezzeddine and Erwin van Veen (WAR ON THE ROCKS) offers this morning:

Who calls the shots in Iraq — the government or the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF)? Some observers think it is the latter, especially in light of recent events. On May 26, 2021, Iraqi police arrested Qassem Musleh — the commander of the PMF in Anbar province — in connection with the assassination of a prominent Iraqi activist. Immediately after, PMF militias circulated videos purportedly showing their fighters driving heavily armed trucks around Baghdad’s “Green Zone” in a show of force designed to compel Musleh’s release. When he was set free two weeks later, some analysts interpreted it as another exhibit of state weakness vis-à-vis the PMF, an umbrella organization of mostly Shiite, pro-Iran paramilitary groups that have fought the Islamic State.

In reality, the PMF has some pronounced weaknesses and faces growing challenges. Instead of viewing Musleh’s arrest and release as a victory for the PMF in a trial of strength against the Iraqi state, what actually occurred was a scramble by different PMF elements to maintain a united front against the prime minister when faced with the detention of one of their own. During Musleh’s two weeks in custody, it became clear that the PMF — which was incorporated into the Iraqi armed forces in 2016 — is more divided and weaker than it used to be, even though the shared interests of its main armed factions keep it afloat.

Simona Foltyn (POLITICO) serves up a lengthy article supposedly about the Iraqi militias but it only reveals gross ignorance:

The PMF were formed in 2014, and initially saw success fighting the Islamic State alongside U.S. and coalition forces. But following the territorial defeat of ISIS in 2017, the simmering differences between Iranian-backed militias and U.S. forces began to boil over. 

We're grabbing that at random.

That's not based on reality.  That's not based upon what happened.

There was a little whore -- well, there have been many, I know -- but once upon a time, there was a little whore who wanted to make a name for herself so she lied and stretched the truth and instead of her career ending, she ended up where, boys and girls?

That's right, THE NEW YORK TIMES>

And while many wrongly praised her (Glenn Greenwald, I am looking at you but you were far from alone), we called her out from the start of her Iraq 'coverage.'  We were the only ones noting that the whore was embedded with the militia.  We were the only ones noting that the whore was eating meals with the militia's family, was being provided shelter by the militias, etc.

Her glowing reports -- as an unbiased 'reporter' -- on the militias shaped a lot of thinking on what took place.

They may have battled ISIS, yes, but they also terrorized the people supposedly being rescued.  

The whore forgot to include that.  She forgot to include so much.  She did steal from the Iraqi people to do a 'report' (as laughable as everything else she ever did) that people found to be a dramatic podcast -- drama is easy to supply when you dispense with facts.  And when you dispense with facts, your podcast gets retracted -- just like happened with CALIPHATE.

Finally exposed, the whore continued to be employed by the paper of no record.  And while the country appears to have caught on finally that she was a whore, the damage she did remains.  And you can see it when the militias are presented as a positive force in 2014.

If they were so positive, please explain to me the actions that then-President Barack Obama repeatedly took to curtail their actions and their involvement.  

When you're ready to explain that, maybe you won't be such a damn whore.  Until then you're just another Rukmini Callimachi serving up half and halfs, hand jobs, you name it.  Doing anything but actual reporting.  (But Rukmini will always have those bad reports she filed and she'll always have the memories -- especially of the militia member she is said to have had sex with -- a detail I'm told that she never informed NYT higher ups about.)

At Brookings, Ranj Alaaldin writes:

Iraq faces a potential moment of reckoning that could mirror the events that unfolded just seven years ago when ISIS seized a third of the country. The U.S. remains integral to the painstaking campaign to combat ISIS, which has ramped up attacks in recent months. The group is co-opting, extorting, and coercing communities to establish the infrastructure that allowed it to seize large swathes of territory in 2014. Without continued U.S. military support, the jihadis may revive their so-called caliphate.
The necessity of defeating ISIS cannot be overstated, but one of the more understated enablers of the group’s preeminence is the continued dominance of Shiite militia groups tied to Iran. They directly undermine the government by attacking its security forces, while also enabling ISIS through the casualties they inflict on the Iraqi population. Responsible for killing more than 600 Iraqis tied to the protest movement, for wounding thousands, and routinely assassinating or kidnapping activists, Iranian proxy groups are turning Iraq into a republic of fear.
They hold the state hostage through the barrel of the gun while enjoying constitutional legitimacy as members of the Popular Mobilisation Force (PMF), which has access to a federal budget worth at least $2 billion. They also exploit the religious legitimacy that was bestowed upon the PMF by Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani in 2014, when the organization was formed to fill the void left by the collapse of the army. Since then, those groups that were aligned with Ayatollah Sistani and not tied to Iran have left the PMF, out of protest against their human rights atrocities and abuse of power.
Seventy-seven percent of Iraqis, including 76% in Shiite areas, are skeptical that forthcoming elections, scheduled for October, will deliver accountability and justice because of the control Iran-aligned militias have over the political environment. The despair is such that there are growing calls for a boycott, which could produce a re-run of the 2018 elections that were tainted by fraud and saw a coalition led by Iran-aligned groups finish second on its electoral debut. Since then, the Iraqi state has been in a state of crisis not seen since ISIS seized Mosul. Tens of thousands have protested against Iranian proxy groups to no avail and at great human cost.

That's an excerpt and may not accurately represent his piece.  I'm honestly not getting his point.  And I'm sure that's my lacking.  But I'm reading it and waiting for the moment where they are terrorists.  Now I consider them organized crime and would advocate, were they in the US, for the FBI going after them.  But they are part of the government -- a move we opposed loudly here for years before they were finally made part of the Iraqi forces.

I absolutely agree that they terrorize the Iraqi people -- that was what we first objected to in Rukmini's whoring -- where she tried to pretend that they were beloved by the 'rescued.'  (The 'rescued' are still waiting, all these years later, for any sort of efforts to help them rebuild.)

But they are part of the government now.  They aren't responsive to the government.  Though legally under the control of the prime minister, they rebuke him.

But they are part of the government.  So maybe I'm using a poli sci definition of the term "terrorist" and Ranj is using some other definition.

They are a problem and that I think we do see eye to eye on.  They do harm and terrorize the Iraqi people.  But for me, they're more like organized crime that has infiltrated the Iraqi government.

Staying on the Iraqi government but moving to another problematic area, the United Nations issued the following yesterday:

While acknowledging legal changes against torture, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet said that “the authorities need to effectively implement the provisions written in the law in each and every detention centre”.  

“If not, they remain a dead letter”. 

Shocks and beatings 

Covering 1 July 2019 to 30 April this year, the report is based on interviews conducted with 235 detainees, along with prison staff, judges, lawyers and detainees’ families. 

“I experienced the worst days of my life”, one prisoner told UN staff who helped draw up the report. “As soon as I arrived, the officers beat me using metal pipes. The following days, they used two exposed electricity wires to electrocute me”. 

Another detainee said that “they cuffed my hands behind my back and hanged my handcuffs from a hook on a chain from the ceiling…they didn’t really ask me questions, they just kept shouting to confess”. 

The report, Human Rights in the Administration of Justice in Iraq: legal conditions and procedural safeguards to prevent torture, states that legal procedures designed to bring interrogations and detention under judicial control within 24 hours of the initial arrest, are not respected; and access to a lawyer is systematically delayed until after security forces interrogate suspects.  

“Eradicating torture will be one of the most effective tools to start to build public trust in the State’s ability to deliver justice and uphold the principle of fairness”, Ms Bachelet said. “However, when the authorities themselves break the law, it has the opposite effect”. 

Lack of trust 

The report also raises concerns that the authorities ignore signs of torture; complaints procedures appear to be neither fair or effective; and an apparent lack of accountability for these failures.  

“The fact that many detainees choose not to report such treatment due to lack of trust, or fear of reprisals, indicates their lack of trust in the system”, said the UN Human Rights Chief.  

“This needs to be addressed”, she added, pointing out that “specific recommendations on how to tackle this scourge” are included in the report. “The UN is ready to help the Iraqi Government in this endeavour”. 


The authors recommend the adoption of a comprehensive Anti-Torture Law and national action plan – fully in line with international human rights law, particularly the UN Convention against Torture

Upon arrival at detention centres, detainees do not procedurally receive medical examinations and often face significant delays before being granted permission to make a phone call, according to the report. 

Moreover, official detention site locations remain opaque, said the report. 

Aiding terrorist propaganda 

“Effective prevention and prosecution of torture and other forms of ill-treatment would counter the narratives of terrorist groups and reduce their ability to exploit such practices to justify their own acts of violence”, said Ms. Bachelet.  

“The prevention of torture in reality, and not just on paper, would contribute to peace and stability in the long-term, and is therefore in the State’s interest as well as the victims”, she concluded.

For more, see Louisa Loveluck's (WASHINGTON POST) report that we noted in yesterday's snapshot. MEMO covers the report as well:

The United Nations Mission in Iraq (UNAMI) and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights yesterday accused the Iraqi government of "torturing" detainees held in the country's prisons and detention centres, Anadolu reported.

In a publication entitled 'Human Rights in the Administration of Justice in Iraq' which covers the period from 1 July 2019 to 30 April 2021, UNAMI said it had collected testimonies from 235 detainees, prison staff, judges, lawyers and the families of detainees.

"More than half of all the detainees interviewed by UNAMI/OHCHR for this report provided credible and reliable accounts of torture," it said, adding that the observations are consistent with patterns and trends previously documented in UN reports of torture in Iraq, including the Kurdistan region.

"Although the Iraqi legal framework explicitly criminalises torture and sets out the key legal conditions and procedural safeguards aimed at its prevention, respect for these provisions is lacking," it said.

According to the report, one of the prisoners, a UN staff member who helped prepare the report, said: "I lived the worst days of my life. As soon as I got to the prison they beat me with metal pipes. In the following days, they used two exposed power cords and electrocuted me."

The following sites updated: