Thursday, May 07, 2009





On the issue of getting the word out on the case, I want to take a moment to note three people. I'll start with Brett Barrouquere of AP who has covered this story since 2006. He had not yet hit the three year mark but it was looming. A great deal of what the world learned about all the trials on these War Crimes came from Barrouquere. He was also the only reporter from the MSM who covered Green's trial each day. I want to note Evan Bright. He covered every day of the trial as well. Bright is a high school senior. C.I. heard about him from friends at the US AG and they interviewed him for Third ("Evan Bright Puts Big Media To Shame"). Bright doesn't think he'll end up being a reporter after college but, if you ask me, he's a natural with real talents. I do hope someone's advised him to include his coverage of the trial as part of his college application. Third? C.I. C.I. never let go of this story. She was on it when it started and she regularly called out the lies and the silences. For nearly three years. She knows the case incredibly well and has the facts down pat. In part due to a friend who needed help researching Green for a movie but also because that's C.I. She did an amazing job. When no one was covering it, she was on it. This month and last, her coverage included reporting on an analyzing court filings up through the court orders for some witnesses on the prosecution's list. She walked you through the judge refusing to allow some of the more ludicrous lines of defense Green's attorneys wanted to make. That was reporting. And she's the only one who did that. No one else went through those court documents and reported on them. When she started doing that in April, she was hoping to build some interest in Abeer outside the TCI community. Thinking covering Green's ridiculous requests would peek interest. That really didn't happen. But she covered Abeer and when the trial started, she made sure Abeer was mentioned each trial day repeatedly to ensure Abeer wasn't forgotten. There are only three people I'm thanking. The reason for that is that they're the only ones who did real work.


A federal court in Kentucky has reached a verdict today. March 12, 2006, Abeer Qassim Hamza al-Janabi's parents and five-year-old sister were murdered in their Iraqi home while Abeer was gang-raped in another room. Following the gang-rape, Abeer was murdered. Steven D. Green is said to be the murderer of all four, a gang-rapist and the ring leader who planned the entire thing. The jury went into deliberation yesterday. Evan Bright reports, "Steven Dale Green found guilty of and convcited on -- ALL -- sixteen (16) counts; including eight (8) which could bring a death sentence." Evan Bright is the 18-year-old high school senior who has attended and reported one every day of the trial. This is Bright reporting on Marisa Ford, of the US Attorney General's office, making her closing remarks yesterday:She reminded the jury of Barker and Cortez raping Abeer while "Green, behind closed doors, blew Qassim Hamza's brains out with his Army supplied shotgun." According to Ford, he then took the AK47, "which was provided to the family for protection against insurgents," and used it on the mother, Fahkriyah, and their six year old daughter, Hadeel." She went on to describe Green's sexual assault and execution style murder of Abeer, before he "burned her, beyond all recognition." At this, Green(in a blue Polo) looked down but was still listening intently. She talked about Green having had the AK47 disposed of, and his not-so-impaired judgement. "This was a crime…not committed in the chaos of battle, not committed while on an Army assigned mission, but a crime planned, and acted out in cold blood." Marisa cattle prodded the Defense team, referring to Pat Bouldin's "dumbing things down" for the jury in his opening statement. "To 'dumb things down' for you is an insult to your intelligence," Ford told the jury, "you don't need things dumbed down to know that what Stephen Green did was wrong." Mr. Bouldin frowned as he listened. She talked about the non existent evidence that would dispute the planning of this crime(regarding the conspiracy counts). The killings were "a result of planning and deliberation," Ford intoned(referring to the four counts of pre-meditated murder). "Everything you have seen before, during, and after the crimes, all the evidence, shows pre-meditation."

The Courier-Journal's Andrew Wolfson also notes that Green was convicted on all counts as does AFP. Brett Barrouquer (AP) notes that jury delibrated for a little over ten hours.

While lies were exposed in court, something different happened today in front of the legislative branch. While lying during Congressional testimony is neither new nor novel, it's rare that Congress is informed that the US needs more lying and that, in fact, laws should be changed to allow it. But that's what tubby David Kilcullen insisted. Meanwhile Lisa Schirch fluttered her War Hawk feathers in public.

Not everyone is a person of peace. That should be obvious. And just because someone claims they are doesn't mean they are. Again, it should be obvious. But the laughable War Hawk Lisa Schirch has been allowed to repeatedly and falsely pimp herself as a person of peace. Schirch is the director of 3D Security Initiative. Somehow being the director of 3D did not prevent her from writing on it for Foreign Policy In Focus -- nor was it noted anywhere in "Leveraging '3D' Security: From Rhetoric to Reality" (November 15, 2006) that she was the director of 3D Security Initiative, not even in her credit line. When the usual crowd of useless ran her soggy 'reasoning' entitled "I Want a Woman President But Am Voting for Obama," it wasn't thought necessary to present her as anything but a college professor.

War Hawk Lisa Schirch has been given a pass by our 'allies' in the peace movement and it's past time that her pass was revoked and people quit pimping her as a peace queen. Certain elements of the US 'intelligence' community (those who worked in Jakarta subverting freedom and human rights) have been happy to promote Lisa as a 'hero' and that should have only alarmed the left further. But they ignored it. At their own peril. This morning Lisa appeared before the House Armed Services Committee's Terrorism, Unconventional Threats and Capabilities Subcommittee.

Lisa Schirch: The-the- field that we're talking about is conflict prevention and this conference that the JFCOM Joint Forces Command and the Marine Corps put on together was called "Whole of Government: Conflict Prevention." And many of us in the NGO community are working actively now to try to figure out how to build a more comprehensive approach to the issues of terrorism? And for the NGOs, we have been working actively on the ground in Iraq, Afghanistan, and we have many partner networks who are indeginious Iraqi NGOs and Afghan NGOs who have been sharing their perspective on counter-terrorism and how best to prevent the kind of spread of the insurgencies we see in these regions. And they very much want to be able to feed into the process and partly -- part of the challenge here is that interagency coordination is so new here in Washington that there's really no points of contact for NGOs that are on the ground who have cultural intelligence information to share that would inform US strategy. Uh over the weekend, Dr. Kilcullen made some statements that were in the media about the drones flying over Pakistan bombing villages is actually having a counter-effect to our national interests in the US -- that the drones end up creating more fuel on the ground for recruitment into Taliban-al Qaeda insurgencies. We've been hearing that in civil society NGOs for several years -- that this kind of drone activity is counter to US interests. So that's the kind of information civil societies want to give over and have conversations with the [US] government. So it's actually very much in our interest as uh civil society to help to help to foster and think about what is the best way for the defense, development, diplomacy, tools of American power, how they are coordinated because this impacts then how civil society can feed into the process. Again, we don't take particular stands on whether it's the State Dept's Coordinator for Reconstruction and Stabilization -- although we very much support that -- or the National Security Council. There are a variety of models that I think we need to have more hearings on how is this best going to be done in this country because it's very urgent. The-the ratio of cost prevention versus -- uh prevention versus cost of terrorism is -- is not met in terms of our US budget, in terms of national security. So several of us have argued for a unified security budget that would try to balance out more these preventative responses uh because right now if you look at one tax dollars less than half-of-a-percent is going to all of our development activities abroad. Whereas almost 60 percent of that dollar goes to defense approaches. So this balance is off. It makes coordination between -- in this interagency process -- very difficult for USAID at the Simulation For Conflict Prevention, they couldn't really risk a lot of the staff time because they have so few staff to even give over to this conversation.

Smith: It also pushes DoD into doing a lot more development work than they are actually qualified to do because they have the money.

Lisa Schirch: Right. And and they were comments at this conference that DoD is being forced to create its own internal USAID, its own civilian response corp which is mirroring structures that also exist in the State Dept and USAID which is a waste of tax payer dollar.

There is so much be appalled by in Little Lisa's statements. Let's start with NGO. It stands for, pay attention, Lisa, Non Governmental Organization. Non Governmental. That's hard for Little Lisa to grasp because she believes NGOs WHORE themselves out to a government. So getting into bed with the US government is, for her, perfectly natural. Her testimony, public testimony, just made life a whole lot harder for real NGOs in Iraq who will now be suspected of existing to spy.

That is what Little Lisa's floating. NGOs have information on combatting terrorism! They have knowledge on how to work a better counter-insurgency! The US government must listen to Little Lisa. That is a betrayal of what NGOs are supposed to do. (It's a betrayal of "civil society" as well -- whether one uses the definitions established by Hobbes or Locke or the definitions of Marx and Alexis de Tocqueville.)

What concern is it of an NGO director what the US spends money on? If they want to give money to DoD, what business is it of an NGO? It's not. It's none of her damn business as director of an NGO. It's about as relevant as her ridiculous story where she attended a USAID conference and, you know what, people there were saying DoD was getting more money and they were saying DoD duplicates efforts and, oh did you hear about Tad and Brenda, I so cannot believe that and let me tell you one damn thing, Tad's in a lot of trouble, he is in hot water, that little mister better watch his --

Little Lisa, in testimony before the Congress gave gossip. Little Lisa talked about what DoD was doing (according to gossip) based on a conference that DoD wasn't present at. She gave unsourced comments that had no grounding in reality and were most likely made up by her on the spot. (If you'd seen her body language and the way she threw herself forward during this part of the production, you'd be very sure that she made it up on the spot.)

The United States is not an NGO. Little Lisa is the Director of 3D. She needs to learn to speak properly (that would require her to lose the Valley Girl inflections, eliminate the hair toss and attempting to flirt with members of Congress while testifying and a great deal more). And she needs to be called out.

A 'peace' person does not speak about how drones attacking civilians is 'bad' because it breeds anger. A peace person states: "You don't kill innocent civilians." That's not complicated. It's not even controversial. It is a peace position and has been for many centuries now. The hearing was entitled "Counterinsurgency and Irregular Warfare: Issues and Lessons Learned." Yes, it was a huge blurring of lines. Consider it the let's-drop-acid hearing of the Congress. And grasp that the counter-insurgency movement in the US supported Barack. They were not the peace movement and the refusal of the No Stars of Beggar Media (print and Pacifica) to explore that aspect goes a long ways towards explaining how a counter-insurgency czar like Barack could ever be mistaken for a peace candidate. Counter-insurgency is war on the native people. It is colonialism and it, rightly, had a horrible reputation after Vietnam. Lisa Schirch, Montgomery McFate, Sarah Sewall, Samantha Power and many more worked overtime to give it some gloss and buff it up. But it is war on a native population.

The Network of Concerned Anthropologists' David Price has been one of the few voices to strongly and consistently call out counter-insurgency. Last month, at CounterPunch, he noted that counter-insurgency exists to:

provide military personnel with cultural information that will help inform troop activities in areas of occupation. Since the first public acknowledgement of HTS [Human Terrain Teams] two and a half years ago, it has been criticized by anthropologists for betraying fundamental principles of anthropological ethics, as being politically aligned with neo-colonialism, and as being ineffective in meeting its claimed outcomes. For the most part, the mainstream media has acted as cheerleaders for the program by producing a seemingly endless series of uncritical features highlighting what they frame as kind hearted individuals trying to use their knowledge of culture to save lives; while misrepresenting the reasons and extent of criticism of the Human Terrain program. A few early boosters of Human Terrain Systems (HTS) have now called for its closure (most notable, the British journal Nature), and some journalistic coverage has shifted from uncritical fawning to more reserved critical writing (e.g. Noah Schachtman's writings on Wired's military Danger Room blog). But most media coverage remains uncritical in its thinly veiled support for a program that has never had to answer to the fundamental critiques of its critics, and Human terrain continues on its trajectory of counterinsurgency domination.

While David Price deserves applause, it's past time to ask Foreign Policy in Focus, David Swanson, Foreign Affairs (Marxist Thought Online) and so many others why they pimped counter-insurgency cheerleader Lisa? She is not about peace. Not only did she participate in today's hearing, she advocated NGOs -- non governmental by definition -- turning over 'intel' to the US government. Information that will be used against a people. Counter-insurgency does include (and has included in Iraq, as Bob Woodward has detailed) 'targeted killings' (assassinations) of local figures. That's not peace and someone on the ground in Iraq, the NGOs Lisa's talking about, would be just the ones to provide that 'intel.' It's shocking, it's appalling and the peace movement needs to pull a Michael Corleone at the end of The Godfather and close the door in her face.

Was counter-insurgency guru David Kilcullen forced out of Australia due to the government's fear that there wasn't enough food to feed him? It certainly appears that way and it's hard to think of a hearing where a chair's appeared under more assault than the one he plopped his huge girth in. David Kilcullen wanted the subcommittee to know a few things, "One is that we place a different priority within the military on information operations to the priority that our enemy places." "We"? Kilcullen is not a member of the US military nor does he work for the Defense Dept. He most recently worked under Condi Rice at the State Dept. The State Dept is not "within the military." That might be confusing for Kilcullen since he is not a US citizen and only left Australia in 2005. If we're really worried about immigration, how about worrying about the truly dangerous who come to these shores to do harm to the rest of the world and not those who just try to make a living for themselves and their families?

Kilcullen continued that the Taliban "put information or propaganda first so the first thing they decide is what is the propaganda mission that we're trying to send?' Then they figure out what operations to design and carry out to meet that propaganda objective. We do it the other way around. We design how we're going to operate and then at the last minute we throw it to the information office folks and we say, 'Hey, can you just explain this to the public?'" So Kilcullen thinks that's the more effective propaganda model. As you listen to the John Candy wanna be you wonder how the hell the United States decided to bring in this reject into our government? Even more you wonder if, decades from now as this stain on the US grows ever greater, will it be remembered that the nation let a foreigner dictate this? One who knows little about the history of the United States and shows no respect for the bits he managed to register? If you doubt that or how much this human filth loves his propaganda, let's note this from section of his testimony today:

And one final legislative issue. We had a lot of trouble uh in Iraq uh trying to counter al Qaeda in Iraq propaganda because of the Smith-Mundt act which meant that we couldn't do a lot of things online uh because if you put something on YouTube uh and it's deemed to the information operations and there's a possibility that an American might log on to that page and read that and be influenced by that's technically illegal under the Smith-Mundt Act and we had to get a uh uh a waiver as you may recall to be able to do that. I think for Congress it might be worth looking at uh how that legislation may need to be relooked at or re-examined in the light of a new media environment so that it still has the same intent but doesn't necessarily restrict us from legitimate things that we might need to do in the field.

Background, Smith-Mundt Act is the popular name for 1948's US Information and Educational Exchange Act. Marc Lynch has observed:

The temptation to manipulate American public opinion has always been there, and has only grown more potent in an age where counter-insurgency practitioners and "Long War" planners openly view the American domestic arena as a vital strategic arena. I'd go so far as to suggest that a non-insignificant portion of General Petraeus's information operations efforts have been directed towards shaping American public discourse. It isn't an accident that he has been so available to so many journalists, or that the flow of "good news" about the Anbar Awakening and the surge into the American media has expanded so dramatically. And why wouldn't he, when at the heart of the new counter-insurgency doctrine lies the recognition that maintaining domestic public support for a long, drawn-out military presence is one of the most important single factors?

Subcommittee chair Adam Smith shamed his party by insisting that "it absolutely needs to be fixed" -- Smith-Mundt, the legislation Harry Truman signed into law. He is a blight on the Democratic Party. A long term War Hawk, Smith can no longer embarrass himself but the DLC "New Deomcrat" War Hawk can and does embarrass the party.

He embarrasses the party with statements like this one today, "The problem we're going to have is the paranoia of the American public right now that the government's trying to manipulate them." Oh, those paranoid Americans! Justice would be a Green, Republican, Libertarian or whatever running against him in 2010 and using that little soundbyte for the commercials. Just zooming in on "the paranoia of the American public" and asking if Washington is really sending Adam Smith to DC to talk about American citizens like that?

RECOMMENDED: "Iraq snapshot"
"Contractors, Ehren, Cliff"
"Closing arguments in the War Crimes trial"
"Waiting on the verdict"
"the grab bag post"
"What will the verdict be?"
"Waiting for the jury"
"Steven D. Green trial"
"Steven D. Green and Mitch Jeserich"
"What's it going to be?"
"Some people need to learn to say goodbye"
"The criminals"
"Bad reporter"