Saturday, July 10, 2010
BECAUSE 2008 BROUGHT SO MUCH SHAME TO THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY, THE DNC HAS DECIDED TO CELEBRATE IT IN 2012!
THAT'S RIGHT, FOLKS, THE UNFAIR PRIMARY SCHEDULE IS BACK!
AND FRAUD IS REWARDED! IWOA GETS TO REMAIN THE FIRST PRIMARY.
LOOK FOR NANCY PELOSI, IN 2012, TO AGAIN REFUSE A FLOOR VOTE AT THE CONVENTION.
IT'S ALL ABOUT THE CROOKS, BABY.
FROM THE TCI WIRE:
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Friday, July 09, 2010
IF YOU EVER WONDER ABOUT CANADA, STOP.
THE CHICKEN S**TS WHO ARE STILL UNDER ENGLAND'S YOKE BECAUSE THEY DIDN'T KNOW HOW TO FIGHT FOR INDEPENDENCE ARE THE SAME YAHOOS WHO TRY TO PRETEND CANADA WAS UNINHABITED BEFORE ENGLAND DECIDED TO COLONIZE IT. AS THEY CONTINUE THEIR NEVER ENDING WAR ON CANADA'S NATIVE PEOPLE, THE JERKS LIKE TO PRETEND THAT THEY'RE SOMEHOW ADVANCED AND, DARE WE SAY IT, INTELLIGENT.
NEVER BUY THAT MYTH. KONRAD YAKABUSKI DEMONSTRATES THAT THEY'RE NOTHING BUT WHORES AND S**TS. HERE'S KONNIE:
This is state capitalism, Obama-style. His is a vision of a virtuous clean-energy economy nurtured by government. It is benevolent, ordered and seemingly devoid of egos, obvious wealth or crude self-interest.
THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION DEVOID OF EGOS? WHAT A SUCK UP AND PIECE OF S**T. AS MAUREEN DOWD TOLD GOOD MORNING AMERICA LAST WEEK, BARRY O IS THIN SKINNED AND VAIN.
LAUGHABLE LIAR KONNIE'S ARTICLE IS ENTITLED "OBAMA'S 'WE' PHILOSOPHY COLLIDES WITH CAPITALISM'S 'ME' IDEOLOGY." OBAMA'S "WE"?
KONNIE NEEDS TO TAKE HIS TIRED AND WHORING ASS BACK TO CANADA AND STAY THE HELL OUT OF AMERICAN POLITICS. IT MAY SEEM LIKE THE GLOBE & MAIL HAS WHORED ENOUGH FOR STEPHEN HARPER FOR YEARS NOW BUT WE'RE SURE KONNIE CAN FIND NEW WAYS TO SUCK UP AND ASS KISS IF SOMEONE WILL ONLY PUT ON A PLANE BACK HOME.
FROM THE TCI WIRE:
In Iraq this week, the big target has been pilgrims. Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) explained Tuesday that the pilgrimage is "to commemorate the martyrdom of Iman Musa al Kathim on July 8." Pilgrims were targeted on Tuesday, on Wednesday and today. Leila Fadel (Washington Post) reports, "On Thursday, more than 4 million people had gathered in the city to commemorate the death of the revered Shiite figure Imam Moussa al-Kadhim. Pilgrims had walked from all across the country to reach the Shiite shrine, despite attacks in the previous days. The attackers hit as tens of thousands of security forces patrolled the streets and most roads were blocked to allow pedestrians." Jomana Karadsheh (CNN) explains, "Security measures included using vehicles to transport pilgrims; thousands of deployed troops; security cameras in and around the shrine; aerial surveillance; and 500 personnel to combat the threat of female suicide bombers." Timothy Williams and Omar al-Jawoshy (New York Times) reported this morning, "Less than a day after a suicide bomber killed more than 50 people in a crowd of Shiite pilgrims at a police checkpoint in Baghdad, more explosions struck worshipers on Thursday, killing seven and wounding about 60 despite intensive efforts by Iraqi security forces to foil such attacks." Sahar Issa counts the pilgrims death toll (by Thursday afternoon) for Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday to be 68 with 449 wounded. Scott Peterson and Sahar Issa (Christian Science Monitor) note, "Regardless of the death toll, pilgrims were defiant as they completed their march on Thursday and headed back home." And they quote a woman named Hussein stating, "It is like a treasure. I am not the loser by going on this pilgrimage. I am the winner. Security forces can secure the streets. They cannot cleanse intentions and hearts." Nizar Latif (UAE's National Newspaper) offers details that others haven't reported:
While the huge pilgrimages undertaken by Iraq's Shiite community are a reflection of powerful religious sentiment, the significance of poverty is a commonly overlooked factor in the willingness of so many to endure gruelling hardships and to face the bombers. Hospitality tents, paid for by wealthy businessmen, political parties or foundations, line the roads used by pilgrims, who come from as far away as Basra, 550 km south of the capital. Meals are provided free of charge to the walkers, and sometimes cash handouts or food supplies are given to the needy.
It is a massive incentive for the likes of Abu Abdullah. Unemployed and painfully thin -- like his sons -- he said he was unable to provide for his family and used the opportunity of religious celebrations for a practical purpose -- to eat. "At home, we have little food," he said. "When we walk, we get better meals than I could dream of getting; there is rice and meat and vegetables and Pepsi in the tents, we can eat three times a day."
Turning to today's actual numbers, Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad roadside bombing claimed 3 lives and left twenty-one injured, a second one which claimed 4 lives and left twenty injured, a Baghdad car bombing wounded ten people, a Baghdad roadside bombing claimed 2 lives and wounded twenty, a Baquba roadside bombing wounded three people and Ramadi house bombings which claimed 3 lives and left four wounded (the homes belonged to police officers). Reuters adds that 5 pilgrims were shot dead in Baghdad and a Kirkuk sticky bombing claimed 1 life and left another person wounded.
Today the United Nations condemned the attacks on pilgrims:
Ad Melkert, the Secretary-General's Special Representative for Iraq, described the attacks as "horrific crimes committed against defenceless civilians who were practicing their faith."
The formation of a broad-based government will be the most effective response in the face of insurgents who are aiming at destabilizing the country, added Mr. Melkert, who is also head of the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI).
Gabriel Gatehouse (BBC News) offers this opinion, "By targeting Shia pilgrims, it seems clear that the bombers are intent on reigniting that sectarian violence which nearly tore the country apart." [For video of Gatehouse on the bombings, click here and scroll down.] Liam Stack (Christian Science Monitor) offers another opinion, "The attacks highlight fears that insurgents may try to take advantage of Iraq's political uncertainty to destabilize the country, four months after elections in March failed to produce a government and just weeks before a US troop drawdown is set to begin." Usama Redha and Ned Parker (Los Angeles Times) stick to context, "Since 2003, Shiite religious festivals have been marred by bombing attacks. This year's ceremonies for Imam Musa Kadhim were no different."
March 7th, Iraq concluded Parliamentary elections. Three months and two days later, still no government. 163 seats are needed to form the executive government (prime minister and council of ministers). When no single slate wins 163 seats (or possibly higher -- 163 is the number today but the Parliament added seats this election and, in four more years, they may add more which could increase the number of seats needed to form the executive government), power-sharing coalitions must be formed with other slates, parties and/or individual candidates. (Eight Parliament seats were awarded, for example, to minority candidates who represent various religious minorities in Iraq.) Ayad Allawi is the head of Iraqiya which won 91 seats in the Parliament making it the biggest seat holder. Second place went to State Of Law which Nouri al-Maliki, the current prime minister, heads. They won 89 seats. Nouri made a big show of lodging complaints and issuing allegations to distract and delay the certification of the initial results while he formed a power-sharing coalition with third place winner Iraqi National Alliance -- this coalition still does not give them 163 seats. They are claiming they have the right to form the government. It's four months and one day and, in 2005, Iraq took four months and seven days to pick a prime minister. If Iraq's the 'success' so many want the world to believe, then surely it will take less time this go round, right?
US Vice President Joe Biden just wrapped up a three-day visit to Iraq (Saturday, Sunday and Monday -- see Tuesday's snapshot for details) and the outreach didn't stop there. Alsumaria TV reports that he and Kurdistan President Massoud Barazani spoke on the phone yesterday about "a number of issues" and that he also spoke with Iraq President Jalal Talabani over the phone Wednesday: "Biden praised the application of President Talabani seeking to reach agreement over the next government and enhance the political process and democracy in the country."
Meanwhile theUnited Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) issued their latest [PDF format warning] "Human Rights Report" covering Iraq from July 31st through December 2009. In the 26 page report, even the most casual reader will see, there is no 'success' in Iraq. In Iraq, all but the thugs elevated by the US government to 'rulers' are targeted regularly. Pick the targeted segment you follow most closely and, chances are, the report's covered it. For example, "Situation of Women" covers many, many issues but we'll zoom in on this, "During a visit to a female detention centre in Dahunk on 3 August, UNAMI observed that nine women were being detained there for their 'own safety'. The authorities argued that detention was the only safe solution due to threats on grounds of family honour. According to the investigating judge, the women may be released with a written guarantee for their safety from a male family member. The likelihood of such a guarantee is remote, as many of them are facing threat to life from their families for honour-related issues." It further notes that 'new Iraq' has many laws on the books unfair to women and that, "The laws are inherently discriminatory as men may effectively by exonerated from punishment for crimes such as murder and assault. They criminalise adultery committed by women while granting to men broad exemptions from punishment for the same act."
The report provides a breakdown on the 2009 Parliament Committees. Guess which committee had the most female members? Human Rights. Eight women serve on that comittee (five men also serve). On the Women's Committee, the seven members are all women. Which committees do women serve the least on? Security and Defence and Oil & Gas. No woman sits on those committees. After that, the worst is, no surprise, the Legal Committee and the Finance Committee (one women serves on each committee).
The targeting of the disabled and challenged continues. Among the things noted in the report is: "Structures have been established to support the disabled community, for example, the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs runs various programmes for the disabled community, including a modest monthly stipend to approximately 50,000 disabled Iraqis. ICR operates at least 12 physical rehabilitation centres but accessibility is an issue due to security reasons and lack of transporation."
On refugees, UNHCR estimaed that there were 2,764,111 internally displaced refugees. But moving to external refugees, Paige Taylor (The Australian) reports that the Australiang government "'has sent an an Afgan and an Iraqi asylum-seeker home for the first time in five years,' Immigration Minister Chris Evans revealed yesterday." This move puts Australia on the same level as England (among others) which elected to force people out of England in some perverse 'response' to World Refugee Day. And it makes a mockery out of the speech Evans delivered on World Refugee Day in 2008:
The Australian Government works closely with UNHCR on a number of fronts to promote and support the protection rights of refugees. So it is only appropriate that today we stand under the same banner of 'Refugee Protection'.
This is a perfect theme for World Refugee Day, but it inevitably leads us to ask: how is Australia's role in providing refugee protection understood? What does it mean to average Australians?
It is no secret that under the previous government, the issue of refugee protection was the subject of a deeply divisive debate. Australia's international reputation was tarnished by the way the previous government sought to demonise refugees for its own domestic political purposes. This is unfortunate, since it overshadowed some of the positive work on refugee protection that continued during those years.
The Rudd Labor Government brings a different approach to refugee and humanitarian issues.
In fairness to Rudd, it should be noted that Julia Gillard is Australia's new prime minister and that it was feared she would attempt to use the immigration issue (specifically 'crackdown' on immigration) to drive up support within Australia. Peter Boyle (Green Left) reports:
What a difference a month and a change of leadership makes. In late May this year Julia Gillard said that Liberal-National opposition leader Tony Abbott's call for a return to the "Pacific solution" on refugees was just a "slogan not a solution" but now she's PM (with the blessing of mining giants BHP, Rio Tinto and Xstrata), it has once again become a "solution".
In a July 6 speech to the Lowy Institute Gillard announced that her government was pursuing a regional agreement for offshore processing of "unauthorised arrivals".
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Thursday, July 08, 2010
CELEBRITY IN CHIEF BARRY O IS NOT IN THE MOOD. THE CAMPAIGNER IN CHIEF EXPLAINED TO THESE REPORTERS THIS MORNING, DURING A QUICK MAKE UP TOUCH UP, THAT "NOBODY KNOWS HOW HARD I WORK."
"I HAVE BEEN WORKING," HE CONTINUED, "FOR 1,609 DAYS STRAIGHT. THAT'S 4 YEARS, 4 MONTHS AND 28 DAYS. THAT'S FROM WHEN I DECLARED MY CANDIDACY THROUGH TODAY WHEN I GO FUND RAISE FOR HARRY REID AND SOME GUY I NEVER HEARD OF IN MISSOURI. BUT DO I COMPLAIN? DO I WHINE? NO BECAUSE THAT'S WHAT A GLAD HANDER DOES. I WAS ELECTED BECAUSE OF MY CAMPAIGNING AND THE AMERICAN PEOPLE WANTS ME TO CONTINUE CAMPAIGNING. IF THEY WANTED LEADERSHIP, WELL THEY WOULD HAVE GIVEN HILLARY THE NOMINATION."
BARRY O THEN RETURNED TO PRACTICING SMILES IN HIS HAND HELD MIRROR WHILE SINGING, "FIVE HUNDRED TWENTY-FIVE THOUSAND SIX HUNDRED MINUTES, HOW DO YOU MEASURE, MEASURE A YEAR?"
FROM THE TCI WIRE:
Today is the 7th of July which makes today exactly four months since elections took place. March 7th, Iraq concluded Parliamentary elections. Three months and two days later, still no government. 163 seats are needed to form the executive government (prime minister and council of ministers). When no single slate wins 163 seats (or possibly higher -- 163 is the number today but the Parliament added seats this election and, in four more years, they may add more which could increase the number of seats needed to form the executive government), power-sharing coalitions must be formed with other slates, parties and/or individual candidates. (Eight Parliament seats were awarded, for example, to minority candidates who represent various religious minorities in Iraq.) Ayad Allawi is the head of Iraqiya which won 91 seats in the Parliament making it the biggest seat holder. Second place went to State Of Law which Nouri al-Maliki, the current prime minister, heads. They won 89 seats. Nouri made a big show of lodging complaints and issuing allegations to distract and delay the certification of the initial results while he formed a power-sharing coalition with third place winner Iraqi National Alliance -- this coalition still does not give them 163 seats. They are claiming they have the right to form the government.
Four months later and no prime minister. Four months later and Parliament's only met once -- and then they met for less than 20 minutes. Is that normal? For 'modern' and 'democratic' Iraq, is that normal. We have 2005 as a model so let's walk through. December 15, 2005 was Iraq's previous Parliamentary election. April 22, Nouri al-Maliki became prime minister designate. Four months and seven days later.
And let's remember things were a lot worse in Iraq then. (Violence has never gone away and today demonstrated that yet again.) For example, from the April 26, 2006 snapshot, "The Associated Press notes that '[m]ore than 100 Iraqi civilians or police have been killed . . . since [Jawad] al-Maliki was tapped as Iraq's prime minister designate on Saturday . . .'" From Saturday to the following Wednesday. But a prime minister designate could be named. Not only that, grasp that Nouri wasn't first pick. The first pick was Ibrahim al-Jaafair. But the US nixed that.
Today, it's four months since the election and the political stalemate continues. Lourdes Garcia-Navarro (NPR) reports, "It has been four months since the parliamentary elections, and the parties are still bickering over who gets to form a government. Electricity is terrible, the phone networks don't work, and most basic services like water and sewage are patchy at best. Iraq is constantly indexed as one of the most corrupt countries in the world. Hundreds of thousands of people remain displaced. And there is still violence, every single day. About 4,400 American service members have given their lives in Iraq. Tens of thousands of Iraqis have died. Both Iraqis and Americans are still being killed, though in vastly reduced numbers." And the response to that from the US military? Snippy e-mails from US Maj Gen Stephen Lanza insisting that the correspondents are providing negative coverage. Is anyone wondering why the US didn't just change the Constitution and let Bush do is own third term if that's all Barack Obama was going to provide?
Is there a reason that USF (formerly MNF) can't get its act together. It doesn't have a lot of tasks. They don't do patrols, they just issue press releases. That apparently is too much work for them or else they're deliberately trying to distort the body count. From Friday's snapshot:Today the US military announced: "BAGHDAD – Two U.S. Soldiers have died in unrelated non-combat incidents. The names of the deceased are being withheld pending notification of next of kin and release by the Department of Defense. The names of service members are announced through the U.S. Department of Defense official website at http://www.defenselink.mil/releases/. The announcements are made on the Web site no earlier than 24 hours after notification of the service member's primary next of kin. The incidents are under investigation." If that's not the most s**t poor announcement USF/MNF has ever made, I don't know what is. When did the two die? Where did the two die? Why are those details not being supplied? Does anyone supervise these press releases? The announcement brings the total number of US service members killed in the Iraq War to 4411. "S**t poor" was actually too mild. The above press release -- the only one issued Friday by USF and none have been issued since on any military deaths -- tells us two US soldiers died in Iraq Friday. Simple enough?Yeah, except there were three. From Monday's entry: "Friday the US military announced two more deaths. The News & Observer notes that one of those deaths was Maryland's 19-year-old Spc Morganne McBeth who joined the military in 2008 and was deployed to Iraq August 17th." That's one of the two deaths announced. Yesterday's entry included: "Friday, 2 US service members died in Iraq. One was Maryland's 19-year-old Spc Morganne McBeth, the other was Sgt Johnny W. Lumpkin who 'died July 2 in Balad, Iraq from injuries he sustained in an incident the day before in Taji, Iraq.' Meredith Armstrong (WRBL, link has text and video) notes that the Columbus soldier is survived by parents Jan and Wayne Lumpkin, a wife (July 4th would have been the couple's ninth wedding anniversary) and three children."Follow that?Two deaths announced on Friday, two fallen identified. Except it's three. The Shreveport Times reports that Sgt Jordan E. Tuttle also died Friday ("in Baghdad of injuries suffered in a non-combat related incident"). Is there a reason that the military can't get it right? Is there a reason that a division charged with nothing more than issuing press release can't do their damn job? Or is that they're being told not to?You might think with deaths down compared to previous years, their jobs would be eaiser. But they seem to have a real problem these days doing the jobs that the US tax payers foot the bill for.Spc Morganne McBeth, Sgt Johnny W. Lumpkin and Sgt Jordan E. Tuttle died on Friday in Iraq. It shouldn't be that difficult in this day and age for the US military to announce that there were 3 deaths. All USF does is announce deaths (and issue happy spin). The Defense Dept is the one who identifies the fallen. All they have to do is issue an announcement of a death. Why is so hard for them? This has been repeated issue for USF all year long. You might think at some point Congress would ask one of the many generals parading before it what the deal is.4412 is the current number of US service members killed in the Iraq War -- at least that's the current number as far as we know.
Staying with violence, yesterday at least 6 pilgrims were reported dead and 37 wounded. Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) explained the pilgrimage is "to commemorate the martyrdom of Iman Musa al Kathim on July 8." It continued today -- both the pilgrimage and the violence. Scott Peterson (Christian Science Monitor) notes 28 dead today from a suicide bomber and sixty-three more injured. Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) supplies the details explaining a bomber took his/her own life in Adhamiyah and 38 pilgrims (eight-one injured) and that a Baghdad sticky bombing claimed the life of police Maj Abdulrahman Sabeeh, a Baghdad roadside bombing wounded three Iraqi soldiers, a Baghdad suicide bomber took his/her own life and that of 1 police officer (two civilians injured and two soldiers injured), two Baghdad roadside bombings claimed the lives of 5 pilgrims (thirty-five more wounded) and another Baghdad roadside bombing wounded six pilgrims, another Baghdad roadside bombing claimed 6 lives and left forty-five wounded, and two other Baghdad roadside bombings injured eleven. Timothy Williams and Omar al-Jawoshy (New York Times) report, "Shiite pilgrims are frequent targets of Sunni insurgent groups, and this year Iraqi security forces ordered several major roads and bridges closed and banned bicycles and motorcycles in the capital to try to safeguard the marchers. Some 200,000 security force members had been assigned to patrol streets, check cars and search pilgrims at they walked along streets to the shrine." Note that the pilgrimage has not ended, it continues tomorrow. Mu Xuequan (Xinhua) explains, "About 1 million pilgrims from many parts of Baghdad and other provinces are expected to gather near the Imam Mussa al-Kadhim shrine in Baghdad's northern district of Kadhmiyah for the annual commemoration of the death of the seventh of the most sacred 12 Shiite Imams." BBC News offers a photo essay on the pilgrimage. And what do the pilgrims talk about? Scott Peterson (Christian Science Monitor) reports:
But conversation along the pilgrims' path has centered on how bickering between Iraq's politicians since the March 7 election has damaged expectations, and raised fears of greater insecurity.
"It's the daily talk of the people: politicians and forming a government. Every day," says Mr. Jassim, sitting on the floor of the tent, as volunteers offered him cold packets of juice, bottles of water, and a plastic dish of rice with orange-brown sauce.
Ned Parker and Nadeem Hamid (Los Angeles Times) add an attack on a Falluja police checkpoint left 2 police officers dead.
The war the world never wanted (as evidenced by the massive protests before the start of the illegal war), the illegal war that was sold on lies, continues. And so do the lies. Press flacks with bars on their shoulders hassle the press, an Oval Office Occupant rushes to assure the people that things are better than before and the corner has been turned. All the Dems once in congress who scorned and sneered at "success" in Iraq now, from the White House, promote the laughable claim that there is "success" in Iraq.
If the people were confused by all the smoke and mirrors, it would not be at all surprising. However, yesterday Rasmussen Reports released results from a poll (plus/minus 3%) where Americans were asked whether or not they believed that the US military endedcombat operations at the end of August? 33% of respondents -- snorting hope,apparently -- say yes. 59% -- that would be a clear majority -- say no. They werealso asked how history will view the Iraq War. 36% say as a failure, 33% say as asuccess and 31% just don't know. The 33% figure took a hard hit from March when41% were saying the illegal war would be seen as "a success." This isn't surprising because, as Thomas E. Ricks has long pointed out, the military does not have a pacifist wing. And Saturday Tim Arango (New York Times) explained US combat missions in Iraq will not be ending in August. He spoke with a group of US soldiers in Mosul currently "hunting terrorists and covertly watching an Iraqi checkpoint staffed by police officers whom the soldiers say they do not trust." Arango explains that combat missions ("hunting insurgents, joint raids between Iraqi security forces and United States Special Forces to kill or arrest militants") will be renamed "stability operations." Michael Gordon (of the Times) attempted to point out to then-candidate Barack Obama that these were indeed combat missions. But apparently pretty didn't come with brains. The International Herald Tribune featured an important letter Tuesday:
Former President George W. Bush sent U.S. troops streaming into Afghanistan supposedly in "hot pursuit" of Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda. It didn't take long, however, for him to recast the war as a much more general fight for the forces of good.
Then Iraq caught his eye, and he lost interest in either winning the Afghan war or ending it via diplomacy.
Unfortunately, that left the U.S. military stuck there.
Even more unfortunately, the Democrats haven't found the fortitude to fight for an end to the increasingly pointless conflict.
Already there are hints that President Barack Obama's much-touted 2011 withdrawal date may slip. If that happens we can forget about withdrawal before January 2013; after all, there'll be an election to consider.
And by 2013, who knows what other reasons will have been found by Mr. Obama, or by his successor, to stay.
If America's political leadership won't find a way to end the fighting, the children and grandchildren of today's U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan may be serving there as well.
Eric B. Lipps, New York
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Wednesday, July 07, 2010
AS THE BAD NEWS COMES TUMBLING IN, CELEBRITY IN CHIEF BARRY O FACES MORE AND MORE QUESTIONS ABOUT NOT JUST WHETHER HE'S CAPABLE OF LEADERSHIP BUT ALSO IF HE EVEN UNDERSTANDS HIS JOB?
FRIDAY SAW YET ANOTHER LOUSY JOB REPORTS RELEASED, IT'S DAY 79 OF THE GULF DISASTER (WHICH BARRY O HAS INSISTED HE IS IN CHARGE OF) BUT HE'S HEADING TO MISSOURI TOMORROW TO RAISE MONEY FOR A POLITICAL CAMPAIGN OF ROBIN CARNAHAN WHO IS RUNNING FOR THE U.S. SENATE.
IT GETS BETTER, THE LITTLE PRINCESS WILL GIVE A SONG & DANCE SPEECH ABOUT THE ECONOMY IN KANSAS CITY TOMORROW WHICH WILL ALLOW "THE WHITE HOUSE [TO] BILL TAXPAYERS RATHER THAN CARNAHAN'S CAMPAIGN FOR MOST OF THE PRESIDENT'S TRAVEL COSTS."
FROM THE TCI WIRE:
Monday April 5th, WikiLeaks released US military video of a July 12, 2007 assault in Iraq. 12 people were killed in the assault including two Reuters journalists Namie Noor-Eldeen and Saeed Chmagh. Monday June 7th, the US military announced that they had arrested Bradley Manning and he stood accused of being the leaker of the video. Philip Shenon (Daily Beast) reported last month that the US government is attempting to track down WikiLeaks' Julian Assange. Leila Fadel (Washington Post) reports Manning has been charged today and that includes "two charges under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. The first encompasses four counts of violating Army regulations by transferring classified information to his personal computer between November and May and adding unauthorized software to a classified computer system. The second comprises eight counts of violating federal laws governing the handling of classified information." These are charges. An Article 32 hearing will be held to determine the strength of the charges. If the case proceeds, it would then move to a court martial. Manning has not spoken to the press. That's an important point and one to remember when the suspect's 'confessions' are bandied about. What crazy ass wipe Adrian Lamo calls truth is certainly open to interpretation and reporters would do well to stop treating what Lamo has supplied them with as fact. Meaning those transcripts of IM-ing may or may not be Manning and when the press -- check out the Guardian's Chris McGreal -- presents those as factual, they are not doing the job of the press. They may be doing the prosecution's job -- which would be the US government's job -- but they are not doing the press' job. Those transcripts may indeed be legitimate. If so, the government will introduce them into evidence and the defense will not dispute them. But a number of reporters are telling you what Manning thought and they don't even know that Manning was the leak. Repeating, Manning hasn't spoken to the press. All they have is a little snitch named Adrian. Sometimes snitches tell the truth, sometimes they don't. In the meantime, Manning's not being 'tried in the media,' he's being 'convicted in the media.' That is not the American justice system. Steven Lee Myers (New York Times) reports on the charges and gets it right. Those confused as to what reporting actually is can refer to his work because he outlines what is known and what isn't. And that's not a slap at Fadel. She also demonstrates how you report. In her case, she ignores the unverified claims and assertions made by Lamo. That's the approach we've taken here. If it is introduced as evidence, we'll deal with it but if Lamo's all we have to go by, we're not wasting our time on it or spitting on the American legal system by using it to mind read. Mannings facing very serious charges (repeating, no guilt has yet been established) and you'd think that people would be very careful about what they claimed Manning has done or has written or has said. Manning has not spoken to the press, Manning has not issued any statement to the press.
There's confusion as to how many charges Manning is facing. The military counts two (as Fadel's article reports) but there are 12 specifications. Mike Gogulski (Help Bradley Manning) has posted the press release and Mike analyzes the charges here. WikiLeaks has not revealed the identify of the person who passed the information to them. At their Twitter feed they note:
If the charges against Manning are true, he will be the Daniel Ellsberg of our times. about 4 hours ago via bitly
In London, the Iraq Inquiry continue. Yesterday the Inquiry headed by John Chilcot heard from Sally Keeble about civilian efforts in Iraq during the early stages of the Iraq War (link goes to video and text options). The thurst of her testimony is Clare Short's lying. I don't believe Keeble. In 2001, in London, I emerged from the ladies' room to be greeted with, "Are you okay?" My response, "I've been trapped in there with Clare Short for 20 minutes." Everyone at the table, including one Miliband brother, laughed knowingly. I know Clare distantly and it stays distant by choice. I'm not a fan of Clare's (nor she of me). But one thing she is and has always been is straightforward. If she makes mistakes, she'll take her lumps and then some. I don't hate her but our personalities do not mesh and never have. (And never will.) However, if she says something happened, it happened. Keeble's testimony blames Clare for the disorder in Iraq, blames Clare's resignation for forcing her (Keeble) to stay on (lest people think she too was resigning for 'political' reasons) and lists various 'projects' that Clare allegedly erred by not backing. Including a 6 million (apparently pounds and not dollars) port project that, to be honest, I don't think anyone would have backed that early into the war. That's a huge sum of money that lower-level Keeble wanted committed. When all of this was allegedly going on, Keeble did not raise objections. She not only waited until Claire was gone to complain, she waited until she (Keeble) had left the department of International Development herself. If there were huge glaring errors taking place, it was Keeble's job to report them in real time. When she finally did make her assertions, they were looked into by Tony Blair's government. Blair had no reason to protect Clair -- who'd walked out on his cabinet -- but the investigation resulted in a conclusion that the charges were unfounded. I don't know Keeble and have no way of knowing whether she was lying or honestly believes her account for whatever reason. But Clare -- and I'm no fan of Clare's -- is known to take her share of the blame pie and then some. I was hoping Chris Ames (Iraq Inquiry Digest) would cover Keeble's testimony but he didn't so I'm stating the above and, with that, we're done with Keeble.
Today the Chilcot Inquiry heard from Andy Bearpark (Director Operations and Infrastructure in the Coalition Provisional Authority, 2003 to 2004), Martin Howard (Director General Operational Policy, Ministry of Defence, 2004 to 2007), and MP Bob Ainsworth (Minister of State for the Armed Forces, 2007 to 2009, Secretary of State for Defence, 2009) (link goes to transcript and video options). Of the three, we'll zoom in on Bob Ainsworth's testimony. He testified that the issue most presented to him by British troops "was the issues of rest and recuperation" on "the welfare package" -- benefits to the families.
MP Bob Ainsworth: I think you have got to look at the individual instances, because I think that there are some provisions that are absolutely ideal for the provision, you know, through the regimental system, but then there are others where that's not -- I mean, when you have a bereaved family -- I mean, we had to do, I think, considerable work to try to make sure that -- I mean, we simply weren't getting it right, to tell you the truth, and there was a need for, you know, improvement there. Again and again, we were letting people down, I think. [. . . leaping ahead over ten minutes] I saw working with the charities and the agencies as a tour, to help us fill in some of those gaps and fill them in appropriately. So, for instance, in the area of dealing with and helping the bereaved, I don't think that that was some of the improvement that we made we could ever have made on our own, and we certainly couldn't have put in a system that would have helped on our own. So we had to have the help and advice of the Legion, the War Widows' Association. We uwed thos organisations to do analyses of how we actually treated people and get some of the complaints back. We organised a forum. It was somewhere off Pall Mall -- I can't remember exactly where the venue was now -- and we used those organisations to do it, where we brought in people who had been bereaved, who were only to happy to help us because one of the main motivations of bereaved families is often to make sure that you learn lessons from the loss, you know, of their loved ones. But we used them to, you know to, pick up all the challenges that we got and try to improve the service. Now, as a result of that, we then got the British Legion to actually run a service for us, which -- I can't remember the title of it now, but it is like a Citizens' Advice Bureau for -- you know, for bereaved families. Now, we could never do that as MoD [Ministry of Defence]. I don't think we could ever establish the trust with the individuals. You needed that kind of bit of independence, that bit of, you know, arm's length, that getting the British Legion to do it for you gives you. So you know, we then employed them to run some of the improvements that flowed from some of the analyses that we had done of where we were not doing a perfect job.
[. . .]
Committee Member Usha Prashar: I want to look at the question of the MoD dealing with the families because one of the issues that has been raised with us is the MoD's attitude towards families and, in view of the families of the service personnel killed in Iraq, they say that the MoD's attitude is either dismissive or overly defensive. To what extent do you think this criticism is justified and were you aware of that view?
MP Bob Ainsworth: People deal with bereavement in different ways and I have met lots of bereaved families. In some cases, almost no matter what you do, you know, you cannot, you know, make things better; anger is a part of bereavement. You just have to accept that and try not to make the situation worse. But there were areas that we were not getting right.
Committee Member Usha Prashar: Such as?
MP Bob Ainsworth: Well, the way that we communicated with people, sometimes we would appoint a visiting officer to a particular family and that visiting officer would get deployed and then they would wind up with another person, having just got used to the person they were supposed to have as liaison. There are some horror stories when you dig into, you know, how people have actually been, you know, dealt with at an individual level and, I mean, you can never fully mitigate -- in a big organisation, you can never fully mitigate those things, and that is why we organised this event with the War Widows and with the -- the War Widows' Association and with the Royal British Legion to try to pick the brains of those who had had to deal with us, you know, to expose our own failings and then to put systems in place that would, to some degree, pick them up better.
Committee Member Usha Prashar: But what priority did you personally give to dealing with families of those killed in Iraq? What did you personally do? Was that a personal priority?
MP Bob Ainsworth: Improving the system was a personal priority. I had to meet a lot of families, some of them on more than one occasion, and it was important that you did. I know that Des Browne did, and he did it when he was Secretary of State almost systematically. It was important that you didn't just take what you were being told through the system, but you actually got ground truth, and you can't do that all the time and people don't want to do that. There are lots of people who have lost their loved ones who, the last thing they want to do is talk to the Secretary of State for Defence or the armed forces minister. You know, they have got other things, you know that -- in dealing with their bereavement, there are other things that are more important to them, but by doing that from time to time, you did get, you know, a personal handle on, you know, the way some of these systems potentially could be improved.
The answers or 'answers' never got any clearer. From death to life, Lourdes Garcia-Navarro (NPR's Morning Edition -- link has text and audio) reports from Hannah Allam's Baghdad baby shower. The McClatchy correspondent joins Deborah Haynes (Times of London) and Nada Bakri (New York Times) in reporting on the Iraq War from Iraq while pregnant. Garcia-Navarro notes, "Since the war started, dozens of women have been sent to cover this conflict. It's been our choice, but for many of us, home and family have had to be parked at the blast wall gates." Leila Fadel (Washington Post), Jane Arraf (Christian Science Monitor) and Liz Sly (Los Angeles Times) are mentioned in the report (they attended the shower and, of course, cover Iraq). Other women reporting from Iraq for US outlets have included Alissa J. Rubin, Ellen Knickmeyer, Nancy A. Youssef, Deborah Amos (author of Eclipse of the Sunnis: Power, Exile, and Upheaval in the Middle East), Cara Buckley, Martha Raddatz, Kimberly Dozier, Sabrina Tavernise, Jill Carroll, Anna Badkhen, Gina Chon, Louise Roug, Tina Susman, Alexandra Zavis, Alice Fordham, Kim Gamel, Katarina Kratovac, Rebecca Santana and, of course, the Iraqi women who are part of McClatchy's Baghdad Bureau. Have included. That is not a complete list. (And it's off the top of my head so anyone forgotten was by accident and not a sleight -- except one -- the most famous Iraq 'reporter' whom I'm really not in the mood to include, the former Ms. NYT for those still waking up, helped sell the war.) Everyone listed has their strengths and a unique quality that set their reports aside from others (male and female) reporting from the region. Women have long covered wars. The Iraq War demonstrated that only more so. Lourdes' report aired this morning -- certain fact checkers might want to check their facts before falsely claiming -- as one has -- that the report aired over weekend. The Iraqi women working for McClatchy include correspondent Sahar Issa (who balances work and family in a war zone) and we'll transition on over to violence her country saw today.
Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad roadside bombing which injured two pilgrims, a Baghdad mortar attack which claimed the life of 1 pilgrim and left nine more injured, a Baghdad roadside bombing which injured three pilgrims, another which injured five, another which claimed the lives of 2 and left five wounded, another which injured four, another which injured one and two more Baghdad mortar attacks which claimed the lives of 3 pilgrims and left eight wounded. Issa explains the pilgrimage is "to commemorate the martyrdom of Iman Musa al Kathim on July 8." Reuters adds 2 women were shot dead in Mosul and Tikrit was the locale for an assassination attempt on Iraiya member Qutaiba Ibrahim al-Jouburi.
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