Thursday, April 03, 2014




The Pentagon’s inspector general is trying to suspend and possibly revoke the top secret access of the Defense Department’s former director of whistleblowing, triggering concerns in Congress that he’s being retaliated against for doing his job.
If the recommendation is acted on, Daniel Meyer would no longer be able to work in his current job as the executive director for intelligence community whistleblowing at a time when President Barack Obama’s reforms of the system are supposed to be underway .

Read more here:



Today, at the US State Dept press briefing, spokesperson Marie Harf noted Iraq because Said Arikat, Al Quds bureau chief, raised the issue:

QUESTION: Can we go to Iraq?

MS. HARF: Uh-huh.

QUESTION: The death toll as a result of violence in March was 1,888 in Iraq. And as we’re getting closer to the election day, what is the United States providing in terms of security aid, trying to help the Government of Iraq stemming the violence?

MS. HARF: Well, a few points. Let me be clear that the elections need to happen. We have every expectation they will. This is an important step forward for the people of Iraq in choosing what they want their country to look like going forward, so elections need to happen as scheduled.
We are concerned by the continued escalation of violence in Iraq. We know there’s been a number of adverse impacts on the population, including massive civilian displacement.
In terms of security assistance, I don’t think I have anything new to update you for on that. I would – and so we are working very closely with the Iraqi Government on the security issue. I can see if there’s more update for you on what we’ve provided. We believe it’s very, as I said, very important for these elections to go forward. They’ve held successful elections in the past during periods of significant violence, which is obviously not the situation we want to see, but I think – I just want to underscore the importance for the Iraqi people of these elections going forward.

QUESTION: Could you – these deliveries that were promised last fall, could you update us or --

MS. HARF: Which ones are you talking about specifically?

QUESTION: Well, there were the Hellfire missiles --

MS. HARF: Uh-huh.

QUESTION: -- the – other equipment, helicopters and --

MS. HARF: Yeah. Let me see. Said, let me take that and check with our folks and see what has been delivered.

The State Dept thinks elections need to happen?

No, they don't.  They don't give a damn about real elections or they would be speaking up as Iraqis denied the right to vote in the planned April 30th parliamentary elections.  Elections were supposed to take place in all 19 provinces (the KRG increased by 1 province last month).  But Iraqi elections, to be legitimate, must include the displaced.  And they have in the past.  In fact, Nouri's attempt to short change refugees out of the country in 2009 pushed the parliamentary elections back to 2010 (Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi used his veto power to sink the bill).

The illegal war in Iraq created the largest refugee crisis the region had seen in over sixty years.  Many fled to neighboring countries.  That's why, in 2010, polling stations for the elections were all over the world.  Syria has a large number -- even now -- of Iraqi refugees.   This go-round, it has been decided that refugees in Syria will not be allowed to vote (see the March 3rd snapshot).

It is stated that Syria is just too dangerous for a polling station.  Syria, Jordan and Lebanon remain the three countries with the highest number of Iraqi refugees as a result of their sharing borders with Iraq (and as a result of governments like the US leaving them stranded -- both in terms of ridiculous regulations and, in Syria, by closing down the means the refugees had to apply for admission to the US).

As we pointed out weeks ago, "Then again, it really just effects the Sunnis so maybe that's why it didn't receive any coverage?"

You saw that yesterday:

Yes, campaigning kicked off today and to ensure that the corruption could take hold, broken promises were not called out.  Sameer N. Yacoub (AP) reports, "If the fighting goes on, Iraqi military officials say it would be impossible to hold elections inside the city of Fallujah, west of Baghdad, which has been taken over by the militants — but they hint the vote could perhaps be held on the city's outskirts. As many as a third of the province's cities might be affected, election officials say."  AFP words it, "Though not officially confirmed, the vote appears unlikely to take place throughout parts of the western desert province of Anbar, which has been wracked by violence since the beginning of the year, with militants holding control of an entire town on Baghdad’s doorstep."  The US State Dept, once so adamant that elections must take place everywhere in Iraq, was silent on the news.

And today?  Anadolu Agency reports, "Residents of militant-held cities and towns in Iraq's western Anbar province will have to leave their neighborhoods to cast ballots in upcoming parliamentary elections, Anbar Governor Ahmed al-Dulaimi said."  It's real cute how, bit-by-bit,  Nouri al-Maliki chips away at the Sunni vote in his attempt to win a third term as prime minister.

Only one person right now is speaking up, cleric and movement leader Moqtada al-Sadr.  Al Arabiya News reports:

Iraq’s Shiite leader Moqtada al-Sadr urged Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki on Wednesday not to run for a third term, accusing him of terrorizing Sunnis so that they don’t go to the polls in the upcoming April 30 general election.
“I advise brother Maliki… brother Maliki thinks he served Iraq, let him rest for four years, and see if whoever comes next would serve better… if not let him come back after four years, it is not a problem,” Sadr told reporters in Najaf, 60 kilometres south of Baghdad.

The Shiite leader, who had announced his withdrawal from active politics, accused Maliki’s government of “building a dictatorship” by excluding candidates from the parliamentary elections.

Good for Moqtada but how telling that he can speak the truth that the State Dept can't.

Nouri al-Maliki's assault on Anbar is months old and still continuing.  Nigel Wilson (IBT) notes, "The violence in Anbar began when government forces stormed a protest camp last December. The protestors had been there for a year, disgruntled by government neglect and withholding of regional funds."  It was a bit more complex than that -- there was the issue of the rape and torture of Iraqi girls and women in detention centers and prisons, there was the lack of public services, the lack of jobs . . .   But the storming of the camp, the murder of protesters, did kick off this assault.

In his continued shelling of residential neighborhoods in Falluja, Nouri has killed 2 civilians and injured five more (including children).  This is the dictator Barack insisted Iraq must keep in 2010, even though Nouri lost that election.  Barack knew better than the people of Iraq.  Strange because after insisting  Nouri remain prime minister, Barack's not visited the country once.

He won't visit a country where a thug like Nouri is in charge but he'll inflict Nouri on the people of Iraq who've already suffered more than enough.

And as the suffering continues, people aren't staying silent except in the United States.  One of the most vocal statements was issued by Campaña Estatal contra la Ocupación y por la Soberanía de Iraq (CEOSI) and BRussells Tribunal carries it here.  Excerpt:

  At the beginning of 2011, the different peaceful protests that began to struggle fight against the occupation — involving trade unions, students, human rights activists, etc.,— unified their efforts in what was called the February 25th Movement [5] and reached a national level.
This peaceful resistance was suppressed by the state and intentionally ignored by the mainstream media, which largely led to its disappearance. However, this long journey of struggle and growing popular discontent has been the root of the popular revolution that we are witnessing today in Iraq.
Since late 2012, these demonstrations and popular and peaceful sit-ins have resumed in some western provinces; they have been spread to the South and have reached the capital, Baghdad. [6] Despite the government non-stop attempts to put an end to the protests, they have continued till now, especially in Central and West Iraqi provinces, where people have been suffering persecution and the regime’s sectarian policies. There are many reasons for the people to take the streets: Corruption, sectarianism, unemployment, lack of access to basic services, illegal arrests, etc., which derives from the foreign occupation and from a class rule that triggers hatred, division, power struggles and the plundering of the national resources. In 2011 the reasons for the popular revolution were crystal clear in the mottos demanding the withdrawal of the U.S. troops and the removal of the regime.
For more than two months now, the Maliki government has been waging a war against the Iraqi people in several provinces in an attempt to end the popular revolution. Although the protests have been totally peaceful, Maliki has accused the population of these (majority Sunni) areas of being part of or supporting the terrorist organization, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. [7] Without any hesitations, the government continues bombing the civilians, while receiving military aid from the U.S., Russia and Iran. The bombing has caused numerous deaths and new waves of refugees. [8] In response to the government attacks, the population has organized itself into military councils to protect its territory and fight for what all Iraqis ― from North to South ― have demanded since the beginning of the occupation: prosperity, unity and national sovereignty. [9]

In these critical time to Iraq, CEOSI would like to express its full support for the Iraqi popular revolution — armed and peaceful— and we state that the military councils have been created for self-defense due to the total absence of legal protection and contempt for the law in Iraq; a situation where sectarian and partisan militias run the country and the government, far from ensuring the safety of citizens, exercises state terrorism, so that,

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