Sunday, December 14, 2014






Yesterday, the House Foreign Affairs Committee held a hearing.  During it, a member offered a testimonial to the greatness:

US House Rep Gregory Meeks:  It's easy for many of us to be up here and think that it's simple.  We thought it was simple to get rid of Saddam Hussein.  We said that it would take just a few days.  In fact, we got on the ship that said Mission Accomplished a few days after shock and awe.  I am glad we are not being that simplistic about this.  The administration has been honest to say it will take years to get this done and to get it done right not based upon emotion, not based upon trying, just get it together so we can say rah-rah [. . .]

Testimonials and endorsements can be important.  But let's first see just what sort of person was slobbering over Barack.  Here's how CREW sees Meeks:

A swirling federal corruption probe into crooked charities associated with Rep. Meeks is just the tip of the iceberg in the congressman’s litany of ethical lapses.
Rep. Meeks has accepted numerous improper gifts while in office, including a below-market rate on a new home, major loans that he failed to disclose for years, and discounted rent on his district office.  He has also accepted at least six trips to Caribbean resorts from a non-profit backed by convicted financier R. Allen Stanford, on whose behalf Rep. Meeks may have sought a favor from the late Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez.
  • Nine-term member of Congress representing New York’s 5th district
  • Under federal investigation for his ties to several corrupt non-profit groups, including one that lost track of thousands of dollars intended for victims of Hurricane Katrina
  • Previously named to CREW’s Most Corrupt in 2011 and 2012
  • One of four members of Congress from New York named to CREW’s Most Corrupt
  • Appeared in CREW’s Family Affair exposé

"It's complicated. It's going to take some time.  We're going to have to figure this out," declared Meeks but he wasn't talking about his legal strategy.

First thing Meeks might figure out is how to pronounce areas in Iraq.  Erbil can be spelled Arbil but no one pronounces it "EE-BRILL." 

Nor does anyone say "KurDICKstan." 

It's Kurdistan.

Gregory Meeks, please keep your dick out of Kurdistan.

Yesterday's House Foreign Affairs Committee may have actually been hugely revealing in a way no one noticed.

US House Rep Albio Sires:  Can you talk a little about Camp Liberty and any of the abuses by the Iraqis.  I know you're on  the discussion.

Brett McGurk:  Well I get a briefing on this every single day.  I get reports from the residents and also from the United Nations.  And as you know UN monitoring teams confirms to us about humanitarian supplies and the overall situation at the camp.  We look at it every single day.  My colleague Jonathan Winer who's our  senior advisor on the MEK resettlements.  He's in Albania today with a team, an interagency team with DHS represented as well -- representatives as well.  And we've gotten about 600 residents of Camp Liberty out of Camp Liberty and out of Iraq to safety over the past year and we're looking to increase that number this year and Albania has been very helpful in this regard.  And Jonathan Weiner has really done a heroic, courageous job of getting this moving.  And I think the new government will be even more cooperative. And we want to get all the residents of Camp Liberty -- as I've testified before -- out of Iraq to safety.  That is our goal and we're working with partners around the world to achieve that goal.  And right now Albania has been extremely cooperative and we should thank them for taking in hundreds of residents.  And the residents are assimilating quite well in Albania.  But Jonathan -- my colleague --  Mr. Winer is there addressing this issue right now, and I'm sure he'd very happy to follow up with you.


Some outlets wrongly reported this year that Winer took his post in October of 2013 (here for Huffington Post getting it wrong)..


He was first noted by the State Dept in a September 6, 2013 press statement by spokesperson Marie Harf:
Marie Harf
Washington, DC
September 6, 2013

We are continuing to follow with urgency the situation at Camp Ashraf in Iraq. The United States reiterates its condemnation of the horrific attack that took place on September 1 and we express our condolences to the families and friends of the victims.
We further reiterate our support for the United Nations Assistance Mission (UNAMI) and its efforts to conduct an independent fact finding investigation into this terrible event and to document what took place. We have called on the Government of Iraq to fully support UNAMI’s efforts to conduct a full investigation of its own and to help find and return to safety those who are missing. We insist that the perpetrators of this barbarous act be brought to justice.
We also note the troubling statements issued by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) praising the attack, and call on the Government of Iran to use whatever influence it might have with groups that may be holding missing persons from the camp to secure their immediate release.
Regarding the immediate situation at Camp Ashraf, we urge all parties to cooperate with a plan proposed by UNAMI to ensure the safe and secure relocation of the survivors to Camp Hurriya as soon as possible. Consistent with this plan, we call on the Government of Iraq to move expeditiously to enhance security structures within Camp Hurriya, pursuant to the plan discussed with UNAMI, and we call on the MEK to make all necessary preparations to move remaining residents at Camp Ashraf to Camp Hurriya in full cooperation with UNAMI. The United States stands behind the UNAMI efforts to resolve this crisis.
The State Department has appointed a Senior Advisor for MEK Resettlement, Jonathan Winer, to oversee our efforts to help resettle the residents of Camp Hurriya to safe, permanent, and secure locations outside of Iraq, in addition to those countries, such as Albania, that have admirably assisted the United Nations in this important humanitarian mission.

He's been 'on the job' since at least September 2013 and Brett's proud of him for finding homes in that time for 600 Ashraf residents?

Most people presented with approximately 3,000 people who needed to get out of country -- a life-or-death issue -- would work to successfully get them out in 90 days tops.  Check out previous evacuation efforts by the US is you doubt that.

But the White House is fine with it taking 15 months for Winer to relocate 600 people is acceptable?

At this rate, it will take over five years to relocate all the refugees -- over five years to do what previous administrations accomplished in 90 days.

No wonder Barack thinks his 'plan' (bombing Iraq) will require years to 'fix' things.

By the way, Brett may be impressed with Winer's work but he's likely the only one.

Not only is 600 a ridiculously small number, Winer's position isn't important enough in the eyes of the State Dept.

As Domani Spero (Diplopunidit) noted May 22nd, State Dept spokesperson Jen Psaki declared in a press briefing:

Jonathan Winer, who you also may know, visited Tripoli in February in his role as Special Coordinator for Libya and met with a variety of Libyan and international partners, and he’s working closely with Ambassador Satterfield and our NEA team.

Spero pointed out:

Jonathan Winer, the new Special Coordinator for Libya was previously appointed by the State Department as Senior Advisor for MEK Resettlement in 2013.  In that capacity, he was tasked with overseeing USG efforts to help resettle the residents of Camp Hurriya to permanent, and secure locations outside of Iraq. He also previously served as chief counsel and principal legislative assistant to then Senator Kerry for 10 years and was a DAS at INL.

Again, Brett may be impressed but the State Dept and White House felt it was such a nothing assignment that they tasked him to be Special Coordinator for Libya as well.

RECOMMENDED:  "Iraq snapshot"