Saturday, August 10, 2013








"No, I don't think Mr. Snowden was a patriot," huffed a snippy and petulant Barack Obama this afternoon as he was finally forced to hold a (brief) press conference.  "As I said in my opening remarks, I called for a thorough review of our surveillance operations before Mr. Snowden made these leaks.  My preference -- and I think the American people's preference would have been for a lawful, orderly examination of these laws."

Oh, poor, little pink thong-clad president, pantsed in front of the whole world, caught by surprise by that mean bully Ed Snowden and that trickey NSA!

Oh, wait, that's not how it happened at all but don't expect the cowardly press to point out that fact -- they're too busy cleaning up Barack's words in "No, I don't think Mr. Snowden was a patriot."

Barack did call for a review . . . in his first term as president.  It was done.  He was pleased with the results.  And thought he could continue to keep the results and the illegal spying from the knowledge of the American people.  As James Bamford notes in "They Know Much More Than You Think" (current issue of The New York Review of Books):

With the arrival of the Obama administration, the NSA’s powers continued to expand at the same time that administration officials and the NSA continued to deceive the American public on the extent of the spying. In addition to the denial I have mentioned by James Clapper, General Keith Alexander, the NSA director, also blatantly denied that his agency was keeping records on millions of Americans. In March 2012, Wired magazine published a cover story I wrote on the new one-million-square-foot NSA data center being built in Bluffdale, Utah. In the article, I interviewed William Binney, a former high-ranking NSA official who was largely responsible for automating the agency’s worldwide eavesdropping network. He quit the agency in 2001 in protest after he saw the system designed mainly for intelligence about foreign threats turned inward on the American public. In the interview, he told how the agency was tapping into the country’s communications and Internet networks. He revealed that it also was secretly obtaining warrantless access to billions of phone records of Americans, including those of both AT&T and Verizon. “They’re storing everything they gather,” he said.
In the months afterward, General Alexander repeatedly denied Binney’s charges. “No…we don’t hold data on US citizens,” he told Fox News, and at an Aspen Institute conference he said, “To think we’re collecting on every US person…that would be against the law.” He added, “The fact is we’re a foreign intelligence agency.”
But the documents released by Edward Snowden show that the NSA does have a large-scale program to gather the telephone records of every Verizon customer, including local calls, and presumably a similar agreement with AT&T and other companies. These are records of who called whom and when, not of the content of the conversations, although the NSA has, by other methods, access to the content of conversations as well. But the NSA has, on a daily basis, access to virtually everyone’s phone records, whether cell or landline, and can store, data-mine, and keep them indefinitely. Snowden’s documents describing the PRISM program show that the agency is also accessing the Internet data of the nine major Internet companies in the US, including Google and Yahoo.
Snowden’s documents and statements add greatly to an understanding of just how the NSA goes about conducting its eavesdropping and data-mining programs, and just how deceptive the NSA and the Obama administration have been in describing the agency’s activities to the American public.

And the deceptions continued today.  Barack was sworn in for his second term back in January.  Throughout his first term, the liar refused to inform the American people what was happening.

As I said in my opening remarks, I called for a thorough review of our surveillance operations before Mr. Snowden made these leaks.  My preference -- and I think the American people's preference would have been for a lawful, orderly examination of these laws.

He didn't go public in his first term and wouldn't have in his second if not for the brave actions of NSA whistle-blower Ed Snowden.  The examination would not have included the American people were it not for Snowden.

The Guardian's Glenn Greenwald broke many of the recent spying stories and he Tweets:

  1. Obama: we were right on the verge of launching a really great, open debate on secret surveillance when Snowden went & did this

And before we go further, let's make one thing real damn clear: No one gave Barack the right to rule on who is or who is not a patriot.  With his education in Indonesia, I doubt he can name and explain many patriots in American history to begin with but he abuses his office when he starts issuing decrees on which living citizen is or is not a patriot and he needs to be told to shut his mouth.

Should Ed return to the US (of his own accord or due to rendition), he would then go on trial.  Barack's remarks are prejudicial and need to stop immediately.  He needs to shut his mouth.

But leaving aside the legal impact, no president is given the right to judge American citizens.  Barack, as usual, has overstepped the boundaries of the office and, as usual, it is out of gross ignorance of the American experience.  The next time someone who was schooled abroad for any length of time tries to run for the presidency, debates should be turned into civics test. It'll prevent someone trying to learn the job and learn about the US at the same time.

The president of the United States is a public servant and it is not his role or job to question or affirm the patriotism of any American citizen.  Shame on Barack Obama.

 Chuck Todd, Kelly O'Donnell and Carrie Dann (NBC News) note, "NSA leaker Edward Snowden’s revelations have forced President Barack Obama’s hand, leading the president to announce new reforms of the government’s classified surveillance programs."

I'm confused.  Are Todd, O'Donnell and Dann ignorant of the English language?  Were they asleep during the conference?  Or do they just want to lie?  No reforms were announced.  Chuck Todd was confused about this in the press conference as well.

Chuck Todd:  Given that you just announced a whole bunch of reforms based on essentially the leaks that Edward Snowden made on all of these surveillance programs, is that change -- is your mindset changed about him? Is he now more a whistle-blower than he is a hacker, as you called him at one point, or somebody that shouldn't be filed charges? And should he be provided more protection? Is he a patriot? You just used those words. And then just to follow up on the personal -- I want to follow up on a personal --

President Barack Obama: Okay, I want to make sure -- everybody is asking one question it would be helpful.

Barack, ever the school marm. Christi Parsons and Ken Dilanian (Los Angeles Times) handle the reporting that Team NBC apparently can't:

Obama said he is considering proposals to restrict the NSA from secretly collecting virtually all Americans’ telephone calling records, the most controversial of the programs Snowden exposed.

He said he also is considering proposals to create a permanent staff of lawyers to advocate for the public, or to allow outside groups to file “amicus briefs,” in cases before the Foreign
Intelligence Surveillance Court, which has approved the telephone surveillance effort.

Proposals are not reforms.  Proposals are talk (Barack today: "We can take steps" -- frequently, they are empty talk.  Reforms are measures activated and implemented, not words of 'maybe.'  Can we get some ESL teachers for Team NBC?

Jason Ditz ( also grasps the difference between reforms and 'reforms:'

 Or at least what passes for reforms in his mind. Obama insisted that he is entirely “comfortable” with the surveillance system as currently constituted and expressed anger that “rather than a lawful process” the public debate was a result of leaks.
The president promised four “reforms,” three of which amounted to talking with other officials about how to sell the American public on the idea that everything is going as well as he thinks it is, and the fourth of which offering a minor tweak to FISA courts.

Matt Berman and Brian Resnick (National Journal) terms the talk "goals" and go further by observing, "Don't necessarily bet on serious, quick reform though. Task forces like the one laid out today don't have a huge history of recent success. Just look at Vice President Joe Biden's gun task force, announced by Obama following the shooting in Newtown, Conn., last year. "This won't be some Washington commission" that goes nowhere, Obama said in December. The task force issued recommendations in January. And aside from a failed Senate amendment, it has not resulted in any tangible change."

Team NBC wants to 'inform' that Ed Snowden's "been charged with theft of government property and two offenses under U.S. espionage law."  Where is the point made that the claim of "government property" includes American citizens' information and property?  In other words the original thieves are charging others with stealing.

Proposals, again, are not reforms.  They're words and apparently words used in an attempt to stop the current outrage from growing further.  How else to explain both the long overdue (but brief) press conference and this from Senator Dianne Feinstein's office today:

Washington -- Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today announced the committee will hold a series of comprehensive hearings to examine intelligence data-collection programs:
“The Senate Intelligence Committee will undertake a major review of all intelligence data-collection programs involving Americans. This will be the primary order of business for the committee this fall and will be used to develop proposals to increase transparency and improve privacy protections for these vital national security programs.
“As I have said before, if changes are necessary, whenever feasible, we will make them. To the extent possible, I hope these hearings will better delineate the purpose and scope of these programs and increase the public’s confidence in their effectiveness.
“For example, I have suggested changes to the NSA call-records program (Section 215) requiring that the number of database queries and the number of warrants obtained by the FBI be released annually; the retention period of phone records be reduced from five years to two or three years; and the ideological diversity of the FISA court be increased, among other changes.”
“Section 215 continues to be mischaracterized as a domestic surveillance program. It is not. The program collects only phone numbers and the duration and times that calls are made. In fact, the database was queried fewer than 300 times last year and produced 12 reports to the FBI for further investigation, which could include warrants upon probable cause if the government sought content of communications.
“I am pleased the president shares the committee’s commitment to improving the public’s confidence with more transparency and more privacy protections. This is the right thing to do. I look forward to working with the intelligence community to achieve these goals.”

And will these be public hearings, Dianne?

Feinstein has no respect for the public or for an informed citizenry.  If you doubt it, she last presided over (as Chair of the Senate's Intelligence Committee) an open hearing on March 12.  Since then, she has chaired 30 closed hearings.

In DiFi's world, she knows best.  Which, of course, would explain her corrupt and unethical steering of contracts to her husband.  While the American people has grown increasingly outraged about the spying, Dianne Feinstein, who chairs the Committee over US spying, has refused to hold one public hearing on the matter.  To call her derelict in her duty is actually to supply her with far more gravitas than her weak actions merit.

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Friday, August 09, 2013






Season one, episode 15 ("Hard Ball" written by Matt Hubbard) of the sitcom 30 Rock, starlet Jenna Maroney (played by Emmy award winning Jane Krakowski) is in damage control over her comments so she goes on Hardball and speaks with Chris Matthews (host) and Tucker Carlson.

Jenna: I have just as much right to my opinion as you or Chris.

Chris Matthews:  I'm not sure you do.  You've been on this show for 20 minutes now.  You sang six bars of something called "Muffin Top" --

Jenna:  Thank you.

Chris Matthews:  -- and then told a disgusting story about fleet week.

Tucker Carlson:  I guess this is the state of political discourse in this country and that's fine, let's just embrace it.  Let's have our policies determined by former Cable Ace Award nominees. 

Jenna:  First, I was great in that Arliss.  Second of all, if the president is so serious about the war on terror, why doesn't he hunt down and capture Barack Obama before he strikes again?  It's time for a change, America.  That's why I'm voting for Osama in 2008.  [Pause.]  Oh, no comeback? You burnt!

It was a hilarious moment and no one could top it . . . until Tuesday night when Barack Obama chose to channel his inner starlet on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.

Pure Jenna is the only way to describe Barack declaring, "And the odds of people dying in a terrorist attack obviously are still a lot lower than in a car accident, unfortunately."

Unfortunately?  Was that a Freudian slip or is Barack just the airhead we always secretly knew he was?

In the gab-fest, Jay Leno notes the Sunday embassy and consulate closures and wonders is it "safe to say that we learned about these threats through the NSA intelligence program? Is that a fair assessment?"  Barack has an interesting reply.

Barack Obama:  Well, you know, this intelligence-gathering,uh, that we do is a critical component of counterterrorism. Uh, And obviously, with, uh,  Mr. Snowden and the disclosures of classified information, it's raised a lot of questions for people. But what I said as soon as it happened I continue to believe in, which is a lot of these programs were put in place before I came in. I had some skepticism, and I think ther's a --  we should have a healthy skepticism about what government is doing. I had the programs reviewed. We put in some additional safeguards to make sure that there's federal court oversight as well as congressional oversight, that there is no spying on Americans. 

There is spying on Americans, the meta data recording alone is spying. Christopher H. Pyle (CounterPunch) observes, "With the blessing of this secret court [FISA], the National Security Agency (and well-paid companies like Booz Allen) have recorded billions of phone calls and e-mails belonging to nearly all Americans, with the intent of searching them later."  Informing Congress? Most claim they knew nothing about it.  Glenn Greenwald (Guardian) reported last week:

Members of Congress have been repeatedly thwarted when attempting to learn basic information about the National Security Agency (NSA) and the secret FISA court which authorizes its activities, documents provided by two House members demonstrate.
From the beginning of the NSA controversy, the agency's defenders have insisted that Congress is aware of the disclosed programs and exercises robust supervision over them. "These programs are subject to congressional oversight and congressional reauthorization and congressional debate," President Obama said the day after the first story on NSA bulk collection of phone records was published in this space. "And if there are members of Congress who feel differently, then they should speak up."
But members of Congress, including those in Obama's party, have flatly denied knowing about them. On MSNBC on Wednesday night, Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Ct) was asked by host Chris Hayes: "How much are you learning about what the government that you are charged with overseeing and holding accountable is doing from the newspaper and how much of this do you know?" The Senator's reply:
The revelations about the magnitude, the scope and scale of these surveillances, the metadata and the invasive actions surveillance of social media Web sites were indeed revelations to me."

But it is not merely that members of Congress are unaware of the very existence of these programs, let alone their capabilities. Beyond that, members who seek out basic information - including about NSA programs they are required to vote on and FISA court (FISC) rulings on the legality of those programs - find that they are unable to obtain it.

Two House members, GOP Rep. Morgan Griffith of Virginia and Democratic Rep. Alan Grayson of Florida, have provided the Guardian with numerous letters and emails documenting their persistent, and unsuccessful, efforts to learn about NSA programs and relevant FISA court rulings.

Additionally, there are no safeguards with a secret court and there never will be which is why secret courts go against democracy.

Barack Obama:  We don't have a domestic spying program. What we do have are some mechanisms where we can track a phone number or an email address that we know is connected to some sort of terrorist threat.

A lie.  Where are the fact checkers?  The phone calls are all collected -- not just ones related to a so-called terrorist threat.  (Fact check?  Have you read Politico's 'transcript'?  They not only do away with Barack's uh-uhs, they 'help' him with verb choice.  Someone explain to Politico that a transcript is a transcription of what was said, not what fans wish was said.)

Barack Obama:  And that information is useful. But what I've said beforeuh, you know, I want to make sure I repeat, and that is we should be skeptical  uh about the potential encroachments on privacy. None of the revelations show that government has actually abused ih these powers, but they're pretty significant powers.

There's the ignorance of a man who didn't learn American history in Indonesia (naturally) and who struggled with basic classes after he finally came back to America (as his own grandmother admitted). The government has clearly abused powers and Barack and others know that which is why the programs were kept secret from the American people.

Dennis is a terrorist in Scotland working with Cecile in Madison, Wisconsin.  Finding out that all phone calls are tracked or all e-mails are read does not mean Dennis and Cecile stop communicating. They have to communicate.  They may try to communicate in code -- but if they're terrorists, they should already be doing that.  The only people these programs had to be kept secret from were the American people who would instantly grasp that these are unconstitutional and an abuse of government power.

Barack Obama: And I've been talking to Congress and civil libertarians and others about are there additional ways that we can make sure that people know nobody is listening to your phone call, but we do want to make sure that after a Boston bombing, for example, we've got, uh, we've got the phone numbers of those two brothers -- we want to be able to make sure did they call anybodUh, and if we can make sure that there's confidence on the part of the American people that there's oversight, then I think we can make sure that we're properly balancing our liberty and our security. 

He thinks?  Who really gives a damn what Barack, a whore for Big Business, thinks?  In three more years he's just another idiot we have to spend millions on each year while his own income (from corporate whoring) goes untouched when it comes to health or security issues.  Who gives a damn what he thinks?  He's not a king, he's a public servant who works for the people -- you know the one group he didn't mention consulting with.  Because he's such a chicken he hasn't had the guts to face a real conference on these issues.

Barack Obama:  But there have been times where they slip back into Cold War thinking and a Cold War mentality. And what I consistently say to them, and what I say to President Putin, is that's the past and we've got to think about the future, and there's no reason why we shouldn't be able to cooperate more effectively than we do. 

Well, golly, what leader of another country wouldn't love a lecture from Barack?  Does his preening ego ever fall into check?  And let's point out one more time, with temporary asylum, Putin (or whomever is president) is not supposed to have any input.  As far as anyone knows, the Russian government's system was followed.  That means the body in charge made the decision.  Yet Barack and his administration have repeatedly lied and implied or stated that Putin was responsible for the decision.  These lies debase the White House.

Jay Leno:  And Putin seems to me like one of those old-school KGB guys. 

Barack Obama:   Well, he headed up the KGB. 

No, he didn't.  And considering Ann Dunham's actions in Indonesia,  I don't know where you get off knocking the KGB.  Wikipedia on Putin and the KGB:

Putin joined the KGB in 1975 upon graduation, and underwent a year's training at the 401st KGB school in Okhta[disambiguation needed], Leningrad. He then went on to work briefly in the Second Chief Directorate (counter-intelligence) before he was transferred to the First Chief Directorate, where among his duties was the monitoring of foreigners and consular officials in Leningrad.[36][37]
From 1985 to 1990, the KGB stationed Putin in Dresden, East Germany.[38] Following the collapse of the East German government, Putin was recalled to the Soviet Union and returned to Leningrad, where in June 1991 he assumed a position with the International Affairs section of Leningrad State University, reporting to Vice-Rector Yuriy Molchanov.[37] In his new position, Putin maintained surveillance on the student body and kept an eye out for recruits. It was during his stint at the university that Putin grew reacquainted with his former professor Anatoly Sobchak, then mayor of Leningrad.[39]
Putin finally resigned from the active state security services with the rank of Lieutenant colonel on 20 August 1991 (with some attempts to resign made earlier),[39] on the second day of the KGB-supported abortive putsch against Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev.[40] Putin later explained his decision: "As soon as the coup began, I immediately decided which side I was on", though he also noted that the choice was hard because he had spent the best part of his life with "the organs".[41]

And Barack's spy connections?  As John Pilger has explained:

In his book Dreams From My Father, Obama refers to the job he took after he graduated from Columbia in 1983.  He describes his employer as, and I quote, "a consulting house to multi-national corporations."  For some reason, he doesn't say who his employer was or what he did there.  The employer was Business International Corporation which has a long history of providing cover for the CIA with covert action and infiltrating unions on the left.  I know this because it was especially in my own country, Australia.  Obama doesn't say what he did at Business International and there may be absolutely nothing sinister but it seems worthy of inquiry and debate as a clue perhaps who the man is. During his brief period in the Senate, Obama voted to continue the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.  He voted for the PATRIOT Act.  He refused to support a bill for single-payer health care.  He supported the death penalty.  As a presidential candidate, he received more corporate backing than John McCain. He promised to close Guantanamo as a priority but instead he's excused torture, reinstated military commissions, kept the Bush gulag intact and opposed habeaus corpus. 

Back to the gab-fest.

Jay Leno:  [. . .] the NSA leaker Edward Snowden. Some call him a whistleblower. What do you call him?

Barack Obama: Well, we don’t know yet exactly what he did, other than what he's, uh,  said on the Internet, and. uh,  it's important for me not to prejudge something.

Jay Leno: Got you.

Barack Obama:  Hopefully, at some point he'll go to trial and uh he will have a lawyer and due process, and we can make those decisions. I can tell you, uh,  that there are ways, if you think that the government is abusing, uh, a program, of coming forward. In fact, I, through executive order, signed whistle-blower protection for intelligence officers or people who are involved in the intelligence industry. So you don't have to break the law. You don't have to, uh, divulge, uh, information that could compromise American security. You could, uh,  come forward, come to the, uh, appropriate individuals and say, look, I've got a problem with what's going on here, uh, I'm not sure whether it's being done properly. If, in fact, uh, the allegations are true, then he didn't do that. And, uh,  that is a huge problem because a lot of what we do depends on, uh,  terrorists networks not knowing, uh, that, in fact, we may be able to access their information. 

What a liar.  But a press that can't do an honest transcription of a TV segment can't handle a fact check.

Barack can make all the lofty claims he wants, that doesn't make them true.  This is the editorial board of Bloomberg News from June 10th:

But anyone seeking to pass judgment on Snowden should try to understand the dilemma he describes. He says he didn’t want to live in a society that engages in the sort of program he worked on. Based on statements from President Barack Obama and members of Congress, it seems unlikely that Snowden would have found much support from inside government for his view that the program was abusive. So he concluded -- perhaps irresponsibly, perhaps arrogantly -- that going public was the only way to force a change.
Snowden’s case highlights the difficulty, if not impossibility, of debating U.S. national security policy in this age of ubiquitous technology: How do you build informed public consent for surveillance when the only people who know about those programs can’t talk about them? And without the public’s consent, how can those programs be legitimate in a democratic society?
Those questions aren’t new, but Snowden’s revelations give them new importance. Those who think what he did was wrong need to do more than just criticize his actions. The goal should be to make it easier for others like him to follow their consciences without breaking the law. And we need to have the public debate that Snowden concluded was lacking -- a point that can’t reasonably be contested, even by his angriest detractors.
The Obama administration may be tempted to respond to Snowden’s actions by intensifying its policy of intimidating would-be leakers through prosecutions. Yet as this case demonstrates, the prospect of imprisonment doesn’t deter everyone. The administration and Congress should instead acknowledge that members of the intelligence community need better avenues for reporting practices they find to be abusive - - if only because, absent such avenues, there will be more Edward Snowdens.

Barack's remarks were troublesome and filled with errors.  At one point he insisted, "If we don't deepen our ports all along the Gulf -- places like Charleston, South Carolina, or Savannah, Georgia or Jacksonville, Florida -- if we don't do that, those ships are going to go someplace else.  And we'll lose jobs [. . .]"  Dan Quayle was crucified for his spelling of potato but Barack can list cities that are not "all along the Gulf" but claim that they are and no one corrects him?

 We all have to play stupid so the princess isn't outshined?

Larry Johnson (No Quarter) addresses Barack's claims of specific threats:

If you are waiting for the Al Qaeda terrorist offensive, stop waiting. It is here. But it is not in focused in the 22 countries where Barack Obama, choosing the route of a coward, shuttered US Embassies. Nope. It is in Iraq:

The United Nations said Thursday that July was Iraq’s deadliest month in more than five years, describing a series of bombings and shootings as an epidemic of sectarian-tinged violence that had killed 1,057 Iraqis and wounded 2,326. The organization’s acting special representative for Iraq, Gyorgy Busztin, said in a statement that the severity of the mayhem was the worst since 2008, when Iraq verged on civil war after the American-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein and his Sunni minority from power. Many of the attacks in July were aimed at members of the Shiite majority that has dominated Iraq’s politics since the withdrawal of the American military at the end of 2011.
This is the deadly harvest the is the work of George W. Bush and now, Barack Obama.
The current warning issued by the Obama Administration is bulls**t. As I wrote earlier this week, Obama and members of Congress claim it is “specific” but, rather than focus on stopping a specific threat, they insist in the same breath that they don’t know what, when or how. That ain’t specific!

Meanwhile the Cambridge Chronicle notes:

The government is beginning to sound like the boy who cried wolf. First it was Bradley Manning and his leaks which damaged national security. Those leaks occurred in 2010 and we’ve yet to see how in any way they’ve damaged our national security.

Over 500 hundred people have died in Iraq just this month alone. Seems that’s more damaging to national security than Bradley Manning, who, by the way leaked documents showing the number of people killed in Iraq is greater than what the government is reporting. We’ve been here before, the Pentagon Papers proved that what the government knew and what they were telling the country about what was going on in Vietnam, were two different things.

Now they’re saying the same thing about Edward Snowden and his leaks telling of government collection and storage of data, they say the leaks are a great threat to our national security.

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Thursday, August 08, 2013










Fresh from his couch tussles with Jay Leno, America's biggest little bitch Barack Obama has let the claws out -- as he does periodically when he's feeling blue and the claws come out -- and announced that he may do a little couch play but he's not putting out for Putin.  In what Susan Heavy and Mark Felsenrhal (Reuters) hail as "a stark low point, " Barack has cancelled a scheduled meet-up with Russian President Vladmir Putin "in retaliation for Russia' decision to grant" temporary asylum to NSA whistle-blower Ed Snowden.

Roger Runningen and Margaret Talev (Bloomberg News) explain, "Cancelling the one-on-one meeting with Putin in Moscow before the G-20 is a blow to administration efforts for a 'reset' in relations between the two countries that Obama has been seeking since he took office in 2009."

White House spokesperson Jay Carney babbeled on at length today but we'll boil it down to one sentence from Carney, "Russia's disappointing decision to grant Edward Snowden temporary asylum was also a factor that we considered in assessing the current state of our bilateral relationship."

Proving yet again that Barack's formative experience in the 80s was not anything political but, in fact, an obsession with Joan Collins' character Alexis on Dynasty, we learn from Runningen and Talev that 'big bad' (no giggles, please) Barack lacked the strength to even convey the cancellation personally ("The U.S. decision was conveyed to Russian officials through diplomatic channels, according to an administration official. Obama didn’t talk to Putin about the cancellation, according to the official, who asked for anonymity to discuss internal communications.").  What a sad attempt at leadership.  It was a lousy decision to begin with but if you're going to make it, have the guts to stand by it and convey it yourself.  As Zeke J. Miller (Time magazine) points out, Barack "is bailing on a planned summit."  Barack still plans to go to Russia for the G-20 meet-up, he just won't meet with Putin there.

As he tries to tick off the Russian government, one's left to wonder what would happen if Russia forced his departing plane down the way Barack had Bolivian President Evo Morales' plane forced down?  Turnabout, Barack, is fair play.

All this over Ed Snowden?

 Ed Snowden is an American citizen and whistle-blower who had been employed by the CIA and by the NSA before leaving government employment for the more lucrative world of contracting.  At the time he blew the whistle, he was working for Booz Allen Hamilton doing NSA work.  Glenn Greenwald (Guardian) had the first scoop (and many that followed) on Snowden's revelations that the US government was spying on American citizens, keeping the data on every phone call made in the United States (and in Europe as well) while also spying on internet use via PRISM and Tempora.  US Senator Bernie Sanders decried the fact that a "secret court order" had been used to collect information on American citizens "whether they are suspected of any wrongdoing."  Sanders went on to say, "That is not what democracy is about.  That is not what freedom is about. [. . .] While we must aggressively pursue international terrorists and all of those who would do us harm, we must do it in a way that protects the Constitution and civil liberties which make us proud to be Americans."  The immediate response of the White House, as Dan Roberts and Spencer Ackerman (Guardian) reported,  was to insist that there was nothing unusual and to get creaky and compromised Senator Dianne Feinstein to insist, in her best Third Reich voice, "People want to keep the homeland safe."  The spin included statements from Barack himself.   Anita Kumar (McClatchy Newspapers) reports, "Obama described the uproar this week over the programs as “hype” and sought to ensure Americans that Big Brother is not watching their every move."  Josh Richman (San Jose Mercury News) quoted Barack insisting that "we have established a process and a procedure that the American people should feel comfortable about."  Apparently not feeling the gratitude, the New York Times editorial board weighed in on the White House efforts at spin, noting that "the Obama administration issued the same platitude it has offered every time President Obama has been caught overreaching in the use of his powers: Terrorists are a real menace and you should just trust us to deal with them because we have internal mechanisms (that we are not going to tell you about) to make sure we do not violate your rights."  Former US President Jimmy Carter told CNN, "I think that the secrecy that has been surrounding this invasion of privacy has been excessive, so I think that the bringing of it to the public notice has probably been, in the long term, beneficial."

The more Barack attempted to defend the spying, the more ridiculous he came off.  Mike Masnick (TechDirt) reviewed Barack's appearance on The Charlie Rose Show and observed of the 'explanations' offered, "None of that actually explains why this program is necessary. If there's a phone number that the NSA or the FBI gets that is of interest, then they should be able to get a warrant or a court order and request information on that number from the telcos. None of that means they should be able to hoover up everything."  As US House Rep John Conyers noted, "But I maintain that the Fourth Amendment to be free from unreasonable search and seizure to mean that this mega data collected in such a super aggregated fashion can amount to a Fourth Amendment violation before you do anything else.  You've already violated the law, as far as I am concerned."  Barack couldn't deal with that reality but did insist, in the middle of June, that this was an opportunity for "a national conversation."  He's always calling for that because, when it doesn't happen, he can blame the nation.  It's so much easier to call for "a national conversation" than for he himself to get honest with the American people. And if Barack really believes this has kicked off "a national conversation" then demonizing Ed Snowden is a really strange way to say "thank you."

Meanwhile Paul Lewis (Guardian) reports today:

John Lewis, one of America's most revered civil rights leaders, says the NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden was continuing the tradition of civil disobedience by revealing details of classified US surveillance programs.
Lewis, a 73-year-old congressman and one of the last surviving lieutenants of Martin Luther King, said Snowden could claim he was appealing to "a higher law" when he disclosed top secret documents showing the extent of NSA surveillance of both Americans and foreigners.

While Lewis provided context and wisdom, on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno last night, Barack came off as unhinged as Gloria Swanson at the end.  What a proud moment for him, what a historical moment.  Exactly 30 years ago, Sally Struthers and Dom DeLuise sat on the same set yucking it up with guest host John Davidson.  That's called perspective.

As he continues to squander and debase the presidency, Barack elected to insist of Russia, "There have been times where they slip into Cold-War thinking and Cold-War mentality."  Do they?  Really?

Because Barack's the one who pretended the meet-up was still on last night when he knew it was about to be called off.  So what kind of mentality is that?

No word on whether Putin will now take to Jimmy Kimmel's ABC show to declare, "Real leaders cancel their own meetings personally."  However, Sergei L. Loko (Los Angeles Times) reports, "Russian officials said they were unhappy with President Obama's decision to cancel a summit meeting in the wake of the Kremlin's decision to grant temporary asylum to Edward Snowden, but that the Americans were largely hurting themselves."  And that's exactly right.

Every time Barack gets into a cat fight, he elevates whomever he's hissing at.  This time it's Putin.  As we noted August 2nd:

Reality, Putin's thrilled.
Why wouldn't he be?
He doesn't care for Barack.  He leads Russia today which isn't the USSR of yesteryear.
But it rises his profile to be clashing with Barack, as he fully knows.
In addition, it takes the focus off Russia's human rights abuses.  (The US has human rights abuses as well.  I'm neither picking on nor praising Russia.)
Russia goes from being beat up in the global public square to putting a spotlight on Barack's ridiculous efforts.
In addition, Putin now has leverage.  He can play the Snowden card for 12 months.
Putin hates this?  Oh, poor, foolish Daniel.
Ilya Arkhipov and Olga Tanas (Bloomberg News) report, "Russian President Vladimir Putin is showing his gamesmanship on a global stage by giving his voters what they want with the asylum granted to ex-U.S. contractor Edward Snowden, while leaving the White House flustered."
Joe Coscarelli (New York magazine) writes some garbage under the headline "Snowden Officially Making Things Awkward Between Obama and Putin."  Get off your knees, Coscarelli, you're embarrassing yourself.
That's really cute, isn't it?
Barack Obama has snubbed Russia and worse.  The US government has never had as bad relations with the Russian government as it currently does.
(I said with Russia -- I didn't say with the USSR.)
Where has Coscarelli been since 2009?
Scowcroft Center at the Atlantic Council's Barry Pavel tells Terry Atlas and Nichole Gaouette (Bloomberg News) states, "We're far apart on a lot of issues, we don't have a lot of leverage, and the Russians seem to like it this way.  This is part of the pattern of relations since the Obama administration began." At Investor's Business Daily, Andrew Malcolm not only notes how humiliated Barack and company now are, he also reviews the relationship between Barack and Russia over the last years.

That's my take from a week ago.  Click here for NBC News' Jim Maceda's analysis of the situation today.  Barack grows even smaller on the world stage -- our Drawf in DC.  And he makes Bully Boy Bush, by comparison, look like Nixon visiting China in the process.  That may be Barack's ultimate legacy in office, helping to redeem War Criminal Bully Boy Bush.

Barack looks petulant and childish -- especially when you remember that this is the 2008 candidate who said he would meet with the Iranian government without precondition.  In all of his foot stomping, hair pulling deama, Barack 'forgets' to call out James Clapper.  Clapper lied to Congress -- which is perjury -- and Barack has failed to say one word.

The American people are the boss of Clapper (and of Barack) but Barack is Clapper's supervisor and he's not said one word publicly to condemn Clapper's lying to Congress.

July 3rd, Paul D. Shinkman (US News and World Reports) reported:

The director of National Intelligence could be investigated for perjury, following news Tuesday that he gave false information to Congress in March.
The DNI published a letter on its website Tuesday that Director James Clapper sent to the chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee. He admitted to giving "clearly erroneous" testimony before the committee in March when asked specifically whether an NSA program existed that monitored hundreds of millions of Americans. He answered "No."
One expert says these kinds of situations involve some gray area.

"If you testify under oath before Congress and lie, you're at risk for being prosecuted for perjury," says Cary Feldman, who served as a lawyer in the Office of Independent Counsel in the late 1990s. "But that doesn't happen often."

Barack can repeatedly attack whistle-blower Ed Snowden and whistle-blower Bradley Manning but he can't condemn Clapper's lying to Congress?  Here's Barack raving about his boy pal Clapper on June 5, 2010:

As director of two critical organizations —- the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency and the Defense Intelligence Agency —- and during a distinguished career in the Air Force, Jim developed an intimate understanding of our human and technical collection programs.  He possesses a quality that I value in all my advisors:  a willingness to tell leaders what we need to know, even if it’s not what we want to hear. 

"A willingness to tell leaders what we need to know, even if it’s not what we want to hear"? Does Barack want stand by that laughable assertion today?

On the issue of Russia-Snowden, it's worth remembering what Glenn Greenwald said on Democrcy Now! Monday (link is text, audio and video):

Well, first of all, it’s really kind of amazing if you try and count the number of countries at whom the United States has directed its fury and threatened over the last two months in connection with the Snowden affair. They began with the government of Hong Kong, followed that up with the government of China, then moved to Latin America and threatened countries including Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador and Nicaragua over whether he would be granted asylum. They’ve threatened Cuba over giving him the right to refuel. So it seems like the list of countries that the United States is threatening and expressing their fury at, which now includes Russia, is almost getting to be longer than the list of countries at which they’re not. I mean, you can’t go around the world beating your chest and threatening everybody for very long without starting to appear rather ridiculous. And I think one of the things that the United States has done is really kind of showed the world what its character is in—over the last two months, through its really extreme and radical behavior. I mean, I can tell you here in Latin America what was really event-shifting was when they caused the plane Evo Morales to be downed in Austria by blocking airspace rights over their European allies.

You know, and I think the final point to note about this is, everyone in the world knows, probably except for Americans, that the United States routinely refuses to extradite all sorts of people accused of horrible crimes. I mean, in Bolivia, the ex-president, who’s accused of all sorts of war crimes and was protected and propped up by the CIA, is living comfortably in the United States, which refuses to turn him over. And that’s been true of other Latin Americans who have been accused of serious crimes of terrorism. So, I think when the United States pretends to be outraged that they don’t get what they want in extradition, everyone in the world knows that they frequently do the same thing in much more extreme cases.

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Michael Hayden, the former CIA director, has been harshly criticizing Edward Snowden and calling for his immediate prosecution. But in the wake of the leaks about America spying on specific terrorists in specific times and specific areas, Hayden says it was important “to put them on the back foot, to let them know that we’re alert…”

Iraq is slammed with bombs yet again.  Mohammed Tawfeeq and Jason Hanna (CNN) report, "At least 30 people were killed and more than 100 others were injured in car bombings and roadside bomb explosions in Baghdad neighborhoods Tuesday evening, police officials in the Iraqi capital said.  Most of the explosions happened in Shiite areas, police said. Nearly all of the blasts happened just before people were to celebrate iftar, the fast-breaking dinner eaten at sunset during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan."  The UK Daily Express adds, "The explosions mainly targeted markets in and near Baghdad."  AFP observes, "Iraq is struggling to contain the worst violence to hit the country since 2008 when it was emerging from a bloody sectarian conflict."

Through Monday, Iraq Body Count counts 106 violent deaths in Iraq so far this month -- a month that isn't even 10 days old.  National Iraqi News Agency reports that a Hamrin bombing claimed 2 lives and left three people injured, and Nouri's Tigris Operation command has killed at least 11 Iraqis in their latest efforts today at mass arrests. Alsumaria reports 1 police officer was shot dead outside of Falluja, a Mosul armed attack has left 4 people dead (three were brothers)Ahmed Rasheed (Reuters) explains, "The past four months have all had higher death tolls than any in the five years before April, leading the Interior Ministry to declare last week that Iraq was now once again in 'open war'."

 Since December 21st, Iraq has seen an ongoing wave of protests.  The protests continued on Friday and from that day's snapshot:

World Bulletin reports today that reporters who attempted to cover a protest in Baghdad's Tahrir Square, "A group of journalists wanted to go to Tahrir Square to follow the protests which are to be held for the improvement of security standards in the state, but were detained by Iraqi security officials, sources said. The journalists' cameras and video cameras were also confiscated."  Nouti's back to imprisoning journalists.  Will anyone bother to condemn his latest attack on the press? This protest was part of the Consolidated Friday theme and included recognition of International Quds Day.  National Iraqi News Agency notes that it featured "hundreds of members of the League of the Righteous, Hezbollah, Badr Organization and other parties" took part in actions which were "called by Iranian Imam Khomeini."   In Baghdad, All Iraq News notes, hundreds turned out.  Looking at the photo with the article, you'll see that it should probably be changed to "thousands."  They explains "International Quds Day is an annual event that began in Iran in 1979 that is commemorated on the last Friday of Ramadan, expressing solidarity with the Palestinian people and opposing Zioneism as well as Israel's control of Jerusalem."  But NINA makes clear, that the Baghdad Tahrir Square demonstration also included those who were "demanding the government to address the security file and the elimination of terrorism as well as the abolition of the use of broken sonar devices in the multiple checkpoints in Baghdad and of other provinces. Iraqi Spring MC notes that Nouri's SWAT forces cut off roads leading to Tahrir Square.  In addition, the SWAT forces began arresting people in Tahrir Square and downtown Baghdad.  And they turned out in Baghdad's Adhamiya, in Baiji, in Jalawla,  and these protests also took place today in Basra and in Karbala.   The protests have been going on since December 21st (and today's theme was Consolidated Friday which allowed the ongoing protests to also include the Quds focus).

Saturday, Al Mada reported that at least two activists are still being held.  Buthaina al-Suhail wants to know where her son Ahmed al-Suhail is?

Mushreq Abbas (Al-Monitor) divides the two protests in Baghdad on Friday, stating that the Quds protest was permitted while the Iraqis protesting each Friday was denied a permit:

The issue of these young people trying to get approval for their demonstration seems like a paradox. In a statement posted on the group’s Facebook page on the evening of Aug. 4, the group said that they went to the local government in Baghdad to get a permit for the demonstration and were told to “go to the Council of Ministers.” So, they went to the Council of Ministers, which told them that demonstration permits were under the jurisdiction of the Interior Ministry. They then went to the Interior Ministry, which told them that they would get the permit from the Baghdad Operations Command on the day of the demonstration.”
According to the statement they issued, on the morning of the demonstration, the “Iraq Rises Up” demonstrators distributed flowers to the military forces who deployed around them. But soon after, the military forces attacked them.
That long scenario about granting a demonstration permit illustrates one of the most important aspects of the imbalance in the Iraqi legal system. Article 38 of the constitution provides that the state shall guarantee “freedom of assembly and peaceful demonstration, and this shall be regulated by law.”
The phrase “regulated by law,” which is everywhere in the Iraqi constitution, may be one of the most prominent aspects of the Iraqi political crisis. The Iraqi parliament never sought to pass a law that translates the essence of the phrase “the state shall guarantee ... freedom of assembly and peaceful demonstration.” But rather, the Iraqi administrative and security bodies are relying on laws that go back to the era of the former Iraqi regime.

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Wednesday, August 07, 2013






To all of the above, Michael Ratner can respond, "I was condensing for time."  And for some websites, that would be correct.  We cover Iraq here and you can't condense and leave out the elements that we went over above.

Michael Ratner: Then think about what the Iraq War Logs revealed -- all this material from Bradley Manning to WikiLeaks.  The Iraq War Logs:  20,000 more civilians killed in Iraq than the United States [government] has said were killed.  That alone, that fact -- apart from the terrible tragedy of those civilians being killed -- that fact caused the government of Iraq to not sign another Status of Forces Agreement with the United States, because a Status of Forces Agreement would have given immunity to US troops.  And after all of these killings of civilians, Iraq said  we're not going to do it.  Because there was no immunity for US troops, the US said we're not staying in Iraq.  Think about how important that is.

The only way to read those statements is that the Iraq War Logs caused the US military to withdraw from Iraq.  I would "think about how important that is" were it true.  But it's not true.  It wasn't true in December 2011, as Ted Koppel noted on Rockcenter With Brian Williams.

Let's go to the Decmeber 10, 2012 snapshot to extract a few things. First:

How many US troops remain in Iraq? December 12, 2011, Ted Koppel filed an important report on Rock Center with Brian Williams (NBC) about what was really taking place in Iraq -- what 'reporters' insisted on calling a 'withdrawal' but what the Pentagon had termed a "drawdown." Excerpt.


MR. KOPPEL: I realize you can't go into it in any detail, but I would assume that there is a healthy CIA mission here. I would assume that JSOC may still be active in this country, the joint special operations. You've got FBI here. You've got DEA here. Can, can you give me sort of a, a menu of, of who all falls under your control?

AMB. JAMES JEFFREY: You're actually doing pretty well, were I authorized to talk about half of this stuff.


US forces never left Iraq.  That's why the military brass repeatedly used the term "drawdown" and not "withdrawal."  In addition to the forces Koppel noted, there were approximately 200 'trainers.'  Back to the December 12, 2012 snapshot:

As September drew to a close, Tim Arango (New York Times) reported that the US had just sent in a Special-Ops division into Iraq. Yesterday Press TV reported:


Over 3,000 US troops have secretly returned to Iraq via Kuwait for missions pertaining to the recent developments in Syria and northern Iraq, Press TV reports.
According to our correspondent, the US troops have secretly entered Iraq in multiple stages and are mostly stationed at Balad military garrison in Salahuddin province and al-Asad air base in al-Anbar province.


 Noting those 3,000 troops going into Iraq, The Voice of Russia adds today, "Another 17,000-strong force is preparing to cross the Kuwait-Iraq border over time, Iraqi press says."



Tim Arango's report was ignored by everyone but Tom Hayden and sites in this community.  That's because it was the Times reporting as outlined by Gore Vidal long ago.  You have to go far into a story -- around the 13 paragraph -- to get any truth from the New York Times' reporting.  In this case, Tim Arango was reporting on Syria and tucked in the middle of his report was some key information on Iraq and the US.  We'll go to this year's April 30th Iraq snapshot:

December 6, 2012, the Memorandum of Understanding For Defense Cooperation Between the Ministry of Defense of the Republic of Iraq and the Department Defense of the United States of America was signed.  We covered it in the December 10th and December 11th snapshots -- lots of luck finding coverage elsewhere including in media outlets -- apparently there was some unstated agreement that everyone would look the other way.  It was similar to the silence that greeted Tim Arango's September 25th New York Times report which noted, "Iraq and the United States are negotiating an agreement that could result in the return of small units of American soldiers to Iraq on training missions.  At the request of the Iraqi government, according to [US] General [Robert L.] Caslen, a unit of Army Special Operations soldiers was recently deployed to Iraq to advise on counterterrorism and help with intelligence."



That's Tim Arango's key details on Iraq extracted.  Again, they're in the middle of an article on Syria.  We have noted Tim Arango's report repeatedly here.  At one point in 2007, the most noted piece of writing here was Naomi Klein's "Baghdad Year Zero" for Harper's magazine.  Since we noted Tim's article back in September, it's become the most noted and cited piece -- there's not a week that goes by where we don't note it at least once and, most weeks, we note it multiple times. In the not-yet year since it was first published, we have noted it in at least 136 entries at this site.

Why hasn't Law and Disorder?  Because they don't know about it.  They should.  Not only did 'all' US forces not leave but, in September, more US forces were sent in.

And before we get to Tim Arango from the April 30th snapshot, we've got that MOU (and links to our coverage).  Has any news outlet reported on the MOU even now?

Hell no.  I'm referring to the New York Times, the Washington Post, CNN, Al Jazeera, etc.  They've all stayed silent.

December 6, 2012, the Memorandum of Understanding For Defense Cooperation Between the Ministry of Defense of the Republic of Iraq and the Department Defense of the United States of America was signed.  We covered it in the December 10th and December 11th snapshots -- lots of luck finding coverage elsewhere including in media outlets -- apparently there was some unstated agreement that everyone would look the other way. 

We covered it December 6th when the Defense Department issued a press release on it.  And, if you go that snapshot, not only will you find the DoD press release, you'll find that Iraqi news outlets considered it news and were reporting on it.  

Though they announced it on the 6th, they did not release it the 6th (this despite the press release offering a link for you to read the memo at).  We picked up on December 10th (when it was finally available) and I explained that it allowed for joint-patrols -- the US and Iraq -- in Iraq.  I noted other things as well but the pushback from visitors was on the joint-patrols.

You are wrong! You are dead wrong! You are a liar! Bitch, stop lying! If this was true, it would be reported!

That's an accurate characterization of over 10,000 e-mails that came in following the December 10th Iraq snapshot where I went over the Memo Of Understanding which is why we returned to the topic the next day.  From the December 11th snapshot:

In yesterday's snapshot, we covered the Memorandum of Understanding For Defense Cooperation Between the Ministry of Defense of the Republic of Iraq and the Department of Defense of the United States of America.  Angry, dysfunctional e-mails from Barack-would-never-do-that-to-me criers indicate that we need to go over the Memo a little bit more.  It was signed on Thursday and announced that day by the Pentagon.   Section two (listed in full in yesterday's snapshot) outlines that the two sides have agreed on: the US providing instructors and training personnel and Iraq providing students, Iraqi forces and American forces will work together on counterterrorism and on joint exercises.   The tasks we just listed go to the US military being in Iraq in larger numbers.  Obviously the two cannot do joint exercises or work together on counterterrorism without US military present in Iraq.
This shouldn't be surprising.  In the November 2, 2007 snapshot -- five years ago -- we covered the transcript of the interview Michael R. Gordon and Jeff Zeleny did with then-Senator Barack Obama who was running in the Democratic Party's primary for the party's presidential nomination -- the transcript, not the bad article the paper published, the actual transcript.  We used the transcript to write "NYT: 'Barack Obama Will Keep Troops In Iraq'" at Third.  Barack made it clear in the transcript that even after "troop withdrawal" he would "leave behind a residual force."  What did he say this residual force would do?  He said, "I think that we should have some strike capability.  But that is a very narrow mission, that we get in the business of counter terrorism as opposed to counter insurgency and even on the training and logistics front, what I have said is, if we have not seen progress politically, then our training approach should be greatly circumscribed or eliminated."
This is not withdrawal.  This is not what was sold to the American people.  Barack is very lucky that the media just happened to decide to take that rather explosive interview -- just by chance, certainly the New York Times wasn't attempting to shield a candidate to influence an election, right? -- could best be covered with a plate of lumpy, dull mashed potatoes passed off as a report.  In the transcript, Let-Me-Be-Clear Barack declares, "I want to be absolutely clear about this, because this has come up in a series of debates: I will remove all our combat troops, we will have troops there to protect our embassies and our civilian forces and we will engage in counter terrorism activities."
So when the memo announces counterterrorism activies, Barack got what he wanted, what he always wanted, what the media so helpfully and so frequently buried to allow War Hawk Barack to come off like a dove of peace.



 For those who still can't grasp what I outlined in December of last year, starting in the spring of this year, the Congressional Research Service began noting these same details in  Kenneth Katzman monthly report on Iraq.  Those reports are prepared for members of Congress.  While Law and Disorder should have covered these facts a long time ago, they have the excuse that they were not headline news -- hey, where's our Project Censored award! -- so they didn't know about it.  But why are members of the US Congress silent about this?  Are they (or their aides) not reading the Congressional Research Service reports or are they complicit in keeping the truth from the American poeple?  This is the from the Arpil version of  "Iraq: Politics, Governance, and Human Rights" but it's also included in subsequent monthly "Iraq: Politics, Governance, and Human Rights" reports:

General [Martin] Dempsey's August 21, 2012, visit focused on the security deterioration, as well as the Iranian overflights to Syria discussed above, according to press reports.  Regarding U.S.-Iraq security relations,  Iraq reportedly expressed interest in expanded U.S. training of the ISF, joint exercises, and accelerated delivery of U.S. arms to be sold, including radar, air defense systems, and border security equipment. [. . .]
After the Dempsey visit, reflecting the Iraqi decision to reengage intensively with the United States on security, it was reported that, at the request of Iraq, a unit of Army Special Operations forces had deployed to Iraq to advise on counterterrorism and help with intelligence, presumably against AQ-I.  (These forces presumably are operating under a limited SOFA or related understanding crafted for this purpose.)  Other reports suggest that Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) paramilitary forces have, as of late 2012, largely taken over some of the DOD mission of helping Iraqi counter-terrorismf orces (Counter-Terrorism Service, CTS) against AQ-I in western Iraq. Part of the reported CIA mission is to also work against the AQ-I affiliate in SYria, the Al Nusrah Front, discussed above.
Reflecting an acceleration of the Iraqi move to reengage militarily with the United States, during December 5-6 2012, Under Secretary of Defense for Policy James Miller and acting Under Secretary of State for International Security Rose Gottemoeller visited Iraq and a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed with acting Defense Minister Sadoun Dulaymi.  The five year MOU provides for:

* high level U.S.-Iraq military exchanges
* professional military education cooperation
* counter-terrorism cooperation
* the development of defense intelligence capabilities
* joint exercises

The MOU appears to address many of the issues that have hampered OSC-I from performing its mission to its full potential.  The MOU also reflects some of the more recent ideas put forward, such as joint exercises.

We'll come back to Michael Ratner tomorrow to provide more of his commentary on Brad.  Susan Manning is Brad's mother.  Nic North (Daily Mail) quotes her stating, "Never give up hope, son.  I know I may never see you again, but I know you will be free one day.  I pray it is soon.  I love you, Bradley, and I always will." His aunt Sharon Staples states, "If anyone was going to get themselves arrested for leaking hundreds of thousands of secret documents and end up jail for it, it was going to be our Bradley.  He just seemed to have a burning sense of wanting to right any injustice from such a young age." 

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