Monday, November 21, 2011

Rocky times in the media love affair






Liz Sly (Washington Post) reports General Lloyd Austin, top US commander in Iraq, stated today, "Al-Qaeda will continue to do what it's done in the past, and we expect that it's possible they could even increase their capability." Of course, the general fails to note that al Qaeda in Mesopotomia wasn't present in Iraq until after the US government started the illegal war. Rebecca Santana (AP) adds that he stated the Shi'ite militias were also a potential problem and likened them to Hezbollah in Lebanon. W.G. Dunlop (AFP) quotes him stating, "The Iraqi government has to treat [Shiite militias] based upon what they really are, and again, these are elements that are really focused on creating a Lebanese Hezbollah kind of organization in this country." Scott Peterson and Sahar Issa (Christian Science Monitor and McClatchy Newspapers) add that "Iraqi forces themselves sounded confident today about their capabilities." They also state that the US is down to eight bases. WRONG. The US may be down to 18 bases. General Martin Dempsey testified that there will be 10 US bases ("enduring bases") in 2012. If you just want that section of the hearing, you can refer to Third's "Gen Dempsey talks "10 enduring" US bases in Iraq."
And you can't have reporting without a jack ass. Ladies and gentlemen, bottom feeder Patrick Markey (Reuters) who tells you, "The only U.S. troops will be around 150 military personnel attached to the embassy." Stupid ass. Tuesday's "Iraq snapshot," Wednesday's "Iraq snapshot," Thursday's "Iraq snapshot," "Scott Brown questions Panetta and Dempsey (Ava)," "The costs (Wally)" and "Who wanted what?" cover the Senate Armed Services Committee last Tuesday. Among the many things learned is that US soldiers -- under DoD, not the US embassy -- will remain on what General Martin Dempsey, the Chair of the Joint-Chiefs of Staff -- called the 10 "enduring bases." Buy a clue, asshole. But Markey can't buy a clue because he's either so stupid or such a liar: "Talks between Washington and Baghdad about keeping a small contingent of U.S. soldiers in Iraq as trainers fell apart in October over the refusal of Iraqi political leaders to grant legal immunity to U.S. troops." Are we still putting up with that crap?
It was way too hard . . . it was way too tough
On this she had not bargained
But she was like some missionary dancing to the beat of some
man's ancient drum
And she tries hard to tell this story . . . but it's a hard one to tell
She consults her books of Miracles . . .
Cry . . . and the wind says fly on
Well now you're on your own
You're back out on the road again for a million reasons
Well you're back out on the road again
And you try to tie together some connections . . .
You get some ribbons and some bows and get back out on the road again
-- "Juliet," written by Stevie Nicks, first appears on her The Other Side of the Mirror
Repeating yet again, in the Tuesday hearing, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta testified to the Congress that negotiations were ongoing. Is Reuters afraid they've been too fact heavy in the past and attempting to go fact-free? Friday's snapshot opened with: "Starting with breaking news out of Iraq, Hossam Acommok (Al Mada) reports a mixture of White House officials and US military officials arrived in Baghdad Friday for a three day visit to discuss a number of issues including to "provide immunity to American trainers." The delegation will meet with President Jalal Talabani and Iraq's two vice presidents, with the prime minister, and with the head of the political blocs. In addition, it will visit the Krudistan Regional Government. Al Mada reports that Rebel cleric Moqtada al-Sadr wasted no time in announcing that, should immunity be granted, his bloc would immediately withdraw from the National Alliance coalition. An MP with the Sadr bloc is quoted declaring that it is not the right of Nouri al-Maliki to provide the Americans with immunity."

Al Rafidayn reported Saturday that two members of the delegation -- US Deputy National Security Advisor Dennis McDonough and the National Security Advisor to Vice President Joe Biden, Antony J. Blinken, met with Jalal Talabani and they were accompanied by US Ambassador to Iraq James Jeffrey and the top US Commander in Iraq Lloyd Austin. Click here to see the photo of the meet-up. Al Baghdadia reported Saturday that Iraq's Parliamentary Commission on Defense and Security stated the purpose of the three-day visit by a US delegation to Iraq was to continue negotiations on the issue of immunity for US troops after the 'withdrawal'. It's noted that they met with Nouri al-Malik, prime minister and thug of the occupation, and that Nouri discussed with the Americans the desire to keep US trainers and the issue of immunity. An unnamed source under Nouri states that Baghdad and DDC are working on a final version of trainers and once they agree to a number they will address immunity. A separate report, citing MP Rafi Abd al-Jabbar and Abdul Salam al-Maliki, offers that the number of trainers has to come first because, otherwise, the immunity issue will derail it. Today Al Mada reports that the Parliament has summoned Nouri al-Maliki -- who may or may not attend the session -- to answer questions regarding Iraqi security forces and their state of readiness as well as what the US military presence will be in Iraq after the end of the year. Dar Addustour notes US Vice President Joe Biden's visit is expected to take place in December and that Iraq's Supreme Security Committee is currently negotiating with the US on the number of trainers that could stay beyond 2011. A source on the committee states that currently the Comittee is willing to offer "partial immunity" to 750 trainers. The article also notes the US delegation that was present in Baghdad on Friday, Saturday and Sunday and met with Nouri and Iraqi President Jalal Talabani.
But, hey, Reuters says negotiations ended in October so surely they know best, right? Here's Panetta testifying to the Committee last Tuesday, responding to Senator Joe Lieberman's question:
Senator, as I pointed out in my testimony, what we seek with Iraq is a normal relationship now and that does involve continuing negotiations with them as to what their needs are. Uh, and I believe there will be continuing negotiations. We're in negotiations now with regards to the size of the security office that will be there and so there will be -- There aren't zero troops that are going to be there. We'll have, you know, hundreds that will be present by virtue of that office assuming we can work out an agreement there. But I think that once we've completed the implementation of the security agreement that there will begin a series of negotiations about what exactly are additional areas where we can be of assistance? What level of trainers do they need? What can we do with regards to CT [Counter-Terrorism] operations? What will we do on exercises -- joint-exercises -- that work together?
"We're in negotiations now" and "there will be continuing negotiations" and it's just too hard for Reuters. Facts are too damn hard for Reuters. Jim and Dona moderated a discussion on the Tuesday hearing ("Enduring bases, staging platforms, continued war") that is still either ignored or misreported (exceptions being NYT's Elisabeth Bumiller and's Laurence Vance -- they got it right). People are still dying in this war. You'd think reporters would feel the need to be accurate but apparently that's not the case.
David E. Hickman is the most recent US military fatality. The Greensboro News-Record notes, "Hickman, 23, was a member of the White Falcons, 2nd Battalion, 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment based at Fort Bragg. His father said he was proud of what his son was accomplishing." Fox 8 reports that Hickman was a 2006 graduate of Northeast Guilford High School and that, on Sunday over "100 friends, students and faculty held a candle vigil" in his honor. While in high school, David Hickman "was an all-conference outside linebacker for the Rams and a second-degree black belt in taekwondo." Cami Marshall (WFMY News -- link is text and video) adds that the high school "football coach announced the award for the school's defensive player of the year will now be named after Hickman." Mike Kernels (Greensboro News-Record) quotes his friend Olivia Pegram stating, "He was the most genuine and loyal person you'd ever meet. He had the most infectious laught that I'd give the world to hear again."
Back to Iraq where Hossam Acommok (Al Mada) notes that the Sadrist bloc is stating that the US is engaged in a conspiracy to cause havoc in Iraq in the new year. Related, Al Rafidayn reports Adnan al-Asadi, Undersecretary at the Ministry of the Interior, states that there will be a huge gap in Iraq's security capabilities should the US leave at the end of the year and he places special emphasis on Diyalal Province, Anbar Province, Nineveh Province and Salahuddin Province as areas of potential unrest.
In today's violence, Reuters notes 1 soldier was shot dead in his Mosul home, a Mosul roadside bombing injured another Iraqi soldier, a Baghdad roadside bombing left four people injured, and, dropping back to Sunday night for the next two, a Kirkuk sticky bombing injured two people and 1 Asaish security member was shot dead in Tuz Khurmato. Meanwhile Al Rafidayn reports Moqtada al-Sadr has stated that the Governor Qassim Fahdawi (Anbar Province) should provide evidence that the Mahdi Army has plans to assassinate him (the governor). Dar Addustour notes that the govenor states that the evidence is a document that Nouri al-Maliki forwarded to him from Iraqi intelligence services.
The Iraqi Chess Federation invites players to join the 1st Iraq International Chess Championship Nov. 18th (arrival) to Nov. 25th (departure) 2011 in Duhok City, North of Iraq. This invitation includes 2 male layers & 2 female players from your federation. Download the invitation, Iraqi Chess Federation will pay all cost of Board & Lodging for the whole period of the Championship.
Concerning the Visas you may call Iraqi Embassy in your Country. If there will be any problem you may send Iraqi Chess Federation copies of Participants' Passports to adopt the necessary action concerned.
Iraqi Federation has allocated financial awards for the First Winners about ($3,500).
Asian Chess Federation had supported the first international sport event in Iraq after the fall of the Saddam regime by conducting a FIDE Training and Arbiter seminar in April 2009.
Last week, Aswat al-Iraq reported that chess players from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Georgia, Morocco, Palestine and Syria would be participating. Today Aswat al-Iraq quotes Imad al-Bakri, "The Iraqi Chess Select Players have achieved 4 out of 5 victories by the Iraqi Players, representing the National Chess Select [and the] first session had achieved its targets by the Iraqi Women Team, who shared their men competitors, in order to incrase their expertise, as 3 of them lost the 1st session." I can remember a few years back when the US press treated Iraq's participation in physical sports as the end-all-be-all. Surprisingly, the same outlets don't report on the skilled Iraqi chess players. Maybe this year, they could finally note this tournament?

Recommended: "Iraq snapshot"
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"When the uneducated wax on about their heroes"

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