KILLER BARRY O ARRIVED IN ISRAEL AND THERE WAS MUSIC AND THERE WERE ROCKETS . . .
OR WERE THOSE HOT FLASHES?
ELI LAKE COMPARES BARACK AND BIBI TO THE GOLDEN GIRLS AND KNOWING KILLER BARRY'S VANITY, THAT'S GOT TO HURT.
MEANWHILE KILLER BARRY HELD A PRESS CONFERENCE TODAY TO ANNOUNCE THAT ON THIS TRIP HE IS LISTENING, NOT TALKING.
REPEATING, HE HELD A PRESS CONFERENCE TO TALK ABOUT HE IS LISTENING AND NOT TALKING.
FROM THE TCI WIRE:
Brian M. Downing (World Tribune) notes that the Iraq War has resulted in closer ties between the governments of Iraq and Iran. Trudy Rubin (Sacramento Bee) also notes that today. They are not wrong. Making that observation isn't wrong. But wrong is assuming that this is an indictment of the war by itself. For example, Phyllis Bennis, Laura Flanders, Judith LeBlanc, the ridiculous Leslie Cagan, Bill Fletcher and a host of others sign off on an open letter which includes, "Leaving behind a pro-US, anti-Iranian government in Baghdad. Hardly, Prime Minister al-Maliki is barely on speaking terms with anyone in Washington." Is the italicized sentence (their italics) supposed to be a quote? From who? Here's a better quote that those signing the letter damn sure should have been familiar with:
"We've understood very clearly that Iraq, especially the Shia population of Iraq, is both a source of danger and opportunity to the Iranians. I think it's more danger than it is opportunity. But the danger itself is incentive for them to try to intervene because the last thing they want to see, which I think is a real possibility, is an independent source of authority for the Shia religion emerging in a country that is democratic and pro-Western."
Who is that? Paul Wolfowitz. From the then-Secretary of Defense's interview with Vanity Fair's Sam Tannenhaus. You may remember that interview. If you do, you may remember that the White House insisted Wolfowtiz had been misquoted by Vanity Fair on another issue. So you may be tempted -- I don't see why -- to assume that quote above is incorrect as well. Problem with that conclusion would be that I'm not quoting from Vanity Fair. The Defense Dept posted a transcript of the interview in an attempt to combat what they swore were distortions. I'm quoting from the Defense Dept transcript. Wolfowitz, in the official DoD transcript, is explaining that the war plan includes linking Iran and Iraq with the hopes that this will cause conflict. And it does and it is. Iraqi politicians regularly have to make pilgrimages to Iran to meet with their leaders -- even the Kurds have done that in the last months. And each visit results in an outcry from the Iraqi people about how they are not a Shi'ite satellite. In Iran, there are protests against various alleged acts by Turkey or Saudi Arabia in Iraq. The two countries are linked, forever rushing back and forth attempting to fix some new issue. And that's before you get to the still not firmly drawn physical border between Iraq and Iran. The two sides are not in agreement regarding their country's boundaries.
Yes, Iran and Iraq are closer. That's a valid observation. If you're alarmed by this, maybe you should have been paying attention in real time because regardless of what was told to the American people, it was public knowledge that the plan was to hook Iraq and Iran together and friction was part of that plan. Then-President Jimmy Carter and his administration saw it as a 'good' dragging the USSR into Afghanistan. This was a similar manipulation but a lower level of conflict.
Wolfowitz's statements are important because they go to Iraq being a puppet. This isn't creating an independent state. This is creating a vacuum that will suck your enemy in.
The Iraq War was never about "liberation" or creating "democracy." It was about manipulation. Robert Scheer (Truthdig) points out:
Just weeks ago, a devastating documentary produced by The Guardian newspaper and the BBC provided all the evidence needed for any decent person to demand trials for the perpetrators of an extensive system of Iraqi torture centers, operated and financed by the U.S. government. It was part of a policy of stoking a genocidal war of Shiite extremists against Sunnis that was directed by U.S. government veterans of similar efforts in Latin America and elsewhere. As the lead on The Guardian story put it:
“The Pentagon sent a US veteran of the ‘dirty wars’ in Central America to oversee sectarian police commando units in Iraq that set up secret detention and torture centres to get information from insurgents. These units conducted some of the worst acts of torture during the US occupation and accelerated the country’s descent into full-scale civil war.”This effort, conducted with the full knowledge of then-Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and Gen. David Petraeus, utilized the most violent Shiite militias including the savage Badr Brigade to wreak vengeance on their Sunni opponents.
The BBC/Guardian investigation exposed our propensity for moral turpitude, with no thanks to the Obama administration, which brazenly closed the door to any serious investigation of the war crimes of the Bush era, and much credit to Pfc. Bradley Manning and his WikiLeaks trove.
He's referring to BBC Arabic and the Guardian's James Steele: America's Mystery Man In Iraq which you can stream online. (If you can't stream or if you need closed captioning so the stream will not help you, Ava and I covered the documentary March 10th with "TV: The War Crimes Documentary.") This week's Law and Disorder Radio, an hour long program that airs Monday mornings at 9:00 a.m. EST on WBAI and around the country throughout the week, hosted by attorneys Heidi Boghosian, Michael S. Smith and Michael Ratner (Center for Constitutional Rights), the topic of counter-insurgency was addressed with journalist Patrick Farrelly who was part of the BBC Arabic and the Guardian newspaper investigative team behind the recent documentary entitled James Steele: America's Mystery Man In Iraq.
Patrick Farrelly: So we jump to 2004, the Bush administration needs a force on the ground.
Michael Ratner: The war is about a year old at this point.
Patrick Farrelly: The war is about a year old. They turn to [David] Petraeus and Petraeus brings in Steele and Col James Coffman and they introduce him to this paramilitary force, special police commandos that's very, very small at the time --
Michael Ratner: It's Iraqi?
Patrick Farrelly: It's Iraqi run by a guy who had been involved in a plot to overthrow Saddam so we then end up in a situation where he introduces them to these guys. Petreaus is really impressed with these people and that's when the spigot is turned on, hundreds of millions of dollars flow into this new force which hits the ground and it is advised by Steele and by Coffman. It is a re-run of [El] Salvador. And they go from being a few hundred strong into being, you know, a force that grew to 17,000 to 18,000 men -- most of whom would be drawn from the Shia militias like the Badr Brigades and the Mahdi Army who were very, very anxious to get revenge on Sunnis. These people were basically put in uniform, armed and equipped by the US government and essentially let loose.
Michael Smith: A counter-insurgency force, right?
Patrick Farrelly: A classic counter-insurgency force.
Michael Ratner: And what did they do? Tell us about what they do because the headlines on these articles are "US Implicated In Iraqi Police Torture" -- Petraeus knew about it, Rumsfeld knew about it and it goes up the chain of command.
Patrick Farrelly: Well with Col James Steele who -- as I said the thing about Salvador, with the US military it's seen as a huge counter-insurgency success so therefore he was the guy on the ground, he's a sort of a legend in that area. So with him in charge, they put together this force. This force then sets up a whole chain of interrogation centers throughout northern Iraq, based in mainly Sunni areas because what the United States needs really badly is intelligence. They need to know who the insurgents are and where they can get them. And that's Steele's expertise -- having these guys on the ground, they go, they go after them, so they draw in thousands of people, they basically torture them for information. And it's Steele's job to collate that information so that they can then hand it over to the US military, the US military can then go after the insurgents 'informed' for the first time as to what they were dealing with. So for the United States, in 2004 and 2005, and Petraeus admits this himself, they were the real cutting edge in terms of going after the insurgents. They were the first time the United States could actually make an impression on them but thousands of people were tortured in the process.
Heidi Boghosian: Now Steele and Coffman were very close and were actually in the detention centers, right? So they couldn't say that they didn't know what was going on.
Patrick Farrelly: Both of them were there. The thing about it is in terms of chain of command, you've got James Steele who actually has no military standing whatsoever. He is a retired colonel. One of the reasons he's retired is because his career came askew in the late 80s when he was involved in the Iran-Contra Affair and was found by a Congressional Committee to have lied.
We'll cover at least one more part of that very important interview in a snapshot this week. It was never about 'liberation' or 'democracy.' That's why Bully Boy Bush installed Nouri al-Maliki, that's why Barack Obama had The Erbil Agreement created to give Nouri a second term after the Iraqi voters said no. What happened then set the stage for all that follows. Trudy Rubin (Sacremento Bee) observes, "Despite elections, Iraq still has a government that arrests and tortures political opponents and runs a secret police state." And she's correct. But it can also be worded, "In spite of election results, Iraq still has a government that arrests and tortures political opponents and runs a secret police state." Because the 2010 election results translated, under the Iraqi Constitution, as someone other than Nouri al-Maliki and his State of Law gets first crack at being prime minister-designate and forming a government. That was supposed to happen weeks after the March 2010 elections. Instead, second place Nouri refused to allow it to happen, refused to leave the post of prime minister, refused to step down. For eight months and then the White House rescued Nouri by proposing an extra-constitutional contract -- The Erbil Agreement -- that would find the political leaders signing off on Nouri having a second term and Nouri agreeing to various things. Various things? They don't matter. He never followed through. He used The Erbil Agreement to get the second term, then he trashed the agreement. And the torture the US taught is still used today, the secret prisons still exist (Human Rights Watch yesterday: "The abuses US officials allegedly authorized in the early years of the war in Iraq, and their tacit or direct complicity in Iraqi abuses throughout the occupation, are all partly responsible for the entrenchment of weak and corrupt institutions in Iraq, Human Rights Watch said." ) and, yes, US forces still go on counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency missions with Iraqi troops but let's all pretend not to know that.
Seumas Milne (Guardian) had an important column yesterday that we'll grab this from:
As the Guardian reported this month, US forces led by General Petraeus himself were directly involved not only in overseeing torture centres, but also in sponsoring an El Salvador-style dirty war of sectarian death squads (known as "police commando units") to undermine the resistance.One outcome is the authoritarian Shia elite-dominated state run by Nouri al-Maliki today. His Sunni vice-president until last year, Tariq al-Hashimi – forced to leave the country and sentenced to death in absentia for allegedly ordering killings – was one of those who in his own words "collaborated" with the occupation, encouraging former resistance leaders to join Petraeus's "awakening councils", and now bitterly regrets it. "If I knew the result would be like this, I would never have done it," he told me at the weekend. "I made a grave mistake."
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