Saturday, March 16, 2013

Killer Barry prepares response





From yesterday's State Dept press briefing:

QUESTION: Yes, can we go to Iraq?

MS. NULAND: We can.
QUESTION: Yes, of course there was a lot of explosions today (inaudible), but on the eve of the war, the Costs of War project by Watson Institute of International Studies at Brown University issued an assessment that the war cost $2 trillion – quite staggering – and could conceivably cost $6 billion, with, like, 123,000 civilian Iraqis dead and many, many others.
So I wanted to ask you what – on the 10th anniversary, what are the lessons learned for U.S. foreign policy and indeed, the implications?
MS. NULAND: I think we’ll have more to say as we get closer to the 10th anniversary. But the path to the relationship that the U.S. and Iraq have today has obviously been challenging, but through our sustained efforts, we’ve now forged a strategically important bilateral relationship, one that continues to be a top priority for us, a top priority for Iraq. The challenges are complex. They remain.
But as compared to where we were in the Saddam era, we now have a bilateral security agreement, we have deep economic interests and ties, we have a security relationship, we have a political relationship. Both countries have made enormous sacrifices to get us where we are and to start this new chapter, but we’re committed to Iraq for the long term and we’re committed to its prosperity, its unity and integrity, and to its ability to be a strong democracy in the region.
QUESTION: The Syrian-Iraqi border is becoming a lawless frontier, and in fact, the U.S. is probably aiding the government in trying to control some of the al-Qaida elements that control actually both sides of this frontier. And at the same time, there is a possible breakaway by the KRG, they’re threatening, and so on. I wonder what you’re doing, or if you could share with us some of the things that you are doing, one, to convince the KRG to remain confederated with Iraq, and second, to help the Iraqis control their border?
MS. NULAND: First, with regard to our contacts with the KRG, you know that we maintain a broad and deep relationship with them. We are in constant contact with them, as we are with all of the major leaders and groups in Iraq. And our message to all of them is the same, that the Iraqi constitution calls for a unified country where the groups can coexist, can make political compromises with each other, that there’s a lot of work undone. And we are encouraging all sides to continue the dialogue about how Iraq can move forward, and particularly in the area of completing its work on energy, et cetera, so that all Iraqis can benefit from that.
QUESTION: Thank you.
QUESTION: Thank you.
MS. NULAND: Thank you very much.

UPI turns the above into Iraq being called "better off" by "a U.S. State Department spokeswoman said."

But that's not accurate.  As we noted back in November 2004 when explaining why NPR shouldn't have brought Robert Kagan on to 'analyze' then-Senator John Kerry's run for president on the Democratic Party's ticket:

What is Kagan's conflict of interest appearance? (An issue NPR has still not addressed.) It's not that he writes an op-ed for The Washington Post. Dvorkin does toss out the "hawk" issue but without ever addressing it. But he also doesn't address a very important fact: who is Robert Kagan married to?

He's married to Victoria Nuland. For all I know, she's a wonderful person. But that's not the issue. The issue is who Ms. Nuland works for. Want to take a guess on that?

Did you guess Dick Cheney? If you did, you may be more informed than Dvorkin or Montagne because possibly they are unaware of that fact. Possibly, they haven't done the basic work required -- Montagne to know about the "guest" she is introducing; Dvorkin to address the issue of Kagan as a commentator/interpreter of John Kerry's remarks.

Michele Norris' husband worked for the Kerry campaign. (Warning: we're going down a very basic road here. But apparently, it's not one that NPR can navigate by themselves so let's move slowly to allow them to keep up.) Since Norris' husband is involved with attempting to get what we will call "team A" into the White House, Norris has the appearance of a conflict of interest and her reporting duties can not include commenting or covering the campaigns. That's a simple path to follow whether you agree with it or not.

But with Kagan, the path has a huge u-turn and veers off to God knows where. Kagan's wife works as Cheney's deputy national security adviser. That's Ms. Nuland' s title. So in effect, Ms. Nuland's employed by "team B" -- she's apparently not working on team B's campaign, but she works for team B. Potentially, Kagan has a vested interest in the outcome of the 2004 election.

Robert Kagan is a neocon.  He's the husband of the woman who was Dick Cheney's deputy national security adviser.   Victoria Nuland is a neocon. While she's a State Dept spokesperson -- proving that failure is the only thing DC rewards -- Nuland also was part of the team plotting the Iraq War.  So when UPI bills her just as State Dept spokesperson, that's really not accurate.  Many years ago, Jebediah Reed did an article for Radar about who made money by supporting the Iraq War and The Nation's Jonathan Schell pointed out, "There doesn't seem to be a rush to find the people who were right about Iraq and install them in the mainstream media."  It's really telling how welcoming the 'peace' candidate of 2008 has been to neocons (Robert Kagan's an adviser and his language often pops up in Barack's speeches, such as his 2012 State of the Union speech).

Here we've noted that we could have really become something in the '00s on the left.  Instead, we became the photographic negative image of all we loathed about the right in the nineties.  (We most recently pointed that out here.)  John Stauber, one of the real truth tellers, returns today with a piece at CounterPunch that should shame so many of the faux left:

Think hard.  Think about fundamental, radical, democratic, social and economic change, who might bring it about and how.  Ask yourself if the the rich elite, the 1%, are going to fund that.   Leave The Nation and Mother Jones on the shelf;  turn off Ed Schultz, Rachel Madow and Chris Hayes;  don’t open that barrage of email missives from Alternet, Media Matters, MoveOn, and the other think tanks;  and get your head out of the liberal blogosphere for a couple days.  Clear your mind and consider this:
The self-labeled Progressive Movement that has arisen over the past decade is primarily one big propaganda campaign serving the political interests of the the Democratic Party’s richest one-percent who created it.  The funders and owners of the Progressive Movement get richer and richer off Wall Street and the corporate system.  But they happen to be Democrats, cultural and social liberals who can’t stomach Republican policies, and so after bruising electoral defeats a decade ago they decided to buy a movement, one just like the Republicans, a copy.

His analysis of Occupy will have many crying -- and a few names (especially two attorneys who host a radio show and whored for Occupy) on the left cr**ping their pants.    We'll note the section on the Iraq War:

After the 2004 flop of the Kerry/Edwards campaign, luck shone on the Democrats.  The over-reach of the neoconservatives, the failure to find those weapons of mass deception (sic),  the endless wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, turned American public opinion,  especially among the young, against the Republicans.  Growing anti-war sentiment, which had little to do with the organized anti-war movement, delivered to the Democrats what Governor Mario Cuomo called “The Gift.”  The horrific Iraq war, he explained to a Democracy Alliance gathering, was the gift that allowed the Democrats to take control of the US Congress.
It was at this point in early 2007 that the truly dark and cynical agenda of the professional Progressive Movement and the Democratic Party revealed itself.  Under Pelosi the Democrats could have cut off funding for Bush’s unpopular wars and foreign policy.  Instead,  with PR cover provided by MoveOn and their lobbyist Tom Matzzie, the Democratic Congress gave George Bush all the money he wanted to continue his wars.  For the previous five years MoveOn had branded itself as the leader of the anti-war movement, building lists of millions of liberals, raising millions of dollars, and establishing itself in the eyes of the corporate media as leaders of the US peace movement.  Now they helped the Democrats fund the war,  both betting that the same public opposition to the wars that helped them win control of the House in 2006 could win the Presidency in 2008.

We didn't get change because change was never defined.  They offered a ink blot that people could project onto. Change means end the war to you?  Oh, sure then, that's what it means?  Strengthening labor unions?  Oh, sure that's exactly what it means!  And to go with the ink blot campaign, a cypher candidate. 

One who has no appreciation for democracy.  The Iraqi people went to the polls in March 2010 and Nouri and his State of Law came in second to Ayad Allawi's Iraqiya.  Instead of urging Nouri to step down, Barack Obama backed him for a second term he hadn't earned.  For eight months, the political system was paralyzed because Nouri would not step aside.  Then Barack had officials work on the US-brokered Erbil Agreement which circumvented the Constitution and the will of the people to award Nouri a second term.

Yasmine Bahrani (McClatchy Newspapers) offers a take on the illegal war:
The most common excuse given is that there was bad intelligence. Recently on a documentary called "Hubris: The Selling of the Iraq War" was shown on MSNBC, a major planner of the war, Colin Powell's chief of staff Lawrence Wilkerson, said there had been a hoax Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction. We wonder whether his "stuff happens" explanation is acceptable.
Personally I was opposed to the war not because I had any inside information but because I worried about my relatives in Iraq. Most of them told me they were glad to be rid of Saddam Hussein, and soon after the invasion, I tried to give the new Iraq a chance. However 10 years on, those same relatives, who were comfortable before the war, still don't have electricity, water or security. Car bombs explode fairly regularly and kill innocents at markets, schools and other civilian locations. Human Rights Watch charges that the regime is violating the rights of vulnerable citizens, especially women and Christians.
They agree life under Saddam Hussein was difficult, but it has become more difficult under Nouri al-Maliki. On the anniversary, the Iraqi people I know are asking why their choice must be limited to the two evils of tyranny and chaos.

Read more here:

Iraqi's have suffered under Little Saddam and, these days, they're beginning to ask questions of Barack.

Obama, If you Cannot Hear Us Can you Not See Us?

Wake Up, this is an IRAQI REVOLUTION Not a Sectarian One!

Iraqis Did not Vote for an Iranian Dictatorship

Women Rights in Democratic Iraq Are NON-EXISTENT!

The above is what was written on a large sign protesters in Samarra carried in today's demonstration.

When will Barack hear the voices of the Iraqis, crying out for freedom?  As he continues to arm Little Saddam (Nouri al-Maliki), as plans continue to provide Nouri with F-16s, it's really past time Americans said "NO!" to supporting authoritarian regimes.  Protesters have been shot dead for the 'crime' of protesting.  But still the protests continue.  At what point does the US President recognize the suffering and stop playing footsie with Nouri al-Maliki?

Who knows but the protesters got a little more support today with photographic evidence of Abu Ghraib -- now back under Iraqi management.  In this photo, is that guard carrying an actual rubber hose?  That's what it appears.  There are several photos Iraq Revolution has posted of Abu Ghraib.  Is that supposed to pass for morning prayers?  The US Gulag at Guantanamo Bay doesn't even (publicly) allow the prisoners to be forced into that mockery and desecration of morning prayers as evidenced by this Reuters photo by Deborah Gembara.  Why do they protest?  Maybe one answer is found in Mustafa al-Kadhimi's report for Al Monitor:

It was not easy for Bashir Ali, 55, to recall what he lived through when he was in the prisons of Saddam Hussein’s regime during the 1980s. He could not hold back his tears when he recalled being raped to force him to confess for plotting against the regime and for belonging to the Islamic Dawa party. But when he compares Iraq back then to what it is today, what he says is surprising: “Ten years after Saddam Hussein’s regime has ended, what we have is not better.”
Ali, a Shiite from southern Iraq, is an unusual witness because he does not look at things from the perspective of his personal tragedy. He said, “Today, there are no public services, no security, and Iraq is on the brink of civil war. We are almost at an impasse. Yes Saddam was unjust, but his reign provided security and public services. The regime that succeeded him has betrayed our dream in having security and stability.”

Today's protests were noted on Twitter:

WOW. Massive protests in #Samara, #Iraq, against Maliki's regime and corruption. Dozens thousands of protesters! …

In Baghdad efforts were once again made  to stop the citizens from exercising their rights to protest -- and, as Ayad Allawi (leader of Iraqiya) has previously pointed out -- to stop them from exercising their rights to worship.  Alsumaria notes efforts to prevent worshippers from reaching mosques.  Sameer N. Yacoub (AP) adds that federal police "used batons and water hoses" in an attempt to prevent Sunnis "from reaching a prominent mosque in northern Baghdad."   Iraqi Spring MC notes that worshipers were prevented from utilizing Ramadan Bridge to enter Adhamiya.  AP notes at least five protesters wounded on the bridge and quotes Abdul-Rahman al-Azzawi stating, "We were showed with water and the policemen started to beat us.  I do not know the reason behind this savage attack.  We were only going to a mosque, not to al-Maliki's office in the Green Zone."  Al Jazeera adds:

Iraqi security forces had prevented worshippers from holding Friday prayers at the mosque last week as well, a development that reflects heightened sectarian tensions nearly a decade after the US invasion of Iraq.
Abdul-Rahman al-Azzawi was among of a group of people who tried to cross the 14th of Ramadan bridge when they were met by security forces.
"We were showered with water and the policemen started to beat us,'' he said.
"I do not know the reason behind this savage attack. We were only going to a mosque, not to al-Maliki's office in the Green Zone,'' referring to the heavily secured quarter in the center of Baghdad where many officials have their offices.

Despite these efforts, National Iraqi News Agency reports Speaker of Parliament Osama al-Nujaifi and Iraqiya MPs Salman Jumaili and Dhafi al-Aani took part in worship at Abu Hanifa Mosque in Adhamiya. Mohammad Sabah (Al Mada) reports that Speaker of Parliament Osama al-Nujaifi demanded that federal forces open a road to allow the protesters to enter.   Iraqi Spring MC offers a photo of others who made it to the mosque in Adhmiya.

National Iraqi News Agency reports the Ramadi protesters today arrested a man who was attempting to burn protesters cars and they "handed him over to Aljazeerah police station in Ramadi."  They note that, unlike some of the federal forces, they did not torture the man, simply placed him under arrest.  Roy Gutman (McClatchy Newspapers) reports from Ramadi:

Along both shoulders of the road, the tribal leaders have erected more than 100 canvas tents, where they display posters with their 17 demands, all couched as fitting within current legal order. There s a threat, however, of other means: A hand-painted banner at a political rally that followed a recent religious servicesummed up the mood best: “Beware the patient man, if he gets angry.”

Read more here:

Protests also took place in Jalawlaa, Baquba, Falluja, Samarra, Baiji and Kirkuk.  On Kirkuk, Sunday, National Iraqi News Agency reported  "the General Coordinator of the popular committees overseeing the sit-ins of Kirkuk Bunyyan Sabbar al-Obeidi was killed today."  Of Sunday's assassination of Bunyan-Obeidi, Alsumaria noted the activist was killed by unknown assailants in a civilian car who began shooting as they passed.  AFP added, "Obeidi’s death comes two days after activists said security forces fired on a demonstration in Mosul, another north Iraq city" --  3 protesters died in Mosul assault last Friday.  At the demonstration in Kirkuk today, protesters held a symbolic funeral for Bunyan-Obeidi and you can see them carrying a coffin in this Iraqi Spring MC video.  Earlier this week, Ghaith Abdul-Ahad (Guardian) reflected on the protests:

Every Friday, thousands of peaceful demonstrators have poured into the streets of Ramadi, Mosul and Falluja mimicking the Arab spring protests elsewhere in the region.
In Mosul and Falluja, tent cities have sprung up in public squares. Some have even demonstrated in Sunni areas of Baghdad, braving the draconian Friday security measures imposed on them.
But perhaps more remarkable is the scene inside the tent. Among the tribal sheikhs and activists around Abu Saleh are former enemies and victims, men who feared him and men who hunted him on behalf of the Americans. Sensing an opportunity, Sunni factions have put aside their differences to mount a common front against Baghdad.

Recommended: "Iraq Roundtable"
"Iraq snapshot"
"Obama, If you Cannot Hear Us Can you Not See Us?"
"The topic so many columnists are (again) ignoring"
"Iraq roundtable"
"All the chatter (Ava)"
"Talking Iraq roundtable"
"The roundtable on Iraq"
"a roundtable on iraq"
"dickerson and obama"
"A discovery"
"Roundtable on Iraq"
"Joe Biden goes after the press"
"A roundtable on Iraq"
"The Iraq Roundtable"
"No Arrow, but X-Men next month"
"The Iraq Roundtable"
"Photo-Op This!"
"Iraq Roundtable"
"Talking Iraq Roundtable"
"Another screw up"
"Talking Iraq"
"He hungers for Iran"


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