Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Just add batteries





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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