Friday, January 31, 2014

Oh, how he does go on





  President Obama is strongly committed to net neutrality in order to keep an open Internet that fosters investment, innovation, consumer choice, and free speech.  The announced action by FCC Chairman Genachowski, building on the work of Chairman Waxman's collaborative effort to craft legislation in this area, advances this important policy priority. 
We recognize that this announcement reflects a significant amount of effort on the part of numerous broadband providers, Internet applications developers, content providers, consumer groups, and others to finding a thoughtful and effective approach to this issue. Today's announcement is an important step in preventing abuses and continuing to advance the Internet as an engine of productivity growth and innovation.


 If elected president, Barack Obama plans to prioritize, well, barring broadband providers like AT&T and Comcast from prioritizing Internet content.
Affixing his signature to federal Net neutrality rules would be high on the list during his first year in the Oval Office, the junior senator from Illinois said during an interactive forum Monday afternoon with the popular contender put on by MTV and MySpace at Coe College in Iowa. 
 Net neutrality, of course, is the idea that broadband operators shouldn't be allowed to block or degrade Internet content and services--or charge content providers an extra fee for speedier delivery or more favorable placement.
The question, selected through an online video contest, was posed via video by small-business owner and former AT&T engineer Joe Niederberger, a member of the liberal advocacy group He asked Obama: "Would you make it a priority in your first year of office to reinstate Net neutrality as the law of the land? And would you pledge to only appoint FCC commissioners that support open Internet principles like Net neutrality?"

"The answer is yes," Obama replied. "I am a strong supporter of Net neutrality." 



Nouri al-Maliki's assault on Anbar Province didn't stop the violence.

UPI insists, "Iraqi forces regained control of parts of two cities overrun by militants aligned with al-Qaida after intense fighting that's killed 850, officials said."  But to support that claim, all UPI offers is control of al-Nasaf ("on the western outskirts of Fallujah").  I'm sorry, is that considered good?

Because when the assault started at the end of December, militias controlled no parts of Iraq.

Since he started his assault, Nouri's lost territory.  Even if he regains it, he lost it to begin with.

And that includes Baghdad, as Ann pointed out last night:

Press TV reports, "Officials say Iraqi forces have retaken control of key areas in west Baghdad from militants amid a deadly standoff between militants and security forces."
And note that the Baghdad areas were not "taken" until after Nouri started his assault on Anbar Province.
Nouri al-Maliki is a crook and tyrant but, even worse, he's a jinx.
Everything he does backfires.

Baghdad -- where not one but two ministries were attacked today.  Jason Ditz ( points out, "But despite those modest gains, the city of Fallujah remains more or less entirely under AQI control, as well as much of Ramadi. The rest of the Anbar Province is largely in open revolt, with Sunni tribal leaders opposed to the Maliki government’s heavy-handed treatment of them."

Today's violence?   National Iraqi News Agency reports  a bomb in the garage of Baghdad's Transport Ministry left 1 police member dead and "others injured," 2 assailants blew themselves up in the garage and then others tried to enter the Ministry and six were killed, 2 police members were killed and seven more were injured.  Suadad al-Salhy (Reuters) reports on the attack on the Ministry of Transportation.   al-Salhy reports 24 deaths -- four were bombers who took their own lives, 2  were bombers who were shot dead, the other 18 were presumably security forces (though the report doesn't state that).  al-Salhy also notes 50 were injured.
Tang Danlu (Xinhua) reports, "Gunmen stormed an office of Iraq's Human Rights Ministry in the capital of Baghdad on Thursday and seized a number of officials, a police source said.  The attack occurred before noon when eight gunmen broke into the office in al-Qanat area after a clash with the guards and took unknown number of officials as hostages, the source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity."  The garage is the Transport Ministry.  The other aspect of the attack is thought to be all the Human Rights Ministry.  The two are next door to one another.  Both were attacked today.

That's what prime minister of Iraq and chief thug Nouri has brought with his assault on Anbar, violence everywhere.

And he's also brought this:

احد الجرحى الذين اصيبوا اليوم بسبب القصف المتعمد من قبل مليشيات المالكي التي تستهدف الاحياء السكنية في ،

That's one of Nouri's victims today --  injured by his forces shelling Falluja.  NINA reports that hospitals have received 141 civilians have been killed in Ramadi and Falluja alone this month with another 509 injured and:  "He added that this can not be considered as final number because there are dead and wounded in areas which could not be moved to the hospital."  Through yesterday, Iraq Body Count counts 1037 violent deaths in Iraq so far this month.  It's doubtful many counts will include the 141 civilians killed by the bombings and shellings from Nouri's forces.  NINA also notes military shelling left 3 civilians dead in Ramadi with eight more injured.

Nouri al-Maliki is a War Criminal and collective punishment is a War Crime.  Daoud Kuttab (Crimes Of War) explains:

Under the 1949 Geneva Conventions, collective punishments are a war crime. Article 33 of the Fourth Convention states: “No protected person may be punished for an offense he or she has not personally committed,” and “collective penalties and likewise all measures of intimidation or of terrorism are prohibited.” Israel, however, does not accept that the Fourth Geneva Convention or the Additional Protocols apply to the West Bank de jure, but says it abides by the humanitarian provisions without specifying what the humanitarian provisions are.
By collective punishment, the drafters of the Geneva Conventions had in mind the reprisal killings of World Wars I and II. In the First World War, Germans executed Belgian villagers in mass retribution for resistance activity. In World War II, Nazis carried out a form of collective punishment to suppress resistance. Entire villages or towns or districts were held responsible for any resistance activity that took place there. The conventions, to counter this, reiterated the principle of individual responsibility. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) Commentary to the conventions states that parties to a conflict often would resxort to “intimidatory measures to terrorize the population” in hopes of preventing hostile acts, but such practices “strike at guilty and innocent alike. They are opposed to all principles based on humanity and justice.”
The law of armed conflict applies similar protections to an internal conflict. Common Article 3 of the four Geneva Conventions of 1949 requires fair trials for all individuals before punishments; and Additional Protocol II of 1977 explicitly forbids collective punishment.

Nouri's assault of Anbar was supposed to (a) deal with 'terrorists,' (b) be a swift operation and (c) demonstrate Nouri's skill.

In fact, (a) it's left many civilians dead, injured and homeless (over 150,000 people have fled their homes -- they better not try to flee to Baghdad since the military is preventing anyone entering Baghdad from Anbar), (b) it started the last week of December and it's ongoing with no clear end in sight and (c) he lost control of Falluja, Ramadi, other parts of Anbar and also of Baghdad.


The assault on Anbar has actually demonstrated that Nouri has no problem targeting civilians, that he utilizes collective punishment (an international recognized War Crime), that he's inept as well as criminal.

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