Tuesday, January 22, 2019

A complicated moment

First off, check out Betty, Kat, Stan, and Ann from last night:

CNN has an interesting report on how the video was framed and how it spread.

Jimmy Dore also does a great job of reviewing what the initial video showed and what the longer video showed. 

As a general rule, society should not be a lynch mob against children.  I do not know how this happened or how anyone thought this was acceptable -- to go after children.  It is outrageous.

This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" for today:

Tuesday, January 22, 2019.  Let's really honor MLK by remembering what he fought for and by telling the truth.

In "The real MLK," Kat noted the realities of MLK as opposed to the p.r. attempts which rob him of his power and agency.  Yesterday was the day when the country supposedly honors Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  But it doesn't really, does it?  It lies about what he stood for.  It lies about why he was killed.  It pretends that some lone crazy killed him.  The FBI actively worked to destroy him, tried to force him to suicide, but when he dies, please note, there's no government connection -- no, none at all, none at all.

I was a friend of Coretta Scott King and I don't buy the nonsense that the US media pushes.  In part, I don't buy it because I remember what happened when Coretta died January 30, 2006.  Do you remember?

We called that crap out.  We were alone in doing so. Supposedly Bob Herbert was some social justice warrior.  He was nothing of the sort.  He was a semi-left columnist for THE NEW YORK TIMES who colored in the lines required.

Coretta's death, to THE NEW YORK TIMES, was no big thing.  Gail Collins saw that her friend, the so-so playwright Wendy Wasserstein, was remembered.  Fat White girls stick together, I guess.  The same week, NYT ran a major front page story on Wendy and ran a major column on her and an editorial.

For weeks after, we complained that Coretta got no editorial, got no column.

Grasp that, if you think your NYT or other crap media gives a damn, grasp that.

And after weeks of complaining here and complaining to friends at the paper, Coretta got a paragraph in a Bob Herbert column.

The whole world was supposed to have been touched by Wendy Wasserstein and her really bad plays -- she was a really bad playwright.  But Coretta Scott King?  To NYT, she was nothing.

And that's honestly how they felt about her husband when he was alive.

"Dr. King struggled and what he struggled for continues," Larry Hamm noted during a discussion with Nellie Bailey and Glen Ford on this week's BLACK AGENDA REPORT.

Hamm rightly notes that "What mainstream America, corporate America, focus on is that of Civil Rights, the struggle for Civil Rights.  But Dr. King was also fighting for systemic change."  That's reality.  Hamm noted MLK wrote, We need a radical redistribution of power and wealth in our society, that's a quote."

How many of the useless celebrities who use Twitter to make themselves look like that have a caring soul will note, to honor MLK, the vast poverty in the world?  Nick Beams (WSWS) reports on Oxfam International's latest findings:

As members of the world’s financial elite gather today in Davos, Switzerland, for the opening of the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum, a new report by the UK-based charity Oxfam International has highlighted the vast accumulation of wealth at the heights of society, and the accelerating growth of social inequality.
The report showed that last year, the wealth of the world’s billionaires increased by $900 billion, or 12 percent, while 3.8 billion people—half the world’s population—saw their wealth decline by 11 percent.
Last year, the billionaires increased their wealth by $2.5 billion every day, while a millionaire moved into their ranks every two days.
In the decade since the global financial crisis erupted in 2008, governments and financial authorities have imposed its full impact on the backs of the world working class, in the form of stagnant and lower wages and austerity programs that have gutted health and other social services, to name just some of its effects. Meanwhile, wealth has become ever more concentrated. Last year, just 26 people controlled as much wealth as the 3.8 billion people who comprise half the world’s population, compared to 43 people the year before.
Oxfam noted that just 1 percent of the $112 billion fortune accumulated by Amazon owner Jeff Bezos, the world’s richest man, was equivalent to the entire health budget for Ethiopia, a nation of 105 million people.

The Oxfam report found that the top tax rate for the rich in the developed countries plunged from 62 percent in 1970 to 38 percent by 2013, and pointed to the tax cut introduced by US president Trump at the end of 2017, benefiting the wealthy and corporations.

Will Alyssa Milano note that?  Will 'caring' Alyssa note that?  As Ann points out in "Hey, Ruth Graham, maybe not be such a f**king bitch?," Alyssa Social Justice Celebrity was a producer of CHARMED but that didn't result in people of color getting roles on the show.  Week after week, episode after episode, including supporting characters and included guests for the week, but we never saw Alyssa use that to add actors of color.  In fact, it was the original producer (forced out and Alyssa didn't support her) who created the only two significant roles for actors of color that the show ever had.

MLK was a threat to the government per the US government itself.  It's why the FBI spied on MLK, it's why they tried to blackmail him, it's why they did so much to destroy him.  And, yes, those are the reasons many of us will always believe the US government killed him -- the same way they killed Fred Hampton.

But those beliefs are about real social justice.  They're not attacking some 16 or 17-year-old boy for a look on his face.  It's always to attack a person -- especially a child.  To call into question a government?  Few ever do that.

Hamm observes of Dr. King, "He'd be calling for an end to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, he'd be calling for an end US involvement in the war in Yemen and the eight other wars that we are involved in.  He'd be calling for drastic cuts to the military budget."

India's ECONOMIC TIMES reports:

Last week a lawmaker demanded Prime Minister Adel Abdel Mahdi provide a written explanation for the ongoing US military presence in Iraq and a timeframe for their stay.
MPs are also drafting a law that would set a deadline for a US withdrawal, according to Mahmud al-Rubaie of the Sadiqun bloc, one of the political groups working on the text.
"We categorically reject the presence of foreign troops in Iraq," Rubaie told AFP.

The ongoing war hits the 16 year mark in March.  16 years of war and occupation.  When does it end?

I'm sorry, I'm asking when does the US war end.  I'm not asking when does US interest in the war end because we all know when that was -- at the end of 2008.  That's when, despite boots on the ground, the networks shuttered their offices in Iraq.  It's when ABC had the 'cost-cutting' notion that they would continue to cover Iraq by  . . . re-running BBC reports.  That didn't last long because there wasn't much interest on the part of the press in war.

Like Alyssa Milano, they can work themselves into a rage over the actions -- or possibly the supposed actions -- of a child but they can't hold a government accountable.

Sorry, Alyssa, Debra and all the other worthless ones, hatred for Donald Trump does not qualify as holding a government accountable -- especially when it's over issues like immigration that you looked the other way on for eight years while Barack Obama set records for deporting immigrants.

The ongoing war his the 16 year mark in March.  And the Alyssas want you to believe that's not a big deal and that it's suddenly normal.  It's not normal at all.  It's outrageous.

So much isn't normal.  Read this garbage from HURRIYET:

At least six PKK militants were “neutralized” on Jan. 20 in northern Iraq, the Turkish Defense Ministry has announced.
Turkish authorities often use the word “neutralized” in their statements to imply that the militants in question either surrendered or were killed or captured.

Airstrikes carried out in the Zap, Sinat-Haftanin and Hakurk regions neutralized militants plotting attacks on Turkish bases, the ministry said on Twitter on Jan. 21.

Often the word "neutralized" . . .?

They used airstrikes, they used war planes.  No one "surrendered."  No one was even "captured."  They were killed.

And just because the Turkish government says the people killed were PKK does not make it so.  They have killed farmers, villagers, children and they have done so repeatedly.  They've done so as the world press and various so-called human rights organizations -- Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International -- have remained silent.

Turkish jets continue bombing Iraqi claiming to be targeting PKK bases and guerrillas. This bombing happened very close to a village in Sidakan area province on Sunday. Video via Rudaw -I

In other news . . .

Great News! Since no Jews can live in Iraq anymore they will never see artifacts of their own community!

And will this be followed by other great news?  The Iraqi government turning these stolen items over to the Jewish community?  These are stolen items.  Stolen items stolen by a regime that the current Iraqi government (US-installed) says they loathe.  Stolen items stolen by a regime that the US government went to war to overthrow.

These items do not belong to any Iraqi government.  They never did.  Thieves are being rewarded.  The people who were the victims, they are victimized all over yet again.

Catch the lie in the next Tweet:

Great News! U.S to Return Jewish Artifacts to Iraq, Despite Protests The trove includes books, religious texts, photographs and personal documents looted during Saddam Hussein's regime, and then found by U.S. troops in 2003


Hell to the f**k of no.  Looting is what people do, remember?  This was a government program.  This was a government abuse.  This was not looting, this was a planned program of abuse carried about by the Iraqi government.

Now the stolen items are thought to have some historical value so the new Iraqi government is insisting they own the items.  How do you own "stolen" items?  And if this ownership is going to be allowed to exist, I will no longer advocate for museums to return stolen property.  If it no longer matters if the original property was stolen (I'd say it damn well matters), then let's just forget the whole thing.

The following community sites -- plus Jody Watley and BLACK AGENDA REPORT -- updated:


    "It's a crock," Ray McGovern tells BLACK AGENDA RADIO about the whole attempt to make the world fear Russia for allegedly giving the DNC e-mails to WIKILEAKS.

    I know some people are just naturally stupid.  But it is also true that some people are uninformed. There are people who never knew about the contents of those e-mails because the press did not report on the content.  Instead, they offer gossip and speculation about how WIKILEAKS got the e-mails.

    WIKILEAKS most likely got the e-mails from the late Seth Rich.  That was always the most likely reality.  Seymour Hersh noted that reality, most people did.

    Instead it was blame Russia.

    "There is no evidence" that Russia provided WikiLeaks with the DNC e-mails, Mr. McGovern stressed.  But so many people want to believe otherwise, right?

    They do not want to deal with the e-mails themselves or they"indicated that she had stolen the nomination from Bernie Sanders."

    You can listen to the broadcast by clicking here.

    I will be blogging tonight.  This was supposed to be written last night but I was, like a lot of others, working hard on HILDA'S MIX.

    This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" for today:

    Monday, January 21, 2019.  The illegal war hits the 16 year mark in March and the same problems continue to plague Iraq: corruption, inability to resolve the issue of disputed territories, inability to stop attacking protesters, inability to form a Cabinet . . .

    Basra, where protests have been taking place since July over the lack of jobs, the government corruption, the lack of potable water (at least 150,000 people have been hospitalized for drinking the water per Iraqi government figures) and, more recently, the call to release the protesters the government keeps arresting.  Glada Lahn and Nouar Shamout (Chatham House) wade into the issue:

    In spite of the region’s oil wealth and foreign investment, many water treatment plants that should be producing potable water were not built (or upgraded) to deal with the high salt levels. This, together with the poor management of upstream urban sewage, agricultural and industrial effluents that end up in the river, was responsible for this summer’s contamination. There is an ongoing legal investigation into why 13 desalination plants provided by donor countries during the reconstruction have not been working since their completion in 2006.
    But this is also a problem that crosses national boundaries. Al-Basra governorate is wedged between Iran and Kuwait, with its Shatt Al-Arab River leading to out into the Persian Gulf. Turkey, Syria and Iraq contribute through the Euphrates and Tigris Rivers, both of which join to form the Shatt Al-Arab at Al Qurnah. About 71 per cent of the flow comes from the Tigris and the Euphrates, the remainder from the Iranian rivers Karkheh and Karun (opens in new window). Basra city, the economic capital of Iraq, and its suburbs are heavily dependent on Shatt Al-Arab River to meet demands for water. 
    Historically, Basra city was famous for its date palms, fruits and vegetables. But this has changed as, with few agreements and no real governance of transboundary water, downstream flow has declined dramatically. 
    Turkey, Syria, Iran and northern Iraq have over the last 40 years erected 56 large dams, including many for hydroelectric power, along the Tigris and Euphrates basins, and enlarged agricultural (mainly flood) irrigation. The Euphrates River has lost more than 40 per cent of its flow since 1972.
    Meanwhile, population in the region has increased almost eightfold to 130 million over the last century, with rising demand for fresh water. And climate change is increasing evaporation in summer.

    Basra's a very serious issue and has been for months now.  Finally, the prime minister. Adil Abdul Mahdi, decided to visit yesterday.

    Iraqi PM visited oil rich, protest ridden, service & infrastructure poor for the first time since becoming PM on October 2, 2018. wants to become autonomous region like Region of Iraq ().

    How did the visit go?

    Also, the Iraqi PM Adel AbdulMehdi during his visit to city checked a hospital inside the city via cellphone flashlights, as the electricity inside the hospital has been unstable for ages.

    That about says it all.

    Saturday, protesters threw rocks at the police leading AP, ANTIWAR.COM and others to suddenly offer headlines of "violence."  Last week, a protester was shot in the back by police but there were no headlines of "violence."  "Violence," apparently, only takes place when the corrupt police are hit with rocks, not when they fire bullets at protesters.  This was at least the fifth time in the last few weeks that police have fired on protesters.  But, hey, that's not violence.  Throw a few rocks at the police and that's suddenly "violence."  From Saturday:

    What were the protesters protesting on Friday?

    The same things that they have been protesting all along with one addition.

    They had a new call but you won't find that in any US press -- not even the 'independent' press.

    From PARS TODAY:

    Neben dem Ruf nach Beendigung der desolaten Wirtschaftslage in ihrer Stadt forderte die Demonstranten auch die Freilassung aller Demonstranten, die vor einigen Tagen bei Protesten in der Region "Ezzadin Salim" festgenommen worden sind.

    The new demand is a call for the release of the protesters who were arrested earlier this week.

    The same US outlets that ignore that demand ignored the arrest of the protesters earlier this week.  From the January 15th snapshot:

    ALSUMARIA reports Basra Operations Command announced yesterday that they will be releasing protesters . . . shortly.  They insist that this is for the "protection" of the activists.  These protesters were demonstrating yesterday.  And "protection" included, apparently, also shooting one protester in the back.  That's at least the fourth time in recent weeks that Basra Operations Command have used "live ammo" on activists.   The third time was this past Friday.

    The Chatham House report, noted at the top of the snapshot, concludes:

    A recent fact-finding mission to Basra by the Norwegian Refugee Council recommends that donor governments support the development of a framework that supports more equitable water sharing. It is in the interests of those who share the rivers to work on it together as an urgent diplomatic necessity. Cleaning up and enabling ecological regeneration will take a comprehensive effort and integrated action plan involving all the states concerned.

    That is hilarious.  Will they also support resolving the issue of Kirkuk?

    Remember that?  They were going to help there.  Nothing happened.  It's written into the 2005 Constitution, Article 140, that the issue of who controls Kirkuk -- the central government out of Baghdad or the Kurdistan Regional Government -- would be decides by a referendum to be held no later than the end of 2007.

    That referendum never got held.

    Despite the Rand Corporation noting it was a fault-line that had to be addressed.  Despite US forces having to repeatedly mediate over the issue.  It's now 2019 and the issue is still not resolved.

    Last month, the International Crisis Group offered:

    What’s new? Following parliamentary and regional elections this year, Baghdad and Erbil are forming new governments. This presents a fresh opportunity to settle longstanding disputes between them. One of their principal disputes concerns the status of disputed territories, so defined in the Iraqi constitution.
    Why does it matter? In response to a Kurdish independence referendum in 2017, Iraqi forces re-took disputed territories from Kurdish parties’ control. This event shows that the conflict over Kirkuk and its oil fields remains explosive and could reignite without efforts to resolve it.

    What should be done? The UN should revive its stillborn mediation effort of a decade ago and work with regional and international partners to bring the two sides to the table and settle the issues dividing them. In particular, it should work to reach a permanent deal on the disputed territories.

    The International Crisis Group maintains:

      In assuming this task, the incoming UNAMI chief, Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, should start by testing the political waters, increasing staff dedicated to the issue and developing a strategy for addressing it. In the meantime, the UN should help defuse the fallout between Baghdad and Erbil from the independence referendum, when the federal government and Iran took punitive measures against the Kurdish region by banning international flights and blocking Kirkuk oil from flowing through the Kurdish pipeline to Turkey. The government has reversed some of these measures, but talks on remaining ones are ongoing and the UN can shepherd them to a successful conclusion. Next, UNAMI should start negotiations focusing on “low-hanging fruit”, such as joint security mechanisms in the disputed territories that would prevent ISIS from exploiting security gaps between contending military actors. Ultimately, UNAMI should focus the two sides on the big questions: revenue sharing (not discussed in this report) and the status of the disputed territories.

    The alternative is letting the issue linger and hoping that it does not turn violent again. Yet the Kurdish aspiration to incorporate the disputed territories into the Kurdish region is undiminished, as is Baghdad’s determination not to give them up. Another violent spasm is just a matter of time, as predictable as the swing of a pendulum. Negotiating a political settlement is a sensible move now that the local and international environments are both conducive to a new UN-led initiative.

    It's interesting how the 'answer' is always to hold more talks and then decide what to do.  The 2005 Constitution was agreed to and signed off on.  Article 140 makes clear how the issue is to be resolved.  Apparently, allowing the Iraqi people themselves to settle it is not a move favored by the 'great thinkers' floating on clouds above the actual issue.

    Iraq has had the most inept governance since the US-led invasion.  Puppets are installed  and then kept in power with the hopes that they will deliver US aims.  We reviewed this in Friday's snapshot when we covered the newly released military reports "The U.S. Army in the Iraq War – Volume 1: Invasion – Insurgency – Civil War, 2003-2006" and "The U.S. Army in the Iraq War — Volume 2: Surge and Withdrawal, 2007-2011." From the second volume:

    When it came to Maliki’s commitment to stand up to JAM and mitigate its overtly sectarian agenda, the President voiced similar doubts, finding it ironic that the Iraqi Prime Minister seemed to be the principal “roadblock” to a renewed U.S. effort to stabi- lize the country. “How do we give [Maliki] responsibility without causing a disaster?” Bush asked. When Casey mentioned that Maliki “lacked political will,” the President responded, “One option is to find someone else.” In its discussion the following day, the group revisited the possibility of replacing the Prime Minister. Abizaid observed that he had “yet to see Maliki show backbone on anything” and thus saw danger in basing the “new way forward” on the Iraqi leader’s political will. Bush reiterated his desire for something “dramatic” or “game-changing.” The “new way forward”—whatever form it took—would have to “put us in a position where we can win.” He again suggested that it might be “time to choose somebody else,” but Khalilzad and the secretary of state con- vinced him that positioning Maliki for success was the more prudent course. 

    Puppets.  And that's what they based their 'strategy' on.  They would put a puppet in place and the puppet would deliver.  The puppet never delivered.  Some 'strategy.'

    And the latest puppet?  A complete failure.  Abdil Abdul Mahdi.  Made prime minister in October.  Remember that?  How do you move from prime minister-designate to prime minister?  Per the Constitution, you form a Cabient.  That is your test.  Your only test.  But Mahdi couldn't form a Cabinet in October.  They went ahead and moved him over anyway.


    ’s New Prime Minister Forms Government Five Months After Election - WSJ -Parliament approved 14 of 22 ministers nominated by Prime Minister Adel but several key posts including Interior and Defense are yet to be agreed upon ..

    Guess what?

    All these months later, there is still no Minister of the Interior (over Iraq's security forces) or Minister of Defense (over Iraq's military forces).

    All these months later.

    It gets worse.

    Parliamentary sources reported that the completion of Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul Mahdi's cabinet will likely be delayed until the next legislative term in the spring due to continued disagreements between the two major blocs in .

    The only test for someone named prime minister designate is to form the Cabinet.  Forming the Cabinet is supposed to demonstrate that you can govern, you can get votes, you can work with others.

    Mahdi has failed.  Repeatedly.  And now he's being given time to wait until spring?

    Remember back in November when he threatened to quit?  He should be confronted with that and asked, "When?"

    He is a failure and the western press looks the other way and treats him with kid gloves.  Why?  Because US government policy for Iraq remains to focus on personalities and not results.  Prop up the person and the person will deliver.  Only it hasn't happened.  Not once.

    Jane Arraf did not the report in a series of Tweet and even that Nouri could be replaced.

    Insights from the US Army's extraordinary new history of the war - 'a war that is not over yet' based on declassified documents: In 2006 run-up to military surge US commanders considered trying to replace PM .

    Of course, she leaves it at "US commanders" -- when they are noted in the second volume but the highest person floating replacing Nouri in that report is Bully Boy Bush who occupied the White House at that time.

    She Tweeted the following as well:

    Analysis says Maliki's sectarianism, authoritarianism later increased as US presence decreased. Post 2011 US withdrawal, 'his actions hollowed out the Iraqi security forces', pushed some Sunnis to rejoin extremists Says Maliki's decisions benefited him more than the Iraqi state.

    Details moment where US commanding general switches from talk of 'winning' to 'succeeding', says Maliki government focus on Shiite dominance drove moderate Sunnis closer to al-Qaeda. It's a history that's widely accepted but now painstakingly, officially documented by the US Army

    And that Tweet goes to the limitation of the report as well as the limitation of our 'press.'

    She's referring to Nouri's second term.  But it was 2008 when the world should have been paying attention.  Is she unaware of The Petraeus and Crocker Show -- where the two paraded in front of Congressional Committees for a week.  It was Senator Barbara Boxer who asked why the US taxpayer was paying the Sons of Iraq?  Why  the US taxpayer and not the Iraqi government?  These were Sunnis (largely Sunnis, David Petraeus said) who had fought against the US but were now being paid to stop attacking the US.  They were becoming a force to patrol and secure.  And Boxer wanted to know when the Iraqi government planned to pick up the slack?

    Supposedly, it was going to happen.  But it didn't.  Not in 2008.  Not in 2009.  Not in 2010.

    That was all Nouri's first term.  It was also in his first term that the world learned he was running torture chambers and secret prisons.  But the point was to look away, let Barack Obama give him a second term (via The Erbil Agreement after Iraqi voters rejected him) and pretend and hope that Nouri would deliver.

    What he ended up delivering was ISIS in Iraq.

    New content at THIRD: