Thursday, June 13, 2013

$100 million for a White House trip!

Have you read the report by Lucy Madison (CBS News) about how much money the White House is about to spend?  How much of our money, our tax dollars, the White House plans to spend?  From Ms. Madison's report:

A presidential trip to Africa this month could cost the government anywhere from $60 to $100 million dollars, according to the Washington Post, which obtained an internal planning document for the travel itinerary.

At the end of June, Mr. Obama and his family will take an eight-day trip to sub-Saharan Africa, making stops in Senegal, Tanzania, and South Africa in the name of reinforcing U.S. commitment to forging strong relationships with emerging democracies in the region. 

Excuse me?

We are supposedly cutting back on everything.  And the White House is planning to spend $100 million?

That is outrageous.

There is no need to take the full family and there is no need for a trip at all.

President Barack Obama last visited Iraq when?  2008 when he was running for president?  I think so.  I know he refused Nouri al-Maliki's call in December.  If he wants to go somewhere as president, Iraq's the land that needs attention -- from the media, from world leaders.

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

Thursday, June 13, 2013.  Chaos and violence continue,  Nouri targets Iraqiya (again), Nineveh Province Governor Atheel al-Nujaifia (Iraqiya member) survives an assassination attempt, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon leads Nouri to believe Iraq's about to be taken out of Chapter VII, Kurdish fighters refuse Nouri's orders to attack Sunni protesters, we look at Alex Gibney's We Steal Secrets documentary, note the difference between WikiLeaks supporters and Julian Assange groupies, veterans force the State Dept to talk Iraq, and much more.

 Alex Gibney We Steal Secrets is the new documentary telling the story about WikiLeaks.  As a result, it's been trashed -- largely by trash.  Loved the comments (that's sarcasm) by the trash that wears a wire to a court-martial -- we all know who I mean, right? -- where no recording devices are allowed.  That is how you end up with audio of Bradly Manning speaking that you release to the world.

WikiLeaks was an organization that pledged to release secrets.  It was a cute stunt and that's what the documentary exposes that probably cuts to the core of too many people who are too invested in Julian Assange and really need to take a step back and get a little perspective.

In its brief history, WikiLeaks accomplished a great deal.  It was to be the people's intelligence agency.  You don't hear that anymore because that motive doesn't come with First Amendment protections in the US, but that's what it was presented as (and the documentary captures that).  It allowed for minor embarrassments in a series of minor -- on the world stage -- exposures.

Then came its biggest leak.   Monday April 5, 2010, WikiLeaks released US military video of a July 12, 2007 assault in Iraq. 12 people were killed in the assault including two Reuters journalists Namie Noor-Eldeen and Saeed Chmagh.  None of its subsequent leaks would ever be as massive or impressive.  That's because we are largely a visual people and this one had video.  It had video that the US government had refused to release.  Reuters had pressed forever to know how their two journalists were killed.  They were stonewalled.

The video contained the comments of those doing the killing.  To the shock of many, there was a cold hearted and a they-got-what-they-deserve attitude on the recording.  As though you could do that without hardening and removing yourself from questioning?  I don't know.  A lot of the shock over the video was about drawing lines between yourself and the ones doing the killing and, honestly, there's no great line there.  Anyone could have been the pawn that the killers were.  That is what the training and the socialization is about.

You got drama queens denouncing the killers.  But the killers killed on orders and acted as they were trained to do.  Meaning the problem went above them.  That was too much to explore, that was too much to acknowledge for the simplistic who need everything in black and white -- strangely, this is a group that bashed Bully Boy Bush for his either/or stances.

We didn't glom on the sugaring coating.  Check the archives, we were talking about the larger issues.  Also, you can go into archives before April 5, 2010 and you'll see we supported WikiLeaks.  You can go after, and you'll see the same thing.  When the cables came out, unlike all of the Julian Assange groupies (Greg Mitchell, etc.), we actually covered those in real time.  Democracy Now! couldn't be bothered.  We spent weeks on them here.  And we charted what was happening -- the silence -- at Third.  October 30, 2010, Ava and I wrote "TV: Media of the absurd:"

As two who've experience not only multiple revivals of Albee's Tiny Alice but the canonization of the Twenty-First Century's two leading dim bulbs Bush and Barack, we thought we had a handle on the theatre of the absurd but, in fact, nothing prepares you.
That point became very clear in last week's coverage of the release of government documents. Friday October 22nd, WikiLeaks released 391,832 US military documents on the Iraq War. The documents -- US military field reports -- reveal torture and abuse and the ignoring of both. They reveal ongoing policies passed from the Bush administration onto the Obama one. They reveal that both administrations ignored and ignore international laws and conventions on torture. They reveal a much higher civilian death toll than was ever admitted to.
How would Panhandle Media handle this? The beggar media, for those who've forgotten, came to new levels of name-recognition (if not fame) and access to the pockets and, more importantly, pocket books of a huge number of Americans as a result of the illegal Iraq War. It was a cash cow, a rainmaker, for Panhandle Media. For the first time in it's 145 year history, The Nation magazine found itself raking in the dough and turning an actual profit, Pacifica Radio found itself flush with so much cash, local stations skimming off the top wasn't really a liability. Those with faces for radio, found a home on TV. It truly was a heady time during which many recast themselves as independent voices of the left when, in fact, they were nothing more than megaphones for the Democratic Party.
Bully Boy Bush's eight-year occupation of the White House was bad for the world but it put a shiny veneer and polish on a number of whores and that was never more clear than last week if you were waiting for WikiLeaks coverage from Panhandle Media.
The Nation magazine offered nothing on WikiLeaks last week. There was a video of Jeremy Schahill appearing on MSNBC talking about WikiLeaks -- that would be MSNBC's content that The Nation magazine reposted. They also reposted Laura Flanders GritTV 'commentary' that managed to buzzword WikiLeak without ever actually discussing it or explaining it. In fact, Laura's 'commentary' was like a trashy website listing porn terms in a desperate attempt to drive up traffic. Which, if you think about it, really does summarize The Nation today.
Yes, the same Laura who once declared it impossible to ignore WikiLeaks (look for her April 2010 column making that claim) ignored it. Despite having a half-hour TV show which airs Monday through Friday. She ignored it over and over. But that's what a whore does and that's all Laura Flanders has become, a cheap, tacky and, yes, ugly media whore.
She's far from alone. In These Times boasts no public access TV 'celebrity' but they couldn't be bothered writing one damn word last week about the documents WikiLeaks released. The Progressive?

Last week, the magazine published 15 online text pieces and not one was about WikiLeaks. That's appalling. In a ridiculous radio commentary last week, Matthew Rothschild opened with, "WikiLeaks has performed a service that our mainstream corporate media has failed to do."
Wow. They've failed! You know, Matt, it's too bad you don't run a magazine. If you did, you could get everyone to cover the WikiLeaks release . . . Oh, wait.
Matthew, you must have forgotten, you are the editor and the CEO of The Progressive magazine. You know what's "really ugly"? Your failure to publish even one article at the website. And you can trash US Senator John Ensign all you want (we have no need to defend Ensign) but if you don't want to look like a hypocrite, you shouldn't attack Ensign for not wanting a hearing on the revelations when you and your magazine can't even write about it. 'Not at all." [For more on Rothschild, refer to Elaine's "The Whoring of America" from last week.]
All last week, Beggar Media had time for every subject except the WikiLeaks release. An actress phoned us Friday to say of KPFK, "It's offered more 'news' of Obama on The Daily Show than on WikiLeaks." No, she wasn't joking. To listen to KPFK programming last week was to have no idea that WikiLeaks released any documents. During the Bush reign, KPFK had a number of hosts insisting no one cared more about the Iraq War than they did. Today? All quiet on the Democratic Party front.

We had no problem supporting WikiLeaks because we had no problem supporting the truth.  But Panhandle Media?  They couldn't take the truth in the releases.  They avoided one of the most serious revelations and you had to look to overseas media to find about that -- start with  Angus Stickler's "Obama administration handed over detainees despite reports of torture" (The Bureau of Investigative Journalism).  The notion that Panhandle Media supported WikiLeaks?  It's a myth, it's a revisionary myth.  They offered generic lip service 'support.' They refused to utilize the cables, to broadcast what was in them, to write about what was in them.  They sure as hell weren't going to go after their hero Barack.  But in their black and white world, they would use them to vilify Bully Boy Bush --  who Barack was never going to prosecute so we should all just take the 'win' and ignore now that he was finally evicted from the White House.

But it was all about yesteryear because focusing on that allowed these children posing as adults to pretend all was well in the world.  That's the lie WikiLeaks was fighting so don't even pretend that a Michael Ratner or an Amy Goodman or The Nation magazine was supporting WikiLeaks at that time.

This is important due to the reaction Alex Gibney's documentary has received from some.  I like the documentary, I applaud it.  But I understand film and I'm also not a cheap whore.  A friend at Universal (which has released the film) asked if I would give it a plug in a snapshot and couldn't understand why the film was so reviled by some.  I explained, "You understand film, you understand a documentary.  But these people don't understand anything but blind faith in their comic book heroes."

As they've demonstrated repeatedly, they're children who will not face truth.  They will lie that all US troops are out of Iraq -- a war they once decried and how they attacked lies about Iraq then -- because their hero is Barack Obama.  They're children who couldn't deal with the information that WikiLeaks released.  You had to be an adult especially to go through those cables because there were a ton of them and lazy children don't do that.  They instead offer generic statements about WikiLeaks and pretend that's covering the release of the cables.  Lazy children have to believe that Julian Assange is god and Superman and Buddah and ET rolled into one.  Because in their simplistic world, in their eternal childhood, that's how they see things.

The documentary's far from perfect.  I don't approve of the term "sex crimes."  Rape is rape but "rape" is only used in the documentary when we see text reports on camera.  The film doesn't pretend to know that Julian Assange raped the two women.  It does allow one woman to tell her side and offers frequent clips of Julian telling his side on that issue -- telling his side means attacking the women -- the thing that did more to destroy the myth of Julian than anything else as his howler monkeys echoed those attacks and the world recoiled.

What Michael Ratner -- who is part of Julian's defense and misuses the public airwaves every week on WBAI to promote his clients or his family (in the case most recently of Lizzy Ratner's appearance) -- wants is a film that says Julian Assange is a victim of others.  What the film argues is Assange is a victim of his own making.  Looking at British newspaper coverage of him, Julian declares, "Wow.  I'm untouchable now in this country."  How quickly that would change. 

Documentaries have a point of view.  Sorry this a surprise to some, sorry that so many never bothered to educate themselves.  If you think I'm a defender of the First Amendment (and I am), I'm an even bigger defender or art and do not suffer fools on that topic.

The documentary also tells Bradley Manning's story and that especially offends the children because Bradley's only of interest to them in terms of Julian Assange.  They've done damn little for Bradley the entire time he's been imprisoned.

Monday June 7, 2010, the US military announced that they had arrested Bradley Manning and he stood accused of being the leaker of the Collateral Damage video. Leila Fadel (Washington Post) reported in August 2010 that Manning had been charged -- "two charges under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. The first encompasses four counts of violating Army regulations by transferring classified information to his personal computer between November and May and adding unauthorized software to a classified computer system. The second comprises eight counts of violating federal laws governing the handling of classified information." In March, 2011, David S. Cloud (Los Angeles Times) reported that the military has added 22 additional counts to the charges including one that could be seen as "aiding the enemy" which could result in the death penalty if convicted. The Article 32 hearing took place in December. At the start of this year, there was an Article 32 hearing and, February 3rd, it was announced that the government would be moving forward with a court-martial. Bradley has yet to enter a plea. The court-martial was supposed to begin before the November 2012 election but it was postponed until after the election so that Barack wouldn't have to run on a record of his actual actions.   February 28th, Bradley admitted he leaked to WikiLeaks.  And why.

Bradley Manning:   In attempting to conduct counter-terrorism or CT and counter-insurgency COIN operations we became obsessed with capturing and killing human targets on lists and not being suspicious of and avoiding cooperation with our Host Nation partners, and ignoring the second and third order effects of accomplishing short-term goals and missions. I believe that if the general public, especially the American public, had access to the information contained within the CIDNE-I and CIDNE-A tables this could spark a domestic debate on the role of the military and our foreign policy in general as [missed word] as it related to Iraq and Afghanistan.
I also believed the detailed analysis of the data over a long period of time by different sectors of society might cause society to reevaluate the need or even the desire to even to engage in counterterrorism and counterinsurgency operations that ignore the complex dynamics of the people living in the effected environment everyday.

No surprise, The Nation and so many of the we-love-Bradley! scribes ignored that -- just as they have refused to call out counterinsurgency throughout the last decade.  (And a reminder, the left always called out counter-insurgency in this country.  That's why The Battle of Algiers is such a well known film to this day and not just an obscure classic.)

We Steal Secrets takes you back to when the Collateral Murder video was released by WikiLeaks.

Alex Gibney: The team posted the unedited video on the WikiLeaks website.  They also posted a shorter version, edited for maximum impact.  Julian titled it "Collateral Murder."

TV anchor:  No surprise it's getting reaction in Washington.

White House spokesperson Robert Gibbs:  Our military will take every precaution necessary to ensure the safety and security of civilians.

Julian Assange: The behavior of the pilots is like they are playing a computer game.  Their desire was simply to kill.

TV anchor:  The Pentagon says that it sees no reason to investigate this any further.

TV reporter:  It's only inquiry found that the journalists' cameras were mistaken for weapons.

If Howard Zinn had been alive then, would it have gone down the same?  Maybe not.  If Zinn were alive, someone who had dropped bombs and regretted it, he might have been able to steer the spotlight above the ones who did the killing, to those who ordered, to those who created the culture for it.  But maturity was in short supply for the left then.  So, except for some hisses at Hillary Clinton, the administration would be ignored -- even though it was Barack deciding not to open a new investigation, even though it was Robert Gibbs lying to the American people. 

From We Steal Secrets:

Michael Hayden:  Frankly I'm not.  But I can understand someone who is troubled by that and someone who wants the American people to know that because the American people need to know what it is their government is doing for them.  I actually share that view.  When I was Director of the CIA, there was some stuff we were doing I wanted all 300 million of Americans to know.  But I never figured out a way without informing a whole bunch of other people who didn't have a right to that information, who may actually use that image, or that fact, or that data, or that image, or that message to harm my country men.

US Government Classification Czar J. William Leonard:  From a national security point of view, there was absolutely no justification for that videotape. Number one, gunship video is like trading cards among soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan, it's freely exchanged back and forth.  What is even more disturbing is it was one in a series of efforts to withhold images of facts that were known.

Alex Gibney: Reuters knew its reporters had been killed.  The news agency requested the video but the Army refused claiming the video was classified.

J. William Leonard:  The fact that innocent people were killed in that helicopter attack, that was a known fact that was not classified.

Alex Gibney: A record of the incident and a word-for-word transcript of the pilot's conversation had had already been published in a book called The Good Soldiers by a writer embedded with the army [David Finkel]. The Army later confirmed that the information was not classified yet the Army would prosecute the man [Bradley Manning] who leaked the video to WikiLeaks.  What kind of games was the Army playing?  Why was a transcript less secret than a moving image?

That could be a defense argument if Bradley had real legal representation.  He clearly doesn't, his attorney is an idiot and so are a few of the 'talkers' pretending to support Brad.  Jodie Evans is guilty of taking her stupidity all over the airwaves.  The elderly woman with the Valley Girl speak who married for money is -- and always was -- a supreme idiot.  As she demonstrated on KPFK's Connect the Dots with Lila Garrett Monday.  Jodie marveled over how the prosecution presented their case (opening arguments) with precision.  She said that they had it all lined up and it left her cold.  Showing the xenophobia that's always been there (I've known Jodie since she was a gofer for Jerry Brown), she went on about how it sounded like a foreign language.  And then Daniel E. Coombs got up (Bradley's civilian attorney) and started talking about it in terms that touched her heart. 

Jodie was praising that.  It's a losing strategy and we explained that in the June 3rd snapshot:

Ian Simpson (Reuters) notes Bradley's civilian attorney David Coombs declared that Bradley was "young, naive, but good intentioned."  Is ignorance of the law going to be Coombs defense?  He is aware that's not an excuse, right?  And if he thinks he's laying the groundwork for ineptitude, he's doing it very poorly.  (Ineptitude is a recognized military defense.  If you were inept -- it has to be specific -- then you can be found not guilty.  Ineptitude is not ignorance.)  Also, it's "well intentioned," not "good intentioned."  What a moron.  Who is the idiot who paired Bradley with this attorney?
ITV (link is text and video)  quotes Coombs more fully, "He was 22-years old.  He was young.  A little naive, but good intentioned in that he was selecting information that he thought would make a difference.  He is not the typical soldier.  He was a humanist."
That argument?  It's meaningless.  It became meaningless when the decision was made by the defense not to seek a trial by his peers and instead allow the military official overseeing the court-martial to decide on guilt or innocence.  Denise Lind will be swayed only by the law.  Coombs is such an idiot he's making jury arguments when there's no jury present.  What an idiot.

[. . .]
So while the prosecution is being systematic in their presentation, Coombs is all over the board with idiotic statements which don't even rally public support outside the courtroom.  All weekend long we heard or read or saw one interview after another of Daniel Ellsberg and others maintaining, "I am Bradley Manning."  The point of that p.r. blitz is to normalize Bradley, to make him appear like someone you know, someone you can understand.  But Coombs is presenting Bradley as an "oddball."  While the p.r. campaign is saying we're all like Bradley, Coombs is arguing Bradley is nothing like others.
It's stupid.  It's stupid in that this part of the hearing is open and his statements could be used to rally the public but Coombs is too stupid to grasp that.  It's stupid because he already looks like an idiot before the judge while the prosecution looks methodical and informed.  It really says something when you think about the brain trust that devoted their time and energy to Julian Assange (including but not limited to American attorney Michael Ratner) but there's a brain drought when it comes to Bradley's defense.
What should Coombs be doing?  Having failed to get a plea deal that would allow Bradley to serve less than five years (that was possible), having failed to get a jury trial, having failed to stipulate so that the trial would not last (as many outlets insist it will) 12 weeks, what is Coombs left with?
He's left with the law.  You argue the law.  And it's not hard to argue the law.  The law is in conflict all the time.  You raise those conflicts before the judge, you make the judge explore those conflicts on her own, in her own mind.  You're not going to sway a military judge with kittens and sob stories. 
[. . .]

You make the legal argument.  You engage the judge's critical thinking and you do so grasping that judicial activism -- which happens across the political spectrum -- happens because judges think they know so much and think if writing the law was left up to them all the problems in the world would be solved.  You invite the judge into a legal maze and let the judge sort it out.  The vanity usually works to the defense's interest.

Jodie doesn't have a damn clue and as she marvels over the court-martial with Lila, you're left with the realization that this alleged 'activist,' this alleged 'anti-war' 'activist,' never got her ass into a court-martial before and never followed the coverage of one.  Despite the fact that court-martials have been held against war resisters Camilo Mejia, Robin Long, James Burmeister, Mark Wilkerson, Ehren Watada, Kimberly Rivera . . .   In fact, Kim Rivera's very telling.

Supposedly, Jodie Evans and Medea Benjamin created a group for women opposed to the war.  Kim Rivera is a war resister.  She and her family went to Canada because she refused to go back to the Iraq War which she found to be criminal.  In September of 2012, she was informed she would be deported back to the US.  We covered that repeatedly here, check the archives.  CODESTINK?  They had time to issue, among other nonsense, "Two Women Wrongfully Arrested for Standing on Sidewalk Holding Pink Bras in front of Bank of America."  They never issued one damn press release on Kim.  April 29th, Kim faced a court-martial.  They were too busy with the Bush library and with their idiotic hunger strike (are they dead yet?) to cover Kim. 

Idiotic hunger strike?  In 2006, they announced that stupid action.  I supported it here -- check the archives -- with reservations and encouraged those who wanted to participate to do so once a week and to seek a doctor's advice before beginning a hunger strike. CODESTINK has never grasped that failing to include that "seek a doctor's advice before beginning a hunger strike" leaves them open to litigation.  In addition, I never would have supported -- and criticized in real time -- a woman's group promoting a hunger strike because women and girls are the ones most prone to eating disorders in this country. Now here's the reality -- I'm not in the mood for CODESTINK -- the bulk of their members who were hunger striking were cheating.  They were claiming no food but they were eating. Even worse, they claimed they were hunger striking to end the war.  But they ended their hunger strike as the war continued.  Now they were hunger striking because Guantanamo prisoners were.  Guantanamo prisoners are not doing that for a fad.  Nor would they be doing it if they were not in Guantanamo.   A hunger strike in a prison may be your only route to expression and to register your objection.  But a hunger strike on the outside?  In 'solidarity'? That's not only stupid, it's futile.

Which is the perfect description of Jodie Evans.  The 'antiwar' 'activist' who did nothing to help Kim Rivera and who does nothing to inform the American people that the Iraq War is not over.

She's as big a liar as Jay Carney.  Carney, White House spokesperson, declared Monday, June 10th, "and of course the president ended the war in Iraq."  That was noted to me by a friend at the briefing who took notes and slid them over to me Monday night.  See this Tuesday entry.  They've still refused to post a transcript.  On the phone with a friend at the White House, he pointed out the video was posted.  Yes, it is.  And if you hit the "transcript" option on that page?  You're taken to a transcript of June 6th, not of the June 10th press briefing.  It's not an accident.  And it's not an accident when Jay Carney lies that "the president ended the war in Iraq."  Or when Jodie Evans lies about that.

April was the worst month in terms of death toll for Iraq in five years.  Then May came along and became the worst month in five years in terms of the death toll.  The war's not over. All US forces never left Iraq.  And more have been sent in.  They've trained Nouri's new SWAT forces, the same forces responsible for the  April 23rd massacre of a sit-in in Hawija.  Alsumaria noted Kirkuk's Department of Health (Hawija is in Kirkuk)  announced 50 activists have died and 110 were injured in the assault.   AFP has been reporting 53 dead for several days now -- indicating that some of the wounded did not recover.  UNICEF noted that the dead included 8 children (twelve more were injured). Not only should there be international outcry, but here in the US, all the people who claimed to give a damn about Iraq, all the people who marched when Bully Boy Bush occupied the White House, should be denouncing this massacre and the fact that it took place with arms and training supplied by the US.

A SOFA's no longer needed.  The US now has their MoU.  Dropping back to the 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."

If that's still confusing -- Jodie Evans has always been deeply stupid -- you can refer to this [PDF format warning]  from the June 3rd, Kenneth Katzman "Iraq: Politics, Governance, and Human Rights" report for the US Congressional Research Service:

Heightened AQ-I and other insurgent activity has shaken the Iraqi leadership’s confidence in the ISF somewhat and apparently prompted the Iraqi government to reemphasize security cooperation with the United States. On August 19, 2012, en route to a visit to Iraq, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey said that “I think [Iraqi leaders] recognize their capabilities may require yet more additional development and I think they’re reaching out to us to see if we can help them with that.”39 Iraq reportedly has 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.40 Some refurbished air defense guns are being provided gratis as excess defense articles (EDA), but Iraq was said to lament that the guns would not arrive until June 2013. Iraq reportedly argued that the equipment was needed to help it enforce insistence that Iranian overflights to Syria land in Iraq for inspection.
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.41 (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-terrorism forces (Counter-Terrorism Service, CTS) against AQ-I in western Iraq.42 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 the its mission to its full potential. The MOU also reflects some of the more recent ideas put forward, such as joint exercises.

It's strange that an 'anti-war' group like CODESTINK wouldn't be all over that . . . until you remember that Jodie Evans was a bundler for Barack.  Her electoral politics trumped any opposition to war or any concern for the Iraqi people.

Jodie doesn't give a damn about Bradley either.  He's facing a kangaroo court -- something, to her credit, that Lila Garrett does offer.  Jodie insists that's not true but she's just doing advance work for a possible Julian Assange trial.  She slips up in her interview with Lila twice.  The second time has her claiming "This is one of the most important cases of our lifetime."

The Bradley Manning trial is actually meaningless beyond the fact that Bradley's being railroaded.  That's unfortunate and wrong.  Hopefully, there will be an appeal.  But Brad's case is important in terms of him.  It doesn't have a damn thing to do with the majority of Americans.  Now, whistle-blower Ed Snowden?  If he's charged, that case could have implications.  But Bradley's trial doesn't effect the New York Times or the Washington Post or Pacifica Radio.

And military court-martials are not legal findings in civilian court.  They do not become precedents in a civilian court.

Brad's going to be found guilty.  Short of pressure on Barack Obama (a tactic that Jodie of course wouldn't mention) that's what's going to happen.  But Brad being found guilty is not a legal precedent.  It's a military court-martial.  It has no impact on civilian law.  Grasp that right now.

Brad did something heroic, in my opinion, and shouldn't be facing a military trial at all.  But I'm not able to whore and lie like Jodie.  She wants you to make this the most important aspect of your life over the next 12 weeks. 

Why does it feel like, yet again, she's playing defense for the White House? 

Ed Snowden's a whistle-blower that would have impact on the civilian world.   But CODESTINK has not said one word about Snowden.  They don't want to address Barack's spying on Americans and the world.  If Ed Snowden faces a trial, that could have civilian implications because he's a civilian.  Which is why NPR's distortions about spying matter.  A military court-martial has no impact on civilian law.

I do know the law and I also know that pressure on Barack is the only thing that could save Brad at this point.  The court-martial was supposed to take place in the fall of 2012.  It got moved back to 2013 because Barack didn't want it hurting his re-election chances.  We pointed that out for months after the decision was made.  But none of the Jodie Evans wanted to try to pressure Barack when they had the chance.  They don't want to pressure him now.  So Brad's going to prison -- 98% chance he's going to a military prison for a very long time.  It's not fair, it's not right.  But he's got an idiot for an attorney and I'm not going to waste my time on this. There are serious matters today -- including Barack's spying on Americans -- and CODESTINK wants to distract you from those serious matters (while trying to do advance work for potential charges against Julian Assange).  If you're not seeing what's going on, look at Law and Disorder Radio.  They've got time to bring on Michael Ratner's niece to babble about NYC.  Yes, the programs airs on WBAI but it also airs across the country on various radio stations -- including one where the station manager told me it's about to be pulled because his listeners are asking what the hell is up with all the NYC stories and insult to southerners (silly hosts think it's cute to insult southerners -- while wanting southern listeners?).  So they wasted time doing nepotism and NYC-ism while ignoring the spying scandal.  These are three attorneys and they can't call out the spying but damned if they didn't when Bully Boy Bush was in the White House.  At this point, Brad is Jack in James Cameron's Titanic and Rose needs to let go. It's about survival.  You're not going to change a military court-martial after you've refused to have a jury (it was the jury that saved Ehren Watada -- when the judge realized the prosecution had acted like a fool and lost the jury, Judge John Head immediately called a mistrial to give the prosecution a do-over -- he didn't get his way because the double-jeopardy clause exists exactly so prosecutions don't get a do-over).  Doesn't mean you stop caring about Brad, doesn't mean you don't believe an injustice is taking place, it just means you use your time wisely on efforts you can have an actual impact on.

Today the US State Dept issued a press release on Iraq:

Media Note
Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
June 13, 2013
A delegation of five senior Iraqi government officials and civil society leaders is visiting Washington, DC, from June 13-20 to meet with U.S. counterparts to discuss ways to address the challenges facing widows and female heads of household in Iraq. Conducted under the auspices of the Department of State’s Iraqi Women’s Democracy Initiative (IWDI), the program will include meetings with U.S.-based experts on the needs and concerns of widows and female heads of household, and training in topics such as social assistance and welfare, implementing national programs to support vulnerable populations, developing frameworks for action and innovation to support women’s economic empowerment. While in Washington, the Iraqi delegation will meet with senior U.S. Government officials to strengthen both countries’ understanding of the status of this disadvantaged and underrepresented segment of Iraqi society.
There are an estimated one to three million widows and single female heads of household in Iraq. One in ten households in Baghdad is headed by a woman. To address the unique needs of this vulnerable population, the Department launched the Secretary’s War Widows Initiative in 2009, which directs funds to NGOs in support of literacy, entrepreneurship, and vocational skills for Iraqi widows and female heads of household. To date, the program has awarded $10 million in grants that have covered a range of issues to build the capacity of Iraqi widows, improve NGO services to widows and their children, and connect more widows to the Government of Iraq’s widow stipend program.
The IWDI was established in 2004 by the Department’s Office of Global Women’s Issues and the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor to support Iraqi women’s political, economic, legal, and social advancement. Since its inception, the IWDI has provided approximately $33 million in support of efforts to advance the status of Iraqi women.

Why did they issue a press release on Iraq?  I was told by the State Dept friend who forwarded it that they're getting a lot of flack over the lack of Iraq content at their website when the State Dept is spending millions of US tax dollars in Iraq every day.  I was told the latest wave of angry feedback came from Iraq War veterans. I was also asked if I had anything to do with it?  Nope.  But we spoke to a veterans group last week and one on Monday and they did raise the issue of why the media and the administration were ignoring Iraq when so much money was being spent on it?  Monday's group even brought up  Mark Thompson (Time magazine) report  -- which noted the $2 billion contract that the State Dept has with PAE Government Services, Inc., "That’s a million dollars a day over a five-year period, if the contract hits its ceiling. The down payment is $347,883,498 (don’t you just love such precision? It’s almost a prime number, for Pete’s sake)."

While the US State Dept issued their statement today on Iraq, in England an MP with the Labour Party, two time Academy Award winner Glenda Jackson issued a statement on the Iraq War as well. Emma Youle (Ham and High) quotes Jackson stating:

The true tragedy was that no-one sat down and seriously discussed how we were going to win the peace after the bullets stopped and bombs ceased falling.  You cannot invade somewhere without a plan of how justice, peace, prosperity and happiness can be built following a war.  I vividly remember the day the news emerged that 52 British Ambassadors had written to the Prime Minister urging him not to invade Iraq back in 2003. We must listen to the expert people around us and within countries who understand their own homes. The most important thing now is that we learn from this horror.  We must never ever go down that road again. This is incredibly important with the ongoing conflict in Syria, and I hope the Prime Minister will take heed. We must draw a red line in the sand.

Sometimes it appears the only ones who "learn from this horror" are the Iraqi people who see the illegal war didn't bring them democracy (they voted Nouri out as prime minister in 2010 but Barack overrode their votes and went around the Constitution to give Nouri a second term) but it brought destruction and continues to bring birth defects.  Stephen Lendman (Activist Post) notes the birth defects and cancer the illegal war creates:

Children born with two heads reflect it. Some had only one eye. Missing sockets look like the inside of an oyster. They're milky and shapeless.
Some children had tails like a skinned lamb. One or more had a monkey's face. Girls had their legs grown together. They were half fish, half human.
Miscarriages are frequent. Hundreds of newborns have cleft pallets, elongated heads, overgrown or short limbs, and other malformed body parts. Some are too gruesome to view.

Sunday Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki traveled to the semi-autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government to meet with KRG President Massoud Barzani.  As we've noted all week, it doesn't appear to have had any real impact.  One of the few people to see that reality in real time (on Sunday) was Chen Zhi (Xinhua) who also noted:

Moreover, Iraq's Kurdish, Sunni and some Shiite factions have frequently accused the government of killing the democratic process by attempting to gain more power, and evading his commitments to implementing the terms of the power-sharing deal, also known as Erbil agreement.
The deal, reached in November, 2010 in the Kurdistan region, paved the way for Maliki's current partnership government after the Iraqi political rivals ended their differences that lasted eight months following the parliamentary elections on March 7, 2010.
Observers see that Maliki's move in Kurdistan is an attempt to get better relations with the Kurds while confronting the protests of the Sunni Iraqis.

The Erbil Agreement was the US-brokered contract.  Nouri's State of Law came in second to Ayad Allawi's Iraqiya in the 2010 elections meaning Nouri needed to vacate his position as prime minister.  Instead, like a spoiled child, he stamped his feet and brought the country to gridlock, eight months plus of a political stalemate as he refused to surrender his position.  He got away with it because he had Barack's backing.  The Erbil Agreement was negotiated in November of 2010 and signed then.  It went around the Constitution and the people's votes to give Nouri a second term in exchange for him giving various blocs things they wanted -- like his promise to implement Article 140 of the Constitution.  That's actually why The Erbil Agreement never should have been signed.  Oil-rich Kirkuk is in dispute.  The KRG claims that they have the rights to it while the central government out of Baghdad makes the same claim.  The Iraqi Constitution explains, in Article 140, that a census and referendum will be held to determine the status of Kirkuk.  This was supposed to happen no later than the end of 2007, per the Constitution.  Nouri blew it off -- despite his oath to follow the Constitution.

If his Constitutional oath didn't make him implement Article 140, why would anyone take his word afterwards?  No surprise, Nouri used the legal contract to get a second term as prime minister and then proceeded to ignore the contract in terms of the promises he'd made in it. 

When Nouri visited the KRG on Sunday, he trotted out Article 140 and his past history on that goes a long way towards explaining why a face to face wasn't going to work.  Words are meaningless from Nouri's mouth.  Words are meaningless from Nouri on a peace of paper.

Iraq came to a standstill in 2010.  The only thing that allowed the country to move forward was the power-sharing agreement, The Erbil Agreement.  Nouri trashed it.  The US government looked the other way (despite promising the political bloc leaders that it was a binding contract that had the full backing of the White House).  By the summer of 2011, Moqtada al-Sadr, the Kurds and Iraqiya were calling for the implementation of The Erbil Agreement.  There is no resolving the current situation in Iraq without that contract being honored.

When a contract was broken (after Nouri used it to get the second term the Iraqi people didn't elect him to), you can't pave over it with more words.  Nouri needs to show action.  Excuse me, Nouri needs to show action that indicates his word has meaning.  He doesn't need to show the action All Iraq News reports today: He's gone back on his stated promise regarding the distribution of seats in Najaf following the provincial elections -- in doing so, he's angered the leader of the Islamic Supreme Iraqi Council Ammar al-Hakim and movement leader, cleric and Sadr Bloc leader Moqtada al-Sadr.

But United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has made it clear that he believes in enabling a torturer like Nouri.  He's turning himself and the UN into a joke. 

We addressed Article VII yesterday:

Adam Schreck (AP) reports that Nouri met in BAghdad with Kuwait's Prime Minister Jaber Al Mubuarak Al Sabah.  I don't understand this article.  How do you write about this meeting and not write about Chapter VII.  That's what the meeting was about.  I do not understand why the US press repeatedly fails to address Chapter VII. I've been at the UN watching the Security Council briefings and heard Martin Kobler talk about Chapter VII and seen US reporters leave that out, even when they quote him right before he mentioned Chapter VII and right after.  Why is Chapter VII such a damn secret?
Kuwait is owed, the United Nations determined, reperations by Iraq for Iraq's war on Kuwait.  Until those monies are paid off, Iraq remains in Chapter VII.  This is a huge issue to Iraq.  Every year, Nouri sends a representative to appear before the UN Security Council and make the case that 'enough has been done' and Iraq should be removed from Chapter VII.  How do you _____ miss this over and over except intentionally?

It was the only leverage on Nouri to get him to stop attacking the Iraqi people, to get him to honor The Erbil Agreement.  All Iraq News reports today, "The Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki received a phone call from the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon during which Ki-moon informed Maliki that the UN will do its best to exempt Iraq from the UN Charter's 7th Chapter."

Ban Ki-moon's name was already being ridiculed this week in Iraq as a result of his statements about being concerned about Iraq which came as he announced he was pulling Martin Kobler as head of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq without naming anyone to replace Kobler.  Today, All Iraq News reports Ban Ki-moon's declared he has five people he's considering to head UNAMI.  No rush, Kobler leaves in what, two weeks?

And it's not like Iraq can afford a transition right now.  Two months in a row of record violence?   An now Nouri's back to targeting Iraqiya?  All Iraq News notes an arrest warrant's been issued for Iraqiya MP Haider al-Mulla.  That's only to inflame tensions.  And things are already beyond tense.  Jason Ditz ( notes:

The Iraqi military’s violent attacks on Sunni Arab protesters weren’t the panacea that Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki was expecting them to be, but it also cost the army 1,070 troops, according to officials.
The troops, ethnic Kurds, mutinied when they were ordered to attack a Sunni Arab town where protests were taking place, and then refused to attend “disciplinary re-training” meant to ensure that they wouldn’t hesitate to attack Iraqi towns if ordered in the future.

AFP reports that Tuz Khurmatu Mayor Shallal Abdul explains the troops are still in their same positions, they're just now working for and paid by the Peshmerga -- the elite Kurdish fighting force.
National Iraqi News Agency reports a Mosul roadside bombing has injured three police officers.  They also report mass arrests in Hamrin Hills (near Baquba, 5 people), and in Diwaniyah Province (25). Mainly, they report a Mosul car bombing attack on Nineveh Province Governor Atheel al-Nujaifi.   Sameer N. Yacoub (AP) adds that the assassination attempt claimed the lives of 2 by-standers.  Atheel is a Sunni, he's a member of Iraqiya, he's the brother of  Osama al-Nujaif, the Speaker of the Iraqi Parliament, and he's been repeatedly targeted with verbal attacks from Nouri for the last two years.  (Nouri has tried to force him out of office repeatedly.)  Like the arrest warrant for Haider al-Mulla, this will only increase tensions in Iraq.  Alsumaria adds that the bombing left six people injured (including 3 of Atheel's bodguards), 2 Mosul bombings left two Iraqi soldiers, one civilian male and his son injured,  and that the Kirkuk airport was the location for a rocket attack today.

jason ditz

the associated press