Even the NSA's then Deputy Director John C. Inglis said that @Snowden was not working for Russia
If President Barack Obama was worthy of a Nobel Peace Prize (he was awarded one in the first yeat of his presidency), he would pardon Mr. Snowden.
Mr. Snowden performed a public service.
We should all be grateful to Mr. Snowden for proving that our government was spying on us despite claims to the contrary by various government officials.
We are supposed to be against this sort of invasion of privacy.
Ed Snowden is a modern day hero.
And shame on those who could help him but refuse to do so.
"Noam Chomsky agrees: Snowden deserves to be brought home with dignity. Sign the letter today https://pardonsnowden.org/take-action-8
He deserves a full and complete pardon.
This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" for today:
Tuesday, January 3, 2017. Chaos and violence continue, Barack Obama's legacy is continuing the Iraq War, the United Nations does the bidding of militias, and much more.
Every examination of Obama's "legacy" should lead with the fact that U.S. troops are engaged in active combat in Iraq as he leaves office
Reality: Under Obama, over 2,500 Americans died in Afghanistan/Iraq and the U.S. has been at war longer than under any other U.S. president.
Then-Senator Barack Obama campaigned for the 2008 Democratic Party's presidential nomination and then for the presidency itself on ending the Iraq War.
Where ever The Cult of St. Barack gathered, he was fond of yelling out, "We want to end the Iraq War!" In states where it was close between Hillary Clinton and Barack, his campaign especially loved to run commercials with that shout.
In fact, let's go beyond a shout. Let's go to one of his 2008 speeches, this one is from March 19, 2008:
Five years ago today, President George W. Bush addressed the nation. Bombs had started to rain down on Baghdad. War was necessary, the President said, because the United States could not, “live at the mercy of an outlaw regime that threatens the peace with weapons of mass murder.” Recalling the pain of 9/11, he said the price of inaction in Iraq was to meet the threat with “armies of fire fighters and police and doctors on the streets of our cities.” At the time the President uttered those words, there was no hard evidence that Iraq had those stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction. There was not any evidence that Iraq was responsible for the attacks of September 11, or that Iraq had operational ties to the al Qaeda terrorists who carried them out. By launching a war based on faulty premises and bad intelligence, President Bush failed Wilson’s test. So did Congress when it voted to give him the authority to wage war. Five years have gone by since that fateful decision. This war has now lasted longer than World War I, World War II, or the Civil War. Nearly four thousand Americans have given their lives. Thousands more have been wounded. Even under the best case scenarios, this war will cost American taxpayers well over a trillion dollars. And where are we for all of this sacrifice? We are less safe and less able to shape events abroad. We are divided at home, and our alliances around the world have been strained. The threats of a new century have roiled the waters of peace and stability, and yet America remains anchored in Iraq. History will catalog the reasons why we waged a war that didn’t need to be fought, but two stand out. In 2002, when the fateful decisions about Iraq were made, there was a President for whom ideology overrode pragmatism, and there were too many politicians in Washington who spent too little time reading the intelligence reports, and too much time reading public opinion. The lesson of Iraq is that when we are making decisions about matters as grave as war, we need a policy rooted in reason and facts, not ideology and politics. Now we are debating who should be our next Commander in Chief. And I am running for President because it’s time to turn the page on a failed ideology and a fundamentally flawed political strategy, so that we can make pragmatic judgments to keep our country safe. That’s what I did when I stood up and opposed this war from the start, and said that we needed to finish the fight against al Qaeda. And that’s what I’ll do as President of the United States. Senator Clinton says that she and Senator McCain have passed a “Commander in Chief test” – not because of the judgments they’ve made, but because of the years they’ve spent in Washington. She made a similar argument when she said her vote for war was based on her experience at both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue.
I know The Debra Messings and Alyssa Aleppo Milanos are pissing their panties right now -- yes, Barack did slam Hillary.
But if they'll stand down wind of the rest of us, let's continue with Barack's 2008 speech:
But here is the stark reality: there is a security gap in this country – a gap between the rhetoric of those who claim to be tough on national security, and the reality of growing insecurity caused by their decisions. A gap between Washington experience, and the wisdom of Washington’s judgments. A gap between the rhetoric of those who tout their support for our troops, and the overburdened state of our military. It is time to have a debate with John McCain about the future of our national security. And the way to win that debate is not to compete with John McCain over who has more experience in Washington, because that’s a contest that he’ll win. The way to win a debate with John McCain is not to talk, and act, and vote like him on national security, because then we all lose. The way to win that debate and to keep America safe is to offer a clear contrast, and that’s what I will do when I am the nominee of the Democratic Party – because since before this war in Iraq began, I have made different judgments, I have a different vision, and I will offer a clean break from the failed policies and politics of the past. Nowhere is that break more badly needed than in Iraq. In the year since President Bush announced the surge – the bloodiest year of the war for America – the level of violence in Iraq has been reduced. Our troops – including so many from Fort Bragg and Pope Air Force Base – have done a brilliant job under difficult circumstances. Yet while we have a General who has used improved tactics to reduce violence, we still have the wrong strategy. As General Petraeus has himself acknowledged, the Iraqis are not achieving the political progress needed to end their civil war.
Beyond Iraq, our military is badly overstretched, and we have neither the strategy nor resources to deal with nearly every other national security challenge we face. This is why the judgment that matters most on Iraq – and on any decision to deploy military force – is the judgment made first. If you believe we are fighting the right war, then the problems we face are purely tactical in nature. That is what Senator McCain wants to discuss – tactics. What he and the Administration have failed to present is an overarching strategy: how the war in Iraq enhances our long-term security, or will in the future. That’s why this Administration cannot answer the simple question posed by Senator John Warner in hearings last year: Are we safer because of this war? And that is why Senator McCain can argue – as he did last year – that we couldn’t leave Iraq because violence was up, and then argue this year that we can’t leave Iraq because violence is down. When you have no overarching strategy, there is no clear definition of success. Success comes to be defined as the ability to maintain a flawed policy indefinitely. Here is the truth: fighting a war without end will not force the Iraqis to take responsibility for their own future. And fighting in a war without end will not make the American people safer. So when I am Commander-in-Chief, I will set a new goal on Day One: I will end this war. Not because politics compels it. Not because our troops cannot bear the burden– as heavy as it is. But because it is the right thing to do for our national security, and it will ultimately make us safer.
That's what he said to get the presidency.
What he did?
Something all together different.
And let's zoom in on a key passage:
Our troops – including so many from Fort Bragg and Pope Air Force Base – have done a brilliant job under difficult circumstances. Yet while we have a General who has used improved tactics to reduce violence, we still have the wrong strategy. As General Petraeus has himself acknowledged, the Iraqis are not achieving the political progress needed to end their civil war.
June 19, 2014, Barack insisted the only answer to the myriad of crises Iraq was facing was a political solution.
Yet instead of pushing diplomacy, Barack began sending even more US troops back into Iraq and dropping bombs on Iraq daily.
And guess what: The Iraqis are not achieving the political progress needed to end their civil war.
That's on Barack.
He not only voided the votes in the 2010 election with The Erbil Agreement (which gave defeated Nouri the second term the Iraqi voters did not want him to have), he also ignored Nouri's persecution of the Sunnis and thought ilttle stunts like refusing to take thug Nouri al-Maliki's congratulatory November 2012 call (on Barack winning re-election) counted as standing up to the thug.
Someone forgot to school Barack on reality: Saying, "Tell him I'm not here!"? That's not standing up to anyone.
In his second term, Nouri continued the secret prisons, he continued his warrantless arrests of the Sunni population, he continued the torture and rape of Sunni girls and women in Iraqi prisons. He attacked Sunni politicians, ordering their arrests, ordering military tanks to circle their homes and, in one case, ordering a pre-dawn raid on one of their homes (killing the brother of the politician during the raid).
Barack's response to that -- again -- was just to refuse to take Nouri's call congratulating him on winning re-election in 2012.
And maybe that's why Nouri felt he could get away with killing peaceful protesters.
Because that was Nouri's next step, remember?
Then again, maybe you don't remember.
Maybe your life is as shallow and useless as Debra Messing's life is -- in which case, you don't remember because you never learned of it to begin with.
In fairness to Debra, she was busy.
From 2007 to 2016, she was starring in three failed TV shows.
That eats up a lot of time.
Becoming the new McLean Stevenson requires a lot of bad work.
Let's stay with Nouri then and Hayder al-Abadi now because there really isn't much difference.
Last week, Iraqi journalist Afrah Shawi was kidnapped from her home. As last week wound down, protests were taking place in Baghdad.
These protests continued over the weekend.
Yesterday, NIQASH journalist Mustafa Habib Tweeted the latest:
Using security forces to attack peaceful protesters was a hallmark of thug Nouri's tenure.
It's also become a hallmark of Hayder al-Abadi's -- even if Barack wants to ignore it but, hell, he ignored it the first go round when Nouri was doing it, remember?
In fact, this should have been a huge international moment, dropping back to March 15, 2013:
Iraqis in Samarra with a message for the world (photo via Iraqi Spring MC).
[. . .]
As they have for months now, protests continue in Iraq. Above is a screen snap of Mosul this morning from a video posted by Iraqi Spring MC.
Baghdad? Again efforts were made to stop the citizens from exercising their rights to protest -- and, as Ayad Allawi (leader of Iraqiya) has previously pointed out -- to stop them from exercising their rights to worship. Alsumaria notes efforts to prevent worshippers from reaching mosques. Sameer N. Yacoub (AP) adds that federal police "used batons and water hoses" in an attempt to prevent Sunnis "from reaching a prominent mosque in northern Baghdad."
Despite these efforts, National Iraqi News Agency reports Speaker of Parliament Osama al-Nujaifi and Iraqiya MPs Salman Jumaili and Dhafi al-Aani took part in worship at Abu Hanifa Mosque in Adhamiya.
Below is an Iraqi Spring MC photo of others who made it to the mosque in Adhmiya.
National Iraqi News Agency reports the Ramadi protesters today arrested a man who was attempting to burn protesters cars and they "handed him over to Aljazeerah police station in Ramadi."
Protests also took place in Jalawlaa, Baquba, Falluja, Samarra, Baiji and Kirkuk.
Obama if you cannot hear us, can you not see us?
If he could see them, he just didn't care about them.
(I'm sure he saw the photos.)
And to be clear, Barack didn't need to nuke Baghdad in response.
But he had other choices including grabbing the diplomatic tool kit.
Iraq wanted F-16s.
The transfer of them to Iraq could have been made conditional, for example.
But Barack didn't care to use diplomacy.
We're back to the same point yet again only now the thug in power is Hayder.
And friends at the US State Dept will 'explain' (justify their actions) that putting someone new in the post of prime minister would require a lot of work and it's so much just to help Hayder defeat the Islamic State.
And the problems and abuses that led to the rise of the Islamic State?
Someone else will address them, they insist.
Yesterday, the United Kingdom's Ministry of Defence issued the following:
We are sad to report the death of a soldier following an incident in Iraq today.
A Ministry of Defence spokesperson said:
It is with regret that the Ministry of Defence must announce the death of a soldier from the 2nd Battalion the Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment.
The death occurred in Taji, Iraq following an incident that is currently under investigation, but we can confirm that it was not as a result of enemy activity.
The family has been informed and has requested a period of grace before the name is released.
The cowardly UNAMI also issued a statement:
Baghdad, Iraq, 02 January 2017 – A total of 386 Iraqi civilians were killed and another 1,066 were injured in acts of terrorism, violence and armed conflict in Iraq in December 2016*, according to casualty figures recorded by the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI).
The number of civilians killed in December (not including police) was 385, while the number injured (not including police) was 1,060.
Ninewa was the worst affected Governorate with 719 civilian casualties with 208 killed and 511 injured. Baghdad followed with 109 killed and 523 injured, and Kirkuk had 64 killed and 27 injured.
UNAMI was not able to obtain civilian casualty figures from the Anbar Health Department for this month.
“Though the figures for December are lower than previous months,
We'll stop there.
The figures are lower in part because the United Nations rewarded Hayder's tantrum last month by agreeing to stop reporting on the number of Iraqi forces killed.
Dropping back to the December 3rd:
On the first day of this month, the UN released the death toll numbers in Iraq for November. Mohammed Tawfeeq, Salma Abdelaziz and Laura Smith-Spark (CNN) report:
Iraq's military has disputed UN figures indicating that nearly 2,000 Iraqi troops were killed across the country in November, saying the number was "not accurate and much exaggerated."
Iraq's Joint Operation Command did not give CNN any numbers Saturday, saying it was not obliged to publish casualty figures while the battle against ISIS was ongoing.
The figures didn't please the Iraqi government and they want the toll reporting to be discontinued so that they can present whatever lie they want.
As a result, the United Nations is backing down. RUDAW notes:
The UN mission in Iraq, UNAMI, will stop publicizing military casualty figures after the Joint Operations Command of the Iraqi military complained the UN’s figures for November were “much exaggerated.”
Democratic principles lose out again.
And continue to lose out at UNAMI takes it orders from thugs while pretending to represent the people of the world.
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