Friday, July 21, 2017

The disappointing Cuomos

Did I misunderstand Mario Cuomo?

I thought he was someone inspiring and wished he would run for president.

But his sons?

Chris Cuomo is an embarrassment on C.N.N.

He is both too loud and overblown and way too partisan.

Put him on M.S.N.B.C., fine.  But C.N.N. is supposed to be neutral.

As for the other son, the Governor of New York?

"Somebody primary Andrew Cuomo"


The difference, I suppose, is that Mario Cuomo was a real leftist and his sons are neoliberals.

I think that especially happens when someone has been raised entitled.

They do not appreciate a struggle.


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


Friday, July 21, 2017.


Let's pretend that the fighting in Mosul really is over, what next?

Susan E. Reed (WBUR) offers:

ISIS did not rise up the minute U.S. troops withdrew from Iraq in 2011. It had been long fermenting in weakly governed communities marked by sectarian strife where Sunnis were routinely persecuted under the leadership of Iraq’s former Prime Minister Nouri Maliki.
The country’s current Prime Minister, Haider al-Abadi, has made progress in cultivating a more integrated society, starting with the military. The Obama Administration urged Abadi to develop more inclusive security forces under the command of the central government. In fact, Kurdish forces worked alongside Iraq’s army in liberating Mosul. This kind of cooperation must continue so that former ISIS-occupied areas don’t devolve into fratricidal cesspools when survivors seek to quench their thirst for revenge.
As Congress tied Iraq military aid to integration, it should tie development aid to the establishment of diverse, cooperative community groups that will rebuild and govern these delicate, violence prone areas. Prime Minister Abadi has talked about decentralizing control of Iraq, but this should only occur if minorities will have a voice in government.

Iraq, which defines itself as a democratic Muslim state, has the potential to become a model of integration of different Muslim sects, religions and ethnicities. While it faces many obstacles —  such as corruption, a weak judiciary and significant influence from Shia Iran — making progress on integration would help stabilize it while providing a protocol for other countries struggling with internal strife.



Hayder al-Abadi has not done a good job.

Nouri was an outright thug.

Compared to him, anything looks better.

But let's not mistake Hayder not digging the hole even deeper for actually addressing the problem.

Let's again note Human Rights Watch from earlier this week:




International observers have discovered an execution site in west Mosul, Human Rights Watch said today. That report, combined with new statements about executions in and around Mosul’s Old City and persistent documentation about Iraqi forces extrajudicially killing men fleeing Mosul in the final phase of the battle against the Islamic State (also known as ISIS), are an urgent call to action by the Iraqi government.
Despite repeated promises to investigate wrongdoing by security forces, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has yet to demonstrate that Iraqi authorities have held a single soldier accountable for murdering, torturing, and abusing Iraqis in this conflict.


“As Prime Minister Abadi enjoys victory in Mosul, he is ignoring the flood of evidence of his soldiers committing vicious war crimes in the very city he’s promised to liberate,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “Abadi’s victory will collapse unless he takes concrete steps to end the grotesque abuses by his own security forces.”



That is but one example.

But if there is no justice in Iraq under Hayder, let's not pretend he's accomplished anything.

He is ineffectual at best.

Zaid al-Ali (ALJAZEERA) explains:



As if reading from a script, a stream of soldiers, federal police officers and popular mobilisation fighters have engaged in mass arrests, torture, and summary executions of suspected ISIL fighters. 
Increasingly, the perpetrators record every detail of their gruesome acts and post them on social media for all to see, including videos in which captives are thrown from the top of buildings and showered with bullets after they land on the riverbank. Just as seriously, individuals who are thought to be related to ISIL fighters, colloquially referred to as "ISIL families", are imprisoned in horrific conditions, many of them left without sustenance and medical care. 

For the sake of clarity, the perpetrators include people of all faiths and races and are members of almost every security agency imaginable. In fact, just about the only security force that has not been accused of human rights abuses is the Counter Terrorism Service, which has been leading the fight against ISIL since 2014 (because the CTS is not politicised, it has not received anywhere near as much attention as other groups, such as the Popular Mobilisation Forces and the Peshmerga). Its commander, Lieutenant Abdel Ghani al-Saadi, is rumoured to have unsuccessfully challenged his counterparts from other agencies, as he learned of the abuse that was taking place, before storming out of the city. 
Senior interior ministry officials have noted that torture and unlawful killings will be investigated and prosecuted in all cases, but it is common knowledge that prosecutors and judges are largely powerless to move against the security forces, despite a few token arrests. In fact, some of the worst perpetrators of abuse have argued that courts are so corrupt that any ISIL fighter who is arrested could bribe their way out of prison. 


So let's stop the pretense that Hayder al-Abaci is a leader to rally behind or support.

This we-have-to attitude led to the silence from so many during the reign of the butcher Nouri al-Maliki.



And the desperation for him to be better than he is or can be is leading a number to look the other way.


Replying to 
: Video shows |i soldiers abusing an old man and walk him on a leash in Western .




Let's stop the pretense -- the US military brass also needs to stop pretending.

MARINE TIMES spoke with US Brig Gen Robert Sofge:



Q: The U.S. military has faced some criticism for a spike in civilian casualties in Mosul. Did the coalition change any policies or rules of engagement in the latter months of the fight to make it easier launch air and artillery strikes?

Our process for strikes has remained the same and is as stringent as it has always been. We do everything in our power to avoid civilian casualties while precisely and effectively killing the enemy. I can speak with some authority: There was no change in the rules or the very strict criteria required to release ordnance in this country. 

The idea that we’ve loosened the ROE in order to more aggressively fight the enemy is not an accurate statement. There have been a couple of unfortunate incidents, but zero civilian casualties is our goal each and every day. We haven’t loosened that up in any way, shape or form. 




We do everything in our power to avoid civilian casualties?

Or do everything our power to avoid acknowledging civilian casualties?

There's a difference.

Patrick Cockburn (INDEPENDENT) reports:

More than 40,000 civilians were killed in the devastating battle to retake Mosul from Isis, according to intelligence reports revealed exclusively to The Independent - a death toll far higher than previous estimates.

Residents of the besieged city were killed by Iraqi ground forces attempting to force out militants, as well as by air strikes and Isis fighters, according to Kurdish intelligence services.



Nehal Mostafa (IRAQI NEWS) reports:

Three civilians were wounded in an IED blast northern Baghdad, a police source has said.
“A bomb, placed on the side of the highway at al-Taji region, north of Baghdad, exploded on Friday leaving three civilians injured,” the source told AlSumaria News.

“Security troops arrived at the accident spot and transferred the injured to a nearby hospital for treatment,” the source, who asked to be unnamed, added.


We are closing with this,

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
07/20/17
CONTACT: JENNIFER V. KURLAND
(248) 252-5973


MEET AND GREET FUNDRAISER FOR DETROIT GREEN PARTY-ENDORSED CANDIDATES TO INCLUDE APPEARANCE BY JILL STEIN
Green Party 2016 Presidential Candidate Campaigns For Green Wayne County Slate

The Wayne County Green Party is set to host a fundraiser and meet-and-greet for a slate of local candidates for office. Each candidate has received the endorsement of the Wayne County Green Party and are hard at work on the campaign trail, speaking with voters, making appearances around the community and conducting issue-based workshops to help educate the public about some of the most pressing concerns of Wayne County residents.

Set to be held at Bert’s Warehouse, 2727 Russell St, Detroit 48207, the event will get underway with a press conference with the slate of candidates at 5pm and will feature five Green Party-endorsed candidates including Ingrid LaFleur, who is a write-in candidate for Mayor of Detroit. “Detroiters must not be left out of the future of this city, “ LaFleur states. “I am fighting for the right to equal representation for all Detroit residents.” LaFleur faces several other candidates in the primary race for the seat, including incumbent Mayor Mike Duggan and State Senator Coleman Young II. LaFleur has been hosting a set of “Co-creation” workshops in the area to raise awareness about specific issues in the area including cryptocurrency and cannabis reform.

The event will include the Green-favored choice for Detroit City Clerk, Attorney D. Etta Wilcoxon. Wilcoxon has zeroed in on the issue of election integrity, vowing as Clerk to “...fight for every vote to count.” Wilcoxon believes election integrity is a top issue. “The integrity of our elections is the key to democracy.” Wilcoxon explains.

Also running on the Green slate are a trio of candidates for City Council, including At-large candidate Beverly Kindle-Walker, James Eberheart Jr., a write-in candidate in Detroit City Council District 1 and Joanna Underwood, who is running for the Detroit City Council seat in District 7. Kindle-Walker recently was quoted as saying, “As a public and civil servant, I am dedicated to Detroit. Together, we can bring accountability back to our city.” Eberheart belives in having a close relationship with fellow members of the community, stating, “I am a community organizer working in Detroit every day.” He looks to secure prosperity for the residents of the city, explaining, “Together, we can empower our youth and bring a renewed excitement and fortune to black businesses. For Underwood, recent foreclosures in the city are of serious concern. “I will work as hard as I can to save Detroit homeowners from foreclosures,” said the candidate. As councilwoman, Underwood would strive to make the city a safer place for residents, and plans to bring the entire community together in order to achieve such a goal. Underwood offers, “Join me in my quest to represent you on Detroit’s City Council. Together, we can make Detroit a safer place to live.”

2016 Green Party Presidential candidate Dr. Jill Stein will join the event as a special guest at 7pm. Stein is slated to appear in Flint earlier in the day to speak with residents affected by the Flint Water crisis before travelling to Detroit for the fundraiser. “These candidates exemplify the future of Detroit politics,” Stein remarked. “We need to elect fresh faces to local government in Detroit who will portect residents from foreclosures and water shutoffs. These five candidates are leading the way toward a brighter future for the city and are deserving of strong support from Detroit voters. I look forward to standing in support of these fine candidates Friday night in the Motor City.


FYI: Press conference with the slate of Detroit candidates begins at 5:30pm sharp at Bert’s Warehouse, 2727 Russell St, Detroit 48207. For further information, please contact WCGP Chairperson Jennifer Kurland at (248) 252-5973



The following community sites -- plus PACIFICA EVENING NEWS -- updated:



















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    Thursday, July 20, 2017

    Well he does have a point

    Rand Paul on Trump's Presidency: I Wake Up Every Day and Say 'It Could Have Been Hillary Clinton'




    Well, he does.

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


    Thursday, July 20, 2017.


    Since the discussion of human rights abuses -- War Crimes -- entered the press conversation regarding Mosul last week, there has been silence from the US government.

    Turns out not all leaders of government are being silent.  REUTERS reports:

    German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Wednesday urged Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to investigate alleged human rights abuses that occurred during military operations to regain control of the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants.
    Merkel telephoned al-Abadi to congratulate him on the victory of U.S.-backed Iraqi forces in Mosul, calling it a "big step forward in the fight against Islamic State," her spokesman Steffen Seibert said in a statement.

    The German leader also encouraged Abadi to investigate claims of human rights abuses that emerged after the military operations, Seibert said.

    Hayder al-Abadi is the prime minister of Iraq.

    He has not set a good example and his record is appalling.

    This was noted by Human Rights Watch yesterday:


    International observers have discovered an execution site in west Mosul, Human Rights Watch said today. That report, combined with new statements about executions in and around Mosul’s Old City and persistent documentation about Iraqi forces extrajudicially killing men fleeing Mosul in the final phase of the battle against the Islamic State (also known as ISIS), are an urgent call to action by the Iraqi government.
    Despite repeated promises to investigate wrongdoing by security forces, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has yet to demonstrate that Iraqi authorities have held a single soldier accountable for murdering, torturing, and abusing Iraqis in this conflict.

    “As Prime Minister Abadi enjoys victory in Mosul, he is ignoring the flood of evidence of his soldiers committing vicious war crimes in the very city he’s promised to liberate,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “Abadi’s victory will collapse unless he takes concrete steps to end the grotesque abuses by his own security forces.”



    Despite repeated promises . . .

    That is his record.

    The same one as Nouri al-Maliki had before him.

    Merkel has called out the abuses.

    The US government has not.

    Gwynne Dyer (RED DEER ADVOCATE) observes:

    The shooting was still going on down by the river last week when Iraq’s Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi dropped by and prematurely declared that the battle for Mosul was over. He was misled by the various Iraqi army, police and militia units who were competing with one another to declare victory first, but now it really is over – and there is little left of Mosul.

    The siege began on 17 October of last year, so it lasted nine months – longer than the Battle of Stalingrad. It probably killed more civilians, too, because the US-led air forces were used to compensate for the shortage of trained and motivated Iraqi ground forces.


    On the issue of media coverage, Adam Johnson (FAIR) offers an analysis which includes:

    Earlier this week, human rights group Amnesty International issued a lengthy report accusing US-backed forces of “repeated violations of international humanitarian law, some of which may amount to war crimes,” in Mosul, Iraq, causing the deaths of at least 3,700 civilians. Neither this report, nor the broader issue of the civilian toll in the US war against ISIS, has come close to penetrating US corporate media.
    The only major radio or television outlet to report on Amnesty’s claims was NPR (7/12/17). While traditional print outlets, such as the New York Times and Washington Post, did run Reuters (7/11/17) and AP (7/12/17) articles, respectively, on the report, neither covered it themselves. Neither Amnesty’s charges, nor the broader issue of civilian deaths in Mosul,  garnered any coverage in television news, with no mention on ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN or MSNBC.

    The expulsion of ISIS from Mosul by the US-led coalition did receive coverage, but the US role in killing civilians was uniformly ignored.



    Amnesty International actually issued the report two weeks ago (this snapshot was the first time we mentioned it).

    The silence isn't just over broadcast media, it's also in State Dept press briefings.  Mosul was frequently mentioned

    The Amnesty report?

    Nope.

    The abuses?

    Nope.

    These are not broadcasts.

    No reporter can whine, "My producer wouldn't air it."

    This is when reporters can ask anything.

    And they chose to ignore the issue.

    They refused to press the US government on what was taking place.

    It's exactly these moments that go to why the press is not respected.

    They are pretending to do so much but they do so little.


    Let's not this upcoming event.

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