Tuesday, September 3, 2019


A daily -- sometimes several times a day -- stop for me online is Zach Haller's Shirtless Pundit.  I like this picture he posted of himself (he's in the yellow and white shirt), his boyfriend and his parents and I like what he wrote about his dad.

Who knows what my dad might have imagined for his second son when I was born, but I know he’s happy I’ve always followed my heart

So I wanted to share that.

I also wanted to highlight Greg Jarrett on the hideous Andrew McCabe:

Editor’s note: Gregg Jarrett's forthcoming book is "Witch Hunt: The Story of the Greatest Mass Delusion in American Political History" This is the third in a series of excerpts.
Andrew McCabe has helped put people behind bars for lying. The fired former FBI acting director should be held to the same legal standard.

In a scathing condemnation of McCabe last year, the Department of Justice (DOJ) inspector general -- a neutral investigator -- concluded that he “lacked candor” on four occasions when questioned by federal agents about leaking information to a reporter. A lack of candor, mind you, is a polite way of saying he lied -- not once, but four times. 
McCabe was appropriately fired from the bureau, and the inspector general promptly referred the case to the DOJ for potential criminal prosecution. Those federal prosecutors are reportedly in the final stages of deciding whether McCabe should be indicted
In his own defense, McCabe claims he was stricken with sudden onset of incoherence and amnesia. It was all a misunderstanding and miscommunication, he insists.
In the alternative, he avers that it was nothing more than an innocent failure of recollection. Not likely.
None of the people associated with Trump were ever afforded such vapid excuses when special counsel Robert Mueller leveled criminal charges for lying against people like Michael Flynn, George Papadopoulos, and Roger Stone.
Should McCabe, who has never disguised his enmity toward the president, be treated any differently because he served in law enforcement? Absolutely not.
McCabe’s deceptions are obvious on their face. He denied to investigators that he helped deliver information to a Wall Street Journal reporter. In fact, he had. He told agents he had no idea who leaked the material.
In fact, he had authorized it himself. In subsequent interviews, McCabe was given multiple chances to correct his lies. Instead, he doubled down in an audio-recorded interview with the same false denials. Does that sound like a man who misunderstood a simple set of questions or miscommunicated what he did? Not even close. A lapse of memory? Preposterous.
I will be checking out Mr. Jarrett's book when it comes out.

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

Tuesday, September 3, 2019.  Joe Biden's Iraq fairy tale takes a hit as a former Defense Secretary publishes a book and makes media rounds.

In the US, the race for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination continues as does the question: If Joe Biden really isn't the only one who can defeat Donald Trump -- and he's not -- what else does he have to offer?

Not much.

Not much at all.

Last Friday, Kelly Jane Torrence (WASHINGTON EXAMINER) reported on a US general who was being very critical of Joe.  The former general is Jim Mattis.  His long career includes participation in both Iraq Wars -- the current one and the Persian Gulf War.  It also includes being in charge of CENTCOM from 2010 to 2013.  He went on to become the last Secretary of Defense serving in Barack Obama's second term.  He has no co-written, with Bing West, a book that comes out today entitled CALL SIGN CHAOS: LEARNING TO LEAD.  As Torrence has noted, it doesn't sing Joe Biden's praises.

His career culminated in three years as the head of U.S. Central Command, overseeing military operations in the Middle East and Central Asia from 2010 to 2013. That meant Mattis was in charge of American troops in Iraq and Afghanistan as war raged in both countries.
Mattis served under President Obama, and Vice President Biden visited Baghdad in the late summer of 2010. The general writes that the U.S.-led coalition had “at last succeeded in establishing a fragile stability” in Iraq. The administration was considering withdrawing some troops, and any forces remaining would require the permission of the Iraqi government, then led by the embattled Nouri al-Maliki. “The National Security staff in the White House believed that Maliki offered a continuity that, in their minds, would facilitate the withdrawal of U.S. troops.” Mattis disagreed, and he told Biden so during dinner after “a hot Baghdad day.”

Huh?  They trusted Nouri?  They saw Nouri being in place as necessary to keeping the appearance of Barack's promise of withdrawal?

Wow, that is a shocker.  If only someone could have discussed that in real time.  If only, when Barack was in the White House, someone could have talked about that.

Oh wait.  We did.  Repeatedly.  We addressed it here over and over.  We addressed how Barack stole the 2010 election from the Iraqi people because Susan Rice, Joe Biden and others made the determination that they needed Nouri to make good on Barack's 'promise.'

Barack's been out of office since January 2019.  It would be real nice if some of you who pretend to be 'independent' journalists could start to tell the truth because it's really tiring to be the only one willing to talk truth about Iraq on a daily basis.

Back to the article:

“Prime Minister Maliki is highly untrustworthy, Mr. Vice President,” Mattis said. “He’s devious when he talks to us.”
Mattis noted that in the election that year, Maliki had not garnered a majority of the votes, and he seemed to be stonewalling the formation of a new government. The Shiite leader had cultivated relationships with officials in Iran and Syria in the years he spent plotting to overthrow Saddam Hussein.

I haven't read Mattis' book.  But here's where you provide additional perspective if you're going to cover the topic.  US Gen Ray Odierno, right before the 2010 elections were held, raised the issue of what happens if Nouri loses (no one else in the US government thought that was even a possibility) and then refuses to step down as prime minister.  He was ignored.

Then ambassador to Iraq Chris Hill was all in with Nouri.  And Chris' vanity prevented the White House from getting reports and assessments it needed.

It would be months after the election when then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and then-Secretary of Defense Robert Gates did a workaround Chris Hill and got Odierno's warnings and assessments to Barack.  But Susan Rice and Samantha Power would insist only Nouri could deliver US support and ensure that Barack could keep his promise.  Joe Biden sided with the two and Iraq's election was overturned with the US-negotiated Erbil Agreement which gave Nouri his second term.

This was not minor.  And to hear the rabid idiots in the US over the last years cling to the delusion that Russia stole the 2016 US presidential election has been the height of hypocrisy.  Not only did Russia not steal the election, the US government -- led by Barack -- stole the 2010 election in Iraq.  Nouri lost.  The people voted him out.  He refused to step down and for 8 months the country was brought to a political stalemate.  Instead of siding with the Iraqi people, Barack had a contract negotiated that overturned the votes and gave Nouri a second term.

It was in that second term that he became even more oppressive leading to the rise of ISIS.

Back to the article:

“He looks at our ambassadors and military advisers as impediments to his anti-Sunni agenda,” Mattis told Biden, who was leading the administration's Iraq policy. “He wants to purge or marginalize Sunnis and Kurds from the government.” Mattis said leaders across the Middle East had warned against continuing to throw American support behind Maliki.
Mattis also argued against pulling out precipitately. He said the training wheels shouldn’t suddenly be pulled off the bicycle. “We should slowly inch the wheels up, allowing the Iraqis to wobble but not crash as they slowly pedaled down the path to self-sufficiency,” he said. “If we pulled out too early, I noted, we would have to bring our troops back in.”
The general’s assessment fell on deaf ears.
“Vice President Biden and his assistants listened politely. But as we spoke, I sensed I was making no headway in convincing the administration officials not to support Maliki. It was like talking to people who lived in wooden houses but saw no need for a fire department,” Mattis writes.
“I liked the Vice President,” Mattis writes, even after Biden teased him: “Know why you’re at CENTCOM?” Biden asked him. “Because no one else was dumb enough to take the job.”
“I found him an admirable and amiable man. But he was past the point where he was willing to entertain a ‘good idea.’ He didn’t want to hear more; he wanted our forces out of Iraq. Whatever path led there fastest, he favored,” Mattis writes. “He exuded the confidence of a man whose mind was made up, perhaps even indifferent to considering the consequences were he judging the situation incorrectly.”
Biden reassured Mattis that Maliki wouldn’t eject all American troops from the country.
“Maliki wants us to stick around, because he does not see a future in Iraq otherwise,” Biden said. “I’ll bet you my vice presidency.”
Mattis doesn’t say whether he tried to collect on that bet. As he writes, “In October 2011, Prime Minister Maliki and President Obama agreed that all U.S. forces would leave at the end of the year.”
Mattis’ warnings proved prescient, as Maliki, free of American influence, went after Sunni politicians and districts, alienating a third of the country. “Iraq slipped back into escalating violence. It was like watching a car wreck in slow motion,” Mattis writes. A Sunni revolt and a weak Iraqi Army allowed al Qaeda-aligned terrorists to return in 2014, calling themselves the Islamic State.

“It would take many years and tens of thousands of casualties, plus untold misery for millions of innocents, to break ISIS’s geographic hold,” Mattis writes. “All of this was predicted — and preventable.” 

It was preventable.  That's why I spent 2010 screaming here to uphold the vote of the Iraqi people.  They had reject Nouri and Nouri's revenge.  They supported Iraqiya.  That was a new coalition that sprung up.  It was a future path for Iraq.  Iraqiya was open to all, Iraqiya was about an Iraqi identity taking the lead -- not a split of Sunni or Shia.  It was about healing and coming together.  It included women in leadership roles.

And that's how this brand new coalition managed to win the election.

No one wanted to talk about that.  In fact, Quil Lawrence 'reported' on NPR that Nouri had won the election -- reported it before the votes were even counted.  I guess it was hard for NPR to tell too much truth after that.  They sort of painted themselves into the corner, didn't they.

Imagine how much different Iraq would be today if the people's vote in 2010 had been respected.

The National Endowment for Democracy has been polling in Iraq -- as we noted last month -- and the upcoming elections (provincial) are not expected to have a huge turnout.  The voters don't trust the system and are tired of the corruption.   The body is funded by the US government so don't expect it to ask about the 2010 election.  But as we warned over and over in real time -- Patrick Cockburn, I'm looking at you as one of the chief liars in real time while we were telling the truth -- what message would it send to the Iraqi people about voting and democracy if, after they'd risked violence to vote in March 2010, the US government overturned their votes?

It sent a strong message and it's past time that the US press got honest about that.  Instead, most of have tried to pretend that The Erbil Agreement never existed (that would include European Patrick Cockburn).  It's a defining moment in modern day Iraq and the western press works overtime to ignore it.

Yesterday, Mattis appeared on NPR's MORNING EDITION and spoke with Steve Inskeep:

INSKEEP: You describe disagreeing specifically with then-Vice President Joe Biden over the U.S. withdrawal of troops from Iraq in 2011 and say that you expected that the U.S. would have to be drawn back in.

MATTIS: Well, that wasn't my assessment alone. The intelligence community came in. I was briefed, and I still remember one of the young ladies briefing me from the intelligence community. And she outright guaranteed me that if we withdrew all of our troops at the time and on the timeline that was being discussed, we would have to go back in because the enemy would surge and they would become a threat to us again. And that, unfortunately, is exactly what happened.

INSKEEP: I guess we should describe - Vice President Biden had a difference of opinion with you about the value of the then-Iraqi prime minister and whether he would be supportive of a continued U.S. troop presence. Did Vice President Biden misread the situation in some way?

MATTIS: You know, all leaders have got to be able to build trust. I did not believe that the Iraqi prime minister was a man who could build trust. And if you can't do that, especially under the stresses that Iraq was going through, it was in a - virtually in a post-combat but pre-reconciliation phase. And we're not always going to be blessed to have a Mandela man type person, like Mandela brought South Africa back together. You're not always going to have that sort of leader. But I felt the man who was in - that we were backing at that time was especially deficient in trust-building ability.

Again, he's speaking of Nouri al-Maliki -- former prime minister of Iraq and forever thug.

Yesterday, Caitlin Yilek (WASHINGTON EXAMINER) noted the topic of Mattis and his book:

By 2010 the U.S.-led coalition had “at last succeeded in establishing a fragile stability” in Iraq, largely as a result of former President George W. Bush's troop surge of 2007. The Obama administration was dealing with Iraqi premier Nouri al-Maliki, a Shiite who had built close ties with Iran during his years opposing Saddam Hussein, who presided over a Sunni-dominated Iraq.
“The National Security staff in the White House believed that Maliki offered a continuity that, in their minds, would facilitate the withdrawal of U.S. troops,” Mattis writes. During a Biden visit to Iraq in August 2010, when he formally ended the U.S. combat mission in the country, Mattis strenuously disagreed with the Obama administration's assessment of Maliki, telling Biden: "Prime Minister Maliki is highly untrustworthy, Mr. Vice President. He’s devious when he talks to us.”
Mattis continued: “He looks at our ambassadors and military advisers as impediments to his anti-Sunni agenda. He wants to purge or marginalize Sunnis and Kurds from the government.” Mattis said Sunni leaders across the region had warned against continued U.S. backing of Maliki.
By his account, Mattis told Biden that withdrawing U.S. troops prematurely would be akin to suddenly pulling the training wheels off a bicycle. “We should slowly inch the wheels up, allowing the Iraqis to wobble but not crash as they slowly pedaled down the path to self-sufficiency,” he said. “If we pulled out too early, I noted, we would have to bring our troops back in.”

The general’s assessment was ignored by Biden. The vice president, Mattis argues, was not listening to the counsel of a 40-year Marine who had long experience of war, terrorism, and insurgencies, and knew the cost of politics taking precedence over strategic thinking.

Will we ever get to an honest discussion of what the US did in 2010?  Patrick Cockburn is promoted by ANTIWAR.COM as the authority on Iraq.  But he's anti-Arab and he's wrong over and over and over.  He's wrong his reports (the murder of a young woman in Bully Boy Bush's second term), he's wrong in his assessments, he's wrong.  Scott Horton -- host of ANTIWAR.COM's radio program -- would not have made such a fool of himself on air if he hadn't thought Cockburn knew what he was talking about.  Horton ended up basically blowing Nouri on air week after week because of Cockburn's assessment.

Only in a US unconcerned about the Arab world could that have happened.  In the Arab world, they know Patrick Cockburn is anti-Sunni.  Arab social media has long documented that reality.  But in the US, people have looked the other way and offered excuses -- Oh, he's Alex Cockburn's brother, oh, he's Laura Flanders' uncle, oh . . . He's awful is what he is.  And a lot of Laura's assessments were wrong.  She doesn't talk about Iraq today.  But back when the war could get you listeners, she did.  And most of her assessments were wrong. She paid too much attention to her uncle and too little to reality..

Patrick Cockburn is one of the biggest problems with Iraq today.  He has gotten things wrong over and over and did so because he is prejudiced against Arabs.  He has tried to lead Americans -- and Scott Horton assisted him there -- into rooting for the government of Iran.  In what world?  The Iranian people are a dignified people and wonderful, I'm sure.  Their government?  No.  And I can say that and I can still oppose war on Iran.  If we can stop being childish and actually grow the hell up, we might be able to have honest conversations.

And on war on Iran, you might want to be aware of this.

Iraqi Shiite Militia Leader Abu Alaa Al-Walai: If U.S.-Iran War Breaks out, We Will Fight alongside Iran, All Americans in Iraq Will Be Held Hostages by the Resistance; We Could Easily Send Drone to Strike (U.S.) Embassy

The media could not be played.

Last week came news of a new method of delivery for bombs: cattle.  Two cow bombs resulted in one civilian being injured on Saturday. Today, reports on farms. AFP reports:

One man lost his uncle. Another is mourning for two sons. Farmers and herders in Iraq’s Baiji say mines left by [ISIS] turned their beloved orchards into killing fields.

The improvised explosive devices, planted by militants trying to fend off Iraqi troops in 2015, have also discouraged scores of families from returning to their battered farming towns around Baiji, in the north of the country.

Today, Chris Forrester (ADVANCED TELEVISION) notes:

The Arabic Al Hurra TV channel has been hit with a 3 month broadcasting ban.  The channel is alleged to have transmitted a controversial 12 minute report on corruption within Islamic religious bodies. The programme was transmitted on Sunday.

It's not the Arabic AL HURRA -- it's the Arabic language AL HURRA.  As we explained last night:

It's the equivalent of VOICE OF AMERICA.  And that cute little name?  "US Agency for Global Media"?  It's the Board of Governors responsible for the propaganda broadcast by VOA.  In addition, it's also the US Congress that funds them.

So what di[d] they broadcast?  This:

The 12-minute documentary broadcast Saturday claimed that Sunni and Shiite Muslim authorities were misusing state funds and had suspicious ties to armed factions.
The Sunni endowment denied the allegations in the report and said it would take legal steps against the channel. The Shiite endowment could not immediately be reached for comment.

Is it true or just more efforts by the US government to pit Sunni against Shia?

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