Monday, March 30, 2020

Seth Rich

They love to bait me.  Maybe they know how to?  Seems like when I read an e-mail and they say, "You'll never note this," I know I have to in order to prove them wrong. 

So a guy named Damon e-mailed and wrote, "Gateway Pundit has a really important story and it is explosive but you won't link to it or let people know about it because GP is right wing and this story is one no one wants to touch.  I know you'll blow me of and ignore my e-mail."

Here is the link he did not think I would provide and here is an excerpt to the story:

New evidence confirms FBI is lying again after a former Assistant US Attorney claims under oath that the FBI did examine Seth Rich’s computer.

Previously we reported that after getting caught lying to the Courts and claiming there were no documents related to Seth Rich, emails between FBI Deep State lovers Peter Strzok and Lisa Page were uncovered by Judicial Watch with the title “Seth Rich” .

Next the FBI claimed the Strzok-Page emails were redacted to protect the investigation they claim never happened.

After bringing in the US Attorney for the Eastern District of New York to argue against an evidentiary hearing on the matter, the judge denied attorney Ty Clevenger’s request for an evidentiary hearing but provided no explanation for the verdict.

Clevenger has now uncovered that the former Assistant US Attorney related to the case admitted that Rich’s computer was inspected by the FBI and that there would be records related to this investigation.

This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:''
Monday, March 30, 2020.  New Zealand follows France's lead in announcing a withdrawal from Iraq, thug Moqtada al-Sadr states same-sex marriage caused the coronavirus, Joe Biden continues to struggle but it helped by a corporate media that refuses to say the name "Tara Reade."

Starting in the US where nonsense prevails.  Senile and struggling Joe Biden remains a car wreck.  Mark Moore (NEW YORK POST) reports:

Former Vice President Joe Biden and President Trump are virtually neck and neck in the 2020 presidential race, a new poll released Sunday found.
Registered voters opted for Biden by 49 percent over Trump’s 47 percent, the Washington Post-ABC News poll shows — with the president closing a 7 percentage point gap from February as his administration responds to the coronavirus outbreak.
Registered voters by 47 to 43 percent said they “trust” Trump to handle the coronavirus pandemic over Biden, but thought the Democratic presidential candidate would be better able to manage health care than the president by 50 to 41 percent.

On who they trust on the economy, registered voters picked Trump 52 to 42 percent.

Martin Pengelly (GUARDIAN) reporting on the same poll notes:

Biden has not yet secured the Democratic nomination for 2020 but he is well ahead of the Vermont senator Bernie Sanders in the delegate count. Amid widespread public lockdowns as the coronavirus spreads, many primaries have been delayed, leaving the race in limbo.
The Post-ABC poll put Biden 55%-39% up over Sanders among Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents.

Bernard Goldberg (THE HILL) offers, "Joe Biden is the presumptive candidate for his party’s nomination for president. As such, he’s also, or should be, the one visibly leading the party. But that role has been left to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) who, unlike Biden, aren’t under quarantine, self-imposed or otherwise. And since Biden didn’t lead the fight to get the bill passed, he’ll have a hard time taking credit for it if it works."  Emily Zanotti (THE DAILY WIRE) drops back to the WASHINGTON POST-ABC NEWS poll to point out that "the poll found that fewer than 35% of Democrats are 'enthusiastic' about casting a ballot for the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee."  Fewer than 35% of Democrats are enthusiastic.  This 35% is "the lowest on record for a Democratic presidential candidate in 20 years of ABC [-] Post polls." Rick Klein and Mary Alice Parks (ABC NEWS' THE NOTE) report on that enthusiasm gap and explain, "Biden is behind where Hillary Clinton was in terms of enthusiasm four years ago, even though Biden's delegate edge over Sanders is larger than Clinton's was at the time."  Brad Polumbo (WASHINGTON EXAMINER) offers, "Turnout and enthusiasm are a big part of what wins elections. On this front, Trump looks strong while Biden looks downright awful. This poll suggests that Biden’s voters lean toward him because they think he’s the least-worst option, not because they’re passionate about supporting his candidacy. That’s a recipe for low-turnout and bad news for the former vice president."  REAL CLEAR POLITICS notes:

The "Joe Rogan Experience" host predicted that President Trump would eat Joe Biden alive in a general election: "Trump is going to eat him alive. He’s going to eat that guy alive. The guy can barely remember what he’s talking about while he’s talking."

"You have to be able to call out s**t that’s wrong on your side. That’s the problem the Democratic Party is having right now with that Joe Biden guy. You guys have to be able to call it out. You can’t let this slide, because everybody else sees it, and Trump is going to eat him alive," Rogan said. "He’s going to eat that guy alive."

"The guy can barely remember what he’s talking about while he’s talking," Rogan said. "I'm looking at this like a medical condition."

Call him on his s**t?  The corporate media won't even ask him about his former staffer Tara Reade who has accused him of assault.  Hayley Miller (HUFFINGTON POST) reports:

A former Senate aide to Joe Biden accused him this week of sexually assaulting her nearly 30 years ago. But television hosts who have interviewed the former vice president since she went public with her allegation have so far failed to ask him about it.
In an interview with podcast host Katie Halper published in part on Wednesday, Tara Reade said she had been working in Biden’s Senate office in 1993 when he kissed her and penetrated her with his fingers without her consent. Biden’s presidential campaign has denied the allegation.
Since Wednesday, Biden has appeared on CNN and NBC, as well as a makeshift quarantine edition of ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live” that aired on YouTube. But none of the hosts broached the subject of the recent assault claim.

Neither ABC, CNN nor NBC immediately responded to HuffPost’s requests for comment.

Javier Manjarres (THE FLORIDIAN), in his round up of news stories, notes:

“Biden sexual assault allegation goes unmentioned in another televised interview” by Fox News’ Gregg Re – Democratic presidential front-runner Joe Biden, who has previously said that women leveling misconduct accusations should be presumptively believed, sat for another television interview Sunday — and again wasn’t asked about the recent accusation by former Senate staffer Tara Reade that the former vice president sexually assaulted her in 1993. Speaking to NBC News’ “Meet the Press,” Biden discussed everything from whether sanctions on Iran should be suspended during the coronavirus pandemic (“I would need more information to make that judgment,” Biden responded) to whether Bernie Sanders should drop out of the race (“I think it’s up to Bernie to make the judgment whether or not he should stay in the race or not stay in the race,” Biden said.)  

Turning to Iraq, yesterday New Zealand made news by announcing they were withdrawing all of their troops from Iraq.   The NEW ZELAND HERALD reported, "Foreign Minister Winston Peters and Defence Minister Ron Mark made the announcement today, saying it followed the successful conclusion of the mission at Taji to train Iraqi forces."  This follows last Thursday's announcement by the French government that France would be pulling all of its troops out of Iraq.  And the US?  Keeping the same troop numbers, just shuffling them around.  AP reports:

The U.S.-led coalition in Iraq withdrew Sunday from a military base in the country's north that nearly launched Washington into an open war with neighboring Iran.

The K1 Air Base is the third site coalition forces have left this month, in line with U.S. plans to consolidate its troops in two locations in Iraq.

In other news, Mark Mazzetti and Eric Schmitt (NEW YORK TIMES) report,  "The Pentagon has ordered military commanders to plan for an escalation of American combat in Iraq, issuing a directive last week to prepare a campaign to destroy an Iranian-backed militia group that has threatened more attacks against American troops."  Louisa Loveluck and Missy Ryan (WASHINGTON POST via PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE) report that this is in response to increased rocket attacks on US bases is prompting the move and that "American requests that Iraqi authorities track down and prosecute those responsible for rocket attacks have made little  headway."  Gregory Aftandilian (ARAB WEEKLY) adds, "The US military said the Katyusha rocket attacks that killed two US soldiers and one British soldier at Camp Taji base on March 11, which were preceded by other attacks, were coordinated by Kata’ib Hezbollah. In response, the United States struck the militia but the Iraqi government accused the United States of killing and wounding Iraqi soldiers and civilians in the process."  i24 NEWS notes:

The US Department of Defense issued an order last week commanding top generals to come up with a plan to step up the action against an Iraqi Tehran-backed militia seen as the force behind a string of rocket attacks at bases hosting international troops, New York Times reported Friday.
Citing officials with knowledge on the matter, the newspaper says the Pentagon was seeking a plan to destroy Kataeb Hezbollah in a drastic escalation against the Iranian proxy that is formally operating within the Iraqi chain of command.
The order was authorized by US Defense Secretary Mark Esper, the officials told the NYT.

THE NATIONAL explains:

The Pentagon blamed Kataib Hezbollah for a March 11 rocket attack that killed one British and two US personnel in Iraq.
The order was described by officials with knowledge of the internal communications to the New York Times.

But the order faced resistance from within, the military's top commander in Iraq, Lt Gen Robert P White, who said thousands more US troops were required in the country for any such campaign to take place. He also said that such an operation would risk war with Iran.

Karwan Faidhi Dri (RUDAW) observes, "This comes amid the recent US handover of two key military bases to Iraqi forces. Al-Qaim and Qayyarah military bases were signed over to the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) recently, and a US withdraw from Kirkuk’s K1 airbase is expected in the coming weeks."                                                                         

Maira Fantappie and Sam Heller offer their take at WAR ON THE ROCKS:

This dynamic is two-sided, of course, but the armed factions demanding a U.S. exit have little reason to stop it. The asymmetric campaign paramilitaries are waging is low cost and sustainable. And for them, violence is working — they now seem on their way to dramatically reducing U.S. influence in Iraq, tilting Iraqi politics toward their agenda, and, if they run the United States out of the country entirely, scoring a major strategic victory regionally.
If anyone is going to break this retaliatory cycle, then, it has to be the United States. But it cannot be done by doubling down on threats and reflexive deterrent responses. Nor can the United States realistically expect the Iraqi security forces to confront these paramilitary factions, risking wide-open civil conflict. Instead, America’s best chance is to exercise restraint, consult with its Iraqi partners, and provide an opportunity for the formation of a new Iraqi government.
With a new government in place, the United States and its coalition partners could negotiate a new agreement on the deployment of foreign forces in the country that reasserts Iraqi authority and supervision; reduces the U.S. footprint in Iraq, even if only symbolically; and ensures countries other than the United States are the face of the coalition effort to support Iraq. An agreement of this kind would both solidify the legitimate legal basis for coalition forces’ presence and undercut the argument of those denouncing the U.S. presence as a foreign occupation violating Iraqi sovereignty. If the controversy over the legitimacy of foreign forces’ presence can be dialed down, political and popular forces that advocate more balanced relationships with both the United States and Iran should be in a stronger position to reassert themselves. Washington will also be freer to partner with Baghdad on initiatives that could win lasting Iraqi goodwill for the United States, such as support for the country’s coronavirus response.
This broader political shift could also constrain anti-American paramilitaries, which would be defying the country’s government and laws if they continued armed “resistance” against U.S. and foreign forces. These factions are not wholly immune to Iraqi politics; they have an ideology and an agenda, but they also must take into account Iraqi public opinion.

It may be a long shot. Still, this could be the United States’ best hope to remain in the country under relatively stable conditions, both to continue a counter-ISIL fight that is an important U.S. priority and to balance Iran’s influence in Iraqi politics. De-escalation in Iraq is a U.S. interest — it can help create conditions for the formation of a new government and for putting U.S.-Iraqi relations on more solid footing. That is what would represent a genuine strategic victory, albeit not a victory won on the battlefield.

Meanwhile, Thursday, the US Treasury Dept issued the following:

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) today designated 20 Iran- and Iraq-based front companies, senior officials, and business associates that provide support to or act for or on behalf of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps-Qods Force (IRGC-QF) in addition to transferring lethal aid to Iranian-backed terrorist militias in Iraq such as Kata’ib Hizballah (KH) and Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq (AAH). Among other malign activities, these entities and individuals perpetrated or supported: smuggling through the Iraqi port of Umm Qasr; money laundering through Iraqi front companies; selling Iranian oil to the Syrian regime; smuggling weapons to Iraq and Yemen; promoting propaganda efforts in Iraq on behalf of the IRGC-QF and its terrorist militias; intimidating Iraqi politicians; and using funds and public donations made to an ostensibly religious institution to supplement IRGC-QF budgets. The terrorist militias supported by the Iranian regime such as KH and AAH have continued to engage in attacks on U.S. and Coalition forces in Iraq.
“Iran employs a web of front companies to fund terrorist groups across the region, siphoning resources away from the Iranian people and prioritizing terrorist proxies over the basic needs of its people,” said Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin. “The United States maintains broad exceptions and authorizations for humanitarian aid including agriculture commodities, food, medicine, and medical devices to help the people of Iran combat the coronavirus.”
Today’s designations were taken pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13224, as amended, which targets terrorists and those providing support to or acting for or on behalf of designated terrorists or supporting acts of terrorism.


The Reconstruction Organization of the Holy Shrines in Iraq (ROHSI) is an IRGC-QF-controlled organization based in Iran and Iraq whose leadership was appointed by the late IRGC-QF Commander Qassem Soleimani. Though ostensibly a religious institution, ROHSI has transferred millions of dollars to the Iraq-based Bahjat al Kawthar Company for Construction and Trading Ltd, also known as Kosar Company, another Iraq-based entity under the IRGC-QF’s control. Kosar Company has served as a base for Iranian intelligence activities in Iraq, including the shipment of weapons and ammunition to Iranian-backed terrorist militia groups. 
Additionally, Kosar Company has received millions of dollars in transfers from the Central Bank of Iran, which was designated pursuant to E.O. 13224 in September 2019 for its financial support of the IRGC-QF and Lebanese Hizballah. Both the IRGC-QF and Hizballah have been designated by the U.S. Department of State as Foreign Terrorist Organizations under section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act.
In addition, IRGC-QF officials have used ROHSI’s funds to supplement IRGC-QF budgets, likely embezzling public donations intended for the construction and maintenance of Shiite shrines in Iraq. 
ROHSI and Kosar Company are being designated pursuant to E.O. 13224 for being owned, controlled, or directed by, directly or indirectly, the IRGC-QF.
OFAC is also designating Mohammad Jalal Maab, the current head of ROHSI, who was personally appointed to the position by former IRGC-QF Commander Soleimani. Jalal Maab succeeded Hassan Pelarak, an IRGC-QF officer and co-owner of Kosar Company, who was selected by Soleimani to serve as his special assistant on an IRGC-QF-led committee focused on sanctions evasions activity. Pelarak also worked with IRGC-QF officials to transfer missiles, explosives, and small arms to Yemen, intensifying the Yemeni conflict and exacerbating one of the world’s worst humanitarian catastrophes.
Mohammad Jalal Maab is being designated pursuant to E.O. 13224 for being a leader or official of ROHSI. Hassan Pelarak is being designated pursuant to E.O. 13224 for having acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, the IRGC-QF. 
Alireza Fadakar, another co-owner of Kosar Company, has worked in Iraq on behalf of the IRGC-QF for several years and is an IRGC-QF commander in Najaf, Iraq. Muhammad al-Ghorayfi is an IRGC-QF affiliate and employee of Kosar Company who provides administrative support to Fadakar and has facilitated the travel of IRGC-QF officials between Iraq and Iran.
Alireza Fadakar is being designated pursuant to E.O. 13224 for having acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, the IRGC-QF. Muhammad al-Ghorayfi is being designated pursuant to E.O. 13224 for having materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services to or in support of, Alireza Fadakar.
Masoud Shoustaripousti, another co-owner of Kosar Company, has worked in Iraq on behalf of the IRGC-QF for several years and has laundered money for the group. Shoushtaripousti worked with Mashallah Bakhtiari, who used Kosar Company to launder money and worked with officials at the Baghdad-based branch of Iran’s Bank Melli to deposit funds for the IRGC-QF in Iraq. OFAC designated Bank Melli in November 2018, pursuant to E.O. 13224, for acting as a conduit for payments to the IRGC-QF which also used Bank Melli to dispense funds to Iranian-backed terrorist groups in Iraq.
Masoud Shoustaripousti is being designated pursuant to E.O. 13224 for having acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, the IRGC-QF. Mashallah Bakhtiari is being designated pursuant to E.O. 13224 for having materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services to or in support of, the IRGC-QF.


Separately, OFAC is taking action against Al Khamael Maritime Services (AKMS), an Iraq-based company operating out of Umm Qasr port in which the IRGC-QF has a financial interest. The IRGC-QF leveraged Shiite militia group contacts to evade Iraqi government inspection protocol at Umm Qasr port and has charged foreign companies and vessels fees for services at its terminal at the port. AKMS also worked to sell Iranian-origin petroleum products in contravention of U.S. sanctions against the Iranian regime.
AKMS is being designated pursuant to E.O. 13224 for being owned, controlled, or directed by, directly or indirectly, the IRGC-QF. 
OFAC is also designating Hasan Saburinezhad, also known as Engineer Morteza, who is involved in the finances of AKMS. As a representative of AKMS, Saburinezhad worked to facilitate the entry of Iranian shipments into Iraqi ports for the benefit of the IRGC-QF. Saburinezhad is also involved in IRGC-QF financial and economic activities between Iran, Iraq, and Syria, including smuggling activities along the Syria/Iraq border. Saburinezhad also runs smuggling routes to help Iraqi terrorist group KH and the IRGC-QF smuggle goods into Iraq from Iran, and has assisted KH in funding the acquisition and transfer of goods out of Iran.  
Saburinezhad is the Managing Director and a member of the board of directors of Mada’in Novin Traders (MNT), an Iran- and Iraq-based company associated with multiple IRGC-QF officials, including Vali Gholizadeh, who has worked with Saburinezhad for the benefit of both AKMS and MNT. 
Hasan Saburinezhad is being designated pursuant to E.O. 13224 for having acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, the IRGC-QF. Mada’in Novin Traders is being designated pursuant to E.O. 13224 for being owned, controlled, or directed by, or to have acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, Saburinezhad. Gholizadeh is being designated pursuant to E.O. 13224 for being a leader or official of Mada’in Novin Traders.
OFAC is also designating Mohammed Saeed Odhafa Al Behadili, the Managing Director of AKMS, and Ali Hussein Falih Al-Mansoori, also known as Seyyed Rezvan, the company’s deputy managing director and head of its board of directors. Additionally, as of 2018, Al Behadili was focused on facilitating shipments and business transactions to circumvent U.S. sanctions against the Iranian regime. Al-Mansoori has worked with IRGC-QF officials on business issues related to AKMS. 
Mohammed Saeed Odhafa Al Behadili is being designated pursuant to E.O. 13224 for having acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, AKMS. Ali Hussein Falih Al-Mansoori is being designated pursuant to E.O. 13224 for being a leader or official of AKMS.
Sayyed Reza Musavifar, who is responsible for the accounts and finances of AKMS, has worked with the IRGC-QF to transfer money to terrorist militias, including KH and Lebanese Hizballah. In 2014, Musavifar transferred the equivalent of millions of dollars of foreign currency to senior IRGC-QF officials. 
Musavifar is a part owner of Middle East Saman Chemical Company, an Iran-based company that maintained an account at Rashed Exchange, an Iran-based exchange house used to convert currency for the IRGC-QF that was designated in May 2018 for being owned or controlled by Mohammadreza Khedmati, an individual designated for support to the IRGC-QF. 
Sayyed Reza Musavifar is being designated pursuant to E.O. 13224 for having materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services to or in support of, the IRGC-QF. Middle East Saman Chemical Company is being designated pursuant to E.O. 13224 for being owned, controlled, or directed by, or to have acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, Sayyed Reza Musavifar.
Additionally, Ali Farhan Asadi is being designated pursuant to E.O. 13224 for having acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, AKMS.


IRGC-QF official Sayyed Yaser Musavir has been deployed to Iraq extensively since early 2014 in support of the IRGC-QF, and he has coordinated operations between the group and Iraqi terrorist militia group officials. In 2019, Musavir coordinated with IRGC-QF officials to sell Iranian petroleum products to Syria. In 2018, Musavir coordinated propaganda efforts with AAH on behalf of senior IRGC-QF officials. AAH was designated in January 2020 by the U.S. Department of State as a Foreign Terrorist Organization under section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act and as Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) pursuant to E.O. 13224.
Sayyed Yaser Musavir is being designated pursuant to E.O. 13224 for having acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, the IRGC-QF.
Mehdi Ghasemzadeh is an IRGC-QF official and is being designated pursuant to E.O. 13224 for having acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, the IRGC-QF.


Shaykh ‘Adnan Al-Hamidawi is a Special Operations Commander for KH who in 2019 planned to intimidate Iraqi politicians who did not support the removal of U.S. forces from Iraq. KH, an Iranian-backed terrorist militia group that has been a U.S. Department of State-designated Foreign Terrorist Organization and SDGT since 2009, receives lethal support from the IRGC-QF, and has been responsible for numerous terrorist acts against Iraqi, U.S., and Coalition forces in Iraq for over a decade, including bombings, rocket attacks, and sniper operations.  
Shaykh ‘Adnan Al-Hamidawi is being designated pursuant to E.O. 13224 for having acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, KH.


As a result of today’s action, all property and interests in property of these persons that are in or come within the United States or in the possession or control of U.S. persons must be blocked and reported to OFAC. OFAC’s regulations generally prohibit all dealings by U.S. persons or within (or transiting) the United States that involve and property or interests in property of blocked persons.
In addition, persons that engage in certain transactions with the persons designated today may themselves be exposed to sanctions. Furthermore, any foreign financial institution that knowingly conducted or facilitated any significant transaction on behalf of individuals and entities designated today could be subject to U.S. correspondent account or payable-through account sanctions.
Identifying information on the entities designated today.

In coronavirus news, TREND NEWS AGENCY notes, "Iraq's Health Ministry on Saturday confirmed two more deaths from COVID-19 and 48 new cases of infections with the virus, Trend reports citing Xinhua. The new cases included nine in the capital Baghdad, 10 in Najaf, six in Basra, five in Erbil and Duhok each, four in Muthanna, three in Karbala, two in Wasit and one in the provinces of Kirkuk, Sulaimaniyah, Diyala and Maysan each, the ministry said in a statement."  KURDISTAN 24 notes that the number of confirmed cases is now 506.

AFP notes:

Fearing the respiratory illness could somehow spread from the corpses to nearby population centres, Iraqi religious authorities, tribes and townspeople have sent the bodies of COVID-19 victims back to hospital morgues, where they are piling up. 
"We couldn't hold a funeral for him and haven't been able to bury his body, even though it's been more than a week since he died," Malik told AFP, his voice laced with bitterness.
Armed men claiming to be tribal leaders threatened Malik, his family and his friends, saying they would set fire to his car if they tried to bury the body in their area. 
"Can you imagine that across this huge country Iraq, there aren't a few square meters to bury a small number of bodies?"

Still on coronavirus, The whispers on social media that Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr is gay won't go away.  In Iraq, you can be killed if someone suspects you are gay and Moqtada's thugs have killed many thought to be gay over the years.  Moqtada?  He'll never be killed even though many suspect he is gay because Moqtada has his own militia -- his only claim to power beyond his shrinking cult at present.  Moqtada's latest announcement is only yet again fueling the rumors on social media.  Yasmine Mosimann  (RUDAW) reports:

Iraqi Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr is the latest global religious leader to ignore scientific consensus and accuse the LGBT+ community of causing the coronavirus pandemic.

“One of most significant things to cause the spread of this epidemic is the legalization of same-sex marriage,” said the top cleric in a tweet on Saturday, adding “hence, I call on governments to repeal this law immedietely, without delay.”

Sadr’s comments come at a time when coronavirus has rapidly swept across the world, devastating countries with and without same-sex marriage alike.

Stephen Hickey, British ambassador to Iraq, responded to Sadr’s comment in a tweet saying the United Kingdom “will not change its law on equal marriage, which they are proud of.”

“Instead, let's work together on a better foundation of medical and scientific advice to win the battle against coronavirus,” added the ambassador.

Amir Ashour, founder and executive director at IraQueer, says tweets like Sadr’s are dangerous for Iraq’s LGBT+ community: “We believe such tweets are not only misleading the public scientifically, but are also an attempt to weaponize the current situation and capitalize on the fear of people from the unknown to increase attacks against LGBT+ people.”

“Muqtada al-Sadr is leading a militia which has a documented history of torturing and killing LGBT+ people in organized campaigns using horrific means,” added Ashour in an email statement to Rudaw English.

IRAQUEER, an LGBTQ organization in Iraq, released the following statement:

We condemn Muqtada Al Sadr's statement which claims that same sex marriage is the cause of the coronavirus.  Such statements do not only lack scientific grounds, but are also weaponizing Iraqi people's fears during stressful times to target LGBT+ people. Making such ignorant statements will not only endanger LGBT+ people's lives, but will also put the lives of all Iraqis at risk.  The coronavirus is a pandemic that must be dealt with seriously and medically, and Muqtada Al Sadr's tweet will only distract us from what is really important, which is to save Iraqi lives.