This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"
Wednesday, February 9, 2022. The western press continues to make time to sell new wars while ignoring the ongoing war in Iraq as well as the strings being pulled by Nouri al-Maliki.
Cheap, tacky whores like Meryl Streep need to be held accountable for covering for predator Harvey Weinstein all those years. If you were stupid enough to trust Meryl when Rose McGowan rightly called her out, you're pretty damn stupid. Since Ronana Farrow's book came out, you're even more stupid. When he told Meryl what he was working on -- documented in his book -- she had a meltdown and told him to focus on something else because Harvey contributed so much to Democratic Party campaigns. Whore.
That's all she is. And Rose told the truth and Meryl thought it was over, then Ronan's book came out and the industry paid attention. Whore hasn't gotten any nominations of late for films, has she. She was overly petted at one time but that appears to be over. She's lost her support that she once had. That's what happens when whores get exposed.
It's a shame it took so long. It allowed the nit-wit (she's not a smart person and calling her "educated" is a gross stretch of the term) to preen in public and lecture. For example, when she had a film to promote she wanted us all to know how THE NEW YORK TIMES and THE WASHINGTON POST were our only hope and they were the God's truth and they were . . .
As the saying goes, bitch, please.
Right now, the outlets she praised are trying to sell a war. The same outlets, please remember, that sold the Iraq War just a little while back. They're back to doing what they do best.
Amid tough talk from European and American leaders, a new MintPress study of our nation’s most influential media outlets reveals that it is the press that is driving the charge towards war with Russia over Ukraine. Ninety percent of recent opinion articles in The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal have taken a hawkish view on conflict, with anti-war voices few and far between. Opinion columns have overwhelmingly expressed support for sending U.S. weapons and troops to the region. Russia has universally been presented as the aggressor in this dispute, with media glossing over NATO’s role in amping tensions while barely mentioning the U.S. collaboration with Neo-Nazi elements within the Ukrainian ruling coalition.
Western media and governments have expressed alarm over a suspected buildup of Russian military forces close to its over-1200-mile border with Ukraine. There are reportedly almost 100,000 troops in that vicinity, causing President Joe Biden to warn that this is “the most consequential thing that’s happened in the world in terms of war and peace since World War II.”
Yet this is far from the first media panic over a supposedly imminent Russian invasion. In fact, warning of a hot war in Europe is a near yearly occurrence at this point. In 2015, outlets such as Reuters and The New York Times claimed that Russia was massing troops and heavy firepower, including tanks, artillery and rocket launchers right on the border, while normally sleepy frontier towns were abuzz with activity.
In 2016 there was an even bigger meltdown, with media across the board predicting that war was around the corner. Indeed, The Guardian reported that Russia would soon have 330,000 soldiers on the border. Yet nothing came to pass and the story was quietly dropped.
With the next spring came renewed warnings of conflict. The Wall Street Journal claimed that “tens of thousands” of soldiers were being deployed to the border. The New York Times upped that figure to “as many as 100,000.” A few months later, U.S. News said that thousands of tanks were joining them.
In late 2018, The New York Times and other media outlets were again up in arms over a fresh Russian buildup, this time of 80,000 military units. And in the spring of last year, it was widely reported (for instance, by Reuters and The New York Times) that Russia had amassed armies totaling well over 100,000 units on Ukraine’s border, signaling that war was imminent.
Therefore, there are actually considerably fewer Russian units on Ukraine’s border than there were even 11 months ago, according to Western numbers. Furthermore, they are matched by a force of a quarter-million Ukrainian troops on the other side.
Thus, many readers will be forgiven for thinking it is Groundhog Day again. Yet there is something different about this time: coverage over the conflict has been enormous and has come to dominate the news cycle for weeks now, in a way it simply did not previously. The possibility of war has scared Americans and provoked calls for a far higher military budget and a redesign of American foreign policy to counter this supposed threat.
The Biden Administration is pressing the idea that Russia will invade Ukraine within the next two months, with National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan asserting that an attack could now come “any day.” The statement came shortly after the State Department announced that US intelligence believes Russia is preparing a video of a fake attack to create a pretext for war.
The Washington Postamplified the White House’s warning, citing several unnamed sources who said the US military and intelligence community believes Russia has 70% of its troops in place for President Vladimir Putin to exercise his maximum option. Should Moscow opt for a full-scale invasion, the assessment says, it will result in 50,000 civilian casualties, up to 25,000 military casualties, and 5 million refugees.
The assault is expected to come “after the ground freezes” sometime in mid-February and the window will remain open until late-March, sources told the Post.
Despite the anticipated humanitarian toll, Sullivan indicated that the Biden administration believes arming and training Ukrainians is working and could present an opportunity to land a blow on Russia. “If war breaks out, it will come at an enormous human cost to Ukraine, but we believe that based on our preparations and our response, it will come at a strategic cost to Russia as well,” he said.
However, the Europeans do not seem to match the Americans’ more bellicose attitude, with Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba dismissing US forecasts of imminent war as “apocalyptic predictions.” That followed similar remarks from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who said Washington’s breathless rhetoric was creating a crisis and that he doesn’t believe the threat of a Russian invasion has increased since last April.
Eager to start new wars while the previously new ones continue to drag on. XINHUA reports, "Three Iraqi soldiers and a civilian were killed on Wednesday in a roadside bomb explosion in Iraq's western province of Anbar, a security source said." The violence never ended in Iraq. Equally true, US service members remain on the ground in Iraq. But it's time to pimp the new wars, right? Don't worry, America, Meryl will be on board. There's a Democrat in the White House, after all.
For those of us who care about actual lives more than some political party -- especially some corrupt political party -- the political party of the war monger in chief really don't matter.
And we're aware that Iraq remains a US_created disaster. We're also aware that there is no government. SAWAH PRESS hopes there ia a break in the political stalemate and that the following will get things moving:
Today (Wednesday), for a period of 3 days, the Iraqi parliament opened the door for candidacy for the post of the country’s president after it failed to secure a quorum in its first session. Political observers suggested that this step would open the door to consultations again, which could lead to resolving the political stalemate after the Sadrist movement froze the negotiations to form a government and the continuation of the division between the two main Kurdish parties “the Kurdistan Democratic Party and the Kurdistan Union”, against the background of each of them sticking to their presidential candidate.
The Kurdistan Union insists on supporting the current president, Barham Salih, while the Democratic Party adheres to its candidate, Hoshyar Zebari, whose candidacy procedures have been suspended by the Federal Supreme Court, accusing him of corruption cases. However, an informed source from the Democratic Party revealed that the party intends to present Foreign Minister Fouad Hussein as a reserve candidate for the presidency, pending the Federal Court’s decision regarding Zebari.
I don't think it iwll. I'd be thrilled to be wrong about that. I see why SAHWA believes that. They see a roadblock that went up and they hope this will address that.
I don't see one road block. I see organized opposition. Nouri al-Maliki has been leading it from the start. The former prime minister and forever thug is largely recycling the actions he took in previous election cycles.
For example? The road blocks didn't start with Zebari's nomination. They started pubicly when the Speaker of Parliament's election was challenged in court last month. What was the point of that? It wasn't about who was the Speaker despite being portrayed as such by many western outlets when they bothered to note the matter going before the courts. What was at stake was who is recognized as the winning power. Nouri used the courts to win on that issue in 2010 -- actually got the veredict in 2010 prior to the March elections that year and pulled it out when his State of Law did not get the most votes.
Time and again, we're seeing moves opposing Moqtada al-Sadr and his band and these moves are ones Nouri has used in the past. The Iraqi press has no problem speculating -- they're on strong ground there -- that Nouri is the one leading this. But the western press can't even utter his name. The challenge of Hoshyar? Doesn't it echo the way Nouri brought up old claims against then-political rival Saleh al-Mutlaq? (Yeah, it does.)
Over and over, we're seeing the same plays executed again.
And Nouri does fight that way, he will throw out anything to win. But don't think he's short term. He plans out. He goes long term. And my guess would be all of these battles are about frustrating the alliance that Moqtada's formed. If he could chip off the KDP, for example, that would be a victory. But he really just needs to chip off a few MPs. He's built his own coalition and has promises from MPs not yet officially with him to move towards him if Moqtada suffers more bruises.
Moqtada al-Sadr was never ready for thsi fight and clearly didn't expect it. A novice when it comes to the political game, Moqtada's been out played repeatedly.
And that's why the elections took place October 7th and yet there is still no president or prime minister. Tim Borlay (TURNED NEWS) observes, "After four months of quarrels, the Iraqi barons have still not succeeded in forming a majority parliamentary coalition, which is crucial for subsequently designating a new prime minister."
ASHARQ AL-AWSAT reports on help that someone in Iran is attempting to offer the floundering Moqtada:
Iran's supreme leader Ali Khamenei has joined efforts to address the crisis between Iraq's Sadrist movement leader, cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, and the pro-Tehran Coordination Framework as they grapple to form a new government.
Informed sources told Asharq Al-Awsat that Khamenei has forced the Coordination Framework to remain united, barring its members, specifically Hadi al-Ameri's Fatah alliance, from joining the rival Sadrist camp.
It was revealed that late last month leaders of the Framework had drafted a letter asking Khamenei to allow members of the alliance to join Sadr's coalition in spite of the reservations against him.
The letter was supposed to be sent by head of the State of Law coalition, led by former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, but the decision to send it was never taken.
Maliki, however, "leaked it from behind their backs" because he knew that Khamenei's response would put an end to any chance of striking an alliance between the Sadrists and the Fatah alliance.
Poor Moqtada, so many are struggling to pull him across the finish line. And, you caught it right, who's pulling the actual strings? You saw who knows what he's doing and is playing longterm strategy? Nouri al-Maliki.
Maybe the western press just doesn't get it. Certainly, when he was in power, we spent years here noting how much damage he was doing and, in 2012, we were predicting the rise of ISIS because of Nouri. We've always taken him seriously. It's a shame the western press hasn't and that they're still missing the point with regards to him. ASHARQ AL-AWSAT notes remains "adamant on the exclusion of the State of Law coalition, specifically its leader former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki."
Meanwhile, Ali Hussein (ALARABIYA NEWS) notes:
Does the United States of America ever feel guilty? Do its politicians know that they were behind dragging Iraq into the labyrinth of sectarianism and were partners and witnesses of the big lie?
For a while I used to assume that the actual events on the ground are outside the control of the decision-makers at the White House, but it turned out these events are a daily testimony that those decision-makers were fully aware and conscious when they enabled particular politicians in Iraq to run the affairs of this country.
In utter frankness, we are continuously at extreme danger, and the flames raging in our country are expanding further and further so that they will reach everything. To sum up, the entire destiny of Iraq is hanging by a thin thread, and no one can predict when this thread will snap, or what will happen next?
Every day the Iraqis feel that they are going through the most difficult and dangerous era in the entire history of their land, an era that started with the major transition that took place back in 2003, when those same Iraqis who had lived for decades under dictatorship and tyranny became hopeful of new horizons and perspectives of a bright future. However, the new politicians erupted with their ugly faces, disintegrating the country, and turning it into an arena for warring sects and parties. We should be so grateful to those wise and skillful politicians who never fell short of advocating all kinds of fallacies and fabrications and of spreading rumors that promote a culture of violence and cruelty.
Again, the war never ended. Aziz Al-Rubaye (AMWAJ) reminds:
Mass abductions have become a widespread and harrowing phenomenon in Iraq over the past two decades. According to the International Committee of the Red Cross, Iraq has one of the highest numbers of missing people in the world, with hundreds of thousands reportedly abducted over the years.
The 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq set off the kidnapping sprees, as various armed groups took advantage of the chaos to settle scores and collect ransoms. Not even government institutions have been spared from being stormed by kidnapping assailants who act without fear of legal repercussions.
Indeed, many kidnapping operations are sophisticated and have been tied to government officials, security forces, and armed groups. The victims include civil society and human rights activists, journalists, and members of religious minorities. In this context, a review of kidnapping cases and the testimonials of survivors underscores the failure of Iraqi authorities to address this issue...
We'll wind down with this from Ann Garrison's latest for BLACK AGENDA REPORT:
Frank Sterling is a KPFA Radio reporter, a KPFA First Voice Radio Apprentice Instructor, a Native American, and an advocate for the homeless and victims of police brutality. He lives in Antioch, California on the northern edge of the San Francisco Bay Area, in far eastern Contra Costa County. As an activist journalist he first began covering high profile police brutality cases that had already received wide media attention, like those of Eric Garner, Michael Brown, George Floyd, and locally, Oscar Grant. Eventually he began to realize that similar cases were happening around him in Antioch, but that without media coverage, they were going largely unnoticed.
In September 2021, Frank was arrested protesting on the edge of a going away party for Tammany Brooks, Antioch’s first Black police chief . I spoke to Frank after his pre-trial hearing last week, which I also attended to support him. While I was outside court, a Black woman who had also come to support Frank told me that police had shot and killed her son, once in the head and twice in the back, in the parking lot of a nearby Nation’s Hamburgers, where they alleged he had been trying to buy some drugs.
Ann Garrison: Frank Sterling, tell us what you’re doing out here at Contra Costa County Superior Court in Pittsburgh, California.
Frank Sterling; I'm out here because they're trying to charge me with resisting arrest during a protest against the last Antioch Police Chief.
AG: That would be Chief Tammany Brooks, Antioch’s first Black police chief, now the deputy police chief in Boise, Idaho . Right?
FS: That’s him.
AG: Antioch is a city of roughly 111,000 on the northern outskirts of the San Francisco Bay Area, and Boise, the capital and largest city in Idaho, is a city of roughly 226,000. So this was an upward career move for Tammany Brooks even though he’s not chief there yet.
FS: I think that’s fair to say.
AG: So what were you protesting?
FS: It was a going away party for Brooks as he was leaving for his new job in Boise. He was being celebrated by a group called Antioch Backs the Blue and a couple other community organizations. And a small group of activists, including myself, came to say that he should not be celebrated because of the crimes, we felt, he had committed against our community.
AG: This was September 21 last year, 2021, in an Antioch public park, right?
FS: That’s right.
AG: And what happened?
FS: Well, basically, the people that “back the back the blue” and the other people that were there to celebrate the chief—not everybody, but a couple of instigators—wanted to rip our signs out of our hands, and urged others to join in blocking us from getting near their party.
Basically, they were doing goodbye photo ops with the chief. There was a lot of handshaking and taking their pictures with the chief. They gave him a plaque and told him how much they loved him.
While that was going on, we were in the background trying to hold up our protest signs and get them into their photo ops, so that, unless they cropped us out, we’d be there.
So they started trying to block us out of their photos. Some of them started trying to take our signs and blocked us physically. Then the band started playing some music and they all started dancing in our direction until it turned into a melee. People tried to take our signs and our bullhorn from us. I wasn't in a physical altercation, but other members of my group were being physically attacked, especially by one angry woman.
AG: Was she a police officer?
FS: No, but she was one of the organizers of the event. Eventually the police sort of pushed them aside and arrested us.
AG: In the pictures there are three or four officers holding you down on the ground. It looked a lot like the George Floyd arrest.
FS: Yeah, one of them tackled me, then they surrounded me on the ground, zapped me twice with a taser, and cuffed me.
AG: What was it you were protesting about Tammany Brooks history as Antioch Police Chief?
FS: There were a few things. First, he had been celebrated when he first got there as someone who was going to make serious change. And he was our first African American police chief. The outgoing chief hailed him as a team player, and he had this great story about growing up poor in San Francisco’s Bay View Hunter’s Point neighborhood, having a troubled childhood, and rising up to be this chief of police in spite of it.
But one of the things that he did was to authorize surveillance of our activists by tracking their phones and their cars through data tracking apps and other surveillance technologies.
The following sites updated: