Thursday, July 21, 2022

It is time to demand a special counsel

 Some people are confused as to the First Family scandal. 

Giulia Carbonaro of NEWSWEEK provides a very good overview of the investigation into Hunter Biden's financial issues:

Federal investigators have been looking at possible money laundering and violations of U.S. tax laws. They have also been examining whether he may have acted as an unregistered foreign lobbying agent while working for foreign interests as a consultant and investor.

Hunter Biden has worked for businesses and tycoons in China, Ukraine and Kazakhstan. He sat on the board of Ukrainian gas company Burisma for five years between 2014 and 2019, receiving a large salary. The company he set up, Rosemont Seneca Bohai LCC was sent $142,000 by a Kazakh oligarch, money which Hunter Biden then reportedly spent on a sports car.

According to the Washington Post, between 2017 and 2018 a Chinese energy company sent $4.8 million to entities Hunter and his uncle, James Biden, controlled, for legal and advisory work.

An official federal investigation into Hunter Biden's business started in 2018 after a tax inquiry evolved into a bigger probe looking into whether he had not only paid enough taxes on his income, but had maybe violated other federal laws.


 So if you were confused, hopefully, that got you up to speed.  

What is needed, what has always been needed, is a special counsel.  Jonathan Turley has long advocated for that and he did so again today:

The media is reporting that the criminal investigation of Hunter Biden is at a “critical stage” with the grand jury considering an array of charges including various tax violations and possible foreign lobbying violations. I previously testified in Congress on possible criminal exposure for Hunter under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA). There seems ample evidence for such charges but there remain some glaring questions in how the Biden Administration has handled the investigation of the Biden family. What is also striking is the initial response of pundits on cable channels like MSNBC that has long ignored or downplayed the allegations.

The most glaring question raised by the report is, again, the refusal of Attorney General Merrick Garland to appoint a Special Counsel despite overwhelming justification for such an appointment. For over a year, I have been writing on the obvious need for a special counsel in an investigation that not only is embarrassing for the Biden family but implicates not just Hunter but his uncle and his father.

Given this mounting evidence, the position of Attorney General Garland has gone from dubious to ridiculous in evading the issue of a special counsel appointment.  He continues to refuse to acknowledge these conflicts with the President.

Federal regulations allow the appointment of a special counsel when it is in the public interest and an “investigation or prosecution of that person or matter by a United States Attorney’s Office or litigating Division of the Department of Justice would present a conflict of interest for the Department or other extraordinary circumstances.”

It is hard to imagine a stronger case for the appointment of a special counsel. Attorney General Garland has failed in his duty to protect the Justice Department from such conflicts or the appearance of such conflicts.


 In a functioning democracy, a special counsel would be overseeing this right now.

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

Thursday, July 21, 2022.  An attack in Kurdistan finally leads to real revulsion over the actions the Turkish government has been carrying out for some time now.

There's not a week that goes by that the Turkish government isn't killing someone in the Kurdistan (northern Iraq).  They've set up military bases there, they use War Planes and drones to bomb the area, they've cut down trees in the area -- all of this in violation of Iraq's national sovereignty.  

Khaled Sulaiman Tweets:

By destroying and burning natural forests, the #turkish_army is eliminating the ecosystem and wildlife in Iraqi Kurdistan الجيش التُركي يمارس إبادة بيئية في اقليم كُردستان العراق سوپای تورکیا کۆمەڵکوژیی دژی ئیکۆسیستم و ژیانی هەمە-چەشنیی هەرێمی پیادە دەکات

Except for Jeremy Corbyn, no non-Iraqi politician has seemed very concerned with this behavior.  Today, that may finally be changing.

Ghassan Adnan and David S. Cloud (WALL ST JOURNAL) explain, "Iraq accused Turkey of carrying out an artillery attack on a popular tourist destination in the country’s mountainous north, killing eight people in an area where Ankara has conducted a decadeslong military campaign targeting Kurdish militants."  Louisa Loveluck and Mustafa Salim (WASHINGTON POST) report:


Videos from the scene of the attack showed a summertime idyll destroyed. Shortly before the strike, families had been gathered by a pool, taking a dip or resting in the dappled shade.

When the shelling began, screams filled the air beneath a canopy of vines. Parents grabbed their children and ran.

Turkey has been conducting military operations against militants from the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, in Iraq’s northern mountains for years. The group has fought a decades-long war for autonomy for Turkey’s ethnic Kurdish minority -- but civilian casualties on this scale are believed to be rare.

Rare?  Most attacks result in the Turkish government announcing they killed X number of terrorists and when Iraqi media reports that this was a farmer or these were children or whatever, the western media ignores it.  Over and over.  "Terrorist" is used to describe any Kurd or Yezidi and Turkey is allowed to carry out a genocide not unlike the one they did in the 20th century when they went after the Armenians.  

The US State Dept issued the following:

The United States condemns the attack earlier today in the Dohuk province of Iraq, which killed and injured civilians. The killing of civilians is unacceptable, and all states must respect their obligations under international law, including the protection of civilians. We extend our condolences to the families of those killed and our sympathies to those injured. We maintain our strong support for Iraq’s sovereignty and its security, stability, and prosperity, including that of the Iraqi Kurdistan Region.

The United Kingdom released a statement as well:

     Press release

Foreign Office statement on the attack in Duhok

A Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office spokesperson said:

The UK is seriously concerned by the reports of civilian casualties resulting from an attack in Zakho district of Duhok on 20 July.

We offer our deepest condolences to those affected and express our support for the Iraqi authorities in their investigations.

The UK deplores the loss of life and will continue to support the stability of Iraq including the Kurdistan Region of Iraq.

Media enquiries


Telephone 020 7008 3100         

Sangar Khaleel and

Witnesses to the attack who were taken to the hospital roamed its halls frantically, many barefoot, searching for family and friends. They described traumatic scenes at the bombing site.

“It was chaos ­— tourists’ hands and legs were detached from their bodies,” said Ahmad Tahseen Ali, 30, from Babil Province, who said he was standing about 20 meters from one of the strikes, which wounded his brother and sister, Ban al-Humnrani, 42, who is a U.S. citizen and was visiting from Sacramento, Calif. “We are used to hearing sounds of war, but I have never seen a horrific scene like this,” said Ms. al-Humnrani, who suffered a leg wound.

BBC NEWS notes the death toll is 9 with 23 more left injured.

And the Iraqi government's response?  PRESS TV notes that today has been declared "a day of national  mourning."  IRAQI NEWS adds, "The Iraqi Prime Minister, Mustafa Al-Kadhimi, chaired on Wednesday an emergency meeting of the Ministerial Council for National Security, and directed to submit an urgent complaint to the UN Security Council regarding the Turkish bombing of Dohuk governorate, according to the Iraqi News Agency (INA)." THE TIMES HUB notes, "Iraq withdrew its ambassador to Turkey for consultations." And Ahmed Maher (THE NATIONAL) reports:

Iraq has demanded that Turkey withdraw its troops from the country and stopped plans to appoint an ambassador in Ankara, accusing the Turkish army of a deadly artillery attack on a popular tourist destination in the country’s north.

“Turkey has disregarded the Iraqi demands to stop the violations against our sovereignty and the security of our citizens, and to respect the principle of good neighbourliness,” Iraq’s National Security Council said.

"We ask Turkey to offer an official apology and withdraw its military troops from all Iraqi territories."

AFP describes that protests have taken place:

The deaths in a village pleasure garden prompted several dozen angry demonstrators to protest outside the Turkish visa office in Baghdad early Thursday, despite a heavy police presence.

Loudspeakers blared out patriotic songs as protesters chanted slogans demanding the expulsion of the Turkish ambassador, an AFP journalist reported.

"We want to burn down the embassy. The ambassador must be expelled," said demonstrator Ali Yassin, 53. "Our government is doing nothing."

There were similar protests on Wednesday night in the Shiite shrine cities of Najaf and Karbala and in the southern city of Nasiriyah.

Suhad Talabany Tweets:

Protestors in Khanaqin step on the Turkish flag and burn it, in reaction to the Turkish shelling in Zakho which killed & injured 35 Iraqi tourists yesterday. #Kurdistan #Khanagin #Turkey #TwitterKurds

Sadar Sattar Tweets:

National mourning has been declared in #Iraq after #Turkey attacked holidaymakers in Zaxo/southern #kurdistan. The bodies of the nine victims are transferred from Hewlêr to Baghdad. Investigations have clearly established Turkey's responsibility.

As is always the case when one of the murders its carried out gets some attention from the press, the Turkish government is denying that they launched the attack.  

Julian Bechocha (RUDAW) reports:

The continued fighting between Turkey and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) on the Kurdistan Region’s borders is completely “unacceptable”, the Region's President Nechirvan Barzani said Wednesday following the Turkish attack that killed and injured dozens in Zakho. 

“The repeated bombings and continued fighting between the Turkish army and PKK fighters on the borders has been completely rejected and unacceptable,” the President said, adding that such attacks harm the security and stability of the Kurdistan Region.

President Barzani further urged for an end to the aggressions on the Kurdistan Region’s borders and called on the Iraqi federal government to prevent such tragedies from reoccurring. 

The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) also condemned the Turkish bombardment in Zakho and said that Iraq and the international community must do their part in ensuring that such attacks will not be repeated, describing the Turkey-PKK confrontations as “a source of threat and a permanent danger to the lives of citizens.”


 Mustafa al-Kadhimi is the country's caretaker prime minister.  

#BREAKING Iraqi PM attends a ceremony at Baghdad International Airport to receive the bodies of nine Iraqi tourists killed in the Wednesday's shelling of a summer resort in Zakho, Kurdistan Region. #Iraq | #Baghdad | #Turkey

National mourning has been declared in #Iraq after #Turkey attacked holidaymakers in Zaxo/southern #kurdistan. The bodies of the nine victims are transferred from Hewlêr to Baghdad. Investigations have clearly established Turkey's responsibility.

Mustafa has made comments as well.  CGTN notes:

"Turkish forces have perpetrated once more a flagrant violation of Iraqi sovereignty," he said on Twitter, condemning the harm caused to "the life and security of Iraqi citizens" and reserving Iraq's right to retaliate.


"Turkish forces have perpetrated once more a flagrant violation of Iraqi sovereignty," Kadhimi said, condemning the harm caused to "the life and security of Iraqi citizens."

"Iraq reserves the right to retaliate against these aggressions and take all necessary measures to protect our people," Kadhimi added.

And KURDISTAN 24 notes the response from Iraq's National Security Council:

“We strongly condemn the Turkish attack that targeted tourists in a resort site in Duhok province, leading to human casualties,” read a statement published by the Iraqi National Security Council. “We call on Turkey to stop the violations and, as a neighbor, respect Iraq’s territorial sovereignty and its people’s safety.” 

“Turkey must make an official apology to Iraq and withdraw all its military forces from Iraqi territory,” the statement added. 

“The Iraqi Foreign Ministry will urgently submit a lawsuit to the United Nations Security Council against the Turkish attacks on Iraq’s territorial sovereignty.”

The statement also said that the Iraqi Ministry of Foreign Affairs will summon Turkey’s ambassador to Iraq.

The following sites updated: