June 15, 2012. Chaos and violence continue, Gina Chon wants it all to
be about her, more Democratic Senators are bothered by Brett McGurk's
nomination, the VA is approximately six weeks behind in paying veterans
their GI Bill benefits checks (remember in 2009 when that was supposed
to have been fixed), OPEC discusses oil prices, War Criminal Tony Blair
is heckled again, and more.
Today disgraced former Wall St. Journal
reporter Gina Chon attempted to shove Jesus off the cross so she could climb up there herself. Gawker posts her e-mail
seen the ugliness in human beings in war zones and natural disasters
but I've never seen it up close and personal in the comfort of the U.S.
The venom of Washington politics makes Wall Street, which I covered for
the last two years, look like a playground.
underneath the half-truths and outright lies is a fairly simple tale of
two people who met in Baghdad, fell in love, got engaged and later
married. In the process we formed a strong connection with Iraq, a place
where we lost many friends.
I'm not trying
to absolve myself of responsibility. People were hurt along the way and
for that, I am truly sorry. I made stupid mistakes four years ago in
Iraq while working for the Wall Street Journal and for that, I'm also sorry. I had to leave my job at a news organization I love and for that, I am heartbroken.
want you to know, though, that while I worked in Iraq for the paper,
Brett never gave me sensitive or classified information nor did he trade
his knowledge for my affection. We were both dedicated professionals
too committed to our jobs and had too much respect for each other to do
anything like that. And as individuals, it's simply not who we are or
how we approach our work. Nor did he need to. He was authorized to speak
on occasion on background with journalists and did so with me, the Washington Post, the New York Times and other news outlets.
Chon, you were not a 'dedicated professional.' If you had been, you
would have followed the ethical guidelines of journalism as well as the
Dow Jones written ethical policy you signed. If you were a 'dedicated
professional,' you would still be working for the Wall St. Journal. So stop lying.
Let's go through some of that.
seen the ugliness in human beings in war zones and natural disasters
but I've never seen it up close and personal in the comfort of the U.S.
The venom of Washington politics makes Wall Street, which I covered for
the last two years, look like a playground.
typical that all she could recall is the ugliness. Most people would
embrace the humanity or see a mixture. How telling that she chose to
wallow in the ugliness. The glass is always half full, chipped and
unwashed for Gina.
And what venom? Most
newspapers and outlets have ignored your huge lapse in journalism
ethics. Jokes have yet to circulate about you -- but they are coming,
they are. You did wrong and you got caught.
fact that you were fired and you still can't admit that it was your
fault goes to your lack of maturity and your failure to practice your
the half-truths and outright lies is a fairly simple tale of two people
who met in Baghdad, fell in love, got engaged and later married. In the
process we formed a strong connection with Iraq, a place where we lost
The full truth is you
were forbideen to sleep with your sources. The full truth is you
ignored the Dow Jones ethics policy. The full truth is you violated
it. A lapse? One tumble might have been a lapse. But you didn't
inform your editor of what happened and a 'lapse' turned into an affair.
I don't give a ___ whether you sucked him
off to glory or you rode him to ecstatsy, Gina Chon. I give a damn that
you lied to everyone including the readers.
do not sleep with government officials you are supposed to be
covering. You are obviously as stupid as you are unethical to even
write such a whine. The one thing you had going for you was that people
respected the fact that you appeared to be taking your lumps without
bitching and moaning in public. You've blown that. Now you're just
another pathetic scandal, someone who gets caught and refuses to take
We have wall between press and
state in the US. Maybe that's news to you, Gina. But unlike in China,
Iran and other countries, we don't have state control of the media.
When you're sent to cover Iraq for the Wall St. Journal, readers
have a right to believe that you're doing it to the best of your
abilities. When you sleep with a US government official, that throws
that belief out the window. You violated the ethics, you showed your
copy to McGurk -- which is what outraged everyone and why they suggested
you resign immediately or they could fire you on the spot.
You lost your right to whine about "loss" in the War Zone. You know why?
you're the cheater. Ask John Edwards, the cheater doesn't get to
whine. You cheated on your husband, Brett McGurk cheated on his wife.
While that's not our focus here when you try to play utlimate victim you
better grasp that you and Brett can't pull it off. You're two people
who didn't keep your vows. Public sympathy goes to the spouses you
cheated on. Try another trick, Gina.
not trying to absolve myself of responsibility. People were hurt along
the way and for that, I am truly sorry. I made stupid mistakes four
years ago in Iraq while working for the Wall Street Journal and for that, I'm also sorry. I had to leave my job at a news organization I love and for that, I am heartbroken.
You know what, Judith Miller probably would love to still be at the New York Times.
Reporting is not a hobby, you don't dabble in it. Most people and
outlets do not say "Gina Chon reported . . ." They say, "I heard on
NPR" or "I saw an NBC Nightly News" or "I read in USA Today." You
disgraced the Dow Jones with your behavior. You're going to be in the
journalism text books now so you better start trying to come up with a
better line of argument than 'My hot loins moistened at the thought of
his throbbing member while he texted 'blue balls' to me.' It was not a
"stupid mistake," it was a gross violation of journalism ethics.
You're very lucky this came out in 2012.
Had it come in 2008, CJR would be crucifying you, The Nation
would forget the name "Judith Miller" as they went to town on you, Greg
Mitchell would do non-stop posts about you, speaking to everyone you've
ever worked with. But because Bush is out of office and your husband
is Barack Obama's nominee to be US Ambassador to Iraq, these outlets and
others are down playing what happened.
amazing that, as you climb on the cross, and glorify yourself, you
forget to apologize for what you did which was not "stupid mistakes."
You weren't a teenager, you weren't an intern. You were a professional
journalist working for a US newspaper with the highest circulation.
When this started, last week, I was reminded of James Brooks' Broadcast News.
Albert Brooks makes a crack. And I thought, "What is it he says? It's
about whether you'd tell a source you' loved them to get information
-- it's funny, it's . . . Oh."
because the butt of the joke is a woman and when that happens, we always
have to wonder, is the joke fair or not? And so I decided not to
include an excerpt of the whole
would-you-sleep-with-your-source-to-get-a-story bit which ends with
Albert Brooks saying, "Jennifer didn't know there was an alternative."
Ha-ha-ha-ha. And now Gina Chon's name can be footnoted to that joke
apparently. Guess what?
Women have not come far enough. When a Martha Raddatz (ABC News) has to talk on NPR (Tell Me More, February 22, 2011
covering wars and having children -- not to talk about the juggle that
so many of us who work and raise children can relate to but because
suddenly the spin for the day is 'maybe women shouldn't be allowed in
war zones,' we have not come far enough.
have not come far enough in our society. We can't absorb your
inability to follow the basic ethics, Gina. Your actions betray women.
Not because you cheated on a 'sister,' but because you were such an
idiot that you have taken the Iraq War, where women came to the
forefront of reporting -- and had to pay for that already by having the
scapegoat for the war itself be a woman (Judith Miller) -- and put that
accomplishment at risk, put it at risk of turning all of the work into a
dirty joke. Women have not come far enough to afford your ethical
Jane Arraf, Lara Jakes, Rebecca
Santana, Deborah Haynes, Nancy A. Youssef, Sabrina Tavernise, Alyssa J.
Rubin, Tina Susman, Alexandra Zavis, Ellen Knickmeyer, Erica Goode,
Deborah Amos, Cara Buckley, Anna Badkhen, Lourdes Garcia-Navarro, Liz
Sly, Alice Fordham, Deborah Haynes, Sahar Issa and many other women
have risked a great deal to report from Iraq. Your name used to be on
that list. Check the archives, earlier this year we were still
including you here on that list.
be apologizing to women in the profession for you failure to follow the
ethics policy. One woman on the list in the first sentence of the above
paragraph has been dogged by false rumors that the US military brass in
Iraq fed her stories because she was sleeping with a general. We've
talked about that before here and how her male colleagues were the ones
spreading the false rumors. It wasn't a rival outlet, it was her own
colleagues. Jealous over what she was doing and feeling petty so they
spread rumors about her. She kept her head up, ignored the rumors and
continued (and continues now) to do her work.
Chon, that woman knows about being persecuted. She knows about being
turned into a joke. And she was innocent of the slander her male
colleagues spread. She didn't climb on the cross and play the victim so
why you think anyone should give a damn that you wish you hadn't been
caught violating the ethics of your profession is beyond me.
we haven't gone there here. We've tried to make it about Brett
McGurk. I'd hoped to not write about you at any length. But when the
so-called media watchdogs refused to bark over the fact that you had a
sexual relationship in Baghdad with a Bush official while covering Iraq,
we had to wade in. But there are several barriers I still haven't
crossed. For example, we haven't examined your part in the 2008 e-mails
here or even quoted from your own 2008 e-mails. In addition, I was
asked by a Senator on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee about your
reporting from that period and I tried to play dumb and he pointed out
that I was stalling and I said, "I'm just not comfrotable with that
Gina Chon, if you continue to try
to play the world's utlimate victim, I can easily say, "Check out the
story filed ___, paragraph three, specifically ___" and you and I both
know what I mean.
Because of Barack the media
watchdogs -- which apparently are partisan as the right has long charged
-- aren't doing their job and you're very lucky for that. But I can do
their job for them. And I will if you don't stop trying to play
injured party. You violated journalism ethics and just as a reporter
who plagiarizes gets fired, you lost your job. Quit trying to make it
about love. You weren't fired for falling in love. You were fired for
sleeping with your source, you were fired for sleeping with someone you
let see your copy -- your former bosses say "vet," you say "seek
As Dolly Parton
says in Straight Talk
, "Get off the cross, honey, somebody else needs the wood."
Chon's current husband is Brett McGurk who, at 39, has been nominated
by Barack Obama to head the US mission in Iraq. He would be the US
Ambassador to Iraq if confirmed, over the largest US diplomatic mission
in the world despite not speaking Arabic, despite lacking management
experience, despite his established practice of sending e-mails to women
he hasn't slept with about his "blue balls." HR's going to have a lot
of fun in Iraq if McGurk gets to supervise women.
presence means Iraqi women are not welcome at the US Embassy. That's
going to mean a number of programs are cancelled. You never heard about
those programs because the press never cared enough to write about
them. I'm not sure they ever even reported on one of Brooke Darby's
appeareances before Congress in the last eight months (Darby is with the
State Dept). But with the US government having put thugs in charge of
Iraq -- to scare the people into submission while various economic
programs were put in place -- so-called 'honor' killings are a real
threat to Iraqi women.
Honor killings remained a serious problem. Legislation in force permits honor considerations to mitigate sentences.
to the UNHCR in April, honor killings were prevalent in all parts of
the country. For the first nine months of the year, the domestic NGO
Human Rights Data Bank recorded 314 burn victims (125 instances of
self-immolation and 189 cases of burning), compared with 234 burn victim
during the same period in 2008.
killings remained a serious problem throughout all parts of the
country. The penal code of 1969 permits honor considerations to mitigate
Statistics published by the KRG Ministry of
Interior in 2010 stated that there were 102 incidents of women burned in
and around Erbil Province alone. Sixty-five percent of these cases were
still under investigation during the year. Women who committed
self-immolation had been previously victimized, but police investigated
only a small number of women's burn cases. The KRG reported that during
the year 76 women were killed or committed suicide, while 330 were
burned or self-immolated, but a number of NGOs, including the
Organization for Women's Freedom in Iraq, stated that such estimates
So visiting the US Embassy
in Iraq -- for the small business training or any program or concern --
becomes a danger for Iraqi women who will be sneered at for ties to the
Americans and now for a US Ambassador known to sleep with women in Iraq
other than his own wife. "You got a micro loan! What did you do for
it?" Brett McGurk as US Ambassador to Iraq means a threat to Iraqi
women -- especially in the KRG that he testified he would be visiting
every week if named Ambassador.
past time for Americans to be asking what would McGurk's appointment do
to help Iraqi women? The answer is nothing. It would put them at risk
if they visited the Embassy, it would most likely mean many Iraqi women
would have nothing to do with the Embassy.
a real shame that the press won't protect Iraqi women. It's a real
shame that Gina Chon believes she's suffering when she has spent time in
Iraq and should know the ultimate victims of the war were and remain
Peter Van Buren is the author of We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the War for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People
the same administration that insists Brett McGurk is qualified for the
post of Ambassador is attempting to drum Van Buren out of the State
Dept for his whistleblowing book. Peter's been covering the McGurk
nomination for some time and has noted at length the various ethical
violations McGurk has engaged in -- violations that the State Dept
punishes others for but that McGurk gets waived through on. In his most recent post
Van Buren notes that the bubbling under of the 'underground video' of
McGurk getting a blow job on top of Saddam's palace by a woman who is
not his first wife or his second wife (watch out, Gina, she may be the
one who replaces you!). He also notes more unethical behavior on the
part of McGurk and Chon:
Meanwhile in sleaze land, the Washington Post reports
that McGurk invited his then-mistress Chon to be a guest lecturer at a
Harvard course he taught in 2009. Harvard students attending the class
had no idea that their teacher was romantically involved with Chon, who
spoke to them about her experience
reporting getting inside info by sleeping with her sources in Iraq, according to a student who attended.
Needless to say, both the Stickman and Chon were married to others when
they arranged to have Harvard pay for Chon to spend some quality time
with Brett on the university's dime. Another classy move McGurk!
Gina, that's not "dedicated professionalism." Try again, Gina. And
here's a little hint, when you trade sexual favors for benefits it's
usually considered prostitution.
Senator Bob Casey was acting Chair for McGurk's Committee hearing. It was in that hearing, as we noted at Third that:
McGurk took credit for the surge.
The only aspect of the surge that was successful was what Gen David
Petraeus implemented and US service members carried out. That was not
what McGurk and other civilians were tasked with. Their part of the
surge? The military effort was supposed to create a space that the
politicians would put to good use by passing legislation. It didn't
happen. McGurk's part of the surge was a failure.He
revealed incredible ignorance about al Qaeda in Iraq and seemed unaware
that, in 2011, then-CIA Director (now Secretary of Defense) Leon
Panetta told Congress it amounted to less than 1,000 people or that in
February of this year, the Director of National Intelligence declared
that a significnat number (of that less than 1,000) had gone to Syria.Though
the press has reported for years about Nouri's refusal to bring Sahwa
members into the process (give them jobs) and how he refuses to pay
these security forces (also known as "Awakenings" and "Sons of Iraq"),
McGurk told Congress that Nouri was paying them all and had given
government jobs to approximately 70,000. (For point of reference, in 2008, Gen David Petraues told Congress there were approximately 91,000 Sahwa.)
go to the three snapshot where we reported on the hearing. Those
issues and more go to his qualifications. He is not the 'expert' the
White House has made him out to be.
Ranking Member Richard Burr: I need to move to the GI Bill real quick. And I just want to paraphrase an article which was written [by Tony Burbeck] on June the 12th which was Tuesday in the Charlotte Observer.
It talks about local veterans who are now enrolled in a school that
aren't getting their tuition and student housing money as promised from
the GI Bill and it's threatening their ability to stay in school and to
pay their rent. I won't name the veterans, five of them. "They say that
they're facing the same problems: thousands of dollars in government
backed tuition money from their GI Bills plus a monthly basic housing
allowance which hasn't come through since they started class May the
7th." Not even a book fee. Haven't received anything. "We got out of
the United States Marine Corps April 22nd." "Hall's certificate of
eligibility says he's entitled to 100 percent of benefits covered under
the GI Bill at an institution of higher education. He's in school, but
his tutition hasn't been paid. Hall says he might have to drop out of if
the GI Bill tuition payment doesn't come through. He added the
Department of Veterans Affairs also told him they are six to eight weeks
behind processing payments. Hall is already at the end of the line
with rent money that could be paid with the housing allowance. He said
he faced eviction if he didn't receive the money. Some veterans have
taken out student loans they didn't think they needed to. Others are
working all night to make up for those missing benefits. 'I have
received zero of my VA benefits,' White said." And Maxwell said
"Nothing." Does that disturb you? Because everytime this Committee
asks the question of the VA, "Are we late on payments? Is this thing
working?," the answer we get is, "Yeah. It works perfectly. We're
getting them out there." These are guys who have been in school since
May the 7th They're veterans. It's a pretty reputable media outlet.
Feel fairly certain that this Marine didn't get it wrong, 100%
eligable. But there's no payment going to his school. There's no
housing stipend, there's no book fee that's being made.
Coy: Senator, we're always concerned with any of our veterans who are
getting payments late. We process educational claims in four different
sites across the country. Uh, right now for original claims, uh, Mr.
Worley can-can correct me on the, uh, exact number perhaps but on
original claims, we're looking at, uh, processing times of 30 to 35 days
for supplemental claims, anywhere from 10 to 15 days --
Member Richard Burr: So is the VA official who talked to this Marine
and told the Marine that they were six to eight weeks behind processing
payments, was that bogus?
Coy: No, sir. I don't think it's bogus at all. There are some that
take longer than others. Uh, what I gave you was an average time, not
the range of times. We've had ranges much higher than that, as you
might imagine. We, uh, track these, uh, claims on a daily basis and so,
uh, we take all of those kinds of issues --
Member Richard Burr: What do -- what do the Marines do, Mr. Coy? The
school's working with them. They're keeping them in. He may be in
school but he might be evicted from his place on a beneft that he --
that he's earned. He deserves. What are we -- what are we going to
do? I don't think -- And if I thought I was talking about an isolated
case, I wouldn't press this. I don't think I am.
Worely II: Ranking Member Burr, I would only say that when these --
when these come to our attention, uh, we find out what happened and we
correct them as quickly as possible.
Ranking Member Richard Burr: I'll make sure when you leave you've got this news article.
Coy and Worely are with the VA (Worely is the Director of Education
Service). There is no excuse for this and there has never been an
excuse. Let's drop back to the October 19, 2009 snapshot for an
exchange during the October 18, 2009 House Committee on Veterans Affairs
Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity hearing.
House Rep Harry Teague: You know we've had a problem with some
contradictory information coming out. You know when the checks didn't
go out the first of the month, well then we issued the letter that they
would be cut on Friday the second. And then there was also some letters
sent out that if, like in places like New Mexico, it's 320 miles to the
only hospital and the only facility in the state that they would be
going to some of the larger universities around and handing the checks
out. That didn't happen. At the same time, they got a website up where
they could go to but we didn't get that information to people. So I
was just wondering if we're streamlining our communications within our
office there so that we don't continually jerk the veterans around and
have some of them misinformed.
Wilson: I understand your concerns, Congressman. And we-we have, I
believe, we have a better process in place to make sure that we are
communicating more effectively on that. The issues that we are dealing
with was trying to get -- make sure we had something out the gate
and-and informed our student population prior to 10-1 [October 1st] --
around the 10-1 time frame. The 10-1 was important because most folks
were at that point where they were due their first housing allowance
payments. .We thought it was important to get something up as soon as
possible. We were dealing -- and continued to deal -- at the time of
that press release, with some technical issues concerning how we get to
the other locations beyond our 57 regional offices. We very early on
wanted a desire to spread this out as much as possible. We felt that the
most effective way of doing this was leveraging technology. Taking
into account that we've got technology students at thousands of
locations across the country. We felt the most effective way of uh
getting those folk that weren't within distance of a regional office was
to allow technology and so that was the driver for our decision on the
follow up --
House Rep Harry Teague: Yes and I agree with that and I think that the
webpage is working good. It's just that during that week prior to that,
when I was at New Mexico State University, they were expecting someone
to be there with the checks and then, on Friday when there's not, that's
when we find out about the webpage.
Keith Wilson: I understand.
same problems continue nearly three years later. Can you pay the
benefit or not? Holding onto the money is not payment. Veterans
shouldn't have to take out short term loans and risk eviction because
the VA still can't get its act together. There is no excuse for this.
Throughout fall 2009 and early 2010, when the press was reporting on
this problem, in one hearing after another in the House and Senate the
Veterans Affairs Committee were assured by VA officials -- including
Secretary Eric Shinseki -- that the problems had been addressed and were
now in the past and the VA needed no additional resources. So why is
this again a problem nearly three years later?
Iraq is dependent upon oil. Despite years of cries from Iraqi Vice
President Tareq al-Hashemi for Iraq to diversify its economy, Iraq
remains solely dependent upon oil. It has been pumping out a large
amount at a time when OPEC is concerned with a "glut
" on the world market. Abdalla Salem el-Badri is in charge of OPEC (not some Iraqi despite bad press reporting this week). Secretary General el-Badri's spoke at the OPEC seminar in Vienna Wednesday
. We'll note the speech's main point (use the link to read in full):
fuels - which currently account for 87% of the world's energy supply -
will still contribute 82% by 2035. Oil will retain the largest share for
most of the period to 2035, although its overall share falls from 34%
to 28%. It will remain central to growth in many areas of the global
economy, especially the transportation sector. Coal's share remains
similar to today, at around 29%, whereas gas increases from 23% to 25%.
terms of non-fossil fuels, renewable energy grows fast. But as it
starts from a low base, its share will still be only 3% by 2035.
Hydropower will increase only a little - to 3% by 2035. Nuclear power
will also witness some expansion, although prospects have been affected
by events in Fukushima. It is seen as having only a 6% share in 2035.
[. . .]
In terms of resources, there are more than enough to meet expected demand growth.
overall, fossil fuels will continue to supply over 80% of our energy
needs by 2035, with oil the energy type with the largest share for most
of this period.
Finally, given the long-term nature of our industry
and the need for clarity and predictability - not only for oil, but
energy in general - I would like to leave you with three appropriate
words: 'stability, stability, stability'.
Stability for investments and expansion to flourish;
Stability for economies around the world to grow;
And stability for producers that allows them a fair return from the exploitation of their exhaustible natural resources.
Stability is the key to a sustainable global energy future for us all.
Today Guy Chazan (Financial Times of London) reports
"Iran and Iraq are forming a strenghtening alliance inside Opec,
raising concerns among moderate Arab Gulf producers like Saudi Arabia
and increasing the potential for discord in the oil producers' group."
El-Badri is Secretary-General through the end of this year. There are
four people currently angling for the job. Thamir Ghadhban (close ties
to Nouri), Iran's pushing for one of their former Ministers of Oil,
Gholamhossein Nozari, Equador's putting up Minister of Oil Wilson
Pastor-Morris and Saudi Arabia is backing their OPEC Governor Majid
al-Munif. The choice will have a global impact and, in fact, what's
going on right now has a global impact. Amena Bakr and Peg Mackey (Reuters) observe
, "Oil prices have dropped from a $128 peak for Brent crude
in March to $97, in part because the economic outlook has darkened but
also because of increased Saudi output that in April set a 30-year high
of 10.1 million barrels a day.
" AFP reports
"OPEC members have been divided over how to respond to plunging prices
and uncertainties over global energy demand, with kingpin Saudi Arabia
recently ramping up production while hawks Venequela and Iran have
called for cuts so as to boost prices. On Thursday, most memebers
agreed on an average price of at least $100 per barrel, with Angolan
Oil Minister Jose Botelho de Vasconcelos describing this as 'the
comfortable level'." Kay Johnson (AP) notes
"For now, Iraq is backing Iran's push for OPEC to set lower production
limits and keep prices high, but Baghdad's own ambitious plans for
expansion could cause an overall production growth that might drive
down prices." April Yee (The National) adds
this year Iraq has increased its exports by a fifth to pump 2.5 million
barrels per day (bpd), enough to help offset the decrease in Iranian
supplies caused by sanctions - alongside Saudi Arabia and a recovering
Iraq's target is to add another
400,000 bpd by next year, all in pursuit of its goal of 10 million bpd
in total pumping capacity in 2017- equal to the current production of
Saudi Arabia, Opec's top producer.
analysts say that goal is not realistic, they do see Iraq overtaking
Iran, Opec's second-biggest producer, as soon as next month.
Iraq and Iran are pushing Iraq
Meanwhile the Tehran Times reports
"Iranian Cooperatives, Labor, and Social Welfare Minister Abdolreza
Sheikholeslami has said that the ministry is ready to provide Iraq with
services in the fields of social welfare, technical and vocational
trainings, rehabilitation and job creation."
that the Sadr bloc states the move for a no-confidence vote is still
on. The way it would work now is summoning Nouri before the Parliament
for questioning (which they have the Constitutional power to do) and
then, after questioning, making a motion for a vote. This would cut the
treacherous Jalal Talabani out of the picture and he'd be resigned to
his ceremonial, do-nothing post that he does nothing in.
Desperate to appear to have some strength in a country where perceptions of strength matter, Al Rafidayn reports
Jalal is now saying he'll call a national conference to address the
political crisis that started as 2010 ended when Nouri ignored the Erbil
Agreement. That US-brokered contract ended the 8 month political
stalemate which followed the March 2010 elections. Nouri's State of Law
came in second to Iraqiya but the Little Saddam wouldn't step down.
Little Saddam wanted a second term. Little Saddam was backed by Tehran
and DC so his public tantrum was rewarded. The US got the political
blocs to go along with Nouri having a second term by promising various
concessions would be made (such as, in his second term, Nouri will be
bound by the Constitution, specifically Article 140 which he refused
to follow in his first term). All political blocs signed off on this
contract, Nouri signed off as well (November 2010), the US government
swore it was a binding agreement that would be honored. The next day,
Parliament held a session finally -- the first real one since the
elections. They elected a Speaker of Parliament and Jalal named Nouri
prime minister-designate. Nouri immediately refused to implement the
creation of an independent national security commission headed by
Allawi. Allawi and the bulk of Iraqiya walked out. The American
officials talked them back into the session, swearing this was
temporary, the Erbil Agreement would be honored.
December Nouri went from prime minister-designate to prime minister.
And Nouri made clear that the Erbil Agreement wasn't a priority. By
summer 2011, the Kurds, Iraqiya and Moqtada al-Sadr are calling for the
agreement to be implemented. This is the ongoing political crisis.
the government was formed at the end of 2010, all efforts of power
sharing among Prime Minister Maliki and the main Sunni political bloc,
Iraqiya, the Kurds, and even some of his Shiite partners has faltered.
As a result, the three security ministries that were supposed to be
shared among all of the political blocs remain under the prime
cabinet as it functions now allows the prime minister to rule by
decree. Those bylaws were supposed to be revised. That has never
happened. An oil law was also supposed to be passed, and that hasn't
happened. As a result, mistrust has grown on all sides.
late April, the primary Sunni bloc--Iraqiya--the main Kurdish bloc, and
Sadr's Shiite lawmakers have all come out in favor of a vote of no
confidence against Maliki. This effort climaxed last weekend when the
president of Iraq, Jalal Talabani, was asked to call for a vote of no
confidence in the parliament. But Talabani, who is a Kurd but has very
close ties with Maliki, at the end of the day said that there were not enough signatures
to call for such a vote. So now Maliki's main competitors--the Iraqiya
block, the Sadrists and the Kurds--are trying to gain more signatures to
force Talabani to call a vote of no confidence. But if not, they are
saying they're still going to call Maliki to the parliament--which
technically they can do--for hearings, for questioning, and then after
that, they want to call for a vote for no confidence. All of that
shows the trust has broken down in Iraqi politics.
was destroyed in the illegal war Bully Boy Bush and Tony Blair
conspired to launch with multiple lies. While Bush generally attempts a
low profile, Tony's so desperate for cash, he keeps going out in public
and the results, as he found out yesterday in Hong Kong, are not good.
Lewis Smith (Independent) reports
Tom Grundy attempted to do a citizen's arrest of the man whose lies
killed millions, making it "the third occassion in as many weeks in
which demonstrators have heckled the former prime minister." Press TV notes
protesters have repeatedly called for the trial of Blair for war
crimes. Last month, a group of demonstrators interrupted a
commencement speech by Blair at Colby College in Maine, the US, shouting
"warmonger" and "war criminal".
One week later, while Blair was
giving evidence at an inquiry into his links with the British media,
another protester managed to enter the courtroom and demanded Blair's
arrest for war crimes.
In November last, a symbolic tribunal in
Malaysia found Blair and former US President George W Bush guilty for
committing "crimes against peace" when they invaded Iraq.
The War Criminal was hoping to funnel more dough into the shell game that is the Tony Blair Faith Foundation. Interestingly, though the 'Foundation' highlights his speech in Hong Kong, it fails to note Grundy
. For those less familiar with Tony Blair's faith or 'faith,' Nick Cohen (Guardian of London)
described it back in 2002:During
their stay at the Maroma Hotel, a pricey retreat on Mexico's Caribbean
coast, Cherie Booth/Blair took her husband by the hand and led him along
the beach to a 'Temazcal', a steam bath enclosed in a brick pyramid. It
was dusk and they had stripped down to their swimming costumes. Inside,
they met Nancy Aguilar, a new-age therapist. She told them that the
pyramid was a womb in which they would be reborn. The Blairs became one
with 'Mother Earth'. They saw the shapes of phantom animals in the steam
and experienced 'inner-feelings and visions'. As they smeared each
other with melon, papaya and mud from the jungle, they confronted their
fears and screamed. The joyous agonies of 'rebirth' were upon them. The
ceremony over, the Prime Minister and First Lady waded into the sea
and cleaned themselves up as best they could.Time Out Hong Kong
interviews Grundy here
. The Daily Mail has video of the attempted arrest yesterday
. As does Tom Grundy at his website Global Citizen where he explains
"This evening, I attempted a citizen's arrest upon Tony Blair, who was speaking at Hong Kong University. I did this in the hope of renewing debate around the solid war crimes case against him, and in order that the campaign to
conduct citizen's arrests against Blair continues whenever
and wherever he goes. The action was legal under cap. 221 of the Laws of
Hong Kong, section 101(2) which allows for citizen's arrest upon
suspicion of serious crimes. He mis-led the British public over the 2003
Iraq invasion and caused the deaths of at least 100,000 people. I
believe it to be abhorrent that HKU is sponsoring a talk about faith
hosted by a man who set religious tolerance back decades."Blair admitted in 2009 that he would have gone to war regardless of Iraq's alleged WMDs -- international law does not allow a war of aggression in
the name of regime change. He stated in 2002 that Iraq's production of
WMDs was 'beyond doubt' and thus misled the British people. The use of
depleted uranium and cluster bombs may constitute 'aggression' in that they are indiscriminate and cause large civilian causalities.
Phony Tony tried to use his 'faith' foundation to enrich his pockets
and his trashy image, Iraqi Christians face real threats as a result of
the illegal war. Ann Rodgers (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette) reports
that an Atlanta conference of Catholic Bishops heard a plea yesterday on behalf of Iraqi Christians:
leaders of the church in the United States, you bear a special
responsibility toward the people and Christians of Iraq. In 2003 your
country led the war that brought some terrible consequences," said
Bishop Schlemon Warduni, an auxiliary bishop of Babylon of the
Chaldeans. His nation has gone from one where Christians and Muslims
were friends to one where churches are bombed and clergy kidnapped,
tortured and killed, he said."No more war, no more death, no
more explosions, no more injustice," he told the bishops, who were
gathered in Atlanta for their semiannual meeting.
leaders of the church in the United States," he told the bishops, "you
bear a special responsibility toward the people and Christians of Iraq.
In 2003, your government led the war that brought some terrible
consequences. The U.S. government can and must do all it can to
encourage tolerance and respect in Iraq, to help Iraq strengthen the
rule of law and to provide assistance that helps create jobs for Iraqis,
especially those on the margins.
"Many times we ask, 'Where can
we find justice and peace?' Our Lord says, "I give you my peace, but not
like the world gives." The peace of Jesus is love. This love guides us
to unity, because love works miracles, and builds justice and peace.
This can be realized when all the church works together in one heart and
one thought," the bishop said.
"We beg you to do something for
us," he continued. "We want only peace, security and freedom. You can
tell everybody Iraq was very rich, but now is very poor, because of
the war and much discrimination. We want to cry out to you: we want
peace, justice, stability, freedom of religion. No more war, no more
death, no more explosions, no more injustice. Please help us talk to
everybody. Push the cause of peace.