Friday, July 27, 2018

Where are the new Howard Zinns?

Okay, I did not know this.

On this day in 1950, the US military massacred 400 civilian refugees (mostly women & children) using air strikes & machine gun fire over multiple days at No Gun Ri, South Korea. To this day, the US refuses to admit a massacre occurred & has never apologized.

Thank you, John Stauber for reTweeting that because I had no idea.

And I'm not someone who blindly believes the official narrative that is imposed upon us.

I do wonder where the next Howard Zinn is.

It's not Michael Eric Dyson who is raving loon lapping at conspiracy theories.

I wish it was Naomi Klein but she has been a huge disappointment.  She walked away from the Iraq War.  She doesn't address it.  She signed a petition for War Resisters and that was about it.  You know her father went to Canada -- that's why she's Canadian -- during Vietnam to avoid going to Vietnam.  He was a War Resister but she won't do her part for the War Resisters of today.

I'm just so disappointed in so many.

Right now, Medea's writing about Iran -- Medea Benjamin.  But she fled the Iraq issue and I'll never trust her again.  She might get be back if she would honestly admit how she walked away from that ongoing war.  But she doesn't have the integrity to do that.

If I listen to the radio, I listen to Bonnie Faulkner (GUNS AND BUTTER) or Dennis Bernstein (FLASHPOINTS).  I'll catch them on KPFA. 

I am searching for other voices.  I should probably listen to BLACK AGENDA RADIO because I do love the work Glen Ford and everyone does at BLACK AGENDA REPORT.  But I'd have to go to the page and I'm so lazy.  I either catch KPFA live (usually streaming from wherever we are -- I catch it my laptop) or I'll go to my podcast subscriptions -- that I haven't updated or added to since 2006!  I'm lazy.

Anyway, we have Glen Ford, Bonnie Faulkner, Margaret Kimberley, Dennis Bernstein and Bruce A. Dixon to name a few -- so we do have some very strong voices.  I just wish we had more.

Closing with C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Friday, July 27, 2018.

My name is Penny Evans and I've just gone twenty-one
A young widow in the war that's being fought in Vietnam
And I have two infant daughters, I thank God I have no sons
Now they say the war is over but I think it's just begun

Today, some say the Iraq War is over.  It's not.  Some fools claim Barack Obama ended it. Yeah, and he closed Guantanamo Bay too.  (He didn't -- Iraq and Gitmo, just two of his many broken promises.  And, spoiler, he didn't end veterans homelessness either despite promising to do so.)

Kevin E. Schmidt (QUAD CITY TIMES) reports:

Although victory over ISIS has been declared in Iraq, American involvement there will remain necessary for years to come, according to Sen. Joni Ernst, because the United States cannot win the peace for the Middle East nation on its own.
“This is going to take a long time,” the first-term Republican senator said. “We’ve been there 15 years. We have a long ways to go yet. The United States must remain a partner of choice for Iraq as it develops into a young democracy.”
So until the United States is confident in the capacity and ability of Iraqi security forces to defend their country, a U.S. military presence will remain necessary to protect American interests, the Iraq War veteran told the United States Institute of Peace on Thursday in Washington, D.C.

And in a similar development, Tuesday Brigadier General Frederic Parisot held a press briefing in Baghdad and insisted "the Iraqi Security Forces continue to secure the country in order to prevent the resurgence of " ISIS.

They haven't done a very good job of that.  First, ISIS never left, it lost control of some cities but a terrorist organization doens't traditionally rule.  In terms of its primary goal (terrorism), ISIS has not been defeated and  has continued to terrorize Iraq.

Martin Jay (RT) observes:

After about three years of ISIS controlling almost a third of the country, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared victory in December 2017 against the terrorist group, as well as declaring that the war was over. Analysts though, at the time, warned that many extremists had merely gone underground or had scattered, and would return. These warnings were not taken seriously, but in recent weeks, Western journalists in Iraq are reporting an alarming return to the battlefield, which is going to give Trump a number of sleepless nights, wrangling over a conundrum he alone is unlikely to resolve.
According to the Washington Post, the battle has shifted into a central zone of Iraq with ISIS now adopting more nefarious, if not theatrical, tactics, leaving many civilians saying that the declaration of victory was premature.
Over the past two months, dozens of people, including local government officials, tribal elders, and village chiefs, have been abducted and killed or ransomed by fighters claiming affiliation with the Islamic State,” the paper claimed recently. “Electricity infrastructure and oil pipelines have been blown up. Armed men dressed as security forces and manning fake checkpoints have hijacked trucks and robbed travellers, rendering the main Baghdad-Kirkuk highway unsafe for a period of weeks.
It’s a horrendous account of Iraq today, with ISIS adapting to new surroundings, and according to the Post, using more and more local people to help with their heinous work. The speed also is worrying some.

So the US leaves when?  According to Senator Ernst not for years.  According to Gen Parisot, not until ISIS is defeated.

The US war in Iraq continues.  Back to Parisot in Baghdad Tuesday:

Q:  Hi, sir.  Tara Copp, Military Times.

A few minutes ago you said whatever the price, you'll continue to fight until [ISIS] is defeated.  Could you define for us when will you know that ISIS is defeated?  What signs are you looking for to be able to then withdraw, stop providing the military support for this operation?

GEN. PARISOT:  Well, now we're still engaged in major combat operations.  And I won't -- I can't speculate, on when it's going to end.

We provide, you know, the best military advice for the political level, but basically, you know, as long as there is a military mission, I guess we are going to stay.

He can't speculate on when that's going to end.  He can't even say what signs would demonstrate success.
"This is going to take a long time."  John McCain was savaged in 2008 for such comments.  Today?  They probably won't even be reported or repeated by most.  "We have a long ways to go yet."


Because we won't allow the Iraqis to have self-rule.  We impose leaders on them.  They are an undeclared colony.  The US government and the Iranian government try to control Iraq.  Do you really think that, if Iraq had self-rule, they would repeatedly choose one person after another to be prime minister -- one person after another who fled Iraq and lived outside the country for decades?

Chickens who fled are suddenly going to make strong leaders?

Of course not, which is why the US keeps installing them.  Bully Boy Bush installed Nouri al-Maliki (based on the CIA profile that found Nouri to be extremely paranoid), in 2010 when Nouri lost re-election Barack Obama gave him a second term via The Erbil Agreement, 2014 is when Barack replaces him with Hayder al-Abadi.  Weak leaders who were chosen because they are weak.

And what do weak men do?  Lash out.  Thug Nouri made clear he was a thug in his first term.  It's been obvious that Hayder is a little thug himself though the western press has largely ignored it until Hayder's attacks on the protester this month.

Tom O'Connor (NEWSWEEK) reports: the US government admitted Thursday to killing at least 1,000 civilians in Iraq and Syria via bombings.  When US war planes are dropping bombs, reminder, that's a war.

And not only has ISIS not been defeated but it still holds territory in Iraq.  Despite Hayder al-Abadi claiming it was defeated -- even as he claimed that -- ISIS still held (and still holds) territory in Iraq.

Hayder al-Abadi wants a second term as prime minister.  The US government wants that too.

Will they get their way?

REUTERS reports:

Iraq's top Shiite cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali Al-Sistani called for a government to be formed as soon as possible to tackle corruption and poor basic services.
In a Friday sermon delivered by a representative, Al-Sistani also encouraged the incumbent government of Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi to respond urgently to protesters' demands seeking better basic services and jobs.
"The current government must work hard urgently to implement citizens' demands to reduce their suffering and misery," Al-Sistani's representative said in the Shiite holy city of Kerbala.
Anger is mounting at a time when politicians are struggling to form a government after the May 12 election, which was marred by allegations of fraud that prompted a recount.

The elections were in May.  Next week July turns to August.  Still no prime minister-designate.  In 2010, Iraq went eight months before forming a government.  The way it is supposed to work is that elections are followed by the new Parliament meeting days after the ballots are counted and then they nominated a prime minister-designate (who then has 30 days to put together a cabinet or else the Parliament can name someone new).

Nothing is working in Iraq.  A lot of this dysfunction appears to have been designed by the US government.

If you are wondering why members of both parties just passed the largest defense budget since the height of the Iraq War, consider that much of it goes to defense contractors that spent $69 million lobbying Congress in 2017.

The dysfunction has been hugely profitable for many.  Planned dysfunction?

The following community sites updated:

  • Thursday, July 26, 2018

    Glen Ford

    When you collaborate with the state or push a political line cooked up the corrupt liberal establishment, you get called out by Black Agenda Report no matter who you are:

    When you collaborate with the state or push a political line cooked up the corrupt liberal establishment, you get called out by Black Agenda Report no matter who you are:

    Click here to read Glen Ford's piece.

    Closing with C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

    Thursday, July 26, 2018.

    Somewhere along the way professionalism flew out the window.  Woke, for some, appears to translate as babble incoherently.  No one needs to know your every thought, hope, dream, nightmare, opinion.  Here our focus is Iraq.  We will cover other topics -- abortion rights, for example -- but our focus is Iraq.  If I'm doing something else, like last Saturday's book review, I know I better have covered Iraq first.

    With that in mind, let's turn to Human Rights Watch.  We'll get to Kenneth Roth but he's always an embarrassment so let's start with Sarah Leah Whitson.  In yesterday's snapshot, I noted Mohammed Tawfeeq's two Tweets before addressing Sarah and HRW::

    says authorities “Deliberately disabling the internet is a sinister restriction to the right to freedom of expression and strongly indicates that the authorities have something to hide."

    said in a statement “We are closely monitoring the escalating situation across southern and are extremely worried by reports that security forces are beating, arbitrarily detaining and even opening fire on peaceful protesters,”

    Amnesty International was addressing the issue last week.  Maybe if Human Rights Watch employees could drop the conspiracy theories, they'd have noticed it last week instead of this week?  Sarah, editing an exchange out of a press conference does not make it "a fake press conference."  It makes it an edited video and it makes it a censored video.  And these edits happened when Barack Obama was president as well -- even if Rachel Maddow didn't scream from her padded cell about it.

    There are real issues in the world.  HRW doesn't seem interested in those issues -- or in human rights -- if you check out their Twitter feeds.  They're conspiracy nuts, that's what they look like and this will come back to bite them long after Trump is gone.

    There are real world issues.  Sarah doesn't appear to grasp that reality.

    Here's what she had reTweeted.  Again, there's a world of difference between "fake" and "edited" (or "censored").

    Joyce Alene Retweeted Maddow Blog
    The White House has posted a fake version of the video of the Trump-Putin press conference with a damaging Q & A where Putin said he wanted Trump to win edited out. 1984.
    Joyce Alene added,

    Not only was that nonsense -- heated rhetoric -- not only did it have nothing to do with human rights.  Turns out, it was also false.

    Aaron Maté Retweeted Maddow Blog
    The latest conspiracy theory from -- that the White House edited out a key question from Trump-Putin presser -- turns out to be false. shows that error came from a live video/audio switch issue. Will she & correct?
    Aaron Maté added,

  • Aaron Maté Retweeted Aaron Maté
    Maddow's claim was widely picked up, including by : (). They should update that, along w/ correcting false claim that Maria Butina is an "Accused Russian Spy" ().
    Aaron Maté added,

    The irony of 's now debunked claim is that it was centerpiece of a lengthy segment that culminated in her accusing Trump & the Russians of "deliberate trafficking in unreality." An apt description of her own Russiagate coverage: ()


    Rachel Maddow is a fool and anyone who knows the embarrassing way she used her parents to stay on AIR AMERICA RADIO knows that (at least with MSNBC she just blackmailed them like a grown up -- her whole sexist charge to AP that she immediately dropped when they offered her a job).

    But Sarah Leah Whitson represents Human Rights Watch.  She's supposed to traffic in honesty.  People depend upon that organization.  She's yet to reTweet the fact check from THE WASHINGTON POST.  She put false information out there by reTweeting and she's yet to correct it.  It never should have gone up to begin with.  It's not about human rights.

    Nor is this at the top of Twitter today:

    Americans show their love for ⁦

    That is not funny.  That is disgusting.  If that was Harry Belafonte's star destroyed, I'd hope we'd realize how offensive that is.  I would hope we'd be outraged if it was Carole Lombard's star.  The Walk of Fame is not about one person, however.  And to encourage or applaud or giggle over the destruction of any piece of it is outrageous.

    This is a tourist attraction, this is piece of entertainment history.  It is not funny that any star was destroyed no matter who the star was.  This is offensive.  It's not a political statement, it's the destruction of history.  I'm appalled that HRW -- which repeatedly calls out the destruction of historical sites in other countries -- thinks they can giggle and be amused over this.

    The only reason to put that on her Twitter feed was to call out the destruction of an ongoing historical project.   Does she not understand that she works for Human Rights Watch and that she's judged by a different standard as a result.

    What is Sarah's position?  She is Director of Middle East and North Africa for Human Rights Watch.  Nora Eprhon wrote the screenplay for WHEN HARRY MET SALLY . . . which includes the line, "Everyone thinks they have good taste and a sense of humor, but they couldn't possibly all have good taste."  Or a sense of humor.  Nor should they.  Far too many people who are not famous for a sense of humor or employed for a sense of humor are getting into trouble for jokes or 'jokes.'

    Sarah's Twitter needs to reflect her role at HRW.

    Where's Iraq?

    قوات الأمن العراقية تطلق النار على المتظاهرين

    BREAKING report: security forces repeatedly used unlawful lethal force -- bullets and beatings -- not just against protesters at various protests, but against protesters they detained: 3 killed, 47 injured so far

    Two Tweets.  One in English and one in Arabic.  When?

    When HRW finally releases a statement on the Iraqi government attacking the protesters.

    This week, HRW finally got around to doing what Amnesty International did last week.

    Maybe if Sarah would stop fancying herself the new host of THE DAILY SHOW and, instead, focus on what's she supposed to, HRW could have issued something much sooner, before the death toll rose further, in fact.

    Let's go over to Kenneth Roth.

    Ken Roth has controlled Human Rights Watch for 25 years, answering primarily to a small cadre of billionaire donors and elite foundations. I call on the dictator Roth to step down and hand over control to a real constituency, especially those on the other side of Western guns.

    And he's done it very poorly.  We'll get to one issue in a second.  Let's deal with impartial and non-partisan which HRW should be.  As we noted repeatedly in snapshots over the summer of 2016 up to the 2016 election, Kenneth didn't need to be using his Twitter feed to martial votes for Hillary Clinton.  He thought he was cute.

    Kenneth has never been cute.

    A lot of people should be off social media.  They don't appear to realize the damage they do (and are doing).  HRW has enough troubles without the nonsense on Twitter from Kenneth and Sarah.

    Max Blumenthal Retweeted Kenneth Roth
    Not even the death counts by anti-Sandinista “human rights” NGO’s in Nicaragua claim the govt killed 300 demonstrators. The number is closer to 60, including armed militants. About as many were killed on govt side. Also, Ken Roth is an imperialist fraud.
    Max Blumenthal added,

    HRW has enough problems.  I'll be kind and leave it with Max Blumenthal's Tweet (there are many more examples -- like the terrorists known as the White Helmets).  By engaging in the nonsense Sarah's doing, she's degrading HRW.  She and others need to be Tweeting about issues that matter.  HRW has enough image problems without directors at HRW adding to them.

    Southern Iraq has experienced protests before. But these ones are larger, angrier, and the government has no immediate solutions.

    Eleanor Beevor (ALBAWABA piece noted above) explains:

    The lack of basic energy needs feels like an especially cruel irony to the residents of Basra, who are living on top of Iraq’s vast deposits of “black gold” – its crude oil. Iraq exports the majority of its oil, and has even doubled its exports over the past decade. Yet due to corruption and inefficiency, southern Iraqis have seen no returns from the vast wealth beneath their feet. But without the adequate infrastructure, Baghdad cannot turn this natural wealth into relief for its citizens in a hurry even if it wants to. Protestors have made their frustration with this paradox clear – several have attacked oil installations
    This leaves the Iraqi government with extremely limited options for calming the protests. Citizens have completely lost faith in their established authorities and the parliament in Baghdad. During these demonstrations, protestors ransacked government buildings, ministries and branches of the different political parties to vent their frustrations. But what will be especially challenging for the government is that, unlike southern Iraq’s previous protests, there is no figurehead with which to negotiate, and no single agenda that can be addressed quickly.
    Beevor goes on to quote NIQASH reporter Mustafa Habib but we'll note this from his latest article:

    The demonstrations about poor state services started in Basra on July 14 but have since spread to nine other provinces, as well as the capital, Baghdad. But there have been no similar protests in Sunni Muslim-majority provinces – and that is despite the fact that the living conditions there are not necessarily better in central and northern Iraq, and in some cases, could even be worse. So why isn’t anybody protesting there?
    “We share the concerns of our people in the south,” Abdul Rahman al-Fahdawi, one of the community leaders among Ramadi’s tribes in Anbar, told NIQASH. “Our living conditions are not much better than those in Basra or Dhi Qar and in some cases, they may even be worse. Our homes have been destroyed and there is no infrastructure because of the military operations against the terrorists. But we cannot participate in the demonstrations because we will be accused of being terrorists and Baathists who want to destroy the government.”
    When people in Sunni Muslim areas started anti-government protests several years ago, they were peaceful, al-Fahdawi adds. “But the government never responded to our protests for over a year,” he says, which eventually made it possible for the rise of the extremist Islamic State, or IS, group, who base their ideology on a particularly extreme and perverted view of Sunni Islam. The IS group played upon the Sunni population’s dissatisfaction with the Iraqi government, then headed by prime minister Nouri al-Maliki, and the way the government cracked down on the protestors. 

    The following community sites -- plus Cindy Sheehan and Black Agenda Report -- updated: