Monday, February 06, 2023

Sam Smith

Yea, Sam Smith's GLORIA is selling well around the world.  BILLBOARD notes:

Sam Smith is on top in the land Down Under, as Gloria (via Capitol/Universal) bows at No. 1 on the ARIA Chart.

Gloria is Smith’s fourth consecutive top 10 album in Australia, and second No. 1 after In The Lonely Hour hit the summit in 2014 (The Thrill Of It All debuted at No. 2 in 2017, and Love Goes hit No. 3 in 2020).

The latest LP enjoyed a lift from Smith’s recent visit to Australia, a brief summer break during which the British singer performed for competition winners and VIPs at the d’Arenberg vineyards at McLaren Vale, outside of Adelaide.

It’s not Smith’s first time atop the leaderboard in Australia this year. “Unholy” featuring Kim Petras, the hit song from Gloria, returned to No. 1 last month on the ARIA Singles Chart for a sixth non-consecutive week. “Unholy” logs its 17th week in the national top 5 and is now triple-platinum certified (for 210,000-plus combined units).

Here's Sam and Kim performing it at last night's Grammys.

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

Monday, February 6, 2023.  Colin Powell gets remembered for the liar that he is, an Iraqi woman is murdered by her father (he's confessed, don't know why the press keeps saying 'alleged') in an 'honor' killing after her brother rapes her, and an Iraqi activist has been kidnapped. 

It's the 20th anniversary of Colin Powell lying to the United Nations.  How will you celebrate?  Amr Salem (IRAQI NEWS) reports:

The Speaker of the Russian Federation Council, Valentina Matviyenko, called for re-discussing the matter of ‘Colin Powell’s test tube’ that led to the invasion of Iraq in the United Nations, noting that this crime does not fall under the statute of limitations.
“I think it would be correct to bring up the outrageous lie that led to a terrible catastrophe for discussion very soon in the United Nations, where these events began to develop 20 years ago,” Matvienko wrote via Telegram.
“This crime has no statute of limitations. Therefore, it should remain in the memory of mankind. Our task is to do everything we can to prevent the erasure of truth about those events and those responsible for this tragedy,” Matvienko said.
“We should not allow those who made these decisions to escape the court of history,” Matvienko explained.
Matvienko indicated that the deliberate lie destroyed an independent state, and its ancient monuments, and caused the outbreak of a terrible humanitarian crisis in the region.

Australia's ABC also focuses on Colin's lies:

In February 2003, former US Secretary of State General Colin Powell falsely claimed Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.

As his Chief of Staff,  Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson helped write the speech, but has since renounced it and America's war in Iraq.

In that same year, Greg Thielmann was a state department weapons expert, who publicly accused Colin Powell of misleading America by exaggerating the threat in Iraq.

Colin is a liar and he's long been a liar.  In 2005, he sat down with Barbara Walters and only made it even more clear that he was liar who learned nothing from lying to the world.  Ava and I covered that September 2005 appearance in "TV Review: Barbara and Colin remake The Way We Were" for THIRD:

Powell, like Robert Redford, is shown early on military drag. He models well, he just lacks Redford's ability to convincingly play a man torn between doing what others want and what he knows is right. They did keep the plot point of Hubbell's betrayal. Probably had to because without the testimony that destroys Hubbell, you have no story.

They've updated the testimony. Instead of naming names during the McCarthy period, Powell lies to the United Nations and the world. What they miss is the heart breaking scene when Streisand explains to Redford that people are their beliefs. Probably too much a laugh getter if it came out of Walters' mouth. But if they were worried about unintended laughs, someone should have spoken to Walters about the three strands of red, worry beads she's wearing.

Walters says, unable to look at him while she does -- oh the drama!, "However, you gave the world false, groundless reasons for going to war. You've said, and I quote, 'I will forever be known as the one who made the case for war.' Do you think this blot on your record will stay with you for the rest of your life?"

Powell: Well it's a, it's a, of course it will. It's a blot. I'm the one who presented it on behalf of the United Nations, uh, United States, to the world. And it will always be uh, part of my, uh, my record.
Walters: How painful is it?
Powell: (shrugs) It was -- it *was* painful. (shifts, shrugs) It's painful now.

Has a less convincing scene ever been performed?

Possibly. Such as when Powell informs Walters that the fault lies with the intelligence community -- with those who knew but didn't come forward. Unfortunately for Powell, FAIR's advisory steered everyone to a Los Angeles Times' article from July 15, 2004:

Days before Secretary of State Colin L. Powell was to present the case for war with Iraq to the United Nations, State Department analysts found dozens of factual problems in drafts of his speech, according to new documents contained in the Senate report on intelligence failures released last week.
Two memos included with the Senate report listed objections that State Department experts lodged as they reviewed successive drafts of the Powell speech. Although many of the claims considered inflated or unsupported were removed through painstaking debate by Powell and intelligence officials, the speech he ultimately presented contained material that was in dispute among State Department experts.

Well movies always rewrite some details to make the characters more sympathetic and, presumably, that happened in this remake as well.

Having dismissed the need for facts, the "reluctant warrior" Powell now wants to weigh in on the invasion/occupation. Powell explains that we can't "cut and run" with regards to Iraq. We have to stay. He offers that "I'm not a quitter" himself -- amidst his stay the course nonsense. All this from the former Secretrary of State.

If it's so damn important that we "accomplish" over there, that we "stay the course," are the words really convincing coming out the mouth of the cut and run Secretary of State? Seems to us if you believe in this war as much as you say you do, and believe in staying the course, you . . . stay the course in your job. Powell didn't. There are the Rules for Powell and there are the rules for the rest of us.

Take Cindy Sheehan. She's a grieving parent and he feels sorry for her. Walters actually wakes up for this moment. And, in one of the few times prior to Powell's wife being brought on, she actually looks him in the eye while delivering her line.

Walters: But if you feel the war is just -- that's a different feeling than if you feel the war is is not.
Powell: Well, of course, for the person that is effected, it is. If they don't feel the war is just, they will always feel it as a deep personal loss.

Unlike Powell, we'd argue that regardless of beliefs on this war, the loss is a "deep, personal loss" for most, possibly all, who've lost family members. Maybe if he sent fat-boy Michael over there, he could find out for himself what it feels like? Till then, by his remarks, he's not anyone effected. How nice that must be.

But is the war just?

It's not a moral issue for Powell. He's already informed Walters of that. He lied. Well if he had to lie, forget the pre-emptive war debate for a moment, if he had to lie, what does that say about the war? Seems to us that a just war wouldn't be a war that required you pulling one over on the public to get support for.

It wasn't a moral issue, Powell states, going to war. Then what does it matter that he lied?
If it's not a moral issue, then what does it matter?

Powell's mea culpa is not only unconvincing, it's illogical. He's glad Saddam Hussein's gone. So why's he concerned with his "blot?" He's completely unconcerned that we're in a war that's based on lies. "I'm glad" he says. Sure he admits that he lied (by proxy -- it's others faults, you understand, nameless people in the intel community), but there's no moral concern. He's only worried about the slug line that now accompanies his name. The "blot." The tag 'liar, liar.'

Colin Powell lied to the United Nations. Not by proxy, he lied. His testimony. A testimony he made the decision to give. Despite objections from people in the department he headed. His accountability pose is hollow and unconvincing. Shrugs? "What are you going to do?" shrugs? That and the shiftiness during the exchange (he can't sit still during the exchange) back up his words. This isn't any big deal to him, that he lied and we went to war. He's just concerned that he's a known liar. For the rest of his life.

This is how he wants to be remembered:

"A good public servant somebody who truly believes in his country. . . . Somebody who cared, somebody who served."

Yeah well, Nixon wanted to be remembered a certain way as well. Liar's the way many remember him now. Liar's the way many will remember Colin Powell. Belief in your country doesn't allow you to lie to your country. Belief in your Bully Boy does. That's something this adminstration fails to grasp. They all think they're working for the Bully Boy. Powell makes statements to that effect. He's full of many things including his "service" to the Bully Boy.
The administration is supposed to be working for the country. Presidents come and go. The nation is what is supposed to matter. Belief in your country would mean you tell the people
the truth.

Somebody who served?

He didn't serve the country. He betrayed it. He didn't live up to his office. He didn't live up to the public trust. He didn't live up to the principles of democracy. He lied. He lied. He lied.


David North (WSWS) notes:

February 5, 2023, marks the 20th anniversary of US Secretary of State Colin Powell’s 2003 speech at the Security Council of the United Nations. In front of a worldwide audience, Powell told lies to justify the Bush administration’s criminal decision to invade Iraq.

Among the lying statements made by Powell were:

  1. “We have first-hand descriptions of biological weapons factories on wheels and on rails.”
  2. “Our conservative estimate is that Iraq today has a stockpile of between 100 and 500 tons of chemical weapons agents.”
  3. “He [Saddam Hussein] remains determined to acquire nuclear weapons. … He is so determined that he has made repeated covert attempts to acquire high-specification aluminum tubes from 11 different countries.”
  4. “What I want to bring to your attention today is the potentially much more sinister nexus between Iraq and the al-Qaida terrorist network … Iraqi officials deny accusations of ties with al-Qaida. These denials are simply not credible.”


A murder in Iraq has sparked global attention.  ALJAZEERA carries AFP's report:

The death of a young YouTube star at the hands of her father has sparked outrage in Iraq, where so-called “honour killings” continue to take place.

Tiba al-Ali, 22, was killed by her father on January 31 in the southern province of Diwaniya, interior ministry spokesman Saad Maan said on Twitter on Friday. 

Her murder is prompting numerous Tweets.  Here's a sample.

The European Union's Ambassador to Iraq Tweets:

And some more Tweets.

Julian Bechocha (RUDAW) notes:                                                                            

Unverified recordings of conversations between Ali and her father appeared to indicate that he was unhappy about her decision to remain in Turkey, according to AFP. In the recording, Ali also revealed to her parents that she was raped by her brother in 2017. Her parents acknowledged the assault but told her to forget about the incident.

After strangling his daughter to death, Ali's father surrendered to the authorities, according to Maan.

So her brother rapes her, her parents know and the response of the father -- for 'honor' -- is to kill her and not her brother who raped her?

There is no such thing as 'honor' killings and if that was never clear to you before, it should be now.  He raped his own sister but the one to be killed was the woman?

Amnesty International issued the following:

Iraq: Action must be taken on gender-based violence after murder of Tiba Ali by her father

Reacting to the horrific murder of blogger Tiba Ali, who was murdered by her father in a family dispute, Aya Majzoub, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa, said:  

“Until the Iraqi authorities adopt robust legislation to protect women and girls from gender-based violence, we will inevitably continue to witness horrific murders such as that suffered by Tiba Ali, apparently at the hands of her own father.  

“Iraq has failed to criminalize domestic violence despite an increase in reporting of incidents of domestic violence by national NGOs. Shockingly, the Iraqi penal code still treats leniently so called “honour crimes’ comprising violent acts such as assault and even murder. There is also no effective system in place for reporting domestic violence nor adequate shelters to protect women and girls. 

“The murder of Tiba Ali must be investigated, the perpetrator brought to justice and the sentence must be commensurate with the gravity of this terrible crime, without recourse to the death penalty.”


Tiba Ali had, local media reported, been living in Turkey and was under threat by her family but she had returned to Iraq for a visit, only to be killed on 1 February 2023. Her father has reportedly surrendered to the authorities. News of her murder broke on Wednesday night and social media users began to condemn the killing and call for accountability under the hashtag ‘We Demand Tiba’s Rights.’ 

A draft law on domestic violence was tabled and debated in the Iraqi Parliament in 2019 and 2020 but has stalled since then. In 2020, UN agencies in Iraq expressed their concern at the rising number of domestic violence cases during the Covid-19 pandemic.


According to local media, Tiba was sleeping in her room when her father strangled her to death. After this, he himself went to the police and confessed his crime. Everyone is surprised about this incident.
According to media reports, Tiba had travelled to Turkey with his family in 2017, after which he refused to return to Iraq. Some purported recordings of Tiba going viral on social media suggest that Tiba left her home after she was sexually abused by her brother.

The United Nations issued the following:

UN in Iraq condemns the killing of Tiba al-Ali and calls on all parties to protect women and girls from violence

05 February 2023

The United Nations in Iraq condemns the abhorrent killing of Tiba al-Ali, a 22-year-old woman. 

The avoidable death of Tiba is a regretful reminder of the violence and injustice that still exists against women and girls in Iraq today. So-called honour killing and other forms of gender-based violence violate human rights and cannot be tolerated. While some efforts have been taken by state institutions to combat these acts of violence against women, more needs to be done towards prevention, protection and accountability. We urge the Council of Representatives to strengthen the institutional framework, including repealing Articles 41 and Article 409 of Iraq’s penal code, and call for the enactment of a law that explicitly criminalizes gender-based violence, in accordance with international human rights standards, together with improved services for survivors and those at risk.

The United Nations calls on the Government of Iraq to support laws and policies to prevent violence against women and girls, take all necessary measures to address impunity by ensuring that all perpetrators of such crimes are brought to justice and the rights of women and girls are protected, so that they can live a life free from violence and discrimination.  

Meanwhile Chenar Chalak (RUDAW) reports:

A prominent Iraqi environmentalist was kidnapped by unidentified gunmen on the way to the capital Baghdad, his brother told Rudaw English on Sunday, as his whereabouts remains unclear.

Jassim al-Assadi has been a prominent voice of Iraq’s environmental civil society for years, raising awareness of the threats facing the country’s southern wetlands. He is the head of Nature Iraq, a United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) accredited environmental group, working to preserve Iraq’s endangered marshes.

His brother, Nadhim al-Assadi, told Rudaw English that the activist was driving from Babil province towards Baghdad, accompanied by one of his cousins, on Wednesday when they were surrounded by two vehicles carrying a group of armed men wearing civilian clothing.

The following sites updated: