Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Senator Feinstein's statement

That's Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "Nouri The Child Molester" and all I'm noting tonight is that, Senator Dianne Feinstein and the snapshot.  Feinstein's remarks are lengthy but important.

Washington—Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today spoke on the Senate floor regarding the committee’s study on the CIA Detention and Interrogation Program:
“Over the past week, there have been numerous press articles written about the Intelligence Committee’s oversight review of the Detention and Interrogation Program of the CIA, specifically press attention has focused on the CIA’s intrusion and search of the Senate Select Committee’s computers as well as the committee’s acquisition of a certain internal CIA document known as the Panetta Review.
I rise today to set the record straight and to provide a full accounting of the facts and history.
Let me say up front that I come to the Senate Floor reluctantly. Since January 15, 2014, when I was informed of the CIA’s search of this committee’s network, I have been trying to resolve this dispute in a discreet and respectful way. I have not commented in response to media requests for additional information on this matter. However, the increasing amount of inaccurate information circulating now cannot be allowed to stand unanswered.
The origin of this study: The CIA’s detention and interrogation program began operations in 2002, though it was not until September 2006, that Members of the Intelligence Committee, other than the Chairman and Vice Chairman, were briefed. In fact, we were briefed by then-CIA Director Hayden only hours before President Bush disclosed the program to the public.
A little more than a year later, on December 6, 2007, a New York Times article revealed the troubling fact that the CIA had destroyed videotapes of some of the CIA’s first interrogations using so-called “enhanced techniques.” We learned that this destruction was over the objections of President Bush’s White House Counsel and the Director of National Intelligence.
After we read about the tapes’ destruction in the newspapers, Director Hayden briefed the Senate Intelligence Committee. He assured us that this was not destruction of evidence, as detailed records of the interrogations existed on paper in the form of CIA operational cables describing the detention conditions and the day-to-day CIA interrogations.
The CIA director stated that these cables were “a more than adequate representation” of what would have been on the destroyed tapes. Director Hayden offered at that time, during Senator Jay Rockefeller’s chairmanship of the committee, to allow Members or staff to review these sensitive CIA operational cables given that the videotapes had been destroyed.
Chairman Rockefeller sent two of his committee staffers out to the CIA on nights and weekends to review thousands of these cables, which took many months. By the time the two staffers completed their review into the CIA’s early interrogations in early 2009, I had become chairman of the committee and President Obama had been sworn into office.
The resulting staff report was chilling. The interrogations and the conditions of confinement at the CIA detention sites were far different and far more harsh than the way the CIA had described them to us. As result of the staff’s initial report, I proposed, and then-Vice Chairman Bond agreed, and the committee overwhelmingly approved, that the committee conduct an expansive and full review of CIA’s detention and interrogation program.
On March 5, 2009, the committee voted 14-1 to initiate a comprehensive review of the CIA Detention and Interrogation Program. Immediately, we sent a request for documents to all relevant executive branch agencies, chiefly among them the CIA.
The committee’s preference was for the CIA to turn over all responsive documents to the committee’s office, as had been done in previous committee investigations.
Director Panetta proposed an alternative arrangement: to provide literally millions of pages of operational cables, internal emails, memos, and other documents pursuant to the committee’s document requests at a secure location in Northern Virginia. We agreed, but insisted on several conditions and protections to ensure the integrity of this congressional investigation.
Per an exchange of letters in 2009, then-Vice Chairman Bond, then-Director Panetta, and I agreed in an exchange of letters that the CIA was to provide a “stand-alone computer system” with a “network drive” “segregated from CIA networks” for the committee that would only be accessed by information technology personnel at the CIA—who would “not be permitted to” “share information from the system with other [CIA] personnel, except as otherwise authorized by the committee.”
It was this computer network that, notwithstanding our agreement with Director Panetta, was searched by the CIA this past January, and once before which I will later describe.
In addition to demanding that the documents produced for the committee be reviewed at a CIA facility, the CIA also insisted on conducting a multi-layered review of every responsive document before providing the document to the committee. This was to ensure the CIA did not mistakenly provide documents unrelated to the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program or provide documents that the president could potentially claim to be covered by executive privilege.
While we viewed this as unnecessary and raised concerns that it would delay our investigation, the CIA hired a team of outside contractors—who otherwise would not have had access to these sensitive documents—to read, multiple times, each of the 6.2 million pages of documents produced, before providing them to fully-cleared committee staff conducting the committee’s oversight work. This proved to be a slow and very expensive process.
The CIA started making documents available electronically to the committee staff at the CIA leased facility in mid-2009. The number of pages ran quickly to the thousands, tens of thousands, the hundreds of thousands, and then into the millions. The documents that were provided came without any index, without organizational structure. It was a true “document dump” that our committee staff had to go through and make sense of.
In order to piece together the story of the CIA’s detention and interrogation program, the committee staff did two things that will be important as I go on:
First, they asked the CIA to provide an electronic search tool so they could locate specific relevant documents for their search among the CIA-produced documents—just like you would use a search tool on the Internet to locate information.
Second, when the staff found a document that was particularly important or that might be referenced in our final report, they would often print it or make a copy of the file on their computer so they could easily find it again. There are thousands of such documents in the committee’s secure spaces at the CIA facility.
Now, prior removal of documents by CIA. In early 2010, the CIA was continuing to provide documents, and the committee staff was gaining familiarity with the information it had already received.
In May of 2010, the committee staff noticed that [certain] documents that had been provided for the committee’s review were no longer accessible. Staff approached the CIA personnel at the offsite location, who initially denied that documents had been removed. CIA personnel then blamed information technology personnel, who were almost all contractors, for removing the documents themselves without direction or authority. And then the CIA stated that the removal of the documents was ordered by the White House. When the committee approached the White House, the White House denied giving the CIA any such order.
After a series of meetings, I learned that on two occasions, CIA personnel electronically removed committee access to CIA documents after providing them to the committee. This included roughly 870 documents or pages of documents that were removed in February 2010, and secondly roughly another 50 were removed in mid-May 2010.
This was done without the knowledge or approval of committee members or staff, and in violation of our written agreements. Further, this type of behavior would not have been possible had the CIA allowed the committee to conduct the review of documents here in the Senate. In short, this was the exact sort of CIA interference in our investigation that we sought to avoid at the outset.
I went up to the White House to raise this issue with the then-White House Counsel, in May 2010. He recognized the severity of the situation, and the grave implications of Executive Branch personnel interfering with an official congressional investigation. The matter was resolved with a renewed commitment from the White House Counsel, and the CIA, that there would be no further unauthorized access to the committee’s network or removal of access to CIA documents already provided to the committee.
On May 17, 2010, the CIA’s then-director of congressional affairs apologized on behalf of the CIA for removing the documents. And that, as far as I was concerned, put the incident aside.
This event was separate from the documents provided that were part of the “Internal Panetta Review,” which occurred later and which I will describe next.
At some point in 2010, committee staff searching the documents that had been made available found draft versions of what is now called the “Internal Panetta Review.”
We believe these documents were written by CIA personnel to summarize and analyze the materials that had been provided to the committee for its review. The Panetta review documents were no more highly classified than other information we had received for our investigation—in fact, the documents appeared to be based on the same information already provided to the committee.
What was unique and interesting about the internal documents was not their classification level, but rather their analysis and acknowledgement of significant CIA wrongdoing.
To be clear, the committee staff did not “hack” into CIA computers to obtain these documents as has been suggested in the press. The documents were identified using the search tool provided by the CIA to search the documents provided to the committee.
We have no way to determine who made the Internal Panetta Review documents available to the committee. Further, we don’t know whether the documents were provided intentionally by the CIA, unintentionally by the CIA, or intentionally by a whistle-blower.
In fact, we know that over the years—on multiple occasions—the staff have asked the CIA about documents made available for our investigation. At times, the CIA has simply been unaware that these specific documents were provided to the committee. And while this is alarming, it is also important to note that more than 6.2 million pages of documents have been provided. This is simply a massive amount of records.
As I described earlier, as part of its standard process for reviewing records, the committee staff printed copies of the Internal Panetta Review and made electronic copies of the committee’s computers at the facility.
The staff did not rely on these Internal Panetta Review documents when drafting the final 6,300-page committee study. But it was significant that the Internal Panetta Review had documented at least some of the very same troubling matters already uncovered by the committee staff – which is not surprising, in that they were looking at the same information.
There is a claim in the press and elsewhere that the markings on these documents should have caused the staff to stop reading them and turn them over to the CIA. I reject that claim completely.
As with many other documents provided to the committee at the CIA facility, some of the Internal Panetta Review documents—some—contained markings indicating that they were “deliberative” and/or “privileged.” This was not especially noteworthy to staff. In fact, CIA has provided thousands of internal documents, to include CIA legal guidance and talking points prepared for the CIA director, some of which were marked as being deliberative or privileged.
Moreover, the CIA has officially provided such documents to the committee here in the Senate. In fact, the CIA’s official June 27, 2013, response to the committee study, which Director Brennan delivered to me personally, is labeled “Deliberative Process Privileged Document.”
We have discussed this with the Senate Legal Counsel who has confirmed that Congress does not recognize these claims of privilege when it comes to documents provided to Congress for our oversight duties.
These were documents provided by the executive branch pursuant to an authorized congressional oversight investigation. So we believe we had every right to review and keep the documents.
There are also claims in the press that the Internal Panetta Review documents, having been created in 2009 and 2010, were outside the date range of the committee’s document request or the terms of the committee study. This too is inaccurate.
The committee’s document requests were not limited in time. In fact, as I have previously announced, the committee study includes significant information on the May 2011 Osama bin Laden operation, which obviously postdated the detention and interrogation program.
At some time after the committee staff identified and reviewed the Internal Panetta Review documents, access to the vast majority of them was removed by the CIA. We believe this happened in 2010 but we have no way of knowing the specifics. Nor do we know why the documents were removed. The staff was focused on reviewing the tens of thousands of new documents that continued to arrive on a regular basis.
Our work continued until December 2012, when the Intelligence Committee approved a 6,300-page committee study of the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program and sent the report to the executive branch for comment. The CIA provided its response to the study on June 27, 2013.
As CIA Director Brennan has stated, the CIA officially agrees with some of our study. But, as has been reported, the CIA disagrees and disputes important parts of it. And this is important: Some of these important parts that the CIA now disputes in our committee study are clearly acknowledged in the CIA’s own Internal Panetta Review.
To say the least, this is puzzling. How can the CIA’s official response to our study stand factually in conflict with its own Internal Review?
Now, after noting the disparity between the official CIA response to the committee study and the Internal Panetta Review, the committee staff securely transported a printed portion of the draft Internal Panetta Review from the committee’s secure room at the CIA-leased facility to the secure committee spaces in the Hart Senate Office Building.
And let me be clear about this: I mentioned earlier the exchange of letters that Senator Bond and I had with Director Panetta in 2009 over the handling of information for this review. The letters set out a process whereby the committee would provide specific CIA documents to CIA reviewers before bringing them back to our secure offices here on Capitol Hill.
The CIA review was designed specifically to make sure that committee documents available to all staff and members did not include certain kinds of information, most importantly the true names of non-supervisory CIA personnel and the names of specific countries in which the CIA operated detention sites.
We had agreed up front that our report didn’t need to include this information, and so we agreed to redact it from materials leaving the CIA’s facility.
Keeping with the spirit of the agreements, the portion of the Internal Panetta Review at the Hart Building in our safe has been redacted. It does not contain names of non-supervisory CIA personnel or information identifying detention site locations. In other words, our staff did just what the CIA personnel would have done had they reviewed the document.
There are several reasons why the draft summary of the Panetta Review was brought to our secure spaces at the Hart Building.
Let me list them:
The significance of the Internal Review given disparities between it and the June 2013 CIA response to the committee study. The Internal Panetta Review summary now at the secure committee office in the Hart Building is an especially significant document as it corroborates critical information in the committee’s 6,300-page Study that the CIA’s official response either objects to, denies, minimizes, or ignores.
Unlike the official response, these Panetta Review documents were in agreement with the committee’s findings. That’s what makes them so significant and important to protect.
When the Internal Panetta Review documents disappeared from the committee’s computer system, this suggested once again that the CIA had removed documents already provided to the committee, in violation of CIA agreements and White House assurances that the CIA would cease such activities.
As I have detailed, the CIA has previously withheld and destroyed information about its Detention and Interrogation Program, including its decision in 2005 to destroy interrogation videotapes over the objections of the Bush White House and the Director of National Intelligence. Based on the information described above, there was a need to preserve and protect the Internal Panetta Review in the committee’s own secure spaces.
Now, the Relocation of the Internal Panetta Review was lawful and handled in a manner consistent with its classification. No law prevents the relocation of a document in the committee’s possession from a CIA facility to secure committee offices on Capitol Hill. As I mentioned before, the document was handled and transported in a manner consistent with its classification, redacted appropriately, and it remains secured—with restricted access—in committee spaces.
In late 2013, I requested in writing that the CIA provide a final and complete version of the Internal Panetta Review to the committee, as opposed to the partial document the committee currently possesses.
In December, during an open committee hearing, Senator Mark Udall echoed this request. In early January 2014, the CIA informed the committee it would not provide the Internal Panetta Review to the committee, citing the deliberative nature of the document.
Shortly thereafter, on January 15, 2014, CIA Director Brennan requested an emergency meeting to inform me and Vice Chairman Chambliss that without prior notification or approval, CIA personnel had conducted a “search”—that was John Brennan’s word—of the committee computers at the offsite facility. This search involved not only a search of documents provided to the committee by the CIA, but also a search of the ”stand alone” and “walled-off” committee network drive containing the committee’s own internal work product and communications.
According to Brennan, the computer search was conducted in response to indications that some members of the committee staff might already have had access to the Internal Panetta Review. The CIA did not ask the committee or its staff if the committee had access to the Internal Review, or how we obtained it.
Instead, the CIA just went and searched the committee’s computers. The CIA has still not asked the committee any questions about how the committee acquired the Panetta Review. In place of asking any questions, the CIA’s unauthorized search of the committee computers was followed by an allegation—which we have now seen repeated anonymously in the press—that the committee staff had somehow obtained the document through unauthorized or criminal means, perhaps to include hacking into the CIA’s computer network.
As I have described, this is not true. The document was made available to the staff at the offsite facility, and it was located using a CIA-provided search tool running a query of the information provided to the committee pursuant to its investigation.
Director Brennan stated that the CIA’s search had determined that the committee staff had copies of the Internal Panetta Review on the committee’s “staff shared drive” and had accessed them numerous times. He indicated at the meeting that he was going to order further “forensic” investigation of the committee network to learn more about activities of the committee’s oversight staff.
Two days after the meeting, on January 17, I wrote a letter to Director Brennan objecting to any further CIA investigation due to the separation of powers constitutional issues that the search raised. I followed this with a second letter on January 23 to the director, asking 12 specific questions about the CIA’s actions—questions that the CIA has refused to answer.
Some of the questions in my letter related to the full scope of the CIA’s search of our computer network. Other questions related to who had authorized and conducted the search, and what legal basis the CIA claimed gave it authority to conduct the search. Again, the CIA has not provided answers to any of my questions.
My letter also laid out my concern about the legal and constitutional implications of the CIA’s actions. Based on what Director Brennan has informed us, I have grave concerns that the CIA’s search may well have violated the separation of powers principles embodied in the United States Constitution, including the Speech and Debate clause. It may have undermined the constitutional framework essential to effective congressional oversight of intelligence activities or any other government function.
I have asked for an apology and a recognition that this CIA search of computers used by its oversight committee was inappropriate. I have received neither.
Besides the constitutional implications, the CIA’s search may also have violated the Fourth Amendment, the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, as well as Executive Order 12333, which prohibits the CIA from conducting domestic searches or surveillance.
Days after the meeting with Director Brennan, the CIA inspector general, David Buckley, learned of the CIA search and began an investigation into CIA’s activities. I have been informed that Mr. Buckley has referred the matter to the Department of Justice given the possibility of a criminal violation by CIA personnel.
Let me note: because the CIA has refused to answer the questions in my January 23 letter, and the CIA inspector general review is ongoing, I have limited information about exactly what the CIA did in conducting its search.
Weeks later, I was also told that after the inspector general referred the CIA’s activities to the Department of Justice, the acting general counsel of the CIA filed a crimes report with the Department of Justice concerning the committee staff’s actions. I have not been provided the specifics of these allegations or been told whether the department has initiated a criminal investigation based on the allegations of the CIA’s acting general counsel.
As I mentioned before, our staff involved in this matter have the appropriate clearances, handled this sensitive material according to established procedures and practice to protect classified information, and were provided access to the Panetta Review by the CIA itself. As a result, there is no legitimate reason to allege to the Justice Department that Senate staff may have committed a crime. I view the acting general counsel’s referral as a potential effort to intimidate this staff—and I am not taking it lightly.
I should note that for most, if not all, of the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program, the now acting general counsel was a lawyer in the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center—the unit within which the CIA managed and carried out this program. From mid-2004 until the official termination of the detention and interrogation program in January 2009, he was the unit’s chief lawyer. He is mentioned by name more than 1,600 times in our study.
And now this individual is sending a crimes report to the Department of Justice on the actions of congressional staff—the same congressional staff who researched and drafted a report that details how CIA officers—including the acting general counsel himself—provided inaccurate information to the Department of Justice about the program.
Mr. President, let me say this. All Senators rely on their staff to be their eyes and ears and to carry out our duties. The staff members of the Intelligence Committee are dedicated professionals who are motivated to do what is best for our nation.
The staff members who have been working on this study and this report have devoted years of their lives to it—wading through the horrible details of a CIA program that never, never, never should have existed. They have worked long hours and produced a report unprecedented in its comprehensive attention to detail in the history of the Senate.
They are now being threatened with legal jeopardy, just as the final revisions to the report are being made so that parts of it can be declassified and released to the American people.
Mr. President, I felt that I needed to come to the floor today, to correct the public record and to give the American people the facts about what the dedicated committee staff have been working so hard for the last several years as part of the committee’s investigation.
I also want to reiterate to my colleagues my desire to have all updates to the committee report completed this month and approved for declassification. We’re not going to stop. I intend to move to have the findings, conclusions and the executive summary of the report sent to the president for declassification and release to the American people. The White House has indicated publicly and to me personally that it supports declassification and release.
If the Senate can declassify this report, we will be able to ensure that an un-American, brutal program of detention and interrogation will never again be considered or permitted.
But Mr. President, the recent actions that I have just laid out make this a defining moment for the oversight of our Intelligence Community. How Congress responds and how this is resolved will show whether the Intelligence Committee can be effective in monitoring and investigating our nation’s intelligence activities, or whether our work can be thwarted by those we oversee.
I believe it is critical that the committee and the Senate reaffirm our oversight role and our independence under the Constitution of the United States.”

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

Tuesday, March 11, 2014.  Chaos and violence continue, Nouri's assault on Anbar continues, Moqtada al-Sadr supporters continue to protest Nouri, NPR continues to ignore the protests in Iraq, everyone but Human Rights Watch appears to be silent on Nouri's latest assault on Iraqi females, and much more.

Why can't, in the US, grown ups have a conversation without a bunch of partisan b.s.?

Maybe because the media refuses to inform.

Alice Fordham's joined NPR (a free lancer who worked previously for The Times of London, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times and Christian Science Monitor among other outlets during the Iraq War). Between her nonsense and David Green's idiotic introduction on Morning Edition (NPR) to Fordham's bad report, it's hard to know which is worse.

Both operate under the premise that the assault on Anbar Province is appropriate.

International law and treaties beg to differ.

But not only does NPR ignore the law -- including the long established Geneva Conventions -- they also refuse to talk about how things got so bad in Anbar.

If you're a community member or regular or even semi-reader of the Iraq snapshots, you do know what's going on.  But if you read through the comments -- the ones they allowed -- to Fordham's bad 'report,' you know a lot of people have no idea what's going on but they are so quick to offer 'insight' -- and it's all connected to Bully Boy Bush.

If you depend on NPR's 'reporting' on Iraq, you're dazed and confused.  In fact, we'll be honoring one of NPR's biggest moment of lying about Iraq in the next few weeks.  We called them out real time.  No one else bothered.  They aired a report that undermined democracy and violated every ethical journalistic principle.  It also didn't get the facts accurate.

Here's the closest they got to honest on Morning Edition today:

FORDHAM:  Zaid Al-Ali, who recently published a book, "The Struggle for Iraq's Future," says that the problems are broader than that. In Sunni-dominated places like Anbar, they won't be solved by security measures alone. He thinks that chronic unemployment also needs to be addressed and, more importantly, entrenched sectarian practices by the security forces. Detention without charge and torture are far more common in places like Anbar, he says, which feeds hatred of the government.

ZAID AL-ALI: It's been a major issue because there is a lot of abuse of detainees in Iraq. And there are a lot of cases - everyone knows about this, this is not a secret - there are a lot of cases of people being detained for no reason and for very long periods of time, without access to attorneys, without access to judges, without access to any type of recourse. And that really needs to change extremely urgently.


That's enough to make people take to the streets and protest.

Oh, wait, it did.

Since December 21, 2012, protests have been ongoing in Iraq.

Why are they protesting?

The issues are numerous.  In February 2013, Layla Anwar (An Arab Woman Blues) summed up the primary issues as follows:

- End of Sectarian Shia rule
- the re-writing of the Iraqi constitution (drafted by the Americans and Iranians)
- the end to arbitrary killings and detention, rape and torture of all detainees on basis of sect alone and their release
- the end of discriminatory policies in employment, education, etc based on sect
- the provision of government services to all
- the end of corruption
- no division between Shias and Sunnis, a one Islam for all Iraqi Muslims and a one Iraq for all Iraqis.

Still not getting why Alice Fordham, if she's going to report on Anbar, needs to mention the protests?

Let's go to Human Rights Watch, "Government security forces had withdrawn from Anbar province after provoking a tribal uprising when they raided a Sunni protest camp in Ramadi on December 30, killing 17 people."  This is how the assault on Anbar begins.

If Alice Fordham and NPR want to report on the assault, they're required to note how it started.

Are their terrorists in Anbar?

I'm sure there are just as many terrorists in Anbar as there is anywhere -- including in the NPR newsroom.

But what made people wearing masks (or at least scarves covering the lower half of their faces) go out into the streets of Anbar?

Nouri's assault on the protesters.

That was only one assault, there have been so many more.

Let's again note Sunil Patel's strong piece at Fair Observer which includes:

As violence in Fallujah escalates to near-unprecedented levels, the entire narrative of the fighting seems to evade a number of key points. Namely, this fighting was not precipitated by the capture of Sunni strongholds by al-Qaeda or the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS).
The precursor to the fighting between Iraqi government forces and Sunni tribesmen of Anbar was a result of a ruthless policy of repression, aimed at nationwide protest camps opposing government measures on public services, counterterrorism, illegal house raids and a perpetuation of sectarian violence, as well as a number of other policies that continue to marginalize Sunni communities.
The Ramadi protest camps in al-Anbar have been at the center of demonstrations for the past year. It was on December 30  — a week after Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki had threatened to "burn down" the camps — that special forces (SWAT) and the army descended upon the Ezz and Karama Square to crush protests, which had gained momentum after the arrest of Sunni MP Ahmed al-Alwani and the murder of his brother and five of his security guards.
Two witnesses reported to Human Rights Watch that SWAT and the army had arrived in a procession of military Humvees, pick-up trucks, and armored vehicles to clear the squares. All this just seven hours after Defense Minister Saadoun al-Dulaimi had negotiated the release of Alwani on the condition that the camps were to be cleared within 48 hours.
This is not the first attempt by government forces to clear protest camps. In April 2013, SWAT and the army opened fire on more than a thousand protestors in Hawija, south of Kirkut, killing 50 people and leaving 110 injured. The event passed without as much as a whimper in the press, let alone widespread condemnation.

An e-mail noted that the link on "protestors in Hawija" is "worthless and goes to a 2005 report."

Take it up with Fair Observer, I don't edit people's links for them.

But we have covered it in real time so I'll provide those links.   January 7th, Nouri's forces assaulted four protesters in Mosul,  January 24th,  Nouri's forces sent two protesters (and one reporter) to the hospital,  and March 8th, Nouri's force fired on protesters in Mosul killing three.

All of that and more appeared to be a trial run for what was coming, the April 23rd massacre of a peaceful sit-in in Hawija which resulted from  Nouri's federal forces storming in.  Alsumaria noted Kirkuk's Department of Health (Hawija is in Kirkuk)  announced 50 activists have died and 110 were injured in the assault.   AFP reported the death toll rose to 53 dead.  UNICEF noted that the dead included 8 children (twelve more were injured).

In February 2013, Nouri put on a show about 'listening' to the protesters.

He never did.

The ridiculous press trumped his statements as facts.

How stupid is the press today?

Even 30 years ago, his remarks would have been treated as words and the press would have taken a wait-and-see posture.  Instead, they hollered "End of story!"  When it wasn't.

Nouri's refusal to meet the demands of the protesters, his desire to attack them physically and with words (he's called them "terrorists" since 2011).

Now his failed promises are just stripped of the story by the likes of Alice Fordham.

This isn't reporting.

This isn't even bad reporting.

It's misinformation.

Drama Queen Ta-Nehsi Coates at the war mongering Atlantic magazine offers "As Though Iraq Never Happened."  Yeah, for those us paying attention, which does not include Coates, is does seem like it never happened.  But what may be more insulting is that Coates thought he had the information to write an article.  He uses "Iraq" hoping for clicks as he attacks Condoleezza Rice.

To put it mildly, we're not fans here of No-One-Could-Have-Guessed Condi Rice.

But we're also not stupid.  We've repeatedly called her out on Iraq by noting she held no expertise on the topic, we suggested she stick to topics that she knows something about.

Ta-Nehsi Coates calls her out for weighing in on Ukraine.  Guess what?

Russia is Condi's area of expertise.

Doesn't mean she's right in her opinions, but it is the area she was trained in.

If you've got an issue with her interpretation or take, by all means call her out on it and use any tone you wish.

But you look pretty stupid slamming her for weighing in on the topic without even grasping that this actually is a topic she studied.  At great length.

Iraq is on fire and has been since it became clear Nouri wasn't going to honor the White House brokered Erbil Agreement of 2010.  If you're going to mention Iraq today, how about making it about something current?

How about you find something more productive than Bush hatred and Bush bashing?  And how about you stop pretending you care about Iraq when you've said nothing about the attacks on the protesters or anything else that's happened in the last 12 months?

You're ignorant of Iraq and your ignorance fuels the public's ignorance.  So stop pretending you're writing about Iraq when you're not.

I also find the high horse Coates is on to be ridiculous.  Condi Rice sold the Iraq War.  I don't dispute it.  But if she's unqualified to speak on topics because of that, I guess that means The Atlantic will be shutting down since it also sold the illegal war?

When people could lie and whore freely, outlets like The Atlantic 'covered' the Iraq War.

Now they have no interest except to mislead -- in other words, they've circled back to 2002.

It's really sad that the best The Atlantic can offer on Iraq is Coates' nonsense.  Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "Nouri The Child Molester" went up earlier today.  He's a cartoonist but he can take on Nouri pushing a bill that would drop the age of marriage for girls to nine-years-old.

Isaiah can do that.  Why can't The Atlantic?

Why can't Ms. magazine?

Why can't Women's Media Center?

The leader of a country is putting his weigh behind a bill that (a) lowers the age for girls to marry to nine-years-old and (b) that strips mothers of their custodial rights and hands all custodial rights over to the father.

This isn't some stray bill in the US Congress from some member you've never heard of.  This is a bill that passed Nouri's Cabinet of Members and that Nouri has now forwarded to the Parliament.

This is not unimportant.

Alice Fordman and NPR can continue to ignore it, that won't make it unimportant.

Brett McGurk can refuse to call it out.

It doesn't change that this is a dangerous bill and, by not publicly calling it out, the world is not tolerating it, it's encouraging it.

I don't get these little War Whore Drama Queens forever advocating war here, there and everywhere.  They can scream for bombs and killing.  But the same gasbags in the press can't say a word -- we're just asking for words here -- to condemn a move to lower the age of marriage for Iraqi girls to nine-years-old.

You're a worthless outlet, a worthless gas bag, a worthless journalist, a worthless government if you're unable to condemn Nouri's bill.

Who has any guts?  Turns out Human Rights Watch does:

(Baghdad) – Iraq’s Council of Ministers should withdraw a new draft Personal Status Law and ensure that Iraq’s legal framework protects women and girls in line with its international obligations. The pending legislation would restrict women’s rights in matters of inheritance and parental and other rights after divorce, make it easier for men to take multiple wives, and allow girls to be married from age nine.
The draft law, called the Jaafari Personal Status Law, is based on the principles of the Jaafari school of Shia religious jurisprudence, founded by Imam Jaafar al-Sadiq, the sixth Shia imam. Approved by the Council of Ministers on February 25, 2014, it must now be approved by the parliament to become law.
“Passage of the Jaafari law would be a disastrous and discriminatory step backward for Iraq’s women and girls,” said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “This personal status law would only entrench Iraq’s divisions while the government claims to support equal rights for all.”

It would be a disaster.  Today and yesterday, I was pressing State Dept friends on this and they are of the opinion that, "It'll never pass Parliament, nothing does!"  So it's okay to ignore it.

This only passed the Dabinet because of Nouri.  Do we grasp that?

Less than 30 voted on this.

How is that possible?

The Kurds and Iraqiya walked for good reasons.  They walked long ago.

This is on Nouri and his supporters.  It passed with his a-okay and he then forwarded it to the Parliament.

Whether it dies or not, it needs to be condemned.  To ignore it is to embrace it.

Back to Human Rights Watch:

The draft law would cover Iraq’s Shia citizens and residents, a majority of the population of 36 million. It includes provisions that prohibit Muslim men from marrying non-Muslims, legalizes marital rape by stating that a husband is entitled to have sex with his wife regardless of her consent, and prevents women from leaving the house without permission from their husbands. The law would automatically grant custody over any child age two or older to the father in divorce cases, lower the marriage age to nine for girls and fifteen for boys, and even allow girls younger than nine to be married with a parent’s approval.
Justice Minister Hassan al-Shimmari introduced the draft law to the Council of Ministers on October 27, 2013. In December, the council said it would postpone considering the draft until after legislative elections scheduled for April 30, 2014, and after the supreme Shia religious authority (marji’iya) approved the draft, which it has not yet done. But the council went ahead and approved it on February 25 despite strong opposition from rights advocates and some religious leaders.

Saturday, Iraqi women protested in Baghdad. They had to do that in 2005 as the Constitution was written because the US government was happy to sell Iraqi women down the river.  Apparently, that's still the case today.  Iraqi women have shown far more courage and strengthen then US government officials could ever dream of.

Back to Human Rights Watch:

Iraq’s current Personal Status Law (Law 188 of 1959), which applies to all Iraqis regardless of sect, sets the legal age for marriage at 18, but allows for a judge to permit girls as young as 15 to be married in “urgent” cases. In December 2012, the Lebanese news outlet Al-Safir reported that rates of early marriage of girls had risen drastically in Iraq in the previous decade. In 2013, the Population Reference Bureau, an international organization, reported that “the decline in early marriage has stopped in … Iraq,” citing its own statistics that 25 percent of girls marry before age 18 and 6 percent before age 15. The draft law’s provisions would legalize, rather than try to reverse, Iraq’s growing child marriage problem, Human Rights Watch said.
The draft law violates the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), which Iraq ratified in 1986, by giving fewer rights to women and girls on the basis of their gender. It also violates the Convention on Rights of the Child, which Iraq ratified in 1994, by legalizing child marriage, putting girls at risk of forced and early marriage and susceptible to sexual abuse, and not requiring decisions about children in divorce cases to be made in the best interests of the child.
The draft law ignores article 2 of the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women by legalizing marital rape, Human Rights Watch said. The CEDAW committee, the body of international experts who review state compliance with the convention, in its February 28, 2014 review of Iraq’s reports, urged the government to “immediately withdraw the draft Jaafari personal status law.” The law also appears to violate the International Covenants on Civil and Political Rights and on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights by granting fewer rights to certain individuals on the basis of their religion.
The draft law also starkly contrasts article 14 of Iraq’s constitution, which prohibits “discrimination and distinction between Iraqis” and guarantees the equality of all Iraqis “without distinction to religion, faith, nationality, sex, opinion, economic or social status.”  Article 13 of Iraq’s constitution stipulates that it is the “supreme law” in Iraq and that “no law that contradicts this Constitution shall be enacted.”

Hey, get that, Nouri's bill violates the law repeatedly but it also violates the Iraqi Constitution.

Nouri who fancies himself a Constitutional expert.  Just Saturday, France24 was broadcasting their interview with Nouri.  Excerpt.

Nouri al-Maliki: What Sadr says doesn't deserve to be commented [on].  Let's talk about something else. It's an individual who is a newcomer to politics.  He doesn't know the basic rules of politics.  The Constitution doesn't mean a thing for a Sadr.  He doesn't know what it means: 'Constitution.' Abide by the Constitution for a Sadr?  And those around him?  Seems awkward.

Who's the newcomer?  What experience in politics did Nouri have before the US invaded Iraq?  None.

By the way, cleric and movment leader Moqtada al-Sadr's followers?  All Iraq News notes they continued their protest today -- protests over Nouri's insults of Moqtada.

We'll note this from Human Rights Watch's alert:

A broad spectrum of Iraqi rights activists, Sunni and Shia religious leaders, and judges have criticized the draft law as discriminatory, violating religious texts, and, because the law would single out one sect, entrenching sectarian divisions in law. The Iraqi Women’s Network, an association of women’s rights groups, held protests on March 8, International Women’s Day, calling it a day of mourning in Iraq.
“Iraq is in conflict and undergoing a breakdown of the rule of law,” Basma al-Khateeb, a women’s rights activist, told Human Rights Watch. “The passage of the Jaafari law sets the ground for legalized inequality.”

I'm wondering why the Iraqi women are yet again let down by America?  Why news outlets still won't cover them or their issues?  Why a protest took place in Baghdad on Saturday, Iraqi feminists protested, and American feminists and feminist groups and feminist outlets can't say one damn word to help the Iraqi women?

Good for Human Rights Watch and we've said that a lot in the last few years.

They've stepped up to the plate on so many Iraqi issues.

Nouri insulted them in the interview, just FYI., "Well, unluckily, the international organization for the human rights are never talking about what you said at the beginning.  They never say a word about the thousands of monthly casualties to the streets of Iraq. We never hear that organization criticize the terrorist organizations and name them as terrorists."

If you were a cheap thug like Nouri, you'd insult anyone who exposed the truth about you as well.  If you were human garbage like Nouri al-Maliki, you'd also lie.

And he is lying.  We don't have the space or the time to repeatedly demonstrate how much he lied about Human Rights Watch so we'll just address his little claim that violence is never called out (unless it's Nouri's violence).  Just last month, HRW issued a statement on the killing of Nouri's SWAT forces:

Feb 5, 2014

The execution-style killing of four members of Iraq’s SWAT forces, apparently by the ISIS armed group, is the latest atrocity in a campaign of widespread and systematic murder that amounts to crimes against humanity.

Use the link to read it in full.  HRW notes the victims in report after report, they also do issue statements on the continued killings.

For all that Nouri ignores, you can visit HRW's Iraq page.

Also on human rights, All Iraq News notes, "The International Human Rights Committee announced the nomination of the former Iraqi Premier, Ayad Allawi, as the Co-President for its Intergovernmental Relations Council. "  Allawi is the Iraqi Al Gore.  He won the 2010 election but Nouri, Barack Obama and the government of Iran refused to let Allawi become the prime minister.

And if you're not getting how useless the US news media is, let's  revisit John Barry's "'The Engame' Is A Well Researched, Highly Critical Look at U.S. Policy in Iraq" (Daily Beast):

Washington has little political and no military influence over these developments [in Iraq]. As Michael Gordon and Bernard Trainor charge in their ambitious new history of the Iraq war, The Endgame, Obama's administration sacrificed political influence by failing in 2010 to insist that the results of Iraq’s first proper election be honored: "When the Obama administration acquiesced in the questionable judicial opinion that prevented Ayad Allawi's bloc, after it had won the most seats in 2010, from the first attempt at forming a new government, it undermined the prospects, however slim, for a compromise that might have led to a genuinely inclusive and cross-sectarian government."

Barry wrote about it.  Few others did.  Not only didn't it get print or text coverage online, the famous author Michael R. Gordon (who's far from perfect and we've called him out many times) suddenly vanished from the TV dial.  He'd been on Charlie Rose so often, for example, he was practically a set fixture.  But this book?  No.  Charlie Rose wasn't interested.  After the book was published (and sold pretty well),  Ava and I noted the strange disappearing of Michael R. Gordon from the public affairs programs:

Equally curious is who you don't see.  Gwen Ifill doesn't know a damn thing about foreign policy so asking her to moderate the segment was laughable.  Equally laughable was not going with a NewsHour foreign policy guest for the segment.
In fact, we're thinking of one in particular: Michael R. Gordon of The New York Times.
Gordon's appeared multiple times on The NewsHour.  Strangely, he wasn't booked for the segment on foreign policy last week.
Why would that be?
If you're wondering, he's not suddenly press shy.  To the contrary, he has a new book to sell, one he co-wrote with Bernard E. Trainor, The Endgame: The Inside Story of the Struggle for Iraq, from George W. Bush to Barack Obama. The book came out Tuesday.
Generally, that means you can expect to see and hear Gordon all over PBS and NPR. Strangely, that has not been the case.  No NPR coverage last week of the book.  No come on The NewsHour for a discussion.  Frontline loved to have him on in the past but now now.  Charlie Rose?  He has appeared 12 times in the last ten years on Rose's PBS and Coca Cola program.  But he was no where to be found last week.
Did Gordon show up at the PBS office party loaded on booze with little Gordon hanging out of his fly?
No, he did something far worse than that.
He dared to criticize Barack -- the ultimate media faux pas.

If you're still not getting how awful the US news media is, let's look at 6 Tweets.  One is from an online operation run on a shoe string (I don't mean that as an insult, I mean they've got no real budget and depend on donations) and one is from a conglomerate with billions to spare.  Notice who focuses on what matters and who doesn't.

  1. As long as Maliki is the "Leader" of , will never see light.
  2. I'm choked! Laws against women in Irak! Where is the equaliy of Rights? Iraq: Don’t Legalize Marriage for 9-Year-Olds
  3. Jaafari Personal Status draft law in Iraq is shameful-Iraq's international 'partners' should press govt to rescind it
  4. Seems clear that there's no good reason to listen to Dick Cheney or any of his minions from the Bush era. Why, in 1 word: Iraq.

The first four deal with real issues. deals with a real issue.

Then comes MSNBC's Joy Reid.  She wants to talk Iraq?

No, she wants to play partisan bulls**t.

Joy's so brave, isn't she, calling out Dick Cheney in 2014.  What a brave little fountain of strength she is.

This is why MSNBC is worthless.

Joy, who isn't an idiot or an MSNBC hag, is capable of so much more and she could be amplifying this threat against Iraqi girls and Iraqi mothers (again, it strips custody rights from mothers).

But instead of helping, Joy thinks she's a comedian.  Well, now that is funny.

Who gives a damn about Dick Cheney?

Joy Reid, who would rather use her voice to note him than take the time to amplify the needs of Iraqi women.

Again, the American media -- whether NPR, the talk shows of MSNBC or what have you -- is failing the people.  It's failing the world.

For those who insist, "We can call out Condi and Dick Cheney and have time to cover what's happening in Iraq," then why haven't you?  You seem to think you're tired and useless (stolen) observations about events from a decade ago are needed or wanted.  No wonder your ratings are so low.

And what do you do when your flaws are pointed out?

Refuse to allow the criticism to be seen.  Around 3:00 pm EST, Ann left a comment on the hideous Morning Edition 'report' and they refused to post it.

So NPR publishes Alice Fordham who covered the Iraq War for Rupert Murdoch and the comments are all about Bush?
How typical and self-righteous as well as uninformed.
I consider Bush a War Criminal.
What's going on right now isn't about him. I'm not surprised Fordham plays the terrorist card, she learned it well under Murdoch.
But, fellow Americans, if you could take a moment to stop babbling about Bush, go over to Human Rights Watch and read their reports on Anbar.
Nouri al-Maliki is using collective punishment -- a War Crime. The Common Ills has pointed this out since the assault on Anbar began at the end of December.
Nouri's forces are killing innocents including children and they're bombing hospitals.
You may think you look really informed when you grumble about Bush in this story.
Maybe to an echo chamber you do.
But I'm a Green and you just look like people who want to talk but don't want to take the time required to learn the facts.
This isn't 2004.
There's a reason Senator Robert Menendez didn't want to arm Nouri and it took weeks of strong-arming him by the current White House for Nouri to get the Hellfire missiles he's now using on the people of Anbar.
It is true that War Criminal Bush appointed Nouri in 2006.
It's also true he lost the 2010 elections.
For 8 months he refused to step down and with the support of the US and Iran, he didn't have to.
Barack Obama is the one who ordered US officials to broker The Erbil Agreement which gives -- as The Common Ills points out repeatedly -- Nouri a second term by going around the Iraqi Constitution, concpets of democracy and the will of the Iraqi people.
That contract was signed because there was no government for 8 months following the election. The contract dictated a power-sharing government. But after Nouri signed it, he refused to honor it and the White House that had promised the Kurds a power-sharing agreement, President Barack Obama who had personally called Ayad Allawi to go back into Parliament on its first meeting in months (November 2010)? They suddenly ignored their promises.
NPR didn't report it accurately in real time. It's no surprise they're offering nonsense now.

    If you ever doubted Nouri al-Maliki's ability to lead, it's on full display right now.  Tomorrow is the big terrorism conference that Brett McGurk's endlessly praised Nouri for.  The State Dept's Brett has praised this effort to bring the region's countries together to address the issue.

    But today comes the news that two won't be participating.  NINA reports Qatar and Saudi Arabia have decided not to participate.  This decision comes after Saturday's broadcast of Nouri al-Maliki's interview where he slammed Qatar and Saudi Arabia repeatedly.  (See Saturday's "Nouri 'celebrates' International Women's Day" and "Iraq snapshot.")

    He couldn't even keep his big mouth shut until after the conference.

    Violence continued today in Iraq.

    National Iraqi News Agency reports 2 people were shot dead in Mosul, a Mosul roadside bombing injured five bodyguards of Hussein Juma'a ("Adviser of the head of Hajj and Umrah"), 2 suicide bombers took their own lives in Mosul and the lives of 3 police members with four more police left injured, Joint Operations Command announced they killed 4 suspects outside Falluja, an Anbar incident left Major General Ali Ghazi al-Hashemi "shot in his left foot," a battle in Mosul left 1 fighter dead, another injured and 1 federal police member dead, security forces in Ramadi say they killed 4 suspects and wounded six more, and a Sadr City roadside bombing left 2 people dead and four more injured.