Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Panama (not the Van Halen song)

Bill Van Auken (WSWS) writes:

Manuel Noriega, the former military strongman of Panama and longtime “asset” of the US Central Intelligence Agency, died Monday night following brain surgery in a Panamanian hospital.

He had ruled Panama as a de facto head of state following the suspicious death of the country’s former military ruler, Gen. Omar Torrijos, who had come to power in a 1968 coup. Torrijos had initiated social assistance programs for the poor and pressed for the US to cede sovereignty over the Panama Canal to Panama, which was negotiated with the Carter administration in a 1977 treaty that was bitterly opposed by the Republican Party. The cause of Torrijos’s death was widely believed to have been a bomb supplied by the CIA and planted with the collaboration of Noriega.

Noriega was toppled in a December 1989 US invasion that Washington dubbed “Operation Just Cause.” He was to spend the last 27 years of his life in prison, first in the US, then in France and finally in Panama itself, on charges relating to drug trafficking, racketeering and repression.

The death of the former Panamanian ruler received scant attention in the US corporate media. With the passage of nearly three decades, the issues surrounding Washington’s intervention to overthrow him have faded in public memory.

The events surrounding “Operation Just Cause,” however, deserve to be reviewed, as they in many ways set a pattern that would be repeated in a series of steadily escalating US wars and military interventions around the globe.

It's really a great article.

The only thing I would add is that Noriega stated at the time that he had information on George H.W. Bush.  Not just on the CIA, he said he had information on Bush.

And he was thrown in a hole never to be heard from again.

(Sort of like Dan Quayle's friend who sold him pot and was giving interviews until he was kept away from the press.)

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

Wednesday, May 31, 2017.  Chaos and violence continues as so much of the dead are rendered invisible.

Recent violence in Iraq has been largely ignored by the western press.  One event this week, the bombing of an ice cream parlor in Baghdad, has gotten some attention.

Replying to 

Russell Goldman offers a thirteen paragraph report for THE NEW YORK TIMES.

Read over it and see if you can see the major flaw.

Megan Levy (SYDNEY MORNING HERALD) reports:

An Australian schoolgirl was one of more than a dozen people killed when a massive car bomb tore through a popular ice-cream parlour in the Iraqi capital Baghdad this week.
Zynab Al Harbiya, 12, was with her family at the Al-Faqma ice-cream parlour in Baghdad's central Karrada district in the early hours of Tuesday, local time, when a jihadist blew up an explosive-laden car parked outside.

Liz Burke (NEWS.COM) notes:

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop this morning confirmed the year seven student was killed in a suicide bombing that targeted an ice cream parlour in the Iraqi capital.
Accompanied by family members, the young girl had just enjoyed an ice cream on Monday night, breaking the daily fast undertaken during the holy month of Ramadan when a car bomb was detonated outside the popular eatery.
“She broke her fast and she just wanted to go and get some ice-cream from the parlour,” Zynab’s cousin Layla Al-Saabary said through tears on The Project.

The violence in Iraq is repeatedly ignored.

The victims of the violence are immediately forgotten.

Go read Russell Goldman's article.

The problem?

There's not one name in it.

Don't give him credit for 'time rush.'

There was no time rush.

We're calling it a Tuesday attack due to the time change.

But this is the same attack that we first covered in "ISIS attacks Baghdad" which posted here Monday at 8:14 PST.

And how do you not get the name of one person killed even if the blast was four hours ago?

At THIRD, on Monday night, we offered "Editorial: Do the deaths matter?"

We included two Tweets in the editorial:

Iraq, just like Syria, has endured the most death & ruin at ISIS's hands.

But sadly, the global outrage and MSM coverage is slim to none. 💔

  5 hours ago

Replying to 

How many monuments around the world will be lit up in Iraq's colours to show solidarity with tonight's victims? How many minutes airtime?

Maybe the world would take notice if the western press did?

Taking notice means you include the dead.

Including the dead does not mean you give numbers, it means you give details.

You have to wonder how the impersonal 'reports' of this violence could impact other violence?

The reports indicate -- by failing to cover the victims -- that lives don't matter.

How does that impact readers in Iraq?

Because a westerner was one of the victims, we have a name.

We have no names of the Iraqis, though.

And we're treating this as normal.

It's not.

It's not even reporting.

They need to dig a little deeper.  And the video is Ella Eyre performing "Deeper."

Violence isn't limited to Baghdad and Mosul.

Bomb attack in Iraq's Hit city In Anbar province kills 14, injures 23

Meanwhile, it's day 224 of The Mosul Slog.

On The Mosul Slog, James Cogan (WSWS) reports:

Secretary of Defense James Mattis has again declared, during a lengthy interview with CBS News on Sunday, that the US-led campaign against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has shifted from “attrition tactics” to “annihilation tactics.”
Mattis implied these “tactics” included the extra-judicial execution of wounded or captured people suspected of being ISIS militants—a flagrant war crime under international law. The former marine general, who directed the murderous US military assaults against Iraqi insurgents in the city of Fallujah in 2004, told CBS: “Our intention is that the foreign fighters do not survive to return home to North Africa, to Europe, to America, to Asia, to Africa. We’re not going to allow them to do so.”
The current focus of the US-directed war on ISIS is the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, which once had a population of over 1.6 million. After months of relentless air strikes and bloody street-to-street fighting, the Iraqi government claims that the remaining ISIS fighters are trapped in the compact and densely-populated suburbs of Mosul’s west, known as the “Old City.” What is left of the ISIS leadership is believed to be holed up in the 900-year old Great Mosque of al-Nuri, where ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi proclaimed a “caliphate” three years ago.
In October 2016, a massive force of Iraqi troops, Kurdish peshmerga militias and Shiite militias began the offensive to retake Mosul. The assault has been supported from the air by jet fighter-bombers and helicopter gunships provided by the US, Australia, Britain, Canada and France. Iraqi ground forces are being accompanied into battle by special forces personnel from the same countries. Iraqi military commanders have boasted they will complete the recapture of Mosul over the coming two weeks.
Earlier this month, Iraqi commanders claimed that some 16,000 ISIS fighters had been killed in the Mosul area since October. When the offensive began, the number of ISIS fighters in the city was generally estimated, by both US and Iraqi government sources, at around 5,000, and at the most, 10,000.
How many of the purported ISIS dead were in fact non-combatants may never be known. What is known, however, is that all males from Mosul older than 14 have been interrogated by government forces as potential ISIS fighters. An unknown number have not survived the process.
In now widely published images, taken between October and December 2016, photographer Ali Arkady captured, in photo and film, some of the horrific torture inflicted during interrogations. According to a March report by Human Rights Watch, some 1,269 people, detained during the earlier stages of the fighting, were being held in “horrendous” and “degrading” conditions in makeshift prison camps. Some 700 others had been transferred to prisons in Baghdad.

The following community sites -- plus Jody Watley -- updated:

  • Tuesday, May 30, 2017

    Why do you criticize?

    I know why I do.

    I'm trying to make things better.

    I hope my kids would agree (I have eight).

    I didn't care if they did something a different way if they got the same outcome.

    But if the shoes weren't tied, I was going to criticize.

    With regards to government?

    I want to make it better -- though just raising awareness -- even of one person -- is fine too.

    This is from an essay by Nancy Hanover (WSWS):

    The education historian substantiates this by briefly reviewing the record, starting with the support of Bill Clinton for standardized metrics linked to monetary rewards, which ultimately laid the groundwork for No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top.
    As usual, Ravitch does not spare Obama. “The Obama years saw an epidemic of new charters, testing, school closings and teacher firings. In Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel closed 50 public schools in one day. Democratic charter advocates—whose ranks include the outraged Booker and Bennet—have increasingly imported ‘school choice’ into the party’s rhetoric,” she states.
    She hones in on the money trail: “[S]upport for mandatory testing and charter schools opens fat wallets on Wall Street. … In 2005, Obama served as the featured speaker at the inaugural gathering of Democrats for Education Reform, which bundles contributions to Democrats who back charter schools: Among its favorites have been those sharp DeVos critics George Miller, Michael Bennet, and Cory Booker.”
    Ravitch’s narrative highlights the hypocrisy of the Democratic Party, its open alliance with Wall Street hedge funds and its thoroughly reactionary attacks on public education in the interest of profit-taking.
    The problem with her argument, however, is the “inconvenient fact” that Ravitch has been an unswerving supporter of the Democratic Party every step of the way. This included supporting Obama twice, Hillary Clinton in 2016, and countless other regional and local Democrats.

    I'm not a Diane Ravitch fan -- I've never noted her.

    And the reason is because: Why does she criticize?

    I often agree with her criticism.

    But if you're going to call someone out -- as you should -- but you won't hold them accountable, what's the point?

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

    Tuesday, May 30, 2017.  Chaos and violence continue, The Mosul Slog continues, a new prediction is made for when TMS will end, and much more.

    The new predicition?  Mosul will be liberated by June 10th.  GULF NEWS quotes Iraqi army Maj Qusay al-Kinam declaring, "Mosul fell to [the Islamic State] on June 10, 2014, so by June 10 this year, it must be liberated."

    Must it?

    Because so many predictions have already been made.

    For example, Lieutenant-General Othman al-Ghanimi, Iraq’s chief of staff, was insisting the operation would wrap up by the start of Ramadan. AL-ARABIYA reported May 11th:

    The Iraqi Ministry of Defense has announced that the entire Mosul area will be under control before Ramadan.

    This announcement came through army Chief Osman al-Ghanmi during his inspection of the operations taking place against ISIS in the city of Mosul.

    Ramadan's already begun.

    So now we're being told things will wrap up June 10th.

    Let's deal with reality.

    In June of 2014, the Islamic State took over Mosul.

    The Iraqi government did nothing in 2014.

    The Iraqi government did nothing in 2015.

    Finally, in October of 2016, they launched an operation.

    This operation is still ongoing.

    Reality, it's now day 223 of The Mosul Slog.

    Day 223 for an operation that was supposed to take mere weeks.

    These Iraqi refugees are spending in a camp. Resources are limited during what should be a joyful time.
    Video: Ramadan in a refugee camp


    That's what The Mosul Slog has produced -- more refugees in a country already having a refugee crisis.

    Jack Moore (NEWSWEEK) notes, "Seven months of battle -- longer than Stalingrad -- and Baghdad’s forces, backed by the U.S.-led coalition, have slowly eaten away at the jihadi group’s stranglehold on the largest city in its possession."


    Ghassan Adnan and Ben Kesling (WALL STREET JOURNAL) report, "Two car bombings in the Iraqi capital early Tuesday killed at least two dozen people and injured 60 others, Iraqi officials said, in attacks that targeted families during the holy month of Ramadan."  One of the bombings targeted an ice cream parlor.  Murtada Faraj (AP) counts 13 dead and twenty-four more injured and reports, "A number of wounded lay on the ground, others propped themselves up on the colorful park benches outside the ice cream shop. One young girl, wearing a ribbon and bow in her hair, wandered the scene dazed."

    It was a deadly attack.

    No buildings around the world will honor victims by putting its lights out, just cry yourself to sleep & start a new day tomorrow.

    Had it happened elsewhere, it would be the subject of non-stop news, people would talk of showing solidarity with the victims.

    But it's Baghdad so, if the pattern holds, the western news media will have forgotten it by this afternoon.

    KUNA notes, "The Arab League strongly condemned Tuesday recent attacks carried out in the Karrada district, Baghdad, killing and wounding a large number of people.  Arab League Secretary General Almat Abudl-Gheit affirmed the solidarity with the Iraqi leadership, government and people against this brutality that targets innocent civilians."

    Happy islamic terrorist bomb . Did u know Iraq wasn't an islamic Republic until we bombed them?

    At least 10 killed, dozens injured in bomb blasts in central ,

    moment of blast that targeted a busy district tonight , it was an ice cream shop

    BREAKING: ISIS blows up a popular ice cream shop in Iraq's Karradah, slaughtering dozens of Iraqi Shia men, women and children. 💔

    Bombing rocks Karrada Iraq just now. Many casualties reported! News coming to us from those on the ground. Spread the message

    And the US Special Envoy Brett McGurk Tweeted:

    ISIS terrorists tonight in Baghdad target children & families enjoying time together at an ice cream shop. We stand w/Iraq against this evil

    The second bombing?  Samuel Osborne (INDEPENDENT) reports, "A few hours later, a second explosives-laden car went off during rush hour near the state-run Public Pension Office near the al-Shahada (Martyrs') Bridge in the busy Shawaka district, killing at least 12 and wounding 23 more, a police officer said."

    ....I give up on this world..second car bomb in 12hrs in Baghdad, Iraq. 27's Ramadan..

    Blondie is back with a new album.  Kat reviewed it in "Kat's Korner: Blondie's summer return" and you can catch Blondie on NPR:


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