Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Lock Gina Haspel up

Kat's "Kat's Korner: Dashboard Confessional knows it's gonna be alright" covers the new album by Dashboard Confessional and is a pretty great piece of writing all on its own.

I hope you read Elaine's "At least Harris and Kaine are opposing Gina Haspel" on Sunday. 

We neither need nor deserve Gina Haspel as the Director of the CIA.  Why isn't she in prison?  Because the duopoly doesn't believe in accountability, because torture is bi-partisan and because each year our government gets even worse.

Patrick Martin (WSWS):

Democratic Senator Joe Donnelly announced Saturday that he would vote to confirm Gina Haspel as director of the CIA, virtually assuring that her nomination will be confirmed by the Senate when it is brought to a vote sometime in the next two weeks.
The Senate Intelligence Committee is to vote Wednesday at a closed-door session to approve Haspel’s nomination and send it to the full Senate. Haspel was assured of a favorable vote from the committee, which has an 8-7 Republican majority, when Republican Susan Collins of Maine and Democrat Joe Manchin of West Virginia announced they would support her nomination.
Both Donnelly and Manchin are running for reelection this year in states that President Trump carried easily in 2016, and Donnelly, in particular, was being attacked for his supposed opposition to Haspel as late as Thursday, when Trump spoke at a campaign rally in Elkhart, Indiana and called for a vote for his Republican opponent, millionaire businessman Mike Braun.
Donnelly, who had been publicly “undecided” on Haspel, announced his support less than 48 hours after the Elkhart rally. Referring to Haspel’s role in overseeing torture and then ordering the shredding of videotapes of torture sessions, Donnelly said, “I believe that she has learned from the past and that the CIA under her leadership can help our country confront serious international threats and challenges.”
He also cited the support for Haspel by former CIA directors under the Obama administration, Leon Panetta and John Brennan, and General Michael Hayden, first appointed director of the National Security Agency by Democratic President Bill Clinton and later CIA director under George W. Bush.
While Manchin’s vote made the outcome of the Intelligence Committee vote a certainty, Donnelly’s public support was more important, because it means that the two Republican senators opposed to the nomination, John McCain of Arizona and Rand Paul of Kentucky, are now offset by two Democrats.

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

Monday, May 14, 2018.

Saturday, Iraq held parliamentary elections.

The big winner so far?  Shi'ite cleric and movement leader Moqtada al-Sadr.

“He went to the elections without any bodyguards.” Congratulations to Syed Muqtada on the great victory in the elections. We will never forget the millions of martyrs that the Syed sacrificed in order to protect Iraq against the cowardly ISIS . Look at his simple clothing♥️
0:19 / 0:41

In early returns, Moqtada's coalition is the largest vote getter.

BREAKING: 's elections results have been released. Thread by province:
Baghdad: 1. Sa'iroon (Muqtada Al-Sadr) 2. Fatih (Hadi Al-'Amiri) 3. SoL (Maliki) 4. Wataniyah (Allawi) 5. Nasr (Abadi)
  • Basra: 1. Fatih (Hadi Al-'Amiri) 2. Sa'iroon (Muqtada Al-Sadr) 3. Nasr (Abadi) 4. SoL (Maliki) 5. Hikma (Ammar Al-Hakim)
  • Ninawa: 1. Nasr 2. Wataniyah 3. PUK 4. Ninawa Is Our Identity 5. Fatih
  • Diyala: 1. Iraqi Choice 2. Fatih 3. Wataniyah 4. Sa'iroun 5. Nasr
  • Salahuddin: 1. Qal'at Al-Jamaheer Al-Wataniyah 2. Fatih 3. Wataniyah 4. Nasr 5. Iraqi Choice
  • Dhi Qar: 1. Sa'iroun 2. Fatih 3. Nasr 4. State of Law (SoL) 5. Hikma
  • Karbala: 1. Fatih 2. Sa'iroun 3. Nasr 4. SoL 5. Hikma
  • Kirkuk: 1. PUK 2. Arab Alliance 3. Turkmen Front 4. Nasr 5. Fatih
  • Maysan: 1. Sa'iroun 2. Fatih 3. Hikma 4. Nasr 5. SoL
  • Anbar: 1. Anbar Is Our Identity 2. Wataniyah 3. Iraqi Choice 4. 'Abiroun 5. Nasr
  • Muthanna: 1. Sa'iroun 2. Fatih 3. Hikma 4. Nasr 5. SoL
  • Babil: 1. Fatih 2. Sa'iroun 3. Nasr 4. Hikma 5. SoL
  • Najaf: 1. Sa'iroun 2. Fatih 3. Nasr 4. Hikma 5. SoL
  • Qadisiyah: 1. Fatih 2. Sa'iroun 3. Nasr 4. Hikma 5. SoL
  • Wasit 1. Sa'iroun 2. Fatih 3. Nasr 4. Hikma 5. SoL
  • Erbil: 1. KDP 2. PUK 3. New Generation 4. CDJ 5. Gorran
  • Sulaymaniyah: 1. PUK 2. Gorran 3. New Generation 4. Kurdistan Islamic Group 5. KDP
  • Duhok: 1. KDP 2. Kurdistan Islamic Union 3. CDJ 4. PUK 5. New Generation

    Surprises in there?

    Well yes and no.

    Not a surprise?  How poorly Hayder al-Abadi did.

    It has to be humiliating for the press whores who lied repeatedly and insisted that he was going to win and win big.  Remember those claims?

    And some sourced them to the 'poll' -- a poll, really?

    There were actual polls but, as we repeatedly noted, that thing that had no margin of error was not a poll.  But they did turn it into propaganda to argue Hayder was going to win big -- which, surprisingly? -- just happened to be what the US government wanted.

    Who paid the checks to journalists in the lead up to Saturday's vote?  Seems like a large number of them were on the payroll of the US government.

    We didn't pimp that lie, we called it out.  We also didn't pimp the lie of Iraqis eager to vote.  We noted the reality of a system that remains the same election after election as well as the 2010 election when Iraqis voted for change and rejected Nouri al-Mali only to see Barack Obama overturn the election results via The Erbil Agreement.

    It can be argued that the 2014 turnout was because of the Islamic State.  In the face of this threat, Iraqis turned out to vote (a) to rid the country of Nouri as prime minister since he was the mid-wife to ISIS and (b) to present a national identity via a national action (voting) in the face of ISIS.

    With Hayder repeatedly insisting ISIS was defeated (it's not defeated, it remains active in Iraq) a large reason to vote vanished.  And we are seeing the effects of 2010 when Nouri lost the election but refused to step down -- for over eight months -- and the US government elected to back him leading to The Erbil Agreement where all the leaders agreed to give Nouri a second term -- in exchange for concessions from him.  Though you can stop the previous sentence at "second term" because Nouri used the contract to get his second term and then refused to abide by any of the promises he made in the contract.  That was typical Nouri.  Barack overturning the results in 2010 was a major event for Iraqis -- even if Americans elected to look the other way and pretend nothing was taking place.

      1. End of conversation
    Replying to 
    I wonder if another reason for low turnout could be that the 3 previous vote winners did not become PM due to US pressure. Jafari won in '06 but US imposed Maliki, Allawi in '10 but US backed Maliki again, Maliki won in '14 and US put in Abadi.

    Margaret Griffis (ANTIWAR.COM) notes what took place Saturday:

    At least 16 were killed, and 19 were wounded:
    North of Tikrit in Mes’Hag, four militiamen were killed and three were wounded when a bomb exploded as they were making their rounds.
    Near Kirkuk in Khan, a bomb killed three people. Two of them were voters and the third was an observer.
    Three people were injured by mortar fire in Islah.
    Near Mosul, militiamen are accused of injuring two members of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (K.D.P.)
    P.U.K. forces were accused of injuring two journalists from Kurdistan TV in Sulaimaniya.
    Militia forces are also accused of shooting and wounding a civilian trying to reach the polls in Jalawla.

    Check out the western press and search in vain for any reports of violence.  They all somehow missed it -- Jane Arraf, how do you manage to miss every issue of importance with regards to Iraq and still call yourself a "reporter"?

    Most Iraqis eligible to vote elected to sit this one out.

    AP pointed out, "No election since 2003 saw turnout below 60 percent."  AFP noted, "More than half of the nearly 24.5 million voters did not show up at the ballot box in the parliamentary election, the highest abstention rate since the first multiparty elections in 2005 [. . .]."

    So this turnout was historically low.

    Martin Chulov (GUARDIAN) reported:

    But as voters trudged towards polling stations, there was none of the euphoria of previous polls – where purple ink-dipped fingers were happily displayed – and almost no energy surrounding the process. Iraqis had done it all before, and elections had delivered little. Election monitors outnumbered voters at several polling stations in west Baghdad. “I’m just doing my duty,” said Samira Ahmed in the suburb of Mansour. “We hope it will lead to something, but we doubt it,” said a second woman.

    And there were conflicts.  REUTERS noted, "The governor of Iraq’s Kirkuk province declared a curfew on Saturday and ordered a manual recount of votes there in the national election, saying an electronic counting system had produced an 'illogical' result."  But the biggest conflict was in Sulaimani where the Talabani's PUK claimed victory. RUDAW reported that basically every other party running in that province disputed that claim.  The Coalition for Democracy and Justice stated that "large scale fraud has been committed."  The KRG's second most popular party, Goran (Change) says there's no way the PUK won in that region. Komal also says it couldn't have happened and that "we will not abide to those results."  The Kurdistan Islamic Union and the Kurdistan Communist Party also state there's no way the PUK could have won.  The KDP says the results indicate "systematic fraud."  The KDP is the most prominent political party in the KRG.

    Elections Results Update: •Muqatada Sadr & Abadi LEADING •Celebrations in Baghdad calling for Iran “out” •Preliminary Results= Win for moderates, enforce engagement with Arab States •Muqtada Sadr visited Saudi & UAE last year Developing...

    We'll note the thoughts of someone I frequently disagree with:

    Most important reasons for low turn out: (a) no inspiring candidates/lists to encourage high voter turn out. The few good candidates were hurt by being in mostly corrupt lists, or good lists have been spoiled by including some really corrupt candidates. (13)
  • Most important reasons for low turn out: (b) voters had no chance to punish any parties/ coalitions, or try new ones. All coalitions with realistic chance to gain seats have been in govt. and all will be part of the new one. Sitting home was only option to protest. (14)
    Most important reasons for low turn out: (c) despite the acceptable level of free elections, is using a really corrupt elections law, written by, & for the ruling class — also, no one can honestly say the is competent & impartial. (15)

    It will be interesting to see the final results.  So far, only Ayad Allawi is calling for a full recount -- other cries for recounts from political figures focus on this or that province.

    These ludicrous smear tactics show exactly how pro-war propaganda works today: if you oppose murderous US wars that empower fascist Salafi extremist groups, destroy states, and unleash terror on millions of civilians—from Iraq to Syria—you're smeared as "an apologist for fascism"

    It's really sad how every event in Iraq becomes some sort of weapon for Eli Lake -- some way to justify the illegal war.

    Kat's "Kat's Korner: Dashboard Confessional knows it's gonna be alright" went up yesterday.