Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Chelsea Manning

On the 16th anniversary of the never-ending Iraq War, we should take a moment -- at least one -- to recognize that one of the whistle-blowers is again imprisoned. Chelsea Manning is in prison.  Andre Damon (WSWS) reports:

It has been ten days since a federal judge imprisoned whistleblower Chelsea Manning for refusing to testify before the secret grand jury in Virginia, which is preparing an indictment against WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange.
After running perfunctory news reports of Manning’s jailing, no major US newspapers have published any follow-up reporting on the imprisonment of the United States’ most famous whistleblower and political prisoner.
None of the dozens of professional moralists employed by the New York Times, Washington Post and Wall Street Journal who make it their business to publicize “human rights” violations to promote US imperialist interests have written a single column protesting the imprisonment of Manning.
These newspapers regularly report on the alleged imprisonment and mistreatment of journalists, whistleblowers and dissidents at the hands of the United States’ geopolitical rivals Russia and China. But when it comes to the jailing of a courageous whistleblower in the United States, they are silent.
The Democratic Party has likewise said nothing. There has been no protest from any significant Democratic politician, including from the party’s so-called “progressive” wing. Bernie Sanders, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar have not spoken in Manning’s defense. Phone calls and emails by the WSWS asking for clarification to the offices of Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez were not returned.
The complicity of the Democratic Party in the jailing of Manning is bound up with its pro-imperialist politics. The Democrats have waged their opposition to Trump on the most right-wing basis possible, criticizing the administration for not taking a hard enough position against Russia, denouncing any retreat from war in the Middle East, and elevating the intelligence agencies into supposed paragons of democracy.

Dick Cheney's not in jail.

Colin Powell's not behind bars.

Bully Boy Bush isn't in prison.

But Chelsea Manning is now again behind bars.

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

Tuesday, March 20, 2019.  16 years and now 16 years and counting.

Here on earth I'm a lost soul
Ever trying to find my way back home
Maybe that's why each new star is born
Expanding heaven's room
Eternity in bloom
And will I see you up in that heaven
In all it's light will I know you're there
Will we say the things that we never dared
If wishing makes it so
Won't you let me know
That life is eternal
And love is immortal
And death is only a horizon
Life is eternal
As we move into the light
And a horizon is nothing
Save the limit of our sight
Save the limit of our sight 

"Life Is Eternal," written by Carly Simon, first appears on her HAVE YOU SEEN ME LATELY? album

Life is eternal but war shouldn't be.  Despite that, the Iraq War has now turned 16 years old.  How'd we get here?

IN THESE TIMES' Sarah Lazare reminds us of those who voted for the Iraq War.

On the 16th anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, here's a reminder of the Democratic U.S. Senators who voted "yae" to authorizing the horrific war and occupation.

Of those 29 Senate Democrats who supported the Iraq War?  Four ended up on presidential tickets after the vote.  Five if you count from before the vote (Joe Lieberman was Al Gore's 2000 running mate).  One of the above thinks he's doing the country a favor by running again.  He's begging for campaign contributions before he's even officially declared.  Yes, that is pretty disgusting, pretty money grubbing and, sadly, yes, that is Joe Biden.

Hey hey hey, I’m good ol’ Joe Biden. Loveable Uncle Joe, from the memes. Wa-HEY! Look at me in sunglasses! I voted for the Iraq War and should be in prison

When does Joe Biden take responsibility?  I know Joe.  I even like Joe.  But Joe's not cut out to be president.  He didn't just make a mistake with his 2002 vote.  There's also what took place from 2009 through 2016 -- when Barack Obama put him in charge of Iraq.

Not Hillary. Hillary could not be in charge of Iraq at that time.  In an April 2008 public hearing, Hillary rightly called Nouri al-Maliki, then prime minister of Iraq, out and noted publicly that he was a thug and a threat to Iraq's future.  Hillary was completely right.

But being right didn't change the fact that Nouri knew what she said and that Barack couldn't put her in charge of Iraq.  As Secretary of State, she dealt with her counterpart Hoshyar Zebari and that was about it.  Joe was in charge of Iraq.

It was under Joe's watch that the Iraqi people voted Nouri out of office but Joe and the White House decided the Iraqi people didn't matter, democracy didn't matter, showing Iraqis the power of the vote didn't matter.  The only thing that mattered, under Joe's watch, was keeping Nouri in power.  So they came up with The Erbil Agreement to give Nouri a second term.  November 10, 2010, The Erbil Agreement is signed.  November 11, 2010, the Iraqi Parliament has their first real session in over eight months and finally declares a president, a Speaker of Parliament and Nouri as prime minister-designate -- all the things that were supposed to happen in April of 2010 but didn't. And that went great, didn't it?

It did if "great" is Nouri terrorizing the people, if it's his attacking the people.

Nouri's biggest slaughter?  The April 23, 2013 massacre of a 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 eventually (as some wounded died) rose to 53 dead.   UNICEF noted that the dead included 8 children (twelve more were injured).

If you're surprised ISIS took hold in Iraq, you weren't paying attention.

Joe was in charge of Iraq.  Joe saw the Iraqi people use the ballot box to rid themselves of Nouri in 2010.  Joe saw them use their representatives in an attempt to toss Nouri out.  How did Joe handle the no-confidence vote?  He got fat ass Jalal Talabani to bury it. So they've used the ballot box to get rid of Nouri.  They use their elected representatives to get rid of Nouri.  And what's left?

Taking to the streets in protest.

And when they do that, what happens?  Nouri harasses them. He has them attacked.  He has them arrested and tortured.

Grasp for one damn minute that he even did this with the press.  He did this with the press as well.

Let's drop back to the February 28, 2011 snapshot to smear Joe Biden's face in the dirty mess he made:

Over the weekend, protesting continued in Iraq as it did on Friday's Day Of RageMohammed Tawfeeq (CNN) reported that protests continued Saturday with Samarra protesters defying a "curfew to attend the funerals of two people killed during protests" on Friday and that Iraqi forces opened fire on the protesters/mourners leaving eight injured while Basra also saw a funeral for a protester killed on Friday.  On Sunday, BNO News reports, protests continued in Iraq with 27 protesters left wounded in Amara City by Iraqi forces.  Today, at Baghdad's Tahrir Square, Alsumaria TV reports Iraqis turned out to demonstrate again.
Saturday, Wael Grace and Adam Youssef (Al Mada) reported the disturbing news that after Friday's Baghdad demonstration, four journalists who had been reporting on the protests were eating lunch when Iraqi security forces rushed into the restaurant and arrested them with eye witnesses noting that they brutal attacked the journalists inside the restaurant, cursing the journalists as they beat them with their rifle handles. One of the journalists was Hossam Serail who says that they left Tahrir Square with colleagues including journalists, writers intellectuals, filmmakers. They went into the restaurant where the Iraqi military barged in, beat and kicked them, hit them in the face and head with the handles of their rifles, cursed the press and journalists, put him the trunk of a Hummer. This is Nouri al-Maliki's Iraq -- the Iraq the US forces prop up at the command of the Barack Obama. Stephanie McCrummen (Washington Post) added that the journalists stated "they were handcuffed, blindfolded, beaten and threatened with execution by soldiers from an army intelligence unit" and quotes Hossam Serail (spelled Hussam al-Ssairi) stating, "It was like they were dealing with a bunch of al-Qaeda operatives, not a group of journalists. Yesterday was like a test, like a picture of the new democracy in Iraq."
In addition, Alsumaria TV adds, "Iraqi security forces released on Friday Alsumaria reporters Sanan Adnan and Idris Jawad in addition to cameraman Safaa' Hatem. Alsumaria reporters were arrested while covering the protests of Baghdad's Tahrir Square. Security forces attacked as well Alsumaria employees Ali Hamed and Muhannad Abdul Sattar who managed to escape." Stephanie McCrummen (Washington Post) reported Sunday, "Iraqi security forces detained about 300 people, including prominent journalists, artists and lawyers who took part in nationwide demonstrations Friday, in what some of them described as an operation to intimidate Baghdad intellectuals who hold sway over popular opinion."   The Committee to Protect Journalists notes the above and other crackdowns on the press in Iraq (as well as in Yemen and Libya):
Security forces prohibited cameras from entering Baghdad's Tahrir Square, where there were thousands of people protesting, according to news reports and local journalists. Police confiscated tapes that reporters managed to shoot in the square, according to Al-Jazeera.
[. . .]
Anti-riot forces also raided the offices of Al-Diyar satellite TV station in Baghdad and detained 10 of its staff members for three hours, according to Al-Diyar's website. In the afternoon, anti-riot police stormed the office for a second time, prohibited the staff from entering the building, and detained at least three more employees.
Niyaz Abdulla, a correspondent for Radio Nawa and a volunteer for Metro Center, a local press freedom group, was assaulted today while covering demonstrations in Erbil. "I was on the air when a plainclothes security officer came and started threatening me," she told CPJ. The officer threatened to call over men to attack her, alluding to a potential sexual assault. "I stayed calm but it was very disturbing," Abdulla said. She added that two of her colleagues had their cameras confiscated while they were covering the demonstration.
In Karbala, anti-riot forces attacked Afaq and Al-Salam satellite channels crews, according to news reports. "They were beaten and cursed at while they were covering the march in Karbala," Jihad Jaafar, a correspondent for Afaq channel told Noun news website. He added that the tapes of the crews were confiscated.
In addition, CPJ's Deputy Director Robert Mahoney is quoted stating, "We are particularly disturbed that a democratically elected government such as that of Iraq would attempt to quash coverage of political protests. We call on Baghdad to honor its commitments to respect media freedom." 
Over the weekend, a number of journalists were detained during and after their coverage of the mass demonstrations that took place in central Baghdad's al-Tahrir Square. Simone Vecchiator (International Press Institute) notes:

During a news conference held on Sunday, four journalists -- Hussam Saraie of Al-Sabah Al-Jadid newspaper, Ali Abdul Sada of the Al-Mada daily, Ali al-Mussawi of Sabah newspaper and Hadi al-Mehdi of Demozee radio -- reported being handcuffed, blindfolded, beaten and threatened by security forces. They also claimed they were held in custody for nine hours and forced to sign a document, the contents of which were not revealed to them.
Aswat al Iraq news agency reported that the journalists will file a court case against the executive authority in response to the alleged violations of their civil rights.
This episode is the latest in a series of repressive measures adopted by security forces in order to stifle media reports about the current political and social unrest.
Meanwhile Nasiriyah reports that Maj Gen Qassim Atta, the spokesperson for Baghdad Operations Command is insisting he has no idea about targeting of the media, specifically four journalists being arrested on Friday, and insists there will be an investigation. He's calling on witnesses to come forward . . . so they can be disappeared?  This morning Kelly McEvers (NPR's Morning Edition) reported on the attacks on journalists and focused on Hadi Al Mahdi whose "leg is really swollen" and who was one of the four noted above stopped Friday afternoon while "eating lunch with other journalists when soldiers pulled up, blindfolded them, and whisked them away.  Mahdi was beaten in the leg, eyes, and head.  A solider tried to get him to admit he was being paid to topple the regime."
Hadi Al Mahdi: I replied, I told the guy who was investigating me, I'm pretty sure that your brother is unemployed and the street in your area is unpaved and you know that this political regime is a very corrupt one.

Kelly McEvers: Mahdi was later put in a room with what he says were about 200 detainees, some of them journalists and intellectuals, many of them young protesters.

Before we move on, let's also note Stephanie McCrummen (Washington Post) who reported:

Four journalists who had been released described being rounded up well after they had left a protest at Baghdad's Tahrir Square. They said they were handcuffed, blindfolded, beaten and threatened with execution by soldiers from an army intelligence unit.
"It was like they were dealing with a bunch of al-Qaeda operatives, not a group of journalists," said Hussam al-Ssairi, a journalist and poet, who was among a group and described seeing hundreds of protesters in black hoods at the detention facility. "Yesterday was like a test, like a picture of the new democracy in Iraq."

There were no independent media -- beggar media, Panhandle Media -- PACIFICA, DEMOCRACY NOW and all other b.s. outlets -- in the US who reported on these series issues.  They can beg for money, they just can't cover the issues that actually matter.

And the US government looked the other way and Joe was in charge.  Then came the Hawija massacre.  Still the US government looked the other way.  
What followed?
The rise of ISIS.  ISIS did not come about by accident or happenstance.  It was a direct response to Nouri's terrorizing the Sunni people.  
This is all on Joe's plate.  His Iraq issues go far beyond just voting for the war in 2002.
And let's get personal in a way I'd prefer to avoid.  When one of Joe's sons was publicly embarrassed, I noted here -- as well as face to face -- that it's not that you fall, we all fall, it's how you get up.  I meant that and I mean it today.
If Joe really wants to be president, he needs to own what he's done.  
His announcement speech should include: "I voted for the Iraq War.  I was wrong.  I've done many things wrong with regards to Iraq.  But I've thought about it at length and I know I can make things better and I have a plan which I will now outline . . ."
Joe needs to talk the talk -- for his son, for himself.  If he can't do that, he just needs to go away.
The Democratic Party does not have time to pretend that the Iraq War didn't happen and doesn't continue to this day.  Own your mistakes and talk about how you can fix them.
I think it would be a winning campaign but it would damn sure be an honest campaign and a campaign that elevated the whole country.
It would also do something for the Iraqi people.  They have been screwed over.  Not just with the war but with the occupation.  They have little say in their own lives and they know that.  It would be something if at least one US official could get honest.  Again, they already know this truth -- the power would be someone in the US government finally admitting it.
No one tells the truth about Iraq anymore.
The few truth tellers we had are gone.
Some, like Norman Solomon, just lost interest.  They just walked away.  Norman was one of the most important voices in the US.  He became a pledged delegate for Barack Obama in 2008 and he never could be counted on for Iraq again.  It was a great loss.
Some, like Dahr Jamal, had to walk away.  Dahr covers the environment now.  He wasn't a columnist, he was a reporter.  He went to Iraq and covered it and told the truth.  I can certainly understand him moving on to other topics.  Michael Ware covered Iraq and covered Iraq and ended up with Post-Traumatic Stress.  I'm thankful to Michael, Dahr and Molly Bingham and others who made a difference and I do understand how they could not make it their whole lives.  
But the reality is that with them gone and the voices of people like Norman Solomon also gone, the Iraq War is pretty much ignored in the United States.  
Whores like Amy Goodman aren't going to do a damn thing.  (And I draw a line between the people who really gave a damn like Norman Solomon and the cheap and tacky Amy Goodmans -- I draw that line, others in the community don't -- see new content at THIRD.)
16 years the Iraq War has dragged on.  And it can't even garner the attention it needs.  
It's depressing and it's sad.
Save the limit of our sight, indeed.
But here's the other reality.  The young will take over this and they will right it.  That's how it's going to go.  I can say that because I see it on campuses when we speak.  People realize now, young people, that they own their vote, they don't owe it to anyone.  They realize that the Amy Goodmans are hucksters who steal your money and pretend to care.
The Iraq War has dragged on because, in the US, everyone basically moved on.  Again, Dahr, Molly and Michael and others like them, it's completely understandable and I hold no ill will towards them.  Norman Solomon's walk away brings me to tears to think about it even now, however.  But I don't consider him a whore.  Danny Schechter was a whore.  And I made that opinion clear to Danny to his face.  He profited off the Iraq War, he made his name bigger from the Iraq War and then he dropped it.  Worse, after Barack was elected, Danny wanted to call me or e-mail me always to whine about what Barack was doing and how Danny couldn't call him out -- blah, blah, blah.  What a coward.  Live a coward, die a coward.  I have no sympathy for Danny and I'm not sad he's dead.  He made himself useless.  And people like him and Amy Goodman and so many others grabbed your money and wasted it because that's what they do.  They can't cover anything because they lack dedication and, let's be honest, they think they're going to overthrow the status quo.
They're never going to do anything.  They lack the will and fortitude. 
But they're convinced that they can and so they look for something someone creates and works on and then they latch onto it -- Black Lives Matter, Occupy, you name it.  They try to put their filthy paws all over it and use to bring about their 'revolution.'  And then they drop it three or four months later for some new 'cause' that they just know will bring about their 'revolution.'
They are embarrassments.  They're human feces is what they are.  They are why the Iraq War is 16 years old.  They are why the Iraqi people suffer.
When's the last time any of them thought about the people who stood for peace?
You want to stop the war on Venezuela?
How the hell do you think you're doing that CODEPINK, DEMOCRACY NOW!, etc?
You think your slogans are getting real?
It's not.
The people who took brave stands in the past should be recognized, should be interviewed, should be asked to speak.   Those people include Matthis Chiroux, Richard Droste, Michael Barnes, Matt Mishler, Josh Randall, Robby Keller, Justiniano Rodrigues, Chuck Wiley, James Stepp, Rodney Watson, Michael Espinal, Matthew Lowell, Derek Hess, Diedra Cobb, Brad McCall, Justin Cliburn, Timothy Richard, Robert Weiss, Phil McDowell, Steve Yoczik, Ross Spears, Peter Brown, Bethany "Skylar" James, Zamesha Dominique, Chrisopther Scott Magaoay, Jared Hood, James Burmeister, Jose Vasquez, Eli Israel, Joshua Key, Ehren Watada, Terri Johnson, Clara Gomez, Luke Kamunen, Leif Kamunen, Leo Kamunen, Camilo Mejia, Kimberly Rivera, Dean Walcott, Linjamin Mull, Agustin Aguayo, Justin Colby, Marc Train, Abdullah Webster, Robert Zabala, Darrell Anderson, Kyle Snyder, Corey Glass, Jeremy Hinzman, Kevin Lee, Mark Wilkerson, Patrick Hart, Ricky Clousing, Ivan Brobeck, Aidan Delgado, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Stephen Funk, Blake LeMoine, Clifton Hicks, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Logan Laituri, Jason Marek, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Joshua Casteel, Katherine Jashinski, Dale Bartell, Chris Teske, Matt Lowell, Jimmy Massey, Chris Capps, Tim Richard, Hart Viges, Michael Blake, Christopher Mogwai, Christian Kjar, Kyle Huwer, Wilfredo Torres, Michael Sudbury, Ghanim Khalil, Vincent La Volpa, DeShawn Reed and Kevin Benderman.

Isn't it funny how those people, the Darrell Andersons, who risked so much mere years ago, are not recognized today.  The crap that is DATELINE and 20/20 can do clip jobs and pretend that the world needed to know what happened to Lorena Bobbitt but PACIFICA RADIO can't do even an hour with the Iraq War resisters.  Their stories matter, their brave stands matter.  They made a difference.  And starting with Ivan Brobeck, they did so without Panhandle Media.  Starting with Ivan, Amy Goodman and others turned their backs on war resisters.

The Iraq War continues.  It's why Edward Wong and Eric Schmitt grab the vapors in today's NEW YORK TIMES:

The United States’ attempts to isolate Iran, including by punishing Iraqi militias and politicians who are supported by Iranian officials, has deepened tensions not only between Washington and Baghdad but also within the Trump administration.
American military and intelligence officials said the increasing pressure on Iraq risks infuriating its Parliament, including politicians linked to Iran, which could limit the movements of the 5,200 United States troops based in Iraq.
Oh dear Lord!

Grasp what the shocked Grey Lady is lamenting.

It's not the reality that this would make US troops even more of a target.  That's not Wongy and Schmitty's concern.  It's that US troops might "limit the movements" -- oh, no.  Oh, horror!

That is horror to THE NEW YORK TIMES.  It sold the damn war.  And it didn't just sell it ahead of the war.  It sold it with one lying article after another once the war started.  John F. Burns should rot in hell for the copy he produced and that's the truth.  Falluja Dexy?  Supposedly he's 'woke' now.  I have no idea but if he learned something, good for him.  Won't bring back the dead, but . . .

THE NEW YORK TIMES, to this day, wants the Iraq War.  they want it and they fear it ending.

Grasp that Tim Arango had the scoop for weeks about Barack secretly sending US troops back into Iraq in 2012.  Grasp that he had an on the record source -- a US general -- and Jill Abramson, dirty whore that she is, wouldn't let the story run.  It was an election year!  Barack was taking credit for ending the Iraq War!  We must not tell the truth!  So the story was repeatedly killed until finally Tim worked it into the middle of a report on Syria.

For those who forgot or never knew, Tim Arango reported, "Iraq and the United States are negotiating an agreement that could result in the return of small units of American soldiers to Iraq on training missions. At the request of the Iraqi government, according to General Caslen, a unit of Army Special Operations soldiers was recently deployed to Iraq to advise on counterterrorism and help with intelligence."

Why does PACIFICA exist today?  Once upon a time it could argue it was created for peace.  But PACIFICA didn't report on that and they don't cover Iraq today.  They lie to you and then they lie some more.  And the Iraq War gets a little older each day and more people suffer and more people die and more dreams are destroyed.

An unresponsive government is a sad thing, yes.  But an unresponsive media that asks for your 'donations'?  That's just pathetic.  It's time to starve that beast and bring it down because they won't understand anything but unemployment. They can't get real jobs -- no real media outlet would hire them.  Stop donating to their beggar outlets and maybe they'll finally do a honest day's work.  BLACK AGENDA REPORT, WSWS?  Those are functioning outlets.  I'm not seeing a lot of others who can make that claim.

For the others?  Starve the beast.  Or at least make them work for the coins you toss at them.

Truth goes up in vapors
The steeples lean
Winds of change patriarchs
Snug in your bible belt dreams
God goes up the chimney
Like childhood Santa Claus
The good slaves love the good book
A rebel loves a cause
-- "Don't Interrupt The Sorrow," written by Joni Mitchell, first appears on her THE HISSING OF SUMMER LAWNS album

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