Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Hideous Ronan

Ronan Farrow.  He has to do something to make money, I guess.  But smearing others?  I guess he considers it a living -- I mean, look who his pathetic mother is.  It's not as though he learned anything of value in that family.

He's still peddling his accusations and stirring up a witch hunt.  How long before allegations arise against him?

In the meantime, Oscar Gray (WSWS) notes:

The two-hour event was dominated by self-promotion and self-congratulation, identity politics and contempt for basic democratic rights. In their meandering comments, which were distinctly deficient in terms of facts and details, the two speakers took for granted that Farrow’s mix of hearsay, unproven allegations and anonymous comments constituted “evidence” of wrongdoing.
The event underscored the fact that #MeToo is a political campaign alien from—and hostile to—the interests of the working class, both women and men.
Farrow, a former State Department propagandist who worked for diplomat Richard Holbrooke and Hillary Clinton, has experienced a career surge since penning the initial New Yorker article about Weinstein, as well as subsequent articles, including one that eventually led to the resignation of Les Moonves, CEO of the CBS Corporation.
HBO has brought Farrow on to produce a series of documentaries on “the abuse of power by individuals and institutions” for the cable and satellite television network. He has also signed a deal with Little, Brown and Company for a book about the Weinstein investigation.
In 2018, Farrow received the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service for the Weinstein reporting, along with the New York Times, which won for articles by Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey. The Times and the Washington Post won the Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting the same year for the war-mongering (and now discredited) coverage of “Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and its connections to the Trump campaign.”
Meanwhile, the #MeToo campaign has been used to target, smear and destroy the careers of dozens of artists and public figures, all while undermining core democratic principles, including due process. The campaign is pursued relentlessly in the media and political establishment, particularly the Democratic Party, as part of a campaign to erode democratic rights, direct social anger along reactionary lines and open up new pathways to power for privileged layers of the upper middle class.

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

Monday, March 25, 2019.  The Iraqi government tries to smooth over outrage following the ferry tragedy last week --  a tragedy that has now left at least 120 dead.

Yesterday, ALJAZEERA noted:

People are angry in Mosul.  Protesters are calling the Iraqi president and other government officials "thieves."  They say the government has failed to keep a check on the safety of ferries and how they are operated and they want justice for the victims.  

This as the death toll for last week's tragedy has risen to 120.

Friday's snapshot noted the fallout over the sinking of the ferry which led to protesters calling out Iraqi President Barham Salah to his face.  AFP explains, "Scores of protesters swarmed Iraq’s president and the governor on Friday, forcing them to leave the site of the accident. The crowd threw stones and shoes at the governor’s car, which sped off hitting two people, one of whom was taken to hospital. Dozens of students held a silent protest on Sunday on the campus of the university of Mosul, dressed in black to mourn the victims." Alissa J. Rubin and Falih Hassan (NEW YORK TIMES) report:

In a rare show of deference to the anger of Mosul citizens over government abuses, the Iraqi Parliament on Sunday voted overwhelmingly to remove the province’s governor, citing accusations of corruption, self-dealing and negligence.
Although Mosul citizens had pleaded with the central government to remove the governor for more than two years, it was only after a ferry disaster brought angry citizens into the street that senior political figures decided to act.

They note that Nuafal Hammadi "had held the job since 2015."  They fail to note how the previous governor departed or that this was not the first government effort to remove Hammadi.

December 28, 2017, KURDISTAN 24 reported:

Following the no-confidence vote by the Nineveh Provincial Council against the governor, and the Iraqi Prime Minister’s decision to freeze his duties, a Kurd was appointed the acting governor.
On November 1, the Nineveh Provincial Council in majority vote decided to sack the province’s governor, Nofal Hammadi over alleged corruption and damaging public property.
However, Hammadi refused to step down and continues to function as the governor of Mosul. 

And eleven months earilier, THE DAILY SABAH had reported:

Governor of northern Iraqi province of Nineveh Nofal Hammadi was removed from office Wednesday by the provincial council.
"Nineveh provincial council made a decision to remove the governor in absentia," a Nineveh councilman Hassan al-Sabawi said.
The removal efforts have been going on for two years.  Yet some see the latest events as happening 'quickly.'  For example . . .

A couple of updates on the aftermath of Mosul's ferry tragedy last week to follow; background is contained in the thread posted below.

Didn't take too long?  

"Although Mosul citizens had pleaded with the central government to remove the [Ninevah] governor for more than two years, it was only after a ferry disaster brought angry citizens into the street that senior political figures decided to act."

Many would disagree with the assertion that it didn't take long.

The previous governor was Atheel al-Nujaifi. For those who missed it, he was also removed from office. KURDISTAN 24 explained, "The Iraqi Parliament in May 2015 removed Nujaifi from his post as the Governor of Nineveh following the fall of Mosul and the province into the hands of the Islamic State (IS) in mid-2014."

منذ اكثر من ٦٠ سنة يوجد في الموصل واجبات معروفة للمحافظ وهي رئاسة لجنة الفيضان وهذه اللجنة تضم مدير الري ومدير البلدية والقائمقام ومدير الشرطة والدفاع المدني .. وأنا استحدثت قسم خاص بالبنية التحتية وإدارة الكوارث وألحقته باللجنة .. ومع بداية موسم الربيع تراقب اللجنة كميات الماء الواردة إلى الموصل وتأثيرها على السداد وتراقب ايضا رفع المرافق السياحية في الغابات للمنشآت التي قد تعترض مجرى الماء او تؤثر على حياة المواطنين .. والمعتاد ان الجزيرة السياحية يتوقف العمل فيها قبل ان تصل كميات الماء ١٠٠٠ متر مكعب في الثانية .. ويوم امس كان الإطلاق ١٤٠٠ متر مكعب
وفي الربيع يتذكر أهل الموصل انني كنت أقوم بجولات نهرية والبعض يتصورها ترفيهية ولكنه سياق سبقني اليه المحافظون قبل الاحتلال وهو تفقد مجرى النهر من داخله والاطلاع على الالتزام بتعليمات الفيضان .
ولكن مع الأسف الإدارة الموجودة لا تعي أهمية التنسيق بين تلك الدوائر .. فمدير الري ليس لديه سلطة على البلدية ولا المرافق السياحية ومدير البلدية يحتاج حلقة الوصل مع الري ولايعرف ماهي استعدادات الدفاع المدني ..
السبب الحقيقي هو عدم استيعاب ادارة المحافظة لاهمية سياقات العمل والخبرة المتراكمة بالإضافة إلى المكاتب الاقتصادية التي تمنح المستثمرين نفوذا يتجاوز طاقة صغار الموظفين .


In his post, al-Nujaifi explains that the Nineveh officials were supposed to work together -- governor, mayor, chair of the flood committee, etc. -- and that the island the ferry was supposed to go to should have been ruled off limits based on existing rules regarding the water level.

If al-Nujaifi is correct, those are pretty important points and they are points that are not being conveyed in the reporting on the disaster.  The points go to the government failures which are far more responsible for the events than the media is allowing as it instead presents the ferry owners as the ones solely responsible.

While the death toll has now risen to 120, there are said to be over fifty passengers still unaccounted for.

Rubin and Hassan also report on an attitude towards those protesting.

“We must end all these signs of anger,” one of the new leaders of Nineveh Province said, referring to the demonstrations, protest tents and marches set up in Mosul after a ferry disaster killed at least 97 people.

Rubin and Hassan note:

One of General al-Jabouri’s leadership partners, Mr. al-Khayat, conveyed a tough message to the provincial government’s department heads: Cut out the corruption, focus on citizens’ needs, show up at your jobs and report back every day.
“The citizens want to see you on the ground,” he said, adding, “The city is on edge and the situation is tense, and everyone needs to be available to provide services. The bridges need to be fixed, the electricity delivery needs to be increased.”

Mosul and Basra have both been home to protests against the government and its failure to provide for the needs of the Iraqi people.

See all of my kindness
Is taken for weakness
Now I'm FourFiveSeconds from wildin'
And we got three more days 'til Friday
I'm tryna make it back home by Monday mornin'
I swear I wish somebody would tell me
Ooh, that's all I want

MOSUL EYE reports:

In the afternoon of Thursday March 21, a cable ferry with a capacity of fifty and apparently made from a portion of an out-of-service military floating bridge was packed with 287 people, mostly children and their mothers intending to cross the Tigris River to the small island. The U.S. military gave equipment to the Iraqi security forces like floating bridges, which are usually fastened in a chain. On this day, the ferry was supposed to have been guided by cables on each side for what should have been a quick three-minute trip across the river.
[. . .]
The currents were especially heavy as the gates to the Mosul Dam had been opened just days before the incident, sending torrents of water downstream and causing a higher than normal water level. The Mosul Dam Administration had informed Tourist Island’s operator that opening the gates could cause parts of the island to be submerged, and that it should be closed during this period. Apparently, his instruction was not heeded.
Most of the women and children aboard the capsized ferry couldn’t swim. Images painful to watch show them bouncing up and down as they tried to keep their heads above the water. The River Police that patrol the Tigris River do not usually travel with emergency evacuation and recovery equipment. The Fire Department arrived on the scene with limited ability to help, as their officers are not trained in water search and rescue operations, also couldn’t swim, and were without life vests or rafts. Further, the Iraqi military helicopter that was sent could not deploy its people on a rescue mission, as its propulsion further stirred the currents and only moved the drowning bodies, especially the small children, faster downstream. Instead, local fishermen who had boats on the river and knew the area’s intricacies, acted fast and rescued many people who were brought to nearby hospitals with various injuries. Around fifty persons were rescued this way. When they arrived, children were covered with blankets rather than being treated immediately, resulting in more deaths. The progressive deterioration of Iraq’s health system has been well documented, and hospitals are chronically short of supplies, medication, equipment, and qualified medical staff, especially in paediatric care. At least 100 people are confirmed dead, with many more missing and likely never to be found. 

Gilgamesh Nabeel (AL-MONITOR) observes:

While some accused the ferry operator of ignoring the authorities' warning of the rising water levels as the Mosul Dam gates had been opened, many others came out to protest against the corruption in the city.
"It was a turning point that awakened Ninevah's young people to cross the fear barriers," said Akram, "We expressed our discontent with the governor, called him a corrupt and asked him to leave without hesitation."

[. . .]
Akoub had gone to the scene of the disaster, accompanied by Iraqi President Barham Salih, in a convoy of vehicles, but was blocked by the angry victims' relatives. Akoub was reported to have run over two people with his car while he was trying to flee from stones thrown at him by protesters. Two people were injured.
"It was a peaceful protest. We called it to bring the touristic area's administrators to justice," said Mahmoud Jum'a, a university student from Mosul, "The governor arrived smiling and smoking a cigar. This provoked the people who approached his car. He drove it and started threatening us before he ran over two young men. He continued to run over them. It is equivalent to [an attempt of] intentional murder."
These violent scenes bring to mind the protests in Basra and raised concerns of a backlash that could destabilize Mosul, a city still in ruins after a nine-month battle to liberate it from the Islamic State. 

Bahram Salih was not well received in Mosul on Friday.  He was seen as part of the problem and part of the corruption -- part of a system that does not serve the people and does not hold crooks accountable.  As if to prove those accusations accurate, he posed for the following.

Salih Receives al-Maliki and Discuss the Latest Political and Security Developments



Bahram recieves former prime minister and forever thug Nouri al-Maliki.  Why is he 'received'?  He should be in prison.  He's corrupt, he's stolen millions from the Iraqi people, he is the reason ISIS rose in Iraq.  He was prime minister when Mosul was seized by ISIS.  Any part of that should be enough to warrant his political shunning.  But there's Bahram playing footsie with Nouri.

The sinking of the streets of the city of Mosul, north of Iraq with rainwater, reflects the reality of the poor services in the city.

The tragedy with the ferry is a result of corruption and the people have every right to demand changes.