Are you ready to presoak? Reminder, if you're eating black-eyed peas on Sunday for New Years and using dried black-eyed peas, you're going to need to start soaking them tonight.
Okay, the labor story of the year? How UAW conspired to rig the election for UAW president and to shut out candidate Will Lehman.
On December 19, UAW presidential candidate Will Lehman filed a formal protest to the results of the 2022 officer elections “in their entirety.”
Lehman’s written protest to the court-appointed monitor overseeing the ballot is an encyclopedic historical record of the election, comprehensively detailing every facet of the antidemocratic conspiracy by the entrenched bureaucracy to cling to power by suppressing the vote.
The 50-page protest and dozens of pages of attachments, compiling information gathered through the growing networks of rank-and-file members that were established in the course of Lehman’s campaign, demonstrate that the bureaucracy repeatedly violated American labor law and that the election was illegal.
Lehman, the only socialist candidate in the election, won nearly 5,000 votes among rank-and-file auto and academic workers from across the country. But unless his protest is upheld, his name will be excluded from the runoff election next month, which will be limited to the leading candidates of the union’s bureaucratic apparatus, Ray Curry and Shawn Fain, each of whom earned less than 4 percent of the total eligible votes amid massive voter suppression.
One million out of 1.1 million eligible members did not vote in the election because the UAW leadership deliberately kept them in the dark. This is not a matter of opinion but of provable fact. Lehman’s protest describes, for example, how the UAW national “Member News” web page, which is incorporated into many local union web sites, made no reference to the election whatsoever between July 29 and November 29.
While it maintained a conspiracy of silence around the union’s internal elections, the bureaucracy devoted vast resources to campaigning for the Democratic Party in the national midterm elections. In those elections, which took place at the very same time as the union election, the bureaucracy utilized advanced techniques, organized public events, and bombarded union members with advertising in an effort to increase turnout by reminding workers of voting deadlines.
There is no innocent explanation for this contrast. If the union had spent the same resources on its own election as it did supporting Democrats in the midterms, the turnout would have indisputably been far higher.
His campaign issued the following statement:
On December 5, the UAW Monitor announced unofficial results from the UAW’s first-ever direct elections of its national leadership, which were held as the result of a years-long corruption scandal which sent more than a dozen top UAW officials to prison. The Monitor’s vote tally showed that only 103,495 ballots were counted, out of a total eligible voting membership of 1.1 million active and retired workers—a turnout of less than 10 percent, the lowest turnout by far for any direct union election.
Lehman’s protest submitted to the Monitor extensively documents, including numerous statements submitted by workers and data from other direct union elections, how the UAW apparatus systematically failed to inform workers of the fact that union elections were taking place, or took only the most minimal measures to do so. At the same time, the UAW went to great lengths to “get out the vote” for the Democratic Party in the run-up to the US mid-term elections, demonstrating that UAW had the means to inform workers of the union elections, but deliberately did not do so.
In November, Lehman had earlier filed a lawsuit in US District Court requesting that voting deadlines in the UAW elections be extended by 30 days and that serious measures be taken to ensure all workers were informed of the elections. The judge in the case, while acknowledging serious problems with the election procedure, dismissed the suit on narrow technical grounds.
To remedy the violation of workers’ democratic right to participate in a meaningful election, “ballots should be re-issued and a new election should be held,” Lehman states. “In the alternative, the names of all candidates should be added to the ‘runoff.’ In either case, this time adequate measures must be taken to prevent the union leadership from suppressing the vote and ensure that the entire membership is aware of the election and able to vote.”
“I urge workers in the UAW to read the full protest and to share it as widely as possible,” Lehman added. “Contact my campaign and send us a statement supporting my challenge opposing the UAW bureaucracy’s attempt to once again trample the rights of the rank and file. Let me know if you were unable to secure a ballot, or if you have other relevant information about efforts to suppress the vote.”
The UAW repeatedly sold out autoworkers in 2022 so it shouldn't be a big surprise that they also worked to rig the union's presidential election.
This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" for Friday:
Friday, December 30, 2022. REUTERS lies for Moqtada again, ISIS remains active in Iraq (as CENTCOM admits), a former prime minister denies abuse allegations made by THE WASHINGTON POST, Glenn Greenwald and that Mother Tucker Carlson continue their "Bad Bromance" and much more.
2022 is not over but it is winding down. In his last column for the year, Jeffrey St. Clair (COUNTERPUNCH) looks back at the year and notes many things including:
+ Glenn Greenwald’s insta-column posted soon after the Buffalo massacre is one of his most revolting. It read less as a defense of his pal Tucker Carlson than a “manifesto-by-proxy” of Glenn’s own rancid views on immigration…
+ After Greenwald’s full-throated defense of Replacement Theory, you wonder how much longer he’ll have any utility at all to the rightwing roosts he’s been perching on for years, where he was only useful because they portrayed him as a left-winger attacking the Left. Now he’s clearly just another reactionary craving the spotlight to air his writhing knot of grievances. But Glenn’s not nearly as entertaining as the 100-proofers Marjorie Taylor Greene, Dan Bongino or Gregg Gutfeld. More & more, his airplay on Fox will be “replaced” by Gabbard.
[. . .]
+ Five minutes after Paul Gosar (Bigot-AZ) claimed that the Ulvade mass murderer was a “transsexual leftist illegal alien”, Glenn is lamenting to his soul(less)mate Tucker Carlson how the left is politicizing the shooting…
It's been quite a year for Glenn. Not one of accomplishment. He hasn't accomplished anything in 2022. He's Tweeted. He's rolled dogged -- not raw dogged -- with his buddy Tucker Carlson providing cover for Tucker to hide behind as Tucker continues to attack the LGBTQ+ community. Glenn did that in college too -- he chuckled at anti-gay 'jokes' and cozied up to the anti-gay people. made him feel cool in his acid washed jeans and he liked being the token.
It's a difficult time for him now. His husband could die at any moment, for example. Glenn's decided that instead of hanging around the hospital -- the way, say Debbie Harry did when Chris Stein got ill -- a boy's just got to Tweet and start a new daily talk show. He's so Jules in ST. ELMO'S FIRE, oh-oh.
Apparently, Glenn does believe in some sacrficie -- hair and make up staff are non-existent on his show and we get to see how ugly Glenn's face really is when no one can put powder on him.
But he's being remembered this year. For example:
Glenn Greenwald and that Mother Tucker, the bromance of 2022. Picture this, indeed.
Eve Ottenberg (COUNTERPUNCH) observes:
The American republic morphed well over a century ago into an empire of many endless wars. With U.S. troops still in Syria, Iraq, Somalia and numerous African countries, with over 800 military bases in more than 70 countries and a war budget of roughly one trillion dollars a year, it’s no surprise that one of our main exports is weapons and that arms merchants call the shots in Washington. Presidents come and go, but the wars don’t: they drag on. And when a president does manage to extract the country from one of these military quagmires, as Biden did in Afghanistan, he gets nothing but grief.
Troops remain everywhere. And there's been no ending to the Iraq War. Eve asks a question and then provides the sad truth:
How long will U.S. soldiers remain in Iraq and Syria? Let’s just say that at the current rate of political change, if your grandchildren enlist, they could wind up there. The only real hope is that another president will do there what Biden did in Afghanistan, though maybe without the sanctions
Need more proof that the war drags on? CENTCOM is claiming they killed 700 members of ISIS in Iraq and Syria this year. No, the year's not over yet but they made the announcement yesterday. Maybe ISIS told CE NTCOM that they were taking off today and tomorrow? Here's the CENTCOM release:
Dec. 29, 2022
Release Number 20221229-1
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
TAMPA, Fla. – Throughout 2022, US Central Command and partner forces conducted hundreds of operations against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). These operations degraded ISIS and removed a cadre of senior leaders from the battlefield, to include the emir of ISIS and dozens of regional leaders as well as hundreds of fighters. All these operations were part of the mission to degrade the terror group’s ability to direct and inspire destabilizing attacks in the region and globally, to include against the US homeland.
During calendar year 2022, CENTCOM conducted 313 total operations against ISIS in Iraq and Syria as follows:
108 partnered operations
14 US unilateral operations
215 ISIS operatives detained
466 ISIS operatives killed
191 partnered operations
159 ISIS operatives detained
At least 220 ISIS operatives killed
These operations were conducted under the authority of the CENTCOM commander, who retains authority for operations against ISIS in Iraq and Syria, and under the command of Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve. No US forces were injured or killed in these operations. Our local partners—the Syrian Democratic Forces and the Iraqi Security Forces—have and continue to play a critical role ensuring the enduring defeat of ISIS.
One year ago this month, the US security relationship with Iraq fully transitioning to a role of advising, assisting, and enabling Iraqi Security Forces. Iraqi Security Forces are now leading successful unilateral offensive operations at the brigade level and making impressive strides in combined arms operations.
“Over the past year, Iraqi Security Forces demonstrated an ability to continue operations to degrade ISIS, to aggressively pursue the terror group in Iraq, and to improve security and stability within Iraq,” said General Michael “Erik” Kurilla, CENTCOM commander. “Today, they display a high level of competence, professionalism, and progress in leading tactical operations, but there is still much work to be done.”
“In Syria, the Syrian Democratic Forces continue to display the will, skill, and ability to aggressively root out ISIS leaders and fighters,” Kurilla continued.
“The emerging, reliable and steady ability of our Iraqi and Syrian partner forces to conduct unilateral operations to capture and kill ISIS leaders allows us to maintain steady pressure on the ISIS network,” said Major General Matt McFarlane, commander of Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve.
ISIS maintains malign intentions regarding the al-Hol Displacement Camp and the more than two dozen detention centers in Syria secured by the Syrian Democratic Forces. ISIS also maintains the desire to strike outside of the region and continues to work with affiliates around the globe, most significantly in Afghanistan and Africa.
“CENTCOM sees ISIS in three categories,” said Kurilla. “First, ISIS at large. This is the current generation of ISIS leaders and operatives we are currently fighting in Iraq and Syria. While we have significantly degraded its capability, the vile ideology remains unconstrained. We must continue to pressure ISIS through our partnered operations.”
“The second category is ISIS in detention. There is a literal ‘ISIS army’ in detention in Iraq and Syria. There are, today, more than 10,000 ISIS leaders and fighters in detention facilities throughout Syria and more than 20,000 ISIS leaders and fighters in detention facilities in Iraq.” The January 2022 ISIS prison breakout in Al-Hasakah, Syria is a reminder of the risk imposed by these prisons. The ensuing fight to contain the breakout resulted in more than 420 ISIS killed and more than 120 partnered forced killed.
“Finally,” Kurilla continued, “we have the potential next generation of ISIS. These are the more than 25,000 children in the al-Hol camp who are in danger. These children in the camp are prime targets for ISIS radicalization. The international community must work together to remove these children from this environment by repatriating them to their countries or communities of origin while improving conditions in the camp.”
“CENTCOM remains focused on supporting these security forces as they diligently work to improve conditions at the camp. However, the only viable long-term solution remains the successful repatriation, rehabilitation, and reintegration of the camp residents back to their country of origin.”
The mission to defeat ISIS will continue in 2023 as CENTCOM and its Coalition partners remain committed to the enduring defeat of the terror group in order to maintain and enhance global security, stability, and human rights.
“We are committed and, more importantly, our partners in Iraq and Syria are committed to the enduring defeat of ISIS,” said McFarlane.
As we have said over and over, since the White House and Iraq insisted in 2014 that ISIS was vanquished, ISIS has not gone away.
A terrorist group carries out activies to strike fear. It really doesn't occupy and control land. ISIS, however, did manage to do that. All that 2014 accomplished was freeing Mosul and other areas from ISIS' control. They remain active. We were laughing at SKY NEWS' realization of that fact earlier this year. ISIS hasn't gone away.
And you don't 'defeat' terrorism with military measures. You defeat it by overturning the conditions that allowed to breed to begin with.
Military measures? That's like setting off a fogger in a room your house or aparment. That just sends the bugs to another room. That's all military measures do as well.
Despite the fact that ISIS continues to terrorize, the Iraqi government is (again) moving to shut down camps where displaced Iraqis have taken shelter. ANADOLU AGENCY reports that the plan is to shut them down over the next six months:
Iraqi Immigration and Displacement Minister Ivan Faik Jabro stressed that as part of the government's 2023 planning, the camps will be closed in about six months and migrants sent back to their homes.
He noted that other ministries will also support the project and necessary positive living conditions will be provided to migrants where they will return.
Jabro emphasized that the infrastructure of places belonging to immigrants that became unusable during [the] terror group attacks should be re-zoned.
"Infrastructure, water, electricity and municipal services should be provided in the immigrants’ areas as soon as possible,” said Jabro. “In the next six months, the relevant ministries must definitely fulfill their duties.
So it will be taken of? Great. Now the took the school project, right? What's that? They put it on hold:
Iraq is pushing ahead with plans to build 1,000 schools under an agreement with Chinese companies but the project is delayed by the war in Ukraine, an official has said.
Chinese firms agreed to construct the schools in Iraq’s 15 governorates under their 2019 oil-for-projects accord which stipulates supplying companies from China with crude oil in exchange for projects they undertake in Iraq.
The project to build 1,000 schools has achieved “good execution rates” but there are obstacles, said Nazim Hameedi, School Projects Director at the Iraqi Cabinet Secretariat.
“These obstacles include land allocation and logistics problems…most of these obstacles have been tackled except for funding from the executing companies due to the war in Ukraine…as a result Iraqi firms undertaking such projects for their Chinese partners are trying to seek domestic loans to complete these projects,” Hameedi told Aliqtisad News.
They're "pushing ahead with plan" even though "the project is delayed." What great spin for a project that's been dragging on since 2019. Doesn't instill trust that, after the kick the refugees out of the camps, the places for these displaced Iraqis to live will actually have been built.
These stalled and never completed projects go to the extreme corruption in Iraq. Robert Tollast and Sinan Mahmoud (THE NATIONAL) report:
In October, Iraq’s acting finance minister Ihsan Jabbar shocked the world by announcing an investigation into $2.5 billion that had gone missing from Iraq’s General Commission for Taxes, a department in the Ministry of Finance. It was described as the heist of the century.
The money had been given to five shell companies set up last year and investigations are ongoing, but experts tell The National that while several political parties have been implicated, senior officials are unlikely to be punished.
Earlier this month, it was alleged that attempts to toughen anti-corruption efforts by former prime minister Mustafa Al Kadhimi ended in a series of raids against rivals resulting in the death of one suspect under torture.
New Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia Al Sudani has placed a former intelligence chief and Iran-linked enforcer in a new anti-corruption team, while the new head of the country's biggest anti-corruption body is close to the Iran-linked Badr Organisation, stirring fears of more purges that do little to get to the root of the problem.
“If you look at the people in positions linked to the organisations where the theft happened, or those reported to be involved, you get a lot of political actors. From the Popular Mobilisation Forces [a largely Iran-backed militia force] to [former prime minister Mustafa Al] Kadhimi to [Parliament Speaker Mohammed Al] Halbousi to the Sadrists. It's unlikely that such a big theft went on without a major player taking a cut,” says Hamza, a consultant in Iraq who used to work for the main government auditing body. His name has been withheld for security reasons.
Mustafa? Earlier this month, Louisa Loveluck and Mustafa Salim (WASHINGTON POST) reported:
Central to the effort was a series of highly publicized night raids in late 2020 on the homes of public figures accused of corruption, conducted under the authority of the Permanent Committee to Investigate Corruption and Significant Crimes, better known as Committee 29. The architect of the raids was Lt. Gen. Ahmed Taha Hashim, or Abu Ragheef, who became known in Iraq as the “night visitor.”
But what happened to the men behind closed doors was far darker: a return to the ugly old tactics of a security establishment whose abuses Kadhimi had vowed to address. In more than two dozen interviews — including five men detained by the committee, nine family members who had relatives imprisoned, and 11 Iraqi and Western officials who tracked the committee’s work — a picture emerges of a process marked by abuse and humiliation, more focused on obtaining signatures for pre-written confessions than on accountability for corrupt acts.
Those interviewed for this story spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive matters or, in the case of detainees and their families, to protect their safety.
“It was every kind of torture,” one former detainee recalled. “Electricity, choking me with plastic bags, hanging me from the ceiling by my hands. They stripped us naked and grabbed at the parts of our body underneath.”
In at least one case, a former senior official, Qassim Hamoud Mansour, died in the hospital after being arrested by the committee. Photographs provided to The Post by his family appear to show that a number of teeth had been knocked out, and there were signs of blunt trauma on his forehead.
Allegations that the process was riddled with abuse became an open secret among diplomats in Baghdad last year. But the international community did little to follow up on the claims and the prime minister’s office downplayed the allegations, according to officials with knowledge of the issue. Although a parliamentary committee first revealed the torture allegations in 2021 and Iraqi media have raised the issue sporadically, this is the fullest attempt yet to investigate the claims and document the scale of the abuse.
Mustafa has responded. Chenar Chalak (RUDAW) reports:
Iraq’s former Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi on Wednesday responded
to the allegations of torture and extortion committed by an
anti-corruption committee during his tenure, saying that the accusations
lack “legal evidence” and that the committee had operated “in
accordance with judicial rulings.”
A nine-month investigation by the Washington Post earlier this month concluded that Iraq’s Permanent Committee to Investigate Corruption and Significant Crimes, also known as Committee 29, had used extreme methods of torture, including sexual violence, to extract pre-written confessions from former Iraqi officials and businessmen. The report relies on interviews with several of the detainees, their family members, as well as Iraqi and Western officials.
In his first remarks since the publication of the article, Kadhimi stated that, during his time in office, he had always worked towards upholding human rights and preventing the “reoccurrence of any violations” in the interrogation process, adding that a report from the Attorney General at the end of 2021 stated that the committee had “adhered to all international standards of Human Rights.”
Mustafa, no one believes your lies. Most outlets aren't even taking the time to note that two days ago -- two days -- you denied the allegations. Bark, guilty dog, bark.
As the year winds down, Reporters Without Borders looks at violence aimed at journalists around the world. They note that over the last two decades (2003 to 2022), approximately 80 journalists have been killed a year for a total of 1668. And they note:
During the past two decades, 80% of the media fatalities have occurred in 15 countries. The two countries with the highest death tolls are Iraq and Syria, with a combined total of 578 journalists killed in the past 20 years, or more than a third of the worldwide total. They are followed by Afghanistan, Yemen and Palestine. Africa has not been spared, with Somalia coming next.
Sadly, there's no journalistic bravery at REUTERS these days. That explains their latest tongue batch of cult leader and killer Moqtada al-Sadr. "Now here are some scenes from the next episode of MOQTADA AL-SADR, MOQTADA AL-SADR," the article seems to say. To their credit, they do note that he flopped as a 'kingmaker.' But, before we praise them for that, two things. First, his failure as a kingmaker is hard to deny at this late date. Second, they were among the biggest of those pimping the lie -- starting in October of 2021 -- that he was a kingmaker.
While they were pimping that claim, we were scoffing and disputing it. A year later?
They want to lie that Moqtada has left politics -- since August. Really? From December 3rd:
Need more reality? Moqtada al-Sadr is scum of the earth. He leads a cult and, over the years, the US press has decided to go soft on him and present as a leader (he's not) and a kingmaker (never) instead of as the cheap ass thug he actually is. He's flaunting his true colors again. Daniel Stewart (360 NEWS) notes:
"I vow to confront homosexuality or the LGBTQ community through ethical, peaceful and religious means, against this violation of the innate characteristics on which humanity is built," according to a statement accompanied by his signature and posted on Twitter by his spokesman Salé Mohamed al Iraqi.
The cleric has reiterated his message by calling for the creation of an abolition of the alleged law of homosexuality in Iraq because "it cannot be a door to generalize this affliction".
In reality, homosexuality has been legal in Iraq for 20 years because the country does not have a law explicitly criminalizing it.
However, it does have a regulation prohibiting "immodest acts," probably the one Al Sadr was referring to, which Human Rights Watch has described as a "vague provision that could be used to target minorities."
Poor, dumb and uneducated Moqtada. He can never by a religious leader above 'cleric' because he doesn't have the background and couldn't get it even when he ran off to Iran in 2007. Poor idiot Moqtada.
And, please don't forget, that two years ago, he explained 'the gay' caused other things as well:
And maybe those who've been stupid enough to promote Moqtada over the last three years could wake up to reality?
All that stuff we noted above? REUTERS never reported on it. They are a news agency. Moqtada has spent the last three years demonizing Iraq's LGBTQ+ community (something he began doing in the '00s) and REUTERS has never, ever felt the need to comment on that. They've given him one tongue bath after another. In December, he announced he was confronting gays and that's not political, REUTERS? What a joke that outlet has become. And, remember, I say that as someone who publicly called them out here when they installed a CIA agent in Iraq as a reporter. That was right after Barack Obama became president. The 'reporter' made no (journalistic) mark at REUTERS and, in fact, did such a bad job that the cover of 'reporter' hasn't been used by the agent since. You'd think that would be REUTERS worst moment in Iraq, however, the tongue bath that they continue to give to Moqtada puts the knowing employment of the CIA agent to shame. (To be clear, some at REUTERS told me in real time that it wasn't known the 'reporter' was CIA until after being hired and deployed to Iraq. Regardless, the 'reporter' was enployed for a long time after everyone knew about it.)
As for Moqtada, it's a shame he can't live in the US where he could be best buddies with Lauren Boebert and Marjorie Taylor-Greene and do things in front of the camera with Mother Tucker Carlson. Or live in Brazil where Glenn Greenwald could be his bodyguard -- the Kevin to Moqtada's Whitney.
The following sites updated: