iran and syria (Rebecca)

iran and syria

the war drums never stop beating for target: iran, do they?  fair issued an advisory last week noting the people selling lies about iran:

But the notion that Iran has a weapons program is widely accepted in corporate media. MSNBC host Rachel Maddow (6/10/13) went farther in spreading misinformation:

The current president of Iran has had the job for the last eight years. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, he’s known around the world for defending Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons.

Far from “defending Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons,” Ahmadinejad regularly did the opposite, insisting that Iran had no such program, as a simple Web search would reveal–see a CBS interview (9/24/12) from last year, helpfully titled “Iranian President Denies Iran Developing a Nuclear Weapon.” Or as Reuters (11/8/12) quoted him, “The Iranian nation is not seeking an atomic bomb, nor do they need to build an atomic bomb.”

‘big brain’ was my mocking nick name for rachel maddow back when she was on air america and doing ‘unfiltered’ – as you can see from the above, she’s not gotten any smarter in the ensuing years.

nor have the bulk of her critics who think she makes ‘mistakes.’

no, rachel’s a war hawk.

she spent a year on ‘unfiltered’ insisting that the u.s. had to remain in iraq and tearing apart those who begged to differ.

rachel’s a nighmare in every sense of the word.  truly.

nightmare describes barack’s plans to arm the ‘rebels’ in syria.  global research reports on the pushback in congress to barack’s intentions:

A majority of those opposed said the U.S. military was already “overcommitted” and expressed concerns that the rebel groups would be no better than the Assad regime once in power.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who joined his House colleagues at the press conference, said the U.S. is going to be providing weapons to those fighting on the same side as al Qaeda.
“The Use of Authorization of Force [AUMF] in 2001 said we could go after the Taliban, Al Qaeda and associated forces,” Paul said. “Now we will be arming forces who are actually associated and fighting on the same side as Al Qaeda.”
Many Democrats, meanwhile, have argued that U.S. military intervention will only make things worse and exacerbate the humanitarian crisis caused by the death of nearly 100,000 Syrians in two years.

we really should be insisting that the nobel peace prize committee (a joke, i know) retract the award they gave barack for his 2008 campaign (he’d not done anything, and had barely been sworn in, when he was awarded the peace prize).

let’s close with c.i.’s ‘Iraq snapshot:’

Monday, July 1, 2013.  Chaos and violence continue, Nouri heads to Russia, KRG President Massoud Barzani gets his presidential term extended two years, June is the second most violent month of this year in terms of the death toll in Iraq, already more Iraqis have died this year from violence than did in all of 2010, Moqtada al-Sadr has a message for the US government, more revelations on US President Barack Obama’s secret and unconstitutional spying (on the entire world), Guantanamo and Benghazi get some serious attention, and more.

BBC News reports that a suicide bomber attacked a mosque in Muqdadiyah.  AFP counts23 dead with twenty-seven injuredXinhua reports 8 Sahwa were shot dead in Tarmiyah after they were “dragged out” of the their homes by assailants and taken “to a nearby orchard,” an Alhamidhiyah roadside bombing claimed the life of 1 Iraqi soldiers and left two more injured, 1 police officer was shot dead outside his Falluja home, 1 person was shot dead in a Mafraq market and a Mosul sticky bombing claimed the life of 1 Ministry of Oil employee.  NINA adds that a Ramadi attack left 1 Iraqi soldier dead and two more injured.  Alsumaria notes a Mosul armed attack claimed the life of 1 college student, and 2 members of Nouri’s SWAT forces were killed in Kirkuk.

On the topic of the SWAT forces, National Iraqi News Agency reported Sunday that 31 members of Nouri’s SWAT forces were arrested in Karbala and they were arrested after their attack on football coach Mohammed Abbas who died Sunday morning.  Please remember, this relatively new force in Iraq has been trained, since last fall, by US forces and equipped by the US government.  They have been a holy terror in Iraq leading to leaders of various provinces to ask Nouri to keep this menace out of their province.

Today, a new month began and yesterday another violent month ended for Iraq.  Ahmed Rasheed, Kareem Raheem and Elizabeth Piper (Reuters) report that the United Nations has announced the death toll for June was 761.  Al Mada and Kitabat note that the United Nations also revealed the number of Iraqis injured in June was 1771.  Here’s UNAMI’s announcement:

Baghdad, 1 July 2013 – According to UNAMI figures, a total of 761 Iraqis were killed and another 1,771 were wounded in acts of terrorism and violence in June.

The number of civilians killed was 685 (including 131 civilian police) and the number of civilians injured was 1,610 (including 221 civilian police). A further 76 members of the Iraqi Security Forces were killed and 161 were injured. 
Baghdad was the worst-affected Governorate with 950 civilian casualties (258 killed, 692 injured), followed by Salahuddin, Ninewa, Diyala and Anbar (triple-digit figures).   
Kirkuk, Babil, Wasit, Basra and Najaf also reported casualties (double-digit figures).

Prensa Latina notes the United Nations death tolls for the last three months:

April: 712 
May: 1045
June: 761 

June is now the second most violent month of the year.  In addition, the UN count for the last three months adds up to  2518.  That’s over half the death toll for the entire year of 2010 (4109 — click for “monthly table” or you won’t see the yearly totals).  From January through March of this year, IBC counts 1656  violent deaths and when you add that to 2518 to get a total number of deaths for January 2013 through June 2013, you get a total of 4174 — meaning, at the half-year mark, there have already been more violent deaths in Iraq than in the entire year of 2010.

Yesterday, there was a prison break.   NINA reported that 9 inmates of  Qurna prison outside Basra escaped today.  Later, two were arrested — later, also, it was learned 10 had escaped, not nine.  Today, All Iraq News explains that the number who escaped was 12.  What says incompetence more: a prison break or the prison being unaware of exactly how many prisoners have escaped?  What a proud moment for prime minister Nouri al-Maliki.

All Iraq News notes that Nouri al-Maliki visited the Iraqi Embassy in Moscow today.  Dar Addustour notes he also met with approximately 250 Iraqi students who are studying in Russia and their teachers.  Nouri arrived in Moscow yesterday NINA notes the objective of the visit was oil and that Nouri met yesterday with Vagit Alekperov, the president of Lukoil. Eurasia Reivew adds, “The parties discussed progress of West Qurna-2 field-development project, the company’s plans to develop Block-10 and other prospective projects in which the company may participate.”  AFP reminds, “Lukoil and Norway’s Statoil won the right to develop a section of Qurna – one of Iraq’s largest oil fields – in 2009.” Alsumaria adds that Lukoil states that it wants to double its investment.  NINA quotes from a statement issued by Nouri’s office stating “that Iraq seeks to increase its oil production and expand its oil industry, as well as build oil refineries”.   And the meeting takes place at an opportune time.  Al Rafidayn explains that Nouri happens to be in Russia as leaders from Venezuela and Iran are present for an informal oil and gas summit.  Tomorrow Nouri is set to meet with Vladimir Putin.  RIA Novosti notes, “Russia will supply over 10 fully armed and equipped Mi-28NE Night Hunter attack helicopters to Iraq under a multi-billion dollar agreement, a representative of the country’s state arms exporter told RIA Novosti.” 

This is supposed to be part of the October 9th, $4.2 billion dollars weapon deal Nouri signed with Russia.  After taking his bows on the world stage and with Parliament and others raising objections, Nouri quickly announced the deal was off.  Kitabat suggestedyesterday that calling the deal off was a way for Nouri to force renegotiations of the deal.  Today, All Iraq News reports, Kurdish MP Lateef Mustafa declared that, “The step of lifting the UN sanctions on Iraq is not achieved by a certain side, but it is a result of all the Iraqi people’s efforts” so “the government not to waste funds on purchasing arms but it should focus on providing services.” Al Rafidayn notes that, in tomorrow’s meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, Nouri is supposed to discuss events in Syria as well as the arming of Iraq with more weapons.

On the topic of oil, the Kurdish Globe reminds, “Speaking at the Iraq Energy Conference in London, Dr. Ashti Hawrami, the Natural Resources Minister of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), announced on Wednesday 19 June 2013 that the project to extend an oil pipeline from the Kurdistan Region to Turkey will be completed by the end of September this year.” Isabel Coles and Ahmed Rasheed (Reuters) note that work is taking place on the pipeline and “Some 600 km away, Iraqi officials in Baghdad’s heavily fortified oil ministry are threatening dire consequences if the pipeline is completed, but appear powerless to prevent the Kurds exporting oil without their consent.”

There’s also political news out of the KRG.  Al Rafidayn reports that, amidst outcries from the Goran (Change) opposition party, the KRG Parliament voted to extend the term of President Massoud Barzani by two years.  Alsumaria notes that this will extend Barzani’s term to 2015 and that this two-year-extension may not be repeated.  The Turkish Press notes that the Kurdistan Democratic Party and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan — the KRG’s two major political parties voted in favor of the measure while Goran, Yekgirtu and Komal (minor parties) were against the measure and refused to vote.  The move means that, while provincial elections are scheduled for September in the KRG, the presidency will not be voted on until 2015.   Though minor parties were upset, the Kurdish people most likely will not be.  Last week,  Alsumaria reported on a new poll of the KRG which find that 69% of those surveyed want Barzani to serve a third term.  That number is much larger than any press reports have indicated.  At issue was a measure passed during Barzani’s first term as president limited the president to two terms only.  The measure was not retroactive.  So Barzani could have run for the presidency again — and there was support from his political party for another run.  The two-year extension appears to be a way to avoid a third term.

In other politics, Nouri met Saturday with US Senator John McCainAlsumaria reports on that visit and notes he also met with Deputy Secretary of State Bill Burns Sunday.  Burns and Nouri discussed the need for cooperation in fighting terrorists or ‘terrorists.’

The US State Dept issued this: 

Deputy Secretary Burns’ Travel to Iraq

Media Note

Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
June 30, 2013

Deputy Secretary Bill Burns traveled June 28-30 to Baghdad, Iraq for meetings with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and other Iraqi leaders. These meetings allowed them to discuss the full range of bilateral and regional issues, including the ongoing crisis in Syria. In all of his meetings, the Deputy Secretary reaffirmed the U.S. commitment to help Iraq overcome the threat of terrorism and to continue working with Iraq’s leaders and people to strengthen the U.S.-Iraq relationship under the Strategic Framework Agreement.
Deputy Secretary Burns also awarded the 2012 Human Rights Defender Award to the Hammurabi Human Rights Organization. He noted that dialogue between governments and civil society groups is an essential part of any democracy.

PRN: 2013/0824

As well as this:

Press Availability in Baghdad

Press Availability

William J. Burns
Deputy Secretary of State
Baghdad, Iraq
June 29, 2013
Deputy Secretary Burns: Good afternoon, everyone. I’m very glad to be back in Baghdad. During my visit, I’ve had the opportunity to meet with Prime Minister Maliki and other Iraqi leaders from across the political spectrum. I emphasized the strong and enduring commitment of the United States to a united, federal, and democratic Iraq, as defined in the Iraqi Constitution. This commitment is anchored in the Strategic Framework Agreement, a long-term pact that will continue to guide our relations for many years to come.
I also discussed the many challenges Iraq faces, both internally and in the region, and emphasized the significance of recent signs of progress. Iraq and Kuwait recently settled longstanding and extremely difficult issues stemming from the 1991 Gulf War. This was a multi-year effort, and a symbol of how persistent, determined diplomacy can pay off. Iraq is also helping to stabilize global energy markets with oil production rising to levels not seen in decades, and generating revenues for investment in infrastructure and education.
There are signs of progress internally, as well. We were concerned by the delay in elections in Anbar and Ninewa provinces, but pleased to see those elections finally take place earlier this month. We have also been encouraged by Prime Minister Maliki’s recent visit to Erbil, and the promise of President Masud Barzani to visit Baghdad in the coming weeks. Protests in Sunni areas have continued, but initial steps have also been taken to address legitimate grievances, and a package of laws is making its way through the legislative process here.
As I explained in my meetings, the United States is ready to help, wherever we can, to facilitate compromises on important laws and agreements. The Strategic Framework Agreement is unique in this regard, as it envisions an ongoing U.S. role to “support and strengthen Iraq’s democracy” and its democratic institutions. We take that role seriously, and Ambassador Beecroft and his team are working every day to help Iraqis find common ground on a host of complicated issues.
We also recognize the very serious challenges that remain. Terrorists continue to take innocent life, and the last few months have been especially difficult. Further attacks have taken place today, and I’d like to convey the condolences of the American government and the American people to the victims and their families. The car bombs and suicide attacks of terrorists are designed to spark sectarian strife and a return to the cyclical pattern of violence seen during the worst days of the war. I am encouraged, however, by the commitment of Iraq’s leaders — and especially the Iraqi people — not to let them succeed. I pledged ongoing American support to help Iraqi Security Forces uproot terrorist networks and ensure that they can never again establish a sanctuary here. Iraqi leaders also must continue to work together through the political process to deny extremist groups space to recruit and exploit the grievances of local communities. I was encouraged by their commitment to do so, and as they do, we will help.
Finally, the situation in Syria was an important topic of our discussions. I explained that the United States remains committed to a political transition in Syria, and how our efforts are designed to limit the role of extremists on all sides to shape Syria’s future. Iraq and the United States share a common goal in that regard: a democratic transition, with the end result being a country that respects the rights of all Syrians, whether Sunni, Shia, Christian, Druze, Allawite, or Kurd. To get to that result, the Asad regime must face the reality that a transition must begin. We hope and expect that Iraq will play a constructive role in helping to bring about that transition. As Iraqi leaders have acknowledged, sustained action is necessary to stop the flow of weapons to the regime and to curb the flow of fighters traveling to Syria. Iraq also has an increasingly important diplomatic role to play, which we also discussed today.
In sum, our efforts here remain vitally important and anchored by the Strategic Framework Agreement. Iraqis face no shortage of challenges in the months ahead, but there is also much promise in Iraq’s future. With wise leadership and vision, and steady partnership between our two countries, there is a great deal that we can accomplish together.
Thank you very much, and I will be glad to answer your questions.
Muhammed Itani from Iraqiya satellite TV station: After Iraq has exited Chapter VII and some changes that took place, would the U.S. exert additional efforts to strengthen the Iraqi-U.S. long-term relationship, and is the U.S. going to help Iraq resolve the remaining issues of the provisions of Chapter VII?
Deputy Secretary Burns: Thank you for the question. The step that Iraq and Kuwait took in recent days is a very important achievement for both leaderships and both countries. It reflects real statesmanship and diplomatic skill on the part of both governments. It’s a reminder of what can be accomplished with determination in a region which needs more good news like this. The U.S. is proud to have been able to play a role in supporting these efforts over a number of years, and you can be sure that the U.S. will continue to support the strengthening of relations between Iraq and Kuwait and also between Iraq and all of the Arab nations as we continue to support the reintegration of Iraq into the Arab world.
Question by Al-Hurra Reporter: After Iraq exited from Chapter VII, do you think more American investors and companies will come to invest here in Iraq, and as result of what happened two days ago, do you see an increase of investment in Iraq?
Deputy Secretary Burns: I think it offers further encouragement to American and other international companies who are looking at opportunities in Iraq. It is a further step toward a better future for Iraqis and a reminder of what’s possible in the future. For all the real problems and challenges, which all of you understand better than I do, Iraq’s economy is growing at a rate of 10 percent a year, and oil production is back up at a level we have not seen in three decades. There’s a great deal that is possible here. The last thing I would emphasize is that the SFA, which helps guide the relationship between our two countries, is not only about security and diplomatic issues, but also about creating an atmosphere in which we can encourage greater trade and investment. We will continue to do what we can to encourage greater investment.
Question by Ashur Satellite TV Station: Why did you choose this time to visit Iraq? With whom of the Iraqi officials did you meet?
Deputy Secretary Burns: I have had the benefit of visiting Iraq many times over the years — in hard times and more promising times. I’m delighted to be able to visit today in the immediate aftermath of the important diplomatic achievement between Iraq and Kuwait. At a moment full of challenges — not just for Iraq but also for the entire region, especially given what’s going on in Syria — President Obama and Secretary Kerry felt it was especially important for the U.S. to reinforce our strong, enduring commitment to Iraq. That’s the message I stressed in my meeting with Prime Minister Maliki and that I will continue to stress in meetings with a range of other Iraqi political leaders while I’m here. Thank you very much.

 While the first carries a timeline of June 30th and the second of June 29th, both were released today:

Search Results


    Press Availability in Baghdad

    US Department of State (press release)-10 hours ago
    Deputy Secretary Burns: Thank you for the question. The step thatIraq and Kuwait took in recent days is a very important achievement for both leaderships and 

    Deputy Secretary Burns‘ Travel to Iraq

    US Department of State (press release)-13 hours ago
    Deputy Secretary Bill Burns traveled June 28-30 to Baghdad, Iraq for meetings with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and other Iraqi leaders. These meetings 
  3. Fire burns Iraqi restaurant, war vets fundraise to help rebuild

    KATU-Jun 5, 2013
    The kitchen at Dar Salam burned down Thursday night. The family who owns In March the Sahib family did Sean Davis, an Iraq war veteran, a big favor. They 

The State Dept also issued: 

 Remarks at Human Rights Defenders Award Ceremony


William J. Burns
Deputy Secretary of State
Baghdad, Iraq
June 29, 2013
Good afternoon. It is truly an honor to join all of you to present the 2012 Human Rights Defender Award to the Hammurabi Human Rights Organization.
The Arab Awakening reminds us that no leaderships, and no governments, are exempt from their obligation to be accountable to their citizens and respect their rights. The promise of stability, when based on the denial of human dignity and universal rights, is a false promise.
When governments restrict political expression, violate human rights, and fail to provide economic opportunity, they sow the seeds of their own downfall. On the other hand, when governments respond to citizen demands, protect and promote their rights, and offer them equal opportunity, the result is stronger and more stable economic, political, and security partners.
This is why the promotion of human rights and democracy is not only the right thing to do — it is also the smart thing to do. And this is why during a time of global tumult and continued challenges here in Iraq, we will remain steadfast in our commitment to human rights. 
Each year, embassies across the world submit nominations for the State Department’s Human Rights Defender Award, presented to an individual or organization that best exemplifies a commitment to protecting and promoting human rights in the face of extreme adversity.

I can think of no group more deserving than the Hammurabi Human Rights Organization.
Despite continued intimidation and threats of violence, the Hammurabi Human Rights Organization has established itself as a defender of, and advocate for, Iraq’s most vulnerable populations, especially its religious minorities. To promote religious tolerance and multiculturalism, Hammurabi not only organized Iraq’s first public workshops on the subject, but also successfully advocated for changes to primary and secondary school curricula and Iraq’s Personal Status Law.
What makes Hammurabi truly remarkable is that it not only raises awareness about human rights problems — it also proposes solutions. It understands that to change policies and achieve lasting reform requires working with the government and not just in opposition to it.
Hammurabi’s work with the Ministry of Human Rights to address systemic problems in Iraq’s correctional facilities exemplifies this approach. Thanks to Hammurabi’s efforts and partnership with the Government, separate parliamentary and judicial investigations into human rights abuses are ongoing.
Ultimately, it will be organizations like Hammurabi — homegrown and grounded in the culture and history of their country — who will lead the way to greater human dignity and ultimately to greater stability, peace and prosperity in Iraq and the region.
The State Department’s human rights officers live by the motto, “don’t just make a point, make a difference.” I want to thank the Embassy’s human rights officers — Kristin Gilmore and Lucy Chang — for their service and for the difference they have made in the lives of countless Iraqis.
Pascale and William: we are proud to stand with you and with Iraq’s human rights defenders. You all inspire us with your courage and humble us with your tireless dedication.
On behalf of Secretary Kerry and the American people, it is my great privilege to present you with the Human Rights Defender Award for your “unwavering and courageous advocacy for Iraq’s forgotten and most vulnerable citizens, championing the rights of the defenseless in the face of great odds, and building a better future for the people of Iraq.”

And that was released when? 

Stay up to date on these results:

10 hours ago, but the State Dept felt the need to put a June 29th date on it this morning.

Staying with political news,  All Iraq News reported Sunday that cleric and movement leader Moqtada al-Sadr issued a response to a question in which he declared Iraq’s next prime minister will not conduct business with the occupying US.  He states, “We will nominate a Prime Minister who loves Iraq and Iraqis and will not deal with the US occupiers to let down Iraq and its honor — and will not let the USA possess its wealth.”  This is said to be in response to statements US Ambassador to Iraq Stephen Beecroft recently made.  Dropping back to Friday’s snapshot:

Al Rafidayn reports that the US Ambassador to Iraq Stephen Beecroft met with the Iraqi media and answered questions.  Among them, a new Iraqi prime minister?  Parliamentary elections are scheduled for 2014.  Beecroft stated it is the job and right of the Iraqi people to pick their leaders and the US is prepared to have a diplomatic relationship with any Iraqi chosen to represent the people.  He refused to speculate on any particular person.  He was asked about the F-16 fighters and stated that they would not be delivered until September 2014.

Some who dismiss Moqtada will dismiss his statements as idle threats.  They’d do well to remember the rumors that, in the fall of 2010, the Iranian government stated they would back Moqtada as the next prime minister of Iraq and that he should just go along with them now on Nouri al-Maliki.

Turning to Barack’s spying on the whole wide world scandal,    Alan Hall (Daily Mail) reports on the latest revelations of spying and notes that Secretary of State John Kerry insisted yesterday,  “I will say that every country in the world that is engaged in international affairs and national security undertakes lots of activities to protect its national security and all kinds of information contributes to that. All I know is that is not unusual for lots of nations.”  That ‘excuse’ is both idiotic and embarrassing.  Secretary of State is above that sort of comment and, in the future, Kerry needs to work harder at protecting the office, not disgracing it.  Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel immediately struck back stating the obvious, that spying on allies is unacceptable.  Laura Poitras, Marcel Rosenbach, Fidelius Schmid, Holger Stark and Jonathan Stock (Der Spiegel) report on the latest revelations about Barack’s spying:

According to the listing, Germany is among the countries that are the focus of surveillance. Thus, the documents confirm what had already been suspected for some time in government circles in Berlin — that the US intelligence service, with approval from the White House, is spying on the Germans — possibly right up to the level of the chancellor. So it comes as little surprise that the US has used every trick in the book to spy on the Washington offices of the European Union, as one document viewed by SPIEGEL indicates.
But the new aspect of the revelations isn’t that countries are trying to spy on each other, eavesdropping on ministers and conducting economic espionage. What is most important about the documents is that they reveal the possibility of the absolute surveillance of a country’s people and foreign citizens without any kind of effective controls or supervision. Among the intelligence agencies in the Western world, there appears to be a division of duties and at times extensive cooperation. And it appears that the principle that foreign intelligence agencies do not monitor the citizens of their own country, or that they only do so on the basis of individual court decisions, is obsolete in this world of globalized communication and surveillance. Britain’s GCHQ intelligence agency can spy on anyone but British nationals, the NSA can conduct surveillance on anyone but Americans, and Germany’s BND foreign intelligence agency can spy on anyone but Germans. That’s how a matrix is created of boundless surveillance in which each partner aids in a division of roles. 
The documents show that, in this situation, the services did what is not only obvious, but also anchored in German law: They exchanged information. And they worked together extensively. That applies to the British and the Americans, but also to the BND, which assists the NSA in its Internet surveillance.

Michelle Kuepper (Venture Village) explains the latest revelations:

While it was known that German citizens were also a major international target of NSA surveillance, the extent of the surveillance was unclear. As it turns out, Germany is being monitored far more than its EU neighbours, including France – where only roughly one-tenth of the amount logged in Germany is being investigated. UK newspaper The Guardian, which received the initial leaked documents from Snowden, released heat maps that show the amount of data collected by the NSA in various countries. These maps highlight that the NSA is apparently putting about as much spying effort into Germany as it is to Iraq, China and Saudi Arabia.

Only a handful of countries that are defined as “second-party partners” are reported to be excluded from the snooping – including Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the UK. Germany, on the other hand, is classified as a “third-party foreign partner” – and the NSA allegedly claims in an internal presentation leaked to Der Spiegel that they “can, and often do, target the signals of most third-party foreign partners”.

The Guardian and the Washington Post,” Mike Wheatley (Silicon Angle) notes had the revelations about the spying on Germany and others but also had more details on PRISM that leave Google and Microsoft in an embarrassing position, “More eye-opening perhaps were the additional slides from PRISM, which infer that someone has been telling very big porkies since news of this whole kerfuffle first broke. The new slides make numerous references to government agencies placing on-premises hardware at the nine technology companies participating in PRISM, raising serious questions over their earlier denials.” 

Andrew Osborn and Alexei Anishchuk (Reuters) quotes from a letter written by NSA whistle-blower Ed Snowden where he states that he has more to reveal about Barack’s spying and he declares,  “While the public has cried out support of my shining a light on this secret system of injustice, the Government of the United States of America responded with an extrajudicial man-hunt costing me my family, my freedom to travel, and my right to live peacefully without fear of illegal aggression.”

While Ed Snowden has significant popular support, he doesn’t have a great deal of press support. As Rebecca pointed out last week, the attacks are even coming from Graydon Carter’s Vanity Fair which is calling him a “turncoat” on their website.  It should probably be remembered that while Carter found the ‘strength’ to call out Bully Boy Bush after 2004, no one sucked up more than Van Fair including that disgraceful photo spread glorifying the administration following 9-11.   Last week also found Ruth noting Barack had reached his Joe McCarthy moment in his war on leakers, whistle-blowers and the press:

Barbara Starr (CNN) reports:

The former vice chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff is under investigation by the Justice Department regarding material in a book by David Sanger, a correspondent for The New York Times, a source directly familiar with the situation said Thursday.

The source could not confirm that the investigation involving retired Marine Gen. James Cartwright is specifically about the Stuxnet computer virus, which Sanger writes about in his recent book “Confront and Conceal: Obama’s Secret Wars and Surprising Use of American Power.”

For those who do not remember McCarthyism, it was a witch hunt carried out by Congress.  Democrats actually started it.  But Joe McCarthy perfected the witch hunt on Communists and gay men and lesbians and others.  He got a lot of good press.  And this only egged him on.

To the point that he began going after the U.S. military.  And thus began the downfall of Joe McCarthy. 

President Barack Obama has been allowed — for who knows what reason — to get away with his witch hunts on whistle-blowers and press sources.  Now he is going after the military?

I think he has now reached his Joe McCarthy moment.

On this week’s Law and Disorder Radio,  an hour long program that airs Monday mornings at 9:00 a.m. EST on WBAI and around the country throughout the week, hosted by attorneys Heidi BoghosianMichael S. Smith and Michael Ratner (Center for Constitutional Rights), a number of topics were addressed including the treatment of the Guantanamo prisoners — including prisoners who have been cleared but are not being released.   Attorney Pardiss Kebriael explains that the measures being used on the Guantanamo prisoners have gotten worst in the last year and appear to be designed to break spirits.  She explained the gruesome details of the force feeding being used by those on hunger strikes and how there’s not even medical standards in place as the same tubes are used on various prisoners and, for the feeding, the guards  “drag people from their cells to be force fed.”  She explains that 86 of the 166 do not need be detained, have been 

Pardiss Kerbriael: The reason they remain is really a matter of politics.  It’s a lack of political will and political courage on the part of President Obama.  He has consistently since 2011, or for the past couple of years, pointed the finger at Congress and said, you know, ‘Congress determined that it would not allow me to close Guantanamo.’  Congress did pass a law in 2011, the National Defense Authorization Act, that made transfers more difficult.  It passed a series of restrictions that do make transfers more burdensome and more difficult.  But it did not take power away from the president and it specifically provided a waiver position — a national security waiver position — under which the president can clearly transfer people.  And in fact, Senator Carl Levin, a few weeks ago, came out with a letter in support of closure, he was part of the NDA[A] process, he’s a member of Congress, a powerful senator.  And his letter said, ‘President Obama, this national security waiver provides a clear route for transfers to happen and we included that provision in the NDAA to make sure that this law would not  effectively prohibit all transfers.’  And yet that is what President Obama has been saying for years — that because of the NDAA, he has been effectively prohibited from transferring anyone.  And that is just not true.  It is not true.

Despite Barack’s recent promises, no one has been transferred.  The latest promises appear to have been made solely because the public’s attention was back on Guantanamo due to the hunger strikes.

Lastly on the scandal front: Benghazi.  September 11, 2012, 4 Americans were killed in Benghazi: Glen Doherty, Sean Smith, Chris Stevens and Tyrone Woods.  Today, Amy Goodman’s Democracy Now!  decided to treat the scandal seriously, let’s hope others follow suit.  The guests were Brandon Webb and Jack Murphy who have written Benghazi: The Definitive Report.  Democracy Now!’s Nermeen Shaikh deserves applause for refusing the lazy approach of “that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three others.”  Shaikh lists all four of the dead.  Brandon Webb was friends with Glen Doherty.  Excerpt.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: But could you explain what, for people who don’t know, JSOC, the Joint Special Operations Command—who do they fall under? And who’s responsible for what it is they do in these covert operations? Who gives the directives? Who was aware of what was going on in Libya at the time of these covert operations, and who was not aware?
JACK MURPHY: Well, it’s interesting. A number of executive findings that have been issued out in the last, you know—since 9/11, really, which today you have a situation in which not only does the ambassador of the country being operated in not have knowledge of the operations, but also the chief of station of the CIAdoesn’t have knowledge of these operations. And this isn’t the first time it’s happened. It happened in 2004 in Kenya, where a number of operators actually got popped going through customs. So, these sorts of situations—
AMY GOODMAN: What do you mean, “got popped”?
JACK MURPHY: There was an expediter that was helping them through customs, and, through one man or another, the entire team got compromised. And the ambassador had to step in at that point, who was unaware of this operation that was taking place, had to step in and basically get—hand out, you know, the get-out-of-jail-free cards and get them back home. So, all these things have happened. They’ve been happening for a long time now.
AMY GOODMAN: The role of John Brennan?
JACK MURPHY: John Brennan had an interesting position at the time of the Benghazi attacks, in that, you know, his first attempt to become the director of the CIA didn’t happen, but he managed to become the counterterrorism adviser for President Obama, which put him in this interesting position that he had quite a bit of influence. But he also fell under executive privilege. It wasn’t exactly the same legal status that he would have had as the director of the CIA, that he has now. So, John Brennan and Admiral McRaven were actually running operations all over the Middle East and North Africa. Pretty much they had free rein to run those operations as they wanted from the executive office.
NERMEEN SHAIKH: Well, I want to turn to Ambassador Stevens’ diary. On September 6, Stevens wrote about the transition of authority that had occurred in the aftermath of the Libyan civil war, and commented on how shaky the country felt after the Gaddafi regime fell. He wrote, quote, “Militias the prime power on the ground. Weak state security institutions. As a result, dicey conditions.” Stevens went on to write, quote, “Islamist ‘hit list’ in Benghazi. Me targeted…” On September 9th, Stevens acknowledged that he felt overwhelmed. He wrote, quote, “Stressful day. Too many things going on everyone wants to bend my ear. Need to pull above the fray.” The final entry on September 11th is extremely chilling. Stevens writes simply, quote, “Never ending security threats…”
So, Brandon Webb, I’d like to ask you, first of all, what most surprised you in what you found in Ambassador Stevens’ diary and the work that you did in reproducing the bits that you did on your website?
BRANDON WEBB: Sure. So, I think what we were surprised to see or would put to rest a lot of questions that Jack and I had previously was: Was Ambassador Stevens aware of what was happening inside the country with regards to what the CIA was doing, what JSOC was doing? I think, clearly, from the diary, he was not aware of what was happening. And again, it put to rest a lot of speculation about what Ambassador Stevens’ final thoughts were in the last couple days leading up to his death. And you see the writing in his own words, so I think it puts to rest a lot of speculation and also shows that he was very concerned about the security situation but also very hopeful with the transitional government in Libya. And I just think it’s a tragedy.
And why I think Libya is important, and what we’ve tried to show in our work on Benghazi and in the book Jack and I wrote, was that, you know, we’re looking at over a decade of failed U.S. foreign policy, and it’s not—it doesn’t have to do with the right wing or the left wing. It really—it’s across both administrations. And when you—when you have different elements operating, whether it’s Libya, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Mali and—
AMY GOODMAN: You’ve both been in Iraq and Afghanistan, both of you.
BRANDON WEBB: Yeah—and you don’t have these different agencies talking to each other on the different sheets of music, how can we hope to accomplish objectives when we’re literally—people are cooperating with the CIA and JSOC is assassinating these same assets a few days later? So it’s just a messy situation. And if our foreign policy was working in the world, we’d have a much more stable world today.



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