Thursday, September 27, 2012



From April 19, 2009, that's  "Court-Ordered."  Leave it to Barack to try to claim credit for doing something the court ordered him to do.  In the background, you may recognize the other guy doing community work.  It's Nelson from The Simpsons.  If it's a new episode of The Simpsons on Sunday night, I will try to catch it while drawing (which means Tivo-ing it most Sundays).  If it's an old episode, I'll just pop in one of my Simpson's DVDs. (My favorite seasons right now are 13 and 16.)  Sometimes to get in a good mood to draw the comic, sometimes to hope something there sparks an idea.

And I had an image of Barack doing community service while watching The Simpsons and that just didn't seem enough so then Nelson said something on the TV and I thought, "Add Nelson!" 

I start each comic the same, I do the title "The World Today Just Nuts" and then have either an idea already or just stare and try to think of one.  Sometimes it works out okay, sometimes really good, sometimes sucky.

 Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Thursday, September 27, 2012.  Chaos and violence continue, Barack continues to campaign on taking 'all' troops out of Iraq, the White House continues to negotiate with the Iraqi government to send US troops back into Iraq, Nouri's targeting Iraqi activists, the amnesty bill didn't get passed today despite all the promises, assailants target an Iraqi prison, and more.
Starting in the US, Mark Halperin (Time magazine -- link is video and text) notes US President Barack Obama's latest re-election ad today.  As usual, Barack praised himself for Iraq.   It's rare that Barack doesn't mention Iraq.  September 8th found him delivering a weekly address and stating, "We've ended the war in Iraq and brought our troops home."  Iraq's in shambles, at best, and yet Barack can't stop mentioning it in speeches and the press can't stop whoring for him -- like Scott Horsley who declared at the start of the month on Morning Edition (NPR), "There are no more US troops in Iraq."  The same media that wants to fact check Mitt Romney willingly lies for Barack.  And it works on a number of people, these lies.
Yesterday afternoon,  Joe Hamilton explains to the Muskegon Chronicle editors why he's supporting Barack, "But I'd maintain that if the only thing that Barack Obama accomplished in foreign policy during his entire time in office was the end of U.S. military involvement in Iraq, then that alone makes his presidency significant, historic and well worth voting for.  Yesterday  Jack Burgess (Ironton Tribune) explained, "He's brought the troops home from Iraq on schedule, in spite of pressures from some in the military and Republicans such as Sen. John McCain, his opponent in 2008, who said he didn't care if our troops remained there for 100 years."  Last week, Tonja Adams insisted to the Wisconsin State Journal, "Thankfully, President Barack Obama brought our troops home from Iraq and will bring more home from Afghanistan in 2014."
People believe it.  It was never true.  Yes, 15,000 US troops remain in Kuwait right there on the border of Iraq and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee wants them there for years but will allow them to drop to 13,000 in number -- see their  [PDF format warning] "The Gulf Security Architecture: Partnership With The Gulf Co-Operation Council" released last June and pay attention to this:
Currently, there are approximately 15,000 U.S. forces in Kuwait, but the number is likely to decrease to 13,500. Kuwaiti bases such as Camp Arifjan, Ali Al Salem Air Field, and Camp Buehring offer the United States major staging hubs, training rages, and logistical support for regional operations. U.S. forces also operate Patriot missile batteries in Kuwait, which are vital to theater missile defense.
In addition, last December, for NBC's Rock Center with Brian Williams, Ted Koppel addressed the US presence after what Barack called a "withdrawal" but the Defense Dept called a "drawdown" (the terms have different meanings):

MR. KOPPEL: I realize you can't go into it in any detail, but I would assume that there is a healthy CIA mission here. I would assume that JSOC may still be active in this country, the joint special operations. You've got FBI here. You've got DEA here. Can, can you give me sort of a, a menu of, of who all falls under your control?

AMB. JAMES JEFFREY: You're actually doing pretty well, were I authorized to talk about half of this stuff.
The media just doesn't like that truth.  They prefer the lie that everyone came home. 
And now they prefer not to talk about what's taking place between Iraq and the United States right now: Discussions between the two governments to get US troops back on the ground in Iraq.  In exchange for allowing US troops back into Iraq in significant numbers, Al Rafidayn reports, the Iraqi government will get many things including weapons which can shoot down any thing entering Iraq's air space.  You may remember that Iraq has airspace issues.  And even the Iraqis currently in the US training to fly in Iraqi skies are not going to change that.  2014 was the 'hoped for' date when bandied around by the Bush administration as when Iraq could patrol their own skies.

For details on the negotiations, Al Rafidayn cites an MP and the New York Times, Tim Arango's article, which contained this: "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."  Though Tom Hayden wrote six paragraphs for The Nation about Arango's article he only focused on one sentence ("At the request of the Iraqi government, according to General [Robert] Caslen, a unit of Army Special Operations soldiers was recently deployed to Iraq to advise on counterterrorism and help with intelligence.").  He ignored the sentence that preceded that in Arango's article: "Iraq and the United States are negotiating an agreement that could result int he return of small units of American soldiers to Iraq on training missions." 
When you've built your campaign on 'ending' al Qaeda (by US forces killing Osama bin Laden) and yet al Qaeda most likely was behind the September 11, 2012 attack on the US Consulate in Libya, that false claim to have brought all the troops home from Iraq and ended the US military involvement, seems like it's a major news story, a very big story, that the US government is negotiating with the Iraqi government to redeploy troops into Iraq.
 but forgot to inform readers that Barack was in talks to send significant numbers of US troops back into Iraq. 

The return of US troops, Al Rafidayn reports, is wanted by the White House in part because Iraq has been unable to stop Iranian flights to Syria.  In addition, they want it due to fears that, in the words of Sheikh Hamid al-Hayes, that rebel fighters are grouping in units with al Qaeda in Mesopotamia. 
Alsumaria reports that the former governor of Basra, Mohammed Misbah Waili, was assassinated today (the firearm had a silencer).  The latest day's violence includes a prison attack BBC News reports assailants using bombs and guns attacked a Tikrit prison.  AFP quotes a police Lieutenant Colonel stating, "A suicide bomber targeted the gate of the prison with a car bomb and gunment then assaulted the prison, after which they killed guards" and a police Colonel stating, "The prisoners killed one policeman and wounded (prison director) Brigadier General Laith al-Sagmani, the gunmen took control of the prison, and clashes are continuing."  Kitabat states two car bombs were used to blow up the entrance to the prison and gain access and they also state 12 guards have been killed. Reports note the riot is continuing.  Alsumaria reports four guards have died, 1 police officer and the injured include two soldiers and the prison director al-Sagmani.  There's confusion as to whether a number of prisoners were able to escape in the early stages after the bombing and during gunfire.  Reuters goes with "dozens" escaping which is probably smarter than the hard number some are repeating. Mu Xuequan (Xinhua) reports 5 police officers killed and another two injured -- the numbers are going to vary until tomorrow, this is ongoing -- and state over 200 prisoners escaped with 33 of them already having been recaptured.  If you skip the English language media, what's not confusing is why it happened and why it was able to happen.   Alsumaria reports that there are approximately 900 inmates in the prison and that many have death sentences.  Alsumaria does even more than that.  It notes the recent prison violence throughout the country and ties it into the death sentences.  These aren't just happening at random, this is about the many people being sentenced to death -- a fact the English language press either doesn't know or doesn't think people need to know.
When prisoners escape, as some have, without being caught, it makes a lot of sense when you grasp that they are seen as persecuted.  They're not the deadly evil suddenly let loose and roaming through a town that's going to cause people to pick up the phones and call the authorities.  These are people that many Iraqis feel didn't get a fair trial or received an unduly harsh sentence.  The refusal for this part of the story to be reported goes a long way towards explaining the confusion over what's been taking place in Iraq for months with these increased attacks on prisons.
Already the English-language press is obsessed with the Islamic State of Iraq -- a violent group that may be responsible.  And they may be. July 22nd, the Islamic State of Iraq released an audio recording announcing a new campaign of violence entitled Breaking The Walls which would include prison breaks and killing "judges and investigators and their guards."  (They also threatened to attack America on US soil.)  They've had great success since then in launching deadly attacks.  And one of the reasons for their success is Nouri al-Maliki.  The Islamic State of Iraq is using violence which appalls many Iraqis but for reasons that a number of Iraqis can identify with. 
Nouri created this.  Nouri's the reason it thrives.  Again, the English-speaking press has ignored it but there have been mass arrests all month.  Alsumaria reports 17 arrested today for 'terrorism' just south of Baghdad, another 17 arrested in Nineveh Province and another 44 in Kirkuk -- while in Diyala Province, the federal forces are said to be out of control but they insist that they have not seized control of residential areas and that they are not putting up barriers as part of their security measures or 'security measures.'  Mass arrests create a climate in which the Islamic State of Iraq's actions can garner sympathy.  You may be lucky and it didn't happen to anyone in your family but, down the street, it happened to one of your neighbors and the thing about mass arrests is that they (rightly) create distrust in the government.  And they create sympathy for responses like the Islamic State of Iraq.   You see and overhear plotting and planning, in a stable society you might call the police.  In Nouri's Iraq, you instead understand the motives and you may not take part in violence yourself but your attitude is you're not going to stop it.
This is on Nouri.   Dropping back to August 16th:
Saturday, Al Mada noted that Iraqiya is calling for Nouri to release the imprisoned who have not been found guilty and to do so in the spirit of the holy month of Ramadan.  This follows Imam Mahmoud al-Issawi's call during Friday prayers for the government to release the detainees being held who have not been found guilty.  In the 2011 protests that took place throughout Iraq, this was a repeated demand and Nouri led people to believe in February 2011 that his 100 days (give him 100 days and he'll fix everything!) would result in this.  It never did.  And he's been silent in the face of the calls from Imam Mahmoud al-Issawi and Iraqiya.  Today Alsumaria reports that Nineveh Governor Ethel al-Nujaifi announced the release of 18 detainees.  al-Nujaifi, the brother of Speaker of Parliament Osama al-Nujaifi, may have especially enjoyed making that announcement when Nouri has no similar announcement to make.  The two are political rivals and back before Nouri spent all his days trying to hold onto his post of prime minister, he repeatedly attempted to force al-Nujaifi to step down as governor. 
Not only has Nouri resisted such calls, his political slate State of Law is the one that's repeatedly thrown up road blocks in Parliament when it comes to the still not passed amnesty law.
All Iraq News notes the Parliament met today to vote on a number of bills including a bill about credit, a bill abaout infrastructure and a proposed amnesty law.  So determined is State of Law to block the law that they're willing to spread rumors about Nouri's new bestie Saleh al-Mutlaq.  Ayad al-Tamimi (Al Mada) reports that the morning found Deputy Prime Minister al-Mutlaq (a member of Iraqiya -- at least in name) denying charges from State of Law that he was making back door deals to get the amnesty bill passed.  All Iraq News adds that the vote on the amnesty bill was only scheduled for today due to demands from Moqtada al-Sadr and his bloc.
The amnesty bill did not get passed today.  As noted September 25th, "How bad are things in Iraq?  They need an infrastructure law to authorize spending but . . .  Ayad al-Tamimi (Al Mada) reports that there are MPs -- including Moqtada al-Sadr's bloc -- that want additional guidelines written in because they see it as likely that Nouri could use the $40 billion to grab even more power and to militarize Iraqi society.  Things are so bad that members of Parliament have to attempt to write into the infrastructure budget guidelines to prevent Little Saddam from misusing the money in his effort to grab even more power."  Mustafa Habib (Niqash) explains a variety of objections to the bill with two MPs going on the record but it's this last objection, that no one wants to own up to, that's the real issue:
And behind the scenes, further reasons were given for the antipathy being directed at a legislation the country really seems to need badly: the upcoming elections. Al-Maliki is not a popular man – a large group of MPs have recently tried to oust him from his position. And with upcoming elections, they're worried that his main motivation with a law like this – which relates to many things that the Iraqi voters need and want – is to increase his own popularity with electors, without concern for consequences.
And it was the infrastructure bill that ended the possibility of votes today.  Alsumaria reports that Iraqiya and the Kurdistan Alliance walked out of the session to protest the infrastructure bill.  This left the Parliament without a quorum and business came to a halt.  All Iraq News notes that the payment on credit bill is now scheduled to be voted on Monday.  And the infrastructure and the amnesty bills?  Kitabat reports that they are now the victims of political differences with them postponed until a currently unscheduled day. 
And why should anyone trust Nouri al-Maliki?

Al Mada reports on the concentrated efforts to arrest Facebook activists who took part in the Friday protests that swept Iraq in 2011.   A lot of people don't know about those protests because the White House didn't want you to and a lot of 'news' outlets worked overtime to minimize the story (take your bow, New York Times -- you attacked the protesters -- the ones who were beaten and kidnapped by Nouri's forces, what a proud moment for the paper) or just ignore it (most major dailies not named the Washington Post, most US broadcast outlets who aren't CNN or NPR).

Nouri was the White House's . . . Well, not friend.  You invite friends into your home.  And Barack wouldn't leave the campaign trail this week to meet with Nouri in NYC which is why Nouri cancelled his trip and planned address to the UN on Saturday.  Nouri was the White House's best bet -- according to foreign policy nitwit posing as a guru Samantha Power.  And so the White House didn't just demand a second term for Nouri despite the poor showing for State of Law in the 2010 elections (defeated by the brand new Iraqiya despite Nouri and his goons refusing to allow certain Iraqiya candidates to run for election, despite the targeting and murders of some members of Iraqiya in the weeks leading up to the elections, despite Nouri's non-stop speeches telling Iraqis that Iraqiya was a band of terrorists), they went so far as to negotiate a contract, the Erbil Agreement, assuring the political blocs it was not only legal, it was legally binding.  Even more importantly, they promised the Kurds and others that this US-brokered contract had the backing of the US government meaning it would be followed.  The White House gave the word of the US government.  And then Nouri used it to become prime minister and tossed aside all the points in the contract he agreed to for that second term (such as the creation of an independent national security commission, finally implementing Article 140 of the Constitution which was supposed to take place in 2007, etc.)/  And all the promises the US government made?  Amnesia on the part of the White House as the political blocs have demanded that the Erbil Agreement be honored.

So when you're Nouri, hoping to ride it out through 2014 when, right now, you plan to run for a third term, you launch one power grab after another.  In the US, for example, Barack Obama is President.  Secretary of Defense is Leon Panetta.  In Iraq, Nouri is prime minister.  And Minister of the Defense.  And Minister of the Interior so he's over the police.  And Minister of National Security.  He was supposed to nominate people to those positions and they were supposed to be approved by Parliament.  If he wasn't able to do that in 30 days, per the Constitution, he not only didn't advance from prime minister-designate to prime minister, someone else was namded prime minister-designate and given 30 days to put together a Cabinet.
The White House could protect him to a degree.  Not from the 2011 protests.  They could only encourage the press not to cover them, not protect Nouri from them. Iraq was only one part of the region facing protests.  And in some countries, the protests were toppeling leaders.  Nouri was scared.

He announced he would not seek a second term.  Then the promise was taken back less than 24 hours later, since then not only has his attorney announced that he can seek a third term, it's been announced a third term would be best for Iraq.

Here's how Press In My Pocket works when you're a US puppet.  All outlets report that you won't seek a second term.  They then write editorials about how great that is of you and how you're showing leadership and how wonderful you are.  And those editorials appear after your spokesperson says you are not promising to seek a second term.  Not only does that not make the editorials, you don't report it.  Name the foreign wire service that reported it because it's a lot easier to name the only English language outlet that reported that then all the US outlets which refused to do so.

Afraid that he was going to be toppled and knowing that the press could amplify not just the protests but how deeply unpopular he was, Nouri didn't just put out that he wouldn't seek a third term, he also begged the Iraqi people to leave the streets and given him 100 days.  At the end of 100 days, he would have ended corruption, he would have addressed the lack of basic services, he would address unemployment, he would address the many who had 'disappeared' in the Iraqi 'justice' system.

Anyone who has watched Nouri closely since the US first installed him as prime minister in 2006 knows his modus operandi: Stall.  Promise anything and then stall.  Your opponents will grow weary, fighting for justice can be weary, and you just wait them out.

So Nouri did nothing to improve the lives of the Iraqi people which means it's time to round up those who might protest him again.  Al Mada speaks with young activists in Nineveh Province where arrrests have been non-stop and they tell the paper about how the crack down is targeting youth activists and bloggers.  In Mosul, the people talk about how these activists are arrested with no arrest warrants, how 'terrorist acts' are their protests actions on Facebook.  Since last Thursday, Nineveh Province Council Member Abdul Rahim al-Shammari explains, hundreds of people have been arbritrarily arrested who wonders where the arrest warrants are?  The arrests are by the Federal Police, not the province police.  The federal police are controlled by the Minister of the Interior.  Who's that again?

Oh, yeah, Nouri.  In his power grab, he seized control of the three security ministries.  Just two months ago,   Mohammed Tawfeeq (CNN) observed, "Shiite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has struggled to forge a lasting power-sharing agreement and has yet to fill key Cabinet positions, including the ministers of defense, interior and national security, while his backers have also shown signs of wobbling support." 

Ethel al-Nujaifi is the governor of the province and he tells Al Mada that the council of the province has decided -- all voting in agreement -- to launch an investigation into these arrests and the torture of the detainees.  He points out that neither the military nor the security forces are a judicial body and they have no rgith to torture.  In Baghdad, activists speak of how the security forces spy on them.  In Babylon, youth activists are being arrested.

In 2011, the press amplified Egypt while rendering Iraq invisible.  The Iraqi people thought it was only a matter of time before the international press paid attention.  Especially with all the attacks on journalists as well as activists. 

And the people who stood up for Iraq are being rounded up by Nouri's forces.  But don't expect the US press to do their job.  If they'd done it when it mattered, if in February 2011 or at any point since, the New York Times had reported the truth (I'm talking about reporters -- the editoral board has been much more truthful than the paper's reporters), Hadi al-Mahdi might not be dead.

But the silence from the US media and the lies from the New York Times (they chose to attack the protesters in print) contributed to Hadi's assassination.  Nouri knew the world wouldn't care if there was no spotlight on his actions.

And now Nouri goes after more Iraqis but, hey, it helps the White House and their negotiations to get US troops back into Iraq so the New York Times doesn't have time or space to cover what's happening to the youth activists (or any of Nouri's victims).
In what some spinner or fool will surely hail as 'progress,' Iraq's 9th commissioner to the one-time independent Electoral Commission was named today.  Alsumaria notes that Turkman Khan Kamal Ali was voted as the ninth member today.   It's not progress.  Even if the size of the commission is not increased -- as the Iraqi court says it must be -- you've still got Christians who feel they were betrayed and you've still got a commission that has no women on it.  Earlier this week, the United Nations Secretary-General's Special Representative in Iraq Martin Kobler made an idiot of himself attempting to find the positive.  But it was Kobler who, months earlier, was insisting women must be represented on the commission.  (The Iraqi court says that women must make up 1/3 of the commission.)
Iraq's Shi'ite Vice President addressed the United Nations General Assembly today.  We have limited space so we'll briefly note some of his remarks.
Vice President Khudier al-Khuzaie:  Our renewed ambition in building a modern state where the Iraqi people enjoy freedom, development and prosperity requires us to move towards the establishment of friendly and equal relations with all nations the world over, within a framework of a cooperative international system governed by clear rules that prevent problems and crises which undermine its prosperity and stability.  The new Iraq has made its choice by embarking on the path of cooperation and collaboration with the International community on the political, economic and development levels.  This has been coupled with significant leaps in our economic growth that will qualify Iraq to return to the space of world economy and merge within the international economic system based on a realistic vision that achieved a number of positive developments over the past years.  According to certain indicators, our Gross Domestic Product doubled which in turn doubled the per capita share of the GDP.  According to projections by the International Monetary Fund, GDP will reach about 150 billion dollars in 2014.  The Iraqi government also succeeded in implementing policies to curb inflation and to control government spending in addition to our success in collaborating with the International community to reduce the debt accumulated by Iraq in the past decades.
Still in the US, Senator Patty Murray is the Chair of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee.  Her office notes:
Contact: Matt McAlvanah
(202) 224-2834
Mystery Republican Blocks Cost Of Living Adjustment for Disabled Veterans
Secret Republican hold on bill could prevent more money in disability benefits from going to millions of veterans
(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray, Chairman of the Senate Veteran's Affairs Committee, announced that an as yet unnamed Senate Republican has blocked a traditionally non-controversial bill that would provide over 3.9 million veterans and their survivors with a Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA) for the benefits they receive. The COLA increase, which is designed to offset inflation and other factors that lead to the rising cost of living, was brought to the Senate floor by Senator Murray last Thursday. The bill was cleared by all Senate Democrats but was blocked by at least one Senate Republican that has not come forward to claim responsibility.
"This is stunning" said Senator Murray. "Particularly because we still don't have any indication why someone would block a cost-of-living adjustment for veterans and their surviving spouses, many of whom are struggling to make ends meet. This adjustment for our disabled veterans is hard earned and well deserved. My hope is that whichever Senator has decided to hold up this bill will at least come forward to own up to it. That way we can move forward to overcome their oppositions and get our veterans the support they need."
The Veterans COLA will affect several important benefits, including veterans' disability compensation and dependency and indemnity compensation for surviving spouses and children. The COLA rate will match the annual increase provided to Social Security recipients and is based on the Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Price Index.
Matt McAlvanah
Communications Director
U.S. Senator Patty Murray
202-224-2834 - press office
202--224-0228 - direct
Read on ...

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Brotherly Embarrassment

Brotherly Embarrassment
From April 12, 2009, that's "Brotherly Embarrassment." Michelle Obama gets to play the sane one in this comic.  I could be wrong but I think this was the first time she was in a comic of mine after becoming First Lady.

I liked this Michelle.  And would have liked to have had that Michelle in all the comics.  But this was, for me, the last bits of sanity from Michelle.  In the early months of the administration, I really did think she was going to be the rational voice. 

Then it became all about her friends and her partying and the nonsense about how beautiful she was.  She's not ugly but she's not beautiful and it was sad to watch a woman of nearly 50 try to be a super model.

She also started showing the anger more and more and so that's when she became She-Hulk in my comics.  Now I draw her angry and green. 

Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Thursday, September 20, 2012. Chaos and violence continue, Kim Rivera is arrested, where in Iraq was the US flag burned Tuesday (better question: by who?), Nouri shuts down more night clubs in Baghdad by sending his thugs in to bust them up, and more.
Iraq War veteran and US war resister Kimberly Rivera was arrested today after being forced out of Canada despite support rallies taking place around Canada.  The Canadian Press notes of the Toronto rally, "Wednesday evening's rally in Toronto also attracted faith groups, local activist organizations and veteran associations. David Milne, a member of Christian Peacemaker Teams, said he attended the protest because he had witnessed the brutality of war in three trips to Iraq."  Miles Howe (Halifax Media Co-op) covers the Halifax demonstration and notes, "The contingent had gathered over 200 signatures from Nova Scotia supporters of Rivera and her quest to remain in Canada, where she has resided since 2007 with her husband and four children, the two youngest of whom were born in Canada. Rivera, who signed up for the United States military when she was 24, has built a life with her family in Canada. She has been an active member in her community, doing volunteer work and educating others about the Iraq War."  Her story was told today on CBC News: Morning.
Heather Hiscox:  The first female war resister in Canada is scheduled to be deported today but there's still a last gasp effort underway to keep the US Army Private in this country and some well known people are rallying behind her.  Michael Serapio has the details.  Michael, this deportation order looming for Kimberly Rivera?

Michael Serapio: That's right Kimberly is an America, you see here in the photo and also in this video here.  Now Kimberly Rivera, we should point out, is originally from Texas and when she was 24-years-old, she joined the US Army.  Now this was in the wake of 9-11.  And she joined the US Army thinking she could help make the United States a safer place.  She was -- after enlisting -- deployed to Iraq and to Baghdad and after serving time there and spending more and more time there, she -- It occurred to her that the casualties were really mounting in terms of civilian death numbers and so she figured she could no longer fight this war with any conscience so she, in 2007, came to Canada.  She came as a conscientious objector, asking to stay in Canada on humanitarian grounds.  And after  a number of years of fighting back and forth, the Immigration Ministry has decided to deny her request to stay in this country and it is that denial of application that has led to the protests that we've seen in the last 24 hours trying to maybe have some kind of an 11th hour rescue for Kim Rivera.  Now we should point out that she has been ordered to leave Canada today.  She says that she and her family will comply.  This despite that Parliament has twice voted to allow War Resisters like her to stay in Canada and despite human rights activists -- some fairly famous ones -- advocating on her behalf, including the Bishop Desmond Tutu out of South Africa.  Take a listen to what he has to say about Kim Rivera: "The deportation order given to Ms. Rivera is unjust and must be challenged.  It's in times when people are swept up in a frenzy of war that it's most important to listen to the quiet voices speaking the truth.  Isn't it time we begin to redress the atrocity of this war by honouring those such as Ms. Rivera who had the courage to stand against it at such a cost to themselves?"  But despite that, Heather, she will be deported today.

Heather Hiscox:  Yeah, interesting to read the words of the government saying it doesn't consider these to be international -- like not genuinely refugees under the internationally accepted meaning of the term.  So it looks like this will go ahead despite these high profile supporters.  What will happen to her, Michael, when she return to the US?

Michael Serapio:  Well there is a group called War Resisters Canada that have been rallying not only for Kim Rivera but for other American soldiers that came here as conscientious objectors.  They note that the last two Americans sent to the United States were both given prison sentences.  In Kim Rivera's case, they expect her to be court-martialed, to spend at least one year in prison.  And she says the hardest part of it is the separation she will face -- separation from her family, not only her husband but her four children, as you see here in this photo, two of whom were born right here in Canada.

Diana Mehta (Canadian Press) reports, "Kimberly Rivera complied with a deportation order and presented herself at the border at Gananoque, Ont., on Thursday.  The War Resisters Support Campaign -- which issued multiple warnings that Ms. Rivera would likely face a court martial and jail time on her return -- said the mother of four was immediately arrested, detained and transferred to U.S. military custody."  Dan Burns (Reuters) adds that Kim "was taken into custody at the Thousand Islands Bridge border station about 30 miles north of Watertown, N.Y., said Michelle Robidoux, spokeswoman with the War Resisters Support Campaign."
Canada's United Steelworkers issued the following statement:
TORONTO – "Kim Rivera's deportation is an international tragedy," says Ken Neumann, United Steelworkers (USW) National Director.
"This gives Canada a black eye on the international stage. Our country's once-proud tradition as a safe haven for conscientious objectors has been destroyed with Kim's deportation," says Neumann.
"Kim should have been able to count on her safety by coming to Canada. I, along with her Steelworker supporters, decry her deportation to the U.S. today," says Neumann.
"Immigration Minister Jason Kenney had the opportunity to show compassion and do the right thing, and he refused to act," says Neumann. "Two of Kim's children were born here, yet the process for deporting her failed to consider the wellbeing of her family."
Rivera presented herself at the Canada-U.S. border in Gananoque, Ont., today, complying with her deportation order issued by the Harper government. In the U.S., the mother of four children faces a prison sentence of two to five years.
The USW has supported U.S. Iraq War resisters since 2004 when the first war resister arrived in Canada. The Toronto Steelworkers Hall is offered for the War Resisters Support Campaign's public meetings.
During the Vietnam War, 100,000 war resisters came to Canada and more than half of them remain here today. Many of them served in the military, and like Kim, later developed moral objections to the war that they could not ignore. In the 1970s, conscientious objectors who had voluntarily joined the U.S. military were accepted as permanent residents here without distinction from those who were drafted.
Public opinion polling shows that a majority of Canadians want our government to continue that tradition today. A 2008 Angus Reid poll found that 64% of Canadians would let U.S. military deserters stay in Canada.

More information:
Ken Neumann, United Steelworkers National Director, 416-544-5951
Bob Gallagher, United Steelworkers, 416-434-2221,
While Kim was being ripped from her family, Nouri al-Maliki (aka Little Saddam) was again attacking freedom.  Alsumaria reports that the federal police stormed social clubs in Baghdad yesterday, shutting them down and expelling patrons and owners. More than any other recent actions, this one has Nouri being called a dictator. The raids echoed earlier ones in Baghdad this month in which clubs were shut down and patrons and owners attacked. From the September 5th snapshot:

In other violence, Alsumaria reports that armed forces in police uniforms attacked various social clubs in Baghdad yesterday, beating various people and firing guns in the air. They swarmed clubs and refused to allow anyone to leave but did make time to beat people with the butss of their rifles and pistols, they then destroyed the clubs. AFP adds, "Special forces units carried out near-simultaneous raids at around 8:00 pm (1700 GMT) on Tuesday 'at dozens of nightclubs in Karrada and Arasat, and beat up customers with the butts of their guns and batons,' said an interior ministry official, speaking on condition of anonymity. 'Artists who were performing at the clubs were also beaten,' the official said." The assaults were ordered by an official who reports only to Nouri al-Maliki. In related news the Great Iraqi Revolution posted video Friday of other attacks on Iraqi civilians by security forces and noted, "Very important :: a leaked video show Iraqi commandos during a raid to Baaj village and the arrest of all the young men in the village .they threatened the ppl of the village they will make them another Fallujah and they do not mind arresting all village's men and leave only women . they kept detainees in a school, and beating them, u can see they burned a car of one of the citizens"

And from the September 6th snapshot:

Alsumaria notes that Iraqiya, led by Ayad Allawi, has called out the assault on the social clubs and states that it is violation of the Constitution as well as basic human rights. Iraqiya spokesperson Maysoun al-Damalouji called on the security forces to respect the rights of the citizens. Tamim al-Jubouri (Al Mada) adds that the forces working for Nouri attacked many clubs including Club Orient which was established in 1944 and that the patrons including Chrisitans who were surprised Tuesday night when Nouri's forces entered and began breaking furniture, beat patrons and employees and stole booze, cell phones and clothing. So they're not only bullies, they're also theives. Kitabat notes that the people were attacked with batons and gun butts including a number of musicians who were performing live in the club including singer Hussein Basri. Alsumaria adds that the Baghdad Provincial Council states that they were not informed of the assaults on social clubs.

Earlier this month, Al Mada attempted to make sense of the confusing stories. Nouri's spoksesperson maintained September 6th that these actions were done to carry out a court order. The Iraqi Supreme Court September 8th denied such an order. If such an order would have been issued, it would make sense to use the police. Of course Baghdad Province was never informed of the raids so that left them and their forces out. The Ministry of the Interior announces they knew nothing of the raids until the news covered it and that their forces did not take part in the raids. An unnameded, high-ranking Ministry of the Interior source states that the order was from Nouri and Nouri alone, that he issued the order and based it upon his role as commander-in-chief. Iraq has a struggling economy already with many people left unemployed with an official unemployment rate of 15.2%. In such a climate, shutting down a vibrant social scene -- and the jobs it creates -- is pretty damn stupid. Also true, it doesn't make anyone want to travel into Iraq to Baghdad. Better to book Erbil or any other location in the KRG. Nouri's Iraq has serious business problems.
Ranking Member Richard Lugar: His experience with managing large embassies is especially critical given the US mission in Iraq is the biggest embassy in the world. The operation includes the huge embassy in Baghdad, several outlying facilities, in Baghdad about ten security cooperation police training sites and consulates in Barsa and Erbil. Employees number approximately 1600 US-direct-hires, 240 Iraqis, thousands of contractors. Iraq sits aside the Sunni-Shia divide that's been the source of great conflict. Politically, Iraq remains fractured along sectarian lines and those divisions appear to have deepened in the last year. Iraq's stability depends on it being integrated with responsible neighbors and the world community. It's longterm future depends on its willingness to stand on the side of human rights, democracy and the rule of law. Iraq's political fragmentation and corruption also present fundamental challenges to its economy. An annual World Bank report that analyzes the ease of doing business and the protection of property rights across 183 economies ranked Iraq 164th in 2012 -- down five slots from its 2011 ranking. Despite Prime Minister Maliki's claims that Iraq is open for business, most interested investors and trade partners are challenged to get a visa or definitive answer from the government about tender and bidding processes. According to the World Bank, Iraq last year implemented policies that made it more difficult for Iraqis themselves to do business.
That's Ranking Member Richard Lugar speaking at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing yesterday where the senators heard testimony from Robert S. Beecroft who is nominated to be the new US Ambassador to Iraq.  Yesterday, we noted Committee Chair John Kerry and Senator Mark Rubio's questioning.  Today, we're noting Ranking Member Richard Lugar and Senator Bob Casey who was Acting Chair for the bulk of the hearing. 
Lugar spoke movingly of the late US Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens who was one of four Americans (Glen Doherty, Sean Smith and Tyrone Woods are the other three who were) killed in an attack on the embassy in Libya last week.  Kerry, Beecroft and others at the hearing noted Stevens' passing and his service but Lugar spoke of working with him when Stevens had been a Pearson Fellow with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 2006 and 2007 and how he had made a point to stay in touch with the Committee. 
On that attack, earlier today Kathleen Hennessey of the Los Angeles Times reported, "The White House is now describing the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi as a 'terrorist attack,' a shift in emphasis after days of describing the lethal assualt as a spontaneous eruption of anger over an anti-Islamic film made in California."  Today in Tripoli, the US State Dept's Deputy Secretary William J. Burns presided over a ceremony honoring Stevens, Doherty, Smith and Woods (link is text and video)
From Lugar's questions:
Ranking Member Richard Lugar:  Let me just follow on Senator Kerry's questioning because what he and you have described is a country which clearly is a sovereign country but without the hydrocarbons law which was anticipated so that the oil, the basic revenue for a good part of managing the government never came into being and therefore deals have been made by the Kurds on occassion with companies outside of Iraq, the sort of -- Commerce is proceeding, with or without the hydrocarbons law and therefore some dispersion of the wealth of the country, quite apart from some questions about how the Kurds fit in to this Iraq situation. Now, as you point out, two important laws, hydrocarbon and the Constitution basically. And the question, therefore, that Iraqis must have, quite apart from Americans, sort of getting back to testimony that we used to hear before this Committee in which some people were advocating that there really were three different countries or we ought to recognize really the realities of Iraq as opposed to having this fiction that there was one country and somehow or other this oil and this constitutional framework representing three major groups -- and others -- would come into being. How does a country operate given these divisions? Granted that Maliki has authority but from time to time there are reports of terrorism in Iraq against Iraqis -- quite apart from the Kurd situation which is hard to describe. And you mention these are still to happen but how do they move towards happening at all? Is there an impetus in the country towards unity, towards cohesion that we should say -- given patience and given time -- this is going to work out? Or is the trend maybe the other way given events in the Middle East, given the ties with Iran, whatever they may be, or the problem of Sunnis and Shi'ites everywhere? Is this really a solid country?
Charge d'Affaires Robert S. Beecroft: Thank you, Senator Lugar. Yes, I think it is. There's a solid basis for the country to go forward and succeed here. While there are forces that would pull Iraq apart, what we continue to see and what's encouraging is that Iraqis continue to-to resolve their differences through dialogue, through negotiation and so when they do have disputes, which they have frequently, to be perfectly honest, they find ways to resolve them peacefully and as part of this democratic process. Our job is to continue to encourage that and to support them as they do that and point out ways where they can do it more effectively. Hydrocarbons law, as you point out, is one way to do that, strengthening the legislative process is another way of doing that. Focusing on key -- helping them to focus on key laws that they need to pass as part of that legislative process -- For example, the, uh, law on the Higher Electoral Comission, putting new commissioners in place. These are the things that will help unify the country over time. Right now, I think it is headed in the right direction. But with plenty of ups and downs on the trend lines. We need to keep the trend line going and try to minimize the downs.
Ranking Member Richard Lugar: Is your counsel appreciated? Our enthusiasm in the United states is obviously for a unified, whole Iraq --
Charge d'Affaires Robert S. Beecroft: I think by and large, it -- We're listened to very closely. Most Iraqis will say the United States continues to have a role to play in Iraq and I think most Iraqis are committed to the same thing we're committed to which is a unified, federal and democratic Iraq.
Ranking Member Richard Lugar: Now you mentioned the relative security of our embassy and what have you. In the past, there's been considerable discussion, not only among diplomats but among the American public about the size in Iraq. There was discussion when this was first built -- a monumental structure, to say the least. I remember at one conference, I suggested in fact that this structure is so big that it might really serve as a unifying purpose for Middle Eastern countries -- a sort of united forum in which they would all come together -- or like the Hague or what have you. And some people found some interest in this even if the Iraqis did not necessarily nor could our government since its our embassy. But what is the future, simply of all of the real estate, all of the responsibilites? They're huge and this is going to be an ongoing debate, I'm certain, in the Congress as we come to budget problems in this country.
Charge d'Affaires Robert S. Beecroft: Uhm, thank you very much. We-we recognize that this is an issue we started with an embassy that was staffed to address all possible contingencies, to follow up on the wonderful work that the US military had done in Iraq. Since that time, and again starting with Ambassador [James] Jeffrey, and it's something that I personally am continuing and have been very closely involved in and we will pursue -- We're calling it a "glide path exercise" where we're looking at what our objectives are and how we are resourced and staffed to meet those objectives. And what we've found is that we can prioritize and can focus our mission and will continue to do that on what we really need to accomplish. And as we do that, we're able to reduce personnel. Since the beginning of the year, we have reduced personnel by more than 2,000. We're now somewhere between 13,000 and 14,000 personnel in Iraq -- down from over 16. Facilities? We have given back in the last couple of days, facilites we had in Kirkuk, had an airbase up there, and facilities we had in Baghdad for police training center. And we have another facility in the next few days which we'll give back also in Baghdad.  So we're reducing not just the number of personnel but we're reducing the number of pieces of property we occupy and use and we are very mindeful of the cost that it takes to support the mission in Iraq and I personally am dedicated to reducing those costs by again focusing on the mission on what we really need to achieve.
It continues but we're stopping him there. Yesterday, he got to have his say in the snapshot. We didn't fact check him because he's a diplomat and hopefully he doesn't believe half the happy talk he's saying but feels its necessary for relations should he be confirmed.
So when he claims that Iraq is resolving differences through politics, we just roll our eyes, think of the still unimplemented Erbil Agreement and chuckle.
But now we're to the part where his statements require a fact check.
If Republicans wanted to lodge an objection to the nomination -- they don't -- this is where it would come from:
Facilities? We have given back in the last couple of days, facilites we had in Kirkuk, had an airbase up there, and facilities we had in Baghdad for police training center. And we have another facility in the next few days which we'll give back also in Baghdad.  So we're reducing not just the number of personnel but we're reducing the number of pieces of property we occupy and use and we are very mindeful of the cost that it takes to support the mission in Iraq and I personally am dedicated to reducing those costs by again focusing on the mission on what we really need to achieve.
Do you see the problem?
Members of the Senate might not but House members most likely would immediately. It's not often the State Dept gets both caught lying in a hearing and fact checked in a hearing but that happened at the June 19th House Oversight and Government Reform's Subcommittee on National Security, Homeland Defense and Foreign Operations. The State Dept's Patrick Kennedy was confronted with the fact that the US government was using land in Iraq that they had not secured lease agreements for. That's why the police training facility in Bahgdad was turned over. Kennedy lied and thought he could get away with it. Apparently he forgot who was on the second panel: the US Government Accountability Office's Michael Courts, the State Dept's Acting Inspecting General Harold Geisel, DoD's Special Deputy Inspector General for Southwest Asia Mickey McDermott, USAID's Deputy Inspector General Michael Carroll and the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction Stuart Bowen Jr.
Acting Chair Blake Farenthold: Mr. Courts, Ambassador Kennedy and I got into a
discussion about the absence of or presence of land use agreements for the facilities
we have in Iraq do you have the current status for that information from your latest
eport as to what facilities we do and do not have land use agreements for?
Michael Courts: What Ambassador Kennedy may have been referring to that for 13 of
the 14 facilities the Iraqis have acknowledged a presence through diplomatic notes.
But there's still only 5 of the 14 for which we actually have explicit title land use
agreements or leases.

Acting Chair Blake Farenthold: Alright so I'm not -- I'm not a diplomat. So what does
that mean? They say, "Oh, you can use it until we change our minds" -- is that
basically what those are? Or is there some force of law to those notes?

Michael Courts: Well the notes are definitely not the same thing as having an explicit agreement. And as a matter of fact, there's already been one case where the Iraqis
required us to reconfigure, downsize one of our sites. And that was at one of the
sites where we did not have a land use agreement and so obviously we're in a much
more vulnerable position when there's not an explicit agreement.

After the elections, the House Oversight and Government Reform needs to hold a hearing about this. 
We have given back in the last couple of days, facilites we had in Kirkuk, had an airbase up there, and facilities we had in Baghdad for police training center. And we have another facility in the next few days which we'll give back also in Baghdad.
Unless something's changed since June, these facilities are being handed over for free.  And they're being handed over because the administration did not secure land-lease agreements.  The US taxpayer footed the bill.  And Beecroft is talking about how "we have another facility in the next few days which we'll give back also in Baghdad."  In June, Patrick Kennedy didn't give that impression.  In fact, he stated that the police training center in Baghdad was the only thing being given away and he lied that there were land-lease agreements for all properties.  Patrick Kennedy needs to be called before the Committee and asked why his testimony in June is in so much conflict with what's taken place in September.  If it were earlier in the year, it might happen.  But it will be hard to schedule the hearing in the brief amount of time left.  (October means all House members seeking re-election return home to campaign.  All 435 seats in the House are being elected.)  Possibly after the election, they can ask Patrick Kennedy to return and explain himself to the Committee?
Beecroft  told Lugar that protests in Iraq -- similar to others against the video in the region -- were mild.  I don't think that's an accurate description.  More to the point, he seemed unaware of a Tuesday action Dar Addustour reported.  An American flag was burned.  How is that any different from any other protest?  Well it was burned by an MP.  An elected official, a member of the Parliament burned it.  He is Hussein Aziz al-Sharifi.  And we're not done.  He didn't burn it in the streets of Basra, he burned it outside the US Embassy in Baghdad.  As a member of Parliament, he can enter the Green Zone.  So he was able to go in front of the US Embassy in Baghdad and burn the flag.  The Committee should have been informed of that.  Since Beecroft is acting US ambassador currently, he should have been informed of what happened outside the US Embassy on Tuesday before he testified to the Senate on Wednesday.  Let's remember what he told John Kerry about the safety in Iraq.
Charge d'Affaires Robert S. Beecroft: For some time now and all the more so in light of recent events we have taken a very cautious and careful look at our security on a regular basis.  We have our own security at the Embassy.  We think it is sizable.  It is robust.  And we're very confident that it's what we need at this time.  At the same time,  we're fully engaged with Iraqi officials both poltiical and security officials at the most senior levels to make sure that they give us the cooperation that we feel we need and so far they have done that.  They have pledged to protect us and we're doing everything   to ensure that they keep to that pledge and that we meet our part of it by ensuring that we're as safe as we can be on our terms.  At the same time, I'd comment, we enjoy geographic advantages.  The Embassy is located inside the International Zone, the Green Zone, as you know, and there are a number of checkpoints that are closely guarded getting into it.  It's not a place where demonstrations usually take place.
"It's not a place where demonstrations usually take place."  Chuckle implied.  But on Tuesday, a member of Parliament staged a protest, burned the US flag outside the Embassy.  That's a huge insult but, more importantly, it raises serious security questions.
And now we'll turn to a monumental moment for Congress in the continued Iraq War.  This took place during an exchange with Senator Bob Casey and try to remember when there were actual expectations for Iraq.
Acting Chair Bob Casey: I want to also ask you about the politics of Iraq.  We sometimes don't have a chance to spend enough time on an issue like that.  But I was struck when I was there in July -- I guess it was July of 2010 -- Senator [Jeanne] Shaheen and Senator Ted Kaufman from Delaware, the three of us were there.  Our visit to Iraq just happened to overlap with a visit from the Vice President [Joe Biden] so we had a moment -- probably a two hour window -- where we could actually sit with him and he had just come from a series of meetings with various Iraqi officials trying to work out the politics and the difficult management of that, doing everything he could to bring the sides together.  As you know a lot better than I, it's one thing to have political ideological differences, it's another thing when it has its origin in ethnicity and all kinds of other divisions, it's particularly difficult to bring the sides together.  Now the concern -- and I was also struck by how capable the Vice President was in dealing with that because he spent a lot of time with all these players. There's still a real concern that those politics haven't worked out as well as we'd  hoped.  And, in particular, there's a concern -- or maybe an allegation, that might be too strong of a word -- that Prime Minister Malaki is becoming more and more authoritarian.  And I wanted to get your sense of that and your sense of the overall politics because that of course will be the underpinning of progress.  They can't make progress to the extent that we would hope unless they can manage those political differences. So I wanted to get your sense of that and maybe what you could do to further advance those -- those areas of cooperation or consensus.
Charge d'Affaires Robert S. Beecroft: Thank you.  There clearly are divisions within Iraq and different interests in Iraq but what we see and what's encouraging is that the parties -- when they have disputes, when they have differences -- that at the end of the day, they come together to talk and negotiate this -- their differences.  And they continue to function as democracy, they continue to work in the legislature, in the Council of Ministers and outside it in in formal processes or official processes and find their way forward.  Now it's often times a slow protracted process. It certainly does not move at the pace that we would like to see or at the efficiency that we would like to see.  But as I see it, our role is largely to encourage this, to point -- to be helpful in pointing out ways forwards, ways things might be done, the way they might be able to compromise or reach consensus on issues.  And then to be as helpful as possible to help them avoid any backsliding on those agreements and to find ways to help consolidate them.  And we'll continue doing that as best we can.  But, again, I'd like to reiterate that the encouraging thing is that Iraq has not fallen apart, that it has held together.
The encouraging this is that Iraq has not fallen apart?  Do you really think the US government would have had such a 'cakewalk' of selling the illegal war in 2002 and 2003 if they'd told the American people that "success" would be measured by the fact "that Iraq has not fallen apart."  Wow.  What a lowered expectation.  The encouraging thing is that Iraq has not fallen apart?
Ranking Member Richard Lugar noted early in the hearing, "Though some significant down-sizing has occurred, the Iraq operation continue to be enormously expensive. How does the administration define US goals in Iraq? What are the prospects for achieving these goals? And what resources will be required over the long term?"  Those are important questions.  They weren't answered in the hearing -- and no nominee could have been expected to answer them.  But the administration needs to.  Bush had to come up with benchmarks to justify the continued spending of US tax dollars.  Barack should have to as well.
And, no, Iraq 'not falling apart' doesn't justify a billion, a million or even a single penny for a continued US mission.
Nouri al-Maliki is not a thin man. He'd probably best be described as stocky (not fat, stocky). In a sign of just how large Jalal Talabani, President of Iraq, now is, the photo Dar Addustour runs indicates it would take over three Nouris to make one Jalal. Talabani just returned to Iraq this week from Germany, where's he been since June following knee surgery.  His huge girth isn't healthy and that would explain why Wael Grace (Al Mada) reports Nouri was checking on Jalal's health with the visit and why  All Iraq News reports Sheikh Bashir al-Najafi phoned Talabani today to check on Jalal's health.  The outlet also notes that the National Alliance's Ibrahim al-Jaafari visited Jalal in Sulaymaniyah.  Accompanying Nouri to Sulaymaniyah and then to Najaf, Alsumaria reports,  was the human clutch purse Saleh al-Mutlaq.  No doubt, Saleh walked behind Nouri as he played Jiang Qing to Nouri's Chairman Mao.
Chairman Mao's rule was characterized by a wave of purges.  Nouri has so much in common with Mao.  Alsumaria reports tribal elders in Salahuddin Province are saying that the work of the Justice and Accountability Commission should be concluded and that a law should be passed dissolving the commission.  And their demand is correct.  The Justice and Accountability Commission was not supposed to be a standing committee.  It was supposed to term out.  Nouri, in fact, in 2007 promised it would do just that.  That was part of the benchmarks he signed onto.  It wasn't supposed to exist in 2010 -- remember how Saleh al-Mutlaq decried it, especially after it banned him -- but was used to eliminate political rivials.  It's not supposed to exist today and, as long as it exists, the damaging de-Ba'athification of Iraq continues.  (De-Ba'athifcation refers to the policy Paul Bremer implemented in Iraq on behalf of the Bush White House.  This policy was repeatedly and widely condemned by British officials testifying to the Iraq Inquiry in London.)  In related news, Dar Addustour reports that the Chair of the Parliament's Commission on Security and Defense, Hassan Sinead, has signed an order allowing MPs to purchase personal weapons because, as the document notes, members of Parliament don't trust the so-called security forces to protect them.
And who can trust Nouri?  Alsumaria reports State of Law is attempting to collect signatures to force KRG President Massoud Barzani to submit to an interrogation before Parliament.
Earlier this week a drone the Turkish government got from the United States crashed in Dohuk.  All Iraq News reports that the PKK is stating they shot the drone down.  In other shooting news, Al Rafidayn reports that 1 government employee was shot dead in Baghdad and that a police officer with counter-terrorism survived a Tikrit assassination attempt (bombing).  All Iraq News adds that 1 person was shot dead in Mosul.  Alsumaria notes a suicide bomber blew his/herself up in Diyala Province (no one else was injured), 1 member of the Association of Muslim Scholars was shot dead in Nineveh,  and 1 corpse was discovered in Mosul.
In the US, Jill Stein is the Green Party presidential candidate.  Her campaign issued the following today:
Earlier this week, the Obama administration announced plans to challenge Monday's federal court ruling protecting American liberty from the NDAA. In response, Dr. Jill Stein issued the following statement today:
It is important for everyone concerned with the preservation of liberty in America to stand up now against the Obama administration's attempt to defend the indefinite detention provisions of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

Thanks to a lawsuit brought by journalist Chris Hedges and others, a federal judge ruled that indefinite detention is unconstitutional.  The judge said that it could allow a president to indefinitely imprison journalists - or anyone else they considered to be in some way assisting the enemy in the War on Terror - without charging them with a specific crime or giving them a chance to defend themselves in court.  The judge noted that this would have a chilling effect upon journalists reporting stories that displeased the government.
The judge told the Obama administration that they could not use the law.  The response of the Administration was to file for an emergency measure to keep the law in effect while they appeal the ruling.

Indefinite detention without trial is used to suppress dissent by dictators around the world.  It is the type of oppressive executive power that our Constitution was written to forbid.   It's time to tell President Obama that it doesn't belong in America.

Please don't let this pass without raising your voice.  Once your rights are taken away, it will be too late to protest.

This isn't just a matter for the lawyers to decide.  This threat to our constitutional rights is arising from a "look tough" political strategy adopted by the Obama administration.  The Administration needs to understand that continuing down this path will exact a political price.  They must be told that Americans resent their attempts to defend a law that undermines the constitution.

I and my running mate, Cheri Honkala, have opposed the indefinite detention provision from the time President Obama signed it.  We also urge people to
join us in signing the "First Amendment Pledge" against the use of military-style police tactics to intimidate people demonstrating against government policies (See ).  We will continue to speak up against the ongoing attempts to militarize our justice system and undermine our rights of free speech.
Read on ...

Thursday, September 13, 2012

The Pig-Pen Ambassador

The Pig-Pen Ambassador

From April 5, 2009, that's "The Pig-Pen Ambassador."  Chris Hill.  And it's one of my most popular cartoons of the Barack era.  How come?

I think in part because Chris is so hated.  I also think because it captured Chris.

He really did show up a slob at his confirmation hearing.  My idea for the comic?  I just wanted to amplify what C.I. had reported on the confirmation hearing and give it a visual.

Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Thursday, September 13, 2012.  Chaos and violence continue, Nouri cracks down on beer, Iraq's president may finally return to the country, Iraq's LGBT community remains persecuted, Elise Labott has some tough questions for the State Dept, and more.
Al Mada reports that the Kurdistan Alliance is stating that Iraqi President Jalal Talabani will return next week and address the political problems plaguing the country while Kurdish MP Mahmoud Othman states that there is no will among the political blocs to resolve the ongoing crisis.  In March 2010, Iraq held parliamentary elections.  Nouri al-Maliki, thug and prime minister, was not pleased with the results which saw his State of Law slate come in second to the Ayad Allawi-led Iraqiya.  Furious that he was not allowed, per the Constitution, first crack at forming a government, Nouri through a public tantrum for eight months -- with the backing of the White House -- and this is known as Political Stalemate I.  It ends in November 2010 only as a result of the US-brokered Erbil Agreement. 
This contract was an agreement between the leaders of the various political blocs and it gave Nouri a second term as prime minister in exchange for his making various concessions.  Nouri used the contract to get his second term and then trashed the contract.  By the summer of 2011, Iraqiya, Moqtada al-Sadr and the Kurds were calling for a return to the Erbil Agreement and that's when the second political stalemate begins.  In December 2011, Nouri demands that Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi be arrested for 'terrorism' and that Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlaq be stripped of his post (due to remarks al-Mutlaq made to CNN).  Both al-Hashemi and al-Mutlaq are members of Iraqiya and Sunni.  This move begins the political crisis. 
Numerous attempts at addressing the political crisis have thus far failed.  This includes Moqtada, KRG President Massoud Barzani and Ayad Allawi attempting to launch a no-confidence vote in Parliament.  That was deralied by Jalal Talabani before Talabani fled to Germany.  It may yet happen.  It also includes Jalal and Speaker of Parliament Osama al-Nujaifi's call for a National Conference to address the political crisis.  Nouri stalled and objected and, in the end, managed to kill it the day it was scheduled to start.  Talabani has returned to his call for a National Conference.
Nouri's being in charge hasn't brought safety to Iraq but has allowed him to demonstrate similarities to Saddam Hussein.  Like Iraq's former and now deceased leader, Nouri doesn't like freedom and doesn't really like people too much.  
Dropping back to the September 5th snapshot for Nouri and his thugs:

In other violence,  Alsumaria reports that armed forces in police uniforms attacked various social clubs in Baghdad yesterday, beating various people and firing guns in the air.  They swarmed clubs and refused to allow anyone to leave but did make time to beat people with the butss of their rifles and pistols, they then destroyed the clubs.  AFP adds, "Special forces units carried out near-simultaneous raids at around 8:00 pm (1700 GMT) on Tuesday 'at dozens of nightclubs in Karrada and Arasat, and beat up customers with the butts of their guns and batons,' said an interior ministry official, speaking on condition of anonymity. 'Artists who were performing at the clubs were also beaten,' the official said."  The assaults were ordered by an official who reports only to Nouri al-Maliki. In related news the Great Iraqi Revolution posted video Friday of other attacks on Iraqi civilians by security forces and noted, "Very important :: a leaked video show Iraqi commandos during a raid to Baaj village and the arrest of all the young men in the village .they threatened the ppl of the village they will make them another Fallujah and they do not mind arresting all village's men and leave only women . they kept detainees in a school, and beating them, u can see they burned a car of one of the citizens"
September 6h, Alsumaria noted that Iraqiya, led by Ayad Allawi, has called out the assault on the social clubs and states that it is violation of the Constitution as well as basic human rights.  Iraqiya spokesperson Maysoun al-Damalouji called on the security forces to respect the rights of the citizens.  Tamim al-Jubouri (Al Mada) added that the forces working for Nouri attacked many clubs including Club Orient which was established in 1944 and that the patrons including Chrisitans who were surprised Tuesday night when Nouri's forces entered and began breaking furniture, beat patrons and employees and stole booze, cell phones and clothing.  So they're not only bullies, they're also theives.  Kitabat explained that the people were attacked with batons and gun butts including a number of musicians who were performing live in the club including singer Hussein Basri.  Alsumaria added that the Baghdad Provincial Council states that they were not informed of the assaults on social clubs.
Unexpected raids on Baghdad's bars, as well as beaten customers, shocked locals last week. But it's not just drinkers who are upset. Activists say it's the government's latest plan to curb personal freedoms while MPs pondering re-election in the mainly-Muslim nation haven't said a word.   
Last week, government security forces raided a number of clubs, bars and other establishments in Baghdad without warning, closing many of them by force that same night. The clubs seem to have been targeted both because they were selling alcohol and because they hosted known intellectual cliques. As a result, the attack has raised serious fears of an attack on personal freedoms and concerns that Islamic parties are trying impose their religious ideology on other Iraqis.
Although Iraq is a mainly Muslim nation and Islam forbids the consumption of alcohol, there are also diverse minorities in Iraq and many of these allow alcohol drinks; often members of these groups will be the ones that run bars or liquor stores.  
And on September 4, a number of clubs, bars and restaurants in the affluent Baghdad neighbourhoods of Karrada and Arasat were raided. Many of the patrons on the night – and this included members of the security forces and other officials – were injured or beaten as a result.
 One eyewitness told NIQASH that the raiders had been violent. "They were brutal," he said. "They entered and told us all to get out immediately. They then went around smashing everything up, including tables and chairs. And then those who were guarding the entrance started beating the people who were trying to leave with sticks and their rifle butts."
Ahmed al-Utabi, a well-known poet, was at the Writer's Union Club when it was stormed by security forces. "At first, we thought there was a bomb or an explosive device inside the club and that was why the security forces asked us to leave," al-Utabi said. "Then we were really surprised to see them smashing everything up inside the club."
In addition, Nouri has overseen the targeting of Iraq's LGBT community.  This week, BBC kicked off a look at the persecution of Iraq's gay community.  Natalia Antelava, Peter Murtaugh, Bill McKenna and Daniel Nasaw's investigative report is the cornerstone of that coverage.  Excerpt:
Natalia Antelava: In a tiny stuffy room, Ahmed, Nancy and Allou are hiding from their families and the police.  All three have received death threats.  Ahmed has not left this room for over two months now. 
Ahmed: I came here because I was gay and I was threatened by my family -- my immediate family -- and some unknown guys from my neighborhood.  The situation a few years ago was very bad.  But at that time, they did not pay any attention to gays.  Now they have nothing to do but look for gays -- to kill them.
Allou: The threat is much bigger now than before.  It's not only the militias now.  It's the police, the government who are going after us.
Natalia Antelava: I really wish we could show you their faces.  Ahmed's got big, dark, worried eyes on his thin face.  Nancy's really pretty and I would have never guessed that she was born male.  And Allou's got this very trendy haircut which would be completely normal in the West but here in Iraq, this sort of hair could get you killed.  Nancy is especially vulnerable in Iraq.  Born a transgender, she dreams of a sex change operation but it is impossible to have it done in Iraq, she says, and she has no way of leaving the country.
Nancy: My mom tried to persuade me to act like a man because I am supposed to be a man   I couldn't.  She didn't know what was inside me.  She couldn't understand that.  I can't tell you how many times I've been raped at checkpoints -- with the police, it's countless.  The worst incident was at a checkpoint on Al Sadun street.  They asked me for my ID, then asked me to get out of the car.  It was dark.  They put me against the blast wall.  Nine of them raped me.   There was nothing I could do.  If I had resisted, they would have arrested me.
Natalia Antelava:  If you could have anything that you wanted, what kind of life would you want to have?
Nancy: I want to live the life I want.  I want to be a woman and to be treated like one.  I am a human being and this is my right.
Natalia Antelava:  It's not just transgender, Allou had been raped too.   And I heard many other similar stories -- gay men, with even a slightly feminine appearance say they're often raped by police at checkpoints.
Allou:  I am so tired, so sad.  I have no freedom.  I can't say that I am gay.  I can't live my life.  I can't go home.  I have to stay here doing nothing and just wait.
[. . .]
Natalia Antelava:  Radical milita groups are believed to be behind this hit list.  Although officially they've been disbanded, militias still pose the greatest threat to homosexuals. But those we spoke to say that they're just as fearful of countless police and military checkpoints that are supposed to be making Baghdad safe.  This checkpoint is manned by the Interior Ministry troops.  But in Iraq, one's uniform never tells you the full story.   In this country, you can be a police man by day, a militia man by night.  These blurred lines and mixed allegiances have made it easy for the government to blame militia groups for the killings of gays. But we've discovered evidence that directly links the police with attacks on gays in Iraq. Qais is gay and a former police man. He told me he had been ordered to go after homosexuals.  He couldn't refuse and so he quit his job.
Qais: In 2006, 2007 and 2008, we were busy fighting terrorsm.  We didn't pay attention to gays.  On top of it, the Iraqi government had to respect the rule of law when the Americans and the British were here.  But now?  They have a lot of free time and the police are going after gays.
Natalia Antelava:  Have you ever been called to arrest gays or kill gays or go after gays in any way?
Qais:  Yes, twice.  We had to arrest this guy.  He was having an argument with someone.  Once they arrested him, they accused him of being gay. We were told to send him to another town where he was wanted for being gay.  We sent him to that town and he disappeared.  His family came to ask about him and we sent them to another town where they could not find him. Then they got a death certificate from the police but they never got the body.
Natalia Antelava:  With so much secrecy, fear and loathing, it's difficult to establish the exact level of the government's involvement in the persecution. But 17 gay men interviewed for this investigation said they believed they were being singled out and hunted by the state. 
And they are right to feel that way, the government is often behind it, Nouri is often behind it.
For example, in March of this year, the world's attention turned to the attacks on Iraqi youth -- Emo kids and gay Iraqis -- and those suspected of being both or either.
Who gave the orders for that targeting?
The Ministry of Interior.  They put it on paper.
Nouri is the head of the Ministry of the Interior.
He refused to nominate anyone to that post or any of the security posts.  He is in charge of the Ministry of the Interior.  It was Ministry of Interior forces that did the targeting, it was those forces that went into schools to talk up the 'threat' these young people posed.  Nouri was responsible. 
Iraqi LGBT's Ali Hilli writes about the persecution of the LGBT community in Iraq for the BBC:

Members of our organisation and the gay men and women we interviewed have said consistently that, under arrest, they have been forced to give names and addresses of other homosexuals or suspected homosexuals.Taken together, this is why we believe the Ministry of the Interior tracks sexual minorities with the aim of eliminating them.
Iraq LGBT is based in London, and it has become increasingly dangerous for us to operate inside Iraq. But we have been trying.
This is Nouri's Iraq, where safety and security are elusive and Nouri is forever adding to his enemies list.  Vice President al-Hashemi got on that list and Nouri ordered him arrested and charged with terrorism.  al-Hashemi was already in the KRG by that time and KRG President Massoud Barzani offered him asylum.  al-Hashemi currently resides in Turkey.  Sunday, Ramadan al-Fatash (DPA) explained "that a Baghdad court sentenced in absentia Iraq's vice president, Tareq al-Hashemi, to death on terrorism charges. Al-Hashemi, Iraq's most senior Sunni Muslim official, has called the charges a political ploy by the Shiite-led government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki."   Lara Jakes (AP) reported, "The Baghdad courtroom was silent Sunday as the presiding judge read out the verdict convicting al-Hashemi and his son-in-law of organizing the murders of a Shiite security official and a lawyer who had refused to help the vice president's allies in terror cases. The court sentenced both men in absentia to death by hanging. They have 30 days to appeal the verdict."   Sam Dagher and Ali A. Nabhan (Wall Street Journal) observed, "Many saw the verdict against Tariq al-Hashemi -- a prominent Sunni politician who has professed his innocence and has been sheltered by the Sunni Islamist-led government in Turkey since April -- coupled with Sunday's attacks as emboldening those among Iraq's Sunni minority who see violent confrontation rather than politics as the only way to regain powers lost to the Shiite majority after the U.S.-led ouster of Saddam Hussein's regime more than nine years ago."  Omar al-Jawoshy and Michael Schwirtz (New York Times) quoted Talabani stating on Monday, "It was regrettable to issue, at this particular time, a judicial decision against him while he still officially holds office."  Today, Speaker of Parliament Osama al-Nujaifi, Alsumaria notes, has declared that the death sentence for Tareq al-Hashemi could negatively effect any chances of resolving the political crisis. 
al-Hashemi?   Nouri's Blonde Boyfriend resurfaced today with exciting, new 'analysis.'  He's back to show either his ignorance or his ability to lie -- you decide.  He can't get the facts right because they interfere with the 'logic' of his argument.  He wants you to know that al-Hashemi's story is being misconstrued by everyone and that "It should be remembered that the initial, dramatic reaction to the prosecution of Mr Al Hashemi back in December 2011 ([. . .]) was the withdrawal from the political process of the political alliance to which he belongs, the secular Iraqiya coalition."
What a stupid ass.  Or maybe he's just a non-stop liar?
Iraqiya announced a week before the events in dumb ass parenthetical that they were considering withdrawaing.  They withdrew on a Friday.  The following Sunday, Tareq and Saleh al-Mutlaq attempted to fly from Baghdad to the KRG, were taken on the plane and briefly detained before being allowed to fly to the KRG and the next day, Monday, was when the arrest warrant was issued.  Dumb ass doesn't know a damn thing or just likes to lie.
Those are the choices: Stupid or damn liar.
Unlike the twit who Tweets, I can back up what I say.  We have archives at this site and I am known for memory.   So let's drop back to the April 30th snapshot:

The political crisis was already well in effect when December 2011 rolled around.  The press rarely gets that fact correct.  When December 2011 rolls around you see Iraqiya announce a  boycott of the council and the Parliament, that's in the December 16th snapshot and again in a December 17th entry .  Tareq al-Hashemi is a member of Iraqiya but he's not in the news at that point.  Later, we'll learn that Nouri -- just returned from DC where he met with Barack Obama -- has ordered tanks to surround the homes of high ranking members of Iraqiya.  December 18th is when al-Hashemi and Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlaq are pulled from a Baghdad flight to the KRG but then allowed to reboard the plane. December 19th is when the arrest warrant is issued for Tareq al-Hashemi by Nouri al-Maliki who claims the vice president is a 'terrorist.' .
Again, I can back up what I say.   And, in fact, just did.  Use the links to those entries and you'll see that the boycott was announced on a Friday (December 16th).
It's people like Nouri's Blonde Boyfriend who repeatedly damage any grown up conversation about Iraq by 'fixing' 'facts' to suit their arguments.
It's a fact that provincial elections are supposed to take place next year and it is hoped that they can be held in March.  For that to happen, certain details need to be finalized now. 
All Iraq News reports that State of Law MP Khalid al-Attiyah declared today that State of Law is objecting to ratifying nine commissioners for the Independent High Electoral Commission .  Alsumaria adds State of Law is charging fraud in the vote.  They appear to be upset specifically over the proposal to increase the number of commissioners from 9 to 15.  The terms of the current commissioners long ago expired -- the Parliament has extended them by 30 days and, more recently, by 15.  But what needs to happen is a new commission.  July 19th, Martin Kobler, the UN Secretary-General's special envoy to Iraq, testified before the UN Security Council.  He had this to say regarding the Independent High Electoral Commission:
Mr. President, there is no democracy without elections and there are no credible elections without a strong and truly independent election commission.  As we speak, my political deputy, Mr. [Gyorgy Busztin], is engaged in facilitation efforts to bring about the formation of a new, Independent High Election Commission which is representative of the main components of Iraq -- including women and children and minorities.  The urgent selection of the commissioners is essential for ensuring that the provincial council elections due to take place in March 2013 can be conducted on time. I'm concerned that the ongoing political stalemate is hindering the process however.  In recent days, I have discussed with political leaders -- including Prime Minister al-Maliki -- the need for a swfit conclusion of this political process and the need for an adequate representation of women and minorities in the commission. Today, I would like to re-iterate my appeal to all political blocs to expedite the selection of professional commissioners.  UNAMI stands here ready to actively assist. 
Alsumaria reports KRG Deputy Speaker of Parliament Arslan Bayez declared today that disputed Kirkuk is part of Kurdistan and that Article 140 of the Constitution needs to be applied.  He also stated that the Kurds believe in the principle of coexistence and dialogue.  Oil-rich Kirkuk is a disputed region with both the KRG and the centeral-government based in Baghdad attempting to claim it.  How do you resolve the two claims?  The Iraqi Constitution explains how in Article 140: 
The responsibility placed upon the executive branch of the Iraqi Transitional Government stipulated in Article 58 of the Transitional Administrative Law shall extend and continue to the executive authority elected in accordance with this Constitution, provided that it accomplishes completely (normalization and census and concludes with a referendum in Kirkuk and other disputed territories to determine the will of their citiznes), by a date not to exceed the 31st of December 2007. 
Well that's pretty clear.  Good thing they've got to December 2007 to . . . . Oh, wait, that's already passed.  Yes, during Nouri al-Maliki's first term as prime minister he refused to implement Article 140 of the Constitution he took an oath to uphold.  And he's continued to refuse to implement it all these years later.   Adnan Hussein (Rudaw) reports a parliamentary committee exists that's supposed to be addressing the issues; however, "Although the province of Kirkuk is at the center of discussions about the disputed territories, the committee doesn't have any members from the area despite the province having six representatives in Iraqi Parliament." 
In other news sure to tick off Nouri, Press TV reports, "The Kurdistan Region's Council of Ministers has approved a national genocide institute.  The institute will bring together international genocide experts alongside local parliamentarians, academics and activists.  It is hoped that the institute will make work on the genocide more systematic and organised."  The Kurds are said to be the largest ethnic minority in the world without their own homeland.   Among the groups calling for a Kurdish homeland is the PKK.   Alsumaria also reports that Turkish warplanes today continued bombing suspected PKK and, in the process, destroyed two historic churches in Dohuk Province.     Aaron Hess (International Socialist Review) described the PKK in 2008, "The PKK emerged in 1984 as a major force in response to Turkey's oppression of its Kurdish population. Since the late 1970s, Turkey has waged a relentless war of attrition that has killed tens of thousands of Kurds and driven millions from their homes. The Kurds are the world's largest stateless population -- whose main population concentration straddles Turkey, Iraq, Iran, and Syria -- and have been the victims of imperialist wars and manipulation since the colonial period. While Turkey has granted limited rights to the Kurds in recent years in order to accommodate the European Union, which it seeks to join, even these are now at risk."
Iraqis continue to be at risk as violence grips the country.  Alsumaria reports a Falluja roadside bombing claimed the life of 1 police officer and left three more injured, a Ramadi car bombing left five people injured, a Falluja roadside bombing left three people injured, a Nineveh car bombing left six people injured, a Mosul attack claimed the life of 1 person (and the person was the cousin of an Iraqiya MP) and Salahuddin roadside bombing claimed 4 lives and left one person injured. AFP adds that a Dhuluiyah roadside bombing claimed the lives of 4 Iraqi soldiers with another left wounded.  
Turning to diplomacy, Trend News Agency notes that William Hague, UK Minister of Foreign Affairs, arrived in Iraq yesterday.  BBC News adds, "During his stay, Mr Hague will meet senior Iraqi figures, including Prime Minister Nouri Maliki and Foreign Minister Hoshiyar Zerbari."   Still on diplomatic issues,  Kitabat notes that after the scandal that was Brett McGurk's nomination to be US Ambassador to Iraq, US President Barack Obama has now nominated Robert Stephen Beecroft to the post.  Beecroft is currently Charge d'Affaires at the US Embassy in Baghdad and the paper states he is little known in political circiels but has a personal relationship with the Shi'ite National Alliance coalition and is seen "as a proponent of Nouri al-Maliki and his policies."  The Senate Foreign Relations Committee has scheduled the confirmation hearing for Robert S. Beecroft for next Tuesday morning.
MONTAGNE: And earlier this morning, reporter Hadeel al-Shalchi of Reuters, who's in Benghazi, described these events. Word spread of the protest in Cairo against a film that insulted Islam. Protesters headed to the consulate in Libya and the situation escalated.
INSKEEP: A lot of guns in Benghazi, Libya, things became more and more violent. And later, she says, it began to seem like an organized attack because of mortar fire that appeared to be carefully targeted. That's the information from Benghazi, Libya.
NPR's Dina Temple-Raston is here in the U.S. She's been talking with U.S. officials. And Dina, what is their timeline of what happened when in Benghazi?
DINA TEMPLE-RASTON, BYLINE: Well, the U.S. consulate in Benghazi is in this temporary compound that's basically made up of a main building, a couple of auxiliary buildings and an annex. And when they provided this timeline, they said that around 10:00 p.m. Libya time, Tuesday night, the compound started taking small arms fire. And then maybe 15 minutes later there was a rocket-propelled grenade that went into the main building and then set it on fire.
There were three people in that main building - Ambassador Stevens, a U.S. information officer named Sean Smith, and a regional security guard. And apparently these rocket-propelled grenades set the main building on fire, so they were trying to escape. And there was smoke and fire. The security guard made it out. Ambassador Stevens apparently hadn't. In the confusion they lost track of him.
And it took about half an hour for a handful of men to get back into the main building to look for the ambassador, because they were under such heavy fire. When they finally got back into the main building, they found Sean Smith. He had died there. But they couldn't find the ambassador anywhere. And by then it was about midnight.
MONTAGNE: And Dina, how exactly - 'cause there was a little confusion about this yesterday - how exactly did Ambassador Stevens die? And then what happened to him?
TEMPLE-RASTON: Well, there still is a lot of confusion about exactly how he died. When they eventually got into the main building and they realized that the ambassador was no longer there, and they didn't know how - where he was or how he left the compound, they found out later that he was apparently taken to a local hospital, but it's unclear how he got there. It's unclear whether he died in the compound or died at the hospital.
They think that local Libyans took him to the hospital, but the circumstances around that are still unclear. The next time U.S. officials saw the ambassador was when the Libyans dropped his body off at the airport.
MONTAGNE: And let me ask you just one more thing. The other two Americans who died, they have never been named - so far. Why is that?
TEMPLE-RASTON: They haven't been named because they are trying to contact their next of kin. We understand the other two who died are likely to be security people. But they're trying to contact their next of kin before they release those names.
INSKEEP: So the timeline that U.S. officials give suggests an incident that escalated fairly quickly. You're saying within maybe 15 minutes there were rocket-propelled grenades being fired. It became this battle for control of a building. You said that Sean Smith, the U.S. embassy employee, was killed at that time, that the ambassador disappeared, two other Americans died along the way along with a number of Libyans.
Elise Labott:  Can you talk a little bit more about the security that was at the Embassy? It seems that for an area such as Benghazi, where there was a lot of instability, there were very few guards there. And can you talk about whether the U.S. asked Libya, the Libyan Government, earlier in the week for extra security precaution and whether that – extra security precautions or security personnel and whether that request was fulfilled?
Victoria Nuland: Well, let me start by reminding you that we are extremely cautious in any circumstances about talking publicly about our security arrangements. You can understand that the more you talk about these things, the more difficult it is to maintain security at your facilities. So --
Elise Labott:  It does seem though that there were very few security personnel at this location.
Victoria Nuland:  I'm going to reject that, Elise. Let me tell you what I can about the security at our mission in Benghazi. It did include a local Libyan guard force around the outer perimeter. This is the way we work in all of our missions all around the world, that the outer perimeter is the responsibility of the host government. There was obviously a physical perimeter barrier, a wall. And then there was a robust American security presence inside the compound. This is absolutely consistent with what we have done at a number of missions similar to Benghazi around the world.
Elise Labott:   Could you talk about whether a request was made to the Libyan Government as early as Sunday or Monday and whether that – for additional security precautions, given the fact that there was some trouble in the area, and whether that request was fulfilled?
Victoria Nuland:  I'm not prepared to talk about specific diplomatic engagements between us and the Libyans on security, either before or after.
Elise Labott:   Well, I mean, I have to take issue with that, because there have been several incidents, including you from the podium, throughout the Arab Spring where you've said –
Victoria Nuland: Right.
Elise Labott:   -- that you've talked about discussions with the various governments –
Victoria Nuland: Right.
Elise Labott: -- about needing additional security precautions – the Syrians, for instance –
Victoria Nuland: Right.
Elise Labott:  -- which was one of the reasons that you closed your Embassy, because those precautions were not taken. So why would this be any different?
Victoria Nuland:  Elise, I'm happy to see whether there's more that we can share on this, but I don't have it today.
The attack was supposedly a violent response to a film/video posted online, made by an American or someone in the United States.
Al Mada notes that a group of Iraqi scientists led by Khalid al-Mulla stated that the US needed to use all means necessary to stop the film and others like it.  The group lumps the US into abuse by "Zionists" globally -- while wanting tolerance for their own religious beliefs.  All Iraq News notes the Iraqi Parliament is calling for the US Congress to stop the film.  Freedom of speech has obviously not been explained well.   Alsumaria reports hundreds turned out in Kut today to protest the film.  All Iraq News notes Sadrists in Karbala launched a protest as well.  For the record, there were no protests reported objecting to the murders of four Americans.  For the record, the scientists and the Parliament was not reported to have made any comments condemning the four deaths.  AGI reports, " Hundreds of people took to the streets in Baghdad, in the suburb district of Sadr City, burning US flags. Protests jointly staged by Sunni and Shia Muslims were also reported in Iraq's southern city of Basra."  You can briefly see the Baghdad protest in Danielle Nottingham's CBS report (link is video).
In addition, the Voice of Russia reports that al Qaeda in Mespotamia linked group Asaib al-Haq's has issued a message from their leader attacking a film that those who rioted and murdered used as their excuse for their actions.   The leader of Asaib al-Haq appears to threaten Americans.  Appears to?  The English language is not mastered in this statement: "The offence caused to the messenger (Prophet Mohammad) will put all American insterests in danger and we will not forgive them for that."  Forgive who?  The Americans most likely but the poorly worded statement could also be seen as saying that "them" is the film makers.  Most likely?  They are the League of Righteous.  You may remember that they killed five American soldiers.  CNN reminds the five US soldiers killed "were: Capt. Brian S. Freeman, 31, of Temecula, California; 1st Lt. Jacob N. Fritz, 25, of Verdon, Nebraska; Spc. Johnathan B. Chism, 22, of Gonzales, Louisiana; Pfc. Shawn P. Falter, 25, of Cortland, New York; and Pfc. Johnathon M. Millican, 20, of Trafford, Alabama."   You may remember that the US military had the leader, his brother and a number of other members in custody and Barack Obama made a deal with the League to release them so they would release the corpses of four dead citizens of the United Kingdom.  You may remember how the leader grumbled publicly about the deal made and refused to release the fourth body for over a year.  AP adds, "The U.S. Embassy in Baghdad remains the world's largest American diplomatic mission, with an estimated 15,000 employees."
Read on ...
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