The Common Ills


Wednesday, June 15, 2016
Did the sacred cow moo?

Did the sacred cow moo?

Supposed news outlets have crowded out genuine Iraq coverage to note a Donald Trump topic.  To misnote it actually.  And a variety of gas bags and idiots are weighing in expressing shock.

I don't consider Cher an idiot (she is wrong on this, though) and I consider her genuine so I have no problem quoting her.


😡2DAY🚽TRUMP,ACCUSED VETS WHO FOUGHT IN IRAQ OF STEALING MONEY😤HE SAID“WOULD LIKE 2 KNOW WHO WERE SOLDIERS W/💰I THINK THEYRE LIVING WELL”WTF





No one else deserves to be quoted.


I'm really sick of the faux outrage, ginned up to the max.

(I'm not referring to Cher.  Like myself, Cher has disliked Donald Trump for years.  That dislike would be in place whether he was the GOP nominee or not.  The same cannot be said for many of the other commentators.)


So Donald Trump said some US military stole funds?  (Supposedly, he may have walked it back to Iraqi soliders.)

So what?

What's wrong in that statement?






SLATE's headline for Julie Harte's May 5, 2015 article reads "The Fraud of War: U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan have stolen tens of millions through bribery, theft, and rigged contracts."  The article addressed how "at least 115 enlisted personnel and military officers [have been] convicted since 2005 of committing theft, bribery, and contract-rigging crimes valued at $52 million during their deployments in Afghanistan and Iraq, according to a comprehensive tally of court records by the Center for Public Integrity."


Now I'm sorry I live in a lazy country where people would rather watch 'reality' TV than keep up with what the government that's supposed to represent them is actually doing.  (For those who have given up due to disgust -- as opposed to being lazy -- my apologies.  I sympathize and understand completely your disgust.)

I'm sorry they're more over entertained than overweight.

But that's the reality.


It's also true everyone thinks they know everything.

I don't comment on Ukraine here.

I don't pretend to be up to speed or have any expertise.

But people who can't tell you one damn thing about Iraq since Bully Boy Bush left office love to pretend that they know something.

They don't know a damn thing.

And, again, maybe turn off the 'reality' show for an hour a day and try educating yourself to what's going on in the world -- or else just comment on celebrity gossip.

I was at the hearings on waste and reconstruction -- both the Congressional ones and the Democratic Policy Commmittee ones (those stopped the minute the Democrats took back the White House).

Here are some figures from the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction's final report -- an investigation update issued in September of 2013:


SIGIR Convictions, by Affiliation of Wrongdoer, as of 8/31/2013

Other 1 (1%)
Contractor (DoD) 20 (22%)
USG Civilian (DoD) 4 (4%)
Foreign Military 3 (3%)
Contractor (non-DoD) 5 (6%)
USG Civilian (non-DoD) 3 Civilian (3%)
U.S. Military/ Military Dependent 51 (57%)
Note: Percentages affected by rounding.


In the report, you'll read of things like:

On June 5, 2013, Azubuike Ukabam, a former U.S. Army captain, pled guilty to willfully failing to notify the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) that he had a financial interest exceeding $10,000 in a foreign bank account. While serving at Forward Operating Base (FOB) Justice in 2007, Ukabam was a pay agent responsible for receiving and processing invoices from Iraqi contractors who performed work for the Army. Ukabam altered invoices or caused them to be altered so that they showed incorrect or inflated amounts due. He then paid the contractor the original invoice amount and kept the difference -- approximately $110,000 --for himself.


The report ends with a list of pending cases and a list of convictions.

We could go on and on.

Yes, members of the US military did enrich themselves in Iraq.

All?

Of course not.

The majority of any group can usually be counted on to follow the rules and act appropriately.

But some did not.

When US soldiers gang-raped and murdered 14-year-old Iraqi Abeer Qassim Hamza al-Janabi on March 12, 2006, it was a crime and it was outrageous.

One of the explanations I repeatedly hear on why so many chose to ignore the courts-martial and the civilian criminal hearing is that they didn't want to think about it or talk about it because it would give people in the military a bad name.

No, it wouldn't.

A loud and public prosecution sends the message that this is unacceptable.

It says this is not the norm.

Covering it up, by contrast, suggests that a lot more people have a lot more to hide.

I find it hilarious to read the posts by Little Green you know who and others defending the military's chaste and delicate honor from that scoundrel Donald Trump -- especially because when IAVA was asking for help to protect the Post 9/11 GI Bill, these same people couldn't even repost a press release.  (The Senate Veterans Affairs Committee has voted to add cuts to the program.)

They are not interested in veterans or the image of the military, these gas bags offering commentary on Trump.

They are interested in making him toxic (so that toxic Hillary will appear less so).

There was an outrageous incident last month that we didn't cover because it made me too angry.

We'll cover it in the next snapshot.

But this was truly outrageous and done by a member of the current administration.

Yet all the howler monkeys coming forward today about Trump and his remarks had not a word to say then.

I doubt they were too angry to speak.

Because every time they speak, they lie, they gin up outrage and it's all in pursuit of partisan politics.

When Americans will say "enough" to these liars, they'll have to tone it down.

By the way, we didn't even touch on CERP funds, though we could have.  Trump would also be on strong ground referencing those.  And if you just asked, "CERP funds?"

Ay-yi-yi-yi-yi.


We don't get news from Iraq this morning because instead we get partisan pimping.


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    Posted at 11:56 pm by thecommonills
     

    Tuesday, June 14, 2016
    Iraq snapshot

    Iraq snapshot

    Tuesday, June 14, 2016.  Chaos and violence continue, the 'liberation' of Falluja creates another refugee crisis, the 'liberation' of Falluja leads to more torture of Sunni civilians, the White House up US combat in Iraq and much more


    Today, the US Defense Dept announced:


    Strikes in Iraq
    Bomber, attack, fighter, and remotely piloted aircraft conducted 14 strikes in Iraq, coordinated with and in support of Iraq’s government:

    -- Near Beiji, a strike struck an ISIL weapons factory.

    -- Near Fallujah, two strikes struck two ISIL tactical units and destroyed 19 ISIL fighting positions, two ISIL vehicles, four ISIL heavy machine guns, four ISIL rocket propelled grenade systems, eight ISIL light machine guns, three ISIL recoilless rifles and an ISIL mortar system and denied ISIL access to terrain.

    -- Near Kisik, two strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and suppressed an ISIL mortar position.

    -- Near Mosul, three strikes struck three separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed an ISIL mortar system, an ISIL supply cache and an ISIL vehicle.

    -- Near Qayyarah, four strikes struck three separate ISIL tactical units and an ISIL headquarters and destroyed an ISIL fighting position, an ISIL assembly area and two ISIL mortar systems and suppressed a separate ISIL tactical unit and denied ISIL access to terrain.

    -- Near Ramadi, two strikes struck two separate ISIL tactical units and an ISIL fighting position.
    Additionally, officials said, two strikes in Syria near Manbij that struck two ISIL tactical units on June 12 were not included in yesterday’s strike release.


    Task force officials define a strike as one or more kinetic events that occur in roughly the same geographic location to produce a single, sometimes cumulative, effect. Therefore, officials explained, a single aircraft delivering a single weapon against a lone ISIL vehicle is one strike, but so is multiple aircraft delivering dozens of weapons against buildings, vehicles and weapon systems in a compound, for example, having the cumulative effect of making those targets harder or impossible for ISIL to use. Accordingly, officials said, they do not report the number or type of aircraft employed in a strike, the number of munitions dropped in each strike, or the number of individual munition impact points against a target. Ground-based artillery fired in counterfire or in fire support to maneuver roles is not classified as a strike.



    US President Barack Obama has been bombing Iraq daily since August of 2014 and we're all supposed to pretend that is working.

    Pretending requires forgetting that on June 19, 2014, Barack insisted the only answer to Iraq's crises was a political solution.

    Since August of 2014, there's been no work on a political solution, no diplomatic infusion, just bombing -- just bombing and US Secretary of State John Kerry mistaking himself for the Secretary of Defense.


    The bombings don't address the issues that led to the rise of the Islamic State in Iraq.


    At Australia's ABC, Zaid al-Ali observes:


    The issue isn't whether the rule is Shia or not, it's what sort of rule they're subject to. It's certainly better than ISIS, but it's not good enough. What Baghdad needs to do to make sure that Sunnis and Shia and Christians and atheists are satisfied with their rule is to completely reform they're institutions.
    So far, that's something Baghdad has been completely incapable of. Until that happens Iraq will be extremely vulnerable to terrorist attacks, to infiltrators, to civil unrest. That's the recipe for the next few years at least.



    Again, this isn't being addressed with bombings.


    The attempted liberation -- or 'liberation' -- of Falluja continues.


    How's that going?

    Well, for one thing, it's going with more US involvement in what is undeniably combat.

    Yesterday, US Secretary of Defense Ash Carter declared, "In that connection, while we're still in Iraq, perhaps worth mentioning that in the last 24 hours I guess it was, the commanders have used the Apache capability that we positioned there and that the president authorized them to use some months ago when they found an opportunity when that might make a difference. And that did occur and an ISIL target was destroyed as a consequence of  that."

    We'll note the remarks in full that the above was pulled from but we need to emphasize that this was a new development. Tom Vanden Brook (USA TODAY) explains, "Their use represents a deepening of American involvement in the war against the Islamic State, also known as ISIL."  Barbara Starr (CNN) points out, "The U.S. had been pressing the Iraqi government for months to accept the offer to call in Apaches to help across Iraq in the fight against ISIS. The offer was rejected by the Iraqis in their campaign to retake Ramadi, but the U.S. official said the Iraqi government recently accepted the support."


    Secretary Ash Carter:  In Iraq, the operation to position forces for the envelopment of Mosul continues according to the plan that I think first talked with you all about some five or so months ago when we first devised it.
    The -- both the forces moving north and positioning themselves in two locations called Makhumr and Karia West, which are respectively southeast and southwest of Mosul, comprising the pincher from the southern direction. And then the two brigades also trained and equipped by us approaching from the KRG territory and other Kurdish-controlled territory in the north.
    That continues to proceed at pace, and those forces continue to move in the way that was anticipated. I only emphasize that because there's also operations going on in Fallujah, and obviously, that's an important operation as well. That we are also assisting, but Prime Minister Abadi has -- who is -- and it's his forces, the Iraqi security forces, that are in command of both of these operations -- we're supporting them -- in command in the Fallujah operation.
    And just to remind you that the prime minister has indicated that his forces are commanding that operation and that it will not take away from the forces that are scheduled to move and are moving and some of which have already into position south of Mosul, and that's good.
    In that connection, while we're still in Iraq, perhaps worth mentioning that in the last 24 hours I guess it was, the commanders have used the Apache capability that we positioned there and that the president authorized them to use some months ago when they found an opportunity when that might make a difference. And that did occur and an ISIL target was destroyed as a consequence of that.



    Back to Falluja, how's that going?



    : infographic by of the civilian casualties of the offensive, 86 killed so far







    Along with civilians killed in air strikes, there's also the civilians being held (and tortured).


    AP offers, "Since the Iraqi government launched its offensive May 22 to retake Fallujah from the Sunni-led extremists, the troops have been detaining all military-aged men for questioning as they flee the city west of Baghdad. They want prevent any of IS militants from slipping out among the civilians to fight elsewhere."

    They want prevent?


    Okay, let's pretend that was proper English.

    It would be "They say they wan to" -- unless, of course, AP now practices mind reading.



    Human Rights Watch has rightly noted, "The military routinely separates men from women and takes the men for security screenings to determine their involvement with ISIS forces, according to all witnesses Human Rights Watch interviewed. The authorities may impose reasonable and proportionate security measures, but should do so under judicial supervision and in a transparent manner, Human Rights Watch said. The families of anyone detained should know where they are being held, and all persons detained should promptly be brought before a judge to determine the legality of their detention."


    AP fails to note that reality.



    Hundreds of the displaced Sunnis kidnapped by Shiite crowd And their fate is death most horrendous








    AP's a bit like the US government in its willful denial of reality when it comes to the civilians of Falluja.


    Ayub Nuri (RUDAW) reported Saturday:


    The governor of Anbar Suhaib al-Rawi came out with a damning report on Saturday on killings, torture and imprisonment of Fallujah civilians by members of the Iraqi Shiite militia who are backing government troops in the battle, adding that the city is being unjustifiably destroyed.

    “Iraqi troops continue their advance into Fallujah but with it images of inhumane acts and abuse have come out perpetrated by some armed groups that is sectarian in every sense,” al-Rawi told Rudaw. “These actions have tainted and affected the overall operations.”

    The governor added that these images of abuse have frightened the people of Fallujah who are trapped in the city between Islamic State (ISIS) rule on one side and daily bombardment on the other.




    The assault/liberation of Falluja has created thousands of refugees.

    The International Organization for Migration issued the following:


    Iraq - IOM is closely monitoring displacement from Fallujah in response to ongoing military operations in and around the city, which intensified on 22 May 2016. IOM’s Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) Emergency Tracking identified a total of 43,470 internally displaced Iraqis (7,245 families) from Fallujah district between 22 May and 13 June. This includes 10,548 individuals (1,758 families) who fled between 11 and 13 June; the displaced have arrived mainly to Amiriyat Al Fallujah, with a smaller number to Al-Habbaniya sub-district (both in Anbar governorate), as well as to Baghdad governorate.
    A displaced widow from Fallujah, named Nagham, spoke with an IOM staff member about her displacement. “I have five children. When ISIL came to the area we couldn’t leave because three of my children are very ill.  After the recent military operation many families escaped by foot, taking back roads. I fled with two of my children and had to leave my other three behind with their grandmother and relatives; they were planning to leave by car. I have not heard from them since then. We are in urgent need of supplies and assistance."
    Since 29 May IOM has been assisting displaced persons from Fallujah, the majority in Amiriyat Al Fallujah, through the distribution of more than 3,600 non-food items kits.  These kits include lightweight summer blankets, towels, plastic mats, a cool box, rechargeable fan, rechargeable light, gas cooker and a hygiene kit, first aid kit, and sewing kit. Distributions were conducted in cooperation with local authorities, and funded by the USAID Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance, and the US State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM) and the Government of Germany. Additional distributions are planned to respond to the most urgent needs.
    The latest report from IOM Iraq’s DTM, published this past week, updated the figure of internally displaced persons (IDPs) throughout the country to 3,306,822 individuals (551,137 families) from 1 January 2014 through 26 May 2016.
    The majority of the displaced are originally from two governorates: Anbar 42 percent (1,396,788 individuals) and Ninewa 35 percent (1,149,492). The entire displaced population is from 8 of Iraq’s 18 governorates. The governorates hosting the largest IDP populations are Anbar 17 percent (578,208), Baghdad 16 percent (535,050) and Dahuk 12 percent (397,290).
    Amid continuing displacement, many Iraqis have started to return to their location of origin. A total of 726,336 individuals (121,056 families) are reported to have returned as of 26 May 2016, indicating an increase of 11 percent (69,558) since 28 April. Returns are mainly to the governorates of Salah al-Din (303,588 individuals), Ninewa (129,198) and Diyala (130,980), thanks to improved security conditions.
    Anbar governorate witnessed the highest increase in returns during the April 28 – May 26 period (33,000 individuals). This increase was especially high in the districts of Ramadi and Heet, where local authorities have facilitated return movements to areas declared safe. 
    IOM Iraq Chief of Mission Thomas Lothar Weiss said: “Ongoing and recent displacement, especially from Fallujah, requires immediate attention. IOM is responding but funds and supplies are insufficient to provide adequate assistance to the huge numbers of displaced Iraqis. IOM will continue to cooperate with the UN Humanitarian Country Team, humanitarian partners, government authorities and donors, to assist as many displaced Iraqis as possible to the full extent of our resources.”
    Please visit the IOM Iraq DTM portal for details on the methodology, the most recent Datasets, Dashboards, Dynamic Displacement Maps and previous DTM products: http://iraqdtm.iom.int
     The DTM is funded by the US State Department’s PRM.
    For further information please contact IOM Iraq. Sandra Black, Tel. +964 751 234 2550, Email: sblack@iom.int or Laura Nistri, Email: lnistri@iom.int or Antanas Jurksaitis, Email: ajurksaitis@iom.int




    Meanwhile aid and assistance remains an issue throughout Iraq.




    : Temps reach 122°F in summer-Limited access to water & poor sanitation in Abu Ghraib







    Doctors Without Borders' Robert Onus notes:


    In the past year, we have provided more than 20,000 consultations between the mobile clinics and the health center, and this is just a drop in the ocean when compared to the need for assistance in the region. There are more than 3.3 million Iraqis displaced in their own country, and Baghdad alone houses more than 600,000 of them. These are families who were living in their towns or villages and have now lost everything. Many live in unfinished buildings, in schools, mosques or in makeshift settlements, often in very difficult and poor conditions. In Abu Ghraib in particular, we see that people suffer from limited access to water, poor sanitation facilities, and overcrowded housing. These conditions are exacerbated by the impending summer with temperatures reaching up to 50° C [122° F].
    With the poor living conditions and the limited access to health care, we see many preventable diseases such as respiratory and skin infections, but also patients who suffer from chronic diseases like hypertension, diabetes, and heart disease and cannot access their regular doctor or obtain their medicine. In a normal environment they would manage their conditions through the national health system, but the conflict has not only forced people out of their homes, it has also left many health facilities damaged or destroyed, or simply short of staff.
    One of the main challenges is the lack of humanitarian actors in Baghdad and the surrounding areas. Most international organizations are focused on the northern part of the country where the situation is more stable and secure. More humanitarian actors engaged across different fields, not only health care, are essential to meet the basic needs of the people here.

    My role as field coordinator is to make sure our medical teams—doctors, nurses, pharmacists and health promoters—can treat patients with minimal barriers. This means I spend a lot of time meeting and negotiating with people from different sections of society: government authorities, security officials, and community and religious leaders. We need to make sure they understand who we are, why we are here, and what we are doing. In this context, ensuring that people understand our independence and neutrality is crucial. We treat everyone who comes to our clinics regardless of where they are from or what they believe. Of course, I don’t do this alone, our team in Baghdad has more than 50 people, and many of them are also working behind the scenes to make sure the medical teams can spend as much time as possible with the patients.
















    Posted at 06:33 pm by thecommonills
     

    About those reported arrests . . .

    About those reported arrests . . .

    I get so tired of the stupidity and lying with regards to Iraq.  Don't you?

    I saw the 'report' from REUTERS yesterday and was too angry to write about it.


    The headline is "Iraq makes arrests over reports of Sunnis executed in Falluja."

    That would be great news -- if it were true.

    So what is REUTERS basing that breathless headline on?


    Here's their 'proof':

    The authorities "are following up on the violations and a number of arrests have been made," government spokesman Saad al-Hadithi said on Monday after a regional governor said 49 Sunni men had been executed after surrendering to a Shi'ite faction.


    Oh, a spokesperson said arrests were made?

    Oh, that must be truth then, right?

    How many arrests?

    I guess that's being picky, asking for actual facts and figures.

    We know the Iraqi government routinely broadcasts the confessions ('confessions' -- the people are tortured) of those arrested on TV so, REUTERS, did you view confessions on TV?

    With nothing but a generic claim, REUTERS lies and claims arrests have been made.

    Most of the non-Arab world ignored the mass arrests of Sunnis and the way they were disappeared in Iraq's prisons and jails during Nouri al-Maliki's second term.

    These Sunnis included women and girls whose 'crimes' were being the sisters, wives, mothers and daughters of men who were wanted.

    When the outcry became so much, Nouri 'released' the women.

    At least, that's what AFP and other outlets 'reported.'

    And at least their they had Nouri's for show press conference with a handful of women.

    Thing is, the press failed to follow up.

    Those women never made it to their homes -- as the Iraqi press (but no one else) widely reported.

    Where did those women go?

    Back to prison?

    Were they killed?

    No one in the western press cared enough to find out.

    They'd gotten their headline and moved on.


    Kind of the way Haider al-Abadi got headlines for announcing he would end corruption in Iraq . . . right before he appointed a person from his political party (Dawa) to head the 'fight' -- thereby guaranteeing that neither he nor the previous prime minister Nouri al-Maliki (also Dawa) would be implicated.

    Is it any surprise that there has been no progress on ending corruption in Iraq?

    And Haider himself?

    Zaid al-Ali shares his view at Australia's ABC:

    When Haider al-Abadi became prime minister [in 2014] many people asked me what I thought of that. I had worked with him on a project in parliament, so I know him fairly well, not very well.
    Based on that experience, my assessment was there was no way he was going to be able to achieve anything because of his character: he's a bit lazy, he doesn't understand how government works, he doesn't admit to making mistakes. Everything I assumed to be right about him continues to be right today.



    New content at Third:



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    Posted at 06:32 pm by thecommonills
     

    And the resistance goes on

    And the resistance goes on

    War resisters of the never ending Iraq War should be applauded.  Their efforts made it a little more difficult to continue the Iraq War -- if only by raising doubts among the public and within the ranks.

    In the US, during Vietnam, the public was able to force concessions from Republicans and Democrats.  Both President Gerald Ford (a Republican) and President Jimmy Carter (a Democrat) were forced to offer some level of clemency to war resisters.

    The bogus president of peace, Barack Obama, who was elected on his promise to end the Iraq War (which still hasn't ended) wasn't pressured to do a damn thing.

    Many war resisters went underground.  Some went to other countries.  The most public place to seek asylum has been in Canada where, during Vietnam, the Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau supported asylum for war resisters.

    Dan Fumano (VANCOUVER SUN) reports:


    Like much of the rest of the world, Rodney Watson has spent a lot of the last week thinking about the world’s most famous war resister. But Muhammad Ali’s televised memorial service Friday had particular resonance for Watson, who watched it from the room above the First United Church in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, where he has made his home for almost seven years now.
    “When I was watching the memorial and people were praising his decision to take a stand against the Vietnam War, I got tears in my eyes, because I felt like I’m a part of something bigger than myself,” said Watson, an American veteran and a resister of the Iraq War.

    A new Insights West poll released this week shows a majority of Canadians support the idea of making Iraq War resisters like Watson permanent residents of their adopted country.



    Who is war resister Rodney Watson?  From the June 17, 2008 snapshot:

     
     
    On Saturday, rallies took place. Mario Cootauco (Canwest News Service) reported on one in British Columbia that US war resister Rodney Watson attended. Watson explained that he didn't want to return to Iraq, "There's no need for us to be over there and I saw that first-hand. I decided I needed to get out of there. I wanted to go just to be a support. I didn't want to go kicking down doors, killing children or innocent people or getting my hands dirty or anything. I support my country, but I don't support the way we're going about it."
     
     
     
     
    The latest flashpoint in the battle to keep war resisters in Canada has been
    the case of Rodney Watson who on Monday October 19, 2009, decided to seek
    sanctuary in a B.C. [British Columbia] church rather than face deporation to the United States to face desertion charges. Watson, who is originally from Kansas City,  Kansas, enlisted in the US Army in 2004 for a three-year contract with the intentions of becoming a cook since he wanted to serve the troops in a non-combat capactiy.
    In 2005, he was deployed to Iraq just north of Mosul, where he was put in
    charge of searching vehicles and Iraqi civilians for explosives, contraband and
    weapons before they entered the base. He was also expected to "keep the
    peace" by monitoring Iraqi civilians who worked on the base and fire his weapon
    at Iraqi children who approached the perimeter.
     
    Rodney sought sanctuary at  Vancouver's First United Church on Hastings Street in Vancouver where he had the support of the church board and the congregation.   In December of 2009, Rodney, still at the church, had a column in the Toronto Star:

    I have been here in Vancouver since early 2007. I have been self-sufficient. I have fathered a beautiful son whose mother is Canadian. I plan to marry her and to provide our son with a loving and caring family unit.
    I have made many friends and I have built a peaceful life here.
    My son and my wife-to-be are my heart and soul and it would be a great tragedy for my family and for me personally if I were deported and torn away from them.
    I think being punished as a prisoner of conscience for doing what I felt morally obligated to do is a great injustice.
    This Christmas I hope and pray that people will open their hearts and minds to give peace and love a chance.
     

    A number of resisters have sought sanctuary in Canada -- some have done so publicly.



    Robin Long and Kimberly Rivera are among those punished for speaking publicly.


    At the end of last month, Paul Copeland (OTTAWA CITIZEN) advocated for Canada to grant asylum to those war resisters in the country:

    The resisters have been seeking resolution to their precarious immigration status in Canada for many years – some for more than a decade. All have applications currently pending before Canadian immigration officials. The Liberal government could easily resolve their precarious status by granting their spousal sponsorships and applications for permanent residence based on humanitarian and compassionate grounds.


    Jeremy Hinzman was the first war resister to publicly seek asylum in Canada (2004).  Many others followed in his footsteps.

    When Stephen Harper was prime minister, the Canadian government worked with the US government to target war resisters (most obvious in the harassment of Kyle Snyder).  The reason some have hope that things can change is because Justin Trudeau is now prime minister.

    Andy Barrie (OURWINDSOR.CA) explains:
                               

    Harper deported six deserters to the U.S. to face courts-martial. One of them, Kimberly Rivera, gave birth while doing time in a stockade. The day she was deported, the Conservative caucus cheered in the House of Commons.
    Sad, nasty business, just one among many pieces of nastiness Justin Trudeau promised to undo if he was elected. Well, he was, and with a majority. But he’s yet to tell government lawyers to call it quits to Harper’s deportations.

    Why? Only Trudeau and his immigration minister, John McCallum know. Talk about majorities: Nearly 70 per cent of Canadians support allowing these war resisters to stay; 39 per cent elected the Liberals. The issue would appear to be a no-brainer, worse, for a politician who has allowed himself to cry in public, his silence betrays a seeming lack of compassion, the very quality he promised to bring to this issue.                         


    Colin Perkelt (CANADIAN PRESS) was more specific last month, citing Trudeau's own words:


    “I am supportive of the principle of allowing conscientious objectors to stay,” Trudeau said at the time.
    He called it “problematic” and “disappointing” and unworthy of Canada that Conservative MPs had cheered in the House of Commons in 2012 amid word that one of the Americans, a mother of four, had been arrested after deportation to the U.S., where she was later court-martialled and gave birth in prison.

    “I am committed…to restoring our sense of compassion and openness and a place that is a safe haven for people to come here.”


    When does that commitment kick in?

    His father's commitment is one of the reasons Pierre Trudeau was a leader on the world stage and why he's remembered fondly around the globe.


    Kat's "Kat's Korner: The growls and moans of Nick Jonas" went up last night.



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    Posted at 06:31 pm by thecommonills
     

    Hejira

    Hejira

    Today, the US Defense Dept announced:


    Strikes in Iraq
    Attack, bomber, fighter and remotely piloted aircraft conducted 20 strikes in Iraq, coordinated with and in support of Iraq’s government:

    -- Near Baghdadi, a strike destroyed two ISIL artillery pieces and an ISIL vehicle.

    -- Near Bashir, two strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed two ISIL vehicles, an ISIL assembly area and an ISIL supply cache.

    -- Near Fallujah, three strikes struck three separate ISIL tactical units; destroyed five ISIL fighting positions, four ISIL vehicles, two ISIL vehicle bombs, an ISIL heavy machine gun and six ISIL light machine guns; damaged two separate ISIL fighting positions; and denied ISIL access to terrain.

    -- Near Qayyarah, eight strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and an ISIL weigh station; destroyed three ISIL mortar systems, 10 ISIL rocket rails, two ISIL vehicle bomb facilities and an ISIL assembly area; damaged an ISIL mortar system; and denied ISIL access to terrain.

    -- Near Ramadi, a strike destroyed an ISIL vehicle bomb storage facility and an ISIL anti-air artillery piece.

    -- Near Sinjar, four strikes struck two separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed two ISIL assembly areas, an ISIL rocket rail, an ISIL tactical vehicle, two ISIL vehicles, an ISIL fighting position, and an ISIL storage area.

    -- Near Tal Afar, a strike suppressed an ISIL bunker.


    Task force officials define a strike as one or more kinetic events that occur in roughly the same geographic location to produce a single, sometimes cumulative, effect. Therefore, officials explained, a single aircraft delivering a single weapon against a lone ISIL vehicle is one strike, but so is multiple aircraft delivering dozens of weapons against buildings, vehicles and weapon systems in a compound, for example, having the cumulative effect of making those targets harder or impossible for ISIL to use. Accordingly, officials said, they do not report the number or type of aircraft employed in a strike, the number of munitions dropped in each strike, or the number of individual munition impact points against a target. Ground-based artillery fired in counterfire or in fire support to maneuver roles is not classified as a strike.


    As the bombings continue, efforts at diplomacy continue to be forgotten by the US government.

    At The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Kirk H. Sowell examines the current situation in Iraq:

    A mob loyal to Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr sacked Iraq’s parliament on April 30, exacerbating the country’s seemingly permanent political crisis and bringing the tenure of Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to a new low. The government’s political paralysis is severe even by Iraqi standards, with parliament struggling to make quorum, and the legal legitimacy of its leadership in question. While a new military operation to free Fallujah from terrorist control has temporarily grabbed media attention, Iraq’s political crisis continues.
    Several misconceptions surround the origins of this paralysis—including that Abadi’s efforts to create a cabinet of technocrats were a reaction to Sadrist protests, that these demonstrations can be broadly identified with last summer’s anti-corruption protests, and that the fight between Abadi and rival figures within the political elite is substantially related to his efforts to push anti-corruption reforms. Rather, while both the Abadi and Sadr “reform” initiatives failed, the current crises facing both the parliament and Abadi’s cabinet result from a struggle for power and all sides’ disregard for the rule of law. 

    Abadi had announced various reforms in response to popular protests in August 2015, but the only one that was actually implemented and had wide-ranging impact was his August 16 decree deleting four ministries, merging eight other ministries into four, and effectively firing eleven cabinet members.1 Abadi did not submit a request to parliament but simply took the action by decree. All other parliamentary blocs correctly argued that this was unconstitutional—according to Article 75, the prime minister can remove ministers only with parliament’s approval—and uniformly opposed it. 


    Confused?

    We've noted repeatedly that Haider's actions were unconstitutional.

    We've noted that the US State Dept has praised these actions.

    And that whenever there's an action it doesn't like, it insists that action goes against the Constitution but this supposed concern for the Iraqi Constitution is just a lie.


    US government concern's always been a joke.



    Link to headline article



    That link was posted by BBC NEWS today.

    It goes to their 2012 report on the assault on Iraq's LGBT community.


    And it's worth recalling that the US government turned a blind eye to those assaults.


    Yes, some in Congress objected but where was the US government condemning it?

    Where was the US government telling the Iraqi government that either this persecution stopped or US weapons and monies dried up?


    The US government did nothing to protect Iraq's gay community, not even empty words were offered.


    Meanwhile the Sunni civilians continue to be persecuted in Iraq.

    Anbar Governor al-Rawi said 49 Iraqi sunni civilian killed & 643 Sunni civilian Missing by Shia Militias
     
     
     


    I'm traveling in some vehicle
    I'm sitting in some cafe
    A defector from the petty wars
    That shell shock love away
    -- "Hejira," written by Joni Mitchell, first appears on her album of the same name




    The number of US service members the Dept of Defense states died in the Iraq War is [PDF format warning] 4517 (including 20 in Operation Inherent Resolve which includes at least 3 Iraq War fatalities).



    The following community sites  updated:












  • The e-mail address for this site is common_ills@yahoo.com.









    Posted at 06:31 pm by thecommonills
     

    Terrorism has no religion

    Terrorism has no religion



    Terrorism has no religion Terrorism does not represent Islam I am Muslim stand with Praying for peace

     
     
     






    iraq

    Posted at 06:30 pm by thecommonills
     

    Kat's Korner: The growls and moans of Nick Jonas

    Kat's Korner: The growls and moans of Nick Jonas

    Kat:  On "Under You," Nick Jonas finally answers the eternal question of 1 out of 10 men, "Top or bottom?"

    Sorry, couldn't resist.


    Not after reading the most ridiculous pieces of music journalism ever.



    For FLAVORWIRE, Shane Barnes wrote an angry snit fit on the verge of the release of LAST YEAR WAS COMPLICATED.  In it he slams Nick Jonas for being . . . gay friendly.

    Apparently, unless and until Nick Jonas hops into a bed with a man and provides photographic or video evidence of the deed, Barnes wants him to know he's just not making it.

    Axl Rose, in "One In A Million," expressed racism and homophobia.  That was released in 1988.

    And released on the label of then-still-in-the-closet David Geffen.

    It was released, it got radio airplay.

    In 2014, Nick Jonas is being slammed for being gay friendly but not friendly enough to pose with a penis in his mouth?

    Barnes needs to get a grip.

    LAST YEAR WAS COMPLICATED is a strong album -- mainly because Nick Jonas can sing.

    I don't just mean notes.

    I'm not sure how impressive his range is.

    It's hard to tell because he knows how to sell a lyric.

    Judy Garland, for example, basically sang in a child's range.

    It worked because she knew how to make you believe what she was singing.

    Singing, at its finest, is supposed to be about more than the notes, it's supposed to be about conviction.

    On 2014's NICK JONAS, Nick sang "Push" with more conviction than anything that made the radio that year.

    Since "Push," it would be a stupid play to underestimate the artist.

    On the just released LAST YEAR WAS COMPLICATED, Nick achieves something similar with the lead single "Close" -- a duet with Tove Lo.


    That song's straight up clear.

    But "Bacon"?

    I like the song.

    Leave the rap (by Ty Dolla $ign) aside -- I don't think the raps necessarily go with the songs  but I'll come back to those.

    Setting aside the rap, we're left with the singing.  This is about sex?

    Maybe sex with a woman on the side.  (Or a man.)

    Do we listen to the lyrics:



    I know you been hoping I give in
    But I ain't feeling that feeling, no
    Babe you right, maybe I'm tripping
    The one thing I love more than being with you
    And that's late nights, doing what I wanna do
    I got sleep eyes; I woke up like this
    Feel like...
    Aw s**t, throw some bacon on it
    One thing I love more than being with you
    And that's no ties, no drama in my life
    Yeah I, I woke up like this
    Feel like...
    Aw s**t, throw some bacon on it
    One thing I love more than being with you-ou-ou-ou
    Yeah, you-ou-ou-ou
    Yeah, you-ou-ou



    More than being with you, Nick likes a night running around doing what he wants and recovering from the damage the next morning.

    "Unhinged" is a great song and, added with "Bacon" and others, it reminds me of the great work Greg Dulli did as a songwriter on The Afghan Whigs' classic GENTLEMEN.



    You're not the first to try and diagnose what's wrong with me
    I'll be the first to admit that I'm hard to please
    I'm afraid to find out that I might be right for you
    Cause it's one step closer to life with you
    And that's not me, yeah
    And right now my head
    Isn't screwed on right
    And I can't decide what I want
    Every sweat just breaks me a little
    And I know you can't take this back and forth
    Is the love already safe for you in the middle?
    When you close that door you see
    It's unhinged, it's just like me



    But my favorite song has to be "Chainsaw."


    Walk in the house, lights are off
    In the closet by the door, there's your coat
    I wasn't thinking of you before
    Too many rooms in this house, so I keep going out
    What the hell is that about?
    We gotta find a way to be okay
    And maybe I'll just take a chainsaw to the sofa
    Where I held your body close for so long, so long
    I'm gonna break the f**king china
    Cause it's just one more reminder you're gone, you're gone


    I love everything about the song, including the backing vocals and the way the chorus swells.

    I love the way he tears into "I'll burn everything that binds us."


    Track for track, this is a better album than anything Justin Timberlake's managed.


    In part, it's because Nick can sing (Justin can chirp).

    In part, it's because Nick's singing songs and not just a few rhymes over a series of loops.

    But mainly because Nick Jonas is exploring insecurity and maturity which is always more real than a little Justy trying to play grown up.

    Nick's growling and moaning his way through and doing so in such a way that he grabs your attention.


    LAST YEAR WAS COMPLICATED?

    Nick's tortured falsetto and low growls make you believe it could be.


    And for those who need Nick to be gay?

    Take those raps and consider them part of a duet -- only to Nick.

    Seriously, straight women have dealt with the coming out of George Michael and the staying in the closet of far too many male singers (that we know are gay).  If an artist can manage female friendly, straight women don't really feel ripped off if he's gay.  Shane Barnes would do well to grasp that there's a lot worse than gay friendly -- a hellofa lot worse.













    Posted at 06:26 pm by thecommonills
     

    Saturday, June 11, 2016
    Iraq snapshot

    Iraq snapshot

    Saturday, June 11, 2016.  Chaos and violence continue, the persecution of the Sunnis continue, Barack Obama's inability to address the roots of the Islamic State's support in Iraq continue, Moqtada al-Sadr orders his followers to stop protesting, and much more.


    NATIONAL IRAQI NEWS AGENCY reports that the head of the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq, Ammar al-Hakim, has decried the protests Friday at the offices of various political figures and parties.

    Friday,  bridges and roads to Baghdad were closed by the US-installed prime minister of Iraq Haider al-Abadi in an attempt to head off protests against corruption in the government.  ALSUMARIA reported Haider issued a statement stressing actions against political officials or public institutions will be dealt with firmly.

    IRAQI SPRING MC reported that the Dawa party is shooting at protesters in Dawa.  The Dawa political party is the party that both the present prime minister (Haider) and the most recent one (Nouri al-Maliki) hail from. Forever thug Nouri denounced the Najaf protesters who had blocked off his office.   In Wasit, protesters stormed political headquarters.


    Iraq, a major OPEC exporter which sits on one of the world's largest oil reserves, ranks 161 out of 168 on Transparency International's Corruption Index.
    The dispute within Iraq's majority Shi'ite community began turning violent when Sadrist protesters stormed Baghdad's heavily fortified government district, known as the Green Zone, for a second time, on May 20. Four demonstrators were killed.
    Sadr's followers have been staging protests demanding anti-corruption reforms since February. His rivals see in the demonstrations an attempt by the cleric to dictate his views to the rest of the political class. 

    Today, ALSUMARIA reports Shi'ite cleric and movement leader Moqtada al-Sadr called on those protesting corruption by targeting the headquarters of political parties to cease their demonstrations and wait until the end of the holy month of Ramadan to protest.  He added that regardless of when they protest, the government forces must protect protesters, not attack them.  ALL IRAQ NEWS adds that he also called on his followers to pray and practice worship.


    Those have not been the only protests in Iraq.


    Demonstrations in Karbala against the Iranian Qassem Soleimani & Against the Iranian occupation







    Concern continues to grow in Iraq over the involvement of the Iranian government within Iraq's borders.  At MIDDLE EAST MONITOR, Dr. Noureddine Miladi offers:



    American satellite TV channels as well as human rights organizations have signposted the Iranian involvement in the invasion of Fallujah and other remaining Sunni majority places. The Al-Hashd Al-Shaabi army has been reported to be waging a war by proxy for the Iranian ‘Revolutionary’ Guard. The fact that Kassim Sulaiman, leader in the Iranian ‘Revolutionary’ Gard, is roaming free in Iraq, giving advice to the militia, while he is wanted internationally raises a lot of questions, argues the head of Al-Hayat newspaper in New York.
    The recent shutting down of Al-Jazeera offices in Iraq is another attempt to silence the witness. Along with other Arab media outlets, Al-Jazeera has been accused of misinformation and fabrication of news. The same reasons ostensibly had been given by the US army in 2003 when they decided also to shut down the channel’s offices in Iraq because of its daring journalism.

    History will soon unveil that the invasion of Fallujah is not merely to uproot [the Islamic State] but to strategically broaden the sectarian rule backed by Iran on all Iraqi soil. This plan is partly about silencing all forms of Sunni dissent against the sectarian government of Baghdad and partly to expand the Iranian hegemony in the region.



    The liberation or 'liberation' of Falluja continues.  The Iraqi military -- which includes the Shi'ite militias -- struggle to follow commands, Shi'ite militia leaders openly criticize Haider al-Abadi, civilians are targeted and persecuted.


    Chris Rogers (GUARDIAN) writes:

    As US and Iraqi forces continue to press against Isis in Falluja, over 50,000 civilians remain trapped in the city. Protecting them is not only a moral imperative, but critical to long-term US strategic objectives. As a new report by the Open Society Foundations details, failing to do so would be a rebuke to the hard-learned lessons of US generals in Afghanistan.





    Shia Militias crimes فديو مسرب جديد يظهر الحشد الشيعي الارهابي يعذب شيوخ سنه عراقيين كبار بالعمر بطريقه وحشية



    Iraqi Sunni civilians displaced from Fallujah tortured by Shia Militias







    افضحوها النائبة الشيعية حنان الفتلاوي تهدد الشاهد السني الذي قال انها اشرفت على تعذيبي حياته الان بخطر



    Michael P Pregent Retweeted د. حنان الفتلاوي
    This needs to be investigated - Dawa Party MP Hanan al-Fatlawi allegedly oversaw the torture of Sunni captives
    Michael P Pregent added,




    Dawa Party MP Hanan al-Fatlawi allegedly oversaw torture of Sunni captives fm Fallujah - see video




    Dawa MP Hanan al-Fatlawi

    Posted at 05:32 pm by thecommonills
     

    Jill Stein Tweets

    Jill Stein Tweets

    Jill Stein is seeking the Green Party's presidential nomination.




    1. The majority of Americans want a new major party. Demand Jill be included in the polls:
     
     
     
    Green Party’s Jill Stein blasts Hillary Clinton for already implementing Trump's policies
     
     
     
    I'm a physician, not a politician. My job is to do whatever I can to leave behind a world that we can survive and thrive in.
     
     
     
    I'm ready to talk with at any time about how we can empower the peaceful democratic revolution he's given voice to.
     
     
     
    Democratic pundits have attacked Bernie Sanders as a "spoiler" who's hurting their party. Actually, he's showing how they could win.
     
     
     
    With ranked choice voting you'd never have to vote for lesser evil again. But Dems & GOP don't support expanding voter choice. Greens do.
     
     
     
    The Clintons' sellout of working people set the stage for Trump's demagogue act. Lesser evilism paves the way to greater evil.
     
     
     
    Just announced via our nightly newsletter: Green Party prez candidate will join me on Sunday's show...
     
     
     
    A majority would prefer an independent candidate over Clinton & Trump. Spread the word.
     
     
     
    Most planning to vote Clinton & Trump don't actually like them, they just fear the other candidate more.
     
     
     
    Iraq: Protests, persecution

    Iraq: Protests, persecution

    The persecution of the Sunnis continues in Iraq -- in the name of 'liberation,' you understand.



    1. Two videos of militia abuses in this morning: - Shooting the bodies of children - Whipping captives who are tied up
     
     
     
     
     
     



    BBC News - IS conflict: Falluja detainees 'tortured by Shia militias'
     
     
     


    Keep in mind this is what the Iraqi Shia militias do in Iraq to Sunnis. They came to do the same in Syria

     
     
     



    Iraqi Sunni civilians displaced from Fallujah tortured & killed by Shia Officer Fadel al-Saadi

     
     
     



     
     
     

    The sectarian Shia Hashd militia in Iraq (graphic scene blurred) is this the alternative to ISIS you want?

     
     
     

    Bombs dropped on Iraq do not address the persecution of the Sunnis.

    Nothing Barack Obama has done has addressed this ongoing persecution.


    At MIDDLE EAST MONITOR, Dr. Noureddine Miladi offers:



    American satellite TV channels as well as human rights organizations have signposted the Iranian involvement in the invasion of Fallujah and other remaining Sunni majority places. The Al-Hashd Al-Shaabi army has been reported to be waging a war by proxy for the Iranian ‘Revolutionary’ Guard. The fact that Kassim Sulaiman, leader in the Iranian ‘Revolutionary’ Gard, is roaming free in Iraq, giving advice to the militia, while he is wanted internationally raises a lot of questions, argues the head of Al-Hayat newspaper in New York.
    The recent shutting down of Al-Jazeera offices in Iraq is another attempt to silence the witness. Along with other Arab media outlets, Al-Jazeera has been accused of misinformation and fabrication of news. The same reasons ostensibly had been given by the US army in 2003 when they decided also to shut down the channel’s offices in Iraq because of its daring journalism.

    History will soon unveil that the invasion of Fallujah is not merely to uproot [the Islamic State] but to strategically broaden the sectarian rule backed by Iran on all Iraqi soil. This plan is partly about silencing all forms of Sunni dissent against the sectarian government of Baghdad and partly to expand the Iranian hegemony in the region.


    Meanwhile, bridges and roads to Baghdad were closed by the US-installed prime minister of Iraq Haider al-Abadi.  ALSUMARIA reports Haider issued a statement early today stressing actions against political officials or public institutions will be dealt with firmly.

    IRAQI SPRING MC reports the Dawa party is shooting at protesters in Dawa.  The Dawa political party is the party that both the present prime minister (Haider) and the most recent one (Nouri al-Maliki) hail from. Forever thug Nouri is denouncing the Najaf protesters who have blocked off his office.

     In Wasit, protesters are said to have stormed political headquarters.

    The locations involved would appear to indicate that the protests -- this wave began under Shi'ite cleric and movement leader Moqtada al-Sadr -- have spread beyond Moqtada's followers.



    Lastly, a thought/suggestion for THE WASHINGTON POST.  Next time, have Loveday Morris and Missy Ryan write an article about this:

    At the same time, only limited progress has been made in addressing the frustration that Iraqi Sunnis have with their Shiite-led government, a core reason some of them initially welcomed militants into their cities. That jeopardizes the longevity of any territorial victories U.S. trainers hope to achieve.

    That would be much better than tucking the issue away in the middle of a report on the Iraqi military -- and, yes, Ned Parker and Jonathan S. Landay already covered the problems with the Iraqi military's training last week for REUTERS.  No US outlet has done a serious and in depth look at the issues that brought about the rise of the Islamic State in Iraq.


    The following community sites updated:





  • The e-mail address for this site is common_ills@yahoo.com.







    Posted at 05:28 pm by thecommonills
     


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