Sunday, December 31, 2017

2016 in Books (Martha & Shirley)

Martha and Shirley: Once again, the community voted the ten books that mattered to them this year.
 books1
1)  TRAPEZE: THE UNEXPURGATED DIARY OF ANAIS NIN 1947 - 1955 by Anais Nin.

Less of a diary than any of Anais' previous ones, it may have been more accessible 

But I am rewriting Spy.  I started angry at first -- everyone was against the fantasy, the lie detector (Sabina's conscience).  Either I sink now, or I tell the story anew without the help of fantasy.  Now I am interested.  Half of me, after analysis, is willing to make an effort ti be clearer.  I do not want to be silenced to be blockaded.  In poetry there is depth.  But there is also the danger of misunderstanding.

SPY?

A SPY IN THE HOUSE OF LOVE, one of her most famous books.  Hilda led a six-week book discussion on this book for HILDA'S MIX.


2) JONI: THE ANTHOLOGY  edited by Barney Hoskyns

David Yaffe wrote an awful book about Joni Mitchell.  Even worse, he took to attacking Joni and defending well known liar Judy Collins.  As Ava and C.I. explained, Yaffe was an idiot and bought Judy's lie that Judy had never invited Joni to the Newport Folk Festival and then not taken her there.  He took Judy's word over Joni's word and, as Ava and C.I. explained, he was too stupid to ask Al Kooper who was present when the offer was made (he's the one who called Judy and put Joni on the phone).  Al Kooper's story of what happened matches Joni Mitchell's story -- not Judy's latest lie.

So what to read?

JONI: THE ANTHOLOGY which traces Joni's career via various writers covering her in real time.



3) SHATTERED by Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes. 
Ruth and Marcia loved this book.
   

:
The shambles of Hillary Clinton's 2016 campaign served up for all to see.
  
4)  DIET FOR A SMALL PLANET by Frances Moore Lappe.  Trina kicked off her site with a recipe from this book all those years ago (2005).  This fall she revisited the recipe and the book.

We asked Trina for a comment about how a book decades old still attracts so many and she offers that, "like any cookbook, it features recipes.  Unlike many books, it centers our basic actions within the world we live and draws a clear line between individual action and its impact on the planet.  It works as a cookbook, as an activist primer and as a history of corporate food."

5) THE UNRAVELING: HIGH HOPES AND MISSED OPPORTUNITIES IN IRAQ by Emma Sky
 

Word for word, what we noted when this book made our 2015 list two years ago:

The Cassandras.  That's what Beth dubbed them in the roundtable she moderated in October for the gina & krista round-robin (more on that in a moment).  The Cassandras -- she named Ava and C.I., Ned Parker, Emma Sky, Michael Gordon, Bernard E. Trainor and the author of the third book on the list.  They were the one who were sounding alarms in real time as Nouri al-Maliki's second term became little more than a vengeance fueled blood massacre.

Sky's written a book that catpures how Iraq went from bad to awful from 2010 to 2014.  What she fails to do is to establish why the world and the media ignored these events but maybe telling that much truth would have left this major book shut completely out by the media?


6) SOUTH AND WEST: FROM A NOTEBOOK by Joan Didion.

Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi and California are the settings for Joan's 1970 road trip.  A collection of incidents and essays, far more gratifying than you can imagine.


7) LANA: THE LIFE AND LOVES OF LANA TURNER by Jane Ellen Wayne
Betty loved this book.  And so did you.  Some, like Natalie, were Lana Turner fans already ("but I never heard of this book") while some of you, like Jerry, were just looking for something new to read.  It's a brief book but a good one.


8) AN AMERICAN SICKNESS: HOW HEALTHCARE BECAME BIG BUSINESS AND HOW YOU CAN TAKE IT BACK by Elisabeth Rosenthal.

The book captures you early on:

Imagine if you paid for an airplane ticket and then got separate and inscrutable bills from the airline, the pilot, the copilot, and the flight attendants.  That's how the healthcare market works.  In no other industry do prices for a product vary by a factor of ten depending on where it is purchased, as is the case for bills I've seen for echocardiograms, MRI scans, and blood tests to gauge thyroid function or vitamin D levels.  The price of a Prius at a dealership in Princeton, New Jersey, is not five times higher than what you would pay for a Prius in Hackensack and a Prius in New Jersey is not twice as expensive as one in New Mexico.  The price of that car at the very same dealer doesn't depend on your employer or if you're self-employed or unemployed.  Why does it matter for healthcare?

Rosenthal keeps the issues in tight focus and writes about it in a way that rips the myth off the medical world.



9)  HOW I LOST BY HILLARY CLINTON.

As Beth observed, read this and read Hillary's official release WHAT HAPPENED and "you really get how Hillary's playing dumb in her own book."  HOW I LOST BY HILLARY CLINTON takes the candidate's own words, adds annotation by Joe Lauria and provides more understanding in two pages than in all of WHAT HAPPENED.  It peeked Trina’s interest and it peaked the interest of many of you.

  


10) THE BLOOD OF EMMET TILL by Timothy B. Tyson.

A book discussion for the gina & krista round-robin focused on this book, concluding it's a book about the murder of Emmet Till but also on how the murder is carried out repeatedly by society today.






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Martha and  Shirley have also done the year in books for 201620152014201320122011, 20102009, 2008, 2007, 2006 and 2005.







What a gaggle of gabby cry babies

If one things come through loud and clear in the  State Dept e-mails during Hillary Clinton's time as Secretary of State, it's that they were so touchy -- a gaggle of gabby cry babies.


Philip J. Crowley, after resigning from State, writes a piece for POLITICO where he argues that Barack Obama wasn't following through on things that needed to be followed through on.  The response?


Denis McDonough whines of Crowley, "Also, in the 2 years he worked in government, was he ever consistent on anything?"

By the way, he was the Deputy National Security Advisor at the time he felt the need to weigh in.


During this time, Hillary wonders if they should respond to Crowley or "leave alone."  Cheryl Mills replies "would leave."  (Mills is tight with Crowley and the two worked on his public announcement that he was leaving the State Dept after Crowley publicly criticized the Pentagon for its treatment of Chelsea Manning.)


And, of course, there's "Sid."  Sidney Blumenthal.

He's always e-mailing "H" (Hillary) at her various e-mail accounts.  He's always got some tip or juicy gossip -- such as April 2, 2010 when he just wants to insult David Axelrod who was then Senior Advisor to the President (Barack Obama), "Ed Luce of the FT told me Axelrod emailed him that his sources are 'wretched.' Luce, of course, offered to correct any factual errors and Axelrod did not respond. Very touchy. Sid."


"Pathetic" probably better describes all the e-mails Jamie Rubin sent to create MY DINNER WITH HILLARY which, he insisted, would boast an all star cast: "Eleanor Randolph and carol Gicaomo from the New York times editorial board, Richard Cohen of Washington post, David Remnick and Rick Herzberg from the New Yorker, Leon Wieseltier and Frank Foer from the New Republic, Tina Brown from Newsweek, my wife from CNN and ABC, and maybe one or two others like Tom Brokaw."

Jamie Rubin's wife is, of course, Christiane Amanpour who, contrary to all rumors, has not died from her addiction to liquid eye liner -- not yet anyway.


Back to Sidney.

He's Hedda Hopper and Louella Parsons combined with just a dash of Miss Rona.

In a November 15, 2012 e-mail, he dishes, "Spoke with Peter Westmacott, UK ambassador, last night, at strange Tina sponsored event, "Hero Summit," where Petraeus was to be keynote and McRaven delivered a testimonial to Petraeus' character as the finest officer he had ever met, etc. to stormy applause (what the hell, see brain washed testimonials to Raymond Shaw in Manchurian Candidate). (Melanne was there.) Peter volunteered that he had been at MacDill and witnessed the financially and personally sketchy Jill Kelley's appalling social envelopment of virtually the entire social life of the base, coopting the generals, admirals and their wives with herself at the center as queen bee. So who the hell is she? South Korean honorary consul? Huh? Even if she is just an ambitious dope (or in another jargon, unwitting asset of someone or some power), the scene is squalid. This is the center of the war on terror? Or is it the set of the next season of Homeland?"


He works in a dig at Tina Brown's hosting abilities ("strange"), knocks David Petraeus and tosses in references to HOMELAND and THE MANUCHURIAN CANDIDATE.  Toss in a mention of Mitt Romney's dog Seamus and he could be Gail Collins!


You'll find Hillary left Huma and Lona to keep track of those June 8th and 15th 2010 concerts by Carole King and James Taylor.  Not sure if Hillary was hoping for complimentary tickets or didn't know how to work Ticket Master by herself.


But the best e-mail of all may be this one:




From: Einhom, Robert J
Sent: Tuesday, January 04, 2011 3:06 PM
To: Burns, William 3; Catalano, Elisa; Wells, Alice G; Crowley, Philip 3; Sullivan, Jacob 3; Steinberg, James B; Van Diepen, Vann H; Nephew, Richard M; Timble, James P; Kemp, Scott; Yu, Alan K; Kim-Scott, Patricia Rvu, Rex on Y.; Samore, Gary S.; Talwar, Puneet; 'Hammer, Michael A.'; 'Magsamen, Kelly E.'; 'Benjamin_Chang 'Rhodes, Benjamin B6 J.'; Davies, Glyn T; Wood, Robert A; McDonough, Denis R.; 'Ross, Dennis B.'
Subject: FW: from sy hersh
All,
Below is an email from Sy Hersh saying he is now ready to write a story for the New Yorker claiming that the US and its allies have "no empirical evidence of any nuclear weaponization facilities in Iran." He will also deal with alleged special ops and the "newly proposed NIE" (which he says doesn't have USG unity). He seems to conclude that "it is also a fact that Iran just may be telling it the way it is when it says — as it has forever—that they are not interested in the bomb." Like many of Herth's sensationalist and inaccurate pieces, this one may cause a stir, and it could give ammunition to Iran in the months ahead. I pass this on for situational awareness and early warning. Unless otherwise instructed, I don't plan to respond to him. By the way, his reference to "our last chat" was when I called him to say that his Pakistan piece about a year ago — claiming that Pakistani generals were sharing with us information about the locations of Pakistani nuclear weapons so that we could gain control over them in a crisis — was totally inaccurate, irresponsible, and very damaging to U.S. interests. That was just before I called his editor to say the piece amounted to journalistic malpractice and was far below New Yorker standards.
Bob 




Robert Einhom.  What a little bitch.  And so scared that the "chat" cited by Sy Hersh might indicate to others at State that the two were friendly.  


Notice how he brags "I called his editor to say the piece amounted to journalistic malpractice and was far below New Yorker standards."


Don't ever say these people wasted their lives . . . on anything but the trivial.









Tareq al-Hashemi? The US government knew there was no evidence against him

tareq al-hashemi


Tareq al-Hashemi.

How the whores of the western press did attack this man.

The Sunni from Iraq was the country's vice president for two terms.

Nouri al-Maliki went after him.  It was a very long process and we won't go into all here.  Nouri called Tareq a terrorist and the laughable court in Baghdad went after Tareq.


Thursday, February 16th 2012, an incredible act of judicial abuse took place as the 'independent' Supreme Court in Baghdad issued a finding of guilt against Tareq al-Hashemi. Was a trial held? Because Article 19 of Iraq's Constitution is very clear that the accused will not be guilty until convicted in a court of law. No. There was no trial held. But members of the judiciary -- who should damn well know the Constitution -- took it upon themselves not only to form an investigative panel -- extra-judicial -- but also to hold a press conference and issue their findings. At the press conference, a judge who is a well known Sunni hater, one with prominent family members who have demonized all Sunnis as Ba'athists, one who was then demanding that a member of Iraqiya in Parliament be stripped of his immunity so that the judge can sue him, felt the need to go to the microphone and insist he was receiving threats and this was because of Tareq al-Hashemi, that al-Hashemi was a threat to his family.

While we repeatedly raised issues of concern about this case, the US State Dept was silent.

To the American people.

But on December 21, 2011, Jake Sullivan e-mailed Hillary a long overview of where things stood in Iraq which included the following:



Chief Justice Medhat: Told me that contrary to Maliki to us and to media (below), Judicary specifically banned judge participating in TV confession airing after Medhat tried to pull the plug (this was why two days ago the television spectacle was first off, then later aired). Medhat has now thrown the whole investigation to a special Inquiry of five justices, 'balanced' between Sunnis and Shia (he said he was embarrassed to even say this but felt he had to, we thus did not press on 'ratio'). Only they can issue arrests, etc. Hashemi has an arrest warrant out on him from the Inquiry, and due to a change in the law (ironically sponsored by Hashemi strongly) does not have any immunity. Medhat did see the problem with a case based almost entirely on confessions, with only one piece of hard evidence (a VBIED), no known motive, allegedly against someone who had just pressed to have his own immunity lifted. I pushed hard on the credibility of the judiciary, and Sunni arguments that it was biased. He needed to make the point that the judiciary and this investigation was independent, professional and transparent. After much back and forth he said his official spokesman, a senior judge, would speak to the public on the issue tomorrow. I told him to consider what he can do with Maliki (he has not spoken to him) and with the media. His spokesperson might not be enough.



So they knew.

They knew there was no evidence.

Tareq would be sentenced to death multiple times by the Baghdad 'court.'

And never once would the US government dispute or question that.

Nor would the whorish press of the west.


They tolerated Nouri's abuses because they thought he was working for them.


They were more than willing to watch Tareq be executed because justice didn't matter to the US government.

Spreading democracy?  Don't make me laugh.






Camp Ashraf and a drunken Nouri al-Maliki

Let's talk Camp Ashraf.  As of September 2013, Camp Ashraf in Iraq is empty.  All remaining members of the community were moved to Camp Hurriya (also known as Camp Liberty).  Camp Ashraf housed a group of Iranian dissidents who were  welcomed to Iraq by Saddam Hussein in 1986 and he gave them Camp Ashraf and six other parcels that they could utilize.

In 2003, the US invaded Iraq.The US government had the US military lead negotiations with the residents of Camp Ashraf. The US government wanted the residents to disarm and the US promised protections to the point that US actions turned the residents of Camp Ashraf into protected person under the Geneva Conventions. This is key and demands the US defend the Ashraf community in Iraq from attacks.  The Bully Boy Bush administration grasped that -- they were ignorant of every other law on the books but they grasped that one.

As 2008 drew to a close, the Bush administration was given assurances from the Iraqi government that they would protect the residents. Yet Nouri al-Maliki ordered the camp repeatedly attacked after Barack Obama was sworn in as US President. July 28, 2009 Nouri launched an attack (while then-US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates was on the ground in Iraq). In a report released the summer of 2015 entitled "Iraqi government must respect and protect rights of Camp Ashraf residents," Amnesty International described this assault, "Barely a month later, on 28-29 July 2009, Iraqi security forces stormed into the camp; at least nine residents were killed and many more were injured. Thirty-six residents who were detained were allegedly tortured and beaten. They were eventually released on 7 October 2009; by then they were in poor health after going on hunger strike." April 8, 2011, Nouri again ordered an assault on Camp Ashraf (then-US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates was again on the ground in Iraq when the assault took place). Amnesty International described the assault this way, "Earlier this year, on 8 April, Iraqi troops took up positions within the camp using excessive, including lethal, force against residents who tried to resist them. Troops used live ammunition and by the end of the operation some 36 residents, including eight women, were dead and more than 300 others had been wounded. Following international and other protests, the Iraqi government announced that it had appointed a committee to investigate the attack and the killings; however, as on other occasions when the government has announced investigations into allegations of serious human rights violations by its forces, the authorities have yet to disclose the outcome, prompting questions whether any investigation was, in fact, carried out."

Those weren't the last attacks.

They were the last attacks while the residents were labeled as terrorists by the US State Dept.  (September 28, 2012, the designation was changed.)   In spite of this labeling, Mohammed Tawfeeq (CNN) observed that "since 2004, the United States has considered the residents of Camp Ashraf 'noncombatants' and 'protected persons' under the Geneva Conventions."  So the US has an obligation to protect the residents.  3,300 are no longer at Camp Ashraf.  They have moved to Camp Hurriyah for the most part.  A tiny number has received asylum in other countries. Approximately 100 were still at Camp Ashraf when it was attacked Sunday.   That was the second attack this year alone.   February 9th of 2013, the Ashraf residents were again attacked, this time the ones who had been relocated to Camp Hurriyah.  Trend News Agency counted 10 dead and over one hundred injured.  Prensa Latina reported, " A rain of self-propelled Katyusha missiles hit a provisional camp of Iraqi opposition Mujahedin-e Khalk, an organization Tehran calls terrorists, causing seven fatalities plus 50 wounded, according to an Iraqi official release."  They were attacked again September 1, 2013 -- two years ago.   Adam Schreck (AP) reported back then that the United Nations was able to confirm the deaths of 52 Ashraf residents.


While all the persecution and attacks took place, many wondered around the world what the US government was doing?

Holding hands with Nouri.  With a drunken Nouri-al Maliki, apparently.

David E. LindwallCounselor for Political-Military Affairs, wrote the following on December 22, 2011.  Note that Nouri appeared "drunk."  Love that part.



Bottom line up front: In today's 2 Y2 hour meeting with Kobler, Maliki claimed to be completely uninformed about the UN-GOI MOU regarding Ashraf and disagreed with many of the fundamental assumptions. Maliki wants all Ashraf residents out of Iraq, not at Camp Liberty. By the end of the meeting, Kobler had convinced him to give the process that had been agreed to by Fayyad a second look, and Kobler is going to make some revisions to the MOU. Kobler is writing Maliki a letter arguing that it is now too late to implement this plan before the end of the year and the GOI must give him time. Kobler has cancelled his plans to spend Christmas away from Iraq.

Kobler described the two and a half hour meeting with Maliki this afternoon as "surreal," and even wondered if Maliki had been drinking. He said Maliki was totally unaware that UNAMI was negotiating a MOU with Fayyad and was taken aback by its terms. He had never heard of Camp Liberty and expressed complete disagreement with creating a second Camp Ashraf, while still keeping the original one open (at least provisionally). He said he expected the UN to move the Ashraf residents out of Iraq, not just out of Ashraf. When Kobler asked him where Maliki proposed the Ashraf residents go to, Maliki responded he could take them "to the UN." When Kobler walked Maliki through the terms of the MOU, Maliki became indignant, shouting several times. He said "these are criminals and terrorists" and should not be "coddled" as outlined in the MOU. When Kobler said he had agreed with Fayyad that the GOI would sign this MOU with him today, Maliki could not understand why the GOI should sign anything.

Maliki said he was prepared to give the Ashraf residents a few more months in Iraq but wanted Kobler's guarantee that in six months they would all be out of Iraq. Kobler said he could not give Maliki that guarantee. Furthermore, he couldn't even guarantee that the Ashraf residents would accept this process. Maliki asked why the Ashraf residents had to leave Ashraf for Camp Liberty, and Kobler said that the UN prefers that they not leave Ashraf and that the UNHCR processing take place at Ashraf, but that the GOI negotiators had told them that would not be possible. Maliki argued that the MEK will not allow UNHCR into Camp Ashraf, and Kobler corrected him noting that it was the GOI that forbid UNHCR from visiting the Camp. When Kobler suggested that the best option would be to keep the residents at Camp Ashraf at least through the phase where they are being processed for refugee status, Maliki said that was unacceptable. Kohler said he felt that he was really back at square one and that Al Fayyad had not been briefing Maliki on his talks with UNAMI on Ashraf. Kobler asked Maliki what the alternative is if the MOU is not signed and the UNAMI resettlement plan doesn't proceed. Maliki said we would arrest all the Ashraf residents and spread them out to the different prisons. Kobler said that would result in violence. Maliki retorted that his police would go into Ashraf unarmed.
By the end of two and a half hours Kobler had convinced Maliki to speak with Fayyad and give the plan a second look. Maliki proposed some changes that Kobler is going to incorporate. Kobler is still waiting for UN Headquarters authorization to sign, so he will send the revised text back to New York and will try to talk with Fayyad. Fayyad has not returned his calls for several days now.
Next steps: Kobler cancelled his vacation and will be staying in Baghdad. He turned off the UN monitors who were supposed to fly in to Baghdad in 48 hours. He will edit the MOU and shop it back to UN HQ and to Fayyad. He is also writing a letter tonight to Maliki explaining that it is now too late to renegotiate the MOU and set up the logistical steps needed to begin moving Ashraf residents out of the camp before the end of the year. On top of that, the recent deterioration of the security environment makes a large move like the 400-person moves envisioned in the MOU unsafe. He will argue that Maliki must give the UN several months into 2012 to reach a satisfactory agreement with the GOI and the Ashraf residents and begin the move.
David E. Lindwall
Counselor for Political-Military Affairs
U.S. Embassy Baghdad, Iraq
077o-442-6827
US phone 240-553-0581,























Bought -- that's the word

Bought.

The US government buys politicians in Iraq.

And we report it here.

And I get trashed in e-mails.

For all the Josh Rogins who strips us of our credit (look for a brief piece on Joshy at THIRD in the next edition, whores always get exposed), who cares for the most part?

But all the whiny ass e-mails about, "You lie!"

I explain that the CIA profile on Nouri al-Maliki says he's unstable and paranoid -- and do this in 2006 -- and the response is whiny e-mails from passer bys insisting it's not true.

And that I made it up.

Then, years later, WikiLeaks releases the Chelsea Manning documents and we see, goodness, that is how the US government saw him.

I spoke of Saleh Mutlaq being bought and paid for by the US for years.  I spoke of how The Erbil Agreement came to be because the US government bribed Iraqi politicians.

"Bought."

That's the term we used.

And whiny ass e-mails are the response.

I just have to wonder, all these self-righteous e-mailers who insist that if whatever I say was true then THE NEW YORK TIMES would report it, do these same e-mailers ever turn around and whine to THE NEW YORK TIMES?

If so, get ready to whine again.

I said "bought."

I was right.



Then-US Ambassador to Iraq James Jeffrey writing to Brett McGurk and others in the US State Dept on November 8, 2010,  "We have heard some rumors that this may have been successful. i.e., that the Sunni majority of Iraqiyya has been bought by some other package and will dump allawi (and the Presidency). On the other hand from Ali Debaggah with Maliki earlier today it sounded like the Turks were encountering hard sledding getting their plan B sold to Maliki. I will see Allawi and (separately) Issawi and Saleh Mutlaq (!) here tonight, along with Adel Mahdi, and then I will have a better sense of what is going on. Then will see Maliki (in'shallah) and for sure Barzani tomorrow. We will know better at least what is in play and where the fault lines are."

This is in the heavily redacted e-mail chain.

"Bought."

That's how they've always handled Iraqi politicians.

And then not understood why the Iraqi people wouldn't accept them as their leaders.

For those who don't know the context, in March 2010, Nouri al-Maliki did not get the re-election the western press (including NPR's Quil Lawrence) had promised.  Ayad Allawi's group won.

Nouri then refused to step down.

He brought the country to a political stalemate for over 8 months.

The US brokered the contract (The Erbil Agreement) that gave Nouri the second term the Iraqi people did not want him to have.

(And he used that second term to destroy Iraq even further.)

Community member Keesha long ago noted this is a private conversation in a public square.

So we're going to get passer-bys and drive-bys.

And, fortunately, I don't have to read most of the e-mails anymore (the bulk are read by Martha & Shirley).

We go more into depth in the community newsletters for a reason: I don't have to hear about all the whiny people fretting over reality intruding into their little world.

I'm not advertising.  I'm not asking for money.  I long ago made clear there would be no publicity for this site.

So if you're not a community member, I didn't ask you to be here.

If you're here reading, that's your decision.  But stop the whiny e-mails please.

There's more than enough up here to demonstrate when I'm right and when I'm wrong.  And I don't go back and change things.  "Restive."  I look like an idiot because I didn't know the meaning of that term.  I've never gone back and changed that entry (think it's 2005).  Even after a reporter e-mailed to tell me that I didn't know the word.  (I did e-mail back, "You are right.  What an idiot!")  It makes me laugh.  It happened and I'm not going to go back and change it.

We would go into a lot more here -- and we do in the newsletters -- if it weren't for all the b.s. from non-community members of "No way!"

"Bought."

That's the term and it's the term the US government uses -- just not in front of the American people.

Sorry if that shocked some of you visitors -- apparently repeatedly -- over the last seven years.  But read the 2010 e-mail and you'll see the term I used was valid.











Saturday, December 30, 2017

No justice

Justice in Iraq?

Our story from inside Baghdad’s anti-terrorism court where we found Iraqi and foreign ISIS suspects being sentenced to death in trials that take minutes and lack due process, potentially ensnaring innocents.



Tamer El-Ghobashy and Mustafa Salim (WASHINGTON POST via STARS AND STRIPES) reported:

The two Turkish men shuffled into the courtroom, their closely cropped hair, clean shaven faces and chubby waistlines hardly the look of fearsome fighters of the Islamic State.
Appearing in court for the first time since being arrested in August on charges of belonging to that group, they professed their innocence, telling the judge they were simply plumbers who migrated to Iraq from Turkey looking for work.
After an 18-minute trial, they were sentenced to death by hanging.


Justice is a concept that still hasn't quite taken in 'liberated' Iraq.  As Hoshang Mohamed (RUDAW) explains:

Transitional justice initiatives since 2003 have been problematic in Iraq. Such initiatives have been used as tools to repress political opponents instead of ending impunity and ensuring justice. Therefore, people have lost trust in the existing justice system.

Where we stand today, in the aftermath of ISIS, victims may not share the political elite’s perceptions of justice. The understanding of justice varies across communities, each giving different priority to social justice, punitive justice, and restorative justice. While victims may have experienced similar violations, their perspectives on gender reflect factors like beliefs, gender, socioeconomic standing, ethnicity, and religion.

The current context requires a comprehensive study to construct a detailed understanding of the political dynamics of relevance to restore justice and end impunity. This requires an in-depth understanding of the crimes committed, the role of different perpetrators, the impact of the crimes on the victims and society, and the needs, demands and priorities of the victims and their communities.

Development of a new national policy is critically required to ensure accountable, transparent, and reliable justice and increase the capacity of the state to effectively deal with complex crimes such as genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. 



THE WASHINGTON POST's Tamer El-Ghobashy appeared on this weekend's THE NEWSHOUR (PBS):


ALISON STEWART: Earlier this month, the Iraqi government declared the end of combat operations in the fight against ISIS, ending three years of the militant group’s violent and deadly control over one third of the nation. And as the Washington Post reports this week, the Iraqi government is now undertaking an effort to quickly bring ISIS members to justice. But just how the process is moving forward and who’s being caught up in it is raising questions for an explanation. I’m joined via Skype from Ontario by Tamer El-Ghobashy, the Baghdad bureau chief for The Washington Post. I understand you’ve just returned from Iraq. So when you were there tell me who is being arrested? What are they being charged for? And what is the process like? 

TAMER EL-GHOBASHY: What we’re seeing is that there are thousands of people – both local Iraqis and foreigners – who came to join ISIS in Iraq who are being arrested and are now coursing through the Iraqi criminal justice system. They’re all being charged under the Iraqi anti-terrorism law which was passed in 2005 and has a very, very broad definition. Whether they raised arms and fought for the group or whether they cooked for fighters in the group or treated them as doctors or otherwise is irrelevant. Under Iraqi law, the idea that you joined ISIS or a similar group like Al-Qaeda means that you are subject to either life in prison or the death penalty. 

 ALISON STEWART: How long do these trials last? Is there anything that could be done to change the way this process is going forward? 

TAMER EL-GHOBASHY: The U.N. has suggested that Iraq doesn’t have the infrastructure in its legal system to handle these cases saying that most of ISIS’s crimes were crimes against humanity and war crimes and should be handled by an International Criminal Court for Justice. But so far there is no momentum. In fact, it seems that from the very top of the Iraqi leadership structure, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has authorized that these trials be expedited in order to to see justice served for the victims of ISIS. 

ALISON STEWART: Tamer how might these quick trials and these executions affect Iraq’s stability? 

TAMER EL-GHOBASHY: From a domestic point of view the idea is that these quick executions could result in a quite large number of innocent people being condemned to death. And one of the popular kind of conventional wisdom in Iraq and elsewhere is that the reason ISIS flourished in Iraq is because Sunnis felt disenfranchised and ignored by the majority Shia central government. So there might be a risk of further alienating Sunnis who feel like they were victims of ISIS and then were victimized once again by the Iraqi criminal justice system, which again, does not appear equipped to or willing to allow people a fair trial to defend themselves against the charge of joining the group.


All those years of 'helping' and the Iraqi justice system is no where near 'fixed.'  But maybe that was never really the point?

In other realities, Richard Sisk (MILITARY TIMES) reports, "U.S.-backed forces were in the process of 'crushing the life' out of ISIS but 'the war is not over' in Iraq and Syria, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said Friday."


The following community sites -- plus BLACK AGENDAY REPORT and Cindy Sheehan -- updated:










New Year’s Eve Spectacular from Detroit Public Television!


New Year’s Eve Spectacular from Detroit Public Television!

Start 2018 on the Right Note
With the Music of Michael Jackson and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra

Tomorrow night – New Year’s Eve - 10 p.m. live from Orchestra Hall in Detroit
Watch the concert live on DPTV (56.1), at dptv.org/nye

Looking for a great way to ring in the New Year?  It’s as easy as ABC – thanks to the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and Detroit Public Television, as we present the holiday’s hottest party set to the music of Motown’s own – Michael Jackson.

From his early years with the Jackson 5 to his mega-hit album Thriller and beyond, Michael Jackson stormed the music industry with hit after hit. With the Detroit Symphony orchestra and conductor Brent Havens, multi-talented performer James Delisco will deliver a rare combination of vocals and athletic dance moves to countdown the end of 2017 while reliving each era of Michael Jackson’s celebrated career, from ABC, I'll Be There, and Got To Be There through Beat It, Thriller, Rock With You, The Way You Make Me Feel, and many, many more.

At the acoustically perfect and resplendent Orchestra Hall, there’s no better way to get 2018 off to a great start.

The concert kicks off at 10 p.m. But there is a range of party options before and afterwards, which you can check out at the DSO’swebsite

The concert will also be broadcast live on DPTV (56.1), live-streamed at dptv.org and available  on Facebook Live – all made possible by a generous contribution by the Stanley and Judith Frankel Family Foundation.

When it comes to starting off the New Year with a musical bang, with apologies to Michael Jackson, you can’t beat it!



Rich Homberg
President and CEO
Detroit Public Television
248-640-4169 - rhomberg@dptv.org  - @RichHomberg

One Detroit.  4 Million People.  One Story.

If you don’t understand the difference between the boom and the bass, well, you haven’t been to Detroit.  But don’t worry, we’ll still be here when you decide to learn.

Dr. Tonya Matthews
Symphony in D























The pharmaceutical industry and corporations undermining food safety play a major hand in fueling the opiod and obesity crises (Tulsi Gabbard)

Some Tweets from US House Rep Tulsi Gabbard:




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  • It is obvious that Puerto Rico needs additional relief. It was apparent even before the natural disasters they have suffered this year. Their crisis is ours. I will continue to do everything in my power to deliver justice and aid to our fellow Americans.
  • The economic, ecological, and humanitarian crises that US citizens of Puerto Rico are dealing with after Irma and Maria cannot be taken without consideration for the Recession, unequal treatment by Washington, and the debt that has been weaponized to wipe out social services.
  • Puerto Rico has imposed austerity for years at the behest of Wall Street vulture funds. Child poverty rose to ~60%, infrastructure failed, 100+ schools & hospitals closed, foreclosures rose 90% after 2008, median income hovered at $19,000 (compared to the $51K national average).
  • This is unacceptable, and quite frankly would not be happening if American citizens in Puerto Rico were treated the same as those living in states. The blame for this falls squarely on Washington and Wall Street hedge funds and creditors, not the Puerto Rican people.
  • The sets a goal of attaining 100% of our energy from renewable sources by 2035. If we work together, we can hasten our clean energy transformation to save the environment and compete in the 21st-century global economy.
  • The private prison industry is immoral, only concerned with their shareholders' profits at the expense of human life. No industry runs more contrary to our nation's founding ideal of liberty and justice for all. We need criminal justice reform NOW.
  • Hauʻoli Makahiki Hou! Wishing you and your ʻohana the very best in these final days of 2017 and in the New Year. While we face many challenges, I know we can overcome them when we come together in the spirit of aloha. May we find strength, courage and inspiration in ALOHA!
  • We must pass the Act and invest in the clean energy economy of the future. The sooner we transition, the more money we will save, the more jobs we will create, and the better we can prepare for the climate disruptions that are devastating so many communities.
  • . is absolutely right. The pharmaceutical industry and corporations undermining food safety play a major hand in fueling the opioid and obesity crises. They must be held accountable.
  • In Hawaiʻi alone, 25,780 of our keiki receive their health insurance through .
  • Water is life. We cannot take it for granted. Failing infrastructure, oil pipelines, and polluters that dump toxic chemicals threaten our rivers, lakes, aquifers, and oceans. This precious resource must be protected.