Sunday, April 22, 2018

Dear World, The United States Is Just Not That Into You

In the United States, politicians talk about the legality of war without ever mentioning that it is illegal, that there are laws that every other nation is supposed to obey. There’s no articulation of a double standard. Other nations are just not mentioned at all.
From outside the United States, the U.S. government looks like an endless war machine. And in fact about 60% of the funding that the U.S. Congress oversees goes to militarism. But it’s hard to find a candidate for U.S. Congress who even admits that the rest of the world exists, has any foreign policy whatsoever, has any list of wars they would end or escalate, has any list of wars they are even aware are happening, or has any basic outline of what they think the federal budget should look like. The “progressive” candidate whom people tell me I should support in my district is no exception. I ask her for her positions and she doesn’t answer. I ask peace “activists” who are campaigning for her rather than trying to end any wars what her foreign policy is, and they have no idea and no interest in knowing.
My kid’s school teaches him that the U.S. Civil War was the deadliest war in U.S. history, exactly as if Filipinos, Vietnamese, Iraqis, and many other people don’t exist at all. When I point out this error, people in the United States generally think it a silly quirk to act as if human beings exist outside U.S. borders. The same war is used as an argument for more wars on the basis of the moronic claim that you cannot end slavery without a war. The fact that other places did so is only relevant to weirdoes who are indulging in the pretense that other places exist.
This is the U.S. attitude toward you, dear world. It’s not hatred or animosity. Its annoyance that you exist and intent pursuit of the ability to act as if you don’t. What does the U.S. public think of your country? The U.S. public cannot find your country on a map, name the continent it is in, or distinguish between it and the names of ingredients in stuff the U.S. public eats. The United States is just not that into you.
David Swanson is an author, activist, journalist, and radio host. He is director of and campaign coordinator for Swanson's books include War Is A Lie. He blogs at and He hosts Talk Nation Radio.He is a 2015, 2016, 2017 Nobel Peace Prize Nominee.
Follow him on Twitter: @davidcnswanson and FaceBook.
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Saturday, April 21, 2018

21 days until elections in Iraq

Today, Sammy Ketz (AFP) insists, "An incumbent prime minister, his ousted predecessor and a paramilitary chief instrumental in defeating the Islamic State group are the three favourites vying for Iraq's premiership." He bases that conclusion on the Middle East Institute's Fanar Haddad who maintains the prime minister position will come down to one of three people: Hayder al-Abadi (current prime minister), Nouri al-Maliki (two time prime minister and forever thug) or Hadi al-Ameria "a leader of Hashed al-Shaabi, a paramilitary network that played a pivotal role in defeating IS. Ameri comes from Diyala province and is a statistics graduate from Baghdad University. He fled to Iran in 1980 after Saddam executed top Shiite cleric Ayatollah Mohammed Baqr al-Sadr. The 64-year old is widely viewed as Tehran's favoured candidate."

Unlike Sammy Ketz and/or AFP, this isn't the first time this year that Hadi al-Ameria's name has popped up in our Iraq election coverage.  Which might be why we can -- and repeatedly have -- noted his corruption scandal.  Most recently on April 6th:

ALSUMARIA reported today that the Badr Organization's Hadi al-Amiri stated they would eliminate corruption.  He stated that they would create needed jobs and punish those who had stolen Iraq's wealth.  Hadi is a militia thug and he's also one of the corrupt -- most infamously, he ordered a plane  to remain on the runway and wait for his spoiled son Mahdi to make the flight but the plane left Lebanon without Mahdi on board so al-Amiri, then-Minister of Transportation in Iraq, refused to allow the plane to land.  It caused quite an uproar -- as CNN noted in real time.

Corruption is one of the big issues for Iraqi voters so how do Ketz and AFP justify ignoring this?  About the only thing of interest in Ketz's report is this, "During Maliki's 2010-2014 term as premier, Ameri was a lawmaker and then transport minister, but he was blocked in a bid to head the interior ministry by an American veto."  Want to expand on that, Ketz?  Especially since the Iraqi Constitution doesn't not provide the United States government with veto power.

May 12th, elections are supposed to take place in Iraq.  Ali Jawad (ANADOLU AGENCY) notes, "A total of 24 million Iraqis are eligible to cast their ballots to elect members of parliament, who will in turn elect the Iraqi president and prime minister."  RUDAW adds, "Around 7,000 candidates have registered to stand in the May 12 poll, with 329 parliamentary seats up for grabs."  RUDAW also notes that 60 Christian candidates are competing for the five allotted minority seats.  As noted in the April 3rd snapshot, pollster Dr. Munqith Dagher has utilized data on likely voters and predicts that Hayder al-Abadi's Al-Nasr will win 72 seats in the Parliament, al-Fath (the militias) will get 37 seats, Sa'eroon (Moqtada al-Sadr's new grouping) will get 27 seats, Nouri al-Maliki's State of Law will get 19 seats, al-Salam will get 18 seats (KDP and PUK parties for the Kurds), Ayad Allawi's Wataniya will get 15 seats. There are others but Dagher did not predict double digits for any of the other seats. The number are similar for the group of those who are extremely likely to vote (Hayder's seats would jump from 72 to 79 seats).  Other predictions?

Not expecting anyone to win a majority in 's elections on May 12, 2018, says forming a government will therefore be a long, drawn-out process

AL MADA reports a Saturday summit took place among Sunni politicians.  Among those participating, Iraq's Vice President Osama al-Nujaifi, Speaker of Parliament Salem al-Jubouri, Minister of Planning Salman al-Jumaili and long term politician Saleh al-Mutlaq among others.  The meet up was about what happens after the election.   al-Nujaifi released a statement noting the need for a shared vision.  Saleh stated that the problems confronting Iraqi society and the various concerns require that they set aside difference and work for a common future.

In other election developments, a high profile defection has taken place.  The Talabani family heads the PUK -- a Kurdistan political party.  Until 2014, it was one of two major political  parties in the KRG.  However, that year saw the CIA-backed Goran Party take second place kicking the PUK into third place -- both behind the Barzani's KDP political party. 

Now a Talabani has left the PUK.  RUDAW reports Ala Talabani is running as part of the Baghdad Coalition -- a national entity -- and that she is no longer part of any political party.  The niece of former president Jalal Talabani states that PUK leaders -- including family member Hero Ibrahim Ahmed (her aunt) that she was no longer part of the PUK.  The falling out came when she backed removing Hoshyar Zebari as the Minister of Foreign Affairs following the discovery of his corruption and the vote in Parliament to remove him.  RUDAW notes:

Talabani said in her video message that PUK leaders tried to expel her from the party’s leadership but failed to get enough votes, at which point they made the decision to freeze her out. She added that she has asked the party to explain why they want her out, but has not yet been given an answer. This is the latest defection from the beleaguered PUK. Former second deputy leader Barham Salih is expected give the party some strong competition with his newly-formed Coalition for Democracy and Justice (CDJ).  

The following community sites updated:


  • Some Tweets from Sarah Abdallah

    Some Tweets from Sarah Abdallah:

  •   Retweeted
    In the span of a few days the UK government, using its media arm coordinated an attack on multiple anti-war activists, Journalists and Academics, including myself , , , , and . This IS A .
  • “In all probability, the Douma incident was a propaganda stunt orchestrated by Western-backed anti-government militants and their White Helmets media agents, precisely in order to provoke an external military attack on Syria by the US, Britain and France.”
  • Saudi Arabia’s air strikes killed at least 20 civilians in Yemen yesterday. Think the mainstream media is going to start clamoring for regime change in Riyadh on “humanitarian” grounds? Fat chance.
  •   Retweeted
    The matter is far from defending or or or anyone else. The question is simply: MSM lost the war, and is trying to win the war of shutting up anyone with a loud voice offering another way to think or an alternative approach.
  •   Retweeted
    is one of the last sanctuaries for Christians in Middle East, where Christians are equal citizens & freely worship. Also, Syria has 2nd largest population of Christians in Middle East. It is critical for the survival of Middle East Christians to stand by .
  •   Retweeted
    People tell me it's crazy that I went there and recorded what I saw---but so did 20 other news teams!! There were two dozen news vans and satellite trucks in Douma with me that day. Where is their coverage though? They had the same opportunity I had, where are their stories?
  •   Retweeted
    Defending and supporting Wikileaks isn’t just about them or Assange. It’s about protecting the freedom to share important information that helps the public hold the government to account.
  • A “Yas Queen feminist icon”? So that’s what we’re calling war criminals who advocate the starvation of children and dismantlement of sovereign states these days.
  •   Retweeted
    What does it say of US UK media ‘Russia bot’ narrative, and even more so of UK govt experts and journalism, when of the two best examples of ‘Russia bots’ they can find it turns out neither is a bot, and neither is Russian
  •   Retweeted
    Video: Sky News interview with man falsely accused by the UK government of being a "Kremlin bot"
  • American journalist from the hospital in Syria’s Douma: We’ve talked to doctors, a surgeon, nursing staff and a number of patients that were in the hospital that day. Not one person saw any sign of a chemical attack. And no deaths were recorded that day.
  •   Retweeted
    UK government falsely accuses two Twitter users of being Kremlin bots and the Guardian reprints without fact checking. Both users say they are now considering suing. One, is a very well known Syrian Youtuber in Australia.
  •   Retweeted
    In spite of what you have heard in the and and I AM Human. I am not a machine! I bleed red. My name is Maram Susli and I am a journalist. This is how far the has come.
  •   Retweeted
    The mainstream media outlets leading these attacks do it under the false guise of "investigative journalism" - they try so hard to sound impartial and sincere - but it's so obvious that their ultimate goal is to silence dissenting voices through bullying and coercion.
  •   Retweeted
    Many of us aren't journalists. We're just private-citizens that want to put our opinion and thoughts out there. We don't work for huge media corporations that have endless resources and money...
  •   Retweeted
    The recent co-ordinated effort of , , , (and I'm sure many others yet to reveal themselves) to slander and character-assassinate voices on social-media that don't agree with their narratives is staggering...
  •   Retweeted
    It’s rather odd, disturbing, and doesn’t seem coincidental that British media, the BBC and The Times, simultaneously targeted in their smear pieces two Twitter users, and , who simply engage in critical thinking.
  •   Retweeted
    SO is so scared of Youtube news channels that they R creating a fake crisis so that youtube will now fully demonetize independent news. My show goes against the Pro Syrian War narrative being uniformly pushed by Est. news, so they smear me hard.
  •   Retweeted
    You'd be forgiven for thinking this is Italy or France.. but this is Syria. It's a stunningly beautiful country, with amazing, friendly people.. NOTHING like what you see on TV. Why is this side NEVER reported?? This isn't staged, it's just there, but no one is talking about it..
  • “US government officials offered “zero real evidence” that the Syrian government was behind the alleged chemical attack in Syria’s Douma, relying instead on information circulating online, Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Kentucky) said.”
  •   Retweeted
    An awful lot of journos have taken it upon themselves to address the horrible awful horrifying epidemic of "Assad apologists" lately. Because of all the problems in the world, the biggest is that some people are fighting another US-led regime change war with too much enthusiasm.