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الجمعة، 31 يوليو 2015

Aga Khan Hospital denies report of Taliban leader Mullah Omar’s treatment at AKUH

Aga Khan Hospital denies report of Taliban leader Mullah Omar’s treatment at AKUH

By Web DeskJuly 31, 2015 20:05

KARACHI: The Aga University Hospital Karachi has rejected Washington Post report claiming that Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Omar (slain) was being treated at the AKUH.

In a tweet from its official account, the AKUH spokesperson said, “patients have a right to confidentiality and privacy and details about its patients are not disclosed.”

AKUH patients have a right to confidentiality and privacy and details about its patients are not disclosed. 1/2

The spokesperson said the hospital had no record of Mullah Omar being treated there.

In this exceptional case we can state that we have no record of being treated here. We will not comment any further on this. 2/2

The Washington Post report claimed that, “In early 2011, then-CIA Director Leon Panetta confronted the president of Pakistan with a disturbing piece of intelligence. The spy agency had learned that ­Mohammad Omar, the Taliban leader who had become one of the world’s most wanted fugitives after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, was being treated at a hospital in Karachi.
The report added that, “The American spy chief even identified the facility — the Aga Khan University Hospital in Karachi — and said the CIA had “some raw intelligence on this” that would soon be shared with its Pakistani counterpart”.
Taliban supremo Mullah Omar died two years ago in Pakistan, Afghanistan said on Wednesday, after unnamed government and militant sources reported the demise of the reclusive warrior-cleric.

'Helping' Iraq

'Helping' Iraq

The Common Ills
The bombs continue to fall from the sky onto Iraq.  Iraqi Spring MC notes dozens of civilians killed and wounded in western Anbar as refugee shelters were among those hit.  Refugees are at risk throughout Iraq.  UNHCR looks at one refugee family:

Sozan and her family have lived in a plastic tent for the past two years. In the winter, the tent's roof and walls protect her and her four children from the elements, but come summer it turns into an oven.
Now with Iraq in the midst of the summer's second heatwave, temperatures are regularly topping 50 degrees Celsius, compounding the already difficult lives of hundreds of thousands of refugees like Sozan.
"You can feel it's like hell, there's no way to describe it," Sozan says. Originally from Qamishli, Syria, she and her family are now sheltering in Kawergosk refugee camp in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq.
This is their second summer living in Iraq as refugees. While Sozan says she is more accustomed to the heat this year than last, this summer's punishingly high temperatures have been particularly difficult to cope with.
By 9.00 a.m. local time, Sozan and her children are already sweating through their clothing. One by one she takes them into the kitchen area of their tent and gives them bucket showers to help cool them off.

"This is the only thing that works," she says. "I call it a shower, but they keep [some of] their clothing on, that way it cools them more when it dries."

And the heat is only rising in Iraq.  It's led to the government announcing a four-day weekend this week.  But while various Iraqi politicians and officials use the break as an excuse to travel outside of Iraq, refugees are, more or less, trapped in refugee camps.   Rudaw reports:

The recent wave of stifling heat and a lack of electricity has led to the deaths of at least 52 children in refugee camps in less than a week, a Baghdad official said on Friday.

“After the deaths of these children due to high temperature of 50 degrees Celsius, the government is trying to provide 24-hours electricity and coolers for refugees to save them from heat waves of summer,” said Raad al-Dahlaki, head of the Iraqi parliament's Committee on Immigration and Displacement. 

And the US government leads a campaign to bomb Iraq from the air and Turkey bombs northern Iraq.

And this qualifies as 'helping.'

John Kerry did have an image to worry about.

It'll be interesting to watch, in the coming years, as he tries to grapple with the many failures in Iraq and how little people care about his Iranian efforts but hold him accountable for what went wrong in Iraq.

He'll be the new Madeline Albright, with all that entails.

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    Iraq snapshot Thursday, July 30, 2015.

    Iraq snapshot Thursday, July 30, 2015.

    The Common Ills
    Thursday, July 30, 2015.  Chaos and violence continue,  the US continues dropping bombs on Iraq, Turkey continues dropping bombs on Iraq, it's as though all of Iraq has turned into the Gap Band singing "You Dropped A Bomb On Me," and much more.

    At the Guardian, Sarah Yahya writes about expectations and stereotypes she encounters from some people based upon the fact that she is an Iraqi woman:

    “No one can make you do what you don’t want to do and no one can stop you from doing what you want to do,” my grandmother always said. 
    My grandmother is the most acclaimed and respected actress in Iraq. In a career that spanned over 40 years, she shaped the female role in both theatre and television in Iraq. She was the first Mandaean actress in history. Mandaeanism is an ancient and a minority religion that resides in Iraq and Iran, to which we belong.

    My own mother is the first female president of the largest Mandaean association in Australia or anywhere in the world.

    It's easy to bury history.  You can, for example, just hide it under the rubble.
    The US Defense Dept notes that air strikes continued on Iraq today:

    U.S. and coalition military forces have continued to attack Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant terrorists in Syria and Iraq, Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve officials reported today.
    Officials reported details of the latest strikes, which took place yesterday, noting that assessments of results are based on initial reports.
    [. . .]
    Airstrikes in Iraq
    Attack, fighter-attack, bomber and remotely piloted aircraft conducted 22 airstrikes in Iraq, coordinated with the government of Iraq:
    -- Near Haditha, eight airstrikes struck an ISIL tactical unit, five ISIL staging areas and as ISIL command and control site and destroyed two ISIL vehicles, three ISIL structures, an ISIL berm, an ISIL IED belt, eight ISIL mortar systems and an ISIL fighting position.
    -- Near Kirkuk, one airstrike struck an ISIL heavy machine gun position.
    -- Near Makhmur, three airstrikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed three ISIL fighting positions and three ISIL buildings.
    -- Near Mosul, four airstrikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed five ISIL fighting positions, two ISIL bunkers, an ISIL weapon cache, an ISIL excavator and an ISIL light machine gun.
    -- Near Ramadi, three airstrikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL tank, an ISIL vehicle and an ISIL mortar system.
    -- Near Sinjar, one airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL light machine gun and two ISIL fighting positions.

     -- Near Tal Afar, two airstrikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL vehicle and an ISIL fighting position.

    It was probably stupid for anyone to think that the same US government that went to war on Iraq in 2003 was going to extend a helping hand.

    The US government should be cleaning up the environmental damage done.  The burn pits in Iraq, for example, injured many American troops and contractors.  Those burn pits remain in Iraq polluting the environment whether or not they're used.

    Falluja is a chemical dumping ground due to the weapons -- confirmed and denied -- that the US government ordered used there.

    The birth defects result from this -- as though the US government's biggest export was some sort of play-at-home version of the Love Canal.

    Instead of cleaning up these toxic minefields, the US government now 'helps' Iraq by endlessly bombing it.

    Again, there are many ways to bury history -- among the easiest is to just let rubble fall over it.

    As the day began, the State Dept's Brett McGurk's Twitter feed looked like this.

    But for some reason, Brett began creating new Tweets but backdating them.

    He spent considerable time this morning posting Tweets, newly posted today, but with older dates on them.

    Again, it's very easy to bury history.

    Especially when all involved agree not to ask questions or even speak of what you've done.

    The same press that pretends there's nothing strange about a government employee using his work time to create a false (and public) narrative is the same press that never asks how bombing Iraq from war planes today helps?

    How does it help?

    Is anyone in the press ever going to be brave enough to ask that question?

    Recruitment for the Islamic State is not dropping.  Most estimates have it increasing but it is, at the very least, maintaining its recruitment numbers of the last six months.

    How does dropping bombs on Iraq address the recruiting numbers for the Islamic State?

    Maybe it's one reason there are so many doubts about the 'purity' of the US government's motives?

    RT notes:

    US doesn’t want to resolve the crisis and put an end to Islamic State. On the contrary, it’s eager to exploit the jihadists “to achieve its projects in Iraq,” Qais Khazali, a leader of Iraqi Shiite fighters has said.
    "We believe the United States of America does not want to resolve the crisis, but rather wants to manage the crisis,” Qais Khazali, a leader of Asaib Ahl al-Haq (AAH), an Iraqi Shiite paramilitary group, told Reuters in an interview.

    The US government has carried out a war on Iraq under the pretext of 'helping' Iraq.

    At what time does any sober, thinking person find the honesty to ask: How does dropping bombs on Iraq help the Iraqi people?

    It is long past time for #IraqiLivesMatter.

    There's little honesty in the press corps and that was demonstrated yet again today.

    Background: At the end of last week, Turkey began bombing northern Iraq.

    It did so with the approval of the US government which sought to argue that Turkey had a "right" to bomb Iraq.

    The government of Iraq, however, disagreed.

  • In response, the US State Dept stopped their daily briefings -- no briefings Tuesday or Wednesday.

    Today, the press briefings resumed with spokesperson Mark Toner taking over from Monday's John Kirby.

    And today?

    Not one reporter or 'reporter' bothered to ask the State Dept to explain how they could praise and defend Turkey's bombing of Iraq when the Iraqi government -- a supposed ally of the United States -- was calling the bombings a violation of their national sovereignty?

    Not one.

    It's not that they ignored the bombings.

    It's just that, yet again, no one gave a damn about the Iraqi people.

    QUESTION: Staying with Turkey --

    MR TONER: Yeah, sure.

    QUESTION: -- you indicated earlier – you said the U.S. believes that Turkey’s attacks against the PKK are a form of self-defense. Overall, is there U.S. concern that if these types of attacks continue that it’s going to be destabilizing to the overall U.S.-led mission against the Islamic State?

    MR TONER: Well – and thank you. I can’t reinforce that enough, that the recent PKK attacks, and, of course, the Turkish military response, have nothing to do with our counter-ISIL efforts. And I know that there’s a tendency to lump them together. We’ve been – we can’t be more clear about that. That said, it’s PKK that’s initiated this violence; Turkey’s retaliated in self-defense. But we want to see, obviously, that situation calm down. We want to see the PKK cease violence and return to negotiations, and we would urge the Turkish Government, obviously, to respond proportionately.

    QUESTION: Is there a concern that they have not responded proportionally so far?

    MR TONER: Again, I don’t – these are longstanding issues. This was the PKK that carried out attacks against Turkish military. They have carried out a series of airstrikes in retaliation. I think what we want to see generally is the PKK to stop these attacks so that the situation can calm down.

    QUESTION: Yeah, but do you think that the Turkish airstrikes have been disproportionate?

    MR TONER: No. I would say it’s been in self-defense, and we would --

    QUESTION: So so far --

    MR TONER: -- and that’s been very clearly our line.

    QUESTION: So thus far, at least, what the Turks have done in terms of the airstrikes against the PKK is okay and is in accordance with the U.S.-Turkey understanding on how to go about business, the business of countering ISIL?

    MR TONER: Well, again, I don’t want to – I want to separate the two out. Because what we agreed to in terms of our coordinating closely with Turkey on anti-ISIL efforts is a different thing altogether than these PKK attacks and the strikes carried out by Turkey.

    QUESTION: So you’re saying in conversations with the Turks about this the PKK has not come up once?

    MR TONER: Oh, I don’t necessarily think that. In fact, we – look, our position’s clear. We’re – they’re a foreign terrorist organization. We consult with the Turks a lot on PKK issues. But I think we want to see – just to be clear, we want to see the PKK stop these provocative attacks, and we want to see the Turkish Government respond proportionately.

    QUESTION: Yeah --

    MR TONER: Yeah.

    QUESTION: -- but is there anything having to do with attacks on the PKK that is contained within this understanding that you reached with Ankara?

    MR TONER: No.


    MR TONER: No.

    QUESTION: Okay. So as far as you’re concerned, the Turks can do whatever they want with the PKK in terms of airstrikes, as long as they don’t hit the YPG, the other Kurds?

    MR TONER: Well, again, I think --

    QUESTION: The non-FTO Kurds?

    MR TONER: Right, but I think that we want to see – we want to see this settled down.

    QUESTION: I understand what you want to see, but you’re not going to complain if the Turks continue to attack the PKK.

    MR TONER: No.

    QUESTION: Is that right?

    MR TONER: Well, I don’t know “complain,” but we’ve been very clear that these are separate and that Turkey does have a right to defend itself.

    QUESTION: From a policy perspective rather than a --

    MR TONER: Yeah.

    QUESTION: -- on-the-ground military perspective --

    MR TONER: Yeah.

    QUESTION: -- how does one tell the difference between the PKK and the – how do you tell the difference between a good Kurd and a bad Kurd? And how should the Turks make that distinction? Do they have to wear uniforms that say “FTO” on them, the PKK? (Laughter.)

    MR TONER: Look, Matt, in all honesty --

    QUESTION: Well, I mean, how does this work? It seems like you said “no, not at all” --

    MR TONER: In all --

    QUESTION: -- in response to a question about whether or not this complicates things there.

    MR TONER: We know --

    QUESTION: And I would submit to you that regardless of whether you think it complicates stuff standing in Washington right now, on the ground there it does complicate things

    MR TONER: Yeah, but there’s – anyway, they’re located geographically in different areas. Again, I don’t want to get into the details about how you tell them apart, but it’s very clear that they are separate entities.

    QUESTION: All right.

    MR TONER: Yeah.

    QUESTION: So your alliances are based on geography? I’m sorry.

    MR TONER: I apologize. That’s --

    QUESTION: You form your alliances based on geography?

    MR TONER: No, no. We just know that the PKK, where they hang out. That’s all I’m clarifying. They’re in northern Iraq mostly is where they base their operations.

    QUESTION: Right, but they’re mobile. I mean, people move, so you can’t – it just can’t be a geographic thing, especially in an area which --

    MR TONER: Understood.

    QUESTION: -- where the lines of the map have become completely blurred.

    MR TONER: I understand – I understood your question, but again, I would refer you to the experts who are following these kind of movements on the ground and can delineate.
    Yeah, please. Go ahead. Sorry.

    QUESTION: Just two questions. The U.S. ambassador in Iraq and General Austin met with President Barzani yesterday. And according to local media reports, they discussed the Turkey-PKK conflict. Do you have anything about the content of those meetings to share with us?

    MR TONER: I don’t, frankly. So I can try to get more of a readout. I don’t know what we – we consult, obviously, all the time with the Kurdish region. But I don’t have any specific readout of that meeting.

    That's a lot of words.

    You can bury reality under many things -- not just rubble, even a barrage of words.

    Bombs aren't falling on an empty regions.

    AFP at least recognizes that and spoke with one of the many targeted by Turkey's bombs:

    Rasul Abdullah Faqi, a father of seven from Inzi, a village at the foot of the Qandil mountains, said the population lived in fear of more air raids. “The strikes hit our village in several spots and we have lost a lot of cattle. Some of our farms were damaged or burned down,” the 40-year-old said.
    He pulled his donkey out of an enclosure to show a makeshift bandage he wrapped around his animal to cover a deep wound.
    “There are no PKK members in my village, they’re further up, quite far from here,” Faqi said.
    “The people are scared, some have left but many are staying and will stay until the bitter end,” he said.

    Margaret Griffis ( counts 194 violent deaths across Iraq today.

    Iraq, Turkey, Brett McGurk creates fake Tweets, Hillary Clinton can't handle e-mails

    Iraq, Turkey, Brett McGurk creates fake Tweets, Hillary Clinton can't handle e-mails

    The Common Ills
    Iraq and Syria.  13 e-mails (there may be more, I've only read 13 on this topic) are from people who feel that, on the topic of Turkey and Iraq -- Turkey bombing northern Iraq -- I should be emphasizing that Turkey is attacking this group in Syria and this group in Iraq and --

    Sorry, when has there been consistency in US policy on the Islamic Street -- or al Qaeda in Mesopotamia before that -- in Iraq and in Syria?


    The lack of consistency on this with regards to the United Kingdom has been a conversation starter -- though little else besides talk -- among British politicians.

    So I'm not all that interested in that aspect for that reason.

    Second, we do the Iraq snapshot, not the Syria snapshot.

    Third, the US government allowed this to take place -- the bombing of northern Iraq.

    And they applauded it.

    And they took the attitude of it was good and within the rights of Turkey.

    So if tomorrow Scotland bombs England for some real or imagined attack, that reaction will be good and perfectly legal and State Dept spokesperson John Kirby will prattle on about Scotland's "right" to carry out the bombings?

    The State Dept over reached.

    That's part of the story we've focused on.

    And you can agree with that approach or not.

    But it is part of the story and continues to be.

    They're scrambling to craft some sort of cover explanation still -- on how it can be a "right" for Turkey to violate the sovereignty of Iraq -- a supposed US ally.

    That's the stand they've taken.

    And it's cute to watch the State Dept's Brett McGurk, as I type, try to create fake entries on his Twitter.

     And when the call came in stating, "Watch Brett's Twitter feed, it's going to be interesting," I did.

    Brett, you've been very active today.  What are you trying to bury?

    I have no idea but I do have the screen snaps and I will be reviewing.  As far as I can tell, you're only creating Tweets (and putting fake dates on them) to distance your feed from the applause for Turkey you did earlier.

    I'll review the screen snaps later but  when Brett puts up Tweets today but has past dates on them, I find it interesting.

    Yesterday's snapshot noted Hillary's Ant Colony rushing to rescue the queen with non-stop spin and lies, specifically Eric B Media Matters who were trying to conflate a New York Times report on Hillary last week with the Iraq coverage Judith Miller did for years at the New York Times. (Miller was not alone but David Brock's Media Matters is a notoriously sexist outfit which had to be shamed into hiring women).  An e-mail this morning insist that maybe what I offered yesterday was accurate -- and maybe it was and maybe it wasn't, be skeptical and think for yourself -- but even so, even if the Justice Dept is investigating*, this isn't an investigation into Hillary Clinton.

    According to the statement of the Inspector Generals there concern was over classified material found in 40 e-mails "provided by former Secretary Clinton" (which were not released by the State Dept -- use the link and read the statement in full).

    I'm not aware of Bill Clinton ever having been Secretary of State.

    Was funk master George Clinton once Secretary of State?

    As far as I know, it could just be Hillary.

    Now there is news that those communicating with her in State may have also used private e-mails?

    Where does it end?

    And whether or not it's illegal, this inability to properly handle classified information -- something she's attacked Ed Snowden for -- goes to whether or not one is fit to be president.

    "*" by investigating is there because I didn't say the Justice Dept was investigating.

    The recommendation has been made.  Whether or not the AG acts on it is another matter -- and, in fact, she might need to recuse herself from the process and assign someone below her to make the determination.  But right now you have the Justice Dept being asked to look into the matter.

    And that Hillary has yet again diverted government time and resources because of her own failure to follow policy and guidelines (at best) is as appalling as her inability to keep classified material secure.

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    Iraq snapshot Wednesday, July 29, 2015.

    Iraq snapshot Wednesday, July 29, 2015. 

    The Common Ills
    Wednesday, July 29, 2015.  Chaos and violence continue, the US government continues to be silent over Iraq's objections to Turkey bombing northern Iraq, The Ant Colony of Hillary works over time to protect their Queen, and much more.

    Starting with Hillary Clinton.  As Wally's "THIS JUST IN! HILLARY'S FAN CLUB GETS UGLY!" and Cedric's "Hillary lovers attack the press" note, 'journalist' Eric Boehlert.

    A little nothing who moved from outlet to outlet never making a name for himself, Boehlert ended up at David Brock's bordello Media Matters.  Brock, of course, is the man who lied about Anita Hill and smeared her with 'cute' phrases like 'a little nutty and a little slutty.'

    Anita Hill is a woman so to the faux left she doesn't matter.

    It's more important for them to get behind the liar David Brock.

    And the fact that he has a continued problem with African-American women is not ever supposed to be commented on.

    But it was David Brock who went around whispering that Michelle Obama had been caught on tape trashing "Whitey."

    And you have to wonder about the ethics -- or lack of them -- of anyone like Boehlert who chooses to work in the Brock Bordello.

    Boehlert's having a hissy fit about a story the New York Times did on Hillary Clinton.

    For those late to the party, Michael Apuzzo and Michael S. Schmidt wrote a story last Thursday.

    As the paper's editorial note explained Monday:

    The Times reported online Thursday night (and in some print editions Friday) that the inspectors general for the State Department and the intelligence agencies had sent a referral to the Justice Department requesting a “criminal investigation” into whether Mrs. Clinton “mishandled sensitive government information” on the email account. That article was based on multiple high-level government sources.

    On Friday, another question arose — whether the investigation being sought was a “criminal” inquiry. As other news organizations followed up on The Times’s report, the Justice Department confirmed to them that a “criminal” investigation had been requested. Officials also gave that description again to Times reporters who were rechecking their initial story. But later in the day, the Justice Department and the inspectors general said that the request was not a “criminal referral” but rather a “security referral,” meant to alert the F.B.I. about a potential mishandling of classified information. It was not clear how the discrepancy arose.

    Eric B has his panties in a twist over "criminal" investigation.

    I'm sorry Eric is such a damn fool, I'm sure he was a great disappointment to his parents.

    But when you refer anything to the Justice Dept, that's a criminal referral.

    Now for the area in question, they term it a "security referral."

    That is the proper term for it.

    But you can call it whatever term you want, the reality is that a referral to the Justice Dept -- because of the very nature of the Justice Dept -- is a criminal referral.

    If this is confusing to you, the Justice Dept explains: "To enforce the law and defend the interests of the United States according to the law; to ensure public safety against threats foreign and domestic; to provide federal leadership in preventing and controlling crime; to seek just punishment for those guilty of unlawful behavior; and to ensure fair and impartial administration of justice for all Americans."

    Idiots like Eric embrace a really poor column by Margaret Sullivan (easily the worst public editor of the New York Times).  She has no grasp on anything as evidenced by:

    Much later, The Times backed off the startling characterization of a “criminal inquiry,” instead calling it something far tamer sounding: it was a “security” referral.

    It is called a "security referral" because that is the term the intelligence community uses.

    The reason Justice Dept sources did not use that term when speaking to the Times and later outlets is because a referral to Justice is a criminal referral (to Justice) but, yes, the proper term is "security referral" for the intelligence community.

    This is not complicated -- it is semantics.

    And that Sullivan didn't grasp that goes a long way towards explaining her failure to address the real issues until paragraph 29.

    It's also why she quotes from an organized e-mail campaign in defense of Hillary while ignoring the complaints (which outweighed the e-mail campaign by over 2 to 1) from readers who felt that the paper was being too sensitive to the concerns of the Clinton campaign.

    And by including the charges from the organized e-mail campaign in defense of Hillary but never directly disputing them, Sullivan also endorses them -- intentionally or not.

    She's a lousy public editor.

    And unlike Eric, we have a long history of taking on public editors and ombudspersons -- for real reasons, not partisan crap.  (And, for the record, Daniel Okrent was much kinder to me and this site in his book than I ever was to him.)

    Along with Sullivan's bad column, Eric and the other idiots also point to a column written by a biased former New York Times employee who, as noted in "You've got some really strange and creepy heroes," lied to the paper about money he used to buy a story and then tried to whine that he had memory loss due to his illness (epilepsy). He's lucky the Justice Dept didn't come after him for those funds which, yes, were used to pay for kiddie porn.

    Around those two bad columns, Eric and others try to build an argument.

    Eric goes further, he outright lies by selectively quoting one paragraph from this July 24, 2015 statement of the Inspectors General of Intelligence and State.  Read it in full, Intel is acting with and on behalf of State.

    Jennifer Werner is then quoted and no one needs to scrape that low.  She's a professional liar in her position as spokesperson for Democrats on the Benghazi Committee.

    Unlike Eric, I've been at the Benghazi hearings where I've heard one Democrat after another embarrass themselves and usually make a claim that if X happened they'd be the first . . . and then X is revealed and they play dumb about their previous comments and continue to insist Benghazi doesn't matter.

    Benghazi doesn't matter is also Eric' position who can't stop writing his nothing-to-see-here pieces which read a lot like the denials of Watergate many partisans offered prior to Woodward and Bernstein's expose.

    In terms of Hillary's latest scandal, the basics are: the IGs for State and Intel have referred the matter to the Justice Dept, the matter itself is over classified intel being sent over a non-secure server.

    She is running to become US President but she can't even be trusted handling classified information.

    She's irresponsible at best -- even if her actions do not rise to illegal (the Justice Dept will determine that), they were irresponsible.

    She who taunted Barack in 2008 about not being ready for the 3 AM phone call is actually not ready to handle classified information at any time of day.

    We could have ignored this topic.

    There are other things to focus on.

    But Eric is a real whore.

    He accuses the Times of overplaying their hand.

    But he's the one comparing this report from last week to Judith Miller's New York Times coverage on Iraq.

    They are not the same thing in any way, shape or form.

    The Times was forced into issuing a statement on Miller's coverage in 2005 as a result of Daniel Okrent's weighing in on the issue and Okrent was forced to weigh in for reasons and issues we noted in real time -- reasons and issues no one else caught because Eric and company are idiots whose frame of reference is, no doubt, as tiny as their penises.

    (For those late to the party, Okrent's position was he wouldn't weigh in on the Iraq coverage because it happened before he became public editor.  He was forced to address it because he covered the Tonys -- a fact Eric and company ignored because of their selective interest and their inability to pay attention.  He didn't just cover the Tonys, before the nominations were announced, he wrote a lengthy grip about how the paper covered it . . . in the past.  When that column was published, he was bombarded by e-mails noting he no longer had an excuse to avoid Iraq.)

    With regard to the Hillary story, it went up Thursday night.  The Clinton campaign complained on Friday and the story was altered on Friday.  Alterations continued as the story developed and an editorial note was issued on Monday.

    That is not the same thing as Miller's Iraq War coverage.

    Eric's an idiot.  (See "Rudith Miller" -- our 2005 parody piece -- for Miller's approach in her Iraq reporting.  And, yes, we outed Scooter Libby as her source.)

    Sullivan says the paper should have taken a slower approach.

    No, they shouldn't have.

    Government officials within Justice and at the White House told the reporters X was happening.

    They reported what they confirmed through multiple sources.

    That is reporting.

    And reporting can be wrong.

    Or partially wrong.

    The paper added to the story as details emerged.

    That is reporting.

    This did not take place with Iraq.

    With Iraq, lies continued forever and a day.

    They continued after the paper's 'mea culpa.'

     And I honestly, in 2015, don't take any alleged 'critic' seriously when they offer Judith Miller.  She's disgraced.  It takes no courage to call her out.

    It takes cowardice to refuse to call out Chris Hedges who co-authored the New York Time's first front page story (falsely) linking 9/11 to Iraq.

    When you can't call that out, you're not really concerned about the paper's Iraq coverage.

    Eric's never cared about Iraq but will trot it out when it suits him.

    The point in his attack on the paper is not better journalism or anything like that.

    He works for David Brock.

    'Work the refs.'

    They scream and yell in order to intimidate the press.

    Their whole point is to constrain coverage, to prevent their tiny gods from being covered fairly.

    Hillary Clinton's refusal to use a secure server put her in the position she is in now.

    Hillary's lies at the UN earlier this year about her e-mails (including that she only used one device) set the stage for her current problems.

    As with Benghazi, Eric's entire point here is to intimidate the press, to bully them, so that they'll walk away from the story.

    I have no problem calling out the Times.  We used to do that every day here.

    But we did that and we moved on because I'm not doing greatest hits.

    The sameness of it bores the hell out of me.

    Media Matters is nothing but a nostalgia act performing tired old songs to smaller and smaller audiences.

    But when we slammed the Times daily, or when we do so occasionally today, we did it because the coverage was too narrow.

    We never, for example, slammed the Iraq coverage to get the paper to stop covering Iraq.

    But that is the point of Eric and Media Matters.

    They should be ashamed of themselves.

    Jim Michaels (USA Today) reports, "In a sign of its resilience, the Islamic State appears to have recruited new fighters to offset 15,000 militants killed in a U.S.-led airstrike campaign approaching its first anniversary, U.S. military and intelligence estimates show."


    They may be somewhat higher or somewhat smaller in actuality.

    But the trend itself is what matters.

    And the reality is that the greatest recruiter for the Islamic State was and remains discrimination against Sunnis.

    In terms of Iraq, this trend speaks to Iraq's Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi's continued inability to broker any kind of a political solution in Iraq or to create an inclusive government.

    Meanwhile file it under on-the-fifth-day-of-Christmas-my-true-love-gave-to-me: Jason Ditz and discover (finally) objection to the Turkish war planes bombing Iraq.

    While it's taken some time for to cover the objections, they're still ahead of Iraq 'expert' Joel Wing whose 'musings on Iraq' continue to fail to include the Turkish bombings of Iraq or their objections from within Iraq and within Turkey.

    Yes, the bombings of northern Iraq have outraged many.

    Press TV notes:

    Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has slammed Turkey for launching air raids on the Iraqi soil, saying the assaults violate the Arab country’s sovereignty. 
    Abadi said late Tuesday that his council of ministers views Turkish airstrikes on his country as “a dangerous escalation and a violation of Iraq’s sovereignty.”

    AFP reports:

    Massud Barzani, the president of northern Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region, has expressed disquiet to Ankara over the air raids.
    Turkey’s foreign ministry undersecretary, Feridun Sinirlioglu, was in the Iraqi Kurdish city of Erbil on Wednesday for meetings with Iraqi Kurdish leaders, in a clear bid to calm tensions.
    The pro-Kurdish opposition in Turkey has furiously accused [p]resident Recep Tayyip Erdogan of ordering the air strikes as revenge for its strong performance in June 7 general elections which cost the ruling party its overall majority and failed to produce a conclusive result.

     Today's Zaman notes, "In a three-part message posted on his official Twitter account Tuesday, al-Abadi said that the council is committed 'not to allow any attack on Turkey from Iraqi territory and called on Turkey to respect good relations'."

    In the wake of Haider's statement, the State Dept has now refused to hold a press briefing for two days in a row and Brett McGurk goes silent on Twitter.  This after the official position had been that they stood with Turkey and that Turkey had the right to carry out these bombings on Iraq.

    Iraq's Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari is not silent.  Alsumaria reports al-Jaafari has stated any bombings must be approved and coordinated with the Baghdad-based government of Iraq.  All Iraq News adds that he expressed this to Farouq Qaimagja, Turkey's ambassador to Iraq.

    Alsumaria reports the most recent bombings largely did little more than set forests and farming areas on fire and cause panic to those living in nearby villages.

    They also note that, as Turkey bombs the Kurdistan region, Iran's Deputy National Security Secretary Mohamed Amiri visited Erbil to stress that the government of Iran supports the KRG and will do their part to ensure the stability and security of the Kurdistan region.

    The US government's decision to give the go ahead to these bombings more and more appears to prove  Patrick Cockburn's prediction Monday (Independent):

    The result is that the US may find it has helped to destabilise Turkey by involving it in the war in both Iraq and Syria, yet without coming much closer to defeating Isis in either country. If so, America will have committed its biggest mistake in the Middle East since it invaded Iraq in 2003, believing it could overthrow Saddam Hussein and replace him with a pro-American government. 

    Mike Whitney (CounterPunch) offers his take which includes:

    The Kurdish militias (YPG, PKK) have been Washington’s most effective weapon in the fight against ISIS in Iraq and Syria. But the Obama administration has sold out the Kurds in order to strengthen ties with Turkey and gain access to Turkey’s Incirlik Air Base. The agreement to switch sides was made in phone call between President Obama and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan less than 48 hours after a terrorist incident in the Turkish town of Suruc killed 32 people and wounded more than 100 others. 
    The bombing provided Obama with the cover he needed to throw the Kurds under the bus, cave in to Turkey’s demands, and look the other way while Turkish bombers and tanks pounded Kurdish positions in Syria and Iraq. The media has characterized this shocking reversal of US policy as a “game-changer” that will improve US prospects for victory over ISIS. But what the about-face really shows is Washington’s inability to conduct a principled foreign policy as well as Obama’s eagerness to betray a trusted friend and ally if he sees some advantage in doing so.

    Turkish President Erdogan has launched a war against the Kurds; that is what’s really happening in Syria at present. The media’s view of events–that Turkey has joined the fight against ISIS–is mostly spin and propaganda. The fact that the Kurds had been gaining ground against ISIS in areas along the Turkish border, worried political leaders in Ankara that an independent Kurdish state could be emerging. Determined to stop that possibility,  they decided to use the bombing in Suruc as an excuse to round up more than 1,000 of Erdogans political enemies (only a small percentage of who are connected to ISIS) while bombing the holy hell out of Kurdish positions in Syria and Iraq. All the while, the media has been portraying this ruthless assault on a de facto US ally, as a war on ISIS. It is not a war on ISIS. It is the manipulation of a terrorist attack to advance the belligerent geopolitical agenda of Turkish and US elites.