Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Posts Tagged ‘Iraq’

Yes, The Air War Is Working

Posted by Phoenix Woman on October 16, 2014

Various entities with various interests keep insisting that the US can’t just help take out ISIS with air power alone and with Kurdish boots being the only ones on the ground in many areas.

These interests are being slowly proved wrong:

The aerial bombardment has centered around the Syrian town of Kobani, where besieged Kurdish fighters have desperately battled off a lightning Islamic State (IS) siege to capture the city.

According to Reuters, the US military conducted 21 and 18 strikes on militant targets in or near the town in the two 24-hour periods since Monday. In contrast, the previous week saw the area targeted roughly half a dozen times a day.

The intensified campaign, which has become increasingly effective due to intelligence and on-the-ground coordination with Kurdish fighters, has resulted in at least 32 IS militants being killed in that 48-hour period.

It has also paid dividends for Kurdish fighters who were at risk of being engulfed by the IS advance within “a matter of days.”

On Wednesday, a black IS flag raised on a hill overlooking Kobani was torn down after militants were targeted by coalition air strikes.

The airstrikes, in addition to making ISIS use up all those tanks and other munitions it captured from the fleeing Iraqi army in June (instead of saving them up for use in toppling Assad as ISIS’ Saudi and other backers desired) are also cutting into the revenue ISIS has been getting from the oil towns it nabbed back in June:

…the Paris-based International Energy Agency said in a report that the airstrikes have put a significant dent in the Islamic State’s ability to produce and smuggle oil – a major source of finance for the militants, according to The Independent.

Back in 1999, Bill Clinton and NATO used air power in conjunction with boots on the ground to force out Slobodan Milosevic and end the genocide in Kosovo. Fifteen years later, air power under the direction of Kurdish boots on the ground is turning the tide in Syria and Iraq.

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Bush’s Foiled NSA Blackmail Scheme

Posted by Phoenix Woman on June 23, 2013

As bad as Obama’s been with regard to the NSA, believe it or not Bush was still worse.

Bush actually tried to use the NSA to dig up blackmailing material on UN Security Council members so he could force them into backing the US-led invasion of Iraq — and only the principled actions of Katherine Gun thwarted his blackmail scheme:

n early 2003, as the U.S. and British governments were seeking international acquiescence to their aggressive war on Iraq, an unexpected cog throw into the propaganda machine was the disclosure that the National Security Agency was spying on UN Security Council members in search of blackmail material.

The revelation received little attention in the mainstream U.S. news media, which was almost fully onboard the pro-war bandwagon, but the disclosure received wide international attention and stopped the blackmail scheme. U.S. President George W. Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair were forced to abandon a UN resolution and invade Iraq with a ragtag “coalition of the willing.”

Several months later, the identity of the leaker was revealed, a young woman named Katharine Gun who worked as a linguist at the NSA’s UK counterpart, British Government Communications Headquarters. Gun lost her job and was charged under British secrecy laws, but the case was dropped because the court would have required the Blair government to disclose that it also had twisted the arms of legal advisers to extract an opinion endorsing the invasion.

Now, a decade later, Edward Snowden, a young American systems analyst working for the NSA, has leaked documents revealing a global surveillance network and prompted another international debate – about government spying vs. personal privacy.

And unless you’re a regular reader of The Guardian, you (if you’re a US resident) have likely never heard of this until now.

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US Media Buries UN Report On Syrian Rebels And Sarin Use

Posted by Phoenix Woman on May 8, 2013

In the mad rush by Bill Keller and all the neocons and their fellow travelers to drink the blood of the Assad government and Shock-Doctrinize Syria, the US media is largely ignoring the statements made by UN official Carla Del Ponte about the US-backed Syrian rebels and their possible use of sarin nerve gas:

“Our investigators have been in neighbouring countries interviewing victims, doctors and field hospitals and, according to their report of last week which I have seen, there are strong, concrete suspicions but not yet incontrovertible proof of the use of sarin gas, from the way the victims were treated,” Ms Del Ponte said in an interview broadcast on Swiss-Italian television on Sunday.

“This was used on the part of the opposition, the rebels, not by the government authorities,” she added.

Ms Del Ponte said the inquiry has yet to see any direct evidence suggesting that government forces have used chemical weapons, but said further investigation was required before this possibility could be ruled out.

Now remember, use of chemicals like sarin was supposed to be the “red line” that, when crossed by Assad et al, would trigger Vietnam IV, aka the invasion and occupation of Syria on behalf of the multinationals on whose behalf the neocon warmongers are working. (Anyone who doesn’t think that these wars have all been about handing out the properties of sovereign nations as booty to multinational corporate and other business interests needs to look at what happened to all the state-run enterprises in Iraq under Saddam. They’ve all been or are being privatized — under heavy protest from Iraqi workers — and they all provide far less in the way of services now than they did as state-run enterprises under Saddam.)

This is why the US and even Del Ponte’s bosses at the UN have rushed to pooh-pooh her statements — and why the chances are good that if you’re an American, you didn’t even know about her statements until you read this blog post of mine. The same neocon-worshipping media forces that backed invading Iraq, Afghanistan, and Iran, now back invading Syria, and they don’t want any inconvenient truths standing in their way.

By the way: The US dumped 77 million liters (8800 tons) of Agent Orange on Vietnam from 1961 to 1971. So when will someone invade us as a punishment?

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9/11 Happened Because Bush Trusted PNAC Over The CIA

Posted by Phoenix Woman on September 11, 2012

We know from Ron Suskind’s The One Percent Doctrine that George W. Bush contemptuously dismissed any and all attempts by the CIA to warn him about the threat posed by Osama bin Laden and Al-Qaeda, culminating with his curt dismissal to the CIA agents who came out to his Potemkin ranch in the Potemkin town of Crawford, Texas: “All right. You’ve covered your ass, now.”

What we didn’t know for sure was why Bush was so dismissive of the CIA’s increasingly frantic warnings. Now, thanks to Kurt Eichenwald, we do:

The direct warnings to Mr. Bush about the possibility of a Qaeda attack began in the spring of 2001. By May 1, the Central Intelligence Agency told the White House of a report that “a group presently in the United States” was planning a terrorist operation. Weeks later, on June 22, the daily brief reported that Qaeda strikes could be “imminent,” although intelligence suggested the time frame was flexible.

But some in the administration considered the warning to be just bluster. An intelligence official and a member of the Bush administration both told me in interviews that the neoconservative leaders who had recently assumed power at the Pentagon were warning the White House that the C.I.A. had been fooled; according to this theory, Bin Laden was merely pretending to be planning an attack to distract the administration from Saddam Hussein, whom the neoconservatives saw as a greater threat. Intelligence officials, these sources said, protested that the idea of Bin Laden, an Islamic fundamentalist, conspiring with Mr. Hussein, an Iraqi secularist, was ridiculous, but the neoconservatives’ suspicions were nevertheless carrying the day.

“The neoconservative leaders who had recently assumed power at the Pentagon” — ah, that would most likely be Paul Wolfowitz and Doug Feith, the latter of whom has been tagged by no less an authority than General Tommy Franks as “the stupidest fucking man on the face of the earth”. Feith, you will remember, ran the Office of Special Plans, which sucked up any intel without bothering to vet it — and in fact did reverse vetting, only accepting that intelligence data that seemed to confirm OSP’s PNAC-generated theories about Iraq and the Middle East — theories that in large part had their origins in the fevered, scheming brain of one Ahmad Chalabi, a man who among other things has been allied with Iran’s leaders for decades.

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Wilkerson: I’ll Testify Against Cheney If Someone “Pinochets” Him

Posted by Phoenix Woman on August 31, 2011

President Obama, your move:

The former chief of staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell pledged Tuesday to testify against former Vice President Dick Cheney if he is ever tried for war crimes.

Col. Lawrence Wilkerson told Democracy Now‘s Amy Goodman that he would participate in a trial even if it meant personal repercussions.

“I, unfortunately — and I’ve admitted to this a number of times, publicly and privately — was the person who put together Colin Powell’s presentation at the United Nations Security Council on 5 February, 2003,” Wilkerson said. “It was probably the biggest mistake of my life. I regret it to this day. I regret not having resigned over it.”

Let’s see if it’s possible for the Obama administration to prosecute people who aren’t gay servicemembers.

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Thursday Evening News Roundup

Posted by Phoenix Woman on December 23, 2010

So much for Republican outreach to the Latino community. A group of conservative Hispanic business leaders set up a forum, the first Hispanic Leadership Network conference scheduled for next month in Miami, and promoted it as a way for Republican presidential hopefuls to interact with the community — and virtually all the big names — Romney, Thune, Daniels, Perry — flatly turned them down, with a number of others not bothering to respond even in the negative to the invitation. The only potential candidate to accept the invitation was Tim Pawlenty, who has less of a chance than I do of becoming president — and I have a feeling he probably only agreed to come as a favor to Norm Coleman, who helped organize the thing.

— Remember when a little bit (or even a lot) of snow didn’t faze state and local governments in Minnesota? Nowadays, budgets are so starved after decades of tax cutting that cities have to essentially pray it doesn’t snow.

Check out the video of David House’s interview with Bradley Manning (and wonder at how Manning could be rotting in solitary confinement for seven months on the say-so of the somewhat dodgy Adrian Lamo).

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