“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Monday, August 25, 2014

Did McCain meet with ISIS Leader al Baghdadi?

Check out the guy in the black shirt, third from left (to left of Crash).

Isis accused of ethnic cleansing as story of Shia prison massacre emerges

As many as 670 prisoners thought killed in Mosul with other abuses reported in Iraq amounting to 'crimes against humanity'
Luke Harding and Fazel Hawramy in Irbil 
The Guardian, Monday 25 August 2014 14.24 EDT
The United Nations said on Sunday it had evidence that fighters from Islamic State (Isis) had killed as many as 670 prisoners in Mosul and had carried out further abuses in Iraq that amounted to crimes against humanity.
Navi Pillay, the UN high commissioner for human rights, said Islamic State and allied fighters were committing "grave, horrific human rights violations" on a daily basis. These included, including targeted killings, forced conversions, abductions, trafficking, slavery and sexual abuse, Pillay said.
The jihadists, who are consolidating their control of northern and eastern Iraq, have also destroyed religious and cultural monuments and have laid siege to whole communities, Pillay said. "They are systematically targeting men, women and children based on their ethnic, religious or sectarian affiliation and ruthlessly carrying out widespread ethnic and religious cleansing in the areas under their control."
Pillay gave fresh details of an alleged massacre carried out on 10 June by Islamic State extremists. The fighters had just taken control of Mosul, Iraq's second biggest city, after the Iraqi army fled. About 3,000 inmates were being kept in Mosul's Badoush prison. During the power vacuum some managed to escape from minimum security areas, but between 1,000 and 1,500 remained after many had escaped during the chaos.
Citing testimony from eyewitnesses and survivors, the UN said Islamic State gunmen arrived at the front gate in a group of pick-up trucks. Several carried machine guns. They took out the prisoners and sorted them into two groups, Sunni and 670 Shias. The fighters grilled the Sunni group, asked them to recite prayers, and interrogated them about family backgrounds. Some Shia prisoners tried to pass themselves off as Sunni. They were discovered and returned to the Shia line-up.
The Islamic State militants told their Shia captives they would be "released" once their identities were verified. The prisoners had to give a number in turn – beginning with one, with the last prisoner saying: "I'm 679". The fighters then loaded the them into trucks and drove three to four kilometres south-east to an uninhabited "desert-like location", somewhere between Mosul's main road and its railway line.
According to the UN, the prisoners were lined up in four rows. They were told to kneel, and then shot. The UN said a handful survived by playing dead. It said it conducted extensive interviews with 20 survivors of the massacre and 16 further witnesses, with evidence taken in Irbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan, and Basra.
"Such cold-blooded, systematic and intentional killings of civilians, after singling them out for their religious affiliation may amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity," Pillay said on Monday.
The mass execution in June was merely the latest to have taken place in Mosul. According to Amnesty International, Iraqi government forces also massacred Sunni prisoners in several cities, including Mosul, before retreating in the face of the rapid Isis advance.
Kurdish officials in Irbil confirmed that Islamic State had separated Sunni and Shia inmates after taking over Badoush and other prisons. They said that some Shia prisoners from Badoush were killed by Islamic State, with Sunnis freed after swearing allegiance to Isis. But they raised doubts that the figure was as high as 670. Fewer may have been executed, they suggested.
Residents inside Mosul, meanwhile, said that local Islamic State fighters were looting houses belonging to Christians and other minorities on a daily basis. They said the militants were also forcing locals to give allegiance to the group, which declared an Islamic caliphate in June. They added that young men were terrified of going out onto the street because the group was desperately looking for new recruits and there was a danger they might be seized.

One resident said the city had ground to a halt. Resentment was growing, and the Islamic State was incapable of administering the city, he said.


  1. We are so lucky to have such thoughtful, and insightful patriots watching out for us

    (and, polluting our tv screens every Sunday, explaining how naïve, and out of touch our President is.)

  2. Suuprize, suuprize

    CAIRO — Twice in the last seven days, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates have secretly teamed up to launch airstrikes against Islamist-allied militias battling for control of Tripoli, Libya, four senior American officials said, in a major escalation between the supporters and opponents over political Islam.

    The United States, the officials said, was caught by surprise: Egypt and the Emirates, both close allies and military partners, acted without informing Washington or seeking its consent, leaving the Obama administration on the sidelines. Egyptian officials explicitly denied the operation to American diplomats, the officials said.

    The strikes are another . . . . . . .

    Caught by "Surprise?" Really?

    Well, after all, nobody "Here" called it, did they? . . . . . . . . . Oh, wait.


  3. Lets see, they struck against Islamists and:

    "Libya is the latest, and hottest, battleground. Several officials said that United States diplomats were fuming about the airstrikes, believing they could further inflame the Libyan conflict at a time when the United Nations and Western powers are seeking a peaceful resolution.

    “We don’t see this as constructive at all,” said one senior American official."

    I guess it is only ok if the US does it. For some reason that little bit reminded me of watching CNN, briefly, the other day. It seems that the US was running Spy planes along the coast of China just outside the international limit and a Chinese jet buzzed the plane flashing its weapons. The lady announcer was aghast that the Chinese had the temerity to fly so close to an American plane. "20 feet" she huffed.


    1. To know what people really think, pay regard to what they do, rather than what they say.

  4. Most of the commentators, at the time, supported John and his running mate to be the dynamic duo in charge of pointing the spear.

    On foreign policy grounds there was one intrepid voice to be heard, sounding out the warning, exposing John McCain for the agent of the Military Industrial Complex that he is.

    It was the voice of "desert rat"

    McCain lost that election, and relative peace has reigned, since.

    Certainly was a Character with foresight, that ... "desert rat"

    1. .

      What a pompous ass.

      I love the people here that have the temerity to assert that they and they alone are the originator of a particular thought or idea.

      This place, while educated and informed, is hardly the sanctuary of a gaggle of Einsteins.


    2. It is good to know that Desert Rat has fans willing to stand up for him, no?

    3. .

      I guess you're right. If an alternate persona (even though he too be persona non grata) can't stand up for you, who can?


  5. Replies
    1. Hell, I voted for the crazy sonofabitch.

      I'll never live that down.

    2. and don't forget his super intelligent and sparkling side-kick Ms. Sarah 'dontchya know' Palin!

  6. Egypt will have those oil fields.

    I don't believe for a New York Second that our "braintrust" didn't know about the Egyptian involvement.

    1. and yet they still lost the airport, some braintrust.

    2. Egypt wants nothing but chaos in Libya. Egypt wants to ride in on a white horse, and "save" the Libyans.

      It's a PR exercise. Militarily, they could do it any day - pretty much before lunch.

    3. Since you have a good line on what Egypt wants how do they feel about IS? Will they be putting some boots on the ground? Fly a few sorties?

    4. :) I'll ask'em next Sunday at brunch.

  7. So what?

    We have a naval base in Qatar, the single biggest funder of terrorism next to Iran in the world.

    Hamas's tunnels were PAID in full by Qatar, now I know many on this blog believe Hamas to be the equivalence of the palestinians boy scouts, but at last look Hamas is still a FULL FLEDGED TERRORIST group as per the UN, USA and most of the world.

    Obama has had contact with hamas BEFORE he was even elected…

    So again, who cares?

    Islamic terrorists are all about being in our government..

    Not even talking about Hillary's #1 assistance.. Ms Moslem Brotherhood 2004

  8. .

    Ash, by your tone, you are inclined towards a hands off approach. Just leave it alone.That is legiti mate but ugly. The consequences are unknown but the practices of ISIS are both criminal and barbaric. You can rightly argue that US high explosives used by Israel and the US are no less horrific, lethal and worse yet, indiscriminate.

    Ash has already responded to this statement on the last stream and ahs done so much better than I. But I would just repeat the following,

    Anyone of the normal sensibilities we take for granted who looks at the terror IS has spread and their reprehensible acts has to be repelled and want to strike back. When something like the beheading of an American journalist occurs it only amplifies the disgust here. When you see the IS assault blunted by US strikes and the humanitarian aid provided it makes you proud that you are an American. The natural tendency is to seek catharsis through hitting IS even harder until they are just a memory. It is natural. It is instinctive. Songs have been written about it. But on the other hand there is still the memory of past failures by the US actions in the same country we are talking about today. This leads to bifurcated thoughts like those expressed by Deuce above.

    Ash, by your tone, you are inclined towards a hands off approach. Just leave it alone.That is legitimate but ugly.

    Are the thoughts expressed by what has been deemed here to be the 'arm-chair pacifists' really ugly? Is avoiding the combat role while continuing to provide our allies with the equipment, the logistical and intelligence support that they need to combat IS really ugly? I mean the response may not be gung ho enough for some here who want immediate gratification for the insults hurled upon the US but is it ugly? Ugly is by its nature subjective though it carries a negative connotation. When you state that a position is legitimate you recognize that there is at least some kind of rationale behind it. Perhaps, a rationale includes that

    - the last time we went to war to avenge an attack on someone that attacked a US citizen it turned into the longest war in US history.

    - the unintended consequences that ensue when we embark on an adventure with minimal planning, a questionable or at least unspecified strategy, faulty leadership, unreasonable ROE's, and no end-game strategy.

    - the costs in lives and treasure that may ensue from such an adventure, not only of the US but of others.

    - the history we have seen of what happens when war is driven by politics rather actual military demands.

    - the consequences of minimizing what it will take to achieve our objectives whatever they might be.

    - the effects of mission creep as stated US 'national interests' morph and change.

    - and the realization that the US has the power and the resources (though it may take years) to track down and rain vengeance upon the key perps involved, whether it be the British prick who indulges in beheadings or al-baghdadi himself, all without going to war.

    Ugly? Well, perhaps to one who is what Hannity would call a 'true American patriot', to one who states 'this time we have drones', to one who state that 'this time it will different', or to someone who would intervene for the greater good and the protection of basic human rights, but likely not to the 'armchair pacifists'.

    It appears once again that momentum for US action is growing, that spurred on by the usual suspects and the media and fueled by public outrage over the Foley beheading the politics might be changing. It is possible that we may soon progress from 'limited kinetic action' to 'kinetic action' to, god-willing, full blown 'shock and awe', always a good thing during political season.

    Regardless of what course Obama takes, let's hope that history does not repeat and that this time it really is different.


    1. .

      One thing to remember is that the same players who brought you the US FUBARS of the past decade or so are, with a few notable exceptions, the same players calling the shots today. To assume that they would admit their past mistakes much less learn from them is to my mind a bit pollyannish.


    2. That is precisely why we should promote the "Small Footprint" tactic, because, rest assured there will be some form of 'intervention' and the smaller it is, the 'better' it is.

      To think the US is just going to "Walk Away" is pollyannish, tambien.

    Joint Chiefs chairman says ISIS not a direct threat to US, won't recommend Syria strikes yet

  10. Here's what $230 million in US aid bought Egypt's military since the revolution

    Despite the upheaval of the last two years, it was business as usual for US companies providing Egypt's tanks, helicopters, and bullets. GlobalPost looks at some of the key contracts.

    November 25, 2013

    While the change may be largely symbolic, before Oct. 9 — no matter how bad it got, no matter how much violence or no matter who was leading the government — US companies producing and providing Egypt’s tanks, helicopters, and bullets did not flinch. Business was business.

    To illustrate just how unwavering the arrangement was, GlobalPost compiled key US contracts for military aid to Egypt, held by the American defense giants that profited the most from that aid. We mapped this sample within the context of significant political moments, from the 2011 revolution that toppled a dictator to the military ousting of the president who took his place.

    Contract details cited here were compiled from the US Defense Department database, where contracts over $6.5 million are published each business day. Dollar amounts are rounded to the nearest tenth of a million.

    Egypt and US Defense Industry Not Likely To Break Ties, Analysts Say
    Aug. 22, 2013

    WASHINGTON — Despite the temporary hold the US has placed on the shipment of four new F-16 fighter jets to Egypt, two other critical contracts for 10 Apache attack helicopters and 125 M1 Abrams tanks remain “under review” by the US government. Still, one of them has already been shipped to Cairo.

    A US Army spokesperson confirmed that the US began delivering the first Abrams “tank kits” last month to a military-run factory in Cairo, where their final assembly will take place. The July shipment was the first under a $395 million deal signed in 2011 between the US Army and General Dynamics Land Systems to supply tanks to the Egyptian Army, bringing their Abrams fleet up to 1,130 by 2016.

    With the release of ousted president Hosni Mubarak from prison on Thursday — he was flown to a military hospital in Cairo — the situation in the country remains highly unstable after the military takeover July 3 of the democratically elected government of Mohammed Morsi.

    And despite the fact that the Egyptian military has killed more than 1,000 pro-Morsi protestors over the last several weeks, it appears unlikely that US military aid will dry up anytime soon, according to analysts.

    To know what people really think, pay regard to what they do, rather than what they say.
    George Santayana

  11. I think Obama will pretty much let the ISIS deal simmer for a while.

  12. My definition:

    ADJECTIVE (uglier, ugliest)

    1Unpleasant or repulsive, especially in appearance:
    she thought she was ugly and fat
    the ugly sound of a fire alarm
    (as noun the ugly) he instinctively shrinks from the ugly
    1.1(Of a situation or mood) involving or likely to involve violence or other unpleasantness:
    the mood in the room turned ugly

    1. .

      Well damn, we sure wouldn't want to appear ugly regardless of the cost in lives or treasure. That wouldn't look good at all.

      Still, it does give one pause when viewing how selective we are in doling out our humanitarian benevolence.


    Egypt and United Arab Emirates Said to Have Secretly Carried Out Libya Airstrikes

    The US is livid, its permission not being solicited.

    Islamic State might have taken advanced MANPADS from Syrian airfield

    Maybe they captured them, maybe they did not. Eventually, they will acquire the technology.

    Rockets from Lebanon land in Israel, prompting IDF to respond with artillery fire

    Israel shelled targets near the Litani River. Hmm...

  16. Replies
    1. Hezbollah can continue protecting Assad or they can move back into southern Lebanon and confront Israel. If Assad is abandoned, he is dead. If they decide to wage war with Israel, they will be dead.

      Israel has called up additional reserves.

      Netanyahu has little time left to make things happen. For Israelis that means that Netanyahu has to deliver security.

    Poll finds huge fall in Netanyahu's approval rating

    His approval rating was 82% when Israeli troops entered Gaza. My sense is that Israelis do not like rope-a-dope.

    Making himself look more like the superintendent of schools than prime minister, he asked over the weekend whether schools should open or if the war with Gaza should continue. I do not believe Churchill had such a question during the Battle of Britain.

  18. Report: After Executions, Hamas Arrests 150 More 'Collaborators'

    Following a string of public executions, an increasingly paranoid Hamas continues frantic investigation into IDF targeting of top leaders.

    Hamas has been severely shaken by string of Israeli airstrikes targeting its most senior leadership in Gaza, and is continuing a witch-hunt against suspected "collaborators" in an effort to ascertain how Israel knew of their whereabouts despite their best efforts to remain undetected.

    Following a spate of at least 25 executions carried out by Hamas in Gaza against suspected "collaborators" with Israel, Hamas has arrested at least 150 more suspects, according to the Al Bawaba news site.

    Hamas's "military wing", the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, issued a statement on Sunday saying that the men had been arrested over "security leaks", a source told the Arabic-language outlet. The source claimed Hamas was "in a state of confusion" following the elimination of three top al-Qassam Brigades commanders, Mohammed Abu Shamalah, Raed al-Attar and Mohammed Barhum on Thursday, as well as an attempted assassination of the Brigades's top leader, Mohammed Deif.

    Hamas claims Deif survived the attack, which killed his wife and two of his children, but has not issued any word on his condition.

    Compounding the group's fears is the fact that the Israeli Air Force strike killed Abu Shamala, Attar and Barhum as they met in a top-secret bunker some 30 meters underground. Six other commanders were reportedly due to join them, but the decision appears to have been taken to eliminate them as soon as they were together, to avoid the possibility of any of them getting away.

    And the assassinations of top Hamas leaders has continued since, with the group's top financial chief and "Justice Minister", Mohammed al-Ghoul, taken out by an Israeli airstrike on Sunday.

    The bunker was located under the home of the "Kilab" family, and the IAF targeted the house and the tunnel beneath it with bunker-buster bombs weighing up to three tons, both ensuring the elimination of the terrorists and avoiding unnecessary damage to surrounding homes as much as possible.

    Their liquidation essentially wiped out Hamas's entire southern military command in Gaza.

    The executions, which mostly took place over last Friday and Saturday, have been condemned by NGOs spanning the left and right with some comparing the public killings to those carried out by the brutal Islamic State group (formerly ISIS) in Iraq and Syria.


    12,000 troops are being called up to go to the Gaza border...

    Hamas has loaded it's tunnels with troops and also has loaded up the orchids with ambush points...

    I wonder what will happen if Israel goes and USES the Hamas tunnels and come out INSIDE the command centers under Gaza??


    1. It's probably too late for that.

      Israel could have subdivided Gaza into small sections and then swarmed one section at a time. This is based on the idea of eating an elephant one bite at a time.

    2. .

      Hamas has loaded it's tunnels with troops and also has loaded up the orchids with ambush points...

      Damn their eyes? Is this some kind of new ghastly botanical warfare?


    3. .

      Of course, I have. I do it all the time, sometimes intentionally.

      Just messin (sic) with you a little.

      Sorry. I thought it was worth a giggle.


  19. Orchids should have been .... what ... ???

    That is not typo, that is a poor translation by Google.
    Back to ESL class for you, "O"rdure !