Thursday, February 02, 2023

Joe's down in the polls, his attorneys misled the public and so much more

First up, Graham Elwood.



Now to poor corrupt Joe.  Senile and failing.  Paul Bedard (WASHINGTON EXAMINER) notes:

President Joe Biden can skip the annual State of the Union Address because Americans have already sized up life in the country -- and it's not good.

In a series of polls gauging the public’s view of the state of the nation, Americans have flashed a firm thumbs down, especially with the direction of the economy, the administration, and government overall.

And today, the latest Gallup poll revealed that the nation is in the third year of a funk, dating back to the start of the COVID crisis.

“Americans’ assessment of the state of the nation remains in the pandemic-era slump seen since 2021, marked by subdued satisfaction with 30 different aspects of the country,” said the analysis of Gallup’s “Mood of the Nation” survey.

Gallup’s poll, headlined “Americans Still Glum About State of the Union in Most Areas,” follows others that have shown huge majorities dissatisfied with the economy.


Poor Joe.  We all knew he wasn't up to the job.  He's only demonstrated that since day one. 


Let me quote C.I. from January 13th:


Moving over to the US, President Joe Biden is in another mess.  Ruth's covering it daily at her site and Wally ("THIS JUST IN! JOE COPIES DONALD!"), Cedric ("Joe said it was wrong when Donald did it"), Betty ("They're both crazy!") and Ann ("Put them in a locked room and let them slug it out") did their joint post on Monday.

These are the basics.  Last year, Donald Trump, former US president, has his residence raided by the FBI because he had top secret documents that he had taken from the White House.  Donald has argued that he, in his role as president, had the right to declassify them and take them.  The National Archives had been insisting he return them.  When he didn't, the FBI was sent in.


The White House has confirmed reports that classified documents were discovered in a former office space used by Joe Biden in Washington, D.C., after his term as vice president. On Monday, Biden’s lawyers said a “small number” of the documents were discovered in a locked closet as they were closing the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement. It’s not clear what the documents were related to. Biden’s lawyers say they immediately notified the National Archives, which took possession of the records the next day.

In 2018, then-President Trump signed a bill making it a felony -- rather than a misdemeanor -- to knowingly remove classified materials with the intent to retain them at an “unauthorized location.” Those convicted face up to five years in prison. Special counsel Jack Smith is currently investigating Trump for allegedly mishandling at least 325 classified documents seized by the FBI at Mar-a-Lago last August.

Journalist should be covering the way Amy did but most corporate journalist by Monday evening were not using terms like "Biden's lawyers say."  They were instead 'reporting' like "After the discovery, the National Archives were immediately notified."  No, you don't know that.  And you can't report it as fact.  It's "Biden's lawyers say."


Now let me note that today RADAR reports:


New details have emerged stating the National Archives was prevented from letting the public know that classified documents were found at President Joe Biden’s think tank back in November, RadarOnline.com has learned.


Now House Oversight and Reform Committee Chairman James Comer is saying there are only two entities that could have given the order to not let the public know, which would be the White House and the Department of Justice — meaning Biden or Attorney General Merrick Garland.


As much as Biden’s administration is claiming to be “transparent” regarding the classified documents, it looks like new details have come out stating the FBI had searched the president’s former offices after the initial materials were found, the Daily Mail reported.

In fact, documents marked classified were found at Biden’s Washington, D.C., think tank at the beginning of November, just days before the 2022 midterm elections.


Get it?  They lied.  They lied.  And they lied.  C.I. was right, don't say "this is what happened" say, "this is what his attorneys say happened."

Please read C.I.'s "Is Biden begging for impeachment?" and she's right -- this is outrageous that Joe's president and Hunter Biden thinks he can order the Justice Dept. around.  Outrageous and offensive.  

Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

 Thursday, February 2, 2023.  Angelina Jolie visits Iraq, Julian Assange remains persecuted, US House Rep Joaquin Castro notes a veteran and his wife for the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and much more.



Julian remains imprisoned and remains persecuted by US President Joe Biden who, as vice president, once called him "a high tech terrorist."  Julian's 'crime' was revealing the realities of Iraq -- Chelsea Manning was a whistle-blower who leaked the information to Julian.  WIKILEAKS then published the Iraq War Logs.  And many outlets used the publication to publish reports of their own.  For example, THE GUARDIAN published many articles based on The Iraq War Logs.  Jonathan Steele, David Leigh and Nick Davies offered, on October 22, 2012:



A grim picture of the US and Britain's legacy in Iraq has been revealed in a massive leak of American military documents that detail torture, summary executions and war crimes.
Almost 400,000 secret US army field reports have been passed to the Guardian and a number of other international media organisations via the whistleblowing website WikiLeaks.

The electronic archive is believed to emanate from the same dissident US army intelligence analyst who earlier this year is alleged to have leaked a smaller tranche of 90,000 logs chronicling bloody encounters and civilian killings in the Afghan war.
The new logs detail how:
US authorities failed to investigate hundreds of reports of abuse, torture, rape and even murder by Iraqi police and soldiers whose conduct appears to be systematic and normally unpunished.

A US helicopter gunship involved in a notorious Baghdad incident had previously killed Iraqi insurgents after they tried to surrender.
More than 15,000 civilians died in previously unknown incidents. US and UK officials have insisted that no official record of civilian casualties exists but the logs record 66,081 non-combatant deaths out of a total of 109,000 fatalities.

The numerous reports of detainee abuse, often supported by medical evidence, describe prisoners shackled, blindfolded and hung by wrists or ankles, and subjected to whipping, punching, kicking or electric shocks. Six reports end with a detainee's apparent deat



The Biden administration has been saying all the right things lately about respecting a free and vigorous press, after four years of relentless media-bashing and legal assaults under Donald Trump.

The attorney general, Merrick Garland, has even put in place expanded protections for journalists this fall, saying that “a free and independent press is vital to the functioning of our democracy”.

But the biggest test of Biden’s commitment remains imprisoned in a jail cell in London, where WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been held since 2019 while facing prosecution in the United States under the Espionage Act, a century-old statute that has never been used before for publishing classified information.

Whether the US justice department continues to pursue the Trump-era charges against the notorious leaker, whose group put out secret information on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Guantánamo Bay, American diplomacy and internal Democratic politics before the 2016 election, will go a long way toward determining whether the current administration intends to make good on its pledges to protect the press.

Now Biden is facing a re-energized push, both inside the United States and overseas, to drop Assange’s protracted prosecution.


This is Joe's legacy.  He won't have to live with it.  He'll be dead within ten years.  But this is how he will be remembered -- as a thug who refused to protect The First Amendment and as a thug who persecuted Julian Assange.  Some have been surprised by the reluctance and refusal of journalists to stand with Julian.  Jonathan Cook (CONSORTIUM NEWS) explains that silence:


 During an interview back in 2011, Julian Assange made an acute observation about the role of what he called society’s “perceived moral institutions”, such as liberal media:

“What drives a paper like The Guardian or New York Times is not their inner moral values. It is simply that they have a market. In the U.K., there is a market called ‘educated liberals.’ Educated liberals want to buy a newspaper like the Guardian, and therefore an institution arises to fulfil that market. … What is in the newspaper is not a reflection of the values of the people in that institution, it is a reflection of the market demand.”

Assange presumably gained this insight after working closely the previous year with both newspapers on the Afghan and Iraq war logs.

[Related: The Revelations of WikiLeaks: No. 2 —The Leak That ‘Exposed the True Afghan War’ and No. 3—The Most Extensive Classified Leak in History]

One of the mistakes we typically make about the “mainstream media” is imagining that its outlets evolved in some kind of gradual bottom-up process. We are encouraged to assume that there is at least an element of voluntary association in how media publications form.

At its simplest, we imagine that journalists with a liberal or leftwing outlook gravitate towards other journalists with a similar outlook and together they produce a liberal-left newspaper. We sometimes imagine that something similar takes place among rightwing journalists and rightwing newspapers.

All of this requires ignoring the elephant in the room: billionaire owners. Even if we think about those owners — and in general we are discouraged from doing so — we tend to suppose that their role is chiefly to provide the funding for these free exercises in journalistic collaboration.

For that reason, we infer that the media represents society: it offers a market place of thought and expression in which ideas and opinions align with how the vast majority of people feel. In short, the media reflects a spectrum of acceptable ideas rather than defining and imposing that spectrum.

[. . .]

The truth is that, were The Guardian and The New York Times clamouring for Assange’s freedom;

had they investigated the glaring holes in the Swedish case, as Nils Melzer, the U.N.’s special rapporteur on torture, did;

were they screaming about the dangers of allowing the U.S. to redefine journalism’s core task as treason under the draconian, century-old Espionage Act;

had they used their substantial muscle and resources to pursue Freedom of Information requests, as Stefania Maurizi did on her own dime;

were they pointing out the endless legal abuses taking place in Assange’s treatment in the U.K.;

had they reported — rather than ignored — the facts that came to light in the extradition hearings in London; in short, had they kept Assange’s persecution constantly in the spotlight, he would be free by now.

The efforts by the various states involved to gradually disappear him over the past decade would have become futile, even self-sabotaging.

At some level, journalists understand this. Which is precisely why they try to persuade themselves, and you, that Assange isn’t a “proper” journalist. That’s why, they tell themselves, they don’t need to show solidarity with a fellow journalist — or worse, why it is okay to amplify the security state’s demonisation campaign.

By ignoring Assange, by othering him, they can avoid thinking about the differences between what he has done and what they do. Journalists can avoid examining their own role as captured servants of corporate power.


At WSWS, Tom Mackaman interviews  Ahmed White (law professor and author -- most recent book is UNDER THE IRON HEEL: THE WOBBLIES AND THE CAPITALIST WAR ON RADICAL WORKERS).  We'll note the following where Julian Assange is brought up:

 

TM: And the Espionage Act is something that the federal government dusts off from time to time. Presently with Julian Assange.

AW: That’s right. It’s been amended over the years, but it’s still used. With Assange, it just proves the political purposes for which it can be used, beyond supposedly stamping out spying. I think what the Assange case shows is the continuity in the federal government’s role, its willingness to use its prosecutorial authority to repress voices and movements that it opposes.

What’s interesting about what happened to the IWW was that it was central to the construction of this facility within the federal government, which was very poorly developed until the First World War. Before the persecution of the IWW, and the first Red Scare, there was actually very little facility on the part of the federal government to do what it does very easily today. And I think a lot of that is to be owed, or is to be in some perverse way, credited to what happened to the IWW.

TM: Along the same lines of past and present, one of the things that struck me about your book is its really sharp analysis of liberalism, a thread you weave throughout. And you have a couple very incisive pages, early on, where you describe the transformation from a 19th century classical liberalism to this Progressive Era statism. Could you summarize the role of liberalism in the persecution of the IWW? And following from that, what do you make of the state of American liberalism at present?

AW: What was striking to me in researching and writing this book was the contradictory role of liberals or progressives. Some of them supported the union. But many of them aligned in the effort to destroy it. And I think what these people brought to bear, which is so interesting, is a kind of characteristic belief that a society needs to be managed. I mean, these were all capitalists fundamentally, and they believed that capitalism created problems, contradictions, difficulties that needed to be addressed. What distinguished them was the serious and organized and legally oriented way they thought that should be done. That was true of their approach to things like child labor or food safety and all sorts of things. It was also true of their approach to radicalism.

And so, once these progressives and liberals decided that the IWW was an intolerable threat that was antithetical to their ambitions, their beliefs, then they spearheaded the attempt to destroy it by exactly those organized and legally oriented means. That’s what they brought to bear. They were not above participating in acts of extralegal violence or vigilantism, but their main purpose was to do this in an organized and lawful way. And they did. And that was reflected in their role, the often leading role, they played in the enactment and enforcement of the Espionage Act, the enactment and enforcement of the criminal syndicalism of laws.



These old men they make their dirty deals
Go in the back room and see what they can steal
Talk about your beautiful for spacious skies
It's about uranium
It's about the water rights

Got Mother Nature on a luncheon plate
They carve her up and call it real estate
Want all the resources and all of the land
They make a war over it
They blow things up for it

The reservation out at Poverty Row
There's something cookin' and the lights are low
Somebody's tryin' to save our Mother Earth I'm gonna
Help 'em to 
Save it and 
Sing it and 
Pray it singin'

No no, Keshagesh you can't do that no more

Ol' Columbus, he was lookin' good
When he got lost in our neighborhood
Garden of Eden right before his eyes
Now it's all spyware Now it's all income tax

Ol' Brother Midas, lookin' hungry today
What he can't buy he'll get some other way
Send in the troopers if the Natives resist
Same old story, boys
That's how ya do it boys

Look at these people Lord they're on a roll
Gotta have it all 
Gotta have complete control
Want all the resources and all of the land
They break the law over it
Blow things up for it

-- "No Keshagesh," written by Buffy Sainte-Marie, appears most recently on Buffy's MEDICINE SONGS


Meanwhile, the UK paper THE GUARDIAN is asking for memories:


On 15 February, it will be 20 years since more than one million people marched through London to protest against the imminent Iraq war. It remains the largest political demonstration in the UK’s history.

Marches also took place in Glasgow and Belfast, alongside hundreds of other cities globally that weekend.

We would like to speak to people who attended anti-war demonstrations in the UK on 15 February 2003 about their memories of the day and how it affected them and their outlook.

Whether it was your first march or you were already a seasoned protester in 2003, we want to hear about how you remember that day.

What did you do? Did you travel to the march? Did you meet people that day – and if you made new friendships, did they last? How did the march, and subsequent war, have an impact on how you see the world?

Please share any photos you took at the march.


Weeks until the ongoing war hits the 20 year mark and US forces remain there:


The US-led international military coalition remains in Iraq after the US military withdrew from Iraq in 2012.

A small military force was left in the Arab state only to protect the US embassy and train Iraqi forces.

In 2020, the US President at the time, Donald Trump, reduced the number of troops in Iraq to 2500.

In 2021, both countries agreed to end US combat missions by December.


So many lives have been destroyed by the illegal war.  A lot of crooks got rich off it.  Veterans got ripped off.  It's been veterans who have had to fight for their rights that should have been honored without any fuss.  Many veterans suffered because of exposure to burn pits.  Sometimes, US President Joe Biden likes to lie that his son Beau died in Iraq (he didn't) and other times he wants to connect Beau's caner to burn pits.  But as US senator, Joe did nothing to help the victims of burn pits.  He has moved a little more towards a reluctant advocate as president but he still won't honor those who fought to call out the burn pits and to start a national registry for those suffering.  This is a press release issued Tuesday by US House Rep Joaquin Castro:



Read Congressman Castro’s Recommendation Letter Here

WASHINGTON – This week, Congressman Joaquin Castro (TX-20) sent a letter to President Biden, urging him to award the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Captain Le Roy Torres and Rosie Torres of Robstown, Texas. In the letter, Congressman Castro commended the couple’s work to protect the rights of returning servicemembers and highlighted their leadership in efforts to expand health care and benefits for veterans exposed to toxic burn pits, including through their advocacy for the Honoring Our PACT Act.

“Over the past decade, Rosie and Le Roy have played a central role in ensuring the United States upholds our commitment to veterans. They successfully fought for the passage of two federal laws to protect veterans impacted by burn pits and secured a victory for disabled veterans at the Supreme Court,” wrote Congressman Castro. “Rosie and Le Roy define what it means to be American. I cannot think of two better people who deserve to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom.”

“It is an honor to be nominated for the Medal of Freedom award. Our efforts with the PACT ACT were born from our own injustice and journey.  To know that no other Veteran or survivor will be served by denial is an absolute blessing and victory. This nomination is in honor of the fallen who lost the battle to burn pit exposure and to their families that walked the halls alongside us. It is a symbol of every tear, hardship and loss after War but it is also a reminder of what it is to be American. To anyone facing an injustice, never give up and know that your voice can change history,” said Rosie and Le Roy Torres.

Captain and Mrs. Torres are the co-founders of Burn Pits 360, a non-profit organization that advocates for burn pit-impacted veterans. Their family’s advocacy began after Captain Torres developed a severe lung condition from prolonged exposure to open-air burn pits during a deployment to Iraq. In 2010, as veterans affected by burn pits struggled to get the Department of Veterans Affairs to acknowledge their service-connected injuries, Burn Pits 360 established an independent registry for family members to record the names of servicemembers who died because of toxic exposure. Captain and Mrs. Torres were instrumental in the 2013 creation of a federal burn pit registry and later played a leading role in the 2022 passage of the Honoring Our PACT Act, landmark bipartisan legislation that expanded health care and benefits for more than five million exposed to toxic substances, including burn pits and Agent Orange.

Captain Torres was also the plaintiff in Torres v. Texas Department of Public Safety, a Supreme Court case defending the rights of servicemembers and veterans under USERRA, a federal law that protects the reemployment rights of returning servicemembers. The case originated after the Texas Department of Public Safety denied Captain Torres’s request to continue his job as a Texas State Trooper with reasonable accommodations for his service-connected disability. Captain Torres subsequently sued the Department for failure to abide by USERRA’s protections and appealed to the Supreme Court after a lower court ruled that Congress lacked the power to authorize lawsuits against states under USERRA. If Captain Torres had not appealed the ruling to the Supreme Court, the lower court’s decision could have eviscerated the rights of military personnel to return to their civilian jobs. On June 29, 2022, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Captain Torres and upheld the responsibility of state employers to abide by the servicemember protections in USERRA.

Congressman Castro has worked closely with the Torres family for many years. Beginning in 2017, he hosted a series of field hearings and Congressional briefings to raise awareness about burn pit exposure and urge the Department of Veterans Affairs to expand services for burn pit-affected veterans. In 2021, Congressman Castro led a letter to then-Acting Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar, urging the Department of Justice to ask the Supreme Court to grant review of Torres v. Texas and protect the rights of returning servicemembers. When the Supreme Court agreed to hear the case, Congressman Castro led an amicus brief in support of Captain Torrs. Captain Torres was also Congressman Castro’s guest for the 2022 State of the Union Address.


This is the second time that Joaquin has nominated Le Roy and Rosie Torres.  Why did it take a second time?  Why has this not already happened?  They founded Burn Pits 360 and have been active on this issue -- highlighting it, galvanizing support, all on their own time -- for over a decade.  Even for no-brainer Joe Biden, awarding this medal should be a no brainer.







The following sites updated:





Wednesday, February 01, 2023

Graham Elwood, Walt Zlotow, Jake Johnson

Starting with Graham Elwood.



Are you following bitcoin? Using it?  I'm not.  Every now and then I'll get an Uber driver who'll want to tell me about bitcoin and how it's going to save the world.  I don't know about any of that.


I know Joe Biden's destroying the world.  Walt Zlotow (ANTIWAR.COM) explains:

 It took 60 years but the US finally did something more dangerous to world survival than the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis.

Last year marked 60 years since the US provoked Russia to sneak nuclear weapons into Cuba to protect it from further US invasion or assassination of Cuban leader Fidel Castro. Our humiliating loss at the 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion did nothing to dampen America’s lust to oust the Castro government, returning Cuba to rapacious American capitalism and a Mafia playground, regardless of how many might die.

That triggered the Cuban Missile Crisis, which, for 13 days, kept this high school senior on the cusp of nuclear annihilation. But knowing that the US red line against Russia putting nukes just a few minutes from the mainland could trigger nuclear war, both the US and Russia employed negotiations, defusing the nuclear crisis in under 2 weeks.

Contrast the nuclear crisis of 1962 over Cuba to the nuclear crisis of 2022-23 over Ukraine. In 49 weeks, the US has totally rejected negotiations to end the Russo Ukraine war. Instead, we’ve funneled over $100 billion in weapons and other aid to keep it going indefinitely. Worse, we torpedoed Russian, Ukraine negotiations in the first weeks of the war, brokered by Turkey, that could have ended the war early on.

That would be akin to Russia rejecting US negotiations to end the Cuban crisis by steaming full speed through the US blockade to complete its nuclear installations there. Had that occurred, a nuclear dust up between the US and Russia was virtually certain. The fact both Russia and the US sought negotiations instead of war prevented nuclear annihilation 60 years ago.


In other realities that party whores like Krystal Ball won't tell the world about,  Jake Johnson (COMMON DREAMS) reports:


  The Biden administration's Bureau of Land Management on Wednesday published an environmental assessment that recommends partial approval of a major drilling project on Alaska's North Slope, prompting a flurry of calls for the Interior Department to reject the plan outright and prevent any additional fossil fuel extraction in the region.

"Greenlighting the Willow project would banish President Biden's climate legacy to one of irreparable and downright shameful environmental destruction," said Raena Garcia, fossil fuels and lands campaigner for Friends of the Earth. "Big Oil's exploitation of the rapidly warming Arctic has already thrust local communities onto the frontlines of the climate crisis, jeopardizing public health and polluting critical ecosystems."

Kristen Miller, executive director of Alaska Wilderness League, implored Biden to "reverse course on this massive climate disaster."

"Our window to act is rapidly closing to avert catastrophic climate change," Miller added, "and this plan only takes us one giant step closer to the edge." 

Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"


Wednesday, February 1, 2023.  The Australian government says that they're working to free Julian Assange but where's the proof, another US service member who died in Iraq gets buried, Turkey continues to violate Iraq's national sovereignty and much more


Next month, the Iraq War hits year twenty.  US troops remain on the ground in Iraq.  



32-year-old Staff Sgt Samuel D. Lecce died in Iraq December 19, 2022.  He was a Marine who graduated high school in 2008.  

2008.  He was 18 years old and the Iraq War was five years old.  It was the year Senator Barack Obama was going around lying, "We want to end the war and we want to end it now!"  Samantha Power told the BBC it was a lie.  You can't make a promise, she told them in March of 2008, right now.  You'll figure out what you're going to do, she said, after you're elected.

She gave that interview and another one where she called Hillary Clinton a monster.  The monster got headlines and she was eased out of the campaign but not because of the monster remark, she was eased out because BBC was about to air the interview.  And we couldn't have the Christ-child questioned.  So she was no longer with the campaign and everyone in the US agreed to look the other way and pretend the interview didn't take place.  That includes the coward -- the now dead coward -- Tom Hayden.  He'd bring it up months later when it didn't matter anymore -- sort of the story of his life.

But think about Lecce in 2008, walking down the aisle, being handed his diploma.  You think he expected that the Iraq War would still be going on 14 years later?  Or that US troops would still be dying in Ira1 14 years later.

The insipid Krystal Ball wants to hiss "Grow up!" at people who don't want to get behind snake-oil saleswoman Marianne Williamson.

I'm confused, the Iraq War hits the 20 year mark next month and I've never heard Krystal Ball his "Grow up!" at any of the people in government who started the war or who continue it to this day.

Those who did make an effort to deal with reality tend to get attacked.  At ARAB WEEKLY today, James Zogby writes:

In advance of the February 2003 meeting of the Democratic National Committee, (DNC) Representative Jesse Jackson Junior and I submitted a resolution to encourage debate on the impending war. Using temperate and respectful language, it called on our party to urge the Bush administration “to pursue diplomatic efforts to achieve disarmament of Iraq, to clearly define for the American people and Congress the objectives, costs, consequences, terms and length of commitment envisioned by any US engagement or action in Iraq and to continue to operate in the context of and seek the full support of the United Nations in any effort to resolve the current crisis in Iraq.”

Polling indicated that the majority of Americans and a supermajority of Democrats supported these positions. And we knew that if Democrats failed to challenge the rush to war, we would not only risk losing the support of voters, but also shirk our responsibility to avert a war that would prove devastating to our country and the Middle East region. 

At the DNC meeting, party leaders subjected me to intense pressure to withdraw the resolution. They argued that we needed to defer to the Democratic presidential candidates. With only one major candidate, Howard Dean, vigorously opposed to the war, they claimed that such a resolution would imply support for his candidacy. And, in their view, opposing the war would make it appear that the party was weak on national defence. 

I refused to withdraw the resolution and insisted on my right to introduce it and be heard. 

In my remarks to the committee, I warned that it was unconscionable that we send young men and women to war in a country whose history, culture and social composition we did not understand. I observed that the administration’s miscalculations about Iraq risked beginning “a war without end” and that going to war without UN authorisation jeopardised US legitimacy. I concluded by noting that "raising the right questions, demanding answers and winning allies to our case is not being weak on defence. It's being smart on defence."

After my presentation, the chair ruled that there would be no vote and the resolution died without debate or discussion.

Twenty years later, it gives me no satisfaction to say that we were right to oppose that disastrous war. 


And those who were right get scorned or attacked.  Take Julian Assange. 

 





Julian remains imprisoned and remains persecuted by US President Joe Biden who, as vice president, once called him "a high tech terrorist."  Julian's 'crime' was revealing the realities of Iraq -- Chelsea Manning was a whistle-blower who leaked the information to Julian.  WIKILEAKS then published the Iraq War Logs.  And many outlets used the publication to publish reports of their own.  For example, THE GUARDIAN published many articles based on The Iraq War Logs.  Jonathan Steele, David Leigh and Nick Davies offered, on October 22, 2012:



A grim picture of the US and Britain's legacy in Iraq has been revealed in a massive leak of American military documents that detail torture, summary executions and war crimes.
Almost 400,000 secret US army field reports have been passed to the Guardian and a number of other international media organisations via the whistleblowing website WikiLeaks.

The electronic archive is believed to emanate from the same dissident US army intelligence analyst who earlier this year is alleged to have leaked a smaller tranche of 90,000 logs chronicling bloody encounters and civilian killings in the Afghan war.
The new logs detail how:
US authorities failed to investigate hundreds of reports of abuse, torture, rape and even murder by Iraqi police and soldiers whose conduct appears to be systematic and normally unpunished.

A US helicopter gunship involved in a notorious Baghdad incident had previously killed Iraqi insurgents after they tried to surrender.
More than 15,000 civilians died in previously unknown incidents. US and UK officials have insisted that no official record of civilian casualties exists but the logs record 66,081 non-combatant deaths out of a total of 109,000 fatalities.

The numerous reports of detainee abuse, often supported by medical evidence, describe prisoners shackled, blindfolded and hung by wrists or ankles, and subjected to whipping, punching, kicking or electric shocks. Six reports end with a detainee's apparent deat



The Biden administration has been saying all the right things lately about respecting a free and vigorous press, after four years of relentless media-bashing and legal assaults under Donald Trump.

The attorney general, Merrick Garland, has even put in place expanded protections for journalists this fall, saying that “a free and independent press is vital to the functioning of our democracy”.

But the biggest test of Biden’s commitment remains imprisoned in a jail cell in London, where WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been held since 2019 while facing prosecution in the United States under the Espionage Act, a century-old statute that has never been used before for publishing classified information.

Whether the US justice department continues to pursue the Trump-era charges against the notorious leaker, whose group put out secret information on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Guantánamo Bay, American diplomacy and internal Democratic politics before the 2016 election, will go a long way toward determining whether the current administration intends to make good on its pledges to protect the press.

Now Biden is facing a re-energized push, both inside the United States and overseas, to drop Assange’s protracted prosecution.


Late last night, Oscar Grenfell (WSWS) reported:

In response to freedom of information (FOI) requests by former federal parliamentarian Rex Patrick, multiple departments of the Australian Labor government have confirmed that they have made no representations to the US administration of President Joe Biden relating to Julian Assange.

The information, revealed in an article by Patrick on the Michael West Media website, is a damning indictment of the Labor government.

Since it was elected last May, Labor has said as little as possible on Assange. Its representatives, including Albanese, have hinted at backroom discussions with the Biden administration, but their content and purpose has remained entirely opaque.

These purported conferences have been used to justify the refusal to forthrightly defend the persecuted Australian journalist on the grounds that diplomacy is best conducted, in Albanese’s words, without a “megaphone.”

In response to growing condemnations of these claims as a cynical dodge, Albanese made his most explicit comments on Assange since becoming prime minister last November. In response to a question from independent MP Monique Ryan, Albanese restated earlier declarations that “enough is enough” in relation to Assange’s legal plight.

Albanese said: “The government will continue to act in a diplomatic way, but can I assure the member for Kooyong that I have raised this personally with representatives of the United States government. My position is clear and has been made clear to the US administration that it is time that this matter be brought to a close.”

Contrary to Albanese, many things remained decidedly unclear. What exactly was the government requesting of the US administration? Had it explicitly demanded an end to the US attempt to extradite and prosecute Assange for exposing American war crimes? Were these demands backed by any threats of retaliatory action if they were not met, and more?

Previous FOI documents obtained by lawyer Kellie Tranter in July, had highlighted these questions. Internal talking points from the office of Labor’s Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus had focussed solely on the prospect of a “prison swap” involving Assange. That would presuppose his extradition to the US and conviction on trumped-up Espionage Act charges carrying a maximum-sentence of 175-years imprisonment.

Also noting that reality is Paul Oboohov (GREEN LEFT) who also notes that Australians protested outside the US Embassy in Australia "to call on US Ambassador Caroline Kennedy to intercede on behalf of Julian Assange."  And Latika Bourke (SYDNEY MORNING HERALD) reports:

Foreign Minister Penny Wong says the rule of law must be applied to Julian Assange, dampening hopes that her government is about to secure the WikiLeaks founder’s freedom.

Assange is being held in Britain’s Belmarsh Prison where he is appealing his extradition to the United States to face charges related to the theft of hundreds of thousands of secret cables from the US government, which WikiLeaks published in full, more than a decade ago.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said he had raised the matter with the US and British governments, raising hopes among Assange’s supporters that the Australian could walk free from jail without being extradited to the US to face trial.

Asked about the matter during a news conference in London on Wednesday morning (AEDT), Wong said it was “not a decision for the Australian government” and pointed to the legal processes under way.


Will Julian ever be free?  Chris Hedges asked that question recently.


Chris speaks with Gabriel Shipton who directed ITHAKA.   A transcript of the above interview can be found here.


Gabriel Shipton: Yeah, so this dehumanization of Julian, it really serves the persecution of Julian. It allows the public to switch off. This isn’t happening to a human being. People can say, “Well…” Julian hasn’t been able to attend his own court proceedings since January, 2021. He applies to attend the court proceeding and the applications are refused, not given a reason. And this is really to take Julian from view, take him from view. The classic photos that often appear of Julian are the ones of him traveling to and forth from the prison to the court. And even those moments have been taken away. He’s been dehumanized to that level that those photos inside the prison van have been taken away. He has also, part of that-

Chris Hedges: They blocked the windows, they colored the windows over so photographers couldn’t shoot in, is that correct?

Gabriel Shipton:  Well, the photographers hold up the camera and the flash goes in, but they can’t really see, but you can get a photo, that’s those photos of Julian with a long beard, with his hand signs and things like that, they’re from the prison van that goes back and forth from the court. But he hasn’t been allowed to attend his own court proceedings in person since that date. And yet that’s part of this process of dehumanization that it allows for this persecution. It’s one of the elements of this persecution, his dehumanization. So yeah, it was really important for us to really lean into this humanistic side of this story and humanize Julian in that sense.  When you talk about the families who are suffering or how the families experience the incarceration of Julian, and Stella talks about going to visit Julian and the procedure that her and her children have to go through to enter the visitor’s area, and it is oppressive. And there’s two little children in this, a three and a five year old whose mouths are searched, who have sniffer dogs sniffing at her hair. A big German shepherd dog comes up to the child and sniffs the back of their hair. So these sort of moments, it has an effect. It has an effect on the family, it has an effect on these children. And I think it’s deliberate, it’s very deliberate that Julian’s being kept in a maximum-security prison. It’s very deliberate that his family has to go through this procedure. They have to feel this persecution as well as Julian, it’s not equal to what Julian’s going through, but as you say, the families of those who are incarcerated are in a way incarcerated as well.


Chris Hedges: There’s a moment in the film where John, your father, expresses the fear that they’re trying to kill Julian. And I know the family has always been very reluctant to speak about the psychological and medical condition of your brother. However, in the court proceedings, there was much that was revealed about his physical and psychological state. And I don’t want to push you too hard on this, but at least if you can relate the information that came out in court, because there’s a clear deterioration and I think many of us feel that’s by design.

Gabriel Shipton:  Well, I can describe it how I observe it when I go and see Julian, or I saw him last October. I don’t get to see him that often, obviously our family’s been torn apart. So I live in Australia, so whenever I’m in the UK I make sure that I go to see him at the prison, obviously. But the gradual deterioration over the years that he’s been kept in there is very, very obvious to me. Physical, his physical wellbeing, his mental wellbeing, as well as the expert testimony, expert witness testimony.  But yeah, over the years you can see that he is in gradual decline and he obviously had this stroke, minor stroke at the end of last year. And the effects of that, it doesn’t just go away. This minor stroke is evidence that this whole never ending procedure, these oppressive prison conditions are really taking its toll on his body physically, that that has pushed him to have this sort of episode.  So that’s how I see it. When I go and visit him, we try and have a laugh, we try and joke and we try and talk about lighter things or I know I do. Obviously we always tell him about what’s going on in the world, who said to say hello, which of his old friends that we’ve met around the place. But those visits are precious times when we can sort of be together as we once were and joke and laugh and try and forget all the troubles that exist around him.


REUTERS notes, "Unidentified attackers fired eight rockets at a Turkish military base in northern Iraq on Wednesday, two of which landed inside, the Counter-Terrorism Group, a security organisation in Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region, said."  THE NATIONAL adds:

Shortly after Wednesday's attack, the Free People of Iraq Brigade, or Liwa Ahrar Al Iraq, said it was behind the attack, but gave no details.

The group is known for its attacks against Turkish troops in northern Iraq. It first claimed responsibility for an attack on troops in June 2022.


Yesterday, REUTERS noted:

Looming over the deserted village of Sararo in northern Iraq, three Turkish military outposts break the skyline, part of an incursion that forced the residents to flee last year after days of shelling.

The outposts are just some of the dozens of new military bases Turkey has established on Iraqi soil in the past two years as it steps up its decades-long offensive against Kurdish militants sheltered in the remote and rugged region.

"When Turkey first came to the area, they set up small portable tents, but in the spring, they set up outposts with bricks and cement," Sararo's mayor Abdulrahman Hussein Rashid said in December during a visit to the village, where shell casings and shrapnel still litter the ground.

"They have drones and cameras operating 24/7. They know everything that's going on," he told Reuters, as drones buzzed overhead in the mountainous terrain 5 km from the frontier.

Turkey's advances across the increasingly depopulated border of Iraqi Kurdistan attract little global attention compared to its incursions into Syria or the battle against Islamic State, but the escalation risks further destabilising a region where foreign powers have intervened with impunity, analysts say.

Turkey could become further embroiled if its new Iraqi bases come under sustained attack, while its growing presence may also embolden Iran to expand military action in Iraq against groups it accuses of fomenting unrest at home, Kurdish officials say.


You think?


Returning to the topic of yesterday's snapshot, let's include a few videos.






Also on the topic, please check out Ann's "The ultimate Karen (Krystal Ball) calls 9-1-1."  Ann's a Green with Green parents who the hell is Krystal Ball to hector Ann about how she needs to vote?  The entitlement reeks, Krystal really needs to check her own ego.  


The following sites updated: