The persecution of Julian Assange continues. And the bulk of the press is silent. Jimmy Dore notes that 'defender' of the First Amendment Bob Woodard can't and won't defend Julian.
The response of the corporate media over the eleven months since El Pais first revealed details of a vast spying operation against WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange, while he was a United Nations-recognised political refugee in Ecuador’s London embassy, has been decidedly muted.
The initial El Pais article in October last year has been followed by a raft of damning information. This has established that the surveillance, conducted by the UC Global security company in charge of managing security at the embassy, included the illegal interception of Assange’s conversations with his lawyers, in a flagrant breach of attorney-client privilege, menacing probes into his partner and infant child, and discussions about the possibility of kidnapping or even poisoning the WikiLeaks founder.
The mechanisms of the surveillance, which likely involved the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), have also become clearer. UC Global chief David Morales, it is alleged, entered into a secret agreement with emissaries of US intelligence to surveill Assange in 2015, and pass on all of the material gathered, in an operation that extended until March, 2018.
The statements of former UC Global employees, and documentary evidence, have indicated that the security company of Las Vegas casino mogul and leading Trump donor Sheldon Adelson served as the middle-man between Morales and US intelligence. The former Spanish navy marine turned mercenary was raided and arrested by Spanish police late last year, and faces the prospect of substantial criminal charges.
In other words, the apparent lack of media interest is not for want of information, or because the unprecedented surveillance of the world’s most famous persecuted journalist is not newsworthy. Rather, it is a continuation of the alignment of the corporate media with the US-led vendetta against Assange, bound up with their close ties to the intelligence agencies and the official political parties that have spearheaded his persecution, as well as their broader support for an agenda of militarism and authoritarianism.
This was given striking confirmation in an article published by investigative journalist Max Blumenthal on the Grayzone website last Friday. Blumenthal’s detailed report was based on the statements of an anonymous WikiLeaks source, along with extensive comments from Stefania Maurizi, an Italian journalist who has partnered with the media organisation for the past decade. Hitherto unpublished communications from Morales were also featured, further establishing his and UC Global’s secret collaboration with US authorities.
This is nonsense. The court needs to call an end to the case and release Julian immediately. He deserves his freedom and an apology.
Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"
Monday, September 21, 2020. The passing of a Supreme Court Justice should be the start of several different conversations.
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden just can't stop lying. No, 200 million people around the world have not died from coronavirus. If he meant in the US, that's even worse. Yaron Steinbuch (NEW YORK POST) points out, ''As of early Monday, the US death toll from the coronavirus stands at 199,512. The total number of reported cases in the country is about 6.8 million, according to the latest figures."
Joe's dazed and confused -- over and over again. Friday, US Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed away following her long battle with cancer. Joe bungled things so badly, he was being mocked as "sleepy Joe" by Australia's SKY NEWS.
While Joe meandered in his befuddled manner, it was left to Jane Fonda to lay down a marker on Friday calling for Senate Democrats to fight back against any effort to replace RBG before the election. Sunday, Joe spoke again and it was more lies. Daniel Dale (CNN) explains:
Dale also notes that Joe claimed the Court would have no session between now and election day. Wrong. The Court goes back into session on October 5th. What's October 5th? FIRST MONDAY IN OCTOBER -- you know, the title of the hit 1978 Broadway play that became a 1981 film starring Jill Clayburgh as the first female Supreme Court Justice. She was Golden Globe nominated for the role and the film's title is such because, every year, that's when the Court kicks off its term -- on the first Monday of October. Somehow, in all his years working in DC, Joe missed that fact?
On RBG, she should have retired many years ago. Her health was such that, no, she was not giving the job all that she could. (I say that as someone battling cancer myself.) And in the last four years, she did several things that cheapened her image and the Court's image. As a sitting Justice, it is not her job to offer her personal opinions in interviews about issues that will come before the Court. Nor was it her job to offer her take on a presidential candidate.
She was indulged and coddled by a cult that found this behavior charming. It was not charming. It was damaging to the Court and when some future conservative Justice does the same, you can be sure that many who cheered RGB on with this nonsense will finally grasp why some things are just not done. She set a precedent -- and not in a good way.
She has also left the nation in chaos and that should not be forgotten either. Time and again, the egos on these public servants is repulsive. We need mandatory retirement -- we need it for the Court and we need it for the Senate. (The two-year terms of House members allows the voters to have a quick response should they need to retire someone.) She knew she had cancer. She knew about this round of cancer when Barack Obama started his first term as president. She should have retired then or in his second term.
To have her granddaughter announce that RBG would want everyone to wait until after the election to select a new judge? Who the hell cares what she wanted? She didn't do what she was supposed to -- retire when she couldn't function at a high level.
See "Ruth Badger Ginsburg (Ava and C.I.)" for more on RBG's passing. And note, she wasn't hit by a truck, she died of natural causes after a lengthy illness. She should have retired years ago.
Joe shouldn't be running for the presidency. The editorial board of THE LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL notes Joe's latest flip-flop:
Joe Biden needs to win Pennsylvania, so he’s changed his position on fracking.
In late August, the Democratic presidential nominee emerged from his basement and traveled to the Keystone State. He sought to assure voters there that a Biden administration wouldn’t threaten the fracking industry. Fracking, which is a method of extracting oil and natural gas from shale rock, is a vital part of the state’s economy. A study from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce found that outlawing fracking would eliminate 600,000 jobs in Pennsylvania alone.
“I am not banning fracking,” Biden said. “Let me say that again: I am not banning fracking.”
That’s a John Kerry-level flip flop from the position he took repeatedly during the Democratic primary. Many Democratic voters want to eliminate oil and natural gas production under the guise of addressing global warming. Mr. Biden repeatedly told those voters that he agreed with them.
During a debate last year, CNN’s Dana Bash asked Mr. Biden if “there would be any place for fossil fuels, including coal and fracking, in a Biden administration?”
“We would make sure it’s eliminated,” Mr. Biden said.
He can't be trusted. Nor apparently can the prime minister of Iraq. A former member of the press himself, Mustafa al-Kadhimi has been getting easy press in the last days for two arrests on corruption -- but they're minor arrests and they are meaningless. If you're not grasping how meaningless, Deena Kamel (THE NATIONAL) reports:
State-owned Trade Bank of Iraq (TBI) appointed Salem Chalabi as chairman and president as the lender proceeds with a three-year expansion plan to diversify its operations.
Mr Chalabi, a Yale University graduate, will replace Faisal Al Haimus with immediate effect following the directive of Iraqi prime minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi, Trade Bank of Iraq said in a statement on Sunday.
"I look forward to implementing a strategy that will allow TBI to achieve sustainable growth and continue building on the strong and solid foundations laid by the bank in the past years," Mr Chalabi said. "We will continue to ... develop the bank’s operations to support our country’s economic development."
Mr Chalabi brings to the role years of experience in business development, strategic planning and forming Iraqi government policies, including involvement in drafting the new Iraqi constitution after 2003. He was appointed General Director of the Iraqi Special Tribunal for Crimes against Humanity in 2004 and worked as an adviser to former Iraqi prime minister Adel Abdul Mahdi.
Oh, Deena, there's more honesty in the opening paragraph of his WIKIPEDIA page:
Salem Chalabi (aka "Sam Challabi") (born 1963, in Baghdad) is an Iraq-born, British- and American-educated lawyer. He was appointed as the first General Director of the Iraqi Special Tribunal, set up in 2003 to try Saddam Hussein and other members of his regime for crimes against humanity. His appointment, by an order signed by Paul Bremer, the head of the occupation authority, was widely criticized for perceived nepotism (his uncle, Ahmed Chalabi, was critically involved in the US-led war against Iraq and Hussein) and he himself lacked any significant trial experience (he was a corporate securities lawyer). He was ultimately dropped from the Tribunal after an arrest warrant was issued for investigation into his role in the murder of a director-general of the Iraqi Ministry of Finance who was investigating Chalabi family properties acquired in Iraq; the charge was ultimately dismissed citing lack of evidence.
More from WIKIPEDIA:
Mr. Chalabi was a member, immediately before the 2003 US invasion of Iraq, of the Department of State sponsored Future of Iraq project, to which he was appointed as rapporteur of the Transitional Justice Working Group.
Questions about conflicts of interest swirled around Sam Chalabi. Returning to Iraq in April 2003 he founded the controversial Iraqi International Law Group. Chalabi set up this "marketing partnership" with L. Marc Zell, the former law partner of Douglas J. Feith, the Pentagon's undersecretary for policy. Zell was to help lead American and Russian clients interested in reconstruction to Sam Chalabi's firm, which would in turn help them to meet U.S. and Iraqi officials". Zell, born in the United States, moved with his family to the Jewish settlement of Alon Shevut on the West Bank in 1988, at the start of the first Palestinian uprising, acquiring Israeli nationality. His Jerusalem based firm, whose staff produced the content of the Iraqi International Law Group's website, cites as one of its main activities assisting Israeli companies to do business abroad.
"In interviews, Sam Chalabi spoke of his daily contacts with his uncle [Ahmed Chalabi], and the fact that one of his 26 first cousins was the Iraqi minister of trade." Sam Chalabi also played an important role in the new government: as an advisor on the writing of commercial laws and a national constitution, among other issues.
After "an outpouring of publicity", Sam Chalabi disbanded the partnership, saying, "I have to be more careful about the appearance of a conflict of interest."".
Salem Chalabi was also appointed as counsel to newly founded security firm Erinys, which "won a plum $80 million contract to guard Iraqi oil installations, employing members of Chalabi's private militia for the purpose".
He just got put in charge. And we're supposed to pretend Mustafa is addressing corruption?
Mustafa promised the activists his protection. That promise appears weaker than ever.
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