That's a video about Julian Assange and he'll come back in a second. Michael Smith has a column about the late Michael Ratner at BLACK AGENDA REPORT:
In the 35 years I knew Michael he never mentioned that he graduated first in his class at Columbia Law School. He went on to clerk for Judge Constance Baker Motley, the first African-American woman judge in the federal courts. She wrote that he was the best clerk she ever had.
Then Michael went on to work at the Center for Constitutional Rights. The fledging organization started in 1966. It had an office near 42nd Street in the porn district, a walk-up with linoleum floors and cubicles for the attorneys and staff.
This was in September 1971. Bill Kunstler asked Michael to go up to Attica prison and interview the survivors of the recent massacre. That’s how he started off at the CCR. It then was as Alex Cockburn called it “a small band of tigerish people.“ Michael was first a staff attorney, then the Director of Litigation, and finally its President.
Of the many significant cases Michael organized or handled two stand out. After 9/11 the U.S. government began using its base in Guantánamo, Cuba as an offshore prison where the government contended neither American nor international law or the laws of war applied. They were holding Muslims anonymously and forever. It was a secret prison and Michael realized that secrecy begets torture. These men had no right to learn of the charges against them or to be brought up in front of a judge or tried.
Michael got the CCR to get behind litigation. They lost in the lower court and in the Court of Appeals but finally the Supreme Court granted them a victory. Habeas corpus, the ancient law that went back to medieval England, was finally honored. Michael organized 600 lawyers from firms across the country, large and small, left and right, to support this basic right.
Michael was truth telling whistleblower Julian Assange’s American lawyer. He worked on Julian’s case to the end of his life. Julian was a young computer genius who figured out a way for whistleblowers to disclose damning information about war crimes and other government illegality anonymously. WikiLeaks then posted it. This kind of transparency is anathema to a police state. Michael thought this was the most important free speech case of our era.
What would Michael be doing if he were alive today? He would be supporting Julian Assange of course. He would be campaigning to end the cruel and illegal American economic and commercial blockade of Cuba, he would’ve been down in Virginia for the sentencing of whistleblower Daniel Hale, and he would be supporting Ben and Jerry for their refusal to have their ice cream sold in the occupied territories of Palestine.
I used to listen to LAW & DISORDER -- used to blog bout it here. Really don't anymore. That 'squeal.' They need to put it up on YOUTUBE. They could do visuals from the studio or just put up revolving press releases from CCR and The National Lawyers Guild. But it's the audio for me. I'm at C.I.'s so I might be able to get them over the airwaves (KPFA) but at home, I doubt it. I can't take the audio on so many podcasts and radio stations these days -- YOUTUBE has spoiled me.
Anyway, Julian needs to be set free. He's being held in the UK and there's no reason for them to continue to hold him. He also does not need to be brought to the US. He needs to be set free and go where ever he wants to go.
And here's a video of CCR remembering Michael Ratner.
Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"
Thursday, September 9, 2021. Iran bombs the Kurds, Iraq struggles to engage the electorate in next month's elections, and much more.
Chelsea Manning has been having a snit fit over Glenn Greenwald's TV appearances. Marcia's "Chelsea and Glenn " and our "Talking post" dealt with it last week and I thought that was it but I want to respond to a whiny e-mail to the public account and hopefully this will close the discussion on Chelsea Manning. She has publicly stated that she wishes she could give the $10,000 back to Glenn. She can't.
Because its not just $10000. What eh fool doesn't grasp is that standing up for her wasn't easy. The LGBTQ community wouldn't support her enough to make her an honorary martial in a gay parade -- that sounds like something Karen would say on WILL & GRACE, but it's honestly the truth. Over and over, she divided the gay community and this was when she was Bradley Manning. Being imprisoned during this, she may not be aware of it. But ask anyone who stood up for her when she was in a military jail and they'll tell you very clearly that a lot of people hated her. A lot.
Let's also discuss the lack of gratitude. Se was desperate for money and people were fundraising for her. There was no "Please don't donate if in the future you might go on FOX NEWS'' or any other qualifiers. She was desperate and people stepped up to help her. It goes beyond bad manners for her to now attack and insult the people who stood by her.
It's not surprising, but it's appalling. That's why we walked away from her the day she attacked Ann Wright. Like Glenn, Ann had been tireless in her support for Chelsea. And her thanks? To be insulted and rebuked publicly by Chelsea.
So let's get this straight, Glenn's wrong for going on FOX NEWS and Ann's wrong for what? Retiring from the State Dept in protest of the Iraq War? I mean, who is it that is pure enough for Chelsea now.
That bitch needs to get her s**t straight. We all have lives. Around the world, people who never met her gave to her -- gave time, gave money, gave support. And there's no gratitutde. We've had many, many public statemetns from Chelsea. We've never seen a thank you.
She's an ungrateful bitch and that's why she's so miserable. By her own words, after she was sentenced, her actions were wrong. She's not anti-war, she made clear when attacking Ann Wright. She's so stupid and vapid that over ten years after the Iraq War started she said publicly she still didn't know where she stood on it.
Hey, that's your first sign to shut your damn mouth and figure out what's going on in your head. You clearly haven't arrived at a point where you need to lead others.
Life is very hard for Chelsea, we're to understand, and she suffered. No, she really didn't. Barack Obama let her out early. The Iraqi people suffered. You know, the group of people she can never talk about. She can never issue a statement in support of them. She can never note their pain.
She wants to act as though she's been betrayed? She's the biggest betrayer of all. Maybe her next announcement can find her begging forgiveness from the Iraqi people? Or at least acknowledging the very real harm that they suffered and continue to suffer in a war that she's largely apathetic to.
If her foes had their way back when she was on trial, she'd be in a military prison for life. It was thanks to the work of everyone that she got released, that her story was known in the first place. The lack of gratitude? It's just one more bad feature making her a very ugly person.
Let's move on to a topic that matter, I AM SAMUEL.
That's the trailer for the new documentary. After seeing the film, Kurdish activist Zhiar Ali spoke with Queer Film Festival Utrech:
Zhiar, after the movie I Am Samuel you spoke with Tessa from Shelter City Utrecht. First of all… What did you think of the movie? Were you able to see it?
The movie was wonderful. I was really touched by Samuel’s story. I think on many levels, LGBT+ people somehow relate to his story.
myself have had a very troublesome relationship with my family because
of my sexuality. It got to a point where I was kicked out of my home and
received death threats from my own brother. They ended up disowning me
for the simple fact that I am gay. A lot of other LGBT+ youth share the
same story, and I think that being afraid to be who you are should no
longer be a thing in the 21st century.
Why were you invited to this conversation? What did you talk about?
movie was really relatable to what is currently happening in Iraq, even
though it focuses on Kenya. I was invited to the QFFU by Justice and Peace Netherlands,
a project by Peace Brigades International, to help raise awareness
about how the same thing is also happening in other middle eastern
For example, in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, a lot of real estate brokers refuse housing to LGBT+ youth, who are forced into the streets when they are kicked out of their family homes. In fear of sharing the same fate, a lot of gay men end up marrying women against their will, only for the feeling of security and having a roof over their heads.
This kind of discrimination exists in the work field too: LGBT+ youth either get low paying jobs where they usually face harassment from co-workers, or don’t get any jobs at all.
I was honored to participate in the screening of #IAmSamuel by #QFFU. I had the opportunity to speak with them on my journey as an openly gay LGBT+ rights activist and the community’s struggle towards freedom and social equality in Iraq.
Here's Eli Lieb's "Boys Who Like Boys"
And one of the many things I like about Eli's song is that it throws the responsiblity where it belongs: What's your problem?
Persecution of LGBTQs -- and those suspected of being one -- continues in Iraq -- even when the press moves on to whatever hot topic everyone else is chasing at the moment.
They never really addressed the Turkish government's continual bombing of Iraq or sending in foot soldiers or putting up bases. Their laid back attitude to this breach of national sovereignty and these acts of war always meant other governments would feel emboldened. Layal Shakir (RUDAW) reports:
Iranian warplanes and at least one suicide drone attacked bases of
Kurdish opposition groups located within Iraqi borders in Erbil province
on Thursday morning, a top party official said. There are no reports of
“We have recovered the remains of a drone that was used in the attack on one target and we have photos,” Kawa Bahrami, top Peshmerga commander of the Kurdistan Democratic Party of Iran (KDPI) which was the target of the attack, told Rudaw English.
The attacks started at 6:00 in the morning. Iranian warplanes, drones, and artillery targeted several locations in the Sidakan and Choman areas of Erbil province where several Kurdish opposition groups have small bases.
Top commanders of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) this week ratcheted up their threats and called on civilians in the Kurdistan Region to avoid areas where these groups have their bases.
The actions of the Turkish government made the above possible. Boycott Turkey notes:
Turkey keeps claiming that they're harming and killing terrorists but the people on the ground don't match the claims of the Turkish government. For example, Karwan Faidhi Dri (RUDAW) notes:
A family of three was hospitalized in northern Duhok province this week
after Turkish forces bombed near their home. The family said the bomb
produced a bad-smelling smoke. Authorities are investigating the cause
of their health problems.
Turkey dropped six bombs in the vicinity of Hirore village in Kani Masi sub-district on Saturday. They landed nearly a kilometer from Abdullah Hassan’s house, which is located on the edge of the village.
Hassan, his wife Hadiya Mustafa, and their daughter Zhiman were hospitalized two hours after smoke from the bombs reached their house.
“A Turkish bomb brought this to me. Smoke came towards me and I said ‘go inside as this smoke stinks.’ I went into the house,” Mustafa, 66, told Rudaw.
Turkey bombs homes, hospitals and refugee camps and the world is largely silent. It's no surprise that now the government of Iran thinks it can get away with doing the same.
Next month, Iraq is set to hold elections. THE WASHINGTON POST's Louisa Loveluck Tweets:
Mustafa Saadoun (AL-MONITOR) reports on The October Revolution:
Emerging Iraqi political movements declared their open opposition to the political system formed after 2003, calling instead for substantial reforms.
On Sept. 4, an expanded conference was held in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, by a group of forces that reportedly emerged from the October 2019 protests.
The groups declared their opposition to the country’s political system and signaled they would not be participating in the election.
The conference, titled “The Opposition Forces Gathering,” tackled the “disadvantages” of the Iraqi political system.
It announced the boycott of the elections, saying “[the elections] lack integrity, fairness and equal opportunities.”
It also called for commemorating the start of the protests on the first of next month with a “million-man” demonstration.
Contrary to some protest forces and movements, this conference did not raise the slogan of “overthrowing the regime” or finding an alternative. Rather, it indicated the need for reforms, which is what most large and small political parties in Iraq are calling for.
In a statement on Aug. 26, Bassem al-Sheikh, a spokesman for the opposition forces, said, “The opposition is working to reform the regime, and it may take bigger steps than those that were taken in the 2019 protests.”
According to the spokesman for the forces, the opposition gathering includes 40 movements and groups of movements and gatherings that emanated from the protests witnessed in Iraq over the past two years.
The following sites updated: