Wednesday, January 04, 2023

Graham Elwood, White House visitor Sam Bankman-Fried

Graham Elwood.

I'd honestly forgotten to check for anything new after over a week of nothing new.  That happens.  But there's some new stuff up now so be sure to check out Graham's YOUTUBE channel.

Other news?

FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried held several meetings with high-ranking White House officials earlier this year, prior to the collapse of his cryptocurrency exchange.

These meetings were part of an effort to influence cryptocurrency policy and establish connections in Washington before the collapse of Bankman-Fried's FTX empire, Bloomberg reports. 

According to White House officials cited in the report, Bankman-Fried met with Steve Ricchetti, a senior adviser to President Joe Biden, on Sept. 8, 2022.

This meeting was not previously disclosed and was one of several sessions that took place over the course of the year.

These meetings were part of an effort to influence cryptocurrency policy and establish connections in Washington before the collapse of Bankman-Fried's FTX empire, Bloomberg reports. 

According to White House officials cited in the report, Bankman-Fried met with Steve Ricchetti, a senior adviser to President Joe Biden, on Sept. 8, 2022.

This meeting was not previously disclosed and was one of several sessions that took place over the course of the year.

Well that doesn't sound very good, does it?  How much corruption is old man Joe pulling off right now?

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

 Wednesday, January 4, 2023.  That Mother Tucker Carlson pretends he didn't cheer on the Iraq War, there is talk that Julian Assange might be set free in the next two months, corruption is destroying Iraq, and much more.

MEDIA MATTERS notes that Mother Tucker Carlson has a new homophobic roll dog -- don't cry Glenn Greenwald, I'm sure Mother Tucker still loves you best.  His name is Charlie Kirk and Charlie doesn't like drag queens -- so why did he marry a woman who looks like one?  At any rate, Mother Tucker and wee little Charlie got together and stupidity ensued:

CHARLIE KIRK: (HOST): The same people that wanted to bomb Baghdad now want to blitzkrieg a female's body to change their nature from female to male.


KIRK: It's the same thing. We are going to impose our will on what is to what we think ought to be. 

CARLSON: One hundred percent. We're in charge of nature. 

Mother Tucker was giggling, was he?

Of course.  It's all a game to him and stupid Charlie Kirk doesn't seem to grasp that the people wanting to bomb Baghdad?  Mother Tucker's on that list.  He was on CNN then and he was all on board with pimping the Iraq War.  See wee Charlie, you were only ten then but you're an adult now and you're required to do some learning before opening your stupid mouth.

The ones who wanted to bomb Iraq are pretty much the same ones attacking the LGBTQ+ community today.  It's a fact.


Turning to Iraq where corruption is impacting the cost of housing.  FORBES provides the following video report.

And AFP notes:

Iraqi telecommunications worker Youssef Ahmed is married with a five-year-old son, but lives with his parents because he is unable to afford his own home amid soaring property prices. "Even if your income increases, it will never be up to the exorbitant prices of houses or land", said 29-year-old Ahmed, who earns a "comfortable" monthly salary of $1,000, double the national average.
 Real estate in Iraq has become a popular way to launder money, including stolen public funds Real estate in Iraq has become a popular way to launder money, including stolen public funds. 
 Compounded by housing planning failures and an increasing demand, it has pushed prices in the capital Baghdad rapidly out of reach for many ordinary Iraqis.  

AL-MONITOR's Shelly Kittleson Tweets:

It shouldn't be that way.  Iraq is oil rich.  There should be more than enough to go around.  John Lee (OZ ARAB MEDIA) notes:

The Iraqi Minister of Oil, Hayan Abdul-Ghani, has announced revenues of more than $115 billion from exporting crude oil for the year 2022.

More than 1,209 billion barrels of crude oil were exported, giving a daily export rate is approximately 3.320 million barrels per day (bpd).

ARABIAN BUSINESS notes, "This is a four-year high following a collapse in prices during the Covid-19 pandemic."  But it means nothing for the Iraqi people because the US-installed government in Iraq has never attempted to better the lives of the Iraqi people.  Nouri al-Maliki and his family got rich after the 2003 invasion, it was the Iraqi people who struggled.  Jobs are nowhere to be found and politicians and officials steal the public monies.  There's no investment in infrastructure.  There's no investment in the people.  That's what The October Revolution was protesting against: corruption that destroyed not just the chances of the young people but the entire country.  Iraq is one of the most corrupt countries in the world as ranked by Transperency International.  

Ismaeel Naar (THE NATIONAL) reports:

Iraq's anti-corruption agency said it has recovered another $2.6 million fraudulently withdrawn from a government bank account.

But this is just a fraction of the $2.5 billion allegedly stolen from a number of state enterprises in a series of cheque transactions over the past two years.

The scandal has led to outrage in the country where many Iraqis live in poverty amid widespread corruption.

Judge Haider Hanoun, who heads the Federal Authority of Integrity, said that the suspect in this recovery is alleged to have stolen more than $11 million.

“The money that was recovered today amounted to 4 billion Iraqi dinars ($2.6 million), which is part of a total of more than 17 billion ($11 million),” Judge Hanoun, who heads the Federal Authority of Integrity, said on Tuesday.

US President Joe Biden continues to persecute Julian and, for those who've forgotten, 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.

At SCHEER POST, Kevin Gosztola writes:

As the new year began, ABC Global Affairs Editor John Lyons stated during a broadcast segment that he expected WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange would be released “within the next two months or so.”

“I know [Australia Prime Minister] Anthony Albanese. He’s working strongly behind the scenes,” Lyons added. “He has said as much, but enough is enough.”

Lyons is sympathetic to Assange’s plight, making him one of the few correspondents in the world working for establishment news media who is willing to endorse calls to end the United States case against him.

But the key question is whether Lyons knows about some shift in the so-called “quiet diplomacy” between the US and Australia that may result in Assange being released from Belmarsh prison and returned home to Australia.

Karl Dickey writes:

But the U.S. government seems to disagree. They've been gunning for Assange since the Obama years, and now they've finally got him in their sights. They're trying to extradite him and throw him in prison for the rest of his life. And all because he dared to tell the truth.

This is an outrage, friends. The First Amendment is the cornerstone of our constitutional republic, and prosecuting Assange for doing his job as a journalist would set a dangerous precedent that could have far-reaching implications for press freedom. It's time for the U.S. government to drop the charges against Julian Assange and let him go free.

But before we dive too deep into the topic at hand, let's take a step back and get some context. Who is Julian Assange, exactly, and what is WikiLeaks all about?

Well, Julian Assange is an Australian journalist and computer programmer who founded WikiLeaks in 2006. From the beginning, the organization has been focused on publishing classified, secret, and otherwise restricted information from governments and other powerful institutions. WikiLeaks has made a name for itself by releasing everything from diplomatic cables to military reports to emails from high-ranking officials. They've even published leaked audio recordings and video footage. In short, WikiLeaks is all about shining a light on the things that powerful people don't want the public to see.

But it's not just about exposing wrongdoing. WikiLeaks has always maintained that its goal is to bring about transparency and accountability in government and other institutions. They believe that by publishing this information, they can help to create a more informed and engaged citizenry, which is essential for a healthy democracy.

So how does WikiLeaks go about getting this information? Well, they use a variety of methods. Sometimes they receive leaked documents directly from whistleblowers who are fed up with the status quo. Other times they use sophisticated hacking techniques to access restricted information. But no matter how they get the information, their goal is always the same: to publish it and let the public decide for themselves what to make of it.

That's the background, friends. Now let's get back to the main topic: the U.S. government's attempt to silence Julian Assange and his work with WikiLeaks. First and foremost, the revelations by Assange about our U.S. Government never put anyone in harm’s way and certainly did not kill any of our people; no, what really happened was our government was embarrassed by what Wikileaks revealed about what our government was doing with other government leaders around the globe (more on that later).

So, what's all this got to do with the First Amendment, you might be wondering? Well, everything, my friends. The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is all about protecting freedom of expression, and that includes freedom of the press. It's why we're able to sit here and have this little chat without the government coming down on us like a ton of bricks. And it's why Julian Assange should be protected, too.

The followng sites updated: