Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Let Julian go!

Julian Assange.

It's confusing what happened this week because you've got some outlets saying X and others saying Y.

When in doubt, let's go with WSWS.  This is from Mike Head's report:

A judge in London yesterday rejected an application by WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to withdraw a British arrest warrant issued against him in 2012. In a judgment full of obvious contradictions, she ruled that way even though a Swedish-initiated European arrest warrant—the trigger for the British warrant—was cancelled in May 2017.
Despite the trumped-up Swedish government “sexual assault” allegations against Assange being dropped long ago, he still faces immediate arrest if he steps outside the Ecuadorian embassy, where he has been confined for five and a half years in a tiny, windowless room, 15 feet by 13, without access to sunlight, fresh air or exercise.
Swedish authorities last year formally closed their investigation, effectively confirming that there was never any case to investigate in the first place. What was involved was a “dirty tricks” operation aimed at discrediting and paralysing WikiLeaks and putting Assange behind bars, or worse.
Nevertheless, senior district judge Emma Arbuthnot insisted that Assange must still be arrested by the British police, despite no charges of any kind ever being laid against him—not even for skipping bail itself. She claimed this was a “straightforward reading” of the UK Bail Act. Assange had not been charged with “absconding” from bail, but she ruled that he must be brought to court to possibly face such a charge.

After handing down her ruling, the judge agreed to adjourn the hearing until next Tuesday to consider “public interest” arguments submitted by Assange’s lawyers. Tweeting after the ruling, Assange said: “We only lost the first of four points. I was never charged. My asylum was over US extradition and Sweden dropped its so-called ‘preliminary investigation’ a year ago. We are arguing four points ... If we win any point the warrant falls.”

This really bothers me.  He should be let go.

And it bothers me because I thought I wrote a post this week saying, "Let him go."

I must have dreamed that.

If I didn't write it -- and I can't find here on the site -- it was a stress dream where I was frustrated over the different ways the media was reporting what happened.

But if there are no charges anymore in Sweden, then let him go.

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

Wednesday, February 7, 2018.  To parade or not to parade?

Yes, it's come to this in the US -- a deep squabble, a loud one, between a few on opposing sides about . . .

A parade?

This is the latest weapon in political discourse.

Yellow bird flying 
Get shot in the wing 
good year for hunters
And Christmas parties 
And I hate and I hate 
And I hate and I hate 
Elevator music 
The way we fight 
The way I'm left here silent 
Oh these little earthquakes 
Here we go again 
These little earthquakes 
Doesn't take much to rip us into pieces
"Little Earthquakes," written by Tori Amos, first appears on her LITTLE EARTHQUAKES album

Donald Trump's been proposing a parade for a year.

The parade would apparently be for the veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars.

This proposal does not please some.

Not even dumbass Bush did a military parade and he had no respect for the troops he sent to die for lies in Iraq.

Does that make sense?

Bully Boy Bush didn't do it so, by Oliver Willis' 'logic,' it shouldn't be done.

They don't hire the brightest or the best for David Brock's bordello, do they?

Military parades?

I'm personally opposed and wouldn't attend.  I think they're a glorification of destruction and death.

That is my personal opinion.

I'm fully aware that many disagree with that.

I'm also fully aware that the wars have not ended which remains my biggest objection to a parade.

That said, many see parades as important and if we're going to wait until these wars end, when will the parade be?  A hundred years from now?

IAVA was calling for a parade near the end of Barack Obama's first term as president.

I opposed that, and said so publicly, because a parade would allow many politicians to take the attitude of "Okay, we've checked that box off and are done."  Meaning?  There were important issues like the damage done by burnpits, the number of homeless veterans, the VA's inability to address the needs of veterans, veterans suicide rate and so much more.  A parade would mean that politicians would feel less pressure to address these issues.

Well it's all this time later and despite so many promises, all the problems still remain.

You have veterans who have served.  They feel they deserve some sort of acknowledgment for that.  You have friends and family who've lost loved ones who served in the wars, they need closure on that (even though there's still no closure on the war).

The suicide rate?

Could a parade drop it?

I have no idea.  It's possible that a parade might have prevented one suicide if it had taken place now.  It might have led to a connection at the parade for someone who was overwhelmed in civilian life, it might have led to a conversation for one veteran needing help.  I have no idea but if it can possibly help even one, I'm all for it.

The wars have not ended.  A point VoteVets and I can agree on.

Fact Check: Americans are still dying in Iraq almost 15 years after GWB’s speech under a “Mission Accomplished” banner aboard a US Aircraft Carrier.

I'm fully aware that in a nation where the corporate press can't be bothered with covering wars -- much cheaper and easier to obsess over Donald Trump's Tweets -- a parade will lead some to falsely believe that the wars have ended.  At this point, I say "So what?"  It's not like there's a peace movement since most Democrats won't even admit that Saint Barack never ended either war.

The Iraq War his the 15 year mark next month.  A lot of Americans have served.  It's time for a parade.


Trump’s interest in having a large-scale military parade now is likely to receive a mixed reception, especially among those who are concerned about nationalism, militarism or the president’s past praise for authoritarian leaders. The tradition stretches back centuries, but has been typically been tied to the conclusion of wars.

These wars may not be concluded in our lifetimes.

A number of people who have served and those who have lost loved ones who have served would benefit from a parade -- that outweighs everything else -- including my own personal opposition.

And they're actually owed the parade.  Barack stated now was not the time back during the 2011 drawdown and suggested it would come later in his first term or during his second term.  It did not happen.

The Iraq War continues.

Mohammed Ebraheem (IRAQI NEWS) reports, "Three army personnel were wounded Wednesday in a bomb explosion in Salahuddin’s multi-ethnic district of Tuz Khurmatu, security and medical sources were quoted as saying."  And REUTERS notes, "Iraqi forces on Wednesday launched an operation to consolidate control of an area near the Iran border to be used for the transit of Iraqi oil, the military said, highlighting concern about mountainous terrain where two armed groups are active. The operation to secure the Hamrin mountain range could start this week, they told Reuters. The area lies between the Kirkuk oil fields and the town of Khanaqin at the Iranian border."

Still attempting to protect the oil.  Less concerned about protecting the Iraqi people but hasn't that been the true story of the Iraq War from day one?

"This is part of a hospital as we see it today; it was completely flattened." UNICEF Iraq Representative Peter Hawkins. Urgent investment in healthcare infrastructure is needed to save lives of 's children. Read full press release here:


UNICEF notes:

MOSUL, 6 February, 2018 – As many as 750,000 children in Mosul and surrounding areas are struggling to access basic health services. While violence has subsided, less than 10 percent of health facilities in Ninewah governorate are functioning at full capacity. Those that are operational are stretched to breaking point.
Three years of intense violence have devastated health facilities in Iraq. Over 60 health facilities have repeatedly come under attack since the escalation of violence in 2014, severely disrupting access to basic health services for children and families.
“The state of Iraq’s healthcare system is alarming. For pregnant women, newborn babies, and children, preventable and treatable conditions can quickly escalate into a matter of life and death,” said Peter Hawkins, UNICEF Representative in Iraq, who has just completed a visit to Al Khansa hospital in Mosul, the largest in the city. “Medical facilities are strained beyond capacity and there are critical shortages of life-saving medicines.”
UNICEF has stepped up its support to primary healthcare facilities to help the Government of Iraq provide critical health services so that children and families affected by violence and displacement can resume their lives.
In Mosul, UNICEF has rehabilitated the pediatric and nutritional wards of two hospital centres, provided refrigerators to store vaccines for up to 250,000 children, and supported vaccination campaigns to immunize all children under five years old. Most health centres in the governorate have also re-started vaccination services for children.
“As people start to return to their homes, it is essential that basic services like health, education, and specialized support for children impacted by violence are available,” said Hawkins.
The Reconstruction Conference for Iraq hosted by the State of Kuwait next week is a unique opportunity for the Government of Iraq and the international community to put children at the heart of reconstruction, including through increased budget allocations to services for children.
“What I saw in the hospitals in Mosul is both heartbreaking and inspiring. The ingenuity and dedication of health workers who are committed to giving newborn children the best possible start in life in the most challenging of circumstances is remarkable. They too deserve support so that they can continue to save lives,” added Hawkins.

UNICEF is appealing for US$17 million to support rebuilding health facilities for children in Iraq in 2018.

As the myth takes hold that all US troops are leaving Iraq, it turns out that even the small number that might leave will likely be replaced with NATO troops.  REUTERS explains:

The United States is renewing pressure on its European NATO allies to establish a long-term train-and-advise mission in Iraq, diplomats said, reviving a divisive issue for an alliance wary after a decade in Afghanistan.
U.S. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis sent a letter to NATO headquarters in January calling for a formal NATO mission to Iraq with a semi-permanent or permanent command to train Iraqi forces, according to five senior NATO diplomats.

The following community sites -- plus BLACK AGENDA REPORT and PACIFICA EVENING NEWS -- updated:

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