Thursday, March 29, 2018


Julian Assange is under attack and has been.  But now he’s also having his contact with the outside world restricted. 
17 hours ago
17 hours ago
18 hours ago

Ecuador’s government has cut off all WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange’s communications and contact from inside its London embassy, on the grounds that he posted a tweet condemning the arrest of former Catalonian regional president Carles Puigdemont.
WikiLeaks yesterday confirmed: “WikiLeaks editor @julianassange has been gagged and isolated by order of Ecuador’s new president @Lenin Moreno. He cannot tweet, speak to the press, receive visitors or make telephone calls.”
The Editorial Board of the World Socialist Web Site denounces the new restrictions on Julian Assange’s ability to communicate with his innumerable supporters throughout the world.
Ecuador’s move, announced on Tuesday, came after Assange tweeted on Monday challenging Britain’s accusation that Russia was responsible for the alleged nerve agent poisoning of former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in the English city of Salisbury earlier this month.
The Ecuadorian decision is a dire threat to Assange. He faces total isolation as a virtual prisoner in the tiny embassy and the increased danger of being extradited to be put on trial in the United States for espionage and treason, crimes carrying potential death penalties.

The Ecuadorean government has cut off Julian Assange’s internet access in the Ecuadorean Embassy of London, accusing Assange of breaking an agreement not to issue statements that might interfere in the politics of other countries. The suspension of his internet came after Assange challenged Britain’s accusation that Russia was responsible for the poisoning of a Russian spy and his daughter earlier this month. In a statement, the Ecuadorean Embassy said Assange’s social media statements “put at risk the good relations Ecuador maintains with the United Kingdom, with the other states of the European Union, and with other nations.”

AMY GOODMAN: Just a small excerpt from the “Collateral Murder” video, as it was so called, released by WikiLeaks in 2010, that showed this group of people killed—I believe it was 12 in all—two of them from Reuters. Namir Noor-Eldeen was an up-and-coming videographer, 22 years old. His driver, Saeed Chmagh, was a father of four. Reuters attempted to get this video for several years. It was only, Chelsea, when you had this released that they were able to see what happened to their staff.
CHELSEA MANNING: Yeah. The video stands on its own. It explains an enormous amount of not just this moment, but of what the reality of warfare looks like. And, I mean, I’m going to talk about this more, in much greater detail, in my book. But it’s clear in this video. It doesn’t need an explanation. You just have to watch it.
AMY GOODMAN: And what was it like for you the day—do you remember the day you first saw this video? Where were you sitting?
CHELSEA MANNING: I mean, it was among hundreds of other similar ones. It’s just that there’s more—there was more information about the aftermath of this incident because there was an investigation following it. But—
AMY GOODMAN: Because the Reuters journalists were killed?
CHELSEA MANNING: I mean—yeah. So, apart from that, it’s just routine—it’s just a routine incident. Just another day.
JUAN GONZรLEZ: And was part of your decision to try to get this out that there were so many of these—I mean, this is a publicized incident, but there were so many others that never got any kind of publicity outside of Iraq at all, if even in Iraq. Part of that, your sense that this needed to get out to the world?
CHELSEA MANNING: Right. And I’m going to talk more about that in my book, but yeah. I would say that the video stands on its own. And, you know, I can try and explain it, but—and, yeah, this is not—this is not unusual. This is not a freak incident. This is what war is, in a nutshell.

She’s running for the US Senate. 

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

Thursday, March 29, 2018.  The feel good nonsense or the reality of death and destruction?

RT reports:

The US-led coalition fighting Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) on Wednesday admitted to killing at least 855 civilians in airstrikes in Iraq and Syria in the past four years. “To date, based on information available, CJTF-OIR assesses at least 855 civilians have been unintentionally killed by coalition strikes since the start of Operation Inherent Resolve,” the US Central Command said in its monthly civilian casualty report. The coalition conducted a total of 29,225 strikes between August 2014 and the end of February 2018, and during this period the total number of reports of possible civilian casualties was 2,135. The total number of credible reports of civilian casualties during this time period was 224, according to the statement. It said that 522 reports are still open.

That's what they are now admitting to.  You can be sure the actual count of civilians killed in airstrikes is much higher.

All across the nation, people are protesting against "violence," and yet not one demonstration about the government's violence in , , , , , . Millions have died since 2003 and it doesn't even register on the outrage meter.

Not that I think the gun violence march in America was irrelevant but the children of Iraq, Syria, and Palestine would like to be safe in school and at home. Where are the marches for these children? Why is the world so silent when it comes to them?

Yes, we're back to the issue of does violence only matter when effects White kids in the US?  Do the lives of Iraqis -- including Iraqi children -- not matter at all?

Ajamu Baraka (BLACK AGENDA REPORT) observes:

So, it was a good week for both bourgeois parties. The Democrats didn’t get called out for their collaboration with Trump and the Republicans on the budget. The Trump folks have more ammunition to use to mobilize their supporters in opposition to what they will frame as efforts to violate the constitution and take away their guns and give more power to a repressive government. Even the intelligence agencies benefited from the week’s events with attention being shifted away from the FBI scandal that is threatening to blow the cover off of official criminal activity to undermine the electoral process, not by the Russians, but unelected forces in the U.S. state.
But for those of us from the colonized Black and Brown zones of non-being, we can never allow ourselves to be distracted by the diversionary and accommodationist politics of the latest carefully crafted spectacle, especially one that purports to be advancing a superior moral politics.
We must always remind ourselves that some can march with the confidence that “their” government might be trusted with regulating weapons and protecting their lives but that the protection of our fundamental human rights rest with our ability to defend our collective rights, and no one else.
Through our painful lived experiences, we understand and must live by the insight provided by our dear brother, James Baldwin, who counseled us that we must be vigilant when our oppressors speak of morality and the sanctity of life:
“The “civilized” have created the wretched, quite coldly and deliberately, and do not intend to change the status quo; are responsible for their slaughter and enslavement; rain down bombs on defenseless children whenever and wherever they decide that their “vital interests” are menaced, and think nothing of torturing a man to death; these people are not to be taken seriously when they speak of the “sanctity” of human life, or the conscience of civilized world.”
Distraction can be deadly, let’s us get and stay woke.
Saturday's look-at-me-look-at-me tantrum accomplished nothing and was never going to accomplish anything while rubbing elbows with the likes of Senator Dianne Feinstein and others.  It was an effort to release some steam from the system, a moment to distract from reality.  When elements of Congress and the press stroke themselves to stroke the event, you know it was meaningless.  As Glen Ford (BAR) points out:

There is “movement” afoot in the U.S., but it does not “arc towards justice.” Ever since Trump’s electoral victory, the collective national consciousness has been smothered in a maddening fog of manic, industrial-scale propaganda, spewed non-stop by corporate communications conglomerates working hand-in-glove with the most aggressive elements of the surveillance-intelligence “community” and the bi-partisan War Party. We are enveloped in a toxic miasma of Russia-hate that, by sheer weight and repetition, has infested every aspect of American political thought, distorting and subverting even the most progressive-minded “movements” struggling to find a way towards human dignity under late stage capitalism in a profoundly racist country. Voices for peace and social justice are asphyxiated in the pestilential plume -- unless they find their own air.
Damn right, there is a conspiracy -- possibly the loudest one in history! -- megaphoned by a billionaire-owned media screaming “War, War, War” day and night, fouling the public mind with pure reactionary malice. The duopoly contest has devolved into a dance of death between Donald Trump’s raw white supremacist nationalism and Democratic Party corporate imperial warmongering. Only fools claim there is space for progressive maneuver in the interstices between such forces.

We've been "Down So Long" Jewel notes but doing for-show and feel-good fauxtests won't change a thing ("Down So Long" first appears on Jewel's SPIRIT).

The realities of faux 'protest' and real protest were addressed when Ann Garrison interviewed Riva Enteen (BAR):

AG: Some March for Our Lives supporters are likely to get defensive and ask whether you're refusing to support their cause. What would you say to them?

RE: Of course we support the cause of protecting lives, but there is an exceptionalism to believing it only applies to American lives and especially white lives. In a promotional video that Democracy Now played repeatedly during their broadcast of the Washington, DC March for Our Lives, former US soldiers said that they’d learned how to put assault rifles to good purpose in US wars, but didn’t want them aimed at US citizens.
Isn’t it time to stop aiming those guns—and our missiles, fighter jets, and drones—at the rest of the world? My mother was a member of Women Strike for Peace, founded in 1961 with the slogan “Stop the Arms Race, Not the Human Race,” and that has never been more true.
Women, the givers of life, are confronting the Pentagon in Washington, DC, October 20-21. We hope that all peace-loving people will consider this a chance to make a stand for peace. There will be local antiwar actions springing up, as they did during Occupy, so keep your ear to the ground, and watch for updates on our websiteand our Facebook page .
The action in DC is the Women's March on the Pentagon.  This is the event Cindy Sheehan is one of the organizers of and that we've been noting here:

An Open Invitation:
Women's March on the Pentagon

April 5th in Washington DC

April 9th in Boston  

April 12th in Long Island




 contact Cindy Sheehan for

more info, to organize a meeting/action
in your area or ??


 People are dying.  Don't expect kids raised on media fawning to tell you that.  Certainly don't expect the corporate media to tell you that.  All the corporate media does is lie.

Iraq has defeated IS and avoided the wave of Shia-on-Sunni violence that many thought would follow

Things are great in Iraq!

If you forget the fact that people are protesting in the streets because there are so few jobs.  Or that the medical situation in Iraq is actually worse now than at any point in the history of this wave of the Iraq War.  The brain drain got a big kick in the last six months but no one bothers to notice that -- the flight of needed professional from Iraq.  There are enough beds for the orphans but Iraq did open a cat hotel this year so I guess that's the 'great' that THE ECONOMIST sees taking place.

B-b-b-but ISIS is defeated!  Except they are not.  ANADOLU AGENCY reports that yesterday saw 5 Iraqi soldiers killed when ISIS ambushed them at "a fake checkpoint on the road linking Mosul and the Tal Afar district."

But the corporate press can't stop their waves of Operation Happy Talk.  It's been going on for years now and it's never turned out to be true.  Hayder al-ABadi, for example, has promised to get the trains running.  When I saw that a few days ago, I rolled my eyes as I remembered when we were sold that lie -- in THE NEW YORK TIMES, among other places.  The trains were working, running and doing great!  It took Deborah Haynes (TIMES OF LONDON) to expose that as a lie.  But here we are, about twelve years later and they're trying to re-sell that failed talking point.

The following community sites updated:

  • Tuesday, March 27, 2018


    Businesses that make money by collecting and selling detailed records of private lives were once plainly described as "surveillance companies." Their rebranding as "social media" is the most successful deception since the Department of War became the Department of Defense.

    Exactly.  Facebook is not your friend.  Facebook is not trying to help you.

    Facebook is trying to get as much raw data on you as possible because they make money by selling it.

    There's nothing great or wonderful about it.

    Mark Zuckerberg has made a lot of money off of people.  They do his work by posting things on Facebook.  They give him resources to sell off via their 'friends' and other biographical details.  Zuckerberg has always spoken rudely of the people who fall for his con.

    Like here:

    “Julian Assange reminds people of the time Mark Zuckerberg called Facebook users ‘Dumb fucks’ because they trusted him with their private information.”

    Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz and  Ann of Ann's Mega Dub are covering the Facebook story so be sure to check their sites.

    Someone asked in an e-mail my thoughts on David Hogg?

    As an open lesbian, I kind of cringe when I see him because all I can think is, "Kick down that closet door, Mary!"

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

    Tuesday, March 27, 2018.  Does violence in Iraq not matter?

    ALSUMARIA reports that a bombing east of Baghdad left two people injured.  At ANTIWAR.COM, Margaret Griffis counts 35 dead in Monday's violence.  SHIA WAVES notes one incident of violence on Monday.

    Saturday's violence resulted in at least 21 deaths.  The violence receives little coverage in the US media these days.  The silence certainly helps the US government sell the lie that the war is over and that Iraq has "turned a corner" -- that mythical turned corner claim is trotted out every few years.  It's never been true so far but they keep trying.  MSNBC features Rachel Maddow who will never explore violence in Iraq or note dead Iraqis.  She's got so much to talk about -- none of it important.  We avoided Keith Olbermann here because his reputation was well known (sexist and piggish).  During his rise on MSNBC, you won't find me praising him here.  But I will note now that he was willing to discuss Iraqi deaths and the effects on the Iraqi people.  Rachel won't.  But she was for the Iraq War before it started.  Then came AIR AMERICA RADIO and, on UNFILTERED, she wouldn't book veterans who were against the war.  She would repeatedly say that there was no point in talking about the US leaving Iraq because they were there now.  That's the sort of voice that gets on MSNBC.  (Also remember, she put on a man -- not once but twice -- known to have beaten his wife and praised and coddled the man -- known to have beaten his wife that year.  That's the sort of 'caring' and 'social minded' talk show host Rachel is.)

    The faces on camera for MSNBC have shuffled but the people behind the scenes have not and MSNBC existed to sell the war.  So much so that they fired Phil Donahue on the eve of the Iraq War because they couldn't have anyone on air who might prompt actual thought.  When you grasp that, you grasp the current on air 'talent' at MSNBC and how they serve a purpose: Diversion.  They exist to distract you from real problems.  They exist to ensure that you never take on the government, you only take on your fellow citizens.  They distract from reality.

    Rachel had Colin Powell on her show, you may remember.  And fawned all over him.  Didn't make him uncomfortable about his lies to the United Nations about Iraq.  Because that's not why she's on television.  She's there -- like a good whore -- to provide a distraction that lets you safely vent anger at safe targets.  She's a fake.  A radio dee jay mistaken as a journalist.  She spent weeks on her self-titled AIR AMERICA RADIO SHOW lying to her listeners as she defended the TIME magazine writer who wrote the lurid prose piece on Ann Coulter.  Critics were outraged by that piece -- rightly -- but Rachel defended it.  She forgot to tell you that she was besties with the writers -- a gay man who referred to her as "my angel."  She forgot to tell you that, so we had to.  That's how it works.  You'll never get the truth from her.

    UNFILTERED listeners learned that the last month of the show.  Lizz Winstead walked off the show when they learned it was the last month and that they would be replaced by Jerry Springer.  Rachel didn't walk.  Like a good whore, she showed and she lied.  For a month, she lied that Lizz hadn't quit -- the show's official message board was enraged that Lizz wasn't there -- she lied and insisted that Lizz was just home sick.  That's how she lies to her audience.  And the fact that she did that not only got her a solo show on AIR AMERICA RADIO, it ended up getting her a slot on MSNBC.

    That's who some people wrongly put their trust in.  A spoiled, baby ass who got her own parents to be sock puppets on the AIR AMERICA RADIO message boards.  How pathetic.

    But people think she's smart -- only when it comes to whoring -- and that she's honest.

    She's just another person pocketing millions for deliberately distracting the American people.

    Rachel Maddow exists to distract.

    She doesn't inform.  She doesn't shine a light.

    The US has been at war with Iraq for fifteen years, had troops stationed in Iraq for fifteen years.  That's not a story for Rachel.  When she tried to make it one, it was so full of lies that even Randi Rhodes mocked her for her refusal to be honest.

    And, getting back to yesterday's snapshot, a few e-mails came in saying "I can only follow so much, I can't go all over to pick up news reports I don't know about."

    Alice Walker, in 2006, addressed what we can do.  That interview is collected in THE WORLD HAS CHANGED: CONVERSATIONS WITH ALICE WALKER (pages 308 - 309):

    Many people live with two sides of themselves out of touch with each other.  They complain about paying their taxes but don't complain about what their taxes actually buy, like cluster bombs.  A million of these bombs, originally supplied by the US government, were left in Lebanon.  Children will come and pick them up, and they will blow up in their faces.  Then you have all these maimed and dying children.  But since your right hand, which wrote the check for the taxes, has learned not to care about the left hand, which has actually sent this off to the IRS and the government and the military, you pretend you are innocent.  Well, you're not.  That's what I mean.
    Of course, I know how difficult it can be to become fully aware and bear responsibility, and even though I figure there's very little I can do to actually stop the war, I feel like I can make every effort to be aware.  Not to be aware is very soul shredding.  People might say, "I didn't know they were making tanks big enough to level people's houses."  Well, they should know that.  You may not be able to dismantle the tank, or even stop paying for the tank, but you can know that's what is happening.

    Our government is at war on Iraq.

    Black Alliance for Peace noted last week:

    Monday marked the 15th anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq. “Humanitarian intervention” to depose a “dictator” was the excuse. Now Iraq—home to a major civilization—is littered with military waste that has caused birth defects in Iraqi infants and has been a breeding ground for armed, right-wing Islamic groups. The bill for re-constructing Iraq is estimated at $100 billion. The United States says it will not pay a cent. Keeping Iraq in ruins allows the United States to control the oil Iraq produces and keep that crucial resource out of the hands of China and Russia, both of which have been demonized by the ruling class with the help of the Western press.

    If you're not getting how bad the media is, check this out from a WASHINGTON POST journalist:

    Total U.S. military casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan: 6,950
    Number of U.S. children killed by gun violence in past five years: 6,984

    Apparently, we have to review this again.  US service members killed in Iraq are not the same as children killed in the US.  US service members are trained in combat, are given firearms, are sent to another country to engage in war.

    Ingram, like the idiot we noted yesterday, ignores the true comparison: Iraqi civilians.

    Nicholas J.S. Davis (NEW MINT PRESS) notes the death toll in Iraq is easily 2.38 million killed since the start of the 2003 US-led invasion.

    It was bad enough with the idiot yesterday.  Why would a journalist like Ingram do it?  Because it's a talking point -- we've received it in the public e-mails.  It's part of astrotruf.  And that a reporter would do this?  That goes to how little Iraqi lives are valued.

    Their 'crime' is living in Iraq.

    For that, they are killed and injured.

    It takes a lot of xenophobia to ignore the Iraqi people but, fortunately, the corporate media is full of xenophobes.

    Outside the corporate media, most get it.

    Not that I think the gun violence march in America was irrelevant but the children of Iraq, Syria, and Palestine would like to be safe
    in school and at home.
    Where are the marches for these children? Why is the world so silent when it comes to them?

    1) Violence. When you see some poor father in Iraq crying, carrying his dead child in his arms, and you call it "collateral damage"? Well:

    2) Children are killed by US military violence. Their lives are EQUAL to the lives of American children. Americans are not worth more, ok?!

    3) When violence is practiced by a society anywhere, it will manifest within that society in ways the society did not anticipate.

    4) When I was in grade school in 1970s, a sign in classroom said:
    "Children learn what they live"
    Somewhere we've lost sight of that.

    5) Because our govt uses violence against innocent people and justifies it as "necessary", this same phenomenon manifests within society.

    6) You cannot hope to end violence by banning a certain gun without banning the use of the same gun against kids in other countries.

    7) Violence is violence in America, Iraq, Syria, and Yemen. It's wrong and evil in all the world. All children deserve safety, not just here

    8) So let's have an end to drawing some line that says "This gun can be used to kill kids over there but not here." Or excusing govt murder.

    9) The govt has murdered millions for reasons they themselves cannot fully explain. So let's have an end to THAT. Murder is murder.

    10) Americans are too damn nearsighted on this. We've been killing people all over the planet for decades but don't like it done here.

    11) When you say human life is sacred EVERYWHERE then it will permeate society here, too. But you've got to practice it! ALL LIFE IS SACRED!

    As Nick Pemberton (COUNTERPUNCH) observes:

    Violence in Iraq is safer for the ruling class and the middle class here in America. Barack Obama would never really drop a drone on a Jonas Brother, even if he makes jokes about it. Segregated neighborhoods operate in the same way. As long as the police continue to occupy them we assume we are safe from any stray bullets.

    The contradictory media coverage goes something like this: When kids die in the United States it is senseless. When kids die in Iraq it is necessary. When kids die in the United States they have lost a future. When kids die in Iraq they have lost a present. When kids die in the United States their parents are heartbroken. When kids die in Iraq their parents are terrorists. When kids die in the United States it is tragic. When kids die in Iraq it is just another day.

    [. . .]
    The hysteria around the death of rich white children is a different sort of reaction than the occasional pity we feel for Iraqi children. 

    The following community sites -- plus Jody Watley, PACIFICA EVENING NEWS, DISSIDENT VOICE and BLACK AGENDA REPORT -- updated: