Tuesday, June 18, 2019

The global attack on journalism

Publisher Julian Assange continues to be persecuted.  Speaking on KPFA's Flashpoints with host Dennis Bernstein, journalist John Pilger put the persecution of Julian into the larger framework of a persecution -- around the globe -- of journalism:

Bernstein: Good to speak with you again, John.  Thanks for talking with us. What’s happening — not only with Julian Assange — but the future of journalism is extremely disturbing. Now we have seen high-profile raids of journalists in Australia, France, and here in the U.S. in San Francisco, where police put a reporter in handcuffs, while they searched his house and seized his hard drive. We know Julian Assange is in maximum security and Chelsea Manning is also locked down. These are terrible times for the open flow of information.

Pilger: Well, it’s happening all over the world now and certainly all over that part of the world that regards itself as the enlightened. We are seeing the victimization of whistleblowers and journalists who tell the truth. There is a global war on journalism. More than that, there’s a global war on dissent. The speed with which these events has happened is quite remarkable since April 11th when Julian Assange was dragged out of the Ecuadorian embassy in London by police. Since then, police have moved against journalists in the United States, in Australia, spectacularly, in Latin America. It’s as if somebody has waved a green flag.

Credico: I was thinking by now that Assange would be out. Didn’t you think at this point that he would be out of the dire situation that he was in when I last saw him two years ago?

Pilger: I’m reluctant to be a futurist. I did think a political deal might have been done. Now looking back, that was naive in the extreme because the very opposite was planned for Julian Assange. There is an “Assange Precedent” at work all over the world. In Australia there was a raid on the public broadcaster, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, where the federal police marched in with warrants, one of which gave them the authority to delete, change and appropriate the material of journalists. It was one of the most blatant attacks on journalistic freedom and indeed on freedom of speech that I can remember. We saw even Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation attacked.
The political editor of one of Murdoch’s papers, The Sunday Telegraph, watched as her house was ransacked and her personal belongings, intimate belongings, rifled. She had reported on the extent of official spying on Australians by the Australian government. Something similar has happened in France where [President Emmanuel] Macron’s police have moved against journalists on the magazine, Disclose.
Assange predicted this while he was being smeared and abused. He was saying that the world was changing and that so-called liberal democracies were becoming autocracies. A democracy that sends its police against journalists and carries away their notes and hard drives simply because those journalists have revealed what governments have not wanted people to know is not a democracy.

What is being done to Julian is outrageous and it only becomes more so when you loop it into all the government attacks on journalism. 

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

Tuesday, June 18, 2019.  The propaganda gang is at work manufacturing a war on Iran, on the campaign for president we note Bernie Sanders and Kirsten Gillibrand, and more.

Starting in Iraq . . .


Link to headline article

Tom O'Conner (NEWSWEEK) types:

An Iraqi military base where U.S. and allied coalition troops are stationed has been targeted by a rocket attack just as the Pentagon released new photos purporting to show Iran was behind recent attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman.
The Iraqi military's official Security Media Cell reported Monday that "a short time ago, three Katyusha rockets fell on Camp Taji," a military installation also known as Camp Cooke, located about 17 miles north of Baghdad. The apparent attack came just two days after unknown assailants fired rockets at Balad air base, another Iraqi installation where U.S. military personnel were present.
No casualties were reported in the previous attack, though the Security Media Cell said more details would be forthcoming about the latest incident, which also came amid a spike in tensions between the U.S. and Iran, which has begun to scale back its commitments to a 2015 nuclear deal that the White House pulled out of completely on a year ago.

Well if NEWSWEEK says it, it must be true, right?  I mean the did the US government's bidding and destroyed Jean Seberg and then pinned it on a Los Angeles gossip columnist.  Why would they ever lie, right?  When would they ever tell the truth is more like it.

Here's one lie they might want to explain -- it's not an Iraqi base for the US only.


 Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has confirmed reports of rocket attacks in the vicinity of Camp Taji in Iraq.
This is the camp where 100 New Zealand troops are stationed.

"I'm told that none have come over and into the perimeter of the camp and therefore there have been no New Zealand casualties."

And it's not just New Zealand.

Three rockets have hit a military camp in Iraq where 300 Australian troops are stationed.

NEWSWEEK left that out.  Imagine that, the rag that destroyed Jean Seberg, that wrote that she was carrying another man's child but living with her husband (for fear of lawsuit, you didn't print that), that falsely claimed to have interviewed her for the piece, a piece of s**t rag like that would lie?  And someone inform THE JERUSALEM POST (a key plant for the US government when they want to work some propaganda on US audiences) that Camp Taji is not a "US military base."

At least STARS AND STRIPES gets it right.  Here's their opening paragraph, "Rockets that landed inside the perimeter of Camp Taji in Iraq on Monday caused no casualties among coalition or partner forces, the U.S.-led Operation Inherent Resolve said Tuesday."

Rocket attacks on bases have taken place repeatedly throughout the ongoing Iraq War.  From last Saturday night:

The Iraq War doesn't stop just because US cameras focus elsewhere.  PA reports a small fire on Balad Air Base in Iraq -- where US 'trainers' are present -- resulted frrom a mortar attack.  Qassim Abdul-Zhara (AP) notes there were no deaths and no one was injured and that the attack took place "shortly after midnight Friday." 

XINHUA notes, "A total of 16 Islamic State (IS) militants were killed on Monday in an airstrike by the U.S.-led coalition aircraft in Iraq's northern province of Nineveh, the Iraqi military said."  First, stating that Islamic State militants were killed does not mean they were.  Most of these attacks result in the deaths of civilians.  Second, if anyone's trying to attack US forces in Iraq currently, the most likely suspects would be ISIS.  Third, ISIS and the government of Iran are opponents.

Back in May, there was an attack on the Green Zone.  And the US media response was to yap-yap that this was Iran and to try to beat the drums for another war.  When a group stepped forward claiming that they had staged the attack, the same media was not interested.  One of the few to report on the group's claim was Alex McDonald (MIDDLE EAST EYE):

A previously unknown armed group has claimed responsibility for a Sunday rocket attack on Baghdad's Green Zone, claiming the attack was retaliation for US President Donald Trump pardoning a soldier over the 2009 killing of an Iraqi detainee.
In a statement released to a number of Iraqi news outlets, a group calling itself the Operations of Martyr Ali Mansour said it had fired the Katyusha rocket into the fortified area, which houses the US embassy.
They cited as a cause Trump's pardoning of Michael Behenna, a former United States first lieutenant who was convicted of murdering an Iraqi prisoner, Ali Mansour Mohammad al-Jabouri, in 2008.
The group denied that it had a connection to Iran or Iran-backed groups in Iraq, while acknowledging that such a connection had been suggested.
"Our appearance is because of Trump's decision, and we have no connection to any internal, external or supporting side," said the group, according to Iraqi newspaper Al-Mada.

The group claimed to have carried out several other operations in the past, including targeting US forces with Katyusha rockets at Camp Taji, north of Baghdad, on 30 April.

As NEWSWEEK and others do the promotional push for another war, few are buying it.

Replying to 
The American people are sick of US wars that WE KNOW are being pushed by Bolton and Pompeo based on LIES. There were no WMD in Iraq. Venezuela is NO THREAT to the US. It is 100% clear to the American public that these wars have nothing to do with the US "defending" itself.

Replying to   and 
We watched that movie before While US navy there nobody attacks those ships Iran is not that stupid, this is fake attack Make a reason to war with Iran Same as Saddam's chemical weapons Trump wants to control Oil countries "Venezuela, Iraq, now Iran" rest is scenario

Richard Gonzales (NPR) notes:

The Defense Department announced it is deploying 1,000 more U.S. troops to the Middle East "for defensive purposes" amid growing tensions with Iran.
Acting U.S. Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan said Monday in a statement that the action, meant to address air, naval, and ground-based threats, comes after "a request from the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) for additional forces."

The Trump administration has blamed Iran for a series of attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman.

THE IRISH TIMES adds, "Underscoring the seriousness of the escalating crisis, the White House on Monday accused Iran of engaging in 'nuclear blackmail' after Tehran said it would soon breach part of the nuclear deal the Obama administration – along with the UK, France, Germany, Russia and China – signed with the Islamic Republic. Mr Trump withdrew from the deal a year ago, but the Europeans had been trying to ensure that Iran remained in compliance with the nuclear pact."

Can someone explain that last part?

If I divorce you and we both move on to others, don't come at me with, "You're breaking your marriage vows!"  In other words, the contract was no more once Donald withdrew from it.  This should not be confusing.  When one party withdraws from an agreement, that's the end of the agreement -- unless the party being left decides to sue.

Let's note this Tweet from Senator Bernie Sanders:

The Gulf of Oman incident must not be used as a pretext for war with Iran. War would be an unmitigated disaster for the United States, Iran, the region, and the world. A unilateral U.S. attack on Iran would be illegal and unconstitutional.

An angry e-mail to the public account notes that Tweet and says THIRD should have included it in "Editorial: No to War on Iran."  Should they have?

First, note my use of "they."  I didn't help write that editorial.  I was one of the reasons Jim included in his note to the readers that there was no piece on Julian Assange.  I do not believe Julian should be persecuted.  I also don't believe that after working hours and hours on the weekend, we should have to come back on a Monday or a Tuesday or a Wednesday night to finish the edition.  I don't want to spend that kind of time.  So if there's not a Julian article after we've worked forever, too bad.

Second, as I read the editorial, they are talking about "candidates" for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination.  Yes, Bernie is a candidate.  But that Tweets is not from his campaign Twitter feed, it's from his US Senator Twitter feed.  They are clear that they are looking at the campaign Twitter feeds.  If Bernie's posting on his Senator account, good.  But if he's campaigning and he believes in what he's saying, he needs to carry it over to his campaign Twitter feed.

The angry e-mailer also feels that "You have done nothing to promote Bernie!"

I didn't realize it was my job to promote Bernie.  Because it's not.  He has been mentioned in snapshots.  I will make an effort to include the female candidates when possible.  But even they don't get as much attention here as I wish they did.

I haven't decided who I will support in the primaries.  US House Rep Tulsi Gabbard's campaign comes closest to addressing the issues that matter to me.  But I haven't endorsed her.  I could easily and gladly vote for the following if they got the nomination: Tulsi, Bernie Sanders, Marianne Williamson, Kirsten Gillibrand, Beto O'Rourke and Mike Gravel.  I could vote for a few others running without holding my nose.  But I haven't decided who to support and don't know that I need to.

If, for example, Bernie's your candidate of choice, you probably don't want me supporting him.  With the exception of John Kerry in 2004, no one I supported in the primary ever got the nomination.  Bill Clinton beat Jerry, for example.    Mondale wasn't my choice in the 1984 primary.  Over and over, my choice never gets the nomination.  I'll slide the e-mail over to Jim who -- I'm sure -- will respond to it.  (And you can e-mail THIRD via the public account here, we have more people going through the e-mails.  But, again, I had no part in that editorial.)

Here are some Tweets from Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, one of six women running for the nomination.

  • At the end of the day, the question is: Do we value women? And for me, there will always be only one answer. If you agree, join me:
    Don't get me wrong, I love being on the campaign trail. But there's no place like home with Maple.
    A four-month-old. This baby, and this family, will suffer from this trauma—caused entirely by this administration—for the rest of their lives. We can't become numb to this.
    We must honor the nine people murdered at Emanuel AME four years ago today with action, not just words. We need to reject white supremacy, wherever we see it, and end gun violence—starting with closing the Charleston loophole.
    Our democracy is built on the principle of one person, one vote. Racial gerrymandering dilutes the voting power of people of color. This is good news from the Supreme Court. Now let's focus on redistricting reform to ensure voting rights.
    Thank you, Kristyn—your endorsement means the world to me. So proud to have you on our team in New Hampshire!
    Anyone who questions whether women can determine this election wasn't paying attention in 2018, and they certainly aren't seeing how fired up women are right now. Thank you for three empowering, inspiring days, !
    When I was little, I'd help my grandmother volunteer for Democrats. She was so powerful—taking action to make a difference. I wanted to be JUST like her. She showed me that women's voices matter. That's why I entered public service, and it's why I'm running for president.

    The following sites updated:

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