Tuesday, September 29, 2020

The latest on Julian



Isaiah's THE WORLD TODAY JUST NUTS "The Set Up" went up tonight and he mentions it in "Roundtable" that we did Sunday for Third.


Oscar Grenfell (WSWS) reports on a journalist who knows Julian Assange and supports him:


In comments to the World Socialist Web Site this week, well-known Australian journalist Mary Kostakidis condemned the abuses being perpetrated against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and stated that he had only been able to survive years of arbitrary detention because of his “conviction that truth should prevail.”

Kostakidis has been viewing the resumed British court hearings for Assange’s extradition to the US each day, and has been live-tweeting about the proceedings.

The journalist has a large public following, as a result of her outspoken defence of civil liberties. Kostakidis was the main presenter for the national television program “SBS World News” for over two decades, until 2007.

She has defended Assange since the US persecution of the WikiLeaks publisher, over his exposure of American war crimes, human rights abuses and global diplomatic conspiracies, began.

In 2011, Kostakidis presented Assange with the Sydney Peace Foundation’s Gold Medal for peace with justice.


In her remarks at London’s Frontline Club, Kostakidis thanked Assange for his “heroic courage” in exposing the truth to the public and described WikiLeaks as an “ingenious website that has shifted the power balance between citizen and the state by exposing what governments really get up to in our name.” Amid a barrage of media lies and slanders directed against Assange, Kostakidis bluntly stated the real issue: “The US wants to shut down WikiLeaks and criminalise the activity of this publisher.”

Kostakidis would meet with Assange after he sought asylum in Ecuador’s London embassy in 2012. She also visited the WikiLeaks publisher in Britain’s maximum-security Belmarsh Prison last year.

An account she published online was headlined: “Belmarsh High Security prison is surrounded by greenery.” But Kostakidis noted, “Nothing is green inside—a small internal courtyard is barren and desolate, the sky framed by razor wire. An astonishing place to hold a journalist, editor and publisher.”


 That's the introduction to Grenfell's interview with Kostakidis.  Here's Joe Lauria (Consortium News) reporting on Monday's events in court.




And Thomas Scripps (WSWS) reports:


In Julian Assange’s extradition hearing yesterday, witnesses established the hellish prison conditions in which the WikiLeaks founder would be held if sent to the United States.

The court heard from Yancey Ellis, a defence attorney in Virginia with several years’ experience as a public defender, and Joel Sickler, who has worked in the US in the field of sentencing and prisoner advocacy for four decades.

Ellis testified to conditions in the Alexandria Detention Centre (ADC) based on his experience visiting the facility and speaking with clients held there. The defence say Assange will be detained in the ADC prior to a trial in the US and the prosecution accept this is “likely.”

Both Sickler and Ellis believe Assange would be held in the administrative segregation unit (or X block) of the jail. They described the cells in this unit as “very small”, roughly “eight by ten [foot]” or “the size of a parking space”. Ellis explained that a cell includes a “shelf with a mat on top that is the sleeping space… a small metal toilet and sink and not much else.”

Inmates in administrative segregation are cut off from contact with other prisoners, spending at least “22 hours in the cell,” according to Ellis. “The schedule is about two hours outside of the cell on a daily basis and I say about two hours because oftentimes that second hour, to fit with the jail’s schedule, can be at very odd hours… in the middle of the night” meaning prisoners decline to take it. These breaks are taken alone, “never… with another inmate.” “You’re twiddling your thumbs,” said Sickler, “You’ll have access to reading material but otherwise your whole world is the four corners of that room.”

Communicating with other inmates in nearby cells is impossible. Ellis described trying to conduct conversations with his clients through the steel doors and said, “you almost have to scream at the top of your lungs,” even when standing several inches away. US prosecutor Gordon Kromberg, who will not be cross-examined, states in his written evidence to the hearing that prisoners in the ADC X block can talk to each other through the doors and windows. Ellis said this claim sounded “almost like they’ve never tried it or they’re not familiar with the setting in which the X block is located.”

In Ellis’s view, this regime would “qualify as solitary confinement” even aside from the imposition of special administrative measures (SAMs) on Assange, which he said would “impose conditions on top of what I’m already speaking to.”



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


 Monday, September 28, 2020.  Joe Biden gets caught in another lie while the US government talks shutting down the Baghdad-based embassy.

Is Joe Biden making a mistake in not campaigning?  Yes, he is.  The lie has been that he's doing this due to the Coronavirus.  But if that were true, if Joe were trying to set a good example, wouldn't his wife be off the campaign trail?  

For example:

Jill's out campaigning.  Why isn't Joe?

The idiot on the Democratic Party side needs to be called out.  Instead, she gets to spew and spew.  RISING really doesn't do a good job of holding people accountable.

Joe Biden does not have firm support and poor debate performances can send 'supporters' fleeing.  Liz Peek (FOX NEWS) notes:

Can the Democrat candidate survive 90 minutes of an unscripted, fast-paced presidential debate without claiming to have been in the Senate for 180 years or putting the COVID-19 death toll at 200 million Americans, goofs he has made in recent days? Can he endure the challenges sure to come from President Trump without wandering off into the ether?

That is the question, the elephant in the room.

More problems for Joe?  He can't stop lying.  Lee Brown (NEW YORK POST) reports:

Delaware State University has denied that Joe Biden has ever been a student there — after the presidential candidate’s claim that he “got started” at the historically black college.

The 77-year-old Democrat made his claim while praising historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) during a town hall event last October before the South Carolina Democratic primary, video shows.

“I got started out of a HBCU, Delaware State,” he told pupils at Wilson High School in Florence, which was founded in 1866 by the Freedmen’s Bureau for Black children seeking an education.

Hmm.  Remember when Anita Dunham and Joe Biden tried to weaponize a transcript to discredit a woman who was accusing Joe of assault?  Anthony Zenkus Tweets:

I am a recognized expert in gender-violence and trauma. I have trained over 1,000 judges in NY State. I have been a director at two rape crisis centers. I have known hundreds of victims throughout my career. I have heard Tara Reade. I know Tara Reade. And #IBelieveTaraReade.

Tara is highly credible.  I remember when St. Beau Biden shut down the man stating he had sex with Barack Obama -- Saint Beau used his position as an AG.  I have no idea whether or not the man was telling the truth.   But one man went public with claims and a Democratic AG stepped forward when the press was finally interested -- stepped forward and snuffed interest.  Remind you of supposed fallout that was going to come from Tara's previous court testimonies?  Interesting how that story went no where after it was used to attack Tara's reputation.  It's a pattern.  We should all grasp that it's a pattern.

Berkley Brannon announced, as Tara's story was gaining traction, that he was launching an investigation into her credentials.  That was May.  It's four months later.  How long does it take to investigate a resume?  It was a nice distraction, an easy way to get an already reluctant press to walk away from a story they never wanted to cover.

Turning to Iraq, Sunday Isabel Coles and Michael R. Gordon (WALL ST. JOURNAL) broke the news regarding a line in the sand -- or threat -- the US government was drawing/making in Iraq, "The Trump administration has warned Iraq it is preparing to shut down its embassy in Baghdad unless the Iraqi government stops a spate of rocket attacks by Shiite militias against U.S. interests, Iraqi and U.S. officials said Sunday, in a fresh crisis in relations between the two allies." Farhad Alaaldin (RUDAW) explains, "Baghdad’s Green Zone, which includes the American embassy, was subjected to 19 attacks with Katyusha rockets and mortars in September alone, some of which reached their targets inside the embassy’s vicinity, in addition to 25 IED attacks on convoys serving international coalition forces and an attack on a British diplomatic convoy in Baghdad on 15th of September." John Davison (REUTERS) notes, "The concern among the Iraqis is that pulling out diplomats would be followed quickly by military action against forces Washington blamed for attacks."  Louisa Loveluck, Missy Ryan and John Hudson (WASHINGTON POST) add:

“We hope the American administration will reconsider it,” Ahmed Mulla Talal, a spokesman for Prime Minister Mustafa ­al-Kadhimi, said Sunday. “There are outlaw groups that try to shake this relationship, and closing the embassy would send a negative message to them.”

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo notified Kadhimi of the plans Saturday night, according to an official familiar with the matter. Two Western officials in Baghdad said their country’s diplomatic missions had been informed of the plan.

It was unclear on Sunday whether the White House had signed off on a possible departure and what might prompt the Trump administration to shelve the plan. If the administration moves forward, closing the embassy is expected to take 90 days, a window that would give Washington the opportunity to reassess the decision, said a diplomat familiar with the situation.

Is it a real possibility or just a weak threat that won't be backed up?  How serious is the US government right now?  That's open to debate apparently.  Justine Coleman (THE HILL) notes:

It was unclear on Sunday whether the White House had signed off on a possible departure and what might prompt the Trump administration to shelve the plan. If the administration moves forward, closing the embassy is expected to take 90 days, a window that would give Washington the opportunity to reassess the decision, said a diplomat familiar with the situation.

And it's not just the US government calling out the attacks.  Strangely enough, Moqtada al-Sadr has been making noises about this throughout last week.  YENISAFAK notes, "On Friday, al-Sadr called for an investigation into repeated attacks on foreign missions in Iraq and bringing perpetrators to justice."  MIDDLE EAST IN THE FIELD Tweets:

Muqtada Al-Sadr the famous Iraqi Shiite cleric spoke against rocket attacks on US embassy.

Anas Ameer Tweets:

 Iraqi Shia cleric “Muqtada al-Sadr” called for an investigation into repeated attacks on foreign missions in Iraq and bringing the perpetrators to justice.

The call came after two Shia groups (Hezbollah & al-Nujaba) threatened to launch more attacks against #US forces in #Iraq.

On Arabic social media, this has registered and has some wondering if Moqtada is on the US payroll.  

In related news, XINHUA reports:

The U.S. embassy in Iraq announced on Sunday that it will conduct a series of emergency tests and drills after a recent series of attacks.

"Over the course of the next two days, the U.S. embassy will be conducting a series of tests and drills of our emergency procedures and equipment," the embassy said in a statement.

The statement did not give further details about the drills, but observers believe such drills are meant to enhance the protection of the embassy to prevent the landing of mortar rounds and rockets.

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