Thursday, April 22, 2021

Marianne Williamson

 The last years have made me not like a number of people in my party (Democratic Party).  One of the few people that has entered on the like side is Marianne Williamson.

In 2019, when she was first running for the presidential nomination, I initially dismissed her as a joke.  I even stated that while talking to C.I.  I didn't know that the two were friends.  All I knew is Marianne had been on Oprah and was big as an influencer in the 90s.  I thought she was pie in the sky.  

So I was trashing her and C.I. asked me a few questions and I realized I knew nothing about Marianne.  And then I realized that was the point C.I. was politely making, that I had these assumptions (based on press coverage and press dismissals of Marianne).  

So I did my own work -- work that the press hadn't done for me and saw Marianne had real positions, positions I shared.  I have a lot of respect for her.  I also think she raised real issues in the debate.

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

Wednesday, April 21, 2021.  Pro-war SLATE pretends to be interested in how the Iraq War started, Amnesty International issues a report on executions throughout the world while Reporters Without Borders looks at the global threats to journalists, and much more


On SLATE's SLOW BURN podcast today, the question is why did "Americans" believe noted liar and exile Ahmed Chalabi?

What a load of crap.  And it just gets worse from the very beginning as you're lied to that Bully Boy Bush didn't want it but "was influenced by people in his administration."

No one's responsible, right?  That's the argument the pro-war SLATE made.  Makes?  Made?  I mean, I remember the garbage they offered in real time.  I remember the crap they forced down the throats of the American people.  So for them to show up all these years later and offer this garbage is not just disgusting, it's unethical.

They don't want answers, they're not pursuing answers.

They are part of the p.r. effort to removes the crimes of War Criminal Bully Boy Bush.  It's an ongoing process to try to clean the blood from his hands.  

BUSINESS INSIDER, for example, Tweeted:

George W. Bush said he's troubled by 'the capacity of people to spread all kind of untruth'

You can't have a serious discussion about 'fake news' include Bully Boy Bush as someone with an 'educated' opinion worth sharing.  As Sarah Abdallah noted, "Iraq’s nonexistent weapons of mass destruction have just entered the chat."  Glenn Greenwald Tweets:

George WMD Bush has about as much credibility to denounce the spread of disinformation as CNN's media reporters, NBC's disinformation unit, and NYT's tech team do. It's like the Sackler family lamenting the rise of addiction.

If SLATE really wanted to know how "Americans" came to depend upon on Ahmed Chalabi, they'd have to first get honest that "Americans" didn't.  The average American, to this day, will stare at you blankly f you your bring up Dexy.

Government officials and representatives knew who he was, cavorted with him, had the press amplify him.  The press.

If we want to get honest, that's where you start.

Oh, look, it's Ahmed Chalabi being pleasured by Dexter Filkins who worked for THE NEW YORK TIMES in 2006 -- illustration we did at THIRD for "Go down, Dexy."

You want to know why Ahmed Chalabi was trusted?  Because the US government pimped him and the US press promoted him.

That reality is absent from SLATE's alleged 'inquiry.'  

Big surprise.

They'd rather attack "Americans" for what the press and the government did.  They just lie and lie again and never take responsibility or accountability.  

And don't blame just corporate media or just the right-wing.  MOTHER JONES elected to hire a writer to bring attention to their website.  There were a ton of bloggers who were against the war.  So what did the faux left MOTHER JONES do?  They hired pro-Iraq War blogger Kevin Drum.

SLATE continues the lack of accountability with their nonsense podcast that clears anyone of responsibility.

The CIA?

They gave Chalabi $4 million.  That was the American people's money.  They gave it to Chalabi.

B-b-b-but don't blame the CIA, SLATE wants you to know, because the CIA "didn't think they were financing a revolution, they mostly wanted him to produce anti Saddam propaganda to build opposition to the regime."  That sounds like they were deliberately sewing conflict -- which was what they were doing.  And, no, their hands aren't clean.  

At one point, the closest they come to accountability, SLATE offers a lengthy sentence about two US senators: John McCain and Joe Lieberman.

McCain is dead.  Lieberman's been out of the Senate since January 0f 2013.

This site didn't have positive things to say about either of the two.  But we also didn't mistake two sitting senators as the secret power behind the US press and the White House.

Talk about looney conspiracy theories.

No one gets blamed.  Instead of trophies, SLATE gives everyone a participation card -- get out of jail free card.

The Iraq War hit the 18 year mark last month.  All this time later, liars still can't get honest and would rather blame "Americans" for the ongoing and illegal war than those who had actual power and an institution that had an epic failure.  

On the failures of the press -- the ongoing failures -- let's note two reports.  First, Ryan Girdusky (MEDIAITE):

The now-discredited report that Russia offered bounties to Afghan militants to kill American soldiers was an October surprise — released in June. The story, originated in The New York Times and leaked by the intelligence community, was more proof in the eyes of an eager media that Trump failed to safeguard Americans from Putin. After spending four years portraying Trump at best as a useful stooge and at worst a willing accomplice of the Kremlin, The Times article was fodder for Democrats and used against the 45th president ad nauseam throughout the election cycle.

From the rearview window, this looks to many people as another example of the media using anonymous sources to peddle fake news to attack Trump. While that could be considered valid, it’s more important to realize that this is another example of sources within the intelligence community using the media to promote war.

The story broke just as the Trump administration finalized plans to cut the number of troops in Afghanistan by nearly 50 percent, the lowest level since the beginning of that conflict in 2001. Trump’s plan to dial back America’s military footprint around the world was nearly universally opposed by the intelligence community, the military-industrial complex, but most importantly, the media.

While the American public, especially Republicans, view the media as left-wing, they’re more of an institution that supports consensus, including being pro-war.

Read the article in full and grasp that it's information and approach is what SLATE wants to pretend it was doing with that awful podcast.

And let's pair Ryan's piece with Glenn Greenwald (SUBSTACK):

It was crucial for liberal sectors of the media to invent and disseminate a harrowing lie about how Officer Brian Sicknick died. That is because he is the only one they could claim was killed by pro-Trump protesters at the January 6 riot at the Capitol.

So The New York Times on January 8 published an emotionally gut-wrenching but complete fiction that never had any evidence — that Officer Sicknick's skull was savagely bashed in with a fire extinguisher by a pro-Trump mob until he died — and, just like the now-discredited Russian bounty story also unveiled by that same paper, cable outlets and other media platforms repeated this lie over and over in the most emotionally manipulative way possible. Just watch a part of what they did and how:

As I detailed over and over when examining this story, there were so many reasons to doubt this storyline from the start. Nobody on the record claimed it happened. The autopsy found no blunt trauma to the head. Sicknick's own family kept urging the press to stop spreading this story because he called them the night of January 6 and told them he was fine — obviously inconsistent with the media's claim that he died by having his skull bashed in — and his own mother kept saying that she believed he died of a stroke.

But the gruesome story of Sicknick's “murder” was too valuable to allow any questioning. It was weaponized over and over to depict the pro-Trump mob not as just violent but barbaric and murderous, because if Sicknick weren't murdered by them, then nobody was (without Sicknick, the only ones killed were four pro-Trump supporters: two who died of a heart attack, one from an amphetamine overdose, and the other, Ashli Babbitt, who was shot point blank in the neck by Capitol Police despite being unarmed). So crucial was this fairy tale about Sicknick that it made its way into the official record of President Trump's impeachment trial in the Senate, and they had Joe Biden himself recite from the script, even as clear facts mounted proving it was untrue.

By the way, one person was killed in the DC riot -- Ashli Babbitt.  She was unarmed.  The police officer who shot her wasn't.  If THIRD ever posts this week (I'm too sick -- cold -- to worry about it all that much), Ava and I addressed that reality in "types."  Ashli was shot dead.  The press didn't glom on that death -- until they wanted to paint her as sleaze because, after all, justice doesn't apply to sleaze, right?  We all know that 27th Amendment to the Constitution, right?  "Should you hold opinions that are different than the majority of people, we reserve the right to nullify you and to strip you of any expectations of fairness or justice."  We are so damn barbaric as a society.  That's the reality.  And we're encouraged to be by the press which is doing nothing -- day in and day out -- but getting people to root in the Colosseum for the death and destruction of others.  It's really sick and goes to just how little civilization has actually progressed.

Let's stay with reality and quote Sam Stanton (SACREMENTO BEE):

In a major blow to federal prosecutors, a federal judge in Sacramento ruled Wednesday that Omar Ameen may not be extradited back to Iraq to face trial in the 2014 murder of an Iraqi police officer.

The decision came in a 30-page order by U.S. Magistrate Judge Edmund F. Brennan, who labeled parts of the government’s arguments “dubious” and said they call for “some degree of skepticism.”

Ameen’s federal defenders had waged a two-year battle to stop their client from being extradited, arguing that he was in Turkey with his family when the officer, Ihsan Abdulhafiz Jasim, was killed in Iraq.

Read more here:

Judge Brennan has declined to certify Omar Ameen's extradition, and ordered his release! Here's my story on how the U.S. gov falsely maligned him as an ISIS member and sought to extradite him to Iraq for a murder that he couldn't possibly have committed.

We note the above for numerous reasons.  One is that we were talking last week about the Afghanistan War and how the government of Afghanistan was asked by the US government to hand over Osama bin Laden in the fall of 2001 and the Afghanistan government asked for solid reasons and proof and were rebuffed.  In fact, then-Secretary of State Colin Powell told them that the way it would work was, they would hand over bin Laden and then the US government would provide supporting evidence.

No, that's not how it works on the international stage.  The Iraqi government wants Omar Ameen deported.  They make the request, they supply what they argue is solid evidence and then the US government looks at the request.  Justice Edmund F. Brennan found the evidence supplied lacking and shot the request down.

Were Bully Boy Bush in charge of Iraq right now, the Iraqi government might 'respond' by bombing this country and continue to destroy it for the next 20 or so years.

We have a legal system in place.  Instead of utilizing that system, time and again the post-9/11 way has been to refuse to take accountability for mistakes and errors and to instead slam and shame the legal groundwork that exists in this country and insist instead upon new and draconian laws that undermine the very roots of democracy.

It's not a minor point.

Nor is the fact that attacking peaceful protesters is wrong but the Iraqi government continues to do so and there's little effort at this point to call the government out.  Every now and then, we'll hear that no one has been brought to justice for the injuring and murdering of protesters but that's about it.  Otherwise, it's treated as normal.  How not normal is it?

Iraq's going to be sending wounded protesters elsewhere for medical treatment.  Sura Ali (RUDAW) reports:

Dhi Qar Governor Ahmed al-Khafaji has said the Ministry of Oil has allocated money to send protesters wounded in clashes in the city of Nasiriyah for treatment overseas, state media reported on Wednesday.

A statement from Khafaji's media office said that the governor discussed the subject with Iraq’s Minister of Oil Ihsan Abdul-Jabbar, along with other issues such as creating job opportunities for graduates holding sit-ins in front of oil companies in the Dhi Qar provincial capital.

"It was approved to allocate a sum of money to send people injured in the protests for treatment outside Iraq," the statement said.

Amnesty International, meanwhile, has issued a new report that are some are spinning as 'progress' for Iraq.  Per the report, there were 483 executions carried out by governments in 2020 -- China is left out of the count with Amnesty noting that "the death penalty" there "is a state secret."  The Middle East and North Africa were reponsible for 437 of the 483 executions.

The report notes:

The rate of executions is even more disturbing given that the death penalty in MENA is regularly applied after trials that do not meet international fair trial standards. People in MENA continued to be executed or sentenced to death in 2020 for acts that should not be criminalized and other offences that do not meet the threshold of most serious crimes, meaning intentional killings, as required by international law.

At least 23 of the 107 people executed in Egypt were sentenced to death in cases relating to political violence, after grossly unfair trials marred by forced “confessions” and other serious human rights violations, including torture and enforced disappearances. Executions in Egypt shot up drastically following a security incident involving death row prisoners in the notorious al-Aqrab prison in September.

Amnesty notes that Iraq had 27 more people sentenced to execution in 2020 with executions carried out on 45 people.  They also note that "Iran, Egypt, Iraq and Saudi Arabi accounted for 88% of known global executions in 2020."

Amnesty's report is only one global report issued this week.  Khazan Jangiz (RUDAW) notes:

Iraq ranks 18 from the bottom of a list of countries classified by their freedom of the press, with dangers having reportedly “grown” for journalists since the October 2019 anti-government protests.

Lives of journalists in Iraq and the Kurdistan Region are at “risk” in protest coverage and corruption investigations, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said in its annual World Press Freedom report, published on Tuesday.

Journalists are at the risk of being “harassed, abducted, physically attacked or even killed by unidentified militias” in Iraq and “the state’s powerlessness increases the dangers and makes it impossible to determine whether what the many militias are doing suits the government, whether the government has given them the go-ahead, or whether it has no control over the situation,” RSF said. 

RSF has previously reported that four journalists were killed in Iraq while covering protests in 2020. Three were killed with gunshots to their heads and one trying to flee from clashes between security forces and protesters.  RSF in the new report said murdering journalists goes “unpunished” due to lack of, or futile investigations.

The report evaluates press freedom in 180 countries, in which Iraq ranks 163 on the index, with the Middle East generally accused of undermining “the already beleaguered media freedom” which might “leave lasting scars on the media landscape,” says RSF, pointing to an “increased authoritarianism” in response to the situation of public health, economy and politics. 

This is the Iraq section of the Reporters Without Borders report:

IRAQ (down six at 162nd)

After the protests, authorities are now focusing on coronavirus coverage

The worsening conditions for journalists in Iraq since protests erupted in 2019 has put the country among those coloured black in the Index’s world map, which signifies “very serious”.

Five journalists have been killed in just four months. The various militias at large in the country constantly threaten the lives of journalists in an effort to prevent them covering the protests, repeating the allegations and also demonstrating the same ferocity as the police, who use live ammunition.        

The Iraqi government itself plays a full part in obstructing journalists. At least 10 news organizations have been suspended for covering the demonstrations in a manner deemed unfavourable by the authorities. Since the start of the health crisis, the authorities have been focusing on reports about the Covid-19 pandemic. The Communications and Media Commission (CMC) decided to suspend the news agency Reuters for publishing a story that quoted three unidentified doctors as saying they had been ordered not to talk to the media about the crisis. The autonomous region of Kurdistan is also in the firing line. The health ministry ordered the closure of the television channel NRT after it broadcast a report that the authorities had deliberately overestimated the number of people infected in order to discourage people from demonstrating. 


The following sites updated:

No comments: