Bad news from the American midwest and south as tornadoes have devastated various areas. NPR reports:
Scores of people in the South and Midwest are believed dead after severe weather that caused multiple tornadoes struck late Friday night and early Saturday morning, tearing through Kentucky, Illinois, Missouri, Tennessee and Arkansas.
At least 70 people are likely to have died in Kentucky alone, the governor said, and the death toll may rise to more than 100. President Biden approved the state's emergency declaration in order to provide federal funds for relief efforts. He called the damage "devastating."
Officials in Illinois confirmed six fatalities at an Amazon warehouse near St. Louis. At least four people were killed in Tennessee, two in Arkansas and two in Missouri.
Still on the tornadoes, this is from All Things Considered:
ADRIAN FLORIDO, HOST:
Authorities in Kentucky and several other states in the central U.S. are surveying the damage and looking for survivors after a string of more than 30 tornadoes ripped across the region last night. Dozens of people are confirmed dead, and many more are feared to have been killed. Today, President Biden declared a state of emergency in the state of Kentucky and called the loss of life in all the states involved an unimaginable tragedy.
(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)
PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: And I want to emphasize what I told all the governors. The federal government will do everything, everything it can possibly do to help.
FLORIDO: Just one of the tornadoes that hit last night cut a 227-mile path across four states, with most of the destruction in Kentucky. Blake Farmer of member station WPLN is in the city of Mayfield, Ky., which sustained a direct hit and was devastated. Blake, thanks for joining us.
BLAKE FARMER, BYLINE: You're welcome.
FLORIDO: How bad is it?
FARMER: You know, I mean, it's as bad as I've seen in my 15-yet years covering tornadoes every so often in the South, and this one long-track twister ripped right through the middle of several towns, including Mayfield. It's a city of about 10,000. The mayor's office and City Hall, they were walloped. The neighboring police headquarters and the fire station was heavily damaged. When I arrived this morning, they were changing flat tires on fire trucks because so many were hit. Even the courthouse has lost the top of the building. Then the historic homes that are right there near town, many of them were just leveled, and some people died inside of those homes. Some who I talked to just almost couldn't believe they escaped with their lives because it looked like a war zone.
The death toll is said to be climbing to 100. My thoughts and prayers are with everyone suffering. It's hard not to wonder how much climate change had to do with today's events.
Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"
Friday, December 10, 2021. If there was an assassination attempt on Mustafa al-Kahdimi, who was behind it? US trops are not leaving Iraq and the US continues to persecute Julian Assange.
Starting with a documentary Ruth noted earlier "JFK UNSOLVED: THE REAL CONSPIRACIES ."
KGO -- ABC 7 in the Bay Area -- produced the documentary with Dan Noyes as the reporter and with interviews with Josiah Thompson (his most recent book on the assassination of JFK is LAST SECOND IN DALLAS) and Clint Hill (a Secret Service agent from the Eisenhower era to the Ford administration; he was in Dallas the day JFK was shot and is the one who jumped on the trunk after the shooting to shield the injured president and Jaqueline Kennedy).
All these years later and not only do questions remain but documents remain hidden -- documents that should have been released long ago. Run out the clock and hope that by the time they're finally released it's an attitude of, "Oh, yeah, all those years ago bbrutal things happened. You know like with Julius Caesar. That's just how it was back then." I do hope all the liars are held accountable -- not just the people that carried out the hit but also those who have made careers (and big bucks) out of lying and attacking. They'll tell any lie at all -- like VARIETY's Owen as Ava and I noted in "Media: The stupid and the liars choose to serve corporations, not people:"
We think it's sad news that Oliver Stone has had to revisit the assassination of JFK. It's sad but telling -- and most telling on our media.
58 years ago, then-President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas. The American people didn't buy the whitewash of The Warren Commission or it's 'expert; staff which included Gerald Ford (later a US president -- an unelected US president) and Arlen Specter (later a US senator). A lot of people got 'lucky' or paid off because of how they responded to the assassination. Lie -- like Ford and Specter -- and you or your children have a career -- Dan Rather, Ethan Hawke (are we really going to be the only ones to point out Ethan's connection?), Harry Connick Jr., Cokie Roberts . . .
There were people and outlets who questioned the nonsense in real time -- Jim Garrison, Mark Lane, and both Mort Sahl and Woody Allen made ridiculing The Warren Commission part of their stand up acts. But the establishment managed to stifle a robust discussion by (a) ignoring it and (b) ridiculing it when they had to acknowledge it. And those who stifle a robust discussion get rewarded. Even by the 'left.' Last year, RISING elected to invite on plastic surgery freak Gerald Posner. Gerald dismissed any questions about the assassination in CASE CLOSED. Since the publication of that book, turns out that Posner isn't just a freak in the mirror, he's a freak on the page. He plagiarizes non-stop. He got fired from THE DAILY BEAST for it. Then, turns out, it was discovered he plagiarized in books and writings prior to joining THE DAILY BEAST. But RISING thought he was an acceptable guest. Lies and all, right, doesn't matter a bit. Doesn't matter to VARIETY's Owen Gleibernman who cited the work of the plagiarist to attack Oliver's new documentary.
We have to wonder -- and we did ask an editor we know at VARIETY -- is that now the standard for the rag? You refute an argument by citing the work of a plagiarist?
And let's be clear, Owen refuted nothing. Owen offered nothing. He just dismissed and cited Twink-Faced-Frankenstein Gerald and added his own crackpot claims. Such as? Life is too damn short so we'll do one and only one:
Speaking of the throat wound, if it was, as the documentary claims, an entrance wound, caused by a bullet coming from the grassy knoll, wouldn’t that bullet have ripped through the side of Kennedy’s neck?
As we asked our friend as VARIETY, "How stupid is this bitch?"
He wrote that. Owen wrote that garbage. Took the time to type it up. If it was a throat wound, it wouldn't have come through the side of the neck. Has Owen ever taken his candy ass to Dallas? Has he been to Dealey Plaza? We asked community members Sabina and Dallas to each go there Saturday and stand in the approximate place where JFK was shot.
Now, per The National Archives, JFK was shot at three times. The first shot missed. Shots two and three struck. As we already knew before we looked at the photos that Sabina and Dallas sent us, the Grassy Knoll is in front of where shots two and third struck. Or, if Own prefers, "Front and to the side, front and to the side." (If you suffered through his piece, you got our joke there.) The car was not parallel to the Grassy Knoll when shots two and three were fired.
Maybe it's not just the stupid and the liars. Maybe in the case of Owen Gleibernman it's possible to be both someone who gets it wrong because their stupid and also because they're a liar.
They'll tell any lie that they think they can get away with.
We bring it up because it's over a month now since the alleged assassination attempt on Mustafa al-Kahdimi. The prime minister of Iraq claims he was targeted. He claims six of his bodyguards were injured (the Iraqi government has claimed, at different times, four, five and six -- no names have ever been released which is why Iraqis on social media are skeptical about the injuries -- among other things). Mustafa tried to ride the attempt or 'attempt' to popularity. He's desperate for a second term but the Iraqi epople don't want him and press-appointed king maker Moqtada al-Sadr isn't cray about him while the one to always watch, Nouri al-Maliki, loathes him. Nouri knows how to game the system and he's also been meeting with various blocs in his attempt to form the largest bloc and claim the right to name the prime minister designate. WHile Nouri scrambles, Mustafa eats pastries and licks his fingers. Fat and happy, right Moqtada? Caftans can only hide so much.
So the day after the attempt or 'attempt' on his life, Mustafa shows up in public to proclaim he is strong and well and he knows who is behind the attempt (or 'attempt').
It's a month later.
Where are the arrests?
Or the arrest if it was some sort of 'lone gunman' flying the drones.
Where are the arrests?
Seems to me that a real attack, a real attempt to assassinate the prime minister of a country would result in arrests -- especially if they were claiming to know who carried it out. Seems to me that not making any arrests is saying that anyone can get away with anything which would make Mustafa a huge target.
The government of Iran, in various state publications, is claiming that the US government was behind the attack. That's something thats existed on Iraqi social media since the day of the attempt (or 'attempt'). That argument goes that the US backed Mustafa (true) and they realize Mustafa will probably be replaced because he's so unpopular so they staged an attack that would draw sympathy for Mustafa and force the country to rally around him.
If that is what happened, the US government is really stupid. There's been no rallying around Mustafa and only an idiot would have believed that there would be. He's unpopular. Not because he has bad breath, because he's done nothing. He promised he'd come in, hold early elections, and then leave But the early elections got pushed back. He's done nothing to address corruption.
Real assassinations have taken place. Protesters and journalists have been wounded and killed. And their killers -- members of the Iraqi government -- walk free.
Mustafa will give a fiery remark or show up for a photo-op but that's it.
People don't trust him and they don't like him.
Where are the arrests?
Again if it was a real attempt on his life, the failure to make any arrests sends a message that attempting to assassinate him is okay and no big deal.
Meanwhile US troops in Iraq aren't going anywhere. Lolita C. Bandor and Robert Burns (AP) report:
The top U.S. commander for the Middle East said Thursday that the United States will keep the current 2,500 troops in Iraq for the foreseeable future, and he warned that he expects increasing attacks on U.S. and Iraqi personnel by Iranian-backed militias determined to get American forces out.
Marine Gen. Frank McKenzie said in an interview with The Associated Press at the Pentagon that despite the shift by U.S. forces to a non-combat role in Iraq, they will still provide air support and other military aid for Iraq’s fight against the Islamic State.
Noting that Iranian-backed militias want all Western forces out of Iraq, he said an ongoing uptick in violence may continue through December.
despite headlines, spin and claims, the US military is now Gilbert
Grape with Leo braking down the truth, "We're not going anywhere."
What he's saying: Though the U.S. is ending its combat mission in Iraq, they will continue to provide air and other support in the fight against the Islamic State, McKenzie told AP.
They'll provide air and other support? Yeah, this is the conversation that some members of Congress were having back in 2013 about how it was a lie to say these weren't combat missions. Regardless, at least 2,500 US troops will remain in Iraq.
Meanwhile THE INTERNATIONAL QURAN NEWS AGENCY reports:
During a meeting with commanders of eight Iraqi Resistance groups, Shaykh Akram al-Kaabi said he did not believe the promise of the United States to withdraw from the country by the end of this year, citing statements by American military officials. He called the call for the dissolution of the Popular Mobilization Forces based on the demand of the Arab and Hebrew reactionaries and stated that the Resistance considers its weapons as sacred and will never lay them down.
Lebanon’s al-Mayadeen satellite television channel announced and broadcast a detailed video of a meeting held between the commanders of the Iraqi Islamic Resistance groups operating against the United States and Hujjat al-Islam Akram al-Kaabi, the secretary-general of Iraq’s al-Nujaba Islamic Resistance Movement, including the Ashab al-Kahf [Companions of the Cave], Liwa al-Thayirin [Revolutionaries’ Brigade], Liwa Thar al-Muhandis [Revenge of al-Muhandis Brigade], Liwa al-Qasem [Qasem Brigades], Tashkil al-Warithin [Establishment of the Inheritors], Fasil al-Muqawamah al-Dawliyyah [International Resistance Faction], Rijal Allah [Men of God] and Saraya Thawrah al-Ishrin al-Thaniyah [Second ۱۹۲۰ Revolutionary Brigade].
In this meeting, Hujjat al-Islam al-Kaabi, while listing the examples of assassination, murder, looting, evil and sacrilege in the behaviour of the government of the United States, stated, “Fighting against the United States and its followers in the region and the world is a religious and national obligation, and the Resistance does not retreat or waive this obligation in any way. Today, the arrogant American regime has arrogant and colonial projects not only in Iraq, but everywhere, and seeks to impose its influence on the whole world.”
Some might argue that Joe Biden was painting a target on the bakcs of those who will remain in Iraq. Others might argue that this is the point, to have an event that sparks more US troops heading into Iraq and an attempt to increase the liklihood of war on Iran. That would make sense when we think about the background of who Joe's nominated to be the new US ambassador to Iraq -- her background and her public statements. (She's no fan of Iran, to put it mildly.)\
Would the US government be that sneaky? Of course they would. Related, Glenn Greenwald (SUBSTACK) reports the latest on the US government's continued persecution of Julian Assange:
In a London courtroom on Friday morning, Julian Assange suffered a devastating blow to his quest for freedom. A two-judge appellate panel of the United Kingdom's High Court ruled that the U.S.'s request to extradite Assange to the U.S. to stand trial on espionage charges is legally valid.
As a result, that extradition request will now be sent to British Home Secretary Prita Patel, who technically must approve all extradition requests but, given the U.K. Government's long-time subservience to the U.S. security state, is all but certain to rubber-stamp it. Assange's representatives, including his fiancee Stella Morris, have vowed to appeal the ruling, but today's victory for the U.S. means that Assange's freedom, if it ever comes, is further away than ever: not months but years even under the best of circumstances.
In endorsing the U.S. extradition request, the High Court overturned a lower court's ruling from January which had concluded that the conditions of U.S. prison — particularly for those accused of national security crimes — are so harsh and oppressive that there is a high likelihood that Assange would commit suicide. In January's ruling, Judge Vanessa Baraitser rejected all of Assange's arguments that the U.S. was seeking to punish him not for crimes but for political offenses. But in rejecting the extradition request, she cited the numerous attestations from Assange's doctors that his physical and mental health had deteriorated greatly after seven years of confinement in the small Ecuadorian Embassy where he had obtained asylum, followed by his indefinite incarceration in the U.K.
In response to that January victory for Assange, the Biden DOJ appealed the ruling and convinced Judge Baraitser to deny Assange bail and ordered him imprisoned pending appeal. The U.S. then offered multiple assurances that Assange would be treated "humanely" in U.S. prison once he was extradited and convicted. They guaranteed that he would not be held in the most repressive "supermax” prison in Florence, Colorado — whose conditions are so repressive that it has been condemned and declared illegal by numerous human rights groups around the world — nor, vowed U.S. prosecutors, would he be subjected to the most extreme regimen of restrictions and isolation called Special Administrative Measures ("SAMs”) unless subsequent behavior by Assange justified it. American prosecutors also agreed that they would consent to any request from Assange that, once convicted, he could serve his prison term in his home country of Australia rather than the U.S. Those guarantees, ruled the High Court this morning, rendered the U.S. extradition request legal under British law.
What makes the High Court's faith in these guarantees from the U.S. Government particularly striking is that it comes less than two months after Yahoo News reported that the CIA and other U.S. security state agencies hate Assange so much that they plotted to kidnap or even assassinate him during the time he had asylum protection from Ecuador. Despite all that, Lord Justice Timothy Holroyde announced today that “the court is satisfied that these assurances” will serve to protect Assange's physical and mental health.
The following sites updated: