Monday, September 27, 2021

TBS disappoints

So today is Monday.  What does that mean for you?  For me, after I get home from work, I turn on TBS and stay there for several hours.  While FAMILY GUY plays for hours, I do an hour on the treadmill, then i get cleaned up. Then I go through the bills and the mail (snail mail and e-mail).  By the time FAMILY GUY gives way to AMERICAN DAD, I've had dinner as well.  

It's my way of getting through the first evening of the work week slowly.

Not tonight.  Or ever again.

They stupidly purchased the syndication rights to YOUNG SHELDON.  And now they're showing hours of that garbage before moving on to hours of THE BIG BANG THEORY and then finally AMERICAN DAD.  I turned that crap off while I was on the treadmill.  And I didn't turn it back on.  I won't be watching TBS on Mondays anymore.  

YOUNG SHELDON is a suck ass show starting the relative of the man who outed Valerie Plame.  Or are we supposed to forget that?  

Going out with C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Monday, September 27, 2021.  As Donald Trump did before, Joe Biden continues to persecute Omar Ameen, news leaks out that the CIA plotted to kill Julian Assange (don't bother telling Naomi Klein this, she's busy with a planned trip to the mall!), The October Revolution calls for protests on Friday, and much more.

Back in May, KCRA NEWS Tweeted:

Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg and several other members of the city council have called for immigration officials to free Omar Ameen after a federal judge called a terrorism case against the Sacramento refugee "dubious" and ordered him released.

Pretty straight forward, right?  A city mayor calls for the government to release someone a federal judge has already ordered released.  But Omar wasn't released and remains in the government's custody.  

Omar Ameen is an Iraqi refugee.  He came to the US in November of 2014.  From Salt Lake City, he moves to California -- specifically to Sacramento.  In mid-2018, an Iraqi 'court' issues an arrest warrant for him.  Based on a paid informant, he is accused of having killed a police officer, Ihsan Jasi who was shot June 22, 2014 and died of gunshot wounds a day later.  The unnamed, paid informant told police he didn't see the shooting but knew Omar was the shooting.  Then, much later, changed his testimony to include he saw it.  August 15, 2019, Omar is arrested in Sacramento.  His attorney, Rachelle Barbour, declares, "As the extradition packet makes clear, the Iraqi charge is based on the statement of a single purported eyewitness to the alleged murder. That witness's statement, given in April 2018 to the Iraqi court, is both internally inconsistent and extensively contradicted by that witness's earlier statement taken in October 2017 by the FBI." In addition, Omar moved to Turkey in 2012 and various  data -- including pings from cell phone towers -- demonstrate he was in Turkey the day of the shooting in Iraq. 

In the face of this and other problems with the case (the US government claims multiple witnesses to the shooting but can't produce them),  US federal judge Edmund Brennan finds the cell phone evidence "critical" and declares the US government should release Omar immediately.      April 24th, Sam Stanton (SACREMENTO BEE) reports:

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:

Ordered to release him, they do but the US government doesn't follow the law -- certainly not the spirit or a judicial ruling.  Meaning? They release Omar from federal custody only to . . . turn him over to ICE (Immigration and Custom Enforcement) --  willfully disregarding the ruling and continue their efforts to deport Omar back to Iraq.

Whether Donald Trump heads the Executive Branch or Joe Biden does, they do what they want, they rig the game while pretending it's fair.  Another example?  They toss out the immigration judge when he's not predisposed to ignore evidence.  KCRA reported earlier this month:

Sources told KCRA 3 Investigates that immigration Judge Scott Laurent, after weeks of hearings and testimony in the deportation case, is no longer the judge in the case.

The removal comes just two weeks after Laurent issued an order that was, in part, critical of the government’s case against Ameen.

In particular, Laurent was critical of the Department of Justice for wanting FBI agents to testify for the government, but not be cross-examined by Ameen’s attorneys.

Unlike a criminal court, immigration judges work for the Department of Justice, which is the agency looking to deport Ameen.

Not content with destroying a level playing field in just one way, the US government is also claiming that they have 'proof' that Omar lied on his application for refugee status; however, they refuse to share that with the defense attorney.  This is outrageous.  It is an abuse of power.  It is an attack on the  US justice system and it's coming from the US government.

 CAIR Tweets:
Omar Ameen came to this country as a refugee from Iraq. He was unjustly arrested based on dubious and questionable evidence that has never been made public. Yesterday, our Sacramento Valley branch filed a motion to unseal that evidence. #FreeOmarAmeen

Crescenzo Vellucci (DAVIS VANGUARD) reports:

The strange case of Iraqi refugee Omar Ameen and the U.S. government’s insistence of extraditing him – from Trump to Biden – continues. And as the saying goes, is becoming “curiouser and curiouser.”

Ahead of Ameen’s much-delayed federal immigration hearing next Tuesday, the Sacramento / Central California office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-SV/CC) filed a motion Thursday suggesting there is a hidden piece of evidence in the case of the Sacramento area resident the U.S. government is, in fact, hiding.

CAIR notes Ameen was arrested in August of 2018 by ICE based on a “sealed” exhibit. But U.S. Magistrate Judge Edmund Brennan, a former prosecutor, relied on the same document to prevent Ameen’s extradition to the Iraq for the alleged murder of an Iraqi police officer earlier this year.

CAIR argues that, according to Judge Brennan, “the government’s case was ‘dubious;’ its witnesses were ‘unreliable;’ and the narrative presented made ‘little sense.’ In other words, Judge Brennan found that there was no plausible way that Omar Ameen could have committed the murder for which he stood accused. Despite that ruling, Ameen was not released and was instead taken into ICE custody.”

Here's CAIR's statement:

[. . .] CAIR-SV/CC filed a motion to unseal an important piece of evidence in the case of Sacramento area resident, father of four, and Iraqi refugee Omar Ameen. 

On August 15, 2018, Ameen was searched and arrested based on that sealed exhibit, and nearly three years later U.S. Magistrate Judge Brennan relied on that same document in his Order denying Ameen’s extradition to the Republic of Iraq for the crime of murder of an Iraqi police officer. 

According to Judge Brennan, the government’s case was “dubious;” its witnesses were “unreliable;” and the narrative presented made “little sense.” In other words, Judge Brennan found that there was no plausible way that Omar Ameen could have committed the murder for which he stood accused. Despite that ruling, Ameen was not released and was instead taken into ICE custody.  

Layli Shirani, Senior Staff Attorney for Civil Rights at CAIR-SV/CC, said in a statement: 

“We have a strong interest in knowing what evidence the government relied upon in disrupting the lives of Omar and his family. Being accepted into the United States as a refugee is hard – the vetting process is extensive and takes a long time. It’s also important to note that this goes beyond Omar Ameen and the considerable harm that has been done – and is still being done – to him and his family.  

“This case, which was specifically cited by the Trump Administration in their effort to gut the Refugee Program, represents just one prong in that Administration’s overtly Islamophobic agenda. The Muslim Ban was another. Given the Biden Administration has chosen to allow deportation proceedings against Omar to continue despite his exoneration, we must remain vigilant.  

“This sealed exhibit was central to the Judge’s order refusing to extradite Omar Ameen. To fully understand that Order, and the actions of the Government in this case, we are asking the Court to unseal that exhibit.”  

CAIR-SV/CC is an office of CAIR, the largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance understanding of Islam, protect civil rights, promote justice, and empower American Muslims. 


CONTACT: CAIR-SV/CC Communications Manager Zoha Raza, 

Omar has been imprisoned for over 1300 days. His life has been destroyed.  Time and again, the justice system has sided against the Executive Branch in Omar's case.  He should have been freed long ago.  The US government refuses to abide by the rules and continues to persecute Omar.  This is outrageous and it should be loudly and widely rebuked.  If you really care about immigration, then you care about what's being done to Omar by our government.

And this isn't a case that's been hidden.

Michael Anthony Adams (ABC 10) filed that report -- and he filed it two years ago.   As president, Joe Biden is continuing the policies of Donald Trump.  Omar was found not guilty in a federal court and should have been released.  And, under Joe Biden, he was released , , , in order to be taken into custody by ICE.  The US government couldn't win fair so they're trying to win dirty.  And no one's asking Joe or Secretary of State Antony Blinken (whom ICE says would decide Omar's fater) why they are persecuting this man or how this lives up to fair and transparent governance.  

Further proof that the government does not play fair?  The coninued persecution of WIKILEAKS publisher Julian Assange.  Julian's 'crime' was revealing the realities of Iraq -- Chelsea Manning was a whistle-blower who leaked the information to Julian.  WIKILEAKS then published the Iraq War Logs.  And many outlets used the publication to publish reports of their own.  For example, THE GUARDIAN published many articles based on The Iraq War Logs.  Jonathan Steele, David Leigh and Nick Davies offered, on October 22, 2012:

A grim picture of the US and Britain's legacy in Iraq has been revealed in a massive leak of American military documents that detail torture, summary executions and war crimes.
Almost 400,000 secret US army field reports have been passed to the Guardian and a number of other international media organisations via the whistleblowing website WikiLeaks.

The electronic archive is believed to emanate from the same dissident US army intelligence analyst who earlier this year is alleged to have leaked a smaller tranche of 90,000 logs chronicling bloody encounters and civilian killings in the Afghan war.
The new logs detail how:
US authorities failed to investigate hundreds of reports of abuse, torture, rape and even murder by Iraqi police and soldiers whose conduct appears to be systematic and normally unpunished.

A US helicopter gunship involved in a notorious Baghdad incident had previously killed Iraqi insurgents after they tried to surrender.
More than 15,000 civilians died in previously unknown incidents. US and UK officials have insisted that no official record of civilian casualties exists but the logs record 66,081 non-combatant deaths out of a total of 109,000 fatalities.
The numerous reports of detainee abuse, often supported by medical evidence, describe prisoners shackled, blindfolded and hung by wrists or ankles, and subjected to whipping, punching, kicking or electric shocks. Six reports end with a detainee's apparent death.

News on Julian leaked out over the weekend.  Jake Johnson (COMMON DREAMS) reports:

Under the leadership of then-Director Mike Pompeo, the CIA in 2017 reportedly plotted to kidnap—and discussed plans to assassinate—WikiLeaks founder and publisher Julian Assange, who is currently imprisoned in London as he fights the Biden administration's efforts to extradite him to the United States.

Citing conversations with more than 30 former U.S. officials, Yahoo News reported Sunday that "discussions over kidnapping or killing Assange occurred 'at the highest levels' of the Trump administration."

According to Yahoo:

The conversations were part of an unprecedented CIA campaign directed against WikiLeaks and its founder. The agency's multipronged plans also included extensive spying on WikiLeaks associates, sowing discord among the group’s members, and stealing their electronic devices.

While Assange had been on the radar of U.S. intelligence agencies for years, these plans for an all-out war against him were sparked by WikiLeaks' ongoing publication of extraordinarily sensitive CIA hacking tools, known collectively as "Vault 7," which the agency ultimately concluded represented "the largest data loss in CIA history."

President Trump's newly installed CIA director, Mike Pompeo, was seeking revenge on WikiLeaks and Assange, who had sought refuge in the Ecuadorian Embassy since 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden on rape allegations he denied. Pompeo and other top agency leaders "were completely detached from reality because they were so embarrassed about Vault 7," said a former Trump national security official. "They were seeing blood."

Yahoo's reporting makes clear that Assange is not the only journalist U.S. officials have attempted to target in recent years. During the Obama presidency, according to Yahoo, "top intelligence officials lobbied the White House to redefine WikiLeaks—and some high-profile journalists—as 'information brokers,' which would have opened up the use of more investigative tools against them, potentially paving the way for their prosecution."

"Among the journalists some U.S. officials wanted to designate as 'information brokers' were Glenn Greenwald, then a columnist for The Guardian, and Laura Poitras, a documentary filmmaker, who had both been instrumental in publishing documents provided by [NSA whistleblower Edward] Snowden," Yahoo reported.

Naom Klein says what?  Oh, that's right scared and useless says not one damn thing.  Bitch kicks sticking her nose in US elections -- wasn't even out campaigning for Barack in 2008.  This despite the fact that her father fled the US to go to Canada and avoid Vietnam.  That's why she has dual citizenship though bitch never wants to talk about that and can't give a speech in support of War Resisters of the current wars.  She's just a useless mall rat who had the gall to attack Glenn at the end of October while pretending that she's ever accomplished anything.  She and Bill McKibbon are useless on climate and apparently intentionally so.  Her big book SHOCK DOCTRINE was a rip off of previous books.  She's just a fake ass.  So don't expect her to Tweet about the news Jake Johnson is reporting on.

To write about it?  Bitch doesn't write.  She Tweets.  She does one Tweet every three or so days while cashing out at THE INTERCEPT with a huge salary.  She's not about truth, she's not about justice.  She's a dirty whore who used the Iraq War to raise her own profile and that's all she's ever done. She's the queen of the useless.  And I can never say this often enough: Anthony Lappe, you were right about her all along, I was wrong.

Here's Naomi Klein with her music video.

Glenn Greenwald Tweets:

CIA and Mike Pompeo were stopped by WH lawyers from carrying out their plot to kidnap or assassinate Assange, but the US Govt continues to slowly kill him instead. In 2019 - 2 years ago - doctors warned that what they were doing to him was killing him:

In January, a UK judge rejected the US request to extradite Assange solely on the grounds that his health could not withstand it. Despite this, the Biden DOJ ignored all press freedom groups, appealed that, and demanded he stay in prison pending appeal.

The US Government is slowly suffocating, silencing and killing someone solely for the crime of reporting documents that every major media outlet in the world determined were newsworthy, and few in the US corporate press care because he's never been in their clique.

The only factions which support the ongoing imprisonment of Assange are CIA and their allies in the US and UK corporate media. Support for him is global and spans the ideological spectrum. Listen to what ex Brazilian President said in 2020:

In full agreement with Lula -- not just in outcome but rationale -- is the most-watched conservative in US media, Tucker Carlson, who repeatedly advocated for Assange's pardon and gave airtime to his family and supporters to do so. Only security state servants support this.

Yesterday, the Freedom of the Press Foundation issued the following statement:

Today, Yahoo News published a long and deeply-sourced investigation that the CIA, led by Trump appointee Mike Pompeo, repeatedly and seriously considered kidnapping and even assassinating WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. The agency engaged in so many shocking and extra-legal actions that the whole report needs to be read in full to be believed.

Yahoo News also reported that intelligence officials, in disturbing disregard for the First Amendment, pushed to have other journalists—including FPF board members Laura Poitras and Glenn Greenwald—re-categorized as “information brokers” for their award-winning reporting on the Snowden disclosures. Yahoo said that the purpose was to open up “the use of more investigative tools against them, potentially paving the way for their prosecution.”

The following statement can be attributed to Freedom of the Press Foundation (FPF) executive director Trevor Timm:

“The CIA is a disgrace. The fact that it contemplated and engaged in so many illegal acts against WikiLeaks, its associates, and even other award-winning journalists is an outright scandal that should be investigated by Congress and the Justice Department. The Biden Administration must drop its charges against Assange immediately. The case already threatens the rights of countless reporters. These new revelations, which involve a shocking disregard of the law, are truly beyond the pale.”

Previously, a coalition of groups focused on civil liberties, human rights and press freedom—including Freedom of the Press Foundation—urged the Biden administration to drop its charges against Assange. The letter to Biden’s Justice Department was signed by the ACLU, Committee to Protect Journalists, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and many more.

In Iraq, Layal Shakir (RUDAW) reports:

Iraqi activists hope to draw massive crowds into the streets on October 1, a little over a week before elections, to mark two years since anti-government protests rocked the capital.

“The first of October is an important, historical day in the journey of the Iraqi peoples’ struggle,” spokesperson for Opposition Forces Gathering, Basim al-Sheikh, told Rudaw English late on Friday. 

The commemoration planned for Friday will be proof that 2019 Tishreen (October) movement continues, he added.

The Opposition Forces Gathering is an umbrella group of 40 movements, groups and political parties that were birthed from the protests. The 2019 demonstrations condemned state corruption, failing public services, and high unemployment. They lasted several months and were met with violence and repression from state forces and militias backed by Iran that left at least 600 dead and thousands wounded.  

The protests forced the resignation of Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi, reforms to the electoral law, and the October 10 parliamentary election that is taking place a year ahead of schedule. 

The early elections are only taking place because of the brave protesters. The October Revolution  kicked off protests in the fall of 2019 and forced the prime minister to step down and early elections to be announced.  As ARAB WEEKLY notes, "Tens of thousands of Iraqi youths took to the streets to decry rampant corruption, poor services and unemployment. Hundreds died as security forces used live ammunition and tear gas to disperse crowds."  This is what forced the resignation of one prime minister and has led to national elections which are supposed to take place October 10th.  (Members of the Iraqi military will vote October 8thTwo election simulations have been carried out by the IEC and the third and final one will take place September 22nd.)    that the candidates for Parliament include 951 women ("close to 30% of the total number of candidates") who are running for the 329 seats.  Halgurd Sherwani (KURDISTAN 24) has reported Jeanine Hannis-Plasschaert, the Special Representiative in Iraq to the United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, declared that Iraq's "Female candidates face increasing levels of hate speech, violence, and blackmail intended to force them to withdraw their candidacy." 

Sinan Mahmoud (THE NATIONAL) counts 3,249 people in all seeking seats in Parliament  BROOKINGS notes this is a huge drop from 2018 when 7,178 candidates ran for office.   RUDAW is among those noting perceived voter apathy, "Turnout for Iraq’s October 10 parliamentary election is expected to be a record low, with a recent poll predicting just 29 percent of eligible voters will cast ballots." Human Rights Watch has identified another factor which may impact voter turnout, "People with disabilities in Iraq are facing significant obstacles to participating in upcoming parliamentary elections on October 10, 2021, due to discriminatory legislation and inaccessible polling places, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. Without urgent changes, hundreds of thousands of people may not be able to vote.  The 36-page report, “‘No One Represents Us’: Lack of Access to Political Participation for People with Disabilities in Iraq,” documents that Iraqi authorities have failed to secure electoral rights for Iraqis with disabilities. People with disabilities are often effectively denied their right to vote due to discriminatory legislation and inaccessible polling places and significant legislative and political obstacles to running for office."  Another obstacle is getting the word out on a campaign.  Political posters are being torn down throughout Iraq.  Halgurd Sherwani  (KURDiSTAN 24) observes, "Under Article 35 of the election law, anyone caught ripping apart or vandalizing an electoral candidate's billboard could be punished with imprisonment for at least a month but no longer than a year, Joumana Ghalad, the spokesperson for the Iraqi Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC), told a press conference on Wednesday."  And there's also the battles in getting out word of your campaign online.  THE NEW ARAB reported weeks ago, "Facebook is restricting advertisements for Iraqi political parties and candidates in the run-up to the country's parliamentary elections, an official has told The New Arab's Arabic-language sister site."

THE WASHINGTON POST's Louisa Loveluck Tweeted: of how "chromic mistrust in [the] country's political class" might also lower voter turnout.  Mina Aldroubi (THE NATIONAL) also notes, "Experts are predicting low turnout in October due to distrust of the country’s electoral system and believe that it will not deliver the much needed changes they were promised since 2003."  Mistrust would describe the feelings of some members of The October Revolution.  Mustafa Saadoun (AL-MONITOR) notes some of their leaders, at the recent  Opposition Forces Gathering conference announced their intent to boycott the elections because they "lack integrity, fairness and equal opportunities."  Distrust is all around.  Halkawt Aziz  (RUDAW) reported on how, " In Sadr City, people are disheartened after nearly two decades of empty promises from politicians." 

After the election, there will be a scramble for who has dibs on the post of prime minister.  Murat Sofuoglu (TRT) observes, "The walls of Baghdad are covered with posters of Iraq’s former leaders, especially Nouri al Maliki and Haidar al Abadi, as the country moves toward its early elections on October 10. Both men however were forced out of power for their incompetence, and yet they are leading in the country’s two powerful Shia blocks."  Outside of Baghdad?  THE NEW ARAB explains, "However, in the provinces of Anbar, Saladin, Diyala, Nineveh, Kirkuk, Babel and the Baghdad belt, candidates have focussed on the issue of the disappeared and promised to attempt to find out what happened to them."

Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr has 90 candidates in his bloc running for seats in the Parliament and one of those, Hassan Faleh, has insisted to RUDAW, "The position of the next prime minister is the least that the Sadrist movement deserves, and we are certain that we will be the largest and strongest coalition in the next stage."  Others are also claiming the post should go to their bloc such as the al-Fatah Alliance -- the political wing of the Badr Organization (sometimes considered a militia, sometimes considered a terrorist group).  ARAB WEEKLY reported, "Al-Fateh Alliance parliament member Naim Al-Aboudi said that Hadi al-Amiri is a frontrunner to head the next government, a position that can only be held by a Shia, according to Iraq’s power-sharing agreement."  Some also insist the prime minister should be the head of the State of Law bloc, two-time prime minister and forever thug Nouri al-Maliki.  Moqtada al-Sadr's supporters do not agree and have the feeling/consensus that,  "Nouri al-Maliki has reached the age of political menopause and we do not consider him to be our rival because he has lost the luster that he once had so it is time for him to retire."

In one surprising development, Dilan Sirwan (RUDAW) has reported: "Iraq’s electoral commission aims to announce the results of the upcoming parliamentary elections on October 10 within 24 hours, they announced on Thursday following a voting simulation."

Kat's "Kat's Korner: Here's what happened when artist Laura Nyro auditioned for two pigs" went up Sunday.  The following sites updated:

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