I reviewed "SPIDER-MAN: NO WAY HOME" already but here are three takes that you may find interesting.
Going out with C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"
Julian Assange, an Australian citizen, is being persecuted by the US government. He not only remains in UK custody, the UK government now says they will hand Julian over to the US. Why? What is the crime?
Not just in terms of the US, but in terms of the UK? How does the UK justify keeping Julian behind bars when the case against him was already settled. That case against him was dropped by the prosecution which stated that they did not believe they had enough evidence to support the charges. That means you let the person go. Somehow, in the UK, they retain him and hold him with no real chrages. He's not under investigation in the UK, the case was dropped. That means the person is set free. Two years and eight months after the case has been dropped, Julian remains in prison.
Controversial Wikileaks founder Julian Assange is wanted by the United States for leaking classified government information in 2010 and 2011 that revealed potential war crimes perpetrated by the United States. The U.S. wants him tried for espionage, and, late last week, a U.K. court granted his extradition.
Assange and his defenders contend leaking secret government information to the public is what any journalist might do on a regular basis. Basic reporting.
This is not new. When The New York Times published the Pentagon Papers in 1971, which showed how the president had deceived the public about the Vietnam War, the Richard Nixon administration sued the paper. Henry Kissinger called the leaker, Daniel Ellsberg, "the most dangerous man in America." Nixon reportedly raged at his aides over Ellsberg, telling them to "destroy" that "son of a b---h" and "I don't care how you do it."
Successfully representing The New York Times then was attorney James Goodale. When former President Barack Obama was seeking to punish Assange, Goodale compared the situation to the Pentagon Papers case, telling The Guardian in 2013 "it's the very same thing ... [Y]ou've got to remember, [Chelsea] Manning's the leaker. Everyone says Assange is a leaker. He's not a leaker. He's the person who gets the information." That means "if you go after Wikileaks criminally, you go after the Times," amounting to "the criminalization of the whole process," Goodale argued.
Julian's 'crime'? Releasing the truth. Letting the people know. Providing some much needed sunlight in what's supposed to be a democracy. As we've noted many times, such as here, the one person the US government wants to punish for the Iraq War is WIKILEAKS publisher Julian Assange. Julian's 'crime' was revaling 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.
How telling of the pathetic and degraded society we currently live in that the only person whom the US government wants to punish for the Iraq War is the one who told the truth.
Azmat authored "Hidden Petnagon Records Reveal Patterns Of Failure In Deadly Airstrikes" which went up over the weekend:
Shortly before 3 a.m. on July 19, 2016, American Special Operations
forces bombed what they believed were three ISIS “staging areas” on the
outskirts of Tokhar, a riverside hamlet in northern Syria. They reported
85 fighters killed. In fact, they hit houses far from the front line,
where farmers, their families and other local people sought nighttime
sanctuary from bombing and gunfire. More than 120 villagers were killed.
In early 2017 in Iraq, an American war plane struck a dark-colored vehicle, believed to be a car bomb, stopped at an intersection in the Wadi Hajar neighborhood of West Mosul. Actually, the car had been bearing not a bomb but a man named Majid Mahmoud Ahmed, his wife and their two children, who were fleeing the fighting nearby. They and three other civilians were killed.
In November 2015, after observing a man dragging an “unknown heavy object” into an ISIS “defensive fighting position,” American forces struck a building in Ramadi, Iraq. A military review found that the object was actually “a person of small stature” — a child — who died in the strike.
None of these deadly failures resulted in a finding of wrongdoing.
These cases are drawn from a hidden Pentagon archive of the American air war in the Middle East since 2014.
The trove of documents — the military’s own confidential assessments of more than 1,300 reports of civilian casualties, obtained by The New York Times — lays bare how the air war has been marked by deeply flawed intelligence, rushed and often imprecise targeting, and the deaths of thousands of civilians, many of them children, a sharp contrast to the American government’s image of war waged by all-seeing drones and precision bombs.
The documents show, too, that despite the Pentagon’s highly codified system for examining civilian casualties, pledges of transparency and accountability have given way to opacity and impunity. In only a handful of cases were the assessments made public. Not a single record provided includes a finding of wrongdoing or disciplinary action. Fewer than a dozen condolence payments were made, even though many survivors were left with disabilities requiring expensive medical care. Documented efforts to identify root causes or lessons learned are rare.
The air campaign represents a fundamental transformation of warfare that took shape in the final years of the Obama administration, amid the deepening unpopularity of the forever wars that had claimed more than 6,000 American service members. The United States traded many of its boots on the ground for an arsenal of aircraft directed by controllers sitting at computers, often thousands of miles away. President Barack Obama called it “the most precise air campaign in history.”
This was the promise: America’s “extraordinary technology” would allow the military to kill the right people while taking the greatest possible care not to harm the wrong ones.
Summing up its efforts to probe the US wars in the greater Middle East region, the newspaper wrote: “The promise was a war waged by all-seeing drones and precision bombs.” But the documents NYT obtained showed “flawed intelligence, faulty targeting, years of civilian deaths — and scant accountability”.
The newspaper got access to the Pentagon documents about the war through Freedom of Information requests beginning in March 2017 and lawsuits filed against the US Defence Department and the Central Command.
NYT reporters also visited more than 100 casualty sites and interviewed scores of surviving residents and current and former American officials. The findings, published this week in a two-part report, revealed that the US air war was “deeply flawed” and the number of civilian deaths had been “drastically undercounted”, by at least several hundreds, NYT reported.
“The truth is we’re not engaging in a bunch of drone attacks inside Iraq. There’s some surveillance to make sure that our embassy compound is protected,” Obama said during an online question-and-answer session with users of YouTube and Google+.
“I think that there’s this perception that we’re just sending in a whole bunch of strikes willy nilly,” Obama added. “It is important for everybody to understand that this is kept on a very tight leash.”
Reports suggest that the leader of the Sadrist Movement, Muqtada al-Sadr, as the winner of the October election, plans to offer the post to former Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi if the political factions fail to reach a consensus on the extension of al-Kadhimi term. Undoubtedly, the most important opponents of al-Abadi will be the Kurds and Sunnis since none of them are satisfied with his administration's management to finish ISIS terrorist organization.
In addition to al-Abadi, another option over whom the Shiites can reach a consensus is Nouri al-Maliki, the former prime minister and leader of the SCF. Of course, re-election of al-Maliki will be very difficult due to his differences with al-Sadr. The only way al-Maliki can once again take over the post of prime minister is accepting al-Sadr's special conditions, which, of course, seems highly unlikely.
Other options include Mohammad Shia Al-Sudani and Asad al-Aidani. Al-Sudani was born in 1970 in Baghdad and is the former governor of Maysan. He was minister of labor and social affairs under al-Abadi from 2014-2017. He also served as minister of commerce.
Asad al-Aidani, another option, served as minister of labor and social affairs, minister of industry, minister of trade, minister of human rights, and also mayor of Maysan. When the political circles discussed a replacement to PM Adel Abdel Mahdi, he was an option.
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