Monday, December 13, 2021

Weekend box office



Above is Isaiah's THE WORLD TODAY JUST NUTS "Family Get Togethers."  Below is the weekend box office via THE NUMBERS.COM:


1 N West Side Story 20th Cent… $10,574,618   2,820   $3,750 $10,574,618 1
2 (1) Encanto Walt Disney $9,985,099 -24% 3,750 -230 $2,663 $71,905,154 3
3 (2) Ghostbusters: Afterlife Sony Pict… $7,102,173 -31% 3,815 -244 $1,862 $112,006,454 4
4 (3) House of Gucci United Ar… $4,112,028 -41% 3,407 -70 $1,207 $41,083,400 3
5 (5) Eternals Walt Disney $3,149,849 -23% 3,030 -200 $1,040 $161,266,892 6
6 (6) Resident Evil: Welcom… Sony Pict… $1,661,194 -38% 2,572 -231 $646 $15,863,138 3
7 (7) Clifford the Big Red Dog Paramount… $1,302,231 -31% 2,840 -421 $459 $47,686,042 5
8 (4) Christmas with the Ch… Fathom Ev… $1,240,000 -71% 1,450 -250 $855 $13,388,000 2
9 (8) Dune Warner Bros. $870,093 -53% 948 -269 $918 $106,223,253 8
10 (-) Venom: Let There be C… Sony Pict… $768,163 -23% 1,003 -231 $766 $211,971,131 11

Sorry, but that's not a good opening for WEST SIDE STORY.  I've already noted I didn't care for the film.  ("WEST SIDE STORY")  And ten million for an opening? When last week's number one made $9.9 million.  

VARIETY notes:

Audiences didn’t open their wallets to see the infamous rivalry between the Sharks and the Jets play out on the big screen.

West Side Story,” Steven Spielberg’s remake of the classic musical, fell flat in its box office debut, collecting a paltry $10.5 million from 2,820 theaters. Despite its first-place finish, the film’s inaugural ticket sales are cause for concern because Disney and 20th Century Studios spent $100 million to revive the Shakespearean love story for modern times and stand to lose millions, unless “West Side Story” endures at the box office through the holidays and Oscar season.

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

Monday, December 13, 2021.  The persecution of Julian Assange intensifies as many look the other way (looking at you Heidi Boghosian and Micahel Smith), a case on the vote in Iraq continues, and much more.

Verner Verass Tweets:

A war crime is not a classifiable document. Julian Assange simply alerted the world to the killing of eleven people by the air crew of a U.S. Apache hellicopter in Iraq in 2007. Two of those people were International journalists. #thedrum

The US government continues to persecute Julian Assange, the publisher of WIKILEAKS.  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.

Earlier this year,  Jake Johnson (COMMON DREAMS) reported:

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.


According to the Yahoo! News investigation, the agency’s plans for Assange and WikiLeaks – which would have begun as early as Barack Obama’s tenure with the definition of some of the website’s journalists, including Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras, as “information agents” – allegedly led to fierce debates over their legality and some officials were so concerned that they felt the need to brief members of Congress on the former service director’s suggestions.

It adds that it was a campaign that “bent important legal constraints, potentially jeopardized the Justice Department’s work to prosecute Assange and risked a damaging episode in the UK, America’s closest ally”.

That's where things once stood.  Last week, a decision was made to hand Julian over to the US government.  Glenn Greenwald (SUBSTACK) reports:

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 effective detention by the U.S. and British governments of Assange is just months shy of a full decade. Ecuador granted Assange asylum in August 2012 on the ground that his human rights were imperiled by U.S. attempts to imprison him for his journalism. For the next seven years, Assange remained in that embassy — which is really a tiny apartment in central London — with no outdoor space other than a tiny balcony, which he typically feared using due to the possibility of assassination. Ecuador withdrew its asylum in 2019 after its sovereignty-protective president Rafael Correa was succeeded in office by the meek and submissive Lenin Moreno. Trump officials led by then-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Ambassador Richard Grenell persuaded and coerced the new Ecuadorian president to withdraw Assange's asylum protection, clearing the way for London police to enter the building and arrest him on April 11, 2019. Ever since, Assange has been imprisoned in the high-security Belmarsh prison, described in the BBC in 2004 as “Britain's Guantanamo Bay.” He has thus spent close to seven years inside the embassy and two years and eight months inside Belmarsh: just five months shy of a decade with no freedom.

British MP Richard Burgon Tweets:

Julian Assange is being targeted for exposing US war crimes - in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay. Extradition to the US is not only an attempt to silence him - but to stop all journalists from speaking truth to power. We must continue to oppose his extradition to the US.

Where's LAW AND DISORDER RADIO? Head up their asses again?  They used to do so much, now they can't cover the law correctly instead bringing on idiots from the MONTHLY REVIEW who are so stupid that they don't even know the law or, for that matter, that 68-year-old men don't look 'cute' in Peter Pan bangs.

Don't worry, Heidi and Michael, you just managed to waste another week -- like you've basically done all year long.  And I've looked the other way and held my tongue but we both know, damn well, that if Michael Ratner were still alive, Julian would be the sole focus of this week's show.  Shameful, just shameful.

Meanwhile Aaron Mate Tweets:

“Progressive” radio host : “Does anyone know when” Assange “became essentially a whore for the Russians?” Russiagate fan fiction writer James Risen of The “fearless and adversarial” Intercept: “You know that’s a great question.”

Oh, this one calls for a music video.

In the never forgotten words of another one of your friends
In the never forgotten words of another one of your friends, baby
When you hang up that phone
Well you cease to exist
Welcome to the room Sara
Welcome to the room everyone

-- "Welcome To The Room, Sara," written by Stevie Nicks, first appears on Fleetwood Mac's TANGO IN THE NIGHT

Normally, we'd highlight an official recording but, as most people grasp, Stevie Nicks' songs on TANGO IN THE NIGHT were destroyed by Lindsay Buckingham, not enhanced.

And let's say, "Wecome to the room, Aaron."  Ian's a problem, is he?  Those of us who've called him out since 2008 could've used some support years ago.  But you were silent until now.  Maybe learn something from it, if you can.  Ian's KPFK stunt in 2008 should have gotten him kicked off all PACIFICA stations.  That it didn't goes to both the incestuous nature of PACIFICA and how partisianship trumps truth on the radio network. 

Ian's a problem for you now, is he?  Well, Aaron, welcome to the room.  Finally.

The Committee to Protect Journalists issued the following:

New York, December 10, 2021–The Committee to Protect Journalists today expressed deep disappointment at a British court’s decision to uphold the United States Justice Department’s appeal to extradite Julian Assange, which allows the U.S. to continue pursuing the extradition of the WikiLeaks founder, according to news reports

“On the same day the Nobel Peace Prize honors journalists, a UK court ruled that the United States can extradite Julian Assange, a move that seriously damages journalism,” said CPJ Deputy Executive Director Robert Mahoney. “The U.S. Justice Department’s dogged pursuit of the WikiLeaks founder has set a harmful legal precedent for prosecuting reporters simply for interacting with their sources. The Biden administration pledged at its Summit for Democracy this week to support journalism. It could start by removing the threat of prosecution under the Espionage Act now hanging over the heads of investigative journalists everywhere.”

If extradited and convicted in the United States, Assange faces up to 175 years in prison on 18 charges under both the Espionage Act and the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, CPJ has documented.

The insane Rocky Mountain Mike Tweets:

We sent 5,000 Americans to their graves so Iraq wouldn’t be run by either an authoritarian thug or religious extremists. Meanwhile, we’re one election away from America being run by an authoritarian thug and religious extremists.

He's a stupid idiot who wants to flaunt his stupidity.    The US government backed authoritarian thugs in Iraq after the 2003 invasion -- and they were and are religious extremists -- and did so to destroy and control Iraq.  Sopt beingso damn stupid.  I get it, old man, you're a damn idiot who never learned to think and sold your soul to the Democratic Party so you'd never have to make your own decisions again.  Fine.  That's your sorry life. And I don't comment on it or all the lies it involves until you try to drag Iraq into it.  Like you just did.

Iraqi women have had to push back against 'their' government over and over since the 2003 invasion as their rights have been under attack.  I get it, you don't give a crap about Iraqi women or, for that matter, the people of Iraq.  So just shut your damn mouth about them.  Keep "Iraq" out of your whorish mouth and you can write all the garbage you want and Tweet all the lies you need to in order to make your pathetic and empty life seem meaningful.  But throw out these lies and we're going to call your ass out.

In 2010, the Iraqi people went to the polls in huge numbers and did so to (a) toss Nouri al-Maliki out and (b) return to a national identity.  Not sects, but a national identity -- that is what the winner, Iraqiya, represented -- an Iraq for all.  Instead of supporting that election and those results, then US President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden overturned the results to give Nouri a second term.  They did so via The Erbil Agreement.  Election turnout has decreased ever since but the west doesn't want to talk about that -- about how they imparted the lesson that voting does not matter by overturning the 2010 vote with a legal contract.  When this was done, it was already known that thug Nouri was running secret prisons and torture chambers.  That didn't matter to Samantha Power and company.  The Iraqi people didn't matter to them.  The lessons and examples of democracy didn't matter.  All that mattered was keeping their thug in charge. 

The rise of ISIS in Iraq happens because Nouri al-Maliki gets a second term.  A lot of liars still can't get honest about that.  But those of us who didn't pledge alliegence to a political party or some political dream boy saw it -- and, here, we documented it -- in real time.  

Take your whorish, trashy mouth out of the Iraq discussion.  Go play your partisan b.s. and pretend you're being political all you want but do it away from Iraq, you disgusting piece of trash.

Digusting piece of trash?  Wow, we're back to the western media.  Multiple e-mails came into the public account 'correcting' me when I said the western press was wrong.  The official count by the electoral commission was no the official count.  I said that.  I said that the judiciary has to certify the results -- only then is the vote official.  I also noted that there were still court cases to settle before that could happen.

"Liar" was the response in a few drive-bys.  

No, truth teller.  And maybe you can grasp reality this morning with AFP reporting the following:

Judge Jassem Mohamed Aboud, whose court must rule on the complaint before final results are ratified and a new parliament is inaugurated, adjourned the case until December 22 after a procedural hearing.

Shiite Muslim firebrand cleric Moqtada Sadr was declared on November 30 as the biggest winner of the election.

Sadr's movement won nearly a fifth of the seats -- 73 out of the assembly's total 329, well ahead of the Fatah (Conquest) Alliance, the political arm of the pro-Iran Hashed.

Hashed leaders have rejected the result -- sharply down from their 48 seats in the outgoing assembly -- as a "fraud".

To those sending drive-by e-mails to the public account, who lied?  Not me.  The western press that you wrongly trusted lied to you.  And, honestly, all these years after lying the world into the Iraq War, your trusting them is really on you.

New content at THIRD:

Isaiah's THE WORLD TODAY JUST NUTS "Dianne Next In Line" and "Family Get Togethers" went up earlier this morning.

The following sites updated:

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