The weekend box office:
|Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero
|Top Gun: Maverick
|DC League of Super Pets
|Thor: Love and Thunder
|Minions: The Rise of Gru
|Where the Crawdads Sing
|Bodies Bodies Bodies
Read "BEAST and Idris Elba" for my thoughts on the number two film. "BULLET TRAIN" cost $92 million just to shoot and it's already begun the slow fade. I hated DC LEAGUE OF SUPER PETS. Can't believe it's still in the top ten but there's not a lot to see. August has been a lousy month for films.
Going out with C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"
Monday, August 22, 2022. The persecution of Julian Assange continues as the world watches the hypocrisy of Joe Biden, a landslide hits Iraq, Moqtada makes a new demand and much more.
Starting in Italy, Olivier Turquet (PRESSENZA) interviews Lorena Corrias who is staging a street theater act where she 'lives' in a space as tiny as the one that Julian Assange is being held in:
-Lorena, how did you get the idea to do this?
-For months I wanted to do something that would have a strong impact on people; then on Instagram, I saw a girl from Berlin – Raja Valeska – who went down to crowded places in the city every day to protest with a sign indicating how many days Julian had been detained in Belmarsh and drew a rectangle on the ground with the dimensions of Assange’s cell (2 by 3 metres). I thought it was a great idea, very impressive, and so I tried to apply it in my city as well. I also contacted her and today we are still looking for new projects together. She has been my muse. I was deeply moved by her idea and her courage.
-What particularly moved you about Julian?
-I can’t list just one aspect.
I was moved by the injustice he has been subjected to, but also by his immense courage and loyalty to us: he risked everything to let us know what was really going on in the world. He challenged an unjust and corrupt system.
He is undoubtedly a great hero, a unique, tenacious man of enormous intelligence, an example to us all.
Then, of course, it struck me that he had such an out-of-the-ordinary, super-innovative and revolutionary idea (WikiLeaks) and that he managed to put it into practice. It would probably have seemed to all of us to be an almost impossible undertaking, but he did it! For a few years he was the protagonist of the news to which only he, the whistleblowers and his collaborators had access; he was the inventor of a new world, a just world where the weakest were no longer hidden by secrecy and where we all had access to the information that mattered to us. He told us what the states wanted to hide from us.
I was shocked to learn the story of the detainees in Guantánamo, many of them innocent; to see how US soldiers enjoyed shooting from helicopters at unarmed civilians who were simply walking down the street… It was like watching children playing Play Station (I refer to the video called Collateral Murder). I was shocked to see states like the US, Australia, Sweden and England breaking numerous laws to teach a lesson to an innocent person, who was just doing his job for free in the interest of the population.
Around the world people are watching as Julian Assange remains persecuted by US President Joe Biden. 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.
The persecution has resulted in spying on reporters and attorneys as was revealed last week. Marjorie Cohn (TRUTHOUT) notes:
Attorneys and journalists whom the CIA spied on when they visited WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London have filed a lawsuit against the CIA, its former director Mike Pompeo, UC Global and its director, David Morales, in U.S. District Court.
Assange is in a London prison fighting extradition to the United States. He is charged with violating the Espionage Act for exposing U.S. war crimes and faces 175 years imprisonment. During the seven years he lived in the Ecuadorian Embassy under a grant of asylum, Assange was visited by more than 100 attorneys, journalists and doctors. They included Assange’s criminal defense attorneys in the United States, international human rights lawyers, national security journalists whose sources could be jeopardized if exposed, and physicians and medical professionals.
The CIA commissioned Undercover Global (UC Global), a private Spanish security company, to send images from Assange’s visitors’ cellphones and laptops as well as video streamed from their meetings to the CIA.
“Unbeknownst to anyone there, they actually put recording devices and cameras in the rooms where Mr. Assange was, which essentially live streamed what he was doing and saying back to Washington,” attorney Richard Roth, who filed the lawsuit, told me and my co-host Michael Smith on Law and Disorder radio. “I think that there was clearly a desire to bring down Julian Assange any way possible.”
Defendant Morales announced to his employees that UC Global would be operating “in the big league” and on the “dark side” with the CIA, the complaint says. Former employees of UC Global said the deal included selling information gathered as a result of the illegal surveillance.
For the LAW AND DISORDER RADIO episode Marjorie is writing about, click here. It will air later this morning on WBAI but it already up at the program's website.
The world is watching as Joe Biden trashes the freedom of the press, the Constitution, human rights and so much more. The hypocrisy is on full display. DEVDISCOURSE notes:
China on Friday said that if WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange had disclosed the "dirty secrets" of a country other than the US, Assange would not have been put him behind bars and he might have received honor from the CIA. Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin made these remarks in response to reports that lawyers for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, along with two journalists, have recently sued the Central Investigation Agency for unlawfully obtaining information from their electronic devices and recordings of their conversations with Julian Assange, violating their privacy.
"We can all imagine, had Assange disclosed the dirty secrets of not the US, perhaps he would not have been put behind bars and might even receive a medal or some kind of rewards and immense honor from the CIA," Wenbin said during a media presser. "What has happened to Assange and his lawyers has again made one thing clear: in the US, the sanctity of human rights and press freedom comes with strings attached. The exercise of such rights and freedom must not come into conflict with the interests of the US. For if it does, they will surely come under high-handed restriction and ruthless suppression," he added.
If you missed it last week, here's the press conference -- moderated by attorney Heidi Boghosian who also co-hosts LAW AND DISORDER RADIO.
The death toll has risen from a landslide that took place Saturday in Iraq. BBC NEWS reports:
On Saturday, an earth mound adjacent to the Qattarat al-Imam Ali shrine gave way as a result of moisture saturation.
The landslide hit the ceiling of the shrine, which then collapsed on to visitors.
"Any mistake could lead to further collapses," said Abdelrahman Jawdat, a civil defence spokesman.
Between six and eight pilgrims are trapped in the shrine, civil defence spokesman Nawas Sabah Shaker said.
Al Jazeera’s Mahmoud Abdelwahed, reporting from the capital Baghdad, said many worshippers had gathered at the shrine during the Shia Muslim holy month of Muharram.
“Heavy machinery was brought to the scene including bulldozers and diggers,” he said. “Family members are standing by, waiting for any news about their loved ones.”
REUTERS notes that six people have now been rescued from the the collapse. AP notes that the death toll has now risen to seven. Sinana Mahmoud (THE NATIONAL) offers this background, "For Shiites, the site is a revered one. They say that when the fourth Caliph Imam Ali, the Prophet Mohammed’s cousin and son-in-law, was on his way to the Battle of Siffin in 657 AD (37 Hijri) against Muawiyah ibn Abi Sufyan, the rebellious governor of Syria, his army was thirsty so he removed a huge and heavy rock to reveal a water spring."
In other news?
October 10th, Iraq held elections. All these months later, they have failed to name a prime minister or a president. MEMO notes:
Sabreen Khalil lost her husband to COVID last year, leaving her to raise seven children alone, but Iraqi government funding to help her and hundreds of thousands of families in poverty is blocked by political stalemate, Reuters reports.
With politicians deadlocked over forming a new government since an election in October, rival Shia Muslim factions in Baghdad, on Friday, continued their weeks-long protests which have prevented Parliament from meeting.
The standoff has raised fears of renewed unrest in a country where militias wield significant power and is already taking a toll on the most vulnerable.
"I am a woman and, all of a sudden, I had to take the responsibility of seven children alone … it broke my back," Khalil said, speaking of the impact of her husband's death.
Sitting on the floor in her one-bedroom brick house in the village of Saada on the outskirts of Baghdad, she said she cannot afford treatment for her chronic illness and that her children have to skip some meals as food prices soar.
People are suffering and many are blaming cult leader Moqtada al-Sadr who took months and months to form a government and failed over and over. He then stomped his feet and had all of his MPs resign from Parliament. They have been replaced with the second runners up in the October vote. Now he wants the Parliament dissolved by the judiciary who has responded that only Parliament has the power to dissolve itself. The United Nations has called for dialogue. Iraq's caretake prime minister echoed that call and organized a meet up this past week.
Guess who chose not to participate?
That's right, cry baby Moqtada.
And yet, he now tries to issue another demand. PRESS TV notes:
Prominent Iraqi Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr says he has submitted a proposal to the United Nations to hold a public debate with all political factions in Iraq, as the country’s political crisis continues to deepen.
In a post on his Twitter account on Saturday, Sadr wrote that he has not received a tangible response from the Iraqi political parties in this regard, adding that their response did not address the demands of the people or the revolutionaries.
No dialogue unless he controls it? Yes, he's blocking movement again while the Iraqi people suffer. And why does he want to be in charge of a dialogue anyway? Mid-week he explained he boycotted the meeting of various political heads because "I will not sit with the corrupt and those who want evil." Unless, of course, he can be in charge.
We'll wind down with this from Black Alliance for Peace:
The U.S. plan to draw Russia into a proxy war in the Ukraine has turned out to be a monumental debacle, exposing the United States’ cynical plans as well as the limits of U.S. imperial power.
The Black Alliance for Peace (BAP) has consistently analyzed the conflict as manufactured, one that could have been avoided with a real commitment to peace in that part of the world.
But the Biden administration decided war was the method. It needed to suppress Germany and disconnect the Russian economy from the Western European economy.
In May, we called for states to boycott the Summit of the Americas, an event through which the United States has attempted to maintain hegemony through manipulation. The people of our region declared opposition to it, saying one cannot be a partner and a hegemon at the same time. As long as the United States sees our region as its backyard—or its front yard—we will struggle against it.
All of these are indications we are witnessing the development of a new world, in which the possibility of equality, peace, development and stability can be achieved. But it’s quite clear it can only be achieved with collective humanity putting a break on the U.S./EU/NATO axis of domination.
We are proud that BAP has become an integral force in dismantling the U.S. empire. In this issue of our newsletter, you will see some of the political work BAP has been involved in, both in the media and on the ground.
We hope to continue with your support to bring about peace and justice in this world.
BAP issued a statement on African Liberation Day. We pulled off a webinar in May to introduce our SOUTHCOM campaign. Then we did another webinar in June about the connection between health and People(s)-Centered Human Rights. Meanwhile, the Ukraine resources page has been updated. Check out the latest AFRICOM Watch Bulletin, featuring an interview with BAP member organization All-African People’s Revolutionary Party member Ahjamu Umi. Plus, keep up with what’s happening in Afghanistan with the Afghanistan News Update.
The following sites updated: