Tuesday, October 18, 2022

Parker Posey and Ana Mae Wong

DEADLINE reports:

Parker Posey has signed with CAA.

The veteran actress was most recently seen in HBO Max’s The Staircase — she played the eccentric prosecutor Freda Black — and in Tales of the Walking Dead.

I love Parker Posey.  She's amazing.  Let me note my top ten favorite Parker Posey films:

1) PARTY GIRL -- sorry, it's number one.  I couldn't find it on video after I saw it, so I  bought the soundtrack on CD.  I loved that movie period but she was amazing in it.  Rebecca wrote about it recently in ""

2) WAITING FOR GUFFMAN -- love all the Christopher Guest films but, for Parker, this is my favorite and my favorite scene is when she talks about how sometimes people just come into the DQ for a coke or a cup of ice. :D

3) FAY GRIM -- just amazing -- the film, Parker, everything.

4) IRRATIONAL MAN -- oa great film she made with Joaquin Phoenix and they're set to make another film together.

5) BEST IN SHOW -- where is Beatrice's BUSY BEE!!!! :D

6) MASCOTS -- another great Christopher Guest film.  

7) FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION -- Parker's very strong in this one as well.

8) A MIGHTY WIND -- my least favorite of Christopher Guest's films -- which doesn't mean I don't still love it -- but Parker doesn't have enough to do in this 

9) SLEEP WITH ME -- I love her in KICKING & SCREAMING but I really love her with

10) HAPPY TEARS -- that's a hard one.  I love HOUSE OF YES, the Princess Grace movie, CLOCKWATCHERS and THE CON IS ON -- and the Blade movie -- but I'm going with HAPPY TEARS because it was a different type of role for her.

A new U.S. quarter featuring the likeness of Anna May Wong, a pioneering golden age actor considered to be Hollywood's first Chinese American movie star, will soon go into circulation.

Wong, who launched her career in the silent film era and appeared in more than 60 movies, will be the first Asian American person to be featured on U.S. currency, according to The New York Times.

The coin, which will begin shipping on Oct. 24, features a close-up of Wong’s head resting on her hand. She’s sporting her signature flapper-era bangs, and in a nod to her Hollywood legacy, the coin is framed by dots representing marquee lights.

 "Margaret Sullivan's tawdry and disappointing book (Ava and C.I.)" went up at THIRD.  I love it when Ava and C.I. do a book review. 

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


Tuesday, October 18, 2022.  The world watches as Joe Biden continues to persecute Julian Assange, a historic discovery takes place in Iraq and the missing billions continue to raise eyebrows.

Dear Home Secretary Braverman and Attorney General Garland,

We, a group of over 300 doctors, psychiatrists, psychologists and other health care professionals from more than 35 countries, are deeply concerned that the ongoing extradition threatens not only the health of Julian Assange, but also the health of our democracy. For the sake of both, we implore you to drop the charges and release Mr. Assange from Belmarsh prison immediately.

In calling for Mr. Assange’s freedom, we join the ever-growing chorus of protest [1], including the thousands of people around the world [2] who demonstrated on October 8, 2022 against Mr. Assange’s detention in the UK and his attempted extradition to the US.

The threats to Mr. Assange’s health are the cumulative result of extraordinarily cruel, unusual, degrading and inhuman conditions imposed on him. This includes:

  • more than ten years of arbitrary detention, with extended periods of solitary confinement in a high security prison despite never having been convicted of a crime;
  • character assassination campaigns in the media;
  • a relentless persecution that systematically violated the rule of law and due process, and had little basis in fact, as documented by the former UN Rapporteur on Torture;
  • illegal surveillance in the Ecuadorian embassy which included the video recording of his legal and medical consultations [3]; and
  • being targeted in plans of the CIA to kidnap and assassinate him [4].

In addition, Mr. Assange has faced the firepower of at least three US government entities involved in the effort to extradite him, including the Department of Justice overseeing the attempted prosecution, the CIA conducting illegal surveillance and drawing up plans for kidnap and assassination, and the FBI overseeing and greenlighting computer crimes in Iceland committed by a hacker in a scheme to falsely implicate Mr. Assange, as corroborated by the government of Iceland [5].

Adding to the stress of a lawless persecution, Mr. Assange has also lived with the knowledge of the impossibility of a fair trial if extradited to the US. The public interest served by the publications in question (including the Iraq and Afghanistan War Logs) was overwhelming and helped bring the catastrophic war in Iraq to a close. Yet, perversely, public interest may not be considered in prosecutions under the Espionage Act. In addition, no national security defendant has ever been acquitted in the Eastern District of Virginia, where Mr. Assange would be tried [6].

These conditions are collectively tantamount to psychological torture, as assessed by the former United Nations Rapporteur on Torture, Nils Melzer [7], and other medical experts in the field, including Professor Duarte Nuno Vieira [8] and Dr Pau PĂ©rez-Sales [9].

As health care professionals we have an ethical obligation to denounce torture where we see it, and to seek to end it. That is why we have called for an end to the persecution of Julian Assange since our founding three years ago, and why we again call for an end to his extradition once and for all.

The psychological torture resulting from these abuses has been grinding down Mr. Assange’s mental and physical health for over a decade. This has generated not only the risk of suicide, which would be further aggravated by the brutal conditions in US prisons. It also increases the risk of physical illnesses like cardiovascular disease, known to increase under conditions of psychological stress [10]. Confirming these concerns, Mr. Assange has already experienced a mini-stroke, which occurred on the first day of his extradition hearing in the UK High Court.

Compounding these health injustices, Mr. Assange was reported to have tested positive for Covid-19 on October 8, 2022. Given his chronic lung ailment, Mr. Assange may be at increased risk of serious illness resulting from Covid infection. In addition, Mr. Assange’s mental health is placed at further risk by the solitary confinement he has been forced to endure since his positive Covid test.

It is a travesty that a remand prisoner never convicted of a crime is languishing in Britain’s most notorious high security prison, when he shouldn’t have been imprisoned in the first place. The critical nature of Mr. Assange’s physical and psychological health underscores the need for his immediate release from prison. Only then can he receive the independent, high-quality, consistent health care which he requires, and which cannot be provided in a high security prison. Releasing Julian Assange will also bring to a close a case that is damaging press freedom across the globe and judicial integrity in the UK and the US.

For all these reasons, we request that you urgently intervene to end the extradition process and ensure Julian Assange is promptly released.

We look forward to hearing from you and would be grateful for a prompt response in light of the serious and urgent subject matter. Please address your reply to info@doctorsforassange.org.

Yours sincerely,

Doctors for Assange

Doctors for Assange is a group of over 300 medical professionals from 35 countries formed in October 2019 to voice concerns about the health of Julian Assange and to condemn the violations of his right to health, to doctor-patient confidentiality and to be free from torture.

Doctors for Assange. End torture and medical neglect of Julian Assange. The Lancet 2020; 395: e44–45. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(20)30383-4

Doctors for Assange. The ongoing torture and medical neglect of Julian Assange. The Lancet 2020; 396: p22-23. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(20)31444-6


[1] Reporters without borders lead a coalition of 16 organisations in urging the Home Secretary to urgently intervene in Assange extradition https://rsf.org/en/uk-rsf-leads-coalition-16-organisations-urging-home-secretary-suella-braverman-urgently-intervene

[2] Thousands surround the British parliament on 08/10/2022

[3] US agencies spying on Julian Assange in the Ecuadorian embassy https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qfWoIAsIn6Y

[4] CIA plans against Wikileaks https://news.yahoo.com/kidnapping-assassination-and-a-london-shoot-out-inside-the-ci-as-secret-war-plans-against-wiki-leaks-090057786.html

[5] Key witness in Assange case admits to lies in indictment https://stundin.is/grein/13627

[6] Melzer, Nils (2022) The trial of Julian Assange, published by Verso Books

[7] Nils Melzer confirms psychological torture of Julian Assange at a session of the UN https://youtu.be/UGqVx_L-Y7M?t=267

[8] Professor Duarte Nuno Vieira is Full Professor (of Forensic Medicine, Forensic Sciences, Ethics and Medical Law) at the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Coimbra (Portugal) and at the Faculty of Health Sciences of the University of Beira Interior. https://www.uc.pt/fmuc/pessoas/docentes/DNVieira; https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Duarte-Vieira

[9] Dr Pau Perez-Sales is a psychiatrist and director of the Universidad Complutense de Madrid‘s Post-Doctoral Degree in Mental Health in Political Violence and Catastrophe. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pau_P%C3%A9rez-Sales; https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Pau-Perez-Sales

[10] Clinical study on the correlation between psychological stress and systemic inflammation as a major factor for cardiovascular disease https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/36115323/

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. 

Because the machine of this modern Leviathan was exposed by Julian and WikiLeaks, the machine demands revenge. The United States has undergone a corporate coup d’etat in slow motion. It is no longer a functioning democracy. The real centers of power in the corporate, military,  and national security sectors were humiliated and embarrassed by WikiLeaks. Their war crimes, lies, conspiracies to crush the democratic aspirations of the vulnerable and the poor, and rampant corruption here and around the globe were laid bare in troves of leaked documents. We cannot fight on behalf of Julian unless we are clear about who we are fighting against. It is far worse than a corrupt judiciary. The global billionaire class, who have orchestrated a social inequality rivaled by pharaonic Egypt, has internally seized all of the levers of power and made us the most spied upon, monitored, watched, and photographed population in human history. When the government watches you 24 hours a day, you cannot use the word liberty. This is the relationship between a master and a slave.

Julian was long a target, of course. When WikiLeaks published the documents known as Vault 7 which exposed the hacking tools the CIA uses to monitor our phones, televisions, and even cars, he and journalism itself was condemned to crucifixion. The object is to shut down any investigation into the inner workings of power that might hold the ruling class accountable for its crimes, eradicate public opinion and replace it with a cant fed to the mob.

I spent two decades as a foreign correspondent on the outer reaches of empire in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, and the Balkans. I am acutely aware of the savagery of empire, how the brutal tools of repression are first tested on those Frantz Fanon called the wretched of the earth. Wholesale surveillance, torture, coups, black sites, black propaganda, militarized police, militarized drones, assassinations, wars.

Once perfected on people of color overseas, these tools migrate back to the homeland. By hollowing out our country from the inside through deindustrialization, austerity, deregulation, wage stagnation, the abolition of unions, massive expenditures on war and intelligence, a refusal to address the climate emergency, and a virtual tax boycott for the richest individuals and corporations, these predators intend to keep us in bondage, victims of a corporate neo-feudalism, and they have perfected their instruments of Orwellian control. Tyranny imposed on others is now imposed on us.

From its inception the CIA carried out assassinations, coups, torture, and illegal spying and abuse, including on that of US citizens, activities exposed in 1975 by the Church Committee hearings in the Senate and the Pike Committee hearings in the House. All these crimes, especially after the attacks of 9/11, have returned with a vengeance. The CIA is a rogue and unaccountable paramilitary organization with its own armed units and drone program, death squads, and a vast archipelago of global black sites where kidnapped victims are tortured and disappeared.

The US allocates a secret black budget of $50 billion a year to hide multiple types of clandestine projects carried out by the National Security Agency, the CIA, and other intelligence agencies, usually beyond the scrutiny of Congress. The CIA has a well-oiled apparatus to kidnap, torture, and assassinate targets around the globe, which is why, since it had already set up a system of 24-hour video surveillance of Julian and the Ecuadoran Embassy in London, it quite naturally discussed kidnapping and assassinating him. That is its business.

Senator Frank Church, after examining the heavily redacted CIA documents released to his committee, defined the CIA’s covert activity, and I quote, as “a semantic disguise for murder, coercion, blackmail, bribery, the spreading of lies, and consorting with known torturers and international terrorists.”

All despotisms mask state persecution with sham court proceedings. The show trials and troikas in Stalin’s Soviet Union, the raving Nazi judges in fascist Germany, the denunciation rallies in Mao’s China. State crime is cloaked in a faux legality; judicial farce. Julian is extradited and sentenced. And given the Lubyanka-like proclivities of the Eastern District of Virginia – This is a near certainty – It means that those of us who have published classified material, as I did when I worked for the New York Times, will become criminals

It means that the iron curtain will be pulled down to mask the abuses of power. It means that the state, which through special administrative measures, or SAMs, anti-terrorism laws, and the Espionage Act have created our homegrown version of Stalin’s Article 58, can imprison anyone anywhere in the world who dares commit the crime of telling the truth. We are here today to fight for Julian, but we are also here to fight against powerful subterranean forces that, in demanding Julian’s extradition and life imprisonment, have declared war on journalism. We are here today to fight for Julian, but we are also here to fight for the restoration of the rule of law and democracy.

We are here today to fight for Julian, but we are also here to dismantle the wholesale Stasi-like state surveillance erected across the West. We are here today for Julian [applause], but we are also here to overthrow – And let me repeat that word for the benefit of those in the FBI and Homeland Security who have come here to monitor us: overthrow… The corporate state and create a government of the people by the people and for the people that will cherish, rather than persecute, the best among us.

An Iraqi-American excavation team has unearthed a monumental rock-carving relief in a major archaeological site in the northern city of Mosul.

The carvings were found at Mashki Gate, or Al Maska in Arabic, one of the monumental gates for the old city of Nineveh, the imperial capital and most populous city of the Assyrian Empire.

The reliefs date back to the era of the Assyrian King Sinharib who reigned from 705 to 681 BC, Iraqi State Board of Antiquities and Heritage director Dr Laith Majid Hussein said on Monday.

Meanwhile, the theft of over 2 billion euros remains a scandal in Iraq.  ANF NEWS reports:

A huge corruption scandal is looming in Iraq: unknown persons have stolen the equivalent of almost 2.6 billion euros from the Iraqi tax authorities' account. The theft was announced by Oil Minister Ihsan Abdul-Jabbar at the weekend and has since been confirmed by Prime Minister-elect Mohammed Shia al-Sudani.

Jabbar said an investigation by the Treasury Department, which he headed until his resignation this week, found that "a certain group," without specifying details, had the money stolen from an IRS bank fund at Rafidain Bank.

Earlier, the Iraqi Treasury released a document showing the alleged theft. The letter caused a stir: it shows that the money had been withdrawn between September 2021 and August 2022. It was deposited using 247 checks into the accounts of five different companies and withdrawn immediately. Rafidain Bank said it had nothing to do with the theft. Its job was limited to "disbursing the General Tax Administration's bonds in its branches after verifying the validity of their issuance," according to the largest Iraqi bank, which also has branches in Cairo, Beirut and Abu Dhabi.

UN Special Representative for Iraq Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert has urged authorities to recover $2.5 billion that was embezzled from the tax authority, the latest corruption scandal to rock the country.

The case was revealed on Saturday by Oil Minister Ihsan Abdul Jabbar, who ordered an investigation when he was acting finance minister. Documents related to the investigation have been leaked to the media.

Winding down, we'll note this Tweet from Billy Eichner.

Not sure where else it will be available -- it'll be announced on the BROS site later today -- but AMAZON has it for rental -- $19.999 -- and iTunes has it for $19.99 rental and $24.99 to purchase. 

Isaiah's latest THE WORLD TODAY JUST NUTS "The Ladies Of THE PEW" went up yesterday.  
The following sites updated:

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