Cate Blanchett (TAR)
Going out with C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot;"
8) CIA Discussed Plans to Kidnap or Kill Julian Assange
The CIA seriously considered plans to kidnap or assassinate WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in late 2017, according to a September 2021 Yahoo News investigation, based on interviews with more than 30 former U.S. officials, eight of whom detailed U.S. plans to abduct Assange and three of whom described the development of plans to kill him. If it had been up to CIA Director Mike Pompeo, they almost certainly would have been acted on, after WikiLeaks announced it had obtained a massive tranche of files — dubbed “Vault 7” — from the CIA’s ultra-secret hacking division, and posted some of them online.
In his first public remarks as Donald Trump’s CIA director, “Pompeo devoted much of his speech to the threat posed by WikiLeaks” Yahoo News noted, “Rather than use the platform to give an overview of global challenges or to lay out any bureaucratic changes he was planning to make at the agency.” He even called it “a non-state hostile intelligence service often abetted by state actors like Russia,” a designation intended to grant the CIA wide latitude in what actions it took, while shielding it from congressional oversight.
“Potential scenarios proposed by the CIA and Trump administration officials included crashing into a Russian vehicle carrying Assange in order to grab him, shooting the tires of an airplane carrying Assange in order to prevent its takeoff, and engaging in a gun battle through the streets of London,” Project Censored summarized. “Senior CIA officials went so far as to request ‘sketches’ or ‘options’ detailing methods to kill Assange.”
“WikiLeaks was a complete obsession of Pompeo’s,” a former Trump administration national security official told Yahoo News. “After Vault 7, Pompeo and [Deputy CIA Director Gina] Haspel wanted vengeance on Assange.” It went so far that “Pompeo and others at the agency proposed abducting Assange from the embassy and surreptitiously bringing him back to the United States via a third country — a process known as rendition,” they reported. (Assassination entered the picture later on.) Since it would take place in Britain, there had to be agreement from them. “But the British said, ‘No way, you’re not doing that on our territory, that ain’t happening,’” a former senior counterintelligence official told Yahoo News.
There was also push-back from National Security Council, or NSC lawyers and the Department of Justice, which wanted to put Assange on trial. But the CIA continued to push for capturing or killing Assange. Trump’s “NSC lawyers were bulwarks against the CIA’s potentially illegal proposals, according to former officials,” Yahoo News reported, but the CIA’s own lawyers may have been kept in the dark. “When Pompeo took over, he cut the lawyers out of a lot of things,” a former senior intelligence community attorney told them. “Pompeo’s ready access to the Oval Office, where he would meet with Trump alone, exacerbated the lawyers’ fears. [The NSC’s top lawyer John] Eisenberg fretted that the CIA director was leaving those meetings with authorities or approvals signed by the president that Eisenberg knew nothing about, according to former officials.”
“US plans to kidnap or assassinate Julian Assange have received little to no establishment news coverage in the United States, other than scant summaries by Business Insider and The Verge, and tangential coverage by Reuters, each based on the original Yahoo News report,” Project Censored notes. “Among US independent news outlets, Democracy Now! featured an interview with Michael Isikoff, one of the Yahoo News reporters who broke the story, and Jennifer Robinson, a human rights attorney who has been advising Julian Assange and WikiLeaks since 2010. Rolling Stone and The Hill also published articles based on the original Yahoo News report.”
Press freedom and rights organizations on Thursday expressed "grave concern" about the Biden administration's "relentless pursuit" of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, an Australian who is jailed in London while he fights against extradition to the United States.
"It is more than a year since our coalition sent a joint letter calling for the charges against Assange to be dropped," 21 groups wrote to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland. "Today, we repeat those concerns, and urge you to heed our request. We believe that the prosecution of Assange in the U.S. would set a harmful legal precedent and deliver a damaging blow to press freedom by opening the way for journalists to be tried under the Espionage Act if they receive classified material from whistleblowers."
For those who've forgotten, 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 deat
The Biden administration has been saying all the right things lately about respecting a free and vigorous press, after four years of relentless media-bashing and legal assaults under Donald Trump.
The attorney general, Merrick Garland, has even put in place expanded protections for journalists this fall, saying that “a free and independent press is vital to the functioning of our democracy”.
But the biggest test of Biden’s commitment remains imprisoned in a jail cell in London, where WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been held since 2019 while facing prosecution in the United States under the Espionage Act, a century-old statute that has never been used before for publishing classified information.
Whether the US justice department continues to pursue the Trump-era charges against the notorious leaker, whose group put out secret information on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Guantánamo Bay, American diplomacy and internal Democratic politics before the 2016 election, will go a long way toward determining whether the current administration intends to make good on its pledges to protect the press.
Now Biden is facing a re-energized push, both inside the United States and overseas, to drop Assange’s protracted prosecution.
+ I’d like to see someone leak the Bari Weiss Files on Matt Taibbi’s new partner’s ceaseless campaign to get Joseph Massad fired from Columbia University.
+ According to Business Insider, Musk has provided the anti-Palestinian zealot Bari Weiss access to Twitter’s employee systems, added to its Slack, and given a company laptop, a level of access to Twitter systems typically reserved only for staff…
+ CounterPunch wasn’t just “shadow banned” on Twitter, we went into total eclipse. For more than a year our followers remained static or declined. We couldn’t even attract bots, Russian or porn. Its editor’s Twitter account (mine) was permanently locked. But there’s never been a single inquiry about this or any other suppressed Leftwing, animal rights, radical green, Occupy Wall Street or pro-Palestinian Twitter account. Why? Because it doesn’t fit the narrative Musk, Taibbi and Weiss want to project. This isn’t about free speech–how could it possibly be when an apex blacklister is in charge of determining what is & isn’t a blacklist?
+ Bari may not know much, but she knows blacklists…
+ Amid the hundreds of rightwing (and neo-Nazi) accounts being
restored, I don’t know of any accounts associated with the Left or pro-Palestinian accounts, like Stanley Cohen’s, having been resurrected or are likely to be with Weiss calling the shots. Yet, the account of Andrew Anglin, editor of the neo-Nazi Daily Stormer, is back up and running.
+ MAGA accusing Sebastian Gorka of being part of a Deep State cover up is the best thing to come out of Laptopgate. Well done, Matt Taibbi!
+ Taibbi, who once blamed the excesses of his own satirical writings in The eXile on his heroin usage, rummaging around in the pilfered files of a drug addict and claiming a major exposé, doesn’t demonstrate much addict-to-addict solidarity…
+ The eXile was one of the best magazines to emerge in the 90s. The problem wasn’t the satirical pieces–worthy of Paul Krassner–but Taibbi’s cowardly renouncement of them–and blaming his partner Mark Ames, all to curry favor with people he once rightly despised and ridiculed.
+ Instead of Hunter Thompson, Taibbi’s morphed into David Horowitz…
+ Taibbi likes to think of himself as a “muckraker,” but I can’t think of a single “muckraker” agreeing to secret conditions set by the richest tech mogul in the world to run a story based solely on documents given to him by the same tech lord to be run on that very tech lord’s site. It sure ain’t the way IF Stone did it.
+ Over to you, Dr. Jung…
+ When the principle condition of the conditions constraining your reporting is that you don’t name the conditions, you’ve got a problem. You don’t know what the full story is if you’re only printing what your clearly biased source has given you. This is exactly what Judith Miller did with Curveball. Except it’s worse because in this case your source owns the means of publication and requires it to be published there.
+ Mark Ames: “All Musk’s fanboys on this wretched site want nothing more than to cancel their s**tlib-enemies’ accounts, you constantly see them snitching and tagging their Hero, just as libs did to them. No principle here, just a buncha snitches riding the oligarchy’s dopamine rollercoaster…”
Disputes over land ownership between Arabs, resettled to areas disputed between Erbil and Baghdad by the Baathist regime, and Kurdish farmers have existed for years, often causing violence.
Abdulqadir Mohammed, a Kurdish farmer in Daquq, told Rudaw’s Hardi Mohammed on Wednesday that dozens of resettled Arabs had been ploughing on his land for three days with the alleged support of the Iraqi army. He said that when they tried to stop them, the resettled Arabs attacked with stones and guns.
Mohammed said he has all necessary documents to prove the ownership of the land.
#mediadev spoke to Salam Omer, editor-in-chief of KirkukNow, a news outlet based in Kirkuk in Northern Iraq. Launched in 2011, it is the only specialised media platform for citizens in Iraq's disputed territories.
#mediadev: Mr. Omer, your media outlet works in a multi-ethnic, multi-religious context. Who is your audience?
Salam Omer: We cover the disputed territories of Northern Iraq, located north of a line dividing the whole country from Syria to Iran. Our primary audience is the population of these areas: Kurds, Arabs, Turkmen, Sunni Arabs, Shia Arabs, Christians, Yezidis etc.
In addition to news in these areas, what do you focus on in your reporting?
Our priorities are topics across the country related to freedom of expression, press freedom and groups like women, internally displaced people (IDPs), or the LGBT community. We reach around two million people across all platforms.
What are the main challenges in your work?
I have to look at three things on a daily basis: Are we secure? Do we have enough money? Do we have access to information? And all that depends on the ruling party, the ruling militia. That's the biggest challenge for us. Other media organizations, the mainstream media, belong to a political party. They have access to information, access to public oil money and they are safe. We don't have anything. We believe in the rule of law, that's the starting point for us.
You must face a lot of criticism for your work. How do you deal with it?
It is a challenge. At the beginning, we were attacked by almost all sides. For example, we published an article on the Kurds, and the next day, people suggested that we were financed by Arabs and Turkmens. The week after, someone else got upset. We built relationships with everyone to always have a channel of dialogue. We needed a lot of time to prove that an independent, impartial media platform can function. That needs work. And dedication.
Following the withdrawal of American forces, there would be no trace of ISIL in Iraq, Qasim al-Kariti, commander of the PMU's 41st Brigade said.
Criticizing the sabotage and obstruction of the Americans in the fight against terrorism in Iraq, Al-kariti noted that the American forces influence the process of security operations in this country.
Therefore, they should be expelled from the country, he stressed.
If the American forces leave the country, in a few days, there will be no trace of ISIL terrorists, he said, adding that the war against ISIL strengthened the determination of Iraqi youth.