Tuesday, January 31, 2023


More cancellations.  MOVIE WEB reports:

As has been seen many times recently, mergers between entertainment providers come with a high number of casualties, much to the disappointment of viewers. The latest merger will see Showtime becoming part of the newly branded Paramount+ with Showtime. Following announcements that popular shows like American Gigolo and Let the Right One In will not be returning for more seasons, Showtime has canceled new series Three Women and will not be airing any of the completed episodes, via Deadline.

Like a number of recently cases with HBO Max and Netflix, Three Women, a new series based on the book by Lisa Taddeo, was all ready to go with filming and post-production complete, but now the series will not see light of day – at least not on Showtime or as part of the new set-up. The drama was set to star Shailene Woodley, Betty Gilpin, DeWanda Wise, Gabrielle Creevy and Blair Underwood, and according to the synopsis of the non-fiction book the story “covers the sexuality of three women [in the age groups of their 20s, 30s, and 40s]: Lina, a suburban Indiana mother whose teenage rape disrupts the course of her life; Maggie, a seventeen-year-old high school student in North Dakota who becomes entangled in an illegal affair with her married English teacher; and Sloane, a successful restaurant owner in the Northeast whose husband likes to watch her have sex with other men and women. Taddeo spent eight years writing the book, driving across the country six times to embed herself in the lives of the three women.”

If you were a fan of AMERICAN GIGOLO, my apologies.  But it was a bad show with a so-so actor who'd already failed on NETFLIX in a MARVEL show.  It was timid and embarrassing. Hard for a movie from the 80s to be more forward thinking than a TV show in 2022 (it debuted last year).  Embarrassing.  As for it being "popular"?  With who?  I know three people who watched it and they're not fans of it.  I never saw LET THE RIGHT ONE IN so can't comment there.  As for THREE WOMEN?  Blair Underwood's the only reason I'd watch.  Look at who you cast and then you're surprised no one wants to air your series?  Shailene Woodley's most convincing performance was as Aaron Rogers' beard -- and she wasn't all that convincing.  There are plenty of great actresses out there.  I'm not seeing that realization in the cast for THREE WOMEN. 

TITANS got cancelled by HBO MAX and that's an example of a show that should have gotten a renewal and not the axe.  As for bringing shows back?  I'm not a FRAISER fan but I don't understand why you bring the show back when you don't have the dad (the actor passed away), you don't have Niles (actor passed on the project) and you don't have Daphne.  I also don't understand a KING OF THE HILL revival.  On that:

A “King of the Hill” revival has been ordered to series at Hulu, I tell you what.

The updated version of the beloved adult animated comedy hails from original series creators Mike Judge and Greg Daniels as well as Saladin Patterson. All three are also executive producers on the show, with Patterson also set to serve as showrunner. Judge and Daniels executive producer under their Bandera Entertainment banner. 3 Arts’ Michael Rotenberg and Howard Klein also executive produce along with Bandera’s Dustin Davis. 20th Television Animation is the studio.

Judge will once again lead the voice cast, with original cast members Kathy Najimy, Stephen Root, Pamela Adlon, Johnny Hardwick, and Lauren Tom all returning.

I liked KING OF THE HILL.  I just don't know why you bring it back when the actress who voiced Lou Ann (Brittany Murphy)  is dead.  Lou Ann was a huge part of the show.  And Tom Petty voiced her husband Lucky and he's dead (Petty) as well.  

I don't see the show without Lou Ann.  She's what made it so different.  Otherwise, it's another fat boy with a fawning family.  Lou Ann and AMERICAN DAD's Hayley are about the only strong female characters that don't have to pay for being strong.  People like them -- whereas they get annoyed at Lisa Simpson and they loathe FAMILY GUY's Meg.

KING OF THE HILL should not have been cancelled.  But I'm not so sure it should now be brought back.  Without Lou Ann, it will seem off.
Two more things.  I noted that the new ANT MAN was coming out Friday, noted it here.  I was wrong.  Thank you to Jennifer who e-mailed to let me know.  She thinks I may have been thinking of 80 FOR BRADY.  
I do want to see 80 FOR BRADY.  But, no, I was just wrong.  I thought it was this weekend for the new Ant Man.  Sorry, my mistake.
Second, be sure to read Ava and C.I.'s "TV: The last thing anyone needs is more of the same ." 

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


Tuesday, January 31, 2023.  Krystal Ball has taken it on herself to attack others because she thinks they're not as smart as she is.  Reality: Krystal's not smart.  Reality: Krystal is advocating for the same logic that led to the Iraq War.  Reality: What follows below is not sweet or kind or intended to be.

I'm not in the mood for stupid.  Grow up, Krystal Ball snarled at those who don't want to join her sexual fetish with Marianne Williamson.

Grow up?

Okay, Krystal, you first.  Are we playing the truth game?  I haven't played it on such a large scale since   I left Julia Ormond in tears.  But, okay, I'll bite.  Just don't be surprised by the puncture wounds.

On a scale of one to ten, Krystal Ball, you're a five.  You're never going to be better than that because plastic surgery can't do a thing with that pointed head and you have ugly eyes.  That's reality.  Grow up.  You're involved with an attractive man.  That's probably not going to work out well. He's good looking and, as evidenced by his recent hair color change, he's ready and willing to do other things to make himself even more attractive.

We're not done with you yet, dear.  

MSNBC was your last chance at fame and fortune.  You failed.  There's not another chance for a woman your age coming down the road.  Even if society changes, it will change for future female generations.  Your time will have passed and you've aged out of opportunity.  You're now on a popular YOUTUBE program where your male co-host is also prettier than you and has a decade or two to prove himself because of the way sexism works.  While you're career's winding down, his is just beginning.

Ready to grow up yet?

No real career prospects beyond what you have now.  You've reached the highest level you will ever reach and, from here on out, it's all downhill.   Grow up.  Kids?  Well you're forty-one, I don't think you can wait too much longer unless you want people to think they're your grandkids?  That'll be fun won't it, Kyle looking young and handsome and you looking like a grandma while other parents assume Kyle's wife passed away and he's got his mother helping him with the kids.

Want to grow up today, Krystal?  Want to face just how awful your future is?  Marry Kyle and spend the rest of your life wondering if he can really love you and really be attracted to you?

I can play the truth game all day long.  It never leaves me in tears.

And maybe next time when you think you have knowledge, grasp that you are a blithering idiot.

Now I don't think I'm all that smart.  I work from the belief that I'm the least intelligent person in any room.  When people don't know some basic fact, I don't think, "I know it! I'm so smart!" I think, "Wait, I know this.  If I know it why the hell don't you?"

And I don't present as an expert.  You know that you self-present as an expert despite knowing nothing.

Here's what we learned about Krystal in that video: She has a pointed head and really can't carry off a middle part and has no real friends who'll tell her that to her face.  But mainly what we've learned is that she's not a journalist.

She's not a journalist.  She's not here to inform.  She's a whore for a political party.  That's all she is because her tiny little mind can't expand to allow her to become anything else.

So she wants to hector people about how to vote.  You know, Krystal, grow up because grown ups don't need you.  No one does.  

You don't know politics and you don't know history.  You're a raving lunatic making fun of others and thinking you sound informed.  You don't.

Every election cycle it gets worse.  The whoring, yes.  But I'm actually talking about the results.

Krystal wants you to know that there's no point to a third party.  Grow up.  Grow up.  People are suffering.  


Not Krystal, of course, but you know people.  This free floating concept of people -- people she doesn't know, people she's never met and never will.  Certainly not anyone she'll bring on BREAKING POINTS -- or RISING before that.  Because she doesn't care about the poor, for example.  She bare knuckled it through college as an economics major and they may be the only thing worse than a general studies major.

People will suffer!!!

People always suffer, you stupid idiot.  

And you do nothing to help them so stop lying to yourself.  Hop off that high horse before life knocks you off it.

The idiot she speaks with says -- and she agrees -- we got close with Bernie Sanders.  No, that didn't happen.  There was no close and this isn't horse shoes.  Bernie turned tail and ran which really is the story of his life.  He's a con man.  I called him out here long, long ago.  We've got a VA scandal -- to just give one example -- where people are dying, veterans are dying because they can't get VA care and the VA is using two sets of books to hide the long delays in treatment.  This emerges in the mainstream media.  And does so hours before a Senate VA Hearing.  And yet?

Bernie announces, as chair of the Committee, that they're not going to discuss that.  They'll be time for it later.  Now let's instead focus on holistic treatments and alternative therapies and . . .

Yeah, he's that pathetic.

He's a con artist from long ago.  He conned in the House (I have to run every two years so I can only go so far left) then he finds a new excuse when he gets in the Senate.

Many of Hillary's attacks on him in the campaign for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination came from here because I'd already documented it and because I knew Hillary's team.  Years and years ago, once he betrayed veterans, we'd made a point to note how he never accomplished anything.

And that is the reality.  In Congress since 1991 and what can he really point to?  Naming some post offices?

These same idiots who pimped Bernie (Krystal) are now trying to pimp Marianne Williamson.  I know Marianne, I even like her.  How's she going to be president?  Marianne goes through staff rather quickly.  And she's never been a leader outside of her New Age cult of the 80s and 90s.  When the press slammed her for her 'answer' of positive thoughts when she was running last time?  Let her try to be the front runner and you're going to find out a lot of things that aren't going to be pretty.  She's protected by that fact that outside of the cult she built up in the 20th century, few could get through those meandering books.  Meaning most people don't know what was in them.

Here's Liz Moore at BUSTLE in July of 2019:

After the Democratic debates, Marianne Williamson quickly became quirky meme fodder across the internet. She has bold ideas regarding reparations, yes, but does that mean we should elect this crystal-loving woman to the Oval Office? Williamson's platform of love and positivity might seem appealing, but abled people would benefit from listening to disabled people, because we can see the dangers Williamson poses to our community.

In Williamson’s 1996 book A Return to Love, she reasoned that when it comes to taking medication, “the healing doesn’t come from the pill. It comes from our beliefs.” Let’s take this to its logical extreme. If a pill doesn’t work, is it because our beliefs are not strong enough? Incorrect? Full of hate? She wrote that “sickness is not a sign of God’s judgement on us, but of our judgement on ourselves. ... Sickness is an illusion and does not exist.” On Twitter, Williamson described depression as a “spiritual disease.” In her 2012 book A Course in Weight Loss, she wrote that men who have AIDS should forgive people in order to heal, comparing it to how a cancer patient would complete chemotherapy.

Should we go on?  The woman who wrote that nonsense is the 'answer' per Krystal and others.  Kids, that's only two books.  Her body of work does not propel her to the top of the ticket.  You're an idiot if you think it does.  EARTH IN THE BALANCE harmed Al Gore and he was lower on the ticket (vice presidential nominee in 1992).

Elections change very little of what happens.  That's reality.  FDR was a transformative president.  He was called a class traitor.  But he made the moves he did to keep the system going.  Not out of the good of his heart.  He did it to keep factories going and to keep workers working and that is what this system cares about more and more and more.  

And that is why we pretend that the pandemic is over.  The country had endured as much as it was going to -- or rather, those in charge of industry had endured as much as they were going to so back to work we go, whether it's safe or not.

We have been told, as a people, over and over that voting matters but Emma Goldman was right, "If voting changed anything, they'd make it illegal."

Bully Boy Bush sent troops into Iraq in 2003.  Since then?  We've had two terms of Barack Obama (Democrat), one term of Donald Trump (Republican) and now Joe Biden (Democrat).  Guess what?  US troops are still on the ground in Iraq.  It'll be 20 years in March.  

Now Krystal can never deal with that (Iraq) because it's reality and she's a cheap whore with a cheap product -- she pretends she's doing news but she's not.  She's as bad a public affairs host as anyone who ever hosted MEET THE PRESS.  

You want change?

The powers-the-be need to be fretting that you'll be in the streets and disrupting production.

Idiots like Krystal are the reason Donald Trump did whatever he wanted.  As I noted early on here, We The People held Ronald Reagan in check -- and the media was on Reagan's side.    Donald Trump did not have Reagan's communication skills.  It would have been easy to circumvent Donald.  But instead of doing that we did theater and virtue signaling.   

We'll come back to that but let's deal with Krystal's nonsense about the Green Party.  

'They didn't win in 2020 so shut up. ' That's her argument.  

Well they didn't have all the YOUTUBE programs, did they?  They weren't part of an echo chamber, were they?

A bunch of whores told people to vote for Joe Biden -- a huge bunch of whores --  and even doing that Joe only squeaked by.  With all that whoring from the large echo chamber, that's all you accomplished.

What if the Green Party had even half that online presence.

They really had none in 2020. 

They do now via Howie Hawkins, they have a presence because of him.

I'm confused about which Democrat running for the presidential nomination accused Joe Biden of stealing it?  

It wasn't stolen, it was gifted to him, I know.  But I'm noting Cindy Sheehan and others were happy to bring on Dario Hunter -- useless piece of crap -- and let Dario tell you that Howie stole the nomination.  He didn't steal it from you, Dario, you refused to get off your lazy ass and work for it.  Dario was another Princess Hillary who felt he should be gifted with the nomination.

So not only did we not see a 2020 media presence that would not  promote the Green Party presidential candidate, we also saw non-Democrats on the left, like Cindy Sheehan, use their platforms to tear apart the Green Party nominee ahead of the election -- to spread rumors and talk -- online -- about what they 'knew' but couldn't share.

Imagine if instead of whoring, people like Krystal actually tried to educate.

The country would be much better.  

We'd know, for example, how other countries have better health care.  We'd know real issues and not just the talking point that the Democrats want us to repeat this week.

Donald Trump tapped into the reality, that the game is dirty and the rules are rigged.  And that's why a large number of people responded to him.  

I don't think he's the one who can fix or correct.  But he tapped into the sentiment.

And he wasn't wrong.

Year after year, the average American's income gets smaller and smaller while the percentage going to the top gets greater and greater.  

And whoring for elections speeds up this decay.

Educating on actual issues could slow the decay, might even turn it around. 

But instead of education we get ahistorical claims.

We're going to do it this election cycle, spirit bunnies, this is the one and now we'll take over the party!!!

Do you know how many generations have said in the last 50 years and it's never happened.

I believe that back in 2019, we were being told that Kyrsten Sinema was the answer.  She was our left hope, we were told.  How'd that work out, help me out on that?  Did Sinema become the next Paul Wellstone?  What happened to her?

Krystal keeps looking for her savior and then whoring for him/her to try to get votes and it never goes anywhere and it never will.

Krystal's proud that she helped Joe into the White House.  

Help me out with what we've got from that.

I'm not seeing serious efforts to address climate change.  I see no increase in the minimum wage.  I see no rent control efforts (Joe's remarks last week were an insulting joke).  ROE could have been codified.  LBJ could have gotten it done if he felt pressure. 

I don't see much worth bragging about.

And I've seen this over and over in one election after another.

So maybe Krystal can learn history before she next screeches at others to "Grow up!"

People lives are at risk, Krystal, right now.  That includes immigrants.  Do you know any immigrants to this country because I don't see them on your show.  I don't see anything on your show but a lot of whoring.

We are the change.  We make change or we don't. 

And the only change you help with is the changing of the guard -- each and every hour.

Now more than ever, the needs of the people are not being met and here's Krystal fretting over who's going to be home coming queen.

Before Frank Capra became known for Capra-corn, he actually made some good films, great even.  MEET JOHN DOE has a lot to say about the world today.   But the one that really angered some at the top was MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON with Jean Arthur and Jimmy Stewart.  It wasn't just movie censor Joseph Breen that objected to the film early on -- how it will damage our system of government. The DC press called it unAmerican for the way it portrayed corruption in the US government. JFK's father Joseph Kennedy, then the US Ambassador to the UK, deemed it "Nazi propaganda" and offered to purchase the negative and destroy the film.  We could go and on for hours about the reaction -- of those in power -- to that film -- including the various responses in the US Senate.

Can Krystal speak to that?  

No, because she's an uninformed idiot who thinks she can weigh in without having any knowledge base at all.  And she can't tell the truth because she's a cheerleader for the system at play.  Anything that threatens her must be attacked -- in 1939, she would have been attacking MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON.

This week, she attacks anyone who won't do what she tells them to -- this week she's telling them to get on board with kooky, non-scientific Marianne Williamson.

Let's pause for a moment on that.  

What did brave Marianne Williamson do in 2020?

Urged everyone to vote for Joe Biden, yeah, I know.

But she did something else.  I remember it because Ava and I called out in real time (see September 11, 2020's "TV: Leftists seeking public affairs programming").  Krystal doesn't seem to remember it.

Maybe because Krystal was whoring in real time?

Marianne did it right in front of Krystal on RISING.  The general election was around the corner and Marianne was the guest on RISING.  Time to churn out -- not turn out -- the vote.  And in the segment, Marianne let slip that many dirty things had been done to her by the DNC during her now ended campaign.  Such as?

Because ears perked up to that reality.

A real journalist would have pursued it.

But Krystal wasn't trying to inform, she was attempting to churn out the vote.  So she let Marianne get away with promising to come back on the show after the election -- we mustn't get distracted before the election, Marianne insisted -- and she'd spill the tea then.

Of course, that day never came.  Those days never come with people like Krystal.

She's this cycle's Laura Flanders.   And, like Laura before her, she's bleeding out from self-imposed wounds.  

Laura got on board with Barack Obama early on in 2007.  The semi-closeted lesbian held her tongue when Barack put homophobes on stage and didn't carry that they were proponents of conversion therapy.  Never addressing that issue, she did insist about many other issues that we had to get  Barack the presidential nomination and then we could hold his feet to the fire.

Barack got the nomination and then Laura was telling us we'd hold his feet to the fire . . . after the general election.  We couldn't risk holding his feet to the fire right now.

Barack won the election and then Laura and her ilk were telling us -- for eight years -- that we had to defend Barack.

I kind of thought that was the Secret Service's job.

So instead of making demands, Laura's ilk made every day about defending Barack -- criticism of a tan suit took up nearly a whole week on so-called left websites.  

No one would demand that he codify ROE.  Remember that?  It was his promise.  If he had done that, DOBBS would never have happened.  He promised he would.  Not only did he promise that, he promised it would be the first thing he did as president.

 But he shrugged it off and they let him.

That's because they're not about the people.  They're about some personality that they latch onto.  They're about silencing all criticism of him/ her, getting him/her elected and then continuing to waste time on defending the object of their desire instead of making demands on a public servant.

Their where-else-are-you-going-to-go attitude is not just bad for election cycles.  It's also what they do once the person's elected.

And it degrades our rights and our possibilities.

But she wants to lecture others?

And grasp that Krystal is doing that in January of 2023.  We're having to endure that garbage in 2023.  We're not even waiting for an election year.

It never ends with them.

They suck out all the oxygen in the room.

Real issues can't be addressed because they're always in election cycle mode.

And it's never the time for reality or issues when you're constantly in election cycle mode.

Krystal thinks she's the serious adult in the room and maybe that makes her feel better about her so-so looks -- "I'm serious now, I don't have time to even try to look passable!" -- but it shouldn't.  And she shouldn't fool herself that she's working at anything.

All these troubles and problems she insists that people -- ones she never speaks to -- suffer from?  Why are we waiting for an election to 'address' them?

We're not addressing them with an election.  We're using them as propaganda to churn out the vote.

 But if they're so damn important, why aren't we addressing them?  Why are we pretending that the answer to immigration is how we vote in November of 2024?

If you think that's a serious issue and that are people are suffering, why are you willing to let them suffer for nearly 21 months more before that election arrives?

You don't care about immigrants or about climate change or about ending wars or about providing children with the food they need or anything else.  If you did, that's what you'd be talking about, that's what you'd be putting on your show, that would be your focus.

Instead, you're made your focus hectoring and bullying others to try to force them into joining you in supporting a snake-oil-saleswoman who just know will do everything you need.

And what you know is not based on reality.  There is nothing in Marianne's personality or her public record that suggests that she can or will stand up to the DNC.  She still can't even tell us how they did her wrong.  She was going to tell us after the 2020 election, she insisted, but she still can't go there, still won't go there.

One of the things we popularized with this site and with all the talks on the mainland and Hawaii that we took part in for years and years (from February of 2003 until the pandemic hit and then we moved to zooms) was that you own your vote.  You don't owe your vote to anyone.  It's up to a politician to earn your vote.

That concept is beyond Krystal's highly limited vision.  

It's beyond the limited vision of those Democrats (Al Franken) who sold the Iraq War to others.  He was not in the Senate but he was using his connections in New York to meet with various Democrats and tell them to vote for the 2002 resolution.  They had to, he insisted, in order to get re-elected.

And that is the most important thing to these people: Not what you do in office, but that you get into office.

It is a disgusting cycle and Krystal Ball is not  grown up, is not a person of intelligence and is not worth listening to.  

For more on the actual issue of how people see the world, you can see Jim's "Conflict: REVOLUTIONARY BLACKOUT NETWORK and THE VANGUARD" at THIRD.

The following sites updated:

Monday, January 30, 2023

Weekend box office



From this weekend, that's Isaiah's THE WORLD TODAY JUST NUTS "THE PEW stinks" and also on this weekend, from THENUMBERS.COM, here's the weekend box office.

1 (1) Avatar: The Way of Water 20th Century… $15,968,532 -21% 3,600 -190 $4,436 $620,849,303 7
2 (2) Puss in Boots: The Last Wish Universal $10,498,885 -11% 3,452 -159 $3,041 $140,713,795 6
3 N Pathaan Yash Raj Films $6,882,038   695   $9,902 $9,483,113 1
4 (5) A Man Called Otto Sony Pictures $6,651,387 -24% 3,957 +155 $1,681 $45,954,251 5
5 (3) M3GAN Universal $6,258,245 -36% 3,416 -212 $1,832 $82,161,970 4
6 (4) Missing Sony Pictures $5,673,023 -38% 3,025 n/c $1,875 $17,567,440 2
7 (6) Plane Lionsgate $3,815,377 -28% 2,852 -208 $1,338 $25,365,142 3
8 (-) The Wandering Earth 2 Well Go USA $3,006,525   142   $21,173 $3,006,525 2
9 N Left Behind: Rise of the Antichrist Fathom Events $2,553,152   1,388   $1,839 $3,164,174 1
10 N Infinity Pool Neon $2,514,364   1,835   $1,370 $2,514,364 1

James Cameron continues to dominate Hollywood.

Just over a week after the long-awaited sequel reached $2 billion at the box office globally, it has now secured a coveted spot among the five highest-grossing movies of all time, landing fourth over the weekend.

It joins Avatar, which holds the No. 1 spot with $2.923 billion; Avengers: Endgame at No. 2 with $2.799 billion; and Titanic, No. 3 at $2.195 billion. Star Wars: The Force Awakens now holds the No. 5 spot with $2.071 billion global sales.

While Cameron's latest blockbuster hasn't beaten his 1997 classic quite yet, it's possible that it's on track to, as it's climbed from $2 to $2.1 billion in just 10 days.

Which means it is going to be the third biggest film of all time because if it's at $2.1 billion globally right now, it is going to hit $2.2 billion before it leaves theaters and the number three (his TITANIC) made $2.195 billion.  

This weekend, it will face its first real competition when it goes up against ANT MAN & THE WASP. 

On weekend 7, AVATAR: THE WAY OF WATER made $15 million.  M3GAN?  $6 million.  I told you it didn't have legs. I'm surprised PLANE is doing so poorly.  But if I think about it, I only know about it because Gerard Butler got physically burned while shooting a scene.  Other than that, I've seen nothing on it.  No trailers, nothing.

The latest LEFT BEHIND crashed and burned.  Debut weekend found it at number nine with only $2 million in ticket sales.  I guess the expected audience must have all been at home reading their latest Kirk Cameron tome.

It's official, THE FABELMANS is a bomb.  Even after last week's Oscar nominations, no one wants to see the lousy film. It dropped to number 16 and didn't even make a million.   It's been out for 12 weekends in the US and has only made $16 million.  Bomb.  Shooting budget was $40 million.  Another ten on advertising and prints.  Add in at least another ten for the campaign for Oscar nominations.  That's $60 million and it's only made $16 million (all of which does not go to the studio -- they have to split ticket sales with the theaters).  

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


Monday, January 30, 2023.

History is the life that has been lived and information is not static, we learn new things about the past all the time.  Starting with news of discoveries in Iraq, Michele W. Berger (PENN TODAY) reports:

When Holly Pittman and colleagues from the University of Pennsylvania and University of Pisa returned to Lagash in the fall of 2022 for a fourth season, they knew they’d find more than ceramic fragments and another kiln. With high-tech tools in hand, the team precisely located trenches to excavate a variety of features of a non-elite urban neighborhood from one of southwest Asia’s earliest cities.

What surprised the researchers most was the large “tavern” they uncovered, complete with benches, a type of clay refrigerator called a “zeer,” an oven, and the remains of storage vessels, many of which still contained food. “It’s a public eating space dating to somewhere around 2700 BCE,” says Pittman, a professor in Penn’s History of Art department, curator of the Penn Museum’s Near East Section, and the Lagash project director. “It’s partially open air, partially kitchen area.”

The find provides another glimpse into the lives of everyday people who dwelled some 5,000 years ago in this part of the world, an area Penn researchers have studied since the 1930s when the Penn Museum teamed up with Leonard Woolley and the British Museum to excavate the important archaeological site of Ur about 30 miles to the southwest. In 2019, the latest round of Lagash excavations began, and despite a short pandemic-necessitated pause, the project has real momentum, with four field seasons now complete.

To excavate most effectively, the researchers are employing cutting-edge methodologies, including drone photography and thermal imaging; magnetometry, which captures the magnetic intensity of buried features; and micro-stratigraphic sampling, a surgically precise type of excavation. To understand the city’s environmental context, they’ve also extracted sediment cores that reflect millennia of ecological development.

“At more than 450 hectares, Lagash was one of the largest sites in southern Iraq during the 3rd millennium,” Pittman says. “The site was of major political, economic, and religious importance. However, we also think that Lagash was a significant population center that had ready access to fertile land and people dedicated to intensive craft production. In that way the city might have been something like Trenton, as in ‘Trenton makes, the world takes,’ a capital city but also an important industrial one.”

The past expands our knowledge of the present -- unless you're an anti-LGBTQ+ lawmaker in Florida -- and helps us appreciate accomplishments of those who came before.  Of the latest discovery, Mihai Andrei (ZME SCIENCE) adds:

Some 5,000 years ago, the city of Lagash was one of the best places you could be in the world. Close to the junction between the Tigris and the Euphrates, it evolved and developed in an area we now consider a cradle of civilization. But many of its mysteries are now covered by the shroud of time. Holly Pittman from the University of Pennsylvania is one of the researchers working to uncover that shroud.

Lagash is one of the largest archaeological sites in the region, measuring roughly 3.5 kilometers north to south and 1.5 kilometers east to west. Previous surveys found that Lagash was a bit like Venice — it developed on four marsh islands, some of which were gated. Subsequent archaeological digs have resulted in the discovery of urban neighborhoods, tens of thousands of pottery sherds, and much more. 

[. . .]

But perhaps the most intriguing find was a large “tavern”. The building featured benches, an oven, and a type of clay refrigerator called a “zeer.” The zeer used an external clay layer lined with wet sand that contained an inner clay container within which the food or drinks were placed. The evaporation of the outer liquid draws heat from the inner pot and keeps the container cool while only requiring a source of water.


According to a 2022 article in Ancient Origins , the city of Lagash, known today as Tell al-Hiba, was located in ancient Mesopotamia, and is believed to have been established between 4,900 and 4,600 years ago and abandoned 3,600 years ago. This makes it one of southwest Asia’s earliest cities.

It has now been more than 40 years since excavations started in Lagash, a city of marsh islands . The latest round of excavations began in 2019, and despite pandemic-induced interruptions, has completed four intense seasons. 

In other news, the PRESS TRUST of INDIA notes:

The dreaded terror outfit Islamic State of Iraq and Levant in South-East Asia (ISIL-SEA) has been designated as a global terrorist organisation by the United Nations Security Council.

The Security Council's 1267 Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant and Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee added the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant in South-East Asia to its list of designated entities last week, subjecting it to assets freeze, travel ban and arms embargo.

The outfit, also known as Islamic State East Asia Division and Dawlatul Islamiyah Waliyatul Mashriq, was, according to the UN website, formed in June 2016 “upon announcement by now-deceased Isnilon Hapilon” and is associated with Islamic State in Iraq and Levant, listed as Al-Qaida in Iraq.  Hapilon was the leader of Abu Sayyaf, a group affiliated with ISIL, and was killed in 2017.

I guess we could have led into that topic by saying, "Staying with ancient history . . ."  Seven years?  It took seven years for them to make that designation?  Amr Salem (IRAQI NEWS) notes that the UN has a new post in Iraq:

The United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs, Rosemary DiCarlo, said that the Secretary-General of the United Nations decided to create a new position in Iraq, which is the advisor on climate change and security, the Iraqi News Agency (INA) reported.

The announcement of the new decision took place after the Iraqi President, Abdul Latif Rashid, received DiCarlo, in Baghdad, in the presence of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General of the United Nations in Iraq, Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, according to a press statement issued by the Iraqi Presidency.

DiCarlo stressed that the United Nations is keen to help Iraq face the challenges of climate change, and emphasized the United Nations readiness to cooperate to reduce the risks of drought and water scarcity.

As climate change damages Iraq, Gaith Abdul-Ahad (GUARDIAN) reports:

Small gangs of buffaloes sat submerged in green and muddy waters. Their back ridges rose over the surface like a chain of black islets, spanning the Toos River, a tributary of the Tigris that flows into the Huwaiza marshes in southern Iraq.

With their melancholic eyes, they gazed with defiance at an approaching boat, refusing to budge. Only when the boatman shrieked “heyy, heyy, heyy” did one or two reluctantly raise their haunches. Towering over the boat, they moved a few steps away, giving the boatmen barely enough space to steer between a cluster of large, curved horns.

On the right bank of the river stood a cultural centre built in the traditional style of southern Iraq, with tall arches made of thick bundles of reed tied together. It catered to a large number of Iraqi tourists and a handful of foreigners who have flocked to visit the marshland region since it was named a Unesco world heritage site in 2016.

A couple of hundred metres past the cultural centre, however, the engine of the boat sputtered, and its bottom scrapped against the mud as the river dwindled into a shallow swamp, where small herons and grebes stood in water barely reaching halfway up their stick-like legs.

The foliage on the two banks also disappeared, revealing a devastating scene: what two years earlier was a great expanse of blue water, a lagoon teeming with wildlife, fish, and home to large herds of water buffaloes, had turned into a flat desert where a few thorny shrubs sprouted.

Under the scorching sun, the hot wind kicked tumbleweed across parched yellow earth, scarred with deep cracks and crumbling into thin dust under the feet. Rising above the ground were mounds of dead reed beds upon which the marsh dwellers had built their homes. A few relics of their former life lay scattered around: broken plastic buckets, some rusting metal pipe, and a kettle.

The Iraqi government is still refusing to seriously address climate change -- even as the impact is evident.  Instead, they spend their time with nonsense like taking offense at criticism.  For example, the Iraqi courts have always concerned themselves with the actions of others -- even when it meant violating the law.  They're now violating the Constitution.  RUDAW reports:

A court in Baghdad on Sunday issued a summons order for the second deputy speaker of the Iraqi parliament, Shakhawan Abdullah, following a statement he made criticizing the decision from Iraq’s top court to not pay the Kurdistan Region’s financial entitlements.

The Iraqi Federal Supreme Court on Wednesday ruled against the payment of the Kurdistan Region’s financial entitlements by Baghdad, claiming it violates the 2021 Iraqi Budget Law.

The decision was criticized by top Kurdish officials, including Abdullah, who accused “a party within the Running the State coalition” of directing the Federal Court to issue the recent decision against the Kurdistan Region, ordering the court to deem the Region’s oil and gas law “unconstitutional” last year, and being responsible for the fluctuation of the Iraqi dinar’s exchange rate with foreign currencies in recent months.

“Rest assured that there will be an end to the overstepping by the Federal Court,” said Abdullah in his statement.

The Iraqi Federal Supreme Court on Sunday said that Abdullah was being summoned for his “infringement of the judiciary authority’s independence, and his interference in the work of the Federal Supreme Court, his transgression of it, and the violation of the sanctity of its decisions contrary to the constitution and the law.”

Oh, they don't like what a member of Parliament said about them.  Boo hoo.  They might try referring to the Iraqi Constitution, maybe start with Section 2, Article 36: "The state guarnees in a way that does not violate public order and morality: a) Freedom of expression, through all means. b) Freedom of press, printing advertising, media and publication.  c) Freedom of assembly and peaceful demonstration.  This shall be regulated by law."  They could also check out Section Two of Article 38 as well.

 They're in violation.  

RUDAW also notes:

Iraq’s Prime Minister Mohammed Shia’ al-Sudani on Sunday appointed Nima al-Yasiri as his advisor on constitutional affairs, in a step towards amending constitutional articles that hindered the formation of a new government in the country for over a year.

The newly appointed advisor will hold meetings with executive and legislative officials, in order to “chart the roadmap for making the required constitutional amendments,” according to a statement from Sudani’s office.

The statement from the premier added that the step is part of the new government’s ministerial program which was approved by the Iraqi parliament in October, in an effort to prevent the recurrence of political deadlocks, similar to the one that plagued the country following the 2021 parliamentary elections.

I don't understand.  Why go to all the trouble?  Why not just ignore the Constitution the way the Court does?  

Kat's "Kat's Korner: Carly Simon and Diana Ross send thei..." went up yesterday and Isaiah's THE WORLD TODAY JUST NUTS "THE PEW stinks" went up Saturday night. The following sites updated:

New content at THIRD:

The following sites updated:


  • Saturday, January 28, 2023

    Some more time together (Carol Burnett and PARTY DOWN)

    At a time when we keep hearing of one cancellation after another, here's some good news regarding the series PARTY DOWN -- STARZ is bringing it back:

    The network shared a trailer for new episodes of the comedy series Thursday.

    Party Down initially had a two-season run on Starz from 2009 to 2010. The series follows the staff of the Los Angeles catering team Party Down as they work various events.

    Season 3 features returning cast members Adam Scott, Ken Marino, Jane LynchRyan Hansen, Martin Starr and Megan Mullally.

    I don't know if I was even online ten years ago but I did watch PARTY DOWN.  And I love Megan Mullally in anything but the whole cast was great.  And Ryan Hansen was great in 2 BROKE GIRLS.   I'm excited  It debuts Feb. 24th.   In other good news:

    Comedy legend Carol Burnett turns 90 this spring, and she’s celebrating the way icons do — with a primetime network TV salute. Vulture hears NBC has greenlit production on Carol Burnett: 90 Years of Laughter + Love, a two-hour special featuring musical and comedy tributes from a small galaxy of celebs, including Katy Perry, Amy Poehler, Billy Porter, Bernadette Peters, Cher, Steve Carell, Tracee Ellis Ross, Kristen Wiig, Bill Hader, Vicki Lawrence, and Jane Lynch. The special, to be taped in March in front of a star-packed audience, will air on Burnett’s actual birthday, April 26, and will also stream on Peacock.

    Stella Toddler?

    Mrs. Wiggins?



    Like Rebecca, I watch THE CAROL BURNETT SHOW on PLUTO. It's got its own channel -- just like JUDGE JUDY does -- and I watch it there live, not a la cart.  I'll watch it for five hours some nights.  It really holds up.  And you get great guests: Lily Tomlin, the Pointer Sisters, Maggie Smith, Cher, Cass Elliot, Nancy Wilson (jazz singer, not member of Heart), Lucille Ball, Betty White and so many more.  You've got the regulars -- Harvey Korman, Vicki Lawrence and semi-regular Tim Conway as well as, for one season, Dick Van Dyke.  It makes me laugh.  Sometimes, I wonder about the studio audience and whether someone who asked a question watches years later and says, "Yep, that's me on THE CAROL BURNETT SHOW."  :D  I would watch my episode.  I have a friend who's ex-wife (that he loathes because she never listened) was on JUDGE JUDY.  The woman's dog attacked a much smaller dog.  Judge Judy reads her the riot act and, as usual, the woman refused to listen.  It's a funny episode to watch if you know her because she really thought she was going to put one over on Judge Judy and when Judy goes off, she looks like she's using every bit of control to avoid going off on Judge Judy.  

    I watch JUDY JUSTICE on AMAZON but I still watch the old show (JUDGE JUDY) on PLUTO.  On PLUTO, I also watch the TINY HOUSE channel with Zach and what's his name.  Otherwise?  The CLASSIC TV channel -- but only if it's classic TV (THE NANNY, LAUGH-IN).  

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


    Friday, January 27, 2023.  Misdirection and fan fiction won't help the Sunnis in Iraq, the persecution of Julian Assange continues, and much more.

    On the topic of journalism, let's return to THE ARAB WEEKLY which we called out earlier this week over their desire to pretend Moqtada al-Sadr had made a comeback and how they were lying to themselves and others.  They do that because they won't deal with reality.  That's made more clear today in a column at TAW by Farouk Yousef:

    Iraq has failed to establish balanced relations with the rest of the world because its embrace of Iran has erected a high fence separating it from other countries. Equally, the dominance of Iranian militias over the decision-making process in Baghdad has dragged it onto Iran’s side in Tehran’s showdown with the international community.

    That is not all. Despite the existence of three branches of government in Iraq, legislative, executive and judicial, the country’s authorities are, beyond the media halo that somehow surrounds them, mere facades for the rule of political parties, which seem in agreement but are in reality gripped by internal feuds.

    No one in the executive branch, for example, can make a decision unless it serves the interests of a strong party against the interests of other parties,  which parties can in any case seek to harm the government by digging the dirt on its corruption.

    The insanity in those remarks just leaves me amazed.  Maybe he thinks it'll play to the west where governments hate Iran.  Iran is Iraq's neighbor, they share a border.  They've had problems throughout the years, they've had agreement throughout the years.  It's only in TAW's mind that they can't get along.  If they'd use their outlet better, Iraq could be a better place.  Barring anything emerging in the news cycle requiring more attention, we'll go into that tomorrow.  THE NATIONAL notes:

    Iraq's judiciary has sentenced 14 people to death over the 2014 Camp Speicher massacre.

    Baghdad's Central Criminal Court issued the verdict on Thursday under Iraq's antiterrorism law.

    More than 1,700 unarmed air force recruits, mainly Shiite, were killed in the massacre as ISIS swept across Iraq.

    The killings were one of the worst attacks by the terror group and become a symbol of its brutality.

    It seems like a good thing, doesn't it?  It's not.  The incident alone?  Sure praise that sentencing.  But grasp that many more crimes are going unpunished and grasp that THE ARAB WEEKLY could be using its platform to push the current government of Iraq to address some of those crimes but would rather write demented anti-Iran pieces instead.

    All of the above is from yesterday's snapshot.  I said we'd get to the topic in today's snapshot and we're starting with it.  THE ARAB WEEKLY is ruled by fear.  They've offered nonsesne constantly and they try to hide behind Moqtada al-Sadr, stroke his ego, beg him.  

    What they shoud be doing is their job.  That's an important job but they'd rather lie and scribble fantasies.  ISIS is being punished by the current government.  Are we supposed to applaud that?  It is what governments are supposed to do. 

    THE ARAB WEEKLY needs to be pressing for more than the bare minimum.

    They are a Sunni outlet.  If they want to protect Sunnis, they need to demand real action which means punishing those who target the Sunni people.

    The April 23, 2013 massacre of a sit-in in Hawija which resulted from  Nouri's federal forces storming in.  Alsumaria noted Kirkuk's Department of Health (Hawija is in Kirkuk)  announced 50 activists have died and 110 were injured in the assault.   AFP reported the death toll eventually (as some wounded died) rose to 53 dead.   UNICEF noted that the dead included 8 children (twelve more were injured).

    53 people dead -- including 8 children.  Killed for the 'crime' of a sit-in.  Troops surrounded that protesters. 

    For days, Members of Parliament had been asking to be let in to speak with the protesters but Nouri wouldn't allow that.

    He would send in thugs to kill these people.

    Most of the western press ignored what took place -- over 50 people killed by their own government -- a government the US installed and backed and supplied the weapons.  BRussells Tribunal carried a translation of one activist who was an eye-witness to what went down:


    I am Thamer Hussein Mousa from the village of Mansuriya in the district of Hawija. I am disabled. My left arm was amputated from the shoulder and my left leg amputated from the hip, my right leg is paralyzed due to a sciatic nerve injury, and I have lost sight in my left eye.
    I have five daughters and one son. My son’s name is Mohammed Thamer. I am no different to any other Iraqi citizen. I love what is good for my people and would like to see an end to the injustice in my country.

    When we heard about the peaceful protests in Al-Hawija, taking place at ‘dignity and honor square’, I began attending with my son to reclaim our usurped rights. We attended the protests every day, but last Friday the area of protest was besieged before my son and I could leave; just like all the other protestors there.

    Food and drink were forbidden to be brought into the area….

    On the day of the massacre (Tuesday 23 April 2013) we were caught by surprise when Al-Maliki forces started to raid the area. They began by spraying boiling water on the protestors, followed by heavy helicopter shelling. My little son stood beside me. We were both injured due to the shelling.

    My son, who stood next to my wheelchair, refused to leave me alone. He told me that he was afraid and that we needed to get out of the area. We tried to leave. My son pushed my wheelchair and all around us, people were falling to the ground.

    Shortly after that, two men dressed in military uniforms approached us. One of them spoke to us in Persian; therefore we didn’t understand what he said. His partner then translated. It was nothing but insults and curses. He then asked me “Handicapped, what do you want?” I did not reply. Finally I said to him, “Kill me, but please spare my son”. My son interrupted me and said, “No, kill me but spare my father”. Again I told him “Please, spare my son. His mother is waiting for him and I am just a tired, disabled man. Kill me, but please leave my son”. The man replied “No, I will kill your son first and then you. This will serve you as a lesson.” He then took my son and killed him right in front of my eyes. He fired bullets into his chest and then fired more rounds. I can’t recall anything after that. I lost consciousness and only woke up in the hospital, where I underwent surgery as my intestines were hanging out of my body as a result of the shot.

    After all of what has happened to me and my little son – my only son, the son who I was waiting for to grow up so he could help me – after all that, I was surprised to hear Ali Ghaidan (Lieutenant General, Commander of all Iraqi Army Ground Forces) saying on television, “We killed terrorists” and displaying a list of names, among them my name: Thamer Hussein Mousa.

    I ask you by the name of God, I appeal to everyone who has a shred of humanity. Is it reasonable to label me a terrorist while I am in this situation, with this arm, and with this paralyzed leg and a blind eye?

    I ask you by the name of God, is it reasonable to label me a terrorist? I appeal to all civil society and human rights organizations, the League of Arab States and the Conference of Islamic States to consider my situation; all alone with my five baby daughters, with no one to support us but God. I was waiting for my son to grow up and he was killed in this horrifying way.

    I hold Obama responsible for this act because he is the one who gave them these weapons. The weapons and aircrafts they used and fired upon us were American weapons. I also hold the United States of America responsible for this criminal act, above all, Obama.

     Will justice ever come?  Will the law ever come down on the terrorists that attacked Hawija?  So far it hasn't and it never will as long as THE ARAB WEEKLY thinks the way to protect the Sunni people is to write puff pieces on Moqtada al-Sadr in the hopes that it will cause him to rise up and take on the Iraqi government.  Do your damn job -- which isn't fan fiction.  Cover the attacks on Sunnis, cover how the pattern has been that no one gets punished for attacking Sunnis. Shine a strong light on specific incidents and how the killers have never been punished.

    This is part of the corruption.  It's not just theft of money by public officials.  It's a government that time and again targets the Sunnis.  It's a government that no matter who is in charge, those who target Sunnis get away with it.  

    If you don't have equality in the law, if you don't have equality in justice, you've got a corrupt government.  THE ARAB WEEKLY is wasting everyone's time with fan fiction on Moqtada.  They're a Sunni outlet who is afraid for the Sunni people.  I get it.  I'm worried for them too.  But fan fiction isn't helping them and won't.  The only thing that's going to help them is journalists doing their jobs. 

    To this day, the western outlets love to lie about how ISIS came to be.  ISIS was a response to the attacks on the Sunni people.  That's how they rose up.  And the Sunni people had an attitude -- not surprising at all -- the the fight between ISIS and the Iraqi government didn't involve them because neither of those groups was helping the Sunni people. 

    Things have not gotten better for the Sunnis.   And this is not a one day or a one month incident.  This has taken place over and over since the US-led invasion of Iraq almost 20 years ago (20 in March).

    + In a confidential memo unearthed by The Intercept, Biden’s Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen praised unemployment as a “worker-discipline device.” This is the logic of neoliberalism in a nutshell.

    + In congressional testimony while he was director of Obama’s National Economic Council, Jeff Zients, Biden’s new chief of staff, defended cuts to Social Security, telling Congress that the Obama-Biden administration was “willing to make these compromises as part of a deal that calls for shared sacrifice.” Biden’s “grand compromise” (sell-out to Wall Street) to gut Social Security has been in the works for years. His entire career of cutting deals with the likes of Strom Thurmond, Bob Dole and Trent Lott has led to the coming moment….

    + In 1919, the average steelworker in a Gary, Indiana plant worked 68.7 hours a week–more than 11 hours a day 6 days a week. Yet even this amount of toil in the hellish conditions of the mills wasn’t enough to feed and house a family of five, according to the Wilson Administration’s own figures–and they were no friend of labor (organized or not). Now, a married couple can work an 80-hour week and still not earn a living wage for their family four.

    + Most workers making $50,000 a year contribute to Social Security based on 100% of their income. Meanwhile, a CEO who makes $20 million a year contributes to Social Security with less than 1% of their income.

    + Microsoft had to settle for Sting? Was Bono playing at Google’s pre-firing Davos soirée?



    + As the Biden administration harangued Germany into sending Leopard tanks to Ukraine, the New York Times ran a front-page piece asking whether Germany can be a “great military power again?” WW I total deaths: 15 to 24 million, WW II total deaths in Europe: 30 million. Who in their right minds would want Germany, or any other nation involved in those wars, to be a “great military power” again?

    + We rarely consider the after-effects of prolonged war, the misery and death that continue to plague ravaged countries long after the cruise missiles have stopped shattering buildings. Let’s return to Iraq for a moment. In a much overlooked (if not ignored) study (‘Cancer, Infant Mortality and Birth Sex-Ratio in Fallujah, Iraq 2005–2009’) of 4,800 individuals in the heavily bombed city of Fallujah published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, medical investigators documented a four-fold increase in all cancers and a 12-fold increase in childhood cancers in kids under the age of 14. The survey also detected a 10-fold increase in female breast cancer and large increases in both lymphoma and brain tumors in adults. Researchers found a 38-fold increase in leukemia. By comparison, survivors of the Hiroshima atomic blast experienced a 17-fold increase in leukemia.

    Last Friday, in DC, a tribunal was held to explore the continued persecution of Julian Assanage which is both a personal attack on Julian and a sweeping attack on The First Amendment.  

    Organized by Progressive International and co-chaired by Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! and Croatian philosopher and author Srećko Horvat, the Belmarsh Tribunal brought together a panel of whistleblowers, activists, lawyers and more in support of Assange, WikiLeaks and journalistic freedom.

    Held just two blocks from the White House, the Tribunal called on President Biden to end the prosecution of Julian Assange and to defend the rights of journalists and whistleblowers.

    Belmarsh, the prison near London where Assange has been held since 2019 is a high-security facility often referred to as the “British version of Guantanamo Bay.” Beginning with the so-called “war on terrorism” in 2001, Belmarsh has been used to house suspected terrorists. Today, many of its prisoners are people who have committed brutally violent crimes like murder and rape.

    Assange is being held there pending the completion of his extradition trial, in which the United States government under the Trump and Biden administrations seeks to bring him to trial in the U.S. He could face up to 175 years in prison under the Espionage Act for publishing proof of U.S. war crimes. It would be a death sentence for the 51-year-old whose physical and mental health has already deteriorated during his confinement.

    Solidarity was a key theme of the event. Human rights lawyer Steven Donziger opened his remarks by saying “Half the battle is this” as he motioned around the crowded room. “It’s the solidarity,” he continued, expressing his appreciation for those who came out to defend him in his struggle. “I cannot tell you how completely uplifting that was. Part of the challenge when truthtellers speak truth to these entrenched pools of power is how to turn the attacks into opportunities.”

    Donziger brought and won a lawsuit against oil company Chevron/Texaco on behalf of indigenous people in Ecuador for destruction of their lands through oil extraction in the Lago Agrio oil field. Chevron retaliated after a $9.5 billion award was levied against them, filing an outrageous RICO suit against Donziger, who was placed under house arrest for a total of 993 days (in addition to 45 days in prison) until he was finally freed in April of 2022.

    Solidarity was also extended to Daniel Hale, a whistleblower who exposed the deadly U.S. targeted killing and drone program. Attorney Jesselyn Radack spoke on his case and its connection to Assange’s. Hale is being held in a Communications Management Unit (CMU) at the U.S. Penitentiary in Marion, Illinois, A.K.A. “Gitmo North,” where his connection to the outside world is monitored and severely limited.

    “I have been shut out of my own clients’ unclassified hearings. The parts of the hearings that are public often include code words and substitutions that make the proceedings very difficult for the public to understand. In one case, the government attempted to prevent defense attorneys from using the word whistleblower, or the word newspaper.” Radack’s account suggests that should Assange be extradited to the United States, he will not be able to receive a fair and impartial trial.

    The prosecution of Assange is an example of naked political aggression and intimidation. It’s not only aimed at Assange himself and WikiLeaks, but puts whistleblowers, journalists and activists squarely within the crosshairs.

    When Biden was running for president in 2020, he declared on World Press Freedom Day, “We all stand in solidarity” with the 360 journalists imprisoned worldwide “for their work in journalism.” Biden quoted Thomas Jefferson’s 1786 statement, “Our liberty depends on the freedom of the press, and that cannot be limited without being lost.”

    Since Biden’s election, however, his administration has refused to dismiss the charges Donald Trump brought against Assange. Biden ignored the fact that the Obama-Biden administration, which prosecuted more whistleblowers under the Espionage Act than all its predecessors combined, refused to indict Assange because of “the New York Times problem.” If they charged Assange, the Obama administration reasoned, they would have to charge The New York Times and other media outlets that also published classified military and diplomatic secrets.

    Horvat said, “Every country has secrecy laws. Some countries have very draconian secrecy laws. If those countries tried to extradite New York Times reporters and publishers to those countries for publishing their secrets we would cry foul and rightly so. Does this administration want to be the first to establish the global precedent that countries can demand the extradition of foreign reporters and publishers for violating their own laws?”

    On November 28, 2022, The New York Times, the Guardian, Le Monde, DER SPIEGEL and El País signed a joint open letter calling on the Biden administration to drop the Espionage Act charges against Assange. “Publishing is not a crime,” they wrote, noting that Assange is the first publisher to be charged under the Espionage Act for revealing government secrets.

    In 2010, the five signatories to the open letter collaborated with WikiLeaks to publish “Cable gate” — 251,000 confidential U.S. State Department cables that “disclosed corruption, diplomatic scandals and spy affairs on an international scale.” The documents, according to The New York Times, revealed “the unvarnished story of how the government makes its biggest decisions, the decisions that cost the country most heavily in lives and money.”

    Assange’s indictment also stems from WikiLeaks’s revelation of the Iraq War Logs — 400,000 field reports that chronicled 15,000 unreported deaths of Iraqi civilians, and systematic rape, torture and murder after U.S. forces “handed over detainees to a notorious Iraqi torture squad.” And the indictment covered the Afghan War Diary — 91,000 reports of larger numbers of civilian casualties by coalition forces than the U.S. military had reported.

    The most notorious release by WikiLeaks was the 2007 “Collateral Murder” video, which showed a U.S. Army Apache attack helicopter target and kill 11 unarmed civilians, including two Reuters news staff and a man who came to rescue the wounded. Two children were injured. The video clip reveals evidence of three violations of the Geneva Conventions and the U.S. Army Field Manual.

    Amy Goodman, co-host of Democracy Now! and the Tribunal’s other co-chair, said that the events depicted in the Collateral Murder video “would never have happened” if the Iraq War Logs had been made public six months before. “An investigation would have been launched,” Goodman speculated. “That’s why freedom of the press, the free flow of information, saves lives.” She said that it is not just freedom of the press at stake in Assange’s prosecution, but also the public’s right of access to information. Ironically, Assange first screened the Collateral Murder video at the National Press Club more than a decade ago.

    The following sites updated: