Saturday, June 29, 2024


I checked with my nieces and nephews to see what they wanted to go to Saturday afternoon.  They want to see A QUIET PLACE: DAY ONE.  So that helped me girlfriend and I figure out our Friday night movie, HORIZON: AN AMERICAN SAGA - CHAPTER 1.

This is the new Kevin Costner western.  I highly recommend it.  We both loved it.  It is three hours plus, though.  I don't mind an epic if it holds my attention and this film certainly did. It covers several years and is about western expansion in the US during the 19th century.

I think this is the best film that Kevin Costner's directed.  I could see him winning a second directing Academy Award.  I think this is a film that pulls you in even more than DANCES WITH WOLVES did.  I also, thinking back on it right now, am really impressed with the casting.  Everyone was perfect for their role.  

It won't be number one or probably number two for the weekend because a two hour length would make it difficult for the film to be shown multiple times a day (and it's three hours and a few minutes).  But if it comes in third or fourth that should be considered a win.  I'm hoping it has legs.  At work, everyone was wondering what it was like.  Hopefully, word of mouth will let it sail well into next weekend.

Do you need a parlor game?  My cousin's "Sitcom with the most name guest stars: Will & Grace (and I can name 133) " was something.  After reading it, my girlfriend and I tried to list the guest stars off the top of our heads and, combined, we could only get to 61.  Marcia got 133.  After we got our 61, we looked at IMDB and there are about 170 guest stars.

WILL & GRACE was a very funny show -- one of my favorite sitcoms of all time.  And they did have a ton of guest stars.  Try to see how many you can name off the top of your head.  

We started by trying to name the guest stars who had an Academy Award and we came up with six.  But we couldn't get past 61. 

 Who won the debate?  I thought Joe Biden did and I don't know why the media keeps attacking him.  I guess they miss those advertising dollars and high ratings that the Trump drama brought them and therefore money is more important to them than our democracy.

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


Friday, June 28, 2024.  Trump lies, democracy dies.

Last night, US President Joe Biden and Convicted Felon Donald Trump took the stage for a debate.  The media's reaction is fear and glee.  Some are in panic over Donald Trump's nonsense.  You've got conventional wisdom Thomas Friedman calling for Joe to step down from the pages of THE NEW YORK TIMES.  You've got Glynneth Greenwald grunting away as he tries to ride El Torro to orgasm -- little Glynneth, don't you know you can't orgasm while wearing a cage?  And the whorish Megyn promotes her debate special via a photo of her with her legs spread.

These are the whores of our political culture.

If Donald Trump had faced a halfway plausible and competent adversary, tonight’s debate would have marked the death of the former president’s hopes for returning to the White House. Simply put, Trump gave the second-worst debate performance of any major candidate for president, but… He repeatedly made outrageous and offensive lies, such as his claim that overturning Roe v. Wade was “something everybody wanted.” (In point of fact, polls show 65 percent of Americans opposed the Supreme Court’s decision to end the constitutional right to abortion.)

Is that what we're dealing with?

A gross stupidity on the part of the pundits?  We knew both men going in.  We saw what we expected.  Two elderly men.  One a lot kinder and one was a raving lunatic who should never again be given nuclear codes.

This is not a defense of Joe Biden as a candidate.  If the party decides to replace him, go for it.  Gavin Newsom would get my vote absolutely.  Robin Eply (SACRAMENTO BEE) makes the case for him here.   David Sirota's choice of Josh Shapiro?  Yes,  Whomever is at the top of the Democratic ticket has my vote in 2024.  I said that in 2023 to disclose it so anyone reading here knew where I was coming from.  And I've said that since the race was supposedly over because it's not over. 

I'll vote for whomever is at the top of the ticket on the Democratic Party side in 2024.  That's not something I've ever said before in any other election.  I hope I never have to say it again in my life.  But, for me, there is no choice in this election. 

And if people want a stronger candidate for this fall, I hear you.  Get it together, make it happen.  Joe was not my choice in the 2020 field.  

But it looks like the issue isn't Joe, it looks like the issue is unrealistic expectations.

Ava and my "And the winner was . . . Joe Biden (Ava and C.I.)" went up an hour after the debate ended -- would've been sooner were it not for FLICKR issues -- the screen snaps wouldn't show, we had to sign up for five different photo sharing apps before we found one that actually worked and I can't tell you what it is because I can't remember -- at one point we were trying DEVIANT ART because I'd heard such good things about it from friends who are photographers -- I don't know what they're judging on, as soon as we were registered and ready to upload, we realized that service wasn't going to work.  We tried IMAGESHACK as well.  I can't tell you which one finally worked.  Elaine says it was POST IMAGE.  I'm sure she's right.

I don't get what you think was going to happen other than what happened.

He's an elderly man.  Did you think he was coming out hopped up on drugs?  What did you think was going to happen?

Joe did a solid job for Joe Biden.  He wasn't going to transform into the 2008 Barack Obama.  If you thought that, you were very wrong.

He struggled in the beginning (and I would note we saw the worst microphone issues since MOTOWN 25) and he got better as it went along.  As he was talking America, it got better and better.

And, no, Donald did not win.

You don't win a debate in the US by insulting the US.  He said vile and disgusting things about this country and he bragged about himself -- Donald was Donald.

Joe was Joe.

And Joe's responsible for his performance.

Jeet's upset with CNN's moderators Dana Bash and Jake Tapper.  

Don't know why.  Is he using 2012 as his bar?  

That's the year heavyweight Candy Crowley injected herself into the debate.  She felt the need to fact check Mitt Romney, she felt the need to fact check his statements, she felt the need to stop him before he finished a sentence and fact check where she suspected he was going to go with his sentence had she let him speak.

That was appalling and I said that in real time.

Was I supporting Mitt?  No.  

I'm not going to lie about my opinion.

I'm not Katha Pollitt on a list serv in 2008 fretting over how good I think Sarah Palin's doing and then, days later, showing up at THE NATION with a column about how bad Sarah did.  

Now my opinion can be wrong, I can be wrong, but I'm not spinning here.

Roseanne Barr's spinning on Twitter and getting attention with her I-take-no-joy-in-saying.  Liar, you take every bit of joy in saying that.  Maybe you can fool other people, but I know you bitch and I know what you think about Joe. 

Roseanne's spinning and knows the best way to make her choice (Donald) come off the winner is for people like her to say how sad they feel for Joe.

Where I'm confused is what the others are doing?

One person, a Democrat, who is being quoted in the media for her Tweet called me last night about thirty minutes after Ava and my piece went up to ask if I was serious?  She had Tweeted about the debate being a disaster.

Yes, I was and am serious.

You saw Joe off at the start.  You saw him get stronger throughout the debate and you saw that largely in response to Donald's continued insulting of America.  

I'm struggling to understand how the Democrats have spent the hours since the debate and how they're going to spend them this morning.

Donald's ego was on display, his paranoia was on display, his lies were on display and his glum nature and lack of belief in America was on display.

Sleepy Joe?

Sure, I'll take that over a man broadcasting that he is a menace.

I don't understand what the goal here is.

The woman who called, I asked her what she'd Tweeted and then asked her, "Are you trying to get Joe replaced?"

Because we've known each other long enough -- and because she knows I can always spot her in a lie, she admitted that, yes, she thought this was the way to get Joe off the ticket (in her Tweet she was sure to cite what a kind man he was and blah blah).

And I'm thinking outloud and saying, "So this is an actual game plan.  A little over four months before the election, you're going to pull this play to attempt to replace him?"

And, yes, that is what's going on.

And she's influential (due to her family) and plugged in so for some of the reactors you're reading, grasp that they are spinning you.

Some are not, some are genuinely distressed (I would consider Jeet to be genuine).

I just don't understand why they're willing to risk the election like this.

By replacing Joe?

No, replace him, I could care less.  If you know Joe, you know he would do what he thought was best for the party.  

Ask him to step down.  Say, "We need better."

Make your case.

You can even do it publicly.  I don't care.

I do care that there's dishonesty at play.  

Ava and I wrote "TV: The fiction-driven documentary" at THIRD this week and some love it and some hate it -- I'm referring to friends in the entertainment industry, not readers of the site.  Why, oh, why, asked a closeted lesbian actress, did we have to come down so hard on Robin Tyler?

Because she lied.

That point is made in the opening paragraph: "Truth.  Does it matter?"  That's followed by "We think it does."

We're so cruel to poor Robin, Ava and I were told.  She has done so much for same sex marriage!  She has done this and she has done that and she has --

She's lied.  We note in there that she's done many things to be proud of and good for her.

However, she's lying when she says she lost her "series" because ABC was offended by a joke she told on air in a special.

That's not reality.  

It's a lie and in a documentary to lie like that?

We did the research, we were making calls to anyone we knew who was at ABC from 1975 to 1979.  

We also read seventy-two news articles to find where she ever made that claim before that ABC dropped her "series" because of a joke she made about Anita Bryant.

Never.  Not even two months after the incident supposedly took place, did she make that claim.  Not even two months after the incident took place and she was getting publicity for going to Boston to protest Anita Bryant.  

That would have been the time for Robin to make that claim, wouldn't it?  ABC dropped you two months ago in shock over an Anita Bryant joke and now you're going to protest Anita promoting a political candidate so that would be the time to share what happened.

But she never did.

Here's reality, Robin wasn't and isn't that funny.  She's a sad sack.  She had partner (comedic partner, but, yes, they were also lovers) at the time who balanced her out a little.  They took their act off the road in early 1976 because ABC was interested in doing a series with them.  

It did not work out.  

Not in 1976, not in 1977.  It didn't work because Robin had no chemistry.  That's the same reason that, in 1982, when she recorded her own comedy act -- knowing she could do what Richard Pryor had done with concert films -- no one was interested.  It wasn't because she was a lesbian.  It was because she was a sad sack.  She was dull.  

So for two years, ABC poured money into various attempts to make her happen as a variety show headliner -- and, for about two months as a possible sitcom lead.  

But she fizzled on camera.  

In 1978, after a lot of money had been wasted, it was decided she and her partner would host a special.  ABC was getting rid of everyone that hadn't paid off and cramming them into that special.  Redd Foxx had bombed in his variety show and that's why he was on the special, to run out his contract with the network.

It was a one-time special.  That was noted in the advertising.  It bombed.  It was the only new program on broadcast television that Saturday night.  THE BIONIC WOMAN was doing a repeat -- all the shows were repeat -- about Jamie and the pyramid, titled THE PYRAMID -- and that got better ratings.  (I'm not insulting THE BIONIC WOMAN, I am noting that on NBC where it struggled with its ratings and had already been cancelled  a six month old episode of THE BIONIC WOMAN beat this brand new variety special.  I have tremendous respect for what Lindsay Wagner did with THE BIONIC WOMAN -- in terms of acting, in terms of conflict resolution, in terms of how Jamie took on the baddies.)

In that special, Robin Tyler made her joke about Anita Bryant being loathed by music lovers (the joke is in the documentary).  First off, not that funny.  Robin destroys it by delivering it in some sort of spacy, hesitant reading while also popping her eyes to ask/declare "Ain't I funny?"  

No, not when you have to ask.

The special was taped.  ABC knew the joke. before it aired  Standards and Practices had signed off on it.  It created no public furor because pretty much no one saw it.  The special was rejected by viewers across the country -- it lost to everything on CBS, NBC and PBS.  

But she's claiming that the joke cost her a series.  She never had a series.  From 1976 through 1977, ABC repeatedly wasted money trying to develop a series for her.  But not only did she lack appeal, she also wanted a variety show and variety was dead by 1978.

The pushback from friends in the entertainment industry was: Why does it matter?

Because it's presented as fact and it's a lie.  That's why it matters.

People really suffered -- a lot of them -- who were gay and lesbian during that time. And since.  It cheapens their accomplishments to pretend that a so-so comic had her TV series cancelled -- there was no TV series! -- because she took on Anita Bryant.

And it exasperates me when people use a lie to garner sympathy or to pretend that they were so brave doing something when they didn't do it.  (I love Lily Tomlin, she's a wonderful person but as we note -- Ava and I from time to time-- being honest about what she had to endure while in the closet would be so much more inspiring than the constant lie that she was out all along.)

So if you want Joe out?  I'm not going to stop you.  I'm voting for whomever.

But if you want Joe out, stop lying to the American people and own what you want.  Stop trying to manipulate them.

The real harm here is lying.

Because Joe did as expected and was better than Donald.  And if you're not able to get him off the ticket, you and your lies may have just elected Donald Trump.

The media needs some drama.  There's very little for them with two elderly men in the race, both of whom have had one term as president.  It's one of the least exciting races the country has ever seen.  

And your push to replace him gives the media something to talk about.  

If Joe's on the ticket and loses in November, I don't think many of us will have found your game and manipulation funny or worthwhile and there will be hell to pay.

Trump claimed that Biden created the COVID-era lockdown policies that actually began under Trump, blamed former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) for causing the January 6, 2021 Capitol riots, repeated old conspiracy theories about Biden’s son’s dealings with Ukraine, claimed that Biden referred to Black Americans as “super predators,” claimed that Biden allowed Russia to invade Ukraine, said that he himself lowered the cost of insulin and that he fought to protect the environment during his presidency — all of these claims are untrue.

Trump repeatedly said that immigrants from prisons and mental asylums are crossing the border to rape and kill Americans, that “every” legal scholar wanted to get rid of a federal right to an abortion, and also claimed that he would accept the results of the upcoming election as long as it is “fair” — a promise he won’t likely keep.

Despite this, during the debate, Trump referred to Biden as a liar, though Biden repeatedly tried to point out Trump’s falsehoods.

And we'll note Robert Reich and Heather Lofthouse's analysis.

That's what the post-debate should be about.  I don't see how the country is helped by this manufactured drama.

The fact check is traditionally done the morning after the debate.  Will that happen or will we just see the gossip and the spin? 

Donald lied repeatedly but thanks to a master manipulation plan, the media will be focusing on Joe instead of the lies that Donald told.  There's no drama or conflict in Donald's lies.  But covering the-party-turns-on-Joe allows for hours and hours of gas baggery -- the cheap programming passed off as 'public affairs' programming that's harmed democracy for several decades now.


Israeli soldiers have destroyed 11 homes and other structures in an isolated community in the occupied West Bank, leaving 50 people homeless, amid a reported uptick in house demolitions and spiralling violence in the Palestinian territory.

Contractors with bulldozers accompanied by Israel Defense Forces (IDF) troops arrived in Umm al-Kheir, a village mostly home to shepherds, on Wednesday morning and demolished six houses, tent residences, an electricity generator, solar cells and water tanks, according to residents and Israeli activists who documented the proceedings. Agricultural land and fences were also damaged and trees uprooted.

The demolition has destroyed about a third of the village’s infrastructure.

Let's note this from yesterday's DEMOCRACY NOW!

AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!,, The War and Peace Report. I’m Amy Goodman, with Nermeen Shaikh.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: Gaza is the deadliest place on Earth for journalists, by far. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, over a hundred Palestinian journalists have been killed in Gaza since October. The Palestinian Journalists’ Syndicate puts the figure even higher at 140 journalists and media workers killed since the start of the war. According to the group, the deaths represent 10% of all journalists in Gaza.

Now a new collaborative investigation called the Gaza Project, by the nonprofit group Forbidden Stories, brings together 50 journalists from 13 different news organizations to investigate the targeting of journalists in Gaza and the West Bank.

AMY GOODMAN: According to the findings of the Gaza Project, at least 40 journalists and media workers in Gaza were killed while at home. At least 14 journalists were wearing press vests at the moment they were killed, injured or allegedly targeted. At least 18 journalists were killed, injured or allegedly targeted by drones, and six buildings housing media offices were completely or partially destroyed.

For more, we’re joined by Hoda Osman. She is the executive editor for Arab Reporters for Investigative Journalism, which was a partner organization in the Gaza Project. Hoda Osman is also the president of the Arab and Middle Eastern Journalists Association. She’s based in New York but today is joining us from Amman, Jordan.

We thank you so much for being with us. We know that there is a delay in this broadcast. Can you start off by talking about the scope of the project and your major findings, Hoda?

HODA OSMAN: Thank you very much for having me here today to speak about this important project.

We started the project — we started talking about this months ago. It was a shock to all of us that — just like the pure numbers. The scale of the killings of the journalists in Gaza was beyond any imagination. And by any standard, it’s unprecedented. World War II, Vietnam, the Iraq War, nothing like this had ever happened to journalists before. It’s a crisis is not just for Palestinian journalists or Arab journalists, but it should be a crisis for journalists worldwide, the journalists’ community. And to be honest, we weren’t seeing the outcry, the sort of the reaction that this crisis deserves.

So, I have to give credit to Forbidden Stories, the nonprofit based in Paris, whose mission is to complete stories for journalists who can’t complete them, either because they’ve been killed or censorship or detained. They brought us together to work on this project, as you mentioned, 50 journalists, 13 organizations.

And in the beginning, when we started, really all we had was this, like, huge and tragic number, over a hundred journalists killed. And we started from there. We wanted to investigate these killings. We started off by actually dividing the cases amongst us to look into every case and look into which investigations could come out of this project.

And I can speak about some of the main findings, which included — I feel like maybe one of the main results is just like collectively, by having worked on this for so many months, and all of us together, to sort of push back against the claim, the Israeli claim, that journalists have not been targeted, and to show, through the different investigations that we’ve produced — I think over 20 articles and reports have been published by the different organizations — that there is a systematic attack on journalists in Gaza and the West Bank, too. We actually have two stories out of the West Bank, including a story about a specific attack on a TV crew in the West Bank. So, collectively, just by looking at all the investigations together, you can clearly see that this is not just random, or the notion that because of the scale of the destruction and the war in Gaza, that this is just a natural result. And when you look at these investigations, you will come to this conclusion.

But also, I’m happy to speak about some of the specific findings and some of the specific stories that we’ve worked on, if you’d like me to.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: Yes, Hoda, we would like you to speak about some of the specific stories. Maybe you could begin with the directed attacks against the AFP office, which you wrote about at length. And also explain how all of these different — because you have some of the leading media organizations in the world who were involved in this, from Le Monde to Der Spiegel, etc. How did you all coordinate your work together? And then speak about what happened at the AFP office.

HODA OSMAN: So, let me start by how we all worked together. Forbidden Stories was critical in managing this project. You can imagine 50 journalists in several different countries. So, coordinating this project is definitely a challenge. But we all worked on all the stories. So, once we’ve determined — after the initial stage of doing some research about the different cases, once we’ve identified certain leads that we were going to follow, we created these subgroups, and anybody who’s interested in one of these leads would join this group. And then we all — we did what we refer to as radical sharing. Everybody was just radically sharing whatever they were doing. I was doing interviews. Somebody else was doing, like, forensic visual analysis. Someone else had access to documents. And everybody shared everything. And that’s how — it’s the power, really, of this investigation. I wouldn’t have been able to do it alone. ARIJ, my organization, wouldn’t have been able to do it alone. And none of the other organizations would have been able to do it by themselves, as well.

Let me speak about, like, one of our major findings. On November 2nd, the AFP offices in Gaza, there was an explosion there. And the result was a huge gaping hole that you can see from the outside, but also on the inside a lot of damage. AFP regularly, as a common practice for foreign offices in Gaza, send their map coordinates, their location, to the Israeli military to tell them that this is a media office and it’s not to be targeted. So, when asked about what had happened, initially the Israeli army said that — you know, they didn’t recognize that anything had happened. Then they said maybe there were clashes, and this was like as a result of the debris. And there were the condemnations and, you know, requests for investigations, but then nothing really happened.

And then we started looking into this. What we had, really, to work on this was the live footage from the camera that was stationed in the AFP offices. When the staff left in October after the Israeli evacuation orders, they left an unmanned camera that was connected to solar power. And these explosions were caught on camera on the live feed. And we were able to identify four strikes. And through analysis that was done by both Le Monde and Paper Trail Media, an organization in Germany that was part of this collaboration, and which was confirmed by an audio analysis done by an organization specializing in audio investigations and by six weapons experts, we were able to determine that this was actually direct firing by an Israeli tank from around three kilometers away. We’ve identified the specific area that the firing happened from. And we were able to get satellite imagery that showed that two days before and the day after, there were tanks in this area.

And then, while we were looking at all of this, I came across a story of a journalist who had been injured, and I noticed that he was injured on November 2nd in an attack on a local media company called the Palestine Media Group, PMG. And then we found out that they were actually on the same street, just a few hundred meters away, in this tall building, the tallest building in Gaza, on the 16th floor. So, we found out what time this other attack had happened, and it turned out it had happened about an hour before the AFP attacks. And actually, I remember this moment. We were in a meeting, a virtual meeting, with the AFP, who — the AFP team was working with us on this particular story. And we were, like, you know, checking the — kind of the range of time. Let’s check the live feed around this time. And we found that it was caught live on camera.

So, there were two attacks on two buildings: four strikes on AFP, at least one strike that we know of on the offices of PMG in this other building. The difference between the two is that at the PMG offices, there were four people, including two journalists, and one of them got badly injured in his leg.

So, this was one of our main findings. The Israeli military, in its — we, of course, approached the military for a response before we published. And in its response, it still insisted that there was no targeting of the office.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: And, Hoda, could you also speak — two of the other critical stories you covered were the attacks on the Press House, Press House-Palestine. Explain what Press House did, the services it provided to journalists in Gaza, and what happened.

HODA OSMAN: So, one of our other major stories, and this one we worked closely with The Guardian on, was about Press House. It’s this very unique and special organization in Gaza, that was considered by many as a second home to journalists. It provided a lot of training and workshops to journalists and a lot of services. It was created by a man called Bilal Jadallah in 2013, so last year would have been the 10-year anniversary. And journalists would go there to attend workshops, to attend discussions. It was also considered a place — like, any foreign dignitary that would visit Gaza would definitely go to visit Press House and to visit Bilal Jadallah. And we heard a lot about the breakfasts that they held in their garden. The pictures from before, really, when you see them and when you look at them, it’s quite disheartening to see what’s happened to Press House since then.

So, after the war — Press House had actually secured 84 flak jackets and press helmets before the war. So, when the war started, they sent out a message to the journalists, saying, “We have this protective gear. You can come to Press House, and you can start getting it.” And they started giving the journalists this protective gear. They also opened up their offices. They had strong internet. They were connected to solar power. And journalists started working from Press House for the first few days. And then the evacuation orders happened in October, on October 13th. Some of the journalists left to the south, and some journalists stayed in Gaza City, including Bilal Jadallah, who didn’t want to close Press House and wanted to be there to continue serving the journalists.

Within two weeks, from November 6th until November 13th, three Press House staff, journalists, were killed. On November 6th, Mohamed Al Jaja was killed in his home with his family. On November 13th, Ahmed Fatima was in the home of his in-laws. A missile hit the building. His son was injured. He took his son outside to — ran to take him to the hospital, and then Ahmed himself was killed with — supposedly with a drone. And then, on November 19th, Bilal Jadallah, who had insisted until this moment to stay in Gaza City, decided that he was going to go south and meet up with his family, who had already left Gaza City. He took a route that was designated clearly by the Israeli military as a safe route to head south. There’s these maps that were being distributed and posted on Facebook, and they had this route in yellow, clearly saying you can take this route to go south. And he was in the car, and he was killed with — there was an explosion. We think it was a tank shell. And Bilal Jadallah was killed that day.

In addition to that, to the three — of course, a big, huge loss. You speak to anyone in Gaza and you mention Bilal Jadallah and you mention Press House — and the day that Bilal was killed, you know, you can — I remember speaking to several journalists on that day in November, and just, like, the shock was beyond — the loss is really insurmountable.

We also managed to speak to a witness who stayed in Press House. He’s the former financial director and a good friend of Bilal Jadallah. And at some point he had to flee his home, and he went and he stayed in the building that housed Press House, for a few weeks. And during his stay, an Israeli tank came and stood directly in front of Press House and fired at Press House. They were fortunately not harmed, this person and his family. But then, the following day, they left. And a few days later, Press House was completely demolished. And you can see the pictures. And it’s quite sad to see the pictures of this lively, like, you know, buzzing place with the journalists in it, and then you see it now, and it’s just like rubble.

AMY GOODMAN: Hoda Osman, we only have a minute to go, but I wanted to ask you about this other crucial story that appeared in The Guardian that was headlined “'The grey zone': how IDF views some journalists in Gaza as legitimate targets.” If you can explain very briefly?

HODA OSMAN: So, the news organization that lost — the media organization that lost the most journalists was Al-Aqsa, which is considered to be affiliated with Hamas. And Harry Davies, who’s the reporter on the story, looked into this and spoke to a spokesperson from the Israeli military, who said, “Yes, we consider people who work for this media organization as terrorists and legitimate targets.” But then, after the publication of the story, the Israeli military kind of retracted and said that this spokesperson does not represent our views, and that’s not our view. But the fact is that the majority of the journalists who had been killed are journalists who had worked for this media organization that is affiliated with Hamas.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: And towards the end of your report, Hoda, you talk about the journalists who have survived so far and what their conditions are. If you could explain what you found out from them, the people they’ve lost, the number of times they’ve been displaced?

HODA OSMAN: Thank you, Nermeen, because a lot of the time the attention is, of course, on this, like, huge number, but it’s important to pay attention also to the journalists who are still there. We did a survey. Over 200 journalists responded. And it’s just like — it’s tragic. Ninety-eight percent had been displaced. Many, many have lost family members. Around 50 had lost immediate family members, including, tragically, 11 journalists who lost one or more of their children. In addition to that, their homes have been destroyed. They’ve lost — half of them had lost their jobs. A lot of them lose their jobs because they lose the equipment that they use to report. So, it’s really, really bad for the journalists who are there right now, especially when no foreign journalists are being allowed into Gaza to assist and to help with the reporting. We depend fully on these journalists, who are reporting the story, but they are the story themselves.

AMY GOODMAN: You write at the end of your article in The Intercept, quote, “Roshdi al-Sarraj, a journalist who ran an independent media company that did work for the BBC and Le Monde, wrote on October 13 on Facebook that he intended to defy an Israeli army order to evacuate Gaza City.” He said, “'We will not leave … and if we leave, we will go to the sky, and only to the sky,' he wrote in his post. Nine days later, al-Sarraj was killed by an Israeli airstrike on his home in the Gaza City neighborhood of Tal al-Hawa.”

I want thank you so much, Hoda Osman, for joining us, executive editor of Arab Reporters for Investigative Journalism, a partner organization in the Gaza Project, also president of the Arab and Middle Eastern Journalists Association, joining us from Amman, Jordan. But we’re going to turn right now to our next guest in Gaza.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: As we continue to look at the targeting of journalists in Gaza, the deadliest place on Earth for journalists, we go now directly to Gaza to speak with a Palestinian journalist who’s at the heart of this story. Shrouq Aila is an independent journalist and producer in Gaza. Her husband, Roshdi Sarraj, was also a journalist who founded the local production company Ain Media.

AMY GOODMAN: On the morning of October 22nd, Shrouq and Roshdi were at their home in Gaza City with their 11-month-old baby girl when an Israeli airstrike hit their building. Roshdi was killed in the attack. In the months since, Shrouq has continued to work as a journalist and runs Ain Media herself. Like so many other families in Gaza, she has also been forcibly displaced several times. Shrouq is joining us from outside Al-Aqsa Hospital in Deir al-Balah.

Hoda quotes your husband and what he said, the head of Ain Media, which you have now taken over after his death. Can you talk about what happened to your him and what you’re doing on the ground there in Gaza as you try to continue his work? And explain what’s happening there every day.

I think we may have lost — we are just seeing an image of Shrouq, but she seems to have lost our signal. We’re going to go to a break, and then hopefully we’ll have her back when we come back. This is Democracy Now!,, committed to bringing you voices not just about Gaza, but from Gaza, and sometimes we have difficulty connecting. Stay with us.

Gaza remains under assault. Day 265 of  the assault in the wave that began in October.  Binoy Kampmark (DISSIDENT VOICE) points out, "Bloodletting as form; murder as fashion.  The ongoing campaign in Gaza by Israel’s Defence Forces continues without stalling and restriction.  But the burgeoning number of corpses is starting to become a challenge for the propaganda outlets:  How to justify it?  Fortunately for Israel, the United States, its unqualified defender, is happy to provide cover for murder covered in the sheath of self-defence."   CNN has explained, "The Gaza Strip is 'the most dangerous place' in the world to be a child, according to the executive director of the United Nations Children's Fund."  ABC NEWS quotes UNICEF's December 9th statement, ""The Gaza Strip is the most dangerous place in the world to be a child. Scores of children are reportedly being killed and injured on a daily basis. Entire neighborhoods, where children used to play and go to school have been turned into stacks of rubble, with no life in them."  NBC NEWS notes, "Strong majorities of all voters in the U.S. disapprove of President Joe Biden’s handling of foreign policy and the Israel-Hamas war, according to the latest national NBC News poll. The erosion is most pronounced among Democrats, a majority of whom believe Israel has gone too far in its military action in Gaza."  The slaughter continues.  It has displaced over 1 million people per the US Congressional Research Service.  Jessica Corbett (COMMON DREAMS) points out, "Academics and legal experts around the world, including Holocaust scholars, have condemned the six-week Israeli assault of Gaza as genocide."   The death toll of Palestinians in Gaza is grows higher and higher.  United Nations Women noted, "More than 1.9 million people -- 85 per cent of the total population of Gaza -- have been displaced, including what UN Women estimates to be nearly 1 million women and girls. The entire population of Gaza -- roughly 2.2 million people -- are in crisis levels of acute food insecurity or worse."  THE NATIONAL notes, "At least 37,765 Palestinians have been killed and 86,429 injured in Israel's war on Gaza since October 7, the Gaza Health Ministry said on Thursday. Over the past 24 hours, 47 people were killed and 52 injured, the ministry added."    Months ago,  AP  noted, "About 4,000 people are reported missing."  February 7th, Jeremy Scahill explained on DEMOCRACY NOW! that "there’s an estimated 7,000 or 8,000 Palestinians missing, many of them in graves that are the rubble of their former home."  February 5th, the United Nations' Phillipe Lazzarini Tweeted:


April 11th, Sharon Zhang (TRUTHOUT) reported, "In addition to the over 34,000 Palestinians who have been counted as killed in Israel’s genocidal assault so far, there are 13,000 Palestinians in Gaza who are missing, a humanitarian aid group has estimated, either buried in rubble or mass graves or disappeared into Israeli prisons.  In a report released Thursday, Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor said that the estimate is based on initial reports and that the actual number of people missing is likely even higher."

As for the area itself?  Isabele Debre (AP) reveals, "Israel’s military offensive has turned much of northern Gaza into an uninhabitable moonscape. Whole neighborhoods have been erased. Homes, schools and hospitals have been blasted by airstrikes and scorched by tank fire. Some buildings are still standing, but most are battered shells."  Kieron Monks (I NEWS) reports, "More than 40 per cent of the buildings in northern Gaza have been damaged or destroyed, according to a new study of satellite imagery by US researchers Jamon Van Den Hoek from Oregon State University and Corey Scher at the City University of New York. The UN gave a figure of 45 per cent of housing destroyed or damaged across the strip in less than six weeks. The rate of destruction is among the highest of any conflict since the Second World War."

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expects the issuance of arrest warrants by the International Court of Justice (ICC) for him and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant by July 24, according to Israeli media on Wednesday.

On May 20, ICC Prosecutor Karim Khan requested arrest warrants for Netanyahu and Gallant for war crimes and crimes against humanity in the Gaza Strip.

“Netanyahu convened a high-stakes discussion on Tuesday evening about the looming possibility that the ICC might heed the request of its chief prosecutor, Karim Khan, and soon issue arrest warrants against him and Gallant,” Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper said.

The meeting was attended by Justice Minister Yariv Levin, Strategic Affairs Minister Ron Dermer and Attorney-General Gali Baharav-Miara.

“Netanyahu anticipates the court will act on the prosecutor’s request and issue the warrants soon, potentially even before his upcoming speech in front of the US Congress on July 24,” the daily said.


The following sites updated:

Thursday, June 27, 2024

WSWS' attack on Jane Fonda was disgusting (and sexist, as Trina noted)

If you visit this site often, you know I'm not fond of WSWS' supposed entertainment coverage which treats garbage as art if they like the politics of the person making the bad film.  I've also called them out -- specifically David Walsh -- for their rank sexism.  Please read Trina's "David Walsh is a pig who limits the reach of WSWS" because David Walsh has hit a new low.

"Donald Sutherland" passed away.  I noted it last week.  I didn't have the need to rip apart Jane Fonda to do so.  It's appalling -- but so telling -- that David Walsh had to rip apart Jane Fonda to elevate Donald Sutherland.

Donald was never as political as Jane.  Nor as talented.  But really not as political.  Free The Army?  That was Jane.  Donald was her lover at the time and signed on.  But that was Jane and it came from her interest and study of the GI Coffeehouse Movement.  That wasn't Donald talking to Fred Gardner to learn about it.  That was Jane.  F**K David Walsh.  F**K his lying mouth.

And it was Jane who went to Vietnam, not Donald.  It was Jane who spoke out publicly about the bombing of the dikes.  It was Jane over and over and over.  It was Jane on Nixon's Enemy List, not Donald Sutherland.  Jane was one the one who gave money -- even her credit card at one point -- to the Black Panthers. It was Jane meeting with Native Americans.

After Vietnam?  It was Jane speaking out against economic injustice, speaking out for rent control, for reproductive rights, for LGBTQ+ rights, against the nuclear power industry  . . .

The personal is political.  Jane helped raise the child of Black Panthers.  Mary (then known as Lulu) Williams.  Mary's father was a captain in the Black Panther Party and here she is talking about her life.

She also tells her story in THE LOST DAUGHTER: A MEMOIR.

Even when she gave her acting career after marrying Ted Turner, she worked with the United Nations and she worked on empowering young girls.  After her divorce from Turner, she was more active than ever and that included opposing the Iraq War.  I know Donald gave a statement opposing it.  But he didn't go to DC and speaking in front of over 100,000 people against the Iraq War.  Jane, of course, did.  She also spoke out repeatedly about the gang-rape of the young Iraqi girl Abeer (gang-raped and killed by US soldiers -- Steven D. Green was the ringleader).  In fact, hold on one damn minute.

At THE COMMON ILLS, C.I. covered Abeer regularly.  She was the first in text to note Steven D. Green being pulled away by feds when he got off a plane that landed in the US after returning from Iraq.  It would be over a week before anyone -- blogger, newspaper, whatever -- wrote about it.  She covered it immediately and she returned to this topic over and over.  Through the Article 32 hearings, the civilian court hearing, the court martial(s), all of it.  Over and over.  

She still raises what happened to Abeer.  In case you don't know the story, this is fromMarch 31, 2021, C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

As women's history month in the US draws to a close, let's note Abeer Qassim Hamza al-Janabi.  She'd be 29-years-old, if she were alive.  

Abeer Qassim Hamza al-Janabi is the 14-year-old Iraqi girl who was gang-raped and murdered March 12, 2006. The illustration to the right is from The Third Estate Sunday Review's "Justice for Abeer and her family?" and the illustration is of James Barker and Paul Cortez beginning the gang-rape of Abeer while Steven D. Green was in the other room murdering Abeer's five-year-old sister and her parents. For that article, we based the illustrations on Barker's confession in court. At the time, the Guardian of London summarized Barker's written testimony, ". . . Green dragged the father, mother and younger sister into a bedroom, while Abeer was left in the living room. . . . Barker said Cortez appeared to rape the girl [Abeer], and he followed. He said he heard gunshots and Mr. Green came out of the bedroom, saying he had killed the family, before raping the girl and shooting her with an AK-47."

 "War Criminal Steven D. Green dies in prison" from February 18, 2014 -- in full:

War Criminal Steven D. Green is dead.  AP's Brett Barrouquere, who has long covered Green, reports  the 28-year-old Green was found dead in his Arizona prison cell on Saturday and that, currently, the operating belief is that it was a case of suicide.

Steven D. Green

May 7, 2009 Steven D. Green (pictured above) was convicted for his crimes in the  March 12, 2006 gang-rape and murder of Abeer Qassim Hamza al-Janabi, the murder of her parents and the murder of her five-year-old sister while Green was serving in Iraq. Green was found to have killed all four, to have participated in the gang-rape of Abeer and to have been the ringleader of the conspiracy to commit the crimes and the conspiracy to cover them up. May 21, 2009, the federal jury deadlocked on the death penalty.

Alsumaria explained, "An ex-US soldier was found guilty for raping an Iraqi girl and killing her family in 2006 while he might face death sentence.  . . . Eye witnesses have reported that Green shot dead the girl’s family in a bedroom while two other soldiers were raping her. Then, Green raped her in his turn and put a pillow on her face before shooting her. The soldiers set the body afire to cover their crime traces."

Evan Bright reported on the verdict:

As the jury entered the court room, Green(red sweater vest) let out a large sigh, not of relief, but seemingly of anxiety, knowing the weight of the words to come. As Judge Thomas Russell stated "The court will now publish the verdict," Green interlaced his fingers and clasped them over his chin. Russell read the verdict flatly and absolutely. Green went from looking down at each "guilty" to eyeing the jury. His shoulders dropped as he was convicted of count #11, aggravated sexual abuse, realizing what this means. A paralegal at the defense table consoled Green by patting him on his back, even herself breaking down crying at the end of the verdicts.
After Russell finished reading the verdicts, he begged questions of the respective attorneys. Wendelsdorf, intending to ensure the absolution of the verdict, requested the jury be polled. Honorable Judge Russell asked each juror if they agreed with these verdicts, receiving a simple-but-sufficient yes from all jurors. Green watched the jury flatly.

From the September 4th, 2009 snapshot:

Turning to the United States and what may be the only accountability for the crimes in Iraq.  May 7th Steven D. Green (pictured above) was convicted for his crimes in March 12, 2006 gang-rape and murder of Abeer Qassim Hamza al-Janabi, the murder of her parents and the murder of her five-year-old sister while Green was serving in Iraq. Green was found to have killed all four, to have participated in the gang-rape of Abeer and to have been the ringleader of the conspiracy to commit the crimes and the conspiracy to cover them up. May 21st, the federal jury deadlocked on the death penalty and instead kicking in sentence to life in prison. Today, Green stood before US District Judge Thomas B. Russell for sentencing. Kim Landers (Australia's ABC) quotes Judge Russell telling Green his actions were "horrifying and inexcusable."  Not noted in any of the links in this snapshot (it comes from a friend present in the court), Steven Dale Green has dropped his efforts to appear waif-ish in a coltish Julia Roberts circa the 1990s manner.  Green showed up a good twenty pounds heavier than he appeared when on trial, back when the defense emphasized his 'lanky' image by dressing him in oversized clothes.  Having been found guilty last spring, there was apparently no concern that he appear frail anymore. 
Italy's AGI reports, "Green was recognised as the leader of a group of five soldiers who committed the massacre on September 12 2006 at the Mahmudiyah check point in the south of Baghdad. The story inspired the 2007 masterpiece by Brian De Palma 'Redacted'."  BBC adds, "Judge Thomas Russell confirmed Green would serve five consecutive life sentences with no chance of parole."  Deborah Yetter (Courier-Journal) explains, "Friday's federal court hearing was devoted mostly to discussion of technical issues related to Green's sentencing report, although it did not change Green's sentence. He was convicted in May of raping and murdering Abeer al-Janabi, 14, and murdering her parents, Kassem and Fakhriya, and her sister, Hadeel, 6, at their home outside Baghdad."
Green was tried in civilian court because he had already been discharged before the War Crimes were discovered.  Following the gang-rape and murders, US soldiers attempted to set fire to Abeer's body to destroy the evidence and attempted to blame the crimes on "insurgents."  In real time, when the bodies were discovered, the New York Times was among the outlets that ran with "insurgents."  Green didn't decide he wanted to be in the military on his own.  It was only after his most recent arrest -- after a long string of juvenile arrests -- while sitting in jail and fearing what sentence he would face, that Green decided the US Army was just the place he wanted to be.  Had he been imprisoned instead or had the US military followed rules and guidelines, Green wouldn't have gotten in on a waiver.  Somehow his history was supposed to translate into "He's the victim!!!!"  As if he (and the others) didn't know rape was a crime, as if he (and the others) didn't know that murder was considered wrong.  Green attempted to climb up on the cross again today.  AP's Brett Barrouguere quotes the 'victim' Green insisting at today's hearing, "You can act like I'm a sociopath.  You can act like I'm a sex offender or whatever.  If I had not joined the Army, if I had not gone to Iraq, I would not have got caught up in anything."  Climb down the cross, drama queen.  Your entire life was about leading up to a moment like that.  You are a sociopath.  You stalked a 14-year-old Iraqi girl while you were stationed at a checkpoint in her neighborhood.  You made her uncomfortable and nervous, you stroked her face.  She ran to her parents who made arrangements for her to go live with others just to get her away from you, the man the army put there to protect her and the rest of the neighborhood.  You are one sick f**k and you deserve what you got.  Green play drama queen and insist "you can act like I'm a sex offender" -- he took part in and organized a gang-rape of a 14-year-old girl.  That's a sex offender.  In fact, "sex offender" is a mild term for what Green is.
Steven D. Green made the decision to sign up for the US military.  He was facing criminal punishment for his latest crimes, but he made the decision.  Once in the military, despite his long history of arrests, he didn't see it as a chance to get a fresh start.  He saw it as a passport for even more crimes.  What he did was disgusting and vile and it is War Crimes and by doing that he disgraced himself and the US military.  His refusal to take accountability today just demonstrates the realities all along which was Green did what he wanted and Green has no remorse.  He sullied the name of the US military, he sullied the name of the US.  As a member of the army, it was his job to follow the rules and the laws and he didn't do so.  And, as a result, a retaliation kidnapping of US soldiers took place in the spring of 2006 and those soldiers were strung up and gutted.  That should weigh heavily on Steven D. Green but there's no appearance that he's ever thought of anyone but himself.  He wants to act as if the problem was the US military which requires that you then argue that anyone serving in Iraq could have and would have done what he did.  That is not reality.  He does not represent the average soldier and he needs to step down from the cross already.
 AFP notes, "During closing arguments at his sentencing, Green was described alternately as 'criminal and perverse' and deserving of the death penalty, and as a 'broken warrior" whose life should be spared'."  Brett Barrouquere (AP) has been covering the story for years now.  He notes that Patrick Bouldin (defense) attempted to paint Green as the victim as well by annoucing that Green wanted to take responsibility "twice" before but that Assistant US Attorney Marisa Ford explained that was right before jury selection began and in the midst of jury selection.  In other words, when confronted with the reality that he would be going to trial, Steven D. Green had a panic moment and attempted to make a deal with the prosecution.  (The offer was twice rejected because the 'life in prison' offer included the defense wanting Green to have possible parole.)  Steve Robrahn, Andrew Stern and Paul Simao (Reuters) quote US Brig Gen Rodney Johnson ("Commanding General of the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command") stating, "We sincerely hope that today's sentencing helps to bring the loved ones of this Iraqi family some semblance of closure and comfort after this horrific and senseless act."

Green went into the military to avoid criminal charges on another issue.  He was one of many that the military lowered the standards for.

May 28, 2009, the family of Abeer gave their statements to the court before leaving to return to Iraq. WHAS11 (text and video) reported on the court proceedings:

Gary Roedemeier: Crimes were horrific. A band of soldiers convicted of planning an attack against an Iraqi girl and her family.

Melissa Swan: The only soldier tried in civilian court is Steven Green. The Fort Campbell soldier was in federal court in Louisville this morning, facing the victims' family and WHAS's Renee Murphy was in that courtroom this morning. She joins us live with the information and also more on that heart wrenching scene of when these family members faced the man who killed their family.

Renee Murphy: I mean, they came face to face with the killer. Once again, the only thing different about this time was that they were able to speak with him and they had an exchange of dialogue and the family is here from Iraq and they got to ask Steven Green all the questions they wanted answered. They looked each other in the eye. Green appeared calm and casual in court. The victims' family, though, outraged, emotional and distraught. Now cameras were not allowed in the courtroom so we can't show video of today's hearing but here's an account of what happened. (Video begins] This is a cousin of a 14-year-old Iraqi girl raped and killed by Steven Green. He and other family members in this SUV were able to confront Green in federal court this morning. Their words were stinging and came from sheer grief. Former Fort Campbell soldier Steven Green was convicted of killing an Iraqi mother, father and their young daughter. He then raped their 14-year-old daughter, shot her in the head and set her body on fire. Today the victim's family was able to give an impact statement at the federal court house the young sons of the victims asked Green why he killed their father. an aunt told the court that "wounds are still eating at our heart" and probably the most compelling statements were from the girls' grandmother who sobbed from the stand and demanded an explanation from Green. Green apologized to the family saying that he did evil things but he is not an evil person. He says that he was drunk the night of the crimes in 2006 and he was following the orders of his commanding officers. In his statement, Green said if it would bring these people back to life I would do everything I could to make them execute me. His statement goes on to say, "Before I went to Iraq, I never thought I would intentionally kill a civilian. When I was in Iraq, something happened to me that I can only explain by saying I lost my mind. I stopped seeing Iraqis as good and bad, as men, women and children. I started seeing them all as one, and evil, and less than human." Green didn't act alone. His codefendants were court-martialed and received lesser sentences. Green will be formally sentenced to life in prison in September. [End of videotape.] The answers that Green gave were not good enough for some of the family members. at one point today, the grandmother of the young girls who were killed left the podium and started walking towards Green as he sat at the defendant's table shouting "Why!" She was forcibly then escorted to the back of the court room by US Marshalls. She then fell to the ground and buried her face in her hands and began to cry again. The family pleaded with the court for the death sentence for Green. but you can see Green's entire statement to the court on our website and coming up tonight at six o'clock, we're going to hear from Green's attorneys.

Steven D. Green was convicted of War Crimes.

US soldiers gang-raped and killed an Iraqi girl and they killed three members of her family.  Andy Mosher (Washington Post) would quote the go-to-military law expert for the press, Eugene Fidell stating, "This is not a defense known to the law.  But this kind of evidence could come in during the court-martial, and it might be pertinent to the sentence.  They could be setting the stage to avoid a death penalty."  And at the Article 23 hearing, Captain Alex Pickands, for the prosecution, responded to the defense's argument: "Murder, not war. Rape, not war. That's what we're here talking about today. Not all that business about cold food, checkpoints, personnel assignments. Cold food didn't kill that family. Personnel assignments didn't rape and murder that 14-year-old little girl."  Yet somehow this was not front page news.  AP did cover the topic regularly.  Despite KPFA's Sandra Lupien covering the news before anyone else, KPFA wouldn't lead on this, DEMOCRACY NOW! couldn't be bothered with this.  Over and over, Abeer was betrayed by national media and by what passes for 'left' in the beggar media ("Send money! Always send money!").  

The murder of her family was a War Crime.  The murder and gang-rape of Abeer was a War Crime.  Men were sent to prison for their crimes but where was the press?

In January of 2007, Jane Fonda gave a speech announcing the start of WOMEN'S MEDIA CENTER and the speech included:

I want to share a story.  I wonder how many know the name, Abeer Qassim Hamza al-Janabi.  How many know who she was?

Abeer was a 14-old-girl, living with her family about 50 miles south of Baghdad, trying to grow up as best she could in a country ravaged by violence and war.

Until March 12, 2006, when her life was cruelly cut short. On that night, five American soldiers, dressed all in black, allegedly burst into the home where Abeer lived with her family.

After spending the evening drinking whiskey mixed with energy drinks and playing cards, the soldiers must have decided to execute the crime they allegedly had been planning for weeks.  According to the charges, the men took turns raping 14-year-old Abeer before shooting her. In the next room, her mother, her father, and her five-year-old sister were executed. When the men were done, they drenched the bodies in kerosene and set them on fire.

Then, the prosecutors say, they went back to base and grilled up some chicken wings for dinner. It was months before this crime came to light.

The cold-blooded murder of Abeer and her family is a tragedy. But it’s almost as great a tragedy when her story, and all the other stories that are difficult to hear and difficult to accept, are buried in the back of the news pages—quickly shuffled off the nightly news by politicians and their handlers desperate to change the subject. Or never told at all.

Like so many Americans, I have felt frustrated and betrayed by the state of the mainstream media in this country— media whose priorities seem out of step with their responsibilities.

Media Must Be the Defenders of Democracy.

We need a media that strengthens democracy, not a media that strengthens the government. We need a media that enriches public discourse, not one that enriches corporations. There’s a big difference.

When we talk about reforming the media, what we’re really talking about is creating a media that is powerful, not a media that serves the interests of the powerful; a media that is so powerful that it can speak for the powerless, bear witness for those who are invisible in our world, and memorialize those who would be forgotten.

A truly powerful media is one that can stop a war, not start one.

And a truly powerful media is still needed and still required.  Women's history celebrates the progress women have made, yes, but it also includes the barriers that still have to be overcome.  Abeer's life didn't matter to corporate media.  They begged off coverage of the Article 32 hearing (or else lied about it -- Robert Worth, THE NEW YORK TIMES) due to not having reporters in Iraq.  Well Steven D. Green had a civilian prosecution and he was tried in the state of Kentucky.  This did not mean that the outlets suddenly rushed to cover what had happened.

Abeer's life mattered and it's a sad and sorry excuse for a press when they don't believe the same.

From 2006 through 2014, the story was unfolding and they repeatedly failed. 


End of C.I.'s snapshot.

So that's Abeer's story.  Jane Fonda gave at least three speeches that I know of on this War Crime.


US troops charged with murders, cover-ups in Iraq

Recent weeks have seen a spate of investigations and trials of US troops for murdering Iraqi civilians. The circumstances in which the investigations have been carried out—typically months after the events in question, which came to light only due to the intervention of enlisted men or outside journalists, and after cover-ups orchestrated by US officials—suggest that most such cases go unreported.

Alex Lantier

Five more US soldiers charged in rape-murder atrocity in Iraq

Four active duty US soldiers have been charged with participation in the “rape and murder of a young Iraqi woman and three members of her family,” the US military stated in a news release on Sunday. A fifth soldier is accused of dereliction of duty for failing to report the crimes.

Kate Randall

That is WSWS' full coverage of the War Crime that left Abeer and her family dead.  And, let me be clear, the first link to Alex's story?  The Abeer 'coverage' is two sentences.  Kate's story is about Abeer but it takes place before any trials or hearings took place.

WSWS refused to cover those.  When Green was convicted, WSWS refused to even cover that.

And David Walsh wants to lecture Jane Fonda, wants to attack her activism?  She founded WOMEN'S MEDIA CENTER to call out crimes like that.  She spoke out -- speeches, not interviews -- three times publicly about what happened to Abeer.  She financed a documentary on what happened to Abeer.  She discussed Abeer in numerous interviews.

Yet, WSWS only reported on Abeer in one article?  (Two sentences in the other article doesn't count as reporting.)

And he wants to put down her politics?

He's a f**king sexist pig and the silence on Abeer from WSWS -- only one real article written on this War Crime equates silence -- goes to the very real hatred for women that's repeatedly a part of WSWS.  It's there in their art coverage, it's there in their attack on Jane Fonda, it's all over.  And it's disgusting and it's why WSWS can't ever build on their audience.

 Donald was a really good actor and the only thing C.I. had to say against him (she wrote about him in last Friday's gina & krista round-robin) was that he got a little extreme on the non-smoking issue late in life (in the 90s).  (He couldn't be around people who had smoked.  Even Keifer would have to shower before going around his dad.)  And if that's the worst she could say, as she noted, that's a pretty good person.  

I wish I didn't have to compare him to Jane Fonda because few of us can hold up to that standard.  But David Walsh attacked her to build up Donald Sutherland and, sorry, sexist pig, Donald was never, at any point in his life, more political than Jane Fonda or more politically active.

Today, Jane works on the climate crisis mainly -- with Green Peace and others.  She's 87 years old in December and she's still politically active.  But David Walsh wants to trash her and pretend otherwise because he hates all women and WSWS lets him get away with it because they don't want informed readers and, look at the comments on his article, they don't have informed readers.

  • Avatar

    Good point about Jane Fonda. She was very brave to go to Vietnam in the early '70s to so openly oppose American imperialism. Now the only time she talks about that is to apologize for it.

No, you stupid idiot, that's not accurate at all you're just a dumb ass who doesn't know a damn thing.  Go watch the 2005 documentary SIR! NO SIR! and listen to what she says in that.  And she's never apologized for opposing the Vietnam War.  What she has apologized for is sitting.  She's apologized for a photograph of her sitting.  Grasp reality and grasp that WSWS doesn't ever deliver it to you.

Another example of an idiot reader at WSWS?  Carolyn's not an idiot (in fact, I believe I used to read a blog she had before she took it down) but I need to include her comment so you can get what an idiot the man 'agreeing' with her is.


I am shocked that no articles mention Eye of the Needle. Sutherland was fantastic in that film. And, quite the opposite of those who found him unattractive, I always thought he was sexy as hell.

 Tony Williams, you're not only stupid, you're a liar.  Before David Walsh wrote his bad article, I'd already written about Donald passing and I had noted EYE OF THE NEEDLE because it is an important film role for Donald and he's amaging in the movie.

Tony lies, that others are saying, "it was a rare, romantic excursion" for Donald.


He's a Nazi during WWII.  He's deep cover and kills people throughout the film.  In fact, his landlady walks in on him in the film's first eight minutes and discovers he's the Nazi everyone's looking for and he kills her.

Only at WSWS could you find a reader so stupid that they think the thriller EYE OF THE NEEDLE is a romantic film.

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


June 7, 2024.  The Israeli propaganda efforts get some media attention, let's not let Cori Bush be turned into the next Jamaal Bowman, we wind down coverage of Julian Assange for now, and much more.

ARAB NEWS notes, "An investigation by The Guardian published this week suggests that, amid a loosening of the interpretation of the laws of war since the deadly Hamas-led attacks on Oct. 7, Israel has deliberately sought to silence critical reporting."  Yesterday on SECULAR TALK, Kyle noted THE GUARDIAN report.

The “Concert” remark referred to a sprawling relaunch of a controversial Israeli government program initially known as Kela Shlomo, designed to carry out what Israel called “mass consciousness activities” targeted largely at the US and Europe. Concert, now known as Voices of Israel, previously worked with groups spearheading a campaign to pass so-called “anti-BDS” state laws that penalize Americans for engaging in boycotts or other non-violent protests of Israel.

Its latest incarnation is part of a hardline and sometimes covert operation by the Israeli government to strike back at student protests, human rights organizations and other voices of dissent.

Voices’ latest activities were conducted through non-profits and other entities that often do not disclose donor information. From October through May, Chikli has overseen at least 32m shekels, or about $8.6m, spent on government advocacy to reframe the public debate.

It didn’t take long for one of the American advocacy groups closely coordinating with Chikli’s ministry, the Institute for the Study of Global Antisemitism and Policy, or ISGAP, to score a powerful victory.

In a widely viewed December congressional hearing on alleged antisemitism among student anti-war protesters, several House GOP lawmakers explicitly cited ISGAP research in their interrogations of university presidents. The hearing concluded with Representative Elise Stefanik’s viral confrontation with the then president of Harvard University, Claudine Gay, who later retired from her role after a wave of negative news coverage.

The ISGAP, which reportedly received the majority of its funding in 2018 from the Israeli agency that was running Concert, touted its congressional public relations coup at a 7 April event at the Palm Beach Country Club.

“All these hearings were the result of our report that all these universities, beginning from Harvard, are taking a lot of money from Qatar,” bragged Natan Sharansky, a former Israeli Knesset member (MK) who previously held Chikli’s role and now chairs the ISGAP. Sharansky told the assembled supporters that Stefanik’s remarks had been viewed by 1 billion people.

The ISGAP has continued to shape congressional investigations of universities over claims that protests over Israel’s human rights record are motivated by antisemitism, and the organization has been deeply involved in the campaign to enshrine new laws that redefine antisemitism to include certain forms of speech critical of the nation of Israel.

They run a deception campaign and they hide it.  They're liars and whores.  And shame on those who claim American citizenship -- or just give lip service to having it -- who are part of a propaganda machine for another government. You shouldn't be a propaganda outlet for the US government but, if you are, at least we don't have to question your patriotism --just your common sense.

Now why does the state of Israel need a propaganda outlet?  Because of all the crimes taking place.  Like?  THE NEW ARAB notes:

Video footage of an Israeli army dog mauling an elderly Palestinian woman in Gaza has sparked questions over the use of canines in the war and their potential use as weapons of torture.

The video footage, broadcasted by the Al Jazeera Network this week, showed a large dog viciously biting and dragging a 66-year-old Palestinian woman in her home in Jabalia, north Gaza. The leaked footage came from a camera attached to the dog.

The woman, identified as Dawlat Abdullah Al Tanani, said she refused to leave her home, with Israeli forces setting the dogs on her while she was still in bed. The mauling resulted in fractures and serious injuries.

So there's that.  And there's this -- how the Israeli government is killing journalists.  And should you choose to stream the video, grasp that you have to click on that link because YOUTUBE is censoring it despite the fact that the only thing graphic in the video is the fact that a government is killing journalists.  There's no shocking image in that footage.  But YOUTUBE slaps a warning on it.  Wonder who asked for that?

The government of Israel also needs to hide what they've done to children in Gaza. Yasmeen Serhan (TIME) reports:

To date, at least 21,000 children are missing amid the chaos of the war, according to a new report by Save the Children—a figure the charity says includes 17,000 children who are unaccompanied or separated from their families as a result of the war and the 4,000 children who are thought to be missing under the rubble, as well as the untold number of children who have either been detained by Israeli forces or have been recently discovered in mass graves.

As with all of the statistics coming out of Gaza—including the more than 37,000-person death toll, a figure that is tracked by the Hamas-led Gaza Health Ministry and which is considered reliable by the U.S. government and the U.N.—the report notes that it is “nearly impossible” to collect and verify information under the current conditions in Gaza given the lack of access granted to aid agencies and forensic experts. But experts warn that the reality is probably far worse.

“Anyone who’s been to Gaza recently knows that these estimates are on the low end,” says Tanya Haj-Hassan, a pediatric intensive care physician who volunteered in Gaza’s Al-Aqsa hospital in March with U.K.-based charity Medical Aid for Palestinians. During her time in Gaza, Haj-Hassan says it was common after an airstrike or another mass-casualty event for family members to come to the hospital looking for their loved ones who were unaccounted for. “It’s assumed that those kids died buried under the rubble, and I don’t think those deaths are fully accounted for in these numbers.”

She recounts one time when a father, covered in soot and barefoot, came to the hospital calling out his daughter’s name, only to collapse when he realized she wasn’t there. In another, a mother arrives in a wheelchair, just one week postpartum, telling the hospital staff that her seven-day old is trapped under the rubble.

For the roughly 1 million children living in the besieged enclave, the last eight months have been defined by near-constant displacement, death, and destruction. Many are unable to get the nutrients they need as a result of man-made food shortages, creating what the U.N. and others describe as “catastrophic levels” of hunger.  

The Israeli government needs to hide how they're killing doctors.  We noted Doctors Without Borders' statement on the killing of Fadi al-Wadiya in yesterday's snapshot.  THE NEW ARAB notes:

Israeli forces killed a Palestinian Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) physiotherapist who was on his way to work on Tuesday.

The organisation confirmed his killing in a statement but did not explicitly blame Israel.

Fadi Al-Wadiya, 33, was killed along with five others, including three children near an MSF clinic, as he was cycling there.

The father of three was on his way to provide medical care to others who had been wounded in Israel's ongoing war on Gaza.

The United Nations accused Israel of carrying out "systematic attacks" on hospitals as a British charity decried the killing of 500 health care workers since the war in Gaza began.

Israel retaliated following the Hamas militant group's massacre of more than 1,000 people and the taking of Israeli hostages on October 7. The Israel Defense Forces have been waging a military campaign in Gaza which has so far killed more than 37,000 people.

“As of 25 June, 500 healthcare workers have been killed in Gaza since Israel’s military assault began in October. This equates to an average of two healthcare workers killed every day, with one in every 40 healthcare workers, or 2.5% of Gaza’s healthcare workforce, now dead,” said British charity Medical Aid for Palestinians in a statement Wednesday.

The deaths pile up -- children, doctors, aid workers, journalists . . .  And in no other war have we treated this kind of killings as acceptable.  A propaganda campaign has ensured that few make the needed connections. We need truth tellers now -- not paid and unpaid lobbyists for the Israeli government.

Cori Bush is in the US Congress.  Guess who's funding her newly sprung rival?  ALJAZEERA reports:


Cori Bush, a US Congresswoman representing Missouri, is headed for her own contentious primary in August, and Wednesday’s poll shows her trailing her centrist rival Wesley Bell.

He was ahead of Bush by one point, with 43 percent support to her 42 percent, a difference well within the margin of error. The poll was conducted by the Mellman Group, on behalf of the pro-Israel group Democratic Majority for Israel.

The publication The Hill, however, said the poll could indicate weakness in Bush’s re-election efforts. “This is a notable improvement for Bell from January, when a poll by the firm found Bush leading by 16 points,” it said.

Cori doesn't need to be the next Jamaal Bowman.  She needs to hit back and hit back hard that her concerns are Missouri and the US, not Israel.  She needs to make clear that she is not a foreign agent working for another government.  This should force Wesley, rocking the worst jheri curls of 2024, by the way.  to have to actually stand up.  

And he doesn't have anything to actually stand on. Do we want to talk about while, as a judge, he was also getting money for bail bonds?  Do we want to ponder that conflict of interest?  Or maybe we just want to focus on his work to elect anti-choice politicians -- going so far, in fact, as managing a Republican candidate for Congress' campaign?

The candidate, Mark J. Byrne, ran as a fierce abortion opponent and gun rights crusader. “I intend to protect the rights of the unborn,” his campaign website read. “I believe that there is no greater job for elected representatives.”

[. . .]

As of May, Bell has raised more than $65,000 in contributions from donors who normally give to Republicans. They include a former GOP speaker of the Missouri House, the billionaire hedge fund founder Daniel Loeb, and the former finance chair for Sen. Tim Scott’s (R-S.C.) presidential super PAC.

At the end of the last fundraising quarter, Bell reported having about twice as much cash on hand as Bush.

Bell has also benefited from more than $300,000 in ads paid for by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s super PAC. While AIPAC backs candidates of both parties who support U.S. military assistance for Israel, progressive critics have noted the PAC’s top contributors are GOP megadonors. Bush is one of AIPAC’s top targets in the 2024 elections. 

Wesley has a reputation for making homophobic remarks.  That should be an issue.  (He reads gay and that would explain why the 49-year-old man is unmarried and maybe that intern that he was running around with was just a beard.  If he's gay and in the closet, that means he's self-loathing and that's no friend to Americans on LGBTQ+ issues -- that's creating a spot in the House like the one we've got in the Senate where Mint Julip downs a mean cock but votes against every LGBTQ+ issue while pretending he's straight.) 

"We don't know who he is, but we know who's funding him."

That's what those supporting Cori should be promoting.  He's anti-choice, he thinks he's above the law (all those ethical problems in his history -- including his inability to create an equal opportunity workplace). 

That's what people need to think about.  Her supporters need to stress that we know where Cori stands on the issues.  For example, she's pro-choice and her office released the following this week:

Congresswoman Cori Bush (MO-01) released the following statement on the second anniversary of the Supreme Court case decision Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization which overturned Roe v. Wade (1973) and Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1992) with a ruling that held that the constitution does not protect the right to access abortion, overturning over 50 years of precedent.

“The fight to protect access to abortion care and reproductive freedom is personal for me. The decision to have my abortions wasn’t easy, but I knew it was the right decision for me. I am so thankful that as a young adult, I had a safe healthcare option available. For five decades, Roe v. Wade protected our right to make these decisions, but on this day two years ago, this protection was stripped away by the corrupt and illegitimate Supreme Court. Within minutes of this far-right extremist Supreme Court decision, Missouri became the first state to enact its trigger ban and outlaw abortion care. And, in the two years since Roe was overturned, 14 states have enacted total abortion bans. 

“We do not ever have to go back to a time where back-alley, unsafe abortions are the norm because we have medication abortion which in many instances can be received in the mail. But there is no doubt that the Dobbs decision is a major setback, especially for Black, brown, Indigenous communities, people with disabilities, LGBTQ+ communities, young people, low-income folks, and other marginalized communities. Because the reality is Roe was always the floor when it came to reproductive freedom—marginalized communities have always faced barriers to care. People in Missouri, and all around the country, will keep having abortions, whether legal or not. We can and we must expand reproductive health care and protect reproductive rights. 

“As a Congresswoman, I have fought hard to protect and expand reproductive rights. It's why I have introduced several pieces of legislation that both protect and expand access to reproductive, sexual health, and abortion care. Just last week I introduced legislation to repeal the Comstock Act, a zombie law that anti-abortion extremists are threatening to use to bypass Congress and enact a nationwide abortion ban.

“The movement for abortion and reproductive justice demands an inclusive, anti-racist, anti-classist, anti-ableist, anti-transphobic response. Only through a unified front can we secure full reproductive freedom, bodily autonomy, dignity, and justice for all. I am honored to stand with people from all backgrounds, genders, faiths, immigration statuses, and communities, as we fight for our freedom.” 

Congresswoman Bush continues to be a fierce champion for reproductive rights and health care in Congress. Since Dobbs, Congresswoman Bush has led the charge and fought for the following initiatives:

  • Reproductive Health Care Accessibility Act: eliminate barriers and strengthens access to reproductive health care for people with disabilities. This legislation was introduced alongside Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (MA-07), and Senators Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.).
  • Reproductive Health Travel Fund Act: provides grant assistance to those who live in trigger-ban states, like Missouri, who need to travel to receive reproductive health care. This legislation was reintroduced this month alongside Representatives Marilyn Strickland (WA-10), Lizzie Fletcher (TX-07) and Senator Smith.
  • Abortion Justice Act: addresses access to abortion care and puts forth a comprehensive vision of a just America where abortion care is readily available—without stigma, shame or systemic barriers–for all who seek it. This legislation was reintroduced this month alongside Representatives Pressley, Veronica Escobar (TX-16), Nikema Williams (GA-05), and Maxwell Frost (FL-10).
  • Stop Comstock Act: prevents Republicans from resurrecting a zombie law that would achieve a federal abortion ban without passing it in Congress. This legislation will be introduced along with Representatives Balint (VT), Veronica Escobar (TX-16), Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12), Mary Gay Scanlon (PA-05) and Senators Smith, Catherine Cortez-Masto (D-Nev.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).
  • Caucus for the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA): aims to recognize the Equal Rights Amendment as the 28th Amendment to the Constitution, establish constitutional gender equality, protect abortion rights and safeguard women’s health and bodily autonomy. 


Most of all, it needs to be made clear that patriotic Americans, concerned Americans, thinking Americans -- all of us do not support candidates who take money for and from foreign governments.

Let's note this from yesterday's DEMOCRACY NOW!

AMY GOODMAN: WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is home in Australia a free man. Assange landed in the Australian capital of Canberra today to cheers from supporters. He disembarked from a chartered jet and waved to the crowd before kissing his wife Stella and lifting her off the ground. He embraced his father, John Shipton, and entered the terminal building with his legal team.

Assange’s arrival in Australia ends a more than 12-year legal ordeal after he published classified documents detailing U.S. war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan. Press freedom groups have denounced successive U.S. administrations for targeting Assange, who had been facing 175 years in U.S. prison if he had been extradited and convicted.

Twelve years ago this month, Assange entered the Ecuadorian Embassy, where he was given political asylum. He spent seven years there. He has spent the last five years locked up in the harsh Belmarsh Prison in London.

Earlier today, Julian Assange flew from London to the Pacific island of Saipan in Northern Mariana Islands, where he entered a U.S. district court and pled guilty to a single felony count of illegally obtaining and disclosing national security material. The judge, Ramona Manglona, sentenced him to the five years he had already spent behind bars, saying, quote, “You will be able to walk out of this courtroom a free man. I hope there will be some peace restored,” she said.

Just moments before this broadcast, Julian Assange’s wife Stella and his lawyers, Barry Pollack and Jen Robinson, held a news conference in Canberra. This is Stella Moris Assange.

STELLA ASSANGE: I wish to thank the prime minister, Albanese, the officials who have been working indefat on securing Julian’s release. I’d also like to thank the Australian people, who have made this possible, because without their support, there would not be the political space to be able to achieve Julian’s freedom. And that support is across — across the board. I thank the opposition for also supporting Julian’s release. It took all — all of them. It took millions of people. It took people working behind the scenes, people protesting on the streets for days and weeks and months and years. And we achieved it.

Julian wanted me to sincerely thank everyone. He wanted to be here, but you have to understand what he’s been through. He needs time. He needs to recuperate. And this is a process. I ask you, please, to give us space, to give us privacy to find our place, to let our family be a family, before he can speak again at a time of his choosing.

I think it’s important to recognize that Julian’s release and the breakthrough in the negotiations came at a time where there had been a breakthrough in the legal case in the U.K., in the extradition, where the High Court had allowed permission to appeal. There was a court date set for the 9th and 10th of July, an upcoming court date in which Julian would be able to raise the First Amendment argument at the High Court. And it is in this context that things finally started to move. I think it revealed how uncomfortable the United States government is, in fact, of having these arguments aired, because this case — the fact is that this case is an attack on journalism, it’s an attack on the public’s right to know, and it should never have been brought. Julian should never have spent a single day in prison. But today we celebrate, because today Julian is free.

AMY GOODMAN: Julian Assange’s U.S. lawyer, Barry Pollack, also addressed reporters in the Australian capital of Canberra and spoke about the details of the case.

BARRY POLLACK: Good evening. Earlier this evening, earlier today, in a courthouse in Saipan, we had a hearing that brought to a close a prosecution that never should have been brought. Julian Assange has for so many years sacrificed for freedom of speech and freedom of the press. He has sacrificed his own freedom. And finally, today, that tragic situation ended, and we are all grateful that Julian is back home in Australia where he belongs, back with Stella, back with his children, reunited with his father.

It is unprecedented in the United States to use the Espionage Act to criminally prosecute a journalist or a publisher. In the more than 100-year history of that law, it has never been used in this fashion. It is certainly our hope that it will never again be used in this fashion.

Julian spent years in Belmarsh. No one should spend a day in prison for giving the public newsworthy and important information — in this case, information that the United States government had committed war crimes, that there were civilian casualties exponentially greater than the United States government had admitted in Iraq and Afghanistan. It was definitely in the public’s interest to have this information, and Julian provided it to the public. He performed a tremendous public service, not a crime.

The problem with the Espionage Act is there is no First Amendment defense in the Espionage Act. It does, by its terms, not matter the reason why you published.

The U.S., for years, the U.S. government, has claimed that these publications did great harm. Today in court, the United States government admitted that there is not a single person anywhere that they can produce that was actually harmed by these publications.

Hopefully, this is the end not just of the case against Julian Assange, but the end of the case against journalism. Thank you.

AMY GOODMAN: That was Barry Pollack, Assange’s attorney. His longtime attorney Jennifer Robinson then took questions from reporters, along with Pollock and Stella Assange.

JENNIFER ROBINSON: To start with, there’s no evidence of any actual harm. And that’s exactly what the U.S. government acknowledged in court today in Saipan. So, there is no evidence that anyone was physically harmed as a result of those publications.

The public interest in those publications is clear: evidence of war crimes, that the U.S. had not disclosed the extent of civilian casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan, the use of torture and other forms of human rights abuse around the world. There is no denying the public interest in WikiLeaks’ publications, which is reflected in the reasons why WikiLeaks has won the Walkley Award for Most Outstanding Contribution to Journalism, the Sydney Peace Prize, the fact that Julian has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize every year since those publications. So, to suggest that this was not in the public interest, I don’t understand the basis upon which they could possibly suggest that. And so, I think it’s — this is clear.

REPORTER 1: Stella, can we have a question for you [inaudible]? That moment on the tarmac where you embraced Julian must have been incredibly surreal. Was that the moment you realized that this was over, that he was home?

STELLA ASSANGE: Yes, I was overcome by emotion when I first heard that there were crowds cheering, that I didn’t even know were there, behind a fence, because it was dark. And then I heard them cheer more and more and flashes. And then I turned the corner, and then I saw that Julian was coming. And we embraced. And, I mean, I think you’ve seen the pictures. I don’t want to express in words what is obvious from the image.

REPORTER 2: Stella, what comes next for Julian Assange? Will this revitalize WikiLeaks? Will this [inaudible], what have you? What’s next?

STELLA ASSANGE: Julian needs time to recover, to get used to freedom.

REPORTER 2: Don’t touch me!

STELLA ASSANGE: Someone told me yesterday, who had been through something similar, that freedom comes slowly. And I want Julian to have that space to rediscover freedom slowly — and quickly.

REPORTER 3: Jen, one of my colleagues mentioned the Podesta Files earlier. I think he may not have read them. Could you, now that you have the opportunity, just remind us of how that actually reformed the DNC and the corruption within. The Podesta Files were really good for the Democratic National Congress, yes?

JENNIFER ROBINSON: Look, there was a huge — there’s clearly public interest in the DNC materials that was released by WikiLeaks. And in terms of the legality of those publications, there’s a U.S. court decision showing that it had the highest possible protection of the First Amendment. So, from a principle point of view, people might not like the politics of any particular publication, but that publication is absolutely protected by the First Amendment, as U.S. courts have found.

REPORTER 4: Jen, are there any post-release conditions for Julian — prolonged periods the U.S. has said that he’s banned from returning, stepping foot in the U.S., gag orders, anything like that? And can you and Barry give us a sense of the negotiations with the DOJ, particularly given Julian’s strong-held view that he was not guilty of a crime.

JENNIFER ROBINSON: I think it’s best Barry speaks to the terms of the plea deal.

BARRY POLLACK: There are absolutely no restrictions on Julian. The case against him is over. There is no gag order. There are no other restrictions. He is going to be able to go back to whatever life he chooses to build with Stella and his family.

The negotiations were a protracted process that went on for several months, sort of in fits and starts. We were not close to any sort of a resolution until a few weeks ago, when the Department of Justice reengaged, and there have been very intense negotiations over the last few weeks.

One thing we were very clear about was that any resolution would have to end this matter and that Julian would be free, that he was not going to do additional time in prison, he was not going to do time under supervision, he was not going to do time under a gag order. So, that was one absolute requirement.

Another significant point of negotiation was where the plea would be taken. Julian did not want to come to the United States in any form. Ultimately, obviously, we negotiated Saipan, under conditions where he would be released in the U.K. He would come to Saipan not as a prisoner of the United States or the United Kingdom, and that we would come in and leave on the same day, which is exactly what happened.

And other provisions of the plea that were very significant, the United States agreed that they are not going to bring any other charges against Julian for any conduct, any publications, any newsgathering, anything at all that occurred prior to the time of the plea. So, even if he had prevailed in the extradition proceeding, that would have just resolved this case. This resolves any possible case that the United States could bring against Julian for any subject matter. So, that was obviously very significant to us.

REPORTER 5: Thank you. Jen and also Stella — Stella, you called yesterday your hopes for a pardon to be granted to Julian. How do you see that playing out? Would you like the Australian government to support that call? What could be possibly done to actually achieve that outcome, in your view?

STELLA ASSANGE: Look, I think today we celebrate Julian’s freedom. Today is the day that the plea deal was approved by the judge. I think it’s also a day where I hope journalists and editors and publishers everywhere realize the danger of the — of this U.S. case against Julian that criminalizes, that has secured a conviction for newsgathering and publishing information that was in the public interest, that was true, that the public deserved to know, and that precedent now can and will be used in the future against the rest of the press. So it is in the interest of all of the press to seek for this current state of affairs to change, through reform of the Espionage Act, through increased press protections, and, yes, eventually, when the time comes — not today — a pardon.

AMY GOODMAN: That was Stella Moris Assange, Julian Assange’s wife — she is also a human rights attorney — along with Assange attorneys Barry Pollack and his longtime lawyer Jennifer Robinson, speaking at a news conference in the Australian capital of Canberra, just minutes after WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange arrived in Australia a free man after a 14-year legal ordeal.

DEMOCRACY NOW! did three reports on Julian yesterday.  This is the first of the three at this site.  Normally, around 2:00 pm EST, Monday through Thursday, we note a DEMOCRACY NOW! video and, after that, may note others as well.  That didn't happen yesterday and that wasn't by accident.

We're not noting Julian over the next few weeks unless Kevin Gosztola is covering/reflecting/analyzing -- whatever.  The Kevin exception is because he's covered this story for years and he keeps his head down and focuses on the work so I try to note him anytime I see a new video.  

Otherwise?  Julian needs to time to acclimate.  Based on Stella Assange's remarks, he'll speak when he's ready.  When he does, we'll be happy to note it here.  But this is a human being who's been through a great deal and needs some time away from the public.  We're going to respect that here and until he is speaking about the ordeal, we're not making him a topic with the exception of anything Kevin posts on YOUTUBE.  

Gaza remains under assault. Day 263 of  the assault in the wave that began in October.  Binoy Kampmark (DISSIDENT VOICE) points out, "Bloodletting as form; murder as fashion.  The ongoing campaign in Gaza by Israel’s Defence Forces continues without stalling and restriction.  But the burgeoning number of corpses is starting to become a challenge for the propaganda outlets:  How to justify it?  Fortunately for Israel, the United States, its unqualified defender, is happy to provide cover for murder covered in the sheath of self-defence."   CNN has explained, "The Gaza Strip is 'the most dangerous place' in the world to be a child, according to the executive director of the United Nations Children's Fund."  ABC NEWS quotes UNICEF's December 9th statement, ""The Gaza Strip is the most dangerous place in the world to be a child. Scores of children are reportedly being killed and injured on a daily basis. Entire neighborhoods, where children used to play and go to school have been turned into stacks of rubble, with no life in them."  NBC NEWS notes, "Strong majorities of all voters in the U.S. disapprove of President Joe Biden’s handling of foreign policy and the Israel-Hamas war, according to the latest national NBC News poll. The erosion is most pronounced among Democrats, a majority of whom believe Israel has gone too far in its military action in Gaza."  The slaughter continues.  It has displaced over 1 million people per the US Congressional Research Service.  Jessica Corbett (COMMON DREAMS) points out, "Academics and legal experts around the world, including Holocaust scholars, have condemned the six-week Israeli assault of Gaza as genocide."   The death toll of Palestinians in Gaza is grows higher and higher.  United Nations Women noted, "More than 1.9 million people -- 85 per cent of the total population of Gaza -- have been displaced, including what UN Women estimates to be nearly 1 million women and girls. The entire population of Gaza -- roughly 2.2 million people -- are in crisis levels of acute food insecurity or worse."  THE NATIONAL notes, "At least 37,765 Palestinians have been killed and 86,429 injured in Israel's war on Gaza since October 7, the Gaza Health Ministry said on Thursday.  Over the past 24 hours, 47 people were killed and 52 injured, the ministry added."    Months ago,  AP  noted, "About 4,000 people are reported missing."  February 7th, Jeremy Scahill explained on DEMOCRACY NOW! that "there’s an estimated 7,000 or 8,000 Palestinians missing, many of them in graves that are the rubble of their former home."  February 5th, the United Nations' Phillipe Lazzarini Tweeted:


April 11th, Sharon Zhang (TRUTHOUT) reported, "In addition to the over 34,000 Palestinians who have been counted as killed in Israel’s genocidal assault so far, there are 13,000 Palestinians in Gaza who are missing, a humanitarian aid group has estimated, either buried in rubble or mass graves or disappeared into Israeli prisons.  In a report released Thursday, Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor said that the estimate is based on initial reports and that the actual number of people missing is likely even higher."

As for the area itself?  Isabele Debre (AP) reveals, "Israel’s military offensive has turned much of northern Gaza into an uninhabitable moonscape. Whole neighborhoods have been erased. Homes, schools and hospitals have been blasted by airstrikes and scorched by tank fire. Some buildings are still standing, but most are battered shells."  Kieron Monks (I NEWS) reports, "More than 40 per cent of the buildings in northern Gaza have been damaged or destroyed, according to a new study of satellite imagery by US researchers Jamon Van Den Hoek from Oregon State University and Corey Scher at the City University of New York. The UN gave a figure of 45 per cent of housing destroyed or damaged across the strip in less than six weeks. The rate of destruction is among the highest of any conflict since the Second World War."

The following sites updated: