Friday, December 14, 2018

Again on TIME

Going back to that TIME 'person of the year' story (yesterday's "TIME's a joke and so is their choice for person of the year"), Patrick Martin (WSWS) observes:

It is most of all notable that the Time cover story on courageous journalists risking violence and repression to uncover the truth makes no mention of the most famous persecuted journalist on the planet, Julian Assange. The former editor of WikiLeaks has been effectively jailed in the Ecuadorian embassy in London for the past six years, seeking to avoid extradition to the United States.
It was revealed last month that a federal grand jury in Alexandria, Virginia—the judicial district that handles cases involving the CIA and Pentagon—has returned a secret indictment of Assange, likely related to his role in WikiLeaks’ publication of US military and diplomatic secrets, mainly relating to war crimes by US personnel in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as State Department efforts to destabilize and browbeat governments around the world.
The editors of Time magazine are well aware of Assange’s courageous role carrying out the basic work of genuine journalism—uncovering the truths that powerful interests want to conceal. In 2010, the year that WikiLeaks became a household word for its publication of US military reports leaked by Chelsea Manning on atrocities in Iraq and Afghanistan, Assange was the runner-up for Time’s “Person of the Year” to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. WikiLeaks was described admiringly as a “revolutionary force, wresting secrets into the public domain on a scale without precedent.”

In 2016, when WikiLeaks published leaked emails from the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman John Podesta, exposing the DNC’s effort to rig the Democratic presidential primary campaign against Bernie Sanders and Clinton’s groveling addresses to audiences of Wall Street bankers, Time’s own readers chose Assange as “Person of the Year” in an online poll. The magazine chose president-elect Donald Trump instead.

Julian Assange needs to be left alone.  The persecution needs to end. 

"Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):
Thursday, December 13, 2018.  Julian Assange remains persecuted and the Iraqi government learns it wasn't such a great thing to sit on their asses for years while ISIS occupied cities and towns.

As noted yesterday, the one person the US government wants to punish for the Iraq War is WIKILEAKS publisher Julian Assange.  Julian's 'crime' was revaling the realities of Iraq -- Chelsea Manning was a whistle-blower who leaked the information to Julian.  WIKILEAKS then published the Iraq War Logs.  And many outlets used the publication to publish reports of their own.  For example, THE GUARDIAN published many articles based on The Iraq War Logs.  Jonathan Steele, David Leigh and Nick Davies offered, on October 22, 2012:

A grim picture of the US and Britain's legacy in Iraq has been revealed in a massive leak of American military documents that detail torture, summary executions and war crimes.
Almost 400,000 secret US army field reports have been passed to the Guardian and a number of other international media organisations via the whistleblowing website WikiLeaks.

The electronic archive is believed to emanate from the same dissident US army intelligence analyst who earlier this year is alleged to have leaked a smaller tranche of 90,000 logs chronicling bloody encounters and civilian killings in the Afghan war.
The new logs detail how:
US authorities failed to investigate hundreds of reports of abuse, torture, rape and even murder by Iraqi police and soldiers whose conduct appears to be systematic and normally unpunished.

A US helicopter gunship involved in a notorious Baghdad incident had previously killed Iraqi insurgents after they tried to surrender.
More than 15,000 civilians died in previously unknown incidents. US and UK officials have insisted that no official record of civilian casualties exists but the logs record 66,081 non-combatant deaths out of a total of 109,000 fatalities.
The numerous reports of detainee abuse, often supported by medical evidence, describe prisoners shackled, blindfolded and hung by wrists or ankles, and subjected to whipping, punching, kicking or electric shocks. Six reports end with a detainee's apparent death.

How telling of the pathetic and degraded society we currently live in that the only person whom the US government wants to punish for the Iraq War is the one who told the truth.

Many lied.  Bully Boy Bush, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama*, so many liars.  And yet the US government protects them.  The publisher is whom they go after.

*Barack Obama.  "We want to end the war and we want to end it now!" he thundered in front of his throng of sex addicts.  They lapped it up.  And it was used for commercials in battle ground states during the 2008 Democratic battle for the presidential nomination.

He lied -- Samantha Power revealed to the BBC that Barck was lying -- when he promised US troops out of Iraq in ten months if he were elected president.  That's why she left the campaign.  We covered it here.  With the exception of THE WASHINGTON POST, everyone else ignored it.

But then a press who would gush and giggle when Barack emerged in a pair of blue jeans (Mom jeans, by the way) was never a press that was going to hold Saint Barack accountable -- not as a candidate -- not as a president.

Laura Flanders, I'm getting really ticked at you by the way.  You promised to hold his feet to the fire and you never did.  You're useless and you are pathetic.

And you are the reason that in 2018, I'm having to explain yet again that Barack lied to the American people.  You whored.  And you've done nothing since that argued you learned a damn thing.  Now you could offer conspiracy talk about how bombs were used to destroy New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina, you could promote neoliberal candidates until your own audience called you out, so I don't kow why we ever listened to you to begin with.

I wasn't scared, I fought this on my own
You pulled me down and I let you go
I told you I would prove you wrong
And now I'm here and I'm standing strong
I know (I know, I know)
I know (I, I know, I know)
I know (I know, I know)
That I ain't got far to go, go, go
'Cause I spent forever waiting
And it's no longer a dream
And now I've landed on my feet
And I ain't got far to go
H-h-h-hold tight, rollercoaster, here we go
Florida, Orlando, I ain't playing with you
Day one, I said I'd go for me
One box ticked, got a lot to beat
-- "Ain't Got Far To Go," written by Jess Glynne, Janee Jin Jin Bennett, Knox Brown and Finlay Starsmith Dow-Smith, first appears on Jess' I CRY WHEN I LAUGH.

Barack lied about pulling US troops out ten months after being sworn in.  Once sworn in, he finally (end of 2011) did a drawdown, not a withdrawal.  A drawdown is a reduction in the number of forces, it is not a complete removal.  He lied to the American people when he overturned the 2010 election results with a contract (The Erbil Agreement) -- a move that set the stage for ISIS to take root in Iraq -- that's on Barack.  Whether or not the US funded ISIS or created it or any of the beliefs popular in the Middle East, that's open to debate and should be studied.  But  when it comes to his actions in giving thug Nouri al-Maliki a second term as prime minister after the Iraqi people said no?  That's what allowed ISIS to take root as we documented in real time during Nouri's second term in office.

That's before the move to secretly send more US troops back into Iraq, exposed by Tim Arangon (NEW YORK TIMES) at the end of September 2012.  Right before three presidential debates but no one mentioned it, not only that, they allowed Barack to pretend he pulled all troops out of Iraq.

Laura Flanders, that's on you and I'm not seeing anything that you've done to make up for it.  Now we both know, you and I, that you will go to any lengths to self-promote and to ensure your control over certain situations.  I've been very kind to you (certainly kinder than I've been to your niece).  But those days are over.  Danny Schechter and Tom Hayden whores too.  I called them out repeatedly.  They're both dead so it's time to move down the list of members in The Church of St. Barack and it appears your number is up.  It's a damn shame you didn't try to make up for your whoring in the years since.

People like Laura are why we have the Iraq War still all these years later.  People like Laura are the reason Julian Assange is in jeopardy.

2011, Laura was interested then.  But, like her interest in the Iraq War, her interest in Julian Assange quickly faded.  Seven years ago, from the woman who still offers (badly written) columns and, of course, her GRIT TV -- what is that, her vagina under remodel?  Open concept this time, Laura, putting in a new backsplash?

Ann Garrison (BLACK AGENDA REPORT) does the heavy lifting that Laura abhors:

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange appears to be one step closer to forcible removal from Ecuador's London Embassy, most likely to be extradited to the US to face charges in the Eastern District Court of Virginia, which is commonly known as “the espionage court.” If UK police have to go in and remove him by force that will of course demonstrate the brutality of the state in the Gandhian tradition.
The US and UK governments may nevertheless be in a hurry to get hold of him however they can, with Theresa May's Tory government so close to collapse and Jeremy Corbyn's Labor Party so close to power. Given all that Corbyn has said about protecting journalists who take risks to reveal the truth about power, it's hard to imagine him extraditing Assange in response to US demands, even though refusal would no doubt damage the longstanding Anglo-American alliance.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange appears via video at a Quito court hearing as he appeals against new protocols – Ecuador will no longer pay for his food and medical care, etc. - governing his stay at the Embassy in London

Supporting those that have MADE IT TO LONDON in personal defence of Julian (founder of ) is a way to GET & KEEP feet there! If you wish you could, then please help those that ARE! Thank you Angel & all donors.
This Machine Kills Secrets: Julian Assange, the Cypherpunks, and Their Fight to Empower Whistleblowers -
Message from Heike , Sevim Dagdelen, Sahra , December 10th, 2018: Protection for Julian  — Allow departure to a safe country

The wonderful 1st Amendment-support Julian Assange bumper sticker we were discussing this week in is from . GO TO: Click on resources link: The .pdf: Screenshot:

Prosecution of , America’s Betrayal of Its Own Ideals by via

In other news, Amnesty International released the following:

As part of its brutal campaign against northern Iraq’s Yezidi minority, the armed group calling itself Islamic State (IS) committed war crimes and crimes against humanity when it sabotaged irrigation wells and destroyed other farming infrastructure, Amnesty International said in a new report today.

A year after Iraq’s government declared military victory over IS, Dead Land: Islamic State’s Deliberate Destruction of Iraq’s Farmland details how the armed group also burnt orchards, looted livestock and machinery and laid landmines in farming areas.

“The damage to Iraq’s countryside is as far-reaching as the urban destruction, but the consequences of the conflict on Iraq’s rural residents are being largely forgotten,” said Richard Pearshouse, Senior Crisis Adviser at Amnesty International. 

“Our investigation reveals how IS carried out deliberate, wanton destruction of Iraq’s rural environment around Sinjar Mountain, wreaking havoc on the long-term livelihoods of Yezidis and other agrarian communities. Today, hundreds of thousands of displaced farmers and their families can’t return home because IS went out of its way to render farming impossible.”

Amnesty International visited rural areas in northern Iraq, including Sinjar district where much of the Yezidi community lived before 2014 and the scene of some of the most extensive rural damage. The organization interviewed 69 people for this report, including 44 current or former farmers from rural areas.

Destruction of vital water sources in a harsh, dry land

In addition to its campaign of war crimes and crimes against humanity, including murder, persecution, rape and enslavement, IS sabotaged the irrigation wells of many subsistence and smallholder farmers.

IS fighters often tossed rubble, oil, or other foreign objects into the wells and stole or destroyed pumps, cables, generators and transformers. The armed group also burnt or chopped down orchards and pulled down and stole vital electricity lines.

Hadi, a former farmer in his mid-40s from a small village south of Sinjar Mountain, told Amnesty International what he saw when he returned to his farm after fleeing IS in 2014:

“[It was] pure destruction. I had a well – 220 metres deep – as well as a generator and an irrigation pipe system. [IS] threw rubble in my well and filled it to the top. My trees were chopped down – I could see the [chainsaw] marks. The irrigation system – from the pump to the pipes – was stolen. They did this to send a message: that you have nothing to return to, so if you survive, don’t even think of coming back.”

Majdal, a farmer in his mid-50s from another village south of Sinjar Mountain, said:

“There is nothing left. Now the house is destroyed, and all the trees burnt down. We had 100 olive trees, but when I went I didn’t see a single tree in any direction. They were chopped down and burnt… They wanted us to lose everything. They didn’t want us to be able to come back to our land.”

Amnesty International visited an abandoned farm in a small village near Sinune town, north of Sinjar Mountain. IS fighters had poured oil down one irrigation well and dumped debris in another. A large water tank was empty and plastic irrigation pipes lay broken and scattered nearby.  Adjacent fields lay barren.

Water engineers told Amnesty International they had no doubt the destruction was deliberate. This happened on a broad scale – no comprehensive assessment has been undertaken, but local officials estimate that in the area near Sinune alone, IS put 400 out of 450 irrigation wells out of use.

Wider agricultural destruction

The conflict against IS eviscerated Iraq’s agricultural production, now an estimated 40% lower than 2014 levels. Before IS, around two-thirds of Iraq’s farmers had access to irrigation – only three years later, this had fallen to 20%. Around 75% of livestock was lost, spiking to 95% in some areas.

Only about half the people displaced after IS took control of the Sinjar area in 2014 have returned. Numerous IDPs from the area told Amnesty International they felt they now had nothing to go home to, with their farms and livelihoods decimated. This pattern appears to be reflected in rural areas elsewhere in Iraq.

“Unless there is urgent government assistance, the long-term damage inflicted on Iraq’s rural environment will reverberate for years to come. When IS tore through Iraq in 2014, it thrived off rural poverty and resentments, so Iraq’s government should be concerned that something similar could happen again,” said Richard Pearshouse.

Urgent need to prioritize rural reconstruction

Iraq adopted an official reconstruction plan in 2018. It assesses the damage to the agricultural sector and outlines the costs of recovery over the next five years.

“The Iraqi government urgently needs to fund and implement its reconstruction plan. Repairing critical irrigation and other rural infrastructure is vital to allow displaced people to be able to return to their homes and farms,” said Richard Pearshouse.

“Those displaced by IS war crimes have a right to full reparation and to justice. The government must ensure that survivors receive restitution or, if this is not possible, compensation.”

Amnesty International is also calling for the UN-mandated team established in September 2017 to include IS crimes related to the environment within the scope of its investigation. 


From August 2014 onwards, Yezidis and their overwhelmingly agrarian communities bore the brunt of the IS crimes in northern Iraq.

First, IS fighters rounded up and killed any men and boys who hadn’t been able to seek sanctuary on the defensible heights of Sinjar Mountain. Soon after, they abducted and sold an estimated 6,000 young women and children into slavery elsewhere in Iraq and in Syria. Yezidis sought refuge in Europe and other parts of the Middle East.

By the time the north side of Sinjar Mountain was retaken from IS in December 2014, and the south side in November 2015, thousands of years of Yezidi life had been all but obliterated. The Kurdistan Regional Government took control of the area before handing it over to Iraqi central government control in October 2017.

And that's why you don't sit on your ass for years while ISIS occupies towns and cities.  It's why you don't hide and cower as Nouri al-Maliki and Hayder al-Abadi did.  They were as bad as all the fleeing Iraqi soldiers.  Three years they allowed Mosul to be occupied, to cite only one city.  They were too cowardly to do their job: Defend Iraq.  But puppets always are cowardly.

Turning to happier news, congratulations to Janet Jackson and Stevie Nicks!

: Radiohead, Janet Jackson, Stevie Nicks, Def Leppard, the Cure, Roxy Music and the Zombies to be inducted

The following community sites -- plus Jody Watley and NPR Music-- updated: