Thursday, December 08, 2022

Kirk Cameron fancies himself an author and not just a hate merchant

If you missed it failed actor Kirk Cameron is whining 'censorship.'  He's written a children's book and thinks it's the public library system's job to promote it and him.  No, it's not.

He is a failed actor that society dismissed some time ago.  The same fate awaits his sister, by the way.  He is not an author.  He is known for his hatred of LGBTQs.  

Why doesn't he work with the backward churches -- with the backward churches, not with churches (most churches would have nothing to do with him) -- to promote his book?  

Educated people visit libraries.  Educated people don't have time for idiots.  If someone is a hate merchant, a public institution should not have to create a children's event for him.

Millions of books are published each year.  If a library system doesn't feel you are going to benefit their community, so be it.  There's no law requiring them to book your event or promote it.

In fact, Cameron’s publisher, Brave Books, claimed that out of over 50 public libraries they’ve reached out to — many of which run drag queen story events or other queer programs for young people — not one has agreed to host his story hour.

If 50 libraries don’t seem like very many libraries, it’s because it’s not. The United States currently operates just over 9,000 publicly-funded libraries. And, it’s worth noting that the libraries that were contacted for the story that had rejected Cameron’s requests were located in states such as New York, California, and Rhode Island.

“No, we will pass on having you run a program in our space,” Cameron was told by the Rochambeau Public Library in Providence, Rhode Island. “We are a very queer-friendly library. Our messaging does not align.”

Surely, his publisher could find a red flyover state to host his readings?

Well, that would be burying the lede, as Cameron has been on an anti-public school system tear for quite some time now. Not to mention, it should come as little surprise that public libraries in liberal areas that host drag brunches aren’t interested in having him plug a book that, in his own words, “fights against the tide of dangerous ‘indoctrination’ currently targeting youngsters.”

Oh well, at least a few people learned Kirk Cameron was still alive.  

"TV: Where the similarities end" (Ava and C.I., THE THIRD ESTATE SUNDAY REVIEW):

We hadn't planned to write about it because we know Robert Downey Jr. and he's a friend.  SR. is his NETFLIX documentary about his late father, the filmmaker Robert Downey Sr. who passed away last year.  It's a moving story and riveting and we loved everything about it -- including Sean Hayes playing Billy Joel's "My Life" on piano.  

It's everything a documentary about an artist should be.


It's not the same thing.  Our friend heard us talking about how HBO should never have commissioned the documentary to begin with.  

Why, he wanted to know, if Robert Jr. could do a documentary about his father and his father's art, what was wrong with Alexandra Pelosi doing the same regarding her mother?

There's so much to unpack there. 

The similarities are that Robert and Alexandra are approximately the same age (she's five years younger).  They are both the children of pioneers.  But Robert Sr. worked in entertainment and Nancy Pelosi, of course, is a politician.

A child of an artist making a documentary about their parent?  We expect less.  We expect the career to be covered and we expect a behind the scenes look at the artist.  

A politician?  If we're watching a documentary on a politician, we want to see them held accountable.  

PELOSI IN THE HOUSE?  We don't see accountability there because Nancy's never been held accountable.  She blackmailed her way into party leadership (with the use of photos of drinking -- underage drinking -- at the campaign headquarters of one of the politicians who wanted to be the Minority Leader in 2002) and, unlike previous Speakers of the House, when she failed, she refused to step aside.  In the 2010 mid-terms, tradition and custom dictated that she step aside.  She refused.  

She was never held accountable.

And now her daughter's going to get to spread further gloss and fluff?

America wanted Medicare For All.  Congress won't deliver.  Is the documentary going to delve into that?

Nancy Pelosi became Speaker of the House following the 2006 mid-terms.  She was Speaker when then-Senator President Barack Obama, seeking the Democratic Party's presidential nomination, promised that, if elected president, his first act would be to codify ROE V WADE into law to protect abortion rights.  He got elected to one term.  He got elected to a second term.  He never made a move to make ROE law and Nancy, as the head of the House of Representatives, never pushed on it, never introduced legislation on it.

She'll be applauded in her daughter's documentary for being a first -- a woman Speaker of the House -- but she won't be held accountable for ROE being overturned when she was Speaker.

When Nancy finally leaves Congress, I expect her children's job opportunities to dry up.

''Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):

 Wednesday, December 7, 2022.  The White House decides to tell a business company what actions are and are not "healthy" for the country, another Twitter ump is on the way, US President Joe Biden continues to persecute Julian Assange, cult leader Moqtada al-Sadr's hate gets press attention, and much more.

Still waiting on a report regarding Twitter from the fellow who posted a  Twitter thread.  In the meantime, we have  to wade in because the White House has.  Dropping back to the October 14, 2020 snapshot:

This morning at THE NEW YORK POST, Emma-Jo Morris and Gabrielle Fonrouge report:

Hunter Biden introduced his father, then-Vice President Joe Biden, to a top executive at a Ukrainian energy firm less than a year before the elder Biden pressured government officials in Ukraine into firing a prosecutor who was investigating the company, according to e-mails obtained by The Post.

The never-before-revealed meeting is mentioned in a message of appreciation that Vadym Pozharskyi, an adviser to the board of Burisma, allegedly sent Hunter Biden on April 17, 2015, about a year after Hunter joined the Burisma board at a reported salary of up to $50,000 a month.

“Dear Hunter, thank you for inviting me to DC and giving an opportunity to meet your father and spent [sic] some time together. It’s realty [sic] an honor and pleasure,” the e-mail reads.

An earlier e-mail from May 2014 also shows Pozharskyi, reportedly Burisma’s No. 3 exec, asking Hunter for “advice on how you could use your influence” on the company’s behalf.

The blockbuster correspondence — which flies in the face of Joe Biden’s claim that he’s “never spoken to my son about his overseas business dealings” — is contained in a massive trove of data recovered from a laptop computer.

The computer was dropped off at a repair shop in Biden’s home state of Delaware in April 2019, according to the store’s owner.

Other material extracted from the computer includes a raunchy, 12-minute video that appears to show Hunter, who’s admitted struggling with addiction problems, smoking crack while engaged in a sex act with an unidentified woman, as well as numerous other sexually explicit images.

Miranda Devine (NEW YORK POST) weighs in:

Joe Biden repeatedly has denied knowing anything about son Hunter’s lucrative work on the board of Ukrainian energy company Burisma.

“Hunter Biden is a private citizen and a lawyer. The former vice president does not endorse any particular company and has no involvement with this company,” a spokeswoman for Joe Biden said in a December 2015 statement to The New York Times.

Biden has stonewalled on the topic ever since.

“I’ve never discussed my business or their business, my sons’ or daughter’s. And I’ve never discussed them because they know where I have to do my job and that’s it, and they have to make their own judgments,” he told the “CBS Evening News” last October.

And yet, an e-mail obtained by The Post shows a senior Burisma executive thanking Hunter for the opportunity to meet Joe Biden just 12 months after Hunter joined the Burisma board at a reported salary of up to $50,000 a month.

The claims come as Mike Allen and Hans Nichols (AXIOS) observe the easy ride that Joe Biden has gotten from the press:

Since Aug. 31, Biden has answered less than half as many questions from the press as Trump — 365 compared with 753 — according to a tally by the Trump campaign, which the Biden campaign didn't dispute.

  • In that time, Biden has done approximately 35 local TV interviews, three national interviews and two town halls.
  • Biden went almost three months without taking questions from beat reporters.
  • Biden aides say one reason there's less scrutiny of Biden in the general election is that he already was examined thoroughly in the primary election and over decades in public life.
  • Andrew Bates, a Biden spokesperson, said: "Who's ‘scrutinizing’ Trump more, Maria Bartiromo or Sean Hannity?"

Biden has yet to be pinned down on an array of legitimate questions, including:

  • His blunt view of adding new justices to the Supreme Court, which will be a priority for progressives if Judy Amy Coney Barrett is confirmed. Biden, who had criticized the idea in the past, finally said he's "not a fan of court packing."
  • Biden also has mostly gotten off easy on Medicare for All, police funding, Pentagon spending, fracking, reparations for African Americans, the Green New Deal and his support for the 1994 crime bill.
  • Per Trump campaign spokesperson Andrew Clark: "Biden has been the least-scrutinized presidential candidate in modern history at great disservice to the voters, but the press still has time to rectify that.”

Click here to listen to the topic discussed in an AXIOS podcastScott Jennings (LOUISVILLE COURIER JOURNAL) also  marvels over the lack of real media scrutiny of Joe, "Biden changes his stripes more than a chameleon in a Skittles factory. And he’s doing it again by claiming the mantle of unity in this election. Today’s Biden is a made-for-media candidacy untested by interactions with his base." 

What followed the publication by THE POST, as Branko Marcoetik (JACOBIN) noted in real time, was:

On Wednesday, the New York Post published a major story about the Biden-Burisma affair (aka “Ukrainegate”), the still-developing controversy over Hunter Biden’s presence on the board of Ukrainian natural gas company Burisma at the same time that his father, then vice president, spearheaded anti-corruption efforts in the country and ultimately fired the prosecutor investigating the company.

The Post published e-mails purportedly drawn from a copied computer hard drive that belonged to the younger Biden, allegedly showing a Burisma executive thanking him for introducing him to the then–vice president, and imploring Hunter to “use your influence to convey a message/signal etc. to stop what we consider to be politically motivated actions” -- meaning the “one or more pretrial proceedings” the Ukrainian government had launched against the company.

[. . .]

 No, in many ways the bigger story here is the response to the story. Because seemingly every major scandal damaging to Biden and, therefore, beneficial to Trump’s reelection has, during this election, been simply labeled Russian disinformation and ruled out of bounds --  from his sexual assault allegation to this matter -- social media companies quickly leapt into action to do what they could to make sure no one would get to even read the story and judge it for themselves.

Shortly after the Post story went live, both Facebook and Twitter -- two of the several tech giants that are now more integral to the news publishing business than ever -- announced they were stepping in to prevent the story from spreading on their platforms. Facebook, wrote spokesperson Andrew Stone, was “reducing its distribution on our platform” until it could be fact-checked, while Twitter simply blocked users from posting the story at all, citing its “Distribution of hacked material policy.”

This rush to censorship is equal parts absurd and chilling.

In the meantime, the White House's stupid press official decided to wade in.  Steven Nelson (NEW YORK POST) reports:

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Monday it was “not healthy” for Twitter owner Elon Musk to publish internal company files revealing Twitter’s censorship of The Post’s 2020 reporting on Hunter Biden’s laptop.

“What is happening — it’s frankly, it’s not healthy. It won’t do anything to help a single American improve their lives. And so look, we see this as an interesting, you know, coincidence, and you know, it’s a distraction,” Jean-Pierre concluded during her Monday briefing, offering a lengthy denunciation of Musk’s Friday reveal of how Twitter execs decided to suppress The Post’s damning expose.

“We see this as an interesting, or a coincidence, if I may, that he would so haphazardly — Twitter would so haphazardly push this distraction that is full of old news, if you think about it,” Jean-Pierre said, brushing off the politically motivated denial of free speech protections raised by Musk’s document dump.

“And at the same time, Twitter is facing very real and very serious questions about the rising volume of anger, hate and anti-Semitism on their platform and how they’re letting it happen.”

I don't really believe the business practices of Twitter -- or FACEBOOK or Instagram -- are the business of the White House.  Nor do I think anyone died and make Karine Jean-Pierre judge and jury on what is and what isn't "healthy" for a company to do.  In fact, she really needs to stay in her lane.  She is the White House spokesperson.  With her insipid remarks, was she speaking for US President Joe Biden?  

If not, she needs to close her lips and mind her own business because otherwise it appears that President Joe Biden's spokesperson is telling Twitter what it can and cannot release to the public.  If that is the case, that is a threat and it should be treated as such -- by Musk responding with a lawsuit.  

Karine Jean-Pierre needs to stay in her own lane.

I don't have time to wade through a Twitter thread.  But one thing that appears clear is that the FBI gave Twitter a heads up that a computer hard drive said to be Hunter Biden's might show up and that this would be Russian disinformation if it did.  Now the FBI had been handed that drive months ago, knew all about it, including that it was not Russian disinformation.  So it would appear the FBI needs to answer questions about what it was doing telling Twitter, FACEBOOK and others not to publicize the hard drive?

They lied.  The FBI lied.  

And it lied in a manner that benefitted one candidate.  That's not democracy.  

Before we go further, let's put the pieces together.

The FBI knowingly lied about the hard drive.  And now Joe Biden's spokesperson is insisting that everyone stay away from this story because it's "not healthy"?

On the face of it, that does not look healthy for democracy.

As The Post’s Miranda Devine reports, the FBI specifically warned Twitter to expect a “hack-and-leak” operation by “state actors” involving Hunter Biden, likely in October 2020, a key Twitter official says in a sworn declaration — even though the agency knew very well that info floating around about him was 100% legitimate.

Could evidence of an FBI coverup be any stronger?

The information came from Hunter’s laptop, which the agency itself had in its possession since 2019, a year before it issued its warnings.

And the FBI knew the laptop was legit, because in December 2019 it visited the owner of the repair shop where Hunter had abandoned it and verified its authenticity. (It even reportedly got its hands on a second Hunter laptop later, though as part of an unrelated investigation.)

Why were agents suggesting that info involving Hunter might be the work of “state actors” when the FBI knew darn well it wasn’t? Clearly, the goal was to nudge Twitter and others to squelch news that might damage Joe Biden’s election chances.

The White House spokesperson owes the American people an apology.  If she's unclear on that, she can meet with the White House attorneys who should urge her to stay away from attempting to tell media outlets -- social media, broadcast media -- what they should and should not cover.

And the press should be demanding an apology of her and demanding to know whether her remarks were representative of Joe Biden's own thoughts or just stupidity escaping her lips.  

What she said was uncalled for if this had been a brand new topic.  Her saying what she said in the wake of what was clearly the FBI interfering in an ongoing election back in 2020, could be seen as an attempt to intimidate the press and to intimidate Musk or anyone else coming forward with facts of government abuses.  She needs to tread carefully.

Julian Assange could be extradited to the United States within weeks, WikiLeaks Editor-in-Chief Kristinn Hrafnsson has warned. He told journalist Glenn Greenwald that Assange was “running out of time” and that legal avenues in London to challenge his unlawful extradition were being exhausted, “he will never get a fair trial there”. 

Hrafnsson’s urgent warnings came during an interview in Brazil, published Monday on Rumble. He told Greenwald, “Julian’s case is coming to the end of all possibilities of getting a fair solution through the court proceedings. He is fighting extradition in London. Within weeks he could be extradited.”

Assange has been charged under the Espionage Act (1917) for WikiLeaks’ publications exposing war crimes by US imperialism in Iraq and Afghanistan, and anti-democratic conspiracies of the US government and its intelligence agencies throughout the world. If found guilty, the 51-year-old journalist and father of three faces 175 years in a US federal prison. He has already spent more than a decade in detention in the UK, including three years without charge in Belmarsh maximum security prison. 

For those who've forgotten, Julian's 'crime' was revealing the realities of Iraq -- Chelsea Manning was a whistle-blower who leaked the information to Julian.  WIKILEAKS then published the Iraq War Logs.  And many outlets used the publication to publish reports of their own.  For example, THE GUARDIAN published many articles based on The Iraq War Logs.  Jonathan Steele, David Leigh and Nick Davies offered, on October 22, 2012:

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

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

A US helicopter gunship involved in a notorious Baghdad incident had previously killed Iraqi insurgents after they tried to surrender.
More than 15,000 civilians died in previously unknown incidents. US and UK officials have insisted that no official record of civilian casualties exists but the logs record 66,081 non-combatant deaths out of a total of 109,000 fatalities.

The numerous reports of detainee abuse, often supported by medical evidence, describe prisoners shackled, blindfolded and hung by wrists or ankles, and subjected to whipping, punching, kicking or electric shocks. Six reports end with a detainee's apparent deat

November 28th, five major outlets published an open letter:

Twelve years ago, on November 28th 2010, our five international media outlets – The New York Times, the Guardian, Le Monde, El Pais and DER SPIEGEL – published a series of revelations in cooperation with Wikileaks that made the headlines around the globe.

“Cable gate”, a set of 251,000 confidential cables from the US State Department disclosed corruption, diplomatic scandals and spy affairs on an international scale.

In the words of The New York Times, the documents told “the unvarnished story of how the government makes its biggest decisions, the decisions that cost the country most heavily in lives and money”. Even now in 2022, journalists and historians continue to publish new revelations, using the unique trove of documents.

For Julian Assange, publisher of Wikileaks, the publication of “Cable gate” and several other related leaks had the most severe consequences. On April 12th, 2019, Assange was arrested in London on a US arrest warrant, and has now been held for three and a half years in a high security British prison usually used for terrorists and members of organized crime groups. He faces extradition to the US and a sentence of up to 175 years in an American maximum security prison.

This group of editors and publishers, all of whom had worked with Assange, felt the need to publicly criticize his conduct in 2011 when unredacted copies of the cables were released, and some of us are concerned about the allegations in the indictment that he attempted to aid in computer intrusion of a classified database. But we come together now to express our grave concerns about the continued prosecution of Julian Assange for obtaining and publishing classified materials.

The Obama-Biden Administration, in office during the Wikileaks publication in 2010, refrained from indicting Assange, explaining that they would have had to indict journalists from major news outlets too. Their position placed a premium on press freedom, despite its uncomfortable consequences. Under Donald Trump however, the position changed. The DOJ relied on an old law, the Espionage Act of 1917 (designed to prosecute potential spies during World War 1), which has never been used to prosecute a publisher or broadcaster.

This indictment sets a dangerous precedent, and threatens to undermine America’s First Amendment and the freedom of the press.

Holding governments accountable is part of the core mission of a free press in a democracy.

Obtaining and disclosing sensitive information when necessary in the public interest is a core part of the daily work of journalists.  If that work is criminalised, our public discourse and our democracies are made significantly weaker.

Twelve years after the publication of “Cable gate”, it is time for the U.S. government to end its prosecution of Julian Assange for publishing secrets.

Publishing is not a crime.


The editors and publishers of:

  • The New York Times
  • The Guardian
  • Le Monde
  • El Pais

Of that open letter, Marjorie Cohn (TRUTH OUT) notes:

This forceful statement in support of Assange comes in a moment when other powerful advocates globally have also stepped forward in defense of the WikiLeaks publisher. Both Brazilian President-elect Lula da Silva and Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese are calling for dismissal of the charges against Assange. “May Assange be released from his unjust prison,” Lula said.

Assange’s appeal of the order to extradite him to the United States is pending in the U.K. High Court. For the past three and a half years, Assange has languished in a London high-security prison while he fights extradition to answer charges under the Espionage Act. Assange faces 175 years in a maximum-security U.S. prison if convicted.

THE PEOPLE'S DISPATCH adds, "In the last few days alone, multiple heads of government have called for freedom for Julian Assange. This includes Australian prime minister Anthony Albanese who has so far remained tight-lipped about his diplomatic efforts in the Assange case. Heads of Latin American countries are also speaking up for Assange including Colombian president Gustavo Petro, Brazilian president-elect Lula da Silva, and Argentine president Alberto Fernandez."

There are uneducated thugs around the world who think they can use their opinion of a religion to deny the rights of others.  In the United States, we call these people Clarence Thomas -- the celebrated assaulter of women -- and in Iraq, he's called Moqtada al-Sadr.  Mustafa Saadoun (AL-MONITOR) reports:

The controversy surrounding LGBTQ rights for participants and spectators at this year's FIFA World Cup in Qatar have inspired new moves against the LGBTQ community in Iraq, where political leaders and parliamentarians are seeking to pass a law that criminalizes homosexuality.

On Dec. 3, a mass anti-LGBTQ campaign was launched in Baghdad’s Sadr City, less than 24 hours after leader of the Sadrist movement Muqtada al-Sadr called for collecting 1 million signatures "in support of the fight against the LGBTQ community," so that "it does not spread vice,” as Sadr put it.

In his call, Sadr said, “Faithful men and women around the world should unite in order to combat the LGBTQ community, not with violence, nor with murder and threats, but with education, awareness, logic and high moral standards.”

Amir Ashour, founder of IraQueer, an Iraqi organization that advocates for the rights of the LGBTQ community in Iraq, told Al-Monitor, “It seems that Sadr has nothing but the LGBTQ community to focus on. Iraqis are suffering from power cuts, as environmental pollution continues to worsen amid high unemployment and crime rates. Iraq is facing problems of corruption, but Sadr’s priority seems to be targeting a marginalized group. Anyone who incites against citizens is a terrorist, not a leader.”

He said, “Sadr’s stances on the LGBTQ community increase violence against us. Sadr has followers who trust him and abide by his orders, even if such orders do not make sense. So violence will increase against this community.”

Sadr was the first to sign the campaign he launched by putting his signature on a paper, written in both Arabic and English, against the LGBTQ community.

While no political, religious or societal institutions showed support for Sadr’s positions, some individuals did voice support on social media and through media outlets. In the meantime, the Sadrists are working on collecting the 1 million signatures, which if achieved could help the Shiite cleric gauge his own support ahead of the next elections that are expected to be held in late 2023.


Since Amir was quoted in the article above, let's again note his honor received last month.

 Dropping back to yesterday's snapshot:

 While Patrick tells the Arab world yet again that their issues don't matter and aren't as important as what takes place in Europe, ASHARQ AL-AWSAT reports:

The Iraqi judiciary sentenced on Monday an activist to three years in prison for “insulting state institutions” after criticizing the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF). 

In a Facebook post, Haidar al-Zeidi, 24, said he had been previously arrested by the PMF and detained for two weeks before being released on bail. 

He can appeal the ruling. 

Article 226 of the penal code, which dates back to the Baath era and the rule of late President Saddam Hussein, stipulates the imprisonment of no more than seven years of anyone who openly insults the parliament, government, judiciary, armed forces or any other state institutions. 

Penalties may also include detention or fines. 

The article had long been criticized by rights and civil groups that have compared it to dictatorial practices. 

Zeidi’s sentence was widely condemned by activists, who slammed the PMF for carrying out duties that should be limited to the interior ministry and security agencies. 

Head of the Beit Watani (National Home) party, Hussein al-Ghorabi said: “Welcome to dictatorship. Haidar al-Zeidi was sentenced to three years in jail over a tweet criticizing one of the political gods in Iraq. No to the stifling of freedoms.” 

Journalist Hamed al-Sayyed said the sentence is “the worst offense against any martyr.” 

Human Rights Watch has issued the following:

A criminal court in Baghdad sentenced an activist to three years in prison on December 5, 2022, for alleged criticism of the deceased former head of the Iran Revolutionary Guard Corps, Qassim Suleimani, Human Rights Watch said today.

On June 6, the authorities detained the activist, Hayder Finjan al-Zaidi, 20, based on a Twitter post he allegedly made that month but released him on bail after 16 days. He and his father Hamid, 66, deny that he posted the criticism, insisting that his Twitter account was hacked. The authorities should immediately release al-Zaidi and halt all prosecutions that infringe on defendants’ basic rights and scrap the law that criminalizes criticizing public officials.

“Regardless of who posted the Twitter message, the Iraqi justice system should not be used as a tool to suppress peaceful criticism of the authorities or armed actors,” said Adam Coogle, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “It is a sad reflection on the rule of law in Iraq that an activist like al-Zaidi gets three years in prison for a Twitter post he says he didn’t write while dozens of officials and armed groups enjoy impunity for killing activists and protesters.”

The Twitter post in question called Suleimani a “spy,” in contrast to the label of “martyr” as many Iraqi elites refer to him. Suleimani was assassinated on January 3, 2021, in a US drone strike. The strike also killed Abu Mehdi al-Munhandis, then-head of the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF, or al-hashd al-shaabi), a collection of armed groups nominally under the control of Iraq’s prime minister as head of the armed forces.

“This sentence is a clear message to activists that any criticism of authorities and the PMF will be punished,” Salman Khairallah, an Iraqi human rights activist, told Human Rights Watch.

The court sentenced Hayder under article 226 of Iraq’s penal code, which prohibits “publicly insulting” the national assembly, armed forces, or any other government agency with a sentence not exceeding seven years in prison. Activists in Baghdad told Human Rights Watch that the PMF were responsible for Hayder’s arrest and that a committee within the PMF filed the legal complaint against Hayder. The sentencing decision states that the PMF is also entitled to financial compensation from Hayder.

“I went to the court with Hayder today, but they didn’t allow me to enter,” his father told Human Rights Watch. “His lawyer went with him, and we were hoping he would be released because Hayder didn’t post anything.” Hamid was shocked to learn his son would have to serve years in prison.

“The one who stole $2.5 billion was released on bail,” he said, comparing his son’s case to a recent and stunning case of rampant corruption in Iraq. “Meanwhile my son was sentenced to three years in prison for a Twitter post he didn’t even write.”

“Al-Zaidi should not spend another second in jail following his patently unfair trial,” Coogle said. “The authorities should be focused on addressing the many challenges facing the country rather than persecuting activists.”

The following sites updated: