Will the rapist prince go on trial?
I hope he goes on trial.
This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"
Wednesday, January 5, 2022. Julian Assange remains persecuted, DoD admits US troops in Iraq are still in harms way, and much more.
This latest NBC News article on Assange by former FBI Assistant Director Figliuzzi features all of these corrupt dynamics. MSNBC has been repeatedly promoting it. That is remarkable on its own: a so-called "news outlet” is cheering — indeed, salivating over — the Biden administration's attempt to criminalize Assange under “espionage” laws for the sin of reporting genuine documents showing all sorts of improper conduct by the agencies whose former operatives now staff that network. Given that press freedom groups in the West have uniformly condemned the prosecution of Assange as a grave threat to a free press, it is stunning to watch a corporation that claims to be in the news business cheering rather than denouncing it.
But for the U.S. media, that is just ordinary corruption and subservience to the CIA: it is hardly rare to find "journalists” giddy over the prospect of Assange's ongoing imprisonment. What makes this new article particularly notable is that the FBI — when Figliuzzi was a senior official there — was directly involved in the attempt to investigate, frame and prosecute Assange. Yet the article, while identifying its analyst as “the assistant director for counterintelligence at the FBI, where he served 25 years as a special agent and directed all espionage investigations across the government,” makes no mention of his direct personal interest in the Assange prosecution.
The primary claim of this article is an unhinged conspiracy theory. Figliuzzi asserts that extraditing Assange onto U.S. soil could endanger Donald Trump. The former FBI official barely conceals his glee over the prospect that Assange could somehow offer up dirt on Trump in exchange for a promise of leniency from prosecutors:
If the Department of Justice plays its cards right, it can make the case precisely about those Russian government hacks and WikiLeaks' dissemination of the content of those hacks by offering a deal to Assange in return for what he knows.
That’s what should worry Trump and his allies. . . . Assange may be able to close the gap between collusion and criminal conspiracy. Assange got the Democratic National Committee data dump from an entity long suspected to be a front for the GRU, the Russian military intelligence service. . . Assange may be able to help the U.S. government in exchange for more lenient charges or a plea deal. Prosecutions can make for strange bedfellows. A trade that offers a deal to a thief who steals data, in return for him flipping on someone who tried to steal democracy sounds like a deal worth doing.
So, DOJ, if you’re listening…
That Assange "stole data” is an absolute lie — not even the U.S. Government claims this — but NBC News has previously shown that it has no qualms about disseminating that particular lie. As for Figliuzzi’s belief that Assange possesses secret information about Trump's collusion with Russia over the 2016 election: that is nothing short of madness. Robert Mueller did not even attempt to interview Assange, precisely because the Special Counsel (Figliuzzi's former boss) obviously recognized that Assange had no information that would assist Mueller's investigation to determine whether Trump or his associates criminally conspired with Russia. If Assange really has information showing Trump criminally worked with the Kremlin, how can Figliuzzi justify that Mueller, during eighteen months of investigating that question, never even sought to speak to Assange?
Moreover, if — as Figliuzzi fantasizes — Assange were in possession of some sort of smoking gun that Mueller never found but which would finally prove Trump's guilt on various crimes, why did Trump not pardon Assange? After all, if this twisted fantasy that NBC News is promoting had any validity — namely, Trump will be in big trouble once the U.S. succeeds in extraditing Assange to the U.S. to stand trial — why was it the Trump administration that brought these charges against Assange in the first place, and why would Trump not have pardoned Assange in order to prevent such a deal from taking place? None of what Figliuzzi is claiming has any evidence to support it or even makes any minimal sense.
But as usual, that is no bar to NBC News and MSNBC publishing and aggressively promoting it. As I will never tire of pointing out, it is the corporate media outlets that most vocally denounce disinformation which are the ones guilty of spreading it most frequently and destructively.
Even though the mission of U.S. forces in Iraq has changed, the troops are still in a hazardous environment and retain the ability to defend themselves, Pentagon Press Secretary John F. Kirby told reporters today.
The mission of U.S. forces shifted from combat to advise and assist two weeks ago, per an agreement between the United States and Iraq. Yet troops advising and assisting Iraqi forces are at risk.
Forces launched strikes against rocket-launching sites near Green Village in Syria and shot down two armed drones targeting forces in Al Asad Air Base. There were no casualties among friendly forces.
The strikes against the rocket-launching sites were not airstrikes, Kirby said. Forces hit the sites to ensure rockets were not launched against coalition forces.
But that begs the greater question of if U.S. personnel are at risk in the mission. "They clearly are at risk in the region," Kirby said. "I mean, one of the reasons why these sites were hit was [that] we had reason to believe that they were going to be used as launch sites for attacks on Green Village. So clearly, our men and women remain in harm's way. And we have to take that threat very seriously. We always have the right of self-defense."
Kirby would not say who manned these rocket-launching sites. "That said, we continue to see threats against our forces in Iraq and Syria by militia groups that are backed by Iran," he said. "But again, I don't have specific attribution on who was responsible for these specific sites."
Iran is a major player in Iraq and U.S. officials have been consistently concerned about the threats to U.S. forces in the region. "That is not a new concern," Kirby said. "And I think we've seen in just the last few days, that there have been acts perpetrated by some of these groups that validate the consistent concern that we've had over the safety and security of our people."
On Russia, Kirby said should NATO allies ask for more U.S. capabilities in Europe, "we would be positively disposed to consider those requests." Still, he noted, the United States has a "very large and robust footprint" in Europe that complements the sizable capabilities that European allies possess. "There already exists a lot of capabilities [in Europe]," he said. "And some of those capabilities could be moved around — if that was, in fact, the request and was decided that would be the most prudent thing to do."
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