Thursday, June 8, 2023

If you want to stream some garbage . . .

 . . . go stream Ajamu Baracka talking to Katie Halper about Cornel West's vanity run.  

It's good, Ajamu wants you to know, because Cornel "will raise the issue of peace."

I'm sorry mushmouth, did your old crust lips really wrap around those words?

You may fool the kids but I damn well remember 2008 and that 'critic' Cornel endorsed Barack Obama.  He's a sheep herder.

What "national discourse" will he be part of?  What a stupid thing for any Green Party candidate to say -- we are always shut out of the debate.  And his nonsense about this moment?  This was true in 2008.  Where the hell were you?  Cornel was  kissing Barack's office and telling people to vote for Barack.

Katie Halper asks him if he'll endorse Cornel.  Ajamu wants to wait and see.

That's not the answer from someone who was on the Green Party presidential ticket.

What a fake ass.  The People's Party is not a real party.  How telling that Ajamu can't stand by the Green Party -- don't let the door hit your bourgie ass on the way out.  

Only bigger liars are Katie's listeners:

I was so excited for the announcement from Cornell West. I think the Green Party should endorse Cornell West as their candidate as well. One candidate and two parties...I think we should push this. That would put him on many other ballots nationally effective immediately. Thus would not be a deal breaker for states without the People Party. I'm a card carrying Green Party member.

Shut your lying mouth, you're not a Green.  Real Greens know how damn hard we've worked to get the ballot access we have.  Real Greens know we don't hand someone our nomination.  We have a primary.  We are an actual party.   Cornel chose not to run for our nomination.  He made that choice so, no, we don't to gift it to him.

You stupid, stupid liar.  We're not the Democrats, we're not supposed to rig our process for one person.  Shame on you for lying.

This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Thursday, June 8, 2023.  A lot to cover today because there's a lot of stupidity -- including about how you can win! you really really can! even if you're not on the ballot!  Chris Hedges releases his new self-help book BE YOUR OWN KIND OF PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE!

Starting with the continued persecution of Julian Assange, John Buckley (CRIKEY) writes:

Democratic presidential nominee and self-help author Marianne Williamson promised Australians she would drop all charges against Julian Assange on her first day as US president should she be elected in 2024, despite having only an outside chance.

The promise was made in an interview with ABC Radio National on Thursday, during which Williamson waved away questions about whether she would uphold America’s commitment to the AUKUS deal, but promised to “withdraw all charges” laid against Assange.

"An outside chance"? 

Is that accurate?  It's really not.  She may have a remote chance of getting winning the party's nomination -- she might not -- but she does not have "an outside chance" of being elected president. There's a difference that people don't seem to grasp -- and like Ann, I'm getting tired of the stupidity.

Marianne may or may not get the party's presidential nomination.  But if she did?  It's not an outside or remote chance that she could become president.  If she were the Democratic Party's presidential nominee, she would be on the ballot in all 50 states.

Cornell West has his party's nomination/gift.  He's a remote chance and an outside chance -- which means he has very little chance of becoming president.  Let's be honest, he has no chance at all.  He's the first candidate ever for the People's Party.  He didn't run for their nomination because they didn't ask their very few members to vote on it.  And voting is how you get into the White House.  

As Ann tried to walk the stupid through it last night, he's looking a three states.  

He can carry three states!

He can't carry one.  But he'll be on the ballot in three states.  That leaves 47 that his party does not have ballot access in.

The Green Party and the Libertarian Party have had to fight for ballot access.  And they're not new parties.  If you have a rich person like Ross Perot as your candidate, it's easier than when you're a real party emerging.  Ballot access is an issue they needed to work on before they had their candidate in place.

Like many pathetic individuals -- I'm thinking of one who wrote an embarrassing book pleading for the rich to save the country (as opposed to devoting that time to activism which could actually make a difference) -- instead of putting in the time required to build a party, they went with a celebrity.  Hey, he was in THE MATRIX movies!  

Chrissy Lynn Hedges is all on board with five Tweets so far!  I don't think I've seen Chrissy Lynn so excited since October 2001 when he was lying in THE NEW YORK TIMES -- on the front page! -- about a link between 9/11 and Iraq!

When Chrissy Lynn gets excited, we all suffer.

Go read Ann's "Cornel West morons, the issue is ballot access, pay attention" and try to grasp that even if you win all three states (which you won't) that's not electoral college votes to win the presidency.  

Can they raise enough money to do a serious ballot access push?  

Well considering the DNC is talking to women (plural) about the head of the People's Party and the need to sue him for alleged harassment, there's a pretty good chance that any serious money the party might scrap together is going to be used for pay outs.  

Oh, yes, there's that too.  Cornel is running on his reputation . . . while he fronts a party that's said to be a father-son vanity project and the son is accused of multiple harassment -- women who tried to work for the People's Party but say Little Nicky didn't understand boundaries.

He's in it until the election in November 2024, says Cornel.  

Marianne, if she gets the nomination of the Democratic Party or if she sought the Green Party's nomination, would have a shot at the presidency.  

But I guess if you want to pretend about Cornel and his chances, now is the best time to do it.  The others, they're running for a party's nomination.  By going with the People's Party, Cornel is the only one currently running for president -- due to the fact that the People's Party doesn't have any primaries, it just gifts someone with the nomination.  So, right now, he's the only one running for president.  Those of you who are deluding yourselves, who need to delude yourself, enjoy this brief period.

In the past, we covered all the campaigns -- that stood a chance of winning.  There was some racist party -- I can't think of their name -- which kept sending campaign material to the public e-mail account in 2016 and I blew them off.  They started e-mailing angry e-mails at that point about how I say I try to cover every candidate.  I dictated an e-mail to Martha that she e-mailed explaining that there are crackpots on state ballots across the country -- they might have two, they have might have three states that people can vote for them in.  My time is too valuable to waste on your campaign that stands no chance of winning.  No chance of winning means that even if everything broke your way in every state you were on the ballot in, you still wouldn't be able to get enough electoral votes to win.

That's the People's Party's predicament now.

Let's go back to 2016 for a just a moment.  Remember the presidential campaign of Evan McMullin, or Rocky De Lau Fuente?  Richard Duncan?  Darrell Castle?  Dan Vacek?  Alyson Kennedy?  Mike Smith?  Chris Keniston? James Hedges?  Mike Maturen?  Lynn Kahn?  Monica Moorehead?  Emidio Soltysik, Tom Hoefling?  Peter Skews?  Rocky Giordani?  Scott Copeland?  Laurence Kotlikoff?  Kyle Kopitke?


Well guess what, they were running for the presidency along with Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, Gary Johnson, Jill Stein and Gloria La Riva.  

Guess what else?  That long list of names you never heard of?  They all got at least a thousand votes.  There were other candidates who didn't even get that.  

If you don't have ballot access, you don't stand a chance.  And stop the nonsense about write-in.  Unless your state allows you to write-in anyone, write-in is nonsense.  Again, this goes to ignorance.  And people will use it against you.  Lambert of CORRENTE in 2008 wanted Barack Obama to be president so he lied to his Texas followers telling them to vote for Hillary.  This was at a time when many were saying that they wouldn't vote after that bitter primary.  Others (PUMA) floated voting for a non-Democrat.  And there was Lambert telling them to vote for Hillary in Texas, that it would be good for them and good for Hillary.  He lied.  Not made a mistake, I have the e-mails to prove it because I went over this with him wrongly believing he'd made a mistake.  In Texas, if you write in any Democrat -- dead or living -- that vote is interpreted as a vote for which ever Democrat actually made the ballot.

What Lambert was doing was no different from putting up signs in an area telling them the wrong date for voting.  He was lying and he knew it.  

I don't think you lie to manipulate voting or to steal a vote.  

And I'm getting really tired of these liars and these idiots who do not understand that Cornel stands no chance of becoming president.  His party doesn't have ballot access, doesn't have the money or the volunteers to launch a serious ballot access effort.  And yet people are talking about, 'Oh, this is great and blah blah blah.'  This is fake assery, that's all it is.

Tim Scott has a better chance of finding a woman to love than Cornel has of getting on the ballots in enough states.

If you don't agree with me, let that spur you to prove me wrong and put in all your dollars and all your hours on his campaign.  But don't come crying to me afterwards.

Mike Pence?  He also seems ridiculous but for another reason.  Has Donald Trump split the GOP?  I don't know, he might still have enough support to secure the nomination.  He might not.  But how the hell would Mike Pence have enough support?  There are Republicans greatly bothered by Donald Trump's actions as president.  Pence was his errand boy.  And they're going to back him?  And what of the ones that support Donald?  Pence turned into a back-biting bitch in their view so they're not going to support him.  What is his avenue to success?  He seems like the Carly Fiorina of this dance.  Or worse, Lindsey Graham -- at least Carly made it to the GOP primaries, Lindsey had to drop out before them.

Like Lindsey, Tim Scott is a bachelor nominee.  On top of that, a bachelor nominee with no one in sight.  I can think of down-lower-er who managed to grab a high profile female companion while he was seeking a party's presidential nomination.  That for-show relationship ended when the failed run ended.  You know who I'm talking about, right?  But Tim's not even smart enough to find himself someone to play along.  Leaving America to ask the eternal question: What's wrong with him?

That really doesn't go over well with voters when you're over the age of thirty and you have no romantic partner and have had none throughout adulthood.  Looks a little Norman Batesy. So at social gatherings as he mixes and mingles trying to woo voters, watch for him to introduce his right hand and, heavy sigh, note that despite the many knuckle babies he's managed to knock out over the years, he just hasn't been able to father an actual child.  But don't worry, he and his right hand are not breaking up. 

Some of these runs are just idiotic beyond words.

Oh, idiotic beyond words.  A number of e-mails came in about the whorish Glenn Greenwald.  Okay, people stop being surprised that he's a liar.  There's so much more to be offended by.

But, yes, he is lying for his Mother Tucker Carlson.  Ava and I discussed this.  We can either document his lies today at THIRD and then come up with another piece on Sunday or we can hold off on it.  I say, let him keep lying.  He seems strangely attached to Mother Tucker -- wedding bells in the future?  -- and let him just lie and lie and lie and lie some more.  

Only a fool would believe him about 'success.'  And fake ass numbers don't mean a thing.

Let's move over to CALL ME CANCELLED.

It has recently come to light that Bari Weiss, the transphobic lesbian founder of the conservative outlet The Free Press, was given $500,000 by billionaire Republican donor Harlan Crow to help launch an “anti-woke” non-profit organization that opposes anti-racism education in schools, widely referred to as “critical race theory” (CRT).

The deceptively named organization, The Foundation Against Intolerance & Racism (FAIR), claims to be nonpartisan, but its initial board included transphobic former Fox News host Megyn Kelly, transphobic gay writer Andrew Sullivan, and anti-LGBTQ+ activist Christopher Rufo, The New Yorker reported.

It has recently come to light that Bari Weiss, the transphobic lesbian founder of the conservative outlet The Free Press, was given $500,000 by billionaire Republican donor Harlan Crow to help launch an “anti-woke” non-profit organization that opposes anti-racism education in schools, widely referred to as “critical race theory” (CRT).

The deceptively named organization, The Foundation Against Intolerance & Racism (FAIR), claims to be nonpartisan, but its initial board included transphobic former Fox News host Megyn Kelly, transphobic gay writer Andrew Sullivan, and anti-LGBTQ+ activist Christopher Rufo, The New Yorker reported.

First off, shame on you for stealing from Fairness for Accuracy In Reporting -- FAIR's been around for years.  Second, they have to lie because they have nothing on their side but Clarence Thomas' sugar daddy.



They have Mayim Bialak on their side and her decision to do a podcast with Bari?  Got CALL ME KAT cancelled.  And it'll get her JEOPARDY job in jeopardy as well if she doesn't issue some statement -- no, not goofing around about her kids, but about how wrong she was to promote Bari.  THE BIG BANG THEORY audience was not a homophobic or transphobic audience.  

The minute Mayim pulled that nonsense, her show started losing viewers.  Instead of issuing some sort of statement, she thought she could just ignore it.  Now it's becoming an issue with JEOPARDY as well.

Meanwhile, UNICEF notes the following on Iraq:

BAGHDAD, 6 June 2023 – A staggering 315,000 grave violations against children in conflict were verified by the United Nations between 2005 and 2022 worldwide, a stark illustration of the devastating impact of war and conflict on children.

As states, donors and the humanitarian community meet in Norway for the Oslo Conference on Protecting Children in Armed Conflict*, UNICEF has reported that, since monitoring began in 2005 (since 2008 in the case of Iraq), the UN has verified 315,000 grave violations committed by parties to conflict in more than 30 conflict situations across Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and Latin America.

These include:

· More than 120,000 children killed or maimed.

· At least 105,000 children recruited or used by armed forces or armed groups.

· More than 32,500 children abducted.

· More than 16,000 children subjected to sexual violence.

The UN has also verified globally more than 16,000 attacks on schools and hospitals, and more than 22,000 instances of denial of humanitarian access for children.

For Iraq, the numbers are staggering, with over 9,000 children killed or maimed (3,119 killed and 5,938 maimed) since 2008 to the end of 2022. Despite the considerable reduction on the number of reported cases in the last years, the overall number represents, on an average, more than 1 child killed every other day and one child maimed daily over the reported period.

As these are just the cases that have been verified, the true toll is likely to be far higher.

Additionally, many millions more children have been displaced globally from their homes and communities, lost friends or family, or separated from parents or caregivers.

“Any war is ultimately a war on children,” said UNICEF Executive Director Catherine Russell. “Exposure to conflict has catastrophic, life-changing effects for children. While we know what must be done to protect children from war, the world is not doing enough. Year after year, the UN documents the visceral, tragic and all too predictable ways that children’s lives are torn apart. It is incumbent on all of us to ensure that children do not pay the price for the wars of adults, and to take the bold, concrete action required to improve the protection of some of the world’s most vulnerable children.”

In this context, UNICEF has supported the care and protection of millions of affected children across conflict situations to enhance their well-being, including through the provision of mental health and psychosocial support, child protection case management, family tracing and reunification, and services for child survivors of gender-based violence. In 2022, UNICEF reached almost 12,500 children globally who exited armed forces or armed groups with reintegration or other protection support, and more than 9 million children with information that they can use to protect themselves from explosive remnants of war.

Sheema Sen Gupta, UNICEF Representative in Iraq, also present in the Conference, spoke about the need of reintegration for children in Iraq following so many years of conflict, ”As a response to years of conflict, UNICEF, in collaboration with the Government of Iraq and partners, target four profiles of children in need of reintegration, including children returning from North-East Syria, children released from detention, children perceived to be affiliated with armed groups, and other vulnerable children. These UNICEF reintegration programmes target three levels: individual, community and institutional. However, successful long-term reintegration is contingent on on-going basic service provision to ensure that children can access their rights, as highlighted in the Paris Principles.“

Unfortunately, the scale of the child protection risks to children affected by conflict is not matched by the scale of funding available to address these issues. New analysis by Humanitarian Funding Forecasting, commissioned by UNICEF, Save the Children, the Alliance for Child Protection in Humanitarian Action and the Global Child Protection Area of Responsibility, reveals that by 2024, the child protection sector will require US$1.05 billion, increasing to US$1.37 billion by 2026, to address the protection needs of children in armed conflict. This includes critical services like family reunification, mental health support, and the prevention of recruitment into armed groups.

However, the study also indicates an impending funding shortfall. If the current pace of humanitarian funding continues, the projected shortfall would stand at US$835 million in 2024, growing to US$941 million by 2026. This gap could leave conflict-affected children exposed to the immediate and lasting impacts of war, child labor, trafficking, and violence.

As leaders convene in Oslo, UNICEF is calling for governments to make bold new commitments to:

· Uphold and operationalize the international laws and norms already in place to protect children in war – including to protect schools, hospitals and other protected objects like water and sanitation facilities from attack, to stop the recruitment and use of children by armed groups and forces, to stop the use of explosive weapons in populated areas.

· Hold perpetrators to account when children’s rights are violated.

· Step up critical resources to fund the protection of children in conflict at the scale and speed required, in line with growing needs. This must include investment in humanitarian response and in national child protection workforces.

UNICEF is also calling on humanitarian actors to invest in policies that place children and their protection at the centre of humanitarian action in situations of armed conflict.

“We must deliver a child protection response that is equal to the challenges we face,” said Russell. “We need to do everything we can to reach all children in need, particularly the most vulnerable. Protection services for children must build upon existing systems and community structures, and support children’s rights, participation, and their best interests. Programmes and advocacy in these contexts must unfailingly put children and their protection at the centre of humanitarian action.”

We're going to wind down with this from Tom Mackaman (WSWS):

The New York Times published yesterday a column by Paul Krugman dismissing the role of Ukrainian fascists in the mass murder of Jews and Soviet citizens during World War II and minimizing as mere “shadows” their prominence in the present NATO proxy war against Russia. Krugman’s comment, “The Eyes of the World are Upon Ukraine,” is a thoroughly dishonest and cynical apology for Ukrainian fascism, past and present.  

The column comes one day after the appearance of a Times feature article, “Nazi Symbols on Ukraine’s Front Lines Highlight Thorny Issues of History.” In that piece the Times editors attempted, as WSWS International Editorial Board Chairman David North noted, to palm off “deep historical and present-day links of Ukrainian nationalism to Nazism and genocide” as a mere “public relations problem for media propagandists, who are trying to sell NATO’s proxy war as a struggle for democracy.”

The Times article evoked considerable outrage, both because it lifts the lid on the embrace of Nazi ideology in the Ukrainian military, and because it acknowledges that the Times and other media outlets have been censoring images of Ukrainian soldiers wearing “patches featuring symbols that were made notorious by Nazi Germany and have since become part of the iconography of far-right hate groups.”

Krugman, who usually writes Panglossian commentary on the economy, was brought in to put out the fire. Unfortunately for the Times, Krugman is completely ignorant of history.

A pretext for the column was provided by the 79th anniversary of the June 6, 1944 Allied D-Day invasion of Normandy in World War II. Krugman absurdly heralds the recently launched Ukrainian offensive against Russia in the Donbas and southern Ukraine as “the moral equivalent” of that battle in the war against Nazi Germany. Both, according to the Nobel-prize winning economist, are about “good versus evil.”

To Krugman, Ukraine is just like “the great democracies” that fought against Nazi Germany. Similar to the US in the 1940s, Ukraine also has “flaws,” even “a darker side” consisting of “corruption” and “a far-right movement, including paramilitary groups that have played a part in its war” in which “Nazi iconography is still disturbingly widespread.” But what, after all, is a little fascism among friends? Nazi paramilitaries and white supremacist ideology are mere “shadows” in an “imperfect but real democracy,” Krugman assures Times readers.

There is, in fact, no “real democracy” in Ukraine. Kiev has outlawed opposition parties and illegalized all criticism of the war. Individuals accused of “collaboration” are hunted down and prosecuted. Those agitating for an end to the slaughter have been arrested, tortured and disappeared. Like Russia and the other Soviet successor states, the country is ruled over by a kleptocracy that emerged out of the old Stalinist bureaucracy. The Ukrainian oligarchy guards its ill-gotten wealth with the aid of Europe’s most repressive labor laws in a society that, even before the war, was among Europe’s poorest. As for “national freedom,” Kiev is waging a vicious campaign against the Russian language, which is spoken by a large percentage of the country, and represses the languages and cultures of other minorities—including Hungarians, Poles and Romani.

The following sites updated:

Wednesday, June 7, 2023

Cornel West morons, the issue is ballot access, pay attention

I really don't get stupid people.  Especially in the press.  USA Today insists that Cornel West is a threat to Joe Biden.  How stupid are they?  They write:

While his candidacy threatens to dilute Biden’s vote tally, West said part of his campaign strategy will be courting voters who previously supported former President Donald Trump in 2016 and 2020.

“I’m going straight in the Trump country,” West said. “I’m going to meet the old white working class brothers and sisters and tell them: ‘I know they’re wounded, I know their suffering is invisible, but don’t follow a xenophobic Pied Piper.’”

“I’m fundamentally concerned about their plight as well,” he added.

C.I. has tried to explain it to the morons, The so-called People's Party does not have ballot access.  Cornel's not getting votes.  I won't be as kind as C.I.

I'm a Green Party member.  I know all about ballot access.  There are times when our presidential nominee will be a write-in because we don't have ballot access in a state.  That's only if the state allows any write-in.  Otherwise there are rules that we have to follow and that sometimes means we are not on the ballot in that state.  Now Texas, we scored ballot access there.  And even if our voting there falls out, we'll have it through 2026 mid-terms.  But if we lost it?  A write-in is often meaningless in Texas.  Do you know why?

Texas will interpret write-ins.  If the name written in isn't an approved write-in (approved by the state of Texas), the candidate doesn't get the vote.  C.I. had to explain this repeatedly in 2008 when Lambert Strether of Corrente kept lying.  In 2008, a number of voters -- especially women -- were not going to vote for Barack due to his sexist treatment of Hillary in the primaries (and Hillary won the primary in Texas).  Lambert posted that they should write her name in as a protest vote.

C.I. thought at first that Lambert didn't understand what he was talking about.  She quickly realized Lambert was intentionally lying.

In the 2008 presidential election, if you lived in Texas and wrote in Hillary?  Barack got your vote.  Again, they 'interpret.'  So if you wrote any Democrat's name in -- even FDR -- the vote would go to Barack since he was the Democratic Party's candidate.

I'm sorry but Graham Elwood is a smart man, the video about Cornel is ignorant.  

Do you people know nothing about ballot access?  I'm a Green, we deal with this every four years.

The People's Party formed after Bernie's 2016 capitulation.  But they did nothing.  They've never run a candidate for public office.  They do not have ballot access in 47 states currently (meaning they will only be on the ballot in Virginia, Florida and Missouri) and that includes in states that require you meet certain benchmarks in order to even qualify to be a write-in candidate.

Sorry, but I'm not in the mood for stupid.

This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Wednesday, June 7, 2023.  Calls for ending the persecution of Julian Assange grow louder, Amnesty International calls out the disappeared in Iraq, hate merchants attacks on LGBTQ+ people is so great that the US military is having to move some American families to different bases, and much more.

Starting with the never-ending persecution of Julian Assange.  Yesterday, DEMOCRACY NOW! had a segment -- "Enough is Enough."


AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!,, The War and Peace Report. I’m Amy Goodman, with Juan González, as we turn now to look at the case of Julian Assange as calls grow for him to be freed.

The WikiLeaks founder has been locked up for four years in London’s Belmarsh prison, where he awaits possible extradition to the U.S. to face espionage and hacking charges for publishing leaked documents about U.S. war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan. He faces up to 175 years in prison in the United States, if convicted.

This comes as a growing number of politicians in Australia are calling on the United States to drop its case against Julian Assange, who is in Australian citizen. In April, 48 Australian lawmakers signed a letter to the U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland saying the U.S. prosecution of a journalist and publisher has, quote, “set a dangerous precedent for press freedom.” A group of Australian lawmakers also met recently with U.S. Ambassador to Australia Caroline Kennedy. Australia’s Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has also spoken out. In May, he talked about Assange during an interview with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, ABC.

PRIME MINISTER ANTHONY ALBANESE: Enough is enough. This needs to be brought to a conclusion. It needs to be worked through, including we’re working through diplomat channels. But we’re making very clear what our position is on Mr. Assange’s case. … When Australians look at the circumstances, look at the fact that the person who released the information is walking freely, now having served some time in incarceration but is now released for a long period of time, then they’ll see that there’s a disconnect there. There is nothing to be served by his ongoing incarceration.

AMY GOODMAN: That is the Australian prime minister.

Last week, The Sydney Morning Herald made headlines when it reported the FBI has restarted its probe of Julian Assange, but representatives of WikiLeaks say the U.S. investigation was never closed.

We’re joined now in London by the Australian human rights attorney Jen Robinson, who’s been a legal adviser to Julian Assange since 2010.

Jen, welcome back to Democracy Now! You’re just back from Australia, where you live, where actually President Biden was expected to go for the Quad meeting with the prime minister of Australia, but had to cancel that and return from Hiroshima to Washington to negotiate the debt ceiling legislation. Can you talk about what Albanese now is calling for? And what response do you have to this information from The Sydney Morning Herald that the U.S. has reopened a probe that no one knew had been closed?

JENNIFER ROBINSON: Well, first, great to speak to you again, Amy, and great to be back on Democracy Now!

I’ve just returned from Australia, where I was in Australia for a visit with Stella Assange, Julian Assange’s wife. It was her first trip to Australia, which we had planned to coincide with Biden’s visit to Australia. What Biden would have seen, had he come to Australia, was a huge amount of support both from the Australian public — we saw a huge protest in Sydney against the extradition request and the United States’ prosecution of Assange. We saw a packed-out room of MPs in a cross-party briefing. Now in Australia, we have bipartisan support, so it’s not just our prime minister, Prime Minister Albanese, calling for this case to be brought to an end, it is also the leader of the opposition. And when Stella and I briefed MPs in Parliament, there was standing room only. There was that many MPs from across the political spectrum there wanting to hear from Stella and I about the latest in the case, and who are pushing for this case to be brought to an end. So we’ve seen a sea change in the political response in Australia. We’re seeing polling, unprecedented polling, of an overwhelming majority of the Australian public who support our government in seeking to have this case closed. And the question is now what the United States will do with it.

The story last week about the FBI supposedly reopening this investigation, this is an investigation that has been open for a number of years. This is a Trump administration indictment. We know that the FBI had been conducting inquiries in the interim period. And it’s important to recognize that the FBI reached out to — or, allegedly reached out to a ghostwriter on Julian’s book. This, to us, shows the desperation of the FBI and how they’re grasping at straws in terms of their investigations in this case. There are no new facts in this case. The U.S. government has known the facts that form the basis of this indictment since Chelsea Manning went on trial back in 2012. And the fact that the FBI is now suddenly starting to make inquiries from bit part players is — I think, goes to show the lack of the strength, or lack thereof, of the U.S. case.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And, Jen Robinson, I wanted to ask you about other developments in the case, especially concerning the surveillance conducted of Julian Assange while he was in the Ecuadorian Embassy. Spain’s El País had a story headlined “Police omitted folder called 'CIA' from the computer of Spaniard who allegedly spied on Julian Assange.” Who was this Spaniard? And what do you know about this?

JENNIFER ROBINSON: So, in addition to fighting the extradition case and fighting the prosecution of Assange, Julian and our legal team have been fighting back through various different legal actions. There’s the action that I took successfully against the British government for unlawful sharing of information with the United States government as Julian’s lawyer. We have the action against the CIA in the United States, taken by a group of lawyers on Julian’s team who visited him in the embassy, and the Spanish case, which you’ve just raised, where Julian has taken a criminal complaint against David Morales, who was the head of UC Global, the security company that was providing, quote-unquote, “security” inside the Ecuadorian Embassy. But it was revealed by El País in recent years, thanks to whistleblowers, that he was providing information — allegedly providing information to the CIA.

We’ve learned just this week that in the disclosure in those proceedings, in which Mike Pompeo himself has been subpoenaed to give evidence about the nature of this unlawful spying on Julian and on us as his lawyers, which fundamentally flaws the U.S. criminal investigation, that the Spanish police failed to disclose further evidence, including files marked ”CIA,” that further indicate the involvement of the CIA in spying on us as lawyers inside the embassy. This is really important revelations. As Daniel Ellsberg, the Pentagon Papers leaker, said in our extradition case, his case, his espionage case, was thrown out under the Nixon administration for unlawful spying on his doctors. In this case, you’ve seen so much more abuse.

So, a Trump-era indictment, now under a Biden administration, this prosecution is still being pursued, despite widespread and huge amounts of evidence of unlawful spying on lawyers, on the seizure of legally privileged information, and, indeed, plots to kidnap and kill Julian Assange by the CIA in London. At this point, you need to ask — even leaving aside the free speech implications of this case, the First Amendment concerns that are now increasingly being raised by Democrat lawmakers in the U.S. calling on the U.S. to drop this case, there has been so much abuse in this case, and it begs the question: If abuse of this nature was enough to throw out a case under the Nixon administration, why is he still being pursued under the Biden administration?

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And you mentioned a group of Democrats in Congress pushing for the case to be dropped. Do you have hopes that the Biden administration will stop seeking his extradition and that Julian can be freed?

JENNIFER ROBINSON: We certainly hope that the Biden administration will do the right thing and drop this case. We now have the Australian government and our prime minister coming out hard in support of the case being dropped. We have special relationships with the United States, between Australia and the United States. And this is — the Australian government should be able to make this ask of the United States.

But separate from the international concerns, we are thrilled to see that Democrat lawmakers like Rashida Tlaib, AOC, Ilhan Omar have written to Garland, pointing out the First Amendment consequences of this case, asking for the case to be dropped. And I think the more that there’s noise in Washington pressuring the DOJ to do the right thing, pressuring Biden to do the right thing, then we’ll get to the right outcome. And the right outcome is that this case is dropped.

AMY GOODMAN: Can you talk about the model that the Julian Assange case brings? I mean, let’s remember, we say four years in the Belmarsh prison. But before that, seven years really in captivity in the Ecuadorian Embassy. He had been granted political asylum, but he could never leave the embassy in order to — or, the consulate in order to get to Ecuador, because he was afraid of being arrested and then extradited. But this issue of a publisher facing these espionage and treason charges in the United States? You have Evan Gershkovich, who has been arrested in Russia. The world recognizes the problem with a journalist — they say he was trying to get military secrets. It’s really what journalists do. What did Julian Assange do? He published State Department, Pentagon secrets and, he said, and many people agree, including human rights lawyers around the world, evidence of U.S. war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan. It may not be convenient for the U.S., but it is the job of a journalist. Can you talk about what this case means for how, then, the U.S. can raise cases like Evan Gershkovich, that he should be freed by Russia?

JENNIFER ROBINSON: Thank you for raising this point, Amy. It is such an important point. First of all is the precedent that’s set by this case. This case means that any journalist anywhere in the world could be extradited and prosecuted in the United States for publishing truthful information. That is creating a dangerous race to the bottom globally. What message does that send to Russia and to China about extraditing and prosecuting journalists who publish the truth about Russia or China?

Then we get to the point of how it diminishes the moral authority of the United States to be able to raise free speech issues. Now, in the Evan Gershkovich case, we’re seeing a case where Russia is using the espionage charges against a journalist for the first time since 1987. So, this is picking up and running with the precedent that the United States is setting at home because of the Assange case. That is dangerous. When you’ve got a country that purports to bring democracy and free speech to the rest of the world prosecuting a journalist for espionage, it is a dangerous situation that we’re in. It threatens the First Amendment, but it actually threatens free speech around the world. And that’s one of the reasons why this case needs to be dropped.

The new evidence, adding as it does to a mountain of previous disclosures, underscores the criminality of the US pursuit of Assange. It again makes clear that the attempted US extradition and prosecution of Assange, for publishing evidence of US-led war crimes, is the pseudo-legal arm of a murderous campaign that has involved violations of innumerable laws within domestic jurisdictions and internationally.

Previously, there had been substantial indirect evidence of the CIA spying. On the one hand, a Yahoo! News article in late 2021 had indicated that the Trump administration and the CIA had conducted dirty tricks against Assange while he was in the Ecuadorian Embassy, up to and including discussions of a kidnap attempt or an assassination. Those revelations were based on the statements of 30 former US officials.

On the other hand, whistleblowing former employees of UC Global, the Spanish security firm contracted at the time by the Ecuadorian authorities to provide security for its London embassy, alleged that the company had essentially gone rogue.

Behind the backs of the Ecuadorian government, it had installed extensive surveillance equipment which it had transmitted to secret third parties in the United States. It was alleged that UC Global had entered into relations with the company of Trump ally and casino mogul, Sheldon Adelson, whose firm appeared to have played the role of a cutout for US intelligence in obtaining the material. That UC Global had conducted spying was clear from vast amounts of video and audio material of Assange in the embassy, including privileged discussions with lawyers.

The latest revelations bring the two threads together. They establish irrefutably that UC Global was acting as the essential ground force of the CIA campaign against Assange.

UC Global’s owner, David Morales, is being criminally prosecuted in Spain on several interrelated charges, including for spying on Assange, his lawyers and other journalists.

[. . .]

 In other words, all of the US legal efforts targeting Assange, including the superseding indictments adding Espionage Act charges and the extradition bid, can be traced back to illegal CIA operations targeting the WikiLeaks founder when he was a political refugee. That entirely refutes the assertions of the US Justice Department, which has said that even if the CIA did spy on Assange, it has no bearing on their case due to the supposed “Chinese walls” between different branches of the American government.

The frenzied US-CIA campaign against Assange in 2017, moreover, was not motivated by fears of any risks he and WikiLeaks posed to the population, or even of prior wrongdoings. Instead it was retribution for WikiLeaks’ March 2017 publication of Vault 7, a vast trove of documents proving that the CIA was conducting illegal spying on a global scale and was one of the world’s largest purveyors of computer malware.

Assange has not even been charged by the US for those publications, which plainly were the central motive of the campaign against him that culminated in his arrest, detention and prospective extradition.

Julian is only one target in a world of persecution. Here in the US, hate merchants target the **LGBTQ+ persons**.  Audrey Decker (DEFENSE ONE) reports the effect this persecution is having on some military families:

Troops with LGBTQ+ family members have been forced to move to new bases because of harassment at school, a Department of the Air Force official said. 

“When I'm forced to move families from installations, because their school will do nothing when their LGBT kid is being bullied—that worries me, because that's distracting from the mission, that's detracting from our readiness,” said Alex Wagner, assistant Air Force secretary for manpower and reserve affairs.

Wagner’s comments come amid escalating attacks by right-wing politicians on the LGBTQ+ community. For instance, in Florida, home to several Air Force and Space Force bases, Gov. Ron DeSantis’s so-called “Don’t Say Gay” bill bans public school teachers from talking about sexual orientation or gender identity in the classroom. Hundreds of other anti-LGBTQ+ laws have been introduced or passed elsewhere in the country.

The Air Force could not immediately say which military bases Wagner was referring to.

“If servicemembers are thinking and concerned about the experience their kids are having, they're not going to be focused on their jobs. They're not gonna be focused on their mission,” Wagner said Tuesday at the Center for a New American Security’s annual National Security Conference.

The first encounter with racism that Harmony Kennedy can remember came in elementary school. On a playground, a girl picked up a leaf and said she wanted to “clean the dirt” from Harmony’s skin.

In sixth grade, a boy dropped trash on the floor and told her to pick it up, “because you’re a slave.” She was stunned — no one had ever said anything like that to her before.

As protests for racial justice broke out in 2020, white students at her Tennessee high school kneeled in the hallways and chanted, “Black lives matter!” in mocking tones. As she saw the students receive light punishments, she grew increasingly frustrated.

So when Tennessee began passing legislation that could limit the discussion and teaching of Black history, gender identity and race in the classroom, to Harmony, it felt like a gut punch — as if the adults were signaling this kind of ignorant behavior was acceptable.

“When I heard they were removing African American history, banning LGBTQ, I almost started crying,” said Harmony, 16. “We’re not doing anything to anybody. Why do they care what we personally prefer, or what we look like?”

As conservative politicians and activists push for limits on discussions of race, gender and sexuality, some students say the measures targeting aspects of their identity have made them less welcome in American schools — the one place all kids are supposed to feel safe.

Some of the new restrictions have been championed by conservative state leaders and legislatures, including Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who say they are necessary to counter liberal influence in schools. Others have been pushed by local activists or school boards arguing teachers need more oversight to ensure classroom materials are appropriate.

Books have been pulled from libraries. Some schools have insisted on using the names transgender students had before they transitioned. And teachers wary of breaking new rules have shied from discussions related to race, gender and other politically sensitive topics, even as students say they desperately need to see their lived experiences reflected in the classroom.

Among them are a transgender student at a Pennsylvania school where teachers are directed to use students’ birth names, a bisexual student in Florida who sensed a withdrawal of adult support, and Harmony, a Black student outside Nashville alarmed by efforts to restrict lessons on Black history.

For these and other students of color and LGBTQ+ kids, it can feel like their very existence is being rejected.

It's not about helping children, it never was.  And it's past time to be calling out the hate merchants who think it's all a chuckle.  I'm not talking about children in school who hopefully don't know better.  I'm talking about the hate merchants who spread this crap -- Lauren Boebert, Marjorie Taylor Greene, self-loathing Glenn Greenwald, Max Blumenthal's ugly wife, Jonathan Turley, Tulsi Gabbard, John Stauber -- and their co-workers who stay silent and think that's helping.  These hate merchants need to be called out.  And don't anyone e-mail about Glenn being gay.  Doesn't matter, he's happily engaged in attacks on transgendered persons -- Chelsea Manning was correct when she noted it.  And, if you missed it, the gay message board DATALOUNGE had gay men going to town on Elliot Page over the weekend, deadnaming him, mocking him, saying that it was time to drop support for transgender people.  Because it is a gay site, it also had people defending Elliot.  But that a LGBTQ+ site (predominately gay men -- and the ones attacking were of Glenn's age) would see so many trans attacks goes to the fact that middle aged gays like Glenn include a lot of trans-hating voices in their generation.

For the first time in its four-decade history, America’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer civil rights organization has declared a national state of emergency for members of the LGBTQ+ community, the Human Rights Campaign said Tuesday.

“LGBTQ+ Americans are living in a state of emergency. The multiplying threats facing millions in our community are not just perceived – they are real, tangible and dangerous,” the group’s president, Kelley Robinson, said. “In many cases they are resulting in violence against LGBTQ+ people, forcing families to uproot their lives and flee their homes in search of safer states, and triggering a tidal wave of increased homophobia and transphobia that puts the safety of each and every one of us at risk.”   

       Alongside the emergency declaration, the group will release a digital guidebook, including health and safety resources, a summary of state-by-state laws, “know your rights” information and resources designed to support LGBTQ+ travelers and those living in hostile states, it said.

The historic announcement – just a few days into Pride Month – follows “an unprecedented wave of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation in 2023,” according to the Human Rights Campaign, as violence against LGBTQ people continues and the community’s rights have become a flashpoint in the 2024 election.

Years after 49 people were killed at the Pulse gay nightclub in Florida, Club Q in Colorado in November became the site of a massacre at a beloved LGBTQ “safe space.”   

       And the Human Rights Campaign just last month issued an updated travel notice for Florida, outlining potential impacts of six bills recently passed there, many already signed by GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican contender for president who’s championed “don’t say gay” and pronoun bills.

Across US state legislatures, at least 417 anti-LGBTQ bills were introduced in roughly the first quarter of 2023 – a new record and twice the number of such bills introduced all of last year, according to American Civil Liberties Union data.    

Which brings us back to John Stauber.  If he notes the article above (or any at another outlet), he will mock it and downplay it and -- since he's been seized by the crazy -- will start screeching "Soros funded! Soros funded!"  I have no idea whether or not George Soros donates to the HRC and I don't care.  I do care about John Stauber's turn to embrace homophobia, transphobia and xenophobia.  And I don't understand why no left outlet wants to call his crazy ass out as he pimps one 'replacement' conspiracy theory after another, month after month.  He's nuts.  And those who elevated him in the past should be commenting on.

AP notes, "Louisiana is poised to become the latest state to enact laws targeting the LGBTQ+ community, after the Republican-controlled Legislature on Tuesday sent a package to the Democratic governor that includes a ban on gender-affirming care for minors."  They also note that the governor, . John Bel Edwards, a Democrat, hasn't said whether he'll veto it or not.  He should veto it.  It could prove costly for the state.  Daniel Villarreal (LGBT NATION) reports:

A federal judge has struck down parts of Florida’s laws and policies banning gender-affirming care, saying that the bans contradict “widely accepted standards” of medical care. While the judge’s decision only affects three of the seven families of trans youth who sued state officials over the ban, legal observers say the judge’s ruling could help restore healthcare for countless trans Floridians of all ages.

In his 44-page ruling, U.S. District Court Judge Robert Hinkle (appointed in 1996 by President Bill Clinton) affirmed the existence of transgender identities. He also said that the defendants’ families may pursue puberty blockers and hormone replacement therapy (HRT), and their doctors may provide it without fear of criminal or civil penalties.

Hinkle’s ruling noted that an estimated 1% of the population identifies as trans and that Florida officials only presented one defense expert (Dr. Stephen Levine) who has actually treated a significant number of transgender patients. Hinkle added that the state’s experts all seemed to hold the “unspoken suggestion… that transgender identity is not real, that it is made up.”

The judge noted that among the state’s experts, Dr. Paul Hruz called trans identity a “charade” or “delusion,” and Dr. Patrick Lappert called gender-affirming care a “lie,” a “moral violation,” a “huge evil,” and “diabolical.” Hinkle wrote that he considered Cruz “a deeply biased advocate, not as an expert.”

Hinkle noted that other state employees and consultants have called gender-affirming healthcare a “woke idea” or a profiteering scheme by the pharmaceutical industry or doctors.

The judge wrote that “any proponent of the challenged statute and rules should put up or shut up” by stating clearly whether they acknowledge the existence of individuals whose gender identities differ from the sexes they were assigned at birth. “Dog whistles ought not be tolerated,” he added.

Turning to Iraq, Monday Amnesty International released the following:

Iraq: Authorities must act to reveal fate of 643 men and boys abducted by government-linked militias

The Iraqi authorities must take concrete action towards revealing the fate and whereabouts of at least 643 men and boys who were forcibly disappeared in June 2016 by the Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) in the context of military operations to retake Fallujah from the so-called Islamic State, Amnesty International said, marking seven years since the men and boys were abducted.

The PMU are comprised of large, well-established militia groups and are legally considered part of the Iraqi Armed Forces.

“It has been seven years since then-Prime Minister Haidar Abadi formed a committee to investigate those disappearances and other abuses committed by the PMU during the Fallujah operations. But so far, the committee has not made any of its findings public and no one has been held accountable,” said Aya Majzoub, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa.

“The victims of enforced disappearances are not only those who are missing, but also their families and loved ones who continue to live in agony not knowing the fate of their loved ones. Multiple governments have failed to provide these families with the answers that they deserve and with reparations. In order to end the reign of impunity in Iraq, the government must make the findings of the investigative committee public, ensure that any information on the fate or whereabouts of the missing men and boys is disclosed to their families, and that evidence is shared with judicial authorities so that perpetrators can be brought to justice in fair trials without recourse to the death penalty.”

“To this day, we don’t know anything about them”

In early June 2016, thousands of men, women and children fleeing the area of Saqlawiya in Anbar Province were met by armed individuals carrying machine guns and assault rifles. They were identified by witnesses as members of the PMU, based on emblems on their uniforms and flags.

As detailed in a 2016 Amnesty International investigation, the armed men put some of the captured men and boys onto buses and a large truck. The fate of those who were driven away in these vehicles remains unknown. Despite multiple attempts by the families of the disappeared over the years to press the authorities for investigations, they have not been given answers.

One woman, who was among those captured by the PMU on 3 June 2016, told Amnesty International that at least six other members of her family were abducted. Her husband and one of her brothers remain missing. She said: “There is no bigger of a disaster than losing someone dear to you. We lost our loved ones, husbands, uncles, fathers. Everyone left. I don’t remember anything other than sadness.”

She was released on the same day of her abduction and four of her brothers were released three days later. She said that her brothers were tortured day and night and that they witnessed the PMU burying people alive and heard the sounds of people being tortured.

Another woman whose loved ones were abducted by armed men in PMU vehicles on 2 June 2016 told Amnesty International that 15 members of her family, including her husband, brother and son, remain missing. Despite her efforts, the authorities have not taken action nor provided the family any redress.

“We were living a happy life… If they could hear me, I would tell them enough of being gone. We are tired. We need you, because life is not worth it without you. Your children need you and they ask about you. If only you could return… I am prepared to forget everything and forget all the pain and start life over again and we live happily, if only.”

According to the UN Committee on Enforced Disappearances, Iraq has an estimated range of 250,000 to 1 million missing persons since 1968, making it one of the countries with the highest number of missing persons worldwide.

Authorities fail to take concrete action to investigate disappearances

On 5 June 2016, the office of then-Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi set up a committee to investigate disappearances and other violations committed in the context of military operations to retake Fallujah, including by the PMU. He also tasked the local government of Anbar with setting up a separate investigative committee, which on 11 June 2016 published findings that it sent to the Prime Minister, revealing that 643 men and boys from the area of Saqlawiya were missing. Families of the disappeared claim that the actual number is higher.

Since that date, it is unclear what steps the committee set up by the former Prime Minister has taken to effectively investigate the disappearances, and it has failed to publicly report on any findings. Rights groups and families told Amnesty International that the authorities have not communicated any outcome to the families of the disappeared. To this date, the Iraqi authorities have been silent as to the action they have taken to address and investigate these violations and provide justice and redress to victims. 

Since 2016, Amnesty International has repeatedly requested information regarding this investigation, including in letters addressed to the Prime Minister’s Office and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on 19 May 2023. To this day, Amnesty International has not received a substantive response detailing the fate and whereabouts of the disappeared.

On 4 April 2023, the UN Committee on Enforced Disappearances issued a report following its visit to Iraq in November 2022. It urged Iraq to “immediately include enforced disappearances as a separate offence”. It also called upon Iraq to “establish a comprehensive search and investigation strategy for all cases of disappearances, and to strengthen and enlarge the national forensic capacity to ensure that all victims have access to exhumation processes and forensic services”.

An obligation to criminalize enforced disappearances

Enforced disappearance is currently not a crime under Iraqi law and therefore cannot be prosecuted as a distinct offence. As a state party to the International Convention for the Protection of all Persons against Enforced Disappearance, Iraq has an obligation to criminalize enforced disappearances, investigate, bring perpetrators to justice, and ensure reparation for victims.

Al Haq Foundation for Human Rights, an independent civil society organization based in Baghdad, told Amnesty International: “The failure to legislate a law to protect persons from enforced disappearance is an indication of the failure to put an end to cases of enforced disappearance. Our organization continues its efforts to support the voices of the victims and their families to together reveal the truth about the fate of thousands.”

Amnesty International calls on the authorities to provide redress and reparation, including compensation and rehabilitation, for the families of those disappeared in June 2016 and to pass effective legislation criminalizing enforced disappearances in accordance with international law.

We'll wind down with this Tweet noting the publication of Paul Rudnick's latest novel.

New content at THIRD:

The following sites updated: