So some science news. Let's start with the bad. Cameron Duke (LIVE SCIENCE) reports:
Every commercial flight you have ever taken has been recorded. Every tug on the yoke and every adjustment of the throttle has been dutifully logged by a little recording device tucked away in the tail of the aircraft. It's the infamous "black box" that search and rescue crews scan the crash site for any time an aviation incident occurs. Its observations are a clear account of how the whole thing went down.
Next year, our planet will get one of these disaster recorders as well.
Called Earth's Black Box, the project is meant to painstakingly record every step on the way to our planet's demise.
"Unless we dramatically transform our way of life, climate change and other man-made perils will cause our civilization to crash," Earth's Black Box website reads.
Sadly, such a device is needed. We're probably close to killing our planet. Maybe if the Black Box is found, the finders will be able to learn something from our many mistakes.
If only we could have had a president who cares about science and about saving the planet. We don't have four years to wait. The planet's dying -- the same way Joe Biden is. We need a leader connected to the earth, not one on his last legs.
Could we fix things if we tried? I don't know. I hope it's not too late. AP reports on an effort to restore the oyster reefs:
It's time to agitate the oysters at St. Stanislaus High School on Mississippi's Gulf coast.
Students on a platform below the school's long pier gently shake their oyster garden's wire cages as they pull them from the water, loosening mud and algae that might keep water and nutrients from baby oysters clinging to those shells.
These students in Bay St. Louis are part of a volunteer force along U.S. coasts that's raising oysters from translucent spat the width of a soda straw to hard-shelled bivalves that can help restore depleted reefs.
Oyster reefs are a keystone of coastal ecosystems. Each oyster filters 25 to 50 gallons (95 to 190 liters) of water a day. Spat glue themselves to larger oysters and grow. The reefs provide habitat for shrimp, crabs and fish and protect shorelines.
:"Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):
Friday, December 17, 2021. A lot to cover, Julian Assange, flooding in Iraq, a shoe thrower tosses out some truths, and much more.
Julian Assange, an Australian citizen, is being persecuted by the US government. He not only remains in UK custody, the UK government now says they will hand Julian over to the US. Why? What is the crime?
Not just in terms of the US, but in terms of the UK? How does the uUK justify keeping Julian behind bars when the case against him was already settled. That case against him was dropped by the prosecution which stated that they did not believe they had enough evidence to support the charges. That means you let the person go. Somehow, in the UK, they retain him and hold him with no real chrages. He's not under investigation in the UK, the case was dropped. That means the person is set free. Two years and eight months after the case has been dropped, Julian remains in prison. How do you jusitfy that?
What happened to the rule of law?
Julian's 'crime'? Releasing the truth. Letting the people know. Providing some much needed sunlight in what's supposed to be a democracy. As we've noted many times, such as here, the one person the US government wants to punish for the Iraq War is WIKILEAKS publisher Julian Assange. Julian's 'crime' was revaling the realities of Iraq -- Chelsea Manning was a whistle-blower who leaked the information to Julian. WIKILEAKS then published the Iraq War Logs. And many outlets used the publication to publish reports of their own. For example, THE GUARDIAN published many articles based on The Iraq War Logs. Jonathan Steele, David Leigh and Nick Davies offered, on October 22, 2012:
A grim picture of the US and Britain's legacy in Iraq has been revealed in a massive leak of American military documents that detail torture, summary executions and war crimes.
Almost 400,000 secret US army field reports have been passed to the Guardian and a number of other international media organisations via the whistleblowing website WikiLeaks.
The electronic archive is believed to emanate from the same dissident US army intelligence analyst who earlier this year is alleged to have leaked a smaller tranche of 90,000 logs chronicling bloody encounters and civilian killings in the Afghan war.
The new logs detail how:
• US authorities failed to investigate hundreds of reports of abuse, torture, rape and even murder by Iraqi police and soldiers whose conduct appears to be systematic and normally unpunished.
• A US helicopter gunship involved in a notorious Baghdad incident had previously killed Iraqi insurgents after they tried to surrender.
• More than 15,000 civilians died in previously unknown incidents. US and UK officials have insisted that no official record of civilian casualties exists but the logs record 66,081 non-combatant deaths out of a total of 109,000 fatalities.
The numerous reports of detainee abuse, often supported by medical evidence, describe prisoners shackled, blindfolded and hung by wrists or ankles, and subjected to whipping, punching, kicking or electric shocks. Six reports end with a detainee's apparent death.
How telling of the pathetic and degraded society we currently live in that the only person whom the US government wants to punish for the Iraq War is the one who told the truth.
Last night, Katie Halper devoted her show to the topic of Julian Assange and had many wonderful people on the program -- and one lousy man who doesn't know how the hell to shutp and let women speak. That's a probem he's had for some time and we've called it out here before. He talks over women all the time. He doesn't know how to shut his damn mouth. You know who I'm talking about but Ava and i are thinking of including him in our media peice for THIRD so we'll table that for now. Here's the video of the discussion.
Marianne Williamson: Key to authoritatiasm in secrecy and no secrecy is more dangerous than military secrecy. Everybody [corporte media lapdogs] will be going on about what a 'criminal' he is. And great people will be talking tonight [on the live stream] about how is he and what did he really do. But I I want to talk for a moment about what he did do. What Julian Assange revealed were War Crimes. What he revealed were atrocities. What he revealed were gratuitous deaths. I'll give you just an example: Almost 700 people were killed because -- mainly, by the way, the mentally ill and women who uknowingly got to close to a checkpoint. There were men who were trying to drive their pregnant women to the hospital, got too close to a cheakpoint. This was in 2010 that all these things were revealed. Let's be very clear here everyoneL Vietnam was a debacle, Iraq was a debacle, Afghanistan was a debacle. So when the military establishment tries to go at us with "Nothing to see here, guys"? If anything is clear, there's a lot to see. There's a lot to see. There's a lot we should have been paying very close attention to. And the fact that the US government, rather than wanting to stand for the free press, the right of the people to know and holding the military accountable? You have to have transparency. A military that is not held accountable? And the way that they are able to do what they do is through this completely illegitmate use of the classification system. Classified document, right? They're not supposed to classify a document [when] it's just really they don't want you to know. [The sole man on the panel feels the need to interrupt Marianne while she is speaking; not once but twice.] So millions of documents are made classified. Journalists who would say, "What's in there?" -- "we can't tell you because it's classified. They're only able to classify something if they can prove it's essentail to US security. This is a whole veil that they're putting over it. You're going to hear a lot tonight about how 'Oh, you're putting hte troops in danger.' We don't want to put the troops in danger but we don't want them to put the people of Afghanistan in danger, which they did, and the people of Iraq in danger, which they did, or the people of Iraq in danger, which they did. So you're going to hear about that tonight. All of these issues are extremely important.
Glenn Greenwald, Margaret Kimberly (whom Betty rightly praised), Chris Hedges and Susan Sarandon are among the other strong participants in the discussion.
Susan Sarandon: We need journalists, we need investigative reporters to tell us about things the government is hiding that are illegal, inhumane, immoral acts. And when you have, finally, a whistle-blower that comes forward with information that is really assoutndingly horrifying -- as Chelsea Manning did, God bless her -- and then you have the publisher [Julian] punished ina very -- I mean, right now he could die. And you know, it's gone on for so long and he's so fragile. And on top of that, all the other newspapers, all the mainstream newspapers, benefitted from this information. They pritned it. No one is accusing them of endaring the troops or bringing down America. They all profitted -- THE GUARDIAN, THE WASHINGTON POST. But they've singled him out [the US government] to tell other journalists not to go into this kind of investigative reporting.
The plan is to return to this live stream in next week's snapshot (or snapshots). That said, there's another thing I planned to cover today -- testimoy -- but I'm having to put that on hold because there's too much that has to be in the snapshot today.
In Iraq today? Floodng. AP reports:
At least eight people have died and more are feared injured amid severe flooding caused by torrential rainfall in northern Iraq, Iraqi officials said on Friday.
Omed Khoshnaw, governor of Irbil province in the semi-autonomous Kurdish region, said the deaths occurred primarily in the Daratu district. In comments to local outlet Rudaw, he said seven had died due to the flash flooding and one after a lighting strike. Women and children were feared among the dead, he added.
The Kurdistan government's representative to the US Bayan SamiRahman Tweets:
ARABY.ORG COMMUNITY Tweets:
There's a stone in my heart
She lives a life she didn't choose
And it hurts like brand new shoes
Yes, it hurts like brand new shoes
And it hurts like brand new shoes
Hurts like brand new shoes?
Above is Bully Boy and Nouri al-Maliki as the two celebrated and signed the Strategic Forces Agreement and the treaty masquerading as a Status Of Forces Agreement on December 14, 2008 minutes before Iraqi journalist Muntadhar al-Zeidi declared, "This is a gift from the Iraqis. This is the farewell kiss you dog. This is from the widows, the orphans and those who were killed in Iraq" while hurling first one-shoe and the second at Bully Boy. Both shoes missed and Bully Boy grinned and did not take it seriously or perceive it to be a threat ("And if you want some -- if you want the facts, it's a size 10 shoe that he threw. Thank you for your concern, do not worry about it.")
Muntadhar is back in the news. EFE reports:
Ten years after the withdrawal of US troops, the journalist told Efe in an interview that the occupation is far from over and that “the US continues to occupy Iraq,” politically speaking.
“The US Embassy is the one that dominates many sectors of the State and important decisions, from the formation of the Government to the decisions of Parliament,” he added in an interview with Efe in the Iraqi capital.
Al Zaidi (1979) recalls the “totally premeditated” act that made him a hero in the Arab world overnight, but also put him in prison where he was beaten regularly.
“This is a farewell kiss from the people of Iraq, you dog,” Al Zaidi told Bush as he tossed his shoes at him during a news conference in Baghdad on December 14, 2008.
That action was seen as spontaneous, but Al Zaidi said it was “planned” and that he videotaped his will before leaving for the press conference because he was fully aware of the consequences of his actions.
“The greatest honor in the world is to be thrown roses, what I did was change the farce of throwing roses to throwing shoes at the president of the US occupation of Iraq.”
According to Al Zaidi, the president had said that Iraqis would welcome US troops “with flowers” after the 2003 invasion of Iraq, which led to the demise of dictator Saddam Hussein but also to years of chaos and sectarian conflict in the Arab country.
To this day, Al Zaidi does not know what happened to his shoes, which were never returned to him despite the fact that he requested them during his trial.
He is correct, the war, the occupation continues. The press lies but that's the reality.
The following sites updated: