Thursday, December 08, 2022

Fraud Squad

 When will the Fraud Squad stand up for anything they supposedly believe in?

That's an important question that they need to answer and their supporters need to ask.


''Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):

Thursday, December 8, 2022.  A lot to cover, mainly Joe Biden's dereliction of duty and how he better take action immediately or face a deserved impeachment.  And I don't say that with glee or happiness.  We've held the snapshot for an hour as I tried to think of any justification for his inaction -- legal justification.  There is none.  Here we go.

Katelyn Caralle (DAILY MAL) reports:

Joe Biden's top spokesperson won't comment on whether the president's 2020 campaign communicated with Twitter after it was revealed there was at least some correspondence with the social media giant.

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre continues to deflect questions related to the bombshell 'Twitter Files' after calling it 'old news' during her briefing on Tuesday.

She declined to comment on Wednesday when asked if Biden's team ever formally or informally communicated to the Twitter team that Hunter Biden's laptop was hacked.

It's not old news that the FBI visited social media execs and lied that a laptop might emerge shortly before the election and that it was Russian disinformation.  The FBI knew about the laptop because they'd had the hard drive in their possession for nearly a year.  They knew it was real.

Why did they lie to social media execs?

That's not old news and it never will be.  They lied to influence the outcome of an election.  

That's not their role.  That's now why they exist.  Heads should roll over their behavior.

And let's return to yesterday's main point: the spokesperson declaring that releasing information about what took place is "unhealthy" for the country.  

No, it is not unhealthy.

Sunlight is never unhealthy to democracy.

And anyone who claims it is?  That's who needs to be rebuked.

And now?  It's Joe Biden who needs to be rebuked.

The White House has taken no action at all.  Information dumped last Friday has the FBI lying to cover up a story.  Yes, the story involves Crack Head Hunter Biden.

Now, let's put everything on pause for just one moment.

A number of idiots -- including on the left -- wanted to insist oh, Hunter's just a drug addict who has problems, stop looking, turn your heads, blah blah blah.

That was bulls**t then and it's bulls**t now.

There's a reason you probe these stories and it's not to learn how many dildos Hunter took up the ass.

It's because his father could end up president and you need to determine whether or not Hunter is going to compromise him.

We don't need to figure that out anymore.

In fact, we now have grounds for impeachment.

I'm not calling for Joe Biden to be impeached.

But the events of the last few days are stronger than any reason we had to impeach Bill Clinton or, yes, even Donald Trump.

On Friday, information was released that showed a federal law enforcement agency went around lying and intimidating the media to influence the outcome of an election.

Where is the president?

Where the hell is the US president?

Joe has previously insisted Hunter did nothing wrong.

Okay, well, let that rest for a moment.

Joe is President of the United States.  The information released demands accountability ASAP.  

Where's his support for a Congressional investigation?  Where's his public demand for answers?  Where is his statement to the American people that this never should have happened?

Or, for that matter, that he wasn't a part of it?

Because we need to know that, as a citizen when he ran for president, he wasn't trading on favors to break the law.  The FBI's actions are not just appalling, they're also illegal.

Joe is the President of the United States.  He is the head of the executive branch of the US government.  The FBI falls under that branch.

I don't need to hear the uneducated Karine Jean-Pierre make another joke or issue another threat.

This is a serious matter and it should be treated as such.

The FBI acted in a criminal manner.  That has been exposed.  It is time for the President of the United State to stop hiding and to make a statement on what has happened.

Joe hasn't made it yet.  He should have made one on Saturday.

But he's compromised.

At best, the only reason he's only compromised is because it's his son.  At worst?  He might have been knowingly profiting from Hunter's actions and the pay-to-play scheme.  Or, for that matter, he might have been involved in the FBI's actions -- calling in favors from his earlier political career, for example.

But, for right now, let's just take the best option for his dithering: It's a story involving his son.

I don't give a damn about your son.  You had the crack head before you became president.  You're now president.

If you can't handle the job, step down.  

And this is why those of you on the left -- and please note, I'm not talking about the liars who dismissed the laptop as nothing back in October of 2020.  I'm talking about people who had podcasts and people who 'covered' it by telling us, "Oh, he has a drug problem, poor Hunter."

F**K POOR HUNTER.  The country is more important, democracy is more important, than the deserved and earned shame Hunter has brought down upon himself and his family.

Sorry, Katie Halper, I'm looking at you.  I'll name you because you're the only one I can name without going into a holy tear.  If I name anyone else who had too much sympathy for Hunter Biden and too little for the American people if a compromised person became president, we'll be spending the whole snapshot on their many errors and lies.  With Katie, I can say she was too sensitive to Hunter and that's all I have to say because she's got a strong record otherwise.  

I'll go further, in fact, I'll even praise Jimmy Dore for not falling into that trap that so many others did.  He treated it as a serious story from the start.  Good for Jimmy.  Thank you, Jimmy.

I don't care that Hunter had strippers shove dildos up his ass.

I do care that he could compromise a presidency.

And that's why you don't pretend like a grown and middle aged man is a child and offer excuses for looking the other way as his father runs to become president.

Drug addict?

Well then he needs to get accountable.  He needs to work his program.  He doesn't need the press covering for him or excusing him.  Or pretending -- and we pointed this out in real time -- that a woman rescued him -- with love, of course.  That's not how recovery works.

And all you idiots did was excuse it.

And you created the moment for this.

Joe Biden should have acted immediately.  As soon as that information dropped last Friday, he should have met with the White House attorneys to craft a response.  Not just a statement but a plan of action to let the American people know that FBI was being reigned in and that this would never, ever happen again.  That he was appalled and outraged by what was exposed last Friday.

He's paralyzed because he's compromised and you can thank all the people who whored for him, you brought us to this point.

The FBI acted illegally and this became public seven days ago.  SEVEN DAYS AGO.  And yet the president has nothing to say.  There's has been no statement decrying what took place, no statement to assure the American people that this is not going to be ignored -- despite the White House spokesperson asking for it to be ignored.

I'm real sorry that Joe Biden's having to choose between Daddy and President -- but here's reality, it is no choice.  He's the president and he wanted to be it so he needs to act as the President.

His refusal to do so?  In the face of what has been exposed, his sinking his head in the sand and not saying a word, his taking no action and his spokesperson trying to Twitter and the press what to do?  That is the very definition of high crimes and misdemeanors.  

He is failing a president, he is demonstrating dereliction of duty.

These are grounds for impeachment.

I have tried to avoid this issue since Friday in part because there's no report from the one who did the dump and in part because I knew when I got pissed enough I'd say what no one has the guts to say: These are grounds for impeachment.

He needs to take action immediately.

As President of the United States.  

He's failed to do so.

It's outrageous.  

His failure makes it clear that he is now compromised by Hunter.

Had the press done their job, we wouldn't be at this point.  Joe now has to decide if he is going to honor his Constitutional oath and to serve the American people or if he's going to step down immediately as President.

That is what is called for right now.  

The American people know that a federal law agency interfered in an election and did so to impact the outcome.  That's illegal.  Heads to need to be rolling at the FBI.  But the American people need to hear from the President that this is unacceptable, that it doesn't matter that he benefited from it, it was wrong for the FBI to act in this manner.

This is Politics 101.  

And yet we have no grown ups in the room apparently.

No one wants to state the obvious.

His actions are grounds for impeachment.  His actions right now are saying "I can't act as president and demand accountability because it might hurt my son."

He wanted to be president and now he is.  It's time to act as a president.

If he delays any longer, then let him face the impeachment he now deserves.

New topic . . .

The California home of state Sen. Scott Wiener (D) was searched by police on Tuesday after he was targeted with a bomb threat parroting false, right-wing “groomer” rhetoric over his fight for LGBTQ rights.
The threat was emailed to the San Francisco Standard and reported to the San Francisco Police Department, which began searching Wiener’s home at around 6 a.m. Police found no explosives at the property. 

The subject line read: “Scott Wiener will die today,” according to the Standard. The author, who used the name Zamina Tataro, called Wiener a pedophile and accused him of grooming children.

The name Zamina Tataro was also used in a different bomb threat last month against a school in Ontario over the attire of a trans teacher.

Wiener, who is gay, said it was one of many death threats he had received this year.

“This latest wave of death threats against me relates to my work to end discrimination against LGBTQ people in the criminal justice system and my work to ensure the safety of transgender children and their families,” Wiener tweeted, noting that extremist Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) and right-wing activist Charlie Kirk had recently tweeted homophobic lies about him.

The media needs to start calling out those people -- especially politicians -- accusing others of grooming.  "What is your proof?" is the question they should be asked.  They have none so it should be reported as: "US House Rep Marjorie Taylor Greene made another wild and baseless accusation today . . ."  That might not be right.  Is she keeping "Greene" now that she's divorcing her husband?  At any rate, "US House Rep Lauren Boebert made another wild and baseless accusation today . . ."  And when Boebert shares her 'informed' opinion that adult men and women should have to wait until they are 21 before coming out as gay?  The media should report, "US House Rep Lauren Boebert, who dropped out of high school when she got pregnant outside of marriage, felt the need to share that all gay adults should be forced to stay in closets until the age of 21 because . . . well, her crazy brain hadn't reached a conclusion just yet but she swears Jesus is about to whisper the reason in her ear."

We need to reduce the climate of crazy and violence that these hate merchants are creating.

The shooter in the Colorado Springs attack?  ABC NEWS reports:

The suspect accused of killing five people in a mass shooting at an LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado Springs, Colorado, is facing 305 charges, including first-degree murder, attempted murder and bias-motivated crimes.

Anderson Lee Aldrich, 22, wore yellow prison attire for Tuesday's court appearance, which was to hear the charges against them. Aldrich did not speak.

Public defenders assigned to Aldrich said in a court filing that the suspect identifies as nonbinary and uses the pronouns they/them.

An e-mail to the public account insists this was not a hate crime.  

Based on?

If the shooter is nonbinary -- if -- that doesn't mean a damn thing.  Transphobia has not been limited to straight people.  The shooter can be binary and still hate gays, lesbians, trans, etc.  

The shooter can also be -- far more likely -- consumed with self-hatred.

The porn acting father gave interviews about how his son wasn't gay and better not be gay.  The mother has made similar statements.

That both parents refuse to their child as their "son" and use "he" and "him" suggests that either the shooter is not non-binary or that the shooter did not feel the parents would recognize that reality.

A climate of hate was created by Marjorie Taylor-Greene and her ilk and that climate painted a bullseye on a gay club for a disturbed individual who knew their parents loathed gays.  Wanting to go out -- it's doubtful the shooter really thought they would emerge from the massacre alive -- in a blaze of glory, the shooter looked around for a socially 'acceptable' target and, thanks to the climate of hate, the gay club seemed the way to go.

The most likely explanation is that the shooter wanted to go out in 'glory' and have the approval of parents -- father left, mother was in and out of life -- who were abhorrent and withheld approval on even the most basic things.  In fact, it's probably not even approval, it's just recognition from parents who never made the time for the shooter.  The parents have lived enough for several soap operas but there's no role for a child in those storylines.  The shooter appears to have drifted through his 22 years with little connection, supervision or love.  That's very tragic.  It does not excuse attempting to kill people, but it is tragic.

Tragic is also that the Laurens and Marjories create this climate of hate.  Remember, boys and girls, that GOP supports life -- unless the child is gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender.  It's a sad and depraved pro-life point of view, but they're happy with it.

Ten days ago, Human Rights Watch released the following:

The Iraqi government under former Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi failed to deliver on promises of legal accountability for state security personnel and state-backed armed groups responsible for killing, maiming, and disappearing hundreds of demonstrators and activists since 2019, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today.

The 40-page report, “To Sleep the Law: Violence Against Protesters and Unaccountable Perpetrators in Iraq,” details specific cases of killing, injury, and disappearance of protesters during and after the 2019-2020 popular uprising in central and southern Iraq. Al-Kadhimi took power in May 2020 promising justice for the murders and disappearances, but when he left office in October 2022, his government had made no concrete progress on holding those responsible to account.

“After two and a half years with al-Khadimi in power, his promises of justice for vicious violence against peaceful protesters turned out to be empty, and killers are walking free,” said Adam Coogle, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “Protesters sacrificed so much to improve conditions in the country, even giving their lives, but their government couldn’t even provide them the bare minimum of justice in return.”

Nearly 500 demonstrators were killed in just the first few weeks of the uprising by Iraqi security forces and state-backed armed groups, according to the United Nations. Violence against protesters persisted even after protests ended, through a targeted assassination campaign against prominent activists, most of whom were perceived as influential voices in the protest movement.

Six months after taking office, former Prime Minister al-Kadhimi established a Fact-Finding Committee to investigate the violence carried out by state security personnel and armed groups against protesters and activists. But the committee has yet to release any substantial information about its findings, not even disclosing the cases it examined, much less the results of investigations it carried out.

Human Rights Watch examined the cases of 11 Iraqis subjected to violence because of political protest and activism. Five of them were killed, including two women. Another five were injured, and one was kidnapped and disappeared.

The victims and the families of those killed or disappeared filed legal cases with police and judicial authorities, but after initial interest from the authorities, such as police collecting details of these cases, the legal complaints went nowhere. There was virtually no follow up from the authorities about the status of their investigations or attempts to identify and hold those responsible to account.

As some interviewees insisted, their cases were simply “put to sleep.”

Emjad al-Dehemat, 56, was a prominent activist in Amara, the capital of Maysan province in southeast Iraq. On November 6, 2019, weeks into the protests, al-Dehemat was assassinated after leaving a meeting with a senior police commander in Amara’s main police station, said other activists who also attended the meeting. The killing occurred only a few hundred meters from police headquarters.

His brother Ali al-Dehemat, 52, filed a legal case with the authorities with little result. No arrests have been made in the case. Fighting for justice for his brother, Ali received death threats and was forced to flee Amara, moving from city to city for fear that he, too, would be killed.

Despite the lack of progress in investigations and legal accountability, the Iraqi government has financially compensated most of the families of those killed. According to the UN, most of the families of protesters killed have received financial compensation from Iraq’s Martyrs Foundation, a state entity.

The government also promised to compensate the thousands of protesters maimed or injured during the protests. But only a small number of victims have received compensation for their injuries, and they have only done so after long waits – in some cases up to two-and-a-half years – and at great financial cost. Many have hired lawyers to help with their claims, and some said they had to pay bribes to officials to resolve their claims.

The new Iraqi government of Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani should release information about the Fact-Finding Committee’s investigations into the killings, injuries, and disappearances of demonstrators during and after the uprising. The government should also urge judicial authorities to release information about the status of ongoing investigations and cases.

Al-Sudani’s government should also redouble efforts to compensate victims of the violence, including by establishing a clear and concise compensation policy for those injured, and laying out straightforward steps that minimize bureaucratic hurdles to receiving compensation.

“The 2019-2020 uprising brought down a government and instigated early elections, and the protesters demanded accountability for perpetrators of the violence they suffered,” Coogle said. “The new prime minister can and should work to deliver the justice his predecessor did not.”

The following sites updated:

  • Wednesday, December 07, 2022


    Janis Hunter Gaye has died.  I want to note this from the obit:

    Their union was tumultuous at times, and Gaye admitted to PEOPLE in 1983 that he'd once menaced Janis with a knife after they separated, and also arranged for their then-4-year-old son to be kidnapped in Hawaii. She filed for divorce from the star in 1982.

    There has been a revisionary effort to make Marvin Gaye into a great artist.  He wasn't.  Every album was uneven.  His songwriting credits were frequently unearned.  And he was a violent man.  I guess some of the institutions -- ROLLING STONE magazine? -- are vested in domestic abuse and want to rewrite history. 

    I am so sick of the need of some men to insist that abuse doesn't matter.  I remember Danny Schechter having a fit over Ava and C.I. saying that Tina Turner did not owe Ike anything in response to Danny trying to speak for Tina when Ike died [see "Ike Turner (Ava and C.I. feature)"].  Danny interviewed her once so that made him able to claim at his website that Tina had put everything behind her and now she would miss Ike and blah blah blah.


    Excuse me?  Ike was a terrorist.  That's what he was.  And, no, she has not put it behind her.  She has PTSD to this day -- as the HBO documentary noted.  


    And Danny met her once for an interview?  C.I.'s known Tina for decades.   

    Danny had the biggest hissy fit over that.  And C.I. told him she'd spoken to Tina about it (Ike's death) and Danny didn't care.  "Ike deserves to be honored at this time."  That was Danny's response.

    The only thing worse than men who abuse women?  The other men who rush to defend them.

    "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: