Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Hypocrisy, thy name is Alyssa


Zach Haller reTweeted Greg Gutfeld:

she went from "believe all women" to "men deserve due process." if you or I had said that to her, she would have called us pigs.
Quote Tweet
Alyssa Milano
@Alyssa_Milano
·
I explained my silence on the allegations against Joe Biden in this clip. I am still endorsing @JoeBiden. Listen to this clip to find out why. #MeToo
#TimesUp youtu.be/tcNx_nD6Bi4
Show this thread



Ms. Milano is hideous.  She is a backstabber who is lying to cover for Joe Biden.  Why?  Apparently, Mr. Biden is powerless and needs Ms. Milano to defend him. 

That is Alyssa Milano, the voice for the powerful, the voice for the patriarchy, attacking a woman for coming forward. 

She is a hypocrite and she has exposed herself as the do nothing that she truly is.

Emma Caterine Tweets:

Alyssa Milano is why we need socialist feminism rather than liberal feminism. Socialist feminism wants to use working class power to overthrow patriarchy. Liberal feminism wants to punish bad individuals, until doing so threatens their class interests.


She just needs to go away.  Forever. 

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


Tuesday, April 7, 2020.  Ryan Grim needs to investigate Alyssa Milano's claim that she and Times Up engaged in a whisper campaign against Tara Reade, Alyssa exposes herself as the ultimate hypocrite and much more.

Starting in the US where Tara Reade, a former staffer of Joe Biden's, has accused him of assault.  Katie Halper was the first to interview Tara in depth about the accusations for a broadcast.  Others have followed,  Below is from the interview Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez did for DEMOCRACY NOW!:


AMY GOODMAN: Can you give us the circumstances, how you ended up — what was the day, how you ended up alone with Joe Biden? Explain what happened that day.

TARA READE: I was approached by my supervisor. She handed me a gym bag and said, “Hurry, Joe wants this, so get it to him. He’ll meet you down towards the Capitol.” And I went down the stairs, and I don’t remember exactly where I was, because there’s connections between the Russell Building and all of that and the corridors, but we were in a semi-private location. It wasn’t a room. It wasn’t, you know, the Russell Office Building — I mean, in his office. It was down in the corridors. And I handed him the gym bag.

And then he — it was one, as I described, fluid moment. He was talking to me, and he said some things that I don’t recall. And I was up against the wall. And he — I remember the coldness of the wall. And I remember his hands underneath my blouse and underneath my skirt, and his fingers penetrating me as he was trying to kiss me and I was pulling away. And he pulled back, and he said, “Come on, man. I heard you liked me.” But he was angry. It was like a tight voice. And he tended to smile when he was angry. And he isn’t like the Uncle Joe like everybody talks about now. He was younger. He was my dad’s age at that time and very strong. And he looked insulted and angry. And I remember feeling like I had done something wrong when he said that statement. And then I was standing there when he said — he was still near me. He said — pointed his finger and said, “You’re nothing to me. You’re nothing.” And he walked away.


Yesterday, the voice of no one finally spoke.  Aging hagtress Alyssa Milano spoke in defense of Joe Biden.  I have noted her silence last week and this week.  Last night an e-mail came into the public account saying that Alyssa was defending her friend and I'd do the same.

A) Joe Biden is not her friend.  B) I would not do the same.

For years, US House Rep Bob Filner was someone I was close to.  I respected him, I liked him (I still have love for Bob, I am sorry for the women he hurt and my heart breaks for them).  When the media stopped whispering and began covering allegations that women were making against Bob, who had left the Congress and become the Mayor of San Diego?  We covered it.  This is from the July 29, 2013 snapshot:


Starting with Bob Filner.  The former US House Representative didn't seek re-election in 2012, choosing instead to run in San Diego's mayoral race.  He won.  He is currently Mayor Bob Filner.  How likely that is to last is probably best left to a betting pool.

I know Bob Filner.  I like Bob Filner.  Bob did many great things in Congress.  He has done many strong things as Mayor.  He may or may not be able to continue in that role.  He stands accused of sexual harassment and misconduct for actions since he has been mayor.


Is he guilty of what he's currently accused?  I have no idea.  He's never been anything but friendly to me and I've never seen him harass anyone.  That doesn't mean he's innocent, that does mean that's all I can speak to personally on the allegations.

I wouldn't be discussing this today were it not for Lila Garrett.  On today's Connect the Dots with Lila Garrett (KPFK) she gave a sermon -- she's gotten so fond of those -- that was full of 'facts,' (She falsely claimed that Monica Lewinsky has never been able to get a job since the exposure of her sexual relationship with Bill Clinton -- there has been her tacky handbags, her time as a spokesperson for Jenny Craig, etc -- Lila wanted to slime Bill Clinton so facts got replaced with 'facts').

Bob Filner, she insisted, was "politically correct" (her term) because he's installed solar panels.  And he was taking on big oil, she insisted.  The allegations, which she accepted as true, were not about him as a politician, they were about his "personal behavior," she maintained.



To be really clear to Lila, a man or woman who harasses those working under him/her is not displaying "personal behavior."  It is a crime (which Lila at least realized) but it's not "personal behavior" (which she did not realize).

She also saw harassment in some novel ways.  It was, she explained, stemmed from an individual (man, she used repeatedly) feeling powerful and proud and so you want to celebrate and have the applause, she insisted, but it's not there and so you look to a woman, any woman, Lila insisted, and want to celebrate with her.

That's certainly a novel way to look at it.  But the reality is that sexual harassment in the work place is generally about control and the inner psyche of the harasser is not 'I am so wonderful! Give me  applause!'  There are two major arguments regarding the profile of sexual harassers and Garrett's managed to avoid both while presenting an entirely new argument.  (The psyche and feminist argument is that it's about power; the conservative argument -- which tries to use examples of early humans -- is that it's about selection and desire.  Those have been the two dominant arguments society has had on the profile of the harasser.)

Lila goes on to conclude that Bob Filner must resign as mayor.

Lila Garrett broadcasts on KPFK.  Where does she live?

Not in San Diego.

Nor do I.  It is not my choice whether or not Filner resigns, I have no say in the matter.  Only the people of San Diego can make that call.  It's the same as with the NYC mayor's race.  From the eighth Congressional district of California, I have no business endorsing any candidate in a race I can't vote in or calling for someone in a race I can't vote in to step down.

There have been e-mails noting the Filner scandal and insisting I have said nothing on it.  There's no reason to say anything.  An Iraq War veteran raped his daughter.  That's a news story.  It's not one I'm interested in covering.  We cover feminist issues here and have covered rape and have covered sexual harassment and abuse.  We will continue to do so.  But we do not cover every single story.

As for ignoring it, July 12th, Rebecca posted "What the hell?" where she includes Bob's statement acknowledging something (what is being acknowledged in that statement is not clear to me).  She then asks a series of questions and I provide my take in response.  I note, as I have above, that this is matter (a) for the voters of San Diego and (if harassment occurred) for law enforcement (sexual harassment is a crime).

I like Bob.  I will always praise his work on the House Veterans Affairs Committee.  He deserves praise for that.  I have never seen him exhibit the behavior he is currently accused of.  I would hope that means it is not true, however, I am aware it may very well be true.  As much as I like -- no, as much as I love Bob, it is not my job to run interference for him or to insist that he's innocent.  I hope he is.  I do not know he is.  These are serious charges.  Women who are making them have a right to be heard.   I am certainly not interested in attacking these women or in smearing them.

Again, I hope Bob Filner is innocent and that this is an awful misunderstanding. But neither my hopes for Bob nor my love for him trump any suffering of someone he caused.  If the accusations are true, he must suffer the consequences.  If the accusations are true, it will be a horrible mark on his public record; however, it will not be his [only] legacy.  His work for veterans will remain outstanding.  That work will not make it 'okay' that he harassed women (if the charges are true).  But they go to the fact that people can do very great things and also do very unethical and/or very criminal things.  Heroes largely exist in children's comic books and on IMAX screens in the summer.  Sometimes those that we make larger than life have the worst feet of clay.  That's not to justify harassment, abuse or rape.  It is to note that -- thinking of the sliming of two women that so many on the left (men and Naomi Wolf) took part in -- someone who has done something good can also be someone who's done something wrong or criminal. 




Where in there do I slam any woman who had come forward against Bob?  Where do I insist that they must be silent?  I don't.  Nor do I try to cast doubt on their assertions.  I say that I hope it's not true, I say these are serious charges and that the women who are making them have a right to be heard.




Actress and activist Alyssa Milano sparked backlash on Twitter when she defended Democratic candidate Joe Biden despite the fact that his former staffer Tara Reade came forward with assault allegations.
Milano had previously received criticism for her silence regarding Biden’s harassment allegations, so she explained on a radio interview with Andy Cohen that she was skeptical that Reade’s statements were credible.
“I’ve been very vocal for Biden and my support for him and I did do my due diligence because part of it was that Times Up decided not to take the case, and so…I did my work, and I spoke to Times Up and I just don’t feel comfortable throwing away a decent man that I’ve known for 15 years in this time of complete chaos without there being a thorough investigation,”  she told Cohen.


First off, is their whisper campaign going on?  Times Up has no right to discuss with Alyssa or anyone else a case they do not represent.  Tara spoke to them and now, according to Alyssa, Times Up is trashing Tara?

That's what hagtress is saying, "I spoke to Times Up and I just don't . . ."

Times Up has just violated every rule in the book.  It is not their job to have conversations with Alyssa Milano about Tara Reade.  They need to be sued.  They need to lose all funding.  And if they reform, they need to do without people like Anita Dunn who have helped predators like Harvey Weinstein.

Coming forward for any victim is difficult.  To know that the organization that is supposed to help you is launching a smear campaign against you, a whisper campaign with Alyssa Milano?

That bitch needs to issue a public apology to Tara Reade right now.

I don't know that the conversations she claims happened actually did happen.  But she is smearing Tara's name.

She does not know what happened, she was not there.

I love Bob to this day, but I did not try to silence women from telling their stories.  I did not discredit them.  I said their stories needed to be told.

That's how it is with Tara.  She needs to tell her story and Joe Biden needs to be put on the record responding.  And We The People can decide who we believe.

Joe's not a "decent man." And she doesn't know him.  I knew Bob in every sense but the biblical one.  And I didn't run interference for him.  He resigned in disgrace with an admission which he later tried to weasel out of.  I will praise him for his work on veterans issues, I will praise him for his youth activity in the Civil Rights era.  But, yes, he harassed women.  That's part of his legacy and that part is criminal.  It saddens me to this day.

But it is not my job to play favorites when someone is accused of harassment or rape.

Tara is not the person with power in this story.  She had no power when the alleged events took place -- he had all the power, he was a US senator and her boss.  She has no power today.  He can bumble around saying nonsense and have it reported as pearls of wisdom.  CNN, MSNBC, CBS, ABC, NBC, THE NEW YORK TIMES, THE LOS ANGELES TIMES, THE WASHINGTON POST, etc have refused to cover her words.  She has no power.

The default position for any feminist is not to launch smears about her -- as Alyssa did -- or to offer a defense of Joe Biden.  The default position for any feminist is to say, "These are serious charges, the media needs to be covering it, the alleged attacker needs to issue a public response."

Alyssa's a mental moron and everyone knows it.  She should know it as well and grasp that she's not REMINGTON STEELE's Laura Holt and she lacks the ability or training to do an investigation.

All she's done is attacked a woman for bringing a charge of harassment against one of her male friends, that's all Alyssa's done.  She's attacked her saying the woman isn't believable, she's attacked her by insisting that she (Alyssa) spoke with Times Up and that organization did not find her to be telling the truth.

That last part needs to be dealt with immediately.  Ryan Grimm covered this for THE INTERCEPT and Times Up did not tell him that.  Ryan should immediately pursue with the organization whether or not they have engaged in private conversations with Alyssa -- as she insists -- which have cast doubt and aspersions on Tara Reade.

There is nothing that guarantees Tara belief.

She does deserve to tell her story.  She deserves to have this serious charge aired in the media.

We can then decide whether we believe her or not.

But until the corporate media covers this story, the position -- a feminist position -- is that she gets to tell her story.

She is claiming assault and Alyssa's calling her a liar.  That's not a feminist position.

Alyssa is not a feminist and she's not a voice of anyone.  She's a racist who has repeatedly stolen credit for the work done by African-American women (such as Tarana Burke), a racist who has engaged in cultural appropriation, a racist who misportrays Native Americans using stereotypes and then tries to profit from it.  She's a dumb woman whose husband allegedly has a woman 20 years younger stashed away in a Century City condo.  She's someone who can't get bit parts -- INSATIABLE was cancelled by NETFLIX -- she was a supporting player on that show, not the "star" that the media let her call herself.  She's just trash, uneducated trash.  I've shared before what Katherine Helmond told me -- and shared it here while Katherine was alive.  She's a bored, rich housewife, with no real career who does things like brags about her two abortions to get attention.  She'll do anything to get attention because her career ended in 2006 -- 14 years ago.

She made a really stupid mistake yesterday because she's a really stupid idiot.

Is Tara telling the truth?  I have no idea.  She deserves to be heard, but I have no idea.

What I do know is that this is now a major issue for women.  Like most major issues, it will bubble for months.  It will be like Anita Hill where certain men and their whores think they got away with it.  But we won't let them.  We will remember this moment.  Alyssa stood on the wrong side and we won't forget it.

She came down on the wrong side and that will not be forgotten.

Juanita Broaddrick is someone who did not get to tell her story.  Whatever else Katha Pollitt's complicated history includes, Katha, in real time, spoke to the need for Juanita to speak.  She, Patricia Ireland and others deserve credit for that.  Those who attacked Juanita are seen as frauds for good reason.  And that's the fate that awaits Alyssa Milano.


By the way, here's what Juanita has to say about Alyssa:

Plain and simple. Alyssa Milano is an attention seeking FRAUD. She “Believes Women”........as long as it is politically convenient. Time to turn in your #MeToo
card, Alyssa.



We've noted several times that Rose McGowan is the real deal.  Here's her reply to Alyssa's latest nonsense:

You are a fraud. This is about holding the media accountable. You go after Trump & Kavanaugh saying Believe Victims, you are a lie. You have always been a lie. The corrupt DNC is in on the smear job of Tara Reade, so are you. SHAME



Alyssa is a fraud.  She refused to amplify the voice of Tara Reade despite pretending to care about survivors of assault.  She then made it worse by publicly attacking the woman.  She has smeared Tara and she has stated that private conversations Times Up had with her were whisper campaigns against Tara.

Repeating: Times Up needs to immediately answer as to whether or not they have engaged in conversations with Alyssa and whether or not they are privately smearing a woman who came to them for help.




Turning to Iraq, MEMO notes:

Iraq’s Prime Minister-designate Adnan Al-Zurfi announced on Saturday that he has formed his government ahead of the constitutional deadline of 17 April.
He also presented his proposed government programme to the Iraqi parliament.
According to Al-Zurfi, his cabinet is made up of “intellectuals from inside Iraq.” He added that he is now waiting for the parliament to schedule a date to debate his choice of cabinet colleagues.

He has not formed a government.  He has put together potential candidates.  To form a government, his proposed Cabinet must be voted on by the Parliament.  That's why he's still prime minister-designate and not prime minister.


We'll also note this video of Erbil on coronavirus lockdown.




New content at THIRD:




The following sites updated:




Monday, April 6, 2020

Alyssa Milano Offers DESPICABLE Excuse for Ignoring Tara Reade Allegations Against Joe Biden

I love this video.




Strong and important.

C.I. included Christo Aivalis in Monday's snapshot which is how I learned of him.  Check out his YOUTUBE channel, he is a strong voice.



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


Monday, April 6, 2020.  The corporate media continues to avoid the allegations that Joe Biden assaulted Tara Reade, it's the anniversary of WikiLeaks' publication of the Collateral Damage video and Julian Assange remains behind bars.

Yesterday, Christo Aivalis addressed the assault accusations that Joe Biden assaulted Tara Reid.




It's not just those of us on the left noting the media silence, over at the right-wing media watchdog NEWSBUSTERS, Nicholas Fondacaro observed Sunday:

Not long after they had insisted President Trump treated the coronavirus press briefings as though they were “a reality TV show,” ABC and chief anchor George Stephanopoulos invited former Vice President Joe Biden onto This Week to buoy his oxygen-less campaign. One of the softballs the Clinton lackey tossed to Biden encouraged him to blame Trump for the deaths caused by the coronavirus.

While the crisis was only part of their discussion, Stephanopoulos steered clear of the recent sexual assault allegations against his guest. Something he was used to doing from his time in the Clinton White House.
[. . .]
What was conspicuously absent was any question about the sexual assault claim made by his former Senate staffer, Tara Reade. Biden himself had said every accuser had to be believed and ABC had given plenty of airtime to bogus allegations made against Justice Brett Kavanaugh. Yet, this time they didn’t want to talk about any of it.


THE ECONOMIST notes:


The most striking thing about Tara Reade’s story may be the silence with which it has been greeted


Nathan J. Robinson is the editor of CURRENT AFFAIRS.  He has Tweeted the following -- here and here:

I emailed
9 days ago to ask him to let me explain why I think Tara Reade's accusations against Biden are credible & need his attention. No reply. Tara said she tried him repeatedly too. Does Farrow ignore inconvenient accusers, just as his whole book criticizes?


I know Farrow's husband is one of the Pod Save America dudes, and if Tara is taken seriously there may be politically damaging consequences for that wing of the Dem. Party. But I respect Farrow's work precisely because he's never cared if the truth pisses off powerful people.


For the record, Ronan is engaged to Jon Lovett.  If they've gotten married, they have yet to announce it.

Do we really expect lightweight Ronan to say a word?  This is the man who does whatever Mommy tells him (and Mommy hates Bernie Sanders) and he's so pathetic that he refuses to note, let alone call out, his uncle who is serving time for molesting young boys.  RING OF FIRE did cover the allegations against Joe over the weekend.






Friday, various student groups issued the following:

 STATEMENT IN SUPPORT OF TARA READE


Trigger Warning: Sexual Assault

We, a group of Students for Bernie chapters across the country (independent from the Bernie Sanders campaign), are releasing this statement to increase awareness surrounding Joe Biden and his history of sexual assault accusations.  We are demanding that attention is brought to this history and that it not be ignored -- as it has been for decades.  He must be held accountable for his actions.



Tara Reade came forward last week with an allegation of sexual assault, which occurred in 1993 when she worked as a staff assistant for then-Senator Biden.  Reade first went to the Time's Up Legal Defense Fund for help, but they told her that because Biden is a candidate for federal office, that helping her would jeopardize their non-profit status.  It is worth noting that Anita Dunn, the managing director of the Time's Up Legal Defense Fund's public relations firm, is a top adviser on Biden's campaign.  Despite the extremely serious nature of these allegations, Democrats and the mainstream media have been silent.


There was no hesitation within the Democratic party to believe or support Christine Blasey Ford when she accused Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault.  Democrats fought Republicans with claims that partisanship should never override morality, and that we should believe women who bravely come forward with allegations.  Unfortunately, it seems as though this support for survivors was only shown in the name of political convenience.  When an allegation is brought against the presumptive presidential nominee of the Democratic party, suddenly there is radio silence from the establishment.  No calls for an investigation, no questions from the media, nothing.  None of the major cable news outlets have even reported the story.

How can the Democratic party claim to be the party that is fighting Donald Trump, a serial sexual abuser, while propping up Joe Biden?  How can the Democratic party be the party that claims to protect women, but fails to do so when the predator is on their own side? How can media outlets claim to educate the public and provide crucial information, but fail to report this disturbing allegation against a presidential candidate?  This goes beyond partisanship, beyond Biden vs. Bernie.  This is about what kind of country we want to be, and what we are willing to accept in our leadership.  How many times are we going to watch a predator ascend to the highest ranks of power while stifling the women who speak out against them?  Every time we elect, nominate, or promote an abuser, we tell survivors that their experience don't matter.  We are sending a clear message that assault will not stop men from gaining more and more power and that power makes men immune from consequence.

When Dr. Blasey Ford came forward with her story, Biden himself stated the importance of believing women.  It is time to ask Biden if he believes the women who have made sexual assault and harassment allegations against him.  It is time for the media to cover this story, and time for Democrats to stop sweeping it under the rug.  Tara Reade, we are with you.  To all survivors, we see you, we hear you, and we stand in solidarity with you.  We will never stop fighting for you.


Signed,

Penn State Students for Bernie 
Students for Bernie at UNCC
Grinnell Students for Bernie
William & Mary for Bernie
Harvard College Students for Bernie
Penn for Bernie
UIC for Bernie
UCLA Bruins for Bernie
Northeastern Huskies for Bernie


BLACK AGENDA REPORT's Margaret Kimberley appeared Friday on PRIMO NUTMEG:



Margaret Kimberley: And now we have a woman who has -- who has apparently tried to come forward in the past with a story of sexual assault -- but they're sticking with him.  And they're trying to hide him.  There was supposed to be one more debate.  Sanders says he will be in that debate.  Biden and other Democrats say there's no reason for a debate and everyone's tried to shut it down. 'We don't need more debates.  We don't need anymore primaries.'  Millions of people haven't voted yet.  Here in New York we were supposed to have a primary in April that has now been pushed back to June.  How do millions of people not get a chance to vote?

Millions have not voted.  We will continue and repeatedly stress here the following facts.

To win the nomination outright, a candidate needs 1991 delegates.

Bernie has 914 and Joe has 1217 -- per NPR.

No one has reached 1991.

There are 27 primaries still to be held.  There are 1619 delegates still to be awarded.

Those are facts.

Another fact, everything doesn't always make it into the snapshot -- even when I try all week to get it in.  I've called out Ruth Conniff for sitting out the debate over the primary.  Last week, she wrote about it for COMMON DREAMS.  I tried and tried to get it into the snapshot.  A week later, it finally makes it in:

What happened to the most diverse presidential primary field in U.S. history? What happened to Elizabeth Warren and the powerful group of women who cleaned Biden’s clock in the debates? What happened to the revolution?
Bernie Sanders was right. In his debate with Biden on March 15, held in a sealed CNN studio without a live audience to avoid contagion, Sanders said that the current pandemic exposes the great vulnerability of our unequal, increasingly unjust society.
As Sanders pointed out, the United States spends twice as much per capita on health care as other developed countries, but our patchwork of private insurance providers that exclude millions of people leaves us woefully unprepared to launch an effective, coordinated response to this public health crisis.
Add to that the desperate situation of workers already living paycheck to paycheck, and the need to raise the minimum wage, tax the rich, provide universal health care, and restore the social safety net becomes undeniable.
The coronavirus pandemic exposes the huge cracks in our society that Sanders has been pointing out all along.
Biden’s response in the debate was to say that the nation is in the throes of “a national crisis” that “has nothing to do with Bernie’s Medicare for All.”
Biden has made his case for the Democratic nomination by painting the Sanders revolution as unrealistic. Getting to Medicare for All, he argues, would take years, and people need action now.
Biden projects a knowing confidence in his own familiarity with the system. He can make deals and get things done. He is not alarmed or angry. And that is a big part of his appeal to moderate voters and the establishment. Sure, he has taken money from big donors. But so has nearly everyone in politics. Many Democrats are OK with that.
Young people, on the other hand, can’t stand it. The Bernie revolutionaries under thirty I know are appalled by Biden, who strikes them as the ultimate phony.
All the jokes about his senior moments, his out-of-touch comments about “record players,” and, worse, his use of the word “aliens” in that last debate to describe undocumented immigrants, are just depressing now. The Trump campaign is already gleefully grabbing onto this material.

Turning to Iraq,  ALJAZEERA reports, "At least three rockets have hit near the site of an American oilfield service company in southern Iraq without causing any damage or casualties.  The rockets targeted the site of Halliburton in the Burjesia area in oil-rich Basra province, the Iraqi military said in a statement on Monday."  ARAB WEEKLY adds, "Monday’s attack was the first since last summer to target US oil companies working in the oil-rich south. A rocket struck a oil-drilling site in Basra last June, landing inside a compound housing energy giant Exxon Mobil, Shell and ENI. Three local workers were wounded in that attack."  Meanwhile, THE DAYTONA BEACH NEWS-JOURNAL reports:



In operations related to Iraq, a total of 4,600 members of the U.S. military and Department of Defense civilians have died. Another 32,512 U.S. service personnel and DOD civilians have been wounded in action.
Here is the latest identification reported by the military this week:
• Sgt. 1st Class John David Randolph Hilty, 44, from Bowie, Maryland, died March 30 in Erbil, Iraq, of a non-combat related incident in support of Operation Inherent Resolve. The incident is under investigation.


Will US troops ever be pulled out of Iraq?  Maybe half of them.  Lawk Ghafuri (RUDAW) reports:

Half of the US-led coalition troops in Iraq will have left the country by the end of 2020, Iraq’s premier-designate Adnan al-Zurfi has said, while a timetable for the departure of the other half will agreed upon by early 2021.

Zurfi made the remarks in his first televised interview as PM-designate, conducted by state media outlet al-Iraqiya on Sunday night.

“I talked to US ambassador and coalition officials in Iraq about a schedule for coalition troop withdrawal from Iraq,” he said.  “Half of the US-led coalition troops will withdraw from Iraq by end of  2020, while the other half will leave Iraq after we agree on a schedule by the beginning of next year.”


Adnan al-Zurfi is not yet the prime minister.  He's attempting to curry favor with an economic plan and that may or may not help put his candidacy over the top.  Khaled Yacoub Oweis (THE NATIONAL) notes:

Iraq’s prime minister designate Adnan Al Zurfi has positioned himself as the man to bring about economic salvation for the country and address the financial woes that have been exacerbated by the coronavirus outbreak.
Mr Al Zurfi submitted his manifesto to the legislature on the weekend, warning that the government may no longer be able to pay its seven million employees. “Iraq is going through a catastrophy,” Mr Al Zurfi warned.

His manifesto focuses on improving the economy and the health system to counter the impact of the coronavirus.


Today is an anniversary.  Oscar Grenfell (WSWS) explains:

Yesterday marked 10 years since WikiLeaks published the Collateral Murder video, showing US soldiers in an Apache helicopter indiscriminately firing upon unarmed civilians and journalists in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad.
The footage, filmed by the US military on July 12, 2007, shows the gunship circling above a group of 10 men, going about their business in the suburb of Al-Amin al-Thaniyah. In increasingly exasperated tones, those on board ask whether they have been given permission to open fire on the individuals, who pose no conceivable threat.
When the signal has been given, they let loose with 30 mm cannon fire. The viewer’s horror at the massacre is matched only by revulsion at the glee of the American soldiers.
As the 10 men lie catastrophically wounded or dead, a US soldier expresses his hope that one of them will pick up a non-existent weapon, so that the fusillade may be resumed. A van pulls up to give assistance to the wounded. It is fired upon, killing the driver and inflicting horrific wounds on his two young children.

At the end of the carnage, as many as 18 lie dead. They include Reuters journalists Saeed Chmagh and Namir Noor-Eldeen. Congratulations and more blood lust are the response from within the Apache.

WIKILEAKS publisher Julian Assange remains persecuted and held behind bars. Joe Laurie (CONSORTIUM NEWS) notes:

To gauge the transformation in the response by the U.S. military, the mainstream media and the public to a U.S. war crime, one need only compare the reactions to two of the most heinous American crimes:  the 1968 My Lai massacre in Vietnam and the gunning down of innocent Iraqis on a Baghdad street in 2007.
The latter was captured on a cockpit video from attacking Apache helicopters and revealed in a video released by WikiLeaks ten years ago today. Wikileaks obtained the video from a conscientious U.S. Army intelligence analyst, Chelsea Manning. 

The My Lai incident was revealed to the public in Nov. 1969 through the reporting of investigative journalist Seymour Hersh. An army veteran whistleblower, Ronald Ridenhour, had first written in early 1969 to the White House, the Pentagon, the State Department and members of Congress revealing credible details about the massacre. It lead to a military investigation.
The probe found that U.S. Army soldiers had killed 504 unarmed people on March 16, 1968  in the village of My Lai, including men, women and children. Some women were gang-raped by the soldiers.  The military investigation led to charges against 26 soldiers.  Just one, Lieutenant William Calley Jr., a C Company platoon leader, was convicted. He was found guilty of the premeditated murder of 109 villagers. (Given a life sentence, he ultimately served only three and a half years under house arrest.).
[. . .]
Forty years after the My Lai incident, Apache helicopter gunships patrolling the skies of Baghdad on July 12, 2007 opened fire on a group of civilians on a street below, killing a number of people, including two Reuters journalists, and the driver of a van who had come to pick up the wounded. 

During the My Lai incident one brave American serviceman, Hugh Thompson, landed his helicopter between cowering civilians and advancing GIs and told the Americans his gunship would fire on them if they didn’t stop. In Baghdad, one U.S. soldier, Ethan McCord, saved the lives of two Iraqi children over the orders of his superiors.  
Some similarities between the two incidents are uncanny. But the outcomes were wholly different.  Both were stories of a U.S. military massacre of innocent civilians. Both began with a whistleblower, Ridenhour on My Lai and Manning on Baghdad. Both stories were turned down by major media, and later accepted by obscure publications (which then made WikiLeaks well-known). (Manning was first turned down by the Times and The Washington Post).
But that’s where the similarities end. The My Lai story led to a military investigation and a conviction of a U.S. soldier for mass murder. It caused a global outcry when all the facts became known. It contributed to the growing anti-war movement in the U.S. And it catapulted Hersh into prominence. As a result of his story, the freelancer was hired by The New York Times. 

The Baghdad massacre led to no military investigation or charges against any soldier involved, despite video evidence that was stronger than what came out of My Lai. (The Army photographer who took the photo up top admitted to destroying pictures of the murders being committed.) The whistleblower was not jailed, as Manning was, but was listened to, and it led to an investigation.  The ‘Collateral Murder’ video caused a stir, but hardly a global outcry, and it did not contribute to a U.S. anti-war movement. While WikiLeaks was catapulted into prominence, its publisher did not win a Pulitzer Prize, as Hersh did, but instead is languishing in a London prison on remand pending an extradition request by the United States to stand trial for espionage. 




WIKILEAKS did real journalism on that and other stories.  Maybe that's why Julian Assange remains behind bars?  People do get that he's not serving a sentence, right?  Thomas Scripps (WSWS) explains:

In response to the coronavirus crisis, the British Ministry of Justice (MoJ) has announced plans for the early release of up to 4,000 prisoners in England and Wales—just under 5 percent of the prison population. The selected “low-risk” prisoners in the last two months of their sentences will be electronically tagged and allowed back into the population to ease overcrowding.
But the MoJ confirmed to the Australian Associated Press that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange would not be released on the mendacious and vindictive grounds that he is “not serving a custodial sentence” and so is not eligible under the terms of the legislation.

Assange is currently held on remand—that is, he is not charged with any crime or serving any sentence in the UK—in Belmarsh maximum security prison in London. He is part-way through an extradition hearing to decide on his extradition to the United States, where he faces a series of charges under the Espionage Act with a potential combined sentence of 175 years.