Since it's women's history month, I am noting Helen Reddy's 70s hit "I Am Woman."
Wish Helen had been a stronger role model and wish she had not turned the song into a joke with that awful Burger King commercial.
This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" for today:
Thursday, March 10, 2022. The Iraqi people continue to suffer because of the actions of the US government, Julian Assange remains persecuted by Joe Biden and the US corporate media continues to push for war with Russia.
US President Joe Biden continues to persecute Julian Assange, the publisher of WIKILEAKS. For the 'crime' of informing the people, Joe is attacking Julian and attacking a free press all the while strutting -- as best as a feeble old and lazy man his age can -- around and hectoring other governments about freedoms and the neceesity for freedoms.
Because the corporate media is useless, no one bothers to put that reality to him and get a response.
But that's how it works and that's why the children's parable (later a children's story by Hans Christian Andersen) The Emperor Has No Clothes existed in the first place. Two weeks ago, Chris Hedges (SCHEER POST) observed:
We know what Julian did. We know the great public service he provided. We know that he and WikiLeaks, aided by courageous figures such as Chelsea Manning, gave us the most important journalist coup of our generation, ripping back the veil erected by the ruling political, military, and financial elites to expose their mendacity, their corruption, and their crimes. We know that populations around the world, from Haiti to Tunisia, were empowered by this information to hold these elites accountable.
But today I want us to reflect on Julian himself. For Julian, endowed with precocious skills, could easily have been someone else. He could have sold his talents to Silicon Valley, to Wall Street or to intelligence and surveillance agencies, who would have paid handsomely. He could have built a lucrative career, one where he was financially secure, perhaps wealthy. He could have obtained the possessions we are told in our consumer society we should aspire to, an opulent house, luxury cars, financial security, fine clothes, and the status that comes with material acquisition and advancement within the structures of power. No worries. No controversy. No persecution.
But to follow this route, a route many have followed, would have required Julian to surrender his integrity and dignity. It would have required him to forsake justice and freedom to suppress and control the aspirations of the vast majority locked outside the golden gates of privilege and power. It would have placed him within the interlocking systems designed by the ruling elites to concentrate privilege, wealth, and power among themselves. It would have required Julian to become a cog in the megamachine, to play a part in constructing our corporate totalitarianism.
Julian chose not to do this. He turned away from the siren call of success, at least as it is defined by the powerful. He set out on the difficult road taken by all who fight the oppressor on behalf of the oppressed.
A life of meaning is a life of confrontation. When you resist radical evil you jeopardize your career, your reputation, your financial solvency and at times your life. It is to be a lifelong heretic. When you stand with the oppressed, the crucified of the earth, then you are treated like the oppressed. You too are crucified. And that is what is happening to Julian.
Those that care the most, are targeted and killed by those who care the least.
#JulianAssange told #thetruth. #corrupted government officials and private #warmachine didnt like their dirty secrets exposed. So, they have been trying to silence #Julian for good. Dont let that happen! #KeepFighting to #freeAssange 🎗🎗🎗🎗
Julian Assange is being tortured to death in a British prison. How can this be?
Assange has an army of supporters across the globe. Their support has had little to no tangible impact on Assange’s fate. How can this be?
Among the rest (the majority) are the indifferent and those who are hostile to various degrees, precisely because the US and the UK have captured him and put him on trial. Assange has to be guilty of something or other. After all, these countries are pivotal leaders of the “free world”!
The U.K. High Court ruling that Julian Assange should be extradited to face trial in the United States — a decision that Amnesty International has called a “travesty of justice” — came as no surprise to me. It’s what the U.K. government always wanted. I know because the British deputy minister of foreign affairs told me.
Many pundits and politicians talk of the extradition proceedings against Assange as if they were an unforeseen legal outcome that came about as Assange’s situation unfolded. This is not true. My experience as the foreign minister of Ecuador — the South American country that granted Assange asylum — left me in no doubt that the U.K. wanted Assange’s extradition to the United States from the very beginning.
One encounter I had with Alan Duncan, the former British minister of state for Europe and the Americas, in October 2016 really let the cat out of the bag. At our meeting in the Dominican Republic, Duncan went on extensively about how loathsome Assange was. While I didn’t anticipate Duncan to profess his love for our asylee, I had expected a more professional diplomatic exchange. But the most important moment of the meeting was when I reiterated that Ecuador’s primary fear was the transfer of Assange to the United States, at which point Duncan turned to his staff and exclaimed something very close to, “Yes, well, good idea. How would we go about extraditing him to the Americans?”
His advisers squirmed in embarrassment. They had spent the last four years trying to reassure Ecuador that this was not what the U.K. was after. I responded that this was news indeed. I then wondered whether Duncan left the meeting feeling he had made a mess of it.
When not persecuting Julian, Joe Biden can be found trying to destroy the Russian people. Bryce Green (SCHEER POST) notes:
Many governments and media figures are rightly condemning Russian President Vladimir Putin’s attack on Ukraine as an act of aggression and a violation of international law. But in his first speech about the invasion, on February 24, US President Joe Biden also called the invasion “unprovoked.”
It’s a word that has been echoed repeatedly across the media ecosystem. “Putin’s forces entered Ukraine’s second-largest city on the fourth day of the unprovoked invasion,” Axios (2/27/22) reported; “Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine entered its second week Friday,” said CNBC (3/4/22). Vox (3/1/22) wrote of “Putin’s decision to launch an unprovoked and unnecessary war with the second-largest country in Europe.”
The “unprovoked” descriptor obscures a long history of provocative behavior from the United States in regards to Ukraine. This history is important to understanding how we got here, and what degree of responsibility the US bears for the current attack on Ukraine.
U.S. determination to be the world's hegemon created the crisis in Ukraine. The impacts are felt by working people in this country, who must look outside for solidarity and leadership as they struggle in a political system that offers them no representation.
“As a radical standpoint, perspective, position, the politics of location necessarily calls those of us who would participate in the formation of counter-hegemonic cultural practice to identify the spaces where we begin the process of re-vision” (bell hooks)
+The constant morality play that the U.S. public has been exposed to has resulted in mass support for war. Of course, ordinary people will pay the price, the ruling class will get over once again and Biden achieved his bipartisanship the old fashion way - through war!
+The U.S. corporate media frames the Ukraine conflict as a premeditated, unprovoked attack by the maniacal government of the Russian dictator Vladimir Putin. But from the very beginning of Biden’s administration, it seemed like his agenda was to create the conditions in Ukraine that would evoke a conflict with the Russian Federation. It has turned out to be one of the few objectives of his administration that was met.
+The claims by commentators in the U.S. that war crimes and crimes against humanity that are being committed by the Russian state perfectly reflect the psychopathology of white supremacy, a narcissistic cognitive disorder that renders the afflicted with an inability to see objective reality in the same way as others.
+It is not just gas prices going up. These bumbling incompetents thought they could impose sanctions on a country fully integrated into the world capitalist economy without it hurting consumers in the U.S.- will now have to explain why food prices will go up.
+It appears that along with Russia, consumers in the U.S. will feel the effects of economic sanctions with higher prices and austerity while U.S. energy companies experience windfall profits. Perhaps with those profits that will be realized by the energy companies and the military/industrial complex they might have enough tax money to provide a little relief for workers through Build Back Better legislation. Oh, but my bad! The biggest corporations do not pay taxes in the U.S.
As Joe Biden and other blood thirsty trash try to whipe up anti-Russian sentiment, no one's supposed to note that the Russian people are people. Both Joe and corrupt Hillary Clinton have called for the Russian people to be grought to their knees. Both Joe and Hillary supported the Iraq War. It would be fair for the Iraqi people to call for Joe and Hillary to be brought to their knees. But that's not how it works, the corporate press just props up the crooks like Joe and Hillary who, like other useless leaders, will retire to comfy lives and never be confronted for all the people who are dead as a result of their actions. Margaret Kimberley (BAR) points out:
Anyone who speaks out against imperialism, capitalism, or racism with concrete examples of the terrible harm they do, can expect to be charged with the dreaded term “whataboutism.” Like clockwork, the act of revealing American crimes will result in an accusation that is used to silence dissent.
When war propaganda prevails regarding Ukraine or any other place where the hegemon is doing its dirty work, it is reasonable to ask probing questions. Why are the deaths of 14,000 people killed by Ukraine's civil war swept under the rug? Why is it forbidden to ask about the U.S. destruction of Libya? But once having asked a good question, one will be told that raising the topic is proof of the whataboutism sin.
The word whataboutism is in the dictionary and is defined as, “the act or practice of responding to an accusation of wrongdoing by claiming that an offense committed by another is similar or worse.” That meaning is accurate and also completely defensible.
The charge is meant to censor the speaker, excuse U.S. actions, and defend its human rights violations. The denials and apologies are exactly why whataboutism should be defended. It is terrible when lies and crimes are not countered with verifiable information exposing them.
The term has gained popularity in part because there is so much hypocrisy to point out and there are so many adherents to American exceptionalism who defend what they should condemn. When the International Criminal Court (ICC) announced that it would begin investigating “the Situation in Ukraine” corporate media and their political partners gloated and pointed fingers at Russia. They didn’t point out that the U.S., like Russia, is not a signatory of the Treaty of Rome which brought the ICC into existence. Not only is the U.S. not a member state, but in 2002 Congress passed the American Service Members Protection Act , popularly known as the Hague Invasion Act. It gives the U.S. the right to extract any American held at the court in the Hague. The removal part isn’t even necessary because the act prohibits the extradition of Americans to the ICC.
The chest thumping about the investigation into Ukraine should surely be followed by a discussion of U.S. hostility to the ICC. It is a clear example of when and how whataboutism should be practiced. Not mentioning the U.S. relationship or rather lack of relationship with the ICC would be an indication of agreement with exceptionalist doctrine.
If Vladimir Putin is described as a war criminal, thug, dictator, and a modern day Hitler, it is appropriate and indeed necessary to ask about American presidents. For brevity’s sake consider only those American presidents who served since 2001. U.S. invasions and interventions in western Asia, North Africa, central Asia and the Horn of Africa have displaced more than 37 million people since the “war on terror” began. Why shouldn’t George W. Bush, Barack Obama, Donald Trump and Joe Biden be called war criminals too? Silence in the face of their criminality gives license and approval to U.S. aggressions.
American exceptionalism is an illness which infects most of the population of this country. Unfortunately most people need little prompting to defend their nation’s misdeeds. George W. Bush is now thought of as a kindly old man who paints pictures of puppies. There is little inclination to acknowledge the one million dead from the Iraq invasion. Doing so would create great discomfort.
Iraq? It's March 10th. Many months ago, on October 10th, Iraq held elections. And all this time later, there is still no prime minister or president. A vie month political stalemate continues. And there's no end in sight. There's also no real plan since the Constitution's been kicked aside. Dana Taib Menmy (THE NEW ARAB) explains:
Legal experts and politicians say Iraq’s Federal Supreme Court has breached the country’s constitution in a decision on 1 March to rule against parliament's decision to accept more nominations for the long-delayed presidency after a 30-day constitutional period expired in early February.
However, the court, Iraq’s highest judicial authority, has decided that the Iraqi parliament can make another decision with an overall majority vote of its members to reopen nominations for the presidency.
According to the second provision of Article 72 of the Iraqi constitution of 2005, the parliament must elect the president within a maximum period of 30 days from their first session after the election. The parliament held this session on 9 January and the period for electing the president expired on 8 February.
“One duty of Iraq’s Federal Supreme Court is preventing breaches towards the constitution, but unfortunately the court itself has side-stepped the constitution in its recent decision,” Latif Sheikh Mustafa, a constitutional law expert and former Iraqi MP told The New Arab in a phone call.
"The 30 day period outlined in the second provision of Article 72 is not subject to extension in any way, thus all measures that have been taken after that era are contrary to the constitution. The court should not have overridden its duties and breached the constitution to find legal exits to appease political sides.”
It's a disaster and it's a US-created disaster. The Iraqi people suffer as a result.
Protests erupted Wednesday in Iraq’s impoverished south over a rise in food prices that officials attributed to the conflict in Ukraine.
For about a week, the price of cooking oils and flour have skyrocketed in local markets as government officials have sought to address growing anger with various statements and measures.
More than 500 protesters gathered in a central square in the southern city of Nasiriyah -- a flashpoint of anti-corruption protests that gripped the country in 2019.
“The rise in prices is strangling us, whether it is bread or other food products,” retired teacher Hassan Kazem said. “We can barely make ends meet.”
We'll wind down with these observations from Debra Sweet (World Can't Wait):
This war is dangerous for humanity and the planet! We shouldn't support either "side."
It's no exaggeration to say that the showdown between Russia and the
U.S./NATO bloc has profound dangers for the people of Ukraine. Millions
are already facing death and displacement from the immediate incursion
of the Russian military. Russia doesn't want NATO at its borders in its
mission to control Eastern Europe.
Many hundreds of millions more are endangered by the U.S. missile launchers recently installed in Poland and Romania, on the border of Russia. These are MK 41's, the same weapon the U.S. used thousands of times on people of Iraq, Syria and Yugoslavia. The U.S. wants to encircle Russia with NATO countries in its mission to maintain imperialist dominance.
Claiming the "high ground" by imposing sanctions, as the U.S. is doing, is not done to avoid war. It's aggression, part of making war, with potential devastating consequences, as we saw in years of deadly sanctions on Iraq, when an estimated 500,000 children died of hunger and lack of medical care.
The following sites updated: