Monday, February 5, 2024

The Trump Dump just gets worse

The week is just starting and it is already a bad one for former U.S. President Donald Trump.  First up, FINE TUNED FINANCE reports, "Trump’s lawsuit against Orbis Business Intelligence has been dismissed by a UK court. The judge concluded that there was 'no compelling reason' to proceed with a trial. In the legal action, Trump had alleged that the intelligence agency, established by a former spy, violated British Data Protection laws in its reporting of the former President’s 'compromising relationship' with Russia." 

In more bad news, a loan that Mr. Trump has claimed -- including on legal documents -- is now getting attention.  Gabriella Ferrigine (SALON) reports:

MSNBC legal analyst Lisa Rubin warned of potential new criminal charges for Donald Trump after a court-appointed monitor overseeing his New York fraud case found that the former president's financial disclosures contained "certain deficiencies."

Former federal judge Barbara Jones wrote in a 12-page letter that she had identified "certain deficiencies in the financial information that I have reviewed, including disclosures that are either incomplete, present results inconsistently, and/or contain errors," adding in a footnote that a $48 million loan Trump claimed to owe to one of his companies did not exist. Rubin described how the letter "points to improprieties in Trump's financial statements."

"One of the things that it points to, and maybe the thing that's most troubling about it, is for years it's been understood that one of the business entities in the Trump Organization loaned former president Trump personally $48 million," she said. "According to Judge Jones in a footnote in this letter, she could never find, no matter how many times she asked, documentation of that loan and was later told, essentially, that the loan didn't exist."

Rubin added that the "Trump organization lawyers, they refute that. They say the loan did exist and what we did was give Judge Jones an intra-company memo telling her that debt had been extinguished. But I've looked at that memo from December 2023: it is a memo to the file, so nobody even had the guts to sign it essentially. It just says that the debt has been extinguished. There is still, to this day, no documentation that the loan existed."


More problems.  His challenger Nikki Haley appeared on SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE over the weekend and CNN notes:

GOP presidential candidate Nikki Haley made a surprise appearance on “Saturday Night Live” over the weekend, taking part in a skit in which she pressed “Donald Trump” on some vitally important issues.

Haley’s questions had to do with the refusal by the real-life former president — not the actor who plays him brilliantly on the comedy skit show — to debate her. And she reprised her frequent suggestions from the campaign trail that the 77-year-old president might be suffering cognitive decline.

Both issues raise red flags about Trump that all of us, from journalists to average Americans, should be demanding answers about.

At THE HILL, conservative Juan Williams writes:


I’d argue that no one man — not even the current frontrunner for the GOP nomination — should be above the law.

What happens if Trump loses again? Will the high court send the message that he is free to stir up another insurrection?

If all the guardians of democracy look the other way, there will be nothing to stop him from once again trying to impose authoritarian rule over the nation with violence.

Justices John Roberts, Clarence Thomas, Sam Alito, Neil Gorsuch, Amy Coney Barrett and Brett Kavanaugh make up the six-member, conservative majority on the court. Three of them were nominated by Trump.

Lady and gentlemen, conservatives on the court, this is your moment to reaffirm that America is a nation of laws, and those laws, beginning with the Constitution, apply to all men and women. 

Yesterday, Mr. Trump went on FOX NEWS to talk about who he might pick for his running mate if he is the GOP presidential nominee.  He named Senator Tim Scott and Governor Kristi Noem -- South Dakota governor.  Guess that means U.S. House Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene is not on the sort list anymore.


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

Monday, February 5, 2024.  Annie Lennox, at the Grammys, calls for a cease-fire, London is the location of a massive protest calling for a cease-fire, the Israeli government continues to block aid to the Palestinians, Jordan and Norway get around the block by carrying out an aid-drop, and much more.

INTERNATIONAL MIDDLE EAST MEDIA CENTER notes, "On Sunday, Day 121 of Israel’s invasion of Gaza, Gaza’s Ministry of Health said that Israel killed 127 Palestinians and injured 178 others, committing 14 massacres in the past 24 hours." Also Sunday, singer-songwriter Annie Lennox joined The Revolution's Wendy & Lisa to perform Prince's "Nothing Compares 2 U" at the Grammys and, at the end of the performance, Annie called for a cease-fire.   Tomas Mier (ROLLING STONE) reports:

ANNIE LENNOX CALLED for a ceasefire in Gaza during her tribute to Sinéad O’Connor at the Grammys.

After performing “Nothing Compares to U” on Sunday, the singer became the first artist to call for a ceasefire in Gaza at a major awards show this year.

“Artists for a ceasefire. Peace in the world,” Lennox said with her fist in the air, as an image of O’Connor displayed in the background.

During the in memoriam tribute to the late Sinéad O’Connor, Lennox appeared on stage with fellow ’80s icons Wendy & Lisa to give a moving performance of “Nothing Compares 2 U.” As the song came to a close, Lennox — who had a single glitter-encrusted tear painted on her face — raised her fist into the air and shouted, “Artists for ceasefire! Peace in the world!”   

Itochu Corp's aviation unit will end its strategic cooperation with Israeli defence company Elbit Systems Ltd by the end of February amid the war in Gaza, the Japanese trading house's executive said on Monday.
Itochu plans to end the collaboration after the World Court ordered Israel last month to prevent acts of genocide against Palestinians and do more to help civilians, Itochu Chief Financial Officer Tsuyoshi Hachimura said.

"The partnership is based on a request from the Japan's defence ministry for the purpose of importing defence equipment for the Self-Defense Forces necessary for Japan's security, and is not in any way related to the current conflict between Israel and Palestine," Hachimura told an earnings press conference.

"Taking into consideration the International Court of Justice's order on January 26, and that the Japanese government supports the role of the Court, we have already suspended new activities related to the MOU, and plan to end the MOU by the end of February," he said.

Doors are closing around the world for the Israeli government.    Alison O'Reilly  (IRISH TIMES) reported Saturday, "President Michael D Higgins has called for an 'immediate ceasefire' in Gaza after the death toll passed 27,000 – the majority of whom are women and children."  She quotes the president of Ireland stating, "Given all of these facts, any further extension of the bombing campaign into what is a densely populated area to which so many people have fled would leave any respect for humanitarian law in tatters."

The Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) says that hundreds of people who had been taking shelter at its headquarters in Khan Younis and the nearby Al-Amal hospital have begun to leave.

On Friday, the aid group called for a humanitarian corridor to help evacuate those wounded and wishing to leave Al-Amal Hospital in Khan Younis where it said Israeli tanks were “firing live ammunition” and four people had been killed.

Alarms have been raised for days over the hospital as a site of “relentless bombing and direct gunfire,” PRCS said in a news release, with the group also sayings its medical workers were living in a “state of terror and panic.”

The aid group said on Monday: “This comes after the International Committee of the Red Cross informed the PRCS of the occupation's approval to provide a safe passage, allowing the displaced individuals to exit Al-Amal Hospital and the PRCS's headquarters towards the Mawasi area in Khan Younis.”

“Hundreds of displaced individuals have begun leaving the PRCS's headquarters and Al-Amal Hospital after being besieged for over two weeks,” it added.

At the same time, the PRCS said the Israeli military had taken the General Manager of Al-Amal Hospital, Dr. Haider Al-Qaddura, and the hospital's Administrative Director, Maher Atallah, “to an unknown location.” CNN has reached out to the IDF for comment on whether the two officials have been detained. 

Gaza remains under assault. Day 122 of  the assault in the wave that began in October.  Binoy Kampmark (DISSIDENT VOICE) points out, "Bloodletting as form; murder as fashion.  The ongoing campaign in Gaza by Israel’s Defence Forces continues without stalling and restriction.  But the burgeoning number of corpses is starting to become a challenge for the propaganda outlets:  How to justify it?  Fortunately for Israel, the United States, its unqualified defender, is happy to provide cover for murder covered in the sheath of self-defence."   CNN has explained, "The Gaza Strip is 'the most dangerous place' in the world to be a child, according to the executive director of the United Nations Children's Fund."  ABC NEWS quotes UNICEF's December 9th statement, ""The Gaza Strip is the most dangerous place in the world to be a child. Scores of children are reportedly being killed and injured on a daily basis. Entire neighborhoods, where children used to play and go to school have been turned into stacks of rubble, with no life in them."  NBC NEWS notes, "Strong majorities of all voters in the U.S. disapprove of President Joe Biden’s handling of foreign policy and the Israel-Hamas war, according to the latest national NBC News poll. The erosion is most pronounced among Democrats, a majority of whom believe Israel has gone too far in its military action in Gaza."  The slaughter continues.  It has displaced over 1 million people per the US Congressional Research Service.  Jessica Corbett (COMMON DREAMS) points out, "Academics and legal experts around the world, including Holocaust scholars, have condemned the six-week Israeli assault of Gaza as genocide."   The death toll of Palestinians in Gaza is grows higher and higher.  United Nations Women noted, "More than 1.9 million people -- 85 per cent of the total population of Gaza -- have been displaced, including what UN Women estimates to be nearly 1 million women and girls. The entire population of Gaza -- roughly 2.2 million people -- are in crisis levels of acute food insecurity or worse." CNN notes the ongoing death toll and wounded,  "27,365 Palestinians had been killed and 66,630 injured in Gaza since October 7. "
 AP has noted, "About 4,000 people are reported missing."  This morning, February 5th, the United Nations' Phillipe Lazzarini Tweeted: 

And the area itself?  Isabele Debre (AP) reveals, "Israel’s military offensive has turned much of northern Gaza into an uninhabitable moonscape. Whole neighborhoods have been erased. Homes, schools and hospitals have been blasted by airstrikes and scorched by tank fire. Some buildings are still standing, but most are battered shells."  Kieron Monks (I NEWS) reports, "More than 40 per cent of the buildings in northern Gaza have been damaged or destroyed, according to a new study of satellite imagery by US researchers Jamon Van Den Hoek from Oregon State University and Corey Scher at the City University of New York. The UN gave a figure of 45 per cent of housing destroyed or damaged across the strip in less than six weeks. The rate of destruction is among the highest of any conflict since the Second World War."  Max Butterworth (NBC NEWS) adds, "Satellite images captured by Maxar Technologies on Sunday reveal three of the main hospitals in Gaza from above, surrounded by the rubble of destroyed buildings after weeks of intense bombing in the region by Israeli forces."   

This morning, THE NATIONAL reports, "A convoy carrying food into northern Gaza was hit by Israeli naval gunfire this morning, the UN's agency for Palestinian refugees has confirmed."  CNN’s Caroline Faraj, Mick Krever and Eyad Kourdi note:

The Royal Jordanian Air Force worked with the Dutch Air Force Sunday to successfully airdrop aid and medical supplies twice in the vicinity of the Jordanian field hospital in northern Gaza, according to officials in both countries.

The drop included humanitarian and medical supplies, delivered using GPS-guided parachutes, according to a statement from the Jordanian Armed Forces Sunday.

The Dutch Ministry of Defense confirmed the successful humanitarian mission, and chef José Andrés, founder of the NGO World Central Kitchen, said he was also part of the effort.

THE NATIONAL adds, "Official photos showed the latest supplies were delivered to Field Hospital 77, using pallets equipped with a GPS-guided device that can steer the package to its landing site."

Over the weekend,  London saw a huge turnout as people protested the continued assault on Gaza.

The Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) said it was the “eighth national march held for the Palestinian people”, following the Hamas attacks on southern Israel on October 7 in which 1,300 people were killed and more than 240 kidnapped before Israel retaliated with months of attacks on the Gaza Strip, killing and wounding thousands.

The Hamas-run Health Ministry in Gaza said on Saturday that 107 people were killed over the past 24 hours, bringing the wartime total to 27,238, with more than 66,000 people have been wounded.

Scotland Yard estimated around 10,000 demonstrators had marched through the West End of London on Saturday, with the crowd doubling to 20,000 for the speeches in Whitehall.

Demonstrators carried banners which read “end the killing” that were accompanied by harrowing images of the bloodshed since the conflicted erupted.

Other banners declared “free the children”, “freedom to Palestine” and “Boycott Israel”.

At least 200,000 people marched for Palestine in London on Saturday, a sign of the continuing mass anger against Israel’s genocidal assault in Gaza. Some speakers at the march rally said it was 250,000.

At the same time around 10,000 people were on the streets in Edinburgh (see below). It was the biggest march in the city since the start of the Israeli assault on Gaza. 

In London, Amara, a young Muslim woman from Tower Hamlets, told Socialist Worker, “Israel needs to give Palestine its land back. And those who were forced to leave Palestine have to be allowed back. 

“Just like the British Empire was forced to give land back—the Israeli state has to do the same. It’s not theirs to keep.”

Marchers chanted, “Rishi Sunak you can’t hide, we charge you with genocide,” and, “Keir Starmer, you can’t hide, you support a genocide.”

Farah, who lives in London but is from Iraq, said, “I have no words for what Israel is doing except genocide. But I’m not shocked at the response from the West, or Arab leaders. They care about their own interests.”

Safa and Meenal from west London said, “Cutting Unrwa aid funding is unacceptable and the accusations against it are bullshit—respect to Spain for actually upping their funding. The labelling of Houthis as terrorists is ridiculous—the British and US armies are two of the world’s biggest terrorist organisations.

“Police trying to scare people into silence and off the streets won’t work. We know what we’re standing for, everyone protesting today is on the right side of history.”

Sophie from Northampton said, “In Yemen the Houthis are standing up for what’s right, Britain needs to stop bombing them.”

The police were noticeably more aggressive than previously on the demonstration. They had issued a ban on face coverings—a studied insult to Muslim women—in advance. They arrested a protester for this at one point.

And later they pushed into the Socialist Worker Student Society (SWSS) section of the march, seized the lead banner with its slogan, “Victory to the resistance”—but then returned it. 

There were at least 31 trade union banners in the special section of the march, and many others sprinkled throughout the rest of the demonstration.

The workplace and student day of action on Wednesday, 7 February, is now a chance to deepen the movement among workers and students. Pete from King’s College London UCU union branch said, “We need more direct action targeted at the arms industry.” 

On 7 February, he said, “We are doing a staff and student lunchtime walkout for Palestine.”

London was not the only site of protests today.  ALJAZEERA notes:

Thousands of people gathered in France, Switzerland, and Germany on Saturday to call for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.

In Paris, hundreds of protesters, carrying Palestinian and South African flags, denounced the ongoing Israeli attacks on Gaza. Criticising the French president for “complicity” in Israel’s attacks on Palestinians, the protesters urged the government to work towards peace in the Middle East.

In Geneva, thousands marched through the city centre in support of the people of Gaza. In Berlin, 2,000 Palestinian supporters rallied at Potsdamer Platz against the attacks.

More rallies are planned across the world on Sunday to call for an end to the war that has seen more than 27,000 Palestinians killed by Israeli attacks on Gaza since October 7.

There was also a huge protest in Tel Aviv where Israelis called for Netanyahu to step down as prime minister of Israel and for new elections to take place.

CNN’s Lauren Izso and Michael Rios note, "Thousands of people are protesting in parts of Israel today to demand a change in government and the release of the remaining Israeli hostages in Gaza."


The following sites updated: