Sunday, November 06, 2022

Easy Holiday Recipes with Pillsbury

C.I. told me Jennifer Hudson had a cooking segment on her new talk show so I streamed it and enjoyed it.  Jennifer is, of course, a brilliant singer and an Academy Award winning actress.  She's now hosting her own week day talk show.  I'll try to keep an eye out for anymore cooking segments she does and embed them here.

I like it when people at the top of their game decide to do a talk show so praise for Jennifer and Kelly Clarkson.  Others do talk shows to.  Like women famous for flashing their boobs and who can't keep their hands off other women's men so they harass their male co-stars -- including the one who co-starred with them for three seasons until the show was finally cancelled because she wouldn't listen to the h.r. officer who told her to leave her co-star alone.  Those people tend to be pathetic and produce pathetic talk shows -- and you all know who I mean.

So congrats to Jennifer for lifting up the format and showing what real talent can do.

Now here's Matteo Lane sharing his pasta carbonara recipe.

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

Friday, November 4, 2022.  Julian Assange continues to be persecuted, Iraqis continue to suffer, Chris Hedges has a new book, and much more.

John Malkovich is speaking out on behalf of journalist Julian Assange.

Julian Assange remains persecuted by US President Joe Biden and a host of people who should be supporting him stay silent or heap scorn on him.

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 death. 

Another video of interest?

A video has allegedly shown former CIA Director and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo being served with a lawsuit brought by American lawyers and reporters who visited Julian Assange. Footage tweeted by Wikileaks being handed the papers as he stands in front of a greenscreen. Wikileaks tweeted on Wednesday (2 November) morning: "Michael Richard Pompeo: You’ve been served! “Mike Pompeo has been served with a lawsuit brought by US lawyers and journalists who visited Assange. Spanish court documents show violations of their US constitutional rights. Plaintiffs are represented by NY attorney Richard Roth.” Reuters reported in August that attorneys and reporters sued the CIA and Mr Pompeo, who left his job as a Kansas congressman to become the CIA Director in January 2017, just days after Donald Trump was inaugurated.

Gerrard Kaonga (NEWSWEEK) reports:

A video appearing to show former U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo being served with a lawsuit has gone viral on social media.

The lawsuit was brought by a group of American lawyers and journalists who have alleged that the CIA, while Pompeo was director of the agency, spied on them during meetings with Wikileaks founder and whistleblower Julian Assange while he was sheltering at the Ecuadoran embassy in London in an effort to avoid extradition to the U.S.

The Wikileaks Twitter page shared the video on Wednesday and the clip has so far been viewed over 500,000 times.

Sam Varghese (IT WIRE) adds:

Pompeo is one of the defendants in the case, which also names the CIA, security firm UC Global and UC Global director David R. Morales Guillen. They are accused of spying on WikiLeaks publisher and founder Julian Assange and his visitors while he took refuge in the embassy.

A statement from the Assange Defence Committee said the suit was served on the former CIA head as he was posing for photographs at the John Ashbrook Memorial Dinner in Ohio on 29 October.

The plaintiffs, who include renowned civil rights activist and human rights attorney Margaret Ratner Kunstler, attorney Deborah Hrbek and journalists Charles Glass and John Goetz, visited Assange while he was in the embassy.

The suit alleges violations of the plaintiffs’ Fourth Amendment rights and documents how UC Global provided the CIA with information about Assange’s visitors and forced visitors to surrender their electronic devices to enter the embassy – digitally copying and transmitting information on those devices to the CIA.

Joe Biden continues the persecution of Julian Assange while his administration makes hypocritical statements.

The world watches as Joe Biden continues to persecute Julian and, as the world watches, it registers just how hollow the 'big' statements the US government makes actually are.


It’s impossible, under international law, to defend Russia’s war in Ukraine, as it is impossible to defend the U.S. invasion of Iraq. Preemptive war is a war crime, a criminal war of aggression.

Still, putting the invasion of Ukraine in context was out of the question. Explaining — as Soviet specialists (including famed Cold War diplomat George F. Kennan) had — that expanding NATO into Central and Eastern Europe was a provocation to Russia was forbidden. Kennan had called it “the most fateful error of American policy in the entire post-Cold War era” that would “send Russian foreign policy in directions decidedly not to our liking.” 

In 1989, I had covered the revolutions in East Germany, Czechoslovakia and Romania that signaled the coming collapse of the Soviet Union. I was acutely aware of the “cascade of assurances” given to Moscow that NATO, founded in 1949 to prevent Soviet expansion in Eastern and Central Europe, would not spread beyond the borders of a unified Germany. In fact, with the end of the Cold War, NATO should have been rendered obsolete.

I naively thought we would see the promised “peace dividend,” especially with the last Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev reaching out to form security and economic alliances with the West. In the early years of Vladimir Putin’s rule, even he lent the U.S. military a hand in its war on terror, seeing in it Russia’s own struggle to contain Islamic extremists spawned by its wars in Chechnya.

He provided logistical support and resupply routes for American forces fighting in Afghanistan. But the pimps of war were having none of it. Washington would turn Russia into the enemy, with or without Moscow’s cooperation.

The newest holy crusade between angels and demons was launched.

War unleashes the poison of nationalism, with its twin evils of self-exaltation and bigotry. It creates an illusory sense of unity and purpose. The shameless cheerleaderswho sold us the war in Iraq are once again on the airwaves beating the drums of war for Ukraine.

As Edward Said once wrote about these courtiers to power:

“Every single empire in its official discourse has said that it is not like all the others, that its circumstances are special, that it has a mission to enlighten, civilize, bring order and democracy, and that it uses force only as a last resort. And, sadder still, there always is a chorus of willing intellectuals to say calming words about benign or altruistic empires, as if one shouldn’t trust the evidence of one’s own eyes watching the destruction and the misery and death brought by the latest mission civilizatrice.”

I was pulled back into the morass. I found myself writing for Scheerpost and my Substack site, columns condemning the bloodlusts Ukraine unleashed. The provision of more than $50 billion in weapons and aid to Ukraine not only means the Ukrainian government has no incentive to negotiate, but that it condemns hundreds of thousands of innocents to suffering and death.

For perhaps the first time in my life, I found myself agreeing with Henry Kissinger, who at least understands realpolitik, including the danger of pushing Russia and China into an alliance against the U.S., while provoking a major nuclear power.

Greg Ruggiero, who runs City Lights Publishers, urged me to write a book on this new conflict. At first, I refused, not wanting to resurrect the ghosts of war. But looking back at my columns, articles, and talks since the publication of War is a Force That Gives Us Meaning in 2002, I was surprised at how often I had circled back to war.  

I rarely wrote about myself or my experiences. I sought out those discarded as the human detritus of war, the physically and psychologically maimed like Tomas Young, a quadriplegic wounded in Iraq, whom I visited recently in Kansas City after he declared that he was ready to disconnect his feeding tube and die.

It made sense to put those pieces together to denounce the newest intoxication with industrial slaughter. I stripped the chapters down to war’s essence with titles like “The Act of Killing,” “Corpses” or “When the Bodies Come Home.”

The Greatest Evil Is War has just been published by Seven Stories Press. 

This, I pray, will be my final foray into the subject.

Meanwhile, Iraq remains devastated -- more so each day.  Jeff Schogol (TASK AND PURPOSE) informs:

It’s been more than three years since the Islamic State appeared to be defeated after the terror group lost all the territory it had once controlled, and yet ISIS continues to wage an insurgency in both Iraq and Syria, according to the most recent quarterly report from the Lead Inspector General for Operation Inherent Resolve.

“Overall, compared with the same period in 2021, the frequency and severity of ISIS-claimed attacks decreased dramatically in Iraq, while attacks in Syria increased significantly, marking a rebound from historically low levels the previous year,” the report says.

Between July and September, ISIS carried out 74 attacks in Syria and 73 attacks in Iraq, the report says. Small cells based in rural areas mostly conducted hit-and-run attacks against local security forces along with occasional high-profile attacks in cities.

While roughly 2,500 U.S. troops are still in Iraq and another 900 service members are in Syria to help prevent ISIS from mounting a comeback, the report cites several factors beyond the U.S. military’s control that have made their mission more difficult, including third-party actors, such as Iran; political instability, especially Iraq’s problems forming a government; and social-economic instability.

The Arab League held their summit this week -- not that it got a great deal of press attention.  ANF reports:

Speaking at the 31st Arab League Summit in Algeria on Wednesday, Iraqi President Latif Rashid said that the dams built by Iran and Turkey on the rivers in Iraq threaten the country's water security and cause water levels to drop.

“I hope that the water resources in Iraq will improve. Dialogue should be established with Turkey and Iran for a solution to the water problem,” the Iraqi President said.

This as Turkey continues to bomb and drone attack Iraq.  RUDAW notes, "At least one person was killed in Shingal on Thursday after a suspected Turkish drone targeted a pickup vehicle, Kurdish counterterrorism forces and media affiliated to the local forces reported. "  AFP adds, "Turkish military operations complicate relations between Baghdad and Ankara, one of Iraq's leading trading partners."  Ambrin Zaman (AL-MONITOR) offers:

Iraqi Kurdistan is gripped by turbulence as it comes under mounting aggression from Iran and Turkey, and as Baghdad seeks to wrest full control of its oil and gas industry. Rampant corruption and a lack of economic opportunity are prompting a rising number of young Iraqi Kurds to flee the country. As if things were not bad enough, the two largest political parties — the Kurdistan Democratic Party led by Massoud Barzani and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) that was founded by Iraq’s first post-war president, the late Jalal Talabani — are quarreling again over power and money, prompting worries of a resurgence of the civil conflict that convulsed the region in the mid-1990s.

The difference today is that not only are the parties at odds with each other, they are also mired in internal rivalries. Lahur Talabany, former co-chair of the PUK who led the Sulaimaniyah region’s intelligence services and the US-trained Counter Terrorism Group, was ousted by his cousins Bafel and Qubad Talabani last summer in a Byzantine power grab. It was the most overt manifestation yet of the intra-family feuds simmering in the Talabani and Barzani dynasties.


In other news, RUDAW reports:

US Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken on Thursday spoke on the phone with Iraq’s new prime minister Mohammed Shia' al-Sudani, stressing that Washington is “eager” to work with his cabinet, according to a tweet by Blinken. 

“The U.S. is eager to work with the Iraqi government to confront Iraq’s challenges and deliver results for the people of Iraq,” Blinken said in his tweet, reaffirming the US “partnership” with the Iraqi government.   

Sudani was tasked with forming Iraq’s next government on October 13, after more than a year of political bickering since the parliamentary elections in October 2021.  Iraq’s parliament convened late last month, approving Sudani’s cabinet.

There was immediately no statement from Sudani’s office regarding the phone call.

Looking for something to do this weekend?  BROS is playing around the world and streaming in the US.

The following sites updated: