The confrontation at Heart Cry Christian Academy shows how, as publicly funded education vouchers blur the lines between public and private education, anti-discrimination provisions that protect families enrolled in district and charter schools may not apply.
A spokesperson for the Arizona Department of Education, which issues the vouchers that can be used at private schools, said a scenario like the one Williams and Ortega experienced is a matter for the courts and that the agency won't step in. But experts said there are limited legal avenues when it comes to religious schools and discrimination.
It’s unclear whether Williams' daughter uses a voucher to pay tuition at Heart Cry, although Heart Cry advertises on its website that it will accept public money from Arizona's voucher program.
Tuesday, February 7, 2023. Julian Assange remains persecuted, Colin Powell roams the earth with no consequences, James Zogby remembers trying to get elected Democrats to stop the Iraq War, and much more
Starting with Julian Assange. Paul Dougan (TIMES-CALL) notes:
As Americans, we should be angry and disgusted that our government, and now the Biden administration, has been engaged in the persecution of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. Assange is a political prisoner. He has never endangered the lives of Americans, and there is no evidence otherwise. “He went to extraordinary lengths to anonymize the sources and protect the sources at the same time. He was extremely responsible in his journalistic approach to this,” says Jeremy Corbyn, former leader of UK’s Labor Party. When WikiLeaks source Chelsey Manning was tried, she was acquitted of “Aiding the enemy.” If she’s not guilty of it, how can Assange be?
Yet, the U.S. security-state crowd vengefully want him punished — silenced. His “crime” has been to embarrass the powers that be by publishing accounts — confessions, really — voluntarily given him by former U.S. military personnel (whistleblowers), who have committed war crimes in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere. By the way, you can’t rape someone in self-defense, and you can’t rationalize it as “collateral damage.” You don’t promote democracy, human rights and U.S. national security by using Black Ops death squads against innocent civilians. You don’t protect America by recklessly killing dozens of civilians in mistargeted and then covered-up drone strikes that make the locals hate us.
We the people, in whose name and with whose tax dollars these wars are waged, have the right to know, the need to know.
Julian remains imprisoned and remains persecuted by US President Joe Biden who, as vice president, once called him "a high tech terrorist." 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
The Biden administration has been saying all the right things lately about respecting a free and vigorous press, after four years of relentless media-bashing and legal assaults under Donald Trump.
The attorney general, Merrick Garland, has even put in place expanded protections for journalists this fall, saying that “a free and independent press is vital to the functioning of our democracy”.
But the biggest test of Biden’s commitment remains imprisoned in a jail cell in London, where WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been held since 2019 while facing prosecution in the United States under the Espionage Act, a century-old statute that has never been used before for publishing classified information.
Whether the US justice department continues to pursue the Trump-era charges against the notorious leaker, whose group put out secret information on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Guantánamo Bay, American diplomacy and internal Democratic politics before the 2016 election, will go a long way toward determining whether the current administration intends to make good on its pledges to protect the press.
Now Biden is facing a re-energized push, both inside the United States and overseas, to drop Assange’s protracted prosecution.
We highlight Julian's plight here, we call for his freedom. That doesn't mean we note all the crazies are all the bulls**t from macho idiots. Papsmear? We're not interested. You don't know how to make an argument, not one that wins people over. If you're not the worst person online making an argument 'for' Julian, it's just because Andrea de Luca Valerie Myers exists. For those not aware of that crazy, she regularly attacks Stella Morris as a fake -- a deep state fake -- because, she tells us, she (Andrea) is actually Julian's fiancee. Also someone who needs to take a look at their work? The Twitter account entitled Free The Truth: Free Assange Documentary. You're not helping anyone, you're just pissing people off with your garbage. Taking a Julian quote and then Tweeting that same quote four times in a row, then taking another quote and Tweeting it four times in a row over and over all day does not help Julian Assange, it just makes everyone want to look at something else because they're looking for news about Julian and all they're getting your useless crap in their Twitter threads. This account is the reason the block feature exists exactly for those type of accounts. But do check out Andrea de Luca Valerie Myers if you want to marvel over just how insane some people are. She's preserved his CD Walkman, baby, she's keeping it for you until you return to her!!!! The Walkman, baby, she saved the Walkman!!!!
Instead, let's note journalist Chris Hedges.
THE REAL NEWS NETWORK offers a transcript of the above interview:
Julian Assange and WikiLeaks have carried out the most important investigative journalism of our generation, revealing to the public the inner workings of power through the release of luminous documents. No other news organization has come close. This information has exposed the crimes, lies, and fraud of the powerful, sparking the judicial lynching of Assange who awaits extradition to the US in a high security prison in London. It allowed people across the globe to understand what their governments are doing behind their backs. In this show, we will speak with the Italian investigative journalist, Stefania Maurizi, author of Secret Power: WikiLeaks and Its Enemies, about some of the most important information provided to the public by WikiLeaks. These include the US War logs from Afghanistan and Iraq, a cash of 250,000 diplomatic cables and 800 Guantanamo Bay detainee assessment briefs, along with the 2007 collateral murder video in which US helicopter pilots banter as they gunned down civilians, including children and two Reuters journalists in a Baghdad street.
They include the 70,000 hacked emails copied from the accounts of John Podesta, Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman, that exposed the sleazy and corrupt world of the Clintons, including the donation of millions of dollars to the Clinton Foundation by Saudi Arabia and Qatar, the $657,000 that Goldman Sachs paid to Hillary Clinton to give talks, a sum so large, it can only be considered a bribe and her dishonesty, telling the public she would work for financial reform while privately assuring Wall Street she would protect their interests. The cash of leaked emails showed that the Clinton campaign interfered in the Republican primaries to ensure that Donald Trump was the Republican nominee, assuming he would be the easiest candidate to defeat. They exposed Clinton’s advanced knowledge of questions in a primary debate and a role as the principal architect of the war in Libya, a war she believed would burnish her credentials as a presidential candidate.
Joining me to discuss these and other revelations and their importance is Stefania Maurizi, who is an investigative journalist. She is the only international reporter who has worked on the entirety of the WikiLeaks secret trove of leaked documents. So why don’t we begin actually with a phone call you get in the middle of the night. It’s in the book. And I’ll let you take it from there. And you have one hour. So they call you, what, at two in the morning or something? Go ahead.
Yes, yes. So first of all, thank you for having me, Chris. And I like your idea to discuss the very first time I work as a media partner with WikiLeaks. It was back in 2009 and WikiLeaks was not as famous as after the release of bombshells like the collateral murder video. And it was a tiny little known media organization. And I was looking at them at least since 2008 when one of my sources, journalistic sources, suddenly stopped talking to me. And it was at the point that I realized I needed better source protection because the old-fashioned techniques that basically are still at work in these days in newsroom, the use of mobile phones, emails, are no longer suitable in these days where heavy surveillance is the rule. So it was at that point that I realized that I needed good source protection. And since I’m a mathematician, for me, it was natural to look at cryptography as a tool to protect sources.
And at that time, there was only one media organization in the world using cryptography systematically. And that media organization was not the New York Times. It was not The Guardian. It was not the Washington Post. It was a tiny media organization founded by Julian Assange, WikiLeaks. And so I started looking at this work, but I had no contacts. I was just looking at them and the kind of documents they were publishing and I was deeply, deeply impressed. And I was deeply impressed, first of all, for the kind of very sensitive document they were able to get. But also, because of the courage. They were very courageous people because, for example, when they published the Guantanamo Manual and the Pentagon asked them to remove the document from their website, they said no. And in those days, it was not really common to have a media organization saying no to the Pentagon. Quite the opposite. After the 9/11, we had media reporting whatever the intelligence organizations were telling them with very few exception, of course.
And so I looked at them, but I didn’t know them. I was deeply interested in them in the work and learning from them. So it was that night in July 2009, that suddenly, they contacted me. They had my contacts because I had approached them and it was in the middle of the night and I was sleeping. And it was very sticky and hot. And the last thing I wanted to do was to wake up and answering my phone. But my phone kept ringing. So at the end, I woke up and I was told, “This is WikiLeaks.” And I could barely understand what was going on. I mean, I was sleeping. And I understood that I had to rush to my computer and download the file because I had an hour, just an hour, to download the file. And after an hour, they would remove it because others could download it.
So I went to the computer, I downloaded the file, and I started listening. It was an audio file. And it was very interesting audio file about the garbage crisis in Naples in 2009. Basically, Naples was drowning into garbage, into trash. And we had these images of Naples drowning in trash, which basically hit the headlines all around the world. So it was a conversation, a secretly recorded conversation by some people who had a conversation with a counselor discussing the alleged role of the Italian Secret Services in this garbage crisis. As many people don’t realize that garbage is a really important resource for mafia for the mafias. They are trafficking this trash. So this counselor was discussing the alleged state mafia deals behind this crisis. And without WikiLeaks, this information would’ve probably never surfaced.
I remember the morning after I called the counselor and I verified the files. WikiLeaks had done its own verification process, which, for me, was really important, because it confirmed that WikiLeaks was working as a media organization. It didn’t just put online whatever it received. It did its own verification process. And then, of course, it was trying to do its verification process in parallel with other journalists, because of course, no newsroom has the technical and journalistic skills to verify whatever it receives. And even traditional media often partner to verify and publish information with an impact. So for me, it was really important that they wanted to verify this information to establish whether it was genuine and to understand the local context. They didn’t just put on the internet whatever they received.
And I verified in parallel with them. And there was no doubts. The file was genuine. And at the time, I was working for the Italian leading news magazine, L’Espresso, which had done important work on the garbage crisis and the role of the mafias and so on. So I was even able to put in the context of this information. And that was the first time I work as a media partner with WikiLeaks before the collateral murder. And after that, basically after something like six months, WikiLeaks published the collateral murder video. And they, of course, became so famous, so well known all around the world. And since then, I basically never stopped working on the WikiLeaks secret documents. I have worked on the full documentation and I have worked on this case for the last 13 years.
But you have to realize that while I had no problems, I had some intimidation. And if you want, we can discuss what kind of intimidation. I was physically attacked in Rome, stolen important documentation. I was physically [inaudible 00:10:46] inside the Ecuadorian Embassy and I had several intimidation, but I was never put in prison. I was never arrested. Whereas for Julian, he has never gained known freedom. This is also one of the reason I’m so focused on this case because it’s like your editors tell you to go out with a colleague and your colleague falls out of a cliff. And you don’t abandon it. You don’t abandon him. You try to call people for help. You try to make people realize that this person is in danger. His life hangs in balance. And this is what also I’m trying to do. In addition to this, I have been litigating my FOI case to obtain the full documentation on Julian Assange and WikiLeaks for the last seven years, which has been very, very intense.
So this leak essentially tied the intelligence services, the Italian intelligence services, to the mafia in Naples. Would that be a summation of what you found out?
Yeah. I mean, there was a kind of negotiation according to the source, according to the counselor discussing this crisis. There was a kind of negotiation between the state and the mafia about this crisis.
I think this is something lost on many US viewers and readers, and that is the impact that WikiLeaks has had in countries, not just Italy, but Tunisia and Haiti. Maybe you can talk about the impact in Tunisia, the impact in Haiti. Because suddenly, countries around the globe were able to see not only what their governments were doing, but the interference, especially in Haiti, of the US embassy in attempt to crush a drive to raise the minimum wage, which, I can’t remember what it is, $2 an hour or something. But talk a little bit about the global impact these revelations had.
Well, of course, for the first time, if you are referring to the Afghan war logs, Iraq war logs, or the cables, all these files allowed for the first time to access to this information which was secret. So I mean, there was no way to obtain this information unless you got a copy after 25 years, 30 years, maybe 40 years when no one care anymore. Maybe the historians, the professional historians, care at that point, but it was no longer relevant for the public opinion to take informed decisions, of course.
So that was the explosive part of this secret documentation. For the first time, we got access to secret information about how the Afghan war work, about the Iraq war, about the US diplomacy and their deals, their pressure, the political pressure, their crimes behind the scene. And we could get access as facts were still very relevant, not after 20 or 30 years or 40 years. And we could get access without the reductions. Because when you require request these documents using freedom of information. You often got completely redacted documents to an extent that they are useless. As a journalist or as a citizen, they have are of little use. So this information was really game changing, really allowed to take the public opinion, the decision they need. The information they need to take informed decision as citizens.
Julian Assange is held prisoner yet Colin Powell walks free. What a world.
James Zogby's column is being published by Pakistan's THE NATION (we highlighted it already once before from another publication):
Twenty years ago this month, the U.S. was rushing headlong into war with Iraq—one of the most consequential travesties in modern American history. Here’s how one congressman and I tried and failed to get the Democratic Party on record opposing that war. After 9/11, neoconservatives began their campaign to invade Iraq. Their arguments included: that Saddam Hussein was linked to the 9/11 terrorists; that Iraq had stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons and was secretly buying components to build a nuclear bomb; that the U.S. was attacked because our enemies saw us as weak, and demonstrated our strength and resolve we needed a decisive victory somewhere (anywhere); and that a complete victory in Iraq would be quick, easy, require few troops, be welcomed by the Iraqi people, and result in the establishment of a friendly stable democracy.
These outright fabrications or, at the very least, matters that demanded vigorous debate were not challenged. The mainstream media largely served as an echo chamber for the war hawks, and most leading politicians were shy to criticize.
In advance of the February 2003 meeting of the Democratic National Committee, Representative Jesse Jackson Jr. and I submitted a resolution to encourage debate on the impending war. Using temperate and respectful language, it called on our party to urge the Bush administration “to pursue diplomatic efforts to achieve the disarmament of Iraq, to clearly define for the American people and Congress the objectives, costs, consequences, terms and length of commitment envisioned by any U.S. engagement or action in Iraq, and to continue to operate in the context of and seek the full support of the United Nations in any effort to resolve the current crisis in Iraq.”
Polling indicated that the majority of Americans and a supermajority of Democrats supported these positions. And we knew that if Democrats failed to challenge the rush to war, we would not only risk losing the support of voters but also shirk our responsibility to avert a war that would prove devastating to our country and the Middle East region.
We'll wind down with this from GLAAD:
Since 2015, GLAAD’s annual Accelerating Acceptance study has measured Americans’ attitudes and comfortability towards LGBTQ Americans, highlighting the progress we’ve made and the challenges that still need to be addressed in pursuit of full acceptance for the LGBTQ community.
Since the study’s inception we have recorded a steady increase in many key figures of acceptance, but this year we found key changes of note: Non-LGBTQ Americans feel increased confusion around the letters and terms used to describe the community, with a majority inaccurately associating the term LGBTQ with being mostly about sexual orientation. Most alarmingly, LGBTQ people are reporting an increased incidence of discrimination, falling in particular on LGBTQ people of color, and transgender and nonbinary people. These disconcerting results prompted us to go further to explore LGBTQ Americans’ sense of being unsafe in America.
A significant majority of the LGBTQ community—a startling 70%—says that discrimination has increased over the past two years. It is taking place not in distant, seldom-visited corners of their experience, but in their daily lives—with family, in the workplace, on social media, in public accommodations, and in interactions with people at their children’s schools.
We found that more than half (54%) of transgender and nonbinary people feel unsafe walking in their own neighborhoods, compared to 36% of all LGBTQ adults, as well as less safe in various environments, from work, to social media, or in a typical store. More Gen Z Americans as well are out as LGBTQ than any other generation, yet a majority (56%) are more fearful for their personal safety in 2022 than in the prior two years.
These findings are distressing, but not unforeseen. Legislation targeting LGBTQ people and youth, including censorship in classrooms, book bans, bans on evidence-based healthcare and access to school sports, has ballooned since 2020 to nearly 250 bills introduced in statehouses across the nation. Eight in ten LGBTQ people strongly agree they wish there was more legislative action at the federal level to protect them as an LGBTQ person.
The good news is that the LGBTQ community is aligned, activated, and united. Three out of four LGBTQ adults strongly agree that visibility in society is essential to gaining increased equality and acceptance. A significant majority are committed to maintaining their visibility and supporting everyone in the community. Representation in the media is more important than ever, and 64% strongly agree to feeling proud and supported when there is accurate LGBTQ inclusion in the media, a core mission of GLAAD’s work.
The 2022 Accelerating Acceptance study clearly shows the destructive repercussions of inaccurate rhetoric and baseless legislation, and underscores the necessity of GLAAD’s crucial role in the ongoing fight for full LGBTQ equality and acceptance. The rise in discrimination in public, political, and private spheres makes it very clear that passing the Equality Act, legislation which will secure federal protections for the LGBTQ community in areas of life that have long remained vulnerable, has never been more critical.
GLAAD remains committed to amplifying stories that present audiences everywhere with the richness and humanity of our communities, that challenge harmful narratives, and educate audiences, voters, journalists, and politicians about our everyday lives. This report is more information regarding what’s at stake for LGBTQ people and what all voters need to know.
—Sarah Kate Ellis, President & CEO, GLAAD
The following sites updated: