Wednesday, May 17, 2017


Has anyone seen RISK?

I didn't.

I was curious but I saw reviews -- including one at WSWS, I believe.

Here it is, David Walsh and Joanne Laurier's review from last week:

In general, Risk, while it contains interesting and even quite explosive material, suffers severely from Poitras’ disjointed and superficial treatment. The film broaches a dozen subjects and avoids treating any of them in depth, and often fails to take a clear position of any kind. In fact, even though Poitras in interviews expresses general admiration for the work of WikiLeaks, her documentary cannot rouse itself to offer a principled defense of Assange, the target of an internationally coordinated witch hunt by governments and intelligence agencies.
Frankly, neither of the first two parts of Poitras’ so-called “9/11 trilogy” made a favorable impression either. My Country, My Country (2006), a portrait of a Sunni medical doctor in Baghdad, we noted, “makes relatively little of the devastating impact of the American occupation” of Iraq. “The director’s attitude toward the colonial-style occupation is never made clear… All in all, the films seems muddy and weak.”
In regard to The Oath (2010), the WSWS commented that the film was “markedly devoid of any historical context,” and in the absence of such, “could conceivably be viewed as a defense of the ‘war on terrorism,’ albeit shorn of its excesses: torture, illegal detentions and show trials.” Her CitizenFour (2014), about Snowden, was a more clear-cut and creditable work.
One of the sharpest expressions of Risk’s difficulties is the fact that Poitras made significant changes in the film over the past year (since a screening at the 2016 Cannes film festival). According to various accounts, it was “a much more straightforward, positive portrayal of WikiLeaks and Assange,” an “activist documentary” that made “an overwhelming case for Assange as a political prisoner.”
But this was prior to the exposure of the Democratic Party’s corrupt inner workings by WikiLeaks and claims that the Russians were involved, supposedly to aid Donald Trump. As Slate notes, “Subsequently, Poitras spent months revising her film for release this Friday.”
These facts alone should alert the reader to much of what he or she needs to know. Poitras has accommodated herself in part to the hysteria, driven by the Democratic Party hierarchy, over alleged Russian interference in the US elections.

That would be bad enough, but in addition and connected to that, the filmmaker has essentially bowed to the pressure of the incessant and reactionary claims that Assange is a “sexual predator.” Those claims, not to mince words, have been voiced by a noxious alliance of feminists, pseudo-leftists, establishment media figures, right-wing tabloid scum and various mouthpieces, acknowledged or unacknowledged, for the US State Department and CIA.

My time is tight as it is.  If I go to a movie, I'm not going to waste it by going to a bad one.

I'm less concerned about the money and more concerned about the time -- waiting in line for the snacks, waiting through the trailers, etc.

Here are some Tweets about the movie.

  1. Poitras' signed a binding legal agreement to not take footage of me & my team to the U.S. -- then did exactly that.
  2. Poitras' "Risk" flops. WikiLeaks' fans do not turn up to or promote anti-WikiLeaks movies. Quelle surprise.

As lawyers, we have something to say about "Risk", by Laura Poitras with + 2.

Closing with C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Wednesday, April 17, 2017.  Chaos and violence continue, The Mosul Slog continues, time for a new SOFA, and much more.

Iraqi troops on the brink of recapturing Mosul from ISIS

On the brink.

It's day 210 of The Mosul Slog.

210 and they're "on the brink."

Finally "on the brink."

And what a huge 'success' it's been.

Hundreds of thousands who fled the fighting in have abandoned everything. They need help & protection:

"It’s a particularly important moment [to] keep Iraq on the radar screen."UNICEF Director of Emergency Ops . visits E Mosul.

The supposed point of finally moving to 'liberate' Mosul last October (the city was seized by the Islamic State in June of 2014) was to rescue the civilians.

That's really not been a concern to judge by what's taken place.

This also includes the Iraqi forces taking it upon themselves to decide who is ISIS and who is a civilian and who lives and dies.  Daniel Brown (BUSINESS INSIDER) reports:

ISIS fighters are sometimes executed at the front lines, while others are executed after being interrogated, a Mosul-based commander told Integrated Regional Information Networks, a nonprofit media site that focuses on conflict zones.
Extrajudicial killings of ISIS fighters have been emerging pretty much since the fight for Mosul began about seven months ago.

[. . .]
"[K]illing captured combatants or civilians is a war crime, as is the mutilation of corpses," Belkis Wille, Human Rights Watch's senior researcher in Iraq, told IRIN.

It is a War Crime.

Mohamed Walid and Serhad Shaker (ANADOLU AGENCY) report, a suicide bomber in Mosul today took his own life and the lives of 3 Iraqi soldiers, 2 Mosul car bombings left 4 police officers and 3 Iraqi soldiers dead and:

Meanwhile, 25 civilians were killed in a U.S.-led coalition raid in western Mosul, according to Iraqi officer Sadoun Fahd.
He said the airstrike targeted a group of Daesh militants in the city's western side. "The militants were preparing to carry out an attack against Iraqi forces in al-Refai district," he said.
He said nine women and three children were among the victims of the attack. 


The Mosul Slog continues with so little to show for it.

In the meantime, where's the reconciliation in Iraq?

See? I wasn't just making things up. Senior Iraqi Shia cleric holds views about Christians similar to ISIS

As we noted Saturday:

The Islamic State has been the most wonderful gift to empire and its whores in the western press.

It's allowed everyone to indulge in historical amnesia and pretend that, goodness, if it just weren't for the Islamic State, Iraq would be wonderful.

The Islamic State was never the problem.

It's a terrorist organization.

It could have been taken apart by the people.

But for that to happen, the reasons for its existence would have to be demolished.

Persecution in Iraq allowed it to rise.

Continued persecution in Iraq means it will continue or something similar will take its place.

And this should have been obvious to everyone.

For those who still can't see reality.

: Christian MPs condemn a speech by head of Shi'ite endowment says: Christians should either convert to Islam, pay Jizya or be killed.

ALSUMARIA reports that Alaa al-Moussawi, head of the Shi'ite Endowment, declared that Iraqi Christians could convert to Islam, pay or a tax or be murdered.

For those who've forgotten, these were the same terms the Islamic State gave to the citizens of Mosul when they took over the city in June 2014.

The Islamic State is a Sunni terrorist organization.

Repeating, Alaa al-Moussawi is Shi'ite.

Want to keep pretending the problem is the Islamic State?

Let's see how many more have to die before you wake up to the reality that the leaders (most installed by the US -- few chosen by Iraqis) have got to call for one-Iraq-for-all or the future is never ending violence in Iraq.

As this takes place, the KRG and US White House officials meet up.

PRESS RELEASE - KRG delegation led by meets tops White House officials

. - is an island of stability in tumultuous region, as result of our people & competent security services

Many details to firm up.

Apparently, these details also include a Status Of Forces Agreement.  Carlo Munoz and Dan Boylan (WASHINGTON TIMES) report:

With U.S. and Iraqi officials talking of the imminent defeat of the Islamic State in Iraq, President Trump faces a challenge to swing a deal that President Obama failed to nail down: an agreement with Baghdad to keep U.S. forces in Iraq after the fighting ends.
Negotiations between Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and U.S. officials in Baghdad on a new status of forces agreement began in earnest this month, senior U.S. officials said. The deal would outline the legal and diplomatic parameters underpinning a long-term U.S. military presence in the country, and avoid the power vacuum that critics say developed after American forces pulled out in December 2011.
The issue is sensitive in Iraq, and Mr. al-Abadi this month insisted that there would be no “combat troops” in Iraq once the Islamic State is defeated, even though both sides said talks on the long-term role of the U.S. military in the country continue. An official who traveled to Baghdad with Defense SecrNetary James Mattis recently said “nothing has been finalized.”

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