Patrick Cockburn and Andy Worthington’s Testimony in Assange Extradition Hearings

The judge wouldn’t allow these great journalists to testify in court (or even by video), they could only submit their written statements. But at least we have the pdf files for you. (Thanks to the great Kevin Gosztola.)

Here’s Patrick Cockburn, and here are the two parts of the Statement of Andy Worthington 1 and 2.

How To Pressure Donald Trump Into Staying At War

It’s easy:

While Trump has repeatedly voiced his desire to bring troops home before Election Day, various defense officials and confidants on the Hill and in GOP circles have repeatedly insisted to Trump that such large-scale withdrawals would risk creating an election-year mess that would dwarf the fallout that came after President Barack Obama’s troop withdrawal from Iraq, two of the sources said.

It’s a strategy of “scaring the shit out of the president,” as one former senior Trump administration official characterized it. It plays on his fears of possibly getting tagged as “weak” like Obama was. Trumpworld and Republican hawks have used the stratagem to great success in earlier years of this administration. The tactic helped convince Trump to embrace the Afghanistan surge of summer 2017, and got him to quickly back off withdrawals from Syria in both 2018 and 2019. About 900 troops will remain in Syria, a number unchanged by the Iraq drawdown.

Which is why the headline is essentially correct: Trump’s Troop Withdrawal Is a ‘Disingenuous’ Election Year Ploy, Officials Say

Conflicts of Interest

Antiwar.com’s assistant editor Kyle Anzalone and co-host Will Porter have started a new YouTube show/podcast called Conflicts of Interest.

Check out their pilot episode here.

Hosts Kyle Anzalone and Will Porter introduce the debut episode of Conflicts of Interest, a new video show covering news and world affairs that will stream live on YouTube three days a week. Kyle and Will break down Senator Rand Paul’s speech at the Republican National Convention, where he tried to sell Donald Trump as the anti-war candidate and a criminal justice reformer. An upcoming troop drawdown in Iraq could help to make Rand’s case.

Rising tension over the South China Sea came to a head this week after the Pentagon flew a pair of spy planes near Chinese territory, prompting a missile test from Beijing and an exchange of harsh words. Will and Kyle give the latest on the story, and provide an update on ongoing strife over the presidential election in Belarus, where Washington and European allies have pressured incumbent Alexander Lukashenko to come to terms with his opposition.