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Posts Tagged ‘Assange’

Assange Extradition: The Armored Glass Box Is an Instrument of Torture – Antiwar.com Original

Posted by M. C. on March 4, 2020

Judge Vanessa Baraitser had a handwritten judgment ready even before she heard the defense argument that Assange be allowed to leave his glass cage

The Brits are good at theatre. The play director in this case is the NSA.

https://original.antiwar.com/Craig_Murray/2020/03/03/assange-extradition-the-armored-glass-box-is-an-instrument-of-torture/

In last Thursday’s separate hearing on allowing Assange out of the armored box to sit with his legal team, I witnessed directly that Baraitser’s ruling against Assange was brought by her into court BEFORE she heard defense counsel put the arguments, and delivered by her entirely unchanged.

I might start by explaining to you my position in the public gallery vis-à-vis the judge. All week I deliberately sat in the front, right hand seat. The gallery looks out through an armored glass window at a height of about seven feet above the courtroom. It runs down one side of the court, and the extreme right hand end of the public gallery is above the judge’s bench, which sits below perpendicular to it. Remarkably therefore from the right hand seats of the public gallery you have an uninterrupted view of the top of the whole of the judge’s bench, and can see all the judge’s papers and computer screen.

Mark Summers QC outlined that in the case of Belousov vs. Russia the European Court of Human Rights at Strasbourg ruled against the state of Russia because Belousov had been tried in a glass cage practically identical in construction and in position in court to that in which Assange now was. It hindered his participation in the trial and his free access to counsel, and deprived him of human dignity as a defendant.

Summers continued that it was normal practice for certain categories of unconvicted prisoners to be released from the dock to sit with their lawyers. The court had psychiatric reports on Assange’s extreme clinical depression, and in fact the UK Department of Justice’s best practice guide for courts stated that vulnerable people should be released to sit alongside their lawyers. Special treatment was not being requested for Assange – he was asking to be treated as any other vulnerable person.

The defense was impeded by their inability to communicate confidentially with their client during proceedings. In the next stage of trial, where witnesses were being examined, timely communication was essential. Furthermore they could only talk with him through the slit in the glass within the hearing of the private company security officers who were guarding him (it was clarified they were Serco, not Group 4 as Baraitser had said the previous day), and in the presence of microphones.

Baraitser became ill-tempered at this point and spoke with a real edge to her voice. “Who are those people behind you in the back row?” she asked Summers sarcastically – a question to which she very well knew the answer. Summers replied that they were part of the defense legal team. Baraitser said that Assange could contact them if he had a point to pass on. Summers replied that there was an aisle and a low wall between the glass box and their position, and all Assange could see over the wall was the top of the back of their heads. Baraitser said she had seen Assange call out. Summers said yelling across the courtroom was neither confidential nor satisfactory.

I have now been advised it is definitely an offense to publish the picture of Julian in his glass box, even though I didn’t take it and it is absolutely all over the internet. Also worth noting that I am back home in my own country, Scotland, where my blog is based, and neither is within the jurisdiction of the English court. But I am anxious not to give them any excuse to ban me from the court hearing, so I have removed it but you can see it here.

This is the photo taken illegally (not by me) of Assange in the court. If you look carefully, you can see there is a passageway and a low wooden wall between him and the back row of lawyers. You can see one of the two Serco prison officers guarding him inside the box.

Baraitser said Assange could pass notes, and she had witnessed notes being passed by him. Summers replied that the court officers had now banned the passing of notes. Baraitser said they could take this up with Serco, it was a matter for the prison authorities.

Summers asserted that, contrary to Baraitser’s statement the previous day, she did indeed have jurisdiction on the matter of releasing Assange from the dock. Baraitser intervened to say that she now accepted that. Summers then said that he had produced a number of authorities to show that Baraitser had also been wrong to say that to be in custody could only mean to be in the dock. You could be in custody anywhere within the precincts of the court, or indeed outside. Baraitser became very annoyed by this and stated she had only said that delivery to the custody of the court must equal delivery to the dock.

To which Summers replied memorably, now very cross “Well, that’s wrong too, and has been wrong these last eight years.”

Drawing argument to a close, Baraitser gave her judgment on this issue. Now the interesting thing is this, and I am a direct eyewitness. She read out her judgment, which was several pages long and handwritten. She had brought it with her into court in a bundle, and she made no amendments to it. She had written out her judgment before she heard Mark Summers speak at all.

Her key points were that Assange was able to communicate to his lawyers by shouting out from the box. She had seen him pass notes. She was willing to adjourn the court at any time for Assange to go down with his lawyers for discussions in the cells, and if that extended the length of the hearing from three to six weeks, it could take as long as required.

Baraitser stated that none of the psychiatric reports she had before her stated that it was necessary for Assange to leave the armored dock. As none of the psychiatrists had been asked that question – and very probably none knew anything about courtroom layout – that is scarcely surprising

I have been wondering why it is so essential to the British government to keep Assange in that box, unable to hear proceedings or instruct his lawyers in reaction to evidence, even when counsel for the US Government stated they had no objection to Assange sitting in the well of the court.

The answer lies in the psychiatric assessment of Assange given to the court by the extremely distinguished Professor Michael Kopelman (who is familiar to everyone who has read Murder in Samarkand):

“Mr. Assange shows virtually all the risk factors which researchers from Oxford have described in prisoners who either suicide or make lethal attempts. … I am as confident as a psychiatrist can ever be that, if extradition to the United States were to become imminent, Mr. Assange would find a way of suiciding.”

The fact that Kopelman does not, as Baraitser said, specifically state that the armored glass box is bad for Assange reflects nothing other than the fact he was not asked that question. Any human being with the slightest decency would be able to draw the inference. Baraitser’s narrow point that no psychiatrist had specifically stated he should be released from the armored box is breathtakingly callous, dishonest and inhumane. Almost certainly no psychiatrist had conceived she would determine on enforcing such torture.

So why is Baraitser doing it?

I believe that the Hannibal Lecter style confinement of Assange, this intellectual computer geek, which has no rational basis at all, is a deliberate attempt to drive Julian to suicide. The maximum security anti-terrorist court is physically within the fortress compound that houses the maximum security prison. He is brought handcuffed and under heavy escort to and from his solitary cell to the armored dock via an underground tunnel. In these circumstances, what possible need is there for him to be strip and cavity searched continually? Why is he not permitted to have his court papers? Most telling for me was the fact he is not permitted to shake hands or touch his lawyers through the slit in the armored box.

They are relentlessly enforcing the systematic denial of any basic human comfort, like the touch of a friend’s fingertips or the blocking of the relief that he might get just from being alongside somebody friendly. They are ensuring the continuation of the extreme psychological effects from isolation of a year of virtual solitary confinement. A tiny bit of human comfort could do an enormous amount of good to his mental health and resilience. They are determined to stop this at all costs. They are attempting to make him kill himself – or create in him the condition where his throttling death might be explained away as suicide.

This is also the only explanation that I can think of for why they are risking the creation of such obvious mistrial conditions. Dead people cannot appeal.

I would remind you that Julian is a remand prisoner who has served his unprecedentedly long sentence for bail-jumping. His status is supposedly at present that of an innocent man facing charges. Those charges are for nothing except for publishing Chelsea Manning’s revelations of war crimes.

That Baraitser is acting under instructions seems to me certain. She has been desperate throughout the trial to seize any chance to deny any responsibility for what is happening to Julian. She has stated that she has no jurisdiction over his treatment in prison, and even when both defense and prosecution combined to state it was normal practice for magistrates to pass directions or requests to the prison service, she refused to accept it was so.

Baraitser is plainly attempting psychologically to distance herself from any agency in what is being done. To this end she has made a stream of denials of jurisdiction or ability to influence events. She has said that she has no jurisdiction to interfere with the strip searching, handcuffing and removal of Assange’s papers or with his being kept in solitary. She has said she has no jurisdiction to request that his defense lawyers have more access to their client in jail to prepare his defense. She has said she has no jurisdiction over his position in the courtroom. Se has suggested at various times it is up to Serco to decide if he may pass notes to his lawyers and up to Group4 to decide if he can be released from the armored dock. The moments when she looks most content listening to the evidence, are those when prosecution counsel James Lewis argues that she has no decision to make but to sign the extradition because it is in good form and that Article 4 of the Treaty has no legal standing.

A member of the Assange family remarked to me at the end of week one that she seems very lazy, and thus delighted to accept any arguments that reduce the amount she needs to do. I think it is different to that. I think there is a corner of the mind of this daughter of dissidents from apartheid that rejects her own role in the torture of Assange, and is continually urging “I had no choice, I had no agency”. Those who succumb to do evil must find what internal comfort they may.

With grateful thanks to those who donated or subscribed to make this reporting possible. I wish to stress again that I absolutely do not want anybody to give anything if it causes them the slightest possibility of financial strain.

This article is entirely free to reproduce and publish, including in translation, and I very much hope people will do so actively. Truth shall set us free.

Be seeing you

Dead-of-Night-006-1200x720

Which is the puppet?

 

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Craig Murray – Historian, Former Ambassador, Human Rights Activist – Assange in Court

Posted by M. C. on October 23, 2019

Unless Julian is released shortly he will be destroyed. If the state can do this, then who is next?

https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/

by

I was deeply shaken while witnessing yesterday’s events in Westminster Magistrates Court. Every decision was railroaded through over the scarcely heard arguments and objections of Assange’s legal team, by a magistrate who barely pretended to be listening.

Before I get on to the blatant lack of fair process, the first thing I must note was Julian’s condition. I was badly shocked by just how much weight my friend has lost, by the speed his hair has receded and by the appearance of premature and vastly accelerated ageing. He has a pronounced limp I have never seen before. Since his arrest he has lost over 15 kg in weight.

But his physical appearance was not as shocking as his mental deterioration. When asked to give his name and date of birth, he struggled visibly over several seconds to recall both. I will come to the important content of his statement at the end of proceedings in due course, but his difficulty in making it was very evident; it was a real struggle for him to articulate the words and focus his train of thought.

Until yesterday I had always been quietly sceptical of those who claimed that Julian’s treatment amounted to torture – even of Nils Melzer, the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture – and sceptical of those who suggested he may be subject to debilitating drug treatments. But having attended the trials in Uzbekistan of several victims of extreme torture, and having worked with survivors from Sierra Leone and elsewhere, I can tell you that yesterday changed my mind entirely and Julian exhibited exactly the symptoms of a torture victim brought blinking into the light, particularly in terms of disorientation, confusion, and the real struggle to assert free will through the fog of learned helplessness.

I had been even more sceptical of those who claimed, as a senior member of his legal team did to me on Sunday night, that they were worried that Julian might not live to the end of the extradition process. I now find myself not only believing it, but haunted by the thought. Everybody in that court yesterday saw that one of the greatest journalists and most important dissidents of our times is being tortured to death by the state, before our eyes. To see my friend, the most articulate man, the fastest thinker, I have ever known, reduced to that shambling and incoherent wreck, was unbearable. Yet the agents of the state, particularly the callous magistrate Vanessa Baraitser, were not just prepared but eager to be a part of this bloodsport. She actually told him that if he were incapable of following proceedings, then his lawyers could explain what had happened to him later. The question of why a man who, by the very charges against him, was acknowledged to be highly intelligent and competent, had been reduced by the state to somebody incapable of following court proceedings, gave her not a millisecond of concern.

The charge against Julian is very specific; conspiring with Chelsea Manning to publish the Iraq War logs, the Afghanistan war logs and the State Department cables. The charges are nothing to do with Sweden, nothing to do with sex, and nothing to do with the 2016 US election; a simple clarification the mainstream media appears incapable of understanding.

The purpose of yesterday’s hearing was case management; to determine the timetable for the extradition proceedings. The key points at issue were that Julian’s defence was requesting more time to prepare their evidence; and arguing that political offences were specifically excluded from the extradition treaty. There should, they argued, therefore be a preliminary hearing to determine whether the extradition treaty applied at all.

The reasons given by Assange’s defence team for more time to prepare were both compelling and startling. They had very limited access to their client in jail and had not been permitted to hand him any documents about the case until one week ago. He had also only just been given limited computer access, and all his relevant records and materials had been seized from the Ecuadorean Embassy by the US Government; he had no access to his own materials for the purpose of preparing his defence.

Furthermore, the defence argued, they were in touch with the Spanish courts about a very important and relevant legal case in Madrid which would provide vital evidence. It showed that the CIA had been directly ordering spying on Julian in the Embassy through a Spanish company, UC Global, contracted to provide security there. Crucially this included spying on privileged conversations between Assange and his lawyers discussing his defence against these extradition proceedings, which had been in train in the USA since 2010. In any normal process, that fact would in itself be sufficient to have the extradition proceedings dismissed. Incidentally I learnt on Sunday that the Spanish material produced in court, which had been commissioned by the CIA, specifically includes high resolution video coverage of Julian and I discussing various matters.

The evidence to the Spanish court also included a CIA plot to kidnap Assange, which went to the US authorities’ attitude to lawfulness in his case and the treatment he might expect in the United States. Julian’s team explained that the Spanish legal process was happening now and the evidence from it would be extremely important, but it might not be finished and thus the evidence not fully validated and available in time for the current proposed timetable for the Assange extradition hearings.

For the prosecution, James Lewis QC stated that the government strongly opposed any delay being given for the defence to prepare, and strongly opposed any separate consideration of the question of whether the charge was a political offence excluded by the extradition treaty. Baraitser took her cue from Lewis and stated categorically that the date for the extradition hearing, 25 February, could not be changed. She was open to changes in dates for submission of evidence and responses before this, and called a ten minute recess for the prosecution and defence to agree these steps.

What happened next was very instructive. There were five representatives of the US government present (initially three, and two more arrived in the course of the hearing), seated at desks behind the lawyers in court. The prosecution lawyers immediately went into huddle with the US representatives, then went outside the courtroom with them, to decide how to respond on the dates…

In Belmarsh he is kept in complete isolation for 23 hours a day. He is permitted 45 minutes exercise. If he has to be moved, they clear the corridors before he walks down them and they lock all cell doors to ensure he has no contact with any other prisoner outside the short and strictly supervised exercise period. There is no possible justification for this inhuman regime, used on major terrorists, being imposed on a publisher who is a remand prisoner.

I have been both cataloguing and protesting for years the increasingly authoritarian powers of the UK state, but that the most gross abuse could be so open and undisguised is still a shock. The campaign of demonisation and dehumanisation against Julian, based on government and media lie after government and media lie, has led to a situation where he can be slowly killed in public sight, and arraigned on a charge of publishing the truth about government wrongdoing, while receiving no assistance from “liberal” society.

Unless Julian is released shortly he will be destroyed. If the state can do this, then who is next?

Be seeing you

 

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Watch “Telling The Truth About Government Is Dangerous Policy” on YouTube

Posted by M. C. on June 5, 2019

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Britain Has Gone to the Dogs. Assange, Brexit and Call-Centre Journalism from BBC All Symptoms of a Failed State — Strategic Culture

Posted by M. C. on April 24, 2019

No doubt there will be other orders for the British kitchen to serve up in the coming months as Britain turns its back on the dark days of being called America’s poodle to now its compliant bitch.

https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2019/04/22/britain-has-gone-to-the-dogs-assange-brexit-and-call-centre-journalism-from-bbc-all-symptoms-of-a-failed-state/

Martin Jay

 

Britain, battered and lost, a nation defeated and drowning in its own effluent of self-deprecation and doubt, had little choice to do what is was told as a client state of the US.

When Lord Lucan disappeared after the murder of his Nanny in his London flat in 1974, there were reports soon after of his sighting in Australia. Reports of a man fitting his description, with a posh English accent and an upper class moustache were in fact wrongly attributed to a British plumber from Essex on holiday. The joke at the time was “well, for the Australians, a plumber from Essex might as well be an aristocrat to them”.

I’m reminded of this while thinking about the Assange case and British justice, which, itself like the political system, appears to be also either in exile or a case of mistaken identity. When you examine carefully what is happening with the unprecedented times of Theresa May and her rank arrogance to not accept that no one – not even people in her own cabinet want her brexit deal – and the Assange arrest, we are led to believe that the country is in a crisis, either political or constitutional.

But the Assange case is not about freedom of speech, but more how the Australian publisher’s absolute hatred by America for lifting the lid on its foul work around the world and Britain’s servile role towards US, overlapping with him jumping bail in the UK. Even the most arduous, stubborn Australians who consider Assange a national treasure would not argue against Australia’s courts banging up a British fugitive who was wanted for alleged crimes in another country – and certainly one who had jumped bail in Australia.

The tragedy is that Britain, for decades, has been in decline and its people as well as its state apparatus is afraid of its own shadow. We just don’t know how to win at anything and be confident any more around the world in our decisions and policies – and Trump, sensing weakness, has seized this all time low malaise – with May’s refusal to resign making Britain a laughing stock of the world, with this Assange move. The overture from Washington is of course to stifle free speech and stellar journalism but at the same time to deal with Assange, as, now in power, he presents more of a threat to Trump while before, his publications of Hillary emails, many believe gave the US president the edge, to finally secure the presidency.

Defeated Britain

Britain, battered and lost, a nation defeated and drowning in its own effluent of self-deprecation and doubt, had little choice to do what is was told as a client state of the US, which both offers the possibility of a post Brexit US-UK trade deal, but also threatens the May government with a shut down on intelligence sharing if the UK doesn’t ditch its business dealings and planned 5G roll out with the Chinese telecoms firm Huawei.

We are reminded just how phoney the ‘special relationship’ with Washington is as well as how insignificant press awards are by the BBC’s Panorama team recently when it aired the most bloody awful documentary that I have ever seen on the BBC. Broadly speaking, it wheeled out the usual suspects of telecoms experts and spooks who all agreed that, in theory, the Chinese government could “attack” the UK via its Huawei network, if the Chinese telecoms agreed but only in theory. It had to admit that most of the sensitive data like banking and intel is encrypted anyway, so there’s no real threat. So why make the documentary? If the BBC team of journalists can indulge themselves in so much inference and hilarious conjecture and abandon the tenets of journalism altogether, then perhaps I can as well. Could I speculate that the British government leant on the apparently unbiased BBC to whip up some fear amongst the population about the impact of Britain making its own decisions as a sovereign state and investing further in the Chinese?

The Americans always do this with huge competitors to their industries. Outlaw them and shamelessly plagiarize, er, sorry relicense their products (as was done with firearms in America in 1989), or demonize them as a national threat to security. And the BBC have played along with this disgraceful fake news and given Washington a ‘plat du jour’. No doubt there will be other orders for the British kitchen to serve up in the coming months as Britain turns its back on the dark days of being called America’s poodle to now its compliant bitch.

The BBC, whose bureaus around the world now are so badly run that their journalists often just replicate work from other journalists in the region (this has happened to me personally) is not what it used to be. But the Panorama episode has shown us what it really is and what depths we are sinking to…

The Assange issue is not really much to do with free speech in the sense that this is not the legal basis of the move by Washington, although, yes, free speech will be the victim. If people think that Assange is being targeted for being a poor journalist who is hell-bent on being a martyr for freedom of expression, then this is one of those Lord Lucan cases of mistaken identity. It’s really about how far Trump can go in boosting further his support from the military and making sure that Assange is not free to attack him personally. And it’s also about US using its bitch in London to extract more and more from the so-called special relationship. If the debate was really about free speech and journalism, Assange would get much more support in the UK from journalists themselves and Britain would be arguing now that his extradition to the US should be exempted.

Instead the debate has been hijacked by hacks on the one side who hate Assange as they can’t adhere to his style of journalism (journalists and security experts) and fanatics who, ironically, can’t apply the open minded, liberal free speech ethos, when it comes to others thinking aloud about their leader.

Rightly or wrongly, Assange was never a journalist who carried out the discipline like any journalist. His supporters, who react quite violently when you ask them “where are his articles, then?”, who agonize over this point have misunderstood what’s really at stake by his arrest. Expect a Panorama documentary soon about his alleged poor hygiene and what an insufferable guest he was to the Embassy staff in the Ecuadorian Embassy soon, complete with hidden camera footage. Even a Lord Lucan sighting. And plenty of press awards.

Be seeing you

 

truth-goes-to-die

 

 

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Useful Idiots on Parade – Kunstler

Posted by M. C. on April 16, 2019

No one mentioned the fact that Ecuador was promised debt relief from the US-controlled International Monetary Fund within hours of expelling Mr. Assange.

https://kunstler.com/clusterfuck-nation/useful-idiots-on-parade/

James Howard Kuntsler

Anyone interested in glimpsing the Wokester media mentality in full intellectual-yet-idiot smuggery might check out Slate’s Political Gabfest (i.e. podcast) from this past Saturday, titled The Wahoo Edition.” The Gabfest’s three regulars, David Plotz, Emily Bazelon, and John Dickerson go after Julian Assange as if they were three college dormitory RAs dissecting the character of an unpopular freshman.

Plotz kicked it off by introducing Mr. Assange as “the eminence greasy of Wikileaks,” a cute twist on the French phrase éminence grise (gray eminence, i.e. an elder statesman, pronounced eminence greez, and he knows it). Bazelon offered her explanation for Ecuador’s eagerness to be rid of Mr. Assange: “He was acting like a big jerk. They were tired of him skateboarding all over the residence and scuffing up the walls and not cleaning his bathroom. He wore out his welcome on hospitality grounds.” Note: Emily Bazelon is a lawyer. No one mentioned the fact that Ecuador was promised debt relief from the US-controlled International Monetary Fund within hours of expelling Mr. Assange.

Plotz quickly added: “He didn’t clean up after his cat, which, as a cat owner, that is grounds for expulsion.”

Dickerson weighed in: “The big problem is he’s not an appealing man… he’s clearly a narcissist. He’s unpleasant. In addition to messing with our election, he’s basically on Team Russia.”

Plotz said of Wikileaks: “It’s acting as an agent for a foreign governments, as it has with Russia.”

Some people in this sore beset republic get hooked on opiates or crystal meth. Wokesters get hooked on The Narrative: That Russia “stole” the 2016 election from Hillary Clinton by hacking the Democratic National Committee’s emails, with the collusion of the Trump campaign. The latter point has been authoritatively invalidated by Mr. Mueller, of course, but the Wokester’s cling to their hope that some as-yet-concealed mischief in the Mueller Report will somehow contradict Mr. Mueller’s own conclusions.

As for the alleged hacking per se, you realize of course that neither the FBI nor Mr. Mueller’s “team,” nor anyone in the DOJ before the retirement of Jeff Sessions made any effort to secure and examine the very DNC computer servers at issue. Rather, they relied on a private company called CrowdStrike, hired by Hillary and the DNC itself, to analyze the alleged hacking. Can you imagine anything more arrantly dishonest or more legally irregular?

The Slate Gabfest crew never engages in these dark issues…

There is probably a good reason that US government authorities did not essay to make Mr. Assange a witness on-the-record: because his testimony would have prevented Mr. Mueller from bringing his bullshit charges against the Russian internet trolls he indicted — who will never have to come to trial in the USA in any case, and thus never refute The Narrative so earnestly promoted by the Mueller team — until it all fell apart on March 24.

But these are not terms that the Slate Political Gabfest chose to follow in their analysis of Julian Assange and his activities. Rather we got the following, transcribed verbatim:

Bazelon: “Assange is so detestable it’s really tempting to get as far away from him as possible. One look at him and I feel that way about him.”

Plotz: “Do you think Joe Biden would get a little handsy with him?”

Bazelon: “He’s far creepier.”

Dickerson: “You don’t find that Dickensian beard alluring?”

Bazelon: “It’s awful. But I always thought he was clean-shaven yucky.”

Such are the Deep Thoughts of America’s leading Wokester political analysts…

Imagine them subjecting Daniel Ellsberg to such a hazing.


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Assange works for the people – now we need to save him — RT Op-ed

Posted by M. C. on April 4, 2018

https://www.rt.com/op-ed/422992-zizek-assange-cambridge-analytica/

Slavoj Žižek

Julian Assange has been silenced again, and the timing is most suspicious. With the Cambridge Analytica story dominating the news, it seems some powerful people have reasons to keep the brave WikiLeaks boss quiet right now.

Ecuador is a small country, and one can only imagine the brutal behind-the-scenes pressure exerted on it by Western powers to increase the isolation of Julian Assange from the public space. Now, his internet access has been cut off and many of his visitors are refused access, thus rendering a slow social death to a person who’s spent almost six years confined to an apartment at the Ecuadorian embassy in London.

This happened before, for a short period around the time of the US elections, but back then it was a reaction to WikiLeaks publishing documents which could have affected the outcome of the Trump/Clinton race, while there is no such excuse now. Because, currently, Assange’s “meddling” in international relations consists only of publishing on the web his opinions about the Catalonia crisis and the Skripal poisoning scandal. So why such brutal action now, and why did it cause so little uproar in the public opinion?

As for the second question, it is not enough to claim that people simply got tired of Assange. Rather, a key role has been played by the long and well-orchestrated slow campaign of character assassination which reached the lowest level imaginable two months ago with the unverified rumors alleging how the Ecuadorians want to get rid of him because of his bad smell and dirty clothes.

In the first stage of attacks on Assange, his ex-friends and collaborators went public with claims that WikiLeaks began well but then it got bogged down with Assange’s political bias (his anti-Hillary obsession, his suspicious ties with Russia, etc.). This was followed by more direct personal defamation: for instance, he is paranoiac and arrogant, obsessed by power and control. But now we have reached the direct bodily level of smells and stains.

Manipulating Motives

They say Assange is paranoid? How could anyone who lives permanently in a flat which is bugged from above and below, a victim of constant surveillance organized by secret services, not be? As for him being a megalomaniac? When the (now ex-) head of the CIA says your arrest is his priority, does this not imply that you are a “big” threat to some, at least? And the trope where Assange behaves like the head of a spy organization? But WikiLeaks IS a spy organization, although one that serves the people, keeping them informed on what goes on behind the scenes.

Yet, they say Assange is a refugee from justice, hiding in the Ecuadorian embassy to escape judgment. But what kind of justice is this which threatens to have him arrested when the case has already been dropped?

So let’s move to the big question: why now? I think one name explains it all: Cambridge Analytica – a name which stands for all Assange is about, for what he fights against; the disclosure of the link between the great private corporations and government agencies.

Remember what a big topic and obsession the Russian meddling in the US elections was – now we know it was not Russian hackers (with Assange) who nudged the people towards Trump, but instead the West’s own data-processing agencies which joined forces with political forces. This doesn’t mean that Russia and its allies are innocent: they probably did try to influence the outcome in the same way that the US does in other countries (only in this case, it is labeled “democracy promotion“). But it means the big bad wolf who distorts our democracy is not in the Kremlin, but walking around the West itself – and this is what Assange was claiming all along.

Covert Rule

But where, exactly, is this big bad wolf? To grasp the whole scope of this control and manipulation, one should move beyond the link between private corporations and political parties (as is the case with Cambridge Analytica), to the interpenetration of data processing companies like Google or Facebook and state security agencies.

We shouldn’t be shocked at China but at ourselves who accept the same regulation while believing that we retain our full freedom and that media just helps us to realize our goals (while in China people are fully aware that they are regulated). The overall image emerging from it, combined with what we also know about the link between the latest developments in biogenetics (wiring the human brain, etc.), provides an adequate and terrifying image of new forms of social control which make the good old 20th century “totalitarianism” seem a rather primitive and clumsy machine of domination.

The biggest achievement of the new cognitive-military complex is that direct and obvious oppression is no longer necessary: individuals are much better controlled and “nudged” in the desired direction when they continue to experience themselves as free and autonomous agents of their own lives. And this is another key lesson of WikiLeaks: our lack of freedom is most dangerous when it is experienced as the very manifestation of our freedom. Because what can be more free than the incessant flow of communications which allows every individual to popularize their opinions and forms virtual communities at the user’s own volition? This is why it is absolutely imperative to keep the digital network out of the control of private capital and state power, i.e., to render it totally accessible to public debate. Assange was right in his strangely ignored key book on Google (When Google Met WikiLeaks, 2014) in his understanding of how our lives are regulated today, and how this regulation is experienced as our freedom. Meaning, we have to focus on the shadowy relation between private corporations which control our commons and secret state agencies.

People Power

Now we can see why Assange has to be silenced at exactly this moment when the topic of Cambridge Analytica is everywhere in our mainstream media. At a time when all the effort of those in power goes into reducing it to a particular “misuse” by some private corporations and political parties – but where is the state itself and the half-invisible apparatuses of the so-called “deep state”?

No wonder that the Guardian, which extensively reports on the Cambridge Analytica “scandal,” recently published a disgusting attack on Assange as a megalomaniac and fugitive from justice. Now, as far they are concerned, write as much as you want about Cambridge Analytica and Steve Bannon, just don’t dwell on what Assange was drawing our attention to: that the state apparatuses which are now expected to investigate the “scandal” are themselves part of the problem.

Assange characterized himself as the spy of and for the people: he is not spying on the people for those in power, he is spying on those in power for the people. This is why the only ones who can really help him now are we, the people. Only our pressure and mobilization can alleviate his predicament.

One often reads how the old Soviet secret service not only punished its traitors even if it took decades to do it, but also fought doggedly to free them when they were caught by the enemy. Assange has no state behind him, just us, the public – so let us do at least what the Soviet secret service was doing, let’s fight for him no matter how long it takes!

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Wikileaks Gives CNN an Ultimatum – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on January 7, 2017

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2017/01/no_author/wikileaks-gives-cnn-ultimatum/

Wringing truth out of the Clinton News Network. No easy task.

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Thank You Ecuador

Posted by M. C. on August 19, 2012

The Julian Assange episode raises a question.  What is in this deal for the UK and Sweden?  Maybe more accurately what do they have to lose by not submitting to the US?  Read the rest of this entry »

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