MCViewPoint

Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

Posts Tagged ‘Chelsea Manning’

Assange Indictments Hide the Context of War – Antiwar.com Original

Posted by M. C. on May 31, 2019

https://original.antiwar.com/robert-koehler/2019/05/30/assange-indictments-hide-the-context-of-war/

The U.S. government protects itself, not democracy. That’s what is most apparent about its 18-count indictment of Julian Assange, not to mention the ongoing imprisonment of Chelsea Manning, for the leaking and release of State Department and military documents and videos a decade ago.

The current reporting on the indictment is mostly about Assange himself: his expulsion from the Ecuadoran embassy in London after he’d been holed up there for seven years; the sexual assault charges against him in Sweden; and, of course, his role as a “tool” of the Russians, along with his flip-flopping appeal to both the political left and right (depending on the nature of the controversy WikiLeaks is stirring up). What a story!

Almost entirely missing is anything about the leaks themselves, except vague references to them, such as this comment by John Demers, assistant attorney general for national security: “This release made our adversaries stronger and more knowledgeable, and the United States less secure.”

These words are remarkable bullshit and have resonance only to the extent that the actual leaked data is missing from the discussion, such as the infamous Apache helicopter video of 11 unarmed men (in US military parlance, “insurgents”) – including a Reuters photographer and his driver – being shot and killed from above on a street in Baghdad, and two children being injured.

The video shows the killings as they occur, with helicopter crewmen talking and laughing between bursts of machine gun fire, as though they’re playing a video game:

“Oh yeah, look at those dead bastards.”

“Nice.”

We see a wounded man crawling for cover, only to be taunted from above: “Come on, buddy. All you gotta do is pick up a weapon.”

A van shows up and some men start picking up the bodies. We listen to the crewmen asking for permission to shoot – “engage” – and finally start firing at the van, in which, it turns out, two children are sitting. When that little detail becomes apparent, a crewman comments: “Well, it’s their fault for bringing their kids to a battle.”

And when some Bradley tanks arrive at the scene, a crewman comments, laughing: “I think a tank just drove over a body.”…

“While temporary secrecy, or at least privacy, is sometimes necessary in any endeavor, permanent secrecy – secrecy as entitlement – is nothing but dangerous.”

Assange’s indictment is his red badge of courage. We can’t depend on large institutions to stand up for democracy. The larger the institution, the more absorbed it is likely to be in its own preservation and the success of its agenda. Democracy requires people outside the circle of power, both governmental and corporate, to maintain an adversarial relationship with power and endlessly dig for its secrets. This is called journalism.

Demers, justifying the government’s indictment, paid lip service to the sacredness of journalism, explaining: “The department takes seriously the role of journalists in our democracy, and we thank you for it. It is not and never has been the department’s policy to target them for reporting. But Julian Assange is no journalist.”

There you have it. What better proof could you ask for that he is a journalist, and that the secrets he has ripped out of hiding require serious public scrutiny?

Be seeing you

 

 

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Lee Camp: 18 Ways Julian Assange Changed the World

Posted by M. C. on May 29, 2019

Nothing published on WikiLeaks has ever been proven untrue. Compare that record to CNN, MSNBC, Fox News or any mainstream outlet.

https://www.mintpressnews.com/lee-camp18-ways-julian-assange-wikileaks-changed-the-world/258790/

By Lee Camp

Julian Assange is a dick. It’s important you understand that.

Assange and WikiLeaks revealed the American military’s war crimes, the American government’s corruption and the American corporate media’s pathetic servile flattery to the power elite. So, if you’re a member of our ruling class, you would view those as textbook examples of dickery.

In a moment I’m going to list all the ways Julian Assange changed the world by being a dick.

In an evolved and fully realized society, the oligarchy would see Assange as a dangerous criminal (which they do), and the average working men and women would view him as justice personified (which they don’t). We would celebrate him even as the mass media told us to hope for his downfall—like a Batman or a Robin Hood or an Ozzy Osbourne (the early years, not the cleaning-dog-turds-off-his-carpet years).

But we are not evolved and this is not Gotham City and average Americans don’t root for the truth. Many Americans cheer for Assange’s imprisonment. They believe the corporate plutocratic talking points and yearn for the days when we no longer have to hear about our country’s crimes against humanity or our bankers’ crimes against the economy. Subconsciously they must believe that a life in which we’re tirelessly exploited by rich villains and know all about it thanks to the exhaustive efforts of an eccentric Australian is worse than one in which we’re tirelessly exploited by rich villains yet know nothing about it.

“Ignorance is bliss” is the meditative mantra of the United States of America…

And Chelsea Manning’s most famous leak is arguably also WikiLeaks’ most famous leak, so it’ll top this list:

1) That would be the notorious Collateral Murder video, showing U.S. air crew gunning down unarmed Iraqi civilians with an enthusiasm that couldn’t be matched by an eight year-old winning a five-foot-tall stuffed animal at the county fair. They murdered between 12 and 18 innocent people, two of them Reuters journalists.

Zero people have been arrested for the collateral murders. Yet Julian Assange has been arrested for revealing them.

2) WikiLeaks brought us the Guantanamo Bay “Camp Delta Standard Operating Procedures—showing that many of the prisoners held on the U.S. military detention facility were completely innocent, and that some were hidden from Red Cross officials. (Because when you’re torturing innocent people, you kinda want to do that in peace and quiet, away from prying eyes. It’s very easy to get distracted, and then you lose your place and have to start all over again.)

None of the soldiers torturing innocent people at Gitmo have been arrested for it. Yet Julian Assange has been arrested for revealing it.

3) Not content with revealing only war crimes, WikiLeaks in 2008 came out with the secret bibles of Scientology, which showed that aliens, um, run the world or … aliens are inside all of us or … aliens give us indigestion. I can’t really remember.

But no one has ever been arrested for perpetrating that nutbag cult. Yet Julian Assange has for revealing it.

Many people believe WikiLeaks has unveiled only crimes of the American government, but that’s completely false. The U.S. corporate media doesn’t want average Americans to understand that WikiLeaks has upped the level of transparency around the world. Read the rest of this entry »

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Assange Arrested, Brexit Squashed – Just Another Day in the Empire – Gold Goats ‘n Guns

Posted by M. C. on April 16, 2019

https://tomluongo.me/2019/04/12/assange-arrested-brexit-squashed-just-another-day-in-the-empire/

And down goes Julian Assange, right beside Brexit. If there was ever any doubt that The Powers That Be are unrelenting in their cruelty just look at the 24 hours starting on Wednesday.

First Theresa “The Snake Oil Lady” May kicks 17.4 million voters into the weeds.

And then she oversees the arrest and judging of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.

The timing of this is important beyond dovetailing it with her Brexit betrayal. They had to go after Assange now, because Theresa May’s time in office is ending.

A Jeremy Corbyn-led government would not grant the U.S. it’s prize.

Corbyn, for all of his faults, would be a breath of fresh air in the unraveling of the ‘special relationship’ between the U.S. and U.K. in foreign policy for as long as he lasted in office.

Still think Theresa works for anyone other than her owners?…

But nothing surprises me about the evil of Theresa May anymore. Read the rest of this entry »

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How You Can Be Certain That The US Charge Against Assange Is Fraudulent – Caitlin Johnstone

Posted by M. C. on April 13, 2019

https://caitlinjohnstone.com/2019/04/12/how-you-can-be-certain-that-the-us-charge-against-assange-is-fraudulent/

Julian Assange sits in a jail cell today after being betrayed by the Ecuadorian government and his home country of Australia. A British judge named Michael Snow has found the WikiLeaks founder guilty of violating bail conditions, inserting himself into the annals of history by labeling Assange “a narcissist who cannot get beyond his own selfish interest.” So that tells you how much of a fair and impartial legal proceeding we can expect to see from the British judicial process on this matter.

But the real reason that Assange has been surrendered by the Ecuadorian government, imprisoned by the British government, and ignored by the Australian government is not directly related to any of those governments, but to that of the United States of America. An unsealed indictment from the Trump administration’s District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, accompanied by an extradition request, charges Assange with “conspiracy to commit computer intrusion for agreeing to break a password to a classified U.S. government computer” during Chelsea Manning’s 2010 leak of government documents exposing US war crimes.

This charge is premised on a fraudulent and manipulative distortion of reality, and you may be one hundred percent certain of it. Let me explain.

You can be absolutely certain that this charge is bogus because it isn’t based on any new information. The facts of the case have not changed, the information hasn’t changed, only the narrative has changed. In 2010 the United States opened a secret grand jury in Virginia to investigate whether Assange and WikiLeaks could be prosecuted for the publication of the Manning leaks, and then-Attorney General Eric Holder announced that the Obama administration was conducting “an active, ongoing criminal investigation” into the matter. The Trump administration has not turned up any new evidence that the Obama administration was unable to find in this active, ongoing criminal investigation (US government surveillance has surely acquired some new tricks since 2010, but time travel isn’t one of them), and indeed it does not claim to have turned up any new evidence.

“There’s a huge myth being misreported about today’s indictment of Assange,” journalist Glenn Greenwald tweeted today. “The claim that Assange tried to help Manning circumvent a password to cover her tracks isn’t new. The Obama DOJ knew about it since 2011, but chose not to prosecute him. Story on this soon.”

“Holder chose not to prosecute Assange based on the same info Trump DOJ cited,” Greenwald added.

“The weakness of the US charge against Assange is shocking,” tweeted NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. “The allegation he tried (and failed?) to help crack a password during their world-famous reporting has been public for nearly a decade: it is the count Obama’s DOJ refused to charge, saying it endangered journalism.”

This is all information that the Obama administration had access to (journalist Tim Shorrock observed that the alleged 2010 correspondence between Assange and Manning “looks like it came straight from NSA surveillance” of the two), yet it chose not to do what the Trump administration is currently doing because it would endanger press freedoms. This means that nothing has changed since that time besides (A) the fact that there is now a more overtly tyrannical administration in place, and (B) the fact that the public has been paced into accepting the prosecution of Assange by years of establishment propaganda.

Last year, after it was revealed that the Trump administration was seeking Assange’s arrest, Greenwald wrote the following:

“The Obama DOJ – despite launching notoriously aggressive attacks on press freedoms – recognized this critical principle when it came to WikiLeaks. It spent years exploring whether it could criminally charge Assange and WikiLeaks for publishing classified information. It ultimately decided it would not do so, and could not do so, consistent with the press freedom guarantee of the First Amendment. After all, the Obama DOJ concluded, such a prosecution would pose a severe threat to press freedom because there would be no way to prosecute Assange for publishing classified documents without also prosecuting the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Guardian and others for doing exactly the same thing.”

Nothing has changed since 2010 apart from a more thoroughly propagandized populace and a more depraved US government, which means that this new charge that the Trump administration issued in December 2017 is based on nothing other than a diminished respect for press freedoms and an increased willingness to crush them. This makes it fraudulent and illegitimate, and the precedent that is being set by it should be rejected and opposed by everyone in the world who claims to support the existence of a free press which is capable of holding power to account.

So what are we left with? We’re left with the US government filing criminal charges against a journalist (and Assange is indisputably a journalist) for protecting his source and encouraging his source to obtain more material, both of which are things that journalists do all the time.

“While the indictment against Julian Assange disclosed today charges a conspiracy to commit computer crimes, the factual allegations against Mr. Assange boil down to encouraging a source to provide him information and taking efforts to protect the identity of that source,” said Assange lawyer Barry J Pollack in a statement today. “Journalists around the world should be deeply troubled by these unprecedented criminal charges.”

“There are parts of the indictment that are clearly designed to criminalize things journalists routinely do,” Greenwald told CNN. “Part of the accusation is that [Assange] encouraged Chelsea Manning to provide him with more documents than the original batch that she gave him, which is something that as a journalist I’ve done many times with my sources, that journalists do every day. They say ‘Oh thanks for this document, maybe you could get me this?’ They also say that he helped her to essentially cover her tracks by giving her advice about how to get this information without being detected. The only thing in the indictment, and it’s very vague, is a suggestion that he tried to help her circumvent a password; it didn’t seem to be successful, but it’s unclear whether that was designed to get documents or to simply help her cover her tracks. But either way it’s clearly a threat to the First Amendment, because it criminalizes core journalistic functions.”

In an article for Rolling Stone titled “Why the Assange Arrest Should Scare Reporters“, journalist Matt Taibbi writes that “The meatier parts of the indictment speak more to normal journalistic practices.”

“Reporters have extremely complicated relationships with sources, especially whistleblower types like Manning, who are often under extreme stress and emotionally vulnerable,” Taibbi writes. “At different times, you might counsel the same person both for and against disclosure. It’s proper to work through all the reasons for action in any direction, including weighing the public’s interest, the effect on the source’s conscience and mental health, and personal and professional consequences. For this reason, placing criminal penalties on a prosecutor’s interpretation of such interactions will likely put a scare into anyone involved with national security reporting going forward.”

The Espionage Act has not at this time been employed to prosecute Assange as many have speculated it might, and the computer crimes he’s been charged with carry a maximum sentence of five years. But this does not mean that further far more serious charges cannot be added once Assange is imprisoned on American soil, especially after his guilt in the Manning leaks has been made official government dogma following the conspiracy conviction.

In my opinion this charging Assange with a lower-level crime (not espionage) is a trick that would allow the UK to extradite him to the US with ‘no threat of capital punishment’ only to have US prosecutors do what they always do: pile on charges,” tweeted Daniel McAdams of the Ron Paul Liberty Report, referring to assurances sought by the UK and Ecuador that Assange would not face the death penalty if extradited to the United States for the conspiracy charge.

Either way, this is a cataclysmic threat to press freedoms, and the time to act is now. The US government’s arbitrarily gifting itself the right to use fraudulent distortions to imprison anyone in the world who publishes facts about it will chill any attempts to do so in the future, and poses a far greater threat to press freedoms than anything we’ve seen in our lives. Anyone who sits idly by while this happens is signing over the sovereign right of every human being on this planet to hold power to account, and anyone calling themselves a journalist who does anything other than unequivocally oppose this move is confessing that they are a state propagandist. This is an intolerable plunge toward Orwellian dystopia, and is an assault on human dignity itself.

It’s time to shake the earth and refuse to let them cross this line. Enough is enough.

Roar, humans. Roar.

___________________________

Everyone has my unconditional permission to republish or use any part of this work (or anything else I’ve written) in any way they like free of charge. My work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, liking me on Facebook, following my antics on Twitterthrowing some money into my hat on Patreon or Paypalpurchasing some of my sweet merchandisebuying my new book Rogue Nation: Psychonautical Adventures With Caitlin Johnstone, or my previous book Woke: A Field Guide for Utopia Preppers. The best way to get around the internet censors and make sure you see the stuff I publish is to subscribe to the mailing list for my website, which will get you an email notification for everything I publish. For more info on who I am, where I stand, and what I’m trying to do with this platform, click here

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Yes, You Should Fear the Arrest of Julian Assange | The American Conservative

Posted by M. C. on April 12, 2019

Undoubtedly, if the Washington Blob has its way, this will not be a case on which the First Amendment is on trial, but a pasty Aussie lawbreaker and Russian dupe who put U.S. personnel and troops at risk in the field for publishing classified documents. Don’t be surprised if they say people were actually killed because of Assange. Just remember, this was all hashed out in the Manning trial, and the government was forced to admit there was no evidence that anyone was harmed by being named in any of the classified documents.

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/yes-you-should-fear-the-arrest-of-julian-assange/

By Kelley Beaucar Vlahos

Why we should fear today’s developments, however, is his arrest could ultimately lead to his prosecution in the U.S. under the Espionage Act—a charge that lawmakers and officials on both sides of the aisle have been calling for publicly for years. Remember, then-CIA chief Mike Pompeo called Assange a “non-state hostile intelligence service often abetted by state actors like Russia.” And, if he is convicted under the Espionage Act, it would be the first time for a member of the media, setting a most dangerous precedent for the safety of journalists to pursue government corruption and secrecy, and a mighty blow to the ability of the First Amendment to protect free speech and a free press.

[UPDATE: The Eastern District of Virginia U.S. Federal Court released an unsealed indictment Thursday after Assange was arrested. It accuses Assange of offering to help Manning break a DoD password to help access military data anonymously. It does not say whether they did it or succeeded. This would suggest the government is trying to prove Assange and Wikileaks shifted from mere “publisher” with First Amendment rights to “hacker” or “thief.”

The government tried, and failed, to convict Daniel Ellsberg, for leaking  The Pentagon Papers to the press. Wikileaks has never been accused of stealing classified information. Then-Pfc. Bradley Manning  (now Chelsea) was already charged and convicted with stealing and leaking thousands of military and U.S. government documents to Wikileaks. Documents, by the way, that exposed the “Collateral Murder” video, the Afghanistan war logs, the Iraq war logs, and the Guantanamo files. Without them, we would never know the extent of the secrecy involved in the wars that were being fought in our name—the torture, the civilian deaths, how innocent people were being arrested in the War on Terror and detained en masse at GTMO, and much more.

To think any of this is happening this morning in a vacuum would be folly. As TAC reported earlier this week, Chelsea Manning willingly went back to jail (and a month of solitary confinement) at the beginning of March for refusing to testify in the grand jury. She had already served seven years for her crimes, much of that in solitary confinement. Something was clearly coming to a head.

And Wikileaks reported just yesterday that they were being extorted by a group that has reams of evidence, including documents and videotape, that there was a massive surveillance operation going on against Assange in the embassy, at which he had been a virtual prisoner. Don’t for a minute doubt that the U.S. was putting pressure on the Ecuadorians to make a move. The Ecuadoran government had cut off his internet access last year and had been readying to kick him out, supposedly because he had broken rules; Assange has responded by saying the embassy was violating his rights of asylum. By all reports, his physical and mental health has deteriorated.

Whatever comes of that, the more critical point here is that the U.S. is likely to take over from here. Given the corporate mainstream media’s sneering contempt for Wikileaks and Assange—so much more acute now that he is under suspicion for working with the Russians to publish the stolen Hillary Clinton/DNC emails (which Assange has vehemently denied—expect the hive to believe and promote any propaganda that the Trump Administration wields to turn the American public opinion over to its side…

Just be prepared for the PR blitz and the accompanying media complicity in making Assange the villain. Don’t be surprised if they throw him in jail and give him the Manning or Maria Butina treatment…

Be seeing you

deep state media

It’s Always About Control

 

 

 

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Russiagate Grand Wizard Deceives Audience About Assange – Caitlin Johnstone

Posted by M. C. on March 10, 2019

I watched her show once.

I can’t do her justice.  You have to see for yourself.

https://caitlinjohnstone.com/2019/03/06/russiagate-grand-wizard-deceives-audience-about-assange/

When it was first revealed in November that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is under secret charges by the Trump administration, I spent the next few days being told by Russiagaters that this was proof that I have been wrong about their demented cold war cult all along, because #MuellerTime is fast approaching. At long last, they vehemently assured me, Assange was going to prison for working with Russia to deprive Queen Hillary of her rightful throne.

None of those people have come back to apologize or admit that they were wrong when subsequent evidence disproved their claims. None of them ever do.

As it turns out, whistleblower Chelsea Manning has been subpoenaed to testify before a grand jury in a secret case investigating Assange for his 2010 role in the WikiLeaks publication of military war logs and diplomatic cables. Manning served seven years in prison for leaking those documents to the transparency advocacy outlet before her sentence was commuted by President Obama, meaning, obviously, that this sealed case has nothing to do with the 2016 leaks Russiagaters have been fiendishly obsessing over. Indeed, the Washington Post reported yesterday that “U.S. officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity because of grand jury secrecy, say the case is based on [Assange’s] pre-2016 conduct, not the election hacks that drew the attention of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III.”

So there you have it. Democrats like Center for American Progress president Neera Tanden who have been cheering for Assange’s arrest have actually been cheering on the Trump administration’s prosecution of a journalist for publishing facts about Bush administration war crimes. They thought they were supporting the agenda to punish Assange for publishing leaks that hurt the Hillary campaign, but in reality they were defending two Republican administrations while helping to manufacture support for a prosecution that would set a devastating precedent for press freedoms throughout the entire world.

If you are unfamiliar with the work of Russiagate Grand Wizard Rachel Maddow, you might think she would report the revelation that an unfounded belief held by many of her acolytes has been completely and thoroughly disproven once and for all. If you are a bit more familiar with her, you might assume that she would completely ignore this revelation like she normally does when her conspiratorial ramblings are disproven by facts and evidence. But if you know Rachel really, really well, you might guess what she actually did on her show last night.

That’s right, she flat out lied about it. Read the rest of this entry »

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