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Posts Tagged ‘Julian Assange’

Justice Department announces superseding indictment against Wikileaks’ Assange | TheHill

Posted by M. C. on June 25, 2020

“The Trump DOJ’s attempt to imprison Julian Assange for working with his source to publish classified documents that exposed US war crimes is the most severe US threat to press freedom since 2016,” Greenwald tweeted. “It’s sickening to watch so many journalists ignore it, & so many liberals cheer it.”

What is the point? The plan is to have Assange die in jail.

Like with Bin Laden, you can’t have people who know too much to do any talking.

https://thehill.com/policy/cybersecurity/504434-justice-department-announces-superseding-indictment-against-wikileaks

The Justice Department on Wednesday announced a superseding indictment in the case against WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange, alleging that he intentionally worked with hackers affiliated with groups “LulzSec” and “Anonymous” to target and publish sensitive information.

The new indictment, handed down by a federal grand jury in Alexandria, Va., did not add any charges to the existing 18 charges brought against Assange last year, but alleged that Assange and WikiLeaks actively recruited hackers to provide WikiLeaks with documents.

Assange is alleged to have provided the leader of hacking group “LulzSec” with a list of groups to target in 2012 in order to obtain information to post to the WikiLeaks platform.

The new indictment alleges that in one case, Assange gave the LulzSec leader specific documents and pdfs to target and sent to WikiLeaks, and WikiLeaks eventually published information obtained from an American intelligence company by a hacker associated with LulzSec and with Anonymous.

“To obtain information to release on the WikiLeaks website, Assange recruited sources and predicted the success of WikiLeaks in part upon the recruitment of sources to illegally circumvent legal safeguards on information, including classification restrictions and computer and network restrictions,” the indictment reads, noting this was done with the intent to publish the information online.

The 18 charges unveiled last year alleged that Assange worked with former Army Intelligence Analyst Chelsea Manning in 2010 to obtain and disclose sensitive “national defense information” through conspiring to crack a password tied to a Department of Defense computer.

WikiLeaks has published thousands of pages of material obtained from Manning, including details around Guantanamo Bay detainees and combat guidelines concerning the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

If convicted, Assange faces a maximum of 10 years in prison for each of the existing 18 charges brought against him except for alleged conspiracy to commit computer intrusion, for which Assange could face up to five years in prison.

Assange is currently detained in the United Kingdom after being evicted from the Ecuadorian Embassy, where he took refuge for several years. The U.S. has requested Assange’s extradition.

Manning was freed from prison in March after being jailed since May, 2019 for refusing to appear before the grand jury involved in the indictment against Assange.

A federal judge ruled that her testimony was unnecessary, but ordered her to pay a fine of $256,000. The ruling came the day after reports emerged that Manning had attempted suicide while in custody.

The earlier charges brought against Assange and Manning ignited a debate over the publication of classified materials, and whether the case could produce a chilling effect on journalists who publish these documents.

Glenn Greenwald, co-founding editor of The Intercept, tweeted Wednesday following the superseding charges being made public that the charges constituted a “severe” threat to press freedom.

“The Trump DOJ’s attempt to imprison Julian Assange for working with his source to publish classified documents that exposed US war crimes is the most severe US threat to press freedom since 2016,” Greenwald tweeted. “It’s sickening to watch so many journalists ignore it, & so many liberals cheer it.”

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Exclusive images from inside British court expose Assange’s un-democratic treatment, physical deterioration | The Grayzone

Posted by M. C. on June 1, 2020

https://thegrayzone.com/2020/05/29/british-court-assanges-physical-deterioration/

By Max Blumenthal

Photographs surreptitiously taken inside a British courtroom and provided to The Grayzone show a visibly disoriented Julian Assange confined to a glass cage and unable to communicate with his lawyers.

Photographs taken inside London’s Woolwich Crown Court and provided exclusively to The Grayzone highlight the un-democratic measures the British security state has imposed on jailed Wikileaks publisher Julian Assange.

Captured during Assange’s extradition hearing, which took place between February 24 and 28, the images highlight the confinement Assange has been subjected to, as well as the physical deterioration he has experienced since he was arrested in April 2019 and jailed in a maximum security prison.

On February 26, Judge Vanessa Baraitser vowed to hold anyone in contempt of court for taking photographs. However, an observer had taken several photos a day before the judge’s warning.

Anonymous Scandinavia, a Sweden-based group of Wikileaks supporters, provided the photos to The Grayzone in order to expose what they considered to be the state repression of an investigative journalist.

The images show Assange confined to a glass cage, physically sequestered from his legal team, and unable to follow his own trial.

Throughout the hearing, Assange protested his isolation, complaining to Judge Baraitser, “I am as much a participant in these proceedings as I am at Wimbledon. I cannot communicate with my lawyers or ask them for clarifications.” He told members of his legal team he was unable to hear from inside the glass cage.

Below, a seemingly dejected Assange can be seen gazing through the bulletproof glass panes at two of his lawyers, Stella Morris and Baltazar Garzon.

In a heartfelt video testimonial released this April, Morris disclosed that she was the mother of two infant sons with Assange.

Throughout 2017, Morris was spied on by a Spanish security firm apparently hired by the CIA through Republican mega-donor Sheldon Adelson’s Las Vegas Sands. At one point, the director of the firm ordered an employee to steal a diaper from one of Morris’s sons in an attempt to match his DNA to that of Assange.

“I understood that the powers that were against Julian were ruthless and there were no bounds to it,” Morris commented after learning of the surveillance campaign. “And that’s why I feel that I have to [reveal myself as the mother of Assange’s children]. Because I’ve taken so many steps for so many years and I feel that Julian’s life might be coming to an end.”

“Prolonged exposure to psychological torture” continues in court

Since its foundation in 2010, Wikileaks has published troves of documents exposing American war crimes, meddling, and corruption around the globe. Following the release of thousands of classified State Department cables provided by military whistleblower Chelsea Manning, Vice President Joseph Biden denounced Assange as a “high-tech terrorist.”

In April 2017, then-CIA director Mike Pompeo labeled Wikileaks a “hostile foreign intelligence agency,” denigrating Assange as a “fraud” in a speech telegraphing Washington’s malicious campaign against the publisher.

That December, US federal prosecutors filed a secret indictment charging Assange with 17 counts of violating the Espionage Act. He now faces 175 years in a US prison.

Nils Melzer, the United Nations special rapporteur on torture, warned that, if extradited, “Assange would be exposed to a real risk of serious violations of his human rights, including his freedom of expression, his right to a fair trial and the prohibition of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”

Melzer was disturbed by the traits he observed after meeting Assange in May 2019. In a report published by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, the expert noted, “in addition to physical ailments, Mr. Assange showed all symptoms typical for prolonged exposure to psychological torture, including extreme stress, chronic anxiety and intense psychological trauma.”

The photo below reveals a visibly disoriented Assange with a grim pallor and expressionless gaze.

Courtroom cages through history

Though Assange has never been convicted of a crime and has no record of violent behavior, his cage was more restrictive than the enclosure reserved for Adolph Eichmann when the top-level Nazi bureaucrat was placed on trial in Jerusalem in 1961. Unlike Assange, Eichmann was able to communicate freely with his lawyer and listen to a live translation of his trial.

During his corruption trial in Moscow in 2005, the Russian oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky was similarly held in a cage. Following a formal protest of the confinement by his business partner and co-defendant, Platon Lebedev, who claimed that the cage represented a breach of the right to a presumption of innocence, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that the two were subjected to “inhuman and degrading conditions in the courtroom.”

When Egypt’s first democratically elected leader, Mohamed Morsi, collapsed and died in a soundproof cage in a courtroom, six years after he was deposed in a 2013 military coup, Western media and human rights organizations including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International erupted in a chorus of condemnation.

These same rights groups have said little about the draconian restrictions imposed by the British security state on Assange throughout his extradition hearing. But their reticence might be excused on the grounds that clear images of his unwarranted courtroom isolation were not publicly available until now.

Assange’s hearing postponed, his isolation extended

The Belmarsh supermax prison where Assange has been held is regarded as the UK’s version of the US facility at Guantanamo. Aside from Assange, the jail is home to mafia henchmen, al-Qaeda members, and neo-fascist enforcers like Tommy Robinson. Around 20 percent of prisoners in Belmarsh are murderers, and two-thirds have committed a violent crime.

117 licensed medical professionals from around the world have written to the British and Australian governments to condemn “the torture of Assange,” “the denial of his fundamental right to appropriate health care, “the climate of fear surrounding the provision of health care to him” and “the violations of his right to doctor–patient confidentiality.”

Since the doctors’ open letter, Belmarsh has become a site of Covid-19 infection. As journalist Matt Kennard reported, a 2007 report by the UK’s Chief Inspector of Prisons found that “infection control was inadequate” in the detention facility.

Rather than allow a temporary medical furlough for Assange, however, Judge Baraitser has postponed  his extradition trial for four months, disappearing him again from public view.

“In 20 years of work with victims of war, violence and political persecution,” the UN’s Melzer said of the Wikileaks founder’s treatment, “I have never seen a group of democratic states ganging up to deliberately isolate, demonize and abuse a single individual for such a long time and with so little regard for human dignity and the rule of law.”

When Assange returns to court this September, the glass cage awaits.

 

 

 

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It’s The 10th Anniversary of WikiLeaks’ Publication of the Collateral Murder video (A Short Documentary) – Collective Evolution

Posted by M. C. on May 9, 2020

Left we forget. Reuters and the lamestream media have.

https://www.collective-evolution.com/2020/05/07/its-the-10th-anniversary-of-wikileaks-publication-of-the-collateral-murder-video-a-short-documentary/

In Brief

  • The Facts:April 05, 2020 marked the 10th anniversary of WikiLeaks’ publication of Collateral Murder video. The video shows how two Apache helicopters killing 11 Iraqi people including two Reuters journalists.
  • Reflect On:How far have we sunk if telling the truth becomes a crime? How far have we sunk if we prosecute people that expose war crimes for exposing war crimes?  How far have we sunk when we no longer prosecute our own war criminals?

Last month marked the 10th anniversary of WikiLeaks’ publication of the Collateral Murder video. The video shows how two Apache helicopters murdered 11 Iraqi people including two Reuters journalists. Two young children involved in the rescue were also seriously wounded.  This is one of the publications Julian Assange is being indicted for espionage. He faces 175 years in a US jail if extradited from the UK.  WikiLeaks obtained the video as well as supporting documents from a number of military whistleblowers. WikiLeaks goes to great lengths to verify the authenticity of the information it receives. They analyzed the information about this incident from a variety of source material and spoke to witnesses and journalists directly involved in the incident.

 WikiLeaks wants to ensure that all the leaked information it receives gets the attention it deserves. In this particular case, some of the people killed were journalists that were simply doing their jobs: putting their lives at risk in order to report on war. Iraq is a very dangerous place for journalists: from 2003- 2009, 139 journalists were killed while doing their work. (source)

After the video was released, one of the soldiers involved in the incident, Ethan McCord, said the following:

“If you feel threatened in any way, you’re able to engage that person. Many soldiers felt threatened just by the fact that you were looking at them, so they fired their weapons on anybody that was looking at them because they (I) felt threatened. We were told if we were to fire on anybody, and if it were to be investigated, that ‘officers will take care of you.’ ”

“We were told by our battalion commander to kill every m***** f****** on the street.  Many soldiers would not do that, we decided we were going to shoot into the rooftops of buildings because, if you didn’t fire, the NCOs in your platoon would make your life hell.”

“This happens on a daily basis, destroying vans full of children, the destruction of the Iraqi people happens on a daily basis.” (source)

 When it comes to Julian Assange, most of the world knows why they hunted him, and why he’s been treated the way he’s been treated and tortured in prison. The same goes for people like Edward Snowden, it’s because they expose lies, corruption, deceit, immoral and unethical actions that their own governments, as well as governments around the world have participated in. He exposed these characteristics that seem to represents the backbone of the Western military alliance and the American empire. He exposed, in the words of John F. Hylan, former Mayor of New York City, the “real menace of the Republic”, the “invisible government, which like a giant octopus sprawls its slimy legs over our cities, states and nation.” He exposed the ones “who virtually run the United States government for their own selfish purposes.” (source)(source)

How far have we sunk if telling the truth becomes a crime? How far have we sunk if we prosecute people that expose war crimes for exposing war crimes?  How far have we sunk when we no longer prosecute our own war criminals? Because we identify more with them, than we identify with their people that actually expose these crimes. What does that tell about us and about our governments? In a democracy, the power does not belong to the government, but to the people. But the people have to claim it. Secrecy disempowers the people because it prevents them from exercising democratic control, which is precisely why governments want secrecy. Nils Melzer (source)

Since this video was released, more people became aware of the connections that the US government had at the time with terrorist organizations. Information about the US funding terrorist groups, arming terrorist groups and even staging terrorist attacks has come to light. More people became aware of the fact that the same powers who claim to be going overseas to locate and take down these terrorists are the same ones who created them in the first place. This is referred to as ‘false flag terrorism,’ and the creation of terrorism has allowed powerful people to infiltrate other countries for ulterior motives.

Thanks to people like Julian Assange and many others, many people have had a big shift with regards to their perception of the world. More people are becoming aware about aspects of the human experience they were once unaware of. In order to stop these aspects, we must first become aware of them. With awareness comes a shift in consciousness, and that shift in consciousness then leads to action. The world is changing, and it’s changing fast. We have to go through the growing pains first.

Below is a recent release from Wikileaks, Collateral Murder 10 Years On: Short Documentary

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What if Ignored Covid-19 Warnings Had Been Leaked to WikiLeaks? – Antiwar.com Original

Posted by M. C. on April 13, 2020

“WikiLeaks and 9/11: What If?” is the title The Los Angeles Times gave an Oct. 15, 2010 op-ed by former FBI Special Agent/Minneapolis Division Counsel Coleen Rowley and former Air Marshal Bogdan Dzakovic, who led an elite “Red Team” for the Federal Aviation Administration to probe vulnerabilities of airports and aircraft during the years before 9/11.

After arresting would-be hijacker Zacarias Moussaoui on August 16, 2001, Rowley’s colleagues in Minneapolis ran into unconscionable foot-dragging by FBI headquarters functionaries, who would not permit a search of Moussaoui’s laptop computer or his personal effects.

https://original.antiwar.com/mcgovern/2020/04/12/what-if-ignored-covid-19-warnings-had-been-leaked-to-wikileaks/

The British court system continues to mock the Magna Carta. Bowing vassal-like to U.S. pressure it persists with Star Chamber proceedings against WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange until he is either extradited to the US or winds up dead.

The judicial pantomime under way in London, under the guise of an extradition hearing, would make the English nobles who wrested precious civil rights from King John eight centuries ago sob in anger and shame. But nary a whimper is heard from the heirs to those rights. One searches in vain for English nobles today.

Yet the process stumbles along, as awkward as it is inexorable, toward extradition and life in prison for Assange, if he lasts that long.

The banal barristers bashing Assange now seem to harbor hope that, unlike the case of Henry II and Thomas More, the swords of royal knights will be unneeded to “deliver the Crown from this troublesome priest” – or publisher. Those barristers may be spared the embarrassment of losing what residual self-respect they may still claim. In short, they may not need to bow and scrape much longer to surrender Assange to life in a US prison. He may die first.

Puppeteers

For the UK and US barristers and their puppeteers in Washington, salivating to seize the Australian publisher, a deus ex machina has descended backstage. It is called Covid-19 and London’s Belmarsh prison is accurately described as a petri dish for such disease. We already know of one prisoner death there from the virus. God knows how many more there already are – or will be.

In refusing to allow nonviolent prisoner Julian Assange to leave that crowded prison (with his immunocompromised condition, weakened lungs, and clinical depression), presiding Judge Vanessa Baraitser leaves an open door to deliver Kings Boris and Donald this “troublesome” publisher by “natural” means. The swords of royal knights are not needed for this kind of faux-judicial, royal screw. And, happily for Lady Baraitser, she may not have to keep washing blood off her hands as Lady Macbeth was compelled to do.

Meanwhile, as all await Assange’s demise – one way or the other – his lawyers have had no contact with him for three weeks. They cannot visit him in prison; nor can they even talk to him by video chat, according to WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Kristinn Hrafnnson.

Empire Drives Home an Old Lesson

However Assange is eventually dispatched – dead or alive – from Star Chamber and prison, the Empire remains hell-bent on demonstrating that it will give no quarter to those endangering it by WikiLeaks-type disclosures.

The lesson is now abundantly clear to all “troublesome” publishers tempted to follow Assange’s example of publishing documentary truth (a function of what used to be called journalism). They will be cut down – whether by “natural” means, or by endless faux-judicial proceedings resulting in lengthy imprisonment, financial ruin, or both.

On Tuesday Judge Baraitser announced that the Assange extradition hearing will resume on May 18, as previously scheduled and that it may drag on into July — Covid-19 notwithstanding. The big question is whether Assange, if he is kept confined in Belmarsh prison, will live that long. Meanwhile, thousands of other nonviolent prisoners are being released from other UK prisons in a humane step to reduce the chances of infection.

As I think of my good friend Julian, what comes to mind are the desperate words of Willy Loman’s wife Linda in “Death of a Salesman”:

“He’s a human being, and a terrible thing is happening to him. So attention must be paid. He’s not to be allowed to fall in his grave like an old dog. Attention, attention must finally be paid to such a person.”

(On the chance you are wondering, The New York Times, Washington Post, and Wall Street Journal – as well as National Public Radio – have paid zero attention to the extradition hearing in recent weeks – much less to Judge Baraitser’s Queen of Hearts-style, “off-with-his-head” behavior.)

Aping Caiaphas

The pitiable Baraitser, of course, is simply a cog in the imperial machinery, a self-impressed, self-interested, rigid functionary aping the role of Caiaphas, the high priest beholden to an earlier Empire. “It’s better that one man die,” he is said to have explained, when another nonviolent truth-teller dared to expose the cruelties of Empire to the downtrodden of his day – including the despicable accessory role played by the high priests.

Here is how theologian Eugene Peterson’s renders Caiaphas’s words in John 11: “Can’t you see that it’s to our advantage that one man die … rather than the whole nation be destroyed.” (“Nation” in that context meant the system of privilege enjoyed by collaborators with Rome – like the high priests and the lawyers of the time.)

The lesson meant to be taken away from Assange’s punishment are as clear – if less bloody – as the crucifixion that followed quickly after Caiaphas explained the rationale. The behavior of today’s empire pretends to be more “civilized” as it manufactures stories of rape, leans on ratty satraps in Sweden, England, and Ecuador, and ostentatiously thumbs its nose at official UN condemnations of “arbitrary detention.” And, if that were not enough, it also practices leave-no-marks torture.

Cutting Off Nose to Spite Face

Meanwhile, those who in an ideal world should be natural allies of WikiLeaks, the media, are cowed, and are as pitiable as Baraitser. Many loudly betray Assange outright.

There is no need now, two millennia later, to erect crosses along the roadside as graphic reminders to intimidate those who would expose Empire’s oppression. Civil rights wrested from King John 800 years ago – habeas corpus, for one – have become “quaint” and “obsolete”, adjectives applied by that distinguished American jurist, and George W. Bush “lawyer,” Alberto Gonzales to the Geneva Convention protections against torture. The successors to the English “nobles” of Runnymede seem to have gone the way of Gonzales.

This is not only a case of “killing the messenger”, lamentable as that is. It amounts to cutting off our collective nose to spite our face.

Because most Americans are so impoverished on accurate information, and so misled by the corporate media regarding WikiLeaks – and Assange, in particular – they are blissfully unaware of WikiLeaks’ capability to expose crucial information that can head off disaster.

What If? Read the rest of this entry »

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Beyond Words – Craig Murray

Posted by M. C. on April 13, 2020

I am in lockdown in Edinburgh, but received three separate eye witness reports. They are unanimous that yet again Baraitser entered the court carrying pre-written judgements before hearing oral argument; pre-written judgements she gave no appearance of amending.

https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2020/04/beyond-words/

by

Yesterday Mark Sommers QC, the extremely erudite and bookish second counsel for Julian Assange in his extradition hearing, trembled with anger in court. Magistrate Vanessa Baraitser had just made a ruling that the names of Julian Assange’s partner and young children could be published, which she stated was in the interests of “open justice”. His partner had submitted a letter in support of his Covid 19 related bail application (which Baraitser had summarily dismissed) to state he had a family to live with in London. Baraitser said that it was therefore in the interests of open justice that the family’s names be made public, and said that the defence had not convincingly shown this would cause any threat to their security or well-being. It was at this point Sommers barely kept control. He leapt to his feet and gave notice of an appeal to the High Court, asking for a 14 day stay. Baraitser granted four days, until 4pm on Friday.

I am in lockdown in Edinburgh, but received three separate eye witness reports. They are unanimous that yet again Baraitser entered the court carrying pre-written judgements before hearing oral argument; pre-written judgements she gave no appearance of amending.

There have been two Covid-19 deaths in Belmarsh prison so far. For obvious reasons the disease is ripping through the jail like wildfire. The Department of Justice is admitting to one death, and refuses to give statistics for the number of cases. As even very sick prisoners are not being tested, the figures would arguably not mean much anyway. As the court heard at the bail application, over 150 Belmarsh prison staff are off work self-isolating and the prison is scarcely functioning. It is the most complete definition of lockdown.

The Prison Governors’ Association submitted to the House of Commons Justice Committee (which yesterday morning considered prisoner releases in closed session) that 15,000 non-violent prisoners need to be released to give the jails any chance of managing COVID-19. The Department of Justice has suggested releasing 4,000 of whom just 2,000 have been identified. As of a couple of days ago, only about 100 had actually been released.

The prisons are now practising “cohorting” across the estate, although decisions currently lie with individual governors. Prisoners who have a cough – any cough – are being put together in segregated blocks. The consequences of this are of course potentially unthinkable. Julian has a cough and chronic lung condition for which he has been treated for years – a fact which is not in dispute.

Yesterday Baraitser again followed her usual path of refusing every single defence motion, following pre-written rulings (whether written or merely copied out by herself I know not), even when the prosecution did not object. You will recall that at the first week of extradition hearing proper, she insisted that Julian be kept in a glass cage, although counsel for the US government made no objection to his sitting in the body of the court, and she refused to intervene to stop his strip searching, handcuffing and the removal of his court papers, even though the US government joined the defence in querying her claim she had no power to do this (for which she was later roundly rebuked by the International Bar Association).

Yesterday the US government did not object to a defence motion to postpone the resumption of the extradition hearing. The defence put forward four grounds:

1) Julian is currently too ill to prepare his defence
2) Due to Covid-19 lockdown, access to his lawyers is virtually impossible
3) Vital defence witnesses, including from abroad, would not be able to be present to testify
4) Treatment for Julian’s mental health conditions had been stopped due to the Covid-19 situation.

Baraitser airily dismissed all these grounds – despite James Lewis QC saying the prosecution was neutral on the postponement – and insisted that the May 18 date remains. She stated that he could be brought to the cells in Westminster Magistrates Court for consultations with his lawyers. (Firstly, in practice that is not the case, and secondly these holding cells have a constant thoughput of prisoners which is very obviously undesirable with Covid19).

It is worth noting that the prosecution stated that the US government’s own psychiatrist, appointed to do an assessment of Julian, had been unable to access him in Belmarsh due to Covid 19 restrictions.

This is getting beyond me as it is getting beyond Mark Sommers and the defence team. Even before Covid 19 became such a threat, I stated that I had been forced to the conclusion the British Government is seeking Assange’s death in jail. The evidence for that is now overwhelming.

Here are three measures of hypocrisy.

Firstly, the UK insists on keeping this political prisoner – accused of nothing but publishing – in a Covid 19 infested maximum security jail while the much-derided Iranian government lets Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe out and hopefully will release her altogether.
Which is the inhumane regime?

Secondly, “open justice” allegedly justifies the release of the identities of Julian’s partner and kids, while the state enforces the secrecy of Alex Salmond’s busted accusers, even though the court heard evidence that they specifically colluded to destroy him using, as a deliberate tool, the anonymity afforded to people making sexual accusations.

Thirdly, nobody cultivates her own anonymity more than Vanessa Baraitser who has her existence carefully removed from the internet almost entirely. Yet she seeks to destroy the peace and young lives of Julian’s family.

Keep fighting for Julian’s life and for freedom.

Pieter Evert sent me this rather good cartoon, for which many thanks:

With grateful thanks to those who donated or subscribed to make this reporting possible.

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.

——————————————

Unlike our adversaries including the Integrity Initiative, the 77th Brigade, Bellingcat, the Atlantic Council and hundreds of other warmongering propaganda operations, this blog has no source of state, corporate or institutional finance whatsoever. It runs entirely on voluntary subscriptions from its readers – many of whom do not necessarily agree with the every article, but welcome the alternative voice, insider information and debate.

Be seeing you

 

 

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A Letter to the Staff of Belmarsh Prison – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on April 11, 2020

Left we forget.

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2020/04/bretigne-shaffer/a-letter-to-the-staff-of-belmarsh-prison/

By

Dear Staff of Belmarsh,

A lot of other people are writing to politicians, elected representatives, celebrities, and other people who have “platforms” or “influence.” I’ve decided to write to you.

You are no doubt aware that there is a man being held in your prison by the name of Julian Assange. I am sure that you are also aware that a great many people believe this that he should not be there, or in any prison. They (and I) believe that the only crime he has committed is having revealed actual crimes committed by people and institutions much more powerful than himself.

We further believe that the only reason he is being held–and held at a time when other non-violent prisoners are being released in order to help minimize the spread of Covid-19–the only reason the most powerful government on earth has contorted the justice system of your own country to the point that it is no longer recognizable as such, is that that government (the government of my country) wishes to send a strong message to anyone else who ever thinks about making its crimes public:

“We can do whatever we want, to whomever we want. We are bound by no laws, no justice system, and if you dare to expose our crimes to the world as this man has, we will do this to you too.”

I am not going to repeat all of the charges against him, nor explain why they are nonsensical. Nor will I dwell on his treatment in prison, which according to UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Nils Melzer, constitutes torture. Nor will I take apart the various smears against him. Others have done a very good job of all of those things already, as you can read here, here, and here. You can also read detailed accounts of the mockery that his hearings have made of British Justice, with representatives of the US government almost literally pulling strings attached to the person of magistrate Vanessa Baraitser.

You can read all of that for yourselves, and I hope that you will. I will only say this:

There is a long-standing tradition in Western culture of honoring disobedience to immoral laws. In my own country, this tradition was upheld by abolitionists who defied the Fugitive Slave Acts and helped escaped slaves get to freedom; It was upheld at the Nuremberg trials after World War II, when some German officers were hanged for obeying laws that violated more fundamental principles of human rights; And it is enshrined in something much older, known as the “Doctrine of the Lesser Magistrates.”

This doctrine dates back to at least 39AD, and was formally articulated by Christian pastors in the Magdeberg Confession of 1550. It can be summed up as follows:

When those in high authority command that those beneath them enforce laws that are immoral or unjust, those authorities beneath them have a duty to refuse to enforce those laws, and if necessary to actively resist them.

The persecution of Julian Assange is a grotesque abomination of justice. And it represents a direct assault on our ability to hold our governments accountable for their actions. If the government of the United States succeeds in extraditing Julian Assange, or if he is allowed to die in prison in the UK, then we will have lost much more than the life of one man. We will have allowed the most powerful government on earth to cement its lawless rule over us all, to effectively prohibit free and open discourse about its actions in our societies.

So why am I writing to you? Because I don’t believe in politicians. I don’t believe that “elected representatives” really represent anyone other than themselves and the people who keep them in power. But, strangely, I do believe in people. Not all of them of course. There are good people and there are bad people. But I do believe, very strongly, that out of all the people who happen to work at Belmarsh prison, there are some good ones. How many, I don’t know. Maybe a hundred? Maybe thirty? A dozen? Three or four? Maybe just one.

However many of you there are, you are the ones I am speaking to. I believe that there is something you can do–one of you, some of you, all of you–although I can’t say for sure what it might be, to change how this story ends. I am writing to remind you of the Doctrine of Lesser Magistrates, and to urge you to do the right thing. Not only for Julian Assange, but for all of us. Our history is quite literally in your hands.

Be seeing you

 

 

 

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Julian in the Dock, by Israel Shamir – The Unz Review

Posted by M. C. on March 13, 2020

The Court is designed with no other purpose than to exclude the public, on an island accessible only through navigating a maze of dual carriageways, the entire location and architecture of the building is predicated on preventing public access. It is in truth just the sentencing wing of Belmarsh prison.

In the end, none of this role-play mattered since none of the media reported on this exchange, as it wasn’t inserted into the daily press release. The MSM journalists used only these prepared texts, so convenient for copying and pasting into their own reports.

This will ensure isolation and be as close to a secret trial as it’s possible to get.”

https://www.unz.com/ishamir/julian-in-the-dock/

Julian Assange’s extradition hearing has had very little media coverage. Even The Guardian and The New York Times barely mentioned it, though these newspapers made a fortune publishing Assange-provided cables. Unless you had been looking for it, you wouldn’t even know that on February 24 to 27, the first stage of Assange’s extradition hearing was being adjudicated in the secretive Woolwich Crown Court embedded within the huge Belmarsh Prison nicknamed “British Gitmo”. Luckily for us, Ambassador Craig Murray, the indomitable truth fighter, went there, waited in line for hours in the rain, underwent searches and discomfort, and wrote an extensive report (12,000 words) on this travesty of justice that went under the name of a ‘trial’. His reports leave nothing out, from the threatening atmosphere to the sinister legal arguments. He captured the menace and the abuse bordering with public torture, and delivered it to the world, something that none of the journalists on the payroll of the mass media had been allowed to do. Here are some insights from his report in my free rendering augmented with other sources.

The Court is designed with no other purpose than to exclude the public, on an island accessible only through navigating a maze of dual carriageways, the entire location and architecture of the building is predicated on preventing public access. It is in truth just the sentencing wing of Belmarsh prison.

The judge, the Magistrate (or District Judge) Vanessa Baraitser is a modern version of the Hanging Judge George Jeffreys, a female Judge Dredd. She is the chief villain by all descriptions of the trial, not just tolerating but exceeding the demands of the prosecution. The lawyers acting for the prosecution did request some niceties if only for the trial to appear fair. Baraitser had no such pretensions. She went straight for the jugular. If she could, she would hang Assange right away.

This Jewish lady is surrounded by mystery: she has left no trace upon the Internet. A newly born child has more Internet presence than this middle-aged woman. I doubt such a blank slate could be achieved nowadays without the active assistance of the Secret Services.

Ambassador Murray writes: “Ms Baraitser is not fond of photography – she appears to be the only public figure in Western Europe with no photo on the internet. Indeed the average proprietor of a rural car wash has left more evidence of their existence and life history on the Internet than Vanessa Baraitser. Which is no crime on her part, but I suspect the expunging is not achieved without considerable effort. Somebody suggested to me she might be a hologram, but I think not. Holograms have more empathy.”

John Pilger saw Baraitser in action during the previous round of Assange hearings in October 2019. He wrote: “I have sat in many courtrooms and seen judges abuse their positions. This judge, Vanessa Baraitser shocked all of us who were there. Her face was a progression of sneers and imperious indifference; she addressed Julian with cruel arrogance. When Assange spoke, Baraitser contrived boredom; when the prosecuting barrister spoke, she was attentive. When Julian’s barrister described the CIA spying on him, she didn’t yawn, but her disinterest was as expressive. Her knee in the groin was to announce that the next court hearing would be at remote Woolwich, which adjoins Belmarsh Prison and has few seats for the public. This will ensure isolation and be as close to a secret trial as it’s possible to get.”

It turned out to be practically a secret trial. There were MSM journalists, but “not a single one of the most important facts and arguments today has been reported anywhere in the mainstream media.”

On the first day, James Lewis QC for the prosecution tried to drive a wedge between Assange and the media. He claimed that in no way are mainstream outlets like The Guardian and The New York Times threatened by this trial, because Assange was not charged with publishing the cables but only with publishing the names of informants, cultivating Manning and assisting him to attempt computer hacking. The mainstream outlets are not guilty of any crimes, having only published sanitised cables.

But Judge Baraitser didn’t accept this vegetarian approach. She thirsted for blood. She referred to the Official Secrets Act 1989, which declares that merely obtaining and publishing any government secret is an offence. Surely, Baraitser suggested, that meant that newspapers publishing the Manning leaks would be guilty of a serious offence?

Lewis agreed with the judge and admitted that indeed, the mainstream journalists also are guilty, fully denying what he said in his opening statement. In the end, none of this role-play mattered since none of the media reported on this exchange, as it wasn’t inserted into the daily press release. The MSM journalists used only these prepared texts, so convenient for copying and pasting into their own reports.

The main argument of the defence was that the motive for the prosecution was entirely political, and that political offences were specifically excluded under the UK/US extradition treaty. For a normal human judge, that would suffice to dismiss the case. But Baraitser had a trick up her sleeve. Although the US/UK Extradition Treaty forbade political extraditions, this was only the Treaty, and this is not an international court, she said. That exemption does not appear in the UK Extradition Act. Therefore political extradition is not illegal in the UK, as the Treaty has no legal force on her Court. With such a judge, who needs the prosecution? Read the rest of this entry »

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Humanity Is Making A Very Important Decision When It Comes To Assange – Caitlin Johnstone

Posted by M. C. on March 3, 2020

“Should journalists be jailed for exposing US war crimes? Yes or no?”

That’s the debate now. Not Russia. Not Sweden. Not whether he followed proper bail protocol or washed his dishes at the embassy. That’s old stuff. That’s obsolete. That’s playing defense.

Truth, or lies?

Light, or darkness?

https://caitlinjohnstone.com/2020/03/01/humanity-is-making-a-very-important-choice-when-it-comes-to-assange/

The propagandists have all gone dead silent on the WikiLeaks founder they previously were smearing with relentless viciousness, because they no longer have an argument. The facts are all in, and yes, it turns out the US government is certainly and undeniably working to exploit legal loopholes to imprison a journalist for exposing its war crimes. That is happening, and there is no justifying it.

So the narrative managers, by and large, have gone silent.

Which is good. Because it gives us an opening to seize control of the narrative.

It’s time to go on the offensive with this. Assange supporters have gotten so used to playing defense that it hasn’t fully occurred to us to go on a full-blown charge. I’ve been guilty of this as well; I’ll be letting myself get bogged down in some old, obsolete debate with someone about some obscure aspect of the Swedish case or something, not realizing that none of that matters anymore. All the narrative manipulations that were used to get Assange to this point are impotent, irrelevant expenditures of energy compared to the fact that we now have undeniable evidence that the US government is working to set a precedent which will allow it to jail any journalist who exposes its misdeeds, and we can now force Assange’s smearers to confront this reality.

“Should journalists be jailed for exposing US war crimes? Yes or no?”

That’s the debate now. Not Russia. Not Sweden. Not whether he followed proper bail protocol or washed his dishes at the embassy. That’s old stuff. That’s obsolete. That’s playing defense.

Now we play offense: “Should journalists be jailed for exposing US war crimes? Yes or no?”

Demand an answer. Call attention to them and demand that they answer. Dig them out of their hidey holes and make them answer this. Drag them out into the light and make them answer this question in front of everyone. Because that is all this is about now.

Don’t get sidetracked. Don’t get tricked into debating defensively. Force the issue: the US government is trying to establish and normalize the practice of extraditing and imprisoning journalists for exposing its misdeeds. That is the issue to focus on.

You will find that anyone who dares to stick their head above the parapet and smear Assange now gets very, very squirmy if you pin them down and force them to address this issue. Because they cannot answer without admitting that they are wrong. And that they’ve been wrong this entire time. It’s a completely unassailable argument.

We now have two and a half months to prepare for the second half of Julian Assange’s extradition hearing: all of March, all of April, and half of May. We’re going to need all that time to seize control of the narrative and make it very, very clear to the world that a very important decision is about to be made by the powerful on our behalf, if we don’t make that decision for them.

This really is do or die time, humans. If we allow them to extradite and imprison Julian Assange for practicing journalism, that’s it. It’s over. We might as well all stop caring what happens to the world and sit on our hands while the oligarchs drive us to ecological disaster, nuclear annihilation or authoritarian dystopia. It’s impossible to hold power accountable if you’re not even allowed to see what it’s doing.

If we, the many, don’t have the spine to stand up against the few and say “No, we get to find out facts about you bastards and use it to inform our worldview, you don’t get to criminalize that,” then we certainly won’t have the spine it will take to wrest control of this world away from the hands of sociopathic plutocrats and take our fate into our own hands. We are deciding, right now, what we are made of. And what we want to become.

This is it. This is the part of the movie where we collectively choose the red pill or the blue pill. We are collectively being asked a question here, and our answer to that question will determine the entire course we will take as a species.

So what’s it going to be, humanity?

Truth, or lies?

Light, or darkness?

A world where we can hold power to account with the light of truth, or a world where power decides what’s true for us?

A world with free speech and a free press, or a world where journalists are imprisoned whenever they expose the evils of the most powerful institutions on this planet?

A world where we all actively fight to free Assange and get the job done, or a giant, irreversible leap toward the end of humanity as we know it?

Do we free Assange?

Or do we sit complacent with our Netflix and our KFC and trust the authority figures to do what’s best?

Do we take the red pill?

Or do we take the blue one?

Choose your path, humans.

Choose wisely.

 

____________________________

Thanks for reading! 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. 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 Twitter, checking out my podcast on either YoutubesoundcloudApple podcasts or Spotify, following me on Steemit, throwing some money into my hat on Patreon or Paypalpurchasing some of my sweet merchandise, buying my books Rogue Nation: Psychonautical Adventures With Caitlin Johnstone and Woke: A Field Guide for Utopia Preppers. For more info on who I am, where I stand, and what I’m trying to do with this platform, click here. Everyone, racist platforms excluded, has my permission to republish, use or translate any part of this work (or anything else I’ve written) in any way they like free of charge.

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Seth Rich, Julian Assange and Dana Rohrabacher – Will We Ever Know the Truth About the Stolen DNC Files?, by Philip Giraldi – The Unz Review

Posted by M. C. on March 2, 2020

Crossing the Democratic party, especially if a Clinton is involved, is not for the feint of heart.

https://www.unz.com/pgiraldi/seth-rich-julian-assange-and-dana-rohrabacher-will-we-ever-know-the-truth-about-the-stolen-dnc-files/

The media is doing its best to make the Seth Rich story go away, but it seems to have a life of its own, possibly due to the fact that the accepted narrative about how Rich died makes no sense. In its Iatest manifestation, it provides an alternative explanation for just how the information from the Democratic National Committee (DNC) computer somehow made its way to Wikileaks. If you believe that Jeffrey Epstein committed suicide and that he was just a nasty pedophile rather than an Israeli intelligence agent, read no farther because you will not be interested in Rich. But if you appreciate that it was unlikely that the Russians were behind the stealing of the DNC information you will begin to understand that other interested players must have been at work.

For those who are not familiar with it, the backstory to the murder of apparently disgruntled Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich, who some days before may have been the leaker of that organization’s confidential emails to Wikileaks, suggests that a possibly motiveless crime might have been anything but. The Washington D.C. police investigated what they believed to be an attempted robbery gone bad but that theory fails to explain why Rich’s money, credit cards, cell phone and watch were not taken. Wikileaks has never confirmed that Rich was their source in the theft of the proprietary emails that had hitherto been blamed on Russia but it subsequently offered a $20,000 reward for information leading to resolution of the case and Julian Assange, perhaps tellingly, has never publicly clarified whether Rich was or was not one of his contacts, though there is at least one report that he confirmed the relationship during a private meeting.

Answers to the question who exactly stole the files from the DNC server and the emails from John Podesta have led to what has been called Russiagate, a tale that has been embroidered upon and which continues to resonate in American politics. At this point, all that is clearly known is that in the Summer of 2016 files and emails pertaining to the election were copied and then made their way to WikiLeaks, which published some of them at a time that was damaging to the Clinton campaign. Those who are blaming Russia believe that there was a hack of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) server and also of John Podesta’s emails that was carried out by a Russian surrogate or directly by Moscow’s military intelligence arm. They base their conclusion on a statement issued by the Department of Homeland Security on October 7, 2016, and on a longer assessment prepared by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence on January 6, 2017. Both government appraisals implied that there was a U.S. government intelligence agency consensus that there was a Russian hack, though they provided little in the way of actual evidence that that was the case and, in particular, failed to demonstrate how the information was obtained and what the chain of custody was as it moved from that point to the office of WikiLeaks. The January report was particularly criticized as unconvincing, rightly so, because the most important one of its three key contributors, the National Security Agency, had only moderate confidence in its conclusions, suggesting that whatever evidence existed was far from solid.

An alternative view that has been circulating for several years suggests that it was not a hack at all, that it was a deliberate whistleblower-style leak of information carried out by an as yet unknown party, possibly Rich, that may have been provided to WikiLeaks for possible political reasons, i.e. to express disgust with the DNC manipulation of the nominating process to damage Bernie Sanders and favor Hillary Clinton.

There are, of course, still other equally non-mainstream explanations for how the bundle of information got from point A to point B, including that the intrusion into the DNC server was carried out by the CIA which then made it look like it had been the Russians as perpetrators. And then there is the hybrid point of view, which is essentially that the Russians or a surrogate did indeed intrude into the DNC computers but it was all part of normal intelligence agency probing and did not lead to anything. Meanwhile and independently, someone else who had access to the server was downloading the information, which in some fashion made its way from there to WikiLeaks.

Both the hack vs. leak viewpoints have marshaled considerable technical analysis in the media to bolster their arguments, but the analysis suffers from the decidedly strange fact that the FBI never even examined the DNC servers that may have been involved. The hack school of thought has stressed that Russia had both the ability and motive to interfere in the election by exposing the stolen material while the leakers have recently asserted that the sheer volume of material downloaded indicates that something like a higher speed thumb drive was used, meaning that it had to be done by someone with actual physical direct access to the DNC system. Someone like Seth Rich.

What the many commentators on the DNC server issue choose to conclude is frequently shaped by their own broader political views, producing a result that favors one approach over another depending on how one feels about Trump or Clinton. Or the Russians. Perhaps it would be clarifying to regard the information obtained and transferred as a theft rather than either a hack or a leak since the two expressions have taken on a political meaning of their own in the Russiagate context. With all the posturing going on, the bottom line is that the American people and government have no idea who actually stole the material in question, though the Obama Administration was extraordinarily careless in its investigation and Russian President Vladimir Putin has generally speaking been blamed for what took place.

The currently bouncing around the media concerns an offer allegedly made in 2017 by former Republican Congressman Dana Rohrabacher to imprisoned WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. According to Assange’s lawyers, Rohrabacher offered a pardon from President Trump if Assange were to provide information that would attribute the theft or hack of the Democratic National Committee emails to someone other than the Russians. He was presumably referring to Seth Rich.

Assange did not accept the offer, but it should be noted that he has repeatedly stated in any event that he did not obtain the material from a Russian or Russian-linked source. In reality, he might not know the original source of the information. Since Rohrabacher’s original statement, both he and Trump have denied any suggestion that there was a firm offer with a quid pro quo for Assange. Trump claims to hardly know Rohrabacher and also asserts that he has never had a one-on-one meeting with him.

The U.S. media’s coverage of the story has emphasized that Assange’s cooperation would have helped to absolve Russia from the charge of having interfered decisively in the U.S. election, but the possible motive for doing so remains unclear. Russian-American relations are at their lowest point since the Cold War and that has largely been due to policies embraced by Donald Trump, to include the cancellation of START and medium range missile agreements. Trump has also approved NATO military maneuvers and exercises right up to the Russian border and has provided lethal weapons to Ukraine, something that his predecessor Barack Obama balked at. He has also openly confronted the Russians in Syria.

Given all of that back story, it would be odd to find Trump making an offer that focuses only on one issue and does not actually refute the broader claims of Russian interference, which are based on a number of pieces of admittedly often dubious evidence, not just the Clinton and Podesta emails. Which brings the tale back to Seth Rich. If Rich was indeed responsible for the theft of the information and was possibly killed for his treachery, it most materially impacts on the Democratic Party as it reminds everyone of what the Clintons and their allies are capable of. It will also serve as a warning of what might be coming at the Democratic National Convention in Milwaukee in July as the party establishment uses fair means or foul to stop Bernie Sanders. How this will all play out is anyone’s guess, but many of those who pause to observe the process will be thinking of Seth Rich.

Philip M. Giraldi is a former CIA counter-terrorism specialist and military intelligence officer who served nineteen years overseas in Turkey, Italy, Germany, and Spain. He was the CIA Chief of Base for the Barcelona Olympics in 1992 and was one of the first Americans to enter Afghanistan in December 2001. Phil is Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest, a Washington-based advocacy group that seeks to encourage and promote a U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East that is consistent with American values and interests.

(Republished from American Herald Tribune
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Britain adjourns Assange’s US extradition hearing until May | National | heraldmailmedia.com

Posted by M. C. on February 28, 2020

Looks to me like the US puppet UK prosecution court needs time to get it stories straight.

https://www.heraldmailmedia.com/news/nation/britain-adjourns-assange-s-us-extradition-hearing-until-may/article_34ba54c4-af9b-529e-a2c8-6bc3ce1539fc.html

LONDON — A British court adjourned hearing a U.S. extradition request for imprisoned WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange on Thursday after four days that focused on whether or not his alleged crimes were political.

Woolwich Crown Court adjourned the hearing, which is expected to last several months, until a three-week session set to begin May 18. Two short procedural hearings are scheduled in late March and early April.

Assange’s lawyers argued that his extradition should be blocked under British law because Washington has pursued it with “political motives.” Lawyers for the U.S. government said he had broken “ordinary criminal laws.”

The U.S. Justice Department said it charged Australian citizen Assange, 48, with conspiring with former U.S. military intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to leak a trove of classified material in 2010.

Much of Wednesday and Thursday was spent in legal arguments over a requirement for Assange to sit in court away from his lawyers, behind protective screens that his supporters called a “glass cage.”

“What we heard this week also confirmed our position, which is that we do believe he’s been targeted for his contributions to public interest reporting,” Rebecca Vincent of Paris-based Reporters sans Frontieres said following Thursday’s adjournment.

“The United States has no evidence that he created a serious and imminent risk for anyone, and the U.K. should not extradite him to be held on those charges,” Vincent said in a video statement.

The Defend WikiLeaks campaign, which organized protests outside the court and in international cities this week, said “journalism itself is on trial” in the hearing.

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FIB

 

 

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