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Russiagate II: Return of the Low Intelligence Zombies | The American Conservative

Posted by M. C. on February 26, 2020

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/the-intelligence-community-is-the-real-election-meddling-threat/

Forget about foreigners influencing our elections from the outside, the bad guys are already inside the house.

Former CIA director John Brennan (2nd L) and former director of National Intelligence James Clapper (R) arrive at a closed hearing before the Senate (Select) Intelligence Committee May 16, 2018 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

The Russians are back, alongside the American intelligence agencies playing deep inside our elections. Who should we fear more? Hint: not the Russians.

On February 13, the election security czar in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) briefed the House Intelligence Committee that the Russians were meddling again and that they favored Donald Trump. A few weeks earlier, the ODNI briefed Bernie Sanders that the Russians were also meddling in the Democratic primaries, this time in his favor. Both briefings remained secret until this past week, when the former was leaked to the New York Times in time to smear Trump for replacing his DNI, and the latter leaked to the Washington Post ahead of the Nevada caucuses to try and damage Sanders.

Russiagate is back, baby. Everyone welcome Russiagate II.

You didn’t think after 2016 the bad boys of the intel “community” (which makes it sound like they all live together down in Florida somewhere) weren’t going to play their games again, and that they wouldn’t learn from their mistakes? Those errors were in retrospect amateurish. A salacious dossier built around a pee tape? Nefarious academics befriending minor Trump campaign staffers who would tell all to an Aussie ambassador trolling London’s pubs looking for young, fit Americans? Falsified FISA applications when it was all too obvious even Trumpkin greenhorns weren’t dumb enough to sleep with FBI honeypots? You’d think after influencing 85 elections across the globe since World War II, they’d be better at it. But you also knew that after failing to whomp a bumpkin like Trump once, they would keep trying.

Like any good intel op, you start with a tickle, make it seem like the targets are figuring it out for themselves. Get it out there that Trump offered Wikileaks’ Julian Assange a pardon if he would state publicly that Russia wasn’t involved in the 2016 DNC leaks. The story was all garbage, not the least of which because Assange has been clear for years that it wasn’t the Russians. And there was no offer of a pardon from the White House. And conveniently Assange is locked in a foreign prison and can’t comment.

Whatever. Just make sure you time the Assange story to hit the day after Trump pardoned numerous high-profile, white-collar criminals, so even the casual reader had Trump = bad, with a side of Russian conspiracy, on their minds. You could almost imagine an announcer’s voice: “Previously, on Russiagate I…”

Then, only a day after the Assange story (why be subtle?), the sequel hit the theaters with timed leaks to the NYT and WaPo. The mainstream media went Code Red (the CIA has a long history of working with the media to influence elections).

CNN concluded that “America’s Russia nightmare is back.” Maddow was ecstatic, bleating “Here we go again,” recycling her failed conspiracy theories whole. Everybody quoted Adam Schiff firing off that Trump was “again jeopardizing our efforts to stop foreign meddling.” Tying it all to the failed impeachment efforts, another writer said, “’Let the Voters Decide’ doesn’t work if Trump fires his national security staff so Russia can help him again.” The NYT fretted, “Trump is intensifying his efforts to undermine the nation’s intelligence agencies.” John Brennan (after leaking for a while, most boils dry up and go away) said, “we are now in a full-blown national security crisis.” The undead Hillary Clinton tweeted, “Putin’s Puppet is at it again.”

It is clear we’ll be hearing breaking and developing reports about this from sources believed to be close to others through November. Despite the sense of desperation in the recycled memes and the way the media rose on command to the bait, it’s intel community 1, Trump 0.

But it’s still a miss on Bernie. He did well in Nevada despite the leaks, though Russiagate II has a long way to go. Bernie himself assured us of that. Instead of pooh-poohing the idea that the Russians might be working for him, he instead gave it cred, saying, “Some of the ugly stuff on the internet attributed to our campaign may well not be coming from real supporters.”

Sanders handed Russiagate II legs, signaling that he’ll use it as cover for the Bros’ online shenanigans, which were called out at the last debate. That’s playing with fire: it’ll be too easy later on to invoke all this with “Komrade Bernie” memes in the already wary purple states. “Putin and Trump are picking their opponent,” opined Rahm Emanuel to get that ball rolling.

Summary to date: everyone is certain the Russians are working to influence the election…(adopts cartoon Russian accent) but who is the cat and who is the mouse?

Is Putin helping Trump get re-elected to remain his asset in place? Or is Putin helping Bernie “I Honeymooned in the Soviet Union” Sanders to make him look like an asset to help Trump? Or are the Russkies really all in because Bernie is a True Socialist sleeper agent, the Emma Goldman of his time (Bernie’s old enough to have taken Emma to high school prom)? Or is it not the Russians but the American intel community helping Bernie to make it look like Putin is helping Bernie to help Trump? Or is it the Deep State saying the Reds are helping Bernie to hurt Bernie to help their man Bloomberg? Are Russian spies tripping over American spies in caucus hallways trying to get to the front of the room? Who can tell what is really afoot?

See, the devil is in the details, which is why we don’t have any.

The world’s greatest intelligence team can’t seem to come up with anything more specific than “interfering” and “meddling,” as if pesky Aunt Vladimir is gossiping at the general store again. CBS reports that House members pressed the ODNI for evidence, such as phone intercepts, to back up claims that Russia is trying to help Trump, but briefers had none to offer. Even Jake Tapper, a Deep State loyalty card holder, raised some doubts. WaPo, which hosted one of the leaks, had to admit “It is not clear what form that Russian assistance has taken.”

Yes, yes, they have to protect sources and methods, but of course the quickest way to stop Russian influence is to expose it. Instead the ODNI dropped the turd in the punchbowl and walked away. Why not tell the public what media is being bought, which outlets are working, willingly or not, with Putin? Did the Reds implant a radio chip in Biden’s skull? Will we be left hanging with the info-free claim “something something social media” again?

If you’re going to scream that communist zombies with MAGA hats are inside the house, you’re obligated to provide a little bit more information. Why is it when specifics are required, the response is always something like “Well, the Russians are sowing distrust and turning Americans against themselves in a way that weakens national unity” as if we’re all not eating enough green vegetables? Why leave us exposed to Russian influence for even a second when it could all be shut down in an instant?

Because the intel community learned its lesson in Russiagate I. Details can be investigated. That’s where the old story fell apart. The dossier wasn’t true. Michael Cohen never met the Russians in Prague. The a-ha discovery was that voters don’t read much anyway, so just make claims. You’ll never really prosecute or impeach anyone, so why bother with evidence (see everything Ukraine)? Just throw out accusations and let the media fill it all in for you. After all, they managed to convince a large number of Americans Trump’s primary purpose in running for president was to fill vacant hotel rooms at his properties. Let the nature of the source—the brave lads of the intelligence agencies—legitimize the accusations this time, not facts.

It will take a while to figure out who is playing whom. Is the goal to help Trump, help Bernie, or defeat both of them to support Bloomberg? But don’t let the challenge of seeing the whole picture obscure the obvious: the American intelligence agencies are once again inside our election.

The intel community crossed a line in 2016, albeit clumsily (what was all that with Comey and Hillary?), to play an overt role in the electoral process. When that didn’t work out and Trump was elected, they pivoted and drove us to the brink of all hell breaking loose with Russiagate I. The media welcomed and supported them. The Dems welcomed and supported them. Far too many Americans welcomed and supported them in some elaborate version of the ends justifying the means.

The good news from 2016 was that the Deep State turned out to be less competent than we originally feared. But they have learned much from those mistakes, particularly how deft a tool a compliant MSM is. This election will be a historian’s marker for how a decent nation, fully warned in 2016, fooled itself in 2020 into self-harm. Forget about foreigners influencing our elections from the outside; the zombies are already inside the house.

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Assange lawyer brings up claim US mulled ‘kidnapping and poisoning’ of publisher – here’s what we know — RT World News

Posted by M. C. on February 26, 2020

The threat of death has likely not been far from Assange’s mind since he launched WikiLeaks back in 2006.

Last year, his father John Shipton revealed that he warned his son that he could be killed for his work. 

“You want to be careful because they might shoot you, or push you off a bridge,” Shipton recalls telling him.

The DOJ has decided to let their UK sock puppet to do the job in Belmarsh prison.

https://www.rt.com/news/481671-us-assange-kidnap-poison/

The US government plotted to kidnap or kill Julian Assange while he was holed up at the Ecuadorian embassy in London, a UK court was told yesterday during the WikiLeaks publisher’s extradition hearing. What do we know so far?

Assange’s lawyer Edward Fitzgerald told Judge Vanessa Baraitser that the US wanted to make the WikiLeaks founder’s death look like an accident and that US intelligence agencies worked with Spanish company UC Global to extensively spy on Assange inside the embassy.

‘Extreme measures considered’

Fitzgerald claimed that recordings were collected every 14 days and handed over to US intelligence services. The surveillance even included footage of Assange meeting with his legal team, breaching attorney-client privilege, he said.

“There were conversations about whether there should be more extreme measures contemplated, such as kidnapping or poisoning Assange in the embassy,” Fitzgerald told the court.

Assange’s lawyers have long-warned that kidnapping or extraordinary rendition could be on the table for Washington if the US could not get to him any other way.

The source of the claim heard in court on Monday is a whistleblower known only as ‘witness two’, responsible for exposing UC Global owner David Morales and his role in the surveillance operation for “the dark side” — meaning the US government. The witness described the Americans as “desperate.” 

One suggestion was that the embassy door could be left open, which could make a kidnapping look like an “accident.” There wasn’t as much information given about the poisoning claim.

‘Kidnapping’ plan?

This was not the first time claims had been made that the US considered such extreme measures for dealing with Assange.

In a 2019 presentation on the technical aspects of the surveillance operation, German hacker Andy Muller-Maguhn, who had visited Assange inside the embassy, claimed that kidnapping and poisoning were options for the US government and that all doors and windows in the embassy were documented so various options could be explored.

The surveillance was so intense that bugs were even implanted in a fire extinguisher and in a bathroom that Assange used, he said.

Last October, during a hearing to request a delay to February’s extradition, Assange’s legal team also argued that the US had tried to “kidnap and harm” the journalist. Mark Summers QC also brought up the fact that the US had been “intruding” on conversations between him and his lawyers, but Judge Baraitser denied the request for more time.

‘They might shoot you’

The threat of death has likely not been far from Assange’s mind since he launched WikiLeaks back in 2006.

Last year, his father John Shipton revealed that he warned his son that he could be killed for his work.

“You want to be careful because they might shoot you, or push you off a bridge,” Shipton recalls telling him.

Assange was dragged from London’s Ecuadorian embassy in April 2019 and has been kept at the maximum-security Belmarsh Prison since. He had spent seven years inside the embassy, fearing extradition to the US, after skipping bail in relation to a Swedish sexual assault case which his lawyers say was politically motivated and was later dropped.

His long-awaited US extradition hearing will continue on Wednesday at 10am when the defense and prosecution will examine the details of a 2003 UK-US extradition treaty.

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Assange’s Extradition Hearing Reveals Trump’s War on Free Press – Antiwar.com Original

Posted by M. C. on February 25, 2020

Edward Fitzgerald QC indicated Assange has become a target of Trump’s “war on leakers and journalists.” He stated that his client was “the obvious symbol of all that Trump condemned. He had brought American war crimes to the attention of the world.”

“Mr. Rohrabacher visited Julian Assange and discussed a preemptive pardon in exchange for personal assistance to President Trump in the enquiry then ongoing concerning Russian involvement in the hacking and leaking of the Democratic National Committee emails… ” [3.7]

Fitzgerald QC continued: “We say that this whole pardon incident shows that, just as the prosecution was initiated in December 2017 for political purposes, so too the Trump administration had been prepared to use the threat of prosecution as a means of extortion to obtain personal political advantage from Mr. Assange.” [3.9]

https://original.antiwar.com/Nozomi_Hayase/2020/02/24/assanges-extradition-hearing-reveals-trumps-war-on-free-press/

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On Monday, WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange’s one-week extradition hearing began at Woolwich Crown Court in SouthEast London. The judge heard the opening arguments for the prosecution and defense. The prosecution began, accusing the journalist who exposed the US government’s war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan of espionage charges that would carry 175 years in jail.

The US-based investigative journalist Kevin Gosztola, who was at the media annex during the proceeding, reported that U.S. Government barrister, James Lewis QC, said that prosecutors “are not criminalizing the publication of classified materials but rather the publication of names of informants or dissidents who help the US and allies in military operations.”

Gosztola noted that James Lewis QC “listed off specific documents that Assange is accused of releasing which allegedly contained names of ‘human sources’ that were endangered.” When asked by the judge if the offense of publishing would extend to a newspaper, the Prosecution replied, “1989 Official Secrets Act would cover [that]” and “If a journalist or newspaper publishes secret information likely to cause harm in the categories, it commits an offense.”

Updating the media on the hearing, the WikiLeaks Editor-in-Chief Kristinn Hrafnsson reminded the crowd that this is “journalism on trial” and stated that the US argument is repeating the same old line they used 10 years ago, while dismissing the importance of the harm the US was doing, as revealed WikiLeaks by in their 2010-2011 publications. Hrafnsson rejected the US government’s claims that WikiLeaks publications put lives at risk, stating that during the 2013 Manning Trial, the US government could not prove any harm, and had to admit that no physical harm had occurred to a single individual due to WikiLeaks revelations.

Assange’s defense lawyer Edward Fitzgerald QC argued that this prosecution is politically motivated and so the UK can’t extradite Assange, since their treaty with the US strictly forbids extradition for a political offense.

The defense for Assange provided a background that led to this prosecution of his client. He noted that “President Trump came into power with a new approach to freedom of speech…. Effectively declaring war on investigative journalists.” He said that “President Trump met with FBI Director James Comey and agreed that they should be ‘putting a head on a pike’ as a message to journalists over leaks, and ‘putting journalists in jail”.

Edward Fitzgerald QC indicated Assange has become a target of Trump’s “war on leakers and journalists.” He stated that his client was “the obvious symbol of all that Trump condemned. He had brought American war crimes to the attention of the world.”

Then, examples of egregious government “abuse of power” and the “abuse of the rule of law” were presented to the court as key defenses. These include the breach of client and attorney confidentiality. Assange’s conversations with lawyers were spied on by a Spanish security firm hired by the US while he was living under political asylum inside the London Ecuadorian Embassy. His grant of asylum was explicitly to protect him from the risk of extradition to the US; a risk related to his publishing activities with WikiLeaks.

A further breach of legal privilege occurred after the Ecuadorian government illegally breached his asylum and evicted Assange, having the UK police arrest him within the embassy. The US authorities were then permitted, by the embassy, to seize his legally privileged materials.

On the first day of the hearing, the unprecedented scale of the assault on the journalist was revealed. Extreme measures employed in the targeting Assange included plans to try to kidnap or poison Assange while he was in the embassy.

As another example of abuse of process, Fitzgerald QC brought up Republican Congressman Dana Rohrabacher’s alleged pardon offer, made to Mr. Assange in August 2017. The opening summary of defense case states:

“Mr. Rohrabacher visited Julian Assange and discussed a preemptive pardon in exchange for personal assistance to President Trump in the enquiry then ongoing concerning Russian involvement in the hacking and leaking of the Democratic National Committee emails… ” [3.7]

Fitzgerald QC continued: “We say that this whole pardon incident shows that, just as the prosecution was initiated in December 2017 for political purposes, so too the Trump administration had been prepared to use the threat of prosecution as a means of extortion to obtain personal political advantage from Mr. Assange.” [3.9]

From the US government spying on the embassy, to the alleged extortion, Julian Assange’s lawyer argued, this extradition case “is not about criminal justice, it’s about the manipulation of the system to ensure the United States could make an example of Assange.”

As the extradition hearing began, hundreds of supporters gathered outside the courthouse, chanting for freedom of the WikiLeaks founder. Major human rights organizations and press freedom groups, including Amnesty International and The Committee to Protect Journalists, have now come out strongly against Assange’s extradition to the US.

After the first day of monitoring the hearing, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) UK bureau director Rebecca Vincent noted, “Nothing we heard today was surprising, and has reinforced our position. We believe he has been targeted for his contributions to public interest reporting.”

Note:

 

 

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The Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity : Trump’s Betrayal of Julian Assange

Posted by M. C. on February 25, 2020


It is ironic that a President Trump who has been victim of so much deep state meddling has done the deep state’s bidding when it comes to Assange and Wikileaks.

http://ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2020/february/24/trump-s-betrayal-of-julian-assange/

Written by Ron Paul

One thing we’ve learned from the Trump Presidency is that the “deep state” is not just some crazy conspiracy theory. For the past three years we’ve seen that deep state launch plot after plot to overturn the election.

It all started with former CIA director John Brennan’s phony “Intelligence Assessment” of Russian involvement in the 2016 election. It was claimed that all 17 US intelligence agencies agreed that Putin put Trump in office, but we found out later that the report was cooked up by a handful of Brennan’s hand-picked agents.

Donald Trump upset the Washington apple cart as presidential candidate and in so doing he set elements of the deep state in motion against him.

One of the things candidate Donald Trump did to paint a deep state target on his back was his repeated praise of Wikileaks, the pro-transparency media organization headed up by Australian journalist Julian Assange. More than 100 times candidate Trump said “I love Wikileaks” on the campaign trail.

Trump loved it when Wikileaks exposed the criminality of Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party, as it cheated to deprive Bernie Sanders of the Democratic Party nomination. Wikileaks’ release of the DNC emails exposed the deep corruption at the heart of US politics, and as a candidate Trump loved the transparency.

Then Trump got elected.

The real tragedy of the Trump presidency is nowhere better demonstrated than in Trump’s 180 degree turn away from Wikileaks and its founder Julian Assange. “I know nothing about Wikileaks,” he said as president. “It’s really not my thing.”

US pressure and bribes to the Ecuadorian government ended Assange’s asylum and his seven years in a room at the Ecuadorian embassy in London. After his dramatic arrest by London’s Metropolitan Police last April, he has been effectively tortured in British jails at the behest of the US deep state.


Today, Monday the 24th of February, Assange faces an extradition hearing in a UK courthouse. The Trump Administration – led by a man who praised Assange’s work – seeks a show trial of Assange worthy of the worst of the Soviet era. The US is seeking a 175 year prison sentence.

The Trump Administration argues that the Australian Assange should be tried and convicted of espionage against a country of which he is not a citizen. At the same time the Trump Administration argues that the First Amendment does not apply to Assange because he is not an American citizen! So Assange is subject to US law when it comes to publishing information embarrassing to the US deep state but he is not subject to the law of the land – the US Constitution – which protects all journalists and is the backbone of our system of government.

It is ironic that a President Trump who has been victim of so much deep state meddling has done the deep state’s bidding when it comes to Assange and Wikileaks. President Trump should preempt the inevitable US show trial of Assange by granting the journalist blanket pardon under the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.

The deep state Trump is serving by persecuting Assange is the same deep state that continues to plot Trump’s own ouster. Free Assange!


Copyright © 2020 by RonPaul Institute. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit and a live link are given.

 

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U.N.’s Specialist On Torture To Visit Assange in Belmarsh ...

 

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Doctors raise alarm over Britain’s treatment of ailing Julian Assange

Posted by M. C. on February 18, 2020

“Much of that torture will have taken place in a prison medical ward, on doctors’ watch,” they said.

“The medical profession cannot afford to stand silently by, on the wrong side of torture and the wrong side of history, while such a travesty unfolds.”

Dead-of-Night-006-1200x720

Who is the puppet?

 

https://www.heraldmailmedia.com/news/nation/doctors-raise-alarm-over-britain-s-treatment-of-ailing-julian/article_480bb697-f9c1-5a4a-97df-e23219bdff16.html

LONDON — More than 100 medical professionals have accused Britain of denying proper health care to jailed WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and continuing to allow treatment that a U.N. envoy said amounted to torture.

The doctors urged Britain to end the “psychological torture and medical neglect of Julian Assange … before it’s too late.”

“Should Assange die in a UK prison, as the U.N. special rapporteur on torture has warned, he will have effectively been tortured to death,” the Doctors for Assange group said in a letter to medical journal The Lancet.

“Much of that torture will have taken place in a prison medical ward, on doctors’ watch,” they said.

“The medical profession cannot afford to stand silently by, on the wrong side of torture and the wrong side of history, while such a travesty unfolds.”

Australian citizen Assange, 48, is due to face an extradition hearing in London next week, after the U.S. government accused him of conspiring with former U.S. military intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to leak a trove of classified material in 2010.

The documents relate to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and to information on intelligence sources.

In November, Nils Melzer, the U.N. rapporteur on torture, said the British government had shown “outright contempt for Mr. Assange’s rights and integrity” by ignoring the advice of Melzer and medical experts who visited Assange at a London prison.

Melzer said Assange, who had lived inside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London for seven years before his arrest last year, displayed “all the symptoms typical for prolonged exposure to psychological torture.”

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I am from the government, mate, and am here to help.

 

 

 

 

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Assange’s Extradition Case: Critical Moment for the Antiwar Movement – Antiwar.com Original

Posted by M. C. on February 17, 2020

While media have become stenographers to power and have long betrayed ordinary
people, WikiLeaks has defended the public’s right to know by publishing more
than 10 million documents, with a pristine record of accuracy exposing human
rights abuses, government spying and war crimes on an unprecedented scale.

If the Trump administration were to succeed in extraditing Assange to the US, where he will not receive a fair trial, it will be the death of investigative journalism and the victory of senseless wars. If this is ever allowed to happen, the murder of an innocent journalist will not be the end, but only the beginning: the unchecked power of the US Empire will bring misery and death to countless innocents around the world, and tyranny inevitably follow with wars without end.

https://original.antiwar.com/Nozomi_Hayase/2020/02/16/assanges-extradition-case-critical-moment-for-the-antiwar-movement/

Last week, Leader of the UK opposition Jeremy Corbyn challenged Prime Minister Boris Johnson in the House of Commons on the US extradition request for WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange.

Corbyn stated that Assange had been charged by the US “for exposing war crimes, the murder of civilians and large-scale corruption”. Backing the Council of Europe, who warned that the prosecution of Assange sets a dangerous precedent for journalists and called for his immediate release, he asked:

“Will the Prime Minister agree with the Parliamentary report that’s going to the Council of Europe that this extradition should be opposed and the rights of journalists and whistleblowers upheld for the good of all of us?”

Corbyn has risen to political prominence for his lifelong activism against military action. He opposed the 2003 Iraq War and also voted against British military involvement in Afghanistan and Libya. The Labour leader, who is known for his staunch commitment to democratic rights and peace, understood very well the value of WikiLeaks’ disclosure of government secrets.

WikiLeaks’ publication of documents concerning US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan was a major contribution to the antiwar movement. The release of the Collateral Murder video provided a rare window into modern asymmetric warfare, revealing the war crime of a US military airstrike killing innocent civilians in a suburb of Iraq.

Corbyn, who has not mentioned Assange’s plight over the last 10 months, and with now less than two weeks before his extradition hearing, finally broke his silence. In his question to the Prime Minister, he fiercely asserted the voice of the antiwar movement at the Parliamentary session.

The Fourth Estate as a vehicle for peace

This decisive action by Corbyn came shortly after Julian Assange was nominated for the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize, along with whistleblowers Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden. The nomination letter stated that these three need to be recognized for their “unprecedented contributions to the pursuit of peace and their immense personal sacrifices to promote peace for all”. It acknowledged how they have “exposed the architecture of war and strengthened the architecture of peace”. In the following week, Assange also won the 2020 Gary Webb Freedom of the Press Award, adding another prize to his list of journalism awards.

Assange understood the critical role of media in keeping peace. He once noted: “Populations don’t like wars. They have to be lied into it. That means we can be ‘truthed’ into peace.” Speaking in defense of the disclosure of classified US military documents on the Iraq War, Assange pointed out how “most wars that are started by democracies involve lying” and described, “the start of the Iraq War involved very serious lies that were repeated and amplified by some parts of the press”.

The Iraq War is a good example of the massive failure of established media in the West. Colin Powell’s fabrication at the UN Security Council about Iraq’s supposed weapons of mass destruction was a particular low point for the US in its base war propaganda.

While media have become stenographers to power and have long betrayed ordinary people, WikiLeaks has defended the public’s right to know by publishing more than 10 million documents, with a pristine record of accuracy exposing human rights abuses, government spying and war crimes on an unprecedented scale. By bringing truth to the public, the whistleblowing site transformed the Fourth Estate into becoming a powerful vehicle for peacemaking.

Australian MPs’ initiative

In the EU, the number of Parliament members, lawmakers and ministers in support of Assange is growing. In Assange’s home country, Australia, concern for one of the nation’s legendary journalists is becoming stronger. As more and more people voiced disappointment with the inaction of the Australian government, individuals inside the institution began to take action.

On February 10, Australian MP Andrew Wilkie tabled a historic petition in Australia’s Parliament calling for an end to the US extradition. As he urged the government to bring Assange back home, he added:

“That the perpetrator of those war crimes, America, is now seeking to extradite Mr. Assange to face 17 counts of espionage and one of hacking is unjust in the extreme and arguably illegal under British law.”

Then, a day later, he announced that he would travel to London to visit Assange in Belmarsh prison, where he has been kept in complete isolation until recently. Another Australian MP George Christensen will also visit Assange in London and together they plan to lobby Britain for his freedom.

Momentum is now building up, with political figures demonstrating great leadership in urging their governments to do the right thing. In the US, during the lead-up to Mr. Assange’s UK hearing, the Democratic Party’s primary nomination contest is intensifying. Candidates race to win the right to challenge Trump for the 2020 presidential election.

Presidential race to rescue the free press?

Who among the US presidential candidates would be the next to follow Corbyn’s great lead to defend Assange, in order to rescue the free press that is now under attack by the Trump administration?

So far, strong support is shown by Democratic Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, Hawaii’s congresswoman and the first female combat veteran to ever run for president. She indicated that, if elected President in 2020, she would drop all US charges against Julian Assange and pardon Edward Snowden.

What about the positions of other major candidates? Both the Vermont senator Bernie Sanders and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren recognized the dangerous precedent that the Trump administration’s indictment against Assange poses for press freedom, yet they fall short in coming forward to strongly defend a journalist imprisoned in London’s HMP Belmarsh, who is now facing 175 years in a US prison for his publishing activities exposing US war crimes.

Will Sanders, who is viewed by many as America’s counterpart to UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, stand up for what has become the most essential media freedom issue of our time? Would Warren, who promises to take on Wall Street to protect economic opportunities for working families, show the same enthusiasm to protect media freedom? Will any of them challenge Joe Biden for the remarks he made while he was Vice-President to Barack Obama comparing Assange to a “high-tech terrorist”?

Bill Weld, a former Massachusetts governor, who now has become the only opponent to challenge Trump for the Republican ticket, indicated that his administration would not press Espionage Act charges against Julian Assange.

Grassroots action

While presidential candidates are lacking in their courage to defend Assange, support toward the WikiLeaks founder is growing at the grassroots level among the American people. Rick Sterling, the Bay Area-based investigative journalist, recently launched a new petition to intervene on behalf of Assange’s freedom. The petition, endorsed by the National Lawyers Guild and Veterans for Peace, is addressed to Vanessa Baraitser, who will be the presiding judge at Assange’s formal extradition hearing starting February 24, urging her to exercise judicial independence and reject the US extradition request.

Sterling, who is a member of Syria Solidarity Movement, has been critical of the US military invasion of the Middle East, and has traveled to London with other concerned friends to investigate Assange’s current situation. He said, “Once there, we were inspired by the dedication of activists who protest outside Belmarsh Prison every Saturday and in Trafalgar Square every Saturday night. People from around the world are coming to express their solidarity.”

He said that he initiated this petition because he wanted to make it known that  “there are informed American citizens who adamantly OPPOSE what our government is doing”. He added: “We want the judge to consider all the facts and not be pressured or bullied into extraditing Assange.”

In defense of peace

Assange’s US extradition hearing is set to start for five days on February 24, and will then resume on May 18 for three more weeks. His first day in the court is marked as a Global Day of Protests, where supporters around the world are organizing rallies and demonstrations. In the US, supporters across the country are planning to gather for solidarity actions planned in Washington DC throughout the first week of his hearing.

Nils Melzer, the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture who investigated Mr. Assange’s situation, spoke at a recent public rally in London about how Julian Assange reported on torture conducted by the US government, but which has never been prosecuted. He reminded the audience that Assange has been and continues to be psychologically tortured, and that if he were to be extradited to the US he would be tortured until the day he dies.

The US government’s extradition and prosecution of Julian Assange is a critical moment for press freedom, but also for the antiwar movement. This aggressive government’s assault on journalists poses grave danger to peace, for without a press that is free and independent, truth that has the power to stop wars is defenseless.

If the Trump administration were to succeed in extraditing Assange to the US, where he will not receive a fair trial, it will be the death of investigative journalism and the victory of senseless wars. If this is ever allowed to happen, the murder of an innocent journalist will not be the end, but only the beginning: the unchecked power of the US Empire will bring misery and death to countless innocents around the world, and tyranny inevitably follow with wars without end. We need to solidify our opposition to the US extradition of Julian Assange, because peace needs a great public defense.

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Julian Assange Could Die In Prison Doctors Warn | Disclose.tv

 

 

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RAY McGOVERN: German TV Exposes the Lies That Entrapped Julian Assange – Consortiumnews

Posted by M. C. on February 8, 2020

Opposition to extraditing Assange to the U.S. is becoming more widespread. Another straw in an Assange-favorable wind came last week when the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) called for Assange’s immediate release, ending years of silence by such European institutions.

https://consortiumnews.com/2020/02/06/ray-mcgovern-german-tv-exposes-the-lies-that-entrapped-julian-assange/

By Ray McGovern

Special to Consortium News

Ray McGovernTruth has broken through for those confused about how a publisher ended up in a maximum security prison in London with a one-way extradition ticket to court in the U.S. and the rest of his life behind bars.

One of the main German TV channels (ZDF) ran two prime-time segments on Wednesday night exposing authorities in Sweden for having “made up” the story about Julian Assange being a rapist.

Until last night most Germans, as well as other consumers of “major media” in Europe, had no idea of the trickery that enmeshed Assange in a spider-web almost certainly designed by the U.S. and woven by accomplices in vassal states like Sweden, Britain and, eventually, Ecuador.

ZDF punctured that web by interviewing UN Rapporteur on Torture Nils Melzer. One ZDF “Heute Sendung” segment (in German) is especially telling from minute 13:00 to 15:30 . The second is ZDF “Heute Journal” (minute 25:49 to 30:19.)

Both ZDF programs show Melzer being interviewed, with minimal interruption or commentary, letting his findings speak for themselves about how allegations against Assange were “made up” and manipulated to hold him captive.

The particularly scurrilous allegation that led many, including initially Melzer, to believe Assange was a rapist — a tried and tested smear technique of covert action — was especially effective.  The Swedes never formally charged him with rape — or with any crime, for that matter.  ZDF exhibited some of the documents Melzer uncovered that show the sexual allegations were just as “invented” as the evidence for WMD before the attack on Iraq.

Melzer had previously admitted to having been so misled by media portrayals of Assange that he was initially reluctant to investigate Assange’s case.  Here is what Melzer wrote last year in an op-ed marking the International Day in Support of Torture Victims, June 26.

No major media would print or post it. Medium.com posted it under the title “Demasking the Torture of Julian Assange.”

Excerpts:

“But surely, I found myself pleading, Assange must be a selfish narcissist, skateboarding through the Ecuadorian Embassy and smearing feces on the walls? Well, all I heard from Embassy staff is that the inevitable inconveniences of his accommodation at their offices were handled with mutual respect and consideration.

This changed only after the election of President Moreno, when they were suddenly instructed to find smears against Assange and, when they didn’t, they were soon replaced. The President even took it upon himself to bless the world with his gossip, and to personally strip Assange of his asylum and citizenship without any due process of law.

In the end it finally dawned on me that I had been blinded by propaganda, and that Assange had been systematically slandered to divert attention from the crimes he exposed.” (Emphasis added.)

Melzer ended his op-ed with this somber warning:

“… This is not only about protecting Assange, but about preventing a precedent likely to seal the fate of Western democracy. For once telling the truth has become a crime, while the powerful enjoy impunity, it will be too late to correct the course. We will have surrendered our voice to censorship and our fate to unrestrained tyranny.” (Emphasis added.)

Melzer’s indefatigable efforts to expose what Assange has gone through, including “psychological torture,” met with some modest success in the days before the German ZDF aired their stories. Embedded in the linked article is by far the best interview of Melzer on Assange.

Opposition to extraditing Assange to the U.S. is becoming more widespread. Another straw in an Assange-favorable wind came last week when the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) called for Assange’s immediate release, ending years of silence by such European institutions.

It remains, nonetheless, an uphill struggle to prompt the British to think back 800 years to the courage of the nobles who wrested the Magna Carta from King John.

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WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange Facing 17 New Charges That Could ...

 

 

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The Trial of Joshua Schulte – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on February 8, 2020

Better to destroy their minds, their sanity and their reputations, and lock them away in Supermax.

…and we may wonder at the strangeness of classification and clearance rules that required the FBI, on behalf of the DoJ, to gather its court evidence about the CIA cyber tools at a Starbuck’s, for the reliable wifi among other things. 

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2020/02/karen-kwiatkowski/the-trial-of-joshua-schulte/

By

The Vault 7 leaks revealed to Americans an ambitious and venal organization that sees enemies all around it. When the CIA found out about the leak, along with the rest of the world, on March 7th, 2017, it was horrified – in part because the leak had occurred a year earlier unbeknownst to the agency, and in part because of the loss of years and billions of US taxpayer dollars invested in the development of secret malware and spytools.

Cyberscoop has some useful articles on the case, just in case no one saw anything in the mainstream media.

Joshua Schulte’s trial started this week, and the transcript of the first day is interesting. We learn that the quality of federal government expert witnesses can be hysterically low, and that defense lawyer Sabrina Schroff has a gold standard sense of humor.

We may marvel at the loose security in the CIA – as recently as 2016 – and its sexist and racist banter behind vault doors, and we may wonder at the strangeness of classification and clearance rules that required the FBI, on behalf of the DoJ, to gather its court evidence about the CIA cyber tools at a Starbuck’s, for the reliable wifi among other things.

We may tentatively conclude that it is way more fun to be tried for crimes against the state – that you probably did not commit – in the US District Court, Southern District of New York, than it is to be tried by the national security state’s wholly-owned subsidiary, the US District Court, Eastern District of Virginia.

Joshua Schulte has been incarcerated since his arrest in August 2017, on child pornography charges – charges that have since been split out from his current trial.

The US reporting on this case is typical: accusatory Fed-speak and respeak, questionable blogs carrying the torch of righteous patriotism, and a generalized focus on the horrid terribleness of the whole thing from the CIA’s point of view, and my goodness, the nasty man is also nuts, trying to sue the government from prison, claiming he’s innocent, he’s been tortured, and he will work to destroy the US government if he ever gets out of jail.

The situation for Schulte is perilous, whether he is innocent or guilty.  He’s behaving kind of like an innocent guy, in the sense that since his arrest he has consistently denied all the charges, and accused his former employer of planting the porn on his computer as a means of justifying his arrest. The feds clearly don’t have the usable evidence they would actually need to convict Schulte on any of the charges.  I’m sure they will convict, through parallel construction or normal fabrication, but the destruction of Schulte’s reputation and tainting any potential jury is typical.  It’s how the CIA and FBI deals with its enemies on any normal day.  Of course, the federal government would never put illegal software or distasteful material on your computer.

Julian Assange has been at UK’s Belmarsh Prison since last spring, where he has been physically, mentally and chemically tortured by US contractors on US orders. The CIA and its contractors conducted these euphemistically described “interviews” for months, seeking passwords, codes, names and encryption keys that would allow the US DoJ and CIA to track down the donors of material to Wikileaks, and arrest or extradite them.  This work was largely complete by the end of the summer, and a number of arrests have been made throughout European countries. Information tortured out of a stubborn Australian by Americans in Britain – cloaked, ironed, laundered, and dyed – is already being used in a variety of ongoing and upcoming cases. These are kangaroo courts, trials conducted by mad submarine captains obsessed with shirttails and strawberries, proposing an Alice in Wonderland world of evidence, like Lewis Carroll’s unicorn, “…if you’ll believe in me, I’ll believe in you. Is that a bargain?”

We know that we are cannot know the identities of the five CIA lawyers who repeated advised the magistrate during court proceedings in Assange’s brief public appearance last November.  We know that all ongoing and upcoming trials of suspected Wikileaks’s contributors are being prosecuted using information gained through the chemical and physical interrogation of the famous inmate the Belmarsh staff nicknamed “Prisoner Bootsy,” a play on the UK’s ubiquitous drugstore chain.

We know that the CIA and FBI have to tread carefully in any trials relating to Wikileaks, in part because of what might be revealed of the US Government’s compromise of the tools and methods of potential whistleblowers, like Tor, the maturation of the US surveillance state, and the sophistication of US information warfare against and manipulation of its own citizens. The Democratic wing of the US uniparty is not interested in the Seth Rich leaks to Wikileaks, nor is it interested in discovering if their problematic caucus app is bugged, malwared, and accessible in real-time to certain US government agencies.  The GOP wing of the uniparty is likewise uninterested in bringing its celebrated and massive security and surveillance state to heel, as if that devil dog is even on a leash they hold.

Better to destroy their minds, their sanity and their reputations, and lock them away in Supermax.

While the dystopian plain enjoys the soothing release of a national championship, complete with impossibly fit middle-aged pole dancers, and applaud the Blue and Grey Theater of Impeachment, there is another very different world, where puppetmasters meet to drink and dine, discuss and plot.

Our country is not openly wracked with war, violence and disaster yet.  But like those who live in war zones, hot zones, and dead zones, Americans must tread carefully, trust sparingly, and keep our eyes wide open.

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Snowden Warns Targeting of Greenwald and Assange Shows Governments ‘Ready to Stop the Presses—If They Can’ | Common Dreams News

Posted by M. C. on January 30, 2020

” Snowden wrote of Greenwald’s case that “as ridiculous as these charges are, they are also dangerous—and not only to Greenwald: They are a threat to press freedom everywhere. The legal theory used by the Brazilian prosecutors—that journalists who publish leaked documents are engaged in a criminal ‘conspiracy’ with the sources who provide those documents—is virtually identical to the one advanced in the Trump administration’s indictment of [Assange] in a new application of the historically dubious Espionage Act.”

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2020/01/27/snowden-warns-targeting-greenwald-and-assange-shows-governments-ready-stop-presses

In an op-ed published Sunday night by the Washington Post, National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden connected Brazilian federal prosecutors’ recent decision to file charges against American investigative journalist Glenn Greenwald to the U.S. government’s efforts to prosecute WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

“The most essential journalism of every era is precisely that which a government attempts to silence. These prosecutions demonstrate that they are ready to stop the presses—if they can.”
—Edward Snowden, NSA whistleblower

Snowden, board of directors president at Freedom of the Press Foundation, is among those who have spoken out since Greenwald was charged with cybercrime on Jan. 21. Reporters and human rights advocates have denounced the prosecution as “a straightforward attempt to intimidate and retaliate against Greenwald and The Intercept for their critical reporting” on officials in Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro’s government.

Greenwald, who is also on Freedom of the Press Foundation’s board, is one of the journalists to whom Snowden leaked classified materials in 2013.

As Common Dreams reported last week, the NSA whistleblower, who has lived with asylum protection in Russia for the past several years, is also among the political observers who have pointed out that although even some of Greenwald’s critics have rallied behind him in recent days, Assange has not experienced such solidarity. Assange is being held in a London prison, under conditions that have raised global alarm, while he fights against extradition to the United States.

In his Post op-ed, “Trump Has Created a Global Playbook to Attack Those Revealing Uncomfortable Truths,” Snowden wrote of Greenwald’s case that “as ridiculous as these charges are, they are also dangerous—and not only to Greenwald: They are a threat to press freedom everywhere. The legal theory used by the Brazilian prosecutors—that journalists who publish leaked documents are engaged in a criminal ‘conspiracy’ with the sources who provide those documents—is virtually identical to the one advanced in the Trump administration’s indictment of [Assange] in a new application of the historically dubious Espionage Act.”

Snowden—who said in December that he believes that if he returned to the United States, he’d spend his life in prison for exposing global mass surveillance practices of the U.S. government—explained:

In each case, the charges came as an about-face from an earlier position. The federal police in Brazil stated as recently as December that they had formally considered whether Greenwald could be said to have participated in a crime, and unequivocally found that he had not. That rather extraordinary admission itself followed an order in August 2019 from a Brazilian Supreme Court judge—prompted by displays of public aggression against Greenwald by Bolsonaro and his allies—explicitly barring federal police from investigating Greenwald altogether. The Supreme Court judge declared that doing so would “constitute an unambiguous act of censorship.”

For Assange, the Espionage Act charges arrived years after the same theory had reportedly been considered—and rejected—by the former president Barack Obama’s Justice Department. Though the Obama administration was no fan of WikiLeaks, the former spokesman for Obama’s Attorney General Eric Holder later explained. “The problem the department has always had in investigating Julian Assange is there is no way to prosecute him for publishing information without the same theory being applied to journalists,” said the former Justice Department spokesman Matthew Miller. “And if you are not going to prosecute journalists for publishing classified information, which the department is not, then there is no way to prosecute Assange.”

Although Obama’s administration was historically unfriendly to journalists and leakers of classified materials, President Donald Trump’s administration has taken things a step further with its indictment of Assange. “The Trump administration,” he wrote, “with its disdain for press freedom matched only by its ignorance of the law, has respected no such limitations on its ability to prosecute and persecute, and its unprecedented decision to indict a publisher under the Espionage Act has profoundly dangerous implications for national security journalists around the country.”

Highlighting another similarity between the cases of Greenwald and Assange—that “their relentless crusades have rendered them polarizing figures (including, it may be noted, to each other)”—Snowden suggested that perhaps “authorities in both countries believed the public’s fractured opinions of their perceived ideologies would distract the public from the broader danger these prosecutions pose to a free press.” However, he noted, civil liberties groups and publishers have recognized both cases as “efforts to deter the most aggressive investigations by the most fearless journalists, and to open the door to a precedent that could soon still the pens of even the less cantankerous.”

“The most essential journalism of every era is precisely that which a government attempts to silence,” Snowden concluded. “These prosecutions demonstrate that they are ready to stop the presses—if they can.”

Journalists and press freedom advocates have shared Snowden’s op-ed on social media since Sunday night.

Trevor Timm, executive director of Freedom of the Press Foundation, tweeted Monday morning that Snowden’s piece “should be read in tandem” with an op-ed published Sunday in the New York Times by James Risen, a former reporter for the newspaper who is now at The Intercept. Risen also argued that “the case against Mr. Greenwald is eerily similar to the Trump administration’s case against Mr. Assange.”

And, according to Risen, Greenwald concurred:

In an interview with me on Thursday, Mr. Greenwald agreed that there are parallels between his case and Mr. Assange’s, and added that he doesn’t believe that Mr. Bolsonaro would have taken action against an American journalist if he had thought President Trump would oppose it.

“Bolsonaro worships Trump, and the Bolsonaro government is taking the signal from Trump that this kind of behavior is acceptable,” he said.

Notably, Risen added, “the State Department has not issued any statement of concern about Brazil’s case against Mr. Greenwald, which in past administrations would have been common practice.”

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Snowden and Greenwald

American whistleblower Edward Snowden in a Hong Kong hotel room with journalist Glenn Greenwald in a scene from Laura Poitras’ documentary film Citizenfour. (Photo: Citizenfour/screenshot)

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BREAKING EXCLUSIVE: Christopher Wray’s FBI Caught in Another LIE and Cover Up – FBI EMAILS ON SETH RICH UNCOVERED

Posted by M. C. on January 28, 2020

https://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2020/01/breaking-exclusive-christopher-wrays-fbi-caught-in-another-lie-and-cover-up-fbi-emails-on-seth-rich-uncovered/

Joe Hoft

Christopher Wray’s FBI lied again.  His FBI claimed that Seth Rich’s DNC computer and emails were investigated upon his death but then his FBI backtracked and claimed no related docs were available in a FOIA request.

Now we know it was just another Deep State lie!

We reported on September 19th

that Texas businessman Ed Butowsky filed a lawsuit where he outed reporter Ellen Ratner as his source for information on Seth Rich. The DNC operative [Rich] was murdered in the summer of 2016 in Washington DC. His murder was never solved. According to Butowsky’s lawsuit, Seth Rich provided WikiLeaks the DNC emails before the 2016 election, not Russia.

This totally destroys the FBI and Mueller’s claims that Russians hacked the DNC to obtain these emails.

Butowsky claims in his lawsuit:

Ms. Rattner said Mr. Assange told her that Seth Rich and his brother, Aaron, were responsible for releasing the DNC emails to Wikileaks. Ms. Rattner said Mr. Assange wanted the information relayed to Seth’s parents, as it might explain the motive for Seth’s murder.

On November 9, 2016 Ellen Ratner admitted publicly that she met with Julian Assange for three hours the Saturday before the 2016 election. According to Ratner, Julian Assange told her the leaks were not from the Russians, they were from an internal source from the Hillary Campaign.

We later reported that Butowsky and his attorney, Ty Clevenger, requested and obtained documents from the FBI related to their case which we were able to analyze.

According to the duo, they obtained the transcript from former FBI Chief of Staff James Rybicki where he states that the Obama White House was the entity that was pushing the Russia conspiracy as early as October 2016 –

Rybicki was corrupt cop James Comey’s Chief of staff –

 

Clevenger stated in a post online that –

Newly released documents from the FBI suggest that the Obama White House pushed intelligence agencies to publicly blame the Russians for email leaks from the Democratic National Committee to Wikileaks.

This afternoon I received an undated (and heavily redacted) transcript of an interview of James Rybicki, former chief of staff to former FBI Director James Comey, that includes this excerpt: “So we understand that at some point in October of 2016, there was, I guess, a desire by the White House to make some kind of statement about Russia’s…” and then the next page is omitted.

Roger Stone’s Indictment

Trump friend Roger Stone was indicted after being charged by the Mueller gang based on this key question – who provided the DNC and Podesta emails to WikiLeaks?

The corrupt FBI and Mueller team claim the emails were hacked but neither entity inspected the DNC server which was supposedly hacked. They have provided no proof of this. Read the rest of this entry »

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