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Posts Tagged ‘Wikileaks’

The ultimate goal of the NSA is total population control

Posted by M. C. on June 12, 2019

With 8m documents on its website after years of leaking, the importance of publishing and maintaining source documents for the media, general public and court cases can’t be under-estimated. “I see Wikileaks as a library”, Assange said. “We’re the librarians who can’t say no.”

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/jul/11/the-ultimate-goal-of-the-nsa-is-total-population-control

At least 80% of all audio calls, not just metadata, are recorded and stored in the US, says whistleblower William Binney – that’s a ‘totalitarian mentality’

William Binney is one of the highest-level whistleblowers to ever emerge from the NSA. He was a leading code-breaker against the Soviet Union during the Cold War but resigned soon after September 11, disgusted by Washington’s move towards mass surveillance.

On 5 July he spoke at a conference in London organised by the Centre for Investigative Journalism and revealed the extent of the surveillance programs unleashed by the Bush and Obama administrations.

“At least 80% of fibre-optic cables globally go via the US”, Binney said. “This is no accident and allows the US to view all communication coming in. At least 80% of all audio calls, not just metadata, are recorded and stored in the US. The NSA lies about what it stores.”

The NSA will soon be able to collect 966 exabytes a year, the total of internet traffic annually. Former Google head Eric Schmidt once argued that the entire amount of knowledge from the beginning of humankind until 2003 amount to only five exabytes.

Binney, who featured in a 2012 short film by Oscar-nominated US film-maker Laura Poitras, described a future where surveillance is ubiquitous and government intrusion unlimited.

“The ultimate goal of the NSA is total population control”, Binney said, “but I’m a little optimistic with some recent Supreme Court decisions, such as law enforcement mostly now needing a warrant before searching a smartphone.”

He praised the revelations and bravery of former NSA contractor Edward Snowden and told me that he had indirect contact with a number of other NSA employees who felt disgusted with the agency’s work. They’re keen to speak out but fear retribution and exile, not unlike Snowden himself, who is likely to remain there for some time.

Unlike Snowden, Binney didn’t take any documents with him when he left the NSA. He now says that hard evidence of illegal spying would have been invaluable. The latest Snowden leaks, featured in the Washington Post, detail private conversations of average Americans with no connection to extremism.

It shows that the NSA is not just pursuing terrorism, as it claims, but ordinary citizens going about their daily communications. “The NSA is mass-collecting on everyone”, Binney said, “and it’s said to be about terrorism but inside the US it has stopped zero attacks.”

The lack of official oversight is one of Binney’s key concerns, particularly of the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (Fisa), which is held out by NSA defenders as a sign of the surveillance scheme’s constitutionality.

“The Fisa court has only the government’s point of view”, he argued. “There are no other views for the judges to consider. There have been at least 15-20 trillion constitutional violations for US domestic audiences and you can double that globally.”

A Fisa court in 2010 allowed the NSA to spy on 193 countries around the world, plus the World Bank, though there’s evidence that even the nations the US isn’t supposed to monitor – Five Eyes allies Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand – aren’t immune from being spied on. It’s why encryption is today so essential to transmit information safely.

Binney recently told the German NSA inquiry committee that his former employer had a “totalitarian mentality” that was the “greatest threat” to US society since that country’s US Civil War in the 19th century…

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Wikileaks Julian Assange: ‘Wednesday Hillary Clinton Is ...

 

 

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The Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity : Hey Trump: Remember Wikileaks?

Posted by M. C. on June 4, 2019

Let’s hope President Trump recovers from his amnesia – on the campaign trail he praised Wikileaks more than 100 times but now claims to know nothing about them – and orders his Attorney General to stand down. Assange deserves our gratitude, not a lifetime in prison.

http://ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2019/june/03/hey-trump-remember-wikileaks/

Written by Ron Paul

Last week in an episode of my daily Ron Paul Liberty Report we discussed whether the US and British government were actually trying to kill jailed Wikileaks publisher Julian Assange. More than seven years ago Assange was granted asylum from the government of Ecuador over fears that espionage charges were being prepared against him by Washington. He spent those years in a small room in the Ecuadorian embassy in London without sunlight. Without fresh air. Without exercise. Without medical treatment.

Assange’s critics mocked him for entering the embassy, saying his fear that the US government would indict him was paranoia. Then the US-controlled International Monetary Fund dangled a four billion dollar loan in front of Ecuadorian president Lenin Moreno (elected in 2017, replacing the president who granted him asylum), and Moreno eagerly handed Assange over to British authorities who the same day hauled him before the court to answer for skipping bail. No medical examination after what was seven years of house arrest. Straight to court. He was sentenced to 50 weeks – the maximum sentence.

And what happened while he was serving time in the notorious Belmarsh prison? The Trump Administration decided to go where the Obama Administration before him did not dare to tread: he was indicted on 17 counts under the US Espionage Act and now faces 170 years in prison – or worse – once the formality of his extradition hearing is over. He faces life in prison for acting as a journalist – publishing information about the US government that is clearly in the public interest.

But do they really want to put him up on trial? Read the rest of this entry »

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This is why America is persecuting Julian Assange, by Patrick Cockburn – The Unz Review

Posted by M. C. on June 3, 2019

Yemeni experts on the conflict say that Houthi arms acquisition today has likewise little to do with Iran. Yemen has always had a flourishing arms black market in which weapons, large and small, can be obtained in almost any quantity if the money is right. Anti-Houthi forces, copiously supplied by Saudi Arabia and UAE, are happy to profit by selling on weapons to the Houthis or anybody else.

http://www.unz.com/pcockburn/this-is-why-america-is-persecuting-julian-assange/

However, it was the friendly US official and I who were being naive, forgetting that the real purpose of state secrecy is to enable governments to establish their own self-interested and often mendacious version of the truth by the careful selection of “facts” to be passed on to the public. They feel enraged by any revelation of what they really know, or by any alternative source of information. Such threats to their control of the news agenda must be suppressed where possible and, where not, those responsible must be pursued and punished.

We have had two good examples of the lengths to which a government – in this case that of the US – will go to protect its own tainted version of events. The first is the charging of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange under the Espionage Act for leaking 750,000 confidential military and diplomatic documents in 2010.

The second example has happened in the last few days. The international media may not have always covered itself in glory in the war in Yemen, but there are brave journalists and news organisations who have done just that. One of them is Yemeni reporter Maad al-Zikry who, along with Maggie Michael and Nariman El-Mofty, is part of an Associated Press (AP) team that won the international reporting Pulitzer prize this year for superb on the ground coverage of the war in Yemen. Their stories included revelations about the US drone strikes in Yemen and about the prisons maintained there by the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The US government clearly did not like this type of critical journalism. When the Pulitzer was awarded last Tuesday in New York Zikry was not there because he had been denied a visa to enter the US. There is no longer a US embassy in the Yemeni capital Sanaa, but two months ago he made his way to the US embassy in Cairo where his visa application, though fully supported by AP and many other prestigious institutions, was rejected.

After AP had exerted further pressure, Zikry made a second application for a visa and this time he was seen by a Counsellor at the embassy. He reports himself as asking: “Does the US embassy think that a Yemeni investigative journalist doing reporting for AP is a terrorist? Are you saying I am a terrorist?”

The Counsellor said that they would “work” on his visa or, in other words, ask the powers-that-be in Washington what to do. “So, I waited and waited – and waited,” he says. “And, until now I heard nothing from them.”

Of course, Washington is fully capable of waiving any prohibition on the granting of a visa to a Yemeni in a case like this, but it chose not to.

Can what Assange and Wikileaks did in 2010 be compared with what Zikry and AP did in 2019? Some commentators, to their shame, claim that the pursuit of Assange, and his current imprisonment pending possible extradition to the US or Sweden, has nothing to with freedom of expression.

In fact, he was doing what every journalist ought to do and doing it very successfully...

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says that Iran has provided the Houthis “with the missile system, the hardware, the military capability” that they have acquired.

National Security Adviser John Bolton said on Wednesday that Iran risked a “very strong response” from the US for, among other things, drone attacks by the Houthis on Saudi Arabia for which he holds the Iranians responsible.

These accusations by the US, Saudi Arabia and whoever is their Yemeni ally of the day that the Houthis are stooges of Iran armed with Iranian-supplied weapons has a long history. But what do we know about what Washington really thinks of these allegations which have not changed much over the years?

This where Wikileaks comes to the rescue. Read the rest of this entry »

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BBC, Sky News Have Hidden Their Interviews With UN Expert On The Torture Of Assange – Caitlin Johnstone

Posted by M. C. on June 3, 2019

https://caitlinjohnstone.com/2019/06/02/bbc-sky-news-have-hidden-their-interviews-with-un-expert-on-the-torture-of-assange/

UN Special Rapporteur on torture Nils Melzer has said that on the 31st of May he gave video interviews with both Sky News and the BBC on his findings that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is the victim of psychological torture. As of this writing, footage of those interviews is nowhere to be found.

In response to a smear by virulent empire propagandist Idrees Ahmad about his conducting an interview with RT, Melzer tweeted that he has given interviews to both Sky News and BBC World, but that they seem not to have been aired.

“So the UN rapporteur actually appeared on the Kremlin’s premier propaganda network—yes, the propaganda network of the state that shoots journalists in the face—to discuss Julian Assange’s ‘torture’,” tweeted Ahmad, pretending to be under the illusion that UN experts are meant to remain exclusively loyal to a specific group of nations.

“For the record: On 31 May, I have also given similar exclusive TV interviews to both Sky News and BBC World on Julian Assange, but it seems they decided not to broadcast them,” Melzer responded.

Indeed, there is as of this writing no video footage to be found anywhere of Melzer’s interviews with either of these outlets. If you search for online video footage of Nils Melzer conducting interviews on this subject, you’ll find videos from RT and Ruptly, you’ll find his excellent interview on Democracy Now which we discussed recently, but you won’t find videos from BBC World or Sky News, nor any record of any video interviews ever having been aired.

So appears that these interviews were never aired at all, or, if they were aired, have had any record of them hidden from easy online visibility. In any case, this is a big deal. The BBC published one print article that contains a few small excerpts from a discussion with Melzer, but in terms of impact and quantity of information this comes nowhere close to a televised interview and online video footage.

The idea that anyone from the UN should only be giving interviews to western media outlets is of course ridiculous, and it’s made even more ridiculous by the fact that Melzer has been wide open to speaking with any platform that’s willing to circulate his findings, including my own.

“I stand ready to respond to uncomfortable questions, but then media must also stand ready to publish uncomfortable truths,” Melzer told me via Twitter when asked about the missing footage. He said the interviews were conducted with BBC World and Sky News via Skype, and lasted about five minutes each.

We may be sure that “uncomfortable truths” were indeed what came out in Melzer’s interview. Watch any existing video interview that Melzer has done on this subject and you’ll see how much damning information he packs into each minute of footage. You may also get a pretty strong suspicion of why establishment narrative management firms like the BBC and Sky News may not have wanted to publicize that footage.

“UK’s BBC News and Sky News censored exclusive interviews with UN Torture expert Nils Melzer showing overwhelming evidence that Assange has been deliberately exposed to progressively severe forms of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment,” tweeted the Defend Assange campaign in response to Melzer’s post.

“So the BBC and Sky kept the UN’s expert on torture off air, and viewers were denied the chance to hear that, in his expert opinion, the UK state has subjected Julian Assange to torture. I’m struggling to understand how that decision could be justified by any normal news values,” said British journalist Jonathan Cook.

Pressure must be put on these outlets to explain why they didn’t air these exclusive interviews, and they must be forced to give a response. Yes, any response we might get will be mealy-mouthed, they’ll make some huffy noises about limited air time etcetera, but they need to know that people aren’t just watching what they are airing with skepticism, they’re watching what they’re ignoring. When it comes to propaganda, lies by omission are even more pernicious than outright lies because they are difficult to confront.

Don’t let them fool you, this story is big. In terms of newsworthiness, it meets all the criteria and then some. Nils Melzer is great “talent” as they say; he is well spoken and interesting, and he has hugely important things to say about a hugely important situation. There is no reason to bin these interviews other than backroom politics. Demand to know what went on behind closed doors.

Julian Assange has been tortured. His health has been declining dangerously. The US, UK, Sweden, Ecuador and Australia are responsible for this. They did this to him because he published inconvenient facts about the powerful. These are truths. They are uncomfortable truths, but they are truths we all must ingest, process, and respond to.

UPDATE: Melzer reports that Sky News may have aired his interview on television, though it remains hidden online.

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

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The UN Torture Report On Assange Is An Indictment Of Our Entire Society

Posted by M. C. on May 31, 2019

https://caitlinjohnstone.com/2019/05/31/the-un-torture-report-on-assange-is-an-indictment-of-our-entire-society/

On the eighth of April, shortly before London police forcibly carried WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange out of the Ecuadorian embassy, a doctor named Sondra S Crosby wrote a letter to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights requesting that the office look into Assange’s case. Today, following a scorching rebuke of multiple governments by UN Special Rapporteur on torture Nils Melzer, mass media outlets around the world are reporting that Julian Assange has been found to be the victim of brutal psychological torture.

Melzer, who by his own admission began his investigation as someone who had “been affected by the same misguided smear campaign as everybody else” regarding Assange, speaks of Assange’s plight with the fresh-eyed ferocity of a man who has not been immersed in a soul-corroding career in establishment politics or mass media. A man has not been indoctrinated into accepting as normal the relentless, malicious character assassinations of the western political/media class against a publisher of inconvenient facts about the powerful. A man who, when looking deeply and objectively into the facts with uncorrupted vision, was able to see clearly just how unforgivably abusive Assange’s treatment has been.

“In 20 years of work with victims of war, violence and political persecution I have never seen a group of democratic States ganging up to deliberately isolate, demonise and abuse a single individual for such a long time and with so little regard for human dignity and the rule of law,” Melzer said. “The collective persecution of Julian Assange must end here and now!”

Melzer condemned attempts to extradite Assange to the US under the Espionage Act, as well as what he called “a relentless and unrestrained campaign of public mobbing, intimidation and defamation against Mr. Assange, not only in the United States, but also in the United Kingdom, Sweden and, more recently, Ecuador.”

“According to the expert, this included an endless stream of humiliating, debasing and threatening statements in the press and on social media, but also by senior political figures, and even by judicial magistrates involved in proceedings against Assange,” the OHCHR statement reads.

“In the course of the past nine years, Mr. Assange has been exposed to persistent, progressively severe abuse ranging from systematic judicial persecution and arbitrary confinement in the Ecuadorian embassy, to his oppressive isolation, harassment and surveillance inside the embassy, and from deliberate collective ridicule, insults and humiliation, to open instigation of violence and even repeated calls for his assassination,” Melzer said.

“It was obvious that Mr. Assange’s health has been seriously affected by the extremely hostile and arbitrary environment he has been exposed to for many years,” said Melzer. “Most importantly, 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 evidence is overwhelming and clear,” Melzer said. “Mr. Assange has been deliberately exposed, for a period of several years, to progressively severe forms of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, the cumulative effects of which can only be described as psychological torture.”

“I condemn, in the strongest terms, the deliberate, concerted and sustained nature of the abuse inflicted on Mr. Assange and seriously deplore the consistent failure of all involved governments to take measures for the protection of his most fundamental human rights and dignity,” Melzer added.

It is hugely significant that a UN expert has included the massive anti-Assange smear campaign in his assessment of psychological abuse. For far too long this devastating psychological weapon of the powerful has gone fully normalized and unacknowledged for the damage and suffering it causes, and now an authoritative voice has pointed it out and called it into public consciousness for the depraved manipulation that it is. It’s a very interesting development to see western governments and their media stenographers condemned in this way for their participation in such savagery.

Responses to Melzer’s findings have been explosive. Virtually every major media outlet in the English-speaking world has been carrying headlines about this story, from the New York Times to the Washington Post to Fox News to CNN to the Guardian to the BBC to the Herald Sun. An attempt to regain control of the narrative by the accused governments, therefore, was of course quick to follow.

“This is wrong,” tweeted Britain’s Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt in response to the story. “Assange chose to hide in the embassy and was always free to leave and face justice. The UN Special Rapporteur should allow British courts to make their judgements without his interference or inflammatory accusations.”

Abusers always demand the right to conduct their abuse in private.

Hunt, who’d just returned from hanging out with the Trump administration’s warmongering psychopath John Bolton, received a direct response from Melzer himself.

“With all due respect, Sir: Mr Assange was about as ‘free to leave’ as a someone sitting on a rubber boat in a shark pool,” Melzer tweeted. “As detailed in my formal letter to you, so far, UK courts have not shown the impartiality and objectivity required by the rule of law.”

Australia, another of the governments accused of facilitating Assange’s torture, was also quick to issue an equally feeble response.

“We reject any suggestion by the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture that the Australian Government is complicit in psychological torture or has shown a lack of consular support for Mr Assange,” reads a statement by Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. “The Special Rapporteur has not been in contact with the Australian Government to raise these concerns directly. The Australian Government is a staunch defender of human rights and a strong advocate for humane treatment in the course of judicial processes. We are confident that Mr Assange is being treated appropriately in Belmarsh Prison.”

Assange has in fact grown so ill in Belmarsh Prison that he is reportedly unable to carry out a lucid conversation, and has been losing a drastic amount of weight. His failing health has been an established fact for a year and a half, with doctors warning at the beginning of last year that conditions in the Ecuadorian embassy are placing his physical wellbeing in serious danger, and has the entire time been pathetically ignored by the government of Assange’s home country.

Melzer’s report is an indictment of our entire society. It’s an indictment of the US-centralized western power alliance. It’s an indictment of the politicians, opaque government agencies and plutocrats who lead that alliance. It’s an indictment of the mass media who regurgitate whatever their government tells them to into the minds of a credulous populace. It’s an indictment of everyone who has ever helped spread the smear campaign against Assange, wherever they may have spread it; every remark, every social media comment, every share and retweet. The entire abusive construct has been outed as exactly what it is, from top to bottom.

So things have been severely shaken up. A massive smear campaign spanning all western nations across all political sectors has been pulled into the spotlight of public consciousness, mass media outlets who’ve devoted huge amounts of resources to assassinating Assange’s character have been forced to report a major revelation coming directly from the United Nations, Assange supporters can now officially say with full authority that his persecutors have literally tortured him, and establishment narrative managers are fighting on the back foot.

And right now all I can feel is gratitude. Gratitude toward Dr Crosby for writing to the UN after examining Assange, gratitude toward Nils Melzer for going to visit him in Belmarsh with an open mind and a compassionate heart, and, most importantly, gratitude toward Julian Assange. Gratitude to him for never giving up this fight.

I mean, think about it. Imagine if Assange had just gone to Sweden when he was told to? He would have surely been extradited to the United States years ago, wrongfully prosecuted in an Eastern District of Virginia court proceeding impossibly rigged against him, and by now the world would have all but forgotten him. He could have laid down, he could have given up, he could have died in that embassy in any number of ways. He had so many off-ramps he could have taken from the psychological torture that he has been subjected to since exposing US war crimes in 2010, but he chose to stand and fight instead. He decided that if they wanted his head, they were going to have to work for it.

Because of that decision, because Julian Assange decided to stand his ground and trade blows toe-to-toe with the most powerful empire in the history of human civilization, he forced them to expose themselves. He forced the oppression machine to reveal its true face, by coordinating across national borders to drag him bodily out of the embassy, locking him in a cage, waging a war upon the free press with outrageous espionage charges, and finally being found guilty of torturing a journalist for publishing factual documents about the powerful.

We have all that information now. It can’t be unseen. Because Assange chose to fight, we now have that evidence and we can use it to help wake people up to the true face behind the smiling mask of “liberal democracy” we’ve all been told to believe in since grade school. Even while imprisoned, sick, and barely even able to speak, Julian Assange is still exposing these bastards for what they are.

Don’t let his example go to waste.

________________________

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

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Endless procedural abuses show Julian Assange case was never about law, by Jonathan Cook – The Unz Review

Posted by M. C. on May 31, 2019

Ny finally relented on interviewing Assange in November 2016, coming to London after six years of heel-dragging. However, she barred Assange’s lawyer from being present. That was a gross irregularity that Ny was due to be questioned about in May 2017 by a Stockholm judge. Apparently rather than face those questions, Ny decided to close the investigation against Assange the very same day.

In 2008, a secret Pentagon document prepared by the “Cyber Counterintelligence Assessments Branch” foretold a detailed plan to discredit WikiLeaks and smear Assange personally. The “mission” was to destroy the “trust” that was WikiLeaks’ “centre of gravity”. This would be achieved with threats of “exposure [and] criminal prosecution”. Silencing and criminalising such an unpredictable source of truth-telling was the aim.” …

According to Australian diplomatic cables, Washington’s bid to get Assange is “unprecedented in scale and nature”…

http://www.unz.com/jcook/endless-procedural-abuses-show-julian-assange-case-was-never-about-law/

It is astonishing how often one still hears well-informed, otherwise reasonable people say about Julian Assange: “But he ran away from Swedish rape charges by hiding in Ecuador’s embassy in London.”

That short sentence includes at least three factual errors. In fact, to repeat it, as so many people do, you would need to have been hiding under a rock for the past decade – or, amounting to much the same thing, been relying on the corporate media for your information about Assange, including from supposedly liberal outlets such as the Guardian and the BBC.

At the weekend, a Guardian editorial – the paper’s official voice and probably the segment most scrutinised by senior staff – made just such a false claim:

Then there is the rape charge that Mr Assange faced in Sweden and which led him to seek refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy in the first place.

The fact that the Guardian, supposedly the British media’s chief defender of liberal values, can make this error-strewn statement after nearly a decade of Assange-related coverage is simply astounding. And that it can make such a statement days after the US finally admitted that it wants to lock up Assange for 175 years on bogus “espionage” charges – a hand anyone who wasn’t being wilfully blind always knew the US was preparing to play – is still more shocking.

Assange faces no charges in Sweden yet, let alone “rape charges”. As former UK ambassador Craig Murray recently explained, the Guardian has been misleading readers by falsely claiming that an attempt by a Swedish prosecutor to extradite Assange – even though the move has not received the Swedish judiciary’s approval – is the same as his arrest on rape charges. It isn’t.

Also, Assange did not seek sanctuary in the embassay to evade the Swedish investigation. No state in the world gives a non-citizen political asylum to avoid a rape trial. The asylum was granted on political grounds. Ecuador rightly accepted Assange’s concerns that the US would seek his extradition and lock him out of sight for the rest of his life.

Assange, of course, has been proven – yet again – decisively right by recent developments… Read the rest of this entry »

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

Posted by M. C. on May 31, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Oh yeah, look at those dead bastards.”

“Nice.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Assange Is Reportedly Gravely Ill, And Hardly Anyone’s Talking About It – Caitlin Johnstone

Posted by M. C. on May 30, 2019

Did this start while Assange was in the puppet state Ecuadorian embassy? Judging from photos that is likely.

Now after being held for weeks the illness is suddenly discovered. It more likely the puppet state UK government had no choice but to send Assange to hospital after his condition became advertised.

It would be very convenient for all concerned if Julian Assange died before trial.

Maybe he encountered some plutonium reside while in the UK.

https://caitlinjohnstone.com/2019/05/29/assange-is-reportedly-gravely-ill-and-hardly-anyones-talking-about-it/

Assange Is Reportedly Gravely Ill, And Hardly Anyone’s Talking About It

Julian Assange’s Swedish lawyer Per Samuelson has told the press that “Assange’s health situation on Friday was such that it was not possible to conduct a normal conversation with him.”

This jarring revelation has been reported by a small handful of outlets, but only as an aside in relation to Sweden refusing Samuelson’s request for a postponement of a scheduled hearing regarding Assange’s detention en absentia for a preliminary investigation of rape allegations. The fact that the imprisoned WikiLeaks founder is so ill that he can’t converse lucidly is itself far more significant than the postponement refusal, yet headlines mentioning Samuelson’s statement focus on the Swedish case, de-emphasizing the startling news from his lawyer.

As of this writing I’ve been able to find very few news outlets reporting on this at all, the most mainstream being a Reuters article with the very tame headline “Swedish court rejects delay of Assange hearing over ill-health: lawyer“. The Sydney Morning Herald also covered the story without even mentioning illness in headline, instead going with “Swedish court rejects effort to delay Assange hearing“. The much smaller alternative media outlet World Socialist Website has been the only outlet I’ve found so far which reports on Samuelson’s statement in anything resembling its proper scale, publishing a good article titled “Despite Assange’s ill-health, Swedish court rejects delay to hearing” a few hours ago.

This news has been so under-discussed and under-appreciated as of this writing that I didn’t find out about it until hours after the story broke, and I’m very plugged in to both alternative media commentary and WikiLeaks-related news. A report that Julian Assange was so sick he could barely speak all the way back on Friday and we still have no news about how he’s doing now should be hugely significant for everyone who cares about Assange, press freedom, government transparency or peace activism.

Another part of this story which has gone completely uncovered in all English-language media as of this writing is the news that Assange has actually been transferred to the hospital wing of Belmarsh prison. This was reported by the Swedish outlet Upsala Nya Tidning, a newspaper published in the same district court Assange is scheduled to call in to for his hearing. The report was also based on a statement to the press by Per Samuelson.

The article reports the following, per machine translation:

“Wikileaks founder Julian Assange’s Swedish lawyer wants the arrest hearing on Monday in Uppsala to be postponed. According to the lawyer, who has now visited his client in British prison, Assange is admitted to the medical department and was unable to make a call.

“Last Friday, Assange’s Swedish defender, lawyer Per E Samuelson, visited his client in prison. In a letter to Uppsala District Court, the lawyer says that they met for just under two hours. According to the lawyer, Assange’s state of health at the meeting was such that ‘a normal conversation with him was not possible’. Julian Assange is said to have been taken to the prison’s ward, but there is no more detailed information about his state of health.”

This story was picked up from Upsala Nya Tidning by Danish new agency Ritzau and published in the outlet Politiken, with the title (per machine translation) “Weakened Assange hospitalized in London prison: ‘Impossible to have a normal conversation with him’”. These news outlets are to my understanding as reputable as any other mainstream western outlet, yet they remain the only publications I’ve been able to find which are reporting that Assange has been hospitalized. This is absolutely bizarre.

I’ve emailed Per Samuelson with a request to confirm the news that Assange has been hospitalized. I’ll update this article if I hear back.

For Assange’s supporters, one of the many frustrating things about his imprisonment has been the way he’s been cut off from the usual means which used to be used to inform the public about his well being. It used to be that news reports could be easily confirmed or refuted by people who had consistent access to Assange in some way by sources like the WikiLeaks Twitter account, but the people who operate that account don’t have ready access to him anymore. Now we’re seeing all sorts of rumors circulating about how Assange is faring in prison, and it gets difficult to sort out fact from fiction. It appears that it would be difficult to find a more reliable source on the state of his health than his own lawyer, however.

It has long been an established fact that Assange was in failing health while trapped in the Ecuadorian embassy in London; doctors who visited him published an article with the Guardian in January 2018 titled “We examined Julian Assange, and he badly needs care – but he can’t get it“. Renata Avila, an activist and author who has worked with and written about WikiLeaks, tweeted in response to the new revelations, “He needed urgent assistance after his expulsion from the Embassy. Instead, he was not allowed to receive adequate medical treatment. In the case of Emin Huseynov (1 y @ Swiss Embassy) it took at least a month of treatment to go back to normal. Imagine after 7 years! Brutal.”

We have been watching the slow-motion assassination of Julian Assange. They have been choking him to death by tactical psyops, siege tactics, and wilful neglect as surely as if they placed a noose tied around his neck, not just in Belmarsh Prison but in the embassy as well. The only difference between his execution and someone on death row is the same as the difference between covert and overt warfare, which makes sense because the intelligence, judicial and military agencies who are carrying out his death sentence operate within the same power structure which carries out war. First came the smears (propaganda), then came the siege (sanctions), and they staged their coup (dragged him out of the embassy) and now they’ve got him in their clutches and they can do what they want behind closed doors. That’s how you kill a nation while still looking like a nice guy, and that’s how they’re killing Assange.

Shout this from the rooftops. Whether this media blackout is self-imposed or perhaps the result of the malicious use of a D-notice, we have to use everything in our power to get this information into the mainstream, and get people asking questions of the press and their local members about what the Dickens is going on in Belmarsh prison right now. Assange’s life may depend on it.

UPDATE: WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Kristinn Hrafnsson has confirmed that Assange has been transferred to the health ward of Belmarsh prison, and that his health has been steadily deteriorating since his imprisonment.

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WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange arrested in London ...

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The Indictment of Assange Is a Blueprint for Making Journalists Into Felons | Common Dreams Views

Posted by M. C. on May 29, 2019

https://www.commondreams.org/views/2019/05/28/indictment-assange-blueprint-making-journalists-felons

The U.S. government on Thursday unveiled an 18-count indictment against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, charging him under the 1917 Espionage Act for his role in the 2010 publication of a trove of secret documents relating to the Iraq and Afghanistan wars and diplomatic communications regarding dozens of nations. So extreme and unprecedented are the indictment’s legal theories and likely consequences that it shocked and alarmed even many of Assange’s most virulent critics.

The new indictment against Assange bears no relationship to WikiLeaks’ publication of Democratic Party and Clinton campaign documents or any of its other activities during the 2016 presidential campaign. Instead, it covers only publication of a massive archive of classified U.S. government documents that revealed a multitude of previously unknown, highly significant information about wars, government and corporate corruption, and official deceit. WikiLeaks, in 2010, published those materials in partnership with some of the largest media outlets in the world, including the New York Times, the Guardian, Der Spiegel, Le Monde and El Pais, outlets that published many of the same secret documents that form the basis of the criminal case against Assange.

With these new charges, the Trump administration is aggressively and explicitly seeking to obliterate the last reliable buffer protecting journalism in the United States from being criminalized, a step that no previous administration, no matter how hostile to journalistic freedom, was willing to take. The U.S. government has been eager to prosecute Assange since the 2010 leaks. Until now, though, officials had refrained because they concluded it was impossible to distinguish WikiLeaks’ actions from the typical business of mainstream media outlets. Indicting Assange for the act of publishing would thus make journalism a felony. By charging Assange under the Espionage Act, the Trump administration proved that the asylum Assange obtained from Ecuador in 2012 — offered in the name of protecting him from persecution by the United States for publishing newsworthy documents — was necessary and justified.

The argument offered by both the Trump administration and by some members of the self-styled “resistance” to Trump is, ironically, the same: that Assange isn’t a journalist at all and thus deserves no free press protections. But this claim overlooks the indictment’s real danger and, worse, displays a wholesale ignorance of the First Amendment. Press freedoms belong to everyone, not to a select, privileged group of citizens called “journalists.” Empowering prosecutors to decide who does or doesn’t deserve press protections would restrict “freedom of the press” to a small, cloistered priesthood of privileged citizens designated by the government as “journalists.” The First Amendment was written to avoid precisely that danger.

Most critically, the U.S. government has now issued a legal document that formally declares that collaborating with government sources to receive and publish classified documents is no longer regarded by the Justice Department as journalism protected by the First Amendment, but rather as the felony of espionage, one that can send reporters and their editors to prison for decades. It thus represents, by far, the greatest threat to press freedom in the Trump era, if not the last several decades…

When governments seek to eliminate core civic liberties, a common tactic is to begin by targeting a figure who is deeply marginalized and unpopular, with the hope that personal animosity toward him will lead people to cheer his punishment rather than oppose such efforts due to the dangerous precedent it is designed to create. But supporting a dangerous precedent because of contempt for the initial target is the ultimate act of irrationality: Once the precedent is legally consecrated, the ability to oppose its subsequent application to more popular figures disappears.

Assange has few allies left in the United States. The 2010 leaks that exposed war crimes by the Bush administration and the War on Terror generally made him a hero among many leftists, but the enemy of Republicans and hawkish Democrats alike. His remaining support among U.S. liberals subsequently disappeared, and was replaced by seething contempt, when his 2016 leaks revealed corruption at the DNC and harmed Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

The Trump administration has undoubtedly calculated that Assange’s uniquely unpopular status across the political spectrum makes him the ideal test case for creating a precedent that criminalizes the defining attributes of investigative journalism. Now every journalist and every citizen must decide whether their personal animus toward Assange is more important than preserving press freedom in the United States.

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mbird

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Lee Camp: 18 Ways Julian Assange Changed the World

Posted by M. C. on May 29, 2019

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

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

By Lee Camp

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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