Assange Only Did What a Good Journalist Is Supposed to Do

By Philip Giraldi

Source

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The United States prides itself on its rule of law, a legacy from British colonial times, but there is increasing evidence that equal justice under law has been replaced by something that is sometimes called “lawfare,” an Israeli invention which consists of using the legal system to punish dissent and silence critics. Three examples, all quite different, illustrate exactly how a quasi-legal process has been used against individuals that are perceived to be, rightly or wrongly, critics of America’s so-called “global war on terror,” which is still being conducted worldwide even though no one uses the expression anymore.

The global war on terror is being fought based on legislation that is unique to the United States, which, under the various editions of the Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF), authorizes the United States to go after any group anywhere that has been identified by the Department of State as “terrorist.” This authority has meant in practice that even American citizens can be killed or captured by U.S. special forces in any country, which of course includes nations with which the United States is not at war—not surprisingly, as Washington is not technically at war with anyone. The AUMF has also been interpreted to permit going after entire countries or political groups designated state sponsors of terrorism.

Once presumed terrorists are captured they can be held indefinitely in special prisons, Guantanamo being the one that is best known. That is precisely the case of Pakistani citizen Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM), the alleged mastermind of 9/11, who was captured in March 2002 in Rawalpindi, Pakistan. But are the claims about his involvement really true? KSM has been tortured and eventually confessed to many crimes, but he has never been tried even though rumors frequently surface in Washington that his day in court will be coming up soon. Recently, military judges asserted that he would finally be tried in January 2021 but warned that a number of conditions would have to be met first.

That KSM has never appeared in court is generally believed to be because the actual evidence against him is so thin and was obtained under torture. So he has been held in prison under orders from presidents Bush, Obama, and Trump with no end in sight, and without providing his testimony regarding events on the September day, one more piece of the 9/11 puzzle will never be revealed to the public.

As the federal government is wedded to its standard account of 9/11, it is likely that KSM will remain in prison until the day he dies, setting an example for all those who choose to question the sanctity of the 9/11 Commission Report.

Julian Assange is another notable example of how revenge against those who question standard narratives is meted out through the legal system. Assange, to be sure, has been guilty of publishing material that the United States government would prefer not to have been made public. His website, WikiLeaks, was conceived as a whistleblower site, with information provided to it by individuals who had uncovered illegal activity on the part of various governments. WikiLeaks exposed, for example, Chelsea Manning’s Iraq war crimes material and the Hillary Clinton and Democratic National Committee (DNC) emails.

In Assange’s defense, he has stated repeatedly that he is a journalist who exposes government wrongdoing, which used to be referred to as a “muckraker.” He never engaged in personally stealing government secrets and only published material that was given to him by others. In some cases, he refused to publish material that would hurt or endanger individuals.

Assange became a target of U.S. and British law enforcement in 2010. Living in London at the time, he was accused by several Swedish women of sexual assault, leading to a request from Stockholm for extradition. At the time, many believed that the accusations were without merit, and, indeed, they were eventually dropped, but Assange was about to be arrested by the British authorities after he failed to make a bail hearing set to contest the Swedish extradition request. To avoid arrest, he fled to the Ecuadorean embassy in 2012 and was granted asylum, where he eventually spent seven years, eventually confined to a small room. His health suffered.

Forced to leave by the Ecuadorean withdrawal of his asylum under U.S. pressure, he was arrested in 2019 by the British and is currently in prison, where his health continues to deteriorate. He will eventually be sent to the United States upon release in early 2020, where he will undoubtedly be convicted under the Espionage Act of 1918, a rarely invoked law that can be brought out whenever the federal government is desperate to convict someone. It was recently used in May 2015 to imprison ex-CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling even though there was no evidence that he had actually revealed classified information. The prosecution claimed that he “must have done it,” which was apparently enough for the judge and jury.

There is also a back story to Assange. He has always insisted that the information he received on the DNC emails did not come from a Russian source, one of the basic claims made that launched the years-long investigation of what became known as Russiagate. Many suspect that a DNC staffer named Seth Rich might have been the actual source, but the government and the Democratic Party have resisted any serious investigation into that possibility. If Assange is ever actually tried he might reveal the truth, but one must consider that folks who have secrets damaging to the government are either somehow silenced or even wind up dead. So Assange, who only did what a good journalist is supposed to do, will, like KSM, likely die in prison after the U.S. gets its hands on him.

And finally, there is the case of Edward Snowden, a government contractor who discovered that the NSA was spying illegally on literally millions of Americans. He went through channels to complain about what was being done, was ignored, and eventually sent his information over to several journalists, who published his claims.

Snowden knew that even though he was a whistleblower and was allegedly protected by special whistleblower legislation there was no chance that he would ever receive a fair trial in the U.S., so he fled first to China and then wound up in Russia, where he is today. He has stated that he would return to the United States to tell his story if he is guaranteed a fair trial that will enable him to use a “public interest” whistleblower defense, but no one is taking the bait. Many in Congress and even some in the media have called for his execution as a traitor. Some of us, however, regard him as a hero.

Truly the land of the free and the home of the brave has become something like a prison camp for those who fall outside the limits of acceptable behavior as defined by the government. Law is the weapon and it is wielded equally by Democrats and Republicans. Do KSM, Assange, and Snowden all have interesting tales to tell? Indeed, they do, but we the public will likely never hear them.

Assange Might Die from Mistreatment in Captivity

By Stuart Littlewood

Source

 

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I’ve received a reply from my MP Alister Jack (who is also Secretary of State for Scotland). I asked him to obtain an explanation from our Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice, Robert Buckland QC MP, on concerns about the proceedings to extradite Julian Assange to the US, since he is the person accountable. But Mr. Jack’s response doesn’t make clear whether the response is his and, if not, where it actually comes from.

I wanted to know…

  • Why Assange is held under the inhuman conditions reserved for terrorists when he’s a journalist.
  • How the Justice Department accounts for Assange’s poor physical and mental state.
  • Why the question whether political offenses are excluded from extradition under Article 4 of the UK/US Extradition Treaty hadn’t been addressed before these expensive proceedings began.
  • Why Assange’s defense team haven’t been given easier access and more time to prepare.
  • Why high-security Belmarsh is chosen for February’s hearing, where the opportunity for public scrutiny is minimal.
  • And whether District Judge Baraitser will preside in February when, according to Craig Murray, she has already failed to behave impartially?

In particular, I wanted to know why, according to witnesses, Assange’s physical and mental states have deteriorated so rapidly while in the UK justice system’s care.

There’s no attempt to answer most of these points. However, Mr. Jack reminds me that Assange was jailed for 50 weeks on 1 May for breaching bail and holing up in the Ecuador Embassy.

“The UK’s criminal justice system is one in which rights are protected and in which, contrary to what Mr. Assange and his supporters may claim, he and his interests will be protected,” writes Mr. Jack brimming with confidence.

But, he points out, the Home Secretary when signing an extradition warrant is limited in what he’s allowed to consider. For example, the Crime and Courts Act 2013 requires any judgment about human rights and health issues to be made in court.

The administrative hearing on 21 October ruled that Assange will face a 5-day extradition hearing starting 25 February and, Mr Jack says, that’s when his human rights and poor health will be considered. It is for the judge to determine whether or not extradition would be a human rights breach and whether it would be oppressive and unjust on account of his state of health.

In other words, nobody in the UK justice system could give a toss about Assange’s wellbeing for another 4 months – an awful long time when you’re already in bad shape and worried sick that you’ll wind up in Guantanamo Bay for….. for what, exactly?

Former ambassador Craig Murray, a friend of Assange, attended the October hearing and reported that he was distressed by how his appearance had deteriorated after long confinement, and by his rapid ageing and stumbling speech — “the most articulate man, the fastest thinker, I have ever known” reduced to a “shambling and incoherent wreck”.

Some have expressed concern that Assange may not live to the end of the extradition proceedings.

From tomorrow MPs will cease to exist and Parliament will cease to function until after the general election on 12 December. So nobody is representing anybody in the cesspit of Westminster for the next 5 or 6 weeks.

Trump Regime Targets Whistleblower Edward Snowden’s New Book

By Stephen Lendman

Source

The Trump Regime sued Edward Snowden and publishers of his new memoir titled “Permanent Record.” More on this below.

Exposing government wrongdoing is a noble act. Like dissent, it’s a high form of patriotism, warranting praise, not persecution and condemnation.

The 1989 US Whistleblower Protection Act protects federal employees who report misconduct.

Federal agencies are prohibited from retaliating against individuals who do the right thing. Yet it happens time and again. 

Whistleblowers may report law or regulatory violations, gross mismanagement, waste, fraud and/or abuse, or acts endangering public health or safety.

The FBI is exempt from WPA provisions. Instead of protecting the rights of whistleblowers, the agency targets them.

Since WPA’s 1994 revisions, it ruled on over 200 cases — only three times in favor of whistleblowers, the deck stacked against them. US law fails to protect them, circumvented by its police state apparatus.

The 2012 Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act (WPEA) failed to protect government employees from reprisal for disclosing official misconduct, revealing it to co-workers or supervisors, or disclosing policy decision consequences — any or all of the above in relation to their jobs or duties.

The Obama regime prosecuted more whistleblowers and leakers involved in exposing US wrongdoing than all his predecessors combined, nine targeted individuals, Trump following the same repressive practice, wanting US dirty linen concealed.

The US is a surveillance state. Big Brother watches everyone, privacy virtually nonexistent, including our health and financial records, cellphone and email communications, everything posted on social media, along with workplace and other public areas surveilled.

Exposing government wrongdoing is hazardous to personal safety and welfare. Julian Assange is imprisoned in London at the behest of the Trump regime — for the “high crime” of truth-telling journalism the way it should be universally.

Courageous whistleblower Chelsea Manning spent years in prison for revealing US high crimes of war and against humanity in Afghanistan and Iraq — imprisoned again indefinitely for refusing to aid the Trump regime’s lynching of Assange.

Granted asylum in Russia, a noble gesture, Edward Snowden was luckier. He followed in the footsteps of Daniel Ellsberg and likeminded others, connecting the dots for countless millions to know how they’re illegally and repressively spied on.

Earlier he said “I really want the focus to be on (documents revealed) which I hope will trigger among citizens around the globe what kind of world we want to live in.”

Enactment of the USA Freedom Act (the renamed Patriot Act) did little to change things. US spy agencies continue trampling on Bill of Rights protections.

They compromise due process, habeas rights, free expression, assembly and association, as well as protection from unreasonable searches and seizures.

Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, Twitter, Skype, YouTube, Apple, and major telecommunications companies are complicit in spying on their customers for US dark forces.

US intelligence community spying targets friends and foes alike. It’s for total control, political and economic advantage, to be one up on foreign competitors —information used advantageously in trade, geopolitical, and military relations.

Domestic spying is longstanding. It has nothing to do with protecting national security. America’s only foreign, domestic, or terrorists threats are invented.

The Trump regimes Justice Department sued Snowden and three publishers of his memoir — MacMillan Publishers, Henry Holt and Co., and Holtzbrinck Publishers.

The repressive suit aims to freeze assets from book sales. US attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia G. Zachary Terwilliger said the following:

“Intelligence information should protect our nation, not provide personal profit (sic). This lawsuit will ensure that Edward Snowden receives no monetary benefits from breaching the trust placed in him (sic).”

The lawsuit is the latest example of Washington’s assault on speech, media and academic freedoms, targeting what diverges from the official narrative on major issues.

It accused Snowden and his publishers of going to press “without submitting (the book for) pre-publication review.”

The notion that US approval is required of current or former federal employees to write or speak publicly on issues related to their work flies in the face of their constitutional rights.

In response to the suit, Snowden tweeted: “The government of the United States has just announced a lawsuit over my memoir, which was just released today worldwide. This is the book the government does not want you to read…”

Already a bestseller, Snowden said in his preface “I used to work for the government, but now I work for the public,” adding:

“It took me nearly three decades to (understand the) distinction…I now spend my time trying to protect the public from the” US intelligence community — working against ordinary people .

Separately, he tweeted: “It is hard to think of a greater stamp of authenticity than the US government filing a lawsuit claiming your book is so truthful that it was literally against the law to write.” 

It reveals no state secrets, nothing not already in the public domain, including from establishment media reports.

The ACLU and Knight First Amendment Institute are challenging the so-called pre-publication review process, attorney Max Kaufman, saying:

“(I)ts current form is broken and unconstitutional, and it needs to go.”

“It’s one thing to censor the nuclear codes, but it’s another to censor the same information high schoolers are pulling from Wikipedia.” 

“Prepublication review gives the government far too much power to suppress speech that the public has a right to hear.”

Snowden hopes the DOJ lawsuit will promote his memoir, enabling it to attract greater readership worldwide.

Israel and the West Do Not Have the Means to Counter Iranian Technology

 

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Introduction by GA:

The following is a translation of today’s  Israel’s News 12  headline article. The article explores the lessons delivered by the recent attack on Saudi oil facilities. Though I, like many other commentators, am not convinced that the attack had anything to do with Iran, the attack showed that Iran’s weaponry is likely superior to the West’s ability to mount an effective defence. 

Israeli writer Nir Dvori points out that the attack took place 650 km inside Saudi territory.  “It proved measured Power Utilization – Sending two types of weapons that achieved accurate hits.” It also demonstrated superb intelligence capability – “both in identifying and selecting targets and in selecting the attack route and the military.”  Apparently, neither the cruise missiles nor the drones were detected and no attempt was made to intercept them before the attack. Which really means that despite the Saudis’ multi- billion dollar investment in Western weaponry and air defense systems, their sky is far from protected.  

In the last few years Israel has prioritized its efforts to counter Iran’s ballistic and drone projects. It seems Israel knew what it had to dread. The recent attack on the Saudi oil industry proved that the West has not developed an adequate response to Iranian precision missiles, slow moving cruise missiles or drone technology. This alone explains why, despite Israel’s persistent threats to attack Iran directly, it has been reluctant to do so. Israel knows how vulnerable it is and well understands the possible dramatic consequences of such an attack.  Israel knows that although its anti missile system, which cost the American taxpayers billions of dollars, may be somewhat effective against German V2 ballistic technology, its system is ineffective against what Iran has at their disposal.

This helps explain why Israel wants America and NATO to attack Iran on its behalf. It may explain why Israel might consider doing whatever  it can to provoke such a conflict- everything from intensive Lobby pressure to possible false flag operations.

Donald Trump seems miraculously to have gathered how volatile the situation is. As a consequence, he exited his prime hawk, John Bolton. Might Trump find himself booted out of his 1600 Pennsylvania Ave  as a result of his reluctance to fight Israel’s war against Iran?

 

The character, uniqueness and success of the Iranian attack – worries Israel and the world

By Nir Dvori

https://www.mako.co.il/

The Iranian attack on Saudi oil facilities was of great significance and is of particular concern [to Israel]. The attack was [the first of its kind] and proved that the Iranians are capable and possess both the knowledge and the ability to hurt and cut [Saudi] oil production by nearly fifty percent. At the same time, the Saudis have already begun to rebuild the buildings damaged by the Iranian bombing

The attack on oil facilities in Saudi Arabia has been a warning for the West and Israel – the effects of this attack are  extremely concerning. This [technological] ability that can be used against Israel requires that [Israel] prepare its security system to respond to such a  threat. Israeli officials analyzed the outcome of the attack and reached several conclusions : The attack demonstrated both impressive design and execution, the results were painful and cut Saudi oil production by 50%, and likely affected gas production as well.

The attacks were carried out with only two weapon types :The first were 7 Quds cruise missiles driven by a Czech jet engine, 3 of which fell before they reached their target; the second weapons were 18 suicide drones, an Iranian replica of the “Rafi” – an Israeli suicide drone.

The attack was significant on a few levels:

 The attack was carried out at a relatively long range – at a distance of 650 km.????

 It proved measured Power Utilization – Sending two types of weapons that each achieved accurate hits.

Iran has also demonstrated its intelligence capability – both in identifying and selecting targets and in selecting the attack route and its execution.

Apparently neither the cruise missiles nor the drones were detected and no attempt was made to intercept them before the attack.

Iran’s ability to penetrate the Saudi air defense system, despite the billions of dollars spent and deployed to defend the area, was shown by its failure against the small, slow-moving assault weapons.

Impressive and unprecedented impact accuracy of less than 3 meters. The fragments of the Iranian cruise missiles have been  identified as among the derivatives of the 55-KH missiles that Ukraine delivered to Iran in 2001.

The nature of the Iranian attack has embarrassed the Western intelligence community. It turned out that Iran, a country with average technological capabilities, has developed  medium and long range missiles that are accurate and effective. This basically undermines the very existence of the regulatory bodies which assumes that denying access to technology can impede, or prevent such technologies being obtained.

The attack is proof of Iran’s operational potential that relies on technological capabilities, intelligence infrastructure and coordination, leading to the conclusion that the Western monopoly on precision-guided armaments has evaporated. The countries of the entire region and Israel have learned a lesson: Discovery and interception systems do not provide a proper countermeasure to new regional threats.

It is necessary to deal with cruise missiles, slow drones and hovercraft. The ranges reached by Iran this time – 650 km – would  allow damage to any point in Israel from western Iraq.


My battle for truth and freedom involves some expensive legal and security services. I hope that you will consider committing to a monthly donation in whatever amount you can give. Regular contributions will enable me to avoid being pushed against a wall and to stay on top of the endless harassment by Zionist operators attempting to silence me and others.

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Julian Assange – ‘Find Justice and Make It Quick’

By Alison Broinowski

Source

Julian Assange WikiLeaks a2923

With the US on the warpath and Australia sending military, air, and naval support for American activities in the Gulf, three Australian and British nationals are being made an example of in Iran, where they are in solitary confinement on charges of espionage. British politicians have been quick to accuse Iran of ‘hostage diplomacy’, saying the allegations against the academic and two tourists are ‘clearly false’. Australia, which still has an Embassy in Tehran, is making representations on their behalf. But Iran’s response is unlikely to be magnanimous or quick.

In Bulgaria meanwhile, another Australian, sentenced to 20 years in prison for murder in a street brawl, had served 11 years when an appeals court ordered him freed in late September. Australia’s foreign ministry is, of course, assisting Jock Palfreyman, now 32, and supporting his prominent Sydney family. Bulgaria’s Interior Minister commented, ‘When there is deprivation of life, then there is no complete justice…The logic of the law is to find justice and make it quick.’ (SMH, AP, 26 September 2019).

As usual, British and Australian treatment of three alleged spies and an accused murderer is in glaring contrast with Julian Assange’s case. Dragged by British police out of the Embassy of Ecuador, where he had diplomatic asylum, he was quickly jailed in May for 50 weeks. A judge with Tory connections, Lady Arbuthnot, took the opportunity to offer the claim that nobody in the UK is above the law. But justice delayed is justice denied, as the Bulgarian minister observed.

In June, the UK Home Secretary signed an order allowing Assange to be extradited to the US on charges of espionage after a final hearing in London next February. That in itself appears to prejudge the outcome. But the UK, which supposedly doesn’t allow extradition to nations with the death penalty, may prefer Assange to be extradited to Sweden rather than the US, and thereby wash its hands of his extradition. Sweden has a documented record of rendition of detainees to the US.

British officials have been pressing Sweden to reopen its 2010 rape case against Assange, and actually to charge him with something for the first time in the eight years of this slow-moving farce. But Sweden ended its investigation of Assange in May 2017, after he had repeatedly offered to be interviewed, and eventually was, in London. The Swedes clearly don’t want to revisit all that.

In Belmarsh high-security prison, which houses murderers and worse, Assange was seen by Nils Melzer, the UN Rapporteur on Torture, who reported to the US, UK, Sweden and Ecuador on his dire state of health. Australian journalist John Pilger has confirmed Melzer’s view, and so does Assange’s father, John Shipton. But if Australian ministers have sought to intervene on Assange’s behalf, or if consular officials have checked on his welfare, they haven’t said so. The Foreign Minister, Marise Payne, was in London in the summer but has said – and apparently done – nothing. The Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, who was recently in Washington, missed the opportunity, as far as we know, to mention the inmate of Belmarsh Prison and his prospects. Supposition is all we have, as the Australian media don’t even ask.

Assange appeared before the Westminster magistrate’s court by video from the prison on 13 September. District Judge Vanessa Baraitser said that although the custody period for his bail offence would end on 22 September, she would not release him for the balance of his 50-week sentence, saying he was likely to ‘abscond again’. His lawyers apparently didn’t challenge her decision. When she surprisingly said he was ‘charged by Sweden’ she was corrected by Assange, but his intervention did not appear in the court transcript.

Pilger has compared Britain’s treatment of Assange to the way dictatorships deal with political prisoners, which is what he is. A sound barrier or a time warp seems to have been imposed on Assange in the land of British justice, as it has on two other political prisoners, Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter, whose whereabouts since they were poisoned in Salisbury in March 2018 are unknown. The pattern has become repetitive: nothing has been heard lately from the detective superintendent on that case, or from Charlie Rowley, both of whom were reportedly contaminated by whatever affected the Skripals. If Sergei has died, how would we know?

If Assange – like Jeffrey Epstein in the US – should suddenly die in prison while guards on suicide watch are asleep, or hospital attendants are not looking, will what the authorities tell us be credible? No wonder Assange suffers from anxiety and depression. He is confined alone for 22 hours a day and cannot communicate with his US lawyers. He has no computer. He is locked up, nominally for skipping bail for a non-existent charge, but in fact for publishing American cables given to him by a US army officer, Chelsea Manning, in 2010. This, the US prosecutors will claim, was conspiracy and espionage.

Yet when Britain’s Mail on Sunday did the same in July, publishing the British Ambassador’s cabled comments on Donald Trump, no-one cried ‘spy!’ The then Foreign Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, defended publication of the cables, saying that it was in the public interest to read them. As journalist Peter Oborne remarked, Assange had published many more documents on matters that it was much more in the public interest to know about. Oborne perceived ‘a monstrous case of double standards’. (Media Lens, 17 September 2019).

Watch while the same double standards are applied to the CIA man who leaked the transcribed phone conversation between Trump and Ukraine’s President Zelensky, and the American papers which published it. The public has an interest in knowing about that leak, including its authenticity, and so do both sides of Congress. If it’s genuine, there’s no difference between it and what Assange did in 2010, so why is he not a ‘whistleblower’?

Permanent Record, Edward Snowden’s recent autobiography, begins with the words ‘I used to work for the government. Now I work for the public.’ Assange has always got up the nose of governments because he believes that information they collect at public expense belongs to the people, while private citizens’ data are their own. It is this fundamental principle that threatens the authorities, and makes them react aggressively to him while they lavish concern on other political prisoners. The extent of the aggression of the Anglo-allies will be seen next February when Assange’s extradition to the US is decided. But the longer the time warp persists and Assange remains invisible and inaudible, the greater the danger to him. Justice must be quick.

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