National Interest: In 2006, Lebanese Leaders Aspired That «Israel» Would Defeat Hezbollah

By Staff, Agencies

In an article posted by the American magazine the National Interest, a number of classified documents leaked by Wikileaks revealed that during the 2006 “Israeli” war on Lebanon, the “Lebanese defense ministry and government cooperated and coordinated with the US government to curb the power of Hezbollah”.

Image result for ‫الياس المر حرب تموز‬‎

It further added that, “leaders from across the country’s confessions virtually aspired that ‘Israel’ would defeat Hezbollah”.

Based on the article, Druze leader Walid Jumblatt stated in a document dated July 17, 2006, that

Image result for Walid Jumblatt with feltman

“although March 14 must call for a cease-fire in public, it is hoping that ‘Israel’ continues its military operations until it destroys Hizballah’s [Hezbollah] military capabilities . . . Then the LAF [Lebanese Armed Forces] can replace the ‘IDF’ [‘Israeli’ Occupation Forces] once a cease-fire is reached.”

It further added, a document dated August 7, 2006, revealed that Christian leaders meeting with then-Ambassador Jeffrey Feltman and Assistant Secretary Charles Welch argued that

“The Lebanese government will need to be in a position of strength to deal with Hizballah [Hezbollah] once the conflict is over . . . To this end, they would support a continuation of the ‘Israeli’ bombing campaign for a week or two if this were to diminish seriously Hizballah’s strength on the ground.”

Image result for ‫الياس المر حزب الله‬‎

الياس المر قدم النصح لاسرائيل لغزو لبنان وتدمير حزب الله

In the meantime, as revealed by a document dated August 8, 2006, then-Defense Minister Elias Murr, confident about a rapid LAF deployment, “stated clearly that the LAF was prepared to hit back at Hizballah if they attempted to fire at Israel or tried to draw Israeli fire by placing launchers near to LAF positions”, the National Interest article cited.

The article added that a document on the same day revealed that Murr

“claimed that LAF forces had stopped and seized a truck carrying Hezbollah missiles.”

These documents, according to the National Interest, show that the LAF did not cooperate with Hezbollah; rather it demonstrated the LAF’s indispensable and alternative force to stability and Hezbollah.

The article added,

“No sooner, the litmus test of the imperative need of the LAF took place in 2007 when a Salafi-jihadi organization Fath al-Islam took over the Palestinian refugee camp of Nahr al-Bared. Lacking equipment and ammunition, the LAF, despite its vigorous spirit, was virtually incapacitated”.

The National Interest gave credit to what it called “a swift American supply of weapons and ammunition” to the LAF which “prepared to storm the camp despite a warning from Hezbollah’s leader [His Eminence Sayyed] Hassan Nasrallah that the camp is a ‘red line’”. Following bloody pitched battles the LAF reclaimed the initiative against and defeated Fath al-Islam. The battle cost the LAF 166 soldiers and dozens wounded. This was the high price that the LAF had to pay.

The article concluded,

“Still, it was a price that elevated the LAF to a popular level beyond reproach or sectarian politicking. Since then, seeing the benefit of the LAF as a force against Al-Qaeda and its sister ‘jihadi’ organizations, Washington began to systematically equip the LAF with defensive weapons and train some of its officers”.

Image result for jeffrey feltman Elias Murr

Hundreds Attend London Meeting to Demand Freedom for Julian Assange

Global Research, December 02, 2019
World Socialist Web Site 30 November 2019

Hundreds packed the St Pancras New Church in Euston Thursday night for a meeting demanding freedom for imprisoned WikiLeaks founder and journalist Julian Assange.

The largest meeting held in London to date reflects growing opposition to plans by the US government to extradite and imprison Assange for exposing war crimes, illegal mass surveillance and state corruption.

Headlined “Free the Truth,” speakers included UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Nils Melzer, former UK ambassador Craig Murray and veteran investigative journalist John Pilger.

An accompanying art exhibition featured paintings, drawings and sculpture, while the meeting opened with a piano recital of “And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda”—a favourite of Assange. The meeting was organised by academics Deepa Driver and Iain Munro, with the support of the Julian Assange Defence Committee.

Rap artist Lowkey began by quoting the words of jailed Chartist leader Ernest Jones:

“Because I tried to extend your liberties, mine were curtailed. Because I tried to rear the temple of freedom for you all, I was thrown into the cell of a felon’s jail… Because I tried to give voice to truth, I was condemned to silence.”

These words, Lowkey explained, were taken from an article by Karl Marx written in 1852 for the New York Herald Tribune. Marx was then a political refugee in London.

“Julian Assange is not being punished for anything he has done wrong. He is being punished for everything he has done right,” Lowkey said to applause. The brutal treatment of Assange was a “slow motion crucifixion… what they are trying to crucify is the truth.”

Condemning the mainstream media’s vilification of Assange, Lowkey said its journalists were just “stenographers.”

“Those who have joined in this demonization of Julian Assange are like turkeys voting for Christmas. How much profit did you generate off of Julian’s three million cables that WikiLeaks revealed?… Today Julian Assange, tomorrow you.”

Fidel Narvaez(image on the right), former Ecuadorian counsel at the Ecuadorian Embassy, said that Assange was “along with Chelsea Manning, the most important political prisoner in the world today.”

The allegations against Assange in Sweden had never been credible and the investigation had been “opened and shut more times than a fridge door.” Assange was being “denied the chance to adequately prepare his defence against the fiercest persecution of a journalist so far this century, which is a powerful reason to demand due process for Julian Assange.”

Narvaez said, “Julian’s case is also a precedent for the institution of political asylum, because he, along with Edward Snowden, was the most important political asylee in the world.” His treatment was an attack on a small country, Ecuador, by some of the most powerful nations in the world.

“Ecuador had every sovereign right to determine whether Julian Assange was being politically persecuted in 2012. In order to protect him from the odious persecution of a Grand Jury…that can open a secret investigation against you and indict you on secret charges that will only be revealed once you are arrested. That is what happened to Julian Assange this April.”

“This Grand Jury wants to sentence a journalist to 175 years in prison for publishing truthful information about war crimes,” he said. For years the world’s media had attacked the warnings made by Assange about the existence of a Grand Jury “as paranoia…an excuse to hide from Swedish justice.”

The United Nations had ruled that Assange was being subject to arbitrary detention and the UK should free him and provide compensation. Lenin Moreno’s government had “committed the crime of delivering a political refugee to those who persecuted him.” This had broken the “sacred principle of asylum.”

Lisa Longstaff (image on the left) from Women Against Rape addressed the meeting.

“The pursuit of Julian Assange is not about rape. It’s the US government weaponising and distorting rape in order to punish him for the WikiLeaks exposés of war crimes, rape and torture.”

“In 2010 and 2012, we pointed to the unusual zeal with which Julian Assange was being pursued. It’s unlike any other rape investigation we’ve seen anywhere… In his case the judicial process was corrupted from the beginning.”

“Evidence emerged that the UK ordered Sweden not to drop the case sooner,” Longstaff explained, “so it’s clearly politically motivated.”

Longstaff said,

“Rape and sexual allegations have been used to pursue a political agenda from the start, intent on actually hiding rape, hiding torture and hiding murder committed by the state. They are the rapists, they are the racists, they are the murderers.”

Professor Nils Melzer(image on the right) was given a prolonged standing ovation. He explained that his mandate as UN Special Rapporteur on Torture was to report to states when their actions contravened international law. He had assumed that signatories to international law would “act in good faith.”

“In my investigation I found that this isn’t about the law…because if it was about the law, then Julian Assange would not be sitting in extradition detention, accused of espionage for having exposed serious misconduct on the part of states, including war crimes.”

Assange, he explained, would not have been sentenced to 50 weeks in prison for a bail violation for seeking and receiving political asylum, or had his asylum terminated and his citizenship withdrawn by Ecuador without explanation, or been portrayed as a suspected rapist by Sweden for more than nine years with no charges ever brought.

He would have been granted the right to prepare his defence and would not be detained in a high security prison, “under oppressive conditions of isolation and surveillance” and facing extradition for a political offence in contravention of UK law, “to a country where he will be exposed to a politicised trial, with secret evidence, behind closed doors, facing draconian punishments that is unlawful under US law and the First Amendment and sentencing to a supermax prison for the rest of his life.”

Assange’s persecution, he stressed, “is about setting an example, about scaring other journalists away, of instilling fear, preventing others from following the example of Julian Assange and of WikiLeaks, and to show to the world what happens when you expose the misconduct of the power of a state.”

During his May 9 visit with Assange at Belmarsh Prison, he had “found typical evidence of someone who has been exposed to a prolonged period of psychological torture,” Melzer explained. “Psychological torture is not ‘torture lite.’ Psychological torture aims to wreck and destroy the person’s personality and identity…to make them break.”

“We were able during our medical examination to confirm that this ill treatment had already had neurological consequences. If that is not stopped, it can end up having irreversible consequences on the cardiovascular system and the neurological system. This is extremely serious… Today I am extremely concerned for his life.”

Melzer had written to the UK, Sweden, the US and Ecuador to present his conclusions and ask them to take urgent measures to alleviate the pressure on Julian Assange and protect his human rights. All refused to do so:

“If they no longer engage with the institutions that they have created to report their compliance with human rights, then I only see a very dark future for us and our human rights and for the rights of our children.”

Clinical psychologist Lissa Johnson(image on the left) spoke on behalf of more than 60 medical doctors who have issued an open letter calling for Assange’s urgent transfer from Belmarsh Prison to a tertiary care hospital:

“If the UK government fails to heed their advice there will be very serious consequences, including that Julian Assange may die in prison.”

Johnson cited the findings of medical experts led by Nils Melzer who examined Assange inside Belmarsh on May 9:

“Julian does show signs typical for someone exposed for a prolonged time to psychological torture… the doctors know that is very serious physically for Julian’s life and survival.”

Pointing to the public’s response to worldwide media coverage of the doctors’ open letter, she observed,

“There’s a lot more public support for Julian than the media’s censorship and antagonism toward him suggests.”

“While institutions are failing us, while authorities are failing us, while the courts are failing us, here’s a group of people who took a matter of weeks to get this letter together. I think that’s where the pressure and the change is going to come.”

Former UK ambassador to Uzbekistan, Craig Murray(image on the right), began his remarks by pointing to the meeting’s magnificent venue. At the rear of the church were monuments erected to honour those families—the Burnleys of Barbados, the Beale family of Canton, the Page family of Bombay—who gave funds to build the church and who were doubtless involved in the slavery and opium trade.

“This building is like the British Establishment itself—on the surface it is beautiful, solid and harmonious, but inside it is rotten and corrupt to the core,” he said.

“We are seeing illegality in the treatment of Julian Assange. The abuses of process by the British justice system throughout the last decade have been absolutely astonishing,” Murray recounted. “There is no legality, there is no justice.”

“It is not only that he is the victim of torture. It’s not only that his life is at stake. It is not only that we need to save him from this dreadful injustice. We also want to save him because the world needs Julian Assange as a symbol of resistance!”

Historian, author and journalistMark Curtis(image on the left) told the audience, “Julian has support all over the world.” He suggested actions that people could take to fight for Assange’s freedom, beginning with information available on the defend.wikileaks.org website. “Obviously there’s no point in relying on the establishment media, not unless you want to brainwash yourself.”

Curtis attacked the “propaganda tropes” employed by the media against Assange—that he is a “rapist,” a “Russian asset,” a “supporter of Trump”—singling out the Guardian’s November 2018 fabrication that Trump’s campaign manager Paul Manafort had met Assange at the Ecuadorian embassy.

He called for mass pressure on human rights organisations to actively defend Assange, pointing to Amnesty International’s refusal to designate Assange a “prisoner of conscience.” He called on MPs to follow the lead of former Labour MP Chris Williamson who has campaigned publicly in Assange’s defence.

The audience gave a loud ovation for the twice-suspended Labour MP, who was present, and who quit the party this month after it refused to endorse him as candidate for Derby North. Curtis explained that just four MPs had signed an early day motion moved by Williamson in defence of Assange. (Neither Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn nor Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott signed that motion).

“These are the people who are meant to represent us and hold the executive to account. I know I’m confusing the UK with a democracy… In our system, which we clearly see in this case, the law has been stitched-up, the media is a platform for the elite and the political class is an appendage of the executive. That’s why we, as ordinary people, need to take action on these issues.”

He urged the audience to become involved in grassroots organisations such as the Julian Assange Defence Committee and to take part in events being organised in the weeks ahead, “culminating in a global day of protest in February when the extradition hearing will be held.”

The final speaker, Australian journalist John Pilger, told the audience he had visited Assange in Belmarsh Prison earlier that day. He described his visit with Julian and the draconian security regime inside the prison for visitors and inmates. A transcript of Pilger’s report is posted separately.

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Criminalizing Speech and Press Freedoms. Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning

Global Research, December 01, 2019

The persecution of Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning is all about waging war on truth-telling.

Chelsea Manning remains imprisoned for invoking her constitutional right to remain silent — for refusing to testify against Assange.

Her First, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, and Eight Amendment rights were violated.

Since her ordeal began in 2010, she was imprisoned for courageously revealing US high crimes of war and against humanity in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Subjecting her to unreasonable searches and seizures violated her Fourth Amendment rights.

Her Fifth Amendment rights of due process, protection from self-incrimination, and possible double jeopardy were violated.

So was her Sixth Amendment right of a public trial represented by counsel, an impartial jury, and evidence explaining charges against her.

Subjecting her to cruel and unusual punishments, including the threat to her freedom and well-being by demanding she testify before a grand jury in secret without counsel violated her Fifth, Sixth, and Eight Amendment rights.

Instead of being a shield against oppressive, arbitrary authority, the US grand jury system is a sword against fundamental constitutional rights because of its manipulative practices, prosecutors doing whatever it takes to get indictments.

Wrongfully imprisoned in London at the behest of the Trump regime, Assange faces extradition to the US for the “crime” of truth-telling journalism the way it’s supposed to be — putting other independent journalists at risk in the West and elsewhere.

Weeks earlier, Assange’s father John Shipton said his son is “subjected to every kind of torment” imaginable by UK authorities in London’s high-security Belmarsh prison.

His physical and emotional health fast-deteriorating, he’s being slowly assassinated.

“The only people who are breaking the law are the UK government and the Crown Prosecution Service,” said Shipton — in cahoots with the Trump regime, adding:

The intensity of his mistreatment increased since forcefully dragged from London’s Ecuadorian embassy in April.

UN special rapporteur on torture Nils Melzer earlier said

“(i)n 20 years of work with victims of war, violence and political persecution, I have never seen a group of (so-called) democratic states ganging up to deliberately isolate, demonize and abuse a single individual for such a long time and with so little regard for human dignity and the rule of law.”

We’re all Julian Assange. His fate is ours. At stake is the fate of speech, media and academic freedoms. Losing them jeopardizes all other fundamental rights.

What’s happening to Assange and Chelsea Manning puts everyone publicly expressing views that differ from the official narrative at risk — fascism triumphing over freedom, the rule of law rendered null and void.

Candidate Trump said “I love WikiLeaks.” Calling its site “amazing,” he added “I love reading those WikiLeaks.”

As president, he called Assange “disgraceful,” adding he deserves the “death penalty.” Following his April arrest, DJT turned truth on its head, saying “I know nothing about Wikileaks. It’s not my thing.”

Exposing government wrongdoing, truth-telling journalism, dissent, doing the right things despite risk of great personal harm are the highest forms of patriotism.

When whistleblowers and journalists are criminalized for exposing government wrongdoing on the phony pretext of protecting national security or other fabricated reasons, fundamental freedoms no longer exist.

Thomas Jefferson once said speech “cannot be limited without being lost” — the fundamental right upheld by Supreme Court rulings.

WikiLeaks earlier published an open letter to Trump, saying the following:

“We are journalists, activists and citizens from the United States and around the world who care about press freedom and are writing to you in response to the latest threat of prosecution against WikiLeaks for its journalistic work.”

“We ask you to immediately close the grand jury investigation into WikiLeaks and drop any charges against Julian Assange and other Wikileaks staff members…”

“This threat to WikiLeaks escalates a long-running war of attrition against the great virtue of the United States — free speech.”

Obama “prosecuted more whistleblowers than all (former US) presidents combined and opened a grand jury investigation into WikiLeaks that had no precedent.”

“It now appears the US is preparing to take the next step — prosecuting publishers who provide the ‘currency’ of free speech, to paraphrase Thomas Jefferson.”

Wrongful “charges (against Assange), including conspiracy, theft of government property and violating the Espionage Act” were fabricated to frame him.

“A threat to WikiLeaks’ work — which is publishing information protected under the First Amendment — is a threat to all free journalism. If the DOJ is able to convict a publisher for its journalistic work, all free journalism can be criminalized.”

“We call on you as president of the United States to close the Grand Jury investigation into WikiLeaks and drop” all charges against Assange and WikiLeaks.

“It was a free and robust press that provided you with a platform on which to run for president.”

“Defending a truly free press requires freedom from fear and favor and the support of journalists and citizens everywhere; for the kind of threat now facing WikiLeaks — and all publishers and journalists — is a step into the darkness.”

At a November 24 UK launch of the book titled “In Defense of Julian Assange,” John Pilger said the following:

Assange’s revelations represent “(a)ll the people whose lives were devastated in Iraq, the people whose lives were devastated in Afghanistan, and Yemen, all over the world that WikiLeaks had told us so much about.”

His unjust persecution is all about robbing people of their freedom and other fundamental rights.

“If they can come for Julian they can come for the rest of us, unless we stand up, speak, make sure our voices are heard,” Pilger stressed.

Assange is a political prisoner, “guilty” of truth-telling investigative journalism the way it’s supposed to be.

In 2015, life-sized bronze statutes of Assange, Chelsea Manning, and Edward Snowden were unveiled in Berlin’s Alexanderplatz.

Their sculptor Davide Dormino said he wanted to “represent three contemporary heroes who have lost their freedom for the truth,” adding: “Their work is reminder of “how important it is to know the truth.”

On Thursday at a large gathering in London for Assange, Australian journalist Kerry O’Brien warned that he’s unjustly “mouldering in a British prison awaiting extradition to the United States.”

Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance head Paul Murphy slammed Western media for failing to support Assange, siding with his persecutors.

Historian, former UK ambassador, human rights activist Craig Murray explained that “(d)espite the lack of coverage or biased coverage in mainstream media, there is now an understanding that Julian is being extradited to the United States for nothing except for publishing the truth,” adding:

He believes “we will see one of the largest campaigns (in support of Assange) of our time” next year.

UN special rapporteur on torture Nils Melzer warned that “(i)f Assange gets extradited to the United States and if he gets punished for exposing the truth, then essentially what’s happening is that telling the truth becomes a crime,” adding:

“He’s going to be sentenced by the same judge that sentences all of these whistleblowers in a closed court in East Virginia, and he’ll disappear in a high security prison in inhumane conditions for the rest of his life…if he makes it that far.”

Assange faces either longterm US gulag hell imprisonment or death before arrival from UK brutal mistreatment designed to kill him.

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Award-winning author Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. He is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG)

His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.

Featured image is from TruePublica

Wikileaks: OPCW Modified Chemical Weapons Report on Syria’s Douma had Crucial Details Omitted

Wikileaks: OPCW Modified Chemical Weapons Report on Syria’s Douma had Crucial Details Omitted

By Staff, Agencies

Three countries – the United States, the United Kingdom and France – carried out airstrikes against Syrian government targets, justifying their assault by claiming that the chemical weapons were allegedly used by the Syrian Army.

Wikileaks revealed that the OPCW’s redacted version of the so-called fact-finding report on Douma’s events had been intentionally doctored, misrepresenting the facts that the investigation team found on the ground in Syria after Western powers have attacked Syria.

According to the whistleblower organization, citing an e-mail sent by a member of an OPCW fact-finding mission to Syria to his superiors, this misrepresentation was achieved by selective omission, introducing a bias which undermines the credibility of the report.

The e-mail, exposed by Wikileaks, says that the crucial facts in the redacted version, “…have morphed into something quite different to what was originally drafted”, alleging that the document’s fixing was done at the behest of the Office of the Director-General [a post held by Turkish diplomat Ahmet Uzumcu at the time].

Notably, the document.,gt said that the OPCW investigators found upon arrival that much of the physical evidence was no longer available.

Local militants have claimed, cited by Western media, that toxic gas came from cylinders dropped from aircraft, alleging Syrian government forces who had complete air superiority at the time. The redacted OPCW report seemed to support these conclusions, but the author of the e-mail outlined aspects he considered “particularly worrisome”.

“Likely one or more chemicals that contain a reactive chlorine atom. Such chemicals could include… the major ingredient of household chlorine-based bleach. Purposely singling out chlorine gas as one of the possibilities is disingenuous”, the leaked e-mail points out, stressing that the redacted report also removed context from a statement in the original draft, which doubted the likelihood of the gas having emanated from cylinders found at the scene in Douma.

The e-mail’s author stressed this was “a major deviation from the original report”.

The redacted OPCW report also dropped another crucial detail about the Douma events. One piece of evidence broadcast across the world was footage claiming victims being treated in a hospital in the alleged aftermath of the attack in Douma. The symptoms shown were, however, not consistent with what witnesses reported seeing that day, the e-mail said.

“Omitting this section of the report [including the epidemiology which has been removed in its entirety] has a serious negative impact on the report as this section is inextricably linked to the chemical agent identified… In this case, the confidence in the identity of chlorine or any other choking agent is drawn into question precisely because of the inconsistency with the reported and observed symptoms. The inconsistency was not only noted by the fact-finding mission team, but strongly supported by three toxicologists with expertise in exposure to chemical warfare agents”, the e-mail revealed.

Another point of contention is the placement and condition of the cylinders reported to have contained the chemical agent. It has been alleged that their condition may not be consistent with having been dropped from the air making it unlikely that the cylinders were air-dropped, a point also discussed in an unreleased engineering report from OPCW that was earlier leaked by Wikileaks.

“This information was important in assessing the likelihood of the ‘presence’ of toxic chemicals versus the ‘use’ of toxic chemicals”, the e-mail stressed, adding that these particular sections are largely absent from the redacted report.

“I am requesting that the fact-finding report be released in its entirety as I fear that this redacted version no longer reflects the work of the team. The original report contains facts and observations that are all equally valid. The fact that inconsistencies are highlighted or observations not fully understood does not justify their omission. the inconsistencies and observations are based on the evidence and data collected”, the e-mail argued.

Following the publication of the initial OPCW report in March, the Russian Foreign Ministry stressed the OPCW ignored evidence provided by Russia and Syria, which confirmed that the attack had been staged by the White Helmets, and expressed concern that the document sought to justify foreign strikes against Syria.

Residents of Douma interviewed earlier were unable to confirm that a chemical attack had taken place. The residents said they knew nothing about such an attack and were not aware of anybody having been affected by toxic chemicals.

The OPCW relied in its probe on data provided by the White Helmets, a rebel-linked group also known as Syria Civil Defence (SCD), that bills itself as a volunteer rescue force. Videos of alleged victims in a hospital being treated for what was claimed to be a chemical gas sparked a media frenzy last year but Russia believes the footage was staged.

The annual conference of the OPCW starts this Monday.

No Accountability in Washington. The CIA Wants to Hide All Its Employees

By Philip Giraldi

Global Research, July 25, 2019

Strategic Culture Foundation

Government that actually serves the interests of the people who are governed has two essential characteristics: first, it must be transparent in terms of how it debates and develops policies and second, it has to be accountable when it fails in its mandate and ceases to be responsive to the needs of the electorate. Over the past twenty years one might reasonably argue that Washington has become less a “of the people, by the people and for the people” and increasingly a model of how special interests can use money to corrupt government. The recent story about how serial pedophile Jeffrey Epstein avoided any serious punishment by virtue of his wealth and his political connections, including to both ex-president Bill Clinton and to current chief executive Donald Trump, demonstrates how even the most despicable criminals can avoid being brought to justice.

This erosion of what one might describe as republican virtue has been exacerbated by a simultaneous weakening of the US Constitution’s Bill of Rights, which was intended to serve as a guarantee of individual liberties while also serving as a bulwark against government overreach. In recent cases in the United States, a young man had his admission to Harvard revoked over comments posted online when he was fifteen that were considered racist, while a young woman was stripped of a beauty contest title because she refused to don a hijab at a college event and then wrote online about her experience. In both cases, freedom of speech guaranteed by the First Amendment was ruled to be inadmissible by the relevant authorities.

Be that as it may, governmental lack of transparency and accountability is a more serious matter when the government itself becomes a serial manipulator of the truth as it seeks to protect itself from criticism. Reports that the Central Intelligence Agency (C.I.A.) is seeking legislation that will expand government ability to declare it a crime to reveal the identities of undercover intelligence agents will inevitably lead to major abuse when some clever bureaucrat realizes that the new rule can also be used to hide people and cover up malfeasance.

A law to protect intelligence officers already exists. It was passed in 1982 and is referred to as the Intelligence Identities Protection Act (I.I.P.A.). It criminalizes the naming of any C.I.A. officer under cover who has served overseas in the past five years. The new legislation would make the ban on exposure perpetual and would also include Agency sources or agents whose work is classified as well as actual C.I.A. staff employees who exclusively or predominantly work in the United States rather than overseas.

The revised legislation is attached to defense and intelligence bills currently being considered by Congress. If it is passed into law, its expanded range of criminal penalties could be employed to silence whistle blowers inside the Agency who become aware of illegal activity and it might also be directed against journalists that the whistleblowers might contact to tell their story.

The Agency has justified the legislation by claiming in a document obtained by The New York Times that “hundreds of covert officers [serving in the United States] have had their identity and covert affiliation disclosed without authorization… C.I.A. officers place themselves in harm’s way in order to carry out C.I.A.’s mission regardless of where they are based. Protecting officers’ identities from foreign adversaries is critical.”

Some Congressmen are disturbed by the perpetual nature of the identification ban while also believing that the proposed legislation is too broad in general. Senator Ron Wyden expressed had reservations over how the C.I.A. provision would apply indefinitely.

“I am not yet convinced this expansion is necessary and am concerned that it will be employed to avoid accountability,” he wrote.

Agency insiders have suggested that the new law is in part a response to increasing leaks of classified information by government employees. It is also a warning shot fired at journalists in the wake of the impending prosecution of Julian Assange of WikiLeaks under the seldom used Espionage Act of 1918. Covert identities legislation is less broad that the Espionage Act, which is precisely why it is attractive. It permits prosecution and punishment solely because someone either has revealed a “covert” name or is suspected of having done so.

But up until now, government prosecutors have only used the 1982 identities law twice. The first time was a 1985 case involving a C.I.A. clerk in Ghana and the second time was the 2012 case of John Kiriakou, a former C.I.A. officer who pleaded guilty to providing a reporter with the name of an under-cover case officer who participated in the agency’s illegal overseas interrogations. Kiriakou has always claimed that he had not in fact named anyone, in spite of his plea, which was agreed to as a plea bargain. The covert officer in question had already been identified in the media.

John Kiriakou also observes how the I.I.P.A. has been inevitably applied selectively. He describes how “These two minor prosecutions aside, very few revelations of C.I.A. identities have ever led to court cases. Former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage famously leaked Valerie Plame’s name to two syndicated columnists. He was never charged with a crime. Former C.I.A. Director David Petraeus leaked the names of 10 covert C.I.A. operatives to his adulterous girlfriend, apparently in an attempt to impress her, and was never charged. Former C.I.A. Director Leon Panetta revealed the name of the covert SEAL Team member who killed Osama bin Laden. He apologized and was not prosecuted.”

Kiriakou also explains how the “…implementation of this law is a joke. The C.I.A. doesn’t care when an operative’s identity is revealed — unless they don’t like the politics of the person making the revelation. If they cared, half of the C.I.A. leadership would be in prison. What they do care about, though, is protecting those employees who commit crimes at the behest of the White House or the C.I.A. leadership.” He goes on to describe how some of those involved in the Agency torture program were placed under cover precisely for that reason, to protect them from prosecution for war crimes.

Even team player Joe Biden, when a Senator, voted against the I.I.P.A., explaining in an op-ed in The Christian Science Monitor in 1982 that,

“The language (the I.I.P.A.) employs is so broadly drawn that it would subject to prosecution not only the malicious publicizing of agents’ names, but also the efforts of legitimate journalists to expose any corruption, malfeasance, or ineptitude occurring in American intelligence agencies.”

And that was with the much weaker 1982 version of the bill.

The new legislation is an intelligence agency dream, a get out of jail card that has no expiry date. And if one wants to know how dangerous it is, consider for a moment that if it turns out that serial pedophile Jeffrey Epstein was indeed a C.I.A. covert source, which is quite possible, he would be covered and would be able to walk away free on procedural grounds.

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Philip Giraldi is a former CIA counter-terrorism specialist and military intelligence officer and a columnist and television commentator. He is also the executive director of the Council for the National Interest. Other articles by Giraldi can be found on the website of the Unz Review.

Wiki-Gate: Julian Assange Was Framed by the People Who Supported Him

Global Research, April 22, 2019

Julian Assange’s arrest (after almost seven years in the Ecuadorian Embassy) constitutes a hideous and illegal act. He is imprisoned in Britain’s Belmarsh maximum security prison, pending his extradition to the United States. 

Statements by US prosecutors suggest that Assange would not be charged under the 1917 Espionage Act. What is contemplated are accusations of conspiring “to commit unlawful computer intrusion based on his alleged agreement to try to help Ms. Manning break an encoded portion of passcode that would have permitted her to log on to a classified military network under another user’s identity.” (NYT, April 11, 2019).

The charges can of course be changed and shifted around. Bolton-Pompeo will no doubt play a role. In a 2017 statement when he was CIA Director Mike Pompeo “referred to WikiLeaks as a “non-state hostile intelligence service,” which needed to be eradicated.”  

Assange is relentlessly accused by the corporate media of treason, acting on behalf of the Kremlin. An indictment invoking the 1917 Espionage Act remains a distinct possibility with a view to overriding The First Amendment of the US Constitution which guarantees Freedom of Expression.

Assange constitutes a new Russia-Gate media narrative? His arrest coincides with the release of the redacted version of the Mueller report.

Prepare for Wiki-Gate: a long and drawn-out legal procedure which will be the object of extensive media coverage with a view to ultimately misleading the public.  

The unspoken objective of Assange’s indictment is to  create a legal precedent which will enable Washington and its allies to arrest independent and anti-war journalists indiscriminately.

What is at stake, –revealed by Wikileaks– is that politicians in high office are the architects of war crimes. To protect them and sustain their legitimacy, they require the suppression of  freedom of expression, which in turn requires “the criminalization of justice”.

Ironically, from the very outset (over a period of more than 12 years) there has never been a concerted effort on the part of Washington (and its national security intelligence apparatus) to suppress the release of classified US government information or to close down the Wikileaks project. In fact, quite the opposite.

Why?

Because the carefully selected and redacted Wikileaks quotes by the mainstream media have been used to provide legitimacy to US “foreign policy” as well as obfuscate (through omission) many of the crimes committed by US intelligence and the Pentagon.

Wikileaks and the Mainstream Media

It is important to note that Julian Assange from the outset was supported by the mainstream media, which was involved in releasing selected and redacted versions of the leaks. And despite Assange’s arrest and imprisonment, Wikileaks continues to release compromising US diplomatic cables, the latest of which (reported by McClatchy, April 17, 2019) pertains to “evidence that US troops executed at least 10 Iraqi civilians” including a 5 month old infant. 

At the outset of the Wikileaks project, the mainstream media including the New York Times, The Guardian and the Economist praised Julian Assange. The British elites supported him. Assange became a personality. It was a vast Public Relations campaign. It was a money-making undertaking for the corporate media.

In 2008  The Economist (which is partly owned by the Rothschild family) granted Assange The New Media Award.

About-turn?  Shift in the Mainstream Media Narrative.

Today, ironically  these same corporate media which praised Assange are now accusing him (without a shred of evidence) of being involved in acts of conspiracy on behalf of  the Kremlin. According to John Pilger:

“The Guardian has since published a series of falsehoods about Assange, not least a discredited claim that a group of Russians and Trump’s man, Paul Manafort, had visited Assange in the [Ecuadorian] embassy. The meetings never happened; it was fake.”

Assange has been the object of an all out smear campaign by those who supported him.

The Economist which granted him the New Media Award in 2008 intimates that Assange is an enemy agent responsible for “information anarchy … culminating in the destabilization of American democracy”.

Others think it a long-overdue reckoning with justice for a man who had unleashed information anarchy upon the West, culminating in the destabilisation of American democracy. Is Mr Assange a heroic journalist, reckless activist or even an enemy agent? (The Economist, April 12,2019, emphasis added)

The smear operation is ongoing:

Screenshot Economist headline, April 17, 2019

Starting in early 2017, coinciding with RussiaGate, Assange is depicted as a  “Putin Stooge” working for the Kremlin, Why?

In 2016, some of Mr. Assange’s former American sympathizers turned sharply against him after he made WikiLeaks into an enthusiastic instrument of Russia’s intervention in the American presidential election, doling out hacked Democratic emails to maximize their political effect, campaigning against Hillary Clinton on Twitter and promoting a false cover story about the source of the leaks. (NYT, April 2019, emphasis added)

And then The Guardian, (April 20) with which Assange actively collaborated goes into a high-gear smear operation and  character assassination: “cheap journalism” by the Guardian (read excerpt below):

Was Julian Assange Framed by the People Who Supported Him? 

The latest from the New York Times April 15, 2019, which previously collaborated with Assange, describes him as a threat to National Security, working on behalf of the Russians.

Flashback to 2010:

WikiLeaks published a series of controversial intelligence leaks including some 400,000 classified Iraq war documents, covering events from 2004 to 2009 (See Tom Burghardt, The WikiLeaks Release: U.S. Complicity and Cover-Up of Iraq Torture Exposed, Global Research, October 24, 2010).

These revelations contained in the Wikileaks Iraq War Logs provided “further evidence of the Pentagon’s role in the systematic torture of Iraqi citizens by the U.S.-installed post-Saddam regime.” (Ibid).

The Role of the Frontline Club. Assange’s Social Entourage

While Assange was committed (through the release of leaked government documents) to revealing the “unspoken truth” of corruption and war crimes, many of the people (and journalists) who “supported him” are largely “Establishment”: Upon his release from bail in December 2010 (Swedish extradition order over allegations of sexual offenses) Henry Vaughan Lockhart Smith, a friend of Assange, a former British Grenadier Guards captain and a member of the British aristocracy came to his rescue.  Assange was provided refuge at Vaughan Smith’s Ellingham Manor in Norfolk.

Vaughn Lockhart Smith is the founder of the London based Frontline Club (which is supported by George Soros’ Open Society Institute). In 2010, the Frontline Club served as the de facto U.K “headquarters” for Julian Assange.

Vaughan Smith is a journalist aligned with the mainstream media. He had collaborated with NATO, acted as an embedded reporter and cameraman in various US-NATO war theaters including Afghanistan and Kosovo. In 1998 he worked as a video journalist in Kosovo in a production entitled The Valley, which consisted in “documenting” alleged Serbian atrocities against Kosovar Albanians. The video production was carried out with the support of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA).

Upon Assange’s arrest on April 10, 2019 Vaughn Smith, while acknowledging his disagreements with Assange, nonetheless expressed his unbending support and concern for Assange:

Smith said that while he didn’t agree that everything Assange released should have been released, he did think the Wikileaks founder “triggered a discussion about transparency that is incredibly important.”

“I support Julian because I think his rights as an individual reflect on us, his fellow citizens,” he told Tremonti.

“I think how we treat somebody who we may not agree with, that tells us truths that we may not wish to know … is a great comment on us.” (CBC, April 10, 2019)

The Role of the Corporate Media: The Central Role of the New York Times

The New York Times, the Guardian, Der Spiegel and El Pais (Spain) were directly involved in the editing, redacting and selection of leaked documents.

In the case of the New York Times, coordinated by Washington Bureau Chief David Sanger, the redacted versions were undertaken in consultation with the US State Department.

Even before the Wikileaks project got off the ground, the mainstream media was implicated. A role was defined and agreed upon for the corporate media not only in the release, but also in the selection and editing of the leaks. The “professional media”, to use Julian Assange’s words in an interview with The Economist, had been collaborating with the Wikileaks project from the outset.

Moreover, key journalists with links to the US foreign policy-national security intelligence establishment have worked closely with Wikileaks, in the distribution and dissemination of the leaked documents.

In a bitter irony, The New York Times, which has consistently promoted media disinformation was accused in 2010 of conspiracy. For what? For revealing the truth? Or for manipulating the truth? In the words of Senator Joseph L. Lieberman:

“I certainly believe that WikiLleaks has violated the Espionage Act, but then what about the news organizations — including The Times — that accepted it and distributed it?” Mr. Lieberman said, adding: “To me, The New York Times has committed at least an act of bad citizenship, and whether they have committed a crime, I think that bears a very intensive inquiry by the Justice Department.” (WikiLeaks Prosecution Studied by Justice Department – NYTimes.com, December 7, 2010)

This “redacting” role of The New York Times was candidly acknowledged by David E Sanger, Chief Washington correspondent of the NYT:

“[W]e went through [the cables] so carefully to try to redact material that we thought could be damaging to individuals or undercut ongoing operations. And we even took the very unusual step of showing the 100 cables or so that we were writing from to the U.S. government and asking them if they had additional redactions to suggest.” (See PBS Interview; The Redacting and Selection of Wikileaks documents by the Corporate Media, PBS interview on “Fresh Air” with Terry Gross: December 8, 2010, emphasis added).

Yet Sanger also said later in the interview:

 “It is the responsibility of American journalism, back to the founding of this country, to get out and try to grapple with the hardest issues of the day and to do it independently of the government.” (ibid, emphasis added)

“Do it independently of the government” while at the same time “asking them [the US government] if they had additional redactions to suggest”?

David  E. Sanger is not a model independent journalist. He is member of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) and the Aspen Institute’s Strategy Group which regroups the likes of Madeleine K. Albright, Condoleeza Rice, former Defense Secretary William Perry, former CIA head John Deutch, among other prominent establishment figures.

It is worth noting that several American journalists, members of the Council on Foreign Relations had interviewed Wikileaks, including Time Magazine’s Richard Stengel (November 30, 2010) and The New Yorker’s Raffi Khatchadurian. (WikiLeaks and Julian Paul Assange : The New Yorker, June 11, 2007)

Historically, The New York Times has served the interests of the Rockefeller family in the context of a longstanding relationship. In turn, the Rockefellers have an important stake as shareholders of several US corporate media.

Concluding Remarks 

Who are the criminals?

Those who leak secret  government documents which provide irrefutable evidence of extensive crimes against humanity or the politicians in high office who order the killings and atrocities.

What is unfolding is not only “the criminalization of the State”, the judicial system is also criminalized with  a view to upholding the legitimacy of the war criminals in high office.

And the corporate media through omission, half truths and outright lies upholds war as a peace-making endeavor (see below)

 

Is Julian Assange An Anti Semite As Well As A Publisher?

assange.jpg

April 19, 2019  /  Gilad Atzmon

By Eve Mykytyn

The public debate around Assange has to do with government secrecy, the rights of the press and the ability of the United States to impose its laws upon a nonresident noncitizen. Why is it then that for some outlets the crucial issue is whether Assange is an anti Semite? Must every public figure undergo examination for possible anti Semitism or is this how an unrelated discourse is diverted?

The media has frequently accused Assange of anti Semitism with what seems like shaky evidence. See: The Guardian, Slate, Wired and The New York Times. The media does not credit Assange’s consistent denials, failing to treat them as even evidence of his own state of mind.

Not surprisingly, the faux left outlet The Forward gives breathless coverage to Assange’s ‘anti Semitism,’  lamenting that his anti Semitism persists “despite the fact that some of his most loyal employees and public defenders are themselves Jewish.” Actually, this fact gives weight to Assange’s claim that he is not an anti Semite.

As evidence, the Forward charges that Assange employed “the anti Semitic holocaust denier … Israel Shamir.” Shamir has denied such allegations, writing: “my family lost too many of its sons and daughters for me to deny the facts of Jewish tragedy, … I do deny the morbid cult of Holocaust.”  Whatever Shamir is, does merely employing him transfer his beliefs to Assange? Is anti Semitism, like the measles, contagious?

The editor of the British Magazine Private Eye, Ian Hislop  wrote about an alleged phone call he had with Assange based solely “as much as I could remember.”  According to Hislop, Assange said there was an “international conspiracy to smear Wikileaks… an obvious attempt to deprive him and his organisation of Jewish support and donations.”  Assange called Hislop’s story a lie, and noted that his organization has “some Jewish staff and enjoys wide spread Jewish support” and has itself been accused of working on behalf of the Mossad and George Soros.

Some of Assange’s other offenses? He called out the idiocy of those who identify as Jewish by using a triple parentheses. ((())): The WikiLeaks website’s online shop sold a t shirt with the words “first they came for Assange,” words that the Forward interprets as Assange comparing himself to a holocaust victim, apparently a comparison only permitted the children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews of a holocaust victim.

Haaretz, the ‘liberal’ Israeli outlet uses Assange’s alleged anti Semitism to join their Labour brethren in condemning Corbyn. Why? Here’s the Haaretz  headline:  “Why Jeremy Corbyn Loves Julian Assange So Much; The UK Labour leader’s kneejerk support for the Wikileaks founder is entirely predictable, as is Corbyn’s lack of response to the scent of anti-Semitism Assange exudes.”

Jeremy Corbyn called Assange a twenty-first century folk hero for exposing evidence of atrocities in Iraq and Afghanistan and has opposed his extradition. Yet Haaretz fantastically ‘discerns’ that the real reason Corbyn supports Assange is because Wikileaks published material stolen from the CIA that included 2500 files relating to cables sent by the U.S. Embassy in Israel.

Why do Israel’s supporters condemn Assange with seemingly irrelevant charges of anti Semitism?  Anti Semitism is the default argument against perceived opponents of Israel.

I suspect that the true basis of their opposition is based on Corbyn’s actual words. Assange exposed the present neocon wars for the tragic mess they are. And the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq were pushed by Israel.  As Israel seems to be leading us to the edge of a war with Iran, it hardly wants us reminded of the deadly costs of war.

By damning Assange for anti Semitism instead of grappling with the more important issues of waging neocon wars or even freedom of the press, some of Israel’s supporters can maintain their ‘leftist’ credentials  while still helping to minimize Assange’s influence.

Source: https://www.evemykytyn.com/writing/2019/4/16/is-julian-assange-an-anti-semite-as-well-as-a-publisher

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