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

Which Law Is Assange Above?

By Alison Broinowski

Source

Julian Assange 50ed4

‘No-one is above the law’ Julian Assange has repeatedly been told in British courts. What that means in effect is, ‘You think you are above the law and we have run out of things to charge you with, so we are going to make an example of you for that’.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has also told the media that ‘no-one is above the law’ so he, like his predecessors in both major parties, will not intervene with his British counterpart on Assange’s behalf. Gratuitously, he added a sexist crack about Assange’s friend and supporter Pamela Anderson, a Baywatch star. But he did not explain – and wasn’t asked – which law Assange thought he was above. He has broken no Australian law, Sweden has dropped its rape case, he has served his sentence for breach of bail in the UK, and the US has not yet extradited him on charges of espionage and treason. But he’s still locked up.

Belatedly, a growing number of Australian supporters of Assange are boldly going where Ministers fear to tread. They are speaking out for several reasons, apart from the obvious injustice of the case against Assange. They realize he is clearly in poor mental and physical health; that President Trump who once loved WikiLeaks has turned out to want the indictment as much as Hillary Clinton did; and that any hope that British justice will prevail is looking increasingly faint. In mid-November PEN International packed large venues in Melbourne and Sydney with people wanting to hear and question Assange’s London lawyer, Jennifer Robinson. Public demonstrations supporting him are spreading, and that news ‘makes him smile’ Robinson said.

Both Assange and Robinson have received death threats. His father says Assange has been strip-searched and placed in a ‘hotbox’, from which he emerged ‘very disturbed’ and couldn’t remember his date of birth in court. Used in some military prisons, the hotbox is said to induce dehydration and confusion. Imagine what else can happen to him.

In October four prominent Australians joined in calls for intervention on Assange’s behalf – businessman Dick Smith, Nationals MP Barnaby Joyce, Independent MP Andrew Wilkie, and Bob Carr, former Foreign Minister and Premier of NSW. Carr said the UK and US should expect a backlash from Australia unless the extradition case is dropped and Assange’s prison conditions do not immediately improve. Wilkie has formed a multi-party Parliamentary Friendship Group, ‘Bring Assange Home’. It was this kind of political and public pressure that eventually forced Prime Minister John Howard in 2007 to intervene for the release from Guantanamo prison of accused terrorist collaborator David Hicks, long after the UK and Canada had got their nationals out in 2003.

But Australian politicians with a vested interest in seeing an example made of Assange continue, for now, to ignore such appeals. They do so for three reasons: successive government and media narratives are so heavily invested in the manufactured perception about Assange that they would have trouble explaining it away; they won’t go out on a limb for a man whose revelations have embarrassed Australia and its allies; and they prefer to hide behind the pretence of allowing British and American justice to take its course. Yet they have been eager to intervene in the cases of Australians detained in China, Indonesia, Egypt, Thailand, and Bulgaria.

British justice has not appeared in its best light in the Assange saga. UK prosecutors unsuccessfully pressed their Swedish counterparts not to drop the rape case, and later demanded they reinstate it, also without success. British police entered the Embassy of Ecuador to remove Assange, in apparent breach of the Vienna Convention. He was immediately charged with breaking bail and jailed in the high security Belmarsh Prison, in isolation. He has been admitted to the hospital facility for what the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture says are life-threatening results of psychological mistreatment, in England.

One judge, Vanessa Baraitser, who reimposed imprisonment on Assange after his bail term expired, saying he was likely to abscond, got a significant detail wrong. When she surprisingly said he was ‘charged by Sweden’, Assange corrected her, but his intervention did not appear in the court transcript. Another more senior judge, the chief magistrate who sent him to Belmarsh in the first place, Emma Arbuthnot, told him no-one is above the law.

Lady Arbuthnot’s husband James is a former Minister of Defence who retains close military connections. Until late last year Lord Arbuthnot was on the board of the IRM cyber-security consultancy. Their son Alexander is vice-president and cyber-security adviser of a private equity firm Vitruvian Partners. The company is a large investor in Darktrace, an operation founded by GCHQ and MI5, whose staff include colleagues from MI6, the Ministry of Defence, the US National Security Agency and the CIA – the very agencies which want Assange prosecuted for publishing their secrets.

Darktrace has 40 offices across the world, which seek to prevent leaks by insiders of the sorts of data that WikiLeaks and Edward Snowden published. Alexander Arbuthnot was previously head of global sales for Symantec, an American cyber-security and anti-data leak company, which sees the likes of Chelsea Manning as ‘malicious insiders’. His aim at Symantec was to ‘avoid a repeat of WikiLeaks’ (Matt Kennard and Mark Curtis, The Daily Maverick, 15 November 2019. Daily Maverick.co.za).

The CIA, which is ‘working to take down’ WikiLeaks, has audio and video recordings of Assange’s private meetings in the Embassy of Ecuador, including with his lawyers. Jennifer Robinson confirmed in Sydney that an employee of a Spanish security company had provided them, and Assange has taken legal action against the firm.

Over and above the question of whether a conflict of interest arises from the funding of some of Lady Arbuthnot’s travels, her objectivity as a judge in Assange’s case must be questionable on the basis of her husband’s and son’s past and current activities. Which does not mean that it will be questioned: as we have seen ever since Tony Blair, the British establishment on both sides of politics and in the media instinctively closes ranks to defend its friends, its interests, and those of the military/industrial/security establishment against outsiders who reveal embarrassing facts. Assange in the UK; Manning, Snowden, and Max Blumenthal in the US; and in Australia, Witness K, Bernard Collaery, David McKnight, and others are mere collateral damage.

The full extradition hearing is set for 25 February 2020. Even though the treaty between the UK and the US excludes extradition for political offences, that is clearly the intention of both governments. Silencing Assange for 175 years may do the same for the media.

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.

Israel’s Supreme Court — Upholding “Targeted Assassinations” and Torture

Global Research, November 08, 2019

Time and again, Israel’s high court upholds human and civil rights abuses committed by the state.

In 2006, the court upheld its targeted assassinations policy, claiming they’re OK when no other choices exist to protect against dangers to national security — that don’t exist it failed to say.

The policy contravenes Israeli law, the laws of war, and human rights law. Time and again, Israel falsely calls legitimate self-defense by Palestinians “terrorism,” unjustifiably justifying its lawless actions, most often upheld by its high court.

In Public Committee against Torture in Israel et al v. the Government of Israel et al (1999), Israel’s Supreme Court banned the practice it earlier OK’d, ruling “psychological pressure (and) a moderate degree of physical pressure” are permissible.

Israel’s 1987 Landau Commission condemned harsh interrogations amounting to torture, but approved the practice to obtain evidence for convictions in criminal proceedings, saying these tactics are necessary against “hostile (threats or acts of) terrorist activity and all expressions of Palestinian nationalism.”

Despite calling the 1984 UN Convention against Torture “absolute (with) no exceptions and no balances,” Israel’s high court OK’d coercive interrogations in three cases.

It permitted violent shaking, painful shackling, hooding, playing deafeningly loud music, sleep deprivation, and lengthly detainments.

Loopholes in the high court’s 1999 ruling OK’d abusive practices amounting to torture despite banning the practice.

It notably allowed physical force in so-called “ticking bomb” cases, giving Israeli interrogators and others wide latitude on their actions.

The court effectively ruled both ways, approving torture and other abusive practices despite banning it.

International law is clear and unequivocal on this issue, banning it at all times, under all circumstances with no allowed exceptions.

In 2015, Israel’s Supreme Court rejected a petition by human rights groups and political movements that called for overturning the Anti-Boycott Law.

At the time, the Global BDS Movement and Coalition for Women for Peace called the bill “one of the most dangerous anti-democratic laws promoted” by Knesset members, adding:

“Boycott is a nonviolent, legal and legitimate means to promote social and political aims that are protected in civil rights of freedom of expression, opinion and assembly. The bill constitutes a fatal blow to all these civil rights.”

The police state law punishes entities or individuals that call for boycotting Israel, or an economic, cultural, or academic boycott of its illegal settlements.

According to the Adalah Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, Israel’s Supreme Court “ignored the chilling effect of this law, and missed the opportunity to tell legislators that there are limits to their anti-human rights actions. This law encourages discrimination against the Arabs in Israel.”

The 2012 Nakba Law “harms both the freedom of expression and the civil rights of Arab citizens, even before its implementation.”

“Because the law’s formulation is so broad and vague, many institutions have already begun and will self-censor in order not to risk incurring penalties.”

Israel’s high court upheld the law, falsely claiming it “does not raise difficult and complex questions.”

It violates Arab history, culture, heritage, and the right to express, teach, or disseminate it freely.

Arab intellectual Constantin Zureiq earlier called the Nakba “the worst catastrophe in the deepest sense of the word, to have befallen the Arabs in their long and disaster-ridden history.”

Compromising their ability to publicly denounce what happened compounds the high crime against them.

Speech, press, and academic freedoms in Israel are gravely endangered. In 2017, legislation was enacted that banned foreign nationals who support BDS from entering the country.

Last April, Israel’s Jerusalem district court ruled against Human Rights Watch’s Israeli office director Omar Shakir, a US citizen, ordering him deported for supporting the global BDS movement, his lawful free expression right.

HRW appealed the ruling, petitioning Israel’s Supreme Court to overturn the injustice. It got an injunction to let Shakir stay in the country until the high court heard his case.

On Tuesday, the court ruled against him, Shakir tweeting:

“Breaking: Israeli Supreme Court upholds my deportation over my rights advocacy. Decision now shifts back to Israeli gov; if it proceeds, I have 20 days to leave…(W)e won’t be the last.”

Critic of Israeli human rights abuses Amnesty International said

“the court has made it explicitly clear that those who dare to speak out about human rights violations by the Israeli authorities will be treated as enemies of the state.”

Israel’s Supreme Court ruled against free expression. Without it, all other rights are jeopardized.

Compromising speech, press, and academic freedoms is the hallmark of totalitarian rule — the new normal in the US, other Western societies and Israel, affirmed by its high court.

Is is just a matter of time before Western ones rule the same way?

Is digital democracy in the West and Israel endangered?

Are abuses against Chelsea Manning, other whistleblowers, Julian Assange, and other independent journalists prelude for much more severe crackdowns against fundamental freedoms ahead?

*

Note to readers: please click the share buttons below. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

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 IMEMC


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Killing Julian Assange: Justice Denied When Exposing Official Wrongdoing

By Philip Giraldi

Source

Julian Assange Killing e3453

The hideous treatment of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange continues and many observers are citing his case as being symptomatic of developing “police state” tendencies in both the United States and in Europe, where rule of law is being subordinated to political expediency.

Julian Assange was the founder and editor-in-chief of the controversial news and information site WikiLeaks. As the name implies, after 2006 the site became famous, or perhaps notorious, for its publication of materials that have been leaked to it by government officials and other sources who consider the information to be of value to the public but unlikely to be accepted by the mainstream media, which has become increasingly corporatized and timid.

WikiLeaks became known to a global audience back in 2010 when it obtained from US Army enlisted soldier Bradley Manning a large quantity of classified documents relating to the various wars that the United States was fighting in Asia. Some of the material included what might be regarded as war crimes.

WikiLeaks again became front-page news over the 2016 presidential election, when the website released the emails of candidate Hillary Clinton and her campaign manager John Podesta. The emails revealed how Clinton and her team collaborated with the Democratic National Committee to ensure that she would be nominated rather than Bernie Sanders. It should be noted that the material released by WikiLeaks was largely documentary and factual in nature, i.e. it was not “fake news.”

Because he is a journalist ostensibly protected by the First Amendment guarantee of free speech, the handling of the “threat” posed by journalist Assange is inevitably somewhat different than a leak by a government official, referred to as a whistleblower. Assange has been vilified as an “enemy of the state,” likely even a Russian agent, and was initially pursued by the Swedish authorities after claims of a rape, later withdrawn, were made against him. To avoid arrest, he was given asylum by a friendly Ecuadorean government seven years ago in London. The British police had an active warrant to arrest him immediately as he had failed to make a bail hearing after he obtained asylum, which is indeed what took place when Quito revoked his protected status in April.

As it turned out, Julian Assange was not exactly alone when he was in the Ecuadorean Embassy. All of his communications, including with his lawyers, were being intercepted by a Spanish security company hired for the purpose allegedly by the CIA. There apparently was also a CIA plan to kidnap Assange. In a normal court in a normal country, the government case would have been thrown out on constitutional and legal grounds, but that was not so in this instance. The United States has persisted in its demands to obtain the extradition of Assange from Britain and London seems to be more than willing to play along. Assange is undeniably hated by the American political Establishment and even much of the media in a bipartisan fashion, with the Democrats blaming him for Hillary Clinton’s loss while Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has labeled him a “fraud, a coward and an enemy.” WikiLeaks itself is regarded by the White House as a “hostile non-government intelligence service.” Sending Julian Assange to prison for the rest of his life may be called justice, but it is really revenge against someone who has exposed government lies. Some American politicians have even asserted that jail is too good for Assange, insisting that he should instead be executed.

The actual charges laid out in the US indictment are for alleged conspiracy with Chelsea Manning to publish the “Iraq War Logs,” the “Afghan War Logs” and the US State Department cables. On May 23rd, the United States government further charged Assange with violating the Espionage Act of 1917, which criminalizes any exposure of classified US government information anywhere in the world by anyone. Its use would create a precedent: any investigative journalist who exposes US government malfeasance could be similarly charged.

Assange is currently incarcerated in solitary confinement at high-security Belmarsh prison. It is possible that the Justice Department, after it obtains Assange through extradition, will attempt to make the case that Assange actively colluded with the Russian government, a conspiracy to “defraud the United States” to put it in legalese. Assange is unlikely to receive anything approaching a fair trial no matter what the charges are.

Assange’s prison term ended on September 22nd, but an earlier procedural hearing at Westminster Magistrates’ Court had already decided that a full hearing on extradition to the US would not begin until February 25th, 2020. District Judge Vanessa Baraitser ruled that Assange would not be released even though the prison term had ended, because he was a flight risk. His status in the prison system was duly changed from a serving prisoner to a person facing extradition and his final hearing would be at the high-security Belmarsh Magistrates’ Court rather than in a normal civil court. Belmarsh is where terrorists are routinely tried and the proceedings there permit only minimal public and media scrutiny.

Most recently, on October 21st, 2019, Assange was again in Westminster Magistrates’ Court for a “case management hearing” regarding his possible extradition to the US Judge Baraitser denied a defense team request for a three-month delay so that they could gather evidence in light of the fact that Assange had been denied access to his own papers and documents in order to prepare his defense. British government prosecutor James Lewis QC and the five US “representatives” present opposed any delay in the extradition proceedings and were supported by Judge Baraitser, denying any delay in the proceedings.

Another procedural hearing will take place on December 19th followed by the full extradition hearing in February, at which time Assange will presumably be turned over to US Marshalls for transportation to the Federal prison in Virginia to await trial. That is, of course, assuming that he lives that long as his health has visibly deteriorated and there have been claims that he has been tortured by the British authorities.

Former British Ambassador Craig Murray, who knows Julian Assange well, was present when he appeared in court on the 21st. Murray was shocked by Assange’s appearance, noting that he had lost weight and looked like he had aged considerably. He was walking with a pronounced limp and when the judge asked him questions, to include his name and date of birth, he had trouble responding. Murray described him as a “shambling, incoherent wreck” and also concluded that “one of the greatest journalists and most important dissidents of our times is being tortured to death by the state, before our eyes.”

The British court was oblivious to Assange’s poor condition, with Judge Baraitser telling the clearly struggling prisoner that if he were incapable of following proceedings, then his lawyers could explain what had happened to him later. Objections to what was happening made by both Assange and his lawyers were dismissed by the Crown’s legal representatives, often after discussions with the American officials present, a process described in full by Murray, who, after describing the miscarriage of justice he had just witnessed observed that Julian Assange is being “slowly killed in public sight and arraigned on a charge of publishing the truth about government wrongdoing.” He concluded that “Unless Julian is released shortly he will be destroyed. If the state can do this, then who is next?” Indeed.

How the US Regime ‘Justifies’ the Theft of Syria’s Oil

Image result for How the US Regime ‘Justifies’ the Theft of Syria’s Oil
Eric Zuesse
American writer and investigative historian

October 30, 2019
On October 26th, the New York Times headlined “Keep the Oil’: Trump Revives Charged Slogan for New Syria Troop Mission” and opened by saying that “in recent days, Mr. Trump has settled on Syria’s oil reserves as a new rationale for appearing to reverse course and deploy hundreds of additional troops to the war-ravaged country.” They closed with a statement from Bruce Riedel, retired from the CIA: “‘Let’s say he does do it,’ Mr. Riedel said. ‘Let’s say we establish the precedent that we are in the Middle East to take the oil. The symbolism is really bad.’” The propaganda-value of a ‘news’-report is concentrated in its opening, and especially in what the ‘reporter’ (fulfilling the intentions of his editors) selected to be at the very end (such as Riedel’s statement). However, is what’s wrong with taking Syria’s oil actually the “symbolism,” as Riedel said, or is it instead the theft — the reality (and why did the NYT pretend that it’s the latter)? Nowhere did that NYT article use the word “theft,” or anything like it, but that is the actual issue here — not mere ‘symbolism’.

Trump had been so lambasted by the Democratic Party’s ‘news’-media (such as the NYT) and by all the rest of the neoconservative ‘news’-media (the Republican ones), for his trying to withdraw forces from Obama’s regime-change war against Syria, he’s now switched to trying to ‘justify’ continuation of America’s invasion-occupation of Syria by his promising to steal the oil there — but the ‘news’-media almost never use that term (“theft”), or anything like it, to describe what he is promising to do, because they themselves have been propagandizing the American people to oppose withdrawal from Syria, which would mean ending Obama’s invasion-occupation of Syria. Both the Republican and the Democratic Parties, and their ‘news’-media, have been full-bore “Assad must step-down.” None of America’s ‘news’-media had stated, either, that America’s invasions-occupations of Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and Syria, have all been disasters (though they all were), and that all of them have been and are defeats for America (though they all were that, on all of America’s leaders’ lies about ‘protecting human rights’, and about ‘bringing democracy’, and about what would have been producing improved lives — instead of producing continued bloodshed — for the residents in the countries that we had invaded and occupied). It’s all lies, nothing but that; and any ‘news’-media which operate this way will find themselves increasingly trapped in their lies, like the politicians themselves are. The only way ‘out’, for any of them (including for Trump, and for both the Republican and the Democratic press) is yet more lies — and all of these lies are cover-ups, by the press and by the politicians. (This is why they’re torturing Julian Assange to death: he has seriously challenged that ongoing deceit, in which they all participate.) Unless the public stop the media from doing it — by cancelling their subscriptions, and otherwise demonetizing the ones who have been doing it — the lies, and deceits, and invasions, and destructive US national expenditures of tens of trillions of dollars (being paid to corporations such as Lockheed Martin, and not only to our soldiers) will continue. This enormous counterproductive expenditure will drain America’s abilities to fund health care, education, etc. It is bringing the US economy down, and not merely bringing America to an ethically lower and lower point. The more that America’s leaders try to continue expanding the American empire, the more that they will both embarrass, and weaken, America. This is real. It is no propaganda, at all. It’s “the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.”

On October 24th, USA Today headlined “Pentagon planning to send tanks, armored vehicles to Syrian oil fields”, and reported that “The Pentagon is preparing to send tanks and armored vehicles to Syrian oil fields, according to a US official – a stunning reversal of President Trump’s decision to withdraw US forces from the war-torn country after he declared victory over ISIS.” Those oil fields don’t belong to the US, but to Syria’s Government, and their operation is vital to funding Syria’s reconstruction, which the US regime is determined to prevent; but USA Today’s ‘news’-report says nothing about any of that. The US Government is trying to steal Syria’s oil fields — but this USA Today article says nothing about that, either. American troops are invaders of Syria, unlike Russian troops, who are defenders of Syria, and who had been invited into Syria by Syria’s Government (the only government Syria has) in order to help defend Syria’s sovereignty, over Syria’s own land, including its oil wells, against the US-and-allied invasion. All of that vital context is missing from this deceptive report.

That report said “Now, Russian troops, which are in Syria to bolster the regime of Bashar al-Assad, and Turkish forces, are operating in the region previously patrolled by US and Kurdish forces.” It’s saying that, whereas the region had been “patrolled” — instead of invaded and now occupied — by US and Kurdish forces, “Russian troops … and Turkish forces … are in Syria to bolster the regime of Bashar al-Assad,” though his ‘regime’ is actually the only legitimate Government of Syria. But the US regime claims the right to force Assad to be overthrown.

This report stated that “The deployment of armor is aimed at Russia and Syria, not ISIS, said Nicholas Heras, an expert on Syria with the Center for a New American Security. … ‘Pure and simple,’ he said, ‘the Pentagon is making contingencies for a big fight with Russia for Syria’s oil.’” But Russia isn’t trying to seize Syria’s oil — the US regime is doing that, actually. Russian forces are in Syria only in order to assist Syria to defend its oil, and its land. If the US regime will go into World War III so as to steal Syria’s oil, then the likelihood of Russia’s letting this theft happen is slight: that would be Russia’s capitulation without a fight, and Russia has never given any indication it would do such a thing. (And Russian media DO refer to this as being “theft”; they’re not trying to hide the fact. Russia already is fighting the US regime in Syria. And on October 26th, Russia’s Sputnik News headlined “The Russian military described the US scheme as nothing less than ‘international state banditism’,” and reported that, “According to Russian intelligence, the illegal US-supervised extraction of Syrian oil was being carried out by ‘leading American corporations’ and private military contractors, with US special forces and air power used for protection. Konashenkov said the estimated monthly revenue of this ‘private enterprise’ was over $30 million.”) This is the territory of Syria, which is a Russian ally. The thief here is clearly the US regime, not Syria, and not Russia. It is no one else than the US regime that is aiming to steal Syria’s oil by sending in tanks. Nowhere does the USA Today article even so much as hint that this is the case.

An October 21st Wall Street Journal article reported the US Government’s theft of Syria’s oil, but it was instead headlined with the misleading, more innocuous, and less attention-grabbing “Trump Calls for Defense, Use of Syrian Oil Fields” — nothing about any “theft” — and it opened with the seemingly US-or-Syria defense-related statement (as if US troops were in Syria as defenders, instead of as attackers and thieves) that “President Trump said he is planning to keep a small number of troops in northeast Syria to protect the oil fields there and suggested that an American company might help the Syrian Kurds develop the oil for export.”

However, since when does a thief break into your residence in order to “protect” anything? And since when does such a thief have a right to sell your property, or to determine what people (such as “the Syrian Kurds”) will sell it?

Was that article news, or was it instead propaganda? It certainly misrepresents. What it reports, is reported as if this thieving operation were only being contemplated, and would be new, but the thieving is actually nothing new — it’s an already-existing, and longstanding, coordinated and international operation, by the US regime and its allies, as will here be documented.

America’s mainstream media now (such as in USA Today, WSJ, and NYT) are normalizing this theft. This normalization is being done by their propaganda, which now is for a Republican Government, but formerly was for a Democratic Government. Previously, Democrats had done the same hiding of the regime’s evil, when their Democratic President Barack Obama was the person who was perpetrating it.

This theft — and the normalization of it — are actually bipartisan, and longstanding. When the ‘news’ presents false historical context, it lies; it is propaganda, and that’s what the American nation’s mainstream ‘news’-media now are. They are deceptive garbage, regime-propaganda.

On October 20th, Republican US Senator Lindsey Graham, and Republican Maria Bartiromo of Fox News “Sunday Morning Futures,” discussed the Republican Trump’s plan to steal Syria’s oil, and they both agreed that it might turn out to be an excellent policy. This show was headlined “Sen. Lindsey Graham: I am increasingly optimistic we can have historic solutions in Syria.” It was a remarkably bold defense of the US Government’s — and of its allies’ — thefts from Syria. Already, the US Government had said that it won’t pay even a cent in order to provide restitution for the estimated $388 billion in damages to Syria from the invasion of Syria by the US and by its allies such as Al Qaeda and the Sauds, but this show presented an endorsement by those two Republicans, backing the Republican US President’s plan to steal Syria’s oil, which goes beyond merely supporting zero restitution to the invaded country. No mention was being made, by them, on this ‘news’-medium, that (as will be documented here) those thefts by the US Government, and by its allies, have, in fact, been going on ever since the invasions of Syria by them and their proxies (or “agents” — such as Al Qaeda) had started in 2012. No mention was made by them that this was the policy of Democratic President Barack Obama and that it’s merely being continued further by Trump. To the exact contrary: Trump was being praised by these propagandists for starting this program, and, so, their praise was not just evil; it was actually entirely false.

Right before the interview, Bartiromo had been pretending to be a critical non-partisan journalist instead of the propagandist that she is, and so she stated that “my biggest issue here is the strength of Iran [as if Iran had ever invaded or even threatened to invade the United States, and as if Trump’s anti-Iran policies aren’t sufficiently stringent, or maybe even are vastly too stringent, or maybe even are altogether unjustified]. And I feel like the administration had the Iranians on their heels and ruining the economy through sanctions, through this pressure campaign. And now we give up and leave Syria.” The Senator disagreed with her make-pretend criticism of the Republican President, and he said that, instead,

The big thing for me is the oil fields. President Trump is thinking outside the box. I was so impressed with his thinking about the oil. Not only are we going to deny the oil fields falling into Iranian hands. I believe we’re on the verge of a joint venture between us and the Syrian Democratic Forces, who helped destroy ISIS and keep them destroyed, to modernize the oil fields and make sure they get the revenue, not the Iranians, not Assad. … That’s why what President Trump is proposing in Syria, a joint venture dealing with the southern oil fields in Syria, between our allies, the Kurds and the Arabs who helped us destroy ISIS, is a historic change that could pay dividends for the region. And, quite frankly, we could generate revenue to pay for our commitment in Syria. … I am increasingly optimistic that we can have some historic solutions in Syria that have eluded us for years, if we play our cards right.

Bartiromo replied “Wow. … You actually do see a way forward after you have spoken with the president on his plan to secure those oil fields.”

This theft is pushed by all of the US mainstream media, and Trump knows that he will need at least some degree of support from them if he is to be able to win re-election. This is the reason why he keeps contradicting himself — trying to appeal to the “No More War” crowd, while still drawing donations from the “military-industrial complex” or owners of America’s ‘defense’ contractors. (There’s a lot of crossover between the controlling owners of those firms and the controlling owners of the ‘news’-media — and of the ‘non-profit’ foundations.) America’s major ‘news’ media have always buried the truth about this long-ongoing theft.

And not only was the theft of Syria’s oil the policy of Democratic US President Barack Obama, but it was participated in by his coalition, which included both EU heads-of-state and Arab heads-of-state, and this policy began in 2011. Here’s how it, in fact, developed:

On 28 November 2012, Syria News headlined “Emir of Qatar & Prime Minister of Turkey Steal Syrian Oil Machinery in Broad Daylight”and accompanied it by video of the alleged event. (At that time, Qatar and Turkey were allies of the US arming the ‘rebels’ in Syria to overthrow Syria’s Government; so, they were part of America’s broader operation, and were also profiting from it.) But that video is no longer active. A subsequent description of that video was posted under the headline “Emir of Qatar & Prime Minister of Turkey Steal Syrian Oil Excavators – No Translation”. Another posting of the video online has lasted from 6 October 2013 to the present time, under the headline “Emir of Qatar & Prime Minister of Turkey Steal Syrian Oil Excavators – BiffiSyrien”, where it still can be viewed.

By no later than 12 December 2012, US President Barack Obama made the decision to hire Al Qaeda in Syria (called “Al Nusra”) to train and lead almost all of America’s proxy-forces on the ground in Syria to overthrow Syria’s Government. (Kurds were assigned to be America’s lead proxy-forces in far northeastern Syria.) (Obama was so determined to protect Al Qaeda in Syria as to sabotage on 17 September 2016 his own Secretary of State, John Kerry’s, just-signed Syrian ceasefire agreement with Russia, because that agreement allowed not only ISIS, but also Al Qaeda forces, to continue to be bombed in Syria by Russia. Obama was protecting Al Qaeda in Syria.)

On 22 April 2013, the AP headlined “EU lifts Syria oil embargo to bolster rebels” and reported that

The European Union on Monday lifted its oil embargo on Syria to provide more economic support to the forces fighting to oust President Bashar Assad’s regime. The decision will allow for crude exports from rebel-held territory. … The oil exports could open an important revenue stream for Syria’s opposition. …

While Syria was never one of the world’s major oil exporters, the sector was a pillar of Syria’s economy until the uprising, with the country producing about 380,000 barrels a day and exports — almost exclusively to Europe — bringing in more than $3 billion in 2010. Oil revenues provided around a quarter of the funds for the national budget. Being able to take advantage of the country’s oil resources will help the Syrian uprising “big time,” said Osama Kadi, a senior member of the Syrian opposition.

On 27 April 2013, the New York Times headlined “Islamist Rebels Create Dilemma on Syria Policy” and reported that

Nowhere in rebel-controlled Syria is there a secular fighting force to speak of. … The religious agenda of the combatants sets them apart from many civilian activists, protesters and aid workers who had hoped the uprising would create a civil, democratic Syria. … Of most concern to the United States is the Nusra Front, whose leader recently confirmed that the group cooperated with Al Qaeda in Iraq and pledged fealty to Al Qaeda’s top leader, Ayman al-Zawahri, Osama bin Laden’s longtime deputy. Nusra has claimed responsibility for a number of suicide bombings and is the group of choice for the foreign jihadis pouring into Syria.

Another prominent group, Ahrar al-Sham, shares much of Nusra’s extremist ideology but is made up mostly of Syrians…

In the oil-rich provinces of Deir al-Zour and Hasaka, Nusra fighters have seized government oil fields, putting some under the control of tribal militias and running others themselves.

“They are the strongest military force in the area,” said the commander of a rebel brigade in Hasaka reached via Skype. “We can’t deny it.”…

“We all want an Islamic state and we want Shariah to be applied,” said Maawiya Hassan Agha, a rebel activist reached by Skype in the northern village of Sarmeen. He said a country’s laws should flow from its people’s beliefs and compared Syrians calling for Islamic law with the French banning Muslim women from wearing face veils.

On 1 May 2013, TIME bannered “Syria’s Opposition Hopes to Win the War by Selling Oil” and reported that

Without an embargo, European companies can now legally begin importing barrels of oil directly from rebel groups, which have seized several oil fields in recent months, mostly around the eastern area of Deir Ezzor. That would provide the opposition with its first reliable source of income since the revolt erupted in Feb. 2011, and in theory hasten the downfall of Bashar Assad’s regime, by giving rebels the means to run skeletal local governments and consolidate their control.

On 15 June 2013, Global Research headlined “Former French Foreign Minister: The War against Syria was Planned Two years before ‘The Arab Spring’” and Gearóid Ó Colmáin reported that

In an interview with the French TV station LCP, former French minister for Foreign Affairs Roland Dumas said:

“I’m going to tell you something. I was in England two years before the violence in Syria [in other words, in 2009] on other business. I met with top British officials, who confessed to me that they were preparing something in Syria.

This was in Britain not in America. Britain was organizing an invasion of rebels into Syria. They even asked me, although I was no longer minister for foreign affairs, if I would like to participate.

Naturally, I refused, I said I’m French, that doesn’t interest me.

Dumas attributed it to Israel, not to the US, nor to the Sauds (who actually had always been the CIA’s choice to appoint the leaders of Syria), and he didn’t even so much as mention either of those, except to say that “this will enable it [Israel] to replace the United States as a global hegemon” (which is a crackpot idea). Though his interpretation was ridiculous, his allegation that in 2009 “top British officials … confessed to me that they were preparing something in Syria” is a factual matter, which is either true or false. (Back in 2009, there is actual evidence that American’s President Barack Obama was aiming to overthrow Assad. Furthermore, Obama’s team started by no later than 23 June 2011 to plan both the coup in Ukraine which succeeded and the coup in Syria, which failed. And as the great investigative journalist Gareth Porter reported on 5 January 2017, “In August 2011, national security officials began urging Obama to call on Assad to step down,” but at that time “He wasn’t willing to go along with anything except small arms,” until CIA Director David Petraeus — who soon thereafter became a member of the Bilderberg group — persuaded him to go all-out in arming the ‘rebels’. Furthermore, “when Obama was making crucial Syria policy decisions in September 2011,” his advisors assumed that both Russia and Iran would stay out of the matter and just just let the US and the Sauds take-over Syria. Obama respected his advisors. And, then, Porter headlined on 22 June 2017, “How America Armed Terrorists in Syria”. So: this theft-operation was extensively armed by the US regime, and funded by the Sauds.)

In any case, the EU was certainly helping ISIS and other such groups to steal Syria’s oil, so as to help fund their overthrow-Assad operation. So, the participation also of UK was likely, even if not, at that time, proven.

On 14 October 2015, the Financial Times headlined ”Isis Inc: how oil fuels the jihadi terrorists” and reported that “Selling crude is Isis’ biggest single source of revenue. … While al-Qaeda, the global terrorist network, depended on donations from wealthy foreign sponsors, Isis has derived its financial strength from its status as monopoly producer of an essential commodity consumed in vast quantities throughout the area it controls.” (In other words, when TIME, on 1 May 2013, bannered “Syria’s Opposition Hopes to Win the War by Selling Oil” and said “That would provide the opposition with its first reliable source of income since the revolt erupted in Feb. 2011,” the “opposition” being referred to there was actually ISIS, not Al Qaeda. The EU was buying its black-market oil from ISIS.)

On 1 December 2015, another great investigative journalist, Nafeez Ahmed, bannered “Western firms primed to cash in on Syria’s oil and gas ‘frontier’” and he reported:

US, British, French, Israeli and other energy interests could be prime beneficiaries of military operations in Iraq and Syria designed to rollback the power of the ‘Islamic State’ (ISIS) and, potentially, the Bashar al-Assad regime.

A study for a global oil services company backed by the French government and linked to Britain’s Tory-led administration, published during the height of the Arab Spring, hailed the significant “hydrocarbon potential” of Syria’s offshore resources.

The 2011 study was printed in GeoArabia, a petroleum industry journal published by a Bahrain-based consultancy, GulfPetroLink, which is sponsored by some of the world’s biggest oil companies, including Chevron, ExxonMobil, Saudi Aramco, Shell, Total, and BP. GeoArabia’s content has no open subscription system and is exclusively distributed to transnational energy corporations, corporate sponsors and related organisations, as well as some universities.

On 28 August 2018, Abdel Bari Atwan, one of the Middle East’s most respected journalists, headlined “Carrots and Sticks” and reported that

Damascus has been inundated with secret offers in recent weeks as part of a carrot-and-stick policy, two of which are particularly significant.

The first, reported on Tuesday by the pro-Hezbollah Lebanese daily al-Akhbar and the semi-official Iranian Fars news agency, was conveyed by a senior US military officer accompanied by representatives of various intelligence agencies. They flew to Damascus on a private UAE jet, and were met by the head of the National Security Bureau Gen. Ali Mamlouk, intelligence chief Gen. Deeb Zaitoun, and deputy army chief-of-staff Gen. Muwaffaq Masoud. Their meeting lasted four hours. The Americans reportedly offered to withdraw all US forces from Syria in exchange for Damascus complying with three demands: to pull Iranian forces out of areas of southern Syria adjoining Israel; to guarantee US oil companies a share of Syria’s oil east of the Euphrates; and to hand over all information about terrorist groups and their members in Syria.

The second offer was revealed by Lebanese Hezbollah MP Nawwaf al-Mousawi in a discussion programme on the Lebanese TV channel al-Mayadeen, at which I was also a panellist. He said that Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad Bin-Salman sent an envoy to Asad offering to support him remaining president for life and provide generous Saudi support for Syria’s reconstruction in exchange for him severing ties with Iran and Hezbollah.

Both offers were categorically turned down by the Syrian leadership.

The American delegation was told that its troops in Syria were occupying forces which would be treated as such, that Syria could not abandon its strategic allies, and that issues such as US participation in the oil industry and exchanging intelligence could be discussed once political relations were re-established.

On 2 September 2018, the German intelligence analyst who blogs anonymously as “Moon of Alabama” headlined “Syria Sitrep – US To Stay To ‘Create Quagmires’” and he reported:

The claim that the US is there to fight ISIS is a lie. ISIS is still active in two places in Syria. Both are under US control. …

The US is not fighting ISIS in Syria. It is building semi-permanent bases, trains a large proxy force, and controls Syria’s oilfields. Its aim is still regime change, the same aim it had when it launched the war on Syria seven and a half years ago. To achieve that it will continue to sow as much chaos as possible.

As CIA and Pentagon mouthpiece David Ignatius wrote this week:

“[T]he administration has stopped the dithering and indecision of the past 18 months and signaled that the United States has enduring interests in Syria, beyond killing Islamic State terrorists — and that it isn’t planning to withdraw its Special Operations forces from northeastern Syria anytime soon.

‘Right now, our job is to help create quagmires [for Russia and the Syrian regime] until we get what we want,’ says one administration official, explaining the effort to resist an Idlib onslaught. This approach involves reassuring the three key US allies on Syria’s border — Israel, Turkey and Jordan — of continued American involvement.”

But what seems ultimately to endure is: Steal the oil.

On 26 February 2019 the Syrian National News Agency reported that Syria’s Government accused the US Government of having stolen from ISIS so much gold that ISIS had received as payment for oil that ISIS had stolen from Syria, so that the US Federal Reserve was enriched by at least 40 tons of gold. The accusation is that this black-marketed oil produced that gold for the US Government, and purchased “safe passage for the terrorists.”

So: Trump, and Fox News, and US Senators, etc., are planning to continue the operation that Democratic US President Barack Obama, and his Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and the US CIA, and Britain’s MI6, and the rest of the US regime and its allies, were trying to do even before the “Arab Spring” began. As I have previously reported, Obama, even when he came into office in 2009, was aiming to take control of Syria, for it to become ruled by agents of the Saud family, and he started planning the ‘revolution’ in Syria by no later than 23 June 2011.

So: the faker Donald Trump is really just old hat, nothing at all new. He’s just trying to do what Obama was trying to do, but using different tactics to do it.

And, so, what is the ‘justification’ for this theft? It is America’s alliances:

BARTIROMO: Why are we sending troops to Saudi Arabia then?

GRAHAM: Well, because Saudi Arabia is an ally and Iran is an enemy.

And Iran is the biggest state sponsor of terrorism on the planet. …

The official position of the US Government is that Iran is the top state sponsor of terrorism and that the Sauds (whom in diplomatic cables and other internal communications the US regime acknowledge to be the biggest financial backer of Al Qaeda) isn’t even a state sponsor of terrorism, at all, but is instead a US ‘ally’.

So: that’s how they ‘justify’ it. They ‘justify’ it by the rest of the gang — the very same gang that the US regime itself leads. Their ‘justification’, of themselves, is empty. It is only propaganda, for fools to believe. Nothing more, than that. On Friday, October 26th, the Washington Post headlined “Trump decided to leave troops in Syria after conversations about oil, officials say”, and — like all of the regime’s stenographic reporting of the regime’s ‘news’ — reported the regime’s more official ‘explanation’, which was: “Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper confirmed on Friday that troops would remain in eastern Syria to prevent the oil fields from being retaken by the Islamic State.” This is just more of the same: it’s just citing ‘ISIS’ as being the ‘enemy’, instead of citing “Syria” as being that. They are asserting that they can steal Syria’s oil so as to prevent ISIS from stealing it. First, ISIS and other US allies stole it; and, then, the US seized ISIS’s gold from those sales; and, now, the US will be stealing Syria’s oil directly.

Similarly, in 2002 and 2003, the US regime, and its stenographic press, kept shifting their ‘explanation’ as to why Iraq had to be immediately invaded. Americans believed it then, and they believe it now. The American public never learn. This is now 17 years later. There has been no change, except in whom the occupant of the White House is. But fortunately, this time, there is Russia that perhaps can say no to this plan. Only time will tell if it will. And, if it does, then will Trump pull his nuclear trigger — an invasion of Russia, WW III, an aggression against the other superpower? I doubt it, but it could happen. To overestimate the greed and the stupidity of the international Deep State is hard to do. These billionaires didn’t get to be billionaires by being intelligent or being good — cunning and ruthless, yes, but that’s very different. After all, the announced highest aspiration of Jeff Bezos, who owns the Washington Post, is to send a trillion people out into space, “getting humanity established in the solar system”. Even conquering the world wouldn’t be enough to satisfy some of these individuals.

On 20 August 2018, Russia’s RT News headlined “‘Secret directive’ bans UN agencies from helping rebuild Syria until ‘political transition’ – Lavrov” and reported that Russia’s Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, said that the Executive branch of the UN, the UN Secretariat, had issued in October 2017 a “secret directive” (violating two resolutions of the UN General Assembly — the UN’s Legislature), and that this secret directive ordered UN agencies to do nothing to help rebuild Syria unless the US first had approved of a new person to replace Syria’s existing President, and unless that person had already become installed to lead Syria.

According to the anti-Russian Haaretz newspaper in anti-Russian Israel, on 31 August 2018,

One country that is likely going to stay out of the infighting over the reconstruction process is the United States. The Trump administration has no clear policy on the “day after” in Syria, except for one principle: No American money will be spent on it.

The American ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, made that point clear at a speech she gave on Tuesday in Washington, explaining that Russia and the Assad regime “own” Syria now. “You broke it, you own it,” Haley said at a summit organized by the Foundation for Defense of Democracies [an organization that zionist Jews had set up in the US]. …

Ken Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch, expressed a similar view, writing in the British newspaper The Independent: “Long before any talk of providing reconstruction assistance for Syria, which in any event would require lifting separate targeted sanctions, European governments should call out Russia’s complicity in Syria’s war crimes and vigorously press the Kremlin to end these atrocities and stop underwriting Syria’s repression.”

It was the deployment of the Russian air force three years ago that tilted the scales of the war in favor of Assad, who at that time controlled only a quarter of the country’s territory. Even today, Russia maintains its military presence in Syria to ensure the regime’s upper hand.

This is similar to the policy of imperial Rome toward Carthage — a resisting city-state — in 146 BC, when the Emperor ordered the resisting city-state destroyed at the end of the final, the Third, Punic War, except that, in the present instance, the imperial ruler is (on and off, depending on his whim of the day) quitting his efforts to conquer that land, and is instead (but this being consistent) commanding his agencies never to assist to restore Syria, unless and until it finally will surrender to the empire. In that sense, Syria may be considered to be today’s Carthage. (Another difference is that Syria, unlike Carthage at that time, is no expansionist — or “imperialist” — power.) So: Donald Trump, Lindsey Graham, Maria Bartiromo, Barack Obama, the US Congress, Human Rights Watch, the United Nations, and the other agents and agencies of the US empire, are in an imperial tradition that goes back thousands of years, if not longer.

However, though Syria is an ally of Iran, and of Russia; and so the US regime want regime-change there, Donald Trump might have reached the limit of his regime-change aspirations when on 10 September 2019 he finally fired John Bolton, who (along with his predecessors) had failed against Iran, failed against Venezuela, failed against Russia, and failed against China. Trump’s most intensive regime-change effort has been against Iran (though Fox’s Maria Bartiromo thinks it’s not enough). On 5 July 2018, the excellent investigative journalist Sibel Edmonds headlined at her Newsbud site her 33-minute video “Breaking: Insiders Reveal Secret Deal to Topple Iran Government!” revealing (starting at 19:00) that ever since Trump entered office in 2017, his Administration was planning to execute an operation not only to terminate the Iran deal and re-institute sanctions but to enforce sactions so stringently against any country that would continue trading with Iran, so as to strangle Iran’s economy and thus impose such misery upon the Iranian population so that they would welcome a military coup in order to end their (US-imposed) misery. This operation had a Plan A and a Plan B. In Plan A, Iran’s generals who would participate in the coup would institute an ‘anti-American’ ‘independent’ government which would buy US-made weapons from EU countries and thus not be viewed by Iranians as a US-stooge regime (though becoming a US stooge regime); the sanctions would be lifted, and Iran’s economy would be restored. In Plan B, 3-3.5M Iranians would be killed by the bombing, and all of Iran’s generals would be among them. Plan A would be Iran’s generals ‘standing up for the Iranian people’, a ‘nationalistic’ (instead of capitulationist) coup, to remove the ‘dictatorship’. Plan B would be a much bigger slaughter of Iranians. Edmonds said (27:30) the coup “would take place, I would say, in less than six months.” (29:00) “There is a large, powerful military faction that have said Yes [to Plan A]. … How sure of this am I? 100%.” But she was wrong in this prediction; she hadn’t considered the bigger picture. What’s that? Trump was getting too close to his own re-election campaign. And not enough Iranian generals could be corrupted to become traitors; the coup didn’t occur. Bolton, etc., had been too rosy in their predictions that the threats would be enough and that the patriotism of enough of Iran’s generals could just be bought off. (Perhaps the corrupt Americans had expected Iranians to be as corrupt as they themselves were.) Plan B was thus supposed to become imposed — an outright US invasion of Iran. But what would this invasion have done to Trump’s re-election chances? The Deep State had actually suckered him. That’s why Bolton (part of the Deep State) was fired. And, so, now, Congress and the US media are finally out for Trump’s scalp, because he wouldn’t follow through with the Deep State’s plan. Maybe he’ll do it if he becomes re-elected, but they can’t trust him; they want President Mike Pence. That’s become their new Plan B: impeachment in the House, and forced removal in the Senate. His intensified effort, now, to steal Syria’s oil, isn’t enough to stop that.

The reason why Julian Assange, ever since 12 June 2012, has been under various forms of imprisonment — and now torture — without there having been any conviction for anything, and not even any trial being held in his case, is that the US and its allied regimes need to keep their secrets, and therefore need to eliminate him. To publishers, and to journalists, throughout the US-and-allied world, his case is the ultimate warning of what each one of them could face. This is how the real law actually operates, throughout the empire. Assange is simply the personification of it, for everyone. However, as might logically follow from this situation, the only country in the world where Assange — who is globally viewed more favorably than unfavorably — is widely despised, is the United States, where the handwriting against him is “on the wall,” almost everywhere. America’s ‘news’-media have been uniquely devoted to doing their job. But, of course, authentic news-media perform a different job. And Assange’s case is the most effective possible warning to whatever authentic news-media might still exist within the US empire. To call this empire a ‘democracy’ anywhere, insults that noble term.

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