Lee Camp: Julian Assange’s Father, John Shipton, on the U.S. Government’s ‘Scandalous’ Plan to ‘Murder’ His Son

October 13th, 2021

By Lee Camp

Source

Britain WikiLeaks Assange

One of the biggest moments in Julian Assange’s trial is slated to happen next month, when the embattled and imprisoned WikiLeaks founder’s final extradition hearing is held in Great Britain. And as host Lee Camp points out before introducing his guest in this clip from “Redacted Tonight,” there have been some stunning developments recently in Assange’s story—namely, the revelation that the U.S. government and a certain three-letter intelligence agency were ginning up possible plans to assassinate Assange.

If ever there were an expert on Julian Assange, it would surely be Camp’s guest, John Shipton—Assange’s father—who calls the assassination plot considered by former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and other U.S. officials “pretty scandalous,” if not entirely surprising. Shipton also holds forth on the American government’s big quandary if Assange were to be brought onto U.S. soil to face charges, the man who perjured himself to implicate Assange, and why he thinks his son’s work has been a “great success” despite his plight. Have a look at the clip above to watch the whole interview.

Silencing Julian Assange: Why bother with a trial when you can just kill him?

October 7, 2021

By Philip Giraldi

Source

It is an issue of the abuses enabled by powerful men who believe that their power is unlimited, Philip Giraldi writes.

An English friend recently learned about the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) plan to either kidnap or kill journalist Julian Assange and quipped “I’ll bet he’s happy to be safe and sound in Belmarsh Prison if he has a chance to read about that!” I replied that his time in Belmarsh has been made as demeaning as possible by an English judge and the British are just as capable of executing a Jeffrey Epstein suicide or “accident” if called upon to do so by their American “cousins.” He agreed, reluctantly. Indeed, the roles of American allies Britain and Australia in what is turning out to be one of the world’s longest-playing judicial dramas has been reprehensible.

For those readers who have missed some of the fun of the Assange saga, a recap is in order. Julian Assange, an Australian citizen who was living in London, was the Editor in Chief and driving force behind Wikileaks, which debuted in 2006 and was one of the alternative news sites that have sprung up over the past twenty years. WikiLeaks was somewhat unique in that it often did not write up its own stories but rather was passed documentary material by sources in government and elsewhere that it then reprinted without any editing.

Assange attracted the ire of the ruling class when he obtained in 2010 a classified video from an unidentified source that showed an unprovoked 2007 shooting incident involving U.S. Army helicopters in Baghdad in which a dozen completely innocent people were killed. The government’s anger at WikiLeaks intensified when, in 2013, Edward Snowden, a National Security Agency contractor, fled to Hong Kong with classified material that demonstrated that the U.S. government was illegally spying on Americans. WikiLeaks also reportedly helped to arrange Snowden’s subsequent escape to Russia from Hong Kong.

The bipartisan animus directed against WikiLeaks intensified still further in the summer of 2016 when the group’s website began to release emails from the Democratic Party and Hillary Clinton’s campaign. The immediate conclusion propagated by Team Hillary but unsupported by facts was that Russian intelligence had hacked the emails and given them to WikiLeaks.

It was perhaps inevitable that Assange’s reporting, which has never been found to be factually inaccurate, was in some circles claimed to be based on information provided to him by Russian hackers. Even though he repeatedly denied that that was the case and there are technical reasons why that was unlikely or even impossible, this led to a sharp Russophobic response from a number of intelligence and law enforcement services close to the United States. Assange was charged in Britain in November 2010 on an international warrant demanding that he be extradited to Sweden over claims that he had committed rape in that country, an accusation which later turned out to be false. He posted bail but lost a legal battle to annul the warrant and then skipped a preliminary hearing in London in June 2012 to accept asylum in the Ecuadorean Embassy, which has diplomatic immunity. He stayed in the Embassy for eighty-two months, at which point a new government in Quito made clear that his asylum would be revoked and he would be expelled from the building. He was preparing to leave voluntarily in April 2019 when police arrived and he was arrested on a charge of his failure to appear in court seven years before which was regarded as “bail jumping.” He was sent immediately to Belmarsh high security prison, where Britain’s terrorist prisoners are confined.

After his arrest, Assange continued to be incarcerated due to a U.S. Justice Department extradition request based on the Espionage Act of 1918, apparently derived from possible interaction with the Chelsea Manning whistleblower case. Assange has now been in Belmarsh for 29 months in spite of increasing international pressure asserting that he is a journalist and should be released. The British have hesitated to extradite him on the basis of the evidence produced by the U.S. government, which included the claim that Assange aided the former U.S. Army analyst Manning break into a classified computer network in order to obtain and eventually publish classified material, but they have likewise failed to release him. The British judge denied extradition in January, suggesting that if he were to be returned forcibly to the U.S. he would likely commit suicide, but she also denied Assange bail as he was considered to be a flight risk. The U.S. appealed that verdict and the next hearing is scheduled for the end of October. It should be noted that no evidence produced by the Justice Department has plausibly linked Assange to the Russian intelligence services.

Which brings us to the Yahoo news revelation regarding the CIA plot to shoot, poison or kidnap Assange while he was sheltering in the Ecuadorian Embassy. It goes something like this: in 2017, Assange’s fifth year in the Embassy, the CIA debated going after him to end the alleged threat posed to government secrets by him and his organization, which was still operating and presumed to be in contact with him. WikiLeaks had at that time been publishing extremely sensitive CIA hacking tools, referred to as “Vault 7,” which constituted “the largest data loss in CIA history.”

In an April 2017 speech, Donald Trump’s new CIA Director Mike Pompeo said “WikiLeaks walks like a hostile intelligence service and talks like a hostile intelligence service and has encouraged its followers to find jobs at the CIA in order to obtain intelligence. It’s time to call out WikiLeaks for what it really is: a non-state hostile intelligence service often abetted by state actors like Russia.” It was a declaration of war. The label “non-state hostile intelligence service” is a legal designation which more-or-less opened the door to non-conventional responses to eliminate the threat. CIA Stations where WikiLeaks associates were known to be present were directed to increase surveillance on them and also attempt to interdict any communications they might seek to have with Assange himself in the embassy. A staff of analysts referred to as the “WikiLeaks Team” worked full time to target the organization and its leaders.

At the top level of the Agency debate over more extreme options prevailed, though there were legitimate concerns about the legality of what was being contemplated. In late 2017, in the midst of the debate over possible kidnapping and/or assassination, the Agency picked up alarming though unsubstantiated reports that Russian intelligence operatives were preparing plans to help Assange escape from the United Kingdom and fly him to Moscow.

CIA responded by preparing to foil Assange’s possible Russian-assisted departure to include potential gun battles with Moscow’s spies on the streets of London or crashing a car into any Russian diplomatic vehicle transporting Assange to seize him. One scenario even included either blocking the runway or shooting out the tires of any Russian plane believed to be carrying Assange before it could take off for Moscow. Pompeo himself reportedly favored what is referred to as a “rendition,” which would consist of breaking into the Ecuadorian Embassy, kidnapping Assange, and flying him clandestinely to the U.S. for trial. Others in the national security team favored killing Assange rather than going through the complexity of kidnapping and removing him. Fortunately, saner views prevailed, particularly when the British refused to cooperate in any way with activity they regarded as clearly illegal.

So Assange is still in prison and what does it all mean? The only possible charge that would convincingly demonstrate that Assange was spy paid by Russia would be related to his possibly helping Chelsea Manning to circumvent security to steal classified material, but there is no real evidence that Assange actually did that or that he is under Russian control. So that makes him a journalist. That he has embarrassed the United States, most often when it misbehaves, is what good journalists do. But beyond that the disgraceful CIA plans to kill or abduct Assange as an option to get rid of him reveal yet again the dark side of what the United States of America has become since 9/11.

More to the point, getting rid of Assange will accomplish nothing. He worked with a number of like-minded colleagues who have been more than able to pick up where he left off. He has been largely incommunicado since he has been languishing in Belmarsh Prison and it is his associates who have continued to solicit information and publish it on their site. Mike Pompeo’s unapologetic response to this assassination or kidnapping story was “They were engaged in active efforts to steal secrets themselves, and pay others to do the same …” Of course, if all that were true Mike and the government lawyers have had an opportunity to demonstrate just that in a British court. They couldn’t do so and instead promoted the easier option of just killing someone for publishing something true. And assassination is a blunt instrument that rarely accomplishes anything. One recalls that in January 2020 Pompeo certainly participated in the assassination of Iranian General Qasem Soleimani and Iraqi Militia Leader Muhandis in Baghdad. What did that accomplish apart from turning a nominally friendly Iraq hostile to the U.S. presence?

Or, as Assange’s lawyer put it more to the point, “As an American citizen, I find it absolutely outrageous that our government would be contemplating kidnapping or assassinating somebody without any judicial process simply because he had published truthful information.” Unfortunately, that is not all that the Assange case is about. It is not just a question of truth or fiction and journalistic ethics, but rather an issue of the abuses enabled by powerful men who believe that their power is unlimited. That is the real abyss that the United States has fallen into and the only way out is to finally hold such people, starting with Pompeo, accountable for what they have done.

CIA Plot to Murder Assange Is Open Season on Independent Journalism

September 30, 2021

By Finian Cunningham

Source

If Assange is not freed then the war on truth is going to explode. All independent journalism and basic human rights are under threat.

A report that the CIA was plotting to murder or kidnap Julian Assange is credible and it should not be in the least bit surprising that the agency sometimes known as Murder Inc would stoop to such criminality.

The CIA has for decades since its formation in 1947 involved itself in assassinating foreign political leaders and is implicated in the 1963 killing of its own President John F Kennedy in what amounted to be a coup d’état in the United States. The agency has operated as a rogue shadow government, an unelected permanent bureaucracy or deep state, that is above the law.

However, what is disturbing about the revelations from the Yahoo News investigation based on interviews with 30 former U.S. national security officials is that the “extreme measures” were being touted against an internationally renowned journalist and publisher. It was around 2017 during the Trump administration when Assange was being sheltered in the Ecuadorian embassy in London. He fled there after breaching bail in 2012 to escape fabricated extradition to Sweden on behalf of the United States.

President Donald Trump reportedly asked personally about the assassination option (a claim which he has since denied). The then CIA director Mike Pompeo and his deputy Gina Haspel were reportedly more unequivocal about using extreme methods. They both wanted vengeance against Assange over Wikileaks’ publishing of NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden’s disclosures about CIA global hacking techniques known as Vault 7. Those disclosures caused immense embarrassment for U.S. intelligence especially in light of hoary American allegations of Russian and Chinese cyberattacks.

Pompeo went on to become Secretary of State until Trump left the White House in January this year. Haspel was elevated to become CIA director by Trump in 2018, a position she still maintains under President Joe Biden. She gained notoriety for overseeing torture and rendition programs while a CIA station chief in Thailand during the GW Bush administration.

It is a shocking revelation that the extrajudicial murder of a renowned journalist supposedly protected by international laws of asylum and Vienna Conventions respecting consular inviolability could be so breezily discussed by senior CIA figures and top U.S. government officials.

The conceptual trickery giving a pseudo-legal cover to the heinous plot was the U.S. intelligence designation of Assange as a collaborator of a foreign enemy state – Russia. After the 2016 presidential elections, it was asserted that Russian military intelligence had hacked the Democratic National Convention (DNC) and supplied troves of emails to Wikileaks that were damning of Hillary Clinton’s corruption. The damage to Democratic candidate Clinton cost her the presidential election allowing Donald Trump to pull off a remarkable victory against the odds.

Julian Assange categorically stated that his source for the Clinton emails was not the Russian intel services. It is believed that the source was a disgruntled DNC insider who leaked the information to Wikileaks.

But the designation of Assange as a foreign enemy gave the CIA a legalistic license to use offensive counterintelligence techniques that do not require oversight by the president or congress. In short, the agency gave itself a license to kill Assange based on the spurious designation that he was colluding with a foreign adversary – Russia.

This got to the point where the CIA reportedly believed that Russia was going to exfiltrate Assange from London under diplomatic secrecy. The Americans drew up plans to have a shoot-out with Russian agents in London to thwart them, or even blow out the tires of a Russian jet trying to take off with Assange onboard.

The Kremlin has not responded to these reported claims. The hunch is that those racy details are a red-herring in an otherwise credible account of what the CIA was planning to do with Assange. The Russian intrigue facet is simply being used to lend credence to the false premise that Assange was working with the Russians and that the Kremlin hacked the DNC computers with the objective of influencing the 2016 election in favor of Trump over Clinton. Moscow has consistently denied that it interfered in the election or subsequent ones.

The purported scenario of a CIA shoot-out with Russian intelligence on the streets of London is a distraction from the heart of the story which is that the U.S. government and its rogue agency were ready and willing to murder an innocent civilian. Because the journalistic integrity of this civilian – Australian national Julian Assange – led him to publish damning revelations about Washington’s systematic war crimes and crimes of mass surveillance against its own citizens.

Acts of state terrorism by the CIA have always been carried out under cover or with plausible deniability. But in the case of Julian Assange Murder Inc was discussing “termination with extreme prejudice” (the euphemism for murder) as if it were ordering in coffee and donuts.

In the end, for whatever reason, the CIA did not go through with its assassination plot against Assange. But it got the next option: extraordinary rendition. The raiding of the Ecuadorian embassy in April 2019 by British police to snatch Assange was rendition under the guise of British justice. Assange has been in solitary confinement for two and a half years in a British maximum security prison reserved for psychopaths and dangerous terrorist offenders, awaiting an extradition appeal by the United States. In that event, Assange will die inside a U.S. prison. So, while Washington’s powers-that-be didn’t get to murder Assange outside prison, they have succeeded in rendering him to a black site.

That is where we are now at. Journalists telling the truth are openly targeted for murder or burial under concrete as a prisoner of the state.

The public case is clearer than ever after the latest revelations of the CIA plotting to murder or kidnap Assange. He must be freed from such blatant, premeditated persecution. If Assange is not freed then the war on truth is going to explode. All independent journalism and basic human rights are under threat.

‘Forever war’ benefiting Afghans? Follow the money

August 23, 2021

Whoever bought Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon and other US defense stocks made a literal killing

By Pepe Escobar, posted with permission and first posted at Asia Times

After 20 years and a staggering US$2.23 trillion spent in a “forever war” persistently spun as promoting democracy and benefiting the “Afghan people,” it’s legitimate to ask what the Empire of Chaos has to show for it.

The numbers are dire. Afghanistan remains the world’s 7th poorest nation: 47% of the population lives below the poverty line, according to the Asian Development Bank. No less than 75% of the – dissolved – Kabul government’s budget was coming from international aid. According to the World Bank, that aid was responsible for the turnover of 43% of the economy – one that was mired in massive government corruption.

According to the terms of the Washington-Taliban agreement signed in Doha in February 2020, the US should continue to fund Afghanistan during and after its withdrawal.

Now, with the Fall of Kabul and the imminent return of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, it’s becoming clear that applying financial soft power tactics may be even more deadly than a mere NATO occupation.

Washington has frozen $9.5 billion in Afghan Central Bank reserves and the International Monetary Fund has canceled its lending to Afghanistan, including $460 million that’s part of a Covid-19 relief program.

These dollars pay for government salaries and imports. Their absence will lead to the “Afghan people” hurting even more, a direct consequence of inevitable currency depreciation, rising food prices and inflation.

A corollary to this economic tragedy is a classic “take the money and run” caper: Former president Ashraf Ghani fled the country after allegedly packing four cars with $169 million in cash, and leaving $5 million on the tarmac of Kabul airport.

That’s according to two witnesses: one of his own bodyguards and the Afghan ambassador in Tajikistan; Ghani has denied the looting allegations.

Ghani’s plane was denied landing in Tajikistan and also Uzbekistan, proceeding to Oman until Ghani was welcomed in the UAE – very close to Dubai, a global Mecca of smuggling, money laundering and racketeering.

The Taliban have already stated that a new government and a new political and economic framework will be announced only after NATO troops are definitively out of the country next month.

The complex negotiations to form an “inclusive” government, as repeatedly promised by Taliban spokesmen, are de facto led on the non-Taliban side by two members of a council of three: former President Hamid Karzai and Ghani’s eternal rival, the leader of the High Council for National Reconciliation, Abdullah Abdullah. The third member, acting in the shadows, is warlord-turned-politician and two-time prime minister Hekmatyar. Gulbuddin

Karzai and Abdullah, both vastly experienced, are regarded by the Americans as “acceptable,” so that may go a long way in terms of facilitating future, official Western recognition of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan and restored multilateral institution funding.

Yet there are myriad problems including the very active role of Khalil Haqqani, who leads the Taliban Peace Council Commission while on a “terror watch list” and under UN sanctions. Not only is Haqqani in charge of Kabul’s security; he’s also side by side with Karzai and Abdullah in the discussions to form an inclusive government.

What makes the Taliban run

The Taliban have been operating outside of the Western banking system for two decades now. The bulk of their income comes from transit tax on trade routes (for instance, from Iran) and fuel levies. Profits from opium and heroin exports (domestic consumption not permitted) reportedly account for less than 10% of their income.

In countless villages across the deep Afghan countryside, the economy revolves around petty cash transactions and barter.

I received a copy of a high-level Pakistani academia-intelligence paper examining the challenges facing the new Afghan government.

The paper notes that “the standard route of development to be followed will be very pro-people. Taliban’s Islam is socialist. It has an aversion towards wealth being accumulated in fewer hands” – and, crucially, also an aversion to usury.

On the initial steps towards development projects, the paper expects them to come from Russian, Chinese, Turkish, Iranian and Pakistani companies – as well as a few government sectors. The Islamic Emirate “expects infrastructure development packages” at costs that are “affordable by the country’s existing GDP.”

Afghanistan’s nominal GDP in 2020 was $19.8 billion, according to World Bank figures.

New aid and investment packages are expected to come from Shanghai Cooperation Organization member nations (Russia, China, Pakistan) or SCO observers (Turkey and currently Iran – scheduled to become a full member at the SCO summit next month in Tajikistan). Inbuilt is the notion that Western recognition will be a Sisyphean task.

The paper admits that the Taliban have not had time to evaluate how the economy will be the key vector deciding Afghanistan’s future independence.

But this passage of the paper may hold the key: “In their consultations with the Chinese, they were advised to go slow and not rock the boat of the Western world system by talking too soon about state control of capitalism, interest-free economy, and de-linking from the IMF-based financial system. However, since the West has pulled back all the money from the Afghan exchequer, Afghanistan is likely to apply for short-term aid packages against their resource base.”

IMF-NATO as brothers in arms

I asked Michael Hudson, an economics professor at the University of Missouri Kansas City and Peking University, how he would recommend the new government to act. He answered, “For one thing, embarrass the hell out of the IMF for acting as an arm of NATO.”

Hudson referred to a Wall Street Journal article written by a former IMF advisor now with the Atlantic Council as saying that “now, since recognition is frozen, banks all over the world will hesitate to do business with Kabul. This move provides the US with leverage to negotiate with the Taliban.”

So this may be going the Venezuela way – with the IMF not “recognizing” a new government for months and even years. And on the seizure of Afghan gold by the New York Fed – actually a collection of private banks – we see echoes of the looting of Libya’s and seizure of Venezuela’s gold.

Hudson sees all of the above as “an abuse of the international monetary system – which is supposed to be a public utility – as an arm of NATO run by the US. IMF behavior, especially regarding the new drawing rights, should be presented as a litmus test” for the viability of a Taliban-led Afghanistan.

Hudson is now working on a book about the collapse of antiquity. His research led him to find Cicero, in In Favor of the Manilian Law (Pro Lege Manilia), writing about Pompeus’s military campaign in Asia and its effects on the provinces in a passage that perfectly applies to the “forever war” in Afghanistan:

“Words cannot express, gentlemen, how bitterly hated we are among foreign nations because of the wanton and outrageous conduct of the men whom in recent years we have sent to govern them. For, in those countries, what temple do you suppose had been held sacred by our officers, what state inviolable, what home sufficiently guarded by its closed doors? Why, they look about for rich and flourishing cities that they may find an occasion for a war against them to satisfy their lust for plunder.”

Switching from the classics to a more pedestrian level, WikiLeaks has been replaying a sort of Afghanistan Greatest Hits , reminding public opinion, for instance, that as far back as 2008 there was already “no pre-defined end date” for the “forever war.”

Yet the most concise assessment may have come from Julian Assange himself:

“The goal is to use Afghanistan to wash money out of the tax bases of the US and Europe through Afghanistan and back into the hands of a transnational security elite. The goal is an endless war, not a successful war.”

The “forever war” may have been a disaster for the bombed, invaded and impoverished “Afghan people,” but it was an unmitigated success for what Ray McGovern so memorably defines as the MICIMATT (Military-Industrial-Counter-Intelligence-Media-Academia-Think Tank) complex. Anyone who bought stocks of Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon and the rest of that crowd made – literally – a killing.

Facts are indeed dire. Barack Obama – who presided over a hefty Afghan “kill list”  throws a birthday party and invites the woke nouveaux riches. Julian Assange suffers psychological torture imprisoned in Belmarsh. And Ashraf Ghani mulls how to spend $169 million in the Dubai rackets, funds some say were duly stolen from the “Afghan people.”

A Day in the Death of British Justice

August 13th, 2021

By John Pilger

Source

(Originally Published on Mintpressnews on August 12, 2021)

“What has not been discussed today is why I feared for my safety and the safety of our children and for Julian’s life.” — Stella Moris, partner of Julian Assange

Isat in Court 4 in the Royal Courts of Justice in London yesterday with Stella Moris, Julian Assange’s partner. I have known Stella for as long as I have known Julian. She, too, is a voice of freedom, coming from a family that fought the fascism of Apartheid. Today, her name was uttered in court by a barrister and a judge, forgettable people were it not for the power of their endowed privilege.

The barrister, Clair Dobbin, is in the pay of the regime in Washington, first Trump’s then Biden’s. She is America’s hired gun, or “silk”, as she would prefer. Her target is Julian Assange, who has committed no crime and has performed an historic public service by exposing the criminal actions and secrets on which governments, especially those claiming to be democracies, base their authority.

For those who may have forgotten, WikiLeaks, of which Assange is founder and publisher, exposed the secrets and lies that led to the invasion of Iraq, Syria and Yemen, the murderous role of the Pentagon in dozens of countries, the blueprint for the 20-year catastrophe in Afghanistan, the attempts by Washington to overthrow elected governments, such as Venezuela’s, the collusion between nominal political opponents (Bush and Obama) to stifle a torture investigation and the CIA’s Vault 7 campaign that turned your mobile phone, even your TV set, into a spy in your midst.

WikiLeaks released almost a million documents from Russia which allowed Russian citizens to stand up for their rights. It revealed the Australian government had colluded with the US against its own citizen, Assange. It named those Australian politicians who have “informed” for the US. It made the connection between the Clinton Foundation and the rise of jihadism in American-armed states in the Gulf.

There is more: WikiLeaks disclosed the US campaign to suppress wages in sweatshop countries like Haiti, India’s campaign of torture in Kashmir, the British government’s secret agreement to shield “US interests” in its official Iraq inquiry and the British Foreign Office’s plan to create a fake “marine protection zone” in the Indian Ocean to cheat the Chagos islanders out of their right of return.

In other words, WikiLeaks has given us real news about those who govern us and take us to war, not the preordained, repetitive spin that fills newspapers and television screens. This is real journalism; and for the crime of real journalism, Assange has spent most of the past decade in one form of incarceration or another, including Belmarsh prison, a horrific place.

Diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, he is a gentle, intellectual visionary driven by his belief that a democracy is not a democracy unless it is transparent, and accountable.

Yesterday, the United States sought the approval of Britain’s High Court to extend the terms of its appeal against a decision by a district judge, Vanessa Baraitser, in January to bar Assange’s extradition.  Baraitser accepted the deeply disturbing evidence of a number of experts that Assange would be at great risk if he were incarcerated in the US’s infamous prison system.

Professor Michael Kopelman, a world authority on neuro-psychiatry, had said Assange would find a way to take his own life — the direct result of what Professor Nils Melzer, the United Nations Rapporteur on Torture, described as the craven “mobbing” of Assange by governments – and their media echoes.

Those of us who were in the Old Bailey last September to hear Kopelman’s evidence were shocked and moved. I sat with Julian’s father, John Shipton, whose head was in his hands. The court was also told about the discovery of a razor blade in Julian’s Belmarsh cell and that he had made desperate calls to the Samaritans and written notes and much else that filled us with more than sadness.

Watching the lead barrister acting for Washington, James Lewis — a man from a military background who deploys a cringingly theatrical “aha!” formula with defence witnesses — reduce these facts to “malingering” and smearing witnesses, especially Kopelman, we were heartened by Kopelman’s revealing response that Lewis’s abuse was “a bit rich” as Lewis himself had sought to hire Kopelman’s  expertise in another case.

Lewis’s sidekick is Clair Dobbin, and yesterday was her day. Completing the smearing of Professor Kopelman was down to her. An American with some authority sat behind her in court.

Dobbin said Kopelman had “misled” Judge Baraister in September because he had not disclosed that Julian Assange and Stella Moris were partners, and their two young children, Gabriel and Max, were conceived during the period Assange had taken refuge in the Ecuadorean embassy in London.

Britain Assange
Stella Moris after attending the first hearing in the Assange extradition appeal in London, Aug. 11, 2021. Matt Dunham | AP

The implication was that this somehow lessened Kopelman’s medical diagnosis: that Julian, locked up in solitary in Belmarsh prison and facing extradition to the US on bogus “espionage” charges, had suffered severe psychotic depression and had planned, if he had not already attempted, to take his own life.

For her part, Judge Baraitser saw no contradiction. The full nature of the relationship between Stella and Julian had been explained to her in March 2020, and Professor Kopelman had made full reference to it in his report in August 2020. So the judge and the court knew all about it before the main extradition hearing last September. In her judgement in January, Baraitser said this:

[Professor Kopelman] assessed Mr. Assange during the period May to December 2019 and was best placed to consider at first-hand his symptoms. He has taken great care to provide an informed account of Mr. Assange background and psychiatric history. He has given close attention to the prison medical notes and provided a detailed summary annexed to his December report. He is an experienced clinician and he was well aware of the possibility of exaggeration and malingering. I had no reason to doubt his clinical opinion.

She added that she had “not been misled” by the exclusion in Kopelman’s first report of the Stella-Julian relationship and that she understood that Kopelman was protecting the privacy of Stella and her two young children.

In fact, as I know well, the family’s safety was under constant threat to the point when an embassy security guard confessed he had been told to steal one of the baby’s nappies so that a CIA-contracted company could analyse its DNA. There has been a stream of unpublicised threats against Stella and her children.

For the US and its legal hirelings in London, damaging the credibility of a renowned expert by suggesting he withheld this information was a way, they no doubt reckoned, to rescue their crumbling case against Assange. In June, the Icelandic newspaper Stundin reported that a key prosecution witness against Assange has admitted fabricating his evidence. The one “hacking” charge the Americans hoped to bring against Assange if they could get their hands on him depended on this source and witness, Sigurdur Thordarson, an FBI informant.

Thordarson had worked as a volunteer for WikiLeaks in Iceland between 2010 and 2011. In 2011, as several criminal charges were brought against him, he contacted the FBI and offered to become an informant in return for immunity from all prosecution. It emerged that he was a convicted fraudster who embezzled $55,000 from WikiLeaks, and served two years in prison. In 2015, he was sentenced to three years for sex offenses against teenage boys. The Washington Post described Thordarson’s credibility as the “core” of the case against Assange.

Yesterday, Lord Chief Justice Holroyde made no mention of this witness. His concern was that it was “arguable” that Judge Baraitser had attached too much weight to the evidence of Professor Kopelman, a man revered in his field. He said it was “very unusual” for an appeal court to have to reconsider evidence from an expert accepted by a lower court, but he agreed with Ms. Dobbin it was “misleading” even though he accepted Kopelman’s “understandable human response” to protect the privacy of Stella and the children.

If you can unravel the arcane logic of this, you have a better grasp than I who have sat through this case from the beginning. It is clear Kopelman misled nobody. Judge Baraitser – whose hostility to Assange personally was a presence in her court – said that she was not misled; it was not an issue; it did not matter. So why had Lord Chief Chief Justice Holroyde spun the language with its weasel legalise and sent Julian back to his cell and its nightmares? There, he now waits for the High Court’s final decision in October – for Julian Assange, a life or death decision.And why did Holroyde send Stella from the court trembling with anguish? Why is this case “unusual”? Why did he throw the gang of prosecutor-thugs at the Department of Justice in Washington – — who got their big chance under Trump, having been rejected by Obama – a life raft as their rotting, corrupt case against a principled journalist sunk as surely as Titantic?

This does not necessarily mean that in October the full bench of the High Court will order Julian to be extradited. In the upper reaches of the masonry that is the British judiciary there are, I understand, still those who believe in real law and real justice from which the term “British justice” takes its sanctified reputation in the land of the Magna Carta. It now rests on their ermined shoulders whether that history lives on or dies.

I sat with Stella in the court’s colonnade while she drafted words to say to the crowd of media and well-wishers outside in the sunshine. Clip-clopping along came Clair Dobbin, spruced, ponytail swinging, bearing her carton of files: a figure of certainty: she who said Julian Assange was “not so ill” that he would consider suicide. How does she know?

Has Ms. Dobbin worked her way through the medieval maze at Belmarsh to sit with Julian in his yellow arm band, as Professors Koppelman and Melzer have done, and Stella has done, and I have done? Never mind. The Americans have now “promised” not to put him in a hellhole, just as they “promised” not to torture Chelsea Manning, just as they promised ……

Britain Assange
A WikiLeaks supporter gives leaflets to passing drivers, during the first Assange extradition appeal hearing in London, Aug. 11, 2021. Matt Dunham | AP

nd has she read the WikiLeaks’ leak of a Pentagon document dated 15 March, 2009? This foretold the current war on journalism. US intelligence, it said, intended to destroy WikiLeaks’ and Julian Assange’s “centre of gravity” with threats and “criminal prosecution”. Read all 32 pages and you are left in no doubt that silencing and criminalising independent journalism was the aim, smear the method.

I tried to catch Ms. Dobbin’s gaze, but she was on her way: job done.

Outside, Stella struggled to contain her emotion. This is one brave woman, as indeed her man is an exemplar of courage. “What has not been discussed today,” said Stella, “is why I feared for my safety and the safety of our children and for Julian’s life. The constant threats and intimidation we endured for years, which has been terrorising us and has been terrorising Julian for 10 years. We have a right to live, we have a right to exist and we have a right for this nightmare to come to an end once and for all.”

Chris Hedges: Julian Assange and the Collapse of the Rule of Law

June 11th, 2021

Julian Assange Feature photo

By Chris Hedges

Source

Chris Hedges gave this talk at a rally Thursday night in New York City in support of Julian Assange. John and Gabriel Shipton, Julian’s father and brother, also spoke at the event, which was held at The People’s Forum.

PRINCETON, NEW JERSEY (Scheerpost A society that prohibits the capacity to speak in truth extinguishes the capacity to live in justice.

This why we are here tonight.  Yes, all of us who know and admire Julian decry his prolonged suffering and the suffering of his family.  Yes, we demand that the many wrongs and injustices that have been visited upon him be ended.  Yes, we honor him up for his courage and his integrity. But the battle for Julian’s liberty has always been much more than the persecution of a publisher.  It is the most important battle for press freedom of our era.  And if we lose this battle, it will be devastating, not only for Julian and his family, but for us.

Tyrannies invert the rule of law.  They turn the law into an instrument of injustice.  They cloak their crimes in a faux legality.  They use the decorum of the courts and trials, to mask their criminality.  Those, such as Julian, who expose that criminality to the public are dangerous, for without the pretext of legitimacy the tyranny loses credibility and has nothing left in its arsenal but fear, coercion and violence.

The long campaign against Julian and WikiLeaks is a window into the collapse of the rule of law, the rise of what the political philosopher Sheldon Wolin calls our system of inverted totalitarianism, a form of totalitarianism that maintains the fictions of the old capitalist democracy, including its institutions, iconography, patriotic symbols and rhetoric, but internally has surrendered total control to the dictates of global corporations.

I was in the London courtroom when Julian was being tried by Judge Vanessa Baraitser, an updated version of the Queen of Hearts in Alice-in Wonderland demanding the sentence before pronouncing the verdict. It was judicial farce. There was no legal basis to hold Julian in prison.  There was no legal basis to try him, an Australian citizen, under the U.S. Espionage Act. The CIA spied on Julian in the embassy through a Spanish company, UC Global, contracted to provide embassy security. This spying included recording the privileged conversations between Julian and his lawyers as they discussed his defense. This fact alone invalidated the trial. Julian is being held in a high security prison so the state can, as Nils Melzer, the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Torture, has testified, continue the degrading abuse and torture it hopes will lead to his psychological if not physical disintegration.

The U.S. government directed, as Craig Murray so eloquently documented, the London prosecutor James Lewis.  Lewis presented these directives to Baraitser.  Baraitser adopted them as her legal decision.  It was judicial pantomime. Lewis and the judge insisted they were not attempting to criminalize journalists and muzzle the press while they busily set up the legal framework to criminalize journalists and muzzle the press. And that is why the court worked so hard to mask the proceedings from the public, limiting access to the courtroom to a handful of observers and making it hard and at times impossible to access the trial online.  It was a tawdry show trial, not an example of the best of English jurisprudence but the Lubyanka.

Now, I know many of us here tonight would like to think of ourselves as radicals, maybe even revolutionaries.  But what we are demanding on the political spectrum is in fact conservative, it is the restoration of the rule of law.  It is simple and basic. It should not, in a functioning democracy, be incendiary.  But living in truth in a despotic system is the supreme act of defiance.  This truth terrifies those in power.

The architects of imperialism, the masters of war, the corporate-controlled legislative, judicial and executive branches of government and their obsequious courtiers in the media, are illegitimate.  Say this simple truth and you are banished, as many of us have been, to the margins of the media landscape.  Prove this truth, as Julian, Chelsea Manning, Jeremy Hammond and Edward Snowden have by allowing us to peer into the inner workings of power, and you are hunted down and persecuted.

Shortly after WikiLeaks released the Iraq War Logs in October 2010, which documented numerous US war crimes—including video images of the gunning down of two Reuters journalists and 10 other unarmed civilians in the Collateral Murder video, the routine torture of Iraqi prisoners, the covering up of thousands of civilian deaths and the killing of nearly 700 civilians that had approached too closely to U.S. checkpoints—the towering civil rights attorneys Len Weinglass and my good friend Michael Ratner, who I would later accompany to meet Julian in the Ecuadoran Embassy, met with Julian in a studio apartment in Central London.  Julian’s personal bank cards had been blocked. Three encrypted laptops with documents detailing US war crimes had disappeared from his luggage in route to London. Swedish police were fabricating a case against him in a move, Ratner warned, that was about extraditing Julian to the United States.

“WikiLeaks and you personally are facing a battle that is both legal and political,” Weinglass told Assange. “As we learned in the Pentagon Papers case, the US government doesn’t like the truth coming out. And it doesn’t like to be humiliated. No matter if it’s Nixon or Bush or Obama, Republican or Democrat in the White House. The US government will try to stop you from publishing its ugly secrets. And if they have to destroy you and the First Amendment and the rights of publishers with you, they are willing to do it. We believe they are going to come after WikiLeaks and you, Julian, as the publisher.”

“Come after me for what?” asked Julian.

“Espionage,” Weinglass continued. “They’re going to charge Bradley Manning with treason under the Espionage Act of 1917. We don’t think it applies to him because he’s a whistleblower, not a spy. And we don’t think it applies to you either because you are a publisher. But they are going to try to force Manning into implicating you as his collaborator.”

“Come after me for what?

That is the question.

They came after Julian not for his vices, but his virtues.

They came after Julian because he exposed the more than 15,000 unreported deaths of Iraqi civilians; because he exposed the torture and abuse of some 800 men and boys, aged between 14 and 89, at Guantánamo; because he exposed that Hillary Clinton in 2009 ordered US diplomats to spy on U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki Moon and other U.N. representatives from China, France, Russia, and the UK, spying that included obtaining DNA, iris scans, fingerprints, and personal passwords, part of the long pattern of illegal surveillance that included the eavesdropping on UN Secretary General Kofi Annan in the weeks before the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003; because he exposed that Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and the CIA orchestrated the June 2009 military coup in Honduras that overthrew the democratically elected president Manuel Zelaya, replacing it with a murderous and corrupt military regime; because he exposed that George W. Bush, Barack Obama and General David Petraeus prosecuted a war in Iraq that under post-Nuremberg laws is defined as a criminal war of aggression, a war crime, that they authorized hundreds of targeted assassinations, including those of U.S. citizens in Yemen, and that they secretly launched missile, bomb, and drone attacks on Yemen, killing scores of civilians; because he exposed that Goldman Sachs paid Hillary Clinton $657,000 to give talks, a sum so large it can only be considered a bribe, and that she privately assured corporate leaders she would do their bidding while promising the public financial regulation and reform; because he exposed the internal campaign to discredit and destroy British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn by members of his own party; because he exposed how the hacking tools used by the CIA and the National Security Agency permits the wholesale government surveillance of our televisions, computers, smartphones and anti-virus software, allowing the government to record and store our conversations, images and private text messages, even from encrypted apps.

Julian exposed the truth.  He exposed it over and over and over until there was no question of the endemic illegality, corruption and mendacity that defines the global ruling elite.  And for these truths they came after Julian, as they have come after all who dared rip back the veil on power.  “Red Rosa now has vanished too. …” Bertolt Brecht wrote after the German socialist Rosa Luxemburg was murdered. “She told the poor what life is about, And so the rich have rubbed her out.”

We have undergone a corporate coup, where the poor and working men and women are reduced to joblessness and hunger, where war, financial speculation and internal surveillance are the only real business of the state, where even habeas corpus no longer exists, where we, as citizens, are nothing more than commodities to corporate systems of power, ones to be used, fleeced and discarded. To refuse to fight back, to reach out and help the weak, the oppressed and the suffering, to save the planet from ecocide, to decry the domestic and international crimes of the ruling class, to demand justice, to live in truth, is to bear the mark of Cain. Those in power must feel our wrath, and this means constant acts of mass civil disobedience, it means constant acts of social and political disruption, for this organized power from below is the only power that will save us and the only power that will free Julian.  Politics is a game of fear.  It is our moral and civic duty to make those in power very, very afraid.

The criminal ruling class has all of us locked in its death grip.  It cannot be reformed.  It has abolished the rule of law.  It obscures and falsifies the truth. It seeks the consolidation of its obscene wealth and power. And so, to quote the Queen of Hearts, metaphorically of course, I say, “Off with their heads.”

Biden’s Journey: Change Is Imperceptible

Ph.D., Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest.

Philip Giraldi

February 25, 2021

Biden has been a major disappointment for those who hoped that he’d change course regarding America’s pathological involvement in overseas conflicts.

The new White House Team has been in place for more than a month and it is perhaps time to consider where it is going with America’s fractured foreign policy. To be sure, when a new administration brings in a bunch of “old hands” who made their bones by attacking Syria and Libya while also assassinating American citizens by drone one might hope that those mistakes might have served as valuable “lessons learned.” Or maybe not, since no one in the Democratic Party ever mentions the Libya fiasco and President Joe Biden has already made it clear that Syria will continue to be targeted with sanctions as well as with American soldiers based on its soil. And no one will be leaving Afghanistan any time soon. The Biden team will only let up when Afghanistan is “secure” and there is regime change in Damascus.

A big part of the problem is that the personnel moves mean that the poison from the Barack Obama years has now been reintroduced into the tottering edifice that Donald Trump left behind. Obama’s United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice once made the case for attacking the Libyans by explaining how Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi provided his soldiers with Viagra so they could more readily engage in mass rapes of presumably innocent civilians. Unfortunately, Sue is back with the new administration as the Director of the Domestic Policy Council where she will no doubt again wreak havoc in her own inimitable fashion. She is joined at the top level of the administration by Tony Blinken as Secretary of State, Avril Haines as Director of National Intelligence, Jake Sullivan as National Security Advisor, Samantha Power as head of USAID and retired General Lloyd J. Austin as Secretary of Defense. All of the appointees are regarded as “hawks” and have personal history working with Biden when he was in Congress and as Vice President, while most of them also served in the Obama administration.

Be that as it may, Joe Biden and whoever is pulling his strings have assembled a group of establishment warmongers and aspirant social justice engineers that is second to none. Those who expected something different than the usual Democratic Party template have definitely been disappointed. Hostility towards China continues with warships being sent to the South China Sea and the president is seeking to create a new Trans-Atlantic alliance directed against both Beijing and Moscow. The Europeans are reportedly not enthusiastic about remaining under Washington’s thumb and would like some breathing room.

In a phone conversation where it would have been interesting to be a fly on the wall, Biden warned Russian President Vladimir Putin that the United States would no longer ignore his bad behavior. The official White House account of the call included the following pithy summary: “President Biden reaffirmed the United States’ firm support for Ukraine’s sovereignty. He also raised other matters of concern, including the SolarWinds hack, reports of Russia placing bounties on United States soldiers in Afghanistan, interference in the 2020 United States election, and the poisoning of Aleksey Navalny.”

And to be sure, there have already been a number of issues that Biden might have dealt with by executive order, like lifting the illegal and unjustified blockade of Cuba, that could have inspired some hope that the new administration would not be just another bit of old wine in new bottles. Alas, that has not taken place but for a series of moves to unleash another wave of illegal immigration and to “protect LGBTQ rights globally.” Biden has also retained a heavy military presence in Washington itself, possibly as part of a Constitution-wrecking plan to tackle what he is referring to as “domestic terrorism.” The domestic terrorists being targeted appear to largely consist of people who are white working and middle class and voted for Trump.

In some ways, foreign policy might have been the easiest fix if the new administration were really seeking to correct the misadventures of the past twenty years. Quite the contrary, Biden and his associates have actually reversed the sensible and long overdue policies initiated by Donald Trump to reduce troop strength in Germany and bring the soldiers home from Syria and Afghanistan. Biden has already committed to an indefinite stay in Afghanistan, America’s longest “lost” war, and has covertly sent more soldiers into Syria as well as Iraq.

As regards Latin America, the U.S. clearly is prepared to double down on regime change in Venezuela, continuing its Quixotic support of Juan Guaido as president. Meanwhile, the new Secretary of State Tony Blinken has clearly indicated that there will be no end to deference to Israeli interests in the Middle East. Under questioning by Congress, he has insisted that Israel will be “consulted” on U.S. policy to include arms sales in the region, which has been interpreted to mean that Jerusalem will have a veto, and has confirmed that his view on Iran is identical to that of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Both are apparently promoting the view that Iran will have enough enriched uranium to construct a weapon within a few weeks, though they have not addressed other technical aspects of what would actually be required to build one. Netanyahu has been making the claim about the Iranian threat since the 1980s and now it is also an element of U.S. policy.

Biden and Blinken have also moved forward slowly on a campaign commitment to attempt renegotiation of the 2015 JCPOA nuclear agreement with Iran that President Trump withdrew from in 2017. As a condition to re-start discussions, the Iranian leadership has demanded a return to the status quo ante, meaning that the punitive sanctions initiated by Trump would have to be canceled and Iran would in return cease all enrichment activities. Biden and Blinken, which admittedly sounds a bit like a vaudeville comedy duo, have reportedly agreed to withdraw the Trump sanctions but have also suggested that Iran will have to make other concessions, to include ending its ballistic missile development program and ceasing its “meddling” in the Middle East. Iran will refuse to agree to that, which means that the bid to renegotiate could turn out to be nothing more than a bit of theater involving multilateral “discussions” hosted by the European Union and the pointless hostility between Washington and Tehran will continue.

And speaking again of Israel, there have been concerns expressed by the usual suspects because Biden had not called telephoned Netanyahu immediately after the inauguration. It may be true that the president was sending a somewhat less than subtle message signaling that he was in charge, but the call has now taken place and everything is hunky-dory. As a separate issue, the Jewish state has, of course, the world’s only secret nuclear arsenal, estimated to consist of at least 200 bombs, and it also has several systems available to deliver them on target. For no reasons that make any sense, the United States since the time of President Richard Nixon has never publicly confirmed the existence of the weapons, preferring to maintain “nuclear ambiguity” that allows Israel to have the weapons without any demands for inspections or constraints on their use. The most recent four presidents have, in fact, signed secret agreements with Israel not to expose the nuclear arsenal. Biden has apparently not done so yet, but appeals by international figures, including most recently South African Desmond Tutu, had produced some expectations that the new administration might break with precedent.

Giving aid to Israel is, in fact, illegal due to the Symington Amendment to the Foreign Assistance Act, which bans U.S. economic and military assistance to nuclear proliferators and countries that seek to acquire nuclear weapons. But Biden has already indicated that he would not under any circumstances cut aid to Israel, so the matter would appear to be closed. In any event the Symington Amendment includes an exemption clause that would allow the funding to continue as long as the president certifies to Congress that continued aid to the proliferator would be a vital U.S. interest. Given Israel’s power in both Congress and the White House it is not imaginable that its aid would be affected no matter what Netanyahu and his band of criminals choose to do.

So, it would seem that Biden is unprepared to either pressure or pursue any distancing from Israel and its policies, not a good sign for those of us who have encouraged some disengagement from the Middle East quagmire. And one final issue where some of us have hoped to see some movement from Biden has also been a disappointment. That is Julian Assange, who is fighting against efforts to have him extradited from England to face trial and imprisonment in the U.S. under the Espionage Act. Many observers believe that Assange is a legitimate journalist who is being set up for a show trial with only one possible outcome. The entire process is to a large extent being driven by a desire for revenge coming largely from the Democratic Party since Assange was responsible for publishing the Hillary Clinton emails as well as other party documents. Biden has already indicated that the process of extraditing Assange will continue.

So, Biden has been a major disappointment for those who expected that he might change course regarding America’s pathological involvement in overseas conflicts while also having the good sense and courage to make relations with countries like Iran and Israel responsive to actual U.S. interests. Finally, it would be a good sign if Assange were to be released from the threat of trial and prison, if only to recognize that free speech and a free press benefit everyone, but that is perhaps a bridge too far as the United States moves inexorably towards a totalitarian state intolerant of dissent.

What to Expect in 2021: Madness, Mayhem, Manipulation and More Tyranny

John Whitehead
ABOUT JOHN W. WHITEHEAD. Constitutional attorney and author John W. Whitehead is founder and president of The Rutherford Institute. His new book Battlefield America: The War on the American People  is available at www.amazon.com. Whitehead can be contacted at johnw@rutherford.org.

Global Research,

January 06, 2021

By John W. Whitehead

“Twelve voices were shouting in anger, and they were all alike. No question, now, what had happened to the faces of the pigs. The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.”―George Orwell, Animal Farm

What should we expect in 2021?

So far, it looks like this year is going to be plagued by more of the same brand of madness, mayhem, manipulation and tyranny that dominated 2020.

Frankly, I’m sick of it: the hypocrisy, the double standards, the delusional belief by Americans at every point along the political spectrum that politics and politicians are the answer to what ails the country, when for most of our nation’s history, politics and politicians have been the cause of our woes.

Consider: for years now, Americans, with sheeplike placidity, have tolerated all manner of injustices and abuses meted out upon them by the government (police shootings of unarmed individuals, brutality, corruption, graft, outright theft, occupations and invasions of their homes by militarized police, roadside strip searches, profit-driven incarcerations, profit-driven wars, egregious surveillance, taxation without any real representation, a nanny state that dictates every aspect of their lives, lockdowns, overcriminalization, etc.) without ever saying “enough is enough.”

Only now do Americans seem righteously indignant enough to mobilize and get active, and for what purpose? Politics. They’re ready to go to the mat over which corporate puppet will get the honor to serve as the smiling face on the pig for the next four years.

Talk about delusion.

It’s so ludicrous as to be Kafkaesque.

A perfect example of how farcical, topsy-turvy, and downright perverse life has become in the America: while President Trump doles out medals of commendation and presidential pardons to political cronies who have done little to nothing to advance the cause of freedom, Julian Assange rots in prison for daring to blow the whistle on the U.S. government’s war crimes

You’d think that Americans would be outraged over such abject pandering to the very swamp that Trump pledged to drain, but that’s not what has the Right and the Left so worked up. No, they’re still arguing over whether dead men voted in the last presidential election.

Either way, no matter which candidate lost to the other, it was always going to be the Deep State that won.

And so you have it: reduced to technicalities, distracted by magician’s con games, and caught up in the manufactured, highly scripted contest over which beauty contestant wears the crown, we have failed to do anything about the world falling apart around us.

Literally.

Our economy—at least as it impacts the vast majority of Americans as opposed to the economic elite—is in a shambles. Our infrastructure is falling apart. Our government has been overtaken by power-hungry predators and parasites. And our ability—and fundamental right—to govern our own lives is being usurped by greedy government operatives who care nothing for our lives or our freedoms.

Our ship of state is being transformed into a ship of fools.

We stand utterly defenseless in the face of a technological revolution brought about by artificial intelligence and wall-to-wall surveillance that is re-orienting the world as we know it. Despite the mounting high-tech encroachments on our rights, we have been afforded a paltry amount of legislative and judicial protections. Indeed, Corporate America has more rights than we do.

We stand utterly powerless in the face of government bureaucrats and elected officials who dance to the tune of corporate overlords and do what they want, when they want, with whomever they want at taxpayer expense, with no thought or concern for the plight of those they are supposed to represent. To this power elite, “we the people” are good for only two things: our tax dollars and our votes. In other words, they just want our money.

We stand utterly helpless in the face of government violence that is meted out, both at home and abroad. Indeed, the systemic violence being perpetrated by agents of the government—inflicted on unarmed individuals by battlefield-trained SWAT teams, militarized police, and bureaucratic government agents trained to shoot first and ask questions later—has done more collective harm to the American people and their liberties than any single act of terror or mass shooting.

We stand utterly silenced in the face of government and corporate censors and a cancel culture that, in their quest to not offend certain viewpoints, are all too willing to eradicate views that do not conform. In this way, political correctness has given way to a more insidious form of group think and mob rule.

We stand utterly locked down in the face of COVID-19 mandates, restrictions, travel bans and penalties that are acclimating the populace to unquestioningly accede to the government’s dictates, whatever they might be (as long as they are issued in the name of national security), no matter how extreme or unreasonable.

We stand utterly intimidated in the face of red flag laws, terrorism watch lists, contact tracing programs, zero tolerance policies, and all other manner of police state tactics that aim to keep us fearful and compliant.

We stand utterly indoctrinated in the collective belief that the government—despite its longstanding pattern and practice of corruption, collusion, dysfunction, immorality and incompetence—somehow represents “we the people.”

Despite all of this, despite how evident it is that we are mere tools to be used and abused and manipulated for the power elite’s own diabolical purposes, we somehow fail to see their machinations for what they truly are: thinly veiled attempts to overthrow our republic and enslave the citizenry in order to expand their power and wealth.

It is a grim outlook for a new year, but it is not completely hopeless.

If hope is to be found, it will be found with those of us who do not rely on politicians that promise to fix what is wrong but instead do their part, at their local levels, to right the wrongs and fix what is broken. I am referring to the builders, the thinkers, the helpers, the healers, the educators, the creators, the artists, the activists, the technicians, the food gatherers and distributors, and every other person who does their part to build up rather than destroy.

As I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, “we the people” are the hope for a better year. Not Trump. Not Biden. And not the architects and enablers of the American Police State.

Until we can own that truth, until we can forge our own path back to a world in which freedom means something again, we’re going to be stuck in this wormhole of populist anger, petty politics and destruction that is pitting us one against the other.

In that scenario, no one wins.

There’s a meme circulating on social media that goes like this:

If you catch 100 red fire ants as well as 100 large black ants, and put them in a jar, at first, nothing will happen. However, if you violently shake the jar and dump them back on the ground the ants will fight until they eventually kill each other. The thing is, the red ants think the black ants are the enemy and vice versa, when in reality, the real enemy is the person who shook the jar. This is exactly what’s happening in society today. Liberal vs. Conservative. Black vs. White. Pro Mask vs. Anti Mask. The real question we need to be asking ourselves is who’s shaking the jar … and why?

Whether red ants will really fight black ants to the death is a question for the biologists, but it’s an apt analogy of what’s playing out before us on the political scene and a chilling lesson in social engineering. So before you get too caught up in the circus politics and conveniently timed spectacles that keep us distracted from focusing too closely on the government’s power grabs, first ask yourself: who’s really shaking the jar?

WC: 1347

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How the Left is being Manipulated into Colluding in its own Character Assassination

Jonathan Cook won the Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism. His books include “Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East” (Pluto Press) and “Disappearing Palestine: Israel’s Experiments in Human Despair” (Zed Books). His website is www.jonathan-cook.net.  He is a frequent contributor to Global Research

By Jonathan Cook

Global Research, January 09, 2021

There was a fascinating online panel discussion on Wednesday night on the Julian Assange case that I recommend everyone watch. The video is at the bottom of the page.  

But from all the outstanding contributions, I want to highlight a very important point made by Yanis Varoufakis that has significance for understanding current events well beyond the Assange case. 

Varoufakis is an academic who was savaged by the western political and media establishments when he served as Greece’s finance minister. Back in 2015 a popular leftwing Greek government was trying to oppose the imposition of severe loan conditions on Greece by European and international financial institutions that risked tipping the Greek economy into deeper bankruptcy and seemed chiefly intended to upend its socialist programme. The government Varoufakis served was effectively crushed into obedience through a campaign of economic intimidation by these institutions.

 Varoufakis describes here the way that leftwing dissidents who challenge or disrupt western establishment narratives – whether it be himself, Assange or Jeremy Corbyn – end up not only being subjected to character assassination, as was always the case, but nowadays find themselves being manipulated into colluding in their own character assassination.

 Here is a short transcript of Varoufakis’ much fuller comments – about 48 minutes in – highlighting his point about co-option:

 “The establishment, the Deep State, call it whatever you want, the oligarchy, they’ve become much, much better at it [character assassination] than they used to be. Because back in the 1960s and 1970s, you know, they would accuse you of being a Communist. They would accuse me of being a Marxist. Well, I am a Marxist. I’m really not going to suffer that much if you accuse me of being a left-winger. I am a left-winger!

 “Now what they do is something far worse. They accuse you of something that really hurts you. Calling somebody like us a racist, a bigot, an antisemite, a rapist. This is what really hurts because if anybody calls me a rapist today, right, even if it’s complete baloney, I feel as a feminist I have the need to give the woman, implied or involved somehow in this accusation, the opportunity to speak against me. Because that is what we left-wingers do.”

Varoufakis’ point is that when Assange was accused of being a rapist, as he was before the US made clear the real case against him – by trying to extradite him from the UK for exposing its war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan – he could not defend himself without alienating a significant constituency of his natural supporters, those on the left who identify as feminists. Which is exactly what happened.

 Similarly, as Varoufakis notes from earlier conversations he had with Assange, the Wikileaks founder was in no position to properly defend himself against accusations that he colluded with Russia and Donald Trump to help Trump win the 2016 US presidential election against Hillary Clinton and the Democrats.

 At the time, Assange’s supporters were able to point out that the leaked emails were true and that they were in the public interest because they showed deep corruption in the Democratic party establishment. But those arguments were drowned out by a narrative confected by the US media and security establishments that Wikileaks’ publication of the emails was political interference because the emails had supposedly been hacked by Russia to sway the election result.

 Because Assange was absolutely committed to the principle of non-disclosure of sources, he refused to defend himself in public by confirming that the emails had been leaked to him by a Democratic party insider, not the “Russians”. His silence allowed his vilification to go largely unchallenged. Having already been stripped of support from much of the feminist left, particularly in Europe, Assange now lost the support of a sizeable chunk of the left in the US too.

In these cases, the one who stands accused has to defend themselves with one hand tied behind their back. They cannot hit back without further antagonising a substantial section of their supporters, deepening divisions within the left’s ranks. The victim of this kind of character assassination is caught in the equivalent of reputational quicksand. The more they fight, the deeper they sink.

Which is, of course, exactly what happened to the UK’s former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn when he was accused of being a racist. If he or his supporters tried to challenge the claim that the party had become antisemitic overnight under his leadership – even if only by citing statistics that showed the party hadn’t – they were immediately denounced for supposed “antisemitism denial”, posited as the modern equivalent of Holocaust denial.

Notice Ken Loach, who was also on the panel, nodding in agreement as Varoufakis speaks. Because Loach, the noted leftwing, anti-racist film-maker who came to Corbyn’s defence against the confected media campaign smearing him as an antisemite, soon found himself similarly accused.

Jonathan Freedland, a senior columnist at the liberal Guardian, was among those using precisely the tactic described by Varoufakis. He tried to discredit Loach by accusing him of denying Jews the right to define their own experience of antisemitism.   

Freedland sought to manipulate Loach’s anti-racist credentials against him. Either agree with us that Corbyn is an antisemite, and that most of his supporters are too, or you are a hypocrite, disowning your own anti-racist principles – and solely in the case of antisemitism. And that, QED, would prove you too are motivated by antisemitism.

Loach found himself with a terrible binary choice: either he must collude with Freedland and the corporate media in smearing Corbyn, a long-standing political ally, or else he would be forced to collude in his own smearing as an antisemite.

It’s a deeply ugly, deeply illiberal, deeply manipulative, deeply dishonest tactic. But it is also brilliantly effective. Which is why nowadays rightists and centrists use it at every opportunity. The left, given its principles, rarely resorts to this kind of deceit. Which means it can only bring a peashooter to a gun fight.

https://twitter.com/Jonathan_K_Cook/status/131348440736224870

This is the left’s dilemma. It’s why we struggle to win the argument in a corporate media environment that not only denies us a hearing but also promotes the voices of those like Freedland trying to destroy us from the centre and those supposedly on the left like George Monbiot and Owen Jones who are too often destroying us from within.

As Varoufakis also says, the left needs urgently to go on the offensive.

We need to find ways to turn the tables on the war criminals who have been gaslighting us in demanding that Assange, who exposed their crimes, is the one who needs to be locked up.

We need to make clear that it is those who are so ready to smear anti-racists as antisemites – as Corbyn’s successor, Sir Keir Starmer, has done to swaths of Labour party members – who are the real racists.

And we need to unmask as war hawks those who accuse the anti-war left of serving as apologists for dictators when we try to stop western states conducting more illegal, resource-grab wars with such devastating results for local populations.

We must get much more sophisticated in our thinking and our strategies. There is no time to lose.

This essay first appeared on Jonathan Cook’s blog: https://www.jonathan-cook.net/blog/ 

For Years, Journalists Cheered Assange’s Abuse. Now They’ve Paved His Path to a US Gulag

Richard Medhurst: “BBC ATTACKS JOURNALISTS CHALLENGING NARRATIVE ON SYRIA AND WHITE HELMETS”

Richard Medhurst 🇸🇾🇵🇸 (@richimedhurst) | Twitter

By Richard Medhurst 

December 4, 2020

The BBC has released a new radio podcast titled Mayday: Investigating The Life And Death Of James LeMesurier. It attempts to tell the story behind former British army and intelligence officer James LeMesurier, co-founder of the “White Helmets” in Syria. While the BBC claims that its new Radio 4 series seeks to “explore the true story” behind the so called “Syria Civil Defence”, its correspondence with journalists critical of the group shows this wasn’t the case.

The BBC contacted Canadian journalist Eva Bartlett and British journalist Vanessa Beeley. In emails provided to me last month, we can see how the BBC in its attempt to reach out to them, prepared a list of smears and allegations. The state funded broadcaster accused them of being conspiracy theorists, called them “tools” of the Syrian and Russian governments and refuted their reporting which implicates the White Helmets and its founder James LeMesurier as working on behalf of Western governments seeking regime change in Syria.

BBC's Chloe Hadjimatheou writes to Eva Bartlett about the White Helmets.

The e-mail sent to Beeley even included a chilling, veiled threat of legal action by the British government.

BBC's veiled threat of legal action towards Vanessa Beeley and her comments on the White Helmets.

Following this correspondence, I interviewed Vanessa Beeley. You can watch the interview here on YouTube. I also spoke with Eva Bartlett via e-mail. You can read her answers to my questions below.

Because their reporting differs so drastically from the official Western narrative– exposing a grim and dark reality about the White Helmets—Bartlett and Beeley have been the targets of various hit pieces, smears and accusations. Both journalists spent time living in Syria, reporting extensively on the group’s activities. Owing to their expertise on the matter, they have also given testimony at the United Nations on several occasions.
Chloe Hadjimatheou, the BBC journalist who contacted Bartlett and Beeley, has never been to Syria.

The White Helmets claim to be an impartial civil defense organization, manned by volunteers who film themselves rescuing victims from the rubble. The group has played a substantial role in shaping the Western media’s narrative on the war in Syria, accusing the Syrian and Russian governments of indiscriminately bombing civilians and hospitals, as well as chemical gas attacks like the one in Douma in 2018 – which was later proven to be staged and part of a cover up by the OPCW.

The White Helmets have received international praise and accolades. The group was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, Netflix produced an Oscar-winning documentary about them and the organization has received millions in funding from Western governments, including the United States and United Kingdom.

While the above makes the organization sound like an accomplished and noble endeavor, the reality on the ground is quite different. The White Helmets have been found to operate in areas controlled by Al Qaeda and other jihadist elements, sharing offices in the same building, and videos implicating its members in executions and war crimes.

Leaked documents in September reveal how the White Helmets and its contractor ARK, founded by Alistair Harris, a former British diplomat, were part of an elaborate slush fund and propaganda network run by Western governments. Not only were these contractors bankrolled by nations openly seeking regime change in Syria and working closely with mainstream media to paint the Syrian and Russian governments as evil— but also to rebrand the Syrian opposition as more “moderate” and the White Helmets as impartial, humanitarian actors, while whitewashing their close collaboration with ISIS and Al Qaeda groups in opposition-held territory.

White Helmets founder James LeMesurier is himself a former British army and intelligence officer. Through a non-profit that he established called Mayday Rescue, he secured funding for the White Helmets funneling millions from international donors. In 2016, LeMesurier was awarded an OBE (Officer of the Order of the British Empire) by the Queen. Despite the widespread coverage and portrayal of the White Helmets as a grassroots volunteer group—the fact it was created, run and funded by the same countries bombing Syria and seeking to overthrow its government is rarely reported, if ever, in mainstream media.

In November 2019, LeMesurier was found dead in Istanbul after apparently falling out of a window, which Turkish authorities ruled a suicide. This came just a few days after LeMesurier admitted to donors via email that he had defrauded them and was scared of further audits—after a Dutch auditor was flown in to examine financial records. LeMesurier was paying himself and his wife (also a British diplomat) enormous cash bonuses on top of their monthly salary of €24,000 each. LeMesurier even used money from the organization to pay for his own wedding. Following these revelations and his death, the Guardian and other Western outlets blamed a “war of disinformation” as having contributed to his apparent suicide.

When one realizes how much money and effort has gone towards promoting the White Helmets, it becomes apparent why Western governments, and their media outlets are so protective of their propaganda tool – viciously attacking anyone who counters their narrative or exposes their inner workings.

The BBC’s claims about Beeley and Bartlett are laden with smears, wild accusations and personal attacks. The majority of the questions do not even reference their reporting or make any attempt to verify and scrutinize their coverage. The veiled threat of legal action is of particular concern, especially when the United Kingdom is detaining journalist Julian Assange for publishing documents revealing major war crimes by the United States.


Interview with Eva Bartlett

Richard Medhurst: What’s the first thing that went through your mind when you read this e-mail from the BBC?

Eva Bartlett: Oh how original, British state-owned media want to repeat character assassination smears which other corporate media already did years ago.

It also occurred to me that the BBC has the time/resources to re-hash an old slander theme, but not to cover the Julian Assange hearings, and that this new slander is a new and dangerous attack on press freedom.
The timing of this pending smear coincides with continued backlash against the whistleblower experts of the OPCW who spoke out against the OPCW report on whether a chemical attack occurred in Douma in 2018. I suspect that this is one reason for the new smear on those of us who reported from on the ground in Douma, collecting testimonies from medical professionals and from civilians. These testimonies contradict the claims of the West about a chemical attack being perpetrated by the Syrian government.

RM: Is this the first time Chloe Hadjimatheou contacts you?

EB: Yes.

RM: Did you reply directly to her e-mail or any of the allegations she presented?

EB: Initially I didn’t replay to her email, as experience has taught me these sorts of predetermined character assault email queries don’t intend to fairly air my side of the argument, but are more about being able to say they reached out to me before publishing their smear. In late 2016, I was targeted by a number of Western media and “fact-checking” type sites at a time when I was doing a speaking tour in the US and had very limited access to net. At the same time, my email and messenger inboxes were flooded with around 1000 messages (most of them supportive), including some from Channel 4 News and Snopes, which I didn’t see until some weeks after the fact. However, given the nature of how these corporate entities run their smear campaigns, I believe that even had I seen their messages/emails and replied, they would not have fairly published my replies.

That belief is based on the nature of the smears that ensued, which frequently made use of logical fallacies/strawmen argument to incriminate me in whatever slurs they were making. You can find examples which I pointed out when making a collective rebuttal to Snopes, Channel 4 and Canadian media.
Based on the knowledge that these state-funded entities don’t play fair, I didn’t intend on replying. However, prior to the Monday deadline for Chloe’s story I will send the following:

Chloe,

You asked for a clarification or comment to your hostile email to me, yet you did not make clear whether you would publish in full my reply. Will you? If you do not do this as requested, I will say I attempted to meet your request for replies but you declined to publish in full. Kindly let me know whether you intend to follow professional standards and include my full reply, which I will send depending on your reply.

For the record: my travels to and around Syria, and elsewhere, are at my expense and supported by those who have followed my journalism for years, or even more than a decade. I am not funded by any government (but you are, aren’t you, working for British state-funded media). If you or the BBC publish anything insinuating that I receive funding from any government, I will seek legal counsel.

My writings for RT are mine alone: I pitch opinion articles to them on a per piece basis as an independent freelancer.However, you seem to be unaware that I, as a freelancer, contribute to/have contributed to a number of other platforms, including Mint Press News, Oriental Review, Dissident Voice, Inter Press Services, and a host of others all detailed on my blog.

It is completely disingenuous of you to imply my writing is anything other than my own views, and it is libellous of you.

In the mean time, feel free to peruse my bio, it is quite extensive, with on the ground experience from Palestine to Syria, to eastern Ukraine. And in fact, my journalism has not only won the support of countless readers online, but also merited being awarded by the Mexican Press Club in 2017 and being shortlisted for the Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism that same year.

By the way, my support has increased exponentially even prior to you/the BBC running a character assassination piece on me, as people became aware of your intentions.

I have my own questions for you: Have you ever entered Syria illegally? If so, how many times? Who did you pay for protection from terrorist factions while in Syria (it is well known, well-admitted, by corporate journalists who have entered Syria illegally that they must pay a protection fee in order to avoid abduction by one of the terrorist factions)?

How can you justify turning a blind eye to the fact that countless White Helmets members have openly expressed support to terrorist groups in Syria, let alone been members of said groups, holding weapons, standing on the bodies of dead Syrians? Can you honestly claim you were unaware of these facts?

How do you explain the presence, throughout Syria, of White Helmets headquarters next to or in close proximity to headquarters of al-Qaeda in Syria, Faylaq al-Rahman, Nour al-Din al-Zenki, and other terrorist groups? How can the White Helmets be deemed as neutral when working side by side these terrorist factions?

P.S. Why does a prominent and published journalist with the BBC feel the need to hide her tweets? What are you afraid of the public seeing? Do you feel this is professional of a journalist to hide their Twitter output, and indeed much of their identity?

Regards,Eva

RM: Do you know of anyone else besides you and Vanessa who were contacted by BBC?

EB: The Working Group on Syria have had a series of exchanges with Chloe/the BBC.

RM: What do you make of this assertion that you and Vanessa are somehow not journalists? What’s the point of that statement?

EB: That is a clear attempt to discredit our work and credibility, which is ironic as it comes from one of the least credible media institutions existing.

My journalism has been crafted by going to the place in question and speaking with the people in question, something I began doing in occupied Palestine in 2007, where I stayed for 8 months (see my bio for more on that), then Gaza for 3 years (and two wars) collectively, from 2008-2013, Syria 14 times since 2014, Venezuela, Donbass, and elsewhere.

If journalist credentials are established by going to journalism school and joining one of the corporate owned institutions, then this speaks volumes as to just why the media these institutions produce is inevitably riddled with lies and war propaganda, or is copy-paste media.

My articles are as often as possible supported with videos, which I myself subtitle.

I don’t need to tell you, a journalist and researcher yourself, the difference between researching a subject intensively on your own (and also gathering information from primary sources on the ground) and the kind of journalism that these corporate hacks do. It’s night and day. I had just left Aleppo in late 2016, having already been there three times prior, at great personal risk and meeting Syrians bombarded and starved by terrorists occupying parts of their city, and returned to North America to see media reporting Aleppo had “fallen” to the “regime”.

The use of such lexicon like “fallen” for a city whose people that had known endless suffering, starvation, executions, imprisonment, and torture precisely due to and by the occupation of parts of the city by terrorist groups shows just how manipulative corporate media has been in their reporting on Syria.

I do not strive to be equated with the “credentials” of Western corporate and state funded media. My credentials lie in the years of on the ground reporting I’ve done from the places I mentioned.

I can give countless examples of how the media reported falsely that something had occurred in Syria, and how I reported honestly on what really transpired. One example is that of Omran Daqneesh, whose face was splashed across the front pages of international media in 2016, said to be the face of human suffering in Syria.

In June 2017, before any Western media reported the truth (not that many other than my colleague Vanessa did), I met Omran and interviewed his father on the allegations that his son had been injured by a Russian or Syrian airstrike. Mr. Daqneesh stated definitively there had been no airstrike and that the media had exploited his son.

A last point: while the BBC and others before them strive to imply Vanessa and myself are not journalists, the bulk of the work we have done over the years is to give voice to Syrians who the same corporate and state-backed Western media has rendered voiceless.

RM: Do you believe this is a targeted smear campaign against you, Vanessa and anyone who challenges the official narrative on the White Helmets? Why now in 2020?

EB: It is definitely a targeted smear. That much is evident from the tone of the questions the BBC hack sent to both Vanessa and myself, questions full of negative and misleading insinuations about our funding, affiliations and intentions.

Russia’s Ministry of Defence has periodically reported in recent years of having intelligence information that terrorist groups in Syria, and the White Helmets, are preparing to stage another fake chemical attack. The MOD did so anew, on October 14.

I believe this new round of smears against not only Vanessa and myself but against prominent and credible voices who have spoken out about the crimes of the White Helmets is intended to discredit us prior to a new staged chemical attack which will then predictably be blamed on the Syrian government.

RM: When the BBC writes that you are “pro-Assad” and “Russia state funded media promotes your conspiracy theories” they’re accusing you of essentially being in the pockets of these governments. Where is the proof for any this? Are you surprised at all that they are attacking you?

EB: I’ll answer that with a question: would the same media write “pro-Obama”, “pro-Clinton” about journalists? Unlikely? Would journalists be lambasted for noting that Obama was the president of the US, as Assad is of Syria? Unlikely, and in fact I’m sure you are aware that prior to 2011, there was positive media reporting on President Assad.

Using terms like “pro-Assad”, “Assadist”, “conspiracy theorist”, etc, are all old means of attempting to blanket discredit the person in question. I feel no need to defend my position which is that after 14 visits, some quite lengthy, to Syria since 2014, and speaking colloquial Arabic, I am confident in stating the president has considerable, if not massive, support.

That said, that recognition has absolutely nothing to do with my writing. My focuses have been on giving voice to Syrians disappeared by corporate media, highlighting the terrorism they endured by groups the West dubs “rebels”, and calling out war propaganda. Very little has focused on the president.

As for “Russian state-funded media”, whereas that is true of RT, it is also true of the BBC. But here’s a major difference: unlike BBC journalists who go to Syria, I pay all of my own expenses; I do not have a state-funded translator or research team at hand; I do my own video editing and subtitling. Vanessa and myself are one-women teams, self-funded.

Journalists of the BBC and other such corporate/state-funded media who bother going to Syria inevitably, in my experience, have a massive support team to do all of which Vanessa and I do ourselves. And yet their reports are factually incorrect and ignore civilians’ voices.

In April 2014, I was in Syria for my first time. Terrorists in eastern Ghouta shelled Damascus, as they did all of the time, for years. One child was killed and over 60 injured. I saw BBC journalist Lyse Doucet in the French Hospital just outside of old Damascus. She was asked whether she would convey the truth. She nodded yes (I filmed this conversation). In an article she later wrote, Doucet wrote, “the government is also accused of launching them into neighborhoods under its control.

As I noted in an article: On a recent social media post, I noted this deceitful journalism, and the BBC could have easily learned about the trajectory of mortars and from where the mortar in question could only have come: the “moderates” east of Damascus.

That’s just one example. If I go through my writings from Homs, Aleppo, Madaya, al-Waer, eastern Ghouta, Idlib…I could almost certainly find a BBC propaganda report stating the opposite of the realities I heard/experienced.

At the bottom of each RT opinion article there is a disclaimer that the opinions don’t represent those of RT. And it works both ways: not every article published on RT reflects my opinions. But RT remains one of the few platforms which will publish my views without censorship. Find me one example of Western corporate media which would do the same.

RM: Isn’t it ironic the BBC accuse you and Vanessa of partiality, refuting your research on the White Helmets, yet they can’t provide any evidence that the things you reported are false?

EB: This is unsurprising. Their mode of operation is clearly character assassinations, strawmen arguments, lexicon to denigrate, and an avoidance of the facts which are easily accessible.

Their interest isn’t in purveying truth, it is in burying it, and burying their own culpability, for they are guilty many time over of war propaganda, meaning they have the blood of Syrian civilians on their hands.

In 2019, I interviewed internally displaced Syrians who had languished in the Rukban camp for years and were being transported to a temporary shelter in Homs. When researching for my article, I came across numerous Western media reports relying on “unnamed activists” for their information on conditions in Rukban. Dig a little deeper and you find those activists had terrorist affiliations or were supportive of terrorists.

This is something I found time and time again. For example, when eastern Ghouta was being liberated, NY Times and other Western media relied on sources clearly supportive of Jaysh al-Islam and al-Nusra.
The BBC have had access to government-controlled areas of Syria, on many occasions. Yet they consistently choose not to report narratives that would counter the war propaganda. Talk about partiality.

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On the British State-Funded BBC’s Pending Smear

The Assange saga: Practicing real journalism is criminally insane

The Assange saga: Practicing real journalism is criminally insane

January 07, 2021

By Pepe Escobar with permission and first posted at Asia Times

Synchronicity is definitely fond of mirror wonderwalls. The Julian Assange saga seemed to have entered a new chapter as he was, in thesis, on his way to – conditional – freedom this past Monday, only one day after the first anniversary of the start of the Raging Twenties: the assassination of Maj Gen Qassem Soleimani.

The fate of the journalist the Empire seeks to terminate was just juxtaposed to the fate of the warrior/diplomat the empire already terminated.

Two days later, Julian Assange was de facto re-incarcerated exactly as the Empire was hit by an “insurrection” which, whenever instigated in that distant “Third World”, is celebrated in Exceptionalistan as “people power”.

The invaluable Craig Murray, from inside Westminster Magistrates Court No. 1 in London, meticulously presented the full contours  of the insanity this Wednesday.

Read it in conjunction with the positively terrifying judgment delivered on Monday in the United States government case against Julian Assange.

The defining issue, for all those who practice real journalism all across the world, is that the judgment affirms, conclusively, that any journalist can be prosecuted under the US Espionage Act. Since a 1961 amendment, the Espionage Act carries universal jurisdiction.

The great John Pilger memorably describes “judge” Vanessa Baraitser as “that Gothic woman”. She is in fact an obscure public servant, not a jurist. Her judgment walks and talks like it was written by a mediocre rookie hack. Or, better yet, entirely lifted from the US Department of Justice indictment.

Julian Assange was – at the last minute – discharged on theoretically humanitarian grounds. So the case had, in effect, ended. Not really. Two days later, he was sent back to Belmarsh, a squalid maximum security prison rife with Covid-19. So the case is ongoing.

WikiLeaks editor Kristinn Hrafnnson correctly noted, “It is unjust and unfair and illogical when you consider her ruling of two days ago about Julian’s health in large part because he is in Belmarsh prison (…) To send him back there doesn’t make any sense.”

It does when one considers the real role of Baraitser – at a loss to juggle between the imperatives of the imperial agenda and the necessity of saving the face of British justice.

Baraitser is a mere, lowly foot soldier punching way above her weight. The real power in the Assange case is Lady Emma Arbuthnot, forced out of a visible role because of very compromising, direct ties she and her husband Lord Arbuthnot maintain with British intelligence and military, first revealed by – who else – WikiLeaks.

It was Arbuthnot who picked up obscure Baraitser – who dutifully follows her road map. In court, as Murray has detailed in a series of searing reports, Baraitser essentially covers her incompetence with glaring vindictiveness.

Baraitser discharged Julian Assange, according to her own reasoning, because she was not convinced the appalling American gulag would prevent him from committing suicide.

But the key issue is that before reaching this conclusion, she agreed and reinforced virtually every point of the US indictment.

So at this point, on Monday, the “Gothic woman” was performing a contortion to save the US from the profound global embarrassment of prosecuting a de facto journalist and publisher for revealing imperial war crimes, not United States government secrets.

Two days later, the full picture became crystal clear. There was nothing “humanitarian” about that judgment. Political dissent was equaled with mental illness. Julian Assange was branded as criminally insane. Once again, practicing journalism was criminalized.

There are reasons to believe though, that a United States government appeal may fail. A British High Court would be reluctant to overturn a judgment where Baraitser actually established findings of fact: a direct correlation between the state of the American gulag, and the extreme danger to Assange’s health if he’s thrown inside this system.

As it stands, it didn’t even matter that Assange’s defense offered a full package to obtain bail, from home arrest to the use of an ankle bracelet. Baraitser’s notion that the British security state would not be able to prevent his “escape” wearing an ankle bracelet in the middle of a total, police state-style lockdown does not even qualify as a joke.

So Julian Assange is back to suffering a perverse, interminable rewrite of Poe’s The Pit and the Pendulum.

The US government’s legal strategy before the High Court convenes in April is basically to try to prove its American gulag is competent enough to prevent a suicide – even though the ultimate aim of this post-truth Inquisition seems to be the termination of Julian Assange inside the penal system. That goal doesn’t even require a supermax prison in Colorado. Belmarsh will do.

This week in the US: The ‘model nation’ for no nation anymore

Thursday, 07 January 2021 7:57 AM  [ Last Update: Thursday, 07 January 2021 8:07 AM ]

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Supporters of US President Donald Trump walk on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, the US, on January 5, 2021, one day ahead of a joint session of the US Congress to certify the Electoral College vote that confirmed Joe Biden as the presidential winner. (Photo by AFP)
This week in the US: The ‘model nation’ for no nation anymore
Ramin Mazaheri is currently covering the US election. He is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea, and elsewhere. He is the author of ‘Socialism’s Ignored Success: Iranian Islamic Socialism’ as well as ‘I’ll Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China,’ which is also available in simplified and traditional Chinese.

By Ramin Mazaheri and cross-posted with The Saker

As this article is on the verge of publication, the United States Capitol has been occupied by protesters on the day of Electoral College’s presidential vote. It’s very exciting stuff, certainly, but an insatiable craving for excitement seems to have long been a major flaw of Western culture.

Few people are as guilty of greedily loving the short-term sugar high of daily news as I am — being a longtime hack reporter — but whether the immediate outcomes of this historic election week in the United States give you rushes or drops, it’s important to remember that what’s really historic is just how far the US has truly fallen and will keep falling.

We all agree America on January 6, 2020 is certainly not at an apex, but it’s only via constant spin, rationalization, and deflection that one cannot see that the US has so very far to go — this is not the nadir.

No matter what happens, this is not even really over.

In my reporting from here, it turns out the wisest and most pleasant of the “never Trumpers” — normally a very disagreeable lot — were right to say that they are not assuming anything about Joe Biden’s projected victory until after inauguration day, January 20. Maybe the Proud Boys are going to blow up the Washington Monument next week — who really knows what will happen over here?

I have to add a last-minute modification to that hyperbolic exaggeration: Maybe a peaceful “Occupy Capitol Hill” is a real thing?

If you want to read more Trump-obsessed hysteria, you can always go to Politico’s “Trumpology” section, where everything before 2016 never was, but this column is trying to establish exactly where America as a whole really is: What should the globe’s global assessment be of the country which in 1991 seemed poised for a century of global superiority?

There is no doubt that there was a time when the US was really at the forefront of global political thought; when they were successfully enjoining many people to do good and forbidding a lot of bad — I am referring to 1776, the birth year of modern anti-imperialism.

The calendar has just turned to 2021. You would have to be so jacked up on Western Mainstream Media sugar spin to believe that — whatever happens this week — the US is somehow doing well, or looking well, or acting well, or was anything else but a society in decline, dispute, degradation, and maybe even dissolution.

I think the latter goes too far, but I include it to point out: this is not a country like France or Iran or China in that it’s still debatable whether the US has enough years under its belt to really consider that they have a unified sense of nationhood/culture given that this was never really a country but a unity of separate, self-involved, self-serving states inside America (which used to be the term used for the entire Western Hemisphere). This is the United States of America, after all, and Scotland is awfully close to breaking up the United Kingdom — so why couldn’t their over-the-sea brethren go in the same direction?

A short but exciting list of things US media would like you to ignore this week.

Their United Kingdom brethren/clients finally admitted they cannot hand over Julian Assange, the greatest journalist of my generation, not because the US will execute him but because they essentially fear that American prisons are so atrocious that he won’t be killed but that he will be tortured without end.

(Things like this are, of course, why the US and UK are the unquestionable arbiters of what “human rights” and “political prisoners” are.)

Have money, join the duopoly, you will get elected: The Georgia elections were the most expensive congressional seats in history — they spent an estimated 900 million dollars, say the early returns. The only presidential candidate who ever exceeded that in their campaign was brand change golden boy Barack Obama, in a testament to what a huge role the rich, the 1% and corporations play in manipulating American elections.

(You have to have rocks in your head the size of Gibraltar if you are an average American and you give a single greenback to either of the duopoly — just so people Kamala Harris and the Clintons can fund their lavish lifestyles.)

The Electoral College emphatically does not have majority democratic support, as years of polls have shown that 60% of the US wants it abolished. Is it so shocking that as I type this, the voting of this body has been stopped by upset Americans?

Pro-Trump protesters breach US Capitol as Congress holds session to certify Biden victory
Pro-Trump protesters breach US Capitol as Congress holds session to certify Biden victoryProtesters supporting
US President Donald Trump have stormed the US Capitol where the lawmakers were engaged in the process to certify the victory of President-elect Joe Biden.

The American intelligentsia is so unpersuasive, so ineffective, so overpaid and so distrusted that even if Democrats do capture both Georgia Senate seats — and thus the Senate — the anti-Trump “Blue Wave” they almost universally rammed down American throats for four years merely goes from a total failure to a major failure: In this decentralized country local states control local matters and conservatives captured the local legislative, executive, and judicial branches. In a redistricting year, no less. The reason it was rejected, of course: the “Blue Wave” was fake-leftism and not real leftism — why would American lower classes get excited about that?

(And how many Congressional Democrats are so right-leaning and so desirous only of winning their own re-election that Republicans won’t be able to swing this very definition of “tenuous majority” by buying Democrat Congressmen off on countless key votes via things like promising to build more B-2 bombers in their home state?)

The (apparent) demise of Trump actually does not totally destroy Trumpism, even though the chattering classes promised that voting him out for president is all it would take to end what they insisted was merely a Russian-orchestrated cult of personality.

(Four years ago, the US chattering classes certainly didn’t have to accept Trumpism, but they could have at least taken Trumpism seriously. By refusing to have that honest and open conversation, the US has wasted four years. The US has not progressed in this sense since 2016’s inauguration day — and now Capitol Hill is occupied by angry citizens who likely feel they have been unfairly ignored and demonized.)

It was just announced that the cops who shockingly shot Jacob Blake in Wisconsin in the back seven times will not even face a trial. Last night, protests in Kenosha were calm, but what about tonight?

(My bosses have a tough decision to make soon, perhaps: Do I cover the political rebellion in Washington or the possible racial rebellions if they break out again?)

A short, healthy conclusion to balance out this sugar high.

That was not a difficult list to compile, nor an exhaustive one. I’m sure everyone wants to read about Capitol Hill but the short-term question (how much violence will they use to clear out this protest?) is not as vital as the long-term questions (how did we get here, how does the US heal from this), nor is it as vital for the world as the global question of America’s longstanding claim to global leadership.

Both sides of America have disgraced themselves in the eyes of the world since 2016, with their only-low-blows cultural civil war, and it’s not as if the world wasn’t already quite, quite appalled at American behavior since 2003.

2020 was indeed a woeful and unfortunate low point, but the consequences of 2020 are so very, very bad that who can say that it is over? Things were so bad a brand change or calendar change can’t fix things.

Who would say that America’s political cultural civil war is over? Who can say the dispute over electoral integrity is over? Who can say that 1%-rewarding, inequality-creating Quantitive Easing/Austerity is over? Who can say the endless foreign wars are over? Who can say the healthcare crisis is over? Or the unemployment crisis, or the famine crisis, or the housing crisis, etc., etc.?

Who is the nation which is modeling themselves on the United States and why on earth are they doing that?

Gerald Ford famously said as Richard Nixon left that, “America’s long national nightmare is over.” Less than a week into 2021 it should be dawning on the world that the American model produces an endless bad dream not only for their colonies and their clients but even for their own people. That makes sense because that is precisely the goal of Western neo-imperialism and neo-liberalism.

Whoever is the accepted winner of the Electoral College — assuming they ever meet again — is not likely to change that trajectory because American problems were not caused, and cannot be fixed, by just one man.

(The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of Press TV.)


Press TV’s website can also be accessed at the following alternate addresses:

www.presstv.ir

www.presstv.co.uk

www.presstv.tv

Yellow, yellow, yellow – Russian English Media – Case in point – Julian Assange

Yellow, yellow, yellow – Russian English Media – Case in point – Julian Assange

January 04, 2021

By Chris Faure for the Saker Blog

Recently on the Saker blog, we had these two articles:

http://thesaker.is/russia-vs-a-biden-administration/http://thesaker.is/not-a-step-back/

Whether you are in agreement with the representations in those articles or not, the fact is that they were better than the Russian English media. Yes, I am talking about RT, Sputnik, and even TASS English.

Russia, you need an English hard news outlet and an English hard news channel because you are not doing this sympathetic westerner any favors. I can see half-arsed half-naked girls and boxers and wrestlers with blood from broken noses, anywhere. Good media does not routinely feature this mishmash front and center on home pages.

I ask you Russian media: Where are the Russian journalists? If I think of good western journalists, I can come up with many names, but as a westerner reading Russian English media, I can come up with one name only. (Of course! We do know the name of the Editor of RT and Sputnik).

We need some Russian ‘propaganda’ done right. The standards of the English media coming out of Russia are yellow and dropping by the week.

Let’s start with RT and we have to say, what is this? They ‘question more’ but cannot decide if they are a magazine, a hard news outlet, or a tabloid in the style that one used to be able to buy at the supermarket checkout with vague pixellated pictures of aliens on the front page. Take your sports section off the middle of your home page. Put the girls somewhere else. Sport is traditionally back page content. Replace the surfeit of western correspondents with good Russian correspondents. And now you’ve changed your headers to be true clickbait with screaming words in capitals in the middle of the headline.

Let’s follow today’s Assange story through RT, Sputnik and TASS, as a case in point.

Today the news broke that Julian Assange will not be extradited to the US. Your headline states: Assange WON’T be extradited to US on spying charges in shock decision at London’s Old Bailey

Is it a shock decision, or is it a welcome decision? Or are the supporters jubilant as stated in your first sentence on this report?  Or can you not figure it out?   Between ‘jubilant’ and ‘shocking’, there is a loose and unfocused article repeating old information.

The 2nd article on RT Breaking News on the topic of the court ruling on Julian Assange is an English columnist as Op-Ed correspondent.

What do the Russians think about this? What is the Russian view? Where is your categorization – for example, ‘All Assange Reporting’? And then, your 3rd article tells us what China Daily says, for heaven’s sake. Have you no Russian view?

Where is your very own Russian George Galloway, RT?

The Iranian media is better than this, as they report about Iran. I find more hard news on Russia in the Chinese media than on Russian English media.

RT, you have good documentaries and this one I found exceptionally good. But it is about Japan. At the beginning of last year, Mr.Putin announced the opening of extensive 2ndWW archives. And so far RT, I have seen nothing; no follow through on this important statement that is clearly one of Mr.Putin’s major objectives and projects. Whose side are you on?

Sputnik oh Sputnik. You seem to be wanting to take off to some ‘Sputnik space’ by repeating tweets. You don’t report, you repeat tweets and fill in fluff between the tweets and tell us what others tweet.

Let’s continue following the Assange story as a case in point. Sputnik had both a timeline of 4 or 5 events and a live stream of Assange supporters outside of the court. Their first report, replete with tweets is by Mohamed Elmaazi

Thank you Mohamed – The first reporter that actually works for Sputnik and was present at the court hearing. But he sure ‘aint Russian and so far, does not represent a Russian view. The report however is thorough, unless you count the speculative and meandering aspects. Does nobody have anything to say from Russia about this travesty of justice? Blind and boring repetitive historical aspects to fill the page with not a smidgen of actual personality, spice, or interest. There is not even a mention of the journalists that followed this case in its smallest detail and know it backward. Even the tweets are from non-entities. Did nobody in Russia follow this in order to quickly and accurately sum up the court proceedings on this morning of January 4th?

Sputnik oh Sputnik! Russia, where is your AMLO?

Let’s take a quick look at TASS English.

So TASS English has taken to summarizing major news in one page with 3 paragraph descriptions. This is what TASS has to say on their summary page: https://tass.com/world/1242191

No, not much; Not one word on journalistic freedoms or the real kernel of the Julian Assange case which is that the trial itself is a political show trial, the fact that this judge, in reality, found Assange guilty, and that the legal precedent set here will haunt every journalist across the world. There is no word that Julian Assange was released by the judge, but after US State stated their intention to appeal the ruling, Assange is again sleeping in jail tonight and his attorneys need to plead for bail this coming Wednesday – Bail for a man that has just been released?.

I guess we have to be somewhat thankful that the rest of this TASS English summary page contains some Russian news in English, all of the ‘3 paragraph’ nature.

Again, Russia, your English media is failing dismally. Are there no journalists there? In repetition, Russia, you need an English hard news outlet and an English hard news channel because you are not doing this sympathetic westerner any favors and the more I read, the more yellow I see.

The Vesti News channel that is now defunct was a good start with a wide line-up of Russian content. Nobody has picked it up again.  The material from the Valdai Club should be widely disseminated.

The treasure trove of WWII information now declassified is an opportunity to make a name for any investigative journalist that is not following the yellow path in journalism. Yet, short snippets of short fluff pieces are the norm, no matter what it is.  It takes the meaning right out of it and there is no context.  They need media figures such as Chris Hedges, Matt Taibbi, even a Pepe Escobar or a Ramin Mazaheri, to continually and in-depth tell the world what is happening in Russia, and mainly, what and who is up against Russia.

Do you know where I get my Russian hard news? I get Russian formal news by scouring the Twitter feeds of the various ambassadors, the Permanent Secretariat to the UN, the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the formal Kremlin site. This is because there is no hard Russian news in the English Russian news.

In fact, the Russian Ministry of Foreign affairs are better journalists than anything else in English coming out of Russia. Take a look at this. Mike Pompeo opened his mouth with Russia, Russia, Russia and how tough this US administration is on Russia. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia soon responded with Pompeo’s tweet superimposed on a gif of a painting of Napoleon’s retreat from Moscow. Now this makes a clear statement and is journalistic gold.

There is no shortage of hard news out of Russia. There is a sad shortage of journalists that are doing their jobs, or perhaps that are allowed to do their jobs and build their names. We may say that we know the name of the Editor of RT and Sputnik, but we do not know the journalists. Does this not seem strange to you as well, dear reader?

A Pardoning Time of Year

By Philip Giraldi

Source

Will the president do the right thing?
Julian Assange Pardon 89b36

The resistance to the apparent election of Joe Biden as President of the United States is continuing to play out. Current President Donald Trump is continuing to fight against the presumed results of the November national election with his final card appearing to be a vote in Congress when it reconvenes on January 6th to throw out the results due to fraud in certain key states. Many have noted how the registration and electoral processes in the United States, varying as they do from state to state, were and are vulnerable to fraud. That, plus some eyewitness testimony and technical analysis, suggests that possibly systematic fraud did take place but it is far from clear whether it was decisive. This is particularly true of the vote by mail option, which was promoted by leading Democrats and which empowered literally millions of new voters with only limited attempts made to validate whether citizens or even real people were voting.

Vote by mail is now one of several options that are appearing to be weaponized by the cash-rich Democrats in the state of Georgia, where two Senate races will be up for grabs in runoff elections on January 5th. If the Democrats obtain both, they will control the Senate through the Vice President’s role in presiding over the upper chamber where she has the tie breaking vote. That will mean that we the voters can expect some dramatic changes as the Democrats respond to their various constituencies with their well enunciated grievances.

In what may be its last weeks in office, the Trump Administration is also exploiting its executive power to pardon to reverse perceived injustices and to protect remaining allies, to include some family members. Trump is already on track to pardon more individuals than any preceding president with 90 pardons issued as of Christmas Eve and many more expected. One of his initial pardons was a notable example of a miscarriage of justice in the case of presidential national security advisor designate Michael Flynn, who was wrongly accused of collaborating with Russia. If anything, he was actually cooperating with a request that came from Israel, which Congress and the media apparently do not regard as wrongdoing.

Trump’s pardon of his daughter Ivanka’s father-in-law Charles Kushner is particularly controversial, as Kushner was a multimillionaire real estate developer and a leading Democratic Party donor when he was convicted in 2005 to two years in federal prison after he pleaded guilty to 18 counts, which included both tax evasion and making illegal campaign contributions. The tale of Charles Kushner is particularly unsavory because he reportedly sought revenge after he learned that his brother-in-law and former business partner was aiding federal authorities. Charles hired a prostitute to seduce his brother-in-law in a New Jersey motel room, making a recording of the encounter using a hidden camera that he then showed to his brother-in-law’s wife, who was, of course, Kushner’s own sister.

Kushner’s prosecution was directed by then-U.S. Attorney Chris Christie, who afterwards became a prominent Trump supporter and head of his transition team before being fired in 2016, apparently per orders originating with Jared Kushner. In a 2019 interview Christie explained “Mr. Kushner pled guilty. He admitted the crimes. And so what am I supposed to do as a prosecutor? I mean, if a guy hires a prostitute to seduce his brother-in-law, and videotapes it, and then sends the videotape to his sister to attempt to intimidate her from testifying before a grand jury, do I really need any more justification than that? I mean, it’s one of the most loathsome, disgusting crimes that I prosecuted. And I was U.S. attorney in New Jersey, so we had some loathsome and disgusting crime going on there.”

Charles Kushner is also a close friend and supporter of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, which might also be relevant to his pardon and I will leave any assessment of the ethics of the Kushner clan up to the reader. Nevertheless, the consequence of Jared’s ability to influence the president could be politically damaging as he reportedly has been responsible for many of the pardons that have already taken place and is now the conduit for new petitioners.

Another highly criticized Trump pardon has involved the four Blackwater mercenaries who massacred 19 Iraqis including 2 children firing from a helicopter into a crowded Nisour Square Baghdad in 2007. The president is reportedly very friendly with Blackwater founder and former president Erik Prince, whose sister Betsy DeVos is Education Secretary and also close to the president. But in any event Trump’s pardon record is different only in terms of magnitude from those of some of his predecessors as there have been some highly questionable pardons in the past, to include Marc Rich under Bill Clinton and Elliot Abrams under George W. Bush.

There remains a long list of possible candidates for Trump to sign off on, to include a possible self-pardon, and more pardons for family members Ivanka, Jared and two of his sons as well as his lawyer Rudy Giuliani. Other current and impending pardon recipients have been individuals who were involved in the Trump campaigns, to include Paul Manafort and Roger Stone. Pardons are a particularly attractive pre-emptive option currently as a number of leading Democrats have been calling for “truth commissions” and other forms of punishment of Trump supporters and officials.

The process of issuing presidential pardons will undoubtedly continue up until Inauguration Day on January 20th, but sources are uncertain whether Trump will be courageous enough to pardon the two individuals whose freedom would most definitely be sending a powerful message for integrity in government. They are Julian Assange and Edward Snowden. Both men’s names have been coming up frequently in the alternative media, together with the development of active lobbying groups that are seeking their freedom.

Assange, a journalist and founder of WikiLeaks, is currently languishing in a British prison, where he has been for twenty-one months, awaiting a decision on whether he will be extradited to the United States or not which will reportedly be decided on January 4th. The Department of Justice has claimed that he violated the Espionage Act of 1917 by receiving classified information from Chelsea Manning. Reportedly, Assange’s mental and physical health have deteriorated sharply as he is being held in solitary confinement with only short periods of exercise and without access to reading or writing material to occupy his time. The British judge appears to be completely unsympathetic to Assange and it is generally believed that she will order his extradition if he does not fortuitously die in prison before that could take place.

Snowden, meanwhile, is living in Russia and has been granted citizenship, a country to which he fled by way of Hong Kong in 2013, after revealing to journalists details of a vast and illegal surveillance program run by the National Security Agency (NSA) against American citizens, something he discovered while he was employed as a NSA contractor. He had attempted to raise his concerns with supervisors but was rebuffed and he eventually became a self-declared whistleblower and fled the country. He has repeatedly offered to return to the United States to face trial, but has also insisted that a fair hearing would be impossible under the current circumstances.

It should be observed that Snowden is absolutely correct to assume that he would be convicted both on grounds of espionage and of compromise of classified information. The federal court in Alexandria, where national security cases are usually tried, always finds for the government even if evidence is questionable or even non-existent. A recent conviction involved ex-CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling, who was sent to prison for 42 months even though it could not be demonstrated that he had actually done anything. The court concluded that “it had to be him.”

To be sure, revealing classified information is a serious matter, even though many former government employees would agree that much material that is classified does not actually damage national security if it is revealed. Frequently, classification is used to keep the government from being embarrassed or to shut down any revelation that it has acted illegally. Both Assange and Snowden would argue that they had acted appropriately in revealing war crimes, illegal acts and even violations of the Constitution as consequences of the so-called “global war on terror.” Assange, who regards himself as a journalist, published details of the Blackwater massacre of civilians committed by the crew of a helicopter gunship in Iraq and also was involved in the exposure of the Hillary Clinton emails. Snowden, as noted above, claims to be a whistle-blower and has sought protection under relevant laws in the United States, so far to no avail.

The illegal and otherwise unconscionable acts by various elements in the U.S. government that were exposed by Assange and Snowden include war crimes, so they are not trivial. Trump, having already done a “favor” to Blackwater, might be disinclined to pardon someone who exposed its mercenaries’ crimes. But there is nevertheless, as is often the case, an interesting aspect to the story that is worth paying attention to. Trump, as is widely conceded even by some Democrats, was targeted by the Deep State even before he was nominated, an effort to destroy his presidency that persisted for years through the completely contrived mechanism of Russiagate. Given that, it would behoove Trump to strike back in his waning days in office. Both Assange and Snowden exposed illegal activities and cover-ups by the Deep State, almost certainly to include the active participation of some of the very people who have sought to bring the president down. And they both may have more to say. If Donald Trump seriously seeks to strike a blow against his enemies, it would be both fitting and just to pardon both men on that basis alone. Let us hope that President Trump has both the wisdom and fortitude to take that step in his last days in office.

After Trump the flood:

After Trump the flood:

December 08, 2020

by Ghassan and Intibah Kadi for the Saker Blog

Whether there was indeed voter fraud and rigging, and I personally believe there was and at a huge scale, it seems that, by hook or by crook, Joe Biden will become the next President of the United States of America; and we should prepare ourselves for this, regardless of our political points of view and inclinations.

The presence of Biden in the Whitehouse will definitely change course on a number of issues, both domestically within the USA and overseas, but the objective of this article is to shed a bit of light on what is likely to happen to the current pro-Biden camp and the diverse array of supporters who have helped elevate him to this position.

In more ways than one, I have always seen in Syria a microcosm of world politics and conflicts. Long before the enemies of Syria decided to launch their attack in March 2011, the masterminds of the conspiracy put the most unlikely allies together, only united by their hatred of Syria. Back then I called them the ‘Anti-Syrian Cocktail’. Those allies each had their own agenda regarding Syria and had nothing in common other than their desire to remove President Bashar Al-Assad from office. Among the issues they disagreed on was his replacement, how to share the spoils, not to mention the alternative political system to install, Syria’s future position in the region, international alliances, and so forth.

With a whole array of enemies, Trump inadvertently caused a rounding up of a very loosely-united anti-Trump-cocktail; only united by their hatred of him. So, let’s face it and acknowledge it; they will never let him win the November 2020 elections. Though only united by their hatred of Trump, there are too many of them, they are powerful; extremely powerful, and they are very determined to get rid of him by any means possible, legal, illegal, using tactics like bribery, intimidation, threats, thuggery, and they have no one to fear because, collectively they have given each other impunity, covering each other’s backs and producing a culture where criticizing them is taboo. Crucially, the ‘law’ and the media are on their side.

With the exception of the Clintons and Bidens perhaps, the other Democrats have their traditional political opposition to Trump, even when they see and know he is making good decisions. This is the golden rule of political duopoly. But the Clintons and the Bidens have personal dirt on them and even blood on their hands that they want to keep the lid on in order to avoid prosecution and possibly even jail. They are likely to remain united after a Trump loss, but the same cannot be said about other odd couples.

Most of the other November 2020 Biden supporters are destined to be on a collision course, and they will soon enough realize that their differences are much stronger than what united them and that they were taken for fools. None will be disappointed more than the so-called ‘Progressives’.

The definition of the term progressive has morphed quite significantly over the last decade or so. Currently, it seems to include any one who stands up against Trump; and this is the primordial cause of the confusion and reason for future conflict between them. In reality, what defines the term ‘progressive’ in any existing progressive movement can be totally different from that of another movement; and the difference is not necessarily marginal. Being ‘progressive’ in the 21st Century implies the presence of a very specific agenda or slogan that may or may not be compatible with other ‘progressive’ agendas.

Take the Assange supporters for example. The moment they wake up from their deep slumber, they will realize that the man they supported to become President is actually the leader of the political party that has put Assange in jail for exposing his party’s dirt. I hope that Trump pulls the rug from underneath their feet and pardons Assange before the 20th of January 2021. But will this show the Assange supporters who is who? Not necessarily because if they wanted to open up their eyes and see, they would have seen from day one that Assange’s biggest enemy is none but Hillary Clinton and that she is the one responsible for his demise; not Trump.

But the Assange supporters did not play a major role in the elections; at least not directly, and at least not as much as their closest ‘progressives’; the peace activists.

The Democrats and their cohorts have portrayed Trump as a warmonger. When peace activists eventually see that Biden will have to serve his warlord masters and start new wars across the globe, they will have to think again. He is already touting hiring well known hawks in key positions in his forthcoming cabinet and team of advisors, with his Defense Secretary reportedly selected.

When it comes to street power however, none has been more powerful and effective as the combination of BLM and the environmentalists.

BLM activists have just fallen a tad short of blaming Trump for an American five-century long history of racism. But how much do BLM activists really care about Climate Change and specifically about Greta-type environmental vision of how the world should run? Moreover, most environmentalists, if not all of them, are anti-vaxxers. When they see that Biden is the trump card for the vaccine empire, they may wish they didn’t take to the streets to unseat the Trump card they had in the Whitehouse. If there is/was one person standing up against the malevolent “Gates vaccine”, it has to be Trump, and the single-issue anti-vaxxers are against Trump. Try to make sense of this.

This is not to forget and ignore that the Climate Change activists will soon find out, the hard way, that Biden will not come clean on the zero-emission promise; not only because he doesn’t want to, not only because he goes to bed with the petro-dollar lobby, but also because he does not have the alternative technology to replace fossil fuel with.

In and out and in between the BLM and Climate Change activists, what do the Climate Change activists have in common ideologically with BLM and at what stage will they break ranks and decide to go against one another? What will happen after either one of them accuses the other, rightfully I must say, that they have been used as pawns by the ‘Deep State’?

And who said that the BLM has more in common with the LBGTI community and activists than it does with the gun lobby? Sections of the BLM likely also love guns.

And speaking of Greta, for how much longer will she able to keep up the fallacy that her agenda and those of her friends Soros and the World Economic Forum (WEF), and its members that include Monsanto, are actually compatible?

And for the right or wrong reasons, who is to guarantee that the tens of millions of Trump supporters are going to sit and accept that the election win of Biden is legitimate and that they have to swallow it? Will this cause social strife, violence on the streets, even worse perhaps civil war and much more? We don’t know. What we do know is that a controversy about election results should have been dealt with in total transparency in order to put all concerns to rest. But this is not happening, and it is not going to happen because a decision has been made against Trump dictating that he must lose.

But the after-Trump-effect is not necessarily going to affect only America. Right-wing politics, including the extreme version of it, have been on the rise in the world, and especially in Western Europe. And if the Neo-Nazis look threatening because their ideology is based on a very dark chapter in human history, what do we really know is on the agenda of the forces that have combined the very diverse elements of the anti-Trump cocktail in order to serve its objective(s)? What is it really that they want?

Hitler was at least clear about his mission statement. He wanted an Aryan Third Reich to rule the world for a thousand years. The rest of the world did not have to wonder and ponder about his intentions. He sent a very clear message to rest of the world, a message clear enough to unite the West with the Bolsheviks against him.

But today, we have an invisible driving force that has managed to put together an array of the most unlikely partners in order to fight a common cause. Do we not at least ask the question ‘why?’

In the case of Syria, the answer to the ‘why’ question was to topple Assad, albeit without having a plan that went further, at least as a united coalition. It would have been impossible for the plotters and planners to each disclose what they had in mind. In reality, they did not have any plan at all other than replacing him with a void. Fast-forward; the get-rid-of-Trump plan is very similar; get rid of him without having a plan so as to ensure all participants are pleased and appeased, because the plan seems to also be based on replacing Trump with chaos and anarchy.

The irony here is that the anti-Trump-cocktail is not only comprised of his political opponents, mainstream media, social media, but also includes government agencies such as the DOJ, the CIA, the FBI and even some American Republicans.

Briefly put, Trump has been chosen to lose, but after him, the flood is imminent. The current allies who lobbied against him will very shortly come to the realization that they are no longer united, and some will even turn into enemies fighting over the spoils of the win.

In more ways than one, they will harvest the fruit of the seeds they planted, and they will rightfully deserve all consequences. A Biden win is the most befitting ‘punishment’ of the anti-Trump cocktail.

Apart from the hapless American populace, the biggest loser of this all is the international stature of America as the leader of the so-called Democratic Free World. In a fitting blowback for these pernicious actors, Trump would have proven without a shadow of doubt, that the Deep State is so deep and powerful, powerful enough to mobilize its own enemies to serve it. At that point, to quote the rhetoric of the “Great Reset” agenda, but again, as blowback, things will never be the same again for these dangerous characters.

The Google Archipelago

The Google Archipelago

November 20, 2020

By Jimmie Moglia for the Saker Blog

During the cold war the West called dissenters those Russians in the USSR who voiced their complaints against the system. A definition – ‘dissenter’ – which, processed through the lexical grinding machine of the CIA and associates, was actually stripped of its original meaning to become a weapon of trivial instrumental imperialist propaganda. Said it another way, it was the dissenters who gave the pigs of the animal farm the tools for the pigs’ full spectrum propaganda.

But none can halt the inaudible and noiseless foot of time. And with the fall of the Berlin Wall it has come to pass that Western propaganda itself has created the dissenters. Meaning people who have been persecuted or even tortured, as is the case of Julian Assange or Chelsea Manning. Plus a hefty list of others – uncomfortable men, daring an escape from the Twilight Zone, thus dangerous by definition, and therefore marginalized or branded as traitors, maladapted or plainly mad, for to define true madness what is it but to be nothing else but mad.

However, increasingly, such criminalizing or demonizing measures appear inadequate – notably in the current phase of the ‘great reset’, meaning a global theft of freedom in exchange of a pseudo-security or pseudo-salvation from system-fostered terrors, dangers and apocalyptic ills.

And yet it is not enough. Unlike with dictatorships, Western pseudo-democracies have established a soft and practically invisible censorship consisting of the concentration in a few power groups of all main sources of communication and information, so as to drown any dissenting voice into the bottomless ocean of silence.

It may help that our Zionist “elder brothers in the Abrahamic faith” (that’s how the current Vatican calls them, reversing 1000 years of Catholic theology and practice), own and control 90% or thereabouts of all communication media, printed, Hollywood, academia, radio-TV and Internet.

Still, he who does not submit is jailed, or simply marginalized, rendered irrelevant in the Google archipelago, a wondering atom among the million molecules of deplorables.

Yet the strategy is increasingly proving inadequate, while freedom is hijacked in exchange for a pseudo-security that is fake, proclaimed and accompanied by threats. Nevertheless it is a pseudo-security made inevitable, following the train of provoked and questionable epidemic threats, possibly set up by the very security-providing system. 9/11 may serve as the master key or copy.

Therefore sundry ‘free’ countries have passed or are passing legislation involving punishment for the crime of opinion. This is inevitable for the greater the enforcement of the official ministerial truth, the more likely are desertions of the ministry by the unbelievers. So far, desertions are limited and rendered noiseless by a thousand-eyed censorship. And yet they risk to garnish attention and rip the curtain cloth that shelters fiction from fact.

For example, Germany has pending laws to prevent the questioning of vaccine(s), a remarkable instance of a new medical theology. And with the spirit of rebellion growing at large, so grows the violence of repression, even though the ‘elder-brothers’ owned media waters down the reports to dampen or hide their impact.

Much as, in another continent and settings, the same media all but ignored Trump’s mass rallies, while extolling Biden’s, often attended by eight people and a dog.

Massive censorship is justified on the ground that social media companies are private, therefore entitled to establish what is and isn’t true. What more evidence is needed to demonstrate the ethical and intellectual rotting decline of the West.

Clearly the escalation of threats and repressions is a sign of weakness among the globalist masters. For to establish their own truth they need to cast off the mask of liberty. Though given the flow and development of pandemic-related events even that mask may be redundant.

The legitimation of what is but an influenza wave, branded as a bubonic plague, falsified in the numbers and yet lethal for the cure of other illnesses. The imposed obedience clearly inconsistent, contradictory, ridicule in scope and medieval in appearance, should open the eyes of those who like to use them.

That may not be the case. Hence the path is open for the cashiering of constitutions and the introduction of freedom-killing legislation.

It is questionable whether generations educated to passiveness and in love with the ephemeral, may attempt a defense. They have but a rudimental notion of liberty, mainly associated with the liberty to purchase and consume. It is equally questionable whether their defense may trespass the borders of disillusionment. And even disillusionment is uncertain, as for many belonging to the herd can overcome the fear of being led to slaughter.

Therefore it is not with a large mass of inert followers of the mainstream media from hell that the West can defend its position of some kind of leadership.

In my archive, there is a video snippet where the ‘spokesman’ for a band of Pakistani migrant hooligans in the North of England says, “In 20 years we will take over f—ing England.”

I know I am but one of many living in the Google archipelago, where the godfathers of globalism reign supreme.

It seems we cannot bring light to darkness or call forth the mutinous winds of rebellion. As rhetorical as it may sound, we may as well dispel the illusion of redemption, bury it in the earth and, deeper than did ever plummet sound, drown the book that extols the values and worth of European civilization.

PS. For this article I relied on material provided by an anonymous European writer whom I would gladly cite if only I knew his name.

As His Extradition Trial Drags on, Media and Rights Groups Are Still Ignoring Julian Assange

By Alan Macleod

Source

Many mainstream rights groups and media organizations have a mixed history when it comes to opposing Washington’s agenda. The case of Julian Assange has been no exception.

The extradition case of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange continues in London. The U.S. government is indicting the Australian living on the other side of the world under its own Espionage Act, with the case widely seen as setting an important precedent for freedom of speech and of the media worldwide.

Yet as the case reaches its pinnacle, a number of press freedom groups have gone silent on the matter. The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has not mentioned Assange in months, on either its website or its Twitter account. London-based PEN International has only one article this year on the Australian and appears to have gone quiet since July. The CPJ has also refused to include him among its list of jailed journalists, arguing that Wikileaks’ role is more that of a publisher. While this could be debatable, the omission of by far the most famous and influential of the world’s 248 imprisoned media figures could be seen as a politically calculated decision.

Big media outlets seem just as uninterested in the U.S. government’s attempts to capture the man who released hundreds of thousands of documents detailing American war crimes, including the deliberate killing of two Reuters journalists. The New York Times, for instance, has published only two articles on the subject, and nothing in eleven days. But the Times’ coverage is better than most outlets, with nothing whatsoever in CNN, and MSNBC’s entire coverage amounting to one sentence, which discussed the DNC hacks, but not the hearing.

To be fair to the media, the conditions the U.K. government has set for the case make it absurdly difficult for journalists to follow. The COVID-19 pandemic has meant that public access is highly restricted, while only a small handful of journalists are allowed into the courtroom every day. Journalists wishing to watch live proceedings must register as journalists and log in between exactly 9:30 and 9:40 a.m. If they miss the time, they cannot access the session, and if they disconnect at any time, even because of a momentary lapse in wifi, they are shut out of the system. Journalists have complained throughout Assange’s cases of poor connections and an inability to hear anything during proceedings. That has not stopped the committed, however, with smaller organizations continuing to report the proceedings live.

In recent days the argument between the prosecution and the defense has revolved around Assange’s mental state. A psychiatrist on the U.S.’ government’s side told the Old Bailey yesterday that he believes Assange to be a “resilient” character with only “mild clinical depression” and would therefore be able to “resist any suicidal impulse” were he to be sent to the U.S. Assange is facing up to 175 years in a Colorado supermax jail, sometimes described as one of the few blacksites on American soil. Inmates at the center are regularly force fed and are barred from sharing their stories.

On the other hand, a doctor who treated him while he was forced to live in the Ecuadorian embassy in London stressed her dismay at his deterioration while being held in Belmarsh Prison. “I think Mr. Assange is at very high risk of completing a suicide if he were to be extradited,” she told the judge.

FILE – In this Sunday, June 16, 2013 file photo, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, left, appears with Ecuador’s Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino on the balcony of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein, file)

The Assange case has enormous ramifications for the future of press freedom. The government has included a great many standard journalistic procedures — such as protecting sources’ names, using encrypted files, and encouraging sources to leak more to them — among its reasons for indictment. This, many have argued, would essentially criminalize investigative journalism. Trevor Timm, a co-founder of the Freedom of the Press Foundation, told the courtroom that if Assange is prosecuted, then every journalist who has possessed a secret or leaked file — the lifeblood of the industry — could be charged.

Speaking to German filmmakers, ex-CIA Director Leon Panetta was remarkably blunt about the U.S.’ goal: “All you can do is hope you can ultimately take action against those that were involved in revealing that information so you can send a message to others not to do the same thing,” he said, strongly implying that the indictment is politically motivated and a warning to others who might challenge the empire.The Cost of ResistanceWhere will Julian Assange end up if his extradition is successful and Roger Hallam and the end of the revolutionary initiative.

Unfortunately, many of the mainstream rights groups that the world relies on to lead on matters of importance have a mixed history when it comes to directly opposing Washington’s agenda. Human Rights Watch (HRW), for instance, carried water for the U.S.-backed coup in Bolivia last year, its director, Kenneth Roth, describing it as a “transitional moment” and an “uprising,” rather than the manifestly more appropriate word, “coup.” HRW also described the new military government’s law giving all security forces complete immunity from prosecution merely a “problematic decree,” rather than a license to massacre, which is exactly what they did immediately.

HRW has not discussed Assange for nearly 18 months, the most recent result on its website dated May 2019 (although this was a clear defense of his rights). Amnesty International, on the other hand, has forcefully condemned the U.S. attempt and has been repeatedly blocked in its attempts to have its fair trial monitors enter the courtroom. “This hearing is the latest worrying salvo in a full-scale assault on the right to freedom of expression,” said Amnesty’s Europe Director, Nils Muižnieks.

Julian Assange trial: the mask of Empire has fallen

Julian Assange trial: the mask of Empire has fallen

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September 18, 2020

By Pepe Escobar with permission from the author and first posted at Asia Times

The concept of “History in the making” has been pushed to extremes when it comes to the extraordinary public service being performed by historian, former UK diplomat and human rights activist Craig Murray.

Murray – literally, and on a global level – is now positioned as our man in the public gallery, as he painstakingly documents in vivid detail what could be defined as the trial of the century as far as the practice of journalism is concerned: the kangaroo court judging Julian Assange in Old Bailey, London.

Let’s focus on three of Murray’s reports this week – with an emphasis on two intertwined themes: what the US is really prosecuting, and how Western corporate media is ignoring the court proceedings.

Here, Murray reports the exact moment when the mask of Empire fell, not with a bang, but a whimper:

“The gloves were off on Tuesday as the US Government explicitly argued that all journalists are liable to prosecution under the Espionage Act (1917) for publishing classified information.” (italics mine).

“All journalists” means every legitimate journalist, from every nationality, operating in any jurisdiction.

Interpreting the argument, Murray added, “the US government is now saying, completely explicitly, in court, those reporters could and should have gone to jail and that is how we will act in future. The Washington Post, the New York Times, and all the “great liberal media” of the US are not in court to hear it and do not report it (italics mine), because of their active complicity in the “othering” of Julian Assange as something sub-human whose fate can be ignored. Are they really so stupid as not to understand that they are next?

Err, yes.”

The point is not that self-described paladins of “great liberal media” are stupid. They are not covering the charade in Old Bailey because they are cowards. They must keep their fabled “access” to the bowels of Empire – the kind of “access” that allowed Judith Miller to “sell” the illegal war on Iraq in countless front pages, and allows CIA asset and uber-opportunist Bob Woodward to write his “insider” books.

Nothing to see here

Previously, Murray had already detailed how “the mainstream media are turning a blind eye. There were three reporters in the press gallery, one of them an intern and one representing the NUJ. Public access continues to be restricted and major NGOs, including Amnesty, PEN and Reporters Without Borders, continue to be excluded both physically and from watching online.”

Murray also detailed how “the six of us allowed in the public gallery, incidentally, have to climb 132 steps to get there, several times a day. As you know, I have a very dodgy ticker; I am with Julian’s dad John who is 78; and another of us has a pacemaker.”

So why is he “the man in the public gallery”? “I do not in the least discount the gallant efforts of others when I explain that I feel obliged to write this up, and in this detail, because otherwise the vital basic facts of the most important trial this century, and how it is being conducted, would pass almost completely unknown to the public. If it were a genuine process, they would want people to see it, not completely minimize attendance both physically and online.”

Unless people around the world are reading Murray’s reports – and very few others with much less detail – they will ignore immensely important aspects plus the overall appalling context of what’s really happening in the heart of London. The main fact, as far as journalism is concerned, is that Western corporate media is completely ignoring it.

Let’s check the UK coverage on Day 9, for instance.

There was no article in The Guardian – which cannot possibly cover the trial because the paper, for years, was deep into no holds barred smearing and total demonization of Julian Assange.

There was nothing on The Telegraph – very close to MI6 – and only a brief AP story on the Daily Mail.

There was a brief article in The Independent only because one of the witnesses, Eric Lewis, is one of the directors of the Independent Digital News and Media Ltd which publishes the paper.

For years, the process of degrading Julian Assange to sub-human level was based on repeating a bunch of lies so often they become truth. Now, the conspiracy of silence about the trial does wonders to expose the true face of Western liberal “values” and liberal “democracy”.

Daniel Ellsberg speaks

Murray provided absolutely essential context for what Daniel “Pentagon Papers” Ellsberg made it very clear in the witness stand.

The Afghan War logs published by WikiLeaks were quite similar to low-level reports Ellsberg himself had written about Vietnam. The geopolitical framework is the same: invasion and occupation, against the interests of the absolute majority of the invaded and occupied.

Murray, illustrating Ellsberg, writes that “the war logs had exposed a pattern of war crimes: torture, assassination and death squads. The one thing that had changed since Vietnam was that these things were now so normalized they were classified below Top Secret.”

This is a very important point. All the Pentagon Papers were in fact Top Secret. But crucially, the WikiLeaks papers were not Top Secret: in fact they were below Top Secret, not subject to restricted distribution. So they were not really sensitive – as the United States government now alleges.

On the by now legendary Collateral Murder video, Murray details Ellsberg’s argument: “Ellsberg stated that it definitely showed murder, including the deliberate machine gunning of a wounded and unarmed civilian. That it was murder was undoubted. The dubious word was “collateral”, which implies accidental. What was truly shocking about it was the Pentagon reaction that these war crimes were within the Rules of Engagement. Which permitted murder.”

The prosecution cannot explain why Julian Assange withheld no less than 15,000 files; how he took a lot of time to redact the ones that were published; and why both the Pentagon and the State Dept. refused to collaborate with WikiLeaks. Murray: “Ten years later, the US Government has still not been able to name one single individual who was actually harmed by the WikiLeaks releases.”

Prometheus Bound 2.0

President Trump has made two notorious references to WikiLeaks on the record: “I love WikiLeaks” and “I know nothing about WikiLeaks”. That may reveal nothing on how a hypothetical Trump 2.0 administration would act if Julian Assange was extradited to the US. What we do now is that the most powerful Deep State factions want him “neutralized”. Forever.

I felt compelled to portray Julian Assange’s plight as Prometheus Bound 2.0. In this poignant post-modern tragedy, the key subplot centers on a deadly blow to true journalism, in the sense of speaking truth to power.

Julian Assange continues to be treated as an extremely dangerous criminal, as his partner Stella Moris describes it in a tweet.

Craig Murray will arguably enter History as the central character in a very small chorus warning us all about the tragedy’s ramifications.

It’s also quite fitting that the tragedy is also a commentary on a previous era that featured, unlike Blake’s poem, a Marriage of Hell and Hell: GWOT and OCO (Global War on Terror, under George W. Bush, and Overseas Contingency Operations under Barack Obama).

Julian Assange is being condemned for revealing imperial war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan. Yet in the end all that post-9/11 sound and fury signified nothing.

It actually metastasized into the worst imperial nightmare: the emergence of a prime, compounded peer competitor, the Russia-China strategic partnership.

“Not here the darkness, in this twittering world” (T.S. Eliot, Burnt Norton). An army of future Assanges awaits.

Why The ‘Journalists’ Don’t Like Julian

By Jeremy Salt

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Assange secrets 9b5de

Why is it that so many journalists have turned their backs on Julian Assange? Why do so many abuse him instead of defending him?  He is, after all, a world historic figure who will be remembered centuries from now in the same way we remember Voltaire, Victor Hugo and Thomas Paine.  Thanks to technology, Assange has been able to do far more than they could ever imagine in advancing the ‘right to know’ component of human rights.  He has broken more real news than all the journalists who sneer at him put together,  so resentment could be one explanation.   They say Assange is ‘not a journalist’ when what they mean is that he is not a journalist like them.

The keywords here are mediation and control. ‘What lies behind the headlines’ has another meaning beyond what is really going on in politics. ‘What lies behind the headlines’ is also what goes on in newsrooms before you read your morning paper or watch the evening news bulletin.  

News is a product, like anything that comes off the factory floor.  The raw material comes in, is processed,  refined and polished before being placed on the sales shelf called ‘news.’   Millions of pieces of news flow into editorial rooms every day.  What you read or watch is only the tiniest fraction of this flood.  

What you read or see is what someone is choosing for you,  what someone thinks is ‘news’ compared to all the other items that never see the light of day,  what someone thinks you should know as opposed to what you might like to know.    

News in the mainstream is mediated from start to finish.  The reporter produces the raw product.  Whether it is a car crash or civil war, someone else will always see it differently but his or her particular version is the raw material submitted for processing.  Editors at the daily news conference decide if it deserves a place and where it should be placed, on page one, three or five,  at the top of the page or lower done,  under a one column or three column heading,  at the top of the nightly news bulletin or closer to the bottom.  

The editor has the final say.  He or she is the link between the board and the advertisers and has to deal with the pressure that might come from their direction when the story is a sensitive one.  Thus,  depending on the relationship between editor and the board/proprietor, an important story might not be published at all or might be shriveled to the point where it no longer seems important.

The decision made, an editor gets to work,  cutting,  reshaping, honing and polishing the story, maybe moving paragraphs around if he or she thinks they are not in the right order, until the product is ready to attract the attention of the reader/viewer, much as the male jackdaw lines the nest with silver paper to attract the attention of the female. There can be differences of opinion between the reporter and the editor along the way but in essence they are egotistical, not over truth or untruth or the public’s right to know, but over how the story should be written and presented.  

There is no unmediated news in the mainstream media.  It is the news as decided by reporters and editors,  from the choice of story to report in the first place to the end of the production line. There could be thousands of other news items you the reader or viewer might think are worthier of space and time that never see the light of day. 

What is happening around the world, therefore, is only what is reported as happening,  before being processed to meet editorial requirements.  If it is not reported it might as well not have happened,  beyond the impact within the immediate circle of where it did happen. Thus the media can make something happen or unhappen, according to the choices made in editorial rooms.

Control relates to control as exerted vertically,  from the board or proprietor down to the editor and then to the very bottom of the editorial chain.  Apart from the car crash, the rape or the robbery, there is a line that has to be protected when it comes to important political stories or stories that affect advertisers and the particular media outlet’s commercial interests.  There is always some flexibility,  depending on how tightly controlled the editorial line is from the top,  but the general political/social profile of the organization always has to be protected.  

If ‘news’ is to be defined as something we don’t know,  we could spend our entire lives reading books (and might be better off for it).  Much of the ‘news’ that is printed falls into the same category of what we don’t know but whether we really need or want to know it is another question. 

The endless goings-on of the Kardashian family might be a good example.   The definition of news has swung in the direction of ‘celebrity gossip’ and the celebrities have responded by providing editors with all the ‘news’ they might want to print,  but ‘news’ that many of ‘us’ (readers and viewers) would regard as trash. Of course, for the media to remain viable, the product has to sell and amidst all the Kardashian bottoms, that is the bottom line.

So mediation and control are two reasons the journalists abuse Assange.  Given the massive volume of material Wikipedia receives, he or his team have to exert some control and make decisions about how much they can upload within their technical capacity but what they do post is unmediated.  There are no cuts, no editing no polishing: the news comes to you in its raw state and you the reader can decide what to make of it, instead of someone telling you what to make of it. 

Another reason for disliking Assange is jealousy.  He has scooped all of these journalists who abuse him thousand times over,  by releasing sensational material that exposes the dirty secrets they would love to get their hands on.

In recent history only one reporter,  Seymour Hersh, without the technical ability to penetrate government vaults that Wikipedia’s sources have and relying entirely on his human sources,  has come anywhere close to what Assange has achieved.  Hersh is the greatest reporter of this age, or just about any age, a model of courage and the determination to dig for the truth, whatever the obstacles.

His fate is instructive. He broke the My Lai massacre in 1968, he exposed the Abu Ghraib prison torture in 2004  and he broke many other stories in between,  yet when he crossed the government-media line on Syria by exposing the falsity of the claim that the Syrian government was responsible for an alleged chemical weapons attack close to Damascus in 2013 his usual outlet, the New Yorker,  refused to publish. The story was handed to the Washington Post, which also turned it down.   The arguments that it did not meet their standards don’t deserve to be taken seriously.

Eventually, the  London Review of Books took the story on but when Hersh followed up with an account questioning the trans-Atlantic government and media line on the alleged role of the Syrian government in the alleged chemical weapons attack at Khan Sheikhun in April, 2017, the LRB declined to publish even though it had paid for the story. 

Subsequently,  Hersh had to publish in Germany (‘Khan Sheikhun Trump’s Red Line,’ Welt am Sonntag, June 25, 2017) and he now has no place anywhere in the mainstream print media of his own country.

Another reason for journalists disliking Assange is that in one way or another,  they are not free to write what they want.  They belong to institutions, ‘belonging’ defined as owned by them. They depend on them for their salaries and their careers.  Basically they are correct when they say ‘No-one tells me what to write.’  No one has to tell them because they already know what to write if they want to keep their jobs,  wherever they happen to work. 

Self-censorship is central to the practice of journalism in the mainstream.  No-one with an eye on their best interests is going to write something they know editors will throw in their face, not because it is badly written but because it goes against the editorial line.  They might be lucky enough to agree with the editorial line anyway but if they don’t they have to adjust, or look for a future in journalism elsewhere.

Thus, journalists have power,  the power and the money of the institution behind them.  Assange has no institution behind him.  Indeed, the institutions are all against him. A media which used him up has abandoned him.  The government of his own country, Australia, has not lifted a finger in his defense.

What Assange does have behind him is the power of the truth-telling that should be the core of journalism,  not the truth-tailoring and the acceptance of downright lies that characterizes much of mainstream journalism today.   So of course the journalists don’t like him, or should we say ‘journalists’, because who is doing the real work of journalism today,  they or Julian Assange?

Julian Assange, Prometheus Bound

Julian Assange, Prometheus Bound

By Pepe Escobar

Cross-posted with Consortium News

He is being punished not for stealing fire – but for exposing power under the light of truth and provoking the god of Exceptionalism. 

Police ejecting Assange from embassy, April 11, 2019. (YouTube)

Police ejecting Julian Assange from Ecuadorian embassy in London, April 11, 2019. (YouTube)


This is the tale of an Ancient Greek tragedy reenacted in AngloAmerica.

Amid thundering silence and nearly universal indifference, chained, immobile, invisible, a squalid Prometheus was transferred from the gallows for a show trial in a faux Gothic court built on the site of a medieval prison.

Kratos, impersonating Strength, and Bia, impersonating Violence, had duly chained Prometheus, not to a mountain in the Caucasus, but to solitary confinement in a high-security prison, subject to relentless psychological torture. All along the Western watchtowers, no Hephaestus volunteered to forge in his smithy a degree of reluctance or even a sliver of pity.

Prometheus is being punished not for stealing fire – but for exposing power under the light of truth, thus provoking the unbounded ire of  Zeus The Exceptionalist, who’s only able to stage his crimes under multiple veils of secrecy.

Prometheus pierced the myth of secrecy – which envelops Zeus’s ability to control the human spectrum. And that is anathema.

“Prometheus Being Chained by Vulcan,” 1623 oil painting by Dirck van Baburen. (Vulcan Rijksmuseum, Wikimedia Commons)

For years, debased, hack stenographers worked relentlessly to depict Prometheus as a lowly trickster and inconsequential forger.

Abandoned, smeared, demonized, Prometheus was comforted by only a small chorus of Oceanids – Craig Murray, John Pilger, Daniel Ellsberg, Wiki warriors, Consortium writers. Prometheus was denied even the basic tools to organize a defense that might at least rattle Zeus’s cognitive dissonant narrative.

Oceanus, the Titan father of the Oceanids, could not possibly urge Prometheus to appease Zeus.

Fleetingly, Prometheus might have revealed to the chorus that exposing secrecy was not what best suited his heart’s content. His plight might also, in the long run, revive popular attachment to the civilizing arts.

One day, Prometheus was visited by Io, a human maiden. He may have forecasted she would engage in no future travels, and she would bear him two offspring. And he may have foreseen that one of their descendants – an unnamed epigone of Heracles – many generations hence, would release him, figuratively, from his torment.

Zeus and his prosecutorial minions don’t have much of a case against Prometheus, apart from possession and dissemination of classified Exceptional information.

Still it was eventually up to Hermes — the messenger of the Gods, and significantly, the conduit of News — to be sent down by Zeus in uncontrollable anger to demand that Prometheus admits he was guilty of trying to overthrow the rules-based order established by the Supreme Exceptional.

CBC TV covering Assange expulsion. (YouTube)

CBC TV covering Assange expulsion from Ecuadorian embassy in London. (YouTube)

This is what’s being ritualized at the current show trial, which was never about Justice.

Prometheus won’t be tamed. In his mind, he will be relieving Tennyson’s Ulysses: “to strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.”

So Zeus may finally strike him with the thunderbolt of Exceptionalism, and Prometheus will be hurled into the abyss.

Prometheus’s theft of the secrecy of power, though, is irreversible. His fate will certainly prompt the late entrance of Pandora and her jar of evils – complete with unforeseen consequences.

Whatever the verdict reached in that 17th century court, it’s far from certain that Prometheus will enter History just as a mere object of blame for human folly.

Because now the heart of the matter is that the mask of Zeus has fallen.

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