Julian Assange – ‘Find Justice and Make It Quick’

By Alison Broinowski

Source

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Assange to Remain in UK Prison Beyond Release Date

By Stephen Lendman

Source

On orders from Washington, Julian Assange is being slowly killed — by UK and US dark forces in cahoots with each other.

Facing 18 bogus charges under the long ago outdated 1917 Espionage Act, a WW I relic, he’s been judged guilty by accusation for the “high crime” of truth-telling journalism — what Western media long ago abandoned, serving instead as press agents for powerful interests.

Earlier, Assange justifiably explained that WikiLeaks “publish(es) newsworthy content,” its legal right, adding: 

“Consistent with the US Constitution, we publish material (from reliable sources) that we can confirm to be true…”

In the US, UK, and elsewhere in the West, censorship is the new normal — speech, independent media, and academic freedoms gravely threatened, especially online, the last frontier of free and open expression dark forces want eliminated.

Social media, Google, and other tech giants are complicit in a campaign to suppress content conflicting with the official narrative.

What’s happening in plain sight is the hallmark of totalitarian rule – controlling the message, eliminating alternative news, information and analysis, notably on major geopolitical issues.

When truth-telling and dissent are considered threats to national security, free and open societies no longer exist – the slippery slope where the US and other Western societies are heading.

Will Assange be extradited to the US or will he expire behind bars in London’s high-security Belmarsh prison, Britain’s Gitmo? 

The latter is most likely. Denied rights afforded murders and other hardened criminals, his mental and physical health deteriorated markedly from months of mind-numbing solitary confinement.

Perhaps he won’t live long enough to face extradition hearing proceedings, scheduled for late February 2020 — or if still alive, maybe to be zombie-like at the time from his cruel and inhumane mistreatment.

Last April, UK authorities arrested and detained him solely for extradition to the US.

Department of Justice spokeswoman Nicole Oxman acknowledged it, saying “I can confirm that Julian Assange was arrested in relation to a provisional extradition request from the United States of America.”

His arrest, imprisonment, and mistreatment are all about wanting truth-telling on major issues silenced — US charges against him fabricated.

According to UK media, he’ll remain in prison beyond his scheduled September 22 release date (half way through his 50-week sentence), the Trump and Boris Johnson regimes colluding to keep him behind bars.

On Friday, Westminster Magistrates Court Judge Vanessa Baraitser ordered him to remain imprisoned at least through his February 2020 extradition hearing, saying the following:

“You have been produced today (by video link from Belmarsh prison) because your sentence of imprisonment is about to come to an end,” adding:

“When that happens, your remand status changes from a serving prisoner to a person facing extradition.”

“Therefore I have given your lawyer an opportunity to make an application for bail on your behalf and she has declined to do so. Perhaps not surprisingly in light of your history of absconding in these proceedings.”

“In my view, I have substantial ground for believing if I release you, you will abscond again.”

No absconding occurred. In August 2012, Assange was granted political asylum by Ecuador in its London embassy — his legal right under international law, fearing extradition to Sweden over fabricated rape charges, a ruse to extradite him to the US.

An extradition administrative hearing will be held on October 11, followed by a case management hearing on October 21 — ahead of a final extradition hearing in late February.

After Friday’s ruling, WikiLeaks said the following:

“This morning’s hearing was not a bail hearing, it was a technical hearing. Despite this, the magistrate preemptively refused bail before the defense requested it,” adding:

“Magistrate says Assange to remain in prison indefinitely. He has been in increasing forms of deprivation of liberty since his arrest 9 years ago, one week after he started publishing Cablegate” — referring to US crimes of war, against humanity, and other international law breaches revealed from US diplomatic cables.

A Final Comment

Last April, establishment media cheered Assange’s unjustifiable arrest.

The NYT, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, and other US major media called him no free-press hero.

WaPo said his arrest was “long overdue.” The Wall Street Journal  falsely accused him of targeting “democratic institutions or governments.”

The NYT said “(h)e deserves his fate,” calling him “an odious person,” falsely accusing him of “act(ing) as a conduit for Russian intelligence services…and help(ing) (to) spread the conspiracy theory (sic) that the leaked (Dem) email’s” weren’t hacked. 

Following Friday’s London hearing, the Times was at it again, falsely claiming WikiLeaks “release(d) thousands of (Dem) party emails stolen by Russian hackers (sic).”

Material was leaked, nothing hacked by Russia or anyone else.

Publishing it is what investigative journalism the way it should be is all about — what the Times and other establishment media long ago abandoned.

Kidnapping as a tool of imperial statecraft?

Kidnapping as a tool of imperial statecraft?

September 06, 2019

[This column was written for the Unz Review]

There is nothing new about empires taking hostages and using them to put pressure on whatever rebel group needs to reminded “who is boss”. The recent arrest in Italy of Alexander Korshunov, the director for business development at Russia’s United Engine Corporation (UEC), is really nothing new but just the latest in a long string of kidnappings. And, as I already mentioned in distant 2017, that kind of thuggery is not a sign of strength but, in fact, a sign of weakness. Remember Michael Ledeen’s immortal words about how “”Every ten years or so, the United States needs to pick up some small crappy little country and throw it against the wall, just to show the world we mean business“? Well, you could say that this latest spat of kidnappings is indicative of the same mindset and goal, just on a much smaller, individual, scale. And, finally, it ain’t just Russia, we all know about the kidnapping of Huawei’s CFO Meng Wanzhou by the Canadian authorities.

By the way, you might wonder how can I speak of “kidnapping” when, in reality, these were legal arrests made by the legitimate authorities of the countries in which these arrests were made? Simple! As I mentioned last weekwords matter and to speak of an “arrest” in this case wrongly suggest that 1) some crime was committed (when in reality there is ZERO evidence of that, hence the talk of “conspiracy” to do something illegal) 2) that this crime was investigated and that the authorities have gathered enough evidence to justify an arrest and 3) that the accused will have a fair trial. None of that applies to the cases of Viktor BoutKonstantin IaroshenkoMarina Butina or, for that matter, Meng Wanzhou or Wang Weijing. The truth is that these so-called “arrests” are simple kidnappings, the goal is hostage taking with the goal to either 1) try to force Russia (and China) to yield to US demands or 2) try to “get back” at Russia (and China) following some humiliating climb down by the US Administration (this was also the real reason behind the uncivilized seizure of Russian diplomatic buildings in the USA).

This is not unlike what the Gestapo and the SS liked to do during WWII and their kidnapping of hostages was also called “arrest” by the then state propaganda machine. By the way, the Bolsheviks also did a lot of that during the civil war, but on a much larger scale. In reality, both in the case of the Nazi authorities and in the case of the imperial USA, as soon as a person is arrested he/she is subjected to solitary confinement and other forms of psychological torture (Manning or Assange anybody?!) in order to either make them break or to at least show Russia and China that the US, being the World Hegemon gets to seize anybody worldwide, be it by a CIA kidnapping team or by using local colonial law enforcement authorities (aka local police forces).

US politicians love to “send messages” and this metaphor is used on a daily basis by US officials in all sorts of circumstances. Here the message is simple: we can do whatever the hell we want, and there ain’t nothing you can do about it!

But is that last statement really true?

Well, in order to reply to this we should look at the basic options available to Russia (this also applies to China, but here I want to focus on the Russian side of the issue). I guess the basic list of options is pretty straightforward:

Frankly, in the case of the USA, options one and two are useless: the AngloZionist leaders have long given up any hope of not being hated and despised by 99% of mankind and they have long dropped any pretense of legality, nevermind morality: they don’t give a damn what anybody thinks. Their main concern is to conceal their immense weakness, but they fail to do so time and time again. Truly, when wannabe “empires” can’t even bring an extremely weakened country such as Venezuela to heel, there ain’t much they can do to boot their credibility. If anything, this thuggery is nothing more than the evidence of a mind-blowing weakness of the Empire.

But that weakness in no way implies that Russia and China have good options. Sadly, they don’t.

Russia can engage in various types of sanctions, ranging from the petty bureaucratic harassment of US representations, diplomats, businessmen and the like to economic and political retaliations. But let’s not kid ourselves, there is very little Russia can do to seriously hurt the USA with such retaliations. Many would advocate retaliation in kind, but that poses a double problem for the Kremlin:

  • Once a country has gone down the road of illegal brute force, there is no way back. The examples of the US, Israel or, for that matter, the Ukraine show that once primitive thuggery becomes part of your political arsenal you will forever remain a thug and everybody will see this (whether everybody will have the courage to openly state this is a different issue altogether).
  • The reality is that double and triple standards have long become the essential key feature of all western ideological systems, from the Papacy to modern capitalism. The Kremlin fully understands that in the AngloZionist Empire “some are more equal than others” and that that which is “allowed” to the World Hegemon is categorically forbidden to everybody else. Thus if Russia retaliates in kind, there will be an explosion of hysterical protests not only by the western legacy corporate and state ziomedia, but also from the 5th columnist in the Russian “liberal” press.

And yes, unlike the USA, Russia does have a vibrant, diverse and pluralistic media and each time when Putin agrees to a press conference (especially one several hours long) he knows that he will be asked the tough, unpleasant, questions. But since he, unlike most western leaders, can intelligently answer them he does not fear them. As for Dmitrii Peskov and Maria Zakharova, they have heard it all a gazillion during the past years, including often the most ridiculously biased, mis-informed and outright ridiculous “questions” (accusations, really) from the western presstitute corps in Russia.

So yes, Russia could, in theory, retaliate by arresting US citizens in Russia (or by staging Cold War type provocations) or by kidnapping them abroad (Russia does have special forces trained for this kind of operation). But this is most unlikely to yield any meaningful results and it would create a PR nightmare for the Kremlin.

The truth is that in most of these cases we always come down to the fundamental dichotomy: on one hand we have a rogue state gone bonkers with imperial hubris, arrogance and crass ignorance (say, the USA and/or Israel) while on the other we have states which try to uphold a civilized international order (Russia, China, Iran, etc.). This is by logical necessity a lop-sided struggle in which the thugs will almost always have the advantage.

[Sidebar: here I want to address a logical fallacy which I regularly hear in the West: when one political system proves stronger, or more capable of survival, than another one, this supposedly proves that the stronger state is also somehow “superior”. This is the argument used by those who claim that the Soviet Union “lost the Cold War” and that “Capitalism has proven much more sustainable/efficient than Communism”. This is utter nonsense for at least two reasons: first, the USSR did not “lose” the Cold War – the CPSU and the Soviet ruling Nomenklatura decided to break-up the USSR (against the will of the people!) and, second, the fact is that the Soviet Union was squandering its wealth all over the planet while the USA was robbing the entire planet blind. How can we compare the two? Finally, allow me this metaphor to make my point: if we would lock up a human being and a hyena in a small empty cell to see who will survive we can be pretty darn sure that the hyena will immediately and very “effectively” kill the human and eat him. Does that “victory” somehow prove the hyena’s “superiority”? Of course not! For one thing, capitalism implies infinite growth in a finite environment, which is exactly what a malignant tumor does for a living and which is self-evidently non-sustainable. So are we going to compare one political system – Communism – which does not rely on growth and which is therefore sustainable, and which spread its wealth all over the planet with one based on (international) “highway robbery” (don’t take my word for it, take it from Paul Craig Roberts himself who unambiguously stated recently that “American Capitalism is Based on Plunder”). Yes, the Soviet system was fundamentally rotten, profoundly dysfunctional and ineffective (only imbeciles or ignoramuses would deny that!), but it was not in any way “defeated” by the West nor is Capitalism any “better” or “superior” (whatever you want that to mean) than Communism (more on this here if you are interested).]

For all these reasons, there is really nothing much Russia (or China) can do about this situation besides publishing an official warning to the Russian people saying that if they travel abroad they should realize that “US intelligence agencies continue their current hunt for Russians around the world”. They also made public the list of countries which have extradition treaties with the USA: Australia, Austria, Albania, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Belgium, Bulgaria, Bolivia, Brazil, United Kingdom, Hungary, Canada, Colombia, Congo, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Egypt, Dominica, Greece, Guyana, Haiti, Guatemala, Germany, Honduras, Greece, Israel, India, Jordan, Iraq, Ireland, Iceland, Italy, Kenya, Latvia, Lesotho, Liberia, Lithuania, Venezuela, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malawi, Malaysia, Malta, Mauritius, Marshall Islands, Mexico, Micronesia, Monaco, Myanmar, Nauru, Nigeria, Netherlands, Nicaragua, new Zealand, Norway, Pakistan, Palau, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Romania, El Salvador, San Marino, Swaziland, Seychelles, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Saint Lucia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, Suriname, Sierra Leone, Thailand, Tanzania, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tuvalu, Turkey, Uruguay, Philippines, Finland, France, Czech Republic, Chile, Switzerland, Sweden, Sri Lanka, Ecuador, Estonia, South Africa, South Korea, Jamaica and Japan.

The MoFA concluded by warning that “The Russian foreign Ministry strongly urges all Russian citizens planning trips abroad to carefully weigh all the risks, especially if there is reason to assume the possibility of claims against them by American law enforcement agencies”.

Some caveat emptor before buying your airline ticket, right?!

Conclusion: it will get a lot worse before it gets better

First, we need to always remember that kidnappings are just the latest manifestation of an overall pattern of thuggery by the USA. The attitude is pervasive, and US citizens are not free of this climate of thuggery. Another good example are the outright bribes offered to the ships captains of Iran, to sail their crude carriers to somewhere were the US can literally pirate the carrier. Remember the amazing confession by Pompeo himself:

We lied, we cheated, we stole…. it reminds you of the glory of the American experiment”?

You don’t?

Then here is a quick refresher:

It can almost be rewritten and expanded like this:

We lie, we cheat, we steal, we kidnap, we bribe, we extort, we pirate, then we threaten, and then we tell everyone how exceptionally morally superior we are.

Yet a certain limit has been crossed. It is as if their own belief in their own moral superiority has inverted to the extent that their own moral superiority is so big, and so certain, that any small actions of thuggery is allowed to them. This will not change any time soon and even the most innocent traveler must have awareness of this. This is why the Chinese are now openly wondering if sending Chinese students to the USA is such a good idea after all.

So the first thing we have to accept is that this pattern of thuggery will not stop, if anything – it will expand.

Second, we have to also realize that there are no good options for the Russians or the Chinese. In fact, this is normal: civilized actors often find themselves “out-gunned”, so to speak, by thugs, sociopaths and criminals. Over time, however, thuggery is always self-defeating because it is inevitably linked to a delusion of impunity. As for civilized states, while it is true that they are at a fundamental disadvantage when faced by uncivilized thugs but, again, over time they eventually prevail if only because everybody always ends up fed up and disgusted with the thugs. Finally, while thuggery can seem attractive to people with sociopathic inclinations, most human beings need a higher ideal than just unbridled consumption to inspire them. Communism had (and I would argue, still has) this ability. Capitalism does not.

For the foreseeable future, however, we can only expect more of the same. Thanks to the ceaseless efforts of Obama and Trump the Empire is collapsing even faster than it normally would and we can expect that the current sequence of humiliating defeats for the USA (and, of course, Israel which has its own humiliating wounds to lick!) will continue and that the USA (and, of course, Israel!) will have to find more small targets (be it kidnapped Russian nationals or empty buildings in Syria) to kidnap or destroy and feel powerful again.

This will be revolting, disgusting and simply plain stupid.

But there is nothing Russia (or China) can do to stop it, at least not for the foreseeable future.

The Saker

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

By Philip Giraldi

Global Research, July 25, 2019

Strategic Culture Foundation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*

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

LONDON’S ‘MEDIA FREEDOM’ CONFERENCE SMACKS OF IRONY: CRITICS BARRED, NO MENTION OF JAILED ASSANGE

In Gaza

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Kirill Vyshinsky: Imprisoned over 1 year in Ukraine, a journalist who *should* have been highlighted at the “Media Freedom” conference but was not.

July 15, 2019, RT.com
Irony is the word which comes to mind at the mention of the “Global Conference for Media Freedom” co-hosted by the UK and Canadian foreign ministers. Everything about this twilight zone gathering smacked of irony.

Irony that governments which support terrorists in Syria and whitewash Israeli murders of Palestinian journalists have the gall to hold a conference feigning concern for journalists’ rights and media freedom.

Irony that journalists actually suffering persecution and unjust imprisonment –like Kirill Vyshinsky and Julian Assange – were not the focus of the conference, with Assange only mentioned in passing, and Vyshinsky, presumably, not at all.

Irony most of all that a conference — according to Global Affairs Canada, an “international campaign to shine a global spotlight on media freedom…”– refused participation of two major and sought-out media outlets, both Russian: RT and Sputnik.

Organizers apparently tried to claim the reason for the exclusion was simply that they’d met their quota of journalists attending. But they didn’t maintain the lie to Western media, RT London correspondent Polly Boiko noted:

Behind our backs other news channels got a very different message: ‘We have not accredited RT or Sputnik because of their active role in spreading disinformation.’”

Former Guardian Chief Foreign Correspondent Jonathan Steele called the exclusion of RT and Sputnik a “disgrace”, also stating:

I think they’re trying to isolate RT and imply that it’s not a genuine broadcaster in the hope that British people and others around the world who watched RT International won’t continue to watch it.

The irony –yet again– is that Russia isn’t doing the same, isn’t isolating Western media.

Russia-based journalist Bryan MacDonald tweeted:

It’s like the world has turned on its head. Moscow is literally paying people to translate Western media into Russian (see @RT_InoTV). But the UK is in a panic about Russian outlets, even running covert operations, such as “Integrity Initiative,” to “combat” a perceived threat.”

Even the Committee to Protect Journalists expressed concern at the UK’s exclusion of RT and Sputnik.

From the feedback on the UK Foreign Office tweet featuring CNN’s Christiane Amanpour about

reporting the truth”, it was refreshing to see that many saw this charade for what it was, calling it Orwellian, and noting that Britain is “torturing journalist Julian Assange as it uses @CAmanpour to produce propaganda claiming it cares about media freedom.

I couldn’t help chiming in, noting Amanpour’s exploitation of a Syrian child in order to demonize Russia.

Eva Bartlett

@EvaKBartlett

Theatre of the absurd. Truthful? Amanpour waved photo of Omran Daqneesh in face of Lavrov & essentially accused Russia of airstriking boy’s home. Boy’s dad told me no airstrike. It was fake news. https://www.mintpressnews.com/mintpress-meets-father-iconic-aleppo-boy-says-media-lied-son/228722/ 
Did Amanpour bother apologizing for her propaganda? Nope. https://twitter.com/foreignoffice/status/1148864435194347520 

MintPress Meets The Father Of Iconic Aleppo Boy, Who Says Media Lied About His Son

MintPress sat down with the father of the now-infamous Aleppo boy, Omran Daqneesh. Omran’s father, Mohammad Daqneesh, says his son was exploited by Syrian rebels and the media for political gain.,…

mintpressnews.com

Foreign Office 🇬🇧

@foreignoffice

‘Our job is to report the truth. It is not to be neutral, it is to be truthful’ @camanpour explains the vital role that journalists play in society. #DefendMediaFreedom

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The UK conference isn’t the first example of an international event hosting regime-change media while excluding critical media.

Earlier this year, when the Lima Group was meeting in Canada to discuss the self-proclaimed non-president, Juan Guaido, Canada likewise denied accreditation to Telesur and Russian media.

Global Affairs Canada alleged at the time there would be “reciprocal action against Canadian media in Russia.

However, Bryan MacDonald told me: “Any that wish can operate in Russia. There are no restrictions.”

Indeed, a perusal of the Twitter accounts of CBC and Radio Canada journalists shows they’ve continued reporting from Russia months since Canada’s allegation of reciprocal action.

Which outlets did Canada give access to during the Lima meeting? CNN, Univision, Voice of America, Al Jazeera, CBC, CTV, Global, and La Presse, among other regime-change networks.

Telesur noted at the time of the Canadian block:

The government did not provide any reasoning for the denial of Lima Group meeting access, but has recently been called out for limiting press freedom within the country based on the preferences of its government.

Sound familiar?

A regime change conference

The UK conference seems to have been a who’s who of terrorist and extremist supporters and journalists who whitewash their crimes. Or, as a Canadian journalist who attended put it, the conference was:

Meetings behind closed doors. Barring certain people from a press conference. Letting only hand-picked journalists ask questions. Here’s how Canada’s “media freedom” conference went down.

Andrew Lawton

@AndrewLawton

Meetings behind closed doors. Barring certain people from a press conference. Letting only hand-picked journalists ask questions. Here’s how Canada’s “media freedom” conference went down. https://tnc.news/2019/07/11/lawton-media-freedom-conference-pays-lip-service-to-press-freedom/ 

LAWTON: Media freedom conference pays lip service to press freedom – True North News

Canadian and British governments demonstrated they’re more interested in a glossy show of support for press freedom without conducting themselves in a way that fosters it.

tnc.news

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That same journalist noted,
only two pre-selected Canadian journalists were permitted to ask questions of Freeland and Hunt at a brief media availability on the first day of the conference. Media were not allowed in the room for what may have been the most consequential part of the conference, a session with government representatives from around the world on “how to sustain the impact of the (Defend Media Freedom) campaign after the conference.

Present were the BBC, CNN, and CBC, among others. Although these outlets have all systematically churned out disinformation on Syria and Russia, they were presented as truthful authorities on ‘media freedom.’

The BBC dubs itself “the most trusted international news broadcaster.” This lofty claim is easily debunked when looking at the BBC’s history of war propaganda on Syria, including its 2013, “Saving Syria’s Children”, a report which Robert Stuart has doggedly investigated, revealing its falsehoods.

Or the time the BBC used Italian photojournalist Marco Di Lauro‘s photo from Iraq to claim it was Houla, Syria.

beeb

As I wrote before, “Upon demand of the aghast journalist, the claim was later retracted and corrected, an “accident”…but who was listening by that point?”

Or that time the BBC’s Middle East specialist asserted a viral video was in a “regime” area of Syria –because of the “Syrian army flag” painted on a barrel– when the clip was filmed in Malta by Norwegians, and the barrel was painted with an out-of-sequence attempt at replicating Syria’s flag.

expert

But more telling about the BBC’s trustworthiness is the fact that, according to the Canary, “The UK Conservative government appoints the chair of the BBC board and its four national directors.”

Pegged as a Venezuelan investigative reporter, Luz Mely Reyes was invited to the conference. Reyes advocates for non-president Juan Guaido and is cheer-led by Western media gatekeepers like TIME and the Guardian. She was thus, indeed, a perfect guest for the regime-change conference.

Syrian participants included exclusively pro-regime-change journalists, such as:

-Karam Nachar, a “cyber-activist working with Syrian protesters via social media platforms,” according to his bio on Democracy Now, where, as with other regime-change supporters, he has appeared frequently arguing the case for western intervention.

-Wa’ad Al Khatib, promoted before Aleppo’s liberation in 2016 as an independent filmmaker. Her clips were featured by none other than the UK’s Channel 4, one of the worst offenders in war propaganda on Syria.

The irony is that Wa’ad al-Khatib was slated to speak about the role of local journalists with respect to international media coverage of areas. But she,like so many other darlings of Western corporate media, reported fully embedded in terrorist areas, clearly with the permission and approval of terrorists.

Chairing panels on safety and protection of journalists was none other than Sky News’ Alex Crawford. In June, Crawford was seen embedded with al-Qaeda in Idlib, as were CBS journalists, both teams presumably having entered Syria illegally.

One could muse that Crawford’s safety advice was: pay up to al-Qaeda and you’ll be fine moving alongside terrorists.

A panel on “Navigating Disinformation” was chaired by Chrystia Freeland – known for her allegiances to the Ukrainian authorities and the bloody coup that brought them to power, to the Venezuelan coup-plotters and to the White Helmets of al-Qaeda– not exactly the most neutral or balanced person to moderate.

Fake Concern For Journalists; No Mention Of Assange, Kirill Vyshinsky

Glaringly absent from the agenda was the issue of Julian Assange, held at Belmarsh prison a short drive away.

John McEvoy@jmcevoy_2

This is the distance between the UK’s ‘defend media freedom’ event and Belmarsh prison. Julian Assange can probably smell the hypocrisy from his cell.

View image on Twitter
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the UK conference is happening at the same time that Julian Assange’s extradition papers are being signed by the UK.

On July 10, the first day of the conference, Hunt stated that countries that restrict media freedom must be made to pay a diplomatic price, saying:

If we act together we can shine a spotlight on abuses and impose a diplomatic price on those who’d harm journalists or lock them up for doing their jobs.

This from the Foreign Secretary of a government which is

holding journalist Julian Assange behind bars pending a US extradition hearing for exposing American war crimes.

When challenged by Ruptly journalist Barnaby Nerberka on Assange, in contrast to his lofty words on the previous day, Hunt said nothing.

Barnaby Nerberka@barnabynerberka

Jeremy Hunt refuses to answer my questions on the plight of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and the banning of Russian media from the ‘media freedom conference’

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Ukrainian-Russian journalist Kirill Vyshinsky was not featured in spite of having been unjustlydetained by Ukraine for 14 months now, a glaring violation of media freedom.

Russia in Canada

@RussianEmbassyC

🇷🇺 journalist Kirill Vyshinsky is imprisoned in accused of “high treason” for doing his job

🇨🇦 🇬🇧 so-called forum ignores his show trial & similar cases of attacks on , incl. @OSCE_RFoM condemned ban on Russian journalists accreditation

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Likewise, certainly absent was mention of Syrian journalist Khaled al-Khatib, killed in 2017 by ISIS (IS/Islamic State, formerly ISIL), or of any of theSyrian and allied journalists murdered by jihadists before he was.

The UK Foreign Office made the mistake of tweeting about the risk of “torture, disappearances and death,” in Eastern Ukraine.

Ukrainian journalist Sergey Belous, kidnapped by Ukrainian armed forces in 2014, corrected him.

Foreign Office 🇬🇧

@foreignoffice

In the non-government controlled areas of Eastern Ukraine, journalists risk torture, disappearances and death.

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Sergey Belous@Belous_SR

Ha-ha-ha! Where you’ve been when I (war reporter, working as stringer for Ukrainian 112 chanel) was kidnapped by Ukrainian armed forces in 2014? Hypocrites! Stop spreading lies! What’s about or , for example?

See Sergey Belous’s other Tweets
Likewise, Mark Sleboda called BS, noting the over 20 journalist killed by “the militant forces & brownshirt paramilitary ‘batallions’ of the new regime.”

Clearly, the grandiose words of foreign ministers Hunt and Freeland apply only to journalists supporting regime change, not those targeted by allied governments and their terrorists.

After the Censorship  Conference

On Saturday, I read that a popular Ukrainian TV channel was attacked with a grenade launcher on the day an Oliver Stone documentary on Ukraine was to be aired.

Ivan Katchanovski@I_Katchanovski

It would be revealing reaction of new president @ZelenskyyUa to such undemocratic and illiberal actions of political appointees of Poroshenko regime and far right against US documentary that they have not seen and against freedom of the press & expression in .

Ivan Katchanovski@I_Katchanovski

Popular TV channel is shelled from grenade launcher in order to prevent its broadcast today of US by @TheOliverStone. It would reveal involvement of snipers in Maidan massacre. Would there be any reaction from US government? https://112.ua/glavnye-novosti/v-noch-na-13-myulya-dvoe-neizvestnyh-iz-granatometa-obstrelyali-zdanie-112-kanala-499728.html 

Здание телеканала 112 Украина обстреляли из гранатомета

Полицейские квалифицируют происшествие как террористический акт

112.ua

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“Any reaction from so-called ‘Global Media Freedom’ conference co-hosts Freeland & Hunt, or those who pledged to ‘shine a light on violations & abuses of media freedom, bringing them to the attention of global public and working towards accountability’”.

My question was of course rhetorical, not honestly expecting those governmental representatives who signed a pledge “to work together to protect media freedom” to actually do that.

Their pledge entailed committing to “shine a light on violations and abuses of media freedom, bringing them to the attention of the global public and working towards accountability.” How ironic.

RELATED LINKS:

“They Just Want Me in Prison”: MintPress Interviews Jailed Ukrainian Journalist Kirill Vyshinsky

‘They know that we know they are liars, they keep lying’: West’s war propaganda on Ghouta crescendos

FAKE NEWS WEEK: Why Channel 4 “News” Owes an Apology to Syria

Exploitation of children in propaganda war against Syria continues

Julian Assange Is Being Murdered

By Craig Murray
Source

Hands Off Assange 35323

We are seriously worried about the condition of Julian Assange. He was too unwell to appear in court yesterday, and his Swedish lawyer, Per Samuelson, found him in a state where he was unable to conduct a conversation and give instructions. There are very definite physical symptoms, particularly rapid weight loss, and we are not satisfied that genuine and sufficient diagnostic efforts are being made to determine the underlying cause.

Julian had been held for the last year in poor, highly confining and increasingly oppressive conditions in the Ecuadorean Embassy and his health was already deteriorating alarmingly before his expulsion and arrest. A number of conditions, including dental abcesses, can have very serious consequences if long term untreated, and the continual refusal by the British government and latterly the Ecuadoreans to permit him access to adequate healthcare while a political asylee was a callous denial of basic human rights.

I confess to feeling an amount of personal relief after his arrest that at least he would now get proper medical treatment. However there now seems to be no intention to provide that and indeed since he has been in Belmarsh his health problems have accelerated. I witnessed enough of the British state’s complicity in torture to know that this may be more than just the consequence of unintended neglect. That the most lucid man I know is now not capable of having a rational conversation is extremely alarming.

There is no rational reason that Assange needs to be kept in a high security facility for terrorists and violent offenders. We are seeing the motive behind his unprecedented lengthy imprisonment for jumping police bail when he entered political asylum. As a convicted prisoner, Assange can be kept in a worse regime than if he were merely on remand for his extradition proceedings. In particular, his access to his lawyers is extremely restricted and for a man facing major legal proceedings in the UK, USA and Sweden it is impossible, even were he healthy, for his lawyers to have sufficient time with him adequately to prepare his cases while he is under the restrictions placed on a convict. Of course we know from the fact that, within three hours of being dragged from the Ecuadorean Embassy, he was already convicted and sentenced to a lengthy prison term, that the state has no intention that his lawyers should be able to prepare.

I have asked before and I ask again. If this were a dissident publisher in Russia, what would the UK political and media class be saying about his being dragged out by armed police, and convicted and sentenced to jail by a judge without a jury, just three hours later, after a farce of a “trial” in which the judge insulted him and called him a “narcissist” before he had said anything in his defence? The Western media would be up in arms if that happened in Russia. Here, they cheer it on.

Below is a photo of Julian in the Embassy in happier times, during the Correa Presidency, with a truly amazing and strong group of people, every one of whose stories we can follow and learn from.

I should add that I am currently trying to see Julian personally with two other close friends, but obviously access is extremely difficult.

Julian’s personal possessions have been seized by the Ecuadoreans to be given to the US government. These include not only computers but his legal and medical papers. This is yet another example of completely illegal state action against him. Furthermore, any transfer must involve the stolen material physically transiting London, and the British government is taking no steps to prevent that, which is yet another of multiple signs of the degree of international governmental coordination behind the flimsy pretence of independent judicial action.

ecuadoreanembassy c4b33

Julian is imprisoned for at least another five months, even with parole (which they will probably find an excuse not to grant). After that he will be held further on remand. There is therefore no need for rush. The refusal of the Swedish court to delay a hearing on a potential extradition warrant at all, to allow Julian to recover to the extent he can instruct his lawyer, and the very brief postponement of the US extradition hearing in London, with the intimation it may be held inside Belmarsh prison if Julian is too unwell to move, are both examples of an entirely unaccustomed and unnecessary haste with which the case is being rushed forward. The mills of God grind slowly; those of the Devil seem to spin dangerously fast.

Finally, for those who still believe that actions against Julian, particularly but not only in Sweden, are in any way motivated by a concern for justice, particularly justice for violated women, I do urge you to read this excellent account by Jonathan Cook. As a summary of the truly breathtaking series of legal abuses by states against Assange, that the corporate and state media has been deliberately distorting and hiding for a decade, it cannot be bettered.

Swedish Sex Pistol Aimed at Assange by Jim Kavanagh + John Pilger: US Charges Against Julian Assange Are Ridiculous! — Dandelion Salad

by Jim Kavanagh Writer, Dandelion Salad The Polemicist May 31, 2019 In my article, Avoiding Assange, a month ago, right after the first US indictment was issued, I addressed two diversionary arguments that I knew would be used by those who want to hide their complicity with American imperialism under leftish cover—that is, those who […]

via Swedish Sex Pistol Aimed at Assange by Jim Kavanagh + John Pilger: US Charges Against Julian Assange Are Ridiculous! — Dandelion Salad

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