As predicted by Assange and Wikileaks, Assange has been indicted under the Espionage Act. From Caitlin Johnstone at medium.com:
And there it is. WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been charged by the Trump administration’s Justice Department with 17 counts of violating the Espionage Act, carrying a maximum sentence of 175 years in prison. Exactly as Assange and his defenders have been warning would happen for nearly a decade.
The indictment, like the one which preceded it last month with Assange’s arrest, is completely fraudulent, as it charges Assange with “crimes” that are indistinguishable from conventional journalistic practices. The charges are based on the same exact evidence which was available to the Obama administration, which as journalist Glenn Greenwald noted last year declined to prosecute Assange citing fear of destroying press freedoms.
Hanna Bloch-Wehba, an associate professor at Drexel University’s Thomas R. Kline School of Law, has called the indictment “a worst-case, nightmare, mayday scenario for First Amendment enthusiasts.” Bloch-Wehba explains that that the indictment’s “theories for liability rest heavily on Assange’s relationship with Manning and his tendency to encourage Manning to continue to bring WikiLeaks material” in a way that “is not readily distinguishable from many reporter-source relationships cultivated over a period of time.”
If the EU is so essential, why do so many European nations that are not part of it do so much better than so many that are? From Ferghane Azihari at mises.org:
A certain nostalgic view of the Roman Empire has helped to push the idea the European Union is essential to the prosperity and success of Europe. But a closer look at the continent invalidates the link between prosperity and affiliation to Brussels’ Europe. Among the richest European countries are the countries outside the Union. This is the case in Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.
Nor is there a link between the wealth of a country and its membership in large political groups at the global level. In addition to the regions already mentioned, many places combine smallness and wealth, as shown by Singapore, Taiwan, South Korea and New Zealand.
Unfortunately for the proponents of a political Europe, the historical rise of the European civilization also illustrates the opposite of the imperial narrative. The American historian David Landes recalled in 1998 that the fall of the Roman Empire was a happy event for the Old Continent. These affirmations support the work of the sociologist Jean Baechler, who, three decades earlier, wrote that the expansion of European trade was favored by the anarchy inherited from the feudal order.
The US Department of Justice has brought an 18-charge indictment against Julian Assange. Seventeen of the counts are for violations of the Espionage Act. To much scorn and derision Wikileaks and Assange have been warning for years that this is exactly what the US government would do. They have been vindicated. Obama Justice Department lawyers, examining the exact same evidence as the Trump Justice Department lawyers, declined to press charges against Assange because they believed it would criminalize essential elements of journalism, one of which is disclosure of secrets the government would rather not have disclosed, and obliterate the First Amendment. The Obama lawyers were right.
The Trump administration is attempting to silence a journalist and organization that have acted as a clearinghouse for whistleblowers outside and inside governments who have courageously sought to reveal their governments’ depredations and crimes. In this country, Assange and Wikileaks have embarrassed and infuriated both the left and right, Democrats and Republicans, and so they have no friends or protectors within the powers that be. An important point is that they have done their job mostly with documents and other materials produced by the perpetrators themselves. Telling the truth has indeed become a revolutionary act, which is always a hallmark of tyranny.
Once upon a time some of us hoped that voting for Donald Trump was a revolutionary act, but like most stories that begin with, “Once upon a time,” that has proven a fairy tale. Unless Trump issues a full and unconditional pardon for Assange before he has to undergo years of legal proceedings fighting extradition in Europe and Britain, and then this indictment in the US, never again will I support Donald Trump. Nor will I support any other politician who either supports the indictment or refuses to make his or her opinion known about the matter. At this time, only Tulsi Gabbard has publicly supported Julian Assange, and if she continues to do so she has my vote in 2020, regardless of my complete disagreement with many of her other positions. She would be the first Democrat for whom I’ve ever voted.
That makes me a one-issue voter. I’m a writer and speaker, often writing and speaking about government and politics. I cherish my freedom and the threat to it is the issue most important to me. To all those who regard the First Amendment as subsidiary to other issues—foreign policy, the economy, immigration, the stock market, or the other headline grabbers—or who feel that the US can still be a “great” nation without the First Amendment I say this: you are fools, you fully deserve what’s coming, and don’t you dare bewail your fate or that of your country when what remains of the greatness of America is gone and it has become the tyrannical hellhole that appears to be its destiny.
European banks are certainly a strong candidate to kick off the next financial crisis. From Wolf Richter at wolfstreet.com:
Just bumping along the bottom, from hopeless to hope and back to hopeless.
The amazing thing with Deutsche Bank shares is this: Since 2007, so for 12 years, bottom fishers have been routinely taken out the back and shot, every time, with relentless regularity – as have big institutional investors, from Chinese conglomerates to state-owned wealth funds, that thought they were picking the bottom. A similar concept applies to European banks in general. May 2007 was the high point. And it has been brutal ever since – 12 years of misery.
Deutsche Bank shares dropped another 2.9% on Monday in Frankfurt, and closed at a new historic low of €6.64 after hitting €6.61 intraday. This time, the blame was put on UBS analysts that finally stamped “sell” on the stock, replacing their “neutral” rating. Deutsche Bank’s market cap is now down to just €13.8 billion. Shares have plunged 39% over the past 12 months and 60% since January 2018 (data via Investing.com):
The bank has been subject to years of revelations of shenanigans that span the palette. Once a conservative bank that primarily served its German business clientele in Germany and overseas, it decided to turn itself into a Wall Street high-flyer that caused its shares to skyrocket until May 2007, when it got tangled up in the Financial Crisis that then led to a slew of apparently never-ending hair-raising revelations, settlements with regulators, and huge fines.
John Bolton is a nut job, and he’s a close adviser to a man who can pull the nuclear trigger. From Joe Lauria at consortiumnews.com:
John Bolton has been saying for years he wants the Iranian government overthrown, and now he’s made his move. But this time he may have gone too far, writes Joe Lauria.
I knew John Bolton and interacted with him on a nearly daily basis with my colleagues in the press corps at United Nations headquarters in New York when Bolton was the United States ambassador there from August 2005 to December 2006.
Most diplomats, officials, and journalists were shocked that Bolton (evading confirmation with a recess appointment) had actually become the U.S. representative, given his long, public disdain for the UN. But that turned out to be the point. It’s been the strategy of Republican administrations to appoint the fiercest critic to head an agency or institution in order to weaken it, perhaps even fatally.
Bolton’s most infamous quote about the UN followed him into the building. In 1994 he had said: “The Secretariat building in New York has 38 stories. If it lost ten stories, it wouldn’t make a bit of difference.”
But a more telling comment in that same 1994 conference was when he said that no matter what the UN decides the U.S. will do whatever it wants:
The European Parliamentary elections will reveal just how strong nationalist sentiment is. From Patrick J. Buchanan at buchanan.org:
A week from today, Europeans may be able to gauge how high the tide of populism and nationalism has risen within their countries and on their continent.
For all the returns will be in from three days of elections in the 28 nations represented in the European Parliament.
Expectation: Nationalists and populists will turn in their strongest performance since the EU was established, and their parliamentary group — Europe of Nations and Freedom — could sweep a fourth of the seats in Strasbourg.
Nigel Farage’s new Brexit Party is predicted to run first in the British elections, winning two to three times the votes of the ruling Tory Party of Prime Minister Theresa May.
In France, Marine Le Pen’s National Rally is running even with the party of President Emmanuel Macron, who pleads for “more Europe.”
Matteo Salvini, interior minister and leader of the League, predicts his party will finish first in Italy and first in Europe.
At Salvini’s invitation, a dozen nationalist parties gathered in Milan this weekend. A week from now, they could be the third-largest bloc in the European Parliament. If so, their gains will come at the expense of the center-left and center-right parties that have dominated European politics since World War II.
If Brexit goes through, ordinary British people may get the idea that they, rather than the Deep State, should be deciding how they’re governed. By George Callaghan at theduran.com:
In 2016 the British people voted for independence. This was despite the despicable threats of the EU elite
Decades ago the British deep state hatched a nefarious plot against the British people. The elite wanted to foist European unity on an unwilling populace. The notion of the conceited Whitehall elite was that the peasants were stupid and the mandarins knew best. In late 1940s the United Kingdom politely declined offers to join the proposed European Coal and Steel Community. This was an embryonic European Economic Community. As Churchill said ‘we are with Europe but not of it.’ One Labour MP sagely said of joining the European project ‘the Durham miners won’t wear it.’ Those were the days when MPs quaintly cared about serving their constituents.
Harold Macmillan sought British accession to the European Economic Community. The French President de Gaulle rightly rejected the British application. De Gaulle was doing the British a favour. He correctly surmised that the United Kingdom would never be fulling committed to the EEC and that the bulk of the British people were adamantly opposed to such a venture. Charles de Gaulle was a visionary perhaps 70 years ahead of his time. He said that if the UK were admitted it would be forever sticking its oar in. These were prophetic words!
In the late 60s Harold Wilson’s Labour Government sought British membership of the EEC and was again rebuffed. In the early 1970s Edward Heath’s Conservative Government applied to the EEC for a third time. On this occasion Heath’s efforts were crowned with success. It only succeeded through subterfuge of the grossest character. Heath was warned by civil servants that the United Kingdom would have to sublimate itself to European sovereignty. Nevertheless Heath would not let the truth get in the way of his vaulting ambition. He released an official statement that ‘this involves no loss of essential national sovereignty’. Edward Heath did that in full knowledge of this being an outrageous falsehood. The public were assured that the idea there would one day be a single currency was a preposterous scare mongering tactic. In 2002 Heath was asked whether in the early 1970s he had envisaged the UK joining a single European currency. ‘Yes, of course’ he chortled.
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