Tag Archives: British Government

The Coming Show Trial of Julian Assange, by Chris Hedges

The last thing Julian Assange can expect in the US is a fair trial. From Chris Hedges at truthdig.com:

The Coming Show Trial of Julian Assange

LONDON—On Friday morning I was in a small courtroom at Westminster Magistrates’ Court in London. Julian Assange, held in Belmarsh Prison and dressed in a pale-blue prison shirt, appeared on a video screen directly in front of me. Assange, his gray hair and beard neatly trimmed, slipped on heavy, dark-frame glasses at the start of the proceedings. He listened intently as Ben Brandon, the prosecutor, seated at a narrow wooden table, listed the crimes he allegedly had committed and called for his extradition to the United States to face charges that could result in a sentence of 175 years. The charges include the release of unredacted classified material that posed a “grave” threat to “human intelligence sources” and “the largest compromises of confidential information in the history of the United States.” After the prosecutor’s presentation, Assange’s attorney, Mark Summers, seated at the same table, called the charges “an outrageous and full-frontal assault on journalistic rights.”

Most of us who have followed the long persecution of Assange expected this moment, but it was nevertheless deeply unsettling, the opening of the final act in a Greek tragedy where the hero, cursed by fortuna, or fate, confronts the dark forces from which there is no escape.

For more information on the Assange case, see Chris Hedges interview U.N. special rapporteur on torture Nils Melzer and read the transcript. Also, see Hedges interview WikiLeaks Editor in Chief Kristinn Hrafnsson.

The publication of classified documents is not a crime in the United States, but if Assange is extradited and convicted it will become one. Assange is not an American citizen. WikiLeaks, which he founded and publishes, is not a U.S.-based publication. The message the U.S. government is sending is clear: No matter who or where you are, if you expose the inner workings of empire you will be hunted down, kidnapped and brought to the United States to be tried as a spy. The extradition and trial of Assange will mean the end of public investigations by the press into the crimes of the ruling elites. It will cement into place a frightening corporate tyranny. Publications such as The New York Times and The Guardian, which devoted pages to the WikiLeaks revelations and later amplified and legitimized Washington’s carefully orchestrated character assassination of Assange, are no less panicked. This is the gravest assault on press freedom in my lifetime.

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Integrity Initiative: Big Brother’s Minions – or Flim-Flam Artists? by Patrick Armstrong

Is the Integrity Initiative anything to be concerned about? From Patrick Armstrong at strategic-culture.com:

I’m not sure what to make of Integrity Initiative (what a great gaslighting name: integrity? Hah hah: no, just furtive paid propaganda and opinion steering). But I watch the unfolding revelations with fascination. Certainly, the whole thing is bigger than it seemed at first and all the documents being revealed appear to be true.

On the one hand, it looks like a group of superannuated old gits gassing on about how warfare today involves everything, especially “information warfare”, while last century it was only bullets. (Ever read any, say, Sun Tzu or Clausewitz? Or, speaking of the last century, Goebbels? How about Bernays?) And how we concerned individuals have voluntarily come together (assisted by £2+ million of the taxpayer’s money) to save democracy. Unpaid, unasked and unplotted. Completely conspiracy-free in fact. (Too late, the documents are out). In short, that the essence of democracy is never to doubt what the Ministry of Truth tells you. There’s a naïve and bubble-like quality to this: they never think any thoughts but their own. So maybe these guys, instead of kveching at the mirror and shouting at the TV set, have figured out how to flim-flam the government into supplementing their pensions in return for pages of conspiracy-babble.

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Skripal and Syria… The Imperative of Criminalizing Russia, by Finian Cunningham

The British and American governments say Russia poisoned the Skripals with deadly chemicals because they say so, and Russia’s ally in Syria, the Syrian government, uses chemical warfare because they say so, and anyone that would use chemicals on civilians in Britain would do so in Syria and vice versa, because they say so. From Finian Cunningham at strategic-culture.org:

There is a direct link between Britain’s sensational allegations against Russia in the Skripal affair and NATO’s losing covert war in Syria.

That’s not just the opinion of critical observers. Britain’s ambassador to the United Nations made the explicit link when she called an “emergency meeting” of the Security Council earlier this week.

The Security Council meeting was convened only hours after British counter-terrorism police released video images claiming to identify two Russian men, whom it said were responsible for the alleged poison assassination attempt on former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal in England earlier this year.

The council meeting also followed swiftly on the heels of British Prime Minister Theresa May telling her parliament that the culprits were Russian military intelligence officers acting on orders from the Kremlin. May did not give supporting evidence. It was bald assertion. Continue reading

Britain Should Be in the Dock Over Skripal Saga, Not Russia, by the Strategic Culture Editorial Board

The Skripal investigation has about as much credibility as Russiagate does in the US. From the editorial board of Strategic Culture at strategic-culture.org:

The latest announcement by British authorities of two named Russian suspects in connection with the alleged poison assassination of a former Russian spy and his daughter is more absurd drama in a long-running tawdry saga.

No verifiable evidence is ever presented, just more lurid innuendo and more refusal by the British authorities to abide by any due process and international norms of diplomacy. It is all scurrilous sound and fury aimed at smearing Russia.

This week, Britain’s Metropolitan Police released video shots of two alleged Russian men purporting to show them arriving at London’s Gatwick airport on March 2. Other video shots purport to show the same men walking the streets of Salisbury on March 3, the day before former Russian Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were apparently stricken with a powerful nerve agent. The two would-be assassins then allegedly flew back to Moscow from London late on March 4. Continue reading

Britain Prepares for War Against Russia, by Brian Cloughley

The Russians are coming! The Russians are coming! Or maybe not, but Russia makes not just a great scapegoat (Skripal poisoning) but a great excuse to throw money at the British military. From Brian Cloughley at strategic-culture.org:

The headline in the UK newspaper the Daily Mail on August 7 encapsulated much that is paranoid in sad modern Britain. It read “Russian warships pass through English Channel as Putin’s armed forces ratchet up pressure on the Royal Navy.”

Certainly, the United Kingdom is in a state of crisis; but it isn’t because of any sort of military threat. The vote to leave the European Union was a major slide down the greasy pole of decline and Time magazine summed up the debacle by pointing out that “At heart of this political saga is the fact that the politicians leading the Brexit “Leave” campaign — Boris Johnson chief among them — never actually explained to the British public what a vote for ‘Leave’ entailed. The promise of Brexit was all things to all people, which is how it managed its 52- to 48-percent victory over the ‘Remain’ side. Then prime minister David Cameron resigned, and it fell to his successor Theresa May to figure out what Brexit actually means.”

The Brexit pantomime is taking place in an era in which it is recorded that “As benefits are cut and rents soar, Britain has seen a staggering rise in homelessness: the number of rough sleepers in England alone has more than doubled since 2010. Almost 1.2 million older people in Britain, as well as another one million disabled people, are living without the social care they need for basics such as eating, dressing and washing. It’s horrific: severely ill people forced to wait 14 hours to go to the toilet or wheelchair users who, with no assistant to help them cook, are now malnourished.”

But this dreadful state of affairs means nothing to those who lack for nothing — which includes politicians of the governing Conservative Party who demand that more taxpayers’ money must be spent on military hardware. The previous defence minister, Michael Fallon (who had to resign because he was found out to have indulged in some sexual shenanigans), told the BBC last year that “we will be adding to defence, there will be new equipment and the budget will grow every year” and the present one, Gavin Williamson (the man who said that Russia should “go away and shut up”), demanded in June that Britain increase its annual military spending by £20 billion, or about 25 billion dollars.

To continue reading: Britain Prepares for War Against Russia

Pilger Excoriates Media on Assange Silence, an Interview with Dennis Bernstein and Randy Credico

The mainstream media’s cowardice with regards to Julian Assange is even greater than that of the governments that are persecuting him. Assange is protecting the freedom of the press (see today’s SLL article, “America’s Kristallnacht?“). From John Pilger, Dennis Bernstein, and Randy Credico at consortiumnews.com:

DB: John, what is the latest we know about how Julian Assange is being treated and his current state?

John Pilger: His state of health is just about the same, as I understand it. He needs medical attention, the kind of treatment you get only in a hospital. But it has been made clear to him that if he attempts to go to a hospital he will not be given free passage and he will be arrested. Since he was arrested in 2010, Assange has not been charged with a single crime. His treatment amounts to the most unprecedented persecution. Julian could leave the embassy if his own government, the government of his homeland, Australia, applied legitimate diplomatic pressure on behalf of its citizen. We must ask ourselves why this hasn’t happened.

My own feeling is that there is a great deal of collusion between the Australian, the British and the US governments–meant to close down WikiLeaks completely and/or deliver Julian Assange to the Americans. Recently the Australian foreign minister, Julie Bishop, traveled with senior officials to London and to Washington and raised the whole matter of Julian. But they raised it in a way that didn’t support the idea that a government should represent its citizens. These people listened to the more powerful governments. In Washington they met Mr. Pompeo, who refused to discuss Assange altogether. I think there is collusion which amounts to an attempt to try to do a deal with Assange whereby he might be allowed free passage of return to Australia if he shuts down WikiLeaks. I think that is very, very likely.

As I understand Julian, this is something he would not even contemplate. But that might be one of the so-called “wretched deals” that are being offered Assange. Some very strange things are being said by senior members of these two governments. The new foreign secretary of the United Kingdom, Jeremy Hunt, said sarcastically that the British police would offer Julian “a warm welcome” when he came out, when he would face serious charges. There are no serious charges. He hasn’t been charged with anything.

Was Hunt referring to a deal which has already been done with the United States on extradition? I don’t know. But this is the milieu of machination around someone who has the right of natural justice concerning his freedom. Putting aside freedom of speech, the persecution of this man has been something that should horrify all free-thinking people. If it doesn’t horrify us, then we have surrendered something very valuable.

To continue reading: Pilger Excoriates Media on Assange Silence

UK Parliament: Little Interest in Grooming Gangs, by Andrew Jones

You’re more likely to attract the attention of British authorities if you talk about grooming gangs than if you’re in one. From Andrew Jones at gatestoneinstitute.org:

  • The approach the British authorities have taken in response to this national disaster appears largely based on countering secondary issues — most notably, individuals that protest the grooming, including at one point the arrest of parents attempting to rescue their daughter from her abusers.
  • There also seems to be a tacit alliance with much of the media to silence public discourse and, when all else fails, outright suppression.

In response to Britain’s ongoing sexual grooming scandal, a group of 20 MPs signed an open letter to recently appointed Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, urging coordinated action.

As the UK Parliament has 650 MPs, the 20 signatories constitute a mere 3% willing to support the protection of children subjected to gang-rape, trafficking and torture, and at times murder. Such a paltry number of politicians willing to speak out against child sexual slavery seems yet more evidence of the moral bankruptcy of Britain’s political elite and how low the country appears to have sunk.

Britain’s media elite have ignored the letter. Reporting has been limited to the local press in Oxford and Rochdale — areas afflicted by grooming — as well as a few alternative media outlets such as Breitbart London, and indirect reference on Sky News.

Of the British Parliament’s 650 MPs, a mere 20 were willing to sign an open letter to support the protection of children subjected to gang-rape, trafficking and torture, and at times murder. Pictured: The Palace of Westminster in London, meeting place of the Houses of Parliament. (Arpingstone/Wikimedia Commons)

A key signatory of the letter, Rotherham MP Sarah Champion, whose constituency was made infamous by grooming, was forced from Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party front bench in 2017 for speaking openly about the prevalence of “British Pakistani men” in this type of child sexual exploitation. Given that Sajid Javid, then Communities Secretary, spoke in support of Champion, it is perhaps intentional that this letter was addressed to him in his new role as Britain’s first Muslim Home Secretary.

Javid’s Muslim faith and Pakistani heritage place him in an untouchable position regarding accusations of racism or bigotry, should he continue to address the uncomfortable ethnic and cultural realities of grooming. Prior to becoming Home Secretary he touched on these and could now continue to say what needs to be said and act effectively — in ways many other politicians could not — without being pilloried by the UK’s largely left-leaning media.

To continue reading: UK Parliament: Little Interest in Grooming Gangs