From The Babylon Bee:
WASHINGTON, DC—In a landmark 5-4 decision led by alleged dogmatic constitutional extremist Amy Coney Barrett, the Supreme Court has decided the First Amendment can stay.
“This blatantly anti-science decision will kill trillions of people,” said CNN reporter Dan Bernapinkle. “We here at CNN tried to warn you that Trump’s SCOTUS nominees would usher in a dark age of wanton freedom in direct violation of Science’s wishes, but no one heard our warnings because the airports were closed due to COVID.”
In her written opinion, which she wrote in 3 minutes without consulting any notes, ACB said: “Yeah… so, the First Amendment includes freedom of religion and assembly. I asked my clerks to see whether there was a ‘virus clause’ somewhere in there and they didn’t find any. I’m just a Supreme Court Justice and I’m not allowed to remove amendments, so yeah — the First Amendment stays. Sorry, guys.”
In his dissenting opinion, Justice Roberts said, “Someone help me. Decisions are scary. I’m not anti-science! Am I doing this right? Please love me!”
If Julian Assange is extradited to the US and then convicted, the First Amendment is a dead letter. From Paul Craig Roberts at paulcraigroberts.org:
The illegal and unwarranted prosecution of Julian Assange by the US Government in a British court, if court it is and not a Star Chamber, is in fact the prosecution of the First Amendment. It will prevent journalists in the future from informing the public of criminal activity by government. This is already the case in a number of countries, and the US and UK are about to join them. Washington, working through a British judge and a British prosecutor, is murdering the First Amendment and, thereby, accountable government.
The US government’s case for Assange’s extradition to the US that is working its way through a CIA-suborned British court redefines journalists who hold government accountable as spies. In other words, journalists who reveal criminal actions of governments are quilty of espionage. If this were in fact the case, the New York Times would have been prosecuted for publishing the Pentagon Papers.
Once upon a time when law still ruled a person had to spy on his own country in order to have committed a crime. Julian Assange is an Australian citizen, but he is accused of committing espionage against the United States while living in Europe. If this were a crime under law, all the Israeli Mossad spies spying on the United States would be arrested and treated as Assange. Indeed, all spies of all countries spying on other countries, including the CIA and the British MI6, could be arrested and tried for espionage in the countries that they are spying on. Generally speaking, countries prosecute their own citizens who spy on their own country for foreign governments, but send foreign spies caught spying on them home ( https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2010/07/why-doesn-t-the-fbi-prosecute-more-spies.html ).
The US government is arguing that the First Amendment does not apply to foreigners to justify its persecution of Julian Assange. That is simply a lie. From Caitlin Johnstone at caitlinjohnstone.com:
WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Kristinn Hrafnsson gave a brief statement to the press after the latest court hearing for Julian Assange’s extradition case in London today, saying the Trump administration is arguing that the First Amendment of the US Constitution doesn’t provide press freedom protection to foreign nationals like Assange.
“We have now learned from submissions and affidavits presented by the United States to this court that they do not consider foreign nationals to have a First Amendment protection,” Hrafnsson said.
“Now let that sink in for a second,” Hrafnsson continued. “At the same time that the US government is chasing journalists all over the world, they claim they have extra-territorial reach, they have decided that all foreign journalists which include many of you here, have no protection under the First Amendment of the United States. So that goes to show the gravity of this case. This is not about Julian Assange, it’s about press freedom.”
No one is more conscious of the carnage being wreaked on First Amendment rights than Edward Snowden. From Adam Dick at ronpaulinstitute.org:
Julian Assange of WikiLeaks has been silenced. Assange was prevented from communicating with the outside world in his final 13 months at the Ecuador embassy in London, where he had obtained sanctuary from extradition to the United States. The silencing has continued in a British prison where Assange has been detained pending extradition to the US since British police forcibly removed him from the embassy in April.
Similarly, communication by Chelsea Manning has been much curtailed after Manning reveled United States military secrets. First, Manning served seven years in United States military prison after being convicted for the leak. Released from prison in 2017, Manning has been condemned to jail for most of the time since March of this year for refusing to testify for a grand jury involved in the US government’s effort to prosecute Assange. Continue reading
Tell the truth about government and our rulers, go to jail…or worse. From John W. Whitehead at rutherford.org:
“What happens to Julian Assange and to Chelsea Manning is meant to intimidate us, to frighten us into silence. By defending Julian Assange, we defend our most sacred rights. Speak up now or wake up one morning to the silence of a new kind of tyranny. The choice is ours.”—John Pilger, investigative journalist
All of us are in danger.
In an age of prosecutions for thought crimes, pre-crime deterrence programs, and government agencies that operate like organized crime syndicates, there is a new kind of tyranny being imposed on those who dare to expose the crimes of the Deep State, whose reach has gone global.
The Deep State has embarked on a ruthless, take-no-prisoners, all-out assault on truth-tellers.
Activists, journalists and whistleblowers alike are being terrorized, traumatized, tortured and subjected to the fear-inducing, mind-altering, soul-destroying, smash-your-face-in tactics employed by the superpowers-that-be.
Posted in Civil Liberties, Collapse, Government, Insurrection, Media, Politics, Privacy, Surveillance
Tagged Chelsea Manning, Deep State, Edward Snowden, First Amendment, Julian Assange, Orwell
When a government resorts to force to enforce its dictates and curtail rights, eventually that’s all it has—force. Eventually it loses even that. From John W. Whitehead at rutherford.org:
“Since when have we Americans been expected to bow submissively to authority and speak with awe and reverence to those who represent us? The constitutional theory is that we the people are the sovereigns, the state and federal officials only our agents. We who have the final word can speak softly or angrily. We can seek to challenge and annoy, as we need not stay docile and quiet.”—Justice William O. Douglas, dissenting, Colten v. Kentucky, 407 U.S. 104 (1972)
Forget everything you’ve ever been taught about free speech in America.
It’s all a lie.
There can be no free speech for the citizenry when the government speaks in a language of force.
What is this language of force?
Militarized police. Riot squads. Camouflage gear. Black uniforms. Armored vehicles. Mass arrests. Pepper spray. Tear gas. Batons. Strip searches. Surveillance cameras. Kevlar vests. Drones. Lethal weapons. Less-than-lethal weapons unleashed with deadly force. Rubber bullets. Water cannons. Stun grenades. Arrests of journalists. Crowd control tactics. Intimidation tactics. Brutality.
This is not the language of freedom.
This is not even the language of law and order.
This is the language of force.
Unfortunately, this is how the government at all levels—federal, state and local—now responds to those who choose to exercise their First Amendment right to peacefully assemble in public and challenge the status quo.
The indictment of Julian Assange represents a direct assault on the First Amendment’s guarantee of a free press. From Andrew Napolitano at lewrockwell.com:
“Congress shall make no law…
abridging the freedom of speech,
or of the press…”
— First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution
When James Madison agreed be the scrivener at the Constitutional Convention during the summer of 1787, he could not have known that just three years later he’d be the chair of the House of Representatives committee whose task it was to draft the Bill of Rights.
In doing so, he insisted that the word “the” precede the phrase “freedom of speech” in what was to become the First Amendment, so as to reflect its preexistence; meaning, the freedom of speech preexisted the United States. Madison believed that the pre-political rights, which he enumerated in the Bill of Rights, are natural to our humanity and he articulated as much in the Ninth Amendment, and in his speeches in support of the ratification of what would become the first 10 amendments.
The one count Assange faces in the US is incredibly weak. The case that he colluded with Russia is even weaker. From Andrew McCarthy at nationalreview.com:
Julian Assange on the balcony of the Ecuadorian embassy in London, May 19, 2017 (Peter Nicholls/Reuters)
The government would have a chance to prove in court that Russia was WikiLeaks’ source.
Prior to the publication of the stolen Democratic-party emails and internal documents, Julian Assange and WikiLeaks exhorted Russian government hackers to send them “new material.”
That is what we are told by Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s indictment of Russian intelligence officers. (I won’t offend anyone by calling them “spies” — after all, they were just doing electronic surveillance authorized by their government, right?) Assange wanted the Russians to rest assured that giving “new material” to WikiLeaks (identified as “Organization 1” in the indictment) would “have a much higher impact than what you are doing” — i.e., hacking and then putting the information out through other channels.
But time was of the essence. It was early 2016. If Hillary Clinton was not stopped right there and then, WikiLeaks warned, proceedings at the imminent Democratic national convention would “solidify bernie supporters behind her.” Of course, “bernie” is Bernie Sanders, the competitor who could still get the nomination. But if Assange and the Russians couldn’t raise Bernie’s prospects, WikiLeaks explained, Mrs. Clinton would be a White House shoo-in: “We think trump has only a 25% chance of winning against hillary . . . so conflict between bernie and hillary is interesting.”
In a nutshell: Knowing that Russia had the capacity to hack the DNC and perhaps Clinton herself, WikiLeaks urged it to come up with new material and vowed to help bring it maximum public attention. By necessity, this desire to hurt Clinton would inure to Sanders’s benefit. And sure enough, WikiLeaks eventually published tens of thousands of the Democratic emails hacked by Russian intelligence.
So . . . I have a few questions.
The police state vice continues to tighten. From Michael Krieger at libertyblitzkrieg.com:
Without an unfettered press, without liberty of speech, all of the outward forms and structures of free institutions are a sham, a pretense – the sheerest mockery. If the press is not free; if speech is not independent and untrammeled; if the mind is shackled or made impotent through fear, it makes no difference under what form of government you live, you are a subject and not a citizen.
– William Edgar Borah
Agitators are a set of interfering, meddling people, who come down to some perfectly contented class of the community and sow the seeds of discontent amongst them. That is the reason why agitators are so absolutely necessary. Without them, in our incomplete state, there would be no advance towards civilization.
– Oscar Wilde
The glimpse of Julian Assange being dragged from the Ecuadorean embassy in London is an emblem of the times. Might against right. Muscle against the law. Indecency against courage. Six policemen manhandled a sick journalist.
– John Pilger: Assange Arrest a Warning from History
I was born 80 years ago in a country called the United States of America, and now I live in a Homeland — an expression we haven’t heard since Hitler.
– Gore Vidal
The only thing I’ve been able to think about for the last few days is the mugging of Julian Assange at the Ecuadorian embassy in London. This post could go in many different directions, but given all the excellent articles already written on the topic, what seems most necessary is an explanation of what this means in the big picture of freedom in the Western world and civilization in general.
Assange’s apprehension on April 11, 2019 and the related indictment and extradition request by the U.S., has led to a level of concern and anger similar to how I felt during the financial crisis and banker bailouts a decade ago. This may seem hyperbolic, but allow me to explain.
The US government wants to arrogate to itself the right to go after anyone, US citizen or not, who reveals truths it does not want revealed. From Pepe Escobar at atimes.com:
A file photo of WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange on the balcony of the Ecuador Embassy in London. Photo: AFP/Alex McNaughton/Sputnik
The arrest of Julian Assange was an act of revenge by the US government that strikes at the heart of journalism
The date – April 11, 2019 – will live in infamy in the annals of Western “values” and “freedom of expression.” The image is stark. A handcuffed journalist and publisher dragged out by force from the inside of an embassy, clutching a Gore Vidal book on the History of the US National Security State.
The mechanism is brutal. WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange was arrested because the United States demanded this from the Tory British government, which for its part meekly claimed it did not pressure Ecuador to revoke Assange’s asylum.
The US magically erases Ecuador’s financial troubles, ordering the IMF to release a providential $4.2-billion loan. Immediately after, Ecuadorian diplomats “invite” the London Metropolitan Police to come inside their embassy to arrest their long-term guest.
Let’s cut to the chase. Julian Assange is not a US citizen, he’s an Australian. WikiLeaks is not a US-based media organization. If the US government gets Assange extradited, prosecuted and incarcerated, it will legitimize its right to go after anyone, anyhow, anywhere, anytime.
Call it The Killing of Journalism.