Tag Archives: Julian Assange

Silencing Julian Assange: Why Bother with a Trial When You Can Just Kill Him? by Philip Giraldi

Julian Assange’s Wikileaks published truthful information about the American government and that’s been enough to prompt American officials to contemplate his extrajudicial kidnapping or murder. That’s chilling. From Philip Giraldi at unz.com:

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

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

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

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

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Instead of a Free Press, by Patrick Lawrence

Patrick Lawrence’s concluding paragraphs say it all:

It is to say this: If the American press has any future, it lies with these independent media. The responsibilities they already bear are outsized to their resources but will nonetheless grow greater. Looked at another way, if the American press is ever to come to its senses — and let us not dismiss the possibility — it will be in response to the reformation independent media will force upon them.

If Jefferson were alive, who do you think he would be reading, and who dismissing?

From Lawrence at consortiumnews.com:

In the failed corporate coverage of Steven Donziger and Julian Assange there is an imposition of darkness, ignorance inflicted on Americans with intent.

(Hippo Px, CC0)

Just before the weekend came news that Steven Donziger, the courageous attorney who fought Chevron and won a $9.5 billion environmental case in Ecuador and who now fights the judicial system in America, has been sentenced to six months in prison for a patently ridiculous contempt charge.

He was sentenced, this is to say, without a jury trial after a corrupt judge appointed Chevron’s law firm to conduct the prosecution. Take a sec to read that sentence again if you need to.

If you read anything at all in the corporate press about this travesty, you read something like this, the Reuters lead:

“NEW YORK, Oct 1 (Reuters)—A disbarred American lawyer who spent decades battling Chevron Corp (CVX.N) over pollution in the Ecuadorian rainforest was sentenced Friday to six months’ imprisonment for criminal contempt charges arising from a lawsuit brought by the oil company.”

In other words, if you read anything at all in the corporate press about this judgment you were misinformed to the point of disinformed. The two meet at the horizon, you see: Misinform incessantly and you have disinformed.

The sins of omission in the coverage — see also The Wall Street Journal and The Guardian, here and here — are almost too numerous to count. In the same line, you read nothing at all of this momentous turn in the Donziger case in The New York Times. When reality is simply too embarrassing, or contradicts the liberal authoritarian orthodoxy too baldly, the once-but-no-more newspaper of record simply leaves the news unreported.

The power of leaving out, POLO, is my name for this common phenom.

On the same day the Donziger news arrived, Alan Macleod, the ever-trenchant reporter at MintPress News, tweeted out an interesting bit of information on the state of our media:

“Politico’s defense newsletter is sponsored by Lockheed Martin, its health newsletter by a private pharma group, its tech one by Comcast, and its prescription medication one by a lobbying group dedicated to opposing Medicare for All.

How can this be taken seriously as journalism?”

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CIA Plan To Poison Assange Wasn’t Needed. The US Found a ‘Lawful’ Way To Disappear Him, by Jonathan Cook

Not all CIA and US government perpetrated horrors are deep, dark, and secret. Some of their biggest are right out in the open. From Jonathan Cook at antiwar.com:

A Yahoo News’ investigation reveals that, through much of 2017, the CIA weighed up whether to use wholly extrajudicial means to deal with the supposed threat posed by Julian Assange and his whistleblowers’ platform WikiLeaks. The agency plotted either to kidnap or assassinate him.

Shocking as the revelations are – exposing the entirely lawless approach of the main US intelligence agency – the Yahoo investigation nonetheless tends to obscure rather than shine a light on the bigger picture.

Assange has not been deprived of his freedom for more than a decade because of an unimplemented rogue operation by the CIA. Rather, he has been held in various forms of captivity – disappeared – through the collaborations of various national governments and their intelligence agencies, aided by legal systems and the media, that have systematically violated his rights and legal due process.

The reality of Assange’s years of persecution is far worse even than the picture of a thuggish, vengeful, power-mad CIA painted by Yahoo’s reporting.

More than 30 former senior officials, who either served in the US foreign intelligence agency or the Trump administration, helped to piece together for Yahoo the various components of the CIA’s plan. They show that the agency considered two main options for dealing with Assange in addition to then secret moves laying the groundwork for prosecuting the WikiLeaks founder in the US courts.

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How Is The CIA Still A Thing? by Caitlin Johnstone

The CIA wanted to kill Julian Assange and plotted to do so. No surprise there. Like every other revelation about the CIA, it will come and go. From Caitlin Johnstone at caitlinjohnstone.com:

Citing “conversations with more than 30 former U.S. officials,” a new report by Yahoo News has confirmed earlier allegations that the Central Intelligence Agency not only spied on WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and his associates, but also drew up plans for kidnapping, renditioning, and assassinating him.

These plans were reportedly made in coordination with the Trump White House as then-CIA Director Mike Pompeo and then-Deputy CIA Director Gina Haspel raged over WikiLeaks’ 2017 Vault 7 release which revealed that the CIA had lost control of an enormous digital arsenal of hacking tools. These included tools which enabled the surveillance of smartphones, smart TVs and web browsers, the hacking of computerized vehicle control systems, and the ability to frame foreign governments for cyber attacks by inserting the digital “fingerprints” of the hacking methods they employ for investigators to find. It was the single largest data leak in CIA history.

Normally we have to wait decades for confirmation that the CIA did something nefarious, and then people absurdly assume that such things no longer occur because it was so long ago, and because changing your worldview is uncomfortable. But here we are with an extensively sourced report that the agency plotted to kidnap, rendition and assassinate a journalist for publishing authentic documents in the public interest, just four years after the fact.

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The Leak That ‘Exposed the True Afghan War’, by Elizabeth Vos

Julian Assange rots in Belmarsh Prison not because of anything he did wrong, but what he did right—exposing the depredations of the US government in Afghanistan. From Elizabeth Vos at consortiumnews.com:

The Afghan Diaries set off a firestorm when it revealed the suppression of civilian casualty figures, the existence of an elite U.S.-led death squad, and the covert role of Pakistan in the conflict, as Elizabeth Vos reports.

Three months after it published the “Collateral Murder” videoWikiLeaks on July 25, 2010 released a cache of secret U.S. documents on the war in Afghanistan. It revealed the suppression of civilian casualty figures, the existence of an elite U.S.-led death squad and the covert role of Pakistan in the conflict, among other revelations. The publication of the Afghan War Diaries helped set the U.S. government on a collision course with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange that ultimately led to his arrest last month.

The war diaries were leaked by then-Army-intelligence-analyst Chelsea Manning, who had legal access to the logs via her Top Secret clearance. Manning only approached WikiLeaks, after studying the organization, following unsuccessful attempts to leak the files to The New York Times and The Washington Post.

A major controversy surrounding the Diaries’ release were allegations that operational details were made public to the Taliban’s battlefield advantage and that U.S. coalition informants’ lives were put at risk by publishing their names.

Chelsea Maning in 2017. (YouTube)

Chelsea Maning in 2017. (Vimeo)

Despite a widely-held belief that WikiLeaks carelessly publishes un-redacted documents, only 75,000 from a total of more than 92,201 internal U.S. military files related to the Afghan War (between 2004 and 2010) were ultimately published.

WikiLeaks explained that it held back so many documents because Manning had insisted on it: “We have delayed the release of some 15,000 reports from the total archive as part of a harm minimization process demanded by our source.”

Manning testified at her 2013 court-martial that the files were not “very sensitive” and did not report active military operations.

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ASSANGE EXTRADITION: Why the Crumbling Computer Conspiracy Case Is So Vital to the US, by Catherine Vogan

The US case against Julian Assange now rests on a weak allegation of conspiracy to commit computer hacking. From Catherine Vogan at consortiumnews.com:

Since the U.S. is on shaky constitutional ground with the espionage indictment, the computer intrusion charge has served as a hook to try to get Assange, by portraying him not as a journalist, but as a hacker, writes Cathy Vogan.

While most of the talk about the Julian Assange case is about the espionage charges, which are political in nature, the U.S. case hangs by a thread for the second time on the non-political charge: conspiracy to commit computer intrusion.

There is a reason why the computer charge is so vital to the U.S. case. Charging a journalist with espionage for unauthorized possession and dissemination of defense information has been possible since 1917, but it runs the risk of violating the First Amendment.

The tradition has been instead to charge leakers and hackers for breach of an oath, contract or firewall. The legal and public perception of hacking is that it is much like burglary; something generally feared and whose punishment by the state is not subject to political debate or opposing laws; but rather welcomed. The intrusion charge shifts public and legal perception.

Since the U.S. is on shaky constitutional ground with the espionage indictment, the computer intrusion charge has served as a hook to try to get Assange, by portraying him not as a journalist, but as a hacker. Underscoring the difference between the two is fundamental to the U.S. case.

That’s why the U.S. prosecutor, James Lewis QC, on the opening day of Assange’s extradition hearing in February 2020 turned to the press in the courtroom and told them journalism was not the target of the U.S. prosecution. He said Assange was not a journalist and instead had participated in the theft of government documents. In other words: he’s not a journalist like you, but a hacker.

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The Assange Case Isn’t About National Security, It’s About Narrative Control, by Caitlin Johnstone

Take on the propaganda steamroller and you’re going to get run over. From Caitlin Johnstone at caitlinjohnstone.com:

Julian Assange once said, “The overwhelming majority of information is classified to protect political security, not national security.”

As someone whose life’s work before his imprisonment was combing through documents of an often classified nature, he’d have been in a prime position to know. He’d have seen time and time again how a nation’s citizenry are not under the slightest threat from the secret information in the documents that had been leaked to him from around the world, but that it could damage the reputation of a politician or a government or its military.

As the persecution of the WikiLeaks founder continues to trudge on with the UK government’s granting the Biden administration permission to appeal a declined extradition request, claiming that it can safely imprison Assange without subjecting him to the draconian aspects of America’s prison system which caused the initial dismissal, it’s good to keep in mind that this is being done entirely for the purpose of controlling public access to information that is inconvenient for the powerful.

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Craig Murray: FBI Fabrication Against Assange Falls Apart

The US may have to come up with yet another last-minute, bogus indictment in Julian Assange’s extradition proceeding. From Craig Murray at consortiumnews.com:

Thordarson was always the most unreliable of witnesses, and it seems impossible to believe FBI cooperation with him was ever any more than deliberate fabrication of evidence by the FBI, says Craig Murray.

FBI Headquarters in Washington. (Sammy Six/Flickr)

On the final day of the Assange extradition hearing, magistrate Vanessa Baraitser refused to accept an affidavit from Assange’s solicitor Gareth Peirce, on the grounds it was out of time. The affidavit explained that the defense had been unable to respond to the new accusations in the United States government’s second superseding indictment, because these wholly new matters had been sprung on them just six weeks before the hearing resumed on Sept. 8, 2020.

The defense had not only to gather evidence from Iceland, but had virtually no access to Assange to take his evidence and instructions, as he was effectively in solitary confinement in Belmarsh. The defense had requested an adjournment to give them time to address the new accusations, but this adjournment had been refused by Baraitser.

She now refused to accept Gareth Peirce’s affidavit setting out these facts.

What had happened was this. The hearings on the Assange extradition in January 2020 did not seem to be going well for the U.S. government. The arguments that political extradition is specifically banned by the UK/U.S. extradition treaty, and that the publisher was not responsible for Chelsea Manning’s whistleblowing on war crimes, appeared to be strong. The U.S. Justice Department had decided that it therefore needed a new tack and to discover some “crimes” by Assange that seemed less noble than the Manning revelations.

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The Weird, Creepy Media Blackout On Recent Assange Revelations, by Caitlin Johnstone

Add the recent revelation that a key Assange witness was lying to the ever-lengthening list of stories the legacy media refuses to cover. From Caitlin Johnstone at caitlinjohnstone.com:

As of this writing, it has been three days since the Icelandic newspaper Stundin broke the story that a key witness in the US government’s case against Julian Assange had fabricated allegations against the WikiLeaks founder. And yet, somehow, Assange is still in prison.

Weirder still, not one major western media outlet outside of Iceland has reported on this massive and entirely legitimate news story. A search brings up coverage by Icelandic media, by Russian media, and by smaller western outlets like Democracy Now, World Socialist Website, Consortium News, Zero Hedge and some others, but as of this writing this story has been completely ignored by all major outlets who are ostensibly responsible for informing the public in the western world.

It’s not that those outlets have been ignoring Assange altogether these last few days either. Reuters recently published an interview with Assange’s fiance Stella Moris. Evening Standard has a recent article out on Assange’s plans to marry Moris in Belmarsh, as does Deutsche Welle. It’s just this one story in particular that they’ve been blacking out completely.

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Assange Prosecution Relied On False Testimony From A Diagnosed Sociopath And Convicted Pedophile, by Caitlin Johnstone

On the strength of this revelation Assange should be a free man, but don’t bet on it. From Caitlin Johnstone at caitlinjohnstone.com:

The Icelandic newspaper Stundin reports that a key witness in the US prosecution of Julian Assange has admitted in an interview with the outlet that he fabricated critical accusations in the indictment against the WikiLeaks founder.

“A major witness in the United States’ Department of Justice case against Julian Assange has admitted to fabricating key accusations in the indictment against the Wikileaks founder,” Stundin reports. “The witness, who has a documented history with sociopathy and has received several convictions for sexual abuse of minors and wide-ranging financial fraud, made the admission in a newly published interview in Stundin where he also confessed to having continued his crime spree whilst working with the Department of Justice and FBI and receiving a promise of immunity from prosecution.”

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