Tag Archives: Julian Assange

Video Transcript: The Semi-Inside Story of Why Trump Refused to Pardon Snowden and Assange, by Glenn Greenwald

Trump blew it on Assange and Snowden and he blew it on the vaccines. He’ll have to give better answers than the ones he’s given so far if he expects to run in 2024. From Glenn Greenwald at greenwald.substack.com:

For months, Trump indicated that he was strongly considering pardoning NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, and considering a pardon for Assange as well. Yet he never did. Why?

In an interview at Mar-a-Logo, Candace Owens presses Donald Trump on why he did not pardon either Edward Snowden or Julian Assange, Dec. 29, 2021

When Donald Trump vacated the White House on January 20, 2021, it became clear that he had refused to issue two pardons which many of his most ardent supporters were advocating and even expecting: one for the NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, who has spent eight years in exile in Russia for revealing to American citizens that the Obama-era NSA was secretly and unconstitutionally spying en masse on their communications and other online activities, and Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder whose reporting in 2010 on grave crimes by the U.S. and its allies and in 2016 on the Clinton campaign were among the most consequential journalism stories of the last two decades.

Trump’s failure to pardon either of them fostered disappointment and anger in many circles — “Trump left the White House about as weak, cucked, and submissive as it’s possible for a grown adult to scamper away,” I tweeted on that day, with an obviously considerable mix of each sentiment. That reaction was due to the fact that Trump himself had raised the possibility that he might pardon Snowden — infuriating everyone from Susan Rice to Liz Cheney — and was also actively considering a pardon for Assange. Given that it is virtually impossible to imagine any other U.S. president even remotely considering such a move, Trump seemed to be not just the best but the last chance for either of these two courageous dissidents to finally earn their freedom and be able to go home. That many of Trump’s most trusted Congressional allies [such as Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) and Matt Gaetz (R-FL)] were strongly advocating for a pardon of one or both, and because Trump himself harbored so many valid personal reasons for wanting to confront these security state agencies — he had, as much as anyone, seen first-hand how pernicious and sinister these agencies can be, and what grave menaces they pose for American democracy — it was difficult for many people to understand why he did not pardon one or both of them.

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Killing the First Amendment, by Philip Giraldi

Governments hate free expression, especially when the expression consists of exposing governments’ depredations. From Philip Giraldi at unz.com:

When one travels nearly anywhere in Europe where Medieval government centers, including courts, remain, one will frequently see the personification of a sometimes blindfolded woman representing Justice holding a sword in one hand and a scale or a scroll in the other. As soon as human beings came together to form governments, one of the first demands has always for justice that is accessible to all and that is readily understood. That is not to say that governments have not corrupted the mechanisms that were set up to deliver justice to serve their own parochial ends, but it does demonstrate that the human desire for fair treatment under law has been strong for thousands of years.

Now, it seems, those who seek justice often find that justice is denied through various artifices that have been contrived to give the government greater control over what constitutes criminal behavior. It is an emphasis on punishment of those the government has decided to make an example of. One only has to look at the treatment of whistleblowers by the US government, most notably the cases of CIA veterans Jeffrey Sterling and John Kiriakou, where punishment was the objective to discourage anyone from exposing criminal behavior by those in charge.

Even though in theory whistleblowers are protected because they have come forward to reveal illegal activity by the government, in practice that protection is often notional. And then there are those instances where justice is deliberately perverted, as in the current case of Julian Assange, whom the United States government would like to extradite so he can be tried under the Espionage Act of 1917. But the actual charges against Assange are where things get murky. Assange is accused of having collaborated with Chelsea Manning to steal and publish classified material relating to clear evidence that atrocities were carried out by the US military in Iraq and then covered up. And perhaps more to the point in political terms, Assange is also being accused of having participated in the theft of the Hillary Clinton emails in 2016. It should be pointed out that the Federal government has not provided any actual evidence of either alleged crime.

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Using Assange to Send a Three-Part Message, by Jacob G. Hornberger

It’s a three-part message with one clear theme: don’t reveal the government’s secrets, you will be punished. From Jacob G. Hornberger at fff.org:

When Julian Assange and Wikileaks disclosed evidence of dark-side activity, including war crimes, on the part of the U.S. national-security establishment, U.S. officials felt they had no choice but to use Assange to send a three-part message.

The first message is to people within the national-security establishment who might be tempted, out of a crisis of conscience, to reveal dark-side activities of the national-security establishment. By doing everything they could to destroy Assange’s life and even maybe bring about his death, the national-security establishment sends a powerful message to would-be leakers: “This is what will happen to you if you disclose our dark-side secrets to the American people. We will hunt you down, we will persecute you, we will prosecute you, we will destroy you, and we might even kill you.”

How many people within the national-security establishment are willing to undergo that price for revealing dark-side secrets of the Pentagon, the CIA, and the NSA? I’d venture to say not very many at all.

Thus, regardless of what ends up happening to Assange in a court of law — that is, even if he is ultimately acquitted in a U.S. federal court of ludicrous charges of violating some World War I-era espionage law — the national-security establishment has undoubtedly already succeeded in its quest to suppress revelations of other dark-side activities. All that any would-be leaker has to do is look at Assange’s mental and physical condition after years of being hounded by the national-security establishment. Very few people want to end up like that. They are likely to remain silent, even if their consciences are calling on them to reveal dark-side secrets to the American people.

The second message is to people who disclose the dark-side secrets that are leaked to them — organizations like Wikileaks and executives within those organizations, like Assange. The message to them is the same as the message to would-be leakers: “If you dare publish any of our dark-side activities, we will come after you with a vengeance, just as we have with Julian Assange. We will hound you, indict you, prosecute you, persecute you, incarcerate you, torture you, and maybe even kill you.”

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As Fascism Casts Off Its Disguises, by Caitlin Johnstone

No use pretending anymore: we live in a fascist regime. From Caitlin Johnstone at caitlinjohnstone.com:

The US government has won its appeal against a lower British court’s rejection of its extradition request to prosecute Julian Assange for journalistic activity under the Espionage Act. Rather than going free, the WikiLeaks founder will continue to languish in Belmarsh Prison where he has already spent over two and a half years despite having been convicted of no crime.

“As a result, that extradition request will now be sent to British Home Secretary Prita Patel, who technically must approve all extradition requests but, given the U.K. Government’s long-time subservience to the U.S. security state, is all but certain to rubber-stamp it,” writes Glenn Greenwald. “Assange’s representatives, including his fiancee Stella Morris, have vowed to appeal the ruling, but today’s victory for the U.S. means that Assange’s freedom, if it ever comes, is further away than ever: not months but years even under the best of circumstances.”

“Mark this day as fascism casts off its disguises,” tweeted journalist John Pilger of the rul

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What It Means To Be Human, by Raúl Ilargi Meijer

Cowering in fear may keep one alive, but it’s not living as a human. From Raúl Ilargi Meijer at theautomaticearth.com:

What’s the difference between Julian Assange being robbed of his freedom for 12 years and you being robbed of yours for two? From a legal point of view, very little. Because both are based on, “justified by”, no existing laws. They are based on people who happen to have grabbed power, interpreting existing law in their own favor, aided and abetted by their respective judicial branches.

Assange being told he can have no life, or freedom, today, despite never having been formally accused, let alone convicted, of a crime, is no different than someone in Austria threatened with being imprisoned because they don’t want to be vaxxed with an experimental substance. Neither will have broken an existing and valid law, still both will end up behind bars.

I support people who say it should be everyone’s own choice whether they want to be vaccinated with mRNA or not, but I doubt that more than 2% know even what that is, what it does, and what it still may do to them, and to their children. Informed consent is not just some abstract idea, even if it is treated as such.

The vast majority of people who are coerced into being jabbed, are undoubtedly the same ones who pay no attention to what is happening to Julian Assange. They just read and watch the media they always have, and their media tells them only what the owners and sponsors of the channels and papers want to let them know.

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Assange Verdict: Vengeance Is Ours, Saith the Agency, by Ray McGovern

As Charles Schumer once said, don’t mess with the intelligence agencies. From Ray McGovern at antiwar.com:

Are the CIA and its contractors able to bully not only the U.S. Department of Justice, but also the UK judiciary? This is not hard to conclude after the High Court decision announced early Friday to bow to the US and extradite Julian Assange.

Underneath the pettifoggery, the decision demonstrates that the British will lop the “juris” off jurisprudence and pay heed only to “prudence” in kowtowing to the security state in Washington and its junior partner in London.

The objective, of course, is to warn any journalist or publisher tempted to investigate and and expose U. S. war crimes or political sabotage, US”Justice” is going to get you, no matter who you are or where you live. (Call it a new wrinkle on the concept of “universal jurisdiction”, if you will.)

All According to (Updated) Plan

Assange’s lawyers have said they intend to appeal the High Court decision. But, as Glenn Greenwald pointed out, “today’s victory for the US means that Assange’s freedom, if it ever comes, is further away than ever: not months but years even under the best of circumstances.” That, of course, has been the plan for a decade or more.

Glenn also noted that post-Obama Democrats and their security state allies have a particularly potent reason to exact vengeance on Assange, who published those DNC emails showing that Bernie Sanders was cheated out of the nomination in 2016. Add the indignity suffered by the CIA, when an insider apparently leaked a treasure trove of unique documents on cyber warfare. WikiLeaks promptly published parts of “Vault 7”, the family jewels of offensive cyber tools, in which the CIA and NSA has invested Billions. The security state had a witches’ brew.

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New files expose Australian govt’s betrayal of Julian Assange and detail his prison torment, by Kit Klarenberg

The way the Julian Assange has been treated by Great Britain, the U.S., and his home country of Australia is horrendous and shameful. These countries once held themselves out as champions of liberty and human rights, but those days are long gone. From Kit Klarenberg at thegrayzone.com:

Documents provided exclusively to The Grayzone detail Canberra’s abandonment of Julian Assange, an Australian citizen, and provide shocking details of his prison suffering

Was the government of Australia aware of the US Central Intelligence Agency plot to assassinate Julian Assange, an Australian citizen and journalist arrested and now imprisoned under unrelentingly bleak, harsh conditions in the UK?

Why have the country’s elected leaders refused to publicly advocate for one of its citizens, who has been held on dubious charges and subjected to torture by a foreign power, according to UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Nils Melzer? What does Canberra know about Julian’s fate and when did it know it?

The Grayzone has obtained documents revealing that the Australian government has since day one been well-aware of Julian’s cruel treatment inside London’s maximum security Belmarsh Prison, and has done little to nothing about it. It has, in fact, turned a cold shoulder to the jailed journalist despite hearing his testimony of conditions “so bad that his mind was shutting down.”

Not only has Canberra failed to effectively challenge the US and UK governments overseeing Assange’s imprisonment and prosecution; as these documents expose in stark detail, it appears to have colluded with them in the flagrant violation of an Australian citizen’s human rights, while doing its best to obscure the reality of his situation from the public.

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From Press Freedom To Prison Systems, Everything Assange Touches Gets Illuminated, by Caitlin Johnstone

Julian Assange has been tossed into many of the dark and dirty corners of the Western world’s political, judicial, and penal systems. From Caitlin Johnstone at caitlinjohnstone.com:

The US appeal of a British court ruling on the Assange extradition case has concluded, and the judges will probably not have a decision ready until at least January—a full year after the extradition was denied by a lower court. Assange, despite being convicted of no crime, will have remained in Belmarsh Prison the entire time.

During that time the judges will be weighing arguments they’d heard about the cruel nature of the US prison system, which formed a major part of the reasoning behind Judge Vanessa Baraitser’s rejection of the US extradition request. They’ll be considering the draconian policy of Special Administrative Measures, whose victims are cut off from human contact and from the outside world. They’ll be considering the brutality of the supermax ADX facility in Florence, Colorado whose inmates are kept in solitary confinement for 23 hours a day, and where Assange could easily wind up imprisoned despite the prosecution’s flimsy assurances.

Assange probably never set out on this journey with the goal of calling attention to the abuses of the US prison system as his foremost priority, but, as is so often the case with anything his journey touches, those abuses keep getting pulled into the light of public awareness anyway. His case is now no longer just about press freedom, US war crimes, corrupt governments collaborating to stomp out inconvenient truth tellers, and the malfeasance of US alphabet agencies, but about the abusive nature of the US prison system as well.

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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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