Tag Archives: Wikileaks

The Deeper Meaning of Julian Assange, by L. Reichard White

Governments may be less interested in punishing Julian Assange for what WikiLeaks has already revealed than in keeping him, and WikiLeaks, from  revealing more. From L. Reichard White at lewrockwell.com:

It was one of those mistakes which often happen when you involve a government in your affairs — but it wasn’t Mr. Assange, it was the two women who managed to bed him who made that mistake – – –

Ms. Ardin accompanied Ms. Wilen to the police station on August 20 [2010], playing a supporting role. Neither of them intended to press any criminal charges against Mr. Assange. They wanted to compel him to take an HIV test. Once they were at the police station and told their stories, the female police commissioner informed them that this all fell within “rape” law, and soon thereafter-that Mr. Assange was going to be arrested. Ms. Ardin and Ms. Wilen were upset when they heard this. –Julian Assange’s Penetration Agenda: Was it Rape in Stockholm? | Observer

As things played out however, Mr. Assange has never been charged with anything in Sweden and only breaching bail in the U.K. That’s right, Sweden didn’t file charges and in May, 2017, dropped the investigation which led to Assange needing bail in the first place.

None the less, to make sure he doesn’t leave the country, the U.K. government has posted cops 24/7 outside the Ecuadorian embassy in London where Mr. Assange was granted asylum six years ago.

Maybe you’re thinking, “Wow, asylum from a bail charge? Breaching bail must be REALLY serious in the U.K.!”

Not so much. Even in these extremely unusual and unprecedented circumstances, the absolute best the UK legal machinery could possibly hope for from Mr. Assange is a five-thousand-pound fine and three months in the pokey. If the U.K. plays by its own rules.

In fact, this extremely unusual and unprecedented situation is so unusual and unprecedented that, incredibly, the United Nations got involved in what should be an insignificant bail case.

After looking into it however, the UN declared on Feb. 5, 2016, that the U.K. was unlawfully holding Mr. Assange under unlawful “arbitrary detention,” directed the UK machinery to release him “immediately,” and Sweden and U.K. to pay him compensation.

The U.K. refused to play by the rules.

To continue reading: The Deeper Meaning of Julian Assange

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America’s Kristallnacht? by Robert Gore

If the US government prosecutes Julian Assange and WikiLeaks, it will mark a point of no return.

We’ll never know what “average” Germans thought on November 11, 1938, the day after Kristallnacht. Perhaps a few recognized it for what it was: a turning point, an acceleration of Germany’s descent into hell. America’s Crystal Night looms, and if it occurs, only a few will recognize it for what it is.

The fate of Julian Assange is the fate of one man, but it is also the fate of one of our most important freedoms. There won’t be shattered plate glass from vandalized businesses littering the streets, synagogues smashed, graves unearthed, or people herded onto trains. But his prosecution by the US government would destroy an inestimable value, one enshrined in the First Amendment, for which generations of Americans have fought and died: the right of the people and its press to inform the people and to hold their government to account.

Aside from armed resistance and revolution, the one defense individuals have against governments is intellectual: the concept of individual rights. There is an argument as to whether those rights come from our Creator (Thomas Jefferson) or from our basic nature as humans and the requirements of our survival (Ayn Rand). Despite starting from different premises, both arguments lead to the same conclusion: individuals have inherent, inalienable, inviolable rights, and the only legitimate function of government is to protect those rights.

The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were explicit attempts to delineate a set of principles that recognized individual rights and tried to restrain government power. Though real-world implementation has fallen short, often far short, they were towering conceptual achievements.

In 1933, the year Hitler assumed power, the government began enacting laws that restricted Jews’ rights to earn a living, gain an education, or work in the civil service. In 1935, the Nuremberg Laws stripped German Jews of their citizenship and forbade them from marrying non-Jewish Germans.

Kristallnacht’s hooliganism was encouraged by the German authorities, and none of the perpetrators bore any legal consequences. More than 30,000 Jewish men were arrested and deported to concentration camps. The government would not protect Jews from the depredations of thugs and the government itself was a thug. Kristallnacht was a point of no return: Jews no longer had any legally enforceable rights. Soon enough no German would.

In America, there is no one villain or group that one can point to as responsible for the erosion of rights. Begun the day the Constitution was ratified, it’s been a gradual process. We’ve reached the point where only a few of the rights guaranteed in the Constitution and Bill of Rights still receive any measure of government solicitude.

Property and contract rights are out the window; the government routinely abridges them. You have no right to your own income, or to conduct your legitimate business or trade free from government regulation and interference. Much of the Bill of Rights is either irrelevant now or has been rendered a dead letter. In terms of individual rights, only the Second Amendment’s much infringed right to bear arms, and the First Amendment—the prohibition against the government establishing a religion, free speech, press, and assembly, and the right to petition the government—are still hanging by a thread.

Which is why the fate of Julian Assange takes on such significance. While the government has prosecuted those like Chelsea (formerly Brad) Manning who have stolen government secrets and classified information, it has not prosecuted the press individuals and organizations who have published them. That is WikiLeaks’ business model: it receives, vets, and publishes stolen information, often from governments.

The government has not gone after publishers because it would be a frontal assault on the First Amendment that it would probably lose. Any exception would swallow the general rule of press freedom. Say the Supreme Court recognized an exception: classified information whose publication would constitute an imminent and grave threat to the security of the United States. Who decides what’s an imminent and grave threat? The government would have the power to classify whatever information it pleases under that exception and put those who publish it at risk of prosecution, their only recourse years of costly litigation spent arguing that the information didn’t fit the exception.

Many Trump admirers resist the notion that their man is interested in the acquisition and use of power, but his and members of his administration’s hostility to individual civil liberties belies that resistance. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is a gung-ho supporter of the civil-liberties-eviscerating-government-power-expanding War on Drugs and civil asset forfeiture.

In the latter, a government seizes assets it claims were involved with crimes and makes their owners jump through myriad legal hoops—including proving the negative that their assets weren’t involved in a crime—even if the owners themselves were never convicted, or even charged, with a crime. Assets that are not “acquitted”—cars, cash, boats, houses, etc.—are kept and used by the government. President Trump has endorsed civil asset forfeiture, and has extended it outside America’s borders via an executive order (see “By Imperial Decree,” SLL, 1/2/18).

Trump’s Secretary of State and former director of the CIA, Mike Pompeo has fashioned a legal approach the administration might use, in a case against WikiLeaks and Assange, to slither around the First Amendment. In April, still director of the CIA, he delivered a speech in which several passages demanded, but never received, careful parsing from the mainstream media. They are still obsessing over a February Trump tweet in which he declared the US media an “enemy of the people.” This is considered a threat to the First Amendment, but Pompeo’s speech was mostly ignored.

Pompeo called WikiLeaks “a non-state hostile intelligence service often abetted by state actors like Russia.” Most press organizations, and almost all that consistently challenge the state, are non-state. WikiLeaks has published state secrets, undoubtedly considered hostile acts by those states, but how is it an intelligence service? Pompeo is arguing that WikiLeaks cannot be considered part of the press, consequently it’s not protected by the First Amendment.

As for the “abetted by state actors like Russia,” WikiLeaks has consistently denied it received the DNC emails from Russia, and nobody has proven otherwise. The best technical evidence indicates those DNC emails were directly downloaded to a portable storage device, indicating an inside job, and not remotely hacked, by Russians or anyone else.

Pompeo argued that “we have to recognize that we can no longer allow Assange and his colleagues the latitude to use free speech values against us.” This is straight from Orwell: you are free to say what you want, as long as you don’t say anything against the government. He claimed that WikiLeaks “pretended that America’s First Amendment freedoms shield them from justice,” and, “they may have believed that, but they are wrong.” Now where would WikiLeaks get such a crazy idea? How about the plain language of the First Amendment?

Finally, Pompeo threatened: “To give them the space to crush us with misappropriated secrets is a perversion of what our great Constitution stands for. It ends now.” Any government “secrets” the press publishes with the full approval of the government probably aren’t going to be terribly revealing. It’s the secrets the government doesn’t want revealed, the ones that are generally “misappropriated,” that reveal the most important secrets, which an informed and free people must know if they are to call their government to account.

From the excerpts quoted above, and the video of the relevant part of speech below, make up your own mind as to who’s perverting the Constitution.

Freedom of the press protects the rights of the press, but more importantly protects the right of all of us to be informed, especially about what was once considered “our” government. It amplifies the freedom of speech. Even a small newspaper reaches more people than someone shouting from a street corner.

If Assange and WikiLeaks are tried and convicted in a US court as “a non-state hostile intelligence service,” the government can slap that label on any person or organization publishing or otherwise disclosing its secrets. The case would probably make its way to the Supreme Court. If the court accepted the Pompeo exception to the First Amendment, freedom of the press and speech would become two more of the Constitution’s dead letters.

Just the prosecution of Assange and WikiLeaks would have a chilling effect. Not that most of the US’s supine mainstream and social media would be chilled. The mainstream media that have spoken out about Assange and WikiLeaks have come down on the side of the government. The social media companies, de facto arms of the government, are shutting down politically incorrect voices. Neither mainstream or social media have anything to lose from the termination of First Amendment freedoms because they don’t say, or allow anyone else to say, anything the powers that be don’t want heard.

Trump is a wild card on WikiLeaks and Assange. WikiLeaks’ disclosure of the DNC emails helped his campaign. He praised it back then, but now appears ready to prosecute. Trump administration officials and Trump himself often say one thing while Trump does another. It is not a given that Assange will be either extradited by the British government or prosecuted in the US.

Few totalitarian regimes take their people’s rights away all at once. It’s done gradually to reduce dissent, until that Kristallnacht moment where it’s impossible to evade the reality: there are no rights left. If the Trump administration prosecutes Julian Assange and WikiLeaks, that sinking feeling in your stomach will be the realization that the last remnant of your rights are gone, that the government and Trump are your enemies.

If Assange and WikiLeaks are prosecuted, who will dare tell the truth about the government? Trump will have destroyed one of the last vestiges of individual rights—and the freedom that goes with it—that once made America great.

 

The Real “Fake News” from Government Media, by Scott Lazarowitz

A lot of demonstrably fake news comes from the mainstream media outlets decrying “fake news.” From Scott Lazarowitz at activistpost.com:

Facebook has announced its campaign against “fake news.” But, according to some workers’ own admission, conservatives are being censored.

And Google also wants to censor “fake news.” But Google also was shown to treat conservative websites, but not liberal ones, as “fake news.”

The same thing seems to be going on with Twitter. And again, conservatives are complaining.

But who is to decide what is “fake news”? Who will be Facebook and Google’s sources for real news?

In 2013 the U.S. Senate considered a new a shield law to protect journalists. In the lawmakers’ attempts to narrow the definition of a journalist, some Senators including Sen. Dianne Feinstein only wanted to include reporters with “professional qualifications.”

“Professional” publications such as the New York Times, the “Paper of Record,” would apparently be protected.

So one can conclude that the New York Times can be a source of “real” news for Facebook or Google, despite all the Timeserrors, screw-ups, and corrections, right?

According to one NYT former reporter, the Times has been a “propaganda megaphone” for war. Also a partner with the CIA to promote Obama’s reelection bid.

Or CNN, “The Most Trusted Name in News” which wins its own “fake news” awards with its errors, screw-ups and corrections.

During the 2016 U.S. Presidential campaign, there were collusions between then-CNN contributor and DNC operative Donna Brazile, who was outed by WikiLeaks in her giving candidate Hillary Clinton questions in advance for a CNN Town Hall.

Other emails that were leaked to WikiLeaks informed us that reporters obediently followed instructions from the Hillary Clinton campaign on how to cover the campaign. These include reporters from the New York Times such as Maggie Haberman who said the campaign would “tee up stories for us,” and Mark Leibovich, who would email Clinton flunky Jennifer Palmieri for editing recommendations.

And Politico reporter Glenn Thrush asked Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta for approval of stories on Clinton. Thrush was then hired by the New York Times. After Thrush was then suspended from NYT over allegations of sexual misconduct, the Times ended the suspension, stating that while Thrush had “acted offensively,” he would be trained to behave himself. Hmm.

To continue reading: The Real “Fake News” from Government Media

Julian Assange’s Fate Is Being Decided At The Moment, by Tyler Durden

It will be interesting, in the same way crawling down a sewer hole is interesting, to see how the Ecuadorian, British, and US governments handle Julian Assange. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:

Ecuador is holding high level discussions with Britain over the fate of Julian Assange, who has been living in the Ecuadorian embassy in London since 2012 after being granted political asylum, according to comments made by President Lenin Moreno to Spain’s El Pais daily newspaper.

“The issue of Mr. Assange is being treated with the British government and I understand that we have already established contact with Mr. Assange’s lawyers so we can find a way out.

Not true, says Assange’s Attorney Carlos Poveda in a https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js“>Sunday LaJournada article retweeted by the official WikiLeaks Twitter account.

The defense of Julian Assange is concerned about the contradictions of the government of Ecuador, which claims to be seeking a solution to the asylum of the founder of Wikileaks through dialogue, with all parties, but refuses to meet with their lawyers, said Carlos Poveda, one of the activist’s lawyers. –LaJournada(translated)

“We have followed very closely the statements of President Lenin Moreno both in the United Kingdom and Spain,” said Poveda. “And I must warn that even the legal team that presides (the former judge of the Spanish Supreme Court) Baltasar Garzón requested a hearing to meet in London or Madrid, but they told him that Moreno’s schedule was full during the whole tour.”

In other words – Moreno is talking out of both sides of his mouth while feigning a new found concern for Assange’s fate (after referring to the WikiLeaks founder as a “hacker”, “an inherited problem” and a “stone in the shoe”).

We know how (Moreno) addresses the issue , said Poveda, who said that the president’s statements leave us confused.

In relation to the recent declarations of the Ecuadorian agent chief executive, of which his government is in “permanent” communication with London and with the legal team of Assange, Poveda maintained that that does not happen.

LaJournada (translated)

To continue reading: Julian Assange’s Fate Is Being Decided At The Moment

In Refusing To Defend Assange, Mainstream Media Exposes Its True Nature, by Caitlin Johnstone

No truer words were ever penned (or typed) than the title of this piece. From Caitlin Johnstone at medium.com:

Last Tuesday a top lawyer for the New York Times named David McCraw warned a room full of judges that the prosecution of Julian Assange for WikiLeaks publications would set a very dangerous precedent which would end up hurting mainstream news media outlets like NYT, the Washington Post, and other outlets which publish secret government documents.

“I think the prosecution of him would be a very, very bad precedent for publishers,” McCraw said. “From that incident, from everything I know, he’s sort of in a classic publisher’s position and I think the law would have a very hard time drawing a distinction between The New York Times and WikiLeaks.”

Do you know where I read about this? Not in the New York Times.

“Curiously, as of this writing, McCraw’s words have found no mention in the Times itself,” activist Ray McGovern wrote for the alternative media outlet Consortium News. “In recent years, the newspaper has shown a marked proclivity to avoid printing anything that might risk its front row seat at the government trough.”

So let’s unpack that a bit. It is now public knowledge that the Ecuadorian government is actively seeking to turn Assange over to be arrested by the British government. This was initially reported by RT, then independently confirmed by The Intercept, and is today full mainstream public knowledge being reported by mainstream outlets like CNN. It is also public knowledge that Assange’s asylum was granted by the Ecuadorian government due to a feared attempt to extradite him to the United States and prosecute him for WikiLeaks publications. Everyone from President Donald Trump to Attorney General Jeff Sessions to now-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to ranking House Intelligence Committee member Adam Schiff to Democratic members of the US Senate have made public statements clearly indicating that there is a US government interest in getting Assange out of the shelter of political asylum and into prison.

To continue reading: In Refusing To Defend Assange, Mainstream Media Exposes Its True Nature

The Gray Lady Thinks Twice About Assange’s Prosecution, by Ray McGovern

Has someone at The New York Times realized that if it supports the prosecution of Julian Assange, it’s cutting its own throat. From Ray McGovern at consortiumnews.com:

Though The New York Times itself has not reported it, it’s No. 2 lawyer told a group of judges that the prosecution of Julian Assange could have dire consequences for the Times itself, explains Ray McGovern.

Well, lordy be. A lawyer for The New York Times has figured out that prosecuting WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange might gore the ox of The Gray Lady herself.

The Times’s deputy general counsel, David McCraw, told a group of judges on the West Coast on Tuesday that such prosecution would be a gut punch to free speech, according to Maria Dinzeo, writing for the Courthouse News Service.

Curiously, as of this writing, McCraw’s words have found no mention in the Times itself. In recent years, the newspaper has shown a marked proclivity to avoid printing anything that might risk its front row seat at the government trough.

Stating the obvious, McCraw noted that the “prosecution of him [Assange] would be a very, very bad precedent for publishers … he’s sort of in a classic publisher’s position and I think the law would have a very hard time drawing a distinction between The New York Times and WikiLeaks.”

That’s because, for one thing, the Times itself published many stories based on classified information revealed by WikiLeaks and other sources. The paper decisively turned against Assange once WikiLeaks published the DNC and Podesta emails.

More broadly, no journalist in America since John Peter Zenger in Colonial days has been indicted or imprisoned for their work. Unless American prosecutors could prove that Assange personally took part in the theft of classified material or someone’s emails, rather than just receiving and publishing them, prosecuting him merely for his publications would be a first since the British Governor General of New York, William Cosby, imprisoned Zenger in 1734 for ten months for printing articles critical of Cosby. Zenger was acquitted by a jury because what he had printed was proven to be factual—a claim WikiLeaks can also make.

At the Times HQ on Eighth Ave: Quietly realizing the consequences for itself.

McCraw went on to emphasize that, “Assange should be afforded the same protections as a traditional journalist.” The Times lawyer avoided criticizing what the United Nations has branded — twice — the “arbitrary detention” of Assange and his incommunicado, solitary confinement-like situation in the Ecuador embassy in London since March. Multiple reports indicate the new government of Ecuador will evict Assange into the hands of British police.

To continue reading: The Gray Lady Thinks Twice About Assange’s Prosecution

Martyrs to the Cause: Carter Page and Julian Assange, by Justin Raimondo

The Deep State relentlessly pursues those in its crosshairs. From Justin Raimondo at antiwar.com:

The Deep State is after them both

In an unprecedented move, the Justice Department has released the FISA application submitted by the FBI to spy on Carter Page, the rather hapless would-be advisor to the Trump campaign who has been smeared as a “Russian agent” – but has not been charged after almost two years.

We’ve never before even seen a FISA application, in which law enforcement agents explain to a judge why it is necessary for them to conduct surveillance on an American citizen, and so this is a special treat. The document that came out of this unique Freedom of Information Act request shows that the FBI had an ulterior motive in going after Page – and that they lied to the FISA court judge.

In order to get the judge to agree to the surveillance, the FBI had to establish a fairly convincing probable cause: at a minimum, agents had to identify multiple sources indicating that an act of espionage may have occurred or is about to occur imminently. This FISA application shows that the FBI had a single source: the unverified “dossier,” compiled by “former” MI6 agent Christopher Steele, bought and paid for by the Clinton campaign to dig up dirt on Trump. The other ostensible “sources” were news articles by journalists whom Steele had leaked to. There was a clear intent to deceive the judge who read this application.

This technique is a familiar one: remember how the neocons used to quote each other as “proof” that Saddam had “weapons of mass destruction”? It’s the old echo chamber trick, and every third-rate smear artist deploys it. The question arises: so is this how the FBI carries out its “investigations” into espionage?

This whole affair, and the shocking denouement, reminds me of the FBI investigation of … myself and our co-founder, Eric Garris. If you look at the initial memo proposing a “preliminary investigation” of the two of us, it contains an article by raving neocon Ronald Radosh that appeared in the Boston Globe accusing me of trying to create a “red-brown coalition” to oppose the Iraq war. It is full of the most imaginative smears, including a discussion of my alleged sexual proclivities, supposedly provin

To continue reading: Martyrs to the Cause: Carter Page and Julian Assange