Category Archives: Wikileaks

Hedges: Jeremy Hammond Exposed State’s Plan to Criminalize Democratic Dissent

Video

“Without figures like Jeremy Hammond, Edward Snowden, Chelsea Manning, Julian Assange, Barrett Brown, there is no free press.”

Posted November 15, 2013

Jeremy Hammond Sentenced To 10 Years In Prison: Convicted hacker Jeremy Hammond was sentenced Friday to 10 years in prison for stealing internal emails from the global intelligence firm Stratfor.

TRANSCRIPT:

PAUL JAY, SENIOR EDITOR, TRNN: Welcome to The Real News Network. I’m Paul Jay in Baltimore. And welcome to Reality Asserts Itself.

On Friday, Jeremy Hammond, the political and internet activist, will be sentenced. He was charged with hacking into the computers of Stratfor. That’s a political intelligence consulting company that works for various pieces of the military-industrial complex and what many people call the American national security state.

Now joining us in the studio to talk about why the case against Jeremy Hammond matters to the rest of us is Chris Hedges. Chris is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and a senior fellow at the Nation Institute. Along with Joe Sacco, he wrote the New York Times bestseller Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt. He writes a weekly column for Truthdig.

And thanks again for joining us.

CHRIS HEDGES, JOURNALIST, SENIOR FELLOW AT THE NATION INSTITUTE: Thank you.

JAY: So why does what happened to Jeremy Hammond matter to us? What’s the significance of this case?

HEDGES: Well, because without figures like Jeremy Hammond, Edward Snowden, Chelsea Manning, Julian Assange, Barrett Brown, there is no free press.

JAY: So, quickly, for people–most of our viewers must know this, but quickly, just what is it that Jeremy exposed?

HEDGES: He broke into the private security firm known as Stratfor, which does work for a variety of intelligence agencies–for the Marine Corps and the Defense Department, the Pentagon, but also for corporations, including Raytheon, Dow Chemical, and others. And he turned over 3 million emails, email exchanges within the company to Rolling Stone, WikiLeaks, and other publications.

Now, this was quite a significant dump, because it illustrated two or three very chilling things about the security and surveillance state, first of all that there was no division between corporate spying and government spying. It was seamless, including the same people going back and forth. It was from that dump that we realized the extent to which the Occupy movement was being spied upon and infiltrated and monitored and followed. And we also found from those email exchanges that there was a concerted attempt on the part of security officials, both inside the government and within the private security contracting agency, to link, falsely, nonviolent dissident groups with terrorist groups so that they could apply terrorism laws against these groups.

And when I sued Barack Obama over Section 1021 of the National National Defense Authorization Act, which permits the U.S. military, overturning 150 years of domestic law, to seize U.S. citizens who “substantially” support–that is not a legal term, it’s not material support, it’s an amorphous term–“substantially” support al-Qaeda, the Taliban, or something called associated forces–again another nebulous term–hold those citizens in military facilities without due process indefinitely, part of the email exchanges were entered as evidence in my case. And those email exchanges showed that this private security firm, along with government officials, was attempting to link a group called U.S. Day of Rage, founded by a journalist and activist named Alexa O’Brien, who was one of my coplaintiffs, with al-Qaeda. And why were they trying to link that group with al-Qaeda? So that they could employ the draconian terrorism laws against nonviolent democratic dissidents. That all came out from Hammond.

JAY: And you can see an example of a related thing, the way the British are calling Glenn Greenwald’s partner David Miranda–I think I have the right last name–calling him a terrorist for–.

HEDGES: Right. Well, we have–you know, our most courageous investigative journalists are in self-imposed exile, including Jacob Appelbaum, including Glenn Greenwald, including Sarah Harrison–she’s British–who is now in exile in Berlin because she accompanied Snowden, if you remember, to Russia. She can’t go back into her own country. It is really terrifying.

And when you couple that with the fact that the security and surveillance state has effectively shut down investigation into national security, the national security apparatus by the traditional press, largely through the Espionage Act, but also because we now know that–and more importantly, those who might be whistleblowers know that all of electronic medications are captured and stored in perpetuity by the state, meaning that anyone who decides to reach out to a journalist can be very easily traced and charged. And that is a really, as a journalist, a truly [snip] not a journalist, but I was a former investigative journalist for The New York Times–a truly terrifying development.

JAY: So, Jeremy’s going to be sentenced on Friday. Talk a little bit about him. And what motivated Jeremy Hammond as you know him? You spent some time with him in prison.

HEDGES: Yeah. I was at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York where he’s being held on Wednesday with him for the afternoon. He’s not allowed to have social visits because of a series of minor infractions, including his tier getting a hold of some marijuana. But he can see journalists, although it took me two months to get in to see him.

I found him–you know, he’s a follower of the Black Bloc, and I’m very critical of the Black Bloc. But nevertheless, I certainly recognize the right of the Black Bloc to exist. And not only that, I don’t think anyone should be criminalized for what they believe, including if they are supportive of the Black Bloc. So he comes out of the Black Bloc.

But he’s one of those rare examples of somebody who has these amazing technical skills in sort of being able to hack, but also a deep political consciousness, and a lot of times that doesn’t always go with hackers.

He, as a high school student during the Bush call to invade Iraq, led a walkout of students from his high school. He founded an underground newspaper. He was involved in all sorts of acts of civil disobedience. I think he’d been arrested by the time he was 21 ten times, including protesting against the Republican National Convention when it was held in New York. And he had hacked into a right-wing group–I think it was called Patriot Warrior, and for that he’d gone to prison in Illinois for two years. When he got out, he was–I guess this is in a few states, and Illinois is one of them–they can put you under a curfew in your own house. So from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m., you have to be in your house. So he was living in a curfew.

And from all we can see, and really sort of avoiding the kind of hacking activity that had gotten him into so much trouble–he was working with Food Not Bombs and these kinds of groups and delivering books to prisoners–I mean, he has a real social consciousness–very influenced, by the way, by the old anarchists. He said he made frequent trips to the monument in the Chicago cemetery for the martyrs of the Haymarket labor uprising. Four of them were hanged. Emma Goldman’s buried very close by. Reads a lot, thanks a lot.

And it was 2010, and Chelsea (then Bradley) Manning was arrested for giving those documents and videos to WikiLeaks. And he said that really prompted him, that he knew he had the skills to do something like that and that the act, the courageous act that Manning did and the sacrifice that Manning made prompted him to act, although he knew now, because he could move around, he couldn’t leave his house, he was still living under curfew, that his chances of being caught were high. And yet he went ahead and hacked into the security firm. And he didn’t seek any financial gain. He didn’t get any. I mean, this for me as a journalist is the work of a classic whistleblower who wants to make public information that we have a right to know. It’s our information.

JAY: So the argument you would get from President Obama or his supporters–and this is all being done under the Obama administration, who’s been especially vigorous going after whistleblowers–

HEDGES: Far worse than Bush.

JAY: –their argument’s going to be a state has a right to protect its secrets, particularly its security secrets. A corporation has a right to protect its secrets. I mean, how do you deal with this issue? How do you balance this?

HEDGES: Well, not when they shred the Constitution and violate our most basic right to privacy. Not only that, remember that we now know from this information they are actively working to criminalize democratic dissent. That’s a crime. It should be a crime. And whatever crime Jeremy Hammond committed is nothing, pales in comparison to the crimes that are being committed by the state. That’s the point. The same thing with Chelsea Manning. Whatever crime Chelsea Manning may have committed, it is nothing compared to the war crimes in the fraud and the lies that are being perpetrated by the corporate state.

And I think that’s the point, that when you shut down the possibility of a free press, when there is no judicial or legislative oversight–and there isn’t anymore–then the abuse of power becomes rife, especially when you build walls of secrecy. And the last best hope are these people who can break down those walls and make public that information which we have a right to know. We have a right to know that the government is criminalizing our forms of protest and attempting to treat us as if we were terrorists.

JAY: And the state then has an absolute right to secrecy, and it has an absolute right to make sure no one else has any secrecy.

HEDGES: If it’s totalitarian. And that’s what corporate totalitarianism, which is a species of totalitarianism, is about.

JAY: Thanks very much for joining us, Chris.

HEDGES: Thank you.

JAY: And thank you for joining us on The Real News Network.

Paul Jay is CEO and Senior Editor of The Real News Network.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article36866.htm

The Courage Of Bradley Manning Will Inspire Others To Seize Their Moment of Truth

The Assassination of Julian Assange “We Steal Secrets”: A Masterclass in Propaganda

Julian Assange on Meeting With Google, Responds to Anti-WikiLeaks Attacks From New Film to Finances

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Wikileaks Has Done It Again

The Anti-Empire Report 
By William Blum 
April 09, 2013 “Information Clearing House” – Would you believe that the United States tried to do something that was not nice against Hugo Chávez?
Wikileaks has done it again. I guess the US will really have to get tough now with Julian Assange and Bradley Manning.
In a secret US cable to the State Department, dated November 9, 2006, and recently published online by WikiLeaks, former US ambassador to Venezuela, William Brownfield, outlines a comprehensive plan to destabilize the government of the late President Hugo Chávez. The cable begins with a Summary:
During his 8 years in power, President Chavez has systematically dismantled the institutions of democracy and governance. The USAID/OTI program objectives in Venezuela focus on strengthening democratic institutions and spaces through non-partisan cooperation with many sectors of Venezuelan society.
USAID/OTI = United States Agency for International Development/Office of Transition Initiatives. The latter is one of the many euphemisms that American diplomats use with each other and the world – They say it means a transition to “democracy”. What it actually means is a transition from the target country adamantly refusing to cooperate with American imperialist grand designs to a country gladly willing (or acceding under pressure) to cooperate with American imperialist grand designs.
OTI supports the Freedom House (FH) “Right to Defend Human Rights” program with $1.1 million. Simultaneously through Development Alternatives Inc. (DAI), OTI has also provided 22 grants to human rights organizations.
Freedom House is one of the oldest US government conduits for transitioning to “democracy”; to a significant extent it equates “democracy” and “human rights” with free enterprise. Development Alternatives Inc. is the organization that sent Alan Gross to Cuba on a mission to help implement the US government’s operation of regime change.
OTI speaks of working to improve “the deteriorating human rights situation in” Venezuela. Does anyone know of a foreign government with several millions of dollars to throw around who would like to improve the seriously deteriorating human rights situation in the United States? They can start with the round-the-clock surveillance and the unconscionable entrapment of numerous young “terrorists” guilty of thought crimes.
“OTI partners are training NGOs [non-governmental organizations] to be activists and become more involved in advocacy.”
Now how’s that for a self-given license to fund and get involved in any social, economic or political activity that can sabotage any program of the Chávez government and/or make it look bad? The US ambassador’s cable points out that:
OTI has directly reached approximately 238,000 adults through over 3000 forums, workshops and training sessions delivering alternative values and providing opportunities for opposition activists to interact with hard-core Chavistas, with the desired effect of pulling them slowly away from Chavismo. We have supported this initiative with 50 grants totaling over $1.1 million.
“Another key Chavez strategy,” the cable continues, “is his attempt to divide and polarize Venezuelan society using rhetoric of hate and violence. OTI supports local NGOs who work in Chavista strongholds and with Chavista leaders, using those spaces to counter this rhetoric and promote alliances through working together on issues of importance to the entire community.”
This is the classical neo-liberal argument against any attempt to transform a capitalist society – The revolutionaries are creating class conflict. But of course, the class conflict was already there, and nowhere more embedded and distasteful than in Latin America.
OTI funded 54 social projects all over the country, at over $1.2 million, allowing [the] Ambassador to visit poor areas of Venezuela and demonstrate US concern for the Venezuelan people. This program fosters confusion within the Bolivarian ranks, and pushes back at the attempt of Chavez to use the United States as a ‘unifying enemy.’
One has to wonder if the good ambassador (now an Assistant Secretary of State) placed any weight or value at all on the election and re-election by decisive margins of Chávez and the huge masses of people who repeatedly filled the large open squares to passionately cheer him. When did such things last happen in the ambassador’s own country? Where was his country’s “concern for the Venezuelan people” during the decades of highly corrupt and dictatorial regimes? His country’a embassy in Venezuela in that period was not plotting anything remotely like what is outlined in this cable.
The cable summarizes the focus of the embassy’s strategy’s as: “1) Strengthening Democratic Institutions, 2) Penetrating Chavez’ Political Base, 3) Dividing Chavismo, 4) Protecting Vital US business, and 5) Isolating Chavez internationally.” 1
The stated mission for the Office of Transition Initiatives is: “To support U.S. foreign policy objectives by helping local partners advance peace and democracy in priority countries in crisis.” 2
Notice the key word – “crisis”. For whom was Hugo Chávez’s Venezuela a “crisis”? For the people of Venezuela or the people who own and operate United States, Inc.?
Imagine a foreign country’s embassy, agencies and NGOs in the United States behaving as the American embassy, OTI, and NGOs did in Venezuela. President Putin of Russia recently tightened government controls over foreign NGOs out of such concern. As a result, he of course has been branded by the American government and media as a throwback to the Soviet Union.
Under pressure from the Venezuelan government, the OTI’s office in Venezuela was closed in 2010.
For our concluding words of wisdom, class, here’s Charles Shapiro, US ambassador to Venezuela from 2002 to 2004, speaking recently of the Venezuelan leaders: “I think they really believe it, that we are out there at some level to do them ill.” 3
The latest threats to life as we know it
Last month numerous foreign-policy commentators marked the tenth anniversary of the fateful American bombing and invasion of Iraq. Those who condemned the appalling devastation of the Iraqi people and their society emphasized that it had all been a terrible mistake, since Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein didn’t actually possess weapons of mass destruction (WMD). This is the same argument we’ve heard repeatedly during the past ten years from most opponents of the war.
But of the many lies – explicit or implicit – surrounding the war in Iraq, the biggest one of all is that if, in fact, Saddam Hussein had had those WMD the invasion would have been justified; that in such case Iraq would indeed have been a threat to the United States or to Israel or to some other country equally decent, innocent and holy. However, I must ask as I’ve asked before: What possible reason would Saddam Hussein have had for attacking the United States or Israel other than an irresistible desire for mass national suicide? He had no reason, no more than the Iranians do today. No more than the Soviets had during the decades of the Cold War. No more than North Korea has ever had since the United States bombed them in the early 1950s. Yet last month the new Defense Secretary, Chuck Hagel, announced that he would strengthen United States defenses against a possible attack by [supposedly] nuclear-equipped North Korea, positioning 14 additional missile interceptors in Alaska and California at an estimated cost of $1 billion. So much for the newest Great White Hope. Does it ever matter who the individuals are who are occupying the highest offices of the US foreign-policy establishment? Or their gender or their color?
“Oh,” many people argued, “Saddam Hussein was so crazy who knew what he might do?” But when it became obvious in late 2002 that the US was intent upon invading Iraq, Saddam opened up the country to the UN weapons inspectors much more than ever before, offering virtually full cooperation. This was not the behavior of a crazy person; this was the behavior of a survivalist. He didn’t even use any WMD when he was invaded by the United States in 1991 (“the first Gulf War”), when he certainly had such weapons. Moreover, the country’s vice president, Tariq Aziz, went on major American television news programs to assure the American people and the world that Iraq no longer had any chemical, biological or nuclear weapons; and we now know that Iraq had put out peace feelers in early 2003 hoping to prevent the war. The Iraqi leaders were not crazy at all. Unless one believes that to oppose US foreign policy you have to be crazy. Or suicidal.
It can as well be argued that American leaders were crazy to carry out the Iraqi invasion in the face of tens of millions of people at home and around the world protesting against it, pleading with the Bush gang not to unleash the horrors. (How many demonstrations were there in support of the invasion?)
In any event, the United States did not invade Iraq because of any threat of an attack using WMD. Washington leaders did not themselves believe that Iraq possessed such weapons of any significant quantity or potency. Amongst the sizable evidence supporting this claim we have the fact that they would not have exposed hundreds of thousands of soldiers on the ground.
Nor can it be argued that mere possession of such weapons – or the belief of same – was reason enough to take action, for then the United States would have to invade Russia, France, Israel, et al.
I have written much of the above in previous editions of this report, going back to 2003. But I’m afraid that I and other commentators will have to be repeating these observations for years to come. Myths that reinforce official government propaganda die hard. The mainstream media act like they don’t see through them, while national security officials thrive on them to give themselves a mission, to enhance their budgets, and further their personal advancement. The Washington Post recently reported: “A year into his tenure, the country’s young leader, Kim Jong Un, has proved even more bellicose than his father, North Korea’s longtime ruler, disappointing U.S. officials who had hoped for a fresh start with the regime.” 4
Yeah, right, can’t you just see those American officials shaking their heads and exclaiming: “Damn, what do we have to do to get those North Korean fellows to trust us?” Well, they could start by ending the many international sanctions they impose on North Korea. They could discontinue arming and training South Korean military forces. And they could stop engaging in provocative fly-overs, ships cruising the waters, and military exercises along with South Korea, Australia, and other countries dangerously close to the North. TheWall Street Journal reported:
The first show of force came on March 8, during the U.S.-South Korean exercise, known as Foal Eagle, when long-range B-52 bombers conducted low-altitude maneuvers. A few weeks later, in broad daylight, two B-2 bombers sent from a Missouri air base dropped dummy payloads on a South Korean missile range.
U.S. intelligence agencies, as had been planned, reviewed the North’s responses. After those flights, the North responded as the Pentagon and intelligence agencies had expected, with angry rhetoric, threatening to attack the South and the U.S.
On Sunday, the U.S. flew a pair of advanced F-22s to South Korea, which prompted another angry response from the North.5
And the United States could stop having wet dreams about North Korea collapsing, enabling the US to establish an American military base right at the Chinese border.
As to North Korea’s frequent threats … yes, they actually outdo the United States in bellicosity, lies, and stupidity. But their threats are not to be taken any more seriously than Washington’s oft expressed devotion to democracy and freedom. When it comes to doing actual harm to other peoples, the North Koreans are not in the same league as the empire.
“Everyone is concerned about miscalculation and the outbreak of war. But the sense across the U.S. government is that the North Koreans are not going to wage all-out war,” a senior Obama administration official said. “They are interested first and foremost in regime survival.” 6
American sovereignty hasn’t faced a legitimate foreign threat to its existence since the British in 1812.
The marvelous world of Freedom of Speech
So, the United States and its Western partners have banned Iranian TV from North America and in various European countries. Did you hear about that? Probably not if you’re not on the mailing list of PressTV, the 24-hour English-Language Iranian news channel. According to PressTV:
The Iranian film channel, iFilm, as well as Iranian radio stations, have also been banned from sensitive Western eyes and ears, all such media having been removed in February from the Galaxy 19 satellite platform serving the United States and Canada.
In December the Spanish satellite company, Hispasat, terminated the broadcast of the Iranian Spanish-language channel Hispan TV. Hispasat is partly owned by Eutelsat, whose French-Israeli CEO is blamed for the recent wave of attacks on Iranian media in Europe.
The American Jewish Committee has welcomed these developments. AJC Executive Director David Harris has acknowledged that the committee had for months been engaged in discussions with the Spaniards over taking Iranian channels off the air. 7
A careful search of the Lexis-Nexis data base of international media reveals that not one English-language print newspaper, broadcast station, or news agency in the world has reported on the PressTV news story since it appeared February 8. One Internet newspaper,Digital Journal, ran the story on February 10.
The United States, Canada, Spain, and France are thus amongst those countries proudly celebrating their commitment to the time-honored concept of freedom of speech. Other nations of “The Free World” cannot be far behind as Washington continues to turn the screws of Iranian sanctions still tighter.
In his classic 1984, George Orwell defined “doublethink” as “the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them.” In the United States, the preferred label given by the Ministry of Truth to such hypocrisy is “American exceptionalism”, which manifests itself in the assertion of a divinely ordained mission as well in the insistence on America’s right to apply double standards in its own favor and reject “moral equivalence”.
The use of sanctions to prevent foreign media from saying things that Washington has decided should not be said is actually a marked improvement over previous American methods. For example, on October 8, 2001, the second day of the US bombing of Afghanistan, the transmitters for the Taliban government’s Radio Shari were bombed and shortly after this the US bombed some 20 regional radio sites. US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld defended the targeting of these facilities, saying: “Naturally, they cannot be considered to be free media outlets. They are mouthpieces of the Taliban and those harboring terrorists.” 8 And in Yugoslavia, in 1999, during the infamous 78-bombing of the Balkan country which posed no threat at all to the United States, state-owned Radio Television Serbia(RTS) was targeted because it was broadcasting things which the United States and NATO did not like (like how much horror the bombing was causing). The bombs took the lives of many of the station’s staff, and both legs of one of the survivors, which had to be amputated to free him from the wreckage. 9
William Blum is the author of:
Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Interventions Since World War 2
Rogue State: A Guide to the World’s Only Superpower
West-Bloc Dissident: A Cold War Memoir
Freeing the World to Death: Essays on the American Empire
Portions of the books can be read, and signed copies purchased, at www.killinghope.org
Notes
Washington Post, January 10, 2013
Washington Post, March 16, 2013
Wall Street Journal, April 3, 2013
Ibid.
Index on Censorship online, the UK’s leading organization promoting freedom of expression, October 18, 2001
The Independent (London), April 24, 1999, p.1
Any part of this report may be disseminated without permission, provided attribution to William Blum as author and a link to this website are given.

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Bradley Manning In His Own Words: In Leaked Court Recording, Army Whistleblower Tells His Story for First Time

Today, Freedom of the Press Foundation is publishing the full, previously unreleased audio recording of Private First Class Bradley Manning’s speech to the military court in Ft. Meade about his motivations for leaking over 700,000 government documents to WikiLeaks. In addition, we have published highlights from Manning’s statement to the court.
While unofficial transcripts of this statement are available, this marks the first time the American public has heard the actual voice of Manning.
Posted March 12, 2013
He explains to the military court in his own cadence and words how and why he gave the Apache helicopter video, Afghanistan and Iraq Wars Logs, and the State Department Diplomatic Cables to WikiLeaks. Manning explains his motives, noting how he believed the documents showed deep wrongdoing by the government and how he hoped that the release would “spark a domestic debate on the role of the military and our foreign policy in general as it related to Iraq and Afghanistan.” In conjunction with the statement, Private First Class Manning also pleaded guilty to 10 of the 22 charges against him.
Freedom of the Press Foundation is dedicated to supporting journalism that combats overreaching government secrecy. We have been disturbed that Manning’s pre-trial hearings have been hampered by the kind of extreme government secrecy that his releases to WikiLeaks were intended to protest. While reporters are allowed in the courtroom, no audio or visual recordings are permitted by the judge, no transcripts of the proceedings or any motions by the prosecution have been released, and lengthy court orders read on the stand by the judge have not been published for public review.
A short film by Laura Poitras
A group of journalists, represented by the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), has been engaged in a legal battle to force the court to be more open. While the government has belatedly released a small portion of documents related to the case, many of the most important orders have been withheld—such as the orders relating to the speedy trial proceedings or the order related to Manning’s prolonged solitary confinement.
Michael Ratner, president emeritus of CCR, called the government “utterly unresponsive to what is a core First Amendment principle.” Ratner noted this is a public trial, the information being presented is not classified, and that contemporaneous access to information about the trial is necessary to understanding the proceedings. Nonetheless, the lawsuit has been tied up in the appeals court for months.
Freedom of the Press Foundation’s mission is to support and defend cutting-edge transparency journalism by supporting those organizations that publish leaks in the public interest. We often report on news surrounding government secrecy, educating the public about the important relationship between leaking and independent journalism. When we received this recording, we realized we had a unique opportunity to bring some small measure of transparency directly by allowing the world to hear for itself the voice of someone who took a controversial and important stance for government transparency.
We hope this recording will shed light on one of the most secret court trials in recent history, in which the government is putting on trial a concerned government employee whose only stated goal was to bring attention to what he viewed as serious governmental misconduct and criminal activity. We hope to prompt additional analysis of these proceedings by other journalistic institutions and the public at large. While we are not equipped (technically or as a matter of human resources) to receive leaked information nor do we plan on receiving them in the future, we are proud to publish and analyze this particular recording because it is so clearly matches our mission of supporting transparency journalism.
The information provided by Manning has uncovered stories of wrongdoing by the United States, as well as by leaders and politicians around the world. The cables were reportedly one of the catalysts that led to the Arab Spring and sped up the end of the Iraq War. To this day, more than two years after their release, the information provided by Manning is used every day by journalists and historians in major publications are the world to enlighten and inform the public, both in the United States and around the world. In a time when the extent and reach of U.S. government secrecy is unprecedented, and there are credible reports that the government has abused its secrecy and classification systems to cover up numerous illegal and unconstitutional activities, Manning’s actions should be seen as an overdue sliver of sunlight into an overly secret system rather than as a basis for a prosecution seeking decades of imprisonment.
By releasing this audio recording, we wish to make sure that the voice of this generation’s most prolific whistleblower can be heard—literally—by the world.
Regardless of whether one believes that Manning’s acts were right or wrong or a mix of both, he has taken responsibility for them by pleading guilty to ten charges, for which he faces up to twenty years in prison. The government however, is continuing to pursue all of the charges against him, including charges under the Espionage Act and “aiding the enemy” —which could have huge consequences for press freedom and the First Amendment. The ACLU has expressed concern that this “aiding the enemy” charge could criminalize speech for all sorts of active military members, noting that “In its zeal to throw the book at Manning, the government has so overreached that its ‘success’ would turn thousands of loyal soldiers into criminals.”
And Harvard Law professor Yochai Benkler has argued that this prosecution could decimate national security journalism by outlawing whole categories of journalist-source relationships in the future: “[T]he prosecutors seem bent on using this case to push a novel and aggressive interpretation of the law that would arm the government with a much bigger stick to prosecute vaguely-defined national security leaks, a big stick that could threaten not just members of the military, but civilians too.”
Extreme secrecy in our courts, just like in our government’s policies and our politics, is an anathema to democracy. Whether military or civilian, this type of closed-door legal process impairs the public’s right-to-know and journalists’ ability to report on matters of deep public concern. The courtrooms of America should be open to the public, so they can see and hear what is being done in their name.
You can donate to aggressive journalism outlets dedicated to transparency and accountability on our homepage. You can learn more about Bradley Manning’s case by visiting the Bradley Manning Support Network.
See also – Pfc. Bradley E. Manning’s Statement for the Providence Inquiry: Full text: : This statement was read by Private First Class Bradley E. Bradley at a providence inquiry for his formal plea of guilty to one specification as charged and nine specifications for lesser included offenses. He pled not guilty to 12 other specifications.

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Julian Assange Speaks From Ecuador Embassy in London

Video (Full Speech) 

Posted December 20, 2012

Transcript
Six months ago – 185 days ago – I entered this building.
It has become my home, my office and my refuge.
Thanks to the principled stance of the Ecuadorian government and the support of its people I am safe in this Embassy and safe to speak from this Embassy.
And every single day outside, people like you have watched over this embassy – rain hail and shine.
Every single day. I came here in summer. It’s winter now.
I have been sustained by this solidarity and I’m grateful for the efforts of people all around the world supporting the work of Wikileaks, supporting freedom of speech and freedom of the press, essential elements in any democracy.
While my freedom is limited, I am still able to communicate this Christmas, unlike the 232 journalists who are in jail tonight.
unlike Godfried Svartholm in Sweden tonight
unlike Jeremy Hammond in New York tonight
unlike Nabeel Rajab in Bahrain tonight
unlike Bradley Manning who turned 25 this week, a young man who has maintained his dignity after spending more than 10% of this life in jail, some of that time in a cage, naked and without his glasses.
and unlike the so many others whose plights are linked to my own.
I salute these brave men and women. And I salute those journalists and publications that have covered what has and continues to happen to these people, and to journalists and publications that continue publishing the truth in the face of persecution, prosecution and threat – who take journalism and publishing seriously.
Because it is from the revelation of the truth that all else follows.
Our buildings can only be as tall as their bricks are strong.
And our civilization is only as strong as its ideas are true.
When our buildings are erected by the corrupt. When their cement is cut with dirt. When pristine steel is replaced by scrap-our buildings are not safe to live in.
And when our media is corrupt. When our academics are timid. When our history is filled with half truths and lies. Our civilization will never be just. It will never reach the sky.
Our societies are intellectual shanty towns. Our beliefs about the world and each other have been created by same system that has lied us into repeated wars that have killed millions.
You can’t build a sky scraper out of plasticine. And you can’t build a just civilization out of ignorance and lies.
We have to educate each other. We have to celebrate those who reveal the truth and denounce those who poison our ability to comprehend the world we live in.
The quality of our discourse is the limit of our civilization.
This generation has come to its feet and is revolutionizing the way we see the world.
For the first time in history the people affected by history are its creators.
As for other journalists and publications – your work speaks for itself, and so do your war crimes.
I salute those who recognize that freedom of the press and the publics right to know- recognized in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and in the 1st Amendment in the US – is in danger and needs protection like never before.
Wikileaks is under a continuing criminal investigation and this fact has been recognized by Ecuador and the governments of Latin America as one that materially endangers my life and work.
Asylum is not granted on a whim but on facts.
The US investigation is referred to in testimony under oath in US courts, is admitted by Department of Justice and by the District Attorney of Virginia as a fact. It’s subpoenas are being litigated in the courts. The Pentagon reissued its threats against me in September and claimed the very existence of Wikileaks is an ongoing crime.
My work will not be cowed. But while this immoral investigation continues, and while the Australian government will not defend the journalism and publishing of Wikileaks, I must remain here.
However, the door is open – and the door has always been open – for anyone who wishes to speak to me. Like you I have not been charged with a crime. If ever see spin that suggests otherwise, note this corruption of journalism. Then goto justice4assange.com for the full facts. Tell the world the truth.
Despite the limitations, despite the extra judicial banking blockade, which circles WikiLeaks like the Cuban embargo, despite an unprecedented criminal investigation and campaign to damage and destroy Wikileaks, 2012 has been a huge year.
We have released nearly a million documents. made significant releases – relating to events unfolding in Syria.
We have exposed the mass surveillance state and hundreds of thousands of documents from private intelligence companies.
We have released information about the treatment of detainees at Guantanamo bay and elsewhere.
We’ve won against the blockade in the courts and the European Parliament.
And after a two year fight contributions to WikiLeaks have gone from being tax deductible no where to being tax deductible across the entirety of the European Union and the United States.
And last week information revealed by Wikileaks was vital in determining what really happened to El Masri, an innocent European kidnapped and tortured by the CIA.
Next year will be equally busy. Wikileaks already has well over a million documents to release. Documents that affect every country in the world. Every country in this world.
And in Australia an unelected Senator will be replaced by one that is elected.
In 2013 we continue to stand up to bullies. The Ecuadorian government and the governments of Latin America have shown how cooperating through shared values can embolden governments to stand up to bullies and support self determination. Their governments threaten no one: attack no one: send drones at no one. But together they stand strong and independent.
The tired calls by Washington power brokers for economic sanctions against Ecuador, simply for defending my rights, are misguided and wrong. President Correa rightly said, “Ecuador’s principles are not for sale.”. We must unite to defend the courageous people of Ecuador against interference in its economy and interference in its elections next year.
The power of people speaking up and resisting together terrifies corrupt undemocratic power. So much so that ordinary people in the West are now the enemy of governments, an enemy to be watched, controlled and impoverished.
True democracy is not the White house. It is not Canberra. True democracy is the resistance of people armed with the truth, against lies, from Tahrir to London. Every day, ordinary people teach us that democracy is free speech and dissent.
For once we, the people, stop speaking out, and stop dissenting, once we are distracted or pacified, once we turn away from each other, we are no longer free. For true democracy is the sum of our resistance.
If you don’t speak up, if you give up what is uniquely yours as a human being, you surrender your consciousness; your independence, even your sense of what is right and wrong. In other words, perhaps without knowing it, you become passive and controlled, unable to defend yourself and those you love.
People often ask, “What can I do?” the answer is not so difficult.
Learn how the world works. Challenge the statements, actions and intentions of those who seek to control us behind the facades of democracy and monarchy.
Unite in common purpose and common principle to design, build, document, finance and defend.
Learn, challenge, act.
Now.

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WikiLeaks editor denounces mass internet surveillance and US attacks on democratic rights

By Richard Phillips 
11 December 2012
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has stepped up his exposure of the escalating US-led attacks on legal and democratic rights with a series of media appearances over the past few weeks to promote his bookCypherpunks: Freedom and the Future of the Internet. Co-authored with Jacob Applebaum, Jeremie Zimmermann and Andy Mueller-Maguhn, the book warns that state authorities and giant corporations are using the Internet to facilitate massive spying operations.
“The Internet,” Assange declares in the introduction, “has led to revolutions across the world but a crackdown is now in full swing. As whole societies move online, mass surveillance programs are being deployed globally. Our civilization has reached a crossroads.”
In line with the Obama administration’s campaign against WikiLeaks, most of the mainstream media has largely ignored the book. Others, such as the American television network CNN, have brushed aside the book’s themes while claiming that Assange’s principled defence of press freedom is hypocritical. CNN journalist Erin Burnett, who hosts the network’s prime time nightly news program—“Erin Burnett: OutFront”—attempted this approach in late November.
CNN producers assured Assange that the program would discussCypherpunks, but Burnett, who began her career as a financial analyst for Goldman Sachs before moving into television journalism, had no intention of allowing the WikiLeaks founder to participate in any such discussion.
Assange remains holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, after he was granted political asylum by that country, in the wake of a British High Court decision to extradite him to Sweden on bogus sexual misconduct charges. The Australian citizen rightly fears that if he is sent to Sweden he will be extradited to the US to face frame-up espionage charges. A grand jury has already been convened in that country to indict him, while the American military has branded WikiLeaks and Julian Assange as “the enemy,” placing them on a legal par with Al Qaeda.
After an initial question about the book, CNN anchor Burnett provocatively asked Assange if he felt “any guilt” about the situation facing Bradley Manning, the young US soldier currently facing pretrial hearings for allegedly leaking classified government documents to WikiLeaks.
Assange calmly replied that the brutal treatment being meted out to Manning was aimed at trying to coerce the young man into a confession that would directly implicate WikiLeaks. The case, he observed, was another “reflection of the decay in the rule of law.” Assange pointed out that the UN’s special rapporteur Juan Mendez had described Manning’s treatment as akin to torture.
Burnett attempted to dismiss this response by claiming it was simply an indication of the WikiLeaks founder’s “strong point of view.” In other words, it was just another opinion, rather than a clear statement of fact. “I don’t want to get into detail” about Manning’s treatment, she retorted, and then asked Assange to comment on the legal case and whether a plea deal by Manning could endanger WikiLeaks.
Assange refused to fall for this ploy—stating that it was legally unwise to discuss the specifics of the case, given that the trial was underway—and returned to his book’s warnings about the assault on basic democratic rights.
What is happening, he continued, was “part of a much wider process… [and one] which all the top national security journalists in the United States are talking about… Dana Priest from the Washington Post, in her book Top Secret America, likens what’s going on to a metastasising cancer, where we now have five million people in the national security clearance system in the United States, a state within a state…
“This is a worldwide phenomenon,” he continued. “The new game in town is strategic surveillance. It is cheaper now to intercept all communications in and out of a country, store it permanently, than it is to simply go after one particular person.”
Burnett again tried to deflect, asking the WikiLeaks editor to discuss recent reports on his health. He refused, stating that this was “not very important” and referred back to his book and the escalating assault on democratic rights.
Burnett insisted that the WikiLeaks founder talk about press freedom in Ecuador, suggesting that in light of recent reports of Ecuador’s suppression of the press, his stance was hypocritical. Assange again refused to be provoked and explained that he had agreed to the television interview in order to discuss his book, not Ecuador.
“Why will you not talk about Ecuador?” the now agitated Burnett shouted.
Assange made clear that the small South American country played no role in the global internet spying operations and that while he was concerned about the suppression of free speech, which, he said, was “an extremely big problem all over the world”, so was “the collapse in the rule of law.”
In this regard, the WikiLeaks editor reviewed US government attacks on the legal rights of journalists, including the six year incarceration of an Al Jazeera journalist in Guantánamo Bay, and warned that such anti-democratic assaults were a threat to all serious journalists.
“The topic of this book is what is happening to all of us and the threats that all of us face,” he explained. “In the 1930s, certain people saw what was going on and they saw the general trends. I’m telling you there is a general trend. I am an expert and have lived through it. Other experts have lived through different facets of this… This is a state change. This is not a matter of simply a small change to an individual. It is a sea change in politics. And we are going to have to do something about it. If we don’t do something about it, we all run the risk of losing the democracy that we’ve treasured for so long.”
Unable to answer these remarks, Burnett quickly ended the interview.
While Assange powerfully rebuffed the crude provocations thrown at him by the CNN journalist, the interview once again reveals the intense hostility of the corporate media establishment towards the WikiLeaks web site and its founder. The whistle blowing site has not just revealed the war crimes of US imperialism and its political allies, but exposed the complicity of the mainstream media in these crimes. Well-heeled establishment figures, such as Burnett and others have no interest in genuine journalism. They have become nothing but cyphers for Washington’s slanders and lies. The full “OutFront” interview can be viewed here.

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Vote WikiLeaks

By Julian Assange

WikiLeaks has decided to intervene in the U.S. election campaign.

Posted October 06, 2012
 

Help WikiLeaks run the United States over the next four years”
WikiLeaks enters U.S. election campaign.
Last Friday, on 28 September, the Pentagon again threatened WikiLeaks. Pentagon spokesman George Little demanded WikiLeaks destroy its publications, including the Iraq War logs which revealed the killings of more than 100,000 civilians. Little said: “continued possession by WikiLeaks of classified information belonging to the United States government represents a continuing violation of law”. The Pentagon also again “warned Mr Assange and WikiLeaks” against “soliciting” material from U.S. military whistleblowers.
In response, WikiLeaks has decided to intervene in the U.S. election campaign.
The United States government claims Mr Assange and the WikiLeaks organization are within its jurisdiction. In reply, we place the Obama administration within our jurisdiction. All American school children are taught that being subject to laws without representation is an injustice. This is the backbone of the American Revolution. We claim our representation and now initiate a campaign to transform Democratic and Republican votes into economic and political support for WikiLeaks and its First Amendment values. This election day, do not vote for the Republican or Democratic parties. Instead, cast the only vote that matters. Vote with your wallet – vote for WikiLeaks.
The Democratic Party promised to open government. But instead it is building a state within a state, placing nearly five million Americans under the national security clearance system. It has classified more documents than any previous administration, classifying even the process used to decide who will live and who will be killed. The U.S. administration hurtles towards dystopia: secret laws, secret processes, secret budgets, secret bailouts, secret killings, secret mass spying, secret drones and secret detention without charge. The collapse of the Soviet Union could have led to the withdrawal of the U.S. security state, but without moral competition from another system it has grown unchecked to influence almost every American policy. Four more years in the same direction cannot be tolerated.
The Obama administration continues to conduct a “whole of government” investigation of “unprecedented scale and nature” into WikiLeaks and its people. It has fuelled the extrajudicial banking blockade against the organization and has held an alleged WikiLeaks source, Bradley Manning, in conditions that the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture, Juan Mendez, found had amounted to torture. Mr Assange has been formally found to be a political refugee, but U.S. ambassadors warned countries such as Switzerland not to offer him asylum. President Obama has called Bradley Manning guilty before trial and Vice-President Biden has labelled Julian Assange a “hi-tech terrorist”. The Obama-Biden campaign brags of having prosecuted twice as many national security whistleblowers as “all previous administrations combined”.http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentis…. This is not acceptable.
Politicians always say your decision, come election-time, will determine the future. But, as has been seen with the Obama administration, deciding on who gets into formal office is not a meaningful choice, because when you vote your party into government you also vote the government, including all its agencies and friends, into your party. Thus, parties taking office are eliminated as the restraining voice of opposition.
But there is another option.
Government agencies and corporations know that knowledge is power. That is why they spend literally billions to keep their plans and actions secret from all of us.
They know that together we can force them to act differently.
It was WikiLeaks’ revelations – not the actions of President Obama – that forced the U.S. administration out of the Iraq War. By exposing the killing of Iraqi children, WikiLeaks directly motivated the Iraqi government to strip the U.S. military of legal immunity, which in turn forced the U.S. withdrawal. http://salon.com/2011/10/23/wikilea…
It was WikiLeaks’ revelations and pan-Arab activists, not the Obama administration, that helped to trigger the Arab Spring. While WikiLeaks was exposing dictators from Yemen to Cairo, Vice-President Joseph Biden was calling Hosni Mubarak a democrat, Hillary Clinton was calling his government “stable” and the U.S. administration was colluding with Yemeni dictator Saleh to bomb his own people. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/201…http://www.worldaffairsjournal.org/…
And it was WikiLeaks’ revelations, not the White House, that led to the reform of the largest children’s hospital network in the United States. http://wikileaks.org/wiki/Report_on…
Last year, the Pentagon got $662 billion for its 2012 war chest. For WikiLeaks to continue its work to bring transparency to powerful institutions through the mass publication of leaks with the greatest potential to lead to more just forms of governance, we need to build a bigger ’war chest’ too.
In early December 2010, WikiLeaks was receiving $120,000 per day in donations from the general public. In response to pressure from Washington, and entirely outside the law, financial institutions including Visa, MasterCard, PayPal, Bank of America and Western Union, erected a banking blockade against WikiLeaks, stripping the organization of 95% of its funding. Although WikiLeaks has won every court case to date against the blockade, these Washington-linked institutions continue to appeal.
So, for the next 34 days, beginning on 3 October 2012, we are launching a new fundraising campaign running up to Election Day, 6 November.
You can still donate to WikiLeaks using a variety of easy methods, including workarounds for Visa, MasterCard and PayPal. These donations go to fund WikiLeaks’ publishing and infrastructure costs and our legal costs to fight the financial blockade. We are expecting an answer shortly on Visa’s appeal against the Icelandic court’s ruling that declared their blockade illegal, and decision-makers are expected to meet soon on our European anti-trust banking case.
If you wish to contribute to Julian Assange’s legal defence costs, you can still use your credit card but you will need to make a separate donation to the Julian Assange and WikiLeaks Staff Defence Fund, administered and audited by Derek Rothera & Co. Full details are on our donate page. You can also donate to the Bradley Manning Defense Fund from our site.
“The struggle of man against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting”, Milan Kundera.
Julian Assange

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Wikileaks released half a million documents related to 9/11

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The Pursuit of Julian Assange is an Assault on Freedom and a Mockery of Journalism

By John Pilger
August 23, 2012 “Information Clearing House” The British government’s threat to invade the Ecuadorean embassy in London and seize Julian Assange is of historic significance. David Cameron, the former PR man to a television industry huckster and arms salesman to sheikdoms, is well placed to dishonour international conventions that have protected Britons in places of upheaval. Just as Tony Blair’s invasion of Iraq led directly to the acts of terrorism in London on 7 July 2005, so Cameron and Foreign Secretary William Hague have compromised the safety of British representatives across the world.
Threatening to abuse a law designed to expel murderers from foreign embassies, while defaming an innocent man as an “alleged criminal”, Hague has made a laughing stock of Britain across the world, though this view is mostly suppressed in Britain. The same brave newspapers and broadcasters that have supported Britain’s part in epic bloody crimes, from the genocide in Indonesia to the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, now attack the “human rights record” of Ecuador, whose real crime is to stand up to the bullies in London and Washington.
It is as if the Olympics happy-clappery has been subverted overnight by a revealing display of colonial thuggery. Witness the British army officer-cum-BBC reporter Mark Urban “interviewing” a braying Sir Christopher Meyer, Blair’s former apologist in Washington, outside the Ecuadorean embassy, the pair of them erupting with Blimpish indignation that the unclubbable Assange and the uncowed Rafael Correa should expose the western system of rapacious power. Similar affront is vivid in the pages of the Guardian, which has counselled Hague to be”patient” and that storming the embassy would be “more trouble than it is worth”. Assange was not a political refugee, the Guardian declared, because “neither Sweden nor the UK would in any case deport someone who might face torture or the death penalty”.
The irresponsibility of this statement matches the Guardian’s perfidious role in the whole Assange affair. The paper knows full well that documents released by WikiLeaks indicate that Sweden has consistently submitted to pressure from the United States in matters of civil rights. In December 2001, the Swedish government abruptly revoked the political refugee status of two Egyptians, Ahmed Agiza and Mohammedel-Zari, who were handed to a CIA kidnap squad at Stockholm airport and “rendered” to Egypt, where theywere tortured. An investigation by the Swedish ombudsman for justice found that the government had “seriously violated” the two men’s human rights. In a 2009 US embassy cable obtained by WikiLeaks, entitled “WikiLeaks puts neutrality in the Dustbin of History”, the Swedish elite’s vaunted reputation for neutrality is exposed as a sham. Another US cable reveals that “the extent of [Sweden’smilitary and intelligence] cooperation [with Nato] is not widely known” and unless kept secret “would open the government to domestic criticism”.
The Swedish foreign minister, Carl Bildt, played a notorious leading role in George W Bush’s Committee for the Liberation of Iraq and retains close ties to the Republican Party’s extreme right. According to the former Swedish director of public prosecutions Sven-Erik Alhem, Sweden’s decision to seek the extradition of Assange on allegations of sexual misconduct is “unreasonable and unprofessional, as well as unfair and disproportionate”. Having offered himself for questioning, Assange was given permission to leave Sweden for London where, again, he offered to be questioned. In May, in a final appeal judgment on the extradition, Britain’s Supreme Court introduced more farce by referring to non-existent “charges”.
Accompanying this has been a vituperative personal campaign against Assange. Much of it has emanated from the Guardian, which, like a spurned lover,has turned on its besieged former source, having hugely profited from WikiLeaks disclosures. With not a penny going to Assange or WikiLeaks, a Guardian book has led to a lucrative Hollywood movie deal.The authors, David Leigh and Luke Harding, gratuitously abuse Assange as a “damaged personality” and “callous”. They also reveal the secret password he had given the paper in confidence, which was designed to protect a digital file containing the US embassy cables. On 20 August, Harding was outside the Ecuadorean embassy, gloating on his blog that “Scotland Yard may get the last laugh”. It is ironic, if entirely appropriate, that a Guardian editorial putting the paper’s latest boot into Assange bears an uncanny likeness to the Murdoch press’s predictable augmented bigotry on the same subject. How the glory of Leveson, Hackgate and honourable, independent journalism doth fade.
His tormentors make the point of Assange’s persecution. Charged with no crime, he is not a fugitive from justice. Swedish case documents, including the text messages of the women involved, demonstrate to any fair-minded person the absurdity of the sex allegations – allegations almost entirely promptly dismissed by the senior prosecutor in Stockholm, Eva Finne, before the intervention of a politician, Claes Borgstr?At the pre-trial of Bradley Manning, a US army investigator confirmed that the FBI was secretly targeting the “founders, owners or managers of WikiLeaks” for espionage.
Four years ago, a barely noticed Pentagon document, leaked by WikiLeaks, described how WikiLeaks and Assange would be destroyed with a smear campaign leading to “criminal prosecution”. On 18 August, the Sydney Morning Herald disclosed, in a Freedom of Information release of official files, that the Australian government had repeatedly received confirmation that the US was conducting an “unprecedented” pursuit of Assange and had raised no objections. Among Ecuador’s reasons for granting asylum is Assange’s abandonment “by the state of which he is a citizen”. In 2010, an investigation by the Australian Federal Police found that Assange and WikiLeaks had committed no crime. His persecution is an assault on us all and on freedom.

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Julian Assange demands end to US witch-hunt

By Mike Head 
20 August 2012
WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange spoke from a balcony of the Ecuadorean embassy in London yesterday, denouncing the US persecution of himself and WikiLeaks, and exposing moves by the British government to storm the embassy last week as Ecuador had prepared to grant him diplomatic asylum.
In another display of intimidation by the British government, an estimated 200 police lined the streets around the embassy, and occupied the front steps of the building, as Assange addressed hundreds of supporters and media representatives.
Assange said that last Wednesday night he heard police “storming” through the building’s fire escapes, but the presence of his supporters outside had prevented his arrest. “If the UK did not throw away the terms of the Vienna Convention, it was because the world was watching,” he said.
Britain’s Conservative-led coalition government had threatened to withdraw its recognition of the Ecuadorean embassy and send police to seize Assange, in blatant violation of the 1961 Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, which requires diplomatic posts to be treated as the territory of the foreign nation.
The British government declined to comment on Assange’s statement, thus not denying that police had entered the building. The government is making little secret of its plans to forcibly remove the WikiLeaks founder to Sweden, on the pretext of answering trumped-up sexual assault allegations, facilitating his transfer to the US to be tried for espionage.
It is increasingly obvious that the Obama administration and its allies, including the governments of Britain, Sweden and Australia—Assange’s country of citizenship—are intent on trampling over international law, and basic democratic rights, in order to incarcerate Assange and shut down WikiLeaks. Assange’s only “crime” is to have published hundreds of thousands of documents exposing US war crimes in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the reactionary machinations of the imperialist powers.
Assange warned that as long as WikiLeaks remained under threat, “so does the freedom of expression and the health of all of our societies.” The US government was in danger of “lurching off the precipice, dragging us all into a dangerous and oppressive world in which journalists fall silent under the fear of prosecution and citizens must whisper in the dark.”
Assange declared that the US “must renounce its witch-hunt against WikiLeaks,” “dissolve its FBI investigation,” “vow that it will not seek to prosecute our staff or our supporters” and “pledge before the world that it will not pursue journalists for shining a light on the secret crimes of the powerful.”
The WikiLeaks founder also demanded the release of Bradley Manning. The US Army private, accused of leaking incriminating documents to WikiLeaks, has been detained and abused for more than 850 days in an obvious attempt to coerce him into implicating WikiLeaks. That would lay the legal basis for Assange to be charged with “conspiracy to commit espionage.”
Assange said that Manning “remains in a military prison in Fort Leavenworth Kansas, was found by the UN to have endured months of torturous detention in Quantico Virginia, and has yet—after two years in prison—to see a trial.” Assange added: “[I]f Bradley Manning really did as he is accused, he is a hero, an example to us all and one of the world’s foremost political prisoners.”
On all these issues, Assange appealed to US President Barack Obama to “do the right thing.” But the Obama administration immediately made clear that it had no intention of halting its operation against Assange, by declaring that it did not recognise diplomatic asylum.
The Ecuadorean government has relied on a 1954 Organisation of American States (OAS) agreement to allow asylum in diplomatic missions for “persons being sought for political reasons.” The State Department said the United States was “not a party to the 1954 OAS Convention on Diplomatic Asylum and does not recognise the concept of diplomatic asylum as a matter of international law.”
Earlier, British Foreign Secretary William Hague had also declared: “The United Kingdom does not recognise the principle of diplomatic asylum.” These statements underscore the utter lawlessness of the US and its partners.
While the US refused to sign the 1954 convention, it has often used its embassies to protect selected individuals for its own political purposes. Just three months ago, in May, Chinese human rights campaigner Chen Guangcheng fled to the American embassy in Beijing after evading house arrest, and was quickly granted asylum in the US.
In a separate move, the White House voted against convening an emergency OAS meeting in Washington this Friday to discuss Ecuador’s objections to the British threats to its embassy. Only Canada and Trinidad and Tobago joined the US in opposing the resolution, which passed 23 to 3. Foreign ministers of the Union of South American Nations also expressed “solidarity” with Ecuador and urged the parties “to pursue dialogue in search of a mutually acceptable solution.”
In a weekend national address, Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa denounced as “intolerable and explicit” the British threat to storm the London embassy. He said his country had decided to grant Assange asylum after failing to secure assurances from Britain and Sweden that the WikiLeaks founder would not be extradited to a third country, “as that would put Mr Assange’s life and freedom at risk.”
When Ecuador’s foreign minister, Ricardo Patino, announced the asylum decision last week, he revealed that his government had also specifically asked the US government (1) whether there were any existing or intended legal process against Assange and/or WikiLeaks, (2) what maximum penalties would apply, and (3) whether it planned to request Assange’s extradition to the US. The Obama administration refused to provide any information about the Assange case.
Sweden also rejected an offer by Ecuador to allow Swedish prosecutors to question Assange at the embassy, in person or via videoconference. This fact exposes the efforts of the media in Britain and internationally to blacken Assange’s name by portraying him as a self-serving evader of Swedish sex “charges.”
The truth is that Assange has consistently offered to be questioned in Britain. Moreover, no charges have even been laid against him. The allegations were concocted by the Swedish police and prosecuting authorities in late 2010 after two women had consensual relations with him (see: “Australian TV program exposes Assange frame-up”).
There is no doubt that the Swedish frame-up was politically timed. It came just as the Obama administration orchestrated the convening of a secret US Grand Jury to examine possible charges against Assange, including “conspiracy to communicate or transmit national defence information” and “conspiracy to commit espionage.”
The author also recommends:
[18 August 2012]

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Imperialist lawlessness and the witch-hunt against Julian Assange

By Chris Marsden and Barry Grey 
18 August 2012
Britain’s aim in deporting WikiLeaks founder Julian to Sweden is to create the conditions for him to be transferred to the United States and tried for treason. It is a filthy enterprise, carried out on instructions from the Obama administration in Washington.
Its aim is to punish and destroy someone who has done much to expose the bloody crimes of successive US and UK governments. The American ruling elite and its international accomplices want to make an example of Assange. They aim to intimidate all those who seek to counter the wall of official lies, promoted by a corrupt “mainstream” media, used to conceal or justify war crimes and conspiracies against the peoples of the world.
Those who are guilty of conducting wars of aggression in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya, waging a covert war against Syria, and carrying out targeted assassinations, rendition and torture have no compunction trampling on fundamental precepts of international law. These include the right to political asylum.
The UK’s Conservative-led coalition government has threatened to withdraw its recognition of the Ecuadorean embassy in London and send police to storm the premises and seize Assange. The imperialist arrogance of this threat was rightly denounced by Ecuador as “an unacceptable, unfriendly and hostile act and an attempt against our sovereignty.” Ecuador’s foreign minister added at a Thursday press conference announcing his government’s decision to grant Assange’s request for political asylum, “We are not a British colony.”
The Vienna Convention specifically defines a foreign embassy as sovereign space. Such a diplomatic post is considered the territory of the foreign nation.
Such legal trifles could not matter less to the British government and its American overlords. British Foreign Secretary William Hague reiterated his government’s rejection of safe passage for Assange and its determination to seize him the moment he sets foot out of the Ecuadorean embassy. He declared, “The United Kingdom does not recognise the principle of diplomatic asylum.”
Piling one contemptible lie upon another, Hague continued: “It is important to understand that this is not about Mr. Assange’s activities at WikiLeaks or the attitude of the United States of America. He is wanted in Sweden to answer allegations of serious sexual offences.”
The Swedish government—the willing accomplice in the imperialist frame-up of Assange—piped up to support Britain’s violation of the right of asylum. It had made use of highly dubious charges of sexual misconduct to demand that Assange appear in Sweden for questioning, providing the pseudo-legal pretext for his extradition. “It is unacceptable that Ecuador would want to halt the Swedish judicial process and European judicial cooperation,” said Swedish foreign ministry spokesman Anders Joerle.
There is no serious legal basis for the allegations of sexual abuse against Assange—the Swedish authorities have not even lodged formal charges against him. The accusations were made by two women who sought out Assange and had consensual relations with him.
In response to Ecuador’s granting political asylum, Claes Brogstrom, the lawyer for the women making the sexual assault claims, declared disingenuously, “There’s no demand from the United States that he should be extradited to the US.”
Not yet. But as Brogstrom is well aware, the Obama administration convened a secret grand jury to draw up charges against Assange. It is waiting for him to be shipped to Sweden to strike.
WikiLeaks has reported that special task forces have been established by US intelligence agencies and subpoenas issued compelling WikiLeaks associates to appear before a grand jury. Assange has every reason to fear sharing the fate of Private Bradley Manning, who is accused of disclosing classified military data to WikiLeaks and has already been incarcerated for more than 760 days, mostly under inhuman and abusive conditions.
A conviction on sedition charges could bring the death penalty. Alternately, Assange could be thrown into the black hole of Guantanamo or some other military prison. Assange has said, with every justification, that he fears for his life.
Everyone but the willfully blind knows that Assange is the victim of a witch-hunt, yet this has not stopped the nominally liberal media from continuing to back extradition and denounce Assange. The New York Times merely stated that “The Obama administration has refused to say what plan it has, if any, to seek Mr. Assange’s extradition to the United States.” It then gloated that “WikiLeaks has shrunk substantially in the months that Mr. Assange has been fighting his legal battle,” and denounced the organization as “an agency of the political left.”
The UK media is worse still. The Guardian issued a de facto lawyer’s opinion on behalf of Assange’s persecutors, editorialising that he had no “well-founded fear” of political persecution, but was merely seeking to avoid “allegations of sexual assault, which is in anyone’s language a serious non-political crime.”
The Independent’s editorial acknowledged that “both the UK and Sweden have reportedly refused to guarantee that he would not face extradition to the US,” before stating blandly that this “may fuel suspicion.” But it insisted, “In present circumstances, though, the US is a distraction. If Mr. Assange is to live up to the honesty and integrity he professes, he must defend himself in Sweden, then contest any US extradition on its merits.”
Not since the 1930s, with the triumph of fascism in much of Europe and the build-up to a second world war, has imperialism operated on the world stage with such brazen disregard for legality. Once again, the law of the jungle prevails in international relations. This is the external expression of the turn to unmitigated class war within the imperialist countries, driven by a global breakdown of the capitalist system.
The persecution of Assange being orchestrated by the US has united a gang of cutthroats, thieves and professional liars. They are collectively the political representatives of an oligarchy whose fabulous wealth is coined from the blood, sweat and tears of countless millions throughout the world.
The defence of Julian Assange and WikiLeaks requires the independent political mobilisation of workers and young people against the offensive being waged by the ruling class and all its political defenders. Such a fight must be based on a socialist perspective, aimed at establishing workers’ governments committed to the reorganisation of society on the basis of social equality, freedom and genuine democracy.

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Assange or Corzine?

By Aziz
August 17, 2012 “Information Clearing House” –Priorities are a bitch.
The United States won’t prosecute Corzine for raiding segregated customer accounts, but will happily convene a Grand Jury in preparation for prosecuting Julian Assange for exposing the truth about war crimes.
From the New York Times:
A criminal investigation into the collapse of the brokerage firm MF Global and the disappearance of about $1 billion in customer money is now heading into its final stage without charges expected against any top executives. After 10 months of stitching together evidence on the firm’s demise, criminal investigators are concluding that chaos and porous risk controls at the firm, rather than fraud, allowed the money to disappear, according to people involved in the case.
But nobody knows how much dirt Corzine has on other Wall Street crooks. Not only may Corzine get away with corzining MF Global’s clients’ funds, he may well end up with a whole raft of seed money to play with from those former colleagues and associates who might prefer he remain silent regarding other indiscretions he may be aware of.
But the issue at hand is the sense that we have entered a phase of exponential criminality and corruption. A slavering crook like Corzine who stole $200 million of clients’ funds can walk free. Meanwhile, a man who exposed evidence of serious war crimes is for that act so keenly wanted by US authorities that Britain has threatened to throw hundreds of years of diplomatic protocol and treaties into the trash and raid the embassy of another sovereign state to deliver him to a power that seems intent not only to criminalise him, but perhaps even to summarily execute him. The Obama administration, of course, has made a habit of summary extrajudicial executions of those that it suspects of terrorism, and the detention and prosecution of whistleblowers. And the ooze of large-scale financial corruption, rate-rigging, theft and fraud goes on unpunished.
This article was originally published at Max Keiser
© 2006–2012 Max Keiser

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Julian Assange asylum: Ecuador is right to stand up to the US

The United States would paint itself as a promoter of human rights, but any right to make that claim is long gone
By Mark Weisbrot
August 16, 2012 “The Guardian” — Ecuador has now made its decision: to grant political asylum to Julian Assange. This comes in the wake of an incident that should dispel remaining doubts about the motives behind the UK/Swedish attempts to extradite WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.
On Wednesday, the UK government made an unprecedented threat to invade Ecuador’s embassy if Assange is not handed over. Such an assault would be so extreme in violating international law and diplomatic conventions that it is difficult to even find an example of a democratic government even making such a threat, let alone carrying it out.
When Ecuadorian foreign minister Ricardo Patiño, in an angry and defiant response, released the written threats to the public, the UK government tried to backtrack and say it wasn’t a threat to invade the embassy (which is another country’s sovereign territory). But what else can we possibly make of this wording from a letter delivered by a British official?
“You need to be aware that there is a legal base in the UK, the Diplomatic and Consular Premises Act 1987, that would allow us to take actions in order to arrest Mr Assange in the current premises of the embassy. We sincerely hope that we do not reach that point, but if you are not capable of resolving this matter of Mr Assange’s presence in your premises, this is an open option for us.”
Is there anyone in their right mind who believes that the UK government would make such an unprecedented threat if this were just about an ordinary foreign citizen wanted for questioning – not criminal charges or a trial – by a foreign government?
Ecuador’s decision to grant political asylum to Assange was both predictable and reasonable. But it is also a ground-breaking case that has considerable historic significance.
First, the merits of the case: Assange clearly has a well-founded fear of persecution if he were to be extradited to Sweden. It is pretty much acknowledged that he would be immediately thrown in jail. Since he is not charged with any crime, and the Swedish government has no legitimate reason to bring him to Sweden, this by itself is a form of persecution.
We can infer that the Swedes have no legitimate reason for the extradition, since they were repeatedly offered the opportunity to question him in the UK, but rejected it, and have also refused to even put forth a reason for this refusal. A few weeks ago the Ecuadorian government offered to allow Assange to be questioned in its London embassy, where Assange has been residing since 19 June, but the Swedish government refused – again without offering a reason. This was an act of bad faith in the negotiating process that has taken place between governments to resolve the situation.
Former Stockholm chief district prosecutor Sven-Erik Alhem also made it clear that the Swedish government had no legitimate reason to seek Assange’s extradition when he testified that the decision of the Swedish government to extradite Assange is “unreasonable and unprofessional, as well as unfair and disproportionate“, because he could be easily questioned in the UK.
But, most importantly, the government of Ecuador agreed with Assange that he had a reasonable fear of a second extradition to the United States, and persecution here for his activities as a journalist. The evidence for this was strong. Some examples: an ongoing investigation of Assange and WikiLeaks in the US; evidence that an indictment had already been prepared; statements by important public officials such as Democratic senator Diane Feinstein that he should be prosecuted for espionage, which carries a potential death penalty or life imprisonment.
Why is this case so significant? It is probably the first time that a citizen fleeing political persecution by the US has been granted political asylum by a democratic government seeking to uphold international human rights conventions. This is a pretty big deal, because for more than 60 years the US has portrayed itself as a proponent of human rights internationally – especially during the cold war. And many people have sought and received asylum in the US.
The idea of the US government as a human rights defender, which was believed mostly in the US and allied countries, was premised on a disregard for the human rights of the victims of US wars and foreign policy, such as the 3 million Vietnamese or more than one million Iraqis who were killed, and millions of others displaced, wounded, or abused because of US actions. That idea – that the US should be judged only on what it does within its borders – is losing supportas the world grows more multipolar economically and politically, Washington loses power and influence, and its wars, invasions, and occupations are seen by fewer people as legitimate.
At the same time, over the past decade, the US’s own human rights situation has deteriorated. Of course prior to the civil rights legislation of the 1960s, millions of African-Americans in the southern states didn’t have the right to vote, and lacked other civil rights – and the consequent international embarrassment was part of what allowed the civil rights movement to succeed. But at least by the end of that decade, the US could be seen as a positive example internally in terms of the rule of law, due process and the protection of civil rights and liberties.
Today, the US claims the legal right to indefinitely detain its citizens; the president can order the assassination of a citizen without so much as even a hearing; the government can spy on its citizens without a court order; and its officials are immune from prosecution for war crimes. It doesn’t help that the US has less than 5% of the world’s population but almost a quarter of its prison inmates, many of them victims of a “war on drugs” that is rapidly losing legitimacy in the rest of the world. Assange’s successful pursuit of asylum from the US is another blow to Washington’s international reputation. At the same time, it shows how important it is to have democratic governments that are independent of the US and – unlike Sweden and the UK – will not collaborate in the persecution of a journalist for the sake of expediency. Hopefully other governments will let the UK know that threats to invade another country’s embassy put them outside the bounds of law-abiding nations.
It is interesting to watch pro-Washington journalists and their sources look for self-serving reasons that they can attribute to the government of Ecuador for granting asylum. Correa wants to portray himself as a champion of free speech, they say; or he wants to strike a blow to the US, or put himself forward as an international leader. But this is ridiculous.
Correa didn’t want this mess and it has been a lose-lose situation for him from the beginning. He has suffered increased tension with three countries that are diplomatically important to Ecuador – the US, UK and Sweden. The US is Ecuador’s largest trading partner and has several times threatened to cut off trade preferences that support thousands of Ecuadorian jobs. And since most of the major international media has been hostile to Assange from the beginning, they have used the asylum request to attack Ecuador, accusing the government of a “crackdown” on the media at home. As I have noted elsewhere, this is a gross exaggeration and misrepresentation of Ecuador, which has an uncensored media that is mostly opposed to the government. And for most of the world, these misleading news reports are all that they will hear or read about Ecuador for a long time.
Correa made this decision because it was the only ethical thing to do. And any of the independent, democratic governments of South America would have done the same. If only the world’s biggest media organisations had the same ethics and commitment to freedom of speech and the press.
Now we will see if the UK government will respect international law and human rights conventions and allow Assange safe passage to Ecuador.

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Australian TV program exposes Assange frame-up

By Mike Head 

28 July 2012

“Four Corners”, an Australian Broadcasting Corporation current affairs program, this week broadcast what amounted to an exposé of the frame-up of WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange on allegations of sexual misconduct in Sweden. Assange remains inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London, seeking political asylum from the threat of being removed to Sweden, which would in turn facilitate extradition to the US.

The program provided a valuable service by simply piecing together what happened in the three crucial weeks after Assange arrived in Sweden in mid-August 2010. Assange was there to address a conference and investigate the possibility of hosting WikiLeaks’ operations in a secure computer facility.

By tracing the chronology, the program also clarified the connection between the Swedish witchhunt and the Grand Jury operation underway in the United States to charge Assange with espionage for WikiLeaks’ exposures of US war crimes (see: “Sex, Lies and Julian Assange”).

The program provided substantial evidence that the allegations against him were false and politically motivated. The unproven accusations were used to blacken his name in Sweden and around the world, and counter the widespread public support that he and WikiLeaks had won for courageously exposing the crimes and machinations of the US and other powers.

Reported by Andrew Fowler, the program recounts that when Assange arrived in Sweden on August 11, he was offered accommodation at the apartment of Anna Ardin. She was meant to be away, but returned on the evening of August 13. That night she had consensual sex with Assange, who continued to stay in the apartment until August 18—five days after the occasion on which the Swedish authorities later alleged Assange had used force against her.

In fact, Ardin several times insisted that Assange stay, rejecting offers from others to have the WikiLeaks’ chief stay with them. On the two nights following the supposed assault, Ardin arranged a crayfish barbecue for Assange and attended a dinner party by his side. During the crayfish party, she had tweeted: “Sitting outdoors at 02:00 and hardly freezing with the world’s coolest, smartest people! It’s amazing!” Later she told a friend she had a “wild weekend” with him.

On August 16, with Ardin’s knowledge, Assange travelled out of town to spend a night with a second young woman, Sofia Wilen. The following day, the two women began exchanging emails. Ultimately, four days later, on August 20, Ardin and Wilen went to a Stockholm police station to see if they could compel Assange to take a sexual health test.

Instead, the police declared that Assange was to be arrested and questioned about possible rape and molestation. Wilen became so distraught at this that she refused to give any more testimony or sign what had been taken down.

That same night, a prosecutor issued a warrant for Assange’s arrest. The prosecutor’s office did not contact Assange. Instead, within hours, it leaked to the tabloid newspaper Expressen the statements made by the two women. The newspaper’s front page read: “Assange hunted for rape in Sweden.”

This was just the first evidence of high-level collusion, involving the police, the prosecutor’s office and the media, to destroy Assange’s reputation.

Within 24 hours of the arrest warrant, there was a further twist. A more senior prosecutor dismissed the rape allegations, leaving only the lesser accusation of molestation. Assange voluntarily went to the police on August 30 and made a statement. During the interview he expressed his fears that whatever he said would end up in the Expressen. The interviewing police officer said: “I’m not going to leak anything.” The interview was nevertheless leaked.

Assange was still not charged with any offence—a fact that remains to this day. Instead, he was assured by the prosecutor that he was free to leave the country while an inquiry continued, an assurance that was later dramatically reversed.

The only conclusion one can draw is that Assange was either deliberately set-up, or that the women later came under significant pressure to testify against him. The current allegations by the two women against Assange are unclear. Their lawyer, Claes Borgstrom, refused to disclose any details of their case. When “Four Corners” suggested to him: “It looks as though they are in fact setting him up,” he replied defensively: “I’m quite aware of that.”

Assange left for London on September 27, in preparation for the October 22 release of WikiLeaks’ third major blow to Washington and its allies, the Iraq War Logs. The logs documented thousands of civilian killings and other war crimes, including hundreds of reports of abuse, torture, rape and murder by Iraqi police and soldiers, between 2004 and 2009.

WikiLeaks had already been denounced by the US government for earlier publishing the “Collateral Murder” video, showing the US military’s aerial killing of innocent civilians in Iraq, and the Afghan War Logs, documenting civilian killings and violent assaults by US and allied special forces.

Ominously, 12 days after giving Assange clearance to leave the country, and as he was working on the Iraq War logs release, the Swedish authorities suddenly issued an Interpol Red Notice warrant for his arrest. Assange offered to return within a month. The Swedish authorities said it was too late—the warrant had already been issued.

In the same weeks, the Obama administration instigated a full-scale investigation against WikiLeaks and launched a financial blockade to starve WikiLeaks of funds.

“Four Corners” replayed a May 2012 clip from the US Ambassador to Australia, Jeffrey Bleich, denying any American interest in Sweden’s bid to extradite Assange. “It’s not something that the US cares about, it’s not interested in it, it hasn’t been involved in it,” Bleich insisted.

But the program added to the mounting evidence of an indictment being prepared against Assange. It showed a copy of a subpoena from a US Grand Jury that is examining possible charges, including “conspiracy to communicate or transmit national defence information.”

The subpoena contained the identifying codes 10 and 3793. Assange’s US lawyer, Michael Ratner, explained: “[T]he Grand Jury’s number is 10, standing for the year it began, GJ which is Grand Jury and then 3793. Three is the Conspiracy Statute in the United States. 793 is the Espionage Statute. So what they’re investigating is 3793: conspiracy to commit espionage.”

That is significant because the conspiracy charge would be designed to link Assange to Bradley Manning, the US army private who has been incarcerated for more than two years, accused of leaking material to WikiLeaks. Any sole prosecution of Assange under the Espionage Act would face legal difficulties, because there is no evidence that WikiLeaks played any part in actually leaking material (see: “US government pursues bogus criminal prosecution of WikiLeaks and Julian Assange”).

Interviewed by “Four Corners” via telephone from the Ecuadorean embassy, Assange revealed several developments that impelled him to seek asylum. “First of all, the Swedish government publicly announced that it would detain me without charge in prison under severe conditions. On the same evening, the UK government security contractors that maintained the electronic manacle around my leg, turned up unannounced at 10.30 p.m. and insisted on fitting another manacle to my leg.

“Then the next day, the Crown Prosecution Service, acting we believe on behalf of the Swedish government, requested that the 14 days that I had to apply to the European Court of Human Rights, be reduced to zero.”

Assange’s Swedish lawyer, Per Samuelson, explained that if extradited to Sweden, Assange would be “kept there in isolation for four days. He can only meet with me and my co-lawyer. On the fourth day he will be brought into a courtroom in handcuffs in front of a custody judge.”

“Four Corners” reviewed Sweden’s record of assisting CIA renditions of two Swedish citizens to Egypt to be tortured during the past decade. Andrew Fowler explained: “A United Nations investigation later found against Sweden. The country was forced to pay compensation.”

On the phone, Assange told “Four Corners”: “If I was suddenly taken to Sweden, I would not be in a position to apply for political asylum in relation to the United States. It would be the end of the road. I would just be taken from one jail to another.”

“Four Corners” replayed Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s prejudicial declaration, just as the frame-up was gathering pace in December 2010, that Assange’s actions in publishing incriminating secret US government documents were “illegal”. The program did not probe the Australian government’s active involvement in the Obama administration’s vendetta against the Australian citizen. Yet, by producing evidence of the Grand Jury, it made a mockery of the government’s denials of any knowledge of any US plans to prosecute Assange.

When “Four Corners” asked the Australian government several questions about the Assange case, Foreign Minister Bob Carr’s spokesman clung to the government’s line. “The Australian government has no advice that the US government is seeking to prosecute Mr Assange,” he stated. “The Australian government has made clear to the US that it would expect any charges laid against Mr Assange to be carried out in accordance with due process.”

In other words, while maintaining the fraud that it knows nothing, the Gillard government has signalled its readiness to accept meaningless US assurances of “due process” as Assange is railroaded to jail, possibly for life.

The entire political establishment in Australia is complicit in the vendetta against Assange. The Greens are in a de facto coalition with the minority Labor government and are responsible for all its actions. Moreover, while posturing as defenders of Assange and WikiLeaks, the Greens have lent credence to the Swedish rape allegations, insisting that the case ought to proceed.

Interviewed at a rally to defend Assange in Melbourne on July 1, deputy Greens’ leader Adam Bandt stated: “Obviously, there are charges [sic] and claims in Sweden that need to be answered … That’s our real concern, to make sure that he faces and answers whatever claims have been made against him in Sweden, but that he’s entitled to return to Australia safely and that the Australian government does everything it can to make sure he’s not taken to the United States.”

The pseudo-left Socialist Alternative group has similarly refused to oppose the Swedish frame up, declaring that “the validity of these allegations [is] an issue that we can’t possibly judge.”

In Australia and internationally, the pseudo-lefts’ cowardly refusal to take a position on the allegations that have become the central mechanism of the US vendetta against Assange reflects their preoccupation with feminism and other forms of middle class identity politics. For these layers, the presumption of innocence and other basic legal principles are thrown out the window when it comes to allegations of sexual assault.

Against this line-up, working people and youth must come to the defence of Assange, and basic legal and democratic rights, mobilising against the governments that are intent on preventing any further exposure of their crimes.

The author also recommends:

[9 June 2012]

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Grant Asylum to Assange

By Mairead Maguire

July 23, 2012 “Information Clearing House” — I would like to add my voice to those of many people of conscience, around the world, in urging President Correa of Ecuador to grant political asylum to Julian Assange. The editor-in-chief of WikiLeaks is currently inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London.

The British courts shamefully refused Mr. Assange’s appeal against extradition to Sweden, where he is wanted for questioning in response to accusations of sexual molestation (no criminal charges have been made against him). Mr. Assange has said he is willing to answer questions relating to accusations against him, but to do so in the UK. He has good reason not to want to be extradited to Sweden, as he could find himself imprisoned in solitary confinement, and then very likely extradited to an American prison.
The American media has reported that the U.S. Justice Department and the Pentagon conducted a criminal investigation into “whether WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange violated criminal laws in the group’s release of government documents, including possible charges under the Espionage Act.” Mr. Assange’s only crime is he cared enough about people to respect their right to the truth, and he had the courage and bravery to print the truth, and in the process he embarrassed powerful governments.
The WikiLeaks release of thousands of State Department cables, and of the video footage from an Apache helicopter of a 2007 incident in which the U.S. military appears to have deliberately killed civilians, including two Reuters employees, revealed crimes against humanity. For this “truth telling,” he has incurred the wrath of the U.S. government, and has been targeted in a most vindictive way (as has Private Bradley Manning). (I support WikiLeaks right to publish leaked information, as it is in the interest of the public and their right to know. WikiLeaks were not the leakers or whistleblowers but an on-line news media).
Many believe there are those in high places who not only wish to punish Assange for outing them, but want to make an example of him so others will remain silent. They will not rest until Assange is behind bars in the USA and there are even some American politicians who have put Assange’s life in grave danger by calling for him to be assassinated.
It is ironic that Assange’s basic human rights have been breached since he is a journalist working for people’s rights to a free press and the freedom of speech.
The Australian, Swedish and UK governments have a responsibility to see that this man of courage be treated fairly and with justice. He ought to be allowed to tell his story in the UK when he can prove whether the incompetent and contradictory accusations against him are true or false.
It must also be remembered if Assange ends up in an American prison for a long time, in grave danger to his life, and maybe even face the death penalty, we all have to ask, “Who next?” and “Where goes freedom, human rights, and justice?”
We, as world citizens, need to support Julian Assange, who tried to protect the innocent by outing the perpetrators of war crimes and crimes against humanity. It is they who should, one day, be made accountable for their crimes.


Mairead Maguire ( www.peacepeople.com ) won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1976.

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When “Wiki Leaks”. Assange Syria Papers

by Christof Lehmann 
When “Wiki Leaks”. Assange Syria Papers. 47497.jpeg
If there was any remaining doubt about whether Julian Assange is a behavior modification victim who is used for selective hang-out operations, for cognitive misdirection of the public political discourse, and for covering up US/NATO war crimes, the release of the “Syria Files” today, should be the proverbial stone that is breaking the camels, or Assange´s back.
Before returning to Syria, let´s recall Wiki Leaks publication of the infamous video of the appalling, premeditated murder of twelve people in Baghdad in 2007. Among the murdered were the 22 year old Reuters’ photojournalist Namir Noor-Eldeen and his driver, 40 year old Saeed Chmagh.
We see the pictures from the gun camera that is mounted on the gun in the Apache Helicopter. The shooter is taking aim. The commanding officer at a command post gives the order to open fire. The two Reuters employees and several others are killed, some are wounded. A SUV with people who want to help the wounded arrives. The commanding officer gives the order to open fire on the vehicle and the people inside. More Iraqi citizens are murdered. Among them two children. (1)
A young US American soldier, Private Bradley Manning is getting a hold on the video and sends it to WikiLeaks. Wikileaks published the video, and if WikiLeaks was what it is claiming to be, there would have been two things that would have been very much different from how the related events transpired.
For one, private Bradley manning would most probably not have been arrested. For the other, if rather than directing all media attention on WikiLeaks, on the discussion whether private Manning is a hero or a traitor, attention would have been directed where it should have been, it is most likely that journalists world wide would have focused on having the shooter as well as the commanding officer sentenced for war crimes. But that is not so, and it is not so because WikiLeaks either has been established as a Western Intelligence Hang-Out-Function, or it has been co-opted and is being used as such.
As the US Arm’s records show, the investigation into the killing of the Reuters employees, the so called “insurgents” and children was a white wash. (2)
The US-American Journalist and Historian Webster G. Tarpley, who among other is known for his book “The Unauthorized Biography of H.W. Bush” as well as his investigative work for the Italian government into the kidnapping and murder of former Italian P.M. Aldo Moro, and for discovering that it was an intelligence infiltrated command of the Brigade Rosse that was responsible for the Moro murder, has also investigated Assange.
Webster G. Tarpley has been one of the first to pay attention to the fact that something smells bad when Wiki Leaks, and expressed it in numerous radio shows and interviews. In fact, Tarpley has built a strong case, documenting that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is the product of CI’s brand of Cult Mind Control or Behavior Modification.
Tarpley is asking a series of very relevant questions. Who is financing Julian Assange’s nomadic life ? Why is he given access to the front pages of some of the most prestigious main stream newspapers while high profile journalists struggle to get there? It would be good to add, the most prestigious, corporate or state sponsored newspapers. How does Assange manage to stay free without being apprehended ? Why has no court yet sentenced him for hacking and given him a ten years sentence ? It happens with so many other hackers, but not Assange, the super hero hacker ?
Tarpley reports among other, that the work of Assange is closely related to, and possibly financed by the secretive hedge fund hyena and self proclaimed “Philanthropist” Soros. Soros is doubtless a man of great influence and he sponsors among other operations such as “Media Matters”, which is another hang-out operations targets journalism which is not conform with the Soros Agenda”. On the Soros Agenda are among other such Philanthropic matters as globalization, liberalization of finance capital markets, eugenics. Soros is among other known for having given an interview where he denigrated war and the public outrage against war crimes as ridiculous, referring to World War Two as a positive example for how “real war should look like”.
If that is not enough to become highly suspicious about Julian Assange, and if one still does not think that it smells badly when “Wiki Leaks”, here is the clincher.
His parents were running a touring theater company and Assange´s childhood was chaotic. His mother, Christine Assange, was divorced from his father and remarried in 1979 with a member of the New Age Cult called “Sanitniketan Park Association” also known as “The Great White brotherhood of Light”. The leader of the cult, Anne Hamilton-Byrne was a self-proclaimed Yoga teacher, who taught spiritual Yoga. She was seemingly predominantly attracting mentally unstable disciples. About 25 % of the group were nurses and physicians who ran a private hospital in Kew, Australia. Because of the groups New Age Beliefs, many of their mentally unstable patients were treated with LSD, Electric Chock Therapy and Lobotomy.(3)
he cult leader, Anne Hamilton-Byrne was involved in the kidnapping of young children, who with the help of the cult´s members were provided false identities. Anne Hamilton-Byrne had ambitions to create a “Master Race”, and be it by fraud, by coloring the children’s hair blond. The children were kept at a remote location called Kia Lama, and were made to believe that Ann Hamilton-Byrne was their mother, and made subject to mind control experiments. (ibid.)
Although Assange may only have spent three or four years of his early childhood under those conditions, everybody who has once studied the 17.000 pages of declassified documents pertaining the CIA´s MK Ultra Behavioral Modification Experiments, or read the protocol of the Senate Hearings about the CIA program knows, that Assanges background must raise serious alarm bells as to whom he is actually working for, and who his handlers and controllers are. (5)
It is overwhelmingly likely that the publication of the Syria Papers is – The latest of CIA´s Controlled Hang Out Operations. It is also high time that independent media as well as an informed public begin to understand that it smells bad when “Wiki Leaks”. A healthy public reaction to the Syria papers would be to say. “Wiki, you are an adult now, and you can´t go on leaking over there in your corner. We know that you have been badly abused in your childhood, but it´s time to grow up. We won´t tolerate that you are “leaking over there in your corner because it stinks to high heaven. Go to the toilet, that is where your leaks belong”. Another healthy public response would be to say: ” Don´t try to tell hard working investigative journalists that your CIA-Puppet work has anything to do with journalism. Journalists go after the criminals rather than putting themselves into the lime light to detract attention from the criminals.
So,what is Wiki´s Stench Covering up this time ? After distracting attention from the murder of twelve Iraqis, among them two Reuters employees and two children, by diverting all attention towards little abused Blondie Julian and private Manning who is rotting in jail, and numerous other controlled hang-out-operations that question should be the one that dominates the public and political discourse.
The fact that NATO, the GCC and their best buddies from Al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood are doing their utmost to alleviate the consequences of their diplomatic defeat by Russia and China ? The fact that Hilary Clinton and the Wall Street Puppet Obama will do everything they can to continue the destabilization of Syria. Now that Clinton and Obama have received a clear and unequivocal message from Russia, China and Iran, that a military adventure on Syria is equivalent to a declaration of war, it is most likely that the illegal, unconventional war on Syria, the war of terror and death squads will be intensified ? The fact that the so called Free Syrian Army is being supplied with tanks and heavy weapons ? The fact that Syria already has a unity government, that members of opposition parties to the Arab Socialist Baath Party have numerous of the key Ministries ?
A Hail to Julian Assange, who dares to discuss publicly what journalism should be and how he tries to keep journalism ethical.
Why not write something about the Swiss hand grandees that are being used by insurgents ? (6)
Why not write about Walid Jumblatt and the fact that the Chairman of Lebanon´s Progressive Socialist Party is pushing Israeli Weapons to the insurgents ? Weapons delivered by Israels Raphael Industries. (7)
Why not drawing attention to the hundreds of confessions by insurgents who admit that they were murdering civilians to make video´s for Al-Jazeera to blame the terrible Assad Regime ? The hundreds of confessions that document that the war in Syria is a foreign subversion from beginning to end ? (8)
If someone asked me for my honest opinion I would say ” deliver Blondie Boy Assange to the USA and put him to jail for hacking. As long as he shares the prison cell with war criminals Obama, Clinton, Clinton, Bush and Bush, and Rumsfeld I´d say he would be in perfect company. And set Private Bradley Manning free. “
Christof Lehmann
05.07.2012
Notes:
1) Video of US Soldiers murder of 12 Iraqi citizens, among them two Reuters Journalists and two children. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gFS3K_-aOzI&feature=related
3)How To Create a Self-Loathing Psychopath with Delusions of Grandeur: http://globalgulag.freesmfhosting.com/index.php?topic=795.0
4) ibid.
6) Swiss authorities investigate information about hand grenades used by terrorists in Syria http://www.champress.net/index.php?q=en/Article/view/3348

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Evidence of a US Judicial Vendetta Against WikiLeaks Activists Mounts

Iceland’s government warns me not to visit the US, which tried to hack my Twitter account: Julian Assange has legitimate fears
By Birgitta Jónsdóttir 
July 04, 2012 “The Guardian” — I knew when I put down my name as co-producer of a video, released by WikiLeaks, showing United States soldiers shooting civilians in Baghdad from a helicopter that my life would never be the same. Telling the truth during times of universal deceit might be considered a revolutionary act, but only to those who want to keep us in the dark, not by those who feel compelled to do so.
Most of us who expose an inconvenient truth know that we will be attacked for it and ridiculed. And every trick in the book of maintaining power will be applied to silence us. It’s no big deal. The beauty of it is that, usually, these attempts gives us a chance to see the actual face of power and to understand, with real-time examples, how healthy or unhealthy our democracies have become.
The US Department of Justice (DoJ) tried to hack by legal means into my social media accounts without my knowledge. But they were exposed by Twitter’s legal team who manged to unseal the DoJ’s secret document and give me a chance to defend in court my personal information from being used in a dragnet for the first serious attacks on WikiLeaks’ supporters and volunteers. I still am not sure why they chose to take the risk of going after a member of Iceland‘s parliament, because it has caused distress among fellow parliamentarians from around the world. As a result of the speaker of the Icelandic parliament raising the issue at the International Parliamentarian Union (IPU), I was asked to appear for the human rights committee at the IPU to explain the details of my case. A resolution on my case was put forward and adopted unanimously by the IPU’s governing council, in October 2011.
The resolution is informative and draws together all the key elements I would like to highlight. I urge you to read the resolution, for it has not received enough attention – despite the fact that it addresses issues of concern to all of us who use social media in any shape or form. Here are some key sections from the resolution:
“The information sought by the United States government with respect to Birgitta Jónsdóttir concerned the period from 1 November 2009 to date and involves subscriber account information including names, user names, screen names or other identities, mailing and other addresses, connection records, or records of session times and duration, length and types of service, telephone or instrument number or other subscriber number or identity, means and sources of payment for such services, including any credit card or bank account number, and billing records, records of user activity for any connections made to or from the account, including the date, time, length, and method of connections, data transfer volume, user name, and source and destination internet protocol address(es), non-content information associated with the contents of any communication or file stored by or for the account, and correspondence and notes of records related to the accounts; […]
“Is concerned that the national and international legal framework concerning the use of electronic media, including social media, does not appear to provide sufficient guarantees to ensure respect for freedom of expression, access to information and the right to privacy; the guarantees protecting freedom of expression and privacy in the ‘offline world’ seem not to operate in the ‘online world’; […]
“Notes also with concern that the parliamentary immunity Ms Jónsdóttir would have enjoyed under Icelandic law in exercising the political activity which is apparently at stake, is not operational in this case; given that the use of social networks by parliamentarians with their constituents and others is today commonplace in many countries, disclosure orders such as the one in question would undermine and even render void the ability of states to protect their members of parliament from unwarranted interference with their mandates.”
In November 2011, Judge Liam O’Grady expressed an interesting opinion when discussing his ruling in my case – something that has escaped the attention of those who say Assange is overreacting to the threat of possible extradition to the US:
“The [my Twitter] information sought was clearly material to establishing key facts related to an ongoing investigation and would have assisted a grand jury in conducting an inquiry into the particular matters under investigation.”
During my second meeting at the Icelandic State Department to discuss my Twitter case, I got a message from the newly appointed US Ambassador Luis E Arreaga, delivered by the assistant of the foreign affairs minister in Iceland. Ambassador Arreaga had been instructed by the US department of justice to give me the following verbal message: a) I would not be subjected to involuntary interrogation; b) I was free to travel to the US; c) I was not subject to criminal investigation.
Despite this message, the Icelandic State Department strongly advised me against traveling to the US; the same applied to my EFFand ACLU legal advisers. Shortly after this message, their caution proved to have been prudent because my lawyers spotted at least two sealed grand jury documents relating to me when requesting access to all documents pertaining to my case. Of course, I have not been able to find out what these documents entail.
On Monday, news broke that the US Department of Justice had confirmed that WikiLeaks remains the object of an ongoing criminal investigation. The US army has confirmed that it is investigating the Bradley Manning Support Network, an international activism group that advocates on behalf of the imprisoned accused whistleblower. I happen to have been one of the early supporters in this network; and I have to consider whether I am also a target of that investigation.
The WTF (the CIA’s WikiLeaks Task Force) has been building a case against Assange and others from WikiLeaks for two years. There is no doubt there is a grand jury in action. There is no doubt that the US wants to get even with WikiLeaks. Assange has every reason to worry about being extradited to the US, be it from Britain or Sweden, or any country that cannot or will not give him a guarantee against extradition. The best possible solution to the current situation is for Sweden to provide such guarantees. If there were the will, it could be done.
Birgitta Jónsdóttir is a poet who has served since April 2009 as an MP in the Icelandic parliament for the Movement, a political movement for democratic reform beyond party politics, which she helped create. Birgitta was chief sponsor for the Icelandic Modern Media Initiative (IMMI), and is chair of the International Modern Media Institute. She is also on the Bradley Manning advisory board
© 2012 Guardian News and Media Limited

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WikiLeaks begins releasing millions of documents, emails linked to Syria regime

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange says in statement that the released data ‘is embarrassing to Syria, but it is also embarrassing to Syria’s opponents.’
By Haaretz 
July 05, 2012 “Haaretz” — The WikiLeaks website began publishing what it said was millions of documents linked to the inner workings of the Syria regime on Thursday, amid continued sectarian violence that has torn the country apart for over a year.
According to a statement released by WikiLeaks, the more than 2.4 million files are derived “from 680 Syria-related entities or domain names, including those of the Ministries of Presidential Affairs, Foreign Affairs, Finance, Information, Transport and Culture.”
WikiLeak’s founder Julian Assange said in the statement that the released “is embarrassing to Syria, but it is also embarrassing to Syria’s opponents.”
“It helps us not merely to criticize one group or another, but to understand their interests, actions and thoughts. It is only through understanding this conflict that we can hope to resolve it,” Assange added.
According to the rerelease, the new cache includes 2,434,899 emails from the 680 domains, “with 678,752 different email addresses that have sent emails and 1,082,447 different recipients.”
“There are a number of different languages in the set, including around 400,000 emails in Arabic and 68,000 emails in Russian,” the statement added, saying that the data is more than eight times the size of ’Cablegate’ in terms of number of documents, and more than 100 times the size in terms of data.”
Preliminary releases indicate a link between Syrian security forces and Selex, a subsidiary of Italian firm industrial conglomerate Finmeccanica.
A WikiLeaks spokesperson said that the released databse includes emails demonstrating that Selex sold a technology called Tetra to the Syrian government. This technology allows police forces to communicate in a secure and reliable manner. The database demonstrates that selling assistance and training by Selex continued through to this year.”
Earlier this year, documents from the office of Syrian President Bashar Assad obtained by Haaretz showed that Iran has been helping Syria bypass the international sanctions imposed on it for massacring civilians.
The documents show that Iran has given the Syrian regime more than $1 billion, which would help it overcome the oil embargo and other moves including restrictions on flights and sanctions against the central bank.
The documents were leaked following a cyber-attack by hackers known as Anonymous against the e-mail server of the Syrian president’s office. Seventy-eight employees in President Bashar Assad’s office had their e-mail hacked. One of these accounts belonged to the minister of presidential affairs, Mansour Azzam; it included two documents signed by him that dealt with relations between Syria and Iran.

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How Julian Assange’s Private Life Helped Conceal the Real Triumph of WikiLeaks

Without the access to the US secret cables, the world would have no insight into how their governments behave
By Patrick Cockburn
July 01, 2012 “The Independent” — As Julian Assange evades arrest by taking refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy in Knightsbridge to escape extradition to Sweden, and possibly the US, British commentators have targeted him with shrill abuse. They almost froth with rage as they cite petty examples of his supposed gaucheness, egotism and appearance, as if these were criminal faults.
These criticisms tell one more about the conventionality and herd instinct of British opinion-makers than they do about Assange. Ignored, in all this, is his achievement as founder of WikiLeaks in publishing US government cables giving people across the world insight into how their governments really behave. Such public knowledge is the core of democracy because voters must be accurately informed if they are to be able to chose representatives to carry out their wishes.
Thanks to WikiLeaks, more information has become available about what the US and allied states are doing and thinking than ever before. The only competing revelations that come to mind were the publication by the victorious Bolsheviks in 1917 of secret treaties, including plans to carve up the Middle East by Britain and France. A more obvious parallel was the publication of the Pentagon Papers thanks to Daniel Ellsberg in 1971, revealing systematic lying by the Johnson administration about Vietnam. In similar fashion to Assange, Ellsberg was reviled by the US government and threatened with the severest punishment.
An extraordinary aspect of the campaign against Assange is that op-ed writers feel free to pump out thousands of words about his alleged faults, with never a mention of far more serious state crimes revealed by WikiLeaks. All these critics, and readers who agree them, should first switch on YouTube and watch a 17-minute video film taken by the crew of an Apache helicopter over east Baghdad on 12 July 2007. It shows the helicopter crew machine-gunning to death people on the ground in the belief that they are all armed insurgents. In fact, I cannot see any arms and what in one case was identified as a gun turned out to be the camera of a young Reuters’ photographer, Namir Noor-Eldeen, who was killed along with his driver, Saeed Chmagh. The video shows the helicopter coming in for a second attack on a van that had stopped to pick up the dead and wounded. The driver was killed and two children wounded. “Ha! Ha! I hit ’em,” shouts one of the US crewmen triumphantly. “Look at those dead bastards.”
I was in Baghdad when the shooting took place and I remember at the time disbelieving, along with other journalists, the Pentagon’s claim that the dead were all armed insurgents, but we could not prove it. Rebel gunmen did not amble about the streets in plain view when a US helicopter was nearby. The existence of a video of the killings became known, but the US Defense Department adamantly refused to release it under the Freedom of Information Act. The official story of what had happened would not have been effectively challenged if a US soldier, Bradley Manning, had not turned over the video to WikiLeaks, which released it in 2010.
The cables obtained by Wiki–Leaks were published later that year in five newspapers – The New York Times, The Guardian, Le Monde, Der Spiegel and El País – but the response to Assange himself was surprisingly mean-spirited and dismissive. Journalists seemed angry that their professional territory was being invaded by an Australian computer nerd who was doing their job. The British commentariat is notoriously club-like, conservative and hostile to those with different cultural and political norms.
But this in itself would not have been enough for so much of the media to declare open season on Assange. What created the difference were the allegations of rape made in Sweden. Allegations of rape destroy a reputation, however flimsy or non-existent the evidence or convincing the rebuttal. Assange has never really recovered from this. As for the suggestion that he exaggerates the chances of being extradited to the US from Sweden, this is surely very flip. Who would willingly take even a 5 per cent chance that their flight to Stockholm might result in 40 years’ detention in a US prison cell?
Some adopt the official line that “lives had been put in danger” by the leaks. This lobby began to fall silent in 2011 when Pentagon officials admitted, off the record, that they had no evidence that anybody had come to harm.
A more dismissive response was that the WikiLeaks revelations were not as secret as all that and the papers accessed by Private Manning did not carry the most secret classification. Another point was made to me by a US diplomat in Kabul, where I was at the time of publication. He said: “We are not going to learn the biggest secrets from WikiLeaks because these have already been leaked by the White House, Pentagon or State Department.”
In practice, the WikiLeaks documents are vastly and uniquely informative about what the US does and what it really thinks of the world in which we live. For instance, there is a cable sent by the US embassy in Kabul in 2009 describing Prime Minister Hamid Karzai as “a paranoid and weak individual unfamiliar with the basics of nation-building”.
Specialists on Afghanistan commented that Karzai’s failings were scarcely news. They missed the point that there is a vast difference between what is suspected by the outside world and what is confirmed by those with daily access to the Afghan leader. Here were senior and experienced US officials giving their true opinion of the man whom the Americans and British were fighting and dying to keep in power.
All governments indulge in a degree of hypocrisy between what they say in public and in private. When democratic openness about general actions and policies is demanded, they pretend they are facing a call for total transparency which would prevent effective government. This deliberate and self-serving inflation of popular demands is usually aimed at the concealment of failure and monopolising power.
What the US government wanted to keep quiet about in Afghanistan was not just an embarrassingly negative assessment of Karzai as their main local ally. It was that it had no credible local Afghan partner and therefore could not win the war against the Taliban.
Assange and WikeLeaks unmasked not diplomatic reticence in the interests of the smooth functioning of government, but duplicity to justify lost wars in which tens of thousand died. Recent history shows that this official secrecy, frequently aided by “embedding” journalists with armies, works all too well.
In Iraq, in the months before the US presidential election in 2004, foreign embassies in Baghdad all knew and reported that US soldiers were only clinging to islands of territory in a hostile land. But the Bush administration was able to persuade US voters that, on the contrary, it was fighting and winning a battle to establish democracy against the remnants of Saddam Hussein’s regime and the adherents of Osama bin Laden.
State control of information and the ability to manipulate it makes the right to vote largely meaningless. That is why people like Julian Assange are so essential to democratic choice.
© independent.co.uk

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The Hero Becomes the Hunted

By Lawrence Davidson
June 26, 2012 “Information Clearing House” — It was back in 2006 that Julian Assange and associates founded the Wikileaks website. Their goal was and is a noble and necessary one. Wikileaks aims at forcing the world’s governments to act with greater transparency, and therefore possibly rule more justly. It wasAssange’s opinion that if governments were less able to lie and keep secrets, they would be less prone to break their own and international laws, or at least more likely to adhere to a general rule of decency allegedly shared by their citizenry. This is a truly heroic undertaking. What did Wikileaks do to accomplish this task? It created a web-based non-governmental window on government activity through which it makes public those official lies and secrets. This information is supplied to it by whistle blowers the world over.
Soon Wikileaks was telling the world about “extrajudicial killings in Kenya…toxic waste dumping on the coast of Cote d’Ivoire…material involving large banks…among other documents.” None of this got Assange into great trouble. The simple fact is that the ability of states such as Kenya and the Ivory Coast to reach out and crush an organization like Wikileaks is limited. However, in 2010 the website started publishingmassive amounts of U.S. diplomatic and military documents, including damaging information on procedures at the Guantanamo Bay prison camp and a video documenting attacks on civilians in Iraq.
It is at this point that Assange, as the editor-in-chief of Wikileaks, became a criminal in the eyes of the U.S. government. The hero now became the hunted. Republican Representative Peter King of New York, an Islamophobe who unfortunately chairs the House Homeland Security Committee, labeled Wikileaks a “terrorist organization” and said that Assange ought to be “prosecuted under the Espionage Act of 1917.” On the Democratic side of the aisle, Diane Feinstein of California, chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, claimed that Assange had harmed the national interest and “put innocent lives at risk” and therefore should be prosecuted for espionage. Actually, a good argument can be made that the stupid and corrupt policies of American politicians have done much greater harm to objectively defined national interest, particularly in the Middle East. In addition there is no evidence that any of Wikileaks’ actions have resulted in any loss of “innocent lives.” However, none of this can save Assange.
Part II – Who is the Real Criminal?
One of the serious questions raised by the case of Wikileaks and Julian Assange is just who is a criminal? If an organized crime syndicate commits illegal acts and some outside party reveals its activity, the syndicate might mark the witness for punishment. However, which one is the real criminal? Lots of governments act like organized crime syndicates. If you ask King or Feinstein what they think about the behavior of, say, Russia in Chechnya or China in Tibet, they are likely to describe that behavior as criminal. And, if Assange had just exposed the sins of Russia or China, he would be praised within the halls of Congress.
But what happens when the U.S. government behaves like an organized gang of criminals? After all, a very good case can be made that the leaders of the United States are systematically violating their own constitution with policies like indefinite detention. And the government’s behavior in Viet Nam, as well as in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq (for instance, in the application of draconian sanctions which did take the lives of up to a million innocents) and the actual occupation of that country, all violated more moral precepts than one cares to count. Then there is the practice of torturing suspected, but not actually convicted, terrorists, and the current use of drone attacks which kill more civilians than targeted enemies. Along comes Wikileaks and Assange to bear witness against some of these acts. Washington marks him for punishment. But just who is the real criminal?
It is to the enduring shame of most of the U.S. media that they did not, and still can’t, manage a straight answer to that question. The establishment press has always kept its distance from Assange, asserting that he was not a “real” journalist. This no doubt reflects the attitudes of its basically conservative owners and editors. For instance, the New York Times executive editor, Bill Keller, once called Assange a “smelly, dirty, bombastic…believer in unproven conspiracy theories….” He did this even while his own paper selectively dipped into the 391,832 Pentagon documents Wikileaks had divulged. Even then the information was used in the most innocuous fashion. I think it is fair to say that investigative journalism at a local (city or state) level still goes on in the U.S., but at the national level it has become an increasingly rare phenomenon.
Part III – Popular Disbelief
Though a noble and necessary effort, Assange’s Wikileaks experiment always faced very high odds, particularly in the U.S. This is because its revelations play themselves out within the context of an establishment culture that has long ago turned the great majority of people into subservient true believers. True believers in what? In the essential goodness of their nation as it operates in the world beyond its borders. Therefore, transparency might be acceptable for one’s local political environment where the mayor turns out to be corrupt, but foreign policy is something else again. For Americans in the post 9/11 age, foreign policy boils down to promoting democracy and development on the one hand, and protecting the citizenry from terrorists on the other. Within that frame of reference, it is nearly impossible for Americans to conceive of their national government as purposefully acting like a criminal organization. They just refuse to believe it..
Particularly in the so-called war against terrorism, most Americans see nothing noble or necessary about exposing the government’s clandestine operations. Thus, when Julian Assange points out the criminal behavior of those supposedly defending the nation, most citizens are going to feel indignant and rally around the flag. The messenger is soon the one who is seen as criminal and dangerous because he is undermining national security.
There are no greater adherents to this point of view than the political and military leaders who claim to be defenders of the nation. For them the old Barry Goldwater saying, “extremism in defense of liberty is no vice” excuses all excesses. Wikileaks both challenged and embarrassed them by making their innumerable excesses public. Thus, be they Democrats or Republicans, the so-called champions of homeland security are determined to silence him.
U.S. authorities have latched onto an exaggerated sex scandal in Sweden in which Assange is sought for questioning (though as yet not charged with any crime). They have pressured the Swedes to extradite Assange from his present UK residence when it would be much easier and efficient (as Assange has offered) for Stockholm to send court representatives to England to perform the questioning. So why do it the hard way? Because, once in Sweden, the head of Wikileaks could be given over to the Americans (something the British will not do). Assange will not cooperate in this game. As Glenn Greenwald has pointed out, “as a foreign national accused of harming U.S. national security, he has every reason to want to avoid ending up in the travesty known as the American judicial system.” When he recently lost his UK court battle against extradition, he sought asylum in the embassy of Ecuador, a country whose leaders are sympathetic to Assange’s plight. True to form, American media comment on Assange’s appeal for asylum has beendisparaging.
Part IV – Conclusion
Julian Assange is now a hero on the run. And, he is probably going to stay that way for the foreseeable future. Even if he makes it to Ecuador he will need bodyguards to protect him from kidnaping or worse. As one Pentagon spokesman put it, “If doing the right thing is not good enough for [Assange] then we will figure out what other alternatives we have to compel [him] to do the right thing.” And what do America’s leaders regard as the “right thing” in this case? Obviously, keeping silent about Washington’s doing the wrong thing.
That is the nature of our world. Submerged in a culture defined by the educational and informational dictates of our leaders and their interests, many of us can not recognize when we are being lied to or misled. And, if someone tries to tell us what is happening, they sound so odd, so out of place, that we are made anxious and annoyed. So much so that, in the end, we don’t raise a finger when the messenger is hounded into silence.
Lawrence Davidson is professor of history at West Chester University in West Chester PA. His academic work is focused on the history of American foreign relations with the Middle East. He also teaches courses in the history of science and modern European intellectual history. 

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Why The Assange Case Is Important

John Pilger
May 30, 2012 “Information Clearing House” — On 30 May, Britain’s Supreme Court turned down the final appeal of Julian Assange against his extradition to Sweden. In an unprecedented move, the court gave the defence team of the WikiLeaks editor permission to ‘re-apply’ to the court in two weeks’ time. On the eve of the judgement, Sweden’s leading morning newspaper, Dagens Nyheter, known as DN, interviewed investigative journalist John Pilger, who has closely followed the Assange case. The following is the complete text of the interview, of which only a fraction was published in Sweden.
DN Julian Assange has been fighting extradition to Sweden at a number of British courts. Why do you think it is important he wins?
JP Because the attempt to extradite Assange is unjust and political. I have read almost every scrap of evidence in this case and it’s clear, in terms of natural justice, that no crime was committed. The case would not have got this far had it not been for the intervention of Claes Borgstrom, a politician who saw an opportunity when the Stockholm prosecutor threw out almost all the police allegations. Borgstrom was then in the middle of an election campaign. When asked why the case was proceeding when both women had said that the sex had been consensual with Assange, he replied, “Ah, but they’re not lawyers.” If the Supreme Court in London rejects Assange’s appeal, the one hope is the independence of the Swedish courts. However, as the London Independent has revealed, Sweden and the US have already begun talks on Assange’s “temporary surrender” to the US — where he faces concocted charges and the prospect of unlimited solitary confinement. And for what? For telling epic truths. Every Swede who cares about justice and the reputation of his or her society should care deeply about this. 
DN You have said that Julian Assange’s human rights have been breached. In what way?
JP One of the most fundamental human rights — that of the presumption of innocence — has been been breached over and over again in Assange’s case. Convicted of no crime, he has been the object of character assassination –perfidious and inhuman — and highly political smear, of which the evidence is voluminous. This is what Britain’s most distinguished and experienced human rights lawyer, Gareth Peirce, has written: “Given the extent of the public discussion, frequently on the basis of entirely false assumptions … it is very hard to preserve for [Assange] any presumption of innocence. He has now hanging over him not one but two Damocles swords of potential extradition to two different jurisdictions in turn for two different alleged crimes, neither of which are crimes in his own country. [and] his personal safety has become at risk in circumstances that are highly politically charged.” 
DN You, as well as Julian Assange, don’t seem to have confidence in the Swedish judicial system. Why not? 
JP It’s difficult to have confidence in a prosecutorial system that is so contradictory and flagrantly uses the media to achieve its aims. Whether or not the Supreme Court in London find for or against Assange, the fact that this case has reached the highest court in this country is itself a condemnation of the competence and motivation of those so eager to incarcerate him, having already had plenty of opportunity to to question him properly. What a waste all this is. 
DN If Julian Assange is innocent, as he says, would it not have been better if he had gone to Stockholm to sort things out? 
JP Assange tried to “sort things out”, as you put it. Right from the beginning, he offered repeatedly to be questioned — first in Sweden, then in the UK. He sought and received permission to leave Sweden – which makes a nonsense of the claim that he has avoided questioning. The prosecutor who has since pursued him has refused to give any explanation about why she will not use standard procedures, which Sweden and the UK have signed up to.
DN IF the Supreme Court decides that Julain Assange can be extradited to Sweden, what consequenses/risks do you see for him? 
JP First, I would draw on my regard for ordinary Swedes’ sense of fairness and justice. Alas, overshadowing that is a Swedish elite that has forged sinister and obsequious links with Washington. These powerful people have every reason to see Julian Assange as a threat. For one thing, their vaunted reputation for neutrality has been repeatedly exposed as a sham in US cables leaked by WikiLeaks. One cable revealed that “the extent of [Sweden’s military and intelligence] co-operation [with Nato] is not widely known” and unless kept secret “would open up the government to domestic criticism”. Another was entitled “WikiLeaks puts neutrality in the dustbin of history”. Don’t the Swedish public have a right to know what the powerful say in private in their name?

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WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange speaks with WSWS

“The attacks on us are extraordinarily revealing”

By Richard Phillips 

16 March 2012
Julian Assange spoke with the World Socialist Web Site this week about the US-led attacks on WikiLeaks, freedom of the press and other basic democratic rights, and the impending British Supreme Court ruling on his appeal against extradition to Sweden on bogus sexual assault allegations.
The WikiLeaks founder and editor-in-chief has not been charged with a single crime in Sweden, Britain or any other country. Nevertheless, Assange has been held under house arrest for over 450 days, forced to wear an electronic ankle tag, observe a 10 p.m. curfew and report to police on a daily basis.


Richard Phillips: Can you comment on the latest details on the United States grand jury indictment and what happens if you’re extradited to Sweden?
Julian Assange: The new evidence that emerged from the Stratfor files—emails from Texas-based private intelligence agency—show that the US government has obtained a secret grand jury indictment against me. The US ambassador to the United Kingdom, Louis Susman, stated in February 2011 that the US government would wait and see what happened with the current Swedish extradition case as to whether it would pursue extradition itself.
The US ambassador to Australia [Jeffrey L. Bleich], one week prior to Obama’s recent visit, also told the Australian media that the Australian government might have to consider its extradition obligations in relation to me, presumably in case I returned to Australia. And while WikiLeaks has many of its people under legal attack, the organisation itself is also under an extra-judicial financial blockade. There are some 40 people who have been swept up in operations by the FBI, Scotland Yard or other police forces.
Regarding the pending Supreme Court decisions in Great Britain over the Swedish extradition case, if we are unsuccessful then I’m expecting to be extradited to Sweden within 10 days and then possibly re-extradited to the United States. Even if we are successful in the Supreme Court, the situation will be similar because the United States is likely to unseal its espionage charges through the grand jury and apply directly for my extradition from Great Britain.
Of course, none of these things will happen if it’s not possible to do so politically. When a legal case reaches a sufficiently high public profile for the government, then it becomes a matter of politics.
RP: Do you have any detailed information on direct collusion between Britain, the US and Sweden over your extradition?
JA: What we can say publicly is that on December 8, 2010, the Independentnewspaper published a report about informal contacts that were already occurring at that stage between the US and Sweden in relation to my extradition. The Australian embassy in Washington also sent a cable to Canberra round this time, stating that the US intelligence and criminal investigation into WikiLeaks was of “unprecedented scale and nature.” It also said that the criminal prosecution into relation to me was “active and vigorous”. That material was the result of a Freedom of Information request and printed in the Sydney Morning Herald a few months ago.
The UK crown prosecution service has also refused a request under the Freedom of Information Act in relation to communications over potential extradition arrangements, stating that it would affect Great Britain’s diplomatic relations with other countries. In the middle of last year, the UK’s extradition reform panel, which was appointed by the home secretary, met with Eric Holder, the US attorney general, and a number of members of the defence department in the United States. In addition, there have been other recent meetings between Carl Bildt, the Swedish minister of foreign affairs [and close friend of Karl Rove], and William Haig, the UK foreign affairs minister.
RP: Can you comment on the role being played by Australia’s Gillard government?
JA: The reaction by the Gillard government to WikiLeaks activities, in particular our release of the US diplomatic cables, was publicly the worst of any nation. Gillard falsely stated that our organisation was engaged in illegal activities. This was found to be false by an Australian Federal Police investigation.
Together with the attorney-general, she initiated a “whole of government task force” against WikiLeaks, recruiting the Australian Federal Police, the external intelligence agency ASIS, the domestic intelligence agency ASIO, the defence department and the attorney-general’s department. Publicly, Gillard has not issued a single statement of support and we are not aware of any private support.
RP: The corporate media claims that the financial blockade of WikiLeaks by PayPal, Mastercard, Visa and others has shattered the organisation. What’s your response?
JA: We have two active court cases against the blockade and a third complaint to the European Commission, which is overdue in making a preliminary finding. Although the blockade has severed 95 percent of WikiLeaks’s income, the organisation is still extremely popular around the world and we are able to continue regardless.
RP: Will WikiLeaks be publishing information about the preparations for war against Iran and Syria?
JA: Yes. We’ve been publishing information this past week and that process will be ongoing. We published a very interesting report about special forces operations in Syria last December.
RP: Have you read the World Socialist Web Site and what do you think of it? What must WSWS readers explain to others about the political significance of the attacks on you and WikiLeaks?
I’ve read the World Socialist Web Site for many years. I admire the simple layout and the articles, which are usually accurate, provided one does not step onto socialist sectarian issues. I would call on readers of the World Socialist Web Site to take the following steps: firstly, to join Friends of WikiLeaks at wlfriends.org; secondly to read the facts at Justice4assange.com instead of the spin; to follow the WikiLeaks twitter feed; correct smears whenever you see them; and help spread the values and ideals of WikiLeaks in your workplace and to family and friends.
WikiLeaks is an organisation that fights to achieve just reform and to spread certain values. If we are successful in promoting justice and having others take up our values then we will be successful, regardless of the assaults on the organisation.
RP: How do you regard the assault on you and WikiLeaks from the standpoint of truthful journalism and its future?
JA: The attacks on us are extraordinarily revealing. Yes, we have published a lot of important information about the activities of the US government and other countries over the years but the counter-reaction—the assault on us—reveals much about how governments and contemporary politics work.
The US government is trying to erect a new interpretation of what it means to be a journalist. It wants any communications with a source to be viewed legally as a conspiracy. In other words, it wants journalists to be completely passive receptacles for others. But this is simply not how national security journalism has been traditionally done. If they succeed, it will be the end of national security journalism in the West as we know it.
These attacks on us have also been picked up by other countries and used to legitimise their own crackdowns. For example, two Swedish journalists are currently being jailed in Ethiopia. They were investigating a Swedish oil company by the name of Lundin—Swedish foreign minister Carl Bildt had previously been a director of the company—but have been sentenced to 11 years jail in Ethiopia on terrorism charges. The Ethiopian prime minister says that it is perfectly acceptable to treat journalists this way and has pointed to my circumstances as justification.
The issues facing WikiLeaks are entirely political and therefore a matter of public concern. My message to people everywhere is: do not wait until WikiLeaks is bankrupted or its members extradited to the United States before acting. It will be too late then. If people act strongly now, then the organisation will succeed. WikiLeaks has a lot of support and we’re battle hardened now. We’re not going down without a fight and if everyone pulls together then we will win.
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Picture: Julian Assange leaving Royal Court of Justice in London last July (photo: acidpolly)

http://www.wsws.org/articles/2012/mar2012/jass-m16.shtml

Further evidence of secret US indictment of Julian Assange

By Mike Head 

1 March 2012
Internal emails obtained from the US private intelligence firm Stratfor indicate that the Obama administration has had a secret indictment against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange for more than 12 months. The emails, published by WikiLeaks this week, also point to the close involvement of the Australian Labor government and intelligence agencies in the operation against Assange, an Australian citizen.
The emails were sent by Fred Burton, Stratfor’s vice-president for counterterrorism and corporate security. Burton is a former Deputy Chief of the US Department of State’s counterterrorism division for the Diplomatic Security Service (DSS). The DSS is playing a leading investigative role in the ongoing operation to extradite Assange to the US, where he would be tried under the Espionage Act of 1917 and could face the death penalty.
In January 2011, Burton revealed in Stratfor correspondence that a secret Grand Jury had issued an indictment: “Not for Pub—We have a sealed indictment on Assange. Pls protect.” According to Burton: “Assange is going to make a nice bride in prison. Screw the terrorist. He’ll be eating cat food forever.”
A few weeks earlier, following Assange’s release from a London jail, where he had been remanded as a result of a Swedish prosecutor’s arrest warrant, Burton told SkyNews: “extradition [to the US is] more and more likely.”
Burton’s emails indicate that the US government is employing the same “counter-terrorism” methods against WikiLeaks as against Al Qaeda, “Take down the money. Go after his infrastructure. The tools we are using to nail and de-construct Wiki are the same tools used to dismantle and track aQ [Al Qaeda],” he wrote.
Later Burton pointed to a relentless dirty tricks and destabilisation operation. “Ferreting out [Assange’s] confederates is also key. Find out what other disgruntled rogues inside the tent or outside [sic]. Pile on. Move him from country to country to face various charges for the next 25 years. But, seize everything he and his family own, to include every person linked to Wiki.”
The Stratfor emails undoubtedly reflect sentiments inside the Obama administration to exact revenge on Assange and destroy WikiLeaks for having exposed US war crimes all over the globe. These exposures began in April 2010, when WikiLeaks released a video of a massacre of civilians in Baghdad by a US attack helicopter. Since then the site has released thousands of documents detailing US killings of civilians and complicity in torture in Afghanistan and Iraq, and numerous other conspiracies carried out by Washington and its allies.
Burton’s emails help confirm earlier reports, dating back to December 2010, that a secret Grand Jury had been empanelled in Virginia, near Washington, to prepare a sealed indictment under the Espionage Act.
In the past, this reactionary law has mostly been used to prosecute government officials who make classified information available to foreign agents. Now it is being employed to blatantly censor publication of politically damaging information. In earlier periods, the Act was invoked to imprison American socialist presidential candidate Eugene V. Debs, execute Julius and Ethel Rosenberg for allegedly passing nuclear information to the Soviet Union, and prosecute Daniel Ellsberg for leaking the Pentagon Papers, which exposed the US war crimes in Vietnam.
Responding to the Stratfor disclosures, Assange said: “For over a year now, the US Attorney General Eric Holder has been conducting a ‘secret’ Grand Jury investigation into WikiLeaks. This neo-McCarthyist witch hunt against WikiLeaks may be Mr Holder’s defining legacy. Any student of American history knows that secret justice is no justice at all.”
The Stratfor correspondence makes clear the connection between Assange’s indictment and the imprisonment of alleged WikiLeaks source Private Bradley Manning. In an email to Stephen Feldhaus, Stratfor legal counsel, Burton remarked: “I look forward to Manning and Assange facing a bajillion-thousand counts [of espionage].”
Manning has been held in US military brigs for more than one and a half years, and subjected to months of solitary confinement, forced nakedness, sleep deprivation and other cruelties amounting to torture. This brutal treatment is aimed at forcing him into a plea bargain to help the US government’s case against Assange. Currently under house arrest in Britain, Assange is awaiting a decision in his UK Supreme Court appeal against extradition to Sweden on baseless sex charges, which could quickly lead to his extradition to the US.
Assange’s arrest, in December 2010, came just after WikiLeaks began publishing 251,287 leaked US embassy cables, the largest collection of confidential documents ever released into the public domain. WikiLeaks was subsequently subject to a block on financial donations by Visa, MasterCard and PayPal, forcing it to suspend its activities.
It is clear that Australian authorities, acting on the instructions of the Gillard government, are heavily involved in the conspiracy against Assange. In July 2010, Burton wrote to George Friedman, Stratfor CEO and founder: “We probably asked the ASIS [Australian Secret Intelligence Service] to monitor Wiki coms and email, after the soldier from Potomac [Manning] was nabbed. So, it’s reasonable to assume we probably already know who has done it. The delay could be figuring out how to declassify and use the Aussie intel on Wiki.”
Because of the widespread support for Assange in Australia and internationally, the Australian government has repeatedly denied any knowledge of his indictment. Yesterday, in parliament, the government’s Senate leader, Chris Evans, again stated: “I can tell you that the Australian government is not aware of any charges by the US government against Mr Assange.”
These denials fly in the face of the record. The Labor government publicly backed the persecution of Assange from the outset. In December 2010, Prime Minister Julia Gillard improperly declared the WikiLeaks publication of the US cables “illegal.” Without any legal basis, the then attorney-general, Robert McClelland, claimed that obtaining classified information was also an offence under Australian law. The government authorised an investigation, involving ASIS, the Australian Federal Police and other security agencies, to assist the US witch hunt.
The Labor government’s complicity in the drive to railroad the WikiLeaks founder to jail is entirely in line with its unequivocal alignment behind the Obama administration’s aggressive measures to confront China and other deemed threats to Washington’s geo-strategic and economic interests. Canberra’s involvement in the Assange operation is a piece with Gillard’s agreement to station US troops and host more US military planes, ships and submarines.
Assange and WikiLeaks are being pursued because their cable leaks have helped lay bare the criminal objectives and operations of US imperialism and its allies, including Australia, which stand in direct opposition to the interests and sentiments of the broad mass of the world’s population.
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