Closing with C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"
Julian remains imprisoned and remains persecuted by US President Joe Biden who, as vice president, once called him "a high tech terrorist." Julian's 'crime' was revealing the realities of Iraq -- Chelsea Manning was a whistle-blower who leaked the information to Julian. WIKILEAKS then published the Iraq War Logs. And many outlets used the publication to publish reports of their own. For example, THE GUARDIAN published many articles based on The Iraq War Logs. Jonathan Steele, David Leigh and Nick Davies offered, on October 22, 2012:
A grim picture of the US and Britain's legacy in Iraq has been revealed in a massive leak of American military documents that detail torture, summary executions and war crimes.
Almost 400,000 secret US army field reports have been passed to the Guardian and a number of other international media organisations via the whistleblowing website WikiLeaks.
The electronic archive is believed to emanate from the same dissident US army intelligence analyst who earlier this year is alleged to have leaked a smaller tranche of 90,000 logs chronicling bloody encounters and civilian killings in the Afghan war.
The new logs detail how:
• US authorities failed to investigate hundreds of reports of abuse, torture, rape and even murder by Iraqi police and soldiers whose conduct appears to be systematic and normally unpunished.
• A US helicopter gunship involved in a notorious Baghdad incident had previously killed Iraqi insurgents after they tried to surrender.
• More than 15,000 civilians died in previously unknown incidents. US and UK officials have insisted that no official record of civilian casualties exists but the logs record 66,081 non-combatant deaths out of a total of 109,000 fatalities.
The numerous reports of detainee abuse, often supported by medical evidence, describe prisoners shackled, blindfolded and hung by wrists or ankles, and subjected to whipping, punching, kicking or electric shocks. Six reports end with a detainee's apparent deat
The Biden administration has been saying all the right things lately about respecting a free and vigorous press, after four years of relentless media-bashing and legal assaults under Donald Trump.
The attorney general, Merrick Garland, has even put in place expanded protections for journalists this fall, saying that “a free and independent press is vital to the functioning of our democracy”.
But the biggest test of Biden’s commitment remains imprisoned in a jail cell in London, where WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been held since 2019 while facing prosecution in the United States under the Espionage Act, a century-old statute that has never been used before for publishing classified information.
Whether the US justice department continues to pursue the Trump-era charges against the notorious leaker, whose group put out secret information on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Guantánamo Bay, American diplomacy and internal Democratic politics before the 2016 election, will go a long way toward determining whether the current administration intends to make good on its pledges to protect the press.
Now Biden is facing a re-energized push, both inside the United States and overseas, to drop Assange’s protracted prosecution.
Before we go further with Julian let's note something. There is a huge movement behind freeing Julian. As with any large grouping, there are smart people and then are flat out stupid people. You don't help the cause with raving lunatics. So if your recent YOUTUBE segment -- which we won't be noting here, please stop e-mailing -- embarrasses us all, grasp that you didn't help the cause.
You should have known that to begin with when you tried to recycle yesterday's Jimmy Dore -- another failed comic this one from decades ago. His failure alone didn't make him a bad guest. His screaming and yelling made him a bad guest. I don't care who he slept with back in the day -- and the rumor spun like crazy -- but he's not worth a segment today. You'd try to set up the clip and he'd be yelling. You'd play the clip and he'd be yelling.
You really think that makes the movement to free Julian look good? You think anyone watching Crazy yell and scream changed their mind because of him? Changed it in a good way?
Tell you when you lost me: When you started going after Juan Gonzalez.
You and your partner are nepo-babies, grasp that and grasp that we see you as such. And you want to go after Juan?
Juan's a leader, he's a mentor, he's a fighter. And not 'online.' He's all those things in the real world and long has been those things. And we're not talking ancient history. While you had your nose down to the hairy root as you swallowed every lie of candidate Barack Obama, Juan was writing columns like "I Smell Barack Obama Baloney."
You're two spoiled little boys so you have no idea the importance within the world of Juan Gonzalez. For you to trash him -- and that's what the two of you and the yeller were doing -- did not look good for your cause.
When you put that kind of hatred out there, don't be surprised with the response.
By that I mean, as that clip and word of it got out, I had multiple phone calls where they were bringing up the fact that one of your fathers beat your mother. That detail is buried and unknown to your young audience today. But it was well known -- and published -- in the 90s. Your lives just got a lot harder because of the stunt you pulled. And, hey, I'll sacrifice myself for a cause and have. But I self-sacrifice smartly. You just made yourself a target for a very sh**ty video that is not going to help Julian's cause at all.
I wasn't bothered by your Amy Goodman trashing -- I've called her out here for years and will continue to do so as needed. I'm certainly not bothered that you (finally) called out Allan Nairn -- or let the screamer call him out while one of you tried to offer useless Allan an excuse (whores for Barack don't get excuses from me).
But to have that meltdown on YOUTUBE where you savaged Juan Gonzalez? And where there was that screaming for a public apology?
You went back to a 2017 interview and that's how you contribute to increasing support for Julian?
Julian deserves to be free. Julian is not a saint. He doesn't have to be a saint for most adults to call for his freedom. But that's what you need him to be for yourselves because the world must be simplified into a LITTLE GOLDEN BOOK for very young readers.
Juan is a journalist. In any interview he does, he is a journalist. That may frustrate you and it may enrage you -- apparently it did. Appears someone had a lot of Juan envy when he was working on DEMOCRACY NOW! and needs some therapy to address it today.
Take your crazy to a doctor's office and fix it there. Don't put it on YOUTUBE. But if you do, don't kid yourself that you were trying to help Julian Assange.
Joe Biden has been accused of hypocrisy for demanding the release of journalists detained around the world while the US president continues seeking the extradition of the WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange from Britain to face American espionage charges.
The campaign to pressure the Biden administration to drop the charges moved to Washington DC on Friday with a hearing of the Belmarsh Tribunal, an ad hoc gathering of legal experts and supporters named after the London prison where Assange is being detained.
Chaired by journalist Amy Goodman (Democracy Now) and Srećko Horvat Philosopher, Co-Founder of DiEM25, The Press Club’s Belmarsh Tribunal today included testimony from Julian’s father John Shipton.
Mr Shipton said: “It’s unbelievable we are now entering the 14 year of the persecution of Julian Assange. The ceaseless abuse, constant hounding, unscrupulous lies, abuse of process, the ceaseless application of three states – Sweden, UK and US – to abuse due process is appalling. Their bureaucratic malice and constant crying from the rooftops about free press is an artifice. They have used the democratic process to hound Julian close to death’s door.”
“Their disrespect of their own and international law is disgraceful. Julian only ever spoke truthfully, published accurately. Julian Assange is an icon of the decay of application of law, a symbol of freedom of speech, of righteousness and crimes against humanity. We, Julian’s supporters and family are beginning to see support in civil society all around the World. Together, we will prevail in bringing about Julian’s release.”
Mr Shipton said that “Julian’s persecution is of great, vital concern to Australia’s people and government. Remembering as we do with firm pride and responsibility, that Australia authored the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.”
US President Joe Biden has been accused of hypocrisy for calling for the release of detained journalists around the world while the US president continues to seek the extradition of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange from Britain to face American espionage charges.
The Belmarsh Tribunal, an ad hoc gathering of legal experts and supporters named after the London prison where Assange is being held, convened in Washington DC on Friday to press the Biden administration to drop the charges.
“One of the foundation stones of our form of government here in the United States . . . is our First Amendment to the Constitution,” Ellsberg — whom the Richard Nixon administration tried to jail for up to 115 years under the Espionage Act, but due to government misconduct was never imprisoned — said in a recorded message played at the tribunal.
“Up until Assange’s indictment, the act had never been used… against a journalist like Assange,” Ellsberg added. “If you’re going to use the act against a journalist in a blatant violation of the First Amendment… the First Amendment is essentially gone.”
Inviting action by the U.S. Department of Justice or DOJ, Ellsberg said that “I am now as indictable as Julian Assange and as everyone who put that information out — the papers, everybody who handled it.”
“Yes, I had copies of it and I did not give them to an authorized person. So, if they want to indict me for that, I will be interested to argue that one in the courts — whether that law is constitutional,” he continued, referring to the Espionage Act.
Highlighting that the highest U.S. court has never held that it is constitutional to use the Espionage Act as if it were a British Official Secrets Act, Ellsberg said that “I’d be happy to take that one to the Supreme Court.”
The Espionage Act, “used against whistleblowers, is unconstitutional,” he asserted. “It’s a clear violation of the First Amendment.”
Ellsberg’s public confession comes after editors and publishers at five major media outlets that collaborated with WikiLeaks in 2010 for articles based on diplomatic cables from Manning released a letter late last month arguing that “it is time for the U.S. government to end its prosecution of Julian Assange for publishing secrets.”
AMY GOODMAN: Our next speaker is Jesselyn Radack, human rights attorney, renowned for her work protecting whistleblowers and journalists. While working at the Justice Department, she disclosed the FBI committed ethics violations in their interrogation of John Walker Lyndh. Among her many roles, Jesselyn is the director of national security and human rights at ExposeFacts.
JESSELYN RADACK: I’m Jesselyn Radack, and I represent whistleblowers and sources for a living, basically. I have defended the most number of media sources in the U.S. who have been investigated and charged under the Espionage Act. Most recently, I represented, and still represent, Daniel Hale. Huge shoutout to Daniel. I know he’s paying attention to this. But, basically, Daniel had to navigate an Espionage Act prosecution in the most conservative federal court in the country, the exact same court where Assange is indicted, in front of the same judge.
Daniel is a veteran of the U.S. Air Force who participated in the U.S. drone assassination program. After leaving the Air Force, he became an outspoken opponent of the U.S.'s targeted killing program. He basically called out and informed the public about targeting ineffectiveness and casualties and consistently exaggerating the accuracy of drone strikes and underreporting civilian deaths. Daniel's house was searched in 2014. Like Julian Assange, he lived under a sword of Damocles for a better part of his adult life. In May 2019, he was finally arrested and indicted on allegations that he disclosed classified documents to the U.S. military’s clandestine drone program, believed to have been the source material for a series in The Intercept called “The Drone Papers.”
Daniel pleaded guilty to a single count under the Espionage Act and was sentenced to 45 months in prison. I think his case is a prescient warning of how an Espionage Act case against Assange would proceed. Bear with me. At sentencing, the judge recommended — he recognized that Daniel was a whistleblower, and recommended that he be placed in a minimum-security medical prison. But the Bureau of Prisons instead sent him to an Orwellian communications management unit, nicknamed Gitmo North. There are only two such facilities in this country. Created in the aftermath of 9/11, they were intended to house terrorists. Daniel is a pacifist with no priors. Until recently, he has been housed in this special prison with the “Merchant of Death,” Viktor Bout, who was recently released.
So, when the U.S. gives assurances that Assange won’t be put in a supermax, don’t be fooled, because he’ll end up in a far worse place, one of these communications management units. In the CMU, Daniel is far more isolated from his support network, unable to receive the medical and psychological care he so desperately needs, and has more restrictions on his communications, reading materials and visitors, with other people, than anyone on death row.
SREĆKO HORVAT: There are a few people in Washington, D.C., who were not afraid to talk about Julian Assange all these years, and our next member of tribunal is one of them. So, it’s my big pleasure to present the one and only Chip Gibbons, policy director of the organization Defending Rights & Dissent.
CHIP GIBBONS: I want to start by acknowledging three people who cannot be here today. One is Julian Assange, who is imprisoned in a dungeon called Belmarsh. The second is Daniel Hale, who is currently being held in a communications management unit. I’ve been told that Daniel watches Democracy Now!, which is streaming this. Daniel, if you can hear this, I want to say, on behalf of everyone in this room, you have our solidarity. Never let them break your spirit. A better world is possible only because of people like you. And the third person who can’t be here is, of course, Edward Snowden, who exposed that our government was lying to us about how they were spying on us, and, for this patriotic act, was driven into exile, while the lying spies continue to enjoy lucrative careers with war profiteers and cable news programs. And you have to ask yourself: Do they view those as two different jobs? Because, after all, someone has to sell the wars that line their pockets.
The U.S. government knows, like we know, that without sources, there is no journalism. But the U.S. government is no longer content with merely going after the sources. They have made Assange the first person ever indicted under the Espionage Act for the crime of publishing truthful information. Make no mistake: The attempts to silence Assange is part of a larger war to silence those who expose the crimes of empire, militarism and the U.S. national security state.
And it’s not just a legal war involving a prosecution, but an extralegal war involving covert action and propaganda. While the U.S. security state is cloaked in secrecy, there have been a steady trickle of revelations about the three-letter agencies’ war on WikiLeaks. The NSA added Assange to their man-hunting database. The CIA plotted to kidnap and maybe even kill Assange. Various agencies sought to get around rules protecting press freedom by arguing WikiLeaks were not journalists. The NSA discussed the idea of declaring WikiLeaks a malicious foreign actor. The FBI and the CIA demanded a personal audience with Barack Obama to persuade him that rules protecting press freedom should not apply to WikiLeaks, as WikiLeaks should instead be classified as information brokers. I’m not sure what an information broker is; I don’t think the CIA and the FBI know, either. And finally, they invented the term “hostile nonstate intelligence agency” to allow the CIA to engage in offensive counterintelligence against WikiLeaks, something previously reserved only for rival spy agencies, and requires even less oversight — and there’s the very little oversight over the CIA — over CIA covert action. The U.S. government’s legal and extralegal war on WikiLeaks is a war on journalism itself.
AMY GOODMAN: Chip Gibbons, policy director of Defending Rights & Dissent, testifying Friday at the Belmarsh Tribunal in the case of Julian Assange in Washington, D.C.
The presidents of major Latin America countries have increased their support for the campaign to free WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.
The leaders are urging US President Joe Biden to drop the charges against Assange and set him free.
He is continuing to fight against extradition to the US and is being held at Belmarsh prison in London.
WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Kristinn Hrafnsson and WikiLeaks ambassador Joseph Farrell have held meetings in recent weeks in Latin American countries including Mexico, Bolivia, Brazil and Argentina.
Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador raised the issue of Assange at a recent summit with Mr Biden, and has used his daily briefing to highlight his continuing “unjust detention”.
“If he is taken to the United States and sentenced to the maximum penalty … we must begin the campaign to dismantle the Statue of Liberty," said Mr Lopez Obrador.
- Truest statement of the week
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- It's called Crapapedia for a reason
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