Monday 20th of May 2019

tony kevin: US going after assange through chelsea...

manning

A former US Army intelligence analyst and one of America's most famous whistleblowers - Chelsea Manning - has been detained over contempt of court after she refused to testify in a grand jury WikiLeaks investigation. Sputnik has discussed the situation with Tony Kevin, former Australian diplomat and author of the book "Return to Moscow".

Sputnik: What's your thoughts then, what's the court attempting to achieve by questioning Ms Manning again, who has stressed she's already said everything back in 2013, is there some correlation with obviously the desire for Julian Assange here, what's your thoughts?

Tony Kevin: Manning, of course, has been tried and sentenced and served a lot of time, seven years, and has been pardoned. So she can't be charged again for the same offence that would be double jeopardy.

So in a sense, it's a big bluff. They're trying to scare the daylights out of Chelsea Manning in the hope that she will crack. There's no sign of that happening yet and I very much doubt it will; because for a person with the courage to serve seven years in jail without spilling any beans she's not going to suddenly panic and then spill any beans now I don't think.

So what are they trying to achieve? I think they're trying to signal that they're going after Julian Assange. It's important to note that there are no charges against Assange available in open court.

 

We don't know what this grand jury is investigating. Everybody's guessing that they're investigating the possibility of extraditing Assange with British government help to America, but we don't actually know that because we don't know what the charges are. So it's a bit of a fishing expedition, a rather cruel fishing expedition. It's a frightening thing. I think a lot depends now on how much support mobilises for Chelsea Manning in the United States.

READ MORE: Whistleblower Chelsea Manning Jailed for Not Snitching on WikiLeaks

Sputnik: I think you're absolutely right when you're talking about the strength and conviction and courage of Chelsea Manning, and probably there's absolutely little chance of her spilling any beans, as you rightly put it. It does seem rather strange then that they're holding this particular hearing in a classified setting, what's your particular take on that?

Tony Kevin: It's Occam's Razor; look for the simplest explanation, that's usually the right one. I think they're very anxious not to give any clues to Julian Assange's legal advisors who are very, very good indeed. Assange has got some of the best legal minds in London working in his defence; and they don't want to give away anything more than they have to about their proposed strategies for seeking his extradition, because forewarned is forearmed and the more that Assange's legal defence knows what they're planning the better they'll be able to try to protect him. So I think it's simple as that, that's the reason for the secrecy.

READ MORE: From Jail, Chelsea Manning Blasts Grand Jury's ‘Secret Process'

Sputnik: Obviously we've alluded to this, this has got strong links and correlation to Julian Assange, just give us your prognosis and your thoughts with regards to Assange's situation…

Tony Kevin: It's worth knowing that physically Julian Assange is going downhill. He's being held in atrocious conditions. The present Ecuadorian government is making it as unpleasant and unhealthy as possible for him in his little dark room at the embassy. They are trying to drive him out and he's trying to just hold on, and I honestly don't know how long his health will stand this.

However, the other very important element in all this is that you can't understand what the Americans are doing in this without linking it to the obsessive hatred of Trump by the American Democrat Party and the people around Hillary Clinton who feel they were cheated out of the election and somehow convinced themselves that Russia provided the wherewithal for Trump to steal the election; and they also don't believe, and this is very important, that Assange and his resources in WikiLeaks organisation could have themselves, without Russian intelligence agency help, carried out these hacks and carried out these operations to obtain secret information from within the US government system.

 

READ MORE: Integrity Initiative: Spanish Cluster Misled UK Parliament Over Assange, Russia

Assange can say until he's blue in the face that he does not in any way cooperate or collude with the Russian government and what he does is all his and his friends own work, but they will not believe it, because they are fanatically Russophobic, these people. They're fanatically anti-Trump and they want to put the two things together. They want to get Trump, they want to get Russia, and they want to use Assange for that purpose.

Now you have only got to listen a moment to what people like Bolton and Pompeo say, and these are Trump's closest advisers but yet they are very much of this mindset. They hate Assange. They're out to get him and they think he's a Russian stooge. So it's a very tough game being played here.

Views and opinions, expressed in the article are those of Tony Kevin and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik

 

See more:

https://sputniknews.com/analysis/201903091073083812-chelsea-manning-dete...

Remembering the leaker about the whistleblower...

 

Remembering the leaker about the whistleblower:

 

Adrian Lamo, the computer hacker who turned in whistleblower Chelsea Manning to law enforcement, has died at the age of 37, according to authorities in Kansas.

Lamo, who testified about Manning’s release of documents to WikiLeaks, was confirmed dead on Friday by authorities in Sedgwick County. The coroner’s office has not responded to inquiries about the cause of his death.

 

Read more:

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/mar/16/adrian-lamo-dead-chelsea...

 

This was about one year ago...

The Guardian has turned against Assange with a vengeance for whatever reason, mostly arse-licking of the Democrats's butt in the US, rather than do the right thing and ask for Assange's freedom. 

 

Called the “world’s most hated hacker” by some at the time, Lamo also said: “Had I done nothing, I would always have been left wondering whether the hundreds of thousands of documents that had been leaked to unknown third parties would end up costing lives, either directly or indirectly.”

Lamo also spoke to the Guardian in 2013 about Manning’s harsh treatment behind bars, saying: “I came to terms and continued my life some time ago.”

 

The point is that had Manning not released documents, it would end up costing far more lives than not — as the US was increasing its hypocritical empiredom hegemonical wars with impunity...

 

WE HAD TO KNOW. Thank you Chelsea...

Lamo's death at the early age of 37 has to be seen as suspicious, in this circumstances. Suicide? Knocked off? Disease? Drugs?

latest news from the embassy...

Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno has claimed that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has "repeatedly violated" the terms of his asylum in the nation's London embassy, according to a local media interview.

Moreno told the Ecuadorian Radio Broadcasters' Association that Australian Assange does not have the right to "hack private accounts or phones" and cannot intervene in the politics of other countries, especially those with friendly relations with Ecuador.

 

Assange took refuge in Ecuador's London embassy in 2012 to avoid being extradited to Sweden, where authorities wanted to question him as part of a sexual assault investigation.

That probe was later dropped, but Assange fears he could be extradited to face charges in the United States, where federal prosecutors are investigating WikiLeaks.

He says Ecuador is seeking to end his asylum and is putting pressure on him by isolating him from visitors and spying on him.

 

Read more:

https://www.thecourier.com.au/story/5990196/assange-accused-of-violating...

 

 

Plans are being made to hold a New Zealand haka outside the Ecuadorian embassy in London to mark seven years since WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange sought refuge in the building.

Richard Hillgrove, a New Zealander who is doing PR work for Assange, says the stunt in June will be a protest against "a modern-day crucifixion in the heart of London".

The Maori ceremonial dance is famous as the pre-match ritual of the New Zealand rugby team.

The event is planned for June 19, seven years to the day since Assange first arrived at the embassy.

Since then, his future has remained deadlocked, as he fears being extradited to the United States for questioning over the activities of WikiLeaks if he leaves the building.

Hillgrove said: "I can't just sit back and watch a fellow Anzac put through the living hell that Julian Assange has been put through.

 

Read more:

https://www.news.com.au/world/breaking-news/haka-to-mark-assanges-7-year...

 

 

FREE ASSANGE TODAY.  The fact that after seven years in exile, the authorities have paid no notice of the UN declaration that Assange should be let go free more than three years ago, shows that the USA and London want to basically kill him — one way or another.

FREE ASSANGE TODAY.

 

a presumed link ...

The claims by Ecuador’s President that Julian Assange has “violated the conditions of his asylum” are linked to WikiLeaks reporting on INA Papers that implicated Lenin Moreno in corruption, the whistleblower website said.

A probe against Moreno has been brought forward by an opposition MP, who received a dossier from an anonymous source with documents allegedly revealing that the president and his family were involved in corruption, perjury and money laundering through an offshore firm.

The harsh statements by the Ecuadorean leader against WikiLeaks’ founder came “after WikiLeaks reported on the existence of the INA Papers offshore corruption scandal wracking his government,” the whistleblowers wrote on Twitter.

 

Read more:

https://www.rt.com/news/455397-assange-asylum-ecuador-moreno/

 

 

The case involves a publication made on Feb. 19 by "La Fuente" (The Source), a digital news outlet owned by Fernando Villavicencio, an outspoken critic of ex-president Rafael Correa. The investigation presented a presumed link between Moreno and the company INA Investment Corp, a Panama offshore firm, from which a series of payments, gifts, purchases of furniture and even a luxury apartment in Spain were bought for the president’s family.

 

Read more:

https://www.telesurenglish.net/news/INA-Papers-Ecuador-National-Assembly...

 

 

Read from top.

 

FREE ASSANGE TODAY.  The fact that after seven years in exile, the authorities have paid no notice of the UN declaration that Assange should be let go free more than three years ago, shows that the USA and London want to basically kill him — one way or another.

FREE ASSANGE TODAY.

 

I guess that Ecuador can transfer Julian in a diplomatic car to a diplomatic plane and take him to Ecuador and from there Julian can get a diplomatic plane to Caracas, then fly to Moscow — or Canberra, should Canberra have the guts to right the wrongs that were done to Assange. With friends like the USA and the UK, pigs will fly.

 

But at the moment, New Zealand sounds good for landing Assange there. He could be used by the DECENT NZ government to source all the crap that the Five Eyes are doing... Swell.

 

FREE ASSANGE TODAY.

we live in dangerous times...


These are the speaking notes Tony Kevin delivered at a a street rally at the UK High Commission, Commonwealth Avenue, Canberra, at 12 noon Friday 26 April, for Julian Assange.

 

My thanks to Christine Assange, Julian’s mother in Australia, to Lorese Vera, and to their colleagues, for inspiring and calling this public meeting.

We live in dangerous times. US imperial power is flailing around in its death throes , making trouble for people and nations all over the world. Blocking real action on climate change, trying to foment regime change in Venezuela and Iran, troublemaking in the South China Sea, illegally maintaining military presences in Syria. The US governing elite remains obsessively Russophobic. The nuclear arms race is slipping out of control under dangerous American illusions of global military supremacy. We are living through the most perilous moment since the Cuban missile crisis; more perilous even, since in the craziness of Russiagate, the US government is not currently even speaking to Russia.

And here in Australia we have a crucially important election underway, whose outcome will be vital to our young people and other disadvantaged communities.

So why bother about this person called Julian Assange? This one weird early middle-aged guy who seems to have a knack for getting up the noses of so many powerful people and governments? Aren’t there bigger things we need to think about than the fate of this one particularly troublesome person? Should we not just think of him as ‘collateral damage’ of the past 20 years, and move on to more important and current debates and causes?

The fact that some of us are here today for this demonstration, in a city not big on demonstrations, shows we do not accept that argument. We recognise that Julian is pivotal to so much that is happening around us.

In these dangerous times, we need to gather round him to protect him from his bitter enemies. Not just because it is the decent thing to do — and it is — but because our country needs him, his idealism and energy and political insights. People like Julian are rare and we need to give them our love and respect and loyalty and protection.

There is nothing I say here today that you won’t recognise and know already. Ideas and arguments flow freely round the internet, it is easy to find likeminded people on Facebook and Twitter, to read and commend and encourage one another’s work. We all know Julian’s importance — that is why we are here.

We could all be at home reading and writing on our IPads, but we are here, in the public square, in front of the UK High Commission, the embassy of America’s most important lackey state, in the capital city of America’s second most important lackey state, Australia.

We are gathered together just down the hill from our Parliament House where Australian national security policy is debated and determined. The fact that we have come together in this place today, in an act of real physical politics, sends an important message to our power elites. We want to make them uncomfortable, we want to be the burrs in their saddles. If we do that, we are achieving something here today.

Julian is now in great danger. He faces extradition from Britain to the heartland of the American Empire. They want to silence him, to bury him in a US prison for the rest of his life as they wanted to bury Chelsea Manning for 35 years, a sentence only commuted by Obama in an act of decency as he left office, to nine years. As now Manning is indefinitely back in jail again — a truly heroic person.

The current US effort to extradite Julian, now exposed after years of denial, is an act of pure vengeance and spite, and intended to intimidate others who might be tempted to follow Julian’s and Chelsea’s noble examples.

It is what apartheid South Africa did to Nelson Mandela. They failed to suppress his thought and nobility, and these people will fail too. Around the world, people are rising up in protest at the cruel political persecutions now being inflicted on Julian and Chelsea.

The US and UK secret states are throwing everything they can at Julian now. The full resources of Anglo-American information warfare , of the most malevolent PSYOPS – psychological operations in warfare – have been deployed against this one man.

Caitlin Johnstone, whose website I urge you all to follow if you do not do so already, recently brilliantly listed and analysed 27 [sic] — twenty-seven — Big Lies that are being spread about Julian, in their efforts to discredit him and limit the reach of his voice. Caitlin convincingly rebutted each of those 27 [29] lies. After today’s event, please go back and read her piece.

It all boils down to a simple either-or proposition: either Julian is crazy and dangerous and must be locked up for life, or those out to get him are committing evil acts . There can be no sitting on the fence on this one, no careful balancing of pros and cons on each side.

We are talking about an innocent man’s life and about the attempt by malign state forces to silence this great man’s voice.

Assange started with the idea that raw state power can and must be fought and exposed with truth and public opinion: that we must demand our governments behave decently, especially when they go to war . This is the same ideal that inspired Dan Ellsberg to leak the Pentagon papers during the Vietnam War, Woodward and Bernstein to expose Nixon’s Watergate crimes, Ed Snowden to expose illegal US Government intelligence-gathering on its own citizens, and Julian Assange to expose, especially, American war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Nothing better shows the crucial importance of what Assange and Manning did than the release by Wikileaks of the 18-minute film Collateral Murder, the full video and audio record of a mass murder of civilians carried out by a US military helicopter over Baghdad. Not only did they murder a large group of unarmed innocent civilians in the street, a few minutes later they blew up an ambulance team in a bus that came to collect the bodies and a few people still alive, a bus that even contained children. And they enjoyed themselves, they congratulated themselves on their marksmanship, they gloried in these cruel murders.

None of these war criminals were ever bought to justice , nor ever will be. The video was suppressed until Manning somehow got it out to Wikileaks. This was whistleblowing in the public interest of the highest order. If Wikileaks had done nothing else, this film proved its vital importance.

Wikileaks has opened the gates to a whole new way of challenging the imperial state and its false propaganda. There is a healthy public scepticism out there now. Lies are being and will be challenged and exposed. Julian and his team showed the way to the heroism of our own Witness K and Bernard Collaery in this city, over the Australian Government’s illegal spying during an important negotiation with the East Timor government, a case with which you will all be familiar.

Mainstream media are more and more being forced to account for themselves, to look critically at their own role in normalising and explaining away state misconduct. People like us, however angry we might make people like Chris Uhlmann and Michael Rowland — and I like and respect them both as good mainstream journalists — have an essential role to play in holding a blowtorch to the feet of power , and to those who surround and protect and normalise power.

Finally, what message can we send today to help Julian? We wish he were here, in this little piece of British territory across the road called the UK High Commission. We wish we could go in there and bring him out to freedom, as British police brutally dragged him out of another Embassy to a different kind of jail, a British prison in London.

But we can send a powerful message. We need to demand of the British government — and I hope people are listening to us in there — these things (and I have sent them a copy of these words).

First: Fair and decent conditions of imprisonment in Belworth Prison as Julian awaits legal proceedings and during these proceedings: proper accommodation, access to fresh air and sunlight and exercise, proper medical care, adequate visiting rights by his family, friends and legal team, and regular and reported consular visits from Australian High Commission consular staff.

All these things are basic human rights due to any Australian citizen imprisoned in a foreign country. Our government needs to demand these things, as it did for James Ricketson in Cambodia, for Peter Greste in Egypt, for our footballer in Thailand — but did not do for David Hicks and Mamdouh Habib in the US, and until recent days was not doing for Julian. We need to challenge the complacent assumption of our government, Labor opposition and the mainstream media, that bad stuff cannot be done to Australian citizens by the governments of our great and powerful friends Britain and the US . It can be, and it is.

Secondly, and crucially, we need to demand of our political elites — in this case, foreign minister Marise Payne and her Shadow Penny Wong, and behind them the major party leaders Scott Morrison and Bill Shorten — that they strenuously and forcefully demand of the British Government that it not allow Julian to be extradited to US. We all know what will happen to him there. We see what is done to political prisoners of conscience Chelsea Manning and Maria Butina. We cannot allow this to happen to Julian, to become a lifetime political prisoner of conscience in a US jail.

We need to demand of Marise Payne and Penny Wong that they publicly and jointly or separately commit to making the strongest representations to the British Government to bring Julian safely home to Australia after his bail issue is legally concluded in the UK. His extradition to US must be firmly denied, because it is entirely vindictive and political exemplary punishment. We cannot trust American justice in this matter. We must protect Julian now, so that he can return to safety and resumed public interest work in his home country, Australia.

We are proud of our fellow Australian and we must now stand by him in his hour of greatest need.  Thank you.

Tony Kevin, former Australian ambassador and an independent author, can be reached via www.tonykevin.com.au

 

Read more:

https://off-guardian.org/2019/04/27/tony-kevin-speaks-out-on-assange/

 

Read from top.

political and MEDIA influence to smear Assange...

Have you ever noticed how whenever someone inconveniences the dominant western power structure, the entire political/media class rapidly becomes very, very interested in letting us know how evil and disgusting that person is? It’s true of the leader of every nation which refuses to allow itself to be absorbed into the blob of the US-centralized power alliance, it’s true of anti-establishment political candidates, and it’s true of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

Corrupt and unaccountable power uses its political and media influence to smear Assange because, as far as the interests of corrupt and unaccountable power are concerned, killing his reputation is as good as killing him. If everyone can be paced into viewing him with hatred and revulsion, they’ll be far less likely to take WikiLeaks publications seriously, and they’ll be far more likely to consent to Assange’s imprisonment, thereby establishing a precedent for the future prosecution of leak-publishing journalists around the world. Someone can be speaking 100 percent truth to you, but if you’re suspicious of him you won’t believe anything he’s saying. If they can manufacture that suspicion with total or near-total credence, then as far as our rulers are concerned it’s as good as putting a bullet in his head.

Those of us who value truth and light need to fight this smear campaign in order to keep our fellow man from signing off on a major leap in the direction of Orwellian dystopia, and a big part of that means being able to argue against those smears and disinformation wherever they appear. Unfortunately I haven’t been able to find any kind of centralized source of information which comprehensively debunks all the smears in a thorough and engaging way, so with the help of hundreds of tips from my readers and social media followers I’m going to attempt to make one here. What follows is my attempt at creating a tool kit people can use to fight against Assange smears wherever they encounter them, by refuting the disinformation with truth and solid argumentation.

This article is an ongoing project which will be updated regularly where it appears on Medium and caitlinjohnstone.com as new information comes in and new smears spring up in need of refutation.


SEE VIDEO

 

Here’s a numbered list of each subject I’ll be covering in this article for ease of reference:

0. How to argue against Assange smears.

  1. “He’s not a journalist.”
  2. “He’s a rapist.”
  3. “He was hiding from rape charges in the embassy.”
  4. “He’s a Russian agent.”
  5. “He’s being prosecuted for hacking crimes, not journalism.”
  6. “He should just go to America and face the music. If he’s innocent he’s got nothing to fear.”
  7. “Well he jumped bail! Of course the UK had to arrest him.”
  8. “He’s a narcissist/megalomaniac/jerk.”
  9. “He’s a horrible awful monster for reasons X, Y and Z… but I don’t think he should be extradited.”
  10. “Trump is going to rescue him and they’ll work together to end the Deep State. Relax and wait and see.”
  11. “He put poop on the walls. Poop poop poopie.”
  12. “He’s stinky.”
  13. “He was a bad houseguest.”
  14. “He conspired with Don Jr.”
  15. “He only publishes leaks about America.”
  16. “He’s an antisemite.”
  17. “He’s a fascist.”
  18. “He was a Trump supporter.”
  19. “I used to like him until he ruined the 2016 election” / “I used to hate him until he saved the 2016 election.”
  20. “He’s got blood on his hands.”
  21. “He published the details of millions of Turkish women voters.”
  22. “He supported right-wing political parties in Australia.”
  23. “He endangered the lives of gay Saudis.”
  24. “He’s a CIA agent/limited hangout.”
  25. “He mistreated his cat.”
  26. “He’s a pedophile.”
  27. “He lied about Seth Rich.”
  28. “He’s never leaked anything on Trump.”
  29. “He conspired with Nigel Farage.”

Wow! That’s a lot! Looking at that list you can only see two possibilities:

  1. Julian Assange, who published many inconvenient facts about the powerful and provoked the wrath of opaque and unaccountable government agencies, is literally the worst person in the whole entire world, OR
  2. Julian Assange, who published many inconvenient facts about the powerful and provoked the wrath of opaque and unaccountable government agencies, is the target of a massive, deliberate disinformation campaign designed to kill the public’s trust in him.

As it happens, historian Vijay Prashad noted in a recent interview with Chris Hedgesthat in 2008 a branch of the US Defense Department did indeed set out to “build a campaign to eradicate ‘the feeling of trust of WikiLeaks and their center of gravity’ and to destroy Assange’s reputation.”

Let’s begin.

 

ange


How to argue against Assange smears:

Before we get into refuting the specific points of disinformation, I’d like to share a few tips which I’ve found useful in my own experience with engaging people online who are circulating smears against Julian Assange.

A – Be clear that your goal is to fight against a disinformation campaign, not to “win” or to change the mind of the person you’re arguing with.

If our interest is in advancing the cause of truth, we’re not trying to get into arguments with people for egoic gratification, nor are we trying to change the mind of the smearer. Our first and foremost goal is to spread the truth to the people who are witnessing the interaction, who are always the target audience for the smear. Doesn’t matter if it’s an argument at the Thanksgiving dinner table or a Twitter thread witnessed by thousands: your goal is to disinfect the smear with truth and solid argumentation so everyone witnessing is inoculated from infection.

So perform for that audience like a lawyer for the jury. When the smearer refuses to respond to your challenges, when they share false information, when they use a logical fallacy, when they are intellectually dishonest, call it out and draw attention to what they’re doing. When it comes to other subjects there are a wide range of opinions that may be considered right or wrong depending on how you look at them, but when it comes to the whether or not it’s acceptable for Assange to be imprisoned for his publishing activities you can feel confident that you’ll always have truth on your side. So use facts and good argumentation to make the smearer look worse than they’re trying to make Assange look, thereby letting everyone know that this person isn’t an honest and trustworthy source of information.

B – Remember that whoever you’re debating probably doesn’t really know much about the claim they’re making.

Last night I had a guy confidently assuring me that Assange and Chelsea Manning had teamed up to get Donald Trump elected in 2016. Most people just bleat whatever they think they’ve heard people they trust and people around them saying; when they make a claim about Assange, it’s not usually because they’ve done a ton of research on the subject and examined possible counter-arguments, it’s because it’s an unquestioned doctrine within their echo chamber, and it may never have even occurred to them that someone might question it.

 

SEE VIDEO


For a perfect example of this, check out the New York Times‘ Bari Weiss experiencing an existential meltdown on The Joe Rogan Experience when the host simply asked her to substantiate her claim that Tulsi Gabbard is an “Assad toadie”. Weiss only ever operates within a tight establishment echo chamber, so when challenged on a claim she’d clearly only picked up secondhand from other people she turned into a sputtering mess.

Most people you’ll encounter who smear Assange online are pulling a Bari Weiss to some extent, so point out the obvious gaps in their knowledge for the audience when they make nonsensical claims, and make it clear to everyone that they have no idea what they’re talking about.

C – Remember that they’re only ever running from their own cognitive dissonance.

Cognitive dissonance is the psychological discomfort we experience when we try to hold two strongly contradictory ideas as true at the same time, like the idea that we live in a free liberal democracy and the idea that a journalist is being imprisoned for publishing facts about the US government right in front of us.

Rank-and-file citizens generally help the mass media propagandists smear Assange not to help protect the world from the influence of a dangerous individual, but to protect themselves from cognitive dissonance. People find themselves eager to believe smears about Assange because the raw facts revealed by WikiLeaks publications punch giant holes in the stories about the kind of world, nation and society that most people have been taught to believe they live in since school age. These kinds of beliefs are interwoven with people’s entire egoic structures, with their sense of self and who they are as a person, so narratives which threaten to tear them apart can feel the same as a personal attack. This is why you’ll hear ordinary citizens talking about Assange with extreme emotion as though he’d attacked them personally; all he did was publish facts about the powerful, but since those facts conflict with tightly held identity constructs, the cognitive dissonance he caused them to experience can be interpreted as feeling like he’d slapped them in the face. 

Ordinary citizens often find themselves eager to believe the smear campaigns against Assange because it’s easier than believing that their government would participate in the deliberate silencing and imprisoning of a journalist for publishing facts. The fact that Assange’s persecution is now exposing the ugly face of imperial tyranny presents them with even more to defend.

It might look like they’re playing offense, but they’re playing defense. They’re attacking Assange because they feel the need to defend themselves from cognitive dissonance.

If people are acting strangely emotional and triggered when it comes to the issue of imprisoning Assange, it’s got very little to do with facts and everything to do with the dynamics of psychological identity structures. There’s not necessarily any benefit in pointing this out during a debate, but it helps to understand where people are coming from and why they’re acting that way. Keep pointing out that people’s feelings have no bearing on the threats that are posed to all of us by Assange’s prosecution.

D – Remember that the burden of proof is on the one making the claim.

“Prove your claim.” Use this phrase early and often. It’s amazing how frequently I see people blurting out assertions about Assange that I know for a fact they have no way of proving: that he’s a Russian agent, that he’s a rapist, that he’s a CIA asset, etc, which ties in with Point B above. The burden of proof is always on the party making the claim, so if they refuse to do this you can publicly dismiss their argument. If someone comes in making a specific claim about Assange, make them present the specific information they’re basing their claim on so that you can refute it. If they refuse, call them out on it publicly. Never let them get away with the fallacious tactic of shifting the burden of proof onto you, and remember that anything which has been asserted without evidence may be dismissed without evidence.

E – Never let them trick you into expending more energy than they’re expending.

 

ANG1


This one’s important. The internet is full of genuinely trollish individuals who spend their time acting out their inner pain by trying to suck the life out of other people, and political discussion is certainly no exception to this. A common tactic is to use short phrases, half-thoughts, or word salads which contain few facts and no actual arguments, but contain just enough of a jab to suck you into wasting energy making thorough, well-sourced arguments while they just lean back and continue making weak, low-energy responses to keep you going. This enables them to waste your time and frustrate you while expending little energy themselves, while also not having to reveal the fact that they don’t know much about the subject at hand and don’t really have an argument.

Don’t let them lean back. Force them to lean in. If someone makes an unsubstantiated assertion, a brief quip, or a vague insinuation, tell them “Make an actual argument using complete thoughts or go away.” If they throw an unintelligible word salad at you (a tactic that is also common in abusers with narcissistic personality disorder because it tricks the abusee into falling all over themselves guessing how to respond appropriately, thereby giving the abuser power), tell them “That’s gibberish. Articulate yourself using clear arguments or go away.”

This often enrages them, partly because they’ve generally been getting away with this tactic their entire lives so they feel entitled to demand compliance with it from you, and partly because you’re forcing a very unconscious and unattractive part of themselves into attention and consciousness. But if they’re interested in having a real and intellectually honest debate they’ll do it; if they’re not they won’t. If they refuse to provide you with lucid, complete arguments that meet their burden of proof, make a show of dismissing them for their refusal to do so, and say you’re doing it because they’re too dishonest to have a real debate.

Never chase them. Make them chase you. Never let them lead the dance chasing them around trying to correct their straw man reframing of your actual words or guessing what their word salads are trying to articulate. Make them do the work they’re trying to make you do. Force them to either extend themselves into the light where their arguments can be properly scrutinized, or to disqualify themselves by refusing to.

F – When attacking disinformation on Twitter, use this tactic:

If you see a high-profile Twitter account sharing disinformation about Assange, debunk their disinfo as clearly and concisely as possible, then retweet your response to your followers. Your followers will like and retweet your response, sending it further up the thread so that casual viewers of the disinfo tweet will often also see your response debunking it. If your response is text-only, include a screenshot or the URL of the tweet you’re responding to before retweeting your response so that your followers can see the awful post you’re responding to. It comes out looking like this:


SEE TWITTER ACCOUNT: You misspelled "US-imposed exile".https://twitter.com/cnni/status/1116348709321826304 …


This serves the dual function of offsetting the damage done by their smear and alerting your followers to come and help fight the disinfo.

G – Point out at every opportunity that they are advancing a smear.

Never miss an opportunity to point out to everyone witnessing the exchange that the other party is advancing a smear that is being promulgated by the mass media to manufacture consent for the imprisonment of a journalist who exposed US war crimes. Keep the conversation in context for everyone: this isn’t just two people having a difference of opinion, this is one person circulating disinformation which facilitates the agendas of the most powerful people in the world (including the Trump administration, which you should always point out repeatedly if you know they hate Trump), and the other person trying to stop the flow of disinfo. Every time you expose a hole in one of their arguments, add in the fact that this is a dishonest smear designed to benefit the powerful, and that they are helping to advance it.

H – Make it about Assange’s imprisonment and extradition.

One of the very few advantages to Assange being behind bars in the UK’s version of Guantanamo Bay instead of holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy is that the arguments are so much clearer and more honest now. You can no longer get away with claiming that Assange is just a coward hiding from justice who can “leave whenever he wants” and present yourself as merely a casual observer who just happens to want to share his opinion that the WikiLeaks founder is a fascist Russian spy rapist who smells bad and mistreats his cat, because you will always be entering a discussion involving the fact that Assange is in prison awaiting extradition to the United States. You are therefore always necessarily either supporting the extradition or distracting from the conversation about it.

So make that clear to everyone watching. Make them own it. They either support the imprisonment and extradition of Assange for his role in the Manning leaks, or they’re interrupting grown-ups who are trying to have an adult conversation about it. If they support Assange’s imprisonment and extradition to the United States, that clarifies your line of argumentation, and it makes them look like the bootlicking empire sycophants they are. Keep the fact that they support the extradition and imprisonment of a journalist for publishing facts on the front burner of the conversation, and keep making them own it.

I – Familiarize yourself with common logical fallacies.

 

logic


It’s fascinating how often people resort to fallacious debate tactics when arguing about Assange. One of the most interesting things to me right now is how the unconscious behaviors of our civilization is mirrored in the unconsciousness of the individuals who support those behaviors. Those who support Assange’s persecution are generally very averse to an intellectually honest relationship with their own position, and with the arguments against their position that they encounter.

So get familiar with basic fallacious debate tactics like straw man arguments (claiming that you have a position that is different from the one you’ve actually put forth and then attacking that fake position they invented, e.g. “You’re defending Assange because you worship him and think he’s perfect”), ad hominems (using personal attacks instead of an argument, e.g. “Assange is stinky and smeared poo on the embassy walls”), and appeals to emotion (using emotionally charged statements as a substitute for facts and reason, e.g. “You’re defending Assange because you’re a rape apologist”). These will give you a conceptual framework for those situations where it feels like the person you’re arguing with is being squirmy and disingenuous, but you can’t really put your finger on how.

J – Rely as much on fact and as little on opinion as possible.

Don’t get sucked into emotional exchanges about opinions. Facts are what matter here, and, as you will see throughout the rest of this article, the facts are on your side. Make sure you’re familiar with them.

 

SEE VIDEO: THE LIES ABOUT JULIAN ASSANGE


And now for the smears:

Smear 1: “He is not a journalist.”

Yes he is. Publishing relevant information so the public can inform themselves about what’s going on in their world is the thing that journalism is. Which is why Assange was just awarded the GUE/NGL Award for “Journalists, Whistleblowers and Defenders of the Right to Information” the other day, why the WikiLeaks team has racked up many prestigious awards for journalism, and why Assange is a member of Australia’s media union. Only when people started seriously stressing about the very real threats that his arrest poses to press freedoms did it become fashionable to go around bleating “Assange is not a journalist.”


The argument, if you can call it that, is that since Assange doesn’t practice journalism in a conventional way, there’s no way his bogus prosecution for his role in the Manning leaks could possibly constitute a threat to other journalists around the world who might want to publish leaked documents exposing US government malfeasance. This argument is a reprisal of a statement made by Trump’s then-CIA director Mike Pompeo, who proclaimed that WikiLeaks is not a journalistic outlet at all but a “hostile non-state intelligence service”, a designation he made up out of thin air the same way the Trump administration designated Juan Guaido the president of Venezuela, the Golan Heights a part of Israel, and Iran’s military a terrorist organization. Pompeo argued that since WikiLeaks was now this label he made up, it enjoys no free press protections and shall therefore be eliminated.

So they’re already regurgitating propaganda narratives straight from the lips of the Trump administration, but more importantly, their argument is nonsense. As I discuss in the essay hyperlinked here, once the Assange precedent has been set by the US government, the US government isn’t going to be relying on your personal definition of what journalism is; they’re going to be using their own, based on their own interests. The next time they want to prosecute someone for doing anything similar to what Assange did, they’re just going to do it, regardless of whether you believe that next person to have been a journalist or not. It’s like these people imagine that the US government is going to show up at their doorstep saying “Yes, hello, we wanted to imprison this journalist based on the precedent we set with the prosecution of Julian Assange, but before doing so we wanted to find out how you feel about whether or not they’re a journalist.”

Pure arrogance and myopia.


Smear 2: “He’s a rapist.”

The feedback I’ve gotten while putting together this article indicates that this is the one Assange defenders struggle with most, and understandably so: it’s a complex situation involving multiple governments, a foreign language, a foreign legal system, lots of legal jargon, many different people, some emotionally triggering subject matter, and copious amounts of information. These layers of complexity are what smearers rely upon when circulating this smear; most people don’t understand the dynamics, so it’s not evident that they’re ingesting disinfo.

But just because the nature of the allegation is complex doesn’t mean the argument is.


The strongest, simplest and most obvious argument against the “rapist” smear is that it’s an unproven allegation which Assange has always denied, and you’d have to be out of your mind to believe a completely unproven allegation about a known target of US intelligence agencies. It’s just as stupid as believing unproven claims about governments targeted for US regime change, like believing Saddam had WMD. The fact of the matter is that if you go up against America’s opaque and unaccountable government agencies, they have “six ways from Sunday of getting back at you,” to quote from the Gospel of Schumer.

I know we’ve all been told that we have to unquestioningly believe all women who say they’ve been raped, and as a general practice it’s a good idea to tear away our society’s patriarchal habit of dismissing anyone who says they’ve been raped. But as soon as you make that into a hard, rigid rule that can’t have any room for questioning the agendas of the powerful, you can be one hundred percent certain that the powerful will begin using that rule to manipulate us.

The people aggressively promoting the “rapist” narrative and saying “You have to believe women!” do not care about rape victims, any more than all the Hillary supporters saying “Bernie says you have to behave!” after the 2016 convention cared about Bernie. Earlier this month I had my Twitter privileges suspended when I went off on a virulent Assange hater who said I was lying about having survived multiple rapes myself, while continuing to bleat his “believe all women” schtick. The political/media class of the western empire, which never hesitates to support the violent toppling of sovereign governments and all the death, destruction, chaos, terrorism, suffering, and, yes, rape which necessarily comes along with those actions, does not care about rape victims in Sweden.

You could spend days combing through all the articles that have been written about the details of the Swedish preliminary investigation, but let me try to sum it up as concisely as possible:

Laws about consent and rape are significantly different in Sweden from most other societies. Assange had consensual sex with two women, “SW” and “AA” in Sweden in August 2010. SW and AA were acquainted with each other and texted about their encounters and, after learning about some uncomfortable sexual experiences SW said she’d had with Assange, AA convinced SW to go to the police together to compel Assange to take an AIDS test. AA took her to see her friend and political ally who was also a police officer. SW said one of the times Assange had initiated sex with her happened while she was “half-asleep” (legally and literally very different from asleep) and without a condom, and AA said Assange had deliberately damaged his condom before using it. SW freaked out when she learned the police wanted to charge Assange with rape for the half-asleep incident, and refused to sign any legal documents saying that he had raped her. She sent a text that she “did not want to put any charges against JA but the police wanted to get a grip on him,” and said she had been “railroaded by police and others around her.” AA went along with the process.

To gain a basic understanding of the events through 2012, I highly recommend taking ten minutes to watch this animated video:


SEE VIDEO


More info:

  • This all occurred just months after Assange enraged the US war machine with the release of the Collateral Murder video, and he was already known to have had US feds hunting for him.
  • It’s obvious that there were some extreme government manipulations happening behind the scenes of the entire ordeal. More on that in subsequent bullet points.
  • The condom AA produced as evidence that Assange had used a damaged condo had no DNA on it, hers or Assange’s.
  • Assange has consistently denied all allegations.
  • Neither accuser alleged rape. AA’s accusation wasn’t an accusation of rape and SW repeatedly refused to sign off on a rape accusation.
  • AA once authored an article on how to get revenge on men who “dump” you.
  • Sweden has strict laws protecting the confidentiality of the accused during preliminary investigations of alleged sexual offenses, but some convenient leaks circumvented this law and allowed Assange to be smeared as a rapist ever since. Assange learned he’d been accused from the headlines of the local tabloid Expressen, where AA happens to have interned.
  • After an arrest warrant was issued a senior prosecutor named Eva Finne pulled rank and canceled it, dropping the matter completely on August 25th saying the evidence “disclosed no crime at all.”
  • Out of the blue it was restarted again on the 29th, this time by another prosecutor named Marianne Ny.
  • On the 30th, Assange voluntarily went to the police to make a statement. In the statement, he told the officer he feared that it would end up in the Expressen. How do I know that? The full statement was leaked to the Expressen.
  • Assange stayed in Sweden for five weeks waiting to be questioned, then went to the UK after a prosecutor told him he’s not wanted for questioning.
  • After leaving, InterPol bizarrely issued a Red Notice for Assange, typically reserved for terrorists and dangerous criminals, not alleged first-time rapists. This exceedingly disproportionate response immediately raised a red flag with Assange’s legal team that this was not just about rape accusations, and they decided to fight his extradition to Sweden fearing that he was being set up to be extradited to the United States, a country who WikiLeaks had recently embarrassed with extremely damaging leaks about war crimes.
  • In December 2010 Assange went to a UK police station by appointment and was arrested. He spends ten days in solitary confinement and was released on bail, then spent 550 days under house arrest with an electronic ankle bracelet.
  • We now know that a grand jury had been set up in East Virginia already at this time to try and find a crime to hang him for, or at least put him away til the end of his life. Assange’s lawyers were aware of this.
  • The UK Supreme Court decided Assange should be extradited to Sweden, the Swedes refused to give any assurances that he would not be extradited on to the US, and the US refused to give any assurances that they would not seek his extradition and prosecution. If either country had provided such an assurance as urged by Amnesty International, Assange would have traveled to Sweden and the ordeal would have been resolved.
  • This was never resolved because this was never about rape or justice. It was about extraditing Assange to the United States for his publications.
  • As the window til extradition to Sweden closed, in 2012 Assange sought and won asylum at the Ecuadorian embassy as a journalist who risked unfair prosecution.
  • A few days ago we learned that the FBI affidavit supporting Assange’s arrest at the embassy asserts that “Instead of appealing to the European Court of Human Rights, in June 2012, Assange fled to the embassy.” But according to Assange, Marianne Ny had actually worked to cancel his window to apply to appeal the matter at the European Court of Human Rights, reducing it from 14 days to zero days and thereby shutting that door in his face.
  • In 2013 Sweden attempted to drop extradition proceedings but was dissuaded from doing so by UK prosecutors, a fact we wouldn’t learn until 2018.
  • In 2017 we learned that the UK’s Crown Prosecution Service had dissuaded the Swedes from questioning Assange in London in 2010 or 2011, which could have prevented the entire embassy standoff in the first place, and that the CPS had destroyed crucial emails pertaining to Assange.
  • We also learned that Marianne Ny had deleted an email she’d received from the FBI, claiming it could not be recovered.
  • In May 2017 Marianne Ny closed her investigation, strangely on the very day she was due to appear in Stockholm court to face questions on why she had barred Assange’s defense lawyer and other irregularities during his questioning in the embassy the previous November, and rescinded the extradition arrest warrant.
  • Contrary to popular belief in the UK press, the case is unlikely to be reopened now that Assange is theoretically available again because she formally closed the case under Sweden’s prosecutorial code Ch 23, Section 4, which dictates that preliminary investigations must be run so as to put the suspect to a minimum of suspicion, inconvenience and cost. After seven years of foot-dragging on Ny’s part it was obvious to all – including Sweden’s courts – that hers had become disproportionate.
  • Assange was never charged, despite having been thoroughly interviewed at the embassy by Swedish prosecutors before the investigation was closed. Some smearers claim that this is due to a technicality of Swedish law which made the government unable to charge him in absentia, but Sweden can and has charged people in absentia. They did not do so with Assange, preferring to keep insisting that he come to Sweden without any assurances against onward extradition to the US instead, for some strange reason.
  • Shortly after Assange’s embassy arrest The Intercept‘s Charles Glass reported that “Sources in Swedish intelligence told me at the time that they believed the U.S. had encouraged Sweden to pursue the case.”
  • It cannot be denied that governments around the world have an extensive and well-documented history of using sex to advance strategic agendas in various ways, and there’s no valid reason to rule this out as a possibility on any level.
  • Sometimes smearers will try to falsely claim that Assange or his lawyers admitted that Assange committed rape or pushed its boundaries during the legal proceedings, citing mass media reports on a strategy employed by Assange’s legal team of arguing that what Assange was accused of wouldn’t constitute rape even if true. This conventional legal strategy was employed as a means of avoiding extradition and in no way constituted an admission that events happened in the way alleged, yet mass media reports like this one deliberately twisted it to appear that way. Neither Assange nor his lawyers have ever made any such admission.

For more information on the details of the rape accusation, check out the following resources:

  •  This 2012 4 Corners segment titled “Sex, Lies, and Julian Assange”
  • This 2016 Observer article titled “Exclusive New Docs Throw Doubt on Julian Assange Rape Charges in Stockholm”
  • This timeline of events by Peter Tatchell titled “Assange: Swedes & UK obstructed sex crime investigation”
  • This John Pilger article titled “Getting Julian Assange: The Untold Story”
  • This Justice Integrity Report article titled “Assange Rape Defense Underscores Shameful Swedish, U.S. Tactics”
  • The aforementioned ten minute Youtube video.

For some feminist essays on the infuriating hypocrisy of the entire patriarchal empire suddenly caring so, so deeply about the possibility that a man might have initiated sex in an inappropriate way, check out:

  • This Naomi Wolf essay titled “J’Accuse: Sweden, Britain, and Interpol Insult Rape Victims Worldwide”
  • This Guardian article by Women Against Rape titled “We are Women Against Rape but we do not want Julian Assange extradited — For decades we have campaigned to get rapists caught, charged and convicted. But the pursuit of Assange is political”

I see a lot of well-meaning Assange defenders using some very weak and unhelpful arguments against this smear, suggesting for example that having unprotected sex without the woman’s permission shouldn’t qualify as sexual assault or that if AA had been assaulted she would necessarily have conducted herself differently afterward. Any line of argumentation like that is going to look very cringey to people like myself who believe rape culture is a ubiquitous societal illness that needs to be rolled back far beyond the conventional understanding of rape as a stranger in a dark alley forcibly penetrating some man’s wife or daughter at knifepoint. Don’t try to justify what Assange is accused of having done, just point out that there’s no actual evidence that he is guilty and that very powerful people have clearly been pulling some strings behind the scenes of this narrative.

Finally, the fact remains that even if Assange were somehow to be proven guilty of rape, the argument “he’s a rapist” is not a legitimate reason to support a US extradition and prosecution which would set a precedent that poses a threat to press freedoms everywhere. “He’s a rapist” and “It’s okay that the western legal system is funneling him into the Eastern District of Virginia for his publishing activities” are two completely different thoughts that have nothing whatsoever to do with each other, so anyone attempting to associate the two in any way has made a bad argument and should feel bad.

 


Smear 3: “He was hiding from rape charges in the embassy.”

No he wasn’t, he was hiding from US extradition. And his arrest this month under a US extradition warrant proved that he was right to do so.

 

 

Read more:

https://caitlinjohnstone.com/2019/04/20/debunking-all-the-assange-smears/

 

 

THANK YOU CAITLIN. WE SHALL CONTINUE TO PUSH ON...

 

NOTE: in order to minimise interferences, this site limits the number of links by articles. All the links have been removed on this page. Go to https://caitlinjohnstone.com/2019/04/20/debunking-all-the-assange-smears/ to get all the links and the videos.