Friday 26th of February 2021

war & peace & lies & truth & the need for whistleblowers...

war �amp; peace

Jeremy Hammond, who helped feed millions of emails from ‘private CIA’ Stratfor to WikiLeaks, has reportedly been moved to Virginia to testify before a grand jury, which he refuses to do, jeopardizing his early release from prison.

Hammond has been moved to the same Eastern District where whistleblower Chelsea Manning is currently being held for refusing to testify against Julian Assange, the Jeremy Hammond Support Committee revealed on Tuesday in a statement. While neither Hammond nor his supporters are certain of the nature of the summons, he pled guilty to hacking Stratfor in 2013 in order to avoid giving up information on his fellow activists, including those at WikiLeaks, and has no intention of doing so now.

Jeremy pled guilty to put an end to the case against him. He pled guilty because he had no interest in cooperating with the government.

While Hammond received the maximum 10 year sentence in exchange for his non-cooperating guilty plea, he was granted immunity from further prosecution in all other federal courts and was due to be released in December, having received a sentence reduction for participating in the Federal Bureau of Prisons’ Residential Drug Abuse Program. Transferring him from Memphis, Tennessee, where he was incarcerated, to Alexandria, Virginia, cuts short his participation in the program and guarantees he will serve at least another year in prison.


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the establishment bastards official blackmail...

Refusal to testify against WikiLeaks is costing whistleblower Chelsea Manning over $400,000 in fines and another year in jail, after a federal judge ruled that she must pay for what he called contempt of court.

Manning was jailed for refusing the subpoena to testify before a federal grand jury seeking additional charges against WikiLeaks and its co-founder Julian Assange, currently imprisoned in the UK. To compel testimony, the government also fined the whistleblower $500 a day, going up to $1000 after 60 days. 


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the ugly truth...

defending press freedom...

Journalist John Pilger has delivered a stark warning from WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange, who said that his persecution is intended to kill dissent. “Speak up now,” Pilger said, or face “the silence of a new kind of tyranny.”

Assange is currently serving a 50 week sentence in Belmarsh Prison for skipping a bail hearing in 2012. US authorities are seeking his extradition for his role in publishing classified documents, accusing him of espionage. Speaking at a rally outside the Home Office in London on Monday, Pilger passed on a message from the WikiLeaks editor who, if extradited and convicted, could be sentenced to 175 years in prison.

It’s not just me. It’s much wider. It’s all of us. It’s all journalists, and all “The danger Julian Assange faces can easily spread to the present and past editors of the Guardian, the New York Times, Der Spiegel, El Pais in Spain, the Sydney Morning Herald, and many other newspapers and media outlets that published the WikiLeaks revelations about the lies and crimes of our governments,” Pilger continued.

“By defending Julian Assange we defend our most sacred rights,” Pilger warned. “Speak up now or wake up one morning to the silence of a new kind of tyranny.” publishers who do their job who are in danger.

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potato man tells you that the australian federal police is "doing its successful job" to protect you from knowing something...



he killed no-one...

‘How many innocents has US killed?’ Pam Anderson schools Meghan McCain on Julian Assange

Playboy model and TV actress Pamela Anderson has delivered a punishing smackdown to Meghan McCain in a heated exchange on The View over the plight WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

In her first TV appearance since visiting Assange in jail in May, Anderson defended the transparency activist from attacks by McCain, one of the co-hosts of The View and the hawkish daughter of the late US Senator John McCain.

“He’s obviously ruffled the feathers of a lot of very powerful people, and powerful people want to keep him quiet,” Anderson said, kicking off her bout with the host.

A known critic of the transparency activist, McCain had no kind words for Assange, who she called a “cyber terrorist” who “put our national security at risk” with his publications of classified material.

“You know who put our national security at risk? The military,” Anderson fired back, adding “How many people has the American government killed innocently, and how many has WikiLeaks?” drawing a roar of applause from the studio audience.

There are war crimes that need to be punished and they haven’t – the war crimes that he’s exposed, no one’s done anything about it – but they put him in jail to shut him up.

McCain switched gears to personal insults, claiming Assange was kicked out of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London for “defecating everywhere” and “creating messes,” arguing there was video to prove it. No such footage has ever been produced, however, while Assange’s lawyer has rejected the claim as “outrageous.”

Anderson dismissed the argument as part of a “smear campaign.”

Asked whether Assange’s leaks – the Iraq and Afghan war diaries, published in 2010 – put US spies or diplomats in danger, Anderson noted that the alleged harms to undercover assets have never been borne out by the facts, adding that she considered whistleblowers like Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden “heroes.”

“Putin also thinks that,” snapped back McCain, ever the civil libertarian, going back to the long-dry Russiagate well.

Co-hosts Joy Behar and Whoopi Goldberg took over the conversation for some moments, engaging in a relevant and moderate debate with Anderson. As the time ran out, McCain went into one last shouting attack.

“He’s a cyber terrorist! I’ll say it. I’ll say it! I’m not going to stand by this. It’s ridiculous,” she said.

To this American media darling, apparently, a free and adversarial publisher like Assange is just a step too far.


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the inhumanity of the british...

Renowned British fashion designer Vivienne Westwood has broken her media silence on Julian Assange’s imprisonment, telling RT that the solitary confinement in which he is kept for no reason has taken a toll on his health.

She spoke after visiting Assange in HMP Belmarsh, where he is being held after the UK police dragged him from the Ecuadorean Embassy back in April. Arranging a visit to Britain’s maximum security prison took a month, and during this time the whistleblower was held in solitary confinement, Westwood told RT.

I was thrilled to bits to see him, he lost weight... and the state he’s in, it’s a wonder, I don’t know how I would cope.

Westwood, a friend of Assange, has consistently spoken out against the way the UK dealt with him before and after his arrest, which ended nearly seven years in exile inside the Ecuadorian mission. Hours after his arrest, he was found guilty of skipping bail in London in 2012.

Separately, Assange also faces charges in the US, which revolve around his contacts with fellow whistleblower Chelsea Manning, who exposed to WikiLeaks the extent of American war crimes in Iraq.

He must not be extradited [to the US],” Westwood argued. This man, believe it or not, faces 175 years in jail, that’s totally out of proportion, how crazy is all that!”



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daily assange update...

The same media that has spent years dragging Assange’s name through the mud is now engaging in a blackout on his treatment.

If you are waiting for corporate media pundits to defend freedom of the press, you’re going to be disappointed.

The role of journalism in a democracy is publishing information that holds the powerful to account — the kind of information that empowers the public to become more engaged citizens in their communities so that we can vote in representatives that work in the interest of “we the people.” 

There is perhaps no better example of watchdog journalism that holds the powerful to account and exposes their corruption than that of WikiLeaks, which exposed to the world evidence of widespread war crimes the U.S. military was committing in Iraq, including the killing of two Reuters journalists; showed that the U.S. Government and large corporations were using private intelligence agencies to spy on activists and protesters; and revealed how the military hid tortured Guantanamo Bay prisoners from Red Cross inspectors. 


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honesty is a troublemaker...

Trump has been exposed by leakers and might face consequences, and Edward Snowden has published a book. Daniel Ellsberg reflects on the bravery of exposing the truth.

EDWARD SNOWDEN: It’s not enough to believe in something. You have to be ready to stand for something if you want it to change. And so that is what I hope this book will help people come to decide for themselves. Are you ready for this to change?

MARC STEINER: Welcome to the Real News Network. I’m Marc Steiner. Good to have you all with us.

Edward Snowden defines whistleblowing for this generation. Whistleblowing is back in the news, obviously, if it ever left. An unnamed whistleblower, blowers, have accused Trump of divulging secrets to a foreign leader. Another that he tried to get dirt on Biden from the leader of the Ukraine. Edward Snowden is back in the news with a new book and the reality he faces that the US government may seize the proceeds he may get from that book.

We don’t know the names of the whistleblowers in Trump’s administration and his world, but we do know that whistleblowing has been ongoing in this country since its founding. In her new book Whistleblowers: Honesty in America from Washington and Trump, political scientist Allison Stanger in an article by Jill Lepore in The New Yorker argues that Americans support whistleblowing in theory, but in practice they treat whistleblowers badly. They also tend not to like them. Her quote was, “Whistleblowers are by definition troublemakers. For that reason, they can be difficult people.” Is that really true? What does that mean? And so what do we make of Snowden’s book and the latest revelations about Trump, and why the power of the whistleblower can transform how we see ourselves and how we see power.

We talk with one of our most famous whistleblowers, Daniel Ellsberg, who brought truth to light when he released the Pentagon Papers in 1971, revealing secrets about the Vietnam War that changed the nature of that war and our time. Daniel Ellsberg, welcome. Good to have you with us.

DANIEL ELLSBERG: Good to be here. Thank you.

MARC STEINER: Let’s start with Snowden and what he had to say and the role he played. I know you two are close. He’s part of your foundation— chairman of the board I think, if I’m correct, as you said before we went on air. So talk a bit about where Snowden is now, this book and this period we seem to find ourselves in.

DANIEL ELLSBERG: Snowden is a hero of mine as well as a friend, as is Chelsea Manning is a hero. The person who is in the news right now is being a little cautious and playing by the rules in a way that neither Manning or Snowden nor I did. And the difference that makes so far is that his information hasn’t actually gotten out to the Congress or to the public. He or she went to the Inspector General, as the rules inside call on them to do with a complaint. And we notice that as of now, it’s really not out.

Now, if the information is as urgent and timely and compelling as the Inspector General apparently found it to be and as the leaker – or not yet a leaker, we’ll call a whistleblower feels, the time may come if there’s no other way to get the information out for them to give it directly to Congress or the press or the public. They haven’t done that yet, unlike Snowden, and Snowden’s information got out. We don’t yet know what this a whistleblower has to tell us. So the time will come, as I say, when they faced the exact challenge that Ed Snowden made very soberly at the beginning of your program. Is she or he willing to take a risk in their personal lives and their career, even possibly a risk of prison to get this information to the American people? And if it is as important as they seem to feel, then they should definitely face the possibility, I would say, of paying a very high personal cost to get it to the public.

MARC STEINER: And that’s the part we don’t always kind of understand completely, the personal costs of why people will step over that line. I’ve interviewed Chelsea Manning a number of times, and I’m clearly absolutely familiar with your work and Snowden’s work. But your work moved my generation in a very deep way back in the early ’70s. And so talk about crossing that line and what that means politically, and what that means for transforming how we view our own society.

DANIEL ELLSBERG: Nearly every whistleblower who’s by definition revealing some wrongdoing or dangerous practice by their own team, their agency, their department, their government, the executive branch to the public is doing something that their bosses don’t want to happen. That’s virtually by definition. Otherwise, they would have put it out themselves. And so they’ll take extreme steps to keep that information from getting out there and keep the whistleblower from succeeding in getting out, if that’s what they’re trying, and to punish them as an example to others. It’s not sheer revenge. It’s a question of deterring others from doing the same. So they can expect very strong efforts at retaliation, and laws passed by Congress supposedly to protect whistleblowers have not done so in the effect in the past. In fact, giving your information to a boss, your agency, or up through the channels, or to an inspector general has generally had the effect simply revealing your complaint to your bosses and allowing them to isolate you from further information, fire you, punish you, do various things. So it has not actually – very rarely has it actually protected the whistleblower from retaliation.

Now, probably the least dangerously of actually getting the information out is to go directly to the press, now the internet, perhaps Wikileaks, or just put it on the net as various people could have done, or go to the press. My outfit, the Freedom of Press Board, in which Ed Snowden is now the chairman, as he has promulgated enciphering cyber ability for people to get this in a coded form into newspapers. And a lot of newspapers use that now. But if you just go to the Inspector General, the situation in this current prospective whistleblower, an attempting whistleblower, has not yet succeeded in getting the information out.

They’re in somewhat of a bind now because having gone to the Inspector General with this complaint, there’s no chance for them to be anonymous. And if they then proceed to go to the press in frustration and getting ripped up because Inspector General knows who is trying to put this out. It could even be a, in some cases it has been, a mistake in this sense. A number of people in the National Security Agency, like Snowden was at one point, a number of them, Tom Drake, Bill Binney. Kurt Wevey, Ed Lewis made complaints to the Inspector General and also the Congress. Then, when somebody revealed the widespread surveillance of which they were aware but with which they had not leaked to the press, when someone did it, actually Thomas Tamm was one.

And then years later when Ed Snowden gave the actual – identifying himself, they immediately suspected Tom Drake and the others of having given this since they had made the complaint, and they actually hadn’t. So their careers were totally disrupted by the way they moved, which was within channels. They would have done better I could say practically speaking to have gone anonymously in the first instance to the press, and then we would have had their information years before Ed Snowden revealed it.

MARC STEINER: So you know, in many ways when you look at—A couple of quick questions here, when I was thinking about this. When you released the Pentagon Papers and then of course that led to Watergate and trying to get information on you to come after you. If these allegations are true, what Trump allegedly did, this was—

DANIEL ELLSBERG: We don’t have the content in detail yet at all. We only have speculation.

MARC STEINER: Exactly right. Well, suppose that speculation was real, what would that mean?

DANIEL ELLSBERG: Well, what has leaked out so far, and I’m not clear just what the basis for it is so far. Somebody must’ve been talking more than they were officially allowed to do, but it implies that the president was using the power of his office to hold a $250 million aid deal in bands and pressuring Zelensky of Ukraine to help investigate and smear Joe Biden and his son in preparation for the election. And clearly then, using his office and the powers of his office for his personal benefit of getting reelected.

Now, truthfully, that’s pretty much what presidents do all the time. In this particular case, there’s the unusual aspect to asking a foreign government to help in that. I would say the people who are treating this as if this is slightly unprecedented and unimaginable kind of thing are either ignorant of our history, which is quite possible, or being disingenuous because there’s no question Nixon, for example, did exactly the same as a candidate in 1968. Many others have done this in various ways.

That doesn’t make it legal or constitutional. It does mean in this case that he may have gotten caught thanks to somebody ringing the bell here or blowing the whistle. And they say whether we really learn enough to constitute this, to know enough to see this as an impeachable offense, it does look it’s going to depend on that whistleblower taking thee further risk, a real risk, of going directly to Congress or to the press. Well, there would be a real risk in doing that and it could be very much a risk worth taking.

MARC STEINER: So I’m curious as we kind of wind down here a little bit in our conversation that when you released the Pentagon Papers and were exonerated legally—

DANIEL ELLSBERG: No, I couldn’t be exonerated. My trial lead to a mistrial. It was then acquitted.

MARC STEINER: [crosstalk] That’s right. Right.

DANIEL ELLSBERG: Because of government criminality in trying to blackmail me from keeping other information. By the way, if whoever does know in the administration who the person is, the whistleblower—And I use that term a little cautiously here because so far, they haven’t really gone outside channels. They haven’t gone outside of their agency so far to bring that information public, and it hasn’t become public. So let’s just say it’s an attempted whistleblower here so far.


DANIEL ELLSBERG: Well, we can be sure that whoever knows that identity and connected with Trump White House, will be bringing extreme pressure to appear to keep them from further going further in revelations. I think, for example, Ed Snowden, if they could have found him, and he was in Hong Kong, well advisedly out of the country when the revelations came up. But If they could have identified him, found him before he actually identified himself and before it had all become public, he would have been in considerable danger of his life, I believe.

In fact, I can say that personally because Richard Nixon sent a dozen CIA assets, so-called, former Bay of Pigs veterans, Cuban Americans, to come up and incapacitate me totally on the steps of the Capitol. And the prosecutor, their prosecutor, was sure that meant to kill me. I’m not so sure he did mean to kill me. I think they wanted to shut me up and make sure I didn’t tell any further secrets on Nixon himself. So when I said at the time that they were looking for Snowden, that he was endanger of his life, some people thought I was off the wall on that. I had to say you’re looking at somebody who actually was in danger more than I knew at the time from the White House.

MARC STEINER: Yeah. This whole way we look at this thing in this society at large, it’s patriot-trader. Which one is it and who are you? And I think that it seems that it’s gotten, in the last 40 years, even more dangerous in some ways for people to become whistleblowers. People are really being prosecuted, put in prison for these things.

DANIEL ELLSBERG: [inaudible] the only person who was prosecuted for doing that under the Espionage Act. No one had ever been prosecuted under any law before for leaking to the American public. Now, I got used to headlines about me, interviews with me or profiles for whatever with the heading, “Patriot or Traitor.”


DANIEL ELLSBERG: “Trader or hero,” or whatever. And it was very dismaying to me to realize that there really were so many people in the country who imagined telling the truth to your fellow citizens can be treason. That’s not true under our Constitution. In fact, we fought a revolution in part to change the system in which criticizing a king was seditious libel or treason, and you could be drawn and quartered for it. Actually, remember, this country was founded by traders. Every single one of them liable to be hanged if they’d been caught after 1776 for signing the Declaration of Independence, and they discovered a different loyalty to a country where telling the truth is not treason.

MARC STEINER: And telling the truth and exposing the lies that may happen around us, I mean, if we look at the right way, it strengthens our democracy, and who we are and what our future might be.

DANIEL ELLSBERG: If you’re not able to do that, you don’t have a democracy. So it is democracy in action, the ability to criticize and to inform your fellow citizens what they need to know to be the sovereign public, to hold officials accountable. People say voting is the only remedy in this case, but what does voting mean if you don’t have the information on which to evaluate a candidate or compare them to someone else? It means it’s a disguised monarchy actually. We’re back to George III, and that the revolution was rescinded in effect. We have a president right now, I think, who doesn’t believe at all in the Constitution or what it meant to have a government different from that of Imperial Britain.

MARC STEINER: Well, I want to thank you for being you, Daniel Ellsberg and for Mr. Snowden and Chelsea Manning and the rest. I thank you for taking your time once again with The Real News. It’s always a pleasure to have you with us. I look forward to doing it again, I hope.


MARC STEINER: And I’m Marc Steiner here with The Real News Network. We’ll stay on top of this and keep whistleblowing out in front. Take care.


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Honesty is a troublemaker by rights. We have seen the raids on the ABC and other media by the Australian Federal Police as ways to cover governmental cock-ups, in the so-called "national interest". The "national interest" is like the secrecy of confession designed to cover child molesting priests. The pursuit of witness X and his lawyer in regard to the bugging of Timor Leste's government should have sent the political priests of the time, Downer and Howard, to jail, but instead the government is suing whistleblowers behind closed doors. The media should be up in arms with daily updates — even if there is nothing new, while constantly demanding the heads of Downer and Howard on a platter, and those fake priests of the present government who are hiding behind the "national interest" bullshit.


Meanwhile the Democrats will be happy to try to impeach Trump, by using the new whistleblower, but they are highly hypocritical about Assange, who in his own rights, had to release the emails of Hillary Clinton — which to tell the truth, had very little to do with her loosing the presidential election. She lost because of the tactical error of not courting the States colleges that went against her, for two main reasons and a host of others, including Rupert Murdoch was against her from the start and no-one wins with him as an adversary. As well, the evangelicals reluctantly made a pact to support Trump after all the other Republican candidates fell down like flies squashed on a window.