Tuesday 1st of December 2020

an angel in hell on earth...

angel

THE UNPRECEDENTED AND ILLEGAL CAMPAIGN TO ELIMINATE JULIAN ASSANGE


Assange would never receive a fair trial in the U.S., but he’s not receiving one in Britain either.


OVER THE 17 DAYS of Julian Assange’s extradition hearing in London, prosecutors succeeded in proving both crimes and conspiracy. The culprit, however, was not Assange. Instead, the lawbreakers and conspirators turned out to be the British and American governments. Witness after witness detailed illegal measures to violate Assange’s right to a fair trial, destroy his health, assassinate his character, and imprison him in solitary confinement for the rest of his life. Courtroom evidence exposed illegality on an unprecedented scale by America’s and Britain’s intelligence, military, police, and judicial agencies to eliminate Assange. The governments had the edge, like the white man of whom Malcolm X wrote, “He’s a professional gambler; he has all the cards and the odds stacked on his side, and he has always dealt to our people from the bottom of the deck.”

The deck was clearly stacked. Assange’s antagonists were marking the cards as early as February 2008, when the U.S. Army Counterintelligence Center set out, in its words, to “damage or destroy this center of gravity” that was WikiLeaks. WikiLeaks, from the time Assange and his friends created it in 2006, was attracting sources around the world to entrust them, securely and anonymously, with documents exposing state crimes. The audience for the documents was not a foreign intelligence service, but the public. In the governments’ view, the public needed protection from knowledge of what they were doing behind closed doors and in the skies of Afghanistan and Iraq. To plug the leaks, the governments had to stop Assange. The Pentagon, the CIA, the National Security Agency, and the State Department soon followed the Counterintelligence Center’s lead by establishing their own anti-Assange task forces and enlisting the aid of Britain, Sweden, and Ecuador.

 

What a ride it’s been. The first recorded “black op” against Assange occurred on September 27, 2010, when a suitcase containing three laptops, hard drives, and clothing vanished from the aircraft carrying him from Sweden to Germany. Efforts to retrieve his belongings, which included privileged communications with his legal counsel, elicited vague excuses from the airline that it knew nothing. The fate of the purloined items became public knowledge in 2013 when information from his laptops appeared in prosecution briefs against U.S. Army whistleblower Chelsea Manning. In 2011, FBI agents went to Iceland to employ an 18-year-old informant, Sigurdur “Siggi” Thordarson, to spy on WikiLeaks. When Iceland’s authorities discovered the FBI’s illegal activities, it deported the FBI agents. Thodarson, whom the FBI had paid $5,000 and flown around the world, later confessed to stealing money from WikiLeaks and was convicted for sexually abusing underage boys.

Surveillance, constant wherever Assange found himself, intensified when he took political asylum in Ecuador’s London Embassy in June 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden. He told me on one of my visits to him there that life in the embassy, with cameras and microphones everywhere, was like “The Truman Show.” The intelligence services observed his every movement and heard his every word. They spied on private discussions with his lawyers and his physicians. If a priest had visited the Catholic Assange, they would have violated the sanctity of the confessional.

Meanwhile, the NSA and Britain’s equivalent, GCHQ, tracked people who logged onto the WikiLeaks website. U.S. financial institutions attempted to cripple WikiLeaks financially by denying donors the use of credit cards and PayPal to support the organization. Assange’s legal counsel did not escape scrutiny. His Spanish lawyer, the famed former judge, Baltasar Garzón, who had prosecuted Chile’s Gen. Augusto Pinochet, was followed, and his computer was stolen from his office in late 2017. I had a curious experience in 2019, and I’m just a journalist. Two days after one of my meetings with Assange at the embassy, burglars broke into an office I shared with two designers in London. The only item missing was my computer, the thieves having left my office mates’ computers untouched. It’s impossible to prove who did it, but it’s not impossible to guess.

 

Read more:

https://theintercept.com/2020/10/06/julian-assange-trial-extradition/

 

Her Majesty's Prison Belmarsh may as well be called HELLMARSH...

 

the violation has been worse since then...


If the Nuremberg Laws were Applied…



Noam Chomsky

 


Delivered around 1990


If the Nuremberg laws were applied, then every post-war American president would have been hanged. By violation of the Nuremberg laws I mean the same kind of crimes for which people were hanged in Nuremberg. And Nuremberg means Nuremberg and Tokyo. So first of all you’ve got to think back as to what people were hanged for at Nuremberg and Tokyo. And once you think back, the question doesn’t even require a moment’s waste of time. For example, one general at the Tokyo trials, which were the worst, General Yamashita, was hanged on the grounds that troops in the Philippines, which were technically under his command (though it was so late in the war that he had no contact with them — it was the very end of the war and there were some troops running around the Philippines who he had no contact with), had carried out atrocities, so he was hanged. Well, try that one out and you’ve already wiped out everybody.

But getting closer to the sort of core of the Nuremberg-Tokyo tribunals, in Truman’s case at the Tokyo tribunal, there was one authentic, independent Asian justice, an Indian, who was also the one person in the court who had any background in international law [Radhabinod Pal], and he dissented from the whole judgment, dissented from the whole thing. He wrote a very interesting and important dissent, seven hundred pages — you can find it in the Harvard Law Library, that’s where I found it, maybe somewhere else, and it’s interesting reading. He goes through the trial record and shows, I think pretty convincingly, it was pretty farcical. He ends up by saying something like this: if there is any crime in the Pacific theater that compares with the crimes of the Nazis, for which they’re being hanged at Nuremberg, it was the dropping of the two atom bombs. And he says nothing of that sort can be attributed to the present accused. Well, that’s a plausible argument, I think, if you look at the background. Truman proceeded to organize a major counter-insurgency campaign in Greece which killed off about one hundred and sixty thousand people, sixty thousand refugees, another sixty thousand or so people tortured, political system dismantled, right-wing regime. American corporations came in and took it over. I think that’s a crime under Nuremberg.

Well, what about Eisenhower? You could argue over whether his overthrow of the government of Guatemala was a crime. There was a CIA-backed army, which went in under U.S. threats and bombing and so on to undermine that capitalist democracy. I think that’s a crime. The invasion of Lebanon in 1958, I don’t know, you could argue. A lot of people were killed. The overthrow of the government of Iran is another one — through a CIA-backed coup. But Guatemala suffices for Eisenhower and there’s plenty more.

Kennedy is easy. The invasion of Cuba was outright aggression. Eisenhower planned it, incidentally, so he was involved in a conspiracy to invade another country, which we can add to his score. After the invasion of Cuba, Kennedy launched a huge terrorist campaign against Cuba, which was very serious. No joke. Bombardment of industrial installations with killing of plenty of people, bombing hotels, sinking fishing boats, sabotage. Later, under Nixon, it even went as far as poisoning livestock and so on. Big affair. And then came Vietnam; he invaded Vietnam. He invaded South Vietnam in 1962. He sent the U.S. Air Force to start bombing. Okay. We took care of Kennedy.

Johnson is trivial. The Indochina war alone, forget the invasion of the Dominican Republic, was a major war crime.

Nixon the same. Nixon invaded Cambodia. The Nixon-Kissinger bombing of Cambodia in the early ’70’s was not all that different from the Khmer Rouge atrocities, in scale somewhat less, but not much less. Same was true in Laos. I could go on case after case with them, that’s easy.

Ford was only there for a very short time so he didn’t have time for a lot of crimes, but he managed one major one. He supported the Indonesian invasion of East Timor, which was near genocidal. I mean, it makes Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait look like a tea party. That was supported decisively by the United States, both the diplmatic and the necessary military support came primarily from the United States. This was picked up under Carter.

Carter was the least violent of American presidents but he did things which I think would certainly fall under Nuremberg provisions. As the Indonesian atrocities increased to a level of really near-genocide, the U.S. aid under Carter increased. It reached a peak in 1978 as the atrocities peaked. So we took care of Carter, even forgetting other things.

Reagan. It’s not a question. I mean, the stuff in Central America alone suffices. Support for the Israeli invasion of Lebanon also makes Saddam Hussein look pretty mild in terms of casualties and destruction. That suffices.

Bush. Well, need we talk on? In fact, in the Reagan period there’s even an International Court of Justice decision on what they call the “unlawful use of force” for which Reagan and Bush were condemned. I mean, you could argue about some of these people, but I think you could make a pretty strong case if you look at the Nuremberg decisions, Nuremberg and Tokyo, and you ask what people were condemned for. I think American presidents are well within the range.

Also, bear in mind, people ought to be pretty critical about the Nuremberg principles. I don’t mean to suggest they’re some kind of model of probity or anything. For one thing, they were ex post facto. These were determined to be crimes by the victors after they had won. Now, that already raises questions. In the case of the American presidents, they weren’t ex post facto. Furthermore, you have to ask yourself what was called a “war crime”? How did they decide what was a war crime at Nuremberg and Tokyo? And the answer is pretty simple. and not very pleasant. There was a criterion. Kind of like an operational criterion. If the enemy had done it and couldn’t show that we had done it, then it was a war crime. So like bombing of urban concentrations was not considered a war crime because we had done more of it than the Germans and the Japanese. So that wasn’t a war crime. You want to turn Tokyo into rubble? So much rubble you can’t even drop an atom bomb there because nobody will see anything if you do, which is the real reason they didn’t bomb Tokyo. That’s not a war crime because we did it. Bombing Dresden is not a war crime. We did it. German Admiral Gernetz — when he was brought to trial (he was a submarine commander or something) for sinking merchant vessels or whatever he did — he called as a defense witness American Admiral Nimitz who testified that the U.S. had done pretty much the same thing, so he was off, he didn’t get tried. And in fact if you run through the whole record, it turns out a war crime is any war crime that you can condemn them for but they can’t condemn us for. Well, you know, that raises some questions.

I should say, actually, that this, interestingly, is said pretty openly by the people involved and it’s regarded as a moral position. The chief prosecutor at Nuremberg was Telford Taylor. You know, a decent man. He wrote a book called Nuremberg and Vietnam. And in it he tries to consider whether there are crimes in Vietnam that fall under the Nuremberg principles. Predictably, he says not. But it’s interesting to see how he spells out the Nuremberg principles.

They’re just the way I said. In fact, I’m taking it from him, but he doesn’t regard that as a criticism. He says, well, that’s the way we did it, and should have done it that way. There’s an article on this in The Yale Law Journal [“Review Symposium: War Crimes, the Rule of Force in International Affairs,” The Yale Law Journal, Vol. 80, #7, June 1971] which is reprinted in a book [Chapter 3 of Chomsky’s For Reasons of State (Pantheon, 1973)] if you’re interested.

I think one ought to raise many questions about the Nuremberg tribunal, and especially the Tokyo tribunal. The Tokyo tribunal was in many ways farcical. The people condemned at Tokyo had done things for which plenty of people on the other side could be condemned. Furthermore, just as in the case of Saddam Hussein, many of their worst atrocities the U.S. didn’t care about. Like some of the worst atrocities of the Japanese were in the late ’30s, but the U.S. didn’t especially care about that. What the U.S. cared about was that Japan was moving to close off the China market. That was no good. But not the slaughter of a couple of hundred thousand people or whatever they did in Nanking. That’s not a big deal.

 

Read more:

https://chomsky.info/1990____-2/

 

The list could go on with Bill Clinton, Bush Junior, Obama, and suddenly there is far less of this shit with Trump... But "Trump has got to go"...

of secret and top-secret information that we should know...

 

Journalists Are All Julian Assange


By Robert Parry


Special to Consortium News


First published Dec. 16, 2010.

 

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Gus note:

 

Unfortunately, amongst journalists there are some sociopaths and some who are not devoted to the truth — or are too respectuous of their masters and publishers. Ergo sum, the present MSM silence on evidence that is HIGHLY damning of Joe and Hunter Biden which has only been picked up as far as Gus knows by https://www.les-crises.fr. As well the pseudo-silence of The Guardian on the Assange case is deafening with a zero point five decibel. But we can hope for better journalism like that of Robert Parry.

 

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Whatever the unusual aspects of the case, the Obama administration’s reported plan to indict WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange for conspiring with Army Pvt. Bradley Manning to obtain U.S. secrets strikes at the heart of investigative journalism on national security scandals.


That’s because the process for reporters obtaining classified information about crimes of state most often involves a journalist persuading some government official to break the law either by turning over classified documents or at least by talking about the secret information. There is almost always some level of “conspiracy” between reporter and source.


Contrary to what some outsiders might believe, it’s actually quite uncommon for sensitive material to simply arrive “over the transom” unsolicited. Indeed, during three decades of reporting on these kinds of stories, I can only recall a few secret documents arriving that way to me.


In most cases, I played some role – either large or small – in locating the classified information or convincing some government official to divulge some secrets. More often than not, I was the instigator of these “conspiracies.”


My “co-conspirators” typically were well-meaning government officials who were aware of some wrongdoing committed under the cloak of national security, but they were never eager to put their careers at risk by talking about these offenses. I usually had to persuade them, whether by appealing to their consciences or by constructing some reasonable justification for them to help.


Other times, I was sneaky in liberating some newsworthy classified information from government control. Indeed, in 1995, Consortiumnews.com was started as a way to publish secret and top-secret information that I had discovered in the files of a closed congressional inquiry during the chaotic period between the Republicans winning the 1994 elections and their actual takeover of Congress in early 1995.


In December 1994, I asked for and was granted access to supposedly unclassified records left behind by a task force that had looked into allegations that Ronald Reagan’s campaign had sabotaged President Jimmy Carter’s hostage negotiations with Iran in 1980.


To my surprise, I discovered that the investigators, apparently in their haste to wrap up their work, had failed to purge the files of all classified material. So, while my “minder” wasn’t paying attention to me, I ran some of the classified material through a copier and left with it in a folder. I later wrote articles about these documents and posted some on the Internet.


Such behavior – whether cajoling a nervous government official to expose a secret or exploiting some unauthorized access to classified material – is part of what an investigative journalist does in covering national security abuses. The traditional rule of thumb has been that it’s the government’s job to hide the secrets and a reporter’s job to uncover them. 



“The process for reporters obtaining classified information about crimes of state most often involves a journalist persuading some government official to break the law either by turning over classified documents or at least by talking about the secret information. There is almost always some level of ‘conspiracy’ between reporter and source.”

 

 

In the aftermath of significant leaks, the government often tries to convince news executives to spike or water down the stories “for the good of the country.” But it is the news organization’s ultimate decision whether to comply or to publish.

 

Historically, most of these leaks have caused the government some short-term embarrassment (although usually accompanied by exaggerated howls of protests). In the long run, however, the public has been served by knowing about some government abuse. Reforms often follow as they did during the Iran-Contra scandal that I was involved in exposing in the 1980s.

 


A Nixon Precedent


Yet, in the WikiLeaks case – instead of simply complaining and moving on – the Obama administration appears to be heading in a direction not seen since the Nixon administration sought to block the publication of the Pentagon Papers secret history of the Vietnam War in 1971.


In doing so, the Obama administration, which came to power vowing a new era of openness, is contemplating a novel strategy for criminalizing traditional journalistic practices, while trying to assure major U.S. news outlets that they won’t be swept up in the Assange-Manning dragnet.


The New York Times reported on Thursday [2010] that federal prosecutors were reviewing the possibility of indicting Assange on conspiracy charges for allegedly encouraging or assisting Manning in extracting “classified military and State Department files from a government computer system.”


The Times article by Charlie Savage notes that if prosecutors determine that Assange provided some help in the process, “they believe they could charge him as a conspirator in the leak, not just as a passive recipient of the documents who then published them.


“Among materials prosecutors are studying is an online chat log in which Private Manning is said to claim that he had been directly communicating with Mr. Assange using an encrypted Internet conferencing service as the soldier was downloading government files. Private Manning is also said to have claimed that Mr. Assange gave him access to a dedicated server for uploading some of them to WikiLeaks. 


“Adrian Lamo, an ex-hacker in whom Private Manning confided and who eventually turned him in, said Private Manning detailed those interactions in instant-message conversations with him. He said the special server’s purpose was to allow Private Manning’s submissions to ‘be bumped to the top of the queue for review.’ By Mr. Lamo’s account, Private Manning bragged about this ‘as evidence of his status as the high-profile source for WikiLeaks.’” 


Though some elements of this suspected Assange-Manning collaboration may be technically unique because of the Internet’s role – and that may be a relief to more traditional news organizations like the Times, which has published some of the WikiLeaks documents – the underlying reality is that what WikiLeaks has done is essentially “the same wine” of investigative journalism in “a new bottle” of the Internet.

 


“In most cases, I played some role – either large or small – in locating the classified information or convincing some government official to divulge some secrets. More often than not, I was the instigator of these “conspiracies.”

 

 

By shunning WikiLeaks as some deviant journalistic hybrid, mainstream U.S. news outlets may breathe easier now but may find themselves caught up in a new legal precedent that could be applied to them later.


As for the Obama administration, its sudden aggressiveness in divining new “crimes” in the publication of truthful information is especially stunning when contrasted with its “see no evil” approach toward openly acknowledged crimes committed by President George W. Bush and his subordinates, including major offenses such as torture, kidnapping and aggressive war.

 


Holder’s Move


The possibility of an indictment of Assange no longer seems to me like rampant paranoia. Initially, I didn’t believe that the Obama administration was serious in stretching the law to find ways to prosecute Assange and to shut down WikiLeaks. 

But then there was the pressure on WikiLeaks’ vendors such as Amazon.com and PayPal along with threats from prominent U.S. political figures, spouting rhetoric about Assange as a “terrorist” comparable to Osama bin Laden and a worthy target of assassination.


Normally, when people engage in such talk of violence, they are the ones who attract the attention of police and prosecutors. In this case, however, the Obama administration appears to be bowing to those who talk loosely about murdering a truth-teller.


Attorney General Eric Holder announced last week that he has taken “significant” steps in the investigation, a possible reference to what an Assange lawyer said he had learned from Swedish authorities about a secret grand jury meeting in Northern Virginia.


The Times reported, “Justice Department officials have declined to discuss any grand jury activity. But in interviews, people familiar with the case said the department appeared to be attracted to the possibility of prosecuting Mr. Assange as a co-conspirator to the leaking because it is under intense pressure to make an example of him as a deterrent to further mass leaking of electronic documents over the Internet. 

 


“By shunning WikiLeaks as some deviant journalistic hybrid, mainstream U.S. news outlets may breathe easier now but may find themselves caught up in a new legal precedent that could be applied to them later.”

 

 

“By bringing a case against Mr. Assange as a conspirator to Private Manning’s leak, the government would not have to confront awkward questions about why it is not also prosecuting traditional news organizations or investigative journalists who also disclose information the government says should be kept secret — including The New York Times, which also published some documents originally obtained by WikiLeaks.”

 

In other words, the Obama administration appears to be singling out Assange as an outlier in the journalistic community who is already regarded as something of a pariah. In that way, mainstream media personalities can be invited to join in his persecution without thinking that they might be next.

 

Though American journalists may understandably want to find some protective cover by pretending that Julian Assange is not like us, the reality is – whether we like it or not – we are all Julian Assange.

 

 

Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories in the 1980s for the Associated Press and Newsweek. He founded Consortium News in 1995. 

 

 

 

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