Saturday 20th of April 2019

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by Gus Leonisky on Mon, 2019-04-15 10:08

Do you know the Swedish Chief Prosecutor initially handling the allegations of rape against Julian Assange found no case to answer? Are you aware she was succeeded by Marianne Ny, who has pursued a legally dubious course? Have you read Assange’s detailed statement?

Yesterday’s Guardian ran with Failure to extradite Assange to Sweden would endorse ‘rape culture’, say women’s groups. Four paragraphs in, it says:

 

Sarah Green, co-director of End Violence Against Women, an alliance of more than 80 organisations, said Assange’s portrayal as a victim was an affront to rape survivors.

“He’s always benefited from his cult hero status, painting himself as a victim and being very righteous. Yet this is about rape, it’s what he is accused of. It’s extremely serious.”

 

This is about rape? Really? Here’s me thinking the pretext for his arrest a technicality on bail, with the unsealed extradition request from Virginia speaking of conspiring to crack a password; end of.

Should Assange be extradited there’s no knowing, of course, what other charges may be added, including capital ones whose inclusion at this stage would debar extradition under UK law. But Green shows no concern and that, I fear, is of a piece with the recklessness with which, as Eric London argued, presumption of innocence is ditched by ‘progressives’ when sexual misconduct is alleged.

But insofar as that adjective can ever apply to rape, London is speaking of ‘normal’ cases. Since Assange’s could not be further from anything passing for normality, the recklessness I speak of rises exponentially. Given what Assange has told us, all of it falsifiable and none of it falsified, of the criminality of our rulers; given even what we knew before Wikileaks of their capacity to lie in circumstances less conducive, it takes myopia and blind faith to new and dizzying heights to insist that this is about rape.

No, Ms Green, with all due respect it is not, and that holds even in the unlikely event of Assange being convicted, through fair trial in a truly independent court, of that very serious crime.

In a 2012 piece, We are Women Against Rape but do not want Julian Assange extradited, Katrina Axelsson and Lisa Longstaff offer a reading that should have leapt out at anyone the moment the allegations, still repeatedly misrepresented as ‘charges’, saw light of day:

 

When Julian Assange was first arrested, we were struck by the unusual zeal with which he was being pursued for rape allegations.

It seems even clearer now, that the allegations against him are a smokescreen behind which a number of governments are trying to clamp down on WikiLeaks for having audaciously revealed to the public their secret planning of wars and occupations with their attendant rape, murder and destruction.

 

Quite. And if like me you say rape is a deadly serious matter, don’t you owe it yourself, Assange and his alleged victims to spend a little time reading what the man himself is saying? In 2016 he made a lengthy statement, not to my knowledge published in any corporate media – least of all a Guardian which, having gained handsomely from a book for which Assange received nothing, has led an odious narrative of vilification – but posted on Document Cloud and beginning thus:

 

You have subjected me to six years of unlawful, politicized detention without charge in prison, under house arrest and four and a half years at this embassy. You should have asked me this question six years ago. Your actions in refusing to take my statement for the last six years have been found to be unlawful by the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention and by the Swedish Court of Appeal. You have been found to have subjected me to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment. You have denied me effective legal representation in this process. Despite this, I feel compelled to cooperate even though you are not safeguarding my rights.

 

The full statement can be downloaded in PDF form here. It took me the best part of an hour to read but that won’t put you off, I’m sure. Didn’t I hear you telling me rape is serious?

 

Read more:

https://off-guardian.org/2019/04/15/in-his-own-words-assanges-statement/

by Gus Leonisky on Mon, 2019-04-15 09:58

In his recent comments on the pervasive impact of social media, Bob Iger brought up the most well-known dictator of all time, noting that Adolf Hitler would have appreciated it as an effective propaganda platform.

Disney CEO Bob Iger has denounced social networks while speaking at a dinner at the Simon Wiesenthal Centre, where he was presented with its 2019 Humanitarian Award. 

"Hitler would have loved social media", Bob Iger said at Wednesday's event, as quoted by Variety

"It's the most powerful marketing tool an extremist could ever hope for because by design social media reflects a narrow world view filtering out anything that challenges our beliefs while constantly validating our convictions and amplifying our deepest fears", he explicitly stated.

Iger’s scornful remarks follow outrage from lawmakers around the world, who blasted Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for being megaphones for radicals, with representatives from tech giants having been called to testify in front US Congress about how white supremacist sentiment spreads on their platforms.

 

Read more:

https://sputniknews.com/science/201904141074126524-disney-ceo-twitter-hitler-social-media/

.......

Me believe that Hitler would have shut the damn thing down because it would have mostly run against him. Hence the efforts by the lawmakers to trim the internet freedom.

Meanwhile we are told that the US lawmakers are too dumb to understand Trump's tax returns which are still secret.

https://sputniknews.com/business/201904141074126969-wh-says-lawmakers-not-smart/

 

See image at top.

by Gus Leonisky on Sun, 2019-04-14 17:11

Transcript

 

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now! I’m Amy Goodman in Boston, as we sit down with Noam Chomsky for a public conversation. I asked him about the arrest of Julian Assange.

NOAM CHOMSKY: Well, the Assange arrest is scandalous in several respects. One of them is just the effort of governments—and it’s not just the U.S. government. The British are cooperating. Ecuador, of course, is now cooperating. Sweden, before, had cooperated. The efforts to silence a journalist who was producing materials that people in power didn’t want the rascal multitude to know about—OK?—that’s basically what happened. WikiLeaks was producing things that people ought to know about those in power. People in power don’t like that, so therefore we have to silence it. OK? This is the kind of thing, the kind of scandal, that takes place, unfortunately, over and over.

To take another example, right next door to Ecuador, in Brazil, where the developments that have gone on are extremely important. This is the most important country in Latin America, one of the most important in the world. Under the Lula government early in this millennium, Brazil was the most—maybe the most respected country in the world. It was the voice for the Global South under the leadership of Lula da Silva. Notice what happened. There was a coup, soft coup, to eliminate the nefarious effects of the labor party, the Workers’ Party. These are described by the World Bank—not me, the World Bank—as the “golden decade” in Brazil’s history, with radical reduction of poverty, a massive extension of inclusion of marginalized populations, large parts of the population—Afro-Brazilian, indigenous—who were brought into the society, a sense of dignity and hope for the population. That couldn’t be tolerated.

After Lula’s—after he left office, a kind of a “soft coup” take place—I won’t go through the details, but the last move, last September, was to take Lula da Silva, the leading, the most popular figure in Brazil, who was almost certain to win the forthcoming election, put him in jail, solitary confinement, essentially a death sentence, 25 years in jail, banned from reading press or books, and, crucially, barred from making a public statement—unlike mass murderers on death row. This, in order to silence the person who was likely to win the election. He’s the most important political prisoner in the world. Do you hear anything about it?

Well, Assange is a similar case: We’ve got to silence this voice. You go back to history. Some of you may recall when Mussolini’s fascist government put Antonio Gramsci in jail. The prosecutor said, “We have to silence this voice for 20 years. Can’t let it speak.” That’s Assange. That’s Lula. There are other cases. That’s one scandal.

The other scandal is just the extraterritorial reach of the United States, which is shocking. I mean, why should the United States—why should any—no other state could possibly do it. But why should the United States have the power to control what others are doing elsewhere in the world? I mean, it’s an outlandish situation. It goes on all the time. We never even notice it. At least there’s no comment on it.

Like, take the trade agreements with China. OK? What are the trade agreements about? They’re an effort to prevent China’s economic development. It’s exactly what they are. Now, China has a development model. The Trump administration doesn’t like it. So, therefore, let’s undermine it. Ask yourself: What would happen if China did not observe the rules that the United States is trying to impose? China, for example, when Boeing or Microsoft, some other major company, invests in China, China wants to have some control over the nature of the investment. They want some degree of technology transfer. They should gain something from the technology. Is there something wrong with that? That’s how the United States developed, stealing—what we call stealing—technology from England. It’s how England developed, taking technology from more advanced countries—India, the Low Countries, even Ireland. That’s how every developed country has reached the stage of advanced development. If Boeing and Microsoft don’t like those arrangements, they don’t have to invest in China. Nobody has a gun to their heads. If anybody really believed in capitalism, they should be free to make any arrangement they want with China. If it involves technology transfer, OK. The United States wants to block that, so China can’t develop.

Take what are called intellectual property rights, exorbitant patent rights for medicines, for Windows, for example. Microsoft has a monopoly on operating systems, through the World Trade Organization. Suppose China didn’t observe these. Who would benefit, and who would lose? Well, the fact of the matter is that consumers in the United States would benefit. It would mean that you’d get cheaper medicines. It would mean that when you get a computer, that you wouldn’t be stuck with Windows. You could get a better operating system. Bill Gates would have a little less money. The pharmaceutical corporations wouldn’t be as super-rich as they are, a little less rich. But the consumers would benefit. Is there something wrong with that? Is there a problem with that?

Well, you might ask yourself: What lies behind all of these discussions and negotiations? This is true across the board. Almost any issue you pick, you can ask yourself: Why is this accepted? So, in this case, why is it acceptable for the United States to have the power to even begin to give even a proposal to extradite somebody whose crime is to expose to the public materials that people in power don’t want them to see? That’s basically what’s happening.

by Gus Leonisky on Sun, 2019-04-14 17:08




Translation by Jules Letambour

COMMENTS BY GUS LEONISKY


Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, was arrested on Thursday, April 11, by British police in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, where he had been a refugee for nearly seven years. There are two reasons for this arrest: in 2012, he was released on parole (he faces a year in prison in the United Kingdom), and he was targeted by a US extradition request for helping a military analyst obtain confidential government documents. (he faces five years in prison in the United States).


IF THE WERE LEGIT “CHARGES”, ASSANGE WOULD HAVE TAKEN THE PRISON TERMS. BUT HE WOULD HAVE HAD TO KNOW THAT THIS WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN THE END OF IT. THERE IS A 90 PER CENT CHANCE THAT HE HAS BEEN SET UP IN SWEDEN WITH A “RAPE” CASE IN ORDER TO EXTRADITE HIM TO THE USA, AFTER THE CASE.



Before talking about the fate of "whistleblowers" in the fight against state secrets, we must clarify two obvious facts. First, Julian Assange is a litigant like the others.


HERE THE LITIGATION IS UNCLEAR. THE USA NEVER MADE IT CLEAR WHAT THEY WOULD CHARGE HIM WITH, AND EVEN DENIED THAT THERE WERE INDICTMENTS AGAINST HIM. THE SWEDES DROPPED THE CHARGES, SO THE ONLY OUTSTANDING “REAL” LITIGATION IS JUMPING BAIL — WHICH HE DID TO PROTECT HIS FUTURE. 


His involvement with the police started because he refused to go to a Swedish police summons who wanted to hear him after the complaints of two women for sexual assault, on the whimsical motive, at the time, he feared that Sweden would deliver it to the CIA. He was wrong to refuse to explain these serious accusations.


ASSANGE MADE ALL EFFORTS POSSIBLE FOR THE SWEDES TO COME TO LONDON SO HE COULD FACE THE SWEDISH LAW THERE. THIS WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN THE FIRST TIME THAT SUCH ARRANGEMENT WOULD HAVE BEEN MADE. HE DID NOT WANT TO GO TO SWEDEN BECAUSE HE KNEW THAT SWEDEN WOULD DELIVER HIM TO THE USA. THIS WAS NOT A WHIMSICAL MOTIVE


Second, Julian Assange is not a friend of human rights. When, in 2010, he approached five newspapers, including Le Monde, to explore the content of US military and diplomatic documents, the agreement was clear: WikiLeaks had to accept the ethics policy of these five media, including source protection. Published documents were expurgated from the sensitive identities of people living in totalitarian countries and potentially endangered. The following year, Mr. Assange went back on his word and published the documents, without filter, in their entirety. Le Monde has denounced this process; other media, on the other hand, continued to support it. The reality is that today he left the world of human rights defenders to join the absolutists of transparency, making, by the way, a gift to the worst security services on the planet.


THE QUESTION IS NOT ABOUT “HUMAN RIGHTS” PER SE, BUT ABOUT THE DIRTY SECRETS ABOUT BLACK OPS THAT GOVERNMENTS, ESPECIALLY THE USA, IN THE WEST ARE INVOLVE IN.


THAT HE BREACHED THE AGREEMENT MADE WITH THE MEDIA HAS BEEN THE MOST OVERPLAYED RECORD BY THE MASS MEDIA WHICH BENEFITED FROM ASSANGE INFORMATION RELEASE (INCLUDING LE MONDE AND THE GUARDIAN). 


THESE MEDIA WERE PRESSURED BY THE USA TO LIMIT THE EXTEND OF THE INFORMATION THEY WOULD RELEASE IN ORDER — NOT TO PROTECT THE US ACTIVITIES OR THEIR ARMY AND PERSONEL DOING DIRTY OPS ON THE GROUND — BUT TO PROTECT THE REAL INTENT OF THE USA, INCLUDING FULL DESTABILISATION OF THE MIDDLE EAST BY USING THE WAHHABIS AND THE SAUDIS (and actually being in the process of creating ISIS, as a force against the Shia of Iraq, Iran and Syria). SO THE WESTERN MEDIA HID FAR MORE INFORMATION THAT HAD BEEN AGREED IN THE DEAL WITH WIKILEAKS


What happened next with Julian Assange is complex, but it shows a guideline: the anti-American activist attacks the secrets of democratic countries, and rarely to those of totalitarian countries. 


THIS IS BULLSHIT. IF YOU GO TO WIKILEAKS SITE YOU WILL SEE SOME DUMPS ABOUT RUSSIA, AS DAMNING AS THE DUMPS ABOUT THE USA.


He worked for Russia Today, the pro-Putin television funded by the Kremlin. And he used WikiLeaks, during the 2016 US presidential campaign, as a distributor of documents stolen by Russian secret services from the Democratic Party and his candidate, Hillary Clinton, with the aim of discrediting it. He did, like Moscow, helped Donald Trump win the election.


THIS IS BULLSHIT. THE WIKILEAKS INFORMATION WAS RELEASED FIRST IN THE WESTERN MEDIA. HE ONLY “WENT TO RT" BECAUSE HE KNEW HE COULD NOT TRUST THE WESTERN MEDIA AFTER THEY DID NOT PUBLISH AS PROMISED. AS WELL, ASSANGE WAS INTERVIEWED MANY TIMES ON US MEDIA SUCH AS DEMOCRACYNOW!


IN REGARD TO PUBLISHING “DNC AND HILLARY DOCUMENT STOLEN BY THE RUSSIANS” THIS IS UTTER BULLSHIT.


IF THIS WERE THE CASE, THE MUELLER INQUIRY WOULD HAVE FOUND SO WITH ALL THE INVESTIGATORS OF THE FBI AND THEIR VERY ATUNE INVESTIGATIVE LAWYERS. 


THERE IS 99 % CHANCES THAT THE INFORMATION ABOUT HILLARY CLINTON CAME FROM DISAFFECTED DNC MEMBERS AS THEY KNEW WHAT THE DNC WAS DOING TO BERNIE. AND THIS IS WHAT THE US DOES NOT WANT YOU TO KNOW. THE “INSURANCE” THAT WIKILEAKS MAY HAVE, WOULD CONCERN THE REAL SOURCES — WHICH WOULD AMERICANS RATHER THAN RUSSIANS.


PLEASE NOTE THAT THE PERSON WHO REALLY HELPED TRUMP ACROSS THE LINE IS ANOTHER AUSTRALIAN, RUPERT MURDOCH — A MAN ALWAYS LEFT OUT OF THE EQUATION BY THE DEMOCRATS (they don’t want to “upset him” too much).


The problem, with the US charge, is that it aims to avenge the disclosure of documents in 2010, while this was a matter of public interest disclosure. The Obama administration had refused to take that step, as its lawyers saw it as an infringement of the first amendment to the constitution, guaranteeing freedom of expression. This is not what the Trump administration has done.


THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION WILL TRY TO HIDE THE TRUE ORIGIN OF THE SOURCES AS THIS COULD BE DAMNING FOR IT AS WELL. IN THE SAME WAY THAT BIN LADEN, ONCE SUPPORTED BY THE AMERICANS, WAS MURDERED IN PAKISTAN, THE USA WANT TO ELIMINATE WIKILEAKS THROUGH ASSANGE.


In addition to Assange's bet on Mr. Trump to alleviate the judicial threats against him proved unnecessary, the background of the case worried the defenders of freedom of expression. The charge is for the moment limited to having helped his source, the military analyst Bradley Manning - become Chelsea during his detention - to have hacked a computer of the government: it is thus Assange the hacker who would be aimed, and that already raises questions. 


THIS IS A MADE UP CHARGE TO CIRCUMVENT THE 5TH AMENDMENT.

But if the charge were to be extended to publishing information of public interest, then it would be the freedom to inform that would become the target. It would not be acceptable.


CHARGING ASSANGE WITH ANYTHING ABOUT WIKILEAKS IS UNACCEPTABLE. THE CHARGES BEING REVIVED IN SWEDEN SHOULD BE DELT IN LONDON. PRESENTLY THERE ARE SOME NASTY PEOPLE WHO WANT ASSANGE TO BE SENT TO SWEDEN TO ANSWER CHARGES BECAUSE THE ENGLISH LAW FORBIDS EXTRADITION OF PEOPLE ON “POLITICAL GROUNDS”. BUT SWEDEN DOES NOT HAVE SUCH QUALMS. THAT WOULD BE A CONVENIENT WAY FOR THE UK NOT TO BREAK ITS OWN LAWS. 


THIS LE MONDE EDITORIAL IS ATROCIOUSLY SELF-SERVING AND WRONG.
by Gus Leonisky on Sun, 2019-04-14 15:42

The arrest of the WikiLeaks co-founder, Julian Assange, has re-ignited speculation around the so-called "insurance" – large encrypted files, uploaded by the website. What they are and when they will get opened is still not known.


Assange's seven-year exile ended on Thursday, when the Metropolitan Police dragged the publisher out of the Ecuadorian embassy in London. While his fate is in limbo, even more uncertainty surrounds the WikiLeaks "insurance" files – believed by some to be the website's "dead man's switch" option: a massive encrypted data dump whose decryption keys will be revealed in case Assange gets arrested or killed, or WikiLeaks gets taken down for good.

Now that Assange is in custody, speculation has swirled that the keys are about to be made public – but nothing has happened so far.

The very first file of this type appeared back in July 2010 on the Afghan War Diary page. The encrypted file is strikingly large – larger than all the previous entries of the diary combined.

"If anything happens to Assange or the website, a key will go out to unlock the files. There would then be no way to stop the information from spreading like wildfire because so many people already have copies," CBS correspondent Declan McCullagh said back then.

READ MORE: Ecuadorian police mistook Swedish tech geek ‘linked to Assange’ for Russian – lawyers

Since 2010, WikiLeaks dropped a whole batch of similar "insurance" files – and none of them have been cracked open. In 2010, there were speculations that one of the files was unlocked, yet WikiLeaks said the rumors were not true. 

Emergence of certain "insurance" files have preceded major data dumps by WikiLeaks, which means they might have contained full info of the upcoming release – just in case.

The large size of the files, however, still fuels speculations that there might be more incriminating information in them – or possibly junk data added specifically to the bolster size.

 

Read more:

https://www.rt.com/news/456441-insurance-files-assange-wikileaks/

 

 

by Gus Leonisky on Sun, 2019-04-14 14:12

It’s enough to bring tears to voters’ eyes.

Four years after Tony Abbott munched on a raw onion, resources minister Matthew Canavan has followed suit.

The Queensland senator posted footage of himself eating a brown onion with the skin still on during a visit to a Brisbane market on Sunday morning.

“Maybe [Tony Abbott] is on to something here,” he tweeted.

“Well I’ve never done this before, but I have been interested in what it tastes like,” Canavan said in the video

“Yeah it’s not as bad as I thought. [laughs] Maybe it will take off.”

Canavan is part of the coalition’s junior partner the National Party, which traditionally does not get much attention during election campaigns.

 

Read more:

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2019/apr/14/matthew-canavan-emulates-tony-abbott-with-raw-onion-munch

by Gus Leonisky on Sun, 2019-04-14 12:37

MARC STEINER: Welcome to The Real News Network. I’m Marc Steiner. Great to have you with us once again.

As we all know by now, Julian Assange was kicked out of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London and then arrested, and has been indicted by the U.S. government for allegedly helping Chelsea Manning to crack a password code on a Defense Department computer to unearth restricted classified documents. That took place in 2010.

As Assange was being hauled out of the Ecuadorian Embassy he was holding in his hand a book, a copy of Gore Vidal’s History of the National Security State. That’s a collection of interviews he did with Paul Jay, CEO and editor-in-chief here at The Real News Network. And there really is a critical juncture between the book and Assange’s arrest that involves the role of the national security state in our country. So, Paul Jay, welcome to your own network.

PAUL JAY: Well, it’s not my network. I work for this network.

MARC STEINER: I couldn’t resist. Anyhow.

Obviously the first question here is we were all looking at this and saying, “We know that book. Why is he holding that book? What is he trying to tell the world and us holding this book by Gore Vidal on the national security state?” What were your first thoughts, and what do you think that meant, if anything?

PAUL JAY: Well, I think it was deliberate, obviously. He’s known that he was going to be arrested for quite some time, and certainly in the last couple of days it was just a question of when. So I mean, I’ve never met or talked to Julian. But I’m assuming he did it with some intent. And I think it’s to send the message that this is the national security state that has come for him, and that the national security state is a dangerous thing for people and they should be aware of it.

I think the most important thing to keep in mind here is just what he’s been arrested for; this alleged collusion, if you want to use the word, with Chelsea Manning to leak the various reams of information that Chelsea Manning leaked. They’re claiming he crossed the line in helping to create a password–crack a password–which a journalist is only supposed to receive the information, not in any way collaborate. I have no idea whether Julian did or didn’t do what they’re alleging. But I think a far more important thing is being lost in, so far, most of the media coverage I’ve seen of this arrest, which is they exposed war crimes; they being Julian, Chelsea Manning. They exposed American war crimes in Iraq. And of course there’s this famous footage of a helicopter essentially murdering people as they walk across a square in–I guess it’s Baghdad. But we know in that story that not only did they kill the people in the original video, but they go ahead and strafe a van where there were children in it. And that was just a tip of the iceberg of the kind of war crimes being committed by the United States in Iraq.

And most importantly, what should be discussed again at this moment is that the war itself was a war crime. It was an illegal war. It was not sanctioned by the United Nations. The United States did not face a threat of imminent attack by Iraq, which is the only justification for war. These types of wars of aggression–and it’s clear it was a war of aggression. There was no weapons of mass destruction, and the UN inspectors were all saying so. The Nuremberg trials, they put the Nazis on trial. And it was said at the time and it’s been said since it’s the highest form of war crime, an aggressive war.

So what did WikiLeaks, what did Julian Assange, what did Chelsea Manning do? They exposed war crimes. So whether it may have technically broken an American law or not, if there’s ever going to be democracy, there better be whistleblowers. And the fact that the Obama administration and now the Trump administration, the deep state is going after whistleblowers–and particularly the most well known other than Snowden, Assange–is to send a message. And it comes at a very critical time when I think the Trump administration is planning for some kind of attack on Iran; certainly massive economic destabilization. And who knows what other nefarious things they are planning.

So it’s not just an attack on press freedom, which it is. It’s not just a way to intimidate journalists and news organizations from accepting leaked material, which it is. But it’s saying even if you’re exposing war crimes, we’re coming after you. And the corporate media is ignoring the whole substance of what was done by Chelsea and Julian.

MARC STEINER: So as we talk about the corporate media–let’s for a moment play this clip from MSNBC that kind of, I think, will describe the tenor of how the corporate media is going to follow this particular case, and some of the things they may be saying. Let’s take a look at it and kind of figure out what they’re saying here and how this fits into the whole thing.

SPEAKER: Yes. WikiLeaks began as a transparency organization. And at the time WikiLeaks was viewed as sort of an independent organization basically holding governments accountable. But over the years it became clear that WikiLeaks was growing ever closer to Russia and that all the leaks seemed to go in one direction. There were, there were never leaks that criticized authoritarian governments; only the West and the United States. And at some point the U.S. government, even during the Obama administration, began concluding that WikiLeaks was essentially acting as an arm of Russian intelligence. And then you get to the election. WikiLeaks was the recipient of leaked, hacked Democratic emails. And we’ll all remember that Donald Trump cited WikiLeaks more than 130 times during the campaign because they were publishing DNC emails that were embarrassing to the Democrats. They were clearly helping with this Russian election interference effort. And then the U.S. intelligence community weighed in and said that was not by accident.

MARC STEINER: So this is, I think, how part of the establishment media is going to play this and the Russian connection, that they’re going to push very hard in all of this with Assange. And it’s–and that will muddy the waters. Well, let me just stop there, before I get to the next question.

So I think–so what becomes incumbent on the rest of the media to talk about in light of this, this mass media push?

PAUL JAY: Well, it’s a complete and utter distraction. The whole Russia thing is a complete and utter distraction from the real crimes of the Trump administration. We’ve been saying this over and over again. The Russiagate–this whole raising as a significant issue some perhaps minor meddling in the 2016 elections as a distraction, because it plays into the hands of certain Democrats, Democratic Party, corporate Democrats people call them, the media, to kind of dredge up the demons and ghosts of the Cold War, and actually run to the right of Trump. Like, oh, we’re bigger Cold Warriors than you are; we’re more militarist than you are. In fact it’s not true. Trump is very much a militarist.

But the–but it’s a complete distraction from the specific case as well, because as I just said, this isn’t about Russia. It’s not about hacking Clinton emails. If that’s what it’s about, charge him with that. But he’s not charged with anything to do with the current controversies. He’s charged with working with Chelsea Manning, I’ll say it again, to expose war crimes. So, you know, everything else is just a complete rhetorical, partisan, hysterical response. Russia, no Russia, it’s irrelevant. Do you have the right to expose war crimes as a journalist? Do you have a responsibility? That’s the only issue here.

MARC STEINER: So what he’s being charged with, clearly it has nothing to do with Russia or what people think he did or did not do when it comes to working with Russia in terms of WikiLeaks and the exposure of of Hillary Clinton’s emails. But the issue is that he’s being charged with hacking, which is–that in itself is a crime, if they go after him for that, A. B, so the question is there’s that, and there’s also what might have been at work here we’re not seeing, and why this happened now. I mean, because what he was really hiding from in the Ecuadorian Embassy was not showing up in court for being–to be put on trial in Sweden on rape charges. So he now faces 12 months in English prison, and be extradited to Sweden, too, if they go after him, as well as being extradited to the United States. So what’s at work here?

PAUL JAY: The timing, one can speculate. I think it’s a few things. Recently WikiLeaks exposed the president of Ecuador having some shady bank accounts and involved in some corruption. Moreno. And clearly Moreno is not the same kind of politics as Correa, the previous president, who was willing to stand up to the Americans on various things. This new president is not. And he’s joined in on the attack on isolation of Venezuela, and he’s trying to cozy up to the Trump administration. So he has his own motives. Why should I protect Julian Assange when Wikileaks is exposing some of the corruption in Ecuador? As well as to curry favor with the Americans. Why not? He’s got no love for Assange. So that’s the–there may be more to the Ecuadorian side of the story. But as far as what’s in the public domain, that makes some certain amount of sense.

Why the Americans are pushing it now is partly, I would guess, part of a process. They’ve been wanting to do this for quite some time, and now Ecuador is willing to, for its own reasons. Now, there is some speculation that they want to try to get hold of Assange and push him on the narrative of Trump collaborating with Russia. Politico had a story about that today, that the–you know, the deep state, or the state, Mueller kind of forced this, they want to see if they can still make this collusion case. It’s possible. This whole idea that WikiLeaks is an arm of Russia I think is nonsense. The fact that the accusation that they never publish stuff against authoritarian regimes is not true. They’ve published stuff about Saudi Arabia. They’ve published stuff about Russia, exposing various things in Russia.

But if they expose more about the United States, duh, you think it’s possible because the United States commits more crimes than anywhere else? I mean, maybe because the United States is the global hegemon, and tries to dominate the world with what is it, 800, 900 military bases? A military budget more than the rest of the world put together. So yeah, you know, if you’re going to be in this exposé business it’s not hard a big stretch of the imagination that the United States is going to get most of it. And it’s also funny they say WikiLeaks doesn’t go after authoritarian regimes. Well, most of the authoritarian regimes–not all, but most in the world–are supported by the United States. So the hypocrisy here is too rich.

MARC STEINER: So I mean, if and when he gets extradited to the United States, what he’ll be charged with, clearly, is this hacking, if that happens. I mean, to me I think one of the biggest dangers here–and I’m curious your thoughts on this–and he may have to go to Sweden before he gets the United States, because they clearly want him there, before the statute of limitations runs out in Sweden on rape, and that will take place in 2020. So there’s gonna be a battle taking place over who gets Assange first.

PAUL JAY: It’s not clear that–first of all, let’s be clear about the Swedish case. There are allegations he has denied. The Swedish authorities wanted to interview him and made a big stink about wanting to interview him. But he offered to be interviewed in the Ecuadorian Embassy. And over and over again the Swedes refused to do it. They made the issue he has to come to Sweden, he has to leave the safety of the Ecuadorian Embassy. And there’s absolutely no reason they couldn’t have gone to the embassy and interviewed him. So as far as where the Swedish case is right now, the latest I saw, it’s unclear whether they are going to try to reassert themselves.

MARC STEINER: Well, we don’t know if they’re going to do that or not. But they could very well do that. But the question is that it seems to be the biggest issue here is the United States is using this this alleged hacking and in collusion with–for want of a better term–with Chelsea Manning is one more way to silence the press, one more way to stop journalists doing their investigative work in a democracy, or in a democratic situation. And so it seems to me this is the clearest danger here of what a national security state is doing, to silence people who are whistleblowers as well as those who would expose atrocities that take place by our government. That to me that is one of the biggest dangers.

PAUL JAY: Yeah, I think that that is the biggest issue of the whole arrest. As I said, we’re heading into an extremely dangerous period, the lead up to the 2020 elections. Massive investment in the military budget. But most recently, the Trump administration naming the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, calling them terrorists.

MARC STEINER: Right.

PAUL JAY: This is something that was tried in 2007 with something called the Kyl Lieberman amendment. aAnd a lot of Democrats voted for it. Although some significant ones didn’t vote for it, including Biden and Obama. Hillary Clinton did. But it was said at the time that that is a step–in fact, it was a Democratic senator who said this–it’s a step towards the military option with Iran. Because once you say the Iranian Revolutionary Guard are terrorists, well, they’re part of the armed forces of the government of Iran. So you’re, you know, one micro hair away from saying that the government of Iran is a terrorist organization. Which means not only can nobody in the world do any business with Iran, but you can’t even negotiate. You know, you’re almost left with only a military option.

And people like John Bolton, the national security adviser for Trump, and others, Pompeo and other people around Trump, and Trump himself, and certainly Steve Bannon, they wanted to go after Iran from day one of this presidency. And a lot of crap is going to come out. Look at the lies that we’re told in the lead up to the war in Iraq. We are going to see the same kind of lies unfold at a super scale towards as they try to destabilize and bring down the government of Iran.

And this is a shot across the bow there, as well. You journalists, you leakers, you better be careful. Because if we can get Assange out of the Ecuadorian Embassy we can get anybody. And that’s no doubt part one of the reason is to create a real chill. And not just in a generalized way, but as we head into a very dangerous period in history.

MARC STEINER: That makes our job here at The Real News and other places, and places like Real News, all the more important to not let this happen.

PAUL JAY: Let me just add one other thing about why he’s carrying that book. Just to give a little background. Gore Vidal’s History of the National Security State is, as you said, a series of interviews I did with him back in 2007. And at the core of the formation of the national security state–and this is done under Truman, a Democrat–is the underlying narrative that the Soviet Union was an existential military threat to the United States. Now, Soviet Union a lot of people thought was some form of socialism. And you can debate, you know, what you think of that form of socialism. But certainly in 1945-1946 and into the ’50s the Soviet Union was very popular in the world. The Soviet Union had broken the back of Hitler. The Soviet Union was recovering from terrible destruction. There seemed to be full employment and healthcare and so on and so on.

So you know, the sort of viciousness of the Soviet state domestically, it was known. It came to be better known after 1956 in what was called the Khrushchev revelations, and so on. The terror of the Stalin government, and so on. So yeah, ideologically the Soviet Union was a threat. Because socialism versus capitalism. But it was not a military threat. And that was bullshit that the American intelligence agencies, the governments, knew. You watch my series of interviews with Daniel Ellsberg, and it became clear to him–and he had access to a high level intelligence–that the Soviet Union had zero plans to invade Western Europe, the justification for NATO. The Soviet Union had zero plans to use nuclear weapons as blackmail or a threat to assert some kind of global presence. Global domination. The Soviet Union was in a defensive posture.

And the same is true today. Whatever you make of Putin domestically, whatever you make of Russia domestically, you can argue that, you could debate it. There is zero evidence that Russia is trying to project global power in a way that threatens the people of the United States. Yes, is Russia projecting regional power? Sure. So is China. And what mid to big capitalist size country wouldn’t? Only the United States is projecting global power. But it’s not a military threat. And this whole underlying thesis of Russiagate, the Russians are destroying democracy and all of this, this minor meddling is raised to such a level because the military industrial complex and sections of the corporate Democratic Party that have been hawkish, militarist and hawkish from the days of Truman, they need this narrative. It justifies their whole outlook on the global affairs.

MARC STEINER: We don’t have time to get into it today, obviously, in this conversation. I agree, I mean, Russia was never a military threat to the United States in that sense of starting a war and going after Western Europe. And that clearly was not going to happen. But the United States and world capital, period, saw the Soviet Union as a threat because they were supporting revolutionary movements across the globe.

PAUL JAY: That’s what it was really about.

MARC STEINER: That was the real threat. And you had 1.3 billion people from Addis Ababa to Shanghai that were living in communist nations. That was the threat they saw. And they played it off as a threat about a major world war, which allowed the U.S. to build their military. But I mean, I think it’s–anyway.

PAUL JAY: I mean, I agree with that. But just–the point here is that you blame the Russians no matter what the heck is going on. And now, as I say, the real issue of this current arrest of Assange, this is the national security state asserting itself, which is why I think he’s carrying the book around, and it’s a coverup for more crime.

MARC STEINER: Well, I’m glad he was carrying the book around. Maybe people will read it. So, Paul Jay, this has been a pleasure. See you back in Baltimore. Thanks so much for taking the time out in New York.

PAUL JAY: All right, thanks for doing it.

MARC STEINER: And I’m Marc Steiner here at The Real News Network in Baltimore. Thank you all for joining us. Take care.

 

Read more:

https://therealnews.com/stories/assange-arrested-for-exposing-u-s-war-crimes-paul-jay

 

 

by Gus Leonisky on Sun, 2019-04-14 11:38

silent

Silent Spring is an environmental science book by Rachel Carson.[1]The book was published on September 27, 1962, documenting the adverse environmental effects caused by the indiscriminate use of pesticides. Carson accused the chemical industry of spreading disinformation, and public officials of accepting the industry's marketing claims unquestioningly.

Starting in the late 1950s, prior to the book's publication, Carson had focused her attention on environmental conservation, especially environmental problems that she believed were caused by syntheticpesticides. The result of her research was Silent Spring, which brought environmental concerns to the American public. The book was met with fierce opposition by chemical companies, but, owing to public opinion, it brought about numerous changes. It spurred a reversal in the United States' national pesticide policy, led to a nationwide ban on DDT for agricultural uses,[2] and helped to inspire an environmental movement that led to the creation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.[3][4]

Over three decades later, in 1996, a follow-up book, Beyond Silent Spring, co-written by H.F. van Emden and David Peakall, was published.[5][6] In 2006, Silent Spring was named one of the 25 greatest science books of all time by the editors of Discover magazine.[7]

 

Read more:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silent_Spring

 

We still have some problems with RoundUp and modern nerve agents insecticides...

Read also:

https://wiki.cancer.org.au/policy/Position_statement_-_Pesticides_and_cancer

 

http://www.panna.org/human-health-harms/cancer

 

Often research is simplified to one product when THE COMBINATION OF SEVERAL CHEMICALS with pesticides induce cancer. It is well known that a combination of benign factors lead to deadly outcomes that a single benign factor could not generate or would generate in a lesser dramatic result. Some of the factors act like a key/trigger. Being in the wrong place at the wrong time is one simple example of such deadly combinations.

 

Cartoon at top from:

https://www.insidetasmania.com/p/cartoons_3.html

by Gus Leonisky on Sun, 2019-04-14 10:16
The “demented” stories about Julian Assange’s spying cat and embassy antics are being spun by the top Ecuadorian officials to divert attention from his “disgraceful expulsion” from asylum, WikiLeaks editor Kristinn Hrafnsson said.

An exclusive story, revealing spurr-ious details about Assange’s stay at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London was spun by Daily Mail on Friday. The piece has since raised quite a few eyebrows with its bold but unfounded claims, including some quite outlandish statements by the Ecuadorian ambassador.

READ MORE: There's no evidence to justify Assange's eviction, Snowden's lawyer says

Among other things, Ecuador’s UK Ambassador Jaime Marchan brought up the pawsibility Assange’s famous Embassy Cat might have been up to something dodgy, claiming the whole diplomatic mission was wary of the critter.

“It could go in every room – we were suspicious it may carry a device ... to spy on us,” the diplomat said.

 

Read more:

https://www.rt.com/news/456438-assange-embassy-cat-spy-ecuador/

by Gus Leonisky on Sun, 2019-04-14 09:53

climate solutions summit

 

Accelerating policy, innovation and finance for zero carbon cities
 

Registration now open for Climate Innovation Forum 2019 during the first ever London Climate Action Week, 1-8 July, 2019 
 

 

Climate Innovation Forum 2019 will champion innovation to accelerate the zero carbon economy and mobilise cross-sector collaboration to develop – and deliver – innovative products, services and systems across four key areas that can be scaled up on city, regional and national levels: