Kafka-like Persecution of Julian Assange

In an era when powerful institutions demonize decent people and the mainstream media joins in, piling on the abuse legal proceedings have become another Kafka-esque weapon of coercion. Few cases are more troubling than the persecution of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, as John Pilger describes.

By John Pilger

The siege of Knightsbridge is both an emblem of gross injustice and a grueling farce. For three years, a police cordon around the Ecuadorean embassy in London has served no purpose other than to flaunt the power of the state. It has cost £12 million (about $18.7 million). The quarry is an Australian charged with no crime, a refugee whose only security is the room given him by a brave South American country. His “crime” is to have initiated a wave of truth-telling in an era of lies, cynicism and war.

The persecution of Julian Assange is about to flare again as it enters a dangerous stage. From Aug. 20, three quarters of the Swedish prosecutor’s case against Assange regarding sexual misconduct in 2010 will disappear as the statute of limitations expires. At the same time Washington’s obsession with Assange and WikiLeaks has intensified. Indeed, it is vindictive American power that offers the greatest threat as Chelsea Manning and those still held in Guantanamo can attest.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange at a media conference in Copenhagen, Denmark. (Photo credit: New Media Days / Peter Erichsen)

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange at a media conference in Copenhagen, Denmark. (Photo credit: New Media Days / Peter Erichsen)

The Americans are pursuing Assange because WikiLeaks exposed their epic crimes in Afghanistan and Iraq: the wholesale killing of tens of thousands of civilians, which they covered up, and their contempt for sovereignty and international law, as demonstrated vividly in their leaked diplomatic cables.

WikiLeaks continues to expose criminal activity by the U.S., having just published top secret U.S. intercepts U.S. spies’ reports detailing private phone calls of the presidents of France and Germany, and other senior officials, relating to internal European political and economic affairs.

None of this is illegal under the U.S. Constitution. As a presidential candidate in 2008, Barack Obama, a professor of constitutional law, lauded whistleblowers as “part of a healthy democracy [and they] must be protected from reprisal.” In 2012, the campaign to re-elect President Barack Obama boasted on its website that he had prosecuted more whistleblowers in his first term than all other U.S. presidents combined.

Before Chelsea Manning had even received a trial, Obama had pronounced the whisletblower guilty. He was subsequently sentenced to 35 years in prison, having been tortured during his long pre-trial detention.

Few doubt that should the U.S. government get its hands on Assange, a similar fate awaits him. Threats of the capture and assassination of Assange became the currency of the political extremes in the U.S. following Vice President Joe Biden’s preposterous slur that the WikiLeaks founder was a “cyber-terrorist.” Those doubting the degree of ruthlessness Assange can expect should remember the forcing down of the Bolivian president’s plane in 2013 – wrongly believed to be carrying Edward Snowden.

According to documents released by Edward Snowden, Assange is on a “Manhunt target list.” Washington’s bid to get him, say Australian diplomatic cables, is “unprecedented in scale and nature.” In Alexandria, Virginia, a secret grand jury has spent five years attempting to contrive a crime for which Assange can be prosecuted. This is not easy. The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects publishers, journalists and whistleblowers.

Faced with this constitutional hurdle, the U.S. Justice Department has contrived charges of “espionage,” “conspiracy to commit espionage,” “conversion” (theft of government property), “computer fraud and abuse” (computer hacking) and general “conspiracy.” The Espionage Act has life in prison and death penalty provisions.

Assange’s ability to defend himself in this Kafkaesque world has been handicapped by the U.S. declaring his case a state secret. In March, a federal court in Washington blocked the release of all information about the “national security” investigation against WikiLeaks, because it was “active and ongoing” and would harm the “pending prosecution” of Assange. The judge, Barbara J. Rosthstein, said it was necessary to show “appropriate deference to the executive in matters of national security.” Such is the “justice” of a kangaroo court.

The supporting act in this grim farce is Sweden, played by the Swedish prosecutor Marianne Ny. Until recently, Ny refused to comply with a routine European procedure routine that required her to travel to London to question Assange and so advance the case. For four and a half years, Ny has never properly explained why she has refused to come to London, just as the Swedish authorities have never explained why they refuse to give Assange a guarantee that they will not extradite him on to the U.S. under a secret arrangement agreed between Stockholm and Washington. In December 2010, The Independent revealed that the two governments had discussed his onward extradition to the U.S.

Contrary to its 1960s reputation as a liberal bastion, Sweden has drawn so close to Washington that it has allowed secret CIA “renditions” – including the illegal deportation of refugees. The rendition and subsequent torture of two Egyptian political refugees in 2001 was condemned by the UN Committee against Torture, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch; the complicity and duplicity of the Swedish state are documented in successful civil litigation and in WikiLeaks cables. In the summer of 2010, Assange had flown to Sweden to talk about WikiLeaks revelations of the war in Afghanistan – in which Sweden had forces under U.S. command.

“Documents released by WikiLeaks since Assange moved to England,” wrote Al Burke, editor of the online Nordic News Network, an authority on the multiple twists and dangers facing Assange, “clearly indicate that Sweden has consistently submitted to pressure from the United States in matters relating to civil rights. There is every reason for concern that if Assange were to be taken into custody by Swedish authorities, he could be turned over to the United States without due consideration of his legal rights.”

Why hasn’t the Swedish prosecutor resolved the Assange case? Many in the legal community in Sweden believe her behavior inexplicable. Once implacably hostile to Assange, the Swedish press has published headlines such as: “Go to London, for God’s sake.”

Why hasn’t she? More to the point, why won’t she allow the Swedish court access to hundreds of SMS messages that the police extracted from the phone of one of the two women involved in the misconduct allegations? Why won’t she hand them over to Assange’s Swedish lawyers? She says she is not legally required to do so until a formal charge is laid and she has questioned him. Then, why doesn’t she question him? And if she did question him, the conditions she would demand of him and his lawyers that they could not challenge her would make injustice a near certainty.

On a point of law, the Swedish Supreme Court has decided Ny can continue to obstruct on the vital issue of the SMS messages. This will now go to the European Court of Human Rights. What Ny fears is that the SMS messages will destroy her case against Assange.

One of the messages makes clear that one of the women did not want any charges brought against Assange, “but the police were keen on getting a hold on him”. She was “shocked” when they arrested him because she only “wanted him to take [an HIV] test.” She “did not want to accuse JA of anything” and “it was the police who made up the charges.” (In a witness statement, she is quoted as saying that she had been “railroaded by police and others around her”.)

Neither woman claimed she had been raped. Indeed, both have denied they were raped and one of them has since tweeted, “I have not been raped.” That they were manipulated by police and their wishes ignored is evident – whatever their lawyers might say now. Certainly, they are victims of a saga which blights the reputation of Sweden itself.

For Assange, his only trial has been trial by media. On Aug. 20, 2010, the Swedish police opened a “rape investigation” and immediately – and unlawfully – told the Stockholm tabloids that there was a warrant for Assange’s arrest for the “rape of two women.” This was the news that went round the world.

In Washington, a smiling U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates told reporters that the arrest “sounds like good news to me.” Twitter accounts associated with the Pentagon described Assange as a “rapist” and a “fugitive.”

Less than 24 hours later, the Stockholm Chief Prosecutor, Eva Finne, took over the investigation. She wasted no time in cancelling the arrest warrant, saying, “I don’t believe there is any reason to suspect that he has committed rape.” Four days later, she dismissed the rape investigation altogether, saying, “There is no suspicion of any crime whatsoever.” The file was closed.

Enter Claes Borgstrom, a high-profile politician in the Social Democratic Party then standing as a candidate in Sweden’s imminent general election. Within days of the chief prosecutor’s dismissal of the case, Borgstrom, a lawyer, announced to the media that he was representing the two women and had sought a different prosecutor in the city of Gothenberg. This was Marianne Ny, whom Borgstrom knew well, personally and politically.

On Aug. 30, Assange attended a police station in Stockholm voluntarily and answered all the questions put to him. He understood that was the end of the matter. Two days later, Ny announced she was re-opening the case. Borgstrom was asked by a Swedish reporter why the case was proceeding when it had already been dismissed, citing one of the women as saying she had not been raped.

He replied, “Ah, but she is not a lawyer.” Assange’s Australian barrister, James Catlin, responded, “This is a laughingstock … it’s as if they make it up as they go along.”

On the day Marianne Ny reactivated the case, the head of Sweden’s military intelligence service which has the acronym MUST publicly denounced WikiLeaks in an article entitled “WikiLeaks [is] a threat to our soldiers.” Assange was warned that the Swedish intelligence service, SAPO, had been told by its U.S. counterparts that U.S.-Sweden intelligence-sharing arrangements would be “cut off” if Sweden sheltered him.

For five weeks, Assange waited in Sweden for the new investigation to take its course. The Guardian was then on the brink of publishing the Iraq “War Logs” based on WikiLeaks’ disclosures which Assange was to oversee. His lawyer in Stockholm asked Ny if she had any objection to his leaving the country. She said he was free to leave.

Inexplicably, as soon as he left Sweden – at the height of media and public interest in the WikiLeaks disclosures – Ny issued a European Arrest Warrant and an Interpol “red alert” normally used for terrorists and dangerous criminals. Put out in five languages around the world, it ensured a media frenzy.

Assange attended a police station in London, was arrested and spent ten days in Wandsworth Prison, in solitary confinement. Released on £340,000 ($531,000) bail, he was electronically tagged, required to report to police daily and placed under virtual house arrest while his case began its long journey to the Supreme Court. He still had not been charged with any offence. His lawyers repeated his offer to be questioned by Ny in London, pointing out that she had given him permission to leave Sweden. They suggested a special facility at Scotland Yard commonly used for that purpose. She refused.

Katrin Axelsson and Lisa Longstaff of Women Against Rape wrote: “The allegations against [Assange] 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. …

“The authorities care so little about violence against women that they manipulate rape allegations at will. [Assange] has made it clear he is available for questioning by the Swedish authorities, in Britain or via Skype. Why are they refusing this essential step in their investigation? What are they afraid of?”

This question remained unanswered as Ny deployed the European Arrest Warrant, a draconian and now discredited product of the “war on terror” supposedly designed to catch terrorists and organized criminals. The EAW had abolished the obligation on a petitioning state to provide any evidence of a crime.

More than a thousand EAWs are issued each month; only a few have anything to do with potential “terror” charges. Most are issued for trivial offences, such as overdue bank charges and fines. Many of those extradited face months in prison without charge. There have been a number of shocking miscarriages of justice, of which British judges have been highly critical.

The Assange case finally reached the UK Supreme Court in May 2012. In a judgment that upheld the EAW – whose rigid demands had left the courts almost no room for maneuver – the judges found that European prosecutors could issue extradition warrants in the UK without any judicial oversight, even though Parliament intended otherwise. They made clear that Parliament had been “misled” by the Blair government. The court was split, 5-2, and consequently found against Assange.

However, the Chief Justice, Lord Phillips, made one mistake. He applied the Vienna Convention on treaty interpretation, allowing for state practice to override the letter of the law. As Assange’s barrister, Dinah Rose QC, pointed out, this did not apply to the EAW.

The Supreme Court only recognized this crucial error when it dealt with another appeal against the EAW in November 2013. The Assange decision had been wrong, but it was too late to go back. With extradition imminent, the Swedish prosecutor told Assange’s lawyers that Assange, once in Sweden, would be immediately placed in one of Sweden’s infamous remand prisons.

Assange’s choice was stark: extradition to a country that had refused to say whether or not it would send him on to the U.S., or to seek what seemed his last opportunity for refuge and safety. Supported by most of Latin America, the courageous government of Ecuador granted him refugee status on the basis of documented evidence and legal advice that he faced the prospect of cruel and unusual punishment in the U.S.; that this threat violated his basic human rights; and that his own government in Australia had abandoned him and colluded with Washington. The Labor government of Prime Minister Julia Gillard had even threatened to take away his passport.

Gareth Peirce, the renowned human rights lawyer who represents Assange in London, wrote to the then Australian foreign minister, Kevin Rudd: “Given the extent of the public discussion, frequently on the basis of entirely false assumptions … it is very hard to attempt to preserve for him any presumption of innocence. Mr. Assange has now hanging over him not one but two Damocles swords, of potential extradition to two different jurisdictions in turn for two different alleged crimes, neither of which are crimes in his own country, and that his personal safety has become at risk in circumstances that are highly politically charged.”

It was not until she contacted the Australian High Commission in London that Peirce received a response, which answered none of the pressing points she raised. In a meeting I attended with her, the Australian Consul-General, Ken Pascoe, made the astonishing claim that he knew “only what I read in the newspapers” about the details of the case.

Meanwhile, the prospect of a grotesque miscarriage of justice was drowned in a vituperative campaign against the WikiLeaks founder. Deeply personal, petty, vicious and inhuman attacks were aimed at a man not charged with any crime yet subjected to treatment not even meted out to a defendant facing extradition on a charge of murdering his wife. That the U.S. threat to Assange was a threat to all journalists, to freedom of speech, was lost in the sordid and the ambitious.

Books were published, movie deals struck and media careers launched or kick-started on the back of WikiLeaks and an assumption that attacking Assange was fair game and he was too poor to sue. People have made money, often big money, while WikiLeaks has struggled to survive. The editor of the Guardian, Alan Rusbridger, called the WikiLeaks disclosures, which his newspaper published, “one of the greatest journalistic scoops of the last 30 years.” It became part of his marketing plan to raise the newspaper’s cover price.

With not a penny going to Assange or to WikiLeaks, a hyped Guardian book led to a lucrative Hollywood movie. The book’s authors, Luke Harding and David Leigh, gratuitously described Assange as a “damaged personality” and “callous.” They also revealed the secret password he had given the paper in confidence, which was designed to protect a digital file containing the U.S. embassy cables. With Assange now trapped in the Ecuadorean embassy, Harding, standing among the police outside, gloated on his blog that “Scotland Yard may get the last laugh.”

The injustice meted out to Assange is one of the reasons Parliament reformed the Extradition Act to prevent the misuse of the EAW. The draconian catch-all used against him could not happen now; charges would have to be brought and “questioning” would be insufficient grounds for extradition.

“His case has been won lock, stock and barrel,” Gareth Peirce told me, “these changes in the law mean that the UK now recognizes as correct everything that was argued in his case. Yet he does not benefit.” In other words, the change in the UK law in 2014 mean that Assange would have won his case and he would not have been forced to take refuge.

Ecuador’s decision to protect Assange in 2012 bloomed into a major international affair. Even though the granting of asylum is a humanitarian act, and the power to do so is enjoyed by all states under international law, both Sweden and the United Kingdom refused to recognize the legitimacy of Ecuador’s decision.

Ignoring international law, the Cameron government refused to grant Assange safe passage to Ecuador. Instead, Ecuador’s embassy was placed under siege and its government abused with a series of ultimatums.

When William Hague’s Foreign Office threatened to violate the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, warning that it would remove the diplomatic inviolability of the embassy and send the police in to get Assange, outrage across the world forced the government to back down. During one night, police appeared at the windows of the embassy in an obvious attempt to intimidate Assange and his protectors.

Since then, Julian Assange has been confined to a small room under Ecuador’s protection, without sunlight or space to exercise, surrounded by police under orders to arrest him on sight. For three years, Ecuador has made clear to the Swedish prosecutor that Assange is available to be questioned in the London embassy, and for three years she has remained intransigent.

In the same period Sweden has questioned 44 people in the UK in connection with police investigations. Her role, and that of the Swedish state, is demonstrably political; and for Ny, facing retirement in two years, she must “win.”

In despair, Assange has challenged the arrest warrant in the Swedish courts. His lawyers have cited rulings by the European Court of Human Rights that he has been under arbitrary, indefinite detention and that he had been a virtual prisoner for longer than any actual prison sentence he might face. The Court of Appeal judge agreed with Assange’s lawyers: the prosecutor had indeed breached her duty by keeping the case suspended for years. Another judge issued a rebuke to the prosecutor. And yet she defied the court.

Last December, Assange took his case to the Swedish Supreme Court, which ordered Marianne Ny’s boss the Prosecutor General of Sweden Anders Perklev to explain. The next day, Ny announced, without explanation, that she had changed her mind and would now question Assange in London.

In his submission to the Supreme Court, the Prosecutor General made some important concessions: he argued that the coercion of Assange had been “intrusive” and that that the period in the embassy has been a “great strain” on him. He even conceded that if the matter had ever come to prosecution, trial, conviction and serving a sentence in Sweden, Julian Assange would have left Sweden long ago.

In a split decision, one Supreme Court judge argued that the arrest warrant should have been revoked. The majority of the judges ruled that, since the prosecutor had now said she would go to London, Assange’s arguments had become “moot.” But the Court ruled that it would have found against the prosecutor if she had not suddenly changed her mind. Justice by caprice.

Writing in the Swedish press, a former Swedish prosecutor, Rolf Hillegren, accused Ny of losing all impartiality. He described her personal investment in the case as “abnormal” and demanded that she be replaced.

Having said she would go to London in June, Ny did not go, but sent a deputy, knowing that the questioning would not be legal under these circumstances, especially as Sweden had not bothered to get Ecuador’s approval for the meeting. At the same time, her office tipped off the Swedish tabloid newspaper Expressen, which sent its London correspondent to wait outside Ecuador’s embassy for “news.” The news was that Ny was cancelling the appointment and blaming Ecuador for the confusion and by implication an “uncooperative” Assange when the opposite was true.

As the statute of limitations date approaches Aug. 20 another chapter in this hideous story will doubtless unfold, with Marianne Ny pulling yet another rabbit out of her hat and the commissars and prosecutors in Washington the beneficiaries. Perhaps none of this is surprising.

In 2008, a war on WikiLeaks and on Julian Assange was foretold in a secret Pentagon document prepared by the “Cyber Counterintelligence Assessments Branch.” It described a detailed plan to destroy the feeling of “trust” which is WikiLeaks’ “centre of gravity.” This would be achieved with threats of “exposure [and] criminal prosecution.”

Silencing and criminalizing such a rare source of truth-telling was the aim, smear the method. While this scandal continues the very notion of justice is diminished, along with the reputation of Sweden, and the shadow of America’s menace touches us all.

John Pilger is an Australian-British journalist based in London. Pilger’s Web site is: www.johnpilger.com

For additional information, click on the following links:

http://justice4assange.com/extraditing-assange.html

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/assange-could-face-espionage-trial-in-us-2154107.html

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ImXe_EQhUI

https://justice4assange.com/Timeline.html https://justice4assange.com/Timeline.html

http://pdfserver.amlaw.com/nlj/wikileaks_doj_05192014.pdf

https://wikileaks.org/59-International-Organizations.html

https://s3.amazonaws.com/s3.documentcloud.org/documents/1202703/doj-letter-re-wikileaks-6-19-14.pdf

http://www.theguardian.com/media/2015/jul/23/julian-assange-ecuador-and-sweden-in-tense-standoff-over-interview?CMP=twt_gu http://assangeinsweden.com/2015/03/17/the-prosecutor-in-the-assange-case-should-be-replaced/

https://justice4assange.com/Prosecutor-cancels-Assange-meeting.html

www.johnpilger.com

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34 comments for “Kafka-like Persecution of Julian Assange

  1. July 31, 2015 at 3:58 pm

    The hacks in our corporate media are too dumb to realize that it’s the war criminals Bush and Cheney who should be in leg irons.

    • Anonymous
      August 1, 2015 at 1:15 pm

      I say he should spend the rest of his life in the 60 square ft room at Ecuadorean embassy, eating roasted guinea pig with his hosts

      • D5-5
        August 1, 2015 at 1:42 pm

        Why?

        • Kiza
          August 2, 2015 at 10:35 pm

          Because Assange is brave and Anonymous is a coward. There is nothing more that cowards hate than their opposites.

      • Clark
        August 9, 2015 at 5:25 pm

        Another US Hack.

    • rexw@iinet.net.au
      August 1, 2015 at 7:46 pm

      Mary,

      A truer statement has never been made. In my lifetime, including WWII, the Bush / Cheney / Rumsfeld trio have been the greatest criminals in the world.
      With Hitler, the world knew what they were getting. He was out in the open. he was wrong, and he was defeated.
      Since those days, however, the quality of world management, particularly the USA and their total subservience to Zionists has eroded to the stage that no one really knows what is good any more. Statements can be made that 20 years ago would have been a shock to the American people but are now just the norm, no shock, no media coverage, no criminal action.

      The Rosenblums were executed for their crimes of spying against the country. Pollard, a far worse spy, is now to be released.

      The Israelis think the USA is a joke and it is, sadly for the future.

      How these three have survived vigilante retribution, I will never understand. They are a disgrace. An even greater disgrace is the fact that they are still alive.

    • sam hughes
      August 4, 2015 at 2:17 pm

      Your on the right track, now think who owns American media.

  2. Joe Tedesky
    July 31, 2015 at 4:43 pm

    Let me start out by reminding everyone how back in 2006 after finally achieving a Democrat majority in the U.S. Congress, how Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid both declared that ‘impeachment was off the table’, concerning the illegal Iraq WMD invasion. This is after we Americans watched a 9/11 Truth Commission totally flush away any hope of finding out the absolute truth about what led up to, and along with the infamous ‘who done it’ ever coming to light, in regard to the 9/11 tragedy. Obama did more than nothing, he continued the Bush/Cheney doctrine to the point that many have called his terms in office as the Bush 3rd & 4th term in the presidency. By allowing these criminals to go unpunished we have handed the should be prisoners the keys to the very jail the should be in. These should be prisoners now wish to lock everyone away who divulge their dirty awful secrets. The public be damned. They would rather you watch ‘reality TV’, or support your troops at the next NFL game you might attend. This is considered being a good American, just ask Sean Hannity. The whistleblowers are victims of this bunch of thief’s, and there isn’t much for now that can be done about it. Oh, you might try appealing to Bernie Sanders, but why is it I feel you should not expect much out of your plea. Forget Hillary, and even Jeb, for they are truly part of the problem since they belong to same group who got us here. My hope is on the youth of the world. Hoping that the younger generation will turn this ship around is what keeps me going. If they should fail, and if I am allowed to survive to a very old age, then maybe I will just start watching ‘reality TV’ with the rest of the nation, and forget about it.

  3. F. G. Sanford
    July 31, 2015 at 8:04 pm

    “Misprision of Felony”: J. Edgar Hoover, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the entire Warren Commission, and countless others knew. They swore oaths to “support, protect and defend”, but being “honorable men”, they lied. A few meekly hinted at the truth. All of the autopsy doctors testified – meekly – that the “single bullet” could not have caused those wounds. Despite that testimony, the commission boldly declared that all witnesses corroborated the “theory”. Telling lies has become an integral part of American government. Everyone who worked with Jonathan Pollard knew him to be a compulsive liar. He still got a security clearance. When his lies became overbearing, he was referred for a psychiatric evaluation. That evaluation determined that he had a narcissistic personality making him prone to irresponsible and grandiose statements, but this grandiosity was “unlikely to lead to treason”. He kept his security clearance. Security clearances, as should be obvious, are worthless. What counts is what has erroneously come to be regarded as “loyalty” – the certainty that an individual will violate his oath to The Constitution in order to protect his supervisors, his ‘chain of command’, his organization and the national reputation. As such an individual, Pollard was a valued employee. After decades of government based on lies, loyalty has become an imaginary commodity. Nobody trusts anybody. The crimes have accumulated, the lies have compounded, and they all know they can’t really trust each other. Sooner or later, one of the sociopaths will need to save his skin. Or some honest person will crack under the burden of guilt. They don’t know what else may leak, but there is obviously reason to worry. The specter of the Rumsfeldian “unknown known” is weighing heavily upon them. Institutionalized “Misprision of Felony” – and the gullibility of the American people – are the only real friends any of them has.

    • Joe Tedesky
      August 1, 2015 at 12:42 am

      “It was Angleton’s staff member, Ann Egerter, who opened Oswald’s 201 SIG file on December 9, 1960.[56] Egerter was questioned by the House Select Committee. They knew they could not expect her, as a CIA employee, to answer truthfully, even under oath, the question whether Oswald was a CIA agent. Allen Dulles, Kennedy’s fired CIA director, had said in the January 27, 1964, closed-door Warren Commission meeting that no CIA employee, even under oath, should ever say truthfully if Oswald (or anyone else) was in fact a CIA agent.[57]” ….James W. Douglas, ‘JFK & the Unspeakable: Why He Died & Why It Matters

      Back in 1975 I sat next to a cousin from Jersey. My Jersey cousin was one of representative Peter W. Rodino Watergate lawyers. My cousin explained the D.C. Facts of life to me. The facts were that all the judges and jurors were guilty of something themselves…so don’t wait around to long for the hanging, you might be late for dinner.

      One of the differences between Pollard and Assange is at least Pollard has a home to go home to. I once thought Assange was some limited hang out thing (Maybe MI6, or ???) but after all this time locked away in some building in London, now I’m not so sure about me first impression. If we were to have a commercial free news media, along with a lot less lobbyist funded government, we wouldn’t need any whistle blowers. Why dwell on medicating the symptom when you can eliminate the nucleus of the problem. BTW, this is often the least expensive…ahh in there lies the rub!

      Couldn’t help myself F.G., just could not resist the Kennedy references …keep it going!

      • Vesuvius
        August 1, 2015 at 6:03 am

        Thanks to John Pilger, Joe Tedesky and F.G Sanford!

        Joe Tedesky, it’s quite appropriate to bring up the Murder in Dallas, November 22, 1963 here. Though nobody could understand it at the time, that date changed the U.S.A. and the World forever. Dr James W. Douglass has shown, in his marvelous book “JFK and the Unspeakble”, the President was killed by his own. The Conspiracy that really runs the nation did it, and they got away with it so far. What’s even worse: The stage is set for Another round of Change of Presidency in the future, if deemed necessary by the Conspiracy. That’s the reason why the public is still — after soon 52 years — denied the truth in this matter

        The effect of this is that the U.S.A. is on its way to become a Fascist State, not of the Stasi or Nazi kind, but of a somewhat softer type. But still a Fascist State, in the meaning that the popular vote won’t matter much, everything important will be decided from top to bottom. And Foreign influence will be more important than popular U.S. vote, even more than today. Just see how the White House, Congress and Media since many years are taking their marching orders from Israel.

        • Joe Tedesky
          August 1, 2015 at 1:41 pm

          Talk about fascist read this….

          http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2015/07/tomi-lahren-its-not-the-muslims-stupid.html

          I find it an eerie state of affairs, that the Obama/Kerry diplomacy resembles much the Kennedy/Kruschev/Castro back channel diplomacy of its day. What I mean by this, is the rub that the P5+1 agreement is causing going up against the Zionist ambitions is much like what Kennedy had within his own government, while attempting to create a peaceful world. Kennedy’s American University speech may have been the last straw, for his going up against the Military Corporate Congressional Industrial Complex. When you look at how much the U.S. Government spends on arming our military, then you are looking at what drives these forces to all kinds of unspeakable actions. Is all this really about defense, or is this all much more about profits? Lastly, isn’t it interesting that in modern times ‘Social Security’ has now become an entitlement? You tell me where our governments head is!

    • Bob Van Noy
      August 2, 2015 at 1:02 pm

      Although I have little to add, I’m compelled to respond with a “thanks again” to John Pilger, FG Sanford and Robert Parry. It is imperative that we constantly associate our contemporary dysfunction to JFK. It was that singular event that set us on this path and until we resolve that, we cannot practice democracy…

  4. Joe
    July 31, 2015 at 9:22 pm

    The dark state is a late stage of the demise of democracy, far beyond any state from which it can recover by historical or likely means.

    • Joe B
      July 31, 2015 at 9:23 pm

      My preceding comment should be signed Joe B.

  5. Seeker
    July 31, 2015 at 9:40 pm

    Chesea Manning is a “she,” not a “he.”

  6. Abe
    July 31, 2015 at 10:47 pm

    An extended interview with Julian Assange recorded during filming of John Pilger’s latest film ‘The War You Don’t See’
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=INAfRkwfMp4

  7. Abe
    July 31, 2015 at 10:49 pm

    The War You Don’t See (2010)
    By John Pilger
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lDutkYQF9d8

    • Abe
      July 31, 2015 at 11:19 pm

      minutes 1:30:50-1:31:18

      JOHN PILGER: “Are media drums beating for another war? Say, a war with Iran? ”

      STEVE RENDALL: “I wouldn’t say that the media are beating the drums for war, Yet. Although they are showing the same credulousness, the same obsequiousness toward the powerful as they did in advance of the Iraq war. I’m not sure it’s to the point that they’re beating the drums for war yet. But when the elite decide it’s time to go. I wouldn’t be surprised if they did anything but.”

      Steve Rendall is a senior analyst for the organization Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR)

      Rendall on the media’s countdown to war in Iraq
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JscSkAkeSpQ

  8. Mark
    August 1, 2015 at 12:47 am

    With all the evidence of colluding governments completely disregarding the law before and since wikileaks exposed their war crimes, one would think the mainstream press would be all over the obvious truth here and the public would be up in arms.

    But alas our demise began when integrity among media professionals had all been bought and disposed of along with freedom itself, like both were burdens to be shed — good riddance and we did love you once! Apathetic indifference has been tyrannies greatest ally and the only legitimate news is when the state imposes silence on honesty.

    Prison planet is on full display as our generation’s medal of dishonorable service. Deceit and oppression rule night and day while freedom is but an illusion of memory contained in wind bags who once thought it was theirs.

    As the new generation realizes their chains are the lies hidden in our past; with nothing to lose they plot a new course with truth as their guide for releasing freedom on tomorrows horizons.

  9. Hillary
    August 1, 2015 at 7:10 am

    Yes indeed the outrageously grotesque treatment of Assange brings to mind the famous Émile Zola “J’accuse …!” letter published on 13 January 1898 in the newspaper L’Aurore

    Let us hope that Mr. Pilger’s piece will have a similar result although Zola only escaped prison by going to England .
    IMHOP John Pilger is a brave journalist and Assange deserves more support …

  10. Vesuvius
    August 1, 2015 at 3:06 pm

    The Assange case: Thanks to Mr Pilger for the information given here.

    As a Swede, living i Sweden, I am sorry to say that media information here about this case still omits much of the important facts given by Mr Pilger. What we are told here is not much more than that Prosecutor Ms Ny won’t go to London for hearing Mr Assange (although she has said OK to such a trip); and that Mr Assange’s competent Swedish lawyers are working on the case. The awful danger meeting Mr Assange, described by Mr Pilger, is not mentioned here, media only report that he is afraid of being renditioned to the U.S.A. Generally, Swedish media have been, and still are, very bad at covering the heart of the matter in this important case.

  11. David G
    August 1, 2015 at 5:50 pm

    I don’t understand what Sweden’s alleged neutrality signifies at this point. After keeping their soldiers out of harm’s way since the Napoleonic wars, they now participate in NATO fun such as Afghanistan; they co-operate with the West against Russia (which is precisely the rivalry to which their neutrality primarily applied before it became a joke); and—as Pilger reminds us here—they enthusiastically participate in the depredations of the dark and deep U.S. “security” and intelligence state.

    What are they neutral on? Coke vs. Pepsi?

    • Brad Owen
      August 2, 2015 at 10:49 am

      For me, the fact that they still have Royals on a throne, descendants of either Victoria of Britain, or Christian XI of Denmark, is a huge “red flag”(or should I say “Royalist Blue Flag”), as I consider all of the current events “crises-of-today”, as being related to the existing, remnant Oligarchy of European closet neo-feudalists/fascists, and their loyalist servants in finance, Intelligence, military, corporate boardrooms, etc… “Revenge-of-the-Empire” stuff, upon the “Parliamentarian” Commoners throughout the World. Zionism is just ONE of their plays, from their “Playbook” (a common term from American Football). Apparently, Neutrality doesn’t currently suit The Oligarchy.

      • Mark
        August 3, 2015 at 2:46 am

        So would you say the oligarchy ordered Zionism to take control of US politicians in order to begin implementing Israel’s PNAC and Yinon plans after 9/11 or did Zionists do this on their own volition?

        • Brad Owen
          August 3, 2015 at 5:53 am

          The English-speaking part of this European Oligarchy’s been here, with us, since 1609, or whenever it was that Jamestown got started. They hadn’t hatched the “zionist Play” yet. Only the events of WWII made possible the use of such a Play…and yes intel operatives and lobbyists were ordered to come out of their Wall Street “counting-houses”, uproot O.S.S. loyalists to FDR, go to D.C., and keep it ours. Uproot all of FDR’s doings to abolish Empire, liberate colonies, develop them as sovereign Nation-States to make the U.N. a real place of peace and development. Get them to give birth to Israel. THAT is the New “Normandy” for Euro-garchs, reclaiming The Roman Empire’s “Eastern Provinces”. Just part of a much larger Plan. Without the powerful backing of the Oligarchy, a few Jews wouldn’t have accomplished anything…just another group sufferers, like Kurds or Armenians…and THOSE groups might enter into The Plan, too. It’s all about sewing the seeds of conflict, steering it, turning it to advantage…typical Empire stuff.

          • Mark
            August 3, 2015 at 6:52 am

            I’m not saying you’re wrong about who is behind the scenes, but I’m convinced fully convinced who exactly it is at this point. And in all honesty it makes no difference who it is if we can’t prove it.

            And it’s the ones that do the bidding right out in the open that deny us our right to the truth and thereby deny our rights to democracy itself. We know how they do it and we need to stop them. Otherwise we’re chasing an invisible bogeyman very similar to the one they have us chasing with the war on terrorism which the cabal is using as an excuse for committing ongoing and nonstop war crimes while literally robbing, enslaving and murdering huge numbers of people — including Americans…

            The question is where is their power derived from.

            Controlling the money supply and what’s known as “velocity” while intentionally putting people and countries in debt, like Greece — is one problem. Who controls the money and banking laws and practices? As we do know banking laws and practices are overwhelmingly and disproportionately influenced by Jews — and too many people are intimidated to state the truth. Here’s how the banks intentionally enslaved Greece:

            ‘The Greek Coup: Liquidity as a Weapon of Coercion’
            by Ellen Hodgson Brown / July 31st, 2015
            http://dissidentvoice.org/2015/07/the-greek-coup-liquidity-as-a-weapon-of-coercion/

            The press and media manipulating public sentiment through propaganda helped whisked the bank criminals to safety after they committed the biggest Ponzi scheme in world history leading to 2008 economic melt down. They also aided and protected our war criminals most blatantly since 9/11 so we could carry out Israel’s war plans for the Middle East.
            And controlling the network news and media in the Western countries are the again overwhelmingly Jews. Search ((( Israel controls US news))).

            And they control the US government more than most people are aware of as our politicians cower from AIPAC. In spite of the fact we have a president whose job it is to decide foreign policy to benefit America, how do you explain Netanyahu coming over here to tell our US representatives, and US, to reject Obama’s peace deal with Iran and war is the only option? Search (( Israel control US government)).

            You think all these realities are just a lucky coincidence for those who benefit at our expense?

          • Mark
            August 3, 2015 at 6:54 am

            That was supposed to be “I’m not fully convinced at this point who exactly it is at this point.”

          • Brad Owen
            August 3, 2015 at 10:20 am

            “Go to D.C. and keep it ours” is said in the Oligarchs’ voice. I do mean keep it in THEIR control. FDR was actually an over-throw of D- Party traditions of being an oligarch party of planters, money handlers and such (the R-Party was the people’s party, but THAT changed with McKinley’s murder, moving that other, “Anglophile”, Empire-loving Teddy Roosevelt into play. But he at least had a lively “noblesse oblige”). Sanders is attempting another FDR-like “coup” in D-Party. And since there’s no reply button on your box, Mark, I’ll just say that you’re right in that we should proceed to apprehend those criminal conspirators within reach…as soon as we can figure out HOW to get back OUR Government-of-the People, to make it perform this task. We’ve had it in our own hands not-too-often, these past 240 years…You know my take on rich & powerful Tories having never left, nor left “We The People” alone. Just don’t think that a “progrom” against Jewry will accomplish the task of ending the World-threatening Oligarchy. It absolutely won’t. THAT’s my main point about Zionism and all that. Don’t worry too much about that Dog’s tail frantically wagging. The Dog’s teeth lay elsewhere.

          • Mark
            August 3, 2015 at 12:13 pm

            Brad, Assuming we could have a fair in impartial trial, is there any actual known evidence that would convict the oligarchs you speak of?

            If not, then that leaves us with the possibility of a vigilante mob going forward without proof to hang who?

            Nobody here is calling for a progrom as you suggest. In fact many Jews are as unaware as others, or they’re in deep denial because of their own social conditioning, concerning the undue influence some Jews have over legislation concerning our banking industry and our foreign policy (which benefits Israel more than the US in many instances). The ties between legislation and banking are also complimented by the lack of truthful coverage in the propagandizing press that’s guilty of aiding and abetting those criminals — as Robert Parry and other authors routinely point out on these pages.

            You don’t seem to deny these realities exist in this current day — yet you don’t want to add them together and acknowledge the added influence and criminal results achieved with the three combined that otherwise would not occur.

            What I would call for, would be eliminating the undue influence in whatever form it now exists and manifests in the future, as well as prosecuting any individual guilty of legal violations no matter who they are.

            There is and always has been a great deal of human psychology playing into all of this with the motives of the deceivers, the denyers, the sentimentally or religiously biased along with all the sycophants and sell-outs and anyone else who caters to and perceives to gain from the status quo — all playing a part.

            As we know, with the laws currently in place, corruption is systemically built right into our political reality — and the vast majority do have a price for which they’ll sell out. It could be we’re all destined because of our human nature and instincts which control us much more so than what’s left of our compromised intellects due to human nature, instinct and psychological factors.

          • Mark
            August 4, 2015 at 7:07 am

            I’m beginning to wonder if the “oligarch’s behind the scenes pulling all the strings” scenario, isn’t just a ploy that someone made up to confuse others and take the light off the real culprits. We do know the oligarchs exist but who they are and how do they operate is the question.

            Looking at the current reality, the nexus of Zionism and American exceptionalist politicians are the two most blatant perpetrators of international crimes as well as crimes committed against the American people. They are in fact partners in crime, and while they perceive their greed and aggressive military impositions as being beneficial to themselves, they actually demonstrate a profound corruption of their personal intellects by trying to convince others they have moral and legal integrity — which they do not — while they are the epitome of double standards as partners in crime.

            We do know Zionism has an extreme amount of undue influence over US politicians in having the US fight their preplanned wars while they produce fake “intelligence” and propaganda to manipulate both the US government and public. We also know the banks and financial system, run most predominately by Jews, spends the most money of any lobby group in the US stacking the deck in their favor — how much of their proceeds go to support Zionism through AIPAC or some other politician corrupting mechanism? We know the US military “interventions” around the world are really invasions and wars by proxy that serve the IMF and Wall Street banks, by boosting profits for corporations they have vested interests in. We also know the press is little more than a propaganda machine supporting the US of Israel’s war crimes, foreign “interventions” and helping the government co-criminals smooth over blatant crimes they all commit — while the media itself is pro-Zionist owned.

            Where does the US go from here?

  12. Joe Tedesky
    August 2, 2015 at 1:43 am

    Did you ever ask yourself, to what drives an Assange, a Manning, or a Snowden? Each one is different. I believe Assange is a reporter, if I have that right, is he looking for the story of the century. Manning is a Private in the U.S. Army, I truly believe that she is doing what she is doing attempting to do the right thing. Snowden was working for a government contractor, so far as I can tell he is trying to make things right. I’m not sure among anyone of these people who I think has it the worst. But what do they get out of this? It is said that every man has his price. What about the saying that ‘everyone has a skeleton in their closet? Are we looking at the actors, and not seeing their directors? I personally see Manning acting out on her own. Being good comes at a price for some. I do know that the military can be very jive on dealing with people, who like to swim up stream. Assange, and Snowden, just kind of blows my mind. They could be living the Life of Reilly, and then again they could be wishing they were with Manning. As, far as I see it these truth tellers are doing nothing more than what Smedley Butler did back in the 30’s. If we as an American society were to demand a moral government (notice I left out religious) we would have a cabinet position for oversight. A better way of putting this would be to strengthen the GAO. I’m talking about a very public GAO. A GAO which would have its own free TV, Internet, Twitter,etc. in 24/7 mode of operation. The biggest problem all whistle blowers (& not just these 3 mentioned) have is they have no Media coverage. The Media coverage they do have isn’t portraying the narrative that may benefit them, and their missions, well enough. If you don’t believe me just ask the person next to you at the next neighbor condo meeting. While your asking them that, ask them if they ever heard of the USS Liberty!

  13. jaycee
    August 2, 2015 at 9:54 pm

    Even should the Swedish case dissolve, Assange still has to get out of Britain. I assume there exists a backup plan to move him to the USA. The current power structures in UK and USA care little for international law, fair play or decency. There will be no legal repercussions if Assange is effectively hijacked on the way to Heathrow, placed in a helicopter and flown to a US navy frigate. There is no check on power and a lack of honorable men.

  14. August 2, 2015 at 11:26 pm

    This article by John Pilger is very important. It sums up nicely the whole persecution of Julian Assange conducted by the US and it’s tools. Clearly, The people are the enemy – when you see the 1% and it’s tools ferociously attack the people’s champions. If Wikileaks was a union, they would just corrupt the union leadership. But Wikileaks is a bona fide people’s champion and those who work for that org are principled and brave. I won’t say perfect. But no one is perfect.

    The opposite of a ‘whistleblower’, like Wikileaks, is a ‘gatekeeper’ (http://bit.ly/1AyUpV0) like Marianne Ny or her once liberal, now neoliberal (fascist) government or her boss Claes Borgstrom or Anders Perklev or the terrorists in robes (including Barbara J. Rosthstein) that we see everywhere or Julia Gillard or Kevin Rudd or Ken Pascoe or Luke Harding or David Leigh or David Cameron or William Hague or SAPO. Gatekeepers are those who get between the abused people and the abusive 1% and it’s tools, who don’t mind abusing the people but really don’t want to take responsibility for any of the trouble they cause. Any member of the 1% or any member of any corporatocracy organization (governments, militaries, media) can be a gatekeeper, even though the basic idea of gatekeeping is that the 1% uses others to keep the rabble from disturbing their peace. Sometimes the boss pitches in.

    You have appointed (and therefore ‘paid’) and self-appointed gatekeepers, who can be absolutely anyone at all. Appointed gatekeepers will include those who are fully aware of their gatekeeping role, although that isn’t absolutely necessary. How can you tell when appointed gatekeepers know that their role is to speak soothing words to the powerful and otherwise keep the powerful from being too bothered by the rabble? Just a bit of common sense will suffice. When you see politicians and lawyers say and do the most outrageous things, including lawless and cruel things, then you know that those ones see themselves the same way that the conventional mafia’s ‘made’ men view themselves. They are ‘with’ the big guy, so watch it! Take the crap or else.

    They may be regarded by uncaring colleagues and others who themselves are willing cogs in the monstrous machinery of corporatocracy as ‘professionals’, but they are in fact professional scam artists. The Australian Consul-General, Ken Pascoe, in a position to help move Julian Assange’s situation in one direction or another, casually claims that all that he knows about Julian’s situation comes from the media! He’s telling us that he’s a gangster. He’s telling us that he’s just another professional scam artist, a gatekeeper. And if we want to prove to him that we are just dumb cattle, we can buy it. Or we can discomfit him by labelling him properly. He probably doesn’t care one way or another. Afterall, He’s with the powerful 1%.

    There’s some striking conjuntcions here. Pilger writes: “Katrin Axelsson and Lisa Longstaff of Women Against Rape wrote: “The allegations against [Assange] 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.”” Indeed. One need only read Malalai Joya’s account of the ‘liberation’ of Afghanistan to see the horrible truth of Katrin’s and Lisa’s statement about wars and occupations unleashing the hell of rape on women in occupied lands. Which is why our Canadian prime minister, who never misses a chance to flex Canadian military muscle – jumping for uncle Sam as high as he can before he’s even asked to – has studiously ignored Malalai. He doesn’t care so much about being caught in a lie, namely that the Canadian military is in Afghanistan for the women, since anyone who had such a concern wouldn’t lie every time he spoke. He just doesn’t want to bother taking questions about it and having to explain it.

    “On May 21, 2007, Malalai Joya – the young MP dubbed “the bravest woman in Afghanistan” by the BBC – was unjustly suspended from the Afghan National Assembly. Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper was in Afghanistan on that day and, two years later, has still yet to make any statement about Joya’s mistreatment,” writes Derrick O’Keefe in his Rabble article titled “Harper’s hypocrisy: Two years of silence on Malalai Joya from Conservatives.” (http://bit.ly/1OYE0O8)

    “The sad fact is that in Afghanistan, killing a woman is like killing a bird. The United States has tried to justify its occupation with rhetoric about “liberating” Afghan women, but we remain caged in our country, without access to justice and still ruled by women-hating criminals. Fundamentalists still preach that “a woman should be in her house or in the grave.” In most places it is still not safe for a woman to appear in public uncovered, or to walk on the street without a male relative. Girls are stills sold into marriage. Rape goes unpunished every day.” -pages 2 & 3 of “A Woman Among Warlords” by Malalai Joya (with help from Derrick O’Keefe)

    I made the point on my own blog that, considering the frequency with which Malalai’s Afghan enemies call her a whore and a commie (suggesting to me that the males in Afghanistan too easily excuse their acts of rape by calling their victims whores, an occupation which does exist in Afghanistan because some women have absolutely no other way to survive), perhaps we can conclude that not only is Afghanistan not liberated, but it is not sexually liberated, to say the least. But Afghanistan, in my view, could use sexual liberation. That’s because sexual liberation includes the empowerment of women and the education of men, so that a woman’s ‘no’ means ‘no’ and the men who they say it to accept that. When Afghan rapists call their female targets whores ‘and’ commies, Well, that’s a really GREEN green light, since that’s what their Western supporters like to hear. Clients can’t ever engage in too much commie-bashing.

    The theme of this comment, immanent in John Pilger’s article, is liberty. Liberty, clearly, belongs to those who have the ‘right’ political views. Gatekeepers, appointed and self-appointed, have the right political views when they serve those with more power than they possess. (They serve power by hindering, in any way, serious and not so serious, those who have the ‘wrong’ political views. Those who speak truth to power – notably whistleblowers and those, including journalists and writers – who defend them have the ‘wrong’ political views. That hindrance serves to create a buffer between the abusive 1% and it’s tools and the abused people who might like their abusers to explain themselves and take responsibility for the trouble they cause. Can’t have that. Best to keep the abused people off balance, frustrated, frightened, unable to focus and unite.) That’s how it works in the gangster corporatocracy. That’s why Noam Chomsky refers to American foreign policy as, simply, policy that follows mafia principles (http://bit.ly/1ISYsRu). There’s no positive professionalism in the gangster corporatocracy and the mafia (neoliberal or fascist) capitalism it embraces. It’s not about what you know and the talent you bring to the table, where everyone with power figures out ways to make the world safe and prosperous for everyone. Instead, It’s about who you know and what you can do for those who you know who happen to have more power than you do, who can prosper and protect you, possibly, if you please them. This is what one former member of Stephen Harper’s government (Helena Guergis) said about the way politics works in Canada. “”Everyone tried to please him… I admit it, for a time I was one of them. There is so much jealousy amongst caucus – so pathetic – all hoping for some small recognition – recognition meaning favour with the Leader. He is the one who gives things out.”” -pages 187 & 188 of “Party Of One – Stephen Harper And Canada’s Radical Makeover” by Michael Harris. You want to rape little boys? No problem, as long as you serve power. “Some soldiers have told military chaplains and medical personnel that they were instructed to disregard the sodomy because of a “cultural difference” between Canada and Afghanistan.” – Rick Westhead, “Chaplain says senior officer aware of rapes by Afghans,” Toronto Star, December 4, 2008

    But if you speak truth to power, if you expose the crimes of the powerful, you might actually be accused of rape that you haven’t committed. You might find yourself joining the multitude of victims who are viewed as criminals ‘because’ they are victims. That’s how it is in this upside down, godless, dark world.

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