The Gray Lady Thinks Twice About Assange’s Prosecution

Though The New York Times itself has not reported it, it’s No. 2 lawyer told a group of judges that the prosecution of Julian Assange could have dire consequences for the Times itself, explains Ray McGovern.

By Ray McGovern
Special to Consortium News

Well, lordy be. A lawyer for The New York Times has figured out that prosecuting WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange might gore the ox of The Gray Lady herself.

The Times’s deputy general counsel, David McCraw, told a group of judges on the West Coast on Tuesday that such prosecution would be a gut punch to free speech, according to Maria Dinzeo, writing for the Courthouse News Service.

Curiously, as of this writing, McCraw’s words have found no mention in the Times itself. In recent years, the newspaper has shown a marked proclivity to avoid printing anything that might risk its front row seat at the government trough.

Stating the obvious, McCraw noted that the “prosecution of him [Assange] would be a very, very bad precedent for publishers … he’s sort of in a classic publisher’s position and I think the law would have a very hard time drawing a distinction between The New York Times and WikiLeaks.”

That’s because, for one thing, the Times itself published many stories based on classified information revealed by WikiLeaks and other sources. The paper decisively turned against Assange once WikiLeaks published the DNC and Podesta emails.

More broadly, no journalist in America since John Peter Zenger in Colonial days has been indicted or imprisoned for their work. Unless American prosecutors could prove that Assange personally took part in the theft of classified material or someone’s emails, rather than just receiving and publishing them, prosecuting him merely for his publications would be a first since the British Governor General of New York, William Cosby, imprisoned Zenger in 1734 for ten months for printing articles critical of Cosby. Zenger was acquitted by a jury because what he had printed was proven to be factual—a claim WikiLeaks can also make.

At the Times HQ on Eighth Ave: Quietly realizing the consequences for itself.

McCraw went on to emphasize that, “Assange should be afforded the same protections as a traditional journalist.” The Times lawyer avoided criticizing what the United Nations has branded — twice — the “arbitrary detention” of Assange and his incommunicado, solitary confinement-like situation in the Ecuador embassy in London since March. Multiple reports indicate the new government of Ecuador will evict Assange into the hands of British police.

These days we need to be thankful for small favors. It’s nice to know the Times now considers Assange a journalist, even though it did not spring to his defense when he was being widely branded a “high-tech terrorist” — as can be seen here in my very last appearance on CNN’s domestic broadcast almost eight years ago.

Mike Pompeo, when he was CIA director, called WikiLeaks a “non-state, hostile intelligence service,” and Assange’s lawyers believe there is already a sealed indictment against him in the state of Virginia. Assange fears that if he is arrested on flimsy bail skipping charges he will be extradited to the United States.

Is the Fourth Estate Dead?

Ten years ago I contended that The Gray Lady — like the rest of the Fourth Estate — was moribund. More recently, I have been saying it is dead. I now stand corrected. Rumors of its death have been exaggerated. But how does one characterize its current state?

Let me borrow a memorable phrase from philosopher Billy Crystal, playing Miracle Max in “The Princess Bride,” while trying to bring the character Wesley back to life. He is just “mostly dead,” Chrystal insisted.

And so it is with today’s corporate media, with a tiny chance, now that The New York Times, watching out for its own equities, might help Assange avoid prosecution for practicing journalism. Actually, he has been accused so far of no crime of any kind.

Eight years ago, when the Sam Adams Associates for Integrity gave Assange its annual award, the Fourth Estate was a bit more than just a distant memory. So we attempted to put his award in historical perspective. Below is the textof the citation presented to Assange, together with the traditional SAAI corner-brightener candlestick holder, by former UK Ambassador Craig Murray (himself an SAAI laureate) and Daniel Ellsberg. 

Sam Adams Associates Award

Julian Assange

It seems altogether fitting and proper that this year’s award be presented in London, where Edmund Burke coined the expression “Fourth Estate.” Comparing the function of the press to that of the three Houses then in Parliament, Burke said:
“…but in the Reporters Gallery yonder, there sits a Fourth Estate more important far than they all.”

The year was 1787—the year the U.S. Constitution was adopted. The First Amendment, approved four years later, aimed at ensuring that the press would be free of government interference. That was then.

With the Fourth Estate now on life support, there is a high premium on the fledgling Fifth Estate, which uses the ether and is not susceptible of government or corporation control. Small wonder that governments with lots to hide feel very threatened.

It has been said: “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.” WikiLeaks is helping make that possible by publishing documents that do not lie.

Last spring, when we chose WikiLeaks and Julian Assange for this award, Julian said he would accept only “on behalf or our sources, without which WikiLeaks’ contributions are of no significance.”

We do not know if Pvt. Bradley Manning gave WikiLeaks the gun-barrel video of July 12, 2007 called “Collateral Murder.” Whoever did provide that graphic footage, showing the brutality of the celebrated “surge” in Iraq, was certainly far more a patriot than the “mainstream” journalist embedded in that same Army unit. He suppressed what happened in Baghdad that day, dismissed it as simply “one bad day in a surge that was filled with such days,” and then had the temerity to lavish praise on the unit in a book he called “The Good Soldiers.”

Julian is right to emphasize that the world is deeply indebted to patriotic truth-tellers like the sources who provided the gun-barrel footage and the many documents on Afghanistan and Iraq to WikiLeaks. We hope to have a chance to honor them in person in the future.

Today we honor WikiLeaks, and one of its leaders, Julian Assange, for their ingenuity in creating a new highway by which important documentary evidence can make its way, quickly and confidentially, through the ether and into our in-boxes. Long live the Fifth Estate!

Presented this 23rd day of October 2010 in London, England by admirers of the example set by former CIA analyst, Sam Adams

Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, a publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington.  He was an Army infantry/intelligence officer and then a CIA analyst for a total of 30 years.  He is co-founder of Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence.

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102 comments for “The Gray Lady Thinks Twice About Assange’s Prosecution

  1. Jane Christ
    August 8, 2018 at 5:53 am

    Excellent article. We need a free press if we are to call ourselves a Democracy.

  2. Bjorn Jensen
    July 31, 2018 at 5:47 am
  3. CitizenOne
    July 30, 2018 at 10:14 pm

    Like Persephone who was abducted by Hades to become his bride and who went from the goddess of growth and light to becoming the taker of light and the bringer of Winter we have our fourth estate biting from the hand of the CIA and bringing forth bitter fruit and sunless days devoid of nourishing truth.

    Lets face it. The media is owned by the CIA. It is a mouthpiece for the mighty Wurlitzer of disinformation and counterintelligence operations which seeks to mire the truth in a morass of propaganda aimed at obfuscation, redirection, collective consensus building and staging for their aims.

    Central to this is the staged three story deep strategy.

    1. Create a controversy by actively meddling in the affairs of state. A political upset. This is accomplished by open means and by public officials. None of these public officials involved will ever be mentioned ever again.
    2. Create a false narrative to blame an enemy of the state or enemy operatives for the results of the coup which was instigated and enabled by the actors in the first act.
    3. Use the false narrative of an enemy state or foreign actors to advance the agenda which is to end democracy in the targeted state and install a strongman or dictator who will “bring law and order” to the chaos created in step one.

    How does it work?

    1. James Comey and the Intelligence Agencies reopen the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s server gate 11 days before the election. This casts new doubts about Hillary’s competency just days before the election. The DOJ warns Comey that doing so will wreak of election influencing but he does it anyway.

    2. Comey and his election influencing campaign in plain sight dissapear amidst new stories about Russian interventions and influences in the election. The “James Comey Factor” never resurfaces ever again as he is instead called to testify how the Russians are the real conspirators. Senators never question Comey’s own involvement in the election upset or the possibility that the witness (Comey) was chiefly responsible for the result of the election.

    3. Use the national media to endlessly propagandize the nation that the Russians were responsible for the election upset while suppressing all other possible reasons including gerrymandering, dark money, voter discrimination, the Koch Brothers and unlimited campaign dollars flowing into political advertisements from entirely domestic politically active billionaires.

    The final act will be to bring into question the validity and the viability of the democratic election process itself faced with the insurmountable problems of uninterruptible influence by the Russians and the unstoppable influence of millions of illegal voters (aliens) which means that free and fair elections are impossible for the USA.

    I’m sure that the readers will find the cure worse than the disease as the unstoppable threats to democracy leads to its decapitation as the only cure.

  4. Britton Kerin
    July 29, 2018 at 4:13 pm

    Title is too nice makes it sound like they’re actually defending him now, which as Caitlin makes clear they aren’t:
    https://medium.com/@caityjohnstone/in-refusing-to-defend-assange-mainstream-media-exposes-its-true-nature-e5fd0cce471c

  5. David G
    July 29, 2018 at 11:35 am

    “Mike Pompeo, when he was CIA director, called WikiLeaks a ‘non-state, hostile intelligence service’ …”

    Every news organization should aspire to live up to that description, from the perspective of the governments they cover.

    They should nail on their wall: “We are a non-state, hostile intelligence service – and our client is the public.”

    • Skip Scott
      July 29, 2018 at 3:18 pm

      ABSOLUTELY!

  6. JMG
    July 29, 2018 at 2:39 am

    From the article:
    “Stating the obvious, McCraw noted that the “prosecution of him [Assange] would be a very, very bad precedent for publishers … he’s sort of in a classic publisher’s position and I think the law would have a very hard time drawing a distinction between The New York Times and WikiLeaks.”
    That’s because, for one thing, the Times itself published many stories based on classified information revealed by WikiLeaks and other sources.”

    So, the prosecution of Assange would mean the end of free press.

    • Rob Roy
      August 2, 2018 at 8:20 pm

      “… the law would have a very hard time drawing a distinction between The New York Times and WikiLeaks.”The law not withstanding, I can certainly draw a distinction between The NYT and Wikileaks, the former being controlled by AIPAC, big corporations, the MIC (notice how it waves the false flags it’s given for any war or coup the USA instigates, and pushes the ridiculous Russiagate onto its readers), the later simply presenting truth with proof. The distinction with no difference is among the NYT, Washington Post, CNN, MSNBC and BBC to name a few.
      I don’t think the Times deciders are suddenly defending Wikileaks for any noble reason, but rather to place themselves in a protected position which looks honorable. They will still go on printing propaganda … about Israel, for example, as will WaPo, CNN, MSNBC, and BBC. And they will still go on writing as though the Cold War is still going on even though it ended decades ago, and when false flags wave to attack innocent Iran, they will blow fire on the flames. I hope Sy Hersh, Julian Assange, the VIPS, Daniel Ellsberg, et.al., will be out there to bring us journalism we can trust.

    • Jane Christ
      August 8, 2018 at 5:57 am

      Good Point. Jane Christ

  7. July 29, 2018 at 12:55 am

    If you can’t trust liberal organizations like the New York Times to stand up for journalism and free speech, who can you trust? Surely not right-wingers, who’ve historically been at the forefront of censorship efforts, and many of whom were happy to support calls for Julian Assange to be persecuted for helping let the public know the truth.

    Fortunately there’s a third choice – libertarians. The Libertarian Party of the United States, like its numerous sister parties elsewhere, is strongly committed to free speech and a free press. Our platform [LP(dot)org(slash)platform] states, “We support full freedom of expression and oppose government censorship, regulation or control of communications media and technology,” and many Libertarians like myself have been strong defenders of Assange and have called on the British government to stop forcing him to remain a prisoner when they have not charged him with any crime.

  8. Kim Louth
    July 28, 2018 at 9:39 pm

    Thank you for your support of Julian Assange. a true hero. May he regain freedom in the near future and be rewarded instead of punished for all his sacrifices.

  9. July 28, 2018 at 7:50 pm

    OMG THIS WAS A GREAT ARTICLE AND SHOWS PROOF OF WHERE JULIAN STANDS LEGALLY IF JULIAN FALLS SO WILL ALL OF NEWS MEDIA. no way can america prosecute julian for any crimes

  10. Robert Tartell
    July 28, 2018 at 12:41 am

    “More broadly, no journalist in America since John Peter Zenger in Colonial days has been indicted or imprisoned for their work. ” Actually, in January 1973, Daniel Ellsberg was charged with violating the Espionage Act of 1917 for releasing The Pentagon Papers, which the New York Times dutifully published (long after the nation had been bled dry by the Vietnam War, which the Gray Lady, as with the myriad undeclared wars we have been involved in ever since, could have done a lot more to help end).
    Ellsberg, like Manning, to his credit seemed prepared to be sent to prison for his courageous act, but the case against him fell apart when it was revealed that government agents had broken into his psychiatrist’s office in an attempt to gather dirt on him- which should have been warning enough as to the danger of expanding the rights and ability of the government to spy and pry into the private affairs of American citizens, but the warning was ignored, and we are less protected than ever.

    • David G
      July 29, 2018 at 11:26 am

      Ellsberg was the source in the Pentagon Papers leak: he was not acting as a journalist or publisher. The analogous person for Wikileaks is Chelsea Manning.

      U.S. prosecution of such sources may well have become more frequent and severe, but it is not unprecedented – unlike the (still putative) prosecution of Assange and his organization.

  11. W. Hall
    July 28, 2018 at 12:32 am

    Singling Ecuador out for disapproval does not seem very dispassionate. That country has done more than any other to protect Assange, but is it Ecuador’s responsibility to “pull the chestnuts from the fire”, forever, when other states persist for years in illegal and indefensible strategies and pseudo-strategies. Assange’s Ecuadorian citizenship is not a birthright but a gift. Assange was born an Australian but even though Australia is a richer, larger and less vulnerable state than Ecuador, the Australian government has not been ashamed to allow the Ecuadorians for years to assume what should be their own responsibilties. Despite the assurances given by the Australian prime minister in 2011 that Assange is entitled to, and is receiving, the protection that any Australian citizen is entitled to receive “when he/she gets into trouble abroad”. That was deceitful lip service. Australian governments since then do not pay even lip service.

    • Tristan Sykes
      July 28, 2018 at 10:37 pm

      Couldn’t have said it any better Wayne. We need to shirtfront Julie Bishop and the Australian government about their position regarding Assange and it will be done mate.

  12. Figaro
    July 27, 2018 at 10:35 am

    The Gray Lady! Seems the whore has a heart of gold after all.

    • Anonymot
      July 27, 2018 at 1:01 pm

      Well, not yet. She has a heart FOR gold, but the one OF gold remains very tarnished.

      The once proud Times remains the mouthpiece for Deep State and a bauble in the Hillary bubble. She rewrites State Dept, Pentagon, and The Intelligence agencies’ press releases. That just one of her legal eagles woke up is not yet a victory for independent, reasonably objective journalism. Their staff remains loaded with people grinding their personal axes, screaming like high school girls at a rock concert, overloading on hate-men, hate-Russia, promoting LGBT, and doing what they’re told on everything else. Like most call girls, she knows where the money is, albeit, she works the Uptown crowd thinking that makes her a class act.

      But it would be heartening to get the old, free press back.

      • A
        July 28, 2018 at 11:11 pm

        why is the ny times a she ? As far as I know the board is mostly male. Is the wp female? Jeff owns that one To the best of my limited knowledge, not one woman owns a major newspaper, And I do not count oprah winfrey because she does not own a major publication.

        • A
          July 28, 2018 at 11:14 pm

          well yes oprah own a lot of publications , but not the times,post or others. no disrect to oprah

  13. July 27, 2018 at 3:57 am

    Hard to tell how sincere the Times’ lawyer is.

    Is he just making The Times look more reasonable before the coming crisis with Assange?

    I don’t think there can be much question how the ugly Trump crowd is going to act if Assange is forced to leave the embassy. Reports suggest the US government is seriously pressuring the government of Ecuador behind the scenes.

    It has long been a practice of The New York Times to publish unwarranted and even wrong material that served some establishment purpose of the moment and a bit later to print a retraction when the intended impact of their original stuff had been made.

    It’s a cheap trick, and The Times has used it on many occassions in the past.

    It’s called eating your cake and having it too

    The one indispensable fact about The Times you must remember is that it serves as the house organ of the American establishment.

    And Assange deeply wounded really important actors in that establishment.

    .

    • Anonymot
      July 27, 2018 at 1:05 pm

      The actor he hurt most was the greyed out lady of greed and vengeance who still owns the DNC lock, stock, and barrel. She still has the fury and power to maintain the pressure against Assange.

      • A
        July 28, 2018 at 11:17 pm

        who is this she exactly and why is this she has fury? Is this she your girlfriend?

  14. July 27, 2018 at 1:01 am

    James Madison, Virginia Declaration of Rights, 1798:

    “…That the General Assembly doth particularly protest against the palpable and alarming infractions of the Constitution, in the two late cases of the “Alien and Sedition Acts” passed at the last session of Congress; the first of which exercises a power “NO WHERE DELEGATED” to the federal government, and which by uniting legislative and judicial powers to those of executive, SUBVERTS THE GENERAL PRINCIPLES of free government; as well as the particular organization, and positive provisions of the federal constitution; and the other of which acts, exercises in like manner, a power NOT delegated by the constitution, but on the contrary, expressly and positively forbidden by one of the amendments thereto; a power, which more than any other, ought to produce universal alarm, because it is levelled against that right of freely examining public characters and measures, and of FREE COMMUNICATION AMONG THE PEOPLE THEREON, which has ever been justly deemed, the ONLY effectual GUARDIAN of EVERY OTHER RIGHT

    That this state having by its Convention, which ratified the federal Constitution, expressly declared, that among other essential rights, “the Liberty of Conscience and of the Press CANNOT be cancelled, abridged, restrained, or modified by “ANY” authority of the “United States”,” and from its extreme anxiety to guard these rights from EVERY possible attack of “sophistry or ambition”, …”

    Here with Julian Assange we have someone who has uncovered corruption in our government, which corruption by our federal government should never have been held in concealment from the general public; This act to reveal such corruption should be held in the highest esteem, because our own government, who should have revealed and pursued and prosecuted it, not only failed to do so but chose to hide it from the citizens that entrusted them with that responsibility.

    All people, citizen or not, have the natural right to examine, question, uncover, especially if hidden, all criminal activities by or through any official with whom our liberties and confidence have been entrusted; and to expose those activities for all to examine and thereby rid any such corruption from public offices.

    American Patriot Party .CC National Headquarters

    Website: American Patriot Party http://www.americanpatriotparty.cc

    Educate Yourself. Educate Others.

    • July 27, 2018 at 4:26 pm

      I enjoyed your comment.
      Since I was one of the last people on Earth not to have internet, I had honestly not heard of this man, Julian Assange. However, his information was interesting because he provided insight into a rigged system, especially with the Podesta e mails. After those were given to him, I would be willing to bet that everyone that ever had something they wanted published kept dropping him just about every good link under the sun. Are we certain everything is correct? No. How can we be when everything on the news is called fake the second some powerful entity decides that it does not fit their agenda. How to decipher a bombardment of classified or declassified, depending on how the law is interpreted, emails? If they have been leaked and when you get them, they say ” Classified” one would reasonably assume that they have been leaked by the only person with the authority to re label them ” declassified” and then the argument about whose they were and who leaked official e mails becomes a mute point, under this interpretation of what happened.
      We can not stand up for free speech and dismiss every other part of the Constitution. We have a separation of powers, so the judiciary retains its integrity and independence from the power of campaign persuasion donations. This issue is one we need to fight for. If you ever have to file a lawsuit against any city in civil court, you will see why. Pay to play is the motto of today. Judges might not even need law degrees, just enough rigged votes and private donations. Is that what we really want? Not me.
      Our judiciary did not seek a federal case against anyone for the content of those Podesta e mails for sound reason. They were not allowed to have them. So the job then becomes that of the press and free citizens to explain that content and why it is important, to anyone who cares about the rights of the people to have an actual voice in their government’s representation. I can not go along with a herd of angry people who want to throw Hillary Clinton in jail. What happened during the Democratic Primaries was very undemocratic and certainly, from reading the Podesta emails, I can find all sorts of evidence of various election rigging schemes. However, it is not a betrayal to side with the Constitution and the rule of law which protects us from unreasonable searches and seizures of private e mails that should not have been private. Had they not been on a private server, it would be anothet story. Still, the DNC, while reprehensible, is a private organization who claims the right to defraud the USA by holding artificial Democratic Primaries. So now that we are all aware, there seem to be more of us than them not willing to compromise on principles along party lines. I am fairly certain that is the lesson to take away from this internet created demonstration. Thank you for including me.

    • michael
      July 29, 2018 at 6:05 am

      When Bernie Bros took the DNC to court for defrauding the Election and using their donations for Hillary, the judge ruled that the DNC is NOT a government agency, NOT even a public institution. The judge ruled the DNC is a Private Club that can follow its charter, or not.
      The hubris and outrage over the RUSSIANS! breaking into a private club’s computers/ servers (although the FBI collected no evidence of a crime) as an Act of War, is befitting of an upset country club when teenagers break in at night and drove some golf carts into a pond.
      The outrage should be aimed at the fact that a Private Club chooses a candidate for President of the United States without any real consultation with the bulk of American citizens, giving us Hillary (and Trump from the other private club). This needs to change much more than, for example, the Electoral College.

  15. Zhu Ba Jie
    July 27, 2018 at 12:28 am

    Zombis . US media are so many zombis.

  16. Zhu Ba Jie
    July 27, 2018 at 12:27 am

    I’ve learned, in recent years, that the US Bill of Rights was inspired by the French Rights of Man & Citizen.

  17. Dunderhead
    July 26, 2018 at 5:08 pm

    Right on Ray but still the best line in Princess bride was by the character Vizzini don’t ever get involved in a land war in Asia, truly words of wisdom which are unfortunately also being ignored.

    • Paul G.
      July 27, 2018 at 1:09 am

      General McArthur said that, OK maybe he snitched it but his comment is better known and comes from personal miserable experience in Korea.

  18. hetro
    July 26, 2018 at 4:33 pm

    Since my comments are now “waiting moderation,” apparently due to my response to a commenter earlier, I will make this brief and move right along. I would like to link to what seems to me a very valuable article on the Assange dilemma.

    This article was written back in June, and reveals that at one point early in 2017 a deal was being cooked up between Assange and US intelligence in which Assange would be offered safe passage out of the embassy in exchange for redacting documents acquired by Wikileaks, information on just what happened at the “hacking” of the DNC etc. in the summer of 2016, and his assistance in how to shore up badly needed security matters regarding US cyber intelligence.

    Comey then cancelled this deal. Given insinuations of Assange’s “Russian connection,” it does seem that going ahead with such a deal with Assange might interfere with “the Russians did it” meme we have been experiencing since the election.

    http://thehill.com/opinion/white-house/394036-How-Comey-intervened-to-kill-Wikileaks-immunity-deal

    • rosemerry
      July 27, 2018 at 4:10 pm

      Thank you.This seems not to be widely published.

    • michael
      July 29, 2018 at 6:17 am

      Keeping Russiagate alive at any cost!

  19. July 26, 2018 at 3:54 pm

    “The Framers [of the Constitution] knew that free speech is the friend of change and revolution. But they also knew that it is always the deadliest enemy of tyranny.”

    Address, New York University School of Law, 1960

    “In the First Amendment the Founding Fathers gave the free press the protection it must have to fulfill its essential role in our democracy. The press was to serve the governed, not the governors. The Government’s power to censor the press was abolished so that the press would remain forever free to censure the government. The press was protected so that it could bare the secrets of Government and inform the people.”

    Opinion, New York Times v. U.S., June 30, 1971 (the Pentagon Papers case)

    – HUGO L. BLACK (1886-1971) U.S. Supreme Court Justice

  20. Ekaterina
    July 26, 2018 at 3:42 pm

    I wonder if any who “publish” anything on a fence in a form of graffiti is a journalist? Chill down! He is not a journalist. In fact, he has drown real journalism and free press in a sewage of his leaks! There is two way to try to kill free press – one is to prosecute real journalists and another is discredit them. Assange is making journalism irrelevant. He picks stolen privet emails and government’s secrets and publish them if they confine with his agenda. He made a garbage can out of facts for every lunatic to find some poop for building his conspiracy theories. Real journalist make an unbiased investigation, puts facts in a logical sequence, educates public about background and usual way of doing things and makes no room for fantasies. Assange is completely opposite than that. He sells his garbage as something meaningful and gas light public instead of educate it.

    • hetro
      July 26, 2018 at 4:37 pm

      More drivel.

    • pego
      July 26, 2018 at 7:57 pm

      Go ahead, sore loser, prove anything he has published is inaccurate or false. You can’t.

    • George Lane
      July 26, 2018 at 8:27 pm

      Talk about the upside-down and topsy-turvy logic of the US Imperial narrative regarding WikiLeaks (and everything else); somehow, primary source documents, unaltered and authentic, are “gaslighting the public”.

      Thanks Ray for another edifying article. I am heartened by the growing number of people who, regardless of their personal opinion or politics, recognize the mortal threat to free speech and press that Assange’s prosecution represents. We can all use some optimism in these “interesting” times.

      Mao’s words express the possibility for change inherent in these turbulent times: “There is nothing but chaos under the Sun – the situation is excellent!”

    • Nik
      July 26, 2018 at 9:01 pm

      What a passionate defense of the governmental powers!
      We have had enough of your MSM “education.”
      Guess you are on the same page with Clinton who wanted to drone Assange.
      Unlike the courageous Assange, whose extremely important and fearless work has been admired by all honest people worldwide, Clinton is a real criminal who made the highly-classified information freely available to China. Should not she be droned?
      Meanwhile, Clinton’s girlfriend-in-arms Debbie Wassermann-Schultz had been protecting a family of IT fraudsters from Pakistan; the family had an unlimited access to congressional computers (no security clearance was ever demanded from the fraudsters). The Awan Affair is about the gravest breach in the US national cybersecurity. Neither Clinton nor Debbie suffered any punishment for their criminal negligence.
      But of course, the haters of Assange see nothing wrong with the lack of unaccountability on the top. They are with Clinton and Mueller (both were implicated in the criminal Uranium One affair) and with the big-mouth profiteers Brennan and Hayden.

    • Zhu Ba Jie
      July 27, 2018 at 12:30 am

      Baloney

    • Realist
      July 27, 2018 at 4:53 am

      I get it. Assange doesn’t blast Putin, so he’s not real popular in Ukraine. Right, Ekaterina?

    • maryam
      July 27, 2018 at 5:09 am

      no good Ekaterina

    • rosemerry
      July 27, 2018 at 4:11 pm

      What a pity you use such a name for these comments.

  21. July 26, 2018 at 2:51 pm

    So if Assange is handed over, who will hear his case, The FISA Court ? You know the one that rubber stamps everything the FBI, NSA, Dept. of Justice and the other 100 or so multi coloured agencies ask of it? After all the Government will claim that all of the evidence is classified and therefore only the judge will be able to listen to it. Oh well Just like the present Russia Gate nonsence we will just have to believe it because they say so. Who needs any dang proof, proof is so quaint.

    Or will he just be taken to Guantanamo Bay and dissappeared like the other prisoners there without charge or trial? Either way I along with millions of others hold the same fear for him as average citizens held for those accused by the Spanish Inquisition. The Inquisition is a standard of justice that the US just might be able to meet. But maybe not either. Bloody Gina must be rubbing her hands together at the prospect of getting them on Assange.

  22. July 26, 2018 at 2:43 pm

    F. G., absolutely brilliant! What would Pompous Pompeo think if he read that (or could he think, anyway)?

  23. h
    July 26, 2018 at 1:12 pm

    NYT’s lawyer is a wise man. Julian is the Publisher of WikiLeaks – a 21st Century news source or as Ray suggests, the Fifth Estate. Just as the Sulzbergers’ published/publishes the NYT they too are facing a very serious investigation into the FISA warrant, the Senate Intel committee and their reporter Ms. Ali Watkins.

    Julian will never leave the embassy without assurances and if he hasn’t received them in the six, nearly seven years, of self-imposed confinement then he is not going to. The man must taste freedom again, which will never occur under the current dynamic he has had to place himself in to remain safe. Thus, someone must be the adult in the room to broker his freedom and end the madness.

    To this day, conservatives who make up Trump’s base applaud Julian, his efforts, his intellect and his sacrifices. Few will go to the streets, tweet or otherwise make noise. Those who hold influence among this constituency will defend Julian’s rights under our laws. The majority of these folks get their news from the Fifth Estate NOT corporate media and they are perfectly capable of putting two-and-two together.

    Julian is pivotal to the myriad of CIA/FBI/DOJ/State Dept/Senate Intel investigations, Trump’s base is most aware of the work WikiLeaks did in 2016 including Vault 7. They are also most aware of the queer circumstances around Seth Rich’s murder, the peculiar Awan case, the DNC computer(s), the bogus Crowdstrike report and the FBI’s cover up of Hillary’s emails/server not to mention the FISA Court abuse and all of those players involved.

    Trump’s base is all about destroying the nefarious two-tiered justice system and restoring the rule of law. Julian shares these goals and has done what few have done – exposed the underbelly of this neoliberal/con system.

    I say all of this because I see daily fear porn regarding Julian’s fate, at least in the short term. Ending his confinement and allowing the man to move on with his profession his career and his life should be something anyone with a scintilla of integrity would wish. Trump is not Obama. Trump’s base is not Obama’s base. And unless they are otherwise convinced Julian broke laws, which as far as we know he has not, have a dose of faith that his future isn’t going to be spent in confinement. It is my opinion that the man’s life is in danger more by staying in the embassy where the unhinged May/Queen government would pounce in a blink of an eye to destroy him. And sadly, yes, they’d likely get away with it.

    Facing his accusers here in the U.S. IS his fate. I believe the sooner he confronts the sooner this most miserable saga will end for him. And I’ll add, it will end favorably. I would never say this if either Obama or Hillary were in power. Never. Neither are/were worthy of anyone’s trust.

    • Maxwell Quest
      July 26, 2018 at 9:42 pm

      Enjoyed your summary, h, but I don’t think the Deep State gives a rat’s ass about Trump’s base. These demographic groupings are only needed to win elections and can then be thrown under the bus. Hasn’t this drama been played out again and again? Waiting for fearless leader to follow through on his platform promises?

      From my perspective, the Deep State is feeling very insecure with its over-exposure from the Fifth Estate and the subsequent loss of control of the White House, and sorely wants to make an example out of somebody. It’s lashing out and behaving recklessly. Most recently, with the Helsinki Summit hysteria and its accusations of treason flying hither and thither. In the case of Julian Assange, don’t underestimate the Deep State’s talent for acting stupidly.

    • Sam F
      July 26, 2018 at 10:11 pm

      You are absolutely right about the US “two-tiered justice system.”
      I threw that one at the Federal Claims Court in prosecuting judicial corruption.
      And of course they threw out the case with the usual lies denying jurisdiction.
      What hogs they are, the corrupt of the corrupt, to be hung from the highest tree.

    • Eddy
      July 26, 2018 at 10:18 pm

      Good post. However, TRUST, HONOR, LAWFULNESS ect, are no longer in today’s dictionary and have no meaning whatever. Trump himself has destroyed Diplomacy, and everything else that goes with it. Signing documents of agreement and HONORING such, have also been cast to the wind, and today, nothing of the like has any value, faith or trust, again in such procedures. To claim that the Major destroyer of such, (Trump) could somehow be Assange’s lifeline is I believe ludicrous.
      Assange is the mirror of global hegemony, displaying clearly for all, what’s going on in the real World, and for the Globalists, that’s just not cricket and must be stopped and made an example of, so no other individual will ever contemplate similar aspirations in the future.
      If the World ever placed value in all of the above, NOW is the time to show that belief by surrounding the embassy in Britain in their thousands to prevent access to Assange, and maybe even smuggle him out in the turmoil. It would be a sad day indeed, if the World were to lose Assange.

    • July 27, 2018 at 4:56 pm

      You know I have been thinking all along how glad I am that I live in the USA where leaking leaked documents is not a crime. I am glad I live in a country where I can have all kinds of stuff that the government might find inconvenient. Because they probably helped me get it, and still walk down a street with people surrounding me always, but they are friendly and not hostile. Thank God I am in the company of sensible people who realize that it is hypocritical to scorn someone for having secret information when our government is not supposed to be secret and our own Department of Energy has a website where you can go into every employee’s records without being an employee or a hacker because someone does not know how to manage security, from what I saw just by reading a link within a link which brought me there (heads up. You should at least have to enter an employee number.) I agree that he must trust the people who have his back and live a little. The people are not the enemy. The government is for the people made of people and I am not my own enemy, so the government can not be the enemy unless we let it become that. I am just so glad that we had that American Revolution.? Long live free speech!

  24. Bob Van Noy
    July 26, 2018 at 12:00 pm

    “These days we need to be thankful for small favors.”

    The public viewing of “Collateral Murder” is as significant as the reporting fo Mi Lay in the Vietnam War, which represented a turning point where the public largely separated from the “(Official Line” so many thanks to Julian Assange for his clear act of Journalism…

    Thanks again Ray McGovern.

    • Eddy
      July 26, 2018 at 10:19 pm

      Question is, Why has no one ever been held accountable for that publicly display of blatent murder ??????????

      • July 27, 2018 at 5:02 pm

        Because nobody knows what public display of murder you refer to? There are too many to recall which one you mean???? Was a person actually murdered and if so, when and who was it?

        • michael
          July 29, 2018 at 6:36 am

          The “Collateral Murder” tape released by Manning (who Obama jailed in response) was obviously referenced.

          With Mei Lei (and many similar massacres) there were lots of investigations, but basically it was military policy and only a handful of soldiers, confessing guilt, were punished. People like Kissinger and McNamara were hailed as brilliant statesmen; Sy Hersh used the words “liar” and “psychopath”, and faulted them more than the soldiers involved.

  25. F. G. Sanford
    July 26, 2018 at 11:41 am

    Sing along with the original Roberta Flack version on Youtube:
    ROBERTA FLACK KILLING ME SOFTLY LEGENDADO EM PORTUGUES BR

    Telling the truth from confinement, Shining a light on the lies.
    Telling the truth with their own words, Telling the whole truth with their words-
    Breaking the silence, forbidden, Tearing away…the disguise.

    Who owns the truth in this world? Can it be classified?
    Does any state crime merit- A license to misguide?
    The question begs an answer, If justice is implied…

    Claiming the right to deception, Framing the law with a lie-
    Shaming the honest exception, Hiding what they can’t deny,
    Stealing protections once promised, While praising what they…nullify.

    A hostile non-state actor… Or just an honest man.
    Gray Lady’s double standard, Or fed up with the plan.
    Imprisoned by the system, And secrets they would ban-

    Telling the truth from confinement- Rubbing more salt in the wound.
    Telling the truth with their own words, Telling the whole truth with their words-
    Breaking the silence – forbidden, Daring to speak, now he’s doomed.

    He told their darkest secrets, Revealed the whole nightmare,
    Without reserve or regrets, Exposed the whole affair.
    What price must justice owe him, Or does our nation care?

    Telling the truth without favor, Casting his freedom aside.
    Telling the truth with their own words, Telling the whole truth with their words-
    Facing the tyrants, fearless… Telling the whole truth, and with pride.

    [Syllabic Interlude]

    Breaking hypocrisy’s stronghold, Shining a light on their lies,
    Telling the truth with their own words, Telling the whole truth with their words-
    Granting no venal concession, Bending to no compromise…

    He was stinging their pride – Yeah, he was speaking their words,
    Telling the truth with their own words, Telling the whole truth with their words-
    Speaking their words and exposing, Exposing the lies that their own words,
    Glorified.

    • July 26, 2018 at 11:58 am

      Wow. Much obliged, F.G. Have just forwarded your lyrics to one of Julian’s support team. THANKS. ray

    • July 26, 2018 at 9:04 pm

      Just great. Love your lyrics.

    • Sam F
      July 26, 2018 at 9:45 pm

      Excellent lyrics, I am impressed.

      • Sam F
        July 27, 2018 at 8:30 am

        Your song especially appealed to me yesterday, writing an objection to a corrupt DOJ lawyer (who claimed that it is unpatriotic to formally accuse a corrupt US judge of crime in a case against the US!).

        There are no worse criminals than the US judiciary and DOJ, no worse fake patriotism. They are extremely dedicated to lies and corruption: it is their profession, their religion. No doubt it can be matched in Congress and elsewhere in the executive branch, and in the mass media.

    • Maxwell Quest
      July 26, 2018 at 10:17 pm

      Had to see what the fuss was about… Oh yes, very well done!!

  26. July 26, 2018 at 10:23 am

    Not true on the history, Ray: Wilson indicted Victor Berger, who was an editor. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Espionage_Act_of_1917

    • JMG
      July 26, 2018 at 4:10 pm

      SocraticGadfly, the verdict against Victor L. Berger was overturned by the Supreme Court.

  27. anastasia
    July 26, 2018 at 10:11 am

    The Times’ statement may just be more grand theatre, paying some feeble lip service in favor of free speech. They have been lathering us up for years now in such a way that we come to accept a curtailment of free speech. For example, there is already censorship on the internet of “conspiracy theorists” and other “right-wing” groups on the internet, and I don’t hear any hue and cry about free speech from any of these people about curtailing their free speech rights. There is also a lathering up about “fake news”. To get rid of “fake news”, wouldn’t there have to be a curtailment of free speech? Further, the media is also lathering us all up about “Russian trolls”. How do you get rid of “Russian trolls”? An effective way to do it is the curtaining some free speech rights. The media has put us in a hysterical panic about our security, about our being influenced by fakes and Russians. Russian trolls may not be “influencing” us, but they are certainly influencing the FBI. They knew Steele’s dossier came from the Russians, because Steele told them, and they didn’t even bother to verify the information, before acting on it. Yet, they worry about Russians influencing us? Should their concern start in their own backyard? Even Hillary’s e-mail server is a mental thread being stitched into our minds about maybe curtailing our free speech activities in the name of security. Hillary was right about one thing about her -email server. She said, “everyone in Washington does it.” Many examples were shown, even by the then President. More curtailment of speech is definitely in order for those in Washington.

    All this news about Assange, Russian trolls, fake news, “conspiracy theorists”, Russian “hacking”, cyber security, “influencing our elections”, unsecure e-mail servers, are all mental threads to get everyone ready for the curtailment of free speech. The media has fostered these ideas for a very long time, lathering us up, putting us in a panic. . Now , they write an article, probably on page 50, that they are “concerned” about “free speech” it’s borders on the comical.

    • Eddy
      July 26, 2018 at 10:24 pm

      Spot on, my thoughts exactly.

    • Zhu Ba Jie
      July 27, 2018 at 12:36 am

      You’ve forgotten NDAA’s secret prisons, Kill List death squads.

    • michael
      July 29, 2018 at 6:44 am

      Agree that the Times is just paying lip service to Freedom of the Press and Assange. If the link to John Solomon’s column is accurate about Comey and Warner showing bad faith in the pending immunity deal with Assange (mush like Bolton and Pence referring to the Libya Model before the summit in Singapore), there was no way the Establishment Government was going to allow Assange to leave. I’m sure the Times, as a major government mouthpiece, knew that and shared that view and desperately wanted to keep Russiagate alive.

  28. RBC
    July 26, 2018 at 9:41 am

    Excellent article but I would add one thing. John Peter Zenger was not the only journalist jailed in violation of the law. During the War of 1812 Andrew Jackson imposed martial law in New Orleans. Louis Louailler, who wrote about it for the Louisiana Courier was also jailed, as was the judge who ordered his release, the clerk who drafted the writ of habeas corpus, and the sheriff who executed it. Ultimately it’s a pretty funny story since another judge found Jackson guilty and fined him $1000. Jackson’s friends in New Orleans did a fund raising drive but failed to raise any funds (!). And there things stood until Jackson became President when he persuaded Congress to refund the money plus $1700 in interest. You can read about it here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arrest_of_Dominic_Hall_and_Louis_Louaillier

  29. mike k
    July 26, 2018 at 7:20 am

    The evil US Empire is bound by no laws.

    • July 26, 2018 at 9:39 am

      It’s evident every day.

  30. Joe
    July 26, 2018 at 5:15 am

    Thank you Mr McGovern …what would we do without the likes of you, Giraldi and others of your conviction and courage. I dearly miss I.F. Stone, Gore Vidal and Christopher Htichens. Surely there are others that will come to mind.

  31. RnM
    July 26, 2018 at 4:19 am
    • RnM
      July 26, 2018 at 4:21 am

      There’s a face that appears at just before 9 seconds.

  32. Joe Tedesky
    July 26, 2018 at 4:04 am

    David McCraw must read Consortiumnews.

  33. DFC
    July 26, 2018 at 3:04 am

    Sorry this is a little off topic, but a number of commentators have inquired about this film. It is available now, in perfect English for as long as it lasts. Andrey Nekrasov is a big a hero as Snowden & Assange for getting this out and is probably paying a huge price: (watch it while you can, it may not be up much longer)

    The Magnitsky Act -Behind the Scenes

    https://vimeo.com/281295276

    For anyone who does not know, it is about the $400,000,000 that got diverted from Russia, via Bill Browder to the Clinton Campaign that Putin mentioned in the Helsinki press conference last week. Watch the first 10 mins and you will be hooked. Absolutely SHOCKING and really lets you know who is running this world (ie: not the people).

    • NED
      July 26, 2018 at 5:06 pm

      I started watching this documentary this morning, now it is gone. How do I see the rest of it?

      • Devil's Advocate
        July 26, 2018 at 6:09 pm

        There’s a few links on YouTube. Resolution’s not great (480p), but…

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3E5sIHAHOV8

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=njzZcdoLP6c

      • Lisa
        July 26, 2018 at 6:18 pm

        At this moment, the film is to be seen here:

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QgK7MlZDuJ8&feature=youtu.be

        How long it stays available, nobody knows. It is appalling that Browder’s group is able to trace all appearances of the film and is able to ban them. Or is there any other plausible explanation?

      • rosemerry
        July 27, 2018 at 4:18 pm

        I found it yesterday and immediately watched the whole two hours in case it disappeared. I found it on ICH (Information ClearingHouse) at the end of an article. Will check and return if I can.

  34. Realist
    July 26, 2018 at 3:02 am

    If the American government thinks better of it and decides not to prosecute Mr. Assange (or perhaps offers him a plea bargain counting his time cloistered in the embassy against a short sentence), I wonder where he will choose and/or be allowed to live. Australia has abandoned him, and now Ecuador has betrayed him. He can’t trust any American vassal state within the EU, NATO or the Five Eyes (basically the Anglosphere). Would Putin allow him to run Wikileaks out of Russia? I suspect not. No free press throughout the Middle East, most of Africa or the “-stans” of Central Asia. China is not looking to harbor a gadfly of the West. Latin America is spotty, though Glenn Greenwald makes his home base Brasil, in spite of the de facto coup against the Left there. How well are human rights protected in places like India or Malaysia? Singapore, Burma and Thailand are too authoritarian. Arthur C. Clarke decamped in Sri Lanka for decades. Are there any truly sovereign island nations in the Indian Ocean or the South Pacific? Too bad Newt Gingrich didn’t get to establish his proposed Moon base. Julian might have managed Wikileaks from there, beyond the jurisdiction of any nation state on Earth.

    • July 26, 2018 at 3:45 am

      Uruguay

      • maryam
        July 27, 2018 at 5:16 am

        New Zealand

    • Skip Scott
      July 26, 2018 at 7:43 am

      Assange would need the equivalent of “witness protection” to stay alive, probably including a new identity and a new face. Anonymity is his only hope.

    • July 27, 2018 at 12:06 am

      Assange finding asylum on the moon is a frivolous comment, and if frivolous comments are permitted, why not outrageous comments? Are there Jewish people who would be outrageous enough to begin to lobby for Julian Assange to be given political asylum in Israel? Would he accept such an idea? Just the discussion of such an idea might be helpful in in clearing some mental blocks.

      • Realist
        July 27, 2018 at 4:37 am

        “Assange finding asylum on the moon is a frivolous comment…”

        Yeah, but it underscores the paucity of venues that could pay the price to shield him against American wrath.

        In response to your invitation to discuss Israel as a plausible safe harbor for Assange, I should think his morals would preclude that possibility, even as a last resort. It would be repudiating everything he has stood for. As they say, “tell me who your friends are and I’ll tell you who you are.”

    • Zhu Ba Jie
      July 27, 2018 at 12:40 am

      Gingrich’s moon base would have been a prison, not an asylum.

  35. John A
    July 26, 2018 at 1:35 am

    If Assange is expelled from the Ecuador embassy and then extradited to the US and questioned/tortured about sources and admits it was Seth Rich that provided the Clinton data, will the PTB reopen the Seth Rich murder inquiry? Just asking.

    • gazooks
      July 26, 2018 at 7:36 am

      If the ‘PTB’ had any such inclination it would have already happened. We can’t even get an AG to do an approximate job of administering even appearance of justice.

      Unfortunately, the political theater in which we’re captive audience has a narrative sucker’s well worn play that keeps us dangling for justice that never quite makes in into the boat, ..in case you’ve not noticed.

      Remember JFK? Bobby and Martin?

      Seth who?

      • Gregory Herr
        July 27, 2018 at 1:00 pm

        Yep, and not-to-mention, the tapes would be destroyed. Right Gina?

    • Zhu Ba Jie
      July 27, 2018 at 12:40 am

      No

  36. July 26, 2018 at 1:22 am

    Yesterday I watched the banned documentary about Bill Browder and Sergei Magnitsky: “The Magnitsky Act: Behind the Scenes”:

    https://www.bitchute.com/video/lQ3qEwX66pIL/

    At the beginning of the documentary the director has been completely sucked in by Browder’s story. Then he starts asking pertinent questions and begins doing some serious investigative journalism.

    In the end, it looks VERY bad for Browder, as it should.

    I would like to see Wikileaks dump some inside information on Browder, who is Putin’s “Public Enemy #1”. Too bad Wikileaks and Assange appear to be incommunicado at this time.

    • DFC
      July 26, 2018 at 3:12 am

      Abby, I just posted another Vimeo link above. It seems to be playing now, for as long as it lasts. This needs to get out.

    • Bob Van Noy
      July 26, 2018 at 12:23 pm

      abbywood, I totally agree. The larger picture of who Bill Browder is vitally important to understand.

      • July 29, 2018 at 1:45 pm

        Bob Van Noy,

        Vitally important is absolutely 100% accurate, yet an understatement if not accompanied by details pointing to the greater, all-encompassing scandal multiple times larger than Browder-Magnitsky.

        Exposing the Bill Browder-Magnitsky deception starts an inexorable journey leading to historic-level exposures of the global, decades-long, $Trillion-per-year tax evasion-tax haven industry. Readers of Consortium News will remember the massive leak of banking records in 2013 proving big-time tax evasion, the documents numbering in the 100s of thousands, from the British Virgin Islands (BVI). The scandal immediately became front page headlines around the world. Readers will recall the “response” of Barack Obama and David Cameron, shown together on worldwide media hours after the BVI revelations, where they assured the people of the United States and United Kingdom that “We cannot allow these tax schemes to continue … We will put a stop to this despicable activity …” etc., etc., etc.. Obama and Cameron gave the world those “assurances” in 2013, now 5 years ago.

        In 2013, Obama and Cameron lied through their teeth. With the 535 members of the United States Congress covering up the Browder-Magnitsky scandal they are effectively lying through their teeth as well. Each of them know Browder and the Magnitsky Act are giant frauds but they choose instead to protect the global tax evasion industry – a “going concern” operating with impunity for decades, and facilitated using “off-the-shelf” tax evasion schemes engineered by the world’s largest and most powerful banking, accounting and legal firms.

        • Bob Van Noy
          July 31, 2018 at 6:33 pm

          Many Thanks Jerry Alatalo. I’m not aware of the connection, but thanks to your responce I will follow up on your reference… Thus the great value of this site.

  37. July 26, 2018 at 1:15 am

    I really hope and pray that if Assange is seized either by the U.K. or the U.S. that Wikileaks has a bomb of information to drop onto the world that will bring the Deep State’s of the world to their collective knees.

  38. Jeff Harrison
    July 26, 2018 at 1:13 am

    One can only hope that the legal system can act like a legal system. That Assange won’t be handed over to the British cops or if he is that he isn’t handed over to the US. Sadly, Ecuador has pretty much demonstrated that they have no honor and we know that the British have none either from previous runs at it. If he winds up in American hands, he’s most likely to die of the tortures that military system he’ll be handed over to will mete out. Just ask Chelsea Manning or the 20th hijacker. The one thing he won’t get is a fair hearing or justice.

    He deserves much better.

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