Corporate media & some politicos who opposed Assange after the 2016 election have radically changed their tune, favorably influencing public opinion after the Espionage Act indictment of the WikiLeak‘s founder, reports Joe Lauria.
By Joe Lauria
Special to Consortium News
The indictment of Julian Assange under the Espionage Act has profoundly affected press coverage of the WikiLeaks founder, with much of the media turning suddenly and decisively in his favor after years of vilifying him.
The sharp change has also come from some politicians, and significantly, from two Justice Department prosecutors who went public to express their dissent about using the Espionage Act to indict Assange.
To the extent that public opinion matters, the sea-change in coverage could have an effect on the British or Swedish governments’ decision to extradite Assange to the United States to face the charges.
Used to Be a Russian Agent
Since the 2016 U.S. presidential election establishment media, fueled by the Mueller probe, has essentially branded Assange a Russian agent who worked to undermine American democracy.
Focusing on his personality rather than his work, the media mostly cheered his arrest by British police on April 11 after his political asylum was illegally revoked by Ecuador in its London embassy.
Assange’s initial indictment for conspiracy to intrude into a government computer was portrayed by corporate media as the work of a “hacker” and not a journalist, who doesn’t merit First Amendment protection.
But the superseding indictment under the Espionage Act last Thursday has changed all that.
Rather than criminal activity, the indictment actually describes routine journalistic work, such as encouraging sources to turn over sensitive information and hiding a source’s identity.
Since the Trump administration has crossed the red line criminalizing what establishment journalists do all the time, establishment journalists have come full-square against the indictment and behind Assange.
Leading liberal outlets, who until Wednesday openly despised Assange, began on Thursday to make 180 degree turns in their editorials, commentaries and news reports.
An editorial in The New York Times called the indictment “a marked escalation in the effort to prosecute Mr. Assange, one that could have a chilling effect on American journalism as it has been practiced for generations. It is aimed straight at the heart of the First Amendment.”
“The new charges focus on receiving and publishing classified material from a government source. That is something journalists do all the time. … This is what the First Amendment is designed to protect: the ability of publishers to provide the public with the truth.”
The Times praised Assange’s work:
“Mr. Assange shared much of the material at issue with The New York Times and other news organizations. The resulting stories demonstrated why the protections afforded the press have served the American public so well; they shed important light on the American war effort in Iraq, revealing how the United States turned a blind eye to the torture of prisoners by Iraqi forces and how extensively Iran had meddled in the conflict.”
Former Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger wrote:
” I find the Trump administration’s use of the Espionage Act against him profoundly disturbing. … Whatever Assange got up to in 2010-11, it was not espionage. … Imagine the precedent if the Trump administration gets away with this. Israel and India have extensive nuclear weapons programmes – each protected by ferocious domestic official secrets acts. Think of the outcry if the Netanyahu or Modi governments attempted to extradite a British or US journalist to face life in jail for writing true things about their nuclear arsenals. …
Assange is accused of trying to persuade a source to disclose yet more secret information. Most reporters would do the same. Then he is charged with behaviour that, on the face of it, looks like a reporter seeking to help a source protect her identity. If that’s indeed what Assange was doing, good for him.”
The New Yorker‘s Masha Gessen, wrote: “The use of the Espionage Act to prosecute Assange is an attack on the First Amendment. … It stands to reason that an Administration that considers the press an ‘enemy of the people’ would launch this attack. In attacking the media, it is attacking the public.’
MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, the Democratic Party booster, who probably had more influence than any commentator in drumming up the Russiagate conspiracy and Assange’s alleged role in it, on Thursday launched into an astounding defense of the imprisoned publisher. On her program she said:
“The Justice Department today, the Trump administration today, just put every journalistic institution in this country on Julian Assange’s side of the ledger. On his side of the fight. Which, I know, is unimaginable. But that is because the government is now trying to assert this brand new right to criminally prosecute people for publishing secret stuff, and newspapers and magazines and investigative journalists and all sorts of different entities publish secret stuff all the time. That is the bread and butter of what we do.”
Nick Miller, writing in The Sydney Morning Herald, said:
“On the face of it this indictment covers a lot of practices that are standard to investigative journalism: appealing for information, encouraging a source to provide documents that are not publicly available, reporting classified information you believe is in the public interest and the public has a right to know. …It may be that prosecutors can argue Assange was not acting as a journalist. But they would, by doing so, make the line separating journalism from espionage wafer-thin, and much more dangerous to approach, even in the public interest.”
The indictment for espionage also caused a number of politicians to back Assange. Two U.S. candidates for president and another senator spoke out in his favor. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) tweeted:
Let me be clear: it is a disturbing attack on the First Amendment for the Trump administration to decide who is or is not a reporter for the purposes of a criminal prosecution. Donald Trump must obey the Constitution, which protects the publication of news about our government. https://t.co/5JtHNHH2BE
— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) May 24, 2019
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) said in a statement: “Trump should not be using this case as a pretext to wage war on the First Amendment and go after the free press who hold the powerful accountable everyday.”
“This is not about Julian Assange,” Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) said in a statement. “This is about the use of the Espionage Act to charge a recipient and publisher of classified information. I am extremely concerned about the precedent this may set and potential dangers to the work of journalists and the First Amendment.”
In Assange’s native Australia, Sen. Rex Patrick said:
“The United States government’s decision to charge Australian citizen and publisher Julian Assange with new espionage offences relating to receiving and publishing classified US government information raises a grave threat to freedom of the press worldwide, and must be viewed so by the Australian government,” he said.
“The Australian government should be active not only in providing consular support to Mr Assange, who is an Australian citizen, but also outspoken in making representations to the British government against allowing Mr Assange to be extradited to the United States on charges that so obviously constitute a grave threat to press freedom.”
Bob Carr, a former Australian foreign minister, said: “While it appears capital punishment does not apply in this case, the US, by seeking extradition for offences that might attract a 175 years imprisonment, could be testing the tolerance of its allies and partners. I think this changes the game almost as much as if capital punishment were the penalty.”
Carr said Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne, “needs to protect herself from the charge that she’s failed in her duty to protect the life of an Australian citizen.
“Therefore I would imagine that Dfat (the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade) will provide her with talking points to conversations with her British, Swedish and indeed American counterparts.
“Not to do so would leave the minister exposed to withering criticism that they did not take all appropriate action that might have made a difference, mainly before the British court makes a decision.”
Extradition Made Harder
The Trump administration appears to have gone too far in its Espionage Act indictment, eliciting not only media pushback, but perhaps complicating its extradition case. The British home secretary may now not want to been seen sending a suspect to a country that has clearly criminalized journalism.
Miller, in the Herald, wrote:
“By bringing espionage into the picture the US have also made their extradition work much, much harder. Assange’s lawyers may try to argue that he is being extradited for his political opinions (which is not allowed), or for conduct that would not be a crime in the UK (ditto). This last is a very interesting question. The UK’s Official Secrets Act may be even harder to stretch to cover Assange’s actions then the US Espionage Act.”
The Intercept reported:
“The uproar could make it easier for Assange’s lawyers in the U.K. — where he is currently serving a 50-week jail term for violating bail — to argue that he is wanted in the United States primarily for embarrassing the Pentagon and State Department, by publishing true information obtained from a whistleblower, making the charges against him political in nature, rather than criminal.”
It is not clear why the U.S. released its superseding indictment when it did. It had until a June 12 deadline to do so. The U.S. government also had the option of a loophole in its extradition treaty with Britain, providing for a waiver to the “doctrine of speciality.”
That would have allowed the U.S. to ask Britain to waive the provision that the UK would have to know all the charges against a suspect before an extradition decision would be made, thereby not permitting the U.S. to add more charges once Assange was on U.S. soil. One possibility is that the U.S. asked Britain for the waiver and it was refused.
Personal Attacks Continue
The liberal news outlets who are now finally defending Assange’s activity because the indictment opens themselves to legal jeopardy could not, however, refrain from taking potshots at him.
The Times, for instance, admitted its role in cooperating with WikiLeaks, and thus its potential criminal liability, given the new circumstances. But the paper tried to wriggle out of it by calling Assange “a source” rather than “a partner.”
If Assange were merely a “source” he would not deserve the protection the Times implies he now merits as a journalist when they compared his activity to “something journalists do all the time.” Either he is a source or a reporter. If he’s a reporter then the Times is just using another reporter’s work but treating him as a source. If he’s only a source then he does not merit First Amendment protection.
“Despite anyone’s feelings about this spectacularly unsympathetic character at the center of this international drama, you are going to see every journalistic institution in this country, every First Amendment supporter in this country, left, right and center, swallow their feelings about this particular human and denounce what the Trump administration is trying to do here. Because it would fundamentally change the United States of America.”
And Gessen added:
“Assange is a fundamentally unappealing protagonist. He keeps terrible political company. He is, apparently, terrible company himself. In his writing and interviews, he comes across as power-crazed and manipulative. Most important, when he published leaked classified documents, he shared information that exposed people to danger. He is the perfect target precisely because he is unsympathetic. One has to hold one’s nose while defending Assange—and yet one must defend Assange.”
Senator Warren also found it necessary to blast Assange. She said, “Assange is a bad actor who has harmed U.S. national security — and he should be held accountable.”
Rusbridger said: “We fell out, as most people eventually do with Assange. I found him mercurial, untrustworthy and dislikable: he wasn’t keen on me, either.” Significantly, Rusbridger pointed out that, “All the collaborating editors disapproved of him releasing unredacted material from the Manning trove in September 2011.”
First, Assange’s revelation of the names of sources and informants in its publications forms a major part of the superseding indictment. But the indictment does not spell out any law that Assange violated by doing this. It is illegal in the U.S. to unmask a covert intelligence agent, as happened in the Valerie Plame case, but not to reveal a source or informant.
Second, there is no evidence that anyone was ever harmed by the uncovering of these names.
Third, most importantly as far as Rusbridger is concerned, is that he completely omits his newspapers’ role in the affair. Rusbridger was the Guardian editor when two of his reporters, David Leigh and Luke Harding, in their February 2011 book WikiLeaks: Inside Julian Assange’s War on Secrecy, published a password to unpublished and un-redacted WikiLeaks files containing the names of informants in files that only intelligence agencies and governments could decrypt. That led Assange to publish the files with their names in September 2011 so that the sources could seek safety.
Conveniently left out: Guardian inv. ed. published a secret PW in a book that led to forced release of unreacted cables. – Cowardly attempt to rewrite history: “The Guardian disapproved of the mass publication of unredacted documents …and broke with Mr Assange over the issue”. pic.twitter.com/OJ3JdS5y7o
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) May 24, 2019
“We don’t like Assange, so much so that we’re willing to violate minimal journalistic standards in publishing multiple smears and lies about him. But we profess to care about journalism when his plight could impact ours.” -The Guardian https://t.co/CgxkBJ6bSl
— Aaron Maté (@aaronjmate) May 27, 2019
The personal attacks on Assange and what kind of person he is has never been relevant. What is relevant is that he’s a journalist who has been persecuted and now indicted for practicing journalism, a fact that mainstream journalists have finally woken up to.
Joe Lauria is editor-in-chief of Consortium News and a former correspondent for The Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe, Sunday Times of London and numerous other newspapers. He can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @unjoe .
Not only is his personality not rekevant but whatever his real personality is has been completely lost in translation as the need for every self serving journalist and politician from both left and right to smear him has reached a point of obsessive lunacy.
Oh Julian….I know not who you are but hey, well done ,sir. Am sure you wpuld be better and more trustworthy company than all the cringeworthy jerks quoted here.
It seems the media is suddenly concerned with Assange’s fate only because this could be their fate. Not that many would have his courage. Advocating prison or worse for someone just because they have an abrasive personality is pathetic.
You know most journalist should be smart enough to figure this out, most of these people went to college didn’t they? Why did it take them so long to come around.
I never went to college but was able to figure out the facts behind Assange and Wikileaks, mostly just by following the right sources on Youtube. I think common sense is lost on this world.
You can not lock a man up for telling the truth
The people will win
May all the people who condem this wonderful man ROT IN HELL
The establishment media are government stenographers, that is why they are the “establishment media.” They do little to no investigative journalism of the state and that is why no one of intelligence takes them seriously. If they actually did their job there would be no reason for wikileaks to exist.
the neo-libs are soulless war criminals, while the neo-cons are brainless war criminals. they simply want to keep their propaganda machine, aka MSM, running without a glitch and with the facade of antagonism between them.
I predict that the persecution of political prisoner, Julian Assange, by the Trump administration (if it happens), will signal the final undoing of the US Empire as we know it. As degraded and propagandarized as Americans have become over the past 60 plus years, I do not believe even they will tolerate such a blatant example of hypocrisy and double-dealing.
Assange was definitely not a Russian agent. He was 100% his own agent and represented Wikileaks only. Here is how I view how this tragedy evolved. The candidacy of Hillary Clinton gave Assange an opportunity to revenge himself a little on the Obama administration for having demanded his extradition to the US to stand trial. He thought that he could use Putin and Trump and the 2016 election for that purpose by airing incriminating information on candidate Clinton only. He won when she was defeated. What he had apparently not grasped was that Putin and Trump might abandon him once that was done. They did because he was no longer useful to them. As Schiller wrote in Romeo and Juliet: “der Mohr hat seine Pflicht getan. Der Mohr kan gehen”: The black man has done his duty. The black man can go. I am shocked by this tragedy and its miserable consequences. It is almost Shakespearean. Assange must be immediately in hospital care, not in a jail.
To charged or to treat another human being like Mr Assanges for revealing the truth from corruption is not what Australia stands for . I do strongly believe that Mr Asange only did his best to benefit as all Australian citizens. Hopefully if he succeed to whatever charges his facing he will become the pioneer and legally serve our lovely country the beautiful Australia . Pls let’s help and provide the support he needs
Trump has again used the trump hate deep state puppets in fake media to save something good- Mr Assange. . Mr. Assange was actually Trumps ally in getting elected. The fact that so far commentors are unaware of their personal ignorance revesls them as part of the moronic nonvoters in USA or they are fake media commentors. Why anyone has any awareness or interest in any of the totally fake media puppets is what again convinces that the Americans have become Zombies and the most ignorant people on earth.
Excellent report Mr. Lauria.
I’m not sure which I find more disgusting; that Assange continues to be unjustly persecuted, or the sanctimonious hypocrisy now oozing from the preening pieces of sheise calling themselves, “journalists.”
This is a copy of my comment on various Julian Assange videos on YouTube. It is important to personally write to Julian and support him. This is how you can do it from the UK in the main. From outside the UK, it really refers to sending him a money order for his prison account in HMP Belmarsh Prison to enable him to buy for himself from the prison store paper, stamps, and whatever he needs like toothpaste, snacks etc.
Just spoke to Belmarsh Prison 011 44 (0)208 331 4400 and was told the following:
1. You can send Mr Julian Assange a money order of up to £250.00, out of which he will be allowed £15.50 a week for in prison purchases and phone calls
2. You must make the money order out to HM PRISON SERVICES
3. Mail the money order in an envelope addressed to:
Mr Julian Assange DOB 03/07/1971
London SE28 0EB
4. You must write on the money order your name and address, most important! Also, ensure you write for Mr Julian Assange’s Account DOB 03/07/1971 on the actual money order.
5. If you wish to send him books or items of clothing (no logos allowed) one can post them/have them delivered in the first 28 days after his conviction. But you can only send books to him via WH Smith or Waterstones, NOT Amazon. Again his name and DOB 03/07/1971 must in the address details. As it is near to the 28 days since his conviction, the only way thereafter that he can receive books or allowed items is to deliver them in person yourself to the prison reception according to the following schedule:
Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays both morning and afternoons:
Morning: between 9:15 to 10:15
Afternoon: between 14:15 to 15:15
Fridays Mornings only: between 9:15 to 10:15
Sunday Afternoons only: between 14:15 to 15:15
Saturdays and Mondays this service is not available.
6. He is not allowed stamps to be sent. You can write to him in the prescribed manner including a stamped self-addressed envelope for your own personal reply, but your name and address on the reply envelope must be in ink, not pencil. He is not allowed stamps or stationary etc from outside sources but must buy the items from the prison shop itself.
7. The prison receptionists I spoke to were most helpful and pleasant. They said to please phone for any further information. My comment is they will answer your questions but will not give any other information unless directly asked. I had to phone back for the specific HMP Prison name to be written on the money order, ie HM Prison Services with one’s name and address to be written on it and Julian Assange’s name and DOB: 03/07/1971, to ensure he gets the money order’s amount credited into his prison account. When asking how to get money to him without having his prison number they did not tell me this, they just said a money order could be sent. I had to phone back as I did not think to ask this at the time of my first phone call for the correct name to be put on the money order. He is not allowed to receive postal orders or money directly.
8. All letters to him are read before he receives them. The best way to write to him and send him a letter and card to cheer him up is to send it in an unsealed envelope addressed to him, inside a sealed envelope addressed to him at the HMP Belmarsh Prison address above.
9. Online Payment: One cannot send any money to Julian Assange online unless one has his prison number for the prison service’s computer to correctly assign that payment to his specific prison account. The only way you can obtain his prison number is to write to him, and if he replies with it you can pay him that way. But the money order method is better, as really only close friends and family should have access to his prison number.
Please copy and paste the above to other YouTube videos whose subject is Julian Assange as he needs our support.
While the issue of protecting journalists is important, it is not the primary issue, and the whistleblowers they publish deserve the same protection, or there will be nothing to publish. The primary issues are
1. What secrets may legitimately be protected; and
2. How do we ensure that illegitimate secrets can be lawfully exposed?
Secrecy is legitimate when it protects strictly legitimate actions of government, for example, details of the Normandy invasion before it began, or identities of secret agents subject to injury is exposed. That can be defined, and processes exist to redact or select documents or maters to expose, either by submission for redaction or by publishing redaction standards to be met.
Secret acts, programs, or policies of government, in which it may have great investment or place great value that could be much impaired by exposure, may or may not be legitimate. They are legitimate where the policy proceeds strictly from a definite vote of a democratically elected Congress on the specific policy, and does not significantly extend, alter, or subvert the intent of the policy.
But that is almost never the case:
1. Large secret programs invariably extend far beyond whatever ruse was given to Congress;
2. Congress acts carelessly on committee wording buried in tricky bills, based on paid-ff MIC operatives;
3. Congress is not elected by democratic process, but by paid-off party operatives using mass media owned by oligarchy.
So the People rarely would approve of the large secret wars and surveillance programs allegedly approved by a democratic process, if they knew the facts, the real problems, and the alternatives. The People do not make policy.
The problem is that the DOJ and Judiciary are tribalists dependent upon those oligarchy payoffs and tribal groupthink, and will never agree that runaway secret wars and surveillance are not legitimate policy. They will always attack anyone who reveals the nature and extent of such a program, just as they attack those who reveal legitimate secrets. The question of the the legitimacy of US foreign policy will never come up in court. But that is the question the People must decide now, to have a basis for viewpoints on Assange. Not whether “journalism” is protected categorically.
The solution is to demand that foreign and domestic policy be made by the people after substantial properly-organized public debate. That requires amendments to the Constitution to restrict funding of elections and mass media to limited individual donations or public funding, and to prohibit foreign wars except in defense against military attack, or under UN auspices and control. Without that we cannot have democratic control of secret activities.
Sorry for the several typos etc., due to insufficient editing time.
What I see in the matter of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange is that he embarrasses the Main Stream Media for their lack of true journalism that they turned a blind eye to. JFK in his last address to the Congress, said the Secrecy is Repugnant to any Democracy, by a well organized Secret society hiding behind the cover of Law, in this case “Classified as Secret ” that the public can’t know about. George Orwell said “Threats to Freedom of Speach ,writing, and actions, though often trivial in isolation, are cumulative in their effects and unless checked, lead to a general disrespect for the Rights of the Citizens” and should be viewed as an abuse of power by the Citizens of the world.
Crappy Australia has Never stood up for their own citizen. Let’s face it, when Uncle Sam farts, Britain and Australia inhale.
Assange did US citizens & the world a favor by publishing that the military is not acting in ordinary people’s best interests.
The first four people to be prosecuted under the Espionage Act 1917 included Victor L Berger. Not only was he an anti-war socialist, he was also an elected Congressman and a journalist, editor and publisher of several newspapers – including those he founded. On 20 February 1919 he was found guilty (in a biased process later overturned on appeal) and convicted to 20 years in federal prison. None of this is secret or hard to find why does CN, of all people, play along with the MSM idea that suddenly this is a terrible new development? It isn’t. The people you are praising are the ones who have enabled the persecution of Assange all along.
No journalist before Assange had ever been prosecuted under Section E of the Espionage Act, i.e. for mere possession and for dissemination of classified information. Berger and the others, including editors at The Masses, were prosecuted under a different section involving interference with the military draft, not for possessing and publishing classified information,
Superb comment, Sam F.
I would suggest that the definition and description of what may legitimately be classified as “secret”, must be clear not only to the three branches of our currently fake “democracy, but also to the people, that neither may be changed without the INFORMED consent, as opposed to manipulated or “manufactured” a quiescence of the people.
That would render fear-mongering, war-mongering, and lies used to start wars as criminal behavior.
Further, if there is no accountability for policies such as torture, as spying on the people, as cynically bringing the economy, not merely of the nation, but the world, and so on, then mere words are empty nothings.
We human beings, world wide, must confront a pathological minority, the self-selected elite as if our very lives and wellbeing, as if our children’s lives and wellbeing, as if life itself, on this planet were at risk as, in fact, all these things, including the well being of the planet, in terms of its capacity to support our very existence, ARE at risk.
The elite have no qualms about starting wars, using lies, using a compliant media and academia to promote those lies.
The elites care not a whit how many or who dies, is dispossessed, is made homeless or made a refugee of “sacrifice zones”, be they economic, military, politically “expedient”.
The elites risk the lives, wellbeing, futures, and dreams of others without ANY risk of consequence to themselves.
Clearly, secrecy, in the name of “National Security”, have hidden many many things that, if known, might well put the complaisant elite at genuine risk and even in jeopardy. One thinks of the relative security of CIA and “intelligence” officials, now media pundits, despite behavior already known, and still hidden, that have brought this nation into well-deserved disrepute among those capable of critical thought.
It is simply amazing that, especially since the Supreme Court, quite illegally and un-Constitutionally, inserted itself into the 2000 U$ presidential election, so very much harm has been done by high officials in this nation, along with the “few bad appples” publicly blamed, and not a single one, any more than a single bankster or Wall Streeter, has ever been brought to justice or accountability.
Remember, it was not just the FBI who played fast and loose with the truth around “Russiagate”, the entire “intelligence community” is implicated, along with very many of the political and, presumably(wink, wink) the financial elite.
How many of the elites from all the bastions of power and wealth would love to silence and make example of Assange?
How many benefit from secrecy and solemn claims of their great patriotic concerns and devotion to “National Security”?
Some same object and feel it is not “fair” to hold to account those who wield power, to suggest that they are public servants and not masters.
Yet what might be said of a person who decides on Tuesday who it is that shall be killed on Thursday, especially when they brag that they are “getting pretty good at it”?
What may be said of corporate officials who know their products are harmful but do not care? Might we be able to list several examples of such behavior over the last forty or fifty years?
What might be said of politicians who permit lobbyists to effectively write legislation that benefits those for whom the lobbyists work even as those lobbyists “contribute” to the political “war-chests” of the lazy politicians, who seek “public service” not to serve the public but to enrich themselves, even to the extent of allowing themselves access to “insider information” to accumulate wealth in such fashion as the public will never learn how it is done.
Does not the whole system depend upon deceit, upon secret dealings, upon a “public stance” and a secret “private position”?
When voting “machines” are proprietary, when corporate doings, just like what constitutes the make-up of fracking “materials” are likewise “proprietary”, subject to no scrutiny or controls, then it is obvious that truth-telling, even about the goings on in slaughterhouses, must be, bybits very “nature” kept secret and hidden.
Else the people might object.
They might even refuse to participate in elections when “the choice” is between war and greed, on the one hand, and greed and war, on the other …
That would undermine any pretense of legitimacy.
The sole purpose of rigged elections, in the U$, is that pretense,
Just on the face of it, who could honestly, and openly, ever “believe” to there is really only a choice between Team Blue and Team Red?
It may be that the idea is to keep things “simple”.
The trouble with Assange, and even with many who comment here, is the capacity to grasp nuance and the ability to comprehend the larger context.
Once upon a time, that was understood as common sense.
Now, we have “secrecy” and “sophisticated” psychological manipulation dutifully abetted by an “educational” system designed not to encourage either critical thought or a sense of personal agency, instead what is inculcated, beyond the cultural myths of U$ superiority in all things, is precisely what the psychologists Mitchell and Jessen sought to instill in the victims of the torture program; learned helplessness.
The role of the MSM is to stoke “righteous anger” toward “enemies” of the state, of “the other”, and of any who dare question.
Has the MSM seen the light?
Perhaps that is far less important than the many realizing that the MSM cannot be trusted any more than may be the elites who ignore the genuine needs and decent aspirations of those many?
That said, it still falls to each and every one of us who do appreciate what Assange has revealed, to engage our fellow human beings in discussions around what is actually occurring, not just the daily outrages, but the underlying corruption that the elites wish to hide away from sight and thought, from discussion and examination.
That is no easy task as many here well know.
Nonetheless, it is necessary.
It might be wise to have some thoughts to share regarding how a more sane, humane, and sustainable human society might be fashioned, as well.
Thanks, DWB. I like your idea of making the secrecy boundary clear in the supreme law, which should also clarify military power limits, and limits to the power of treaties. Severe accountability for torture, spying, and economic war, as well as for manipulation of mass media, elections, and judiciary, should be part of that highest law.
Indeed it is a very small and pathological tyrant class whom we oppose now, at least as much as in our Revolutionary War, working against us by ever modernized means of economic and information power, and the tools of that revolution are ever less available.
Commenters here should indeed share thoughts on “how a more sane, humane, and sustainable human society might be fashioned,” as those are the debates that shape our future. I often advocate a College of Policy Debate to protect all viewpoints and produce commented moderated textual debate summaries available to the public with mini-quizzes, by experts in all disciplines, regions, and policy areas. As a fourth branch of federal government and fifth estate, that would substantially expose the secrecy and corruption of government, educate the public, and subject politicians and mass media to a standard of truth, if only for those who seek the truth.
Great piece and some great comments too. It’s a real pity that we can’t upvote the comments, nor that the layout of the commenting system is arranged in such a way to make it easier to reply and view sub-replies. I’m new here and making suggestions for improvement. Keep up the good work guys.
I agree Frank. This is a great site, but the comment section could use an upgrade. Medium has a pretty good set-up. You are notified by email when there is a response to your comment, and you can clap up to 50 times for an article or a comment.
CN uses Akismet, and it sucks. I’ve been on continuous “moderation” for months now (probably for criticizing Akismet), and I just was out of the loop for the entire 3 day Memorial Day weekend.
Welcome to a great website. It is definitely worth supporting.
I don’t agree with either assessment of this forum. As I’ve stated before I comment here because I don’t have to use other social medium platforms and all the baggage they attach. But I do read the forums on some other sites that you must access through Disqus, Twitter, Facebook, etc. There are many posters, identities, whatever you might like to call them that are highly partisan, continually press one viewpoint or another or are simply there to tear done one high-profile pol or another. Those sites that have instant posting often devolve into endless and highly predictable shouting matches that ultimately lead nowhere.
By the simple mechanism of keeping this forum site “not-so-instantaneous” I do believe it keeps most of those paid or unpaid habitual forum degraders away from here. They either don’t have the patience or are tasked to put out all fires (opinions and sentiments they wish NOT to gain traction) immediately and this site is too cumbersome for them.
Becoming old and admitting to being old-school I appreciate comments composed of whole coherent sentences, and more importantly whole coherent thoughts. Yes, many here, including myself, have themes of opinion and knowledge that repeat and can be predictable, but it is nothing like some other forums that are so predictable that you only need to scan the screen-names to glean the content. Some of those screen-names occasionally show up here, but usually don’t stick around, and I’m guessing it’s because of the lack of instant gratification, or because of what they’re tasked to do (?)
To repeat and put a fine point on it: though the operation of this forum is not conducive to a fluid back-and-forth it does seem to protect itself, in this method, from the degradation suffered by many other forum sites.
Just my opinion. I sometimes also see my comments go into moderation. I’ve noticed that happens on days were I post more than several comments. This also leads me to believe my assessment of CN’s strategy is correct.
Im wondering where you get that Assange was indicted under the espionage act. I read the indictment and there’s absolutely nothing in there about espionage. Hes charged with circulating government material without authority to do so and conspiracy with Manning. Please see this and show where its incorrect.
JD Lupton, you didn’t read the article properly. The INITIAL indictment has been SUPERSEDED by one charging Assange under the Espionage Act:
“Assange’s initial indictment for conspiracy to intrude into a government computer was portrayed by corporate media as the work of a “hacker” and not a journalist, who doesn’t merit First Amendment protection.
But the superseding indictment under the Espionage Act last Thursday has changed all that. “
Some questions about Assange that trouble me;
1. We’re presented with many media narratives that attempt to sway us into sympathizing with Assange as a whistleblower exposing the evils of the US empire. However, when I overlay this with facts we’ve recently become awakened to, I’m suddenly left suspicious and sceptical.
I’m talking about how manipulative the media is and how they carry narratives to aid the agenda of an International Crime Cartel made up of globalist think tanks with interlocking members all of whom are ultimately financed and run by the British establishment and ultimately The Crown. Yet here we are facing all the very same media outlets running Assange sympathy narratives…think about it.
2. Assange has only ever distributed material GIVEN to him by parties unknown.
3. Assange says he had a dead man switch that would release devastating information should he die or be forcibly arrested. So what happened? Was the switch faulty or was it bullshit?
4. It’s become reasonably widespread knowledge that Snowdon was a CIA asset who was infiltrated into the NSA in order to discredit it and allow the CIA to take over it’s data collection function. We also know he met Greenwald and spilled his fake narrative while in Hong Kong. The fact he was allowed to depart Hong Kong and travel to Russia is evidence strings were pulled. We know therefore the CIA is an organization that is prepared to leak material damaging to national security in order to consolidate its power.
5. Given the theatre of Assange vs Clinton why have wikileaks never had possession or released truly devastating material on Clintons well publicized crimes? Sure they released the Democrat party primary rigging, but how damaging really was that? Did the wikileaks release of DNC and Podesta emails swing the election? I don’t think so. It provided confirmation to existing Clinton haters, but I dispute it moved significant Democrat voters to vote for Trump.
6. In Chris Steeles messages to Bruce Ohr, he uses the term “our guy”. It seems most likely he is referring to Assange (John Soloman and Jeff Carlson both agree with this). In January 2017 leading up to Trump’s inauguration Assanges legal team were making enquiries about a possible immunity deal with the new administration in exchange for info to mitigate future national security damage. Chris Steele texts “…We can’t allow our guy to be forced to go back home. It would be disastrous all round…”
Why would Steele, heavily involved in the spygate and Russian collusion hoax be desperate for Assange to not go to the US?
Sure I have given 6 points that speculate all is not clear cut about Assange and I know I can get multiple examples of how I’m wrong.
However the biggest alarm bell for me is the behaviour of the fake news media about Assange. I just have a feeling that Assange and wikileaks may prove to have been a deep state operation all along.
Bizarre viewpoint, or deliberate disinfo, take your pick.
I find your argument unlikely and untenable. Steele may very well have used the term “our guy” to create that impression that he had a relationship with Assange when he did not. There has been speculation for a decade now that Assange was a CIA operative. No evidence for this has ever surfaced, and I doubt it ever will surface. Assange began hacking into Aussie govt computers as a young teenager. As an adult he saw the value to the public of releasing information in this way. When you hear hoofbeats think horses, not zebras.
He’s not a whistleblower. He’s a publisher.
There are plenty of publishers who are uncritically publishing material given to them deliberately by government, military and intelligence organizations for publication. But just because Assange is a publisher and not a whistleblower is no reason whatsoever to imagine that he is therefore somehow a deep state operative. It’s not just that there’s no proof; it is that there is not a whiff of an indication thereof.
But these publishers who distribute deliberately seeded statements are not prosecuted; this is because they are doing roughly what the government and deep state want them to do.
Wikileaks, by contrast, publishes documents not prepared for publication. This is what reveals things about governments and corporations. It is also what draws their angry responses. As a point for comparison, how many elected public officials in the United States have publicly called for other journalists to be killed, jailed, or mistreated in custody?
This difference ought to give some indication who is in league with the state and who is not.
chepup – Your question 6 : “Why would Steele, heavily involved in the spygate and Russian collusion hoax be desperate for Assange to not go to the US?”
Answer : “our guy” is code word for Assange …but Assange was not one of the guys on Steeles’ team. His information will totally prove the hoax/witch hunt.
Comment : seems that “the Deep State” is finally being brought to heel… and thus its mouth pieces (CNN/MSNBC etc) must switch tactics to change their narratives… thus are now trying to pretend that Assange’s evidence would be against the current administration instead of what was : against the previous administration which was a pawn of the Deep Stated . It is getting safer for Assange to come back to the US… but he is still a target for Deep State assassins !
“Back home” for Assange is Australia, not the US. So Steel must have been referring to someone else. Perhaps Skipral, and “back home” is Russia. Where are the Skiprals today? Curious, isn’t it?
Assange is like a new Jesus Christ!
This is what I have been sayin about this case all along. A freedom of of Speech and the Press case. If Trump presses this fake Espionage case he will lose and we will win. Bring it on!!!
The problem with America and a big part of the world is that you were brainwashed, so the TOP SECRET classification has become a norm! And you don’t realise it, people!!! I will refresh your memory with JFK’s speach about secrecy: Here is a part of the transcript:
“The very word “secrecy” is repugnant in a free and open society; and we are as a people inherently and historically opposed to secret societies, to secret oaths and secret proceedings.
We decided long ago that the dangers of excessive and unwarranted concealment of pertinent facts far outweighed the dangers which are cited to justify it. Even today, there is little value in opposing the threat of a closed society by imitating its arbitrary restrictions.
Even today, there is little value in insuring the survival of our nation if our traditions do not survive with it. And there is very grave danger that an announced need for increased security will be seized upon those anxious to expand its meaning to the very limits of official censorship and concealment.
That I do not intend to permit to the extent that it is in my control.
And no official of my Administration, whether his rank is high or low, civilian or military, should interpret my words here tonight as an excuse to censor the news, to stifle dissent, to cover up our mistakes or to withhold from the press and the public the facts they deserve to know.”
For we are opposed around the world by a monolithic and ruthless conspiracy that relies on covert means for expanding its sphere of influence–on infiltration instead of invasion, on subversion instead of elections, on intimidation instead of free choice, on guerrillas by night instead of armies by day.
It is a system which has conscripted vast human and material resources into the building of a tightly knit, highly efficient machine that combines military, diplomatic, intelligence, economic, scientific and political operations.
Its preparations are concealed, not published. Its mistakes are buried not headlined. Its dissenters are silenced, not praised. No expenditure is questioned, no rumor is printed, no secret is revealed.”
Many thanks for this reminder of extremely wise and pertinent words.
I feel we are facing a world wide white supremacy strong hold and we the people of the world need truthful journalists to keep sticking their noses in how and what is happening in our world. Governments give rights to themselves and then tell us what our rights are. Not a fair playing field. Come on people wake up to social justice and help ourselves. Truth sets you free and helps those in need
Yes. Blame whitey. That will fix it all.
Support Julian Assange, Chelsea Manning and whistleblowers like them. Else the precious little that is left of the American dream will perrish and we with it.
“Throughout, one thing is clear. The corporate media is covering none of these issues with the focus and priority they deserve: not Manning’s imprisonment, not the ramping up of the Trump administration’s pursuit of Wikileaks and Julian Assange, not the legal implications, not the increasing support for Wikileaks from democratic and human rights organisations, nor the significance of the latest official lie in a long string of official lies supporting wars.
“Perhaps the official silence stems from the fact that all of these issues converge around a simple central point, which the corporate media cannot afford to address, by virtue of their complicity. Wars need lies.
“Which is a key reason the US government needs to get its hands on Julian Assange […]
“Tagging the leader in this way has the advantage that it mobilises hate and vengeance of a magnitude that obscures the real targets of the war, which are the nation’s people. Intense emotions, such as those experienced towards other human beings, not only power aggressive responses but focus the mind narrowly on their target, whether a publisher or a leader to be deposed.
“In an emotionally inflamed and fixated state, all else fades from view, including the thousands of living souls to be exterminated and harmed.
“And thus it is with the war on Wikileaks. From rapist to terrorist to Putin’s b****, and a gamut of personal epithets in between, Julian Assange has been relentlessly paired with hate-inducing tags for nigh on a decade now. In an emotionally fixated state, those who have fallen for this tactic cannot see beyond Julian Assange to the wider world of journalism and dissent, which is under attack along with Assange.
“In pinning a hate-filled bullseye on Julian Assange, ‘rapist’ has been the most exploitative of pairings. Underpinning that slur has been audiences’ real and raw emotions surrounding rape and sexual assault, including trauma, helplessness, shame, horror and rage. Such real and often deeply painful feelings have been leveraged so as to tag Julian Assange “bad”. In this equation it was not only Assange who was abused, but the many people whose psychological wounds were mined for emotional material with which to tag Julian Assange.”
The Psychology Of Getting Julian Assange (5-Part Series)
By Dr Lissa Johnson
Johnson is a clinical psychologist and practice principal in private practice, has a longstanding interest in the psychology of social issues and the impact of social issues on psychology, She is a former member of the Australian Psychological Society Public Interest Advisory Group.
Thanks for sharing this comment and these links, great insights, I will share them widely too. It’s vital that people understand the psychology of what’s going on with our emperors and their media organs.
“Psychological vulnerabilities in the human reality-processing system have been exploited over the last decade in order to push particular versions of ‘reality’ concerning Assange and WikiLeaks, which depart starkly from the fully-informed, well-researched reality. In short, whereas WikiLeaks is a media organisation and Assange is an award-winning journalist (as confirmed by UK courts and tribunals), he has been cast as a terrorist and WikiLeaks an enemy of the state.
“Similarly, whereas WikiLeaks, with its history of 100 percent accuracy, has exposed serious state-corporate crimes in the public interest, including civilian slaughter, it is the perpetrators of those crimes, with their long history of lies – particularly the Western national security state – that have been cast as trustworthy, noble and righteous.
“Moreover, although covering up a crime is a crime, the cover-up of these crimes by silencing and imprisoning Assange, in violation of UN rulings and international law, is being cast as the legally upstanding position, with Assange as the criminal – for doing journalism.
“In order to turn reality on its head in this way, a key psychological vulnerability exploited in the war on WikiLeaks has been the fact that human information processing is powered largely by emotion.
“Even in terms of the neuroscience of cognition, emotion enters the decision stream well before conscious thought, and influences the kinds of reasoning and deliberation that people will entertain. The end result is that unless people are especially motivated to be accurate and factual, we are all susceptible to information and arguments that fit with our emotional states.
“If we feel angry or disgusted about something or someone, for example, we are more likely to believe and accept damning rather than positive information about them. This all takes place on an unconscious level, outside our awareness, and plays a very powerful role in shaping our worldviews.
“So, for opinion-shapers seeking to influence public perception of Assange, it is essential to manipulate the unconscious, automatic emotional associations with Julian. And one of the best ways to do that is to repeatedly pair a target with desired emotions, wiring an automatic emotional pathway in the brain, like water flowing down a gully on a hill.
‘[…] a number of ‘news’ stories about Assange have essentially served as vehicles by which to pair Assange’s name and face with negative emotions, such as anger, revulsion, resentment, suspicion and rage. This is the psychological equivalent of pinning an emotional bullseye to Julian Assange’s head, causing negative information—or misinformation—to stick.
How psychological vulnerabilities are exploited to control us
Dr Lissa Johnson
Interview with Eresh Omar Jamal of The Daily Star
I can’t understand why Trump would prosecute JA. He is fighting a war with the Deep State and winning. He is clearly not as stupid as his detractors would have you believe. Now they have taken their best shot and failed to take him out. His career has been that of a Circus Ringmaster. I’m dreaming JA will walk. (yes dreaming sucks but……)
Vote Tulsi 2020
There is no indication Trump is actually fighting a war with the Deep State, or, that, to the extent he is complaining about it, that the Deep State is being hurt in any way. It’s all surface distractions, while the workings of the Deep State continue.
MSNBC poll on Julian Assange backfires epically
What we are witnessing in the current era is that public opinion holds no sway over those – the all-powerful, who, piecemeal, are shredding the American Constitution as well as International Law; without even the blink of an eye!
And besides “Corporate media & some politicos”, sometimes – ha! ha! are disingenuous.
And there I was beginning to think it was a wide spread affliction of the Western neo liberal mind!
“Hope springs eternal in every human breast,” from Alexander Pope’s poem Essay on Man.
Optimism? Take a look at factual reality as presented in the following very pertinent 12-minute Thom Hartmann link:
Hope the likes of me are dead WRONG!
I cannot even imagine any factual reality in a Hartmann link. For years now when dialing past a Hartmann show it is always “Reagan’s fault my dog ate my lunch, my homework, the this, the that”. I understand he switched party affiliation ’cause of this. Another disappointing former Air America host and wanker.
Now Madcow finds herself holding the shtiy end of the stick she is desperatly looking around for way to protect her $10 million a year salary. Sadly the majority of the population is so busy trying to scrape a living and don’t have time to wade through all the media bullsiht.
2020 Vote Tulsi
“–First they came for the socialists ,and I did not speak out–because I was not a socialists “—–It`s time for us to come for them before it`s too late—–
It`s time for “WE THE PEOPLE ” to fight back—-To RESIST—-
I can’t help but consider the sudden turn of ruling class media from years of smearing and lying about Julian Assange to bewailing the threat to First Amendment rights as mere crocodile tears. The likes of Rachel Maddow really cares about truth and the First Amendment? Really? She just worries that her ratings will go down. On the other hand, regular working people have been supporting Assange for years because they are not paid astronomical salaries to lie on behalf of a government that they know to be perfidious and which has dumped on them for generations.
What do you bet Luke Harding, the creep, was paid off by the CIA to burn these sources as a foil to snag Assange?
Luke Harding is indeed a creep. He’s dfinitely bought and paid for. Oh, and stupid.
I do not understand why my comment on this topic has been deleted.
This post gives some background detail on the Guardian, Rushbridger, Leigh, Harding episode:
There’s also some intriguing background on the Swedish accusers:
Craig Murray has summerised his view on the Swedish allegations:
caution! their aim is more about vilifying Trump than defending Assange. personally, I would not share their company.
I agree nieztsche. Its the only explanation I can see for this sudden turn in defense of Assange. And Maddow needs some misdirection to get her out of the Russiagate ratings hole.
Now if they will only start giving Tulsi Gabbard some column space.
This explanation has the big merit of being logical. It is the common objective of Russia-gate and the sudden support for Assange and journalistic freedom (however welcome).
Excellent. “Keep Scribbling “
It’s just marvelous! I’m overjoyed! They’ll never get away with this. I said the rosary for Assange the night before the US announcement and the following day all I could think is ‘O Lord how great thou art!’ The most holy rosary of Our blessed mother Mary is a weapon that the whole of the Pentagon can and will never defeat. They can take their Pentagon back to their satanic banking masters and hope they choke on their corruption.
Good on you for praying the Rosary for Assange! It’s gonna work. We need as many Rosaries for him as we can muster! Power in the Rosary. Mother of Salvation, bring Assange home and free. Alleuiah!
It is Written:
“..Happy those who hunger and thirst for what is right: they shall be satisfied.
Happy the merciful: they shall have mercy shown them.
Happy the pure in heart: they shall see God.
Happy the peacemakers: they shall be called sons of God.
Happy those who are persecuted in the cause of right: theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5.
“a global neoliberal mafia that had no hesitation killing millions of innocent human beings for profit and power, and hadn’t liked at all being called out on that by whistleblowers like Manning and Assange.
“This mafia was supported by a corporate media propaganda crusade so saturatingly effective and mendacious that reality was getting harder and harder for ordinary people to keep track of, as well as communicate about. Especially thanks to the neo-McCarthyism currently conflating any critics of the criminality of leaders of western countries or their allies with a traitorous collusion with Russia, except for the times when to criticize collusion with or enabling of apartheid and murderous Israel was conflated with anti-Semitism.
“Wikileaks early on published Bush era war crimes re Iraq and Afghanistan for anyone seriously interested.
“Why weren’t more American politicians and citizens interested and outraged over those Wikileaks disclosures throughout these long, disastrously governed years since the launch of those wars and all the subsequent ones, as well?
“Establishment politicians and other DC insider careerists were more embarrassed and stirred to vengeance by the Wikileaks revelations, rather than seriously legally threatened, thanks to their own conscience-sacrificed participation in the high levels of political, economic and military cronyism.
“Both corporate political parties protected the other from real justice for their profound violations and/or enabling of violations of basic human decency, as well as of international law […]
“I thought of the final scenes in that old movie, A Man for All Seasons, with the wonderful Paul Scofield. Sir Thomas Moore is up against a system so corrupt, so willing to destroy any law or individual in its way, to justify the continuation of its corrupt will. The grounds of Moore’s faux-legal persecution and prosecution became flimsier and ever more arbitrary. Such now is the case with Assange along with Manning, and idiot, state-friendly journalists are so craven and/or obtuse they are willing to assist in the demise of what is left of their own legal protections helped by those popular corporate media shills who, too, place fame, money and access over conscience.
“How frustrating propaganda-filled minds couldn’t begin to fathom the degrees of sacrifice and courage of the Julian Assanges, Chelsea Mannings and Edward Snowdens of the world. So many were willing to turn off their own consciences and parrot the smug callousness of the corporate media and/or amoral politicians and military leaders shamelessly serving their donor overlords or fellow war criminals”
FREE Julian Assange
FREE Chelsea Manning.
I wrote to both of them today. You should, too.
One might compare the historic struggle between Julian Assange and WikiLeaks against the world’s war criminal class to an athletic contest which becomes a series of endless overtimes to determine the “winner”. How to end the deadlock? Perhaps simple solutions are best.
“The Assange Solution: Deal of the Century”:
The world’s war criminal class agrees to stop the actions which result in people feeling they have no other option but to reveal those actions to WikiLeaks. This means stoppage of actions on the part of the war criminal class involving “lying, cheating and stealing”, illegal covert and overt wars of aggression, premeditated mass murder, state-sponsorship of terrorism, etc., – in return for arranging total freedom for Chelsea Manning and Julian Assange, and with the understanding by both sides that neither Chelsea Manning or Julian Assange will have any possibility to expose or publish controversial information should the war criminal class keeps its word and strictly adheres to the deal. Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning are perpetually guaranteed their human right to freedom, and the right to publish truthful information about war criminal class actions which at any time subsequent to the recorded negotiation completion (start) date intentionally break the signed agreement.
If/when people such as Julian Assange, Theodore Postol, and Robert Fisk are not around to show us what really happens in the world, we simply won’t know.
I’ll pass on the George Soros pushing site. The deceptions on that site are rich. But of course, in true George Soros fashion the deceptions are mixed with truth.
Dear Ms. Gessen:
What exactly is “terrible political company”?
I am interested in learning what your definition is, so I can look out for “terrible political company”.
Being “power-crazed & manipulative” is a character combo that gets people far in politics, so how do you differentiate between these character traits in Julian Assange & in almost every US politician in Congress?
I am less sanguine about there being “a turning of the tide” apropos the MSM’s, and therewith the American public’s, cavillerly, and ignorantly, hostile attitudes toward Julian Assange than Lauria suggests here. I also believe it would be a big mistake for those of us who are trying actively to free Julian, as well as Chelsea Manning, Daniel Hale, Reality Winner, and others maliciously convicted and vindictively sentenced for revealing “secrets,” i.e. truths, about the vile actions of the US’s decidedly unconstitutional, and throughly immoral, covert national security state and imperialistic military operations, to place any confidence whatsoever in the long-inculcate pejorative sentiments of the general public being transformed by anything the sychophantic MSM may do in partial defense of the First Amendment, and therewith, but mostly only incidentally, Julian Assange’s, particular case. If Assange and the others are to be freed from the horrific persecution they have been enduring during the last several years, it will only be as a result of a powerful movement of those citizens who are actually and sincerely concerned about their situation forcing the establishment dragoons to release them. We are, however, nowhere near building such a movement, and therewith strong public consenseus in the validity of our cause, at present.
More pressing still, however, is the need for all who care about Julian’s fate to push very hard to ensure that, if and when Julian is extradited to the US, he is not tried in the notorious secret kangaroo court, under FISA proceedings, that is the Eastern Virginia District Court headed by the infamous “hanging judge” Leonie Brinkema, a court which has been utilized repeatedly by the most reactionary and authoritarian elements within the federal government to deny defendents’ their basic constitutional rights, including even the right to present a proper defense during the trial process, and then to ship them off, once again without any public disclosure, into prison on long sentences without any possibility of timely appeal and redress of such blatant injustice!! We must completely and quickly expose the Eastern Virginia District Court under Brinkema, and reveal as much as we can about its repeated secretive and unjust convictions of whistleblowers and others who seek merely to report the truth about what the now incredibly corrupt, fully extra-legal, US national security state is doing around the world.
Along with such exposure of this anti-constitutional court, we must insist that if Assange is to be tried at all, — and he has, of course, committed no crimes, but merely embarassed a state which routinely uses the most perfidious violence while piously denying it does so — he be tried only outside of Virginia in a fully open, routine, and unrigged public court where all of his constitutional rights as a defendant will be scrupulously respected. Any attempts on the part of the prosecution to conceal any aspect of such a fair and open proceeding must be thoroughly and very publically denounced. Only then will Julian receive the possibility of defending himself against the most nefarious, completely fabricated, indictments against him, and thereby finally win his freedom!!
It’s illegal to unmask an undercover agent as in the Valerie Plame case. Yes, but no one was ever charged, much less tried or convicted of this. This tells you that mostly the government is playing games and not punishing someone who has done harm to the Republic. If they were punishing those who harmed the Republic, the list would be long and filled with the names of Presidents and their ministers.
@ “It is illegal in the U.S. to unmask a covert intelligence agent, as happened in the Valerie Plame case, but not to reveal a source or informant.”
I think that a very important point. The indictment is an attempt to expand the Espionage Act’s coverage to conduct that is lawful.
Nb., the U.S. statute was adopted, as I recall, after Covert Action Quarterly embarked on a program of unmasking covert CIA agents’ identities.
and then there is this …
“Rusbridger said: “We fell out, as most people eventually do with Assange. I found him mercurial, untrustworthy and dislikable: he wasn’t keen on me, either.” Significantly, Rusbridger pointed out that, “All the collaborating editors disapproved of him releasing unredacted material from the Manning trove in September 2011.”
yes they did and as the corporate media condemns him personally they cravenly do exactly what he did.
and this part really tells the story… ” I am shocked … shocked by these revelations” … “here is your information mr. Rusbridger.” … ” oh , uh , thanks”
yes the casablanca type dance stepping by the corporate owned press who wish to collude with the government, but not to obviously , must resort to this kind of craveness……..
“Third, most importantly as far as Rusbridger is concerned, is that he completely omits his newspapers’ role in the affair. Rusbridger was the Guardian editor when two of his reporters, David Leigh and Luke Harding, in their February 2011 book WikiLeaks: Inside Julian Assange’s War on Secrecy, published a password to unpublished and un-redacted WikiLeaks files containing the names of informants in files that only intelligence agencies and governments could decrypt. That led Assange to publish the files with their names in September 2011 so that the sources could seek safety. “
Gessen & Maddow finally did realize that by prosecuting Julian Assange (who isn’t an American) that they risk being brought too justice by the Russians or the Chinese for the precedent would be set with this US attack against journalism. This prosecuting journalist for publishing government secrets and wrong doing for these propaganda mistresses is not a good tempo to dance to. Could you just see either of these journalistic hacks sitting in a Russian gulag or working in the fields beyond the streets of Beijing? Yeah Gessen & Maddow aren’t as interested in saving democracy or freedom of speech as they are threaten by the fact that with the prosecution of Assange the template is cast for the entire world’s nations to come after them for their own many lies and distortions of the facts.
Yes, Joe. The attempt to charge a foreign national for crimes against the U.S. when the involved acts did not occur on U.S. soil seems preposterous to me, leading to the very kinds of absurdities you mention. For the government to prevail on this issue, it must first traverse a …
“canon of statutory interpretation known as the presumption against extraterritorial application. That canon provides that ‘[w]hen a statute gives no clear indication of an extraterritorial application, it has none,’ Morrison v. National Australia Bank Ltd., 561 U.S. ___, ___, 130 S.Ct. 2869, 2878, 177 L.Ed.2d 535 (2010), and reflects the ‘presumption that United States law governs domestically but does not rule the world,’ Microsoft Corp. v. AT & T Corp., 550 U.S. 437, 454, 127 S.Ct. 1746, 167 L.Ed.2d 737 (2007).
This presumption ‘serves to protect against unintended clashes between our laws and those of other nations which could result in international discord.’ EEOC v. Arabian American Oil Co., 499 U.S. 244, 248, 111 S.Ct. 1227, 113 L.Ed.2d 274 (1991) (Aramco). As this Court has explained:
‘For us to run interference in … a delicate field of international relations there must be present the affirmative intention of the Congress clearly expressed. It alone has the facilities necessary to make fairly such an important policy decision where the possibilities of international discord are so evident and retaliative action so certain.’ Benz v. Compania Naviera Hidalgo, S.A., 353 U.S. 138, 147 [77 S.Ct. 699, 1 L.Ed.2d 709] (1957). The presumption against extraterritorial application helps ensure that the Judiciary does not erroneously adopt an interpretation of U.S. law that carries foreign policy consequences not clearly intended by the political branches.”
Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum Co., 133 S. Ct. 1659 (2013), https://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=15509503170515180438
I haven’t examined the case decisions interpreting the Espionage Act in search for an answer to that question. But even if the threshold question is answered in the government’s favor, it must still establish that the Espionage Act is constitutional in its extraterritorial reach. And you point to a major reason why it should not be so regarded. The potential for stirring international discord by invading the territorial jurisdiction of other nations is great.
Thanks Paul your educated opinion means a lot. Joe
The mainstream media need to own up to the fact that they were wrong about “Russiagate” and that Julian Assange had nothing to do with any “hacking” of DNC information (we all know the information was leaked from within). Julian Assange has done more for this country by exposing the blatant corruptness that goes all the way to the top regardless of which party is in charge.
The corporate media awakened en masse simultaneously to decry the US government thugs’ atrocities against Julian Assange and the First Amendment. These scoundrels initially used Wikileaks disclosures of government and politicians’ malfeasance to boost their ratings. Then when it became convenient for their purposes, the bloviators turned on Assange like a pack of rabid dogs, calling him a Russian puppet. Now, suddenly, when their sinecures are threatened, the enlightened voices from their perches of privilege say the government has gone too far.
To hell with these chronic, self-serving products of the plutocracy.
Let’s save him!!
Overall good reporting. However very disapointed no mention of Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, the first official who had the courage and moral fortitude to come out in favor of stopping legal proceedings against Assange and Manning.
We need to acknowledge this when it occurs. Gabbard, the only peace candidate we’ve seen in years, needs visibility. She is being intentionally disappeared and/smeared by the MSM.
I second your opinion.
This is what I was seconding….
Gabbard did not comment on Assange’s indictment under the Espionage Act beyond retweeting without comment an ACLU tweet on it.
Tulsi Gabbard said two weeks earlier that she would pardon Snowden and drop ALL charges against Assange.
” Gabbard did not comment on Assange’s indictment under the Espionage Act beyond retweeting without comment an ACLU tweet on it. ”
Oh , I see. So even though she made the stunning ( for a sitting US Congress member ) announcement that she would drop all charges against Assange , but she made it in the weeks before the Espionage Act indictment , rather than after , her strong support of Assange is not worthy of mention.
Yeah , that makes perfect sense…..
On May 24 I got this notice from Tulsi Gabbard on Facebook:
“Charging Julian Assange under the Espionage Act will have a serious chilling effect on our most fundamental rights of freedom of speech and freedom of the press. Every American–certainly every journalist–needs to strongly condemn this anti-democratic act by the Trump Administration.”
I have now researched this and discovered she also tweeted this and did so BEFORE she retweeted the ACLU tweet.
Friday, May 24th.
Joe, Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard is also a Presidential candidate and also spoke out against these charges: https://twitter.com/TulsiGabbard/status/1132026399605362691 In fact, she is the ONLY member of Congress to speak out against Julian’s arrest on the day that it happened, and she has been speaking in defense of Wikileaks for months now.
That’s not true. Here is her tweet directly commenting on it: https://twitter.com/TulsiGabbard/status/1132026399605362691 And she is the only member of Congress who expressed her opposition to Assange’s arrest unequivocally and immediately. Bernie Sanders has yet to even mention Julian by name!
I was not surprised that there was no mention of Gabbard by an article in The Intercept about this (though if it had been written by Glenn Greenwald it would have), but I am shocked and disappointed that Consortium News didn’t mention Gabbard even though she has been the most unequivocal defender of Julian, of freedom of the press, and of whistleblowers of any member of Congress, and of any Presidential candidate other than Mike Gravel (who also should have been mentioned in this article). And your article omits the fact that Elizabeth Warren’s comments included gratuitous smearing of Julian: “Assange is a bad actor who has harmed U.S. national security — and he should be held accountable.” Y’all need to give credit where it’s due, and to not give credit to an unprincipled political opportunist like Elizabeth Warren!
Sorry, I now see that you included Warren’s attack on Assange elsewhere in the article. But you fail to note that there are politicians who have actually defended him, not attacked him. The Green Party’s Jill Stein is another besides Gabbard and Gravel who has defended and praised Julian and Wikileaks.
But it still distorts Warren’s statement. Separated it looks like she is against the idictments of Assange but still thinks he is a bad person. But when put together in context it sure reads to me that she is supportive of the indictiments against Assange but warns Trump not to indict “real” journalist.
I think it’s very clear where Tulsi Gabbard stands, and how she has repeatedly articulated her positions. She is more comprehensive in how she views these issues, particularly in the case of whistle blowers (as well as Assange as a journalist). The US Patriot Act has contributed to the lockdown on whistle blowers. US charges against Assange would be dropped, Manning freed, and Snowden pardoned if she becomes President. She is the clearest US thinker I’ve witness in elected office and I’m 70 years old. She understands the importance of priorities, and war and war preparation is number One..
Here is an interview on this topic:
Absolutely true, Antonio Costa. Thanks for the interview. I recently found an article by Robert Parry from back in 2016 that recognized Gabbard’s unique worth to our current situation: https://consortiumnews.com/2016/11/21/trumps-tulsi-gabbard-factor/ Mr. Parry was prescient in so many ways.
Article dealing with Assange and the torture of solitary @ https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2019/05/27/conf-m27.html Fairly written, read all of it, Assange is near the ending of article
As I said, if people knew more History they’d understand how ordinary Assange’s treatment is…
My god (excusé le mot)! Could this be the equivalent of the USSR’s last Secretary General Mikhail Gorbachev visiting East Germany in the autumn of 1989? A turning point in the world’s history?? The biginning of the endo of the neocons’grip on the mainstream news media???
Let’s seriously hope so!!!
If people knew more of the objective truths of American History rather than the canonical myth, then they’d understand how the Assange ritual is pretty ordinary.
This is especially a valid statement with respect to the history of “intelligence operations” between England, France, Spain, and the formative period between 1700 and 1900.
Most of this History is “public” – but of course the ignorant “crowd” is easily manipulated, now, as then…
It is, on the level of moral decency, a pity that the esteemed Mr. Assange himself was condemned by his ignorance and innocent but false assumptions about realpolitik and the actual nature of the State.
Nevertheless, it ain’t over, and he may walk away – as many persons in the past have done – in safety.
Good luck to him.
I too find Mr. Assange “esteemed” and a hero for telling us all of wrongdoing done in our name and with our tax dollars under the cover of the fog of war…..Good for him!!!!
He is an embarrassment to the wrongdoers who would prefer us to believe that “there’s nothing to see here” “walk along, please”.
In one video he explained why he does what he does – he said that if we can be taken to war based on lies then perhaps the truth will help us avoid self destruction.
He explained his theory of why, perhaps, we have not yet encountered other “intelligent” life in the universe. Namely because our Darwinian evolutionary drives and competitive/aggressive natures together with technological advancement may inevitably spawn our drive to blow ourselves up.
And indeed, with looming climate change and nuclear proliferation, as Noam Chomsky points out, our doomsday clock is closer than ever to midnight.
Meanwhile, the most vocal critics of Assange – e.g. Yosemite Sam AKA John Bolton AKA Dr Strangelove – are marching us headlong to wards a “fiery” end.
Meanwhile from the BBC World Service and NPR (so far as I’ve heard) – not a whisper. Certainly nothing that would equate with: Oops, sorry, these charges aren’t on, let alone a clear statement, discussion in support of Assange’s case.
Of course not, the former set up is *Establishment* to a *T*, a state-funded media, that, according to Media Lens has to listen to the Israeli Embassy and go with their flow, even as it parrots the British government line in true Orwellian-Huxleyan ways.
The latter is largely funded by a blend of government (nation-state) and foundation funding (yes, there are listener subscribers, but they do not provide the majority of the funds), and ever-increasingly, corporate funding (as the “ads” which are not called “ads” make abundantly clear). So they are as much *Establishment* as the BBC, if by Establishment is understood as the voice of the ruling elites and their groupthinkers – the so-called “meritocracy.”
So I suppose the silence on this travesty of so-called justice meted out to Assange is unsurprising. It only reinforces the perception of these media that they are simply propaganda machines. (Their concomitant silence over the OPCW business is equally confirmatory of this. Always assuming one needs further confirmation.)
Thank God this is coming before it was too late!
Joe Lauria, I thank you again for your clarity on this issue, you’ve been consistent on this all along and you’re exactly right. I don’t see Julian Assange as Power crazed and manipulative, I see him as driven to get to the bottom of deep corruption by institutionalized Illegal governments and their pliant media connections, and being frustrated by the difficulty of penetrating the barrier of disinformation. This is really the key issue of Russiagate. Many Thanks…
Don’t care what NYT, Rachel Maddow, Guardian, etc. say now….. They have lost me forever. They are not journalists, they are presstitutes.
> Don’t care what NYT, Rachel Maddow, Guardian, etc. say now
To me it seems obvious that this is a case of “Any stick to beat a dog” — the indictment under the Espionage Act is something the Trump administration has apparently done, not the Obama/Clinton one (as the original indictment was), and does not directly serve the interests of Wall Street, so it must be bad…
Sickening hypocrisy of the MSM. (Gessen deserves a break as she came out fairly early, with Adrien Chen, stating that the claims of Russian interference were greatly exaggerated.)
Yet confronting Russia remains center stage.
The Guardian’s Memorial Day front page has calls for increased vigilance against Russian election meddling: ““Russia would be remiss not to try again, given how successful they were in 2016,” said Steven Hall, a retired chief of the CIA’s Russian operations.” Someone elsewhere pointed out the The Grayzone’s piece on the bipartisan congressional call to “boost intervention in Syria, to ‘pressure’ Iran and Russia.”
May they all fry in everlasting hell…
In the meantime, efforts to end the scapegoating of Assange must be kept front and center.
‘Adrian’ Chen, sorry
I hope all y’all journalists are scared shirtless over this.
Anyone with half a wit should be scared right out of it right now, and if you’re still that witless you can’t be much of a journalist.