WATCH THE REPLAY: WikiLeaks Editor Kristinn Hrafnsson, Michael Isikoff, Pepe Escobar, As’ad AbuKhalil on CN Live!

WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Kristinn Hrafnsson, journalists Michael Isikoff and Pepe Escobar, political scientist As’ad AbuKhalil and author George Szamuely on Episode 2 of CNLive! 

Hrafnsson joined CNLive! to speak on the latest about imprisoned WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange, including CNN’s recent hit piece; Isikoff discussed his Yahoo! News series on Seth Rich; Escobar gave keen insights into the major scandal engulfing Brazil as well as his observations of Italy after his recent trip there; AbuKhalil dissected Middle East politics and war and Szamuely commented on the lot with hosts Elizabeth Vos and Joe Lauria on CN Live!  Download and listen to the podcast.

Watch it here:




Consortium News Target of a Malware Attack as Twitter Takes Down Assange Support Group’s Account

The simultaneous escalation of censorship of Julian Assange’s support base, alongside the latest wave of fact-free attacks on Assange and WikiLeaks‘, raises concern about a coordinated effort to smear Assange while silencing those who counter such dubious reporting.

By Elizabeth Vos
Special to Consortium News

Consortium News was under attack on Monday, days after the premiere episode of the outlet’s live-streamed show, CN Live! The malicious attempt to shut down the website, according to the site’s web host, followed on the heels of the suspension of pro-Assange account Unity4J from Twitter.

Consortium News wrote via Twitter on Monday regarding the cyberattack:

“Our website is completely down. Our media host said we have been attacked by malware. They actually tried to blame ‘the Russians’! Every article published since 2011 now gets a 404 Not Found. They are working on it. Problem started slowly on Friday first day of CN Live!”

https://twitter.com/Consortiumnews/status/1150870051072987139

The hack of Consortium News sparked concern regarding what appears to be an escalating wave of attacks on the independent press, as well as censorship of activists who support independent journalists, including WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. Consortium News was restored by 10:44 pm EDT on Monday, but issues related to publishing new material persist.

As news of the attack on Consortium News spread, some Assange supporters connected the event with Twitter’s suspension of the Unity4J movement’s Twitter account. Christine Assange, Julian Assange’s mother and an activist in her own right, Christine Assange tweeted:

Christine Assange also wrote on Sunday that she had lost “over 8,000 followers overnight.”

CNLive!‘s inaugural live-stream included an interview with Nils Melzer, the UN rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, who “discussed his work on the condition of imprisoned WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange.

Consortium News had previously conducted the Unity4J online vigils over a period of months. The Unity4J Twitter account was suspended last Thursday for no known reason. The ban sparked a backlash including independent media coverage from a number of outlets, as well as an impassioned statement from Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters, who called Twitter “Big Brother” for permanently removing the account. To date, no explanation for Unity4J’s suspension has been made public.

Caitlin Johnstone wrote of the suspension via Medium:

“Speaking for myself as a vocal Assange supporter on Twitter, I can say that I’ve been following the @Unity4J account closely since its earliest days and I’ve never once seen it post anything other than highly professional-looking advocacy for Julian Assange. I’ve certainly never seen it post anything that could be construed as abusive, misleading, or otherwise in violation of any of Twitter’s posted rules.”

Unity4J was far from the only account targeted recently. Additional Unity4J activists, including many of those associated with running the Unity4J Twitter profile, were also either suspended or locked out of their accounts. One Unity4J admin, Aaron Kesel, who also writes as an independent journalist, said in an interview that they were locked out of their accounts within minutes of publishing an article covering the Catalonian public’s celebration of Assange’s birthday. Activist Post, the site on which the article was published, was likewise reportedly hacked in recent weeks.

On the same day that Consortium News fell under attack, CNN published a conspiracy-theory-laden article accusing Assange of having conspired with “the Russians” to interfere in the 2016 U.S. presidential election from within the Ecuadorian embassy, which CNN described breathlessly as a “command post.” (Little irony that Consortium News was also told that their website being attacked had had something to do with “The Russians.”)

The CNN piece rapidly garnered criticism from journalists including Caitlin Johnstone, Kevin Gosztola, and Aaron Maté.  The documents at issue in CNN’s article were previously described in a totally different light by Spanish paper of record El Pais:

“The security employees at the embassy had a daily job to do: to monitor Assange’s every move, record his conversations, and take note of his moods. The company’s drive to uncover their target’s most intimate secrets led the team to carry out a handwriting examination behind his back, which resulted in a six-page report. Company employees also took a feces sample from a baby’s diaper to check whether Assange and one of his most faithful collaborators were the child’s parents. This intelligence work had nothing to do with protection duties.”

Gosztola wrote of CNN’s piece: “If one reads CNN’s report, it is clear, like the CIA, they do not view the work Assange was doing as journalistic bur rather the work of an ‘enemy’ of the United States.”

Black Agenda Report Editor and Senior Columnist Margaret Kimberly wrote via Twitter:

The simultaneous escalation of censorship when it comes to Assange’s support base, alongside the latest wave of fact-free attacks on Assange and WikiLeaks‘ reputation, raises concern regarding the potential of a coordinated effort to smear Assange while also silencing those who might counter such dubious reporting.

Elizabeth Vos is a freelance reporter and regular contributor to Consortium News. She co-hosts CN Live!

 

 




Announcing CN Live! A Weekly Current Events Webcast Beginning Friday on Consortium News

Consortium News announces the launch on Friday of a weekly webcast news show as a successor to the Vigils for Assange that will also delve into other pressing issues of the day.

CN Live! will air every Friday from 2 pm to 4 pm U.S. Eastern time and can be seen here streaming live on Consortium News as well as on our YouTube Channel, our Facebook page and on Periscope. It will also be archived on those platforms.

Besides the latest news on WikiLeaks and Julian Assange, our panel will discuss the coming U.S. presidential election, the Middle East, East-West relations, U.S. foreign policy, climate change, media, domestic and international politics and more.

On our premiere edition, Francis Boyle, international law professor, will pick apart the intelligence and political machinations behind the arrest of financier Jeffery Epstein on sex trafficking charges; Marjorie Cohn, professor emeritus of law, and former U.S. Senator Mike Gravel, a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, will discuss the Democratic Party primary battle; As’ad AbuKhalil, political science professor, will analyze the latest developments in Syria, Iran and other parts of the Middle East region; and George Szamuely will join hosts Joe Lauria and Elizabeth Vos to dissect the latest news on Assange and WikiLeaks.

Join us Friday at 2 pm EDT for CN Live!

 

 




Why Read Consortium News?

Consortium News brings you in-depth coverage from a fresh perspective of the biggest stories of the day. Read us to keep up with the crises of Iran, Venezuela and WikiLeaks.

You can read The New York Times and The Washington Post if you want to know what official Washington is saying and doing on the surface.  But if you are interested in digging down deep for a critical analysis of what government is really up to and why, read the unique coverage of Consortium News.

We bring you news and analysis the establishment media shies away from or spins to fit the official cover story. You can hear them say they want to bring freedom and democracy to Venezuela and Iran, and that Julian Assange is a hacker and not a journalist. Or you can read Consortium News to learn about the establishment’s real motives.

To keep us going we depend only on donations from readers. So please help us blow past our fundraising goal this Spring and keep on keeping yourself informed. 

 

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Become a Consortium News Member

Consortium News is asking readers to become members of the first independent news site on the Web, founded by legendary investigative journalist Bob Parry in 1995.

To show your support for Consortium News and help expand its reach please join our membership program today.

Members who contribute $150 will receive a set of four books written by our founding editor, the late Bob Parry: Fooling America, Lost History, Neck Deep, and America’s Stolen Narrative.

If you donate $175 you will receive Bob’s books plus a DVD of his groundbreaking documentary for PBS Frontline on the October Surprise. 

The third level of membership for $200 will give you Bob’s books, the DVD and an invitation to meet Editor-in-Chief Joe Lauria at a venue in the Washington DC area twice a year to discuss the future of Consortium News.  The first membership meeting will be held in June. Details to follow. Members who do not live in the Washington area can take part online in the twice yearly  discussions with the editor.

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Consortium News and the Establishment

Consortium News stands outside the extreme partisan thinking that now dominates American politics.

Consortium News is completely funded by its readers. It has no relationship with corporations, intelligence agencies, political parties, the Pentagon, nor major think tanks and universities that make up the bi-partisan Establishment that rules the United States. Consortium News stands outside the extreme partisan thinking that now dominates American politics.

Therefore no label applies to Consortium News. We are neither liberal nor conservative, Republican nor Democrat, progressive nor libertarian. That confuses some who need to pigeonhole people and publications. 

We stand outside that, as a critic of the bi-partisan Establishment that is being challenged by a population increasingly fed up with its subjugation.  As the old regime declines, beset by perpetual war abroad, inequality and mass surveillance at home and a corporate media manufacturing consent for it all, Consortium News joins those who look to the birth of new possibilities, and therefore seeks no attachment to the dying order.

CN neither needs nor seeks Establishment approval or validation, a desire that can lead so-called independent journalists astray. Indepence is lost with dependence on the Establishment for one’s identity.

Consortium News measures itself against no one. We depend on  no one but our readers—to follow us, to make sure others read us and to fund us.  Our work does not cater to any subset of our readers, who adhere to different ideologies, or none at all. 

Because we do not fit into narrow partisan categories, some people misunderstand where Consortium News is coming from.  We exist outside the partisan bubble enveloping the nation.  We adhere to no political Orthodoxy requiring us to stay in line.

When we’ve published articles skeptical of the Russia-gate scandal we’ve been accused of being Donald Trump supporters, and worse, stooges of the Kremlin or Putin puppets.  

When we publish articles critical of Donald Trump we are sometimes accused of being stooges for the Democrats.

This is what it means to be fiercely independent.  It means Consortium News is fulfilling its mission of being strictly non-partisan, which is what our founder Bob Parry established.  It is what makes CN a unique resource.

There is plenty of partisan journalism out there. But if you seek  really non-partisan, independent journalism, even if you don’t agree with everything we write, we urge you to support us during our Spring Fund Drive, in order that we can continue to deliver for you.

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CN on Lee Camp’s Redacted Tonight

Editor-in-Chief Joe Lauria was interviewed by Lee Camp on his RT program Redacted Tonight about press freedom under threat. 




View 27th Vigil, a Fortnight After Assange’s Arrest

Consortium News brought live coverage of the 27th Vigil. Watch the replay of a spirited discussion about the importance of public protest and the fate of Assange’s extradition here.




Assange’s Imprisonment Arguably Reveals Even More Corruption Than WikiLeaks Did

By locking up Assange, the U.S, its allies and corporate media have inadvertently exposed themselves for what they are, and we’re now able to point that out for everyone to see, writes Caitlin Johnstone. 

By Caitlin Johnstone
CaitlinJohnstone.com

Consortium News has launched a new series titled “The Revelations of WikiLeaks”, geared toward helping readers come to a full appreciation of just how much useful information the outlet has made available to the world with its publications. Which is good, because there’s a whole lot of it. Understanding everything that WikiLeaks has done to shine light in areas that powerful people wish to keep dark makes it abundantly clear why powerful people would want to dedicate immense amounts of energy toward sabotaging it.

What’s even more interesting to me right now, though, is that if you think about it, the completely fraudulent arrest and imprisonment of Julian Assange arguably exposes more malfeasance by government and media powers than than what has been revealed in all WikiLeaks publications combined since its inception. And we can use that as a weapon in waking the world up to the dystopian manipulations of the powerful, in the same way we can use WikiLeaks publications.

Really, think about it. Thanks to WikiLeaks we know about a military cultural environment in the Iraq war that was toxic enough to give rise to U.S. servicemen merrily gunning down civilians, including two Reuters war correspondents, while whooping and exchanging verbal high-fives. We know that the CIA cultivated a massive cyber-arsenal which enables them to spy through smartphones and smart TVs, remotely hijack vehicles, and forge digital fingerprints on cyber-intrusions to make it look to forensic investigators as though hackers from another nation was responsible, and that they lost control of this arsenal.

 We know about the DNC’s agenda to undermine Bernie Sanders during the primary in violation of its charter, that Hillary Clinton told a group of Goldman Sachs executives that she understood the need to have “a public position and a private position,” and that Obama’s cabinet was basically selected for him by a Citigroup executive. We know that and a whole lot more, information which mainstream and alternative media reports use to this very day when constructing analyses of what’s going on in the world.

All of these things are of course hugely significant. But are they anywhere near as significant as the earth-shakingly scandalous revelation that the U.S. government and its allies conspired to imprison a journalist for reporting facts about the powerful? That the governments of America, Ecuador, the UK and Australia all worked in concert to arrange a series of bureaucratic technicalities which all aligned perfectly to create a situation that just so happens to look exactly the same as imprisoning a journalist for telling the truth?

The only thing which keeps this scandalous revelation from registering in the minds of the greater public with the magnitude it deserves is the fact that the mass media doesn’t treat it like the scandal that it so clearly is. If, for example, the mass media were treating this open act of tyranny with the same enthusiasm they treated the Democratic Party emails as they were published drop by drop in the lead-up to the presidential election, or the same enthusiasm they regarded the diplomatic cables or the “Collateral Murder” video, everyone would be up in arms at the fact that their government was acting in a way that is functionally indistinguishable from what’s done to journalists by the most totalitarian dictatorships in the world.

And that refusal of the mainstream media to run virtually anything but smear pieces is, in and of itself, a part of why this scandal is so breathtaking in its audacity. The legal precedent that they are attempting to set with the extradition, persecution and prosecution of Julian Assange for everyday acts of journalism will affect every journalist on the planet, working or retired, professional or citizen. This literally endangers the lives and freedom of every single person working in every single one of those outlets, and they are all either ignorantly cheering it on, or too scared to care. The CIA and Pentagon have weaponized public opinion by using the most advanced psychological weapons known to man, and although the main barrier to fighting his persecution is simply the social shame of going against the tribe, it’s effectively turned the press upon itself. The free press is gaslighting itself into total and absolute submission.

And we can see that this is happening. And we can point to it.

What I’m getting at with all this is that it’s important to keep in mind that the U.S.-centralized empire has given us information that can be used against it in devastating fashion if we’re clever. Even while Assange is locked behind bars, even while whistleblowers are being intimidated away from whistleblowing and journalists are being intimidated away from publishing leaks, we are being given information that we can circulate and attack the propaganda machine that’s keeping humanity docile and enslaved.

By locking up Assange, they’ve inadvertently exposed themselves for what they are, and we are now able to point at it for everyone to see. They reached too far out into the light and exposed their true face.

Never stop using this information to attack the promulgators and beneficiaries of disinformation. Never stop referring to the U.S. and UK as “a government which imprisons journalists for publishing inconvenient facts”. Never stop calling out the hypocrisy when westerners criticize other governments for locking up journalists. Never stop reminding people who pretend to care about the free press when Trump makes mean tweets about a CNN reporter that they are willfully ignoring a threat to the free press that is infinitely greater in this administration’s prosecution of Assange. This is what they are. If anyone denies it, engage them in debate and show everyone why they’re wrong.

We are still very much in this fight. Whenever they reach into the light to silence the truth, the light shines upon their face and burns them. They reach their arms into the light of truth, and their arms turn to dust. Whenever they try to fight truth head-on, they cannot help but show the world what they really are.

Never, ever stop reminding everyone of what has undeniably been revealed in the imprisonment of Julian Assange.

Caitlin Johnstone is a rogue journalist, poet, and utopia prepper who publishes regularly at Medium. Follow her work on Facebook, Twitter, or her website. She has a podcast and a new book Woke: A Field Guide for Utopia Preppers.” This article was re-published with permission.

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