Watch 15th Vigil for Assange

Consortium News webcast the 15th Unity4J online vigil on Friday. Watch the replay here. Guests: Brian Becker, Cathy Vogan, Gareth Porter, Lee Stranahan and Tony Kevin.

 




One Year Ago Today…

On this day last year Consortium News lost its founder and editor Robert Parry, who succumbed to cancer at 68. We look back on his life in this video of his memorial service in Arlington, VA on April 14, 2018.

 

Bob’s wife, Diane Duston, introduced friends and colleagues to recount their memories of Bob, whose work impacted the nation.

The speakers are Lynn Neary, the NPR broadcaster; Spencer Oliver, a former Congressional staffer and one of Bob’s then unnamed Iran-Contra sources; Jill Abramson, the former New York Times executive editor and a long-time neighbor of Bob and Diane’s; Brian Barger, Bob’s partner at the AP on many Iran-Contra exclusives; Joe Lauria, the Consortium News editor-in-chief who also read a tribute to Bob from legendary journalist John Pilger, who was unable to attend; a video tribute from Oliver Stone, the filmmaker, and Bob’s two sons, Sam and Nat.

We present here a video of the entire memorial for the many admirers of Bob and his groundbreaking journalism. It runs one hour and seven minutes.  Please click on “Watch on YouTube.”  Apparently the National Football League has blocked the video from playing directly on Consortium News because it contains a very short clip of an NFL game.

 




Watch Replay of 13th Vigil for Assange

Watch Friday’s broadcast here on Consortium News that discussed the latest news on WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

The WikiLeaks publisher continues to resist pressure to leave the Ecuador Embassy and be sent to the U.S. for prosecution, even as he has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize and Donald Trump’s lawyer says he should not be charged with any crime.

Julian Assange’s is an historic test-case for press freedom.

Guests that appeared to discuss the latest news about Julian Assange and issues related to WikiLeaks included Bill Binney, former NSA technical director; Brian Becker, radio host of “Loud and Clear;” Ray McGovern, former CIA analyst; activist Kevin Zeese; author and activist David Swanson.

Past participants have included academics, journalists, politicians and activists, including Daniel Ellsberg, Chris Hedges, John Kiriakou, George Galloway, Craig Murray, Francis Boyle, former U.S. Senator Mike Gravel, Andrew Fowler, Caitlin Johnstone, Tim Black, Jimmy Dore, Lee Camp, Margaret Kimberley, Vivian Kubrick and more.

CN Editor-in-Chief Joe Lauria conducted the interviews and moderated the discussion. The Unity4J online vigil was broadcast live at unity4j.com, on YouTube, on Periscope.  

Now a weekly event, the vigil has moved to a new time slot to accommodate participants and viewers around the world.  It will air every Friday from 4pm to 7pm in the U.S. Eastern time zone; from 9 pm
to midnight in the UK; from 10 pm to 1 am in continental Europe; from 11 pm to 2 am in the Middle East and Africa; from midnight to 3 am in Moscow, Istanbul and Baghdad; from 8 am to 11 a.m. on Saturday in Australia and from 10 am to 1 pm on Saturday in New Zealand.  

Because we lost the stream during the program, the recording is in two parts. You can watch Part Two here live. Part One is below:

 

 




Triumph of Conventional Wisdom: AP Expunges Iran/Contra Pardons from Barr’s Record

Sam Husseini writes that the news agency ignored the nominee’s link to a major U.S. scandal broken by its own investigative reporter at the time, the late Robert Parry, founder of Consortium News.

By SamHusseini
FAIR

A president facing a major scandal, just as the highest-profile trial is about to begin, pardons the indicted or convicted officials around him to effectively stop the investigation that’s closing in on his own illegal conduct.

Trump soon? We’ll see. But this actually describes what President George H.W. Bush did in 1992.

The Iran/Contra scandal revealed, among other things, that the Reagan/Bush White House had secretly sold missiles to Iran in exchange for hostages held in Lebanon, using the proceeds to fund right-wing forces fighting the leftist Nicaraguan government in violation of U.S. law.

On Christmas Eve 1992, just as the indicted former Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger was about to face trial, Bush pardoned him and five others, including former Assistant Secretary of State Elliott Abrams and and former National Security Advisor Robert McFarlane. The New York Times (12/25/92) reported this as “Bush Pardons 6 in Iran Affair, Averting a Weinberger Trial; Prosecutor Assails ‘Cover-Up.’”

The attorney general for Bush who approved the pardons, William Barr, is now being nominated for the same position by Trump. Is this background relevant? Though current news columns are rife with speculation that Trump might likewise protect himself by pardoning his indicted or convicted associates, the dominant U.S. news wire service doesn’t seem to think so. 

In “Barr as Attorney General: Old Job, Very Different Washington” (1/14/19), Associated Press reporter Eric Tucker made no mention whatsoever of the Iran/Contra pardons. Rather than seriously examine the trajectory of presidential power and accountability, Tucker framed the story, as the headline indicates, as a stark contrast between the gentlemanly Bush and the “twice-divorced” Trump:

Serving Trump, who faces intensifying investigations from the department Barr would lead, is unlikely to compare with his tenure under President George H.W. Bush.

The false implication is that Bush did not himself face intensifying investigations from Lawrence Walsh, who operated out of the Justice Department’s Office of Special Counsel.  The misleading comparison is compounded by Tucker describing Trump as “breaking with the practice of shielding law enforcement from political influence” and ousting Attorney General Jeff Sessions for “not protecting him in the Russia investigation”   —   as if Barr didn’t have direct experience in the first Bush administration with imposing political influence on law enforcement to protect a president from investigation.

Instead, Tucker cites Barr’s supporters calling him “driven by his commitment to the department” and “very much a law-and-order guy.” (The praise for the new head of the department Tucker regularly covers marks his article as a “beat-sweetener,” a long and unfortunate tradition of journalists’ making their jobs easier by sucking up to sources.)

This deceptive piece was apparently picked up by literally thousands of media outlets. A search of “unlikely to compare with his tenure under President George H.W. Bush” produces over 2,400 results.

As Consortium News founder Robert Parry, who broke much of the Iran-Contra story for AP, would later write in a review of Walsh’s book Firewall: Inside the Iran/Contra Cover-Up:”

“The Republican independent counsel [Lawrence Walsh] infuriated the GOP when he submitted a second indictment of Weinberger on the Friday before the 1992 elections. The indictment contained documents revealing that President Bush had been lying for years with his claim that he was “out of the loop” on the Iran/Contra decisions. The ensuing furor dominated the last several days of the campaign and sealed Bush’s defeat at the hands of Bill Clinton.”

Walsh had discovered, too, that Bush had withheld his own notes about the Iran/Contra Affair, a discovery that elevated the president to a possible criminal subject of the investigation. But Bush had one more weapon in his arsenal. On Christmas Eve 1992, Bush destroyed the Iran/Contra probe once and for all by pardoning Weinberger and five other convicted or indicted defendants.

Parry, who died a year ago, left AP after many of his stories on Iran/Contra were squashed (Consortium News1/28/18).

After I criticized AP on Twitter for the omission, a later piece by Tucker, co-written with Michael Balsamo, noted perfunctorily in the 16th graph: “As attorney general in 1992, he endorsed Bush’s pardons of Reagan administration officials in the Iran/Contra scandal.” (A search on “as attorney general in 1992, he endorsed Bush’s pardons of Reagan administration officials in the Iran/Contra scandal” produced a mere 202 results.)

While much of the media obsesses over every bit of “Russia-gate,” some breathlessly anticipating the next revelation will surely bring down the Trump presidency, it’s remarkable how little interest there is in the trajectory of presidential power.

Rather, much of the establishment media has gone to great lengths to rehabilitate officials from both Bush administrations, including the elder Bush himself when he died last month. (One exception to the generally hagiographic coverage of his death was Arun Gupta’s “Let’s Talk About George H.W. Bush’s Role in the Iran/Contra Scandal” — in The Intercept, 12/7/18.) Indeed, Trump naming Barr just after George H.W. Bush’s funeral could be seen as a jiu-jitsu move: How could anyone object to his nominating the AG of the just-sainted Poppy Bush? It’s as though Trump were saying, “If you all like him so much, I’ll have what he had.” [See the Institute for Public Accuracy news release, “Barr as AG? Bush and Trump Dovetail.”]

AP’s actions also fit into the institution-protecting mode of what Parry derided as the “conventional wisdom” — which in its current formulation depicts Trump’s authoritarian tendencies as aberrations from the norms of U.S. politics, rather than a continuation of the worst tendencies of his predecessors.

Sam Husseini is an independent journalist, senior analyst at the Institute for Public Accuracy, and founder of VotePact.org, which encourages disenchanted Democrats and Republicans to pair up. Follow him on Twitter @samhusseini.




CN Blows Past Fund Raising Goal; Top 10 Stories Revealed

Thank you readers. Consortium News far surpassed its Winter Fundraising goal. Thank you also for voting on the top 10 stories of 2018. Here are the results.

Thanks to the generosity of our readers Consortium News blew past our $5o,000 Winter Fund Drive target. Our drive ran from Dec. 10 to Jan. 10. In that time we raised $91,867.00. We consider that a referendum on the job we are doing to bring you independent journalism in the tradition of Robert Parry, our founding editor. 

Here are the top ten Consortium News stories of 2018 as voted on by readers.  Each story that received a first place vote earned 10 points, second place got nine votes, third place eight votes down to tenth place, which netted one point. The winner received the most total points.

1. The Battle for Our Minds 

2. The West is Failing Julian Assange 

3. Letter from Britain: The Real Reason for the ‘Anti-Semite’ Campaign Against Jeremy Corbyn

4. Robert Parry’s Legacy and the Future of Consortium News  

4. (Tied) How the Department of Homeland Security Created a Deceptive Tale of Russia Hacking US Voter Sites. 

5. The Other Side of John McCain  

6. How Yasser Arafat Led the Palestinians to Trump’s ‘Deal of the Century’ 

7. Distorting the Life of Bobby Kennedy 

8. ‘A Very Different Journalist’: John Pilger’s Tribute to Bob Parry  By John Pilger. 18 Total Points.

9. The Shaky Case That Russia Manipulated Social Media to Tip the 2016 Election 

10. Letter from Britain—Lost in a Brexit Maze: a Baffled Political Class Dreads the Prospect of Jeremy Corbyn  July 26, 2018 By Alexander Mercouris. 14 Total Points.

 

 

 

 




Watch the 12th Vigil for Julian Assange Here

Consortium News broadcast the 12th Unity4J online vigil for WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange on Friday, hosted by Consortium News Editor Joe Lauria.

Julian Assange is a wanted man because he published classified information that revealed the crimes and corruption of government officials around the world, not just in the United States.

But it is the U.S., the supposed beacon of freedom and democracy (and press freedom) around the world that has indicted him and wants him extradited to the United States for the crime of publishing.

That’s why Julian Assange has been a refugee in the Ecuadorian embassy in London for the past six years. He knows that the second he steps back onto British territory he will be arrested and sent to the U.S. where he is unlikely to receive a fair trial and would likely spend the rest of his life in prison.

Discussing the following headlines from the past week were former U.S. Senator Mike Gravel from Monterrey, California; journalist Cassandra Fairbanks in Washington; Greg Barns, a member of Assange’s legal team speaking from Cape Town, South Africa and former Australian Broadcasting Corporation correspondent Andrew Fowler from Sydney:

1. Nobel Peace Laureate Mairead Maguire on Monday nominated JA for the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize. 

2. Former Australian ambassador Tony Kevin has reiterated his support for Julian Assange. He tweeted on Dec. 31: “I have always called for #Assanges release and his safely escorted return home to Australia in RAAF aircraft. This innocent man is being treated so badly by Ecuador, UK and US govts.”We hope to have Amb. Kevin join us later in the program.

3. Cassandra Fairbanks, a frequent guest on these vigils, visited Julian Assange last Monday and reports that his Living Conditions are More Akin to a Dissident in Stasi-Era Germany Than an Award-Winning Publisher With Asylum

4. On Wednesday, WikiLeaks issued official denial of Trump election contacts, saying that the organization never provided election information to Donald Trump campaign adviser Roger Stone or to Jerome Corsi, a conservative author and conspiracy advocate.

5. Yanis Varoufakis’ DiEM25 on Jan 4 launched a petition calling on governments of Ecuador and the UK to prevent the extradition of Julian Assange to the US.It has more than 8,000 signatures.

6. Greg Barnes a member of the JA’s Australian legal team spoke to the Unity4J vigil yesterday in a pre-recorded interview that was aired at the start of the program. 

You can watch the recorded broadcast here. There is a musical break from 00.38 minute mark to 1:12, when the discussion resumes with an interview of Australian journalist Andrew Fowler about the state of the media and its impact on Assange.




Last Chance Today to Make a 2018 Tax-Deductible Donation and to Vote on the Top Ten Consortium News Stories of the Year

You have until midnight tonight to make a tax-deductible donation to Consortium News for your 2018 returns and to vote on the top 10 CN stories of the year.

Happy New Year from Consortium News!

Please give to our Winter fund drive, by clicking Donate.

Vote for the top 10 Consortium News stories of 2018 by clicking here.

 

 

 




Watch Replay of 10th Online Vigil for Julian Assange

Consortium News on Friday night broadcast live the 10th online vigil for WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange. Among the guests was Francis Boyle, a University of Illinois international law professor, who spoke about his experiences with the U.S.-British extradition treaty.  

Other guests were radio host Scott Horton, activists Cathy Vogan and Vivian Kubrick, journalist Nozomi Hayase, priest and boxer Father Dave, radio journalist Ann Garrison, CIA analyst Ray McGovern and journalist and historian Gareth Porter.  If you missed the live broadcast you can watch the entire replay here, which ends with a video of a talk given by Julian Assange:

 

 




There’s Still Time to Make a 2018 Tax-Deductible Contribution to Maintain Bob Parry’s Legacy

Time is running out to make a tax-deductible donation for your 2018 returns to help keep Consortium News going.  

If you want to keep reading original articles by Ray McGovern, Max Blumenthal, Pepe Escobar, Patrick Lawrence, Annie Machon, and more please take this opportunity to make a tax-deductible contribution to Consortium News.

Consortium News is one of the few websites where you can find a different angle on the news–one suppressed by the dominant corporate media. Unlike many other websites, we pay our writers for original articles, marked as Special to Consortium News. Their contributions make up the vast majority of what we publish. We have a new deputy editor helping to put out our fact-checked articles and we’ve incorporated a lot more video and added many new writers. All this, plus managing the site and its business administration, costs money. 

If you think Consortium News, the earliest independent news website in history, founded in 1995, should continue in the tradition of its founder Robert Parry, please dig deep and offer what you can. Consortium News is counting on you.  

 

Please give today to our end-of-year fund drive, by clicking Donate.

 

Thank you!




Choose the Top Ten Consortium News Stories of 2018

As part of our Winter Fund Drive, Consortium News is asking readers to name the top ten articles CN published during 2018. The results will be announced on Dec. 31.

Happy Holidays from Consortium News

Please Donate to our Winter Fund Drive

Vote for the Top 10 CN Stories of the Year

List your top ten choices in the comments section. Among the themes we covered most in 2018 were Iran, Palestine, Syria, Russia-gate, European popularism, Intelligence, Media, North Korea, Empire, Immigration and Julian Assange/WikiLeaks. 

Here is a list of 50 original stories we have nominated in chronological order but you can choose any that you favor:

 

Robert Parry’s Legacy and the Future of Consortiumnews

The Mueller Indictments: The Day the Music Died

How ‘Operation Merlin’ Poisoned U.S. Intelligence on Iran

The National Endowment for (Meddling in) Democracy

American Public Troubled by ‘Deep State’

America’s Complicated Relationship with International Human Rights Norms

King’s Legacy Betrayed

America’s ‘Unlimited Imperialists’

‘A Very Different Journalist’: John Pilger’s Tribute to Bob Parry

Bob Parry: Holding Government and Media to Account

It Started Over Lunch and Led to the Exposure of One of the Greatest Scandals in U.S. History

War Fever

May Day ‘71: When Bob Parry Went to Jail in the Biggest Mass Arrest in U.S. History

Robert Mueller: Gone Fishing

The Latest Act in Israel’s Iran Nuclear Disinformation Campaign

Haspel Says CIA Won’t Torture Again as Ray McGovern is Dragged Out of Hearing

U.S. Media Whitewashes Gaza Massacre

A Tale of Two Tortures

European Earthquake as Populist Government Forms in Italy

Spooks Spooking Themselves

Distorting the Life of Bobby Kennedy

Democrats Put Partisanship Before Prospects for Peace

Letter From Britain: An Establishment Blinded By Russophobia

The Legacy and Fallacies of Bernard Lewis

Corporate Media’s About-Face on Ukraine’s Neo-Nazis

Clinging to Collusion: Why Evidence Will Probably Never Be Produced in the Indictments of ‘Russian Agents’

US Media is Losing Its Mind Over Trump-Putin Summit

Inside WikiLeaks: Working with the Publisher that Changed the World

Moon-Strzok No More, Lisa Page Spills the Beans

The Case for Stripping Former Officials of their Security Clearances

The Gray Lady Thinks Twice About Assange’s Prosecution

Letter from Britain—Lost in a Brexit Maze: a Baffled Political Class Dreads the Prospect of Jeremy Corbyn

Ahed Tamimi and Her Mother are Freed from Jail

VIPS to Trump:  Intel on Iran Could be CATASTROPHIC

Giving Trump Carte Blanche for War

Senator Richard Burr: a Longtime Fan of Torture

The Other Side of John McCain

How the Department of Homeland Security Created a Deceptive Tale of Russia Hacking US Voter Sites

Letter from Britain: The Real Reason for the ‘Anti-Semite’ Campaign Against Jeremy Corbyn

How Yasser Arafat Led the Palestinians to Trump’s ‘Deal of the Century’

The New York Times as Judge and Jury

The Battle for Our Minds

Seven Days in September

The Shaky Case That Russia Manipulated Social Media to Tip the 2016 Election

Khashoggi Was No Critic of Saudi Regime

Welcome to the Jungle

The Saudi-US Crisis Will Pass

The West is Failing Julian Assange

National Exclusive: Former Sen. Barbara Boxer’s Son and California Powerbroker Found Bilking Indian Tribe

Israel’s Overlooked Strategic Losses in Wars Against Arabs

 

Please give to our end-of-year fund drive, by clicking Donate.