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Britain’s Secret Political Police

Britain’s Secret Political Police

A who’s who of the U.K. radical left over the past half century was infiltrated by “spycops,” reports Asa Winstanley, who has personal involvement with this story. 

New Scotland Yard, headquarters of the Metropolitan Police Service, the territorial police force responsible for policing most of London. (Can Pac Swire, Flickr, CC BY-NC 2.0)

In December 2018 I received a text message that changed my life.

“Do you know anyone involved in [the] UK group of [the] International Solidarity Movement?”  it read. A public inquiry had released the name of “an undercover officer who apparently infiltrated them – Rob Harrison.”

Long buried memories slowly began to surface. I knew that name.

In my mid-20s I had indeed been involved with the International Solidarity Movement, known as ISM, first as a volunteer in Palestine and later with their U.K. chapter, ISM London. Rob had been a friend – or so I’d thought. We’d drunk in the same pubs, I’d danced to the records he’d spun as a DJ at fundraisers and we’d endured the same interminable meetings together.

But all along he’d secretly been an undercover British police officer, leading a double life and reporting who-knows-what to the authorities.

I swiftly turned to my old emails and found dozens from “Robert Harrison.” He’d even offered to drive me to the airport on one trip to Palestine. Luckily, I had declined.

There was no doubt – it was the same man. The man we’d thought had been our friend had actually been a spy for the state all along.

Looking back at that text message now, I think I was in shock and experienced some sort of trauma. I processed all this by snapping into professional mode – it would make a great story. And I was well placed to tell it. I called around some of my old comrades.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

 

Biden DOJ Files Appeal to Get Assange Extradited 

Biden DOJ Files Appeal to Get Assange Extradited 

The U.S. has filed an appeal with the High Court in London to reverse a decision by a British judge not to extradite the WikiLeaks publisher on health grounds.

The liberal administration of Joe Biden proved itself to be no less an enemy of press freedom than Donald Trump when it filed an appeal at the UK High Court on Friday to get their hands on the journalist Julian Assange.

The appeal seeks to overturn a decision by Magistrate Vanessa Baraitser, who on Jan. 4, ruled that the WikiLeaks publisher was at heightened risk of suicide if he were to be extradited to the United States and face life in a U.S. super max prison.

Amnesty International on Thursday had joined an array of press freedom and human rights organizations, including Reporters Without Borders and Human Rights Watch, in urging the Biden administration to drop the case against Assange.  But it fell on deaf ears in Washington.

Biden was vice president in the Barack Obama administration, which decided not to prosecute Assange in 2011 essentially on press freedom grounds, reasoning that if it indicted Assange for journalistic activity, then it would have to also prosecute The New York Times and other mainstream media for the exact same activity.  Biden has broken with his former administration.

Biden had another opportunity to show that he was the “decent” man his supporters say he is and to dissociate himself from the illiberal, indeed, extremist views of his predecessor.  Instead this decision is in line with a politician who was the most important Democratic proponent of the illegal invasion of Iraq, whose war crimes Assange exposed.

consortium news, julian assange, wikilieaks, united states, us doj, us department of justice, joe biden

Three-Card Monte, Wall Street-Style

Three-Card Monte, Wall Street-Style

Their operation was in jeopardy, their ‘business model’ at risk. Their reaction was typical for the brazen barons of finance, writes Michael Brenner.

Surer than Three Card Monte, from the Tricks with Cards series (N138) Duke, Sons & Co. to promote Honest Long Cut Tobacco, 1887. (Metropolitan Museum of Art/Jefferson R. Burdick Collection)

This week witnessed an historic event – one that deserves to be memorialized. A band of financial speculators were beaten at their own game, losing $3 billion. A bunch of clever young guys used the hedge fund’s own methods to turn the tables on them.

For years, those white-collar cheats have been dealing 3-card monte on Wall Street with impunity. Now, their operation was in jeopardy, their ‘business model’ at risk. Their reaction was typical for the brazen barons of finance.

They rushed to Washington to complain to their retainers, demanding protection of their constitutional right to pillage the American economy.

What they are demanding is a police escort to secure their 3-card monte scam by screening out anyone who might know their tricks. So, what happens?

Nearly everyone in power from Nancy Pelosi to the head of the SEC quickly pledges to investigate this affront to the country’s financial markets – evidently having no other affronts to tend to.

“Guilty is a word unspoken except where innocence dares to plead.”

The electronic trading services went so far as to bar the mavericks from using their facilities; only marks welcome. All agree that it is a national emergency.

I am shocked! Shocked to hear reports of an attempt to manipulate the financial markets – the most transparent, fairest in the world. Some of my best friends are hedge fund directors; they’re the finest, most honest people you’d ever want to know!

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

WATCH: ‘The Trial of Julian Assange: Implications for Press Freedom’

WATCH: ‘The Trial of Julian Assange: Implications for Press Freedom’

Watch CN Live!‘s simulcast on Sunday of the First Unitarian Society of Milwaukee’s production of Nils Melzer & Ray McGovern discussing the Julian Assange case and its impact on press freedom.

Watch the replay: 

Nils Melzer is the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture, Professor of International Law at the University of Glasgow, and holds the Human Rights Chair at the Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights. Ray McGovern is a former, longtime CIA Russia analyst, presidential daily briefer, and co-founder of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS).

Julian Assange’s extradition trial ended at the Old Bailey in September. More than 30 witnesses for the defense included Daniel Ellsberg and Noam Chomsky; the prosecutors declared standard journalistic practices to be crimes; and the judge cut the feed to all monitoring NGOs on the first day. Judge Vanessa Baraitser on Jan. 4 blocked Assange’s extradition to the U.S. but two days later denied him bail and sent the WikiLeaks‘ publisher to Belmarsh prison.
Forum Host: Ann Batiza

Joe Lauria on the Alleged Russian Hack

Joe Lauria on the Alleged Russian Hack

The editor-in-chief was interviewed on the radio program By Any Means Necessary about the alleged Russian hacking of U.S. government computers. Listen to it here. (16 minutes)

Typical Russiagate articles in the corporate press follow this pattern:

  • Russia is specifically blamed for something, like a hack or “undermining American democracy,” according to unnamed U.S. officials, or “people familiar with the matter.”
  • The article then drops all attribution and refers to a “Russian campaign” as established fact.
  • Towards the end of the piece a caveat is slipped in, such as “if it is confirmed it was Russia,” which undermines the credibility of the entire article.

The reporting of the latest Russia hack story follows this pattern, as explained in detail by Consortium News Editor-in-Chief Joe Lauria:

Rebroadcast with permission.

Consortium News piece on Saturday by Ray McGovern and Lauria set out the holes in this latest Russia story, and was quoted by the president of American University in Moscow in a Washington Times op-ed.

Glenn Greenwald’s Call Same as Bob Parry’s in 1995

Glenn Greenwald’s Call Same as Bob Parry’s in 1995

After resigning from The Intercept when it suppressed one of his stories, Greenwald is calling for a new news outlet whose aim is the same as what the creator of this website established in November 1995.

Robert Parry receiving the 2017 Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism in London on June 28, 2017. Also, from left to right, are Victoria Britain, John Pilger and Vanessa Redgrave.

When asked why he started Consortium News now 25 years ago, the late Robert Parry said he got fed up with the resistance he faced from editors at the Associated Press and Newsweek who put obstacles in the way of his stories, often of great national significance.

The AP refused to publish his story naming Oliver North, explaining his crucial role in the Iran-Contra scandal.  It was only published after it inadvertently went out on the AP’s Spanish-language wire.

One editor at Newsweek told him asking certain tough questions of U.S. officials was not for “the good for the country.” The facts Parry unearthed went too far in exposing the dark side of American power. His editor was speaking, of course, about what was for the good of the rulers of the country, not the rest of us.

So Bob quit corporate journalism and created a consortium for journalists who ran up against similar obstruction from their editors: a place for them to publish what they could not get published in the mainstream.

In the last article Parry ever wrote, he described why he started Consortium News:

“The point of Consortium News, which I founded in 1995, was to use the new medium of the modern Internet to allow the old principles of journalism to have a new home, i.e., a place to pursue important facts and giving everyone a fair shake. But we were just a tiny pebble in the ocean.”

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Our Distance from Dirt

Our Distance from Dirt

Many of us on the African continent clutch our unethically sourced pearls and briefly confront the ugly truths about  our consumption, writes Takondwa Semphere. But then we forget. 

2012: Children gold mining in the eastern DRC. (Sasha Lezhnev/Enough Project, Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

It seems that every other month, a different segment of the online population awakens to the horrors of unjust extractive labor on the continent and elsewhere in the world. Clips of young children working in fields and toiling in ruthless mines beam up on our coltan-powered iPhones in punchy, bite-sized expository threads that at once arrest and implicate us.

We clutch our unethically sourced pearls and confront these ugly truths of our consumption. Some of us linger on the news, some share and sign petitions and others, in the sort of torpor that fast-paced timelines tend to inspire, scroll on. For a moment, we rage but in time, another shareable injustice snags at our attention and we forget.

It is easy to forget when the mines are far away from our mobile phones. Many on the African continent who can consume these goods that are manufactured from violently extracted materials are, ourselves, distant from the land. This distance is built into our world, encoded in our economies and facilitated by how we consume.

We pluck our food from shelves instead of branches, and source it from supermarkets rather than unearth it from the soil ourselves. We do not bend to wells or rivers, and our hands do not know the weight of hoes hoisted up into the air and hurled onto the soil. This distance is a part of how we live, and has significant implications on how we seek to make the world more equitable.

2012: A gold dealer in the eastern DRC displays samples of gold. (Sasha Lezhnev/Enough Project, Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

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PATRICK LAWRENCE: Empire with a Human Face

PATRICK LAWRENCE: Empire with a Human Face

The Biden people are unlikely to speak of a new cold war with China, but they appear likely to wage one all dressed up as a sophisticated trans–Pacific strategy.

A portion of China’s Great Wall at dawn. (Hao Wei, Flickr, CC BY 2.0)

Those boneheaded Trump people explained their hostile, xenophobic, fated-to-fail policy toward China by telling  the rest of Asia that America stood for “a free and open Indo–Pacific.”

No, no and no, say the big shots President-elect Joe Biden has named to shape and execute his foreign policy. Instead, they mean to tell Asians to line up behind their hostile, xenophobic, fated-to-fail policy toward China in the name of “a secure and prosperous Indo–Pacific.”

Way different.

It is simply remarkable to watch as the party that howled in response to everything the Trump regime attempted on the foreign-policy side adopts one Trump-era strategy after another more or less intact but for the cosmetics.

The sin of those egregious hawks who commandeered the outgoing regime was to conduct the business of empire imperially. This new crew offers what we had better recognize now as nothing more than empire with a human face.

Of all the Biden regime’s failures in the making one can already see in prospect that none will be greater than its insistence that the U.S. must continue to treat China as a predatory competitor and strategic adversary.

As Mike Pompeo failed to enlist Asians in his crusade against the mainland — and our baboon secretary of state has flopped spectacularly, if you have not noticed — so will Antony Blinken, his successor at State, and Jake Sullivan, Biden’s nominee for national security adviser.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

India’s One-Day General Strike Largest in History

India’s One-Day General Strike Largest in History

If those who struck on Nov. 26 formed a country, it would be the fifth largest in the world after China, India, the United States and Indonesia, writes Vijay Prashad.

India’s general strike on Nov. 26, 2020. (IndustriALL Global Union, Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Farmers and agricultural workers from northern India marched along various national highways toward India’s capital of New Delhi as part of the general strike on Nov. 26.

They carried placards with slogans against the anti-farmer, pro-corporate laws that were passed by India’s Lok Sabha (lower house of parliament) in September, and then pushed through the Rajya Sabha (upper house) with only a voice vote.

The striking agricultural workers and farmers carried flags that indicated their affiliation with a range of organizations, from the communist movement to a broad front of farmers’ organizations. They marched against the privatization of agriculture, which they argue undermines India’s food sovereignty and erodes their ability to remain agriculturalists.

Roughly two-thirds of India’s workforce derives its income from agriculture, which contributes to roughly 18 percent of India’s gross domestic product (GDP). The three anti-farmer bills passed in September undermine the minimum support price buying schemes of the government, put 85 percent of the farmers who own less than 2 hectares of land at the mercy of bargaining with monopoly wholesalers, and will lead to the destruction of a system that has till now maintained agricultural production despite erratic prices for food produce.

One hundred and fifty farmer organizations came together for their march on New Delhi. They pledge to stay in the city indefinitely.

India’s general strike on Nov. 26, 2020. (IndustriALL Global Union, Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Chris Hedges: The Ruling Elite’s War on Truth

Chris Hedges: The Ruling Elite’s War on Truth

American political leaders display a widening disconnect from reality intended to mask their complicity in the seizure of power by global corporations and billionaires.

Original illustration by Mr. Fish. (Scheerpost)

Joe Biden’s victory instantly obliterated the Democratic Party’s longstanding charge that Russia was hijacking and compromising U.S. elections. The Biden victory, the Democratic Party leaders and their courtiers in the media now insist, is evidence that the democratic process is strong and untainted, that the system works. The elections ratified the will of the people.

But imagine if Donald Trump had been reelected. Would the Democrats and pundits at The New York Times, CNN and MSNBC pay homage to a fair electoral process? Or, having spent four years trying to impugn the integrity of the 2016 presidential race, would they once again haul out the blunt instrument of Russian interference to paint Trump as Vladimir Putin’s Manchurian candidate?

Trump and his attorney Rudy Giuliani are vulgar and buffoonish, but they play the same slimy game as their Democratic opponents. The Republicans scapegoat the deep state, communists and now, bizarrely, Venezuela; the Democrats scapegoat Russia. The widening disconnect from reality by the ruling elite is intended to mask their complicity in the seizure of power by predatory global corporations and billionaires.

Former Mayor Rudy Giuliani in 2019. (Gage Skidmore, Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0)

“This is a disgraceful thing that was done in this country,” Giuliani said at his recent bad-hair-day press conference. “Probably not much more disgraceful than the things these people did in office, which you didn’t and don’t bother to cover and you conceal from the American people, but we let this happen, we use largely a Venezuelan voting machine in essence to count our vote…

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Chris Hedges: American Bloodlands

Chris Hedges: American Bloodlands

The enraged, polarized segments of the population are rapidly consolidating as the political center disintegrates.

Fires and tear gas at the Mark O. Hatfield federal courthouse perimeter fence during protests over the police killing of George Floyd in Portland, Oregon, July 22, 2020. (Tedder, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons)

By Chris Hedges
ScheerPost.com

The tinder that could soon ignite widespread violent conflagrations throughout the United States lies ominously stacked around us.

Millions of disenfranchised white Americans, who see no way out of their economic and social misery, struggling with an emotional void, are seething with rage against a corrupt ruling class and bankrupt liberal elite that presides over political stagnation and grotesque, mounting social inequality.

Millions more alienated young men and women, also locked out of the economy and with no realistic prospect for advancement or integration, gripped by the same emotional void, have harnessed their fury in the name of tearing down the governing structures and anti-fascism.

The enraged, polarized segments of the population are rapidly consolidating as the political center disintegrates. They stand poised to tear apart the United States, awash in military-grade weapons, unable to cope with the crisis of the Covid-19 pandemic and its economic fallout, cursed with militarized police forces that function as internal armies of occupation and de facto allies of the neofascists.

The spark that usually sets such tinder ablaze is martyrdom. Aaron “Jay” Danielson, a supporter of the right-wing group Patriot Prayer, was wearing a loaded Glock pistol in a holster and had bear spray and an expandable metal baton when he was shot dead on Aug. 29, allegedly by Michael Forest Reinoehl, a supporter of antifa, in the streets of Portland. A woman in the crowd can be heard shouting after the shooting: “I am not sad that a fucking fascist died tonight.” On Thursday, Reinoehl, allegedly armed with a handgun, was shot and killed by federal agents in Washington state.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

John Pilger: The Stalinist Trial of Julian Assange

John Pilger: The Stalinist Trial of Julian Assange

The extradition hearing beginning this week is the final act of an Anglo-American campaign to bury Julian Assange. It is not due process. It is due revenge, said John Pilger in a speech Monday outside the court building.

Having reported the long, epic ordeal of Julian Assange, John Pilger gave this address outside the Central Criminal Court in London on Sept. 7 as the WikiLeaks Editor’s extradition hearing entered its final stage.


When I first met Julian Assange more than ten years ago, I asked him why he had started WikiLeaks. He replied: “Transparency and accountability are moral issues that must be the essence of public life and journalism.”

I had never heard a publisher or an editor invoke morality in this way. Assange believes that journalists are the agents of people, not power: that we, the people, have a right to know about the darkest secrets of those who claim to act in our name.

If the powerful lie to us, we have the right to know. If they say one thing in private and the opposite in public, we have the right to know. If they conspire against us, as Bush and Blair did over Iraq, then pretend to be democrats, we have the right to know.

It is this morality of purpose that so threatens the collusion of powers that want to plunge much of the world into war and wants to bury Julian alive in Trump’s fascist America.

In 2008, a top secret U.S. State Department report described in detail how the United States would combat this new moral threat. A secretly-directed personal smear campaign against Julian Assange would lead to “exposure [and] criminal prosecution”.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

WATCH: WikiLeaks Iraq War Logs: What It Means for Press Freedom,

WATCH: WikiLeaks Iraq War Logs: What It Means for Press Freedom

WikiLeaks editor Kristinn Hrafnsson leads a discussion with investigative journalists Iain Overton and Chris Woods about the impact of the Iraq War Logs’ release a decade ago.

Almost 10 years ago WikiLeaks published the Iraq War Logs along with The New York Times, The Guardian, El Pais, The Washington Post and other news outlets. The logs showed the true numbers of civilian deaths in Iraq—at least 15,000 more people had died than previously thought—as well as the abuse and torture of prisoners by police and military in full knowledge of coalition forces. 

“The U.S. figures appear to be unreliable in respect of civilian deaths caused by their own military activities,” The Guardian reportedThis online event was organized by the Don’t Extradite Assange campaign. It features WikiLeaks editor Kristinn Hrafnsson and investigative journalists Iain Overton and Chris Woods.

WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange remains held at a maximum security prison in London in relation to a US extradition request – he faces a sentence of 175 years for publishing truthful information in the public interest, which include the Iraq War Logs.

 

SCOTT RITTER: Powell & Iraq—Regime Change, Not Disarmament: The Fundamental Lie

SCOTT RITTER: Powell & Iraq—Regime Change, Not Disarmament: The Fundamental Lie

Regime change, not disarmament, was always the driving factor behind U.S. policy towards Saddam Hussein. Powell knew this because he helped craft the original policy.

The New York Times Magazine has published a puff piece soft-peddling former Secretary of State Colin Powell’s role in selling a war on Iraq to the UN Security Council using what turned out to be bad intelligence. “Colin Powell Still Wants Answers” is the title of the article, written by Robert Draper. “The analysts who provided the intelligence,” a sub-header to the article declares, “now say it was doubted inside the CIA at the time.”

Draper’s article is an extract from a book, To Start a War: How the Bush Administration Took America into Iraq, scheduled for publication later this month. In the interest of full disclosure, I was approached by Draper in 2018 about his interest in writing this book, and I agreed to be interviewed as part of his research. I have not yet read the book, but can note that, based upon the tone and content of his New York Times Magazine article, my words apparently carried little weight.

Regime Change, Not WMD

I spent some time articulating to Draper my contention that the issue with Saddam Hussein’s Iraq was never about weapons of mass destruction (WMD), but rather regime change, and that everything had to be viewed in the light of this reality—including Powell’s Feb. 5, 2003 presentation before the UN Security Council. Based upon the content of his article, I might as well have been talking to a brick wall.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

A Summer of Protest, Unemployment & Presidential Politics – Welcome to 1932

A Summer of Protest, Unemployment & Presidential Politics – Welcome to 1932

In 1932, as in 2020, the nation experienced an explosion of civil unrest on the eve of a presidential election, writes James N. Gregory.

The Bonus Army stages a demonstration at the empty Capitol on July 2, 1932.
(Underwood and Underwood, photographers; Library of Congress)

An election looms. An unpopular president wrestles with historic unemployment rates. Demonstrations erupt in hundreds of locations. The president deploys Army units to suppress peaceful protests in the nation’s capital. And most of all he worries about an affable Democratic candidate who is running against him without saying much about a platform or plans.

Welcome to 1932.

I am a historian and director of the Mapping American Social Movements Project, which explores the history of social movements and their interaction with American electoral politics.

The parallels between the summer of 1932 and what is happening in the U.S. currently are striking. While the pandemic and much else is different, the political dynamics are similar enough that they are useful for anyone trying to understand where the U.S. is and where it is going.

Tanks and mounted troops advance to break up a Bonus Marchers’ camp of veterans protesting lost wages, Washington, D.C., July 28, 1932. (PhotoQuest/Getty Images)

Multiracial Street Protest Movement

In 1932, as in 2020, the nation experienced an explosion of civil unrest on the eve of a presidential election.

The Great Depression had deepened through three years by 1932. With 24% of the work force unemployed and the federal government refusing to provide funds to support the jobless and homeless as local governments ran out of money, men and women across the country joined demonstrations demanding relief.

Our mapping project has recorded 389 hunger marches, eviction fights and other protests in 138 cities during 1932.

Although less than the thousands of Black Lives Matter protests, there are similarities.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Olduvai IV: Courage
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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