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Covering the Julian Assange Story

Covering the Julian Assange Story

With corporate TV and press abandoning the imprisoned WikiLeaks publisher, Consortium News has been in the forefront among alternative media in chronicling his plight. But we can’t do it without you. 

Assange outside UK Supreme Court in 2011. (Flickr)

Except for a brief moment after his dramatic arrest, the mainstream media has abandoned Julian Assange. They do this at their own peril.   

That’s because the arrest and espionage indictment of Assange for practicing journalism is a danger to all journalists everywhere.

Consortium News started covering the Assange case on Dec. 16, 2010 with an article by founding editor Robert Parry, one of the leading investigative reporters of his generation. Bob argued that Assange was practicing journalism in the exact way that he did.   He wrote: 

“… the process for reporters obtaining classified information about crimes of state most often involves a journalist persuading some government official to break the law either by turning over classified documents or at least by talking about the secret information. There is almost always some level of “conspiracy” between reporter and source.

Though some elements of this suspected Assange-Manning collaboration may be technically unique because of the Internet’s role – and that may be a relief to more traditional news organizations like the Times which has published some of the WikiLeaks documents – the underlying reality is that what WikiLeaks has done is essentially “the same wine” of investigative journalism in “a new bottle” of the Internet.

By shunning WikiLeaks as some deviant journalistic hybrid, mainstream U.S. news outlets may breathe easier now but may find themselves caught up in a new legal precedent that could be applied to them later.”

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

Civil War inside Mainstream Newspapers

Civil War inside Mainstream Newspapers

There is a civil war inside the New York Times as is the case in just about every major newspaper. This war is emerging between the young journalists and the 40+ old-wing liberals who have lost their way and surrendered all ethics of what was once journalism. What has changed is that the classically liberal process has transformed from investigative objectivity to always criticizing in public any opposition which in itself requires that one holds certain opposite convictions which means any objectivity has been surrendered. The capacity of reason to determine right from wrong has become biased to one’s own side to prevail and what has been rejected is debate. The substance is never addressed, simply they attack the messenger. There is no evolution of thought or advancement for society through the historical give and take of argument.

Journalism has lost any degree of modesty about the likelihood of any comprehensive moral and political view triumphing so decisively that competing views vanish or shrink to the furthest margins of a free society. Indeed, journalism has become just personal propaganda. Once upon a time, journalism was a noble cause for it was about a practical and functional form of truth that may not be even absolute or philosophical, but it was the pursuit of the truths that impacted our society. It was once perhaps a lofty goal that began with the professional discipline of assembling and verifying facts as was the case with the legal and political professions.

But journalists, have succumbed to bias and no longer try to convey a fair and reliable account of their events. FAKE NEWS has simply become a platform for personal bias warranting no further investigation. Journalism has digressed to nothing more than standing on a soap-box at Speaker’s Corner in Hyde Park, London. Journalists are no longer transparent about sources or methods so audiences can make their own assessment of the information.

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

New UK laws could criminalise journalism

New UK laws could criminalise journalism

 Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II travels to the Opening of Parliament last year. (Photo: EPA-EFE/Facundo Arrizabalaga)  

The British government is pushing ahead with “espionage legislation” that could criminalise the release of public information and impose even stricter controls on the UK media as part of an “epidemic of secrecy”.

British journalists and their sources are facing an unprecedented assault on freedom of speech, including the prospect of criminal prosecution. Threats aimed at whistleblowers and journalists were evident before the coronavirus crisis struck, but went largely unnoticed.

The government’s Queen’s Speech in December included plans for new “espionage legislation”. It stressed the need to combat “hostile state activity” and make the UK “a harder environment for adversaries to operate in” – an indirect reference to the poisoning in Salisbury of Russian double agent Sergei Skripal. 

But it also insisted that the Official Secrets Act, drawn up in 1989, must be “updated” and confirmed that the Law Commission, the body that reviews the law in England and Wales, has been commissioned by the government to do this.

Yet proposals drawn up by the Law Commission to review the Official Secrets Act pose major dangers. Whistleblowers and journalists could be convicted for revealing information about defence, international relations or law enforcement, even if it was unlikely to cause harm. They would make it easier to secure convictions by weakening the existing tests for proving an offence.

Neither would someone revealing danger to the public, abuse of power or serious misconduct be able to argue that they acted in the public interest. In addition, maximum prison sentences on conviction, currently two years under the Official Secrets Act, would be increased.

Moreover, it would not be a defence to show that the information had already lawfully been made public – unless the information had also been “widely disseminated”. How would that be determined?

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

The People are Rising Up – Journalists & Politicians Beware

The People are Rising Up – Journalists & Politicians Beware

A former respected journalist has come out quite angry and has called for the people to overthrow the Merkel government. He states he is willing to go to prison but begs everyone for the sake of the country and their families to reject Merkel and her links to Bill Gates and is effectively calling for a non-violent Revolution. He is not even offering a specific alternative. Just to throw out the Merkel government.

This video has been going viral in Germany and a lot of people are getting really angry at this entire destruction of the world economy they see has been orchestrated by Bill Gates. This video has accused the press in Germany of just supporting whatever Bill Gates directs. They have been compelled to come out and try to attack this video rather than reflect upon the coverage they have provided.

Our computer model warned that protest would start after week four. However, violence would typically start to emerge after week six. All around the globe we are starting to see protests and people refusing to comply with these lockdown orders which are clearly against international human rights.

In Germany, there were 171,000 confirmed cases with 7,510 deaths. The total German population is about 83 million. That is only about 0.00008%. You can fool some of the people some of the time, but this is beyond foolery. The people are starting to wake up that they have been played for fools. By mid-May, we would be looking at major protests lining up around the globe, particularly the week of May 18th.

The journalists who have supported Gates should really look at what they are doing. They may be putting their own families at risk if this erupts into massive civil unrest because they have aided the loss of jobs, savings, and homes. Caesar – Beware the week of May 18th.

Humanity Is Making A Very Important Decision When It Comes To Assange

Humanity Is Making A Very Important Decision When It Comes To Assange

The propagandists have all gone dead silent on the WikiLeaks founder they previously were smearing with relentless viciousness, because they no longer have an argument. The facts are all in, and yes, it turns out the US government is certainly and undeniably working to exploit legal loopholes to imprison a journalist for exposing its war crimes. That is happening, and there is no justifying it.

So the narrative managers, by and large, have gone silent.

Which is good. Because it gives us an opening to seize control of the narrative.

It’s time to go on the offensive with this. Assange supporters have gotten so used to playing defense that it hasn’t fully occurred to us to go on a full-blown charge. I’ve been guilty of this as well; I’ll be letting myself get bogged down in some old, obsolete debate with someone about some obscure aspect of the Swedish case or something, not realizing that none of that matters anymore. All the narrative manipulations that were used to get Assange to this point are impotent, irrelevant expenditures of energy compared to the fact that we now have undeniable evidence that the US government is working to set a precedent which will allow it to jail any journalist who exposes its misdeeds, and we can now force Assange’s smearers to confront this reality.

“Should journalists be jailed for exposing US war crimes? Yes or no?”

That’s the debate now. Not Russia. Not Sweden. Not whether he followed proper bail protocol or washed his dishes at the embassy. That’s old stuff. That’s obsolete. That’s playing defense.

Now we play offense: “Should journalists be jailed for exposing US war crimes? Yes or no?”

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

We’re Asking One Question In Assange’s Case: Should Journalists Be Punished For Exposing War Crimes?

We’re Asking One Question In Assange’s Case: Should Journalists Be Punished For Exposing War Crimes?

This is a speech I gave yesterday at a demonstration for Assange with the Socialist Equality Party Australia.

Tomorrow in the UK a judge will start the process of answering a very important question. It’s a question that many of us knew was the heart of this debate back in 2010, ten years ago, when this all started. It’s a question that they have been obfuscating, bloviating, huffily denying, smearing, gaslighting, and distracting from–basically doing anything they can to hide it from view.

It’s a question that they don’t want the public to know that we are answering. A question that goes to the heart of democracy, and to the heart of the role of the fourth estate, journalism. And that question is this:

Should journalists and publishers be punished for exposing US war crimes?

And, ancillary to that question: should we allow them to be punished by the very people who committed those war crimes?

Is that something that we want for our world, ongoing? Because our answer to this question is going to shape our society, our civilization, for generations to come.

There is no coming back from this for a very long time should the answer be, “Yes! Yes, it’s fine, war criminals should go ahead and punish journalists for publishing true facts about their war crimes.”

If we allow the answer to be yes, then we’re stuck with the endless stupid wars that everyone wants done with, from Melbourne to Kabul, from Sydney to Syria–right across the world people are done with these stupid wars for profit.

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

The Empire’s War On Oppositional Journalism Continues To Escalate

The Empire’s War On Oppositional Journalism Continues To Escalate

Journalist Glenn Greenwald has been charged by the Bolsonaro government in Brazil with the same prosecutorial angle used by the US to target WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

Per The New York Times:

Citing intercepted messages between Mr. Greenwald and the hackers, prosecutors say the journalist played a “clear role in facilitating the commission of a crime.”

For instance, prosecutors contend that Mr. Greenwald encouraged the hackers to delete archives that had already been shared with The Intercept Brasil, in order to cover their tracks.

Prosecutors also say that Mr. Greenwald was communicating with the hackers while they were actively monitoring private chats on Telegram, a messaging app. The complaint charged six other individuals, including four who were detained last year in connection with the cellphone hacking.

This argument is essentially indistinguishable from the argument currently being used by the Trump administration in charging Assange with 17 counts of violating the Espionage Act. The US Department of Justice alleges that Assange attempted to provide Private Manning with advice and assistance in covering her tracks while leaking documents she already had access to, therefore making Assange party to a conspiracy against the United States.

It is not surprising that Brazil is advancing the same war on journalism we’ve been seeing in the US, UK, Australia and France. With the election of the overtly fascist Jair Bolsonaro in October 2018 (an election whose corrupt foundations were exposed by Greenwald’s reporting with The Intercept Brasil), the Brazilian government moved into full alignment with the the US-centralized empire, which was why his inauguration was enthusiastically celebrated by characters like Donald TrumpMike PompeoJohn Bolton and Benjamin Netanyahu.

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

Journalist: Newsweek Suppressed OPCW Scandal And Threatened Me With Legal Action

Journalist: Newsweek Suppressed OPCW Scandal And Threatened Me With Legal Action

Newsweek journalist has resigned after the publication reportedly suppressed his story about the ever-growing OPCW scandal, the revelation of immensely significant plot holes in the establishment Syria narrative that you can update yourself on by watching this short seven-minute video or this more detailed video here.

“Yesterday I resigned from Newsweek after my attempts to publish newsworthy revelations about the leaked OPCW letter were refused for no valid reason,” journalist Tareq Haddad reported today via Twitter.

“I have collected evidence of how they suppressed the story in addition to evidence from another case where info inconvenient to US government was removed, though it was factually correct,” Haddad said. “I plan on publishing these details in full shortly. However, after asking my editors for comment, as is journalistic practice, I received an email reminding me of confidentiality clauses in my contract. I.e. I was threatened with legal action.”

Haddad added that he is now seeking legal advice and looking into the possibility of whistleblower protections for himself, and said at the very least he will publish the information he has while omitting anything that could subject him to legal retaliation from his former employer.

“I could have kept silent and kept my job, but I would not have been able to continue with a clean conscience,” Haddad said. “I will have some instability now but the truth is more important.”


Yesterday I resigned from Newsweek after my attempts to publish newsworthy revelations about the leaked OPCW letter were refused for no valid reason.


Haddad added that he is now seeking legal advice and looking into the possibility of whistleblower protections for himself, and said at the very least he will publish the information he has while omitting anything that could subject him to legal retaliation from his former employer.

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

A New Kind of Tyranny: The Global State’s War on Those Who Speak Truth to Power

A New Kind of Tyranny: The Global State’s War on Those Who Speak Truth to Power


“What happens to Julian Assange and to Chelsea Manning is meant to intimidate us, to frighten us into silence. By defending Julian Assange, we defend our most sacred rights. Speak up now or wake up one morning to the silence of a new kind of tyranny. The choice is ours.”—John Pilger, investigative journalist

All of us are in danger.

In an age of prosecutions for thought crimes, pre-crime deterrence programs, and government agencies that operate like organized crime syndicates, there is a new kind of tyranny being imposed on those who dare to expose the crimes of the Deep State, whose reach has gone global.

The Deep State has embarked on a ruthless, take-no-prisoners, all-out assault on truth-tellers.

Activists, journalists and whistleblowers alike are being terrorized, traumatized, tortured and subjected to the fear-inducing, mind-altering, soul-destroying, smash-your-face-in tactics employed by the superpowers-that-be.

Take Julian Assange, for example.

Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks—a website that published secret information, news leaks, and classified media from anonymous sources—was arrested on April 11, 2019, on charges of helping U.S. Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning access and leak more than 700,000 classified military documents that portray the U.S. government and its military as reckless, irresponsible and responsible for thousands of civilian deaths.

Included among the leaked Manning material were the Collateral Murder video (April 2010), the Afghanistan war logs (July 2010), the Iraq war logs (October 2010), a quarter of a million diplomatic cables (November 2010), and the Guantánamo files (April 2011).

The Collateral Murder leak included gunsight video footage from two U.S. AH-64 Apache helicoptersengaged in a series of air-to-ground attacks while air crew laughed at some of the casualties.

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

The End of Accountable Government Is Close at Hand

The End of Accountable Government Is Close at Hand

For about 70 years the CIA has been undermining a free press.  It began with Operation Mockingbird, a Cold War operation against communism.  The CIA recruited journalists into a propaganda network.  The CIA paid journalists to write fake stories or to publish stories written by the CIA in order to control explanations that served the agency’s agendas.  Student and cultural organizations and intellectual magazines, such as Encounter, were suborned into the CIA’s propaganda network.  Thanks to the German journalist, Udo Ulfkotte, we know that every European journalist of any significance is a CIA asset.  In 1977 Carl Bernstein of Watergate fame wrote in Rolling Stone that the CIA “has secretly bankrolled numerous foreign press services, periodicals and newspapers—both English and foreign language—which provided excellent cover for CIA operatives.”  Like most other people, Western journalists were all too willing to sell out their integrity for money.  The few who were not were blackmailed into submission.

The few honest journalists who remain have been forced out of the “mainstream” or presstitute media onto Internet websites.  Wikileaks is by far the best news organization of our time.  To bring this organization to heel Washington, using its Swedish, British, and Ecuadoran vassals, has persecuted Wikileaks’ founder, Julian Assange, for years.  The CIA’s media vassals, including the New York Times and The Guardian, both of which published the material leaked to Wikileaks that is being used to destroy Assange, have joined wholeheartedly in the persecution of the World’s Best and Most Honest Journalist.  

Currently Assange is being tortured, apparently to death, while bring held in solitary confinement in a maximum security British prison awaiting his extradition to the US on false charges.  

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

Assange Is The Only One To Abide By The Law

Assange Is The Only One To Abide By The Law

Salvador Dali Self portrait  1921

On October 21 2019, Brexit became an entirely irrelevant issue. Or perhaps we should say it had already become that, but on that date it was exposed for all to see that it was. The parading into a courtroom of Julian Assange in London was all the evidence one could need that the UK government breaks its own laws as well as numerous international laws, with impunity. But that is not how the media reported on it, if it did at all.

And so, the core issue behind Brexit, i.e. who makes Britain’s laws, turned to nothing. If your government breaks its own laws all the time, what does it matter where those laws are made? They are meaningless anyway. Whether they come from Brussels or London make no difference if the government and judicial system don’t abide by them. Those million men marches for a Final Say look totally ridiculous once that reality sinks in.

I can’t get the picture of Julian Assange as he looked on Monday out of my head. I’ve written so much about him, tried so hard to find support for him, and now to see him withered away and perhaps not strong enough to see the end of his own extradition hearing is heartbreaking. So let’s go through the whole thing again; it’s not like I could write about anything else right now. I was thinking again yesterday about a song I used in an earlier article about Julian, I Fought the Law.

That is how the vast majority of people will see his case, that he fought the law and the law caught up with him. But that’s not at all what’s been happening. 

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

Airport Customs Agent Badgers Journalist; Won’t Let Pass Until He Admits To ‘Writing Propaganda’

Airport Customs Agent Badgers Journalist; Won’t Let Pass Until He Admits To ‘Writing Propaganda’

A journalist for Defense One was badgered by a Customs and Border Protection individual while passing through Dulles International Airport on a return trip from Denmark – forcing the newsman, Ben Watson, to admit to writing ‘propaganda’before he was allowed to pass. 

Of note, Defense One is rated as being “Least Biased” by Media Bias/Fact Check, and publishes “well written, well sourced, and highly factual” articles. 

Read below for an account of the incident by Defense Ones Ben Watson and Bradley Peniston.

***

A U.S. passport screening official held a Defense One journalist’s passport until he received an affirmative answer to this repeated question: “You write propaganda, right?” 

The incident took place about 4 p.m. on Thursday at Dulles International Airport. News Editor Ben Watson was returning from an assignment in Denmark when he entered permanent resident reentry aisle No. 17 at Dulles. After the Customs and Border Protection official asked the usual question about undeclared fruit or meat, the interaction took an unusual and unsettling turn.

Watson recalls the conversation: 

CBP officer, holding Watson’s passport: “What do you do?”

Watson: “Journalism.”

CBP officer: “So you write propaganda, right?”

Watson: “No.”

CBP officer: “You’re a journalist?”

Watson: “Yes.”

CBP officer: “You write propaganda, right?”

Watson: “No. I am in journalism. Covering national security. And homeland security. And with many of the same skills I used in the U.S. Army as a public affairs officer. Some would argue that’s propaganda.”

CBP officer: “You’re a journalist?”

Watson: “Yes.”

CBP officer: “You write propaganda, right?”

Watson waited five seconds. Then: “For the purposes of expediting this conversation, yes.”

CBP officer, a fourth time: “You write propaganda, right?”

Watson, again: “For the purposes of expediting this conversation, yes.”

CBP officer: “Here you go.” 

At that point, the CBP officer handed back the passport.

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

Turkey: Alarming Crackdown on Journalists, Desperate Appeal to UN

Turkey: Alarming Crackdown on Journalists, Desperate Appeal to UN

  • The Working Group on Arbitrary Detention was held on September 13. Sadly, no one at the meeting addressed the persecution of journalists in Turkey — not José Guevara Bermúdez, Chair-Rapporteur of the Working Group, nor Béla Szombati, who represented the European Union, nor any other participant.
  • Amnesty International recently tagged Turkey the “world’s largest prison for journalists.”
  • The United Nations Human Rights Council, if it wishes to change its image from that of a laughing stock, should put at the top of its agenda calling Ankara to task. Meanwhile, however, Erdoğan’s violations of freedom of speech need to be exposed daily and loudly condemned — not only by members of the UN and the media, but by any and all allies of Turkey — and freedom of expression — in the West.

International human-rights and press-freedom organizations recently appealed to the United Nations to take action against the ongoing abuse of journalists by the government of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

In a letter to the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) on September 3, eighteen organizations — led by the group ARTICLE 19, which promotes freedom of expression — called on “all Member and Observer States committed to media freedom, democracy and the rule of law” to “speak out and address the Turkish government’s repressive campaign against freedom of expression” in the forum of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention during the UNHRC’s 42nd regular session.

The letter reads, in part:

“The right to hold and express dissenting opinions and to access information has been systematically undermined by the Turkish government in an intensive crackdown on journalists and independent media, academics, civil society, oppositional voices and the judiciary. Since 2016, the human rights situation in Turkey has steeply declined, facilitated by the misuse of sweeping emergency powers and the concentration of executive power.

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

Breaking The Media Blackout on the Imprisonment of Julian Assange

Julian Assange feature photo

Breaking The Media Blackout on the Imprisonment of Julian Assange

The same media that has spent years dragging Assange’s name through the mud is now engaging in a blackout on his treatment. If you are waiting for corporate media pundits to defend freedom of the press, you’re going to be disappointed.

The role of journalism in a democracy is publishing information that holds the powerful to account — the kind of information that empowers the public to become more engaged citizens in their communities so that we can vote in representatives that work in the interest of “we the people.” 

There is perhaps no better example of watchdog journalism that holds the powerful to account and exposes their corruption than that of WikiLeaks, which exposed to the world evidence of widespread war crimes the U.S. military was committing in Iraq, including the killing of two Reuters journalists; showed that the U.S. government and large corporations were using private intelligence agencies to spy on activists and protesters; and revealed how the military hid tortured Guantanamo Bay prisoners from Red Cross inspectors. 

It’s this kind of real journalism that our First Amendment was meant to protect but engaging in it has instead made WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange the target of a massive smear campaign for the last several years — including false claims that Assange is working with Vladimir Putin and the Russians and hackers, as well as open calls by corporate media pundits for him to be assassinated. 

The allegations that Assange conspired with Putin to undermine the 2016 election and American democracy as a whole fell completely flat earlier this month when a U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York dismissed this case as “factually implausible,” with the judge noting that at no point does the prosecution’s “threadbare” argument show “any facts” at all, and concluding that the idea that Assange conspired with Russia against the Democratic Party or America is “entirely divorced from the facts.”

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

Assange, Attack, Guardian, Journalism

Assange, Attack, Guardian, Journalism

Piet Mondriaan Self portrait 1918

Guardian columnist Owen Jones, a self-described left activist and socialist, was attacked in the streets of London at 2 am Saturday morning in what he himself describes as “a blatant premeditated assault” by a bunch of guys. He says he was kicked, punched, but then saved by the friends he was with, and nothing really happened to him. Or he would have taken photos and published them. Owen was fine, before and after. But his pride was not.

No pictures of black eyes or anything, but a brick load of indignation. No matter that in Britain, people are attacked all the time, certainly at that hour, in bar fights, in knife fights, people die every weekend. But for some reason Owen Jones thinks his role in this is special. That the incident happened because of his political views, and because the far right is getting more aggressive.

From Jones’s own Guardian:

Owen Jones Attacked Outside London Pub

The Guardian columnist and activist Owen Jones has been physically assaulted in London while celebrating his 35th birthday with friends. In an attack he called “a blatant premeditated assault”, Jones said he was kicked, punched and thrown to the ground by a group of men in the early hours of Saturday morning. He said that he and his friends went to a pub and left at 3am. 

“We were about 30 metres away, saying goodbye to each other, when four men charged directly towards me: one of them karate kicked my back, threw me to the ground, started kicking me in the head and back, while my friends tried to drag them off, and were punched trying to defend me. “It was clearly a premeditated attack and I was their target. They all attacked me and only assaulted my friends when they tried to defend me.

 …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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