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The Legal Narrative Funnel That’s Being Used To Extradite Assange

The Legal Narrative Funnel That’s Being Used To Extradite Assange

Isn’t it interesting how an Ecuadorian “asylum conditions” technicality, a UK bail technicality, and a US whistleblowing technicality all just so happened to converge in a way that just so happens to look exactly the same as imprisoning a journalist for telling the truth?

Following the arrest of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, top UK officials all began simultaneously piping the following exact phrase into public consciousness: “No one is above the law.”

“This goes to show that in the United Kingdom, no one is above the law,” Prime Minister Theresa May told parliament after Assange’s arrest.

“Julian Assange is no hero and no one is above the law,” tweeted Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt. 

“Nearly 7 years after entering the Ecuadorean Embassy, I can confirm Julian Assange is now in police custody and rightly facing justice in the UK. I would like to thank Ecuador for its cooperation and @metpoliceuk for its professionalism. No one is above the law,” tweeted Home Secretary Sajid Javid.

Over and over again that phrase showed up to be unquestioningly re-bleated by the human livestock known as the British press in all their reporting on the Assange case: No one is above the law. No one is above the law. No one is above the law. Something tells me they really want people to know that, with regard to Julian Assange, no one is above the law.

But what is “the law” in this particular case? What they are constantly referring to as “the law” with regard to Assange is in fact nothing more than a combination of ridiculous bureaucratic technicalities which can be (and have been) interpreted very differently, but are now instead being interpreted in a way which just so happens to lead to a truth-telling journalist being locked in a cage, awaiting extradition to the same government which tortured Chelsea Manning.

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

“Assange Is Not A Journalist!” Yes He Is, Idiot.

“Assange Is Not A Journalist!” Yes He Is, Idiot.

As we discussed yesterday, whenever Assange is in the news and people are defending him you always see a bunch of hyper-emotional empire loyalists running around online trying to manage the narrative about him. One of the most common talking points which comes up is that Assange is “not a journalist”.

The reason this talking point comes up, of course, is because the WikiLeaks founder is besieged by powerful forces who are attempting to imprison him for publishing inconvenient facts about them, and his defenders often voice their concerns about what this means for the future of press freedoms. The completely baseless claim that Assange is “not a journalist” is used in an attempt to defuse the argument that his prosecution by the US government could lead to the same fate for any news media outlet which publishes leaks on the US government anywhere in the world. If he’s not a journalist, then his prosecution sets no precedent for real journalists.

This argument, if you can call it that, is fallacious for a number of reasons. For starters, as The Intercept‘s Glenn Greenwald explained last year, there’s not any legal distinction in the US Constitution between news media outlets like the New York Times and an outlet which solely focuses on publishing leaks. If you set the precedent with any publisher, you’re necessarily setting it for all of them. Greenwald writes the following:

To begin with, the press freedom guarantee of the First Amendment isn’t confined to “legitimate news outlets” – whatever that might mean. The First Amendment isn’t available only to a certain class of people licensed as “journalists.”

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

Why Has Everything Turned Sour? Is it the Press? Or is the Press Part of the Cycle?

Why Has Everything Turned Sour? Is it the Press? Or is the Press Part of the Cycle? 

QUESTION: Hello Mr. Armstrong,
I´d like your opinion on this,
During 7 Decades in which our lives got better, longer, richer, safer, healthier, better educated, more peaceful and more stimulating. Even World poverty has decreased in a rate never seen before, still, news coverage got increasingly negative

What explanation could there be for this? Is it excessive competition for attention as media sources multiply or an excessive any deeper reasons? I compare it to Markets, seems to be similar like trading on news, which is impossible because when the news is the worst, usually its the low and when everything and everyone is optimistic its the high.
regards

ESVideo Player00:0000:54

ANSWER: Coming out of World War II, society really advanced in many ways from technology to medicine. This is the part of the societal cycle that is best to live in. Then what happens is corruption. The news becomes corrupt in sync with politics. I believe this becomes the case because news becomes institutionalized as it is owned by big firms who then direct the news to slant to their personal benefit. This is a funny skit on British News. It is so true here in the States as well. The Democrats love CNN and the Republicans love Fox. The news gravitates to a political slant and is no longer about news – it is always about selling more ads and pushing their propaganda like some religion handing out flowers in airports.

Yellow journalism was created by the battle between Pulitzer and Hearst. They created the Spanish American War to sell papers. Pulitzer’s name was worthless. To rehabilitate it he donated money to create the Pulitzer Prize for good journalism, which he never practiced.

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

Throwing Money at Media Won’t Fix Canada’s News Deficit

Throwing Money at Media Won’t Fix Canada’s News Deficit

We need to reform government so citizens have a reason to care, and slash secrecy that prevents journalists from doing their jobs.

ManReadingNewspaperBW.jpg
More Canadians knew the last name of Russia’s prime minister than knew the name of their own premier. Does that sound like an audience clamouring for more news? Photo by Nicolas Alejandro, Creative Commons license CC BY 2.0.

But as one of this country’s digital journalism pioneers (I founded a popular online investigative news site called Public Eye before such ventures became fashionable), I believe those woes may have as much to do with whether Canadians actually want news about their own country, and whether newsrooms have not just the resources, but also the willingness, to produce such stories. 

And unless we treat those afflictions, no amount of money will turn our news industry around.

In fairness to the politicians and bureaucrats who decided to dole out $595 million over five years to support Canadian journalism, many of their potential beneficiaries are also convinced that the bottom line in solving the country’s news media crisis can be found in their own bottom lines.

For example, two years ago, Public Policy Forum president Edward Greenspon, the former editor-in-chief of the Globe and Mail, released a government-contracted study called The Shattered Mirror.

It stated that “journalism’s economic model has collapsed, profoundly and structurally.” As a result, it recommended government measures to “strengthen the economic sustainability” of the news media and “promote civic-function journalism and digital innovations.” 

That’s fine, as far as it goes.

But there often seems to be an assumption that Canadians actually want public interest news about our country, in other words news about economic, environmental, health, political and social issues taking place within its borders.

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

It’s official: Russiagate is this generation’s WMD

It’s official: Russiagate is this generation’s WMD

The Iraq war faceplant damaged the reputation of the press. Russiagate just destroyed it

Note to readers: in light of news that Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller’s investigation is complete, I’m releasing this chapter of Hate Inc. early, with a few new details added up top.

Nobody wants to hear this, but news that Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller is headed home without issuing new charges is a death-blow for the reputation of the American news media. 

As has long been rumored, the former FBI chief’s independent probe will result in multiple indictments and convictions, but no “presidency-wrecking” conspiracy charges, or anything that would meet the layman’s definition of “collusion” with Russia. 

With the caveat that even this news might somehow turn out to be botched, the key detail in the many stories about the end of the Mueller investigation was best expressed by the New York Times

A senior Justice Department official said that Mr. Mueller would not recommend new indictments.

The Times tried to soften the emotional blow for the millions of Americans trained in these years to place hopes for the overturn of the Trump presidency in Mueller. Nobody even pretended it was supposed to be a fact-finding mission, instead of an act of faith. 

The Special Prosecutor literally became a religious figure during the last few years, with votive candles sold in his image and Saturday Night Live cast members singing “All I Want for Christmas is You” to him featuring the rhymey line: “Mueller please come through, because the only option is a coup.” 

The Times story today tried to preserve Santa Mueller’s reputation, noting Trump’s Attorney General William Barr’s reaction was an “endorsement” of the fineness of Mueller’s work:

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

All Along the Watchtower

All Along the Watchtower

‘There must be some way out of here’
Said the joker to the thief
‘There’s too much confusion, I can’t get no relief
Businessmen, they drink my wine
Plowmen dig my earth
None of them along the line know what any of it is worth’

‘No reason to get excited’, the thief he kindly spoke
‘ There are many here among us who feel that life is but a joke
But you and I, we’ve been through that, and this is not our fate
So let us not talk falsely now, the hour is getting late’

All along the watchtower, princes kept the view
While all the women came and went, barefoot servants, too
Outside in the distance a wildcat did growl
Two riders were approaching, the wind began to howl 
All Along the Watchtower, by Bob Dylan (1967)

Quis custodiet Ipsos custodes?

But who will watch the watchmen?
Satires, by Juvenal (2nd Century)

We haven’t published an update on our Fiat News Index for a little while, but it is for a good reason. We are working on an improved version that does more to handle gradations, nuance and context in affective language. If the concept of fiat news is new to you, Ben’s original piece here offers the best explanation. In short, it is news which broadly cheapens the credibility of media by presenting opinion as fact. It debases information in the same way that a capricious sovereign might debase a currency. It tells you how to think.

But there is a certain type of fiat news which is the most pernicious, most in need of calling out where it rears its head. It seeks, like all fiat news, to present subjective judgments and opinions as fact.

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

DOJ, Rosenstein Working To Better Spy On Journalists, Target Leakers

Over the past few months, the Department of Justice has been quietly engaged an effort to revise its guidelines governing the rules for seizing records from journalists – especially when it comes to leak cases, reports The Hill‘s John Solomon.

The effort has the potential to touch off a First Amendment debate with a press corps that already has high degrees of distrust of and disfunction with the Trump administration. –The Hill

Current guidelines were established during the Clinton Administration – “long before WikiLeaks was a twinkle in Julian Assange’s eye,” and were designed to balance a journalist’s First Amendment rights and the investigative interests of law enforcement. They require prosecutors in most cases to exhaust all obvious investigative methods for identifying leaks before they go after a journalist’s records – and free-speech rights.

Multiple sources familiar with the ongoing DOJ review tell me that it has two main goals. The first is to lower the threshold that prosecutors must meet before requesting subpoenas for journalists’ records; the second is to eliminate the need to alert a media organization that Justice intends to issue a subpoena. –The Hill

Supervised by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein’s office following the departure of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the revisions are not yet finalized according to Solomon’s sources – who note that Acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker is aware of the effort but has not been given a final recommendation.

“Sources close to Whitaker say he will await final judgment but, in recent days, has developed reservations about proceeding with the plan,” writes Solomon.

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

Banishing Truth

The investigative reporter Seymour Hersh, in his memoir “Reporter,” describes a moment when as a young reporter he overheard a Chicago cop admit to murdering an African-American man. The murdered man had been falsely described by police as a robbery suspect who had been shot while trying to avoid arrest. Hersh frantically called his editor to ask what to do.

“The editor urged me to do nothing,” he writes. “It would be my word versus that of all the cops involved, and all would accuse me of lying. The message was clear: I did not have a story. But of course I did.” He describes himself as “full of despair at my weakness and the weakness of a profession that dealt so easily with compromise and self-censorship.”

Hersh, the greatest investigative reporter of his generation, uncovered the U.S. military’s chemical weapons program, which used thousands of soldiers and volunteers, including pacifists from the Seventh-day Adventist Church, as unwitting human guinea pigs to measure the impact of biological agents including tularemia, yellow fever, Rift Valley fever and the plague. He broke the story of the My Lai massacre. He exposed Henry Kissinger’s wiretapping of his closest aides at the National Security Council (NSC) and journalists, the CIA’s funding of violent extremist groups to overthrow the Chilean President Salvador Allende, the CIA’s spying on domestic dissidents within the United States, the sadistic torture practices at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq by American soldiers and contractors and the lies told by the Obama administration about the raid that killed Osama bin Laden. Yet he begins his memoir by the candid admission, familiar to any reporter, that there are crimes and events committed by the powerful you never write about, at least if you want to keep your job.

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

The Curious Case of The Economist: How It Manipulates Its Readers with Slanted Comment on Russia

The Curious Case of The Economist: How It Manipulates Its Readers with Slanted Comment on Russia

The Curious Case of The Economist: How It Manipulates Its Readers with Slanted Comment on Russia

The Economist magazine is an admirable publication to which I have subscribed for over fifty years, with gaps now and then. While serving in Vietnam in 1970 its weekly arrival was a major event, as we were bereft of sensible reportage about that disastrous war, and I have always considered it to be balanced, extremely well-informed, and accurate. In its own modest words “What ties us together is the objectivity of our opinion, the originality of our insight and our advocacy of economic and political freedom around the world.”

Quite so. And so say all of us. Let’s hear it for a fearless journal that tells it like it is.

Until it doesn’t.

In the issue dated December 15, 2018 there is a strange anomaly in its description of life in the Democratic Republic of Congo, a shattered African state which the magazine’s writer(s) criticise objectively and with originality. And it’s the originality tangent that is intriguing.

The hard copy which I received in France has a half-page leader about Congo, headlined “The Kremlin-style charade in Kinshasa — Can anyone stop Joseph Kabila from doing a Putin?” which was an arresting summons that indicated objective cover concerning what one might expect to be a series of parallels and comparisons involving the leaders of Congo and Russia. On reading it, however, I wondered if perhaps the writer(s) had trended to originality that transcended objectivity, so went to the website where the headline was slightly different, employing the tried and faithful “-ology” tack-on and omitting Kabila’s name. It read “Kremlinology in Kinshasa: Can anyone stop Congo’s president from doing a Putin?”

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

Trump Derangement International

Diego Velázquez The Spinners 1655-60

 

Dirk Kurbjuweit, deputy editor-in-chief of Germany’s Der Spiegel magazine for the past 4 years, unwittingly put his foot a mile deep in his mouth this week when he reacted to a letter written by US Ambassador to Berlin Richard Grenell. His reaction presents perhaps the most perfect example of the downfall of news, journalism, the media in general, that we’ve seen so far. Most perfect among very stiff competition.

After Der Spiegel itself this week ‘outed’ its award-winning star reporter, Claas Relotius, as someone who had made up many of his lauded articles from scratch, Grenell suggested the magazine, and especially its editorial staff, shouldn’t think they can get away with putting all the blame on just this one guy. He tweeted:

We value policy criticism. We love a free press. But @Spiegel literally fabricated stories saying people (Americans) were racist & xenophobic. They made up events, details, & lies – and no editor checked the stories. Every real journalist should be outraged by this.

And he wrote a letter to Der Spiegel, albeit addressed at the ‘wrong’ editor, Steffen Klussman, who won’t be in the post until after Jan. 1:

The recent revelations of completely fabricated stories, completely fictional people and fraudulent details in Spiegel over the last seven years are very troubling to the US Embassy. These fake news stories largely focused on US policies and certain segments of the American people. It is clear we were targeted by institutional bias and we are troubled by the atmosphere that encouraged this recklessness.

While Spiegel’s anti-American narratives have expanded over the last years, the anti-American bias at the magazine has exploded since the election of President Trump. We are concerned that these narratives are pushed by Spiegel’s senior leadership and reporters are responding to what the leadership wants.

This is where Dirk Kurbjuweit’s foot enters his mouth, stage left, and starts its long journey down:

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

 

America Is One Of The World’s Deadliest Countries For Journalists

Media group Reporters Without Borders said Tuesday it has observed a terrifying trend in the number of journalists killed and imprisoned worldwide, in 2018.

For the first time, the US is one of the world’s deadliest countries for journalists after six were killed.

The Paris-based group, also known as RSF, said the US ranked sixth on the list for most dangerous countries for journalists, behind Afghanistan, Syria, Mexico, Yemen, and India.

Four journalists, as well as a sales manager, were killed in June when a deranged gunman opened fire at the Annapolis, Maryland offices of the Capital Gazette. Two more reporters, a North Carolina television anchor and cameraman, were killed by a tree while covering a hurricane in May.

“Non-professional journalists play a fundamental role in the production of news and information in countries with oppressive regimes and countries at war, where it is hard for professional journalists to operate,” RSF said in the report.

The big picture: The group states there is an “unprecedented” level of worldwide hostility against members of the press, than in any other period on record. 

Murder, imprisonment, hostage-taking, and disappearances of journalists all increased on a year-over-year basis.

In total, 80 journalists were killed in 2018, with 49 murdered while 31 were killed in the act of reporting.

While the report blames warzones in Afghanistan for the increased deaths, 45% of those killed were not in conflict regions.

Three hundred and forty-eight reporters have so far been detained this year and 60 were held hostage.

China leads the world in detentions, with 60 journalists held in state jails. Thirty-one journalists are currently being held in Syria.

“Violence against journalists has reached unprecedented levels this year, and the situation is now critical,” Christophe Deloire, the group’s secretary general said.

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

Washington Is Changing The World Order Against Its Own Interests

Washington Is Changing The World Order Against Its Own Interests

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The hubris and arrogance of Washington have been at work since the Clinton regime to destroy the power and relevance of the United States.

This website has an international audience. The most asked question from this audience is the world order. There is a realization that Washington’s control might weaken, a development people abroad see as hopeful. They ask me for verification of their hope.

Here is my answer:

The world order has already changed.  China has a larger and more powerful industrial and manufacturing based economy than the US, and China’s potential domestic consumer market is four times larger than that of the US. As economies are consumer based, China’s potential is an economy four times larger than that of the US.

Russia has a far more capable military with weapon systems unmatched by the US. The US is drowning in debt, and the illegal and irresponsible sanctions that Washington tries to impose on others are driving the world’s largest countries away from the use of the US dollar as world reserve currency and away from Western clearance systems such as SWIFT.  The United States already has one foot in the grave.  Any country sufficiently stupid to ally with the US is allied with a dead man walking.

President Eisenhower, a five-star general, warned Americans 57 years ago to no effect that the military/security complex was already a threat to the American people’s ability to control their government. Today the military/security complex is the Government.

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

Truth and Free Speech Are Being Taken Away From Us

Truth and Free Speech Are Being Taken Away From Us

Free speech and the ability to speak truth are being shut down. It is happening with the complicity of the print and TV media, the liberal/progressive/left, the US Department of Justice (sic), the law schools and bar associations, Congress, and the federal judiciary.

The attack on Julian Assange is the arrow aimed at the heart of the ability to publish the truth. If a journalist can be indicted for espionage for publishing leaked documents that a corrupt government has classified in order to conceal its crimes, the First Amendment is dead.

Moreover, as the claim is that government was harmed by Wikileaks publishing the truth, Assange’s secret indictment sets the precedent that truth is harmful to government. This precedent will be extended to include the publication of any information or opinion, classified or not, that the government regards as harmful. The media then officially becomes what it mainly already is in effect—a Ministry of Propaganda for the government and those who control it.

As a person who has held high security clearances, I can say with confidence that no more than one percent of classified information falls in the realm of national security. Most classification is simply to prevent the people and Congress from knowing what is going on. Classification allows the various components of government to put the spin where they want it. “National security” has always been an excuse accepted by patriots for the government to conceal its wrong doings and hidden agendas.

Give thought to the alleged harm done by Wikileaks publishing the information leaked by Bradley Manning and the Clinton emails that were downloaded onto a thumb drive and not hacked as security experts have proved.

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

How Plutocratic Media Keeps Staff Aligned With Establishment Agendas

How Plutocratic Media Keeps Staff Aligned With Establishment Agendas

Why do mainstream media reporters within ostensibly free democracies act just like state media propagandists? Why are they so reliably pro-establishment, all throughout every mainstream outlet? Why do they so consistently marginalize any idea that doesn’t fit within the extremely narrow Overton window of acceptable opinion?Why does anyone who inconveniences western establishment power always find themselves on the losing end of a trial by media? Why are they so dependably adversarial toward anything that could be perceived as a flaw in any nation outside the US-centralized power alliance, and so dependably forgiving of the flaws of the nations within it?



The way I see it there are only two possible explanations for the unanimous consensus in mass media on these issues:

Explanation 1: The consensus exists because the mass media reporters are all telling the truth all the time.

OR

Explanation 2: The consensus exists because there is some kind of system in place which keeps all mass media reporters lying to us and painting a false picture about what’s going on in the world.

Those are the only two possibilities, and only one can be true, since any mixture of the two would result in the loss of consensus.

Most mainstream westerners harbor an unquestioned assumption that Explanation 1 is the only possibility. The things they see on CNN, the BBC and the ABC are all accurate descriptions of what’s really going on in the world, and the consensus in their descriptions exists because they’re all describing the same objective reality.

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

MSM Is Getting Weirder, More Frantic, And More Desperate By The Day

MSM Is Getting Weirder, More Frantic, And More Desperate By The Day

When even the Washington Post is saying your Russiagate article is bad journalism, your Russiagate article is really, really bad journalism.

In an article titled “The Guardian offered a bombshell story about Paul Manafort. It still hasn’t detonated.”, WaPo writer Pul Farhi draws attention to the fact that it has been a week since the Guardian published a claim that former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort met repeatedly with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, without any evidence backing up the claim, using solely anonymous sources, and despite the claims contradicting known records of Assange’s guests at the Ecuadorian embassy. Criticism and demands for answers have been growing louder and louder from both friends and enemies of WikiLeaks, with new plot holes opening up in the Guardian‘s narrative daily, and the scandal is now moving into mainstream awareness.

And the Guardian remains silent, with its editor-in-chief Katharine Viner refusing to utter so much as a peep of defense this entire time. The only comment the publication has issued has been repeated day after day verbatim to every news outlet which writes about this bizarre occurrence: “This story relied on a number of sources. We put these allegations to both Paul Manafort and Julian Assange’s representatives prior to publication. Neither responded to deny the visits taking place. We have since updated the story to reflect their denials.” Which is basically just implying that they can print any libelous nonsense they want about anyone if their denials aren’t sent to the proper email address on time.

This, clearly, is bananas.

…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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