Glenn Greenwald and the Irrelevance of Electoral Politics

On 17 September 2014, three days before the New Zealand general election, Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist Glenn Greenwald gave an interview that, were it properly analyzed and circulated globally, should turn geopolitics on its head and destroy the critics who claimed he was taking a political “side”  in his appearance at ‘The Moment of Truth‘.

Greenwald’s answers to leading Kiwi political commentator and new media aficionado Russell Brown get to the heart of the largest conceivable electoral issue: one that makes it clear our politicians are little more than reality TV stars in a projected fantasy; an illusion of democracy and governance that masks our true rulers.

The resulting conversation gives further context to the revelations of the warrant-less spying and mass-surveillance activities of the GCSB, New Zealand’s equivalent of the NSA:

Brown: …it’s not as if these activities have only taken place under governments of the right.

Greenwald: That’s a really important point. The GCSB is a long-standing agency, it’s a lot like the NSA. The NSA has grown more or less steadily regardless of whether there’s a Democratic or Republican administration, and of course currently in the United States there is a Democratic President who is perceived as more on the left than the right, and yet the NSA has grown dramatically over the last six years. These agencies really do exist outside the democratic process. They are in a sense their own autonomous beasts and election outcomes really don’t determine the extent to which they continue to grow, unfortunately. That’s part of the problem.

In pointing out that the surveillance/police state has continued to grow under the ruling parties of both political wings of most nations, Greenwald and Brown smash the left-right paradigm that divides us in one fell swoop, and soon move on to the  crux of the mattter;

Brown: So what drives that growth?

Greenwald: I think that one of the things that has happened is that military structures in general have insulated themselves from the political process. And the kinds of claims that are made to justify their growth, whether putting people in fear of terrorism or other kinds of threats, are very powerful tools. No politician wants to be seen as making the country less safe, or to be vulnerable to claims that they stood in the way of the security of citizens. And these agencies are very good at manipulating public discourse to make sure that they’re continually fed greater authority and greater budgetary support – and just generally allowed to operate without much interference from political officials.

If the above were all there were to it, we could easily conclude that politicians are inept and more concerned by their own image than in performing effective oversight, and that this is evident in both the left and right political spheres.

Greenwald’s words, while enlightened and enlightening, are often written off as just being the opinion of one man.

But it doesn’t end there. Greenwald soon references disclosures made by Edward Snowden – specifically, documents containing the words of NSA officials themselves.

Greenwald: There is a document that we published maybe four or five months ago. It was an interview that was done internally at the NSA with the official in charge of foreign partnerships. And they asked him, why is it that for example in Europe, where you have wildly disparate swings in the election outcomes, from the right to the left, it doesn’t really affect the partnerships that we have with these countries’ intelligence agencies?

And he said, that’s because virtually nobody in the political process, anyone outside of the military structure, even knows these partnerships exist.

More conclusions: politicians aren’t just vain and inept, they’re in the dark and most are ostensibly happy to stay there.

Although Greenwald’s next reference is to New Zealand Green Party co-leader Russel Norman, a man who has repeatedly pressed the issue of illegal spying and mass surveillance and is the opposite of the caricature of a stereo-typical obtuse, morally-disengaged parliamentary representative, it further corroborates our theories;

Greenwald: You had the Green Party leader here in New Zealand say in an interview that I watched that he was on the committee that oversees the GCSB and yet he learned far more about what the agency does by reading our stories than he did in briefings. They really have insulated themselves from the political process and have a lot of tools to ensure that they continue to grow and their power is never questioned.

Conclusion: if not already willfully blinded by their own greed, ego, ambition, our politicians are blinded by lack of access to information required in order to make conscientious governance decisions and effectively pursue the oversight duties to which they are supposedly tasked.

The net effect for the intelligence agencies is a general immunity from political processes and from oversight; and therefore an immunity from the entire principle of democracy that, especially in the so-called “First World”, we are raised to believe is not only our societal framework and environment but an inalienable right.

Ironically the document Greenwald referenced is also an interview – not by one man with a perceived agenda, but by the NSA themselves.

In it, the “Deputy Assistant for SIGINT Operations” is asked if “foreign intelligence relationships” are “usually insulated from short-term political ups and downs”.

The Deputy Assistant answers:

NSA: For a variety of reasons, our intelligence relationships are rarely disrupted by foreign political perturbations, international or domestic.

Perturbations is a hell of a word. But what on earth does it mean?

pert

So it means aggravations. Disturbances. But it also means;

pert1

Anxieties. Deviations. That lead to…

pert2

…discoveries! Knowledge. Evolution.

And how does this occur? What is the impetus, what are the tell-tale signs?

pert3

So it all comes down to physics and the laws of attraction. Physics is a hell of a thing to fear, or to try and avoid. Should we really want to? If new planets and solar systems can be discovered by perturbances, why are perturbances undesirable? Why are they something to be “insulated from”?

Sounds a lot like “business risk” language – for in commerce and industry, innovation can be perceived as a threat to profitability, for its ability to disrupt the status quo. This is what spawned”Risk Management” and “Change Management” as managerial pathways.

Thus it seems our intelligence agencies, always pitched in public as critically-important mechanisms that exist to defend the rights of citizens and protect their countries, are in fact commercial enterprises motivated not by moral principles but by business “risk”.

There is undeniable environmental evidence all around us that the interests of traditional business and the interests of the planet and humanity as a whole, are not in alignment.

With chaos and war all around the globe, we are left to wonder how important money or the economy will be, if our lack of innovation means there are no environmental resources left to sustain us.

The entire concept of money being more important or valuable than humanity is oxymoronical – without humanity or the planet there can be no money, no economy.

Greenwald shedding light on the utter subversion of our electoral process and the irrelevance of our politicians, is the start of a conversation that desperately needs to be had.

For while promises of political change can be so alluring – as we saw with the rise of Obama and even with attempts by smaller, new paradigm efforts like The Internet Party – if the systems they aspire to and operate in prevent them from ever achieving the core objectives of democracy then they are rendered utterly irrelevant.

As I write this, Twitter has inserted an ad into my timeline from the Bank of New Zealand. “Success as an adult hinges on being good with money” it begins.

No.

Success as an adult hinges upon, when required, acting against your own immediate interests to ensure that your planet and future generations of your race – the human race – can continue and survive.

The ability to evolve, to learn, to grow, to live and to sustain life within our natural environment is more important than the ability to earn money within a manufactured construct.

Acting democratically is not about one vote every three or four years, or aspiring to enter a system which has been fundamentally corrupted.

It is about a true commitment to the consent of the governed; one which requires them to be informed and actively involved in achieving their own outcomes.

The greatest risk to electoral politics appears to be business and the greatest risk to business is not “perturbations” – it is itself.

For in its obsession to protect itself from perceived “risk”, the system is itself exacerbating the size of its own existential threat, every single day.

[This post was live-blogged and is now finished. Thank you for watching]

Written by Suzie Dawson

Twitter: @Suzi3D

Official Website: Suzi3d.com

Journalists who write truth pay a high price to do so. If you respect and value this work, please consider supporting Suzie’s efforts via credit card or Bitcoin donation at this link. Thank you!

[Update/January 2018] This post is now available at my Steemit blog.

The Snowden Principle

This article has been republished with the permission of its author – the consummate actor, filmmaker and talented writer John Cusack. John is a board member of the journalism advocacy group Freedom of the Press Foundation.


At the heart of Edward Snowden’s decision to expose the NSA’s massive phone and Internet spying programs was a fundamental belief in the people’s right-to-know. “My sole motive is to inform the public as to that which is done in their name and that which is done against them,” he said in an interview with the Guardian.

From the State’s point of view, he’s committed a crime. From his point of view, and the view of many others, he has sacrificed for the greater good because he knows people have the right to know what the government is doing in their name. And legal, or not, he saw what the government was doing as a crime against the people and our rights.

For the sake of argument, this should be called The Snowden Principle.

When The Snowden Principle is invoked and revelations of this magnitude are revealed; it is always met with predictable establishment blowback from the red and blue elites of state power. Those in charge are prone to hysteria and engage in character assassination, as are many in the establishment press that have been co-opted by government access . When The Snowden Principle is evoked the fix is always in and instead of looking at the wrongdoing exposed, they parrot the government position no matter what the facts

The Snowden Principle just cannot be tolerated…

Even mental illness is pondered as a possible reason that these pariahs would insist on the public’s right to know at the highest personal costs to their lives and the destruction of their good names. The public’s right to know—This is the treason. The utter corruption, the crime.

But as law professor Jonathan Turley reminds us, a lie told by everyone is not the truth. “The Republican and Democratic parties have achieved a bipartisan purpose in uniting against the public’s need to know about massive surveillance programs and the need to redefine privacy in a more surveillance friendly image,” he wrote recently.

We can watch as The Snowden Principle is predictably followed in the reaction from many of the fourth estate – who serve at the pleasure of the king.

Mika Brzezinski on MSNBC suggests that Glenn Greenwald’s coverage was “misleading” and said he was too “close to the story.” Snowden was no whistleblower, and Glenn was no journalist she suggests.

Jeffrey Toobin, at the New Yorker, calls Snowden “a grandiose narcissist who deserves to be in prison.”

Another journalist, Willard Foxton, asserted that Glenn Greenwald amounted to the leader of a “creepy cult.”

David Brooks of the New York Times accuses Snowden- not the Gov–of betraying everything from the Constitution to all American privacy …

Michael Grunwald of TIME seems to suggest that that if you are against the NSA spying program you want to make America less safe.

Then there’s Richard Cohen at the Washington Post, who as Gawker points out, almost seems to be arguing that a journalist’s job is to keep government secrets not actually report on them.

The Snowden Principle makes for some tortured logic.

The government’s reaction has been even worse. Senators have called Snowden a “traitor,” the authorities claim they’re going to treat his case as espionage. Rep. Peter King outrageously called for the prosecution of Glenn Greenwald for exercising his basic First Amendment rights. Attacks like this are precisely the reason I joined the Freedom of the Press Foundation board (where Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras also serve as board members)

As Chris Hedges rightly pointed out, this cuts to the heart of one of the most important questions in a democracy: will we have an independent free press that reports on government crimes and serves the public’s right to know?

It cannot be criminal to report a crime or an abuse of power. Freedom of the Press Foundation co-founder Daniel Ellsberg argues that Snowden’s leaks could be a tipping point in America. This week he wrote “there has not been in American history a more important leak than Edward Snowden’s release of NSA material,” including his own leak of the Pentagon Papers.

The Snowden Principle, and that fire that inspired him to take unimaginable risks, is fundamentally about fostering an informed and engaged public. The Constitution embraces that idea. Mr. Snowden says his motivation was to expose crimes -spark a debate, and let the public know of secret policies he could not in good conscience ignore – whether you agree with his tactics or not, that debate has begun. Now, we are faced with a choice, we can embrace the debate or we can try to shut the debate down and maintain the status quo.

If these policies are just, then debate them in sunlight. If we believe the debate for transparency is worth having we need to demand it. Snowden said it well, “You can’t wait around for someone else to act.”

Within hours of the NSA’s leaks, a massive coalition of groups came together to plan an international campaign to oppose and fix the NSA spying regime. You can join them here – I already did. The groups span across the political spectrum, from Dick Armey’s FreedomWorks to the Progressive Change Campaign Committee and longtime civil rights groups like ACLU, Electronic Frontier Foundation and Free Press.

As more people find out about these abuses, the outrage mounts and the debate expands. Many in the mainstream media have shown that the public can’t count on them to stand up to internal pressure when The Snowden Principle is evoked to serve the national interest, and protect our core fundamental rights.

The questions The Snowden Principle raises when evoked will not go away….How long do they expect rational people to accept using the word “terror” to justify and excuse ever expanding executive and state power ? Why are so many in our government and press and intellectual class so afraid of an informed public? Why are they so afraid of a Free Press and the people’s right to know?

It’s the government’s obligation to keep us safe while protecting our constitution . To suggest it’s one or the other is simply wrong.

Professor Turley issues us a dire warning:

“In his press conference, Obama repeated the siren call of all authoritarian figures throughout history: while these powers are great, our motives are benign. So there you have it. The government is promising to better protect you if you just surrender this last measure of privacy. Perhaps it is time. After all, it was Benjamin Franklin who warned that “those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

See what’s happened already in the short time only because the PRISM program was made public, here.

Written by John Cusack.

Twitter: @JohnCusack

[This essay was originally published at the Huffington Post.]

The Farcical Case Against Julian Assange

“Without debate, without criticism, no administration and no country can succeed – and no republic can survive. That is why the Athenian lawmaker Solon decreed it a crime for any citizen to shrink from controversy. And that is why our press was protected by the First Amendment – the only business in America specifically protected by the Constitution – not primarily to amuse and entertain, not to emphasize the trivial and the sentimental, not to simply ‘give the public what it wants’ – but to inform, to arouse, to reflect, to state our dangers and our opportunities, to indicate our crises and our choices, to lead, mold, educate and sometimes even anger public opinion.” – John F. Kennedy

12 June 2014 marks the second anniversary of Julian Assange’s refuge in the Embassy of Ecuador in London. Mr. Assange has been detained in the United Kingdom against his will without charge for almost four years. This anniversary should serve as an opportunity to once again attempt to inform the many millions of people made ignorant or uncaring of the realities of this complex case thanks to a concerted media disinformation and smear campaign against both WikiLeaks and its founder.

Readers who are open to the possibility that they may have been misled on this issue should first follow these links and read/watch in full:

A FAQ here explains some of the general circumstances of the case.

This short animated video also provides a clear, informative summary.

Writing in USA Today, Michael Ratner also took the opportunity to raise points that highlight the farcical nature of this standoff:

Harassment, targeting and prosecution of whistle-blowers, journalists and publishers have become a dangerous new normal — one we should refuse to accept, especially in a time when governments are becoming more powerful and less accountable. It’s time to end this assault, starting with granting Snowden amnesty and withdrawing the threat of U.S. criminal prosecution of Assange.

In the two years Assange has spent cloistered in the Ecuadorian Embassy, the British extradition law under which he was ordered to Sweden to face allegations of sexual misconduct has changed. With this change, the allegations that originally secured Assange’s extradition order to Sweden would no longer suffice. Now, a decision to charge Assange with a crime is necessary for extradition, but Sweden has never made that decision.

That hasn’t kept Britain from ignoring Assange’s right to asylum by clinging to the now-invalid law. Instead, British police and security forces keep watch on the entrance, windows and surroundings of the Ecuadorian Embassy around the clock, which has cost $10 million.

Meanwhile, the U.S. continues to investigate Assange and might have secretly charged him without his knowledge. A grand jury empaneled in 2010 remains open, keeping Assange in legal limbo. Under such conditions, leaving the embassy would mean a stop in Sweden before Assange is given a one-way ticket to a U.S. prison to likely face inhumane treatment and a sentence similar to Manning’s, including extended solitary confinement.

Similar harsh treatment and excessive punishments haven’t applied to the people in government who perpetrated the crimes exposed by these whistle-blowers and published by WikiLeaks. In fact, people such as national intelligence director James Clapper, who lied under oath to Congress, have avoided consequences altogether.

Britain should respect Assange’s asylum and allow him to leave the embassy unmolested. Whistle-blowers such as Snowden and Manning should not face the impossible decision between living in exile and spending decades imprisoned. We deserve a justice system that holds governments accountable and considers the public service done by whistle-blowers and the people who publish their information.

Sweden can end this standoff easily by questioning Assange by video or by sending investigators to the embassy. Both of these options are permissible under Swedish law, and indeed both have been utilized in the past. Meanwhile, the UK Foreign Office maintains it has a ‘legal duty’ to extradite Mr. Assange, despite, in a clear instance of double standards, resisting (and preventing) the extradition to Spain of former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet, arrested in 1998 in London under an international arrest warrant (issued by a Spanish judge) on multiple counts of murder, torture and war crimes.

Perhaps the most perplexing aspect of the often hostile public reaction to the plight of Julian Assange is the assumption by so many of benign intent on the part of the US and its close allies, the UK and Sweden. Despite the mass intrusive surveillance apparatus exposed by Edward Snowden, under the umbrella of which strategies reminiscent of the East German Stasi have been laid out for the world to see; despite the long documented history of illegal, covert operations undertaken by agencies of the United States like COINTELPRO, Operation Mockingbird, Operation CHAOS and many others; despite dozens of illegal interventions and bombings of foreign sovereign nations; despite multiple CIA-sponsored coup d’etats that replaced democratically elected leaders with murderous dictators; despite the numerous fake FBI terror plots to justify the enormous dedication of resources to the ‘war on terror’; despite the quite insane double standards displayed in the ‘intelligence’ arena…despite all these documented realities, perplexing it is indeed that any serious person could assume any benign intent whatsoever. Indeed, given the above list, an intelligent person would surely assume the precise opposite.

The myth persists that Julian Assange is somehow the malign party (‘He ‘stole’ the documents’ etc.) for enabling the cables leaked by Bradley Manning and others to see the light of day, documents that contain thousands of accounts of mind-boggling criminality perpetrated by officials elected in our democratic systems and the people under their command.

Did you know, for example, that WikiLeaks informed the world’s people of the following (from an earlier article on this blog):

It was official government policy to ignore torture in Iraq.

U.S. officials were told to cover up evidence of child abuse by contractors in Afghanistan.

Guantanamo prison has held mostly innocent people and low-level operatives.

There IS (despite government claims to the opposite) an official tally of civilian deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan.

US Military officials withheld information about the indiscriminate killing of Reuters journalists and innocent Iraqi civilians.

The State Department backed corporate opposition to a Haitian minimum wage law.

The U.S. Government had long been faking its public support for Tunisian President Ben Ali.

Known Egyptian torturers received training from the FBI in Quantico, Virginia.

The State Department authorized the theft of the UN Secretary General’s DNA.

The Japanese and U.S. Governments had been warned about the seismic threat at Fukushima.

The Obama Administration allowed Yemen’s President to cover up a secret U.S. drone bombing campaign.

Also:

The U.S. Army considered WikiLeaks a national security threat as early as 2008, according to documents obtained and posted by WikiLeaks in March, 2010.

Then-Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and his top commanders repeatedly, knowingly lied to the American public about rising sectarian violence in Iraq beginning in 2006, according to the cross-referencing of WikiLeaks’ leaked Iraq war documents and former Washington Post Baghdad Bureau Chief Ellen Knickmeyer’s recollections.

The Obama administration worked with Republicans during his first few months in office to protect Bush administration officials facing a criminal investigation overseas for their involvement in establishing policies that some considered torture. A “confidential” April 17, 2009, cable sent from the US embassy in Madrid obtained by WikiLeaks details how the Obama administration, working with Republicans, leaned on Spain to derail this potential prosecution.

A U.S. Army helicopter allegedly gunned down two journalists in Baghdad in 2007. WikiLeaks posted a 40-minute video on its website in April, showing the attack in gruesome detail, along with an audio recording of the pilots during the attack.

US authorities failed to investigate hundreds of reports of abuse, torture, rape and even murder by Iraqi police and soldiers whose conduct appears to be systematic and normally unpunished..

US special-operations forces have targeted militants without trial in secret assassination missions, and many more Afghan civilians have been killed by accident than previously reported, according to the WikiLeaks Afghanistan war document dump.

Five years ago, the International Committee of the Red Cross told U.S. diplomats in New Delhi that the Indian government “condones torture” and systematically abused detainees in the disputed region of Kashmir. The Red Cross told the officials that hundreds of detainees were subjected to beatings, electrocutions and acts of sexual humiliation, the Guardian newspaper of London reported Thursday evening.

The British government has trained a Bangladeshi paramilitary force condemned by human rights organizations as a “government death squad”, leaked US embassy cables have revealed. Members of the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), which has been held responsible for hundreds of extra-judicial killings in recent years and is said to routinely use torture, have received British training in “investigative interviewing techniques” and “rules of engagement”.

Secret U.S. diplomatic cables reveal that BP suffered a blowout after a gas leak in the Caucasus country of Azerbaijan in September 2008, a year and a half before another BP blowout killed 11 workers and started a leak that gushed millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.

The United States was secretly given permission from Yemen’s president to attack the al Qaeda group in his country that later attempted to blow up planes in American air space. President Ali Abdullah Saleh told John Brennan, President Obama’s counterterrorism adviser, in a leaked diplomatic cable from September 2009 that the U.S. had an “open door” on terrorism in Yemen.

Contrary to public statements, the Obama administration actually helped fuel conflict in Yemen. The U.S. was shipping arms to Saudi Arabia for use in northern Yemen even as it denied any role in the conflict.

Saudi Arabia is one of the largest origin points for funds supporting international terrorism, according to a leaked diplomatic cable. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urged U.S. diplomats to do more to stop the flow of money to Islamist militant groups from donors in Saudi Arabia. The Saudi government, Clinton wrote, was reluctant to cut off money being sent to the Taliban in Afghanistan and Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) in Pakistan.

A storage facility housing Yemen’s radioactive material was unsecured for up to a week after its lone guard was removed and its surveillance camera was broken, a secret U.S. State Department cable released by WikiLeaks revealed Monday. “Very little now stands between the bad guys and Yemen’s nuclear material,” a Yemeni official said on January 9 in the cable.

Israel destroyed a Syrian nuclear reactor in 2007, constructed with apparent help from North Korea, fearing it was built to make a bomb. In a leaked diplomatic cable obtained by the Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth, then-US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice wrote the Israelis targeted and destroyed the Syrian nuclear reactor just weeks before it was to be operational.

Diplomatic cables recently released by WikiLeaks indicate authorities in the United Arab Emirates debated whether to keep quiet about the high-profile killing of a Hamas operative in Dubai in January. The documents also show the UAE sought U.S. help in tracking down details of credit cards Dubai police believe were used by a foreign hit squad involved in the killing. The spy novel-like slaying, complete with faked passports and assassins in disguise, is widely believed to be the work of Israeli secret agents.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange told Al Jazeera network that some of the unpublished cables show “top officials in several Arab countries have close links with the CIA, and many officials keep visiting US embassies in their respective countries voluntarily to establish links with this key US intelligence agency. These officials are spies for the U.S. in their countries.”

Pope Benedict impeded an investigation into alleged child sex abuse within the Catholic Church, according to a leaked diplomatic cable. Not only did Pope Benedict refuse to allow Vatican officials to testify in an investigation by an Irish commission into alleged child sex abuse by priests, he was also reportedly furious when Vatican officials were called upon in Rome.

Sinn Fein leaders Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness carried out negotiations for the Good Friday agreement with Irish then-prime minister Bertie Ahern while the two had explicit knowledge of a bank robbery that the Irish Republican Army was planning to carry out, according to a WikiLeaks cable. Ahern figured Adams and McGuinness knew about the 26.5 million pound Northern Bank robbery of 2004 because they were members of the “IRA military command.”

Anglo-Dutch oil giant Royal Dutch Shell PLC has infiltrated the highest levels of government in Nigeria. A high-ranking executive for the international Shell oil company once bragged to U.S. diplomats, as reported in a leaked diplomatic cable, that the company’s employees had so well infiltrated the Nigerian government that officials had “forgotten” the level of the company’s access.

Mexican President Felipe Calderon told a U.S. official last year that Latin America “needs a visible U.S. presence” to counter Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez’s growing influence in the region, according to a U.S. State Department cable leaked to WikiLeaks.

McDonald’s tried to delay the US government’s implementation of a free-trade agreement in order to put pressure on El Salvador to appoint neutral judges in a $24m lawsuit it was fighting in the country. The revelation of the McDonald’s strategy to ensure a fair hearing for a long-running legal battle against a former franchisee comes from a leaked US embassy cable dated 15 February 2006.

LIST ENDS

Much of the information in the cables had nothing to do with national security and was most definitely in the public interest – a seemingly endless litany of illegal behavior by the US and its proxies or allies. And yet, while the instigators of these acts walk free, many enjoying promotions, lucrative jobs and book tours, Julian Assange is denied freedom of movement, despite being granted political asylum by the respected sovereign nation of Ecuador over legitimate concerns of possible human rights violations and political persecution.

What, then, is the cause of this baffling hostility towards Mr. Assange, when, given the scope and depth of criminality he has uncovered, he would in a sane world be receiving with our deep gratitude the world’s most prestigious honors and awards for services to the public and democracy?

Culpability clearly lies with the corporate-owned media. Numerous articles have appeared throughout the mainstream press that have printed lies, inaccuracies, lazy reporting, smears and personal insults. [Note: one such article was analysed on this blog last year]. Comments below the line on these pieces published in major newspapers often mirror the incorrect factual statements made by the writers and the general confusion is added to by the input of obvious astroturfers drawn to the fray with every new assault.

Julian Assange, recognised by the UK high court as a journalist and a recipient of several prestigious journalism awards (including the Walkley Award for Most Outstanding Contribution to Journalism and the Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism), is the victim of an obvious fit-up, a crude, clumsy, clearly bogus attempt to force him into the clutches of those who want not only their revenge, but also – mafia-style – to ‘send a message’ to deter anyone else who might entertain the forbidden desire of informing the public of the secret evils carried out behind their backs in their name and with their taxes.

In the interests of law, of protecting press freedoms and the essential democratic ideal of holding those with great power accountable, not to mention the human rights and freedom of a man unjustly held against his will, right-thinking people of conscience must raise their voices and hands in defense of Julian Assange.

Written by Simon Wood

Twitter: @simonwood11

International Spin Bin