Tag Archives: Wikileaks

The Weaponising Of Social Part 2: Stomping On IOError’s Grave

I once tried to tell Jacob Appelbaum a funny joke. He did not think it was funny.

In fact, he was visibly mortified and uncomfortable.

My joke was a retelling of something that had happened to me when I was still on the opposite side of the planet.

I have a really dark, sardonic, acerbic Kiwi sense of humour, that has been sharpened by surviving everything that has been thrown at me to date.

Unfortunately, it didn’t translate well.

Fortunately, he didn’t make a smear website lambasting me about it.

Warning

There are Persons of Interest who the surveillance state merely monitors – and there are those who it actively harms.

The latter, and those who facilitate and inflict that harm, will instantly understand that every word of this article is true.

Everyone else is going to need to read carefully, do a lot of thinking, and click on all the links and their source links in turn.

For this post is not just about a group of women who accused Jacob Appelbaum of heinous assaults and social improprieties, although that will be extensively covered.

This article is, as promised, about the mammoth and monumental, colossal issues which are intertwined with that and are conveniently being overshadowed by it.

For we are all being polarised into a fake diametric supposition – that either Jacob Appelbaum targets people, or Jacob Appelbaum is being targeted.

But the real target is WikiLeaks.

The Joke

I was stunned by the massive and consequential ramifications of Appelbaum’s #30c3 revelations, so I was determined to get the key messages through to non-techy people.

I had been talking about what was being done to activists cellphones by spy agencies since early 2012. The reason I knew what was happening was not from reverse engineering spyware like Jake or Morgan Marquis-Boire or Jeremie Zimmerman and other clever people do, but from my own personal experience of being a target.

Quoting from the blurb of this video of “To Protect and Infect – The Militarisation of the Internet“, presented by Morgan Marquis-Boire and Claudio Guarnieri:

“Chaos Communication Congress – 29/12/2013

2013 will be remembered as the year that the Internet lost its innocence for nearly everyone as light was shed on the widespread use of dragnet surveillance by the NSA and intelligence agencies globally. With the uprisings of the Arab Spring where people raided the offices of their regimes to bring evidence to light, we’ve seen a tremendous phenomenon: a large numbers of whistleblowers have taken action to inform the public about important details. The WikiLeaks SpyFiles series also shows us important details to corroborate these claims. There is ample evidence about the use and abuses of a multi-billion dollar industry that have now come to light. This evidence includes increasing use of targeted attacks to establish even more invasive control over corporate, government or other so-called legitimate targets.”

That amazing speech was then followed by Jacob’s astonishing presentation: “To Protect and Infect Part 2“.

To have hacker-journalists discussing the intracies of the capabilities I had seen in use against me and other Kiwi activists, was incredible. As far as I was concerned, and still am, that Congress was one of the most important ever, and to this day the vast majority of people still remain willfully ignorant of the messages contained in it.

[Note: that also happened to be the very same Congress at which Nick Farr says he entertained the notion of giving airtime to someone who claimed Jacob Appelbaum was a plant. Yet Jake’s work revealed in the above talk is utterly beyond reproach.]

So I endeavoured to belatedly tweet out a point by point time-stamped, dumbed-down, layman’s-terms version of his speech, hoping that the NZ mainsteam media, who by late 2013 were avidly following my timeline in the wake of the GCSB movement, would pick it up.

As soon as I started the tweets, the stalkers/spies/private contractors who had been increasingly intruding on my life ever since I had first started documenting FBI and DHS activities in New Zealand, during Occupy, went into overdrive.

I could always tell when I was hitting a nerve by their reaction, which would be immediately reflected in the aggressiveness of their interventions in my life and by 2014, their outright physical assaults on me. On this particular occasion, I was at home alone, and once again, they began hurting me.

You see, it isn’t just as a rape victim that I had to struggle to be believed. All tellers of uncomfortable yet obvious truths not yet accepted by the mainstream face a hell of a time trying to explain what is being done to us.

For a long time I didn’t talk to anyone outside of my immediate activist circle about electronic weapons being used on me. Because they “didn’t exist” as far as the public was concerned, and as a solo mother, the stakes were twice as high for me if I disclosed it. It likely would have been used by the state as justification to question my mental health, which is a known tactic that they use to cover for their crimes and silence their victims.

So I developed my own method of coping with it when it would happen. First, I would call someone from my media team and tell them “I’m going onto TrapWire“. They would know instantly what I meant – that I would escape my house and go to somewhere as visible and as public as possible. So public in fact, that it was on public surveillance cameras (hence the TrapWire reference).

This was a deliberate tactic that we had developed to force an evidence trail if we were followed and continued to be hurt.

So in this particular instance, I went to the original site of Occupy Auckland at Aotea Square, which is an urban green space wedged between the Town Hall and the Auckland Council building. It is surrounded by cutting edge facial recognition cameras with pan, tilt, zoom, area mics and all the bells and whistles, and I continued my tweeting.

Two years later, in Berlin, what was the joke that I was trying to tell Jacob?

That when being attacked with electronic weapons by teams of private contractors intent on preventing us from spreading his truth-telling, we had evaded them by learning how to use public surveillance systems against them.

To me, especially as someone who had written about TrapWire when the GIFiles revelations came out, the irony of using The Empire’s own fascist systems to outwit them and continue my work, was delicious.

Jacob Appelbaum didn’t laugh.

He was aghast.

Beyond Any Shadow Of A Doubt

It is a testament to how well truth is hidden that many will get to this point of the article and have decided that I am certifiably nuts.

Because they will not have read this:

htew

Hacking Team is a government contractor, and they don’t hand over EUR8,800 for a weapons procurement report that is conspiracy theory.

They pay it because they know it is fact.

For those who were too lazy to check the link and read the article, here’s more:

htew1

The above is the specific list of contracts for the procurement of electronic weapons and who by.

Below is the list of manufacturers of the weapons.

htew2

So we know electronic weapons exist, that they have been tested *prior* to their roll-out for use by law enforcement 2014-2024, we know who manufactures them and who they have been sold to.

We know this because of the Hacking Team leak published by WikiLeaks.

The source email for the above article, can be found here and there are more emails related to this topic if you go to the WikiLeaks’ Hacking Team main page here and type ‘Directed Energy Weapons’.

What The Hell Does This Have To Do With IOError?

To answer that question, you have to look at what I was tweeting that day, that so enraged those paid to harm me.

This Pirate Pad contains 10 of the key points. [Other people made transcriptions of some of my tweets which were derived from Jacob’s speech].

But that’s just a drop in the bucket. To read what should technically be all of my tweets from that day of me being chased around Auckland, it seems you need to expand each one to read them all – click here to have a go at it.

(Please note – the dates are Twitter dates not New Zealand dates. Which is why this tweet is marked 4 Jan 2014, when the earlier ones are marked 3 Jan. They were in fact all tweeted on the same day.)

The content speaks for itself.

As does the fact that by attempting to translate and promote Jacob Appelbaum’s work to mainstream audiences, activists can be and are subject to such attacks.

What Total Surveillance Really Means

If you work for WikiLeaks like Jacob Appelbaum; or if you start movements against intelligence agencies; or if you write about the FBI/DHS/CIA & co without massive organisational backing, funding and visibility; or if you boldly and righteously declare to people in a position of significant governmental power that they should leak sensitive internal intelligence information about immoral government activity that should be in the public realm, then are flabbergasted and elated to find that they do so; or if you are involved in any serious research which is inconvenient or dangerous to the security state; or if you target any individual in the chain of political hierarchy and they get wind of what you’ve done; then the great Eye of Sauron feels entitled to, and does, make a point of of trying to know every single thing you do, say and think, 24 hours out of every day, 7 days a week.

It pays for the entire undertaking with a virtually limitless pool of tax money.

Even if Jacob was able to secure all his devices, his communications, his hardware and his personal spaces, he still could not do a damn thing to prevent external methods of surveillance intruding upon him. Satellite surveillance, which is used at the push of a button as readily as XKeyscore, PRISM or anything else, right down to private investigators mounting microphones and sound amplifiers pointed at Jacob’s house and wherever else he frequents, are just some of those ways. Let alone HUMINT.

Therefore it is highly unlikely that any events that occurred within the supposedly private space of his home were actually private.

In yet another great irony, if anyone knows the truth about the accusations against ioerror – it is likely to be those who control the global surveillance apparatus, and I presume he would be well aware of that fact.

Listening to the stories being told about him, you would think Jacob a callous, foolhardy, exhibitionist. Every experience I’ve had of him and his inner circle (and no, I do not know them exceedingly well however, being in Berlin, they are very visible within the community) is that they were the opposite. Careful, reserved, private. Particularly wary of outsiders and newcomers.

Well aware that they are all targets and of the ways in which they could be entrapped.

Early on in my investigation into this giant debacle, it occurred to me that taking down Jacob may be part of a continuing series of major blows against WikiLeaks, stripping it of key allies.

It is election year after-all and as far as The Empire is concerned, Julian Assange is Enemy Number One.

The WikiLeaks Connection

One of the first ‘corroborating’ public testimonies against Appelbaum was a historic claim made by Leigh Honeywell.

I was instantly struck by the following passage from her blogpost, which at the time seemed anomalous:

lhja

Leigh identifies herself as siding with Assange’s persecutors.

She says that she didn’t ‘fully realize how bad [her] own experiences with [Appelbaum] had been‘ until she saw him support Julian Assange.

The link in the above screenshot leads to a post she wrote in December, 2010.

In that post, she details the reasons why she thinks Assange is at fault, then says ‘I’m tired of my friends being assaulted’, and links to feminist blogs she has read on the issue, as well as other links she feels are pertinent to support her opinion.

The key problem with this, and which Leigh couldn’t have known in December 2010, is that Assange’s “victims” themselves say they were not raped.

From John Pilger’s special investigation:

frcjaPilger’s source is an affidavit from the case.

The following passage is from this International Business Times article:

ibja

Honeywell might not be blamed for jumping to conclusions in December 2010. Many people did and WikiLeaks themselves didn’t know about this evidence until December 2011.

But with the “victims” themselves saying they weren’t raped, it certainly shines a different light on her position.

jaa

So if Appelbaum supporting an alleged rapist tipped the balance for Honeywell, but then the alleged rapist turns out to be innocent, where does that leave us?

Yet not only does Honeywell still blame Assange, she describes the allegations against him – as recently as this month – as “sexual violence“.

Despite there being no allegation of such.

This made me wonder – what are the opinions and positions of Appelbaum’s other accusers and key supporters, on Julian Assange and WikiLeaks?

Back in December 2015 – five years after Honeywell’s post about Assange and four years after the text messages from the “victims”, Honeywell has the following exchange:

lhva

So Honeywell wouldn’t donate to Freedom of the Press Foundation because of their support for WikiLeaks.

Her tweet is ‘liked’ by one Valerie Aurora.

Appelbaum Detractor’s Takes On WikiLeaks

Vocal supporter of the alleged Appelbaum victims, Valerie Aurora has been quoted in the media about the case. From her Twitter account:

vaja

Yet as pointed out by the commenter, WikiLeaks’ first tweet had in fact linked to the website featuring the accusations against Appelbaum. Its second, linked to his denial.

They did not take a public position (and still have not, to my knowledge) as being in favour of either side. Yet Valerie Aurora ostensibly deliberately, and quite ridiculously, extrapolates the benign reporting as being an attack on anonymity and whistleblowing, even though neither are even mentioned by WikiLeaks.

Tor Project employee Alison Macrina recently disclosed that she is ‘Sam’, the ‘nonconsensual washing‘ bath story discussed in the first part of this article.

In that disclosure, she states “it took months to be honest with myself about what happened” and then alleges hearing of “often violent” behaviour by Jacob Appelbaum.

amov

Much like the original ‘Serial rapist‘ claim by @VictimsofJake, the ‘often violent‘ claim seems to be completely unsubstantiated. Taking a protracted period of time to realise she’d been allegedly violated, however, is a recurrent theme in the allegations against Appelbaum.

It seems Macrina has also displayed past hostility towards Julian Assange despite her having shared stages with him as recently as March 2016.

amwl2

Macrina recently wrote the following tweet:

amwl

The person she has cc’d into that tweet, is someone who recently disclosed that she is the Appelbaum accuser “Forest”.

ilc

Her post begins:

ilc1

…after two years spent trying to inhibt my rage and convince myself that I hadn’t been hurt, followed by seeking out other victims..” – Isis Lovecruft

In a sub-section of her disclosure titled “The Plan”, Lovecruft describes how she “first started out seeking other [alleged] victims“, and had planned to group them together to confront him at a Tor event in Spain. Jake apparently found out, and that plan was set aside.

Having run out of ideas and being threatened out of alternative options, I reported everything to the rest of The Tor Project. Well, almost everything. Originally, I only reported others’ stories (with their permission). I left my own story out, and I did not tell it until it was decided that Jake would no longer be part of The Tor Project.”

Despite repeatedly stating that she doesn’t recommend filing legal complaints, (a position endorsed by many rape victims including myself who have had horrific experiences trying to obtain justice through law enforcement) Lovecruft strangely goes on to list a whole bunch of laws and accompanying sentencing guidelines that she feels would apply to Applebaum.

Curiously, these include charges that aren’t reflected in the original allegations themselves, even if they are taken at face value, including: “Instructing a third party to rape the victim (§177 of the Strafsgesetzbuch paragraph 2, sentence 2), making it a “severe case”.

Although she attributes the application of this law to the accusations by ‘River’, those accusations do not state that Jacob instructed another party to rape the alleged victim.

Given the gravity of the situation and that both Macrina and Lovecruft are garnering hundreds of retweets effectively declaring the takedown of Appelbaum as a done deal, it is impossible to reason why the exaggeration of potential charges would be deemed necessary, or in fact the inclusion of them at all.

It is as if those references to laws and sentences exist only as an overt threat to Appelbaum.

Given the pattern of anti-WikiLeaks sentiment amongst the other accusers, I looked to see what Lovecruft’s position was.

I saw this:

wlsub

Then I saw THIS:

wlsub2

The bottom tweet on that thread is Isis Lovecruft effectively asking for access to WikiLeaks’ source code for their whistleblower submission platform.

I’m going to say that twice.

The bottom tweet on that thread is Isis Lovecruft effectively asking for access to WikiLeaks source code for their whistleblower submission platform.

Who Is Behind The Website?

The identities of most of the accusers including the lone rape accusation, and of those who co-ordinated the launch of the site are an ‘open secret’.

That said, I am not at all comfortable with revealing the name of anyone who has not already done so themselves in a public forum. I do believe that the alleged victims have a right to anonymity should they so choose to exercise it.

I have also received a number of communications from various people providing further contextual information. I am not prepared to and will not publish the names of, or information provided by, anyone whom I cannot independently verify and who has not given me express permission to do so. Therefore the information that appears in this article is restricted to what is already in the public realm.

Neither of the women who have made these recent disclosures outright admit to being a part of creating the website JacobAppelbaum.net, presumedly either for legal reasons, or because they actually weren’t involved in the creation of it, or both.

It might also be because the site itself is a travesty from a privacy perspective. Non-HTTPS, with a stated JavaScript reliance and apparently lacking a no-JS fallback, which is used to make sure a site can be displayed, and forms used, by dated or uncommon browsers.

At the present time it is still not public which person/s actually registered, built, wrote copy for, curated and edited the site, although there are certainly many clues.

Some other people who came forward to media and were named as eye-witnesses to an alleged incident (which, as discussed in the first part of this article, was later disproven) were already named in my previous article, and that incident referenced.

They are Meredith L. Patterson, Andrea Shephard and Emerson Tan.

To the best of my knowledge they are yet to issue a retraction of or apology for their very public false allegations.

Meredith appears to be the root of the ‘plagiarism’ accusations against Appelbaum, of which there seems to be a tiny bit more light shed on in this thread, which really speaks for itself, both in terms of not actually appearing to justify any accusation of plagiarism by definition, and in her refusal to continue to engage on the subject.

While great pains seem to be taken by the accusers to validate the sexual assault claim, very little seems to be forthcoming about the claims of plagiarism.

Here is the first iteration of the JacobAppelbaum.net ‘About’ page:

jan

As pointed out to me by researcher Janine Römer, the About page originally consisted of five lines of text attacking Jake for everything under the sun except rape and sexual assault, then the claims of sexual, emotional and physical abuse are shoved into the final line.

Making it really clear where the writer’s priorities, or where they felt the strength of their arguments, lay.

In this thread, Meredith explains why a person’s behaviour off the stage and on the stage should be considered seperately. When someone argues that it shouldn’t, Andrea Shepherd backs Meredith up. Meredith’s theory is that if they exhibit unsavoury behaviour off the stage, you should separate it from their public speaking. She says if they exhibit their bad traits on the stage, you can kick them off the stage. But if they don’t exhibit it on the stage, to leave them on.

I had a look to see what Meredith’s take is on WikiLeaks.

wlis

In 2012 Meredith decries “Assange supporters *attacking allies*” and says it “delights both’s mutual enemies”.

mp1

Given that the accusations against Appelbaum have been picked up and are being run with 24/7 by every known anti-Snowden anti-WikiLeaks anti-Assange anti-privacy pro-govt and anti-Tor troll under the sun, the above is just plain ironic.

Targeting an iconic essay by Assange in the book ‘Cypherpunks’ – “A Call To Cryptographic Arms”;

mp2

Given sentiments like that, it is getting harder and harder to deny that WikiLeaks, rather than Appelbaum, may be the utimate target here.

Despite the statements of the women involved in Assange’s case actually exonerating him, Andrea Shephard agrees with a commenter that she sees “parallels” between the women in both the Assange and the Appelbaum allegations:

pv1

Previously, to her credit, she had rightly been critical of the New York Times’ tabloid-style reporting about Assange.

pv2

However there is more derision of WikiLeaks by Andrea.

jcas2

Manhunting WikiLeaks

Stepping back to 2010 again, we discover where Tor and WikiLeaks really intersect.

The manhunt of Julian Assange.

pentja

prayingforja

wltor

In the same time period as FBI agents were showing up in New York looking for Assange at a conference, and he was being ‘manhunted’ by the Pentagon, WikiLeaks identified Tor as being a core part of their infrastructure, and asked their supporters to use and help strengthen it.

From Glenn Greenwald and The Intercept’s analysis of Snowden documents relating to the WikiLeaks ‘manhunt’:

manhuntingwl

So according to the US Government, “non-state actor Assange, and the human network that supports WikiLeaks” are the dangerous ones.

As opposed to everyone named in this article who publicly kick the shit out of WikiLeaks.

Women Protecting Women

As much as I would have liked to wrap up this article and never have to write about it again, it seems inevitable that there will eventually be a 3rd part.

With the creators of the site still not yet taking reponsibility for it, Jacob’s enduring silence and the key sole accusation of an actual rape occurring and the context of that remaining obscured, it is highly unlikely this is the end of the saga.

The primary complainant is being sheltered behind a periphery of other women complainants. If this is truly for her protection that is admirable. But if that person is indeed being sheltered to prevent the discovery of other profoundly mitigating information that would dramatically change the overall depiction of this situation, the effort is not only corrupt but is in vain.

The truth will out.

When it does, the 3rd part of this series will be titled “The Weaponising of Social Pt 3: The Resurrection of Jacob Appelbaum”.

What caused me to write these articles was not a wish to protect Jacob, or to befriend him. We are not in direct contact, nor have I sought to be.

The “risks” (in terms of that hideous and constantly flung-about term ‘social capital’) far outweighed the gain for me but if I was risk averse out of self-interest I wouldn’t be me.

I am speaking out because of all the reasons above, below, aforementioned, and yet to come.

Why Did I Continue Writing, When His Accusers Are Already Celebrating?

Because there is clearly more to the story than is being told, much, much more. I will not sit idly by while the life of a genuine radical is dismantled by women of privilege bizarrely aspiring to victim status who want to take him down in the name of representing rape survivors.

The initial and most serious allegation of all, that Jacob is a ‘serial rapist’ is clearly utterly without merit. It is additionally frankly offensive that an alleged ‘rape’ testimony sits alongside what by contrast seem to be frivolous complaints. Is there such doubt in the original claim that it couldn’t stand alone? Does it really need to be surrounded with circumstantial accounts of what, by comparison, are the most minor of alleged infractions?

Has sexual assault really now come to mean ‘anything I found uncomfortable, was upset by or was unable to deal with’? From being kissed, to bad jokes, to being propositioned, to being pulled into a bath and washed, to having someone out the fact that you were dating a workmate in front of your workmates?

Who hasn’t had these things happen? Why don’t we just declare everyone on Earth a victim? Because when you actually are a survivor of a violent rape, you understand clearly what the difference is.

Presenting common social occurrences as being tantamount to sexual assault, or even posting them on equal ground alongside them, profoundly trivialises what real rape and sexual assault are.

Likewise these accusations of ‘violence’ in terms of the use of the word ‘rape’ fall well short of the violent rapes that are genuinely prevalent in society – violent, horrific rapes that occur every single day all over this planet – especially to teenagers, street-workers and the homeless. Particularly to women of colour. For some people rape is a seemingly constant experience. There are women who can’t remember how many times they were raped. There are victims of domestic violence and incest who are raped for years on end.

Is it really necessary for the accusers to assemble a list of everyone their accused ever offended in his adult life, in order to lend their testimonies credibility?

The lack of victim impact in the statements is massively disturbing. It is as if the statements were written and/or edited by women who are not victims at all.

I have highlighted that in bold type because it is such a profound and obvious discrepancy. It sticks out like a sore thumb, across all of the testimonies.

There is constant complaint of power imbalance and fear of reprisal but no tangible complaint of ongoing personal emotional ramifications from these alleged experiences, other than embarrassment. No claim or description of lasting harm. This contradicts everything I have seen, witnessed and personally experienced over the years, and I find it impossible to ignore.

If you don’t understand what victim impact is, let me spell it out for you.

I was abducted from quite literally the central street of my city. I had to walk up and down that street countless times in my life since. Every time, swallowing the memories. Feeling that the concrete under my feet, my very city, had betrayed me.

I was gang raped at night in the rain on a children’s playground at what Americans would call an elementary school. I knew that the next day, little children’s feet would be skipping over the asphalt where I lay, or playing hopscotch. It haunted me for years. (Massive understatement). I still remember the feeling of the asphalt, the feeling of the rain (which far from soothing, felt like a karmic betrayal in itself; it was just wet and cold and utterly miserable), and anytime I went near a school, I relived the experience as if it was floating in front of my eyes like a translucent movie superimposing itself over my vision. For months if not years afterwards, you walk around in a semi-stupor, as if you are inebriated, out of focus, because you are seeing two things at once – what is in front of you and what is behind you.

The sign at the front of the school is forever burned into my mind’s eye. Because when I saw it, I still didn’t know whether or not they were going to kill me, so I was trying to memorise everything I saw in case I survived. I constantly had the irrational urge to go to the school and demand that they close it down, because it seemed too sick to allow young children to play every recess and lunchtime on the very ground where a woman was gang raped. Even though I knew on a subconscious level that the closure of an entire school was a ridiculous and extreme measure that would never manifest. For years I wondered inane irrelevant things… had the teachers been told? Did the caretaker know? Did the student’s parents know? Even though the school was in a part of town I had never been to in my life and would never go to again. A part of town where I knew no one. Even though the actual location where they did that to me could have been anywhere, I was transfixed on the specificities.

You see, it is not merely the act that is grotesque and destructive it is the haunting. The way in which completely normal things become utterly poisoned by the experience: in later years, going to events at my children’s school and wondering if anyone had ever been raped on their playground. Being triggered by the back seats of cars. By petrol stations. By things you have to see again every single day, and somehow have to learn to live with, or else drown in the pain.

It is this haunting, and the profound emotional after-effects, which take a horrendously long time to begin to fade, All of your relationships are affected. No matter of what type. From re-learning how to answer when a stranger says “How are you?” To how to face your parents. How to explain to your friends why you stare off blankly into space when they’re trying to talk to you. How to make love again without fearing an impending act of violence with every touch.

Your very identity is internally called into existential question.

There are a hundred, a thousand more intimate details of aspects that haunted me, which I will not detail here because they are utterly disgusting and despicable and it is frankly no ones business. It took a significant portion of my life for the memories to start to not be so jagged, the triggers to not be so visceral, all-encompassing.

Generally speaking, I actually consider myself healed. Enough so that I don’t feel physically ill anymore. I am finally able to live in the present now.

I am re-opening that old wound for the sole purpose of demonstrating for you all what victim impact is. It is hideous and embarrassing to have to do but it serves a greater good. The difference between the Stanford rape survivor’s victim impact statement and the allegations on the Appelbaum-hit site should be abundantly obvious to even the most casual observer. Seven supposed testimonies on that site and not a single one describing post-trauma victim impact. It is not a coincidence.

They have conflated common tenets of rape culture with actual rape.

There was a time when a trigger would cripple me for an entire week, then eventually just an entire day. Now when I read the Stanford rape testimony – all 7,500 words of it, I just press my clenched fist against my mouth, squeeze my eyes shut, tell myself ‘breathe, breathe’ for a few seconds and then I can resume reading.

I can tell you exactly how many triggers I had while reading that testimony. Three. And its been 17 years.

Victim impact is what made the Stanford rape victim’s account so compelling, because real rape testimony cannot be manufactured.

Sadly, with the level of co-ordination behind their efforts and realising that they’ve been seen right through, I wouldn’t be surprised if they have a belated go at it now, so vociferous is their opposition to Appelbaum, so fervent their stated desire to prevent him speaking truth on stages. Still, they will fail.

Survivor status is not something to aspire to or to claim lightly.

It is an indescribable burden.

Ending Appelbaum’s Career

The constant demand that Appelbaum, who so directly confronts superpowers, stop doing so in the name of victims is just plain suspicious.

What is being exercised by his accusers is the power to harness social media to cause mass distraction and brutal damage, to their own ends.

In practice, their demand for the utter exclusion of Appelbaum entails preventing him from continuing to explain to Persons of Interest the precise ways in which the agencies trying to torture and kill us on taxpayer dollars are doing so.

Information that has been of extreme value to targets and should be also to the public, who largely remain blissfully unaware of the full extent of what is being done on their dime.

Information that he has long been circulating that, more than an inconvenience; is an extreme danger to the perpetrators of torture, rendition and murder.

Information which cannot be replaced by a bunch of Tor developers waxing lyrical about safe spaces and self-care while ripping our community apart.

Just try self-care on for size if 3-letter agencies have decided they want to actively destroy your entire existence. I wish you the best of luck.

Mammoth resources – literally BILLIONS OF DOLLARS – are being wielded against people like us, and the too few truly combating it, those like Jacob and Julian, are constantly under life-threatening attacks, including from personalities in our own movements.

I would be far more sympathetic to a description of how the state interferes with and meddles in every single aspect of the lives of Persons of Interest as being ‘rape’, than I am someone being kissed in a bar or propositioned at dinner, or embarrassed in front of workmates.

POI’s are unable to hold down a job because the state will not allow them to have access to funds or employment. The Empire literally destroys any and every opportunity that comes their way because one of their main priorities is to not allow POI’s to have any assets or sustainable resources. They set teams of HUMINT against POI’s in the workplace, in domestic spaces, in social spaces.

(Don’t believe me? The Snowden docs aren’t academic. They are an in-practice guide of what is still happening every single day.)

At least that kind of all-encompassing trauma comes closer to the after-effects of an actual rape because it fucks up your entire life. But for those who have made a career out of privacy, those who came to it from academia or because they work for an NGO, or because it is “The Scene” – or because they heard about it in some cool videos – guess what? You might be monitored but you aren’t individually targeted. Any more than someone who has been hit on or propositioned is a sexual assault victim. You live in a bubble of luxury – a meritocracy as you call it – where you can actually make something of yourself despite being monitored.

Unless a gang of people and their group-think activism come after you and do the government’s work for them.

For first they came for Julian Assange… then they came for Jacob Appelbaum.

Real militant truth-tellers can only run and hide and seek refuge however and wherever they can, while telling as much truth about The Empire as they can, in whatever time they have left before they are taken out of the equation. The truth is not permitted in this day and age. The truth is not published by Dell Cameron in The Daily Dot. If it was, they would have Michael Hastings’d him. Yes, my hero, and that of thousands, Michael Hastings, is now a verb. You won’t see Dell running articles on how we know for a fact electronic weapons are being used on human beings, on activists and (truly radical) feminists, on journalists, and have been for years. Or how Julian Assange’s vanguardism through WikiLeaks, which the WikiLeaks detractors are all busy shitting on, is the only reason we even know that. Nor will you see the Guardian writing that, or Violet Blue, or any of the half dozen publications that it is now claimed are interested in running more stories about the accusations against Appelbaum.

Have a guess how long any mainstream journalist would remain employed if the manufacturers and sub-contractors making, distributing, experimenting with and selling electronic weapons became their subject of choice.

The last person to seriously go after that network was Barrett Brown.

Instead everyone wants to play popularity contest, and protect-my-job’ism, and be-politically-correct’ism, and listen to each other wax lyrical about power and social capital and solidarity, while the bodies of real POI’s, activists, journalists, hacktivists and lawyers stack up around them.

While they sit in comfy chairs critiquing WikiLeaks and convincing themselves that they are “dangerous together”, hardcore supporters of WikiLeaks are being taken out one by one. People are losing their LIVES, their citizenships, their liberty. The biggest investigation in US history is ongoing – remember why the FBI supposedly wants to talk to Isis Lovecruft?? Because they’re already after Jake and WikiLeaks. Yet these women are now writing congratulatory tweets about how they took down someone who is actually an FBI target.

The difference between the instances of alleged sexual assault and all the other superfluous crap that has been kicked up could stretch from the North Sea to Antarctica.

The way this campaign against Appelbaum – and let’s be frank, that’s exactly what it is – has been conducted is a disservice to rape victims, a disservice to activism, a disservice to the privacy community and a disservice to humanity.

Somewhere the heads of the agencies that harm us are rubbing their hands together with glee at our own-goals. Proposing toasts. Laughing at our collective foolishness. Exactly what Meredith once accused WikiLeaks supporters of, Appelbaum’s detractors are fulfilling. That is their legacy.

Every time this scandal is used to smear Snowden, to smear Assange by association, to hurt WikiLeaks, and subsequently all the whistleblowers and journalists they support through the Courage Foundation, Freedom of the Press and anywhere else.

six

The above tweet using the Appelbaum allegations to disparage WikiLeaks is authored by the FBI snitch Adrian Lamo. Lamo is responsible for social engineering the heroic whistleblower Chelsea Manning, who as a direct result of Lamo’s manipulations, was arrested and sentenced to decades in jail.

For the next 5 years, this hit on Appelbaum will be used to undermine everyone whose life is actually on the line. It is already happening.

Dear Jake

If someone passes you this to read and you make it past the reminder of my terrible joke, the documentation about the electronic weapons, the umpteen stupid tweets from foolish people, and the example of an actual victim impact statement, to this point: here’s my unsolicited advice.

You helped start Noisebridge? Start another collective. Make it invite only. The most skilled of the skilled will continue to work with you just as they continue to work when targeted by the same shit themselves.

Funding-dependent conferences jumping on the CIA bandwagon? Start your own conferences. They don’t even have to be attended in person. Put up a black sheet and tell us the truth Snowden-style. We will still listen, be inspired by it, and share it.

Your audience will follow you.

Because to be honest, we don’t give a flying toss how many new libraries are running Tor nodes nor do we want to spend hours on end listening to a bunch of pseudo-“victims” waxing lyrical about the inherent violence in their non-violent would-be-rapes.

We want to hear about what you described as those who operate on the dark edges of society – the agencies, the contractors, the sub-contractors, and the technology they use against anyone that they perceive is standing in the way of their fantasy of global domination.

You helped build the following that the deluded think they can usurp.

You can do it again and time will tell all truths.

Karma Rules

Karma rules and I suspect that there are many, many more revelations to come. They will come from people way smarter and more accomplished than me. So I am going to set this aside for now and do what I do best.

Writing, for free, about which country the CIA wants to pass new laws to legally-illegally kill people next, or why we are being taught to hate refugees, or what immoral weapons of torture are being used against Persons of Interest in the shadows of the mainstream, or what the Prime Minister of my country, which exiled me after trying to kill me, has been up to with his dodgy lawyer.

In the meantime, Appelbaum’s accusers will continue collecting their salaries while sticking Jake’s head on a pike and dancing on his grave. THAT is their privilege.

Trading on the profiles they have gained from sitting on stages that WikiLeaks’ support of the Tor Project put many of them on in the first place.

Click here to read Part 1: The Crucifixion Of IOError

Click here to read Part 3: The Resurrection Of IOError

Written by Suzie Dawson

Twitter: @Suzi3D

Official Website: Suzi3d.com

Please note: further source links and supporting materials may be added to this post given time.

UN Ruling On Assange Exposes UK Lawlessness

“Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

For any student of modern propaganda techniques, the ruling announced last week in favor of WikiLeaks founder and editor-in-chief Julian Assange by the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (UNWGAD) has provided fertile ground for research. Indeed, the level of media frenzy sparked by the ruling can be regarded as a barometer of the power and extent of establishment forces ranged against him and his organization.

UNWGAD found that the predicament of Assange amounts to ‘arbitrary detention’, a legal term that is clearly defined, deriving from Article 9 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a document that both the United Kingdom and Sweden are signatories to. Article 9 states that ‘no one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile’. Arbitrary arrest or detention ‘are the arrest or detention of an individual in a case in which there is no likelihood or evidence that they committed a crime against legal statute, or in which there has been no proper due process of law’. ‘Due process’ is defined as ‘the legal requirement that the state must respect all legal rights that are owed to a person’.

Dr. Roslyn Fuller, a lecturer in International Law based in Ireland, has this to say about the ruling:

The Working Group stated they considered Assange’s case to fall under Category III, which covers cases where a trial does not comply with international human rights norms. The Working Group found that Sweden and the UK have pursued Assange in a disproportionate manner, given that the Swedish prosecutors could have questioned Assange at any point and he had declared himself willing to cooperate.

The two claims against Assange that were ‘dropped’ by the prosecutor last year were dropped because they were about to become time-barred. The prosecutor chose to allow this rather than to question Assange. One would think that if the prosecution had the interests of the alleged victims at heart, they may have chosen to pursue questioning in the UK – a common enough activity – rather than let the investigation lapse.

So while Assange may be holding out, so is Sweden, and nations have obligations to move the wheels of justice along as swiftly as practicable. The Working Group’s assessment is basically, “how hard can it be to conduct a preliminary investigation?” with the implication that if the prosecutor were serious, they would have gotten this wrapped up by now.

Furthermore, the Working Group found that “the grant itself and the fear of persecution on the part of Mr Assange based on the possibility of extradition, should have been given fuller consideration in the determination and the exercise of criminal administration, instead of being subjected to a sweeping judgment as defining either merely hypothetical or irrelevant”.

In other words, British and Swedish authorities should have considered that Assange’s fear of persecution might be founded and questioned him in the embassy, something it was perfectly possible to do with minimal effort in the interests of pushing their case forward. Questioning Assange at the embassy would not have jeopardized their case, whereas coming out of the embassy could have jeopardized Assange’s life. Thus, it would be disproportional to force him to do so when there was nothing to be gained by it. Assange’s interest in being protected from extradition to the United States outweighed the Swedish prosecution’s interest that he only be questioned in Sweden. Dismissing these concerns out-of-hand was arbitrary.

Even before UNWGAD’s announcement, serious pressure will have been felt by members of the group not to rule for Assange, according to the former chair, Norwegian lawyer Mads Andenas, as he explains in this short radio interview. Although reluctant to provide specifics, he makes it clear that any ruling against ‘big’ nations like the UK or the US face considerable institutional resistance.

The media reported the ruling before its announcement, allowing the headlines to get the digs in early. This BBC article stated: ‘Julian Assange is being “arbitrarily held”, UN panel to say’. In casual speech, ‘arbitrarily’ is often used in a roughly synonymous manner to ‘randomly’, implying that the UK is randomly detaining Assange. Cue an avalanche of outrage and indignation on social media and elsewhere from casual news readers deeply offended at the suggestion that the UK is somehow behaving like a dictatorship and randomly applying justice, given that Assange is of course free to leave the embassy at any time and further given that through relentless media disinformation and misinformation for years, the average news consumer now believes that Assange must ‘face justice’.

A Downing Street spokesman was on hand to supply fuel for the fire: “We have been consistently clear that Mr Assange has never been arbitrarily detained by the UK but is, in fact, voluntarily avoiding lawful arrest by choosing to remain in the Ecuadorean embassy.”

This statement also employs the non-legal use of the term ‘arbitrary’. Readers, the vast majority of whom have little or no knowledge of or concern about the details of the Assange case, are therefore given validation of an already misleading statement by an authority figure: classic psychological manipulation.

UK Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond rejected the UN group ruling, condemning it as ‘ridiculous’. Mr. Hammond, who has no legal expertise or background, further made the false claim that the group is made up of ‘lay people, not lawyers’ and that the ruling is ‘flawed in law’. [Note: Former Guardian journalist Jonathon Cook expands on this point expertly here]

The corporate media was also on hand to deride and condemn the ruling. The Guardian’s Marina Hyde, who has form smearing Julian Assange, wrote a rambling, vindictive, error-strewn article that has to be read to be believed. She then engaged in a smug, arrogant and self-congratulatory round of ‘banter’ [here and here] with like-minded journalist mates on Twitter, displaying a staggering level of contempt for a man described by the United Nations as deprived of liberty (add sunlight to that) for years as well as an embarrassing lack of awareness of her own gatekeeper role. It raises serious questions about editorial integrity at the Guardian, a newspaper of record, that a journalist with such obvious dislike for the subject of her article (with precedent) was permitted to write an analysis of a major story like this, particularly in light of the fact that Hyde usually covers showbiz and, by her own admission, has no detailed familiarity with the Assange case.

Social media lit up as soon everyone became an expert on international law and the qualifications and credentials of the members of UNWGAD. Comments below the line of articles all over the world slammed Assange with the usual tired and long discredited arguments.

The first wave of attack generally concerns the allegations of rape. It takes only a short period of research to find out the facts. [Note: anyone who believes they know what they are talking about with regard to the Assange case should read this FAQ here]

From the FAQ [emphasis (bold) mine]:

[] new information has emerged that both women explicitly deny having been raped by Mr. Assange. In a statement to the UK Supreme Court, the prosecutor acknowledged that the complainants wished only to ask the police for advice about HIV tests, having discovered they’d had both had sex with Mr. Assange. (There has never been an allegation Mr. Assange has HIV.) Neither of the women wished to lodge a formal complaint.

The woman of whom Mr. Assange is accused of the offence of “lesser rape” (a technical term in Swedish law) sent an SMS to a friend saying that she “did not want to accuse JA [of] anything” and “it was the police who made up the charges”. The other woman tweeted in 2013 that she had never been raped. Both women’s testimonies say that they consented to the sex. A senior prosecutor already dismissed the ’rape’ accusation, saying that there were no grounds for accusing Mr. Assange on this basis. But a third prosecutor, lobbied by a politician who was running for attorney general, took over the investigation and resurrected the accusations against Mr. Assange. Due to the great number of incorrect reports [], it is best to rely on primary source documents in this matter, which are on the internet and the UK Supreme Court “Agreed Statements of Facts” agreed to by the UK, the Swedish authoritiesm and Mr. Assange’s legal team. (See here and here.)

The women themselves in their own words explicitly say they were not raped. The women themselves in their own words said they had no wish to lodge a complaint. Yet to the experts in the corporate media and on social media or below the line, Assange is apparently a ‘cowardly rapist’ who is ‘holed up’ in an embassy ‘evading justice’. They occasionally even remember to write ‘alleged’ before ‘rapist’.

The next line of attack concerns Assange’s alleged evasion of justice. Yet Assange left Sweden on 27th September 2010 without impediment from prosecutor Marianne Ny, who had been assigned to the case from September 1st. It is worth noting that if this case was so serious that it became an international incident leading to the (very unusual) issuance of an Interpol Red Notice, and if the well-being of the alleged rape victims was such a priority for the prosecutor, the fact that Ny did nothing to question Assange before he left as a matter of urgency is highly suspicious.

It is also notable that Assange’s Swedish lawyer, Bjorn Hurtig, made some very disturbing claims with regard to the two women involved:

Julian Assange’s Swedish lawyer was shown scores of text messages sent by the two women who accuse him of rape and sexual assault, in which they speak of “revenge” and extracting money from him, an extradition hearing was told.

Björn Hurtig, who represents the WikiLeaks founder in Sweden, told Belmarsh magistrates court that he had been shown “about 100” messages sent between the women and their friends while supervised by a Swedish police officer, but had not been permitted to make notes or share the contents with his client.

“I consider this to be contrary to the rules of a fair trial,” he said. A number of the messages “go against what the claimants have said”, he told the court.

One message referred to one of the women being “half asleep” while having sex with Assange, Hurtig said, as opposed to fully asleep. “That to my mind is the same as saying ‘half awake’.” One of the women alleges that Assange had sex with her while she was sleeping.

Before destroying a man’s reputation an objective, honorable or honest person would first look into the details and circumstances surrounding the case. Such considerations obviously do not apply to Assange.

One final line of attack is the idea that Assange is ‘voluntarily’ hiding in the embassy. It is insulting to the intelligence and legal abilities of the UNWGAD lawyers to think that they are incapable of correctly interpreting this unusual situation in legal terms. Anyone believing that they are in danger of political persecution, as Assange does, has the legal right under international law to seek protection on humanitarian grounds. From the FAQ:

International law says that a sovereign country has decided to recognise Mr. Assange as needing protection from political persecution on humanitarian grounds. Mr. Assange has a right to meaningfully exercise that protection through passage to Ecuador. Ecuador invoked a number of applicable conventions, including the 1951 UN Convention on Refugees. The United Kingdom and Sweden are also parties to the 1951 Convention and are obligated to recognise the asylum decision of Ecuador. While both states have been careful to avoid saying that they do not recognise the asylum, their actions can only be interpreted as a wilful violation of Mr. Assange’s right to ’seek, receive and enjoy’ his asylum. In international law, the obligation to protect persons from persecution under the 1951 Refugee Convention prevails over extradition agreements between states.

The United Kingdom says it has a treaty obligation to extradite Mr. Assange to Sweden even though he has not been charged with an offense. There is a conflict between the United Kingdom’s obligations to the 1951 UN refugee convention and its obligations under the European Arrest Warrant system. It is established law that these conflicts are to be resolved in favour of the higher obligation which is to the 1951 convention.

Rather than follow[] international law, the United Kingdom has chosen to interpret the conflict in favor of its geopolitical alliances. The United Kingdom has a history of breaking international law in this manner, for example, in its invasion of Iraq, its cooperation with US rendition operations, and its facilitation of global mass spying via its intelligence service GCHQ. Sweden is also a party to these last two violations.

Assange has reason to be concerned. A secret, long-running US investigation has been mounted against him, according to US Justice Department spokesman Dean Boyd. “The grand jury is a serious business,” said Michael Ratner, a human rights lawyer advising Assange. “They’re all over this,” he added. [Sources here]

Reason for concern indeed given the US approach to whistleblowers like Chelsea Manning, who was tortured while awaiting trial, as well as the US’s clear contempt for international laws and conventions, highlighted dramatically when it forced down the plane carrying Bolivian President Evo Morales in the mistaken belief that Edward Snowden was aboard. That case also highlighted the powerful influence the US wields over European nations: France, Italy and Spain all denied airspace to Morales forcing the plane to land in Austria.

The UN ruling puts the UK and Sweden in a very sticky position as they recklessly try to play it both ways. In the past both nations have welcomed rulings by the same group when they benefited their geopolitical priorities, as this Crikey article explains:

What happens when the UN panel that you previously thought was excellent produces a verdict that you don’t like?

That was the problem facing UK Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond (little-known outside the Tory Party and best known for having been a Goth in his younger days, not that there’s anything wrong with that) when the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention found in favour of Julian Assange’s complaint that he had been arbitrarily detained by the UK and Sweden.

But Hammond’s problem is the Cameron government had a very different view of the WGAD when it ruled that the Burmese regime’s ongoing detention of Aung San Suu Kyi was a breach of international human rights law. “As in its previous five ‘opinions’, the Working Group has found that the continuous deprivation of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s liberty is arbitrary, and has requested the government of Myanmar to implement its previous recommendations and to remedy the situation,” Hammond’s predecessor William Hague said in calling for her release. Indeed, it’s been only a few months since the British government was happy to quote the WGAD in its guidance on handling particular types of protection and human rights claims about China.

China is a constant target of the WGAD. Unlike other UN bodies that might be criticised for obsessing about Western governments while ignoring the human rights abuses of dictatorships, WGAD focuses almost entirely on non-Western countries. In the years while Assange has been detained, the Working Group has ruled against China 14 times — with most rulings dealing with multiple detainees — and against Iran nine times, as well as ruling against Cuba and North Korea (again, often covering multiple cases) four times each. Syria, Saudi Arabia, Russia and the Palestinian Authority have also been among its targets. It’s in such company the UK and Sweden now find themselves.

The United States was also happy to cite the WGAD in the case of Alan Gross, who spent several years in a Cuban jail after travelling to the country to provide Cuba’s Jewish community with internet access. US politicians and the State Department were happy to cite WGAD’s finding that Gross was arbitrarily detained. The US Justice Department also cites WGAD decisions in its criticisms of the human rights records of other countries. And the WGAD ruled last August that Iran was holding US journalist Jason Rezaian arbitrarily as well; the State Department also invokes the WGAD’s decision about other imprisoned journalists.

In short, the WGAD is usually a reliable source for Western countries eager to criticise the human rights records of countries like China, Iran and Cuba. But the moment it looks askance at Western practices, it’s “ludicrous” and dismissed.

This episode teaches some lessons. Essential among them is the fact that analysis in the corporate media is now crippled beyond repair, its credibility a smoking wreck. If one desired an analysis of an aspect of astronomy or cosmology, would one read the opinions of a writer who still advocates the Ptolemaic Model of the solar system? The same applies to an analysis of the complicated legal case of Assange by obviously biased and prejudiced non-experts who are given a platform to speak to millions nonetheless. This further applies to much of foreign policy and other areas that require ‘nuance’ in the corporate media because advertisers are so touchy about what reaches the general public. The only meaningful analyses now come from independent journalists and writers who are free from corporate or government/lobby-group influence.

We also learn that corporate journalists not only act as gatekeepers in their day job, but even in their free time, gleefully towing the establishment line and seemingly oblivious to the deadly consequences of their obfuscations as they help to bring liberal, anti-war opinion over to the ‘humanitarian interventionist’ camp of the imperialist ‘right to protect’ doctrine.

Disturbingly we can also acquire a sense of the enormous power wielded behind the scenes by those who want Assange. If the UK and Sweden are willing to reject the findings of a United Nations panel of legal experts, a panel they never had complaints with in the past when they were condemning China etc., then we know that the stakes are as high as they get. The recklessness of this rejection is staggering, as explained by the Center for Constitutional Rights [Emphasis (bold) mine]:

In our briefs to the WGAD, we argued that someone is effectively detained when they are forced to choose between confinement and running the risk of persecution. That is the precise dilemma faced by Mr. Assange, who would lose the protection of his asylum if he stepped out of the embassy. The risk of extradition is the ‘fourth wall’ for the now repudiated claim that he is free to leave the embassy. As a result, it has been years since Mr. Assange has had access to proper medical care, sunlight, or the ability to see his family.

The WGAD’s decision in Mr. Assange’s case sets an important precedent for refugees. In our submissions we analogized the situation faced by Mr. Assange to that of asylum-seekers in detention facilities. States may claim that asylum-seekers held in subhuman conditions are not ‘detained’ because they are technically free to leave for their home country, but this is a non-choice, since the home country would persecute the asylum seeker.

In choosing to reject the UN ruling, not only are Sweden and the UK failing to live up to their treaty obligations because they do not suit their agendas – a working definition of an action of what Western nations traditionally call ‘rogue nations’ – but they are also putting their own citizens at risk by setting a dangerous precedent that will allow any evil dictator anywhere to also reject the findings of the UN in the future.

It is profoundly telling – a shocking demonstration of the power of media propaganda – that millions of people automatically side with governments who have lied time and time again on every issue imaginable, that have committed some of the most terrible crimes in history, against one man who has risked his freedom and life to expose some of those crimes. The idea that he might have been set up or has been persecuted is summarily dismissed despite the obvious motive for Western governments to do such a thing and despite the enormous amount of documented evidence demonstrating that this is precisely the case.

The Assange situation has long been a farce but now a ruling of the United Nations has been permitted to become a political football. This way utter lawlessness lies. The UK must immediately release and compensate Julian Assange as the UN ruling dictates. Failure to do this will only serve to confirm its status as a rogue nation and US lapdog.

Written by Simon Wood

Twitter: @simonwood11
Official Website: The Daily 99.99998271%

The Agenda To Destabilize Europe

There is always a manufactured enemy – a scapegoat – behind which geopolitical puppeteers hide.

An ever-increasing concentration of anti-Muslim propaganda has been circulating in social media, more broadly since 9/11 but particularly over the last two years – gradually seeping into the common verbiage of citizens in ‘First World’ societies.

Tolerance hard won over multiple generations, has been lost within one.

Diversity is again being made a dirty word, rather than an integral, structural pillar of any ethical society.

Those who take fixed positions either pro or anti refugee – pro or anti Muslim – are being divided and conquered. Rather than be pitched against each other, we must examine what lies beneath the propaganda.

For the true bi-polar, diametric positions are that of pro or anti Western intelligence agencies and their interests. Interests that seldom align with that of the general public they are supposed to serve, but more often align with the wishes of the comptrollers in economics and industry and the insatiable governmental aspirations of empirical power.

Tony Gosling, an investigative journalist from Bristol in the UK, was interviewed by RT in 2013 and talked about this acceleration and the origins of the mentality, laying the blame squarely at the feet of intelligence agencies like Britain’s MI5:

“Western intelligence services have been involved in criminal acts in the past which have actually fueled this kind of sectarian violence which seems to be beginning again here in Britain. There’s some serious questions that MI5 have got to answer…”

“…we’ve got other extremists here in Britain, that is to say, anti-Islamic extremists. Two weeks ago a pensioner coming home from his mosque in Birmingham, in the Midlands of Britain, was murdered, and this got almost no coverage whatsoever and we need to make sure the security services are taking exactly the same sort of measures against the anti-Muslims like the English Defense League and these kinds of organisations, as they are against the Islamic organisations…”

“…what they’re actually trying to do is demonise Muslims in a similar way to the Nazis demonising Jews back in the 1930s and its ridiculous. We’ve got to stop that, and we don’t want that from MI5 thank you very much!”

Gosling makes great points, but MI5 is just one of countless agencies hiding behind the anti-immigrant curtain.

American Hostility Towards The EU

The root of American contempt for the European Union is likely not just political, but also economic. The total gross domestic product (GDP) of the European Union is slightly larger than that of the United States, although the per capita GDP is approximately one-third less.

This means the two super-powers are not simply allies, or trading partners, but are also competitors.

The European Union has, to date, proven resistant to many of the ills of American economic convention; largely remaining GE/GMO-free, and acting to regulate lobbying by interest groups.

Such constraints are abrasive to the corporate power of the United States.

While the United States has brought many of the world’s countries to heel through military adventure or economic coercion, the European Union has, in some ways, remained legislatively impervious to those pressures.

The contempt of US diplomats towards the European Union was never more blatant than that revealed by the leak of the now-infamous Fuck The EU” tape.

Revealing the culpability and craftiness of US diplomats in converting the Maidan protests into an opportunity for a pro-US regime change and then micro-managing the formation of the new Ukrainian government, the tape more broadly illustrates their general contempt for the European Union.

While it is difficult to verify the efficacy of the associated Twitter accounts, a quick search makes it clear that the ‘Fuck The EU‘ sentiment is becoming increasingly widespread.

Signs Of Schengen Fracturing (Again)

According to The Economist: “various studies over the years have argued that the Schengen agreement led members to form closer trading partnerships, boosted both imports and exports, and drew tourists.”

This opinion has been ratified by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the German Economy Minister at the Economic Summit in Davos, Switzerland, this week.

Their comments were made in the wake of Austria having recently “temporarily” suspended Schengen.

As Reuters reports:

reuters

The cracks were apparent at least as far back as August, 2015, but were not the first existential pressure on the Schengen pact, as explained by The Economist:

This is not the first time that the Schengen agreement has appeared to be in danger of fraying. In 2011, fearing an influx of North African refugees, Italy and France pushed for a review of the agreement. Earlier this year the Dutch prime minister threatened Greece with expulsion if it allowed migrants free passage to the rest of Europe. Neither eventuality came to pass.

So why did those countries expect “an influx” of migrants from North Africa, as far back as 2011? What caused this original threat to Schengen?

The destruction of Libya.

The True Roots Of The Migrant Crisis

NATO’s official story about the bombing of Libya is, of course, that it was a humanitarian intervention. However, there is ample evidence that it was actually a war fought for economic reasons and the control of resources.

Regardless of the ‘why’, the end result was foreordained by none other than Muammar Gaddafi himself.

In Part 4 of the new documentary “World Order”, hosted by LiveLeak, Gaddafi is shown saying:

“Negligence of the stability in Libya will result in collapse due to instability in the Mediterranean. In case our power in Libya were to stop, millions of Africans will illegally flow to Italy, to France. Europe would become ‘black’ within the shortest possible period. We prevent migration by resisting Al-Qaeda. If the stability in Libya is disrupted, it will immediately cause bad consequences for Europe and Mediterranean countries. Everyone will be in danger.”

This suggests that it was known well in advance of the destabilization of Libya, that failure to secure that country would result in a human tidal wave of economic migrants from the North of Africa that, compounded by the Iraqi, Syrian and other refugees that have resulted from the many military misadventures of Western interventions in the Middle East, might ultimately overwhelm Europe.

At 05:00 in the same segment of the documentary, Russian President Vladimir Putin sub-textually ratifies the theory that the United States sees a unified European Union as an economic foe.

“The united Europe is more than 300 million people, the biggest economy. The Euro keeps its position stable… It recovers the space for itself as a world reserve currency. It is good, because when there is only one reserve currency, the USD, it restricts the space for maneuver for the whole world economy.”

EU Introduction Of Biometric Databases Threatens The CIA

Wikileaks’ 2014 releases of ‘The CIA Travel Documents‘ shed light on further benefits to the United States intelligence agencies, were Schengen to be collectively abandoned by European states.

As stated in the accompanying press release:

“The documents show that the CIA has developed an extreme concern over how biometric databases will put CIA clandestine operations at risk – databases other parts of the US government made prevalent post-9/11.”

From within the leaked documents themselves (specifically, the ‘Infiltrating Schengen‘ document):

The European Commission is considering requiring travelers who do not require visas to provide biometric data at their first place of entry into the Schengen area, which would increase the identity threat level for all US travelers.

So it seems that what is good for the goose is not good for the gander. While the US pushes the advances of biometrics for security purposes, the adoption of those same technologies by other states, in this case the European Union as a whole, threatens the cover of its intelligence agents.

With Friends Like These, Who Needs Enemies?

Agitating for the termination of the border-less zone isn’t just about prioritizing American economic interests, or protecting US intelligence assets. It is also about pressuring the EU into sharing more of its citizen’s data with intelligence agencies.

There are some very high-profile talking heads that have been predicting that the end of Schengen is nigh, and who have fascinating input on the subject.

On November 22nd, 2015, in the wake of the Paris attacks, and just as Belgium was being locked down due to alleged terror threats, CNN hosted two such guests on a panel with anchor Fareed Zakaria.

Namely, Richard Haass – the President of the Council on Foreign Relations and Philip Mudd; CNN Counter-terrorism analyst, former deputy director of the CIA’s Counter Terrorist Center and the ex FBI deputy director of the National Security Branch.

Haass directly declared the end of the Schengen Zone, stating “those days are over“.

Zakaria: Richard, you’ve dealt with the Europeans for many years. This is a case where, you know, you need more Europe in a sense. You need the Europeans to share more, to deepen the ties, but the politics is less Europe.

Haass: Absolutely right. You need much more sharing. You’re not seeing it. We’re also going to see a whole change, I think, to what’s called the Schengen area, the idea that once you get into Europe you’re essentially free to move around. Those days are over. So rather than European – the European project moving forward in some ways, Fareed, I think we’re actually more likely to see it move backwards where the balance between nationalism and Europeanism is about to move more in the direction of nationalism.

Zakaria: Fascinating. When we come back I’m going to ask Richard about Hillary Clinton who gave a big speech about ISIS hosted by him. Stay with us.

So the President of the Council on Foreign Relations – an entity whose membership, according to Wikipedia, “has included senior politicians, more than a dozen secretaries of state, CIA directors, bankers, lawyers, professors, and senior media figures” not only predicts that Schengen is already done and dusted, but that Europe as a whole is moving backwards and heading in the direction of nationalism – a phenomena not seen since pre World War II.

But wait, there’s more.

Haass: Well, I actually think not just in Europe but here in the United States we’re on the cusp of what will be a second great debate about the balance between individual privacy and collective security. And the sorts of questions you just raised are going to come to the fore. And the answer is I think the pendulum is going to have to swing. Not dramatically. We’re not talking going to the other end but somewhat in the direction of greater collective security. So we are going to have to gather more data, more information about societies and about our populations.

So the country whose intelligence mantra has been ‘Collect It All‘ wants yet more data – but rather than collect it, it wants Europe to hand it over on a silver platter, on the premise that this will somehow improve their security situation.

And to what end?

Zakaria: Do you think that this will extend to being able to kill a French citizen on a battlefield if, you know, again, they haven’t committed a crime. You know, we’ve crossed that bridge with Anwar al-Awlaki. The British just did. Are the French now facing this issue?

Mudd: I do. I think this is one of the great untold stories of this war. People debated, it’s not widely known. Presidents of countries having the authority to authorize the killing of a citizen on foreign soil when that citizen can’t be brought in for the judicial process. We’ve had, as you said, with an American, with the British citizen. If you’re the French president and you find with the Americans because the Americans are likely to develop intelligence on this, that you can locate the perpetrators, you then have the choice, do you allow that plot or plotters to continue because you can’t bring them home to justice immediately or do you authorize a targeted killing? And I think given what the French president said after this event you’re going to have a third country say, it is appropriate for the leader of a country to authorize the killing of a citizen on foreign soil without a judicial process.

The implications are enormous. Mudd’s suggestion is that the Americans will supply intelligence to European countries (in this case, France) which will lead to them authorising targeted killings of their own citizens on foreign soil, without judicial process.

Just how does one go from being Deputy Director of the CIA, to a CNN analyst?

While Mudd doesn’t appear to have a Wikipedia page dedicated to him, he does appear in several references. Including the Senate Intelligence Committee report on CIA torture.

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The use of the term ‘get out and sell‘ is puzzling, until you dig a little deeper. In a video of a presentation by Mudd to his alma mater, Villanova University, he constantly refers to the CIA as ‘the business’, and repeatedly references himself as having decades of experience ‘in the business’.

Bringing us full circle to the real agenda behind the attrition of European unity and the increase in intelligence sharing – solidifying and expanding America’s financial and economic power.

Sure enough – according to Mudd he does “a week a month at a boutique wealth management firm” – which appears to map to his CNN biography which states “Mudd is the Director of Enterprise Risk at SouthernSun Asset Management in Memphis, Tennessee.”

The last 10 minutes of his Villanova speech gets really interesting. When asked what was his biggest mistake, Mudd sheds light on the impetus for his transition from the public to private sectors.

“I quit government, I didn’t retire. I quit in 2010 because I was nominated by the President to take over Homeland Security Intelligence. Which is a low budget Presidential nomination – although when you join government as an entry level guy – the President doesn’t have that many nominees…

…that Presidential nomination requires Senate confirmation. You’ve got to sit in front of the Senate on C-SPAN and get your ass handed to you. I quit because the Senate at the end of the confirmation process, which is about a six-month process, said ‘this guy knows about CIA and what they did to CIA prisoners, and we’re going to hammer him’…

…professionally, I’m like, this is going to be front page news, I’m not doing it. That’s an embarrassment to the President. I allowed the Congressional Affairs Office to handle the six months with the Congress, and they let it get out of hand. I’m happy I quit, I have a great life, I don’t work very hard and I make a lot of money. And I drink a lot of wine… [laughter]

…so I pulled my nomination. It was front page news for one day, which is the right thing. I don’t have very many regrets but I probably should not have trusted the Congressional Affairs Office, so I lost the career…

…Can you turn the camera off?” [Cameraman stops tape]

Wikipedia is less kind: “CIA Deputy Director Philip Mudd deliberately lied to Congress about the [torture] program…”

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Multiple Government Agencies Hiring ‘Cyber-Warriors’ By The Thousands

According to Ms Victoria ‘Fuck The EU’ Nuland in her “first Twitter briefing of 2012” (seriously) – she says of the State Department:

“…we’re also developing and distributing new technologies – more than 20 of them – to empower activists around the globe to access uncensored content on the internet and to communicate with each other and to tell their stories. And to date, we’ve funded the training of more than 7,500 activists around the world in these programs.”

Wired appears to reference the same State Department program, but is less kind about its purposes – the article is titled “Newest U.S. CounterTerrorism Strategy: Trolling.”

The Pentagon and FBI are looking for 6,000 cyber-warriors between the two agencies, but having trouble finding them.

The “Warrior-To-Cyber-Warrior” program looks to convert existing military personnel and veterans into ‘cyber-warriors’, and states that “cyber security experience is not required…”

The US Navy wants 1,000 more cyber warriors.

The private sector is in the same business. Wired reported that Raytheon had advertised for 250 cyber-warriors including “media sanitation specialists.”

Even the banks are in on it – with JP Morgan building a cyber-security staff of over 1,000 people “more than twice the size of Google’s security group”. As Bloomberg writes: “To make it easier to woo military talent, the bank built a security services facility in Maryland near Fort Meade, home of the National Security Agency.”

George Monbiot for Alternet wrote: “..about the daily attempts to control and influence content in the interests of the state and corporations..”

“This is not a police state – it is a thought police state” wrote Rona Kuperboim in YNetNews, of the Israeli government’s legion of online propagandists:

“Imposters on behalf of the government are threatening free discourse even if they only wander through the virtual space. The Internet was meant to serve as an open platform for dialogue between people, rather than as a propaganda means”…

…”Any attempt to plant talkbacks online must fail. Especially if the State is behind it. Not only because it’s easy to identify responses made on behalf of someone, but also because it’s anti-democratic. When the Israel Electric Company or other companies do it, it’s annoying. Yet when the State does it, it’s dangerous.

Michael Snyder for Washington’s Blog says that “Government Trolls Are Using ‘Psychology-based Influence Techniques On YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.”

Wikipedia calls these troll armies ‘Web Brigades’ yet despite the reams of information available regarding other state and non-state actors, somehow only references Russian examples of them.

This truly is a global phenomenon of epic proportions: if the statistics Business Insider reports are factual, then China has hired some 300,000 trolls to defend the Chinese government and its political stances online.

Are The Troll Armies Behind The Anti-EU Propaganda?

Especially given the prevalence of factually incorrect posts and astro-turf media circulating on the topics, it stands to reason that at least a portion of the myriad social media accounts posting anti-Muslim, anti-Islam, anti-migrant and anti-refugee content may be the work of the troll armies.

The remainder are likely those regular internet users who they have influenced, or who were already inclined towards similar biases or opinions.

Likewise with the anti-Schengen and anti-EU content that now abounds, leading one to wonder whether we will ever again be able to re-establish trust in the efficacy of the internet, or to have online debates that genuinely reflect the opinions of legitimate users, rather than promoting the political agendas of paymasters.

As for whether the Schengen Agreement will indeed become a relic of the past and whether the European Union will somehow be able to reestablish a unified front and keep itself together despite the monolithic and powerful interests hell bent on tearing them apart – that remains to be seen.

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

In Plain Sight: Why WikiLeaks Is Clearly Not In Bed With Russia

With Glenn Greenwald debating General Keith Alexander live on stage as I write this, it is rather convenient timing for this insipid hit piece to emerge claiming definitively that Edward Snowden, WikiLeaks and anyone who supports them are “in bed with the Russians”.

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John Schindler’s tweet is just plain irresponsible and dangerous as well as untrue. The smear is an old one; the tactic timeless; the source/author dubious but several angles are worth addressing that I don’t think have been properly before.

The Primary Lie: That WikiLeaks Censors Itself For Russia

The biggest lie is the easiest to disprove. Heard so many times it’s impossible to count – that WikiLeaks doesn’t print documents on/about Russia or that aren’t in its interests… that they somehow exclude Russia from their databases or only print approved messages.

Using the most basic investigative method available, let’s see whether this is true: by going to WikiLeaks official website and typing “Russia” into the search bar.

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In case you can’t see that writing at the bottom – there are 647,208 results for ‘Russia’ in WikiLeaks’ database.

Let’s look a little closer.

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So. Just in the first few results alone we have:

  • an article exposing Russian investigations into Tor users – from the Edward Snowden files no less
  • an article describing a Russian government decision as ‘foolish’
  • a report on Russian attempts to regulate the blogsophere/new media
  • a report on Russian censorship of a BBC interview

I think it’s safe to say we won’t have to analyse the entire 647k docs to find more that are critical of Kremlin political views and positions.

WikiLeaks’ Solidarity With Russian Activists

The Russian activists and performance artists known as “Pussy Riot” aren’t just friendly to the cause – they even sit on the advisory board of the Courage Foundation.

None of the detractors explain why, if WikiLeaks is so far “in bed with the Russians”, they work with Russian dissidents who have been targeted for arrest and prosecuted by the State.

Stuck In The Airport For 39 Days

In the pro-NSA anti-Snowden “counterintelligence” fantasy-land of John Schindler, WikiLeaks sent one lone woman to take Snowden ‘from Hawaii to Moscow’ to “defect” only so that he could be… stuck in a Moscow airport with no valid passport for 39 days, desperately applying for asylum, to a whole host of countries?

No, if he was defecting, he’d be welcomed with a parade. Not stuck in civil and physical limbo for over a month. He would have had entire teams of security guys flying him around in military or private jets – instead his entire transit was on civilian airliners.

What makes far more sense is that Edward and Sarah Harrison’s lack of co-operation is what effected their circumstance, leaving them stranded in the airport.

Even after asylum was granted, Sarah stayed on with Edward for several months… this too, indicates that WikiLeaks provided aftercare for him; he was not simply abandoned or left to fend for himself.

A Long Look In The Mirror

Central to the claims that Snowden is colluding with the Russians is the suggestion that intelligence agencies are just so badass that non-cooperation with them is not an option.

This may be true for those without public visibility and a high profile, but as Sarah herself pointed out, Russian authorities were aware that she had access to a platform with millions of followers able to rally in defense of their rights at a moment’s notice.

I can’t help but wonder – who is Julian Assange supposed to hire for bodyguards? Americans? Why is the mere presence of people of Russian origin in one’s life basis for a conspiracy theory?

But any smear will do and smear they have. If the constant boasting of Schindler’s “counterintelligence” / “counterterrorism” background isn’t enough of a clue, a quick look through the author’s past posts exposes his agenda.

He entreats;

Ever since the Snowden saga broke a few weeks back I’ve defended the Department of Defense (DoD) and the U.S. Intelligence Community (IC) against the most scurrilous charges in the media..

Like clockwork, derisive, salacious and defamatory posts date from June 2013 to the present day, making wild accusations. That Snowden is working with the Chinese – that he is working with the Russians – that WikiLeaks is working for the Russians – with the grave nature of what Snowden actually leaked ignored in an attempt to deflect blame away from the elites in control of the intelligence agencies.

One of the author’s smear pieces claims Snowden did no damage and is irrelevant – the next that he did vast, lasting and unforgivable damage. Snowden’s position and access is minimised to him being “just an IT guy”; the next minute it is complained that he took over a million documents. The story is ever-changing and in aggregate, discredits itself.

Snowden’s True Significance

Edward Snowden did many remarkable things – countless things. That he managed to extricate so much information, get it out to the public, and make his “escape” is in itself incredible.

But his greatest achievements are the least talked about.

Snowden is solution-focused. Rather than merely inform the public, he presents them with an array of tools and resources with which to protect themselves.

It is this engagement that is next level. Not just standing on a stage and giving a speech but taking steps to implement actual change. Not merely educating his audience, but changing their practical behaviours, impacting their decision-making.

As much as his critics downplay him as “just an I.T. guy” Snowden’s words and actions are reminiscent of every individual role in a development team. He is the tester – testing the safety and suitability of open source products for public use. He is the analyst… mapping and understanding systems and making recommendations. He is the database administrator… the networker… the technical writer… the architect… the development manager… the delivery manager… the CTO.

Yet it is not these roles he is recognised for so much as his less tangible qualities. Truth-telling. Bravery. Valour, in its truest sense – ‘great courage in the face of extreme danger‘.

Snowden has brought back a time when celebrity meant more than vain idolatry. When statues were carved, or buildings were named, not for those of elite birthright, great wealth or superficial beauty but for those of daring, heroic deeds undertaken for a greater good.

False promises of corrupted political systems aside – when our children aspire to be more like Edward Snowden than Justin Bieber; or Jesselyn Radack than Britney Spears; there is hope and there will be change.

The World Grows Weary

While humans bicker and slander, steal, oppress, tax and incite, the Earth grows weary. There is ecological devastation wherever we look. Apocalyptic weather patterns, extinctions of multiple species and constant natural disasters.

Refugees are fleeing war-torn countries in their millions while financial systems inflict poverty upon billions.

Pretty soon there will be no amount of anti-Snowden op-eds sufficient to bedazzle us in the face of our reality: humankind is in big fucking trouble and it will take more than words to get us out of it.

Critical thought, research and dissemination of information are the foundations to change but we are now past the point where action is required. Our support for whistleblowers needs to be more material than effortlessly debunking the libel of the status quo’s talking heads. To that end, this article is going to be about more than just the critics.

WikiLeaks is doing a brilliant job of directly confronting the system by holding a mirror up to it. Now we need to show our solidarity and not just declare it. Let our actions combine in beautiful, complex ways.

Effecting change where the State refuses to do so, creating new systems that bypass it entirely.

For we should not aspire just to slowing the pace of human destruction, but to creating new pathways of preservation, new avenues of possibility…

…to literally birth a new world. The evidence of the unsuitability and unsustainability of the old one is all around us.

No longer do we need to debate it.

We need to create it.

Successes

There have been three recent geographically-disparate and diverse political actions that have produced immediate results.

Glenn Greenwald and First Look Media co-ordinated a brilliant fundraising effort to raise contributions for the legal defense of whistleblower Chelsea Manning, resulting in over $100,000 being donated within the first 48 hours.

Aspects of Manning’s case are precedent-setting and will have ramifications for future whistle-blowers therefore empowering her to pursue her rights to their full extent now may become even more consequential later.

Berliners responded to a treason investigation into two journalists from Netzpolitik by taking to the streets, and launching an online solidarity statement signed by local and international journalists, publishers, academics and various luminaries in support.

The investigation was dropped and the investigating prosecutor fired.

  • Transsexual Kiwi Prisoner Wins Transfer To Female Prison

A group of activists in New Zealand who began a hunger strike and various online initiatives in protest at a transsexual woman being incarcerated in a men’s prison has achieved a resounding victory.

Prisoner Jade Follett has now been transferred to a womens prison and is to receive an apology from the Department of Corrections. The Twitter account of protest group No Pride In Prisons that organised the actions, is calling for more than an apology.

In their press release celebrating success, the group states:

‘The fact that the policy places trans women almost always in men’s prisons by default shows how much needs to be changed…

That it took a hunger strike to get Corrections’ attention to this urgent issue indicates just how little regard they have for prisoners’ safety…

‘If it emerges that other trans prisoners have been treated in a similar manner, we will not hesitate to take action’

In Conclusion

The above is proof that diversity of tactics is more than a catch-phrase; ends can be achieved by a variety of means.

It is also proof that people power is winning battles.

These victories are won when actions are organised and carried out speedily, loudly and on hot-button issues, where the State has insufficient time to prepare countermeasures and is forced to opt for ‘damage control’ tactics that can ultimately count in the favour of protesters and effect change.

With all the problems of the present and uncertainties of the future it is WikiLeaks, independent media and whistleblowers informing us; open-source technological initiatives protecting us; and real people opening their hearts, raising their voices and taking action on the streets, that are the difference between certain human self-destruction and social evolution.

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 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