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Media And Corporate Democrats Replicate Russian Paranoia To Attack Assange and Ignore Manning

US National Security State Retaliates For Disclosure of War Crimes


“The freedom of the press is not safe. It’s over. And I think our republic is in its last days, because unauthorized disclosures of this kind are the lifeblood of a republic.” Daniel Ellsberg (from CounterPunch)

“… the Trump Administration’s prosecution of Assange represents a greater threat to the free press than all of the president’s nasty tweets combined. If the prosecution of Julian Assange succeeds, investigative reporting based on classified information will be given a near death blow.” ~~~ James Goodale, First Amendment lawyer and former general counsel of the New York Times (Harpers, 4/13/19)

[Update below]

The dominant Russia-gate narrative that “Trump is Putin’s puppet” has had huge negative and disastrous consequences, including:

1. allowing Democrats to avoid self critical examination; to cover up the DNC sabotage of the Sanders campaign, and to fail to analyze the reasons for their failure in the 2016 loss to Trump;

2. avoiding a public debate about economic inequality and serious structural policy alternatives that Sanders advocated, like single payer, increasing taxes on corporations and the wealthy, and responding to climate catastrophe (in what now has emerged as the Green New Deal);

3. overshadowing the real damage that Trump is doing to government, democratic institutions, and public policy; and

4. reinforcing the institutional power of the National Security State and reviving the Cold War narrative.

Now exactly the same misguided, Cold War, Russia paranoia narrative is being used to attack Julian Assange – who has been branded a Russian puppet – thereby masking a grave threat to freedom of the press, a harsh attack on journalism, and moving the Doomsday Clock even closer to midnight.

It is critical to understand this basic fact that is being distorted by media coverage: (The Intercept)

The other key fact being widely misreported is that the indictment accuses Assange of trying to help Manning obtain access to document databases to which she had no valid access: i.e., hacking rather than journalism. But the indictment alleges no such thing. Rather, it simply accuses Assange of trying to help Manning log into the Defense Department’s computers using a different username so that she could maintain her anonymity while downloading documents in the public interest and then furnish them to WikiLeaks to publish.

In other words, the indictment seeks to criminalize what journalists are not only permitted but ethically required to do: take steps to help their sources maintain their anonymity. As longtime Assange lawyer Barry Pollack put it: “The factual allegations … boil down to encouraging a source to provide him information and taking efforts to protect the identity of that source. Journalists around the world should be deeply troubled by these unprecedented criminal charges.”

The same dynamics drove betrayal of Chelsea Manning, who is a national hero.

Bitter Hillary Clinton Democrats, their media allies, and other partisan useful idiots are more concerned about revenge on Assange – who they mistakenly think sunk the Clinton campaign and swung the election to Trump – than on the truth and defending core First Amendment free press principles.

Journalists are even worse than partisan Clinton Democrats: (Harpers)

Given the threat the Justice Department’s actions against Assange pose to the First Amendment, why haven’t more journalists, press organizations, and editorial boards jumped in to support him? Principally it is because journalists dislike what he is doing; they don’t believe he is a “real” journalist and therefore do not see him as entitled to the same protections they enjoy.

Writing in U.S. News and World Report, for example, Susan Milligan says, “[Journalism] requires research, balance and most of all judgment. . . . Dumping documents—some of them classified—onto a website does not make anyone a journalist.” Add to this my own experience of when I was attacked several years ago by a howling mob of A-list journalists led by the late Morley Safer at a party (for my own book) where I said Assange, as a reporter, was entitled to First Amendment rights. “He is just a data dumper,” I was told—and most everyone there agreed.

It is disgusting.

They are effectively covering up US War Crimes, feeding the proto-Fascist forces behind the rise of Trump, and undermining efforts to fundamentally transform US politics and governance (e.g. Green New Deal).

Here’s what this is all about:

This was never about Sweden or bail violations, or even about the discredited Russiagate narrative, as anyone who was paying the vaguest attention should have been able to work out. It was about the US Deep State doing everything in its power to crush Wikileaks and make an example of its founder.

It was about making sure there would never again be a leak like that of Collateral Murder, the military video released by Wikileaks in 2007 that showed US soldiers celebrating as they murdered Iraqi civilians. It was about making sure there would never again be a dump of US diplomatic cables, like those released in 2010 that revealed the secret machinations of the US empire to dominate the planet whatever the cost in human rights violations.

Shame on the Democrats and most of the media, who used the fruits of Assange and Manning’s courage and integrity for partisan advantage and corporate profits, but now throw them under the bus for petty revenge and 30 pieces of silver.

[Update – 4/15/19 – I just read an excerpt and link to this classified US DoD Report – ironically leaked to Wikileaks! – at Chris Hedges’ Truthdig column today. It proves that for years, there has been a conspiracy in some US government circles to undermine “trust” and”destroy the center of gravity of Wikileaks. Here’s the smoking gun text:

Web sites such as Wikileaks.org use trust as a center of gravity by protecting the anonymity and identity of the insiders, leakers, or whistleblowers. The identification, exposure, termination of employment, criminal prosecution, legal action against current or former insiders, leakers, or whistleblowers could potentially damage or destroy this center of gravity and deter others considering similar actions from using the Wikileaks.org Web site.

It is now obvious that Assange’s arrest is the result of this kind of thinking. So why aren’t news reports focused on this? Which is a real conspiracy in plain sight.

As a whistleblower who suffered retaliation, bogus threats of criminal prosecution, and personal smears by NJ State government officials, I can assure you that “termination of employment, criminal prosecution, legal action against …leakers” was designed by State officials to “deter others considering similar actions “.

There is no doubt in my mind about that.

One of the sham legal threats I faced was a claim that I engaged in unauthorized computer use and “stole” the information that I leaked.

In future, I will post in detail, including sworn testimony of my DEP hearing transcripts, that refutes these claims.

But for now, I will note that Assange is facing “conspiracy” charges for exactly these same “crimes”.

I will also note that Bob Garfield from NPR’s “On the Media” show jumped on the Assange attack bandwagon, and virtually repeated almost verbatim these exact claims from that US DoD Report (@page 19-20)

Questions and concerns have been raised by media consultants, ethics experts, and other journalists regarding the status of Wikileaks.org as a news organization and of its staff writers as journalists. The contention by some is that Wikileaks.org does not qualify as a news organization and thus its staff writers are not journalists. Wikileaks.org‘s desire to expose allegedwrongdoing by revealing sensitive or classified government or business information, in effect, encourages the theft of sensitive or classified proprietary information or intellectual property. In doing so, some argue, Wikileaks.org is knowingly encouraging criminal activities such as the theft of data, documents, proprietary information, and intellectual property, possible violation of national security laws regarding sedition and espionage, and possible violation of civil laws.Within the United States and foreign countries the alleged ―whistleblowers‖ are, in effect, wittingly violating laws and conditions of employment and thus may not qualify as―whistleblowers‖ protected from disciplinary action or retaliation for reporting wrongdoing in countries that have such laws. Also, the encouragement and receipt of stolen information or data is not considered to be an ethical journalistic practice. In addition, the sources of Wikileaks.org staff writers are not verified, nor are its news articles fact-checked or confirmed by additional sources, as customary in news organizations. Moreover, there is no editorial review of the articles prior to publication. Finally, some critics contend that the staff writers are biased and have made unsupportable claims to support political agendas to effect change in government or business policy.[40]

Remarkable that “US journalists” echo the US national security state and fail to recognize a grave threat to journalism and a free press. Journalist don’t have stories without sources and credible information.

Criminalization of journalism and prosecution of sources is anathema to a free press and inquiry in search of truth. 

~~~ end update]

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