Friday, September 14, 2012

So You Wanna Be A Journalist?

Test yourself! 


Here are five quick questions to see if you've got what it takes!

1. Former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan has stated that the US-lead invasion of Iraq, a "pre-emptive" attack based on fabricated evidence of non-existent WMDs, was "illegal". Was it really illegal, and is it OK to say that in print?

a. Of course it was illegal and it's not just OK to print that, in fact journalists have a moral obligation to do so.

b. It may or may not have been legal, it's hard to say. But I wouldn't use the word "illegal" (in case my news outlet got sued).

c. The USA got a UN Resolution before they attacked, didn't they? So I believe it was legal.

d. The US President said it was legal. That's good enough for me.

2. Watch (if you haven't already seen it) this video of the "Collateral Murder" incident, in which a Reuters cameraman, his colleague and other innocent civilians are killed by a US helicopter attack. Is this murder, or a War Crime, or both, or neither?

a. Both.

b. Murder, but not a War Crime - murder is justified du‌ring war time.

c. A War Crime, but not murder - murder is a legal definition which does not apply during war.

d. Neither. This was a legitimate military operation.

3. WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been awarded the 2009 Amnesty International UK Media Award, the 2010 Sam Adams Award, the 2011 Matha Gelhorn Prize For Journalism, a 2011 Walkleys Award for Outstanding Contribution to Journalism, plus other awards. But is he really a journalist?

a. Of course he is, and his work with WikiLeaks puts other news agencies to shame.

b. While some of what Assange has done might be called journalism, WikiLeaks mostly just cut-and-pastes data from anonymous sources. So not really.

c. Gosh darn it, it's so hard to figure this one out! I'll just have to wait and see what the US Grand Jury says.

d. Of course he isn't a journalist! He's an enemy combatant who supports terrorists!

4. An anonymous source has just given you half a million highly confidential US government files. You have confirmed that the data is legitimate. What do you do next?

a. Redact any information that may harm innocent people, store backup versions in secure locations, then publish the information on the Internet.

b. Send a copy to the US State Department and ask them to retract whatever they like before it gets published.

c. Contact Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger or former NYT editor Bill Keller and ask for advice.

d. Destroy the information, then help the US government track down the whistle-blower.

5. Guardian editors and other news sources have repeatedly claimed that Julian Assange stated "informants deserve to die" while refusing to redact names from US government cables. Assange insists he never said it, and his denial is supported by a journalist from Der Spiegel who was also in the room at the time. So did he say it or not?

a. Assange has proven himself to be far more trustworthy than any of the media organisations smearing him. There's no reason not to believe Assange's version of events.

b. There's no way of knowing the truth, so both sides should just forget the whole thing.

c. He probably did say it, but it was probably just a mistake. I hear he's a bit unstable. He should probably apologise.

d. Of course he said it. The media have exposed him as a vainglorious, lying fool. Nobody can believe a word Assange says.

NOW RATE YOUR SCORE!


For every question where you picked A, score 0 points. If you picked B or C, score 5 points. If you picked D, score a maximum 10 points.

So do YOU have what it takes to be a journalist? Your score interpreted:

0-9 points:

Sorry, kid. You obviously don't understand how media works. But good luck with that crazy blog or whatever.

10-40 points:

You obviously have some interest in current affairs, but you lack real analytical talent. You might want to consider a career in marketing or public relations instead.

41-50 points:
Give me a hug. Let me attach myself to your leg and hold on tight. We're going all the way to the top, baby! We'll talk salary packages in the morning.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Assange And The Yellow Press

I was so impressed by this article (Spanish original) by Rudolfo Beuno in Ecuador's El Telegrafo newspaper that I decided to provide an English translation (Google Translate doesn't do it justice) plus a few Wikipedia links. NB: For anyone not familiar with the term "yellow press" it refers to the typical tabloid lies and sensationalism.
Regarding Assange, the so-called free press argues that he is sought not for political reasons but for rape; that on the subject of asylum, the UK has a more than straight position, and that Ecuador has a double standard because, at the same it defends Assange, it will extradite Alexander Barankov, a Belarusian dissident whose life would be in danger in their homeland. These three lies collapse under their own weight. Let us see why.

Assange would not be the first to be accused of a crime in order to punish him for an act that deserves reward. In the same way, Sacco and Vanzetti were accused not of being anarchists but robbers, so they were sentenced to the electric chair, and Captain Alfred Dreyfus was sentenced by a French military court to life imprisonment on Devil's Island, under the false accusation of having delivered secret documents to the Germans.

Émile Zola wrote the monumental "J'accuse" in his defense. And we could list countless similar cases. The persecution of Assange, as anyone with their eyes open can see, has inspired a tawdry mess.

Regarding the right of asylum, the UK has given refuge to a number of criminals, tried and convicted by courts in Russia, such as Boris Berezovsky, an oligarch mafia member of that country, who was guilty of introducing the "robber capitalism" that almost starved the people during the Yeltsin years, when he was Secretary of the Russian Security Council and made his fabulous fortune blatantly stealing the wealth of the whole society.

Not only that, but they even gave him a British passport under the name Platon Elenin. The effect of the actions of this villain, and others, was so disastrous that in the course of two decades the population of Russia decreased by ten million and their average life span decreased by about fifteen years.

Finally, we should ask those who fill their mouths with noble words to compare the cases of Barankov and Assange, why has this apparent human rights fighter, who is supposedly dedicated to exposing the corruption of the Lukashenko government, cataloged throughout Europe as the continent's last dictator, not requested political asylum in England, where he would never be extradited? Why has he fled to Ecuador, where his life would be in danger? Could it be for some reason that these commentators do not know, or do not want to know? Maybe he has a tail of straw. But whatever it is, if this newspaper published the truth, it would not be yellow.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Assange "Myths" In The New Statesman

It is depressing to see this article by David Allen Green in the New Statesman being widely distributed. So I am going to provide a point-by-point reality check...

One: “The allegation of rape would not be rape under English law” 

Show us one case in English law where a man has been successfully convicted of rape in the same circumstances. Just one... Go on, it should be easy.

NB: this would include, in the supposedly more serious case, consensual sex followed by penetration while asleep, followed by more consensual sex, followed by happy smiles and hugs the next day.

Two: “Assange is more likely to be extradited to USA from Sweden than the United Kingdom”

It is certainly true that David Cameron's UK government would be just as happy as Sweden to extradite Assange - if nobody was looking, and if they thought that they could get away with such a crime as easily as Carl Bildt's gang in Stockholm. But extraditing Assange from the UK would have never-ending political and legal consequences (just look at how Blair's illegal invasion of Iraq still reeks like an albatross nailed to the door of 10 Downing Street).

More importantly, however, Sweden has a special deal with the USA called "temporary rendition".  David Allen Green (let's call him DAG for short) doesn't even mention it, even though it's widely discussed at sites like Justice4Assange.com (has he even visited those sites?). This sordid little "temporary rendition" deal legally binds Sweden to extradite anyone the US requests.

And let's not forget how Sweden rendered two asylum-seeking Egyptians for the CIA, who then handed them over to Mubarak's torture squads.And let's note that there is minimal public outrage about this in Sweden, because hardly anybody is speaking out against their US overlords in the Swedish media or in parliament.

Furthermore, there is a narrative at play here. Until and unless the USA reveals their secret Grand Jury bullshit "evidence", there is absolutely no reason for the UK to extradite Assange to the USA. And if we assume (as some people do) that the sex allegations are a hurriedly concocted means to smear Assange's reputation and get him behind bars ASAP, it's important that the Swedish "rape" narrative is sustained to a logical conclusion. Otherwise the whole thing starts to look even more farcical. Just imagine if the USA revealed it's sealed indictment NOW - it would immediately justify everything Assange and his "paranoid" supporters have been saying.

Three: “Sweden should guarantee that there be no extradition to USA” 

DAG regurgitates the meme that is is "not legally possible" for the Swedish government to give any guarantee about a future extradition. This is nonsense. There are ways and means of achieving such guarantees, assuming they are desired. For example, the Sweden government could seek a guarantee from Washington that they will not seek extradition while Assange remains in Sweden.

The pretence that Sweden and the UK cannot extradite to the USA is also a farce. The USA can seek extradition based on one piece of bullshit "evidence", then introduce more bullshit "evidence" with a stronger penalty once Assange is on US soil (or in Gitmo, where centuries of international law and US domestic laws clearly mean Jack Shit).

Four: “The Swedes should interview Assange in London”

This is where DAG excels himself, claiming Assange "cannot actually be charged until he is arrested". DAG then goes into lengthy and impressive detail about Swedish law. But wait a minute, mate - there is nothing in Swedish law that says they cannot question a European Arrest Warrant suspect abroad. In fact they have done it before (a fact they strangely denied for many months) in cases far more serious than Assange's.

Given the current diplomatic impasse, it would surely be in everybody's best interests if Sweden went into the Ecuadorian Embassy and asked Assange whatever else they still need to know (remember, they already questioned him in Stockholm before the case was closed - then reopened). The Swedes could then present their evidence to the world - or at least to the Ecuadorean government. If they have a valid case, not just a he-said-she-said media brouhaha, then I'm sure growing public support for Assange will disappear before you can say "He only deserves power who every day justifies it" (Dag Hammarskjold). Assange and Ecuador (if they still supported him) would be isolated, if not disgraced, and the situation would be far easier to resolve.

It is important to note that there is nothing stopping the Swedes questioning Assange right now, and yet they refuse to even try and publicly explain why they will not question him in London. It cannot be for the alleged victims' sake - their cause would have been best served, if anybody actually cares about them, by resolving this case two years ago.

Five: “By giving Assange asylum, Ecuador is protecting freedom of the press” 

Anyone who believes the garbage about Ecuador persecuting journalists needs to take a good,long look at President Correa's continuing battles with a corporate-controlled media market. They should also go and read a few Ecuadorian newspapers, where criticism of the government is still easy to find.

It is wildly ironic that newspapers like The Guardian, which loudly condemns Rupert Murdoch's influence on British politics and society, should fail to applaud Ecuador's new constitution, which restricts private media ownership to 33% of the market. And it is shameful to see supposedly humanitarian groups, many of whom rely on US funding, joining the chorus condemning Correa's efforts to provide a free and fair press.

DAG also cites the case of Alexander Barankov, who is to currently facing extradition from Ecuador to Belarus. This troubling case is also being widely cited as a reason to condemn Correa. Personally, without having seen any evidence at all, and while a judgement on Barankov's extradition remains pending, I will hold off judgement. Would that others could do the same more often.

ENDS

Monday, August 6, 2012

Lessons of History: The CIA In Australia

I am reposting the article below from the American Buddha website, partly because it's impossible to read there (yellow text on red background wtf?) but also because it's an excellent summary of US meddling in Australian politics over the past 50 years or more.

If you are puzzled by the Australian government's demonisation of WikiLeaks and total abandonment of Julian Assange, perhaps this will help explain it. If you notice any inaccurate information or outdated facts, please advise - it looks pretty solid to me.

THE CIA IN AUSTRALIA:  AMERICA'S FOREIGN WATERGATE

by wakeupmag.co.uk

"The CIA's aim in Australia was to get rid of a government they did not
like and that was not co-operative… it's a Chile, but
in a much more sophisticated and subtle form."

- VICTOR MARCHETTI, ex-CIA officer, 1980

"There is profoundly increasing evidence that foreign espionage and intelligence activities are being practised in Australia on a wide scale… I believe the evidence is so grave and so alarming in its implications that it demands the fullest explanation. The deception over the CIA and the activities of foreign installations on our soil… are an onslaught on Australia's sovereignty."
- GOUGH WHITLAM to the Australian Parliament, 1977

On December 2nd 1972, Australia's first Labor Government for twenty-three years was elected. The new Prime Minister, Edward Gough Whitlam, quickly set about a series of historic legislations: wages, pensions and unemployment benefits were increased; equal pay for women was introduced; a free national health service was established; spending on education was doubled; university and college fees were abolished; and legal aid became a universal right.

The Federal Government assumed responsibility for Aboriginal health, education and welfare, and the first land rights legislation for Aborigines was drafted. Cultural initiatives for women, Aborigines and immigrants were set up. Imperial honours such as knighthoods and MBEs were scrapped. The "Commonwealth Government" was renamed the Australian Government and an Australian anthem replaced "God Save the Queen."

Conscription was ended. Australian troops were withdrawn from the Vietnam War and men imprisoned for draft evasion were released. Australian ministers publicly condemned the American conduct of the Vietnam War. The U.S. bombing of Hanoi during Christmas 1972 was denounced as the work of "maniacs" and "mass murderers". Deputy Prime Minister, Dr Jim Cairns, called for public rallies to condemn the bombing and for boycotts on American goods. In response, Australian dockers refused to unload American ships. Whitlam himself warned the Nixon administration that he might draw Indonesia and Japan into protests against the bombing.

The Australian Government also pressed for support for the Indian Ocean Zone of Peace, which was opposed by the US, and spoke up in the United Nations for Palestinian rights. The French were condemned for testing nuclear weapons in the South Pacific, and refugees fleeing the CIA-backed coup in Chile were welcomed into Australia (an irony in the light of Washington's retaliation against Whitlam).

"We were told that the Australians might as well be
regarded as North Vietnamese collaborators."
- FRANK SNEPP, CIA officer stationed in Saigon at
the time of the Agency's covert activities against
the Whitlam government.

The CIA's alarm over the Australian Government rose to a fury when, in the early hours of March 16th 1973, the Attorney General, Lionel Murphy, led a raid on the Melbourne offices of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO). Murphy and Whitlam were concerned about ASIO's involvement with local fascist Croatian groups that had carried out terrorist acts in Australia and against Yugoslav diplomats abroad.

Set up under the auspices of the UKUSA Treaty in 1949, ASIO had distinguished itself by not uncovering a single spy or traitor (this is still the case), yet it had become almost as powerful in Australia as the CIA itself. ASIO had a secret pact of loyalty to the CIA and helped to set up and maintain secret police organisations that kept files on all Australian Labor Party members, prominent politicians, government officials, union leaders, members of the Council of Civil Liberties and anyone considered the slightest left-of centre. Even prayer meetings for peace were watched and recorded.

According to a top-secret report to a Royal Commission into Australia's secret services led by Mr Justice Hope, for decades members of ASIO handed over to the CIA slanderous information against Australian politicians and senior officials who they regarded unfavourably. This material ranged from accusations of subversive tendencies to concern about their personal lives, and allowed the CIA to work against these people in ways that ranged from blackmail to efforts to block their careers.

ASIO is run as an internal organisation in Australia. The Australian Secret Intelligence Service, ASIS, operates abroad and is less well known. Code-named MO9, its existence was only acknowledged after the Labor Government came to power in 1972. ASIS played an important role in the CIA's covert activities against foreign governments in Southeast Asia. For example, after Cambodia's Prince Sihanouk broke off diplomatic relations with the United States in 1965, the CIA used ASIS to secretly carry out its work in the country for the next four years, despite official Australian policy being one of strict neutrality. After Sihanouk was overthrown in a CIA-inspired coup, American forces invaded Cambodia and the US carpet-bombing of the country - a bombing so intense that during one six-month period in 1973, American B52s dropped the equivalent (in tons of bombs) of five Hiroshimas on the civilian population - served as a catalyst for the rise to power of Pol Pot and the genocidal Khmer Rouge).

Whitlam also discovered that ASIS agents were working for the CIA in Chile, de-stabilising the government of Salvador Allende, who was supported by the Australian Labor Government. Whitlam promptly ordered the ASIS officers home. However, some remained in Chile under Australian Embassy cover and without Whitlam's knowledge; Allende was subsequently murdered during the CIA-orchestrated military coup led by the dictator General Augusto Pinochet.

The CIA's concern over the activities of the Whitlam government was due to the fact that Australia played a pivotal role in the United States' desire for covert influence over Indo-China. Some of the most strategically important and top-secret American bases outside the United States are located in Australia. These include the U.S. Naval Communication Station, North West Cape, on the northern coast of Western Australia, which transmits battle orders for the nuclear missile-carrying Polaris submarines. The most secretive Australian intelligence organisation is the Melbourne-based Defence Signals Directorate (DSD) which is modelled on the American National Security Agency, NSA. The DSD spies for the U.S. in the Indian Ocean, the South Pacific and Southeast Asia. There is also the Joint Intelligence Organisation (JIO), established in 1970 under the supervision of the CIA's analyst division, and the Office of National Assessments (ONA), whose job is to co-ordinate and analyse Australia's extensive spying networks in the region.

Most important of all is Pine Gap, near Alice Springs, officially described as an American- Australian "Joint Defence Space Research Facility", but in actuality it is an entirely American spy-satellite base, run by the CIA and the NSA. Pine Gap can pick up communications from almost anywhere in the world; its primary function is the collection of data from CIA sources and transmitters, and the preparation for nuclear warfare. So secretive were Pine Gap and the other major U.S. base at Nurrungar in South Australia that no details of their plans were revealed to successive Australian Prime Ministers and their cabinets.

Leaked Australian Defence Department documents disclosed that in 1972, high-frequency transmitters at North West Cape had helped the United States to mine Haiphong and other North Vietnamese harbours; and that satellites controlled from Pine Gap and Nurrungar were being used to pinpoint targets for the American bombing of Cambodia. These actions were taken entirely without the consent or knowledge of the Australian government.

William Corson, a former senior U.S. intelligence officer, also revealed that the CIA ran between ten and fifteen "black airfields" at their secret Australian bases during the Vietnam War, flying "hot" CIA agents from Vietnam for debriefing. In 1975, as the North Vietnamese captured control of South Vietnam, massive supplies of drugs that had been stashed by the CIA in Vietnam were flown into the secret U.S. airfields in Australia. The drugs were redistributed to "regional drug banks", thus providing a "reserve currency" for the Agency's global criminal activities.

In October 1973, during the Middle East War, President Nixon put U.S. forces on nuclear "Level Three" alert, through the base at North West Cape. Australia had become involved, without the knowledge of its government, in a war on the other side of the world. When Whitlam found out about this, he was furious and told Parliament that although the Australian government would honour agreements with America covering existing spy stations, "there will not be extensions or proliferations."

Whitlam's words were to have serious consequences for the fate of his government. A new American Ambassador was appointed to Australia - Marshall Green, widely known as "the coup-master". Green was a senior U.S. policy planner for Southeast Asia and had the distinction of being involved in several countries where the CIA had masterminded coups, such as Indonesia and Chile.

Green visited the office of Clyde Cameron, a senior minister in the Whitlam government, and made the threat that if the Labor Government honoured one of its key election pledges to reclaim national ownership of oil refineries and other industries which had been mostly sold to American transnational interests, "we would move in." In early 1974, Green addressed the Australian Institute of Directors with a speech that amounted almost to an incitement to rise against the Australian Government. Green went on to say that Australian business leaders "could expect help from the United States, which would be similar to the help given to South America." (The CIA-sponsored coup in Chile had happened only a few months earlier).

The CIA set about a programme of discrediting Jim Cairns, leader of the anti-Vietnam War movement. ASIO timed the leak of a defamatory "Cairns file" to the Bulletin magazine to coincide with Cairns' election to Deputy Prime Minister in 1974. This file claimed that Cairns "echoed Communist views... and his activities could lead to the fascist cult of the personality... and to the destruction of the democratic system of government." A few weeks later, ASIO leaked a second file to journalist Peter Samuels, a regular publisher of CIA propaganda. Under the headline The Pathway to Terrorism, Samuels wrote that ASIO's prime concern about Cairns was the "terrorist" potential of his part in the anti-war movement.

By the end of 1974, inflation and the money supply were rising at an alarming rate due to the dramatic rise in the cost of oil. Despite this, the Whitlam Government was determined to honour its election promise to hand control of U.S. multinational subsidiaries to the Australian people. In order to achieve this, Whitlam sent two of his ministers to scour the Middle East for a loan of $A4 billion.

In November 1974 Rex Connor, the Minister for Minerals and Energy, met with Tirath Khemlani, a Pakistani "commodities merchant" who was working for the London brokers Dalamal & Sons. Unknown to Connor, Khemlani was a con-man who had been sent to sabotage the Australian Government by a Hong Kong arms firm closely associated with Commerce International, a Brussels-based armaments company with widespread links to the CIA. (Commerce International was set up as a front for Task Force 157, the highly secretive CIA "dirty tricks" organisation).

In March 1975 Jim Cairns was introduced to Melbourne businessman George Harris, who told Cairns that a $A4 billion loan was available from Commerce International with a once-only brokerage fee of 2.5%. Cairns considered the offer a fairy tale and rejected the deal. Harris then contacted Phillip Lynch, Deputy Leader of the opposition Liberal Party. When Lynch raised the question of the brokerage fee in Parliament, Cairns denied that any such agreement existed. Within days, a letter with Cairns' signature was published on the front pages of the national newspapers and Cairns was forced to resign for "misleading Parliament." Cairns steadfastly maintained that he never agreed to or put his name to such an outrageous and incriminating letter. A top-secret CIA briefing document for the U.S. President dated July 3rd 1975 later revealed that Cairns had been sacked "even though the evidence had been fabricated."

The CIA was involved in further activities designed to undermine the Whitlam Government. In July 1975 the Australian media reported that the Mercantile Bank and Trust Company, based in the Bahamas, had issued a letter seeking $4,267,365,000 "for and on behalf of the Government of Australia." The bank did not claim to be acting with the approval of the Australian Government and cabinet ministers had never heard of it. But the implication was enough to fill the newspapers with another "scandal". Much later, an ASIO officer was to publicly state: "some of the documents which helped discredit the Labor Government in its last year in office were forgeries planted by the CIA."

Mercantile Bank and Trust was set up and owned by the CIA's Colonel Paul Helliwell, who built up a network of banks, including the infamous Castle Bank, which collapsed after U.S. tax investigators found it was laundering drugs money for the CIA and the Mafia (see the Wake Up article Dealing in Death: The CIA and the Drugs Trade). As the loans affair reached its climax in the spring of 1975, a welter of supposedly incriminating documents forged by the CIA were given widespread coverage in the Australian media. Tirath Khemlani himself arrived in Australia with two bags bulging with more "incriminating" documents. Bodyguards provided by the opposition parties accompanied Khemlani and the CIA paid his expenses. Khemlani made outrageous claims in the media that Labor ministers had received commissions and "kickbacks" from the loans, that documents proving corruption were soon to be made public, and so on.

In fact not one of these "documents" proved a thing; not one penny was paid by anyone to the government, nor did any minister profit from the affair. In 1981 a CIA contract employee, Joseph Flynn, revealed that he had forged some of the loans affair documents and had bugged a hotel room where Gough Whitlam was staying. He had been paid by Michael Hand, co-founder of the CIA's Nugan Hand Bank.

Former Nugan Hand principal Karl Schuller provided evidence to Australian Corporate Affairs investigating officers that the CIA transferred a "slush fund" of $A2,400,000 to the main opposition parties in March 1973, four months after Whitlam's election. An investigation by a special New South Wales police task force concluded that "many links were found between individuals connected with Nugan Hand and individuals connected in very significant ways with U.S. intelligence organisations, specifically the Central Intelligence Agency and the Office of Naval Intelligence [Task Force 157]... at times those links have the appearance of the direct involvement of the U.S. intelligence community itself." The Commission called for criminal charges for "drug, conspiracy, perjury and passport offences." (A year after Frank Nugan's death, the Deputy Director of the CIA, Admiral Bobby Inman, expressed deep concern that the investigations into Nugan Hand Bank would lead to disclosure of a range of CIA dirty tricks calculated to undermine the Whitlam Government).

It was revealed in the press that the CIA had offered the Australian opposition Liberal Party (the Liberals were actually conservative) "unlimited funds" in their unsuccessful attempt to defeat the Labor party in the May 1974 parliamentary elections. Former CIA officer Victor Marchetti confirmed that the CIA had funded both of the major opposition parties and that the Liberals had been receiving CIA funds since the late 1960s.

According to the former Deputy Director of Intelligence for the CIA, Dr Ray Cline, the CIA passed information to opposition politicians not only to discredit the Whitlam Government but also to put pressure on Australian civil servants who in turn would pressure the Governor-General, Sir John Kerr.

When the Pine Gap Treaty, which would determine the future of the CIA's most valuable overseas base, was due for renewal on December 9th 1975, Whitlam's comments that he might not renew the treaty raised major alarms in the Agency. CIA Director William Colby later wrote that the "threat" posed by the Whitlam Government was one of the three "world crises" of his career, comparable with the Middle East war two years previously, when the United States considered using nuclear weapons.

The CIA Station Chief in London, Dr John Proctor, contacted MI6 and asked for British help with "the Whitlam problem." William Colby directly approached his opposite number, head of MI6, Sir Maurice Oldfield, to emphasise to British intelligence that Australia was "traditionally Britain's domain" and that if Pine Gap was closed down, "the Alliance would be blinded strategically." The CIA also sought assistance from MI6 and MI5 liaison officers based in Washington.

British intelligence has long had a vested interest in Australian politics. MI6 operates its own base at Kowandi, south of Darwin, where its highly secret activities are concealed from the Australian government and people. They include widespread interception of communications and covert operations in Asia. The Australian Secret Intelligence Service, ASIS, also operates from this base and is highly integrated with British intelligence.

At the same time as U.S. intelligence was targeting the Australian Labor Government, Peter Wright (of Spycatcher infamy) and his colleagues in British intelligence were busy destabilising the British Labour Government of Harold Wilson. Wright conspired with his close friend, James Jesus Angleton, the extreme right-wing head of CIA counter-intelligence, to "target" the three Western leaders they regarded as "Communist agents": Harold Wilson, Willy Brandt in Germany and Gough Whitlam.

After discovering that the British and American intelligence services based in Australia were secretly involved in Indonesia's invasion of East Timor, Whitlam ordered the dismissal of the heads of ASIO and ASIS in the autumn of 1975, and then began to make moves against the CIA. Then, at the beginning of November, it was revealed in the press that a former CIA officer, Richard Stallings, had been channelling funds to J. Douglas Anthony, leader of the opposition National Country Party, and was a close friend and former tenant of Anthony's Canberra home. Whitlam accused the opposition of being "subsidised by the CIA."

In Parliament, Doug Anthony admitted that Stallings was a friend but challenged Whitlam to provide evidence that Stallings worked for the CIA. (Stallings' name was not on the official list of "declared" CIA officers working in Australia, but on a "confidential" list held by the Permanent Head of the Australian Defence Department, Sir Arthur Tange). Whitlam prepared a reply, which he intended to give when Parliament resumed the following week, on Tuesday November 11th.

The CIA was frantic. The Australian Prime Minister was about to blow the cover of the agent who had set up Pine Gap and to reveal that the supposedly "joint" facility was a CIA charade. Furthermore, the future of the base itself was to be subject to parliamentary debate. The day before his speech was due, Whitlam was informed of a telex from the ASIO station in Washington, which stated that the Prime Minister of Australia was a security risk in his own country. The message had been virtually dictated by Theodore Shackley, head of the CIA's East Asia Division (and whose plethora of illegal covert activities have been outlined in other articles on this site).

On Sunday November 9th, the Australian Governor-General, Sir John Kerr, was briefed on the "security crisis", while the head of the Defence Department declared publicly: "This is the greatest risk to the nation's security there has ever been." The CIA was certain that Whitlam would announce the cancellation of the Pine Gap agreement on December 9th, and set into motion a plan to install in power a political party to "protect the sanctity of U.S. bases."

Six weeks earlier, during a visit to Indonesia, opposition politician Andrew Peacock had briefed government officials there on the current state of the Australian political crisis. He described in detail a sequence of events that were about to take Australia by surprise. A record of his briefing was later read into Australian Hansard:

"Whitlam will not agree to hold an election.... The Governor-General would be forced to ask Malcolm Fraser to form a Cabinet. But this Cabinet would not be able to get a mandate to govern, because Parliament is controlled by the Labor Party.... Fraser is appointed PM, a minute later he asks the Governor-General to dissolve Parliament, following which a general election is to be held."

And that was exactly what happened. On November 11th, the day Whitlam was to inform Parliament fully about the CIA and American bases in Australia, he was summoned by Kerr from Parliament House. Without warning, Kerr dismissed Whitlam as Prime Minister, dissolved both houses of Parliament and appointed Malcolm Fraser, leader of the Liberal Party, to head an interim government until new elections could be held in December. An unelected official (whose position was traditionally only that of a figurehead representative of the Queen of England) had, in one arbitrary and unconstitutional act, overthrown a legitimate and democratically elected government.

Back in the House of Representatives, Whitlam called for a vote of confidence in himself and his government. An overwhelming majority supported Whitlam. Indeed, six motions proposed that day, including a motion of no-confidence in Malcolm Fraser, were passed by absolute majorities. The Speaker of the House delivered Parliament's clear message of confidence in the Whitlam government personally to the Governor-General. Kerr refused to accept it. The no-confidence motion against Fraser legally obliged the Governor-General to dismiss Fraser, but Kerr chose to ignore this.

Former CIA officers who were among the Agency's "top seven" in 1975, revealed ten years later that "Whitlam was set up. The action that Kerr took was so extreme that it would take far more than a constitutional crisis to cause him to do what he did...." A Deputy Director of the CIA said, "Kerr did what he was told to do."

During the first week of the coup, the Australian army was recalled to barracks and there were reports that units were issued with live ammunition. There were demonstrations against the sacking of the Labor Government throughout Australia; the unions began to mobilise and prepare for a general strike. However, Bob Hawke, the President of the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU), summoned the press and delivered a stirring speech in which he said that "working people must not be provoked... we have to show we are not going to allow this to snowball." Hawke's intervention was critical: Australia's organised labour was strangely quiet in response to the affair. In fact Marshall Green later said that he found Bob Hawke so amenable to the CIA's cause that "Bob gave me his private telephone number and said if anything ever comes up that desperately needs some action, this is the number to ring."

An election was called for December 13th 1975. During the campaign, three letter bombs were posted to Kerr, Fraser and the ultra-right-wing Queensland Premier, Johannes Bjelke-Petersen. Most of the press, led by Rupert Murdoch's papers, concluded that the bombs were sent by left-wing extremists within the Labor Party. There was not a shred of evidence to support this and no culprits were ever found, but the charge of "terrorism" was used to great effect against Labor.

Four days before the election, Bjelke-Petersen called a special session of the Queensland Parliament to hear "dramatic revelations". He claimed to be "in possession of material which made clear that two Ministers of the Whitlam Government were due to receive staggering sums of money as a consequence of secret commissions and kickbacks." Bjelke-Petersen then moved quickly to gag any debate and to prevent the Labor leader from arranging for parliamentary investigation of the "revelations". The undisclosed "revelations" made large headlines in the press. No material or evidence of any kind was ever produced, but the publicity achieved its goal. Whitlam lost the election.

The new Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser renewed the Pine Gap treaty for another decade. He also offered Washington a naval base at Cockburn Sound, even though the Americans had not requested it. In his first budget, Fraser increased the size of ASIO and gave it more money, proportionately, than any other government body. Kerr was given an unequalled pay rise of 170% and was promoted to "Knight Grand Cross of the Order of St. Michael and St. George."

Despite denying that he ever had any connections with the CIA or any other intelligence organisations, Kerr in fact had a long association with covert intelligence operations, firstly as a member of the top-secret Directorate of Research and Civil Affairs during the Second World War. He was then seconded to the Office of Strategic Services, OSS, the fore-runner of the CIA. Although he joined the Australian Labor Party early in his career, Kerr was always well to the right politically. He was chief legal adviser to the Industrial Groups, a body which sought to dominate trade unionism and was linked to the Democratic Labor Party (DLP), an extreme "anti-Communist" organisation whose split from the Labor Party and subsequent spoiler tactics kept Labor in opposition until the election of Gough Whitlam in 1977. Kerr was an active member of the Australian Association for Cultural Freedom, which was exposed in Congress in 1967 as being "founded, funded and generally run by the CIA." In the 1960s Kerr travelled to the United States to arrange funding from the Asia Foundation; that too, was exposed in Congress as a CIA conduit for money and influence.

The trade union movement of Australia had long been infiltrated by U.S. intelligence. As John Grenville, assistant secretary of the Victorian Trades Hall, revealed, "it was generally accepted that the U.S. labour attaché was the station agent for the CIA." Robert Walkinshaw was the labour attaché from 1962 to 1964. During his time in Melbourne, a trade-union publication, Spotlight, was set up, funded and run by the CIA. Walkinshaw's subsequent CIA posting was Indonesia, during the military coup in which over half a million alleged Communists were murdered. Walkinshaw was later posted as CIA adviser in Phuoc Tuy, Vietnam, where the Australian army and Australian CIA advisers were based.

The CIA later admitted giving money to the General Secretary of the powerful Australian Worker's Union, Tom Dougherty, to "fight Communism in the AWU." Four years later the National Secretary of the Federation Ironworkers' Association, Laurie Short, began many visits to the United States, which were sponsored by the CIA. Short returned to Australia "determined to get rid of the Commies and their friends" from the Labor Party and the unions. He also delivered the clear message that "in America, the trade-union movement looked to Australian unionists to help counteract the spread of Communism in the Far East."

The three Americans involved in supporting Bob Hawke's campaign for the Presidency of the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) - Emil Lindahl, Gerry O'Keefe and Ed McHale - all worked for the CIA. Gerry O'Keefe was exposed as a major CIA operator in right-wing Chilean unions that helped to overthrow the Allende Government. Ed McHale was U.S. labour attaché in the early 1970s and maintained a "close personal relationship" with Hawke when the ACTU President was one of the most powerful union bosses Australia had ever known. McHale was internationally known as a senior CIA officer, having long been Assistant Director of Radio Free Europe, which had been set up, financed and run by the CIA.

In 1977 the American Christopher Boyce disclosed details of CIA activities in Australia, specifically the manipulation of unions. Boyce was employed by a Californian aerospace company, TRW Systems Inc., in a cryptographic communications centre which linked CIA headquarters in Virginia with the Agency's satellite surveillance system in Australia. Boyce revealed that the CIA had infiltrated Australian labour unions, had manipulated their leadership and suppressed strikes, particularly those involving railroads and airports. Boyce described one instance when TRW had material and personnel to ship out to the CIA spy base at Pine Gap. The Agency was concerned that strikes at Australian airports could wreck their schedule. However, a telex from CIA headquarters said, "CIA will continue to suppress the strikes. Continue shipment on schedule." In other words, the CIA had infiltrated the hierarchy of Australian trade unions.

Boyce and his associate Andrew Daulton Lee were put on trial in 1977 for selling U.S. secrets to the Russians. Lee had flown to the Soviet Embassy in Mexico and sold details of the CIA's covert activities in Australia to the Soviets. Boyce maintained that he had never intended the information to go the Russians, that Lee had agreed to make it public through one of his father's influential friends, but that he had been blackmailed by Lee, a heroin addict and pusher.

Evidence emerged during the trial that most of TRW's communications came from Pine Gap and that although the United States had signed an Executive Agreement with Australia to share information from Pine Gap, the agreement was not being honoured and "certain information" was regularly concealed from the Australian government. Boyce described the CIA's campaigns to subvert Australian trade unions "particularly in the transport industry", and revealed that the Agency was using Pine Gap to eavesdrop on telephone and telex messages to and from Australia of a political character, and that the CIA had funded the Australian opposition political parties. Boyce also revealed that the Australian Governor-General, Sir John Kerr, was referred to by Joe Harrison, the CIA chief at TWR, as "our man Kerr."

Boyce's disclosures caused a sensation in the United States. The prosecuting lawyers made no attempt to refute his allegations but successfully objected to any further evidence about the CIA's activities in Australia. The judge complied with a direct CIA request and agreed that Boyce would not mention the "Australia information" at his trial if, in return, the government did not use it against him - such was the sensitivity of the matter. Boyce and Lee were both found guilty; Lee was given a life sentence, while Boyce was sent for "psychiatric observation" - an indication that he might be treated leniently in return for his silence. However, Boyce made it consistently clear that he was so outraged at the betrayal of an ally - Australia - that he intended to talk. He was subsequently given forty years in Marion Federal Penitentiary in Illinois, where he is kept in solitary confinement. Whenever he leaves his cell, he is manacled, handcuffed and accompanied by two guards. It is said that his only hope of release rests on his continued silence about what happened in Australia.

The American Christopher Boyce described CIA covert operations in Australia aimed at bringing down the Labor Government of Gough Whitlam. Boyce was sentenced to 40 years solitary confinement for his refusal to stay silent on the matter.

Five years after the overthrow of Whitlam, in April 1981, senior executives of nineteen Australian corporations met at Melbourne's Noah's Hotel for a "forecasting round table" organised by Business International. Business International is a worldwide American organisation of "consultants" which represents the top multi-national companies in Australia. In December 1977, the New York Times exposed Business International's clandestine links with the CIA.

The nineteen had come to hear Business International's Alan Carroll express his concern about the resurgence of the Labor Party under Bill Hayden, who had held senior posts in the Whitlam Government and described himself as a republican and a democratic socialist. At that time, Bob Hawke had completed his term as ACTU President and was a newly elected Labor Party Member of Parliament. Carroll told the meeting that he knew Hawke "pretty well" and "basically, Hawke will be Labor Party leader by the middle of next year; and that's my business, and we won't go into that in any great depth. But he will be there. It's all under way. The game plan is totally under way and I forecast 3 to 5 on a Hawke Government in '83! We had a meeting with him about one month ago and we're meeting with him every six months from now. It's terribly important." A top-secret CIA briefing document for the U.S. President described Hawke as "the best qualified" to succeed Whitlam as Labor leader.

The forecasts of the Agency and Alan Carroll came true in almost every detail. In February 1983, three weeks before an election was due, Hawke and others on the party's right wing mounted a successful putsch against Bill Hayden. With the slogan, "Bob Hawke, Bringing Australia Together", the CIA's chosen candidate became Australian Prime Minister. Hawke went on to cultivate many ties with anti-Communist groups and developed what U.S. Secretary of State George Shultz described as "a fine relationship" with Presidents Nixon and Reagan.

Hawke's Government repeatedly refused to release some 1,200 documents on the Nugan Hand Bank, the front for international crime and illegal CIA operations in Australia. Hawke also refused to find out why the CIA barred the release, under the U.S. Freedom of Information Act, of fourteen intelligence reports on Commerce International, the CIA-front company that played a central role in the destruction of the Whitlam Government. In 1989 a committee headed by a former Chief Justice of the High Court recommended rigorous Government secrecy in order to prevent disclosures about the activities of the CIA, MI5 and MI6 in the internal affairs of Australia.

The CIA's illicit actions against the Australian Labor Party clearly indicate that the Agency will not hesitate to move against even supposed allies if it considers that they threaten U.S. interests; the full range of CIA dirty tricks can be expected to be applied against any Western nation with the same lack of impunity and regard for the law that the Agency has shown in its wars with its enemies in the East.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Watching the Ecuadorian Press on Assange

Here's an interesting little Op-Ed from a guy called Martin Pallares in Ecuador's El Comercio ("The Business") newspaper.

(Google English translation here - note that President Correa has been in a long-running battle with Ecuador's right-wing media, whom he calls "information mafias").

Palleres picks up on a fairly innocent comment from Christine Assange's recent RT.com interview:

"The Foreign Minister invited me to tell him what I knew". 

According to Pallares, this is a "revelation" proving that Mrs Assange came to Ecuador at the Foreign Minister's invitation, which "dispels any doubt about the real motivations of the Assange case."

"Since she arrived," says Pallares, "the presence of Christine Assange in Ecuador has been completely in tune with the communication strategy of the government, which does everything it can to erase any possible doubt about the abuses of media outside the official propaganda machine."

He claims the government of President Rafael Correa is exploiting Assange's decision to seek asylum as a way to bolster their image as beacons of press freedom.

"Mrs Assange has gone from one news bulletin to another, hand in hand with the Foreign Ministry's staff, to repeat as many times as possible that her son is trying to save his life by not allowing himself to be arrested by the great hegemonic power, the United States."

I am sure Christine Assange would be surprised to hear that she is being used as a tool of government propaganda. And I'm sure the translators and security staff who accompany her will be surprised to know that putting words in her mouth is part of their job descriptions.

Pallares closes his column by lamenting that "the granting of political asylum is subordinate to media strategy and government propaganda".

A glance at his profile reveals that Martin Pallares, El Commercio's current Online News Editor, previously spent five years as Political Editor. His regular columns present an endless torrent of criticism aimed at the government, which he claims is using WikiLeaks as a "battle-horse in its obsessive war against the non-state press." Oh, and he's a Knight Fellow from Stanford University, USA.

It seems to me that Pallares is the one putting his own "propaganda", and El Comercio's "media strategy", ahead of Julian Assange's very serious request for political asylum. And I get the impression that President Correa's clamp-down on the media cannot be too extreme, if people like Martin Pallares are still free to publish.
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evelation made by the mother of controversial founder of Wikileaks came at the invitation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ecuador dispels any doubt that may have occurred that are the real motivations behind the case Assange.

Este contenido ha sido publicado originalmente por Diario EL COMERCIO en la siguiente dirección: http://translate.googleusercontent.com/translate_c?hl=en&rurl=translate.google.com&sl=es&tl=en&twu=1&u=http://www.elcomercio.com/blogs/desde_la_tranquera/Ecuador-Julian_Assange-Wikileaks_7_748195176.html&usg=ALkJrhiPS-SAUZqcEiJepebn6fjdsDJjJw. Si está pensando en hacer uso del mismo, por favor, cite la fuente y haga un enlace hacia la nota original de donde usted ha tomado este contenido. ElComercio.com
revelation made by the mother of controversial founder of Wikileaks came at the invitation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ecuador dispels any doubt that may have occurred that are the real motivations behind the case Assange.

Este contenido ha sido publicado originalmente por Diario EL COMERCIO en la siguiente dirección: http://translate.googleusercontent.com/translate_c?hl=en&rurl=translate.google.com&sl=es&tl=en&twu=1&u=http://www.elcomercio.com/blogs/desde_la_tranquera/Ecuador-Julian_Assange-Wikileaks_7_748195176.html&usg=ALkJrhiPS-SAUZqcEiJepebn6fjdsDJjJw. Si está pensando en hacer uso del mismo, por favor, cite la fuente y haga un enlace hacia la nota original de donde usted ha tomado este contenido. ElComercio.com
revelation made by the mother of controversial founder of Wikileaks came at the invitation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ecuador dispels any doubt that may have occurred that are the real motivations behind the case Assange.

Este contenido ha sido publicado originalmente por Diario EL COMERCIO en la siguiente dirección: http://translate.googleusercontent.com/translate_c?hl=en&rurl=translate.google.com&sl=es&tl=en&twu=1&u=http://www.elcomercio.com/blogs/desde_la_tranquera/Ecuador-Julian_Assange-Wikileaks_7_748195176.html&usg=ALkJrhiPS-SAUZqcEiJepebn6fjdsDJjJw. Si está pensando en hacer uso del mismo, por favor, cite la fuente y haga un enlace hacia la nota original de donde usted ha tomado este contenido. ElComercio.com
revelation made by the mother of controversial founder of Wikileaks came at the invitation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ecuador dispels any doubt that may have occurred that are the real motivations behind the case Assange.

Este contenido ha sido publicado originalmente por Diario EL COMERCIO en la siguiente dirección: http://translate.googleusercontent.com/translate_c?hl=en&rurl=translate.google.com&sl=es&tl=en&twu=1&u=http://www.elcomercio.com/blogs/desde_la_tranquera/Ecuador-Julian_Assange-Wikileaks_7_748195176.html&usg=ALkJrhiPS-SAUZqcEiJepebn6fjdsDJjJw. Si está pensando en hacer uso del mismo, por favor, cite la fuente y haga un enlace hacia la nota original de donde usted ha tomado este contenido. ElComercio.com

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Christine Assange Meets The President Of Ecuador

Ecuador's President Rafael Correa yesterday met with the mother of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in Quito's Palacio Carondelet.

"Please feel at home," said President Correa to Mrs Assange. "Rest assured that Ecuador is studying the case of Julian Assange very seriously. This country does not negotiate it's sovereignty."

 "If WikiLeaks had revealed things about Ecuador that benefit the major powers," he said, "Julian Assange would have been declared a hero."

"Don't worry, we will know how to make a decision with absolute independence and sovereignty," said the President, who was previously interviewed by Assange on his TV show, The World Tomorrow.

"Thanks to God we do not have anything to hide. We are the same in public and in private. They can publish what they want. We governments who have nothing to hide help publish whatever may come. We support true freedom of expression."

President Correa said the book Wiki Media Leaks had helped his government "decipher what the Ecuadorian press had hidden".

 The President then invited Mrs Assange out onto the palace balcony, to witness popular support.

"You are a very good dictator," joked Mrs Assange, referring to Western media and opposition criticism of Correa's government. "I've walked through the streets and I see people smiling and happy."

Christine Assange thanked the government of Ecuador for their hospitality, noting that the small South American nation respected human rights and gave her a sense of freedom she didn't feel in other countries.

Afterwards, Christine Assange tweeted that President Correa was "kind, warm, intelligent, informed, humorous, strong, and high spirited. I see why the people love him."

Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino lamented Sweden's decision not to interview Julian Assange in Ecuador's London embassy. Assange lawyer Jennifer Robinson also noted that the WikiLeaks EIC had never received an adequate explanation from Sweden as to why they haven't questioned him in the UK.

And Spanish judge Baltasar Garzón, who is travelling to Ecuador to meet Mrs Assange, has criticized the lengthy, secretive US Grand Jury process.

"A democratic country can't operate with its back to a person who is suspected of very serious crimes that could deprive him of liberty for a long time," Garzon told reporters. "The United States should make it known what it is doing, so that Mr. Assange can stand up for his rights."

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Christine Assange Meets Ecuador's Foreign Minister

In the Ecuadorian capital of Quito today, Christine Assange struggled to hold back tears after a meeting with Ricardo Patiño, Ecuador's Minister for Foreign Relations, Business and Integration.

While WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange remains trapped in Ecuador's London embassy, his mother has flown to the small South American capitol to provide additional information on his request for political asylum, and make a personal plea for assistance.

At a press conference following today's meeting, Christine Assange thanked the Foreign Minister and the government of Ecuador "for paying attention to the information I have given, which is more than my own government will do."

Mrs Assange claimed the Australian government has abandoned her son, and reiterated her fears for his safety if he is extradited to the USA. She explained how the US Grand Jury process worked, and cited the treatment of Bradley Manning as an example of what her son could expect. She told local media that the current situation is not just about WikiLeaks, but also about justice and the future of press freedom.

The meeting was briefly halted when Mrs Assange was overcome with emotion, after beginning to explain to a reporter why she preferred to focus on the facts of the case rather than her own experiences.

According to Ecuador's El Telegrafo newspaper, Mrs Assange revealed that her phones are tapped, her 21-year-old grandson has had death threats, her father is dying and might not be able to see Julian before he dies, and the family is suffering symptoms of chronic stress.

Mrs Assange earlier said she was "terrified" by the thought of US extradition and that her son was "under extreme psychological stress" while confined to the Ecuadorian embassy.

"He is freedom-loving. He cannot run. He cannot go outside to see the sky. Outside, the UK police wait like dogs to take him."

"I am not here to demand asylum," she said. "I come to humbly ask, as his mother."

Foreign Minister Ricardo Patiño said he was "very surprised" by the information he had received from Mrs Assange, including details of processes "that could be underway in America" and alleged torture of Australian citizens in Guantanamo Bay.

Mr Patiño also revealed that the Ecuadorian embassy in Sweden has asked the Swedish government to come to London if they want to question the WikiLeaks Editor-in-Chief. As a gesture of respect to Britain, no decision on asylum is expected before the Olympic Games finish on August 12th.

"Ecuador continues its thorough analysis of this case in order to take an informed decision. Our decision will seek not to endanger the life of a human being," Patiño said.

"I am sure the president and his aides will make the best decision in this case," said Mrs Assange. She is scheduled to meet with President Rafael Correa before departing Ecuador on August 4th.

You can see video of Mrs Assange's press conference with Mr Patiño here.

Note: Reports that Christine said that Julian Assange's Australian passport has been cancelled appear to be due to bad translations. The 41-year-old's passport was confiscated by UK police when he was arrested two years ago.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Après Assange, Le Déluge

King Louis XV is widely credited with the phrase “Après moi, le déluge” (after me, the deluge), although it may have been spoken by Madame de Pompadour, his official mistress (the title was by appointment at the time: she divorced her husband after assuming the position). In any case, it was prophetic: Louis XV was the last monarch before the French Revolution. Louis XVI, his grandson and successor, was guillotined in 1793 at the Place de la Révolution.

On this Bastille Day, as the 21st Century staggers from one crisis to another, we are presented with a new turning point, inherently rich with the same revolutionary opportunity. Modern dictators and repressive regimes have long sought total control of the Internet, and with it the means to control information. But now even Western Governments, corrupted by Big Business and lacking true democratic legitimacy, are attempting to lock down information and dictate our very histories.

Let us be clear. The teflon-coated banksters who brought us this never-ending Global Financial Crisis, and the puppet governments who brought us the Iraq War, have bloody secrets they wish to keep hidden. Their psychopathic lack of morality is already obvious. Millions of innocent people have already been killed, maimed, displaced and tortured for their greed. The mainstream media are in their pockets. They have thrown international law, the US Constitution, and national sovereignty out the window. These people will not go quietly - they have far too much to lose.

Sleeping on a blow-up mattress in an office of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, Julian Assange is at the very center of this growing storm. And his fate may well determine the course of global history.

Will WikiLeaks be followed by a deluge of free information, transforming our understanding of history and ushering in a new era of open government? Will Assange's battle for transparency open the floodgates to a radical transformation of society, whereby the gatekeepers of information are forced to publicly rationalise their decision-making with confirmed empirical evidence? Will this be the end of politically-motivated pseudo-science and socially destructive political spin?

Or will WikiLeaks be the last hurrah for free speech, followed by a deluge of new laws and restrictions that kill Internet freedom once and for all? Will the Internet go the way of the atomic bomb and become the most effective tool of power ever invented? Will endless resource wars continue to be justified by bullshit PR exercises while our planet warms beyond the point of no return? Is this the way the world ends?

Are we, the citizens of this earth - right now - choosing between certain Armageddon and a comparative Utopia? And if so, why are so few of us even aware what's going on?

Of course this is not just about Julian Assange, or even WikiLeaks. There are thousands of wonderfully gifted and inspiring people around the globe, courageously fighting the same battle for truth, transparency and online freedom.

But I cannot help thinking that Assange is now the canary in the coalmine.

At this critical time, I urge everyone who understands the stakes at play to put aside petty squabbles, put aside fragile egos, and unite in support for Julian Assange. Whatever you may think of his mainstream-media-enhanced personality, this is a man who has dedicated his life to truth, transparency, peace and love. If his sacrifices ultimately prove to be in vain, then all our efforts may also prove inconsequential.

The future is ours to take. Together we are strong. Vive la Révolution!

Monday, July 2, 2012

REVEALED! WikiLeaks' SHOCKING Un-Published Revelations!

WikiLeaks releases have shaken global politics and provoked countless news headlines. Founder Julian Assange has rarely been out of the media spotlight. And yet WikiLeaks' greatest revelations have scarcely been acknowledged by mainstream media journalists. Here at last, we expose the full story behind the stories that the corporate media are too scared to touch!

Ignore for a moment (like the media) all the actual, fact-packed contents of WikiLeaks releases. Instead, let us examine how various powerful groups - including the media, politicians, the military, corporations, and regulatory bodies - have mis-reported, spun, denied or suppressed these facts.

Only then do we begin to perceive WikiLeaks greatest un-published revelations: not the information itself, nor the distorted reactions to the leaked information, nor even the reactions to the messengers of this information - but what all these distortions, suppressions, and endless attacks on WikiLeaks and Julian Assange tell us about the true nature of the society we live in.

A few key examples will suffice to paint a picture that is all-too-clear to many...

COLLATERAL MURDER

WikiLeaks' award-winning work around the globe was largely ignored by the media until the explosive release of the "Collateral Murder" video on April 5th, 2010. So how did media, politicians and the US military react to this atrocity, a clear War Crime by any logical and humane interpretation of that concept?

Although Bradley Manning would not be arrested for another month, rumours of the existence of the 2007 video had long been circulating. Reuters were denied an FOI request for a copy. US officials had plenty of time to organise a damage control exercise. The undeniable shock of the nauseating televised violence was immediately "balanced" by senior officials promising a full investigation. Media anchors willingly acquiesced to their demands that judgement be postponed until a convenient "context" could be established.

And yet these same officials and journalists had already decided on WikiLeaks's guilt: Assange was immediately condemned as an irresponsible, egotistical anarchist. Demands for his assassination began to appear. The search for the unknown leaker soon became the main story, and within weeks Bradley Manning was being tortured in a Quantico brig.

Around the globe, officials in US client states like Australia echoed the White House talking points. The media also towed the line. Reuters EIC David Schlesinger spiked a story suggesting that the attack on his own staff members constituted a War Crime. The Washington Post denied having sat on the video for a year.

At the time, US officials must have considered this quite a successful damage control operation. Most of the domestic TV-watching public saw only snatches of the video, with multiple "expert" caveats. But international observers, and those accessing online information sources, could easily see the truth behind the propaganda. Truth will out: the leading YouTube version of the attacks currently has over twelve and a half million views.

FINANCIAL BLOCKADE

As another example of media and political reaction, consider the global blockade on WikiLeaks by financial giants including Mastercard, Visa and PayPal. WikiLeaks poses no obvious threat to their operations, and of course neo-Nazis and other extremist groups remain free to use their services. So this blockade reveals a shocking bias, and sets a very dangerous precedent.

The blockade exposes not just political influence on global finance, but also political influence on global media, plus financial influence on global politics. And it is astonishing how widespread and uniform such influence appears to be across the Western world.

Why haven't politicians, economists and the media taken more interest in this "non-story"? Are we all supposed to just shrug and ignore it? Apparently so. Yes, the blockade was reported (minimally), but the broader implications have been totally ignored. And that's the real story here.

LEVESON INQUIRY

For a similar WikiLeaks "non-story", consider Julian Assange's submissions to the UK Leveson enquiry. Assange rightly claims to have been unfairly maligned by the UK press. But how is it possible that nearly every major Western media outlet has either steadfastly ignored him or adopted a negative stance? In the retail sector, such evidence would be grounds for an investigation into collusion.

Indeed, while UK media organisations have dutifully reported daily events at the Leveson inquiry, they have largely ignored the evidence itself, prompting @GuidoFawkes blogger Paul Staines to publish some of the Operation Motorman leaks, which he describes as "Britain's biggest establishment cover-up".

"Currently in Britain the newspapers are neither naming nor shaming because the criminal enterprises are the newspapers themselves, who understandably do not wish to report their own crimes," says Staines.

In Assange's case, the most guilty newspaper is (ironically) former partner The Guardian, which now leads the UK Establishment's attack on WikiLeaks. Even more ironically, the Leveson inquiry would never have happened without Guardian EIC Alan Rusbridger's dogged pursuit of Rupert Murdoch. So how do you explain such a peculiarly selective brand of outrage? Oddly enough, nobody is even trying.

Addressing complaints of anti-WikiLeaks bias, even the Guardian's Reader's Editor would only promise not to use the word "charges" to describe Assange's Swedish allegations. Readers comments were again predictably scathing. But it seems such major UK media organisations would rather insult their readers' intelligence than speak up for Assange and WikiLeaks, even as they drift towards financial oblivion.

BRADLEY MANNING

Another WikiLeaks "non-story" is the US government's treatment of Bradley Manning, the young soldier who ALLEGEDLY (there's still no conclusive proof, and probably never will be, given the farcical nature of his US military trial) passed a treasure trove of files to WikiLeaks. Manning was tortured by the US government in solitary confinement for six months, and now faces a show trial that is barely being covered by domestic US media.

The studiously ignored question is: "Why?" Under international law, it is a crime for a soldier NOT to reveal knowledge of war crimes. In a saner world, Bradley Manning would be celebrated as a US national hero who helped bring two unjust wars to a close, while those responsible for the crimes he exposed would be brought to justice. Yet Ron Paul is the only senior US politician currently championing Manning's cause (and the media ignore him too). Why?

This is the real revelation here. Why are the US media actively ignoring Manning's trial and his altruistic motivations, while giving short shrift to any sympathetic opinions? Is the US media not allowed to even canvass ideas that do not conform to Pentagon strategy? Is that the true state of US media today, 35 years since the CIA boasted about having a spy in every major newsrooom?

The sub-plot in this "non-story" is that the US government appears to have been pressuring Manning to blame Assange for his actions, and has set up a Grand Jury to find more excuses to extradite Assange and lock him away. Meanwhile the FBI flipped LulzSec hacker Sabu, who allegedly offered to sell the leaked Stratfor emails to WikiLeaks. Was that operation designed to entrap WikiLeaks? Are these threads all aspects of a grand US government conspiracy to destroy WikiLeaks and make an example of Assange?

AUSTRALIA AND SWEDEN

The casual brutality of Washington's reaction will have shocked nobody who has been watching the USA's steadily accelerating slide towards Fascism. But many have been surprised by the slavish public reactions of the Australian and Swedish governments, who are now exposed as willing tools of US imperialism, ready to ignore the law, invite international ridicule, sacrifice innocent citizens, and even lose power to opposition parties rather than speak up for truth and justice.

Sweden's reputation as a forward-thinking nation of sexually liberated citizens has been trashed. Foreign Minister Carl Bild's friendship with US neocon Karl Rove appears to be the new cornerstone of Swedish foreign policy. Behind the cosmopolitan facade of Stockholm, we see a provincial town still in the grip of an 18th Century Lutheran witch-hunt mentality.

In Canberra, Prime Minister Julia Gillard has lost credibility and irreparably damaged the reputation of the Labor Party, whose back-room ties to the US Embassy were already exposed by WikiLeaks. It's hard to think of anyone who has come out of this long WikiLeaks saga looking worse than the Gillard government, whose Foreign Minister and Attorney General have plumbed Orwellian depths of reality-denial. Of course, Assange can expect little better from the opposition Coalition, whose complicity is confirmed by their silence. Meanwhile the Greens, a growing, credible and courageous third force, remain potential king-makers in any future elections.

Obviously Assange's Australian citizenship and the sexual allegations in Sweden make these nations central to any WikiLeaks discussion. But around the world today, millions of citizens are dismayed at how their supposedly democratic governments ignore popular will while pandering to global financiers and US-dominated corporations.

CONSPIRACIES, OPINIONS AND FACTS

We could continue examining many, many more examples of government and media silence and collusion against WikiLeaks.

But at some point we have to look beyond the latest scandal, recognise a clear pattern, and draw some conclusions. And what we see can only be described as a massive anti-WikiLeaks conspiracy.

Many supporters have described the process of following WikiLeaks as a journey "down the rabbit hole". Can you handle the truth? It is indeed hard for people to reassess attitudes and opinions that have been brain burned. But the facts exposed by WikiLeaks, and the reactions to those revelations, are matters of fact, and must be respected in any rational society. And those facts point to a complex, far-ranging conspiracy.

Let us be clear: this enormous conspiracy of media, politicians, the military, corporations and private business has not arisen purely in response to WikiLeaks. It has been growing steadily for at least 50 years. But WikiLeaks has clearly and cleverly exposed it. And that, in my humble opinion, is WikiLeaks' greatest revelation.

Censorship reveals fear, as Julian Assange says. And the attempts to smear Assange and silence WikiLeaks have exposed the fears of conspiracy participants.

But why are our global leaders afraid of the truth? What have they got to hide? And why are the media aiding and abetting this conspiracy?

Stay tuned...


NOTES:

1. Of course, the media reflexively dismiss anything they can label a "conspiracy theory". Politicians refuse to even discuss "hypotheticals". But they will all discuss ad nauseam conspiracy theories such as President Obama's birth certificate, or hypothetical plans to invade Iran or Syria. Double standards are easily exposed.

2. It is obviously not fair to tar all journalists with the same brush: a few dedicated professionals have done outstanding work in support of WikiLeaks, Assange and Manning. It's no coincidence that most of these journalists work predominantly online. And it's no coincidence that those involved in the conspiracy are actively working to crush Internet freedoms.

3. Many support the conspiracy unwittingly, such as wannabe alt.media writers whose negative opinions of Assange are informed by mainstream media smears, or well-meaning but time-poor politicians who vote along party lines without checking the facts for themselves. These people can be reached.

4. The situation today is precarious. We are in an Information War, a race against time, with advancing technology benefiting either the peace-loving people of this world, or our war-mongering oppressors. Our governments today are busy closing legal loopholes and imposing restrictive controls on the Internet. If they succeed, there may never be another WikiLeaks. Get active.

5. It's Julian Assange's birthday in 100 minutes (Oz time). I was hoping to post this at WikiLeaks Central but the site seems to be under attack again. Now who would do that? And why??? Happy birthday, mate.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Letter To UK Press Complaints Commission

UPDATE 6:  Despite two years of constant UK media smears against WikiLeaks and Julian Assange, the UK Press Complaints Commission has refused to examine my complaint. It falsely suggests that I was complaining about "an article in The Guardian" even though I made it very clear from the beginning that my complaint related to a long series of abusive articles from multiple UK sources (but especially The Guardian).

Fellow complainant, Steve Perry, received an identical response on the same day, as the PCC had lumped our separate complaints together.

1st August 2012:

Commission’s decision in the case of
Lord/Perry v The Guardian

The complainants objected to the newspaper’s publication of an article that was, in their view, an assault on the character of the Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.

In this instance, the complainants’ concerns related most closely to the terms of Clause 1 (Accuracy) of Editors’ Code of Practice. Under the terms of this Clause, newspapers must take care not to publish inaccurate information, and must correct a significantly inaccurate or misleading statement promptly, and with due prominence.

The Commission acknowledged the complainant’s concerns, both about the article under complaint, and in relation to the newspaper’s coverage more generally; however, Mr Julian Assange is aware of the Commission’s services, and had not submitted a complaint about this particular article. The absence of a complaint from Mr Assange imposed practical constraints on the Commission pursuing this matter further; in particular, any remedial action that could be required of the newspaper in order to satisfy its obligations under the Code – for example, by the publication of an apology – would need to be approved before publication by Mr Assange, and in circumstances where he had not submitted a complaint, this clearly would not be possible. As such, the Commission could not comment on the complaint further.

Reference no.122705/122706
*

The PCC decision was accompanied by the following email:

Dear Mr Lord

Further to our previous correspondence, the Commission has now considered your complaint about an article in The Guardian. It has decided that it is not possible, in the circumstances, to examine your complaint further under the Editors’ Code of Practice.

As we have made clear previously, the Commission generally deals only with complaints from those directly involved. On this occasion, it did not consider that it could waive its rules and investigate your third party complaint further. Its decision on this matter is below.

Although the Commission has come to this view, it has asked me to send a copy of your letter to the editor so that the publication is aware of your concerns.

If you are dissatisfied with the way in which your complaint has been handled you should write within one month to the Independent Reviewer, whose details can be found in our How to Complain leaflet or on the PCC website at the following link:


We are grateful to you for giving us the opportunity to consider your concerns.

Yours sincerely

Sean Goldstein
Sean.Goldstein@pcc.org.uk

*

Obviously this is a waste of time, but it does at least publicly illustrate that the UK Press Complaints Commission is a waste of taxpayer funds. I shall of course reply forthwith...



UPDATE 5: 1st August 2012:

Dear Mr Lord

Thank you for your email.

I can confirm that your complaint was sent to the Commission for a formal ruling under the Editors’ Code on 20 July, 2012. It is my expectation that the Commission’s decision will be with you before the end of the week.

You are welcome to contact me in the meantime, if you have any further questions.

Regards

Sean Goldstein
Complaints Officer

Press Complaints Commission
Halton House
20/23 Holborn
London EC1N 2JD

Tel: 020 7831 0022
Website: www.pcc.org.uk

UPDATE 4: 1st August 2012:


Sir or Madam,

It has been almost a month since Simon Yip advised me that the Press Commission was considering my complaint about the UK media's treatment of Julian Assange. I am still awaiting a further response.

Meanwhile, the media continues to publish hostile stories smearing and ridiculing Mr Assange. For example, the latest from The Guardian: http://t.co/Bk2SZRs7

Lest you forget, Mr Assange remains holed up in the Ecaudorian Embassy in London, in far from ideal conditions.

Please be aware that the world is watching these events unfold. We see how the UK media is complicit in pursuing government agendas, and we expect watchdog agencies like yourselves to take an active role if British democracy is supposed to remain respected around the globe.

Regards,

Gary Lord
Australia

UPDATE 3: An encouraging response at last! July 3, 2012:

Dear Mr Lord

Thank you for your email.

We will now ask the Commission whether it wishes to take your complaint forward as an independent complaint. We will write to you further about this matter as soon as possible.

In the meantime, should you have any queries or require any further advice, please do not hesitate to contact us on 020 7831 0022.

Yours sincerely


Simon Yip
Complaints Coordinator

Press Complaints Commission
Halton House
20/23 Holborn
London EC1N 2JD

Tel: 020 7831 0022
Website: www.pcc.org.uk

UPDATE 2: I just sent the following reply. June 28 2012:

Simon,

I am surprised at your reply for a number of reasons.

Firstly, Julian Assange has already submitted a lengthy history of abuse to the Leveson inquiry. Is the UK Press Complaints Commission not aware of this submission and the contents thereof?

My own complaint was merely scratching the surface of this appalling, prolonged, public attack on a man who has not even been charged with ANYTHING despite 560 days under house arrest. I would ask you to take a close look at this recent article from Medialens, which details many more direct personal smears from UK journalists, in both a personal and professional capacity: http://t.co/IdW4w8fR

Secondly, you might be aware that Mr Assange is currently hold up in the Embassy of Ecuador, seeking asylum. Under the circumstances, it's quite bizarre that you expect him to post a complaint on his own behalf. Furthermore, you might have noticed that the abuse has NOT been directed just at Mr Assange, but also others working for WikiLeaks, and also at supporters like myself (The Guardian's Nick Cohen said we are all paranoid). Under the circumstances I don't see why you are not able to open a formal complaint process based on the information I have provided.

The eyes of the world are on both Mr Assange and the British media at the moment, and surely it is your job to ensure that decent standards are applied.

Kind regards,

Gary Lord
Twitter: @Jaraparilla 

UPDATE 1: I just got the following response to my letter of complaint (below).

Dear Mr Lord

Thank you for your email.

The concerns you have raised relate directly to Mr Julian Assange, the subject of the story. Given the nature of the story, it appears that it would be difficult for the Commission to investigate or understand this matter fully without his involvement. In addition, the outcome of a Commission investigation (whether correction, apology or adjudication, for example) would need his approval. In such circumstances, we would generally require a complaint from Mr Julian Assange or his representative, in order to take the matter forward.

I should make clear that Mr Assange is fully aware of our services. Should Mr Assange wish to complain about any coverage he will be able to do so.

It appears that we would have difficulty in pursuing this matter. However, if you believe that there are exceptional public interest reasons for the Commission to proceed with an independent complaint under the circumstances, we would be grateful to hear from you in the next ten days. 

Once we have heard from you, the Commission will be asked whether it wishes to take the complaint forward. If you would like to discuss your case before replying please do contact us.  If we hear no more from you we will close our file on the matter.

If, at the end of the process, you are dissatisfied with the manner in which your complaint has been handled, you should write within one month to the Independent Reviewer who will investigate the matter and report any findings and recommendations to the Commission. For further details please use the following link: http://www.pcc.org.uk/about/whoswho/independentreview.html

A copy of the Code of Practice which all newspapers and magazines who subscribe adhere to, can be accessed using this web link: http://www.pcc.org.uk/cop/practice.html

Do not hesitate to contact us if you need further advice.  When you write to us, please quote our reference number on this email.

Yours sincerely

Simon Yip
Complaints Coordinator

Press Complaints Commission
Halton House
20/23 Holborn
London EC1N 2JD

Tel: 020 7831 0022
Website: www.pcc.org.uk
I will compile a full response as soon as I can shake off this sense of bewildered anger and the urge to be overwhelmingly sarcastic...

ORIGINAL LETTER FOLLOWS:

UK Press Complaints Commission
complaints@pcc.org.uk
Tel: 02078310022

Dear Sir or Madam,

I would like to register my disgust with The Guardian newspaper's latest assault on the good character of Julian Assange:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2012/jun/21/julian-assange-escape-routes-ecuador-embassy?CMP=twt_gu

This is only the latest in a long stream of nasty, vindictive personal attacks on Mr Assange from Guardian "journalists". I refer you to Mr Assange's submission to the Leveson inquiry for more evidence.

I also cite my own experiences defending Assange from "Guardianistas", as documented at the following links:

http://jaraparilla.blogspot.com.au/2012/01/how-to-get-blocked-by-los-del-guardian.html

http://jaraparilla.blogspot.com.au/2011/11/guardians-vendetta-against-julian.html

As a time when the world is watching the UK media with close attention, and when Julian Assange is waging an historic battle for freedom of speech, such pithy yellow journalism should be urgently confronted if the UK Press Complaints Commission wishes to maintain credibility and continue it's important work.

Sincerely,

Gary Lord
aka @Jaraparilla on Twitter
Australia