Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Julian Assange: The Flashing Red Light

According to Julian Assange, censorship is always a sign of fear. It expresses weakness. It is like a flashing red light that tells everyone, "Hey, there is something to see over here." It is also a tacit admission by censors that their system can be reformed through the power of free speech - why else would they fear it?

In fact, as Julian told Hans Ulrich Obrist in May 2011, this understanding is a key to how and why WikiLeaks was first established:

"So, it was an epiphany to see the signal of censorship to always be an opportunity, to see that when organizations or governments of various kinds attempt to contain knowledge and suppress it, they are giving you the most important information you need to know: that there is something worth looking at - to see if it should be exposed - and that censorship expresses weakness, not strength."

From this perspective, it is fascinating to look at how many powerful people and supposedly benign institutions have tried - and failed - to silence WikiLeaks. What we discover is that Julian Assange himself has now become that flashing red light. By repeatedly trying to silence and smear him, the censors of truth have only exposed themselves.

In 2010, just when WikiLeaks revelations about Iraq, Afghanistan and the US State Department began rocking governments around the world, Julian was falsely labelled a "Double Rapist" on the front pages of global newspapers. Interpol issued a warrant for his arrest, even though the allegations (which remain unproven, because Sweden never filed charges, so innocence should be presumed) were not considered crimes in other countries. On December 7th, 2010, the British police threw Assange into Wandsworth Prison and locked him in solitary confinement for ten days, only releasing him after supporters posted a massive £140,000 bond. He was shackled with an electronic GPS ankle bracelet and forced to report daily to the local police station. Senior US political figures called for Assange to be arrested, tortured or assassinated. US banking giants, with the help of PayPal, cut off WikiLeaks' access to funds.

Publicly, the British government insisted that Assange was being treated like any other suspect. But we now know that the UK Crown Prosecutor privately assured Sweden that this would not be treated like a normal case. In fact they even asked the Swedes not to come and question Assange in London, which would have been normal procedure. And then they destroyed the paperwork, before the case was even closed! And we only know this thanks to documents obtained by an Italian journalist, Stefania Maurizi, who is still pushing for more information. The British press have been too busy assassinating Assange's character to even investigate the case.

The US media, the CIA, the Australian government, and many others have similarly tried to smear or silence WikiLeaks and Assange over the past eight years. But self-censorship has also become a major problem: people exposed to so much relentless anti-WikiLeaks propaganda are prone to fall silent, or modify their views, lest they too be branded an "enemy of the state". On Twitter, for example, many journalists insist they support WikiLeaks journalism, but repeatedly express contempt for Julian Assange. It's difficult to get these people to even discuss the facts of his case, because they don't really want to know. They ignore you or block you instead.

What we see is that Assange and WikiLeaks have broken no laws, but instead have broken an unspoken taboo. We are not supposed to look at power too closely, lest the whole artifice of society crumbles. Supporters of the Establishment everywhere assure us that chaos is the only alternative. We are encouraged to tolerate a degree of corruption because after all, that is how the world works. Business is business. None of us are perfect. Now run along, children.

Can YOU handle the truth? Most people, it seems, cannot. Most don't want to break the taboo. They are scared of what they might find. They are scared of the unknown. They are scared of possessing knowledge, because then they might be obliged to do something about it. Better to know nothing than become complicit through inaction.

With an untrustworthy media and the explosion of social media, we find ourselves surrounded by myths. The corporate media peddles myths about who is good and who is bad. For example, compare reporting on Saudi Arabia with Venezuela, or Israel and Russia. This year, many Europeans were shocked to see their leaders endorsing Spain's violent attacks on Catalonian protestors. But the same leaders had worked together in 2013, forcing the Bolivian President's plane to land when the USA thought Edward Snowden was traveling on board. We rarely see networks of power at this level exposed so clearly.

The persecution of WikiLeaks and Assange reveals how corrupt power works in this world. With enough money and the right connections, you can become untouchable. But if you dare push too hard to discover the truth, you will be relentlessly attacked and destroyed. This is not acceptable in a world where the Neoliberal orthodoxy is collapsing, inequality is on the rise, and we urgently need to solve global problems like climate change, resource wars, and the consequent massive flows of asylum seekers.

So don't believe the hype. Don't censor yourself. Get involved. Speak up. Support those with the courage to put their lives on the line for the truth. Together we can change the world.

Friday, June 30, 2017

"Hello Snowflakes" - Epic Twitter Rant from Julian Assange

This is a compilation of tweets from @JulianAssange today. These tweets come in response to a push for social media organisations like Twitter and Facebook to censor content that is deemed "dangerous".
Hello snowflakes. I will do a small tour now of some censorship double standards that I have a deep personal experience of, namely threats to kill.
I don't think people should threaten to kill others, but I don't think companies should be in the game of determining what is a threat and what is not because any such system will be played by those with greater access to the internals of the system.
This is clearly the case with Twitter and other mediums, where [there are] biases about how close to the in-group that runs the censorship system the complainer is, and their relative social standing of the complainant. This is true of all justice systems which is why - except for the greatest extremes - we should avoid them, because they are inevitably bringers of intense injustice to the most excluded or marginalized - i.e those people who need justice the most are the least likely to get it. This is why Twitter et al should get out of the justice game and let users chose how to interact with others without adjudication.
Now for some examples of the reality I live with every day. I would like people to compare these extremes to the judicial beheadings [Twitter founder] @Jack and others have served upon those who don't match their politics, or who do not have the type of prestige that @jack seeks to being himself close to.
First of all, let us start with the basic compilation of death threats against me (and my staff) for attempting to educate people by telling them the truth (there is no greater sin). This abridged compilation by 2012. It forms part of the background of why I applied for and received asylum. Do you like the soundtrack? 

I am proud of it. It is Flight of the Bumble Bees by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov slowed 9000x. Here it the original:
Is that cool or what? You have to have fun while compiling your death threats. Here's the extended version which includes some against @WikiLeaks as a whole and @xychelsea too from memory:
Now for the more recent. Starting with Hillary Clinton's joke about droning yours truly which came out in 2016 (though we had heard about it years before):
Here's Hillary Clinton herself responding; missing is "I would never condone killing the staff of any media".

She said it was a joke--a bit like her election campaign? It's certainly not good to threaten our staff or torture our alleged sources. Here's a fun poster from the Washington Times. Goes with the article "Assassinate Assange". A "?" added later.
It was no joke to the 40k Libyans she killed while Secretary of State in a bid to stamp her lunatic ticket.

Here's noted Obama hagiographer, @MikeGunwald then at @TIME, now promoted to "Senior writer" at Politico. Quality sycophant.
These "journalists" love nothing more than to threaten to help assassinate me and my staff and my sources for telling the truth. They couldn't dream of our accuracy or independence. I have abiding contempt for their lack of standards and craven character.
Here's the NY based Mediaite which is owned by Dan Abrams a former ABC "journalist"; sister is an Obama judge.
The article is from June 6 this year. Notice how all the snowflakes were up in arms about this threat to kill someone for speaking. No?
Julian then listed over two dozen tweets that included threats to kill him, his family, and/or WikiLeaks staff. He tagged them all with the hashtag #TolerantLiberal.

There's thousands more on killing me, our other people, maiming, bombing, kidnapping, imprisoning for trying to educate people. What can I say? Liberals ain't liberal. They've fallen into bed with the worst elements of state hardpower & love censorship and death.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Did USA Interfere in Australia's 1975 Election?

Originally published in New Daily as "Heavy Meddle: Did USA interfere in Australian election?" Republishing here because it was almost impossible to read on that site.

While Americans digest the news that Russia almost certainly tried to influence the election that delivered Donald Trump the presidency, new research indicates the US is an old hand at trying to sway votes in other countries.

Political scientist Dov Levin of Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Mellon University says the US has attempted to influence elections overseas as many as 81 times between 1946 and 2000.

Levin doesn’t include Australia in his data set, even though he admitted to The New Daily this week the 1975 dismissal of the Whitlam government had been “one of the primary candidates” he’d examined.

“However when I checked this case out, the documents from a recent comprehensive collection of declassified US government documents on US foreign policy towards Australia during those years provided no evidence of such an American intervention in the 1975 election campaign for one of the parties,” Levin said.

Others, closer to home, are more inclined to believe the Americans did interfere in one of the most turbulent periods in Australian political history.

Australian author Andrew Fowler told The New Daily it was broadly accepted America tried to interfere in the Australian political situation in 1975 that led to the Whitlam government being dismissed and then voted out in favour of Malcolm Fraser weeks later.

Fowler, author of The War on Journalism: Media Moguls, Whistleblowers and the Price of Freedom, told The New Daily while the evidence America wanted to see the end of the Whitlam government was circumstantial, “there is a considerable amount of it”.

Others, like Australian-born, British-based journalist John Pilger are even more convinced that the 1975 poll was subject to US interference.

In his book A Secret Country, Pilger wrote that former CIA agent Victor Marchetti explained the US-Australian relationship thus: “So long as Australians keep electing the right people then there’ll be a stable relationship between the two countries.”
Nixon and Nixon weren't fans of the Whitlam Government. Photo: Getty
Nixon and Kissinger weren’t fans of the Whitlam government. Photo: Getty

The comfortable relationship between Australia and America, which had endured since World War II, almost came to an end when Australians elected the left-leaning Whitlam in 1972.

The new PM believed that a foreign power should not control his country’s resources and dictate its economic and foreign policies. He was particularly discomfited by the existence of American bases on Australian soil.

Whitlam demanded to know if and why the CIA was running a spy base at Pine Gap near Alice Springs, a giant vacuum cleaner which, as Edward Snowden revealed, allows the US to spy on pretty much everyone and anything.

Marchetti, the CIA officer who had helped set up Pine Gap, later told Pilger: “This threat to close Pine Gap caused apoplexy in the White House … a kind of Chile [coup] was set in motion.”

Author Fowler said Australia’s politicians repeatedly stated there was little difference between America’s best interests and those of Australia.

“But we know from the statements of former prime ministers Malcolm Fraser and Paul Keating that is not the case,” he said, adding: “The problem is they don’t tell us that when they’re in office.

“The Anzus alliance only matters to the Americans to serve their own interests. The most important part of the alliance, Pine Gap, helps them fight foreign wars. It is no longer just a listening post.”

The War on Journalism records that by 1974 the dominant Murdoch press turned solidly against Whitlam.

The new US Ambassador to Australia, Marshall Green, appointed by US President Richard Nixon, was freshly drafted in from Chile, where the CIA had helped topple the democratically elected President Salvador Allende the previous year.

Before long, communiques to the US State Department reported that Murdoch had issued confidential instructions to editors of his newspapers to “Kill Whitlam”.

With key figures in the Labor Party describing the then bombing in Vietnam as “corrupt and barbaric” and threatening to close the US bases in Australia, the CIA stepped in.

In 1975 senior CIA figure Theodore Shackley wrote to ASIO: “The CIA feel that if this problem cannot be solved they do not see how our mutually beneficial relations are going to continue.”

Pilger records that on November 10, 1975, Whitlam was shown a top secret telex message sourced to Shackley, the head of the CIA’s East Asia Division, who had helped run the coup against Allende in Chile. Shackley’s message was read to Whitlam. It said that the Prime Minister of Australia was a security risk in his own country.

The day before, Governor-General Sir John Kerr had visited the headquarters of the Australian Defence Signals Directorate, another of Australia’s national security agencies, and was briefed on the “security crisis”.

On November 11, 1975, the day Whitlam was to inform Parliament about the secret CIA presence in Australia, he was dismissed by the Governor-General.

Dr Alison Broinowski, Vice-President of the group Honest History, told The New Daily America’s interference in the Australian electoral processes in 1975 appeared obvious.

“From writings by Marian Wilkinson, Christopher Boyce, John Pilger, Jenny Hocking, James Curran, and others, it is clear that Whitlam came close to closing down the bases and getting sacked in return,” she said.

“The trouble is those who know the whole story are either dead or won’t say how or whether the US actually changed the outcome of the election. If they did, it would only be one of many around the world, before and since.

    “The hypocrisy in relation to Russian interference, if it happened, is breathtaking.”

For his part, Professor Curran, lecturer in history at Sydney University, is less convinced of US involvement in 1975’s tumultuous events.

In his widely praised book Unholy Fury: ­Whitlam and Nixon at War, Professor Curran records the bad blood between President Richard Nixon, US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and the Whitlam government.

Nixon dismissed the Australian PM as a “peacenik”, Kissinger called him a “bastard”, while senior Australian ministers claimed the White House was being run by “thugs” and “maniacs”.

Professor Curran told The New Daily that while there was a long history of the US interfering in foreign elections, “it doesn’t include Australia in 1975”.

“There was clearly some kind of CIA activity in Australia that was at the very least being actively considered in 1975,” he said.

    “But I found no smoking gun – no documentary evidence – to suggest that the US was involved either in Whitlam’s downfall or the 1975 election.”

Nevertheless, with British, American and Australian US intelligence agencies all working against him, a Governor-General later recorded as being closely supported by the CIA and with the Murdoch press baying for his blood, the Whitlam government fell.

The history books record that an emissary of the US government, Assistant Secretary of State Warren Christopher later told Whitlam the “US Administration would never again interfere in the domestic political processes of Australia”.

Critics argue there is really only one reason the promise has been kept: Australia has been entirely compliant with America’s wishes. That may all be about to change. Trump may not just be about to herald a shake-up in America, but a shake-up of the alliance in which generations of Australian politicians and bureaucrats have placed so much faith.
You can read more on this topic here and here.