HomeArticleWe’re Asking One Question In Assange’s Case: Should Journalists Be Punished For Exposing War Crimes?

We’re Asking One Question In Assange’s Case: Should Journalists Be Punished For Exposing War Crimes?

This is a speech I gave yesterday at a demonstration for Assange with the Socialist Equality Party Australia.

Tomorrow in the UK a judge will start the process of answering a very important question. It’s a question that many of us knew was the heart of this debate back in 2010, ten years ago, when this all started. It’s a question that they have been obfuscating, bloviating, huffily denying, smearing, gaslighting, and distracting from–basically doing anything they can to hide it from view.

It’s a question that they don’t want the public to know that we are answering. A question that goes to the heart of democracy, and to the heart of the role of the fourth estate, journalism. And that question is this:

Should journalists and publishers be punished for exposing US war crimes?

And, ancillary to that question: should we allow them to be punished by the very people who committed those war crimes?

Is that something that we want for our world, ongoing? Because our answer to this question is going to shape our society, our civilization, for generations to come.

There is no coming back from this for a very long time should the answer be, “Yes! Yes, it’s fine, war criminals should go ahead and punish journalists for publishing true facts about their war crimes.”

If we allow the answer to be yes, then we’re stuck with the endless stupid wars that everyone wants done with, from Melbourne to Kabul, from Sydney to Syria–right across the world people are done with these stupid wars for profit.

Even the people like us who are very insulated from the effects of war want them over with, let alone the children of Pakistan who fear a sunny day because drones only fly in a blue sky, or the children of Syria whose country is being terrorized by “moderate rebels” armed and funded by the US war machine, or the starving children of Yemen who are being bombed constantly by munitions made in the good ol’ U S of A.

No one wants war except those who make big bucks from it. It’s the most evil thing that humans are capable of. It is murder. It is theft. It is rape. It targets and traumatizes and displaces our planet’s most vulnerable populations. It destroys the environment. It leaves behind cancer-causing waste.

It’s like as if the worst serial killer is going on the worst killing spree while dumping planet-killing chemicals behind him, but instead of running from the cops, he’s been given a trillion-dollar budget and immunity from prosecution.

This is already happening. This is the world we have currently. The question that is being posed in Assange’s case is, should we be allowed to question this? Should we be allowed to expose it? Should we be allowed to stop it?

Julian Assange’s case is a nexus point of where to next.

I was thinking on the way over here what I would most like to say to Julian if I had the chance. If I could tell him anything right now it would be, “Rest now, mate. You’ve done all you can. We’ve got you. Let us take it from here.” Assange acted as a kind of lightning rod for all this bullshit for all those years, and through what they did to him, we saw their true face. We saw their true evil. We know what they are now, and we know how they do it, we’ve seen enough to know how they operate. And in the end it’s never about one man, it’s always about the movement. It’s our job now to stand up now and say as one “We do not consent”, and carry him out of there ourselves if we have to.

This is where we’re at. We need to decide, do we evolve, or devolve? Do we pivot towards utopia, or dystopia?

The persecution of Assange is so blatantly, obviously wrong that the only thing stopping people from seeing it is empire propaganda. You don’t have to be well-read. You don’t even have to be smart. You just have to have to have eyes that are unfiltered by narrative manipulation.

Anyone with common sense and a beating heart in their chest can see this is wrong. Should journalists be tortured and imprisoned for life when they expose war crimes? The answer is not complicated. It’s obvious to anyone who hasn’t been propagandized out of their own clarity.

Assange’s plight only looks complicated when you add on layers of narrative and verbiage. “Ah but Sweden stinky, stink man, hacker not a journalist! Mueller sexist Trump poop on the walls, Nazi Putin!”

Without all the spin it’s very obvious he’s being torturously, unjustly persecuted. It really is an “emperor has no clothes” thing. The court propagandists fill our ears with fancy words about what a bad man Assange is, and why he must be dealt with, they’re trying to tell you that the emperor’s clothes are invisible to those aren’t educated.

But the unpropagandized just yell “Hey! Why is the emperor ass-dick naked? Dude, I can see him! I can see his willy! ”

This is why there are no counter protests here today. There are no regular, every day citizens taking to the streets with signs saying “Jail all the journalists! Endless war for all!” Some people still have strong feelings about Assange, but they’re just feelings, and you’ll find that it’s usually about only one or two of the smears, and if they turn and try to find evidence for the particular smears that have snagged them, they find nothing.

That’s why Nils Melzer, the UN’s Special Rapporteur on torture, is such a courageous figure to me. When people first approached him to look in to Assange’s case, he was reluctant because he too had been affected by the smears. When he turned to the evidence though, he found no substance there.

Because of his honorability, though, he felt through the embarrassment of being duped, and being wrong, he swallowed his pride and he changed course. And he very quickly became one of our most powerful allies in the fight to expose war crimes, expose propaganda, expose the modern-day mobbing and torture tactics used against Assange, and expose the precedent that Assange’s prosecution will set for journalists and publishers world wide.

And you know what? I think the power behind his testimony comes from the fact that he realized that he had been duped, and if he, a very intelligent, well read, worldly, informed and educated person could be duped, then anyone can be.

No one is immune. Human minds are hackable. We’re all very busy with our lives. We’re all kept busy by capitalism, and very few of us have the time to do what he did and sit down and take a look at the facts and assess them. And even if they did that, even fewer of them have had the courage of their convictions to put up with the social consequences of changing course.

Being manipulated isn’t immoral, being a manipulator is. People feel ashamed when they’ve been conned, but it’s not their fault; it’s always the fault of the con man. That’s why fraud is the crime, and being defrauded is being a victim of that crime.

In order for people to see this question that we’re asking ourselves–the question of whether journalists should be punished for exposing war crimes–clearly they have to admit that they have been victims of propaganda. It’s not their fault, but they will be embarrassed to admit it. This shame underpins a lot of reluctance to join us here today, so I think it’s important to outline.

So when you’re talking to your friends and family, keep in mind that they’re hurting. They’re afraid of feeling the shame of having been duped, because in our crazy, ass-backwards culture, being duped is considered shameful while duping people just makes you a productive member of society.

Be gentle with them. Reassure them that it’s not going to be the end of the world if they change their mind. In fact, it may be the end of the world if they don’t.

That’s why I find Nils Melzer’s testimony to be so powerful: because it exposes the abusive nature of propaganda, and he modeled how to act when we find ourselves on the wrong side of the debate. His very existence gives me hope because it means that there are others like him waking up all over the world.

Actually, I’ve seen it already myself. There’s a huge movement in Germany gaining traction supporting Assange. It was the prisoners of Belmarsh who organized three separate petitions and got Julian out of solitary (how’s that for grassroots activism?). Just on Friday Alan Jones posted a poll on Facebook that posed the question “should the Australian government do more to help Julian Assange and bring him home?”. Thousands of people answered and there was a 75 percent “Yes! Yes we should bring him home.” Underneath the poll there were hundreds of comments in support of Assange.

So the tide is changing. Is it enough? I reckon it might be. But we have to keep pushing on it like our lives depend on it, because they do.

Viva Assange!

Thank you.

________________________________

Thanks for reading! The best way to get around the internet censors and make sure you see the stuff I publish is to subscribe to the mailing list for my website, which will get you an email notification for everything I publish. My work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, liking me on Facebook, following my antics on Twitter, checking out my podcast on either YoutubesoundcloudApple podcasts or Spotify, following me on Steemit, throwing some money into my hat on Patreon or Paypalpurchasing some of my sweet merchandise, buying my new book Rogue Nation: Psychonautical Adventures With Caitlin Johnstone, or my previous book Woke: A Field Guide for Utopia Preppers. For more info on who I am, where I stand, and what I’m trying to do with this platform, click here. Everyone, racist platforms excluded, has my permission to republish or use any part of this work (or anything else I’ve written) in any way they like free of charge.

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Latest comments

  • Yeah, well written, Caitlin. Thank you for your efforts. If we all did half as much as you do, we could turn this world around. We should get to it, eh? Bravo.

  • Thanks, as always, Caitlin (and Tim). Your portrait of @greekemmy is the loveliest thing we’ve seen in too long. Please do Clara Campos next. RT/Ruptly have interviewed her over the years from in front of the Ecuadorian “embassy”. When my wife and I made our second international pilgrimage to said location, we recognized her standing vigil (with only three other people), and we humbly introduced ourselves. Then, we gave every insulting gesture we know to UC-Global’s wall-mounted pan/tilt/zoom camera that followed us walking around the building (I fantasize about Jabba the Sheldon Adelson watching our footage before giving it to CIA/Mossad).

    p.s. Our first pilgrimage was way back when uniformed money-wasting jackboots were constantly posted at the front door (pre-ironically, they were wearing yellow vests). There was zero vigil presence on that occasion, so we just took selfies with pigs as the background. I’m surprised GCHQMI56 let us leave the country; that’s how dreadful the CCTV vibe is in London/Heathrow. Not like we saw him through the window or anything, but it was emotionally moving to know that we were within 100 feet of Julian. The Qatari Lamborghinis cruising around were kind of neat, but we never bothered to go inside Harrods.

  • Absolutely not! A journalist’s job IS to factually report the truth to the people. Journalits who lie or coverup the truth are “presstitutes” of the Elites, as Paul Craig Roberts’ call them, and thus enemies of the people.

  • Caitlin Johnstone wrote:
    .
    > A question that goes to the heart of democracy, and to the heart of the role of the fourth estate, journalism. And that question is this:
    .
    > Should journalists and publishers be punished for exposing US war crimes?
    .
    > And, ancillary to that question: should we allow them to be punished by the very people who committed those war crimes?”
    .
    ———
    .
    Assange Hearing Day 1:
    .
    “Surely, Baraitser suggested, that meant that newspapers just publishing the Manning leaks would be guilty of an offence? . . . Yes, he said much more firmly.”
    — Craig Murray, former British Ambassador, February 25, 2020
    .
    Your Man in the Public Gallery — Assange Hearing Day 1 — Craig Murray — 25 Feb 2020
    https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2020/02/your-man-in-the-public-gallery-assange-hearing-day-1/
    .
    ———
    .
    This is stunning. It seems like a dystopian nightmare, but it’s real…
    .
    “The judge asked if the act of ‘obtaining’ the docs constitutes one of the conducts charged, does it follow that any person solely ‘obtaining’ these kinds of documents — without the ‘aiding and abetting’ elements — would be subject to prosecution as well? ‘Yes’”
    — Mary Kostakidis, journalist, February 25, 2020
    .
    Mary Kostakidis — Twitter
    https://twitter.com/MaryKostakidis/status/1232097078756573185
    .
    ———
    .
    “3:10 pm London time: U.S. lawyer in court is trying to turn normal journalistic practice into a crime”
    — Consortium News, February 24, 2020
    .
    Live updates from London: Assange extradition hearing – Consortium News
    https://consortiumnews.com/2020/02/24/live-updates-from-london-assange-extradition-hearing/
    .
    ———
    .
    “That is, Assange is accused of having published documents the ‘government would rather not have had disclosed,’ documents that were ‘embarrassing’ to the American government because it showed that its military forces had killed thousands of the civilians in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. . . . His actions as a publisher have historically been protected under the First Amendment of the US Constitution.”
    – James Cogan, SEP Australia, February 25, 2020
    .
    The show trial of Julian Assange begins — James Cogan — WSWS
    https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2020/02/25/pers-f25.html
    .
    ———
    .
    For more details, see also:
    .
    USA v Julian Assange: Extradition Day 1 — Defend WikiLeaks — 24 February 2020
    https://defend.wikileaks.org/2020/02/24/usa-v-julian-assange-extradition-day-1/

    • So journalism and publishing are espionage now. Of course this affects The New York Times, The Guardian, Der Spiegel, El País, Al Jazeera, Le Monde… and all of us, no matter where we are.
      .
      This puts everyone at the mercy of the MIC/CIA war profiteers. Obey or else.
      .
      They already effectively own the United States, the United Kingdom, and most of the world. It looks like the final transition to totalitarianism is in the works.
      .
      ———
      .
      A summary of the indictment:
      .
      “Julian Assange faces 18 charges:
      .
      “1 Conspiracy to violate the Espionage Act: 10 years
      .
      “2 Violating the Espionage Act by Manning’s obtaining Guantanamo Bay Naval Base (GITMO) Files: 10 years
      .
      “3 Violating the Espionage Act by Manning’s obtaining Cablegate: 10 years
      .
      “4 Violating the Espionage Act by Manning’s obtaining Iraq War Logs: 10 years
      .
      “5 Attempting to receive and obtain classified information: 10 years
      .
      “6 Unlawfully obtaining and receiving GITMO Files: 10 years
      .
      “7 Unlawfully obtaining and receiving Cablegate: 10 years
      .
      “8 Unlawfully obtaining and receiving Iraq War Logs: 10 years
      .
      “9 Causing unlawful disclosure by Manning of GITMO Files: 10 years
      .
      “10 Causing unlawful disclosure by Manning of Cablegate: 10 years
      .
      “11 Causing unlawful disclosure by Manning of Iraq War Logs: 10 years
      .
      “12 Causing Manning to communicate, deliver and transmit GITMO Files: 10 years
      .
      “13 Causing Manning to communicate, deliver and transmit Cablegate: 10 years
      .
      “14 Causing Manning to communicate, deliver and transmit Iraq War Logs: 10 years
      .
      “15 ‘Pure publication’ of Afghan War Diaries: 10 years
      .
      “16 ‘Pure publication’ of Iraq War Logs: 10 years
      .
      “17 ‘Pure publication’ of Cablegate: 10 years
      .
      “18 Conspiracy to violate the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFFA): 5 years”
      .
      Journalists must pay attention to Julian Assange | New Internationalist | 31 October 2019
      https://newint.org/features/2019/10/31/journalists-must-pay-attention-julian-assange
      .
      ———
      .
      “If freedom of speech is taken away, then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.”
      — George Washington, 1783

  • Dear Caitlin,
    Personally, I believe all journalists should be charged, who ever published anything of wiki-leaks, and all who have posted the “fake news”, and we should demand this, on the basis of Mr. Assange, being accused, much less, imprisoned. I write every day to the president, congress, regarding the war crimes, because they embarrass me, as a professional Marine, and remind me of the lies I was fed, to engage as I did.
    I’m well educated, very well read, and you are dead on target, anyone can be fooled, but those who won’t “look again” deserve any “ease in adjusting to the truth”, I’ve spent decades, trying to get my parents, now gone, and my two sisters, to believe the Clintons are the worst of criminals, and have long given up trying to convince my sisters, “government is our personal enemy”, “democracy” was never our way, and is the reason we are such a fucked up country, not even a “nation” having discarded any “common cultural foundation”. I suspect you are among the most prolific agitators with regard to Julian Assange, and I give kudos for the job you are so ably doing.
    We have many differences in beliefs, but such should never interfere with justice, right, wrong, and “LIARS”.
    God Bless you and your work,
    John McClain
    GySgt, USMC, ret.
    Vanceboro, NC

  • It is fascinating that Trump has approved of doubling down going after Assange, while he himself protests being a victim of National Security State bad actions. I don’t understand it, other than Trump not wanting leaks made about bad USA actions during his watch. Of which there are certain to be plenty.

    • I think you have understood it, Glider.
      Trump can be understood only in terms of being in thrall to his imaginary self-importance.
      He has an endless need for reassurance because he has abandoned decency, as if it were a burden instead of an ingredient of sanity. The slightest hint of his emptiness causes him pain.
      What amazes me about Trump is his resilience to exposure. Most people as conflicted as him would break down, but Trump goes on as if there was no deception at all. This suoerhuman resilience raises the question of whether he is receiving supernatural support from a demon or the mudShadows.

  • Very well said, Caitlin. Such a vital issue to keep in our minds, our hearts and our connections with like minded souls and the universe. Justice, So be it.

  • What Julian has done, and is doing, is one of the most honorable and courageous things that I have ever seen. When he had his ‘enough is enough’ moment, he made the right decision. He did everything that he possibly could, and made his stand.
    I honor this man.
    I pray for his freedom, as well.
    May truth and real justice prevail for him, and for us all.

  • The Trump Administration argues that the Australian Assange should be tried and convicted of espionage against a country of which he is not a citizen. At the same time the Trump Administration argues that the First Amendment does not apply to Assange because he is not an American citizen! So Assange is subject to US law when it comes to publishing information embarrassing to the US deep state but he is not subject to the law of the land – the US Constitution – which protects all journalists and is the backbone of our system of government. You can read this article here:
    http://ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2020/february/24/trump-s-betrayal-of-julian-assange/

  • Government of any kind is the ideal environment for sociopaths, and so, is saturated with them. To expect sane action from it is …. well, stupid. I too am outraged that a man is being tortured to death for exposing criminal acts, but what can one do? Vote for a different sociopath? The instant that government is given authority to do anything a private individual is prohibited from doing, is the instant that government becomes a tyrant. They have been given authority to commit crimes, and will do so vigorously. There is no cure for sociopaths, especially if they hold the power. Gang rape is democracy in action. We can govern ourselves, or be governed by monsters.

  • Aha, at last the ” owners and the masters ” plan of action.
    How to Know If America Is Your Enemy by Eric Zuesse!!
    Instead of international law being what the United Nations says it is, this “new map” theory says that international law in the “Non-Integrated Gap” countries should be what the United States Government says it is. Please read this eye opening article here:
    https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2020/02/24/how-to-know-if-america-is-your-enemy/

  • http://www.johndayblog.com/2020/02/communist-virus-for-president.html
    A lot of powerful flows are suddenly feeding into the year 2020, here in Exceptional America, the home-base of the New-World-Order.
    The NWO is getting long in the tooth, and the petrodollar has been ideologically threatened for decades by oil-producing countries like Iran, Iraq , Libya and Venezuela threatening to sell oil in some currency that is not the $US. Still, it’s still how the game is played, and all those countries have been made to suffer intensely for their attempts.
    China has posed an imperial threat with the New Silk Road plan, so now there is a “trade war”, which China is inconveniently losing, due to this lab virus that either got out of their bioweapons lab a few months after they obtained it, or was seeded near the lab by the sneaky NWO, to put them in their place.
    That epidemic is out of the bag now, and it is destroying China’s real, productive economy, the one that sends things at all levels of almost all production chains all over the world.
    How many things need just a few Chinese parts? What happens when those production lines stop?
    Fix global warming?
    Americans who lost their jobs to the NWO outsourcing to China are still out of jobs, or selling some meth to keep themselves supplied, but it’s a lousy life.
    Nobody is really putting a good alternative up for them this election year, except “Crazy Bernie”, who “Crazy Donald” would like to run against, but the Democratic Party deep pockets would sooner fold the party and go home than let Bernie Communist Sanders use their hard-earned (by somebody else) money to un-billionaire them.
    It’s survival-of-the-richest, after all.
    As far as the billionaire-class in the NWO sees, everybody needs to keep manning their battle stations and drive-through-service-windows while this storm from China blows over. China is breaking all the rules. It’s China’s fault. Communist China’s virus is going to break Communist China’s economy and will to steal American patents.
    Trust capitalism. Socialists are stupid, everybody knows that.
    That pervasive doctrine has sure worked well for the last 40 years or so, but the wheels are about to come off the American economy, too, since maximizing-shareholder-value required moving all those factories and jobs to China over the last 30 years. Without flows of goods and services, all those just-in-time efficiently coordinated global supply lines freeze, and those workers don’t get paid, and they are living paycheck to paycheck, so they don’t pay rent, utilities, can’t get groceries or gas, and so on, everywhere…
    Dividends stop. Stocks plummet. Shareholder value is minimized. Defaults, defaults, defaults.
    That’s OK, America has socialism-for-the-rich. Remember the bank bailout that Barack Obama MADE all those powerless elite bankers accept, even though they felt so small being made to do so?
    It’s socialism for deplorables that’s the existential threat to The American Way Of Life.
    We all know that.
    Americans Hate Socialism, right? We’ve said it a million times.

    So the stage is set. If the billionaire-class gets distracted by the implosion of their rent-collection on all the working parts of the global economy, and all those stupid young people, and Hispanics, and welfare-mothers keep actually voting, Bernie Communist Sanders will keep getting too many votes to deny. He’ll win on the first ballot at the Democratic convention, and the Democratic Party will get it’s life support withdrawn.
    POOF! No more Democratic Party. Bankrupt, so how can their candidate beat Donald Trump the Capitalist Evil Clown?
    How can anything happen at all? The election might have to be postponed this year due to circumstances beyond our control.
    Sanders will just keep promising free socialized Medicare for All, and food stamps for all, probably gasahol for all, free college, massive jobs program to put everybody to work.
    He runs his mouth like that day and night, and these kids and minorities and poor white trash are fool enough to believe it and vote for him.
    You see how this could turn out, right?
    They’ll be stringing you up and burning you alive if you let this happen. Your kids, too, maybe even in front of you.
    Anyway, Putin wants Sanders to run against Trump so he’s in total control of the whole situation.

  • The WikiLeaks revelations in 2010 and in 2016 are the present-day equivalent of the release by Daniel Ellsberg in 1971 of the Pentagon Papers, unmasking the true history of the US engagement in the Vietnam War. They are, in fact, of even greater significance because they are more wide-ranging and provide an entry point into the world as the US government really sees it.
    The disclosures were probably the greatest journalistic scoop in history, and newspapers such as The New York Times recognised this by the vast space they gave to the revelations. Corroboration of their importance has been grimly confirmed by the rage of the US security establishment and its overseas allies, and the furious determination with which they have pursued Assange, the co-founder of WikiLeaks. You can read this article here:
    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/53023.htm

    • The Pentagon Papers are more ignored than read. President Eisenhower war about the military industrial complex. That warning has been forgotten and ignored.

      What so few know is the Warren Commission members were all picked by LBJ. Even then we people knew their ‘conclusion’ was bogus. Again ignored.

      Believing the lies, continues the corruption that can only lead to the demise of the good necessary for people to live free.

  • Brava, Caitlin. Bravissima! Y siempre – viva Julian Assange – unos de los mejores del Mundo nuestro con coraje muy muy bueno!

  • The answer to your question is YES. Those who expose the truth should be punished by those in charge. It is reality and not wishful thinking. Watergate was not some wonderful investigative journalism. It was allowed by the powers to be to remove a person who had the audacity to stop the war effort. It was approved. The press is an arm of power. Always, then and now. Assange will be a martyr for his audacity. How dare he expose those in power. Such people are silenced. The more you expose the greater the sanction. Yes, he should be punished as far as power is concerned.

    • Why do you even bother? Or are you paid to write this guff.
      So, by your logic, we should all accept that war crimes are perfectly okay, and we should all look away.
      “those who expose the truth should be punished by those in charge”…. “how dare he expose those in power”
      Absolutely mind boggling.
      About the only correct thing you said was “the press is an arm of power”. It always has been.

      • No. I am saying power will always punish those who expose the truth and if you do not expect it you are engaging in wishful thinking. Those in power could care less about right or wrong.

        • Thanks for the clarification Khatika. We are ruled by complete blood drenched psychopaths.
          The politicians are there merely as window dressing and to provide the illusion we have a say in what goes on.

    • FACT!: Nixon brought an end to the war because congress refused to continue funding it. So shouldn’t “the powers to be” have brought down congress for such brazen egregiousness?

      • Your facts are a little askew. Congress stopped funding for bombing in Cambodia and also in 1970. They never withdrew funding for the war effort on Vietnam. Nixon policy was to train south vietnamese troops and draw down american troops as I said earlier.

        • Alright, I stand corrected. It was Ford rather than Nixon who brought the war to a close though that was 2 years after a “truce” was agreed to in 1973.

          However, during that 2 year interim congress was gradually defunding the war effort (in whatever form) with the eventual threat to Ford that the money would be cut off completely very soon. The threat was real and Ford and the pentagon knew it.

          https://historynewsnetwork.org/article/31400

  • I wonder if his legal team will have some embarrassing information to reveal during the hearing and was using the claim of a deal to provoke a response from Trump and to sound an oblique warning. There must have been a good reason for making the claim. Of course, this may just be wishful thinking on my part.

    No doubt the US has made lots of threats to the UK about what they’ll do to punish it if they don’t hand him over. It’s the usual bullying tactics we’ve come to expect from evil bastards in Washington.

    • Just ‘where are’ the evil bastards is the burning question. Washington is a house of puppets and petty scoundrels. The evil bastards are spread around the world in their mansions, on their yachts or jets, or in their offices. The only times many of them are together are at Bilderberg meetings and other such conferences of the greedy bunch. If China can build a hospital in 10 days it may also be possible to build a prison wall around the Bilderberg in a few days.

  • “The people are the only censors of their governors: and even their errors will tend to keep these to the true principles of their institution. To punish these errors too severely would be to suppress the only safeguard of the public liberty. The way to prevent these irregular interpositions of the people is to give them full information of their affairs thro’ the channel of the public papers, & to contrive that those papers should penetrate the whole mass of the people. The basis of our governments being the opinion of the people, the very first object should be to keep that right; and were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter. But I should mean that every man should receive those papers & be capable of reading them.” — Thomas Jefferson, 1987
    —————
    Note, in Jefferson’s time, there was nothing like the large corporations that control most of what people see as news. That is not what Jefferson was refering to. Instead, a 18th century newspaper was usually an individual with a printing press. More similar to blogs on the internet than corporate news.

  • Whole Earth Review / Spring, 1995
    Handy tips on how to behave at the death of the world
    by Anne Herbert
    “Color outside the lines. Practice random kindness and senseless acts of beauty. This is your last chance.”
    http://archive.is/20120715140307/findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1510/is_n85/ai_16816244
    + Bertrand Russell’s not entirely crazy dream of ending war via logic
    By Robert Wright, Feb 22 2020
    https://nonzero.org/post/bertrand-russell-war-logic

  • #FreeJulianAssange Thank you for your speech, and for always going above and beyond, Caitlan Johnstone.
    If am a nobody, and I know the truth about Julian Assange, then those in places of power must have been blinded willfully. I can only hope imorality hasn’t reached everyone.
    When so-called criminals in Belmarsh got Assange some liberation, that was a hopeful time.
    It was powerful when Nils Melzer himself stated how he awoke. The immoral corruptness foisted on him and so many others can be their tool, I hope, and soon. Melzer’s example can show the way; he is going all over trying to make a big difference, a real impact.

  • One of the tenets of the British legal system is that justice should not be delayed. It’s unacceptable that Assange has been imprisoned for so long. However, it is alleged that he illegally obtained data from classified US government systems, so the question should not be whether he has the right to expose war crimes, but does he have the right to break into someone else’s secure, classified systems to obtain any data?

    In most countries it’s an offence to steal data from a classified government system. If that’s what Assange has done, then he should be charged promptly and have the case determined promptly.

    Justice delayed is justice denied.

    Should the Australian Government help someone to avoid answering offences committed in a foreign country? To do so aids and abets those offences. What the government should do is ensure that Australian citizens in custody elsewhere are treated decently and that their cases are dispensed with promptly.

    So in Mr Assange’s case, if the law has been broken, he should be brought to justice.

    • Those who have broken international law(s) countless times should be brought to justice first and foremost. I’m talking about the Pentagon and anyone in the military who perpetrated unlawful war, the last THREE presidents and their advisors, and a cowardly, complicit congress. No doubt in my mind that every single one of those cowards would cringe in total fear and bleat out what the Nazis did during the war crimes trial: “Butbutbut!…. I was only following orders!”

    • Alleged, not proven! Alleged that he received ‘stolen goods’, not that he did the stealing himself. He didn’t break into any systems. Somebody else did that.

      It’s the classic whistle blower’s dilemma, and the journalist’s problem of protecting sources of information that may have committed a crime – BUT are providing information about CRIMES committed by governments.

      One of the tenets of the British legal system is innocence until proven guilty. He is neither proven guilty nor being treated as innocent.

      • Receiving stolen goods is an offence. As a person who knows (presumably) someone else who broke into a system and gave him data, he’s a principal offender.

        Why should journalists be given legal exemptions that don’t apply to everyone else ?

        True, he is innocent until proven guilty. At present, isn’t it true that extradition applications have been made to extradite him to the US? That’s a legal process and if a prima facie case is presented to the UK legal system that he has committed an offence, they can approve extradition.

        What pisses me off is that it has taken so long, although Mr Assange did hide in the Ecauadorian Embassy for several years to avoid prosecution, thus delaying matters which also included allegations of rape that were apparently withdrawn.

        • Troll!

          • So anything truthful that doesn’t fit your view of reality creates a troll.

            Maybe you need to get a brain Jim and perhaps study law.

            • But you aren’t being “truthful.” The U.S. and UK have a treaty that no political prisoner can be extradited. Julian’s is a political issue if ever there was one. His deeply held political belief is that the populace should know what their government is doing in their name. Julian’s source gave him the “stolen” information because her conscience deeply bothered her. Julian protected his source and he published the information. That’s not a crime. Was Watergate a crime? Uh huh. Was the man who exposed the wrongdoing committing a crime? Not at all. You need to get some very important priorities straight, sir.

        • Troll!

    • Government officials perpetrate all kinds of evil under the guise of information security classification, and acting on behalf of psychopaths who rule the world. Specific government information classified as secret should be given to an independent commission for punitive action, not the lawmakers, whenever someone discovers that secrecy was the cover for doing evil and the Law is wrong if it does not support that!!!

      • Unfortunately, we don’t live in a perfect world. I’m not sure what you perceive of as being “all kinds of evil”, but classified information prevents countries from being exploited, intelligence agents from being eliminated, and such things as terrorist attacks on innocent people.

        • Why are you on this thread if it so activates your warmongering spite and misinformation?

          • So you only want commentary that supports your view of everything?

            Where is the spite and misinformation?

            Do you have any constructive, intelligent commentary to make Jim?

            • you’re lying. he didnt receive stolen goods, he practiced journalism exposing war crimes. the information about war crimes belongs to the citizens, not the war criminals.

              • You have to admit it is an interesting take on the situation. If information is not property why do we have copyright laws. Just a thought.

    • Robin wrote:
      > does he have the right to break into someone else’s secure, classified systems to obtain any data?
      .
      That didn’t happen. WikiLeaks is about leaks, not about hacks at all. Tribunals in both the UK (Judge Bartlett, London, December 12, 2017) and the US (Judge Koeltl, New York, July 30, 2019) have already recognized WikiLeaks as a media organization that, as many other media organizations such as The New York Times, publishes information leaked by whistleblowers. That is to say, leaks from insiders with legal access to the information who feel the duty to uncover crimes and corruption.
      .
      WikiLeaks is formed by investigative journalists, editors, and publishers who protect whistleblowers. The current editor-in-chief of WikiLeaks is the well-known investigative journalist Kristinn Hrafnsson. The publisher of WikiLeaks is still investigative journalist Julian Assange.
      .
      Robin wrote:
      > So in Mr Assange’s case, if the law has been broken, he should be brought to justice.
      .
      The law has been not broken, excepting by those persecuting investigative journalist and publisher Julian Assange, who is the one defending the law here, while some in government positions are those breaking the law.
      .
      For example:
      .
      “Julian Assange’s indictment aims at the heart of the First Amendment.”
      — The New York Times Editorial Board, May 23, 2019
      .
      https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/23/opinion/julian-assange-wikileaks.html
      .
      “Now, the Trump DOJ has indicted . . . in direct defiance of a Supreme Court decision that ruled against this during the Nixon years. . . . In a landmark decision, known as the Pentagon Papers case, the Supreme Court ruled that a publisher may reveal whatever materials come into the publisher’s possession, no matter how they got there, so long as the materials are themselves material to the public interest.”
      — Judge Andrew P. Napolitano, May 30, 2019
      .
      https://www.foxnews.com/opinion/judge-andrew-napolitano-what-happened-to-the-freedom-of-speech
      .
      “. . . the First Amendment interest in the publication of matters of the highest public concern. . . . This type of information is plainly of the type entitled to the strongest protection that the First Amendment offers. . . . the documents were of public importance. Therefore, the First Amendment protects the publication . . .”
      — Judge John G. Koeltl, July 30, 2019
      .
      https://defend.wikileaks.org/2019/08/03/dnc-lawsuit-dismissed/
      .
      “The publication of classified documents is not a crime in the United States, but if Assange is extradited and convicted it will become one. . . . The extradition and trial of Assange will mean the end of public investigations by the press into the crimes of the ruling elites. It will cement into place a frightening corporate tyranny. . . . This is the gravest assault on press freedom in my lifetime.”
      — Chris Hedges, award-winning journalist, June 17, 2019
      .
      https://www.truthdig.com/articles/the-coming-show-trial-of-julian-assange/
      .
      “The only person who’s abided by the law the entire time this epic tragedy has now lasted has been Julian Assange . . . What Assange practiced when he published ‘US war files’ is called journalism. Which thank god is perfectly legal. Much of what those files reveal is not. What he did when he allegedly ‘skipped bail’ in the UK is called requesting asylum. Also perfectly legal, a basic human right. He never broke a law.”
      — Raúl Ilargi Meijer, editor, October 23, 2019
      .
      https://www.zerohedge.com/political/assange-only-one-abide-law
      .
      “In the end it finally dawned on me that I had been blinded by propaganda, and that Assange had been systematically slandered to divert attention from the crimes he exposed. . . . And thus, a legal precedent is being set, through the backdoor of our own complacency, which in the future can and will be applied just as well to disclosures by The Guardian, the New York Times and ABC News.”
      — Nils Melzer, United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture, June 26, 2019
      .
      https://medium.com/@njmelzer/demasking-the-torture-of-julian-assange-b252ffdcb768

    • This comment presumes that Caitlin’s information and reasoning is wholly incorrect, despite the known abnormalities about the official behaviour of 4 different nations.
      Hence it is a wholly unbalanced view, and considering the context, a view published here with the calculated intent of annoying individuals who think that truthfulness is more decent and healthy than blind punitive application of legal options.
      Journalists sometimes decide that it is for the greater good to make use of information from dubious sources. Julian Assange has heroically acted consistent with his mission statement and ethics, something which Robin the Fattie denies by omission.
      Wikileaks published knowing that he risks the vindictiveness of a nation with a history of assassinating political dissenters. Civil disobedience is not the same as criminal intent, but Robin the closet dweller ignores this distinction, as if it does not exist.

    • This of course requires the assumption that any such gang of Sociopaths In Charge has any moral authority to keep anything from public view. A dubious assumption at best, especially considering that which was exposed was a criminal act in itself. The advantage the gang gains by concealing any of its insane acts is inferior to the right of their tax slaves to know what is being done in their name. Given the authority to conceal any act it pleases insures that the most criminal acts will be those of the Sociopaths In Charge, which is obvious given that governments only excel at one thing, killing people. Your assumption that “government” has some sort of moral authority is misplaced at best, and delusional at worst.

    • Committed war crimes, by any objective measure, are exponentially more serious than the “crime” of exposing them. Do you advocate for war criminals to be brought to justice? Do you even consider they’ve committed war crimes? If not, why not? If you DO believe war crimes have been committed by the amerikan military and government, do you think there’s any realistic chance the war criminals will be brought to trial? I’m not foolish enough to wager a penny to win a billion dollars that they will.

      • My post is directed to Robin.

  • Caitlin has, as always, used the most clear, persuasive logic, that I think I have ever read concerning
    Julian. It is up to each and everyone of us to DO SOMETHING TO HELP WIN THIS FIGHT FOR JULIAN
    AND, BY EXTENSION, OURSELVES……………………..I, for one, am trying flood social media, with Caitlin’s
    powerful logic and pray all of you will do the same.

  • Julian Assange is a hero and Caitlin is right to applaud him and criticize those who arrested, maligned and mistreated him, from the psychopaths who control the world from behind the scenes to the officials who carry out their orders. Protest actions are good and admirable but besides bringing attention to evils in our society, protests do not cause psychopaths to change their minds. The truth we hate to admit is that protestors and dissidents are relatively complacent in their circumstances and inadvertently (usually indirectly) support the status quo which they so aggressively criticize.

  • Caitlin, I cried when I read your fine speech in support of Julian Assange. Wish I could have been there . Instead I’m back in my native Sweden, the despicable, rotten arsehole of a country whose false accusations and incessant smear campaigns have done most of the damage to this brilliant and courageous man, innocent of any crime. You mention his name here and people either cringe in shame or become defensive or abusive calling him a creep and a rapist, It’s terrifying, And even more terrifying to think of Assange tomorrow, facing this wall of hostility in a claustrophobic courtroom ruled by vindictiveness and evil, rather than being met with the dignity and justice he deserves.

  • The written laws, the rules, even the United States Constitution have all been swept aside by our ” owners and masters ” who will do anything and everything that they damn well please to do to anybody on this earth. That is what they have always been about. Mr. Julian Assange is just another ” target ” to them to make an example out of. My entire government belongs in prison; not Julian Assange.

    • Well said, sir!

  • Assange is not being persecuted for revealing war crimes. He is being persecuted for revealing the imminent publlication of financial crimes. Timing is telling. On Nov. 29, 2010 an interview with Assange was published in Forbes. In the interview he revealed that WikiLeaks had a trove of documents including the hard drive of the CEO of a major bank. Time Magazine speculated BofA. Int the interview he expressed the opinion that the documents would result in the failure of one or two major banks.and that the documents would be released in early 2011. In Aug. 2010 WikiLeaks had released some documents from an Iceland bank that actually resulted in some execs going to jail.
    Two days after the interview was published on Dec. 1, 2010 Amazon kicked WikiLeaks off its hosting service. On Dec. 2 PayPal discontinued service to WikiLeaks. On Dec 3 Mastercard, Visa, American Express and Western Union discontinued service. While on bail in England he was interviewed by 60 Minutes. The only time he seemed nervous was when Steve Kroft asked about those documents and visibly flustered he declined to say anything. Later he was at a public speaking or discussion that I saw on either LinkTV or FreeSpeechTV. A person from the audience asked about the documents that had not yet been released. Assange’s response was that he was not at liberty to discuss that but that the audience could imagine the reason. I imagine he and family were threatened and his response was that if anything whatsoever happened the documents would be released. Stalemate.
    Timing is telling at the end also. On the hour that Assange was ejected from the Ecuadorina embassy, the IMF released a $4.5 billion loan to Ecuador. By the time Assange was ejected the Statute of Limitations on financial crimes had expired. The guilty parties were now immune from prosecution. So many curious coincidences are very suspicious.

    • Thanks. Very good detective work. Much appreciated.

    • Do you have any links to additional information related to this? If so, could you please share them with us? Thank you.

      • The Real Crime of Julian Assange – Copy.pdf
        I hope you can open this. It has links to several articles. I am semi computer literate. I apologize. If this does not work perhaps you can suggest something.

        • Thank you for your effort. Regrettably, three was nothing in your reply that I could access.? Do you have a link to your source material? You could cut-paste that link in your reply. No worries if this does not work; I’m grateful for your help and your reply. Thank you.

  • They are not getting him! And that is that.

  • No journalists should not be punished for doing their jobs especially when reporting injustices to individuals or the public good

    • Would you feel the same if a journalist wrote a story about how you had been having an extramarital affair, or blowing the lid if you were a homosexual and didn’t want to come out?

      If they breached your privacy and found a porn video you had made with someone else (and presuming you were important enough for anyone to care) would you feel the same?

      Everything we do has consequences for us and others.

      • “There should be transparency of governments and there should be privacy for individuals.”
        — Julian Assange, May 29, 2015
        .
        https://geopolitics.co/2015/05/31/transparency-for-governments-and-privacy-for-individuals/
        .
        “Transparency for the state. Privacy for the rest of us.”
        — Julian Assange, January 17, 2013
        .
        https://bitnik.org/public/ASSANGE/2013/01/17/20130117185738.jpg

      • For gods sakes…. We’re talking about war crimes here. Innocent people slaughtered, Including journalists and children. Do you know what was done to Fallujah? Do you know about the depleted uranium?
        Do you know about the sheer carnage and blockade in Yemen.
        I could list many other examples like 500000 children dead in Iraq because of sanctions. Madeline Albrighton thought it was worth it. Or 9 year old children shot in the head in Palestine.
        So we should all just ignore the vast crimes committed by the American Empire?

      • It is a crime to classify material to hide a crime. What Assange published was not properly classified.

        A few days ago a conservative fellow former prosecutor who was in charge of extradition in her very large office told me that Assange could not be extradited because, under present law (likely the treaty involved) you cannot extradite anyone for political crimes. I think she is right on the law and a little naive when it comes to what is going on – the wholesale illegality of the entire witchhunt going on against Assange participated in by 4 governments – the U.S. and its 3 bi…es.

        In the meantime, so you have something to divert attention from this simple matter of law and the wholesale illegality shown line by line by Nils Melzer,, I offer you something else you can pick on.

        There are many bad laws that should not be obeyed and that includes the law the espionage charge is based on, an artifact from a time after WWI when Palmer and his gang of criminals went after “terrible” human beings like Eugene V. Debs. One flaw is in not allowing the defense of acting in behalf of the public good.

      • I am not one of the Sociopaths In Charge. Government is not a person. It is a a gang of sociopaths that steals the property of its subjects at gun point. To suggest that such a gang has any rights at all is absurd. They deserve the absolutely closest scrutiny. If I were to steal someone’s property at gunpoint, I would expect no privacy at all if I was caught. Equating a private persons right to privacy to that of a criminal enterprise is absurd.

      • Alan Ross wrote:
        > It is a crime to classify material to hide a crime. What Assange published was not properly classified.
        .
        You’re right:
        .
        “Classified National Security Information
        “Sec. 1.7. Classification Prohibitions and Limitations.
        “(a) In no case shall information be classified, continue to be maintained as classified, or fail to be declassified in order to:
        “(1) conceal violations of law, inefficiency, or administrative error;
        “(2) prevent embarrassment to a person, organization, or agency; . . .”
        — U.S. Executive Order 13526, December 29, 2009
        https://www.archives.gov/isoo/policy-documents/cnsi-eo.html
        .
        ———
        .
        Alan Ross wrote:
        > A few days ago a conservative fellow former prosecutor who was in charge of extradition in her very large office told me that Assange could not be extradited because, under present law (likely the treaty involved) you cannot extradite anyone for political crimes.
        .
        She’s right. Even before the espionage charges, they were already saying:
        .
        “There’s a extradition treaty that entered into force during the Bush administration. It’s been in effect for about 10 years. And it defines the crimes for which individuals can be extradited from the U.S. or from the U.K. And it says that an individual may not be extradited for a political offense, but that’s not defined. But historically, under international law, a political offense is an offense against the state such as espionage or sedition or treason.”
        — John Bellinger, former State Department legal adviser, April 14, 2019
        https://www.npr.org/2019/04/14/713304653/can-julian-assange-legally-be-extradited-to-the-u-s
        .
        ———
        .
        Alan Ross wrote:
        > There are many bad laws that should not be obeyed and that includes the law the espionage charge is based on, an artifact from a time after WWI when Palmer and his gang of criminals went after “terrible” human beings like Eugene V. Debs. One flaw is in not allowing the defense of acting in behalf of the public good.
        .
        Yes, many think that the Espionage Act should be reformed because it’s unconstitutional when used against the First Amendment:
        .
        “Journalists have never been successfully prosecuted”
        .
        WikiLeaks and the Espionage Act of 1917 — The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press
        https://www.rcfp.org/journals/wikileaks-and-espionage-act-1917/

        • Thank you!

      • Do obvious war crimes have consequences?! If so, I’ve yet to see any!

  • Well said and done. I was at the rally, Friday and appreciate the time effort and intelligence you offered about this appalling injustice.

    As a sidelight, I am disturbed by the incredible, almost world-wide, media blackout of this issue. How is it that so many journos have been gagged; can’t they see the inevitable outcome of this destruction of law and its domino effect? Sad and pathetic!

    Also, my little campaign against Instargram for their censorship and restrictions of Assange-related posts has meant that account has been severely curtailed. This is the end of free speech; fascist control is now overt.

    Let me know if I can help in some way, jw

  • I shall be deeply ashamed of the British judge(s) if Assange is extradited. (Note – a British court sentenced Lord Haw Haw to death for treason illegally as he was an American not British so could not be charged for treason. The court wangled the evidence saying he was British on the strength of Haw Haw obtaining a British passport before the war by deception which did not make him British of course)

  • Is anyone hearing criticism of the apparent tactic of Julian’s legal team in bringing up the ‘deal’ Trump was said to have offered Julian which has been denied by both Trump and Rorabacher and which Rorabacher never actually said in the first place in 2017?

    I’ve heard from commenters who know a thing or two about the law that it’s a dumb defence which the court will throw out, and that they should be arguing against extradition on legal grounds, human rights grounds, and so much else. I’ve been concerned for a while that nothing seemed to be happening for Julian and then when the Belmarsh crims got his conditions improved which his legal team hadn’t I wondered even more. Very concerning.

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