That's Joe Lauria (Consortium News) detailing the latest on the persecution of Julian Assange. The trial continues and Lauria releases a video each day of the trial updating us on what has taken place.
Thomas Scripps is also covering the trial (for WSWS) and he reports (of Wednesday's day in court, not today's):
Daniel Ellsberg gave powerful testimony to the Julian Assange extradition hearing yesterday, speaking via videolink to London’s Old Bailey. Ellsberg’s release of the top-secret Pentagon Papers in 1971 exposed the US government’s lies and criminality in the Vietnam War.
Speaking on the significance of the WikiLeaks releases, Ellsberg said, “It was clear to me that these revelations, like the Pentagon papers, had the capability of informing the public that they had been seriously misled about the nature of the [Iraq and Afghan] war[s], the progress of the war, the likelihood that it would be ended successfully or at all, and that this was information of the highest importance to the American public.”
Characterising the wars that WikiLeaks exposed, Ellsberg explained, “The Iraq war was clearly recognisable, even to a layman, as a crime against the peace, as an aggressive war.”
WSWS: You wrote an article in the Sydney Morning Herald (SMH) last week headlined “Assange makes his way to date with destiny he always predicted.” Could you elaborate on this? What is the significance of Assange’s warnings coming to pass for all of the slanders that have been used to undermine public support for him, such as the abandoned Swedish investigation and the claims that he somehow worked on behalf of Russia?
Andrew Fowler: Assange believed right from the first time he was accused of sex crimes by the Swedish prosecuting service that the attempts to extradite him to Sweden were part of a plan to take him to the US. Though it is often argued that it is just as easy to extradite from the UK to the US, there is evidence that Sweden is extremely compliant to illegal actions by the US on its soil.
For example, there is no publicly available evidence that the UK government allows the CIA to snatch people off the street in the UK. But that’s exactly what happened to two asylum seekers, who had been granted residency in Sweden. They were whisked off to Egypt and were tortured. After a UN investigation the Swedish government paid them compensation.
WSWS: As a journalist who has covered Assange for over a decade, could you comment on what you expected when this began in 2010, whether you thought it would end up like this, and what has surprised/shocked you over the past ten years?
AF: I always thought it would be tough going, even in the halcyon days when Assange was pointing to a new way for journalism to flourish in the then burgeoning internet age. WikiLeaks was a counterweight to the rising intrusiveness of the surveillance state. It would be expected that the US—the sole superpower—in particular would try to smear his name.
What at times was disheartening was to witness the relish with which journalists, who had previously greeted him as with open arms, turned on him. Many of these journalists saw themselves as part of the ruling elite, not representatives of the voiceless, the unrepresented in society.
WSWS: What were your impressions of the first week of hearings? They seemed to confirm the characterisation of the proceedings as a lawless show-trial.
AF: A lawless show-trial might be taking it a bit far, but there is a pattern forming. Assange is sitting in a glass cage between two burly guards. It is difficult for him to brief his lawyers. Applications for him to sit in the body of the court have been refused. When the US introduced superseding indictments which totally changed the flavour of the allegations against Assange, the judge could have refused to accept them. She didn’t, even though they were late being filed.
The hearing is shambolic. Witnesses being interviewed online can’t hear the lawyers who are questioning them and at times don’t have the documents they are being questioned about. Then there’s the question of access to what is a hearing of immense public interest and importance. Only journalists are given access to the online streaming of the hearing. Members of the public and human rights organisations are barred.
The attempt by the State to control information is at the heart of the charges against Assange. Its physical manifestation is there every day in the court.
Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"
Thursday, September 17, 2020. Do #OTHERLIVESMATTER! or only the lives of Americans? Interesting question considering a new story in the news.
Starting in the US, Savannah Bermann (USA TODAY) reports:
Federal police asked the National Guard whether they had a “heat ray” officers could use against protesters gathered near the White House earlier this summer,according to a letter sent to Congress from a senior officer involved with responding to the protest.
The inquiry for these tools came just hours before demonstrators protesting on the evening of June 1, following the death of George Floyd, were forcibly removed from the Lafayette Square in Washington D.C. by authorities, some on horseback, using chemical irritants, rubber bullets and shields.
President Donald Trump then walked with members of his administration to historic St. John's Church, and posed with a Bible, drawing wide condemnation.
In written responses to the House Committee on Natural Resources, which were obtained and shared by NPR, D.C. National Guard Maj. Adam DeMarco said he was copied on an email from the Provost Marshal of Joint Force Headquarters National Capital Region who was seeking two things: A device called the Active Denial System, or ADS and a Long-Range Acoustic Device, also known as the LRAD.
ADS is a weapon designed by the military that uses short radio waves that "provides a sensation of intense heat on the surface of the skin,” according to the written statements. This causes an intense burning feeling, leading to the tool also being called a "heat ray" or the "Pain Ray."
“The technology, also called a ‘heat ray,’ was developed to disperse large crowds in the early 2000s but was shelved amid concerns about its effectiveness, safety and the ethics of using it on human beings,” the Washington Post reports. “Pentagon officials were reluctant to use the device in Iraq. In late 2018, the New York Times reported, the Trump administration had weighed using the device on migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border—an idea shot down by Kirstjen Nielsen, then the Homeland Security secretary, citing humanitarian concerns.”
The technology should not be used. If you're a pompous drama queen prone to hiding behind what you did in Iraq, you might want to check yourself -- especially if you're screaming your head off in a video calling for people to be killed. Just sit your ass down, princess, you've got nothing to proud of if you're video and your Tweet is all about how this should never be used on Americans.
#OTHERLIVESMATTER. There were many reports in the early stages of the Iraq War of this very weapon being used in Iraq. So don't hide behind your "I was in Iraq and I wasn't in Iraq so these weapons could be used on Americans! You don't look brave, you look like a thug. Because really bad weapons were used on Iraqis. Depleted Uranium was used on the Iraqi people. It's why birth defects skyrocketed in the country.
There is no justification for that. And fourteen-year-old boys -- or twelve-year-olds who look fourteen -- are not terrorists and should not be hunted as if they were or not allowed to leave Falluja, kept there to be killed and executed by the US military.
That's what happened and I'm not in the mood for your sudden concern over weapons now that they might be used on Americans.
I'm also not interested in, Princess Vet, your use of this for partisan b.s. At this point, the issue appears to be it having been raised, the use of it having been raised. It does not appear to have been used.
It should not have been raised and there should be a loud rebuke -- but not threats of shooting people over this, Princess Vet, calm down -- so that the message is clear that we do not use this technology on humans (I'm not painting an X on the backs of all animals, I'm just focusing on humans). And that's here, that's in Iraq, that's anywhere.
We need to be very clear on this.
We also need a few details. That would include who was in on the discussion. Was the White House party to it? Was Donald Trump aware?
It's really easy to scream and yell into a video like a lunatic with the hopes that you're going to turn out the votes for Joe Biden. But that's not reality. And Joe's Barack's roll dog so some of this outrage on his behalf is a bit much -- Barack remains King of the Drone War. And he did use them on US citizens.
The notion of using weapons -- of any kind -- on peaceful protesters is disgusting.
And yet, Princess Vet, that has happened for almost a full year now in Iraq and you're so quick to manly man your service in Iraq but you're not very quick to defend the Iraqi people.
Oh, right, the illegal war was never about defending the Iraqi people or making their lives better.
Your hypocrisy and much more is showing.
What appears to be not in dispute at this time: Early in the Trump presidency, these weapons were tossed out for possible use on immigrants crossing the border and then-Homeland Security Secretary Nielsen shot down the idea. This summer, the use of the weapons were again raised. Judging by the written document submitted, they were not used. That needs further examination and Congress should pursue the matter in public hearings.
Efforts to attach this to a person without evidence is not a good idea. And it doesn't help the situation. No matter how much a man like Princess Vet screams in a selfie video, it doesn't help anyone.
We actually had an editorial on this ready to go at THIRD -- on Princess Vet -- and the ones who wrote it didn't know about the above. They just tried to stream his video and they noted in the editorial (we didn't publish it) that whatever Princess Vet's message was, he wasn't going to persuade anyone because his presentation was so off putting and because his 'answer' was to call for the deaths of people. It is a grotesque and embarrassing video and a sign that maybe Princess Vet needs some mental help and maybe there needs to be courses before you return to civilian life encouraging to grasp that shoot-and-kill may work in the military but it is not the answer to every political issue.
I'm being nice and not naming Princess Vet. I won't be nice about Keith Boykin who Tweeted:
Donald Trump did that, did he? Because that's a fact not in THE WASHINGTON POST article you link to. I'd think whoring would get old. I'd think people would say, "Wait, let me deal with what we know. This is a very serious issue and I want to deal with the facts." Not Keith. It's not about what was 'tried,' it's just about partisan bulls**t.
I'd also be very careful about claiming it wasn't used in Falluja. I remember when Scott Shane got nasty about what weapons were used in Iraq at THE NEW YORK TIMES and then, woops, he had to follow up with an article admitting White Phosphorus was used. I'd be very careful about claims from the Pentagon about what they used in Iraq and what they didn't use because they have been repeatedly caught denying this or that use only for it to be exposed that this or that was used.
In other news, NBC NEWS Tweets about Jon Stewart:
Here's THE NEWSHOUR (PBS) reporting on Jon:
The burnpits issue is one we've long covered. And Congress has done damn little. It's amazing that we set through a hearing -- and reported on it -- where a US Senator had the nerve to insult Vietnam veterans -- he was one himself -- and state his opposition to the Agent Orange registry.
Centrist Dems are liars and whores. That's why Jim Webb did not seek re-election. He was the US senator at that hearing. And you damn well better believe veterans groups knew what he did and knew what he said. That's why he didn't seek re-election. Yet when he tried to throw his hat in the race for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination in 2016, centrist Dems were gushing over him like he was someone to look up to. No.
BURNPIT360 remains the strongest resource for the burnpit issue.
That's Alicia Keys' "Brand New Me" (the live version from the live album VH1 STORYTELLERS). As Betty noted in "Alicia Keys" earlier this week, Alicia's latest album (ALICIA) drops tomorrow. It's her follow up to 2016's HERE. On Tuesday, community members noted their favorite Alicia songs: Betty went with "Try Sleeping With A Broken Heart," Kat went with "In Common," Mike went with "Another Way To Die," Marcia went with "If I Ain't Got You," Elaine went with "Holy War," Ruth picked "A Woman's Worth," Rebecca chose "fallin'," Ann offered two choices "Girl On Fire and . . .," Stan selected "Queen of the Field" and Trina went with "Underdog." Betty picked my personal favorite but I do really love "Brand New Me." (Just realized no one chose "No One." I would've thought that would have been someone's pick.) So, tomorrow, new album from Alicia Keys.
New content at THIRD:
- Truest statement of the week
- Truest statement of the week II
- A note to our readers
- Editorial: The targeting of Iraqi activists gets s...
- TV: Media notes
- A Green view (Jess)
- The Covid 15 (Dona)
- John Bolton faces charges
- Jim's World
- Tweet of the week
- #TheJimmyDoreShow New York Times' Paul Krugman is ...
- This edition's playlist
- Dr. Jo Jorgensen (Libertarian Candidate) in Meridi...
- Ask Howie & Angela #24
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