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Media avoids covering the Assange extradition – despite it being the media “trial of the century”

Julian Assange: Press Shows Little Interest in Media ‘Trial of Century’, ALAN MACLEOD   25 Sept 20,

Labeled the media “trial of the century,” WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s extradition hearing is currently taking place in London—although you might not have heard if you’re relying solely on corporate media for news. If extradited, Assange faces 175 years in a Colorado supermax prison, often described as a “black site” on US soil.

The United States government is asking Britain to send the Australian publisher to the US to face charges under the 1917 Espionage Act.  He is accused of aiding and encouraging Chelsea Manning to hack a US government computer in order to publish hundreds of thousands of documents detailing American war crimes, particularly in Afghanistan and Iraq. The extradition, widely viewed as politically motivated, has profound consequences for journalists worldwide, as the ruling could effectively criminalize the possession of leaked documents, which are an indispensable part of investigative reporting.

WikiLeaks has entered into partnership with five high-profile outlets around the world: the New York TimesGuardian (UK), Le Monde (France), Der Spiegel (Germany) and El País (Spain). Yet those publications have provided relatively little coverage of the hearing.

Since the hearing began on September 7, the Times, for instance, has published only two bland news articles (9/7/209/16/20)—one of them purely about the technical difficulties in the courtroom—along with a short rehosted AP video (9/7/20). There have been no editorials and no commentary on what the case means for journalism. The Times also appears to be distancing itself from Assange, with neither article noting that it was one of WikiLeaks’ five major partners in leaking information that became known as the CableGate scandal.

The Guardian, whose headquarters are less than two miles from the Old Bailey courthouse where Assange’s hearing is being held, fared slightly better in terms of quantity, publishing eight articles since September 7.However, perhaps the most notable content came from columnist Hadley Freedman (9/9/20).

When asked in an advice article: “We live in a time of so much insecurity. But is there anything we can expect from this increasingly ominous-looking winter with any certainty?” she went on a bizarre tangential rant ridiculing the idea that Assange’s trial could possibly be “politicized,” also crassly brushing off the idea that his young children would never see their father again, and never answering anything like the question she was asked. Holding people to account “for a mess they could have avoided,” she notes, “is not ‘weaponizing’ anything — it is just asking them to do their jobs properly.” She also claimed that believing Assange’s trial was politicized was as ridiculous as thinking antisemitism claims were cynically weaponized against Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, which, she meant to suggest, was a preposterous idea. This was not an off-the-cuff remark transcribed and published, but a written piece that somehow made it past at least one editor.

Like the Times, the Guardian appeared to be hoping to let people forget the fact it built its worldwide brand off its partnership with WikiLeaks; it was only mentioned in a forthright op-ed by former Brazilian president Lula da Silva (9/21/20), an outlier piece.

The Guardian should be taking a particularly keen role in the affair, seeing that two of its journalists are alleged by WikiLeaks to have recklessly and knowingly disclosed the password to an encrypted file containing a quarter-million unredacted WikiLeaks documents, allowing anyone—including every security agency in the world—to see an unredacted iteration of the leak. In 2018, the Guardian also falsely reported that Trump campaign chief Paul Manafort had conducted a meeting with Assange and unnamed “Russians” at the Ecuadorian embassy (FAIR.org12/3/18). And, as former employee Jonathan Cook noted, the newspaper is continually being cited by the prosecution inside the courtroom.

There were only two articles in the English or French versions of Le Monde (9/7/209/18/20) and only one in either of Der Spiegel’s English or German websites (9/7/20), although the German paper did at least acknowledge its own partnership with Assange. There was no coverage of the hearings in El País, in English or Spanish, though there was a piece (9/10/20) about the US government thwarting a Spanish investigation into the CIA spying on Assange at the Ecuadorian embassy in London—accompanied by a photo of a protester against his extradition.

The rest of corporate media showed as little interest in covering a defining moment in press freedom. There was nothing at all from CNNCBS’s two articles (9/7/209/22/20) were copied and pasted from news agencies AP and AFP, respectively. Meanwhile, the entire sum of MSNBC’s coverage amounted to one unclear sentence in a mini news roundup article (9/18/20).

Virtually every relevant human rights and press freedom organization is sounding the alarm about the incendiary precedent this case sets for the media. The Columbia Journalism Review (4/18/19), Human Rights Watch and the Electronic Frontier Foundation note that the government includes in its indictment regular journalistic procedures, such as protecting sources’ names and using encrypted files—meaning that this “hacking” charge could easily be extended to other journalists. Trevor Timm, founder of the Freedom of the Press Foundation, told the court this week that if the US prosecutes Assange, every journalist who has possessed a secret file can be criminalized. Thus, it essentially gives a carte blanche to those in power to prosecute whomever they want, whenever they want, even foreigners living halfway around the world.

The United Nations has condemned his persecution, with Amnesty International describing the case as a “full-scale assault on the right to freedom of expression.” Virtually every story of national significance includes secret or leaked material; they could all be in jeopardy under this new prosecutorial theory.

President Donald Trump has continually fanned the flames, demonizing the media as the “enemy of the people.” Already 26% of the country (including 43% of Republicans) believe the president should have the power to shut down outlets engaging in “bad behavior.” A successful Assange prosecution could be the legal spark for future anti-journalistic actions.

Yet the case has been met with indifference from the corporate press. Even as their house is burning down, media are insisting it is just the Northern Lights.

September 26, 2020 - Posted by | media, politics international, secrets,lies and civil liberties, UK

1 Comment »

  1. America is a rutted out polluted crap hole, where people have multiple chronic  conditions. Nuclear sacrifice zones, in the west.

    Hospital Icus in populated areas, ran  full till september  some are still full. They may run full again. People were put in nursing homes and died or, died in the streets w covid. Could have been prevented.  Many  navajo people  with covid . They are isolated and an underserved indiginous people smaller in number.

    Sweden did not do so well as some say . Many studies proving it. 20 times as many deaths as norway.
    America has a lousy healthcare system.  America  can barely be compared to other people. No one cared here. In the beginning, if people took steps it could be better.
    In japan and korea people wore masks and stayed home because ,THEY are homogenous, anal-retentive cultures.
    You can hardly compare new zealand and  nicaragua to america. Small populateions with better health care than the us.

    People do as they please in america. It shows.
    75 percent of americas west, had wildfires in the summer , aug sept , sending toxic and radioactive smoke across america , which has made respiratory disease worse.

    Covid is  not the flu or tuberculosis. It attacks the lungs, heart , immune system and brain in chronic intermediate and acutely critical cases. People show no antibodies, a month after they get covid, so herd immunity is not working.

    Sweden has a high morbidity rate w covid ie post covid sydromes that many people are showing. Sweden has a hi mortality rate for a small country, with a good medical system and, lower population. The reason for masks early on in bad epidemics, was because covid is easily transmitted and there are super spreaders. :Granted many people have mild  cases but, no one knows what Covid may do to future health in many cases and ,especially for hospitalized victims who survive.

    Almost 6000 dead in sweden now and, deaths are going up again in sweden.



    COVID ‘long haulers’ suffer symptoms weeks, months, Later
    September 20, 2020

    “DENVER (AP) — In the early hours of an April morning, at her home in Erie, Malea Anderson woke up with what felt like an explosion of ice water up her spine and into her head. She had a massive headache and tried to get out of bed to go to the bathroom, but her limbs wouldn’t cooperate. She feared she was having a stroke.” 1000 more words to story

    Herd immunitt is not working. They probly will not get a vaccine anytime soon because, of immune funtion disrupted by covid. Maybe never.

    vit d helps a lot in early stages
    important to get steroids early if in lungs like other inflam diseases like brain eating amoebas and encephalitis

    It is probably correct ,that it may be hard to make a vaccine for covid, but if they can, they should. Covid has been proven to cause heart damage lung damage and nero damage in patients young and old so it is not an ordinary sars or flu virus. It may even be like other viral and infectious syndromes, where chronic symptoms feom lung heart and nerve damage may  show much later . Such symptons are showing up earlier in significant numbers of covid survivors.

    Covid is more easily transmitted than many other viruses. Herd immunity does not work because, people lose antibodies for covid so quickly.  There are several studies proving these points. They are all there. I urge people to explore them.

    Vit c and vit d help for covid in the non serious stages. The cubans use interferon and sometime ribavarin which has been used for the RNA hepatitis C Virus. They have saved many lives of people in hospitals.
    Lungs and heart tissue are being eaten by covid in mre cases than they were before.  There are more people who have died or gotten sick than are said because they are poor have health access issues dont eat well or are homeless,. Covid is not like the flu in its late stages and it is not chronic in the sense of tuburculosis.

    HYDROXYCHLOROQUINE HAS BEEN SHOWN BY MULTIPLE RIGOROUS SWEDISH STUDIES TO NOT PREVENTING COVID FROM GETTING WORSE AND NOT AT ALL IN BAD CASES OF COVID EITHER. Hcq is  highly toxic if taken improperly or, if too high doses are taken. It can cause hearing loss, suicidal depression and heart blockage arrythmia.

    Ivermectin does help with covid.

    I have covid now It is a mild case so far.
    Three people in my city meetup, social gp have died from covid in a large metro area.
    Covis has aids like effects on t cells.  No antibodies show in many people a month and few months after infection. People have been reinfected w covid.
    My friends new born baby died from covid.

    There are anomolies w covid. Africa and nicaragua have had lower cases. Maybe because of some environmental factor, or genetic factor.

    There are many super spreaders of covid in industrialized countries

    I sure hope they figure some thing out soon.

    Comment by Tina Davis | September 28, 2020 | Reply

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