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Anthony Albanese has the power to save Julian Assange. But will he?

We’re all enormously relieved that the corrupt #ScottyFRomMarketing has gone.

And we like Albanese, I think.

But – will he have the guts to help our Australian hero, Julian Assange?

Albanese had the perfect opportunity in Tokyo on Tuesday, meeting the U.S. president. He could have raised the matter with Biden.. But he didn’t.

When will he? Will he speak up for Assange at all?

Now is the time for Australia to intervene, and to demand the repatriation of Julian and an end to his persecution. It’s about time our mealy-mouthed and pathetic media and politicians broke their silence and cringing subservience to the USA.

May 26, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, civil liberties, politics international | Leave a comment

Nuclear tragedy in the Marshall Islands

The Bulletin, By Sally Clark | May 25, 2022, We were innocent 21-year-olds entering an organization called the Peace Corps in 1969………..  Young, naive Americans, we knew little about the area, other than, perhaps, fleeting thoughts that we might find the remains of Amelia Earhart or artifacts from her plane there……….

Our naivete began to diminish when we were told the Atomic Energy Commission was coming to check out the health of the children and adults and of course to give out candy and show a dated movie. We asked questions and learned about the nuclear test over Bikini and the fallout coming down over a neighboring island, whose residents thought it was snow. We were told that the Marshallese ran outside, allowing the fallout to land on their skin, with some children putting it to their eyes. Luckily many residents sensed danger and ran to the ocean, saving themselves from a future road of at least some fallout ailments.

As we spent more time in the islands, little by little more detailed stories emerged—of still births, high cancer rates, and other radiation-related health issues. Islanders had been moved from Bikini before nuclear tests were conducted; some of the explosions were so great that one of the small islands simply vaporized, leaving a deep cavern. Many Marshallese had to endure being relocated from their blessed atoll to Kili, an island in the middle of the ocean with no lagoon.

Over the years, more and more people spoke out about such atrocities and such disregard for the Marshallese, who were actually called “savages” by a US paper in the 50’s. My heart wept as I learned more information about the scope of nuclear testing in the Marshalls.

Between 1946 and 1958, the Marshall Islands region was the site of the testing of nuclear weapons equivalent to the explosive power of 1.6 Hiroshima bombs every day for 12 years—67 in all at the Bikini and Enewetak atolls—a fact that is impossible for me to comprehend.

A resolution is now in front of the Congress asking the United States to prioritize nuclear justice in its negotiations with the Marshall Islands on an extended Compact of Free Association between the countries. The resolution recognizes that the United States nuclear testing program and radioactive waste disposal, including not just contaminated debris from the Marshalls but also material transported from the Nevada Test Site, caused irreparable material and intangible harm to the people of the Marshall Islands.

 We believe this harm continues to this day. Within this resolution is a call for an apology for what the United States did to the Marshallese and to raise awareness about the need for more action to undo this harm. US Rep. Katie Porter of California and senators Mazie Hirono of Hawaii and Edward Markey of Massachusetts are spearheading this effort, which would formally apologize for the US nuclear legacy in the Marshall Islands and raise public awareness of the issue. Please write or call your representatives and senators, asking them to support House Joint Resolution 73 and Senate Joint Resolution 40.

What happened in the islands is simply incomprehensible to me. The toll on the Marshallese and the environment is impossible for me to grasp. And I have another nagging thought: Why as Peace Corps volunteers were we not warned about the radioactive fallout and the social issues we were being dropped into? Of course, there’s the implication that we were being used as pawns to smooth the relationship between the Marshall Islands and the United States and to continue to have the islanders as our friends for strategic reasons.

Who makes these decisions to drop bombs on such beautiful, pristine islands? Who sends 20-year-olds into a potentially radioactive area without warning them? When can we as a human race honor peoples around the world and get out of building weapons and gaining lands for strategic reasons? Please stop. I’m sad and weep and write letters asking for an apology. So sad. Where is our soul?  https://thebulletin.org/2022/05/nuclear-tragedy-in-the-marshall-islands/

May 26, 2022 Posted by | OCEANIA, secrets,lies and civil liberties, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Extraditing Julian Assange would be a gift to secretive, oppressive regimes

Handing over the WikiLeaks founder to the US will benefit those around the world who want to evade scrutiny

Peter Oborne 22 May 22,  https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2022/may/20/extradite-julian-assange-investigative-journalism-wikileaks

In the course of the next few days, Priti Patel will make the most important ruling on free speech made by any home secretary in recent memory. She must resolve whether to comply with a US request to extradite Julian Assange on espionage charges.

The consequences for Assange will be profound. Once in the US he will almost certainly be sent to a maximum-security prison for the rest of his life. He will die in jail.

The impact on British journalism will also be profound. It will become lethally dangerous to handle, let alone publish, documents from US government sources. Reporters who do so, and their editors, will risk the same fate as Assange and become subject to extradition followed by lifelong incarceration.

For this reason Daniel Ellsberg, the 91-year-old US whistleblower who was prosecuted for his role in the Pentagon Papers revelations, which exposed the covert bombing of Laos and Cambodia and thus helped end the Vietnam war, has given eloquent testimony in Assange’s defence.

He told an extradition hearing two years ago that he felt a “great identification” with Assange, adding that his revelations were among the most important in the history of the US.

The US government does not agree. It maintains that Assange was effectively a spy and not a reporter, and should be punished accordingly.

Up to a point this position is understandable. Assange was anything but an ordinary journalist. His deep understanding of computers and how they could be hacked singled him out from the professionally shambolic arts graduates who normally rise to eminence in newspapers.

The ultimate creature of the internet age, in 2006 he helped found WikiLeaks, an organisation that specialises in obtaining and releasing classified or secret documents, infuriating governments and corporations around the world.

The clash with the US came in 2010, when (in collaboration with the Guardian, Der Spiegel, Le Monde, the New York Times and other international news organisations) WikiLeaks entered into one of the great partnerships of the modern era in any field. It started publishing documents supplied by the US army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning.

Between them, WikiLeaks and Manning were responsible for a series of first-class scoops that any self-respecting reporter would die for. And these scoops were not the tittle-tattle that comprises the daily fodder of most journalism. They were of overwhelming global importance, reshaping our understanding of the Iraq war and the “war on terror”.

https://4b00398cd5d8ac5695872d9cb288db87.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html

To give one example among thousands, WikiLeaks published a video of soldiers in a US helicopter laughing as they shot and killed unarmed civilians in Iraq – including a Reuters photographer and his assistant. (The US military refused to discipline the perpetrators.)

To the intense embarrassment of the USWikiLeaks revealed that the total number of civilian casualties in Iraq was 66,000 – far more than the US had acknowledged.


It shone an appalling new light on the abuse meted out to the Muslim inmates at Guantánamo Bay, including the revelation that 150 innocent people were held for years without charge.

Clive Stafford Smith, the then chairman of the human rights charity Reprieve who represented 84 Guantánamo prisoners, praised the way WikiLeaks helped him to establish that charges against his clients were fabricated.

It’s easy to see why the US launched a criminal investigation. Then events took an unexpected turn in November 2010 when Sweden issued an arrest warrant against Assange following allegations of sexual misconduct. Assange refused to go to Sweden, apparently on the grounds that this was a pretext for his extradition to the United States and took refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy in London. Sweden never charged Assange with an offence, and dropped its investigation in 2019.

This was an eventful year in the Assange story. Ecuador kicked him out of the embassy and he was promptly arrested for breaching bail: he’s languished for the past three years in Belmarsh prison. Meanwhile the US pursues him using the same 1917 Espionage Act under which Ellsberg was unsuccessfully prosecuted. Assange’s defence, led by the solicitor Gareth Peirce and Edward Fitzgerald QC, has argued that his only crime was the crime of investigative journalism.

They point out that the indictment charges Assange with actions, such as protecting sources, that are basic journalistic practice: the US alleges that “Assange and Manning took measures to conceal Manning as the source of the disclosure of classified records”. Any journalist who failed to take this elementary precaution when supplied with information by a source would be sacked.

The US stated that Assange “actively encouraged Manning” to provide the information. How disgraceful! No wonder Kenneth Roth, the executive director of Human Rights Watch, has warned that: “It is dangerous to suggest that these actions are somehow criminal rather than steps routinely taken by investigative journalists who communicate with confidential sources to receive classified information of public importance.”

Despite all this, there’s no reason to suppose that Patel will come to Assange’s rescue – though there may yet be further legal ways to fight extradition.

Even if Patel wasn’t already on the way to winning the all-corners record as the most repressive home secretary in modern history, the Johnson government, already in Joe Biden’s bad books, has no incentive to further alienate the US president.

If and when Assange is put on a plane to the US, investigative journalism will suffer a permanent and deadening blow.

And the message will be sent to war criminals not just in the US but in every country round the globe that they can commit their crimes with impunity.

May 23, 2022 Posted by | civil liberties, media, politics international | Leave a comment

Leaked emails expose UK Home Secretary Priti Patel’s connection to MI6-style ‘research and influence operation’AND to extraditing Julian Assange

British Home Secretary Priti Patel is due to imminently decide on whether WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is extradited to the US, where he faces life imprisonment for journalistic activities.

Patel sat on the advisory council of the neoconservative Henry Jackson Society think tank alongside Lord James Arbuthnot – a former Conservative Minister of Defence whose wife, Lady Emma Arbuthnot, made two key rulings against Assange in 2018, before being forced to step aside due to a “perception of bias.”

it is safe to assume the intelligence cabal bringing its influence to bear on Patel would strongly favor his extradition to the US.

The GRAYZONE, KIT KLARENBERG·MAY 18, 2022,

A deeply anti-democratic MI6-linked cabal’s apparent influence on Priti Patel raises serious questions about her fitness to rule on Julian Assange’s extradition to the US.

  • Cabal now managing MI6-inspired “research and influence operation” 
  • Effort may be funded by intelligence agency actors
  • British Home Secretary implicated in plot
  • Green advocates and perceived Chinese agents targeted
  • Home Office infiltrated by cabal’s civil service mole
  • Cabal seeks to seize power over energy policy and “displace” government minister
Continue reading

May 23, 2022 Posted by | civil liberties, politics, UK | Leave a comment

UK Home Secretary PRITI PATEL WAS PART OF CIA-LINKED LOBBY GROUP WITH HUSBAND OF ASSANGE JUDGE

Home Secretary Priti Patel, who will soon decide whether to extradite Julian Assange to the US, has been a political adviser to – and been funded by – a right-wing lobby group which has attacked Assange in the British media for a decade. DECLASSIFIED UK, MATT KENNARD, 29 MARCH 2022   

  • Patel sat on advisory council of Henry Jackson Society (HJS) with Lord Arbuthnot, whose wife later made two key legal rulings against Assange
  • Former CIA director James Woolsey has been an HJS patron since 2006
  • HJS has hosted three other ex-CIA directors in London since 2014
  • Patel was paid £2,500 by HJS to fly to Washington for a “security” programme in the US Congress
  • Patel ignores Declassified’s request for clarification of her role in HJS

Priti Patel sat on the Henry Jackson Society’s (HJS) advisory council from around 2013-16, although the exact dates are unclear as neither the HJS nor Patel responded to Declassified’s requests for clarification. 

She has also received funds from the HJS, and was paid £2,500 by the group to visit Washington in March 2013 to attend a “security” programme in the US Congress. 

Patel, who became an MP in 2010 and was appointed Home Secretary in 2019, also hosted an HJS event in parliament soon after she returned from Washington. 

After the UK Supreme Court said this month it was refusing to hear Assange’s appeal of a High Court decision against him, the WikiLeaks founder’s fate now lies in Patel’s hands. He faces life in prison in the US. 

The HJS, which was founded in 2005 and does not disclose its funders, has links to the CIA, the intelligence agency behind the prosecution of Assange and which reportedly developed plans to assassinate him. 

One of the HJS’s international patrons is James Woolsey, CIA director from 1993-95, who was in this role throughout the period Patel was advising the group. Woolsey’s affiliation to the HJS goes back to at least 2006, soon after it was founded. 

In 2014, the group hosted General David Petraeus, CIA director from 2011-12, at a UK parliament meeting from which all media were barred

Three years later, in 2017, the HJS organised another event at parliament with General Michael Hayden, CIA director from 2006-9, to “discuss the current state of the American Intelligence Community and its relationships with foreign partners.”

Hayden described “the relationship within the Five Eyes community as strong as ever, despite potential concerns over recent intelligence leaks between members.” Five Eyes is an intelligence alliance comprising Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the UK, and the US.

‘Perception of bias’

During a visit to the UK in July 2020, then US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spoke at a roundtable hosted by the HJS with what the Washington Post referred to as a group of “hawkish” members of the Conservative Party. 

As director of the CIA in 2017, Pompeo had launched a blistering attack on WikiLeaks calling the media organisation a “hostile intelligence service” that makes “common cause with dictators”. 

Pompeo did not provide evidence but added a threat: “To give them the space to crush us with misappropriated secrets is a perversion of what our great Constitution stands for. It ends now.”

On the HJS advisory council at the same time as Patel was Lord James Arbuthnot, a former Conservative defence minister. His wife, Lady Emma Arbuthnot, was Westminster Chief Magistrate from 2016-2021. 

For part of her tenure, she was in charge of the Assange case and made two key rulings against him in 2018. Lady Arbuthnot eventually stepped aside from ruling on the case because of a “perception of bias” but never declared a conflict of interest. 

The links between Patel and Lord Arbuthnot go further. In 2010, soon after becoming an MP, Patel was appointed one of five parliamentary officers of the Conservative Friends of Israel (CFI) when the group was chaired by Lord Arbuthnot. 

CFI has been described as “beyond doubt the most well-connected and probably the best funded of all Westminster lobbying groups”. It also does not disclose its funders.

Patel was forced to resign as Secretary of State for International Development in November 2017 after it was revealed that she had held more than a dozen undeclared meetings with Israeli ministers and organisations while on holiday in the country. 

Many of these were arranged by CFI’s honorary president, Lord Polak. Patel’s resignation letter accepted that her conduct “fell below…standards of transparency and openness”.

HJS staff have been repeatedly critical of Julian Assange and WikiLeaks in the British media since 2011 when its then associate director, Douglas Murray, engaged in a combative debate with Assange. 

……….  Over the following years, the HJS and its staff continued to be among the most active civil society voices for impugning the motives and reputation of Assange. 

This stands in contrast to nearly all human rights and press freedom organisations which argue that extraditing the WikiLeaks publisher to the US would be a grave blow to media freedom. 

‘Conspiracy theories’

In October 2016, the HJS released a statement to the media, which claimed: “Mr Assange has a long track record of stealing and distributing information, peddling conspiracy theories, and casting aspersions on the moral standing of western democratic governments. He has done this whilst supporting, and being supported by, autocratic regimes.” 

No evidence was supplied to support the assertions. 

A number of other HJS staff—including spokesperson Sam Armstrong and then chief of staff Ellie Green—have made anti-Assange interventions in the British media.

Secrecy

In October 2019, as home secretary, Patel visited Washington again to meet William Barr, the US Attorney General who was then in charge of the Assange case as head of the Department of Justice. 

Together they signed the Cloud Act which made it easier for American and British law enforcement agencies to demand electronic data on targets as they undertake investigations.

Assange’s defence team had previously raised the concern in court that Barr may be using Assange’s extradition case in the UK for political ends.

In August 2020, Declassified requested basic information about Patel’s 2019 trip to Washington. The Home Office confirmed it held the information but refused to release it because the department considered “that disclosure of some of the information would prejudice relations between the UK and the United States”.

In May 2020, Declassified also requested information about any calls or emails made or received by Patel since she became Home Secretary which concerned the case of Julian Assange, or mentioned his name.

The Home Office told us “we can neither confirm nor deny whether we hold the information you have requested” because “to do so either way would disclose information that constitutes the personal data of Julian Assange”.

The same request for Sajid Javid’s tenure as Home Secretary from 2018-19 was rejected because the department said “we have carried out a thorough search and we have established that the Home Office does not hold the information that you have requested.” 

This was despite the fact Javid signed the initial US extradition request for Assange in June 2019. The shadow home secretary at the time, Diane Abbott, opposed approving the US extradition request.

Declassified previously revealed that before signing the US request, Javid had attended six secretive meetings, some attended by former CIA directors, which were organised by a US lobby group which has published calls for Assange to be assassinated or taken down. 

The Home Office recently admitted it had eight officials working on Operation Pelican, the UK government campaign to seize Assange from the Ecuadorian embassy in London. 

The department, however, claimed it did not know which other UK government ministries were involved in the operation.

Priti Patel and the Henry Jackson Society did not respond to requests for information and comment. https://declassifieduk.org/priti-patel-was-part-of-cia-linked-lobby-group-with-husband-of-assange-judge/

May 23, 2022 Posted by | secrets,lies and civil liberties, UK | Leave a comment

From Russia with very expensive love – Karyn Maughan on South Africa’s bombed nuclear deal 

 https://www.biznews.com/global-investing/2022/05/19/nuclear-deal-russia 19th May 2022, by Michael Appel  

Jacob Zuma‘s presidency will be remembered for the wholesale looting of South Africa’s fiscus by him, his family, his friends the Guptas, and the political party he led – but also don’t forget how fiscus-destroyingly close we came to indebting future generations with a Russian nuclear deal.

In their new tell-all book, Nuclear: Inside South Africa’s Secret Deal, Karyn Maughan and Kirsten Pearson make the minutiae of the R1trn nuclear deal with Russia understandable and digestible. In this interview with Maughan, BizNews deputy editor Michael Appel seeks to better understand the dynamics behind the failed nuclear deal.

Plus, an update on the current state of Zuma’s arms deal corruption trial.

May 21, 2022 Posted by | secrets,lies and civil liberties, South Africa | Leave a comment

Disinformation’ Label Serves to Marginalize Crucial Ukraine Facts

To ignore the fact that prolonged military aid could reshape Ukraine’s politics in favor of neo-Nazi groups prevents an understanding of the threats posed to Ukrainian democracy and civil society.

These “disinformation” claims also ignore the more contemporary evidence that Western officials have an explicit agenda of weakening Russia and even ending the Putin regime. According to Ukrainska Pravda (5/5/22Intercept5/10/22), in his recent trip to Kyiv, UK prime minister Boris Johnson told Volodymyr Zelensky that regardless of a peace agreement being reached between Ukraine and Russia, the United States would remain intent on confronting Russia.

LUCA GOLDMANSOUR,

https://fair.org/home/disinformation-label-serves-to-marginalize-crucial-ukraine-facts/18 May 22,

Disinformation has become a central tool in the United States and Russia’s expanding information war. US officials have openly admitted to “using information as a weapon even when the confidence and accuracy of the information wasn’t high,” with corporate media eager to assist Washington in its strategy to “pre-empt and disrupt the Kremlin’s tactics, complicate its military campaign” (NBC4/6/22).

In defense of the US narrative, corporate media have increasingly taken to branding realities inconvenient to US information goals as “disinformation” spread by Russia or its proxies.

The New York Times (1/25/22) reported that Russian disinformation doesn’t only take the form of patently false assertions, but also those which are “true but tangential to current events”—a convenient definition, in that it allows accurate facts to be dismissed as “disinformation.” But who determines what is “tangential” and what is relevant, and what are the guiding principles to make such a determination? In this assessment, Western audiences are too fickle to be trusted with making up their own mind.

There’s no denying that Russia’s disinformation campaign is key to justifying its war on Ukraine. But instead of uncritically outsourcing these decisions to Western intelligence officials and weapons manufacturers, and as a result erasing realities key to a political settlement, the media’s ultimate guiding principle for what information is “tangential” should be whether it is relevant to preventing the further suffering of Ukrainian civilians—and reducing tensions between the world’s two largest nuclear powers.

For Western audiences, and US citizens in particular, labeling or otherwise marginalizing inconvenient realities as “disinformation” prevents a clear understanding of how their government helped escalate tensions in the region, continues to obstruct the possibility of peace talks, and is prepared to, as retired senior US diplomat Chas Freeman describes it, “fight to the last Ukrainian” in a bid to weaken Russia.

Coup ‘conspiracy theory’

For example, the New York Times (4/11/22) claimed that US support for the 2014 “Maidan Revolution” that ousted Ukraine’s democratically elected President Viktor Yanukovych was a “conspiracy theory” being peddled by the Chinese government in support of Russia. The article featured an image with a red line crossing out the face of journalist Benjamin Norton, who was appearing on a Chinese news channel to discuss how the US helped orchestrate the coup. (Norton wrote for FAIR.org frequently from 2015–18.) The evidence he presented—a leaked call initially reported by the BBC in which then–State Department official Victoria Nuland appears to select opposition leader Arseniy Yatsenyuk to be Ukraine’s new prime minister—is something, he noted, that the Times itself has reported on multiple times (2/6/142/7/14).

Not having been asked for comment by the Times, Norton responded in a piece of his own (Multipolarista4/14/22), claiming that the newspaper was “acting as a tool of US government information warfare.”

Beyond Nuland’s apparent coup-plotting, the US campaign to destabilize Ukraine stretched back over a decade. Seeking to isolate Russia and open up Ukraine to Western capital, the US had long been “fueling anti-government sentiment through mechanisms like USAID and National Endowment for Democracy (NED)” (FAIR.org1/28/22). High-profile US officials like Sen. John McCain even went so far as to rally protesters in the midst of the Maidan uprising.

In the wake of the far rightled and constitutionally dubious overthrow, Russia illegally annexed the Crimean Peninsula and supported a secession movement in the eastern Donbass region, prompting a repressive response from Ukraine’s new US-backed government. Eight years later, the civil war has killed more than 14,000. Of those deaths, 3,400 were civilian casualties, which were disproportionately in separatist-controlled territories, UN data shows. Opinions on remaining in Ukraine vary within the Donbass.

When the Times covered the Russian annexation of Crimea, it acknowledged that the predominantly ethnic Russian population there viewed “the Ukrainian government installed after the ouster last weekend of Mr. Yanukovych as the illegitimate result of a fascist coup.” But now the newspaper of record is using allegations of disinformation to change the record.

To discredit evidence of US involvement in Ukraine’s 2014 regime change hides crucial facts that could potentially support a political solution to this crisis. When the crisis is reduced merely to the context of Russian aggression, a peace deal that includes, for example, a referendum on increased autonomy for the Donbass seems like an outrageous thing for Ukraine to have to agree to. But in the context of a civil war brought on by a US-backed coup—a context the Times is eager to erase—it may appear a more palatable solution.

More broadly, Western audiences that are aware of their own government’s role in sparking tensions may have more skepticism of Washington’s aims and an increased appetite for peace negotiations.

Normalizing neo-Nazis

The outsized influence of neo-Nazi groups in Ukrainian society (Human Rights Watch6/14/18)—including the the Azov Regiment, the explicitly neo-Nazi branch of Ukraine’s National Guard—is another fact that has been dismissed as disinformation.

Western outlets once understood far-right extremism as a festering issue (Haaretz12/27/18) that Ukraine’s government “underplayed” (BBC12/13/14). In a piece called “Ukraine’s Got a Real Problem with Far-Right Violence (and No, RT Didn’t Write This Headline),” the Atlantic Council (UkraineAlert6/20/18) wrote:

Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Freedom House and Front Line Defenders warned in a letter that radical groups acting under “a veneer of patriotism” and “traditional values” were allowed to operate under an “atmosphere of near total impunity that cannot but embolden these groups to commit more attacks.”

To be clear, far-right parties like Svoboda perform poorly in Ukraine’s polls and elections, and Ukrainians evince no desire to be ruled by them. But this argument is a bit of “red herring.” It’s not extremists’ electoral prospects that should concern Ukraine’s friends, but rather the state’s unwillingness or inability to confront violent groups and end their impunity.

But now Western media attempt to diminish those groups’ significance, arguing that singling out a vocal but insignificant far right only benefits Russia’s disinformation campaign (New Statesman4/12/22). Almost exactly three years after warning about Ukraine’s “real problem” with the far right, the Atlantic Council (UkraineAlert6/19/21) ran a piece entitled “The Dangers of Echoing Russian Disinformation on Ukraine,” in which it seemingly forgot that arguments about the electoral marginalization of Ukraine’s right wing are a “red herring”

In reality, Ukraine’s nationalist parties enjoy less support than similar political parties in a host of EU member states. Notably, in the two Ukrainian parliamentary elections held since the outbreak of hostilities with Russia in 2014, nationalist parties have failed miserably and fallen short of the 5% threshold to enter Ukrainian parliament

‘Lead[ing] the white races’

Russian propaganda does overstate the power of Nazi elements in Ukraine’s government—which it refers to as “fascist”—to justify its illegal aggression, but seizing on this propaganda to in turn downplay the influence and radicalism of these elements (e.g., USA Today3/30/22Welt4/22/22) only prevents an important debate on how prolonged US and NATO military aid may empower these groups.

The Financial Times (3/29/22) and London Times (3/30/22) attempted to rehabilitate the Azov regiment’s reputation, using the disinformation label to downplay the influence of extremism in the national guard unit. Quoting Azov’s founder Andriy Biletsky as well as an unnamed Azov commander, the Financial Times cast Azov’s members as “patriots” who “shrug off the neo-Nazi label as ‘Russian propaganda.’” Alex Kovzhun, a “consultant” who helped draft the political program of the National Corps, Azov’s political wing, added a lighthearted human interest perspective, saying Azov was “made up of historians, football hooligans and men with military experience.”

That the Financial Times would take Biletsky at his word on the issue of Azov’s Nazi-free character, a man who once declared that the National Corps would “lead the white races of the world in a final crusade…against Semite-led Untermenschen [subhumans]” (Guardian3/13/18), is a prime example of how Western media have engaged in information war at the expense of their most basic journalistic duties and ethics.

Azov has opened its ranks to a flood of volunteers, the Financial Times continued, diluting its connection to Ukraine’s far-right movement, a movement that has “never proved popular at the ballot box” anyways. BBC (3/26/22) also cited electoral marginalization in its dismissal of claims about Ukraine’s far right as “a mix of falsehoods and distortions.” Putin’s distortions require debunking, but neither outlet acknowledged that these groups’ outsized influence comes more from their capacity for political violence than from their electoral participation (Hromadske10/13/16Responsible Statecraft3/25/22).

In the London Times piece, Azov commander Yevgenii Vradnik dismissed the neo-Nazi characterization as Russian disinformation: “Perhaps [Putin] really believes it,” as he “lives in a strange, warped world. We are patriots but we are not Nazis.” Sure, the article reports, “Azov has its fair share of football hooligans and ultranationalists,” but it also includes “scholars like Zaikovsky, who worked as a translator and book editor.”

To support such “patriots,” the West should fulfill their “urgent plea” for more weapons. “To retake our regions, we need vehicle-mounted anti-aircraft weapons from NATO,” Vradnik said. Thus Western media use the “Russian disinformation” label to not only downplay the threat of Ukraine’s far right, but even to encourage the West to arm them.

Responsible Statecraft (3/25/22) pushed back on the media’s dismissiveness, warning that “Russian propaganda has colossally exaggerated the contemporary strength of Ukrainian extreme nationalist groups,” but

because these groups have been integrated into the Ukrainian National Guard yet retain their autonomous identities and command structures, over the course of an extended war they could amass a formidable fifth column that would radicalize Ukraine’s postwar political dynamic.

To ignore the fact that prolonged military aid could reshape Ukraine’s politics in favor of neo-Nazi groups prevents an understanding of the threats posed to Ukrainian democracy and civil society.

Shielding NATO from blame

Much like with the Maidan coup, the corporate media’s insistence on viewing Russian aggression as unconnected to US imperial expansion has led it to cast any blame placed on NATO policy as Russian disinformation.

In “The Five Conspiracy Theories That Putin Has Weaponized,” New York Times (4/25/22), historian and author Ilya Yaboklov listed the Kremlin’s most prominent “disinformation” narratives. High on his list was the idea that “NATO has turned Ukraine into a military camp.”

Without mentioning that NATO, a remnant of the Cold War, is explicitly hostile to Russia, the Times piece portrayed Putin’s disdain for NATO as a paranoia that is convenient for Russian propaganda:

”NATO is Mr. Putin’s worst nightmare: Its military operations in Serbia, Iraq and Libya have planted the fear that Russia will be the military alliance’s next target. It’s also a convenient boogeyman that animates the anti-Western element of Mr. Putin’s electorate. In his rhetoric, NATO is synonymous with the United States, the military hand of “the collective West” that will suffocate Russia whenever it becomes weak.”

The New York Times is not the only outlet to dismiss claims that NATO’s militarization of Ukraine has contributed to regional tensions. Jessica Brandt of the Brookings Institute claimed on CNN Newsroom (4/8/22): “There’s two places where I have seen China carry Russia’s water. The first is, starting long before the invasion, casting blame at the foot of the United States and NATO.” The Washington Post editorial board (4/11/22) argued much to the same effect that Chinese “disinformation” included arguing “NATO is to blame for the fighting.” Newsweek (4/13/22) stated that Chinese disinformation “blames the US military/industrial complex for the chaos in Ukraine and other parts of the world,” and falsely claims that “Washington ‘squeezed Russia’s security space.’”

Characterizing claims that NATO’s militarization of Russia’s neighbors was a hostile act as “paranoia” or “disinformation” ignores the decades of warnings from top US diplomats and anti-war dissidents alike that NATO expansionism into former Warsaw Pact countries would lead to conflict with Russia.

Jack F. Matlock Jr, the former ambassador to the USSR warned the US Senate as early as 1997 that NATO expansion would threaten a renewal of Cold War hostilities (Responsible Statecraft2/15/22):

I consider the administration’s recommendation to take new members into NATO at this time misguided. If it should be approved by the United States Senate, it may well go down in history as the most profound strategic blunder made since the end of the Cold War. Far from improving the security of the United States, its Allies, and the nations that wish to enter the Alliance, it could well encourage a chain of events that could produce the most serious security threat to this nation since the Soviet Union collapsed.

Weakening Russia

These “disinformation” claims also ignore the more contemporary evidence that Western officials have an explicit agenda of weakening Russia and even ending the Putin regime. According to Ukrainska Pravda (5/5/22Intercept5/10/22), in his recent trip to Kyiv, UK prime minister Boris Johnson told Volodymyr Zelensky that regardless of a peace agreement being reached between Ukraine and Russia, the United States would remain intent on confronting Russia.

The evidence doesn’t stop there. In the past months, Joe Biden let slip his desire that Putin “cannot remain in power,” and US officials’ have become more open about their objectives to weaken Russia (Democracy Now!5/9/22Wall Street Journal4/25/22). Corporate media have cheered on these developments, running op-eds in support of policies that go beyond a defense of Ukraine to an attack on Russia (Foreign Policy5/4/22Washington Post4/28/22), even expressing hope for a “palace coup” there (The Lead4/19/22CNN Newsroom3/4/22).

As famed dissident Noam Chomsky said in a discussion with the Intercept’s Jeremy Scahill (4/14/22):

We can see that our explicit policy—explicit—is rejection of any form of negotiations. The explicit policy goes way back, but it was given a definitive form in September 2021 in the September 1 joint policy statement that was then reiterated and expanded in the November 10 charter of agreement….

What it says is it calls for Ukraine to move towards what they called an enhanced program for entering NATO, which kills negotiations.

When the media denies NATO’s culpability in stoking the flames of war in Ukraine, Americans are left unaware of their most effective tool in preventing further catastrophe: pressuring their own government to stop undermining negotiations and to join the negotiating table. Dismissing these realities threatens to prolong the war in Ukraine indefinitely.

Squelching dissent

As the Biden administration launches a new Disinformation Governance Board aimed at policing online discourse, it is clear that the trend of silencing those who speak out against official US narratives is going to get worse.

Outlets like Russia TodayMintPress News and Consortium News have been banned or demonetized by platforms like Google and its subsidiary YouTube, or services like PayPal. MintPress News (4/25/22) reported YouTube had “permanently banned more than a thousand channels and 15,000 videos,” on the grounds that they were “denying, minimizing or trivializing well-documented violent events.” At the same time, platforms are loosening the restrictions on praising Ukraine’s far right or calling for the death of Russians (Reuters3/11/22). These policies of asymmetric censorship aid US propaganda and squelch dissent.

After receiving a barrage of complaints from the outlet’s supporters, PayPal seemingly reversed its ban of Consortium News’ account, only to state later on that this reversal was “mistaken,” and that Consortium was in fact permanently banned. The outlet’s editor-in-chief Joe Lauria (5/4/22) responded to PayPal’s ban:

Given the political climate it is reasonable to conclude that PayPal was reacting to Consortium News’ coverage of the war in Ukraine, which is not in line with the dominant narrative that is being increasingly enforced.

As Western outlets embrace the framing of a new Cold War, so too have they embraced the Cold War’s McCarthyite tactics that rooted out dissent in the United States. With great-power conflict on the rise, it is all the more important that US audiences understand the media’s increasing repression of debate in defense of the “dominant narrative.” In the words of Chomsky:

There’s a long record in the United States of censorship, not official censorship, just devices, to make sure that, what intellectuals call the “bewildered herd,” the “rabble,” the population, don’t get misled. You have to control them. And that’s happening right now.

May 19, 2022 Posted by | 2 WORLD, media, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

Pentagon-Funded Think Tank Simulates War With China On NBC

 https://caitlinjohnstone.com/2022/05/16/pentagon-funded-think-tank-simulates-war-with-china-on-nbc/ 16 May 22

the mass media are now openly teaming up with war machine think tanks to begin seeding the normalization of a hot war with China into the minds of the public

As we’ve discussed previously, citing war machine-funded think tanks as expert analysis without even disclosing their financial conflict of interest is plainly journalistic malpractice. But it happens all the time in the mass media anyway, because the mass media exist to circulate propaganda, not journalism.

This is getting so, so crazy. That the mass media are now openly teaming up with war machine think tanks to begin seeding the normalization of a hot war with China into the minds of the public indicates that the propaganda campaign to manufacture consent for the US-centralized empire’s final Hail Mary grab at unipolar domination is escalating even further. The mass-scale psychological manipulation is getting more and more overt and more and more shameless.

This is headed somewhere very, very bad. Hopefully humanity wakes up in time to stop these lunatics from driving us off a precipice from which there is no return.

NBC’s Meet the Press just aired an absolutely freakish segment in which the influential narrative management firm Center for a New American Security (CNAS) ran war games simulating a direct US hot war with China.

CNAS is funded by the Pentagon and by military-industrial complex corporations Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, and Lockheed Martin, as well as the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office, which Antiwar’s Dave DeCamp has described as the de facto US embassy in Taiwan.

The war game simulates a conflict over Taiwan which we are informed is set in the year 2027, in which China launches strikes on the US military in order to open the way to an invasion of the island. We are not told why there needs to be a specific year inserted into mainstream American consciousness about when we can expect such a conflict, but then we are also not told why NBC is platforming a war machine think tank’s simulation of a military conflict with China at all.

It happens that the Center for a New American Security was the home of the man assigned by the Biden administration to lead the Pentagon task force responsible for re-evaluating the administration’s posture toward China. That man, Ely Ratner, is on record saying that the Trump administration was insufficiently hawkish toward China. Ratner is now the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Indo-Pacific Security Affairs in the Biden administration.

It also happens that the Center for a New American Security has openly boasted about the great many of its other “experts and alumni” who have assumed senior leadership positions within the Biden administration.

It also happens that CNAS co-founder Michele Flournoy, who appeared in the Meet the Press war games segment and was at one time a heavy favorite to become Biden’s Pentagon chief, wrote a Foreign Affairs op-ed in 2020 arguing that the US needed to develop “the capability to credibly threaten to sink all of China’s military vessels, submarines, and merchant ships in the South China Sea within 72 hours.”

It also happens that CNAS CEO Richard Fontaine has been featured all over the mass media pushing empire narratives about Russia and China, telling Bloomberg just the other day that the war in Ukraine could serve the empire’s long-term interests against China.

“The war in Ukraine could end up being bad for the pivot in the short-term, but good in the long-term,” Fontaine said. “If Russia emerges from this conflict as a weakened version of itself and Germany makes good on its defense spending pledges, both trends could allow the US to focus more on the Indo-Pacific in the long run.”

It also happens that CNAS is routinely cited by the mass media as an authoritative source on all things China and Russia, with no mention ever made of the conflict of interest arising from their war machine funding. Just in the last few days here’s a recent NPR interview about NATO expansion with CNAS senior fellow Andrea Kendall-Taylor, a Washington Post quote from CNAS fellow Jacob Stokes about the Chinese threat to Taiwan, a Financial Times quote from CNAS “Indo-Pacific expert” Lisa Curtis (who I’ve previously noted was cited by the mass media for her “expert” opposition to the US Afghanistan withdrawal), and a Foreign Policy citation of the aforementioned Richard Fontaine saying “The aim of U.S. policy toward China should be to ensure that Beijing is either unwilling or unable to overturn the regional and global order.”

As we’ve discussed previously, citing war machine-funded think tanks as expert analysis without even disclosing their financial conflict of interest is plainly journalistic malpractice. But it happens all the time in the mass media anyway, because the mass media exist to circulate propaganda, not journalism.

This is getting so, so crazy. That the mass media are now openly teaming up with war machine think tanks to begin seeding the normalization of a hot war with China into the minds of the public indicates that the propaganda campaign to manufacture consent for the US-centralized empire’s final Hail Mary grab at unipolar domination is escalating even further. The mass-scale psychological manipulation is getting more and more overt and more and more shameless.

This is headed somewhere very, very bad. Hopefully humanity wakes up in time to stop these lunatics from driving us off a precipice from which there is no return.

May 16, 2022 Posted by | secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

UN: There is ‘credible’ information Ukrainian forces are torturing Russian POWs  

  https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/policy/foreign/un-there-is-credible-information-ukrainian-forces-are-torturing-russian-pows

Abigail Adcox, Washington Examiner, Tue, 10 May 2022 

There is “credible” information that Russian prisoners of war have been mistreated by Ukrainian forces since the beginning of the Russian invasion in February, a United Nations official said.

The evidence suggests that Russia is not the only country willing to break international norms during war, as the U.N. reports that Ukrainian forces have subjected Russians under their watch to treatment that violates

 international law, Matilda Bogner, head of the U.N. Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukrainesaid Tuesday.


“Ukraine and Russia must promptly and effectively investigate all allegations of torture and ill-treatment of prisoners of war. They must also effectively control and instruct their forces to stop any further violations from occurring.”

Russia is accused of several war crimes, including raping Ukrainian women, targeting and killing innocent civilians, and forcing others to go to Russia against their will.

Comment: Given Ukraine’s long history of prisoner abuse throughout the eight-year war on Donetsk-Lugansk, torture is its standard procedure. Were the UN’s complaints effective then?

Some of the violations were determined by Bogner and other U.N. officials during a visit to towns in the Kyiv and Chernihiv regions that were occupied by Russian armed forces until the end of March.

The group also reported that hundreds of educational or medical facilities have been damaged or destroyed in areas of hostility across the country. At least 50 places of worship have been damaged, more than half of which cannot be used. Bogner said:

“The best way to end the violations that we have been documenting will be to end the hostilities. However, while they are ongoing and for as long as they last, parties must in the conduct of operations take constant care to spare the civilian population.”

“We have received credible information of torture, ill-treatment and incommunicado detention by Ukrainian Armed Forces against prisoners of war from Russian armed forces and affiliated armed groups. We continue to see the publication of videos, which show inhumane treatment, including prisoners from both sides being coerced to make statements, apologies and confessions, and other forms of humiliation.”

The mistreatment from both sides is considered a violation of international humanitarian law, as the U.N. continues to investigate and document egregious violations since Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24.

Ukraine and Russia must promptly and effectively investigate all allegations of torture and ill-treatment of prisoners of war. They must also effectively control and instruct their forces to stop any further violations from occurring,” Bogner said.

Russia is accused of several war crimes, including raping Ukrainian women, targeting and killing innocent civilians, and forcing others to go to Russia against their will.

Some of the violations were determined by Bogner and other U.N. officials during a visit to towns in the Kyiv and Chernihiv regions that were occupied by Russian armed forces until the end of March.

The group also reported that hundreds of educational or medical facilities have been damaged or destroyed in areas of hostility across the country. At least 50 places of worship have been damaged, more than half of which cannot be used.

“The best way to end the violations that we have been documenting will be to end the hostilities,” Bogner said. “However, while they are ongoing and for as long as they last, parties must in the conduct of operations take constant care to spare the civilian population.”

May 14, 2022 Posted by | secrets,lies and civil liberties, Ukraine, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Devious nuclear zealots at it again in Ohio – new Bill to lead to subsidising ”next-generation nuclear reactors”

Lyman and Bradford found it odd for HB 434 to follow so soon on the heels of HB 6, the nuclear and coal bailout law at the heart of Ohio’s ongoing corruption scandal.

You’d think after that fiasco the legislature would be a little more cautious,”

Ohio bill would open door to subsidize next-generation nuclear power work, Nuclear power critics say the legislation could amount to a blank check for private companies researching nuclear reactor technology, while supporters say it would create jobs and bring in federal contracts. Energy News Network,  by Kathiann M. Kowalski 10 May 22,

Three years ago, Ohio lawmakers attempted to bail out the state’s aging nuclear power plants with a law to make utility customers pay more than $1 billion in subsidies for those former FirstEnergy plants.

The nuclear subsidies were eventually repealed, but now some lawmakers are pushing legislation to help private companies develop a type of next-generation nuclear technology in the state known as a molten salt reactor.

House Bill 434 does not include any direct funding but would establish a state nuclear development authority meant to attract federal research contracts. It would also be eligible for state economic development funding and would have the authority to acquire property.

Representatives of a Cleveland-based nonprofit organization, eGeneration   [who are they?], testified for the bill and stressed the potential benefits of developing the project in Ohio. Supporters say the technology could generate carbon-free power for centuries using spent fuel depleted at conventional nuclear power plants or by converting thorium into fuel.

Critics see the bill as another attempt by Ohio lawmakers to favor a particular form of generation. They’re also concerned about the potential lack of transparency with state economic development spending, much of which is handled by a group not subject to the state’s public records law. The Ohio Nuclear Free Network calls the bill a “radioactive taxpayer subsidy.”  

What the bill would do

HB 434 would set up an Ohio nuclear development authority with members appointed by the governor after a nomination process resembling that of the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio. The authority, in turn, would be within the state’s Department of Development……..

The nuclear authority set up by the current bill would seek authority from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission or Department of Energy for the research and development of advanced nuclear technology. And it would promote commercialization of that technology, ranging from the manufacture of components to treatment, storage and disposal technology for spent fuel……………………….

Sarah Spence, executive director of the Ohio Conservative Energy Forum, testified in favor of the bill. The group supports energy innovation in Ohio and aims to promote an all-of-the-above strategy, she said. Nonetheless, she said, the group would have concerns if in practice the bill were used to subsidize one or two companies at the expense of others.

An unknown price tag

Under HB 434, the newly formed state nuclear authority would perform “an essential government function [on] matters of public necessity for which public moneys may be spent and private property acquired.” But the bill doesn’t hint how much money might be spent.

Any fiscal impacts wouldn’t be known until an agreement with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission or Energy Department is in place, Stein said. 

HB 434’s lack of spending limits is a red flag for critics like Connie Klein, an organizer for the Ohio Nuclear Free Network. An early version of a similar bill introduced by Stein in 2019 would have written eGeneration’s role into the law and let it spend up to $1 million per year

Meetings of the nuclear authority would be deemed public meetings. But the nuclear authority could use staff or experts at the Department of Development, which delegates many activities to JobsOhio, a statutorily created corporation that is exempt from Ohio’s public records law. Funding for JobsOhio comes from Ohio Liquor pursuant to a partnership with the Ohio Department of Commerce’s Division of Liquor Control.

The Department of Development did not return a phone call seeking clarification of what role JobsOhio might play if HB 434 is enacted. 

“It’s hard to know who’s going to be more disappointed — the citizens of Ohio if that bill becomes law and they actually spend any money trying to promote a molten-salt thorium-based reactor, or the promoters of the bill if anyone takes a serious look at how much it would cost actually to incubate a thorium fuel-cycle in Ohio,” said Peter Bradford, a former Nuclear Regulatory Commissioner who has also served as utility regulator in New York.

“Nuclear power’s biggest problem is its cost,” and thorium-based molten salt reactors are more expensive than other designs, Bradford said. “Also, they are at least a decade away from being licensed and building a prototype, which would still have to prove itself to be reliable and economically competitive, which it is unlikely to be able to do.” He estimates it would take about $10 billion to build a prototype, but it probably wouldn’t be able to produce power economically.

Additionally, it’s unclear what, if anything, the bill could actually authorize without a go-ahead from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission or the Department of Energy. The nuclear authority couldn’t build a molten salt reactor on its own without a federal go-ahead. Stein said a legislative resolution had requested a delegation of authority from the federal government some years ago, but that has yet to happen.

“It’s not obvious really that [HB 434] does much more than lend comfort to the tub thumpers for thorium or small reactors generally,” Bradford said.

Simply no guardrails’

Ed Lyman, director of nuclear safety for the Union of Concerned Scientists, said that to his knowledge the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has not licensed any authority to a state for licensing a molten salt reactor.

Moreover, Lyman said, “there’s already a lot of work on the federal level” focused on small nuclear reactor designs. Although Elysium Industries has done some limited work funded by the Department of Energy, big players at that level haven’t lined up behind the Ohio bill, Lyman said.

“There isn’t one technology,” for small nuclear reactors, said Jess Gehin, associate laboratory director for the Nuclear Science and Technology Directorate at Idaho National laboratory. The Department of Energy is doing research and working with companies on a range of technologies, including water-cooled and gas-cooled designs, as well as some in the molten salt arena. 

But other designs are closer to coming online than the molten salt reactor envisioned by HB 434’s supporters.

“A molten salt reactor isn’t going to be the next one over the finish line,” Gehin said.

Neither Elysium Industries nor eGeneration responded to requests for comment. Meanwhile, Lyman and Bradford found it odd for HB 434 to follow so soon on the heels of HB 6, the nuclear and coal bailout law at the heart of Ohio’s ongoing corruption scandal.

“There is not even a requirement that there be board members well versed in energy economics or selecting among energy resources or consumer protection or environmental protections,” Bradford said. “There’s simply no guardrails or safeguards against any of the abuses that Ohio citizens or customers have suffered in the last five or six years, which is pretty breathtaking.”

“You’d think after that fiasco the legislature would be a little more cautious,” Lyman said.

HB 434 passed in the Ohio House at the end of March. Hearings have not yet been scheduled in the Ohio Senate’s Energy and Public Utilities Committee. https://energynews.us/2022/05/10/ohio-bill-would-open-door-to-subsidize-next-generation-nuclear-power-work/

May 12, 2022 Posted by | politics, secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA | Leave a comment

Report that Chinese drones are spying on UK nuclear sites, including submarines

 Chinese agents are using drones to spy on our nuclear bases, defence
chiefs warn. They believe Beijing spooks are behind 18 drone sightings
above military sites and power stations in just two years. The disclosure
follows warnings by intelligence chiefs that China is intent on stealing
our most sensitive secrets. The Sunday People uncovered details of the
drone activity under Freedom of Information laws. And Lieutenant Colonel
Philip Ingram, a former intelligence officer, told us: “The Chinese have
a very mature and sophisticated espionage programme running throughout the
UK.

 Mirror 23rd April 2022

https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/chinese-spies-use-drones-spy-26781649

 Portsmouth News 24th April 2022

https://www.portsmouth.co.uk/news/defence/chinese-drones-have-reportedly-been-spying-on-british-military-bases-including-the-home-of-the-royal-navys-nuclear-submarines-3666344

April 26, 2022 Posted by | secrets,lies and civil liberties, UK | Leave a comment

Mariupol – city under siege – the OTHER SIDE OF THIS STORY

Sonja van den Ende, an independent journalists, traveling with the Russian military into the liberated areas of The Donbass. She has been into the liberated cities, towns and villages and met with many of those who have survived. She saw Russian humanitarian aide trucks delivering food, water and other essentials, as well as many buses and ambulances to evacuate the people and the injured. She reports that many had been shot in the legs by Ukrainian Nationalist troops or Azov brigades. sonjavandenende@gmail.com

April 23, 2022 Posted by | secrets,lies and civil liberties, Ukraine, weapons and war | Leave a comment

The US Cries About War Crimes While Imprisoning A Journalist For Exposing Its War Crimes

 https://caitlinjohnstone.substack.com/p/the-us-cries-about-war-crimes-while?s=w. 20 Apr 22, In what his lawyers have described as a “brief but significant moment in the case,” a British magistrates’ court has signed off on Julian Assange’s extradition to the United States, bringing the WikiLeaks founder one step closer to a US trial under the Espionage Act which threatens press freedoms worldwide.

The extradition case now goes to UK Home Secretary Priti Patel for approval, which will likely be forthcoming as Patel is a reliably loyal empire manager. After that point, Assange’s legal team will be able to launch an appeal. 

This is happening at the same time the United States and the United Kingdom are loudly demanding accountability for alleged war crimes by the Russian military in Ukraine, which is interesting because attempting to bring accountability for war crimes is precisely why Julian Assange is in prison.

“He is a war criminal,” President Biden said of Vladimir Putin following allegations of war crimes in Bucha, Ukraine earlier this month. “I think it is a war crime. … He should be held accountable.”

Biden: Putin should face war crimes trial for Bucha killings 4 April 2022

Wikileaks 5 April – 12 years ago today 5 Julian Assange published the Collateral Murder video detailing the gunning down of civilians, children & 2 Reuters journalists. Assange faces a 175 year sentence if extradited for revealing this and other war crimes

This is why the US government is trying to extradite Julian Assange: for revealing the US massacre of civilians, including two Reuters journalists in Iraq

And that’s all I’d like to say here today, really. That this discrepancy is very interesting.

I mean, can we take a moment to deeply appreciate the irony of this? Because it’s so obscene and outrageous it’s actually hard to take in unless you really let it absorb. The most powerful government in the world, which serves as the hub of the most powerful empire that has ever existed, is working to extradite a journalist for exposing its war crimes while simultaneously rending its garments over war crime allegations against another government.

I mean, damn. You would think a power structure that had recently been caught red-handed committing war crimes and is currently in the process of imprisoning a journalist for exposing those war crimes would at least have the sense not to yell too loudly about war crimes for a little while. But this is how confident the empire is in its ability to control the narrative.

Really take it in. Really digest it. The more you think about it, the freakier it gets. Not only is the empire persecuting a journalist for exposing its war crimes while at the same time demanding that others be held accountable for war crimes, it is also attacking the free press for reporting the truth about the powerful while at the very same time engaging in a massive propaganda operation which holds that it is involved in Ukraine to protect its freedom and democracy.

I mean, the gall. The absolute temerity. The balls on this empire, man.

I have said it before and I will say it again: Assange exposed many ugly realities about the powerful in his work with WikiLeaks, but everything that he has managed to expose thereafter simply by forcing them to prosecute him far surpasses the revelations in those publications.

If the highest form of journalism is exposing the darkest secrets of the most powerful people in the world, then Julian Assange is the highest form of journalist.

April 21, 2022 Posted by | civil liberties, USA | Leave a comment

Dissent is dying in America – the backlash is vitriolic

AMERICAN DISSENT ON UKRAINE IS DYING IN DARKNESS   https://popularresistance.org/american-dissent-on-ukraine-is-dying-in-darkness/  AUDIO 

When It Came To The Ukraine Conflict, Professor Michael J. Brenner Did What He’s Done His Whole Life: Question American Foreign Policy.

This time the backlash was vitriolic.

As the death toll in Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine continues to rise, there have only been a handful of Westerners publicly questioning NATO and the West’s role in the conflict. These voices are becoming fewer and further between as a wave of feverish backlash engulfs any dissent on the subject. One of these voices belongs to Professor Michael J. Brenner, a lifelong academic, Professor Emeritus of International Affairs at the University of Pittsburgh and a Fellow of the Center for Transatlantic Relations at SAIS/Johns Hopkins, as well as former Director of the International Relations & Global Studies Program at the University of Texas.

Brenner’s credentials also include having worked at the Foreign Service Institute, the U.S. Department of Defense and Westinghouse, and written several books on American foreign policy. From the vantage point of decades of experience and studies, the intellectual regularly shared his thoughts on topics of interest through a mailing list sent to thousands of readers—that is until the response to his Ukraine analysis made him question why he bothered in the first place.

In an email with the subject line “Quittin’ Time,” Brenner recently declared that, aside from having already said his piece on Ukraine, one of the main reasons he sees for giving up on expressing his opinions on the subject is that “it is manifestly obvious that our society is not capable of conducting an honest, logical, reasonably informed discourse on matters of consequence. Instead, we experience fantasy, fabrication, fatuousness and fulmination.” He goes on to decry President Joe Biden’s alarming comments in Poland when he all but revealed that the U.S. is—and perhaps has always been—interested in a Russian regime change.

On this week’s “Scheer Intelligence,” Brenner tells host Robert Scheer how the recent attacks he received—many of a personal, ad hominem nature—were some of the most vitriolic he’s ever experienced. The two discuss how many media narratives completely leave out that the eastward expansion of NATO, among other Western aggressions against Russia, played an important part in fueling the current humanitarian crisis. Corporate media’s “cartoonish” depiction of Russian president Vladimir Putin, adds Brenner, is not only misleading, but dangerous given the nuclear brinkmanship that has ensued. Listen to the full discussion between Brenner and Scheer as they continue to dissent despite living in an America that is seemingly increasingly hostile to any opinion that strays from the official line.

April 18, 2022 Posted by | civil liberties, USA | Leave a comment

In Ukraine, with the blessing of the Western countries, those who are in favor of a negotiation have been eliminated – Jacques Baud

Retired Swiss Military-Intelligence Officer. Is it possible to actually know what has been and is going on in Ukraine? Jacques Baud, The Unz Review 02 Apr 2022

” ……………………………. Conclusions. As an ex-intelligence professional, the first thing that strikes me is the total absence of Western intelligence services in accurately representing the situation over the past year. In fact, it seems that throughout the Western world intelligence services have been overwhelmed by the politicians. The problem is that it is the politicians who decide — the best intelligence service in the world is useless if the decision-maker does not listen. This is what has happened during this crisis.

That said, while a few intelligence services had a very accurate and rational picture of the situation, others clearly had the same picture as that propagated by our media. The problem is that, from experience, I have found them to be extremely bad at the analytical level — doctrinaire, they lack the intellectual and political independence necessary to assess a situation with military “quality.”

Second, it seems that in some European countries, politicians have deliberately responded ideologically to the situation. That is why this crisis has been irrational from the beginning. It should be noted that all the documents that were presented to the public during this crisis were presented by politicians based on commercial sources.

Some Western politicians obviously wanted there to be a conflict. In the United States, the attack scenarios presented by Anthony Blinken to the UN Security Council were only the product of the imagination of a Tiger Team working for him — he did exactly as Donald Rumsfeld did in 2002, who “bypassed” the CIA and other intelligence services that were much less assertive about Iraqi chemical weapons.

The dramatic developments we are witnessing today have causes that we knew about but refused to see:

  • on the strategic level, the expansion of NATO (which we have not dealt with here);
  • on the political level, the Western refusal to implement the Minsk Agreements;
  • and operationally, the continuous and repeated attacks on the civilian population of the Donbass over the past years and the dramatic increase in late February 2022.

In other words, we can naturally deplore and condemn the Russian attack. But WE (that is: the United States, France and the European Union in the lead) have created the conditions for a conflict to break out. We show compassion for the Ukrainian people and the two million refugees. That is fine. But if we had had a modicum of compassion for the same number of refugees from the Ukrainian populations of Donbass massacred by their own government and who sought refuge in Russia for eight years, none of this would probably have happened.

Whether the term “genocide” applies to the abuses suffered by the people of Donbass is an open question. The term is generally reserved for cases of greater magnitude (Holocaust, etc.). But the definition given by the Genocide Convention is probably broad enough to apply to this case.

Clearly, this conflict has led us into hysteria. Sanctions seem to have become the preferred tool of our foreign policies. If we had insisted that Ukraine abide by the Minsk Agreements, which we had negotiated and endorsed, none of this would have happened. Vladimir Putin’s condemnation is also ours. There is no point in whining afterwards — we should have acted earlier. However, neither Emmanuel Macron (as guarantor and member of the UN Security Council), nor Olaf Scholz, nor Volodymyr Zelensky have respected their commitments. In the end, the real defeat is that of those who have no voice.

The European Union was unable to promote the implementation of the Minsk agreements — on the contrary, it did not react when Ukraine was bombing its own population in the Donbass. Had it done so, Vladimir Putin would not have needed to react. Absent from the diplomatic phase, the EU distinguished itself by fueling the conflict. On February 27, the Ukrainian government agreed to enter into negotiations with Russia. But a few hours later, the European Union voted a budget of 450 million euros to supply arms to the Ukraine, adding fuel to the fire. From then on, the Ukrainians felt that they did not need to reach an agreement. The resistance of the Azov militia in Mariupol even led to a boost of 500 million euros for weapons.

In Ukraine, with the blessing of the Western countries, those who are in favor of a negotiation have been eliminated.This is the case of Denis Kireyev, one of the Ukrainian negotiators, assassinated on March 5 by the Ukrainian secret service (SBU) because he was too favorable to Russia and was considered a traitor. The same fate befell Dmitry Demyanenko, former deputy head of the SBU’s main directorate for Kiev and its region, who was assassinated on March 10 because he was too favorable to an agreement with Russia — he was shot by the Mirotvorets (“Peacemaker”) militia. This militia is associated with the Mirotvorets website, which lists the “enemies of Ukraine,” with their personal data, addresses and telephone numbers, so that they can be harassed or even eliminated; a practice that is punishable in many countries, but not in the Ukraine. The UN and some European countries have demanded the closure of this site — but that demand was refused by the Rada [Ukrainian parliament].

In the end, the price will be high, but Vladimir Putin will likely achieve the goals he set for himself. We have pushed him into the arms of China. His ties with Beijing have solidified. China is emerging as a mediator in the conflict. The Americans have to ask Venezuela and Iran for oil to get out of the energy impasse they have put themselves in — and the United States has to piteously backtrack on the sanctions imposed on its enemies.

Western ministers who seek to collapse the Russian economy and make the Russian people suffer, or even call for the assassination of Putin, show (even if they have partially reversed the form of their words, but not the substance!) that our leaders are no better than those we hate — sanctioning Russian athletes in the Para-Olympic Games or Russian artists has nothing to do with fighting Putin.

What makes the conflict in Ukraine more blameworthy than our wars in Iraq, Afghanistan or Libya? What sanctions have we adopted against those who deliberately lied to the international community in order to wage unjust, unjustified and murderous wars? Have we adopted a single sanction against the countries, companies or politicians who are supplying weapons to the conflict in Yemen, considered to be the “worst humanitarian disaster in the world?”

To ask the question is to answer it… and the answer is not pretty.

About the author

Jacques Baud is a former colonel of the General Staff, ex-member of the Swiss strategic intelligence, specialist on Eastern countries. He was trained in the American and British intelligence services. He has served as Policy Chief for United Nations Peace Operations. As a UN expert on rule of law and security institutions, he designed and led the first multidimensional UN intelligence unit in the Sudan. He has worked for the African Union and was for 5 years responsible for the fight, at NATO, against the proliferation of small arms. He was involved in discussions with the highest Russian military and intelligence officials just after the fall of the USSR. Within NATO, he followed the 2014 Ukrainian crisis and later participated in programs to assist the Ukraine. He is the author of several books on intelligence, war and terrorism, in particular Le Détournement published by SIGEST, Gouverner par les fake newsL’affaire Navalny. His latest book is Poutine, maître du jeu? published by Max Milo.

This article appears through the gracious courtesy of Centre Français de Recherche sur le Renseignement, Paris. more https://www.sott.net/article/466340-Retired-Swiss-Military-Intelligence-Officer-Is-it-Possible-to-Actually-Know-What-Has-Been-And-is-Going-on-in-Ukraine

April 16, 2022 Posted by | politics international, Reference, secrets,lies and civil liberties, spinbuster, weapons and war | Leave a comment