By Ron Ridenour
Julian Assange, key initiator of Wikileaks, has been granted bail despite the British government’s appeal made in behalf of the Swedish government. A British district court judge had two days before allowed bail for the amount of $ 316,000, on the condition that Assange wear an electronic tag, report to a police station daily, and hold a 16-hour curfew with eight hours free from the “mansion arrest” in the house of a wealthy journalist-club owner.
At play here could well be documents Wikileaks released that show that US diplomats communicated with their heads in Washington that British troops in Afghanistan are not very good at the job. Brits are angry about this slur, especially given their long history from the start to go “shoulder to shoulder” with Bush’s terror wars.
Also many Swedish politicians are angry after documents revealed how, unknown to its parliament, Sweden’s military and secret services work with NATO and offer more assistance with the CIA than is legally decided in Sweden.
Assange wasn’t immediately released as not all the bail money has been raised. It is difficult to get money to the defense, because the Yankee government pressured conveyors of donations and website servers for wikileaks homepage to end cooperation. Paypal, Visa, Mastercharge, Assange’s own Swiss bank, and other Establishment businesses have frozen Assange and wikileaks accounts.
Wikileaks must be supported. It is a main tool to maintain the little freedom we have left to have the information we need, in order to make grave decisions, like: should we go to war; should we torture people; should we destroy nature to have greater wealth…?
Michael Moore is one of several well known cultural figures who posted bail. This is what he wrote on his website, December 14: “No one can plot the next Big Lie if they know that they might be exposed. And that is the best thing that WikiLeaks has done. WikiLeaks, God bless them, will save lives as a result of their actions. And any of you who join me in supporting them are committing a true act of patriotism. Period.” http://www.michaelmoore.com/words/mike-friends-blog/why-im-posting-bail-money
I join in and urge readers to this piece to do the same. Just before writing these words, I sent my pension savings, $10,000, for our defense in Julian Assange’s name. You can do the same:
Wau Holland Stiftung Commerzbank Kassel Bank code: 52040021. Account: 2772812. IBAN DE57520400210277281200. BICCOBADEFF520
The British daily carrying wikileaks documents, The Guardian, wrote that this is a way to get money to the right people. So, I guess I trust this.
To recall where we came into this drama let us go back to December 7 when Assange turned himself into police in London, because Sweden had persuaded Interpol to issue an international warrant for his arrest and extradition to Sweden.
The accusing women are: Social Democrat party organizer of Assange’s speaking tour last August, 31 year-old Sophia Wilén; and a Social Democrat member in the audience, Anna Ardin, a 27 year-old anti-Cuba activist allied with US-paid so-called “dissidents” in Cuba.
Ardin was, reportedly, kicked out of Cuba for subversive activities with right-wing groups there. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Enroh_Mot/mitch-mcconnell-wikileaks_n_792186_69752269.html
Her brother purportedly worked for the Swedish Secret Service/SEPO, which works with the CIA.
”Anna Ardin was the person who invited Julian Assange to speak at the Stockholm meeting on August 14, hosted by the Christian Social Democrat Brotherhood organization. An article by Israel Shamir and Paul Bennett (“Assange Besieged,” Counterpunch, 14 September) noted that while Assange went to Stockholm hoping to shield WikiLeaks from legal persecution, ‘the moment Julian sought the protection of Swedish media law, the CIA immediately threatened to discontinue intelligence sharing with SEPO, the Swedish Secret Service.’ It turns out that Ardin has a brother who works in Swedish intelligence, and who was a liaison in Washington to U.S. spy agencies. Nothing but a strange coincidence?”
I have read conflicting stories in various mass and alternative media about which woman organized Assange’s speaking tour. As you can read above, I write first that it was Wilén and then cite a web stating it was Ardin. I am uncertain who played what role. Another word of caution is about Ardin’s brother. While several alternative blogs and webs have stated what I wrote above, that he is a SEPO man, none have mentioned its source or his name. I have not read about this in any mainstream medium.
What does appear to be certain is that neither woman rejected Assange for days after their consensual coitus with him with busted condom or no-condom sex. Regardless of what occurred between these consenting parties, almost all mass media are reporting that Assange is wanted in Sweden on “rape crime charges” or “sexual assault charges”, according to AP’s December 14 bail story. Yet further down in the story, AP reports the truth: “Assange is wanted for questioning”, contrary to its lead sentence.
Before they complained to the police, they had boasted on tweety and over sms texts about their escapades. Ardin, who hosted a party in Assange’s honor at her flat after his “crime” the night before, tweeted her followers that she was with the “world’s coolest smartest people, it’s amazing!” They saw Assange over a two or three day period before they went to police, they said at first to seek assistance to speak with Assange and ask him for a sexual disease test. Why they had not spoken with him personally is not clear. After Ardin decided, or was persuaded by powerful people, to go to the police, she tried, unsuccessfully, to get her tweety expressions of blushing admiration for Julian Assange erased. (See above cited stories in the San Francisco Chronicle and the Herald Sun in Australia).
It is certainly a strong possibility that her secret service brother—if he is that—got to her between her sexual conquest of an exciting, viral cult figure and her trip to the police station, all to help out big daddy across the Atlantic.
The supposed charges against Julian Assange are ludicrous and make a mockery of the serious crime of rape—a crime of violence. But they are also logical.
The United States portrays itself as the world’s leading land of freedom and democracy. It says it is appalled by China and Iran, and other countries that censor the Internet, and strongly supports the Nobel Peace Prize just given to a Chinese dissident.
How is it then that the “freedom-loving land of opportunity”, with a constitutional lawyer Uncle Tom as its titular president, must stop this freedom of information worker and the information organization he helped found? Assange has not even “stolen” one document. He is only a distributor of “stolen” documents, interchanges between diplomats and their government heads—all of whom are war criminals and should be tried before the International Court of Hague for war crimes against many people—currently primarily Iraqis, Afghans, Pakistanis, Palestinians.
Four decades ago when Nixon tried to incarcerate Daniel Ellsberg, who actually stole and leaked secret documents about the US war against Vietnam—the Pentagon Papers—most of society and even the Supreme Court balked. Ellsberg was not jailed and the New York Times printed the damaging documents. And the anti-war movement grew in numbers and strength to the chagrin of the warring/lying president.
Today, we live in another world far less democratic and less solidarity than then. Today, much of the population of the US and its capitalist country allies, such as Denmark where I live, support the Empire or are passive no matter what it does. The previous Emperor even admits in a book, he allegedly wrote, that he ordered torturing people and is proud of it. Half the Danish population thinks that is OK; the other half do nothing. And even more USamericans agree that wikileaks is against their interests despite the fact that 400,000+ documents Wikileaks acquired and published show the cruelties and lies committed by the US and its warring coalition against the peoples of Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan and Palestine. No Western masses have been drawn to fight those illegal, tortuous wars, and Wikileaks was left to continue “subverting”. The consumer public did not care. A famous voice for freedom of information, Edward R. Murrow, said long ago: “No one can terrorize a whole nation, unless we are all his accomplices.” http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/e/edward_r_murrow.html#ixzz18896gEn7
Releasing government secret documents became “old hat” by the time the first of 251,287 documents from 274 embassies, consulates and diplomatic missions were released—or so the mass media tried to depict them. Even the progressive image satire program The Daily Show took this view and sketched wikileaks as banal, “nothing new” as though once the worst crimes imaginable are no longer unknown the crimes become acceptable. This propaganda also affected many leftists, including many who fight against capitalism and imperialism.
But suddenly the US government becomes nervous. This happened because the few hundred documents released show how cynical, arrogant and condescending US government leaders and diplomats are. The cables (“cablegate”) show the extent of US spying on its friends and allies and on the UN; how it ignores corruption and real human rights abuse of its client states; backroom deals with allegedly “neutral” states; lobbying for US corporations profit interests; and they reveal how other government heads connive and lie, and seek to tumble other governments.
The Empire’s credibility throughout the capitalist world is shattered. It can’t be trusted to keep its own secrets. Diplomats and military officials from several allied countries have recently cancelled meetings with US counterparts. The Empire is falling, so the Empire goes amok.
Information freedom fighters and their key leader must be crushed. Government terrorists, such as Homeland Security chairman Senator Joe Liberman, an outspoken Zionist, are cracking down on any associate of or link to wikileaks. Amazon turned down wikileaks as its server, then Pal Pal, Visa, Mastercharge refused to channel donations to the organization. Many other media and businesses refuse to do business with the information freedom fighters. A Swiss bank froze Assange accounts, much of it designated for his defense. Organizations and businesses in many countries forbid their members or employees from reading or supporting in any way wikileaks. I know an IT expert in Denmark who works for a company that forbids its employees from even looking at wikileaks documents or speaking in its support.
According to an ABC News/Washington Post poll, two-thirds of US citizens want Assange brought before a US court on espionage crimes. Yet of scores of stories I have read in the mass media there is no concern about the truth divulged in these incriminating documents. http://cubaldirect.wordpress.com/2010/12/15/121510-granma-habana-reflexiones-del-companero-fidel-el-imperio-en/
US military services have issued orders that no personnel may possess mobile communication apparatuses that could be used to record or photograph anything that could be embarrassing, such as occurred in Iraqi torture chambers. Furthermore, personnel are forbidden to read any websites or newspapers, such the New York Times, which has posted any documents released by wikileaks.
The US is seeking to make a new law especially against Assange and Wikileaks, a modern Espionage Act from 1917 that forbad US government employees from revealing secret documents. No matter that Assange is an Australian citizen and has not taken any documents from the US. The US wants to create a new criminal: “information terrorists”.
Republican party presidential candidate Sarah Palin calls for Assange to be “hunted down like Osama bin Laden”—albeit that, in reality, the US government does not want to capture him. Remember that even the US Senate revealed that the former War Secretary Donald Rumsfeld let bin Laden live in safety in some Afghanistan mountain-tunnel and turned a US troop detachment away from engaging him. But with the leading “information terrorist” it is another matter.
Another Republican presidential candidate, Mike Huckabee, also calls for Assange’s execution. http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article27008.htm . So do some Fox News commentators and many other prominent opinion makers and top level politicians. The President for “hope and change” agrees and is backing a law to try Assange in the US for espionage, and another law which would allow the extra-juridical murder of American citizens in foreign countries.
The United States pretends to be appalled by China and Iran censorship, and other countries that censor the Internet, and strongly supports the Nobel Peace Prize just given to a Chinese dissident.
But no more wikileaks.
Thanks to the Pirate Party of Switzerland, wikileaks can be read on its site http://www.wikileaks.ch/ . Donations for its defense can be made through them.
And there are hundreds of other sites that carry wikileaks documents. Interestingly enough while there have been no grass roots public support for Assange-wikileaks in Denmark, one of the capitalist dailies, the liberal “Politiken”, has placed wikileaks released documents on its website. http://184.108.40.206/cablegate/.
In a December 9 editorial, chief editor Tøger Seidenfaden wrote: Politiken stands in “solidarity with Wikileaks and in defense of global information freedom. If the pressure [against freedom of information] continues we must find other and more extensive means of resistance.”
The Bolivian government became the first government (and the only of which I am aware) to support Wikileaks by placing some of its documents on its official website documents—those pertaining to its country. There are some 50 secret or confidential documents on: www.wikileaks.vicepresendencia.gob.bo .
The Bolivian government has a ministry for transparency, something the US government could learn from. But, then, if there were transparency in US government affairs, there would be no wars, of fewer anyway, and corporations would earn fewer profits.
Operation Payback, activist hackers from various groups and countries, has hit back at the Empire by hacking and stopping for hours or days several of its servile servants, including Swedish government websites.
For those still in doubt about the significance of the US Embassy documents being released, I point to some of the revelations.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton ordered State Department diplomats to steal personal human material information—DNA, fingerprints, iris scans, credit card information…—from UN officials, including from the general secretary (their own man), from other diplomats and from human rights group leaders.
King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia (the country where bin Ladin and most of the September 11 alleged terrorists come from) asked its friend, the United States government, to attack Iran.
Britain’s Iraq inquiry was fixed to protect “US interests”.
Brits are now angry at the US for the way its leaders privately criticize British troops in Afghanistan.
Sweden is a covert member of NATO and US intelligence sharing secretly. Not even the Swedish parliament knew until now. And when Assange sought residence in Sweden, the CIA threatened the government with cutting off its intelligence cooperation. SEPO has a special reason to want Assange out of the way.
The US knows that Sri Lanka’s government, under the Rajapaksa brothers’s rule, massacred ten thousand and more, Tamil civilians in the last days of the civil war. Sri Lanka’s government can no longer with any credibility be trusted with their lies to the contrary.
The US internally admits having lost control of Pakistan where it is illegally killing civilians and doing so against the protests of the national government.
It has also been revealed that the US is secretly killing “undesirable” civilians in Yemen.
In Havana, the Yankee government’s interest section head Jonathan Farrar summoned diplomats from several countries to a breakfast last February. China, Spain, Canada, Brazil (remember the “worker president” Lulu), Italy, France, Japan discussed with their friend, the US invaders of Cuba, how the last remaining semi-socialist country’s economy was doing. The conclusion was that its “financial situation could become fatal within 2-3 years”. Apparently, China was the most preoccupied. Its diplomat expressed “visible exasperation” with Cuba’s lack of making economic reforms (translated to mean capitalist market reforms). China wants joint venture partners to own more than half the businesses, and it wants its loans repaid pronto.
(C:\Documents and Settings\Ron\Dokumenter\CABLEGATE\Cuba to Be Insolvent CBS News.mht). I wonder if Fidel will write a reflection about this. On December 14, he did publish his thoughts on Assange/Wikileaks but made no mention of the above document.
Lastly, I cite from a document (10 Brussels 183; header: VZCZCXRO5689, dated February 17, 2010) that describes a meeting with Deputy National Security Advisor for International Economic Affairs Michael Froman in Brussels, January 27, 2010, with 25 senior EU officials, including the current EU commissioner for climate, the Dane Connie Hedegaard. At the time of this meeting, she was the key Danish government climate spokesperson during the COP 15 conference in Copenhagen, December 2009.
16. (C) It is vital to get G-77 agreement to whatever grouping we use, Hedegaard continued. Both agreed it will be important to talk to incoming G-77 chair Yemen, with Froman adding it will also be important to be in close touch with Mexico as COP-16 chair. In fact, Froman added, we need all major groups ) the EU, MEF, BASIC, G-77, the island countries ) to agree to a negotiating mechanism. Hedegaard responded that we will need to work around unhelpful countries such as Venezuela or Bolivia. Froman agreed that we will need to neutralize, co-opt or marginalize these and others such as Nicaragua, Cuba, Ecuador. Hedegaard noted the irony that the EU is a big donor to these countries, while Cuba, for example, is actively discouraging others from signing on to the Accord.
Until a decade or so ago, Danes had been internationally considered a peaceful, tolerant people. But in recent years, they have become a key supporting force for US-NATO wars against Yugoslavia and in the Middle East. Hedegaard cultivated an image of being tolerant and working in the interests of the environment but this document shows her and the Danish government’s true colors. When this document was recently revealed, she was forced to call a press conference midst in the COP 16 Cancun climate conference where she skirted what she had said last January:
As a media advisor for the Bolivian embassy in Denmark, I attended COP15, in December 2009, and worked with President Evo Morales there. The Bolivian delegation was insulted, as were other “third world” countries which rejected the “Copenhagen Accord”, by the whimsical manner in which the Danish government treated them. Soon after the COP 15 fiasco, the US announced that it was cutting out the crumbs—development aid—it extends to Bolivia and Ecuador, another ALBA (Bolivarian Alliance of the Peoples of America) bad boy. And US-Denmark/EU pressure on the COP 16 climate conference process resulted in Bolivia standing alone for the life of the Planet.
“The Internationalist” publication in Australia recently wrote about the condomgate:
“Criminal cases involving sex are notoriously difficult and messy (often no witnesses, complex relations between the individuals). However, in this case it is evident that there was no violence or coercion. None has been alleged, and whatever [the two women] may have felt afterwards, indications are the sex was consensual at the time. Add to this the judicial mishandling of the case: immediately leaking it to the press, switching prosecutors in order to reinstate the investigation, refusing to meet with Assange then demanding his extradition. Throw in a connection with intelligence agencies, and Cold War anti-Communist connections via Swedish social democracy, plus the overriding determination of the U.S. Empire to strike back at, and shut down, WikiLeaks.”
The United States Government, its capitalist economic structural base, and its capitalist allies, is Organized Sickness!
Dave Lindorff, an old friend and colleague from the 1970s Los Angeles Vanguard, wrote, in broad terms—http://www.thiscantbehappening.net/node/333—that Assange-wikileaks is a precedent case for the Empire, which it seeks in order to fend off provable accusations that it is the Empire itself that is the primary and initiating terrorist. So the Empire must create a new category of terrorism, that of “information terrorists”. Julian Assange is today’s Daniel Ellsberg and Phil Agee. And we mustn’t forget the brave young US soldier, Bradley Manning, who, perhaps, leaked military secrets to wikileaks, which show, among other important crimes, that the US murders and tortures far more people than we already knew about. He will certainly be imprisoned for a long time for his bravery in the fight for peace and for real democracy—an open political process in which we all actually participate in making decisions that actually get carried out for the benefit of the human race and the planet (Pachamama).
So, we who disseminate vital information kept secret from a public that must be informed are also “information terrorists”, who aid and abet “terrorism”. And that is so, so the Establishment means, because we do not aid and abet the Empire’s terrorism!
This is not just another issue. This is a frontal attack against all who wish a decent world. Uproar!
If they succeed in putting Assange in their dungeons or crucifying him as a modern non-violent Spartacus, then goodbye to even pretenses of freedom of speech and the right to know. As Lindorff wrote, the US could “easily trump up a ‘crime’ and arrest a print publisher or radio network owner. These actions are not the actions of a democracy. They are the lawless actions of a dictatorship.”
From one “information terrorist” to an information-seeking potential terrorist public, I close with Edward R. Murrow’s adieu:
Good night, and good luck!
December 17, 2010
Ron Ridenour, who was a co-founder and editor with Dave Lindorff in 1976 of the Los Angeles Vanguard, lives in Denmark. A veteran journalist who has reported in the US and from Venezuela, Cuba and Central America, he has written, Cuba at the Crossroads, Backfire: The CIA's Biggest Burn, and Yankee Sandinistas.
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