April 13, 2019

Crisis: Assage's Arrest, Three Fundamental Points, End of Freedom, Corbyn & Assange, Deceptions

“Nothing in all the world is more dangerous, than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.”
  -- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.



1. Summary
Crisis Files
     A. Selections from April 13, 2019

This is a Nederlog of Saturday, April 13, 2019.

1. Summary

This is a crisis log but it is a bit different from how it was until 2013:

I have been writing about the crisis since September 1, 2008 (in Dutch, but since 2010 in English) and about the enormous dangers of surveillance (by secret services and by many rich commercial entities) since June 10, 2013, and I will continue with it.

On the moment and since more than three years (!!!!) I have problems with the company that is supposed to take care that my site is visible [1] and with my health, but I am still writing a Nederlog every day and I shall continue.

2. Crisis Files

These are five crisis files that are mostly well worth reading:

A. Selections from April 13, 2019:
1. Chomsky: Arrest of Assange Is “Scandalous”
2. Chomsky: Nuclear Weapons, Climate Change & the Undermining of

3. Daniel Ellsberg: Assange's Arrest Is the Beginning of the End

4. Jeremy Corbyn Denounces Efforts to Extradite Assange

5. After 7 Years of Deceptions About Assange, the US Readies for Its First
     Media Rendition

The items 1 - 5 are today's selections from the 35 sites that I look at every morning. The indented text under each link is quoted from the link that starts the item. Unindented text is by me:

1. Chomsky: Arrest of Assange Is “Scandalous”

This article is by Amy Goodman on Democracy Now! I abbreviated the title. It starts with the following introduction:

Attorneys for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange are vowing to fight his possible extradition to the United States following his arrest in London, when British police forcibly removed Assange from the Ecuadorean Embassy, where he had taken asylum for almost seven years. On Thursday night, Democracy Now!'s Amy Goodman spoke to Noam Chomsky about Assange's arrest, WikiLeaks and American power.

Yes indeed. And the speaker in the three bits that follow is Noam Chomsky. Here is the first bit:

NOAM CHOMSKY: Well, the Assange arrest is scandalous in several respects. One of them is just the effort of governments—and it’s not just the U.S. government. The British are cooperating. Ecuador, of course, is now cooperating. Sweden, before, had cooperated. The efforts to silence a journalist who was producing materials that people in power didn’t want the rascal multitude to know about—OK?—that’s basically what happened. WikiLeaks was producing things that people ought to know about those in power. People in power don’t like that, so therefore we have to silence it. OK? This is the kind of thing, the kind of scandal, that takes place, unfortunately, over and over.

Yes, I completely agree, and in fact this is also why the freedom of the press (in so far as this still exists) anywhere also is strongly concerned. 

Then again, I think I should add that "the freedom of the press" does not anymore seem important to that part of the press, which is by far its greatest part, that these days are corporatist media.

And this is a major pity, for without a free press, democracy (in so far as that still exists) will soon be killed.

Here is some more:

Well, Assange is a similar case: We’ve got to silence this voice. You go back to history. Some of you may recall when Mussolini’s fascist government put Antonio Gramsci in jail. The prosecutor said, “We have to silence this voice for 20 years. Can’t let it speak.” That’s Assange. That’s Lula. There are other cases. That’s one scandal.

The other scandal is just the extraterritorial reach of the United States, which is shocking. I mean, why should the United States—why should any—no other state could possibly do it. But why should the United States have the power to control what others are doing elsewhere in the world? I mean, it’s an outlandish situation. It goes on all the time. We never even notice it. At least there’s no comment on it.

Yes indeed. Also, Chomsky is quite right that the USA now does have the power (in fact, if not perhaps in law) to arrest a journalist that is not from the USA and is not working in the USA, in order to convict him of writing the truth about the U.S. government - which is crazy, because if this holds legally for the USA, it also should hold legally for China, North Korea, Russia and any other state: They too may demand the arrest of - say - German journalists who work in Germany for writing something they don't like, ahd for convicting them according to their own laws in their own country.

Here is the ending of this article:

Well, you might ask yourself: What lies behind all of these discussions and negotiations? This is true across the board. Almost any issue you pick, you can ask yourself: Why is this accepted? So, in this case, why is it acceptable for the United States to have the power to even begin to give even a proposal to extradite somebody whose crime is to expose to the public materials that people in power don’t want them to see? That’s basically what’s happening.

Quite so and this is a strongly recommended article. Incidentally, there are four interviews with Chomsky on Democracy Now, and all of them are recommended, and one more is excerpted next:

2. Chomsky: Nuclear Weapons, Climate Change & the Undermining of Democracy

This article is by Amy Goodman on Democracy Now! I abbreviated the title. It starts with the following introduction:

As President Trump pulls out of key nuclear agreements with Russia and moves to expand the U.S. nuclear arsenal, Noam Chomsky looks at how the threat of nuclear war remains one of the most pressing issues facing mankind. In a speech at the Old South Church in Boston, Chomsky also discusses the threat of climate change and the undermining of democracy across the globe.

Yes indeed - and let me repeat the three points Chomsky makes, for I agree each of them is very important: (1) the threat of nuclear war; (2) the threat of climate change; and (3) the undermining of democracy and the free press almost everywhere (strongly aided by the internet).

Here is some more by Chomsky, who again is the speaker in the five selections that follow. Here is the first:

NOAM CHOMSKY: I want to make a couple of remarks below about the severe difficulty of maintaining and instituting democracy, the powerful forces that have always opposed it, the achievements of somehow salvaging and enhancing it, and the significance of that for the future. But first, a couple of words about the challenges that we face, which you heard enough about already and you all know about. I don’t have to go into them in detail. To describe these challenges as “extremely severe” would be an error. The phrase does not capture the enormity of the kinds of challenges that lie ahead. And any serious discussion of the future of humanity must begin by recognizing a critical fact, that the human species is now facing a question that has never before arisen in human history, question that has to be answered quickly: Will human society survive for long?

Yes, I agree, and the two points behind Chomsky's question are the nuclear threat (which is as severe or more severe than it ever was) and the threat of climate change (which seems to me to be happening now), for both may be serious enough to kill all men (and most of nature) either any day (nuclear threat) or in several tens of years (climate change).

As to Chomsky's question whether human society will survive for long: My own answer is probably not as long as mankind is threatened both by nuclear war and by climate change.

Here is more by Chomsky on nuclear war:

Well, as you all know, for 70 years we’ve been living under the shadow of nuclear war. Those who have looked at the record can only be amazed that we’ve survived this far. Time after time it’s come extremely close to terminal disaster, even minutes away. It’s kind of a miracle that we’ve survived. Miracles don’t go on forever. This has to be terminated, and quickly. The recent Nuclear Posture Review of the Trump administration dramatically increases the threat of conflagration, which would in fact be terminal for the species.

Yes indeed - and Chomsky is quite right that "Time after time it’s come extremely close to terminal disaster, even minutes away. It’s kind of a miracle that we’ve survived."

Here is more by Chomsky on global warming:

Well, meanwhile, global warming proceeds on its inexorable course. During this millennium, every single year, with one exception, has been hotter than the last one. There are recent scientific papers, James Hansen and others, which indicate that the pace of global warming, which has been increasing since about 1980, may be sharply escalating and may be moving from linear growth to exponential growth, which means doubling every couple of decades. We’re already approaching the conditions of 125,000 years ago, when the sea level was about roughly 25 feet higher than it is today, with the melting, the rapid melting, of the Antarctic, huge ice fields. We might—that point might be reached. The consequences of that are almost unimaginable.

Yes, I agree (and am living in Amsterdam, Holland, which is, like most of the rest of Western Holland, over 2 meters below sea level - at present).

Here is more by Chomsky on the Green New Deal:

Under a lot of popular pressure, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, joined by Ed Markey, actually placed the Green New Deal on the agenda. That’s a remarkable achievement. Of course, it gets hostile attacks from everywhere: It doesn’t matter. A couple of years ago it was unimaginable that it would be discussed. As the result of the activism of this group of young people, it’s now right in the center of the agenda. It’s got to be implemented in one form or another. It’s essential for survival, maybe not in exactly that form, but some modification of it. Tremendous change achieved by the commitment of a small group of young people. That tells you the kind of thing that can be done.

Yes, I quite agree. Here is the last bit by Chomsky, which is in fact about nuclear war, global warming and the undermining of democracy:

Meanwhile, the Doomsday Clock of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists last January was set at two minutes to midnight. That’s the closest it’s been to terminal disaster since 1947. The announcement of the settlement—of the setting mentioned the two major familiar threats: the threat of nuclear war, which is increasing, threat of global warming, which is increasing further. And it added a third for the first time: the undermining of democracy. That’s the third threat, along with global warming and nuclear war. And that was quite appropriate, because functioning democracy offers the only hope of overcoming these threats.

Again I quite agree, although I might have added the internet, which is the strongest force towards neofascism that I know of, and that I am quite sure was designed to be just that: See Crisis: propaganda and Control: Brezezinski 1968 and also Crisis: Christmas sermon: Hypotheses about CF+SS which translates as Hypotheses about Corporate Fascism plus the Surveillance State. Both are strongly recommended (and the last is the longer and the more theoretical), as is the present article.

3. Daniel Ellsberg: Assange's Arrest Is the Beginning of the End

This article is by Sharmini Perles on Truthdig and originally on The Real News Network. This is from near its beginning:

On to talk about Assange and the reasons for his arrest is a man that is, perhaps, the most famous whistleblower in history that has experienced this type of arrests and state threats, is Daniel Ellsberg, who leaked the famous Pentagon Papers. Daniel’s new book, The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner. You will find an interview series related to Daniel’s book here on The Real News Network, and we’ll put a link to that, as well. Daniel, good to have you here.

Yes indeed, and here is more about Daniel Ellsberg. Here is the first bit by Ellsberg, on the freedom of the press:

SHARMINI PERIES Daniel, your reaction to what has just happened to Julian Assange in London?

DANIEL ELLSBERG It’s a very serious assault on the First Amendment. A clear attempt to rescind the freedom of the press, essentially. Up till now we’ve had a dozen or so indictments of sources, of which my prosecution is the very first prosecution of an American for disclosing information to the American public. And that was ended a couple of years later by governmental misconduct. There were two others before President Obama, and nine or so under President Obama, of sources, none of these having been tested in the Supreme Court yet as to their relation to the First Amendment. Hasn’t gone to them.

This is the first indictment of a journalist and editor or publisher, Julian Assange. And if it’s successful it will not be the last. This is clearly is a part of President Trump’s war on the press, what he calls the enemy of the state.

Yes, I quite agree. Here is more by Ellsberg on the freedom of the press:

If they make the connection of the Real News Network book that he was carrying with him into prison, which I think Gore Vidal would be very pleased to see, him associated with this incident in terms of defending Germany Assange’s rights, but they may connect you. You may be in the next conspiracy trial with Julian Assange. It may not take much more than that. I see on the indictment, which I’ve just read, that one of the charges is that he encouraged Chelsea Manning and Bradley Manning to give him documents, more documents, after she had already given him hundreds of thousands of files. Well, if that’s a crime, then journalism is a crime, because just on countless occasions I have been harassed by journalists for documents, or for more documents than I had yet given them. So they–none of them have been put on trial up till now. But in this case, if that’s all it takes, then no journalist is safe. The freedom of the press is not safe. It’s over. And I think our republic is in its last days, because unauthorized disclosures of this kind are the lifeblood of a republic.

Yes, I quite agree and here is some more on two points:

First, here is some more on Gore Vidal from the Wikipedia, and here is more about and from Gore Vidal on NL: Crisis: Gore Vidal explains some backgrounds and Crisis: More Gore Vidal + some notes by me and Crisis: "U.S. pretty darned fucked" + more Gore Vidal + notes by me - and incidentally all three are from August 2012, which was when I discovered Vidal, which happened to be less than a month after he died.

Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:

As I say, though, it’s a threat not only to journalists, but to people in political status and political asylum everywhere. But the immediate threat, you say the significance of is for Trump, I have no doubt that he wants to define criminally in a courtroom the press as a an enemy of the people. When I say that Assange seeking documents–something that I’ve been asked countless times by a journalist to do, to give them documents–if that’s all it takes, then the First Amendment means very little. And without freedom of the press you have no–you have very little freedom in the country. I’m afraid that’s the direction we’re going.

Yes, I completely agree, ndeed also with "And without freedom of the press you have no–you have very little freedom in the country. I’m afraid that’s the direction we’re going." And in fact I would have disagreed with Ellsberg if there were more people than a relatively small amount who care, but I think I am quite correct in assuming that those who care for the - real - freedom of the press are in fact in a small minority. And this is a strongly recommended article.

4. Jeremy Corbyn Denounces Efforts to Extradite Assange

This article is by Jessica Corbett on Truthdig and originally on Common Dreams. It starts as follows:

Key figures in the United Kingdom’s Labour Party are speaking out against the possible extradition of Julian Assange to the United States after British police arrested the WikiLeaks founder and forcibly dragged him out of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London Thursday.

“The extradition of Julian Assange to the U.S. for exposing evidence of atrocities in Iraq and Afghanistan should be opposed by the British government,” tweeted Jeremy Corbyn, the opposition party’s leader.

Yes and I agree with Corbyn. Here is some more:

Along with his concise comment, Corbyn posted a video in which Labour MP and Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott says:

And we should recall what WikiLeaks actually disclosed: Who can forget the Pentagon video footage of a missile attack in 2007 in Iraq, which killed 18 civilians and two Reuters journalists? It is the monumental amount of leaks such as this that lifted the veil on U.S.-led military operation in a variety of theaters, none of which have produced a favorable outcome [for] the people of those countries. Julian Assange is not being pursued to protect U.S. national security. He is being pursued because he has exposed wrongdoing by U.S. administrations and their military forces.

Yes, I agree also with Abbott. Here is more by her:

Abbott also shared the video and said on Twitter, “In this country we have protections for whistleblowers, those who take personal risk to disclose wrongdoing in the public interest.”

No, I disagree: If Great Britain would have had "protections for whistle-blowers, those who take personal risk to disclose wrongdoing in the public intrest" then Assange would not have been forced to seek asylum in the Ecuadorian enbassy in the first place.

Here is some more:

Glenn Greenwald is among those arguing that the indictment “poses grave threats to press freedom.” In a piece for The Intercept Greenwald co-authored with Micah Lee, he also called out media outlets for misrepresenting the indictment in reports Thursday.

Linking to a Guardian column by Owen Jones, Greenwald pointed out on Twitter Friday that people on “the actual left” in the United Kingdom, the United States, Latin America, and Europe have denounced the extradition effort while “U.S. establishment liberals have largely cheered it.” As Greenwald put it, that shows “liberals are authoritarians who revere U.S. security institutions.”

Perhaps - but who are these American "liberals"? (I don't know.)

Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:

“Whatever you think of Julian Assange, his extradition to the U.S. must be opposed,” Jones wrote in his column Friday. “Extraditing the founder of WikiLeaks is an attempt by the U.S. to intimidate anyone who exposes its crimes.”

Yes, I agree and this is a recommended article.

5. After 7 Years of Deceptions About Assange, the US Readies for Its First Media Rendition

This article is by Jonathan Cook on Common Dreams. This is from near its beginning:

From the moment he sought asylum, Assange was cast as an outlaw. His work as the founder of Wikileaks—a digital platform that for the first time in history gave ordinary people a glimpse into the darkest recesses of the most secure vaults in the deepest of Deep States – was erased from the record.

Assange was reduced from one of the few towering figures of our time—a man who will have a central place in history books, if we as a species live long enough to write those books—to nothing more than a sex pest, and a scruffy bail-skipper.

The political and media class crafted a narrative of half-truths about the sex charges Assange was under investigation for in Sweden. They overlooked the fact that Assange had been allowed to leave Sweden by the original investigator, who dropped the charges, only for them to be revived by another investigator with a well-documented political agenda.

Yes, this seems mostly correct. Here is some more:

The political and media establishment ignored the mounting evidence of a secret grand jury in Virginia formulating charges against Assange, and ridiculed Wikileaks’ concerns that the Swedish case might be cover for a more sinister attempt by the US to extradite Assange and lock him away in a high-security prison, as had happened to whistleblower Chelsea Manning.

They belittled the 2016 verdict of a panel of United Nations legal scholars that the UK was “arbitrarily detaining” Assange. The media were more interested in the welfare of his cat.

I think this is also true of the "political and media establishment". Here is some more:
Equally, they ignored the fact that Assange had been given diplomatic status by Ecuador, as well as Ecuadorean citizenship. Britain was obligated to allow him to leave the embassy, using his diplomatic immunity, to travel unhindered to Ecuador. No “mainstream” journalist or politician thought this significant either.
Yes, I agree. Here is some more:

And possibly most egregiously of all, most of the media refused to acknowledge that Assange was a journalist and publisher, even though by failing to do so they exposed themselves to the future use of the same draconian sanctions should they or their publications ever need to be silenced. They signed off on the right of the US authorities to seize any foreign journalist, anywhere in the world, and lock him or her out of sight. They opened the door to a new, special form of rendition for journalists.

This was never about Sweden or bail violations, or even about the discredited Russiagate narrative, as anyone who was paying the vaguest attention should have been able to work out. It was about the US Deep State doing everything in its power to crush Wikileaks and make an example of its founder.

I think this is also mostly correct. Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:

Still the media and political class is turning a blind eye. Where is the outrage at the lies we have been served up for these past seven years? Where is the contrition at having been gulled for so long? Where is the fury at the most basic press freedom—the right to publish—being trashed to silence Assange? Where is the willingness finally to speak up in Assange’s defence?

It’s not there. There will be no indignation at the BBC, or the Guardian, or CNN. Just curious, impassive—even gently mocking—reporting of Assange’s fate.

And that is because these journalists, politicians and experts never really believed anything they said. They knew all along that the US wanted to silence Assange and to crush Wikileaks. They knew that all along and they didn’t care. In fact, they happily conspired in paving the way for today’s kidnapping of Assange.

I fear this is also correct, and this is a recommended article.

[1] I have now been saying since the end of 2015 that is systematically ruining my site by NOT updating it within a few seconds, as it did between 1996 and 2015, but by updating it between two to seven days later, that is, if I am lucky.

They have claimed that my site was wrongly named in html: A lie. They have claimed that my operating system was out of date: A lie.

And they just don't care for my site, my interests, my values or my ideas. They have behaved now for 3 years as if they are the eagerly willing instruments of the US's secret services, which I will from now on suppose they are (for truth is dead in Holland).

The only two reasons I remain with xs4all is that my site has been there since 1996, and I have no reasons whatsoever to suppose that any other Dutch provider is any better (!!).
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