By Ron Ridenour
On June 12, 1987, the greatest president in the history of the United States of America (according to US opinion polls), Ronald Reagan, challenged Mikhail Gorbachev to tear down the Berlin Wall. Twenty-nine months later, November 9, 1989, the communist party leaderships of the DDR and Soviet Union, complied and opened the wall.
I call upon the prime minister of the “United Kingdom”, Boris Johnson, to do the same at Belmarsh Prison where political prisoners, such as Julian Assange, are held to languish up to eternity. I call upon President Donald Trump to rescind the extradition order, and to release Chelsea Manning.
Realizing that these state war criminals will not do so, I urge Brits to vote into power a decent labor-unionist, anti-war politician, Jeremy Corbyn, who would (I believe) release this brave human being as he would also stop allying Britain with US wars of aggression. Regardless of where we stand on the political spectrum, we must at least vote for some sanity. I am a socialist revolutionary and never vote for The Establishment, but I would vote for Corbyn precisely because he opposes aggressive wars and incarcerating truth-tellers. Those two concerns must be the litmus test for any electoral strategy and voting. I’ll let leftists living in the US to decide what they will do about the 2020 election campaign.
I also call upon every self-identifying old-time liberal, progressive, leftist, conservative for human rights, activist for human rights, activist and journalist for a free press and free speech to ACT against this legalized murder of the world’s most important publisher of information that reveals war crimes of any and all governments and government crimes against human rights.
Protest and resist, including with civil disobedience where you can, especially where Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning are held captives as political prisoners. Once turned away, return the next day. Learn from the brave demonstrators in Ecuador (home of US assassin-partner President Lenin Moreno) where they resist higher costs of living and police murderers. As you protest, sing along with David Rovics’ newest song, “Behind These Prison Walls”
Behind these prison walls, in solitary confinement
In a land of rolling hills and royalty and other such refinement
Is someone who is a hero to whistleblowers everywhere
Who helped them tell the world of the crimes of Tony Blair
Behind these prison walls you will find a mortal man
The reason why we know what happened in Afghanistan
When the soldiers of the empire whose sun set long before
Were torturing civilians in their terror war
Behind these prison walls is a part of Wikileaks
An eloquent orator, but you won’t hear him speak
Locked away in silence, one who knows too well
How those in power act when there’s another war to sell
Behind these prison walls is one who stands accused
Of exactly what offenses, the US has refused to say…
…A person being tortured, as we stand here now
For revealing the war crimes –- why, when, where, how
Behind these prison walls, our very right to be informed
Of what the hell is going on is the teacup in this storm
With knowledge there is power, so the solution by the Crown
A 24-hour-a-day, indefinite lockdown.
What they say:
Lenin Moreno: Ecuador President “terminated” the “diplomatic asylum granted to Mr. Assange in 2012 [because he and/or his organization Wikileaks] leaked Vatican documents…therefore involved in interfering in internal affairs of other states.”
Rafael Correa: Ecuador former president described Moreno as the “greatest traitor in Ecuadorian history” after Assange was arrested, and then Moreno gave the US Assange’s material.
Jeremy Corbyn: “The extradition of Julian Assange to the US for exposing evidence of atrocities in Iraq and Afghanistan should be opposed by the British government.”
Hillary Clinton: “Can’t we just drone this guy?” she asked US State Department brass at a November 2010 meeting.
Donald Trump: “I love Wikileaks.”
Bernie Sanders: “It is a disturbing attack on the First Amendment for the Trump administration to decide who is, or who is not a reporter for the purposes of a criminal prosecution.”
Tulsi Gabbard: “The fact that the Trump administration has chosen to ignore how important it is that we uphold our freedoms…and go after him, it has a very chilling effect on both journalists and publishers…and also on every one of us as Americans…a warning call…saying, ‘Look what happened to this guy.’…We have got to address why [Snowden] did things the way that he did them,” she said. “You hear the same thing from Chelsea Manning, how there is not an actual channel for whistleblowers like them to bring forward information that exposes egregious abuses of our constitutional rights and liberties, period.”
John Pilger: “To the chagrin of many in authority and the media, WikiLeaks has torn down the facade behind which rapacious western power and journalism collude. This was an enduring taboo; the BBC could claim impartiality and expect people to believe it. Today, war by media is increasingly understood by the public, as is the trial by media of WikiLeaks’ founder, and editor Julian Assange.”
Doctors: More than 60 doctors have written an open letter saying that Julian Assange’s health has deteriorated so much that the WikiLeaks founder’s life is in danger inside a British jail.
The medical experts wrote to British Home Secretary Priti Patel saying they had “concerns about Mr. Assange’s fitness” to go through the extradition hearings set for next February. “Assange requires urgent expert medical assessment of both his physical and psychological state of health…Were such urgent assessment and treatment not to take place, we have real concerns, on the evidence currently available, that Mr. Assange could die in prison. The medical situation is thereby urgent. There is no time to lose.”
New Zealand independent journalist Suzi Dawson recently told broadcaster Jimmy Dore ten reasons why the whole world, sans the 1% with its war machines and CIA Mafia, should view Assange and Snowden [and I add Chelsea Manning] as heroes for finding and telling us the truth about the warmongers. For her tenacious findings she is also now in Moscow seeking asylum, a victim of The Establishment seeking to stop her work.
“Top Ten Edward Snowden Rev…” a 13-minute interview with Suzie Dawson on the Jimmy Dore show:
1) “Wikileaks has been keeping the historical record intact, and is actually combating the digital loss as web pages and websites are constantly being taken down from the internet by the powers that be. In this current paradigm they’re actually scrubbing entire websites and domains at every opportunity. They’re trying to erase information from our living history…”
2) “Wikileaks enables victims of persecution to have admissible evidence to fight their cases in court. 40,000 cases around the world have had Wikileaks documents submitted as court evidence.”
3) “They’ve maintained a 100% accuracy record over ten years of publishing.”
4) “Wikileaks is still publishing despite the full force of the Empire being used against them. Intelligence agencies, financial service providers, hostile media and law fare, and of course now Julian Assange’s solitary confinement, we still see Wikileaks releases being published.”
5) It “established a digital library of over 10 million documents, containing pristine datasets…Current news stories can be further informed by doing a key word search to see what Wikileaks archives contain about topics or persons or places that may be relevant to that news story.”
6) “Wikileaks has established a whole new way of doing journalism [including] “the first anonymous drop boxes… a similar technology is being used by media outlets across the globe.”
7) “Wikileaks has become the vanguard of press freedom…that is incredibly important because as they are pushing those boundaries further and further out, it allows independent media and citizen media to fill that space in between. We can go further and do more significant things because Wikileaks is out there taking the heat for us.”
8) “Wikileaks has published leaks on every country in the world without geopolitical bias.”
9) “Wikileaks leaves no source behind, and not only do they go above and beyond to support their sources, they’ve actually established other organizations to support other at-risk journalists and whistleblowers, such as the Courage Foundation, and we now have proven that Julian Assange was involved in the establishment of the Freedom of the Press Foundation.”
10) “Julian saved the life of Edward Snowden, who is renowned as the greatest whistleblower of our generation, and was brought to you by Wikileaks.” “Julian Assange should be getting a Nobel Prize, not being persecuted.”
Sweden Drops Extradition Request to Please the US
Last week, Sweden dropped its extradition request with the sole purpose of asking Assange what happened when he had sex with two Swedish women. There never were “charges of rape” as mass media persist in fraudulently repeating. (Note: Assange had already been interrogated by Swedish police and released. He knew if he went to Sweden again, once the issue was brought up yet again, he would be turned over to the US for possible life imprisonment.)
UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Nils Melzer stated in an official letter to the Swedish government that the investigation “was the primary factor that triggered, enabled and encouraged the subsequent campaign of sustained and concerted public mobbing and judicial persecution against Mr. Assange in various countries, the cumulative effects of which can only described as psychological torture.”
Oscar Grenfell informed us of that letter, and added, “The complete discrediting of the Swedish investigation, which played such a linchpin role in the US-led vendetta, exposes the utterly lawless character of the entire operation against Assange, adding, “Despite never coming close to the issuing of criminal charges, the Swedish investigation was used to embroil Assange in the legal system and was the chief mechanism for enforcing his arbitrary detention.
“It was Britain’s backing for Sweden’s unprecedented request that Assange be extradited merely to ‘answer questions’ that forced him to seek political asylum in Ecuador’s London embassy in 2012. The Swedish case provided the bogus rationale for Britain’s siege of the embassy and its threats that it would arrest Assange if he set foot outside the building.”
Assange is charged under the 1917 Espionage Act, a long-ignored (until the Obama administration) “Red Scare”-era law signed by President Woodrow Wilson which was designed to punish US citizens or resident spies or supporters for US war enemies, namely Germany. Assange is neither a spy, citizen or resident of the US, albeit the current charges can result in his imprisonment for 175 years.
The United Nations has consistently condemned the actions of the U.S., Britain and the Swedish governments, and called for Assange’s immediate release.
When Assange was imprisoned for 50 weeks for failure to appear in a British court, June 2012, UN’s Melzer visited Assange with two doctors. They confirmed that Assange has been “deliberately exposed, for a period of several years, to progressively [more] severe forms of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, the cumulative effects of which can only be described as psychological torture…The collective persecution of Julian Assange must end here and now!.”
Melzer recently added, “In my view, this case has never been about Mr. Assange’s guilt or innocence, but about making him pay the price for exposing serious governmental misconduct, including alleged war crimes and corruption.”
Professor Melzer condemned the relentless abuse of Assange and concerted efforts to extradite him to the U.S. under the fraudulent Espionage Act. Assange, in an indictment that for a long time was sealed and kept secret, is charged with 17 violations of the Espionage Act for leaking 750,000 confidential military and diplomatic documents (evidence of war crimes and acts of terrorism), including revealing important information about U.S. complicity in the war on Yemen, where at least 80,000 Yemeni civilians have been killed.
Human rights lawyer, Jennifer Robinson, and one of Assange’s barristers, stated:
“It is the first time in US history the Espionage Act is being used against a journalist and publisher and, as The New York Times and Washington Post have made clear (and as we have warned since 2010), his indictment criminalizes journalistic practices used by those newspapers to report in the public interest.”
“Inside the Embassy, Assange was spied on and all his communications, including with his lawyers, were being intercepted by a Spanish security company hired by the C.I.A. There apparently was also a C.I.A. plan to kidnap Assange. In a normal court in a civilized country, the government case would have been thrown out on constitutional and legal grounds, but that was not the case in this instance.”
The company Robinson refers to is “UC Global” with headquarters in Cádiz, Spain. It was originally hired by Senain, the former Ecuadorian intelligence service. UC Global owner, David Morales, installed a video streaming service direct to US and the CIA. Later the Ecuadorian firm, Promsecurity, surveilled Assange.
Chelsea Manning imprisonment is double jeopardy
Since March the eastern district court in Virginia has incarcerated Chelsea Manning for refusing to testify yet again about her relationship with Wikileaks and journalist-publisher Julian Assange. With the exception of one week, Chelsea has been confined in jail, often in solitary. She faces up to one year more, at least, and fines of $1000 per day—a total of half a million dollars by time of her possible release.
Although Chelsea is constitutionally protected from double jeopardy—from being charged twice for the same crime—her right to silence has effectively been stripped away by the duplicity of the grand jury totalitarian procedure. She already testified during her court martial about her relationship with Wikileaks and Julian Assange, for which she served seven hard years in a military prison, often in isolation and under torture, as defined by United Nations experts on what torture means.
Chelsea explained her decision thusly:
“I will not comply with this, or any other grand jury. Imprisoning me for my refusal to answer questions only subjects me to additional punishment for my repeatedly-stated ethical objections to the grand jury system.
“The grand jury’s questions pertained to disclosures from nine years ago, and took place six years after an in-depth computer forensics case, in which I testified for almost a full day about these events. I stand by my previous public testimony.
“I will not participate in a secret process that I morally object to, particularly one that has been historically used to entrap and persecute activists for protected political speech.”
We are in one another’s hand. Take your hands, brothers and sisters, and raise your fits of passionate solidarity: fight for the lives of our brave imprisoned and tortured brother and sister.
Free Assange! Free Manning!
As I write this commentary, Denmark national Radio/TV’s “leading editor” Lotte Stensgaard, admitted that a November 19 story it ran about Sweden’s dropping “rape” charges against Assange was a “mistake”, which she “regrets” and has corrected. I hope that readers will also challenge the perpetual “mistakes” (lies) that the mass media in Denmark, the UK and the US continually perpetrate to confuse us, and to prevent us from taking action against the corrupt Establishment.
Ten years and ten million documents exposed, including “Collateral Murder.” This is what it is really all about.
RON RIDENOUR, a US expatriate journalist living in Denmark, contributed this article to ThisCantBeHappening.net. Ron’s latest book ‘Winding Brook Stories’ is available at Amazon and Lulu. His other work can be found at ronridenour.com