Thursday, December 16, 2010

"These Are Not The Criminals You Are Looking For"

I remain simultaneously amazed and appalled that the cux of the matter of the activities of WikiLeaks is not so much about the contents of what WikiLeaks actually leaks, but rather about WikiLeaks itself, their motives and the terrible, horrible danger they represent.

Indeed, the overwhelming majority of mainstream/corporate media outlets stenographers and mouthpieces keep dutifully harping relentlessly that the activities of WikiLeaks put countless lives at risk - whether they leak about Iraq, Afghanistan or diplomatic cables. That is indeed what we read, see and/or hear time and time and time and time again. Hey - didn't you know? WikiLeaks not only has blood on their hands, but they are endangering lives around the world!

Except of course that, no, not a single life was/has been endangered despite the propaganda run by the US government and a compliant mainstream/corporate media to the contrary.

Be that as it may, you won't hear much of those facts, but instead about how Julian Assange, WikiLeaks and any and all collaborators require the harshest punishments one can think of for their despicable, repugnant crimes against Humanity.



Take for instance that non-human monster Bradley Manning, the U.S. Army Private who has been accused of leaking classified documents (to WikiLeaks), yet remains to be tried and found guilty. Here's one degenerate evul bastard that deserves all that he is currently "getting" (emphasis added):
Detained U.S. Army Private Bradley Manning's supporters went public with their concerns about the harsh conditions of his imprisonment — he has no access to exercise or even a pillow and bedsheets during his solitary confinement — only after their complaints to the military over several months went unheeded.

As Salon's Glenn Greenwald reported on Wednesday, Manning, who has been accused of leaking classified documents to WikiLeaks, has never been convicted of any crime but has been detained at the U.S. Marine brig in Quantico "under conditions that constitute cruel and inhumane treatment and, by the standards of many nations, even torture."

"We were aware of those situations and we were hoping that they would improve without applying public pressure through the media," Jeff Paterson, who runs Manning's legal defense fund, told The Huffington Post. "His attorney and supporters were hoping that this could be taken care of through the appropriate channels."

Paterson says that Manning is "very annoyed" at the conditions of his confinement, adding that he is primarily upset at his inability to exercise. "He sits in this small box, for the most part only to take a shower - he just sits and eats and four months have gone by."

According to Paterson, Manning has been examined by Quantico's mental health officials, who declared that he is not a suicide risk -- yet he continues to be held in solitary confinement which is consistent with a suicide watch. His overall mental health evaluation, which was begun in September, is still ongoing and should be wrapped up in a few weeks, says Paterson. Manning's attorney, David Coombs did not return calls for comment. A spokesperson for the Pentagon did not return calls for comment.

Aye indeed, rejoice at how we are paying back Manning-Teh-Bane-Of-Freedom for all his (not-yet-found-guilty-for) crimes (emphasis added):
Bradley Manning, the 22-year-old U.S. Army Private accused of leaking classified documents to WikiLeaks, has never been convicted of that crime, nor of any other crime. Despite that, he has been detained at the U.S. Marine brig in Quantico, Virginia for five months -- and for two months before that in a military jail in Kuwait -- under conditions that constitute cruel and inhumane treatment and, by the standards of many nations, even torture.

(...) Since his arrest in May, Manning has been a model detainee, without any episodes of violence or disciplinary problems. He nonetheless was declared from the start to be a "Maximum Custody Detainee," the highest and most repressive level of military detention, which then became the basis for the series of inhumane measures imposed on him.

From the beginning of his detention, Manning has been held in intensive solitary confinement. For 23 out of 24 hours every day -- for seven straight months and counting -- he sits completely alone in his cell. Even inside his cell, his activities are heavily restricted; he's barred even from exercising and is under constant surveillance to enforce those restrictions. For reasons that appear completely punitive, he's being denied many of the most basic attributes of civilized imprisonment, including even a pillow or sheets for his bed (he is not and never has been on suicide watch). For the one hour per day when he is freed from this isolation, he is barred from accessing any news or current events programs.

(...) In sum, Manning has been subjected for many months without pause to inhumane, personality-erasing, soul-destroying, insanity-inducing conditions of isolation similar to those perfected at America's Supermax prison in Florence, Colorado: all without so much as having been convicted of anything. And as is true of many prisoners subjected to warped treatment of this sort, the brig's medical personnel now administer regular doses of anti-depressants to Manning to prevent his brain from snapping from the effects of this isolation.

Just by itself, the type of prolonged solitary confinement to which Manning has been subjected for many months is widely viewed around the world as highly injurious, inhumane, punitive, and arguably even a form of torture. In his widely praised March, 2009 New Yorker article -- entitled "Is Long-Term Solitary Confinement Torture?" -- the surgeon and journalist Atul Gawande assembled expert opinion and personal anecdotes to demonstrate that, as he put it, "all human beings experience isolation as torture." By itself, prolonged solitary confinement routinely destroys a person’s mind and drives them into insanity. A March, 2010 article in The Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law explains that "solitary confinement is recognized as difficult to withstand; indeed, psychological stressors such as isolation can be as clinically distressing as physical torture."

For that reason, many Western nations -- and even some non-Western nations notorious for human rights abuses -- refuse to employ prolonged solitary confinement except in the most extreme cases of prisoner violence.

(...) It's one thing to impose such punitive, barbaric measures on convicts who have proven to be violent when around other prisoners; at the Supermax in Florence, inmates convicted of the most heinous crimes and who pose a threat to prison order and the safety of others are subjected to worse treatment than what Manning experiences. But it's another thing entirely to impose such conditions on individuals, like Manning, who have been convicted of nothing and have never demonstrated an iota of physical threat or disorder.

In 2006, a bipartisan National Commission on America's Prisons was created and it called for the elimination of prolonged solitary confinement. Its Report documented that conditions whereby "prisoners end up locked in their cells 23 hours a day, every day. . . is so severe that people end up completely isolated, living in what can only be described as torturous conditions." The Report documented numerous psychiatric studies of individuals held in prolonged isolation which demonstrate "a constellation of symptoms that includes overwhelming anxiety, confusion and hallucination, and sudden violent and self-destructive outbursts." The above-referenced article from the Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law states: "Psychological effects can include anxiety, depression, anger, cognitive disturbances, perceptual distortions, obsessive thoughts, paranoia, and psychosis."

When one exacerbates the harms of prolonged isolation with the other deprivations to which Manning is being subjected, long-term psychiatric and even physical impairment is likely.

(...) Manning is barred from communicating with any reporters, even indirectly, so nothing he has said can be quoted here. But David House, a 23-year-old MIT researcher who befriended Manning after his detention (and then had his laptops, camera and cellphone seized by Homeland Security when entering the U.S.) is one of the few people to have visited Manning several times at Quantico. He describes palpable changes in Manning's physical appearance and behavior just over the course of the several months that he's been visiting him. Like most individuals held in severe isolation, Manning sleeps much of the day, is particularly frustrated by the petty, vindictive denial of a pillow or sheets, and suffers from less and less outdoor time as part of his one-hour daily removal from his cage.

This is why the conditions under which Manning is being detained were once recognized in the U.S. -- and are still recognized in many Western nations -- as not only cruel and inhumane, but torture. More than a century ago, U.S. courts understood that solitary confinement was a barbaric punishment that severely harmed the mental and physical health of those subjected to it. The Supreme Court's 1890 decision in In re Medley noted that as a result of solitary confinement as practiced in the early days of the United States, many "prisoners fell, after even a short confinement, into a semi-fatuous condition . . . and others became violently insane; others still, committed suicide; while those who stood the ordeal better . . . [often] did not recover sufficient mental activity to be of any subsequent service to the community." And in its 1940 decision in Chambers v. Florida, the Court characterized prolonged solitary confinement as "torture" and compared it to "[t]he rack, the thumbscrew, [and] the wheel."

The inhumane treatment of Manning may have international implications as well. There are multiple proceedings now pending in the European Union Human Rights Court, brought by "War on Terror" detainees contesting their extradition to the U.S. on the ground that the conditions under which they likely will be held -- particularly prolonged solitary confinement -- violate the European Convention on Human Rights, which (along with the Convention Against Torture) bars EU states from extraditing anyone to any nation where there is a real risk of inhumane and degrading treatment. The European Court of Human Rights has in the past found detention conditions violative of those rights (in Bulgaria) where "the [detainee] spent 23 hours a day alone in his cell; had limited interaction with other prisoners; and was only allowed two visits per month." From the Journal article referenced above:

International treaty bodies and human rights experts, including the Human Rights Committee, the Committee against Torture, and the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Torture, have concluded that solitary confinement may amount to cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment in violation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman, and Degrading Treatment or Punishment. They have specifically criticized supermax confinement in the United States because of the mental suffering it inflicts.

Subjecting a detainee like Manning to this level of prolonged cruel and inhumane detention can thus jeopardize the ability of the U.S. to secure extradition for other prisoners, as these conditions are viewed in much of the civilized world as barbaric. (...) Whatever else is true, all of this illustrates what a profound departure from international norms is the treatment to which the U.S. Government is subjecting him.

Oh yes - Manning-Teh-Evil-One deserves all that - and so much, much more (emphasis added):

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee was caught on video at a book signing at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum in Simi Valley, Calif. saying that the leaker should be executed.

"Whoever in our government leaked that information is guilty of treason," Huckabee said. "I think anything less than execution is too kind a penalty."

"They've put American lives at risk," he said. "They’ve put relationships that will take decades to rebuild at risk, and they knew full well that they were handling sensitive documents, they were entrusted and anyone who had access to that level of information was not only a person who understood what their rules were, but they also signed under oath a commitment that they would not violate it. They did."

"And I believe they have committed treason against this country, and any lives they endanger, they’re personally responsible for and the blood is on their hands," he added.

Yessiree, indeed (emphasis added):
Speaking on his Monday show, (Bill) O'Reilly said that the leaking of the cables, which have sparked a global diplomatic crisis and unearthed scores of revelations about the inner workings of the State Department, was an outrage.

"Whoever leaked all those State Department documents to the WikiLeaks website is a traitor and should be executed or put in prison for life," he said (...).

O'Reilly then turned to Bradley Manning, the intelligence analyst who has been widely tipped as the source for WikiLeaks. If guilty, he said, Manning "is a traitor and should be given life and hard labor in a military prison."
While we're at it, we must make his equally depraved, equally suspect and equally evul supporters pay for their horrific crimes of ... supporting him. Here's one example (emphasis added):
Last Wednesday, November 3, David House, a 23-year-old researcher who works at MIT, was returning to the U.S. from a short vacation with his girlfriend in Mexico,(...). House's crime: he did work in helping set up the Bradley Manning Support Network, an organization created to raise money for Manning's legal defense fund, and he has now visited Manning three times in Quantico, Virginia, where the accused WikiLeaks leaker is currently being detained (all those visits are fully monitored by government agents). (...) House has never been accused of any crime, never been advised that he's under investigation, and was never told by any federal agents that he's suspected of any wrongdoing at all.

Last Wednesday, House arrived at Chicago's O'Hare Airport, and his flight was met in the concourse by customs agents, who examined the passports of all deplaning passengers until they saw House's, at which point they stopped. He was then directed to Customs, where his and his girlfriend's bags were extensively searched. After the search was complete, two men identifying themselves as Homeland Security officials told House and his girlfriend they were being detained for questioning and would miss their connecting flight. House was told that he was required to relinquish all of his electronic products, and thus gave them his laptop, cellphone, digital camera and UBS flash drive. The document he received itemizing his seized property is here. He was also told to give the agents all of his passwords and encryption keys, which he refused to do.

House was then taken to a detention room by two armed agents and on his way there, he passed by a room in which several individuals were plugging various instruments into his laptop and cellphone. The two agents, Marcial Santiago and Darin Louck, proceeded to question him for 90 minutes about why he was visiting Manning in prison, what work he did to support the Manning campaign, who else was involved in the Manning support group, and what his views were on WikiLeaks. He was told that he would not receive his laptop or camera back, and the agents kept it. To date, he has not received them back and very well may never. When he told them that he had roughly 20 hours of source code work in his laptop and would like to save it or email it to a saved site, they told him he could not do that. He subsequently learned from Agent Santiago that although Agent Louck identified himself as a Homeland Security agent, he is, in fact, with the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force.

And while we're still at it, let us make sure that Manning-Teh-Doombringer finds himself bereft of the means to pay for his defense when his trial finally comes along (emphasis added):
(...) despite WikiLeaks' promise to help fund Manning's legal defense, the organization has not forwarded any funds. CBS News reported last week that WikiLeaks had promised $20,000. (...) a brief message from the Wau Holland Foundation in Germany, the main fundraising platform for WikiLeaks, (stated) that the foundation faces a possible audit by German authorities and that it cannot promise any funds at this time. As of last week, the defense fund had raised $95,000 from 1,350 people (...).
Then again, let us not forget that Manning-Teh-Spawn-Of-Darkness is nothing, nuthin', compared to the Great Malevolency-Of-All-Time that is Julian Assange - a.k.a. Teh Dark Overlord (emphasis added):

Conservative outrage over the WikiLeaks release of secret State Department cables has reached a fever pitch, with Rep. Pete King (R-NY) — who will chair the Homeland Security Committee in the new Congress — demanding the group be declared a terrorist organization. Former GOP Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum echoed King yesterday, saying WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is guilty of “terrorism,” while a number of Republican lawmakers have called for treason charges against suspected leaker Bradley Manning. Meanwhile, a number of conservative figures have fantasized about committing bodily harm to Assange.

But former Bush speechwriter-cum-leading torture advocate Marc Thiessen took this outrage to comic heights last night on Fox News host Sean Hannity’s show. Proving that neoconservatives never miss an opportunity to call for war, Thiessen suggested that if diplomacy fails to capture Assange, the U.S. should “go and get him” — with or without his host country’s permission:

THIESSEN: There are plenty of tools at our disposal. … But failing that, we can act unilaterally. We can go and get him without another country’s permission. We did it with General Noriega — there’s authority within the Office of Legal Counsel and that we can go and take anybody anywhere in the world.

That is why we must do anything, any-thing, to not only catch him (for whatever reason allegation, such as rape sexual assault sexual molestation sexual abuse sexual harassment sexual impropriety - i.e. having consensual sex without a condom) but furthermore do everything we can so that he stays caught (emphasis added):

British prosecutors, rather than Swedish officials, are behind the effort to keep WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange from being granted bail, the Guardian reports.

Assange was granted bail by a London judge on Tuesday, but remained in custody reportedly because of plans by Swedish prosecutors to appeal the decision.

"But today the Swedish prosecutor's office told the Guardian it had 'not got a view at all on bail' and that Britain had made the decision to oppose bail," the newspaper reported.

"The decision was made by the British prosecutor," Swedish prosecution service spokeswoman Karin Rosander said. "I got it confirmed by the CPS this morning that the decision to appeal the granting of bail was entirely a matter for the CPS. The Swedish prosecutors are not entitled to make decisions within Britain. It is entirely up to the British authorities to handle it."

Assange's lawyers "reacted with shock" the news, the Guardian reports, saying they had been informed by prosecutors it was Sweden who had insisted on the appeal.

British prosecutors will reportedly request that Assange be kept in jail until his extradition hearing is complete.

According to his lawyer, Mark Stephens, Assange is being held in solitary confinement for 23-1/2 hours per day.

"He is in isolation. He doesn't have access to newspapers or television or other news devices. He is not getting mail, he is subject to the pettiest forms of censorship," Stephens said.

Oh yes - nothing but a segregation unit for Teh Dark Overlord while we have him in custody. And let us be afraid that Teh-Prime-Internet-Archfiend has been given limited access to the (shriek!!!) internets - why, he's a veritable ticking time bomb (emphasis added):
MSNBC on the Assange bail hearing:
Stephanie Gosk: the Swedish authorities had two hours to challenge this decision and that's exactly what they've done and it has to be heard by Britains high court within the next 48 hours and that means that Julian assange will be in jail during that time. If they lose that case, and Julian Assange is granted bail as the magistrate has granted him today, he will be allowed to go but he has to stay at a registered address and one of his supporters, luckily enough, has a 600 acre mansion in southern England and he's going to be allowed to stay there. He's not going to be free to run around, he's going to have electronic surveillance, he has a curfew and he's already turned in his passport. But it has been a victory today, a small one, he trying to fight that extradition back to Sweden.

Andrea Mitchell: He can be on a 600 acre estate with all sorts of electronic monitoring ... but can he go on the internet?!
... and sexually assault some female avatars and then destroy us all with his x-ray vision and cyber-army?? Run for your lives!
Uncannily, and woe to all of Humanity, Teh Dark Overlord did manage to be freed on bail after all. Therefore, better keep working hard to find something else, anything else (and precedents be damned!), in order to keep him in our righteous clutches (emphasis added):
Federal prosecutors, seeking to build a case against the WikiLeaks leader Julian Assange for his role in a huge dissemination of classified government documents, are looking for evidence of any collusion in his early contacts with an Army intelligence analyst suspected of leaking the information.

Justice Department officials are trying to find out whether Mr. Assange encouraged or even helped the analyst, Pfc. Bradley Manning, to extract classified military and State Department files from a government computer system.

If he did so, they believe they could charge him as a conspirator in the leak, not just as a passive recipient of the documents who then published them.

Among materials prosecutors are studying is an online chat log in which Private Manning is said to claim that he had been directly communicating with Mr. Assange using an encrypted Internet conferencing service as the soldier was downloading government files.

Private Manning is also said to have claimed that Mr. Assange gave him access to a dedicated server for uploading some of them to WikiLeaks.

Adrian Lamo, an ex-hacker in whom Private Manning confided and who eventually turned him in, said Private Manning detailed those interactions in instant-message conversations with him.
(Well okay - maybe relying of this shady, glory-seeking, credibility-lacking Lamo dude might be overreaching a bit to find anything to pin on Assange - but what the hell, if it works ...)

Still, in the meantime, we must also attack Teh Dark Overlord's depraved, extremely dangerous, evul Deathdealers - here's one example (emphasis added):
In July of this year, U.S. citizen Jacob Appelbaum, a researcher and spokesman for WikiLeaks, was detained for several hours at the Newark airport after returning from a trip to Holland, and had his laptop, cellphones and other electronic products seized -- all without a search warrant, without being charged with a crime, and without even being under investigation, at least to his knowledge. He was interrogated at length about WikiLeaks, and was told by the detaining agents that he could expect to be subjected to the same treatment every time he left the country and attempted to return to the U.S. Days later, two FBI agents approached him at a computer conference he was attending in New York and asked to speak with him again. To date, he has never been charged with any crime or even told he's under investigation for anything; this was clearly a thuggish attempt by federal officials to intimidate any American citizen involved with or supporting WikiLeaks.
Concomitantly, we must make it crystal clear that no one, not a single citizen, make the grave mistake of becoming an accomplice of such horrible crimes against the World by discussing and disseminating the contents of the data posted online by WikiLeaks (emphasis added):
(...) would (the) State (Department) look unfavorably upon a prospective employee who had written about the leaked cables on Facebook? "To talk about current events is one thing," (State Department spokeswoman Nicole Thompson) said. "Would talking about it make you ineligible for a job at the State Department? No. But to go into detail, and propagate information that was illegally obtained — I don't think that's a good move for anyone. Not Julian Assange, not WikiLeaks, and not any U.S. citizen."
Go that, We The People? Look away, keep your head low, and continue on being pliable, uninformed and easily controllable sheep good citizens. Q.E.D.

Hence, we must go all out on this - a few examples for your consideration:
(...) As yet another note added in proof - Library of Congress is latest government institution to block WikiLeaks. We're talking about the Library of Congress, here: "The Library's mission is to make its resources available and useful to the Congress and the American people and to sustain and preserve a universal collection of knowledge and creativity for future generations". Their excuse for blocking WikiLeaks? Read it and weep: "The Library decided to block WikiLeaks because applicable law obligates federal agencies to protect classified information. Unauthorized disclosures of classified documents do not alter the documents' classified status or automatically result in declassification of the documents". Hypocrisy, much? Now, do you still doubt that democracy is dying? Do you even care at all?

(...) And here's yet another note added in proof - attacks on WikiLeaks are part of an attack on free speech, aided by the companies that make up the Web's backbone. So - once again: Welcome to your Corporatocratic Security Surveillance State.

(...) Meanwhile ... White House tells all federal agencies to prohibit employees from WikiLeaks site. Ah yes - the land of the free, the defender of freedom and democracy, the champion of liberty ... no more.

(...) The Corporatocracy (i.e. Corporate America and its international allies) keeps on relentlessly pummeling WikiLeaks - indeed, PayPal has dropped WikiLeaks' account for donations. Here's the dubious reason: "PayPal has permanently restricted the account used by WikiLeaks due to a violation of the PayPal Acceptable Use Policy, which states that our payment service cannot be used for any activities that encourage, promote, facilitate or instruct others to engage in illegal activity". And never mind that while it is a crime to leak classified information, receiving and publishing it is not. So - welcome again to your Authoritarian Corporatocracy, eh?

(...) Of course, U.S. soldiers who go online to read about the WikiLeaks disclosures, or even simply read coverage of them in mainstream news sites, get a page warning them that they're about to break the law. Moreover, the same applies to Canadian soldiers and Defense staff - as per ordered by the assistant deputy minister for information management!
We have to be relentless - indeed (emphasis added):

The outrageous behavior of Amazon, Visa, Mastercard, and PayPal directed at WikiLeaks represents a much greater threat to America than any of the alleged security breaches from Julian Assange.....Amazon, Visa, Mastercard, and PayPal set themselves up as judges, juries and executioners.

And perhaps more troubling is that while the mainstream media happily regurgitated, repurposed and -- in the case of The New York Times -- reported the context of the released diplomatic cables, they have been noticeably silent as web conglomerates reshaped the First Amendment. Or, as in the case of The Washington Post and The Washington Times, they've joined the ninnies calling for Assange's head. The chief enabler is Barack Obama's Attorney General, Eric H. Holder who announced that the Justice Department and the Pentagon were in the midst of "an ongoing criminal investigation."

The key word is "investigation." The Attorney General has yet to charge anyone, let alone bring the case.

We must also make new laws and/or rewrite those already in the books in order to a) prevent leaks from ever happening again, and b) prevent their dissemination offline and online. Even if all media must be censored!

But waitaminit - media censoring?!? Why yes, indeed, for the dissemination of leaks that expose our lies, our deceits, our betrayal and destruction of the very principles and values upon which our democratic societies are founded upon - but definitely not for disseminating the necessary propaganda meant to demonize the Mannings, Assanges and WikiLeaks of the world and successfully turn the fear-driven and disinformed/uninformed We Teh People against those nefarious monsters and Freedom-Killing bastards (emphasis added):
Poll: Americans say WikiLeaks harmed public interest; most want Assange arrested

The American public is highly critical of the recent release of confidential U.S. diplomatic cables on the WikiLeaks Web site and would support the arrest of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange by U.S. authorities, a new Washington Post-ABC News poll finds.

Most of those polled - 68 percent - say the WikiLeaks' exposure of government documents about the State Department and U.S. diplomacy harms the public interest. Nearly as many - 59 percent - say the U.S. government should arrest Assange and charge him with a crime for releasing the diplomatic cables.

(Hey - it worked already with torture acceptance, agreement for the use of body scanners, growing acceptance of pat-downs, accepting CCTV to feel secure, giving up liberties for security, and so on, so ...)

All of the above owing thanks to our mainstream/corporate media which has long ago relinquished its function as the 4th estate in order to function instead as the mouthpieces and defenders of the power and corporate establishment to which they have become complying subservient peons.

The following illustrates the entirety of the point (emphasis added):

Last night on his Fox News show, Sean Hannity interviewed Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) and expressed his outrage that Weiner wants the rich to pay more in taxes. Noting that Weiner is from New York, Hannity said, “Let’s go through the New York numbers.” The Fox News host then said if Weiner had his way, New Yorkers would be paying “55, 60″ percent of “earned income,” a figure he calculated by including federal, state, and city taxes, sales tax, property tax, estate tax and “other hidden taxes.” “Why do you think you have a right to tax 60 percent of people’s money?” Hannity asked.

Weiner replied that it’s not about wanting to tax anyone, that “it is just about choices.” “I choose to stay on the side of the middle class. You want to defend the rich,” Weiner told Hannity, adding, “You want to borrow for Rupert Murdoch’s tax break,” referring to Hannity’s boss and billionaire News Corp. chairman. However, Hannity wouldn’t budge, and he didn’t dispute his love for Murdoch:

WEINER: If you give a tax cut to Rupert Murdoch. — We got to borrow the money to pay Rupert Murdoch’s tax break. You want to do that?

HANNITY: Listen, thank God, you know why for Rupert Murdoch? — Rupert Murdoch is a job creator. Rupert Murdoch is a taxpayer, Rupert Murdoch donates to charity and more than you do Congressman.

WEINER: He’s a very fine man. He’s a very fine man but that is not the question. The question is, you want to give him a tax cut and borrow it from my kids, no deal. No deal.

HANNITY: You know what, thank God Rupert Murdoch created a job for me so, I could tell you, you’re taking way too much in spending too much of the taxpayers dollars.

(...) It’s unclear how Hannity concluded that some New Yorkers will end up paying 60 percent of their income on taxes.
What is quite clear, however, is how cozily the majority of mainstream/corporate journalists and reporters and pundits are treated by the Power establishment they so adore (emphasis added):

A former health insurance insider turned whistleblower says that he was not only surprised at how “easy” it was to manipulate members of the news media over the years, but also reveals that he routinely “wined and dined” reporters from major news outlets – including the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal – in return for favorable coverage.

In his new book Deadly Spin, Wendell Potter describes how his chief function as a senior public relations officer at two of the largest for-profit health insurance companies in the United States – Humana and Cigna – was to “perpetuate myths that had no other purpose but to sustain those companies’ extraordinary high profitability.”

But in an extended interview with Raw Story last week, Potter went further, revealing that he lunched with reporters at major media outlets for years – including journalists at the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal – as well as those from local and regional media, in most cases picking up the tab, which he says directly resulted in positive coverage of the companies he represented.

And that is just the tip of a very big iceberg. The following says it all:
Shortly after the last document “dump” (notice how the corporate mainstream media has taken to speaking of it all in terms of a bowel movement), writer David Brooks, the ultimate establishment courtesan, had this to say Dec. 1 (emphasis mine):

“The [New York] Times has thus erected a series of filters between the 250,000 raw documents that WikiLeaks obtained and complete public exposure. The paper has released only a tiny percentage of the cables. Information that might endanger informants has been redacted. Specific cables have been put into context with broader reporting.

“Yet it might be useful to consider one more filter. Consider it the World Order filter. The fact that we live our lives amid order and not chaos is the great achievement of civilization. This order should not be taken for granted.

This order is tenuously maintained by brave soldiers but also by talkative leaders and diplomats. Every second of every day, leaders and diplomats are engaged in a never-ending conversation. The leaked cables reveal this conversation…

“This fragile international conversation is under threat. It’s under threat from anarchistic vandals like WikiLeaks…

“It should be possible to erect a filter that protects not only lives and operations but also international relationships. … We depend on those human conversations for the limited order we enjoy every day.”

Thank you, Big Brother. Brooks looks and sounds as if he sprang right out of central casting for the role of “President of the Group” in the upcoming Brave New World movie. Sadly, he is not the only one.

The following characterizes bluntly but truly the current state of mainstream/corporate media:
The Wikileaks saga has exposed the vapid stupidity of the celebrity press corps like nothing since the Great Clinton Panty Raid. One thing is very, very clear --- they aren't journalists and don't even consider themselves journalists. They are celebrity public relations professionals who just aren't as bright as the real public relations professionals.
Hence, it is therefore quite "normal" that the mainstream/corporate media paid-for Power-Establishment mouthpieces would happily write and/or say anything in order to help their Masters demonize the Mannings, Assanges and WikiLeaks of the world.

Can anyone deny the outright character assassination that has been going on with regards to Julian Assange, to WikiLeaks? Indeed:
It has been, by any standard, an extraordinary campaign of vilification and persecution, wholly comparable to the kind of treatment doled out to dissidents in China or Burma. Lest we forget, WikiLeaks is a journalistic outlet – just like The New York Times, the Guardian and Der Spiegel, all of whom are even now publishing the very same material – leaked classified documents -- available on WikiLeaks. The website is also a journalistic outlet just like CNN, ABC, CBS, Fox and other mainstream media venues, where we have seen an endless parade of officials – and journalists! – calling for Assange to be prosecuted or killed outright. Every argument being made for shutting down WikiLeaks can – and doubtless will – be used against any journalistic enterprise that publishes material that powerful people do not like.
The same can be said for that aforementioned Manning-Teh-Bastard, for whom your repugnance, vile disgust and hatred should increase a hundred fold upon learning what he actually stands for:
(...) just recall some of what Manning purportedly said about why he chose to leak, at least as reflected in the edited chat logs published by Wired:

Lamo: what's your endgame plan, then?. . .

Manning: well, it was forwarded to [WikiLeaks] - and god knows what happens now - hopefully worldwide discussion, debates, and reforms - if not, than [sic] we're doomed - as a species - i will officially give up on the society we have if nothing happens - the reaction to the video gave me immense hope; CNN's iReport was overwhelmed; Twitter exploded - people who saw, knew there was something wrong . . . Washington Post sat on the video… David Finkel acquired a copy while embedded out here. . . . - i want people to see the truth… regardless of who they are… because without information, you cannot make informed decisions as a public.

if i knew then, what i knew now - kind of thing, or maybe im just young, naive, and stupid . . . im hoping for the former - it cant be the latter - because if it is… were fucking screwed (as a society) - and i dont want to believe that we’re screwed.

Manning described the incident which first made him seriously question the U.S. Government: when he was instructed to work on the case of Iraqi "insurgents" who had been detained for distributing so-called "insurgent" literature which, when Manning had it translated, turned out to be nothing more than "a scholarly critique against PM Maliki":

i had an interpreter read it for me… and when i found out that it was a benign political critique titled "Where did the money go?" and following the corruption trail within the PM’s cabinet… i immediately took that information and *ran* to the officer to explain what was going on… he didn’t want to hear any of it… he told me to shut up and explain how we could assist the FPs in finding *MORE* detainees…

i had always questioned the things worked, and investigated to find the truth… but that was a point where i was a *part* of something… i was actively involved in something that i was completely against…

And Manning explained why he never considered the thought of selling this classified information to a foreign nation for substantial profit or even just secretly transmitting it to foreign powers, as he easily could have done:

Manning: i mean what if i were someone more malicious- i could've sold to russia or china, and made bank?

Lamo: why didn’t you?

Manning: because it's public data

Lamo: i mean, the cables

Manning: it belongs in the public domain -information should be free - it belongs in the public domain - because another state would just take advantage of the information… try and get some edge - if its out in the open… it should be a public good.

That's a whistleblower in the purest and most noble form: discovering government secrets of criminal and corrupt acts and then publicizing them to the world not for profit, not to give other nations an edge, but to trigger "worldwide discussion, debates, and reforms." Given how much Manning has been demonized -- at the same time that he's been rendered silent by the ban on his communication with any media -- it's worthwhile to keep all of that in mind.

Ergo: that is why you do not read, see or hear from the overwhelming majority of the mainstream/corporate media outlets barely a blip (if anything at all) regarding the way Bradley Manning is being treated, the way Assange is being targeted for demonization and outright character assassination, or the real motives behind calls for WikiLeaks to be defined as terrorists and/or enemy combatants.

It is the very same reason why the Power/Corporate Establishment is willing to do anything to destroy WikiLeaks - present or future.

And the reason is quite simple:
As with all free speech, as with Wikileaks, context is key. It is vital to know when governments collude in torture or other illegal acts. It is important to know when they say one thing in private (about a particular world leader) and do quite another in public. (...) These questions, and more, are vital for the democratic debate. The answers inevitably cause embarrassment. That too is essential for a healthy civil society.
Thus I reiterate:
A democratic society, whether breathing through a parliamentary system or a republic one, can only bring about - and sustain - the commonwealth and common good of its citizens so long as said citizens remain knowledgeable, respectful and protective of their civil rights as entrenched in the constitution of their democratic society.

How ironic, then, that in these times of mass information so easily accessible, an increasing majority of our citizenry grows uninformed, uncaring or disrespectful of their constitution and their rights - let alone feeling any inclination in participating responsibly in the democratic process of their own society.

And how tragic this sad situation is as well, for it can only lead to one thing: the death of democracy and its replacement by some form of authoritarian regime - whether a corporatocratic one or otherwise.
Yet, we must not forget the current, real danger our democracies are currently facing:
Once again: everyone of us is (potentially, possibly, perhaps, maybe) guilty.

Which leads me to this (h/t), in conclusion (emphasis added):
In times when big business and governments attempt to monitor and control everything, there is a need as never before for an internet that remains a free and universal form of communication. WikiLeaks' chief crime has been to speak truth to power. What is at stake is nothing less than the freedom of the internet. All the rest is a sideshow distracting attention from the real battle that is being fought. We should all keep focus on the true target.
You have been warned.
Or, to put it another way (emphasis added):
WikiLeaks will doubtless try to struggle on. And Assange says he has given the entire diplomatic trove to 100,000 people. By dribs and drabs, shards of truth will get out. But the world’s journalists – and those persons of conscience working in the world’s governments – have been given a hard, harsh, unmistakable lesson in the new realities of our degraded time. Tell a truth that discomforts power, that challenges its domination over our lives, our discourse, our very thoughts, and you will be destroyed. No institution, public or private, will stand with you; the most powerful entities, public and private, will be arrayed against you, backed up by overwhelming violent force. This is where we are now. This is what we are now.
Although Julian Assange may not have quite reached the status of a "Goldstein", I am reminded of Aldous Huxley's words in an interview with Mike Wallace in 1958, as he explained his concept of velvet totalitarianism:
If you want to preserve your power indefinitely, you must get the consent of the ruled. Those in power will do this primarily through techniques of propaganda, by bypassing the rational side of man and appealing to his subconscious and deeper emotions and making him love his slavery.
Indeed.

So in conclusion (and yet another warning): the Mannings, Assanges and WikiLeaks of the world are not the criminals your are looking for.

However, the mainstream/corporate media stenographers/mouthpieces and their Power/Corporate Establishment Masters are.

Good luck.

4 comments:

  1. Let us not gorget those in solitary confinement...saidAssange today.
    So we have been out front supporting Julian and Wikileaks.
    Now we must turn to Bradley and have massive actions and send funding.
    Callup the American Mamma Grizzlies: Palin, Clinton, Winfrey?Michelle Obama.
    This sweetfaced lad is perishing.

    SAVE his LIFE!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I find it weird that Bradley Manning has received so little attention overall - from both those condemning him for being a traitor and those for lauding him as a hero for exposing the truth of US criminality.

    The video he leaked was the most powerful evidence of criminal acts committed directly by US Forces. That is evidence that could be used in a court of law. Yet that revelation received a total of 24-48 hours of media attention.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Oemissions: hear, hear!

    BY: exactly ... hence the point about media mouthpieces acting as spokespeople for Teh Establishment, instead of acting as a 4th estate to make Teh Establishment accountable.

    ReplyDelete
  4. BY: I will also add this - even Manning's leaked video did not play that much, or garnered that much attention, among the majority of the mainstream/corporate media outlets.

    Q.E.D., no?

    ReplyDelete

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