Tuesday, 23 April 2019

The Liberal Establishment’s war on Assange – first they used him, then they betrayed him, now they want to fit him up for rape


How the Guardian’s deferential mediocrities behaved like a pack of wolves in defence of the special relationship & the British state


On 11th April Police entered the Ecuadorian Embassy in London and dragged out Julian Assange, the Editor of Wikileaks, who had been sheltering there for 7 years under fear of extradition to the USA.
The reaction in Britain’s yellow press was entirely predictable. He was denounced as a coward, a traitor and liar by a press not known for its courage or willingness to challenge the centres of power.
Former Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino described the behaviour of Ecuador’s Prime Minister, Lenin Moreno as having allowed Ecuador to be seen as a ‘vassal’ of the United States.
This is an insult to the dignity of our country, it is lawlessness – to allow the British police to enter our embassy and pull out the person we gave asylum to. And according to our constitution and international agreements it is forbidden to extradite him, this is called the principle of non-refoulement
Riots in Ecuador after Assange's arrest belie Sopel's assumptions that Moreno speaks for his country
John Sopel, conducted a fawning and sycophantic interview with Moreno, even by the BBC’s standards, as to his reasons for inviting the Police into the Embassy. Sopel didn’t even mention that as an Ecuadorian citizen, the decision was illegal under Ecuadorian law. Not once was Moreno challenged to produce evidence concerning his allegations even though Assange was being monitored by video.
Jon Sopel's fawning interview on BBC was a disgrace journalism
Sopel’s interview was more an invitation to set out unchallenged Moreno’s case, with a view to destroying Assange’s case against extradition through an attack on his reputation, thus shoring up the official picture of a discreditable Assange. Given that Assange could not respond, since he is currently incarcerated in Belmarsh, the failure to interview his lawyers demonstrates that once again the BBC’s role is one of fawning deference to the State.
James Ball urges Assange to hand himself over for extradition out of spite and pique
According to Global Research’s Stephen Lendman Moreno, unlike his predecessor Rafael Correa, is a CIA asset. Whereas Correa ordered a US airbase quit Ecuador, Moreno has invited them back in.  Whereas Correa opposed privatisation Moreno has welcomed it. Moreno has instituted a programme of neo-liberal austerity and IMF bondage. It is little wonder that he is a hero to the BBC and the United States.
But if the BBC’s role as the Foreign Office’s propaganda arm is not unexpected then the same cannot be said of The Guardian. The Guardian’s betrayal of Assange and the vituperative comments of its gaggle of talentless columnists is shocking even by recent standards.
Amazingly this flatulent 'journalist' complained of abuse!! and the Guardian calls this journalism
Suzanne Moore, the Guardian’s viperous ‘feminist’ contribution to the debate was a tweet:


'I bet Assange is stuffing himself full of flattened guinea pigs. He really is the most massive turd.'

I confess I don’t know what a ‘flattened guinea pig’ is unless it is a creature unfortunate enough to have had Moore sit on it. Moore graduated from the Marxism Today to the Daily Mail before ending up at the The Guardian. Somewhat more incisive was Germaine Greer’s observation that Moore possessed “hair bird's-nested all over the place, fuck-me shoes and three fat inches of cleavage.’
The obvious question when I see Marina Hyde's output is 'what is she for'? Bad in-jokes, childish puns, school girl triviality and an inability to say anything worthwhile 
The depths of Moore’s journalistic viciousness, because really she is a paid press thug is captured by Media Lens. In December 2010, Moore wrote that
'it's difficult to get a clear picture of the complaints by two women he had sex with in Sweden in August... The sex appears to have been consensual, though his refusal to use condoms was not’.
By June 2012 She tweeted: ‘'Seems like Assange's supporters did not expect him to skip bail? Really? Who has this guy not let down?' and then added her puerile ‘turd’ comment which seems to have been a case of self-projection.
In 2011 Moore commenting on Assange supporters gathered outside the courts dressed in orange Guantanamo Bay jumpsuits. ‘Does anyone seriously believe this is what will happen to Assange?'  As Media Lens observed:
The fact that Assange has now been arrested at the request of the US seeking his extradition over allegations that he conspired with Chelsea Manning, means that Assange’s claimed motive for seeking political asylum now appears very credible indeed – he was right about US intentions.

Yet there has not been so much as a single word of contrition from Moore and her fellow gutter ‘journalists’.
A more suitable title would be 'Why I betrayed Assange for  the Guardian's 30 pieces of silver'
Another even more cowardly hack is James Ball. In an article for the Sunday Times on April 14th Ball claimed that Assange was:
' the architect of his own downfall. Bullish and grandiose yet plagued by paranoia, the WikiLeaks boss is his own worst enemy.'

I have yet to see a mea culpa over this prediction gone wrong from a 'journalist' with a bad conscience
Ball worked for WikiLeaks in 2010 and 2011. His departure was acrimonious. He has since acted as the Guardian’s chief attack dog. A piece in January 2018 'The only barrier to Julian Assange leaving Ecuador's embassy is pride'. had as its subheading 'The WikiLeaks founder is unlikely to face prosecution in the US'. Ball wrote:
There is no public criminal case against Assange or WikiLeaks in the US, though Assange frequently says there is evidence of sealed indictments against him and his associates, and there have been publicly disclosed surveillance warrants against WikiLeaks staff, as well as FBI interest in Assange and his current and former co-workers (including me, as I worked with WikiLeaks for a few months in 2010 and 2011). There is no real reason to believe anything has changed with Assange’s situation in the US….

Assange should not face prosecution in the US in connection with WikiLeaks publishing activities – it would go against constitutional principles of free expression, and damage the media’s ability to hold power to account

I look forward to Ball recanting. Ball was not the only ‘journalist’ to defend the secret state rather than basic journalistic principles.
The ability to nothing worthwhile has been a hallmark of Aaronovitch's time as a journalist
David Aaronovitch, who once promised to eat his hat if WMD weren’t discovered in Iraq, tweeted 'I see Tolstoy has just been arrested in central London.' Which didn’t stop this idiot complaining apropos Sir John Chilcott that it’s easy to be wise after the event.  No David 2 million people who demonstrated in London against the Iraq War refused to believe the US propaganda that took you for a fool.
Jessica Elgot, the Guardian’s Zionist political editor and a free transfer from the Jewish Chronicle joined in:
'Apparently Julian Assange's internet access has been cut off since March so he probably thinks we've left the EU'
ITV’s Robert Peston retweeted an image of Christ with his hand raised in blessing paired with a photograph of Assange making a 'victory sign' from inside a prison van. As Media Lens commented:
‘Like so much 'mainstream' humour, the tweet was embarrassingly unfunny, strangely callous.’
Ash Sarkar of the 'alternative' Novara Media, who has had numerous opinion pieces published in the Guardian and who is a guest on various flagship BBC programmes tweeted:
'Just sayin' it's possible to think that Julian Assange is a definite creep, a probable rapist, a conspiracist whackjob *and* that his arrest has incredibly worrying implications for the treatment of those who blow the whistle on gross abuses of state power.'
Sarkar wrote that Assange’s arrest ‘came *after* the investigations into rape and the Swedish arrest warrant were dropped.’ responding 'That doesn't mean he's innocent of those charges.' Using the same ‘logic’ anyone who is not prosecuted for a crime is still to be considered potentially guilty. In other words we are all suspects.
In fact Assange has never been charged but Sarkar's damning comments on a whistleblower facing the wrath of the US state plays extremely well with 'mainstream' gatekeepers selecting BBC guests and Guardian contributors. Sarkar deleted the tweet smearing Assange, not because she regretted her appalling comments, but because 'ugly stuff defending sexual assault itself has been turning up in my work inbox' from 'men'. On April 11, Media Lens tweeted:
'"Whatever you think of [Assange]..." means, "Don't get me wrong, I'm not one of *them*. I'm not rejecting the respectable, mainstream narrative."'
One day later Owen Jones, Labour’s soft Zionist witchhunter wrote in the Guardian 'Whatever you think of Julian Assange, his extradition to the US must be opposed'
The Guardian's George Monbiot tweeted: ‘'Whether or not you like Assange's politics (I don't), or his character (ditto)...' Media Lens responded 'George, how much time have you spent with Assange and his unpleasant character?' There was no reply! Almost alone the Guardian's Ewen MacAskill commented:‏
'US did not waste any time putting in extradition request for Assange. Terrible precedent if journalist/publisher ends up in US jail for Iraq war logs and state department cables.'
At least the Wall Street Journal has the merit of honesty
Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal at least had the virtue of honesty, unlike the fake humour merchants of the Guardian, BBC and ITV:
It is one of life's mystery why even the Guardian employs someone who not only has nothing to say but who can't even work out how to say it
'Julian Assange has done much harm to American interests over the last decade, and on Thursday the WikiLeaks founder moved a large step closer to accountability in a U.S. court.'

Exposing just a glimpse of the US killing machine in Iraq means that Assange is one step nearer to being ‘accountable’ to these mass murderers. Somehow I don’t think such a ‘principle’ was part of the juridicial principles laid down at Nuremburg post-war.
Prostitute politicians and their tame press use 'feminist' arguments in support of imperialism's revenge on Assange
That is what the prostitute journalists of the Guardian and political prostitutes such as Jess Phillips and Stephen Kinnock desire.
As Glenn Greenwald commented:

'If you're cheering Assange's arrest based on a US extradition request, your allies in your celebration are the most extremist elements of the Trump administration, whose primary and explicit goal is to … punish WL for exposing war crimes.'
If the smears about Assange are fake, what is driving them? A clue is provided in a tweet by Glenn Greenwald:
'The only 2 times I can remember establishment liberals like @HillaryClinton... uniting with and cheering Trump Admin is when (a) he bombed Syria and (b) they indicted Assange... That says a lot about their values.'

It is these same 'values' which are driving the attempts to destroy Corbyn.
John Pilger described James Ball as a 'despicable journalist'; a 'collaborator' with those in power who have been attacking WikiLeaks and Assange. Ball has repeatedly stated that he opposes Assange's extradition to the US. But for years he depicted him extremely unfavourably, and continues to disparage Assange as 'a dangerous and duplicitous asshole' after his arrest. You might want to ask him whether he still stands by this poison.
This was a massive story but the Guardian has refused to give its source even the most elementary solidarity
The Guardian’s treachery is inexcusable given that Assange supplied them with scoops. It demonstrates the difference between a campaigning radical journalism based on integrity, principles and a code of ethics and the faux radicalism of a ‘liberal’ establishment rag, eager to demonstrate its loyalty to the British state. In The Guardian's war on Assange Pilger wrote about how
The obvious question, unwelcome to whom and why, is of course not answered by this trio of trivials assuaging their bad consciences
Luke Harding wrote a book on the basis of Wikileaks revelations - Assange's reward was being called a useful idiot - which in a sense he was
The Guardian has exploited the work of Assange and WikiLeaks in what its previous editor called "the greatest scoop of the last 30 years". The paper creamed off WikiLeaks' revelations and claimed the accolades and riches that came with them.
With not a penny going to Julian Assange or to WikiLeaks, a hyped Guardian book led to a lucrative Hollywood movie. The book's authors, Luke Harding and David Leigh, turned on their source, abused him and disclosed the secret password Assange had given the paper in confidence, which was designed to protect a digital file containing leaked US embassy cables.
The Guardian's Fake News Story neither Retracted or Defended
On 27th November 2018, the Guardian published "Manafort held secret talks with Assange in Ecuadorian embassy" by Luke Harding. Paul Manafort was Trump’s Campaign Manager who has since been gaoled. This story was clearly designed to discredit Assange yet it is entirely false. Fake news. The Guardian has provided no evidence for it, yet it has refused to retract it. In an interview with the Observer, Glenn Greenwald, who used to work for the Guardian, said
Paul Manafort

The Guardian’s happy to be used ...if you publish something like a totally fake story, there are so many benefits to it and almost no consequences. ...If you look at Luke Harding’s traffic metrics, they went through the roof. That’s an incentive scheme to continue to do shitty journalism.
In alert on the Assange arrest, Media Lens wrote:
No shred of evidence has ever been produced for this claim, which WikiLeaks and Manafort have both vehemently denied, and the story has been widely regarded as fake from virtually the hour of its publication. Luke Harding, the lead journalist on the story, and his editors Paul Johnson and Katharine Viner, have never apologised or retracted the story; nor have they responded to the many challenges about it.
Below are just a few of the Guardian headlines that the excellent 5 filters website has compiled. There is also an excellent summary of the Guardian’s farrago of nonsense in Assange Arrest - Part 1: 'So Now He's Our Property'. As 5 Filters says, ‘If you haven't already, it really is time to Dump the Guardian and support independent media instead.’ And I would say that if you are one of the million people reputed to be giving money to the Guardian to keep it from installing a pay wall, please give to more worthy causes. The Guardian is just a more sophisticated version of The Times.
Twitter reactions to the Guardian's campaign against Assange include:

Media Lens, media analysts (@medialens)

It's time we stopped being fooled. The state-corporate interests trying to destroy Assange are the same interests trying to destroy Corbyn. They aren't motivated by concern for women's rights, or anti-semitism, any more than they were by Iraqi or Syrian WMD, or Libyan massacres.
Mark Curtis, British historian (@markcurtis30)
Guardian is running a smear campaign against J.Assange, falsely linking him/Wikileaks to the Kremlin. This article by @undercoverinfo1 precisely documents it. Don’t fall for it: Guardian is playing a particular role in service of the state. Guilty by innuendo: the Guardian campaign against Julian Assange that breaks all the rules

Matt Kennard, journalist (@KennardMatt)
The treatment of Julian Assange by the Guardian has been so disgusting its beyond words. He took all the risk. Will probably never experience freedom again. And they just collected their awards and turned the newspaper into one big attack sheet. No campaign to free him. Nothing.

New Labour’s Attack on Assange
Whereas Jeremy Corbyn and Dianne Abbot have taken a principled stance in opposition to the extradition of Assange, the same cannot be said of the claque of New Labour surrounding them.
'feminist' arguments are used to justify war and attack those opposed to war - they are the equivalent of suffragettes who gave out white feathers to men who wouldn't serve in WWI
Labour’s racist ‘feminists’, Stella Creasy and Jess Phillips have sponsored a letter from more than 70 Labour parliamentarians calling for Assange to be extradited to Sweden on rape allegations. This is an attempt to muddy the waters. Sweden has withdraw all such charges.
In the second place it is certain as certain can be, as former Ambassador Craig Murray wrote, that the original allegations were entirely spurious and that Assange is innocent of the charge of rape

The Guardian's pathetic argument for Assange to give up assumes that Wikileaks exposure of US wars crimes was to do with 'the rule of law' - where is the court that is willing to prosecute George W Bush and Tony Blair? 
Instead of taking a principle position that you don’t deport journalists into the hands of the US ‘Justice’ system, Kinnock, Creasy and Phillips, prefer to let Sweden do their dirty work. Their behaviour is shameful and despicable.
What Labour’s Right will not do is take a principled stance against US Foreign Policy as Assange and Chelsea Manning have done. Manning is currently imprisoned in the US for refusing to testify to a secret grand jury. Let it not be forgotten that it was as a result of Wiki leaks that we came to learn of the horrific attack on civilians by a US helicopter that led to 18 people being murdered, including two Reuters journalists. Even the death of journalists at the hands of the US war machine makes no impression on servile creatures like Kinnock and Creasy. When they say We do not presume guilt, of course’ then that is precisely what they are doing except they don’t have the guts to admit that their real motives are to deliver Assange into the hands of the United States ‘Justice’ system.



Perhaps the last words should be left to the Guardian/Observer’s Nostradamus Nick Cohen.  The man who predicted before the last election that the Tories would
‘tear them [Corbyn’s Labour] to pieces.... Will there be 150, 125, 100 Labour MPs by the end of the flaying? My advice is to think of a number then halve it.
Presumably Nick Cohen is one of these 'real seekers of truth' about the Iraq War which he supported? As Private Eye used to say 'pass the sick bag Alice'
Cohen displays the same perspicacity in Definition of paranoia: supporters of Julian Assange where he informs us that:
Greenwald and the rest of Assange's supporters do not tell us how the Americans could prosecute the incontinent leaker.... the First Amendment to the US constitution is the finest defence of freedom of speech yet written. The American Civil Liberties Union thinks it would be unconstitutional for a judge to punish Assange.

The authorities can threaten the wretched Bradley Manning and hold him in solitary confinement because he was a serving soldier when he passed information to Assange. But WikiLeaks was in effect a newspaper. From the 1970s, when the New York Times printed the Pentagon Papers, to today's accounts of secret prisons and the bugging of US citizens, the American courts "have made clear that the First Amendment protects independent third parties who publish classified information".... But why would they bother to imprison him when he is making such a good job of discrediting himself?
Presumably support every war going and demonising Muslims ala Trump are the stuff of modern liberalism

This is what the Guardian today calls journalism.  Nick Cohen, a former socialist, is now a monotonous Islamaphobe and a cheer leader for any war that is on offer.
We should also not forget that Wikileaks have provided important information on the US-Israeli relationship, which would have remain hidden under a cloak of secrecy but for Assange and Chelsea Manning’s bravery. This alone is a rebuttal to the fawning obeisance and sycophancy of the Suzanne Moores, Nick Cohens and James Balls, Kinnocks, Philips and Sarkars to the powers that be.
Tony Greenstein
Just as US feminists urged support for the Afghan war so today's New Labour luvvies insist that Trump's desire to extradite Assange is really about rape
Craig Murray


I am slightly updating and reposting this from 2012 because the mainstream media have ensured very few people know the detail of the “case” against Julian Assange in Sweden. The UN Working Group ruled that Assange ought never to have been arrested in the UK in the first place because there is no case, and no genuine investigation. Read this and you will know why.
The other thing not widely understood is there is NO JURY in a rape trial in Sweden and it is a SECRET TRIAL. All of the evidence, all of the witnesses, are heard in secret. No public, no jury, no media. The only public part is the charging and the verdict. There is a judge and two advisers directly appointed by political parties. So you never would get to understand how plainly the case is a stitch-up. Unless you read this.
There are so many inconsistencies in Anna Ardin’s accusation of sexual assault against Julian Assange. But the key question which leaps out at me – and which strangely I have not seen asked anywhere else – is this:
Why did Anna Ardin not warn Sofia Wilen?
On 16 August, Julian Assange had sex with Sofia Wilen. Sofia had become known in the Swedish group around Assange for the shocking pink cashmere sweater she had worn in the front row of Assange’s press conference. Anna Ardin knew Assange was planning to have sex with Sofia Wilen. On 17 August, Ardin texted a friend who was looking for Assange:
“He’s not here. He’s planned to have sex with the cashmere girl every evening, but not made it. Maybe he finally found time yesterday?”
Yet Ardin later testified that just three days earlier, on 13 August, she had been sexually assaulted by Assange; an assault so serious she was willing to try (with great success) to ruin Julian Assange’s entire life. She was also to state that this assault involved enforced unprotected sex and she was concerned about HIV.
If Ardin really believed that on 13 August Assange had forced unprotected sex on her and this could have transmitted HIV, why did she make no attempt to warn Sofia Wilen that Wilen was in danger of her life? And why was Ardin discussing with Assange his desire for sex with Wilen, and texting about it to friends, with no evident disapproval or discouragement?
Ardin had Wilen’s contact details and indeed had organised her registration for the press conference. She could have warned her. But she didn’t.
Let us fit that into a very brief survey of the whole Ardin/Assange relationship. .
11 August: Assange arrives in Stockholm for a press conference organised by a branch of the Social Democratic Party.
Anna Ardin has offered her one bed flat for him to stay in as she will be away.
13 August: Ardin comes back early. She has dinner with Assange and they have consensual sex, on the first day of meeting. Ardin subsequently alleges this turned into assault by surreptitious mutilation of the condom.
14 August: Anna volunteers to act as Julian’s press secretary. She sits next to him on the dais at his press conference. Assange meets Sofia Wilen there.
‘Julian wants to go to a crayfish party, anyone have a couple of available seats tonight or tomorrow? #fb’
This attempt to find a crayfish party fails, so Ardin organises one herself for him, in a garden outside her flat. Anna and Julian seem good together. One guest hears Anna rib Assange that she thought “you had dumped me” when he got up from bed early that morning. Another offers to Anna that Julian can leave her flat and come stay with them. She replies:
“He can stay with me.”
15 August Still at the crayfish party with Julian, Anna tweets:
‘Sitting outdoors at 02:00 and hardly freezing with the world’s coolest smartest people, it’s amazing! #fb’
Julian and Anna, according to both their police testimonies, sleep again in the same single bed, and continue to do so for the next few days. Assange tells police they continue to have sex; Anna tells police they do not. That evening, Anna and Julian go together to, and leave together from, a dinner with the leadership of the Pirate Party. They again sleep in the same bed.
16 August: Julian goes to have sex with Sofia Wilen: Ardin does not warn her of potential sexual assault.
Another friend offers Anna to take over housing Julian. Anna again refuses.
20 August: After Sofia Wilen contacts her to say she is worried about STD’s including HIV after unprotected sex with Julian, Anna takes her to see Anna’s friend, fellow Social Democrat member, former colleague on the same ballot in a council election, and campaigning feminist police officer, Irmeli Krans. Ardin tells Wilen the police can compel Assange to take an HIV test. Ardin sits in throughout Wilen’s unrecorded – in breach of procedure – police interview. Krans prepares a statement accusing Assange of rape. Wilen refuses to sign it.
21 August Having heard Wilen’s interview and Krans’ statement from it, Ardin makes her own police statement alleging Assange has surreptiously had unprotected sex with her eight days previously.
Some days later: Ardin produces a broken condom to the police as evidence; but a forensic examination finds no traces of Assange’s – or anyone else’s – DNA on it, and indeed it is apparently unused.
No witness has come forward to say that Ardin complained of sexual assault by Assange before Wilen’s Ardin-arranged interview with Krans – and Wilen came forward not to complain of an assault, but enquire about STDs. Wilen refused to sign the statement alleging rape, which was drawn up by Ardin’s friend Krans in Ardin’s presence.
It is therefore plain that one of two things happened:
Either
Ardin was sexually assaulted with unprotected sex, but failed to warn Wilen when she knew Assange was going to see her in hope of sex.
Ardin also continued to host Assange, help him, appear in public and private with him, act as his press secretary, and sleep in the same bed with him, refusing repeated offers to accommodate him elsewhere, all after he assaulted her.
Or
Ardin wanted sex with Assange – from whatever motive.. She “unexpectedly” returned home early after offering him the use of her one bed flat while she was away. By her own admission, she had consensual sex with him, within hours of meeting him.
She discussed with Assange his desire for sex with Wilen, and appears at least not to have been discouraging. Hearing of Wilen’s concern about HIV after unprotected sex, she took Wilen to her campaigning feminist friend, policewoman Irmeli Krans, in order to twist Wilen’s story into a sexual assault – very easy given Sweden’s astonishing “second-wave feminism” rape laws. Wilen refused to sign.
At the police station on 20 August, Wilen texted a friend at 14.25 “did not want to put any charges against JA but the police wanted to get a grip on him.”
At 17.26 she texted that she was “shocked when they arrested JA because I only wanted him to take a test”.
The next evening at 22.22 she texted “it was the police who fabricated the charges”.
Ardin then made up her own story of sexual assault. As so many friends knew she was having sex with Assange, she could not claim non-consensual sex. So she manufactured her story to fit in with Wilen’s concerns by alleging the affair of the torn condom. But the torn condom she produced has no trace of Assange on it. It is impossible to wear a condom and not leave a DNA trace.
Conclusion
I have no difficulty in saying that I firmly believe Ardin to be a liar. For her story to be true involves acceptance of behaviour which is, in the literal sense, incredible.
Ardin’s story is of course incredibly weak, but that does not matter. Firstly, you were never supposed to see all this detail. Rape trials in Sweden are held entirely in secret. There is no jury, and the government appointed judge is flanked by assessors appointed directly by political parties. If Assange goes to Sweden, he will disappear into jail, the trial will be secret, and the next thing you will hear is that he is guilty and a rapist.
Secondly, of course, it does not matter the evidence is so weak, as just to cry rape is to tarnish a man’s reputation forever. Anna Ardin has already succeeded in ruining much of the work and life of Assange. The details of the story being pathetic is unimportant.
By crying rape, politically correct opinion falls in behind the line that it is wrong even to look at the evidence. If you are not allowed to know who the accuser is, how can you find out that she worked with CIA-funded anti-Castro groups in Havana and Miami?
Finally, to those useful idiots who claim that the way to test these matters is in court, I would say of course, you are right, we should trust the state always, fit-ups never happen, and we should absolutely condemn the disgraceful behaviour of those who campaigned for the Birmingham Six.
Philip Weiss on April 17, 2019

Assange in a government vehicle following his arrest on April 11, 2019. Getty images.

Yesterday the New York Times published a juicy piece about Democratic Party apparatchik Neera Tanden that  included a revelation from the Wikileaks dump of documents from the Democratic National Committee in 2016: Tanden hosted Benjamin Netanyahu for a fawning interview at her thinktank, the Center for American Progress, even as Netanyahu was trying to undermine President Obama’s Iran deal, so she could recruit a pro-Israel board member, Jonathan Lavine, who gave the organization $1 million last year.
The Times’s reliance on Wikileaks to provide important information about our political process is a timely reminder of the public role of the man dragged out of the Ecuadorian embassy last Thursday, headed for criminal proceedings related to his obtaining and publishing government documents. Julian Assange is a journalistic source. I’ve been in the news business for a long time and I’ve always been told to protect sources. And by the way, not all these sources had great character or reputation. That wasn’t the point. The First Amendment protected news gathering, and sources are a critical element of the process.
The value I can add to the Assange debate is to convey to readers how much his organization Wikileaks has contributed to our understanding of the special relationship between the U.S. and Israel. I will not itemize every revelation we’ve published that we got off Wikileaks, we’d be here all day. But I do want to convey the range and depth of these revelations. In every case these were important reports about how officials and public figures worked behind closed doors to make sure that Israel and its interests stayed at the forefront of US deliberations. We would not have that understanding without Assange. Full stop. You can say anything about his personality or his support for Trump, that’s not the issue.
Apropos of yesterday’s Times report, the 2016 dump from the DNC itemized numerous collaborations between the Clinton campaign and pro-Israel donors to shape policy when she got to the White House. I’ll get to them in a minute. First, some earlier documents.
This 2009 cable from the State Department quoted Netanyahu — forget about his lip service to two states — saying he was only willing to give Palestinians a Bantustan: “a Palestinian state must be demilitarized, without control over its air space and electro-magnetic field, and without the power to enter into treaties or control its borders.”
This 2008 Wikileaks cable established the State Department’s own understanding of the cruelty of the Israeli policy toward Gaza: to staunch the banking system to keep Gaza on the “brink of collapse.”
Israeli officials have confirmed to econoffs on multiple occasions that they intend to keep the Gazan economy on the brink of collapse without quite pushing it over the edge…
This cable showed that the State Department had publicly lied about its response to an Israeli hit in Dubai in February 2010 that Dubai was angered about, as State sought to protect Israel.
In 2011 Wikileaks showed that the U.S. under Obama was deeply enmeshed in the United Nations response to the Gaza slaughter of ’08-’09, including behind the scenes efforts to stifle the Goldstone Report so it wouldn’t get to the International Criminal Court. Foreign Policy reported that story under the title “Special Relationship.”
The new documents, though consistent with public U.S. statements at the time opposing a U.N. investigation into Israeli military operations, reveal in extraordinary detail how America wields its power behind closed doors at the United Nations. They also demonstrate how the United States and Israel were granted privileged access to highly sensitive internal U.N. deliberations on an “independent” U.N. board of inquiry into the Gaza war, raising questions about the independence of the process.
Yes, in one of those cables, Ambassador Susan Rice called U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon three times on one day, May 4, 2009, to block a recommendation by the U.N. to carry out a “sweeping inquiry” into war crimes by Israeli soldiers and Palestinian militants. She said that the recommendation far exceeded the legitimate scope of an investigation, and set a “bad precedent.” Ban Ki-moon then assured her that his staff was “working with an Israeli delegation” on revisions of the inquiry’s mandate.
This 2006 State Department cable, released in 2011, showed that the U.S. State Department was privately expressing sharp reservations about fascistic currents in Israeli political life, even as the U.S. government was holding its tongue about these trends. The cable was subtitled:  RIGHT-WING LIEBERMAN UNABASHEDLY ADVOCATES TRANSFER OF ISRAELI ARABS. That cable includes government minister Avigdor Lieberman’s endorsement of the idea to strip Palestinians of their citizenship if they wouldn’t swear a loyalty oath.
In 2010, Wikileaks published cables from the State Department reflecting the view that there was growing distrust of the U.S. globally because of our close alliance with Israel. As Josh Ruebner wrote:
In an explosive WikiLeaks revelation, Maj. Gen. Amos Gilad, the head of the Political Military Bureau of Israel’s Ministry of Defense, while discussing Israeli requests for U.S. military aid,
acknowledged the sometimes difficult position the U.S. finds itself in given its global interests, and conceded that Israel’s security focus is so narrow that its QME [Qualitative Military Edge] concerns often clash with broader American security interests in the region,”
according to the State Department.
Fast forward to the 2016 political race. Wikileaks showed that the special relationship was alive and well and influencing the Clinton campaign.
DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz wondered if Bernie Sanders believes in God. “The Israel stuff is disturbing,” she wrote, when she was supposed to be a referee of the process (and later resigned over the widely-reported email).
Hillary Clinton made a host of promises to megadonor Haim Saban under the prodding of Saban and her Israel liaison guy, Stu Eizenstat. She would come out against Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS), so as to balance her support for the Iran deal. She would make a publicized phone call to Malcolm Hoenlein of the rightwing Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Orgs to indicate that she was going to turn the page on Obama’s difficult relationship with Netanyahu. Eizenstat warned the campaign that “in Israel there is wall-to-wall opposition” to the Iran Deal– as if anyone should care what Israelis think! (Yes, ask Ilhan Omar.) Eizenstat met with Netanyahu and conveyed his counsel to Clinton: to “attack, attack, attack” BDS. Oh and Clinton should oppose the Obama administration’s rumored efforts to pass a UN Security Council resolution against settlements. (Obama did her the service of waiting till the election was over on that one.)
Netanyahu must be invited to the White House as soon as Clinton gets there herself: “Bibi should be invited for early talks on how the partnership with Israel can be strengthened to combat Iran and Israel’s other avowed enemies,” Eizenstat counseled.
The importance of these leaks is that they documented in riveting detail an important (and negative) force in U.S. policymaking, the depth and extent of Israel’s influence at the highest levels. Return to Neera Tanden and the Iran Deal. The Democratic Party’s own disavowals of that deal alongside Netanyahu played an important role in its destruction.
We wouldn’t know all this without Julian Assange. I hope that other reporters and editors stand up for that work in the days to come.
A forthcoming book from OR books edited by Tariq Ali and Margaret Ratner Kunstler is sure to make related points. It is to include chapters by Noam Chomsky, Charles Glass, Chris Hedges and Angela Richter among others.
The Guardian's Bile Compiled



Nick Cohen's argument - strange that its Trump who wants Assange to be extradited
Does the Guardian manufacture these  columnists and their uni message to order?
The Guardian's veteran right-wing columnist Patrick Wintour repeats the nonsensical claims of Ecuador's repressive President