Saturday, June 10, 2017

24.5 - News on Chelsea Manning and Julian Assange

News on Chelsea Manning and Julian Assange

Something I wanted to bring up just because hey it's my show so why not.

Chelsea Manning
A couple of weeks ago I celebrated the release of Chelsea Manning from prison. At the time, the  only image I had of her was a black-and-white selfie of her wearing a wig - an image I have since learned was never supposed to be circulated: She sent it privately in an email to her therapist and commanding officer and it somehow got out.

Anyway, I wanted to note that we now have this new one. That is Chelsea Manning, in her first photo as a free transgender woman.

Unavoidably intertwined with Manning's case is that of Julian Assange, director of Wikileaks, an organization the Obama administration, demonstrating its claimed commitment to transparency, tried to bankrupt by blocking any source of funding. The Department of Justice tried every way it could think of to find something they could charge Assange with that did not also implicate major publications like the New York Times and the Washington Post, which published portions of the documents that Wikileaks released.

There simply is no rational question but that the highly harsh treatment of Manning, including extended solitary confinement, and the massive and threatening charges filed against her, were an attempt to force Manning to finger Assange as having induced or better yet directed her to copy and send him the documents involved, giving the US a way to get Assange without worrying about little things like freedom of the press.

When they couldn't break her, they were left without a case against Assange.

Julian Assange
But that didn't mean they gave up trying. And now, after seven years of effort, according to reports, they think they have found a way to get Julian Assange and Attorney General Jeff "too racist to be a judge" Sessions said recently that getting Assange is a "priority."

Meanwhile, in one of those moments of deliciously overt hypocrisy, CIA director Mike Pompeo has labeled Wikileaks "a non-state hostile intelligence service often abetted by state actors like Russia" and proclaimed that "we can no longer allow Assange and his colleagues the latitude to use free speech values against us" while calling Assange himself "a fraud," "a coward," and "a narcissist."

This is the same Mike Pompeo who last July gloated over the DNC emails released by Wikileaks, calling them "proof that the fix was in from Pres. Obama on down," and who during the fall campaign repeatedly referred to those emails to attack Hillary Clinton.

As a final note on this, Sweden has dropped its fishy-fron-the-start "investigation" of Assange, an investigation that, contrary to the impression you no doubt got from the media, never involved actual charges. Supposedly, he was only wanted for questioning, and the Swedish prosecutors have now said they are giving up because there is no way to question him - even though he has previously offered to be questioned in the Ecuadorian embassy where he has been given asylum or by videoconference; significantly, he even said he would go back to Sweden if the government would guarantee he would not be extradited to the US. Sweden refused all proposed compromises.

The UK still says Assange will be arrested the instant he steps out of that embassy (which is in London) on a charge of missing a court date. Like Sweden, the UK will give no assurance that if he gives himself up he won't be bundled off to the US on whatever charge the DOJ can conjure up in the hopes of destroying Assange and Wikileaks along with him.

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