BRETT WILKINS – The Belmarsh Tribunalâ€”named after the notorious British prison where WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is imprisoned as he faces possible extradition to the U.S.â€”was convened remotely Friday morning by Progressive International (PI). The activists “put the United States government on trial” for crimes ranging “from atrocities in Iraq to torture at GuantÃ¡namo Bay to the CIA’s illegal surveillance programâ€”and draw attention to the extradition case of Julian Assange for revealing them.”
KEVIN ZEESE and MARGARET FLOWERS – The arrest of Julian Assange not only puts the free press in the United States at risk, it puts any reporters who expose US crimes anywhere in the world at risk.
DAVID SWANSON – Wikileaks co-founder Julian Assange’s arrest at the Ecuadorian embassy in London raises serious concerns. Here are ten reasons he should be freed.
DAVID SWANSON – Back before Donald Trump was inaugurated, I wrote an article called â€œFantasies About Russia Could Doom Opposition to Trump.â€ Perhaps it is less quixotic, or perhaps it is more, to hope that, after more than two years of being barraged with those fantasies, but with their main focus having publicly flopped, more people will now be open to trying something else. That pre-inauguration article read: â€œTrump should be impeached on Day 1, but the same Democrats who found the one nominee who could lose to Trump will find the one argument for impeachment that can explode in their own faces. . . . Meanwhile, we have a man planning to be president later this month whose business dealings clearly violate . . .
KATHY KELLY – Chelsea Manning, who bravely exposed atrocities committed by the U.S. military, is again imprisoned in a U.S. jail. On International Womenâ€™s Day, March 8, 2019, she was incarcerated in the Alexandria, VA federal detention center for refusing to testify in front of a secretive Grand Jury. Her imprisonment can extend through the term of the Grand Jury, possibly 18 months, and the U.S. courts could allow formation of future Grand Juries, potentially jailing her again.
JACK F. MATLOCK JR. – “Whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad.â€ That sayingâ€”often misattributed to Euripidesâ€”comes to mind most mornings when I pick up The New York Times and read the latest â€œRussiagateâ€ headlines, which are frequently featured across two or three columns on the front page above the fold. This is an almost daily reminder of the hysteria that dominates our Congress and much of our media.
NORMAN SOLOMON – Willingness to challenge Wall Street would certainly alienate some of the Democratic Partyâ€™s big donors. And such moves would likely curb the future earning power of high-ranking party officials, who can now look forward to upward spikes in incomes from consultant deals and cushy positions at well-heeled firms. With eyes on the prizes from corporate largesse, DNC officials donâ€™t see downsides to whacking at WikiLeaks and undermining press freedom in the process.
ANN WRIGHT – President Trump is becoming the third post-9/11 president to prosecute bloody conflicts in the Mideast and impose mass surveillance at home, with no end in sight.
JESSELYN RADACK – It is the leakiest of times in the Executive Branch. [A little over a week ago], Wikileaks published a massive and, by all accounts genuine, trove of documents revealing that the CIA has been stockpiling, and lost control of, hacking tools it uses against targets. Particularly noteworthy were the revelations that the CIA developed a tool to hack Samsung TVs and turn them into recording devices and that the CIA worked to infiltrate both Apple and Google smart phone operating systems since it could not break encryption. No one in government has challenged the authenticity of the documents disclosed.
NORMAN SOLOMON – Four weeks into Donald Trumpâ€™s presidency, New York Times columnist Paul Krugman wrote that â€œnothing he has done since the inauguration allays fears that he is in effect a Putin puppet.â€ The liberal pundit concluded with a matter-of-fact reference to â€œthe Trump-Putin axis.â€ Such lines of attack have become routine, citing and stoking fears that the president of the United States is a Kremlin stooge. The meme is on the march — and where it will end, nobody knows. Actually, it could end with a global nuclear holocaust.
DAVID SWANSON – Does Rachel Maddow Want Russia Bombed? Here’s why I ask. Maddow devotes many minutes on MSNBC stirring up hatred of Russia in order to establish that there is a vague possibility that President Donald Trump might be corrupted by a foreign government.
DAVID SWANSON – The U.S. government has now generated numerous news stories and released multiple “reports” aimed at persuading us that Vladimir Putin is to blame for Donald Trump becoming president. U.S. media has dutifully informed us that the case has been made. But a closer analysis finds a different reality.
DAVID SWANSON – When George W. Bush made the case for attacking and destroying the nation of Iraq, he made claims that, if true, would have justified nothing. And he proposed as evidence for those claims fraudulent, implausible, and even ridiculous pieces of information. But he was expected to produce evidence. There was no assumption that he should simply be taken on faith. Those standards are gone.
RAMESH THAKUR – Are the increasingly frosty relations between the United States and Russia going to turn into all-out war? Former United Nations Assistant Secretary-General Ramesh Thakur weighs the evidence.
VICTOR WALLIS – The more extreme the crimes of state, the more the state seeks to shroud them in secrecy. The greater the secrecy and the accompanying lies, the more vital becomes the role of whistleblowers â€“ and the more vindictive becomes the state in its pursuit of them.
NORMAN SOLOMON – News media should illuminate conflicts of interest, not embody them. But the owner of the Washington Post is now doing big business with the Central Intelligence Agency, while readers of the newspaperâ€™s CIA coverage are left in the dark.
DAVID SWANSON – U.S. whistleblower and international hero Bradley Manning has just been awarded the 2013 Sean MacBride Peace Award by the International Peace Bureau, itself a former recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, for which Manning is a nominee this year.
ED PILKINGTON – While Bradley Manning, the source of the massive WikiLeaks trove of secret disclosures, was cleared of the charge of ‘Aiding the Enemy,’ he faces a possible maximum sentence of 136 years in military jail after he was convicted of most other charges on which he stood trial.
DAVID SWANSON – Almost 10,000 Americans have sent messages to the Italian Embassy in Washington thanking Italy’s high court for upholding the conviction of 23 Americans (22 CIA officers and one military official) for the offense of kidnapping a man off the street in Milan on February 17, 2003, and shipping him to Egypt to be brutally tortured.
LAWRENCE WITTNER – The Republican Party has stood up with remarkable consistency for the post-9/11 U.S. government policies of widespread surveillance, indefinite detention without trial, torture, and extraordinary rendition. It has also supported government subsidies for religious institutions, government restrictions on immigration and free passage across international boundaries, government denial of collective bargaining rights for public sector workers, government attacks on public use of public space (for example, the violent police assaults on the Occupy movement), and government interference with womenâ€™s right to abortion and doctorsâ€™ right to perform it.
RACHEL KENNEDY – April has been a momentous month for WikiLeaks. On April 6 Julian Assange was given a date by Britainâ€™s High Court to appeal against extradition to Sweden. Meanwhile, British diplomats have joined many others who are pressuring the U.S. to provide humane treatment of 23-year old Bradley Manning, the U. S. soldier accused of leaking classified data to WikiLeaks and currently held in 24-7 solitary confinement in the stockade at Quantico, often stripped naked.
KIM ZETTER – The Army has filed 22 new counts against suspected WikiLeaks source Bradley Manning, among them a capital offense for which the government said it would not seek the death penalty.
The charges, filed Tuesday but disclosed only Wednesday, are one charge of aiding the enemy, five counts of theft of public property or records, two counts of computer fraud, eight counts of transmitting defense information in violation of the Espionage Act, and a count of wrongfully causing intelligence to be published on the internet knowing it would be accessible to the enemy. The aiding the enemy charge is a capital offense which potentially carries the death penalty. Five additional charges are for violating Army computer security regulations.