Monday, August 27, 2012

John Pilger: "The Guardian Like a Spurned Lover" and Home Truths All Round

I do so admire this man, the world would be a lesser place were it not for John Pilger telling it like it is. More Pilger in the sidebar

Update below:
John Pilger speaks at Socialism 2009

The Pursuit of Julian Assange Is an Assault on Freedom and a Mockery of Journalism

by John Pilger
August 24, 2012

The British government’s threat to invade the Ecuadorean embassy in London and seize Julian Assange is of historic significance. David Cameron, the former PR man to a television industry huckster and arms salesman to sheikdoms, is well placed to dishonor international conventions that have protected Britons in places of upheaval. Just as Tony Blair’s invasion of Iraq led directly to the acts of terrorism in London on July 7, 2005, so Cameron and Foreign Secretary William Hague have compromised the safety of British representatives across the world.

Threatening to abuse a law designed to expel murderers from foreign embassies, while defaming an innocent man as an “alleged criminal,” Hague has made a laughing stock of Britain across the world, though this view is mostly suppressed in Britain. The same brave newspapers and broadcasters that have supported Britain’s part in epic bloody crimes, from the genocide in Indonesia to the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, now attack the “human rights record” of Ecuador, whose real crime is to stand up to the bullies in London and Washington.

It is as if the Olympics happy-clappery has been subverted overnight by a revealing display of colonial thuggery. Witness the British army officer-cum-BBC reporter Mark Urban “interviewing” a braying Sir Christopher Meyer, Blair’s former apologist in Washington, outside the Ecuadorean embassy, the pair of them erupting with Blimpish indignation that the unclubbable Assange and the uncowed Rafael Correa should expose the western system of rapacious power. Similar affront is vivid in the pages of the Guardian, which has counseled Hague to be “patient” and that storming the embassy would be “more trouble than it is worth.” Assange was not a political refugee, the Guardian declared, because “neither Sweden nor the U.K. would in any case deport someone who might face torture or the death penalty.”

The irresponsibility of this statement matches the Guardian’s perfidious role in the whole Assange affair. The paper knows full well that documents released by WikiLeaks indicate that Sweden has consistently submitted to pressure from the United States in matters of civil rights. In December 2001, the Swedish government abruptly revoked the political refugee status of two Egyptians, Ahmed Agiza and Mohammed el-Zari, who were handed to a CIA kidnap squad at Stockholm airport and “rendered” to Egypt, where they were tortured. An investigation by the Swedish ombudsman for justice found that the government had “seriously violated” the two men’s human rights. In a 2009 U.S. embassy cable obtained by WikiLeaks, entitled “WikiLeaks puts neutrality in the Dustbin of History,” the Swedish elite’s vaunted reputation for neutrality is exposed as a sham. Another U.S. cable reveals that “the extent of [Sweden's military and intelligence] cooperation [with NATO] is not widely known” and unless kept secret “would open the government to domestic criticism.”

The Swedish foreign minister, Carl Bildt, played a notorious leading role in George W. Bush’s Committee for the Liberation of Iraq and retains close ties to the Republican Party’s extreme right. According to the former Swedish director of public prosecutions Sven-Erik Alhem, Sweden’s decision to seek the extradition of Assange on allegations of sexual misconduct is “unreasonable and unprofessional, as well as unfair and disproportionate.” Having offered himself for questioning, Assange was given permission to leave Sweden for London where, again, he offered to be questioned. In May, in a final appeal judgment on the extradition, Britain’s Supreme Court introduced more farce by referring to nonexistent “charges.”

Accompanying this has been a vituperative personal campaign against Assange. Much of it has emanated from the Guardian, which, like a spurned lover,has turned on its besieged former source, having hugely profited from WikiLeaks disclosures. With not a penny going to Assange or WikiLeaks, a Guardian book has led to a lucrative Hollywood movie deal.The authors, David Leigh and Luke Harding, gratuitously abuse Assange as a “damaged personality” and “callous.” They also reveal the secret password he had given the paper in confidence, which was designed to protect a digital file containing the U.S. embassy cables. On Aug. 20, Harding was outside the Ecuadorean embassy, gloating on his blog that “Scotland Yard may get the last laugh.” It is ironic, if entirely appropriate, that a Guardian editorial putting the paper’s latest boot into Assange bears an uncanny likeness to the Murdoch press’s predictable augmented bigotry on the same subject. How the glory of Leveson, Hackgate, and honorable, independent journalism doth fade.

His tormentors make the point of Assange’s persecution. Charged with no crime, he is not a fugitive from justice. Swedish case documents, including the text messages of the women involved, demonstrate to any fair-minded person the absurdity of the sex allegations — allegations almost entirely promptly dismissed by the senior prosecutor in Stockholm, Eva Finne, before the intervention of a politician, Claes Borgstr?At the pre-trial of Bradley Manning, a U.S. army investigator confirmed that the FBI was secretly targeting the “founders, owners, or managers of WikiLeaks” for espionage.

Four years ago, a barely noticed Pentagon document, leaked by WikiLeaks, described how WikiLeaks and Assange would be destroyed with a smear campaign leading to “criminal prosecution.” On Aug. 18, the Sydney Morning Herald disclosed, in a Freedom of Information release of official files, that the Australian government had repeatedly received confirmation that the U.S. was conducting an “unprecedented” pursuit of Assange and had raised no objections. Among Ecuador’s reasons for granting asylum is Assange’s abandonment “by the state of which he is a citizen.” In 2010, an investigation by the Australian Federal Police found that Assange and WikiLeaks had committed no crime. His persecution is an assault on us all and on freedom.

John Pilger speaks at Socialism 2009 "The Invisible Government"

Or you may wish to try John Pilger "The Invisible Government" Part 1/4 a different and more comprehensive speech on the same subject. And as you might expect by now from Pilger, no prisoners taken. Good stuff and recommended more than the above.

Part two.

Part three.



Anonymous said...

comment David in Dallas

I agree. Governmental secrecy is too frequently used to protect the powerful from public scrutiny. We need Wikileaks and Daniel Ellsbergs to keep them somewhat honest. This has nothing to do with left-wing or right-wing politics. It has to do with accountability - by destroying that "TOP SECRET" stamp that finds its way onto too many documents that were created in our name but which do not reflect our goals.

Himself said...

Bonjour my little buttered mushroom.

The Government and the people have become mutual enemies.

Watched Tampa police horses on Democracy Now, they were kitted out like war horses.

Thought, 'All dressed up and nowhere to go' I'm sure they will try and rectify that before RNC rally is over. (Break a few heads)

Cops, the new cossacks.

OT Mail could have sat in the box 4/5 days quite easily.

Himself said...

Made a tweet out of that.

Anonymous said...

from interesting comment DAI TWICE
Mon, 2012-08-27 20:35

This Assange affair is meat and drink to the aspirations of folk such as Borgström and Bodström - a wonderful extension of what is known locally as 'the duckpond' to the international stage. Bodström has given his name to a Swedish version of Bushite-Blairite-corporatism.

Come on, British journalists and commentators. Get a grip and expose this drivel for what it is. Sweden gets too easy a ride on the international stage and many Swedes need some help in shedding some light in murky corners.

Himself said...

A few exceptions apart, journalism est mort.

I tell you one thing though my lovely, this Assange affair has certainly put right my misconceptions about Sweden being a bastion of law, order, civil and human rights.

Anonymous said...

If a country like Sweden — I respect Sweden a great deal. It has a long history, tradition and reputation for human rights. Now, if they start to 'shake' on these kinds of issues — to accommodate, to make concessions — what can we expect from other countries? - U.N. Special Rapporteur on Torture, Theo van Boven

Himself said...

Indeed Maren, indeed.

But we live in a different world to that that we once did.

I was reading something the other day, and I wished I had saved it.

Briefly: Americans (Tea Party) quoting the Founding Fathers as though their thoughts and the Constitution were infallible/inviolable.

We have since then, what 200/250 years ago?

And not only that, what constitution? Bush tore that up a long time ago.

And Obama has set fire to the pieces.

Anonymous said...

Himself said...

I wondered where you were going with that at first.

I'm straight out in the morning, so won't be around until the PM.

The girls a nice. (As I sit)

Anonymous said...