Celebrating freedom 3

Our wish for this and every Fourth of July –

May all our American readers, commenters, contributors, associates, critics, visitors and passers-by have a happy Independence Day!

 

 

Posted under liberty by Jillian Becker on Thursday, July 4, 2019

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Freedom forever? 0

These words were spoken by President Trump today (June 6, 2019) in France, in his speech commemorating D-Day (June 6, 1944):

Those who fought here won a future for our nation. They won the survival of our civilization. And they showed us the way to love, cherish, and defend our way of life for many centuries to come. Today, as we stand together upon this sacred Earth, we pledge that our nations will forever be strong and united. We will forever be together. Our people will forever be bold. Our hearts will forever be loyal. And our children, and their children, will forever and always be free.

Stirring, exciting, memorable words. And we wish they may be true. But the free world, our nation, our civilization are facing a threat to-day at least as grave as they faced in 1944. And now the enemy is within our gates, in our midst, inside our government. It’s name is still national socialism, now allied with globalism. It again has an ally in Islam. Will we defend our way of life for centuries to come? Will our children, and their children, forever and always be free?

The whole of the President’s speech can be read here.

Posted under liberty by Jillian Becker on Thursday, June 6, 2019

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Freedom of speech on the internet 7

In 2011 Elizabeth Warren said:

There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own — nobody. You built a factory out there? Good for you. But I want to be clear. You moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for. You hired workers the rest of us paid to educate. You were safe in your factory because of police-forces and fire-forces that the rest of us paid for. You didn’t have to worry that marauding bands would come and seize everything at your factory — and hire someone to protect against this — because of the work the rest of us did.

In 2012 President Obama said:

There are a lot of wealthy, successful Americans who agree with me – because they want to give something back. They know they didn’t – look, if you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own. You didn’t get there on your own. I’m always struck by people who think, well, it must be because I was just so smart. There are a lot of smart people out there. It must be because I worked harder than everybody else. Let me tell you something – there are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there. If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business – you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen. The Internet didn’t get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet.

Whether or not they meant to be attacking private enterprise capitalism, that is what they were generally understood to be doing.

The capitalist, free-market argument is that if you own something you can use it as you like for all lawful purposes. If bakers of wedding cakes do not want to sell a cake, or florists do not want to supply bouquets, to same-sex couples, they are within their rights not to do so.

It is generally agreed that the private owners of places of public entertainment such as restaurants, movie theaters, hotels cannot be permitted to shut out some customers on grounds of personal antagonism.

Controversy has arisen as to whether the private owners of the “social media”, notably Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Google, have a right to refuse the use of their forums to persons whose opinions they dislike, or whether they have the same obligations as owners of restaurants, movie theaters and hotels not to discriminate against some on grounds of personal disagreement.

Daniel Greenfield writes this magisterial opinion on the arguments:

“But, it’s a private company.”

It’s a familiar argument. Bring up the problem of Google, Facebook and Twitter suppressing conservative speech and many conservatives will retort that it’s a free market. The big dot com monopolies created their own companies, didn’t they? And we wouldn’t want government regulation of business.

In a FOX Business editorial, Iain Murray writes that breaking up dot coms like Google would be “a repudiation of conservative principles”. He argues that “Twitter is a private company” and that “there is no positive right to free speech on Twitter or any other private venue.”

“The same goes for the president’s attacks on Google and the complaints of conservative censorship,” Diane Katz writes at the Heritage Institute. “These private enterprises are not obligated to abide any sort of partisan fairness doctrine.”

The talking point that Google, Facebook and Twitter are private companies that can discriminate as they please on their private platforms, and that the First Amendment doesn’t apply, is in the air everywhere.

But it overlooks two very simple facts.

The driving force behind the censorship of conservatives isn’t a handful of tech tycoons. It’s elected officials. Senator Kamala Harris offered an example of that in a recent speech where she declared that she would “hold social media platforms accountable” if they contained “hate” or “misinformation”.

“Misinformation” is a well-known euphemism among Democrats and the media for conservative political content. It was originally known as “fake news” before President Trump hijacked the term to refer to the media. The recent Poynter list of “unreliable” sites was stacked with conservative sites. Lists like these aren’t hypothetical. Poynter runs the International Fact Checking Network which had been empowered by Facebook and other sites to deplatform conservative content through its “fact checks”.

All of this got underway in response to claims by Hillary Clinton and her allies that “fake news” had cost her the election and represented a grave attack on our democracy. The call was quickly taken up by Democrats in the House and the Senate. It’s been commented on supportively by powerful Clinton allies in the tech industry, like Eric Schmidt, the former chairman of Google.

Dot coms like Facebook are cracking down on conservatives as an explicit response to pressure from elected government officials. That’s not the voluntary behavior of private companies. When Facebook deletes conservatives in response to threats of regulatory action from Senate Democrats, its censors are acting as government agents while engaging in viewpoint discrimination.

Free market conservatives can argue that Facebook should have the right to discriminate against conservatives. But do they really want to argue that Senate Democrats should have the right to compel private companies to censor conservatives?

What’s the difference between that and a totalitarian state?

It might, arguably, be legal for your landlord to kick you out of your house because he doesn’t like the fact that you’re a Republican. But is it legal for him to do so on orders from Senator Kamala Harris?

Defending abusive behavior like that is a desecration of the free market.

The second fact is that the internet is not the work of a handful of aspiring entrepreneurs who built it out of thin air using nothing but their talent, brains and nimble fingers.

At this point we are going to have to concede, however much it stings our political nerve to do so, that Obama got something right when he said that Government research created the internet.

The internet was the work of DARPA. That stands for Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. DARPA is part of the Department of Defense. DARPA had funded the creation of the core technologies that made the internet possible. The origins of the internet go back to DARPA’s Arpanet.

Nor did the story end once the internet had entered every home.

Where did Google come from? “The Anatomy of a Large-Scale Hypertextual Web Search Engine,” the original paper by Sergey Brin and Larry Page, the co-founders of Google, reveals support from the National Science Foundation, DARPA, and even NASA.

Harvard’s computer science department, where Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg learned to play with the toys that turned him into a billionaire, has also wallowed in DARPA cash. Not to mention funds from a variety of other DOD and Federal science agencies.

Taxpayers sank a fortune into developing a public marketplace where ideas are exchanged, and political advocacy and economic activity takes place. That marketplace doesn’t belong to Google, Amazon or Facebook. And when those monopolies take a stranglehold on the marketplace, squeezing out conservatives from being able to participate, they’re undermining our rights and freedoms.

“A right of free correspondence between citizen and citizen on their joint interests, whether public or private and under whatsoever laws these interests arise (to wit: of the State, of Congress, of France, Spain, or Turkey), is a natural right,” Thomas Jefferson argued.

There should be a high barrier for any company seeking to interfere with the marketplace of ideas in which the right of free correspondence is practiced.

Critics of regulating dot com monopolies have made valid points.

Regulating Google or Facebook as a public utility is dangerous. And their argument that giving government the power to control content on these platforms would backfire is sensible.

Any solution to the problem should not be based on expanding government control.

But there are two answers.

First, companies that engage in viewpoint discrimination in response to government pressure are acting as government agents. When a pattern of viewpoint discrimination manifests itself on the platform controlled by a monopoly, a civil rights investigation should examine what role government officials played in instigating the suppression of a particular point of view.

Liberals have abandoned the Public Forum Doctrine, once a popular ACLU theme, while embracing censorship. But if the Doctrine could apply to a shopping mall, it certainly applies to the internet.

When dot com monopolies get so big that being banned from their platforms effectively neutralizes political activity, press activity and political speech, then they’re public forums.

Second, rights are threatened by any sufficiently large organization or entity, not just government. Government has traditionally been the most powerful such organization, but the natural rights that our country was founded on are equally immune to every organization. Governments, as the Declaration of Independence asserts, exist as part of a social contract to secure these rights for its citizens.

Government secures these rights, first and foremost, against itself. (Our system effectively exists to answer the question of who watches the watchers.) But it also secures them against foreign powers, a crisis that the Declaration of Independence was written to meet, and against domestic organizations, criminal or political, whether it’s the Communist Party or ISIS, that seek to rob Americans of their rights.

A country in which freedom of speech effectively did not exist, even though it remained a technical right, would not be America. A government that allowed such a thing would have no right to exist.

Only a government whose citizens enjoy the rights of free men legally justifies its existence.

If a private company took control of all the roads and closed them to conservatives every Election Day, elections would become a mockery and the resulting government would be an illegitimate tyranny.

That’s the crisis that conservatives face with the internet.

Protecting freedom of speech does not abandon conservative principles, it secures them. There are no conservative principles without freedom of speech. A free market nation without freedom of speech isn’t a conservative country. It’s an oligarchy. That’s the state of affairs on the internet.

Conservatives should beware of blindly enlisting in leftist efforts to take regulatory control of companies like Facebook. The result would be a deeper and more pervasive form of censorship than exists today. But neither should they imagine that the “free market side of history” will automatically fix the problem.

We have an existing useful toolset to draw on, from anti-trust laws to civil rights investigations to the Public Forum Doctrine. This will be a challenging process, but we must remember through it all, that we have a right to freedom of speech on the internet.

Our tax dollars, invested over generations, built this system. It does not belong to the Left. Or, for that matter, the Right. It belongs to all of us.

Now how to make sure Facebook etc. do not discriminate against us because of their political bias?

President Trump is willing to help us. (Though exactly what he can do we don’t know.)

SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS should advance FREEDOM OF SPEECH. Yet too many Americans have seen their accounts suspended, banned, or fraudulently reported for unclear “violations” of user policies. 

No matter your views, if you suspect political bias caused such an action to be taken against you, share your story with President Trump.

https://whitehouse.typeform.com/to/Jti9QH?fbclid=IwAR1oumZ36_InMnU29hRFZukzdSUrbBAxAaQ338B2_Lf-DYxMTJr2UBJMJWs

It’s worth trying.

.

(Hat-tip to liz for the White House link)

 

 

Brave talk on a doomed continent 18

Two objectives have to be achieved by those Europeans – numbering probably a little more than half the indigenous population of the continent – who still want their civilization to survive.

One is to bring their respective countries out of the phony ‘superstate’ , the European Union (EU).

The other is to save them from Islamization by stopping the advance of the centuries-long and recently escalating Mohammedan jihad.

Increasing numbers of Europeans are engaged in an active struggle to attain those ends. Nationalist parties are gathering strength. Their leaders are trying to get an international movement started to unseat the rulers who have betrayed the peoples, to break up the EU, to stop immigration from the Third World, and to take back the areas that have fallen to the Muslim foe.

On April 25, 2019, some of these leaders gathered in Prague, a few weeks before the European Parliament elections set for May 23-26.

Soeren Kern reports at Gatestone:

The rally was sponsored by the Movement for a Europe of Nations and Freedom (MENF), a pan-European alliance of nine nationalist parties dedicated to stopping mass migration and recovering national sovereignty from the European Union.

The speakers were:

The president of the Czech Freedom and Direct Democracy Party (SPD), Tomio Okamura [who organized the event], was joined by Dutch Freedom Party (PVV) leader Geert Wilders, French National Rally (RN) leader Marine Le Pen, the [Belgian] President of Movement for a Europe of Nations and Freedom (MENF), Gerolf Annemans, and British MEP Janice Atkinson, who is also Vice Chair of the Europe of Nations and Freedom (ENF) political group in the European Parliament.

The Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, leader of the Anti-Mass Migration League party, sent a video message.

They addressed an audience in Prague’s Wenceslas Square.

We quote parts of Soeren Kern’s extracts from the keynote speeches:

Tomio Okamura, President, Freedom and Direct Democracy party (SPD) and Deputy Speaker of the [Czech] Chamber of Deputies:

Today, Europeans are once again fighting for their survival. It is not just the migration of colonists from Africa and the Arab countries that is changing the face of Western Europe. It is also the growing assault from Brussels on the sovereignty of Europe’s nation states in the name of a multicultural superstate.

For those who downplay this warning, I would like to mention a quote from the former President of the European Union, Herman Von Rompuy: ‘The time of the homogenous nation-state is over. Each European country has to be open for different culture.’ In contemporary Europe, the Brussels aristocracy has no place for nations, and no place for democracy either. The former President of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz, has been quoted as saying: ‘It is not the EU’s philosophy that the crowd can decide its destiny.’

And for those who are still not sure about Europe’s ambitions, German Deputy Foreign Minister Michael Roth has called for replacing the principle of unanimity in EU decision-making with qualified majority voting.

The mass immigration of millions of Africans and Muslims to Europe is no coincidence — it is a targeted liquidation of traditional European nation states, as well as the targeted destruction of traditional European values — hence the concept of the traditional family is being liquidated, and patriotism becomes a rude word, because these values ​​are the biggest obstacle to the demolition of nation states.

It is up to us to decide whether we give up all that our ancestors have sacrificed their lives for, whether we will savor their memory, or defend their heritage.

I say clearly that the current EU must end! I remind you that at present, European Union directives and regulations outrank the laws of the EU’s member states …

National patriotic parties are on the rise all over Europe, promoting freedom, democracy and the sovereignty of their peoples.

 

Geert Wilders, MP and Chairman, [Dutch] Party for Freedom:

We are gathered here today to stand up for our freedom and our sovereignty. The most precious things we have. Because without a strong nation state, there is no democracy. And without democracy there are no liberties.

Today, we are fighting for our existence. And the biggest threats to our survival and our freedom are the European Union, mass immigration and the Islamic ideology of submission and violence. 

First, let’s talk about the European Union. An undemocratic superstate. It is forcing its commands on the peoples of Europe. It is trying to take away our national sovereignty!

The European Union is attempting to erase our nation states … shaped by their own history, culture, language and identity …

We want to control our own borders again. We do not want mass immigration. And we do not want to be invaded by a tyrannical ideology.

The European Union has been pampering Islam for decades now. But Islam is a medieval cult that denies freedom to others. So why should we grant Islam any liberties? We should not, we should stop Islam. By depriving Islam of the means to destroy our identity, we are not violating freedom; we are preserving our identity and guaranteeing freedom.

A choice has to be made between Islam and freedom. There is no middle way. Nothing is more precious than liberty and freedom.

Defending our freedom, defending our way of life, requires all of us to be vigilant, courageous and audacious. It requires all of us to raise our voice. To raise our voice against the enemies of freedom. Against the tyranny of Islamization. Against everyone who tries to silence us!

The European Union and many governments facilitate Islam and Islamic immigration. Why are they facilitating a totalitarian ideology? Why are they accommodating an intolerant dogma? It is as if they have surrendered. It is as if they have capitulated. But not on behalf of the people. Not on behalf of you.

Islam and freedom are incompatible.

 

Gerolf Annemans, President, Movement for a Europe of Nations and Freedom (MENF):

We are the resistance. Matteo Salvini, Marine Le Pen, Geert Wilders, my party president Tom Van Grieken of the Flemish party Vlaams Belang, and all the others, we are proud to have you and Tomio as strong allies in Central Europe of what will become a force for change in Europe. For our homeland and for our freedom, let us join forces and let us stand strong. No matter how strong our opponents could be, we will be stronger because we have the strength of our conviction, and we are the hope that the people of Europe have in us.

 

Janice Atkinson, British MEP and Vice President, Europe of Nations and Freedom:

Vote for the parties that will take you out of the EU. It is the evil empire. Vote for the parties that will tear down the EU state, so that power is returned to the nations of Europe and freedom.

The EU is the dictatorship of the unelected, the failed politicians of their own nations, as they suck the lifeblood of democracy out of our countries. These unelected dictators have imposed mass uncontrolled immigration on our countries. They have failed to secure our external borders.

They have failed to stop migrants arriving by foot, by boats and via people smugglers.

 They have Europe’s blood on their hands.

They have changed our cities and our streets and towns so that they are unrecognizable, and we are foreigners in our own lands. They encourage radical Islam, which has brought into our lives Sharia law, female genital mutilation, child marriage and medieval clothing such as the burka. Enough. No more!

Do not accept that this is Europe’s fate. It is reversible and can be stopped. If you value your freedoms, your way of life, your rule of law, your culture and heritage, the EU has to be stopped.

I hope you follow the British and vote to leave [the EU].

It isn’t easy to leave the EU, as the British have found out. Despite a majority voting for Brexit, the establishment and the EU have colluded to stop us. And that’s the trouble.

We have given control of our lives and our countries and our day to day life and our future to people who do not believe in the nation state, sovereignty and control over our own laws.

We are at a tipping point in Europe.

 

Marine Le Pen, President, [French] National Rally:

The battle for Europe has begun.

The supporters of globalism stand against supporters of the nation state.

European federalists support total deregulation, the complete abolition of borders, the free movement of migrants across the planet and the weakening of nation states for the benefit of oligarchs and bureaucrats. On the other side, there are us patriots from all across Europe.

My country offers a sad example of migratory submersion.

Whole neighborhoods have become non-French areas!

At present the European Union does not have the capacity to send tanks on the streets or to fire on the crowd… But the goal is the same: to reduce our political, legal, and national identity — our capacities of resistance.

During a press conference, Le Pen added:

Immigration must be stopped, and the Islamist ideology must be eradicated…. Islamization and globalism are new totalitarianisms that threaten European countries.

 

In a video broadcast at the Prague event, Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini said:

I hope we will be working together in a new Europe that defends borders and our children against immigration and Islamic extremism, which must be stopped.

Salvini is trying to unite nationalist parties scattered across the 28-nation European Union to join forces in a new political alliance. On April 8, Salvini was joined in Milan by representatives of Germany’s Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, the Danish People’s Party and the Finns Party, to launch a new alliance called Towards a Common Sense Europe.

Salvini hopes that the new bloc will emerge as the largest in the 751-member parliament after the elections in May.

These leaders and their parties have the right goals. But the European Parliament can effect nothing. It is a powerless talking shop; a window dressed to look as if it had something to do with democracy. True, its members are elected, but they do not legislate. They are powerless.  They go, once chosen by their constituents, to the grand building in Strasbourg where the European Parliament is housed – and they talk. They can say what they like in there. But nothing they say will make the least difference to how the EU’s ‘dictatorship of the unelected‘ , as Janice Atkinson rightly called the government of the EU, rules the continent.

Nothing they say can stop millions of Third World migrants pouring over the continent and before long dominating it.

They will have to stop talking and act. A good start would be to arrest the conceited poseurs who gather in their dark tower in Brussels and decide that the European states must be ended and the Islamic Republic of Europe take their place. Arrest them, bring them to trial as traitors, and sentence them to condign punishment.

Then disband the European Union.

And then if there is still some way to save Europe from Islam, they will need to take it.

But is there a way?

The European Union’s Parliament in Strasbourg: a useless talk tank

A question of liberty 2

If Julian Assange has published information that has harmed anybody working for the United States, it is right that he has been arrested and right for him to be brought to trial.

But has he?

The BBC (no longer a trustworthy source in general but quoting other sources here) reported and commented in 2010 when “a trove of US diplomatic cables which offer, among other things, unflattering and candid assessments of world leaders” was released by Assange’s organization Wikileaks: .

Much of the criticism of Wikileaks … revolves around the notion that releasing such information risks lives.

Identities of informants could be compromised, spies exposed, and the safety of human rights activists, journalists and dissidents jeopardized when information of their activities is made public, the argument goes.

US military officials contend that allowing enemies access to their strategic and operational documents creates a dangerous environment for American troops serving abroad. ..

But is there any real evidence of this peril?

The problem … is proving direct links between the information released and any loss of life.

After the release of an enormous haul of US defense department documents in August, [a] Pentagon spokesman… told the Washington Post: “We have yet to see any harm come to anyone in Afghanistan that we can directly tie to exposure in the Wikileaks documents.” …

After this latest release a Pentagon official … [said] that even three months later the US military still had no evidence that people had died or been harmed because of information gleaned from Wikileaks documents.

Daniel Ellsberg, the former military analyst who in 1971 released the Pentagon Papers which detailed government lies and cover-ups in the Vietnam War, is skeptical of whether the government really believes that lives are at stake.

He told the BBC’s World Today programme that US officials made that same argument every time there was a potentially embarrassing leak.

“The best justification they can find for secrecy is that lives are at stake. Actually, lives are at stake as a result of the silences and lies which a lot of these leaks reveal,” he said. “The same charges were made against the Pentagon Papers and turned out to be quite invalid.” …

Assange did not steal Pentagon documents, he published them. If he was wrong to do so, then so were the newspapers that did the same, such as the New York Times.

Professor Alan Dershowitz writes at The Hill:

Before WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange gained asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy in London in 2012, he and his British legal team asked me to fly to London to provide legal advice about United States law relating to espionage and press freedom. I cannot disclose what advice I gave them, but I can say that I believed then, and still believe now, that there is no constitutional difference between WikiLeaks and the New York Times.

If the New York Times, in 1971, could lawfully publish the Pentagon Papers knowing they included classified documents stolen by Rand Corporation military analyst Daniel Ellsberg from our federal government, then indeed WikiLeaks was entitled, under the First Amendment, to publish classified material that Assange knew was stolen by former United States Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning from our federal government.

So if prosecutors were to charge Assange with espionage or any other crime for merely publishing the Manning material, this would be another Pentagon Papers case with the same likely outcome. Many people have misunderstood the actual Supreme Court ruling in 1971. It did not say that the newspapers planning to publish the Pentagon Papers could not be prosecuted if they published classified material. It only said that they could not be restrained, or stopped in advance, from publishing them. Well, they did publish, and they were not prosecuted.

The same result would probably follow if Assange were prosecuted for publishing classified material on WikiLeaks, though there is no guarantee that prosecutors might not try to distinguish the cases on the grounds that the New York Times is a more responsible outlet than WikiLeaks. But the First Amendment does not recognize degrees of responsibility. When the Constitution was written, our nation was plagued with irresponsible scandal sheets and broadsides. No one described political pamphleteers Thomas Paine or James Callender as responsible journalists of their day.

It is likely, therefore, that a prosecution of Assange for merely publishing classified material would fail. Moreover, Great Britain might be unwilling to extradite Assange for such a “political” crime. That is why prosecutors have chosen to charge him with a different crime of conspiracy to help Manning break into a federal government computer to steal classified material. Such a crime, if proven beyond a reasonable doubt, would have a far weaker claim to protection under the Constitution. The courts have indeed ruled that journalists may not break the law in an effort to obtain material whose disclosure would be protected by the First Amendment.

But the problem with the current effort is that, while it might be legally strong, it seems on the face of the indictment to be factually weak. It alleges that “Assange encouraged Manning to provide information and records” from federal government agencies, that “Manning provided Assange with part of a password,” and that “Assange requested more information.” It goes on to say that Assange was “trying to crack the password” but had “no luck so far.” Not the strongest set of facts here!

It was Manning who committed a crime, not Assange.  Where Assange is concerned, we ( in agreement with Mark Steyn – see the video in the post immediately below – who is as firm a conservative as we are) do not accept that the US has a legal or moral right to have an Australian arrested in London and extradited here for offending the US. In his case, it is not a question of treason and betrayal as with Manning. It is a question of liberty.

Even if Assange is a Leftist, with opinions we strongly dislike, we cannot approve the gross interference with his personal liberty, cannot but object indignantly to his arrest and incarceration.

However, we are interested in what sort of person we are defending.

Is he a Lefty?

Hard to be sure. A sign that he is not, is that there are people on the Left who wish him dead. For instance, Bob Beckel said on Fox News:

A dead man can’t leak stuff. This guy’s a traitor, a treasonist, and he has broken every law of the United States. The guy ought to be — And I’m not for the death penalty, so if I’m not for the death penalty, there’s only one way to do it: illegally shoot the son of a bitch.

Chris Hedges writes cogently (in part only – we strongly disagree with some of his comments) at truthdig.com:

The arrest Thursday of Julian Assange eviscerates all pretense of the rule of law and the rights of a free press. The illegalities, embraced by the Ecuadorian, British and U.S. governments, in the seizure of Assange are ominous. They presage a world where the internal workings, abuses, corruption, lies and crimes, especially war crimes, carried out by corporate states and the global ruling elite will be masked from the public. They presage a world where those with the courage and integrity to expose the misuse of power will be hunted down, tortured, subjected to sham trials and given lifetime prison terms in solitary confinement. They presage an Orwellian dystopia where news is replaced with propaganda, trivia and entertainment. The arrest of Assange, I fear, marks the official beginning of the corporate totalitarianism that will define our lives.

Under what law did Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno capriciously terminate Julian Assange’s rights of asylum as a political refugee? Under what law did Moreno authorize British police to enter the Ecuadorian Embassy — diplomatically sanctioned sovereign territory — to arrest a naturalized citizen of Ecuador? Under what law did Prime Minister Theresa May order the British police to grab Assange, who has never committed a crime? Under what law did President Donald Trump demand the extradition of Assange, who is not a U.S. citizen and whose news organization is not based in the United States? …

Pause here for a particular disagreement. President Trump has not personally approved the extradition. During his presidential campaign he defended Wikileaks.

Britain will use as its legal cover for the arrest the extradition request from Washington based on conspiracy charges. This legal argument, in a functioning judiciary, would be thrown out of court. Unfortunately, we no longer have a functioning judiciary. We will soon know if Britain as well lacks one.

Assange was granted asylum in the embassy in 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden to answer questions about sexual offense allegations that were eventually dropped. Assange and his lawyers always argued that if he was put in Swedish custody he would be extradited to the United States. Once he was granted asylum and Ecuadorian citizenship the British government refused to grant Assange safe passage to the London airport, trapping him in the embassy for seven years as his health steadily deteriorated.

The Trump administration will seek to try Assange on charges that he conspired with Manning in 2010 to steal the Iraq and Afghanistan war logs obtained by WikiLeaks. …

U.S. government lawyers will attempt to separate WikiLeaks and Assange from The New York Times and the British newspaper The Guardian, both of which also published the leaked material from Manning, by implicating Assange in the theft of the documents. …

Once the documents and videos provided by Manning to Assange and WikiLeaks were published and disseminated by news organizations such as The New York Times and The Guardian, the press callously, and foolishly, turned on Assange. News organizations that had run WikiLeaks material over several days soon served as conduits in a black propaganda campaign to discredit Assange and WikiLeaks. This coordinated smear campaign was detailed in a leaked Pentagon document prepared by the Cyber Counterintelligence Assessments Branch and dated March 8, 2008. The document called on the U.S. to eradicate the “feeling of trust” that is WikiLeaks’ “center of gravity” and destroy Assange’s reputation.

Assange, who with the Manning leaks had exposed the war crimes, lies and criminal manipulations of the George W. Bush administration, soon earned the ire of the Democratic Party establishment by publishing 70,000 hacked emails belonging to the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and senior Democratic officials. The emails were copied from the accounts of John Podesta, Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman. The Podesta emails exposed the donation of millions of dollars from Saudi Arabia and Qatar, two of the major funders of Islamic State, to the Clinton Foundation. It exposed the $657,000 that Goldman Sachs paid to Hillary Clinton to give talks, a sum so large it can only be considered a bribe. It exposed Clinton’s repeated mendacity. She was caught in the emails, for example, telling the financial elites that she wanted “open trade and open borders” and believed Wall Street executives were best positioned to manage the economy, a statement that contradicted her campaign statements. It exposed the Clinton campaign’s efforts to influence the Republican primaries to ensure that Trump was the Republican nominee. It exposed Clinton’s advance knowledge of questions in a primary debate. It exposed Clinton as the primary architect of the war in Libya, a war she believed would burnish her credentials as a presidential candidate. Journalists can argue that this information, like the war logs, should have remained hidden, but they can’t then call themselves journalists. 

What has Julian Assange himself said that reveals what motivates him?

He is against governments keeping secrets from the people. He thinks it is the job of journalists to reveal them.

Journalism should be more like science. As far as possible, facts should be verifiable. If journalists want long-term credibility for their profession, they have to go in that direction. Have more respect for readers.

One of the best ways to achieve justice is to expose injustice.

It raises questions about the natural instincts of Clinton that, when confronted with a serious domestic political scandal, she tries to blame the Russians, blame the Chinese, et cetera.

Although I still write, research and investigate, my role is primarily that of a publisher and editor-in-chief who organizes and directs other journalists.

Cablegate [the scandal over the release by Wikileaks of State Department documents in 2010 and 2011] is 3,000 volumes of material. It is the greatest intellectual treasure to have entered into the public record in modern times. 

You can either be informed and be your own rulers, or you can be ignorant and have someone else, who is not ignorant, rule over you. 

Wikileaks is a mechanism to maximize the flow of information to maximize the amount of action leading to just reform.

True information does good. 

In the history of Wikileaks, nobody has claimed that the material being put out is not authentic. 

Well, I mean, the real attack on truth is tabloid journalism in the United States.

With these statements at least, we agree. We agree that Western governments have become too secretive. We agree that it is a journalist’s business to report what a government is doing to the people who elect it …

… always provided that no individual working for the country is harmed, and no planned strategies of war are betrayed to our enemies. For that to be prevented, it is the responsibility of governments to keep their secrets safe.

The man who let out secrets 3

Julian Assange, the man who published secrets stolen from the Pentagon by Chelsea (then Bradley) Manning, was dragged out of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London yesterday (April 12, 2019) and is being held in jail while an extradition request from the US is being considered.

 

 

AP reports:

A bearded and shouting Julian Assange was pulled from the Ecuadorian Embassy in London and hauled into court Thursday, the start of an extradition battle for the WikiLeaks founder who faces U.S. charges related to the publication of tens of thousands of secret government documents.

Police arrested Assange after the South American nation revoked the political asylum that had given him sanctuary for almost seven years. Ecuador’s President Lenin Moreno said he took the action due to “repeated violations to international conventions and daily-life protocols”.

In Washington, the U.S. Justice Department accused Assange of conspiring with former U.S. Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to break into a classified government computer at the Pentagon. The charge was announced after Assange was taken into custody.

His lawyer said the 47-year-old Assange would fight extradition to the U.S.

Assange took refuge in the embassy in 2012 after he was released on bail in Britain while facing extradition to Sweden on sexual assault allegations that have since been dropped. He refused to leave the embassy, fearing arrest and extradition to the U.S. for publishing classified military and diplomatic cables through WikiLeaks.

Manning, who served several years in prison for leaking troves of classified documents before her sentence was commuted by then-President Barack Obama, is again in custody in Alexandria, Virginia, for refusing to testify before a grand jury investigating WikiLeaks.

Over the years, Assange used Ecuador’s embassy as a staging post to keep his name before the public, frequently making appearances on its tiny balcony, posing for pictures and reading statements. Even his cat became well-known.

But his presence was an embarrassment to U.K. authorities, who for years kept a police presence around the clock outside the embassy, costing taxpayers millions in police overtime. Such surveillance was removed in 2015, but the embassy remained a focal point for his activities.

Video posted online by Ruptly, a news service of Russia Today, showed several men in suits pulling a handcuffed Assange out of the embassy and loading him into a police van while uniformed British police formed a passageway. Assange … shouted and gestured as he was removed …

He later appeared in Westminster Magistrates’ Court, where District Judge Michael Snow wasted no time in finding him guilty of breaching his bail conditions, flatly rejecting his assertion that he had not had a fair hearing and a reasonable excuse for not appearing.

“Mr. Assange’s behavior is that of a narcissist who cannot get beyond his own selfish interests,” Snow said. “He hasn’t come close to establishing ‘reasonable excuse’.”

Assange waved to the packed public gallery as he was taken to the cells. His next appearance was set for May 2 via prison video-link in relation to the extradition case.

Assange’s attorney, Jennifer Robinson, said he will fight any extradition to the U.S.

“This sets a dangerous precedent for all journalist and media organizations in Europe and around the world,” she said. “This precedent means that any journalist can be extradited for prosecution in the United States for having published truthful information about the United States.”

Asked at the White House about the arrest, President Donald Trump declared, “It’s not my thing,” and “I know nothing about WikiLeaks,” despite praising the anti-secrecy organization dozens of times during his 2016 campaign.

Speaking in Parliament, British Prime Minister Theresa May said the arrest shows that “no one is above the law”.

A stupid remark that, inapplicable to Julian Assange. It would apply to people in power who evade answering for their crimes, such as Hillary Clinton.

Moreno [President Lenin Moreno of Ecuador] said in a video posted on Twitter that Ecuador was no longer willing to give Assange protection. Other Ecuadorian officials in Quito accused supporters of WikiLeaks and two Russian hackers of trying to destabilize the country. …

Assange has been under U.S. Justice Department scrutiny for years for WikiLeaks’ role in publishing government secrets. He was an important figure in special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe as investigators examined how WikiLeaks obtained emails that were stolen from Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign and Democratic groups.

WikiLeaks quickly drew attention to U.S. interest in Assange and said that Ecuador had illegally terminated Assange’s political asylum “in violation of international law”.

“Powerful actors, including CIA, are engaged in a sophisticated effort to de-humanise, de-legitimize and imprison him,” the group said in a tweet over a photo of Assange’s smiling face. …

Assange’s arrest came a day after WikiLeaks accused Ecuador’s government of an “extensive spying operation” against him. It alleges that meetings with lawyers and a doctor in the embassy over the past year were secretly filmed. …

Former Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa called [President] Moreno’s decision “cowardly”, accusing him of retaliating against Assange for WikiLeaks spreading allegations about an offshore bank account purportedly linked to Moreno’s family and friends.

Allegations were made that the publication by Wikileaks of the stolen information endangered American agents in foreign countries. Of course that would tell against Assange. But he has denied it, and it has not been confirmed.

Assange was at one time accused of acting for Russia, which he also denied.

We agree with Mark Steyn’s opinion of the matter.

At issue is not the honesty or the virtue or the motives of Julian Assange.

The issue is liberty. 

We would like to know our readers’ opinions. 

For Freedom 3

Victor Davis Hanson explains why he supports the presidency of Donald Trump:

Posted under Capitalism, liberty, United States, US Constitution, Videos by Jillian Becker on Monday, March 18, 2019

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Myths of our time 17

This is a list of beliefs – in no particular order – that are very widely and commonly held, but are untrue:  

Sweden is a happy country. Fact: It is a Muslim-infested misery-state, the rape capital of Europe.   

The BBC is a trustworthy, truthful, unbiased source of news. Fact: It is dishonest, it routinely distorts or suppresses news it doesn’t like, is snobbish, deeply and persistently anti-Semitic, and heavily biased to the Left. 

The Jews seized the state of Palestine, sent most of the Palestinians into exile, and oppress those who remained. Fact: There never was, in all history, an independent state of Palestine. The territory is the historic homeland of the Jews. When Arab armies tried to destroy the modern Jewish state, many Arabs fled, intending to return when their side was victorious, but their side was defeated. Israeli authorities tried to persuade Arab residents not to leave. Those who remained are the freest Arabs in the Middle East, with all citizens’ rights. 

Nazism was a right-wing ideology. Fact: Nazism was National Socialism and as distinctly derived from the tradition of the Left as its rival International Socialism.

Che Guevara was a hero. Fact: Che Guevara was a torturer and mass murderer, and a coward.  

The Mahatma Gandhi was a good man who liberated India from the British Raj. Fact: Gandhi was a cruel man who had little if any influence on the British decision to withdraw from India.

Senator Joe McCarthy was an evil witch-hunter of Communists. Fact: McCarthy did his duty in tracking down potential Communist fifth-columnists, propagandists, and traitors during the Cold War.

President Roosevelt was a liberal who saved America from economic disaster. Fact: President Roosevelt was a Communist sympathizer. His policies prolonged the Depression.

President Obama’s period in office was scandal-free. Fact: President Obamas’ period in office was exceptionally full of scandals, some of them the worst examples of corruption and plain treason in US history. 

Islam is a religion of peace. And its name means “peace”. Fact: Islam is a religion of war and conquest. Its name means “submission”.

Carbon dioxide is a poison. Fact: Carbon dioxide is the food of green plants.

Human beings are changing the climate of the planet for the worse. Fact: The climate of the earth is always changing as vast cosmic forces act upon it. Human beings can make very little difference, if any, to the heating and cooling of the planet.

A baby in the womb is not a living human being. Fact: A fetus with a heartbeat is alive, a living human being.

Government exists to care for and provide for the people. Fact: government robs the people, threatens the people, frightens the people. Whatever government does, it does badly. Government must be kept within bounds to properly perform its only essential duty, the defense of liberty, by enforcing the law and preventing invasion.

President Trump is a racist. Fact: He is not and has never been a racist. He has worked all his adult life with people of many races, never discriminating against any of them on racial grounds.

President Trump is an anti-Semite. Fact: He is the most pro-Jewish pro-Israel US president ever.

President Trump oppresses women. Fact: he honors women, promotes them, behaves towards them as heterosexual gentlemen in our culture customarily do (or did).

President Trump is a liar. Fact: He tells the truth. Like every human being, he can be inaccurate with dates, numbers, recollections, but on all important matters he is consistently truthful.    

The Democratic Party protects minorities. Fact: The Democratic Party is the party of slavery, segregation, secession, and the Jim Crow laws. By keeping millions of blacks on welfare, Democrats have kept them from independence, advancement, and prosperity.

Democrats act in the interests of the working class. Fact: Democrats despise the working class.

The US media report the news. Fact: The US media, in the huge majority, are lackeys of the Left.

American universities encourage free thinking, free and open exchange of opinion, the exploration of ideas. Fact: Most American universities are centers of Leftist indoctrination, dogmatic and intolerant.

Western civilization is grounded in “Judeo-Christian” values. Fact: Western civilization as we inherit it derives its values from, and owes its success to, the Enlightenment, which was an intellectual revolution against the oppressive authority of the Christian churches.

The “white patriarchy” has been bad for non-whites and women. Fact: Almost everything we have that sustains our lives and makes them endurable; almost everything we know;  every comfort, every convenience, every freedom that makes it possible for us to pursue happiness, physically, socially, politically, was given to us and the world by white middle-class men. 

That’s just a starter list.

We invite readers to add to it.

The torch of Donald Trump 1

The Yellow Jacket protestors are out again in France (and Britain) this weekend (January12 and 13, 2019).

President Trump tweeted on December 8 last year. :

The Paris Agreement isn’t working out so well for Paris. Protests and riots all over France. People do not want to pay large sums of money, much to third world countries (that are questionably run), in order to maybe protect the environment. Chanting “We Want Trump!” Love France.

The Trump-hating American media – which is to say most of them – dispute reports of French protestors chanting “We want Trump!” But they cannot know that none did. What is known is that at least some want what can be called “Trumpist” changes to French government policies.

James Delingpole writes at Breitbart:

France’s Gilets Jaunes protestors have jumped on the Trump train with a manifesto that could almost have been written by the Donald himself. The good news is that it contains an awful lot of sense – including demands for lower taxes, reduced migration and Frexit (French exit) from the European Union.

The bad news is that it hasn’t a prayer of coming to fruition because its demands are unrealistic, contradictory and will certainly be stymied by the sclerotic, anti-democratic, rampantly statist French political system – and also by the French people themselves.

We select from a list of the demands – as summarized in English by Delingpole in his article – some that we applaud. (See the yellow-vest picture below to read them all in French.)

Frexit: Leave the EU to regain our economic, monetary and political sovereignty (In other words, respect the 2005 referendum result, when France voted against the EU Constitution Treaty, which was then renamed the Lisbon Treaty and the French people were ignored.)

Constitutional amendments to protect the people’s interests, including binding referenda

Remove all ideology from the ministry of education, ending all destructive education techniques 

Break up media monopolies and end their interference in politics. Make media accessible to citizens and guarantee a plurality of opinions. End editorial propaganda

Guarantee citizens’ liberty by including in the constitution a complete prohibition on state interference in their decisions concerning education, health and family matters

Prevent migratory flows that cannot be accommodated or integrated, given the profound civilizational crisis we are experiencing

We would like to think that the entire Gilets Jaunes protest movement, now spread to other parts of Europe, and to Britain, will achieve the destruction of the EU and stop Muslim immigration. For the present, we must be satisfied that demands for both are incorporated among the protestor’s demands.

To the extent that it is a patriotic nationalist movement, it may be said to have lit its flame from Donald Trump’s torch.

Posted under Environmentalism, Europe, France, immigration, liberty, nationalism, News, Populism, Revolt, Tax, United States by Jillian Becker on Sunday, January 13, 2019

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The anti-American dream 4

Pat Condell reminds us, the heirs to the Enlightenment, what so many among us have forgotten: that all liberty depends on freedom of speech, and all progress depends on liberty. That is why, he says, “the 45 words of the First Amendment to the US Constitution are among the most important ever written in the English language”.

Generations are growing up – even in America itself – not knowing this. They are taught to hate and despise free speech by “teachers who think they know best because they don’t know any better”. Watching such deluded people protest against freedom of speech is like watching people digging their own grave.

Posted under liberty, US Constitution, Videos by Jillian Becker on Wednesday, January 2, 2019

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