Biden Continues Trump’s War On The Press

Biden’s divergence from the Obama administration’s less authoritarian position on the matter should not come as much of a surprise, since he took an absurdly hard line against WikiLeaks after the first publications of the earth-shattering Manning leaks in 2010.

“I would argue it is closer to being a hi-tech terrorist than the Pentagon papers,” Biden said of Assange at the time. “But, look, this guy has done things that have damaged and put in jeopardy the lives and occupations of people in other parts of the world.”

It should also come as no surprise because, all things considered, this administration has not been much different from the previous one in terms of actual policy. The policy of regime change interventionism in Venezuela is the same. The policy of hawkishness toward China is the same. The policy of starvation sanctions against Iran is effectively the same. In a recent CNN interview Secretary of State Tony Blinken could not speak highly enough of Trump’s more incendiary foreign policy decisions like moving the US embassy to Jerusalem and recognizing the illegally occupied Golan Heights as Israeli territory.

There are far, far more similarities between the Trump administration and the Biden administration than there are differences. As is consistently the case with US presidents, the narratives are different, the campaign platforms are different, the political parties are different, but the actual policies and behaviors remain more or less the same.

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“Free Assange” Demands Grow as Biden DOJ Says It Will Continue to Seek Extradition

Just a day after a coalition of press freedom groups urged President Joe Biden to drop his predecessor’s effort to prosecute Julian Assange, a spokesperson for the Department of Justice said Tuesday that the new administration intends to challenge a British judge’s rejection last month of the U.S. attempt to extradite the WikiLeaks publisher.

“We continue to seek his extradition,” Marc Raimondi, a spokesperson for the DOJ’s National Security Division, told Reuters just days before the Friday deadline to appeal Judge Vanessa Baraitser’s ruling, which denied the U.S. extradition request on the grounds that America’s brutal prison system would pose a threat to Assange’s life.

Charged by the Trump Justice Department in 2019 with 17 counts of violating the Espionage Act for publishing classified documents that exposed U.S. war crimes overseas, Assange would likely face up to 175 years in a maximum-security prison if the extradition effort is successful.

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Debunking All The Assange Smears

Have you ever noticed how whenever someone inconveniences the dominant western power structure, the entire political/media class rapidly becomes very, very interested in letting us know how evil and disgusting that person is? It’s true of the leader of every nation which refuses to allow itself to be absorbed into the blob of the US-centralized power alliance, it’s true of anti-establishment political candidates, and it’s true of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

Corrupt and unaccountable power uses its political and media influence to smear Assange because, as far as the interests of corrupt and unaccountable power are concerned, killing his reputation is as good as killing him. If everyone can be paced into viewing him with hatred and revulsion, they’ll be far less likely to take WikiLeaks publications seriously, and they’ll be far more likely to consent to Assange’s imprisonment, thereby establishing a precedent for the future prosecution of leak-publishing journalists around the world. Someone can be speaking 100 percent truth to you, but if you’re suspicious of him you won’t believe anything he’s saying. If they can manufacture that suspicion with total or near-total credence, then as far as our rulers are concerned it’s as good as putting a bullet in his head.

Those of us who value truth and light need to fight this smear campaign in order to keep our fellow man from signing off on a major leap in the direction of Orwellian dystopia, and a big part of that means being able to argue against those smears and disinformation wherever they appear. Unfortunately I haven’t been able to find any kind of centralized source of information which comprehensively debunks all the smears in a thorough and engaging way, so with the help of hundreds of tips from my readers and social media followers I’m going to attempt to make one here. What follows is my attempt at creating a tool kit people can use to fight against Assange smears wherever they encounter them, by refuting the disinformation with truth and solid argumentation.

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UK judge denies US request to extradite Julian Assange

A British judge has rejected a US request to extradite WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to America, ruling that such a move would be “oppressive” by reason of his mental health.The 49-year-old Australian has been charged in the US under the Espionage Act for his role in publishing classified military and diplomatic cables.”I have decided that extradition would be oppressive and I order his discharge,” judge Vanessa Baraitser said in her ruling Monday.Despite ruling that Assange would be afforded a “fair trial” in the event of extradition to the United States, the judge considered that the “special administrative measures” Assange would most likely be held in would have a severe, negative impact on his mental health.Baraitser said Assange had “remained either severely or moderately clinically depressed,” throughout his stay at London’s Belmarsh prison and that he was now considered a suicide risk.She also said that the increased isolation he would face in detention in the US would further increase that risk, adding that Assange had the intellect to circumvent anti-suicidal measures that would be put in place.In her full ruling, published online, Baraitser wrote: “I accept that oppression as a bar to extradition requires a high threshold … However, I am satisfied that, in these harsh conditions, Mr. Assange’s mental health would deteriorate causing him to commit suicide with the ‘single minded determination’ of his autism spectrum disorder.””I find that the mental condition of Mr. Assange is such that it would be oppressive to extradite him to the United States of America,” she added.

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Zhang Zhan: China jails citizen journalist for Wuhan reports

In a video interview with an independent filmmaker before her arrest, Ms Zhang said she decided to travel to Wuhan in February after reading an online post by a resident about life in the city during the outbreak.

Once there, she began documenting what she saw on the streets and hospitals in livestreams and essays, despite threats by authorities, and her reports were widely shared on social media.

The rights group Network of Chinese Human Rights Defenders said her reports also covered the detention of other independent journalists and the harassment of families of victims who were seeking accountability.

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She Noticed $200 Million Missing, Then She Was Fired

Earlier this year, the governing board of one of California’s most powerful regulatory agencies unleashed troubling accusations against its top employee.

Commissioners with the California Public Utilities Commission, or CPUC, accused Executive Director Alice Stebbins of violating state personnel rules by hiring former colleagues without proper qualifications. They said the agency chief misled the public by asserting that as much as $200 million was missing from accounts intended to fund programs for the state’s blind, deaf and poor. At a hearing in August, Commission President Marybel Batjer said that Stebbins had discredited the CPUC.

“You took a series of actions over the course of several years that calls into question your integrity,” Batjer told Stebbins, who joined the agency in 2018. Those actions, she said, “cause us to have to consider whether you can continue to serve as the leader of this agency.”

The five commissioners voted unanimously to terminate Stebbins, who had worked as an auditor and budget analyst for different state agencies for more than 30 years.

But an investigation by the Bay City News Foundation and ProPublica has found that Stebbins was right about the missing money.

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PENTAGON TRAINING EQUATES WHISTLEBLOWER CHELSEA MANNING WITH TERRORISTS

IN THE DECADE since her historic transfer of secret military and diplomatic materials to WikiLeaks, Chelsea Manning has consistently and across party lines been condemned as a traitor. Less common, and absent entirely from the government’s efforts to imprison her, are allegations that her leak was an act of terrorism. But anti-terrorism training materials obtained by The Intercept show that the Pentagon is teaching defense workers exactly that.

Both civilian contractors and enlisted personnel are commonly required to complete JS-US007, a Pentagon course designed to “increase your awareness of terrorism and to improve your ability to apply personal protective measures,” according to Joint Knowledge Online, a Department of Defense education portal. JS-US007 covers a variety of grimly serious topics, from detecting roadside bombs to surviving active shooter scenarios and skyjackings. The training also covers so-called insider threat attacks, acts of terroristic violence in which members of a group strike the group itself, like the 2009 Fort Hood, Texas, shooting in which Army Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan shot and killed 13 individuals on the base, wounding 30 more. The Department of Homeland Security defines insider threat terrorism as “an unlawful use of force and violence by employees or others closely associated with organizations, against those organizations to promote a political or social objective.” Other definitions may differ on technicalities, but like other acts of terrorism, the unifying theme is the violence of the acts.

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