Julian Assange, 2018: Year 6 in Ecuador's Embassy, London

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Re: Julian Assange, 2018: Year 6 in Ecuador's Embassy, Londo

Postby Elvis » Sun Nov 04, 2018 10:08 pm

conniption wrote:You callin' me a "Chump," Elvis?


Oops sorry, Conniption! <credits conniption's account>
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Re: Julian Assange, 2018: Year 6 in Ecuador's Embassy, Londo

Postby liminalOyster » Fri Nov 16, 2018 12:49 pm

Oh, ACLU you are *adorable* ...

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Re: Julian Assange, 2018: Year 6 in Ecuador's Embassy, Londo

Postby JackRiddler » Fri Nov 16, 2018 6:03 pm

They are, actually.

My favorite of all liberal organizations. Maybe the only one that's actually, sincerely, and courageously liberal. (That old Skokie thing notwithstanding.) Probably a necessity in stopping the original Red Scare. Did you know? I donated in my youth (would and should again if I had the money) and was a card-carrying member!
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Re: Julian Assange, 2018: Year 6 in Ecuador's Embassy, Londo

Postby liminalOyster » Fri Nov 16, 2018 6:36 pm

Deep ditto on the ACLU who are by far my favorite.

The snark was ill conceived I guess but meant to evoke the voice of those estabdems who would see them as naive.
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Re: Julian Assange, 2018: Year 6 in Ecuador's Embassy, Londo

Postby JackRiddler » Fri Nov 16, 2018 7:07 pm

.

Comments by me on a Platform That Shall Not Be Named.

The American government is preparing to nullify the First Amendment, de facto. Soon we must bear the spectacle of Democratic-Republican bipartisans celebrating the extradition of Assange, enemy of the state because he revealed too much truth. We shall see if the newspapers that co-published the documents received by Wikileaks will also approve this latest human rights violation. It will be their own funeral as a free press, that is if they care any more. If a conviction follows, de facto will become de jure. The American Civil Liberties Union -- founded to protect dissidents during the original WWI-era Red Scare -- understands the stakes.


Wizner could have added that U.S. journalists also routinely violate domestic secrecy laws, in collusion with all the anonymous high-ranking White House and cabinet officials who routinely leak classified material (generally: hysterical bullshit) to justify aggressive foreign policy stances against Iran, North Korea, Venezuela, etc.


It is also possible that the DoJ will avoid the appearance of "prosecution... for publishing operations," although my own intuition tells me not to expect this. They want a head on a pike, planted in front of the New York Times building. They want a precedent for going after everyone. If they could reverse the 1735 Zenger case, they would.


But it is possible that they will go with some conspiracy concoction related to how this or that leak was acquired. Another reason I don't expect this is that it would subject official stories about the DNC leak or Vault 7 to scrutiny in open court. In fact, they're clearly willing to risk a lot in trying Assange, he will have high-powered help. But maybe now I am naive?! I mean, I *think* that they're going to choose open court, and not a military tribunal at Guantanamo?


An article by the often unbearable #Russiagater Marcy Wheeler (sorry, have to include that caveat) seems sound on the legal thinking behind four possible scenarios for charging Assange. #2, besides making advocacy journalism with leaks illegal, would amount to tempting Clinton into court, either literally or in public as the victimized party, and she just might have the hubris to fall for it. #3 you will not see, as it would also be applicable to Trump, even if he argues it was just a joke or reckless comment.

(QUOTED MATTER)

There are, roughly, four theories DOJ might use to charge Assange:

1. Receiving and publishing stolen information is illegal

2. Conspiring to release stolen information for maximal damage is illegal

3. Soliciting the theft of protected information is illegal

4. Using stolen weapons to extort the US government is illegal

https://www.emptywheel.net/2018/11/16/t ... n-leopold/

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Re: Julian Assange, 2018: Year 6 in Ecuador's Embassy, Londo

Postby Elvis » Fri Nov 16, 2018 7:51 pm

Two entities know for sure who gave the DNC emails to Wikileaks: the entity who gave the emails to Wikileaks, and Wikileaks. Wikileaks insist they did not get the emails from Russians. The concerted—but always short-handed—efforts to prove otherwise suggests a big need to cover up the real story.
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Re: Julian Assange, 2018: Year 6 in Ecuador's Embassy, Londo

Postby JackRiddler » Fri Nov 16, 2018 8:09 pm

Elvis » Fri Nov 16, 2018 6:51 pm wrote:Two entities know for sure who gave the DNC emails to Wikileaks: the entity who gave the emails to Wikileaks, and Wikileaks. Wikileaks insist they did not get the emails from Russians. The concerted—but always short-handed—efforts to prove otherwise suggests a big need to cover up the real story.


Wikileaks does not necessarily know, and they advertise anonymity. Remember, they didn't fuck up on Manning, Manning did (with the late Adrian Lamo). If this came from an intermediary, or via some blind-drop arrangement, they wouldn't necessarily know. What they'd do is check authenticity and then roll.

If we go with the VIPS version, they more or less do know.

In any case, the "public" evidence is still 1. the Crowdstrike report, 2. the DHS report titled "Grizzly Steppe," and 3. the January 2017 "Intelligence Community Assessment," the one that was so laughable you'd think it was meant to make you take the first two seriously. So short-handed, yes.

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Re: Julian Assange, 2018: Year 6 in Ecuador's Embassy, Londo

Postby Elvis » Fri Nov 16, 2018 8:52 pm

JackRiddler wrote:Wikileaks does not necessarily know, and they advertise anonymity. Remember, they didn't fuck up on Manning, Manning did (with the late Adrian Lamo). If this came from an intermediary, or via some blind-drop arrangement, they wouldn't necessarily know. What they'd do is check authenticity and then roll.


Yet Assange, in stating that it wasn't Russians, was confident enough to break his rule of neither confirming nor denying sources. If Assange was a witting "tool of Russian intelligence" (a silly idea) he might say that. It seems obvious to me he was saying, You need to look elsewhere.
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Re: Julian Assange, 2018: Year 6 in Ecuador's Embassy, Londo

Postby JackRiddler » Fri Nov 16, 2018 9:51 pm

.

I've heard the same interview, if it's on DN! with Allan Nairn. He says... wait a second, I'll find it... wow, it's a pretty epic exchange, from the start, but here's Nairn and Assange. Note the bolded parts for what I mean. He says they didn't get it from any state. But he refuses to go further regarding intermediaries, saying that this starts to give clues (plays 20 questions).

(Adding: My answer to the headline question is a qualified yes. Trump is a product or predictable symptom of America that is uniquely dangerous to the superpower "America" as built, and also unusually dangerous, as far as administrations go, to the world. Also, he's a big push toward ideological fascism, this is uniquely dangerous. The counterfactual comparison to Clinton, if she had won, is moot, but I do lean to Nairn's rendering, which I've italicized.)

Anyway, the point is in the bold: intermediary possible. Also possible they don't know. Also possible, altogether red herring because there was an independent leaker, as VIPS has it (implicitly Seth Rich).

https://www.democracynow.org/2017/4/10/ ... _nairn_did

Julian Assange vs. Allan Nairn: Is Donald Trump a Unique Danger to America?

APRIL 10, 2017

ALLAN NAIRN: Well, I have a—first, I have a brief question for Julian Assange. Mr. Assange, you said that you did not get the leaks directly from a state. You said you know you did not get the leaks directly from a state. Do you know that Russia didn’t give you the leaks through an intermediary?

JULIAN ASSANGE: I’m not going to be playing 20 questions on our sources. I’m sure you understand, Allan, as a source protection organization, we’re not going to be inscribing circles around who our sources are, how we communicate with them, any properties that might be used to arrest them or criticize them in some future process.

ALLAN NAIRN: So it is possible that, as Comey said, Russia gave you the leaks through an intermediary?

JULIAN ASSANGE: I’m simply not going to comment on it.


ALLAN NAIRN: OK. Well, my view of this is that during the campaign, WikiLeaks often suggested that Trump would be less dangerous than Clinton.

JULIAN ASSANGE: No, we didn’t.

ALLAN NAIRN: I think you did.

JULIAN ASSANGE: No, we didn’t.

ALLAN NAIRN: I think that concept is wildly, gruesomely mistaken. There was the argument—well, it’s just—

JULIAN ASSANGE: Well, that’s fine—it’s fine for you to say that, but you should understand that, no, we didn’t. In fact, I was asked that question directly on Democracy Now! at the time about what my position was, asked which one I preferred. And my response is, being asked this question is being asked: Do I prefer cholera, or do I prefer gonorrhea?

[Probably this is not an intentional choice of diseases, but if it is, in 2016, one of these would be preferable.]

ALLAN NAIRN: OK. Well, let’s say—let’s say, if you frame it that way, the idea that the two—

JULIAN ASSANGE: All right? I mean, one can go into historical revisionism.

ALLAN NAIRN: I would like—I would—

JULIAN ASSANGE: And Clinton historical revisionism is occurring. And you understand why it is occurring. Because the Democratic Party had—I think it’s—I think it’s lost now, but the Democratic Party had a moment for very important internal reform after its epic loss to Donald Trump. The two—a very disliked candidate as far as the polling is concerned. So, the Democratic Party had an epic loss. Who was responsible for that epic loss?

ALLAN NAIRN: The Democrats.

JULIAN ASSANGE: Well, the Democratic Party was, and its various structures, its institutions, etc.

ALLAN NAIRN: The Democrats were responsible for that epic loss, no question.

JULIAN ASSANGE: Now, who was not—who was not responsible for that epic loss—

ALLAN NAIRN: But if—if—if I may—

JULIAN ASSANGE: —was those people telling the public the truth. Those people are not responsible. People take the truth, and they absorb it, and they think about it, and they do what they want with it. And the reality is, the American people so disliked what was being offered to them by the Democratic Party that they decided that they preferred to blow it all up rather than have Hillary Clinton. They decided they would throw the Trump grenade.

ALLAN NAIRN: I agree with that. However, I would note that the Trump campaign thought that WikiLeaks was on their side.

Now, the idea, that Mr. Assange just suggested, that Trump and Clinton were equally dangerous, two different deadly diseases, I think is wildly and gruesomely mistaken. Clinton represented a criminal establishment. But Trump and the people he brought in with him make it worse, make it even more criminal. This idea that it was just a choice between the lesser of two evils, well, in politics, in life, you fight like hell to have good choices, to have better choices—in this case, Sanders was a better alternative—but once that is no longer possible, then of course you choose the lesser evil. What do you want, more evil? More killing? More pollution? More abuse of immigrants? More racism? More impunity for corporations? More aid to death squads? More spending for the military? All of that is what you get with Trump, in distinction to the bad—the other bad things you would have gotten with Clinton. And the win of Clinton was not—or, I’m sorry, the victory of Trump was not equally as bad as it would have been if Clinton had lost. It’s a catastrophe. It’s an utter catastrophe. And those who are poorest, those who are already most oppressed and most vulnerable, are the ones who are suffering most as a result.

And we ain’t seen nothing yet. They’re just getting started. Now with Gorsuch coming on the Supreme Court and with the possibility that the legislative filibuster in the Senate will be abolished, as well as the Supreme Court filibuster, if that happens, that will give Trump and the radical Republican right, who now control the Congress, essentially absolute power. The only thing standing in their way will be some federal judges, which means that within the system there will be no blocking power. There will be nothing to stop them. In that case, the only way to stop them will be from outside the federal system, which means in the streets or from the systems of the states and localities. We’re in the midst of a right-wing revolution. I agree that a lot of this discussion about Russia and leaks is misguided, a lot of it, and it’s diverting attention from two main facts. One, we’re in the midst of a right-wing revolution that must be stopped and reversed. Two, the Democratic establishment discredited themselves, and they have to be removed and replaced by the Democratic base.


JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Julian, your response? I’d like to also, if you can, talk about—you’ve mentioned, at numerous times, the existence of the deep state, and what the relationship with the deep state is to your perspective about what’s going on right now in the United states?

JULIAN ASSANGE: Well, look, up until very recently—and I guess we still have to see how it goes—I’ve been delighted by the conflict that has been occurring between the incoming administration and between the security services, etc. Why is that? Because it has shed light on both. It is resulting in the courts throwing nooses around the power of the presidency and tying him down. And, I mean, that’s something that I predicted would happen, and it is happening very rapidly.

The problem for party politics in the United States is that the Democrats have been in collapse for almost eight years, at the council level, at the state level and at the national level. So, the election of Donald Trump, while he’s an unusual person psychologically, and Hillary Clinton was a particularly bad candidate, is actually part of something that’s much bigger. And it’s very interesting to think what that is, because any solution in terms of party politics has to understand why it is that the Democratic machinery has seemingly been in inexorable collapse over the last eight years. And you can perhaps say it’s to do with gross economic factors, perhaps the professionalization of the Democratic class, where you have a revolving door of contractors and so on. So you can see this in our DNC leaks, that you have educated, professionalized Democrats, who have lifted off the working-class base and who are then involved in a revolving-door system, becoming lobbyists, going back into the DNC, etc. If you read the emails we’ve published about John Podesta, you can see this is not just simply something that happens. This is an expectation within that community. And anyone who doesn’t engage in that expectation, anyone who doesn’t go into private industry and get a $400,000-a-year consulting contract as a local or foreign agent, is viewed to be as a fool. And so, you can only keep up that game for so long, and it starts to turn people off, and you start to lose the base. And that’s what happened in this particular run. But the—I caution—

AMY GOODMAN: Let me get—let me get Allan Nairn—

JULIAN ASSANGE: I caution Allan—

AMY GOODMAN: Let me get Allan’s comment.

JULIAN ASSANGE: I caution Allan strongly. I have a lot of respect for his work, but I caution him strongly to not to get swept up into what is an attempt by the Democratic Party in this particular case, but by the two parties, to polarize the population into party politics. There’s lots of interesting things that can come out of this Trump administration. We’re seeing great horrors, of course. But we are seeing these horrors. We are seeing the—

ALLAN NAIRN: Not so interesting to the people who are being killed and deported.

JULIAN ASSANGE: We’re seeing the—we’re seeing the conflict with the security services, the deep state. Now, I’ve been writing—well, I’ve been writing about the deep state for a decade, using that word. Now, Turkish academics have been writing about the equivalent in Turkey. Some Hungarian investigative journalists, the same within Hungary. And finally, this word is now something in U.S. politics. It’s not a new concept. It’s, you know, essentially the military-industrial complex plus lobbyists, plus contractors, plus people in the Senate Intelligence Committee, etc., etc. So—

AMY GOODMAN: We just—we just have—

JULIAN ASSANGE: —we all understand what that is, and—yes.

AMY GOODMAN: We just have 30 seconds, Allan, and I wanted to give you—get you a final comment.

ALLAN NAIRN: The conflict between Trump and the intelligence and the deep state is a spat, not a struggle. Trump has insulted them. He has disrespected them. So they’re unhappy with that. More importantly, Trump wants them to change their tactics to become more crude and even more violent. Once they work together on a couple of new wars, they’ll get along just fine.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, we’re going to leave it there. I want to thank you for joining us, Allan Nairn. And, Julian, in our last 10 seconds, you’re coming up on five years in the embassy. How are you doing in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London?

JULIAN ASSANGE: Well, last year I won an epic victory against the U.K. government and the Swedish government at the U.N., formal ruling. It’s repeated in November. Those governments still have to obey the U.N. I’m being illegally detained, and I should be freed and compensated. That’s according to the U.N.

AMY GOODMAN: Julian Assange, founder and editor-in-chief of WikiLeaks. I’m Amy Goodman, with Juan González. Happy birthday to David Prude.


Poor David Prude. I heard he broke up with Sarah Libertine.

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Re: Julian Assange, 2018: Year 6 in Ecuador's Embassy, Londo

Postby Belligerent Savant » Sat Nov 17, 2018 2:03 am

.

Agree with the literal and implied sentiment behind each of Assange's replies in the above interview.



ALLAN NAIRN: ... I would note that the Trump campaign thought that WikiLeaks was on their side.

What do you want, more evil? More killing? More pollution? More abuse of immigrants? More racism? More impunity for corporations? More aid to death squads? More spending for the military? All of that is what you get with Trump, in distinction to the bad—the other bad things you would have gotten with Clinton. And the win of Clinton was not—or, I’m sorry, the victory of Trump was not equally as bad as it would have been if Clinton had lost. It’s a catastrophe. It’s an utter catastrophe. And those who are poorest, those who are already most oppressed and most vulnerable, are the ones who are suffering most as a result.


Horseshit. There'd be arguably MORE killing under Clinton. "Polution, abuse of immigrants": happened before Trump, will continue after Trump. "More impunity for corporations"? Is he fucking kidding, or asking to be back-handed? As if Clinton would offer a reprieve in this category, especially. Similar retorts for all the rest of his apologist twaddle.

The difference, in sum, largely comes down to aesthetics/theatrical distinctions.



JULIAN ASSANGE: Well, look, up until very recently—and I guess we still have to see how it goes—I’ve been delighted by the conflict that has been occurring between the incoming administration and between the security services, etc. Why is that? Because it has shed light on both.

Quite right, Assange.

JULIAN ASSANGE: Now who was not—who was not responsible for that epic loss——was those people telling the public the truth. Those people are not responsible. People take the truth, and they absorb it, and they think about it, and they do what they want with it. And the reality is, the American people so disliked what was being offered to them by the Democratic Party that they decided that they preferred to blow it all up rather than have Hillary Clinton. They decided they would throw the Trump grenade.

Spot-on.
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Re: Julian Assange, 2018: Year 6 in Ecuador's Embassy, Londo

Postby JackRiddler » Sat Nov 17, 2018 5:48 am

Note that Nairn agrees with the last.

They are both wrong. The "American people" did not decide that. A minority voted GOP as they would have. The larger plurality who hoped to avert this fate was not as large as it needed to be, because the Dead Hand of 1787 let the losing side win. A fraction of those who chose this option did so as a "Trump grenade" against the establishment. They were patsies engaging in willful self-immolation, they have gained nothing from this and are of course worse off. Sorry. Their numbers have been exaggerated (professionally) by various establishment analyses, for various reasons that should be obvious. Far larger numbers did stuck with GOP as the long-trained GOP clientele of angry white people. The largest single group within that is the Christianists. The most loyal demographic to the GOP by far, exceeding the levels even under Bush, which brings us into bizarro territory given the openly demented dickwaving television porn-monger they have chosen as their billionaire Jesus. I'd say the largest single group of the Trump vote I am most familiar with, in New York City (400,000 votes) are the white ethnic racists of my own experience. I mean, let's get this much straight!

There'd be arguably MORE killing under Clinton.


Possible, unknowable. I expect she would have been impeached though probably not convicted by now, weakening warmaking capacity or encouraging an adventure ploy. You can be certain the charges would have been crazy fabrications ripped straight from the FOXNEWS wire, not accurate condenmnations based on prior imperialist policy shared with the GOP. One way in which this could have gone would have been an even more rabid fascist movement preparing to come to power. We will never know.

"Polution, abuse of immigrants": happened before Trump, will continue after Trump.


Significant escalation on both matters, the immigrant policy now accompanied by adoption of exterminationist racist rhetoric that encourages exterminationist results. The guy just said the army should fire on bedraggled refugees if a rock is thrown! You think this is just optics. It's not.

Systematic uprooting of the inadequate environmental regulatory regime and thus acceleration of the global extinction event is a very big deal, the biggest of all.

"More impunity for corporations"?


If he said, open takeover of the cabinet level by the most cannibalistic minded supremacist mobster-minded billionaires, each having dedicated their careers to the destruction of that part of the state to which they have been assigned, it would be true and not the case under a non-GOP administration.

But counterfactuals are indeed moot. I disagree vigorously. Open fascism ascendant is always the worst option. I posted the full exchange because it's interesting.

Here I hope we stick to what we agree on, and the vital topic. Assange case an attack on human rights & free press; without distinction between Trump's and Clinton's versions of the unaccountable spook state. On the other hand, it is unpredictable in a way that damages and exposes both elements. I wish him luck in winning, assuming it will be an open court jury trial.

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Re: Julian Assange, 2018: Year 6 in Ecuador's Embassy, Londo

Postby Belligerent Savant » Sat Nov 17, 2018 1:07 pm

.
To keep it (relatively) brief:

JR: Here I hope we stick to what we agree on, and the vital topic. Assange case an attack on human rights & free press; without distinction between Trump's and Clinton's versions of the unaccountable spook state. On the other hand, it is unpredictable in a way that damages and exposes both elements. I wish him luck in winning, assuming it will be an open court jury trial.


Absolutely. Agreed.



JR: They are both wrong. The "American people" did not decide that. A minority voted GOP as they would have. The larger plurality who hoped to avert this fate was not as large as it needed to be, because the Dead Hand of 1787 let the losing side win. A fraction of those who chose this option did so as a "Trump grenade" against the establishment. They were patsies engaging in willful self-immolation, they have gained nothing from this and are of course worse off. Sorry. Their numbers have been exaggerated (professionally) by various establishment analyses, for various reasons that should be obvious. Far larger numbers did stuck with GOP as the long-trained GOP clientele of angry white people. The largest single group within that is the Christianists. The most loyal demographic to the GOP by far, exceeding the levels even under Bush, which brings us into bizarro territory given the openly demented dickwaving television porn-monger they have chosen as their billionaire Jesus. I'd say the largest single group of the Trump vote I am most familiar with, in New York City (400,000 votes) are the white ethnic racists of my own experience. I mean, let's get this much straight!



Yes, they are both wrong, but also both right -- partially, in certain respects. Race was a factor, sure. Angry white-men, sure. Self-immolation: certainly. But the outcome of 2016 goes beyond the standard/establishment GOP vs. DNC narratives. There is, and have been, a large swath of citizens that feel disenfranchised by the system, that feel the system has failed them (and they're right). They have zero faith in the 2-party system. They viewed Trump, however wrongly, as an "alternative". Until the DNC fully absorbs and adapts to this dynamic, they will be destined for failure again in 2020.

(Stating what is already obvious to many here: The average voter/non-voter in the U.S. is increasingly ill-informed, increasingly mis-informed, and increasingly disconnected from the details of American Politics. As such, they are highly susceptible to being misled; they are highly susceptible, therefore, to Kayfabe [a term trademarked, within RI at least, by JRiddler]).

JR:
There'd be arguably MORE killing under Clinton.


Possible, unknowable. I expect she would have been impeached though probably not convicted by now, weakening warmaking capacity or encouraging an adventure ploy. You can be certain the charges would have been crazy fabrications ripped straight from the FOXNEWS wire, not accurate condenmnations based on prior imperialist policy shared with the GOP. One way in which this could have gone would have been an even more rabid fascist movement preparing to come to power. We will never know.


Yes -- unknowable, indeed. A bit of satirical rhetoric on my part, as I object to this notion that the overt mandates of a given establishment candidate/President is a primary driving factor in overseas activity. It's an insult, a sleight of hand trick. Killings in the name of the U.S. are driven principally by polices/agendas in place IRRESPECTIVE of sitting President.

(I'd imagine the average tally of 'killings' over the last 30+ yrs will be distributed across both parties without too much variance. Haven't see any stats on this, however)

JR:
"More impunity for corporations"?


If he said, open takeover of the cabinet level by the most cannibalistic minded supremacist mobster-minded billionaires, each having dedicated their careers to the destruction of that part of the state to which they have been assigned, it would be true and not the case under a non-GOP administration.


True, but again, much of this is a matter of aesthetic preference. Clinton has close ties to Bankster Criminals, both overtly and covertly. Some would have held advisor/cabinet positions (Former Goldman douchebags are pervasive in the White House, and that goes back many years).

Trump cavorts with mobster scumbags. Clinton (and others) cavort with Bankster scumbags. Both 'groups' perform many of the same acts, illicitly or otherwise. Again, much of this comes down to what Trump showcases overtly vs. the more 'subtle'/covert approach of the rest of the scumbag politicians operating in the upper reaches of the "System".

One may prefer an establishment President with ties to Bankster scumbags in white-collared suits vs mobster scumbags in pinstriped suits/track pants/leather jackets.
(One may also surmise that, more often than not, both parties will have ties to mob and bankster criminal elements -- among others.)

Calls to mind that bit from The Godfather:

Michael: My father is no different than any powerful man, any man with power, like a president or senator.

Kay Adams: Do you know how naive you sound, Michael? Presidents and senators don't have men killed.

Michael: Oh. Who's being naive, Kay?


Don't disagree, at all, with the sentiment Re: various escalations in policies/initiatives under Trump, much to the detriment of the public. But how much of this is truly due to TRUMP, rather than a planned objective in place over time (perhaps escalated a bit, intentionally, by the presence of this bogeyman)? It's more complex than this, surely, but I doubt any of what we're seeing now -- this rise in Fascism -- is due to Trump alone. He may have simply provided a means -- a vehicle -- to expedite , rather than delay with incremental upticks, what was planned for some time.


(I may strike much of the above derailment later --- the current predicament of Assange's prison-like conditions should be the focus here)
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Re: Julian Assange, 2018: Year 6 in Ecuador's Embassy, Londo

Postby liminalOyster » Sat Nov 17, 2018 5:43 pm

Not sure even the author knows what he means when he says "The Left".

Week 78: Will the Left Get Its Revenge on Assange?
A mysterious court filing hints the Wikileaks maestro, blamed by many for Hillary’s defeat, has already been secretly charged. But for what?

By JACK SHAFER November 17, 2018

Having conditioned the press corps to think that he loves nothing better than to spend his Fridays filing criminal indictments, special counsel Robert S. Mueller III had Washington reporters fidgeting all week long in the expectation that Roger Stone or Jerome Corsi or someone else connected to the scandal would get slapped in the kisser with criminal charges. Late on Thursday, news of a criminal indictment did bring joy to the press, but it wasn't what they expected at all. News dribbled out that—thanks to a clip-and-paste flub into a court filing by federal prosecutors—international man of mystery and WikiLeaks chief Julian Assange stands secretly charged with something or other.

That something or other could be, take your pick, his role in 2010 in disseminating via WikiLeaks the diplomatic cables and other materials stolen by Chelsea Manning or for posting to his site the purloined Democratic Party emails in 2016. Or maybe both. Or who knows? The indictment was sealed in deference to the “needs of law enforcement,” the passage states, and “due to the sophistication of the defendant and the publicity of the case.” The news galvanized First Amendment Twitter. Flush with its temporary restraining order victory in the Jim Acosta affair, it rose to defend Assange even before anybody—outside the Department of Justice, that is—knew what crimes he’d been charged with.

During his decade in the spotlight, Assange has hit the cardinal as well as the ordinal points on the public’s compass. He’s been lionized by the left as a truth-teller and savaged by the right as a traitor to the West. He’s cozied up to the Russians (his deputy helped ensconce whistleblower Edward Snowden safely in Moscow) but become a TV buddy of Fox News Channel talker Sean Hannity. Depending on his most recent performance, he’s denounced as a sociopath or celebrated as a savior. Who in the 21st century has forced so much sputtering indignation and flip-flopping? The prospect that he might soon appear in a U.S. courtroom and defend his deed is both chilling and thrilling to the journalists who have covered and sometimes abetted him.

The Assange indictment doesn’t appear to be the product of Mueller’s investigation, but interest in Assange occupies a place of primacy in the Mueller investigation timeline. WikiLeaks posted the trove of emails allegedly stolen from Democrats during the campaign by previously indicted Russian intelligence officers, although Assange has consistently—and not very convincingly—denied that the Russians were the source of the emails. The nature of the connections among the Trump campaign team, WikiLeaks, and the Russian officers has been one of the mainstays of the Mueller probe. Stone, an unreliable witness if ever there was one, was an early Trump supporter who has both bragged about his intimate relationship with WikiLeaks and Assange and denied having an intimate relationship with the operation. He's also claimed intimate foreknowledge of the WikiLeaks dump of the emails and denied that he knew anything that wasn't public domain. Donald Trump Jr., the easy mark of the Trump campaign, has also dallied with WikiLeaks. President Donald Trump, of course, has been effusive in his praise for WikiLeaks, speaking of his “love” for the organization and its email dumps repeatedly during the presidential campaign.

Using a criminal indictment to muscle Assange into telling all he knows about the provenance of the stolen emails and what part—if any—Trump and his campaign played in spreading them would track with standard federal prosecutor conduct. Assange, who appears to be on the verge of eviction (with his cat) from his safe space in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London, has long feared extradition to the United States on Espionage Act charges. Although the feds don't appear to have an open-and-shut case against him in the Manning or email affairs—he can cite legitimate First Amendment protections for much of his work—prosecutors might have secret dirt on him that would stick in court. Perhaps the indictment is part of a plea-deal scheme to extract from Assange everything he knows about the Russians in return for a light sentence for his “crimes.” Or maybe I’m wrong and this theory is just more Washington columnist fidgeting.

The press corps wasn’t alone in its high anxiety this week. The president, who has reportedly spent the week completing the homework questions Mueller sent over to the White House, reached new heights of ferocity in his Twitter account, calling the “inner workings of the Mueller probe” a “total mess” and a “disgrace.” Who might have told him about the inner workings? Could it be our faux attorney general, Matthew Whitaker? If true, CNN reported, “that would raise concerns that Trump was possibly trying to interfere with the probe.” He wouldn't do that, would he?

He would if he could. Meanwhile, former Roger Stone aide Andrew Miller is attempting to do what Trump dreams about. Miller is challenging a grand jury subpoena to testify by invoking the legal theory that Mueller's appointment to the position of special prosecutor was unconstitutional to begin with. (His argument boils down to this: Mueller has too much unaccountable power.) This dispute could stretch for months, further elongating the Mueller investigation until it's resolved. And my Politico colleagues reported this week that Mueller and Paul Manafort had pushed back to Nov. 26 the filing of a status report that precedes Manafort's sentencing. It’s safe to speculate that Manafort is still sharing information with Mueller. Rick Gates, who also plead guilty to Mueller charges, is likewise in sentencing limbo as he continues to talk.

Everybody seems to be talking, even Trump himself, who said he has answered the special counsel’s questions but hasn’t turned them in yet. The latest cooperator is accused and jailed Russian agent Mariia Butina, who although not a target of the Mueller probe, appears to have roamed similar turf. In July, she was charged with having conspired against the United States as an agent directed by a high-level member of the Russian government. Now, Butina is working on a plea agreement with prosecutors according to court filings (previously she asked the court to dismiss the charges as “unconstitutional”). According to the Washington Post, Butina tried to cultivate “back-channel” relationships with the Republican Party’s 2016 presidential candidates and bridge build with the National Rifle Association in a way that would give Russian official access and influence over the party.

“Silence is a weapon,” former FBI agent Ali Soufan told GQ, referencing the stealthy, no-nonsense tactics of his one-time boss, Mueller. Mueller’s disciplined silence has made intuiting his intentions impossible, so it doesn’t pay to speculate too long on whether he’s got Assange in his sights. But let’s say he did. Isn’t this the way he’d land the big fish that nobody else has been able to hook?

https://www.politico.com/magazine/story ... ler-222608
"It's not rocket surgery." - Elvis
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Re: Julian Assange, 2018: Year 6 in Ecuador's Embassy, Londo

Postby JackRiddler » Sat Nov 17, 2018 6:00 pm

.

Ugh, I could not get very far into that mess of conflicting disinformation tropes. One of those where every sentence transports multiple false premises. The corrections would be five times longer than the text. Why are you subjecting us to this, did we need to be educated on how there's a great deal of dumb uninformed crap out there? This one's so confused it's almost Trumpian. Or worse, Tom Friedman.

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Re: Julian Assange, 2018: Year 6 in Ecuador's Embassy, Londo

Postby liminalOyster » Sat Nov 17, 2018 6:14 pm

JackRiddler » Sat Nov 17, 2018 6:00 pm wrote:.

Ugh, I could not get very far into that mess of conflicting disinformation tropes. One of those where every sentence transports multiple false premises. The corrections would be five times longer than the text. Why are you subjecting us to this, did we need to be educated on how there's a great deal of dumb uninformed crap out there? This one's so confused it's almost Trumpian. Or worse, Tom Friedman.

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Why? Honestly just because this one's glaring contradictory use of the term "The Left" seemed unusually emblematic for its hackneyed attempt to use that category as a unifier of those who "lionize" Assange and those who seek "revenge." That is, of course, everywhere, but it's not always as glaring as here.
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