Updates on the Silencing and Isolation of Julian Assange

While I’m no particular fan of rape-jokey Slavoj Žižek, this is well-written and well-argued; his take is fascinating and quite reasonable.  I dunno if Assange and WikiLeaks would agree that they’re a ‘spying organization’, but nonetheless…allow me to borrow a good swath of it.

Assange works for the people – now we need to save him,  Slavoj Žižek via RT April 20, 2018

“Julian Assange has been silenced again, and the timing is most suspicious. With the Cambridge Analytica story dominating the news, it seems some powerful people have reasons to keep the brave WikiLeaks boss quiet right now.

Ecuador is a small country, and one can only imagine the brutal behind-the-scenes pressure exerted on it by Western powers to increase the isolation of Julian Assange from the public space. Now, his internet access has been cut off and many of his visitors are refused access, thus rendering a slow social death to a person who’s spent almost six years confined to an apartment at the Ecuadorian embassy in London.

This happened before, for a short period around the time of the US elections, but back then it was a reaction to WikiLeaks publishing documents which could have affected the outcome of the Trump/Clinton race, while there is no such excuse now. Because, currently, Assange’s “meddling” in international relations consists only of publishing on the web his opinions about the Catalonia crisis and the Skripal poisoning scandal. So why such brutal action now, and why did it cause so little uproar in the public opinion?  

Manipulating Motives

They say Assange is paranoid? How could anyone who lives permanently in a flat which is bugged from above and below, a victim of constant surveillance organized by secret services, not be? As for him being a megalomaniac? When the (now ex-) head of the CIA says your arrest is his priority, does this not imply that you are a “big” threat to some, at least? And the trope where Assange behaves like the head of a spy organization? But WikiLeaks IS a spy organization, although one that serves the people, keeping them informed on what goes on behind the scenes.

Yet, they say Assange is a refugee from justice, hiding in the Ecuadorian embassy to escape judgment. But what kind of justice is this which threatens to have him arrested when the case has already been dropped?

So let’s move to the big question: why now? I think one name explains it all: Cambridge Analytica – a name which stands for all Assange is about, for what he fights against; the disclosure of the link between the great private corporations and government agencies.

Remember what a big topic and obsession the Russian meddling in the US elections was – now we know it was not Russian hackers (with Assange) who nudged the people towards Trump, but instead the West’s own data-processing agencies which joined forces with political forces. This doesn’t mean that Russia and its allies are innocent: they probably did try to influence the outcome in the same way that the US does in other countries (only in this case, it is labeled “democracy promotion“). But it means the big bad wolf who distorts our democracy is not in the Kremlin, but walking around the West itself – and this is what Assange was claiming all along.

Covert Rule

But where, exactly, is this big bad wolf? To grasp the whole scope of this control and manipulation, one should move beyond the link between private corporations and political parties (as is the case with Cambridge Analytica), to the interpenetration of data processing companies like Google or Facebook and state security agencies.

We shouldn’t be shocked at China but at ourselves who accept the same regulation while believing that we retain our full freedom and that media just helps us to realize our goals (while in China people are fully aware that they are regulated). The overall image emerging from it, combined with what we also know about the link between the latest developments in biogenetics (wiring the human brain, etc.), provides an adequate and terrifying image of new forms of social control which make the good old 20th century “totalitarianism” seem a rather primitive and clumsy machine of domination.

The biggest achievement of the new cognitive-military complex is that direct and obvious oppression is no longer necessary: individuals are much better controlled and “nudged” in the desired direction when they continue to experience themselves as free and autonomous agents of their own lives. And this is another key lesson of WikiLeaks: our lack of freedom is most dangerous when it is experienced as the very manifestation of our freedom. Because what can be more free than the incessant flow of communications which allows every individual to popularize their opinions and forms virtual communities at the user’s own volition? This is why it is absolutely imperative to keep the digital network out of the control of private capital and state power, i.e., to render it totally accessible to public debate. Assange was right in his strangely ignored key book on Google (When Google Met WikiLeaks, 2014) in his understanding of how our lives are regulated today, and how this regulation is experienced as our freedom. Meaning, we have to focus on the shadowy relation between private corporations which control our commons and secret state agencies.”

As I’d remembered it, Assange had Tweeted that he either was going to testify, or hoped to testify…about Cambridge Analytical.  I scoured his Twitter account, but couldn’t find the Tweet.  Admittedly, at the time, I hadn’t much of a clue as to what the ‘organization’ was or did, so I hadn’t zeroed in on his message.  But I did grab these related ones:

One of the WikiLeaks-related teams had also reTweeted this, which Inspector Clouseau might have considered ‘a Clue’:

On the other hand, also via RT: ‘John Pilger warns of war with Russia as West wages ‘propaganda’ battle (VIDEO)’, April 3
“Campaigning journalist John Pilger has warned that the current propaganda war being waged by the West against Russia and China could escalate into a “real” war if it continues.

The Australian journalist and filmmaker issued the warning during an interview with RT on WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange having his internet access cut off by the Ecuadorian embassy, where he resides. The WikiLeaks editor has been unable to access the internet or receive visitors since criticizing Germany’s arrest of Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont.

“This is about a war on freedom of speech. This man is being denied the most basic right – freedom of speech,” Pilger told RT. “It’s part of a wider war against known enemies, Russia is one of them and China is another, but at the moment [it’s] on the propaganda stage,” he added.”

But shucks, let’s stir in emptywheel’s April 1 ‘‘Did Ecuador Gag Julian Assange for Interference in Spain AND the US? [and far more interestingly prohibiting visitors, she notes]

“And while the gag closely followed Assange’s tweet, it also followed the detention and questioning of Trump advisor Ted Malloch when he arrived in Logan airport Tuesday. Among the questions the FBI asked Malloch, they asked about his contacts with Roger Stone and Wikileaks.

“The questions got more detailed about my involvement in the Trump campaign (which was informal and unpaid); whom I communicated with; whom I knew and how well — they had a long list of names,” Malloch said. “They seemed to then focus more attention on Roger Stone (whom I have met a grand total of three times and with groups of people); Jerome Corsi, a journalist who edited a memoir I had written some years ago; and about WikiLeaks, which I knew nothing.”

He said was asked specifically if he had visited the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, where WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been holed up for nearly six years. He had not, he said.

The FBI let Malloch go, but not before seizing his phone and subpoenaing him to appear before Mueller’s grand jury on April 13.

That’s why I’m so interested that Ecuador has prohibited Assange visitors. The one time, in the past, they cut off his Internet access seemed to be a response to his release of emails designed to influence US politics, not Spanish politics. And his well-known use of mules to carry data to him would necessitate cutting off human visitors as well if Ecuador wanted to prevent his participation in foreign affairs.

In any case, if Mueller’s team ever provides solid evidence of more malign Assange involvement in the election, this is the kind of response I’d expect Ecuador to take.”

[as in: Ecuador knuckled to pressure from Mueller?  srsly?]

In the end, quite a number of the 101 comments were from those who questioned her imaginings, and brutal retorts from her burly gatekeeper bmaz.  But boy, do EW and bmaz loathe Assange, not particularly WikiLeaks.  In general, their commentariat is very proud of their big D ‘Democratic’ brand.

This questioning may be the reason that WikiLeaks had Tweeted this yesterday:

‘Roger Stone: WikiLeaks, Julian Assange and Me; The Anatomy of a Fake News Avalanche’, artvoice.com, April 3, 2018

May I say that I’m agnostic in ignorance as to Stone’s claims, and I haven’t a clue if there’s any real evidence that they’d met, but this list of #FakeNews publications I’ve seen in action:

“The fake news media is in overdrive. The constant torrent of disinformation and manipulative ‘reporting’ from fake news outlets like the Daily Beast, Salon, Slate, and Talking Points Memo is as predictable as it is hysterical.” Later he points readers to more ‘DMs leaked to the Atlantic’, and Stone reminds readers that Assange’s wifi had been cut off during that time.  I won’t bring Craig Murray’s knowledge into the discussion as I don’t recall any of the timelines of the leaks.

You can donate to WikiLeaks here through the Wau Holland Foundation.  Here is the ‘End Julian Assange’s isolation’ petition to Lenin Moreno that now has over 42,000 signatures.  This is the ‘shop WikiLeaks’ page, including ‘1984 was not an instruction manual’ merchandise.

For Julian: please remember Karine Polwart’s hymn to the Occupy movement: ‘The wee wren as the King of Birds’!  Perhaps the Australian fairy wren?

18 responses to “Updates on the Silencing and Isolation of Julian Assange

  1. i’ll add a few new things in this comment, go do some chores, open and edit it w/ more a bit later. first, i went back door shopping and found asange’s tweet on agreeing to testify on cambridge analytica and found the tweet via RT.

    travellerxxx over yonder provided this exposé by liam o’hare at bellacalenia.org on their parent company ‘SCL: a very british coup‘. ooof and whooosh. spook, tories, MPs, and makers of war implements.

    another link i’d failed to move to this word doc, nor had i read, included bill van auken at wsws:

    “The silencing of Assange came just one day after the Ecuadorian government welcomed a delegation from the US Southern Command, the Pentagon’s arm in Latin America and the Caribbean, headed by Southcom’s deputy military commander, Gen. Joseph DiSalvo, and its chief political officer, Ambassador Liliana Ayalde. Southcom issued a statement declaring that the discussions were held to strengthen “security cooperation” and “exchange ideas and reiterate US commitment to the longstanding partnership.”

    Was the timing a coincidence? Or did the Pentagon’s representatives deliver a blunt directive to their Ecuadorian counterparts to silence Julian Assange? The obvious question that follows is what other demands have been made. Do they include handing over Assange to Washington?

    Since his election last May, Moreno—Correa’s hand-picked successor—has carried out a sharp turn to the right, implementing tax cuts for big business, cuts in social spending and an attempt to reduce Ecuador’s dependence on loans and investment from China in favor of closer relations with US imperialism, which is seeking to reassert its hegemony in the region and counter Beijing’s growing influence.”

    from the cambridge analytica hashtag, a two-fer:

    @Corbynator2 4h4 hours ago “Sources close to Sergei Skripal say he was investigating ‘Cambridge Analytica’ before his poisoning.”

    have you notices that at many ‘alternative news’ website stuff like “these (X) intellectuals have penned an open letter to lenin moreno’? who cares what intellectuals do or say, anyway? pamela anderson and bria eno???

  2. Thank you, wendye. These punitive measures sound horrible indeed, and extremely unfair. But it does sound a little like slamming the barn door after the horse has bolted. And perhaps, given the sad state of tbe internet today, being forced to stay off it might be a blessing in disguise. A chance to contemplate other more restful observations for a change.

    I guess the US is running out of small countries to intimidate. On your behalf I took a peek at counterpunch – a long article there, misleadingly titled “Ecuadorean Villagers May Still Triumph…” by Joe Emeroberger chronicles in detail the long court battles to and fro concerning Texaco’s pollution of the Amazon forest. The bulk of the article is extremely deptessing, with only a sentence or two at the end about final judgments moved to Canada, and advocates for the villagers from First Nations and Greenpeace speaking out (as one would hope they would.)

    In light of what your article says about pressure on the Ecuadorean government in the Assange situation, that support may be small comfort, but perhaps this mouse will ultimately roar. Well done, Assange, in any case. Many, including yours truly, have braved far less.

    • ah, ww (witless’, woman, lol): you do always see the bright side of things, glass more than half-full. for assange, most especially, i see it as two-thirds empty, as he’s still the publisher of all the leaks the organization is still holding, for one, and for two, the wonder is out there is given the trending alliance ecuador is developing with the US and cousins, if one day the embassy will be stormed, he’ll be extradited to amerika, and end up in gitmo or worse, if there is such a thing as ‘worse’. execute him for treason, i guess, could arguably said to be worse, but…who can say?

      now i did grab a link about his dead man’s switch, but of course have mislaid it, and it was to be his insurance policy of sorts. when activated, everything would be published and up for grabs for journalists to dig into.

      dunno what he can do inside the embassy, even in the commons room he used to enjoy a bit. but he’s definitely sick enough that 3 doctors in the uk had examined him and rung alarm bells by way of the guardian. and that was a year ago, iirc.

      thanks for reading the piece at CP; sounds like a good one to skip. ;-) hope you’re doing well and gettin’ a bit of rain. so, so dry here; my stars. gonna get moved into your laptop any time soon? sure do wish i could do it for you.

  3. signing off for the night, exhausted.

    tonight’s lullaby for us, for julian assange:

    ‘Kneeling down with broken prayers,
    Hearts and bones from days of youth,
    Restless with an angel’s wing,
    I dig a grave to bury you.
    No feet to fall,
    You need no ground,
    Allowed to glide right through the sun,
    Released from circles guarded tight,
    Now we all are chosen ones.

    Secure yourself to heaven.
    Hold on tight, the night has come
    Fasten up your earthly burdens,
    You have just begun…’

    • “lost his internet connection”; what a quaint way of putting it. as to the pink correa, dunno if bill van auken knows this for sure, but he’d also said:

      ““Correa had himself ordered the severing of Assange’s Internet connection in 2016 under US government pressure over WikiLeaks’ publication of leaked emails from the Democratic National Committee, and two years earlier he had transferred more than half of Ecuador’s gold reserves to Goldman Sachs to secure the confidence of capitalist financial markets.”

      and he’s got a show now on RT, yesterday an interview w/ cristina kirchner asking “how did we let neoliberalism win?” seems, yanno, just a tad on the self-serving side…
      https://www.rt.com/news/423321-correa-kirchner-interview-neoliberalism/

      but it sure makes sense to me that he was unplugged both because he was due to testify about cambridge analytica, and makin’ friends with the pentagon (thus nato) via southern command. gawd’s blood.

      but dagnabbit, ‘a little less assange’ pinged lou bega for me; guess i seriously need to laugh.

      oh, and did you take a look at the ‘radical feminist misandry’ diary below this un? i know you’ve followed this stuff a bit more than i have, so i’d thought you might have had an opinion…

  4. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Two_witnesses
    since the book of Rev is the only thing that makes any sense any more ;)

    Force vs The Word. language for the Erik Prince’s of the world exists for only one thing: to manipulate others. where words don’t work, where paper bullets of the brain fail, there’s always the new Academi, with lots of real bullets to the back of the head to bring us back to Big Brother’s loving breast.
    the statement “S Hussein had no bio/chem/nuke weapons in 2003” (like Assad today) is completely meaningless b/c the words only exist as a means to another end.

    well, not quite meaningless. like phone sex charges against Assange & others, the words have a rhetorical/emotional force, mainly to arouse fear, resentment, desire for revenge, etc. Again, manipulation, to overwhelm rationality & thought & to dissuade people from believing that words have some representational relationship to “reality.” Yes, thoroughly pomo anti-Enlightenment BS as the wsws crowd regularly and, imo, rightly point out.

    gotta boogie. Zorba’s coming by for a dancing lesson. “you have everything – except madness.”

    • “phony sex charges.” thank god phone sex is not yet a crime. provide you prove consent. with your credit card.

  5. On the Silencing of Julian Assange

    Consortium News, By Dennis J Bernstein and Randy Credico, April 9

    Legendary filmmaker and journalist John Pilger and Christine Assange, mother of Julian Assange, spoke to Dennis J. Bernstein and Randy Credico on April 5, about the latest attempt to silence the Wikileaks founder.

    After nearly six years in exile holed up inside the Ecuadorian Embassy in the heart of London, Wikileaks founder and publishing visionary Julian Assange has suffered another body blow; Assange, who has been absolved of all accusations, has now been rendered incommunicado inside the tiny embassy in the Knightsbridge section of London.

    This latest attack on Assange, this shut down of crucial communication devices, obviously challenges Wikileaks publishing activities and undermines the crucial work of this incredibly important global news and publishing service.

    Meanwhile, the US and UK governments continue their drumbeat demonization of Assange, who has become part of their Russiagate frenzy towards a new Cold War and maybe World War III. Indeed, the US and UK continue to threaten him. In the US, some senators and the current CIA director [Mike Pompeo], about to become Secretary of State, want to see Assange tried for treason and put to a public death. They threaten to arrest Assange in violation of two UN rulings and their own laws, as soon as he walks out of the embassy.

    Change.org said in a statement they released, as a part of a petition in support of Assange, “It is with great concern that we learned that Julian Assange has lost access to the internet and the right to receive visitors at the Ecuadorian London Embassy. Only extraordinary pressure from the US and the Spanish governments can explain why Ecuador’s authorities should have taken such appalling steps in isolating Julian. We demand that Julian Assange’s isolation ends NOW!”

    • thank you, jacob. i sent the page to myself, but my guess is that this may be a sticky wicket: “If your hosting environment does not support the function used by the plugin….”

      most, if not all, of the plugin are for stand-alone wordpress sites hosted elsewhere. but i will try as i can find the time. i’d checked out the next cost upgrade to this ‘premium’ or such, but it didn’t have much more than extra storage capacity. and this one costs us over $250/yr, which we can ill afford.

  6. Is it me, or does the world get more evil, scary and depressing each day?

    Hopefully this comment will go through. I’m back to being de facto banned again.

    • wait: some of your comments hadn’t come thru? always email me if it’s so.
      fuck glen greenwald and the ass he rode in on.

      wooot! on your follow up; you go, amigo! dunno david icke, but didn’t i see a site with that name recently? O, for a memory!

      this syria thing depressed me mightily, and i’d thunk i was rather inured to the darkness, darkness, even after bringing the idf ‘mowing the grass’ again in gaza this last week. is your GF okay then too, and you’d worried for naught?

  7. Hey, it worked! Between this, the new attack on Syria, Greenwald’s treachery…omg, I’m overwhelmed.

    I had my follow up appt this week. Everything looks good and i gained 10 lbs.! I had lost so much weight and let my hair grow, so for awhile I looked like David Icke in reptilian Auschwitz.

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