By Cynthia Chung
It is interesting that in light of the recent release of the Durham report, there has been little evident commotion coming from the activists who wish to “Free Assange” and I think that speaks volumes about a bigger problem than even the illegal imprisonment of Julian Assange. This problem is tied to the inability to address a system that has entirely broken down and is no longer in the service of protecting the security of the American people, let alone the western world more broadly.
In fact, it is rather a bizarre phenomenon that there has been a complete disconnect between the witch-hunt against Julian Assange which is clearly connected to the 2016 US election outcome and the witch-hunt against Donald Trump who was that outcome.
Hillary Clinton ran with this narrative repeatedly during the actual 2016 presidential campaign, calling Julian Assange an agent of the Kremlin who was working to get Trump elected, while ignoring the fact that the embarrassing revelations leaked from her private emails and DNC hard drives were the product of a DNC insider (likely the murdered Seth Rich), and not a foreign hack as both Hillary and the FBI claimed.
Hillary remarked in one presidential debate (refer to 1 min 41s in video) on Wikileaks, that “our intelligence community just came out and said in the last few days that the Kremlin, meaning Putin and the Russian government, are directing the attacks, the hacking on American accounts to influence our election and WikiLeaks is part of that. As our other sites where the Russians hack information, we don’t even know if it’s accurate information, and then they put it out.”
Clinton goes on to say in this presidential debate that Trump should release his tax returns insinuating that he has received payment from the Russian government.
In another presidential debate (see 0:48 in video clip) Clinton remarked to the moderator “You are very clearly quoting from WikiLeaks and what is really important about WikiLeaks is that the Russian government has engaged in espionage against Americans. They have hacked American websites, American accounts, of private people, of institutions, then they have given that information to WikiLeaks for the purpose of putting it on the internet. This has come from the highest levels of the Russian government, clearly from Putin himself, in an effort, as 17 of our intelligence agencies have confirmed, to influence our election. So I actually think that the most important question of this evening Chris, is finally will Donald Trump admit and condemn that the Russians are doing this and make it clear that he will not have the help of Putin in this election, that he rejects Russian espionage against Americans, which he actually encouraged in the past. Those are the questions we need answered.”
Just to be clear, none of this to this day has ever been substantiated including by the Mueller report which had to acknowledge that they had no evidence, despite going through Trump’s tax returns, that the Trump presidential campaign had any funding or that it colluded with the Russian government.
Despite this lack of any evidence, the FBI refused to exonerate him and have instead blatantly continued an investigation for the same allegations after over six years of finding nothing (Mar-a-Lago is the most recent dubious FBI raid on Trump in August 2022 which is continuing to justify itself under the Espionage Act despite absolutely no basis).
The Mueller report also failed to provide evidence that WikiLeaks had any direct connection or funding from the Russian government, though this was another goal of their investigation. The Mueller report stated that the Special Counsel’s office considered charging WikiLeaks or Assange “as conspirators in the computer-intrusion conspiracy and that there were “factual uncertainties” about the role that Assange may have played in the hacks or their distribution that were “the subject of ongoing investigations” by the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Thus, the over $25 million dollar Mueller investigation also failed to implicate WikiLeaks in the Russia Gate conspiracy and yet also refused to exonerate Julian Assange.
The Mueller report also failed to provide evidence that the Russian government, or as Hillary made the point repeatedly, Putin, shaped the outcome of the 2016 US elections. Yet, this continues to be alleged.
Thus, we have three entities being accused of election interference: Trump, Assange, and the Russian government (Putin more specifically) and none of these have been substantiated (Mueller’s report on fake Russian social media accounts and fake hashtags does not cut it, for the details of the Mueller report refer here.).
Despite what you may feel towards each individual, the fact that Assange and Putin have continuously been accused of election interference, and now more recently the Chinese government, should make one pause and ask the question if Assange is innocent, and Trump is innocent, and after over six years of investigation there has not been any evidence that the Russian government (nor the more recent accusations against the Chinese government) are responsible for the outcome of the US elections or threats to US national security, then what are we left with?
We are left with the very agencies and individuals that have been launching these accusations as the real source of election interference and threats to national security.
Why were the constant FBI investigations into Trump during his presidential campaign and actual presidency not considered an unlawful interference with the 2016 US elections and presidency? Why are the never-ending court cases against Trump, the newest announced to take place just three weeks after Super Tuesday, one of the most important days on the Republican presidential primary calendar leading up to the 2024 elections not considered unlawful interference with the 2024 US elections?
It is thus an internal problem, not a foreign infiltration problem.
The reason for the ongoing witch-hunt against Assange is not really about his exposing of war crimes and genocide more generally, but because he dared to do the job that a true free press is supposed to do during election time and inform the public of who they are voting for. He also made the faux-pas of exposing the injustice of American foreign policy specifically concerning the merit of the War on Terror. Thus, it is not just about journalistic freedom and free speech, but more specifically the right of the people to be informed when making important decisions during election time as well as on any introduction of national or foreign policy that could change the structure of the society citizens live in. This is the issue – anything that threatens structural reform.
Assange has clearly been a destabilizing force to the structural integrity of the Five Eyes apparatus by simply exposing it for what it was, as did NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.
Yes, Assange did influence the outcome of the 2016 US elections LEGALLY by informing Americans about the skeletons in Hillary’s closet (or more accurately described as catacomb). This would never have come to light without Assange since Hillary had actually destroyed or removed federal records while under investigation on numerous occasions and was receiving a certain degree of state protection as well which is seen by the mere fact that she was never held accountable for destroying these files, which is a federal crime, even though it is acknowledged that she was in fact guilty of this.
The reason why WikiLeaks had leaked so much damning material on Hillary and not on Trump is very simple, and has nothing to do with Assange working for Trump or Russia or any other bias. It was because Trump did not have anything criminal to expose to the American public to begin with.
Even the FBI, after over six years of investigation and over $30 million spent have nothing to show for it, so I think we can trust at this point that Assange truly did not have any damning material that he withheld about Trump. Whereas with Hillary, all you need to do is literally scratch the surface a little.
Hillary has been implicated in numerous scandals throughout the 1990s including the Whitewater controversy, the White House travel office controversy, the White House FBI files controversy, the cattle futures controversy, the Clinton Foundation-State Department controversy in the 2000s and of course the notorious 2016 email controversy that was on the level of the Watergate Scandal. All of these scandals except for the email controversy happened well before the 2016 US elections.
The truth is, Hillary’s dubious reputation as well as that of the Clinton Foundation was already riddled with holes, but it was still assumed she could easily become president because they were banking on the American people having the memory of a hamster.
Thus, in the scary mind of Hillary, it did not matter that she was implicated in all of these earlier controversies, and was caught destroying her own and state records during her several investigations by the FBI, all that mattered was the 2016 email controversy which was treated as something that unjustly ruined her otherwise pristine reputation.
This line of thinking is reminiscent of another scary mind, that of Chrystia Freeland, who also blamed “ze Russians” (when in Rome do as the Romans do) and actually blamed the non-existent “KGB” for spreading an authentic picture of herself holding a UPA flag (a Ukrainian Nazi flag from WWII) with the words “Glory to Ukraine” that Freeland HERSELF POSTED ON HER OWN TWITTER FEED.
Freeland has also blamed “ze Russians” for her own participation in her Uncle’s research into her grandfather’s background in Ukraine which proved that he was indeed working with the Nazis during WWII. In other words, Freeland voluntarily worked on this research with her Uncle and then blamed “ze Russians” when the research was published by her Uncle, which was his intention the entire time. According to Freeland’s logic, she is the source behind both attacks on her reputation, however, it is the fault of “ze Russians” for spreading this information. Dizzying I know.
Back to Hillary.
Perhaps the most criminal of all of Hillary’s controversies is her implication into the dubious Benghazi attack that led to the murder of U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens on September 11th, 2012.
It was acknowledged officially in a House Select Committee report that the Benghazi attack should never have happened and was stated at a press conference by a Committee member that “politics were put ahead of the lives of Americans” and that Hillary Clinton’s actions on Benghazi were “morally reprehensible.” In a separate report released specifically by Democrats on the House Committee, they also cited “woefully inadequate” security in Benghazi.
And yes, Hillary Clinton was acting as Secretary of State at the time and was directly in charge of security for the US embassy in Libya and the security of its diplomatic missions.
Hillary never apologized for the mishandling of the Benghazi situation and has defended her conduct leading up to the Benghazi attack.
On the 6th year anniversary of the Benghazi attack, Barack Obama stated at a partisan speech on Sept 10th, 2018, delivered at the University of Illinois, that the outrage over the details concerning the Benghazi attack were the result of a “wild conspiracy theory” perpetrated by conservatives and Republican members of Congress.
However, according to Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) reports, they had sent warnings to the Obama Administration that there had on multiple occasions been a risk of terrorist attack on the US embassy and its missions in Libya. Thus, there was no reason whatsoever for the security to be “woefully inadequate”. The outcome was predictable.
There was also evidence to support that the Obama Administration had been working with ISIS and al-Qaeda (as well as other radical Islamists) in the surrounding region after Gaddafi’s death, including arm shipments.
The DIA reports, which were received by the Judicial Watch through the Freedom of Information Act in May 2015 showed how the Obama Administration had repeatedly dismissed the findings of the DIA reports.
Very interestingly, Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn was the Director of Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) at the time, from July 2012 to August 2014 and was backing the validity of the DIA reports findings.
Let the implications of this into Russia Gate sink in a little.
In a July 2015 interview with Al-Jazeera, Flynn went so far as to state that the rise of ISIS was the result of a “willful decision,” not an intelligence failure, by the Obama Administration.
In the Al-Jazeera interview Flynn was asked:
Q: You are basically saying that even in government at the time you knew these groups were around, you saw this analysis, and you were arguing against it, but who wasn’t listening?
FLYNN: I think the Administration.
Q: So the Administration turned a blind eye to your analysis?
FLYNN: I don’t know that they turned a blind eye, I think it was a decision. I think it was a willful decision.
Q: A willful decision to support an insurgency that had Salafists, al-Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood?
FLYNN: It was a willful decision to do what they’re doing.
Flynn was essentially stating (in the 47 minute interview) that the Obama Administration was fully aware that weapons trafficking from Benghazi to the Syrian rebels was occurring.
In fact, the secret flow of arms from Libya to the Syrian opposition, via Turkey was CIA sponsored and had been underway shortly after Gaddafi’s death in October 2011. The operation was largely run out of a covert CIA annex in Benghazi, with State Department acquiescence.
This takes on an extra sinister tone in light of the “suicided” Department of Homeland Security (DHS) whistleblower Philip Haney who had worked for the DHS for 15 years and had testified to Congress that Obama was not taking the threat of terrorism seriously.
Recall that the felony charge laid against Flynn during the Mueller investigation was that he lied about a phone call with the Russian Ambassador to the United States a few weeks before he would officially become the National Security Advisor of the Trump Administration. Flynn was not guilty of any sort of collusion or back-door dealing, but simply that he made a phone call to the Russian Ambassador a few weeks before he “officially” became National Security Advisor. Flynn denied the phone call in an informal discussion with the FBI. This is the excuse for why Flynn was never allowed to become National Security Advisor.
I hope the picture is becoming much more clear as to why Flynn was among the first to be axed by the FBI. He was never even permitted to walk into his office. The reason for this was clear, Flynn had been very outspoken about his criticisms of how the Obama Administration was handling the Libyan situation and was handling the Syrian situation. Trump had also made it clear numerous times that he did not want to continue the Syrian war nor any other war that would send American troops to their death because the entire War on Terror was not justified.
The FBI would also find itself in a similar position to the Obama Administration, when it was leaked that the FBI in fact had been aware of an impending attack on the World Trade towers months in advance.
On August 17th, 2005 The New York Times published an article that discussed how “a military intelligence team repeatedly tried to contact the FBI in 2000 to warn about the existence of an American-based terrorist cell that included the ring leader of the Sept. 11 attacks” as reported by veteran Army intelligence officer Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer. (For more details refer here.)
Robert Mueller was brought in as Director of the FBI just seven days before the 9/11 event…Let the implications of this into Russia Gate sink in a little.
What were the results of 9/11?
A so-called justified Shock and Awe joy ride of regime change and murder of innocent civilians – and the Patriot Act, a direct violation of fundamental civil liberties, which has been increasingly turning against the American people.
Thus, 9/11 was used as a justification for the American government to bypass or violate international and domestic law.
The Trump Administration was the first administration to not go along with the post 9/11 world script. No other American president had even questioned the merit of the War on Terror, despite it being widely acknowledged that the Iraq War had been launched under false pretense and was an illegal war in violation of international law, in fact, so was the Libyan war. These are war crime offenses committed by both the American and British governments.
There have been many distinguished persons, including retired Senator and Colonel Richard Black, who have recognized that the War on Terror was in fact an Arc of Crisis whose targets were from the very beginning Russia and China.
Seymour Hersh provides evidence to support this view in his paper “Military to Military” published in January 2016. Hersh had also interviewed Lt. Gen. Flynn who stated that the Obama Administration was entirely deaf to DIA intelligence reports of locations of terrorist cells and did not seem serious about combating terrorism.
Flynn made the point that US influence in the Middle East was more in support of terrorist activities than it was combative, despite the war supposedly being all about a war on terrorism. Hersh writes:
“Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, director of the DIA between 2012 and 2014, confirmed that his agency had sent a constant stream of classified warnings to the civilian leadership about the dire consequences of toppling Assad. The jihadists, he said, were in control of the opposition. Turkey wasn’t doing enough to stop the smuggling of foreign fighters and weapons across the border. ‘If the American public saw the intelligence we were producing daily, at the most sensitive level, they would go ballistic,’ Flynn told me. ‘We understood Isis’s long-term strategy and its campaign plans, and we also discussed the fact that Turkey was looking the other way when it came to the growth of the Islamic State inside Syria.’ The DIA’s reporting, he [Flynn] said, ‘got enormous pushback’ from the Obama administration. ‘I felt that they did not want to hear the truth.’ [emphasis added]
In August 2013, Flynn as Director of the DIA supported Gen. Dempsey’s intervention, as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, in forcing then President Obama to cancel orders to launch a massive bombing campaign against the Syrian government and armed forces. Flynn and Dempsey both argued that the overthrow of the Assad government would lead to a radical Islamist stronghold in Syria, much like what was then happening in Libya.
Hersch goes on to report in his paper “Military to Military” that General Martin Dempsey had no choice but to bypass the Obama Administration and directly work with the militaries of Germany, Israel and Russia, who were in contact with the Syrian army, to give information about the location of the terrorist cells in Syria since the Obama Administration refused to act on this intelligence.
Let the implications of this also sink-in in reference to Russia Gate.
To Free Assange is to Free the People
WikiLeaks was launched in 2006 by founder Julian Assange and played an important role in exposing serious violations of human rights and civil liberties including crimes committed in the name of the War on Terror.
WikiLeaks released footage entitled Collateral Murder, filmed during the 12 July 2007 Baghdad airstrike in which Iraqi Reuters journalists were among several civilians killed by a U.S. helicopter crew. WikiLeaks has also published leaks such as diplomatic cables from the United States and Saudi Arabia. And has exposed surveillance by the Central Intelligence Agency, National Security Agency and private corporations [Source for this paragraph Wikipedia].
In 2012, Julian Assange was granted asylum by Ecuador who feared his human rights might be violated if he were extradited to Sweden to face allegations of rape and molestation which were made in August 2010.
In May 2017, Sweden dropped the rape investigation. At this point there does not appear to be any reason why Assange could not walk away as a free man, however, the UK government continued to push for his detainment.
A new President of Ecuador is elected on May 24, 2017, Lenin Moreno.
In July 2018, Moreno and the UK hold talks about the fate of Assange.
In December 2018, Moreno demands that Assange leave the Ecuadorean embassy.
In April 2019, UK police enter the embassy and detain Assange for “failing to surrender to the court” over a warrant issued in 2012. This warrant should no longer have been valid since it applied to Sweden’s investigation at the time that was dropped by 2017.
Clearly to accommodate this enforcing of an expired warrant, Sweden decides to reopen the sexual assault case against Assange, one month later, in May 2019.
That same month, Assange is sentenced to 50 weeks in the Belmarsh prison in London for breaching his bail conditions.
In November 2019, Sweden again drops the investigation into Assange for sexual assault, yet, Assange was to remain in prison for something that he would ultimately never even face trial for, and has remained incarcerated in the Belmarsh prison four years later.
After examining Assange on 9 May 2019, Nils Melzer, the United Nations special rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, concluded that “in addition to physical ailments, Assange showed all symptoms typical for prolonged exposure to psychological torture, including extreme stress, chronic anxiety and intense psychological trauma.” The British government said it disagreed with some of his observations.
As home secretary, Sajid Javid signs an order in June 2019 allowing Assange’s extradition to the US over hacking allegations.
On 13 September 2019, District Judge Vanessa Baraitser ruled that Assange would not be released on 22 September when his prison term ended because he was a flight risk amidst an extradition request. She said when his sentence came to an end, his status would change from a serving prisoner to a person facing extradition. It should be noted that under normal circumstances, a charged individual may be imprisoned for up to 30 DAYS AWAITING EXTRADITION if they are considered a flight risk, it has been THREE YEARS+ in the case of Assange.
On 1 November 2019, UN special rapporteur Melzer said that Assange’s health had continued to deteriorate and his life was now at risk. He said that the UK government had not acted on the issue.
On 30 December 2019, Melzer accused the UK government of torturing Assange. He said Assange’s “continued exposure to severe mental and emotional suffering… clearly amounts to psychological torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.” Meltzer wrote a Mandate of the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment concerning the case of Assange in October 2019.
On 2 May 2019, the first hearing was held in London into the U.S. request for Assange’s extradition. Towards the end of 2019, Judge Emma Arbuthnot, who had presided at several of the extradition hearings, was forced to step down and Vanessa Baraitser was appointed as the presiding judge. The same Judge Baraitser who ruled that Assange would not be released at the end of his prison term but essentially incarcerated indefinitely until the US successfully extradites him.
As the extradition hearings continued into the year 2020, in March, the International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute, IBAHRI, condemns the mistreatment of Assange in the extradition trial. In February 2020, 177 doctors publish an open letter entitled “End torture and medical neglect of Julian Assange” in The Lancet, which renewed the call for Assange to be transferred out of the UK’s Belmarsh prison.
For those who may not be aware, Daniel Ellsberg is the man who leaked the Pentagon Papers from the RAND Corporation, exposing the unlawful conduct of the United States in the Vietnam War, which was ongoing at the time and was being largely manipulated by the RAND Corporation.
In January 1973, Ellsberg was charged under the Espionage Act along with other charges of theft of RAND documents (Ellsberg was a high-ranking member of RAND at the time he leaked the papers) and conspiracy, which carried a maximum sentence of 115 years. Because of governmental misconduct and illegal evidence-gathering, and his defense by Leonard Boudin and Charles Nesson, Judge William Matthew Byrne Jr. dismissed all charges against Ellsberg in May 1973.
More recently, on May 22, 2021, The New York Times reported that Ellsberg had released classified documents revealing the Pentagon in 1958 drew up plans to launch a nuclear attack on China amid tensions over the Taiwan Strait. According to the documents, US military leaders supported a first-use nuclear strike even though they believed China’s ally, the Soviet Union, would retaliate and millions of people would perish.
Americans should recognize the weight of this and its relevance amid increased calls within the US for a war with China today, which should be an immense concern for any sane person in the world.
Ellsberg is recognized today as a national hero, yet, at the time of his leaking the Pentagon Papers he too was threatened to be thrown in prison indefinitely under the Espionage Act.
Thus, one of the fundamental justifications that has been ongoing in violating freedom of press and civil liberties has been under the Espionage Act, which also justified the Mueller investigation, Chelsea Manning’s zero-protection as a whistleblower and the US extradition case against Assange, since we are told we are in a Cold War. A Cold War that has been proclaimed for the past 77 years and is still going strong…
All of the civil rights violations – from blacklists under McCarthyism, to COINTELPRO’s attack on civil rights movements including MLK and Malcolm X, to the protests on the Vietnam War etc. etc. have all been justified under the pretext that we are in a forever Cold War with Russia and China.
This is why such entities within the United States that wish to be above the law and above the constitution continue to stoke the fires and have persistently talked about Russian and Chinese bogeymen when in fact the most dangerous threats to national security have always come from within.
Thus, one important factor people need to be aware of is that if you believe that it is ultimately the Russians and the Chinese to blame for threats to national security over the past 77 YEARS, despite a great deal of evidence proving the contrary including the findings of the Frank Church committee in 1975, you are willfully backing the continuation of the Cold War doctrine which will continue to justify why your fundamental civil liberties and freedom of press simply do not matter when it comes to national security.
And who decides these matters of national security? Namely the unelected institutions, including the FBI, CIA and NSA.
On 4 January 2021, Judge Baraitser ruled that Assange could not be extradited to the United States, citing concerns about his mental health and the risk of suicide in a US prison. However, she also sided with the US on every other point, including whether the charges constituted political offences and whether Assange was entitled to freedom of speech protections.
On 6 January 2021, Assange was denied bail on the grounds that he was a flight risk, pending an appeal by the United States. The US prosecutors appealed against the denial of extradition on 15 January, 2021.
‘Following the decision by Judge Baraitser that it would be “oppressive to extradite [Assange] to the United States,” in July 2021 the Biden administration assured the Crown Prosecution Services that “Mr Assange will not be subject to SAMs or imprisoned at ADX (unless he were to do something subsequent to the offering of these assurances that meets the tests for the imposition of SAMs or designation to ADX)”. The United States also assured that it “will consent to Mr Assange being transferred to Australia to serve any custodial sentence imposed on him.” An Amnesty International expert on national security and human rights in Europe said, “Those are not assurances at all. It’s not that difficult to look at those assurances and say: these are inherently unreliable, it promises to do something and then reserves the right to break the promise”.
In June 2021 Icelandic newspaper Stundin published details of an interview with Sigurdur Ingi Thordarson, the witness identified as “Teenager” in the U.S. Justice Department’s case against Assange. In the interview Thordarson, who had received a promise of immunity from prosecution in return for co-operating with the FBI, stated he had fabricated allegations used in the U.S. indictment. The Washington Post said Thordarson’s testimony was not used as the basis for charges but for information on Assange’s contact with Chelsea Manning. A year previously The Washington Post said the superseding indictment broadened the case against Assange to that he was a hacker not a publisher and gave evidence for that from Thordarson.’ [author’s note: which was used to justify UK’s approval to extradite Assange to the US.]
In July 2021, Ecuador revoked Assange’s citizenship.
In August 2021, Lord Justice Holroyde in High Court granted permission for the contested risk of suicide to be raised on the appeal. In December 2021, the Hight Court ruled in favour of the United States. The Lord Chief Justice and Lord Justice Holroyde ruled that, in line with previous judgements, when the US administration gives a promise of fair and humane treatment its word should not be doubted.
The case was remitted to Westminster Magistrates’ Court with the direction that it be sent to the Home Secretary Priti Patel for the final decision on whether to extradite Assange. On 24 January 2022 Assange was granted permission to petition the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom for an appeal hearing, but in March the court refused to allow the appeal, saying that Assange had not raised an arguable point of law.
On 20 April 2022, Chief Magistrate Paul Goldspring of the Westminster Magistrates Court formally approved the extradition of Assange to the US and referred the decision to the Home Secretary Priti Patel. On 17 June 2022, Patel approved the extradition.
On 1 July 2022, Assange lodged an appeal against the extradition in the High Court. On 22 August 2022, Assange’s legal team lodged a Perfected Grounds of Appeal before the High Court challenging District Judge Vanessa Baraitser’s decision of 4 January 2021 with new evidence. Assange also made a further appeal to the European Court of Human Rights, but on 13 December 2022, this appeal was declared inadmissible. (Source on details of Assange’s court proceedings from Wikipedia.)
Assange faces 18 charges over WikiLeaks’ publication of classified documents, largely the result of a leak by the former US army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning.
Absurdly, Assange has been accused of hacking in order to obtain these documents, despite Manning having already faced a trial and prison sentence for leaking said documents and Thordarson’s admission that he fabricated the story of Assange being a hacker.
Manning served as an intelligence analyst in 2009 to an Army unit in Iraq and in early 2010 leaked classified or sensitive military information to WikiLeaks. The material included videos of the July 12, 2007, Baghdad airstrike and the 2009 Granai airstrike in Afghanistan; 251,287 U.S. diplomatic cables; and 482,832 Army reports that came to be known as the “Iraq War Logs” and “Afghan War Diary“. The material was published by WikiLeaks and its media partners between April 2010 and April 2011. [Source: Wikipedia]
Thus, Assange, whom the Mueller investigation failed to implicate in Russia Gate, was instead to be charged under the Espionage Act due to publishing material Manning sent to WikiLeaks on classified or sensitive military information concerning…the merits of the War on Terror.
Are the dots connecting?
Manning who was also charged under the Espionage Act, faced 22 offenses including aiding the enemy which was the most serious charge and could have resulted in a death sentence. In June-July 2013, Manning was convicted of 17 of the original charges and amended versions of four others but was acquitted of aiding the enemy. Manning was sentenced to 35 years in maximum-security US Disciplinary Barracks at Fort Leavenworth.
In January 2017, Obama commuted Manning’s sentence to nearly 7 years of confinement from the date of arrest in May 2010. From May 2019 to March 2020, Manning was jailed for contempt and fined $256,000 for refusing to testify before a grand jury investigating Assange. [Source for Manning court cases Wikipedia.]
Lawyer Jeffrey Sterling, a former CIA employee who was imprisoned under the Espionage Act for revealing defence secrets to the journalist James Risen, told the Belmarsh Tribunal that Assange has little chance of a fair trial in the US.
“It is virtually impossible to defend against the Espionage Act. Truth is no defence. In fact, any defence related to truth will be prohibited. In addition, he won’t have access to any of the so-called evidence used against him.
The Espionage Act has not been used to fight espionage. It’s being used against whistleblowers and Julian Assange to keep the public ignorant of [the government’s] wrongdoings and illegalities in order to maintain its hold on authority, all in the name of national security.” [Emphasis added]
The Espionage Act has also justified the FBI investigations on Flynn and Trump, and the 2016 US elections.
The Relevance of the Durham Report
The Durham report is a special counsel investigation that began in 2019 when the US Justice Department designated federal prosecutor John Durham to review the origins of the FBI investigations into the validity of 2016 US elections and more specifically the Trump campaign.
Durham was given authority to examine the government’s collection of intelligence, government documents and to request voluntary witness statements.
The Durham report, which was released on May 15, 2023, has been criticized as being nothing but a vindictive attempt to get back at the FBI and paint Trump as a victim.
It has also been said that the Horowitz report findings oppose the claims of the Durham report. This is not true when looking into the facts of the Horowitz report.
The Horowitz investigation had concluded that the FBI was indeed guilty of warrant problems during their Crossfire Hurricane investigation and Horowitz concluded that these warrant problems were due to “gross incompetence and negligence” rather than intentional malfeasance or political bias. However, this was simply asserted by Horowitz and were never proven. Just because an FBI agent responds “I dunno…” or “I don’t remember…” when questioned does not mean that they do not know why and do not remember and thus is evidence of their incompetence and negligence. That is absurd.
Regardless, the findings of the Horowitz report did substantiate that the FBI was indeed not following the law in their investigation into the 2016 US elections and there was a rather short media circuit acknowledging the seriousness of these findings – and talk of the need for the FBI to be reformed began.
Thus, the Horowitz report does not directly oppose the justification for the Durham investigation but rather validates it in their very own findings that the FBI was not following the rule of law and as Horowitz even stated “The activities we found don’t vindicate anyone who touched this. The actions of FBI agents were not up to the standards of the FBI.“
As a result of the findings, Horowitz announced a broader review of the FBI’s FISA warrant application process was needed, to study whether problems with the process are systemic. So why is the Durham report being criticized using the Horowitz report as a shield?
Because they think you are stupid.
So what happened as a result of the Horowitz report? Well, the FBI has apparently taken it upon itself to conduct its own reform.
Yeah, nothing could possibly go wrong with that scenario….
In an official statement, the FBI emphasized its numerous overhauls since the 2019 Horowitz report.
“The conduct in 2016 and 2017 that Special Counsel Durham examined was the reason that current F.B.I. leadership already implemented dozens of corrective actions, which have now been in place for some time,” it said.
Wow, if that sounds very familiar, it is because the CIA had also claimed the very same thing when it was found guilty violating its charter for over 25 years as a result of the Frank Church Committee of 1975, to which the CIA took it upon itself to not only conduct an investigation onto itself, but to also be in charge of implementing its own reform. Since then, the CIA has claimed to have honored its charter but the details as to how these reforms were conducted are classified, for national security reasons of course…
So according to the FBI, they have successfully changed their ways without any need for an external neutral body overseeing its reform. We are simply supposed to believe that they have addressed what needs to be addressed and they do not have to answer for anything that has happened EVER, because if it happened before 2019 it was before the reforms which now apparently make their past violations of the law moot and if there are claims they have violated their charter post-2019, this is apparently impossible because they have officially been reformed since 2019.
Airtight logic…right? Maybe if you have the IQ of a flatworm. And yes, they think you are that stupid.
Thus, four years after publishing their piece demanding that the FBI be reformed, The Atlantic has more recently published “Sinister Flop” mocking the Durham report for…you guessed it, calling for the reform of the FBI!
They must be thinking, “What a bunch of stupid heads. They are calling for the reform of the FBI when the FBI has already said it reformed back in 2019, DUH!”
Right, I guess the Durham report is completely irrelevant in this light. There is no need to address that the report’s findings further substantiated that the FBI was guilty of misconduct during its investigations on the validity of the 2016 US elections and the Trump campaign that caused “severe reputational harm” in its handling of the case, which was “seriously deficient” at key spots and that the FBI embraced “seriously flawed information” that fell short of the agency’s “own principles regarding objectivity and integrity.”
Durham also noted that the Steele dossier, the provoking act for the investigation, was deeply flawed and that the FBI was unable to corroborate “a single substantive allegation.” He added that the agency went through with the investigation despite “a complete lack of information from the Intelligence Community that corroborated the hypothesis upon which the… investigation was predicated.”
The Steele dossier was carried into the US intelligence community by none other than Christopher Steele’s “former” boss at MI6 – Sir Richard Dearlove. This is the same Richard Dearlove who infamously created an earlier “dodgy dossier” in 2001 while acting as head of MI6 which had claimed to “prove” without a shred of evidence that Iraq had acquired “weapons of mass destruction” in the form of Nigerian yellowcake.
Interesting….so MI6 was behind what justified the launching of the War on Terror beginning with the unlawful invasion of Iraq as well as the attack on the validity of the 2016 US elections which made it pretty much impossible for the Trump Administration to get much done including, heaven forbid, peaceful relations with Russia and a real end to terrorism.
Is this not an incredibly concerning threat to real national and international security?
Readers should be reminded that just as the fake War on Terror proclaimed it was fighting terrorism when in fact it was backing it, the fake War on Drugs did the same – to support amongst a myriad of things – terrorism. Let that also sink in….
Now there are some dimwits who have responded to the Durham report saying “Uh, isn’t this all old news, why are we still bringing this up? Boooring…”
Those who think this way are not true citizens of their country, they are consumers who are basically looking for the latest scandal for their own entertainment purposes. Such people do not know what to do with intelligence, they only know how to be voyeurs and keyboard masturbators. And disgustingly, this is what is being used to ultimately paint the Durham report as a flop, because it failed to deliver on fresh, unfiltered scandal porn.
Even CNN’s lead Washington anchor Jake Tapper had to acknowledge that the Durham report is “devastating to the FBI into a degree that does exonerate Donald Trump.”
The Durham report has successfully called into question the merits of not just the Crossfire Hurricane FBI investigation and the Mueller investigation and thus the justification for the ongoing FBI investigations into Trump which are leading up to the 2024 US elections – but has also called into question the merit of THE ONGOING CLAIMS THAT THERE EXISTS RUSSIAN INTERFERENCE (and more recently Chinese interference) which have been used to justify the ongoing violation of civil liberties and press freedom using the Espionage Act which is being propped up by a 77 year old Cold War doctrine.
(See the Gouzenko Hoax for what was used to justify the launching of the phony Cold War which should trigger a healthy response of deep rage at what the American people have been put through unjustifiably all these decades.)
Those who wish to address the concerning violations of civil liberties and free press need to understand that what the Durham report is calling into question is also what is behind the unlawful trial and imprisonment of Julian Assange and so many other journalists and whistleblowers.
So the question that remains at the end of all of this is “Are you going to be a mere voyeur or a real citizen of your country? ”
Cynthia Chung is the President of the Rising Tide Foundation and author of the book “The Empire on Which the Black Sun Never Set,” consider supporting her work by making a donation and subscribing to her substack page Through A Glass Darkly.