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Shooting the Whistleblowers

David Macilwain

It has just been announced that Facebook is banning some “dangerous people” from its platforms, particularly those promoting and allowing “hate speech” of various colours, but also including “conspiracy theorist” Alex Jones. This action follows on from measures taken after the Christchurch gunman used Facebook to screen his incendiary Islamophobic attack, and the sudden recognition of the threat posed by “White Supremacist” ideology.

At that time I wrote an article for the Australian blog “Pearls and Irritations”, which drew an uncomfortable comparison between “two Australians abroad” – the “Firearm terrorist” Brenton Tarrant, and the “Cyber terrorist” Julian Assange. It’s not of course that I think Assange is a terrorist of any description – but given the treatment he has been afforded by the Australian government he may as well be.

The reason I made this comparison, aside from the fact that the two men are both Australian citizens in prison for offences committed abroad, was because there is something else that connects their perceived crimes, and which sprang to mind following the Christchurch massacre – the live vision of men being gunned down in Baghdad by US soldiers, screened around the world thanks to Wikileaks.

It was not immediately after the massacre of unarmed Muslims in the Christchurch mosques that this similar show of White Man’s brutality some 12 years earlier came to mind, but rather following the draconian legislation rushed through the Australian Parliament shortly afterwards. The circumstances around this, described in more detail in my article, were frankly suspect – though it was dangerous to say so.

Many people expressed concern that the new laws and severe punishments for the broadcasting of violent and provocative content could punish or restrict the legitimate activities of whistleblowers deemed in the public interest – but the laws passed with reluctant submission from the Opposition Labor party:

Nonetheless, Mr Dreyfus (Labor’s former Attorney General) told the lower house the opposition would help pass the laws, as part of its commitment to bipartisanship on matters of national security.

He said Labor would refer the laws to the powerful intelligence and security parliamentary committee and amend them to deal with any issues, if it wins the election.

Mr Dreyfus said tech giants such as Facebook must do more to deal with violent content on their platforms. But hundreds of smaller companies would also be captured by the bill’s “onerous obligations”.

The laws might also hamper whistle-blowing activities, Mr Dreyfus said.

The following day, Wikileaks issued a warning that Julian Assange could be evicted from the Ecuadorian embassy “within hours or days”, a claim denied and dismissed by Ecuador, but proven true within a week.

But it wasn’t just the “Ecuadorian collusion” that was proven true; this was the final act in a seven year-long conspiracy to capture and imprison our most valued whistleblower, as well as a revelation that there was indeed such a conspiracy, and that Assange’s fear of rendition was wholly justified.

With the benefit of hindsight it now becomes clear just how the exposure of this conspiracy as well as its denouement was handled by the Western media machine. The primary method was evidently to use a diversionary tactic, which also served as a pretext for Assange’s arrest and “trial”. As if on cue, a group of 70 UK MPs wrote a letter to the UK Home Office Minister, demanding that he “allow the extradition of Julian Assange to Sweden”, which backed up the false story that Assange was arrested for skipping bail. Combined with the disgusting and politically motivated personal attack on Assange by the judge, the pervasive broadcasting of this fabricated smear story allowed the real story to be blotted out of existence.

Yet it was plain as day – the UK and Sweden had collaborated with the US in the vindictive punishment of Julian Assange for exposing the criminal operations of the Empire in the Middle East. Over seven years they had never given up their malign plan to “render” and silence him. They had also repeatedly lied about their true intentions and shown themselves quite untrustworthy, as well as capable of gross abuses of the human rights and justice they constantly espouse.

Confirming the operation as a conspiracy, involving mainstream Western media knowingly or unknowingly colluding in a criminal deception, was the way the story of Assange’s arrest was presented the following day in Australian media. I wrote a complaint to the quasi-State broadcaster SBS, whose story was constructed around the “rape charges” from Sweden, and the UK MPs’ demands. The report included a brief interview with Jeremy Corbyn, asked to comment not on the threat of extradition to the US but on whether he opposed Assange’s extradition to Sweden. Having cast Corbyn in this negative defensive light, the report then noted that he was opposed to Assange’s extradition to the US, and “along with Wikileaks supporters” was more concerned about the US war crimes Assange had helped to reveal.

At this point in the SBS TV news report, just eight seconds of the notorious Iraq war crime film “Collateral Murder” was included, and became the focus of my complaint, and claim that SBS had engaged in a “calculated deception”:

In this extract, a group of unarmed men, including the Reuters journalists, are seen walking in a street just before being gunned down from the US helicopter. We hear the machine gun fire open up, but see nothing happen as the video cuts to a view of the next target – the van that pulled up several minutes later, and which was also targeted.

We see none of the men hit by the fire, because two seconds elapses between the sound and the bullets hitting the target.

Why did SBS cut the video at that very point, so that the whole significance of the atrocity is concealed?

The same criticism may be made over the shooting of the men trying to rescue the only survivor, where the key footage is before the shooting. An examination of the whole sequence is obligatory, and noting that since it was posted on Youtube in 2010, it has registered over 16 million views.

What irony is it, that the very reason that Assange – Australia’s Assange – is regarded as a hero and whistleblower by most decent and thinking Australians is because he revealed what SBS now seeks to conceal – the serial war crimes of the US government in its illegal wars in the Middle East?

SBS was of course doing exactly the same as other Western mainstream broadcasters, whose cuts from Collateral Murder also failed to show the shocking sight of unarmed men being killed. It was equally noticeable that non-Western media – RT for instance – made a special point of showing the cut with the men falling down under fire, along with the callous commentary; that after all was the point of the story. RT even interviewed that other Australian abroad – John Pilger – from Sydney!

Surprisingly perhaps, SBS agreed to investigate my complaint – which I backed up by a close analysis of their clip that found it was subject to some subtle manipulation as well as the closely timed cut. I submitted it before further developments however, and the dawning realisation that the story about extradition to Sweden was completely false, and just a ruse to enable Assange’s arrest.

Once the disinformation about his alleged unsavoury personal habits was established in the minds of those on the left who should have supported him, the story of extradition to Sweden just faded away; he was now being held in prison so that he wouldn’t abscond while the US prepared its extradition case. If there were a few cries of protest over his illegal extradition to the US, they were mostly now for pointless reassurance on his fair treatment, when already the worst possible outcome of Assange’s seven year incarceration had eventuated; the system now had him in its grip.

Looking back now it is remarkable to see how the most egregious miscarriage of justice has been enabled by the media, acting on behalf of a criminally corrupted legal system operating in the service of those who hold power. None of these is acting in the public interest, or on behalf of the public. Rather they have colluded in a conspiracy to pervert the course of justice operating beyond any democratic process or control.

The serious implications for press freedom and International law of Assange’s “extrajudicial abduction” have been well examined by independent and non-Western media, just as they have been ignored or dismissed by Western leaders and media commentators. The ability to perform such a feat of “double-think” is hard to comprehend, yet is so pervasive amongst millions of normal people that we have to accept it as a feature of human psychology.

It is this that makes us so susceptible to manipulation by “psy-ops”, or “disinformation warfare”, of which SBS’ eight-second clip of Collateral Murder is the perfect example. I wait in anticipation of SBS’ reponse to my complaint, perhaps along these lines:

In the context of the report, which concerned Assange’s evasion of sexual misconduct charges in Sweden, as well as recent restrictions on the screening of violent and abusive content, SBS considers the brief reference to Wikileaks’ video on a separate issue was sufficient to inform the viewer.”

Of course they might just come clean and admit that they simply screened the extract of relevant footage provided to them by the Department of Information Control (Global) at CentCom, and that other versions provided by conspiracy theorist websites such as Wikileaks may have been manipulated.

Sixties drop out, Scientist-farmer, cheesemaker-Luddite, late life activist for the Resistance, Putin/Assad/Nasrallah lover. Atheist. Traveller-student through MENA-Russia-Europe. Abandoned UK frying pan for Australian fire. Marginalised dissident. Author for Russia Insider/AHT and OffG.

Filed under: Assange Arrest, Australia, latest, Other Media

by

Sixties drop out, Scientist-farmer, cheesemaker-Luddite, late life activist for the Resistance, Putin/Assad/Nasrallah lover. Atheist. Traveller-student through MENA-Russia-Europe. Abandoned UK frying pan for Australian fire. Marginalised dissident. Author for Russia Insider/AHT and OffG.

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Tutisicecream
Reader

Like the realisation Father Christmas doesn’t exist the fact that honesty and truthfulness does not exist with our rulers is not so surprising really. They have spent aeons hiding the truth, they are expert at this. But once the crack appears and light gets in they are exposed for what they truly are, corrupt and totally corruptible. As is their media. Don’t fool yourself into believing they might change.

“Truth is truth to the end of reckoning” It just might not be what you think it is.

Frankly Speaking
Reader
Frankly Speaking

Shining a bright light on it, as Manning and Assange and others have done, and distributed through sites like this, is the only way can weaken these evil beings; after all, sunlight is a powerful disinfectant.

Gezzah Potts
Reader

Tutisicecream: “but once the crack appears, and light gets in, they are exposed for what they truly are…..”. Hmmm, vampires hopefully? Sorry Tuts, couldn’t resist that. Yes, I know things are really grim. By the way, there’s a brilliant site called Neoliberalism Soft panorama. Huge site that has literally thousands of pages, dozens upon dozens of subsections. It fully disects the vile dogma of Neoliberalism, and what we’re up against. Subsections include ‘Audacious Oligarchy and Democracy For Winners’ ‘Neoliberal War On Reality’ ‘Casino Capitalism’ ‘Globalisation Of Corporatism’ ‘Neoliberal Brainwashing’. Check it out.

flaxgirl
Reader

I posted a comment which has disappeared. Would this be an issue with the new website or is there now some kind of censorship policy?

Frankly Speaking
Reader
Frankly Speaking

I wish that all of your disinfo comments would automatically disappear.

flaxgirl
Reader

FS, I am clearly not a disinformation agent. I make a claim and I match it to the evidence – everything I say is completely transparent. All those who disagree with me in the comments rarely address the matching of claim to evidence (of course, it’s possible to disagree that the evidence supports my claim but commenters do not give their reasons for disagreement – they simply resort to cheap epithets). No one has said how what I have pointed out as anomalies in the Juju Chang interview indicate that Chelsea is an intelligence asset. No one has gone anywhere… Read more »

Admin
Moderator
Admin

No, we do not have any censorship policy. Your comment was caught by the anti-spam software and dropped in the spam folder, but it’s restored now.

flaxgirl
Reader

Thanks, Admin. I didn’t think it possible (but one can get a little paranoid) and should have posted that I realised it was published.

Frankly Speaking
Reader
Frankly Speaking

My reply to Harry’s comment below disappeared too. Seems the spam or profanity settings are too keen to kick in.
On another point, it’s somewhat user unfriendly that replies to comments are collapsed by default, and it’s a pain to open each 0ne up. Otherwise the other changes are welcome, thanks

Admin
Moderator
Admin

We don’t have that one at all, unfortunately.

[UPDATE] Correction, we do have it and it’s published.

Frankly Speaking
Reader
Frankly Speaking

Thanks.
Is there a way that you can set the default on your site backend to expand all replies so that the thread flows like it used to do? Or is it intentionally done this way by yourselves?

Francis Lee
Reader
Francis Lee

From the Guardian website: ‘’The Guardian is editorially independent, meaning we set our own agenda. Our journalism is free from commercial bias and not influenced by billionaire owners, politicians or shareholders. No one edits our editor. No one steers our opinion. This is important as it enables us to give a voice to those less heard, challenge the powerful and hold them to account. It’s what makes us different to so many others in the media, at a time when factual, honest reporting is critical.’’ How’s that for chutzpah! One is lost for words! Pure newspeak, pure Orwell. Quack-quack-quack, pure… Read more »

Fair dinkum
Reader
Fair dinkum

SBS and the ABC never, ever bite the claws/talons/sweaty hands that feed them Gezzah.
Pathetic sycophants.

Harry Stotle
Reader
Harry Stotle

‘No one steers our opinion’ – of course they don’t, Guardian groupthink is entirely coincidental ……. not. In fact their long running, and vicious campaign to smear a fellow journalist illustrates just how low the Guardian is willing to stoop in service of the Washington consensus. Lying about Manafort, reproducing Moreno’s allegations about Assanges behaviour verbatim (just after Moreno had received billions in loans) tells us how deeply Guardian stenographers are attached to their preferred ideology (liberal interventionism) despite a shameful record of regime change built on propaganda rationalising the overthrow of elected governments. All of these trends crystalised around… Read more »

flaxgirl
Reader

I know that what I say will not be believed but I still think it’s worth saying regardless of the offence it may cause. I don’t mean to offend, only to speak what I believe to be the truth. When an organisation such as Wikileaks appears on the scene there is no possibility that the power elite will not engage all techniques possible to infiltrate and otherwise set up a “controlled opposition” to undermine its objectives. The genuine operators of Wikileaks may well be aware of this phenomenon and consider they have implemented an effective strategy to counter it, however,… Read more »

UreKismet
Reader
UreKismet

More total garbage delivered with bias based on emotive supposition and 100% evidence free. Could there be a worse example of an astroturfer who climbs onboard on some issues yet continues to slander innocents on one? A known technique of the oppressor. There is no evidence that the collateral murder video is faked unless someone is foolish enough to lap up nonsense from a proven slanderer. All else is anodyne & derivative agreement on other issues, likely as an armour to claim some sort of like-mindedness. There is much more evidence of flax girl’s mendacity than Manning’s or Assange’s.

flaxgirl
Reader

Oh dear, UreKismet, it saddens me that you do not have my measure at all.

mark
Reader
mark

You’re wise to be cautious. We should all be wary of false flags, controlled opposition, agent provocateurs, and astro turfing. To give just a few well documented examples, the close aide and right hand man of Willi Brandt, German Chancellor in the 60s/70s, turned out to be a Soviet agent. As was Martin Bormann, Adolf Hitler’s right hand man, during the war. A whole horde of similar people, like Hopkins and White, Burgess, Philby and Maclean, infiltrated the wartime and post war US and UK administration. I doubt that any of this has changed over the years. There is so… Read more »

flaxgirl
Reader

Mark, I present my case on a webpage. If you happen to read it I’d be interested to know where you find my reasoning lacking. https://occamsrazorterrorevents.weebly.com/wikileaks-controlled-opposition.html

mark
Reader
mark

Yes, I’ve read that. I had doubts about Wikileaks when it first came out, but I base what I say on my 2nd short paragraph above. Could be wrong, but it seems unlikely to me.

flaxgirl
Reader

Your comment seems to imply I think Wikileaks is controlled opposition. No, no, no, no, no. I think they’ve been infiltrated by at least Chelsea Manning, Adrian Lamo and Ben Griffin and I believe the Collateral Murder video is fake, however, I don’t have enough faith in my analytical ability to come out and say it is for sure … but none of those I approach who are better placed to give an opinion will give one. No one will touch an analysis of that video with a 50-foot barge pole … which makes me only more suspicious. If they… Read more »

Harry Stotle
Reader
Harry Stotle

In the middle of a trauma when part of somebody’s head is missing you don’t focus on a broken finger nail – that is what you are doing here, unless you are suggesting there was no war in Iraq or that large numbers of non-combatants were not either killed or maimed by deadly US weapons.

The US should not have been there, period – your quibbling is a distraction from the much bigger issues that led to and followed on from the ludicrously named ‘Operation Iraqi Freedom’.

flaxgirl
Reader

My point, Harry, is that if Chelsea Manning is controlled opposition (which she obviously is) and if Collateral Murder is faked (regardless of the fact that civilians may well be targeted as they are in that video) that may make a difference to Julian’s case. However, if it makes no difference to his case the truth of the matter, as you indicate, is not a priority at the moment (even if it should come out in time). What do you think? Do you think that revealing that Chelsea is an intelligence asset and the video is faked (assuming it is)… Read more »

OffG
Moderator
OffG

Who would fake the video and why?

flaxgirl
Reader

As I keep saying and is so abundantly obvious, the power elite love to dupe us. When the Wikileaks ship appeared on the horizon, the power elite would have had a big chuckle (though you’d think they might have some concern, at least, about genuine leakers) and sent their “controlled opposition” welcoming party consisting of Chelsea, Adrian and others … and the shocking video. The fact that it needed to be unencrypted reminds me of New York City’s “refusal” to release the first responder “oral histories” resulting in New York Times suing for release – as if. It was just… Read more »

Gezzah Potts
Reader

I wouldn’t hold your breath David. Thanks again for your input on this disgrace. I avoid ABC and SBS like the plague, however the day Julian Assange was arrested, allowed myself to stomach 7-8 mins coverage on ABC here in Aussie. The revolting Philip Williams could barely contain his glee reporting that Assange would now face justice. For those not in Australia, Williams is a cross between Luke Harding and Christiane Amanpour. But it dosn’t really matter who in the mainstream media reports on this – they are merely presstitutes and stenographers for Empire and Imperialism. They all sold their… Read more »

JudyJ
Reader
JudyJ

As @Ken Kenn refers to below, two journalists were released in Myanmar last week. And we in the UK recently had the Gavin Williamson ‘leak’ saga. MSM discussion programmes and social media have been dominated for a week or so by so-called ‘journalists’ pontificating self-righteously about both cases supporting the right to freedom of speech where it’s relating to matters of public interest. In all the discussions that I saw, not one person alluded to Julian Assange. In fact, worse than that, some of these same pontificating journalists had been at the forefront of the JA smear campaign. They really… Read more »

Gezzah Potts
Reader

JudyJ….. That shows exactly what they are, and who they really represent. They are there to disseminate establishment propaganda. Such (real) journalists like John Pilger, Seymour Hersh, Eva Bartlett, also probably Robert Fisk and others are ostracised, shunned and smeared because they refused to sell their souls and ethics, and refuse to be courtiers for the elites. As I said, I won’t look at MSM now. Poison for our minds. And its sad that so many still lap up the crap put out by Harding, Cadwalladr, Williams, Amanpour and their ilk. Many other high quality, honest alternatives out there Judy,… Read more »

JudyJ
Reader
JudyJ

“SBS was of course doing the same as other mainstream broadcasters, whose cuts from Collateral Murder also failed to show the shocking sight of unarmed men being killed…”

As I have mentioned previously, when the UK’s BBC showed the same edited clips as SBS did following Julian Assange’s arrest they went even further in their manipulation of the truth – the reporter summarising the background to the case described the leaked video as ‘purporting to show a US helicopter firing at Iraqi civilians.’ No mention that anyone was injured never mind killed.

John2o2o
Reader
John2o2o

“In the context of the report, which concerned Assange’s evasion of sexual misconduct charges in Sweden, as well as recent restrictions on the screening of violent and abusive content, SBS considers the brief reference to Wikileaks’ video on a separate issue was sufficient to inform the viewer.”

I hate to have to continue to labour this point, but I think it is important. There are no sexual misconduct charges against Julian and there have never been any such charges!

Julian was wanted for questioning over an allegation. That is all. He was questioned in 2017. No charges were forthcoming after that questioning.

David Macilwain
Reader
David Macilwain

Thanks John – and of course I know that, but if SBS knows it it’s not saying! In that first report they said “on rape charges” I think. And they had the backing of the 70 MPs in the UK, led by Stewart Kinnock, whose wife is director of Save the Children. A stitch up.

mark
Reader
mark

1984 is here. It is now. Old George was just out by 55 years.
Then, as now, we have bogus perennial wars that are not intended to be “won”, but just to go on forever.
Generating vast profits for a tiny gilded elite.
Propaganda Goldstein type constructs like Bin Laden and ISIS, and false flag “terrorism”, providing the pretexts for blanket surveillance, stringent censorship and repression, and unlimited power and privilege for the Neocon elite.
Endemic, perpetual lying, and the perversion of language itself.
Russia, or Moslems, or whoever else is convenient, as subjects of the Two Minute Hate.
No single element is absent.

Toby Russell
Reader
Toby Russell

The non-fiction 1984 we inhabit is much shinier though.

There’s something about shiny things we humans seem almost incapable of resisting, as if there were a touch of magpie mixed in with our DNA. How easy we are to bewitch.

Ken Kenn
Reader
Ken Kenn

Contrast and compare the two journalists jailed in Myanmar to Assange.

All three exposed info and the liberal MSM choose to flag up only tow instances of wrongful detention.

The truth is it’s easier to denounce a weak nation for oppression of thought but a strong nation needs to be placated.

The US says to the UK ‘ Jump’ and the UK asks – ‘ How High Sir?’

Arby
Reader

“The ability to perform such a feat of “double-think” is hard to comprehend, yet is so pervasive amongst millions of normal people that we have to accept it as a feature of human psychology.”

There’s certainly human psychology at work here. But that’s not primarily what’s at work here. Primarily what’s at work is evil, which isn’t something we are born with. Evil is a choice – with consequences, including in the area of human psychology. We are born with imperfection and that’s challenging.

Harry Stotle
Reader
Harry Stotle

‘As if on cue, a group of 70 UK MPs wrote a letter to the UK Home Office Minister, demanding that he “allow the extradition of Julian Assange to Sweden”, which backed up the false story that Assange was arrested for skipping bail. Combined with the disgusting and politically motivated personal attack on Assange by the judge, the pervasive broadcasting of this fabricated smear story allowed the real story to be blotted out of existence.’ – indeed, proving beyond a shadow of a doubt that our MPs (or a significant proportion of them) always put the interests of mass murderers,… Read more »

Frankly Speaking
Reader
Frankly Speaking

the disgusting and politically motivated personal attack on Assange by the judge

Your whole comment perfectly sums up the current state of affairs, but your quote above sets an appalling new low for our Establishment.

On top of that to then sentence someone skipping bail for a whole year AND in maximum security Belmarsh prison is utterly frightening and exposes completely the evil, sick bastards for what they are. God help Julian Assange…and Bradley Manning.

Shardlake
Reader
Shardlake

… Of course they might just come clean … In the first few weeks after the start of WW2 Hermann Göring was asked about the prospect of Berlin being bombed by the RAF and he responded with ‘If they do that you can call me Meyer’. One loses a little in the translation from German, but it roughly translates to ‘if you believe that, then I’m a Dutchman’.

Thank you for a well-written and thought-provoking piece.