Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Where are the Child Victims of the West?

It has been almost a year since the contorted body of little Alan Kurdi washed up on a Turkish beach, oblivious in death to the fact that he was to become the key pawn in a global media campaign seeking to cement public opinion in favor of intervention in Syria.

The UK's Guardian newspaper intoned at the time:

To begin restoring that hope will inevitably mean international intervention of some kind. The establishment of credible safe havens and the implementation of a no-fly zone must be on the table for serious consideration.

A 2015 analysis on the 99.99998271% blog provided a detailed anatomy of the methods and aims of this form of propaganda with regard to Syria, concluding:

[T]he corporate media has concealed covert activities within Syria going back several years; has blacked out a Pentagon report demonstrating US prediction, supply and use of ISIS as a strategic asset; is again reporting selectively regarding 'good' and 'bad' dictators; and has engaged in this precise kind of rhetoric in the past before every intervention. Rupert Murdoch is a board member of a company that is drilling for oil in the Golan Heights while his newspapers sound the clarion call that may open the way for a (hoped for) post-Assad Western puppet government. Meanwhile stocks in arms companies are at record levels and the refugee crisis is now a major humanitarian disaster at World War 2 levels, with refugee populations particularly high from nations where the US and its allies have acted (covertly or overtly).

[Note: see original article for detailed discussion and sources for these conclusions]

If at first you don't succeed: now it is the turn of another hapless child - this time thankfully alive.  The excellent OffGuardian news/analysis website demonstrates that another mass push for intervention is underway, with the corporate media content to use a terrorist-sympathizing 'media center' as the story's primary source:

The boy is allegedly five-year-old Omran Daqneesh. According to the AP report neither he nor the rest of his family sustained anything but superficial cuts and bruises.

Yet, in a conflict that has already claimed the lives of more than 100,000 people nationwide, the media wants us to believe this story is somehow unique and that the “horror generated” by a video of some people looking quite well but dusty and bloodstained will shock us more than the piles of corpses , “echo the anguished global response” to images of drowned A[]lan Kurdi and galvanise us all into “doing something” – ie supporting a NATO intervention to save the terrorists in eastern Aleppo.

If the sight of all the major outlets who cheer on western-backed slaughter every day,  running wall-to-wall op-eds and features about the tragedy of a little boy with a cut on his face,  simply because it serves the empire’s agenda, doesn’t convince you of the moral and intellectual blank they’ve become then keep reading. It gets better.

AP and other outlets tell us the vid was “filmed and circulated” by a group called the “Aleppo Media Centre.” Who/what are they? Well,the Graun links to their Twitter, which is in Arabic,and which boasts over 20,000 alleged followers,including several members of the western media, and a plethora of similar short and often murky vids beside this one. We can also quite easily find their Facebook page.

The Facebook page contains a post cheering on al-Nusra, the US-designated terrorist group, referring to them as 'rebels', not 'terrorists' and also calling the Syrian government a 'regime', the standard terminology of the corporate media when referring to Assad's administration.  Such phrasing destroys the Aleppo Media Centre as a neutral, credible source.

OffGuardian further notes that there are serious discrepancies about the timeline with respect to when the video was made and uploaded:

We’re also a bit curious about why the AP report claim the video was made Wednesday night, when it was uploaded to Twitter at 13:52 BST Wednesday afternoon, which would equate with 15:52 in Aleppo. Is this a time-zone anomaly? But then there’s the added confusion of the [t]weet itself, which seems to say pretty clearly that the vid was made on Sunday evening.

In a later article, Catte at OffGuardian noted:

After the recent revelation that almost every major news site has been promoting unverified video and eye-witness testimony originating in some of the most extreme, violent and debauched terrorist elements currently operating in Syria, we have to ask – is there any longer even a minimum of verification or investigative process required before news agencies and publications endorse a breaking story?

In the case of that notorious “Omran rescue vid”, for example, AP broke the story, but of the three journalists credited, one was in Beirut, one in Geneva and one in Moscow.

None of them were in Aleppo, or even in Syria. Given what’s now transpired about the discredited and even criminal nature of the source, we need to ask – how did they get word of this event and how did they verify it? Did AP talk to ordinary people on the spot, and directly interview the witnesses? Did they get this video direct from the terrorist-supporting “Aleppo Media Center”, or via an intermediary? Did they know about the terrorist-connections of both the AMC and the “photo-journalist” Mahmoud Raslan, and just not inform their readers, or did they genuinely not know who their sources were?

The media train wreck was made complete when it emerged that the Guardian had deleted 45% of reader comments below a related opinion piece to preserve its obviously bogus Syria narrative for those precious few readers still somehow unaware that their newspaper of choice is nothing but a shill for the arms industry and Western imperial interests:

This narrative has never really got much traction, mostly because it’s stupid, and right now it’s not going over at all. The latest serving of it,”The Guardian View on Syrian civilian casualties: Omran Daqneesh – a child of war” was published at 7:58pm on August 18 and remained open for comments for no more than two hours. In that time the BTL section erupted in outrage and was shredded by the moderators. The results are shameful. Of the 75 comments not entirely obliterated (which happens), 34 (45%) had their content deleted. And after all that not even all the remaining 55% were supportive of the ATL line.

The Guardian had to delete 45% of its own readers opinions, just to ma[i]ntain a bare semblance of its agenda.

No comment that mentioned the terrorist source of the video was allowed to remain. Every comment that identified the media “hero” of the hour, Mahmoud Raslan as a supporter of al Nusra or a friend of child-beheaders was removed. Many others that merely pointed out the gaps and absurdities in the narrative were likewise deleted.

There are lessons here.  First, if you want to be brazenly lied to or misled in a way that wins your support of Western bombing under the guise of 'humanitarian intervention' (and therefore arms sales) along with the furthering of Western geopolitical objectives in Syria, go no further than the corporate media; even - and especially - the self-described 'liberal-left' wing.  Second, if you want the truth - or at least honest people trying in good faith to get to the truth - you'll have to rely on unpaid bloggers and the credible independent media, especially those that publish source documents like WikiLeaks.  And third, no doubt should remain in anyone's mind of the depths of moral depravity to which the corporate media and its paid, indoctrinated stenographers will sink in order to achieve the objectives of their paymasters: namely, the utilization of images of injured or dead children in an attempt to bring about a state of affairs that will with certainty create many more such suffering souls.

Something important, however, is missing from MSM coverage of children in war zones.  For the fourth estate - the noble profession that speaks truth to power and holds it accountable - balance and fairness is a key ingredient of reporting, or so we are told in slogans like 'fair and balanced'.  With the corporate media probably too busy with this latest story, the 99.99998271% will humbly step into the breach and provide - for the purposes of that all-important balance - a list of child victims you haven't seen described in editorials written by hand-wringing, entitled liberals in the corporate media - and won't anytime soon.

Abeer Qassim Hamza al-Janabi, a 14-year-old Iraqi girl who was gang-raped and murdered by US marines after her family (34-year-old mother Fakhriyah Taha Muhsin, 45-year-old father Qasim Hamza Raheem, and six-year-old sister Hadeel Qasim Hamza) were killed.

[Note: The Washington Post link incorrectly states she was 15 years old when she died. Wikipedia link here.]

Safa Younis Salim, a 13-year old girl who amazingly survived the Haditha Massacre, in which 24 unarmed Iraqi civilians were killed including seven children, a 1-year-old girl staying with the family and a 76-year-old man in a wheelchair?

How did she survive?  "I pretended that I was dead when my brother's body fell on me and he was bleeding like a faucet."

A six-year US military prosecution ended with none of the eight Marines sentenced to jail, despite one of the men - Sgt. Sanick De La Cruz - testifying (in return for immunity) that he had urinated on the skull of one of the dead Iraqis. This outcome outraged the Iraqi people (as the attack on Malala Yousafzai outraged the West) but the name of Safa Younis Salim remains practically unknown.

16-year-old Tariq Aziz.  Clive Stafford Smith from the Reprieve charity explains:

During the day I shook the hand of a 16-year-old kid from Waziristan named Tariq Aziz. One of his cousins had died in a missile strike, and he wanted to know what he could do to bring the truth to the west. At the Reprieve charity, we have a transparency project: importing cameras to the region to try to export the truth back out. Tariq wanted to take part, but I thought him too young.

Then, three days later, the CIA announced that it had eliminated "four militants". In truth there were only two victims: Tariq had been driving his 12-year-old cousin to their aunt's house when the Hellfire missile killed them both. This came just 24 hours after the CIA boasted of eliminating six other "militants" – actually, four chromite workers driving home from work. In both cases a local informant apparently tagged the car with a GPS monitor and lied to earn his fee.

The average age of the population of Gaza is 17, and half the population are under 16. According to the UN, more children than adult fighters were killed in the 2014 Operation Protective Edge attack by Israel.

Meanwhile in the city of Fallujah in Iraq, health studies have demonstrated that the use of chemical weapons by US forces - including depleted uranium - was followed by one of the most severe health crises in history:

Ever since two major US-led assaults destroyed the Iraqi city of Fallujah in 2004, Fallujans have witnessed dramatic increases in rates of cancers, birth defects and infant mortality in their city. Dr Chris Busby, the author and co-author of two studies on the Fallujah heath crisis, has called this "the highest rate of genetic damage in any population ever studied".

To this day [25th October 2012], though, there has yet to be an article published in a major US newspaper, or a moment on a mainstream American TV news network, devoted to the health crisis in Fallujah. The US government has made no statements on the issue, and the American public remains largely uninformed about the indiscriminate harm that our military may have caused.

The report presented at the seventh session of the Human Rights Council gave anecdotal evidence gathered at the Fallujah General Hospital. It included a stomach-turning collection of pictures of babies born with scaly skin, missing and deformed limbs, and horrifying tumors. Two years later, Dr Busby and his team of researchers sought to verify the claims in this report. What they found was that, in addition to shocking increases in pediatric cancers, there had also been an 18% reduction in male births.

Dr Busby has been the most visible scientist behind these studies, and for that reason, a lot of criticism has been directed at him. He is considered by many to be a "controversial" figure, which only means that his research has often challenged official government positions. His studies on Fallujah have similarly earned the title of "controversial". Many journals were afraid to publish his second study because of "pressure" from "outside people". "Outside people" means types like Roger Helbig – a retired Lieutenant Colonel in the US Air Force who is well-known for publishing online attacks on those who take a critical stance against uranium weapons – and pressure groups with similar agendas.

While these tragedies are often reported within the corporate media, especially when they lead to major misconduct cases that involve Western soldiers or officials, one never sees front page spreads with pictures of the victims chosen to maximise sympathy; one never sees open-ended live updates at the top of news feeds; and one certainly never sees a deluge of opinion pieces calling for censure of Western military forces or foreign policies.  We don't see news anchors breaking down in tears [Note: after a thirty-second Visa commercial at this location] on live TV or mawkish, melodramatic verbiage calling for 'something to be done' about Western brutality and war crimes.  These victims of Western foreign policy and all its associated evils are quickly buried and just as quickly forgotten.

Former UK Shadow Defence Secretary Hilary Benn - propelled to fame after his speech calling for air strikes on Syria was wildly lauded by the British political establishment - was challenged on Twitter the other day to 'make a powerful speech about how the bombing [in Syria] is progressing'.  In response, he wrote: 'Have you contacted Russian/Syrian embassies to ask why their governments did this'?  In asking this question, it logically follows - if he were an honest man - that he would also condemn with disgust the deaths of any children killed by UK/US/NATO/Israeli bombs and other military actions.

Readers are invited to find these condemnations as the 99.99998271% could not.

One could instead offer the following in response to Hilary Benn: 'All war represents a failure of diplomacy'.  Would he acknowledge the validity or wisdom of these words?  Would he recognise them at all?  Probably not.  They are from Tony Benn, his father.

Written by Simon Wood

Twitter: @simonwood11

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Friday, August 12, 2016

Persecuting Assange: The Mainstreaming of Neoliberal Pathology

"Objective journalism is one of the main reasons that American politics has been allowed to be so corrupt for so long" - Hunter S. Thompson

The non-profit journalistic and publishing organization WikiLeaks released on 22nd July 19,252 emails and 8,034 attachments sent from or received by Democratic National Committee (DNC) personnel.   The emails exposed numerous instances of unprofessional, unethical and possibly illegal behaviour, including concerted attempts to undercut Bernie Sanders as well as clear favouritism toward Hillary Clinton.

Specifically the emails exposed - among thousands of other things - the DNC conspiring to create false Trump information and release it with Reuters; DNC Hillary supporters infiltrating the Sanders campaign; a super PAC paying young voters to push back online Sanders supporters; a mole working inside the Sanders campaign; bringing up Sanders' religion to scare southern voters; possible money laundering by moving money back and forth to bypass legal limits; a Politico writer sending his stories to the DNC before he sends them to his editor; feeding CNN the questions they want to be asked in interviews; and the DNC requesting the pull of an MSNBC commentary segment.

It will come as no surprise therefore that the US establishment has brought forth enormous pressure on the government of Ecuador to force Julian Assange - the founder and editor-in-chief of WikiLeaks - out of the Ecuadorean embassy in London, an act that would lead to his certain arrest at the hands of the UK authorities.  To its credit, Ecuador has reaffirmed its commitment to providing political asylum to Assange.

At the same time, after four years of stalling, Swedish prosecutors have this week expressed their intention to question Assange within the embassy, something they could have easily done at any time.  Indeed, those believing that (Swedish prosecutor) Marianne Ny really has at heart the best interests of the two women involved in the case must now ask themselves why she would therefore allow some of her investigations into allegations of sexual assault to be dropped - as they were last year - because the deadline for bringing charges expired.  Given that Sweden is now willing to interview Assange in the embassy, why could they have not done this sooner for the sake of the women involved?  The only possible conclusion is that this - as long stated by several serious analysts - is a purely political investigation and that Assange is right to fear for his security.

Along with a few other journalists, most notably John Pilger, The 99.99998271% has exposed on several occasions the farcical case against Julian Assange.  In June 2014, to mark the second anniversary of Assange's embassy refuge, this blog noted the following:

Readers who are open to the possibility that they may have been misled on this issue should first follow these links and read/watch in full:

here explains some of the general circumstances of the case.

This short animated
video also provides a clear, informative summary.


Perhaps the most perplexing aspect of the often hostile public reaction to the plight of Julian Assange is the assumption by so many of benign intent on the part of the US and its close allies, the UK and Sweden. Despite the mass intrusive surveillance apparatus exposed by Edward Snowden, under the umbrella of which strategies reminiscent of the East German Stasi have been laid out for the world to see; despite the long documented history of illegal, covert operations undertaken by agencies of the United States like COINTELPRO, Operation Mockingbird, Operation CHAOS and many others; despite dozens of illegal interventions and bombings of foreign sovereign nations; despite multiple CIA-sponsored coup d'etats that replaced democratically elected leaders with murderous dictators; despite the numerous fake FBI terror plots to justify the [] dedication of [vast] resources to the 'war on terror'; despite the quite insane double standards displayed in the 'intelligence' arena...despite all these documented realities, perplexing it is indeed that any serious person could assume any benign intent whatsoever. Indeed, given the above list, an intelligent person would surely assume the precise opposite.

One major PR strategy adopted by the Clinton campaign in response to the DNC leaks has been to blanket 'blame Russia'.  Given the extensive links to the major media organizations exposed within the leaks, it will come as no surprise that pet journalists and pundits have been parroting the same line.  This 'shock-and-awe' strategy is effective in that it feeds off the already strong anti-Russia feelings that have been whipped up in recent years on multiple fronts while simultaneously deflecting attention from where it belongs (the substance of the leaked emails) onto a tried and tested smear target: Vladimir Putin.

A notable aspect of this furore is the highlighting of the reflexive response of mainstream and establishment figures to actions that expose the endemic corruption of the system upon which they symbiotically depend to exist.  Corporate media journalists tend to make much of their 'objectivity' - the perceived lack of bias in their reporting.  At the same time, they deride other media organizations like Russia Today or TeleSur, especially when they carry stories that run counter to the official Western narratives that they personally sustain.

The standard tactic for enforcing this objectivity and lack of bias is to introduce a story in a calm, professional manner aided by high-quality graphics and studio designs along with - when necessary - ominous, breaking-news sound effects. Deeper analysis is then supplied with the help of two or more pundits or 'experts', some holding conflicting views.  In the case of the DNC leaks, for example, a Clinton campaign staffer could feature against a Trump spokesman.  In this way, the advertised and guaranteed objectivity ('fair and balanced') is upheld as two differing perspectives are aired.

To casual news viewers, this approach will (falsely) appear unbiased and objective.  In the DNC-leak scenario, while the two pundits may hold conflicting - even opposing - views, they will both nonetheless reside comfortably within the neoliberal consensus.  The Clinton side will blame (without evidence) Russia for the leak; the Trump side will say (correctly) that such an assertion is an attempt to deflect attention from the substance of the emails.  Neither side will ever address the deep corruption that exists in both of the main parties, and indeed at all levels of government; nor will they express any suggestion that there may be other ways of running democratic elections - or indeed societies - beyond the sick two-party duopoly; the utterly discredited status quo.

This is pseudo-journalism, in that it does not challenge power or hold it to account.  It merely discusses topics of current interest within a neoliberal framework that is never questioned.  On the rare occasions more radical voices do reach the mainstream, they are habitually smeared or simply sidelined or ignored.  This is further played out on social media, with even polite radical dissent or suggestions of alternative approaches met with scornful, derisive and sometimes contemptuous dismissals by mainstream journalists.

And all the while, ad revenues must be maintained with manufactured conflict and exaggeration.

News plus one - a slick product for sale.  A tool incapable of engendering progressive change; used instead to promote and entrench the aims and needs of profit and power.

This unshakable faith within the establishment/corporate media clique in its own objectivity and the contempt it holds for Russia Today and other Western-narrative-challenging outlets is laughable with several serious studies proving severe systemic bias.  Only this week a BBC Trust report found that '[t]he BBC has a “high dependency” on the governing party for statistics, with Conservatives representing nearly three-quarters of all statistics it cites from politicians, according to a report by the corporation’s governing body.  [The report] also said that the corporation’s journalism needed to do more to “go beyond the headlines” and be more wary of reporting figures “straight from a press release”.'  Other studies 'continually show a strong pro-Israeli bias' in reporting of the Middle East conflict within Western media.  Still more have found 'persistent' bias against Jeremy Corbyn at the BBC and other outlets.  And few supporters of Scottish independence will have fond memories of the coverage provided in the run-up to the referendum.

Ironic it is then that the media treatment of Julian Assange and WikiLeaks is such a fine example of this fake objectivity.  Although all react to accusations of bias or (self)-censorship with indignation or even anger, professing strong independence of their editors, and the certainty that they have the freedom to write what they like, corporate media journalists almost without exception trip over themselves to demean, ridicule and personally insult Assange and his plight, thereby doing a fine job for the instigators of the epic crimes exposed by WikiLeaks by deflecting attention from them to such an easy target.  While some journalists may express an acceptance of the need for organizations that protect whistleblowers, they nevertheless faithfully serve imperial interests by pushing the debate towards trivial matters of personal dislike: even a cursory internet search will yield hundreds of catty articles focusing on petty, personal concerns while ignoring the elephant in the room - the exposed criminality.

A simple thought experiment. A mysterious file containing the DNC emails is surreptitiously slipped onto the desk of a journalist (let's call him Jack Smith) at a major corporate media outlet like the New York Times.  How will Jack react when he picks up the file and discovers its contents?

Once verified as genuine, the first words entering our hero's head are likely to be: 'epic shitstorm on a galactic scale'.  Jack would realise instantly the implications of dropping a bomb like this into the middle of Hillary Clinton's campaign at such a crucial juncture; the enormous damage that could be caused to one of the most powerful and connected people in the world.  Does anyone seriously believe that Jack would go ahead and write an expose - the scoop of the year - all the while dreaming of Pulitzers?

First, he knows that he has to get past the bosses in full awareness of the fact that editors at the NYT don't get there by being political imbeciles.  Does he go rogue and write independently, finding an alternative publisher?  He's seen the contents - the emails contain clear, smoking-gun evidence of systemic corruption and favouritism at the DNC.  There is no question that this is in the public interest, particularly in light of the fact that Clinton is the clear bookies' favourite to win the presidency.  The people of America surely need to know what their potential president and her party machine have done to deliberately sabotage the only serious opposition, Bernie Sanders, who enthused and inspired millions of especially young people disillusioned with the neoliberal order.

Jack remembers why he entered journalism.  The people's right to know.  Truth to power, and holding it to account.  However, this is surely too much of a hot potato.  He has a mortgage, kids in private schools, medical bills, a great job at the most famous newspaper in the world...and he knows all too well what can happen to journalists who upset the wrong people.  A very early retirement to spend more time with the family and likely future blanket ostracism from corporate media is a real possibility...perhaps even worse.

No, Jack decides to pass this one on to his bosses and let them handle it...and then goes back to his detailed analysis of the outlandish pronouncements of Donald Trump.  After all, Jack reasons, the public also needs to know about the dangers of a Trump presidency.

Fortunately we don't need a thought experiment to know what NYT editors do with politically embarrassing information, especially if it could hamstring an establishment candidate, and even if the information is essential for public viewing before the election:

A column by New York Times public editor Byron Calame August 13 [2006] reveals that the newspaper withheld a story about the Bush administration’s program of illegal domestic spying until after the 2004 election, and then lied about it.

On December 16, 2005, the Times reported that President Bush had authorized the National Security Agency (NSA) to monitor thousands of telephone conversations and e-mails in the US without court approval. At the time, the Times acknowledged that it had, at the urging of the Bush administration, withheld publication of the story, saying it held its exposé back “for a year.” This time frame suggested that the newspaper made the decision to withhold publication of the story after the 2004 presidential election.

Such a delay was, in itself, unpardonable, and provoked angry criticism. Now we learn, from an interview with Executive Editor Bill Keller conducted by Calame, that internal discussions at the Times about drafts of the eventual article had been “dragging on for weeks” before the November 2, 2004, election, which resulted in a victory for Bush.

“The process,” the public editor notes, “had included talks with the Bush administration.” A fresh draft was the subject of discussion at the newspaper “less than a week” before the election.
Involved here is not a trivial sex scandal or some moral peccadillo committed by one or another of the major candidates. At issue was a major policy question—one that goes to the core of constitutionally guaranteed civil liberties and basic democratic rights.

The electorate had the right to know that the incumbent president was systematically breaking the law in order to secretly wiretap, without court warrants, the communications of American citizens. As the Times was well aware, similar illegalities—although on a smaller scale—were among the charges leveled against Richard Nixon in the second article of impeachment, entitled “Abuse of Power,” approved by the Judiciary Committee of the House of Representatives in July 1974, leading to Nixon’s resignation the following month.

Consider now what an independent journalist (John Smith) would do?  To a large degree it would depend on his courage, as John would publish this story knowing that revealing such information would trigger a deluge of smears and false accusations.  He would almost certainly face calls for criminal investigation for hacking, not to mention the inevitable accusations of 'working for the Russians'.  Charges of 'interfering in democracy' would be levelled.  Fellow journalists would run a mile, either refusing to comment or roundly denouncing him and his perceived motives, of which money will be prominently aired.  All evidence-free of course.  A brave journalist will go ahead anyway, or perhaps take a more prudent route and send the files anonymously to an organization like WikiLeaks.

This thought experiment demonstrates why WikiLeaks is so essential for true transparency and sometimes accountability...and why corporate media journalists stay exactly where they are, sometimes carving out glittering, prize-filled careers and automatic access to the rich, famous and powerful.

The John Smith scenario may sound familiar.  Julian Assange has experienced almost all these smears and false accusations since releasing the information, as a quick glance at the replies to the tweets on the WikiLeaks twitter feed will demonstrate.

Despite claims by US 'experts' to the contrary, there is no evidence that Russia is the source of the leak, and indeed no such evidence has been presented by the US, despite NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden recently commenting that it would be easy to provide.  Others accuse Assange of a personal vendetta against Clinton, and that he is using the leak to damage her campaign, thereby putting the 'objectivity' of WikiLeaks in jeopardy.

Assange has made no secret of the fact that he has no love for Clinton, and has openly admitted that the leak was timed for maximum impact. However, it is this second accusation that so clearly demonstrates the deep infection into the public consciousness of the neoliberal pathology.  Those making such an accusation have lost their perspective.  They instinctively grope for the fake objectivity requirement manufactured by and utilized by the corporate media for decades.  Here we have information that seriously puts into question the suitability of a major candidate for the highest possible office, from which she will wield vast executive power over 300 million plus Americans as well as significant influence over the lives of billions of people around the world.  But to these accusers, this information requires 'balance'.  Calls to hack Donald Trump's tax returns and bewilderment at why Assange is 'standing in the way of the one person who can stop Trump' abound among both the liberal commentariat and large numbers of ordinary citizens.

To any right-thinking person, it is self-evident that this information must be publicised before the election, and that it also must reach as many people as possible.  The best way to do that is to publish at a time when the eyes and ears of the world are fixed upon the subject of the leaks.  Balance has nothing to do with it.  It is source material that all are free to read themselves containing essential information that is clearly in the public interest.  Are Assange's accusers actually suggesting that he should have hung on to such explosive information until after Hillary is safely ensconced in the White House?

Those doing so should seriously consider a career in corporate journalism:

"Circus dogs jump when the trainer cracks his whip. But the really well-trained dog is the one that turns his somersault when there is no whip". - George Orwell, 1944

These words of Orwell can, it seems, be applied not only to journalists, but now also to millions of 'consumers' of the corporate media.

For anyone who believes that Assange is a 'rapist' who is 'evading justice' and is 'holed up at the embassy' because he is a 'coward'; indeed, anyone who focuses on the actions and personality of Assange instead of the content of the leaks published by his organization...for you the message is this: You will not realise it (yet) but you have been successfully co-opted into the propaganda efforts to deflect attention from the numerous, horrific, documented crimes of imperial interests and the deep corruption of major institutions and their top officials.  The people responsible for disseminating this propaganda will laugh at how they have successfully transformed you into a pack of animals baying for the blood of one man whose 'crime' has been to shine a spotlight on the corruption they are paid well to obscure.  They will chortle with delight at your almost complete lack of interest in the decades upon decades of mass murder, torture, rapes, oppression and illegal coups that have been carried out in your name with your taxes and with the help of officials you have voted for, while you focus your ire instead on one of the most obvious set-ups (that of Assange) ever...along with all the other tried-and-tested distractions.  The only thing that may astound even them is how easy it has been to manipulate you.

In the internet age, ignorance really is a choice - the choice between being a manipulated dupe and a free thinker.  Quite literally, millions of lives depend on it.  What will it be?

Written by Simon Wood

Twitter: @simonwood11

Facebook: Here

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