The UN Special Rapporteur on torture Nils Melzer, who has been investigating Sweden and the UK in connection with the torture of Julian Assange for a year now, declared to both Swiss media outlet swissinfo.ch and to the United Nations:
Four democratic countries joined forces – the US, Ecuador, Sweden and the UK – to leverage their power to portray one man as a monster so that he could later be burnt at the stake without any outcry. If Julian Assange is convicted, it will be a death sentence for freedom of the press.
In this sense I would like to ask our ex-Foreign Minister, Pekka Haavisto, who goes around declaring that media freedom is one of the cornerstones of our Finnish and European society, if his definition of "protecting media freedom" includes working closely with countries who torture journalists in order to cover war crimes (in between which, the "collateral" killings of reporters, ironically), like Finland does with Sweden and the UK, especially in connection to the NATO CoE we host in our country (hybrid warfare for Finland, Deterrence of state-actors for the UK, and deterrence of non-state actors for Sweden), and in relation to the defamation campaign that our state broadcaster, YLE (which we pay for, with our taxes) launched against Julian Assange in the specific and Freedom of the Press in general. Don't you feel a bit ridiculous, Haavisto? Why instead of screaming out loud about what a scandal this is, YLE calls Julian Assange a "Russian Collaborator"? Did you tell them to do so, Haavisto? Or who was, it in Ulkoministeriö, who gave the order?
Today, we will examine the Espionage Act of 1917 and we will outline why the torture and persecution ("deterrence", in NATO military terminology) of non-state actor Assange is dangerous to freedom of press worldwide. We will then see what the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture (the world leading expert on state organised torture) says about Sweden's role in the persecution, and why does he think that Sweden committed numerous human rights violations and straight-up torture when dealing with Assange; we will then discuss the coverage of the Assange case, and we will ponder why Russian state backed RT keeps on “bothering” us with Assange, while Finnish state backed YLE first lied to defend the US and then systematically failed to report on the case in a truthful manner.
THE ABC OF THE ASSANGE CASE
Julian Assange is the publisher of website Wikileaks. Wikileaks published, at the beginning of the 2010’s a series of secret cable communications over the conduct of the United States of America and its allies in militarily occupied countries. It was one of the largest leaks to ever come out of the United States Government. In the specific, the documents showed indiscriminate killings of civilians in Baghdad which included the collateral murders of Reuters reporters, the systematic torture happening in Guantanamo Bay, and the Afghan Diaries, which documented more indiscriminate killings of civilians. More recently, Wikileaks uncovered how the Douma “chemical attacks” were most likely organised by “rebels” (perhaps the "moderate" rebels we're told we need to like?) rather than by Assad, and how the currently fully corrupt OPCW covered up the whole matter (and I will talk about that, but for now I'll leave this and this links); which has serious implications for the US, the UK and France, as those “attacks” were the catalyst for more Western bombings in Syria, which de facto restarted the war (we recall how the Douma attacks happened in a moment when Assad was basically in control of the country). The secret informations were given to Wikileaks by Chelsea Manning, who was herself already declared guilty of stealing classified information, and was detained for years in torturous conditions herself.
In 2019, Assange’s indictment was published by few news outlets; and it was already widely postulated at that time that Assange’s crimes would be related to espionage. This in itself is problematic; as Assange did not steal the documents (they were stolen by Manning, who was already found guilty of that crime by a US court); Assange published the documents akin to any journalist who publishes information given by “anonymous” sources. But they were correct, as Assange stands right now accused of espionage on the basis of the Espionage Act of 1917. This act was used, during the years, to convict and persecute various dissenting personalities; for example socialists Kate Richards O’Hare and Eugene V. Debs, as well as anarchist Emma Goldman were convicted under this Act for protesting against the compulsory military draft during WWI; Daniel Ellsberg, who stole and published in the ’60 the so called Pentagon Papers, a series of US classified documents which showcased the enlargement of the Vietnam War scope, with numerous bombings taking place in Laos and Cambodia besides Vietnam, was also found guilty of espionage; and more recently Edward Snowden (who has been receiving permanent residency in Russia in late 2020) was convicted under this act for his 2013 NSA leaks, which uncovered, in between other things, how the US’s secret services were tapping and listening to European leaders and European Embassies in the US.
The enforcement of this Act has been controversial since its inception, as detractors of the act’s indiscriminate usage point out that it impedes and hampers freedom of speech . In 1919, the US Supreme Court’s landmark ruling Schenck vs United States established that it didn’t. The case revolved around convicting two socialist leaders, who distributed fliers which advocated to resist to compulsory military draft during WWI. It is important to note, that the Wilson administration was known at the time for punishing all of those who spoke up against the US’s entry in WWI, which was a very contentious matter in the eyes of US’s public opinion, as left wingers and those with ties to Germany were adamantly against the war. The court ruling stated that:
when a nation is at war, many things that might be said in time of peace are such a hindrance to its effort that their utterance will not be endured so long as men fight, and that no Court could regard them as protected by any constitutional right.
In this sense this ruling (and we remember that under common law system rulings are what matters for future judgements) is problematic in itself; as the Supreme Court basically told that “if we are engaged in a war, dissent against the war is punishable by law”. While arguably some wars, like WWII, can be considered “rightfully” fought (the Nazis had to be stopped, as their aim was to conquer and “germanise” the conquered populations, especially the Soviet peoples) the problem here arises more clearly when the US is fighting expansionistic wars, such as the Iraq war. Iraq has been for long bullied by the United States, in an incessant rain of bombs started by the Clinton administration (we recall how at the eve of his impeachment hearings he bombed Iraq in order to distract the population from his sexual misconduct and blatant abuse of power towards White House intern Monica Lewinsky).
Wikileaks published a video which showed the indiscriminate killings of civilians (in between which children) and reporters in Baghdad, with a soundtrack of laughter by the American murderers; and given the expansionistic nature of the Iraq war, the killings not only manage to look even more horrifying than if they would have been actual collaterals to a morally more justifiable conflict, like WWII (excluded of course wilful genocides, like Leningrad or Marzabotto), but they also should amount to war crimes, and the both the presidents under whom these killings happened and the presidents who helped cover everything should be trialled by the ICC, rather than being protected (or given Nobels for Peace). The Wikileaks cables did not “endanger” the United States (which is the legal base of the Espionage Act being used), as the war in Iraq was an illegitimate, expansionist war (the secret WMD were never found); and the war in Afghanistan, was a war where not even those who were running the war actually knew anymore, what they were exactly fighting for (see the Afghanistan Papers, published by the Washington Post in late 2019). And in any case, the documents were revealing war crimes committed by the American Forces; because yes, even war has rules and laws, and you can't for example torture people to extract information from them, you have to treat POWs decently, you cannot shoot on the press, you cannot shoot on children, you cannot shoot on the Red Cross, etc...
The legal case revolves around the claim that Assange allegedly helped Manning to crack one password to steal the documents. Yet, the indictment paper itself contradicts this claim:
Apparently Assange (the journalist) tried to help Manning (the whistleblower) to crack a password (after the war logs were already published), but the indictment papers also seem to imply that the cracked password never reached Manning (and that's why they identified her more easily). It would seem here that Assange is being blamed for communicating with the whistleblower, yet, as we will see below, many news outlets manage secure whistleblowers drop-offs in the dark net (.onion domain). Why exactly are Assange's conversations with Manning illegitimate when it's totally normal for journalists to communicate with their sources? From the indictment papers.
The "National Security" argument literally makes no sense; as the leaks hampered the military expansionistic aims of the US, they didn’t hamper the possibility of the US to defend itself, as let’s face it, Iraq is a small country on the other side of the globe to the US, and the only reason why the US went there and it is still there, notwithstanding a motion passed by the Iraqi parliament expelling them from the country (early 2020), is to keep troops active next to Iran, their long-term objective. So in this sense, we find that the first issue with the Assange persecution is related to quashing dissent against the West’s military expansionism, which is a topic that outlets like state-backed YLE never talk about, or seriously misrepresent, (un)surprisingly.
The second issue related to the usage of this Act to prosecute Assange is its implications for freedom of press. As people might know, the profession of journalism includes the need for occasional publication of informations given by individuals, whose identity cannot be revealed for various reasons. Sources might be committing, like Manning, illegal acts in order to bring information they find relevant to the public out in the open. Assange did not STEAL the documents; Assange PUBLISHED the documents his source (Manning) stole. Many news outlets actually run services to help whistleblowers sharing secret informations (see images below). So in this sense, when we arrest and torture Assange, we give way to the possibility of arresting journalists for publishing any kind of “uncomfortable” information. And more than this; if the United States is granted access to Assange (if the UK doesn’t kill him first in Belmarsh, of course) this could potentially mean that every journalist, of every nationality, can be summoned, persecuted, tortured and imprisoned by the United States of America and its allies when they’d be telling uncomfortable truths over America’s and its allies’ military bullying abroad. Imagine you're a Middle Eastern, or African journalist who discovers that America is shooting over children or torturing civilians to extract information; you publish your report, the United States grabs you, extradites you, and puts you in jail for two centuries. And Assange has an excellent legal team, but some random Middle Easterner or African? They won't have anyone helping them. This is very dangerous, and I cannot get over the fact that journalists at YLE would defend the US’s persecution of Assange. Aren’t you ashamed of yourselves?
The NYT secure-drop off for whistleblowers, in the dark web (screenshot). Notice how the whole project is managed by the Freedom of Press Foundation - it would almost look like publishing secreted information (like Wikileaks published the documents Manning stole) would be part of the journalistic practice? And that journalists who publish materials which someone else stole should not be prosecuted?
The Guardian's secure drop-off for whistleblowers in the dark web (screenshot). I don't know how worthwhile it is though, to send information to The Guardian - they'll just reap clicks and then they'll sell you to the authorities, they'll defame you and psychologically torture you. My advice: choose another outlet to whistle to.
The third legal issue related to the usage Espionage Act against Assange, is that the defendant (Assange) will not be able to use the “I uncovered war crimes, under the auspices of the first amendment and thus I shouldn’t be convicted, because the benefit that society got from the leaks are substantial” because legally, the nature of the leaks has got nothing to do with being charged with espionage. And Assange has been even having troubles meeting with his lawyers, given the fact that the UK keeps him in a status of maximum security and maximum control, which is also hampering the proper defence of Assange.
So we see how in the case of Assange being extradited to the US, ALL journalists around the globe might be in danger of being tortured by the Good Democracies, when they’d uncover information which goes against the One Narrative of the Good Democratic Western Wars. Eh. This is a pretty big problem, when we talk about freedom of press.
Tucker Carlson, who's openly anti-war, speculates on Fox News with Pink Floyd's Roger Waters, why such cruelty has been reserved to Assange. And then Fox News is the one who tells fake stories, isn't it?
And please, given the information you just read, now look at what YLE wrote about the charges on Assange:
Julian Assange herättää vahvoja tunteita, mutta tänään alkavassa oikeudenkäynnissä punnitaan vain sitä onko hänen luovuttamiselleen Yhdysvaltoihin oikeudelliset perusteet.
Oikeus ei puutu siihen millainen Assange on henkilönä tai olivatko kaikki hänen tietopaljastuksensa viisaita.
Yhdysvallat syyttää Assangea muun muassa salaisten asiakirjojen varastamisesta. Syytekohtia on 18 ja arvostelua herättää erityisesti sata vuotta vanhan vakoilulainsäädännön käyttäminen perusteissa.
(translation: Julian Assange evokes strong feelings, but the trial that begins today will only weigh whether there are legal grounds for his extradition to the United States.
Justice does not interfere with what Assange is like as a person or whether all of his disclosure was wise. The United States accuses Assange of, among other things, stealing secret documents. There are 18 indictments and the use of hundred-year-old espionage legislation as grounds is particularly critical.)
It is interesting to note, that if this journalist would have done some research on the topic, he would have noticed himself how it is clear to everyone that Assange didn’t steal the documents, when Manning has already being convicted of the very same crime. Conveniently, the journalist also fails to mention how Chelsea Manning herself is now being coerced to give “more” testimony over Assange; and when Manning stated she had already told everything she knew about Assange she was arrested. Moreover, according to the UN Special Rapporteur on torture, the UK's treatment of Assange and this extradition trial are also akin to torture and breach several international and human rights laws - how did this journalist miss this?
Left-wing, anti-war political commentator and comedian Jimmy Dore mocks the media: "why does Tucker understand, and is allowed to say on Fox News, that someone has already been convicted of the crimes Julian Assange stands accused of?" Tucker: "Assange wrote stories the NYT would have won Pulitzer's for - why aren't the journalists saying anything, isn't he one of them?"
So now the issue with Assange revolves around the fact that not only, according to the UN rapporteur, he is being tortured by the UK right now; the most significative point he makes is related to the fact that quite obviously, the US, the UK, Sweden and later on Ecuador, wilfully strategised and carried on a a decade long political persecution of Assange. It’s not just four countries going berserk; it’s four countries, acting together in order to eliminate (= deter) a “dangerous” non-state actor.
HOW DID SWEDEN TORTURE JOURNALIST AND PUBLISHER JULIAN ASSANGE?
One of the interesting facts of this gruesome ordeal is that, even those outlets who would en passant mention the Assange situation, tend to downplay, if not ignore, Sweden’s role in the persecution (Finland even praises them for it, we're pathetic). Even the UN Human Rights high commissioner, in November, published a piece over Melzer’s findings, but he limited himself to talking about the UK (while Melzer mentions four nations which acted together as problematic). The only two outlets which reported in full Sweden’s role in the political persecution of non-state actor Assange were World Socialist Web Site, which is managed by the Committee of the Fourth International; they’re politically socialists, and thus they are always on the forefront of anti-imperialist reporting, as imperialism is one of the many things the socialists really dislike (even though they are on the populist-left for what concerns the immigration discourse). The other outlet is an independent Swiss outlet, Republik, which carried on and published a full interview with Melzer (who's Swiss himself) over Sweden’s role in negatively and long-lastingly influencing global public opinion over non-state actor Julian Assange. It is to date the most comprehensive and clear news piece over Sweden’s role in the torture of Assange; and even though their website is in German and is behind a paywall, they actually published this piece in English and it's available to everyone. I will quote a bit from it but I warmly invite you to go and read it. It seems that there are still real journalists, in Switzerland.
The UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, a position currently occupied by international law professor Nils Melzer, is the UN representative who investigates countries when they get accused of committing torture and human rights violations against their citizens. He reports directly to the UN secretary general.
The effectiveness of Swedish joint operation in the information environment (to create the case against Assange they both had to involve the judiciary in Sweden, and all collaborator media outlets after, hence it was a joint operation, and not a simple propaganda operation) was so high, that even the UN rapporteur on torture states that in 2018, he initially refused the case of Assange because:
My impression, largely influenced by the media, was also colored by the prejudice that Julian Assange was somehow guilty and that he wanted to manipulate me.
But after giving a quick look to the material, his opinion drastically changed:
It quickly became clear to me that something was wrong. That there was a contradiction that made no sense to me with my extensive legal experience: Why would a person be subject to nine years of a preliminary investigation for rape without charges ever having been filed?
I can answer this; a person would be subjected to such a treatment, in order to change and sway public opinion over the person itself. How does this work? In the field of joint operations in the information environment, one of the main goals of information operations is to be able to control and influence the cognitive processes of individuals in order to manipulate their perception of an event or an individual. When Assange came out with Wikileaks, most papers, especially The Good Sources, glorified him; yet after having reaped in views and following, they all dropped him, as delineated by Assange himself when he talks about The Guardian in his famous 60minutes interview. So for a moment, Assange was a hero; but straight after that corporate media turned on him mercilessly. Since 2012, the year when Sweden started their “investigation” the discourse around Assange has been related to his person, rather than to the facts he uncovered. Is he a rapist? Is he skateboarding in the Ecuadorian embassy? Is he feeding his cat properly? War crimes were thus forgotten in favour of a pointless narrative of petty gossip and unfounded accusations, brought on by same sources, as The Guardian, who are now defending the UK’s tortures. Cognitively, Assange’s name became thus unconsciously related to the non-existent “rape” rather than the information he uncovered. The culture surrounding Wikileaks was influenced so, that the leaks and the work that they are doing to uncover the West’s military dealings abroad are subordinated, in people’s minds, to Assange being a rapist.
Let's see a visual example of how this happens by using images. The 18th of September 2020, Russian state media RT and Finnish state media YLE both published a newspiece about Julian Assange (following Trump's proposal for an amnesty in exchange for information on his sources for the DNC leaks, which happened in 2016, in itself possibly some kind of smear). As a benchmark, we'll also add Italian state broadcaster RAI vision of the events, even though unfortunately I couldn't find one article from RAI on the same day that the previous two, and this is because Finnish YLE follows exclusively the American news-timeline and topics, while Italian RAI does mostly her own thing and reports mostly on events, rather than people (RT and RAI both reported on the 7th of September that the extradition trial was starting [event] while YLE did not; both YLE and RT published a piece on 18.09.2020 [non-event based on American discourse] and then RAI published their own piece on the 28th of September [Ai WeiWei protests in London, event based on Italian discourse].
Let's compare the three news pieces visually:
RT, 18.09.2020, screenshot from their website
YLE, 18.09.2020, screenshot from their website
RAI, 28.09.2020, from their website
Concentrate on the first two photos. Let's do a quick semiotic analysis. And that means, that we'll look at the images and see what kind of informations we can gather from the images alone (yes, it is a thing, Barthes docet).
The first two outlets are talking about the same topic on the same day; yet somehow RT's photo hints that there is an event happening; a trial (the person in the photo has a judge costume). From the sign he's holding we can gather that Assange is the one being prosecuted while there are some war criminals going free. The trial is seen as a show trial, where laws are not being respected and the verdict is certain (there is a kangaroo mask). YLE on the other hand, purposefully chose to showcase a person: Julian Assange. A cool (leather jacket), healthy looking Julian Assange outside of the Ecuadorian Embassy. He's somewhat grinning, and opening a door to get outside of the public view. He's not looking at us, he's looking towards the interior of the Embassy - almost as if he wouldn't care about his public, because he is safe and sound.
While the articles were published on the same day, we can see that the meaning they convey it's diametrically opposed; YLE's photo hints to someone who's turning away from the law while RT's photo hints to someone who's prosecuted unjustly.
The third photo (and it's a photo-gallery), the benchmark photo, it's a parade of the obvious; here is a famous Chinese artist and protester who goes to London to organise a protest in favour of Julian Assange. There is both a person (a renowned artist-dissident) and an event (a protest is happening). WeiWei is sitting right in the middle of the picture, and the signs around him tell it all, Free Assange, Journalism is not a Crime and Jail the War Criminals. The image also implies that there are some war criminals going free while Assange is being trialled. More obvious than this, they couldn't have made it. The Italian journalists seem to hold the same view on the case of Assange as the Russian journalists; while the Finns believe Assange is a Russian stooge who hacked the DNC, like most of the American journalists believe. The Italians and the Russians see the culprits as the war criminals, first, the institutions which are not prosecuting the war criminals but the journalist, second, while Assange is seen as the ultimate victim. The Finns and the Americans see Assange as a criminal who's running from the Just Institutions and out of the public view. The war criminals are not even hinted at.
Exactly like it happens with the two photos we discussed above, so it has happened, in the collective cognitive sphere, with the whole Wikileaks affair. It is not about the fact that Assange's sources passed him documents which uncovered war crimes, it is not about the event; it is about the person, the rapist who escaped justice (and doesn't even feed his cat properly!).
And rape, rape is one of the most vicious crimes; there is no situation in which a rape can ever be justified (unlike homicide, which could be a mistake, or an act of self-defence). This fabricated rape has become more talked about than the real war crimes. But let's see now how these accusations were fabricated by the Government of Sweden.
The story Sweden threw out, was that Assange raped two women and then evaded the Swedish authorities by seeking asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy in London. Yet, this whole story, according to the UN rapporteur on torture, is completely false. In primis, there was no rape; two women had unprotected sex with Assange, and subsequently went to police to know wether they could oblige him to take an HIV test. Assange didn’t “evade” the Swedish prosecutors; on the contrary, he was the one contacting them to solve the issues. Even from the Ecuadorian embassy, he proposed to the Swedish authorities to have the interview through video-link; the Swedish authorities refused (but during the year conducted 44 such video-link interviews in between the UK and Sweden). Before being granted asylum, Assange was even willing to go to Sweden to answer to the charges, but at the condition that Sweden wouldn’t extradite him to the US, who wanted to get to him because he published, for the whole world to see, the systematic murders and tortures committed by the US and its allies in militarily occupied foreign countries. Sweden refused. So already from this fact, we can see that Sweden had in its mind the idea of helping the United States to punish the one person who uncovered war crimes committed by the West. According to Melzer, the whole prosecution in itself was completely bogus. Let’s see what he says:
Q: What do you mean by that: «The authorities stonewalled?»
A: Allow me to start at the beginning. I speak fluent Swedish and was thus able to read all of the original documents. I could hardly believe my eyes: According to the testimony of the woman in question, a rape had never even taken place at all. And not only that: The woman’s testimony was later changed by the Stockholm police without her involvement in order to somehow make it sound like a possible rape. I have all the documents in my possession, the emails, the text messages.
Oh cool. So Good Democracy Sweden falsified information in order to be able to keep on “investigating” Assange for “rape” while the rape in itself had never even taken place. Amazing, Democratic Sweden thus created a completely inexistent and criminal narrative, the “Assange the Rapist”narrative, which was of course straight away taken up by all of the Good Sources (including the same sources which worked on The Afghan Diaries with Wikileaks, ironically). According to Melzer, the US literally asked its allies to “inundate Assange with all kinds of criminal cases, enough to cover him for the next 25 years”(and this communication is retrievable from Wikileaks itself). The order of the events, according to Melzer goes roughly like:
I can only point to the order of events: A woman walks into a police station. She doesn’t want to file a complaint but wants to demand an HIV test. The police then decide that this could be a case of rape and a matter for public prosecutors. The woman refuses to go along with that version of events and then goes home and writes a friend that it wasn’t her intention, but the police want to «get their hands on» Assange. Two hours later, the case is in the newspaper. As we know today, public prosecutors leaked it to the press – and they did so without even inviting Assange to make a statement. And the second woman, who had allegedly been raped according to the Aug. 20 headline, was only questioned on Aug. 21.
Melzer goes then on with the explanation on how the Swedish police changed the version of events without even informing the women; how they stonewalled the process, how the legal professional assigned to the two women told them how their story was not in their hands, but rather it was a state’s matter. According to Melzer, numerous laws were breached by Sweden in order to be able to carry on persecuting non-state actor Assange, by negatively influencing public opinion. But then when the UN rapporteur on torture contacted the Swedish authorities and asked them to respond to him over the numerous human rights violations they committed against Assange, Sweden dryly just replied: “the government has no further comment on this case”, which according to Melzer, simply means that Sweden is indeed guilty of gross human rights violations towards Assange:
When a country like Sweden declines to answer questions submitted by the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, it shows that the government is aware of the illegality of its behavior and wants to take no responsibility for its behavior. They pulled the plug and abandoned the case a week later because they knew I would not back down. When countries like Sweden allow themselves to be manipulated like that, then our democracies and our human rights face a fundamental threat.
Q: You believe that Sweden was fully aware of what it was doing?
A: Yes. From my perspective, Sweden very clearly acted in bad faith. Had they acted in good faith, there would have been no reason to refuse to answer my questions.”
Now please read what YLE says about Swedens role in Assange’s torture:
Guardian vaati pääkirjoitussivuillaan myös Assangen lähettämistä Ruotsiin vastaamaan seksuaalirikossyytteisiin, joista Ruotsin syyttäjä nyt on luopunut ennen kaikkea todistuslausuntojen vanhentumisen vuoksi.
("The Guardian also wrote how Assange should be indeed sent to Sweden, to answer for the accusation of rape which Sweden withdrew, but only because the witness statements went obsolete")
We can note straight away how this sentence fits perfectly with Sweden’s long-term influencing strategy. The report of the UN rapporteur on torture, which detailed how Sweden’s prosecution of Assange was completely fabricated, breached several international laws and can be classified as torture had already come out, by the time this journalist wrote this piece. Yet, YLE wilfully ignores this fact in order to negatively influence the reader; they are worried about readers having a positive image of Assange, as after all, there might still be people who think that uncovering war crimes is not something one should be prosecuted for (the fascists!). So YLE itself is here engaged in an information operation, with the strategic aim of influencing negatively the reader over the figure of Assange. It also contains a lie; as it is clearly outlined even by the UN rapporteur on torture, that the charges were completely bogus in the first place, and it was political persecution rather than sexual assault.
But what really annoys me about YLE's coverage of this matter, is the arrogance the Finnish journalists constantly display; we get articles like this; a journalist explains that "experts know, and know-it-alls just talk"; so can you explain to me why, by grace, when the world leading expert on torture (the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture) presents the results of his investigation over Sweden and declares that Sweden fabricated tout-court the accusations against Assange you decided to present the POV of a know-it-all on the Guardian who calls for burning the rapist at the stake? How exactly is an op-ed writer on The Guardian more of an expert on torture than the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture is?
But what really scares me is this rhetoric (in the same article)
Samalla entiset yhteistyökumppanit kritisoivat Assangea siitä, että Wikileaks julkaisi salaisiksi luokiteltuja tietoja punnitsematta niiden tärkeyttä yleisölle - tai seurauksia dokumenteissa mainituille henkilöille.
Esimerkiksi Wikileaksin kanssa yhteistyötä tehnyt The Guardian -lehti katsoo kirjoituksessaan, että sensuroimattomien tietojen julkaiseminen oli virhe.
(At the same time, former partners criticized Assange for Wikileaks disclosing classified information without weighing its importance to the public - or the consequences for those named in the documents.
For example, The Guardian, which collaborated with Wikileaks, considers in its article that publishing uncensored information was a mistake).
In primis we need to ask ourselves; is it really necessary for the public to be explained what is the significance of a video which shows American soldiers who laugh and shoot down journalists and civilians in Iraq? What is there to explain? And then of course, we should not how the Finnish state broadcaster doesn't believe that the population should be informed about war crimes committed by the Army... so, how many brown people have Finnish forces tortured and how many brown children have they shot upon? The question needs to be asked, when the State Broadcaster openly says that war crimes committed by the Army shouldn't be revealed to the population, because they might not be able to understand it.
And the interesting thing about this article is that while they put a photo of a rally against the convictions of Assange, the photo is used to reinforce the idea that Assange is the bad guy, and the protesters are being unreasonable... it's not personal against him, it's just that people shouldn't know about our war crimes (but they don't use the word "war crimes" it's "abuse") committed against civilians in the Middle East. It's not like they're human. The Guardian says so, after all. This is the rhetoric with which Il Popolo D'Italia (the main fascist newspaper, founded by Mussolini himself) would have described the war crimes committed by the Italian Fascist forces in Abyssinia. Just some abuse happening during a Just War to Civilise the Savages. And the fascist journalists, they were free to write what they wanted as well, weren't they? No one told them to write nice things about fascism, they did it spontaneously because they were all fascists themselves. The Italian fascist press is the most free in the world, notoriously said Mussolini, and the fascist journalists populating the fascist press panorama would have all agreed.
So in this sense one questions needs to be asked - how is Sweden ranking third in the freedom of press index when according to the UN Special Rapporteur on torture, they’re guilty of torture towards Assange, whose only fault was to publish records of war crimes committed by the West? The Swedish State, in cooperation with the Swedish Judiciary, fabricated lies in order to torture a journalist and covering up war crimes. And how is that “free press” like YLE (ranking second in the freedom of press index) spend their time defending the systematic torture of Assange instead of being outraged? And why exactly it is in the Finnish State's interests to cover up war crimes? Is it so, did the State ask or are Finnish journalists really this incompetent?
ASSANGE AND RUSSIA: A MATCH MADE IN HEAVEN FOR CONSPIRATORIAL MEDIA OUTLETS
In the article whose headline and photo I showed above, YLE engages in the practice of conspiracy in more than one way, and unfortunately for them, some logic is enough to showcase exactly how non-sensical the stories they propose to us are.
Their version of the events goes:
Trump offered an amnesty to Assange in exchange for informations on who hacked the DNC. Assange refused. US institutions declared that Russia had hacked the DNC. The DNC states that Russia, the Trump campaign and Wikileaks worked together to interfere in the 2016 elections. Wikileaks uncovered mismanagement (väärinkäytöksiä) in the war in Iraq and Afghanistan.
(note that one of the suggested readings under this article is tilted: how did wikileaks go from an investigative journalism outlet to a Russian collaborator - no comment).
So the logical fallacy is obvious - why would Trump offer an amnesty to Assange in exchange for information on who hacked the DNC, if his campaign, together with Russia and Wikileaks, hacked the DNC? You see very well that just by logic this makes no sense. They'll say that it was a trick to "sound" innocent; yet the collusion has never been proved. The Mueller Report didn't prove any collusion, and the latest 966 pages report didn't prove any collusion either. They just proved that Trump had some business dealings with Ukrainian businessmen, and that, when the leaks came out, his campaign went to see what they were about, and they were excited. Exactly like the Sanders campaign did. When some dirt comes out on your opponent, of course you go to see it. That's just obvious.
Another semantic issue in this piece is defining the war crimes committed by the US as "abuse" (väärinkäytöksiä). When my mother used to beat me, YLE, that was abuse. When an aggressive military force shoots on children and reporters, that's a war crime. When inmates in a jail get beaten by the guards, that's abuse, but when POWs get interned and tortured in Guantanamo Bay, that's a war crime (breach of the Geneva convention on POW). Have you seen the video, the one where the American soldiers shoot a bunch of journalists from an apache attack helicopter and laugh about it? And then when some civilians go to help the wounded journalists and there are kids in the car, the American soldiers shoot again? And they laugh, and they blame the parents of the kids for "bringing the children in a war zone"? (perhaps, dear America, you shouldn't have made of Iraq a war zone in order to steal their resources and gain strategic advantage towards Iran? but I'm digressing here). Ohi YLE: do you think shooting journalists and children and laughing about it is just abuse? Are you kidding me? Because even here, the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture disagrees with you; in the Republik article, he states that the material uncovered by Wikileaks document, was, without any shadow of doubt, war crimes.
And then we come to the "Wikileaks worked with Russia to hack the DNC". In primis we need to ask why was the DNC hacked but not the Trump campaign? Interviewed by Franco-German documentary channel ARTE, a hacker who worked for Wikileaks during the 2016 campaign states that the DNC was hacked while the Trump campaign wasn't exclusively because Wikileaks' hackers couldn't find anything on Trump. Which is perfectly logical and believable; in 2016 Trump was a political novice, so it was literally impossible for them to find any war crime / pro-war corruption scandal about him (and according to the Assange's indictment papers, Wikileaks was looking specifically for military / intelligence materials which dealt with war). We recall that the leaks revealed how Clinton was pandering regime change to some rich donors; and quite obviously you need to be in the government to destroy other countries and present it as a finncial opportunity to rich donors (see also what the Clinton foundation did to Haiti, besides destroying Libya's statehood).
ARTE documentary on Julian Assange (the video should start at exactly the point when the hacker is talking about the DNC, minute 29 sec 15). In any case I recommend this documentary. It looks like that as the Italians and the Russians, the Franco-Germans are also upset about what's happening to Assange. Why aren't the Finns?
The next issue refers in primis, to the fact that Assange's trial is related, in newsmedia, to the hacking of the DNC, and then, to the fact that Russia is thrown into the DNC hacking at all. Assange's trial has nothing to do with the DNC leaks. Assange is on trial because of the war logs leaks (the ones which uncovered the war crimes). The DNC leaks do not have anything to do with Assange's trial!
From Assange indictment.
In a second instance the Wikileaks-Russia collusion to hack the DNC has never been proved itself - Wikileaks hacked the DNC; and it is not American institutions which asserted that Russia together with Wikileaks hacked the DNC; a private company, CrowdStrike, in which Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has just acquired a significative financial stake (up to 1M dollars), declared that Russia hacked the DNC; and I've read most of the 966 page report on the topic, and in the whole report, there is one sentence, at around page 320 which goes "the DNC stated that Russia had hacked the DNC servers" - and nothing more. Nothing more, no actual proof was provided. Because it would be totally unlikely that the DNC would ever lie about anything isn't it? We just believe them with no proof whatsoever. Ignorance is Strength.
The original document showing that Nancy Pelosi has a significant economic stake in the company behind "Russiagate" (and which linked Wikileaks to the whole ordeal). It is to note also that this very same company has donated big sums (up to 100.000$) to the Democratic Party. Would you call this corruption?
But of course they try to create a link in between Wikileaks and Russia, and of course everyone believes them, Russiagate is real, on YLE. It is enough to suggest that someone works with Russia to stain their reputation forever.
In fact, on a more international, collective cognitive level Assange and Wikileaks were linked to Russia exactly because we're supposed to hate Russia. We're supposed to avoid listening anything they say. We're supposed to believe that everything they say is lies! So Wikileaks is now screwed; even if they'd find proof of some war crimes happening at the hands of the West, no one would believe them, because they're a Russian asset (even though the latest leaks were published by Anonymous - Anonymous is a Russian asset in 3, 2, 1). In this latest senate report (nine-hundred-sixty-six pages) there is a lot of talking about Russia working with Wikileaks to undermine our democracies - which implies that war crimes and torture are at the base of our democracies, aren't they? But there is no proof offered to the reader, for anything. They just say so, because they are afraid that if our people would actually realise how many people we murder and torture in the Middle East in the name of democracy we probably wouldn't be able to kill as many anymore. And what a shame that would be!
Plus, the main rhetoric behind the idea that "Wikileaks likes Russia more than they like the US" is that "well, they didn't publish anything about Russia". If their main area of activity is war crimes, then it is a no brainer that they don't have anything about Russia. Russia has not started as many wars as the US has, isn't it? And even if we'd consider Crimea like an act of aggression (which I don't, and I explained why) then we need to notice, that it was the "Democratic" government of Ukraine who was caught by OSCE torturing people, not Russia (perhaps this is why Charles Michel was showing up with Zelensky praising him for how good and democratic Ukraine was? Because you can't be a Truly Democratic State if you don't torture people?). Like how would Russia be able to run an intercontinental torture network when they don't even have this many active wars around the globe? The only accusations you have against Russia in this context are fully fabricated, and there are whistleblowers AND documents proving it.
However, it is true, that RT is not letting go of Assange; they spoke about him extensively, both in articles and podcasts. And more than this; in 2012 RT hired Assange to host a TV show on Ruptly; and the coverage of the fact by Western media would be hilarious, if it wasn’t the prelude to psychological torture and political persecution. Reuters, in what might be defined as the most ideologically imperialist piece ever written, says:
Julian Assange is famous for his anti-American and anti-Western views, that is exactly why Russia Today is hiring him as a journalist,” said von Eggert, a commentator for Kommersant FM radio. “So this partnership is logical.... It has nothing to do with freedom of speech or real journalism.
And this sentence in itself, culturally and ideologically, has many issues. In primis, we see how “uncovering war crimes committed by the West” becomes being “anti-American and anti-West”. This is a very interesting correlation; it seems that the concept of being pro-America and pro-West automatically means “approving of war crimes” and “cheering for the Great Democratic Export when our soldiers massacre and torture civilians abroad”. You see, it is obvious that he works with Russia, when the Russians dislike war crimes like he does. Shit people, isn't it. This is even more offensive coming from Reuters; I would ask, have they seen the video where American pilots shoot indiscriminately over an unarmed crowd in Baghdad, killing innocent Iraqi civilians and two Reuters reporters, and then laugh about it and keep laughing and shooting until the people in the street are all dead? Are they here wilfully spitting on the grave of their own reporters? Or does it really matter, when the reporters in question were Middle Easterners? Do you also follow some race-driven-ideology, where if your reporters are brown, then they are fair game to be used as a dartboard by apache helicopters and American forces?
And it is even more interesting, how they don’t believe that Assange’s actions have anything to do with “real journalism”. I guess Real Journalism for Reuters just means copying down what the US overlord tells them to say. Even if it means spitting over the grave of their own reporters. Whatever Reuters considers “real journalism” apparently “uncovering war crimes committed by the West” is not it. Criticising the West, is just not allowed; can't you see the West is perfect, we're the Good Guys, aren't we? Can't you see how Nazi Germany is perfect, and those who criticise it are not real journalists, that's what Nazi party-affiliated journalists would have said the 30's. Aaaahh, The Good, Truthful Western Media, who protects us from Russia and from hearing any criticism of the West.
Western media, all in all, have been doing nothing but smearing Assange and cheering for the death of freedom of press, basically. Most outlets engaged in the systematic smearing of Assange; most outlets are now avoiding to talk about the blatant judiciary persecution happening in the UK, where Assange cannot even meet his lawyer to prepare his defence. According to the UN Special Rapporteur on torture, Melzer, Assange is in a very debilitate state; and I’m wondering wether the UK’s aim is to kill him before the extradition hearing in September, in order to avoid the wave of protests which would undoubtedly happen when they obviously will extradite him.
But the way the media covers the Assange case is also significative when we think how coverage of foreign events is often related to foreign policy strategy. All of theGood Vassals state-broadcasters like YLE, have been trying to avoid talking about the real implications of Assange being extradited and found guilty; no one pretty much, is talking about what an Assange conviction would mean for journalists worldwide. In this sense I also would like to note, how the Finnish Foreign Ministry seems to be more worried on showing that they are on board with killing and torturing journalists, as in July 2019, they took part in a “high profile” press freedom convention, organised by the UK (who's right now torturing Assange, according to Melzer); and the irony is that according to Ulkoministeriö,
According to Johanna Sumuvuori, Finland’s areas of expertise in the cooperation include strengthening the principle of public access to official documents,
which is very ironic, given that war allies and torturous pals Sweden and the UK are trying to kill Assange because he made public official (yet classified) documents uncovering war crimes, isn’t it? One would think that a country which prides itself on being “honest” would not be going around defending those who kill journalists who uncover war crimes, but hey, such is Finnish state transparency, I guess.
Additional irony comes from the fact that the organiser of this working group on media freedom, Jeremy Hunt, was described by YLE as saying, after the arrest of Assange:
Britannian ulkoministeri** Jeremy Hunt** sanoi, että Assangen harteille ei kannata sovitella sankarin viittaa. Hän luonnehti Ecuadorin presidentin toimintaa rohkeaksi.
(British foreign minister Jeremy Hunt said, that it is not worth it to consider Assange a hero. He said that the new president of Ecuador was brave to give him away)
Really? The heroes are the war criminals here, YLE, is this what you mean? And the one who thinks that publishers who uncover war crimes should be tortured and persecuted is the one who’s inviting Finland in a “working group on media freedom”. What did you discuss there, how to kill journalists better? How to cover up war crimes in a more efficient manner? How to torture uncomfortable journalists so that they would not showcase that we kill civilians and laugh about it? It is really so funny, as the soldiers who were laughing and killing civilians are not in jail, but Assange, who let us know that there are soldiers who laugh while killing civilians (and reporters)is being tortured in London.
But the thing which still bugs me, is the idea of a common strategy. In hybrid warfare, different methods are used in order to get to an objective; and a common strategy for joint operations in the information environment is required, in between war allies, in order to be able to sway the population’s opinions over foreign actors and events, so that when we bully our neighbouring countries, they’ll know that we are right and good, and that if we wage war, it’s just because we need to bring democracy there.
On a last note, I would like to point out how the hypocritical, murderous EU leaders from the Council of Europe dared to complain to Saudi Arabia for the murder of Kashoggi. The only difference in between Sweden and Saudi Arabia here is, that at least Saudi Arabia killed him straight. Twenty minutes, and Kashoggi was dead, they didn't torture him for years. But especially the didn't defame Kashoggi as much as Good Democracy Sweden did with Assange. And while they're still trying to get Qatar to close down Middle East Eye (for which Kashoggi used to write under a pseudonym), MEE is still there. While you just defamed Wikileaks as well. What right do you have to give shit to them, when you are every bit as bad, if not worse, than they are? In this sense, we can thus say that the European Union upholds and supports torture as a method to cover up war crimes. Prove me wrong, EU, and condemn this whole matter. Share the posts of the UN Rapporteur; speak up about the war crimes and the torture; call out the US and ask them for a thorough investigation; up to then, you're the torturers.
WHAT WOULD AUTONOMOUS EUROPE DO?
Autonomous Europe wouldn't protect the war criminals, first, and the torture of Assange, second. Autonomous Europe would have condemned the war criminals straight away, and they would have called for a thorough investigation in the matter (at both the international and national (US) level). Autonomous Europe would have proudly stood behind the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture, and would have requested a full investigation over Sweden's role into the torture of the journalist. They would have proudly upheld the right to justice to the victims of war crimes, first, and then they would have supported freedom of press and the human rights of Julian Assange, second.
POST SCRIPTUM 2:
I'm totally willingly to openly and publicly debate any of these YLE journalists on the Assange case, but at the condition that I can bring my expert on the case (the UN Special Rapporteur on torture). YLE can provide as many opinion writers from The Guardian as they want, of course. And then we'll see who will the population believe to.
POST SCRIPTUM 3: Funny story; Silvio Berlusconi's owned newspaper Il Giornale was one of the few that reported of the psychological torture Assange was a victim of. Now I ask myself; how's that the journalists working at a newspaper which is owned by someone who as a PM sacked the editor of the most popular newspaper in Italy (Il Corriere della Sera) have more freedom on reporting about Assange that "free press" YLE seems to have? You see how much of a joke you are, when many news outlets in "partially free" Italy (including the State Broadcaster) have had to different degrees the freedom to report on Julian Assange's tribulations and torture, while Finnish government (probably) forbids you to do it? Or are you like the fascist journalists who spontaneously cheered for war crimes committed during the imperialistic conquest of Abyssinia? Which one is it really? Are you told by the government to cover up war crimes and the death of freedom of press or are you just excruciatingly incompetent?
"Pamela Anderson: Julian Assange was tortured psychologically" - Pamela and Il Giornale's versions are fully in line with the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture. The only time in history that the journalists from Il Giornale agree with their colleagues at Il Fatto Quotidiano, newspaper which was founded by independent journalist Marco Travaglio as a response to Berlusconi's control over the media in the 2000's.