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“The hand of democracy chokes the neck of freedom.” – Maria Zakharova

The indictment sweeps in activities that are not just lawful but essential to press freedom; activities like cultivating sources, protecting sources’ identities, and communicating with sources securely.

Richard Galustian

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Before discussing the arrest of Assange in some depth, by way of an introduction, its important to mention a Gore Vidal observation “We Americans should stop going around babbling about how we’re the greatest democracy on earth, when we’re not even a democracy. We are a sort of militarised republic. American democracy is apparently a place where numerous elections are held at great cost without issues and with interchangeable candidates, where fifty percent of people won’t vote, and fifty percent don’t read newspapers. I hope it’s the same fifty percent.”concluding “The genius of our ruling class is that it has kept a majority of the people from ever questioning the inequity of a system where most people drudge along, paying heavy taxes for which they get nothing in return”

Assange was carrying a copy of “Gore Vidal: History of the National Security State & Vidal on America” when he was arrested last Thursday at the Ecuadoran Embassy in London.

By Friday afternoon, the 2014 publication was No. 35 on Amazon.com. “Gore Vidal” features conversations between the author-playwright and Paul Jay, founder of The Real News Network, a non-profit with a stated mission of “independent, verifiable, fact-based journalism.”

Vidal, who died in 2012 at age 86, had a longtime aversion to U.S. military force and surveillance and the unbridled power in Washington.

Assange hadn’t left the Embassy since 2012 for fear of arrest and extradition to the U.S. for publishing thousands of classified military and diplomatic cables.

Assange, whatever one thinks of his personality traits, is still a publisher and is irrefutably entitled to the same First Amendment protections as any other US citizen…. only he’s NOT a US citizen – think about that for a moment.

The Knight First Amendment Institute was established in 2016 by one of the most famous universities in America, Columbia University in combination with the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation to safeguard free expression in the shifting landscape of the digital age.

The Institute made one of the first professional comments in public on the case made against Julian Assange by the US Government. “The indictment and the Justice Department’s press release treat everyday journalistic practices as part of a criminal conspiracy,” Executive Director Jameel Jaffer said in a statement provided to the equally prestigious Columbia Journalism Review “Whether the government will be able to establish a violation of the hacking statute remains to be seen, but it’s very troubling that the indictment sweeps in activities that are not just lawful but essential to press freedom; activities like cultivating sources, protecting sources’ identities, and communicating with sources securely.”

There seems so far no official statement about Assange since his arrest from the greatest investigative journalist of our age, Seymour Hersh, who one can imagine is wisely keeping his powder dry to see how things develop.

In the present absence of his opinion, here are some links to comments made by a few other notable persons, not in order of importance:

  1. Daniel Ellsberg On Assange Arrest: The Beginning of the End For Press Freedom  –  https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=tw8yf6Luwo4
  1. Chomsky: Arrest of Assange Is “Scandalous” and Highlights Shocking Extraterritorial Reach of U.S. –  https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=RYdDp4mHDRY
  1. Partnering with Assange was unpleasant. But work like his is crucial. – The Washington Post

By Alan Rusbridger who is a former editor in chief of the Guardian. He is principal of Lady Margaret Hall in Oxford and chairs the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/2019/04/12/partnering-with-assange-was-unpleasant-work-like-his-is-crucial/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.4c1e7860c4f2

A pertinent question posed from the above very informative and explanatory piece on Assange: “…if Assange is in the dock, why not the editors of the Guardian, the Times, Le Monde, Der Spiegel, the Hindu, El Pais and numerous others?”

The only note of criticism of the Alan Rusbridger piece is where he says “Educated, journalist working for a respectable organization”. This has nothing to do with it. There were no institutions providing degrees in journalism back in 1789 when the US First Amendment was written into the US Constitution. There were no “respectable organizations” either, just a bunch of enterprising individuals, some well intentioned, some crooked, who published newspapers, magazines, pamphlets and all sorts of stuff.

“Freedom of the Press” does not refer to snobs who sniff each other’s bottoms and act like they know everything; it literally refers to the Freedom to Print and disseminate whatever you want. “Freedom of Speech” guarantees our right to speak our minds in the public square, and the government is required to protect us from being stopped by its own agents or others in the community. Your voice can carry only so far, so to be able to “speak” to a wider audience you need a different medium. In the 18th century that was the printing press. You could print your “speech” and distribute it at will to people. The government cannot infringe on your right to do so, and other private parties cannot do so either. They do have recourse if you slander them, misrepresent them or steal from them (copyright) etc…. But it has nothing whatsoever to do with being a member of the media circus we call journalism today with its coziness to power, with its sense of self-importance and its base corruption with money and influence.

And finally I end with the view as of April 11,  from one of the many Russian English language publications, to satisfy the insatiable appetite of those afflicted with ‘Russophobia’.

“What happened is this: since the legacy Zionist-media hates Assange and since they were embarrassed by having this Uber-whistle-blower locked away for 7 years for daring to reveal the true nature of the Anglo/Zionist Empire, they did not have anybody in front of the Ecuadorian Embassy when Assange was rendered.  Now they have to humiliate themselves and ask RT (whom they hate and constantly insult) for some footage.  Here is Margarita Simonian’s brilliant reaction translated from Russian to English describing this state of affairs:

Translation: the most obvious sentence one could pass over total disgrace the world media has become can be seen in the fact that nobody was here to film the arrest of Julian Assange, only us (RT).  That in spite of the fact that everybody already new that he would be expelled.  Now they have to come and ask for our footage. CNN and The Guardian have the gall to call us and ask how it is that we were the only ones to get this footage. It’s obvious: you are just the spineless hypocritical servants of your Establishment and not journalists at all.  This is why such a thing happened.

As for Russian spokesperson, Maria Zakharova, her succinct comment speaks for itself and I believe for the majority of us, the people of the world.

“The hand of “democracy” chokes the neck of freedom.”

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“The United States was founded by the brightest people in the country — and we haven’t seen them since.” – Gore Vidal “Every four years the naive half who vote are encouraged to believe that if we can elect a really nice man or woman President everything will be all right. But it won’t be.” – Gore Vidal “We are the United States of Amnesia, which is encouraged by a media that has no desire to tell us the truth about anything, serving their corporate masters who have other plans to dominate us.” – Gore Vidal “The American press exists… Read more »

Olivia Kroth
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Assange should have known better than to seek refuge in an embassy on British soil. The British regime is a lawless terrorist regime. It does not respect diplomatic immunity. I want to warn all Russians: do not travel to the UK, you might be poisoned there or kidnapped. If Russians own investments or real estate in the UK, they should sell and retreat to Russia.

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Putin meets Kim for the first time (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 151.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris take a look at the historic meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in the city of Vladivostok in the Russian Far East.

The meeting marks the first ever summit between the two leaders.

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Via RT…

Leaders of Russia and North Korea sat down for a historic summit in Vladivostok, expressing hope it will revive the peace process in the Korean Peninsula and talks on normalizing relations with the US.

The summit on Russky Island, just off Vladivostok, started a little late because President Vladimir Putin’s flight was delayed. North Korean leader Kim Jong-un had made the trip by train, arriving on Wednesday.

In brief public remarks before the talks, the two leaders expressed hope the summit will help move forward the reconciliation process in the Korean Peninsula. Putin welcomed Kim’s contributions to “normalizing relations” with the US and opening a dialogue with South Korea.

Kim said he hoped the Vladivostok summit would be a “milestone” in the talks about denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula, but also build upon “traditionally friendly ties” between Russia and North Korea.

The North Korean leader also made a point of thanking Putin for flying all the way to Vladivostok for the meeting. The Far East Russian city is only 129 kilometers from the border with North Korea.

The historic summit takes place less than two months after Kim’s second summit with US President Donald Trump in Hanoi fell apart without a breakthrough on denuclearization. The US rejected North Korea’s request for partial sanctions relief in return for moves to dismantle nuclear and missile programs; Washington insists on full disarmament before any sanctions are removed.

Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula is the main subject of the Kim-Putin summit, but there will also be talks about bilateral relations, trade, and humanitarian aid. The first one-on-one meeting is scheduled to last about an hour, followed by further consultations involving other government officials.

Following the summit, Putin is scheduled to visit China.

 

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Kim And Putin: Changing The State Of The Board In Korea

The future of Korea could be decided by these two men today.

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Authored by Tom Luongo:


Today is a big day for Korea. The first face-to-face summit of Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean Leader Kim Jong-un takes place.

At the same time the 2nd annual Belt and Road Forum kicks off in Beijing.

This meeting between Putin and Kim has been in the works for a while but rumors of it only surfaced last week. But don’t let the idea that this was put together at the last minute fool you.

It wasn’t.

The future of Korea could be decided by these two men today.

I know that sounds bold. But hear me out.

And while no one seems to think this meeting is important or that anything of substance will come from it I do. It is exactly the kind of surprise that Putin loves to spring on the world without notice and by doing so change the board state of geopolitics.

  • Russia’s entrance into Syria in 2015, two days after Putin’s historic speech at the U.N. General Assembly
  • 2018’s State of the Union address where he announced hypersonic missiles, embarrassing the U.S. Militiary-Industrial Complex which accelerated the Bolton Doctrine of subjugating the world
  • Flying 2 TU-160 nuclear-armed bombers to Venezuela, creating panic in D.C. leading to the ham-fisted regime change operations there.
  • Nationalization of Yukos.
  • The operation to secure Crimea from U.S. invasion by marines aboard the U.S.S Donald Cook during the Ukrainian uprising against Viktor Yanukovich.

Both Putin and Chinese Premier Xi Jinping are angry at the breakdown of the talks in Hanoi back in February. It was clear that everyone expected that meeting to be a rubber stamp on a deal already agreed to by all parties involved.

In fact the two meetings between Kim and Trump were only possible because Trump convinced them of his sincerity to resolve the ‘denuclearization’ of North Korea which would clear a path to rapid reunification.

It’s why they went along with the U.S.’s increased sanctions on North Korea as administered through the U.N. in 2017.

That John Bolton and Mike Pompeo destroyed those talks and Trump was unwilling or unable (who cares at this point, frankly, useless piece of crap that he is) to stop them embarrassed and betrayed them.

They are now done with Trump.

He’ll get nothing from either of them or Kim until Trump can prove he’s in charge of his administration, which he, clearly, is not.

And they will be moving forward with their own agenda for security and Asian economic integration. So I don’t think the timing of this meeting with that of the Belt and Road Forum is an accident.

And that means moving forward on solving the Korea problem without Trump.

It is clear from the rhetoric of Putin’s top diplomat, the irreplaceable Sergei Lavrov, that Russia’s patience is over. They are no longer interested in what Trump wants and they will now treat the U.S. as a threat, having upped their military stance towards the U.S. to that of “Threat.”

If Bolton wants anything from Russia at this point he best be prepared to start a war or piss off.

This is also why Russia took the gloves off with Ukraine in the run up to the Presidential elections, cutting off energy and machinery exports with Ukraine.

To put paid Putin’s growing impatience with U.S. policies, he just issued the order to allow residents of Lugansk and Donetsk People’s Republics to apply for Russian passports.

This will send Bolton into apoplexy. Angela Merkel of Germany will be none too pleased either. Putin is now playing hardball after years of unfailing politeness.

It’s also why Lavrov finalized arms and port deals all over the Middle East in recent weeks, including those with Lebanon, Egypt, Turkey and India.

Bolton, Pompeo and Pence are ideologues. Trump is a typical Baby Boomer, who lives in a bubble of his own design and believes in an America that never existed.

None of them truly understand the fires they are stoking and simply believe in the Manifest Destiny of the U.S. to rule the world over a dim and barbaric world.

Putin, Xi, Rouhani in Iran and Kim in North Korea are pragmatic men. They understand the realities they live in. This is why I see Putin willing tomorrow to sit down with Kim and flaunt the U.N. sanctions and begin the investment process into North Korea that should have begun last year.

Putin would not be making these moves if he didn’t feel that Bolton was all bark and no bite when it came to actual war with Russia. He also knows that Germany needs him more than he needs Germany so despite the feet-dragging and rhetoric Nordstream 2 will go forward.

Trade is expanding between them despite the continued sanctions.

Putin may be willing to cut a deal with President-elect Zelensky on gas transit later in the year but only if the shelling of the LPR and DPR stops and he guarantees no more incidents in the Sea of Azov. This would also mollify Merkel a bit and make it easier for her politically to get Nordstream 2 over the finish line.

There are moments in history when people go too far. Bolton and Pompeo went too far in Hanoi. He will pay the price now. Putin and Kim will likely agree to something in Vladivostok that no one is expecting and won’t look like much at first.

But the reality is this summit itself marks a turning point in this story that will end with the U.S. being, in Trump’s transactional parlance, a “price taker” since it has so thoroughly failed at being a “price maker.”

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Can Zelensky bring peace to a Ukraine torn apart by Obama’s Maidan coup? (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 150.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris take a look at Vladimir Zelensky’s landslide victory against incumbent Petro Poroshenko in Sunday’s historic Ukraine, second round, Presidential election.

Not much is known about Zelensky’s political acumen, but the job of uniting a country torn apart by an Obama funded Maidan coup in 2014, will prove to be a daunting task for the comedy TV star.

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Via TASS News…

Ukraine’s ‘Opposition Platform – For Life’ party will support Ukrainian president-elect Vladimir Zelensky only if he takes practical steps to bring peace to Donbass, Chairman of the party’s Political Council Viktor Medvedchuk said in an interview with the Rossiya-24 TV channel on Monday.

“Today, we can’t say that we support him because support is only possible if he truly wants peace in Donbass, if we see that he is taking actual steps to achieve this goal,” he said.

According to Medvedchuk, this is the only condition on which the ‘Opposition Platform – For Life’ party is ready to provide assistance to Zelensky if the need arises.

Ukraine’s presidential runoff took place on April 21. With 99.53% of the vote counted, leader of the Servant of the People political party Vladimir Zelensky has received 73.23% in Ukraine’s presidential runoff, while incumbent President Pyotr Poroshenko gained 24.45%.

 

 

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