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Here Are 18 Ways Trump Supported The Swamp During His Presidency

This article was originally published by Derrick Broze at The Last American Vagabond. 

*They are all on the same side, and that side is against us. It is time to face reality.

On January 19, Donald Trump said farewell to America as he acknowledged “this week, we inaugurate a new administration.” Trump is yet to officially concede – a point which his most hardcore followers still believe indicates he will remain president – however, he finally spoke about handing over the reins of power to the Biden administration. “Now, as I prepare to hand power over to a new administration at noon on Wednesday, I want you to know that the movement we started is only just beginning,” Trump stated during his farewell address.

While he might not have mentioned Biden or Harris by name, it is clear that Joe Biden is going to be sworn in as the next President of the United States. Before America races to forget the Trump years we owe it to ourselves to pause and reflect on the facts of the Trump era. First, Donald Trump did not drain the swamp. As I illustrate below, Trump used his position of power to continue to empower the same industries and figures which have benefitted from every Democratic and Republican president before him. Indeed, I stand by my assessment of Trump made in November 2016: Donald Trump’s role was to be The Great Divider. He used his position to stoke the flames of division and chaos, all the while playing the role of the “anti-establishment” President (an oxymoron if there ever was one).

In 2018 I asked, “When Will Trump Supporters in The Freedom Movement Realize They Were Duped?”. I didn’t have much faith at the time, stating, “Now, of course, there are the diehards who will inevitably stick with Trump through his entire presidential career no matter what policy he takes, even when in contradiction with not only his own words but with the principles previously espoused by these die-hard followers.” Now, as Biden is about to wield the Presidential powers, Trump’s most diehard followers still claim Trump is going to stop Biden from being president.

My concern is that folks who previously supported many of the actions taken by Trump will not recover the principles they once held, and instead, further entrench themselves in the false left/right paradigm, convincing themselves that Trump represented the fight against the “Deep State” and Biden is the Swamp incarnate. The problem with this belief is that it reinforces the idea that one party is actually better than the other when in reality they both play for the same masters. Most importantly, this belief that Trump was fighting the Deep State is not backed up by the facts. Allow me to present a partial list of the evidence showing Trump’s relationship with the swamp.

1. Nominating Industry Insiders

From the moment he took office it was clear that Donald Trump was going to continue the practice of his predecessors and continue the revolving door relationship between government and corporations. As I wrote in March 2018:

“President Donald Trump nominated Peter C. Wright to be the assistant administrator for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Land and Emergency Management (OLEM). The nomination of Wright is another indication that the Trump administration will continue the practice of nominating industry insiders and corporate lawyers to positions of power.

In addition to his work with Dow, Wright’s LinkedIn page lists him as an Environmental Attorney for Monsanto from 1989 to 1996. Wright’s association with The Dow Chemical Company and Monsanto— corporations known for producing hazardous chemicals and pesticides along with genetically engineered seeds— could be an indication that the Trump Administration may have a sympathetic ear for these industries. If so, it would be the continuation of a trend that has extended through the last few American presidencies.”

2. Cozy with Big Oil

One of the most obvious areas where Trump was in bed with the corporations is the oil industry. In his first week in office Trump issued an Executive Order to fast track the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline, a project that has a legacy of oil leaks and militarized police. Additionally, Trump passed Executive Orders which said the pipelines, roads, and railways along the border will take no more than 60 days to be approved or denied and that the decision will now come directly from the President himself, effectively giving the president unilateral powers for approving oil projects.

In March 2019 further evidence was revealed after conversations between Interior Secretary David Bernhardt and oil executives were leaked. In a secret recording obtained by Reveal, oil executives can be heard discussing David Bernhardt and celebrating the access they currently have to the Trump Administration. The recording took place during a 2017 Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPPA) meeting in Southern California.

3. Cozy with Big Pharma

Another massive indicator that Trump continued the practice of allowing the corporations to regulate themselves was his appointment of various cronies of Big Pharma. In 2017, Trump chose Alex Azar for Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. The nominee immediately came under scrutiny for his former connections to the pharmaceutical industry.

Azar formerly served as U.S. Deputy Secretary of Health and Human Services under George W. Bush from 2005 to 2007. In June 2007, Azar began working as a lobbyist for pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly and Company. Azar also served as Eli Lilly’s spokesman as its Senior Vice President of Corporate Affairs and Communications. Beginning January 1, 2012, Azar was promoted to President of Lilly USA, LLC, the largest division of Eli Lilly and Company – a position which put him in charge of Eli Lilly’s entire U.S. operation.

This trend continued into 2020, when Trump appointed Dr. Moncef Slaoui to the head of his Operation Warp Speed – itself an example of the worst kinds of public private partnerships. Slaoui has extensive ties to the pharmaceutical industry and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. As I reported in May 2020:

“Following his education, Slaoui joined the pharmaceutical industry, serving on the board of Directors of GlaxoSmithKline between 2006 through 2015. Slaoui served in several senior research & development (R&D) roles with GlaxoSmithKline during his time with the company, including Chairman of Global Vaccines. GSK has a history of working with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation on projects such as the development of a malaria vaccine and anti-HIV compounds used as microbicides. In fact, Dr. Slaoui worked for 27 years on the malaria vaccine, ultimately partnering with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to develop a $600 million malaria vaccine. When Slaoui took over at GSK, his predecessor, Tachi Yamada, joined the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

More recently, Slaoui sits on the boards of pharmaceutical companies and biotechnology organizations. He is also partner at MediciX investment firm,chairman of the board at Galvani Bioelectronics, chairman of the board at SutroVax and sits on the boards of Artisan Biosciences, Human Vaccines Project and Moderna Therapeutics. Each of these companies is involved in vaccine development and the emerging field of bioelectronics.”

4. Support for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

Dr. Slaoui was not the only connection to the Gates Foundation we saw from the Trump administration. In October, the NIH signed contracts with companies connected to DARPA, Big Tech, and the Gates Foundation.

Additionally, the Trump administration signed off on giving billions of taxpayer dollars to the Gates founded and funded GAVI, the Global Vaccine Alliance.

5. Ending Investigations Into Pesticide Dangers

The Trump admin faced lawsuits from activist groups for ending ongoing investigations into the dangers of pesticides.

6. Making GMO’s Easier To Enter the Food Supply

On June 11, 2019, Trump quietly issued an executive order to “streamline” GMO regulations in the United States. The order, titled Modernizing the Regulatory Framework for Agricultural Biotechnology Products, is the latest move by the Trump administration aimed at promoting the use of genetically engineered or modified crops. In his executive order, Trump called on federal agencies to fix what he called a “regulatory maze” related to the farming and selling of GMO products.

Greg Jaffe, biotechnology director at the Center for Science in the Public Interest, told the Associated Press that the impact of the order depends on how the federal government responds. “There needs to be an assurance of safety for those products,” Jaffe said.

7. Bad on Gun Rights

Depending on your political view this issue might not matter much, but for Trump’s base, gun rights are an issue close to their hearts. During his administration, Trump supported calls for controversial Red Flag Laws – government-approved removal of weapons based on spurious claims – and a bump stock ban on firearms.

8. Support of and Expansion of the 5G Roll Out

Despite opposition by thousands of scientists, doctors, researchers, activists, and health professionals, Donald Trump pushed for the expansion of 5G networks, at one time calling for 6G. In April 2019, Trump issued an executive order stating that local and state bodies must now approve new 5G infrastructure within 90 days. The Trump administration also initiated a cap on the fees local governments can charge telecom companies wanting to install 5G technology.

9. Support of the Syria False Flag Narrative

In April 2018, the United States and some of the international community claimed that Syria President Bashar al Assad had gassed his own people in Douma, Syria. This alleged gas attack was immediately called into question by neutral observers. Even a former investigator with the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) testified to the United Nations about attempts to suppress evidence that contradicted the OPCW’s final report. The report claimed Syrian President Bashar al Assad was responsible for an alleged gas attack in April 2018.

Despite the fact that many journalists have pointed out the flaws in the story, Donald Trump bombed Syria based on this false flag attack. The media has continued to prevent the public from finding out the truth, including firing journalists who question the mainstream narrative. 

10. The Drone Emperor

While Obama was known as the “Drone King” for his reliance on drone technology for taking out accused terrorists – and killing their innocent families – Trump took it to a new level. First, Trump removed rules which required reporting on drone deaths that were put in place by Obama, once he decided he had his turn with drone murder. In fact, in 2019, airstrikes from the US and its allies in Afghanistan killed 700 civilians, more than in any other year since the beginning of the war in 2001 and 2002, according to new research from Brown University’s Cost of War project. The report stated that “the number of civilians killed by international airstrikes increased about 330 percent from 2016, the last full year of the Obama administration, to 2019, the most recent year for which there is complete data from the United Nations”. 

11. Fighting to Keep Presidential Kill List Secret

In December 2017, the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration in an attempt to force the release of newly established rules related to the U.S. military’s secret program of killing. The program was established during the Obama Administration and expanded under Donald Trump.

12. Lying to the 9/11 Victims’ Families

Despite making vague statements about “finding out the truth” about 9/11, Donald Trump never used his position to challenge the official narrative surrounding the 9/11 attacks. Even worse, Trump actually lied to the victims’ family members when he promised he would get to the bottom of the Saudi involvement in 9/11. Despite the family’s efforts to have Trump investigate Saudi Arabia, he failed to do any meaningful investigation of one of the American government’s favorite partners.

13. Imprisoned an American Citizen Without Trial or Charge

In a story that received way less attention than it deserves, the Trump administration held an American citizen without trial or charge for over a year. An American man had reportedly traveled to research and document the ongoing conflict in Syria when he was seized by Kurdish forces and handed over to the U.S. military. The Trump administration labeled him an “enemy combatant” and held him without charges for more than a year without officially charging him with a crime. After help from the American Civil Liberties Union, that unidentified American was freed. Unfortunately, he was set free and forced to go live in an unidentified country that is not his home.

“My case has shown the worst and the best of my country,” the man said in a statement issued by his lawyers to the Washington Post. “No one, no matter what they are suspected of, should be treated the way my government treated me. Once I got the chance to stand up for my rights, the Constitution and the courts protected me.”

14. Continued Support of the NDAA Indefinite Detention Clause

Speaking of detention, another product of the War on Terror (aka the War on Freedom) is a provision contained in the NDAA which was originally included in the 2011 version of the bill. Some readers may recall that since 2011 the NDAA has included a provision that allows for indefinite detention of American citizens without a right to trial. The bill was signed into law by former President Obama and the indefinite detention provision is still contained in the NDAA, having been approved by Trump every year since it first passed.

15. Attempted to Block Testimony on CIA Torture

The Trump admin invoked states secrets privilege in an effort to prevent the two psychologists who created the CIA’s torture program from testifying in court.

16. Empowering and Expanding the Police State

The expansion of the police and surveillance states has happened under the Trump administration in a variety of forms. Specifically, the Trump admin expanded the militarization of law enforcement and surveillance tools under the guise of fighting illegal immigration. As Trump discussed building a wall along the southern border of the United States – a wall which American taxpayers paid for – he was also working with Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to increase surveillance.

During the Trump admin, ICE faced lawsuits for using secret surveillance tools which they refuse to release details about. In January 2020, CBP and ICE released a Privacy Impact Assessment detailing plans to collect DNA from individuals temporarily detained at border crossings. This was the first attempt to collect the DNA of individuals who are detained but not charged with a crime.

The Border Patrol also launched a program to scan the face of every person flying out of the U.S., and a program to scan the faces of everyone inside vehicles that are driving across international borders.

17. Supporting the Persecution and Prosecution of Julian Assange & Chelsea Manning

During his campaign for President, Donald Trump famously said he loved Wikileaks, but after he was elected he began singing a different tune. Trump eventually called for the prosecution of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange and the Trump admin put pressure on the Ecuadorian Embassy in London to turn Assange over to the United States. Now, as Trump’s presidency slips away Assange’s supporters are desperately hoping for a pardon that does not seem to be coming.

The Trump administration has also recently come under fire for the treatment of U.S. Army whistleblower Chelsea Manning. Manning was recently summoned to answer questions as part of a grand jury subpoena. For refusing to participate in the secret grand jury process, she was arrested and has been held in solitary confinement since. It is believed that the questions relate to Manning’s 2010 leaks of U.S. Army documents to Wikileaks.

18. Trump’s Nearly 3 Decade Relationship with Jeffrey Epstein

When serial abuser Jeffrey Epstein was arrested in 2019, Donald Trump did not mention his relationship with Epstein. The well-documented relationship goes back to the 1980s and includes extensive ties with Epstein’s partner in crime, Ghislaine Maxwell. Epstein had 14 different numbers from Donald Trump in his little black book and numerous videos and pictures show the men spending time together. Despite the attempt by Trump’s base to place distance between him and Epstein, one of Epstein’s earliest victims says Trump, the Clintons, Alan Dershowitz, and the Rothschilds were all involved in the disturbing sex trafficking schemes.

Due to Epstein’s untimely disappearance, we will likely never know the true extent of Trump’s involvement. That is unless Ghislaine Maxwell decides to save her own skin by exposing everyone involved in the Epstein-Intelligence operation.

Question Everything, Come To Your Own Conclusions.

The post Here Are 18 Ways Trump Supported The Swamp During His Presidency first appeared on SHTF Plan – When It Hits The Fan, Don’t Say We Didn’t Warn You.

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EFF Statement on British Court’s Rejection of Trump Administration’s Extradition Request for Wikileaks’ Julian Assange

Today, a British judge denied the Trump Administration’s extradition request for Wikileaks Editor Julian Assange, who is facing charges in the United States under the Espionage Act and the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. The judge largely confirmed the charges against him, but ultimately determined that the United States’ extreme procedures for confinement that would be applied to Mr.  Assange would create a serious risk of suicide.

EFF’s Executive Director Cindy Cohn said in a statement today: 

“We are relieved that District Judge Vanessa Baraitser made the right decision: to reject extradition of Mr. Assange and, despite the U.S. government’its initial statement,  we hope that the U.S does not appeal that decision. chooses not to appeal it. The UK court decisionThis means that Assange will not face charges in the United States, which could have set dangerous precedent in two ways. First, it could call into question many of the journalistic practices that writers at the New York Times, the Washington Post, Fox News, and other publications engage in every day to ensure that the American peoplepublic stays informed about the operations of theirits government. Investigative journalism—including seeking, analyzing and publishing leaked government documents, especially those revealing abuses—has a vital role in holding the U.S. government to account. It is, and must remain, strongly protected by the First Amendment. Second, the prosecution, and the jJudge’s decision, embraces a theory of computer crime that is overly broad — essentially criminalizing a journalist for discussing and offering help with basic computer activities like use of rainbow tables and scripts based on wget, that are regularly used in computer security and elsewhere.  

While we applaud this decision, it does not erase the many years Assange has been dogged by prosecution, detainment, and intimidation for his journalistic work. It also does not erase the government’s arguments that, as in so many other cases, attempts to cast a criminal pall over routinebasic actionss because they were done with a computer. We are still reviewing the judge’s opinion and expect to have additional thoughts once we’ve completed our analysis. “

Read the judge’s full statement. 

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‘Iraq War Diaries’ At Ten Years: Truth is Treason

The purpose of journalism is to uncover truth – especially uncomfortable truth – and to publish it for the benefit of society. In a free society, we must be informed of the criminal acts carried out by governments in the name of the people. Throughout history, journalists have uncovered the many ways governments lie, cheat, and steal – and the great lengths they will go to keep the people from finding out.

Great journalists like Seymour Hersh, who reported to us the tragedy of the Mai Lai Massacre and the horrors that took place at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, are essential.

Ten years ago last week, Julian Assange’s Wikileaks organization published an exposé of US government wrongdoing on par with the above Hersh bombshell stories. Publication of the “Iraq War Diaries” showed us all the brutality of the US attack on Iraq. It told us the truth about the US invasion and occupation of that country. This was no war of defense against a nation threatening us with weapons of mass destruction. This was no liberation of the country. We were not “bringing democracy” to Iraq.

No, the release of nearly 400,000 classified US Army field reports showed us in dirty detail that the US attack was a war of aggression, based on lies, where hundreds of thousands of civilians were killed and injured.

We learned that the US military classified anyone they killed in Iraq as “enemy combatants.” We learned that more than 700 Iraqi civilians were killed for “driving too close” to one of the hundreds of US military checkpoints – including pregnant mothers-to-be rushing to the hospital.

We learned that US military personnel routinely handed “detainees” over to Iraqi security forces where they would be tortured and often killed.

Ten years after Assange’s brave act of journalism changed the world and exposed one of the crimes of the century, he sits alone in solitary confinement in a UK prison. He sits literally fighting for his life, as if he is successfully extradited to the United States he faces 175 years in a “supermax” prison for committing “espionage” against a country of which he is not a citizen.

On the Iraq war we have punished the truth-tellers and rewarded the criminals. People who knowingly lied us into the war like Dick Cheney, George W. Bush, the Beltway neocon “experts,” and most of the media, faced neither punishment nor professional shaming for their acts. In fact, they got off scot free and many even prospered.

Julian Assange explained that he published the Iraq War Diaries because he “hoped to correct some of the attack on truth that occurred before the war, and that continued on since that war officially ended.” We used to praise brave journalists not afraid to take on the “bad guys.” Now we torture and imprison them.

President Trump has made a point of singling out the US attack on Iraq as one of the “stupid wars” that he was committed to ending. But we wouldn’t know half of just how stupid – and evil – it was were it not for the brave actions of Julian Assange and whistleblower Chelsea Manning. Journalism should not be a crime and President Trump should pardon Assange immediately.

Copyright © 2020 by RonPaul Institute. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit and a live link are given.

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The Selective Prosecution of Julian Assange

As the extradition hearing for Wikileaks Editor-in-Chief Julian Assange unfolds, it is increasingly clear that the prosecution of Assange fits into a pattern of governments selectively enforcing laws in order to punish those who provoke their ire. As we see in Assange’s case and in many others before this, computer crime laws are especially ripe for this form of politicization.

The key evidence in the U.S. government’s cybercrime conspiracy allegations against Assange is a brief conversation between Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning in which the possibility of cracking a password is discussed, Manning allegedly shares a snippet of that password with Assange, and Assange apparently attempts, but fails, to crack it.  While breaking into computers and cracking passwords in many contexts is illegal under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, few prosecutors would ever bother to bring a case for such an inconsequential activity as a failed attempt to reverse a hash. But the government has doggedly pursued charges against Assange for 10 years, perhaps because they fear that prosecuting Assange for publishing leaked documents is protected by the First Amendment and is a case they are likely to lose.  

With this allegation, the government is attempting to dodge around the First Amendment protections by painting Assange as a malicious hacker and charge him for conspiracy to violate computer crime law. This is a pattern we’ve seen before.

Cybercrime laws are a powerful tool used by authoritarian governments to silence dissent, including going after journalists who challenge government authority. The Committee to Protect Journalists has documented how a computer crime law in Nigeria was used to harass and press charges against five bloggers who criticized politicians and businessmen. Human Rights Watch has described how the Saudi Arabian government used vague language in an anti-cybercrime law to prosecute Saudi citizens who used social media to speak out against government abuses. And in Ecuador, Amnesty International has joined EFF in raising awareness about the case of Ola Bini, a Swedish open source software developer who garnered government ire and is now facing a politically-motivated prosecution for supposed computer crime violations.

This is in alignment with EFF’s 2016 whitepaper examining the prosecution history of Arab countries such as Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and Tunisia. We found these governments selectively enforced anti-terrorism and cybercrime laws in order to punish human rights attorneys, writers, activists, and journalists. The pattern we identified was that authorities would first target an activist or journalist they wanted to silence, and then find a law to use against them. As we wrote, “The system results in a rule by law rather than rule of law: the goal is to arrest, try, and punish the individual—the law is merely a tool used to reach an already predetermined conviction.”

Cybercrime laws can turn innocent exploration, and journalistic inquiry into sinister-sounding (and disproportionately punished) felonies, just because they take place in a digital environment that lawmakers and prosecutors do not understand. The Intercept’s Micah Lee described the computer crime charges against Assange as “incredibly flimsy.” The conspiracy charge is rooted in a chat conversation in which Manning and Assange discussed the possibility of cracking a password. Forensic evidence and expert testimony make it clear that not only did Assange not crack this password, but that Manning only ever provided Assange with a piece of a password hash – from which it would have been impossible to derive the original password. 

Furthermore, recent testimony by Patrick Eller, a digital forensics examiner, raises questions about whether the alleged password cracking attempt had anything to do with leaking documents at all, especially since the conversation took place after Manning had already leaked the majority of the files she sent to Wikileaks.

Testimony from the Chelsea Manning court martial make it clear that lots of soldiers in Manning’s unit were routinely using their government computers to download music, play games, download chat software, and install other software programs they found useful, all of which was not permitted on these machines. This included logging into computers under an administrator account and then installing what they wanted, and sometimes deleting the administrator account, so that the military sysadmin had to wipe and reimage computers again and again. Eller even noted that one of Manning’s direct supervisors even asked Manning to download and install software on her computer. Indeed, the activity Assange is accused of was not even important enough to be included in the formal CFAA charges leveled against Manning.

Prosecutors don’t go after every CFAA violation, nor do they have the resources to do so. They can choose to pursue specific CFAA cases that draw their attention. And Assange, having published a wealth of documents that embarrassed the United States government and showed widespread misconduct, has been their target for years.

Assange is charged with 18 violations of the law. The majority of these counts relate to obtaining classified government information and disclosing that information to the world. As we’ve written before, the First Amendment strongly protects the rights of journalists, including Assange, to publish truthful information of clear public interest that they merely receive from whistleblowers, even when the documents are illegally obtained. This has been upheld in the Supreme Court cases New York Times Co. v. United States (finding the government could not enjoin the New York Times from publishing Vietnam war documents from whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg) and Bartnicki v. Vopper (in which a radio journalist was not liable for publishing recordings of union conversations plotting potential violence). Indeed, Wikileaks had every right to publish the leaked documents they received, and to work directly with a source in the process just as any journalist could.

The lone conspiracy to commit a computer crime allegation has become a major focus of attention in this case, and in fact a computer crime was the only charge against Assange when he was first arrested. The charge is drawing that attention because it’s the only charge that isn’t directly about receiving and publishing leaks. But as the court assesses these charges against Assange, we urge them to see this case within the context of a repeated, known pattern of governments enforcing computer crime law selectively and purposely in order to punish dissenting voices, including journalists. Journalism is not a crime, and journalism practiced with a computer is not a cyber-crime, no matter how U.S. prosecutors might wish it were

Alleged chat between Manning and Assange

Alleged chat between Chelsea Manning and Julian Assange

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Wikileaks-Hosted “Most Wanted Leaks” Reflects the Transparency Priorities of Public Contributors

The government recently released a superseding indictment[1] against Wikileaks editor in chief Julian Assange, currently imprisoned and awaiting extradition in the United Kingdom. As we’ve written before, this prosecution poses a clear threat to journalism, and, whether or not Assange considers himself a journalist, the indictment targets routine journalistic practices such as working with and encouraging sources during an investigation.

While considering the superseding indictment, it’s useful to look at some of the features carrying over from the previous version. Through much of the indictment, the government describes and refers back to a page on the Wikileaks website describing the “Most Wanted Leaks of 2009.[2]” The implication in the indictment is that Wikileaks was actively soliciting leaks with this Most Wanted Leaks list, but the government is leaving out a crucial piece of nuance about the Most Wanted Leaks page: Unlike much of Wikileaks.org, the Most Wanted Leaks was actually a publicly-editable wiki. 

 Rather than viewing this document as a wishlist generated by Wikileaks staff or a reflection of Assange’s personal priorities, we must understand that this was a publicly-generated list developed by contributors who felt each “wanted” document offered information that would be valuable to the public.

Archives of the page show evidence of the editable nature of the document:

Screenshot showing edit buttons

 The Most Wanted Leaks page shows that it has visible “edit” links, similar to what one might find on any wiki page.

Language on the page says that one can “securely and anonymously” add your nomination by directly editing the page:

Screenshot from Wikileaks

And goes on to encourage contributors to “simply click “edit” on the country below” to make changes to the page:

Screenshot of Wikileaks page showing edit instructions.

While we don’t know how many people contributed to the page at the time, the different formatting and writing styles across the page support the idea that this page was edited by many different people. But the government’s indictment, which names this document no less than 14 times and dedicates multiple pages to describing it, never explains the crowd-sourced nature of the Most Wanted Leaks document.

It’s easy to understand why. The government prosecutors are trying to paint a picture of Assange as a mastermind soliciting leaks, and is charging him with violating computer crime law and the Espionage Act. It doesn’t suit their narrative to show Wikileaks as a host for a crowdsourced page where activists, scholars, and government accountability experts from across the globe could safely and anonymously offer their feedback on the transparency failures of their own governments. But as we analyze the indictment, it’s important that we keep this context in mind. It’s overly simplistic to describe the Most Wanted Leaks list, as the government does in its indictment, as “ASSANGE’s solicitation of classified information made through the Wikileaks website” or a way “to recruit individuals to hack into computers and/or illegally obtain and disclose classified information Wikileaks.” This framing excises the role of the untold number of contributors to this page, and lacks an understanding of how modern wikis and distributed projects work.

We’ve long argued that working with sources to obtain classified documents of public importance is a well-established and integral part of investigative journalism and protected by the First Amendment. Even if Assange had himself written and posted everything on the Most Wanted Leaks page, then the First Amendment would protect his right to do so. There is no law in the United States that would prevent a publisher from publicly listing the types of stories or leaks they would like to be made publicly. But that’s not what happened here—in this case, Wikileaks was providing a forum where contributors from around the world could identify documents and data they felt were important to be made public. And the First Amendment clearly protects the rights of websites to host a public forum of that nature.

Many of the documents on the Most Wanted Leaks page are of clear public interest. Some of the documents requested by editors of the page include:

  • Lists of domains that are censored (or on proposed or voluntary censorship lists) in China, Australia, Germany, and the U.K.
  • In Austria, the source code for e-Voting systems used in student elections.
  • Documents detailing the Vatican’s interactions with Nazi Germany.
  • Profit-sharing agreements between the Ugandan government and oil companies
  • PACER – the United States’ federal court record search database.

While today it’s in the government’s interest to paint Wikileaks as a rogue band of hackers directed by Assange, the Most Wanted Leaks page epitomizes one of the most important features of Wikileaks: that as a publisher, it served the public interest. Wikileaks served activists, human rights defenders, scholars, reformers, journalists and other members of the public. With the Most Wanted Leaks page, it gave members of the public a platform to speak anonymously about documents they believed would further public understanding. It’s an astonishingly thoughtful and democratic way for the public to educate and communicate their priorities to potential whistleblowers, those in power, and other members of the public.

The ways Wikileaks served and furthered the public interest doesn’t fit the prosecution’s litigation strategy. If Assange goes to court to combat the Espionage charges he is facing, he may well be prevented from discussing the public interest and impact of Wikileaks’ publication history. That’s because the Espionage Act, passed in 1917, pre-dated modern communications technology and was never designed as a tool to crack down on investigative journalists and their publishers. There’s no public interest defense to the Espionage Act, and those charged under the Espionage Act may have no chance to even explain their motivation or the impact—good or bad—of their actions.  

Assange’s arrest in April 2019 was based on a single charge, under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA), arising from a single, unsuccessful attempt to crack a password. At the time, it was clear to us that the government’s CFAA charge was being used as a thin cover for attacking the journalism. The original May 2019 Superseding Indictment added 17 additional charges to the CFAA charge, and clarifying it was charging both conspiracy and a direct violation. In the Second Superseding Indictment, however, the direct CFAA charge is gone, leaving the charge of Conspiracy to Commit Computer Intrusion. The government removed the paragraphs specifying the password cracking as the particular factual grounds, now basing this Count vaguely on the acts “described in the [27 page] General Allegations Section of this Indictment.”

Removing the direct CFAA charge does not make this indictment any less dangerous as an attack on journalism. These General Allegations include many normal journalistic practices, all essential to modern reporting: communications over secure chat service, transferring files with cloud services, removing usernames and logs to protect the source’s identity, and, now in the Second Superseding Indictment, having a crowd-sourced list of documents that the contributors believed would further public understanding. By removing the factual specificity, the Second Superseding Indictment only deepens the chilling effect on journalists who use modern tools to report on matters of public interest.

Regardless of how you feel about Assange as a person, we should all be concerned about his prosecution. If found guilty, the harm won’t be just to Assange himself—it will be to every journalist and news outlet that will face legal uncertainty for working with sources to publish leaked information. And a weakened press ultimately hurts the public’s ability to access truthful and relevant information about those in power. And that is directly against the public interest.

Read the new charges against Assange.

[1] A superseding indictment means that the government is replacing its original charges with new, amended charges.

[2] The Most Wanted Leaks document was also submitted in Chelsea Manning’s trial. https://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/sdut-wikileaks-most-wanted-list-admitted-in-trial-2013jul01-story.html

 

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Theft of CIA’s "Vault Seven" Hacking Tools Due to Its Own Lousy Security

The Washington Post is reporting on an internal CIA report about its “Vault 7” security breach:

The breach — allegedly committed by a CIA employee — was discovered a year after it happened, when the information was published by WikiLeaks, in March 2017. The anti-secrecy group dubbed the release “Vault 7,” and U.S. officials have said it was the biggest unauthorized disclosure of classified information in the CIA’s history, causing the agency to shut down some intelligence operations and alerting foreign adversaries to the spy agency’s techniques.

The October 2017 report by the CIA’s WikiLeaks Task Force, several pages of which were missing or redacted, portrays an agency more concerned with bulking up its cyber arsenal than keeping those tools secure. Security procedures were “woefully lax” within the special unit that designed and built the tools, the report said.

Without the WikiLeaks disclosure, the CIA might never have known the tools had been stolen, according to the report. “Had the data been stolen for the benefit of a state adversary and not published, we might still be unaware of the loss,” the task force concluded.

The task force report was provided to The Washington Post by the office of Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, who has pressed for stronger cybersecurity in the intelligence community. He obtained the redacted, incomplete copy from the Justice Department.

It’s all still up on WikiLeaks.

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Donald Trump Intelwars Mueller investigation into russian interference Pardon Roger Stone Russia intelligence Russian espionage Russian interference Russian investigation trump Tucker Carlson WikiLeaks

In first interview free from gag rule, Roger Stone says his prison sentence will likely kill him

Roger Stone claimed that he was being wrongly persecuted in the first interview free from a gag rule after he was denied a new trial on Thursday.

The former Trump campaign official and longtime friend to President Donald Trump talked to Tucker Carlson on his Fox News show on Friday.

“I’ll just get right to it. I’m a little bit confused by why with all the pardons going around, everyone I’ve ever met has been pardoned, you haven’t been by a White House that has done a lot to push criminal justice reform and let a lot of really bad people out of jail in the name of humanitarian concerns, but you’re not in that category,” said Carlson. “Why is that, do you think?”

“Well, I really don’t know, Tucker, I was very hopeful that the motion for a mistrial in my case based on flagrant and blatant, even egregious juror misconduct would have won me a new trial,” responded Stone.

Stone was sentenced to more than three years in prison over charges from the investigation into Russian election interference, and his request for a new trial was denied after allegations that the jury foreman was biased against him and the president.

He was convicted on charges of witness tampering and lying to Congress.

“At this point, the judge has ordered me to surrender in two weeks, and at 67 years old, with some underlying health problems, including a history of asthma, I believe with the coronavirus, it is essentially a death sentence!” he claimed.

“Well of course it is,” agreed Carlson, who called it the “most corrupt political criminal justice proceeding” he had ever seen and that Bob Dylan should be writing a song about Stone.

“Tucker, I wasn’t prosecuted because I was covering anything up for the president, I was prosecuted because I refused to bear false witness against the president,” claimed Stone.

Stone had previously admitted that he had communicated with WikiLeaks, the group that released hacked emails from the Hillary Clinton campaign, but he denied that he ever colluded with Russian agents. U.S. intelligence officials say WikiLeaks is a front for Russian espionage efforts.

“I refused to dissemble, as the prosecutors wanted, about numerous phone calls between myself and candidate Trump in 2016,” Stone added.

Stone also said that he is reacquainting himself with his Catholic faith and praying for the best outcome.

Here’s the video of the interview:


Roger Stone says order to report to jail is ‘essentially a death sentence’

www.youtube.com

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Chelsea Manning ordered released from jail one day after suicide attempt

Former Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning was ordered released from jail on Thursday, after a year of being locked up for contempt of court and just one day after reportedly attempting suicide.

What are the details?

In 2013, Manning — formerly known as Bradley Manning — was given a 35-year sentence by a military judge for leaking the largest cache of classified documents in U.S. history to anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks. She served seven years in prison before former President Barack Obama commuted her sentence before he left office.

Last March, Manning was found in contempt of court by a judge and incarcerated for refusing to answer questions from a grand jury investigating WikiLeaks and its founder, Julian Assange.

Manning argued at the time that “all of the substantive questions pertained to my disclosures of information to the public in 2010 — answers I provided in extensive testimony, during my court-martial in 2013.”

On Thursday, a different judge determined Manning’s testimony was no longer necessary, according to The Washington Post, because the grand jury is no longer active. Federal judge Anthony Trenga wrote, “Ms. Manning’s appearance before the grand jury is no longer needed. Her detention no longer serves any coercive purpose.”

Judge Trenga’s order comes just a day after Manning’s legal team reported that she “attempted to take her own life,” but survived and was recovering in the hospital.

ABC News reported that “while the judge ordered Manning immediately released, she still faces a fine of $256,000 levied by the court,” noting: “Fines began after her first 30 days of contempt at $500 per day. The fines were increased after 60 days to $1,000 for each day she refused to testify.”

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2016 election Bernie Sanders betrayal Conspiracy Fact and Theory Constitution Deep State DNC corruption Donald Trump Espionage exposing the government Extradition Free Press free speech Headline News Hillary Clinton HYPOCRISY Information Intelwars John Brennan journalism Julian Assange Presidential Candidate Ron Paul russian election meddling torture Trump administration WikiLeaks

Trump’s Betrayal of Julian Assange

This article was originally published by Ron Paul at The Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity.

One thing we’ve learned from the Trump Presidency is that the “deep state” is not just some crazy conspiracy theory. For the past three years, we’ve seen that deep state launch plot after plot to overturn the election.

It all started with former CIA director John Brennan’s phony “Intelligence Assessment” of Russian involvement in the 2016 election. It was claimed that all 17 US intelligence agencies agreed that Putin put Trump in office, but we found out later that the report was cooked up by a handful of Brennan’s hand-picked agents.

Donald Trump upset the Washington apple cart as a presidential candidate and in so doing he set elements of the deep state in motion against him.

One of the things candidate Donald Trump did to paint a deep state target on his back was his repeated praise of Wikileaks, the pro-transparency media organization headed up by Australian journalist Julian Assange. More than 100 times candidate Trump said “I love Wikileaks” on the campaign trail.

Trump loved it when Wikileaks exposed the criminality of Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party, as it cheated to deprive Bernie Sanders of the Democratic Party nomination. Wikileaks’ release of the DNC emails exposed the deep corruption at the heart of US politics, and as a candidate, Trump loved the transparency.

Then Trump got elected.

The real tragedy of the Trump presidency is nowhere better demonstrated than in Trump’s 180 degree turn away from Wikileaks and its founder Julian Assange. “I know nothing about Wikileaks,” he said as president. “It’s really not my thing.”

US pressure and bribes to the Ecuadorian government ended Assange’s asylum and his seven years in a room at the Ecuadorian embassy in London. After his dramatic arrest by London’s Metropolitan Police last April, he has been effectively tortured in British jails at the behest of the US deep state.


Today, Monday the 24th of February, Assange faces an extradition hearing in a UK courthouse. The Trump administration – led by a man who praised Assange’s work – seeks a show trial of Assange worthy of the worst of the Soviet era. The US is seeking a 175-year prison sentence.

The Trump administration argues that the Australian Assange should be tried and convicted of espionage against a country of which he is not a citizen. At the same time the Trump administration argues that the First Amendment does not apply to Assange because he is not an American citizen! So Assange is subject to US law when it comes to publishing information embarrassing to the US deep state but he is not subject to the law of the land – the US Constitution – which protects all journalists and is the backbone of our system of government.

It is ironic that a President Trump who has been the victim of so much deep state meddling has done the deep state’s bidding when it comes to Assange and Wikileaks. President Trump should preempt the inevitable US show trial of Assange by granting the journalist blanket pardon under the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.

The deep state Trump is serving by persecuting Assange is the same deep state that continues to plot Trump’s own ouster. Free Assange!

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