We have regularly discussed the rising attacks on free speech on college campuses, including Northwestern University. Protesters at Northwestern have blocked speakers while maintaining that there is “no free speech for overtly racist white dudes.” They have stopped classes from discussing ICE policies. However, the student government has now added an attack on the free press by voting to block media from meetings to protect students from criticism over their advocacy. Even the dean of the school’s prestigious journalism school called out the action as inimical to the free press.
The Daily Northwestern reported that the vote of the student government was unanimous in barring media from some meetings. It only pledged to supply “minutes to journalists for closed meetings, withholding the personal information of speakers.”
Student government member Assem Belhadj explained:
“This is about how to make sure student activism within ASG can be protected in a way that students can speak and have the freedom to dissent on issues without having this fear that what they say will be blown out of proportion and they will be publicly criticized.”
So these are government meetings but students do not want to be held accountable for what they may say or demand. What is striking is that Northwestern has been regularly criticized for its cancel culture where students seek to silence opposing views. Yet, in seeking government action, students do not want to be identified in seeking controversial measures.
That is really sad and, again, we're not imparting knowledge for the future generations when we act as though censorship is something we should embrace.
In other news, Chase Rice is on tour currently.
"Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):
Tuesday, March 15, 2022. As the war goes on, the persecution of Julian Asange continues with a new ruling from a Biritsh court, the fable of the 'good nazis' begins to unravel, and so much more.
Starting with the Ausrlaian journalist that US President Joe Biden continues to persecute. Juilian Assange committed the 'crime' of exposing US War Crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan. Joe Biden wants him to stand trial in the US for practicing journalism. Blustering, bigoted Biden wants Julian to pay for telling the world the truth. Joe most recently -- his State of the Union address -- was caught lying again about how many times he himself had visited Iraq and Afghanistan (doubling the total) so, you understand, Joe will always be on the side of liars and always want to punish those who tell the truth.
He is demanding that the United Kingdom turn over Julian who remains in a British prison because, well, they have no reason to hold him in the UK but like good little serfs, they do what the US government tells them.
The Supreme Court has refused to allow Julian Assange his latest appeal against extradition to the US.
A court spokesman said Mr Assange's application did not raise "an arguable point of law". The decision is a major blow to his hopes to avoid extradition.
The Wikileaks founder, 50, is wanted in the US over the publication of thousands of classified documents in 2010 and 2011.
His lawyers said he had not ruled out launching a final appeal.
The case will now go back down to District Judge Vanessa Baraitser, the original judge who assessed the US's extradition request.
Assange’s lawyers will have four weeks to make submissions to the home secretary before her decision. There also remain other routes to fight his extradition, for instance by mounting a challenge on other issues of law raised at first instance that he lost on and have not yet been subject to appeal.
The attempted appeal to the supreme court was specifically on the issue of the US assurances.
In January last year, district judge Vanessa Baraitser blocked extradition on the basis that procedures in prisons in the US would not prevent Assange from potentially taking his own life.
But that decision was overturned by two senior judges, Lord Burnett of Maldon, the lord chief justice, and Lord Justice Holroyde, at the high court. Burnett said the risk of Assange being held in highly restrictive US prison conditions was “excluded by the assurances which are offered. It follows that we are satisfied that, if the assurances had been before the judge, she would have answered the relevant question differently.”
Responding to the supreme court’s decision, a spokesperson for Assange’s solicitors, Birnberg Peirce, said: “We regret that the opportunity has not been taken to consider the troubling circumstances in which requesting states can provide caveated guarantees after the conclusion of a full evidential hearing. In Mr Assange’s case, the court had found that there was a real risk of prohibited treatment in the event of his onward extradition.”
Assange’s life is in grave danger. Neither appeal is likely to be granted and not even such formal legal rights and processes to proceed should be considered a certainty.Assange’s prosecution has always been the “legal” continuation of a lawless assassination-cum-rendition operation organised by the CIA, seeking to silence Assange for good, one way or another.
The timeline has now been dramatically accelerated. The Supreme Court’s decision came suddenly, without any prior announcement. That it refused even to hear Assange’s case is highly unusual. The lower High Court certified on January 24 that a “point of law of public importance” had been raised by Assange, normally prompting the Supreme Court to consider the appeal.
The point of law in question was, “In what circumstances can an appellate court receive assurances from a requesting state which were not before the court of first instance.” Even on these limited grounds, the case was considered worth examining by the High Court and legal experts in the field.
Last month, WikiLeaks cited a report of the case by the highly regarded London law firm Bindmans which noted, “Extradition practitioners largely welcome Supreme Court guidance on this point as late assurances designed to alleviate the court’s concerns about human rights violations following extradition have become a highly contentious issue, especially when provided by States with a poor record in human rights themselves.”
However, having been given the option to go through the motions and apply the Supreme Court’s legal imprimatur to Assange’s effective rendition, the justices instead delivered a one-line rejection: “The court ordered that permission to appeal be refused because the application does not raise an arguable point of law.”
The meaning is clear: the time for charades is over, Assange must be dealt with quickly.
This was a decision reached at the highest levels of the British state, delivered by the President of the Supreme Court Lord Reed and the Deputy President Lord Hodge, alongside Lord Briggs. The NATO-Russia war being waged through the proxy conflict in Ukraine, moving ever closer to a direct military confrontation between nuclear armed powers, has doubtless come as a powerful spur to action, underscoring for the ruling class why Assange must be silenced.
Dismay at the decision was expressed by Amnesty International’s Deputy Research Director for Europe, Julia Hall. “The Supreme Court has missed an opportunity to clarify the UK’s acceptance of deeply flawed diplomatic assurances against torture. Such assurances are inherently unreliable and leave people at risk of severe abuse upon extradition or other transfer.”
The next stage in this diabolical torment of the WikiLeaks founder involves remitting the case to Westminster Magistrates’ Court, which will only serve a ceremonial role in referring the decision to the Home Secretary, Priti Patel. Only the most starry-eyed optimists will expect extradition to be barred. (Patel is fixated with proposed changes to the UK Official Secrets Act that will expansively criminalise journalists and whistleblowers who publish classified information.) The defence will do their best in submissions to Patel ahead of the decision, but it is likely that they will have to seek judicial review.
In the likely event of Patel’s approval, the defence may make a freedom of press argument, though this is by no means a clear run thing. It will still be up to the higher courts as to whether they would be willing to grant leave to hear further arguments. Whichever way the cards fall, this momentous, torturous journey of paperwork, briefs, lawyers, and prison will continue to sap life and cause grief.
The persecution of Julian is a threat to the press and not just members of the US press. Julian is not an American citien. He cannot be guilty of treason. No foreigner can be. His actions did not take place on US soil. He published the truth and that, according to Joe Biden, is not a defense. A foreign journalist published the truth and now the US government attempts to destroy the journalist. It sends a dark and disturbing message to journalists around the world. And the US makes clear that for all its pretense about caring for a free press and being appalled by the way other governments attempt to supress journalists is just a pretense. I wonder what 'high tonal' remarks Harvey Weinstein's whore Meryl STreep will have to make about the press now? While she had that bad film to promote she pretended to care about journalism and support a free press. But note that the whore hasn't said a word about Julian. Not surprising when we know her response to the truth about Harvey coming out was to insist to Ronana Farrow that he msut not expose Harvey because Harvey donates to Democratic Party causes.
Rose McGowan called it and Rose was right.
Julian's life is in danger. Joe Biden is using the full weight of the US government -- and our tax dollars -- to persecute Julian. It's interesting to note who can speak out and who has made the decision to be silent.
Journalist John Pilger Tweets:
We'll note this Tweet:
That must have always scared Joe Biden and it must scare him especially now as his victory lap war is falling apart and the American people are beginning to question many of the lies he and his surrogates have pimped to turn a neo nazi government into the best friends the US could ever have and as cute and cuddly as a newborn puppy.
The US government getting into bed with nazis is notthing new as Mickey Z reminds at DISSIDENT VOICE:
Reminder: When attempting to unravel the behaviors of today’s ruling class, it helps to educate yourself about their actions in the past. For example, the U.S. and the CIA rescued and recruited Nazi war criminals after World War II to bolster their intelligence, military, and space program efforts.
The most well-known of these men was Wernher von Braun — a man described as the “leading figure in the development of rocket technology in Nazi Germany and a pioneer of rocket and space technology in the United States.” His career — from exploiting Jewish slave labor to becoming a decorated NASA architect — is well-documented here. For the purposes of this article, I’ll focus on some of the other, lesser-known Nazis who were assimilated into America’s “Greatest Generation.”
“I am a general and chief of the intelligence department of the High Command of the German Army. I have information of the highest importance for your Supreme Commander and the American government, and I must be taken immediately to your senior commander.”
It was with these words that General Reinhard Gehlen, Hitler’s notorious eastern front espionage chief, began his relationship with the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) and the budding U.S. intelligence community. As the OSS was transformed into the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), yet another of many dark alliances emerged.
After surrendering on May 22, 1945, Gehlen, or “Reinhard the Fox,” was eventually interviewed by OSS founders “Wild” Bill Donovan and Allen Dulles after flying to Washington — in the uniform of a U.S. general. According to his biographer, Leonard Mosley, Dulles recommended that the Nazi super-spy be given a budget of $3,500,000 and “set up in business as the supplier of Russian and East European intelligence.”
But the shrewd Gehlen had some conditions:
- His organization would not be regarded as part of the American intelligence services but as an autonomous apparatus under his exclusive management. Liaison with American intelligence would be maintained by a U.S. officer whose selection Gehlen would approve.
- The Gehlen Organization would be used solely to procure intelligence on the Soviet Union and the satellite countries of the communist bloc.
- Upon the establishment of a German government, the organization would be transferred to it and all previous agreements and arrangements canceled, subject to discussions between the new sovereign authority and the United States.
- Nothing detrimental or contrary to German interests must be required or expected from the organization, nor must it be called upon for security activities against Germans in West Germany.
Considering that Gehlen was essentially a prisoner of war who could have been brought up on charges of war crimes, these demands were remarkable. Even more remarkable, at first blush, is the fact that the U.S. complied. However, when viewed through the prism of the rapidly escalating Cold War, a Nazi-CIA alliance becomes rather predictable.
With German defeat imminent, Gehlen instructed several members of his staff to begin microfilming intelligence on the USSR beginning in March 1945. After secretly burying this material throughout the Austrian Alps, Gehlen and his men sought a deal.
At INFORMATION CLEARING HOUSE, Mike Whitney reports on the naxis in the government of Ukraine:
The United States has been arming and training far-right militants that are the ideological descendants of Nazi war criminals that were directly involved in the mass-extermination of Jews, Slavs and Gypsies during the Second World War. These Ukrainian storm troopers are among the most vicious and malignant combatants Washington has ever employed to implement its foreign policy agenda. Naturally, Washington sees these fascist-zealots as mere pawns in its proxy war on Russia. Even so, the ‘alliance of convenience’ does not diminish the fact that Uncle Sam is now in bed with right-wing militants whose spiritual leader, Adolph Hitler, was responsible for the deaths of tens of millions of people as well as the destruction of large parts of Europe and Russia. Check out this clip from an article titled “Can Ukraine have a ‘Nazi problem’ with a Jewish president?:
“Ukraine really does have a far-right problem, and it’s not a fiction of Kremlin propaganda. And it’s well past time to talk about it,” explained journalist and expert on the Ukrainian far right, Michael Colborne.
The most known neo-Nazi group on Ukraine’s far right is the Azov movement. The movement grew out of the Azov Regiment (originally a Battalion), formed in the chaos of war in early 2014.
It was formed by a “ragtag group of far-right thugs, football hooligans and international hangers-on, including dozens of Russian citizens,” said Colborne, who wrote a book on the movement.”(“Can Ukraine have a ‘Nazi problem’ with a Jewish president?”, Jewish Unpacked)
The Ukrainian war has silenced the last vestiges of the Left. Nearly everyone has giddily signed on for the great crusade against the latest embodiment of evil, Vladimir Putin, who, like all our enemies, has become the new Hitler. The United States will give $13.6 billion in military and humanitarian assistance to Ukraine, with the Biden administration authorizing on Saturday an additional $200 million in military assistance. The 5,000-strong EU rapid deployment force, the recruitment of all Eastern Europe, including Ukraine, into NATO, the reconfiguration of former Soviet Bloc militaries to NATO weapons and technology have all been fast tracked. Germany, for the first time since World War II, is massively rearming. It has lifted its ban on exporting weapons. Its new military budget is twice the amount of the old budget, with promises to raise the budget to more than 2 percent of GDP, which would move its military from the seventh largest in the world to the third-, behind China and the United States. NATO battlegroups are being doubled in size in the Baltic states to more than 6,000 troops. Battlegroups will be sent to Romania and Slovakia. Washington will double the number of U.S. troops stationed in Poland to 9,000. Sweden and Finland are considering dropping their neutral status to integrate with NATO.
This is a recipe for global war. History, as well as all the conflicts I covered as a war correspondent, have demonstrated that when military posturing begins, it often takes little to set the funeral pyre alight. One mistake. One overreach. One military gamble too many. One too many provocations. One act of desperation.
For a very brief time, Joe and his angry surrogates had control of the narrative and pimped their propaganda. People have woken up and trush have been revealed. Patrick Martin (WSWS) observes:
There is an obvious element of racism in the selective outrage of imperialist governments and the corporate media, expressed in saturation coverage of the suffering of the Ukrainian people, accompanied by virtual silence over the equally terrible suffering of the population of Yemen.
This was summed up in the comment by CBS correspondent Charlie D’Agata, who blurted out that victims who “look like us” are more likely to evoke a sympathetic response. He was only one of many. Daniel Hannan of Britain’s Daily Telegraph remarked, “They seem so like us. That’s it. That is what makes it so shocking. Ukraine is a European country. Its people watch Netflix and have Instagram accounts, vote in free elections and read uncensored newspapers. War is no longer something visited upon impoverished and remote populations.”
Government officials followed suit. Ukraine’s chief prosecutor, David Sakvarelidze, told the BBC, “It’s really emotional for me because I see European people with blue eyes and blonde hair being killed, children being killed every day with Putin’s missiles.” Kiril Petkov, prime minister of Bulgaria said, “These are not the refugees we are used to. They are Europeans, intelligent, educated people, some are IT programmers ... this is not the usual refugee wave of people with an unknown past. No European country is afraid of them.” Retired British general Richard Barrons, former assistant chief of the general staff, said, “I think one of the issues … is how does public opinion in the UK and other countries react to seeing people who look and live like us being slaughtered.”
The Arab and Middle Eastern Journalists Association (AMEJA) issued a statement condemning this racist double standard. “AMEJA stands in full solidarity with all civilians under military assault in any part of the world, and we deplore the difference in news coverage of people in one country versus another,” the organization said. “This type of commentary reflects the pervasive mentality in Western journalism of normalizing tragedy in parts of the world such as the Middle East, Africa, South Asia, and Latin America. It dehumanizes and renders their experience with war as somehow normal and expected ... “
Race is, of course, not the determining factor. There were tears aplenty in the imperialist media for Syrian victims of repression by the Assad regime. The decisive issue is whether the government carrying out the slaughter is allied with American imperialism. Hence the silence over atrocities in Saudi Arabia, Colombia, India and the Philippines—to say nothing of the millions of victims of the Pentagon and CIA in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria and across North Africa—in sharp contrast to the screaming headlines and nonstop coverage of the victims of Putin’s reactionary invasion of Ukraine.
The working class should not be swayed by any of the campaigns in the capitalist media, aimed at mobilizing public opinion in support of the foreign policy of American imperialism and its European allies.
In other news, yesterday RUDAW reported:
Rival Shiite leaders are expected to meet on Monday to discuss the formation of a new government, following months of political deadlock, though they are unlikely to decide on the nominee for prime minister, an Iraqi MP told Rudaw on Monday.
The meeting is set to take place between the leader of the Sadrist Movement Muqtada al-Sadr and State of Law Coalition leader Nouri al-Maliki, according to the Iraqi MP, though the exact time was not mentioned.
“The nominee for prime minister will not be decided on during this meeting,” State of Law Coalition MP Faisal al-Naili told Rudaw on Monday.
“Even if the two sides agree on a nominee, they still need to consult with their allies,” Naili added.
A phone call between the two political rivals was held earlier this week, sparking speculation that the topic of discussion was Sadr’s intention to nominate his cousin, Iraq's ambassador to the United Kingdom, Mohammad Jaafar al-Sadr, as the next prime minister.
There has been no official confirmation of these rumors surrounding Jaafar.
The political stalemate continues.