ABC: UN Rapporteur Accuses Australia of Failing to Protect Assange’s Rights

On 1st June 2019, Philip Williams interviews Nils Melzer on ABC Radio AM regarding Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s denials of the Rapporteur’s charges.

The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has issued a statement denying an accusation by a U-N rapporteur on Torture that our government has failed to support Julian Assange, and is complicit in his psychological torture. 

Nils Melzer recently visited Mr Assange in a British jail with a doctor and psychiatrist to assess his condition, and said he feared the Wikileaks founder could die in prison.

Julian Assange is facing possible extradition to the United States, where he could spend the rest of his life behind bars.

Mr Melzer says he wouldn’t get a fair trial in the U-S, and added the Australian Government was failing to protect a citizen.

Listen to interview podcast on Radio AM
and subsequent coverage in the Workers Socialist Web Site with quotes and commentary from the interview

Who Leaked the DNC Emails?

On the 3rd January 2019 Yaacov Apelbaum posted an in depth analysis of access to the DNC mail server

So who Pwned the DNC’s and Podesta’s emails? The Russians? Romanians? Or was it just your run of the mill developer/sysAdmin/staffer with an axe to grind? To find out more, check out the post by William Binney and Larry Johnson. Here is a little illustration that helps focus some of their data transfer rate arguments and expand on other cyber security points:

If you are still confused about the who, what, when, where, and how, you are not alone. The reason for this heavy fog is that it’s impossible to separate the spin from facts without access to the forensic data–which for some reason doesn’t’ seem to make itself available. As far as the pro and con arguments for a local vs. remote access are concerned, yes, theoretically an external attacker could have used a cocktail of zero day + remote privilege elevation + password recovery against the cloud based NGP VAN voter system, but so could a local user/administrator at a fraction of the time and effort. 

What about the identity of the perp? According to the WaPo (using Crowdstrike, the DOJ, and their other usual hush-hush government leaker in the know), the attack was perpetrated by a Russian unit lead by Lieutenant Captain Nikolay Kozachek who allegedly crafted a malware called X-Agent and used it to get into the network and install keystroke loggers on several PCs.

End conclusion

In lieu of answering these pesky questions, we are left with the only remaining explanation that uses the following formula for predicting cyber attack origins:
“Path of Least Resistance”+
“Principle of Least Effort” +
“Opportunity” +
= “Insider”,
AKA one of them green guys on the right side of Image 1.

Read whole analysis and and commentary in Yaacov Apelbaum’s Blog

Kennedy family’s support for press freedom spans generations

On the 21st September 2018 Alfred Friendly Press Partners reports

Kathleen Kennedy Townsend said President Trump’s attacks on the media are in stark contrast to the “deep respect” President John F. Kennedy, her uncle, and Robert F. Kennedy, her father, held for the journalism profession and its role in safeguarding democracy.

Both worked as international correspondents for newspapers, and both maintained strong friendships with reporters and editors while they held political office, Kennedy Townsend said during the Alfred Friendly Foundation’s annual gala on Sept. 7.

“There is always some tensions between the press and the politicians — and I speak from experience,” the former lieutenant governor of Maryland said. “But it doesn’t have to be so virulent. How my family interacted with the press — there were plenty of ups and downs, but it was a profoundly different experience than the one we’re having today.”

Kennedy Townsend said a prime example was a telegram that JFK sent to Alfred Friendly in 1968 congratulating The Washington Post correspondent for winning the Pulitzer Prize for his coverage of the the Middle East War.

“It is perhaps the highest tribute that can be paid to a member of your profession,” Kennedy wrote from his Indiana hotel. One month later, Robert Kennedy was assassinated.

Kennedy Townsend read the telegram to the audience at the National Press Club and said “it was a mark of deep respect, for the reporters and the press, born of my father’s deep appreciation of constitutional protections and affinity for reporters. He got it. He knew it was important.”

Robert Kennedy’s understanding also had roots in his own experience covering Israel’s fight for independence in 1948 when he was 22, she said. RFK was assassinated by a Palestinian/Jordanian immigrant on the anniversary of the start of the Arab-Israeli war that Friendly covered. “The Six Day War was very important to him in his life — I remember conversations we had. I think it was because of his support for Israel that he died.”

John F. Kennedy also wrote about international relations as a reporter for Hearst newspapers in the summer of 1945. He toured bomb-damaged Berlin, watched Joseph Stalin and Harry Truman interact at the Potsdam Conference and attended the opening of the United Nations.

“They knew the value of foreign correspondents,” Kennedy Townsend said. She was personally impressed by the comments at the gala by reporters from India and Sudan who spoke of their experience in the Alfred Friendly fellowship program and their career aspirations.   

“They touched my heart,” Kennedy Townsend said of Samarth Bansal, Ankur Paliwal and Zeinab Salih. “You could see these are people who want to help their country and want to write about what’s true and expose injustices in our world and do it with great courage.”

But Kennedy Townsend added, “This is a trying time to welcome (Alfred Friendly) Fellows to the United States. We Americans have prided ourselves for so long about our free press and its importance in our constitution and our history. Yet, as you know, the press is under attack. The president has called the press the enemy of the people.”

Trump’s rhetoric has an impact in other countries, she said, and called Turkish President Erdogan’s railing against “fake news” a “chilling” example of how other leaders are using cues from Trump to legitimize attacks on the media.

“It’s our duty is to object and say this is wrong and must not stand,” Kennedy Townsend said.

She pointed out a few good trends, such as the increased circulation of national newspapers holding Trump to task and a recent joint editorial by a large number of newspapers stressing the importance of a free press.

“You members of the press, with each story, with each revelation, you are freedom’s fighters; you are on the front lines in creating a culture that says: truth matters; facts make a difference; lies will eventually be outed. This is true in the United States and its true around the world.”

Read original article Alfred Friendly Press Partners

JFK’S defense of press freedom is antidote to Trump’s abusive authoritarianism

On the 22nd August 2018 The Cap Times editorial reports

These are tough times for journalism in America.

Newspapers have been folding, newsrooms have been thinning out, editors and reporters are being laid off at alarming rates. Hedge-fund owners are sacrificing local journalism to pad their profits. Mergers and acquisitions are dumbing down print, broadcast, and online media in pursuit of a one-size-fits-all bottom line. Federal policies are promoting consolidation and profiteering, while failing to adequately fund public and community media.

But newspapers remain committed to the defense of freedom of the press — and to the democracy that is underpinned by speak-truth-to-power journalism. Last week, The Capital Times joined newspapers across the country in a national show of solidarity with the First Amendment.

It was a necessary response to Donald Trump’s disdain for the basic premises of the American experiment, which he regularly evidences with crude attacks on journalists and journalism.

At a time when America needs to be urgently concerned with the work of renewing and extending the promise of a free press, Trump is making a bad situation worse. He has empowered a wrecking crew at the Federal Communications Commission, where his appointees are working overtime to scrap neutrality and protections for media competition and diversity.

But Trump is doing even more damage with his steady stream of angry pronouncements regarding specific reporters and media outlets, and his dismissive attitude toward the role that journalism plays in maintaining a free and functional society.

At a time when America needs leadership on behalf of press freedom, Trump is actively steering the discourse in the wrong direction with his claims that “very unpatriotic” journalists are putting “the lives of many” at risk by reporting on government affairs.

It was honest concern about the president’s beligerent attitude toward journalists and journalism that led The Capital Times and newspapers across the country to heed the call of The Boston Globe for a show of editorial-page engagement last Thursday.

Newspapers spoke in different voices.

But, as Cap Times readers know, this newspaper shouts whenever powerful figures abuse their positions.

And, surely, Donald Trump is abusing his position.

We do not believe that the right response to this president’s authoritarian tendencies is feel-good pontificating that merely begs the president to be nice to journalists.

What is required is something far more specific, and far more intellectually and politically honest, than a simple assertion that journalists are not the enemy of the people. There has to be a renewal of the historic understanding of journalism as a check and balance on all power: Republican and Democratic, private and public, political and corporate. This reassertion must be rooted in an essential recognition that no president who takes seriously an oath to “preserve, protect, and defend” the Constitution would say what Trump is saying. But it must go deeper than that.

When John F. Kennedy addressed the American Newspaper Publishers Association just two months after he was sworn in as the 35th president in January 1961, he explained: “I have selected as the title of my remarks tonight ‘The President and the Press.’ Some may suggest that this would be more naturally worded ‘The President Versus the Press.’ But those are not my sentiments tonight.”

Kennedy went on to tell the assembled publishers, “(My) purpose here tonight is not to deliver the usual assault on the so-called one-party press. On the contrary, in recent months I have rarely heard any complaints about political bias in the press except from a few Republicans. Nor is it my purpose tonight to discuss or defend the televising of presidential press conferences. I think it is highly beneficial to have some 20,000,000 Americans regularly sit in on these conferences to observe, if I may say so, the incisive, the intelligent and the courteous qualities displayed by your Washington correspondents.”

Kennedy was poking fun at the White House correspondents of his day, who were generally incisive and intelligent, but not always as courteous as presidents prefer.

Yet the point of Kennedy’s speech was a serious one. He had come, as a new president, to talk about the relationship between his administration and the media. He acknowledged “the dilemma faced by a free and open society in a cold and secret war,” and he spoke honestly of his hope for a measure of restraint in the coverage of particularly sensitive global disputes. But he also said: “The question is for you alone to answer. No public official should answer it for you. No governmental plan should impose its restraints against your will.”

Yes, Kennedy suggested, the administration’s views might clash with those of its inquisitors. But, he added, “I not only could not stifle controversy among your readers — I welcome it. This administration intends to be candid about its errors; for as a wise man once said: ‘An error does not become a mistake until you refuse to correct it.’ We intend to accept full responsibility for our errors; and we expect you to point them out when we miss them.”

That’s the opposite of Trump’s approach.

But the opposite of Trump is what American needs now.

In these most challenging of times, honorable leaders of all parties and all ideologies must recognize, as did JFK: “Without debate, without criticism, no administration and no country can succeed — and no republic can survive. That is why the Athenian lawmaker Solon decreed it a crime for any citizen to shrink from controversy. And that is why our press was protected by the First Amendment — the only business in America specifically protected by the Constitution — not primarily to amuse and entertain, not to emphasize the trivial and the sentimental, not to simply ‘give the public what it wants’ — but to inform, to arouse, to reflect, to state our dangers and our opportunities, to indicate our crises and our choices, to lead, mold, educate and sometimes even anger public opinion.”

Read original article in The Cap Times

Anything to Say?

A Monument to Courage

Explanation, Tours, Videos, Creative Drive at Anything to Say? web site

“Anything to say?”, is a life size bronze sculpture, portraying three figures each one standing on a chair. The fourth chair is empty because it is our chair. The one for us to stand up on to express ourselves or simply to stand next to Edward Snowden, Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning, who had the courage to say no to the intrusion of global surveillance and to lies that lead to war. Both loved and hated, they chose to loose the comfort zone of their lives to tell the truth.

The work has been inspired by Charles Glass, author, journalist and broadcaster, and brought to life by artist Davide Dormino who believes in the power of Public Art. « It has the power to make people grow and change their point of view. The chair has a double meaning. It can be comfortable, but it can also be a pedestal to rise higher, to get a better view, to learn more. They all chose to get up on the chairs of courage. They made their move in spite of becoming visible, thus threatened and judged. Some think they are traitors. History never had a positive opinion of contemporary revolutionaries. You need courage to act, to stand up on that empty chair because it hurts.»