Thursday, November 11, 2021

Remember Our Vets #Remembrance Day #Nov11

Atheists in foxholes, some say they are myths,
Creations of the mind who just don't exist.

Yet, they answered the call to defend, with great pride.
With reason their watchword, they bled and they died.

They took Saratoga from the British crown,
Secured America's freedom at the Battle of Yorktown.

From Sumter to Appomattox, fields flowed with their blood.
When the cannons grew silent, the flag proudly stood.

From the Marne to the Argonne, in trenches and tanks,
They defeated the Germans -- the whole world gave thanks.

They were bombed at Pearl Harbor, fought on to Berlin.
Many freethinking women served along with the men.

Still war keeps erupting -- Iraq, Bosnia, and Kosovo.
Where is the peace that eludes people so?

It is broken by tyrants who bear crosses and creeds,
That overshadow reason with hate and cruel deeds.

So atheists prevail until your work is complete.
Mothers mourn, children cry, and bigots plan your defeat.

By air, land, and sea, you answer freedom's call.
Without god or faith, you seek liberty for all.

Saturday, September 11, 2021

9/11 Memories

Revised version of my post dated 9/11/07

When are we going to get over 9/11?

I don't know....

My memories of that day are as fresh today as they were 10 years ago.

My drive to work was the usual insane Toronto Rush Hour drive, down the 410 and along the 401, past the Airport. Then down the 427 and across the Gardiner Expressway. It was a normal occurrence to see the Planes flying low over the Highway to land at the Airport. My thoughts when observing those planes went to the lucky people coming back from or going to exotic holiday destinations. Every morning was same minus or plus accidents that frustrated the nerves and slowed down or stopped the traffic.

I left my home in Brampton at 7:15 AM, arrived at my parking lot at 8:45 AM and walked to work arriving just before 9:00 AM.

The receptionist, greeted me as I walked in, with the comment that a plane just hit the World Trade Center in New York. She looked terrified. I assumed it was just a tragic accident and responded accordingly. "No." she said, "They're saying it was a terrorist attack!".

I continued to my office which I shared with my Boss, and repeated what the receptionist had said.

A minute later, she rushed into our office, saying that a second plane had hit the WTC. My Boss and I looked at each other, got up immediately and all of us went to the coffee room where the company had a TV. Slowly other company staff joined us until the room was full.

Someone switched channels so that we could listen to the various news stories, and finally settled on CNN.

A skeleton staff was left to answer the phones and people came and went as their various jobs required.

We were all in shock.

I hadn't really kept up with world politics, didn't know the current issues on the international stage, and so, asked rhetorically, not really expecting an answer, "Who would do such a thing, and Why?" Someone commented from behind me that it had to be Bin Ladin. I asked who Bin Ladin was and was told he was an Islamic extremist. I asked why the WTC? and was told because it was the heart of American Capitalism. I wondered why the Islamic extremists would care about hurting American Capitalism.

Someone else commented that the Americans had brought this on themselves.

I responded that no matter what the Americans have done, nothing justified this.

And then we saw the WTC towers come crashing down, live, through the eye of CNN's camera lens.

My immediate reactions were, "There are thousands of people in those buildings!" and "My son is on his way to work and has to go right past those buildings to get to MidTown Manhattan from Jersey City!"

In a panic I ran from the coffee room and tried to contact my son by phone to assure myself that he was okay.

The lines were tied up and I couldn't get through on my cell phone. My boss suggested I use the land line. I couldn't get through on the land line.

The rest of the morning was spent running back and forth from the coffee room to watch the events unfold, and to the phone to try to reach my son.

I finally got through at around 11:00 AM to the answering machine at his work place and left a message asking him to call me back right away so that I knew he was alright.

I then heard that a subway train had been buried under the rubble of the WTC and rescue workers were trying to get to it.

My stomach ached from the knots created by the worry and fear.

I went to the bathroom repeatedly because I didn't want anyone to see me cry.

To my great relief, he responded at around 12:00 PM.

He told me he took the bus, not the subway to get to work, that the bus went past the WTC.

He saw the second plane hit the WTC when he left his home in Jersey City which is right across the river from the WTC.

When the bus drove past the WTC he could see people jumping from 100 stories up and could hear their bodies landing.

He saw the Towers come down. The bus had stopped, and everyone was watching the events unfold in shock and fear.

He and his girlfriend, a Nanny in UpTown, spent the night at his workplace because no-one was allowed to leave the city, so they couldn't return to their apartment in Jersey City.

My boss told me that I could go home if I wanted to.

I thanked him, told him I would stay and settled down to trying to get some work done.

Driving home, the skies were empty near the airport.

From that point on, I saw the low flying planes over the highway in a completely new light.

It wasn't about vacationers and exotic holiday locations anymore.

It was about fear.

All flights to American locations had been redirected to Canadian airports, particularly the one next to the 401. Pearson International.

When I got home I called my Mother.

She had been planning to come to Toronto at the end of the week, and my vacation was to start September 15th.

We had planned to drive to New York together to visit my son and his girlfriend on September 15th.

His girlfriends parents were visiting that week and were scheduled to return to Germany on September 11th.

They left at the end of the week.

The line ups at the border were hours long and flying was not an option.

My son and his girlfriend asked us not to come.

We didn't go.

I cried for the people who died and for the people who lived.

My son's breathing troubles started two months later. He was initially diagnosed as having Panic Attacks.

In 2005, he developed serious lesions on his skin all over his body, infected with Streptococcus bacteria. Neither he nor the Doctors could explain it.

He breathed in the dust on that day and the fumes for months as the fires burned and the toxic fumes drifted across the river to Jersey City where he lived.

In Memoriam - 9/11

Dedicated to those who died and those who survived.

May the Religion of "Peace" (Islam),  the Religion of "Love" (Christianity), the Religion of the Israeli extremists and all other religions end their fighting and stop turning the rest of us into collateral damage.

Here's To Genuine Peace, Love and Freedom.

9/11 Memories - A personal recollection

Wednesday, July 01, 2020

Happy Canada Day 2020 #CANADADAY

Stop the Corporocrats from buying our governments whether they're Cons, Libs, NDP, etc.

Call it what it is: Treason because it undermines our democratic processes.

Yes this my 2013 Canada Day post recycled because nothing has changed.

#ReElectNobody #VotePirateParty #VoteIndependents

Monday, May 20, 2019

Critique of the Class Conscious article on #Unity4J

A call-to-action video by ▂▃▅▇█▓▒░Anon(Ḧḭṽḕ)░▒▓█▇▅▃▂
Originally Uploaded at:

Originally published August 29, 2018. Republished May 20, 2019.

Now that the August 26 events are over, I'm going to address the recent Class Conscious critique of the #Unity4J movement. 

My critique of the Class Conscious article (like my Twitter feed) reflects my personal opinions and is neither an official or unofficial position of Unity4J nor any other organization or persons I'm affiliated with. These opinions are my own and I stand by them on my own.

I'm a Freethinker and don't follow any ideology, so I don't have a horse running in the ideological rat race. Most of my positions, when summarized on Political Compass put me in the center of the Left Libertarian spectrum.

This following critique is not a personal or any other kind of attack on Davey Heller or Class Conscious but rather an attempt to engage with them on this very important issue and perhaps come to a common understanding. Even if we are unable to do that, it will be a good exercise in understanding each others positions and hopefully remaining on good terms despite any unresolvable differences.

Note that Davey Heller has been claiming, behind the scenes, that I have not responded to his critique despite the fact that he was tagged when this post was originally published. Nor has he made any effort to engage in any rational discussion on this serious topic.

In a world of divide and conquer, unity is the ultimate act of resistance

My main criticism of the position presented in the article can be summarized as follows:
The analysis over-generalizes and doesn't differentiate between the right which are Empire Loyalists and the right which aren't Empire Loyalists and openly criticize the Empire. Nor does it differentiate between open neo-nazis/white supremacists, the goon squads of the Empire, and right wing ignorance and bigotry. All of these are conflated together into a huge mash of alleged fascist evil without any understanding of their role in class and social relationships.

It's ironic as well as a significant oversight for any organization that claims to be socialist, publishing on a site which calls itself Class Conscious, that their article doesn't recognize or address the role of class relations in their analysis and critique of Unity4J's position, that we can and should unite to defend Julian, irrespective of ideology.

Major errors in reasoning will always occur when an analysis of a concept or cause is based on the people involved rather than the objective conditions that gave rise to the necessity for the cause. Then, within that context evaluate the role people are playing within it. 

It's the very definition of the Argumentum Ad Hominem logical fallacy to center an argument on persons rather than positions.

A socialist, who doesn't also include a class analysis within that perspective is, by definition, not providing a socialist analysis, since class is the key factor to any socialist perspective. 

These are precisely the errors that the article makes and why, in my opinion, the reasoning is so flawed and the conclusion so wrong, even from a socialist perspective. 

The real issue, the reality that we are facing today is the global elite, the Empire, is creating a world-wide architecture for global fascism. They have been financing all sides of the major political parties (left, center and right) to ensure that their Loyalists are elected and their policies implemented, irrespective of which party ideology has power at any given time. Goldman Sachs gave large contributions to both the Democrats and the Republicans during the 2016 US  election. Onex Corporation did the same in Canada.

Goldman Sachs contributions surge despite attacks
Following the money: Is Bay Street backing Thomas Mulcair?

This is why we are seeing very similar policies being implemented around the world in the form of anti-terrorist legislation, loosened controls on Intelligence Agencies, and the manufactured consent for the acceptability of the concept of "domestic terrorism". It's why legitimate dissent is now treated as a crime. In recent news, protesters engaged in legitimate dissent have been charged as terrorists. This is a first but expect this to become the norm. It's the direction the Empire is taking us.

Activists are being charged under terrorism laws for the first time in Britain – this sets a dangerous precedent

We can also see this occurring as a conflict in the UK where Jeremy Corbyn is under serious attack by the Israel Lobby because he won't fall into line with the agenda of the Empire which includes propping up Israeli hegemony in the Middle East. Will MI5 and MI6 act on this obvious interference in the internal political affairs of the UK, by a foreign power and it's agents of influence? No, because they are part of the state machine which is currently under the control of the Empire. Their real job is to support it's agenda and not to defend National Security as they claim. If they were defending National Security, there would be Espionage charges laid.

The Empire is doing all of this because it has a very deep understanding of how unity, irrespective of ideology, works and has focused on that approach quite successfully. The only basis of unity the Empire requires is that you be a good Loyalist by implementing/supporting/amplifying the Empire's policies, keep their secrets, and don't question, expose or otherwise interfere with their agenda to implement global fascism. It doesn't care whether you're pro-choice or anti-abortion, love or hate LGBTQs, etc. etc. Just don't mess with their key agenda and it's all good.

Trump's basic problem is that he's a crony capitalist and while he's loyal to the Empire, he also has his own agenda of crony capitalism which he wants to implement. This has the potential of creating problems for the Empire at this particular moment in history. As a result, the Empire has mobilized the Deep State to get him under control. Failing that, they'll come up with a way to get rid of him. This state machine acts for whoever controls it. Today it is controlled by the Empire, the global elite and implements it's policies.

RussiaGate allows the Deep State, acting on behalf of the Empire, to kill two birds with one stone. Discredit Trump and back Hillary's rather pathetic and lame excuses for losing the 2016 election. 

I've never disputed the allegations regarding Russia hacking the US, the DNC and anyone else they could hack and I don't doubt there is reams of evidence to support that. Nor do I doubt that there is reams of evidence to support allegations that Trump colluded with Russia. There may well be. There's certainly evidence to show that Hillary colluded with Russia and even more to show that Feinstein and others colluded with China. 

There is no evidence that I'm aware of that supports the allegation that WikiLeaks' email release was the result of such a hack or that there was collusion between WikiLeaks, Trump and Russia.

The allegations that the Don Jr. / WikiLeaks chats were "evidence" of collusion is rebutted quite well in this article: No, Julian Assange is NOT a Fascist. The author demonstrates quite clearly that WikiLeaks was simply doing their job as journalists. There was no indication of collusion of any kind.

Hillary alleges that Russia sabotaged her in collusion with WikiLeaks, rather than face the harsh reality that she lost because she's corrupt, abused her power, and got exposed by her own words. Her interference in the election, the sabotage of Bernie's campaign and the amplification of Trumps in the hope that Trump would be considered too crazy to vote for, backfired on her. The attempts to entrap Assange into appearing to be a Russian agent failed and were also exposed.

Hillary was the Empire's preferred candidate and they did everything possible to try to get her elected. Unfortunately for them, Hillary's corruption and abuses of power were so thoroughly exposed in her own words, in thousands of emails, released by WikiLeaks, that people voted against her. She wasn't the preferred candidate of the Empire because she was a DEM. She was the preferred candidate because she understood, complied with, and was committed to supporting the agenda of the global elite, the Empire. 

Trump, on the other hand, is a loose cannon and wants to fulfill his own agenda of crony capitalism as well. An agenda which is creating certain problems with the implementation of the agenda of the Empire. It's partially aligned with benefitting him directly and his personal friends. So, it's in his interests to maintain the peace with Russia whereas the Empire has openly sided with the fascist elements in the Ukraine and wants to bring down Russia to loosen it's control in key areas like oil. 

This doesn't make Trump disloyal to the Empire. He is, in fact, a component part of the Empire. It's simply an internal difference of opinion on certain specific issues within the Empire and the most influential will win this internal battle.

It's apparent to me:
1. The agenda of the Empire is to further develop their architecture of fascism globally. 
2. The goal of this fascist agenda is to suppress any resistance to their main agenda of feeding the war machine to continue making trillions for the military industrial complex, coming up with new and creative ways to rob the taxpayer, etc. 
3. The Empire has no regard for the destruction of the economy and the extreme hardship imposed on the people.
4. The Empire Loyalists will remain loyal and committed to this agenda because they benefit socially and financially if they do.

Given that both the GOP and the DEMs as stated before are being financed by the same segments of the Empire and given that the same agendas were implemented by Bush, Obama and now Trump, it should be obvious that over-generalizations about Trump, the person, being a fascist, and his policies being fascist, while not entirely false, don't represent the full picture. 

In addition, all of the arguments used to say Trump is a fascist can also be applied to Obama and Bush. The reason for that isn't that they are all "Hitlers" as individuals. The reason for that is that they all follow(ed) the agenda of the global elite which includes building the architecture of fascism and imposing it on the people. So, Trump, in reality, is no more or less fascistic in terms of the policies he's implementing than Bush and Obama were. In fact, Obama was the one who laid the foundation for much of what Trump is now doing. 

The full picture is that it wouldn't have mattered who got elected, the key agenda would have been implemented. Even Bernie would have had to tow the line because the DEMs had already been bought and paid for by the Empire.

It's the Empire that is imposing fascism on all of us, and it's Loyalists and goon squads are required to tow it's line. While they do so they will both benefit and be protected from the consequences of their actions. The most obvious expression of this protection is the police protection provided to the neo-nazis and white supremacists and the police reliance on their snitching on Antifa. 

One of the arguments that I've come across has been that the rise of these neo-nazi and white supremacist groups occurred with Trump and that he was facilitating them. This is only the case in the US. Globally these groups have been establishing their presence for at least 5 years now and they won't be going away if Trump is ousted nor will the police stop protecting them. Their presence is part of the agenda of the global elite.

So the real battle isn't between DEMS vs GOP, progressives vs reactionaries, left vs right, etc.

The real battle is between the Empire and it's Loyalists (which include it's goon squads of neo-nazis and white supremacists) versus those who resist the Empire.

There are people in both the left and the right spectrums who resist the Empire, criticize it's agenda and refuse to be it's loyal servants. And while there might be elements on the left, right and center, who will show support to some parts of the agenda, usually out of ignorance or being self-serving, they strongly resist other parts, like the incursions on our civil rights, and on those grounds show their disloyalty.

Martin Luther King emphasized this point repeatedly during the Civil Rights Movement and while he was a Christian, he was also a socialist and spoke up on behalf of the white oppressed and white poor of America (where racism ran rampant). The Black Panthers did the same. They actively opposed the ideologies of Identity politics and Victimization which tried to create divisions under the banners of Black Nationalism, third wave style Feminism (which existed but was rejected at the time by second wave feminist activists) et al.

Chicago 1969: When Black Panthers aligned with Confederate-flag-wielding, working-class whites

Rejecting the divide and rule politics was what led to the successes of the Civil Rights Movement.

Yes we're fighting the same battles today that we fought in the 1960s (with variations on the theme and in a much more dangerous, turbulent and complicated environment). We aren't doing this because we failed in the 1960s. 

We are doing this because we became apathetic after our victories and allowed the elites to encroach further and further into the state, taking over control, and chipping away at our civil rights, our salaries, our tax purse, buying our unions, etc. 

We believed the lies. We fell for the con.

So, now, today, we have to fight the same battle, and we have to do it by uniting everyone who is not an Empire Loyalist against the Empire whether it's to free Julian Assange, protect our press freedoms, protect our civil rights, or anything else that is being threatened and impacts all of us. 

We don't have to agree on anything else. In fact, it wouldn't be a mass movement if it consisted only of people who agreed on ideology, or had particular orientations in common.

That doesn't mean everyone has to go to the same protests or be involved in the same activities. It doesn't pre-empt the left or the right from holding their own rallies where they invite their own supporters, etc. It simply means we show solidarity for the same cause. 

In this case, it means that we show solidarity with anyone who agrees with Freeing Julian Assange, whose rights, which are being violated, are directly connected to protecting Press Freedoms and Free Speech. Two concepts that are critical to a functioning democracy and today are under threat.

Let's not forget that Free Speech and Freedom of the Press were the first rights to be suppressed when Hitler attained absolute power in Nazi Germany.

"There is unity in the oppression. There must be absolute unity and determination in the response." ~Julian Assange


“Power is mostly the illusion of power. The Pentagon demanded we destroy our publications. We kept publishing. Clinton denounced us and said we were an attack on the entire “international community”. We kept publishing. I was put in prison and under house arrest. We kept publishing. We went head to head with the NSA getting Edward Snowden out of Hong Kong, we won and got him asylum. Clinton tried to destroy us and was herself destroyed. Elephants, it seems, can be brought down with string. Perhaps there are no elephants.” ~Julian Assange

Now, for a socialist to comprehend this in terms they understand and using their rhetoric, just change the following terms:  
Empire = global bourgeoisie, 
Loyalists = global petit bourgeoisie and fascist goon squads of neo-nazis and white supremacists
Deep State = state machine of each country

Julian's Freedom
Performed by Antibody 11-11
Music, Lyrics and Vocals by Stu Linnell

Follow @unity4J on Twitter
Donate to Courage Foundation's WikiLeaks Legal Defense Fund
Get the facts on the Assange and WikiLeaks case

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

And Justice For All?

Originally published January 21, 2013

Just to be perfectly clear, I’m not a lawyer. My approach is to examine what I personally consider to be misconduct based on a layman’s interpretation of the existing legal standards and nothing more. Only a legal expert (lawyer, judge, etc.) would be qualified to determine whether an illegal act or one which constitutes misconduct has actually occurred.

That said, there have been several high profile cases in the news recently which are closely connected to demands for transparency and freedom of access to information and where corruption of our judicial system appears to be in the works.
  1. Julian Assange of WikiLeaks, the site which leaks information provided by whistleblowers and/or hackers from around the world. Mr. Assange has not been charged with any crime;
  2. Bradley Manning, charged with providing secret information to WikiLeaks;
  3. Jeremy Hammond, charges related to the Stratfor hack; and
  4. Aaron Swartz, charges related to the MIT/JSTOR hack; Mr. Swartz allegedly committed suicide and the charges against him have since been withdrawn.
 The specific charges don’t really matter in this context. What matters is how each of these cases are being/were handled by the Prosecution and/or Judge involved.

Julian Assange
In between WikiLeaks first major public release of data and their second major public release of data, Mr. Assange was investigated for alleged and very minor sex “crimes”. Acts so minor that they would not be considered crimes in most other countries and which rest almost entirely on personal testimony rather than objective, verifiable evidence. Mr. Assange was interviewed while in Sweden regarding those claims, no charges were laid and Mr. Assange’s freedom to leave Sweden was not restricted.

I could get into the sheer stupidity of these particular laws which allowed this situation to occur but I’m going to leave that alone for now. Anyone who knows the specifics knows how completely idiotic this entire thing is from start to finish. All I can say is that I strongly suggest that any male visiting Sweden not make the mistake of having sex there. Seriously.

Around the time of the second major leak, while Mr. Assange was in London, UK, the Prosecutor claimed that a second interview was required. Mr. Assange agreed to the interview but wanted to remain in the UK and either conduct it through a video feed or have the Prosecutor come to the UK to conduct it.

Mr. Assange was well within his rights to make such a request and the acceptance or denial of the request was a matter of Prosecutorial discretion. That is the prosecutor could have acceded to the request but wasn’t required to by law.

The Prosecutor exercised their discretion by insisting that the interview had to be conducted in Sweden but provided no explanation as to why this was necessary.

Meanwhile, it was discovered through the Stratfor hack that a Grand Jury had met in the US and had secretly indicted Mr. Assange.

The only reasonable conclusion one can come to which might explain the Prosecutor’s refusal to accede to the reasonable accommodations requested by Julian Assange, is that Sweden has agreed to extradite him to the US to face the charges laid against him there.

Is this Prosecutorial misconduct? And on what grounds?
“Prosecutorial misconduct is conduct which violates court rules or ethical standards of law practice.” (See detailed definitions at the end of the post).
In my opinion, if Sweden is using Prosecutorial discretion as their means of trying to get Julian Assange back to Sweden on false grounds (the allegations made against him for which he hasn’t been charged) and in order to act against him by extraditing him to the US it certainly would “violate …  the ethical standards of law practice”.

In order to restore the confidence in and perception of justice of the Swedish legal system all the Swedish Prosecutor has to do is interview Assange by video from the Ecuadorian Embassy and then either charge him or close the investigation.

The misconduct here and potential for further misconduct is patently obvious if they continue to refuse this reasonable and simple solution.

Bradley Manning
(Note: At the time I wrote this, Chelsea Manning was using her birth name, Bradley and birth gender. It wasn't until much later that she requested her gender transition be recognized).

Bradley Manning, a member of the US military, was arrested and charged with allegedly leaking secret information to WikiLeaks.

He was held in what can only be described as tortuous conditions for nine months between, July 2010 and April 2011. He continues to be held without bail and awaiting trial. He was arrested in May, 2010 and his trial will begin in June, 2013 after pre-trial hearings in February, 2013 are complete. (Trial Date Correction. 2013.01.23)

In this case Prosecutorial discretion was invoked in determining the charges which, according to the defense amounted to an attempt to intimidate Mr. Manning into testifying against Julian Assange by overcharging him based on overstating the alleged harm that occurred.

According to the Prosecution it’s perfectly acceptable to exaggerate charges and keep someone in prison without bail for approximately 2 years and 7 months. It will be over 3 years by the time the case is finally heard. A final ruling on whether the case will be dismissed on the grounds that it violates Manning's right to a speedy trial will be made at the end of February. (Correction based on new information)

Are these the “ethical standards of law practice” that the US commonly adheres to or are they simply acceptable depending on who the defendant is?

Jeremy Hammond
Jeremy Hammond’s case is perhaps the clearest of all.

Mr. Hammond was charged for the Stratfor hack.

Ironically, the Trial Judge was the spouse of a Stratfor client who has apparently and to date refused to recuse herself from the case. She insists it be dealt with in court.

If this Trial Judge does not recuse herself, in my opinion, it will be a clear and obvious case of Judicial Misconduct for which she should be removed from the bench.
“The recusal of a judge may be requested:
Where he himself or his spouse has a personal interest in the dispute;”
(See detailed definitions at the end of the post).
 Aaron Swartz
Aaron Swartz is the saddest of all.

Mr. Swartz was charged with the JSTOR/MIT hack.

According to his family, Mr. Swartz was pursued by the Prosecution to such a degree that he committed suicide. Apparently this is the second Hacker this particular Prosecutor has driven to suicide.

The fact that two of this Prosecutor’s defendants met the same fate says a lot about how he handles his cases and defendants in general. And while it’s possible that this isn’t technically considered misconduct one has to wonder why it's not acceptable to do the following to witnesses and is considered misconduct:
“Threatening, badgering or tampering with witnesses;”
But it’s apparently okay to do that to the defendant? How is one an “ethical standard of law practice.” and the other not?

One of the most basic premises in law is supposed to be “presumed innocent until proven guilty” so how do we rationalize treating defendants like criminals before they’ve been convicted, or in the case of Julian Assange before he’s even been charged with anything?
“Any person charged with an offence has the right ... to be presumed innocent until proven guilty according to law in a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal.” --Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms

Definitions ------------------------------------------------------------------------
A legal presumption that benefits a defendant in a criminal case and which results in acquittal in the event that the prosecutor does not prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms
Any person charged with an offence has the right ... to be presumed innocent until proven guilty according to law in a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal.

That individuals, persons and government shall submit to, obey and be regulated by law, and not arbitrary action by an individual or a group of individuals.

Fundamental procedural legal safeguards of which every citizen has an absolute right when a state or court purports to take a decision that could affect any right of that citizen.

Discretionary powers exercised by the government's prosecution service such as whether to prosecute charge recommended by police, to stay an ongoing proceeding, plea bargaining, or the taking over of a private prosecution.

Prosecutorial misconduct is conduct which violates court rules or ethical standards of law practice. Examples, among others, may include:
Courtroom misconduct (making improper remarks or improperly introducing evidence designed to prejudice the jury: violating rules regarding selection of the jury; or making improper closing arguments);
Hiding, destroying or tampering with evidence, case files or court records;
Failing to disclose evidence that might tend to exonerate the defendant
Threatening, badgering or tampering with witnesses;
Presenting false or misleading evidence;
Selective or vindictive prosecution
Denial of a speedy trial rights
Use of unreliable and untruthful witnesses and snitches

Conduct on the part of a judge that is prohibited and which could lead to a form of discipline.
.... conduct prejudicial to the effective and expeditious administration of the business of the courts, or (an inability) to discharge all the duties of office by reason of mental or physical disability.
(A) judge's conduct must be free from impropriety and the appearance of impropriety and that both his official and personal behavior be in accordance with the highest standard society can expect. The standard of conduct is higher than expected of lay people and also higher than that expected of attorneys. The ultimate standard must be conduct which constantly reaffirms fitness for the high responsibilities of judicial office, and judges must so comport themselves as to dignify the administration of justice and deserve the confidence and respect of the public.


The use of a harsh and angry tone and demeanor,
Excessive arrogance,
Lack of impartiality,
Improper political or even charitable or fund-raising activities,
Sexually harassing conduct,
Off-the-record, private communication with a litigant about a pending case,
Criminal conduct,
Conflict of interest,
An ethnic or racial slur,
Physical or mental disability,
Bankruptcy or insolvency,
Misuse of prestige of office,
Allowing cameras in the courtroom,
Receiving a bribe or gift from a litigant,
Making it public comment on a pending case or which shows prejudgment
Failure to recuse oneself in an appropriate case, and
Administrative mismanagement such as a failure to render a judgment in a reasonable amount of time.

The recusal of a judge may be requested:
    Where he himself or his spouse has a personal interest in the dispute;
    Where he himself or his spouse is the creditor, debtor, presumed heir or donee of one of the parties;
    Where he himself or his spouse is related by blood or marriage with one of the parties or his or her spouse up to the fourth degree of kinship inclusive;
    Where there have been or have proceedings between himself or his spouse and with one of the parties or his or her spouse;
    Where he has, previously, had knowledge of the matter in the capacity of a judge or arbitrator or where the has counseled one of the parties;
    Where the judge or his spouse is entrusted of the administration of the property of one of the parties;
    Where there exists a link of subordination between the judge or his spouse and one of the parties or his or her spouse;
    Where there has been a notorious friendship or enmity between the judge and one of the parties....
"The party who wishes to recuse a judge shall have, on pain of inadmissibility, to do so as soon as he has knowledge of a ground of recusal.
"In no case may the request for recusal be made after the end of the oral arguments."

All of the above definitions are American. However, since American and Canadian law is somewhat based on British law I don’t expect the definitions to differ too greatly between countries nor have I bothered to check.

These definitions are intended to be nothing more than a general guide to this discussion.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

The Recent Defamation of #WikiLeaks and #JulianAssange, Part 2

The Recent Defamation of #WikiLeaks and #JulianAssange, Part 1 introduced the topic of the recently published AP leaks related to WikiLeaks and built a case around the first document being fraudulent or at the very least unauthenticated.

This case was built around the document properties provided by AP in their attempt to authenticate the document, the context in which the document appeared on the scene as well as the person WikiLeaks believes created the document, Sigurdur Thordarson.

In Part 1, I concluded that WikiLeaks assessment was the one most likely to be correct given all of the facts that are publicly available to us. That is, the document was most likely a forgery created by Sigurdur Thordarson and the allegation that it "proved" Julian Assange was trying to flee to Russia was just a baseless confabulation.

Note that the Russian Embassy released a statement on September 26, 2018 (two days before Part 1 was published) confirming WikiLeaks denial. So this entire issue is now done.
The embassy has never engaged with Ecuadorean colleagues, or with anyone else, in discussions on any kind of Russian participation in ending Mr Assange’s stay within the diplomatic mission of Ecuador.- Julian Assange and Russia’s UK embassy. The Guardian, September 24, 2018
Ivan Volodin, at the Russian embassy in London, responds to a Guardian article reporting that Russian diplomats held secret talks about helping Julian Assange flee the UK

Israel Shamir has been directly associated with the document as allegedly having been the recipient who was responsible for obtaining a Russian visa for Julian Assange. There is no evidence to support this, given that the document itself isn't authenticated properly, is a forgery, according to WikiLeaks, and the Russians state unequivocally that there has never been any discussion with anyone regarding "ending Mr. Assange's stay within the diplomatic mission of Ecuador".

The AP (Associated Press) article also claims that Shamir has stated the following in a telephone interview:

Shamir told the AP he was plagued by memory problems and couldn’t remember delivering Assange’s letter or say whether he eventually got the visa on Assange’s behalf.

“I can’t possibly exclude that it happened,” Shamir said in a telephone interview. “I have a very vague memory of those things.”  
Shamir’s memory appeared sharper during a January 20, 2011, interview with Russian News Service radio — a Moscow-based station now known as Life Zvuk, or Life Sound. Shamir said he’d personally brokered a Russian visa for Assange, but that it had come too late to rescue him from the sex crimes investigation.
However, they don't provide a reference link to the interview so that statement can be verified, nor has Shamir confirmed the statement they attribute to him in the telephone interview anywhere that I could find.

What Israel Shamir said or didn't say is now irrelevant anyway given the tweet from the Russian Embassy and the statement by the Russian Embassy in the Guardian, quoted above.

His last blog post related to Assange is this one: The Long Captivity of Julian Assange by Israel Shamir • June 21, 2018 

Given that the conspiracy theories surrounding his part of the story are fascinating (actually laughable), I feel obligated to rehash this part of the story for the sole purpose of demonstrating how disinformation campaigns like this work.

Part 1 has provided you with some insight on how "evidence" is concocted and misrepresented deceptively as the foundation of a disinformation campaign.

While I didn't present it in that context, it is actually how it works.

So, now, in the case of Shamir's part of the story:

Shamir was one of many journalists with access to portions of the WikiLeaks database for journalistic research purposes. He had no formal relationship with WikiLeaks other than that, nor was there any long term relationship between him and Julian Assange, according to WikiLeaks.

WikiLeaks statement that was given to, but not used by, the UK satirical current-affairs magazine, Private Eye: 
Israel Shamir has never worked or volunteered for WikiLeaks, in any manner, whatsoever. He has never written for WikiLeaks or any associated organization, under any name and we have no plan that he do so. He is not an 'agent' of WikiLeaks. He has never been an employee of WikiLeaks and has never received monies from WikiLeaks or given monies to WikiLeaks or any related organization or individual. However, he has worked for the BBC, Haaretz, and many other reputable organizations. 
It is false that Shamir is 'an Assange intimate'. He interviewed Assange (on behalf of Russian media), as have many journalists. He took a photo at that time and has only met with WikiLeaks staff (including Assange) twice. It is false that 'he was trusted with selecting the 250,000 US State Department cables for the Russian media' or that he has had access to such at any time. 
Shamir was able to search through a limited portion of the cables with a view to writing articles for a range of Russian media. The media that subsequently employed him did so of their own accord and with no intervention or instruction by WikiLeaks. 
We do not have editorial control over the of hundreds of journalists and publications based on our materials and it would be wrong for us to seek to do so. We do not approve or endorse the writings of the world's media. We disagree with many of the approaches taken in analyzing our material. 

Index did contact WikiLeaks as have many people and organisations do for a variety of reasons. The quote used here is not complete. WikiLeaks also asked Index for further information on this subject. Most of these rumors had not, and have not, been properly corroborated. WikiLeaks therefore asked Index to let us know if they had received any further information on the subject. This would have helped WikiLeaks conduct further inquiries. We did not at the time, and never have, received any response.

One photograph was taken with Shamir and Assange together, a common practice when people meet well-known people.

"Shamir has a years-long friendship with Assange, and was privy to the contents of tens of thousands of US diplomatic cables months before WikiLeaks made public the full cache. Such was Shamir's controversial nature that Assange introduced him to WikiLeaks staffers under a false name. Known for views held by many to be antisemitic, Shamir aroused the suspicion of several WikiLeaks staffers – myself included – when he asked for access to all cable material concerning "the Jews", a request which was refused." - Israel Shamir and Julian Assange's cult of machismo by James Ball 

The claim that Shamir was a close associate of Assange is denied by WikiLeaks. The only "evidence" provided to support it is this single image of them sitting together. By that absurd standard, Tommy Douglas, father of Canada's Health Care system was my bestie because there's one picture of me with him when I met him as a teenager and was a member of the New Democratic Youth.

Absurd as it is, this deception has become the foundation for numerous confabulations to discredit Assange using the Guilt by Association fallacy as an Argumentum Ad Hominem attack. This demagogic style of argumentation is a key component of any Propaganda arsenal.

One example of this is the false allegation that, Assange is allegedly antisemitic and right-wing because he allegedly has a close, long term relationship with Shamir who is allegedly an antisemite and holocaust denier.

" I wrote hundreds of pages on the Jewish topic, but for the benefit of the reader I’ll sum it up. Naturally, as a son of Jewish parents and a man living in the Jewish state and deeply and intimately involved with Jewish culture, I harbour no hate to a Jew because he is a Jew. I doubt many people do. However I did and do criticise various aspects of Jewish Weltanschauung like so many Jewish and Christian thinkers before me, or even more so for I witnessed crimes of the Jewish state that originated in this worldview. 
As for the accusation of “Holocaust denial”, my family lost too many of its sons and daughters for me to deny the facts of Jewish tragedy, but I do deny its religious salvific significance implied in the very term ‘Holocaust’; I do deny its metaphysical uniqueness, I do deny the morbid cult of Holocaust and I think every God-fearing man, a Jew, a Christian or a Muslim should reject it as Abraham rejected and smashed idols. I deny that it is good to remember or immortalise such traumatic events, and I wrote many articles against modern obsession with massacres, be it Jewish holocaust of 1940s, Armenian massacre of 1915, Ukrainian “holodomor”, Polish Katyn, Khmer Rouge etc. Poles, Armenians, Ukrainians understood me, so did Jews – otherwise I would be charged with the crime of factual denial which is known to the Israeli law." - Israel Shamir 
It's the right wing extremist element in Israel and their supporters in the Israel Lobby, that is pushing this propaganda that any criticism of Israel constitutes "antisemitism". Jeremy Corbyn, a man who has a long history of fighting against fascism and antisemitism is also being falsely accused of being an "antisemite" by that same element.

To understand this issue in depth, I recommend the recent Al Jazeera film, The Lobby which exposes the dark underbelly of the Lobby in the UK.

Segments of the US version, which has been banned, have also been leaked to various sites.

So, back to the main topic, and to summarize this section:
  1. the disinformation is spread about Shamir that he is an alleged antisemite, holocaust denier which implies he's right wing
  2. a foundation is built by spreading that falsehood everywhere
  3. that becomes the foundation for disinformation attacks on Assange by association, that is, since Assange has "friends" who are allegedly right wing,antisemite, holocaust deniers then he must be as well.
The claim that Shamir had access to thousands of US diplomatic cables is based on the above allegations by James Ball, a WikiLeaks intern from November 23, 2010 to December 15, 2010. In February, 2011 he became a full-time journalist for the Guardian. The job with the Guardian gave him an unprecedented platform from which he could establish his false narrative as an alleged witness to Shamir's activities in relation to WikiLeaks and Assange. That narrative consisted of exaggerations, spins, and, according to Shamir, outright lies, intended to give the false impression that Shamir had more access to the cables than other journalists.

WikiLeaks, in their statement quoted above, has stated clearly that his access was the same as that of other journalists.

If Shamir had unrestricted access to the cables (implied by Ball), why would he have to ask Ball for cables about "the Jews", as Ball also claims? He wouldn't have to.

The "interest" in those cables appears to have been a fabrication by James Ball, as a set-up, so that a foundation could be created for later allegations. Ball, and the other media writing these stories, simply ignore the inherent contradictions in Ball's story when they use it as a foundation for later false allegations. 

Shamir states that he received cables related to Minsk and Moscow from James Ball and that Ball offered them to him on his own initiative, not at Shamir's request.
You [James Ball] did it even twice: just before my departure you came to me on your own initiative and kindly handed me "a better file on Jews", twice as big as the previous one. Apparently lying and cheating is your second nature by now.

Ball continues to build on this smear:

Still later, when damning evidence emerged that Shamir had handed cables material to the dictator of Belarus – a man he holds in high esteem – to assist his persecution of opposition activists, Assange shamefully refused to investigate. Israel Shamir and Julian Assange's cult of machismo by James Ball 
This part of the story was built on the foundational false narrative established by Ball re: the " access to all cable material concerning "the Jews"" and the "was privy to the contents of tens of thousands of US diplomatic cables" plus the following image was "evidence" that Shamir had been in Minsk. 

Shamir was photographed by an Interfax photographer on the steps of the Belarus Presidential Administation Building in Minsk earlier today.

In this CounterPunch article, Shamir explains what he was doing in Minsk (International Observer to the Elections) and his position on Belarus. His mother is from Minsk which explains his interest in the region: The Minsk Election in a Wikileaks Mirror by Israel Shamir

This particular story is quite complex but has been examined in depth in this article: The Guardian and WikiLeaks, Hazel Press, January 19, 2013. To understand this issue I recommend you read the article.

The author, after an in-depth analysis concludes that the allegation that Shamir handed cables over to Lukashenko to damage the Belarus opposition is baseless. There isn't a shred of hard evidence to support it. This image combined with articles which appear to be based on nothing more than unsupported assertions, assumptions, exaggerations and spin, are the combined total of the evidence.

The article is a recommended read to get a solid grasp of what happened, when and why.

One of the very interesting points made in the article is to demonstrate how one false allegation gets built by using other false allegations as their foundation. You can see this by clicking through the links the articles reference to try to locate the original source. When you find the original source you can see that the entire narrative is built on sand since the original sources don't offer any evidence of their claims.

Guilt by association is used to smear Assange here as well. Once the narrative was established by Ball, that Shamir had allegedly handed cables over to the Belarus government, led by Lukashenko, Assange and WikiLeaks were then falsely accused of putting dissidents at risk.

The facts, according to the Hazel Press article above, and which are substantiated, are that Charter 97, a human rights group in Belarus, had received the cables and had published articles criticizing the Lukashenko regime. The web site was DDOSd and the Belarus police raided their offices and arrested them. According to the article, this is likely how the regime got access to the cables. Andrei Sannikov, the leader of the Opposition was imprisoned by Lukashenko.

In addition, Andrei Sannikov's  sister, Irina, main spokesperson of the Free Belarus campaign, invited Julian Assange to the screening of their film, Europe's Last Dictator. Assange had been helping Belarussian dissidents in the background.

"Europe's Last Dictator" in Belarus Q&A session with Julian Assange,  part 1 of 2

If one wanted to nitpick this tempest in a teapot, one certainly could, but in the end it would be a pointless exercise. As I said in Part 1, even if it were all true and the motivation was to escape any US extradition attempt by going to Russia (and there is no foundation here to indicate that it is) ... so what?

After Ecuador granted Assange Ecuadorian citizenship & made him a diplomatic staffer to the embassy in London, Ecuadorian officials may well have discussed amongst themselves what diplomatic posting to give him, on the assumption that the UK response would be to declare him "persona non-grata" (and thus trigger Vienna Convention rules about allowing sufficient time for diplomats rejected in this same way to leave the country safely).

However, as eye-witness Craig Murray has already told us in his recent blog post on this topic "it is a fact that Julian  directly ruled out the possibility of going to Russia as undesirable".

The fact that this document referred to in this article and the others which appeared on Twitter today do indicate that Ecuadorian officials wanted to send Assange to Russia, are quite meaningless, since Assange rejected the suggestion.
"There is a ministerial agreement [at the Foreign Ministry of Ecuador], according to which Julian Assange was appointed Ecuador's diplomatic representative in Moscow," Vintimilla said.

And last but not least, you know the propagandists are desperate when they've sunk so low that all they have left is to try to divert the discussion of serious political and civil rights issues into personal attacks about Julian Assange's personal hygiene and threaten Embassy Cat.

The inevitable outcome of all of this confabulation is to support the RussiaGate confabulation that WikiLeaks and Julian Assange are allegedly in cahoots with the Russians to undermine the US. There is no evidence that demonstrates any connection between Assange and the Russians or WikiLeaks and the Russians, that would support this narrative, despite repeated attempts to create the false impression that there is.

In my humble opinion, the US is doing an excellent job of undermining themselves, as is Russia and numerous other countries around the world. None of those countries actually need any help from anyone when it comes to undermining their own democracies, economic and social systems, even if they're getting that "help" from each other. Which they probably are.

All WikiLeaks and Julian Assange have done is expose these governments own words and deeds to the people. For the first time in history, we can see globally and first hand, the destruction that is being wreaked on our societies by the global elite working in collusion with lawless governments that have gone rogue.

In order to clearly understand the problem, you have to ignore the MSM Propaganda narratives and look at the actual facts. Thanks to Julian Assange and WikiLeaks, people are starting to understand this and have actually been enabled to do this.

This is what many of the Independent and Alternative media sites have been doing and it's why they have much larger followings on Social Media than MSM sites. It's also why they're being mass-censored by Google, Facebook and now Twitter is following suit. It's a last ditch desperate attempt to save the dying MSM and maintain control over the propaganda narratives.

When you understand the problem, you can work on the solution.