Monday, May 20, 2019

Critique of the Class Conscious article on #Unity4J

A call-to-action video by ▂▃▅▇█▓▒░Anon(Ḧḭṽḕ)░▒▓█▇▅▃▂
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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.