Julian Assange in UK prison
While initially the US Government sought to down-play the WikiLeak release of a tiny fraction of the files which it holds, with the passing of time it becomes increasingly evident that the American authorities consider the leaks, and their potential example for the future, to be a grave threat, worthy of a draconian response. Consequently Julian Assange has been arrested on what certainly appear to be trumped up charges of “rape”, to say alleged consensual sex without a condom, apparently in Sweden, fabled land of easy sex, a crime. One of the parties connected to this charge has been involved with right-wing Cuban politics. A bit fishy, to say the least. She said, he said….
Mr Assange, still imprisoned in London, awaits resolution of a bail hearing, with confusion as to whether the UK, America’s ever-obliging “partner-in-crimes” has appealed the judge’s ruling, or whether it is Sweden (which of latest news apparently says it’s not them.)
Meantime the alleged source of the leaked material, Bradley Manning, resides in strict imprisonment in the marine prison located in Quantico, Virginia, now in his 7th month of confinement though no charges have been brought against him. And it is said a grand jury is now investigating the WikiLeaks matter with the apparent aim of securing charges of espionage against Manning and Assange.
Bradley Manning, US Govt’s “bad guy”
In its frantic efforts the US Government has alienated most of the world’s population and the press, which sees the attempts to make criminal charges against a “whistle-blower” to be a threat to freedom of the press. Ironically only the past week the US issued an announcement that it would be happily hosting the upcoming May 3 UNESCO World Press Freedom day:
STATEMENT BY PHILIP J. CROWLEY, ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF STATE FOR PUBLIC AFFAIRS
The United States is pleased to announce that it will host UNESCO’s World Press Freedom Day event in 2011, from May 1 – May 3 in Washington D.C. UNESCO is the only UN agency with the mandate to promote freedom of expression and its corollary, freedom of the press.
The theme for next year’s commemoration will be 21st Century Media: New Frontiers, New Barriers. The United States places technology and innovation at the forefront of its diplomatic and development efforts. New media has empowered citizens around the world to report on their circumstances, express opinions on world events, and exchange information in environments sometimes hostile to such exercises of individuals’ right to freedom of expression. At the same time, we are concerned about the determination of some governments to censor and silence individuals, and to restrict the free flow of information. We mark events such as World Press Freedom Day in the context of our enduring commitment to support and expand press freedom and the free flow of information in this digital age.
Highlighting the many events surrounding the celebration will be the awarding of the UNESCO Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize at the National Press Club on May 3rd. This prize, determined by an independent jury of international journalists, honors a person, organization or institution that has notably contributed to the defense and/or promotion of press freedom, especially where risks have been undertaken.
The Newseum will host the first two days of events, which will engage a broad array of media professionals, students, and citizen reporters on themes that address the status of new media and internet freedom, and challenges and opportunities faced by media in our rapidly changing world.
The State Department looks forward to working with UNESCO and the U.S. executive committee spearheaded by the Center for International Media Assistance at the National Foundation for Democracy, IREX, and the United Nations Foundation and the many civil society organizations they have brought together in support of the organization of events unfolding in Washington.
For further information regarding World Press Freedom Day Events for program content, please visit the World Press Freedom Facebook page: http://www.connect.connect.facebook.com/WPFD2011
Barack Obama campaigned, among other things, on a promise of transparency in government, a promise certainly contradicted by his administration’s response to the WikiLeaks release. As with numerous other campaign stances, Mr Obama has behaved quite differently once securing office. Guantanamo remains open, as do myriad black-sites around the globe; his administration has argued for his executive power to order the execution of an American citizen with no judicial review; “extreme rendition” remains a CIA option; the war in Afghanistan grinds on at 2 billion dollars a week, with no evidence of an end in sight. By any reasonable measure, Obama has proven himself to be a fraud, a Trojan horse implanting a continuation of Bush policies with a different rhetoric, but the same actions. It is clear the military-industrial-media complex is running the US Government, and all other concerns take second place to its concerns.
“When the government fears the people, it is called democracy. When the people fear the government, it is called tyranny.”
Reaching its lowest rating ever, the performance of the US Congress is approved by 13% of the American electorate. (Wait til next year…)
Julian Assange was released on $350,000 bond to a rather upscale estate confinement in east England. It would seem the US government is intent on turning Mr Assange into a Hollywood asset. Now if only Mr Obama had torn his Trojan and injected some actual transparency into the behavior of the United Corporations of America.
Julian Assange, lawyers and bond posters