By Pepe Escobar with permission from the author and first posted at Asia Times
The concept of “History in the making” has been pushed to extremes when it comes to the extraordinary public service being performed by historian, former UK diplomat and human rights activist Craig Murray.
Murray – literally, and on a global level – is now positioned as our man in the public gallery, as he painstakingly documents in vivid detail what could be defined as the trial of the century as far as the practice of journalism is concerned: the kangaroo court judging Julian Assange in Old Bailey, London.
Let’s focus on three of Murray’s reports this week – with an emphasis on two intertwined themes: what the US is really prosecuting, and how Western corporate media is ignoring the court proceedings.
Here, Murray reports the exact moment when the mask of Empire fell, not with a bang, but a whimper:
“The gloves were off on Tuesday as the US Government explicitly argued that all journalists are liable to prosecution under the Espionage Act (1917) for publishing classified information.” (italics mine).
“All journalists” means every legitimate journalist, from every nationality, operating in any jurisdiction.
Interpreting the argument, Murray added, “the US government is now saying, completely explicitly, in court, those reporters could and should have gone to jail and that is how we will act in future. The Washington Post, the New York Times, and all the “great liberal media” of the US are not in court to hear it and do not report it (italics mine), because of their active complicity in the “othering” of Julian Assange as something sub-human whose fate can be ignored. Are they really so stupid as not to understand that they are next?
The point is not that self-described paladins of “great liberal media” are stupid. They are not covering the charade in Old Bailey because they are cowards. They must keep their fabled “access” to the bowels of Empire – the kind of “access” that allowed Judith Miller to “sell” the illegal war on Iraq in countless front pages, and allows CIA asset and uber-opportunist Bob Woodward to write his “insider” books.
Nothing to see here
Previously, Murray had already detailed how “the mainstream media are turning a blind eye. There were three reporters in the press gallery, one of them an intern and one representing the NUJ. Public access continues to be restricted and major NGOs, including Amnesty, PEN and Reporters Without Borders, continue to be excluded both physically and from watching online.”
Murray also detailed how “the six of us allowed in the public gallery, incidentally, have to climb 132 steps to get there, several times a day. As you know, I have a very dodgy ticker; I am with Julian’s dad John who is 78; and another of us has a pacemaker.”
So why is he “the man in the public gallery”? “I do not in the least discount the gallant efforts of others when I explain that I feel obliged to write this up, and in this detail, because otherwise the vital basic facts of the most important trial this century, and how it is being conducted, would pass almost completely unknown to the public. If it were a genuine process, they would want people to see it, not completely minimize attendance both physically and online.”
Unless people around the world are reading Murray’s reports – and very few others with much less detail – they will ignore immensely important aspects plus the overall appalling context of what’s really happening in the heart of London. The main fact, as far as journalism is concerned, is that Western corporate media is completely ignoring it.
Let’s check the UK coverage on Day 9, for instance.
There was no article in The Guardian – which cannot possibly cover the trial because the paper, for years, was deep into no holds barred smearing and total demonization of Julian Assange.
There was nothing on The Telegraph – very close to MI6 – and only a brief AP story on the Daily Mail.
There was a brief article in The Independent only because one of the witnesses, Eric Lewis, is one of the directors of the Independent Digital News and Media Ltd which publishes the paper.
For years, the process of degrading Julian Assange to sub-human level was based on repeating a bunch of lies so often they become truth. Now, the conspiracy of silence about the trial does wonders to expose the true face of Western liberal “values” and liberal “democracy”.
Daniel Ellsberg speaks
Murray provided absolutely essential context for what Daniel “Pentagon Papers” Ellsberg made it very clear in the witness stand.
The Afghan War logs published by WikiLeaks were quite similar to low-level reports Ellsberg himself had written about Vietnam. The geopolitical framework is the same: invasion and occupation, against the interests of the absolute majority of the invaded and occupied.
Murray, illustrating Ellsberg, writes that “the war logs had exposed a pattern of war crimes: torture, assassination and death squads. The one thing that had changed since Vietnam was that these things were now so normalized they were classified below Top Secret.”
This is a very important point. All the Pentagon Papers were in fact Top Secret. But crucially, the WikiLeaks papers were not Top Secret: in fact they were below Top Secret, not subject to restricted distribution. So they were not really sensitive – as the United States government now alleges.
On the by now legendary Collateral Murder video, Murray details Ellsberg’s argument: “Ellsberg stated that it definitely showed murder, including the deliberate machine gunning of a wounded and unarmed civilian. That it was murder was undoubted. The dubious word was “collateral”, which implies accidental. What was truly shocking about it was the Pentagon reaction that these war crimes were within the Rules of Engagement. Which permitted murder.”
The prosecution cannot explain why Julian Assange withheld no less than 15,000 files; how he took a lot of time to redact the ones that were published; and why both the Pentagon and the State Dept. refused to collaborate with WikiLeaks. Murray: “Ten years later, the US Government has still not been able to name one single individual who was actually harmed by the WikiLeaks releases.”
Prometheus Bound 2.0
President Trump has made two notorious references to WikiLeaks on the record: “I love WikiLeaks” and “I know nothing about WikiLeaks”. That may reveal nothing on how a hypothetical Trump 2.0 administration would act if Julian Assange was extradited to the US. What we do now is that the most powerful Deep State factions want him “neutralized”. Forever.
I felt compelled to portray Julian Assange’s plight as Prometheus Bound 2.0. In this poignant post-modern tragedy, the key subplot centers on a deadly blow to true journalism, in the sense of speaking truth to power.
Julian Assange continues to be treated as an extremely dangerous criminal, as his partner Stella Moris describes it in a tweet.
Craig Murray will arguably enter History as the central character in a very small chorus warning us all about the tragedy’s ramifications.
It’s also quite fitting that the tragedy is also a commentary on a previous era that featured, unlike Blake’s poem, a Marriage of Hell and Hell: GWOT and OCO (Global War on Terror, under George W. Bush, and Overseas Contingency Operations under Barack Obama).
Julian Assange is being condemned for revealing imperial war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan. Yet in the end all that post-9/11 sound and fury signified nothing.
It actually metastasized into the worst imperial nightmare: the emergence of a prime, compounded peer competitor, the Russia-China strategic partnership.
“Not here the darkness, in this twittering world” (T.S. Eliot, Burnt Norton). An army of future Assanges awaits.
This side of a revolution objective journalism is finished. If it does survive it will have to take the form of Samizdats circulating underground. This is the beginning of the logical path which lies before us. The totalitarian age has just begun and its currency is basically propaganda and mass thought control. The Age Of Reason is being displaced by the Age Of Schizophrenia. There is a distinction to be made for what it is worth; namely that either the PTB in the media know that they are lying, or they actually believe in their own BS. Or can they, like Orwell’s interlocutor, O’Brien, in 1984, simply glide between the two.
No question however that free-speech, common decency and objectivity are on the acute danger list.
”The freedom of the press in Britain has always been something of a fake, because in the last resort money makes opinion; still so long as the legal right to say what you write exists , there are always loopholes for an unorthodox writer … But I do not delude myself that this state of affairs in going to last forever … the time is coming … when every writer will have a choice or being silenced” (or incarcerated or killed) ”altogether or of producing the dope that a privileged and brutal minority demands. That is the choice the Assange has made, there will be followers.
”I have got to struggle against totalitarianism , just as I have got to struggle against rubber truncheons and concentration camps. And the only a Socialist Party can do that.”
(Orwell – Why I joined the Independent Labour Party – 1938)
Your comment is so right. And it sent a chill through my bones.
The Western main street media has always been government supervised. It has now been transformed into an Orwellian Ministry of Truth. As for Assange, I am astonished that he is facing a trial at all. Since he committed no crime on American soil, how can the US demand his extradition ? I also see from this article that the US has the right to demand extradition of any individual who “broke” US laws while residing outside the US. I am afraid this will not do.
Orwell – or how I became a spy for British Intelligence…
Maybe the biggest hypocrite in the last century.
Very true. Orwell was an anti-socialist stooge. There is a reason his books are forced upon young, impressionable students in public schools in America. They are pro-America propaganda.
so exactly how is “The road to Wigan pier” pro-American propaganda? It is also fairly difficult to see how 1984 is pro American, it is rather anti fascist, anti dictator and hence also anti communist 8not anti socialist or pro American).
Thank you. I was about to write about this.
For an excellent analysis of British media bias see https://www.medialens.org/
There is some misunderstanding. There are no journalists in the “NYT” or “Wapo”. The role of these guys is to write the logfile of reality and history as per the “elite”, similar to what Winston Smith did in “1984”. Therefore they have not the slightest interest in defending the freedom of press.
“Journalism is printing what someone else does not want printed; everything else is public relations.” – Orwell
The elephant in the room is the Anglo-Saxon system of “common law”, a barbarian system (disorganized, unclear, unsystematic, arbitrary, flexible, conflicting, commercial oriented etc), which unsurprisingly rules over tax havens and commercial (corporate transnational) practices.
Some of us would be interested to know what makes Common Law (still practiced in India and Ireland, two victims of British imperialism) the way it is and how it differs from Civil Law (as practiced in continental Europe, Russia, China and Japan). Can you elaborate for us? Thanks in advance.
There’s a polemic history written by Australian journalist Evan Whitton called “OUR CORRUPT LEGAL SYSTEM – Why Everyone Is a Victim (Except Rich Criminals)”.
It is full of examples of polititical interference, conflicts of interest, cooruption and failures to learn from Roman times through to Britain and its former colonies. It compares our adversarial system very unfavourably with the European inquisitorial system.
It is repetitive in parts, but so interesting and the author so passionate that it is a minor fault.
The distinction is more circumstantial and strategic than theoretical. One of the bases of the British Empire was the rule of law, built to favor their commercial interests. The legacy has remained in a more financial form today, whether in the form of the Anglosphere or globalized values. Forgive me for copying-pasting an old text of mine:
“It is sometimes claimed that Anglo-Saxon – I prefer Norman-Saxon – law, being historically and culturally localized, would in fact constitute a traditional resistance against the homogeneity of globally-spread continental law. Indeed, both of them have become the backbone of the legal system in the majority of countries today – not to forget Islamic law. But what does it mean to say that Norman-Saxon law is “traditional”? It means it doesn’t entirely follow Roman legacy, usually taken to mean it follows a “precedent”, deriving thus an absence of a systematized criminal code. However, its absence of clearly-written crimes and respective punishments – that is to say, its greater flexibility – means precisely that this “traditional feature” finds itself better suited to put the modern world in motion, where the tenets of the bourgeoisie (flexibility, transaction, liquidity) speak louder than those of peasants and the nobility. In practice, Norman-Saxon law presents a stronger affinity to the development of merchant values, meaning its traditional features work against tradition. Norman-Saxon law is at the root of the commercialization of life in our modern world, it is part and parcel of the status quo. Another feature is its judicialization. Because the precedent takes such primordial role, the judiciary tends to superimpose itself against the legislative or the executive. In fact, judges start dictating new laws. This feature is at the root of lawfare. Unsurprisingly, there has been, especially from the 2000s onwards, an increased judicialization of polemic matters: in a number of countries, progressive values – such as abortion, homosexual “marriage” – have been enforced by an “enlightened” judicial system, often against the will of the population, not only in common law countries, but worldwide. Norman-Saxon law presents, thus, in its core, a destructive, “barbarian” tendency. Under what law system and to what particular country belong, today, the majority of tax havens?”
The following comes from Argentinian philosopher Alberto Buela – forgive his strong romantic pro-continental prejudice – in “Stuart Mill and English liberty”:
“Anyone who’s ever studied or experimented with philosophy knows that English and North American philosophical approaches are one thing, and another stuff are the continental ones (Germany, Italy, France…).
This is clearly seen in the field of law. British common law is created through court decisions, so it relies more on jurisprudence than on laws. (…)
In this short article we are going to look at something that caught our attention, which is the distinct concept of freedom in John Stuart Mill (1806-1873), the maximum theorist of liberalism and in the French declaration of the rights of man and citizen.
On August 26, 1789 the French National Assembly made the Declaration and its article IV states: Freedom consists in being able to do everything that does not cause harm to others. The exercise of the natural rights of each man, has no other limits than those that guarantee the other members of society the enjoyment of the same rights. Those limits can only be determined by law.
As we see, French law, with Roman heritage, like every continental law, says that the limits to freedom are set by law, which in turn is based on the customs and ethos of the people.
For Mill “the freedom of action and thought in the individual must have no other limit than damage to others… human beings become a noble and beautiful object of contemplation, not by the fact it leads to uniformity, but by cultivating and developing the individuality that is in them”
Ultimately, the limits of freedom for Mill are the decision of the individual when he and he only observes that it can cause harm to others.
If we read these texts superficially (we could add hundreds more) it would seem that the two coincide, because the proposed liberal liberty is nothing other than being able to do what one wants, always avoiding harm against another. But if we read carefully, the great difference between these two conceptions of liberal freedom appears.
Thus, for the members of the French Revolution, all of them liberal, the universal man, equal in all latitudes, is the subject of freedom, whereas for Stuart Mill it is the individual, singular and unrepeatable, the true subject of liberal freedom.
The definers of the rights of man and of the citizen speak to us of an egalitarian and rationalist freedom, which they attribute to the abstract man. What comes to coincide with the egalitarian postulates of the French Revolution of freedom and equality. This concept of freedom starts what Max Scheler called the era of leveling “of all equally”. This extreme egalitarianism reaches our era by eliminating practically all intimacy in the subject.
On the contrary, the version offered by Mill is the rescue of oneself. “The most exquisite flower of freedom: the possibility of being different, of being oneself, which is the full and maximum expression of individuality”.
He even postulates dissent in the face of a “tyranny of the majority” when he states that “the dissenting opinion is necessary to complete the truth”. And he continues: “For there is no reason why all human existences should be led by a single boss, or by a small number of bosses”. In this vision of liberal liberty lies all the philosophical power of Anglo-Saxon capitalism.”
In short, he criticizes the individualism of English thought, which can be related to flexible-arbitrary law, subjectivism (the individual creates the meanings) and, IMO, transhumanism (if the individual creates the meanings, he can dissolve himself). But I digress here. My point of view is.. this is all more strategic than theoretical. There are two tactical choices: criticize the globalism embedded in Anglo-Saxon law or criticize the globalism embedded in continental (Roman-Napoleonic-Germanic) law. They’re both imbued with (originally) European-Western universalism, and to be against globalism is to be against both of them.
The French ask “what is the truth”, the English say “the best story wins”.
Meanwhile, citizens of the self-styled “Leader of the Free World” are concerned with more important issues than trivialities like freedom of the press … such as the latest celebrity gossip, sports scores, or the unReality TV Show called the American Presidential Election Campaign.
Bread and circuses. Same as it ever was. Although, lately it appears that the supply of bread might soon be in short supply. Perhaps low carb diets (for our health!) and circuses will be the new rallying cry?
Bread and circuses is correct. We must counter with the same. We must make any opposition entertaining be it satire or humour. This is how to capture attention, change opinions and make those bad actors fear ridicule. Being ‘serious’ no longer is an option. Cowards and plotters including the magistrate, US deep state and the prime ministers of Australia and the UK are prime targets for satire. Why is it in the past that the UK had the best exponents of political satire and humour in the world and now there are none. Here is my short video.
Finally, the official opening to the totalitarian era of :
AIDSS (b).. Artificial Intelligence Drone Surgical Strike (b).
Combined with the cursed marvels of Nanotechnology, Facebook et al., & 5G.
Let’s cross fingers Trump will cut a deal to release Assange on medical grounds (neurotic snitching on sources?? !!).. Gain a few 100000 votes perhaps. Timing could also coincide with release of docuseries ” USS Liberty 1967”(the murderous Israeli attack on unarmed US navy vessel with LBJs blessing ..).. surely some 20-30% of US population would make the connection between that horrendous cover-up and journalistic freedom of expression. Providing that this docuseries will not be banned from PBS, YouTube etc. Hoping for you Julian Assange..
Further bad news from http://www.mintpressnews.com.. “DARPA (defence) funded bio implanted chip affecting mRNA to be commercially available 2021 etc.,
Bon weekend tout le monde…
donald is not going to release assange—have you read craig murray’s daily court posts? waiting/believing donald will do anything other than ((obey)) is folly.
“Julian Assange is being condemned for revealing imperial war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan”
It’s not just that. He also published Hillary’s emails (not hacked by Russians but in fact given to Assange by DNC employee Seth Rich who was later killed in a wierd street mugging gone wrong)
Hillary wanted the world to believe that all she discussed in those deleted emails involved “yoga class” and “Chelsea’s wedding”…lol!
Instead we learned all about the Clinton Foundation quid pro quo, collusion with the DOJ, collusion with the media feeding her questions, covert operations in Syria, sacrifice to Moloch, Pizzagate and Marina Abramovich spirit cooking.etc.
It probably did cost her the election….now she she and her deep state operatives are making sure Assange pays.
Correct as far as you went. But the *really big fish that the Elite needed to protect – and hence Editor-in-chief & *political prisoner Assange being silenced – was Obama
The emails (published by Wikileaks) exposing the Clinton Foundation’s acceptance of $30million from the Saudis who were also clandestinely funding and supporting ISIL/ISIS (a declared terrorist organization) in Iraq & Syria – was treason. But thats just the tip of the iceberg
The whole Russiagate / Trump-Russia-collusion thing-ee was a cover story. Cover stories are introduced early in the 24/7 news cycle to prevent the general public from being able to do critical thinking – why has this happened? why now? cui bono?, etc
The best (short) explanation of cover stories Ive found is by insider Dr Paul Craig Roberts
Cover Stories Are Used To Control Explanations
I strongly recommend everyone arms themselves with the examples he gives here
Why? Cos to be forewarned *IS* to be forearmed
Onwards and upwards!
Yes. Obama is the Big Fish.
I hope for that reason that Trump does pardon Assange—to get a dig at Obama.
Obama deserves the payback, as he was surely behind the machinations to cut off Trump’s presidency at the knees.
Of course it is not enough for Trump to “pardon” Assange (who has not committed any crime, so what’s to pardon), but he must also make sure that Assange is provided with needed medical care, and then a safe place to live with his wife and sons. Of course, Assange will not stop being a journalist as long as he lives. So, somehow his safety and that of his family must be secured. Maybe on an island somewhere in the Baltic . . .
I am so happy to hear that Assange’s father is there in London.
Craig Murray is an absolute hero.
The UK government also has legal knives out for Murray because of his defense of Alex Salmond. So he, too, needs financial help to mount a defense. I would donate if I knew how, from the USA.
The UK . . . Britain . . . how low will it sink? How much lower is it going under Johnson?
I feel very sorry for the British. In some ways their country is even more screwed up than the USA. It is Johnson who should be calling off the circus at the Old Bailey.
BoJo is an American born jew – there’s no chance of that
I agree with all of your larger points
Not a fan of Bojo but in theory UK has an independent judicial system. Neither he nor any other politician can officially interfere with any legal proceedings once they have begun…
Re Obama, I always thought he was the suave figurehead…you’re saying he’s a powerbroker?
He did pardon Chelsea Manning so he didn’t seem too concerned about Wikileaks war crimes revelations…..he might have been threatened by Hillary’s emails though.
Obama seems to be the current power broker in the Dem Party.
Or at least the relatively “public” face of the actual power brokers.
I think the Wikileaks emails are an embarrassment to Obama because Hillary was his SecDef.
And the Clintons and Obamas are the current power block in the Dem Party. They protect each other, and their perks (that house on Martha’s Vineyard . . . at least $8 mill, and then there’s the upkeep, oh, dear . . . ).
As many have noted, the Dem Party is now basically a bagman’s operation.
Actually, it was ever thus.
Urban Dem politicians were always hand in glove with the mob.
They probably still are.
Chicago? Don’t make me laugh.
Owned by Jewish mob. Rahm Emanuel. Pritzkers.
Pritzkers own Obama.
Jewish mobsters took over CA, brought in Dem Party, and went “legit.”
That includes Reagan, Hollywood, etc.
It’s all there in Gus Russo’s Supermob.
Ooops, sorry, I meant Hillary was Obama’s Secretary of State.
Craig Murray’s daily reports have been nothing less than journalistic masterpieces.
He’s doing this while struggling to earn a living and facing contempt of court charges ( for doing honest reporting in the Salmond trail ). He could go to jail. He is being forced to go through hearing after hearing and thus run up huge legal fees, in the hope he runs out of money. I fear they may pull the contempt of court gambit again in the Assange hearings – his reports are just too good, ( I hope we’re all sharing them as widely as possible ).
In both the Salmond trial and the present Assange hearings, the public has been fed disinformation. Craig Murray has taken on the burden, and sees it as his duty to correct this / to inform. He is thus targeted and is in need of our support.
There are details on his site, craigmurray.org.uk of how to donate. He attends the hearings by day and writes up his report by night so he can post them the following day. Today’s report hasn’t appeared yet – he has confessed he went to the pub with a friend – I hope he enjoyed it. He promises it will appear today.
“Are they really so stupid as not to understand that they are next?”
They know their not next because their on the same deep state team – along with SCOTUS.
Western states seem to be going full totalitarian as the Empire fades. Masks, lockdowns, medical tyranny, pre-crime in Victoria, all for the sake of a virus from which 99.9% recover.
The British courts have behaved shamefully over Julian. However, the US courts act in a blatantly partisan fashion. Look at the case of General Flynn, or the hundredss of thousands imprisoned because they were forced – in the absence of lawyer – to accept a plea bargain. Justice is nowhere to be found.
Read the Old Testament – for example, the Book of Jeremiah – and it all sounds very familiar.
The most poignant image of the Australian government’s lack of action for one of it’s citizens is a cartoon by David Pope at Canberra Times, unfortunately behind a paywall, of our hypocrite Minister for Foreign Affairs:- Marise Payne, https://www.foreignminister.gov.au/minister/marise-payne/media-release/statement-venezuela , squirrelling two Australian journalists out the door of our embassy in China while almost tripping on Julian Assange depicted as a homeless bum collapsed in a fetal position on the door step.
It is probably not that no one cares, but rather that no one knows. Where I live (Sweden) you will not be able to find a single newspaper clipping about this case. Not one. The ordinary Swede would not have a clue on this. He does not read English written media, he is mostly too stupid to learn a foreign language, not to speak of two. TV in Sweden is abhorrently bad, disgustingly stupid in fact, so what do you expect? I have spoken to high school graduates that were completely unknown of Swedish history from say 1500 till 1870… People are just becomming more stupid. My favourite hate movie “Idiocracy” is now becoming true, unfortunately, well at least I have probably only 10 more years to endure this crap ;)
Objective journalism forgetaboutitalready!
I would encourage those with financial resources to donate to Murray. Perhaps the “boss” will overlook.