How to smear a hero

Julian Assange, Wikileaks

Image by New Media Days via Flickr

How do you discredit someone who undermines systems of power? In the old days, the CIA would just assassinate and murder them (they’ve tried 638 times to get Castro), even topple entire governments if need be. However, since the world is now much more aware of the dirty tricks or “Black Ops” that they use, powerful interests have had to find other ways of “subtly” smearing them in the public eye. Calling them a rapist is one way of doing it which is what has happened today to Julian Assange founder of WikiLeaks.

Firstly, let’s get the rather flimsy circumstances straight. Assange is accused of prancing around the Greater Stockholm area like a crazed animal between 15th to 17th August. According to center-right wing newspaper Expressen, last weekend, he sexually harassed a woman in Södermalm, Stockholm. Two or three days later, he traveled 20km to the quiet nearby town of Enköping where he supposedly raped another woman. The two women – aged “between 20-30” according to Expressen and by an astonishing coincidence, friends also – decided a week later to go to a police station and said that “Julian Assange has raped and harassed us” and that they “didn’t want to press charges but just wanted some advice”. The first Assange knew of these allegations were when he saw the front on Expressen this morning. He denied it in an e-mail to Dagens Nyheter newspaper saying:

Why these accusations are coming at this point in time is an interesting question. I haven’t been contacted by the police. The allegations are false.

Assange is now understood to be making his way to a police station.

Secondly, let’s get the context clear to recent events in Assange’s life. The Pirate Party – a political party in Sweden dedicated to freedom of information – have this week agreed to host WikiLeaks documents on their servers since the organization is banned from publishing in many other countries. Assange has been in Sweden to arrange this deal and also agreed to write a column for centre-left Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet (the main rival to Expressen who “broke” this “story”), the first of which was due to be released today. Incidentally, Aftonbladet have decided to postpone publication in the light of the rape allegations.

Thirdly, and perhaps most importantly, let’s get the wider context clear. Assange and his team at WikiLeaks are on the verge of publishing 15,000 more Afghan war documents which the US Government and Pentagon are desperate to suppress. Whether orchestrating a smear campaign against Assange would even stop that, I very much doubt it. And even if Assange were a rapist – or even worshiped Beelzebub and Hitler – it takes nothing away from the incriminating Collateral Murder video and Afghan war documents that WikiLeaks have already released.

Whether this is an orchestrated smear campaign, just two very silly girls, or a genuine case of rape and harassment, the fact is that WikiLeaks is bigger than Assange as he I’m sure would be the first to admit. It, and other projects like it, cannot be stopped. It’s like Chavez in Venezuela – even if the CIA assassinated him now, it’s too late to stop the popular revolution he’s unleashed and the same goes for the spirit of exposing abuses of power that WikiLeaks has ushered in since the corporate mainstream media are utterly impotent and unwilling to do so.

Unfortunately for the powerful, dirty tricks, black-ops and even assassinations simply can’t stop the tide of change and revolutions once they’ve begun in an inter-connected globalized age.

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“WikiLeaks did what journalists should have done”

Great interview here with John Pilger on Russia Today (Pilger is not particularly welcome in the mainstream media nowadays because he’s a bit too honest about the crimes of the West). Pilger highlights the fact that since journalists are now “embedded” in warzones, have had their budgets cut or simply spout the same garbage that come out of the mouths of the Pentagon or Ministry of “Defence”, they are not investigating what’s really going on.

WikiLeaks has done the job that Pilger, and other crusading journalists did in years gone by such as his reports from Vietnam that made the West realize the full horror of the crimes that we’re being done in their name and helped turn public opinion against the tide of the war.

It’s inspiring to see that where the powerful try to suppress information in subtle ways in liberal democracies, technology and the internet is finding new ways to expose the truth.

An excerpt from the 12 minute interview:

Recent sanctions against Iran are an attempt by the US to return the country to its sphere of influence, claims veteran journalist John Pilger.

”Iran was a pillar of the American empire in the Middle East. That was swept away in 1979 when there was an Islamic revolution, and it has been American foreign policy to get that back,” he said.

“It has absolutely nothing to do with so-called nuclear weapons. The nuclear power in the Middle East is the fourth biggest military power in the world and that is Israel. It has something like 500 or more nuclear warheads. It is never discussed.”

Pilger added that Barack Obama has failed to change the trajectory of US foreign policy, which dates back to as early as 1945 and follows George W. Bush’s line.

“For the first time in US presidential history – it has not happened before – a president has taken the entire defense department bureaucracy, and the Secretary of State for Defense, from a previous administration, a discredited one,” he said. “We have basically Robert Gates and the same generals running American foreign policy with a lot of help from people of like mind.”

WHO experts are “moonlighting” for pharmaceutical industry

Swedish newspaper Svenska Dagbladet has revealed that key decision makers at the World Health Organization (WHO) are also being paid by the pharmaceutical companies manufacturing the vaccine.

In the run-up to declaring swine flu as a pandemic, the WHO held an “Emergency Committee” which consisted of 18 “secret” scientists and medical professionals who met to decide whether to recommend upgrading swine flu to a pandemic. No one is allowed to know the name of these 18 people and the final decision is taken by the head of the WHO Director-General Margaret Chan.

Svenska Dagbladet thought this sounded a tiny bit undemocratic so decided to dig into the mysterious identities of this secretive board and guess what? Some of them are moonlighting for the pharmaceutical industry in consultation and advisory roles. Three of the fifteen members of the Emergency Committee have contacts with the pharmaceutical industry and receive money directly from vaccine companies according to the paper.

I notice that very few media or internet sites have picked-up on this story yet which is a little strange because it’s a rather serious conflict of interest don’t you think?

There is a rather complicated graphic here illustrating various links between the WHO and the pharmaceutical companies manufacturing the swine flu vaccine.