Statement by Julian Assange after One Year in Ecuadorian Embassy

From Wikileaks:,249.html

Julian Assange

Saturday June 22nd, 15:00 GMT

It has now been a year since I entered this embassy and sought refuge from persecution.

As a result of that decision, I have been able to work in relative safety from a US espionage investigation.

But today, Edward Snowden’s ordeal is just beginning.

Two dangerous runaway processes have taken root in the last decade, with fatal consequences for democracy.

Government secrecy has been expanding on a terrific scale.

Simultaneously, human privacy has been secretly eradicated.

A few weeks ago, Edward Snowden blew the whistle on an ongoing program – involving the Obama administration, the intelligence community and the internet services giants – to spy on everyone in the world.

As if by clockwork, he has been charged with espionage by the Obama administration.

The US government is spying on each and every one of us, but it is Edward Snowden who is charged with espionage for tipping us off.

It is getting to the point where the mark of international distinction and service to humanity is no longer the Nobel Peace Prize, but an espionage indictment from the US Department of Justice.

Edward Snowden is the eighth leaker to be charged with espionage under this president.

Bradley Manning’s show trial enters its fourth week on Monday.

After a litany of wrongs done to him, the US government is trying to convict him of “aiding the enemy.”

The word “traitor” has been thrown around a lot in recent days.

But who is really the traitor here?

Who was it who promised a generation “hope” and “change,” only to betray those promises with dismal misery and stagnation?

Who took an oath to defend the US constitution, only to feed the invisible beast of secret law devouring it alive from the inside out?

Who is it that promised to preside over The Most Transparent Administration in history, only to crush whistleblower after whistleblower with the bootheel of espionage charges?

Who combined in his executive the powers of judge, jury and executioner, and claimed the jurisdiction of the entire earth on which to exercise those powers?

Who arrogates the power to spy on the entire earth – every single one of us – and when he is caught red handed, explains to us that “we’re going to have to make a choice.”

Who is that person?

Let’s be very careful about who we call “traitor”.

Edward Snowden is one of us.

Bradley Manning is one of us.

They are young, technically minded people from the generation that Barack Obama betrayed.

They are the generation that grew up on the internet, and were shaped by it.

The US government is always going to need intelligence analysts and systems administrators, and they are going to have to hire them from this generation and the ones that follow it.

One day, their generation will run the NSA, the CIA and the FBI.

This isn’t a phenomenon that is going away.

This is inevitable.

And by trying to crush these young whistleblowers with espionage charges, the US government is taking on a generation, and that is a battle it is going to lose.

This isn’t how to fix things.

The only way to fix things is this:

Change the policies.

Stop spying on the world.

Eradicate secret law.

Cease indefinite detention without trial.

Stop assassinating people.

Stop invading other countries and sending young Americans off to kill and be killed.

Stop the occupations, and discontinue the secret wars.

Stop eating the young: Edward Snowden, Barrett Brown, Jeremy Hammond, Aaron Swartz, Gottfrid Svartholm, Jacob Appelbaum, and Bradley Manning.

The charging of Edward Snowden is intended to intimidate any country that might be considering standing up for his rights.

That tactic must not be allowed to work.

The effort to find asylum for Edward Snowden must be intensified.

What brave country will stand up for him, and recognize his service to humanity?

Tell your governments to step forward.

Step forward and stand with Snowden.

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‘Internet under Siege: The more data they get, the more we should fear’

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Today’s NSA Brought to You By a Decade of Republican Fear-Mongering

From Huffington Post:


On his show recently, while the NSA story was blazing its way through the tubes, Rush Limbaugh said, “So there is clearly — somewhere, somehow, in some form or another — a coup taking place, and there is an assault on privacy, and there are assaults on people because of their politics and their ideology. It is taking place; it’s undeniable.”

An assault on privacy, he said. Limbaugh continued:

I don’t want my government doing this. I do not want my government preoccupied with paying this close attention to what every citizen is doing every minute of the day. This government’s already too big, it’s too damn powerful, and it’s too unforgiving — and this doesn’t have anything to do with competent intelligence gathering. Throwing wide nets like this is BS. It’s assuming way too much to think that this is not a big deal. Left-wing overreaction, my backside.

Uh-huh. Yeah. Rewind several years to 2007 and 2008 when Congress and the Bush administration passed the Protect America Act, along with the FISA Amendments of 2008. The entire Republican establishment was lined up in jingoistic lockstep behind the Bush administration’s efforts to eavesdrop without warrants and spent countless hours both scaring their listeners to death while shaming liberals and the Democratic Party over any and all resistance in codifying the administration’s illegal covert wiretapping.

But as we’ve learned time and time again, selective amnesia doesn’t seem to permeate the zero barrier between January 19, 2009 and January 20, 2009, so let’s take a look at some history, shall we? Yep. Here goes…

On August 15, 2007, Limbaugh said:

[Then Senator Hillary Clinton] opposed the FISA reforms that would allow us to listen into communications and see the communications of international terrorists who are communicating with other international terrorists, even outside the country whose messages simply happened to flow through U.S. telecom networks. You know, again, I’m a little bit surprised that somebody with a record so weak on these things would somehow deign to lecture this president.

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On the Espionage Act charges against Edward Snowden

From The Guardian UK:

Who is actually bringing ‘injury to America’: those who are secretly building a massive surveillance system or those who inform citizens that it’s being done?, Saturday 22 June 2013

The US government has charged Edward Snowden with three felonies, including two under the Espionage Act, the 1917 statute enacted to criminalize dissent against World War I. My priority at the moment is working on our next set of stories, so I just want to briefly note a few points about this.

Prior to Barack Obama’s inauguration, there were a grand total of three prosecutions of leakers under the Espionage Act (including the prosecution of Dan Ellsberg by the Nixon DOJ). That’s because the statute is so broad that even the US government has largely refrained from using it. But during the Obama presidency, there are now seven such prosecutions: more than double the number under all prior US presidents combined. How can anyone justify that?

For a politician who tried to convince Americans to elect him based on repeated pledges of unprecedented transparency and specific vows to protect “noble” and “patriotic” whistleblowers, is this unparalleled assault on those who enable investigative journalism remotely defensible? Recall that the New Yorker’s Jane Mayer said recently that this oppressive climate created by the Obama presidency has brought investigative journalism to a “standstill”, while James Goodale, the General Counsel for the New York Times during its battles with the Nixon administration, wrote last month in that paper that “President Obama will surely pass President Richard Nixon as the worst president ever on issues of national security and press freedom.” Read what Mayer and Goodale wrote and ask yourself: is the Obama administration’s threat to the news-gathering process not a serious crisis at this point?

Few people – likely including Snowden himself – would contest that his actions constitute some sort of breach of the law. He made his choice based on basic theories of civil disobedience: that those who control the law have become corrupt, that the law in this case (by concealing the actions of government officials in building this massive spying apparatus in secret) is a tool of injustice, and that he felt compelled to act in violation of it in order to expose these official bad acts and enable debate and reform.

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There’s a New Fascism on the Rise, and the NSA Leaks Show Us What It Looks Like

From Alternet:

The power of truth-tellers like Edward Snowden is that they dispel a whole mythology carefully constructed by the corporate cinema, the corporate academy and the corporate media.

By John Pilger
June 21, 2013

In his book, Propaganda, published in 1928, Edward Bernays wrote: “The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country.”

The American nephew of Sigmund Freud, Bernays invented the term “public relations” as a euphemism for state propaganda. He warned that an enduring threat to the invisible government was the truth-teller and an enlightened public.

In 1971, whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg leaked US government files known as The Pentagon Papers, revealing that the invasion of Vietnam was based on systematic lying. Four years later, Frank Church conducted sensational hearings in the US Senate: one of the last flickers of American democracy. These laid bare the full extent of the invisible government: the domestic spying and subversion and warmongering by intelligence and “security” agencies and the backing they received from big business and the media, both conservative and liberal.

Speaking about the National Security Agency (NSA), Senator Church said: “I know that the capacity that there is to make tyranny in America, and we must see to it that this agency and all agencies that possess this technology operate within the law … so that we never cross over that abyss. That is the abyss from which there is no return.”

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“Free Trade” Was Never Really About Trade

From Common Dreams:

by Stan Sorscher

We need to think differently about trade.

First, let me say that I am 100% in favor of trade. Trade is when we do what we do best, they do what they do best, and we trade. Trade, done right, will raise living standards.

If trade is good, then free trade must be better, right? So consider this old joke about “free trade.”

  • It’s not free.
  • It’s not trade.

Twenty years after NAFTA we can add that it doesn’t work. It’s bad for millions of workers, families and communities around the world.

“Free trade” is not free. Our free trade policy encourages production to leave the country. We’ve lost millions of manufacturing jobs. More than 60,000 manufacturing plants were closed between 2000 and 2010 as production moved overseas. These costs are real.

“Free trade” is not trade. Basically, trade is when each country makes things of value for export and gets things of comparable value in imports. In modern globalization, other countries manipulate their currencies, use tax strategies that distort exports and imports, and apply effective well-designed industrial policies to build manufacturing capacity. They export more products to us, and import fewer products from us.

Our trade deficits since NAFTA are over $8 trillion. With trade deficits this large, we are not trading. We are letting other countries produce for us. We borrow, de-industrialize, and ultimately fail to capitalize on future production opportunities. That’s not trade. That’s getting picked clean.

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The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Launches A New Attempt To Kill Social Security

From PoliticusUSA:

Jun. 21st, 2013

The idea that America is a democracy and serves the needs of the people is an altruistic ideology that exists in theory, but is, in reality, a farce perpetrated to keep the population from rising up and slaying those most intent on tyranny and ravaging the people. Americans are under the false impression that their representatives in government serve the people’s best interests, and there is evidence that there are Democrats willing to buck the fascist corporate world to provide Americans with a semblance of humanitarian assistance whether it is labor laws, social programs, a decent transportation system, or protection from predatory capitalists, but they are few. Eighty years ago, Franklin D. Roosevelt fought to provide Americans with security in their old age, and despite the people funded their own meager retirement, Republicans yearned to abolish the Social Security Trust and send old Americans into poverty and a decrepit end life facing starvation, homelessness, ill-health and an early death.

Over the past four years as Republicans convinced President Obama, Democrats, and most Americans the nation was on the verge of insolvency due to debt and deficit, they ratcheted up the 80-year crusade to eviscerate the Social Security Trust despite it neither adds nor reduces deficit by a penny. Now that it turns out the economy is not bankrupt, and debt and deficit are falling rapidly, the real economic policy drivers are launching a new effort to eliminate Social Security and complete the 80-year task Republicans have failed to achieve.

On Wednesday, the United States Chamber of Commerce executive vice-president for government affairs, addressed the issue of abolishing Social Security and announced a new initiative to convince their puppets in Washington to cut Social Security because the idea of giving retired Americans their own savings for doing nothing is contrary to the Chamber’s business model. The model is America’s capitalism; giving people their own money for “loafing around and not doing anything” productive to drive corporate profits is wrong from a business standpoint, and the “government paying people not to work” regardless they paid into Social Security and enriched businesses has got to stop. According to the Chamber, federal retirement programs depress participation in the workforce and prevent Americans from investing their earnings in Wall Street, banks, and buying products made in China corporations avoid paying taxes on.

The concept of retired people living out their end days with the developed world’s worst pensions and not slaving for poverty-level wages is beyond the Chamber’s comprehension, and to see it come to an end, the Chamber of Commerce is going all-in to push for the end of Social Security.  The people driving America’s economic policy assert Social Security is not sustainable and they have made every attempt to starve the Trust of funds by keeping wages low, opposing the President’s job creation plans to keep unemployment numbers up, and quash discussion of lifting the cap on earnings that would keep Social Security solvent well into the next century. However, expecting the titans of industry, Wall Street, and the uber-wealthy to contribute the same percentage of their income, all their income, the same as poverty-level labor is beyond the wealthy’s intellectual capacity, and part of American inequity favoring the plutocrats controlling the nation.

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Don’t Get Neil deGrasse Tyson Started on the “Super Moon”

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The end of sockeye salmon?

From Salon:

A massive mine proposal could wipe out half of the world’s remaining wild population


The habitat for half the world supply of wild sockeye salmon — as well as a critical area for other wildlife, tourism and native peoples — is at urgent risk of being filled with pollutants, and sterilized in the name of gold and copper mining.

Dillingham is a town of about 2,300 people, perched on an outlet into Bristol Bay, a body of water set between Alaska’s southwest coast and the Aleutian islands. The only way in or out is by boat or airplane. The town’s economy, and that of almost every settlement along the bay, relies on the thriving salmon population that returns each year to source rivers and streams to spawn.

The fish productivity, and in turn the entire lifestyle of southwest Alaska, is hanging in jeopardy under the looming threat of Pebble Mine. The proposed copper and gold site is projected to be the largest open pit mine in North America and would have a devastating impact on the habitat for salmon and other wildlife.

Verner Wilson III’s first memory is of trying to save a fish. The Yup’ik Eskimo, who grew up in Dillingham, Alaska, remembers visiting his family’s fishing camp when he was little. “I saw all of these fish wriggling around on the beach,” he says. “I tried to save one, take it and put it back in the water.”

His grandmother stopped him, explaining that the fish were the family’s food and livelihood. “I’ve been fishing ever since,” says Wilson, now 27.

Now Wilson is trying to save a lot of fish. Representing the World Wildlife Fund, he has been traveling the state and all the way to Washington, D.C., to rally opposition to the mine, while an unlikely coalition of commercial, subsistence and sport fishermen alongside environmentalists and native tribes has mobilized to preserve one of the last great salmon fisheries left in the world. “Every single piece of the economy here is tied into fishing one way or another,” says Katherine Carscallen, who also grew up in a Dillingham fishing family. “It’s our livelihood and lifestyle that would be completely erased if this mine went through.”

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Shale gas won’t stop peak oil, but could create an economic crisis

From The Guardian UK:

Overinflated industry claims could pull the rug out from optimistic growth forecasts within just five years

Friday 21 June 2013

A new report out last week from the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) has doubled estimates of “technically recoverable” oil and gas resources available globally. The report says that shale-based resources potentially increase the world’s total oil supplies by 11 per cent.

Acknowledging fault-lines in its new study, contracted to energy consulting firm Advanced Resources International Inc. (ARI), the EIA said:

“These shale oil and shale gas resource estimates are highly uncertain and will remain so until they are extensively tested with production wells.”

The report estimates shale resources outside the US by extrapolation based on “the geology and resource recovery rates of similar shale formations in the United States.” Hence, the EIA concedes that “the extent to which global technically recoverable shale resources will prove to be economically recoverable is not yet clear.”

Two years ago, following the publication of the EIA April 2011 report a New York Times investigation obtained internal EIA communications showing how senior officials, including industry consultants and federal energy experts privately voiced scepticism about shale gas prospects.

One internal EIA document said oil companies had exaggerated “the appearance of shale gas well profitability” by highlighting performance only from the best wells, and using overly optimistic models for productivity projections over decades. The NYT reported that the EIA often “relies on research from outside consultants with ties to the industry.”

The latest EIA shale gas estimates, contracted to ARI, is no exception. ARI, according to the NYT’s 2011 article, has “major clients in the oil and gas industry” and the company’s president, Vello Kuuskraa, is “a stockholder and board member of Southwestern Energy, an energy company heavily involved in drilling for gas in the Fayetteville shale formation in Arkansas.”

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Buzz Off, Monsanto

From Occupy Monsanto:

by Paul Towers
Published on Tuesday, June 18, 2013 by GroundTruth

Last week, the term “bee-washing” emerged in public conversation. It doesn’t refer to some new bee cleaning service, but to the insidious efforts of Monsanto and other pesticide corporations to discredit science about the impacts of pesticides on bees — especially neonicotinoids — by creating public relations tours, new research centers and new marketing strategies.

This week, pesticide makers are showcasing these tactics during National Pollinator Week with offers of free seed packets to people who take their poorly named “pollinator pledge.” The “bee-washing” term has gained traction as scientists and groups like PAN continue to cut through the misinformation and point to the emerging body of science that points to pesticides as a critical factor in bee declines.

Monsanto hosted their first so-called Honey Bee Health Summit last week, a gathering at the company’s headquarters in Missouri. Without question, some truly smart, dedicated scientists attended Monsanto’s bee summit and are participating in these efforts.

And a similarly committed group of beekeepers who care about bees, beekeeping and our food system have also participated. What’s increasingly clear, though, is that the credibility of these individuals is being used to shield the agenda of a handful of pesticide corporations and their bee-harming insecticide products. The corporate PR gymnastics on display are truly impressive.

Unfortunately, Monsanto is not alone in its efforts.  Just this spring, Bayer sponsored a tour of its “specially-wrapped beehicle” and hosted a talk at Ohio State University in March, over loud objections from local beekeepers.

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US Department of Agriculture probes Oregon Monsanto GM wheat mystery

From The Guardian UK:

Company cries foul over appearance of genetically modified wheat but scientist who found it doubts claim of sabotage

in Pendleton,, Saturday 22 June 2013

It is a mystery that could cost the American farmer billions: how rogue genetically modified wheat plants turned up on a farmer’s field in Oregon.

The scientist who first discovered the renegade grain – by dipping a plastic strip into a tube of pulped plant, in order to check its genetics – believes the GM wheat could have entered America’s food supply undetected years ago, and could still be in circulation.

“There’s a lot of potential for how it could have got into the supply,” said Carol Mallory-Smith, a professor of weed sciences at Oregon State University. “It could have already been processed. It could have gone for animal feed somewhere or it could have gone for something else. It could have gone for storage.”

The Department of Agriculture, which is conducting a secretive investigation into the renegade GM wheat outbreak, maintains the GM wheat remained confined to a single 125-acre field on a single farm in eastern Oregon. Officials said there was no evidence the contaminated wheat was in the marketplace.

Monsanto, which manufactured the altered gene and conducted field trials of the GM wheat several years ago, strongly suggested in a conference call with reporters on Friday that the company was the victim of sabotage of anti-GM campaigners. Robb Fraley, Monsanto’s chief technology officer, said:

It’s fair to say there are folks who don’t like biotechnology and who would use this as an opportunity to make problems.

The real story is unlikely to emerge – if at all – until the publication of the final report by 18 Department of Agriculture investigators who are now scouring grain elevators, farmers’ fields and university research stations in eastern Oregon, hunting for a few grains of suspicious wheat.

The stakes are high for America’s wheat exports, with Japan and South Korea cancelling shipments; for Monsanto, which faces lawsuits from farmers for falling wheat prices and a consumer backlash against GM products; and for the US government, which must shore up confidence in the safety and integrity of the food supply.

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