Last week, while in London, I went to see Julian Assange at the Ecuadorian embassy. We talked off the record of course, so I won’t divulge too much, but will post only what Julian insisted on making public. Before it’s too late.
Assange shared an enlightening story about a Kurdish TV station that had been shut down in Denmark. The story, like so many others – from diplomatic cables with undiplomatic comments to hundreds of uninvestigated war crimes in Iraq – came to his attention through a leaked cryptogram.
Once upon a time there was a Kurdish TV network in Denmark. It would just as happily ‘be’ anywhere else, but more fitting markets were off limits to the channel. The station, Roj TV, was aimed at Turkish Kurds, and that made the Turkish authorities very angry.
Turkish officials pressed their NATO ally Denmark to shut down the TV channel under some plausible pretext. But Denmark was reluctant, saying that multiple inspections didn’t find any propaganda of terrorism and there were no grounds to close it down. Such things weren’t done there; Denmark, after all, is a democracy.
[Please click below to continue reading] Continue reading They’ll try to shut you down’: Meeting Assange & the non-stop ‘War on RT’, by Margarita Simonyan
American Exceptionalism and American Torture
In 1964, the Brazilian military, in a US-designed coup, overthrew a liberal (not more to the left than that) government and proceeded to rule with an iron fist for the next 21 years. In 1979 the military regime passed an amnesty law blocking the prosecution of its members for torture and other crimes. The amnesty still holds.
That’s how they handle such matters in what used to be called The Third World. In the First World, however, they have no need for such legal niceties. In the United States, military torturers and their political godfathers are granted amnesty automatically, simply for being American, solely for belonging to the “Good Guys Club”.
So now, with the release of the Senate Intelligence Committee report on CIA torture, we have further depressing revelations about US foreign policy. But do Americans and the world need yet another reminder that the United States is a leading practitioner of torture? Yes. The message can not be broadcast too often because the indoctrination of the American people and Americophiles all around the world is so deeply embedded that it takes repeated shocks to the system to dislodge it. No one does brainwashing like the good ol’ Yankee inventors of advertising and public relations. And there is always a new generation just coming of age with stars (and stripes) in their eyes.
The public also has to be reminded yet again that – contrary to what most of the media and Mr. Obama would have us all believe – the president has never actually banned torture per se, despite saying recently that he had “unequivocally banned torture” after taking office.
[Please click below to continue reading] Continue reading The Anti-Empire Report #135, by William Blum