Navalny, Ward, Assange, Snowden and the Attack on Free Speech 670


Russia does not have a functioning criminal justice system at all, in the sense of a trial mechanism aimed at determining innocence or guilt.  Exactly as in Uzbekistan, the conviction rate in criminal trials is over 99%.  If the prosecutors, who are inextricably an arm of the executive government, want to send you to jail, there is absolutely no judicial system to protect you.  The judges are purely there for show.

When critics of Putin like Alexei Navalny are convicted, therefore, we have absolutely no reassurance that the motivation behind the prosecution or the assessment of guilt was genuine.  Which is not to say that Navalny is innocent; I am in no position to judge. People are complex.   I sacrificed my own pretty decent career to the cause of human rights, but in my personal and family life I was by no means the most moral of individuals.  I see no reason for it to be impossible that all of Navalny’s excellent political work did not co-exist with a fatal weakness.  But his criticisms of Putin made him a marked man, who the state was out to get, and the most probable explanation – especially as prosecutors had looked at the allegations before and decided not to proceed – is that he is suffering for his criticisms of the President rather than a genuine offence.

It fascinates me that the Western media view the previous decision by the prosecutors not to proceed as evidence the case is politically motivated against Navalny; but fail to draw the same conclusion from precisely the same circumstance in the Assange case.

David Ward MP has not been sent to jail.  He has however had the Lib Dem whip removed, which under Clegg’s leadership perhaps he ought to consider an honour.  It is rather a commonplace sentiment that it is a terribly sad thing, that their community having suffered dreadfully in the Holocaust, the European Jews involved in founding the state of Israel went on themselves to inflict terrible pain and devastation on the Palestinians in the Nakba.   Both the Holocaust and the Nakba were horrific events of human suffering.  For this not startling observation, David Ward is removed from the Liberal Democrats.  He also stated that, with its ever increasing number of racially specific laws, its walls and racially restricted roads, Israel is becoming an apartheid state.  That is so commonplace even Sky News’ security correspondent Sam Kiley said it a few months ago, without repercussion.  In Russia you cannot say Putin is corrupt; in the UK you cannot say Israeli state policy is malign.  Neither national state can claim to uphold freedom of speech.  Meanwhile, of course, David Cameron announces plans to place filters on the internet access of all UK households.

In the United States, the House of Representatives failed by just 12 votes to make illegal the mass snooping by the NSA which was not widely publicised until Edward Snowden’s revelations.  What Snowden said was so important that almost half the country’s legislators wished to act on his information.  Yet the executive wish to pursue him and remove all his freedom for the rest of his life, as they are doing to Bradley Manning for Manning’s exposure of war crimes and extreme duplicity.

Around this complex of issues and the persons of Manning, Navalny, Snowden and Assange there is a kind of new ideological competition between the governments of Russia, the US and UK as to which is truly promoting the values of human freedom.  The answer is none of them are.  All these states are, largely in reaction to the liberating possibilities of the internet, promoting a concerted attack on freedom of speech and liberty of thought.

States are the enemy.  We are the people.

 

 

 

 


670 thoughts on “Navalny, Ward, Assange, Snowden and the Attack on Free Speech

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  • Arbed

    Ben, 10.39pm

    Oh, no kidding is it a murky business. At the time James Ball claimed the “accidental” leaking of the NDA on Twitter was that he was having a Twitter discussion about it with another journo who half-inched stuff from Wikileaks, Heather Brooke (who manipulated a copy of Cablegate out of a stressed volunteer and ran off with it to the Guardian, which enabled them to break their contract with Wikileaks and attempt to cut them out), and he simply “forgot” to send it to her by Twitter DM (private message). It was instantly picked up by David Allen Green who used it in the New Statesman, which James Ball then bounced off to write his own smear article about it in the Guardian. Standard M.O.

    Don’t know how carefully you read that link to the Gibney transcript note, but my interpretation of this bit:

    While Assange was in prison it was discovered that someone had accessed the Sunshine Press press contacts account using an email client, and had mirrored its archive. Ball had briefly been given access to the account. Documents from the account subsequently appeared in the Guardian. [my emphasis] Physical documents went missing, and Ball’s behaviour became erratic.

    is that it was James Ball who stole the Swedish police protocol from the Wikileaks email account and leaked it to Nick Davies at the Guardian. Hence, like Heather Brooke, he was rewarded with a job at the Guardian. It was Nick Davies’ seriously skewed write up of the leaked protocol – entitled “10 Days in Sweden” – which really started the whole “rapist” smear campaign against Assange in the English-speaking media. As James Ball’s dates at Wikileaks are 23 November-15 December and Assange was in Wandsworth prison 7 December-16 December and Nick Davies’ article was published on 17 December, I reckon – allowing a couple of days to get cherrypicked parts of the protocol translated – that James Ball was Davies’ anonymous source.

    The little shit.

  • Arbed

    Ben, 11.04pm

    Der Spiegel gets a clean bill of health. They were actually the ones who tipped off Assange to the impending double-cross of the Guardian and New York Times, and played the peacemaker role when Assange went storming into the Guardian’s offices on 1st November with the lawyers and threatened to take the whole lot to rival media organisations if the pair of them didn’t behave. The double-cross apparently involved going ahead with publishing selected bits of Cablegate 10 days early, with Wikileaks cut out of the deal entirely (and, of course, the New York Times vetting whatever would be published with the White House first). It was actually an exceedingly cavalier and dangerous thing to do – not just to the then-unknown source Bradley Manning – but because Wikileaks still had people in the United States, who would have been put at incredible risk.

  • glenn_uk

    Hi Ben…. agreed, Gandhi said something along the lines that Christianity sounds fine, but he’s just not so sure about our Christians. I agree that some of the principles the prophet Jesus is said to have put forward are very good indeed – in fact, most religions have at their heart a few core doctrines which would make the world so much better. Love thy neighbour. Do unto others as you would have done to do. Do not lie, cheat or steal, honour your parents, and don’t be greedy. Do not worship money.

    All quite simple, and as relevant today as they were in Biblical times. Organised religion seemed to be among the things Jesus most despised.

  • Arbed

    not just to the then-unknown source Bradley Manning

    Sorry, that should be ‘then-unconfirmed’. Although he’d been arrested and Wired had published the chatlogs between Bradass87 and Adrian Lamo, Manning had neither confessed at that point nor were the partial chatlogs released by Wired viewed as necessarily authentic, given their source.

  • glenn_uk

    Habbabkuk wrote, “It may of course be mere fancy on my part, but is there not just a slight, sour smell of disappointment in the posts from the Eminences that Mr Manning has NOT been found guilty of aiding the enemy?”

    Surely that is mere fancy, and not sooth? For myself, I found considerable relief if not momentary joy when a colleague passed on the news during a conversation this afternoon. (He received it via something called a “text message”, I have not advanced much further than the telephone device.)

    *

    The initial thought was that justice has shone through! Military justice has seen fit to ignore the wishes of the establishment. My elation was rapidly deflated upon hearing there were enough charges upheld, to incarcerate Manning for a significant term. All the same, at least the mandatory life sentence was not going to be imposed.

    Why would the Eminences be happy at a guilty verdict? I don’t read them that way at all. There are surely enough injustices to go around – another martyr is not required. Anon’s staggeringly distorted view of the interests and motives of the Left is not uncommon, it appears – but surely you, Habbabkuk, are not given to such gross misinterpretation?

    At worst, I thought lefties would be accused of insufficient worldliness – given to considering good in those who are downright rotten. Unduly indulgent – and arguably soft – on criminals, professional claimants, terrorists, generally insufficiently condemning and overly understanding at times.

    It’s rather strange to see motives attributed that never were there at all – to see lefties accused of outright lies when they claim concern, and to expect them to feel cheated by an outcome they purport to welcome. Very strange. Perhaps I will become more enlightened as to why this reaction was expected with more conversation.

    *

    It occurs that the Right brings false concern and lies about their motives as a matter of course, so they assume their political opposites are surely doing the same. For instance, Tories feign concern about the well-being of the working man, claim a “free market” is about justice and equal competition for all, while their every single act ensures the tables are tilted in their favour. Neo-libertarian idealists are useful idiots and indulged.

    True independents (arguably, the relatively uninformed), looking at the blatant self-indulgence of the Right, and the hideous performance of the supposed Left (in the form of “New” Labour and the Obama administrations), might conclude that both are equally bereft of merit, and simply engaging in alternative forms of a cynical ploy to win power, by appealing to popularism.

    Do you feel any of the above explains the perceived motives of Leftists, and why it is thought they might have been disappointed by Mannings’ not guilty verdict on the major crime ?

  • Jives

    Habbakuk,

    “It may of course be mere fancy on my part, but is there not just a slight, sour smell of disappointment in the posts from the Eminences that Mr Manning has NOT been found guilty of aiding the enemy?”

    Oh dear.You really are scraping the barrel there.It reveals much about you Habbabkuk:You really are getting desperate and more twisted than usual-which is saying something.

  • Villager

    Glenn, great posts — balanced and comprehensive in attempt to cover every angle.

    My only issue with the general applicability of your observations to the Eminences here is that the ‘word’ is not the ‘thing’. The word compassion is not compassion itself. Mostly what i see here are Little Englander leftists who are bitter losers filled with hate, envy and jealousy. These people may or may not be Christians but do not demonstrate that they have thought through life wholly/holistically– including human suffering, anger, envy, jealousy, hate, desire, becoming, self-centred activities of the ego, transformation, the process of change — in a meaningful enough way for their claims of owning the ground of compassion to sit well with, for example, their practice of hate. This makes me deeply suspicious that they are in it for the game. Wanting to play with the structures of governance, these are not the people i would trust to help bring about change in the world and especially not through their perceived flag of compassion.

    There is some resonance in what i am saying to your observation “True independents (arguably, the relatively uninformed), looking at the blatant self-indulgence of the Right, and the hideous performance of the supposed Left (in the form of “New” Labour and the Obama administrations), might conclude that both are equally bereft of merit, and simply engaging in alternative forms of a cynical ploy to win power, by appealing to popularism.”

    I am just going further and peering into the human mind, the collective of which forms human consciousness and saying that true right action can only come after these verbose moaners and posters have taken a good honest look at themselves in the mirror of relationship, including the conduct of those here, and achieved a certain refinement of their dull minds before they can claim authentic intelligence from which true compassion might have a chance to flow. In the meantime, they are only fooling themselves. Even the Right can see through that have a good laugh at their expense which is happening.

  • Sofia Kibo Noh

    @Villager. 2 02am

    It is said that the best sermon goes over one’s head – and hits one’s neighbour.

    “The word compassion is not compassion itself.

    …bitter losers filled with hate, envy and jealousy…

    …do not demonstrate that they have thought through life wholly/holistically– including human suffering, anger, envy, jealousy, hate, desire…

    …their claims of owning the ground of compassion…

    true right action can only come after these verbose moaners and posters have taken a good honest look at themselves……..and achieved a certain refinement of their dull minds before they can claim authentic intelligence from which true compassion might have a chance to flow..

    I am just going further and peering into the human mind…”

    Thanks for the latest blockbuster, so dripping with condescension and ill will towards people whose motives and minds you will never penetrate.

    On the other hand the regular motions that you pass into these threads reveal much about yours.

  • Jemand - Censorship Improves History

    Sofia KN, are you going to reply to my question posed to you re your thought experiment on compassionate groups A & B?

    You sort of left me hanging there, leaving me to wonder if you realised that it might have demonstrated the opposite of what you had hoped.

  • Komodo

    These people do not demonstrate that they have thought through life wholly/holistically– including human suffering, anger, envy, jealousy, hate, desire, becoming, self-centred activities of the ego, transformation, the process of change — in a meaningful enough way for their claims of owning the ground of compassion to sit well with, for example, their practice of hate. This makes me deeply suspicious that they are in it for the game. Wanting to play with the structures of governance, these are not the people i would trust to help bring about change in the world and especially not through their perceived flag of compassion.

    A Christian (I am not one) might say “Judge not that ye be not judged.”
    A certain kind of Buddhist (I am/not one) might say (as in Suzuki’s story):
    “When your mind is thus in a state of absolutely-doing-nothingness, the world is identified with your self, which means that you make no choice between right and wrong, like and dislike, and are above all forms of abstraction…”

    If you were the Buddha, Villager, you would not write what you have just written there. And yet you are the Buddha….manifest here and now. Embrace the duality!

  • Sofia Kibo Noh

    @Jemand. 9 26am

    Apologies. I took your question for an answer.

    “Does this hypothetical exercise, absent of any real evidence, prove anything?”

    Answer. No.

    It was an exercise of the imagination and not presented as a proof.

    I was asking you to consider oddsnot inevitabilities.

    My reading of the odds in such a hypothetical situation is simply that I’d expect to have more of a chance of thriving if I was part of a population whose responses to each other were proportionately more compassionate. Over time I would expect such a population to be far more likely to thrive.

  • pt

    As soon as ’you’ find a ’node’ ‘they’ r goin 2 find it 2
    So witchway r u going⅔ turn next¿¡

  • pt

    I hate the fucking ‘fascists’ … whether they are the bnp edl ukip or ‘whatever’ … pt

  • pt

    ‘How could “they” “gas” so many peop at once?’
    And thatt was ‘only’ treblinka (they had not got on to ‘ow twitch’ yet)

  • Sofia Kibo Noh

    @Ben. yesterday evening

    Thanks for all the posts on Bradley Manning’s show trial. What a hero!

    More irony and history from the “Land of the Free”:

    “As a father, it pains me what he did, but as an American citizen, I am absolutely thankful for what he did.’’ Lon Snowden

    National Whistleblower Day

    Howard Zinn “A People’s History of the United States”

    Dee Brown “Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee “

  • pt

    I am Bradley Manning
    But i am safe in my european home so i am never going to have to face the consequences for .,,

  • Flaming June

    These psychological analyses of us carried out remotely by Villager leave me gob smacked.

  • guano

    Glenn_uk

    Jesus pbuh may be coming back soon as a Muslim to Damascus if it exists after Obama has flattened it and its inhabitants in a few weeks time.

  • Flaming June

    Hell hath no fury like an ex ….Tory party co-treasurer… scorned.

    ‘Mr Cruddas, standing outside the High Court, also criticised the Tory leadership, saying: “The fact remains that, when the story broke, the behaviour of the Conservative Party made the whole thing a lot worse.

    “The fact that Mr [David] Cameron said it was quite right I resigned [when] he didn’t have my side of the story.”

    He added: “The Conservative Party, by not giving me support… and lining up to criticise me in public, made the situation a lot worse.”‘

    Ex-Tory treasurer Cruddas wins £180,000 libel damages
    Peter Cruddas resigned as Conservative Party co-treasurer hours after the reports in March 2012
    Former Conservative co-treasurer Peter Cruddas has won £180,000 libel damages over Sunday Times allegations about charging to meet David Cameron.
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-23517977

  • pt

    Kimodo dragoon
    Because there is no self there is no f.o.
    Because there iz nu fu there is no …
    Flaming June
    Because there is no fresh/new/nu psychologocical investigatiçion of …
    There is no ‘final solution’/’closure’ ..,
    Thank goodnesz!

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