Meet Assange's Father and Brother at the Oriental April 8 at 6 pm

 

 

Milwaukee – Meet Julian Assange’s Father and Brother for a Q and A

at The Oriental Theatre showing of Ithaka

 

Saturday, April 8 at 6 p.m.

 

The Milwaukee Turners, Peace Action of Wisconsin, and Veterans for Peace, MKE Chapter, are hosting an in-person Q and A with Julian Assange’s father and brother, John and Gabriel Shipton, after the Oriental Theatre showing of the movie Ithaka on April 8 at 6 p.m.


The heart-rending personal story of Assange’s family’s battle to free him
****Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian

 

A moving and intimate portrayal of one father’s fight to save his son, Ithaka exposes the brutal realities of the campaign to free Julian Assange. The world’s most famous prisoner for journalism, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has become the emblem of the international struggle for press freedom in the face of government corruption and unpunished war crimes. Andrew Cockburn, staff writer for Harpers recently exposed many of the lies spread about Assange in his longform article, “Alternative Facts.”

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In testimony to the House Judiciary Committee about the Twitter Files, a few words about why state-funded "anti-disformation" and free speech can't coexist Matt Taibbi

Chairman Jordan, ranking member Plaskett, members of the  Select Committee,

My name is Matt Taibbi. I’ve been a reporter for over 30 years, and an advocate for the First Amendment.  Much of that time was spent at Rolling Stone magazine. Over my career, I’ve had the good fortune to be recognized for the work I love.  I’ve won the National Magazine Award, the I.F. Stone Award for independent journalism, and written ten books, including four New York Times bestsellers. I’m now the editor of the online magazine Racket, on the independent platform Substack.

I’m here today because of a series of events that began late last year, when I received a note from a source online.

It read: “Are you interested in doing a deep dive into what censorship and manipulation… was going on at Twitter?”

A week later, the first of what became known as the “Twitter Files” reports came out. To say these attracted intense public interest would be an understatement. My computer looked like a slot machine as just the first tweet about the blockage of the Hunter Biden laptop story registered 143 million impressions and 30 million engagements.

But it wasn’t until a week after the first report, after Michael Shellenberger, Bari Weiss, and other researchers joined the search of the “Files,” that we started to grasp the significance of this story.

The original promise of the Internet was that it might democratize the exchange of information globally. A free internet would overwhelm all attempts to control information flow, its very existence a threat to anti-democratic forms of government everywhere.

What we found in the Files was a sweeping effort to reverse that promise, and use machine learning and other tools to turn the internet into an instrument of censorship and social control. Unfortunately, our own government appears to be playing a lead role.

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Join Assange's Father and Brother at the Oriental on April 8 at 6 pm!

Join Julian Assange's father (John Shipton) and brother (Gabriel Shipton) for a conversation at Oriental Theater, 2230 N. Farwell Avenue, Milwaukee April 8 at 6 pm.  The movie IHAKA, about Julian's family's search for justice, begins at 6 pm. Then John and Gabriel will field questions from those in the audience.  Get your tickets early for this historic event.  Tickets are on sale now.

If questions, please contact Ann Batiza at 414-238-3903.

 

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Prosecution of Assange Would Lead to End of the First Amendment, Advocates Warn

Former National Lawyers Guild President, Marjorie Cohn says, "Prominent lawyers, journalists and human rights defenders say prosecuting Assange poses a grave threat to journalism." Her article highlights many of the speakers at the January 20 Belmarsh Tribunal, held at the Washington DC Press Club and chaired by Amy Goodman of Democracy NOW!.  The speakers included notables such as Ben Wizner of the ACLU, Jeremy Corbyn, Noam Chomsky, Daniel Ellsberg and others.  She begins:

Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg joined other leading journalists, attorneys and human rights defenders to call on the Biden administration to drop its extradition request and indictment against journalist and WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange, citing the grave threat Assange’s prosecution would pose to journalism worldwide.

“Every empire requires secrecy to cloak its acts of violence that maintain it as an empire,” Ellsberg testified during the Belmarsh Tribunal held on January 20 at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. The tribunal is named after London’s high-security Belmarsh Prison, where Assange has been held for nearly four years, fighting extradition to the United States. The Belmarsh Tribunal, inspired by the Russell-Sartre tribunal of the Vietnam War, was sponsored by Democracy Now!, Defending Rights & Dissent, Courage Foundation, DiEM25, The Intercept, The Nation and PEN International.

Assange is charged with violations of the Espionage Act for exposing evidence of U.S. war crimes and faces 175 years in prison if convicted.

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Amy Goodman plays highlights of the Belmarsh Tribunal about Assange on Democracy Now!

Amy Goodman devoted 50 minutes of her broadcast Monday, January 23, to a highlight reel from the Belmarsh Tribunal about Julian Assange. Daniel Ellsberg, Jeremy Corbyn, Noam Chomsky and others are featured. She starts the series of clips with the words of the ACLU's Ben Wizner,

"No government in any kind of system will voluntarily disclose its own crimes. For that we need brave sources who have first hand evidence and we need a free press and brave publishers who are willing to bring this information to the people to whom it belongs." - Ben Wizner, Belmarsh Tribunal

The link for this entire segment of Democracy Now! is here:  

https://www.democracynow.org/2023/1/23/belmarsh_tribunal_dc_julian_assange_wikileaks

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LINK to video of the Belmarsh Tribunal - Democracy Now!'

Dear Members of Peace Action of Wisconsin,
Amy Goodman devoted 50 minutes of her broadcast Monday, January 23, to a highlight reel from the Belmarsh Tribunal about Julian Assange.  Daniel Ellsberg, Jeremy Corbyn, Noam Chomsky and others are featured. She starts the series of clips with the words of the ACLU's Ben Wizner:
 
"No government in any kind of system will voluntarily disclose its own crimes. For that we need brave sources who have first hand evidence and we need a free press and brave publishers who are willing to bring this information to the people to whom it belongs." - Ben Wizner, Belmarsh Tribunal
The link for this entire segment of Democracy Now! is here:   https://www.democracynow.org/2023/1/23/belmarsh_tribunal_dc_julian_assange_wikileaks
At minute 54, Suchita Vijayan, lawyer for the Polis Project, describes the civil liberties violations already endured by Assange: 
"...systematic violations of due process, judicial bias, manipulated and manufactured evidence, defamation, lies, propaganda, denial of basic dignity, assasination attempts and threats." - Suchita Vijayan, Belmarsh Tribunal
ACTION ITEM:  If you feel so moved after watching this DC Press Club event, please contact your Representative and Senators at 202-224-3121 (Capitol switchboard) to urge them to protect press freedom by urging President Biden to drop the charges against the publisher, Julian Assange.
For more information, please contact Ann Batiza:  414-238-3903 or [email protected]
Please note as always, the lack of corporate and U.S. media coverage of anything informative about Assange.  Although C-SPAN live-streamed this event, the video is not available on their website. Thank you very much for your support of press freedom and social justice.
Best regards,
Ann Batiza
Steering Committee member of Peace Action of Wisconsin
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Behind the Curtain at Twitter

L.A. Progressive - Behind the Curtain at Twitter

When cognitive dissonance intrudes regarding the news, triggers might be the unnatural uniformity of the delivery or assertions based on anonymous sources.

However, to jump from a queasy feeling about the news to considering the scale required to sculpt consensus about topics of national interest is a huge leap. Nonetheless, recent revelations, based on Twitter’s own internal communications, allow us (if we have the gumption) to see the mechanisms by which such manipulations have been carried out by Twitter with implications for other tech giants - like Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and Wikipedia – also named in these documents.

ann first

On Matt Taibbi’s weekly podcast with Walter Kirn, they discussed what Taibbi and other journalists who were given access to tens of thousands of Twitters’ internal communications had just reported on Twitter about Twitter. After discussing both the government-driven censorship documented in the Twitter Files and the amplification of these restricted narratives by mainstream media, Taibbi elaborated on “the meta meaning of all of this when we stand back” as shown in the box above:

Matt’s comment on the Twitter Files bears a closer look. But before we examine it, I want to provide you with access to those Twitter Files he references. Matt has conveniently summarized the first twelve Twitter Files (everything released up to January 4) with links to the tweeted report as well as a much-needed glossary here.

ann 2

 Taibbi and the other journalists have insisted they experienced no editorial interference by Twitter’s new owner, Elon Musk. However, Taibbi notes that a Twitter lawyer has continued to vet responses to the reporters’ database searches, and Musk fired Twitter’s deputy general counsel and former FBI general counsel, Jim Baker, who secretly vetted the first batch. Even with those caveats, the revelations are informative.

In the first part of the quote highlighted above, Taibbi is saying that these reports show that Twitter (which incidentally is the gathering place for journalists) is able to alter reality through its “visibility filtering” mechanisms (to use the internal Twitter jargon) and with media amplification take something that “had almost no evidentiary basis” and turn it into “the most important thing in the world.”

If true, that is truly Orwellian.

How ironic that based on a study published in Nature Communications, the Washington Post posted this headline as I was writing this, “Russian trolls on Twitter had little influence on 2016 voters.”

ann third

When Dana Priest came to Milwaukee to claim the Russians’ Facebook campaign had bamboozled Black voters into not supporting Hillary, I questioned her conclusion. I reminded her that those juvenile ads cost only $44,000 (based on Congressional testimony) with only a small percentage of that focused on either candidate, a drop in the bucket compared to that spent by the candidates and their parties.

This study about Twitter's influence similary concluded that Russian content on Twitter was dwarfed by “content from news media and U.S. politicians” and “[t]here was no measurable impact on political attitudes, polarization, and vote preferences and behavior from the Russian accounts and posts” as shown below:

from Tim Starks, Washington Post, January 9, 2023

 

-Matt Taibbi’s summary of Twitter Files 11 and 12

-Matt Taibbi’s summary of Twitter Files 11 and 12

Chapters 11 and 12 provide information about the censorship mechanism, the role of the intelligence community and other government agencies in identifying those who should be censored (and Twitter’s lying about that,) the role of Congress and the media in coercing that censorship, and the expansion of censorship topics to include foreign policy.

Over Christmas, my son asked me which topics were being censored on Twitter. By then, I was aware of evidence for requests: to censor negative information about Biden; to remove among others: the New York Post and Trump from Twitter; and to monitor election and COVID information - largely at the behest of the Democratic establishment. In these more recent threads, one finds evidence for the curating of narratives around Venezuela, Russia, China, and Ukraine. Of course, many of us who use Twitter and Google searches have been aware of “visibility filtering” for years on a variety of topics including all the above as well as Palestine, Bolivia, Syria, etc. and Julian Assange. But now we have some proof of the mechanisms by which this has been done.

Twitter was brought into compliance with requests for censorship from: the DNC, Congress, FBI, DHS, ODNI, NSA, CIA, DOD, HHS, Treasury and State, the Trump and Biden White Houses, FBI offices around the country, and others. Taibbi found that bulk data from Twitter was routed via a data-mining company hired by Twitter to the FBI. Then government agencies, meeting with Twitter executives themselves or using Twitter’s (and Facebook's) regular meetings with the FBI and DHS as a conduit, would send a “firehose” of requests back to Twitter for either outright account removal or “visibility filtering” of individuals, often with tens to hundreds of accounts listed on Excel spread sheets per memo. The State Department tried to become a regular meeting participant by threatening to leak 5500 accounts from a list of 250,000 the DHS had originally identified as problematic. While the FBI could provide Twitter with requests from the U.S intelligence agencies, the DHS agency CISA would “know what was going on in each state.” For correspondence from Twitter, FBI agent Elvis Chan asked if the FBI could be the “belly button of the USG [U.S. government].” The assertion of coordinated Russian cyber activity for which Twitter could find no or scant evidence was the rationale most often given for censorship.

The requests came so often and in such volume that Twitter senior attorney Stacia Cardille complained, “My in-box is really F***ed up at this point.” Although we see that Twitter was paid for their efforts by the FBI, their motivation to comply came through repeated requests from the FBI if compliance was not immediate, and through economic and reputational pressure via leaks to the media from Democratic Party operatives, Congress, the intelligence community, think tanks and academia - that Twitter was not doing enough to censor. (Perhaps you’ve already noticed that corporate media is either not reporting this story or refers to it as a “nothingburger.”)

Turning something that “had almost no evidentiary basis” into “the most important thing in the world” is no small feat that diverts attention from issues that matter, inflames tensions at home and abroad, and diverts tax-payer dollars to corporate donors and transnational elites. It undermines the very basis of democracy, which is the free exchange of ideas so citizens can call power to account.

It is disconcerting that some very well-educated people I’ve discussed this with openly favor censorship and “visibility filtering” because they assume that the government agencies and partisan officials pushing a crafted narrative have their best interests at heart. What do we call a society where the government becomes the gatekeeper for information?

Isn’t the ability to dissent and provide contrary evidence essential to a democracy? What has happened to traditional liberal support for freedom of speech? Or traditional liberal skepticism of the intelligence community?

That community was exposed in the 1970s by the Church Commission as infiltrators of dissent and newsrooms in America, and as thugs who carried out coups and assassinations. In 2007, the CIA was exposed by John Kiriakou to torture at its black sites around the world. In 2010, the Washington Post described “a Top Secret America, hidden from public view and lacking in thorough oversight.” More recently, the CIA and NSA were exposed by Ed Snowden and Julian Assange to surveil the American people through our phones, computers, and with the help (sometimes witting and sometimes not) of Google, Microsoft, Apple, Verizon, and AT&T.

If highly educated people become champions of censorship crafted by the intelligence community and government officials, who are the authoritarians? Who is left to stand up for our civil liberties and democracy itself? 

Ann Batiza

Ann Batiza is a retired academic with a Ph.D. in cellular and molecular biology who is a concerned citizen. Besides her peer-reviewed research articles, she is the author of the trade textbook for young adults, Bioinformatics, Genomics and Proteomics: Getting the Big Picture.

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Watch the DC Press Club, Belmarsh Tribunal on Assange, January 20, 1 p.m. CT

Watch the DC Press Club, Belmarsh Tribunal on Assange, January 20, 1 p.m. CT
This event, moderated by Amy Goodman, with Katrina vanden Heuval, the ACLU's Ben Wizner, Stella Assange, Daniel Ellsberg, Jeremy Corbyn and many other notables, will fill you in on all things Assange - the person, what his work has revealed, the status of his extradition case, and his treatment - that the corporate media have kept from you.
This tribunal will occur in person at the Washington DC Press Club at 1 p.m. Central Time, and you can watch it live at Democracy Now! via the YouTube window shown here:  https://www.democracynow.org/live/coming_up_on_jan_20_belmarsh
This event is sponsored by Progressive International, DiEM25, the Nation, Democracy Now!, the Courage Foundation and others.
Inspired by the Russell-Sartre Tribunals of the Vietnam War, the Belmarsh Tribunal brings together a range of expert witnesses – from constitutional lawyers, to acclaimed journalists and human rights defenders – to present evidence of the attack on publishers, including Assange, and to seek justice for the crimes they expose.
Thank you for caring about press freedom.  If questions, please contact Ann Batiza at 414-238-3903 or [email protected]
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Watch the Belmarsh Tribunal

Watch the DC Press Club, Belmarsh Tribunal, January 20, 1 pm CT
Belmarsh Tribunal Graphic 2023.JPG

Inspired by the Russell-Sartre Tribunals of the Vietnam War, the Belmarsh Tribunal brings together a range of expert witnesses – from constitutional lawyers, to acclaimed journalists and human rights defenders – to present evidence of the attack on publishers and to seek justice for the crimes they expose.
This tribunal will occur in person at the Washington DC Press Club at 1 p.m. Central Time, but you can also sign up for the live-stream at the link below. This event is sponsored by Progressive International, DiEM25, the Nation, Democracy Now!, the Courage Foundation and others.
The speakers will be moderated by Amy Goodman and include Katrina vanden Heuval, the ACLU's Ben Wizner, Stella Assange, Daniel Ellsberg, Jeremy Corbyn and many other notables.

Information and a link to sign up for the livestream is here:
 
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"I am Assange!" Daniel Ellsberg, Other Allies Demand US Prosecute Them, Too

"I am Assange!" Daniel Ellsberg, Other Allies Demand US Prosecute Them, Too

from Newsweek, By Shaun Waterman On 12/15/22 at 6:00 AM EST

Julian Assange is having a Spartacus moment.

Veteran Pentagon whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg and government transparency advocate John Young are challenging the U.S. Department of Justice to prosecute them alongside the Wikileaks founder, saying they broke the law just as he did, by publishing or possessing a trove of classified documents.

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