Julian Assange: "Truth ultimately is all we have."

“I am defenceless and am counting on you and others of good character to save my life.”

Below is the full text of Assange’s letter to Gordon Dimmack:

I have been isolated from all ability to prepare to defend myself, no laptop, no internet, no computer, no library so far, but even if I do get access it will be just for half an hour with everyone else once a week. Just two visits a month and it takes weeks to get someone on the call list and the Catch-22 in getting their details to be security screened. Then all calls except lawyer are recorded and are a maximum 10 minutes and in a limited 30 minutes each day in which all prisoners compete for the phone. And credit? Just a few pounds a week and no one can call in.

A superpower that has been preparing for 9 years with hundreds of people and untold millions spent on the case. I am defenceless and am counting on you and others of good character to save my life. [Press 'More' to continue reading Julian's letter.]

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Perpetual Fear under Empire

Jacob G. Hornberger

Lots of Americans are extremely upset about ISIS. They’re not sleeping well, and they’re pacing the floors. They are convinced that ISIS is coming to get them, drag them from their homes, cart them away to some Arabian desert, and behead them.

There is something important to keep in mind about all this: This is the way of life under an empire, especially one whose foreign policy is based on hundreds of military bases in foreign countries, meddling in the political and economic affairs of other countries, support of and partnerships with foreign dictatorships, foreign aid, invasions, wars of aggression, occupations, kidnappings, torture, and other such things.

Once you realize that chaos, crises, conflicts, tensions, and wars are an inherent part of imperial life, you don’t tend to get so upset over the latest crisis. You instead say to yourself: Well, here we go again—another official enemy who is the gravest threat to “national security” in the history of the national-security state apparatus that was grafted onto our governmental system after World War II. Think about all the official enemies that have scared the dickens out of the American people since the advent of the national-security state.

Italy Rejects the Supremacy of the U.S. National-Security State

Jacob G. Hornberger

Osama Moustafa Hassan Nasr, also known as Abu Omar,
was kidnapped in 2003 by the CIA from the streets Milan
and sent to Egypt.
(Photograph: EPA / The Guardian)

An appeals court in Italy has just sentenced two former Italian officials, Nicolo Pollari and Marco Mancini, to 10 years and 9 years in jail. Pollari served as head of Italian military intelligence and Mancini was head of counterintelligence.

Their crime? They conspired with the CIA to kidnap a man named Osama Moustafa Hassan Nasr off the streets of Milan and rendition him to Egypt to be tortured.

What’s wrong with that? you ask. Well, nothing in the minds of U.S. officials. As everyone knows, ever since 9/11 the U.S. military and the CIA have claimed the authority to kidnap, rendition, torture, kill, and assassinate anyone they want, so long as it’s done as part of the “war on terrorism” and in the name of “national security.”

What about the laws of other nations — laws that make it a criminal offense for people to kidnap people, torture them, murder them, or assassinate them? Oh, they still count for everyone except U.S. military officials and CIA agents. After 9/11, U.S. officials made it clear to the world that the criminal laws of every country on earth would now be subordinate to the actions of the U.S. military and the CIA. The “war on terrorism” now trumped the laws of foreign jurisdictions. Don’t forget, after all, that in the “war on terrorism” the entire world is the battlefield, or so U.S. officials tell us.

That’s why the CIA felt that it could go into Italy, kidnap a man it suspected of being a terrorist, and forcibly transport him against his will to Egypt to be tortured. In the minds of U.S. national-security state officials, their war on terrorism trumped Italian laws that made kidnapping and torture criminal offenses.

The National Security State’s Embrace of Dictatorships

Jacob G. Hornberger

The New York Times published an article on December 25 that exposes a harsh reality about U.S. foreign policy to mainstream Americans. The article, entitled “Bahrain, a Brutal Ally,” focuses on one of the principal dark sides of U.S. foreign policy: the U.S. national-security state’s ardent support of brutal dictatorships, this one being Bahrain.

Why is the U.S. government supporting the brutal dictatorship in Bahrain while opposing, say, the brutal dictatorship in Syria?

The answer is very simple. The dictatorship in Bahrain, where the U.S. military has one of its largest naval bases, is pro-U.S. The dictatorship in Syria is independent of the U.S. government at best and anti-U.S. at worst.

Among the worst consequences of having engrafted the national-security state onto our constitutional order has been the blind faith that Americans have placed in it. That blind faith has caused all too many Americans to delude themselves about the real nature of U.S. foreign policy.

Most Americans view the national-security state (e.g., the military and the CIA) as a “force for good” around the world. Yet, how can any regime that supports and partners with brutal dictatorships be a “force for good” in the world? Brutal dictatorships are a bad thing. In fact, one might easily argue that they are evil. It goes without saying that supporting things that are bad or evil is not good.

National-Security Assassination of Americans in 1973

Jacob G. Hornberger

General Augusto Pinochet with Henry Kissinger. They
seem to be happy about their success in toppling the
democratically elected government of Salvador Allende.

A Chilean judge has indicted a retired U.S. Naval officer, Capt. Ray E. Davis, in the murder of two American citizens in Chile during the U.S.-supported Pinochet coup in 1973. The indictment indicates that the U.S. military and the CIA may have been responsible for the national-security assassination of two Americans several decades before the start of the war on terrorism.

The two Americans were journalists — 31-year-old Charles Horman and 24-year-old Frank Teruggi. During the Pinochet coup in 1973, both men were taken captive and executed in cold blood.

For decades, the CIA, playing the innocent, denied any involvement in the murders.

Then, in 1999 a declassified State Department document revealed that the CIA had, in fact, played some unidentified role in at least Horman’s murder.

What role? We don’t know. Ever since the revelation of that State Department document, the CIA has remained mum on the case, obviously taking the position that secrecy and cover-up is the best policy.

By the same token, despite the fact that the State Department document clearly furnished sufficient cause to impanel a federal grand jury to investigate the CIA’s role in the murders, the Justice Department under both Republican and Democratic regimes has steadfastly failed and refused to do so.

At the same time, Congress has failed and refused to open an investigation into the murders, in the process subpoenaing CIA officials to testify what exactly the CIA’s role was in the murders, the identity of the CIA officials who participated in the murders, and whether President Richard Nixon or other high U.S. officials ordered the hit to be made on the two Americans.

Horman’s murder was the subject of the movie “Missing,” starring Jack Lemmon and Sissy Spacek.

America’s Foreign Dictatorship

Jacob G. Hornberger

President Obama’s reaction to the alleged Iranian assassination plot reflects, once again, the dictatorial powers that the president of the United States now wields in foreign affairs.

As many commentators are noting, the whole scheme appears to be as bogus as a 3-dollar bill, but that isn’t really the point. The point is that we now live in a country in which the ruler wields the omnipotent power to send the entire nation into war for whatever reason he wants, bogus or not.

That’s not the way things were supposed to be. The Framers didn’t devise a system where the president had that omnipotent power. When they called the federal government into existence with the Constitution, they delegated the power to declare war to Congress and the power to wage war to the president.

Thus, under the Constitution Obama is required to come to Congress with a request to declare war on Iran (or even to impose sanctions on the country). Presumably Congress would say, “Show us the evidence on which you’re relying for your request for us to declare war on Iran.”

At that point, it would be “put up or shut up” time for Obama and his FBI, Justice Department, CIA, and Pentagon. They would have to submit their evidence to rigorous scrutiny from Congress, just as they’re going to have to do in a criminal trial of the alleged assassination plotter, Manssor Arbabsiar. (That’s assuming, of course, that they don’t send Arbabsiar down the “enemy combatant” route by removing him from the jurisdiction of America’s constitutional judicial system and delivering him into the clutches of the U.S. military.)

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