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tv   Democracy Now  LINKTV  January 23, 2023 8:00am-9:01am PST

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01/23/23 01/23/ [captioning made possible by democracy now!] amy: from new york, this is democracy now! >> ouressage f todays quit simple. free julian assange. amy: famed dissident and professor noam chomsky, pentagon papers whistleblower daniel ellsberg, and former british labour leader jeremy corbyn are all calling on president biden
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to drop the charges against imprisoned wikleaks founder julian assange, who faces extradition to the united states. they all spoke at the belmarsh tribunal friday. we will spend the hour airing excerpts. >> we are bearing what is to a travesty of justice, to an abuse of human rights, to the denial of freedom of somebody who bravely put himself on the line that we all might know that the innocent died in abu ghraib, in afghanistan, the mediterranean. innocents are dying all over the world. amy: all that and more, coming up. welcome to democracy now!,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. in southern california, a gunman shot and killed ten people at a dance studio in monterey park saturday night after a lunar new year celebration. 10 others were injured. the suspected gunman, identified
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as 72-year-old huu can tran, fatally shot himself sunday as a swat team approached the van he was in, which was parked in a strip mall in the city of torrance, about 28 miles from monterey park. monterey park, east of los angeles, has a majority-asian population. the dance studio was a beloved community staple. cnn reports the suspect used to frequently go to the star ballroom dance studio and met his ex-wife there. a motive for the massacre is still being investigated. the group stop aapi hate said in a statement -- "our community has faced so much tragedy and trauma over the last several years. while the details are still developing, we do know that the shooter's access to guns turned this into a massacre." congressmember judy chu, who represents the district, also called for stricter gun control measures on sunday. >> something has to be done. we have to stop having the
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availability of these assault weapons on the streets so that it is so easy for someone to just walk in to an establishment and she people and ruin their lives. amy: the monterrey park massacre was the 33 mass shooting of 2023 according to the gun violence archive. at least three other mass shootings have taken place across the united states since en, including in baton rouge, louisiana, where 12 people were injured early sunday in a nightclub shooting. germany's government has signaled it will allow nato allies to ship german battle tanks to ukraine despite warnings from russia that the move could escalate the war. over the weekend, germany's foreign minister said she would not stand in the way if poland decided to send its leopard 2 tanks to ukraine without german approval. in ukraine, there's fresh fighting along front lines in zaporizhzhia, where ukraine's army said more than 15 settlements came under russian artillery fire over the weekend, breaking months of stalemate in the region.
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in peru, police raided a university in lima saturday and arrested some 200 anti-government demonstrators. peruvian security forces smashed down the gates of san marcos university with armored vehicles, fired tear gas, kicked, punched, and assaulted protesters with batons. protesters are demanding interim president dina boluarte step down after weeks of violence following the ouster of leftist president pedro castillo last month. protesters took to the streets before the detainees were released sunday. >> we are not going to step back. if something happens to the detainees, we will take up arms. we are ready to take up arms if something like this happens to my family. amy: meanwhile, the peruvian government has indefinitely shut down machu picchu, the sacred ancient inca city and popular tourist attraction, amid the ongoing protests. over 50 people have been killed in clashes with peruvian security forces.
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rights advocates from around the world are demanding el salvador's government release five water defenders who were detained earlier this month on charges denounced as politically motivated. the five water defenders were instrumental in pressuring the salvadoran legislature to issue a 2017 ban on metal mining in el salvador to protect the country's rivers and water sources. they're accused of murdering an alleged military informant over three decades ago while el salvador was in the midst of a brutal war. this comes as the government of salvadoran president nayib bukele is reportedly considering reversing the metal mining ban. in israel, prime minister benjamin netanyahu has removed a top minister following an order last week by the supreme court which ruled the far-right aryeh deri was unfit for office due to his criminal convictions. netanyahu's compliance with the supreme court order comes even as his extremist new coalition seeks to disempower the judiciary.
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an estimated 100,000 people took to the streets of tel aviv saturday to protest the new government. this is avi chimi, chair of the israeli bar association. >> we are shouting against a coup d'état. i call upon the citizens and the nation, they want to turn us into a dictatorship. they want to destroy the democracy and the judicial authority. there is no democratic country without a judicial authority. amy: 42-year-old tariq maali became the 18th palestinian to be killed by israeli fire since the start of the year. he was shot dead by a settler in ramallah in the occupied west bank. in pakistan, nearly 220 million people were left without electricity earlier today as the national grid suffered its second nationwide power outage in the past three months. the blackout idled public transit, closed factories and schools, and forced hospitals to turn to emergency backup generators. canada has agreed to pay nearly $3 billion as part of a class-action lawsuit for the
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cultural genocide of indigenous communities in the canadian government-funded residential school system. around 150,000 children from first nations, métis, and inuit communities were forced to leave their families for the boarding schools from the 19th century until the 1970's. physical, emotional, and sexual abuse were rife at the schools and children were deprived of their native languages and culture. if the settlement is approved, the funds will go towards supporting indigenous communities over the next 20 years. in burkina faso, state media is reporting military leaders ordered france to remove all its troops within one month. the country is currently ruled by the military after burkina faso experienced its second coup in just eight months last september. france has some 400 special forces stationed in burkina faso as part of the fight against militant jihadist groups, but the prime minister recently said it wants russia to join them in the counter-insurgency.
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protesters took to the streets of ouagadougou to call for an end to the relationship with it former colonizer. >> burkina faso is tired with friends. burkina faso wants to break all relations with france. that is why we are burning the french flags, because we want to show france we don't need her anymore. amy: in other news from burkina faso, 66 women and children who were kidnapped last week by armed men in the north of the country were freed satday. back in the united states, justice department investigators discovered six more classified documents at president biden's delaware home friday. as fbi agent's carried out a more than 12 hours search. the documents dated back to both biden's vice-presidency and his time as a senator. attorney general merrick garland has appointed a special counsel to probe the matter. a federal judge in florida on thursday ordered former
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president trump and one of his lawyers to pay nearly $1 million for filing a frivolous lawsuit against hillary clinton and multiple other trump critics, including former fbi director james comey, over what they alleged was a political conspiracy in the 2016 election. one day later, on friday, trump dropped a lawsuit against new york attorney letitia james, who is suing the trump organization for fraud. about 1500 faculty members at the university of illinois chicago have ended a four-day strike after winning a tentative agreement on a new contract. if union members approve the deal, it will boost minimum salaries for the lowest-paid faculty members to $60,000 a year and will see the university commit to providing free mental health assessments for struggling students. in georgia, hundreds of protesters marched through downtown atlanta saturday to demand justice for an activist killed by police earlier in the week. manuel teran, who went by the name tortuguita, was shot dead by a swat team on wednesday as officers violently raided an
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encampment of protesters opposed to cop city, a proposed $90 million police training facility in a public forest. protesters are demanding an independent probe into the killing. atlanta police arrested six people at saturday's protest. they charge them with felonies, including domestic terrorism. demonstrations and vigils for tortuguita also took place in other cities across the u.s. as opposition to cop city grows. and sunday marked the 50th -- what would have been the 50th anniversary of the the landmark roe v. wade supreme court ruling, which enshrined the right to abortion in the constitution until it was overturned by conservative justices last year. since then, 12 states have enacted total abortion bans. >> we will be putting
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politicians on notice. you come for our reproductive rights, and we will vote you out. amy: and those are some of the headlines. this is democracy now!,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. former british labour leader jeremy corbyn, pentagon papers whistleblower daniel ellsberg, and famed linguist and dissident noam chomsky joined others friday calling on president biden to drop charges against julian assange. the wikileaks founder has been languishing for close to four years in the harsh belmarsh prison in london while appealing extradition to the united states. if he is extradited, tried, and convicted, julian assange faces up to 175 years in jail for violating the u.s. espionage act for publishing documents that exposed u.s. war crimes in iraq and afghanistan.
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on friday, noam chomsky, daniel elberg, and jemy corbyn all took part in the belmarsh tribunal held at the national press club in washington, d.c. the tribunal was organized by the progressive international and the wau holland foundation. i co-chaired the tribunal with the croatian philosopher and activist srecko horvat. today we will spend the hour airing excerpts of the tribunal. we begin with ben wizner of the american civil liberties union. he is the lead attorney for nsa whistleblower edward snowden. >> no government in any kind of system will voluntarily disclose its own crimes. for that we need brave sources who have firsthand evidence and we need a free press and great publishers who are willing to bring this information to the people to whom it belongs. in this case, the government characterizes that collaboration
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between a courageous source and a courageous publisher as a conspiracy. of course it was a conspiracy. good investigative journalism is always a conspiracy. it is a campus -- conspiracy to end the napoli on information government's control and to give people a seat at the table they must have in order for us to be able to judge powerful people and hold them accountable. [applause] but this is the first time as you have heard already today under the century long history of the espionage act that the government has charged this kind of collaboration as a criminal conspiracy. this is vitally important to remember without sources like chelsea manning, edward snowden, without publishers like wikileaks and the partners that it worked with to bring this information forward, what did we
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have not known just over the course of my career we would not have no prisoners were tortured and sexually humiliated at abu ghraib, we would not have known there were held incommunicado in subjected to barbaric treatment. we would not have known any missing person who ever died in a drone strike. we would not have known governments developed and deployed systems of mass surveillance without the consent or knowledge of the public. these are all things that governments classified at the absolute highest level of secrecy and yet can anyone really say that the public in democracy doesn't have the right to know or a need to know any of the things that i have just said? if this prosecution goes forward, and ends in conviction, it will be a very dark day for press freedom in the united states. the prosecution has already had a chilling effect in newsrooms around the country. the lawyers for publications are
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already assessing the risks of publishing certain information in a way they never had before. but let's not just focus on the threat to press freedom in the united states because this is in attack on press freedom globally. that is because the u.s. is advancing what i think is the extraordinary claim that it can impose u.s. criminal secrecy laws on a foreign publisher that is publishing outside the united states. think about that for a second. let's linger on that for a second. this is opening an incredible pandora's box. every country has secrecy laws. some countries have draconian secrecy laws. if those countries try to expedite -- extradite publishers for publishing their secrets, we would cry foul and rightly so. that this administration was to be the first to establish the global proceeded that countries can demand the extradition of former of publishers for violating their own laws.
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i truly hope not. >> iis my great pleasure to announce jeffrey sterling former cia employee who was arrested, charged, and convicted of violating the espionage act. please, jeffrey, joined the stage. [applause] >> i spent 2.5 years in after being wrongfully convicted ando evidence of violating espionage act. it was a travesty of a trial. that sentence was held up as a shining example of the reasonableness and fairness that julian assange will face being tried here for violating that same espionage act. i remain second to this day that my persecution was held up as the benchmark of what julian assange is going to face in trial here. of course the benchmarks they
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did not talk about include my experience fighting against the espionage act, a biased criminal justice system, and realities of being behind bars here in the united states. i can tell you any claims of or humane treatment in store for julian assange here within our criminal justice system and prisons were outright lies. but i would like to focus on the law that julian assange is supposedly violating. first and foremost, it is virtually impossible to defend against the espionage act. truth is no defense. any defense related to truth will be prohibited. in addition, he won't have access to any of his so-called evidence used against him. and to make it even more difficult, the government does not have to show any harm. it is a long prosecution in which the government says what it wants. it is -- because we say so law
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-- not to be question, not to be challenged. the trial will be nothing more than an affirmation and continuation of the character assassination the government has launched against julian assange from the moment he spoke up. so what are we really talking about here? what is this law, the espionage act that he is accused of violating and that i was accused of violating? we are led to believe julian and other whistleblowers are threats to the national security of this country, hence being charged with violating the espionage act. i am living proof of what national security actually means in the united states. here's the real benchmark they don't tell you about. in my example, i sued the cia for racial discrimination because they said i was too big and black to serve my country. according to the government in that instance and upheld by the same courts that they are intended to try julian assange, a black man fighting for his constitutional rights is a
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threat to national security. not a surprise, really. one of the original and enduring threats to the national security of this country is and has always been african-americans. and to punish me as an african-american for having the audacity to do the cia, i was falsely accused of and put on trial for violating the espionage act and by default our national security. the only evidence needed to convict me was the color of my skin. >> i'm happy i can announce our next member of the tribunal from the legendary american civil rights attorney who has spent her whole career providing support and protectinthe rights of the committee's. she was the belmarsh tribunal together with me in europe city, but this time she is coming to the stage to washington, d.c. come as a witness to speak about the lawsuit against the cia.
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please, margaret, join us. >> i am not only deeply involved in this lawsuit as a witness, but i am deeply involved in this lawsuit as a plaintiff. there are many people who perhaps are not with us today who would be very happy to hear that the name of the lawsuit was kunstler against pompeo. [applause] this is a lawsuit that we hope will in fact be one of the major ingredients about why united states cannot try julian in this country. they cannot try julian in this country because they have overdone their misconduct. they have engaged in the level of misconduct in interfering the defense of julian assange that cannot be tolerated.
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brought in this country so people can understand just the tip of the iceberg about what has been done to julian assange, the actions that have been taken against him. here lawyers, doctors, and other professionals who visited julian assange their conversations were recorded. but more than that, their equipment was taken. there telephones and their computers. and they were gone through. this started happening in 2017. before that, we had thought that the surveillance of the embassy was to protect julian. but we found out through a lawsuit that was brought in spain that starting in 2017, the lawsuit had completely -- the
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type of surveillance that was going on had completely changed. and now the surveillance was on a level that has been unheard of in this country and unheard of anywhere in the world, that you would record and take information about conversations about what plans were being drawn up about specifically the health of julian and what was going to be the defense at trial. now, you are not allowed to do this absolutely violates the concept of justice in this country. and what caused this? when did we reach this level of hatred, of disobedience of law when it comes to julian assange? well, it is significant it began in 2017 because that was the year that pompeo came into
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authority. and pompeo's very first speech was that he considered julian and wikileaks a nonstate hostile intelligence agency. now, to say that was an explanation that julian had no rights left to him, that they could go in and kill him, anything they wanted to do was fair game. and that is something that is so astounding to our level of understanding of justice in this country, that that was the cause. this lawsuit. amy: civil rights attorney margaret kunstler testifying at the belmarsh tribunal at the national press club in washington, d.c., on friday. coming up, we will hear from former british labour secretary jeremy corbyn and more. stay with us.
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♪♪ [musibreak] amy: "wish you were here," a special performance by roger waters for julian assange. the belmarsh tribunal took place and washington, d.c. this is democracy now!,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. we return now to the belmarsh tribunal held friday at the national press club. i chaired the proceedings with the croatian philosopher and activist srecko horvat.
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>> with us, the british politician, former labour party -- former labour party leader, a great friend of ours, and member of the progressive international , and a vocal supporter of julian assange. if he was prime minister of the united kingdom today, perhaps julian assange would have been free already. [applause] but it is never too late. it is my great pleasure to present jeremy corbyn today and washington, d.c. [applause] >> thank you. thank you for presiding over today's events in this amazing setting of the national press club where julian assange
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reveals uncomfortable truths to the world about the murder of innocent civilians in iraq a specific military orders to do so knowing full well they were breaking the law. what is julian charged with? telling the truth. telling the truth all over the world about what governments do and what governments what to hide from. i as an elective politician and very well aware that elected politicians don't like and questioned on the decisions that they make. but it is fundamental to a democratic society that they are constantly under surveillance and under question. they are keen at putting everybody else under surveillance, their decisions should be put under surveillance at the same time. [applause] and so julian published three
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wikileaks huge volumes of information. he went to extraordinary lengths to anonymize the sources and protect the sources at the same time. he was extremely responsible in his journalistic approach to this. and the way his character has been denigrated all over the world is a shame and a disgrace. he is threatened with the espionage act. the espionage act for somebody who revealed truths. and if he arrives in this country and is put on trial here, which i hope you never is and i hope he never does, would then face a 175 year sentence. it is in effect a death sentence and he would be left for the rest of his life and a maximum security prison in the most
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appalling conditions. so let's get a message out today to this national press club. we are bearing witness to a travesty of stice, to an abuse of human rights, to a denial of freedom of somebody who bravely put himself on the line that we all might know that the innocent died in other grave in afghanistan -- in abu ghraib, afghanistan and innocents that all over the world were unwatched unaccountable powers decide it's expedient and convenient to kill people who get in the way of whatever grand scheme they have got. we say no. that is what we are demanding justice for julian assange. hear the call. let's free julian assange and we will all be safer as a result of that. thank you very much. >> unfortunately, some people were connected to wikileaks could not be here today with us.
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i want to remind of two names particularly who were beside julian assange working on the leaks and analyzing documents who are still not allowed to come to the united states because it would probably end up in virginia in a high-security prison. one name is harrison and the other is jacob aelbaum. [applause] they were supposed to have christian with us today but he was advised by his lawyers not to show up to the united states, similar to other members of the tribunal who did not arrive today. christian is an investigative journalist who became, and partly because julian assange is in prison, the editor of wikileaks in 2018. >> very concerned about the
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precedent set in the assange case. after meeting president fernandez and his vice president , they both decided -- urgently biden administration to drop the charges against him. we know fully well the capability of the cia in planning, kidnapping, or killing of individuals. as we now know, the agency was plotting against julian in 2017. i met the president of bolivia who fully committed himself in support of assange. the same applied to the newly elected president lula da silva who understands more than most -- having him spend more than 500 days in prison because of such --
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president lula assured me the fight to end injustice in the assange case would be a priority in his foreign-policy. i hope the same strong support from the president of colombia who called for julian's release and the end of the persecution. i met the president of mexico who is a constant supporter of julian and wants to understand this case is more than a battle for the freedom of one individual but a priority for underlying principles. obrador said if julian is extradited to the united states, the statue of liberty should be dismantled and returned to france. the mexican president received the wood occasion earlier this month and -- received the
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communication early this month. he met with biden in mexico city. it was not juspolitical leaders of every major country south of the border of the united states the now recognize the clarity of julian's cas as the prime mister of australia has recently uttered his words to the demand for julian's freedom. the australian parliament, enough is enough. and we agree. [applause] amy: our next speaker is human rights attorney renowned for her work protecting whistleblowers and journalists jesselyn radack. she disclosed the fbi committed ethics violations in their interrogation of john walker lynn. [applause]
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>> and jesselyn radack and i represent whistleblowers and sources for a living, basically. i have defended the most number of media sources in the u.s. who have been investigated and charged under the espionage act. most recently, i represented and still represent daniel hill. [applause] a huge shout out to daniel. i know he is paying attention to this. but basically, daniel had to navigate an espionage act prosecution in the most conservative federal court in the country, the exact same court where assange is indicted in front of the same judge.
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daniel is a veteran of the u.s. air force who participated in the u.s. drone assassination program. after leaving the air force, he became an outspoken opponent of the u.s.'s targeted killing program. he basically called out and informed the public about targeting ineffectiveness and casualties and consistently exaggerating the accuracy of drone strikes and underreporting civilian deaths. daniel's house was searched in 2014. julianjulian like assange, he lived under a sort of demo claes for a better part of his adult life. in may 2019, he was finally arrested and indicted on allegations that he disclosed
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classified documents to the u.s. military's clandestine drone program. leave to have been the source material for a series and the intercept called "the drone papers." daniel pleaded guilty to a single count under the espionage act and was sentenced to 45 months in prison. i think his case is a warning of how an espionage act case against assange would proceed. bear with me. at sentencing, the judge recoended he recognized daniel was whistleblower and recommended that he be placed in a minimum security medical prison. but the bureau of prisons instead sent him to an orwellian communications management unit nicknamed gitmo north.
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there are only two such facilities in this country created in the aftermath of 9/11 , they were intended to house terrorist. daniel is a pacifist with no priors. until recently, he has been housed in this special prison with the merchant of death viktor bout who was recently released. so when the u.s. gives assurances that assange won't be put in super max, don't be fooled because he will end up in a far worse place, one of these communications management units. in the cmu, daniel is far more isolated from the support network, unable to receive the medical and psychological care
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he so desperately needs, and has more restrictions on his communications, reading materials, and visitors than anyone on death row. >> there are a few people in washington, d.c., who are not afraid to talk about julian assange all these years. our next member of the tribunal is one of them. it is my big pleasure to introduce chip gibbons, policy director of defending rights and dissent. >> i want to acknowledge three people who cannot be here today. one is julian assange who was imprisoned in a dungeon called belmarsh. the second is daniel hale who is currently being held in a communications management unit. i have been told daniel watches democracy now!, which is streaming this. daniel, i want to say on behalf
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of everyone in this room, you have our solidarity. never let them break your spirit. a better world is possible only because of people like you. [applause] and the third person who can't be here is edward snowden who exposed that our government was lying to us about how they were spying on us and for this patriotic act was driven into exile for the lying spies continue to enjoy lucrative careers with war prosecutors and cable news programs. you have to ask yourself, do they view those as two different jobs? after all, someone has to war sell the wars that line their pockets. >> the u.s. government knows like we know that without sources, there is no journalism. but the u.s. government is no longer content with merely going after the sources. they have made assange the first
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person ever indicted under the espionage act for the crime of publishing truthful information. make no mistake, the attempts to silence assange is part of a bigger war for those who expire empire, militarism, and u.s. national security state. not just the legal war involving a prosecution, but in extralegal war involving cert action and propaganda. while the security state is cloaked in secrecy, there has been a steady trickle of revelations about the three letter agencies war on wikileaks. the nsa added assange to their man hunting database. the cia plotted to kidnap and maybe even kill assange. there is agency sought to get around -- various agency sought to get around press freedom by arguing wikileaks are not journalists was of declaring wikileaks malicious born actor. the fbi and the cia demanded a
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personal audience with barack obama to persuade him that rules protecting press freedom should not apply to wikileaks as wikileaks should instead be classified as information brokers. i'm not sure what an information broker is. i don't think the cia and fbi know, either. [lghter] finally, they invented the term hostile nonagency to allow the cia to engage in offensive counterintelligence against wikileaks. something previously reserved only for rival spy agencies and requires even less oversight under the very little oversight of the cia over cia covert action. the u.s. government's legal and extralegal war of wikileaks is a war on journalism itself. amy: chip gibbons, policy director of defending rights and dissent, testifying friday at the belmarsh tribunal in case of julian assange in washington, d.c. coming up, noam chomsky, daniel ellsberg, and more. ♪♪ [music break]
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amy: "at my window sad and lonely" by billy bragg and wilco. this is democracy now!,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. we return now to the belmarsh tribunal in the case of julian assange held friday at the national press club in washington, d.c. i cochaired with the philosopher and activist srecko horvat. this is betty medsger who helped exposed cointelpro, the author of the book "the burglary: the discovery of the j edgar hoover
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fbi." >> i am here with a case study, something that i think shows clearly the great importance of protecting whistleblowers and the necessity of a free press. it is the story of the people, the impact of the people who burglarized and fbi office in 1971 and then stole file in the office and made them public. i have worked with them twice when i did not know them and they sent files to me back in 1971 and then when i wrote the book and revealed their identity, even of the fbi had at that time the largest search that they had ever had and did not find the burglars. it came out in 2014. these are -- these eight people were outside whistleblowers. they were average citizens,
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though they did extraordinary things. they call themselves a citizen's to investigate the fbi. they had decided because congress and the executive branch had never carried out responsibility to oversee the fbi, they would oversight as citizens in order to get documentary evidence of whether the government was suppressing dissent. and they made the decision to do this after thinking very seriously about it. three of them have very young children. they realized that if arrested and convicted, they could serve many years in prison. but they thought it was so important to uncover what this
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hidden all-powerful agency was doing, they decided to break into the office. they used tools quite different from the tools of today's whistleblowers. instead of multiple thumb drives or vast spaces on the internet, there tools were a crowbar, a carjacked, large suitcases, flashlights, and getaway cars and eventually copiers. [applause] but their motivation -- their motivation was the same as the motivation of other whistleblowers, get important information to the public about injustices being done secretly by the government. they found what they were looking for combat evidence of massive suppression of dissent. campus employees were hired as fbi informers to inform on students and faculty. and every black student on at
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least one campus in the philadelphia area was under fbi surveillance. they also found that hoover operated a massive program throughout the country against black americans. every agent in the country was forced to purchase a paid and had to hire informer to create files on blood people -- like people. to be black in hoover's mind was to be dangerous and therefore subject to surveillance by the fbi. a plot was designed to cause martin luther king to commit suicide and murder. an fbi informer provided the chicago police with the crucial information that made it possible for police to shoot fred hampton dead as he slept. in january 1975, thanks to all
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this information that came out, both the house and senate opened investigations of fbi and all intelligence agencies. it was the first time congress had done such a thing. at hearings, high fbi have officials testified under oath that fewer officials had never considered the legality or ethics of cointelpro any other operations. these hearings and the senators successfully recommended would not have happened without whistleblowers who risked their freedom and the free press that reported their important revelations, and ultimately, a congress that finally was willing to act, including establishing permanent intelligence oversight committees and strengthening their freedom of information
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act. all of these reforms, probably everybody in the room knows, have been battered and bruised at various times since then, but they exist and they are still valuable. it was joe biden's congress that put in place the reforms that flowed from the burglary. the biden administration surely knows from the very important revelations made by whistleblowers in the past that this source of crucial information must not only not be threatened, but must be protected to continue the prosecution of mr. assange under the espionage act act of 1917 could not only continue mr. assange's imprisonment for cades, it could also and violation of the constitution, got the first to mimic rights of
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journalists. a radical result that surely neither president biden nor attorney general garland wants to have as their legacy. thank you. [applause] >> the next speaker at this tribunal, and we have three more left -- thanks a t for the patients of all of you -- is one of the most famous whistleblowers not in u.s. history but global history, and it is my great honor to present him today, daniel ellsberg. [applause] >> one of the foundation stones of our former government here in the united states and democracy of our republic is our first amendment to the constitution, which forbids any law by congress or the states abridging freedom of speech or of the press, along with freedom of speech and assembly. precluded the british type
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[applause] [indiscernible] the act criminal any oral disclosure of information protected by the government even disclosure to the public court [indiscernible] we have ner had suchn act because of our first amendment. [indiscernible]
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resulted from my disclosure of information that i had authorized possession of contractor the government at that time, 7000 pages of top-secret documents about the history of u.s. decision-making in vietnam which disclosed lies in violations of the constitution, treaties, and in particular, misading congress is theost of war. facing 115 years in prison. it was an experiment by president nixon to use our espionage act, which had always been directed and intended for use of spies to a foreign government, especially in time of war.
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used by nixon in my cases a substitute for the secrets act. [indiscernible] some form of media was involved, many, many people, but had never beenndicted for that before. if you're going to use the act against journalists in blatant relation of the first amendment's dial of congress's ability to criminalize as by journalists, by the press, the
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first amendment is essentially gone. we fought a war of independence. we have first amendment and britain does n. they have an official secrets act, which we don't. if we acire that, we give up the main result of that were of independence in the sense we no longer have a public or democrat, we have monarchal imperial powers. [indiscernible] [applause] amy: thank you. before we turn
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to noam chomsky, we have an attorney that formally worked for the united nations war crimes tribunals in yugoslavia and rwanda. she is founder now of a project, new york-based research and journalism organization supporting civil resistance around the world. [applause] >> the persecution of julian assange is not just about the first amendment, the freedom of press, because goes to the heart of the crisis, the rapid erosion in the west. we need to name the beast. we have to start calling liberal democracies what they are, they are deeply authoritarian, totalitarian, with deep lines of fascist ideology second implement and not today, but for
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many, many years. crew lessing, persecuting dissidents, political trials imprisoning journalists in high secretive prisons and treating them as terrorists are not new. these are part of the long established strategies of the state. throughout history, this government has incarcerated black activists, students, they were organizations, writers, intellectuals can antiwar activists, protesters. the list is long. today the u.s. considers its most dangerous enemies those who challenge its abuse of power and express its crimes both at home and abroad. assange is a political prisoner. he is a dissident of the best. his crime, exposing brutal acts of violence, abuse of power, and the crimes against civil liberties. for this, every legality, deception, has been deployed against him. systematic violations of due process, judicial bias
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manufactured evidence, constant surveillance, defamation, lies, propaganda, denial of basic dignity assassination attempts, and threats. just let that sink in. but why is assange a thread? i came of age in the age of the aftermath of 9/11. in the past 20 years, we have witnessed borders, cams -- as a young lawyer i provided legal aid for refugees. we served over 800 families. hundreds of legal summaries i have wrote were not just about asylum petitions requests. biographies of the destruction of a nation and its people. torture, death, relations, rapes. in 2010, wikileaks posted classified u.s. military videos to 15 the killing of dozens of unarmed iraqis, including two
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reuters journalists. the war in afghanistan was no different. wrote the frightening thing about totalitarianism is not that it comes at atrocities, but it attacks the concept of objective truth. it claims to control the past as well as the future. [applause] >> last but not least, we have a very short message by one of the most important living public intellectuals of the united states, noam chomsky. [applause] >> our message for today i quite simple, free julian assange. assange has been indicted unr the espionage act. it is another shameful chapter in its assorted history from its
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-- sordid history from its origins. the act has no place in a free and democratic society. we shod perhaps n be surprised the act is now being used to punish the exercise of journalism. leading citizens no what is being done in their name, some unforgivable assault ainst the majesty of the state. the crime of the indictment under this legislation is compounded by the years of imprisonnt and torture that julian assange has already suffered. the targets of the indictment
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reach far beyond their immediate victim. they reach, in fact, to all of us who hope to understand what is happening in the world and to e journalism profession whose task it is to perform this essential service in democratic order. those who seek to perform this honorable task are under harsh attack in these days. it is more reason to assure the attack on journalism will not be joined by the most powerful state in human history. in short, free julian assange without further unconscionable delay. amy: noam chomsky speaking before the belmarsh tribunal on
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the case of julian assange, which took place right at the national press club. to watch the full 2.5 hour tribunal, go to . special thanks to -- democracy now! is looking for feedback from people who appreciate the closed captioning. e-mail your comments to ówówóoc■j?
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