Julian Assange Previews Next Fall’s Zero Dark Thirty Propaganda Sequel

By the transcriber. Originally published at Corrente.

Dreamworks’ upcoming movie The Fifth Estate about WikiLeaks is “a lie upon a lie,” says Julian Assange. “It fans the flames to start a war with Iran… So that’s the reality of where we’re at. Not merely a war of intelligence agencies, but a war of corrupt media, corrupt culture.”

The Oxford Union in January hosted the Sam Adams Awards for Integrity in Intelligence, where this year American Tom Fingar won the award for overseeing the 2007 NIE Estimate on Iran. “A consummate intelligence professional, Fingar would not allow the NIE to be ‘fixed around the policy,’ the damning phrase used in the famous ‘Downing St. Memo’ of July 23, 2002 to describe the unconscionable process that served up fraudulent intelligence to ‘justify’ war with Iraq,” said the press release. Past award winners and associates also spoke, including 2010 winner Julian Assange by video link, the YouTube of which Oxford Union posted right away. Controversy ensued when the Guardian’s Amelia Hill wrote a column saying Assange found “no allies and tough queries” at the Union. Craig Murray, who also spoke that evening, was furious at Hill’s portrayal and posted a rebuttal with video embedded, Amelia Hill is a Dirty Liar. Who you gonna believe, the Guardian or your lying eyes? (Disclosure: I ♥ Murray.)

Also too Benedict Cumberbatch pix!

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Julian Assange | Sam Adams Awards | Oxford Union
January 23, 2013
Length: 21 min

Transcript of Julian Assange’s address

JULIAN ASSANGE: So I would just firstly like to say congratulations to Tom Fingar and the very important talk that he gave, of course well made and politic, though I think there are nuggets in there that are quite important to understand.

I was involved in 2007 and 2008 at looking at what was happening to Iran. Now, from that process I am fully aware of some of the pressures that were on Tom. A lot of people did a lot of good work, perhaps the most important was Tom Fingar’s, in trying to correct the movement towards war with Iran based on lies. It is incredible to think back at those times that it was only in 2003 where the worst modern deception of the Western world occurred, where we went to war in Iraq based on lies in 2003 and over 100,000 people were killed and millions of Iraqi refugees displaced as a result. Just three years later, the drums for war with Iran were being whipped up not just in the United States but also in this country, and it’s thanks to journalists like Sy Hersh and professional truthful insiders like Tom and our sources and the sources for journalists that that war hasn’t happened yet.

For example, at the beginning of 2008 we published Iraq’s classified rules of engagement for the U.S. Army. In those rules there was a section that was apparently designed, or at least permitted, for border skirmishes to start up, permitted U.S. troops to go into Iran under a variety of circumstances, and at the time there were disputes in the Gulf with ships approaching one another, a very heated moment, and the U.S. mainstream media and the White House ramping up any little small incident. One of our sources provided us with those classified rules of engagement. We published them in a deal that we set up with the New York Times to get greater impact for it, and as a result the Iranian government held a press conference and said, “Don’t you dare. Don’t you dare come over into our territory like that.” We then got hold of the next edition of these classified rules of engagement and that part had been removed from it. The procedures had been tightened up. And if you look back in the history of war, something between 20 and 50 percent of all wars have started as a result of these border skirmishes. That source has never been revealed. I assume that he or she is happy to have contributed to history and to human rights in that way and he goes about his business.

As opposed to what is sometimes put about, WikiLeaks is not an organization that hates intelligence agencies. Far from it. At its very base, the idea of intelligence is an optimistic one. It’s that one can understand the world, one can apply intelligence to understand. The problem is the corruption of those agencies, and that corruption comes about because of secrecy. When Tom spoke about, in somewhat glowing terms, the improved process that he put down, and I believe him that that is a significant improvement from what was there before, it all rests upon one thing. It rests upon the abilities of people in those agencies to get out information to the public when those processes are not followed. We might have depoliticized analysts working in intelligence agencies who are to all intents and purposes mere robots, perfect machines with perfect accuracy. They are tasked, they engage in the task, they analyze, they pass up information higher up the food chain. And what if, in Tom’s case, for example, his National Intelligence Estimate, there was not a threat that it would be released, because our sources say that in fact the White House knew that if it did not release a version immediately, another version would be released, and the White House would have to get – would then come in second, and its opponents would have their spin on it, so the White House wanted to get their spin on it first. It’s only through this pressure of producing analytical product to the public that these sorts of agencies are kept honest and don’t become simply robots that are, in effect, perhaps this is drawing the bow too far, but some kind of Hitler’s willing executioners, mere people who act as robots who are told to carry out a task and do it. That is not enough. It is not enough to agree to carry out a task for superiors. That is the Nuremberg defense. We must all look to ourselves and understand whether what we are doing is right and just not just according to the views of our superiors but according to the long view of history, according to human rights and to our feelings of compassion, if we have any.

Now the push to war with Iran is far from over. The push for war with Iran is far from over and the debate now is occurring in the public sphere as well as in various maneuvers by different intelligence agencies, the machinations that are happening in Syria and so on. Now I want to look at some of those. Our cables revealed, for example, that this country, the United Kingdom, engaged in a conspiracy to kill off Press TV, the Iranian state TV station, the Iranian equivalent to the BBC, from being able to broadcast into the United Kingdom. They cut off its satellite feed, which is one of the Sky satellites to this country, the death penalty, effectively, for a national broadcaster. What does that mean? Well, it means that the Iranian government can’t get out its view. Iran is surrounded by 45 military bases that are hostile to it on every side. There is no border that Iran does not have that is not already hostile or will probably shortly become so. That produces an atmosphere of intense fear. It produces an atmosphere where they think that there is a war. And as a result, we all know that Great Britain in World War I, in [7:58 ____ ] for example, and in World War II there were similar abuses. Iran’s fears means that the sort of human rights abuses that we claim about, the human rights abuses that are correctly looked into in Iran, have very little chance of resolution because the leadership of that country is so terrified about being invaded.

Now, I want to draw this back to something that is personal to us and personal to WikiLeaks. The Internet has become the most important device for revealing the truth, at least since the beginning of the printing press. It has become the number one antidote to TV. Democracies are always lied into war. The Iraq war was a result of lies. The increased involvement in the United States in Vietnam was a result of the Gulf of Tonkin incident, another lie. It’s not just lies by intelligence analysts, it’s lies by the big media machine. And what is in the big media machine? Well, it’s the various institutions that get too comfortable and too close to the table of power, the very table that they are meant to be reporting on and policing and getting into the historic record. When Tom spoke about process and removing political bias from analysts, there is also cultural bias. What is the cultural wind and is culturally accepted? That also flows into analysts. Now, producing cultural bias is something that we must watch more closely. It’s not just about what facts are reported on the BBC News. Those are important, but there are mechanisms of propaganda which go under the surface. They’re not direct factual claims, and those are things like Hollywood movies.

Now I’ve seen this directly. When we looked at intelligence reports at low level coming out from Iraq in 2003 reporting what was happening there with the Badar Corps or [10:08 ____ ] or Iranian influence, the full package of culture bias that exists in the United States for people who are not properly educated in assessing what they are understanding came with them. Eventually those reports and analysts did learn more about what was happening and by the middle of 2003 were in fact sometimes passing out true reports of what was happening, that there is going to be a sectarian crisis in this country – that was known by Marines G-2 intelligence, for instance, halfway through 2003. Completely denied by the political leadership. So it’s not enough to produce accurate reporting, because if political leadership won’t let it out, what are you going to do? No, analysts must be responsible not to political leadership. Analysts must be responsible to the public and they must be responsible to the historical record.

Now, we have something here which is a recent acquisition of WikiLeaks, although we have been following the matter for some time, and this is the script to a tens of millions of dollar budget Dreamworks movie. What is it about? It is about us, nominally. It is about WikiLeaks the organization. It is a mass propaganda attack against WikiLeaks the organization and the character of myself and our activities and so on. But it is not just an attack against us. It is an attack against Iran. It fans the flames to start a war with Iran, and it’s coming out in November. It’s being filmed now. Benedict Cumberbatch is playing me. This movie has British involvement and people in Britain should be concerned about it. How does it open? Well – and this has not been previously disclosed before – the opening scene is in a military complex in Tehran. The camera comes in, closes up on a file, and it is a design for a nuclear bomb marked with nuclear symbols. There’s notes and whispers all around and they are in Farsi, they’re in Persian. There’s an older scientist speaking. A high-speed camera will measure the explosive charge we have designed to trigger the chain reaction. It is then revealed by the camera four scientists in white coats walking in a windowless corridor. The youngest, “Simsana” – remember that name, “Simsana” – writes on the file: “The dimensions of the payload are consistent with a Shabab missile.” Okay. That’s the opening scene. Iran is working on an atomic weapon. The opening scene of a film about WikiLeaks. How does this have anything to do with us? Well, we’ll come to it.

Benedict Cumberbatch?

The next scene concerning Iran is in Cairo where that Iranian nuclear scientist is meeting a U.S. CIA agent, Kate. Closeup again on the handwritten diagram of a nuclear bomb, the same diagram as we saw in the opening. And “Siman” says, “I copied it from memory. They’re testing the explosive in the next six months.” Now, remember what Tom’s National Intelligence Estimate found. Iran did not have a nuclear program. All sixteen U.S. intelligence agencies feeding into that report said that was the case, with high confidence, and has been reconfirmed every year since that point. The senior diplomat who’s also at the table with the CIA agent says, “Shit! We thought they were at least three years away from a bomb.” Another lie. Tom’s report does not say that they’re three years away from a nuclear bomb. So it’s a lie upon a lie, a great big budget thing that’s going to be pushed out in November. The Iranian nuclear scientist then says, “If it works, they won’t hesitate to sell the technology, and even if one of these things gets into the wrong hands, they’ll sell it anyway.”

So that’s the reality of where we’re at. Not merely a war of intelligence agencies, but a war of corrupt media, corrupt culture. That war, we have got to understand, people who have appeared on this panel have been involved, sometimes with great sacrifice, at revealing the truth about important parts of the world, how the world is unfolding, how the world is shaping, the nature of institutions – they have revealed it, heroically in many cases, to the historical record, to our civilization as a whole, to you.

Overflow crowd?

You have to understand that where there’s great powers at work – I don’t mean shadow conspiracies, I mean enormous cultural powers, enormous industrial powers, the vast network of corporations that interact with government agencies around the world selling them products, shipping their logistics from one place to another. The National Security Agency, for example, now has approximately 70% of its expenditure pass through Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin, etcetera. This produces a lobby that pushes in particular directions. How is it that such a lie got into a script about WikiLeaks? How is it that in the light of that National Intelligence Estimate that anyone could think that it was tolerable, acceptable, to foist that lie upon the public, that it would make it all the way through the Hollywood system, that distributors would pick it up? Because they perceive that that is where the power lies in the United States. They perceive that it’s perfectly okay to slander an entire nation, that it’s perfectly okay to beat the drums of war like that, because people in that system want the war. They want it.

We have to understand that everything that we see, read and hear is produced for a purpose. It’s produced as a result of incentives. And other material is not produced. There are disincentives to not produce it. We walk almost sleepwalking, almost blind, every time we open a newspaper and read an article. That particular journalist wrote about that for a particular reason. They felt that their editor would accept that, that they wouldn’t have to argue with him. The editor felt that the proprietor would accept it. The journalist felt that the people that they deal with in their community would like it and in fact might even pat them on the head and take them to a fancier cocktail party or perhaps even give them a better position in Oxford. All these things influence how our society, our civilization, is documented.

Now, working against that trend and against that current of corrupt powerful organizations producing a distorted perspective of the world has been the Internet. For the first time in history, that has allowed one person with some truth to speak to every single person who wants to hear that truth. It is the great antidote. There is a war on for control of the Internet. That war takes place on the one hand by producing incredible propaganda and hyping up threats about how the Internet is dangerous. On the other hand, it involves introducing mass surveillance systems to surveil all of the Internet. You know, different countries see the effects being brought by the Internet and the political liberations being brought by the Internet and powerful groups in those countries feel fearful and they feel destabilized, and as a result they want to find some way to control it and to know it. The knowing part of it comes from surveilling every transborder communication that occurs, between Great Britain and the United States, between almost every country in Latin America and the rest of the world because their communications have to pass through the United States to reach Europe, pass through the United States to reach Asia, and sometimes even pass through the United States when one Latin American country talks to another simply because the communications infrastructure has been passed that way. This is collectively the greatest transfer of wealth that has ever happened, the greatest theft of information that has ever happened from every single one of us who uses the Internet into the bowels of secret agencies.

Now if those secret agencies were working on our behalf, perhaps we could accept it. If as soon as possible that material would enter into the historical record, would enter into the record of our civilization, where we could all individually make decisions using that information to produce a better, more harmonious world, then perhaps it would be tolerable. But it is not tolerable in its current form, and so it is up to decent people, good people, still working inside of government, inside of private contractors that are engaged in these sorts of behaviors, to get it out to the public, to get it into the historical record, either by doing it anonymously, which is of course what we favor, stay in there 30 years, work with us for 30 years getting out this sort of information, or by going public and standing up and fighting to describe the truth of what they’re seeing.

Thank you.

NOTE Lambert here. These transcripts were made in honor of Sunshine Week, which we should have more of, and in honor of courageous whistleblowers. I think transcripts like this are a huge service to alert readers and also to the world. This particular conference is great and the entire archive is well worth reading as the Obama administration clamps down harder and harder on any information flow that it does not control (and that corporations cannot monetize).

Murray’s latest blog post now has a YouTube of him and some of the other speakers that night. (Oxford Union posted Fingar’s YouTube in February.) Additional transcripts from the Oxford Union event are archived at:

The larger issue: There is far more information out there than we can easily find. I also believe, seriously, that there are many more good people trying to do the right thing than we know about — and one reason we can’t know about what was said at this conference is that all we had until the transcriber went into action were the YouTubes, and they aren’t searchable — they’re video. (YouTube itself has a notoriously poor search function for tags, dates, group names, etc.) So, by rendering this event searchable, the transcriber also renders it visible. That is a very important service!

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. JGordon

    Julian Assange is a true hero. I believe that as the economy continues to deteriorate, the iron fist of the police state will only be clamping down harder and harder on the people, both domestically and abroad. While the corrupt corporate media will certainly do its best to vilify the heroes and truth-speakers of the world, thanks to the internet it’s getting pretty tough for the corporate oligarchs and their sock puppets in Washington to control the message. Who knows… maybe with all the lies of the criminal elites being out in the open like they are now, we might even be able to avoid committing yet more war crimes against yet another sovereign state.

    By the way, did anyone else happen to hear about America’s puppets in Syria using chemical weapons against civilians and the Assad regime there?

    1. Massinissa

      I agree with everything you say here. We can agree on this at least.

      I havnt heard about the FSA or whatever using chem weapons. Ive heard theories that they may at some point and blame it on Assad, but ive not heard anything about them actually doing it. Any links?

      And Gordon, pardon for a AdHom I made yesterday. It was juvenile of me.

      1. JGordon

        Ah, It’s fine. I put myself out there to be ridiculed after all. I like to shake people out of their complacency and group-think tendencies, and that’s something that’s never welcome anywhere. I have been making concious efforts to be more polite about it though, which is difficult for me since my emotional intelligence is pretty much non-existent. Oh, but I try.

        1. sgt_doom

          Great comments, Mr. G, and having been trashed and ridiculed endlessly, I need only mention one item:

          From CIA Document 1035-960, disseminated in 1964 in response to the s**tstorm critical outrage against the Warren Commission “Report” (thanks to a NY Times FOIA request in 1976):

          Answer every factual assertion with, ‘conspiracy theory, conspiracy theory’ repeatedly.

          (source: Lance deHaven-Smith’s Conspiracy Theory in America)

      2. JGordon


        They are certainly blaming each other over the chemical weapons attack–although considering the composition of the victims and which specific areas the attacks were launched against. Ah, a curious fact about this CBSNews article: it does mention that “most” of the victims were civilians, but for some obscure reason fails to mention that the “rest” of the victims were Syrian army regulars of the Assad regime. Very strange reporting there.

    2. different clue

      Latest I am hearing is that ChemWeps may not have been used at all. Also, I doubt the al Quaedaform Salafis in Syria are “our” puppets in any meaningful sense.

  2. Mark Hoffman

    Lambert, your links to the transcripts are all error 404s. Please fix these links:

    Craig Murray: American Dream Debate
    HuffPost Live Panel: Least Transparent Ever? (includes Marcy Wheeler and Kevin Gosztola)
    Previous winners speak at Sam Adams Awards, including Ray McGovern, Tom Fingar, and Craig Murray

  3. Richard Kline

    First, a quibble towards a larger agreement. Assange: ” . . . [I]t was only in 2003 where the worst modern deception of the Western world occurred, where we went to war in Iraq based on lies . . .” This is hyperbole. The Tonkin Gulf Incident, to which Assange refers directly in his remarks, was arguably far worse. In that, a nonexistant military interaction (in Vietnamese waters btw) was authorized at the highest levels in the US, lied in support by the highest level of the US military, passed on to the highest levels of Congressional oversight committees whose leadership, despite knowing the falisty of the alleged incident, recommende a war-powers authorizing resolution, to which the US Congress overwhelmingly signed off. The death toll in Vietnam was worse by an order of magnitude than Iraq; the cause utterly specious; the racism and cultural ignorance front, center, and even more egregious. And so on.

    By contrast, the WMD farce was a sloppy, middle school skit no one was meant to belive, obviously false on its face _and shown to be false by many reputable analysts, journalists, and commentators_ PRIOR TO THE WAR VOTE IN 2002. So why stage the WMD sordid sham? So liberals could clutch the fig leaf of it over their naked moral cowardice. All the neocons and conservatives _didn’t CARE_ what the reason to invade Iraq was; they didn’t nead ‘a reason.’ All the liberals knew the reason was false, but also knew that the US public was herding en masse toward ‘lynching someone,’ and would be damned mad at any politician and party who tried to talk that down. And yes, historically political parties which have opposed popularly sought wars, just or unjust, have paid a severe electoral price. The liberals didn’t want to pay that price, and so were going to vote to lynch whomever was put forward. But they wanted to say ‘we wuz LYED to!’ afterwards. Hence, ‘a reason’ was faked together.

    Furthermore, the Maine incident used to stamped the US public into War with Spain in 1898 was also more egregious than the authorization of an assault upon Iraq. The situation there was surprisingly similar to our war on/in Iraq. Spain’s colonial anti-insurgency was rife with crimes against humanity, deeply unpopular internationally and specifically in the US. Spain was politically incontinent and something of a diplomatic pariah at the time. Spain was military effective by Third World standards, but laughably inadequate as a foe to the US. The war was, from the American standpoint, a) completely one of discretion, b) done to raise US standing internationally, and c) brought valuable territorial and economic concessions with victory.

    Or the Spanish-American War and the Occupation of Iraq are _unsurprisingly_ similar. This pattern of military action by the US is a very enduring one. False (or at least severely exaggerated) claims of provocation, liberal acquiescence to (and often connivance with) conservative imperialism, the choice of a completely helpless adversary, the larger goal of ‘intimidating the rest’ of the world, the intention of profitable economic and territorial concessions. It didn’t start with the Spanish-American War. Arguably, it started with Powahatan’s War, and certainly was in place by the time of King Philip’s War. And in fact, it has antecedants in English wars in Ireland in the 1500s. That’s right: this is how Anglo-American imperialist aggrandizement has ALWAYS been operated.

    Knowing that these imperial programs by the US have a ‘signature’ is an advantage: one can see them coming. Every US action with regard to Iran fits that ‘serial killer’s profile and MO,’ if you will. Not only have we seen this before, it’s all been done before. What we have to abandon are our illusions that the putative causes of present action are relevant: they are not. Whether Iran ever wants or would want an nuclear weapon is entirely irrelevant to our pattern or interaction with that country. Our actions are delineated by our pattern of imperial opportunism; the time-place specific ‘reasons’ are simply fixed to that pattern or falsified or fantasized to it as required.

    It isn’t Iran’s pattern of behavior which we have to scrutinize for subtle signs, it is the larger Anglo-American pattern of chicken-s**t, quasi-rascist, “They started it” imperialism which looms so large in these actions it blocks out the sun. That pattern of lies and ambitions can be opposed; it’s intended outcomes can be turned aside. Not always, but in principle a lot can be done. But one has to escape the frame of reference that the actual situational facts matter: they don’t insofar as the lie structure of US behavior is concerned. It doesn’t MATTER _what_ Iran says or does, the US behavior will be very much of the same structure, with whatever is actually said being trimmed, processed, or omitted as necessary to fit the prior US frame of reference and interest. So the best way to oppose that pattern of US behavior is never to accept any part of the lie in argumentation. Question every assertion of fact. Cite all historical parallels. Add in all that is left out before the argument even begins; before the _analysis_ even begins. There is, for example, zero (0) justification for presenting Iran as a threat to the US. So never start any discussion from a standpoint that accepts that Iran _is_ a threat without rock solid, third-party generated, factual evidence; of which there is at present none. If the US attacks Iran, or acquiesces in someone else’s attack, it is because we _want_ to do so, not because of anything which Iran has or will do.

    1. Richard Kline

      On a second point, Assange: “We have to understand that everything that we see, read and hear is produced for a purpose. It’s produced as a result of incentives.” That is an admirably clear statement of insight by a man who, more than most, is in a position to know. Everything we see in the media gets there for a reason. It has passed through so many filters that what we see, and how we are made to see it, transpires because someone has a stake in the perception resulting. That’s not entirely an nefarious process, but it is an entirely manufactured process. As important as what we see is what is omitted from a larger context. One can be an educated citizen and seek to see that context, but be sure the media at any level won’t provide it. They don’t have time; they don’t have the specific education and experience; they don’t have the interest; they don’t have a stake; they have a stake in a different kind of perception of events thant he context provides.

      There are no pure facts in media. One could say indeed that there are no pure facts of any kind, not historically. Facts are constructs of partial information, much of which may be unavailable to a given observer or analyst without an attempt to recover more than what appears in first view or from a first or single source (a truism of hermeneutics, but nonetheless true). Construction of fact is exactly what the media is abysmal at, and for which must of the public has little interest and no patience. Even one’s direct observation is suspect, being both too narrow, rife with biases out of ones awareness, and sometimes just inaccurate (i.e. misperceived). “This goes without saying”—except we often don’t say it when looking at political or economic current events when most especially we should. The most accurate view is necessarily a constructed one drawing upon multiple sources, contextual knowledge, and historical prior events and conditions. Snap judgments, moral certainties, political filters, and 24/7 cycle deadlines are wholly incompatible with an _accurate_ view (or better a ‘more accurate’ view), to say nothing of a morally grounded view.

      One has to filter any media source. One has to check ones own biases and preconceptions through discussion or at least interaction with knowledgable participants or observers. One has to always remember that the powers that be and large publicly active constituencies ever speak ‘with a purpose’—and that purpose is not to inform. It is often to persuade. It is not infrequently to deceive. It is always to win their end.

      Question the speaker. Check the facts. If it’s authority speaking, start by assuming that they are lying, and work backwards. The alternative is to cede your conclusions from the outset to those who speak up.

    2. Richard Kline

      As a final note, with regard to ‘the worst modern deception of the Western world’ Iraq 2003 is well-down the list under the Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine in 1947-48. Everything you ever thought you knew about the events of Israel establishing a sovereign state in Palestine at that time is a deliberately constructed falsehood, intentionally created at the time to mask a great crime, and zealously maintained since. There was no ‘Arab uprising.’ There were no Arab ‘invasions.’ Most of the deaths were not only Arab but the result of deliberate _death squad_ activity by Zionists. The ethnic cleansing was long planned in the minutest detail, not the result of ‘reactions to a sudden crisis’ in any way. Every Western government was reliably informed of how this transpired at the time, and well-informed of the facts on the ground subsequently, even while the media completely bought a pre-designed narrative of ‘defense against genocide’ by the very perpetrators, in Palestine, of the same. This is fully evidenced by Israeli archives in very considerable detail, as Ilan Pappe demonstrated, and many others have shown in oral report, investigations at that time, and so on. And Hollywood? Oh there was an ‘Exodus’ alright, just of Palestinians expelled by bombs, death squads, and at gunpoint, though that’s not what you’d gather from the movie of the same on those events, all very top-drawer Hollywood.

      In terms of deaths in the event, the Nakhba is perhaps less than the sufferings of occupied Iraq. The historical damage from the Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine is far greater, and is 65 years and counting in a process still continuing now. There are greater state-or-cultural crimes in modern Western history; the Shoah undoubtedly, though ‘ranking genocides’ is a morally questionable activity. But as far as the greatest deception of modern Western history, the narrative of the Arab-Israeli ‘War [sic]’ of 1948 is hands down the most egregious—and still accepted as ‘fact’ by billions. It’s not a coincidence that two of the worst modern deceptions of state criminality are perpetrated against Arab and predominantly Muslim victims, to which one could add the first modern mass ethnic cleansing, in Circassia in the mid-1800s. I suggest that we all bear embedded prejudice in mind: too many don’t _care_ to perceive the truth. Which is my larger point, that if one is mentally passive before deception one becomes complicit with it by default.

      1. allcoppedout

        Richard – one has to agree. Despair comes (though) in recognition that there is something like real history and that the knowledge shared by a few of us cannot penetrate the ideology or media. Even when Newsnight, Panorama and Dispatches (UK current affairs) do get hold of and present evidence well we see little follow through. Even the depiction of science on television is ‘corrupt’, and history goes over the same old myths over and again (the academics fronting such programmes must be dire). Even ‘new’ programmes are repeats.
        I’d tie economics and business teaching (one of my previous ways or earning corn) to what you are saying – critique is marginalised and techniques become ideology. It’s perhaps not surprising that I found myself saying ‘don’t use any of this at job interviews’ in the middle of Critical Theory, but not a few decent mature students pointed out that even basic quants can’t be used ‘safely’ in the work environment. One must exchange any notion of truth for outcomes showing one’s organisation in positive glow. This eventually translates into not showing one’s masters frequency distributions with ‘fat tails’ in so-called risk management.

        I read a few excerpts of your position to my partner Sue and it’s good to know someone holds with what we feel. The question is, as always, how we change this mess. Retired academic colleagues often say (over a beer) ‘it was all for nothing’ – we know universal education hasn’t worked. In terms of a solution I’ve been wondering why my scientific colleagues shun GOP-Tory politics – given our education was not political-humanities (Bildung) – and whether some preparedness to brace facts is missing entirely in common education.
        Foucault, in as far as he argued anything, said most rationalities were much less rational than we suppose, and that as they were man-made we could learn to unmake them. This was right and trite. Much as I’m sure ‘we’ are right, we run up against a wall of ‘re-educating all’ – no doubt knowing some of the biggest villains in history tried just that and not wanting to be megalomania sufferers. The question is how we do more than bear witness. Any thoughts?

      2. JEHR

        Mr. Kline, what you are saying here is most interesting and terrifying at the same time. We have to learn to judge every utterance by politicians and by journalists with a sigh and a very large dollop of doubt and then attempt to find the “truth.” It is a very difficult task.

    3. sgt_doom

      And please let us never forget the first “leaker” of Iran’s race to obtain nukes, Chris Mellon (Bank of New York Mellon and Mellon family, as in Andrew Mellon, etc.), from a high position at the Defense Intelligence Agency, just prior to his leaving in the early ’00s, when Bank of New York and the Mellon Bank were merging together.

    4. Furzy Mouse

      On a historical note, Scott Ritter, the former chief inspector for UNSCOM in Iraq, before 9/11, was all over the ‘net in ’02, stating that there were NO WMD’s in Iraq.Here’s what happened to Scott, several times..note that this smells like entrapment (but altogether, Scott seems like no celibate!)…From:


      Sex sting in Poconos nets former chief U.N. weapons inspector
      By Andrew Scott
      January 14, 2010

      A former chief United Nations weapons inspector is accused of contacting what he thought was a 15-year-old girl in an Internet chat room, engaging in a sexual conversation and showing himself masturbating on a Web camera.

      Scott Ritter of Delmar, N.Y., who served as chief U.N. weapons inspector in Iraq from 1991-98 and who was an outspoken critic of the second Bush administration in the run-up to the war in Iraq, is accused of contacting what turned out to be a Barrett Township police officer posing undercover as a teen girl…..

      Ritter said the criminal charge was a smear campaign in response to his criticizing U.S. policy in the Middle East.

      The New York Post reported Ritter had been caught in a similar case involving a 14-year-old girl in April 2001, but that he was not charged.

  4. Claudius

    Wondering as to the Guardian’s motives….Amelia Hill may be unprofessional, but her Guardian editors are, most likely, complicit in this misreporting of the Oxford Union meeting. But, without reason?

    Wikileaks and the Guardian worked together in 2011 on the publication of the ‘Cablegate’ archive (allegedly leaked by US soldier Bradley Manning); 251,000 diplomatic cables – the files were originally sent, by Wikileaks, to the Guardian in July 2010 via a secure server.

    However, an acrimonious row between Wikileaks and the Guardian developed when firstly the approach to the reporting on the files conflicted, secondly, Wikileaks blamed the disclosure of the top secret decryption passwords to un-redacted files on the Guardian and thirdly, a book published by two Guardian journalists, revealed the password to open the ‘Cablegate’ file (though, the book didn’t reveal the location of the file, the files later ended up on the BitTorrent file sharing site).

    Wikileaks threatened the newspaper with legal action if it went ahead with plans to run print stories based on the files. As such and the relationship between Assange and the Guardian became one of acrimonious “distrust and anger”. Then in November 2011, with the threat of legal action against the Guardian, Assange was given a letter by the Guardian’s editor, Alan Rusbridger specifically promising not to use material from “batch three” of the documents (the diplomatic cables – and the most ‘explosive’) without the agreement of WikiLeaks.

    As if this wasn’t bad enough for the Guardian, Assange further angered the Guardian’s by involving the UK’s Channel 4 network in the WikiLeaks coverage, something that the Guardian perceived as an historic ‘spoiler”.

    However, conveniently perhaps, the Guardian managed to obtain the “batch three” documents through a separate source, after they were passed to a freelance journalist by a anonymous former colleague of Assange’s. The Guardian took itself as free of its arrangement with Assange; it shared the ‘new’ material with The New York Times and Der Spiegel and published without waiting for permission from Assange.

    “Some people’s blameless lives are to blame for a good deal.”
    – Dorothy L. Sayers, Gaudy Night

  5. allcoppedout

    The big worry on Assange is he has become a threat to us all. The man himself could do us great service, but he is now a hunted ringleader suffering as almost any whistle-blower (a big list could start with Julian Sugarman and end with decent nurses who talk to journalists – etc.) – the message is clearly ‘put up and shut up’ or face very strange ‘Swedish sex allegations’.
    I have long noted that people teaching business maths (as I did) cannot successfully apply the techniques in victory against bookmaker-casino-savvy. One bets against a house carrying massive advantageous handicap. We can teach the house always wins, but the numbers of people betting in systems that guarantee losing is on the up – such whistle-blowing doesn’t work.
    In sport we have seen the rise of ‘action replay’ as refereeing (or at least as court of appeal). The whistle-blower can rarely rely on ‘CCTV evidence’ or even the kind of record of previous abuse that didn’t get to court abusers may now face (as in the UK’s ‘Jimmy Saville case’).
    There is plenty of such evidence in geopolitics (e.g. Suez), but this is disallowed at such points when it is needed (say the Iraq War decision – now clearly ‘another Suez’). The whistle blows into public ignorance and inertia on learning (even the UK public doesn’t remember the blatant lies of Suez – let alone posses an account of the real reasons for WW1 and WW2 – or even that we killed 28,000 Indonesians in a long and undeclared war). One can even argue that due process – we have had almost continual Inquiry on Iraq – is a means to sucker whistle-blowers to come forward and be beaten down.
    To really encourage decent people to come forward with the truth as it happens around them in their organisations we need to develop new ‘rules of evidence’. Our Crown Prosecution Service has recently declared that evidence from a history of abuse (previous recorded not prosecuted cases) can be given in support of a current case. This is around 200 years late, but some kind of start. I have to say we have still not sorted out the policing of minor crime that some individuals are multiple-repeat victims of (sometimes just by living next door to the recidivist). What one wants to avoid is the victim being the sole voice against the perpetrator’s lying denial. If this seems off-beam in economic or geopolitical considerations, think to how the Iraq mess ends up in Bush/Blair denials (hidden in their brains) or assertions they were acting in our best interests. The child abuser dreams up his own defence in the same, impenetrable subjective space. This space is, of course, expanded by national security secrecy and redaction.

    I remain anxious on whistle-blowing and the morality of urging it on others. We have not done the work on their secure reception in a fair system of evidence. In a very real recent example, a friend had extracted promises that his witnesses (in a heavy, violent drug case) would have their identities protected. Six turned up at court and the first duly prepared to give evidence behind a screen. The clerk of court duly read out her name and address! This in a case in which people were tortured and died.

    In standard criminal cases the establishment is normally on the side of the victim. In finance and geopolitics the opposite may well be the case. Much as Cyrus may be a trial exercise for much more asset grabbing to come, much anti-terrorist legislation and the like may have a long-game to be used on us. I can’t think any of the springs in which people ran towards bullets that has worked out to democracy. Whistle-blowing sets off reactions in drones. Evidence is not held in such a manner it can be re-run in front of our eyes (see the Nico Bento case for an example of how they can even pervert that through false ‘expert’ testimony) and much equivalent to that of, say the 440 previous victims of Saville, is either not investigated for or denied by secrecy/court rules.
    Bento was convicted of a murder that most evidence (probably all) suggested didn’t happen (it was a suicide) and by the very CCTV evidence that cleared him (owing to a lunatic ‘expert’ now a suicide himself) and denial of the real expert evidence (prosecution forensic scientist sacked and still subject to gagging order). Bento was just a poor Portuguese working in England. Along with many others, his treatment and the chronic cover-up (exposed by BBC Newsnight), should be evidence any whistle-blower should be able to bring to due process proceedings. Instead, like abuse victims in the past, they will be on their own.

    To encourage whistle-blowing we should be seeking to change the evidence system they could report to. The situation on Assange has been sufficiently messed-up already that to support him may be to deny victims of his abuse. I don’t hold to that on what I’ve heard, but don’t know. What I do know is there is much academic evidence on how inconvenient witnesses are smeared.

  6. 8 bis

    Sometimes you gotta go with the great man theory. Like now: we’ve got one in Assange.

    The UN member countries’ Agenda for Peace, a straighforward digest of international law, calls for preventive diplomacy. In the past preventive diplomacy has focused on Chapter VI mediation or arbitration, but that breaks down when you’re facing a criminal state bent on aggression like the USG. The aggressor state’s bad faith subverts pacific resolution of disputes. But now Assange has broadened the scope of preventive diplomacy by building the case for criminal aggression as the USG mobilizes for war.

    He gives factual support for Nuremberg Count One, the conspiracy to wage aggressive war, by documenting USG rules of engagement that prepare for illegal use of force under pretext of hot pursuit.

    He gives factual support for prohibited war propaganda in breach of CCPR Article 21 by disclosing a big-budget film that fabricates a casus belli. He points out additional war preparations in a US satellite’s discriminatory breach of CCPR Article 19: censoring Iranian public statements that accord with the UN Charter.

    If US officials commit the crime of aggression again, the world will be in a position to single them out. Instead of wagging fingers at mighty God Bless America, not naming any names, like in UNGA Res. 3314 (XXIX), the world can identify individual criminals: propagandists like Chase Brandon and Brennan, nuclear proliferators like Marc Grossman, aggressors like Obama and John Bennett.

      1. Synopticist

        “I was involved in 2007 and 2008 at looking at what was happening to Iran” Says Assange. Remind me, what happened?

        “Sometimes you gotta go with the great man theory. Like now: we’ve got one in Assange.”

        I prefer not to go for the great man theory, thanks all the same. I never believed Obama was the liberal secular messiah, and I don’t think Assange is either.

    1. 8 ter

      Don’t confuse historiography with biblehumping hocus-pocus, even as a rhetorical dick move. You ought to know a great man is not a messiah. The consequential actions of a great man are contingent and not necessary. And your last sentence is a total non sequitur, everybody knows footballs don’t have wheels.

  7. sierra7

    Eventually the grevious wounds to society at large are cleansed and cauterized by the hot branding iron of revolution.

  8. kevinearick

    LRC Consideration, Salt of the Earth

    It’s a twisted pair, LC, separated by a virtual mirror, with series segments circled into virtual resistors, to create the multiplexer, giving you channels for production. Adjust torque to time.

    Anytime you want to implode the majority, uncover the mirrors surrounding it, move along, and don’t look back. It cannot understand because it seeks only to control, finding only control, computing itself. When others say they want to understand you, what they are really saying is that they want to control you.

    Why would you expect a normal distribution anywhere but in the vertical zone of the pendulum, unless you can pivot into another dimension? What is wind? Other than time, what is the difference between the chicken and the egg; an atom, a solar system, or a galaxy?

    Given a battery, what is a man, a woman, a child? All things being equal, what is homosexuality? A species is a short, extended with relativity. When does space cease to be an insulator? What happens?

    In war, the argument in favor of free money evaporates rather quickly, and the argument for free money can only lead to war. If you enter into an agreement with others capable of consideration, a contract is not necessary. If you enter into an agreement with others incapable of consideration, no contract with suffice. If you build out your battery within the empire, why wouldn’t you expect the majority to steal your capacity with the rule of law, based on a foundation of free money?

    An empire has no exit other than free money, which tells you everything you need to know about the majority, to enter and exit at will. Always build your battery to blow up when a terminal is disconnected.

  9. just me

    One thing that’s interesting to me about the Murray-Hill spat is that the crucial “Of this I am proud” moment for Murray came here in his Sam Adams speech…


    CRAIG MURRAY: Last night we had John Bolton speaking here. Tonight I came here through a demonstration against Julian Assange. Last night you had speaking here a war criminal who had a major part in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people in Iraq and there wasn’t a single demonstrator outside against him. Some of you have got your values seriously messed up.

    [applause, whistles, cheers]

    …which incidentally says that despite overwhelming support for Assange, Hill must have gotten something partially right, that Assange’s videolink appearance was met with some kind of an organized protest. But another facet to the picture is Oxford Union itself — when they posted Bolton’s youtube, they doctored it (and only his) up with a fake applause track:


    Craig Murray: The Oxford Union has dubbed fake applause onto the videos of John Bolton’s address to the Union. It has not done this for any other speaker.

    If you listen to these videos of Bolton itching for war with Iran, you can hear precisely the same burst of ultra enthusiastic applause at the start, fading “naturally” as he begins to speak.

    Also note his update: This doesn’t just happen with the Oxford Union with Bolton:

    With thanks to Herbie, there is a history of Bolton and false applause… https://www.examiner.com/article/2-minute-video-fox-edits-fakes-applause-for-john-bolton-pro-war-statement

    Which quite jives with what Assange has to say above about corrupt media:

    We have to understand that everything that we see, read and hear is produced for a purpose.

    Kind of amazing to think that a canned applause track comes with Bolton no matter where he appears. (And maybe a canned protest met Assange?)

  10. rob

    Asange doesn’t have to be a messaih,or a liberal,or a secularist.A tree is valued for its friuts.
    I ,for one say a big THANK YOU, for what wikileaks is.It isn’t the only outlet, but it has become a part of what makes history.The history we are living thru…RIGHT NOW!
    The idea to get bits of unfiltered information to the masses.This is akin to what caused the need for the catholic church to manage the reformation.People were realizing they had been being lied to.
    WIKILEAKS,ANONYMOUS,OCCUPY…..These are some of the only good things that actually happened on the world stage this century….
    Who gives a crap what people want to think about particular persons.Be it the celebrity treatment,or projections of irrational anger….Our problems are bigger than that.Assange,bradley manning,the whistleblowers outthere…they are true american hero’s.Because just because the american dream never really was as sweet as hollywood made it out to be….WE still have a new day before us…Everytime the earth rolls over.
    We always have to tell the establishment to go F#%$ itself.

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