US Secretary of State Blinken has recently claimed the US government supports media freedom, saying “more than 350 journalists are currently being imprisoned in connection with their work, according to Reporters Without Borders.” What he doesn’t tell you is that Reporters Without Borders (RSF) itself is disgusted that the US and UK have been wrongfully persecuting journalist Julian Assange for more than a decade.
Here is Blinken’s recent speech in full:
Here’s what RSF says: “We fully believe that Julian Assange has been targeted for his contributions to journalism, and we defend this case because of its dangerous implications for the future of journalism and press freedom around the world. It is time to put a stop to this more than decade-long persecution once and for all. It is time to free Assange,” said RSF Secretary-General Christophe Deloire in a recent report.
Update: For clarity, the US government started criminal proceedings against Assange and Wikileaks in November 2010, as announced by then Attorney-General, Eric Holder, part of the Obama administration. Criminal proceedings have continued throughout all subsequent administrations.
Blinken, apparently oblivious to the contradictions of his own position, continued: “Finally, we will continue be relentless in shining a spotlight on attacks on journalists and demanding accountability for perpetrators. Because we know one of the most effective ways to prevent future attacks is by sending a clear message that those responsible will be brought to justice.”
Contrast Blinken’s polished words with the RSF report, which goes on to say: “The charges against Assange are based on Wikileaks’ publication in 2010 of leaked classified documents including the Afghan War Diary, the Iraq War Logs, and more than 250,000 diplomatic cables, representing the largest publication of leaked classified information to date. The documents exposed war crimes and human rights abuses for which no one has ever been prosecuted.”
Perhaps the most prominent video publication by WikiLeaks was the “collateral murder” video showing the US’s air-strike killing and maiming of non-combatants, journalists, and children, in Iraq. Due warning for folks who like to shelter from harsh realities; caution is advised before watching this video:
Let’s be clear that the Iraq invasion and almost two-decade long occupation by the US and its allies, which the United Nations says has led to the death of hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians, was motivated by the oil. This much has been clearly stated by numerous figures in the US government and military, including “defense” secretary Chuck Hegel, head of the US’s Iraq military operations, General John Abizaid, and chairman of the Federal Reserve, Alan Greenspan.
I know I speak for several of my senior colleagues here at CleanTechnica when I say that we are all passionate about moving beyond the age of oil, due to concerns both with humanity’s threat of climate change, and in significant part because of our horror at US foreign policy relating to oil wars.
The US invasion of Iraq was just one of many oil-motivated foreign policies of the US over the past century, all the way back to the CIA’s murderous coup of a democratic government in Iran in 1953 (and installation of a torturing dictator). This includes dozens or hundreds of overt and covert murderous actions around the Middle East (including Libya, Syria “for the oil” as Trump said), and other oil regions of the world. Including, for example, assassination attempts, covert military actions, and black propaganda (or “false flag” reports) in Venezuela.
“Freedom of the Press” and Black Propaganda
Such black propaganda (the term used by US government agencies) — the spreading of deliberately false and misleading information, designed to misdirect public opinion — goes on in popular media outlets all around the world, whenever governments have a hidden agenda (which is essentially continuously). The US, UK and other governments have strong relationships with the media, internationally. For those curious, this includes not just the large and obvious mouthpiece media organizations like the BBC and CNN, but hundreds of smaller ones all around the world also, in pretty much any language you can think of (see, e.g., the US government’s own Church Committee report, which is just the tip of the iceberg).
Government agencies can get paid-up reporters and editors to plant black propaganda stories with just a phone call. See the CIA’s own report on its 1953 Iran coup (and other scholarly accounts) for a very early example of how the BBC, the Associated Press (amongst others) and at least 20 Iranian newspapers (each with editors and journalists on CIA salary) were used to spread false reports, and incite violence. All to support the US and UK’s strategic goal of a coup, the installation of a compliant dictator friendly to the west, and to retain control of Iran’s oil.
Blinken is of course fully aware of how the US government uses black propaganda, via hundreds (or thousands) of paid-up or otherwise compliant media outlets all around the world. This is another example of the Orwellian nature of Blinken’s recent speech; yes, the US and UK and other governments support media freedom — including freedom to print their black propaganda, without recourse, to deliberately mislead the public.
Another covert action planned by US government agencies was, of course, the assassination or forced abduction of Julian Assange himself. All this came out in a Yahoo News investigative report in September, which most folks who keep track of the news heard about at the time. Update: The main impetus for drawing up assassination plans appears to have come from the former Republican Secretary of State, Pompeo, previously the director of the CIA.
US air strikes, mostly in the form of remote drone strikes by video operators, cause thousands of innocent civilians deaths all around the world. In some zones and periods, up to almost 90% of those killed by US drone-strikes are innocent civilians, whose scant bloody remains are often covered-up in official government reports as being the remains of goats, as revealed by former US military drone operator Daniel Hale. Hale himself is now serving four and a half years in jail. His crime? Revealing the US’s war crimes.
The frequency of such drone strikes ramped up considerably under the administration of the previous democratic president Obama. Trump used drone strikes. The Biden administration continues to use drone strikes, having killed an innocent family of 10, including seven children in Kabul earlier this year. It bears repeating — the killing of non-combatants is a war crime under international law.
Journalists like Assange, who bring to the public news of these oil-war crimes and related atrocities — being committed in the public’s name, with public funding, by their own governments — should be praised, not tortured, arbitrarily imprisoned, (by the US’s #1 poodle, the UK government), nor targeted for assassination by agencies of the US government itself.
Thanks to Blinken for so clearly demonstrating what Orwellian times we are living in.