When attorney Lynn Stewart spoke at Berkeley’s First Congregational Church in 2004 before receiving a sentence which kept her in prison for ten years, her opening remarks were simple. Lynne was always a straight speaker and got right to the point that day. “I am in trouble,” she said as she warmed her audience with a disarming smile.
Today we are all in trouble. It is arguable whether democracy as a system can survive let alone outlive planet-destroying capitalism. But to survive it requires a free press. Our press, our media have been compromised in innumerable ways, by TV on whom 60% of Americans rely to get their news, by social media, from which, as of 2018, 12% (and growing) Americans get their news, by the corporate-owed mainstream media, by the Supreme Court’s “Citizens United” decision, which, citing “free speech,” allows unlimited corporate gift$ to candidates running for office. The 2016 attack on UK and U.S. elections by Mercer-owned Cambridge Analytica of which Steve Bannon was the VP, exposed the far more dangerous growth of big data and revealed how Facebook and Google are manipulating our culture. Its operatives were actually embedded in Trump’s 2016 campaign headquarters in Texas (watch Netflix “The Great Hack”). The Trump campaign was able to rely on 6 million targeted political ads vs. 66,000 TV ads by the Clinton campaign.
We are in trouble because journalism has become the world’s most dangerous profession. I cite the murders of Politikovskaya and Baburova, two female Russian journalists, the threat to Glenn Greenwald who has opposed the Bolsonaro fascist Amazon-burning government of Brazil. In terms of journalist safety, the U.S. ranks 48. I cite the exile of Edward Snowden, whose just-published book argues that he would return to the U.S. to face trial if he had a prayer of receiving a fair trial, Chelsea Manning who languishes in prison for refusing to incriminate Julian Assange before a grand jury, the imprisonment and transfer of 10-year-convicted hacker and Wikileaks-associated Jeremy Hammond recently removed to Virginia to testify before the grand Jury, and by the imprisonment of Julian Assange in Belmarsh Prison for jumping bail, a sentence normally of a week or so, which he served for 52 weeks, and whom a judge has refused to release even though his sentence has been served, because a compliant UK government (and its loutish PM Johnson) want to keep him on tap for extradition to the United States to face life imprisonment. Even if Labour manages to win the next election, with a psychopath at the helm of the U.S., the timing remains unfortunate.
Assange, along with Snowden and Manning and many other whistleblowers, has gifted U.S. citizens with the information we need to know to sustain democracy. He has offended a number of folks in high places: by releasing information about the Democratic National exclusionary convention‘s maneuvers in 2016, he offended the most hated woman in America, Hillary Clinton. And by prefacing it shortly after the “I can grab any crotch I want” pussy tapes, he managed to completely overshadow his second release. By releasing the Panama Papers, he offended Lenín Moreno of Ecuador who, bowing to IMF bribery by the U.S./U.K. axis, ousted him from his safe haven, the London Ecuadorian Embassy where he had sought immunity from arrest by the UK for six years. And by releasing Manning’s “Collateral Murder,” he has offended the entire U.S. government and its war-making apparatus.
With such powerful enemies, Julian Assange urgently needs the help of his own Australian Government. Massive demonstrations need to be mounted at every single Australian embassy and consulate throughout the world. And he needs powerful grass roots support from all who care about democracy and want to see a media sufficiently robust to support it.
Assange rally and non-violent action is planned for Noon September 28, at the British Embassy located at One Sansome Street at Market Street in San Francisco. Be there.
Monday, Sept. 23, 7 to 10 AM, Union Square, San Francisco. Swarm for the climate with Extinction Rebellion. For info:
Wednesday, Sept. 25 7 AM to 5 PM, at Montgomery & Market, San Francicsco. Strike for Climate Justice, sponsored by Extinction Rebellion and 8 other groups. Info:
Wednesday, Sept. 25, 7 AM to 5 PM. 300 Montgomery St. San Francisco Brazilian Consulate. Info: https://www.facebook.com/events/700887023724857/
Friday, Sept. 27, 9 AM to Noon. Chevron, 6001 Canyon Rd., San Ramon. Idle No More, Sunrise, Youth vs. Apocalypse. Info:
After ten years oif student activism, and a faculty vote, UC Berkeley divests from fossil fuel investments.
On eve of climate strike, 450+ activists urge United Nations to back global fracking ban.
To courtroom applause, Federal Court blocks “unconstitutional” South Dakota law that threatened pipeline protesters with up to 25 years in prison .
Student actions force Iowa school district and local community to pass climate resolutions in line with IPCC’s criteria.
Amazon workers bring climate strike to billionaire Jeff Bezos.
New York City public school announces excuse of all student taking part in climate strike today, only to rescind it at the last minute. Let’s hope the damage carried the day.
Newark water coalition takes struggle against lead pipes statewide.
In Brazil, judge rejects prosecutor’s office complaint against the imprisoned Lula.
U.S. Army forced to dream up new recruiting tactics after missing targets.
Appeals court directs FBI to destroy memo on anti-war website.
Australian TPG Telecom Ltd. chief operating exec tells Federal Court it pulled its plans to roll out 5G network because of community health fears.
Over 1,000 students from 17 colleges pledge not to work at Palantir over ICE collaboration .
Citing a “complex and punitive regulatory system,” federal judge issues injunction stopping implementation of Tennessee law making voter registration drives unnecessarily burdensome.
California passes AB5 ensuring gig economy workers have legal status as full employees.
Activists successfully pressure New York Public Library to cancel Saudi dictatorship event.
Protesters demand Microsoft stop profiting from concentration camps, migrant raids, an d deportations.
Austin groups 3-D print tiny homes to help end homelessness.
Families organize vigil outside Eli Lilly, demanding lower cost insulin.
Cuba, Uruguay, Nicaragua reject TIAR treaty against Venezuela.
Venezuela establishes Petro as payment system.
UAW Autoworkers strike after years of boosting General Motors to record level profits.
N.Y. County and Manhattan District Atty. Cyrus Vance’s office subpoenas eight years of #45’s tax returns.
Federal Appeals Court rules #45 can be sued for unconstitutional profiteering. Bedbugs, anyone?