In 1976 Carlo Cipolla, an Italian economic historian, set out to find a sociological definition and theory of human stupidity. The essay, entitled “The basic laws of human stupidity”, was meant as a humorous pamphlet to be given out to family and friends as a Christmas present. I know Christmas is gone already but I thought I’d share with you beloved, albeit few, readers and friends a summary of his work. Let’s call it a late Christmas present!
Cipolla states in his introduction: “this essay is neither the fruit of cynicism nor an exercise in social defeatism – any more than a microbiology book is. The following pages are, in fact, the result of a constructive effort to investigate, know and therefore possibly neutralise one of the most powerful and dark forces that impede the growth of human well-being and happiness.” Despite it’s amusing tone (or rather because of it) I believe the essay explores some fascinating social dilemmas worth diving into.
On a personal note, and in an attempt to include our current climate of political correctness into the text, please note that the words stupid or stupidity are not meant as an insult or denigratory remark but rather a technical definition of a human reality.
First Law: Always and inevitably everyone underestimates the number of stupid individuals in circulation.
No matter if you are a cynic or an optimist, you certainly have been shocked many times over by the stupidity of fellow members of the human race (and I’m willing to bet it has happened at least once in the past ten days). Cipolla invites us to consider that:
“However high the quantitative estimate that one makes of human stupidity, one is repeatedly and recurrently amazed by the fact that:
a) people whom one has judged in the past to be rational and intelligent then suddenly turn out to be unequivocally and irremediably stupid;
b) day after day, with incessant monotony, one is hindered and hindered in one’s activity by stubbornly stupid individuals, who suddenly and unexpectedly appear in the least opportune places and moments.”
Second Law: The probability that a certain person (will) be stupid is independent of any other characteristic of that person.
For Cipolla stupidity is not determined by cultural factors but by biogenetic. Some people are born tall, some have red hair, some have green eyes and some are simply born stupid. In other words there are no class, race, gender or creed discriminations in stupidity. He adds: “I firmly believe that stupidity is an indiscriminate prerogative of any and every human group and that this prerogative is uniformly distributed according to a constant proportion.”
Furthermore: “In this regard, Nature truly seems to have surpassed itself. It is well known that Nature, quite mysteriously, manages to keep the relative frequency of certain natural phenomena constant. (…) We do not know how Nature achieves this extraordinary result (…) The extraordinary fact about the frequency of stupidity is that Nature manages to make sure that this frequency is always and everywhere equal to the probability regardless of the size of the group, so much so that one finds the same percentage of stupid people whether they take into account very large groups or very small groups. No other kind of phenomena under observation offers such a singular proof of the power of Nature.”
To prove the point a series of studies were conducted in various Universities around the world. They divided the populations of these university into four broad categories meant to express class and level of education: janitors, employees, students, faculty. The amazing result was that the percentage of stupid people remained the same in the four categories. They repeated the test with Nobel Prize winners, the elite, the “crème de la crème”, and the result was to discover that a comparable percentage of Nobel Prize winners are stupid (I don’t know about you but that doesn’t surprise me at all!).
“At this point it is necessary to clarify the concept of human stupidity”. Cipolla quotes the famous affirmation by Aristotles that “man is a social animal”. No matter if you live in a metropolis or in the woods, sooner or later you’ll have to deal with other human beings. And in doing so we are forced to carry out, or not, some specific action. He adds: “From any action, or non-action, each of us derives a gain or a loss, and at the same time determines a gain or a loss for someone else.”
He illustrates this in this graph:
From these two factors, one must consider to explore human behaviour, we obtain four groups of people (plus an additional one, ineffectual people, comprised by people who refuse all action). These four groups are: intelligent people, bandits, helpless people and stupid people. These groups are defined as follows:
Intelligent people: people who’s actions bring benefits to both themselves and others.
Bandits: people who’s actions bring benefits to themselves but losses to others.
Helpless people: people who’s actions bring benefits to others but losses to themselves.
Stupid people: people who’s actions bring losses to themselves and to others.
Third Law: A stupid person is a person who causes losses to another person or to a group of persons while himself deriving no gain and even possibly incurring losses.
“Faced with the third basic law, rational people instinctively react with skepticism and disbelief. The fact is that reasonable people have difficulty conceiving and understanding unreasonable behaviour.”
We can all understand the actions of an intelligent person based on the effectiveness of the results. We can also understand the actions of a bandit, who despite a dubious moral ground, acts and behaves following a logical pattern. We can also understand the failures of a helpless person for his or hers failed attempt is still driven by a legitimate logic. But it is difficult for a rational person to come to terms with the illogical, unreasonable, absurd and incoherent actions of a stupid person. “Nobody knows, understands or can explain why that absurd creature does what it does. In fact there is no explanation – or rather – there is only one explanation: the person in question is stupid”.
Of course no human being behaves in a constant and coherent matter all of the time. We all have bad days, so to speak. An intelligent person might sometimes act in a matter that approaches banditry or helplessness. But because he’s fundamentally an intelligent person “most of his actions will have the characteristic of intelligence”. The same can be said of bandits and helpless people. The only category that breaks the pattern is, of course, that of stupid people. “The reason for this is that the vast majority of stupid people are fundamentally and steadfastly stupid — in other words, they persistently insist on causing harm or loss to other people without any gain for themselves”.
Stupidity and power
All humans, through their actions, have an effect on their community; the intensity of which is determined by the degree of strength, they genetically posses, of the traits inherent to their category. That is how intelligent, helpless, criminal or stupid one is. But also, and more dangerously, it derives from the position of power and authority they occupy in society. If, like discussed earlier, the same percentage of stupid people can be found in university janitors and Nobel prize winners, it is safe to assume that a relative percentage of stupidity will be present amongst heads of states, military leaders, economists, heads of industry and so on and so on. With the additional problematic that their “capacity to harm others is dangerously increased by the position of power they occupy”.
“The question that reasonable people often ask is how and why stupid people manage to reach positions of power and authority.” This is Cipolla’s answer: “Class and caste were the social institutions that allowed a steady stream of stupid people in positions of power in most pre-industrial societies. In the modern industrial world (…) instead of class and caste, there are political parties, bureaucracy and democracy. Within a democratic system, general elections are a highly effective instrument to ensure the stable maintenance of a percentage of stupid people among the powerful. It should be remembered that, under the Second Law, a percentage of people who vote are stupid and elections offer them a magnificent opportunity to harm everyone else, without any gain from their action. They accomplish this by helping to maintain a constant level of fools among the people in power.” Just take a look at most politicians around the world and you’ll notice this is true.
The power of stupidity
According to Cipolla the real power and danger of stupidity resides in it’s irrationality. An intelligent person can fight a bandit for they both fight with the same weapons: logic and rationality. A fight between an intelligent person and a bandit resembles a chess game where the best tactical moves will determine the winner. This is not the case with a stupid person for a stupid person will irremediably behave irrationally.
“Since the actions of a stupid person do not conform to the rules of rationality, it follows that:
generally one is taken by surprise by the attack;
even when awareness of the attack is acquired, it is not possible to organise a rational defense, because the attack, in itself, lacks any rational structure.”
Fourth Law: Non-stupid people always underestimate the damaging power of stupid individuals. In particular non-stupid people constantly forget that at all times and places and under any circumstances to deal and/or associate with stupid people always turns out to be a costly mistake.
It is no surprise that a helpless person would not recognise the danger of a stupid person. They are helpless after all. What is surprising is that an intelligent person or a bandit would make the same mistake. They should know better. The only hypothesis Cipolla can conceive are that, when faced with stupidity, intelligent people are overwhelmed by a sense of superiority or pity or contempt. Also, an intelligent person generally tends to believe that a stupid person can only hurt himself, but that means confusing stupidity with helplessness. Cipolla adds: “Sometimes it is even tempting to associate oneself with a stupid individual with the aim of using him for your own aims. This manoeuvre can only have disastrous effects because:
it is based on the complete incomprehension of the essential nature of stupidity
gives the stupid person extra room to exercise his talents. (…) Due to the erratic nature of stupidity, one cannot foresee all the actions and reactions of the same and in a short time one will be crushed and pulverised by his unpredictable actions.
Over the centuries, in public and private life, countless people have not taken into account the Fourth Basic Law and this has caused incalculable losses to humanity.”
Fifth Law: A stupid person is the most dangerous type of person.
The fifth law has profound consequences for the social, political, cultural and economic well being of a community. When the stupid “go to work” they create nothing but losses, for themselves and others, and the whole society is impoverished.
When a society is healthy and growing the damage done by stupid people is kept in check by intelligent ones. But if a society is in decline stupidity becomes more active because intelligent people tend to disappear and bandits occupy more and more places of power. This inevitably strengthens the destructive power of the stupid and brings the country to ruin.
There is one aspect of Cipolla’s study that leaves me unsatisfied, and that is the consideration of truth. In order for stupidity to be analysed following his system we must first define the proper starting point of our analysis. If stupidity is to cause harm to others without any gain for oneself we must first define what constitutes harm. Of course in most cases this is self evident but in more subtle and complex situations this is not always the case. Let’s use a current example: Covid vaccines. If the vaccines are a good medical product those refusing to take it are, by Cipolla’s definition, stupid. But if the vaccines are a bad product then those refusing to take it are intelligent. So in order to define stupidity we need to have a clear definition of good and bad. And this is not always easy to do.
The second aspect that I’d like to point out is that being helpless, bring benefits to others but losses to oneself, could be considered both a weakness or an act of absolute ethical and moral integrity. Didn’t Jesus of Nazareth, after all, sacrifice himself for the good of humanity? Didn’t Gandhi? St Francis? Isn’t the sign of a materialistic mind to consider helplessness a weakness rather than a virtue?
This said, it seems to me, that the proliferation of stupidity in all fields of today’s social life is a clear sign of the decline of the capitalist era. A system that has put profit and material pleasure above everything else created a cultural vacuum of Biblical proportions. Within this empty space the virus of stupidity has reproduced itself to staggering amounts. Hedonistic capitalism, having eliminated the classical ideas of universal ethic, finds itself at it’s logical conclusion. We bartered virtue for pleasure, culture for entertainment, economic justice for social justice, philosophy for memes, the transcendent for the immanent, political ideals for blind ideology, Pink Floyd for Justin Bieber and the results are in folks! May all the number of the stars give light to your fair way!
In November 2011, following the publishing of the Afghan and Iraqi logs, the US government, under the banner of the Grand Jury in Alexandria, Virginia begin investigating Assange and Wikileaks. At the same time the FBI begins an independent investigation. The indictment (the criminal charges) remains secret and sealed for eight years although it takes a small leap of imagination to envisage what it could contain.
On the 11th of April 2019, the day of Assange’s arrest in London, the indictment against him is unsealed. One could wonder about such timing but the reason is pretty simple: in the eyes of the US government Assange is now in the hands of an allied country (one could say accomplice or vassal, depending on the point of view) that will facilitate Assange extradition. He is charged with conspiracy to commit computer intrusion (hacking into a government computer), a relatively minor crime that carries a maximum 5-year sentence, with a possibility of parole, if found guilty.
The indictment stems from an incident in 2010, when Assange allegedly told his source, then Army private Chelsea Manning, that he would help crack a password that would have given her deeper access to the military computers from which she was leaking classified material to WikiLeaks and allow her to use a different username to avoid detection. At this time it’s not clear if Assange ever successfully cracked the password.
In other words the US department of justice claims that Julian Assange didn’t just receive info from an informant and then published it (which is not a crime, rather it is good journalism) but that he conspired with his source (Manning) and aided her to obtain information (which is a crime as an act of espionage). The information was then used, the US department of justice claims, to injury the US for the advantage of a foreign nation (this begs the question which nation? And if Assange is a spy, he’s spying on whose account? The people’s?). In short the US government hopes to prove that Assange is a spy and not a journalist
On the 23rd of May 2019, Assange is indicted on 17 new charges relating to the Espionage Act of 1917 in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. These are: conspiracy to obtain and disclose national defense information, conspiracy to commit computer intrusions, seven counts of obtaining national defense information, and nine counts of disclosure of national defense information. These charges carry a maximum sentence of 170 years in prison without the possibility of parole. Most cases brought under the Espionage Act have been against government employees who accessed sensitive information and leaked it to journalists and others. Prosecuting people for acts related to receiving and publishing information has not previously been tested in court.
When the full indictment against Assange becomes of public knowledge a worldwide debate about freedom of speech and freedom of press begins. The whole question revolves around this distinction: is Julian Assange a journalist or a spy?
Most representatives of the US government defend the view that Assange is a spy and not a journalist. The Vice-President of the United States, Joe Biden (the great shining knight of hope), goes as far as calling him a terrorist. Once they finally understand what Assange’s case could mean for journalistic practices, the mainstream media wakes up. The New York Times comments that it and other news organisations obtained the same documents as Wikileaks also without government authorisation. It also says it is not clear how Wikileaks’s publications are legally different from other publications of classified information. The US allegation that Assange’s publication of these secrets was illegal is deemed controversial by CNN, the Washington Post and other mainstream media.The Associated Press claims that Assange’s indictment presents media freedom issues, as Assange’s solicitation and publication of classified information is a routine job journalists perform.
Edward Snowden said it best: “The Department of Justice just declared war––not on Wikileaks, but on journalism itself. This is no longer about Julian Assange: this case will decide the future of media.” He was echoed by Ron Paul (a candidate in the Republican primaries of 2008 and 2012): “In a free society we’re supposed to know the truth… In a society where truth becomes treason, then we’re in big trouble. And now, people who are revealing the truth are getting into trouble for it.” He added “This is media, isn’t it? I mean, why don’t we prosecute The New York Times or anybody that releases this?”
This is the whole problem with the Assange’s case. The charges built against Assange could be applied to any other media and journalist. With Assange trial what is really at stake is not only the life of the most courageous journalist and publisher of our time but the freedom of the press itself. If Julian Assange is considered a publisher he is imprisoned as one. And it this message goes through, that publishing material that damages the reputation and activity of the Us government will put you in jail, every journalist in the world should be scared. And that’s exactly the point. Julian Assange is being used as an example to send a clear message to journalists around the world: your rights to freedom of press exist as long as we decide they do. If you ever dare publishing damaging material against the US government you will be put in prison.
The case against Julian Assange could be epitomised with the latin motto “Unum castigabis, centum emendabis” (strike one to educate a hundred), which, in modern times, was brought back into fashion by none other than Mao Tse-Tung.
The first hearing into the US request for Assange’s extradition is held in London on the 2nd of May 2019. The trial is presided by Judge Emma Arbuthnot. When asked whether he consented to extradition, Assange replies: “I do not wish to surrender myself for extradition for doing journalism that has won many, many awards and protected many people”. The judge then denies Assange’s lawyers any more time to prepare their case – even though their client is prevented in prison from receiving legal documents and other tools with which to defend himself.
Towards the end of 2019, Judge Arbuthnot, steps aside because of a “perception of bias”. It turns out that her husband, Lord James Arbuthnot, a former Conservative defence minister with links to the British military and intelligence establishment, was working closely with the neo-conservative Henry Jackson Society (HJS), a right wing lobby group with a strongly anti-Assange agenda.The HJS has called Assange “bonkers and paranoid” and described the asylum given to him by the government of Ecuador as “the last seedy bolthole to which Mr Assange thinks he can run”. Vanessa Baraitser is appointed as the presiding judge. As Chief Magistrate, Arbuthnot remains the supervising legal figure “responsible for… supporting and guiding” Baraitser. In other words she remains as the puppet master. Hardly an example of impartiality of the British justice system.
On the 21st of October 2019, Assange appears in court for a case management hearing. When Judge Baraitser asks about his understanding of the proceedings, Assange replies: “I don’t understand how this is equitable. This superpower (the US) had 10 years to prepare for this case and I can’t access my writings. It’s very difficult where I am to do anything but these people have unlimited resources. They are saying journalists and whistleblowers are enemies of the people. They have unfair advantages dealing with documents. This is not equitable what is happening here.”
Then the Covid crisis explodes around the world. This slows down proceedings considerably. In September some witnesses testify remotely via video link. Technical problems cause extensive delays. Amnesty International and eight Members of the European Parliament have their access to the livestream revoked. No real explanation is given for this. Other witnesses testify that the conditions of imprisonment, which would be likely to worsen upon extradition to the US, place Assange at a high risk of depression and suicide which is exacerbated by him being on the autism spectrum. Psychiatrist Michael Kopelman testifies that a hidden razor blade has been found in Assange’s prison cell.
Then comes the turning point of the trial. Patrick Eller, a former forensics examiner with the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command, testifies that Assange did not crack and could not have cracked the password mentioned in the US indictment, as Chelsea Manning had intentionally sent only a portion of the password’s hash. Moreover, Eller states that Manning’s message was unrelated to the classified documents which were already in her possession. In other words the ONLY charge that could have turned Assange’s position from that of a journalist to that of a spy is proven to be false.
In December 2020 Assange requests a pardon from president Trump and six Nobel Prize winners write a letter requesting a pardon for Assange as well.
On the 4th of January 2021, Judge Baraitser rules that Assange cannot be extradited to the United States, citing concerns about his mental health and the risk of suicide in a US prison. The US has 14 days to appeal the ruling, during which time Assange may remain in prison. Mexican President Andres Manuel López Obrador, during a press conference, says that Mexican diplomats would look for Assange’s liberation and offer political asylum. Assange’s attorneys ask that he be released on bail. On the 6th of January, Assange is denied bail.
A PYRRHIC VICTORY
The news that Julian Assange will not be extradited to the United States is a welcome legal victory, but one tainted by legal arguments that should deeply worry us. The denial of his extradition doesn’t come because of the numerous principled arguments against the US extradition case – all of which were rejected by the judge – but because Assange is considered a suicide risk. The US mass incarceration system is so obviously barbaric and depraved that Assange would be at grave risk of committing suicide should he become another victim of its super-max jails. In other words the US demand for extradition was rejected on what is effectively a technicality and not on the basis of principles.
Judge Baraitser has backed all the US government’s main legal arguments for extradition, even though they were comprehensively demolished by Assange’s lawyers. She accepted their dangerous new definition of investigative journalism as “espionage”, and implied that Assange had also broken Britain’s draconian Official Secrets Act in exposing government war crimes. Furthermore she agreed that the 2007 Extradition Treaty applies in Assange’s case, ignoring the treaty’s actual words that exempt political cases like his. With her judging she has opened the door for any journalist guilty of embarrassing Washington to be seized in their home countries and be sent to the US for trial. As if this was not enough Baraitser accepted that protecting sources in the digital age – as Assange did for whistleblower Chelsea Manning, an essential obligation on journalists in a free society – now amounts to criminal “hacking”. She trashed free speech and press freedom rights, saying they did not provide “unfettered discretion by Mr Assange to decide what he’s going to publish”. What’s more, she appeared to approve of the ample evidence showing that the US spied on Assange inside the Ecuadorian embassy, both in violation of international law and his client-lawyer privilege – a breach of his most fundamental legal rights that alone should have halted proceedings.
So as we celebrate this ruling for Assange (although he is not out of the woods yet. The US has said it will appeal the decision) we must also loudly denounce it as an attack on press freedom, as an attack on our hard-won collective freedoms, and as an attack on our efforts to hold governments accountable for the crimes they commit in our name.
There is another worrying element in the ruling: after a decade spent discrediting, disgracing and demonising Assange, this ruling is nothing more than a continuation of that process. The extradition was denied ONLY on the grounds of Assange’s mental health and his autism, and the fact that he is a suicide risk. If he ever regains his freedom, it will be SOLELY because he has been characterised as mentally unsound. That will be used to discredit not just Assange, but the cause for which he fights, the Wikileaks organisation he helped to found, and all wider dissidence from establishment narratives.
The final problem with Judge Barrister’s ruling is, in practical terms, that her arguments become weak on appeal. The judge could have (inadvertently???) offered the US their ace in the hole. Because of the nature of the sentence all the US government would have to do is to give assurances to the judge on the treatment of Julian Assange. The strategy for the US appeal, essentially, will consist in proving their appalling gulag will not induce Julian to commit suicide (or suicide him, Epstein style… you know, when fate decides that guards fall asleep and cameras break down all at once).
Personally I fear (although I sincerely hope to be proven wrong) that this was an attempt of the UK government to pull a Pontius Pilate and wash their hands of the case in front of their country’s public opinion. All the appeal has to consider now is: is a UK jail safer than a US jail? Based on the suicide rate of prisoners in the UK it will be easy to prove that it’s not and Assange will lose the appeal. And so finally the US government will have their vengeance for Assange unleashing the truth about state murder of innocent people.
If this will be the case the Uk and the US governments will have de facto issued a death penalty for both Assange and the freedom of the press.
We like to believe, through the work of propaganda, that the West lives in a liberal free democracy that values individual freedom, freedom of speech and opinion and freedom of the press. But one of the many things that we have learned thanks to Julian Assange is that those are nothing more that beautiful bedtime stories. For the past 10 years Julian Assange has been persecuted by the system in an unprecedented attempt to silence a news publisher. His crime? To have brought to light US war crimes and the shady affairs of the Western elite that governs much of the world.
I invite you to reflect on this: what is journalism? What is it’s role and it’s duty in a free society? Should journalists report only what authorities allow them to or should it be their duty to report specifically and before all else what authorities don’t want them to? True journalism was the check of power. It was the critical voice in defense of the common good, of the constitution, of the ethical soul of the nation against those in power who would dare to overstep their duties. But in the past thirty years, through corruption and threats, these dissenting voices have slowly been silenced. Then, on the 4th of January 2021 the sentence given by Judge Vanessa Barrister (a name that will live in infamy) marked the ultimate death of journalism.
Assange’s sacrifice and his persecution show us that, beyond the proclamations on democracy and freedom of the press, the essence of freedom is not compatible with a system where a small oligarchy reigns, manipulates, governs and influences billions of people unaware of what surrounds them and of the truth before their eyes. This because, in the words of another true journalist Glenn Greenwald: “Those who do not seek to meaningfully dissent or subvert power will usually deny — because they do not perceive — that such dissent and subversion are, in fact, rigorously prohibited. They will continue to believe blissfully that the society in which they live guarantees core civic freedoms — of speech, of press, of assembly, of due process — because they have rendered their own speech and activism, if it exists at all, so innocuous that nobody with the capacity to do so would bother to try to curtail it.”
Julian Assange’s battle to defend our freedoms, to defend those in far-off lands whom we bomb at will in the promotion of the selfish interests of a western elite, his struggle to make our societies fairer, to hold the powerful to account for their actions, to make our politics less corrupt, our legal systems more transparent, our media less dishonest should be our battle also.For it is OUR DUTY as citizens. If we don’t fight for these values our societies are doomed and destined for tyranny.
Julian Assange, a hero of our times, showed us the way. It is up to us to carry the torch in the hope that he was yet again right when he claimed: “It is my strong belief that courage is contagious”.
The battle of and for Julian Assange will only end when he is freed.
If you’d like to help out here are some websites than host a variety of actions:
Following the events in Sweden only one word is on the mouth of the mainstream media: rape. It is printed and repeated over and over again by journalists, commentators and Tv anchors. This (as we’ve seen in the first part of this article) is simply not an accurate description of the events nor a fair assessment of the judicial accusations. But after all, the whole point is not to fairly report what happened but to have the connection “Assange equal rapist” sink into the public’s mind. He is betrayed by his peers.
The journalists that worked with him on the leaks of the Afghan and Iraqi logs turn their backs on him and a smearing campaign of unprecedented proportions begins. He is called a “rapist”, a “narcissistic individual”, described as “full of himself”, an “attention seeker”, a “tool of Russian intelligence”, a “useful idiot”, a “criminal”, a “spy”… He is accused of having “hygiene problems”, of not “washing his hair” and “smearing his own excrements all over the walls” (this last one is from The Guardian).
This marks the first time in history that an award winning journalist, who brought to the public attention war crimes, is vilified for not washing his hair. Needless to say this is one of the lowest points in journalism’s history. But after all the intention is clear and, so it seems, no low blow is low enough. The mainstream media wants to assassinate his character, to turn Assange, a very popular figure amongst the public, into a monster.
Why would they do that? I can only give you my personal opinion and the first thing that comes to mind is the famous quote by Upton Sinclair: “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!”. Furthermore I believe they hated him because his model of publishing was a threat to their existence.
Assange believes that: “Transparency and accountability are moral issues that must be the essence of public life and journalism.” Or, in the words of Australian journalist, and friend of Assange, John Pilger “He believes that journalists are the agents of people, not power: that we, the people, have a right to know about the darkest secrets of those who claim to act in our name”. In fact Assange forced these “journalists” to look at themselves in the mirror and what they saw was their continuous compromising with the integrity of their profession and their advocating on behalf of the powers-that-be, because this is the easy way to do journalism. In short Assange put them to shame and they hated him for it.
POLITICAL ASYLUM IN THE ECUADORIAN EMBASSY
On the 20th of November 2010, the Swedish police issues an international arrest warrant for Assange. On the 8th of December, he gives himself up to British police and attends his first extradition hearing. He remains in custody.
On the 16th of December, during the second hearing, he is granted bail by the High Court and released after his supporters pay £240,000 in cash. A further hearing on 24 February 2011 rules that Assange should be extradited to Sweden. This decision was upheld by the High Court on the 2nd of November and by the Supreme Court on the 30th of May the next year.
Assange continuously claims his innocence and that he is not concerned about the proceedings in Sweden as such. He believes that the Swedish allegations are designed to discredit him and are a pretext for his extradition from Sweden to the United States where, he fears, he would face an unfair and biased trial that would conclude with his reclusion in some far away American hellhole. A proof of this belief is that Assange’s lawyers made over 30 offers to arrange for Assange to visit Sweden in exchange for a guarantee that he would not be extradited to the US. Of course these offers were never accepted.
On the 19th of June 2012, Julian Assange steps into the Ecuadorian Embassy in London seeking political asylum. Two months later, on the 18th of August, Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa confirms that Assange can stay at the embassy indefinitely. In its formal statement, Ecuador says that “as a consequence of Assange’s determined defense to freedom of expression and freedom of press… in any given moment, a situation may come where his life, safety or personal integrity will be in danger”.
The Ecuadorian embassy is small; a three bedrooms flat surrounded by tall buildings that block all sun light. Assange describes it as “living in a spaceship”. He has no proper medical care, little space and little privacy. Heavily armed officers of the Metropolitan Police Service surround the building 24/7 ready to arrest him if he steps out. Long range cameras are placed in the buildings surrounding the embassy enforcing a 24/7 surveillance (spying?) system. In fact this becomes one of the most surveilled places in the world. Please remember that at this point all that Assange is accused of by the British justice system is skipping bail.
The police surveillance is withdrawn on grounds of cost in October 2015 (3 years later), but the police says they would still deploy “several overt and covert tactics to arrest him”. The cost of the policing for the period was reported to have been something between £12.6 and 16 million of taxpayers money.
On 5 February 2016, the UN’s Working Group on Arbitrary Detention studies the case of Assange and concludes that he has been subject to arbitrary detention by the UK and Swedish Governments since the 7th of December 2010 (6 years), including his time in prison, on conditional bail and in the Ecuadorian embassy. The Working Group says Assange should be allowed to walk free and be given compensation. The UK and Swedish governments reject the claim.
Meanwhile Julian Assange continues to run WikiLeaks from inside the embassy.
EDWARD SNOWDEN AND GOOGLE
In 2013 Edward Snowden, a CIA employee and subcontractor, leaks highly classified information from the National Security Agency (NSA). His disclosures reveals numerous mass global surveillance programs run by the NSA with the cooperation of European governments. This initiates an international discussion about national security and individual privacy.
WikiLeaks has nothing to do with the leak nor it’s publishing other than, maybe, a spiritual affinity amongst whistleblowers. That is the most likely reason why, in June 2013, Assange and others in WikiLeaks help Snowden flee from US law enforcement and save his life. The details of the story are very interesting and entertaining but a bit long to tell in this article. I invite you to look for them on the internet.
In 2014 Assange publishes the book “When Google met WikiLeaks” which tells the story of Assange and Eric Schmidt’s (at the time the CEO of Google) encounter. In the book Assange reports the close intrinsic link between the various American espionage agencies that, through Google, monitor all the information that passes through the network. Furthermore, he warns us of the danger of the monopoly of Google’s services. He states “Over the last 15 years Google has grown within the internet like a parasite. Internet browsing, social networks, maps, satellites-drones, Google is inside our phone, on our desktop, it is invading every aspect of our lives: both personal and commercial. At this point, Google has a very real power over anyone who uses the internet; that is practically anyone in the contemporary world”. He also adds: “Google has become evil. It is now aligned with American foreign policy. This means for example that Google can intervene in the interest of the United States, it can end up compromising the privacy of billions of people, it can use the power of advertising for propaganda purposes.”
The two visions of the future of the internet that emerge from the book are the polar opposites: for Assange, “the liberating power of the network lies in its freedom and in its being a world without a state”. For Schmidt, however, “the emancipation of the internet coincides with the objectives of American foreign policy“.
“People like Schmidt”, Assange writes, “will tell you that open-mindedness is a virtue, but any point of view that challenges American exceptionalism, at the basis of US foreign policy, will remain invisible to them. They believe they are doing good. And this is the problem”.
2016 US PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION
During the 2016 US Democratic Party presidential primaries, WikiLeaks pulls one of their most daring leaks ever by publishing emails sent or received by presidential candidate Hillary Clinton while she was Secretary of State. It’s a political earthquake of biblical proportions.
In short this is the story: Hillary Clinton sets up a private email server and network for herself, her family and her closest collaborators. This is forbidden by the law because doing so prevents her emails from being accessible to the federal government and the Congress. The server is stored at a Clinton-owned office in Midtown Manhattan, where it shares physical space with the Clinton Foundation’s server. Hillary Clinton has a lot of classified information on that server. Clinton team emails end up in the hands of Assange and he publishes them on WikiLeaks. The FBI begins an investigation on the premise that Hillary Clinton violated the Espionage Act of 1913 by allowing national defense information to be “lost, stolen, abstracted, or destroyed” through “gross negligence.”
When she finds out about the FBI investigation Hilary Clinton deletes thousands of emails with a software program called “BleachBit.” Clinton and her legal team use the software to destroy about 30,000 emails which she deems “personal.” But as Trey Gowdy, member of the House Oversight Committee, pointed out: “You don’t use BleachBit for yoga emails or bridesmaids emails. When you’re using BleachBit, it is something you really do not want the world to see,”
The FBI report says that Justin Cooper, an aide of the Clintons, destroyed two Clinton’s old mobile phones by “breaking them in half or hitting them with a hammer.” Nevertheless, following the investigation, FBI Director James Comey claims that Clinton was “extremely careless,” but there aren’t enough grounds to prosecute.
So what do these leaked email reveal? For the most part nothing new to those who had paid attention to Hillary Clinton’s political career. That is the questionable relationship between the Clinton Foundation and its donors, Clinton’s ease with powerful interests on Wall Street and her ties to wealthy campaign contributors (other than her secret recipe for the “perfect risotto” – I kid you not!).
But what else? Did the emails provide a smoking gun of some sort? No. But, in Assange’s words: “Clinton emails (…) create a rich picture of how Hillary Clinton performs in office, but, more broadly, how the US Department of State operates.”
One of these “rich pictures”, according to multiple observers, although this was never proven, portrayed the real reasons of the French/NATO invasion of Libya and the proactive involvement of Hillary Clinton in making the war happen. I must stress that this has not been officially proven by the emails (or any other source) but I report it because I personally find it both interesting and plausible.
So the story goes that Rais Muammar Gaddafi was trying, with the partnership of other African states, to free himself from the yoke of the IMF with the creation of a new pan-African currency. He wanted to stop selling Libyan oil in US dollars and begin demanding payment instead in gold-backed “dinars” (a planned single African currency made from gold-of which Libya had an estimated 150 tons of). This had the potential to bring down the dollar and the world monetary system by extension and is, allegedly, the reason for the invasion and the removal of Gaddafi.
Whatever happened in Libya, what’s certain is that on the 22nd of July 2016, WikiLeaks releases another batch of emails and documents from the Democratic National Committee seemingly presenting ways to undercut Clinton’s more popular competitor Bernie Sanders and showing apparent favouritism towards her. This leads to the resignation of party chairman Debbie Wasserman Schultz and raises some very serious questions about the legitimacy of Hillary Clinton’s election as the Democratic candidate. The revelations made by WikiLeaks most definitely play a big role in her defeat against Donald Trump.
As we all know (it’s been repeated endlessly over the past four years) after her loss Hillary Clinton and the Democratic party began accusing both Julian Assange and Donald Trump of being Russian (Putin’s) puppets. They accuse Assange of being a Russian spy and the Russian government of having provided Assange with the leaked emails. In other words for the past four years the Democratic party has being accusing Russia to have hacked (stolen) the 2016 elections (Which is in itself interesting considering that today the same people claim that it’s impossible to do so).
Julian Assange never said where the leaks came from. In a July 2016 interview, he implied that DNC staffer Seth Rich was the source of the leak and that Rich had been killed as a result. WikiLeaks offered a $20,000 reward for information about his murder. Special prosecutor Robert Mueller, who conducted the investigation on possible Russian interference in the 2016 elections, claimed that Assange “implied falsely” that Rich was the source to obscure the fact that Russia was the source.
It is impossible, for now, to tell what the truth is. But one thing is certain: Julian Assange, in the eyes of the US government, had crossed the line. He had to be stopped. No matter how.
ARREST IN THE ECUADORIAN EMBASSY
On the 2nd of April 2017 Lenín Moreno, the centre-left candidate in the 2017 Ecuadorian presidential election wins a narrow victory. Soon after his election Moreno drastically shifts his political stance to the right, distancing himself from Correa’s leftist legacy and making neoliberal changes to both domestic and foreign policy. He wants, first and foremost, to improve the country’s relations with the US.
Following a June 2018 visit by US Vice President Mike Pence, Moreno buys weapons, radar sets, six helicopters and other equipment from the US. He also begins a cooperation with the US government that would include training and intelligence sharing. During their meeting Pence and Moreno also talk about Julian Assange. It becomes obvious to most that Assange is an item on the agreement.
Moreno and his government impose new restrictions to Assange. They place cameras everywhere in the embassy, search every visitor, cut his internet connection, forget to supply Assange with food and toilet paper… in short they make his life impossible.
Furthermore they allow an extensive surveillance operation against Assange from within the embassy. Then they accuse him of being rude to the staff, of being unclean, of stinking, of leaving shit in the toilet, of smearing faeces on the embassy walls… It is worth noting that during the 6 years Assange stayed in the embassy not one negative comment was made about his behaviour. And yet, during the 18 months of Moreno’s presidency, if we are to believe the official narrative, Assange becomes a wild beast.
In any case on the 11th of April 2019, Ecuador revokes his asylum, with Moreno saying Ecuador has “reached its limit on the behaviour of Mr Assange”. Moreno refers to Assange as a “spoiled brat” and a “miserable hacker”. On the same day the Metropolitan Police is allowed entrance into the embassy and arrests Assange in connection with his failure to surrender to the court in June 2012 for extradition to Sweden.
It is interesting to note that at this time Lenín Moreno and the Ecuadorian government were awaiting an upcoming decision by the International Monetary Fund to grant Ecuador a $4.2 billion loan. I’m sure that had nothing to do with the decision of revoking Assange’s asylum.
Assange is taken to Her Majesty’s Prison Belmarsh, a Category-A (High security) men’s prison in Thamesmead, south-east London, known “amongst friends” as the UK’s Guantanamo. The prison is considered one of he toughest prisons in the world and is home to violent terrorists and murderers. The prison has been accused multiple times of mistreating it’s detainees.
The prison regime forces detainees to remain in small cells for 22 hours a day with precarious health and psychological assistance. Assange is denied the right to fraternise with other prisoners, he has no internet nor telephone access which considerably hinders his ability to prepare his defense.
At the cost of sounding repetitive I must remind you that at this time all that Assange is culpable of, in the eyes of the British law, is SKIPPING BAIL!!
On the 1st of May 2019 he is sentenced to 50 weeks imprisonment. The United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention says that the verdict contravenes “principles of necessity and proportionality” for what it considered a “minor violation”. Nils Mielzer, special rapporteur on torture at the UN, who visits Assange together with two doctors who are experts in torture, confirms that the activist will probably die in prison if he is detained for a long time.
It is surprising to note that organisations, such as Amnesty International, which formally denounce any violation of human rights in countries classified as non-liberal, have not said a word or organised awareness campaigns for Julian Assange. The deafening silence of all journalist associations is less surprising but just as shameful.
Who is Julian Assange? For the government of the United States he is a dangerous hacker, a spy and a terrorist who used his skills to steal sensitive information that harmed the US and it’s operatives. For his supporters he is a news publisher, a freedom of speech hero who was the victim of an unprecedented attempt by the system to silence a journalist. His only crime, they claim, is to have brought to light US war crimes and the shady affairs of the Western elite that governs much of the world.
But what’s the truth? I invite you all to follow me in a story of military secrets, computer hacking and political power that gives John le Carré a run for his money and coincidentally also happens to be one of the most important stories of our time.
Julian Paul Assange was born on the 3rd of July 1971 in Townsville, Queensland, Australia. His mother, Christine Ann Hawkins is a visual artist and is father, John Shipton, an anti-war activist and builder.
The family is financially poor but intellectually rich; art and politics are often the subject of conversation at the family’s table. Young Julian is a smart and witty young boy nicknamed “the wizard” by friends and family for his ability to find unexpected and left-field solutions to problems.
After his parents divorce Julian has a nomadic childhood, living in over 30 Australian towns and cities by the time he reaches his mid-teens,when he settles with his mother and half-brother in Melbourne.
Melbourne in the mid 80’s is home to underground communities of hackers and social revolutionaries; it is a place of ideas, political ideals and experimentation. There young Julian develops a passion for computers. He and his friends foresee the coming digital revolution, want to understand it and not only be part of it but be at it’s forefront. He’s a little nerd spending most of his days in front of a computer.
In 1987, aged 16, Assange begins hacking under the nickname Mendax. A security hacker is someone who explores methods for breaching defenses in a computer system or network. They may be motivated by a multitude of reasons, such as profit, political protest, information gathering… To young Julian Assange it is first and foremost an intellectual challenge.
Imagine being a teenager in front of a computer in your room in Melbourne and hacking into NASA computers. I mean these are the people who put a man on the moon… how smart would you feel? And how exciting!
Allegedly (this was never proven) Assange may have been involved in the WANK (Worms Against Nuclear Killers-but also slang for masturbation) hack at NASA in 1989. The worm (a computer malware capable of self-replicating) is believed to have been created by Melbourne-based hackers but no-one was ever charged. The WANK worm was one of the first worms ever and was of a playful and political nature. The worm was programmed to trick users into believing that files were being deleted, by displaying a file deletion dialogue that could not be aborted, though no files were actually erased. The worm contained over sixty randomised messages that would be displayed to users. These included “Vote anarchist” and “The FBI is watching YOU”. The slogan of the worm, “You talk of times of peace for all, and then prepare for war”, was drawn from the lyrics of the song “Blossom and Blood” from the Midnight Oil an Australian rock band known for their political activism.
In September 1991, Assange was discovered hacking into the Melbourne master terminal of Nortel, a Canadian multinational telecommunications corporation. He was arrested, pleaded guilty to 24 charges, was ordered to pay reparations of A$2,100 and released on a good behaviour bond.
In 1993, Assange provided expert technical advice and support to assist Victoria Police Child Exploitation Unit to prosecute people suspected of involvement in child pornography offences on the internet.
After that Assange studied programming, mathematics and physics at Central Queensland University and later at the University of Melbourne. He never finished his degree.
BIRTH OF WIKILEAKS
Now there’s a thing that’s common to most hackers: they see the world from a different perspective. Their ability to understand and enter the workings of complex informatics systems allows them to see the structure that hides behind the surface. Just like an architect understand the physical structure of the building hiding under a beautiful cathedral, a hacker understands the wiring of digital systems. This allows them to have access to the actual information that structures the reality of our digitalised world. They get to see what’s behind the curtain, they see the difference between the information that is presented to the public and what is really under the hood of the machine, so to speak. In other words they see the lies.
Many things can be said about Julian Assange but in 2006, when he co-founded WikiLeaks, no one can deny he was driven by a noble and just cause: that of exposing to the public the lies that governments and powerful figures around the world were trying to hide.
WikiLeaks was set up as an anti-secrecy group with the said intention of making a platform that would enable leaked paperwork to be revealed safely on-line. Technically WikiLeaks was nothing more than an anonymous digital dropbox that allowed whistle blowers to anonymously upload information. Spiritually it was a news organisation that would use this information to blow the whistle on the injustices of this world. This had never been done before and it’s fair to say that everything that happened next was an exploration, an experiment, on freedom of speech by a guerrilla organisation.
In the first years of it’s existence nobody paid much attention to WikiLeaks. After all they were only publishing informationfrom far away countries including revelations about drone strikes in Yemen, corruption across the Arab world, extrajudicial executions by Kenyan police, Tibetan unrest in China, and the “Petrogate” oil scandal in Peru.
But in 2007 they became of interest to the US authorities after they published the “Camp Delta Standard Operating Procedures”, a military manual detailing the day-to-day operations of the U.S. military’s Guantánamo Bay detention facility. The manual showed continuous abuse and indicated that some prisoners were hidden from Red Cross representatives.
The material WikiLeaks published between 2006 and 2009 attracted various degrees of international attention, but it’s only after they began publishing documents supplied by U.S. Army intelligence analyst Chelsea (born Bradley) Manning, a young soldier shocked by what she saw happening around her, that WikiLeaks became a household name.
The first of the classified documents provided by Chelsea Manning that WikiLeaks released was the infamous Collateral Murder video,which showed United States soldiers killing 18 civilians from a helicopter in Iraq. Amongst these civilians were Reuters journalists Namir Noor-Eldeen and his assistant Saeed Chmagh.
Upon receiving the video Assange and others worked for a week to break the US military’s encryption of the video; and when they succeeded what they saw shocked the world.
The video, recorded on the 12th of July 2007, showed the crew of two US AH-64 Apache helicopters firing a 30 mm cannon on a group of civilians in Baghdad, Iraq.
On the video we can see a group of men walking down a street, this group is mistakenly considered, by the US soldiers, to be a group of rebels. Part of the mistake is due to the cameras the two Reuters journalists are holding which the soldiers believe to be guns.
In the tape’s audio we can hear the order to engage being given and the helicopter’s cannon firing. We can also hear the US soldiers cheering and laughing and making fun of the victims with tremendous viciousness and coldness of heart; as if playing a videogame.
When the massacre is finished and the shooting stops a civilian van, driven by Saleh Matasher Tomal, drives by. Mr. Tomal parks the van and exits to help and assist the wounded. It is at this point that the US helicopters begin to fire again, aiming at the van and killing Mr. Tomal.
When the aerial attack is finally over US ground troops arrive on the scene. They look into the van and find two wounded children, the son and the daughter of Mr. Tomal. The little girl couldn’t blink because her eyes were full of glass. One of the soldiers wants to take her to a hospital nearby but his superiors tell him to “stop being a pussy”.
When the news of the wounded children is relayed to the helicopter’s crew we can clearly hear the commander state: “Well, it’s their fault for bringing their kids into battle”.
In the end the helicopter attack provoked 18 dead, 2 wounded children and no one from US military has ever been held accountable.
For Assange it was a moral and civil duty to publish the video. He needed to show the public the war crimes the US military was committing in Iraq. This is what WikiLeaks was created for in the first place: to expose the wrongdoings governments commit in our name. He was fearless and on April 5th 2010 he released the video.
This became front page news all over the world and helped considerably in changing the public perspective on the Iraqi war. Assange became a public figure, a rockstar a symbol for protesters all over the world. And the US government never forgave him.
Here is a link to the video. I can’t show it here but follow the “Watch on Youtube” link below. WARNING: it contains graphic images and will shock and sicken any soulful human being.
IRAQ AND AFGHAN WAR LOGS
Throughout the rest of the year Chelsea Manning continues her whistle blowing activity and provides WikiLeaks with huge amounts of information.
WikiLeaks proceeds with very difficult job of redacting and organising the information and in October 2010, they publish the Iraq War logs, a collection of 391,832 United States Army field classified reports from the Iraq War covering the period from 2004 to 2009.
This marks the first time Wikileaks works in collaboration with mainstream media. The logs were also published by newspapers such as the Guardian, the New York Times and Der Spiegel.
These logs were written by military men while in service in Iraq. They were reports of things they’ve seen or experienced during their military duties. They were a sort of very detailed war diary. In fact they were and still are the most accurate description of a war ever released to the public. And the story they told was a story of unspeakable horror.
First it became evident that the US and their allies were under reporting civilian casualties. The files recorded 66,081 civilian deaths out of 109,000 recorded deaths. This is 15,000 civilian deaths more than previously admitted by the US government.
Then it became clear that prisoners of war were subjected to violent torture.
Furthermore the logs confirmed previous allegations that the US military handed over many prisoners to the Iraqi Wolf Brigade (an Iraqi special commando police) which was accused of beating prisoners, torturing them with electric drills and executing suspects.
The Guardian stated that the logs show “US authorities failed to investigate hundreds of reports of abuse, torture, rape and even murder by Iraqi police and soldiers” for they had a formal policy of ignoring such allegations.
The logs also proved that the US military cleared an Apache helicopter gunship to open fire on Iraqi insurgents who were trying to surrender and that Us military personnel were reported to have been involved in child prostitution.
When you start publishing these kind of secrets governments start losing control of the narrative. Up to that point the US government had sold the US population the story of a just war fought to get rid of a brutal and inhumane dictator and that only few civilians were being killed. WikiLeaks exposed their lies and public opinion began to change. That is the power of WikiLeaks.
Of course such revelations are bound to enrage many people within the US military complex and they did. Julian Assange suddenly became enemy number one.
The US government accused WikiLeaks of putting lives at danger by providing sensitive information to the enemy. It is true that the documents could have been redacted better but it is worth noting that this was a first: never before in the history of humanity such a quantity of sensitive military material ended up on the desk of a news agency. It is also worth noting that WikiLeaks contacted the White House before publishing the papers and asked for their helped to redact the information. The White House refused.
Assange said that he hoped the publication would “correct some of the attack on the truth that occurred before the war, during the war, and which has continued after the war”.
This was the biggest leak ever and shed light on the long list of war crimes committed by US and their allies.
No one in the US military has ever been held accountable for any of it.
One month later, on the 28th of November 2010, Assange and his WikiLeaks team were at it again publishing a quarter of a million U.S. diplomatic cables from 1966 to 2010. This came to be known as the “Cablegate”.
These Cables were a set of documents consisting in reports and analysis written by US diplomats all over the world and delivered back to the State Department. 100.000 of these documents were marked as confidential and 15.000 as secret.
WikiLeaks initially worked with established Western media organisations while also publishing the cables upon which their reporting was based.
The files showed United States espionage against United Nations and other world leaders, revealed tensions between the U.S. and its allies, and exposed corruption in countries throughout the world as documented by US diplomats, helping to spark the Arab Spring.
From the revelations of these documents it came to light that all the Western chancelleries, the UN secretaries, the secretary general in the role of Ban Ki Moon were spied on by the United States government.
Furthermore the cables exposed the kind of political pressure US diplomats exercise on their international counterparts. Why? In the words of Julian Assange himself: “Nearly every war started in the past 50 years has been the result of media lies. Populations don’t like wars. They have to be fooled into wars.”
A typical tactic that the documents revealed worked something like this: a US diplomat would write to a local politician of any allied country. He would say something along the lines of: “We have a problem with your country’s public opinion: they don’t seem to support our wars in Afghanistan or Iraq. I need you to do something about it. I want you to organise for your main TV channel to interview, say, an Afghan woman during primetime. She will tell your audience a story of how helpful the US military intervention has been for the Afghan people. Don’t worry… we will provide the woman in question. If you don’t do this there will be consequences.”
In short the Cablegate showed the world the extent to which the US government was willing to go to maintain it’s hegemony on the world.
It is at this point that the US government launched an investigation into WikiLeaks and Julian Assange on charges of espionage.
After releasing the Collateral Murder video Julian Assange became a rockstar; he was at the height of his popularity and had become a cultural icon for many people around the world. He was young, good looking, on the front page of all international newspapers and considered a noble warrior ambitiously fighting against the system. He was admired and desired just as he was hated and despised.
In August 2010 he is invited to Stockholm, Sweden, to deliver a speech. The woman who organises the event offers him to stay in her one bedroom studio apartment. She tells him she will be away during his stay and he can have the flat for himself. Julian accepts.
But when he arrives in Sweden the woman, aged 31, changes her plans, tells Assange she won’t be leaving anymore and invites Assange to stay at her place anyway. Julian accepts the offer. One thing leads to another and they have a consensual sexual encounter.
Some days later Assange meets a second woman, aged 26. By all accounts she’s a fan of Assange. One thing leads to another and they have a consensual sexual encounter.
Now what Assange doesn’t know is that the two women know each other. When the two women discover that he slept with both of them they report him to the police on the 20th of August 2010. They report that Assange had engaged in unprotected sexual activity with them that allegedly violated the scope of their consent (they allegedly wanted him to use a condom and he didn’t). One of the women also accuses Assange of having unprotected sex with her (after their first sexual encounter) while she was asleep. It is important to understand that all they want is for the police to force Assange to take an STD/HIV test. The police tells them that they cannot simply tell Assange to take an STD test, but that their statements would be passed to a prosecutor. NO rape allegations were ever made. Julian is questioned, the case is closed, he is told he can leave the country and he does, returning to the UK.
In November 2010, however, the case is reopened by a special prosecutor who says that she wants to question Assangeover two counts of sexual molestation, one count of unlawful coercion and one count of “lesser-degree rape”. This is the beginning of the legal battle Assange has been fighting ever since.
In is interesting to point out that in 2019 UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, Nils Melzer investigated the rape accusations against Assange and said he had not seen a comparable case where a person was subjected to nine years of a preliminary investigation for rape without charges being filed. He said Assange’s lawyers made over 30 offers to arrange for Assange to visit Sweden in exchange for a guarantee that he would not be extradited to the US and described such diplomatic assurances as routine international practice. Melzer criticised the Swedish prosecutors for, among other things, allegedly changing one of the women’s statements without her involvement in order to make it sound like a possible rape. Melzer describes the Swedish rape investigation as “abuse of judicial processes aimed at pushing a person into a position where he is unable to defend himself”.
On the 19th of November 2019 prosecutor Eva-Marie Persson closes the Swedish criminal case against Julian Assange without pressing formal charges. She announces that she had discontinued her investigation, saying that the evidence was not strong enough.
We are at war! Not with a virus but with a thought.
The two fighting sides are neoliberalism versus constitutionalism
After the Russian October Revolution of 1917 the economic system known as capitalism was kept in check by an alternative reality called communism.
This translated, in the West, into the fear, of political and industry leaders, that workers could “go red”. And that meant that workers had to be kept happy.
When the Berlin wall came down and once the Soviet Union collapsed there was no need for capitalism to be so generous no more.
In the 1990s market forces began to reign supreme.
Instead of the triumph of democracy, we witnessed the triumph of the elites.
One of the first things to be cut out of the welfare system was healthcare.
In the past ten years the Italian public healthcare was the victim of financial cuts worth 37 billion Euros.
There are only two possible explanations for the way governments have been dealing with the crisis: complete ineptitude and idiocy or connivance with a criminal intent.
The practice of locking down entire countries will have tremendous consequences in the short, medium and long term.
According to the UN, lockdowns may put the livelihood of 1.6 billion people at acute risk and may push an additional 150 million children into poverty.
According to the UN, because of ‘The Great Lockdown’, 207 million people could fall into extreme poverty.
2020 is “the worst year of humanitarian crisis since the beginning of the United Nations” 75 years ago.
Fear was spread by the so called mainstream media, the great source of terror.
Fear is the great obstacle that blocks all other feelings, namely the ability to reason.
THE RULES OF THE GAME
Any good detective will tell you that there are different forms of evidence. There is statistical evidence, anecdotal evidence, historical evidence, circumstantial evidence and definitive evidence (the so called “smoking gun”).
Each individual piece of evidence cannot be understood independently and must be contextualised within the paradigm created by the larger body of evidence. In other words: an information on it’s own might be insignificant; it is only by piling up, comparing and cross referencing the evidence that we might begin to see the bigger picture and therefore take small steps towards the truth.
This of course should be the job of any serious, curious and honest journalist. Just like a detective a journalist must search within the details in an attempt to put together the final picture of the puzzle.
Sadly today, most journalists demonise the curiosity of those with whom they disagree in order to avoid the difficult task of explaining how the accusations are “baseless” or “conspiratorial”.
In my opinion being conspiratorial is a quality of intelligence because it forces you, out of curiosity and as a moral and civic duty, to take a look behind the scenes, beyond the propaganda and the veil of appearances.
Finally we must keep in mind (I say this mostly to myself) that aggregate evidence does not necessarily constitute proof.
The following is therefore an attempt to take a further step into looking at the Coronavirus crisis from afar, trying to piece together the evidence at our disposal knowing all too well that his does not necessarily constitute a legal proof (yet).
In other words the following is a philosophical and political exercise of reasoning.
What do we know for certain so far? Let’s state the obvious: a new virus has made it’s appearance on our planet. About it’s origins only three options are on the table: a natural occurrence (the bat soup theory), a human error (the lab accident theory) and a deliberate release of the virus (the biological weapon theory). All three theories must be taken in consideration with almost equal levels of seriousness and possibility. It is worth noting that this discussion has been dropped pretty quickly and without definitive proof in the public conversation. This is very strange. It would be like a detective giving up on looking for the murderer and it’s motives while shrugging his shoulders and saying “oh well, the victim is dead anyway… who cares?!”.
It is worth noting that as of today we are in a situation of “he said, she said”. Most mainstream scientists defend the “bat soup” theory. Fadela Chaib a WHO spokeswoman claimed: “It is probable, likely, that the virus is of animal origin”. She was joined by Richard Ebright, a professor of chemical biology at Rutgers University: “Based on the virus genome and properties, there is no indication whatsoever that it was an engineered virus.”
Then there is, amongst others, Professor Luc Montagnier winner of the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 2008 for “discovering” HIV as the cause of the AIDS epidemic, claiming that SARS-CoV-2 is a manipulated (man-made) virus. He defends the “lab accident theory” accusing the Wuhan lab of accidentally releasing the virus. He claims that Chinese researchers have used coronaviruses in their work to develop an AIDS vaccine. He also claims that HIV RNA fragments have been found in the SARS-CoV-2 genome.
He said: “With my colleague, bio-mathematician Jean-Claude Perez, we carefully analysed the description of the genome of this RNA virus,” and he formulated his theory based on this study.
It is worth noting that others have already explored this avenue: Indian researchers have already tried to publish the results of the analyses that showed that this coronavirus genome contained sequences of the HIV virus (AIDS virus), but they were forced to withdraw their findings as the pressure from the mainstream was too great.
If this were true it’s worth considering that in order to insert an HIV sequence into a genome, molecular tools are needed, and that can only be done in a laboratory.
So far no serious claims can be found for the “biological weapon” theory (if you know something that I don’t please let me know). This does not mean that it is an impossibility, simply that, as of now, it’s the least likely option. I could try to defend this theory as a mental exercise but I feel that, for the moment, it would be a waste of our time.
But whether a natural occurrence, a human error or a deliberate biological attack (we simply don’t know for sure), it is undeniable that the virus was (is) used for a general reorganisation of society and government in an unprecedented authoritarian turn of capitalism.
THE GIANT WITH FEET OF CLAY
Let’s take a small step backwards to analyse the social/economical situation pre Covid19.
Much of the Western world was living in a deep crisis of neoliberal capitalism. The “free-market” economy (I use quotation marks because the “free-market” is a chimera, pure illusion, it never existed and never will) was on fragile footing prior to the virus. The virus was not the cause, but rather the pin that pricked the bubble.
Sure, the total global financial wealth went up almost 3 times since 1990 from $80 trillion to $225 trillion. But this massive wealth accumulation was resting on a very weak foundation of debt. The world hasn’t created any net wealth. Instead wealth has just been inflated artificially by credit creation and money printing of the same magnitude.
Since 2000, 200 trillion dollars of global debt have been created. 66% of which composed of low level and low quality debt (that is very risky, likely to never be paid back). It goes without saying that the risk of implosion was, and still is, massive.
A major part of the $150 trillion debt created since the Great Financial Crisis, started in 2006, has stayed with the banks and not gone to consumers or industry. This is what happens when governments and central banks primary economic strategy consists of creating money out of thin air and then these funds are used to support the stock market (the toy of the elites) rather than sustain the real economy and needs of the people.
In other words the over financialization (in the interests of the few) of our Western economies have made the system economically unsustainable and the whole castle of cards was about to collapse.
On top of this it had become clearer and clearer to most people that the winners of such system were fewer and fewer (the infamous 1%) to the detriment of the masses. The oligarchic bloc of international capitalism was losing support and a climate of dissatisfaction reigned everywhere. Protest movements (Occupy Wall Street in the US, the Gilets Jaunes in France…), the rise of so called “populism” all over Europe, the loud NO to changes to the constitution in Italy (changes explicitly wanted by the international financial power) the highly successful call for a more socialist society by Bernie Sanders, the victory of Trump over Clinton (perceived by lots of people, rightly or wrongly that’s not the point, as a vector of change in the status quo), Brexit and so on and so forth, were all clear signs of demands for a change in the paradigm. In other words people were beginning to realise that neoliberal capitalism was (is) the real pandemic and that change was (is) needed.
And then came Covid and with it the possibility of hiding all of this under the carpet. The imminent financial crisis could be blamed on the virus (and not on the greed of capitalists and the intrinsic unfairness of the system) and all of those annoying protestors roaming in the streets would soon be locked in their houses.
ONE OF THE GREATEST WEALTH TRANSFERS IN HISTORY
You know how one of the mantras during this crisis has been “We’re all in this together”? Well we ain’t! For instance the world’s billionaires did extremely well during the pandemic, growing their already-huge aggregate fortunes to a record high of $10.2 trillion.
A report by Swiss bank UBS found that billionaires increased their wealth by more than a quarter (27.5%) at the height of the crisis from April to July, just as millions of people around the world lost their jobs.
In the US alone over a roughly seven-month period starting in mid-March – a week after President Donald Trump declared a national emergency – America’s 614 billionaires grew their net worth by a collective $931 billion. At the same time four in ten Americans didn’t have enough cash in their bank accounts to cover a $400 unexpected expense (say medical?) and more than 40 million Americans filed for unemployment.
In the beautiful home of capitalism, the Small Business Administration (a US government agency that provides support to entrepreneurs and small businesses) made $349 billion available to small businesses with the Paycheck Protection Program. But, much like in 2008 and the whole too big to fail scam, $243 million of that was snapped up by large, publicly traded corporations, some of which were valued at over $100 million. Even hedge funds submitted claims to try to tap into what they saw as free money.
Of course it was of great further help to our billionaire friends that every substantial piece of Covid 19 legislation enacted worldwide has harmed small businesses while benefiting large corporations. This indicates, at the very least, a wilful indifference on the part of lawmakers to the plight of small businesses, but more likely, a conscious effort to disadvantage small businesses for the advantage of multinationals. As correctly pointed out by an American analyst: “Unless our policymakers are woefully incompetent, the intent of policy cannot be divorced from its effect. And the effect of Covid19 policy on small businesses has been devastating.”
In the US three people are the real winners of the greatest wealth transfer in history. And they are (rolling of drums)…
Third place: Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook) with a pre-pandemic estimated net worth of $54.7 billion he saw his wealth grow by $46.5 billion (+85.1%) to $101.2 billion. Like nearly every other publicly traded company, Facebook’s stock price fell precipitously when Covid 19 hit – from over $220 per share in February to less than $150 per share in March. But by May, Facebook stock hit record highs and shares were worth over $276 per share in mid-October.
Second place: Elon Musk (Tesla) with a pre-pandemic estimated net worth of $24.6 billion he saw his wealth grow by $68.2 billion (+277.4%) to $92.8 billion. Just like Mr. Zuckerberg Mr. Musk made this money on the stock market. On March 18, Tesla stock was worth $72 per share. By October 13, it was worth over $440 per share and has continued to increase to over $500 since.
And the winner is: Jeff Bezos (Amazon) with a pre-pandemic estimated net worth of $113.0 billion he saw his wealth grow by $90.1 billion (+79.8%) to $203.1 billion. The reason is easy to imagine: with a whole economy shut down, small businesses forced to close and the prohibition to step outside people ended up shopping online. Of course the fact that he paid $0 in taxes two years in a row (2017/18) and that when its bill finally came in 2019, he paid just $162 million, a measly 1.2% of the company’s income that year, helped a bit in creating his fortune (but this is another story).
Part of what made this possible was the stock-market rebound. During the economy shut down the markets plunged but quickly climbed again. The journey from record high to a bear market to a new record took just 126 trading days, the fastest-ever climb. When the stock market bounced back, the unequal wealths meant that the rich and powerful still had money on hand to invest and thus profit, while the middle and lower classes did not. To quote Yanis Varoufakis: “One of the secrets that 2020 brought into the open was that the mountains of concentrated private wealth we observe have very little to do with entrepreneurship. I have no doubt that Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, or Warren Buffett have a knack for making money and cornering markets. But only a tiny percentage of their accumulated loot is the result of the creation of value.”
In other words the additional $931 billion billionaires amassed did not result from any innovation or ingenuity that generated additional profits. They got richer in their sleep, so to speak, as central banks flooded the financial system with manufactured money that caused asset prices, and thus billionaires’ wealth, to skyrocket. As one commentator pointed out: ““The bigger the business, the more it moves the major averages, and that matters because this is the first recession where big business is coming through virtually unscathed, if not going for the gold”. All of this while the real economy (small businesses) was being massacred.
It is worth considering that such wealths equates to a fortune almost impossible to spend over multiple lifetimes of absolute luxury. Anyone accumulating riches on this scale could easily afford to raise the pay of the employees who generate their wealth, or contribute a great deal more in taxes to support vital public services, while remaining very well rewarded for whatever successes they’ve achieved. But it’s clear to anyone that they don’t. They don’t want to and never will unless forced to do so.
The fact that billionaires’ wealth has increased so much at a time when hundreds of millions of people around the world are struggling could (MUST!) lead to public and political anger. For them there is a big risk of being singled out by society, that the plebes will go after them with pitch forks and torches, so to speak, and they are very aware (scared) of this.
TAKE THE MONEY AND RUN
As we’ve just seen the firsts to profit from the Coronavirus pandemic have been billionaires, but they are not the only ones.
The obvious second is the so called Big Pharma since, like usual, they decided to put profit before an effective medical response. The Coronavirus pandemic is an unprecedented profiteering opportunity for them, because of the obvious reason that almost everyone on Earth is destined to become a customer of some kind. “The power of the industry combined with fear is driving extraordinary spending” says U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett.
The most telling story of Big Pharma scandalous response to the crisis is the story of Remdesivir.
In short: Gilead, a company with a market capitalisation of more than $90 billion (making it bigger than Goldman Sachs) develops an antiviral drug with the help of $99 million in American government grant money (Always remember than when we talk about Big Pharma the public pays for most research and manufacturing. Only the profits are privatised). Having failed to be approved as a treatment for hepatitis and Ebola, it was for about three months the most in-demand product in the world because it was sold as a cure for Covid (it is interesting to note that during these three months Gilead spent nearly $ 2.5 million in lobbying). The price for Remdesivir came in at a “measly” $3,120 per course of treatment (6 days) per patient. The Institute for Clinical and Economic Review (ICER) reported it costs just $10 of raw materials to make each dose and is being produced generically in Bangladesh. Gilead ended up selling hundreds of thousands of doses. The American government bought more than 500,000 doses, which is all of Gilead’s production for July and 90% of August and September. Of course by October the WHO announced that Remdesivir had “little or no” effect in treating Covid-19.
I beg you! When you consider Big Pharma always keep in mind that you can put about as much faith in their promises as you can in the pitch of any salesperson (actually maybe less because your life might depend on it).
As for vaccines let’s just point out that their revenues and profits have skyrocketed to over 60 billion a year by 2020. Each new vaccine is worth about a billion dollars.
Finally I close this chapter with Dr. Kamran Abbasi, executive director of the British Medical Journal and editor of the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine (hardly a conspiracy theorist). He said: “Science is being suppressed for political and financial reasons. Covid-19 has caused large-scale state corruption that is detrimental to public health. Politicians and industry are responsible for this opportunistic embezzlement. As are scientists and health experts. The pandemic has revealed how it is possible to manipulate the medical-political complex at a time when it is very important to safeguard science.”
Talking about political corruption… on a side note I think it’s interesting to put on record (it could turn out to be useful information in the months to come) that Joe Biden has led the pack among recipients of contributions from the health care and pharmaceutical industries during his electoral campaign.
I realise that this information is enough to enrage those of us who still have a soul, yet, dear friends, we must continue down this rabbit hole of mud if we are to begin to put this ugly picture together. We must ask ourselves the most important question: cui prodest? Who’s to gain from all of this?
As we’ve just seen there are huge financial incentives behind this crisis but those could be classified as rotten human vultures (I apologise to the real vultures) using the capitalist system at a time of crisis to make some dough. The real question must be: who’s to gain in the long term?
If one looks at the lessons of history it is self evident that depriving the masses of self-determination has always been the wet dream of the elites. Whether against pharaohs, caesars, emperors or billionaire capitalists, the struggle of the masses has always been a struggle for freedom and the struggle of the elites has always been a struggle to impede it.
It is interesting to note (I’m sure this has at least crossed your mind) that all health measures are also unequivocally political in an authoritarian sense and all tend towards the realisation of the elites’ wishes. For instance social distancing (an old dream of capitalism), a ban on gathering (the last time it was implemented in Italy was during the “leggi fascistissime”- the so-called most fascist laws), and, in Italy, at least 9 articles of the Constitution suspended. Therefore, it is impossible to assemble, discuss, contest, organise riots, political movements… all that is allowed is compliance with power. All political activity outside of the official narrative has been de facto frozen. Stalin would be proud!
This is not only implemented at a political level but also at a social one. We must consider the profound and constant push towards a contactless society, a digitalised society without human interaction in this context. Online working, online banking, online teaching, online dating… it is worth noting that all of these activities lose all human meaning without physical interaction.
Online working, as an example, destroys the dividing line between the time of life and the time of work. Capitalism insinuates itself inside our homes, transforming them into a place of production. The ability of workers to gather and therefore the possibility of organising protests (those that led to the conquest of social and labor rights) disappears. Online working marks the end of the communal work experience (this is the oldest dream of capitalist elites).
Online teaching or rather teaching without human experience, is the death of education. A big part of what makes education so important is the meeting and mixing of individuals in a cultural context. At a school it is not only knowledge we look for but also the social interaction of different cultures and visions and ideas. In other words in school we learn how to become effective citizens. Online teaching offers knowledge but not culture. It can only create students who are highly efficient technically but completely ignorant in the ways of the world (another dream of capitalist elites: highly efficient, highly asocial workers).
Online dating and all other online social activities amount to little more than masturbation and serve the continuous push for materialism and nihilism in the West. A push that wants us to believe in nothing other than the matter and the body (no ideals, no transcendence, no hopes, no imagination) and asks us to return to an animal state. Thus creating a mass of amorphous atoms without connections with each other.
In short capitalist destruction has reached it’s final goal. We are ready and willing to renounce our dignity as men and become nothing more that income machines.
“But there’s a deadly virus!” I hear you say. Diego Fusaro, an Italian philosopher, notes: “This is precisely the strength of the new therapeutic paradigm: it hides its political nature behind the alleged objectivity of medical science (only, of course, while discrediting any scientist who differ from the official narrative – hardly a scientific method of debate)”.
It is also worth considering that everything that’s happening strangely resembles the most ancient of stratagems used by all dictators: declaring an emergency, suspending laws and rights and issuing arbitrary rules of conduct to justify the appropriation of absolute powers.
But I could be wrong and we still have no definitive proof so let’s keep digging by asking ourselves some questions. If all of the measures that have been taken exist only within the paradigm of the emergency, how long will the emergency last? And when the Covid threat will end (if ever), will the government’s absolute powers be automatically returned to the citizens? But above all, will the “emergency devices” foist themselves in our daily life long term?
A good indicator to answer these questions is the political response after 9/11. The emergency is ongoing 20 years later, the governmental powers put in place to respond to the terrorist emergency haven’t been returned to the people and the “emergency devices” that were supposed to be provisional have indeed made their way in our daily life (airport checks are just a silly example). 20 YEARS LATER!!!
In fact this is not the only parallel we can draw between 9/11 and the Covid-19. After 9/11 we were all to be considered potential terrorists. Today, after Covid-19, we are all potential spreaders. Both narratives help to imposes a disciplinary society of total control where everyone must be treated as a potential danger.
It seems to me imperative to ask ourselves this question: can we violate the constitution (and throw away the rights it took our ancestors centuries to conquer) in the name of fighting the virus?
According to some in a time of crisis it is necessary to put democracy aside. And this is not unconstitutional because these measures exist only in the time of the crisis. But what happens if the emergency does not end, if it continues indefinitely? Some virologists already openly stated that the virus will stay with us for many years, perhaps forever. In fact, the constitution is being circumvented.
As Diego Fusaro pointed out: “It is interesting how the ruling class has used the Covid-19 emergency to create a specific political rationality which, in the name of the ever-renewed emergency, renews and makes the emergency measures chronic. They ensured that the politically unacceptable in normality becomes politically inevitable with the emergency.”
THE GREAT MAKEOVER
To take a further step towards a clearer picture of the Covid crisis I invite you to follow a logical “cause and consequence” type of reasoning. It goes something like this:
A virus appears = governments decide to lockdown entire countries = small and medium commerces are closed but multinationals and financial institutions are not = destruction of the real economy, proliferation of the financial market and thriving of big companies = tremendous poverty on one side and further concentration of wealth on the other = governments intervene with financial help to the people = more government dependence of the people + more debt = more austerity to come = privatisation of the economy and infrastructure = more profits and power for multinationals and great wealths = greater government and private control over the population = strict compliance to whatever the government wants of the people in order to qualify for the financial aid.
And there you go ladies and gentlemen! A new dictatorship is born! The Covid crisis has allowed the ruling class (the infamous 1% – although in reality we should say the 0.001%) to proactively set in motion a controlled demolition of the global economy which stands to greatly enrich it’s members, whereas the inevitable spontaneous collapse would have wiped them out.
It is always necessary to destroy the old in order to introduce the new. A controlled demolition of the global economy paves the way for the “Great Reset” currently being promoted by the World Economic Forum, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the International Monetary Fund and other major global players.
You probably have heard of the term “great reset”, it is a political and economical proposal made, namely, by Klaus Schwab and his friends at the World Economic Forum (WEF) of Davos to count and then efficiently manage and control all resources, including people, on an unprecedented scale, with unprecedented digital precision. Of course the idea is being sold as a philanthropic enterprise (aren’t they always?) aimed at improving our social systems, reduce food scarcity, hunger and disease and combatting climate change (all things any normal human being desires). But in reality it is no great shift of paradigm but a desperate attempt at restructuring the capitalist system to last over time. An internal reorganisation of the means of production to accelerate and strengthen its processes.
Vandana Shiva, the great Indian environmental activist and anti-globalisation author said it best: “The Great Reset is about maintaining and empowering a corporate extraction machine and the private ownership of life.”
In other words the “great reset” is nothing more than a “great makeover” of neoliberal capitalism. Klaus Schwab, founder of the Forum, warned: “The world must act jointly and quickly to renew all aspects of our societies and economies, from education, to social contracts, to working conditions. Every country, from the United States to China, must participate and every sector, oil, gas, technology, must be transformed.”
This quote of Mr. Schwab reminds me of another quote from another fellow germanophone… Adolf Hitler, when he said: “I’m not interested in politics. I’m interested in changing people’s lifestyles”.
A video ad promoting the “Great reset” circulated for a while on the WEF’s website (it has since been removed). The logline of the proposal said: “By 2030 you’ll own nothing but you’ll be happy”. That’s lovely and I’m sure Mrs. Thunberg is very happy about that. Personally I have a simple question: if we’ll own nothing, who will own the means of production of whatever we will consume? I leave the answer to your imagination.
The Great Makeover (or Great Reset) is nothing more than the last desperate globalist effort to convince a skeptical world that those same people who created the post-1945 model of globalisation, hyper-financialization, neoliberal capitalism, led by the IMF and supranational mega-corporations, responsible for the destruction of the social welfare, the progressive lowering of the standard of living in industrialised countries, the relocation of work to countries with low-cost labor (read modern slaves), neo-colonialism, the destruction of the environment, the destruction of the traditional agriculture in favour of chemical agri-food, the over weaponisation of our planet, the constant military invasion of countries who dared to dream different dreams, the assassination of countless men, women and children all around the globe, will now be at the head of an humanitarian initiative that should correct their abuse and create a beautiful and fair world for all. It would be very naive, dangerous and stupid of us to believe that. And if we do, if we fall into their trap, everything that happens next will be of our own fault.
SOME FORM OF SOCIALISM OR NEO-FEUDALISM
In the richest country in the world, the United States, 45,000 people die every year simply from lack of health coverage. The leading causeof children’s death on the planet – despite all of our technological power – has remained hunger. This when current resources are sufficient, according to Unicef, to feed 10 billion people out of the 7.7 billion who inhabit the planet.
This is neoliberal capitalism baby and if you’re OK with that I’m surprised you kept reading this far. If you aren’t please keep in mind that the whole history of humanity is a succession of paradigms in which some men struggle to escape the prevarications of some others, in order to have a more just society on this Earth, and in which human beings are all protagonists within the limits of their possibilities.
To ask for more power and less freedom to ensure security is the oldest trick in the world. It is nothing less than blackmail and we MUST NOT comply.
None of these degenerated neoliberal capitalist souls speak of sacred love for the truth, of justice, of the struggle for freedom, much less of love for our neighbour and for the exercise of the principles of Democracy. Their only thought is vulgar personal gain and the acceptance of a world that is distorted and increasingly depleted of humanistic aspirations.
Every change also depends on all of us, on what we believe, on the knowledge we seek, on what we accept, on what we adhere to for a quiet life or for interest or out of fear.
Due to a human nature that is failing to acknowledge the warnings coming from all sides and has chosen the convenient option of indulging the epic lies of the government and the media, rather than the uncomfortable alternative of confronting those same epic lies, we have embarked on a path that might lead us to some very dark times. As Antonio Gramsci wrote: “the ruling class, if it loses consent, uses authoritarianism and violence.”
The choice that we will face in this 2021 will be decisive: either we accept to enter an era of techno-fascist neo-feudalism (out of fear, ignorance and/or stupidity) in which middle class will be abolished to make way for a two-speed society with the super rich on one side and the rest of us on the other, or we FIGHT BACK!
So I beg you: don’t make compromises with what is in front of you, cultivate those inner values which can change the world and resist to any diabolical project.
True denial is that attitude that refuses to ask questions about obvious things and denies a priori the exercise of critical reason.
Inform yourselves, study, base your opinions on facts not propaganda, stand up for what you believe in, do it with passion and above all don’t be afraid of being mocked or insulted. You are not alone! Other people have doubts too and more and more of the right kind of questions are being asked. The critical mass is growing and the propaganda is losing it’s power. This is already visible in all European and American cities, where tens of thousands take to the streets, in defense of their civil, human and constitutional rights.
Don’t allow power to walk all over you. We have the real power in our hands for we are many and they are few. Use your reason and fight with and for love, justice, truth and beauty.
And if you want to keep a mask over your mouth at least take off the one covering your eyes!
The world today needs rebels, spiritual rebels. So my friends, wishing you a revolutionary 2021, I leave you with one simple cry: LET’S REBEL!