Press freedom

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“No Victory for Press Freedom” – Assange Wins Case but Judge Sets Worrying Precedent

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 05/01/2021 - 5:03am in

Wikileaks cofounder Julian Assange will not be extradited to the United States, a London court decided this morning. District Judge Vanessa Baraitser ruled that Assange would stay in the United Kingdom over fears for his psychological health. “I find that the mental condition of Mr Assange is such that it would be oppressive to extradite him to the United States of America,” she said, noting that she did not believe the U.S. prison system had the capability to stop him killing himself. The Australian publisher had been facing up to 175 years in a supermax prison if taken to the U.S. The prosecution, representing the U.S. government, immediately announced that it would appeal the decision.

Many of Assange’s allies hailed the decision as a decisive victory for freedom of speech. Greek-Australian economist and former Greek Minister of Finance Yanis Varoufakis expressed his delight. “A ray of hope seems to have pierced a long, dark shadow over human decency and press freedom,” he tweeted.

Yet many others appeared deeply concerned with the verdict.” This wasn’t a victory for press freedom,” said Glenn Greenwald, a journalist known for publishing leaked documents. “Quite the contrary: the judge made clear she believed there are grounds to prosecute Assange in connection with the 2010 publication.” Other reporters that have covered the case closely agreed. “Brilliant news, but be in no doubt. This ruling is utterly chilling for investigative journalism,” wrote Matt Kennard. “Baraitser sided with U.S. prosecutors on pretty much all of their arguments. It was the barbaric nature of the U.S. penal system that saved Assange.” Meanwhile, John McEvoy suggested that it was only “the integrity of a human’s mental health, and not the right to a free press, was protected today.”

Judge Baraitser made her decision only after dismissing each and every argument made by Assange’s defense team, led by Edward Fitzgerald QC. Sending him to the United States would not breach any laws against extradition for political offenses, she ruled, claiming that she had no doubts that “the usual constitutional and procedural protections” would be in place for him if he were to go there. “This court trusts that a US court will properly consider Mr Assange’s right to free speech” she added. The full decision can be read here. Thus, it was purely on the grounds of Mr. Assange’s potential to commit suicide that she ruled in his favor. Australian journalist John Pilger described the decision as a “face-saving cover” for their “disgraceful” treatment of the 49-year-old.

Others warned that the ruling sent a message to others in the political or media sphere not to challenge the United States. “The full fury and power of empire has been brought down on Julian Assange to demonstrate to the world what happens when you dare to expose the crimes of that empire and its allies. It is terrorism by example so we all think twice,” wrote Rania Khalek of The Grayzone.

Britain Assange

Assange supporters celebrate after a ruling that he cannot be extradited to the US, outside the Old Bailey in London, Jan. 4, 2021. Frank Augstein | AP

Journalists covering the trial have faced constant hostility and intimidation from authorities at every turn. This morning, Reporters Without Borders’ Director of International Campaigns Rebecca Vincent said she had been harassed or questioned by at least 10 different police officers while trying to attend the hearing.

Conditions in American prisons are notorious. Despite having only four percent of the world’s population, the United States accounts for nearly a quarter of the prisoners on the planet. With a sprawling network of over 7,000 detention centers, the U.S. has by far the highest incarceration rate in the world, locking its citizens up at over ten times the rate of European countries like Denmark or Sweden, and over seventeen times that of Japan. Solitary confinement is also commonplace, despite the practice being widely condemned as akin to torture. Authorities were unable to prevent whistleblower Chelsea Manning, who leaked many of the most explosive files to Assange in the first place, from attempting to take her own life while she was incarcerated and in solitary confinement. Baraitser referenced Manning’s case in her decision. “That means the further brutality committed against WikiLeaks’ source played a key part in the U.S. losing their case,” reacted investigative journalist Kevin Gosztola.

Chief among those files was the “Collateral Murder” murder video, images from an American attack helicopter attack on central Baghdad from July 2007. The video shows American personnel massacring at least a dozen Iraqi civilians, including two Reuters journalists, in cold blood. Going viral on social media, the images showed the occupation in a completely different light to that of the carefully curated, sanitized one Americans had seen on corporate media. Since then, those who brought it to public attention have been persecuted.

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador today announced that his country would offer political asylum to the Australian, citing its long history of protecting whistleblowers and those suffering political persecution. However, Assange will certainly not be going there immediately. Despite ruling against the United States in the hearing, Baraitser sent him back to Belmarsh Prison. On Wednesday the court will decide if he is granted bail. “I had hoped that today would be the day that Julian would come home. Today is not that day. But that day will come soon,” Assange’s partner, Stella Morris, told reporters outside Westminster Magistrates’ Court this morning. “We cannot celebrate today…We will celebrate the day he comes home.”

Feature photo | John Rees from the ‘Free Julian Assange’ campaign speaking outside the Old Bailey after a ruling that Assange cannot be extradited to the United States, in London, Jan. 4, 2021. Kirsty Wigglesworth | AP

Alan MacLeod is a Staff Writer for MintPress News. After completing his PhD in 2017 he published two books: Bad News From Venezuela: Twenty Years of Fake News and Misreporting and Propaganda in the Information Age: Still Manufacturing Consent. He has also contributed to Fairness and Accuracy in ReportingThe GuardianSalonThe GrayzoneJacobin MagazineCommon Dreams the American Herald Tribune and The Canary.

The post “No Victory for Press Freedom” – Assange Wins Case but Judge Sets Worrying Precedent appeared first on MintPress News.

Terrible Assange Extradition Ruling for Press Freedom

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 05/01/2021 - 1:25am in

We have a brilliantly authoritarian ruling on the Assange extradition case. The judge (who was endlessly hostile to Assange) ruled he couldn’t be extradited because of his bad health, but said that none of the press freedom arguments worked.

Now this is good news for Assange, but it is terrible news for press freedom. If the judge had approved the extradition of Assange, he would have appealed, and there is a very good chance for a reversal on appeal. Assange isn’t a US citizen; the US has no jurisdiction, and he was clearly acting as a publisher through the entire sequence.

The Australian journalists’ union sums this up well:

MEAA, the union for Australian journalists, welcomes today’s decision by a British judge to prevent the extradition to the United States of our member Julian Assange and calls on the US government to now drop his prosecution.

The court ruled against extradition on health grounds, accepting medical evidence that Assange would be at risk in US custody.

However, journalists everywhere should be concerned at the hostile manner in which the court dismissed all defence arguments related to press freedom.

“Today’s court ruling is a huge relief for Julian, his partner and family, his legal team and his supporters around the world,” said MEAA Media Federal President Marcus Strom.

“Julian has suffered a ten-year ordeal for trying to bring information of public interest to the light of day, and it has had an immense impact on his mental and physical health.

“But we are dismayed that the judge showed no concern for press freedom in any of her comments today, and effectively accepted the US arguments that journalists can be prosecuted for exposing war crimes and other government secrets, and for protecting their sources.

“The stories for which he was being prosecuted were published by WikiLeaks a decade ago and revealed war crimes and other shameful actions by the United States government. They were clearly in the public interest.

“The case against Assange has always been politically motivated with the intent of curtailing free speech, criminalising journalism and sending a clear message to future whistleblowers and publishers that they too will be punished if they step out of line.”

MEAA now calls on the US government to drop all charges against Julian Assange and for the Australian government to expedite his safe passage to Australia if that is his wish.

This is a brilliant way to paint Assange guilty of a crime, who is just being let off for sympathy, when he is not guilty (or if he is, so are hundreds of other journalists who have reported on leaked or hacked data from “dubious” people). The US may be appeal, so it’s not clear whether (as of the time of writing) Assange will go free.

At any rate, mission accomplished: An evil law (The Official Secrets Act) is not declared a dead letter by British courts and so can be used as a cudgel in the future. Assange is a broken man; a shadow of himself, and a warning to anyone else who would reveal American war crimes or that the DNC colluded to elect a specific candidate (Clinton) against another candidate (Sanders.)

And no, I don’t give even one shit who hacked the info: It was in the public interest and the public had and has a right to know about American war crimes and Democratic party election fixing.

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Another Lesson from France: How to Maintain a Diverse, Pluralist Press

There’s a very interesting passage in Denis MacShane’s 1986 Fabian Society pamphlet, French Lessons for Labour, where he describes how the French have been able to create a diverse and pluralistic press. Apparently it’s the most diverse in Europe with the exception of Sweden. This has been achieved partly through legislation drafted at the country’s liberation during World War II, but which was never enforced, which would have removed newspapers from the ownership of Nazi supporters and collaborators, the nationalisation of the distributors and state subsidization.

In fact, France, partly by design, partly by chance, has the most pluralist press in Europe outside Sweden. The design lies in the laws passed at the liberation in 1944/45 which dispossessed the owners of the right-wing papers which had supported Hitler before 1939 and the Vichy regime after 1940. A right of reply law and, more important, one that nationalised the press distribution agency were also passed. The latter means that left-wing newspapers and magazines are on sale in the most remote parts of France and the distribution censorship which is exercised in Britain by the two main wholesale/retail companies does not exist in France. In addition, the Government subsidises the press with cheap postal tariffs, zero VAT rating and, on occasion, direct subsidy.

The chance lies in the willingness of businessmen or corporations to put up money on left-of-centre newspapers and to support them during periods of low or zero profits. Le Matin, Liberation and the left-wing weekly Le Nouvel Observateur (circulation 400,000) all provide a width of reporting and comments In addition, Le Monde, whose independence is assured by the right of journalists to elect its editor, maintains an objectivity and authority, and an influence because of those two values, which are not automatically hostile to a socialist government. (P. 17).

However, attempts to pass similar legislation to the 1944/5 laws in order to stop the Vichy collaborator Robert Hersant from owning 19 national and provincial papers in 1984 and 1986 was a failure, partly due to a press freedom campaign from the right.

This issue of media ownership and bias is acutely relevant on this side of the Channel as well. Since the 1980s, the press and media in Britain has been owned by a decreasing number of powerful individuals, who may also have other business interests. These individuals, like Rupert Murdoch, have been able to exert oligarchical control of the media, maintaining a strong Tory bias. Media and press bias against Labour was particularly acute during Thatcher’s administration and was certainly a factor in the 1987 general election. It has also been very much in evidence over the past five years, when even supposedly left-wing newspapers like the Mirror, the Guardian and the Observer, ran stories attacking Labour and its leader, Jeremy Corbyn, as well as the radio and television networks.

Media bias has also partly been responsible for the right-ward movement of the Labour party itself under Tony Blair. Blair was backed by the Murdoch press, and former ministers have said that Murdoch was an invisible presence at every cabinet meeting as Blair worried how his policies would be viewed by the press magnate. He was also able to gain the support of other papers with the exception of the Heil, but continued to hope that he would eventually win over that rag. I think it’s likely that press ownership will become even more restricted if some papers go under due to the Coronavirus lockdown. Even before the lockdown, the Express changed owners as its former proprietor, the pornography Richard Desmond, sold it to the Mirror group.

The willingness of businessmen to support left-wing newspapers is a crucial factor. When the Daily Herald went bust in the 1960s, to be bought by Murdoch and relauched as the Scum, it actually had a higher circulation that many of the other papers. What brought it down was the fact that it was unable to attract advertising. And I’ve encountered censorship by the distributors myself. Way back in the 1980s during the period of glasnost and perestroika introduced by Gorbachev, an English edition of Pravda was briefly available in some British newsagents. This was an exciting time as Gorbachev signed arms limitation treaties with Reagan ending the Cold War, and introduced reforms in the Soviet Union intended to turn the country into a multi-party democracy. I tried ordering it from my local newsagent in Bristol, but was told it was impossible. It was only being carried by one of the two national distributors. The one that served my area simply wouldn’t carry it.

And the newsagent chains can also exercise their own censorship. When it started out, Private Eye was seen as very subversive and viewed with distaste by many people. Many newsagents wouldn’t stock it. And at least one of the newsagents in the ‘ 90s refused to put its edition satirising the public attitude at Princess Di’s funeral on their shelves. When I asked what had happened to it when it wasn’t on sale in my local newsagents, I was told that it hadn’t come in yet. Well, there seemed to be many other newsagents, who hadn’t had it delivered either. After it returned to the shelves a fortnight later, the Eye published a series of pieces, including letters from readers, who’d had similar problems finding a copy, revealing what had actually gone on. One of the newsagents, John Menzies, had objected to the issue and its cover, and so refused to sell it.

Britain would definitely benefit considerably from similar policies towards the press as that of our friends across Le Manche. But I think getting such legislation through would be almost impossible. There were demands for workers’ control of the press in the 1980s, partly as a reaction by journalists on papers bought by Murdoch as he expanded his noxious empire. They were also concerned about editorial control and bias as the press passed into the hands of fewer and fewer owners. Those demands were obviously unsuccessful. Any attempt to pass legislation providing for state subsidisation of left-wing papers would be howled down by the Tory press as interference in press freedom and the state bailing out failing companies in contravention of the Thatcherite doctrine that market forces should be allowed full reign and failing companies and industries should be allowed to go under.

And I can’t imagine any law to deprive former collaborators or supporters of Hitler of ownership of their papers going down at all well with the Daily Mail, which is notorious for its support of Oswald Mosley and the British Union of Fascists and articles praising Hitler before the outbreak of the War. John Major in the last days of his administration wanted to pass legislation breaking up Murdoch’s empire, but by that time it was too late – Murdoch had already switched to Tony Blair and the Labour party and Major’s government was in no position to do anything about Murdoch’s pernicious control of the press.

This problem is likely to become more acute if some newspapers fold due to lack of sales during the lockdown and the impact of the internet. Media ownership is restricted enough as it is, without Murdoch trying to destroy the Beeb so that Sky and the other cable/satellite stations can take its place. It may not be too long before Murdoch’s hold on the media becomes a true monopoly. In that event, government action to break it up will become a necessity. But given the uniform opposition it would face from the press, it’s questionable if it would be successful.

Or as governments increasingly ingratiate themselves with the Murdoch press in return for its support, even be considered as an option.

The Tories Are the Implacable Enemies of Free Speech

Since 75 members of Extinction Rebellion decided to do what so many people have wanted to and blockade Murdoch print works in England and Scotland, Boris Johnson and his rabble have been pontificating about democracy and the need to protect a free press. This is all crass, hypocritical rubbish, and the truth, as with so much of Tory policy, is the exact opposite. In all too many instances, the Tories are the inveterate enemies of free speech and press freedom.

Mike and Vox Political have both shown this in their articles reporting that the Council of Europe has issued a level 2 media alert warning about Johnson’s government. This was because MoD press officers refused to deal with Declassified UK, a website focusing on foreign and defence stories. This was because Declassified’s journos had been critical of the government’s use of our armed forces. The Council issued a statement that they did so because the act would have a chilling effect on media freedom, undermine press freedom and set a worrying precedent for other journalists reporting in the public interest on the British military. They said that tough journalism like Declassified’s, uncomfortable though it was for those in power, was crucial for a transparent and functioning democracy. This puts Boris Johnson’s government with Putin’s Russia and Turkey, who also have a complete disregard for journalistic freedom.

See: https://voxpoliticalonline.com/2020/09/06/heres-the-shocking-reason-your-tory-government-is-more-guilty-of-attacking-press-freedom-than-extinction-rebellion/

https://zelo-street.blogspot.com/2020/09/free-speech-tories-speak-with-forked.html

We’ve been this way before, and it’s grim. Way back in the 1980s, Maggie Thatcher withdrew LWT’s broadcasting license over a similar piece of journalism that severely criticised the military. This was the documentary Death on the Rock, about the SAS’ shooting of a squad of IRA terrorists in Gibraltar. The documentary presented clear evidence that the squad had been under surveillance all their way down through Spain, and that the army could have arrested them at any point without bloodshed. This means that the SAS’s shooting of them was effectively an extra-judicial execution. They acted as a death squad.

This wouldn’t have been the first or only instance of such tactics by the British state in Northern Ireland. Lobster has published a number of articles arguing that special SAS units were active under cover in the province with the deliberate task of assassinating IRA terrorists, and that the security forces colluded secretly with Loyalist paramilitaries to do the same.

I heartily condemn terrorism and the murder of innocents regardless of who does it. But if ‘Death on the Rock’ was correct, then the British state acted illegally. The use of the armed forces as death squads clearly sets a dangerous precedent and is a violation of the rule of law. Most Brits probably agreed with Thatcher that the IRA terrorists got what was coming to them, and so would probably have objected to the documentary’s slant. But as the Tories over here and Republicans in the US have argued again and again about freedom of speech, it’s the freedom to offend that needs to be protected. Allowing only speech that is inoffensive or to which you agree is no freedom at all. Thatcher was furious, LWT lost their broadcasting license, which was given to a new broadcaster, Carlton. No doubt named after the notorious Tory club.

Then there was Thatcher’s interference in the transmission of another documentary, this time by the BBC. This was an edition of Panorama, ‘Thatcher’s Militant Tendency’. This argued that, just as Kinnock’s Labour party had been infiltrated by the hard left Militant Tendency, so Fascists from the National Front, BNP and others had burrowed into the Tories. In fact there’s always been concern about the overlap in membership between the Tories and the far right. In the 1970s there was so much concern that the Monday Club, formerly part of the Tory party until David Cameron severed links with it, opened its membership books to the Board of Deputies of British Jews. The Panorama programme was also too much for Thatcher, who had it spiked.

At the moment, the Tories are running a campaign to defund and privatise the Beeb under the specious claims that it’s biased against them. They were moaning about bias back in the ’90s under John Major and then Tony Blair, because Jeremy Paxman, among the Beeb’s other journos, insisted on asking tough questions. This resulted in Michael Heseltine walking off Newsnight, tossing his mane, as Ian Hislop described it on Have I Got News For You. Right-wing internet radio hack Alex Belfield has been ranting about how the BBC is full of Guardian-reading lefties in the same way Jeremy Clarkson used to about ‘yogurt-knitters’, who also read the same paper. Guido Fawke’s former teaboy, Darren Grimes, has also been leading a campaign to defund the Beeb. He should know about dictatorships and a free press. His former master, Paul Staines, was a member of the Freedom Association when that body supported the Fascist dictatorship in El Salvador. They invited to their annual dinner as guest of honour one year the leader of one of its death squads.

Belfield and the rest of the right-wing media have been loudly applauding the announcement that the new Director-General will cancel left-wing comedy programmes like Have I Got News For You and Mock The Week. Because they’re biased against the Tories. Er, no. Have I Got News For You was as enthusiastically anti-Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party as the rest of the media establishment, to the point where I got heartily sick and tired of watching it. And I haven’t watched Mock the Week for years. I don’t even know if it’s still on. Both the programmes are satirical. They mock the government as well as the rest of the parties. And the dominant, governing party over the past few decades has been the Tories, with the exception of New Labour from 1997-2010 or so. Which means that when they’ve been attacking the Tories, it’s because the Tories have been in power. A friend of mine told me that Ian Hislop, one of the regular contests on HIGNFY and the editor of Private Eye, was once asked which party he was against. He replied ‘Whoever’s in power’. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if he was a Conservative, but that is, ostensibly, the stance of his magazine. The Tories have been expelling much hot air about how a free press holds governments to account. But in the case of the BBC, this is exactly why they despise it.

The Tories hate the BBC because it’s the state broadcaster, and so is an obstacle to the expansion of Rupert Murdoch’s squalid empire of filth and lies. They’d like it defunded and privatised so that Murdoch, or someone like him, can move in. Not least because Murdoch has and is giving considerable support to the Tories. And in return, the Tories and then New Labour gave Murdoch what he wanted, and he was allowed to pursue his aim of owning a sizable chunk of the British press and independent broadcasting with Sky. This has alarmed those concerned about the threat posed by such media monopolies. It’s why Extinction Rebellion were right to blockade Murdoch’s papers, as both Mike and Zelo Street have pointed out. We don’t have a free press. We have a captive press controlled by a handful of powerful media magnates, who determine what gets reported. John Major in his last years in office realised the political threat Murdoch posed, but by this time it was too late. The Tories had allowed Murdoch to get his grubby mitts on as much of the British media as he could, and he had abandoned the Tories for Blair. Who was all too ready to do the same and accede to his demands in return for Murdoch’s media support. Just as Keir Starmer is desperate to do the same.

Murdoch’s acquisition of British papers, like the Times, should have been blocked by the Monopolies and Mergers’ Commission long ago. There were moves to, but Thatcher allowed Murdoch to go ahead. And Tony Benn was right: no-one should own more than one paper. If the Beeb is privatised, it will mean yet more of the British media is owned by one of press and broadcasting oligarchy. And that is a threat to democracy and press freedom.

The Tories are defending the freedom of the press and broadcasting. They’re attacking it.

As Europe erupts over US spying, NSA chief says government must stop media | Glenn Greenwald

With General Alexander calling for NSA reporting to be halted, US and UK credibility as guardians of press freedom is crushed

The most under-discussed aspect of the NSA story has long been its international scope. That all changed this week as both Germany and France exploded with anger over new revelations about pervasive NSA surveillance on their population and democratically elected leaders.

As was true for Brazil previously, reports about surveillance aimed at leaders are receiving most of the media attention, but what really originally drove the story there were revelations that the NSA is bulk-spying on millions and millions of innocent citizens in all of those nations. The favorite cry of US government apologists -–everyone spies! – falls impotent in the face of this sort of ubiquitous, suspicionless spying that is the sole province of the US and its four English-speaking surveillance allies (the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand).

The head of the embattled National Security Agency, Gen Keith Alexander, is accusing journalists of "selling" his agency's documents and is calling for an end to the steady stream of public disclosures of secrets snatched by former contractor Edward Snowden.

"I think it's wrong that that newspaper reporters have all these documents, the 50,000 – whatever they have and are selling them and giving them out as if these – you know it just doesn't make sense," Alexander said in an interview with the Defense Department's "Armed With Science" blog.

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Committee to Protect Journalists issues scathing report on Obama administration | Glenn Greenwald

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 11/10/2013 - 2:07am in

Tags 

Press freedom

Obama's anti-press measures 'are the most aggressive I've seen since the Nixon administration'

(updated below)

It's hardly news that the Obama administration is intensely and, in many respects, unprecedentedly hostile toward the news-gathering process. Even the most Obama-friendly journals have warned of what they call "Obama's war on whistleblowers". James Goodale, the former general counsel of the New York Times during its epic fights with the Nixon administration, recently observed that "President Obama wants to criminalize the reporting of national security information" and added: "President Obama will surely pass President Richard Nixon as the worst president ever on issues of national security and press freedom."

Six government employees, plus two contractors including Edward Snowden, have been subjects of felony criminal prosecutions since 2009 under the 1917 Espionage Act, accused of leaking classified information to the press—compared with a total of three such prosecutions in all previous U.S. administrations. Still more criminal investigations into leaks are under way. Reporters' phone logs and e-mails were secretly subpoenaed and seized by the Justice Department in two of the investigations, and a Fox News reporter was accused in an affidavit for one of those subpoenas of being 'an aider, abettor and/or conspirator' of an indicted leak defendant, exposing him to possible prosecution for doing his job as a journalist. In another leak case, a New York Times reporter has been ordered to testify against a defendant or go to jail."


'I worry now about calling somebody because the contact can be found out through a check of phone records or e-mails,' said veteran national security journalist R. Jeffrey Smith of the Center for Public Integrity, an influential nonprofit government accountability news organization in Washington. 'It leaves a digital trail that makes it easier for the government to monitor those contacts,' he said."

The administration's war on leaks and other efforts to control information are the most aggressive I've seen since the Nixon administration, when I was one of the editors involved in The Washington Post's investigation of Watergate. The 30 experienced Washington journalists at a variety of news organizations whom I interviewed for this report could not remember any precedent."

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The war on whistleblowers and journalism | Glenn Greenwald

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 19/09/2013 - 8:49pm in

Tags 

Press freedom, NSA

Discussing press freedoms with Julian Assange, David Coombs, Alexa O'Brien and others

I'm working on several stories, so posting this week will be difficult. Until then, below is the video of the 90-minute event I did this week at the Sydney Opera House on the war on whistleblowers and journalism, along with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, Chelsea Manning's lawyer David Coombs, the intrepid independent journalist Alexa O'Brien, and the Australian commentator Robert Manne, hosted by the Australian writer Bernard Keane. It was a great discussion and really covered in a broad way many of the issues discussed here over the last year, especially the last several months (I dropped out for roughly 25 minutes after I first spoke due to some technical difficulties with the video feed but returned to participate actively in the rest of the discussion).

Two related notes: 1) John Cusack has an excellent Op-Ed in the Guardian from yesterday on many of these same topics; 2) Mark Weisbrot has a helpful analysis of the fallout from the extraordinary cancellation by Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff of the state dinner planned at the White House for October due to NSA surveillance, and McClatchy has good background on what happened there and why.

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