Category Archives: Uncategorized

the new unhappy lords

global nazi scum

Disconnect Over Afghanistan War Shows Dysfunction of Pindo Politics
Strategic Culture, Dec 13 2019

A WaPo report this week (reposted here) has exposed the Pindo war in Afghanistan as a vile charade (See also here). Declassified government papers reveal notes and interviews by hundreds of senior Pindo boxtops which attest to systematic lies and deception in the conduct of that war. The Bush 43 and Obama administrations are directly implicated in hoodwinking the Pindo sheeple about why Pindostan went to war in Afghanistan in Oct 2001. Nearly two decades later, that war is continuing under the Trump administration with no sign of stopping. Close to 150,000 people have been killed in this war, including 38,000 civilians. Afghanistan is mired in violence and corruption under a puppet regime propped up by Faschingstein. The financial cost of the conflict is reckoned to exceed $1t, which generations of Pindo citizens will pay for through the ensuing national debt. Senior Pindo pols and military leaders from Bush 43 to Obama, from Rumsfeld to Panetta, from Petraeus to Lute, are implicated in waging an illegal war behind the backs of the Pindo creeple. The Trump administration is also implicated, because it continues to pursue this war. There has been a surge in civilian deaths from Pindo airstrikes in Afghanistan since Trump took over in 2017, but as the WaPo report makes clear, the entire war is a fraud. It was never about “fighting terrorism”, as the declassified interviews of Pindo policy-makers reveal. Pindostan is in a quagmire from which it doesn’t know how to extricate itself. It is not just an endless war. It is an endless, criminal war.

The revelations about the Afghan war should be an earth-shattering moment for all politicians in Faschingstein and the entire Pindo news media. So far, only a handful of congress critturs such as Demagog Rep Ro Khanna are reportedly making an outcry. They are calling for congressional hearings and for former govt boxtops to be grilled in testimony, but the chances are that nothing will be done to hold politicians and military commanders to account. Like other major scandals such as proven CIA torture programs, the Afghan war debacle will be allowed to fade away by the indifference of Faschingstein and the corporate media. Contrast the extravagance of taxpayer money, political energy and media attention that has been showered on relatively minor scandals such as Russiagate, and the relentless unfounded claims about Russian interference in Pindo elections. The two-year Mueller enquiry produced thin gruel to satisfy voracious appetites for Russian malfeasance. The hysterical conspiracy theories and media hyperbole against Russia continue to dominate, as can be discerned from the impeded bilateral relations whereby Moscow is treated like an enemy. When Lavrov visited the White House this week, nearly two-and-half years after his last visit, it was evident that progress on important negotiations such as arms control is still frustrated by the toxic legacy of Russiagate.

Another illustration of cognitive dissonance in Faschingstein and the Pindo MSM is the impeachment inquiry against Trump, which will no doubt be terminated when it goes to a vote in the Senate. The amount of political and media capital expended on Russiagate and what has been dubbed Ukrainegate is wildly disproportionate to the scant or slight evidence. The outcome so far is damaging to relations between Pindostan and Russia and may hamper the chances of a peaceful resolution to the Ukrainian conflict. Putin met with Zelensky in Paris this week for much-needed peace talks, but Pindo pols obsessed by Ukrainegate are undermining a potential resolution by falsely portraying Russia as an aggressor. When something as flagrantly and hugely criminal as the war in Afghanistan is virtually ignored, while Faschingstein fixates on issues like Russiagate and impeachment based on dubious claims, then we should know that the Pindo political institutions are dysfunctional to their core.

shock horror plot to blunt brexit

Gina Miller admits NEW plot to wreck Boris Johnson’s Brexit, despite Remainer humiliation
Oli Smith, Daily Express, Dec 14 2019

Remainer activist Gina Miller has insisted that the battle against Brexit “is not over,” as she revealed a shocking new plan to stop Boris Johnson’s EU talks despite the Conservatives overwhelming victory. Gina Miller has told the BBC that her fight against Brexit is still far from over, as she revealed how Remainers will next try to halt Boris Johnson’s deal. However, the arch-Remainer admitted that Johnson’s resounding victory meant that Remainers could no longer rely on Parliament to wreck Britain’s departure from the EU. Gina Miller, who led the tactical vote campaign Remain United during this election, said the victory meant Boris Johnson’s deal would be passed before Xmas. The Remain campaigner told the BBC’s Emma Barnett:

This is very much a decisive win for the Conservatives, and very much gives them a mandate to pass their deal which I think will happen very quickly. I think the Withdrawal Agreement will go through by Xmas, and then it’s law and it’s ratified in January. Once that bill is passed, it’s passed. We have got nowhere else to go.

However, she signalled that Remainer tactics will move from stopping the Brexit deal to Britain’s future trading relationship with the EU. Mr Johnson has pledged to strike a trade deal with the EU by the end of 2020 and has rejected speculation he could sign another extension. Ms Miller continued:

I think the battleground will move to the future trading relationship with the EU. Remainers will try to influence in Parliament and in campaign group to make that as soft a Brexit as possible. The Conservatives now have a majority of a size where they are going to have to represent many towns in the North, young and old, Leave and Remain, who all voted for him. He will have to deliver on what he pledged, to get Brexit done. That probably means something different to everyone. He has quite a task on his hands.

Ms Miller admitted that Boris Johnson’s election slogan, “Get Brexit Done,” was a clever slogan that worked as well as “Take Back Control” did for the Leave campaign.

trafalgar square last night

Angry protesters clash with cops in ugly scenes near Downing Street
Brittany Vonow, The Sun, Dec 14 2019

Angry protesters last night clashed with cops in ugly scenes near Downing Street despite Boris Johnson’s historic election win. One demonstrator was arrested for criminal damage as masked figures scuffled with police on Whitehall after the Tories swept to a majority government. While Boris Johnson today vowed to work towards healing the country and focus on supporting the NHS, sore loser protesters took to the streets to wave placards. Several hundred noisy protesters marched through central London to protest against the election result, disrupting traffic and chanting: “Boris Johnson: Not My Prime Minister!” and “Boris! Boris! Boris! Out! Out! Out!” Met Police confirmed one arrest for criminal damage to a police vehicle had been made following ugly scenes in Trafalgar Square. Officers were seen struggling to contain the crowd as they protested the British vote that saw almost 14 million people vote for Mr Johnson’s government. Some of the protesters were reportedly wearing Antifa symbols, an anti-fascist protest movement.

Scuffles with police in central London as outraged anti-Brexit protesters march on 10 Downing Street
RT.com, Dec 14 2019

An angry crowd of anti-Brexit protesters has taken to London streets, chanting “Boris Johnson not our Prime Minister!” Droves of protesters turned out on Friday evening to dispute Johnson’s victory. Holding aloft signs saying “Defy Tory Rule” and “Stop Islamophobia,” several hundred protesters assembled outside Johnson’s residence at Downing Street, before marching to Trafalgar Square and onwards, with no clear end in sight. The protest drew a heavy police presence, and groups of protesters, some wearing face-masks, periodically scuffled with the officers. As the march went on, crowds of protesters bearing the black and red flag of Antifa clashed with police, knocking officers to the ground and chanting “Scum!”

Antifa Protesters Clash With Police Outside Downing Street As Furious Leftists Revolt
Tyler Durden, Zero Hedge, Dec 13 2019

As we warned earlier, despite the Conservatives winning their largest majority since the 1980s, bitter leftists furious at the defeat of their spiritual and political leader Jeremy Corbyn are rallying in London and across the country to protest the outcome of the UK election. Those who still need an excuse to try and pretend like they haven’t wholly abandoned their support for democracy have latched on once again to the Russia narrative. The notion that Russian intelligence threw its support behind Boris & Brexit, deliberately trying to sway both the referendum and the 2019 vote, has no basis in fact, yet certain Pindo pols are publishing op-eds trying to discredit the electoral process. On Friday evening, video appeared on social media of the “Not My PM” march in London, which brought protesters almost to the front steps of 10 Downing Street one day after their fellow Britons rejected Labour’s hard-left policies by handing it its biggest defeat since 1935. As always, legions of police were brought in to keep the peace.

As they always seem to do, a mob of Antifa thugs clad in black masks and black outfits have descended on the London rally and provoked skirmishes with the police. Video footage shows the group of radicals clashing with police while waving a huge Antifa flag near Downing Street.

Clashes with police also broke out on Parliament Street.

Apparently, rejecting the result of an uncontested and undoubtedly fair election is a tenant of the “Democratic Socialism” they claim is so much different from regular old socialism. A now-suspended user wrote:

Boris de Spaffer Johnson Can fuck right off if he thinks he can heal me. I am a European. I am not a one nation Tory. I am not a little Englander, and I will never reconcile with a Tory government who, after nine years of hurt, has decided that the country needs to come together.

Many were disappointed by the site of the mobs turning parts of Central London into chaos.

A large rally was also reported in Glasgow, where the SNP won the largest share of seats.

And since the fun never stops, more ‘Stand Up To Racism’ rallies are expected this weekend in Leeds, one of the few areas of Labour’s “Red Wall” where support held up, and elsewhere. Ironically, one of their favorite chants was “this is what democracy looks like.” Is it, now? Because we thought that’s what you all were doing yesterday.

Protests despite Boris Johnson call to ‘let the healing begin’
Andrew Sparrow, Groon, Dec 13 2019

A group of young women confronting Boris Johnson supporters have led protesters at Downing Street through a police cordon. Some Johnson supporters have apparently left the area now, as numbers continue to swell on the anti-Conservative demo outside Downing Street and protesters chanted: “Boris Johnson, not my prime minister.”

Police drew batons and scuffled with protesters outside Downing Street after another demonstration of Antifascist Action arrived to join Stand Up to Racism protesters already there. Hundreds of demonstrators streamed into Parliament Street and surrounded a contingent of officers who attempted to keep the demonstrations apart. Police had batons drawn but did not appear to use them on protesters, who were eventually able to push a way through the police line. As police melted away, the reinforced joint protest carried on in a march towards Trafalgar Square, followed by police vans.At least one protester appeared to be arrested before the rest turned around and walked the opposite direction. A couple of hundred demonstrators are now continuing to march around Westminster, chased by police who seem intent on getting in front and blocking their route. They are now on Great Peter Street, near the Home Office.

Police and protesters clashed again on Victoria embankment and in Parliament Square. Each time, just a couple of dozen officers tried to block the path of the crowd but were pushed aside. Some protesters were seized from the crowd by police, with protesters attempting at one point to stage a “de-arrest.”

The livestream had earlier showed police with batons drawn at the bottom of Parliament Street, where it meets Parliament Square, striking out at people they warned to “get back or you will get hit.” At least one demonstrator’s face was bloodied during the brief exchange. After leading police on a cat and mouse chase through Westminster backstreets, breaking through their lines several times, protesters are now contained on Victoria Street, near the department for business. Police are not currently allowing people out of the cordon. About 150-200 protesters remain in the demonstration. Met police confirmed that one person has been arrested for criminal damage.

jewish global fascism proceeds towards its apotheosis, the building of the third temple

NYT enables Trump’s attack on Palestine solidarity
Michael F Brown, Electronic Intifada, Dec 14 2019

The NYT opinion section doesn’t play fair. That is not exactly a revelation, but sometimes enough is enough and the newspaper’s anti-Palestinian bias needs to be reiterated. A new executive order signed by Trump threatens the First Amendment rights of students. They could be punished merely for saying that Israel is a racist endeavor because it denies equal rights to all people between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. Trump’s embrace of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of anti-Semitism means federal dollars could well be cut or pulled entirely over certain criticisms of Israel. Students face the prospect of being told it is anti-Semitic to advocate equal rights for Palestinians or to advocate that Israel become a state for all of its citizens, rather than an exclusivist Jewish state. In the face of this emerging government attack on free speech, what does the newspaper of record do? It gives first word to Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and courtesy of the administration’s nepotism a senior adviser to the president, providing space for an op-ed to defend the executive order. Of course, Kushner is silent in the op-ed on his father-in-law’s own anti-Semitic speech from the prior weekend. That speech gave succor to the bigoted views of white nationalists with its suggestion of Jews as “brutal killers” driven by their wealth, and indulged in misrepresentations of the Palestinian-led BDS movement. For Trump and Kushner, the only good Palestinian is a dead (or at least quiet) one, as their support for Israeli attacks on Palestinians in Gaza has made clear, along with their decisions to cut off vital aid to Palestinian refugees.

Kushner is clear in expressing the administration’s view that opposing Zionism amounts to anti-Semitism. If that’s the case, Palestinians and their allies will be expected to shut up about how Israel’s state ideology has dispossessed them or how they’re living under the boot of a racist state with discriminatory laws. That’s the new anti-Semitism identified by the Trump administration, while no-one seems to have ideas on how to stop violent anti-Semitic attacks from Jersey City to Pittsburgh to Poway. One thought: Stop employing racist language to divide Pindos and stop praising racists as “very fine people.” The Trump-Kushner tandem think they can intimidate their way to quiescent students on US campuses, but I suspect that they’ve seriously miscalculated and will get more pushback than ever, with louder calls than ever for equal rights for Palestinians. Government coercion intended to curtail calls for equal rights may well lead to students being more rather than less vocal about the injustices faced by Palestinians. Students being told they need to keep quiet about Palestinian rights seems like a surefire means to produce the opposite result. But that’s not certain. University action to kick student activists off campus will be closely watched around the country and could suppress opposition.

If government intimidation wins the day, with administrators helping carry out a silencing campaign, there’s no telling what might be ordered next. But the assault on free speech rights is plenty alarming without speculating on whether or not it will work. And in that effort, it must be said that James Bennet, NYT editorial page editor overseeing the opinion department, is helping lead the way with the Kushner piece. Kushner has been given first shot at defining the issue, much as cable news outlets consistently provide Israeli spokespeople with first go at framing the narrative around Israeli military attacks on Gaza. The Kushner op-ed follows Bennet’s hiring of Bret Stephens and Bari Weiss, notorious anti-Palestinian writers. Weiss, in particular, has pushed to the fore a crackdown on campus free speech, both from her days working against Palestinian academics at Columbia University and her more recent writing for the NYT. But ther NYT wasn’t done. It also ran an editorial of its own on the subject, while running this better op-ed the next day. The editorial rightly included mention of violent right-wing anti-Semites with their deadly attacks on Pindo Jews and pointed to free speech concerns. Yet it also found time to attack the BDS movement and misrepresent student actions at Emory University, declaring:

Whatever its intent, BDS has helped to create a hostile environment for Jewish students, most of whom support Israel. At Emory University, for example, students with mezuzot on their door posts were served with mock eviction notices.

This is profoundly misleading, to the extent that a correction ought to be issued. First, many readers will conclude from the framing that only Jewish students received the eviction notices. This is false. Emory officials have admitted as much, some more candidly than others. Secondly, what were these eviction notices? They were educational material explaining what happens to Palestinians living under Israeli occupation. That critical detail goes unnoted. Nearly simultaneous Islamophobia at Emory passes without notice by the NYT. Emory’s police determined that the desecration of a Muslim ablution room was an “accident.” The urine and feces suggest otherwise. An article on the subject by The Emory Wheel reads like a subtle report on a police cover-up. Edward Ahmed Mitchell, executive director of the Georgia Chapter of the CAIR, told EI that he was “skeptical” this was an “innocent mistake.”

A more thoughtful editorial from the NYT would have covered events at Emory more fully and fairly, and said far more about what the BDS movement is attempting to accomplish. Such omissions are no surprise. The day before, Peter Baker and Maggie Haberman wrote an explanatory NYT article on Trump’s executive order which described BDS as a “movement against Israel.” A different NYT article published online Thursday evening referred to “the burgeoning anti-Israel movement on college campuses.” Missing from both articles were key facts. The second article didn’t even reference BDS. BDS is a non-violent movement calling for equal rights for Palestinian citizens, an end to the Israeli occupation and the right of return for Palestinian refugees. But a “movement against Israel” sounds more menacing, so that’s what readers got. Spin that emphasizes anti-Israel sentiment, rather than calling for Palestinian freedom and equal rights, is misleading and unfair. It keeps readers uneducated about a powerful social justice movement modeled on the effort to divest from apartheid South Africa. This freedom movement deserves better and more honest coverage. Where are the Palestinian voices on the op-ed page, who can raise profound concerns about government intimidation and the trampling of the First Amendment while saying in their own words what the BDS movement advocates? Or should wannabe government censors always be given priority by the newspaper of record?

india has gone flat-out nazi and is heading for a nuclear war with pakistan

Violent clashes continue in India over new citizenship bill
Hannah Ellis-Petersen, Groon, Dec 145 2019

Violent clashes erupted in Delhi amid allegations a new citizenship bill discriminates against Muslims and undermines the secular foundations of India, with protests over the legislation spreading to other regions and prompting Japan’s PM to cancel a visit to the country. Thousands took to the streets of Assam’s capital Guwahati for the third day following the death of two protesters who were caught in police fire on Thursday (sic – RB). The north-eastern state has been the epicentre of the protests against the citizenship amendment bill (CAB). A 48-hour block on both mobile and broadband internet was implemented, while schools were closed and roads blocked off, as demonstrators set fire to cars and tyres and a 10pm curfew was imposed on the north-east city. The bill, which was signed into law at midnight on Thursday, has stirred up opposition in Assam and across the country. Under to the new legislation, tens of thousands of Hindu, Christian, Jain, Buddhist and Sikh migrants from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan will be allowed to claim Indian citizenship. The same will not apply for Muslims. Critics have accused the BJP government of passing a law with openly discriminates against Muslims and makes them second-class citizens in India. Many have argued it violates India’s secular constitution and on Friday several petitions were filed in the supreme court on Friday challenging the constitutional validity, including by Congress MP Jairam Ramesh and Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra. A Muslim police constable in Guwahati, who didn’t want to be identified because of fear of a reprisal from the police department, said:

Originally I am from Uttar Pradesh but I have been working here for the past 30 years in Assam police. But in the last few years it’s been very hard to live peacefully as a Muslim. BJP has made this country a filthy place. They want to turn this into a Hindu Rashtra. Where will we go? Sometimes even I am scared even though I am in police.

The students of Assam have been among those leading the protests, including a mass hunger strike that began on Friday. Masters student Simanta Thakuria, who was among the organisers, said:

This bill has to go back at any cost. We will not rest until we get this done. Thousands of people have joined us, as you can see and it’s completely non-violent. We don’t support any form of violence. This is our state, our land. Not only in Guwahati but people are protesting everywhere in Assam.

In Delhi, protests turned violent after hundreds of students demonstrating at Jamia Millia Islamia university were fired at with teargas by police with batons, who tried to push the crowds back with batons. Several students were taken to hospital with injuries while over 50 protesters were detained. Protesters set fire to placards in Amritsar and other rallies were held in Kolkata, Kerala and Gujarat, the home state of the prime minister, Narendra Modi. There was also unrest in West Bengal, with several trains vandalised. The state is due to be the first where a new national register of citizens (NRC) is due to be rolled out, which will require citizens to provide documents to prove they are not illegal immigrants. Following the passing of CAB into law, it is feared that only Muslims will be targeted by the exercise and be detained in their thousands. However West Bengal chief minister, Mamata Banerjee, has vowed that she will not allow CAB to be rolled out in Assam and announced state-wide protests. Over 20 activists were also arrested in Mumbai for protesting the bill. The unrest led Japan’s PM Shinzō Abe to cancel a planned visit to India from Sunday for a summit with Modi. On Friday, the United Nations human rights office also voiced concern that the new citizenship law was “fundamentally discriminatory in nature” by excluding Muslims and called for it to be reviewed.

India adopts Hindu-supremacist citizenship law
Rohantha De Silva, Keith Jones, WSWS, Dec 13 2019

In the face of widespread popular opposition and warnings that India is rending its “secular” constitutional order, PM Narendra Modi and his BJP government have rammed through legislation that effectively redefines Indian citizenship in Hindu-supremacist terms. Tabled in the lower house of India’s parliament on Monday, the Citizenship Amendment Bill 2019 or CAB was given presidential assent last night. Passage of the CAB sets the stage for the BJP to proceed with its plans to draw up a National Register of Citizens (NRC) under which all of India’s more than 1.3 billion residents will have to prove to the authorities’ satisfaction that they are Indian citizens. Those unable to do so will be declared stateless and subject to detention and expulsion. The NRC’s ostensible purpose is to identify “illegal immigrants.” In truth, the aim of the NRC will be to harass, intimidate and victimize India’s Muslim minority, and the CAB makes this manifestly evident. The BJP is cynically trying to dress up the CAB as an act of “compassion and brotherhood,” in Modi’s words. The CAB grants Indian citizenship to non-Muslims from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan who entered India prior to 2015, on the grounds that Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists, and Christians in those countries have been subject to religious persecution. Conspicuously left off the list are members of minority Muslim groups who are victims of state discrimination and/or communal violence, such as Pakistan’s Ahmadiyas or Afghanistan’s Hazaras. Also notably absent are the Rohingya, more than one million of whom had to flee Myanmar in late 2016. The BJP government has held those that fled into India in detention camps and is deporting them back to Myanmar, claiming they are a “security threat.” Coupled with the CAB, the NRC’s essentially fascistic anti-Muslim purpose becomes clear. Given that much of India’s population is illiterate and impoverished and state services are limited to non-existent, hundreds of millions of people will likely find it difficult to come up with the papers needed to “prove” their Indian citizenship. But only Muslims will face the threat of being rendered stateless, with all that entails, for the others will be accorded citizenship under the discriminatory terms of the CAB. Indian Express columnist Harsh Mander wrote:

With its CAB, the government is clearly messaging that if people of any identity except Muslims are unable to produce the required documents, they will be accepted as refugees and given citizenship. This means that the real burden to prove that they are Indian citizens is only thrust on Muslims, because only they risk statelessness. Most Indians would find it impossible to muster the required documents to prove their citizenship, but only document-less Muslims will face the prospect of detention centres, or being stripped of all citizenship rights.

A foul taste of what the Modi government intends has already been provided by recent events in the north-eastern state of Assam. On the orders of the Supreme Court and in keeping with the terms of a reactionary agreement the Rajiv Gandhi Congress Party government entered into in 1985, to end an exclusivist Assamese agitation, the state’s 30 million residents were forced to prove that they or their ancestors lived in India prior to the Mar 1971 eruption of the Bangladesh national struggle against repressive Pakistani rule. Millions suffered psychological torment, financial hardship and official abuse as they struggled to “prove” they are Indian citizens. Not only did they have to prove their citizenship claim to the satisfaction of ethnically and religiously chauvinist Hindu officials. Under the terms of the NRC, third parties have the right to challenge an individual’s claim to citizenship. The All-Assam Students Union and other groups filed close to 200,000 such objections. Ultimately, when the “final” NRC was published last summer, 1.9 million people were excluded, deemed non-citizens, most of them poor Muslims. The overwhelming majority of these had been born in India. However, this outcome failed to satisfy either the Hindu supremacist BJP or the ethno-exclusivist Assamese organizations like the AASU. The former was angered that up to a third of those left off the NRC were Hindus; the latter that only 1.9 million of Assam’s residents were declared illegal migrants. Now the NRC is to be extended across India. Speaking in Monday’s debate on the CAB in the Lok Sabha, Modi’s chief henchman Home Minister Amit Shah vowed the government will rapidly move forward with the national NRC. Shah, who has repeatedly described “illegal” Muslim “immigrants” as “termites,” told the Lok Sabha:

Once the NRC is implemented, we will ensure no infiltrator remains in the country.

As part of the national NRC, and in accordance with the newly enacted CAB, the Modi government is also intending to redo the NRC process in Assam. Taken together, the CAB and NRC effectively reduce India’s 200 million Muslims to second-class citizens. Despite having implemented the reactionary communal partition of South Asia into an expressly Muslim Pakistan and a predominantly Hindu India at independence in 1947, India’s Congress-led government rejected the demand of the BJP’s Hindu supremacist precursors, the Hindu Mahasabha and the RSS, that India be declared a Hindu nation. The 1955 Citizenship Act decreed the criterion of citizenship to be territoriality rather than religion, meaning birth in India or the pre-1947 British Indian empire. The Hindu right has always rejected this, claiming that India is a first and foremost a Hindu nation. V D Savarkar, the principal ideologue of Hindutva and hero of the contemporary Hindu right, argued that India’s Muslims were not true Indians because for them India is their “motherland” but not their “holy land,” unlike India’s Hindus, Sikhs, Jains and Buddhists. During the late 1930s, Savarkar urged India’s Hindus to treat Muslims like the Nazis treated the Jews. If he dropped such rhetoric during WW2, it was only because he and the Hindu Mahasabha were hoping to form an “Anglo-Hindu” alliance with the British colonial state so as to combat the Muslim “menace.” In according preferential treatment to non-Muslims from select neighbouring states while setting up a process whereby Muslims must establish their Indian citizenship, the BJP government has gone a long way towards realizing the Hindu right’s long-standing goal of asserting Hindu dominance, making religion and not territoriality the criteria of citizenship. The inclusion of Christians who migrated or fled to India from Afghanistan, Pakistan or Bangladesh among those to be accorded citizenship under the CAB is a ruse. It is meant to camouflage the legislation’s Hindu-supremacist motivation, no doubt with an eye to currying favor with the White House and the Pindo Christian right. Shah defended the concept of “religious-based” citizenship in the Lok Sabha debate on the CAB, claiming it “has been happening in India since the partition of this country.” Revealing more of his mindset than he perhaps intended, he also declared:

India will never be Muslim-free.

Since winning re-election last May, the Modi government has moved aggressively to realize key elements of the agenda of the Hindu right. In this it has had either the explicit support or acquiescence of the other institutions of the Indian state and the rest of India’s venal ruling elite. On Aug 5, working in close tandem with the top brass of the military and intelligence agencies, Modi and Shah carried out a constitutional coup, abrogating the special semi-autonomous status of India’s lone Muslim-majority state, Jammu and Kashmir and reducing it two Union Territories, thus placing the contested region under permanent central government control. Modi’s coup against Kashmir has been enforced with a security clampdown that has seen thousands, including much of the traditional pro-Indian Muslim Kashmiri elite, detained without trial; the deployment of tens of thousands of additional security forces to what is already one of the world’s most heavily militarized regions; and a months-long communications blackout, including the suspension of internet and cellphone service. Bowing to the wishes of the BJP and the RSS, India’s Supreme Court last month instructed the government to oversee the construction of a Hindu temple on the site where the Babri Masjid mosque stood until on Dec 6 1992, at the instigation of top BJP leaders, Hindu activists razed it to the ground. This crime provoked the bloodiest wave of communal violence since Partition.

Modi and Shah are systematically whipping up communal hostility against Muslims with the aim of channeling the social tensions produced by rapacious social inequality and a rapidly deteriorating economy behind reaction and a bellicose foreign policy, and splitting an increasingly restive and militant working class. With the passage of the CAB and its vow to rapidly launch the NRC, the BJP is dramatically accelerating its drive to transform India into a Hindu rashtra and reduce Muslims to second-class citizenship. This is giving some sections of the ruling elite pause. They fear the Modi government’s actions will incite mass opposition, discredit and delegitimize the Indian state, and destabilize key state institutions, including the military. Already the government has rushed troops to Assam, imposed an indefinite curfew on the state capital, Guwahati, and suspended cellphone service in ten Assam districts after mass protests erupted against the CAB. The protests are being led by Assam ethno-chauvinist organizations opposed to the CAB’s granting of citizenship to Bangladeshi Hindu migrants, some of whom were victims of communal violence. According to press reports, at least two people were killed and many injured Thursday when security personnel fired at protesters defying the Guwahati curfew. Having promoted communalism and casteism for decades as a key strategy for politically controlling and suppressing India’s workers and toilers, transformed the toxic Hindu supremacist BJP into its largest party, and attacked democratic rights, the Indian bourgeoisie and its political representatives are entirely complicit in the growth of Hindu supremacism and the putrefaction of Indian “democracy.” To defeat communal reaction and defend democratic rights, the working class must be mobilized as an independent political force, rallying the oppressed toilers behind it in the fight against capitalist rule and on the basis of a socialist internationalist program.

don’t look at the jew behind the curtain

The sordid deal between Harvey Weinstein and his accusers
David Walsh, WSWS, Dec 13 2019

Former Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein and his bankrupt company have reached a settlement with dozens of women who accused him of sexual misconduct, various media outlets reported on Wednesday. In October 2017, the New York Times and the New Yorker magazine published stories containing allegations of sexual harassment and abuse against Weinstein. The articles helped launch the #MeToo movement, which has since resulted in the removal or disgrace of various well-known men in the media, the arts and political life. Efforts at organizing a financial settlement between Weinstein and his accusers have been ongoing for more than a year. In May, numerous news stories surfaced claiming a settlement was imminent, but obstacles and objections arose. The agreement finally reached, which would not oblige Weinstein to admit any wrongdoing, involves dividing $25m among dozens of accusers. Weinstein would not pay any of the money himself. It will come from insurance companies representing his former independent film studio, The Weinstein Company, which is now in bankruptcy proceedings.
The payment to the alleged victims would be part of a $47 million settlement, according to the NYT, intended to “to close out” all of TWC’s financial obligations. The deal still has to be approved by federal judges in Delaware and New York. In its account, penned by Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey, the authors of the 2017 Weinstein “exposé,” the NYT sets out the terms of the tentative agreement:

Eighteen of the alleged victims [who had filed suits independently] would split $6.2m, with no individual getting more than $500,000. A separate pot of money, $18.5m, would be set aside for those who were part of a class-action case, the New York attorney general’s suit and any future claimants, with a court-appointed monitor allocating payments based on the severity of the harm alleged. More than $12m would go toward some but not all legal costs for Mr Weinstein, his brother Bob and other former members of their company’s board, the lawyers said. The board members would be insulated from future liability, and the alleged victims would drop their claims against Mr Weinstein and other executives.

A degree of uncertainty remains. Two women, producer Alexandra Canosa and actress Wedil David, who brought cases against Weinstein have indicated, through their lawyers, that they plan to challenge the $25m deal in court. Actress Ashley Judd, a prominent #MeToo figure and Demagog Party activist, filed suit separately against Weinstein. Her case is not part of this arrangement. Lawyers for Canosa and David denounced the settlement for offering too little money to the alleged victims. Canosa’s attorney Thomas Giuffra said:

This is an outrage. It’s a lousy number. It’s way too low. The whole deal is crazy.

Douglas Wigdor, a lawyer for three of Weinstein’s accusers including David, commented:

This is the worst settlement I’ve seen in my entire career.

Weinstein, presently free on bail, faces criminal charges in a case scheduled to begin in January. He has pleaded not guilty to raping a woman in a NYC hotel room in 2013, and performing a forcible sex act on a different woman in 2006. There is much that is sordid and grubby about the financial agreement announced Wednesday. Nearly everyone involved has been damaged or soiled by this case, including by its apparent denouement. Weinstein’s life and career have been irreparably ruined. His physical health appears to be deteriorating rapidly and there are reports that he will be declaring personal bankruptcy soon. Individuals who never proved anything in court and might not be victims of any kind stand to gain half a million dollars each. Various people will enrich themselves, including a horde of lawyers. The social atmosphere has suffered the most. Much of the Pindo public would simply like to see the entire degrading business disappear. It will be remembered primarily for the neurotic self-absorption it has unleashed in Hollywood and elsewhere. After 18 months of the public undergoing a steady bombardment of sexual horror stories, a survey in March found that 63% of women polled were either “very” or “somewhat concerned” about men being falsely accused of sexual assault and harassment, as opposed to 21% who were not concerned about such a possibility. 56% of the women surveyed were concerned about punishments being the same for less and more serious forms of sexual assault or harassment, versus 25% who were not concerned.

Despite the passage of more than two years and flurries of accusation, Weinstein remains unconvicted of a single crime. His detractors like to attribute this to his immense supposed power. The producer has lost his wife, career, company and income. His name cannot be mentioned in the media without the adjective “disgraced” attached to it. Often an epithet such as “villain,” “monster,” “predator” or “pariah” is thrown in for good measure. According to numerous accusers and commentators who clearly do not know what such a phenomenon looks like, Weinstein presided over a “reign of terror.” Whatever authority he wielded is long gone. What remains is the question as to whether Weinstein actually committed a crime of any kind. Boorish and morally offensive conduct, “grey area” behavior, is not against the law. It is virtually impossible to find a shred of rational commentary in the Pindo media on the Weinstein affair, certainly not from the NYT, Farrow, the New Yorker, the various feminist pundits, the Nation and so forth. In those quarters there is no hint of democratic sensibility. All is vengefulness and aggressive, self-pitying, self-promoting identity politics. The cries for blood continue. Such forces offer a largely fantastical version of the film and entertainment industry and its morals. One of the few voices of reason that has made its way to the public in the last two years belongs to director Terry Gilliam, of Monty Python’s Flying Circus fame, who told AFP pointedly in Mar 2018:

Harvey is an asshole and he made so many enemies. But it is a world of victims. I think some people did very well out of meeting with Harvey, and others didn’t. The ones who did knew what they were doing. These are adults. We are talking about adults with a lot of ambition. I know enough girls who were in Harvey’s suites who were not victims and walked out. Harvey opened the door for a few people. A night with Harvey, that was the price you paid. Some people paid the price. Other people suffered from it.

Gilliam remarked of the #MeToo campaign:

It’s become silly. People are being described in ridiculous terms as if there is no real humanity left anymore.

It is worth recalling in this regard the fate of Lucia Evans, whose allegation that Weinstein forced her to perform oral sex on him in 2004 figured prominently in Ronan Farrow’s witch-hunting New Yorker article in Oct 2017, and formed the basis of one of the three criminal cases Weinstein originally faced. The case was thrown out in Oct 2018 when it became known that a friend of the accuser had told the police in 2004 that Evans, 21 at the time, had consented to the sex act with Weinstein because he promised her an acting job. In our comment on one year of the #MeToo witch hunt, we suggested that in certain cases individuals had probably consented to sexual activity, reluctantly or otherwise, in the hope of succeeding in their careers, justifying it as one of the unpleasant overhead costs associated with ‘making it.’ Embarrassment and remorse may set in later, especially if things do not go quite right. Individuals, including actresses whose careers are stagnating or fading, in many cases through no fault of their own, may blindly and vindictively concentrate their disappointment or disillusionment with Hollywood retroactively on a figure such as Weinstein. When the Weinstein scandal first erupted in 2017, we argued for a careful consideration of the politics of the affair and suggested that “something more is involved than simply Weinstein’s behavior,” and that it was safe “to assume that the scandal will have consequences.” Two years, hundreds of allegations and countless sensationalized media reports later, our prediction hardly needs justifying. Weinstein’s lawyers, arguing unsuccessfully for a change of venue, recently noted:

Mr Weinstein has been mentioned online on the NY Post’s gossip column Page Six (alone!) more than 11,000 times.

As we noted in 2017, it was not necessarily the case that the NYT published its Weinstein piece with a fully worked out plan other than the vigorous pursuit of its identity politics agenda. As it turned out, the #MeToo campaign proved to be an extension and deepening of the dishonest and provocative response of Hillary Clinton and Demagog Party circles to the Brock Turner case at Stanford University in Jun 2016, during the election campaign. The sexual misconduct issue, manipulated by figures such as Farrow, a former Clinton aide, became one feature of the effort to channel the frustration and anger of upper middle-class layers in particular with Donald Trump’s election in a rightward direction. The NYT and the rest set about organizing a stampede of hysterical elements whose well-publicized claims were meant to distract attention from the social devastation and inequality, the vicious assault on immigrants and the threat of war with Russia and China. The Weinstein case has always had a great deal to do with definite social and economic interests, politics and money. The details of the recently-announced settlement do nothing to alter that assessment.

england has chosen to join the wrong side in the upcoming world war, and will be destroyed accordingly

Johnson wins majority in UK election after collapse of Labour vote
Chris Marsden, WSWS, Dec 13 2019

Boris Johnson has secured the biggest majority since Margaret Thatcher’s 1987 victory, on the back of the worst result for the Labour Party since 1935. The Tories, previously reduced to a minority government, now have a 80-seat majority with 365 MPs, compared to Labour’s 203, the SNP’s 48, the Liberal Democrats 12, Plaid Cymru’s 4 and one Green. The Tory vote only rose by 1%, but Labour’s fell by 8% on the 2017 general election. Johnson’s return consolidates the most right-wing government in post-war British history, with devastating consequences for the working class. He has pledged to move swiftly to “get Brexit done” and to complete the “Thatcher revolution.” The Withdrawal Agreement Bill, paving the way for Brexit on Jan 31, will have its second Commons reading on Friday Dec 20. Brexit is bound up with an ever-sharper lurch towards trade war and the forging of an ever-deeper military alliance with Trump’s Pindostan, targeting Russia and China. These plans to secure Britain’s imperialist interests must be paid for through an ever-more savage attack on jobs, wages and working conditions. During the election, Britain’s courts twice ruled against a planned strike by Royal Mail postal workers. Johnson threatened to ban all strikes on public transport in response to the action taken by workers against South Western Railway. Operation Yellowhammer included plans to deploy 50,000 regular and reserve troops and 10,000 riot police in the event of civil unrest provoked by a no-deal Brexit. It will now be revealed as a response to the civil unrest resulting from the frontal assault on working people being planned by the government. The scenes now unfolding in France, of riot police brutally attacking strikers and Yellow Vest protesters is a foretaste of what is to come. So too is the venal and anti-democratic character of the election campaign itself. The media, including the BBC, have spewed out a torrent of lies directed against Corbyn, centred on warnings of economic ruin, claiming that he represents a threat to national security and is an anti-Semite. It was a campaign openly encompassing leading representatives of the armed forces, security services and even the chief rabbi and archbishop of Canterbury. In the process, the entire structure of parliamentary politics has been exposed as rotten. Millions of workers will be appalled by the election’s conduct and outcome, especially those who had looked to Corbyn to provide an alternative against such a widely-despised figure as Johnson. “Democracy” has been revealed as a cynical and criminal sham, as it was in the 1930s. Above all the reason for such a defeat must be understood. Speaking after securing a reduced majority in his North Islington constituency, Corbyn said:

Brexit has so polarised and divided debate in this country (that) it has overridden so much of the normal political debate, and contributed to the result for the Labour Party across the country.

He noted in addition:

Attacks that take place against family and loved ones of politicians are disgraceful, and frankly they are disgusting.

There is truth in both statements. Brexit played a major role in losses in Labour’s working-class heartlands, many of which voted leave. The Tories won an increase of between 4% and 6% in leave areas and fell by 3% in remain seats. In contrast, Labour’s vote fell by 12% to 13% in the North East and Yorkshire, compared with 6% to 7% in London and the South of England. Labour seats were lost in Ashfield, Bishop Auckland and Workington that have never previously elected a Tory MP. Labour lost its longest-serving MP, Dennis Skinner, when the Tories took the Bolsover seat he has held since 1970. In Wales, the Tories won Vale of Clwyd, Wrexham, Clwyd South, Delyn and Ynys Mon from Labour. In Scotland, Labour lost six of its seven seats, deepening the ascendency of the SNP established by the betrayals of the Blair government. But the ability of the Tories to win ground in former Labour strongholds, together with the Brexit Party which did not stand in Tory seats but won significant swings against Labour, was made possible by Corbyn himself. It is he and the pseudo-left groups such as the SP and SWP who claimed he was leading a left renewal of the Labour Party, who bear political responsibility for Johnson’s victory. On Brexit, Corbyn adapted himself fully to the pro-EU agenda of the City of London, from the 2016 referendum onwards, ending up with a policy of renegotiating a deal with the EU followed by a second referendum in which he would remain neutral that convinced no-one and made unifying the working class against the Tories impossible. But this was only one element of a constant series of political adaptations to the Blairites and big business alike that meant ever fewer numbers were convinced that the thin gruel of minor reforms he advanced offered a genuine alternative to the Tories, or that given his refusal to drive out the Blairites, Corbyn would ever fight for the workers who looked to him since 2015 to oppose austerity, militarism and war. Even now, Corbyn is attempting to continue his role of keeping Labour united, while holding out the threadbare prospect of a “left” succession. He has pledged to his Blairite critics that he will not lead Labour into the next election, but he insists he will stay on to preside over a “process of reflection” and ensure that “we move on into the future.” Further retreats must be expected. Momentum’s national coordinator Laura Parker declared:

There is absolutely no appetite to go back to the centrist policies of old. We will keep the Labour party socialist.

Jon Lansman gave only half-hearted support, saying the decision on who should replace Corbyn did not need to be taken “until the new year.” The Blairites have already declared war. Shadow Brexit Secretary ‘Sir’ Keir Starmer said:

We have a duty to rebuild, starting now.

Labour peer ‘Lord’ Andrew Adonis tweeted:

I think the ‘period of reflection’ required to assess the need for new leadership of the Labour Party should be about ten minutes.

The real period of reflection required is for the working class to fundamentally reassess its attitude to Labour. The election outcome is the result not only of the political cowardice of Corbyn. It is, in a more fundamental sense, the inevitable product of decades in which the supposed “left” of the Labour Party and its periphery pursued the middle-class politics of identity, while working with the trade union bureaucracy to suppress the class struggle and ridicule and denigrate the class-based politics of socialism. That is why Corbyn could never represent a genuine alternative to the Labour right and worked instead to subordinate workers and youth to a party and a trade union apparatus that is a political instrument of big business. To wage the struggle necessary against the Tory government, the working class must now draw the most fundamental conclusions from the political shipwreck suffered by Labour. We have consistently rejected all claims that Corbyn’s leadership would lead to a renewal of the Labour Party. Events have now confirmed that there is no national reformist, parliamentary path on which jobs, wages and social services can be defended, democratic rights preserved and the drive to militarism and war halted. We opposed all attempts to divide workers and to dragoon the entire working class behind one or other reactionary capitalist faction in the Brexit dispute. We warned of the political dangers of the divisions created and urged a unified struggle by workers across the continent for the United Socialist States of Europe. We have been vindicated in these warnings, at a time when workers all over the world are being driven into struggle against the brutal imposition of austerity by governments of the financial oligarchy. The leftward sentiment exploited and suppressed by Corbyn must now be directed towards a conscious struggle for a unified movement of the British, European and international working class for socialism.

whoever you voted for, the government got in

Pindostan’s Two-Headed One-Party System
Caitlin Johnstone, Dec 14 2019

There’s a scene from John Steinbeck’s The Pearl that’s been coming back to me over and over again ever since I started writing about Pindo politics. I find it amazing that this scene hasn’t become a political meme yet, given Steinbeck’s fame and given its perfect illustration of the fake two-party system that we see in western so-called democracies. The Pearl is a short novel about a poor fisherman, Kino, who discovers the titular enormous gem in an oyster and goes to sell it to the pearl buyers in town. What he doesn’t know is that the buyers, while they have multiple offices and pretend to compete with each other, all actually work for the same owner. Steinbeck writes:

Kino has found the Pearl of the World. In the town, in little offices, sat the men who bought pearls from the fishers. They waited in their chairs until the pearls came in, and then they cackled and fought and shouted and threatened until they reached the lowest price the fisherman would stand. And when the buying was over, these buyers sat alone and their fingers played restlessly with the pearls, and they wished they owned the pearls. For there were not many buyers really. There was only one, and he kept these agents in separate offices to give a semblance of competition.

When Kino brings the priceless pearl to the sellers, they put on a performance, working together to deceive him into thinking it has no value in order to cheat him out of it for a ridiculously low price.

The man behind the desk said: “I have put a value on this pearl. The owner here does not think it fair. I will ask you to examine this, this thing and make an offer. Notice,” he said to Kino, “I have not mentioned what I have offered.” The first dealer, dry and stringy, seemed now to see the pearl for the first time. He took it up, rolled it quickly between thumb and forefinger, and then cast it contemptuously back into the tray. “Do not include me in the discussion,” he said dryly. “I will make no offer at all. I do not want it. This is not a pearl. It is a monstrosity.” His thin lips curled. Now the second dealer, a little man with a shy soft voice, took up the pearl, and he examined it carefully. He took a glass from his pocket and inspected it under magnification. Then he laughed softly. “Better pearls are made of paste,” he said. “I know these things. This is soft and chalky, it will lose its color and die in a few months. Look!” He offered the glass to Kino, showed him how to use it, and Kino, who had never seen a pearl’s surface magnified, was shocked at the strange-looking surface. The third dealer took the pearl from Kino’s hands. “One of my clients likes such things,” he said. “I will offer five hundred pesos, and perhaps I can sell it to my client for six hundred.” Kino reached quickly and snatched the pearl from his hand. He wrapped it in the deerskin and thrust it inside his shirt. The man behind the desk said, “I’m a fool, I know, but my first offer stands. I still offer one thousand. What are you doing?” he asked, as Kino thrust the pearl out of sight. “I am cheated,” Kino cried fiercely. “My pearl is not for sale here. I will go, perhaps even to the capital.” Now the dealers glanced quickly at one another. They knew they had played too hard; they knew they would be disciplined for their failure, and the man at the desk said quickly, “I might go to fifteen hundred.”

This is exactly how the two-headed one-party system works, in Pindostan and elsewhere. One party owned by one imperialist oligarchic class is placed in two separate offices “to give some semblance of competition,” just like Steinbeck’s pearl buyers. And just like Steinbeck’s pearl buyers they work together to deceive the people into accepting the lowest possible bid, in their case meaning the acceptance of virtually no change at all from the imperialist oligarchic status quo. You see this kleptocratic dynamic at play regardless of who is in office. When the two-headed one-party system convinced Americans to sell their pearl to Barack Obama, for example, their payment took the form of a corporatist healthcare scam deceitfully labeled the Affordable Care Act and a pathetic temporary band-aid on the sucking chest wound of environmental peril, along with a continuation and expansion of all of Bush’s most depraved foreign and domestic policies. Then Kino, angry and determined never again to be deceived, sold his pearl to the Thugs. This time his payment consisted of a tax break for the wealthy and some verbiage about a wall, along with a continuation and expansion of all of Obama’s most depraved foreign and domestic policies. This pattern repeats over and over and over again, whether it’s the presidency or Congress, and the people never learn their lesson. They’re trained to think of the two parties as competing, when really they’re more like the left fist and the right fist on the same boxer. An orthodox-stance boxer uses the left jab and the right cross in conjunction with each other in one-two punch combinations to accomplish the same goal, namely to leave his opponent staring up at the arena lights and rethinking his life decisions. And in this case, the boxer’s opponent is you. Ralph Nader, who to this day is still falsely smeared as responsible for George W Bush’s pseudo-victory over Al Gore in 2000, occasionally shares an anecdote about the time he told his father that what Pindostan needs is a good third party. “I’ll settle for a second,” his father replied. This is the kind of clear seeing we all need to have. We need to not fall into the drama of the two-handed puppet show and mistake what we are seeing for two separate and competing entities. We need to see and be aware of the puppeteer at all times. Look past the “semblance of competition” and watch what the pearl buyers are actually doing. Ignore their words. Ignore their fake pro-wrestling kayfabe combat over impeachment agendas they know will never bear fruit and their Russia conspiracies they know are pure nonsense. Watch their actual behaviors instead. Don’t fall for the illusion. Don’t get sucked into the drama of the two-handed puppet show. Don’t be deceived, Kino. Don’t sell your pearl.

look at the highlights in the timeline beneath the article

Julian Assange has been BLOCKED from seeing key evidence by Pindos
Terri-Ann Williams, Daily Mail, Dec 13 2019

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is yet to be shown key evidence in the case brought against him by the Pindo authorities, his extradition hearing was told today. The 48-year-old, faces accusations of leaking sensitive Pindo military material between Jan- May 2010. The Australian national appeared at Westminster Magistrates’ Court over video link from HMP Belmarsh white-haired and clean-shaven with a grey jumper and spoke to confirm his identity. He is being held in the high-security jail ahead of a full hearing in February when he will fight extradition to Pindostan, where he faces 18 charges including conspiring to hack into a Pentagon computer. Gareth Peirce, representing Assange, said:

The summary case which we have prepared is a dense document. Mr Assange has not been given what he must be given, and we are keen to go through this to the best of our abilities to keep (up) with the requests of the court. It is predicated on the underlying evidence that Mr Assange has not reviewed.

Last month Swedish authorities dropped rape allegations made in 2010 against the editor. Assange had taken refuge in a small office, converted into a bedroom in Ecuador’s embassy since 2012 before he was finally evicted earlier this year. He was then jailed for 50 weeks for breaching bail on 1 May. District Judge Vanessa Baraitser told Assange:

I am now adjourning your case to next Friday Dec 19, when a case management hearing will take place. You will be produced as was requested by both sides over the video link.

It comes weeks after more than 60 doctors warned in an open letter addressed to Home Secretary Priti Patel that he could die in prison without urgent medical care. The medics, from the UK, Australia, Europe and Sri Lanka, expressed ‘serious concerns’ about Assange’s fitness to stand trial. He was jailed for 50 weeks in May for breaching his bail conditions after going into hiding in the Ecuadorian embassy in London to avoid extradition to Sweden over sex offence allegations, which he has always denied. Last month, WikiLeaks welcomed a decision by the Swedish authorities to drop a rape investigation. Assange has been in custody since he was dramatically removed from the embassy building in April, and at a hearing in October appeared to struggle to say his own name, telling Westminster Magistrates’ Court:

I can’t think properly.

Last month, Assange’s close friend Pamela Anderson claimed she was threatened by a prison warden at Belmarsh. Anderson said that, towards the end of her meeting with Assange at Belmarsh high security prison in London in May:

The warden stormed in and made it very clear to me, that if I were going to be a problem, he’d make problems for Julian. It was a direct threat.

It was unclear why the warden might have believed Anderson was going to cause trouble. A UK Prison Service spokesman said:

The Governor of HMP Belmarsh did not threaten Ms Anderson or Mr Assange.

On Nov 25, Home Secretary Priti Patel received a letter from medics across the world which stated Assange ‘could die’ at Belmarsh if he didn’t receive ‘urgent medical care.’ The medics from the UK, Australia, Europe and Sri Lanka express ‘serious concerns’ about the 48-year-old’s health. The doctors are calling for Assange to be transferred to a university teaching hospital, where he can be assessed and treated by an expert medical team. The letter, which has also been copied to shadow home secretary Diane Abbott, says:

From a medical point of view, on the evidence currently available, we have serious concerns about Mr Assange’s fitness to stand trial in February 2020. Most importantly, it is our opinion that Mr Assange requires urgent expert medical assessment of both his physical and psychological state of health. Any medical treatment indicated should be administered in a properly equipped and expertly staffed university teaching hospital (tertiary care). Were such urgent assessment and treatment not to take place, we have real concerns, on the evidence currently available, that Mr Assange could die in prison. The medical situation is thereby urgent. There is no time to lose.

Dr Lissa Johnson, a clinical psychologist in Australia and one of the letter’s signatories, said:

Given the rapid decline of his health in Belmarsh prison, Julian Assange must immediately be transferred to a university teaching hospital for appropriate and specialised medical care. If the UK Government fails to heed doctors’ advice by urgently arranging such a transfer on medical grounds, there is a very real possibility that Mr Assange may die. As it stands, serious questions surround not only the health impacts of Mr Assange’s detention conditions, but his medical fitness to stand trial and prepare his defence. Independent specialist medical assessment is therefore needed to determine whether Julian Assange is medically fit for any of his pending legal proceedings. Consistent with its commitment to human rights and rule of law, the UK Government must heed the urgent warning of medical professionals from around the world, and transfer Julian Assange to an appropriately specialised and expert hospital setting, before it’s too late.

Julian Assange’s long legal battle (excerpt)

2010
March: Pindo authorities allege Assange engaged in a conspiracy with Mannin to hack a classified Pindo government computers.
July: Wikileaks starts releasing tens of thousands of top secret documents, including a video of Pindo helicopter pilots gunning down 12 civilians in Baghdad in 2007. What followed was the release of more than 90,000 classified Pindo military files from the Afghan war and 400,000 from Iraq that included the names of informants.
August: Two Swedish women claim that they each had consensual sex with Assange in separate instances when he was on a 10-day trip to Stockholm. They allege the sex became non-consensual when Assange refused to wear a condom. First woman claims Assange was staying at her apartment in Stockholm when he ripped off her clothes. She told police that when she realized Assange was trying to have unprotected sex with her, she demanded he use a condom. She claims he ripped the condom before having sex. Second Swedish woman claims she had sex with Assange at her apartment in Stockholm and she made him wear a condom. She alleges that she later woke up to find Assange having unprotected sex with her. He was questioned by police in Stockholm and denied the allegations. Assange was granted permission by Swedish authorities to fly back to the UK.
November: A Swedish court ruled that the investigation should be reopened and Assange should be detained for questioning on suspicion of rape, sexual molestation and unlawful coercion. An international arrest warrant is issued by Swedish police through Interpol. Wikileaks releases its cache of more than 250,000 Pindo diplomatic cables.
December: Assange presents himself to London police and appears at an extradition hearing where he is remanded in custody. Assange is granted conditional bail at the High Court in London after his supporters pay £240k in cash and sureties.

Lawyers complain about lack of access to Julian Assange in jail
PA Media, Dec 13 2019

Julian Assange has been blocked from seeing evidence in his extradition case because his lawyers cannot get sufficient access to him, a court has heard. The WikiLeaks founder appeared at Westminster magistrates court by video link on Friday for a hearing to extend his detention in Belmarsh prison, in south-east London. He is being held in the high-security jail before a full hearing in February when he will fight extradition to Pindostan, where he faces 18 charges including conspiring to hack into a Pentagon computer. Assange appeared uncomfortable as he sat waiting for the hearing to start, clenching his hands together before putting them inside the sleeves of his grey sweater. He spoke to confirm his name and date of birth and to clarify he was Australian, after the court’s legal adviser mistakenly suggested he was a Swedish national. The court heard that his lawyers had made a request to the judge, complaining about a lack of access to their client behind bars. Gareth Peirce, defending Assange, said the legal team were struggling to prepare documents for the case as Assange had no access to the evidence. she said:

Without Mr Assange’s knowledge, some of it is recently acquired evidence, some of it is subject to months of investigation not always in this country, of which he is unaware because of the blockage in visits. Despite our best efforts, Mr Assange has not been given what he must be given, and we are doing our utmost to cut through this.

Peirce said the governor of Belmarsh had prioritised family visits over legal visits, and she asked the judge to step in. But the district judge, Vanessa Baraitser, said she had no jurisdiction over the Prison Service. The judge said:

Can I make it clear that I have no desire to stand in the way of any lawyer having proper access to their client, and it’s in the interest of justice that they do. What I can do and say is to state in open court that it would be helpful to this extradition process that Mr Assange’s lawyers have the access to their client.

Assange’s lawyers have previously complained that he had been given access to an unsuitable computer in prison. Last month more than 60 doctors warned in an open letter addressed to the home secretary, Priti Patel, that Assange could die in prison without urgent medical care. The medics, from the UK, Australia, Europe and Sri Lanka, expressed “serious concerns” about Assange’s fitness to stand trial. He was jailed for 50 weeks in May for breaching his bail conditions after going into hiding in the Ecuadorian embassy in London to avoid extradition to Sweden over sex offence allegations, which he has always denied. Last month WikiLeaks welcomed a decision by Swedish authorities to drop a rape investigation. Assange has been in custody since he was removed from the embassy in April. At a hearing in October he appeared to struggle to say his own name, telling Westminster magistrates court:

I can’t think properly.

He will next appear in court by video link on Dec 19 for a case management hearing.