Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘persecution

 

Twenty-One Thoughts On The Persecution Of Julian Assange

1. I write a lot about the plight of Julian Assange for the same reason I write a lot about the Iraq invasion: his persecution, when sincerely examined, exposes undeniable proof that we are ruled by a transnational power establishment which is immoral and dishonest to its core.

2. Assange started a leak outlet on the premise that corrupt and unaccountable power is a problem in our world, and that the problem can be fought with the light of truth. Corrupt and unaccountable power has responded by detaining, silencing and smearing him. The persecution of Assange has proved his thesis about the world absolutely correct.

3. Anyone who offends the US-centralized empire will find themselves subject to a trial by media, and the media are owned by the same plutocratic class which owns the empire. To believe what mass media news outlets tell you about those who stand up to imperial power is to ignore reality.

4. Corrupt and unaccountable power uses its political and media influence to smear Assange because, as far as the interests of corrupt and unaccountable power are concerned, killing his reputation is as good as killing him. If everyone can be paced into viewing him with hatred and revulsion, they’ll be far less likely to take WikiLeaks publications seriously, and they’ll be far more likely to consent to Assange’s silencing and imprisonment. Someone can be speaking 100 percent truth to you, but if you’re suspicious of him you won’t believe anything he’s saying. If they can manufacture that suspicion with total or near-total credence, then as far as our rulers are concerned it’s as good as putting a bullet in his head.

5. The fact that the mass media can keep saying day after day “Hey, you know that bloke at the embassy who shares embarrassing truths about very powerful people? He’s a stinky Nazi rapist Russian spy who mistreats his cat” without raising suspicion shows you how propagandized the public already is. A normal worldview unmolested by corrupt narrative control would see someone who circulates inconvenient facts about the powerful being called pretty much all the worst things in the world and know immediately that that person is being lied about by those in power.

6. Relentless smear campaigns against Assange have given the unelected power establishment the ability to publicly make an example of a journalist who published uncomfortable truths without provoking the wrath of the masses. It’s a town square flogging that the crowd has been manipulated into cheering for. Narrative control has enabled them to have their cake and eat it too: they get to act like medieval lords and inflict draconian punishment against a speaker of undeniable facts and leave his head on a spike in the town square as a warning to other would-be truth tellers, and have the public believe that such a bizarre violation of modern human rights is perfectly fine and acceptable.

7. There are people who worked really hard to get journalism degrees, toiled long hours to earn the esteemed privilege of appearing on the front pages of a major publication, only to find themselves writing articles with headlines like “Julian Assange is a stinky, stinky stink man.”

8. Ordinary citizens often find themselves eager to believe the smear campaigns against Assange because it is easier than believing that their government would participate in the deliberate silencing and imprisoning of a journalist for publishing facts.

9. And yes, Julian Assange is most certainly a journalist. Publishing important information about what’s going on in the world so the public can inform themselves is precisely the thing that journalism is. There is no conventional definition of journalism which differs from this. Anyone who says Assange is not a journalist is telling a lie that they may or may not actually believe in order to justify his persecution and their support for it.

10. Another reason people can find themselves eager to believe smears about Assange is that the raw facts revealed by WikiLeaks publications punch giant holes in the stories about the kind of world, nation and society that most people have been taught to believe they live in since school age. These kinds of beliefs are interwoven with people’s entire egoic structures, with their sense of self and who they are as a person, so narratives which threaten to tear them apart can feel the same as a personal attack. This is why you’ll hear ordinary citizens talking about Assange as though he attacked them personally; all he did was publish facts about the powerful, but since those facts conflict with tightly held identity constructs, the cognitive dissonance that was caused to them can be interpreted as feeling like he’d slapped them in the face.

11. We live in a reality where unfathomably powerful world-dominating government agencies are scrutinized and criticized far, far less than a guy trapped in an embassy who published inconvenient facts about those agencies.

12. Assange disrupts establishment narratives even in his persecution. Liberal establishment loyalists in America still haven’t found a rational answer to criticisms that in supporting Assange’s criminal prosecution they are supporting a Trump administration agenda. You now have the same people who’ve been screaming that Trump is Hitler and that he’s attacking the free press cheering for the possibility of that same administration imprisoning a journalist for publishing facts.

13. The precedent that would be set by the US prosecuting a foreign journalist for merely publishing factual information would constitute a greater leap in the direction of Orwellian dystopia than the Patriot Act, for America and for the entire world.

14. The billionaire media has invalidated itself with its refusal to defend Assange. They know the precedent set by his prosecution for WikiLeaks publications would kill the ability of the press to hold power to account, but they don’t care because they know they never do that. For all their crying about Jamal Khashoggi and Jim Acosta’s hurt feelings, they do not actually care about journalism or “the free press” in any meaningful way.

15. Whenever I see a blue checkmark account on Twitter bashing Assange I mentally translate whatever they’re saying into “There is nothing I won’t do to advance my career in corporate media. If you’re in a position to promote me I will literally get down on my knees right this very second and let you do whatever you want to my body.”

16. I sometimes feel like I respect professional propagandists who smear Assange more than I respect ordinary citizens who go around smearing him for free. What do these people think they’ll get as a reward for their work as pro bono CIA propagandists? A gold star from Big Brother? They’re like slaves who beat and betray other slaves that fall out of line in order to win favor with the master, except they’re not even achieving that. The professional manipulators are at least cheering for their own class to continue to have its leadership’s interests advanced; ordinary people who do it are cheering for their own oppression.

17. Even lower in my view are the self-proclaimed leftists and anarchists who view themselves as oppositional to the establishment but still help advance this smear campaign. It is impossible to attack Assange without supporting the Orwellian empire which is persecuting him. I don’t care what mental gymnastics you’re doing to justify your pathetic cronyism; what you are doing benefits the most powerful and depraved people on this planet.

18. Anyone who participates in the ongoing smear campaign against Assange and Wikileaks is basically just saying “Extremely powerful people should be able to lie to us without any difficulty or opposition at all.”

19. Everyone should always be extremely suspicious of anyone who defends the powerful from the less powerful. It’s amazing that this isn’t more obvious to more people.

20. Contrary to the narratives promoted by establishment smear merchants, Julian Assange is not hiding from justice in the Ecuadorian embassy. He is hiding from injustice. Everyone who knows anything about the US government’s prosecution of leakers and whistleblowers knows he has no shot at a fair trial, and would face brutal mistreatment at the hands of the same regime which tortured Chelsea Manning.

21. The persecution of Assange is essentially a question that mankind is asking itself: do we want to

(A) continue down the path of omnicidal, ecocidal Orwellian dystopia, or do we want to

(B) pull up and away from that trajectory and shrug off the oppressive power establishment which is driving us toward either total extinction or total enslavement?

So far, A is the answer we’ve been giving ourselves to that question. But, as long as we switch before it’s too late, we can always change our answer.

Moral Courage? And what other kinds of courage? Edward Snowden,  Hugh Thompson, whistle-blowers…

Last Thursday Chris Hedges opened a team debate at the Oxford Union at Oxford University with this speech arguing in favor of the proposition “This house would call Edward Snowden a hero.”

The others on the Hedges team, which won the debate by an audience vote of 212 to 171, were William E. Binney, a former National Security Agency official and a whistle-blower; Chris Huhne, a former member of the British Parliament; and Annie Machon, a former intelligence officer for the United Kingdom.

The opposing team was made up of Philip J. Crowley, a former U.S. State Department officer; Stewart A. Baker, a former chief counsel for the National Security Agency; Jeffrey Toobin, an American television and print commentator; and Oxford student Charles Vaughn.

Chris Hedges posted this Feb.23, 2014

Edward Snowden’s Moral Courage

I have been to war. I have seen physical courage.

But this kind of courage is not moral courage. Very few of even the bravest warriors have moral courage.

For moral courage means to defy the crowd, to stand up as a solitary individual, to shun the intoxicating embrace of comradeship, to be disobedient to authority, even at the risk of your life, for a higher principle. And with moral courage comes persecution.

The American Army pilot Hugh Thompson had moral courage. He landed his helicopter between a platoon of U.S. soldiers and 10 terrified Vietnamese civilians during the My Lai massacre.

Thompson ordered his gunner to fire his M60 machine gun on the advancing U.S. soldiers if they began to shoot the villagers. And for this act of moral courage, Thompson, like Snowden, was hounded and reviled.

Moral courage always looks like this.

It is always defined by the state as treason—the Army attempted to cover up the massacre and court-martial Thompson. It is the courage to act and to speak the truth. Thompson had it.

Daniel Ellsberg had it. Martin Luther King had it. What those in authority once said about them they say today about Snowden.

In this still image from video footage released by WikiLeaks on Oct. 11, 2013, former National Security Agency systems analyst Edward Snowden speaks in Moscow during a presentation ceremony for the Sam Adams Award. (AP photo)

“My country, right or wrong” is the moral equivalent of “my mother, drunk or sober,” G.K. Chesterton reminded us.

So let me speak to you about those drunk with the power to sweep up all your email correspondence, your tweets, your Web searches, your phone records, your file transfers, your live chats, your financial data, your medical data, your criminal and civil court records and your movements, those who are awash in billions upon billions of taxpayer dollars, those who have banks of sophisticated computer systems, along with biosensors, scanners, face recognition technologies and miniature drones, those who have obliterated your anonymity, your privacy and, yes, your liberty.

There is no free press without the ability of the reporters to protect the confidentiality of those who have the moral courage to make public the abuse of power.

Those few individuals inside government who dared to speak out about the system of mass surveillance have been charged as spies or hounded into exile.

An omnipresent surveillance state—and I covered the East German Stasi state—creates a climate of paranoia and fear. It makes democratic dissent impossible.

Any state that has the ability to inflict full-spectrum dominance on its citizens is not a free state.

It does not matter if it does not use this capacity today; it will use it, history has shown, should it feel threatened or seek greater control.

The goal of wholesale surveillance, as Hannah Arendt wrote, is not, in the end, to discover crimes, “but to be on hand when the government decides to arrest a certain category of the population.”

The relationship between those who are constantly watched and tracked and those who watch and track them is the relationship between masters and slaves.

Those who wield this unchecked power become delusional.

Gen. Keith Alexander, the director of the National Security Agency, hired a Hollywood set designer to turn his command center at Fort Meade into a replica of the bridge of the starship Enterprise so he could sit in the captain’s chair and pretend he was Jean-Luc Picard.

James Clapper, the director of national intelligence, had the audacity to lie under oath to Congress. This spectacle was a rare glimpse into the absurdist theater that now characterizes American political life.

A congressional oversight committee holds public hearings. It is lied to.

It knows it is being lied to. The person who lies knows the committee members know he is lying. And the committee, to protect their security clearances, says and does nothing.

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Christianity: From total persecution to State religion: what happened? (Nov. 2, 2009)

            By the beginning of the fourth century, Christians in the Roman Empire were no longer persecuted as a sect behaving contrary to the Roman values.  The Christians have suffered one of the worst waves of persecutions from 303 to 311.

The father of Constantine persecuted the Christian mercilessly and Constantine witnessed the massacres. Constantine inherited England and France as co-Emperor, one of three other co-Emperors to the Roman Empire that dominated the Mediterranean Sea.

This article is not about the fictitious story or not of Constantine seeing the symbol of the Christians at night or in a dream before the battle to capturing Rome from Maxence in 312. This post intends on explaining the moratorium on Christian persecutions as this sect reached the threshold of a minority of 10% of the total population.

At that period, a Christian was not born a Christian: he was not baptized a week or longer after birth.  A Christian had to prove that he believed in Christ as the Redemptor of our sins, that Christ resurrected from death and that God is the creator of man and the universe and that God is One and all powerful, and all our actions were to be offered in honor of Him.

The intellectuals and educated leaned toward this concept of a unique God, an abstract God who is not emulated on earthly natural powers or actual planets and Sun: it was the cultural rage of the time.  The high ranked in the Roman caste system didn’t have to proselytize or proclaim their conversion; this task was relegated to the poorer Romans in the caste system so that the Christian religion spread its tenants with example of persecutions in arenas for the pleasure of the Romans.

The four co-Emperors needed stability in their respective allocated Empires and they needed the Christians support in the highest administrative jobs.  If the Christians were about 10% of the total they constituted a much higher ratio in the Orient and in Africa.  After Constantine won the Orient he was left with only one co-Emperor Licinius in Africa.

Emperor Constantine who build Constantinople (later to be named the Byzantium Empire) converted to Christianity and was both pragmatic toward the vast majority of pagans and an intolerant Christian who wanted to unite all the Christian sects in his empire, a sort of centralized orthodox church with a dogma that suited a newly converted Emperor.

Christianity was Not a new ideology to Emperor Constantine; that would be the case a century later. The people were born in the rituals to being “patriotic” to the Roman Empire and to obeying the reigning Emperor. The people were not dupe: not a single ex-voto (in Greek or Latin) to an Emperor (living or dead) was found. People asked and demanded from their Gods to be cured or saved from calamities.

The temporal sovereign was considered a need to safeguard the peace and continuity of the communities; as long as no new heavy taxes were imposed the Emperor could be labeled “The so good and beloved monarch”. The luxurious way of life of the monarch was accepted as a right that fit the position: the monarch didn’t have to abuse of pageantry to impress upon the people, it was not a sort of propaganda to remind the people of his role and power. It was simply a right attached to the position of power.  All that an Emperor had to do is to occasionally speak on the virtue of the existing rituals so that to clear the void and the silence in the kingdom.

In 325 Emperor Constantine summoned all the Bishops to a conclave in Nicaea (Turkey).  The conclave dragged on for four months and ended with a slight majority agreeing to a new abstract dogma of the Trinity of Father, Son, and the Virgin Mary, the Holy Ghost and the Credo.  The dissenting Christian sects were labeled “heretics” because they wanted to believe in One God and not bestow divinity on Jesus and much less on Mary.

Ten years later Emperor Constantine defeated Licinius and became the sole Emperor to the Mediterranean Sea Empire. Persecution of the heretic Christian sects started in earnests and they had to flee to the eastern shores of the Euphrates River, a kingdom under the Persian Sassanide Empire.

Apparently, Emperor Constantine was never defeated in military battles; if he were he might have had a second thought about his all powerful protector new God; at least he might have listened more seriously to the heretic Christian Unique God.  Two years before his death, Emperor Constantine defeated the Germans and wrote to the Bishops meeting in conclave in Tyr (Lebanon) “The Germans are converting to Christianity; they are convinced that our God cannot be defeated or vanquished.”

Constantine died in 337.

From this year to 400 Christianity could have easily lost its supremacy as the Emperor religion.  Emperor Julian reverted to paganism but died two years later; he could have easily converted the whole Empire to paganism which was the vast majority.  Several Christian Emperors were elected by factional armies not on religious ground but for many other reasons.

One main reason that Christian Emperors succeeded to the throne in the next 60 years was because the paganism was flexible, indifferent, and tolerant, while the Christian Church was exclusive (once converted then you are sucked in) and it grabbed tightly at any rights it gained.  The minority Church used to the hilt the temporal power of the Emperors to affirm its positions.

In 394, Emperor Theodosius managed to defeat the pagan German General Arbogast in Slovenia. This defeat was a pure fluke of nature: a violent wind blew in the face of the combined more powerful Roman/Germanic army.  Arbogast had reigned in Rome and installed a figure head Emperor Eugene; he re-confirmed paganism in Rome and for six years paganism was master in the western provinces. Also, two years earlier to the definitive battle, Theodosius had banished all public pagan rituals in the Orient in reaction to Arbogast attempts to restore paganism.

This military defeat had set the stage for the supremacy of Christianity in the Roman Empire. Thus, in the 5th century, the number of bishops jumped drastically; from around 6 to 50 in North Italy, from 20 to 70 in France (Gaul), and in North Africa the number tripled. The pagans transformed Christianity into paganism rituals of visiting every new sanctified Saint or shrines where miracles were invented and propagated.  Pictures and statues of Saints and the Virgin Mary proliferated much quicker than churches.

When Islam conquered the Near East by defeating Heracles in the battle of Yarmouk, the heretic Christian sects (the true monolithic sects) converted to a religion that coincided with their belief system in One and Unique God and that accepted all the Jewish and Christian Bibles as forming integral part of Islam’s fundamental doctrine.  If the Byzantium Empire had selected the Christian heretic dogma instead of the Trinity Islam would have never emerged to fill this vacuum since the Prophet Muhammad was initially a convert to one of the Christian-Jewish sects in Mecca.

There are two distinct civilizations around the Mediterranean Sea. 

The main difference is in the transmission of rituals and traditions among the people.  The Oriental civilization accepts a temporal sovereign who appoints the religious clergy of bishops and Imam (a decentralized religion) and the western civilization was comfortable with the cast of the clergy using the temporal power to expand its dominion over the people (a centralized religious power in Rome); that was the case after the year 400 in pagan Rome.

The Christian religion emulated the trend of former civilizations and a major schism occurred in 1000 between the Orthodox and Catholic Churches based on the perception, power, and the rights of the temporal power. In fact, Emperor Theodoric of Constantinople exerted pressures on Pope Gelase 1st to submit to the temporal rights of the sovereign; then, the Pope created the theory of separation of the spiritual and temporal powers in order to appease the Emperor.

While the Orient experienced a resurgence of the sciences and rational thinking in the 7th century, Europe was engulfed in the Dark Age till the 15th century because the Catholic Church prohibited any rational challenges to its authority.


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

May 2020
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