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A Massive Scandal: How Assange, His Doctors, Lawyers and Visitors Were All Spied on for the US

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It sounds like a James Bond movie, but it really happened. Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks journalists and every single lawyer, reporter, politician, artist and physician who visited the founder of WikiLeaks at the Ecuadorian embassy over the last seven years was subjected to systematic espionage. Meetings and conversations were recorded and filmed, and all the information was sent to US intelligence. Sometimes the espionage operations were truly off the wall: at one point spies even planned to steal the diaper of a baby brought to visit Assange inside the embassy. The purpose? To gather the baby's feces and perform a DNA test to establish whether the newborn was a secret son of Julian Assange.

Repubblica has had access to some of the videos, audios and photos. Meetings between the founder of WikiLeaks and his lawyers, medical examinations of Julian Assange, diplomatic encounters of the Ecuadorian ambassador Carlos Abad Ortiz, meetings between Assange and journalists. Everything was spied on.

The author of this article found that she was not just filmed, but her phones were screwed open, presumably to obtain the IMEI code that allows uniquely identifying the phone in order to intercept it. Spies also had access to our USB sticks, though at this stage it is not clear if they managed to break the encryption protecting the information stored in the USB flash drives inside our backpacks. These are very serious violations of the confidentiality of journalistic sources, given that our meetings inside the embassy were entirely professional and, as frequent visitors, we were repeatedly registered as "journalists".
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The Insider: How National Security Mandarins Groomed Pete Buttigieg and Managed his Future

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In his quest for front-runner status in the 2020 presidential campaign, Pete Buttigieg has crafted an image for himself as a maverick running against a broken establishment. On the trail, he has invoked his distinction as the openly gay mayor of a de-industrialized Rust Belt town, as well as his experience as a Naval reserve intelligence officer who now claims to oppose “endless wars”.
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From Baghdad To Seoul, World Increasingly Sours On Hosting US Troops

The Trump Administration's inability to reach an agreement for the basing of 28,000 troops in South Korea highlights an increasing phenomenon across the US military empire: as the cost of US "protection" keeps going up, the value of that protection - in the eyes of the "protected" - seems to keep going down. Baghdad increasingly desires a US departure as well. Watch today's Liberty Report...
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By impeaching Trump, Democrats have made him more powerful than they could ever imagine

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From coast to coast, the Resistance is cheering the impeachment of President Donald Trump in the House. They shouldn’t be. For in seeking to destroy him, they have only made him more powerful, and undercut themselves.

Let’s not mince words: Wednesday’s vote was the culmination of efforts that began on November 8, 2016, with Trump’s shocking triumph over Hillary Clinton – or maybe even before, on whatever date the FBI actually began investigating the Trump campaign for “Russian collusion” per accusations coming from Democrats. 

All those paths, from “emoluments” and “Hamilton electors,” via the ill-fated Mueller Report into “Russiagate,” to the “whistleblower” complaint about the Ukraine phone call, they all converged on this inevitable conclusion. The actual “high crimes or misdemeanors” never mattered – or materialized, really – all anyone needed to do is repeat the mantra, Orange Man Bad.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-California) wore black and intoned about sadness and solemnity of the day for the American Republic and its importance for “our democracy.” It was a bonfire of hypocrisies, as the party that has spent years denouncing everything about America – its flag, anthem, founders, and even the political system – now claiming to be defending it all from the “clear and present danger” Trump somehow represented.
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The Afghanistan Fiasco and the Decline and Fall of the American Military

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A devastating investigative report was published in the Washington Post on December 9th. Dubbed the “Afghanistan Papers” in a nod to the Vietnam War’s famous “Pentagon Papers,” the report relied on thousands of documents to similarly expose how the US government at the presidential level across three administrations, acting in collaboration with the military brass and civilian bureaucracy, deliberately and systematically lied repeatedly to the public and media about the situation in Afghanistan. Officials from the Bush, Obama and Trump administrations have all surged additional troops into Afghanistan while also regularly overstating the “success” that the United States was attaining in stabilizing and democratizing the country. While they were lying, the senior officers and government officials understood clearly that the war was, in fact, unwinnable.

The story should have been featured all across the US as Afghanistan continues to kill Americans and much larger numbers of Afghans while also draining billions of dollars from the United States Treasury, but the mainstream media was largely unresponsive, preferring to cover the impeachment saga. Rather more responsive were the families of Army Chief Warrant Officer Second Class David C. Knadle, 33, of Tarrant, Texas, and Chief Warrant Officer Second Class Kirk T. Fuchigami Jr., 25, of Keaau, Hawaii. Both were killed in a helicopter crash on November 20th in Afghanistan’s Logar province while assisting troops on the ground, according to a Pentagon press release. They were participating in what was characteristically dubbed Operation Freedom’s Sentinel. Both men were assigned to the 1st Battalion, 227th Aviation Regiment, 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division in Fort Hood, Texas. The Taliban took credit for the downing of the chopper, but the Army is still investigating the cause.

Knadle and Fuchigami are only the most recent of the more than 2,400 American service members who have been killed in Afghanistan since October 2001, together with 20,589 wounded and an estimated 110,000 Afghan dead. In the wake of the Post’s report, Daniel Ellsberg, who leaked the Pentagon Papers in 1974, told a CNN reporter that the Pentagon and Afghanistan Papers exposed the same governmental dysfunction: “The presidents and the generals had a pretty realistic view of what they were up against, which they did not want to admit to the American people.”
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Impeachment Vote Today: Constitutional Duty Or Political Farce?

The Democrat-controlled US House of Representatives is expected to vote for two articles of impeachment against President Trump today and the articles are expected to die in the Republican-controlled Senate. Is Congress doing its Constitutional duty to remove a president abusing his power and obstructing Congress, or is this a prosecution in search of a crime? Watch today's Liberty Report...
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Can Recep the Magnificent Sort Out Libya?

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On December 14th an air cargo transport of Belgian FN arms from Ostend was supplied to Misrata rebels by a United Arab Emirates contractor. Whether the UAE weapons shipment was contracted to undertake an uprising in Misrata prior to Erdogan's clash with Tobruk (Haftar) and Greece over Misrata and the proposed Turkish energy corridor is unclear. Misrata rebels have supplied cheap oil to Turkey and acted somewhat autonomously. Now, the potential for a major new catastrophe in Libya cannot be ignored.
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Saudi Attack At Pensacola: Why Did Pentagon Vetting Fail?

Three died and eight were injured when a Saudi military officer went on a shooting spree at a Pensacola, Florida airbase. The Pentagon insists Saudi military officers are properly vetted, but they are revisiting their vetting process anyway. Maybe vetting is not the real issue? Watch today's Liberty Report...
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Endless Wars and Endless Lies

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The Washington Post has obtained a “confidential trove of government documents” revealing that “senior US officials failed to tell the truth about the war in Afghanistan throughout the 18-year campaign, making rosy pronouncements they knew to be false and hiding unmistakable evidence the war had become unwinnable.” But many of us knew and wrote that the war was unwinnable from the beginning, although none of the Western mainstream media would publicise any such judgement.

In 2005 I wrote that “The insurgency in Afghanistan will continue until foreign troops leave, whenever that might be. After a while, the government in Kabul will collapse, and there will be anarchy until a brutal, ruthless, drug-rich warlord achieves power. He will rule the country as it has always been ruled by Afghans: by threats, religious ferocity, deceit, bribery, and outright savagery, when the latter can be practiced without retribution. And the latest foreign occupation will become just another memory.”

In 2007 GW Bush, up until 2016 the worst US president in memory, declared that “Our goal in Afghanistan is to help the people of that country to defeat the terrorists and establish a stable, moderate, and democratic state that respects the rights of its citizens, governs its territory effectively, and is a reliable ally in this war against extremists and terrorists.” But after 18 years of war, following the 2001 invasion, it has been Mission Unachieved.
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