The alleged use of sexual blackmail by spy agencies is hardly unique to the case of Jeffrey Epstein. Although the agencies involved as well as their alleged motivations and methods differ with each case, the crime of child trafficking with ties to intelligence agencies or those protected by them has been around for decades.
Some cases include the 1950s -1970s Kincora scandal and the 1981 Peter Hayman affair, both in the U.K.; and the Finders’ cult and the Franklin scandal in the U.S. in the late 1980s. Just as these cases did not end in convictions, the pedophile and accused child-trafficker Jeffrey Epstein remained at arms’ length for years.
“For almost two decades, for some nebulous reason, whether to do with ties to foreign intelligence, his billions of dollars, or his social connections, Epstein, whose alleged sexual sickness and horrific assaults on women without means or ability to protect themselves… remained untouchable,” journalist Vicky Ward wrote in The Daily Beast in July.
The protection of sex traffickers by intelligence agencies is especially interesting in the wake of Epstein’s death. Like others, Epstein had long been purported to have links with spy agencies. Such allegations documented by Whitney Webb in her multi-part series were recently published in Mintpress News.
Webb states that Epstein was the current face of an extensive system of abuse with ties to both organized crime and intelligence interests. She told CNLive! that: “According to Nigel Rosser, a British journalist who wrote in the Evening Standard in 2001, Epstein apparently for much of the 1990s claimed that he used to work for the CIA.”…
Down the memory hole….
Have you heard about China’s social credit system? It’s a technology-enabled, surveillance-based nationwide program designed to nudge citizens toward better behavior. The ultimate goal is to “allow the trustworthy to roam everywhere under heaven while making it hard for the discredited to take a single step,” according to the Chinese government.
In place since 2014, the social credit system is a work in progress that could evolve by next year into a single, nationwide point system for all Chinese citizens, akin to a financial credit score. It aims to punish for transgressions that can include membership in or support for the Falun Gong or Tibetan Buddhism, failure to pay debts, excessive video gaming, criticizing the government, late payments, failing to sweep the sidewalk in front of your store or house, smoking or playing loud music on trains, jaywalking, and other actions deemed illegal or unacceptable by the Chinese government.
It can also award points for charitable donations or even taking one’s own parents to the doctor.
Punishments can be harsh, including bans on leaving the country, using public transportation, checking into hotels, hiring for high-visibility jobs, or acceptance of children to private schools. It can also result in slower internet connections and social stigmatization in the form of registration on a public blacklist.
China’s social credit system has been characterized in one pithy tweet as “authoritarianism, gamified.”
At present, some parts of the social credit system are in force nationwide and others are local and limited (there are 40 or so pilot projects operated by local governments and at least six run by tech giants like Alibaba and Tencent).
Beijing maintains two nationwide lists, called the blacklist and the red list—the former consisting of people who have transgressed, and the latter people who have stayed out of trouble (a “red list” is the Communist version of a white list.) These lists are publicly searchable on a government website called China Credit.
The Chinese government also shares lists with technology platforms. So, for example, if someone criticizes the government on Weibo, their kids might be ineligible for acceptance to an elite school.
Public shaming is also part of China’s social credit system. Pictures of blacklisted people in one city were shown between videos on TikTok in a trial, and the addresses of blacklisted citizens were shown on a map on WeChat.
Some Western press reports imply that the Chinese populace is suffocating in a nationwide Skinner box of oppressive behavioral modification. But some Chinese are unaware that it even exists. And many others actually like the idea. One survey found that 80% of Chinese citizens surveyed either somewhat or strongly approve of social credit system.…
The role of journalism in a democracy is publishing information that holds the powerful to account — the kind of information that empowers the public to become more engaged citizens in their communities so that we can vote in representatives that work in the interest of “we the people.”
There is perhaps no better example of watchdog journalism that holds the powerful to account and exposes their corruption than that of WikiLeaks, which exposed to the world evidence of widespread war crimes the U.S. military was committing in Iraq, including the killing of two Reuters journalists; showed that the U.S. government and large corporations were using private intelligence agencies to spy on activists and protesters; and revealed how the military hid tortured Guantanamo Bay prisoners from Red Cross inspectors.
It’s this kind of real journalism that our First Amendment was meant to protect but engaging in it has instead made WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange the target of a massive smear campaign for the last several years — including false claims that Assange is working with Vladimir Putin and the Russians and hackers, as well as open calls by corporate media pundits for him to be assassinated.
The allegations that Assange conspired with Putin to undermine the 2016 election and American democracy as a whole fell completely flat earlier this month when a U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York dismissed this case as “factually implausible,” with the judge noting that at no point does the prosecution’s “threadbare” argument show “any facts” at all, and concluding that the idea that Assange conspired with Russia against the Democratic Party or America is “entirely divorced from the facts.”
Perhaps the brazen character-assassination was priming the public to become apathetic towards Assange in preparation for his brutal fate, which would land him in the hands of U.S. and British authorities after spending years isolated inside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London.
Today, Assange sits behind bars in a London prison under shocking conditions even a murderer wouldn’t expect. Renowned filmmaker and journalist John Pilger visited him there and fears for Assange’s life, noting he is held in isolation, heavily medicated and denied the basic tools needed to fight his charge of extradition to the United States.
Do not forget Julian #Assange. Or you will lose him.
I saw him in Belmarsh prison and his health has deteriorated. Treated worse than a murderer, he is isolated, medicated and denied the tools to fight the bogus charges of a US extradition. I now fear for him. Do not forget him.
— John Pilger (@johnpilger) August 7, 2019
The United Nations has consistently condemned the actions of the U.S., U.K. and Swedish governments, and called for Assange’s immediate release. Their special rapporteur on torture and ill-treatment visited him in May, declaring:
[Assange has been] deliberately exposed, for a period of several years, to progressively [more] severe forms of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, the cumulative effects of which can only be described as psychological torture…The collective persecution of Julian Assange must end here and now!”
On May 23, Assange was charged under the U.S. Espionage Act for the possession and dissemination of classified information given to him by army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning, marking the first time the Espionage Act has been used against a journalist for publishing classified information. He now faces a sentence of 175 years in jail if found guilty.
But you may not have known any of this because it seems clear the very media that spent years dragging Assange’s name through the mud are deliberately engaging in a media blackout on his treatment. So if you were waiting for the corporate media or their lapdog pundits to defend freedom of the press and freedom of speech, you’d be disappointed.
It is important to ask ourselves what Julian Assange’s real crime is. In an era, dubbed the Information Age, where the strategy of the powerful appears to be to know as much as possible about the rest of us while ensuring that we know as little as possible about them and how they operate, Assange worked to prevent that imbalance from becoming a rout, and stuck like a bone in the throat of the mighty.
A double chorus of voices across the mainstream media spectrum cheered the destruction of the First Amendment. The New York Times applauded Trump, claiming he’d “done well” to charge Assange with an “indisputable crime.” CNN demanded that Assange finally “face justice,” while others claimed the day in court of the “narcissistic” “internet troll” who attacked America with his “vile spite” was “long overdue.”
All around the world, Assange’s treatment seems to have given the green light to governments to intimidate and hassle journalists. Australian police, for instance, recently conducted a raid on journalist Annika Smethurst’s home. Smethurst had not long before that revealed that the government had been secretly requesting permission to spy on its own citizens. Meanwhile, independent media everywhere are being marginalized by the crackdown on internet freedom.
In a clear sign to the world, Assange held up Gore Vidal’s book The History of the National Security State to the cameras while being dragged from the Ecuadorian Embassy. The book warns of an increasingly powerful and unaccountable authoritarian government taking over the country. Part of that is silencing dissent and limiting or destroying the freedoms centuries of struggle have won us.
If Assange is successfully prosecuted it will send a message to the world that the era of freedom to speak and publish is well and truly over. He will not be the last to be persecuted. The more a power oppresses and takes away rights, the more it needs to oppress and take away rights, until the last vestiges of opposition are destroyed or driven far underground. We cannot expect corporate media to stand up to the corporate state. We have to do it ourselves, or any citizen of the world can be next. Will you heed this warning?
Footage from a camera aimed at the area outside Jeffrey Epstein’s jail cell at a the Manhattan Correctional Center is unusable, sources told the Washington Post.
According to the report, the sources said that footage from one of the cameras outside of the cell where Epstein reportedly took his own life on August 10 was in too poor condition to be useful to investigators probing the circumstances of Epstein’s death. It is unclear exactly why the footage is not usable, or if the problem with the camera was isolated to the day that Epstein died.
Footage from nearby cameras did provide clearer footage. As CrimeOnline previously reported, there were no cameras trained directly on Epstein’s cell at the time of his death….