You are browsing the archive for 2019 April 11.

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Be skeptical of accusations against Julian Assange, WikiLeaks

April 11, 2019 in Economics

By Patrick G. Eddington

Patrick G. Eddington

British police, with the cooperation of the Ecuadorian
government, arrested WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange on Thursday.
He has already been convicted of jumping bail and on that count
alone could face up to a year in prison. That charge is related to
a rape investigation in Sweden, which was closed
because Assange fled that country before he could be questioned in
the matter. And he should be forced to answer those charges.

The Swedish case has been overshadowed by a not-so-secret grand
jury indictment in America regarding WikiLeaks’ publication of
thousands of classified government documents – some of which
detailed the killing of civilians and journalists in Iraq, as well
as acts of torture committed by U.S. forces.

Assange’s defenders claim that United States and United Kingdom
government pressure on Ecuador led to Assange’s previous grant of
asylum being revoked. Those supporters, along with Assange and
WikiLeaks, claim that their acts of “radical transparency” are
legitimate exercises of free speech under international law. Many
U.S. politicians have claimed that Assange and WikiLeaks are
nothing more than either witless tools of foreign intelligence
services (Russia’s specifically) or active collaborators with the
same.

Every news organization
in the free world should be terrified of an Assange prosecution
under U.S. law.

In light of Attorney General William Barr’s letter on special
counsel Robert Mueller’s report, which apparently clears President
Donald Trump of collusion with Russia in the 2016 presidential
election, it would be wise not to take allegations of Assange or
WikiLeaks’ witting collusion with Russian intelligence at face
value. And history tells us to be skeptical about federal
allegations against people like Assange or groups like
WikiLeaks.

In multiple episodes over the past 100
years
, the FBI and Justice Department have asserted that a
range of domestic actors – from the American Civil Liberties Union
to the Quakers – were under the influence of or actively controlled
by Soviet agents or other hostile powers. In fact, the overwhelming
majority of Americans investigated by the FBI or the House
Un-American Activities Committee were
innocent
and loyal. The multiple “Red scare” witch hunts spanning decades
destroyed the reputations of innocent people or organizations,
while government officials who made the allegations were never
punished for bearing false witness against those they accused of
treason.

Assange is not the most sympathetic of characters. If a man
flees a country based on a credible rape allegation, he needs to
answer that charge in a court of law. If a government alleges that
a person or organization has conspired with a foreign power to
undermine that nation’s electoral process, it should …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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Villa for Stone Age ‘One Percent’ Found Near Stonehenge

April 11, 2019 in History

By Becky Little

. “So people who inhabited these buildings were perhaps of a more senior social status, [perhaps] of a more important lineage than the rest of the population.”

Pollard and his co-authors of a paper published in the April 2019 issue of Antiquity believe Stone Age people built Avebury to commemorate this important house. The massive stone monument, he told Live Science, “likely relates to the dwelling of people who were regarded as being part of an important foundational Neolithic lineage.”

This is a huge shift from when archaeologists studied the house’s foundations in 1939 and theorized that it was the site of a medieval structure. Pollard and his colleagues argue that the house’s foundations and surrounding pieces of flint tools and pottery match other examples from the early Neolithic period. They theorize that Stone Age people built the house sometime after 3700 B.C.E., several centuries before they constructed the stone circles at Avebury and Stonehenge in the modern-day county of Wiltshire.

An illustration depicting Avebury during neolithic times, containing three stone circles.

The archaeologists note that although Avebury and Stonehenge are part of the same World Heritage Site, Avebury has received far less archeological attention than the strangely more-popular Stonehenge. In the future, they hope to examine Avebury’s northern inner circle. It’s the same size as the southern one (approximately 328 feet in diameter), and for all we know, it may also contain the remains of an important Neolithic house for the Stone Age “one percent.”

READ MORE: The Man Who Bought Stonehenge
READ MORE: What Made Stonehenge’s Builders Collect Massive Stones from 180 Miles Away?

…read more

Source: HISTORY

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Venezuela Is a Tragedy of Corruption, but Not a Threat

April 11, 2019 in Economics

By Doug Bandow

Doug Bandow

Two centuries ago, President James Monroe insisted that the
European powers stay out of the Western Hemisphere. Only the U.S.,
he explained, had the right to attack its neighbors.

Over the years, America has repeatedly asserted its authority in
Latin America. Washington’s motivations have ranged from the
arguably humanitarian to the angrily nationalistic to the frankly
commercial. As a result, America’s reputation for Yanqui
Imperialism is well earned.

Washington took an interest in Venezuela in the late 19th
century, announcing that a border dispute between that nation and
Great Britain (involving the latter’s colony of British
Guiana) fell within America’s sphere of interest. The U.S.
asserted the Monroe Doctrine, demanding that London accept
international, meaning American, arbitration. President Grover
Cleveland threatened to enforce his decision “by any
means.” Britain rejected the Monroe Doctrine as having no
standing in international law, but nonetheless decided that a good
relationship with Washington was more important than a little extra
real estate.

Now, Donald Trump is again threatening to apply American
military might to Venezuela. It is a very bad idea.

Given the deep divisions
among Venezuelans, American military action could trigger a civil
war.

Venezuela illustrates the consequences of despotic, incompetent,
corrupt collectivism. As long as oil revenues were flowing
prodigiously, there was enough for most everyone: Chavista elites,
military commanders, and foreign allies, with a little left over
for Venezuela’s traditionally impoverished masses. Indeed,
the plight of the latter gave Hugo Chavez, the one-time coup master
who was elected president, a patina of righteousness. The
traditional ruling parties had looted the country with little
concern for those outside the halls of power. There was rampant
injustice. Unfortunately, Chavez only compounded the
unfairness.

The country’s collapse, which predates the Trump
administration’s imposition of stifling sanctions, was almost
total. Economic activity crashed. Hyperinflation raged—this
year it could hit as much as 10 million percent.
Businesses folded. Even the national petroleum company ran aground.
Food disappeared from supermarket shelves. Hospitals essentially
ceased to function. Nine in 10 people fell below the poverty line.
A tenth of the population fled. The New York Times’
Andes bureau chief, Nicholas Casey, called the current situation
“almost unimaginable.”

At least Chavez, who died six years ago, had a raw,
undisciplined charisma. His successor, Nicolás Maduro, is a dour
dictator who survives politically by rigging elections, arresting
opponents, and circling regime wagons. At least four out of every
five Venezuelans want him gone.

Enter the Trump administration. So far its routine policy of
maximum pressure has been a bust, failing to force regime or even
policy change in North Korea, Iran, Russia, and Cuba. But that
didn’t stop President Trump from taking the same approach in
Venezuela.

He imposed new …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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The Secret World War II Mission to Kidnap Hitler's A-Bomb Scientists

April 11, 2019 in History

By Joseph A. Williams

Anticipating the Allied arrival, German researchers hid their files inside a watertight drum and sunk it into a cesspool.

One of the Allies’ greatest fears during and Seventeen Fathoms Deep: The Saga of the Submarine S-4 Disaster.

…read more

Source: HISTORY