Jemima Khan: US Government Protecting Liars

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Yes, that’s exactly what the British celebrity woman Jemima Khan, former wife of the world’s legendary cricketer Imran Khan, has to say. All governments lie at some time or the other. But when the web of lies becomes untenable and threaten world peace and financial security, then the alarm bells are set off. Jemima Khan in this video (http://bit.ly/dTDFaV) states: “Corruption, war crimes and torture have become a part and parcel of the US policy.”

Jemima Khan, a British heiress, wrote in The Guardian: “Why did I offer to provide surety for an alleged rapist, a man I have never met? That’s the question even my mother asked me after I appeared in court for Julian Assange.

“That morning I had sent a spur-of-the-moment message of support by email to Assange’s lawyer, Mark Stephens, when I read of his arrest. He immediately responded and asked if I would be prepared to come to court in the next hour to act as a surety for Assange. I was nervous about the inevitable media circus, but felt that it was the right thing to do after being convinced by Stephens that it could help.

“Assange has not even been charged, let alone convicted. Swedish prosecutors do not have to produce any evidence that he committed the alleged sexual offences to justify the warrant. On the basis of the allegations that I heard read out in court, the evidence seems feeble, but I concede that I don’t know the full facts. Neither does Assange.

“That is not the reason I was there. I was there because I believe that this is about censorship and intimidation. The timing of these rehashed allegations is highly suspicious, coinciding with the recent WikiLeaks revelations and reinvigorated by a rightwing Swedish politician.

“On the one hand, the US is proud of its First Amendment and its long-standing commitment to the freedom of speech. It was announced last week that the US is to host next year’s Unesco World Press Freedom Day event, which champions in particular “the free flow of information in this digital age”.

“On the other hand, it is examining ways to take legal action against Assange, who is in effect editor of the world’s first stateless (non-profit) media organisation. It has blocked access to the WikiLeaks website and denied its citizens the ability to register protest through donations, all without a warrant. It has also successfully pressured Amazon, Visa, Mastercard and PayPal to withdraw their services from WikiLeaks, as well as the Swiss bank PostFinance, to close Assange’s account.

“WikiLeaks offers a new type of investigative journalism. I have my doubts about whether some cables should have been leaked – for example, the list of infrastructure sites vital to national security – and I share the concern that diplomacy could suffer as a result of others. But I feel passionately that democracy needs a strong and free media. It is the only way to ensure governments are honest and remain accountable.

“WikiLeaks has revealed that we have been told a great many lies about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and that there has been little accountability.

“If WikiLeaks is a terrorist organisation, as New York congressman Pete King stated, and if its founder, Julian Assange, is prosecuted for espionage, the future of investigative journalism everywhere is in jeopardy, as is our right as citizens to be told the truth.”

More here…

Meanwhile “an odd confluence of important issues came together in a federal courtroom in Alexandria on Tuesday: the criminal investigation of WikiLeaks, free speech and social networking.

“Tuesday’s arguments went to the heart of a larger debate about WikiLeaks – whether the posting of the documents was free speech or a violation of national security. They also provided a high-profile test of outdated rules about what data the government can seize in the new world of social networking…” More here…

No matter how the judge rules, an appeal is expected and the extradition process could take up to a year. The Julian Assange factor will likely ensure he remains in the public eye. (Thus continuing to remain a source of discomfort to the US administration.) More here…

WikiLeaks’ release of classified U.S. military and diplomatic documents, and its collaboration with traditional news media like the New York Times for their publication have raised questions about the future of journalism. At the same time, the U.S. State Department’s efforts to press for the prosecution of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange raises questions about the nature of journalism… More here

Author: SWARAAJ CHAUHAN, International Columnist

Swaraaj Chauhan describes his two-decade-long stint as a full-time journalist as eventful, purposeful, and full of joy and excitement. In 1993 he could foresee a different work culture appearing on the horizon, and decided to devote full time to teaching journalism (also, partly, with a desire to give back to the community from where he had enriched himself so much.) Alongside, he worked for about a year in 1993 for the US State Department's SPAN magazine, a nearly five-decade-old art and culture monthly magazine promoting US-India relations. It gave him an excellent opportunity to learn about things American, plus the pleasure of playing tennis in the lavish American embassy compound in the heart of New Delhi. In !995 he joined WWF-India as a full-time media and environment education consultant and worked there for five years travelling a great deal, including to Husum in Germany as a part of the international team to formulate WWF's Eco-tourism policy. He taught journalism to honors students in a college affiliated to the University of Delhi, as also at the prestigious Indian Institute of Mass Communication where he lectured on "Development Journalism" to mid-career journalists/Information officers from the SAARC, African, East European and Latin American countries, for eight years. In 2004 the BBC World Service Trust (BBC WST) selected him as a Trainer/Mentor for India under a European Union project. In 2008/09 He completed another European Union-funded project for the BBC WST related to Disaster Management and media coverage in two eastern States in India --- West Bengal and Orissa. Last year, he spent a couple of months in Australia and enjoyed trekking, and also taught for a while at the University of South Australia. Recently, he was appointed as a Member of the Board of Studies at Chitkara University in Chandigarh, a beautiful city in North India designed by the famous Swiss/French architect Le Corbusier. He also teaches undergraduate and postgraduate students there. He loves trekking, especially in the hills, and never misses an opportunity to play a game of tennis. The Western and Indian classical music are always within his reach for instant relaxation. And last, but not least, is his firm belief in the power of the positive thought to heal oneself and others.

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