‘WikiLeaks staff are in danger’: Pilger, Kiriakou discuss Assange’s ongoing legal battle

‘WikiLeaks staff are in danger’: Pilger, Kiriakou discuss Assange’s ongoing legal battle
Published time: 19 May, 2017 21:37
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‘WikiLeaks staff are in danger’: Pilger, Kiriakou discuss Assange’s ongoing legal battle
Investigative journalist John Pilger & CIA whistleblower John Kiriakou discuss the challenge facing Assange © Neil Hall / Reuters
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As Julian Assange enjoys “victory and vindication” following the closure of the Swedish prosecutors’ investigation, both he and his supporters know the fight is far from over.
“I welcome the Swedish prosecutor’s decision to end its investigation of Julian Assange,” John Kiriakou, a former CIA Counterterrorism Officer and whistleblower told RT. “We should not celebrate yet, however.”

“The governments of the United Kingdom and the United States have plotted against Mr. Assange for the past seven years, trying to silence him for his exposure of their crimes.”

Kiriakou, who was the first to acknowledge the CIA’s use of torture, spoke up because he believed the use of torture was “immoral, unethical and illegal.” He served 30 months for violating the Intelligence Identities Protection Act by confirming the name of an officer involved in the CIA’s secret rendition program, and was released in 2015.

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‘Today is an important victory for me and for the UN human rights system’ – Assange https://on.rt.com/8c3g
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“The Swedish government has taken itself out of the equation,” he continued. “But I believe that if Mr. Assange were to leave the Ecuadorean Embassy in London, he would still be arrested on trumped up national security charges and extradited to the United States, where he would find it utterly impossible to receive a fair hearing.”

The Courage Foundation, an international organization supporting whistleblowers and truth tellers, has turned its focus to WikiLeaks and its staff, following the release of whistleblower Chelsea Manning on Wednesday.

Manning provided WikiLeaks with some of its most explosive revelations, including the ‘Collateral Murder’ video, the War Logs, State Department emails and decades of US embassy cables.

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“What Chelsea [Manning] endured awaits another Courage Foundation beneficiary, Julian Assange, should he step outside the Ecuadorean embassy in London,” investigative journalist John Pilger told RT earlier this week.

“Julian Assange and the WikiLeaks staff are in danger,” Pilger continued. “WikiLeaks has been so successful in informing people all over the world of the surveillance and war state constructed by rapacious power that it is now fulfills the role of free journalism that the corporate media falsely claims for itself.”

READ MORE: Snowden & Chomsky lead diverse calls for Trump to drop case against WikiLeaks

“The DOJ [Department of Justice] has been running an unprecedented and wide-ranging investigation into WikiLeaks for its publishing and sourcing work since 2010,” the Courage Foundation explained. “It has involved paid informers, illegal interrogations in Europe and secret search warrants. Recently CIA Director Mike Pompeo called WikiLeaks a ‘hostile intelligence service.’”

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‘Clinton has been eaten alive by her ambition’ – #Assange talks to John Pilger (FULL INTERVIEW) http://on.rt.com/7ty5
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“Recent reports cite Cablegate, the Iraq and Afghan War Logs and Vault 7 publications as well as WikiLeaks’ work in getting NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden asylum, as key to the investigation,” the foundation added.

“Free journalism is, by definition, a threat to those forces that secretly order, control and blight people’s lives,” Pilger said. “If Julian Assange was the editor of the New York Times doing his job as the US Constitution says he can, he would not be living in two small rooms, denied sunlight.”

“The difference is that Assange and the WikiLeaks staff are doing what journalists no longer do; they are the agents of people not power. They deserve our support.”

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Italian govt makes vaccinations mandatory for schoolchildren amid measles outbreak
Published time: 19 May, 2017 19:43
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Italian govt makes vaccinations mandatory for schoolchildren amid measles outbreak
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Parents in Italy will now have to ensure that their children are vaccinated up to the age of six against a number of infectious diseases or face a ban from school, as the government approves a law following a drop-off in inoculations and a measles outbreak.
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© SputnikUS warns travelers of measles outbreak in Italy, Germany & Belgium
The Italian cabinet has made it compulsory for parents to immunize children to be eligible to attend pre-school nurseries, with the number of required vaccinations rising from four to 12. Parents flouting the rule will face hefty fines, said to be up to 30 times the current ones of some 150-250 euros, according to local media, citing Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni.

“Without vaccinations, there can be no entry into schools from ages 0-6,” Gentiloni said, as cited by Italy’s ANSA news agency.

In addition to four already compulsory vaccinations, for polio, diphtheria, hepatitis B and whooping cough, the new law now also covers vaccination against measles and meningitis, diseases that have recently seen a dramatic spike in Italy, prompting the US to issue a travel warning for Italy.

The law was proposed by the country’s health minister, Beatrice Lorenzin, who has long been campaigning for mandatory vaccination amid the growing popularity of the science-skeptic movement against it. Lorenzin previously urged the parents to “not be afraid,” sharing a photo of her three-month-old twins getting vaccinated.

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I miei gemellini hanno tre mesi, li ho vaccinati stamattina: Mamme non abbiate paura, i vaccini salvano la vita.
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“The lack of appropriate measures over the years and the spread of anti-scientific theories, especially in recent months, has brought about a reduction in protection,” Reuters quoted Gentiloni as saying at the news conference in Rome.

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FILE PHOTO © Axel SchmidtUnvaccinated children banned from nurseries in Italian region
As of May, 2,395 cases of measles have been reported, with 89 percent of those affected being unvaccinated. The figures stand in stark contrast to the numbers from 2015 and 2016, with some 250 and 840 cases, respectively.

With the health minister calling it “an emergency generated by fake news,” the blame for the epidemic has been placed on the growing anti-vaccination movement, believed to be fueled by the anti-establishment Five Star Movement. The party’s leader, Beppe Grillo, had previously come under fire for his controversial statements about the possible side-effects from vaccines.

While acknowledging that vaccination had contributed to the victory over some of the world’s most serious and dangerous diseases, Grillo said that they still “bring a risk associated with side-effects” and are aiding pharmaceutical companies across the world.

“Five-Star is riding the wave of disinformation, nourishing fear and favoring a position that is anti-science and dangerous for the whole community,” said a deputy from the ruling Democratic Party, Federico Gelli.

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