Category Archives: Democracy

Former Victorian Premier Brumby Quits Huawei Board and Joins La Trobe University

My first feeling in this is of the IT trade war between China and the United States.  My next feel is those in prominent positions joining industry and the revolving door that exists between government and industry.  The original intent of government was that these entities were separate as government ensured neutrality so that it could represent the people.  Unfortunately in the ruling class they all know each other, they discuss the Boards the are on and they have their own agendas.   Business is business.

The video I produced today is on greed.  I see the blindness of economic objectives outside of human wellbeing.  The disconnect is furthered as industry profits become the goal and the impact on civil society a minor issue.  This becomes increasingly evident when one investigates the range of views about 5G and the race between the US and China with IT industry lobbyists taking up positions in Communications as the regulator of the industry.  Clearly it is not possible to regulate an industry in the public interest if a person has come from the very industry that is to be regulated. That means they know the people, and often, if not always, have an agenda to promote that industry. This is where the public interest is neglected.  We have seen this in the United States and the health implications for civil society are sending out alarm around the world.

The article below informs that the former Victorian Premier John Brumby was on the board of Huawei.  There is discussion about Chinese criminality and the potential for the Communist party to spy and gather data.  I wold assert all the IT companies are spying and data gathering and are contracted to share data with intelligence agencies, notably the 5 Eyes spy network.  When you investigate the Boards of IT companies you see the vested interests sitting there which include multinational companies, big data, IT companies, military, intelligence, Accounting firms, universities, former government ministers or public servants and the list goes on.  In the country they operate in the people believe the company is owned by the nation or they have no idea that their data is traded without their real consent and used to sell products and services.  The greed is what moves this disregard for privacy.

Clearly Huawei would be influenced, if not directed, by the Chinese Communist Party, they are the largest telecommunications company in China note $8.7 billion in profits.  Refer https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Huawei

The issues for Australia are to what extent can the Chinese government penetrate Australia through high level appointments and economic power.  Refer foreign ownership of homes:  https://www.news.com.au/finance/real-estate/buying/fears-one-million-aussie-homes-could-soon-be-owned-by-foreign-buyers/news-story/c50a4112bab4f3ed8fae27277f313f54

Australian land sales https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/china-increases-its-stake-in-australian-land-20181220-p50ng0.html

I recall Alexander Downer some years ago attempting to ban protests of Falun Gong outside the Chinese Embassy. The government went to court with Falun Gong and the latter won.   Refer http://www.abc.net.au/pm/content/2005/s1389732.htm

I interviewed on radio a Chinese woman whose husband had been murdered in China as they practiced Falun Gong.  Just last week I noticed they were protesting in Melbourne about organ harvesting of practitioners.  This is the very core of the argument about recoupling human rights to trade.  Clinton was the one who decoupled human rights.   This link refers to Hiliary Clinton favouring economics over human rights when it serves US interests refer https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/china/4735087/Hillary-Clinton-Chinese-human-rights-secondary-to-economic-survival.html

This second link reverses this and places human rights first as it serves US interests.  The issue of Guantanamo Bay, 911, the Middle East wars, rendition and its own human rights violations inclusive of leaving the UN Human Rights Council are largely ignored internationally.  One rule for one another rule for others. It is all about the money but the argument will frame it as benefiting the people.  The core issue is the economic war that seeks to use issues to weaken the competitor. This is where the nation state serves economic interests and is not representing the people. Refer https://www.cnbc.com/2019/10/10/sanctions-over-china-human-rights-may-strengthen-us-position-in-trade-talks.html

Therefore, where do executives and high profiled people draw the line or is there no line?  If the focus is strongly on career, profits, political and business interests at the expense of the public interest then where do we end up?  We are walking in the shadow of the United States and the ideological economic rationalism of privatisation of public assets. This utilises government taxation to take on the risk in projects to enable the private sector to lower risk and project high profits.  This dominants the discussion as equity financing replaces government taxation attracting high interest rates (exponential) and demands for profits through users pay e.g. toll ways. The original purpose of government provision of public services quietly transforms into private provision of government services in million and billion dollar public/private partnership deals.

The contraction of global markets with a mentality of cut and move on (acquisitions, arbitrage, futures markets, speculation in profit maximisation) diminishes the public purse which typically had longer horizons with cross subsidisation built into government funding planning to ensure egalitarianism as advancing Australia Fair and public order.

Ultimately under the new rules of private engagement the public pay more (in taxation, GST, direct fees, fines, taxes) out of ever more diminishing incomes.  The multiple propensity to consume (MPC) shrinks which impacts economic growth but is hidden by activity from both foreign and domestic companies.  The chairs rearrange.

This most favoured status given to the megolithic multi-nationals (changing names, subsidiaries, rebranding) gives the impression of wealth but the reality is equity finance is expensive, the risk is carried by the equity firm and attracts high costs and interest rates. It deepens indebtedness which is the lever that can be used to influence domestic policy that would have funded social programs. Thus the left/right propaganda is used to weaken calls for public expenditure as unrealistic and economically unviable. This is how the middle class becomes pauparised as the extremes start to polarise between those with extreme wealth and those living in extreme poverty.  This is how policy creates social unrest and blames the public through repressive techniques.  The shape changer of democracy takes on a totalitarian profile with increasing calls for surveillance, funding a security apparatus with intrusive technologies (purchased from these IT companies) removing human rights and privacy to ensure control rather than squarely facing the reality of an economic mismanagement and greed as the driver of market concentration and serving of specific foreign interests.  Egalitarianism and social democracy transforms into a compliance framework that favours the few over the rights of the many and is ultimately de-stabilising, globally as we are all connected.  The public believes the propaganda that budgets are balanced when the debt is off the balance sheet as the risk was transferred.

So powerful companies like Huawei and Google for example, both titans in the IT industry have disproportionate concentration of power and hence, political influence and penetration into markets to serve interests and agendas that may provide token jobs (benefits) but ultimately are the old paradigm of profit maximisation. The profits move off shore and we see the economic cake unravel to be replaced by AI and automation.  At the same time ‘greed’ as dis-ease is not in balance with ecological limits (silent spring) takes more than it needs and is non responsive to natural rhythms that rebalance planetary systems. This is why the titanic is sinking and the planet is goaning under the strain of humans who have no real connection to themselves, each other or the natural sytems.  The nature of ‘greed’ is to follow selfish interests not respond to expanded best interest that includes resources (natural bounty).  This disconnect renders many of the capitalist/communist (whatever) business interests blind to the dangerous situation they have set up.  Some may smile and decide to fly to the moon or mars, but ultimately karma follows as the real problem was never solved at its inception. The real insecurity, fear and greed fuelling imbalance. When this is investigated inequality disappears, natural imbalances recalibrate and we begin to see ourselves in each other. This is the shift in consciousness I refer to in my video.  I felt the video permeate this blog as I feel inspired to integrate it into an example given by the article.

So a few questions for society to consider:

Is it in the national interest for political or influential figures to join with foreign multinational companies and share their knowledge, resources and networks?

Given the US trade war any persons or entities involved in Huiwei becomes a ‘threat’ as US penetration in Australia evokes its influence in networks, government, policy, security and regulatory environments.  Is this in the Australian public interest?

Thus the wicked webs we weave that continues on a trajectory spiralling to the bottom until we awaken.

Only the truth sets us free.

https://www.smh.com.au/business/companies/brumby-quits-huawei-board-days-after-us-criminal-charges-outlined-20190201-p50v10.html

Brumby quits Huawei board days after US criminal charges outlined

Former Victorian premier John Brumby has resigned from the board of Huawei’s Australian operations in a damaging blow to the Chinese technology giant just days after the US government outlined a criminal case against it.

Mr Brumby’s decision to quit comes two days after The Age and the Sydney Morning Herald revealed that Meng Wanzhou, the Huawei executive at the centre of the alleged global criminal conspiracy, established and oversaw the company’s activities in Australia between 2005 and 2011.

Former Victorian premier John Brumby.
Former Victorian premier John Brumby.CREDIT:PAUL JEFFERS

The former Labor politician’s future at Huawei Technologies (Australia) has been under a cloud since June, after he announced he was reviewing all his directorships upon assuming the role of Chancellor of Melbourne’s La Trobe University.

This week’s release of an indictment against Huawei and key executives by the US Justice Department has increased interest in Mr Brumby’s position on the company’s board.

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Mr Brumby said on Friday that the timing of his resignation, which will be effective from next month, was unrelated to the scandal enveloping the company.

He said he had informed the board a year ago of his intention to resign and was proud of the firm’s local growth.

‘‘We have had some challenging times … Huawei Australia has continued to go from strength to strength.’’

Ms Wanzhou is alleged by the US to have been a key player in a conspiracy to defraud international banks and US officials about the company’s Iran operations. The criminal case against Huawei also involves allegations it stole trade secrets from rival T-Mobile.

Though there is no suggestion that Ms Wanzhou was engaged in any criminal activity in Australia, the US Department of Justice case against her and the company includes the period of time she was overseeing Huawei’s corporate governance and strategy in Australia.

The December arrest of Ms Wanzhou in Canada at the request of the US government triggered a strong response from Beijing, with two Canadian citizens and Chinese-born Australian writer Yang Hengjun detained in China.

Mr Brumby will become Chancellor of La Trobe University in March.
Mr Brumby will become Chancellor of La Trobe University in March.

Ms Wanzhou is the daughter of Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei, a former engineer in the Chinese military.

Mr Brumby joined the Huawei board in Australia in 2011 shortly before the departure of Ms Wanzhou. Former foreign minister Alexander Downer and former Navy rear-admiral John Lord were also appointed to the Huawei board in an effort by the company to build political and defence credibility.

The high-profile Australian trio have been outspoken in defending Huawei against criticism from Australia and the US, whose respective intelligence agencies fear the company could be vulnerable to pressure from the Chinese Communist Party to spy on or sabotage data and phone networks.

Mr Brumby, Mr Lord and, until his 2014 appointment as Australia’s high commissioner to the UK, Mr Downer, have all previously pointed out that there has been no hard evidence produced anywhere to show Huawei was involved in espionage activities on behalf of the Chinese government.

The company has made a priority of ensuring its Australian directors have been looked after well at home and abroad. It is understood some Australian-based directors have been paid as much as $250,000 a year, though Huawei has declined to confirm this.

Despite its high-powered Australian board, Huawei has been prevented by successive Australian governments from participating in the NBN rollout and the 5G mobile network, with security agencies warning against the involvement of the Chinese firm.

Australia’s hard line position on Huawei has emboldened other western allies to restrict the Chinese company’s involvement in sensitive infrastructure.

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In a statement released in the wake of the US charges, Huawei said it was disappointed to learn of the charges and believed the US courts would find no evidence Ms Meng or the company breached US laws.

Is the Conflict in Hong Kong Citizen Initiated Action or a CIA Cyber Trade War?

How do we stop trade wars influencing government policy in respect of the government/business nexus and unquestioned belief that economic growth is power and stability?  How do we prevent citizens from being caught in the cross fire in yet another war based not on defence but business interests?  This issue becomes more complex when we look at acquisitions, cross ownership, controlling shares in businesses that keep changing with powerful global players. The world becomes a chess board, less about nation states and more about retaining or expanding control and influence. This is the nature of economics.  

So how do we bring in accountability and ensure real democratic processes of checks and balances?   A central intelligence question!

It is alleged by a few articles that the CIA was involved in fanning the flames for the pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong and China.  I have included from the Sydney Morning Herald article a few links refering to Donald Trump and the trade war, which in my view, is the real war behind this uprising.  

From a peace perspective what I see is two countries and one system of totalitarianism enshrined in government and totalitarianism enshrined in corporations influencing government.  I speak about the law of attraction as a universal law where like attracts like, what you think about you bring about through focus as we influence events by our attention and intention.  It is evident in the dispute between China and the US that like attracts like. in this case a domination agenda appears to be the purpose of this clash, a fight for supremacy and it is a mirror.  The 5G issue is considered critical from the perspective of controlling the IT global grid (matrix), data gathering, automation and artificial intelligence in cyber wars as the perceived theatre of war. The Chinese government according to the US military are ahead of the US in 5G and there is concern that the leader position technologically means the domination of networks, apparently there is no second place in this war game. So this is a power struggle.  

What concerns me always is the people are used in these conflicts as pawns in counter terrorism strategies to destabilise the perceived ‘enemy’ rather than working on transitioning our world to cooperation and peace. In an enlightened world we would be looking at changing the rules (laws) to ensure truly free trade that benefits people, changing the United Nations (free of corruption), a world free of corruption, stopping foreign government interference in sovereign domestic policy and curtailing corporate control (acquisitions, assets) preventing corporate  concentration of wealth as this influences governments.  This is another line of control.

There is much work to be done if real peace is the final goal out of this emerging global conflict which is inflamed by vested interests whom do not have a genuine desire for democracy on any side.  Often playing both sides against each other. For other interests over and above government are interested in the collapse of both. This is how a separation consciousness can be controlled and greed is the tool that moves people to take sides rather than a neutral third party.  

It is the people who want democracy believing it is freedom but what we are seeing in the West is the loss of freedom of speech, weakening or criminalising whistleblowers, data gathering breaching privacy, profiling and tracking citizens, the weakening and corporatisation of the social welfare system and the privatisation of public assets (without distributing yields) which weakens the voice of the people as they are not able to hold government to account in the public interest.  So behind the facade of so-called democracy is another control paradigm that works along the lines using silence weapons for quiet wars. I cannot verify the legitimacy of this paper below but it raised my awareness to an end game possible scenario that both the US and China may wish to contemplate in respect of the implications of 5G. If accurate, it is a zero sum game where no-one wins.  Why zero sum? The real goal of life is freedom to be who you are, no-one can experience this is a Brave New World scenario. All become imprisoned as paranoia rules. Is this what is truly wanted on both sides? What is the fear driving the cyber wars? How to resolve the conflicts for the higher good of citizens?  

This is posted in the public interest for public discussion
http://www.stopthecrime.net/docs/SILENT%20WEAPONS%20for%20QUIET%20WARS.pdf..

So rhetoric about a genuine belief in sovereignty and democracy is held up to the light of further questions. I have concerns about media spin and third party countries involving themselves in global disputes because they are compromised by powerful countries rather than operating as sovereign.  There is the more proactive option of offering to mediate disputes to ensure bullying is not the modus operandi of power as this becomes a fight to the bottom.  

Be mindful that all this conflict is happening as the ice caps melt. Always my mind turns to where all resources would be going if we had peace and social harmony as the real balancing point (justice) in the world where scales are rebalanced, Efforts and resources would be directed towards restoring the natural balance e.g. planting forests (CO2 extraction), living sustainably (decentralised eco villages and smaller communities not mega cities), ecological marketing (not infinite growth marketing) as this encourages expenditure on needs and wants in harmony with nature. The focus would be on directing consumption towards ecological balance not IT markets to sell more products as the last boom as they are addicted to wealth and power not transformation.  This is the bottom line that no-one wants to examine as public attention is on trade wars with the same rhetoric that no longer works.  

The ecological collapse and human imbalance are the real wars going on in the background.  It is the war against ourselves where no-one wins as we are in denial about who we are, what we truly want and the empowerment of citizens to live to their full potential.  It is not about endless trade wars it is about infinite possibility when we recognise real freedom is to know thyself and be true.  Instead we continue on economic treadmills of consumption (growth), then look at population issues rather than ecological footprint per person.  We consume too much and this false abundance is what fuels population. This combined with the lack of education of women and the inequality there.  

We have not learned that until we come into homeostasis with the planet (balance) the wars that play out in the media, in the cyber reality (fake) and on the ground are distractions from real transformative change. The real disruption would be to business-as-usual and financial concentration as we move to disperse more fairly incomes that send demand and supply signals empowering a renewable system that preserves not only the planet but restores balance between all cultures so that we can learn to live together as one.  The key to whether this is happening will be around wellbeing and happiness. These are the signals of alignment. Pleasure and staving off the feeling of ‘not enough’ are the signals of unconsciousness, identifying with material wealth and poverty.  Inequality is the imbalance, powerlessness is the felt imbalance and to know thyself and be true becomes the empowerment that transforms our world. It is nonviolent, principled and peaceful in the true sense. We have barely begun to understand yet an awakening is occurring globally.

What could be considered the ‘good’ coming out of this US/China trade war and the disruption of Hong Kong is a global movement for real democracy (freedom) whereby those observing around the world can see that they have real power when they come together peacefully rejecting totalitarianism (visible and silent). They are learning to take back their power to recognise they are not weak and for the sake of the future of their children. Then communities can start to focus on turning this Titanic (sinking ship) around from the biggest fastest ship to a lifeboat that floats the whole of humanity and sail into a renewable future that will look very different to the one we are living through. That is my vision.

This statement below is an example of the voice of real democracy,.It is about true freedom of speech that does not seek to criminalise, demonise, bully but truly allows those we disagree with express their viewpoint. Interestingly the quote is from a woman not Voltaire as thought. I see the woman who holds the scales as lady justice. The clashing up of opinions is what expands civilisation…

 

I Disapprove of What You Say, But I Will Defend to the Death Your Right to Say It

Voltaire? François-Marie Arouet? S. G. Tallentyre? Evelyn Beatrice Hall? Ignazio Silone? Douglas Young? Norbert Guterman?

Dear Quote Investigator: Would you please explore a famous saying that apparently has been misattributed to Voltaire:  I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.

The words above reportedly originated with an English author named Evelyn Beatrice Hall in 1906. There is a different version in French, but I do not think it is authentic:  Monsieur l’abbé, je déteste ce que vous écrivez, mais je donnerai ma vie pour que vous puissiez continuer à écrire.

Here is one rendering in English:
Monsieur l’abbé, I detest what you write, but I would give my life to make it possible for you to continue to write.

What do you think?

Quote Investigator: Voltaire was the pen name of François-Marie Arouet who died in 1778. The earliest evidence of the saying appeared many years afterwards in the 1906 book “The Friends of Voltaire” by S. G. Tallentyre which was the pseudonym of historian Evelyn Beatrice Hall.  Her book described an incident involving the French philosopher Claude-Adrien Helvétius who in 1758 published a controversial work titled “De l’esprit” (“On the Mind”). The book was condemned in the Parlement of Paris and by the Collège de Sorbonne. Voltaire was unimpressed with the text, but he considered the attacks unjustified. After Voltaire learned that the book by Helvétius had been publicly incinerated he reacted as follows according to Hall: 1

Another quote that I find interesting is:  “the love you withhold is the pain you carry”.

This article below is from the Sydney Morning Herald and reports the CIA involvement.  I have added an additional link for public comment regarding alleged CIA involvement in the Tianamen Square conflict. 

One further message to the CIA/FBI/5 Eyes surveillance network/Chinese Communist Party/business interests: 

Those who express counter views are not the enemy they are teachers, This is part of the rebalancing of nature as we live in a system of duality. The central intelligence question is:

Are you learning from critical opinions or suppressing/harming those you disagree with? 

When you discover the wise agreement you will win/win. It is my desire you win/win.

Tiananmen Square Massacre – Facts, Fiction and Propaganda

What needs to be discussed in the public interest is:

  1. are there agent provocateurs in the background stirring the flames of protest to serve other interests?
  2. Are activists/opposition funded and trained to disrupt governments?
  3. What is real democracy?  Should it be encouraged through dialogue, the vote and peaceful community gatherings?
  4. Do we in the West live in real democracies?
  5. What is the real underlying conflict map of the conflicts?  How can we resolve these conflicts peacefully to ensure civilians are not placed in harms way?
  6. To what extent does business/powerful interests influence violent and subversive conflict in our world undermining the will of the people?
  7. How do we help governments to deeply integrate that serving the public serves them?
  8. How do we move away from control towards the hard work of resolving conflict? 

https://www.smh.com.au/world/asia/chinese-state-media-blames-cia-for-violent-hong-kong-protests-20190726-p52b1x.html

Chinese state media blames CIA for violent Hong Kong protests

Beijing: China’s official newspaper The China Daily has accused the CIA of being behind “extreme acts” by Hong Kong protesters in an editorial warning Beijing has the capability to bring Hong Kong under control.

The editorial on Friday came as the Chinese propaganda machine stepped up the rhetoric against protesters this week, after the Chinese national emblem was defaced at Beijing’s office in Hong Kong during protests dispelled with tear gas and rubber bullets on Sunday.

Amid the wave of patriotism, the Chinese consulate in Brisbane issued a statement praising students who responded to “anti-China and secessionist protests” at the University of Queensland on Thursday, the nationalist Global Times newspaper reported.

Student protesters clashed at UQ on Thursday.

Student protesters clashed at UQ on Thursday.Credit:Twitter

The consulate said it supported the “spontaneous patriotic behaviour of Chinese students” and “firmly opposes any words and deeds intended to split China”.

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On Friday, China Daily wrote about the situation in Hong Kong: “It does not take Sherlock Holmes to conclude that the CIA has been – to whatever degree removed – behind the more extreme acts [of protesters].”

It said that the mainland has “so far remained restrained despite all the provocations, does not mean that it has no capability to bring the situation in Hong Kong under control.”

Demonstrators carry  banners during a protest organised by the elderly in the central district of Hong Kong on July 17.

Demonstrators carry banners during a protest organised by the elderly in the central district of Hong Kong on July 17.Credit:Bloomberg

On Friday a protest was held at Hong Kong’s international airport.

Global Times ran a front page story predicting “large scale violence” in Yuen Long in the New Territories on Saturday, with one headline warning “PLA involvement debated to end turmoil in HKSAR”.

 

Police refused to authorise a planned protest in Yuen Long against Triad gangs on Saturday, that is expected to go ahead regardless. There has been a wide backlash in Hong Kong to the violent attacks by white-shirted men in Yuen Long that left 40 people with injuries on Sunday night.

Masked men attack people at Yuen Long metro station.

Masked men attack people at Yuen Long metro station.Credit:Stand News/AP

“Debate is growing over whether the central government should deploy the People’s Liberation Army to end the chaos as soon as possible,” the Global Times story said.

But the veiled threats in Chinese media that the PLA could be deployed contradict statements from the Hong Kong government, which on Wednesday dispelled rumours the PLA would be used to guard the Legislative Council and other key buildings as “totally unfounded”.

 

In Hong Kong, New Territories North Acting Regional Commander Tsang Ching-fo said police will be deployed to Yuen Long to prevent violence on Saturday, and conceded police handling of attacks on July 21 didn’t meet public expectation.

Umbrella movement founder Joshua Wong said the Global Times was encouraging mainland Chinese people to travel to Yuen Long ahead of the planned protest, after it published an article that suggested Yuen Long egg rolls were the best souvenir for mainland tourists going to Hong Kong.

Global Times editor-in-chief, Hu Xijin, argued the PLA garrison shouldn’t be used as “Hong Kong’s police back-up” and the Chinese mainland needed to be patient.

People’s Daily had earlier in the week delivered a stern condemnation on its front page of Sunday’s graffiti attack on the national emblem as “openly challenging the authority of the central government and touching the bottom line of the ‘One Country, Two Systems’ principle.”

 

On Friday a Hong Kong appeal judge overturned the convictions of two police who had been sentenced to jail for assaulting a protester during the 2014 Umbrella movement protests. But five police officers were returned to jail for the attack, with sentences reduced.

Former MI5: Corporatist Threat to Democracy and WikiLeaks in the Public Interest

This is in the public interest.

Notable quotes:

WikiLeaks for the last ten years has been publishing information from around the world about financial corruption, about right-wing extremism, about the Bilderberg Group, about war crimes, about Chelsea Manning’s disclosures, American diplomacy, they publish what they think is in the public interest (which they have to rely on their sources giving to them – OK). So, they are a publisher by any standard. They are just a new hi-tech conduit for publishing as opposed to the old corporate media like the New York Times or the Washington Post. 

I think that in America some of the greatest threats to their democracy is, first of all, the two-party system which is actually a sham in a sense that it doesn’t matter who you vote for, the same government administration will get in. And the fact that most of the candidates who are put up for election to president in the US tend to be very heavily backed by big lobby organizations, by Wall Street. So, vested interests tend to be running a very corporatists state in America

‘Greatest threat to US democracy is its sham two-party system, not Russia’

Annie Machon
Annie Machon is a former intel­li­gence officer for MI5, the UK Secur­ity Ser­vice, who resigned in the late 1990s to blow the whistle on the spies’ incom­pet­ence and crimes with her ex-partner, David Shayler. Draw­ing on her var­ied exper­i­ences, she is now a pub­lic speaker, writer, media pun­dit, inter­na­tional tour and event organ­iser, polit­ical cam­paigner, and PR con­sult­ant. She has a rare per­spect­ive both on the inner work­ings of gov­ern­ments, intel­li­gence agen­cies and the media, as well as the wider implic­a­tions for the need for increased open­ness and account­ab­il­ity in both pub­lic and private sectors.
 
‘Greatest threat to US democracy is its sham two-party system, not Russia’
The FBI chief’s statement about Russian threat to US democracy is hot air designed to obfuscate Clinton’s failure, while the attacks on WikiLeaks are fanning the flames of Julian Assange’s mistrial, says former MI5 intelligence officer Annie Machon.

During a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Wednesday the FBI chief, James Comey, lashed out at WikiLeaks while questioned by senators on the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails and Russia’s alleged involvement in the US election.

“A huge portion of WikiLeaks’ activities has nothing to do with legitimate newsgathering, informing the public, commenting on public controversies, but is simply about releasing classified information to damage the United States,” Comey said. “It’s intelligence porn,” he added.

The statement comes a day after Clinton accused Comey of playing a role in her defeat in November’s vote.

Comey also claimed Russia is currently actively involved in trying to influence US politics and called Moscow “the greatest threat” to US democracy.

RT: How would you assess the FBI director’s statement about WikiLeaks?

Annie Machon: I think he really has dug himself into a hole in many ways. One, [he is] trying to assess Russia as the biggest threat to American democracy while no proof has been presented publicly about any of these overinflated allegations about Russia trying to hack into American elections. Two, WikiLeaks is by any standards a publisher of information that is very much in the public interest. Not just the recent disclosure about the CIA, not just the disclosures from the Democratic National Committee last year or the Podesta files or whatever. WikiLeaks for the last ten years has been publishing information from around the world about financial corruption, about right-wing extremism, about the Bilderberg Group, about war crimes, about Chelsea Manning’s disclosures, American diplomacy, they publish what they think is in the public interest (which they have to rely on their sources giving to them – OK). So, they are a publisher by any standard. They are just a new hi-tech conduit for publishing as opposed to the old corporate media like the New York Times or the Washington Post.

RT: Senator Lindsey Graham challenged Comey over allegations of Russian involvement in both the US and world politics. “Is it fair to say that the Russia government is still involved in American politics?” asked Graham. Comey responded, “Yes.” How can the FBI chief be so sure?

AM: That is a very good question. Nobody anywhere appears to have seen any hard evidence about the alleged Russian hacking of the American election. This started as a sort of swerve that was put out by Hillary Clinton’s campaign to try and avoid accountability for the fact that she had apparently illegally used a private email server. This was in summer last year. That became information that has been leaked from the DNC, information that has been leaked about the Podesta emails. We suddenly became conflated with “It is published by WikiLeaks” and must have been given to WikiLeaks by Russia. There is no evidence. And then it suddenly became “Russia hacked the election process,”Russia hacked Vermont’s energy grid.”  This has all been disproven time and time again. This is so much hot air designed to obfuscate the fact that Hillary Clinton very badly lost the election last year. Also it is very convenient to try and push forward what is now being openly expressed finally; the American administration’s wish to try and prosecute Julian Assange by any means necessary, be it espionage, whatever it is. He has caused an embarrassment by publishing some of the information about what America is getting up to. So, they just want to get him in any which way, as well as other WikiLeaks staffers. I think James Comey is really sort of fanning the flames of what could be one of the biggest mistrials in history if this goes ahead.

RT: FBI Director James Comey also described Russia “the greatest threat” to US democracy. What are your thoughts about that?

AM: I think that in America some of the greatest threats to their democracy is, first of all, the two-party system which is actually a sham in a sense that it doesn’t matter who you vote for, the same government administration will get in. And the fact that most of the candidates who are put up for election to president in the US tend to be very heavily backed by big lobby organizations, by Wall Street. So, vested interests tend to be running a very corporatists state in America.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.