Phil Runkel interview-Catholic Wkr Archivist | 350MKE Fridays for Future | noon, WI ave & Water St

Consider showing up any Friday from noon to 1pm at WI ave & Water St to protest big bank investment in fossil fuel.

I did yesterday and interviewed activist and Catholic Wkr Archivist Phil Runkel:

More on Phil:

Phi Runkel, Catholic Worker Archivist and I were convicted of trespassing on the Volk field military base in Juneau County, Wisconsin on November 12, 2019.

Project Censored | introduction/overview


How do you question and “vet” popular media stories for corporate bias?

The corporate-controlled mainstream media have become a cornerstone of the Military-Industrial-Congressional-Intelligence-Media-Academia-Think-Tank complex, MICIMATT, if you will.

Project Censored will help you find stories not covered by the MSM.

An early wave of Internet Social Media acct-purges | Oct 2018 project censored

Here is an overview of projectcensored’s annual review process for their top 10 news stories:

A few of their top ten stories:

projectcensored weekly podcast

projectcensored weekly podcast RSS feed:

projectcensored basics

Project Censored Mission

Who We Are | Staff

Media Freedom Foundation


History of Project Censored

Our Work


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Justice for Julian | Presenting a Peculiar Case

By Tomas Ward & Kerri Bruss

The First Unitarian Society of Milwaukee recently presented a live-streamed video conference titled “The Trial of Julian Assange and Its Implications for Press Freedom.” Ann Batiza, a Milwaukee-based researcher, academic, and peace activist served as host of the call. Local Greens were among the attendees. Two speakers with first-hand knowledge of the arbitrary detention (as determined by a UN body in 2015), torture, and extradition trial of the Australian Wikileaks publisher described a now decade-long persecution intended to suppress dissent and opposition to US imperialism. The physical and legal assault ultimately threatens to criminalize investigative journalism.

Nils Melzer, UN Special Rapporteur on torture, Professor of International Law at the University of Glasgow, and Human Rights Chair at the Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights, shared how he was first approached by Assange’s legal team to intervene on his behalf in late 2018. Melzer initially refused to engage with the case as he, like most of the public, had come to believe that Julian Assange actually was the “rapist, traitor, hacker, and spy” the relentless media propaganda campaign presented him as, and he resolved to not allow such an individual to manipulate him.

Approached again in March 2019 when Assange’s lawyers feared he may soon be expelled from the Ecuadorian Embassy, and at which time they presented him with a few key documents as well as a case summary, he “figured that my professional integrity demanded that I at least take a look at the material.” Once he looked into the actual facts of the case, “what I found filled me with repulsion and disbelief,” as the “narrative I had in my mind was not supported by the evidence.” As he no longer knew what was true or which source could be trusted, he decided to meet with Assange, who by this time was incarcerated at London’s maximum security Belmarsh Prison following his arrest on April 11 after the Moreno government withdrew his political asylum.

For his initial visit with Assange, which occurred over a 3 day period in early May 2019, Melzer was accompanied by two highly experienced medical specialists. He wanted to have an objective medical assessment in addition to his own. By his own admission he did not expect to find anything “dramatic”, however what he did find shocked him. He and the other doctors, who had conducted their own independent assessments, all concurred that Assange “showed all the symptoms that are typical for a victim of psychological torture.” The aim of such treatment is “destabilizing a person through isolation, through threat scenarios, constant arbitrariness, changing rules, and people being purposely pushed to their physical, emotional, and psychological limits through non-physical stressors.” Having observed Assange in this diminished and broken state in Belmarsh, he resolved to complete a full investigation.

Melzer found serious flaws with the rape allegations against Assange in Sweden. He was able to review the original police documents as he is fluent in Swedish. What those documents revealed was clear; namely that the two women involved were concerned with possible HIV transmission rather than rape. It was local police who changed the nature of the case. This occurred shortly after Wikileaks revealed the Afghan War Diary, at the time the largest public expose in US military history, that had followed on the heels of the April 2010 release of the Collateral Murder video which depicted the “gunning down of two Reuters journalists and 10 other unarmed civilians.” Sweden is a close ally of the US in the Afghan War. Britain and other countries exposed by Wikileaks are also parties to the alliance. The implication of this is that Western governments colluded to concoct a serious charge against someone they perceived as an enemy.

Wikileaks’ journalistic ethics were also discussed at the UU meeting. To date, Wikileaks has never published false information. Assange has not stolen or hacked information, but rather received it as a journalist would receive it, then published what he received from sources if it was in the public interest to do so. Assange also took great care to redact documents in order to protect lives. Melzer believes that Wikileaks published evidence of grave war crimes, and that there are criminals in uniform who should be prosecuted. He said, “Those who commit the crimes are the traitors, not the whistleblowers who expose them.” He concluded that the campaign against Assange is about criminalizing the truth.

Ray McGovern, (whose hair/beard grows in disheveled witness to the uncivilized treatment accorded his friend Julian), a former CIA analyst and presidential daily briefer for three presidents, co-founder of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS), and an activist for peace and justice, opened his remarks  with a quote from Death of A Salesman: He’s a human being, and a terrible thing is happening to him. So attention must be paid. He’s not to be allowed to fall into his grave like an old dog. Attention, attention must be finally paid to such a person.

He then went on to describe the warm and caring spirit of his friend Assange, whose “devotion to justice puts other people’s fate above his own.” This portrayal is in contrast to media reports of his having an abrasive personality. Ray presented multiple photos of Julian sharing poignant moments with friends and family, including an image of him lovingly holding his then newborn while still confined in the Embassy. Julian’s children (Gabriel and Max) are growing up without his presence in their lives. So are his partner Stella and his own parents, who are all involved in his fight for freedom. The contrast in Julian’s appearance in a few short years is stark, and no doubt a result of the arbitrary detention and psychological torture he has been subjected to for the past decade.

McGovern believes Assange’s technical skills for digital transfer of forbidden information made him a major threat to and consequently a target of global elites. He also speculates that people with information could have used Wikileaks to save lives in past crises such as Vietnam and 9/11 had it been available at the time.

Ray continues with a reference to a favorite though little known MLK Jr quote from his Letter from a Birmingham Jail that speaks to the need for “disclosing truth”, which he compared to a boil: Like a boil that can never be cured so long as it is covered up but must be opened with all its ugliness to the natural medicines of air and light, injustice must be exposed, with all the tension its exposure creates, to the light of human conscience and the air of national opinion before it can be cured. McGovern believes that Julian’s view about injustice is similar and that he was willing to pay the price for exposing it, as demonstrated by his efforts to help get Edward Snowden to safety in 2013, even as Julian himself was already being persecuted by the state.

McGovern expressed his fear that the powers that be are hoping Julian will catch Covid-19 and die in Belmarsh, which considering his compromised health, is a very real possibility. He closed with a call to action: “it’s up to us to build some arks, folks,” as the rain that has been predicted “has been falling for ten years now”, and that a “truth-teller is worthy of all the support we can give them.”

A lively discussion followed the presentations by the two speakers. An attendee identified as Dr Deepa Driver disclosed that she had been a legal observer at Julian’s September 2020 extradition hearings and she stressed that the psychological torture continues to this day. She stated that she was appalled at the way access was denied to legal and press observers at the trial, and that Julian, including his family and supporters, continue to be treated with “very little humanity”, and also that minimal attention was paid to his due process rights. The case in her view seemed to “follow the pattern of the Stratfor leaks, where they said that they would move Julian from country to country, treat him like a bride in prison, and make him eat cat food.”

Deepa also stated that Julian still had not received the warm clothing supporters provided him in October; this despite the fact that the heating system in the prison had broken down several times, and the temperature in London has been below zero on recent nights. She reiterated that this kind of treatment of a “highly intelligent, visionary, human being is unconscionable” and we have to come together to oppose this kind of behavior. We need to do it for the protection of whistleblowers, for the freedom of the press, for Julian, but most importantly, we have to do it for the protection of citizens’ right to know “about the crimes governments commit in their name.”

Nils Melzer clarified that while the UK judge’s decision to not extradite Julian to the US was what Assange’s supporters were hoping for, it was also very misleading in that her judgement confirmed the entire narrative of the US prosecution. It basically confirmed that if a journalist publishes information the government does not want published, regardless of public interest, it can be prosecuted as espionage. He also mentioned that the judge went even further with her ruling; namely that such journalism would be punishable under the Official Secrets Act of the UK, which sets a precedent on both sides of the Atlantic. More broadly, as the OSA is a model for other secrecy acts in the whole of the Commonwealth, if the judgement stands it essentially sets an “emerging worldwide” precedent.

Melzer argues that if it becomes a crime to tell the truth, then we are truly “living in a tyranny” with no democratic check on government power. Not known for being an alarmist, Melzer was emphatic that this judgement is “urgent, alarming, and fundamentally dangerous.” He also went into some detail about the appeal process, and mentioned that even if the US loses its appeal and the decision stands that Assange will not be extradited, it won’t be because he’s right but because he is currently too weak and would likely be a suicide risk in the oppressive US prison system. So if the government should ever determine that his health has improved, Julian could again be detained for potential extradition by any country that would allow him to reside there. He agrees that Dr Driver was spot on with her reference to the Stratfor playbook as we are watching it play out in real time, and stresses that there is “no reason at all for anyone to be relieved” by this judgement.

There is joy in sharing information that is being totally and deliberately suppressed by the mainstream media. Attendees likely came away with a greater intention to follow Ray McGovern’s call to get out there and make some noise for Julian Assange.

Please email Ann Batiza at if you are motivated to take action.

Ann also encourages you to visit where you can sign up to Defend Julian Assange.

A shorter version of this post originally appeared at


Sun 11am live zoom forum | Trial of Julian Assange / Press Freedom | Nils Melzer & Ray McGovern | Jan 17

Join us Sunday 11am – 12:20pm Chicago time for a live zoom forum on the on “The Trial of Julian Assange and its Implications for Press Freedom.”  with Nils Melzer and Ray McGovern.

Sign up to receive the zoom link here:

sign up:

This event is presented by First Unitarian Church of Milwaukee – more …. I’m forwarding this for the event organizer – thanks for your work Ann!

Nils Melzer, the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture; and Ray McGovern, former CIA Russia analyst, presidential daily briefer for George H.W. Bush and current peace activist (who is growing his beard in solidarity with Julian Assange), will discuss this unprecedented extradition trial of this Walkley-award-winning publisher and seven times (including 2020) nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize, Julian Assange. Notably, Mr. Assange said:

“If wars can be started by lies, peace can be started by truth.”

Amnesty International, the ACLU, Rebecca Vincent of Reporters without Borders, Laura Poitras writing in the New York Times, Barton Gellman writing in the Guardian, Alan Rusbridger former editor of the Guardian, Glenn Greenwald now on Substack, editor Marty Baron of the Washington Post and editor-in-chief Dean Baquet of the New York Times have all described the threat to press freedom posed by this extradition trial.  It is time that the public also understood what is at stake.

Please join us at 11am Sunday for this live zoom forum with Nils Melzer and Ray McGovern, moderated by Ann Batiza.

Please share this email and the flyer with your peace and justice networks.  Thank you for caring about press freedom and truth.

Best regards,

Ann Batiza
Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Assange Extradition Hearing Wrapup


I’ve been following Assange and wikileaks for years — both the supportive and critical coverage.

Assange’s collateral murder Iraq slaughter video engaged me.

The Ecuador president-change from Rafael Correa to Lenín Moreno in Ecuador lead to the brutal British emprisonment of Assange; this disturbs me — is morally wrong, and a threat to journalists and freedom of the press worldwide — the Hawkins campaign agrees..

This post was triggered by a Milwaukee researcher,a retired academic who covers the Assange situation daily.
I’m familiar with all the sources (except for Charles Glass). The content was finalized by me, but largely written by this researcher.

I introduce you to high integrity, writers and websites that counter the legacy media propaganda.

Assange hearing Coverage | good sources

Kevin Gosztola

Shadowproof managing editor Kevin Gosztola woke up every morning for four weeks in September to report on WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s extradition trial at the Old Bailey Criminal Courthouse in London.

Craig Murray

Joe Lauria

Nils Melzer


UN Special Rapporteur on Torture; Human Rights Chair, Geneva Academy; Professor of International Law, University of Glasgow; Vice-President IIHL, Sanremo

In 20 years of work with victims of war, violence and political persecution I have never seen a group of democratic States ganging up to deliberately isolate, demonise and abuse a single individual for such a long time and with so little regard for human dignity and the rule of law.

Swedish legal issues

Assange was accused of sexual misconduct by the Swedish authorities by two women — in fact there have been no charges, and there is evidence of a “setup” to smear him. Nils Melzer, the U.N. Special Rapporteur on torture, walks us through a detailed timeline:

Nils Melzer |alt

Nils Melzer shown above.

A made-up rape allegation and fabricated evidence in Sweden, pressure from the UK not to drop the case, a biased judge, detention in a maximum security prison, psychological torture – and soon extradition to the U.S., where he could face up to 175 years in prison for exposing war crimes. For the first time, the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, Nils Melzer, speaks in detail about the explosive findings of his investigation into the case of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.

cruel and unique punishment | illegal privacy violations should invalidate the hearing

Daniel Ellsburg’s case was thrown out for illegal privacy violations; Assange’s treatment
is similar. Listen to Charles Glass interview by Scott Horton:

Ellsberg interviewed by Kristina Borjesson | his case vs Assange’s

photo Kristina Borjesson| for text browsers??

Kristina Borjesson does the the-whistleblower-newsroom podcast.

Assange hearing summary

@DEAcampaign tweet with video.

@DEAcampaign tweet with panel video.

Twitter @DEAcampaign video

In the above @DEAcampaign video, Assange’s father, John Shipton; Assange’s friend and former U.K. Ambassador Craig Murray; Assange’s lawyer, Jen Robinson, current WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Kristinn Hrafnsson: and WikiLeaks ambassador Joseph F. discuss the trial just after the end of the 4 weeks of witness testimony.  This 40-minute video is worth the time spent to review key aspects of the testimony presented and key moments in the trial.

Joe Lauria | Editor Consortium News

photo Joe Lauria of Consortium News

Joe Lauria, editor-in-chief of Consortium News | 9 minute video summary

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) and Rebecca Vincent

Reporters Without Borders and Rebecca Vincent| for text browsers??

Rebecca Vincent | “Reporters Without Borders” (

Reporters without Borders (RSF) was the ONLY journalistic and humanitarian agency that monitored the trial.

After monitoring four weeks of evidence in the US extradition proceedings against Wikileaks publisher Julian Assange, Reporters Without Borders ( reiterates concern regarding the targeting of Assange for his contributions to journalism, and calls again for his release. Expert testimony highlighted the political nature of the case against Assange, the US government’s lack of evidence for alleged harm caused, and urgent humanitarian concerns related to Assange’s physical and mental health. RSF also documented extensive barriers to open justice, which marred proceedings. The extradition decision is expected on 4 January 2021.”

Daily Hearing Updates

Reporter access to the hearings was unreasonably difficult — too few in-person slots; burdensome remote access hoops; poor technical implementation.

Craig Murray – Daily Summaries

earth - blue marble | for text browsers??

Craig Murray (@CraigMurrayOrg) – former U.K. Ambassador to Uzbekistan – provided the most literate, informative daily summary by far with his blog posts that start with “Your Man in the Public Gallery.” To see this series of posts search his site for Assange Hearing — searching directly in the search box on his site is also good. Craig was in the courtroom each day along with Julian’s father from 10 am to 4 pm.  He went home each day, ate, slept at 7 pm, awoke at 11 – midnight, reviewed his 30 or so pages of notes each day, researched as needed, and then showered dressed and wrote his summary that he posted at 9:30 am each day before walking to the courtroom, up 132 steps.  His summaries are magnificent.  Here is testimony from “Day 21” by Craig, which is Day 17 or 18 for others (Craig covered the trial in February and just kept counting.) Notice that the URLs are predictable, as in

assange-hearing-day-21 | Oct 1

twenty minutes sufficed for the reading of the “gist” of the astonishing testimony of two witnesses, their identity protected as their lives may be in danger, who stated that the CIA, operating through Sheldon Adelson, planned to kidnap or poison Assange […]

Their boardmembers.

Guide to Testimony in Julian Assange’s Extradition Hearing| for text browsers??

Guide to Testimony in Julian Assange’s Extradition Hearing or

provided detailed, daily blow-by-blow descriptions of the case they were observing and tweeting out remotely in real time (Select one of the days to open the detailed description.)

I found them to be the most complete. But I would encourage one to read reports from multiple “observers.” — Ann B.

screenshot from

The blog is a “Guide to Testimony in Julian Assange’s Extradition Hearing”.

Here we recap the major arguments and revelations from expert witnesses who testified in Julian Assange’s extradition — and why they matter legally. Topics range from the dangerous threat Assange’s indictment poses to journalism, to the abusive conditions Assange would face in the United States’ prison system, to the politicized nature of the Trump administration’s prosecution.

Green Party | Margaret Flowers commentary on Assange Hearing | Oct 5

My notes from her 10min talk: hearing is: unfair to Assange; no privacy; atty-client talks snooped on; no crime; 175 year sentence; political case; will not release his sources; Assange spied on 24/7 for months. His rights have been violated / not enough time or resources to prepare.

UN Torture Report On Assange Is An Indictment Of Our Entire Society

“The evidence is overwhelming and clear,” Melzer said. “Mr. Assange has been deliberately exposed, for a period of several years, to progressively severe forms of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, the cumulative effects of which can only be described as psychological torture.”

This mistreatment took it’s toll on Assange. I’ve heard several reporters talk about a “rubber head” torture effect. I think he has recovered somewhat, but I understand at one point he was having trouble speaking — even his own name.

Daniel Ellsberg testifies at Assange extradition hearing

Marc Steiner and Kevin Gosztola:

Kenosha Solidarity Rally/BLM march | NAARPR, FRSO, CPAC …

In response to an email about the NAARPR sponsored rally — said email was forwarded to the — I decided to go to the Kenosha Solidarity Rally/BLM march at 5pm near at the Municipal blg.



Automated cell phone pop up alert at 6:30pm warning us of 7pm Kenosha curfew.

Powerful chanting— on mic and off, good energy, clearly a mix of locals, Milwaukee people, and Chicago people, including Frank Chapman. FRSO banner there, Chapman’s CPAC people there, also NAARPR. Perhaps 130 people?

The (national guard?) pulled up in 3-4 hum-vees/troop carriers at the end of march just before 7pm. One tall thin older white guy positioned himself in from of the convoy — the demonstration organizers artfully defused the situation. These were canvass covered troop carriers with perhaps 4-6 troops per truck — men visible through the open to air back ends. I went home, honoring the impending curfew — the bulk of the crowd seemed to be gathering in front of the Municipal building again.

Many boarded up windows at gas stations, small biz, and major gov blgs. A couple of burned up blgs. Some artful graffiti on the particle board. We had passed a used car lot filled with entirely burned up cars!

My hunch or impression is that Kenosha is damaged and vulnerable. The protestors quieted down as we past the burned out used car lot — sobering. I left there inspired by the effort, unity and young spirit.

As Chapman says:

escalation is getting masses of people out into these streets
this is no time to slow the rebellion down

troop carrier in Kenosha

Greater Milwaukee Green Party: YES for MPS!


The Greater Milwaukee Green Party calls on Milwaukee residents to vote Yes on the Milwaukee Public Schools’ (MPS) funding referendum on April 7.

Education is a right for all people. The $87 million per year that this referendum will raise is just a start towards repairing the damage successive Wisconsin legislatures have done to MPS in its drive to privatize public education.

Since the “school choice” program to send public money to private schools began in the 1980s, corporate interests have dominated education policy. It’s time for public school students and teachers interests to come first.

This referendum is a step in the right direction on the path to better public schools.  Though it will not stop private interests from continuous siphoning of public school funding through voucher programs and Tax Incremental Funding districts), it is a necessity.  Much like running a generator while the power lines are down, this referendum ensures we still accommodate our students as we work to bring other public dollars back to MPS.

This referendum will help MPS fund technical education and library services to give kids a better chance of understanding the world around them, and the tools to make change.

The art and music programs that this referendum will fund are not frills. They are essential to helping young people express themselves and create change.

Greens support the nationwide push for better teacher pay, better health care and library services, and better support services for children in every school district.

It is no accident that the attack on public schools is focused on urban districts where students most often experience the effects of racism, poverty, structural unemployment, and the violence that ensues where hope for the future is lacking.

We need public schools to help the next generation lead the fight against the climate crisis, systemic racism, and corporate domination. Public schools are democratic institutions essential in the fight for a broader democracy. We need the schools our kids deserve!

Vote YES for MPS!

For more information, go to the referendum campaign site: