In Defense of Julian Assange; and Music is Power: Popular Songs, Social Justice and the Will to Change

In Defense of Julian Assange

Whistle blowing truth telling journalist and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange now sits in solitary confinement in London’s infamous Belmarsh prison. The Trump administration has asked that he be extradited to Virginia for trial as a spy. Today we interview Margaret Kunstler and Tariq Ali who edited and introduce the just published book In Defense of Julian Assange The book demonstrates convincingly that what is at stake in his upcoming trial is the future of free journalism, here and abroad. Julian faces a 175 year sentence under the century old Espionage Act, passed during World War I to be used against spies. He is charged with conspiring with Chelsea Manning to publish the Iraq war logs, the Afghanistan war logs, and State Department cables.

Former CIA director and current Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has called WikiLeaks a non-state intelligence service. Hillary Clinton wanted him assassinated by drone. The United Nations special rapporteur on torture Nils Melzer recently visited him in prison and concluded that indeed he was being tortured. When he last appeared in court he was incoherent and couldnt remember his name or date of birth.

WikiLeaks was launched by Julian Assange in 2006, three years after Bush and Cheney commenced the illegal catastrophic war against Iraq in 2003.

Julian is a computer genius. He invented a way for publishers like WikiLeaks to receive truth telling information anonymously. The first bombshell he published in 2006 was The Iraqi war logs. He got them from whistleblower Chelsea Manning who was then in the military. They showed a video of American soldiers in a helicopter committing a war crime by gunning down and executing a number of Iraqi civilians, two Reuters journalists, and several children. Then they chuckled about it. A photo of the murders is shown on the books cover. This leak, furnished by Chelsea Manning, was devastating to the United States. Other whistleblower leaks followed. The government became relentless in trying to close down WikiLeaks.

Guest – Margaret Kunstler – a civil rights attorney who has spent her career providing movement support and protecting the rights of activists. A powerful speaker on human rights issues, Kunstler is a consultant to the emerging voices of Occupy Wall Street protesters and Anonymous supporters. Kunstlers Hell No: Your Right to Dissent in Twenty-First Century America, co-authored with Michael Ratner of the Center for Constitutional Rights, is the leading handbook for activists today.

Guest ” Tariq Ali, writer, journalist and film-maker, born in Lahore and educated at Oxford University. He writes regularly for a range of publications including The Guardian and The London Review of Books. He has written more than a dozen books including non-fiction as well as scripts for both stage and screen.


Music is Power: Popular Songs, Social Justice and the Will to Change

Throughout U.S. history social justice music has played many roles, from motivating soldiers on their way to war, to inspiring activists fighting police repression during the civil rights movements. In his new book, Music Is Power author Brad Schreiber chronicles a century of politically-conscious music, from Pete Seeger through Joan Baez, Bob Marley, the Sex Pistols and to modern-day RAPP.

Perhaps associated largely with folk music, social justice music spans a range of musical genres, from rap, heavy metal, reggae, and psychedelia. Schreiber not only shines a spotlight on musicians different approaches, from soulful ballads to expressions of anger, but he also tells engaging stories behind the public figures who have brought music into our lives. There are many surprises in his animation of long-time favorites, many of whom overcame obstacles in bringing their messages of social justice to the recording industry and to the airwaves.

Guest – Brad Schreiber – award-winning author, journalist and screenwriter, his previous books include Death in Paradise, Becoming Jimi Hendrix, and Revolution’s End. He has received fellowships and awards from the National Press Foundation, Edward Albee Foundation, International Book Awards, Independent Publisher Book Awards and Los Angeles Press Club.

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