US and UK forcing psychoactive drugs on imprisoned Julian Assange

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Whistle blower. Spy. Traitor. Patriot. I think a person can be judged by the oaths they took and broke and who is harmed by their actions. I guess Julian took no oaths to America so he is not really a spy. But I wonder, were his actions justified? Did it harm America and aid our enemies? Was it revenge or hatred over American values and interests? What are the consequences going to be? I can’t say I am in any way glad that he is being drugged up or tortured. What he did was long ago so there is no urgent reason to use extreme measures as when a bomb is about to go off and you know the bomber knows where and when. Peter

Below is an interesting letter that talks about unintended consequences which isn’t very relevant but I enjoyed rereading it and so might you.  

From: Chris Matthew Sciabarra To: Objectivism Subject: OWL: Re: Democracy, Interventionism, Dominance, Imperialism Date: Fri, 18 Apr 2003 11:47:21 -0400. I very much enjoyed Philip Coates' two posts, one on "Democracy, Interventionism, Dominance, Imperialism," the other on "The Objectivist Center vs. The Ayn Rand Institute."  I will have a lot more to say on the themes of his posts in my forthcoming article, "Understanding the Global Crisis: Reclaiming Rand's Radical Legacy," which will appear in the May/June 2003 issue of THE FREE RADICAL, and will be published online in due course on .

Here, I'd like to make one or two brief points. There is no doubt that (as Phil puts it) "Intervention can be good if it is defensive or involving retaliatory force (or alliances whose purposes are to defend lives and rights including property)."  But I don't think it is necessarily sloppy to use the term to describe aspects of U.S. foreign policy.  Rand recognized the same dynamics at work in both U.S. domestic and foreign policy.  She states unequivocally (in "The Shanghai Gesture"):  "Foreign policy is merely a consequence of domestic policy." In my forthcoming article, I present Rand's critique of both domestic and foreign policy (in their inextricable connection), showing how Rand saw the same forces at work in each sphere.  In fact, Rand routinely saw the failures of government policy (in each sphere) as the pretext for more and more government involvement.  Intervention caused a problem or made it worse, and government routinely used this as the pretext for ~further~ intervention to 'resolve' the problem, only creating more problems in its wake.  Rand points this out in her examination of government intervention in the economy (with its consequences for individual rights---economic and civil liberties), but she does the same thing in her examination of U.S. intervention abroad.

In a sense, one can find this on display in Rand's discussion (in "The Roots of War") of the twentieth-century history of U.S. wars, where there is the clear implication that U.S. entry into World War I did ~not~ make the world safe for democracy... but that it made fascism, Nazism, and communism possible; that U.S. intervention in World War II did ~not~ bring forth the Four Freedoms, but that it delivered 750 million people into communist despotism; that the resulting Cold War made possible the illegitimate "hot wars" in Korea and Vietnam.  And so forth.  (Granted, there were very complicated reasons for the genesis of each of these wars; I'm simply focusing here on  how each war, like each regulation, begets another.) One can also see these interventionist dynamics at work in Rand's discussions of U.S. foreign aid policy (not just her written essays, but in her audio lectures, Q&A periods, and radio interviews---all of which I have referenced extensively in my forthcoming essay).  Here the connections between government ~politico-economic~ intervention at home and abroad are mutually reinforcing.

This is an almost-lost aspect of Rand's approach to global politics.   Rand focuses on the global financial manipulations of the Federal Reserve System, the World Bank, etc.---upon which statist businessmen built their illicit fortunes.  One can glean a radical critique in Rand's examination of international political economy that echoes many of the concerns voiced by New Left critics of U.S. "capitalist imperialism."  Except that, for Rand, the cause was not capitalism---but its opposite. It is for this reason that I believe both the TOC and the ARI sides to this discussion have come up short.  Yes, each points out something of value.  But there is almost ~no~ appreciation for Rand's ~radical~ understanding of global political economy, a system that was an international extension of what Rand identified as the "New Fascism."  (I should note that not ~all~ Objectivist commentary on these issues comes up short; there are notable exceptions.) And this is not simply a legacy of ~substantive~ radical insights; it is a radical ~methodological~ legacy:  one that seeks to grasp things by the root.  As I write in a recent essay [a preface to my forthcoming article, see: --- which you may have to cut and paste into your browser], "for Rand, to examine roots and origins, to engage in any analysis of fundamentals, one must be committed to a thoroughgoing, comprehensive strategy. Rand's strategy entailed both logical and dialectical thinking. The art of noncontradictory identification (logic) required the concomitant art of context-keeping (dialectics)." And in her analysis of any social problem, Rand ~never~ dropped the context---the realities and conditions of global statism and the irrationality it required and perpetuated---that was slowly destroying the world.  That is why Rand wrote:  "If . . . mankind cannot afford war any longer, then ~mankind cannot afford statism any longer~ . . . if war is ever to be outlawed, it is ~the use of force~ that has to be outlawed" Cheers, Chris

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The Wikipedia article is old. Dirty or not dirty? Criminal or Moral, Noble Whistleblower? America’s criminal investigation into Julian Assange began during the Obama administration. He mostly seems to be an equal opportunity exposer and exposed email from Old Hickory Clinton and John Podesta who may be even dirtier. Those emails were purportedly given to Assange and WikiLeaks by the Russians. From the Wikipedia article below, “WikiLeaks has, for instance, revealed Social Security numbers, medical information, credit card numbers and details of suicide attempts . . . . Yet Assange was AGAINST the exposure of offshore accounts held by rich criminals. Peter

Notes. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia . . . . The US Justice Department began a criminal investigation of WikiLeaks and Julian Assange soon after the leak of diplomatic cables began.[97][98] Former Attorney General Eric Holder affirmed the investigation was "not saber-rattling", but was "an active, ongoing criminal investigation".[98] The Washington Post reported that the department was considering charges under the Espionage Act of 1917, an action which former prosecutors characterised as "difficult" because of First Amendment protections for the press.[97][99] Several Supreme Court cases (e.g. Bartnicki v. Vopper) have established previously that the American Constitution protects the re-publication of illegally gained information provided the publishers did not themselves violate any laws in acquiring it.[100] Federal prosecutors have also considered prosecuting Assange for trafficking in stolen government property, but since the diplomatic cables are intellectual rather than physical property, that method is also difficult.[101] Any prosecution of Assange would require extraditing him to the United States, a procedure made more complicated and potentially delayed by any preceding extradition to Sweden.[102] One of Assange's lawyers, however, says they are fighting extradition to Sweden because it might result in his extradition to the United States.[103] Assange's attorney, Mark Stephens, has "heard from Swedish authorities there has been a secretly empanelled grand jury in Alexandria, [Virginia]" meeting to consider criminal charges for the WikiLeaks case . . . .

WikiLeaks (/ˈwɪkiliːks/) is an international non-profit organisation that publishes news leaks,[5] and classified media provided by anonymous sources.[6] Its website, initiated in 2006 in Iceland by the organisation Sunshine Press,[7] claimed in 2016 to have released online 10 million documents in its first 10 years.[8]Julian Assange, an Australian Internet activist, is generally described as its founder and director.[9] Since September 2018, Kristinn Hrafnsson has served as its editor-in-chief. The group has released a number of prominent document dumps. Early releases included documentation of equipment expenditures and holdings in the Afghanistan war,[12] a report informing a corruption investigation in Kenya,[13][14] and a manual for operations at the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.[15][16] In April 2010, WikiLeaks released the Collateral Murder footage from the 12 July 2007 Baghdad airstrike in which Iraqi journalists were among those killed. Other releases in 2010 included the Afghan War Diary and the "Iraq War Logs". The latter allowed the mapping of 109,032 deaths in "significant" attacks by insurgents in Iraq that had been reported to Multi-National Force – Iraq, including about 15,000 that had not been previously published.[17][18] In 2010, WikiLeaks also released the US State Department diplomatic "cables", classified cables that had been sent to the US State Department. In April 2011, WikiLeaks began publishing 779 secret files relating to prisoners detained in the Guantanamo Bay detention camp.[19] In 2012, WikiLeaks released the "Syria Files," over two million emails sent by Syrian politicians, corporations and government ministries.[20][21] In 2015, WikiLeaks published Saudi Arabian diplomatic cables,[22][23] documents detailing spying by the U.S. National Security Agency on successive French Presidents,[24][25] and the intellectual property chapter of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a controversial international trade agreement which had been negotiated in secret.[26][27]

During the 2016 US presidential election campaign, WikiLeaks released emails and other documents from the Democratic National Committee and from Hillary Clinton's campaign manager, John Podesta.[28] These releases caused significant harm to the Clinton campaign, and have been attributed as a potential contributing factor to her loss.[29] The U.S. intelligence community expressed "high confidence" that the leaked emails had been hacked by Russia and supplied to WikiLeaks, while WikiLeaks denied their source was Russia or any other state.[30] During the campaign, WikiLeaks promoted conspiracy theories about Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party.[31][32][33] In private conversations from November 2015 that were later leaked, Julian Assange expressed a preference for a GOP victory in the 2016 election, explaining that "Dems+Media+liberals woudl [sic] then form a block to reign [sic] in their worst qualities. With Hillary in charge, GOP will be pushing for her worst qualities, dems+media+neoliberals will be mute."[34] In further leaked correspondence with the Trump campaign on election day (8 November 2016), WikiLeaks encouraged the Trump campaign to contest the election results as being "rigged" should they lose.[35]

In 2016, WikiLeaks released nearly 300,000 emails it described as coming from Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party,[36] later found to be taken from public mailing archives,[37] and over 50,000 emails from the Turkish minister of energy.[38] In 2017, WikiLeaks published internal CIA documents describing tools used by the agency to hack devices including mobile phones and routers.[39][40]

WikiLeaks has drawn criticism for its alleged absence of whistleblowing on or criticism of Russia, and for criticising the Panama Papers' exposé of businesses and individuals with offshore bank accounts.[41][42] The organization has additionally been criticised for inadequately curating its content and violating the personal privacy of individuals. WikiLeaks has, for instance, revealed Social Security numbers, medical information, credit card numbers and details of suicide attempts.

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20 hours ago, Mark said:

As loaded questions go, I give this an A+.  Strong emotions, smuggled premises. An objectivist reaction would I think generally take the route of road-testing. What does that question have in its trunk  ...?

First, tortured to death -- what kind/s of torture?  Further, what information points are asserted in the article, which supporting warrants are given or cited (with URLs)?  What does the assertion "Julian Assange Is Being Tortured By BZ" have by way of support? What is the connection to public statements, from Wikileaks -- what are Assange's lawyers saying, are there links to further supporting information about BZ chemical warfare agent being used at Belmarsh prison?

 Eventually an objectivist roadster checks out all the warrants and delivers a preliminary report. Other objectivist roadsters set out to double-check, explore other terrain, and return to pool findings. It's a healthy community that can master the details and deliberate before issuing informed judgments.

Randomly, BZ, Swedish Lawyer, Medical Torture, Log-rolling, etcetera. Whaddaya wanna know?

Imma gonna pull a Peter Taylor wodge of material, but with live links. Research modge-podge, so to speak. 



“[Julian Assange] is presently under close observation in prison hospital because he has suffered ‘severe transient psychotic episodes.’ My source(s) indicate these episodes occurred after two sessions of coercive interrogation at the hands of UK and US officials. The source(s) stated the HUMINT interrogators used psychotropic drugs in the course of the sessions.”

Kwiatkowski writes that her sources in the UK say:

“[Julian Assange] is presently under close observation in prison hospital because he has suffered ‘severe transient psychotic episodes.’ My source(s) indicate these episodes occurred after two sessions of coercive interrogation at the hands of UK and US officials. The source(s) stated the HUMINT interrogators used psychotropic drugs in the course of the sessions.”

A previous example of another seen as a "traitor" in the eyes of authoritarians is David Shayler, who exposed the UK's support of terrorists in Libya. After spending 3 years in Belmarsh, he emerged from prison a broken and delusional man, as Kwiatkowski puts it, where he believed himself to be the second coming of Jesus Christ.

The lawsuit’s argument is in line with broader criticisms of Edgewood: that, whether out of military urgency or scientific dabbling, the Army recklessly endangered the lives of its soldiers—naïve men, mostly, who were deceived or pressured into submitting to the risky experiments. The drugs under review ranged from tear gas and LSD to highly lethal nerve agents, like VX, a substance developed at Edgewood and, later, sought by Saddam Hussein. Ketchum’s specialty was a family of molecules that block a key neurotransmitter, causing delirium. The drugs were known mainly by Army codes, with their true formulas classified. The soldiers were never told what they were given, or what the specific effects might be, and the Army made no effort to track how they did afterward. Edgewood’s most extreme critics raise the spectre of mass injury—a hidden American tragedy.

After receiving a security clearance, Ketchum was told that EA 2277 was 3-quinuclidinyl benzilate, or BZ—a pharmaceutical, intended as an ulcer therapy, that was rejected after tests found it unsuitable. Infinitesimal amounts could send people into total mental disorder. BZ is an anticholinergic, similar to atropine or scopolamine, which are used in medicine today. At high doses, such drugs trigger delirium—a dreamlike insanity usually forgotten after it subsides. Sim, one of the first doctors to try BZ, later proclaimed that it “zonked” him for three days. “I 

kept falling down,” he said. “The people at the lab assigned someone to follow me around with a mattress.”

Ketchum tried to size up his superior; in addition to his self-experiments, Sim habitually took Demerol. “I sometimes come in late at night to check on the guys,” Ketchum told him. “They get pretty interesting around midnight. What are you doing?”

Sim had a watch faceplate taped to his wrist. “I’m trying to see if LSD has any effect through the skin,” he said. “I’ve got it in some ethylene glycol under this watch glass. So far, it hasn’t had any particular effect.”

For years, Sim had been overseeing secret intelligence experiments at Edgewood. At one point, he did research for the C.I.A. on a BZ-type drug, called the Boomer, that causes delirium for as long as two weeks. The agency wanted to know if it could be administered through the skin. Could a Soviet agent brush some on silverware at a diplomatic party and cause an American official to go crazy? Could an operative dose an adversary with a handshake? Sim initiated trials at the arsenal and at Holmesburg Prison, in Pennsylvania, with which Edgewood had contracted to conduct experiments on inmates.

3-Quinuclidinyl benzilate (QNB) — IUPAC name 1-azabicyclo[2.2.2]octan-3-yl hydroxy(diphenyl)acetate; US Army code EA-2277; NATO code BZ; Soviet code Substance 78[1] — is an odorless military incapacitating agent.[2]

Physiochemical characteristics
BZ is odorless. It is stable in most solvents, with a half-life of three to four weeks in moist air; even heat-producing munitions can disperse it. It is extremely persistent in soil and water and on most surfaces. It is slightly soluble in water, soluble in dilute acids, trichloroethylene, dimethylformamide, and most organic solvents, and insoluble with aqueous alkali.[3]

BZ affects both the peripheral nervous system (PNS) and CNS. BZ inhibits glandular secretions, leading to a dry mouth and foul breath. Cutaneous vasodilation and skin flushing may be noted due to decreased capillary tone. Hyperthermia is due to elevated body temperature secondary to inhibition of sweating and inability to dissipate heat. Vision loss is from a loss of accommodation reflexes and decreased depth of field secondary to ciliary muscle paralysis and mydriasis. Paralytic ileus is commonly seen as a result of anticholinergic toxicity. This can lead to fatal colic in equids. Urinary retention is also a common anticholinergic effect following exposure to BZ.

CNS signs of disorientation, agitation, tremor, ataxia, stupor, coma, and seizures may occur from inhibition of central muscarinic receptors. It is unknown whether animals hallucinate like people, but they do appear distressed. Rhabdomyolysis can be seen secondary to seizures and agitation. If severe, myoglobinuric renal failure could develop.

Other systemic signs may also occur. Sinus tachycardia is common. Moderate hypertension may occur, and tachypnea may be expected following an acute exposure. Nausea and vomiting may also occur.

Mechanism of action

At this time the United States military investigated it along with a wide range of possible nonlethal, psychoactive incapacitating agents including psychedelic drugs such as LSD and THC, dissociative drugs such as ketamine and phencyclidine, potent opioids such as fentanyl, as well as several glycolate anticholinergics.[6][7] By 1959, the United States Army showed significant interest in deploying it as a chemical warfare agent.[5] It was originally designated "TK", but when it was standardized by the Army in 1961, it received the NATO code name "BZ".[5] The agent commonly became known as "Buzz" because of this abbreviation and the effects it had on the mental state of the human volunteers intoxicated with it in research studies at Edgewood Arsenal in Maryland.[5] As described in retired Army psychiatrist James Ketchum's autobiographical book Chemical Warfare: Secrets Almost Forgotten (2006), work proceeded in 1964 when a general envisioned a scheme to incapacitate an entire trawler with aerosolized BZ; this effort was dubbed Project DORK.[8] BZ was ultimately weaponized for delivery in the M44 generator cluster and the M43 cluster bomb, until all such stocks were destroyed in 1989 as part of a general downsizing of the US chemical warfare program.

Alleged use
The U.S. Army tested BZ as well as other "psycho-chemical" agents on human subjects at Edgewood Arsenal in Maryland from 1955 to 1975, according to declassified documents.[9][10]

In February 1998, the British Ministry of Defence accused Iraq of having stockpiled large amounts of a glycolate anticholinergic incapacitating agent known as Agent 15.[11] Agent 15 is an alleged Iraqi incapacitating agent that is likely to be chemically either identical to BZ or closely related to it. Agent 15 was reportedly stockpiled in large quantities prior to and during the Persian Gulf War. However, after the war the CIA concluded that Iraq had not stockpiled or weaponised Agent 15.[12][13]

According to Professor Konstantin Anokhin at the Institute of Normal Physiology in Moscow, BZ had been used during the 2002 Nord-Ost siege to incapacitate terrorists but due to overdose some of the hostages perished.[14]

In January 2013, an unidentified U.S. administration official, referring to an undisclosed U.S. State Department cable, claimed that "Syrian contacts made a compelling case that Agent 15, a hallucinogenic chemical similar to BZ,[15] was used in Homs".[16] However, in response to these reports a U.S. National Security Council spokesman stated "The reporting we have seen from media sources regarding alleged chemical weapons incidents in Syria has not been consistent with what we believe to be true about the Syrian chemical weapons program".[13][17] The chemical was also allegedly used in the August 2013 Ghouta attacks.[18]

Jeffrey Lewis (25 January 2013). "Why everyone's wrong about Assad's zombie gas". Foreign Policy. Retrieved 28 January 2013.
Intelligence Update: Chemical Warfare Agent Issues
Rogin, Josh (15 January 2013). "Secret State Department cable: Chemical weapons used in Syria". Foreign Policy The Cable. Retrieved 16 January 2013.
"U.S. plays down media report that Syria used chemical weapons". Reuters. 16 January 2013. Retrieved 28 January 2013.
"Suffering in Syria is clear, but cause and culprits are murky". CNN. Retrieved 2013-08-24.

From 1945 to 1989, Porton exposed more than 3,400 human "guinea pigs" to nerve gas. It seems probable that Porton has tested more human subjects with nerve gas, for the longest period of time, than any other scientific establishment in the world. Two other nations have admitted testing nerve gas on humans: the American military exposed about 1,100 soldiers between 1945 and 1975, and Canada tested a small number before 1968. Other countries, including France, the old Soviet Union and Iraq, are also likely to have exposed humans to nerve gas, but very little is known about their tests.

The group of chemicals known as nerve gases were first developed as weapons by the Nazis before and during the second world war. German scientists discovered the potency of these organophosphorous compounds which, in tiny quantities, disrupt a key element of the nervous system.

Human muscles contract when a chemical, acetylcholine, is released from the nerve endings. Muscles do not exist in a permanent form of contraction because acetylecholine is destroyed in a split second by an enzyme (acetylcholinesterase), thus allowing the muscle to relax again. Nerve gases inactivate this important enzyme, and since it is prevented from working, the muscle goes into a state of spasm from which it cannot be relaxed. Victims die because the most important muscles in the body - those of the heart and the rib cage, which control the emptying and filling of the lungs - are paralysed. They suffocate swiftly in a horrifying death.

The nerve gases are more deadly than any other chemical weapon, but during the second world war, only the Germans had spotted their full potential and produced an arsenal of the munitions. As one Porton official has commented, the British and their allies were "caught with our pants down".

·Rob Evans is the author of Gassed: British chemical warfare experiments on humans at Porton Down (House of Stratus, 2000, £20)

WikiLeaks Expresses ‘Grave Concerns’ for Assange’s Health
May 29, 2019

At a meeting later on Friday via video link between the prison and a law firm in London where Samuelson and some of Julian Assange's British lawyers attended, Assange was told, according to the letter, that the United States extended the spying charge against him to include 18 points. The rest of the meeting was largely about this prosecution and Assange "could not simultaneously focus on the resumed Swedish preliminary investigation", according to Samuelson's letter.

According to the lawyer, his only opportunity to contact his client is personal visits that are booked well in advance or via video link at a law office in London. According to the letter, video calls to Sweden are not possible. He also points out that Assange is in British prison and has already been remanded in response to the US extradition request. Therefore, he will not be released when half the time of the 50-week sentence in the UK is served, as usual, but will remain in custody until the US request is tried in British court, according to the lawyer.


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