Why Didn’t Trump Pardon Assange and Snowden?

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In his waning days as president, Donald Trump saw fit to pardon four former Blackwater guards who had been convicted of killing 14 Iraqi civilians and injuring 17 others in an ambush in Baghdad. The guards were in Iraq as part of the U.S. government’s deadly and destructive invasion, war of aggression, and long-term occupation of a country whose government had never attacked the United States. 

Yet, before he left office, Trump could not bring himself to issue pardons for Julian Assange and Edward Snowden, who were far more deserving of them than those Blackwater killers.

What’s up with that? 

When Trump was running for president, he made pointed critiques against the U.S. national-security establishment, especially its policy of permanently embroiling the United States in foreign wars.

In the process of doing that, Trump was immediately perceived to be a threat to the Pentagon, the vast military-industrial complex and its army of “defense” contractors, the CIA, and the NSA. No person running for president is supposed to do what Trump was doing. Presidential candidates are expected to show respect for the national-security establishment and its foreign policy.

Trump’s pre-election lack of deference to the national-security establishment brought to mind the administration of President John F. Kennedy. As I detail in my new book An Encounter with Evil: The Abraham Zapruder Story, Kennedy is the only president in the post-World War II period to take on the military-intelligence establishment in a direct way. All other U.S. presidents — both before and after Kennedy, including Joe Biden — have fallen into line and essentially become spokesmen and deferential agents for the Pentagon, the military-industrial complex, the CIA, and the NSA.

As I detail in two chapters in my new book, almost throughout his presidency JFK was embroiled in a vicious war against the U.S. military-intelligence establishment. After Kennedy realized that the CIA had played him and manipulated him with lies and deception with respect to the CIA’s invasion at Cuba’s Bay of Pigs, Kennedy angrily embarked on a course of action intended to destroy the agency. His actions included firing Allen Dulles, the much-revered director of the CIA. Dulles would later be appointed to the Warren Commission, where, not surprisingly, he tightly controlled the official “investigation” into the assassination.

After the Cuban Missile Crisis, during which the Joint Chiefs of Staff were exerting extreme pressure on JFK to invade Cuba, Kennedy also went to war against them. In his famous Peace Speech at American University, he announced that the United States would henceforth abandon the fierce anti-Russia, anti-Soviet animus that was driving the Pentagon’s Cold War and anti-communist crusade. For their part, the Joint Chiefs of Staff angrily called Kennedy’s resolution of the Cuban Missile Crisis the biggest defeat in U.S. history and compared his handling of the crisis to Neville Chamberlain’s appeasement of Hitler at Munich.

As I explain in my new book, JFK’s war was quite similar to the war that would break out ten years later in Chile between that country’s democratically elected president, Salvador Allende, and the Chilean military-intelligence establishment. Like Kennedy, Allende sought to establish a peaceful and friendly relationship with Russia, Cuba, and the rest of the communist world. Allende’s actions, like those of Kennedy, obviously went against the U.S. national-security establishment’s fierce anti-Russia, anti-Cuba, anti-communist animus.

In the end, the national-security branch of the U.S. government proved to be too powerful for Kennedy, just as the national-security branch of the Chilean government proved to be too powerful for Allende. At the end of both political wars, the two presidents were left dead, and both nations carried on with their fierce anti-Russia, anti-Cuba, anti-communist crusades.

The Kennedy assassination sent a powerful message throughout the other three branches of the federal governments. From that day forward, the message was: “We are now in charge of the government’s operations with respect to foreign affairs and you will defer to our decisions and judgments.” From that day forward, clearly understanding the new order of things in Washington, the other three branches of the federal government — legislative, executive, and judicial — deferred to the national-security branch of the government with respect to foreign policy as well as with respect to budget requests.

That’s why Trump’s candidacy came as such an enormous shock to official Washington. Presidential candidates were expected to show respect and deference to the national-security branch. Candidate Trump was ridiculing and mocking them.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, a member of the legislative branch, pointed out the danger that Trump was facing. He called Trump “really dumb” because when “you take on the intelligence community, they have six ways from Sunday at getting back at you.”

Trump presented an enormous threat to the new order of things that was firmly ensconced after Kennedy was eliminated. Thus, the national-security establishment, fully supported by its vast assets within the federal government and the mainstream press, went after Trump with extreme viciousness, both before and after his election. That’s what accusing Trump of being a Russian agent was all about. That’s what the much-ballyhooed Robert Mueller investigation was all about. That’s what the impeachment attempts against Trump were all about. They had to do everything they could to stymie and destroy his presidency to remind everyone of their post-Kennedy message: “We are in charge and you will defer to us.”

In the end, however, unlike Kennedy, Trump surrendered early on in his presidency. The initial indication of his surrender was when he surrounded himself with generals and civilian warmongers whose loyalty was clearly to the Pentagon. He would then gin up a big crisis with North Korea, start a vicious trade war against Red China, and periodically express standard anti-Russia animus, all of which undoubtedly pleased the Pentagon. Then, when it came time to release the decades-old records relating to the Kennedy assassination, Trump caved in to the CIA’s demands to continue keeping the records secret.

At the end of his presidency, Trump’s surrender to the national-security establishment was reflected by his steadfast refusal to pardon Assange and Snowden. After all, here was his opportunity to send a message back to the Pentagon, the CIA, and the NSA, one that said, “Julian Assange and Edward Snowden exemplified untold courage and integrity by revealing evil, dark-side activities of the U.S. national-security establishment. They deserve to be honored and praised, not jailed or exiled. I am hereby pardoning both of them and inviting them to the White House for a dinner so that I can thank them personally for what they have done for our country.” 

As he departed his failed presidency that clearly failed to make America great again, Trump chose to pardon those Blackwater guards who killed and injured defenseless Iraqis in the U.S. government’s war of aggression against Iraq, while leaving Julian Assange and Edward Snowden twisting in the wind. Clearly Donald Trump was no John Kennedy. 


Another 5-star review of my new book An Encounter with Evil: The Abraham Zapruder Story. I know I’m biased, but I consider this the best work I have done in my 32-year history with FFF, especially with respect to how understanding the JFK assassination can lead our nation back on the right road toward liberty, peace, prosperity, and harmony with the people of the world. That’s why I hope you will buy and read my book and then recommend it to others. No direction, no matter how bad, is inevitable. Sound ideas on liberty and limited government can lead us out of the deadly and dangerous morass into which the national-security establishment has plunged our nation. $9.95 Kindle version. $14.95 print version.

“I just finished reading Jacob Hornberger’s excellent new book about the JFK assassination and how the Zapruder film fits in to the narrative.

“What I never realized before, and I’ve read many JFK book and seen the movies, videos, lectures, read the articles, etc.: was that the crafty CIA operatives fabricated two lies to cover up the National Security State coup that killed Kennedy.

“Lie One was the narrative for the general public that Lee Harvey Oswald was a lone nut killer who shot JFK from behind, from the Book Depository in Dallas that day.

“Lie Two was the narrative for the military and police underlings, even Chief Justice Warren, that JFK was shot from the front by Cuban and Soviet conspirators who worked with Oswald. This lie was told to prevent the beginning of WWIII. Remember then that only a year ago the Cuban Missile Crisis occurred. Nuclear war was the Covid Fear of 1963.

“It was a brilliant plot by the CIA and it worked. It’s still working.

“Jacob Hornberger has written an excellent book!”—tmcgraw.

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