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Shticking it to the man at Julian Assange defense fundraiser

BY LINCOLN ANDERSON | Julian Assange continues to be held in a London maximum-security prison while the U.S. tries to extradite him to stand trial on conspiracy, espionage and hacking charges.

Meanwhile last month in the East Village, Randy Credico — a comic-turned-candidate-turned-radio show journalist who has championed the Wikileaks founder’s cause — held a “Stand-up for Assange” benefit for his legal defense.

The show was at — where else? — Theatre 80 St. Mark’s.

On the bill were Credico himself, along with a lineup of fellow comics, rock icon Rogers Waters of Pink Floyd and Cornel West, the activist philosopher. Playing jazz piano was Raffi D’Lugoff.

Randy Credico, his canine companion Bianca and Raffi D’Lugoff at the keyboard at the Assange legal fundraiser. (Photo by The Village Sun)

In his opening monologue, Credico quipped that the evening was “an intimate audience of 75 — plus 14 F.B.I., N.S.A. and C.I.A. officers.”

He recalled his early career, when it became clear his political shtick was too hot to handle for some. A bit he performed in 1984 on Johnny Carson’s “The Tonight Show” got him blackballed from reappearing.

“I said, ‘You look at Jeanne Kirkpatrick. You have to ask yourself if Eva Braun really died in that bunker in 1945.’ … Such a light joke… .”

Nowadays, Credico hosts a radio show on WBAI and does the “Assange Countdown to Freedom” podcast. He also briefly ran for mayor in the recent election, with freeing Assange being one of his key campaign issues.

He noted of pianist D’Lugoff that his father, Art D’Lugoff, owned The Village Gate, “the most radical nightclub owner in the history of this city.”

At the show’s start, a guy on the sidewalk in front of the theater was ranting and raving, it wasn’t exactly clear about what. Some people in the audience said they had seen him around at a recent protest, though acting normally.

“That’s the reason I don’t do LSD,” Credico quipped of the yeller, wondering if he should invite him in and give him the microphone.

(Photo by The Village Sun)

On top of that, the technician was having trouble getting the livestream to work.

“What, are we raising the Titanic tonight?” Credio lamented. As the numbers of people watching the livestream started to creep up, he quipped it was likely just more security-state spooks.

During a brief lull in the action, he pivoted to a smattering of rapid-fire impressions…James Mason, Walter Matthau, George C. Scott.

Waters, 78, told a bawdy medical joke, then noted that stand-up comedy was a whole new experience for him.

“I’m used to 15,000 people and a band,” he said. “This is terrifying.”

Roger Waters, left, and Cornel West at the Assange legal fund benefit. (Courtesy Randy Credico)

The Pink Floyd leader called Assange’s incarceration a travesty and the United States “a child-killing behemoth.”

In what he said was a first for him, he then sang an original song while accompanying himself on the piano. The tune kept circling back to the theme of a “choir.”

“This is where the choir lives,” he explained. “It’s in the f—in’ bar. And it’s great that we’re all here and making a little noise tonight.”

Speaking of the bar, Lorcan Otway, the owner of Theatre 80, is currently trying to transfer the liquor license from the place’s William Barnacle Tavern to the Theatre 80 performance venue — which he retrofitted as a cabaret during the pandemic — so alcohol can be served there. But, as of now, the actual bar is the only place where alcohol can be dispensed on the premises.

Roger Waters told a bawdy joke before playing an original song at the piano, a first for him, he said. (Photo by The Village Sun)

Although Waters has been vilified for being an Israel boycott backer, on this night he made no mention of the Jewish state.

West praised Waters’s performance, saying, “It was the blues at the deepest level. … Pink Floyd,” he predicted, “will go down as one of the greatest enactments of truth and beauty of the 20th century.”

Margaret Kimberley, a writer and peace activist, gave remarks. She contributed to the anthology “In Defense of Julian Assange.” (Photo by The Village Sun)

West said governments fear the Wikileaks publisher because he has exposed “lies that reveal crimes. And no predatory capitalist regime wants to hear the lies exposed. That’s why he’s in jail,” he accused, “because he’s a truth-teller.”

Also giving remarks was Margaret Ratner Kunstler, the widow of famed civil-rights attorney William Kunstler. Credico formerly ran the William Kunstler Fund for Racial Justice. Margaret Kunstler co-edited the book “In Defense of Julian Assange.”

Kunstler said she was “newly optimistic” about Assange’s case, noting how the English barrister on it had recently ruled against his extradition.

Randy Credico has championed the cause of Julian Assange. (Photo by The Village Sun)

In 2016, she introduced Credico to Assange.

“Then a year later, Roger Stone came up,” she noted. “He’s not a dumb guy, he’s just a creep, a horrible guy.”

Due to statements he made, Stone was linked to the Wikileaks dump of Democratic National Committee e-mails before the 2016 presidential election. That, in turn, put Credico, a “frenemy” of Stone who had interviewed Assange, under the microscope. Credico was accused of being Stone’s “back channel” connection to Assange. Meanwhile, Stone was hit with multiple federal charges, including making false statements and witness tampering, including for trying to influence Credico’s testimony. He was convicted but Trump later commuted his sentence.

Kunstler scoffed, “That Julian would tell either me or Randy what his plans are is absurd. But he certainly wouldn’t tell Roger Stone. … They said Randy Credico was the guy who put it together. He can’t even do e-mail.”

Lee Camp spoke in defense of Julian Assange while skewering the mainstream media for inaccuracies and manipulating the public. (Photo by The Village Sun)

“Julian Assange never got anything wrong,” comic Lee Camp declared, contrasting that with the mainstream media’s misleading narratives on Russiagate and Iraqi weapons of mass destruction.

“The corporate media work in lockstep with the state,” Camp charged. “No, [Assange] didn’t give anything to Russia. No, nothing was hacked. … Everyone who believes in journalism should be on Assange’s side. Julian Assange must be defended because the elites want him locked up.”

Randy Credico, speaking into the microphone, Roger Waters, Cornel West, fellow comics, writer Margaret Kimberley and Margaret Ratner Kunstler, to the right of Credico, gathered together onstage at the end of the show. (Photo by The Village Sun)

Speaking toward the Assange benefit’s end, Otway said it had truly been a night for the ages for the Theatre 80 room. He ranked it right up there with when comedian Lord Buckley was arrested for marijuana and when a fundraiser was held there for civil-rights attorney Lynne Stewart when she was fighting federal charges of aiding terrorists.

“There have been historic nights in this room,” Otway said. “But tonight goes down in the history of this room as one of the historic nights.”


  1. Margaret Kimberley Margaret Kimberley November 25, 2021

    Thank you for reporting on this event and for the lovely photos of yours truly.

  2. Bill Weinberg Bill Weinberg November 25, 2021

    And remember, Theatre 80 also hosted professional Jew-hater Gilad Atzmon back in 2017, sparking a well-earned antifa picket outside the venue, which I am proud to have helped organize. That place has become a local breeding ground for the crypto-fascist rot in the so-called “left.”

    • Mary Reinholz Mary Reinholz November 27, 2021

      More rhetorical overkill and self-promotion from alleged pundit Bill Weinberg who now is apparently trying to destroy Theatre 80 with unproven and bombastic claims about how it’s supposedly a “breeding ground” for “cryptofascist rot in the so-called ‘left.'” This guy is so full of himself that I can only hope he floats away, like a hot air balloon. He’s a bully incapable of fairness and what used to be called objectivity in reporting.

  3. Bill Weinberg Bill Weinberg November 25, 2021

    And I just want to add…. I stood up to the threat of a federal subpoena during the Lynne Stewart trial. Since you brought up Lynne. Just a preemptive innoculation against portraying me as a rightie. The irony is that you Assange-suckers are shilling for the right, if mostly unwittingly (I think)…

  4. Terry Burke Terry Burke November 25, 2021

    Assange ceased being a journalist when Wikileaks did two email drops that were timed to maximize helping elect Trump. Assange is a political operative who worked with Russia to benefit Trump. One hour after the Access Hollywood tape came out — Wikileaks released the Podesta emails. During the DNC, Wikileaks dropped 20,000 emails. Assange is no hero.

    Author of “On Tyranny,” Timothy Snyder on Wikileaks timed drops.

  5. Barry York Barry York November 26, 2021

    Assange should be released but he is no hero. He has served the interests of autocratic and fascist regimes and betrayed the people fighting them. They are the real heroes. Sad to see so many people losing their moral compass. How they can identify as “progressive” or left-wing is beyond me.

  6. Chris Flash Chris Flash November 26, 2021

    Theatre 80 is the perfect place for such a wonderful event. We must do everything we can to keep that venue alive and well as everything we know and love in our community and city is being wiped out.

  7. Bill Weinberg Bill Weinberg November 27, 2021

    Yes, it was a painful duty to have to picket outisde Theatre 80. I did it with no joy. I am certainly not “trying to destroy” the venue. Just trying to shame management into cleaning up its act. Being a revered neighborhood institution is not a license to promote bad politics. On the contrary, it increases your responsibility NOT to.

  8. Mary Reinholz Mary Reinholz November 27, 2021

    Here we go again with Bill Weinberg presenting himself as some kind of superior moral and intellectual force trying to “shame” Theatre 80 into cleansing itself of what he considers “bad politics.” His egomania is as insufferable as his censorious b.s.

  9. Bill Weinberg Bill Weinberg November 27, 2021

    Here we go again with Mary Reinholz personalizing the debate rather than actually responding to anything I said, and falsely accusing me of “censorious” behavior… as if I had either the will or capability to “censor” anyone. Same game. Purveyors of Trumpian, liberal-bashing, dictator-shilling BS accuse anyone who dares criticize them of cancel culture. Fortunately, I think people are starting to see through this disingenuous ploy.

    • Mary Reinholz Mary Reinholz November 28, 2021

      Oh, now the self-important Weinberg descends into more bombast by suggesting that his critics are purveyors of “Trumpian, liberal bashing, dictator-shilling BS.” This guy is beyond the pale. I notice that the owner of Theatre 80 doesn’t seem to respond to him. He’s got the right idea.

  10. Bill Weinberg Bill Weinberg November 28, 2021

    Trumpian, liberal-bashing, dictator-shilling BS is exactly what I am protesting here. It is less my critics than Assange’s boosters who are guilty of it.

    Nobody is forcing Mary to respond either.

  11. Mary Reinholz Mary Reinholz November 29, 2021

    Can’t resist speculating that Bill Weinberg’s bombastic BS may stem from his dismay that more than a few sentient adults in New York — “suckers” in his view — actually enjoyed the Assange legal benefit at Theatre 80 and thus feels compelled to drop a dark cloud on it. He’s reminiscent of the Puritans of yore described by the late great H.L. Mencken as afflicted with “the haunting fear that somewhere, someone might be happy.”

  12. Bill Weinberg Bill Weinberg November 29, 2021

    Nah, I dig a good party as much as the next guy. Hell, cannabis is the only thing that gets me through all the tiresome garbage I see in Internet comments sections all day. Posted at 4.20…. thank goodness.

  13. Mary Reinholz Mary Reinholz November 29, 2021

    So sorry I missed the Assange legal benefit at Theatre 80 and can only hope the beleaguered founder of Wikileaks is released soon from a London maximum security prison. Assange, now married with 2 children, has basically been in confinement of one kind or another since 2010 when the U.S. sought to extradite him on espionage charges for publishing Chelsea Manning’s leak of American war crimes in Baghdad. He’s a hero and a courageous truth teller to many journalists, including this one.

  14. Bill Weinberg Bill Weinberg November 30, 2021

    ↑ That is a very distorted account of the facts. Those who wish to hear the (very large) other side of the story are directed to the links I posted above.

    • Durruti Durruti November 30, 2021

      Thanks for these links, Bill. Your writings and podcast changed my assessment of Assange and Wikileaks.

  15. Mary Reinholz Mary Reinholz November 30, 2021

    BIll Weinberg asserts the bizarre claim that Julian Assange, imprisoned founder of WikiLeaks, is an “agent of fascism” and a far right-winger who works for Russia and President Putin. There is no hard evidence to support his extremist attacks against the anti-secrecy publisher, who BTW has been increasingly isolated in recent years. He spent 7 years holed up at the Ecuador embassy in London to escape extradition to Sweden on sex crime charges and has been behind bars in a London maximum-security prison since 2019. He had a cat at the embassy reportedly named after moviemaker Michael Moore, who is not known for right-wing views. Assange has long garnered major support from ACLU members and progressive left-wing groups like the Center for Constitutional Rights. Perhaps Weinberg believes that Margaret Ratner Kunstler, widow of the famed civil-liberties icon Bill Kunstler, is some kind of “sucker” or dupe to rally for Assange at the Theatre 80 legal benefit. Maybe he thinks the same of left-wing public intellectual Cornel West, another well-known attendee at the event. This lowly scribe believes West’s credibility far exceeds that of Weinberg and his preposterous rants emanating from his cozy Noho pad.

  16. Bill Weinberg Bill Weinberg November 30, 2021

    It’s only a “bizarre claim” if you refuse to actually look at the facts. I refer Mary once again to the links I posted above. Until she displays any evidence of having grappled with the case I assembled, I will assume she is speaking out of ignorance. As for her accusation of “extremist attacks”… this certainly places her *other* accusation against me, of “bombast,” in an extremely ironic light. Cast the beam from thine own eye, Mary. Accusing a peaceful dissident calling out a highly problematic personality cult of making “extremist attacks” is textbook bombast.

  17. Bill Weinberg Bill Weinberg November 30, 2021

    As for the credential-flaunting of Margaret Ratner Kunstler and Cornel West, this is another textbook example…. of the “Appeal to Authority” fallacy. Look at the FACTS (perish the thought). Or, as Dylan put it, “Don’t follow leaders, watch the parking meters.”

  18. Mary Reinholz Mary Reinholz November 30, 2021

    Again, there is no hard evidence to suggest that the imprisoned Assange is a right-winger and agent of Russia’s president. If Weinberg has actual facts other than his usual priggish commentary against people who are his intellectual superiors, let him state his purported evidence right here and now on this thread.

    • Sandy McCroskey Sandy McCroskey December 2, 2021

      “No hard evidence” is a strangely minimal defense. Can you not assert positively that nothing Assange has done has aided the right wing and Trump? Can you assert that Assange has exemplified high ethical and standards in dealing with the divulgence of the sensitive material that was at his disposal? Can you enthusiastically endorse Assange’s political position — perhaps leaving aside whatever concrete effect any of his actions have had on the course of events — and could you describe these principled stances so as to distinguish them from those to which you feel Bill is wrongly grouping him?

  19. Bill Weinberg Bill Weinberg November 30, 2021

    See? There you go. Mary is more interested in throwing insults than INFORMING herself. I am not going to regurgitate here for her personal edification the exhaustive evidence of Assange’s right-wing, dictator-shilling and Trump-abetting politics and stratagems. I already did the work — years of work — of JOURNALISM on this question, including a story for Al Jazeera. I distilled it all down to 30 minutes on my podcast (in the first link I posted above), but Mary refuses to do ANY work at all. Here’s the Al Jazeera link, just to provide one example of my years of JOURNALISM on this question, but I can’t force her to read it. Her empty and vitriolic baiting is evidence of her bad faith.

  20. Mary Reinholz Mary Reinholz December 1, 2021

    I’ve read Bill Weinberg’s link on this thread to his 2012 piece re Julian Assange, Ecuador and the “Belarus Connection,” and do not see how this nearly decade-old piece has anything to do with Weinberg’s current allegations that the now-imprisoned WikiLeaks founder is a far-right Trump ally who works for Putin. Radio host Randy Credico, who spoke at the Theatre 80 Assange legal benefit, actually interviewed Assange for WBAI in 2017. I have to wonder if Weinberg, who claims to be a journalist, ever tried to get any comments from Assange or Trump. The latter man was certainly accessible in New York before the 2016 election. Even this lowly scribe managed to interview Trump for the NY Daily News back in the day. I tried reading Weinberg’s Countervortex link on my ancient computer which contends that Assange is an “agent of fascism.” Thus far, that claim seems like a gross falsehood at worst and very thin stuff at best, to wit: “Julian Assange of WikiLeaks — a possible collaborator in Russian propaganda over Syria and Moscow’s interference in the 2016 US election — converted an image of the white supremacists in Charlottesville into a jab at the Syrian opposition and rebels.” Couldn’t access anything else on my ancient computer. I’m willing to read more of his stuff, but thus far remain unconvinced about Weinberg’s accusations and cred. He doesn’t even seem to try to be fair or balanced, imho.

    • Mary Reinholz Mary Reinholz December 2, 2021

      BIll Weinberg:
      This scribe listened to your podcast, which vilifies Julian Assange not only as a “dangerous enemy” of progressive values and a Trump/Putin agent but also condemns him as an “evil schmuck.” At no point does Assange’s POV emerge in any substantive way to respond to these seemingly outlandish allegations and to the questions you raise yourself about his alleged “irresponsible” dumps of classified documents. You apparently made no attempt to contact him. That to me is a major journalistic lapse. You could have asked Randy Credico at WBAI to help you.

      You don’t interview Trump either or disclose his views of this Australian editor and anti-secrecy activist who’s currently behind bars in a London Maximum Security Prison. So there’s no balance in your podcast; it’s one-sided and biased imho, relying on Assange’s presumed guilt by alleged association with dictators. You also claim Assange isn’t a journalist. Plenty of press freedom groups would disagree. Indeed, it’s my understanding that the Obama administration decided not to pursue prosecution of Assange on mainly espionage charges because U.S. officials considered his work pretty much the same as mainstream journalists who obtain and publish secret government documents. The Trump administration reportedly restored the Assange prosecution on 18 felony counts, 17 of them related to espionage felonies; one on computer hacking.

      You also attempt to minimize WikiLeaks’ exposure of U.S. government war crimes via Chelsea Manning as a minor matter and don’t mention the group’s release of documents revealing human rights violations at Gitmo, et al. Apparently you don’t want to give this famous inmate credit for anything. Me, I’m glad the release of Russian-hacked DNC e-mails showed how the Dems were screwing Bernie Sanders in order to tap Hillary Clinton as the party’s presidential candidate against Trump in the 2016 election. I think that was a good thing to know in this grand land of freedom.

      In any case, I cannot continue more back-and-forth with you. I don’ t regard your coverage as fair and it’s obviously missing the voice of the courageous man you seem determined to denigrate. –Mary Reinholz

  21. Bill Weinberg Bill Weinberg December 2, 2021

    Assange is a public figure, and I am entirely within my rights to comment on him without seeking a quote. I certainly made note of the failure of Assange or Wikileaks to respond meaningfully to demands from Index On Censorship for clarity about their role in the Belarus repression. If that’s the greatest lapse you can find in my journalistic efforts, I’d say I’m doing all right.

    I did not “attempt to minimize” WikiLeaks’ exposure of U.S. war crimes. I repeatedly acknowledged that THAT was their legitimate work. YOU “attempt to minimize” their evident collaboration with Putin and Trump (and Lukashenko). If you think it was worth getting a President Trump to get some details about DNC bias against Bernie Sanders (which was obvious anyway), you are part of the problem.

    “In any case, I cannot continue more back-and-forth with you.” Music to my ears.

    • Mary Reinholz Mary Reinholz December 2, 2021

      You have the right not to seek comment from a public figure on the allegations you dump on him but it’s just lousy journalism — if, that is, your screeds even qualify as journalism. Delighted to no longer feel required to respond to your poorly sourced and McCarthyite attacks on Assange and press freedoms.

  22. Bill Weinberg Bill Weinberg December 2, 2021

    Nothing I write is “poorly sourced.” Everything I write is rigorously documented. This is empty baiting, and nothing but. I find it positively surreal that those who OPPOSE THE POLITICAL RIGHT are today accused of McCarthyism. Positively through the looking glass.

  23. Mary Reinholz Mary Reinholz December 3, 2021

    Again, there is nothing in your podcast on Assange to verify your baseless allegations that the imprisoned whistleblower is a far rightwinger with a fascist agenda in the service of Trump (whose DOJ sought to extradite him to the U.S.) and Putin. Yes, Assange in 2012 hosted a talk show interviewing politicos for RT, the state controlled Russian TV network, but that’s just another example of your McCarthyite guilt by association brand of mudslinging and innuendo. BTW, Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein attended a 2015 dinner in Moscow that lavished praise on RT, sitting at a table with Putin and Trump’s security adviser Gen. Michael Flynn. Stein took lotsa hits from “liberals” for that association, prompting an Indiana mayor who likes RT to call out “creeping McCarthyism” among progressives. That sounds right in your case.

  24. Bill Weinberg Bill Weinberg December 3, 2021

    You didn’t listen. You cherry-pick a couple of facts. It isn’t JUST that Assange had an RT talk show. And no, I do not forgive wacky Jill Stein for supping with Putin and Flynn, and spouting empty pacifist homilies in a selfie video from Red Square, at the precise moment that Russia was bombing Aleppo into rubble. Calling out this sinister dictator-shilling is not “McCarthyism.” There is nothing remotely communist about Putin. He is far closer to fascism, and he is supporting not the political left in the US but the extreme right. You have everything backwards. I thought you said you were finished, didn’t you?

    • Mary Reinholz Mary Reinholz December 4, 2021

      Naturally you would accuse me of not listening to your half-hour podcast as tedious as it was. I cited an example of your guilt-by-association smear tactics. You won’t cite a single example on this thread of your accusations that the imprisoned Assange is some sort of fascist working for Trump and Putin. People have to listen to your dreary polemics. I recall your claiming without substantiation on a long-ago thread elsewhere that I am in your demented view a “fascist-abetting” scribe. Yours was a totally false and disgusting charge. I should have finished any further dealings with you then and there. But I happen to admire Assange as a real truth-teller and will do what I can to rebut lies like yours and spread the word that he should be released from prison and not extradited to the U.S. Otherwise, so long.

  25. Bill Weinberg Bill Weinberg December 4, 2021

    Yes, naturally I accuse you of not listening… because it is evident that you didn’t listen. At the very least, you didn’t pay attention. It seems like you got as far as the part where I mentioned that Assange had an RT program, an ancillary point just five minutes in. You ignore the rest. Here is the link to the piece you wrote for Bedford & Bowery on Gilad Atzmon’s appearance at Theatre 80 in 2017, which discusses me as an organizer of the picket outside the theater, and quotes Atzmon’s calumnies against me, but DOES NOT QUOTE ME. (The closest you come was quoting the leaflet I was distributing.) You are guilty of exactly what you accused me of doing vis Assange! Only here, a quote WAS mandated by journalistic ethics! Yeah, I called your pseudo-journalism “fascist-abetting” in the comments, and I stand by my words. I didn’t want to dredge this up, Mary. But YOU brought it up. Not me.

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