Assange’s Last Stand? July 7, 2012Posted by rogerhollander in Civil Liberties, Democracy, Media.
Tags: bradley manning, embedded media, first amendment, journalism, julian assange, justin raimondo, Media, Rafael Correa, wikileaks
Roger’s note: this is the most incisive analysis I have come across on the Assange/Wikileaks drama, albeit pessimistic with respect to the chance of Assange surviving the US vendetta.
If there was ever a clear-cut case of good versus evil, then surely it is the contest between Julian Assange and most of the world’s governments. They hate him because he exposed their lies, their manipulations, and their routine violations of the most elementary rules of human decency. By publishing virtually the entire corpus of messages sent to and fro between Washington and their diplomats in the field, WikiLeaks has given us the true history of the world in modern times, or, at least, a good glimpse into its secret underside historians rarely uncover.
The release of the “Collateral Murder” video showing the shooting of journalists and innocents in Iraq by our cackling wise-cracking US military pilots was arguably the tipping point in the public relations battle, after which support for continued prosecution of the war even among the political elites dropped precipitously and never recovered. It was the 21st century equivalent of the infamous photo of a napalmed Vietnamese children running down a road, an icon of another unpopular and utterly immoral war. That’s why Bradley Manning, who probably supplied the video to WikiLeaks, has been held incommunicado for over a year, subjected to treatment the UN defines as torture. He will never get a fair trial in the US.
The US government would dearly love to get its hands on Assange: rumor has it a secret grand jury indictment has already been handed down. And they’ve devised a transparently brazen maneuver, which reeks of covert activities, in order to get him: accusations of rape have been made by two Swedish “feminists,” at least one of which — a former Swedish consular official in Havana — has ties to Cuban dissidents with CIA connections. I told their story here,here, and here, and won’t go into the rather gruesome details of the “case” against Assange, except to note that the narrative his accusers are spinning reads like something out of a very bad spy thriller, the kind with a sleazy coverand a lurid title. In short, just the sort of thing some overpaid CIA bureaucrat — the kind who’s writing a novel in his spare time — might come up with.
Once the Swedes get their politically-correct hands on Assange, and subject him to a show “trial,” he’ll be extradited forthwith to the US, where his lawyers claim he’s likely to be locked up in Guantanamo. Assange has wisely chosen not to surrender to British authorities — who have been a key cog in the frame-up machine all along — and has taken refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy, seeking political asylum in that country.
Granting the asylum request would be a purely symbolic gesture, and a futile one, as President Correa doubtless knows. Ecuador’s London embassy is surely the last stop in Assange’s nomadic wanderings: I for one predict he’ll never get off British soil. The moment he leaves the embassy and tries to board a plane he’ll be apprehended and hauled off to Sweden, and — after the “legal” preliminaries — promptly remanded to US custody. The US and its allies care nothing for diplomatic amenities, legal norms, or international law: they’ll brush the Ecuadorians aside so rudely and brazenly it’ll make Rafael Correa’s head spin.
After all, as Assange and WikiLeaks have revealed, these are the same people who wantonly executed Iraqi children by shooting them in the head, unleashed a killing squad in Afghanistan, and spied on UN diplomats on orders from Hillary Clinton. They are hardly above muscling the Ecuadorians aside and simply seizing him.
The legal and military firepower of three Western powers, the editorial boards of practically every major Western newspaper, all the big-time opinionators and would-be opinion “leaders” — a mighty assemblage is arrayed against this one man and his tiny under-funded organization. His very existence is a “security threat” to their corrupt and secretive regimes, and there was no way he was going to escape his fate. I think he knew that before he undertook his quest — and a quest it is, for knowledge, for real history, for redemption through technology. These causes are inextricably bound up with his personal fate, and the public response to it.
At this point, it would take someone like Ragnar Danneskjold or the Scarlet Pimpernel to guarantee Assange’s personal safety. In short, his fate as a martyr to the cause of a free society and a free internet is sealed. Yet the cause he is sacrificing his freedom to is far from defeated: indeed, the story of the persecution and pursuit of Julian Assange and the WikiLeaks organization, when it comes out — and it will — is going to expose how the Smear Brigade works behind the scenes, and how deeply the tentacles of government reach into our supposedly “free” media.
This whole revolting episode is made doubly disgusting by the sickening role the “mainstream” media has played in all this: they are a Greek chorus to their masters in Washington and London, hurling every epithet in the book at the WikiLeaks founder. Their particular hatred for Assange is clearly motivated by the good job he’s done in showing them up for the servile hacks they are and always have been: he’s done more real journalism than they’ve done in their entire combined careers. While they are safely “embedded” in the governmental womb, from where they do their “reporting” on America’s wars, Assange did the kind of digging they never knew how to do and wouldn’t ever have the nerve to do. Reduced to the role of court — as in royal court — stenographers, these frauds are nearly united in their condemnation of Assange, passing along uncritically the Smear Brigade’s narrative of Assange-the-traitor-pervert.
The British media has been the worst — people like this, and this, are the scum of the earth — but the Americans haven’t been that far behind. Assange has few defenders on the Sunday morning talking heads parade, and that’s because the “mainstream” media is just another branch of government, for all intents and purposes. They socialize with the officials they’re supposed to be covering, and they all belong to the same elite Washington-New York set: they go to the same parties, their kids go to the same schools, and it’s all very cozy. That’s what being part of a ruling class is all about — and this one is particularly self-conscious about exercising its prerogatives, and ruthlessly punishing outsiders who dare disobey The Rules.
Rule Number One is: never cross your source. And since the chief sources these “journalists” have are government officials, ex-government officials, or wannabe government officials, they can be counted on to be loyal servitors of power. Aside from those “journalists” directly on the government’s payroll — and don’t be naÃ¯ve, there are more than a few –that’s one reason why the journalistic pack has been barking at Assange’s heels ever since he rose to prominence. Rather than ferreting out government secrets, the “mainstream” media in the English-speaking world see their role as mediators between the truth and government-created fiction. That’s the exact opposite of what a real journalist is supposed to do — but what do you expect when you’ve fallen into an inter-dimensional warp and find yourself in Bizarro World?