Julian Assange has no prayer against the ‘Empire of Lies’

Julian Assange has no prayer against the ‘Empire of Lies’ ...
rt.com 19/06/2022 Politics

Keywords:#Afghanistan, #American, #American_Dream, #Antony_Blinken, #Australia, #Australian, #Bernie_Sanders, #Boris_Johnson, #British, #CIA, #CNN, #Canberra, #Chelsea_Manning, #Der_Spiegel, #Donald_Trump, #Gabriel, #Guantanamo, #Guantanamo_Bay, #Guardian, #Hillary_Clinton, #Iraq, #Iraqi, #January, #Joe_Biden, #Julian_Assange, #London, #Media, #Melbourne, #National_Committee, #New_York, #New_York_Times, #Reuters, #Robert_Bridge, #Rt.com, #Russian, #Sweden, #The_Guardian, #Times, #Trump, #Twitter, #UK, #US, #United_States, #Washington, #Western, #WikiLeaks

The Wikileaks co-founder is bound for a show trial by politicians desperate for votes
After years on the run from various governments, Wikileaks editor Julian Assange now appears to be heading to the United States, where he can expect to face an election-year show trial built upon a mountain of media-supported lies.
This week, the UK Home Office announced, with no small degree of irony, that extraditing Assange to the United States, where he is wanted for his role in leaking thousands of sensitive government documents, would not impinge upon his “right to a fair trial and … freedom of expression.”
That is fresh, considering that it is precisely the question of ‘freedom of expression’ that made the Australian-born editor and activist the world’s most wanted man in the first place. It is hard to calculate what effect Assange’s extradition, should it occur, will have on press freedoms around the world. The word ‘chilling’ comes to mind.
Julian Assange’s grand foray onto the world stage occurred in 2010, when WikiLeaks published close to 750,000 classified military and diplomatic documents provided by US Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning.
Arguably the most devastating batch was The Iraqi War Logs, which represents the biggest military leak in the history of the United States. The records provided irrefutable evidence that American and British officials had deceived the world when they claimed there was no official tallying of civilian deaths in the Iraq war. In a user-friendly dashboard, Wikileaks allowed millions of people to locate 66,081 civilian deaths out of a total of 109,000 fatalities for the period from January 1, 2004 to December 1, 2009. This is the sort of transparency few militaries relish.
Breaking: Priti Patel has approved Julian Assange's extradition to the United States.A shameful decision on the darkest of days for press freedom.
— John McEvoy (@jmcevoy_2) June 17, 2022
While revelations of Iraqi civilian deaths were shocking, they were not necessarily surprising. After all, by this time the American public had already been introduced to lurid places like Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib, humanitarian no-go zones where the torture and abuse of inmates pulled back the curtain on
a sick and twisted side to the military mind few could have imagined. Moreover, there was no way for the United States to sweet talk its way out of these allegations, which were there for all to see in black and white.
What is it, then, that has really made Julian Assange America’s most wanted man, who faces up to 175 years in prison merely for playing messenger? Let’s not forget that other news media, including The Guardian, New York Times, and Der Spiegel, among many others, also published the damning information, yet it is Assange who faces espionage charges in the United States.
What is the real reason that Julian Assange was forced to seek refuge in June 2012 at the Ecuadorian embassy in London after Sweden issued a warrant for his arrest over allegations of sexual misconduct that have since been dropped? Perhaps it has more to do with his uncovering of illegitimate activity inside the Democratic Party than any excessive deaths and atrocities on the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan?
In the run up to the 2016 presidential election between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, WikiLeaks released a devastating trove of emails either hacked or leaked from Clinton’s campaign email account. The Democratic National Committee (DNC) attempted to conceal the damage by promoting the tale that ‘Russian hackers’ had infiltrated the organization’s computers. Meanwhile, the more ‘conspiratorial’ explanation is that they were delivered to WikiLeaks via a staff member inside the DNC. More on that later.
One consequence of the leaky plumbing, aside from severely damaging Clinton’s presidential bid, was that it forced DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz to resign. In an embarrassing self-own, the emails showed Democrats working to undermine the campaign of Bernie Sanders, a fellow Democratic nominee, in an effort to boost Clinton.
But the story, at least for the Democrats, gets worse.
Less than a week before the elections, WikiLeaks released another batch of DNC emails, this time showing that interim DNC Chairwoman Donna Brazile (a CNN contributor who took over for the disgraced Wasserman Schultz) had fed questions to the Clinton camp that would be asked during a CNN town hall debate against Trump. As far as ‘endangering US democracy’ goes, the Russians had nothing on that one. In fact, many furious voters were demanding that Clinton forfeit the presidency to Trump before any elections were even held.
A heavy footnote to this story is how Julian Assange and WikiLeaks got the DNC emails in the first place. On the one side is the story that ‘Russian hackers’ had cracked the DNC computers; on the other side, that an internal source within the DNC passed off the material. Regarding the second possibility, just days before the DNC email scandal broke, a DNC manager by the name of Seth Rich was gunned down on the streets of Washington, DC. This led conspiracy theorists to speculate that the young man might have been the source of the leak. Rich was murdered on July 10, while WikiLeaks issued the first of its DNC material on July 22.
While Assange refused to name the source of the DNC emails, it did not go unnoticed that WikiLeaks posted a $20,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the murderer or murderers of Mr. Rich.
Robert Bridge is an American writer and journalist. He is the author of 'Midnight in the American Empire,' How Corporations and Their Political Servants are Destroying the American Dream.
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https://www.rt.com/news/557402-assange-extradition-press-freedom /
Caitlin Johnstone: Assange is doing his most important work yet
Thanks to him, we know what Western leaders' claimed support of free press is really worth
By Caitlin Johnstone, an independent journalist based in Melbourne, Australia. Her website is here and you can follow her on Twitter @caitoz
British Home Secretary Priti Patel has authorized the extradition of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to the United States to be tried under the Espionage Act in a case which seeks to set a legal precedent for the prosecution of any publisher or journalist, anywhere in the world, who reports inconvenient truths about the US empire.
Assange’s legal team will appeal the decision, reportedly with arguments that will include the fact that the CIA spied on him and plotted his assassination.
“It will likely be a few days before the (14-day appeal) deadline and the appeal will include new information that we weren’t able to bring before the courts previously. Information on how Julian lawyers were spied on, and how there were plots to kidnap and kill Julian from within the CIA,” Assange’s brother Gabriel Shipton told Reuters on Friday.
And thank goodness. Assange’s willingness to resist Washington’s extradition attempts benefit us all, from his taking political asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy in 2012 until British police forcibly dragged him out in 2019, to his fighting US prosecutors in the courtroom tooth and claw during his incarceration in Belmarsh Prison.
Assange’s fight against US extradition benefits us not just because the empire’s war against truth harms our entire species and not just because he cannot receive a fair trial under the Espionage Act, but because his refusal to bow down and submit forces the empire to overextend itself into the light and show us all what it’s really made of.
Washington, London and Canberra are colluding to imprison a journalist for telling the truth: the first with its active extradition attempts, the second with its loyal facilitation of those attempts, and the third with its silent complicity in allowing an Australian journalist to be locked up and persecuted for engaging in the practice of journalism. By refusing to lie down and forcing them to come after him, Assange has exposed some harsh realities of which the public has largely been kept unaware.
The fact that London and Canberra are complying so obsequiously with Washington’s agendas, even while their own mainstream media outlets decry the extradition and even while all major human rights and press freedom watchdog groups in the Western world say Assange must go free, shows that these are not separate sovereign nations but member states of a single globe-spanning empire centralized around the US government. Because Assange stood his ground and fought them, more attention is being brought to this reality.
By standing his ground and fighting them, Assange has also exposed the lie that the so-called free democracies of the Western world support the free press and defend human rights. The US, UK and Australia are colluding to extradite a journalist for exposing the truth even as they claim to oppose tyranny and autocracy, even as they claim to support world press freedoms, and even as they loudly decry the dangers of government-sponsored disinformation.
Because Assange stood his ground and fought them, it will always reek of hypocrisy when US presidents like Joe Biden say things like, “The free press is not the enemy of the people — far from it. At your best, you’re guardians of the truth.”
Because Assange stood his ground and fought them, people will always know British prime ministers like Boris Johnson are lying when they say things like, “Media organisations should feel free to bring important facts into the public domain.”
Because Assange stood his ground and fought them, more of us will understand that they are being deceived and manipulated when Australian prime ministers like Anthony Albanese say things like “We need to protect press freedom in law and ensure every Australian can have their voice heard,” and “Don’t prosecute journalists for just doing their jobs.”
Because Assange stood his ground and fought them, US secretaries of state like Antony Blinken will have a much harder time selling their schtick when they say things like “On World Press Freedom Day, the United States continues to advocate for press freedom, the safety of journalists worldwide, and access to information on and offline. A free and independent press ensures the public has access to information. Knowledge is power.”
Because Assange stood his ground and fought them, UK home secretaries like Priti Patel will be seen for the frauds they are when they say things like “The safety of journalists is fundamental to our democracy.”
Extraditing a foreign journalist for exposing your war crimes is as tyrannical an agenda as you could possibly come up with. The US, UK and Australia colluding toward this end shows us that these are member states of a single empire whose only values are domination and control, and that all its posturing about human rights is pure facade. Assange keeps exposing the true face of power.
There is in fact a strong argument to be made that even all these years after the 2010 leaks for which he is currently being prosecuted, Assange is doing his most important work yet. As important as his WikiLeaks publications were and are, none of them exposed the depravity of the empire as much as forcing them to look us in the eye and tell us they’ll extradite a journalist for telling the truth.
Assange accomplished this by planting his feet and saying “No,” even when every other possible option would have been easier and more pleasant. Even when it was hard. Even when it was terrifying. Even when it meant being locked away, silenced, smeared, hated, unable to fight back against his detractors, unable to live a normal life, unable to hold his children, unable even to feel sunlight on his face.
His very life casts light on all the areas where it is most sorely needed. We all owe this man a tremendous debt. The least we can do is try our best to get him free.
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